TBR News October 16, 2017

Oct 16 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., October 16, 2017:” “Do people ever wonder…..

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don’t you ever see the headline “Psychic Wins Lottery”?

Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do “practice”?

Why is it that to stop Windows 98, you have to click on “Start”?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?

Why didn’t Noah swat those 2 mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?”


Table of Contents

  • Here’s What Concerns the General in Charge of Recruiting America’s Future Army
  • Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck, 88, on trial again for denying Nazi atrocities
  • Official Record of all Prisoners in Auschwitz Concentration Camp from May of 1940 through December of 1944.
  • Wi-fi security flaw ‘puts devices at risk of hacks’
  • Where’d you get those genes? The answer may shock you
  • Approach to Iran exposes growing irritation between U.S. and allies
  • Inside the sprawling, controversial $500m Museum of the Bible
  • What are the End Days? A study in deception


Here’s What Concerns the General in Charge of Recruiting America’s Future Army

October 12, 2017

by Ben Watson

Defense One

President Trump’s Army is trying to recruit 80,000 new soldiers, something that hasn’t happened this century without lowering the bar for entry.

America’s Army recruiters managed a historic feat in the fiscal year that just ended: finding an extra 6,000 troops to add after the order came down in January. But 2018 will be even tougher for Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow and the soldiers of the U.S. Army’s Recruiting Command.

The service is expanding, thanks to the Obama administration’s decision to recruit an additional 68,500 troops — raising the total, with separation and retirements, from 460,000 to 476,000. That also means Snow and his recruiters must convince some 80,000 young people to enlist this fiscal year.

The post-9/11 Army has done it before — most recently to feed the Afghanistan surge of 2010 — but not without lowering traditional bars for entry. For example, allowing the recruitment of prospects with minor drug offenses, certain medical conditions, criminal records, or too-low scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

The new task is is much larger than the last, said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow of the U.S. Army’s Recruiting Command, in an interview with Defense One. But it’s not the only thing he is determined to see happen in the year ahead.

Here’s a transcript of the discussion, edited for length:

Defense One: Are we on a surge-like course?

Snow: Right now, the guidance from the leadership is very clear. The mission is: going higher on both Regular Army and Army Reserve. Regular Army mission, it’s going from 68,500 to 80,000. In the case of the Army Reserve, it’s going from 14,400 to 15,600. The fact is we’re increasing force levels in Iraq, increasing force levels in Afghanistan. And oh, by the way, we’ve got soldiers deployed in some 70 countries around the world.

But the leadership has said this: You will meet the Department of Defense benchmarks. So we’ve got our work cut out for us in 2018. The Army has not accessed 80,000 new recruits in the last 20 years without violating Department of Defense quality benchmarks.

Defense One: The biggest need?

Snow: Right now, cyber is an area that we’re going with. So I will tell you that is a need. Military intelligence is a need. There’s some of our specialties — we say STEM-focused [that is, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math], or STEM-aligned, if you will — that are just tough.

Defense One: Only three in 10 Americans qualify for the Army?

Snow: That’s held fairly consistent for many years. In a perfect world, would it be nice if that were four in 10 instead? Sure, but I have to tell you, although I like that to change, that’s not what concerns me right now as the guy leading the recruitment effort. The bigger concern for me is: I don’t think the youth of today are being afforded the opportunity to make an informed decision about serving.

Defense One: So what are America’s youth not getting right about the military?

Snow: I want them to understand that there are some pieces of information that are not accurate. So right now, unfortunately, the majority of youth that are aware of the four services think that if they join the Army, they’re likely to be either physically or mentally harmed. When in fact, the reality is that 10 to 15 percent of those that are actively involved in direct or indirect combat. So, you know, I want to counter this notion. By our very nature, our mission is to fight and win our nation’s wars. I don’t ever want to make light of that. But the reality is not everybody that’s coming into the Army is going to get handed an M4 and, you know, find himself in the middle of the desert.

I get the opportunity to interact with a lot of youth. And generally, I’m impressed. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. I think serving in the Army is something bigger than themselves. I do think we are a force for good. I do think we’re helping protect, you know, and safeguard the American way of life. But I believe it also can give them a comparative advantage competing for jobs when the unemployment is like right now, you know, less than four-and-a-half percent.

Defense One: Why does more than half of the Army come from just seven states — California, Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina?

Snow: I think it’s this: It’s a little like you would experience in Afghanistan. People that don’t know you initially are hesitant to be around you. So my experience in Iraq, your experience in Afghanistan — you know there’s a healthy distrust of Americans in Afghanistan, there’s a healthy distrust of Americans until they get to know you. We have the same dynamic in the United States, unfortunately.

Most of our posts, camps and stations happen to be in the southern part of the United States. So you take Fort Bragg, you take California, and you kind of draw a happy face and you touch many of the states that we are talking about. It just so happens, that’s where the vast majority of the American public has the most engagement with the Army. And, oh, by the way, the other services. So to me, it’s no surprise that the more contact you have with somebody in uniform, it’s going to cause you to look at the military differently. And that’s one of the things that we talk about.

So you could make the case that, “Why don’t you weight your efforts in those states?” But the reality is that we want to represent the United States, so we have made a conscious decision to keep recruiters in all 50 states, whether it’s urban or rural, we want to draw from all 50 states.

Defense One: What would you like to see change in the months ahead?

Snow: All of the states and their associated educational programs, if they’re getting federal dollars, then we must have access to students consistent to colleges that are competing for them to come into post-secondary school. Increasingly, what I’m finding is that although we have access that meets the letter of the law — you know, I can have a recruiter come into a school that could set up a table — it’s not really the access that allows that individual to make an informed decision about the military. So I’d like to see that change.

There are some states that are taking that one where they’re crafting legislation. A good example is New Jersey. They’ve now created a Military Opportunities Day, and they’ve given each of the services an opportunity to come in, put their seniors in a room, and just talk to them about the opportunities to serve in the military. And I’m encouraged. It’s too early to tell: is this really having an impact on recruiting? But what’s encouraging to me is the feedback from my recruiters: a lot more young men and women are asking questions. And that’s what I want them to do. You know, this has got to be a dialogue.

