CANZUK – The Canada-Australia-New Zealand-United Kingdom Free Trade Bloc

Great Britain is now beginning the process of divorcing from the European Union and going on its own – something it’s quite capable of doing, having built an Empire, then a Commonwealth, with impact around the world,¬† that has lasted 1,000 years.¬† Now a new trade deal is being considered between four very old and dear friends – family members actually – and it’s starting to get a lot of interest among the citizenry of those four countries.¬† It might just be the best idea any of the four has ever been part of!
The proposed union even has an unofficial name, already becoming comonplace РCANZUK:  the Canada-Australia-New Zealand-United Kingdom trade bloc. There is even a website currently promoting the idea to all four national governments and their citizens Рall four of whom are in various stages of development of the idea already:

CANZUK with insignias of the four Commonwealth countries involved: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. (Credit: Alexander MacLeod)

I believe strongly that the United Kingdom/Great Britain would indeed be best served by joining with these particular member states of the current British Commonwealth, to form a new trade bloc, like the EU – Australia, New Zealand and Canada (FULL DISCLOSURE: I was born I, and have lived all of my 51 years, as a citizen of Canada).

The personal, professional, business and national connections between these four particular countries are incredibly deep. Of course, this is because we are family, as I stated previously – Great Britain being our mother, and the other three nations (Australia, New Zealand and Canada) being sisters, who to this day very much love and respect one another.

The trust and credibility built between these four nations goes all the way back to our individual founding as colonies of the British Empire, and now member sovereign states of the Commonwealth. The daughter states are all within 44 years of being the exact same age:

  • New Zealand – May 7, 1856
  • Dominion of Canada – July 1, 1867
  • Commonwealth of Australia – January 1, 1901

These four nations fought through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and a host of other challenging times… side by side.

(from l to r, Rt. Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia, Rt. Hon. Teresa May, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand)

We share Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II as our common monarch. A shared monarch is an essential aspect of CANZUK, which represents a global institution which has played an important role as a symbol of a common heritage and parliamentary tradition.

The Crown is the cornerstone of our democratic governments, and the rule of law over a long history of peaceful constitutional development. It is instructive to note that the English speaking countries which have retained the monarchy have been far more successful in avoiding civil unrest than their republican counterparts such as France and the United States.

The four nations have the same Parliamentary governmental system, a similar Constitution, and are all members of the British Commonwealth. We have similarly-ranked and recognized educational institutions, as well as similar trends in the business and financial realms, and similar geopolitical aspirations. The four nations also have, for the most part, the respect and trust of the majority of the nations of the world.

Interest and support is already high in all four nations for such a trade bloc agreement:

Overall National Average Support (in %):

National Support by Region (in %):

We have a similar racial profile, speak the same language (with some various differences that only make things more interesting). Canada, Australia and New Zealand even share a similar currency with a near-identical value – the Dollar. For example, on October 2, 2019 (information provided by Google Finance)

  • 1 New Zealand Dollar equals 0.83 Canadian Dollar
  • 1 Australian Dollar equals 0.89 Canadian Dollar
  • 1 New Zealand Dollar equals 0.93 Australian Dollar

With the United Kingdom ‚ÄúBrexiting‚ÄĚ the European Union trade bloc and going on their own, this idea has gained newfound interest in the UK, and across the other three nations as well.

passs-e1490853717728This concept of a trade bloc consisting of the United Kingdom/Great Britain, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand was discussed in a February 13, 2017 Financial Post article, which I will quote verbatim for some excellent updated information. – In the Trump era, the plan for a Canadian-U.K.-Australia-New Zealand trade alliance is quickly catching on:

Erin O‚ÄôToole, one of the candidates for the Conservative Party leadership, has made one of the key planks of his campaign his determination to ‚Äúpursue a Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand trade and security pact.‚ÄĚ The idea of creating a ‚ÄúCANZUK‚ÄĚ zone of free trade and free movement of labour is catching on elsewhere, too.

In New Zealand, the junior coalition partner in the government, the Act New Zealand party led by David Seymour (who himself worked for five years in Canadian politics), is explicitly in favour of free movement and free trade within CANZUK.

canzuk1
Proposed flag of the CANZUK union, composed of elements from all four national flags. Some with overactive imaginations say this reminds them of a white supremacist flag.

In official party circles within the U.K. and Australia, the wheels are grinding a little slower, but the former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is already into most of the idea, proposing a free-trade agreement and free-movement area encompassing Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. And in Britain, Theresa May’s Conservative government has made it clear it wants new trade agreements with Canada, Australia and New Zealand as soon as possible after it leaves the EU.

The idea of CANZUK begins with a free-trade agreement, free-movement area (the freedom to live and work in each others’ countries) and defence-partnership agreement. O’Toole favours all three of these main planks, and he’s right that it all makes perfect sense.

The post-Cold-War alliances are obsolete. NAFTA is dead. The EU is losing a key member.

The CANZUK countries, working closely together, would make a formidable contribution to world affairs. They would have the largest total landmass of any free-trade zone. They would collectively constitute the fourth-largest market in the world, after the U.S., EU and China.

Their combined military spending would be the world‚Äôs third largest, well ahead of Russia, and on European Geostrategy‚Äôs geopolitical power index, the CANZUK countries collectively have a strength around 70 per cent of that of the U.S. ‚ÄĒ and nearly twice that of China or France. With a combined global trade footprint nearly twice as big as Japan‚Äôs, the CANZUK countries would have substantial influence in opening up global markets and guiding global regulation across a range of issues from banking to shipping to the environment.

tldrcanzukWhat makes CANZUK a natural union is perhaps self-evident. Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand share a similar culture, similar values, and analogous legal, business and social systems that allow us to get along easily and interchangeably. (The term CANZUK was originally a term diplomats used to refer to these four countries because of how frequently they would vote the same way at the UN.)

Most of the main issues our political parties focus upon are instantly comprehensible to anyone from another CANZUK state. Our laws and constitutions share many features, making trade deals and mutual regulatory recognition a relatively straightforward matter. Our citizens enjoy a roughly similar per capita GDP (which is just not true of the other Commonwealth nations with similar constitutions) and face few hurdles in integrating into another CANZUK country’s labour market. Our societies are peaceful and orderly.

And in our modern globalized world, we see that we are much more similar to each other than we are to others. The challenges of dealing with Japanese or Chinese business partners can be overcome, but they cannot be denied. Continental Europeans have different foibles, different goals and different priorities from ours, as well as importantly different legal and constitutional challenges. The arrival of President Trump reminds us of just how different from us many parts of the U.S. really are, and always have been.

Furthermore, while the U.S., the EU and China can all make valuable trading partners in their different regions, each CANZUK state that encounters them is regionally overmatched and, standing alone, will inevitably be dominated. Working together though, exploiting our natural affinities and the world of mass communication, high-value services and rapid transit, CANZUK can allow us stand our ground and project our own values and agendas.

The post-Cold-War alliances and assumptions are obsolete. NAFTA is dead. The EU will soon lose one of its largest members. Trump might downgrade NATO, abandon the WTO and even diminish the UN. It’s tempting, in a world of change, to try to cling to as much of the old certainties as possible. But if we look up and out, something new beckons. Free trade, free movement and a new security partnership between countries of shared culture and natural affinity. CANZUK is the global deal of tomorrow.

Dr. Andrew Lilico, born in New Zealand but based in London, is executive director and principal of Europe Economics, a fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs, and chairman of the IEA Monetary Policy Committee.

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By Shawn Jorgensen,  Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted:  December 15, 2018.  Updated:  October 2, 2019.
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]

Landing on the Beaches of Normandy (Paris 2009, Day 09c)

Today, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy, France, I am reposting my original travel blog of Paris,¬†and specifically, of the bus tour I took to visit the Normandy region, including all 3 major landing beaches for Omaha (America), Gold (UK) and Juno (Canada) beaches. The article’s wording has not been edited¬†since my original Blogger posting in 2009.

 For the events of Saturday, September 5, 2009


1:00 PM – As we departed the Caen Memorial, our tour guide told us the museum is made out of the local stones of Normandy and built on top of an old Nazi bunker! The Germans actually flooded all the roads we are driving on today just before D-Day, to try to slow any potential successful Allies landing, which obviously didn’t work.

AMERICAN SECTOR (OMAHA BEACH)

1:04 PM – We are now on a 45-minute drive to the Coast. As we moved along, I noticed that the houses were all out of a movie set – everything is primarily the same as it was before or during the D-Day landing. I liked this particular house because it had all the historic charm of the French coast, seen for hundreds of years – but with a satellite dish stuck right in front . Also went by a church that had served the community for centuries . Apologies for the blurry pictures at times – I was taking them out of a bus window traveling at a good clip down the little roads.

Our first stop on this historic trip for me is the American Sector codenamed Omaha Sector – it’s not actually known only as Omaha Beach as many know it today, because some parts of it don’t have beaches at all. So far this has been a very high-end trip – the guide talks a lot (15-20 min) of background which is good. She kept saying we’d be a bit rushed in places this AM but I didn’t feel that way. Really impressed so far.

If it weren’t for the heroic efforts of the tens of thousands that died on D-Day, the beaches of Normandy would not have been cleared for more than 2.5 million other Allied soldiers that flooded France by the end of September, halting the German invasion and slowly liberating country after country from the Nazi death grip.

D-Day was without a doubt the greatest military invasion in human history, and the largest amphibious landing of troops of all time. Operation Overlord (as the invasion was codenamed) began just midnight on June 6, 1944 first with an aerial assault of tens of thousands of American, British and Canadian troops behind the enemy lines. What followed at 6 AM was later described by the Germans as a total horizon of ships – more than 5,000 in fact, carrying over 175,000 soldiers to 50 miles of beaches. Operation Overlord continued until the advance to the outskirts of Paris on August 19, and the Battle of Paris began.

The German defenses used an interlocking firing style, so they could protect areas that were receiving heavy fire. They had large bunkers, sometimes intricate concrete ones containing machine guns and high caliber weapons. Their defense also integrated the cliffs and hills overlooking the beautiful view. The defenses were all built and honed over a four year period and were extremely complex. It was like a city made out of concrete, and included guns so huge they ran on rail cars. Those who landed on those beaches faced what was later described as the greatest concentration of firepower in world history.

My Uncle Clayton was one of those young boys that jumped off a boat and faced that horror on Juno Beach. Having seen how open some of these beaches were to enemy fire, I’m actually amazed anyone survived. The Allies were to bomb the smithereens out of the German guns before the landed, but in some cases,the bombs never hit a single target, especially at Juno Beach, and it caused an unknowing Allied landing party to come under tremendous attack.

PM – Our first stop of the tour, situated between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east was a little jutted-out place called Pointe Du Hoc (see map – the tip of which is the Pointe), where many American soldiers first landed. This is an original map from the invasion, and the Americans erroneously called it Point du Hoe on this map until later corrected.

Pointe Du Hoc is not a beach, but sheer cliffs rising from the water, making it very difficult to storm. The German guns, housed in 6 concrete bunkers, some with living quarters built into them, were able to reach as far as Utah Beach to the left (west) and Omaha Beach to the right (east), so it was imperative that the Americans successfully neutralize this area.

Though they literally bombed the heck out of the area first, they realized that they would still need to land troops there to ensure all guns were neutralized, and the 2nd Ranger Battalion was ordered to take the Pointe. However, before they could get there, the Germans, alerted by the continuous bombings, moved all the big guns about 1 mile away for safety. Before the Rangers attacked, their leadership knew the guns were moved, but the soldiers didn’t.

Regardless of the big guns being gone, the concrete fortifications were intact, and would still present a major threat to the landings if they were occupied by artillery forward observers. On these cliffs, 75 American troops were shot trying to climb the 100-foot cliffs with ropes, ladders, and grapples, and the troops had no ammunition reinforced to them for two full days after finally taking the Pointe – an eternity when you are being shot at constantly. Because of the price America paid to take this Pointe and ensure the success of D-Day itself, and the future liberation of France, the French gave this particular piece of land to America, and it is now permanent American soil.

1:55 PM – The first thing I noticed when I got to the Pointe, beyond the German bunkers, was how many bomb craters there were – it was like looking being on the surface of the moon. The second thing you notice is that literally nothing had been

touched since the landing – except for the guns, etc. removed. The broken concrete of the bombed-out German bunkers was left completely untouched.

The bunkers themselves were amazing (see photo for the German’s viewpoint), and completely available for you to crawl and wander through, which in hindsight seemed so crazy from a liability perspective, but then, who would you sue? They had open-ended concrete tunnels to connect them and were extremely dangerous to crawl through in places, with concrete half-bombed out and left dangling, etc., crawlspaces made half as big because they had collapsed, etc.

It was neat to see the track where the huge battery gun had been placed and ordered removed by General Rommel before the Americans attacked. It was huge – looked like it could turn 360 degrees on something like a gear set, and about 40-50 feet across, with about 6 stairs leading down on 4 sides.

I guess it was felt that the horror of war should not be put behind glass or barricades, but touched and felt. The blood of German and American soldiers had soaked the concrete in places, and it was left as it had been shed. It was both fantastic to see and horrifying to be near at the same time.

2:27 PM – Had to run to catch the bus back and did exactly on time – I was the last one. Oops! Felt rushed there but I understand there’s lots to see! I literally could have spent hours walking through those bunkers. It was beyond amazing. Definitely would like to come back and wander around more someday.

At this point, the roads are only one lane and very windy – they haven’t been changed since they were first constructed for humans and horses, with big trees on both sides – as it was in 1944. Beautiful old stone houses. And I just saw… a furry pig!

2:45 PM – We stopped for a 5 minute look at Omaha Beach itself, which wasn’t much to see – just a huge flat beach that seemed to go for miles, and some hills overlooking it that now had houses built up. Would be amazing real estate now and a very popular beach in summer time, but horrific on that June day. In that picture, there’s a little memorial at the bottom right hand corner. That is the marker of the first American cemetery in France, right on the beach – a mass grave where they just had to dump bodies for days to get them out of the way. They were later moved to the American Cemetery at Omaha Sector, our next stop.

3,700 Americans and 1,200 Germans died at Omaha Beach from 6:30 AM to noon. That’s 1 soldier every 4 seconds – and it went on for 5.5 hours.

