The Bundy Ranch Showdown: Why It Deserves Your Attention

The Bundy Ranch Showdown: Why It Deserves Your Attention

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Bundy broke the law, but there are bigger issues—like government overreach, militias and racism—at play.

I can imagine how angry I would be if the federal government forced me off land I felt belonged to me. All the more if it was land my father ranched, and his father before him; land I raised my children on; land containing generations of blood, sweat and tears my family had spent maintaining and improving.

Most people would be angry to have that land taken away. And to have it taken away supposedly to protect a tortoise that most city-dwellers will never see or care about once the media cycle has turned; a tortoise that was endangered enough to confiscate my land, but not so endangered that the government allowed construction of a solar power facility nearby; a tortoise for which there is no scientific proof that cattle ranching is incompatible.

For one rancher, it made him angry enough to defy the government—swat team, helicopters, hired guns, snipers and all.

Cliven Bundy doesn’t have to imagine all this; he’s living it. Bundy is the Nevada rancher battling the Federal Bureau of Land Management (blm) to keep his cattle on land his family has grazed since 1877. It is about government overreach and states’ rights—or lack thereof. Is Nevada even really a state if the federal government “owns” 85 percent of the land within Nevada’s border? Bundy asks.

Bundy poses an interesting question: Why should the people of Nevada have less right to their land than those in New York or Illinois? This isn’t about money, he says. It is about who the land belongs to, which in his mind is the state of Nevada, not the feds.

Federal ownership of state land.

Cliven Bundy and his family ranched in Nevada’s Gold Butte for almost 70 years before the blm even existed. The Bundys, like many other ranchers, were induced to settle the area with the promise of free grazing land with no fees or limitations. It was part of the government’s plan to develop the West—and the Bundys did their part. It was a win-win situation.

Then, according to the Bundys, the government changed the terms of the deal.

Bundy says there used to be 51 ranchers in Gold Butte; now he’s wondering, Why am I the last one? His answer: The feds regulated them out of business.

Yet, there are two sides to every story.

The land the Bundys run their cattle on is federally owned. Bundy’s emotional connection to it doesn’t make it his. Two courts rejected Bundy’s claims. The last judge found no merit to his argument that the land in question should really belong to the state and therefore the blm doesn’t have jurisdiction. Bundy reportedly defended himself in court because no lawyer could make that case.

Bundy’s problems started in 1993, after the desert tortoise was put on the endangered species list and the blm ordered Bundy to remove most of his cattle. He refused. The blm responded by levying fines. Bundy then decided to stop paying his grazing permit fees too; saying something to the effect that it didn’t make sense to pay management fees to an agency that was trying to manage him off his land. At that point he gave up his rights, say lawyers, and began stealing from the public. When the federal government later compensated other ranchers in the area for no longer being able to ranch cattle (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases), since Bundy was freeloading and not paying rent like the rest, he got nothing. Serves him right, say critics.

Rancher Cliven Bundy (Getty Images)

But the problem festered. Twenty years of fines added up. The blm says it comes to over $1 million. Bundy hasn’t paid a dime—and says he won’t unless it goes to grazing fees for the state. Meanwhile, his cattle continue to forage on public land for free. Bundy’s detractors say he is nothing but a “welfare king” stealing from the people, no better than any other tax cheat. By the letter of the law, they might be right.

Eventually, environmental groups picked up the Bundy story and forced the blm to take action. A judge ordered Bundy’s cattle rounded up.

And a range war, unlike any other in U.S. history, erupted.

This is when this story changes from one about a stubborn rancher refusing to comply with a law he sees as unjust, to one about an increasingly militarized government, and politicians that selectively enforce the law. It becomes a story about militias and people willing to travel across the country and put their lives on the line to defend a rancher they have never met—and a nation primed to erupt with racial violence.

On March 27, approximately 200 blm employees and contractors swooped into Clark County, Nevada—helicopters, off-road vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft and all. They closed down a whopping 322,000 acres of public land to track down 500 head of trespassing cattle. From then on, these federal bureaucrats were the law in town.

