Tag Archives: Angela Merkel

2016: Beginning Badly

cologne fireworksWow! We’re just completing the first full week in 2016 and God help us, if this is merely a harbinger of more of the same to follow.

Let’s see, worldwide financial markets have sold off enough during this past week, due to the extreme volatility taking place in the Chinese markets, that some observers are saying we are now, officially, in a bear—that is declining—market. The Casey Research newsletter says that since Monday the world’s stock markets have lost US$2.5 trillion of their investors’ money! The newsletter quoted George Soros comment about what this first week in 2016 means:cartoon chinese stock

“I would say it amounts to a crisis. When I look at the financial markets there is a serious challenge which reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008.”

Of course, it’s not just the stock markets that have been falling. Commodity prices have also been plunging for a while. According to Stephen Poloz, Canada’s central bank governor:

“Since mid-2014—when oil prices started to free-fall—Poloz said the country has lost more than $50 billion in national income or about $1,500 per Canadian.” Times-Colonist, Victoria, B.C., Jan. 8, 2016.

poloz diceSince Canada is a major commodity producer its currency, the Canadian dollar, has also been under strong downward pressure on currency exchange markets, dropping from parity with the U.S.dollar in 2013 to being worth less the 0.71 U.S. cents today. This is why I’m paying $3 per pound for California broccoli when its on sale. Otherwise, it costs $5 per pound! Of course, the rising price of all food is not just due to unfavourable exchange rates.

I went to my local health food store the other day to replenish my supply of organic soft white wheat, which is great for making pancakes, dumplings, biscuits, or pie crusts. A forty-pound sack cost me CDN$69.00. Back in the 1980s I remember paying maybe $25 per sack for the same wheat. Oh yes, we know there’s inflation. But when I asked the store manager, whom I’ve know for a long time, whether $69 was a good price, or should I wait until a new supply comes in, he said that it’s not just a question of how much, but whether it’s even available in the first place. He said his wholesalers have been shorting him on what they’ll actually deliver on his orders. The wholesale suppliers are informally rationing what they’ll actually deliver to their retail store customers giving them only half of what they’ve ordered or none at all for some items. I purchased the last sack at the store that day. In short, the weather has not be favourable as it was previously and there is not the supply. Climate change?

And what about what’s going on in the Middle East? The United States under the leadershipobama1 of one of its worst presidents ever is continuing to betray its allies and appease its enemies. The Pax Americana that kept the lid on much of this world’s proclivity to violence since the Second World War is obviously breaking down. America’s enemies don’t take much of what Barak Obama says seriously, because they now know he’s just a paper tiger.

And then there’s the massive wave of 1.1 million Islamic migrants last year into Europe, especially Germany, that has unnerved a whole continent. The New Year’s Eve sexual assaults and rapes of women by “Arabic and North African-looking” men in German public places before cologne held handshundreds or even thousands of witnesses have provided some facts to fuel European anti-immigrant sentiment. According to Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

“The fears and prejudices of people have thus been completely fulfilled, and much faster than expected. Those who have been skeptical feel themselves vindicated and those who have said ‘We can do it!’ [quoting Angela Merkel’s pro-immigrant sentiment] feel unnerved.”

And, of course, in France, Islamic terrorism keeps popping up as a North African immigrant shouting “Allah Akbar” tried to attack the guards in front of police station on the one-year anniversary of the jihadist massacres at Charlie Hebdo.

All these problems are out of the control and beyond the influence of the likes of you or me and they merely add more stress to whatever our personal circumstances have already thrown on our shoulders. What is the solution to our stress? How can you and I remain productive and positive in 2016? I’d like to quote from R.T. Brooks about the secret of how to not only cope but thrive in a time like ours.

“The New Testament is clear that a stress-free life is no part of the Christian promise. What is offered is a way of bearing stress—a way that makes the experience creative without its ceasing to be painful. Physical suffering, family tension, and social insecurity were all part of what the disciples were told to expect. But they were also told that in those experiences they would discover the power of God’s Spirit. The yoke is a natural image of stress and strain, and yet, Jesus offers his yoke [of loving God with all your heart and of loving neighbour as oneself] to the heavy laden, saying, ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’”

The solution to this world’s problems are spiritual. Be part of the solution not part of the problem. Let’s all resolve to dig into the Bible to find not only a relief from stress, but also a plan of action for a dangerous time.