Defense One: Are tattoos the disqualifier they once briefly were?

Snow: Absolutely not, provided it’s above the wrist bone, below the collar. And quite frankly, in those cases where an individual really wants to serve, there is a waiver process.

In fact, probably the toughest letter I have written in this command was for a Vietnam veteran that brought his grandson in because his grandson wanted to become a pilot in the Army. But that particular grandfather criticized the appearance of one of our recruiters that had tattoos. It just so happened that recruiter happened to be one of the best recruiters in that company and battalion. And I thought that this is the case where, you know, my parents told me, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ And I actually wrote that individual a letter — a very pointed letter, had my PAO review it — where I thought that he owed that individual an apology. Because all the information he provided him was accurate. He was a very good recruiter, it’s just that he had tattoos. Well, we are a microcosm of society and more individuals are getting tattoos.

Defense One: Any anticipated impact to dropping the MAVNI program, which allowed noncitizens with in-demand skills (foreign language, for example) to join the military with the promise of being put on a fast track to citizenship?

Snow: Just the very topic, you know MAVNI — Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest — is a topic that it’s been in the news a lot. The numbers have evolved but at one point we had about 1,800. In some cases they made the decision to you know kind of vote with their feet. So the numbers are down a little under 1,600 today. Right now the program is suspended. Until we work our way through the screening of those that we have in the delayed entry pool, we’re not going to assess anymore.

I would tell you is the Army has been clear in terms of being supportive of the program. I mean, by its very definition these are critical specialties. But in some cases, when we were trying to grow the Army [in the months after MAVNI was implemented under the Obama administration in 2009], some felt we got away from them being truly vital to the national interest. It means a critical language capability or so forth. It’s suspended right now and we’re working our way through that. I mean this is the Department of Defense is looking at it. There are some increased screening requirements. And the future of the program is you know I would say it’s a little bit up in the air. But some soldiers are still working their way through the vetting process with the hopes of still being able to serve their country.

Defense One: Has technology made your soldiers’ jobs any easier — or more cluttered?

Snow: The majority of my battalions have formed a Virtual Recruiting Team that gets away from what we call telephone prospecting. Home phones are gone.

I’m pretty impressed by the ability of our recruiters to leverage social media like Facebook and other applications to communicate directly to the age demographic that we’re looking for, you know, 17 to 24. And then engage them in a conversation.

And again, I’ve got almost 1,400 recruiter stations, and this past year I got them an iPhone, and so now they’re up on email. We’re creating applications to actually truly leverage that the way it’s designed. I want them to feel empowered. And the reality is there is a generational component about this. I mean, listen, I’m not even great on email. To me the best form of communication is face to face; however, you know however they do their prospecting, I want them to feel empowered. And some of them have really done a great job, what they’re finding is more individuals are making appointments, okay, and it’s causing them to — it can help them work less. And so anything they can do to work smarter, faster and less, I want them to do that.

Defense One: What’s your view on so-called “influencers,” that is close family members or friends who play a part in someone enlisting?

Snow: We from a marketing perspective, some of the commercials that we have are just to educate those influencers about the Army. I travel all across the country, it’s a real privilege. And I have been afforded the opportunity to see different parts of the country and meet a lot of people. And wherever I go, the nice thing is this is not Vietnam. Everybody stops and thanks me for my service. But I gotta tell you, Ben, they don’t really know what that service entails. They just don’t know. Sometimes I’ll get into a conversation which turns into substantive about that service, but it’s hard to do when you’re walking through an airport.

I want influencers to not write if off. I want educators to not write it off. So we do educator tours across this country. We do them locally, we do them regionally, we do them nationally. I’ve now been doing them long enough that I can honestly tell you know what’s going to happen after you bring a group of educators that may not be supporters — because that’s what we target, we target individuals that say, ‘Yeah, I’d be willing to learn more.’ We bring them to a post-campus station and what happens after a couple days is they realize just how dedicated we are to education in the military, and how dedicated we are to leader development.

And those are the educators who go back to their community and we try and leverage a relationship because they can influence other educators, and they can influence parents, you know, just to say, ‘Listen, take a look at it. I mean, you know, don’t write it off.’

Defense One: What are you watching for in what’s left of 2017?

Snow: I think the two biggest things probably are the increase in recruiters and those bonuses as high as $40,000 for critical skill specialties like cyber and intelligence analysts. I mean, money talks. We’re an all-volunteer force. And to give somebody the chance to pay off their debt, kind of give them a fresh start — we think that’s powerful. So we want to continue to do that.

Depending on the appropriations and you know there’s two different proposals: There’s the HASC [House Armed Services Committee] proposal that supports the full desire of the Army leadership to grow the Army by another 17,000 — all three components. There’s a SASC [Senate Armed Services Committee] proposal that is slightly less than that — only 5,000 for the Regular Army and 500 for the Army Reserve and National Guard. So we’re not sure which of these will ultimately be approved or supported; and then of course you gotta have the appropriations that allow you to have that end strength.

I think the leadership made the right call by missioning the force for the higher number, knowing that it’s always easier to reduce the mission; it’s much tougher as you get started to increase the mission. So I’m optimistic but to be clear: it is going to be a challenging mission, no question about it.


Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck, 88, on trial again for denying Nazi atrocities

Serial Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck is standing another trial in Berlin for denying the Nazis’ extermination of Jews. Haverbeck insists the Holocaust is “the biggest and most sustained lie in history.”

October 16, 2017

by Nicole Goebel


The 88-year-old Ursula Haverbeck, who has several previous convictions all related to Holocaust denial, is accused of once again denying the mass murder of millions of Jews during Nazi Germany, this time during an event in Berlin on January 30, 2016.Haverbeck will also stand trial in the western town of Detmold again on November 23. She had appealed two verdicts by a Detmold court, handed down for incitement to hatred after she sent a letter to Detmold’s mayor and various media, in which she refutes the genocide of Jews between 1941 and 1945.Defiant pamphlets

At the Detmold trial earlier this year, she defiantly handed out a pamphlet titled “Only the truth will set you free” to journalists as well as the judge and the prosecutor. In it, she again denies the Nazi atrocities.