But not everyone agreed that the blm army should be the law in town. People wondered: Why did the blm send an army to confiscate some cows? Why did the rangers need attack dogs? And more importantly, why do unelected, government-appointed bureaucrats have their own private militarized police force that supposedly supersedes the authority of local police? Why didn’t the blm solve this problem through regular law-enforcement channels?

Then the blm began putting up fences delineating “protest zones” and “First Amendment areas” where protesting would be “allowed.” According to the blm, the rest of the 1,200 square miles of public land, including public highways, was now off limits to everyone but government employees and contractors. It even decreed a 30-day no-fly zone, which had the effect of obscuring the cattle roundup, the euthanizing of cattle run to exhaustion, and the destruction of 100-year-old water cisterns and other irrigation infrastructure that would make the land unusable.

That didn’t go over well either.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said the corral-like protest zones were “offensive,” and that they trampled upon “Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution.”

Protesters hang signs on a fence along U.S. Highway 170 on April 10 in Mesquite, Nevada. (Getty Images)

People ignored the First Amendment corrals anyway. Confrontations resulted. Maybe in some cases the blm acted appropriately, but in the age of camera phones, it definitely didn’t make the bureau look good. YouTube videos show blm officers tasering, physically assaulting, pointing guns at and sicking an attack dog on protesters. One 50-year-old woman was football tackled from behind when she refused to move from in front of a truck. Some of the protesters didn’t act so civilly either.

About that time, militia groups from around the country started arriving. Militia members from the Oath Keepers (the organization made up of military and law-enforcement members who pledge allegiance to the Constitution but not to the government), the iii Percent Patriots (which gets its name from the claim that 3 percent of Americans fought in the American Revolution), the Arizona State Militia and several others were present.

Scott Shaw, co-founder of the Oklahoma Volunteer Militia, which boasts 50,000 members, said they were armed with AK-47s, AR-15s, sniper rifles and other military surplus hardware. He told Breitbart News they were “prepared” to use deadly force if necessary.

It’s up to the feds. The ball’s in their court. You can do this legally or if you want to try to do a land grab violently, you can do that. We’re going to resist you.
Scott Shaw, co-founder of the Oklahoma Volunteer Militia
“It’s up to the feds,” said Shaw. “The ball’s in their court. You can do this legally or if you want to try to do a land grab violently, you can do that. We’re going to resist you. …

“If they can do it in Nevada, they can do it in Colorado, Texas. I mean, what’s to stop them from coming to Oklahoma? The only thing to stop them is ‘we the people.’”

As if on cue, stories began popping up about how the blm was also trying to seize 90,000 acres of private land along the Texas-Oklahoma border. And how the blm had once before been found guilty of entering into “a conspiracy, a literal, intentional conspiracy, to deprive [another family] of not only their permit grazing rights, for whatever reason, but also to deprive them of their vested property rights,” as recounted by Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada.

With war set to erupt, finally, the major news outlets were forced to pick up the story. (Up to that point, only alternative media sources like Drudge Report and InfoWars had covered the showdown.) Reuters published pictures of protesters on a bridge overlooking one protest zone. One man in a military-style flak jacket was shown aiming his hunting rifle at what appeared to be blm rangers. Another man was quoted as saying protest organizers were strategizing to put women and children in the front lines in case firing broke out. Huffington Post reported that there were 1,000 militia members on site.

As the number of protesters grew, tension escalated and blm officers eventually threatened to open fire on the demonstrators, many of whom were armed and on horseback, six-shooters and all. It looked like something right out of the Wild West.

“It got down to a point where we were either going to get the cattle, or we were going to be the cattle,” said one protester who video-recorded parts of the protest. “It is time for everybody to take back their freedom.”

Then on April 12, the blm suddenly backed down.

The blm announced that it would give in to Bundy’s demands due to safety concerns. Cliven Bundy would be allowed to let his cattle graze on public land, and his cows would be released.

For Bundy, though, that wasn’t enough.

He gave Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie an ultimatum: Disarm all federal officers on the land within one hour, or we are going to get my cattle. When that didn’t happen, Bundy got on the bullhorn, and his supporters mounted up and headed for the stockades—where federal officers were waiting in riot gear.

