Tag Archives: European Union

The Sunset of the American Empire

1-Obama-vs-PutinWhen it comes to the quick and successful Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula, U.S. President Barak Obama insists that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “on the wrong side of history.”

Again, in comments about the Crimean takeover, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “The world cannot just allow this to happen.” But neither Obama administration nor the other Western democracies are even remotely suggesting they use the military option to meet such aggression with determination and power.

Neither Obama’s America nor the European Union will risk going to war with Russia over the fate of the Crimea or even ALL the eastern Russian-speaking half of the Ukraine. It’s just Putin’s for the taking.

Like the recent crisis in Syria over the use of poison gas to kill Syrian rebels and civilians, it appears that Putin’s Russia is setting the agenda in the arenas of its choosing.

And I have to acknowledge that in such an age as ours with its omnipresent video and social putin bear obamamedia, Putin is remarkably media savvy. He has cleverly stage-managed a Crimean velvet invasion, avoiding nasty scenes on the nightly news and Internet of Russian troops causing violence and bloodshed.

Still, whatever the Russian rationale (and they can make an interesting case) the heart of the issue remains clear in international law: invasion of one state by another without a serious existential threat or provocation in order to annex coveted territory is plainly and simply a no-no. If not effectively opposed and reversed what’s happened in Crimea will be a blinking neon sign advertising that its now open season for the world’s aggressors to initiate a new round of changes to the world’s maps.

What’s at stake is not just about defending the right of Ukrainians to decide their own future. What’s hanging in the balance is the whole structure of current international relations and the present status quo. Is the crisis in the Ukraine announcing the sunset of the American Empire? Has America effectively abandoning its role as the world’s policeman?  And, if it will not longer act as the dominant power of the world—how long will it be before the American dollar also loses its role world’s reserve currency? The implications of all this is profound. Is the American era unraveling and coming to an end before our very eyes?

The consequences of what has happened in Crimea should not be viewed in isolation from what has been happening elsewhere on the world stage over the recent past. There are some principles iranian hostage crisisof human affairs that are immutable. High stakes diplomacy is inevitably a test of wills. Every act by a state during a crisis signals either of its strong will and convictions or its lack thereof. Weakness invites more aggression.

The present situation calls for a beefy presidential backbone rather than a turkey wishbone to be sitting in the Oval Office. Many commentators are drawing parallels between Jimmy Carter’s weak presidency and that of the current occupant of the White House. But actually, the situation for America now is much more dire now than it was 35 years ago during the Iranian hostage crisis.

crimea europe mapWithout strong leadership from America, the rest of the Western democracies will prove unwilling to make any move that could harm their own narrow economic interests and/or complicate their domestic politics. Besides, all together, the Western allies just don’t possess the raw military power that the U.S. does.

Although the United States actually has the power to force a reversal of the Crimean takeover, America’s political leadership doesn’t have the strength of will that comes from strong moral convictions to actually use that power to stand up for the underdog Ukrainians.

Of course this isn’t the first time the current U.S. president preferred wet noodles over backbone. This is the same president who last year refused to force the Shi’ite Iranians to stop developing their nuclear weapons program that threatens to destroy and/or intimidate America’s major allies in the Middle East: Jewish Israel and the Sunni Arab petro-states of the Persian Gulf.

So why does the United States lack the backbone to speak softly while credibly threatening to use their great big stick on the world’s bullies? Why indeed!soldier flag

The answer is surprising.

From its founding, America thought of itself as an “exceptional” nation, a shining city on the hill beckoning all of humanity to embrace high moral values. The explicit foundation of this American “exceptionalism” was the nation’s Judeo-Christian morality, which was sustained by a vibrant personal religious zeal that believed that faith must be put into action whatever the cost in time, treasure, and blood. This lively personal piety flowed from the private sphere into the public sphere to enlighten the conduct of the nation’s business. Judeo-Christian morality informed the government in its policies, diplomacy, and even the exercise of power. Americans saw themselves as the best hope to change and improve the world. And they did something about it because they believed they had a mission to do so.

But for two generations now the well-spring of American exceptionalism has been dramatically drying up just like the American Southwest has been drying up in its worst drought in 500 years. In ca droughtfact most leaders of the American public sphere can no longer sincerely proclaim “In God We Trust” without a large dose of brazen hypocrisy. I almost gag when I hear some particular American politicians say, “God bless America.” They are such hypocrites!

Major segments of America’s leadership have completely turned their backs on biblical morality and are actively seeking to undermine and destroy it.

