- Thu, 09 Mar 2017 17:00:00 +0000: The Only Solution to World Problems - theTrumpet.com Front Page
Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on March 9.
Stephen Hawking made headlines this week by saying that for humanity to survive the dangers ahead, mankind may need to form some kind of world government. It brought to mind what Herbert W. Armstrong said decades ago about a coming super world government—to be established on Earth by God at the return of Jesus Christ! On today’s program, Stephen Flurry explains why man is incapable of solving the world’s problems and what is the real solution.
Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:
- Thu, 09 Mar 2017 11:00:00 +0000: The Coming China-Germany Trade Juggernaut - theTrumpet.com Front Page
Stories of international angst over United States President Donald Trump’s protectionist approach are becoming more commonplace. Mr. Trump’s “buy American, hire American” catchphrase sounds good for many at home, but abroad, it is prompting a weighty reorganization of international trade relationships. And long term, the result will be a trade war that will prove ruinous to the U.S.
World trade has changed a great deal over the last several decades. The international community at large no longer depends on America’s giant import expenditures and exports. Parag Khanna of Politico wrote:
As Americans, it’s easy to assume that global trade still depends on America as the consumer of last resort. But that’s no longer true. In fact, the majority of trade in emerging-market nations is with each other, not with the U.S. In 1990, emerging economies sent 65 percent of their exports to developed nations like the U.S. and Europe, and only 35 percent to other developing countries. Today, that figure is nearly reversed.
As desirable as any U.S. trade still may be, it has become increasingly unnecessary. And of late, foreign governments have taken close to heart Trump’s protectionist dialogue and are looking elsewhere to secure their interests with new trading partners and blocs. Two powerful nations in particular are starting to join arms and lead the way toward the new, post-American world of global trade: Germany and China.
Here are the vital statistics: The three top exporting nations in the world are: 1) China, 2) the United States, 3) Germany. Germany is the undisputed powerhouse and leader of the European Union. If you include the exports of the EU as a whole, European exports outpace the U.S., making the top exporters as follows: 1) China, 2) the European Union, 3) the United States.
Data released in February reveals that China overtook the U.S. in 2016 to become Germany’s new number one trading partner. The U.S. fell to third place, behind France. Reuters correspondents for Germany Rene Wagner and Michael Nienaber reported:
The development is good news for the German government, which has made it a goal to safeguard global free trade after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on imports and his top adviser on trade accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to boost exports.
The German vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, proposed that if the new U.S. government makes good on efforts toward a protectionist worldview, the European Union should realign its economic policies toward the Asian supercontinent. And the head of Germany’s bga trade association, Anton Börner, echoed Gabriel’s sentiments by stating that “given the protectionist plans of the new U.S. president, one would expect that the trade ties between Germany and China will be further strengthened.”
According to export data for 2016, the U.S. was still the biggest buyer of German goods. Where the numbers break down is with the bilateral trade deficit. The U.S. ranked second after the United Kingdom for Germany’s largest bilateral trade surplus. Germany’s exports to the UK exceeded its imports from the UK by $52.8 billion. German-made exports to the U.S. exceeded American-made imports to Germany by $51.7 billion. The data shows that the U.S. and the UK need Germany’s exports more than Germany needs their exports.
At the other end of the Silk Road that runs across the Eurasian landmass is the Chinese economic juggernaut. President Trump heavily criticized China’s trade and economic manipulation throughout his presidential campaign, often stating that “China is killing us” on trade. China has not taken kindly to Trump. After Trump’s cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (tpp), China is looking more and more desirable as the key player for a new commercial alliance with the remaining tpp countries. As Khanna’s Politico piece explained, “[M]ost of the other signatories are moving ahead anyway in a ‘tpp minus one’ format” (ibid).
Even more significantly, more than a dozen Asian countries have rekindled their efforts towards advancing an alternative megadeal—the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)—which differs from TPP in one crucial way: At the center lies not the US, but our economic arch-rival China.
At this point in time, doing business with a powerful Asian trading bloc looks very tantalizing to the German-led European Union. Trade between Europe and Asia already exceeds transatlantic trade. This commerce will only increase as China and other nations continue massive new construction of roads, rails, pipelines and other infrastructure along the Silk Road.
The U.S. is becoming more and more unnecessary for global commerce, yet its president continues to indicate that his nation is indispensable. This is a particularly worrying position when taking into account that the U.S. holds the greatest single debt in the history of the world—and the world’s top creditor nations happen to be Japan, China and Germany, respectively. As Proverbs 22:7 wisely says, “[T]he borrower is servant to the lender.” What happens when the lenders call for their money back?
