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On March 17, 2018, I watched the Alex Jones Show, where his big headline was about an Evangelical church in Australia that was told to amend an Easter sign with the name of Jesus on it.

Not surprisingly, Jones was deeply unhappy.

So were many people watching or listening, no doubt.

However, it turns out that Jesus’s name can remain on the sign.

The Daily Mail, despite its title for the story, tells us what happened. The source story is at the 2GB radio site.

Elim Church is located in a shopping centre in Gosford, New South Wales. Between March 29 and April 1, they are running revival meetings on the Gosford Waterfront. The digital sign they want to put up at their church in the shopping centre reads (photo at the Mail link):

the greatness of His Power

Jesus is Alive!

Lendlease manage the shopping centre. They objected to the name Jesus:

Pastor Martin Duffy told 2GB radio that shopping centre manager Lendlease objected to the signs and forced them to be changed to read ‘Risen Christ’ instead of ‘Jesus’ …

Pastor Duffy claimed Lendlease requested to withdraw the word ‘Jesus’ from the sign as it may have offended shoppers and non-Christians.

The logic in Lendlease’s argument is mystifying. Why would ‘Risen Christ’ be any less ‘offensive’ than ‘Jesus’?

In any event, there is good news about the Good News:

Pastor Duffy said Lendlease has since changed their mind and allowed the word ‘Jesus’ to be included in the sign.

Although:

He said Lendlease said the word ‘Jesus’ has yet to be added to the sign but he is hopeful it will be returned eventually.

One wonders if the locals made a righteous fuss. Lendlease issued a statement:

It was an error of judgement to ask the church to change its messaging and we apologise unreservedly.

Lendlease values diversity and inclusion and we welcome people of all backgrounds at our shopping centres.

Good. All being well, the sign will be up soon and the church’s Easter events will be well attended.

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On February 15, 2018, an article — press release? — appeared on Yahoo about potable water becoming an inexpensive and instant reality for millions of people.

The Australian research organisation CSIRO has developed and tested a filtration technique which uses graphene film:

with microscopic nano-channels that lets water pass through, but stops pollutants. The process, called “Graphair”, is so effective that water samples from Sydney Harbor were safe to drink after being treated.

And while the film hails from graphene, Graphair is comparatively cheaper, faster and more environmentally-friendly to make, as its primary component is renewable soybean oil, which also helps maximise the efficiency of the purifying technique’s filter counterpart. Over time, oil-based pollutants can impede water filters, so contaminants have to be removed before filtering can even begin, but using Graphair removes these pollutants faster than any other method.

Dr Dong Han Seo, lead author of the research, says that trials will begin in 2019 in developing countries:

All that’s needed is heat, our graphene, a membrane filter and a small water pump.

This is amazing news.

Other possible uses for Graphair could be seawater treatment and effluent removal. CSIRO hopes to receive industry funding as their research continues.

In April 2017, Engaget reported on researchers at the University of Manchester in England who are working on graphene sieves for desalinating water. Dr. Rahul Nair, who leads the project, said that the holes in the sieve are nanometer-sized:

When the capillary size is around one nanometer, which is very close to the size of the water molecule, those molecules form a nice interconnected arrangement like a train. That makes the movement of water faster: if you push harder on one side, the molecules all move on the other side because of the hydrogen bonds between them. You can only get that situation if the channel size is very small.

Engaget’s article concludes:

Someday, these graphene-based sieves could change lives around the world. But before that happens, the team has to make sure they can withstand prolonged contact with seawater. They also need to test the material against current membranes desalination processes use. “The ultimate goal,” Nair said, “is to create a filtration device that will produce potable water from seawater or wastewater with minimal energy input.”

The University of Manchester team continues their research.

These are very exciting developments for the world’s poor.

On Sunday, November 12, 2017, President Donald Trump left Vietnam for the Philippines.

The ASEAN summit in Manila, including a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, was Trump’s final event prior to his return to Washington DC.

Mrs Duterte gave President Trump a warm welcome. Duterte is characteristically less expressive:

This video shows the reception going on while every attendee was personally welcomed and had a photo op with the Dutertes.

Later, a group photo was taken:

The men are wearing barongs, the traditional Philippine shirts for men. Many of the women — see the lady on the right — are wearing a terno dress or jacket. The pointy shoulders are traditional for Philippine women.

Toasts were made. Trump was seated next to Duterte:

A lavish dinner followed. Trump, apparently, asked Duterte to sing:

The Conservative Treehouse has a good post on the importance of ASEAN and Trump’s objectives:

Those who have walked in the deep weeds of geopolitical strategy know the emphasis the Trump administration has placed on ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) as a counter-balance (control leverage) to the Chinese trade and military expansion.

The ongoing trade and security relationship between the U.S. and India, as well as other regional partners, is a large part of the overarching dynamic. The ASEAN Summit in Manila[,] Philippines is an opportunity for President Trump to expand the conversations; enter into deeper discussions surrounding the terms of partnership; and deepen commitments toward larger U.S. international objectives.

The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region including India, comprises a combined population of 1.85 billion people, one-fourth of the global population.

Here is a graphic of all the attendees:

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was delighted to renew his friendship with President Trump:

NDTV reported:

Prime Minister Modi is likely to reassert India’s push to create a global approach to deal with terrorism. He will also pitch steps to boost regional trade. One of the more significant meetings will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with US President Donald Trump.

India Today has more on the geopolitical situation in Asia and with the Trump administration.

Here is a photo from the gala dinner that night. Stephen Miller, adviser and speechwriter, is on the left (Trump’s personal assistant John McEntee is next to him, followed by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders). On the right are General HR McMaster and Communications Director Hope Hicks:

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Manila, violent anti-Trump protests broke out. Sky News Australia reported:

Hundreds of leftist activists, farmers and students have burned an effigy of US President Donald Trump in the shape of a swastika after clashes with anti-riot police in Manila left at least 16 people injured.

Police used water cannons on the demonstrators as they marched along Taft Avenue, about 6 kilometres away from the venue of the leaders summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Six of the 16 injured were police officers.

The ASEAN summit opened on Monday, November 13 with a welcome ceremony, group photo and customary group handshake:

Here is a video of the photo op:

Modi was delighted with the opening ceremony’s entertainment:

This was Trump’s schedule for the rest of the day (emphases in the original):

10:15am / 9:15pm THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia – Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila, Philippines. [Duration 1 hr]

11:50am / 10:50pm THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines – Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Philippines (Host of ASEAN) [Duration 1 hr]

12:55pm / 11:55pm THE PRESIDENT attends the 5th U.S.-ASEAN Summit – Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Philippines.

3:30pm / 2:30pm THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India – Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila, Philippines.

5:00pm / 4:00am THE PRESIDENT participates in an embassy meet and greet, Manila, Philippines.

In a historic move, representatives from the US State Department met with officials from India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was the first time these countries had met since 2007. The time gap was because of objections from the Chinese and Obama.

Part of the State Department’s announcement reads as follows:

The officials examined ways to achieve common goals and address common challenges in the region, such as: upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, including freedom of navigation and overflight, respect for international law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes; increasing connectivity consistent with international law and standards, based on prudent financing; coordinating on counterterrorism and maritime security efforts in the Indo-Pacific; and further cooperating to curtail the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs and unlawful acts. The quadrilateral partners committed to deepening cooperation, which rests on a foundation of shared democratic values and principles, and to continue discussions to further strengthen the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

Trump included Japan’s Shinzo Abe in his meeting with Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull:

The three leaders met with the press. An excerpt from the transcript follows (emphases mine):

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s great to be with Prime Minister Turnbull and Prime Minister Abe of Australia and of Japan. You know them well; I know them well.

We’ve had many meetings. We’re having another one right now, primarily focused on trade, North Korea, other subjects. But we’re very far along. The dialogue has been very good, I think, for all countries. And we look forward to the continuation of that dialogue.

Mr. Prime Minister, would you like to say something?

PRIME MINISTER TURNBULL: Thank you, Mr. President. It is great to be with you and Prime Minister Abe. We’re working very closely together. We’ve got the same values and the same focus on ensuring that the North Korean regime comes to its senses and stops its reckless provocation and threats of conflict in our region.

