Princess Esmerelda’s Admiration for Herbert W. Armstrong

Princess Esmerelda’s Admiration for Herbert W. Armstrong

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The princess listed Herbert Amstrong as first founding member of King Leopold III Foundation for Conservation of Nature.

On Aug. 13, 1984, Belgian Princess Esmeralda visited Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, for a special luncheon with a longtime royal family friend, the college’s founder and chancellor.

Princess Esmeralda, the youngest daughter of the late King Leopold iii and Princess Lilian, grew up in the castle of Argenteuil near the famed Waterloo. Herbert W. Armstrong had been a guest at the castle for meetings with the king. While studying journalism, the princess lived in Paris, where she gained notoriety working for Le Figaro newspaper.

Reporting on the princess’s visit, the August 27 edition of the Worldwide News recalled, “She is president of the King Leopold iii Foundation for the Conservation of Nature and does journalism work.”

The foundation website relates its history and purpose by recalling that “on June 8, 1972, the founding act of the ‘Leopold iii Fund for Nature Research and Conservation association’ [was] signed.

“Article 4 of the statute states: The association aims to study and conserve nature …. The association is a patron of expeditions, studies and publications that relate to its purpose.

“The Leopold iii Fund is a strictly non-political association that relies entirely on patronage. All drivers are selflessly serving the ideals of the founder. After the death of King Leopold, hrh Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, in accordance with the will of the founder, was entrusted with the presidency. The president is very committed to attend all meetings. She also watches over all decisions, [ensuring they] are made in the spirit of what her father would have wanted” (translation ours).

Readers may be surprised to know that the princess maintained the honor and admiration her parents had for the unofficial ambassador for world peace, by listing him as the first founding member of the royal foundation, identifying him as, “Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, manager of companies, chairman of the Ambassador College, residing 300 West Green Street, Pasadena, California 91105, United States of America.”

In 1998, Salvador Moncada of Honduras married the Belgian royal, who later gave birth to two children. Moncada works as a professor, while the princess, in addition to royal duties, continues her journalism work under the name Esmeralda de Rethy, writing various books flavored by the history of fashion and her father’s work.

On June 20 this year, the foundation marks its 41st anniversary, as it continues its international activities that have spanned from Asia and Africa to South America.

Since his initial meeting with King Leopold iii in 1968, Mr. Armstrong ensured that Ambassador College supported cultural and humanitarian endeavors of the monarch. These were later formalized under the auspices of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the king’s foundation. This collaboration was primarily centered in the fields of anthropology and exploration. This partnership was one of the first such humanitarian alliances contributing to the historic declaration of the message of Jesus Christ’s gospel as a witness to the world (Matthew 24:14).

Commenting on Princess Esmeralda’s 1984 visit to Ambassador College, the Worldwide News related, “After lunch Mr. Armstrong gave her a tour of [Ambassador Auditorium]. The princess first visited the campus in 1970, when she was 13” (op. cit.).

Today, Princess Esmeralda would be pleased that the legacy of this commitment and contribution continues through the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation. “We are an international humanitarian organization dedicated to serving the cultural and educational needs of people everywhere,” writes chairman Gerald Flurry.

As the founder, Mr. Flurry describes the goals and activities of the foundation, which first recognize that “man is a unique being, possessing vast mental, physical and spiritual potentials—the development of which should be aided and encouraged.” Secondly, “that it is the responsibility of all men to attend to and care for the needs of their fellow men.”

These objectives are aptly summed up by the Apostle James, whose canonized words exhort, “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).

For more information about the foundation, its activities and how you can lend your support, visit us here.

China Outpaces U.S. in Race for Fastest Supercomputer

China Outpaces U.S. in Race for Fastest Supercomputer

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The United States’ chief political and military rival surpassed it in the field of supercomputer technology, building the world’s fastest machine, according to the semiannual top500 Supercomputers official listing released on Monday.

The Tianhe-2 was built by China’s National University of Defense Technology, and completed two years ahead of its expected deployment date. The supercomputer is capable of sustained computing at a rate of 33.86 petaflops per second—or about 33,860 trillion calculations per second. That’s twice as fast as the American supercomputer that previously held the record.