Consequently, the shining city is being transformed—rapidly now—into a 21st Century version of Sodom and Gomorrah with a heavy emphasis on prosperity and almost none on biblical morals. The shining city on the hill is fast becoming a den of iniquity that must resort to buying its lovers attention since it can no longer attract them with the beauty of sincere high moral virtues.

As a direct consequence, the Bible’s God promises that He will “break the pride of your power” (see Leviticus 26:18-19). God is speaking in this scripture of an “exceptional” nation that once publicly claimed Him far and wide as their God. But such a people later turned against Him and became degenerate in the both public and private spheres as defined according to the biblical scriptures. As a consequence, those people were punished and punished some more until they repented of their faithlessness and turned back to their God.

Woe to any nation like the Ukraine that depends on a similar faithless, hypocritical nation to defend it from the covetousness of an audacious enemy. A hypocritical, faithless nation’s pride in its power will always be broken—eventually. The Ukrainian crisis is revealing to the bullies of the world just how weak America’s pride in its power has become.

Leviticus 26:18-19 (ESV) 18 And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, 19 and I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.

When Does the Other Shoe Fall?

Last week the most astonishing news came out of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put together, unexpectedly, a much larger governing Likud coalition for the State of Israel by bringing into the government the middle-of-the –road, politically speaking, Kadima party. This new unity government controls a little more than 78 percent of the votes in the Israeli parliament. Very few governments in the Western, democratic world can match that sort of consensus. In fact, the weighty impact of this majority is described by one Israeli columnist as a “hundred tons of solid concrete” (Charles Krauthammer, Netanyahu’s unity government prepares the ground for May 1967, National Post, May 11, 2012). What does Netanyahu’s move mean?

Oh yawn, you think. Another boring news story about byzantine coalition-building? I mean, over the weekend all we heard about was how the Greeks have been unable to cobble together enough similarly minded parties to run a government that would either go along with the German-imposed austerity plan or reject it. This political deadlock will most certainly force that nation back to the polls in another 3 or 4 weeks to see if the Greek nation can achieve a majority consensus one way or the other.

But what is happening in Israel, today, is diametrically the opposite of what is happening in Greece. Yet these opposites are part of a continuum of change that is going to dramatically rock the world in the near future. How? Why?

In Israel it is clear that Netanyahu in making his coalition deal with Kadima turned down an opportunity to call elections for this fall at a time when the polls clearly indicated Likud would win another mandate for four more years of government and do it in a manner that would increase the number of the Likud seats in the Knesset.  So why make a big tent coalition that at the most has only 17 more months in power before parliamentary elections must be held? The math doesn’t make sense on the face of it. Why pick 17 months of governing authority instead of 48?

Well, Netanyahu isn’t doing the coalition deal to force concessions from his right-wing religious coalition partners about requiring the ultra-orthodox Israeli Jews to actually do their compulsory army service like all the rest of the Israelis. Though it will help.

Nor is he doing it to be able to make painful concessions to the Palestinians in peace talks. The Palestinians really can’t bring themselves to make a deal that Netanyahu could live with. After all, deep down, the Palestinians are holding out for the whole Canaan pie not just a slice of the pie in the West Bank and Gaza. Peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis are a zero-sum game. That’s why no solution has been able to be found ever since the United Nations split up the old British mandate of Palestine in 1947. Netanyahu understands this. So that is not a reason for his new super-majority coalition.

The reason for this “hundred tons of solid concrete” is to make a crucial, nationally existential decision within a rather narrow window of five months beginning now and running to shortly before the U.S. elections on November 11, 2012: Does Israel stop Iran in its headlong drive for nuclear weapons or not?

Israel must act during this time while Egypt and Syria are still divided and in confusion. Israel must act while Barak Obama still needs the votes of American Jews and those of many other Americans who are both friends of Israel and democrats. Once Obama is re-elected this fall, which is likely, Netanyahu doubts his tiny nation could expect much help from what was once its most important ally.

Israelis have had to learn the hard way that it is foolish to ignore the threats of annihilation uttered long and loud by their enemies.  The effects of such a conflict as a catalyst will be profound, and unsettling, leading to many unanticipated consequences in both the European Union, the United States, and  other nation states.

It is amazing to think that here we are in the 21st Century and still a little nation called Israel and the Jews continue to play a central role in the theatre that is Western civilization. Consider this prophecy that is as current today as when it was originally penned about 520 B.C by the Prophet Zechariah:

I have decided that Jerusalem will become a bowl of wine that makes the neighboring nations drunk. And when Jerusalem is attacked, Judah will also be attacked. But I will turn Jerusalem into a heavy stone that crushes anyone who tries to lift it.