Peace and stability have underpinned the prosperity of billions of people over many decades, and we’re going to work together to ensure we maintain it.

PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) So for three of us, the immediate challenge is the issue of North Korea. And also, three very close partners with each other — Japan, the United States, and Australia — share fundamental values, as well as strategic interest.

So I do hope that we are going to have a meaningful discussion, particularly on the issue of North Korea so as to ensure regional peace and stability.

And also, I think the key for us is to ensure very close trilateral cooperation so as to bring peace and stability on the ground. So I do look forward to having a very productive discussion with the two leaders.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: In addition, a lot of things are happening on trade. And I’ll be announcing pretty much what happened here, and also with other meetings, including China and South Korea and lots of other places. We’ll be announcing that, for the most part, in a statement. I’ll make it from the White House, as opposed to from here. We’ll probably do that on Wednesday …

Sky News Australia reported that Turnbull is beset by domestic problems but is intent on working to resolve the dangerous situation with North Korea and also terrorism:

‘These are dangerous times that we live in our region,’ Mr Turnbull told reporters in Manila, adding it was his job to keep Australians safe.

‘The threats to our peace and stability are greater than they have been for many many years.’

Turnbull understands the strategy for North Korea:

Trump met with Duterte. Beforehand, Duterte made a brief announcement to the media, absent at that point:

Duterte: “We will be discussing matters that are of interest to both the Philippines and…with you around, guys, you are the spies.”
“Hah, hah, hah,” Trump said laughing.
“You are,” Duterte repeated.
[Duterte’s reference was to “spies” (i.e. the media), not “spice.”]

Once the media showed up, Duterte wanted them gone:

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: (In progress.) But on the whole, I think I have so many things to say about (inaudible). I will just summarize (inaudible).

We are your ally. We are an important ally. (Inaudible.)

And I will request everybody to — after you’ve taken the shots, with the best angles that you would like — kindly go out.

I cannot discuss the things that they want to say. You may want to make an — just a statement so that the media is going to have something to go back home.

Trump picked up on the ‘spies’ joke:

I will say this: The media was a little bit late, and you actually missed the best part of the President’s statement. (Laughter.) I think he should make it again, but it was good.

But we’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful. We have many meetings today with many other leaders. And the ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the President in the Philippines and your representatives. And I’ve really enjoyed being here …

But we very much appreciate the great treatment you’ve given us

Then:

Later, Trump addressed ASEAN (General HR McMaster is on the left and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the right):

The full transcript is here. Excerpts follow. Notice how Trump refers to the region not as Asia-Pacific but as Indo-Pacific:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Duterte, distinguished leaders, friends and partners: I’m honored to represent the United States of America at this U.S.-ASEAN Commemorative Summit. We gather today at a time of great promise and great challenge.

I speak to you on behalf of 350 million Americans with a message of friendship and partnership. I’m here to advance peace, to promote security, and to work with you to achieve a truly free and open Indo-Pacific, where we are proud and we have sovereign nations, and we thrive, and everybody wants to prosper.

This year we mark 40 years of friendship and cooperation between the United States and this organization. It’s a long time. I also want to congratulate ASEAN on 50 years of promoting peace and prosperity and stability in Southeast Asia and in the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Rodrigo, I would like to commend you on your success as ASEAN chair at this very critical moment in time and in the association’s history — such an important event. And I want to thank you for your incredible hospitality …

I also want to thank Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia for the excellent job you’ve done as coordinator, and I appreciate it very much. I really appreciate it. You have coordinated so well with us …

The United States remains committed to ASEAN’s central role as a regional forum for total cooperation. This diplomatic partnership advances the security and prosperity of the American people and the people of all Indo-Pacific nations

So we want our partners in the region to be strong, independent, and prosperous, in control of their own destinies, and satellites to no one. These are the principles behind our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

So again, I wish you all the best of luck. It’s an honor to be here. And, Rodrigo, thank you very much for the way you treated all of us. Thank you. (Applause.)

Afterwards, Trump met with Narendra Modi:

Then it was time to visit the US Embassy:

That evening, Trump had dinner with Malcolm Turnbull.

Afterwards:

On Tuesday, Trump was scheduled to attend more ASEAN sessions, however, as they were running late, he asked Rex Tillerson to attend the plenary session in the afternoon on his behalf. During his brief conversation with the media on the way home, Trump told the press that he was able to make his closing remarks at lunch.

It was time to return to Washington. Air Force One made a refueling stop at Hickam in Hawaii:

Thanks to a favourable jet stream, he arrived at the White House two hours earlier than expected Tuesday night. The tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, oddly, was unlit.

A short time later:

Before leaving the Philippines, Trump expressed his delight with the hospitality he received:

Later on, social media director Dan Scavino received this anime of Ivanka:

Once back at the White House, Trump tweeted:

It is a pity that Western media did not cover those 12 days better. They are historic. Trump has built solid relationships among the principal players: Abe, Xi and Modi. He also emphasised national sovereignty, which one hopes will be a game-changer for the region.

Leo Lyon Zagami is a Freemason living in Italy.

He often uses his middle name as his mother was related to the Queen Mother’s family, the Bowes-Lyons.

I first heard him on The Alex Jones Show on July 11, 2017 discussing the conflicts currently going on in the Vatican. It is unclear whether Zagami is still a practising Catholic — and, yes, I am aware of the Catholic Church’s proscription on being a Freemason. Regardless, he takes a keen interest in what is going on in Rome.

N.B.: This post explores adult themes and is not for children.

Zagami told Jones that there are two factions operating at the Vatican: Pope Francis’s group and the traditionalists. Paedophilia is common in both groups, and orgies take place in the Pope’s circle.

Today, July 26, 2017, Cardinal George Pell — a traditionalist — appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in Australia on charges of sexual abuse. US News reports:

Pell, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic and Pope Francis’ top financial adviser, is accused of sexually abusing multiple people years ago in his Australian home state of Victoria, making him the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis. Details of the charges have yet to be released to the public, though police have described them as “historical” sexual assault offenses — meaning crimes that occurred years ago.

Pell has not yet entered a plea. But on Wednesday, his lawyer told the court that the 76-year-old cardinal plans to formally plead not guilty at a future court date.

“For the avoidance of doubt and because of the interest, I might indicate that Cardinal Pell pleads not guilty to all charges and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has,” lawyer Robert Richter told the court.

The court appearance lasted only minutes. Initially, it was believed these crimes were all committed by priests in his diocese. However, after Australian detectives flew to the Vatican in 2016 and as recently as last month to interview the elderly cardinal, it is thought that Pell, too, might have been directly involved.

Although members of victim advocacy groups were outside the court, so were Pell supporters who believe he has been unfairly targeted. Pell has long been a controversial figure at the Vatican for theological reasons. His defenders among the Catholic faithful believe he is shoring up the one true faith.

We shall see.

Leo Zagami writes (emphases mine):

The two men who made abuse allegations against Cardinal George Pell say they are “over the moon” about the decision to lay charges. But their lawyer stated to the Herald Sun, they were not confident the case would be successful. It is up to us, the alternative media to build pressure around this very important case. So please dear readers, share this information on your social media accounts, before the largest disinfo operation in history, could send it into oblivion

Clergy sexual abuse survivor Andrew Collins stated that the fact that Cardinal George Pell had finally been charged, was something he never thought he would hear as “Cardinal Pell … is one of the most powerful men on the earth,”.

Well if Cardinal Pell falls, it’s only a matter of time before the Vatican pedophile network goes down with him, so let’s pray for this very important day for the future of humanity, the 26th of July 2017.

On July 19, Zagami wrote about the two paedophile factions in the Vatican, a topic he discussed on The Alex Jones Show:

One faction, closer to Pope Francis, and the Gay lobby, wants a more liberal Church, ready to embrace homosexuality for priests, and an open support for Islam and the upcoming One World Religion, that will gradually push for the acceptance of pedophilia. This faction is represented by Cardinals such as Coccopalmiero, involved in the Gay Orgy raid, or Godfried Cardinal Danneels of the St. Gallen Mafia.

