Canadian Housing Bubble About to Pop

Canadian Housing Bubble About to Pop

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What Canada failed to learn from its neighbor

Canada is on the verge of a real-estate crisis similar to the one that crippled the U.S. economy in 2008. Robert Shiller, an economist who predicted the infamous U.S housing bubble, said he worries that what is happening in Canada right now is “kind of a slow-motion version of what happened in the U.S.

Just like the buildup to the financial crises of 2008, a variety of factors have placed Canada’s housing market in a difficult position. For starters, Canada is neck deep in debt. Since 1990, the average household debt has risen from 75 percent of household income to 150 percent. Any break in the economy could spell disaster for these homeowners who obviously have learned nothing from America.

According to Neil Macdonald of cbc News, “Canadians seem to think that stricter government regulation in Canada protects them. But they are in some ways more vulnerable than Americans.” Canadians are falling for the same deception that duped so many Americans—that housing prices will never decline. The false sense of security that comes from believing that the Canadian government will be able to protect the populace from such a disaster has blinded many homeowners all the more.

Recently, Moody’s Investors Service warned that it may cut the credit ratings of six of Canada’s largest banks. Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada, Caisse Centrale Desjardins and Bank of Montreal are all in danger of the cut.

Moody’s said it was concerned over the growth in debt outpacing the growth in income, and the high-risk involvement that several of the banks have with the volatile American and European markets.

Perhaps the saddest part of this oncoming crisis is that only a few years ago, the U.S. had all the same symptoms that Canada has now: heavy debt, credit downgrades, rising housing prices, misplaced confidence in the system—but Canada hasn’t learned from its neighbor.

Trumpet columnist Robert Morley warned of this impending crisis over two years ago. Citing how economic analyst Mike Shedlock’s housing collapse cascade pattern played out in America, Morley wrote, “Canadian readers may want to take note of the calamitous events south of the border that ensued following America’s great housing bust.”

Earlier this year he wrote, “Falling house prices is an idea that many Canadians laugh at. Americans laughed too before America’s bubble burst. … Canada’s bubble is getting close to bursting, and when it does, expect a massive economic implosion.”

Now evidence of that impending implosion is beginning to make headlines. To learn how to protect yourself from economic meltdown, read “Storm-Proof Your Financial House.”

The Palestinian State, Israeli Settlements and Bible Prophecy

On November 29, the UN General Assembly upgraded the status of the Palestinian Authority to a “non-member observer state.” While the resolution does not grant statehood or independence to the Palestinians, it is a significant diplomatic score for them. The day after, Israel announced plans to build 3,000 homes in East Jerusalem, a move that immediately triggered an international outcry. Both events are setting the stage to fulfill two key Bible prophecies.

United States of Europe ‘Likely’ to Be Formed by 2020

United States of Europe ‘Likely’ to Be Formed by 2020

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Most European Union nations will combine together to form the United States of Europe, European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding said in an interview published December 10.

“I consider it to be likely that the eurozone states by 2020—then including the Baltic states and Poland—together will found the United States of Europe, while Great Britain in a looser association continues to take part to economic integration,” she said.

Even in the medium term, Europe needs “clear federal structures, decision making powers in place and strong democratic control where decisions are made,” she said. The European Commission should become a European government, she added.

Reding is also commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship. Her interview was published as European leaders receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

Europe’s leaders are gradually becoming more explicit in their calls for a superstate. It is clear that those at the top see the euro crisis as an opportunity to create the Europe they’ve wanted all along.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman van Rompuy are working on plans that would bring Reding’s vision closer to reality. She’s not just airing vague ambitions. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “I’m sure the Commission will become a government one day.”

It is unusual for a senior Europe leader to call for the founding of a “United States of Europe.” But soon it won’t be. Calls for a political union in Europe are louder and more common, and coming from more important people, than they ever were before.