Haverbeck and her late husband Werner Georg Haverbeck, who was an active NSDAP member in the run-up to and during World War II, founded a right-wing education center called Collegium Humanum, which has been banned since 2008.

She has written for the right-wing magazine Stimme des Reiches (Voice of the Empire), in which she also denied the existence of the Holocaust.

Haverbeck: ‘Auschwitz lie’

In August, she was sentenced to two years in prison as a consequence. At the trial, she spoke of an “Auschwitz lie,” claiming it was not an extermination camp, but meShe has also filed charges against Germany’s Central Council of Jews for “prosecuting innocent people.”rely a labor camp.

Under German law, incitement to hatred is a criminal offense often applied to individuals who deny or trivialize the Holocaust.

It carries a sentence of between three months to five years in prison. Haverbeck has not served her sentences as she has appealed all of the verdicts, with hearings ongoing



Official Record of all Prisoners in Auschwitz Concentration Camp from May of 1940 through December of 1944.

The Official Records

Prisoner records of Auschwitz camp from May, 1940 through December 1944 from the Glücks complete Concentration Camp microfilm records now located in the Russian Central Archives

(Note: The attached statistical tables concerning prisoners in Auschwitz camp fromits inception to its closing are taken directly from Soviet archival material, now available on microfilm from the former Soviet Central Archives. Also, a good deal of corroborative material from the German Archives concerning the German State Railways has been located in the German State Archives (Bundesarchiv) and utilized.

The railroad was responsible for the transportation of inmates to and from concentration camps in the figures from the Russian files is accurately reflected in the Reichsbahn documents.)


Jewish Prisoners Entering Auschwitz 1941-1944




























































  178   43483   65945

























Total Jews in Auschwitz, 1941-1944: 173,000

Total number of inmates in Auschwitz, 1940-1944



Sources: CSA No. 187603: -Roll 282-1940-41: Frames 001-875-Roll 283-1941-42:Frames 001-872-Roll 284-1942-43: Frames 003-862-Roll 285-1943-44: Frames 019-852.


  • Jewish Typhus Deaths in Auschwitz, 1942-1944
















































































  21561   25372   11307


Total Jewish deaths by typhus in Auschwitz, 1942-1944


Total non-Jewish deaths by typhus in Auschwitz, 1940-1944


Sources: CSA No. 187603:  Roll 283-1941-42:Frames 001-872-Roll 284-1942-43: Frames 003-862-Roll 285-1943-44: Frames 019-852.


  • Transfers of Jews from Auschwitz, 1941-1944








































  747   1292   12106




























Total number of Jews transferred from Auschwitz, 1941-1944



 Sources: CSA No. 187603: 1940-41: Frames 001-875-Roll 283-1941-42:Frames 001-872-Roll 284-1942-43: Frames 003-862-Roll 285-1943-44: Frames 019-852- Roll 286.



  • Administrative Executions at Auschwitz, 1940-1943



Nov 22


40 Poles


Jan 3

July 3

Aug 1

Nov 14

Dec 1

Dec 20


1 Pole

80 Poles

1 Jew

151 Poles

1 Pole

5 Poles

  Poles     40

Jews      0

  Poles     238

Jews      1

1942   1942 cont.  
Jan 24

Apr 3

May 27

May 28

June 4

June 9

June 10

June 11

June 12


June 13

June 15

June 16

June 18

June 19

June 20


June 22

June 23

June 25


1 Russian

11 Poles

150 Poles

1 Jew

3 Jews

3 Jews

13 Poles

3 Jews

60 Poles, 2 Jews

6 Jews

200 Poles

2 Poles, 2 Jews

8 Jews

50 Poles, 4 Jews

4 Czechs

4 Jews

3 Jews

3 Jews


June 26

June 27

June 29

July 1

July 2

July 14

July 16

July 20

July 23

July 29

Aug 11

Aug 13

Aug 18

Aug 21

Sept 5

Sept 25

Nov 9

Nov 14

Nov 17

Dec 4

40 Poles, 1 Jew

4 Jews

2 Poles, 3 Jews

15 Jews

9 Jews

10 Poles, 2 Jews

9 Poles

50 Poles

2 Jews

14 Poles

11 Jews

1 Pole

60 Poles

57 Poles

1 Jew

3 Poles

3 Poles

1 Pole

1 Pole

9 Poles, 2 Russians











Jan 6

Jan 14

Jan 25

Jan 26

Feb 7

Feb 9

Feb 13

Feb 19

Mar 17

Apr 3

Apr 13

May 22

May 31

June 10

June 25

June 28

July 24

July 28

Aug 20

Sept 4

Sept 21

Sept 28

Oct 11

Nov 9


9 Poles, 5 Jews

6 Poles

22 Poles

7 Poles, 2 Jews

2 Poles

2 Poles, 1 Jew

16 Poles

11 Poles, 3 Jews

1 Pole

26 Poles

2 Gypsies

13 Poles, 6 Jews, 5 Gypsies

1 Gypsy

20 Poles

68 Poles

30 Poles

1 Pole

4 Poles

38 Poles

45 Poles, 8 Russians

2 Poles

9 Poles, 6 Jews, 12 Gypsies, 1 Czech

54 Poles

50 Poles


















Feb 1



Mar 24

Sept 15


19 Poles

8 Russians

4 Poles

3 Jews

2 Poles











 Sources: CSA No. 187603: Roll 281-1940: Frames 107-869-Roll 282-1940-41: Frames 001-875-Roll 283-1941-42:Frames 001-872-Roll 284-1942-43: Frames 003-862-Roll 285-1943-44: Frames 019-852- Roll 286.


Total number of inmates executed: 1359    

Total Russians executed: 19

Total Gypsies executed: 19                      

 Total Poles executed: 1208

Total Jews executed: 117                                         

Total Czechs executed: 6


Total of Hungarian Jews sent to Auschwitz, May, 1944-October, 1944


















 Sources: CSA No. 187603: Roll 285-1943-44: Frames 019-852- Roll 286-1945: Frames 001-329.