It’s no wonder that other nations are looking away to new trading opportunities. There is a decreasing need to bind their economies to America. In “Dumped by U.S., Europe and Asia Get Together on Trade Deals,” Foreign Policy’s Emily Tamkin wrote:
The United States, after President Donald Trump took office, nixed a big trade pact with Asia, and let another big trade accord with Europe die on the vine. Now both those jilted partners are getting together—threatening to leave the United States out in the cold as the world’s biggest economic blocs reshape their trading relationships.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström stated in a February interview with Handelsblatt Global, “We have seen that many of the tpp countries are now approaching us and saying, ‘We still want to do deals.’ We are engaged with basically all of them, either negotiating or have a deal or preparing negotiations.” She warned the U.S. against establishing trade barriers: “We advise not to do that because there is a risk that there’s a global retaliation. That would be very bad for the economies and for the citizens of course.”
That “global retaliation” is, in other words, trade war. This is something the Trumpet has forecast for decades. Why? In more recent years, the geopolitical signs have pointed increasingly toward this possibility. Yet our main evidence for a coming trade war comes from Bible prophecy.
Isaiah 22 and 23 speak of an end-time rise of a “mart of nations,” a giant trading bloc of European and Asian nations, notably including China and Germany. The bloc’s trade relationships are also referenced in Ezekiel 27. This Eurasian commercial power will begin a trade war against the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel—and this trade war will develop into full-blown World War iii!
We are witnessing the rise of this “mart of nations.” Bible prophecy reveals this trade bloc will be only a brief alliance. For more information, read “Trade Wars Have Begun” and be sure to get a copy of the most recent issue of the Trumpet magazine. This April issue focuses on these worrisome global trading trends, how they will affect you personally, and what steps you can take to prepare for them.
- Thu, 09 Mar 2017 05:00:00 +0000: The Worst Foreign-Policy Blunder in American History - theTrumpet.com Front Page
The world became a safer place on January 16, according to United States Secretary of State John Kerry. That day marked the implementation of the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. and the European Union lifted sanctions on Iran and released about $100 billion in frozen assets—and they received nothing in return!
This cataclysmic foreign-policy blunder is the first day of the worst suffering ever on this planet! “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
The Iran deal contains bad news and good news. The bad news is that Iran is now capable of triggering World War iii (Daniel 11:40). The good news is that Jesus Christ will return to stop mankind from annihilating itself (Daniel 2:44).
Embarrassing the Navy
The timing of events surrounding the nuclear deal reveals the involvement of an evil spirit power. Satan is a master at distracting people from what is most important.
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9). You can prove that Satan was cast down from the heavens 30 years ago following the death of Herbert W. Armstrong. Now, the devil and legions of demons are confined to this Earth and accelerating the pace of turmoil and violence! This will end in nuclear warfare, barring some deep repenting, which is highly unlikely.
Diplomacy with a maniacal nation like Iran will never succeed. Just four days before the implementation of the nuclear deal, Iran humiliated the U.S. Navy—holding some of its sailors hostage at gunpoint for supposedly drifting into Iranian waters.
One of two small Navy Riverine boats had broken down as the sailors moved between Kuwait and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. If this boat had a propulsion issue that caused it to go adrift, it is hard to explain how the boat was up and running the very next day. Does Iran have the technology to shut down enemy vessels?
Taking U.S. sailors hostage, parading their humiliation before the world, and demanding an apology from them constituted a strong power play for Iran. The mullahs sent an ominous message to the world, and especially to the rest of the Middle East: You can’t rely on America for protection and support anymore. We are in charge here.
Hours after the hostage situation, President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address. The administration had initially hoped to cover up the incident, so Mr. Obama never mentioned it during his speech. However, he did say that America is the most powerful nation in the world by far.
Is that still true?
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (verse 12). Woe! Of all the nations on Earth, Satan and the demons hate the nations of Israel most of all. They are working urgently behind the scenes to undermine and topple America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East. Iran’s embarrassment of the U.S. Navy is just another example of that strategy at work.
Swapping Hostages for Criminals
It’s no coincidence that a lopsided prison swap with Iran took place at the same time as the implementation of the nuclear deal. The U.S. forfeited 21 Iranians—seven of them being held as suspects in sanctions violations, 14 of them criminals with international warrants out for their arrest. In return, Iran released five American hostages who hadn’t committed any crimes! Even still, the swap excluded former fbi agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran nearly nine years ago.