Supercomputers are instrumental in developing nuclear weapons, aerospace engines, vital chemicals and more. For decades, the U.S. had the largest and fastest arsenal of such computers, but now, as in many other realms, Beijing is challenging Washington. The Tianhe-2 isn’t expected to hold the record for long since the U.S., Japan and China are constantly developing faster machines, and taking turns occupying the number one slot. But the news underlines China’s rise as a powerhouse of science and technology.

The first time China ascended to the number one slot in November 2010, some analysts called it a “Sputnik moment.” But that time around, it wasn’t Moscow one-upping America in the space race, but China overpowering us in one of the most crucial sectors of national security. If America falls behind in supercomputing, it could lose its dominance in certain military fields, many branches of science, and in industries like pharmaceutical development and oil/natural gas production.

At present, China has 66 of the 500 most powerful supercomputers on the planet, up from zero just 12 years ago. That makes it second only to America. While the U.S. scrambles to pay for new supercomputer development, Beijing is awash with cash to pursue its ambitious technological goals. China has also become the largest nation on the Internet, climbing from 22.5 million Internet users in 2000 up to more than half a billion in 2012.

These trends illustrate how Beijing is leveraging speedy economic growth and sharp increases in research spending to join the global technology elite. Steady evidence of China’s burgeoning power will hasten the decision of weaker Asian nations to abandon the sinking U.S. ship and instead rally behind Beijing. To understand the implications of the rapidly shifting balance of global power, especially in the realm of science and technology, read “The End of the Space Shuttle and America’s Greatness.”

Pension Crisis About to Get Worse

Pension Crisis About to Get Worse

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Government pension accounts are even more underfunded than most think.

American pension plans, already severely underfunded, are about to hit unsustainable levels as more baby boomers reach retirement age. For years now, many states have had problems with pension accounts being underfunded. But a new credit evaluation standard proposed by Moody’s Investors Service could make the problem worse.

This newly proposed credit evaluation standard would change how the government’s pension liability is determined. Pension liability is calculated by taking the estimated future value of the government’s pension investments and subtracting what it needs to pay out to cover all its employees as they retire. The problem is that governments make wildly optimistic assumptions about what their investments will be worth in the future. For example, many states assume a consistent 7.5 to 8 percent annual return, but Moody’s says a 5.5 percent return is more likely. However, even Moody’s standard may be too high.

Ed Ring, research director of the California Public Policy Center, says that a 4.5 percent average return is a more realistic assumption. Mike Shedlock, of Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, says that in today’s world of manipulated interest rates and money printing, a zero to 2 percent average return is a distinct possibility.

This has huge implications for pension plans across the country. A lower return means less money in the fund when it comes time to pay retirees. This should make future government retirees nervous. It should also make government planners nervous, because state pension liabilities may be set to grow astronomically. This could affect the ability of states to access bond markets and borrow money.

If Moody’s starts issuing new state credit ratings based on its new evaluation standard, it could spotlight a funding crisis that is hiding behind the scenes. California’s unfunded pension liability would “officially” double to $328.6 billion, according to Reuters. States like Illinois, which according to a September 2012 report from Republicans on the Senate Joint Economic Committee has only a 30 percent-funded pension fund, face running out of money completely. The report noted that, “By standard accounting methods, some state pension funds will run out of assets within as little as five years.” When combined, state and local pensions are more than $4 trillion underfunded—this is money needed today and earning interest—to pay for retirement promises.

The federal government is in an even worse position. Over the next three years, 30 percent of federal workers are eligible for retirement. As more baby boomers retire, more strain is put on a system that cannot pay out what has been promised. In 2011, the federal government’s unfunded pension liability was $761.5 billion. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. A recent gop deficit projections report showed that in 30 years government debt could reach a mind-boggling $125 trillion. Most of that is social security, medicare and medicaid promises made to future retirees—for which the government has not put aside money to pay.

America’s “spend today, worry tomorrow” economic practices are beginning to come full circle. As more and more people hit retirement age, the government is realizing that its lack of planning and preparing for future retirees is leading to more and more debt. As more pensioners start collecting, more money will need to be borrowed to make up for the increase in retirees.

In January, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned that America’s huge debt would “present a very bitter harvest to every single American.” But you can protect yourself. God promises to provide for those who “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:28-33). To understand the seriousness of what is happening with the economy and how to protect yourself from what’s coming, watch “‘We Don’t Have a Spending Problem’.”

Iran’s New President: Is Hasan Rowhani the Moderate the West Hopes For?