Total number of Hungarian Jews sent to Auschwitz, May-October, 1944:  23,117


Note: Number of Hungarian Jews claimed sent to Auschwitz, May-October, 1944:

Lucy Dawidowicz. The War Against the Jews, New York, 1975.: 450,000

Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, New York, 1985. 180,000


“Many thinkers and historians have exposed the lies of the Zionists, thus becoming a target of Zionist persecution. Some have been assassinated, some arrested, and some are prevented from making a living. For example, Jewish associations and organizations have filed lawsuits against famous French philosopher Roger Garaudy, who in 1995 published a book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, in which he disproves the myth of the ‘gas chambers’ … British historian David Irving was also sued, while Austrian author Gerd Honsik was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment because he wrote a number of articles denying the existence of the gas chambers in the Nazi detention camps. It is no longer a secret that the Zionists were behind the Nazis’ murder of many Jews, and agreed to it, with the aim of intimidating them and forcing them to immigrate to Palestine. Every time they failed to persuade a group of Jews to immigrate, they unhesitatingly sentenced [them] to death. Afterwards, they would organize great propaganda campaigns to cash in on their blood.


“The Nazis received tremendous financial aid from the Zionist banks and monopolies, and this contributed to their rise to power. In 1929, the Nazis received $10 million from Mendelssohn and Company, the Zionist bank in Amsterdam. In 1931, they received $15 million, and after Hitler rose to power in 1933, they received $126 million…


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi



Wi-fi security flaw ‘puts devices at risk of hacks’

October 16, 2017

by Jane Wakefield, Technology reporter

BBC News

Most wi-fi devices could be at risk

The wi-fi connections of businesses and homes around the world are at risk, according to researchers who have revealed a major flaw dubbed Krack.

It concerns an authentication system which is widely used to secure wireless connections.

Experts said it could leave “the majority” of connections at risk until they are patched.

The researchers added the attack method was “exceptionally devastating” for Android 6.0 or above and Linux.

A Google spokesperson said: “We’re aware of the issue, and we will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks.”

The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (Cert) has issued a warning on the flaw.

“US-Cert has become aware of several key management vulnerabilities in the four-way handshake of wi-fi protected access II (WPA2) security protocol,” it said.

“Most or all correct implementations of the standard will be affected.”

Computer security expert from the University of Surrey Prof Alan Woodward said: “This is a flaw in the standard, so potentially there is a high risk to every single wi-fi connection out there, corporate and domestic.

“The risk will depend on a number of factors including the time it takes to launch an attack and whether you need to be connected to the network to launch one, but the paper suggests that an attack is relatively easy to launch.

“It will leave the majority of wi-fi connections at risk until vendors of routers can issue patches.”

Security handshake

The vulnerability was discovered by researchers led by Mathy Vanhoef, from Belgian university, KU Leuven.

According to his paper, the issue centres around a system of random number generation known as nonce (a number that can only be used once), which can in fact be reused to allow an attacker to enter a network and snoop on the data being sent in it.

“All protected wi-fi networks use the four-way handshake to generate a fresh session key and so far this 14-year-old handshake has remained free from attacks, he writes in the paper describing Krack (key reinstallation attacks).

“Every wi-fi device is vulnerable to some variants of our attacks. Our attack is exceptionally devastating against Android 6.0: it forces the client into using a predictable all-zero encryption key.”

Dr Steven Murdoch from University College, London said there were two mitigating fac

“The attacker has to be physically nearby and if there is encryption on the web browser, it is harder to exploit.”

Krack explained

Prof Alan Woodward explained the issue to the BBC.

When any device uses wi-fi to connect to, say, a router it does what is known as a “handshake”: it goes through a four-step dialogue, whereby the two devices agree a key to use to secure the data being passed (a “session key”).

This attack begins by tricking a victim into reinstalling the live key by replaying a modified version of the original handshake. In doing this a number of important set-up values can be reset which can, for example, render certain elements of the encryption much weaker.

This attacks appears to work on all wi-fis tested – prior to the patches currently being issued.

In some it is possible to decrypt and inject data, enabling an attacker to hijack a connection. In others it is even worse as it is possible to forge a connection, which, as the researchers note, is “catastrophic”.

The people this could be most problematic for are the internet service providers who have millions of routers in customers’ homes. How will they make sure all of them are secure?


Where’d you get those genes? The answer may shock you

October 15, 2017

by Tomasz Pierscionek


Recent developments in the field of biotechnology have shown that mutations can be edited out of the human genome. What are the future implications of this research and will it be used to the benefit or detriment of society?

Last month, UK scientists performed gene-editing experiments for the first time in order to gain a greater understanding of how embryos develop, and it is likely researchers in other countries will soon follow suit.

UK law permits experiments to be performed on embryos that are no more than 14 days old and prohibits their implantation into a human host.

To provide a brief primer, the human genome consists of roughly 30,000 genes, spread across 23 pairs of chromosomes, containing the blueprints for our construction. Each person’s genetic code is unique, accounting for the myriad physical characteristics seen across the human species. Gene mutations can be inherited from a parent or are acquired spontaneously during the frequently occurring process of cell division. Mutation inducing agents, such as radiation, certain chemicals or naturally occurring toxins also cause alterations to the genetic code which may, ultimately, lead to cancer.

Each person’s DNA is estimated to contain around 400 flaws, though these mutations rarely cause us any problems. Some, deemed ‘silent mutations,’ do not bring about any noticeable changes, whereas others give rise to relatively common physical characteristics, such as red hair and blue eyes, which are considered part of natural human variation. However, some gene mutations can result in individuals being born with serious lifelong conditions that diminish their quality of life and/or lead to an early death. Examples of the estimated 10,000 diseases caused by a mutation within a single gene include cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and hemophilia.

The existence, let alone the inner workings, of the human genome long remained a mystery, with science powerless to rectify genetic mutations. Yet recent developments in the field of biotechnology have shown it is possible to edit out errors from the human genome.

A paper published two months ago in the renowned scientific journal Nature explains how scientists were able to remove a mutated paternal copy of the MYBPC3 gene, responsible for causing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, from embryos in a lab and replace the faulty gene with a heathy maternal copy (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause heart failure and sudden cardiac death in young adults). The lab-grown embryos were destroyed after several days, as per protocol.