St Gallen is a secret group of Catholic clerics from the Vatican that meets annually in that Swiss town. Zagami says it is a rogue Masonic lodge.

Then there is the traditionalist faction — Pell’s:

The other faction, the more conservative one, mostly controlled by Pope Ratzinger the Pope Emeritus, is instead contrary to any liberal change imposed on the Catholic Faith by the Jesuit Pope, but still hides terrible compromises and links to the infamous pedophilia rings that hide behind the Catholic hierarchy.

However, there is also a secular aspect to paedophilia outside the Vatican. Zagami alleges that a longtime Italian educator Rodolfo Fiesoli, arrested in 1985 and again in 2011, is a good friend not only of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi but may also have links to the Democratic Party in the US. Zagami alleges that Fiesoli is:

an influential figure in the international pedophile network connected to the US Democrats.

Fiesoli spoke at a TedX conference in Florence just a few weeks before his 2011 arrest:

After his arrest, Zagami says:

references to this pedophile monster connected to Matteo Renzi, head of the ruling Democratic Party, and the US Democratic Party, disappear from the online site of the initiative, and from YouTube but fortunately we still have a surviving footage of the event.

In 2015, Fiesoli was sentenced to 17 years in prison, but has not yet spent a day behind bars because of his powerful connections not only in Italy, but also, perhaps, in the United States.

Fiesoli first gained broad attention in Italy during the 1980s (emphasis in the original):

Fiesoli participated as a supposed “educator”, despite being condemned several times since the mid 80’s, for sexual abuse to minors, at his community called Forteto di Vicchio, established in 1977, to support his bizare theories on family, and the recovery of minors in distress. In the audience was the then-Mayor Matteo Renzi, who was smiling during Fiesoli’s speech, nodding his head several times and clapping to show his approval.

Zagami believes that President Donald Trump is the only person who can break this network wide open.

The Vatican’s opposition to Trump might be evidence that they also think he can expose the network, which is why they are taking such strong objection to him and his Christian supporters. An article appeared earlier this month in the English edition of La Civiltà Cattolica (Catholic Civilization), a Jesuit publication. The editor-in-chief is Antonio Spadaro SJ.

On July 14, Zagami wrote about Spadaro’s diatribe and translated some of it into English. An excerpt follows (more in Zagami’s post):

After reading the article I will add that the Jesuits are declaring war not only on Trump, but on American Christianity. Jesuits write about American Christians in the following way:

Theirs is a prophetic formula: fight the threats to American Christian values and prepare for the imminent justice of an Armageddon, a final showdown between Good and Evil, between God and Satan. In this sense, every process (be it of peace, dialogue, etc.) collapses before the needs of the end, the final battle against the enemy. And the community of believers (faith) becomes a community of combatants (fight). Such a unidirectional reading of the biblical texts can anesthetize consciences or actively support the most atrocious and dramatic portrayals of a world that is living beyond the frontiers of its own “promised land.”

They also attack Steven Bannon – a Catholic – and accuse him of being a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics.”

This is the final declaration of war against real America made by the Jesuits and Pope Francis, so it’s about time we openly declare war on their pedophile networks and Vatican Money Laundering Schemes.

Only a small percentage of Trump supporters think that way. In fact, most Americans who think like that are anti-Trump because he is not godly enough.

As for Steve Bannon, he would be the last to think in terms of apocalyptic geopolitics. He just wants people destroying America to be identified and dealt with through the proper legal channels.

Now we come to Zagami’s interview with Alex Jones from July 11, wherein he discusses the evil inside Vatican City. This is the segment I saw as it aired:

The following day, Zagami included it in his post ‘St Gallen Mafia Exposed!’ which also includes a video of the aforementioned Cardinal Godfried Danneels from Belgium discussing his time as a member of the St Gallen Mafia (subtitled in English):

The video is well worth watching and has a lot of information, considering it is less than three minutes long.

Zagami tells us that the St Gallen Mafia:

is leading the Church towards a schism pushing the the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of Catholics worldwide….

Godfried Maria Jules Danneels  a Belgian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church openly involved with the St. Gallen Mafia wearing a rainbow inspired religious garment to celebrate mass.

On June 30, Pope Francis sacked German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller from his position as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to that post in 2012 and Pope Francis made him a Cardinal in 2014.

Zagami says that Müller and Pope Francis did not see eye-to-eye:

because he opposes pedophilia and the Jesuits’ liberal agenda for the CDF.

Heading the CDF is probably the most important position next to the pope. Pope Benedict had held that post years ago. It involves ensuring that Catholic doctrine stays unaltered. Of course, that wasn’t exactly the case decades ago when Benedict Ratzinger was pushing forward with post-Vatican II reform, but the principle remains.

Zagami explains the sacking:

The following information that will help us understand more comes from the report of a trustworthy German source, who spoke to the site OnePeterFive, on condition of anonymity. He quotes an eyewitness who recently sat with Cardinal Müller at lunch in Mainz, Germany. During that meal, Cardinal Müller is alleged to have disclosed in the presence of this eyewitness …

According to this report, Cardinal Müller was called to the Apostolic Palace on 30 June 2017, and he arrived with his work files, assuming that this meeting would be a usual working session. The Pope told him, however, that he only had five questions for him:

Are you in favor of, or against, a female diaconate? “I am against it,” responded Cardinal Müller.

Are you in favor of, or against, the repeal of celibacy? “Of course I am against it,” the cardinal responded.

Are you in favor of, or against female priests?

“I am very decisively against it,” replied Cardinal Müller.

Are you willing to defend Amoris Laetitia?

“As far as it is possible for me,” the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith replied: “there still exist ambiguities.”

Are you willing to retract your complaint concerning the dismissal of three of your own employees?

Cardinal Müller responded: “Holy Father, these were good, unblemished men whom I now lack, and it was not correct to dismiss them over my head, shortly before Christmas, so that they had to clear their offices by 28 December. I am missing them now.”

Thereupon the Pope answered: “Good. Cardinal Müller, I only wanted to let you know that I will not extend your mandate [i.e., beyond 2 July] as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith.”

Without any farewell or explanation, the Pope left the room, leaving Cardinal Müller in utter astonishment. He stood in shocked silence, waiting for the Pope to return, but strangely enough, it was Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who had to force him to leave the meeting, completely shocked by what had just occurred.

One week later, another German Cardinal made the news, Joachim Meisner, who was born on Christmas Day in 1933. Cardinal Meisner died mysteriously on July 5 at the age of 83. Zagami tells us that Meisner was a traditionalist:

He was considered a leader of the conservative wing of the German episcopate, and was one of the four cardinals who orginally presented the controversial letter “Dubia” to Pope Francis in September 2016, seeking up until June 2017, a clarification on the modernization of the Church in matters of faith, and the infamous Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation issued by Pope Francis called, Amoris Laetitia, without ever receiving an answer.

The aforementioned Cardinal Müller spoke to his colleague on July 4:

As the Passauer Neue Presse reports:

Müller had spoken over the phone with the former Archbishop of Cologne [Cardinal Meisner] the previous night [before he died the next morning]; and they also had spoken about the non-renewal of his former position. Meisner had shown himself to be “deeply saddened” by this dismissal. “That moved him personally and wounded himand he considered it to be a form of damage for the Church,” as the Curial Cardinal [Müller] himself described the reaction of Meisner and 1 well-informed source within the Vatican say[s] that perhaps Cardinal Meisner “died of a broken heart.” Or was he killed in traditional Vatican fashion with a poison coffee? …

Interestingly enough, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Prefect of the Papal Household very close to Pope Francis, and Obama, and a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1996, also happened to meet Cardinal Meisner shortly before his death. Only a coincidence? Of course not, nothing is a coincidence in the Vatican, but a well orchestrated maneuver.