Iran’s New President: Is Hasan Rowhani the Moderate the West Hopes For?

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

What the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s successor means for Iranian politics.

No longer is the Iranian presidency headed by a bombastic, loose-lipped anti-Semite who is openly committed to the demise of the West. According to much of the Western media, President-elect Hasan Rowhani, unlike his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a “moderate” and a “reformist” who will alter the defiant course of the Islamic Republic.

But looks can be deceiving.

Rowhani won the Iranian presidential election with a fraction above 50 percent of the vote. Representing the “moderates,” he soared on the support and endorsements of “moderate” former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Rowhani’s hardliner opponents split the vote among themselves and performed dismally, leaving the Shiite cleric victorious. This has been seen as a victory for the “moderates” in Iran.

But how much can you read into an election engineered by the ayatollah, who decided who would run and how many “moderates” and “hardliners” would run?

Despite being labeled as a moderate, Hasan Rowhani was one of the eight candidates handpicked by Ayatollah Khamenei. True, some of Iran’s mullahs would have preferred a hardliner like Saeed Jalili, but Rowhani may prove to be a far better president for the clerics in Iran, to whom he’s well connected. According to the popular Cranmer blog, Iran’s new president is a devout believer in the apocalyptic Twelfth Imam, as was Ahmadinejad. Rowhani’s main advantage is the “reformist” cloak that he dons, both for the Iranian public and the international community.

Texas-based think tank Stratfor noted: “Following four years of fractious infighting between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rowhani’s election helps safeguard against public unrest and presents the West with a presumably more conciliatory Iranian president” (June 15).

Under Ahmadinejad’s tumultuous second term, power struggles saw the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps rise in influence to counter him, but they did so to the detriment of the clerics’ clout, observes Stratfor. With Rowhani, there won’t be Ahmadinejad-like defiance, and the balance of power will shift more heavily toward the clerics—specifically, Ayatollah Khamenei.

On the international front, Hasan Rowhani is being widely viewed as a pragmatist whom the international community can engage in meaningful dialogue. His “reformist” image may be significant in helping ease the economic sanctions Iran faces. He was, after all, Iran’s chief negotiator with the West for its nuclear program from 2003 to 2005. In 2003, he successfully reached a deal with the European Union for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment, and at that time he called the deal a “victory of moderation and a victory of commitment over extremism.” Unfortunately, enrichment never stopped. And Rowhani was well aware of the fact.

After leaving his nuclear negotiator post, Rowhani gave a speech in 2006 in which he openly admitted to duping the international community. He said, “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan, but we still had a long way to go to complete the project. In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work on Isfahan.”

Hasan Rowhani thus combines the same duplicitous nature of Iran’s mullahs with the tact and moderate face of a reformist, in contrast to the brazen demeanor of Ahmadinejad. This makes him the perfect president for the clerics—and potentially a deadly adversary of the West.

The Langley Intelligence Group Network surmised on June 17:

Rowhani’s win may be an attempt by the Iranian regime to find a replacement for Ahmadinejad with a softer, more moderate image …. Khamenei probably plans to use Rowhani’s softer image to mount an international campaign to improve Iran’s image in the West and promote international trade. Signs that such a campaign could succeed are already apparent with the strong positive Western media coverage of Rowhani’s election and its depiction of him as a moderate. With Rowhani serving as Iran’s chief diplomat, he may be welcomed more openly in many capitals around the world, making it more difficult for the United States and its allies to maintain the increasingly tight noose of economic sanctions that have been imposed on Iran in recent years. Rowhani’s more acceptable image may also complicate efforts to pursue coercive measures, including the use of force, should sanctions fail to prevent Iran’s nuclear advances.

The truth about Iran’s new president informs us that the world still has a dangerous Iran to contend with. Indeed, Iran may even be more deadly because of the “moderate” label its president now has. Whatever the nature of his leadership, it will be subservient to that of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who alone controls nuclear and foreign policy.

Bible prophecy reveals that Iran will continue its dangerously belligerent path. But Daniel 11:40 shows that one day, Iran will be stopped from without, by a European “king of the north.” For more on this subject, read our free booklet The King of the South. You may also be interested in a sidebar in our August 2005 Trumpet issue titled “Khatami Was No Slouch.”

U.S. and Germany Grow Closer

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to arrive in the German capital of Berlin later on Tuesday, after attending the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.