3:00 PM – After a short drive we arrived at the American Cemetery at Omaha Sector, officially named the Colleville/Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer Cemetery. The cemetery was inaugurated in 1956 after four years work, overlooking the beaches of Omaha. Emotion overwhelms the visitor facing the large central viewpoint, the Memorial decorated with a huge Battle map, the Garden of the missing, where are carved the names of 1 557 missing soldiers. At the entrance to the Cemetery, a capsule is dedicated to General Eisenhower which contains his hand-written report of the D-Day fighting, sealed there on June 6, 1969 (the 25th anniversary of the landing).

But it’s the number of crosses that cover over 10 acres of land (and official American territory) that literally brings tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat. 9,386 American men (and 4 women) are laid to rest in this unbelievably beautiful and peaceful place.

I have seem video of this cemetery before (it was shown at the beginning and end of Saving Private Ryan), and thought I was prepared. Had a picture in my mind of my visit to Arlington National Cemetery as well but so wrong. This was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.

There are 50 people time staff that do nothing but cut the grass here. Of course they use electric equipment for the most part, but around each grave, the grass is always trimmed by nothing but hand clippers only. The graves are located at random, but are in sections of the alphabet from A-Z, and numbered rows in each section. There are four big sections in four quadrants, which have a central Chapel in the middle of them. While the majority of the Cemetery is filled with crosses, there are 300 Stars of David for Jewish soldiers as well.

As much as this was a nice place, we spent far too much time here. Why we had to be so rushed at the Beach and then spend an hour almost here is beyond me – I thought it was pretty stupid. I strongly recommend not doing a tour of the Normandy region in a bus – take a car from Paris and go on your own.

4:00 PM – We departed from the Cemetery and made our way out of the American Sector to the neighboring British Sector. Here, the roads so narrow and houses right up to the road, so it was difficult to take many pictures from the bus. At some points, you literally could have reached out the window from your seat and touched the walls of the buildings – a large charter bus such as ours could only go at a crawl, and no other vehicles could be coming from the other direction. In a few places some of the buildings were a bit farther off the road, allowing for a good shot, like this beautiful historic church.

The tour guide told us that the best dairy products in France, including Colbert and Camembert cheeses, come from here. There are also a lot of farms here with sheep and cows on them.

BRITISH SECTOR (GOLD BEACH)
4:15 PM – stopped at the British sector (Gold Beach) at Arromanches-les-Bains (or Arromanches as it’s known mostly), at low tide. I fell in love with this adorable little town at first sight – it reminds me of the Rock of Gibraltar on south tip of Spain, where I spent my 16th birthday in 1983. I just told myself I’ll be back here for summer vacation someday. I imagine it would be insanely busy- would like to rent a house or apartment and stay in the area for a week or two. Cute as a postcard with little souvenir shops, restaurants and B&Bs.

The town lies along the stretch of coastline designated as Gold Beach during the D-Day landings, one of the beaches used by British troops in the Allied invasion. Arromanches was selected as one of the sites for two Mulberry Harbours built on the Normandy coast, the other one built further West at Omaha Beach. Sections of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches still remain today with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand, and more can be seen further out at sea.

At a meeting following the disastrous Dieppe Raid, Winston Churchill told his generals he remembered that in World War I, they had sunk old ships for a bridgehead for an invasion in the Danish Islands during World War I. The concept of Mulberry Harbours began to take shape quickly, to build an artificial harbour at Arromanches to make it easier to ship supplies in, etc without rough seas at the landing spots.

By June 9, just 3 days after D-Day, two harbours codenamed Mulberry “A” and “B” were constructed at Omaha Beach and Arromanches, respectively. However, a large storm destroyed the American harbour just 10 days later, leaving “Port Winston” at Arromanches with heavy duty for 8 months‚ÄĒ despite being designed to last only 3 months. It was used to land over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tonnes of supplies providing much-needed reinforcements in France.

 

Today Arromanches is mainly a tourist town. Situated in a good location for visiting all of the battle sites and War Cemeteries, there is also a museum at Arromanches with information about Operation Overlord and in particular, the Mulberry harbours.

My second biggest regret on this tour was how much time we wasted at the Cemetery, and how little we spent here. I could spend a week here, however, so another trip is a must!

Got a great coffee-flavored Italian gelato for about 1‚ā¨ from a street vendor across from the bus.

CANADIAN SECTOR (JUNO BEACH)

5:05 PM – We got back on the bus and again, after only a few minutes were at what I waited for all day – a moment (it seemed, almost literally a moment only) at Juno Beach, where my Uncle Clayton landed and lost so many friends. Canada had the second largest losses at Normandy behind the US – and we were such a little country then. I think that’s when the whole world sat up and took notice of us – and watched as we liberated country after country. People celebrating by the thousands in the streets and throwing flowers on Canadian tanks in Holland, Belgium, and France.

The biggest regret on this tour was that we were only to spend 15 minutes there. Screw that, I thought – there are 8 Canadians out of 23 on this bus, and we’ll hold it up as long as we want. The Americans got hours, we’ll get a few more minutes – and I talked to the other Canadians and we agreed to just drag it out a few minutes longer. The Americans understood later and didn’t complain at all. They all agreed the Museum there is the nicest of them all today.

Juno at the town of Courseulles-sur-Mer was the second most heavily defended (the British Gold beach was the least defended) of the five landing sites chosen. The Germans had 11 heavy batteries of 155 mm guns and 9 medium batteries of 75 mm guns at their disposal, plus pillboxes and other fortifications were present all along the beach, most heavily concentrated in the Courseulles-sur-Mer region. The seawall was twice the height of Omaha Beach’s, and the sea was heavily mined. German troop strength numbered under 8,000 soldiers and was one of the weakest divisions in Normandy. Thankfully, or the Canadian casualties, the second worst of the D-Day invasion, would have been much larger.

In the first day of the invasion alone, Canadian casualties numbered nearly 1,000 killed and wounded, but it was such an unbelievably chaotic day that no accurate record is possible to indicate how many were killed on the beach and how many became casualties inland. Once the Canadians cleared the seawall (about an hour after leaving the transports) they were able to advance towards their objectives farther inland.

Having seen how completely open this beach was, I’ve never been so proud of my country in my life. There were several completely intact bunkers at this beach, that had full living quarters built into them underground. Quite amazing. I didn’t get pictures, but have a bit of video and will show upon request.

The Centre Juno Beach, paid for with individual Canadian donations, was beautiful. Sorry folks, it was so dismal outside, and I had so little time, that I didn’t get great frontal shots of the building. It was a very impressive looking centre, designed to look from the air like a stylized maple-leaf, made with polished copper to shine in the sun. And it had these little posts that had little nameplates of donors from coast-to-coast in Canada, who had given more than $6 million total. Only Canadians would rally together for something like that. I encourage everyone to visit http://www.junobeach.org to learn more about the Centre, and the price Canada paid to free Europe.

5:30 PM – could have spent much more time here, but maybe this would be a great second trip. Beautiful place. But finally we had to get ready to leave. As we left the region, I saw that Juno is right by a pretty little harbor that looked a bit like False Creek. Would be a great place to live, so close to the ocean. They also had an oyster farm there, which was interesting.

 

7:00 PM – we stopped at a truck stop on the way called Total. It was the most unique thing I’ve seen all day, as it seemed to look best on a Canadian freeway – really different than anywhere else I’ve been to in France. They had a bank of coffee machines against one wall that made expressos, chocolate cappucinos, anything you wanted practically. Really neat. Got a ham and Emmental cheese (which I’ve never had before in my life) sandwich, a Lion chocolate bar (which was really amazing – had Rice Krispies, caramel and covered with chocolate), and a Fanta Tropical juice for the road back. But was so tired I fell asleep right away and didn’t eat any of it!

8:00 PM – Woke up in time to see a high-speed “bullet” train that takes you from Paris to Normandy. I swear it was the fastest thing I’ve ever seen with my own eyes run on land. Amazing – must have been going a few hundred kms/hour.

9:00 PM – we made great timing back, and were back around 9:00 (supposed to be 9:30) back at the station. Before I hopped on the train, however, I ran over to the Louvre (just a block away from the Cityrama office0 to get a great night shot. It’s so beautiful at night, and it was a great night in Paris, so I couldn’t resist. A bit creepy at night there, mind you.

9:45 PM – I quickly took the train back, and got back to the hotel. Found a really nice fruit basket at the hotel that they had left as a thank you gift – nice touch. Going to head to bed around 9:45 PM so I can get up and pack and finish some of my blog in the morning. Good night – loooooooong day, but really amazing.

Was exhausted so ate the supper I bought at the truck stop, some of the fruit, and went to sleep.

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By Shawn Jorgensen,  Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Original Post:  September 5, 2009.  Reposted:  June 6, 2019
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]

The Magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral and Louvre (Paris 2009, Day 08b)

Tonight, in honor of the great Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, heavily damaged in a tragic accidental fire, I am reposting my original travel blog of Paris,¬† specifically of the day I visited this landmark Cathedral. The article’s wording has not been edited, since its original Blogger posting in 2009.

 For the events of Friday, September 4, 2009


10:15 AM – After going down to breakfast, I came back to the room to see that the rain clouds had seemingly weakened, and the sun was starting to come out. I quickly finalized my final plans for a big a day of travelling. Today I plan to see all of the biggest icons of Paris in one day – it’s a bit of a stretch whether I can actually make it happen or not, but will definitely try!

I took the RER C train to the Saint Michel-Notre Dame station. As I exited, I could see a big crowd was starting to already gather about a block away. I had to cross a small bridge over the Seine river, which was frankly unmemorable, and as I crossed the far end of the bridge, I was actually on √éle de la Cit√© or “Island of the City”.

This little area is actually the first site of the 2,000-year-old city of Paris, and right in front of me, in all of its 840-year-old glory, was Notre Dame (“Our Lady”) Cathedral – the seat of the Archbishop of Paris (see picture left, click for larger). This beautiful cathedral, which took over 200 years to build, was just opened a few minutes before, and already seems to have busloads of tourists in its big open courtyard in the front of the building.

The building itself is amazing – you are immediately drawn to all of the incredible statues of saints and sinners that adorn it’s walls and buttresses (see picture right, click for larger). A man close to me said “it looks like the rain is gone” and his wife said “hallelujah”, and for some reason, I thought I could trust them to take my picture with my camera, so came up and introduced myself. They were really friendly, and we got a few good shots for each other in front of the massive Cathedral.

A minute or two later, a lady came up and asked if I spoke English, and when I said yes, she held up a weird sign talking about how she was from Bosnia and had all these kids to take care of blah blah. She looked like a stereotypical image of a gypsy and I was immediately on guard. I knew something was up here – why not just talk to me if you spoke English too? And if not, how did you write the sign in English? She kept getting closer, and I laughed and said “sorry honey, my pockets are zippered closed” and walked away – she looked a little stunned at being found out, but quickly scurried on to the next sucker. And to think she was trying to pickpocket me in front of a Church!

I followed a big group of what sounded like Italian-speaking people into the church, and heard the massive bass of the pipe organ playing as my eyes adjusted to the darkness for about a minute or two before it stopped – it was really amazing to hear it! And for the next hour, that was the only time it was played, so it was a real treat. I caught some of it on video to capture the sound.

I spent about the next hour walking around and looking at statues of Archbishops and others who were buried within the walls, and spent a bit of time at the front altar of the church. I have to admit, not being Catholic, that the Cathedral, beyond its architecture, wasn’t of much interest to me anymore, and it was unbelievably crowded. Big tour groups of Italians (not sure why there were so many) were literally filling all of the corridors to the point you couldn’t walk around them. I was starting to feel claustrophobic, so decided to get back outside.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – September 2009 (Credit; Shawn Jorgensen)

11:30 AM – I crossed back over the bridge and away from the crowds, to get a few pictures of the backside of the Cathedral (see picture left, click for larger), and got some nice shots. The rain clouds seemed to be getting darker and closer as time went on, and I was getting concerned that my whole day was going to be wrecked. It was by no means hot outside, but whatever, I wasn’t going to quit unless it literally was pouring.

I made a call to the tour group I was going on tomorrow, and I’m glad I did – found out that the Metro stop they had stated in the brochure was best to go to (Palais Royal/Louvre) was in fact a 10 minute walk. I needed to go to Tuileries station, and it was only a 2-minute walk. I was to look for a courtyard with a gold statue, and the Cityrama office was apparently right there. I found out I was confirmed for tomorrow morning and was to be there at 6:45 AM. I’m getting excited now – hope the weather improves!

11:45 AM – Found a great little souvenir shop and spent about 20 minutes finding some Eiffel Towers, keychains, etc. for folks, friends and work colleagues back home. In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest thing I did all day, but stuff was cheap. Now I have to haul it all around with me! I have a schedule to keep and I don’t want to go all the way back to the hotel to drop stuff off, but was tempted to after I carried everything out.

I was walking up the street, parallel to the Seine River, and saw a few little booksellers (see picture right, click for larger) that I’d read about that were open and selling things. Apparently, they have been doing this exact same thing for over 400 years in this area. The booths almost look like big green garbage bins – they flip open a lid that’s locked down to the street and up pops a bunch of tables with books, etc. on them.

In case you are tempted to bypass this area of the city as being cheap tourist junk, think again. These are real genuine antique bookstore owners who sell some amazing nostalgic stuff – I bought a bunch of litho copies of a painting of the Eiffel Tower for people back home, and continued to head down the street back to the Metro.

1:15 PM – To get the to the Louvre, I had to first transfer to the Ch√Ętelat Metro station. I got on the RER B train and was there in just a few minutes. I was stunned at how enormous this place was – it is clearly the Grand Central Station of Paris. It’s named after Grand Ch√Ętelet – a castle destroyed by Napoleon in 1802 after the Revolution. It was so big it had about 6 or 7 stores in the main atrium area, which was like the spoke of a wheel, with all the corridors leading down to the various trains branching from it. This particular station is the connector for 7 Metro stations and 4 RER stations, and was already incredibly busy.

I had to walk all the way down from one end of the station to another, which according to Wikipedia – is more than 1 kilometre long! In fact, I had to go down two different moving sidewalks (see picture right, click for larger) to get to the last platform for Line 7 – which was to take me to the Louvre Metro station. It took nearly 15 minutes to walk all the way through the station, getting lost a few times and finally getting on Line 7 train, which is again one of the little LRT style trains that are so old and over-used.

2:00 PM – after about a 20 minute ride, I was at the Louvre station, and exited to a beautiful art deco exterior which I had to stop and take a picture of (see picture left, click for larger). I was clearly in the artsy section of the city. It was located in a little park, that had a comedy theatre beside it.