According to the Passauer Neue Presse, Gänswein visited Bad Füssing (near Passau), on the 2nd of July, in order to give a talk at the “Bad Füssinger Gespräche” [Bad Füssing Talks]. Cardinal Meisner had been staying in Bad Füssing for a period of time for vacation, as his health was not considered at all a problem. So the two influential Vatican figures met in person there, but unfortunately, no details have been revealed about their conversation that eventually led to Joachim Meisner’s death, a mystery that needs further investigation, as it seems Pope Francis is clearing up the scene from any unwanted opposition before his summer vacation, and Meisner was on his hit list for a long time.

On July 2 — between Müller’s sacking and Meisner’s death — Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, Secretary of Cardinal Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, was arrested in a raid on what Zagami says was:

a drug-based gay orgy.

Zagami tells us:

The police later proved that Capozzi, who was on his way to becoming bishop, is now being forced to retire in a monastery by the Vatican. Capozzi used a car from the Holy See with a Vatican number plate to bring in big quantities of cocaine to the Holy City. Monsignor Capozzi is a big fan of Pope Francis, as is his boss Cardinal Coccopalmiero, who is one of Bergoglio’s biggest supporters and collaborators, and wrote an important essay on the 8th Chapter of Amoris laetitia, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, on love in the family …

In closing, Zagami offered this insight as to Trump’s lack of concern about visiting the UK:

The liberals are desperate to bring down Trump using any and all means, but now that the CIA and other agencies are finally tackling the pedophilia problem, because of Potus’ orders, he could be risking his life even more. LGBTQ rights advocates should support the president in this endevour, and distance themselves from the pedophilia reality.

In the meantime, President Trump has told Theresa May that he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain, a country that as we know is the driving force of the global Pedophilia Network. UK children in the care of British institutions, are six times more likely to be assessed for abuse, than a child in the general population. Scotland Yard detectives were removed from a pedophile investigation, after naming politicians, so maybe the British public should change their brainwashed attitude and support his visit to the UK.

The world — and the Catholic Church — are in a deep mess right now.

Hence my warning the other day — Michael Crichton’s Gell-Mann Amnesia effect — about paying too much heed to what the media are telling us.

One year after it premiered in the United States on the Food Network, Save My Bakery is now showing on the channel’s sister station in the UK.

SpouseMouse and I have been enjoying the programme. For me, the bakeries featured are a blast from the past. SpouseMouse is bemused by what passes for a ‘bakery’ in the United States. ‘First, there are no breads or rolls. Secondly, most of what’s on offer looks as if it were intended for a bake sale.’ I try to explain that that is the nature of neighbourhood bakeries. Although nothing was fancy, everything was a favourite.

Kerry Vincent is the Australian makeover lady who helps beleaguered bakeries out of a hole. She focussed her efforts on Pennsylvania, particularly establishments in or near Philadelphia.

Her brusque manner is offputting as is her penchant for fondant-covered cakes which did not feature in the establishments shown (initially) or in the ones I frequented as a child. Hmm.

However, she does seem to be good at conflict resolution. In every one of these shows, the bakery owners are at odds with their children or younger employees with regard to overcoming an impasse in sales.

I am still thinking about the episode at Schenk’s Bakery in Philadelphia. Their website has a thank you to Vincent for remaking their shop and offering advice on their products. I hope they continue to prosper.

Schenk’s cake line used to feature three cakes which Vincent advised against: pound cake, Washington cake and Goldenrod cake.

The last two came as a revelation. I’d not heard of them before. I was very disappointed that Vincent did not help the Schenks to keep these items on sale by improving the texture and flavour. Washington and Goldenrod cakes are historical artifacts.

Pound cake

But, first, let’s look at pound cake, one of the few cakes which does not need icing. Not so long ago, most grandmothers made pound cake. Mine did and hers was still the best I’ve ever tasted. The best part is the crunchy exterior, the product of the amount of butter in the batter.

In researching pound cake recipes, I was surprised to see how huge they are and that they are now made in ring tins. My grandmother used to make hers in much smaller quantities in a well greased loaf tin. The top used to split ever so slightly, giving a craggy appearance with extra crunch.

A loaf tin pound cake will probably serve a dozen people. The texture is dense and rich, similar to a French quatre-quarts (‘four quarters’, equal weights of eggs, butter, flour and sugar). A little goes a long way.

Since I’ve been on the ketogenic diet, I don’t make it anymore. However, those who enjoy traditional cakes will find it worthwhile practising making it. I would recommend several tries, because it can be challenging getting the consistency light enough. For this reason, I would suggest cutting the following recipes in half and using a loaf tin. King Arthur Flour’s site has the traditional recipe and Chef In Training has one for a coconut version.

Vincent did approve of a remake of the Schenks pound cake, to which they added orange flavouring and topped with sliced almonds. It looked delicious!

The Goldenrod

The Goldenrod, or Golden Rod, was popular in the late 1890s through to the early part of the 20th century.

It is — or was — probably the only full-size triangular cake in existence. This photo from a 1906 cookbook, courtesy of Resurrected Recipes, shows the special tins used:

These tins are not available today, however, using a loaf tin would probably do the trick. Cutting the rounded top off the finished product then neatly slicing diagonally down the middle should produce a good result.

Resurrected Recipes compares and contrasts the recipes for the Goldenrod with another popular cake of the same period, the Waldorf Triangle. Both look easy enough to bake.

The Goldenrod must have orange flavouring in the batter. Vincent said that the Schenks’ version could have used more of it. Why did she not help them with such a small improvement? If I were in the area, I would have loved trying it.

This is another missed opportunity; the bakery could have introduced the Goldenrod to a new generation.

It is also interesting that the Schenks frosted one side with white icing, piped it along the top ridge and frosted the other side with chocolate icing. One wonders if that decoration was particular to Philadelphia or to Mr Schenk’s father who emigrated from Germany and founded the bakery in 1938. Resurrected Recipes tells us that this cake was also popular with German bakers.

Washington Cake

This cake has undergone several reiterations since Martha Washington first made her Great Cake to share with guests on Twelfth Night (Epiphany) 1798.

Her husband George had announced before Christmas 1797 that he would not be serving a third term as America’s first President. He returned to his home in Mount Vernon for the holidays.

Mrs Washington’s great cake was modelled on the traditional English recipe for Christmas cake. It was a pound cake made with currants and spices.

The cook-historian Tori Avey tells us that after Washington’s death, a Manhattan shopowner named Mary Simpson made Washington Cake every year on his birthday, February 22. She was popularly known as Mary Washington, as she claimed to have been one of his slaves. Customers flooded in to buy a slice of cake and a small glass of punch or cup of coffee.

In the 19th century, American bakers created variations of the Washington Cake. One used cherries, recalling Parson Weems’s legend of young George cutting down his father’s cherry tree. When Washington State was incorporated into the Union, their version had apples, the fruit for which the state is known.

Avey says that Philadelphia had its own version, which emerged in the 1950s. The Schenks made this variation, which was a spiced cake with chocolate and scalloped-edged white icing.

Kerry Vincent didn’t like their Washington Cake. Admittedly, the one shown was poorly frosted. However, whether it was the amount of spice in the cake or the frosting, she said it had to go. Unfortunately, the Schenks agreed.

Another opportunity missed! Why not improve it and introduce it to people — especially children — who have never tried it?

Suggestion for the Schenks

My better half and I suggest that the Schenks offer one of these types of cakes — pound, Goldenrod and Washington — on special once a month at the weekend. Make sure Washington Cake in on sale during Presidents’ Day weekend in February.

Have a sign up — ‘This week’s special’ — and tell everyone how good it is. Have some samples on the counter. Let people try it.

It would be a shame to lose these historical recipes for the sake of a few minor improvements to flavour and appearance.

Kerry Vincent

Hmm. She’s an acquired taste, certainly.

However, after having researched her biography, I can understand how her background shaped her outlook on baking and life.

Zap2It has a fascinating, if brief, interview with Vincent. We discover that, like many Australians living on sheep stations (ranches), she went to school via radio. I remember reading about this method of education in geography class when I was eight years old. Households had pedal radios — operated by foot pedal — which, when used with a telephone line, could enable any Australian youngster to communicate with the teacher. Parents were responsible for reviewing homework!