In 2008, then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke to an estimated 200,000 people gathered in front of the Victory Column not far from where the Berlin Wall once divided the city. He urged Americans, Berliners and people of the world to work together for a better world.

[SOUNDBITE: Barack Obama, U.S. democratic presidential candidate at the time]

“This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom and you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work and struggle and sacrifice for that better life.”

Mr. Obama told the crowd that a new generation—“our generation”—must make its mark on history.

Former U.S. ambassador to Germany John Kornblum notes that U.S.-German relations are stronger now than they were 50 years ago.

[SOUNDBITE: John Kornblum, former U.S. ambassador to Germany]

“It’s no longer based on some Cold War threat. It’s based on a deep economic, personal, cultural, familial integration. Sixty million Americans say that they have German heritage. It’s the largest group in the United States. And so, the admiration for Germany—for its products, but also for the way that it built its society—is very high in America. So I think that the relations are much more mature than they were 50 years ago.”

Ezekiel 23 prophesies that Germany and America will indeed share close relations for a while. But these close relations will lead to a double cross. After gaining America’s trust and support, Germany will betray the U.S.

Watch for America to draw closer to Germany, as it foolishly looks to the greatest war-mongering nation in history for friendship, peace and safety.

Today, America trusts Germany more than it trusts God! That is the worst foreign-policy mistake we could ever make.

To understand more about this prophecy, read Gerald Flurry’s article “A Special Warning: Germany’s Long History of Deadly Deceit.”

Fixing America’s Broken Government

Fixing America’s Broken Government

wbeem/Flickr

The process of government in the once great United States is broken. What will it take to fix it?

When you are the guest of a foreign country, it is generally considered bad manners to criticize it.

I’ve been an ex-pat resident of the U.S. for going on sixteen years. I love my home country which is a most loyal ally of America, but I’ve also come to love America, and have a particularly affinity with the people of Oklahoma, our state of residence for our tenure in the U.S.

The fact that my daughter married a real Okie, who was born in Muskogee, adds a personal touch to our attachment to this most conservative of states of the Union.

Mind you, I don’t like the climate in OK—freezing in winter, steaming hot in summer, with but little relief in spring and autumn. Then there are the tornadoes …

Added to all that this coastal boy from Aussie greatly misses the sound of the surf and the feel of golden sand between the toes.

Having said that, it must also be said that I live in one of the friendliest states of the Union, in, culturally, one of its most pleasant of cities, Edmond.

And there’s something else.

There’s still a real feeling of national pride here where Old Glory is respected for the heritage it signifies as is, generally, the nation’s constitution. It’s really akin to the depiction of the Oklahoman as expressed in the Merle Haggard song. Still, even dwelling here in red state Oklahoma, one cannot avoid observing that something has gone wrong, terribly wrong, with this once great country during the last decade and a half.

So I am moved, for what it’s worth, to speak out on what I have observed take place in this once great Superpower during my time of residence here.

Bill Clinton had been elected to a second term as president of the United States just a month before I relocated to America with my wife following a five-year tenure in Britain. Days later Madeleine Albright was appointed as America’s first female secretary of state. I did not consider either as worthy appointments to their respective offices for this great superpower, which America still was, at the time.

As time would reveal, of all post-war governments, it was the Clinton administration that brought to bear, on both domestic and international politics, some of the worst aspects of post-war moral relativism. That administration was overpopulated with children of the ’60s and ’70s who had their minds “closed” to reality (in the term used by Prof. Allan Bloom in his masterful work The Closing of the American Mind) via the brainwashing received from liberal-socialist professors at their universities and colleges during those two socially disruptive decades.

Within the U.S., in particular during the Clinton administration, moral sickness in the White House skewed the perspective of the governing elite away from the old moral absolutes and tore at the fabric of true democracy that had underpinned America in its greatest era of growth and development. The result was a warping of the national perception of just what it is that American democracy was supposed to stand for.

As Prof. Wesley McDonald of Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, commented, “The American political culture has changed so dramatically during the Clinton era that it is now reasonable to conclude that the social, moral and cultural basis necessary for the prevalence of genuinely conservative ideas no longer exists” (Salisbury Review, Winter 2000). That was over 12 years ago, and the situation certainly has not improved since.