When you exit the station, you come up into a little square, with the Hotel du Louvre behind you, something like looked like an embassy to the left, an antique mall across a little courtyard, and to the right, the magnificent, several-block-long Musee du Louvre.

2:50 PM – I spent a bit of time wandering around the neighbourhood, which seemed to be full of people but empty of sights, so I walked back to the courtyard, walked up to the Louvre. There was a walkway that went through the outer ring of the Louvre to the inner courtyard and main entrance. As I did, I walked by huge floor to ceiling windows that were showcasing some beautiful sculptures and statues inside. I wasn’t planning to go inside the Louvre at all, because I had a lot I wanted to do today, and I wasn’t really into art to that degree. But this was a neat little treat (see picture right, click for larger).

Mus√©e du Louvre or officially the Grand Louvre ‚ÄĒ in English, the Louvre Museum or Great Louvre – or simply “the Louvre” ‚ÄĒ is the largest national museum of France, the most visited museum in the world, and a historic monument. It is a central landmark of Paris, located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (neighbourhood). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 652,300 square feet.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which was a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II – and parts of the fortress are still visible. In 1672, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculpture. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation’s masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being confiscated church and royal property. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon when the museum was renamed the Mus√©e Napol√©on. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon’s armies were returned to their original owners. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings.

3:00 PM – I exited into the inner courtyard of the Louvre, which features the Pyramid. Suddenly the sky’s opened up and it just started pouring rain. The courtyard had been just full of people and they scurried to all sides of the courtyard to escape the rain, including myself. I hadn’t brought an umbrella because I didn’t really think it was going to rain in the afternoon – this sucked. I thought it would last forever, but a major wind came up out of nowhere all of a sudden, and within minutes the sky’s temporarily cleared – long enough for me to a get a few dismal shots in front of the Museum. Sigh.

3:30 PM – soon it started to rain again, and I lost patience. I was tired, had been hauling the souvenir bag around for hours and was ready now to get back to the hotel. I had actually had seen most of the sights today on my list. I crossed the street back to the courtyard, and walked down a block-long area with souvenirs, restaurants, etc. It was crowded, noisy and irritating.

I came up to a restaurant called Rivoli Cafe and bought a quiche that looked like a pizza (see picture left, click for larger). It was really quite awful – very greasy, but it was only about 2,50‚ā¨ so I couldn’t resist. I was pretty irritated to see a McDonald’s a block away, however – I should have eaten there instead. I was already feeling a bit upset before I even left the area.

Then I had an extremely irritating follow-up trying to find a bank or currency exchange that would break my 50‚ā¨ bills, because they were sticking up outside my wallet, advertising to everyone who wanted to see, and made me nervous. First I went to two different currency exchange places, and asked where a bank was at both. Both said they didn’t know where one was. Turned the corner, there was a bank. Good lord.

I waited in line at the bank for over 20 minutes and they wouldn’t break my bill, and the currency exchange places wouldn’t either. One actually told me to go to a supermarket and buy something. I told him to drop dread and stormed out.

4:04 PM – This was the Paris that sadly many warned me about – ignorant, unhelpful, rude barbarians. But I do not believe these are true Parisians, just as I don’t believe this tourist nightmare is a real cross-section of the wonderful city. I admit I was starting to get really sick of the city at this point, and wanted to go home, but knew I was just overreacting and tired, so headed back to the hotel to relax before heading out tonight.

As I left the area of the Louvre, it was really starting to rain again by now, so I was getting discouraged that I wouldn’t get to go out tonight, but I was going to go on the boat cruise whether it was nice out or not.

More adventure to follow!

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By Shawn Jorgensen,  Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Original Post:  September 5, 2009.  Reposted April 15, 2019
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]

Russia and China Host Joint War Games… On 9/11

UK newspapers The Guardian, The Independent, and the Sun, and many other European news services are reporting today that the Russian Federation has just completed the largest military drill by their armed forces in their entire history.   American news bureaus have been largely silent on the matter.

The Russians have made no secret of it – international journalists were invited to witness the event.¬† However, when news sources like ABC News¬†did bother to report on it, they didn’t even mention that thousands of¬†Chinese soldiers also marched with Russia, side by side, for the first time in history.¬†¬†Nor was it specifically mentioned in America that the war games commenced … on the 17th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.¬† Was that a coincidence?¬† Not a chance.


Russia is constantly stoking fears amongst its citizens with the spectre of a possible NATO attack on its soil.¬† Doing so, they have justified the most unbelievable examples of human emergency preparedness in world history – you’ll recall we reported almost exactly 2 years ago, on October 5, 2016, that the Russians somehow were able to hold mock nuclear attack drills with 40 million people – and had previously held a drill with over 60 million people previously.¬† The logistics of such a massive-scale movement of people is hard to imagine – perhaps even hard to believe.¬† It should be noted that NO independent confirmations of these huge drills were ever made.


Must Read:

40 Million Russians Conduct Emergency Drills ‚ÄstWHY?


But the scale and scope of the “war games”, being held for 5 days this week,¬†were hard to miss, as international journalists from around the world were invited to come and witness them firsthand.¬† Oddly, most American news agencies were completely silent on the story.
The three largest branches of the Russian armed forces participated:

Army:  300,000 Russian soldiers, 900 tanks, and 35,000 armoured vehicles
Air Force:  1,000 jet fighters
Navy:  80 ships

The West should be highly concerned that Chinese and Mongolian service personnel will also be involved in the “Vostok 2018” drills, set to include ‚Äúmassive‚ÄĚ mock airstrikes and the testing of cruise missile defence systems.¬† Chinese personnel included:

Army:  3,200 Chinese soldiers and 900 tanks
Air Force:  30 jet fighters and helicopters

This is the first time that the Chinese and Russians have held such massive joint military exercises in their entire histories, and it represents a significant geo-political shift in the region.

To put this into perspective, The Sun reported that:

The five-day mock battles involve more than DOUBLE the number of troops in the entire British armed forces.

Russian President Vladmir Putin watches military exercises in Siberia. (Credit: The Sun)The war games in eastern Siberia were also launched this week on Tuesday, September 11 Рthe 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York.  This was no accident of poor scheduling Рthis was a clear message to the American people, at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and NATO.

Moscow said the exercises ‚Äď the largest since 1981 ‚Äď were purely ‚Äúdefensive in character‚ÄĚ.

Ahead of the drills, Russian President¬†Vladimir Putin¬†met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in the eastern city of Vladivostok and told him the two countries relations were based on trust ‚Äúin the sphere of politics, security and defence‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúIt sends a very strong message to China, saying that Russia doesn‚Äôt see China as an adversary or a military threat any more,‚ÄĚ said analyst Alexander Gabuev, an expert in Russia-China relations at the Carnegie Institute in Moscow.

Russian tanks during 2018 war games. (Credit: Will Stewart)He added: ‚ÄúIt also sends a signal to Washington DC, saying that if the US continues on its current course by pressuring Russia and imposing more sanctions, Russia will fall even more into the firm embrace of China, America‚Äôs only strategic competitor in the 21st century.‚ÄĚ

The most intensive part of the exercises will take place about 90 miles from the Chinese and Mongolian borders, where the two nations’ forces will practice against Russian formations.

The huge exercises will be spread across five army training grounds and four airbases.

Meanwhile, news in the United States continues to center around Hurricane Florence, which was built up all week as a category 4 hurricane, only to piddle onto the US East Coast as a category 2 storm – with wind speeds that we have often seen on the Canadian Prairies.¬† It was a non-story that may just have been a diversion from something much more ominous.¬† But at least now you know what’s really going on out there.

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By Retro Russia, Founding Blog Member
Calling Out Community
Posted September 13, 2018
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]¬†

Is Europe Prepping For Disaster?

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For the first time in over 40 years, since the spectre of the Cold War loomed across Europe, Sweden has called its entire Home Guard to begin immediate military drills, to bolster the country’s “defensive and operational capabilities”

But defense against WHAT?  What are they planning?  And wait until you see the book that was handed out to the citizens of Sweden this month – it may just give you pause that perhaps they know something we don’t know … or don’t want to deal with.


On June 6, 2018, the Kingdom of Sweden’s celebrated its National Day – much like July 1 in Canada or July 4 in the United States – by mobilizing all 40 Home Guard battalions in an unprecedented exercise, something they have not done in over 43 years –  since 1975.  That’s equivalent to over 22,000 reservists – only 12,000 fewer troops than currently serve in the standing Swedish Army!

micaelbyden
The Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Byden, speaks to one of his soldiers. (Credit: Ronnie Hammar/Försvarsmakten)

The Supreme Commander of Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Byden, released a statement in Swedish and offered in English as well on their website, which stated:

‚ÄúOur mission is to strengthen Sweden’s military defense and improve our operational capabilities.   We are testing the chain of mobilization for around half our organization, something we have not done since 1975.‚ÄĚ

The Supreme Commander never said in the brief statement, however, WHY exactly he felt this was necessary to do.  He has been the head of the Swedish Armed Forces since 2015, and again, not to put too fine a point on it, but these military maneuvers have not been conducted since the mid-1970s.  The Cold War seems to be long-since dead, and now Sweden wants to be prepared militarily?

Perhaps that’s because this isn’t about military readiness.  Why do I say this?  Because according to the English website of the Swedish Home Guard itself, their purpose is described in the following way:

Skyttesoldater_från_Hemvärnet_Revinge_2015-1
Swedish Home Guard troops in training. (Credit: Jorchr)

“The service is on high alert, with mobilisation times measured in hours rather than days or weeks. It is required to support the entire range of defence activities ‚Äď from civil support in peacetime to armed combat in war.

If Sweden was to be hit by a natural disaster, a major accident or other threat to society, the Home Guard is ready to support police, rescue services and others. The service also has CBRN platoons, traffic platoons and engineering units…

Home Guard units are contemporary military units, primarily tasked with protecting, monitoring, and supporting society at times of crisis, thereby providing a national and territorial bulwark for the defence and protection of Sweden.” (Emphasis mine)

swedishtanks
Some of Sweden’s 262 BAE CV90 tanks, in winter alpine military training exercises. (Credit: BAE Systems)

It’s important to note that they aren’t the army.  There is a separate Swedish Army, Navy and Air Force of about 34,000 soldiers that are tasked with the full-time responsibility of protecting the Scandinavian Kingdom against armed threats from hostile powers, either foreign or domestic.  Again, reservists are only dispatched to deal with things like “natural disasters, major accidents or other threats to society”.

So do they know something we don’t know?  Perhaps.

In addition to these new military training operations for reservists, Sweden is also sending an updated version of a Cold War-era advice booklet on how to cope with an outbreak of war…

…to around 4.8 million households.

brochure1The 20-page pamphlet, titled “If Crisis or War Comes,” released officially in English and in Swedish, contains advice about where to find bomb shelters and how to secure basic necessities such as food, clean water, and heat. It tells Swedes they have a duty to act if their country is threatened for “total defence,” and was first published during the Second World War and subsequently during the Cold War.   “If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up,” the booklet says. “All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false.”

What on earth?  Why the push to send this to millions of homes right now, while also calling up their entire military on maneuvers?

But Sweden isn’t the only country that’s actively preparing its citizens for potential disaster.  According to the site The Local, Norway’s largest news site in English, the Norwegian government decided in August 2017 to give away free iodine tablets to anyone who wants them:

‚ÄúWe have seen an increasing number of nuclear submarines off Norway’s coast ‚Äď both visiting allies and Russian submarines patrolling off the coast all the way to Great Britain,‚ÄĚ Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority section manager Astrid Liland told NRK, a major source of news in the Norwegian language.

“Increased numbers of nuclear submarines along the coast of Norway increase the risk of radioactive accidents”, say authorities, “who have now decided to assess the viability of distributing iodine tablets to parts of the population.”

According to WebMD, iodine tablets are used for radiation emergencies, to protect the thyroid gland against radioactive iodides. Potassium iodide tablets for use in a radiation emergency are available as FDA-approved products (ThyroShield, Iosat) and on the Internet as food supplements.  You can even buy them at Amazon.ca.

61Hg3q5q5-L._SX569_According to The Local article cited above, 43 crates containing a total of three million iodine tablets are already being stored at a depot in Oslo as one of Norway‚Äôs nuclear contingency precautions.  At even a discounted rate of $1.00 a pill, that’s a lot of pills just sitting around waiting for what sounds like a nonsensical hypothetical situation.  Especially when you learn that, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commision:

The shelf life of IOSAT 130 mg tablets is 7 years and the shelf life of ThyroSafe 65 mg tablets is 6 years. For States interested in extending the shelf life of KI, the FDA has published guidance on shelf life extension for the tablet form of potassium iodide.

So unless this nuclear accident is going to happen in about 6-7 years at the most, all that medication will just go to waste.  Does this seem like a rational thing to be stockpiling, to prepare for an oddly-specific hypothetic nuclear submarine disaster?

1280px-Submarine_Oscar_classTo be sure, there have been 9 nuclear submarines sunk so far in history – 2 from the US, 5 from the former Soviet Union, and 2 from the modern Russian Navy, including the infamous Kursk, the massive 16,000-ton submarine destroyed in a major explosion on August 12, 2000, killing all 118 of its crew.

However, I think that perhaps another incident might be on the minds of these leaders across Western Europe.  I’m reminded that in the Book of Revelation 8:11, it speaks about a great star that will fall from Heaven and hit the ocean:
wormwood

The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

Iodine pills are also useful for purifying water that is contaminated by virtually anything out there.  Even if an asteriod hit the ocean and made the water “bitter”.  It is especially intriguing to also note that the Russian word for “Wormwood” is CHERNOBYL, the devastated Russian nuclear power plant that melted down in 1986.  What a bizarre possible tie-in, that the Apostle John couldn’t possibly have known about nearly 2,000 years ago.

Perhaps the Norwegians are simply preparing as they state.  However, blaming a possible Russian submarine disaster for causing these preparations is even more interesting, when you consider that, on the other side of the former Cold War, the Russians also seem to be preparing for a major event as well.
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READ NOW:
40 Million Russians Conduct Emergency Drills ‚Äď WHY?

In previous articles, I have shared how the Russians recently completed construction on 5,000 bunkers in the city of Moscow to house all 11 million citizens – then, if that was not over-the-top enough, they held 2 different emergency preparedness drills in the last decade.