With stress levels rising high, federal agents threatened to open fire again.

Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and the federal agents backed down. Violence was averted and Bundy got some of his cattle back.

Bundy supporters called it a huge victory for freedom.

Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists.
Nevada Sen. Harry Reid

Not everyone saw it as a victory for America though. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid compared Bundy supporters to home-grown terrorists like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

“Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” he said. “I repeat: What went on up there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid’s comments went viral. It became a rallying cry for the right. Protesters mused: So we are domestic terrorists for peacefully protesting a heavy-handed government that is taking away constitutional freedoms—but when Maj. Nidal Hasan actually murdered 13 people on an army base, that was just “workplace violence”? To many protesters, Reid’s comments seemed to confirm their worst suspicions.

Reid continued, “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it.”

“It’s not over,” he said.

Ironically, lawlessness is exactly what the Bundy supporters accuse the government of—despite the fact that Bundy himself is clearly breaking the law. As one commentator wrote:

Is he a union that can ask the Obama administration for a waiver for another year? Is he a low-income person who can ask that the mandate (to remove his cows) be delayed another year? Is he from another country and ask not to be deported based on his particular sad story?Because this administration has made a mockery of the law through selective enforcement of it, it’s hard to see why it’s necessary to remove some cows, and destroy this family’s livelihood, but it’s not necessary to do the rest of those things.We are in a dangerous place with this administration’s selective enforcement. It doesn’t take much for people to ask, “Why the law for me, but not for thee?”

Reid himself is accused of stretching the law toward his own ends. Just last year he rammed through changes in senate filibustering rules and decades of precedent so that his party could confirm controversial political appointees without bipartisan support.

America is in a very dangerous and volatile place.

And politicians, safely locked away in their expensive city houses, don’t have a clue what is happening. They don’t see how their action, and the public’s perception of it, is leading people to revolt.

Bundy has repeatedly told supporters to stand up to a federal government that was selectively enforcing laws and violating their constitutional rights.

“I believe this is a sovereign state of Nevada,” Bundy said. “And I abide by all Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”

Such radical sentiments are held by more than one militia group. And there are a lot of militia groups—with members totaling 270,000 to 680,000 people, depending on your definition of militia. Probably millions more people sympathize with them.

How many are willing to go to war for their beliefs? Die for them?

Never before in modern times have different militia groups banded together to offer armed resistance against the government like they did at the Bundy ranch, militia experts told Reuters. You have to go back to the Civil War days.

It was a modern first, but you can be sure it won’t be the last.

Few things get people riled up more than property rights, land and who owns it. Throw in a government viewed as intrusive and unjust—one that only selectively enforces laws that benefit the political powers that be—and hundreds of people, militia and non-militia, were willing to travel across the country to defend a little-known rancher they had never met.

Toss in racial tension; heavily armed militias, some with radical views; a distrusted, militarized government; plus a ratings-hungry media—and America faces a future of friction and flame.

The Bundy Ranch episode ended peacefully—but will the next one?

Is chaos in American cities about to become a common sight? How should you prepare? Read the chapter “Terrorism and Race Riots” from Gerald Flurry’s booklet Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet to understand how the Bible says terrorism and race riots are looming—for America.

The U.S. Way or the Apartheid Highway

The U.S. Way or the Apartheid Highway

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Threats from the U.S. expose the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Jerusalem.

As time for an extension to Middle East peace talks runs out, the United States is ramping up threats against Israel. In an April 25 closed-door meeting, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Israel was limited to two options: Either establish peace with the Palestinians through a two-state peace process, or become an apartheid state.

Kerry’s comments are not the first time Washington has attacked Israel with thinly veiled threats. On February 1, Israeli politicians accused Kerry of encouraging boycotts against the Jewish state after he made comments on the growing momentum of the delegitimization campaign. Friday’s comments contained the same message for Israel.

Apartheid is most often used in reference to South Africa, where a minority white government segregated itself from the black population. The international community responded to this segregation by launching a massive boycott and sanctions campaign that eventually toppled the white government and led to a complete overhaul of the nation. Now apartheid is being used to describe Israel’s day-to-day life with the Palestinians.