Although these embryo experiments were merely the first of their kind, they promptly gave birth to both optimism and concern. The possibility of one day being able to correct genetic faults at a stage where a future human is merely a clump of cells in order to prevent a lifelong and debilitating illness sounds miraculous. The additional benefits of a healthier population, reductions in medical costs and increased economic productivity are appreciable. However, the darker implications of this technology cannot be ignored.

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has expressed favorable sentiments towards gene editing research that is limited to human and animal cells in a lab but is against any experiments which lead to pregnancy or have any clinical applications. Kelly Ormond, ASHG member and genetics professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, believes that public funding could promote both openness and oversight as well as prevent such research from spreading to other countries with less stringent regulations. She comments: “I think the main issue is that not every country in the world has the same sorts of regulations or the same ability to enforce regulations.”

The respected UK think-tank, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, published a report last year exploring the ethical issues associated with genome editing. They acknowledged the altruistic applications this science could have in future, including not only fixing embryonic gene mutations but also modifying plant and animal genes to increase food yields, preventing transmission of insect borne diseases by interfering with their DNA and re-introducing extinct species. However, they acknowledge that introducing new or altered genetic material into the ecosystem could have unpredictable and irreversible effects.

The report also highlighted that “There are concerns that the use of genome editing may facilitate the spread of ‘consumer’ or ‘liberal’ eugenics, driven primarily by the choices of parents, which could, in turn, exacerbate divisions or inequalities in society.” Perhaps genetic diseases, currently affecting individuals across all strata of society, may in the future become akin to today’s infectious diseases which predominantly affect people living in lower income countries.

The military applications of gene-altering technology must also be considered. Likewise, in the longer term, such knowledge could be utilized by non-state actors to create new strains of bacteria and virus immune to known antibiotics and vaccines, or bio-weapons that target individuals possessing a certain genetic makeup.

Any new invention or technology eventually proliferates, increasing the risk that it may be acquired by unstable or corrupt nations, perhaps eventually falling into the hands of individuals with dubious motives. Strict security measures, reams of legislation, and international agreements cannot possibly close every loophole or prevent every eventuality. Conversely, one could argue that ensuring gene editing technology, and its associated benefits, remains under the control of a small number of wealthy nations is itself unethical in the longer term.

The aforementioned science it at a very early stage of development and it may take years or decades for its benevolent or malevolent effects to be realized. But would a few decades be long enough for the human race to sufficiently mature and reach a level where it would likely use, rather than abuse, such formidable potential?

At a time when mistrust between nations seems ubiquitous, powerful weapons somehow slip into the hands of terrorist groups in Syria, and attempts at ethnic cleansing take place from eastern Ukraine to Burma, it’s easy to feel despair. However, history shows that in turbulent times humanity can show either its best or its worst side; the future is far from predetermined.


Approach to Iran exposes growing irritation between U.S. and allies

October 14, 2017

by Karen DeYoung

The Washington Post

Just before President Trump announced on Friday that he would decertify the Iran nuclear deal, French President Emmanuel Macron called his counterpart in Tehran to offer reassurance, Macron’s office said in a statement. No matter what Trump said, he told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Europe would continue to back the agreement.

The Europeans were only interested in Iran’s money, Trump scoffed to reporters later that day. Macron, he said, had also called him.

“I said: ‘Look, Emmanuel, they just gave Renault a lot of money,’ ” Trump related, referring to a recent business deal between Iran and the French carmaker. “ ‘Take their money; enjoy yourselves. But we’ll see what happens.’”

What has already happened is a widening chasm of mutual disdain between the United States and its traditional allies. Trump sees them as self-interested freeloaders who must be reminded of U.S. power. They see him as an erratic force who must be managed as he squanders American leadership.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers were largely split in their reactions to Trump’s announcement that he would terminate the nuclear deal if Congress didn’t come up with a way to rewrite it to his liking. Many Republicans congratulated the president and agreed it was time to get tough against Iran.

Many Democrats criticized Trump for what Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said was “clearly a political decision” made to please his base voters “and not a strategic one.” Reed and others warned that Trump’s insistence on changing the original agreement risked conflict and would be opposed by U.S. negotiating partners who had also signed it — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

When Trump invited them to join him in holding Iran’s feet to the fire, Russia and China said there was nothing to talk about. The Europeans, in a joint statement, said they were eager to discuss their shared complaints about Iran — its ballistic missile program and support for terrorism — but that there could be no changes in the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini bordered on scornful, saying in a statement Friday that the JCPOA “is not a domestic issue” and “does not belong to any single country” to demand changes. Trump was powerful, she said, but did not have the power to do that.

But several senior officials from the European signatory countries said privately that there was little to be gained, for now, by shouting their opposition. Instead, their plan is to continue trying to convince U.S. lawmakers that there was much to lose if they take the path Trump has set for Congress.

All refused to speak for quotation out of what they said was worry that they would add fuel to an already smoldering fire. But they uniformly expressed concern about what they described as yet another instance of America walking away from an international commitment.

Last spring, as Trump prepared for his first overseas trip in May, White House aides outlined his game plan to assume the mantle of global primacy.

“One thing he has the ability to do is really bring people together and galvanize people around a common set of goals,” a senior adviser said in describing objectives for the 10-day tour that took Trump to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Rome, Brussels and a G-20 meeting in Sicily.

Rather than a liability, Trump’s “unpredictability . . . is a real asset,” said the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under White House ground rules. The new president, he said, was “sending one big message, which is America is ready to lead in the world again.”

Yet instead of leading, Trump’s “my way or the highway” approach has been a detour from the multilateral road the United States has traveled since World War II. And as Trump has left behind, or threatened to, the premier international agreements of this century, from the Paris climate accord to global trade alliances and now the Iran nuclear deal, he has not had many willing followers.

Among the exceptions, governments in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined Israel in praising what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump’s “courageous” decision on Iran.

Yet even those who have proclaimed him as a leader have sometimes not felt bound by his demands. Early in his administration, Trump gently chastised Israel for its West Bank settlements, saying that they “don’t help the process” and were not “a good thing for peace.” He has remained silent, however, as Netanyahu’s government, including as recently as last week, has approved additional settlements, leading some perplexed Israeli commentators to speculate on whether he made a “secret” deal with Netanyahu.