One drill involved 40 million citizens over a 4 day period.  The logistics alone of such an endeavour, including how they would be fed and watered, washroom and sleeping arrangements, would be mind-boggling.  Remember, these weren’t soldiers they were sending out for training – these were the average Ivans and Ivankas of Russia.

They also had completed another with 60 million Russian citizens.  So this is incredibly serious stuff.  WHAT ON EARTH are they preparing for in such large numbers?  And bunkers for every single citizen in Moscow?  No other nation on Earth has done anything even remotely close to that.  Imagine how much cement was used to create these 5,000 bunkers, each of which can hold 2,000 people or more in them.  Imagine the enormous human resource and financial costs?

Putin used the excuse of escalating tensions between Russia and the US near the end of the Obama administration as his excuse for building these bunkers.  What science fiction.  You don’t plan for and build emergency underground nuclear bunker housing for 11 million people in 1 or 2… or even 5 years.  That would likely take a decade or longer to complete.   In fact, the project may have started before he was even President of the Russian Federation.

Most experts would tell you that we haven’t been in the Cold War for years.  It is a distant memory that a high school student today would not even remember – most likely wouldn’t even know what it was about.  Yet, for some reason, NOW is the time that everyone in Europe decides to wake up and spend millions, even billions of dollars to prepare against nuclear calamities?  Hogwash.

To be sure, they are preparing for something And its something that could be coming sooner than later – possibly within the decade.  This is just speculation at the moment, but the enormously obvious signs seem to be just everywhere in Europe.  And once these realities about European preparations begin to really sink in, the painfully obvious follow-up questions must be asked:

Why has North America seemingly done NOTHING to prepare our citizens for these future calamities?  Are we just going to be told some major event is happening, 20 minutes before it does, to avoid panic, to avoid people quitting their jobs and stagnating the economy?  Are our political leaders really that cynical, that cruel, that compelled to continue the capitalist march forward to nowhere.

Truly stop for a moment RIGHT NOW and think about the above, and honestly answer those questions in your head to the best of your abilities.

I can hear most of you now.  This is just ridiculous nonsense.  Fair enough.  But to recap…

  • 60 million Russian citizens DID take part in a massive drill
  • Another 40 million Russians DID take part in a massive drill
  • 11 million bunker spots WERE built for every single citizen of Moscow
  • Disaster planning booklets WERE sent to 4.8 million Swedish homes
  • 22,000 Swedish reservists DID begin maneuvers for the first time in 40 years
  • 3 million Norwegian iodine tablets DO sit in the dark in 43 crates in a warehouse somewhere, just waiting for a calamity, and
  • ALL of this DID happen within the last 3 years

Fear mongering folly, you say?  Scare tactics?  Click bait?

Sorry, NO, those would be FACTS. 

Still not convinced?  Ok, last attempt to wake you up: every one of those listed situations above took place in countries that are located directly beside each other on the map.  

Awake now?  Great.  Now, you likely will want to review this.  And thank the Swedish government for providing it – your government never bothered.  

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By Shawn Jorgensen
Founder, Calling Out Community
Posted: June 15, 2018
[God’s Got A Plan For You!

Putin’s Surprising Rush For Gold

Vladimir Putin has done everything he can, whether consciously or not, to continue the upswing of gold over the last several years.¬† No, we aren’t talking about the medal count at the recent South Korean Winter Olympics, which Russia did not attend as a national competitor.¬† No, this is the real deal – and Putin is on an urgent push to own as much of it in reserve as possible.¬† The world doesn’t seem concerned enough yet to even ask “why” – but we sure are.

The price of gold at the beginning of 2011 was at a record high of $1,400/oz, and experts felt that it wasn’t done yet, though no one could have predicted where it would go.

When gold prices hit an all-time high of $1,917.90/oz on August 21, 2011 in after-hours electronic trading, before pulling back to about $1,880, experts began to worry.¬† As¬†Matt Zeman, market strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago so aptly put it,¬†“Gold could keep working its way higher, but it is starting to look a bit bubbly.¬† The run-up reminds me of what¬†silver did a few months ago. It climbed steadily week after week, sucked everyone in, and then the whole deck of cards came crashing down.”

Gold, considered a good hedge against inflation, was making no sense Рinflation had only picked up 2.4% on an annual basis in the previous 10 years, but the price of gold had climbed over 21% a year during the same time period.  Without a massive increase in inflation of 10% or higher, which would be deadly for the fragile global economy, the gold price had to start to come down.  And fast.

Even the experts may not have realized how quickly that would come true Рwhen less than 30 days later, during the week of September 21, 2011, the price of gold began to drop, and though it made several vain attempts to stabilize, a year later, it was $300 lower.  A weak recovery to the end of 2012 saw it spike again to just under $1,800.  Then, it started a free fall to its 2016 low of around $1,100.00/oz Рlosing over 40% of its value.

Enter Russia, very far stage left.

The election of Donald Trump, which many believe Russia had some hand in assisting with, helped the price of gold to drop through the floor to $1,127.80¬†in January 2017, the lowest point in 9 years – considered by most experts to tie directly to the President’s election and international markets welcoming the same.

And that was the time that Russia began to pounce on gold stocks around the world, “buying the dip” as it is called in commodities markets.

Since then, gold has performed much like it always does – as a safe haven in times of political or economic upheaval, having been the beneficiary of perils from North Korea (which one could argue Russia had a part to play in, having possibly supplied the Hermit Kingdom with some nuclear information) and Brexit (which again, some complain Russia played a part in the final outcome of).

The Bank of Russia has at first secretly and now completely openly been¬†doubling its pace of¬†gold¬†purchases, bringing the share of bullion in its international reserves to the highest of Mr. Putin’s 17 years in power, according to World Gold Council data.

In the second quarter of 2017 alone, Russia accounted for 38% of all gold purchased by central banks. The gold rush is allowing the Bank of Russia to continue growing its reserves, while it continues to abstain from purchases of foreign currency for more than two years.  While the global demand for global gold has fallen over the last two years, Russia is one of the only countries in the world to continue to bet on its lasting power.

But what may matter most is that gold is as geopolitics-proof an investment as any in the age of sanctions and a deepening rift with the US.  For a country like Russia, which seems to have a habit of causing controversy all over the world, and particularly when it concerns the West, this rush to gold could be seeing as stocking up for the purpose of cashing in on an event that they themselves are creating.

Even the sanctions now being imposed by the West don’t hinder Russia – as no Western power has the ability to control the sale of gold to Putin.¬† “Gold is an asset that is independent of any government and, in effect, given what is usually held in reserves, any Western government,” said Matthew Turner, metals analyst at Macquarie Group in London. “This might appeal given Russia has faced financial sanctions.”

So let’s recap:

  • Russia may have influenced the outcome of the US election, which brought the price of gold to the lowest in 9 years.
  • Then, Russia started to “buy the dip” like crazy, doubling their normal purchases in gold, raising their stake to 17% of the world’s total reserves.
  • Meanwhile, it is rumored they had a part to play in the North Korean crises by supplying the Kim government with nuclear information.¬† They are also rumored to have been involved in the Brexit crisis rocking the United Kingdom.¬† Both events have since spiked the price of gold again nearly 20% in the last 2 years.
  • Possibly assuming that the West would eventually levy sanctions against them once they discovered how much they had interfered, Russia stayed out of foreign currency purchases as well for the last two years.
  • They have continued to purchase gold in record quantities, knowing that no Western power has the ability to control or sanction their purchase of gold.
  • They seemingly are one of the only countries besides China that is currently amassing greater amounts of gold than ever before.¬† As Russia’s meddling in Western affairs seems to be bringing up the price of gold, only two countries have benefitted the most from that – Russia and China, who are the two largest gold owners in the world – and the West’s two greatest adversaries.¬† So we have enriched our enemies without knowing it.¬† The price of gold Friday, February 23 went above $1,330/oz.

To the casual observer, all of this could be just mere speculation, to be sure, and few have been putting these clues together.  However, it looks to me like Russia has managed to win the coldest of the Cold Wars imaginable Рthe one for cold hard gold.

At the same time, Russia has been clearly preparing for some catastrophic event, yet unnamed, that they know is coming on the Earth:

We reported on October 5, 2016 that Britain‚Äôs¬†The Independent¬†newspaper had announced the day before that¬†40 million Russian civilians,¬†200,000 trained personnel¬†and 50,000 vehicles¬†had begun a 4-day ‚Äúemergency evacuation‚ÄĚ drill, ordered by Russian President Putin.¬† The drill was¬†conducted between October 4-7, supposedly mocking chemical, biological and nuclear attacks on the Russian homeland.

That same Calling Out article stated that Russia had also just completed 5,000 emergency bunkers in the city of Moscow Рallowing a space for all 11 million residents safely in an underground shelter.  No word yet as to why the enormous cost had been spent, nor why the West has done nothing similar.
Then, on August 21, 2017, the Independent again reported that the Russian military was about to embark on a massive real-military operation (which they do every four years at this time) in Belarus and western Russia. Russia has claimed that 13,000 would take part, but the real number is expected to be much higher

In a follow-up story by the New York Times¬†¬†on October 1, 2017, it was revealed that, in fact, the Independent¬†prediction was spot-on: while Preliminary Pentagon and NATO assessments of the exercise,¬† of the largest of its kind since the end of the Cold War, are classified and will take months to complete, the 13,000 troops engaged in a counterterrorism scenario in Belarus, the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, the Baltic Sea region and around St. Petersburg were joined by tens of thousands of Russian troops in the Arctic and Far East, the Black Sea, close to Ukraine‚Äôs borders and in the Abkhazia region of Georgia.¬† ‚ÄúIn effect, these activities together constituted a single strategic exercise, involving the full spectrum of Russian and Belarusian military,‚ÄĚ said Oana Lungescu, the NATO spokeswoman. That array included warships, submarines, fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and artillery, air defenses, anti-ship missiles, special forces, and short-range and nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles. Russian war games have previously preceded or provided cover¬†for real military operations, including in Ukraine and Georgia, analysts said.

Coming back to the gold rush in Moscow – besides being the largest official buyer of gold, Russia is also among the world’s three biggest producers, with the central bank purchasing from domestic miners through commercial banks and not in the open market.¬† So they are stock piling gold like a baker stockpiles his own bread, preparing for the day when bread is suddenly necessary for everyone.

Fort Knox

Since starting to accelerate bullion purchases in 2007, Russia’s holdings have more than quadrupled to 1,556 tonnes (54 million ounces), or $73 billion, at the end of June, just behind China, and more than Turkey, India and Mexico combined, bringing its share to near 17% of the world’s stocks.¬† For every $1 the cost of gold goes up, Russia makes over $50 million.

However, Russia and others still have a massive way to go before they overtake the United States in reserves in gold.  Fort Knox is reported in November 2017 to be storing 4,582 tonnes (147.3 million oz. troy), with a book value of over $190 billion. In contrast,  the GDP of the United States was $19.4 trillion as of April 2017.

If Russian buying continues at a similar pace, the World Gold Council said the full-year increase in 2017 “could closely match” 2015 and 2016.¬† And the questions will continue as to what Russia is up to.¬† Should they plan to go to war, or should there be a catastrophic natural disaster that at least their capital city is fully prepared for, the price of gold will undoubtedly rise dramatically, which will give them the real-world financing capital they need to weather any storm to come – whether they start it or not.

This rush for gold is not normal, it is not average, it was not expected – and it should cause no small amount of concern.

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By Shawn Jorgensen
Founder, 
Calling Out Community
Posted: February 1, 2018
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]¬†

POTUS in Poland: Fantastic Speech, Fake Story

On Thursday, July 6, 2016, President Donald Trump delivered a powerful speech from KrasiŇĄski Square in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, to a massive crowd of Poles that greeted him with chants of “Trump, Trump”. ¬†The Wall Street Journal said of this speech:

The White House description of Donald Trump‚Äôs speech Thursday in Warsaw was simply, ‚ÄúRemarks by President Trump to the People of Poland.‚ÄĚ In truth, Mr. Trump‚Äôs remarks were directed at the people of the world. Six months into his first term of office, Mr. Trump finally offered the core of what could become a governing philosophy. It is a determined and affirmative defense of the Western tradition.

Today, we bring you the entire text of this historic event.  It may be one of the greatest speeches of a President of the United States in my lifetime.


Melania Trump introduced the President with poignant and powerful words, a First Lady of the United States who is graciously growing into the role in a unique and self-determined way.

As a non-American by birth, she has a unique voice to millions around the world who dream the American dream wherever they are.  This became very clear when one sentence from her introduction became a widely-distributed meme on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms:

As many of you know, a main focus of my husband’s presidency is safety and security of the American people. I think all of us can agree – people should be able to live their lives without fear, no matter what country they live in. That is my wish for all of us around the world.” [emphasis mine]

President Donald Trump then delivered a speech that was praised by many surprising sources, including this tweet from a prominent journalist in Australia:

Thank you very much. That’s so nice. The United States has many great diplomats, but there is truly no better ambassador for our country than our beautiful First Lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania. That was very nice.

We’ve come to your nation to deliver a very important message: America loves Poland, and America loves the Polish people.

The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region, but Polish-Americans have also greatly enriched the United States, and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.

It is a profound honour to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free.

President Duda and your wonderful First Lady, Agata, have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world. Thank you. My sincere — and I mean sincerely thank both of them. And to Prime Minister Szydlo a very special thanks also.

We are also pleased that former President Lech Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity Movement, has joined us today, also. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country. These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom but also symbols of America’s commitment to your security and your place in a strong and democratic Europe.

We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British, and Romanian soldiers. Thank you. Thank you. Great job.

President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the Three Seas Initiative. To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you. We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbours are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.

Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the President of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic Three Seas Initiative. Thank you.

This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful. Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong.

For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks. But while Poland could be invaded and occupied, and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride.

So it is with true admiration that I can say today, that from the farms and villages of your countryside to the cathedrals and squares of your great cities, Poland lives, Poland prospers, and Poland prevails.

Despite every effort to transform you, oppress you, or destroy you, you endured and overcame. You are the proud nation of Copernicus ‚ÄĒ think of that ‚ÄĒ Chopin, Saint John Paul II. Poland is a land of great heroes. And you are a people who know the true value of what you defend.

The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war.

For Americans, Poland has been a symbol of hope since the beginning of our nation. Polish heroes and American patriots fought side by side in our War of Independence and in many wars that followed. Our soldiers still serve together today in Afghanistan and Iraq, combating the enemies of all civilization.