China Seeks Upgrades in Asian Connectivity

China Seeks Upgrades in Asian Connectivity

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a hearty push on Wednesday for increased connectivity and cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco), including the construction of a railway joining China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Wen made the remarks at the 11th prime ministers’ meeting of the sco, which groups China and Russia with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Beijing, Wen said, is prepared to give $10 billion for key projects including a land route spanning all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia to Lianyungang on China’s East coast. Another planned project is a road network that will link all sco nations, allowing them to share outlets to the sea in a low-cost and convenient manner.

Connectivity of this type will represent a major milestone for the development of Central Asian countries, most of which are landlocked. The development of such infrastructure and connectivity between these six Asian giants is particularly important in light of the sure word of Bible prophecy regarding modern-day Asia. The prophecy of “the kings of the east” found in Daniel 11:44, Revelation 9:13-16 and elsewhere says an enormous Asian power bloc will ultimately amass a staggering 200-million-man army.

At the time of the end, this army—larger than any ever assembled in mankind’s history—will gather and travel westward into modern-day Israel (e.g. Revelation 16:12, 16; Daniel 11:44). The Trumpet has said for years that these kings would be led by Russia and China. The railways and roadways that Wen and other sco leaders are laboring to build could be instrumental in transporting these great hoards of soldiers into the Holy Land.

Expect China and Russia to continue boosting their cooperation and connectivity, and to keep using the sco as a vehicle by which to accomplish it. To understand more, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

New Chapter of Cooperation for Russia and China

New Chapter of Cooperation for Russia and China

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Among the primary results of the Russian minister of defense’s November visit to China was writing “a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation” between Beijing and Moscow, the People’s Daily Online said on November 28.

Sergey Shoigu met with Qian Lihua, China’s director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, in order to enhance mutual trust and deepen cooperation between the two sides.

The foundation of the improving Russo-Chinese ties, according to the Chinese publication, is military cooperation. “The further improved cooperation mechanism between the two militaries has built a solid framework for the bilateral cooperation,” the report said.

In recent years, the general staff headquarters of the two militaries have held 15 rounds of strategic consultation, and three bilateral joint military exercises.

Besides being global titans in terms of population and territory, both Russia and China are also permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which gives them considerable weight on the global stage.

For these reasons, Europe is watching the Russo-Chinese strides toward economic, political and military cooperation warily. European states know that, to be able to counter the Asian bloc that’s now solidifying, they themselves must be united. Likewise, as the European states take steps toward integration, Asian nations accelerate their own measures toward cooperation.

As such, the increased cooperation of Asia and the uniting of Europe are mutually perpetuating trends, and Bible prophecy makes plain that these developments will lead to a colossal confrontation between the two sides. To understand the details of these prophecies and what they mean for you, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Law—and the Best of the Human Spirit

Law—and the Best of the Human Spirit

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There is good in this world. Too often it’s hard to find. There’s a reason for that. It all centers on law.

“The real value of a human life … lies solely within the human spirit combined with the human brain,” Herbert Armstrong observed in his book Mystery of the Ages. “It should be stated at once that this human spirit is not perceived by the most highly educated psychologists, yet it is the very essence of the human mind.”

This is a tremendous reality that truly opens up our understanding as to how our God-given human potential can be released and fully developed in association with the Spirit of God—the very mind of our Creator!

Yet, even without the Spirit of God’s own mind in association with it, that human spirit is capable of greatness.

Witness God’s observation at Babylon that, having obtained earthly unity, “Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6). The trouble at that time in history was that, though the unity of command the human leadership enjoyed was unfettered, it was a unity born of a wrong spirit—a spirit channeling human endeavor into a direction diametrically opposed to the development of man’s God-given human potential.

So God put a stop to it all (verses 7-8).

But Herbert Armstrong recognized that it was possible—through the careful education of the human mind and the development and fine-tuning of skills and talents—for a single human being to reach great heights of expressing the very best that the human spirit was capable.