Anxiety & Fear: Good, Bad, Both

Be a Stress Survivor

Will the flood of migrants occupy and change us?

flood refugeesThe flood of some 800,000 migrants and refugees streaming into Europe in 2015 are stretching the Old World’s civic resources and in some places the public’s civility. And this flood of new arrivals is showing no signs of slowing down. Some officials are now speculating that about 3 million people will come to search for a better life in the West over the next few years. Will the status quo of the West be disrupted and undermined by the cultural/religious baggage that these millions of newcomers are bringing with them?

On Sept. 7th Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the “breathtaking” flow of migrants into Germany will “occupy and change” the country in the coming years. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34173720merkel selfie

Yes indeed! But will it be for the better or the worse? With a general EU unemployment rate hovering close to 11%, most European nations are struggling to create new jobs for their existing population much less millions of newcomers. And the current financial gurus of these same  European nations are struggling to balance their budgets and pay their sovereign debts. Austerity is the word for the financial situation for a significant number European nation states. Consequently, the disadvantaged and unemployed among the established population of Europe viscerally fears the additional competition for scarce jobs and the shrinking welfare benefits that the arrival of this tidal wave of new migrants will herald.  No one in the EU is talking about how much it will cost the various European governments to take care of this tidal wave of asylum seekers.

Here in Canada our new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is eagerly trying to make good on its election promise to let in 25,000 Syrian refugees this year. How they will do this, and how much is it going to cost us, has not been announced. With the price of oil dropping to U.S.$40 a barrel, Canada’s export earnings and tax revenues are tanking. Oil and gas companies in Alberta, the heartland of our oil patch, have already cut more than 36,000 direct jobs so far in 2015. I haven’t seen any figures giving the knock-on effects of these lay-offs and the dozens of cancelled oil sands development projects with the exception of the skyrocketing commercial office vacancy rate. The financial writer, Doug Casey, says Canada is in denial, as to how badly we are being hurt by the incredible collapse of the oil prices.

Yesterday, I was listening to a CBC radio interview with a variety of administrators of immigrant resettlement NGOs who were saying that, as it presently stands, they lack the personnel, housing, and financial resources to deal with such a large number of new immigrants. No money=no capacity for them to help these new people to resettle.

And what about security and domestic terrorism concerns? At present all the media wants to talk about here in Canada is: logistics. Only occasionally is there a comment that slips by the media gate-keepers from someone expressing a concern about “security” or the culture conflict from people who’ve lived all their lives in nations that have traditionally persecuted Christians and other religious or ethnic minorities, not to mention the LGBTQ crowd.  Security is really the elephant in the room everyone refuses to acknowledge. Is anyone really paying attention to what is going on throughout the Middle East and the top half of Africa? If Islam is really such a peaceful religion, why is it that all those Islamic dominated regions are in flames?

manal omarThe Foreign Policy magazine has recently featured in its argument section a debate entitled: Is Islam to Blame for Its Extremists? On one side is Manal Omar arguing that this religion isn’t the cause but rather socio-economic conditions, while on the other side is Aayan Hirsi Ali who argues that Islam is both explicitly and directly to blame for ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and all the other head-chopping, sex slaving jihadi Muslims who capture the media’s attention whenever they perpetrate some new nightmarish brutality. http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/11/is-islam-to-blame-for-its-extremistaayaan ali

Recently, Frederica Mogherini, who is the European Union’s head of foreign affairs and security policy, dismissed the whole notion of a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, when responding to some recent brutal Islamist terror attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France. Smarting under the criticism of those who have the temerity to suggest that this mass immigration of Muslims to Europe might not be a good thing, Mogherini countered:

“Islam belongs in Europe. It holds a place in Europe’s history, in our culture, in our food and – what matters most – in Europe’s present and future. I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture. Religion plays a role in politics – not always for good, not always frederica mogfor bad. Religion can be part of the process. What makes the difference is whether the process is democratic or not.”