For America’s part, we have never given up on freedom and independence as the right and destiny of the Polish people, and we never, ever will.

Our two countries share a special bond forged by unique histories and national characters. It’s a fellowship that exists only among people who have fought and bled and died for freedom.

The signs of this friendship stand in our nation‚Äôs capital. Just steps from the White House, we‚Äôve raised statues of men with names like PuŇāaski and KoŇõciuszko. The same is true in Warsaw, where street signs carry the name of George Washington, and a monument stands to one of the world‚Äôs greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan.

And so I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization. The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never, ever forgotten who they are.

This is a nation more than one thousand years old. Your borders were erased for more than a century and only restored just one century ago.

In 1920, in the Miracle of Vistula, Poland stopped the Soviet army bent on European conquest. Then, 19 years later in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That’s trouble. That’s tough.

Under a double occupation, the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people. A vibrant Jewish population ‚ÄĒ the largest in Europe ‚ÄĒ was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland‚Äôs Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.

In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honoured to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising.

What great spirit. We salute your noble sacrifice and we pledge to always remember your fight for Poland and for freedom. Thank you. Thank you.


First Lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda of Poland. (Credit: Daily Mail)

Following the speech, the First Lady of Poland, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, was reported to have ignored President’s Trump’s handshake attempt, going first to Melania Trump. ¬†not an uncommon thing for women to shake hands with other women first in many European countries – as the women may or may not have

Media’s “awkward handshake” trumped-up news story of the Polish First Lady supposedly bypassing President Trump was based on this photo…(Credit: Daily Mail)

First of all, it is not an uncommon thing for women to shake hands with other women first in many European countries – as the women may or may not have direct connection with the men at all, depending on the situation. ¬†However, she is seen in the same video shaking President Trump’s hand seconds later, and sharing a very personal moment that was clearly heartfelt and with no ill will involved.

But the fake press had a field day with it, which was to quickly blow up in their face, as you’ll soon ¬†see:

Weasly People magazine states that the Polish president said his wife didn’t snub Trump – they never admitted it was actually TRUE that she didn’t, as you’ll soon see.
New York Times licking it’s lips, and soon it’s wounds, over this stupid store.
Metro.co.uk’s tag line is “News but not as you know it”. You can say that again – especially when the journalistic gleefully begins “Ain’t nobody been snubbed…”. I’m guessing he’s that ‘nobody’ right now.
No collusion in the media? Take a look at the New York Times headline above, and compare it to his Washington Post one.

The situation became so ridiculous, that the President of Poland himself tweeted on the issue:

Media’s “awkward handshake” trumped-up news story of the Polish First Lady supposedly bypassing President Trump was clearly BS. (Credit: Daily Mail)

Mainstream media gets more pathetic by the day.  They are indefensible here, they clearly have evidence of stupidity and perhaps even journalistic fraud.  But they still continue to propagate the story in various circles Рthe vacuous, empty-headed leftist morons that follow them and think they accurately cover anything.

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted July 7, 2017.  Updated July 13, 2017.

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Vimy Ridge at 100: Canada Rises Up

A cadet stands in front of the National War Memorial in Ottawa during a ceremony to recognize 100 years since the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Credit: Andrew Foote/CBC)

The steps of the National War Memorial in Ottawa were bathed in the glow of 3,598 candles on Saturday night, April 9, 2017 Рeach one lit to represent a Canadian soldier killed in the First World War Battle of Vimy Ridge.  Canadian Army Cadets then stood guard overnight at our capital city War Memorial to mark the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge, fought from April 9-12, 1917.

It seems fitting to include these young cadets in guard duty this week.  They would have been just like all the other boys too young to enlist in active duty as the Great War began.  Left behind while their older brothers, uncles, and fathers went to the fight on foreign fields, these cadets, in a very real sense, are a picture of Canada herself in 1917.  

Though She was 49 years old at the time of this Battle, Canada’s¬†first half century was marked by very little calamity. ¬†That was all about to change on foreign battlefields with names like¬†Ypres, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and others. The horrors seen and sacrifices made in this Battle;¬†the military tactical genius that Canada employed;¬†and the bravery of the young men themselves, would lift¬†Canada internationally from behind¬†Her mother’s (Great Britain) apron to a new¬†level of global respect and recognition,¬†a nation that stands on her own, which Canada has built upon ever since.


VimyCross
The large regimental Celtic cross of the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders) where it stood 100 years ago on the battlefield near Vimy Ridge. Although there were other wooden crosses fashioned by regimental carpenters, this is one of the very few to survive. (Credit: CBC)

As late as¬†February 2017, you wouldn’t have to go further than a church basement in Toronto to view¬†a historical artifact from the Battle of Vimy¬†Ridge¬†– a¬†100-year old wooden battlefield cross.

Regimental carpenters had pre-built and would quickly paint the names and erect these crosses right on the battlefield, a thankless job that became an art form in itself, as many hundreds of these crosses were erected on far too many bomb-scarred fields across western Europe.

The fact that this cross¬†had survived for a century was a testament to how well it had been taken care of. ¬†CBC reported¬†that it had been transported across the Atlantic to¬†France twice, but had always found its way back to its “temporary” 100-year home in Canada.

CBC continued:

The cross was expertly packed for the voyage along with one poppy for every one of the 57 names etched on it. It will go on display this weekend at the newly opened Vimy Ridge visitor centre. (Credit: Nahlah Ayed/CBC)

Etched¬†on its surface are the names of 57 Canadian soldiers, most from the 15th Battalion, and most of whom were killed in the first hours of that assault. ¬†That makes it one of only a handful of surviving witnesses ‚ÄĒ and a real-time partial record ‚ÄĒ of the heavy Canadian losses in those pivotal opening moments of the battle.

The 15th Battalion was tasked with taking on the Eastern edge of the ridge, which meant advancing over a longer distance, and through more German lines than other Canadian units.

In fact, they expected such heavy casualties with this Battalion that they had actually pre-dug their graves before the battle even began.  They ended up with two sites where multiple Canadian troops from this Battalion were buried together, and each was given a cross.  This was one of those two handmade memorials.

In February 2017, for the first time in a century, and thanks to the Canadian Ministry of Veterans Affairs, this Celtic cross was flown across the Atlantic, where ministry officials were there to greet it and to transport it Рif only temporarily, to the same spot where these people listed are actually buried.

W.H. Collyer died at Vimy Ridge at 17. The legal age to join the Canadian army was 18, so he would have lied about his age in order to enter the fight. (Credit: CBC)

On the 100th Anniversary memorial weekend, and for the first time in 100 years, the cross was raised over the actual graves of those men for a limited time.

As dramatic as the story of this grave marker is, it will, of course, be overshadowed by the incredible size and beauty of the Canadian Vimy Ridge Memorial itself.   It is by far the most dramatic Canadian memorial to any cause on Earth.  At the time that it was being constructed, however, Vimy Ridge was not considered to be as important perhaps as we see it today.

The Vimy Memorial itself changed all that, designed by Canadian architect Walter Seymour Allward, and taking an astonishing 11 years to build.

Canada Bereft” or “Mother Canada” is the largest statue at the front of the memorial and is said to depict “Canada mourning her fallen sons.” Its inscription reads:

“To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.”

It is often a quiet place, even when there are many visitors, as it really is a place of reflection.

The Vimy Ridge Memorial at night, as seen April 6, 2017, just days before the 100th Anniversary. (Credit: Vimy Ridge Memorial)

And Canada has much to reflect on.  In fact, I had a lump in my throat as I was writing a sentence. What those Canadian men and boys did, beginning in blinding rain and sleet, on that early Easter Monday morning 100 years ago, is still today looked at as being a marvel of modern warfare.

Situated in northern France, the heavily-fortified seven-kilometre ridge held a commanding view over the Allied lines. Anyone in the future who¬†would be assaulting the Ridle¬†over an open graveyard, since previous French attacks had failed –with over 100,000 casualties.

Canada was given this task next – and to be blunt, there was some mentality¬†of Canadians being “cannon fodder” in this equation. ¬†History shows that Canadian troops, when fighting as part of a larger British Empire¬†force, were often thrown into the front lines of horrific battles, in order to risk¬†less British lives.

Canadian troops go “over the wall” and into a great victory in Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. Troops took the Ridge in one day, suffering the greatest one-day loss of life in Canadian history. (Credit: Metro News)

All four divisions of the little Canadian Expeditionary Force ¬†– ¬†mostly volunteers – were brought¬†together for the first time¬†in Canada’s 49-year history to fight this Battle. ¬†Including one British division, they¬†numbered¬†170,000 troops¬†over 145,000 Canadians, virtually¬†our entire Army at that time.

If we had lost – if Canada¬†had failed on that Ridge – it would’ve been an unthinkable disaster for our nation, as we risked¬†destroying our entire national Army. ¬†I get angry just thinking about the risk our nation was asked to take.

To capture this difficult position, the Canadians would carefully plan and rehearse their attack.  To give them greater flexibility and firepower in battle,  specialist roles as machine-gunners, rifle-men and grenade-throwers underwent weeks of training behind the lines using models to represent the battlefield, and new maps were drawn up from aerial photographs to guide their way.

British-dug tunnels around the Vimo Ridge area. One still exists for tourists to explore to present day. (Credit: Wikipedia)

bring men forward safely for the assault, engineers dug deep tunnels from the rear to the front. Despite this training and preparation, the key to victory was a devastating artillery barrage that would crelate a moving wall of high explosives and shrapnel that forced the Germans to stay in their treaches and away from their machine-guns.

In the week leading up to the battle, Canadian and British artillery pounded the enemy positions on the ridge, using new artillery tactics that allowed the gunners to first target, then destroy enemy positions.  Canadians were given an almost limitless supply of artillery shells, which destroyed hardened defences and barbed wire.  The Canadian infantry would be well supported when it went into battle Рwith over 1,000 artillery pieces laying down withering, supportive fire.

6-inch gun of the Royal Garrison Artillery firing over Vimy Ridge behind Canadian lines at night (Credit: Wikipedia)

Attacking together for the first time, the four Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30am on April 9, 1917. More than 15,000 Canadian infantry overran the Germans all along the front.  Incredible bravery and discipline allowed the infantry to continue moving forward under heavy fire, even when their officers were killed.

There were countless acts of sacrifice, as Canadians single-handedly charged machine-gun nests or forced the surrender of Germans in protective dugouts.  Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of the Ridge, and where the Vimy monument now stands, was captured in a case of bayonets versus German machine-gun positions.

It took there more days of costly battle to deliver the final victory. The Canadian operation was an important success, even if the larger British and French offensive, of which it had been a part, had failed. But it was victory at a heavy cost:  on top of the near 3,600 Canadians killed, more tHan 7,000 were wounded.

Prince Charles, the British Prince of Wales, said so dramatically and beautifully at the 100th Anniversary ceremony on April 9, 2017:

Prince Charles and sons Prince William and Prince Harry, visit one of the only still-accessible tunnels used by Canadian troops at Vimy Ridge. (Credit: Daily Mail)

‚Äú(The Canadians) succeeded in seizing the vital high ground of Vimy ‚Äď a task in which many others before them had failed,‚ÄĚ Prince Charles said.

‚ÄúHowever, victory came at an unbearably heavy cost. This was, and remains, the single bloodiest day in Canadian military history. Yet Canadians displayed a strength of character and commitment to one another that is still evident today. They did not waver. This was Canada at its best. ‚Ķ ‚ÄĚ [Emphasis mine]

More than just a memorial to one specific Battle and the nearly 3,600 soldiers who died there, Vimy Ridge became a national place of mourning for all soldiers of the Great War.  In fact, there are 11,285 names carved into the monument, all Canadians who died during the Great War but who have no known resting place. The names are those still found across Canada today.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President François Hollande honor the fallen at the cemetery at the Vimy Ridge Memorial on April 9, 2017. (Credit: Metro News)

The April 9, 2017 ceremony for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge was attended by more than 25,000 Canadians, with millions more Canadians estimated to be listening on the radio and over television.

To them, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau summarized the day:

“As I see the faces gathered here ‚Äď veterans, soldiers, caregivers, so many young people ‚Äď I can‚Äôt help but feel a torch is being passed,‚ÄĚ Trudeau said in his speech. ‚ÄúOne hundred years later, we must say this, together. And we must believe it: Never again.‚ÄĚ

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted April 9, 2017

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The Historic Reign of Elizabeth II

 

February 6, 2017 marks the momentous occasion when, 65 years ago, King George VI passed away Рand Elizabeth II ascended the British throne.  

We take a moment to look back on arguably the most influential woman of this Century Рthe historic reign of Queen Elizabeth II.


Every year that God blesses our beloved Queen Elizabeth II with continued health, she continues to make, then break, substantial achievements and records.

(Credit: Queen Elizabeth II at her 1952 Coronation)

At 4.18pm on September 9, 2015, Her Majesty became Britain’s longest reigning monarch in its 1,000 year history, passing the record set by Queen Victoria with a total of 23,226 days, 16 hours and 18 minutes – over 63 years, seven months and two days.

The following year,¬†on¬†October 13, 2016, King¬†Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, Thailand’s beloved monarch,¬†passed away after 70 years on the throne, the longest-reigning monarch in world history, and the richest king in recorded history, worth a staggering $40 billion. ¬†With his death, Queen Elizabeth II now becomes the longest-reigning living monarch from any nation in the world today.

With her health remaining strong at 90 years of age, and as¬†her mother lived to be over 100 years old, Elizabeth II could very possibly go past her 70th anniversary on the throne –¬†thus also surpassing¬†the late King of Thailand as the longest-serving monarch in world history.

We are already in uncharted today, as Britain has never had a 90-year old monarch, nor one that has ruled 65 years. ¬†However,¬†longevity¬†is not the Queen’s main accomplishments – it’s her incredible influence over¬†one of the greatest periods¬†of transformation in world history.

Let’s first look at some fun facts about the Royal Family, and then we will celebrate some of the Queen’s greatest accomplishments:

Queen Elizabeth II is the 32nd great granddaughter of King Alfred, who 1,147 years ago was the first effective King Of England Рruling from 871 to 899.

f8c028dd016b15c3785aec529138b999If Edward VIII has not abdicated the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson, he would have ruled until he died in 1972.  Having had no children,  and as his younger brother (who instead became King George VI) was dead by 1952 РElizabeth would have still inherited the throne Рonly in 1972, not 1952.

Ironically, in 1889 Alice Keppel was the mistress of King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales.  Today, her great granddaughter Camilla was for a time the mistress of the current Prince of Wales Рuntil she married him of course!