There simply cannot be a genuine democracy without a strong representation of the genuine, timeless values and virtues upon which it was founded. Unless those fundamental values and virtues are given a strong voice of support, the moral relativism of the left will overwhelm society and work to destroy its democratic foundations.

As America has dumbed down its culture—its taste in all things from food to dress, from music to sitcoms—the quality of life and the fruits thereof are painting a very different picture of the results of democracy to the rest of the world from that which the Founding Fathers envisioned. Family breakdown, a huge drug subculture, rampant sexual perversion, violent crime, the failing family structure—all these bitter fruits now being reaped by an Anglo-American society in decline are being perceived by undemocratic, religiously zealous, reactionary regimes as dramatic proof of the failure of the great Western dream.

After visiting the autocratically ruled state of Turkmenistan, British journalist Katie Grant observed that “We extol democracy, which allows societies to operate on the level of the lowest common denominator, as the best way to function. But when you compare our filthy streets and yob culture with the dignity of the Turkmen, democracy seems a shoddy affair. We haven’t risen to Bach; we have sunk to Marilyn Manson. … When we export democracy, we export Big Brother. When we insist on the supremacy of individual rights, we export family breakdown and the culture of whinge and litigation” (Spectator, June 29, 2002).

Those tendencies have been terribly exacerbated under America’s current administration. The acceleration of the “big brother” approach to government that has occurred over the past four and a half years has been staggering. The loss of the traditional freedoms enjoyed by Americans from the time the Founding Fathers put their signatures to the Constitution of the United States has, over less than half a decade, been breathtaking. The sense of impending national catastrophe is overwhelming to any independent observer inside America.

Yet the answer to halting this spreading quagmire of deeply entrenched fraud, corruption, sleight of hand and immoral purpose that emanates from the most senior levels of government in Washington is not a return to a truly democratic government. To completely route this perversion of government will take an administration of far greater purity in its motives of ruling the masses for the good of all: in fact, a government that is literally out of this world—believe it or not, the Government of your Maker!

Herbert Armstrong explained the root cause of our misgovernment in his booklet titled A World Held Captive. In that booklet he stated, “You live in a world of awesome progress, but paradoxically, of appalling evils. Why? It’s a world held captive, deceived into loving its captivity. … [M]ost astonishing of all is the actual fact of the colossal kidnapping of all time—in which the captive for 6,000 years has willed to pursue the life and evil philosophy of the archkidnapper—Satan the devil. The willing victim in this case is the world that inhabits this planet Earth! Yet this world has been so completely deceived that it cannot realize what actually has happened to it.”

The Trumpet’s editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, has outlined the current effect of that Satanic captivity on the American nation in his booklet America Under Attack. In that masterful expose of just what has happened to America over the past half decade, he states: “Many people are deeply concerned about the direction of America today. Many can see that the nation is on the wrong course and is rapidly losing its moral character and its strength. … [W]e have seen a rapid breakdown of law and an increasing amount of poison spreading through America’s political system.”

Identifying the root cause of the nation’s demise, just as Herbert Armstrong did, Gerald Flurry declares, “Satan is bringing these nations down. Through all the destruction, he is using individuals that he can to destroy law and government, so everything comes unglued and falls apart. That is what this is all about.”

The end result?

As Mr. Flurry states in the aforementioned booklet, “I’m watching as this government takes one step after another that is weakening this country and hastening the fulfillment of some of the most terrifying prophecies in the Bible! And I know that the devil, who is a liar and who hates law, is behind that.” That means that Satan, who is a spirit and thus a level above that of the human, can only be dealt effectively at the spiritual level.

Yet with the vision of Bible prophecy, we may look beyond the disheartening events of the day as we witness the rapid collapse of effective government within Anglo-Saxon society, to a time of great hope for the future, when this deceitful spirit will be finally dealt with.

As Gerald Flurry states in the conclusion to America Under Attack: “The events we see around us are deeply sobering. But they should also fill us with hope—and anticipation of the great event they lead to: the Second Coming of Christ to this Earth!

“Once Christ banishes the devil and takes his rightful place on the throne over the Earth, we will have joy and happiness and peace for the rest of eternity!

“Thank God for that!”

Only then will not only government in America, but the totality of government worldwide be fixed forever!

Read our booklets America Under Attack and The Epistles of Peter: A Living Hope for a real prophetic perspective on the broken government in America and the guaranteed solution to that problem.