When all nations on earth surround Jerusalem, I will make every horse panic and every rider confused. But at the same time, I will watch over Judah. Then every clan in Judah will realize that I, the Lord All-Powerful, am their God, and that I am the source of their strength.

 At that time I will let the clans of Judah be like a ball of fire in a wood pile or a fiery torch in a hay stack. Then Judah will send the surrounding nations up in smoke. And once again the city of Jerusalem will be filled with people (Zechariah 12:2-6 Contemporary English Version).

What to Watch for in 2012!

If the single word that typified the zeitgeist of 2011 was uncertainty, then the spirit of 2012 will probably be just more of the same piled higher and deeper. Are we at a turning point, a crossroads in our present social/political order that has prevailed since the end of the Second World War?

There is so much that is at play in the world today. For the last few weeks there have been many commentators who have written predictions about what will actually happen during the next 12 months. Predicting the future, even by the world’s most outstanding analysts, remains a remarkably complex, error-prone task—perhaps akin to trying to solve a “triazzle.”

In a triazzle each piece of the puzzle has three sides that all can be mixed and matched with the other pieces of the game in a number of seemingly logical ways. After being induced by visual clues to pursue one particular hunch, a gamer may initially find that the pieces do seem to easily fit the desired pattern until—while holding the very last piece of the puzzle —the gamer discovers that it’s all wrong! And the seemingly sound, logical assumptions based on what seemed like solid evidentiary clues turned out to be in reality a misleading tease that kept the triazzle gamer from seeing how the pieces to the puzzle really fit together.

What we do know will happen in 2012 is that four of the five most powerful nations of the world—four of the five permanent U.N. Security Council member—will see some type of leadership changes. America and France have elections this year that may not return the incumbants to office. Russia also is holding presidential elections although they are mostly for show. Vladamir Putin will continue to run the nation and is just changing offices after playing a little game of musical chairs, moving back to the Kremlin offices of the presidency from the prime minister’s more humble offices. In China, Xi Jinping is considered the most likely person to take over the presidency from Hu Jintao. And, it is estimated that around 70% of the rest of China’s leadership will also change during the upcoming Chinese Communist Party’s congress this fall.

As for the “Arab Spring,” look for the steady rise to political power of Islamic fundamentalists in Egypt and in other newly “un-dictatored” countries of that region. Watch as the values held dear by the secular Western liberal democracies fail to thrive in the lands where the majority hold that Mohammed is the only sort of prophet that counts.

Regarding the European Union, look for more financial bad news that will put the euro and consequently the various euro-zone governments under increasing pressure. Look for the weakest of the weak European nations to seriously consider jumping the EU ship, or perhaps be pushed over the railing by Germany and the European Central Bank. The stronger euro-zone nations, however, will probably feel more heat to circle the wagons and cede additional financial/political sovereignty to a central E.U. authority, as that will be touted again, by Germany and the ECB, as being the only way to defend themselves from an increasingly bleak financial situation.

Yes, we all know that the developed world’s public and private finances will continue to wallow in a morass of public and private debt. Presently, the value of the U.S. Treasury Bonds and the U.S. dollar have strengthened remarkably in recent months due to massive influxes of global capital seeking a safe haven from the uncertainties posed by the European Union’s tottering euro. The U.S. dollar is still seen for the most part by financiers as the world’s reserve currency.

But the question is for how long? The U.S. dollar at present is only the best of the worst in comparison to the Japanese yen or the E.U.’s euro. There is an on-going move by global central bankers to diversify away from holding too many U.S. dollars in their reserves. They are making major purchases of gold bullion. And the Chinese have been striking deals with their south-east Asian trading partners so that they will no longer use the U.S. dollar as their mutual medium of exchange for business. Instead these Asian tigers are agreeing to facilitate their mutual importing/exporting by directly exchanging their own national currencies, cutting out the previously essential middleman role formerly held by the U.S. dollar.

The United States government has an extremely serious problem of annual budget deficits now running in the trillions of dollars. Watch as this annual operating deficit inexorably adds to an already obscene mountain of American federal government debt that will soon be more than 80% of the entire nation’s annual gross domestic product.

The only possible solutions to this coming U.S. budgetary Armageddon are to heavily depreciate the value of the dollar in order to allow exports to surge and/or to severely cut a wide variety of expenditures, including medicare and social security. But watch in 2012 as America fails to find a charismatic leader with a sound, convincing vision for the nation that can muster enough political will to do what needs to be done before it is too late.