In May, when the heads of dozens of Muslim-majority countries gathered in Riyadh to listen to him speak about a unified fight against terrorism, Trump claimed credit for a unity agreement on counterterrorism cooperation signed with the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Just days later, the Saudis and Emiratis, joined by fellow GCC member Bahrain and Egypt, broke relations with Qatar, another council member, and closed their air and sea borders to it. While Trump initially supported the action — even as his State and Defense Department secretaries called for it to be reversed — he later changed course.

Appearing last month with the visiting emir of Kuwait, Trump called for the gulf states to patch up their differences and said if the problem wasn’t “quickly” resolved, he would summon regional leaders to the White House and take care of it. Since then, he has said nothing publicly about a presidential intervention.

Trump has claimed massive progress in the U.S. fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq under his leadership. But he was unable to persuade Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, one of America’s closest military and political allies in the region, to call off an independence referendum late last month that has left Iraq in a turmoil the administration has been powerless to resolve.

Similarly in Turkey, where Trump last month said bilateral ties under his administration were “better than ever,” relations now seem to be at a modern all-time low, with tit-for-tat suspension of visa issuance earlier this month.

Rather than “galvanizing” respect and unity, Trump sometimes appears to engender resentment and division. Although NATO members agreed in 2014 to increase their domestic defense spending, Trump’s exhortations and threats to diminish the U.S. presence in the alliance seemed to spur some countries to speed up that process. But his subsequent chest-beating has left many irritated and bitter.

Even in Asia, where he has worked to build personal relationships with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — both of whom he will visit on a lengthy trip next month — Trump can befuddle. Early this month, he undercut Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s efforts to keep open channels of communication with North Korea, telling Tillerson via Twitter to stop “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program. North Korea, he said, had “made fools” of U.S. negotiators in the past.

On Friday, Trump told reporters that “if something can happen where we can negotiate,” with North Korea, “I’m always open to that.”


Inside the sprawling, controversial $500m Museum of the Bible

The museum conceived by the billionaire president of Hobby Lobby and set to open next month has attracted scepticism over its ideological mission

October 16, 2017

by David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

It is a museum of biblical proportions – and it is stirring controversies to match.

Opening next month in Washington, the Museum of the Bible cost half a billion dollars to build, spans 430,000 sq ft over eight floors and claims to be the most hi-tech museum in the world. Reading every placard, seeing every artifact and experiencing every activity would take an estimated 72 hours.

But while it is not the monument to creationism that some liberals feared, the sprawling museum has attracted scepticism over both its ideological mission and the provenance of its collection. It is the brainchild of evangelical Christian Steve Green, the billionaire president of Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain that won a supreme court case allowing companies with religious objections to opt out of contraceptive coverage under Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

Green, who since 2009 has amassed a vast collection of biblical texts and artifacts, is making a big statement with the museum’s location: two blocks south of the National Mall, home to the US Capitol and Smithsonian Institution museums – including the National Museum of Natural History, which has exhibits on dinosaurs and human evolution – and could hardly be closer to the centre of power.

Gaining a sneak preview this week amid workers in hard hats, the Guardian passed through giant bronze “Gutenberg Gates” that framed the entrance with hand-carved letters spelling out a Latin quotation from Genesis (the gates even have their own Twitter account). Inside the main atrium there is the obligatory gift shop, where cuddly animals are already on the shelves – presumably a reference to Noah’s Ark – and a “children’s experience” room where young Samsons can push columns and make them collapse.

Visitors – admission is free, though a donation of $15 is suggested – will each be given a digital guide on which new information is triggered each time they approach a gallery or artifact. High above them in the bright, airy atrium of what used to be a refrigerating warehouse and design centre is a 140ft “digital ceiling” showing biblical images, including church frescos.

Upstairs, there is a floor devoted to the historical and cultural impact of the Bible, including on America, bound to be closely scrutinised for any hints of political bias. Among the Europeans who sailed across the Atlantic, a display panel says, were “many English dissenters seeking religious freedom. Each group brought its own version of the Bible, and some professed intentions to convert Native Americans to Christian beliefs”.

There is a scale remake of the Liberty Bell, which is inscribed with scripture, and an account that many colonists seeking independence from Britain drew inspiration from the Bible, especially Moses, “who led his people out of bondage to a land of liberty”.

With independence and the presidency of George Washington, the tradition of swearing the oath of office on a Bible began. A surge of evangelical arrivals in the late 18th century helped renew devotion to the Bible and ignite a campaign to abolish slavery, the narrative continues. “Southern slaveholders, however – some of them also involved in the revivals – interpreted the Bible as affirming slavery.” Each side in the civil war “embraced the Bible to justify its cause”.

Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt are quoted and Charles Darwin gets a mention. “In 1925, John Scopes, a high school teacher in Tennessee, was charged with violating a state law that prohibited teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution,” an exhibit states, in a reference to the infamous “Monkey Trial”, which, it says, “placed the Bible in the center of an intense national debate between traditional and more progressive interpretations of the Bible and modern science”.

More unexpectedly, a display on the Bible’s influence around the world makes claims for links between science and the Bible and contains statues of Galileo Galilei, whose claim that the earth revolved around the sun was challenged by the church, Isaac Newton, a devoted student of the Bible, and George Washington Carver, who rose from slavery to become a scientist, botanist and inventor and regarded the Bible as a guide to the natural world.

Likely to raise eyebrows, an information panel states: “Are the Bible and science mutually exclusive? There is broad agreement today among historians that modern science owes a great deal to the biblical worldview. The idea that the natural world is orderly springs from the Bible. As the biochemist and Nobel laureate Melvin Calvin said, the conviction that ‘the universe is governed by a single God … seems to be the historical foundation for modern science’.”

A full-size jail cell allows visitors to reflect on the biblical roots of the western concept of justice. A pile of blackened and charred Bibles illustrates how the book has been burned, for example in China’s Cultural Revolution. Various multimedia displays show the influence of the Bible on fashion, films, literature and the visual arts. A room with a giant wraparound screen called “Bible Now” promises “a spectacular live-feed of global data”.