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry threatened. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

Combine this statement with comments made in the past by Kerry about the possibility of boycotts and sanctions down the road, and the true intent of the statement becomes apparent: It is a peace deal with the Palestinians or economic strangulation and complete government overhaul.

The tide of anti-Israel boycotts and sanctions has been growing, particularly in the entertainment and educational institutions of America. Now, however, it is being used by the government in an attempt to ramrod a peace agreement that is clearly not ready.

It was only last week that Israel’s negotiating partner, the Palestinian Authority, made a reconciliation pact with Hamas. Hamas is recognized by much of the world, including the U.S., as a terrorist organization. The Hamas charter itself is rife with anti-Israel hatred. For example, Hassan al Banna, a man respected by Hamas as a forefather, is quoted, “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.”

Yet the U.S. berates Israel for calling an end to the peace process, then proceeds to threaten a future of sanctions against an apartheid Israeli regime.

[I]njecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn’t advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.
U.S. Senator Barack Obama in 2008

This borderline political blackmail is indicative of the relationship that now exists between Washington and Jerusalem. Fueled by Washington’s bullying tactics, the relationship between these historically strong allies is taking a sharp turn for the worse. It was only in 2008, when then-senator Barack Obama said, “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn’t advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.”

The relationship between Israel and America is under intense strain. America’s relationship with its strongest ally in the Middle East is dissolving. Voices that once spoke of the ties that bind the two nations now threaten and bully with talk of measures that would bring down the government.

The threats Washington is uttering today are pushing both nations further apart. Sadly, this broken alliance is promised to come at a time of terrible trouble for Israel.

For more on the growing threat of boycotts and sanctions against Israel, read “Sanctioning Israel: the Next South Africa?

German Defense Minister Visits Lebanon

German Defense Minister Visits Lebanon

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Why is Germany so interested in this tiny nation?

Syrians are fleeing their war-torn nation by the millions. Neighboring nations—Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon—are seeking help from the West as they struggle to keep up with the drastic influx of refugees.

In a recent visit to Lebanon, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen expressed her concern and support for the over-saturated nation that has gained over 1 million Syrian refugees, almost a 25 percent increase in the nation’s population.

Von der Leyen stated that Germany wants to do what ever it can to help “stabilize the situation” in Syria and Lebanon. “Germany has expressed its financial support to Lebanon in order to solve the problem of the refugees,” she continued.

As part of her trip, the defense minister also visited German troops serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (unifil). Germany’s contribution to the force is small, fewer than 200 soldiers and some maritime vessels, but their presence in Lebanon is important to understand the future of Middle Eastern affairs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9W5sa7Yfe8&feature=youtu.be

Ursula von der Leyen met with Lebanese officials and visits German troops in Beirut, April 24, 2014.

With America currently withdrawing from the region, nations that oppose Iranian-backed leaders like Syrian President Bashar Assad have to look elsewhere for support. Russia’s endorsement of Assad leaves Europe as the only alternative. But this transition will not be smooth.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the most recent edition of the Philadelphia Trumpet, “Europe coming into the Middle East is going to infuriate Iran.” Iran is closely watching Europe’s moves in the Middle East. The defense minister’s visit simply puts a face to what is becoming a close friendship that will only further enrage Iran.

To see the incredible depth of the events taking place in Lebanon today, and why Germany is so interested, read Mr. Flurry’s recent article “Why You Need to Watch Lebanon.”

The Next President of Europe Will Be …

The Next President of Europe Will Be …

FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/GettyImages

As the EU gears up for an election campaign, no one knows who the next president will be, or even how he will be selected.

I’ll start by asking an easy question: Who is the leader of the United States of America? Simple, it’s the president.

Here’s a harder one: Who is the leader of Europe?

One answer could be “the president,” but that immediately raises another question: Which one? Europe has three (or more) different presidents, all at the same time. Not one president and two vice presidents, but three separate offices, all of which could legitimately be referred to as “the president of the European Union.”

Before we go much further, a quick warning: This is about to get a little confusing. But there’s no avoiding it. In fact, it’s kind of the whole point of this article. European governance has all the orderliness, elegance and clarity of a 2-year-old’s spaghetti dinner.