Consequently, you should look for American public opinion to remain about evenly divided. And, thus, the financial and political reforms needed to effectively, and calmly turn around this looming national catastrophe in a timely rational manner, will be stymied.

Look for inflation to increase significantly as the stresses caused by too much debt, too much money printing, and not enough real economic growth continue. The savings and standard of living of millions of Americans will erode dramatically as a vampire inflation sucks the life out of the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar.

Did your grandpa or grandma ever pass on to you any of the old worthless Confederate paper dollars or Confederate bonds that the family got stuck with during the Civil War? Did any of your old folks pass on the stories of what it was like when the money was no good and what the family did to survive when hungry and desperate? Metaphorically speaking, the value of the U.S. dollar is presently propped up more by the Fed’s push up bra, rather than by naturally abundant sound financial fundamentals.

So, watch for the continuing, slow decline of the American Empire in 2012. Unless, of course, an unexpected black swan event occurs. War with Iran and a subsequent oil shock? A horrendous natural disaster that destroys a major American city or a critical agricultural crop or energy production and distribution? If something really bad happens to the U.S.A. then all bets are off about the decline being slow!

But most of all, you should watch out for your own spiritual state in 2012. Most of us have very little influence over what does go on in this world. In geo-politics and macro-economics we are merely spectators. We watch and make our plans accordingly. But in our own personal life we do have a great influence on what we think about, and the type of character, morals, and ethics we choose to live by. Over such things we have power and are accountable for how we exercise it. I’m not responsible for the government’s finances, but I had better take care of my own state of affairs. In 2012, I repeat, we should be very watchful of our own spiritual state. As the Apostle Paul advises us:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 13-15 (NKJV)

Jesus of Nazareth himself advised us to be spiritually alert and ready to serve him in sincerity and truth at such a time when he decides to once again intervene in world affairs to save humanity from the consequences of our own collective stupidity:

Be dressed, ready for service, and have your lamps shining. Be like servants who are waiting for their master to come home from a wedding party. When he comes and knocks, the servants immediately open the door for him. They will be blessed when their master comes home, because he sees that they were watching for him. I tell you the truth, the master will dress himself to serve and tell the servants to sit at the table, and he will serve them. Those servants will be blessed when he comes in and finds them still waiting, even if it is midnight or later.
“Remember this: If the owner of the house knew what time a thief was coming, he would not allow the thief to enter his house. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at a time when you don’t expect him!” Luke 12:35-40 New Century Version


So don’t forget to watch your own spiritual state while keeping an eye on 2012’s many uncertainties.

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/

 

 

Ignoring the Big Bad Wolf? Take warning from reliable sources!


This evening I listened to the 6 p.m. news on CBC’s Radio 1 to catch up on the latest. The lead story was about the Executive Director of Scouts Canada resigning after less than a year in her new job. Next, there was a story about women and mammograms, or perhaps more accurately, when women shouldn’t get mammograms, as they have been over prescribed.

And then, there was a report about how the U.S.’s congressional super committee composed of 6 Republicans and 6 Democrats failed to agree on how to begin to cut the U.S.A.’s trillion-dollar budget deficit. Presently, for every dollar the U.S. federal government spends, it must borrow 36 cents. That means 36 percent of its budget must be financed by borrowing the money from the financial markets!

But, is it really news that the political situation in the U.S.A. is deadlocked and the nation divided. Most Americans know something about their unsustainable budget fiasco. They also know they are lacking the sound leadership to do something about their predicament, so their confidence in their elected representatives in Congress is at an all time low.

But it was the last part of this particular CBC news story that caught my attention. To conclude the reporting on the American impasse, the CBC cut away for a comment on the super committee’s failure by Christine Lagarde, who is the head of the International Monetary Fund. She remarked somewhat cryptically that this American bad news is especially ill-timed considering the extremely delicate situation in Europe.

Really, CBC ignored the biggest news story in the world at this moment that should have been last night’s lead. This story is about the unraveling of the European financial system, the Euro, and possibly the European Union itself, and how this is going to profoundly affect the lives of all of us living here in North America and everywhere else in the world.

Do you remember that it was the financial crisis of the 1930s that lead to the rise of the Nazis in Germany, the fascists in Spain and Italy, the militarists in Japan, and the isolationists and appeasers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France? The final outcome of all that economic volatility and bad or inadequate political leadership in the 1930s was the Second World War.