Speaking of which,  Edward had a number of affairs with married women including Wallace Simpson, who was already divorced and still married to her second husband.    Based on societal attitudes at that time, the prime minister of the day told him that it would cause a scandal and a constitutional crisis if he married her Р the government would have to resign.  So Edward chose to abdicate Рhe was not forced to, he chose to.  Today, prince Charles is not facing that same decision, even though he is also divorced and remarried to a divorced woman, because attitudes towards divorce are different today.

“Prince Harry” is a nickname¬†– his real name is Henry Charles Albert David.

Even if  Prince Charles inherited the Crown today, he will already be the oldest monarch to ascend to the throne in British history.

The Queen could not choose to bypass the throne directly to Prince William instead of Prince Charles – he is the eldest son and Prince of Wales and he will become king as long as he’s living when¬†the queen dies or should she abdicate – the latter being¬†highly¬†unlikely.

Prince. Charles is unlikely to call himself King¬†Charles III when he becomes king – he may choose any name he wishes. ¬†Charles’ grandfather George VI was Prince Albert before he became king, and his great great grandfather Edward VII was also Prince Albert. ¬†King¬†Charles I was beheaded in 1649 after the English Civil War, and Charles II was known as the “Merrie Monarch” because he has so many mistresses, so it’s unlikely that he would call himself King¬†Charles III. ¬†Many believe he¬†will choose King George VII.

tumblr_mok5tcmijd1suy31ro1_1280In the bizarre display¬†of sexist rules, the husband of a Queen¬†is always known as a Prince consort – Victoria’s husband was Prince Albert and Elizabeth II’s husband was Prince Philip.¬†¬†But the wife of a King is known as a Queen consort – she just doesn’t officially rule as Queen (as with the Elizabeth the Queen Mother)

Queen Victoria was likely the most powerful woman in world history – not only did the “sun never set on the British Empire” then, meaning it literally spanned almost every time¬†zone of the world, but descendants today¬†rule over Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, ¬†Sweden, ¬†Spain, and the United Kingdom. ¬†Even more bizarre, at the start of the First World War, her grandchildren sat on the thrones of Denmark, Greece, ¬†Norway, Germany, Romania, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom – meaning that the European war involved¬†cousin fighting against cousin!

And now, let’s honour the Queen by looking at back at some of her tremendous accomplishments:

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(Coat of Arms of Queen Elizabeth II, as seen on the gates of Winchester Cathedral)

The Queen holds or has held the following official titles:  Elizabeth II, By the Grace of God of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions Beyond the Sea, Queen of Canada, Queen of Australia, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Jamaica, Queen of Barbados, Queen of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Queen of Grenada, Queen of Papua New Guinea, Queen of Solomon Islands, Queen of Tuvalu, Queen of St. Lucia, Queen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, Queen of Belize, Queen of Saint Kits and Nevis, Queen of Ghana, Queen of Nigeria, Queen of Sierra Leone, Queen of Tanganyika, Queen of Uganda, Queen of Kenya, Queen of Malawi, Queen of Mauritis, Queen of South Africa, Queen of Gambia, Queen of Trinidad and Tobago, Queen of Guyana, Queen of Pakistan, Queen of Ceylon, Queen of Malta, Queen of Fiji, Queen of Jamaica, Queen of Gibraltar, the Duke of Normandy, the Lord of Mann, Commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces,  Head of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lord Admiral of the Royal Navy,  Commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, Member of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India, Queen of India, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith  

 Beginning with Sir Winston Churchill in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has had 13 Prime Ministers during her rule, the most recent being Theresa May.

Possibly a little-known fact: In 1992, the Queen modernized her financial relationship with the British government and the British people by offering to pay income tax and capital gains tax on a voluntary basis. Since 1993, her personal income has been taxable as for any other UK taxpayer

The Queen’s¬†estimated personal fortune is around ¬£350 million. ¬†The Duchy of¬†Lancaster estate, a portfolio of land property and assets, is held in trust for the monarch and¬†is¬†worth around ¬£348 million. She also owns property that’s never been valued including Sandringham House,¬†Balmoral¬†Castle in Scotland reportedly worth ¬£160 million. ¬†Her¬†investment portfolio in¬†blue-chip British companies is worth¬†¬£110 million, a¬†personal art collection is worth at least ¬£2¬† million and she has personal jewellery and a large stamp collection built up by her grandfather George V.¬† Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the crown jewels and the Royal Art Collection are held in trust for the nation.

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The Crown Estate¬†manages on behalf of the monarch the property and land owned by the Crown including properties in St. James in London, offshore wind farms around Britain’s coast and real estate in Scotland – all worth around ¬£11 billion and generating ¬£285 million per year. ¬†The Queen organized a new income plan for the Royal Family in 2013, taking just 15% of this Crown Estate income, and giving the rest to the national Treasury – meaning income of about ¬£42 million in 2016 for the entire Royal Family, and over ¬£240 million to the government.

  • (The queen In Canada - June 2010 - her 22nd and most recent to one of her favorite countries)
    (The queen In Canada – June 2010 – her 22nd and most recent to one of her favorite countries)

    While Queen Victoria reigned over more than 70 countries, she never left Europe.  Queen Elizabeth II currently has just 16 realms, but she has visited 116 countries during 265 official visits, making her by far the most travelled monarch in British history.  She has never been to Cameroon or Rwanda, the two most recent member states of the  Commonwealth.   She has visited Canada 22 times and Australia 16 times!   In 1957, during an official state visit to the United States, she was the first monarch to open a session of Congress.

The queen is a¬†patron of 510 charities in Britain including Cancer Research UK, ¬†and the British Red Cross – assisting them in raising an incredible ¬£1.4 billion over the years. ¬†The¬†wider Royal family supports a grand total of 2,415 charities in Britain, with this figure rising to almost 3,000 globally ¬†She’s done more for charity than any other monarch in world history.

Her Majesty has been an integral part of the ongoing transformation of the old British Empire into the new British Commonwealth and its successor, the Commonwealth of Nations.  She has overseen the independence of many former Empire realms, including to a degree Australia and Canada.

 

The queen is always been on the cutting edge of technology starting with her coronation, which was broadcast for the first time ever on television.  In 1976, she sent her very first email, part of a technology demonstration.  It took a few decades before anyone emailed regularly.  Today, the Queen uses a cell phone in order to text her grandchildren Рa pretty impressive feat for an 89-year-old great-grandmother.  She also sent her first tweet into 2014!

According to a famed British constitutional scholar, Walter Bagehot, Queen Elizabeth II ‚Äúcould disband the army; she could dismiss all the officers… she could sell off all our ships-of-war and all our naval stores; she could make a peace by the sacrifice of Cornwall and begin a war for the conquest of Brittany. She could make every citizen in the United Kingdom, male or female, a peer; she could make every parish in the United Kingdom a ‚ÄėUniversity‚Äô; she could dismiss most of the civil servants, and she could pardon all offenders.‚ÄĚ

Her Majesty’s actual rights as a Queen are only three:

  • The right to be consulted by the Prime Minister
  • To encourage certain courses of action
  • To warn against others

Clearly then, the queen’s duties involve more than her rights. But what of her value to the British economy?

And the Royal family’s value to the UK economy is massive. ¬†UK Business Insider quotes Brand Finance said that at the time of Queen Elizabeth‚Äôs Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Monarchy‚Äôs value at that point to be in excess of ¬£44 billion ($67 billion).¬†Three years on, its value now rests around ¬£57 billion ($87 billion). In addition, Brand Finance estimated that the Royal Family’s net contribution¬†to the UK economy is around ¬£1.155 billion ($1.8 billion) this year alone!.

In her 90th year, and on today’s 65th anniversary of her reign, she still continues to¬†mean as much or more to millions of us than ever!

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted February 6, 2015
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The Poppy STILL Matters

There are some today who believe that it’s time to put the poppies away, let go of the past, and stop commemorating Remembrance Day. ¬†Some believe it should no longer be a statutory holiday, others say it “glorifies War” – an activity that only the criminally insane would ever contemplate. ¬†

And for one giant global sports brand, apparently wearing a¬†poppy is considered nothing more than¬†a “political statement”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. ¬†The poppy still matters. ¬†Remembrance Day still matters. ¬†And they are both¬†worth fighting for – because they represent those who fought – and died –¬†for us.


The “controversial” poppy armband, now banned by FIFA’S players to wear on November 11. (Credit: The Guardian)

BREAKING NEWS:

The BBC reported on November 1 that Zurich, Switzerland-based FIFA, the international union of 211 member associations that governs worldwide football, turned down a request from England and Scotland for players to wear armbands featuring poppies when they face each other at Wembley on Armistice Day (Remembrance Day in Canada or Veterans Day in the United States), says the Scottish Football Association (SFA).

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, wear the poppy with pride in 2013. (Credit: The Mirror)

FIFA doesn’t allow any “political, religious or commercial messages” on shirts. The teams were allowed to wear black armbands embroidered with poppies in November 2011, after Prince William and British Prime Minister David Cameron appealed to the football governing body.

Certainly the poppy is not a religious or commercial message. ¬†So we’re left to believe it’s a ¬†political message? ¬†Surely World Wars I and II are much more all-encompassing than a debate about politics?

THIS Is Why Poppies Matter, FIFA

RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) men search the packs of the British dead for letters and effects to be sent to relatives after the Battle of the Somme, September 1916. (Credit: Imperial War Museum)

In World War I, more than 10 million soldiers on both sides Рincluding 6 million Allied troops Рwere killed on the battlefield.  Another 9 million civilians were killed in the crossfire. Europe buried an entire generation of young men, changing their landscape and history forever.

Great Britain (whom¬†FIFA believes doesn’t need to be wearing it’s history on its sleeve)¬†alone raised an army of 6 million troops out of their population of 46 million – and 900,000, or 11.5% of those, were killed. ¬†Overall, the death toll represented an astounding¬†2% of the overall population – the largest loss of life in the 1,000-year history of Britain from any conflict.

Canada’s contribution was even more priceless – thus perhaps why we are just as upset as our British brothers and sisters. ¬†Our little nation of 7 million somehow raised an army of 620,000 troops – that’s 1 out of every 11 people in the country.¬† Today, with 35.6 million people, an equivalent army would number 2.9 million people – or the entire populations of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland put together.¬†

img_1316-1But our¬†total losses on foreign battlefields with names like the Somme, Vimy, and Passchrndaele changed us forever –¬†with¬†67,000 killed and 250,000 wounded, nearly 40% of our armed forces ended up casualties of this Hell on earth,¬†representing 5% of our population!

Perhaps people in Zurich, Switzerland¬†where FIFA is located, a neutral country in both wars, cannot relate to the horrors of war.¬†¬†That’s an enviable position to be in for sure.

But for the nations that lost so much for the price of freedom…

…the same freedom that Switzerland enjoys without having lost any of their sons¬†for it;

…the same freedom that allows FIFA to make buckets of money in¬†a relatively wealthy, peaceful Europe today

…those nations who remember and honour that terrible price have a¬†RIGHT and a RESPONSIBILITY¬†to commemorate those¬†who freed our world of evil and tyranny, and who¬†laid the foundations for our Western greatness and freedoms with their bodies.

The installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain's involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)
The installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London, commemorating the centenary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War . (Credit: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)

From a business perspective, it makes no sense for FIFA to¬†snub their¬†nose at an event that millions of people commemorate. ¬†Every year, more than 40 million poppies are sold in the United Kingdom alone to support the Legion.¬† 40 MILLION.¬† In fact, I could even go one step further and say that to ignore or to even insult the memories of the fallen dead within Wembley Stadium on November 11 will¬†have negative repercussions on FIFA for a long time¬†to come.¬† FIFA is making¬†a political statement here by banning the poppies¬†– they are saying that the millions who died don’t matter, that¬†their¬†sacrifice isn’t as important as corporate image, or as necessary¬†as insulting some modern leftwing pacifists’ delicate sensitivities.

We, from both sides of that terrible War, know better.¬†¬†FIFA also doesn’t seem to recognize that a¬†new generation of school children are finding a new interest in Remembrance/Veterans/Armistice Day, and attendance has never been better.

Why? ¬†Because we¬†all need to believe in heroes, more than ever before.¬† The next generation needs to see¬†peace on Earth modelled for them. ¬†They need to be taught that sacrifice isn’t a wasted effort, that “I” and “self” can be our greatest threat.

We all need to hope and strive to never see war like this ever again between nations.  And a people that forget their history are doomed to repeat it.

The poppies of Flanders Fields, Belgium

The poppy is incredibly symbolic in this commemoration.¬† When the ground was ripped apart in Europe after World War I, it was noticed on Flander’s Fields in Belgium, an especially bloody battlefield, that equally blood-red poppies were just about the only plant that would grow anywhere afree¬†– and grow they did, like a weed.¬† The symbolism wasn’t lost on the Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, who penned the words we all know so well:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders

Citizens of the United Kingdom, and football players of England and Scotland, disobey the rules.¬† Let’s not “break faith with those who died”. ¬†Wear your poppies with pride. ¬†These men and women have earned your honour.¬† They have earned your commemoration.

So we “Take up our quarrel with the foe.” ¬† FIFA, their¬†young players have earned all of our respect for their patriotism and desire to do the right thing. ¬†We hope they all come to the game wearing their poppies, violating your rules.

Signs like this appear in Premier League stadiums annually

You can even fine them if you wish – an outraged world will happily pay it. ¬†Unlike American football players who can’t seem to even stand for their anthems, these young men simply want to show respect.

Maybe you should return the favour to them. ¬†You should know from history that the United Kingdom doesn’t get told what to do, nor will they forsake their dead heroes for you.

I anticipate¬†the stands in Wembley¬†Stadium¬†to be a sea of red. And if you don’t change your opinion before November 11, you may find your global financial statements will be a similar color.

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted November 2, 2016
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40 Million Russians Conduct Emergency Drills – WHY?


Britain’s¬†
¬†The Independent¬†newspaper reported¬†Wednesday, October 5 that 40 million Russian civilians,¬†200,000 trained personnel¬†and 50,000 vehicles have begun a 4-day “emergency evacuation” drill, ordered by Russian President Putin.¬† The drill was¬†conducted between October 4-7, supposedly mocking chemical, biological and nuclear attacks on the Russian homeland.