Nevertheless Journalist Paul Joseph Watson in his story about Mogherini observes, “Mogherini’s comments will do little to dispel concerns that world leaders are hesitant to fully acknowledge, the threat posed by ISIS, and the fact the group’s campaign of terror is very much Islamic, for fear of appearing politically incorrect. Indeed, the current debate about how to stop ISIS is not centered around combating the ideology (lifted straight from the Koran) that motivates ISIS’ thousands of fighters and its millions of supporters, but an obsession with not calling the group “Islamic”. http://www.infowars.com/eu-security-head-political-islam-is-the-future-of-europe/

This is why a true prophet, Isaiah, warns us in poetic language to beware, for only dystopia is going to result from our leaders lack of understanding and vigilance:

All you ·animals [beasts] of the field, all you animals of the forest, come to ·eat [devour]. ·The leaders who are to guard the people [L His watchmen] are blind; they ·don’t know what they are doing [lack knowledge; are ignorant].

All of them are like ·quiet [mute; or muzzled] dogs that ·don’t know how to [cannot] bark.

They lie down and dream and love to sleep.

They are like ·hungry [greedy; ravenous] dogs that are never satisfied.

They are like shepherds who ·don’t know what they are doing [lack understanding; are ignorant.

They all have gone their own way; ·all they want to do is satisfy themselves [each seeks their own gain/profit]. Isaiah 56:9-11 Expanded Bible

 

Finem Respice! Principiis Obsta! The Rise of the 4th Reich?

Finem respice! Principiis obsta!  Yeah, you know I must be an antiquity since I did indeed study Latin in the 8th grade in public school. But a little Latin and a love of history and the Bible does give me something of an edge when it comes to discerning the World Tomorrow. After all, as King Solomon the Wise once wrote:

What has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done,

and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,

“See, this is new”?

It has been already

in the ages before us (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10,

English Standard Version).

Finem respice means “consider the end,” while Principiis obsta translates as “resist the beginnings.” I lifted these Latin phrases from Milton Mayer’s 1955 book They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, published by the University of Chicago Press.

Mayer’s book was all about how the Nazis used the human nature and cultural characteristics of the German people in order to manipulate and gradually subvert them in order to ensure their acquiescence to, and then compliance with their evil program of world war and genocide.

Most of us are somewhat familiar with a small portion of Mayer’s book in which he relates the observation of a German university professor during the 1930s and 1940s who remarked that the Nazis first targeted the Communists, then the Socialists, and next the Jews, etc., but the professor did nothing because he wasn’t one of them. Mayer wrote:

Pastor Niemöller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing; and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something—but then it was too late.
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html

Of course, as the Nazi program unfolded, the pastor and the professor and  others like them, found themselves being isolated and then targeted. But by then it was too late as there were too few left to effectively stand and resist with them.

You see, at the beginning of the Hitler regime in 1933, the Nazis didn’t seem all that bad—a little uncouth, maybe. But after all, they had great ideas about how to rescue the economy, get people back to work, and restore some of Germany’s lost pride. So most Germans hopped aboard the Nazi Volkswagen and went along for the ride. But, of course, there was a catch, wasn’t there? There was a price to be paid in blood. Millions of Germans had their lives and families destroyed by the Second World War. One must foresee the end in order to resist, or even to perceive the mild beginnings of oppression and tyranny.

The recent Dec. 9-10th emergency Brussels meeting of the European Union marks a critical new beginning for that supra-national body. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the press at the end of the conference “This is the breakthrough to the stability union.”

The breakthrough that 26 or the 27 European Union members agreed to was about agreeing to create a new inter-governmental treaty by which all the participating nations will have to submit their national budgets for approval by the European Commission bureaucracy, which will have the authority to veto it and order it to be revised.

The new treaty will also create an unspecified “automatic correction mechanism” that will punish any country that breaks the new European Commission fiscal rules. At least, that’s where it starts.According to the European Central Bank’s president Mario Draghi:

“It’s a very good outcome for the euro area, very good. It is going to be the basis for much more disciplined economic policy for euro-area members. And certainly is going to be helpful in the present situation.”