She also told Zap2It that her mother taught her how to bake at a very young age. One of the first lessons young Kerry Flynn learned was how to test an oven. Mrs Flynn told her to stick her hand in it to get a true feel for the temperature. Vincent does the same today because:

I don’t even believe the calibrated oven because it is never calibrated. Shove your hand in, and feel this, and close your eyes, and that’s the temperature you need for a sponge [cake] and the rest of the baking.

At the age of 8, Kerry won first prize in an adult baking competition at Albany Fair in Western Australia.

As a young woman, Vincent was a Western Australia state finalist in the 1964 Miss Australia Quest. She went on to a career in modelling hats and as a cigarette girl:

The fashion co-ordinator at the Perth department store Boans wanted her for millinery: “She said, ‘I could put a jerry [chamber pot] on your head and it would look good.’ ” For tobacco brands Rothmans and Dunhill, Kerry wore navy and white, pillbox hats and white boots, and moved from trackside to cocktail party as a promotional girl. “It was elegant then; you smoked with a pair of long satin gloves and a holder.”

In 1973, whilst on a working holiday in London, she met the love of her life, Doug Vincent, an American oil engineer, in a pub. They married in 1974 and live in Oklahoma.

Vincent’s baking and sugar-crafting career has taken her around the world, winning her accolades from the rich and famous to hundreds of aspiring home bakers.

The Pennsylvania bakers who took part in Save My Bakery say that Vincent’s bark is worse than her bite.

Stephen Riccelli of Schubert’s Bakery in Nazareth said:

I think she’s a very nice lady but I also think she may not have been the best fit for our bakery.

I agree. She never understood the Moravian cake which isn’t exactly patisserie but has deep historical and cultural roots in that part of the Lehigh Valley.

Richard Wilcox of Phatso’s Bakery in Chester told his local newspaper:

The host’s venomous demeanor is just a front, Wilcox said, explaining that Vincent was very helpful and pleasant off camera.

“Kerry is a wonderful lady,” he said. “We had a very pleasant time working with her. She was not the same person when the cameras were off.”

Vincent clearly did not understand the slang word ‘phat’ — beautiful, excellent — which can be used to describe anything from food to women.

It was also a play on words, as Wilcox called his younger son Fatso as a toddler. He gave the name to the bakery. Vincent wanted to change it!

I’m glad to read that Wilcox saved his past awards and put them back on the wall of his bakery.

Vincent insists that America’s tastes are changing. Possibly.

However, there is always room for enduring American, cross-generational favourites. May they — and family-owned bakeries — long continue.

The March 2015 issue of The Atlantic has an excellent article by Graeme Wood called ‘What ISIS Really Wants’.

Everyone would do well to read it at least once. It is easy to follow, fascinating and detailed. A few people commented that it tells us more than daily reports on television news or in the press.

IS propaganda involves a heady combination of bloody battle, religious purity and apocalyptic prophecy. It is Koranic; it is religious. The way its followers and recruiters present it online proves irresistible for thousands of youths around the world.

Wood’s article also addresses two prominent Christian converts to Islam.

A summary with excerpts follows.

Apocalyptic offshoot of Al-Qaeda

Before getting into the story of IS, here is (repeated) advice to Christians who get excited by prophecy involving the Apocalypse: don’t.

A number of Christians online grew up reading apocalyptic literature and think this is what the Church is about. Were they to read a balanced explanation of Revelation (see my Essential Bible Verses page) based on a Lutheran amillenialist perspective, they would be left wanting. It’s not exciting enough, even if it is the truth.

The same holds true for adolescent or young adult converts to the IS cause. It has all the elements of adventure, bloodshed and fervour.

On this subject, Wood quotes George Orwell on Adolf Hitler:

Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them, “I offer you struggle, danger, and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet … We ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.

Al-Qaeda shied away from Islamic apocalyptic pronouncements about the Mahdi (a saviour figure) and the End of Days. It was not in their framework. Will McCants of the Brookings Institution told Wood that Al-Qaeda leadership considers it unsophisticated:

Bin Laden and Zawahiri are from elite Sunni families who look down on this kind of speculation and think it’s something the masses engage in.

However, that didn’t prevent a group within Al-Qaeda to wax lyrical about it:

McCants says a prominent Islamist in Iraq approached bin Laden in 2008 to warn him that the group was being led by millenarians who were “talking all the time about the Mahdi and making strategic decisions” based on when they thought the Mahdi was going to arrive. “Al-Qaeda had to write to [these leaders] to say ‘Cut it out.’ ”

That group became ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham:

During the last years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Islamic State’s immediate founding fathers, by contrast, saw signs of the end times everywhere. They were anticipating, within a year, the arrival of the Mahdi—a messianic figure destined to lead the Muslims to victory before the end of the world.

Wood likens IS to an odd sect, not unlike those of Jim Jones or David Koresh. He does not compare it to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Koranic to the letter

IS takes the Koran seriously, to the letter. Its adherents are ever ready to accuse other Muslims of apostasy for not being holy or observant enough.

IS justifies its existence through its self-proclaimed caliphate under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been in charge since 2010.

Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani is IS’s chief spokesman. He exhorts followers to crush unbelievers, borrowing the phraseology of the 7th century with passages from the Koran. Everything about IS is based on the book, down to coinage and stationery.

Wood tells us that IS believes that many deaths must take place if pure practice of Islam is to predominate. As IS is Sunni, their first targets are Shia Muslims and the Yazidis. Sunnis consider Shia as a departure from true Islam. Therefore, Wood says, it is estimated that 200 million Shias must die. Although we know little about it, those who are studying IS believe that they are murdering individuals nearly every day and staging mass executions every few weeks.

IS also considers Muslim leaders around the world to be apostate, as they favour a manmade political system and voting.

Christians, for now, are left alone as long as they pay IS jizya, a koranic tax imposed on non-Muslims. Jizya not only brings in extra money, it also serves as a constant reminder to those paying it that they have been ‘subdued’.

The Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, originally from the Lebanon, says that it is a mistake for Westerners to consider IS as un-Islamic. He says that this type of outlook emanates from interfaith dialogue and has no basis in reality. Haykel points out that everything IS members are doing conforms to the Koran and is a rerun of the conquests that took place in the early centuries of Islam.

For IS members and supporters, the Syrian city of Dabiq is where the final battle against ‘Rome’ — the Islamic version of corrupt and worldly ‘Babylon’ — will unfold. Dabiq is near the better-known Aleppo and is in a huge expanse of rural flatland. Wood says one can imagine it could be a battleground. The IS publication is named Dabiq, and the city is often referenced in beheading videos.

Two different converts from Christian backgrounds

Many Christians say, ‘Why are we reading about this when it has nothing to do with us?’

However, even certain Christians can ‘revert’ to Islam. Wood gives us their stories and photographs.

Travelling to Australia, Wood met with Musa Cerantonio, the son of Irish and Calabrian parents. He has an online presence as one of IS’s ‘new spiritual authorities’. Cerantonio used to be a televangelist on an Islamic television channel in Egypt until he started making too many appeals for a caliphate. Now in a suburb of Melbourne, the convert takes his message and sermons online via Twitter and Facebook.

The Australian government has confiscated Cerantonio’s passport, and he is well known to the local police. Whilst he is technically unaffiliated with IS, he and his wife attempted to emigrate via the Philippines, where he overstayed his visa. Hence the passport confiscation.

Cerantonio is thrilled with the IS caliphate. In general, he believes pledging allegiance to a caliphate is necessary for salvation. However, he told Wood that he has not personally pledged his to IS, which would be forbidden under Australian law.

Cerantonio told Wood he believes that the aforementioned Rome actually refers to Turkey, which many Islamists think had a false caliphate in that it did not enforce every rule of the Koran, e.g. slavery and stoning. After the fateful battle in Dabiq:

Cerantonio said, the caliphate will expand and sack Istanbul. Some believe it will then cover the entire Earth, but Cerantonio suggested its tide may never reach beyond the Bosporus. An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory.

One can see that wrapping the relevant imagery into sermons or messages would have the desired effect on certain minds.