The EU Presidents

Perhaps the most “presidential” office of the three is the European Council president, currently Herman Van Rompuy. He chairs the European Council—a council made up of the top leader, usually the president or prime minister, of each EU member state. The European Council should not to be confused with the Council of Europe, which is something completely different and not actually part of the EU.

He is also supposed to be the main external face of the European Union, though he shares this role with the high representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

But the European Council president is not the only EU president to sit on the European Council. There’s also the European Commission president, currently José Manuel Barroso. He chairs the European Commission (which is different from both the European Council and the Council of Europe). The Commission is designed to be the EU’s executive body, the cabinet that proposes new laws. One member of the commission comes from each EU country. The commissioners are not supposed to represent their national interests, but instead work for the EU as the whole. For example, France’s commissioner, Michel Barnier, does not represent France to the commission, instead he works as the commissioner for Internal Market and Services.

Then there’s the European Parliament president, currently Martin Schulz. His role is more like the speaker of the parliament, though he does have some additional powers.

Finally, there is the presidency of the Council of the European Union (the Council of the European Union is not the same as the European Council or the Council of Europe). This presidency is held by a different EU country every six months. Currently it is held by Greece.

Did I say finally? Sorry, there’s actually (at least) one more. Jeroen Dijsselbloem is the president of the Eurogroup. This is a meeting of finances ministers from EU nations that use the euro. Dijsselbloem does little more than chair the meetings, but there have been calls to beef the role up in response to the euro crisis so that the eurozone has its own separate president.

The first three of these presidencies all end this year. So the next question is, who will replace them?

All Change

The most simple is the president of the European Parliament. He will need the support of the majority of meps in the parliament. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for one month’s time. After the elections, the political parties will have to form a coalition, and the parliamentary president will be decided during these negotiations.

The job of European Council president (Van Rompuy’s) will expire in November. His successor will be chosen by the leaders of EU nations. They’ll be a lot of horse trading, with compromises, delays and consolation prizes handed out until they can agree on which man, and most importantly, which nationality of man, gets the job. Last time around they deliberately chose a weak leader from a small EU nation so he couldn’t boss the national leaders around.

Which brings us finally to the European Commission president. Barroso’s term in office expires at the end of the year. How will his successor be chosen?

No one knows. Or rather, they can’t agree. Barroso was chosen the same way Van Rumpoy was—through political horse trading. The national leaders want to do the same thing this time around.

The problem is the Lisbon Treaty. When the EU was putting together its constitution, as the Lisbon Treaty used to be known, it wanted to be more like a state and appear to have more democratic legitimacy. Behind-the-scenes horse trading in order to pick one of the EU’s top jobs isn’t exactly democratic. But at the same time, national leaders didn’t want to give up any extra power.

So they came up with a standard EU compromise. National leaders would choose the Commission president after “taking into account the elections to the European Parliament.” The leaders wanted to take these elections into account the same way you take into account the views of the pub bore—nod sagely and then make whatever decision you were going to make anyway.

The European Parliament, on the other hand, is trying to turn next month’s elections into a presidential-style contest. Each parliamentary grouping has chosen a candidate for the next Commission president. They want the candidate from the parliamentary group with the most votes to get the job.

But some European parties disagree. Some parliamentary groups have chosen “no one” as their candidate—pointing out that if someone in the UK votes for the Labor Party this election, it’s because of domestic politics, not because they want some random German guy they’ve never heard of to be EU president.

These arguments have been going on for months, if not years, and with the election a month away, they’ve not been resolved. Under the Lisbon treaty, the national leaders will chose the man they want to be Commission president. But he will also have to gain the approval of the European Parliament. Parliamentary leaders have said that if the national leaders put forward someone other than the winner of the European parliamentary elections, they will use their veto to block him.

Hence the current farce—EU citizens will be going to the polls without knowing exactly what they’re voting for.

The result will probably be the standard EU procedure: lengthy negotiations, late night meetings and yet more messy compromises.