American officials claimed that the Iranians had initially demanded the U.S. release even more of their people, so the eventual agreement represented a victory for diplomacy. Think about that: America is saying, This deal could have been even more unfair, if not for diplomatic talks! How can anyone in his right mind believe this? Iran parlayed several kidnappings into the release of criminals! When America responds to aggression this way, what is stopping Iran from continuing to exploit such weakness?
One U.S. official called the prisoner swap a humanitarian gesture on Iran’s part. Iran is the number one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the world! Its leaders will never negotiate unless they get everything they want! How can you reason with a mind that considers Iran’s actions humanitarian?
Of course, having American hostages returning home is a cause for celebration. But this could have taken place for a much lower price. Just like Iran’s embarrassment of the U.S. Navy, the prisoner swap is a distraction away from the real issue: the nuclear deal.
The Dangerous Iranian Mind-set
Good afternoon. I am pleased that the United States and _______ yesterday reached agreement on the text of a framework document on _______’s nuclear program. … This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world.
Under the agreement, _______ has agreed to freeze its existing nuclear program and to accept international inspection of all existing facilities. This agreement represents the first step on the road to a nuclear-free _______. It does not rely on trust. Compliance will be certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Trumpet writer Jeremiah Jacques quoted a U.S. president who made the above statement about a certain country’s nuclear program. Though these words may apply to President Obama and Iran, they are actually the words of then President Bill Clinton—about North Korea! Despite the president’s assurances, North Korea got the bomb and is now helping Iran with its nuclear development.
Because of Iran’s extremist mind-set, the deal with Iran is far worse than the one with North Korea! An Iranian 11th-grade schoolbook quotes the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini:
I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world devourers wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all of them! Either we all become free or we will go to the greater freedom, which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another’s hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours.
Khomeini referred to the West as “world devourers”! Eighty-five percent of 81 million Shiites in Iran believe in Twelver Shiism, which Khomeini espoused. Death means nothing to them!
Former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold said that a nuclear Iran can’t be deterred like the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. The Iranians have a much more radical belief system. They think their savior—the 12th imam, or mahdi—will return sooner if they cause more apocalyptic chaos and violence.
As Dore Gold pointed out: “[A]nyone who says with confidence that the West can get used to nuclear Iran and rely on classic deterrence models has absolutely no idea what he is up against.”
One Final Push
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40). The king of the south is led by Iran. It has a pushy foreign policy.
The king of the north is led by Germany. America may let Iran get away with acts of war because of a broken will (Leviticus 26:19), but your Bible says that Germany will attack and destroy the king of the south! Germany already has Iran surrounded. (Download our free e-book Germany’s Secret Strategy to Destroy Iran for proof.)
What could enable Iran to push at Germany more than an arsenal of nuclear weapons? Iran relishes the thought of starting World War iii! As these two powers build toward confrontation, America, Britain and Judah are nowhere to be found in the Daniel 11 prophecy. The nations of Israel aren’t even in the picture. They will be helpless victims, not aggressors, in the coming war.
As world troubles escalate, God protects His Church from Satan’s vicious attacks (Revelation 12:13-14). The loyal remnant has an incredible future. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Worldwide nuclear conflagration is alarming, but it is also a sign of Jesus Christ’s return and the realization of our incredible human potential!
- Thu, 09 Mar 2017 05:00:00 +0000: Turkey and Germany Fall Out Again - theTrumpet.com Front Page
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan likened the German government to Nazis on March 5, as relations between the two countries reached a new low.
The argument comes as Turkey prepares to hold a referendum on April 16 that would change the constitution and concentrate more power in the presidency. Around 3 million Turks live in Germany, and well over 1 million are eligible to vote in Turkish elections. This effectively makes Germany the fourth-largest electoral district for Turkish elections and an important part of any election campaign.
Relations between the two have been spiraling downward for some time. In February, Turkish police held Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist and correspondent for Die Welt newspaper, for two weeks, before finally arresting and formally charging him. The incident led to outrage in Germany.
Two German local authorities then canceled rallies led by Turkish ministers who were campaigning for a “Yes” vote in the constitutional referendum. One cited concerns about “parking space,” and the other blamed a double booking. To many, it looked suspiciously like retaliation.
This is what led to Erdoğan’s outburst. “Germany, you have no notion of democracy,” he said. “Your practices are not different from the Nazis of the past.”
The Telegraph reported Erdoğan saying, “I’ll come tomorrow if I want to, and if you do not let me in, or try to stop me speaking, I’ll start an insurrection.”