However, a former Catholic who is now a practising imam in Philadelphia, does not hold with IS, although he is an extreme, albeit nonviolent, Muslim. Wood met with Breton — now Abdullah — Pocius. A former Chicagoan, Pocius grew up in a Polish Catholic family. He now sounds as if he were a Muslim his entire life.

Pocius’s Islam could be compared to the legalism of an ultra-Orthodox Jew. Pocius believes that only an internal devotion to obedience of the laws of Islam will bring about a caliphate, and then only through the will of Allah. For him, Islam is all about personal holiness, not war against others.

He agrees with IS on daily observance and practices but says their penchant for violence is not for him. Wood tells us that Pocius is a ‘quietist Salafi’ and eschews anything to do with excommunicating others and a socio-political system. That said, he is not happy with the US government; he told Wood his mosque was under surveillance and that his mother had been harrassed at her place of work.

Conclusion

Wood’s article has much more, including a piece on London’s Anjem Choudhury, a map from January 2015 of IS territory as well as possible solutions as to how Western governments can approach this group. Yes, it is growing. Yes, it must be contained. Yes, it must be seen to be stagnating or receding.

Wood says that one of the best ways this can happen is for opposing Muslims in the area to resist expansion.

Expect a long battle ahead. This could take years.

In recent weeks certain Western countries have been considering, if not trialling, methods of dealing with terrorists.

For those suspects or those convicted of terrorist activity who have dual nationality, Australia is drafting a series of amendments which could deprive those persons of Australian citizenship.

A few weeks earlier, at the end of January 2015, France revoked French citzenship of a Franco-Moroccan terrorist. The man in question is still a citizen of Morocco, his country of origin.

On February 23, the French government confiscated the passports and identity cards of six people who had made plans to travel to Syria; their families had informed the authorities of their plans. The confiscations last for six months and can be renewed.

It will be interesting to see if this works or if those affected can obtain paperwork on the black market.

A person with single nationality cannot be stripped of it, according to the UN Convention of August 30, 1961. However, certain politicians, such as Marine Le Pen, and a number of ordinary citizens think that those working against their home countries should ‘find another nationality’. If someone with terrorist sympathies leaves for Syria, that country should accept them and offer them citizenship. It is doubtful whether that is realistic or sensible.

However, another possibility is reviving treason laws which no longer seem to exist or have been weakened beyond all recognition.

Another conversation making the rounds among everyday people is reinstating capital punishment.

Enforcing treason laws makes the most sense. However, it is unlikely that our politicians would have the guts to do that.

 

 

The time is coming when recreational drugs will be seen as more acceptable than tobacco or alcohol.

Ironically, this includes cannabis, most often smoked and leaving similar deposits to tobacco in the lungs. Yet, that’s okay — especially in California — when having a quiet cigarette is not.

Young people will increasingly pick up on messages they receive from neighbours, fellow students and media that drugs are less toxic and fatal than cigs and a pint.

The UK

In Britain, Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London has been writing books and contributing to The Guardian about the relative safety of controlled substances. He was, under the previous Labour government, chair of the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs until the then-Health Secretary Alun Johnson sacked him for his views.

Nonetheless, in the middle of the last decade, Nutt’s views — critical of tobacco and drink — made mainstream media. A morning panel news show, The Wright Stuff (Channel 5), began picking up on the professor’s ‘fags [cigarettes] and booze bad, drugs okay’ theme, quite irresponsible at a time when small children are running around the house. The show’s host, Matthew Wright, often went on hateful verbal tirades against smokers to such an extent that, in time, I stopped tuning in on my days off.

A youth culture site, VICE United Kingdom (a sister site of VICE in the US), says that drugs attract a ‘so what?’ response. Kevin Holmes researched the topic earlier this year and wrote:

After the backlash against Thatcherism died away, we settled down to the comfy slippers of consumerism and our drug taking mirrored that. It was no longer a tool for stimulating change or kicking against the establishment, instead drugs, like everything else, simply became another product to be consumed.

That’s also down to the general complacency surrounding drug use. No one cares. The 60s and the 80s criminalised us all and now drugs – at least the ones used by the middle classes – have lost their taboo, normalising them.

He then discusses what are likely to be the new trends in drug use. Language alert for those who are concerned about such things, but it’s worth reading his article to find out what is coming next. He also discusses the criminality of those who sell drugs — nowadays likely to be members of an organised crime gang.

Bottom line — what we are seeing, and not just in Britain, is the normalisation of drug use and the denormalisation of legal products such as tobacco and alcohol.

A survey published in July 2013 shows that drink, cigarette smoking and drug use have fallen in the UK among young people. Or has it? The Telegraph reports:

The survey also revealed a wide variation in the behaviour of children across the country, with just over half of pupils in the North East having drunk alcohol compared with less than a third in London.

The North East also had the highest proportion of smokers, with 30 per cent of pupils having tried cigarettes in contrast to 22 per cent in London, and the East and West Midlands.

But drug use was more common in the south, with 20 per cent of children in London admitting to having used drugs compared with a low of 15 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber and the North West.

I’m not so sure this is such a great result. To me, it seems as if young people living in or near London are more likely to take drugs than smoke cigarettes or drink. That is a trend that could spread northwards in time. Time will tell.

In closing, a personal anecdote: I knew a skunk addict, now clean. He had a lovely wife but they were divorced, partly because of his drug use. She couldn’t understand what was wrong with a glass or two of wine in the evenings; he preferred his skunk which transformed his genial nature into an aggressive one. It’s interesting that he was able to turn his conservative parents against her. Now all three say, ‘Oh, she preferred being with her drinking friends.’ It took a while for this man to straighten his life around post-skunk. Unfortunately, he is still very edgy and it is hard to hold a conversation with him. He is hardly a positive example of what happens when a person smokes skunk — which now overshadows the traditional cannabis of the 1960s and 1970s — and, as such, turned me against drug legalisation. Give me a cigarette and a glass of wine any evening.

Australia

In 2010, the Australian government voted to ban tobacco from public view. Since then, they have also adopted plain packets, believing that cigarette packets entice kids to smoke. A fallacious argument when one considers that drugs universally come in plain packaging.

Freedom2Choose excerpted an article from the Canberra Times, which says that although tobacco products are now shrouded in olive drab packets and kept behind shutters:

But while tobacco is banned from display, equipment used to consume illegal drugs such as cannabis, methamphetamine and cocaine can be displayed at shopping centres throughout the ACT.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said there are no plans to ban the display of drug paraphernalia in the ACT.

“The Government is not currently considering a ban on the display of such drug smoking paraphernalia,” a spokesman for the minister said.

Amazingly, you can go to the mall and see all manner of paraphernalia for use with illicit drugs, but you cannot see the legal product — tobacco — on display.

What message does that communicate to young people? That mind-altering drugs are preferable to tobacco.

Again, we see the denormalisation of a legal product which does not rewire the brain in favour of all manner of illicit substances which have a deleterious effect on human behaviour.

The United States

A survey published in 2012 shows that illicit drug use is beginning to climb among adolescents.

Medical Daily reported:

American teens are not only smoking less but are drinking less than their European counterparts. That’s not to say American teens are angels as they, on average, use more illicit drugs than European teens.

NewsTimes.com dug a bit deeper to explore the reality of American schools and students’ perceptions of drugs. Cannabis is becoming more acceptable:

… in 2012, 61 percent of public high school students said drugs were at school compared to 54 percent in private schools.

“It’s not the schools’ fault that kids are doing drugs, but that’s where access is,” Jorgensen said. “This is a culture problem. They think it’s all right. Teenagers are concrete and decriminalizing marijuana makes them think it’s legal.”

Jorgensen has been in practice for 27 years, and said once it was the troubled teens with psychiatric problems who used drugs but now use is ubiquitous.

Research shows that more young people smoke marijuana than cigarettes these days, she said, and since June, when marijuana was decriminalized for medical use, she’s had young clients come in shocked they’d been arrested.

“More teens don’t feel any fear about trying drugs,” she said.

So, drugs are widely available at both state and private schools. More students think that cannabis is legal. More students — even those who aren’t ‘troubled’ — smoke cannabis than cigarettes.

Once again, we see the denormalisation of tobacco — legal — in favour of mind-altering substances such as cannabis.