Did¬†they know something we don’t know? ¬†And why is the North American media strangely silent on these preparations?¬†


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American schoolkids “Duck and Cover during 1950s Cold War (Credit: Unknown)

Kids hiding under their desks in schools, air raid sirens blaring in small town America during mock drills, civilians awkwardly attempting to put on World War I army surplus gas masks.  The Cold War images are iconic.

Families and neighbourhoods were drilled on what to do in an emergency, and local public shelters and private backyard bunkers were stocked with current supplies.  Everyone thought that it was possible (many even believed it was unavoidable) that the U.S. would go to war against Russia at some point.  But these drills were nothing in comparison to the ones being witnessed in Russia today.

Then the Gorbachev/Reagan era symbolized a time of hope for the world. For the first time in decades, American and Russian citizens were both faced with the possibility of a world where nuclear war was taken off the table.

Russian military spending: $80 billion, up over $11 billion from last year alone. (Credit: New York Times)

Fast forward to 2016, and¬†Russian president Vladimir¬†Putin leads us to believe the¬†possibility of a global conflict now exists with the United States. He is preparing for war, which he wants¬†us¬†to believe is¬†inevitable,¬†unavoidable¬†and equally¬†necessary for the protection of their national interests. ¬†Sounds like Hitler’s Germany in 1939, oddly enough.

He is clearly spending an incredible amount to re-arm the nation – the Defense Budget sitting around $80 billion US, an increase of $11 bilion from last year alone.

But the reasons for this conflict seems so manufactured. We are led to believe Putin is so upset about the US involvement in the Syrian conflict, that he’s willing to drag Russia into a possible nuclear war with America? ¬†This is a¬†frankly bombed-out nation with 7 million citizens living in tents in the desert. ¬†What is the big attraction here?

U.S. - Russia nuclear stockpiò STOCKPILES (Credit: Wikipedia Common)
U.S. РRussia nuclear stockpiles stockpiles (Credit: Wikipedia Common)

For decades, nuclear stockpiles were greatly diminished as a result of several treaties between Russia and United States.

Hard fought, hard work to get them to the point they are today. Russia destroyed over 35,000 of its 40,000 missile arsenal.

img_0451(BREAKING: OCTOBER 8, 2016)¬†Now, the¬†Daily Mail¬†is reporting that Russia has moved¬†new nuclear-capable missile systems in Kaliningrad, bordering NATO members Poland and Lithuania. ¬†Poland said the development was of the “highest concern”, adding it was monitoring the situation.

On October 6, 2016, Defence One also reported that the United States has dropped two fake bombs as a test of their nuclear systems.  The Defense Department confirms that a pair of U.S. Air Force B-2 bombers dropped two 700-pound faux nuclear bombs in the middle of the Nevada desert within the past few days.

It has been so long since we had any real threat of nuclear weapons, our use of the word “nuked” has changed to reflect our love for heating up TV dinners in the microwave.

Until now.  

Now, the The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists updated the time on the iconic Doomsday Clock on January 21, 2016:

img_25831

3 minutes to midnight

…as it was in 2015 as well¬†!

As usual, the prestigious international organization always releases a statement with this Doomsday Clock update, to justify their reason for the change or, in this case, the holding of same time:

“Last year, the Science and Security Board moved the Doomsday Clock forward to three minutes to midnight, noting: ‘The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.’ That probability has not been reduced. The Clock ticks. Global danger looms. Wise leaders should act‚ÄĒimmediately.” ¬†(See the full statement from the Science and Security Board on the 2016 time of the Doomsday Clock.)

Exclusive¬†photos of the inside of Russia’s Moscow Site 1 emergency shelter, which can hold 2,700 people. (Credit: Daily Mail)

Now we are learning that, according to London’s Daily Express, since 2012 the Russian government has been building bomb shelters in the city of Moscow –¬†up to 5000 of them! ¬†All were constructed in less than a few years, completed now. ¬†Why on earth were they in such a hurry to build? ¬†We weren’t¬†even in a Cold War at the moment?

In fact, during the Clinton administration, the New York Times reported that Russia was building a massive military complex in the Ural mountains. This complex was reported to be over 400 mi.² Рroughly the size of the entire Washington, D.C. area:

Closest one is allowed to get to the top secret Russian base under Yamantau Mountain in the Ural Mountains. (Credit: Wikipedia Commons)
Closest one is allowed to get to the top secret Russian base under Yamantau Mountain in the Ural Mountains. (Credit: Wikipedia Commons)

“In a secret project reminiscent of the chilliest days of the cold war, Russia is building a mammoth underground military complex in the Ural Mountains, Western officials and Russian witnesses say.

Hidden inside Yamantau mountain in the Beloretsk area of the southern Urals, the project involves the construction of a huge complex served by a railroad, a highway and thousands of workers.

The project, some Russian officials say, was begun during the era of Leonid I. Brezhnev, when the Soviet Union was locked in an arms race with the United States, the Communist Party ruled the country and the military budget seemingly knew no bounds.”

Why would they feel the need to build basically an entire capital city underground? ¬†The Cold War was long since dead during the Clinton Administration too. ¬†So they didn’t build it over threat of war. ¬†And the cost must have been astronomical, at a time when their economy struggled. It makes no sense.

On September 30, Russian news agency Pravda reports that¬†representatives for the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) stated that all bomb shelters and underground shelters in Moscow, meant for the evacuation of people in case of a nuclear attack or other emergencies, ‚Äúwere prepared and will be able to accommodate the entire population of the capital.‚ÄĚ

Folks, Moscow has 11 million people in it.

Russian tanks rumble through Moscow as Putin orders 40 million citizens, and 200,000 responders, to drill for possible war with America.
Official news agencies used this photo of Russian tanks re: the¬†drill with 40 million people. ¬†However, Tineye.com said this photo¬†was firate¬†used¬†in 2012. ¬†Why aren’t we seeing current photos of these massive drills?¬†

It’s an incredible thought, but also very disconcerting – they began building these 5,000 super bunkers 4 years ago – yet they state now that they are using these bunkers in a mass drill¬†to¬†prepare for a possible full scale war with America over the Syrian conflict. ¬†

I think that’s a lie, a false flag to distract from the real truth. ¬†The¬†Syrian conflict didn’t BEGIN until May 2012, and Russian forces weren’t even on the ground there in 2012. ¬†So why did they really build 5,000 shelters to hold 11 million people?

The¬†Russian¬†people¬†know something we don’t know and they are preparing for it, and I believe nuclear war is a nonsensical false flag. Is it a coincidence that this special Russian drill takes place less than 2 weeks after the United States and NASA announced a new program called the Asteroid Redirect Mission?¬† I kid you not – you must check out that link.

Crew 49, purported to be going to the International Space Station. I note that 2 are Russian, 1 is American. Credit: NASA)
Crew 49, purported to be going to the International Space Station. I note that 2 are Russian, 1 is American. Credit: NASA)

And on September 23, NASA was supposed to launch Expedition #49 to the International Space Station.  However, Phys.org announced that the mission was delayed first until October 19, then November 1:

“…After testing revealed technical flaws in the mission (which were apparently due to a ), Rocosmos decided to postpone the launch indefinitely. But after after days of looking over the glitch, the Russians space agency has announced that it is prepared for a renewed launch on Nov. 1st.”

One short circuit delays a space mission for 6 weeks? ¬†A “technical flaw” – why are they being so clearly non-descript? ¬†Something doesn’t quite add up here. ¬†As the Russian government orders a mass evacuation drill with 40 million people, supposedly to prepare for war with America, this NASA¬†#49 mission will have two Russian astronauts, launching in a¬†Soyuz (Russian) rocket – with an American astronaut also on board. The launch was delayed twice, the political climate has clearly changed between these two nations, yet the mission continues, and lead by the¬†Russians?

Is there some other reason for this mission? ¬†Is a type of life-changing asteroid coming toward earth? ¬†While it sounds ridiculous even to write, it also sounds insane to report that such an “asteroid redirect” program¬†at NASA even now exists. ¬†It sounds ridiculous¬†that the entire city of Moscow could go underground in a matter of days, and 40 million people across the country were ordered¬†to prove that could be done. ¬†That number is¬†Biblical in proportions –¬†why would they feel they needed to use so many at once in a mock drill?

Even more shocking Рthis is the second time Putin has ordered massive crowds to practice for an emergency.  The first   one, in 2013, involved 60 million people.  Can you imagine the cost and logistics of such a massive drill?

Meanwhile, Canada and the United States do nothing to prepare our citizens for the same threat of war or worse?  If all hell breaks lose worldwide, find a way to get to Moscow fast.

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By Retro Russia, Founding Blog Member
Calling Out Community
Posted October 5, 2016  
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]¬†

The “Ezekiel 38 Alliance” Is Born

Russian President meets Turkish Prime Minister August 9

This past Tuesday, August 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdońüan to discuss areas of mutual security interests. ¬†At the same time, the Russian President has been making overtures in the media with the President of Iran, urging him to join future discussions to create stronger ties in the region.

A month ago, this would have been impossible – you would never see these three countries sit down at any table together. ¬†Even more shocking – students of Bible prophecy immediately raised an alarm in the media, as the Prophet Ezekiel foretold (Ezekiel 38) of a future alliance between modern Russia, Turkey and Iran, warning that this¬†alliance…¬†

will someday militarily attack and nearly completely destroy Israel.


Until the last week of July 2016, none of the events being played out today before the world were deemed even possible.

Turkish and NATO flags (Credit: Reuters)

Then:  Turkey was a strong partner in NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and as such was the largest ally of the West in the Middle East.  They were also an applicant to the European Union, having determined that their future was better as part of a United Europe.  As UK newspaper Express described it:

“Turkey is a key member state in NATO as it straddles the border between Europe and Asia and acts as a key broker between the West and the Islamic world.”

Then:  Turkey was seen by Russia as a constant threat РTurkey allowing the United States access to her airbases, in the wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and now ISIS Рthe latter in direct contradiction to Russian airstrike plans in Syria.

Then: ¬†Turkey’s¬†Incirlik Air Base was (and still is)¬†rumoured to have the largest stockpile of NATO nuclear weapons in Europe, all aimed at Russia, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Flames streak from Russian jet shot down by Turkish F-16s in November 2015 (Credit: BBC)

Then:  on November 31, 2015, the BBC reported the Russian / Turkish announcements that a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft was shot down by Turkish F-16s in the Turkey-Syria border area on November 24, though the pilot parachutes to safety.  Putin was furious, condemning the Turkish attack.

Then: ¬†Iran was Turkey’s biggest trading partner and next door neighbour – until Turkey decided to host the establishment of a NATO missile shield in September 2011. ¬† Iran believed the U.S. wanted to detect missiles fired from within her borders, in order to protect Israel from any counter-attack should Israel target Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iranian clerics looking at an Iranian missile

Then:  In addition, Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Turkey should rethink its policies over Syria, the NATO defense shield, and promotion of secularism over the Arab world following the Arab Spring.

Then: relations between these three countries, in general, were in the toilet.  That is, until July 15-16, when without warning, members of the Turkish First Army, Second Army, Third Army, Turkish Navy, Turkish Air Force and Turkish Gendarmie launched a full-scale military coup against the government, utilizing a shocking 8,651 soldiers, 1,676 non-commissioned officers, 1,214 military students, 35 planes (including 24 fighter jets), 37 helicopters, 74 tanks, 246 armored vehicles and 3 warships.

img_9418The conclusion of this coup has been even more shocking than its commencement. More than 15,000 arrested, including (presumably) almost anyone who ever opposed this current government Рwhich could easily lead to a dictatorship.  Even worse, the Turkish government is furious with NATO for not coming to her aid, although one wonders what kind of military response they expected when the whole thing was over in 2 days, and came without warning.

One also wonders how nearly 10,000 troops could have begun this coup on cue, in every single branch of the military, and NO ONE in government had any clue it was coming? ¬†That’s either gross incompetence or collusion.

I smell a setup so this President could pull Turkey out of NATO and become allies with Russia all on one fell swoop.  Someone somewhere was brilliantly pulling these strings Рperhaps Putin himself.  He did it in Crimea Рwhy not here?

This¬†story has just begun. ¬†Regardless,¬†the real story here is that the 2,600 year old prophecies of the prophet Ezekiel, chapter 38, just became today’s front page news:

The word of the Lord came to me: 2 ‚ÄúSon of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog [Russia], the chief prince of[a] Meshek and Tubal [Turkey]; prophesy against him 3 and say: ‚ÄėThis is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of[b] Meshek and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army‚ÄĒyour horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia [Iran], Cush[c] and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops‚ÄĒthe many nations with you.

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By Retro Russia, Founding Blog Member,
Calling Out Community
Posted August 11, 2016

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Germany, France and ¬†Russia Unite Against ISIS

In a surprise move Germany left the anti-Putin-alliance formed by the USA: Germany is now officially welcoming Moscow’s readiness to act in Syria and is starting an initiative together with the Russians and the French to bring an end to the war. This is to stop the constant stream of refugees. Germany has ordered thousands of soldiers into readiness.


(This article originally appeared at DAWN, translated by Frank Jakob exclusively for SouthFront.)

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin in deep discussion. (Credit: Business Insider)

Germany surprisingly left the alliance formed together with the United States which intended to block Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict.

Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen told Der Spiegel that she welcomed president Putin‚Äôs intentions of joining the fight against the extremist organization ‚ÄúIslamic State‚ÄĚ. It would be a matter of mutual interests, she said.

A speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added, Germany would welcome additional efforts of Russia in the fight against ISIS. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even announced the starting of a joint venture between him, Russian foreign minister Lavrov and their French colleague Laurent Fabius with the aim of bringing the Syrian civil war to an end. Lavrov and Fabius are expected to arrive in Berlin this Saturday.

The new Anti-ISIS Triumvirate, born out of the horrors of terror: Presidents Hollande (France) & Putin (Russia), Chancellor Merkel (Germany)
The new Anti-ISIS Triumvirate, born out of the horrors of terror: Presidents Hollande (France) & Putin (Russia), Chancellor Merkel (Germany)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called upon the US-Ministry of Defence to coordinate their efforts with the Russian military. Because both sides are actively invested in Syria it would be paramount for the US to reinstate the previously ceased operational cooperation with Russia, said Lavrov on Friday in Moscow. This was intended to avoid ‚Äúunintentional incidents‚ÄĚ.

Russia’s military drills in the Mediterranean would be in accordance to international law. Larvrov explained furthermore, that Russia would keep delivering weapons to the troops of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to support their struggle against the extremist organization of Islamic State (IS).