To showcase this, he created the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. Under the auspices of aicf, Herbert Armstrong brought the very best of human talent to Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, that many might benefit from enjoying and being inspired and uplifted by such talent.

Based on that precedent, Gerald Flurry established the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation, which continues the legacy of showcasing world-class talent at the gemlike Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond, Oklahoma.

The two most recent performances at Armstrong Auditorium happened to feature America’s own unique contribution to world music—jazz. World-class saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet recently gave a scintillating performance at Armstrong. A week later, one of our own faculty musicians, pianist Mark Jenkins, featured together with a lineup of Edmond jazzmen and some of our own college talent in a performance rated highly by the audience.

As a lover of the jazz genre since my childhood, my mind was still dwelling on the success of those two concerts when news came this week of the death of my singular most outstanding hero of the American jazz scene, the venerable Dave Brubeck.

Brubeck became a household name following release of his iconic album Time Out in 1959. That was my final year at high school, and Time Out featured at just about every teen party as the year wound to a close.

The Dave Brubeck quartet had a profound effect on my own involvement in music at the time, and I formed a lifelong appreciation of the smoothly lyrical sounds of which a good quartet of the same makeup—piano/keyboard, bass, reed and drums—was capable of producing when obeying the God-breathed laws governing music.

My dad, when not backing a big band as drummer between the 1930s and ’50s, led a group of the same composition, based on an earlier example of the Benny Goodman small ensemble. For me, the Brubeck quartet took off from where the Goodman quartet left off.

The point is that, upon hearing of the death of Dave Brubeck on the eve of his 92nd birthday, I realized that one of the most influential of human spirits, especially in the jazz form of music, had ceased to be.

My disc library is heavily dominated by Brubeck. The fascination of his music—which featured some quite unusual time signatures and effective use of harmonic dissonance—was his ability to experiment with the musical form but always stay within the laws that control listenable music that’s beneficial to the human spirit.

There is a reason for this.

Brubeck understood that to be beneficial, to be uplifting to the human spirit, music needed to synchronize with the human body’s natural rhythms.

In his obituary on Brubeck for the New York Times, Ben Ratliff commented that “Mr. Brubeck once explained succinctly what jazz meant to him. ‘One of the reasons I believe in jazz,’ he said, ‘is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born—or before you’re born—and it’s the last thing you hear’” (December 5).

We live today in a highly agitated and agitating society. Whole generations have grown up listening to music that is based on principles directly opposed to Dave Brubeck’s understanding that to be truly enjoyable, music must align with the beat of the human heart which controls the natural body rhythms necessary for true wellbeing.

Back in the 1960s, four young mop-haired Liverpudlian teens created a sound based on what is called the anapestic beat. That beat runs directly counter to the natural rhythms of the human heart. Ever since, the overwhelming majority of popular music themes has been set to that beat. How much has this contributed to the production of the most highly stressed, agitated and soulless generation in man’s history?

You see, it doesn’t matter what it is that man produces, if it is not in natural synchronization with the body rhythms that God placed within the human being for a purpose, the result will be negative.

Our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, wrote a booklet called No Freedom Without Law. In it he clearly exposes the principle that the absence of God’s laws in any endeavor mounted by man will produce catastrophe.

Be it music or man’s continually unsuccessful search for peace with his fellow man, unless those endeavors are underpinned by God’s immutable laws governing human behavior, they are destined to end in abject failure.

Dave Brubeck hit upon a marvelous truth that governed his musical compositions and playing. The result was the production of a pleasing harmony when he sat down to perform with a group of musicians. When dissonance occurred it always sought and found a resolution in the natural rhythm of the heartbeat.

That same degree of harmony, at a very minimum, is being enjoyed today in their human relations by those who truly understand and apply God’s laws in their lives. It’s the type of harmony that leads a person to truly experience the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

You too can extricate your mind from the natural agitation and stress that a lawless society produces by determining to simply obey God’s laws in every aspect of your life.

To find out how that is possible, study that booklet, freely available on our website, No Freedom Without Law.