Other nations are closing ranks around Germany. Austria has called for a European Union-wide ban on campaigning by all Turkish politicians. But Germany itself has been remarkably restrained. A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is “absolutely no justification” for Erdoğan’s remarks and followed up by saying, “[L]et us remember the special meaning of our close relationship and let cool heads prevail.”
Why such a mild response to such provocative words? Turkey is at the center of Merkel’s solution to the migrant crisis.
Over the course of 2016, the migrant crisis was much more manageable than the chaos of 2015. That change came because of two key reasons: Austria worked with the Balkan states to prevent immigrants from migrating north out of Greece, and Turkey agreed to close the door on Syrian migrants trying to travel into Europe.
If relations between Germany and Turkey unravel, migrants could flood back into Europe at 2015 levels. With German elections scheduled for September 24, a fresh outbreak of the migrant crisis would be politically disastrous for Merkel. She has no choice but to play nice—for now. “She is paralyzed by concerns that Erdoğan could put an end to the refugee deal—a threat he has repeatedly issued,” Spiegel Online said on March 6.
“It’s time to come up with a European solution that decreases our dependence on Turkey. … It’s time to develop alternatives—by promoting a European refugee policy that does not outsource the protection of EU borders to Turkey but instead sees the EU taking on that responsibility,” it wrote. “It’s high time for Europe to free itself from Erdoğan’s shackles.”
Should relations between Turkey and Germany fall apart over the summer, the fallout could be huge, with another 1 or 2 million Syrian refugees flooding into Greece. But even if it holds, Germany needs a way to end its dependence on Turkey. No German leader wants to be subject to Turkish blackmail.
This is much easier said than done. On March 7, Stefan Lehne wrote for Carnegie Europe:
In Europe, the EU has created a common state-like space by guaranteeing the free movement of EU citizens and establishing an area of passport-free travel while leaving most powers regarding immigration and refugee flows at the level of the individual member states.
The economic logic driving these projects—a desire to complete and strengthen the EU’s internal market—obscured their far-reaching political implications. By opening their borders, EU member states abandoned the long-established sovereign right to control who enters and leaves their territories. …
Yet having abandoned this sovereignty, the EU has done little to form new European-wide institutions to protect and control that border. Relying on Turkey has been a quick and easy alternative, but one with major downsides. Watch for Europe to be forced to develop its own border systems and defense arrangements to protect those borders—in other words, to take another gigantic step toward becoming a superstate. For more on how the migration crisis is changing Europe, read “Europe’s Old Demons Return.”
- Wed, 08 Mar 2017 23:00:00 +0000: How America's Courts Are Threatening the Rule of Law - theTrumpet.com Front Page
Recently, the United States Supreme Court has avoided hearing cases on the Second Amendment—especially since they have one less judge than usual. But the U.S. Court of Appeals has had no such qualms. On February 21, the Fourth Circuit’s Court of Appeals, in a 10-4 decision, decided to uphold a ban on “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines” in the state of Maryland. In doing so, the court not only managed to rewrite the Supreme Court’s previous District of Columbia v. Heller decision and weaken the Second Amendment, but it also spread some fake news about rifles like the AR-15.
First, a note on the recent optimism toward President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination. When Neil Gorsuch was chosen to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, conservatives were ecstatic. Rightly so, I would add, since Judge Gorsuch has represented the crucial quality of choosing to put the authority of the Constitution above his own moral preferences. Yet at the Trumpet, we asked: “Will Justice Neil Gorsuch Make a Difference?”
The late Justice Antonin Scalia was fighting a losing battle against judicial activism—which is choosing to put the results of laws above their constitutional process. Judge Gorsuch won’t be able to stop the intellectual flow in that direction. And the Fourth Circuit’s latest ruling on the Second Amendment proves that judicial activists don’t even need a monopoly on the Supreme Court to continue their work.
Though the Second Amendment protects the rights of citizens to bear arms, the courts have traditionally placed some limit on the types of weapons available. In the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller case, Justice Scalia gave the guidelines that the Second Amendment would protect all weapons that were “in common use at the time.” The exception to the rule would be those weapons that were “dangerous and unusual.”