A Recipe for Disaster

Consider all the challenges Europe faces. Russia sits poised on the brink of invading eastern Ukraine, keeping the whole world guessing whether they’ll plunge Europe into crisis. Eastern Europe is crying out for help and leadership from the EU.

The euro economic crisis is still bubbling away beneath the surface. One in four workers in Greece and Spain is without a job. Youth unemployment in those two countries is well over 50 percent. The soaring unemployment could set off a social crisis at any time, with riots in the street. Currently, we’re in a lull. But the EU has met each outbreak of danger with its standard muddling, guaranteeing the problem will flare up again later.

Meanwhile America is retreating from the world and pushing for Europe to step up. Any crises in North Africa and even the Middle East are increasingly becoming Europe’s responsibility.

To survive, Europe clearly needs strong leadership. It needs to be able to react quickly and decisively to problems as they come up. Instead it has a handful of presidents, none of whom have much power, and it still hasn’t decided how to pick the next ones. Plus, with all the political posturing, there probably won’t be any decisive leadership from any of these presidents this year—assuming all the new presidents are even in place by the end of the year.

Which is why the EU, in its current form, simply cannot work. As these crises hit home, it’s going to have to undergo a radical transformation. The eurozone may need to be cut down. It will probably need to be much smaller to work together effectively. And it will need a new leadership structure.

None of these are easy changes and they won’t be made lightly. But Europe’s paralysis in the face of world events will leave them with no other choice. The problems it faces will just worsen until reluctant national leaders are forced to give a European leader real power.

The EU has almost everything it needs to be a global superpower. Its economy is bigger than the U.S. It has some of the world’s best universities and most capable workers, and a network of allies around the world. Even its military budget is huge compared to just about every nation except the U.S. But the most important thing it lacks is leadership.

This is the key ingredient that will turn Europe from a global joke into a global juggernaut—a power capable of holding its own against the U.S. or Russia. Watch for world events to force this radical change. For more on how it will come about, see Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker’s article “Watch for Mr. Europe!

Is ‘Blind Luck’ the Reason Cities Have Not Yet Been Devastated by Asteroids?

Is ‘Blind Luck’ the Reason Cities Have Not Yet Been Devastated by Asteroids?

midwestnerd

Former NASA astronauts have warned we are playing ’cosmic roulette’ with asteroids. Are we really that hopeless?

The Earth could have been devastated by many city-killer-size asteroids. According to a group of former nasa astronauts, our planet is “literally in a shooting gallery,” and the only thing preventing cataclysmic disaster is “blind luck.”

In an April 17 statement, astronauts Rusty Schweickart and Ed Lu of the B612 Foundation, referenced data recently released from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors infrasound signals across the globe to detect clandestine nuclear bomb detonations. This data showed that since 2001, the monitors picked up 26 multi-kiloton explosions from asteroid impacts. That number is about 10 times more than had been previously known. According to Dr. Lu, this data dispels the “misconception that asteroid impacts are rare. They are not.”

Fortunately, most of these asteroids have exploded at altitudes too high to cause damage on Earth’s surface. Those that have reached Earth have exploded in oceans, barren deserts and largely uninhabited areas. The most recent exception was last year’s 300-to-500-kiloton-plus Chelyabinsk meteor blast that hit Russia with the power of 30 Hiroshima bombs, injuring over 1,000 people.

The astronauts essentially warn that asteroids could be coming to a city near you. That is why the B612 Foundation is working on a $250 million Sentinel telescope to perform thorough, precise scans of space for any Earth-bound asteroids. This would provide years of advance warning, so mankind can deflect potential damage on the Earth’s surface.

B612 Foundation Impact Video 4-20-14 H264

“It’s a giant game of chance we’re playing,” cautioned Dr. Lu. “It’s cosmic roulette.” He concluded: “The fact that none of these asteroid impacts represented in the [B612 video presentation] was detected in advance, is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”

Our booklet Our Awesome Universe Potential differs with that assessment. Relying on a wealth of insight from reputed astronomers and physicists, columnist Joel Hilliker wrote:

Scientists have come to refer to Earth as a ‘Goldilocks planet.’ That is, in every conceivable way, conditions aren’t too hot or too cold, too large or too small, too close or too far—too anything. No matter what is measured, it is ‘just right.’ … Not only for the existence of life, but also for discovery. And to a mind-boggling level of precision. Even the minutest deviation would make cosmic observation difficult or impossible—or would wipe out all prospect of life.Maybe it’s not luck after all.