Craig Alexander, who is Senior Vice President & Chief Economist of the TD Bank Group (one of the major Canadian banks), sent out an unusually sober briefing on November 21, 2011, to the bank’s investing clientele, observing:

The European debt crisis is like the Energizer bunny. It keeps going, and going, and going. Financial markets remain gripped by events in Europe; and, this is entirely appropriate. If Europe loses control of the situation the resulting government debt defaults could lead to European bank failures that could, in turn, create a global financial crisis akin – if not worse– to that in late-2008.

There have been several recent key developments. First, major European banks now face the very real possibility of failing in the near future. As Porter Stansberry wrote in the S&A Digest last Friday:

Most of Europe’s major banks are insolvent. But only in the last week have they lost most of their access to additional funding. Their key source of funding has been U.S. money-market funds. But these funds are bailing out of Europe as quickly as they can. The result is a run on Europe’s banks. This crisis is now past the point where the authorities can hope to control the situation. We are now days (not weeks or months) away from the first major bank failures.

The United State’s renowned investment “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffet, while traveling in Japan on November 21, commented about the Euro zone crisis stating:

The system as presently designed has revealed a major flaw. And that flaw won’t be corrected just by words. Europe will either have to come closer together or there will have to be some other rearrangement because this system is not working.

The bottom line for Mr. Buffet is that the survival of the European Union (EU) itself is “in doubt now.” Buffet is following the European situation closely because he has more the U.S.$2 billion invested in Munich Re, a German re-insurance company.

Even that old staid Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, —where I once had a bank account during my 1970s student days in Switzerland—believes that the Euro sovereign debt crisis is now so bad that it will require a dramatic, massive intervention by the European Central Bank to cover the losses:

We seem to have entered the last days of the Euro as we currently know it. That doesn’t make a break-up very likely, but it does mean some extraordinary things will almost certainly need to happen – probably by mid-January – to prevent the progressive closure of all the Euro zone sovereign bond markets, potentially accompanied by escalating runs on even the strongest banks.

Something dramatic is going to happen—soon—that is going to reshuffle the world’s geo-political-financial deck of cards in order to save Europe’s house of cards. Some astute financial commentators are expecting that we will see the most massive government intervention in history to the tune of trillions in order to adequately monetize the bad European debt. This is going to mean big time inflation.

As Mr. Alexander wrote in his investment news update:

The recent developments leave the end game for Europe still unclear. A default by Greece is inevitable, but that is old news now. The worry last month was about contagion, and the risks on this front have clearly intensified. European leadership still appears to be lacking. Despite announcements of new plans to address the crisis in mid-July and late-October, implementation of those policies has not occurred. Progress needs to be made urgently…. It seems the final outcome in Europe will be some form of a fiscal union and the launch of Eurobonds—but this will not happen soon. If the political system cannot deliver this end game and conditions start to spiral out of control, the ECB will step in and act as lender of last resort. This would arrest the financial crisis but also create a new set of economic and financial problems. We’ve gone from a world of banks too big to fail, to a world of countries too big to fail. The implication is that three of the top financial themes will be volatility, volatility, and more volatility.

A series of soon-coming events are going to affect your life and my life—and not for the good! Just think. Over the last few weeks the German Chancellor and the French President forced the democratically elected prime ministers of Greece and Italy to step down and to be replaced with unelected European Union bureaucrats, whose self-interest and obligations for their position rest with the EU rather than the people they are now governing.

There’s a lot I could say about how what is presently going on in this world is leading to a dramatic fulfillment of biblical prophecy. How Germany is using and will continue to use its pre-eminent financial position to achieve what it could not gain in Europe by force of arms both 72 and 97 years ago. Wealth is power in 2011. Watch out!

The spiritual bottom line to our current financial crisis, really, is that neither the 99.9% of this world’s elite nor the average person in the street really believes in using the teachings and instructions written in Bible as a basis for organizing our financial and social systems. Why? Because they don’t really believe that the God of the Judeo-Christian scriptures actually exists or that He has the authority to instruct us on what should be done. So, we ignore the cornerstones of the biblical economic system with its periodic secured and unsecured debt forgiveness and mortgage write-downs, real property asset re-allocations (see Deuteronomy 15:1-11 and Leviticus 25:9-18), as well as the responsibility to establish sound money based on a combined gold/silver standard (Ezekiel 45:10-12).