Upstairs, the floorspace is divided roughly proportionately between Old and New Testament. Only the latter was available to view this week, and most striking was “The World of Jesus of Nazareth” – an unapologetically Disney-style walk-through recreation of Nazareth two millennia ago, complete with stone walls, trees (each leaf made by hand), dwellings with period cuisine on dining tables, piles of grapes and baskets full of olives and even a temple. Three actors in period costume will interact with visitors.

The “History of the Bible” title is styled in an Indiana Jones typeface and is expected to house wide-ranging objects including Torah scrolls and 14th-century illuminated manuscripts – but not the Qur’an or Book of Mormon. The museum has a long-term alliance with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

This week’s preview tour also included a ballroom and 472-seat theatre (about to host the musical Amazing Grace), two restaurants named Manna and Milk and Honey, a glass-enclosed top floor with views of the Mall and a rooftop garden devoted to biblical plants. Another attraction will be the amusement park-style “Washington Revelations” ride, which purportedly tricks a person’s mind into thinking they are flying over sites bearing scripture such as the US Capitol, Lincoln Memorial and supreme court.

But preparations have been far from smooth. In July this year, Hobby Lobby agreed to pay a $3m fine and forfeit thousands of smuggled ancient Iraqi artifacts that the US government alleged were intentionally mislabeled. The artifacts – including up to 300 small clay tablets, bearing inscriptions in the cuneiform script – were reportedly destined for the museum. Green admitted that Hobby Lobby “should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled”.

Organisers contend that the museum is non-partisan, non-sectarian and educational rather than evangelical, appealing to people of all faiths or no faith. Cary Summers, its president, said: “We want this museum to be enriching and engaging to all people. To that end, we have tapped many of the world’s leading scholars with expertise across many subjects and faith traditions, including those with Jewish, Protestant and Catholic proficiency and perspectives, to help us craft the storylines and narrative themes of this museum.”

But that is not how it began. According to media reports, its first nonprofit filing in 2010 declared that its mission was “to bring to life the living word of God, to tell its compelling story of preservation, and to inspire confidence in the absolute authority and reliability of the Bible”.

By 2013, this had been watered down to: “We exist to invite all people to engage with the Bible. We invite Biblical exploration through museum exhibits and scholarly pursuits.”

Green, the Washington Post reported, has promoted a public school curriculum based on the Bible as a factual historical text, while Summers consulted for the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which teaches creationism as fact, with exhibits showing dinosaurs and humans living side by side on a 6,000-year-old Earth.

Hobby Lobby calls itself a “biblically founded business” and is closed on Sundays. The Green family has been criticised for objecting to having to provide employees with contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. In 2014 it was granted an exemption to the mandatory contraceptives by the supreme court, a landmark ruling that extended religious rights to some corporations.

Jacques Berlinerblau, a professor of Jewish civilization at Georgetown University in Washington, said Green “has a view of the role of religion in public life. Maybe people should know that before stepping in. The museum has to be very clear about its objectives. I think there’s a lot of misdirection and even duplicity regarding its goals and theological assumptions. There is something at the core of this museum that has to enshrine what evangelical Christians do.”

Berlinerblau, author of The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously, put the museum’s location in the context of the rise of the conservative Christian movement over the past four decades; Vice-President Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, has been invited to the opening ceremony on 17 November. Nine in 10 members of Congress describe themselves as Christians, compared with seven in 10 American adults who say the same, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of congressional data compiled by CQ Roll Call.

“If you are building a $500bn museum close to the most powerful deliberative body in the world, you have to understand the optics. This edifice could represent the coming out, again, of evangelical America. I can assure you the museum is going to become a convening platform for conservative Christian activism.”

Atheists, he added, would find the museum “laughable and deplorable”.

Nick Fish, national programme director of American Atheists, an activist group that promotes the separation of religion from government, said: “With many of these religious ‘museums’, the tendency is to dress up evangelism and dogma with a veneer of academia to lend an undeserved cloak of neutrality.

“I don’t want to prematurely pass judgment on the museum without having seen it, but based on previous statements by the Green family, it seems clear that there will be at least some editorialising in favour of the backers’ religious views, rather than a serious look at the historic accuracy (and lack thereof) of the Bible.”

Casey Brescia, a spokesman for the Secular Coalition for America, added: “Steve Green absolutely has the right to open a Bible museum. That’s of no concern to us. What we would be worried about, as we’ve seen with the Creation Museum in Kentucky, is that he’ll try to get taxpayer money to pay for it.

“By claiming that the museum is intended to ‘educate’ rather than evangelise, it’s possible that Green is hoping the museum will become a field trip destination for public schools. That would be unconstitutional. Green was already fined $3m after he was caught illegally smuggling artifacts into the country for this museum. Hopefully, he learned his lesson.”


What are the End Days? A study in deception

October 16, 2017

by Frederick Norris

‘Armageddon’ is actually purported to be a battle. According to Pentecostal interpretations, the Bible states that Armageddon will be a battle where God finally comes in and takes over the world and rules it the way it should have been ruled all along. After this vaguely-defined battle of Armageddon, Pentecostals firmly believe that there will follow 1000 years of peace and plenty which, according to their lore and legend, will be the sole lot of their sect and no other.

The actual scene of the fictional battle is referred to by Pentecostals as being clearly set forth in Revelation 16:14-16. It is not. The specific citation reads, in full:

  • “14. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
  • “15. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
  • “16. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

This sparse mention of Armageddon has given rise to the elaborate but entirely fictional legend of the Final Battle between the forces of good and evil. There is no mention in Revelations 16: 14-15 whatsoever of Parusia or the second coming of Jesus, the apocryphal Anti-Christ, the Rapture or the many other delightful inventions designed to bolster the Pentecostal elect and daunt their adversaries. These adversaries consist of all other branches of the Christian religion with especial emphasis placed on Jews and Catholics. The Pentecostals also loathe Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, and an endless list of anyone and everyone whose views clash with theirs, such as scientists and any academic who views the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel as anything but tissues of lies.

The Antichrist

The Antichrist is described by Pentecostals as the “son of perdition” and the “beast”!

They claim that this interesting creature will have great charisma and speaking ability, “a mouth speaking great things”.

The Antichrist, they allege, will rise to power on a wave of world euphoria, as he temporarily saves the world from its desperate economic, military & political problems with a brilliant seven year plan for world peace, economic stability and religious freedom.