There is a reason the universe is not yet in a state of perfection; there is a reason some meteors and asteroids have landed on the Earth’s surface. The omnipotent Creator of the universe “sustains the universe with his word of power” (Hebrews 1:3; Moffatt translation). He has the power to deflect asteroids that would be in opposition to His will. Nothing is ever “blind luck.”

Even with the universe’s current imperfections, giant planets in our solar system—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune—shield Earth from dangerous space projectiles like asteroids and comets. Their gravitational pull tends to absorb or deflect the most dangerous of these.

As Dr. Hugh Ross wrote in his book Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, “Clearly, someone wanted human beings to exist and thrive. … His purposes for human existence must be highly valuable.”

Our free, full-color booklet, Our Awesome Universe Potential, explores the design, splendor and precision of our vast universe. It illustrates, in detail, how we are more than just lucky to be on Earth.

Pope John Paul II Became a Saint Today—Here’s Something You Haven’t Heard About Him

Pope John Paul II Became a Saint Today—Here’s Something You Haven’t Heard About Him

DERRICK CEYRAC/AFP/Getty Images

In early 1979, Eastern Europe seemed as firmly clenched in the Soviet grip as ever. Agriculture was collectivized. Private shopkeepers had been almost completely replaced by giant government-controlled conglomerates. All official educational programs were gutted to conform to Marxist-Leninist views. All works of literature and art presented to the public were in line with the voice of the Communists. Many churches were torn down by armies of secret police, and religion was actively suppressed.

Warsaw was among the most stifled of the Eastern bloc cities. “It was this everyday grayness of life without hope, just survival,” said Jan Prokop, a professor of Polish literature who lived there at the time.

But that June, the grayness of the Polish capital began to give way to something else.

Windows in the sterile, Stalin-era shops and apartment buildings began springing to life with festive shrines: crucifixes, flowers, rosaries and depictions of Jesus and Mary. These shrines were intended to welcome one of Poland’s own, whom the communist government had reluctantly allowed permission to visit: John Paul ii.

A Hero’s Welcome

Despite government efforts to minimize the crowds, an estimated 10 million Poles—almost one third of the nation—turned out to see the 59-year-old pope. Almost all of those who were unable to attend one of his numerous outdoor masses followed his nine-day, six-city pilgrimage on television or radio.

The message the pope delivered was a highly emotional one.

“I cry from all the depths of this millennium: Let your Spirit descend. Let your Spirit descend, and renew the face of the Earth, the face of this land, he publicly prayed.

He spoke candidly to his countrymen: “You must be strong with the strength of faith. When we are strong with the Spirit of God, we are also strong with faith in man. … There is therefore no need to fear.”

The message resonated deeply in the hearts of the Polish people. “We want God! We want God!” would often erupt from the massive crowds for minutes on end. The emboldened people pushed their fear of the government aside. By chanting for the antithesis of Communism, they were calling for an end to the ruling regime.

The Seeds Take Root

In August 1980, fourteen months after John Paul ii’s visit to Poland, a worker’s strike broke out. The strike gave birth to Poland’s Solidarity movement, the first free trade union in the Soviet bloc. The Solidarity movement was a nonviolent workers’ rights crusade, but was fueled by the spirit of Catholicism.

Find yourself again [Europe]. Be yourself. Discover your origins, revive your roots. Return to those authentic values which made your history a glorious one and your presence so beneficent in the other continents. Rebuild your spiritual unity.
Pope John Paul II, 1982

It terrified the Communists, showing them that Poland’s Catholic heritage could resurface after years of suppression. “The power of the papacy was never more visible, and the Soviets learned this to their dismay: That [the pope] could turn their empire inside out,” theologian Michael Novak said.

The Communists fought hard against Solidarity. They implemented martial law, arrested thousands and interned hundreds. In December 1981, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the leader of the Polish Communist Party, ordered troops and tanks to move on his own people. The Communist clampdown all but extinguished Solidarity.