These elements of the divine economy would have prevented the perfect financial storm fueled by debt, fiat paper money, greed, and fraud that is soon to hit this world. We have ignored God at our peril and will pay the consequences. Nevertheless, our merciful God is not out of the picture and He does have a plan to pick up the pieces after humanity will have proven itself incapable of organizing a financial and political system that is just, equitable, fair, and just plain works without regularly throwing the entire world into a state of economic volatility with its recessions/depressions and sometimes war. As the prophet said so long ago:

Remember this, you sinners; consider what I have done. Remember what happened long ago; acknowledge that I alone am God and that there is no one else like me. From the beginning I predicted the outcome; long ago I foretold what would happen. I said that my plans would never fail, that I would do everything I intended to do (Isaiah 46:8-10 Good News Translation).

This is better news than anything you will hear, see, or read about over the next few years.

America Declines, Fear Rises, Time to Fast!

Are you wondering what’s going on in the world as the price of gold closes in on $1800 an ounce?

Some say the stock market has not just crashed, but that it’s snapped like a rubber band. An editorial cartoonist drew a nesting vulture on the iconic Wall Street sign to depict the current feeling of gloom prevailing at America’s financial hub.

In truth, the United States and the European Union are slowly drowning in seas of sovereign debt that may be impossible to pay off except through the type of hyperinflation that will make a roll of toilet paper worth more than a wheelbarrow full of currency. Investors are scared. The dollar has already lost 25% of its purchasing power since the year 2000. What can be done?

Well, our leaders are making comforting noises to try and reassure us. The U.S. Federal Reserve just announced a pledge to keep its interest rates at practically zero until mid-2013 to help keep the world’s largest economy from sliding back into recession.

Recession? U.S. unemployment remains stubbornly above 9% while underemployment is around 16.1%. An incredible number of Americans are dependent upon food stamps and government cheques to survive. Again, what can be done? What’s happened to the leadership of the Western world?

When the Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S.’s credit rating last week, the real issue was not the gross amount of debt, though that is a serious problem. The real concern was the American government’s inability to properly take care of the nation’s business. The U.S. Senate hasn’t even been able to pass a federal budget for the last two years probably because they’re fearful of the public reaction if the facts got out. Both Democrats and Republicans alike seem to take a perverse delight in “out stooge-ing” the three stooges before the eyes of the entire world.

In their comments about why they downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating, S&P drily observed:

“More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policy making and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges. The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policy making becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed” (Times-Colonist, “We’ll be hurt by U.S. decline,”Aug. 9, 2011).

In a word, America’s democracy is broken. I doubt it can be fixed. Why? Because the nation as a whole has turned it’s back on the only One who can help them. They say on their money “In God We Trust.” But for too long their actual “god” has been their dollar! The almighty dollar they used to call it. But like any sort of idolatry, the real God of the Universe will eventually destroy all false gods. America is a nation that makes a great show of being good, but in their heart far too many are like hypocritical fallen televangelists, who have turned their backs on the Bible’s God to satisfy greed and lust.

If you want some spiritual insight into what God is actually thinking about the good, ol’ U.S.A., read the first chapter of the Prophet Isaiah and substitute Washington for Jerusalem, and America for Israel.

So what can be done? What can YOU do? You need to prepare now to be, materially speaking, as self-sufficient as you possibly can be. Spiritually speaking you really should fast and humble yourself before God and pray for your family, your people, and your nation, America. The fact that this will sound so bizarre to so many is merely a sign that it is all the more needed.

Of course, this suggestion is not my original idea. Texas governor Rick Perry issued a call for prayer and fasting to seek God’s help for the United States’ practically unsolvable problems. The governors of Kansas and Louisiana said they would join him.

As America declines and fears rise, there will be only one effective, real Helper in the coming time of trouble. But to access this Helper, there is a tool you must pick up and employ in your life. This is the spiritual tool called fasting . Why fast? Why deprive yourself of physical sustenance for a 24-hour period? Because you are going to need God’s help in the near future like you’ve never needed it before. For any human being to approach God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son requires humility, recognizing that you are but dust. Consider this scripture as to why fasting and appropriate behaviour change is a key to building a positive relationship with your Creator:

6 The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free.

7 Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.
8 Then my favor will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side.

9 When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond. If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word;

10 if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.

11 And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry.

12 Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses (Isaiah 58:6-12 Good News Translation).

The Point of No Return


The phrase “point of no return” sounds ominous. And indeed it is. Among today’s financial analysts there are those speculating about just how much more money the U.S. Federal Reserve can create by digital keystrokes in order to buy the U.S. Treasury Bonds no one else in the world wants to buy before oil exporters of the Middle East and manufactured goods exporters of eastern Asia will refuse to accept U.S. dollars in payment for their stuff.