Well, I’m glad Mr. Draghi thinks so.  However, as of December 12th the world’s financial markets have not been as thrilled as Mr. Draghi with this outcome. But then, neither was Great Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron.  His was the sole dissenting voice to this newly promised Euro discipline, and he forcefully resisted this push by Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and France’s President Sarkozy.

Cameron tenaciously defended his refusal to go along, saying to the press at the close of the Brussels conference on Friday:

What was on offer [by Merkel and Sarkozy] is not in Britain’s interest so I didn’t agree to it. We’re not in the euro and I’m glad we’re not in the euro. We’re never going to join the euro and we’re never going to give up this kind of sovereignty that these countries are having to give up.

Some of the French, though probably a minority, actually agree in principle more with the British Prime Minister than with their own president. Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who has just announced his candidacy for the upcoming French presidential elections in April-May 2012, dismissed the Merkel-Sarkozy deal that would bind the countries that use the euro ever more closer together, including giving officials in Brussels control over national budgets, remarking:

“We’re falling in line behind interests that are not those of France. I think we need more courage than that!”

Simon Heffer, a prominent English Euroskeptic, wrote in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper as quoted by newstatesman.com:

“What we are witnessing is the economic colonization of Europe by stealth by the Germans. Once, it would have taken an invading military force to topple the leadership of a European nation. Today, it can be done through sheer economic pressure.” This is, he says, the “rise of the Fourth Reich,” in which Germany is “using the financial crisis to conquer Europe.” Fiscal union, favoured by some as the long-term solution, “would make Europe effectively a German empire” and lead to “a loss of sovereignty not seen…since many were under the jackboot of the Third Reich.” http://www.newstatesman.com/print/201111240017

The motivating force behind the new German push is neither Nazism nor an overly ambitious or aggressive German lust for European domination. Rather, paradoxically, it is fear – fear of the present and fear of the past.

Any student of modern European history over the last 300-400 years knows that whenever there has been a strong continental European power seeking to assemble a coalition of European states under its hegemony, whatever the reason, the end result has always been disastrous for regional peace and freedom. Has human nature changed? Can a leopard change its spots? Are the Germans still Germans, the French still French, and the United Kingdom still British?

If you would like to learn more about what is going to happen in the future and Bible prophecy, check out my video presentation “Who Will Be King” on http://cogwebcast.com/

 

 

Multikulti is dead! What can we do about Islamic indigestion?

Germany’s attempt since the 1950s to create an integrated multicultural society by incorporating millions of Islamic immigrants, mainly from Turkey, has failed. According to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a Potsdam speech on October 16th to the youth wing of the Christian Democratic Union:

“This approach has failed—totally!”

Canadian politicians, ever enraptured with our own rosy version of multiculturalism, should pay attention. For decades the integration of Muslims into Europe has been experienced as a costly and divisive social issue. But now, the multiculturalism policy that allowed Muslim immigration into Europe is recognized by mainstream leaders such as the German Chancellor as a serious policy failure.

For European Union members such as Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark the failure to assimilate the Muslim millions now plays an increasing role in deciding elections and the policies of the resulting governments of these nations.

At present laws are being considered or passed in Europe to outlaw the wearing of certain types of Muslim headscarves, provide more effective language training, restrict locations for building mosques, or tightening immigration policies. Will such efforts resolve Europe’s Islamic indigestion? The answer to this piecemeal approach is simple: too little, too late!

So what can we do about Islamic indigestion? What do you think the Europeans should do? Stay tuned for my next blog.

Are you naked and short?

Are you naked and short? Well, let me first clarify that I’m not talking about whether you are clothes- or height-challenged.  Rather, I’m talking about one of the current hot topics on the world financial scene that will be on the agenda at the upcoming G20 Summit in Toronto.

Most Canadians, if they know anything at all about the coming Toronto G20 meeting,  have only heard that we, the taxpayers, are going to have to pay a $1Billion event tab to safely throw this political/financial workshop and photo-op for the media and the leader’s of the world’s top 20 economies.