David French, an attorney who writes for National Review, explained the reasoning:
Why the addition of “and” unusual? Because every single working gun ever made is dangerous. To illustrate his point, Scalia then provides examples of specific types of “dangerous and unusual” guns—“M-16 rifles and the like.” Here’s a news flash: The M-16 isn’t the same as a civilian “assault weapon” like the AR-15. … If you think that the M-16 and AR-15 are alike, then walk to your local gun store and try to buy an M-16.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
In order to uphold Maryland’s semiautomatic weapon ban, the Fourth Circuit tried to equate the fully automatic M-16 (which has now been upgraded to the M-4) with the civilian semiautomatic AR-15. In what French calls a “spit-out-your-coffee sentence,” the majority opinion published that: “Semiautomatic weapons can be fired at rates of 300 to 500 rounds per minute, making them virtually indistinguishable in practical effect from machine guns.” But a semiautomatic weapon will only load the next round. The trigger must be pulled again in order to fire. The Fourth Circuit would have you believe the millions of citizens who own these weapons can pull their triggers six times a second for a minute, all while reloading new magazines. That’s impossible.
But forget Heller’s “dangerous and unusual” criteria, because the Fourth Circuit created a new one. Judge William Byrd Traxler, who wrote the dissent, said in order to circumvent this precedent, the majority opinion simply created “a heretofore unknown ‘test,’ which is whether the firearm in question is ‘most useful in military service.’” Judge Traxler continued in his dissent, showing how the ruling would have affected a citizen at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification:
Under the majority’s analysis, a settler’s musket, the only weapon he would likely own and bring to militia service, would be most useful in military service—undoubtedly a weapon of war—and therefore not protected by the Second Amendment. This analysis turns Heller on its head. Indeed, the Court in Heller found it necessary to expressly reject the view that “only those weapons useful in warfare are protected.”
The “most useful in military service” test is ridiculous because you could use it to theoretically ban any weapon. Writing last year in a unanimous Caetano v. Massachusetts decision, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ruled that although a “Supreme Judicial Court’s assumption that stun guns are unsuited for militia or military use is untenable,” it didn’t mean that they could be banned.
Pulling out new criteria from thin air to support a decision that already goes against a Supreme Court ruling is practically the definition of judicial activism. But that won’t stop gun-control activists from hailing it as a constitutional victory. Indeed, the executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, Elizabeth Banach, cheered that the Fourth Circuit’s ruling was “overwhelming proof that reasonable measures to prevent gun violence are constitutional.”
No. Sorry, but having a court rule that something is constitutional doesn’t make it constitutional. Judges, as the currently eminent Judge Richard Posner would tell you, “dress up their theories in an elaborate way” to fit their feelings—political, moral, emotional—on the case at hand.
We could discuss more reasons why the majority’s decision is merely their moral preference rather than a ruling on the law, but you can read that in Judge Traxler’s official dissent. It’s clear enough from the start of the majority’s opinion, where the brutal details of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and other shootings are laid out to set the moral scene. It reads as if they took notes from former President Barack Obama’s speeches on gun control, making sure emotion took center stage.
Gun violence is sick, horrifying and far too prevalent. Preventing another Sandy Hook is imperative. But the consequences of eroding the rule of law are worse. Right now, to those who support gun control, an activist judge seems like a blessing. But what happens when activist judges are on the other side? What happens when the rule of law becomes the rule of the judge’s opinion? After being infamously and disgracefully blocked from a position on the U.S. Supreme Court for thinking the Constitution mattered more than his own opinion, Robert Bork wrote the following: “[T]he principles of the actual Constitution make the judge’s major moral choices for him. When he goes beyond such principles, he is at once adrift on an uncertain sea of moral argument.” The judge who looks outside the Constitution for guidelines, he wrote, can only look “inside himself and nowhere else.”
The Trumpet reminded readers of a quote from editor in chief Gerald Flurry over the “Ninth Circuit Coup D’état” earlier this week: “If we as a people don’t obey the rule of law, then we fall victim to the rule of man. This leads to the horrifying rule of brute force.” In his booklet America Under Attack, Mr. Flurry describes the historical distortion of the Second Amendment’s purpose:
The Second Amendment in the U.S. protects the people’s right to bear arms, but for what? If you listen to the left, you would never know. To hear them talk about it, its purpose is so Americans can go out and shoot deer.
That isn’t the reason for the Second Amendment at all. The main point was to protect the citizens from government tyranny. The government might decide to take over, and if you don’t have guns or something to defend yourself, what are you going to do (unless you have God’s protection)?
President Donald Trump says the U.S. will begin to “restore the rule of law.” The liberal left says he is threatening it. In the meantime, while the Supreme Court sits in limbo with eight judges, the U.S. Court of Appeals has meted out judicial activism on immigration and gun control. It has done it, as usual, through misinterpretation, by stretches of logic, and with dangerous precedents. The result is a chipping away at the rule of law—and, eventually, freedom.