Russia already began a diplomatic offensive weeks ago. The Americans did not precisely indicate whether they would support the Russian initiative. Under no circumstances would the US give Russia credit for solving the deadlocked situation, should Russia in fact be successful. Therefore the US-government warned precautionary of a worsening in the refugee crisis should Russia intervene.

Everything in Syria changed when the US sent in Special Operations ground troops. (Credit: Ubertopic.com)
Everything in Syria changed when the US sent in Special Operations ground troops. (Credit: Ubertopic.com)

Neoconservatives are issuing warnings about any cooperation with Russia in whatever matter. US-President Obama did not clearly state whether the Russian initiative was done in coordination with the White House. Foreign Minister John Kerry went on a surprise visit to Russia in spring which, however, remained without results regarding the Syrian matter. It is likely that the US-government changed their mind in the face of the worsening of the refugee crisis so that they are now willing to cooperate with Russia in the Middle East.

German Frank-Walther Steinmeier has long been trying to conciliate behind the curtains and is therefore constantly in touch with his Russian colleague Lavrov. It looks like he is the only one in the German government who realizes that the refugee crisis will get completely out of control if the war in the Middle East continues. Austria and Spain signaled days ago that a Russian participation in the battle against IS was crucial. Russia began expanding its military activities in Syria.

German Eurofighters (Credit: The Telegraph)

German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen wants to expand the deployment of the Bundeswehr, the (German unified Armed Forces) in Iraq. They Bundeswehr would be ready to continue its successful work in Kurdish regions in cooperation with the Iraqi government, she told Der Spiegel on Saturday.

First steps would already be undertaken. Germany delivered medical supplies, helmets and hazard-protections masks. Up to 100 Bundeswehr soldiers are training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq. Weapons were also delivered.

Von-der Leyen also ordered thousands of German soldiers into readiness in the wake of the refugee crisis. If this was done because of the refugees or hints of terror threats is still unknown. The order was given to the troops a day before, said a speaker of the ministry on Friday in response to a report by Der Spiegel. Up to 4,000 soldiers are under constant readiness to be deployed.

FILE - In this March 20, 2011 file photo, France's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle leaves its home port of Toulon, southern France. France has decided to deploy an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf to help fighting Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The French president Francois Hollande announced Thursday Nov.5, 2015 his decision at the inauguration of the country’s new ultra-secured defense ministry in Paris. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)
France’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle leaves its home port of Toulon, southern France for the Persian Gulf. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)

 

French forces also maintain a strong presence in Syria, since launching air strikes against the Assad and ISIS regimes late last year.¬† According to a Kurdish source, French troops stationed in northern Syria have also commenced constructing a military base near the city of Kobani in Aleppo province.¬† Currently, the government of France said military personnel deployed to Syria are working only in an advisory capacity to ‘democratic’ Kurdish-led group.

France has 2,500 men in its special forces, of whom around 400 are deployed in 17 countries, mainly in the Sahel, the military said.  French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had indicated in early June, in remarks to a small state television channel covering French politics, that French troops were helping operations at Manbij.  The French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is also in the region.

It looks like it’s the United States’ move now.¬† Clearly there are many groups today who feel the Obama has led a weak, emaciated and often confusing campaign in Syria, supporting some rebel groups in the region, and then announcing they have withdrawn funding or support for same – which would inevitably end with these allies’ deaths.¬† Some believe that Obama’s actions several years ago may actually have assisted in the creation of ISIS in the first place.

[Translators comment:
It has been reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called into question the effectiveness of the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS). According to PNP magazine, he stated that concerned colleagues from within the US-led coalition turned to him. They informed him that the US military did not give clearances to their fighter pilots even though they clearly located and identified Islamic State positions.]

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By Retro Russia, Founding Blog Member
Calling Out Community
Posted July 25, 2016

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President Hollande: DECLARE WAR Already!

103335143_restricted-nice-suspect-news_(1)-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAOn the evening of July 14, 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian resident of France, deliberately drove a 19-tonne cargo truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, killing 84 people and injuring more than 300. He was shot and killed by police.

The incident has been described as the third major terrorist attack in France since January 2015, following the Île-de-France attacks on January 7-9, 2015 and the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015.


Normandy
The near-10,000 American soldiers who died on D-Day, American Cemetary, Normandy, France

I was privileged to have walked the ancient streets of Paris, and the blood-soaked beaches of Normandy on the first week of September, 2009 – as the world marked the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II.

That period was a time for heroes and villains in France, great betrayal and a massive final victory. I recognize it was a different time in a lot of ways, but the people of France – the very soul of the country – hasn’t changed in hundreds of years.

index
Lady Liberty, 1876 

The French believed in liberty enough to send thousands of troops, their navy and spent over $1 billion livres on the American Revolutionary War – which was nearly twice as much as the government made in a year! It was this debt that caused them to start their own Revolution. In 1876, they even gifted the Statue of Liberty to America on her 100tht birthday!

They have been ruled by Kings, an Emperor… even dictator Adolf Hitler, after the Nazi conquest of France. France has been conquered by and repelled several invading armies over the centuries, and nearly conquered the world themselves under Napoleon. But they are not known as a warrior people today – in fact, just the opposite.

French President Francois Hollande hugs German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she arrives at the Elysee Palace before the giant Unity rally in Paris after the 2nd major attack (Credit: CNN)
French President Francois Hollande hugs German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she arrives at the Elysee Palace before the giant Unity rally in Paris after the 2nd major attack (Credit: CNN) 

ISIS is something no one was prepared for. ISIS is full of cowards, mowing down kids in semi trucks and shooting grandmas with machine guns. And by the time French police and troops could be mustered each time, the carnage was already set. Yet they have a wimped out socialist President Francois Hollande that somehow still thinks, even after three attacks by ISIS on France in less than a year, that it’s best not to declare war on them or risk riling them up.

That ship has sailed ages ago, and it seems the world is up to its eyeballs in liberal idiots when we need strong leadership the most. As a member of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), any nation under attack by a foreign power can call upon the other member nations of NATO to come to their aid. Highlights of Article 5 of the Charter include:

– Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.
– The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
– NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
-NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
-NATO has standing forces on active duty that contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence efforts on a permanent basis.

Yet all that, and he still has not yet done so, and that’s unfortunate – our combined power could have destroyed ISIS by now and spared the horror of Nice.

French Reserve Army forces 

Then, the BBC reported early on Sunday morning, July 17 that France had called up 12,000 reservists to help them with security at home. Oh Lord, he just either doesn’t get it or doesn’t want to – if ISIS is already in the country, you can post a million troops around the borders of the country and that will just give ISIS a million fewer people to worry about as they carry out attacks inside the country.

As French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called up the reservists, he stated that the operational reserve is currently made up of 12,000 volunteers, 9,000 of whom are within the paramilitary police and 3,000 in the regular police force. “We are going to reinforce the presence of security forces across the country,” he added. Cazeneuve added that the number of security forces deployed to protect the population was nearly 100,000, including 53,000 police, 36,000 para-military police and 10,000 soldiers.

But that’s never going to be enough. France needs to hit them WHERE THEY LIVE. They need to destroy the ISIS oilfields, which U.S. President Obama wouldn’t do, I guess thinking that hurting the ozone for a few weeks was more important than destroying a terrorist army that can do all THIS in just one city alone. These socialists will be the death of us all.

The body of a little girl lies covered in the street in Nice, just one of 84 victims of this senseless barbarianism
The body of a little girl lies covered in the street in Nice, just one of 84 victims of this senseless barbarianism. (Credit: Daily Mail) 

So I decided to do something different, and tweeted the people of France, in French and English, a plea for them to wake their govenrment up for their own sakes. It was well received but I’m just a little nobody. Maybe it’s already too late for France – they already have the largest Muslim population in the Western world. You’d think that would actually keep them safe but as a rule, Islam has no soul and Muslims have no loyalty to other Muslims. This is just the beginning of true horrors to come.

I close with my notes to the people of France. I can at least go to sleep knowing I tried all I could. But this will take the combined will of all of France – I just hope it’s not too late for her to realize she still has it inside.

An Open Letter To The People of France

14 juillet 2016

Citoyens bien-aim√©s de la France: il y a 227 ans aujour’dhui, vous lev√®rent contre la tyrannie et ¬ępouvoir du peuple¬Ľ a chang√© pour toujours la France. Aujourd’hui, les forces du mal sont √† l’Ňďuvre pour amener la R√©publique √† genoux. L√®ve-toi, √™tre courageux et d√©clarer la guerre √† ISIS. Les Canadiens se tiendront avec vous pour essuyer ce mal de la terre.

January 2016 Unity Rally in Paris, attended by more than 1.5 million people.
Unity Rally in Paris, attended by more than 1.5 million people.

July 14, 2016

Beloved citizens of France: 227 years ago today you rose up against tyranny and “people power” forever changed France. Today evil forces are at work to bring the Republic to its knees. Rise up, be brave and declare war on ISIS. Canadians will stand with you to wipe this evil from the earth.

Vive la France. Vive la République!

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By Shawn J., Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted July 14, 2016

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Russian Approval Rating for US Leadership: 1%

According to 2015 Gallup World Poll results, median U.S. leadership approval in 132 countries was 45%.


usa-russia-war_0President Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to improve the image of the United States around the world doesn’t seem to have reaped any of the harvest of good will that he jawed on about for the last 7+ years.

Nowhere is that seen more clearly than after the now-infamous (and totally embarrassing) symbolic attempt to push the “reset” button on U.S.-Russian relations in the early days of the Obama administration.

You may recall that on March 6, 2009, then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Geneva, Switzerland to present her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov with a red button with the Russian text ‚Äú–Ņ–Ķ—Ä–Ķ–≥—Ä—É–∑–ļ–į‚ÄĚ.

Secretary of State Clinton gives Russia a “reset” of diplomatic relations – or does she? (Credit: CNN)

It was intended that this would be the Russian word for “reset“. Clinton explained that she wanted to reset relations between Russia and the United States, which had according to her and the Obama administration had stagnated and even deteriorated over the previous decade.

However, Lavrov explained to Clinton that ‚Äú–Ņ–Ķ—Ä–Ķ–≥—Ä—É–∑–ļ–į‚ÄĚ actually means ‚Äúovercharge”. The two pressed the button anyway, with Clinton explaining that the American side meant it; they wanted a new era of better ties. You can see the video here, one of the more cringe-worthy moments in recent diplomatic history.

Reset Button
“Reset” button (Credit: Free Republican)

Today, 7 years after this “reset” relationship, the misspelled button may have been more accurately symbolic then earlier believed, as we learn that a decade-low one percent (1%) of Russians approveof American leadership, according to new poll results released May 26, 2016 by U.S. pollster Gallup.

In fact, Gallup said that Russia’s view of the U.S. is the lowest in the world and comes at a time when Moscow is flexing its military muscle in hotspots like Syria, while Obama is struggling to use force.

(Editor: So THIS is what progressive politics looks like and achieves. Not sure I get what all the fuss and hoopla is about. Perhaps this definition of “progressive” is what they are referring to:

pro·gres·sive

pr…ôňą…°resiv/
adjective
(of a disease or ailment) increasing in severity or extent. (“progressive liver failure”)

And no matter how the loony left paints this, it does matter what the world thinks of America. I’m not referring to a mentally-weak, neurotic need to be noticed, even (God forbid) loved.

I’m talking about an America that in a very real sense is at risk of attack and/or even sudden destruction… if her enemies think that for even 5 minutes, they catch Her asleep at the switch.

Overly dramatic? Fear-mongering? Consider the things Russia has done when America has been wide awake:

March 2012 – at the beginning of the now 5-year Syrian Civil War, America supported a measure to bring sanctions to the Assad government, which was vetoed by Russia, to the frustration of all.

Tupolev_Tu-95_Bear,_Russia_-_Air_Force_JP7607398July 2012 two Tu-95 Bears were intercepted by NORAD fighters in the air defense zone off the U.S. coast of Alaska, where they may have been practice-targeting Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base.

August 2012 – An Akula-class submarine had conducted a patrol within the Gulf of Mexico without being detected, raising alarms of the U.S. Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

February 12, 2013 – just hours before the 2013 State of the Union Address, two Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles circled the United States territory of Guam. Air Force F-15 jets based on Andersen Air Force Base were scrambled to intercept the aircraft. The Russian aircraft reportedly “were intercepted and left the area in a northbound direction.

russia-crimea-invasion-1April 2014 Р10,000 unmarked Russian soldiers seized the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine, an invasion that followed Ukraine’s ousting of a pro-Moscow leader. Despite denials from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the time that the troops belonged to Russia, he later admitted that he deployed them. Over 8,000 people, mostly civilians, are killed.

th6KSNSO1BJuly 17, 2014 Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777 flying from the Netherland to Malaysia’s capital, Kaula Lampur, disappears from radar and the jumbo jet is soon discovered blown to pieces in a field in the Ukraine. The Russians are accused by the Ukrainians, in the midst of a war, of shooting it down with a surface to air missile, but the BBC thinks a military jet may have shot it down. 298 people are killed, the worst aviation disaster in 20 years.

September 30, 2015 Russia lands troops in Syria and immediately begins over 1,000 airstrikes against stated “ISIS” targets (though ISIS resources were never anywhere nearby). As a result of Russia’s efforts, it’s estimated that 400 settlements and 10,000 km2 of land was reclaimed for Syrian government

As we reported earlier in the year, Russian fighter jets staged a mock attack on a US ship in the Black Sea region.

The Russians in fact have made it a bit of an art form to mock and ridicule the United States, especially her lightning-rod President. For example, the New York Post reported last month that:

A Russian company is trying to cash in on the chilly relations between Moscow and Washington by releasing an ice cream called ‚ÄúLittle Obama‚ÄĚ, irritating U.S. officials.

thC3Y8Y272The product, called ‚ÄúObamka‚ÄĚ in Russian, is glazed with chocolate and its wrapping features an image of a smiling young African boy, wearing an ear ring and holding an ice cream.

You might think that this is just harmless business fun – a little big-boy teasing?

No America, it’s time to wake up. You can’t afford 4 years of Hillary Clinton as President. I fear you couldnt afford the years you already had with her as Secretary of State either. An indictment or several on the former First Lady might assist in balancing that out.

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ūüϧ By Retro Russia, Founding Blog Member
Calling Out Community
‚úí Posted June 14, 2016

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