Encouraging young people to experiment and regularly take drugs is not helped by statements such as this which appeared on Answers.com, excerpted below. The question is, ‘What is worse, drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs?’

Now Meth is claimed to be the worlds most dangerous drugs often. Meth is a very ‘ugly’ drug. It makes people’s teeth rot out (this is due mostly bruxism and dry mouth caused by the drug, but is actually preventable i the right precautions are taken when using the drug) and does damage to skin and hair, however it doesn’t do severe organ damage(except to your brain, which is does damage to your pleasure centers but not much else). So while meth may seem like a really terrible drug it’s mostly just ‘surface’ damage. The meth’d out rages you see people go through really aren’t any worse than a drunken rampage if you think about it either.

Now Alcohol is probably the worst drug in existence, period. But there’s a few things that keep it from appearing so. Social acceptability is one. It’s clean, it’s not cut with poisonous chemicals like illegal drugs. It’s consumed in a manor [sic] where it get’s into your body slowly …

To say that meth is no worse, and possibly better than alcohol, is irresponsible. One wonders how many young people are getting this message from their classmates or some stranger outside the school gates?

If you want to see — and show children — the dangers of meth, have a look at these photos from CBS News. The preface says:

Methamphetamine is an illegal drug that acts as a central nervous system stimulant. Not only is the drug highly addictive, people quickly build a tolerance to it, leading them to use more and more of the substance.

Side effects of using meth include paranoia, hallucinations and repetitive behavior, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. People can also have delusions of parasites or insects crawling under the skin which leads them to scratch themselves. Long-term use of meth, high dosages, or both can cause psychosis and paranoia. In some cases, it can even lead to stroke and death.

And this is preferable to tobacco or alcohol?

Friday’s post featured excerpts from Invisible Serfs Collar, authored by an attorney named Robin who is busy exploring the education establishment in the Anglo-Saxon world with a particular concentration on the United States.

The education programmes Robin explores are designed to help the United Nations implement their desired inculcation of young people in the West, no doubt for a successful implementation of Agenda 21.

Although this education system appears to be new, it goes back in America to John Dewey, the developer of the Dewey Decimal System used in libraries. Dewey also had socialist ideas about the role of education which he took from Prussian schools in the 19th century. However, that is another topic for another post.

Although our grandparents and great-grandparents learned much more than most of us have since the Second World War, there is still some way to go before education becomes fully dumbed down and completely values-based in order to enable a new collectivist society.

When a parent hears the terms outcome-based, Common Core, digital-based learning, Cambridge Education, Amplify and so on — all these have their part to play in helping to achieve UNESCO’s aims for the 21st century.

Robin gives us a bit of modern history regarding the education system in the United States (emphases mine):

UNESCO really does now seem to serve as the repository for schemes in the West against capitalism, individualism, and rational, logical, academic knowledge. But during the Cold War, much of that same aim came from the NEA, especially its ASCD subsidiary. In March 1978, Educational Leadership published a special issue called “Education of Judgment and Action: Personal and Civic.” It appears to be the launch of the formal push to make Values Education an integral part of US education going forward. The listed rationale was:

“the cultivation of decision making particularly as it relates to political virtues that are appropriate to constitutional self-government and that are required to achieve a society that stands for justice, equality, and freedom in the modern world.”

And that’s how the War commenced to permanently change the behavior of future voters via the schools by changing the underlying Values. To cultivate that herd instinct that can cause any nation so much grief. And if you actually read the 1978 essay “The Status of Education of Judgment” by … John R Meyer, you would learn that the value of freedom to be fostered is not the traditional American belief that it is a natural right existing prior to any compact with government. No, the essay rejects that definition of Freedom in favor of the John Dewey definition then being pushed hard again (1977) by Columbia Teachers College.

“Freedom is a social benefit conferred by the collective intelligence of society.”

‘Gosh,’ you say, ‘that could mean anything.’ Indeed. That is the point. This is part of the reason why the TEA Party, fellow conservatives and libertarians receive so much opprobrium from the Left, especially adults under the age of 30.

All this can be traced back to the Soviets, including sustainability and Gaia, as Robin points out:

The government power to tax and coerce and reward cronies with special benefits has always been a danger to the average person. And really that’s all the socio-cultural perspective and the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth really are when you boil them down to their essence. They are power grabs. Schemes to put the average person in an assigned place, dictate their permitted behavior, and gain financial benefits from that ability to assign and dictate.

That was what the Soviet nomenklatura wanted from socio-cultural psychological research into creating the perfect new citizen. It appears to be what the bureaucrats now have in mind for Common Core when they target the human personality in the classroom and proclaim it to be “malleable” and capable of change. Yes they did say that and yes I made copies.

In fact the updated version of the Soviet socio-cultural perspective is called the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory. It was created in 1979 to target social programs and practices in Western countries. I became familiar with it because it is the learning theory used to justify the Transformational Outcomes Based Education practices in Australia and New Zealand … BEST is all about the process of interactions among people as the measure of learning. Here’s a brief link to an explanation and graphic showing why it is such a perfect theory and education model for government bureaucrats wanting to restructure an economy around sustainability. http://virtual.yosemite.cc.ca.us/childdevelopment/Cheryl/Sp10/EcologicalHandout.pdf

As you can see it’s all encompassing: mind, people, climate, community, Planet Earth. And it is an honest theory. It does not pretend to be factually true. It acknowledges it was created to justify desired political policies. Except many of us do not desire them. Certainly not in our schools. Using our children as social guinea pigs.

I am going to close with an explanation for all this maneuvering that is tucked into that Good Work book we talked about in the previous post. It develops the idea of memes“units of information that, once mastered, condition–indeed constitute!–the way we think and that can be passed along from person to person.” The book then goes on to say in that chapter on reshaping minds that “memes can then be mobilized to favor, annihilate, or refashion genes.”

That’s the aspiration. Written by prominent professors whose work has been pushed and adopted all over the West through education “reforms.” The definition of Global Competence comes from this group. This is what transformational education change is all about. It turns out the Common Core to be accessed is deeply embedded.

In another post, Robin outlines the core values schoolchildren are being forced to adopt. These come from CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. SEL stands for the last three words:

I am going to give CASEL’s descriptions verbatim but before I do that, please remember that this will be in elementary school classrooms where we refuse to teach reading phonetically because that would introduce students to an abstract symbol system and thus nurture abstract thought. I have seen the Common Core literacy progressions and they amount to doling out the words and concepts students are to be allowed to encounter and become familiar with. Years to learn words that most kids could be ready for by second grade if taught properly. And I am not guessing on the reasons either even if the classroom teacher has no idea. Finally, Common Core distinguishes between oral and print and formal and informal in a way that appears tragic. And I really was not happy to read this week that those distinctions tracked back to Mikhail Bakhtin and his war against individualism. So here, please appreciate the planned manipulation already in place:

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

Whatever you expect from your area schools or need in future employees, Race to the Top and Common Core are premised upon the classroom being accessible to ALL students. Repeated references are made to a levelling purpose for public education. I have seen what the accreditors envision and it fits with those Five SEL Competencies and virtually no transmission of knowledge beyond basic, politically useful concepts.

The systems theorists have plans for radical transformation … As a result their goal of education in the 21st century is an “individually and socially competent citizen.” Not much knowledge there, but remember these same schemers plan to redesign the economy. To fit the education qualifications they are willing to provide.

You can read about the late Mikhail Bakhtin here; it seems that details of his life and work, some of which he promoted himself, turned out to be false.

One of Robin’s commenters adds that, as well as values, all races must now be disciplined in equal measure. That doesn’t mean a uniform punishment for an infraction, but a race-based quota system of punished students. This is to move black students away from being statistically the most frequent offenders in schools. Therefore, trumped-up accusations and sanctions against other races, whether students are guilty or not, will be instituted:

“What this means is that whites and Asians will get suspended for things that blacks don’t get suspended for,” because school officials will try to level punishments despite groups’ different infraction rates, predicted Hans Bader, a counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Bader is a former official in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, and has sued and represented school districts and colleges in civil-rights cases …

The [Maryland] state’s board of education established a policy demanding that each racial or ethnic group receive roughly proportional level of school penalties, regardless of the behavior by members of each group.