The Antichrist could well rise out of the current chaos in the former Soviet Union. The prophet Ezekiel names him as the ruler of “Magog”, a name that Biblical scholars agree denotes a country or region of peoples to the north of Israel. Many have interpreted this to mean modern day Russia. It could also be Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, perhaps one of the Baltic States or even the lewd and dissolute Socialist Sweden.

His power base will include the leading nations of Europe, whose leaders, the Bible says, will “give their power & strength unto the beast.”

The Bible even gives some clues about his personal characteristics. The prophet Daniel wrote that the Antichrist “does not regard the desire of women.” This could imply that he is either celibate or a homosexual. Daniel also tells us that he will have a “fierce countenance” or stern look, and will be “more stout than his fellows”–more proud and boastful.

Unfortunately, the so-called Book of Daniel was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, not many decades earlier as its proponents claim, and has been extensively modified by early Christian writers to predict the arrival of their personal Messiah, or Christ, on the Judean scene. The so-called “wonderful” prophetic statements put into the mouth of Daniel are absolutely and wondrously accurate…up to the reign of Nero and then fall as flat as a shaken soufflé afterwards

It is well known that Pentecostals loathe homosexuals, among many other groups not pleasing to them, and would like nothing better than to shove them into a bottomless pit filled with Catholics, rock and roll fans, teenaged mothers, Communists, gun control advocates, Tarot card readers, Christian Scientists, abortionists, Wayne Newton fans, Asians, Jews, African-Americans and Latino Surnamed Hispanics.

The seven year peace-pact (or covenant) that is engineered by the Antichrist is spoken of a number of times in the Bible, and may even have already been signed in secret. The historic peace agreement signed between Israel and the PLO at the White House on September 13, 1993, vividly illustrates how dramatically events in the Middle East are presently moving in this direction eager Pentecostals, awaiting their Celestial Omnibus, will inform anyone who is interested and a greater legion of those who are not.

Under the final terms of the fictional Covenant, Jerusalem will likely be declared an international city to which Judaism, Islam and Christianity will have equal rights. Scripture indicates that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple on Mt. Moriah, where they revive their ancient rituals of animal sacrifice.

According to modern prophecy the Antichrist will not only be a master of political intrigue, but also a military genius. Daniel describes several major wars that he fights during his 7-year reign, apparently against the U.S. and Israel, who will oppose him during the second half of his reign.

For awhile, most of the world is going to think the Antichrist is wonderful, as he will seem to have solved so many of the world’s problems. But, three-and-a-half years into his seven year reign he will break the covenant and invade Israel from the North.

At this time he will make Jerusalem his world capitol and outlaw all religions, except the worship of himself and his image. The Bible, according to the Pentecostals, says that the Antichrist will sit in the Jewish Temple exalting himself as God and demanding to be worshipped. If this passage, and many others of its kind, actually appears in the King James Version of the Bible, no one has ever been able to find it

It is at this time that the Antichrist imposes his infamous “666” one-world credit system.

It must be said that the Antichrist does, in point of fact exist. He can be seen on a daily basis on the walls of the Cathedral at Orvieto, Italy in the marvelous frescos of Lucca Signorelli. He looks somewhat like a Byzantine depiction of Christ with either a vicious wife or inflamed hemorrhoids .

Pentecostals strongly believe that U.S. public schools “departed from the faith” when in 1963 the Bible and prayer were officially banned. Now, Pentecostals believe with horror, thousands of these same schools are teaching credited courses in “the doctrines of devils”–the occult and Satanism.

Even a cursory check of curriculum of a number of American public school districts does not support this claim but then the Pentecostals have stated repeatedly that they represent 45% of all Protestants in America. The actual number, excluding the Baptists, is more like 4%.

What they lack in actual numbers they more than compensate for by their loud and irrational views so that at times it sounds like the roar of a great multitude when in truth, it is only a small dwarf wearing stained underwear and armed with a bullhorn, trumpeting in the underbrush

Frantic Pentecostals estimated that according to their private Census for Christ there are over 200,000 practicing witches in the United States and allege there are literally millions of Americans who dabble in some form of the occult, psychic phenomena, spiritualism, demonology and black magic. Their statistics claim that occult book sales have doubled in the last four years.

What is seen by terrified Pentecostals as The Occult today is no longer the stuff of small underground cults. They believe that many rock videos are an open worship of Satan and hell that comes complete with the symbols, liturgies, and  rituals of Satanism, and the Pentecostals firmly and loudly proclaim to anyone interested in listening, that “millions of young people” have been caught in their evil sway.

Popular music is termed “sounds of horror and torment” that Pentecostals firmly believe is literally “driving young people insane and seducing them into a life of drugs, suicide, perversion and hell.” It is forgotten now but the same thing was once said about ragtime and later, jazz. If this had been true, perhaps the real reason behind the First World War, the 1929 market crash, the rise of Franklin Roosevelt and the lewd hula hoop can be attributed to Scott Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald.

It is also to be noted that the immensely popular Harry Potter series of children’s books are loudly proclaimed as Satanic books designed to lure unsuspecting children into the clutches of the Evil One. Any sane person who has read these delightful fantasy books will certainly not agree with these hysterical strictures. In point of fact, it would be exceedingly difficult to locate any person possessing even a modicum of sanity who would believe any of the weird fulminations of the Pentecostals.

Outraged Pentecostals now firmly state that in the beginning years of the Twenty First Century, “even the most shameless acts of blasphemy and desecration are socially acceptable.”

“Acts of blasphemy and desecration” sound like human sacrifices carried out on nuns at bus stops during the noontime rush hour or lewd acts with crucifixes performed by drug-maddened transvestites on commercial airlines.

In his weird Book of Revelation the lunatic John of Patmos claimed he foresaw that in the last days the world would turn away from God in order to worship and follow Satan.

Such a prophecy would have seemed believable to previous generations, but not so in our more enlightened and secular humanist day. Hard-core Satanism has been called by rabid Pentecostals noise-makers as: “the fastest-growing subculture among America’s teens”, and the revival of witchcraft & the occult is “one of the World’s fastest growing religions!”


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