Truly the governors of the Fed are between a rock and a hard place. With the U.S. Fed’s second round of quantitative easing scheduled to end in three weeks from today, everyone is holding their breath to see what comes next. Will they raise interest rates to attract buyers to T-Bill auctions? Such a raise would push up the value of the dollar and push down commodity prices while probably pushing Main Street’s economy back into a full-blown recession. Or will they launch a third round of quantitative easing, QE3, weakening the value of the dollar (perhaps precipitously if they trigger a panic of lost confidence around the world), hastening the coming demise of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency while at the same time sending the price of stock equities and commodities including oil and gold skyrocketing.

Probably they’re going to end up trying both options “A” (save the dollar) and “B” (save the economy). When “A” works too well they’ll hurriedly switch to “B” when the howls of financial pain rise to a deafening roar and American cities start to burn!

The U.S. economic policymakers are going to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Their wildest dreams right now must be about discovering some magic way to just muddle through this astounding mess.

You ask, just exactly when will the U.S. dollar, the world’s reserve currency, pass the point of no return and become worthless for all practical intents and purposes? What is the tipping point? Well, there are quite a few financial analysts who are far more knowledgeable about the economy than I am who believe that we’ve already gone too far to return to “normalcy.”

Dear reader, you understand the future implications of this, don’t you? Most people stop considering information that makes them feel uncomfortable or insecure or fearful. Our human nature yearns for the deceptively comfortable, the reassuring voice that all’s well, over the disquieting, dissonant voice speaking the plain truth. But you aren’t like most people because you realize that allowing yourself to be willfully blind to what is coming will prove to be far more dangerous to you and your family’s future welfare. After all, being forewarned gives you a chance to be forearmed.

If this situation with the U.S. dollar weren’t enough, Gregory Jones, a U.S. weapons expert affiliated with the Pentagon-connected RAND Corporation think-tank said that Iran is just eight weeks away from producing enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Mr. Jones’ calculations are based on information release last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and are considered credible and were published last week by the Nonproliferation Policy Education Centre. Mr. Jones noted:

It is unclear what actions the U.S. or Israel could take (short of militarily occupying Iran) that could now prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. The reality is that both the U.S. and Israel have failed to prevent Iran from gaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons whenever Iran wishes to do so. It is time to recognize this policy failure and decide what to do next, based on a realistic assessment of Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts (Peter Goodspeed http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/06/07/goodspeed-iran-may-be-two-months-from-bomb-two-new-studies-say/).

So, we are fast approaching another point of no return. News like this doesn’t bode well for a peaceful future in the Middle East or the rest of the world. Remember Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not like the West’s old “honourable” Russian communist foes of the cold war era with whom we could work out a way to avoid mutually assured destruction. Ahmadinejad’s motivation is very different.

As a radical Shiite Muslim with a predilection for apocalyptic Madhi/Islamic Messiah prophecies, Ahmadinejad’s religious beliefs make him positively itch for the day when he can threaten Israel, the U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf area, and also Europe with nuclear annihilation if he doesn’t get his way. He has surrounded Israel on the north by his Hezbollah Lebanese and Syrian proxies and in the south by his Hamas Palestinian proxies and he supports his allies with money and weapons. Finally developing a nuke will just give Ahmadinejad that much more leverage on both his friends and enemies.

Both of these issues that I’ve written about in this blog just won’t go away without having some sort of significant affect on YOUR life at some point in the relatively near future. How are you going to cope when the bad news hits?

Some people are preparing for this future when our present assumptions can no longer be assumed by buying lots of gold, and stockpiling food and firearms. In their fear and anxiety they are only looking at the physical and are neglecting what is far more important. Consider these words of Jesus of Nazareth:

21 Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God. 22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things…. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready (Luke 12 New Living Translation).

Are you ready to meet God? This coming weekend is Pentecost. I’ll be speaking on this subject on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Saving Time on http://cogwebcast.com/ Join us online and be prepared for what’s coming.

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.

Our present life: an illusion of stability?

There are a number of financial newsletters put out by goldbugs with a survivalist bent that are busy prophesying to cyberspace about the eminent default of our financial systems and the resulting collapse of Western civilization and our present consumer/globalist life as we know it.

I don’t doubt that the incredible debt load of the United States is threatening the U.S. dollar’s continuing status as the world’s reserve currency—time is truly running out for the no-longer almighty dollar.