The main thing to focus your attention on is not the outrageous cost or the colourful, noisy antics of the anarchist protestors, but on the serious global issues that these leaders are trying to tackle. The real question is, “Will they develop a new effective, collaborative strategy to prevent our slide back into another round of financial recession, or perhaps even global financial meltdown?” The world’s financial system is on the ropes these days, to use a boxing analogy, due to unprecedented high levels of national debt and the  instability this creates in financial markets. We are on the verge of drastic and dramatic actions that will profoundly alter the world’s status quo.

On one side of the ring are the world’s leaders, their central bankers and financial ministers. On the other side are the world’s financial market speculators/gamblers. The speculator/gamblers have really been hitting some of these leaders hard.

The speculator’s blows are really hurting. In fact they’ve been making headlines in the financial world’s media: weakening values of currencies like the Euro and reducing confidence in the sovereign debt bond values of countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, Belgium and more. All this results in escalating borrowing costs and emergency bailouts, forcing the leaders to slash away at their national budgets in order to reduce the surge of red ink that is cutting deep and enraging many of their citizens. There is, literally, blood on the floor as a result of this bare-knuckle financial fight!

To fight back, leaders like Germany’s, Angela Merkel, and France’s, Nicolas Sarkozy, are seeking to neutralize the favourite punch of the speculator/gamblers: the naked short selling of certain stocks and bonds and the naked credit default swaps on sovereign bonds.

Naked what? Naked short selling of stocks and bonds is when investors sell securities they never owned nor even arranged formally to borrow! Naked shorting of credit default swaps is when traders buy swaps linked to bonds they don’t own!

In the old days market traders had to actually deliver the literal paper stock/bond certificates of the financial instruments they were trading.  These certificates were kept in enormous vaults located at the major stock/bond trading cities and were counted and shuffled around. But with the rise of high-resolution copiers, counterfeiting became a major problem so the system shifted to digital record keeping.

But the problem is the digital record keeping has been very sloppy and lax. Some of these securities being traded don’t even exist. And naked short-selling is simply selling what you don’t own and haven’t borrowed. This is fraud pure and simple.

In the old days the cautionary limerick for financial brokers and traders went something like this: HE WHO SELLS WHAT IZN’T HIZEN, PAYZ THE PRICE OR GOES TO PRIZON.

But rather than sending them to prison, we’ve been highly esteeming the financial market’s wealthy speculators/gamblers who naked short sell because they’ve been giving their clients high returns.  And these clients, of course, are the rich and powerful of this world, whether individuals, or corporations, or institutions like pension funds.

While the speculator/gamblers have been profitably playing this Alice in Wonderland game for some time now, it would appear that at the G20 meeting the European Union’s heavyweights, Germany and France, will push the United States, Britain, and Canada – the champions of unfettered markets – to move from their current positions in order to control what and how investors can buy and sell. They may also be pushing for a single world currency in order to take away from the speculators their ability to play the present world currencies against each other.

The world is entering uncharted waters of change due to this financial crisis that is not being resolved with the traditional solutions open to an individual nation or a small group of individual nations. Is it time to pay attention to the mysterious, and perhaps, controversial Book of Revelation to ponder where this might lead us? Consider the implications of Revelation 13:16-17:

16Also he compels all [alike], both small and great, both the rich and the poor, both free and slave, to be marked with an inscription [stamped] on their right hands or on their foreheads,

17So that no one will have power to buy or sell unless he bears the stamp (mark, inscription), [that is] the name of the beast or the number of his name (Amplified version).

Any attempt to regulate human greed on a global scale, which is how our financial markets work these days, necessitates the creation of a compulsory global system that all will require all players to participate in and obey.  Now, if God were in charge of such a system, then I could know that it would not be oppressive; it would be just and fair:

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty–emancipation from bondage, freedom (2 Corinthians 3 Amplified).

Unfortunately, I doubt the decisions made to deal with the problems in our financial system that will be made during this coming G20 and  subsequent meetings will exemplify liberty and freedom. The decisions will undoubtedly mean more regulation and more control over us rather than less. So, here is a reminder for all of us to exercise endurance and faith in the days to come whatever the news that issues from the G20 meeting in Toronto.