Chilling.

In addition to all this — and every bit as bad as the cessation of phonics-based teaching — is the withdrawal of written work. Robin notes that digital tools are also intended to substitute for part of the child’s brain:

Symbolic cultural tools identified by Soviet psychologists Vygotsky and Luria as strengthening individual mental capacity like written language must be weakened. Tools with the innate capacity, like the computer, to weaken mental function by becoming a substitute for it, must be pushed. It is desired cultural evolution where we are under attack to STOP “our nature-transcendent innovation as a species” … Here’s the political vision being pushed by our ed schools and the accreditation agencies all over the world. It is the essence of what CCSSI is seeking and why Arne Duncan wants all curriculum to be digitized by 2017 at the latest. 

All of this partly explains why many conservatives lament the lack of thought processes on the part of young leftists. We stand aghast at their practical and factual ignorance.  This is the reason why. They do not know their history. They have difficulty writing a sentence, let alone an informed argument.  They can only attack their opponent using the most vicious rhetoric and vocabulary.

If today’s Left reminds you of Bolsheviks, this is why.

In closing, I do not know Robin of Invisible Serfs Collar, however, s/he invites concerned parents and guardians to write in with any questions and concerns they might have about education today:

If your school or district is already there, please comment or drop me a line. I will help you get more info to try to prevent your child from being a victim of utopian newmindedness.

Robin’s enquiry page is here.

My thanks to reader Magnetic01 who sent me a link last week about Tobacco Control’s plans for Singapore.

The March 2012 article from Tobacco-free Singapore concerns what seems to be an Asia-Pacific proposal for the moment:

The proposal to create a tobacco-free generation, by denying access to tobacco to those born from 2000 onwards, received strong support when it was presented at a meeting of the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network (HRTCN) as part of the pre-conference activities associated with the World Conference on Tobacco Or Health (WCTOH) taking place here in Singapore.

It also gave me this week’s names to follow up on in Tobacco Control. Some I have researched. Others are connected with those who are mentioned in the Singaporean article.

Interestingly, the same news about banning tobacco to those born in 2000 and after later appeared in July 2012 in an Australian newspaper The Age. (H/T: Angry Exile at Orphans of Liberty.) In the article, Cameron Nolan, the winner of the 2012 Australian Fabians Young Writers Competition, proposes the same for Australia. (I have purposely underscored one important word in the preceding sentence.) However, from this, we can see that Nolan’s idea is not an original one.

Professor Ruth Malone is one of the people mentioned in the Tobacco-free Singapore article. Dr Malone works with a lady named Lisa Bero at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where Tobacco Control’s Stanton Glantz also works.

Lisa Bero

In addition to Malone’s and Glantz’s, Bero’s name will be one to watch out for as we move forward in the war against personal choice.

A fulsome article by David Holmes dated May 19, 2012, in The Lancet, introduces us to Bero (emphases mine):

Ruth Malone, one of Bero’s colleagues at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and Editor of Tobacco Control, describes Bero as a “real pioneer in terms of studying the things that influence science outside the ‘science’ itself, and particularly the role of industry in shaping it”. But Bero’s exploration of the seamier side of science has attracted some unwelcome attention. “A few death threat letters from individuals who were smokers or maybe libertarians”, Bero recalls, “to stop me interfering with people’s lives. I don’t really take these seriously”. Thankfully her University does, as do the police, who once carted off a package that turned out to be from a PhD student in South Africa who sent Bero a homemade device for delivering inhaled medicines. Cue Bero’s raucous laughter.

Since completing her Pew Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF in 1990 Bero has been a constant thorn in the side of tobacco companies, most recently in a review with Malone which suggests that measures to “denormalise” the tobacco industry, such as advertising bans and plain packaging, are an effective way to control tobacco use. But her eclectic research interests also extend to examining the influence of corporate sponsorship and researcher conflicts of interest on efficacy and adverse event data from drug trials. The goal of all this investigation of bias “is to design effective ways to facilitate the translation of the best available research into policy”.

As a member of the Cochrane Collaboration, Bero takes a keen interest in how meta-analyses are conducted and influenced …

Originally hailing from New Orleans, Bero’s laid back manner belies the rigour and the passion with which she deals with her work. From the very start of her career she has specialised in taking the path of most resistance. Having quit after 1 year of graduate school to go backpacking with her future husband, Bero went back to finish a PhD in pharmacology in 1987, and had worked for only a year on a National Institute on Drug Abuse postdoc on the molecular basis of opiate addiction when she decided to transfer to the Pew programme to follow her passion for health policy. Some colleagues counselled Bero against “throwing away her promising career”, but in the end she became the first ever basic scientist to get in the programme, “and that really just changed my life”, she says …

“I’ve been actively discouraged from doing what I do, and I’ve had people who are my peers who say they would never do what I do because they would be afraid for their career advancement”, says Bero. This is one reason why she is so devoted to mentoring junior researchers, especially when they “go against the grain”. For Bero, the work trumps ambition every time. “It hasn’t made me popular, but I don’t really want to be popular. I think it has some impact, and if I’m not getting any response then well, jeez, nobody noticed what I’m doing”. Thankfully, Bero is impossible to ignore.

Fret not, Lisa, we’ll be keeping an eye out for you in future Tobacco Control news.

The Cochrane Collaboration

As stated above, Bero is a member of The Cochrane Collaboration:

…  an international network of more than 28,000 dedicated people from over 100 countries. We work together to help healthcare providers, policy-makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care, by preparing, updating, and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane Reviews – over 5,000 so far, published online in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, part of The Cochrane Library. We also prepare the largest collection of records of randomised controlled trials in the world, called CENTRAL, published as part of The Cochrane Library.

Our work is internationally recognised as the benchmark for high quality information about the effectiveness of health care.

The Collaboration believes that effective health care is created through equal partnerships between researcher, provider, practitioner and patient

The Cochrane Collaboration’s contributors are a mix of volunteers and paid staff who are affiliated to the organisation through Cochrane entities: healthcare subject-related review groups, thematic networks – called ‘fields’ -, groups concerned with the methodology of systematic reviews, and regional centres. 

Many are world leaders in their field of medicine, health policy, research methodology or consumer advocacy, and our entities are situated in some of the world’s finest academic and medical institutions.

There is no one place or office that is ‘The Cochrane Collaboration’. Our contributors and entities are based all around the world and the majority of our work is carried out online …

The Cochrane Collaboration is named after Archie Cochrane (1909-1988), a British epidemiologist, who advocated the use of randomised controlled trials as a means of reliably informing healthcare practice. We are an independent, not-for-profit organisation, funded by a variety of sources including governments, universities, hospital trusts, charities and personal donations.

Their headquarters and Tobacco Addiction Group are based in Oxford. The Cochrane Collaboration issues their Chris Silagy Award annually for outstanding work in a particular field. In 2009, the award went to an English Lit major, Kate Cahill (BA), a member of the Tobacco Addiction Group, who –much like Stanton Glantz transferring mysteriously from Engineering and Applied Mechanics to Cardiology within two yearsmade the move from a publishing career to the University of Oxford’s Department of Primary Health Care Services as a data manager and clinical trials administrator.

Where is the transparency here? How do these people in completely unrelated fields move into such prominent positions in Tobacco Control — under the guise of ‘health’ — to denormalise smokers? And what is an English major doing campaigning against smoking, when some of the world’s best writers partook of the plant in creating their best work?

Essentially, we taxpayers fund Cochrane’s work, smokers even more so. This international list of contributors shows that the majority are public or state-operated institutions.

The Cochrane Collaboration attempts to address a myriad of health-related issues, some more useful than others. They are not solely about Tobacco Control, although they make it clear that they intend to influence health policy around the world through their various entities.

It will be interesting to see what we hear from the Cochrane Collaboration going forward, especially with regard to lifestyle choices.

Archie Cochrane, by the way, was a Scot who was a member of the British Battalion of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Hmm. ‘Nuff said.

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