Back in Rome, John Paul ii remained firmly committed to the cause. He wrote severe letters to Soviet leaders, joined his voice with that of the anti-Soviet president of the United States, and prayed publicly and frequently for the success of the Solidarity movement.

In late 1982, he issued this declaration to Europe: “Find yourself again. Be yourself. Discover your origins, revive your roots. Return to those authentic values which made your history a glorious one and your presence so beneficent in the other continents. Rebuild your spiritual unity. … You can still be the guiding light of civilization.”

The next year, in this charged and dangerous climate, John Paul traveled to Poland again. Since the Communists had inflicted such damage on Solidarity, they expected the pontiff to be prepared to compromise.

But he was in no such mood.

With most of Poland watching on television, John Paul raised his voice and lectured the visibly shaken Jaruzelski. History will be your judge, the pontiff said, and he demanded that union rights be restored to Solidarity. In an interview years later, Jeruzelski spoke about the fear he felt and his visibly shaking knees, which were clearly captured on the nationally-televised footage of the meeting. “Those were the classic, clichéd trembling knees in front of something I knew was extremely powerful,” he said.

In the face of John Paul’s demand, Jaruzelski capitulated. The Vatican-funded Catholic Solidarity movement triumphed, and Poland broke the Communist yoke!

The efforts sent shock waves rippling throughout the Soviet Union, from Budapest to eastern Russia. These convulsions eventually toppled the Berlin Wall in 1989, led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and routed Communist influence from Eastern Europe.

The event sent shockwaves rippling throughout the Soviet Union, from Budapest to Russia’s east coast. These convulsions eventually toppled the Berlin Wall in 1989, led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and routed Communist influence from Eastern Europe.

Other factors and people contributed to the demise of communism, but historians and analysts almost unanimously agree that it was Pope John Paul ii who played the greatest role. “Not only had John Paul ii ignited a nonviolent revolution when he first returned as pope in 1979,” abc correspondent Bill Blakemore reported, “but by 1989 he had guided it with patient force till it won—the Polish Solidarity movement spread until the Berlin Wall came down and the Communists went away.”

Pope John Paul’s approach “made a new kind of thinking possible for us all,” Soviet Premier Gorbachev wrote in 1999.

“The nine days of John Paul ii in June 1979, were nine days on which the history of the 20th century turned in a dramatic way,” historian George Weigel said.

This dramatic turn paved the way for Poland and many other former Eastern bloc nations—Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Croatia—to join the European Union.

Europe’s East and West have been reunited.

Foretold in Advance

Of everything you read today about “Saint” John Paul ii, what follows is by far the most important.

The pope’s history-altering success in bringing Europe together was foretold long before it happened. Some 2,500 years ago, the Prophet Daniel said that Europe—in our modern era today—would have a clear western half and an eastern half working together.

A theologian named Herbert W. Armstrong, who relied on the prophecies of Daniel and the rest of the Holy Bible as his guide, predicted with startling accuracy that Pope John Paul ii would play a key role in uniting Western and Eastern Europe. He proclaimed this unification would work toward the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies for modern Europe.

In 1972, when Eastern Europe seemed as tightly clasped in the Soviet hold as ever and long before John Paul ii was even pope, Mr. Armstrong’s Plain Truth magazine wrote: “One of the biggest roles desired by the Vatican is that of mediator between East and West. The Vatican … will continue to do its part in courting the Eastern European countries” (February 1972).

In January 1980, a short time after John Paul’s first visit to Poland, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The character, personality and actions of the Polish pope, John Paul ii, indicate more than possibly that he may be the pope to offer his good services to unite the nations of Europe once again. European nations want, seriously, to be united. Of themselves they are unable. John Paul ii could make it possible.”

Throughout his decades-long ministry, Mr. Armstrong made many other statements foretelling a Vatican-led reunification of Europe. He died before seeing his forecast come to pass, but time has proved that he was right!

To learn more about the detailed Bible prophecies Mr. Armstrong relied on to make this startling accurate forecast and many more, read Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.