But it is now equally obvious that the Euro is not going to be the sweet alternative that could replace the faltering greenback.  This is because the European Union’s underlying financial contradictions have become all too apparent to many currency speculators who are selling the Euro short on the market and driving its value down. They talk about the Euro being doomed.

After all, how can you have anything but a soap opera or a fairy tale of a currency when you have one central bank with its single currency acting as the exasperated, over-stretched supranational husband trying to manage a polygamous EU marriage involving 27 sovereign wives who each has deeply ingrained habits. Each of these fractious wife-states has peculiarities when it comes to running her own household’s national budget. While Sensible Hilda and Prudent Gertrude may only spend what a no-nonsense budgetary discipline allows, Impulsive Athena and Romantic Maria will beg and borrow to shop on credit till they drop from insolvency! The only solution for the EU is a scary centralizing consolidation of Brussels’ political and economic power on the one hand, and the loss of national sovereignty of the individual EU member states on the other hand.

None of the above bodes particularly well for our future financial stability not to mention our political status quo here in Canada. After all, we play but a short, walk-on, secondary role on this world’s stage. We are not a major power. But, since most of us are neither central bankers nor political heavyweights with either macro-economic or governmental clout, we go about our relatively comfortable, day-by-day routines, assuming or hoping that today’s normalcy is stable and continuing for as far as we care to see into the future. But we are probably kidding ourselves.

On a personal and family level our daily lives are most certainly nothing more than illusions of stability.

This past week reminded me of this sobering truth. One of the pillars of our local church and the mother of one of my friends had a stroke. Then one of my 40-something friends told me that his doctor had given him some very disturbing medical test results.

A few days later while driving to my local shopping centre for an errand I had to stop on a busy two-lane road while the car ahead of me made a left turn. Suddenly I heard behind me the sound of screaming brakes as that heavy-footed driver behind me tried to avoid—unsuccessfully—from crashing into me.  In spite of a sore neck and jumpy nerves, I celebrated being alive one more day and enjoyed a little ice cream.

The following day, last Friday, my brother called me to say my 80ish step-dad was discovered by police 60 miles from his home driving on a bike path, not knowing where he was. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in an advanced stage. He’s now in a nursing home while his wife, my mother, who is  now legally blind due to macular degeneration , is now going to have to change her whole life’s routine as it is no longer possible for her to stay in her home by herself.  Everything in a status quo goes along until… one day, everything changes and can never be the same again.

Our present life in this world is inherently instable whether we’re talking about the big picture or just our mortal selves. And no matter how much we cling to the status quo with our fingernails dug in, one day it will all be ripped from you and me.

Surprisingly, the Judeo-Christian scriptures have something to say about what makes life more stable. On a big picture scale the book of Proverbs says:

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability (Prov. 28:2 NLT trans.)

The prophet Isaiah talked of a time when everything begins to fall apart and become unstable. He made a suggestion of where we can look to preserve our balance and peace of mind in a time of sudden instability:

Look! Listen! 
Tough men weep openly. Peacemaking diplomats are in bitter tears. The roads are empty— not a soul out on the streets. The peace treaty is broken, its conditions violated, its signers reviled. The very ground under our feet mourns….

God is supremely esteemed. His center holds. Zion brims over with all that is just and right. God keeps your days stable and secure—salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus, and best of all, Zion’s treasure, Fear-of-God.

God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope. First thing in the morning, be there for us! When things go bad, help us out! (Isaiah 33:7-8, 5-6, 2-4 The Message translation)

The bottom line for this Old Covenant prophet was that the only source of stability in a time of instability was to look to the God of the Bible. Not surprisingly, the New Covenant apostles taught much the same thing.

While focusing more on the individual who is faced with mortality, the New Covenant solution to instability is still to focus our priorities God-ward. We are encouraged to incorporate into our daily routine the spiritual wisdom and knowledge that really matters when it comes to how we live our lives.

We may be merely physical beings, depreciating assets, but there still is the possibility that we can convert instability into stability, temporary into permanent, and move away from what is transitory into what is lasting. Consider the inherent stability and permanence proclaimed by the apostle Peter that belongs to Christians who have wholeheartedly embraced the spiritual life:

23You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.

24For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower drops off,

25But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever. And this Word is the good news which was preached to you (1 Peter 1:23-25 Amplified version).

You have the opportunity to move from an illusion of stability to the reality of stability and permanence. Are you acting on it? Or do you believe that everything will just continue on just as it is presently without end?