The Plain Truth Behind Recent German-Israeli Trade Talks

The Plain Truth Behind Recent German-Israeli Trade Talks

World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger

Why a 70-member government-led delegation visited the Holy Land

Recently, German Minister for Economy and Technology Dr. Philip Rösler visited California’s Silicon Valley to promote native start-up companies to U.S. investors. A special workshop was hosted by the German Silicon Valley Accelerator program located in America’s digital heartland.

The Trumpet has drawn specific attention to the European Union’s Digital Agenda and avowed goal to tackle U.S. domination of the Internet economy in pursuit of a “European Dream” to increase entrepreneurial leadership, innovation and international influence.

So it came as no surprise that Rösler, accompanied by more than 70 entrepreneurs, recently traveled to Israel’s Silicon Wadi. The German business executives hailed from a wide array of market sectors such as, e-commerce, entertainment, advertising, media, health care and biotech.

The sheer magnitude of the government-led delegation revealed the level of intent Europe’s strongest economy has in trade relations with the Jews. Israel’s Trade Center, Export Institute, Chambers of Commerce and Manufacturers Association worked together to host a special conference for their guests. The forum enabled key decision-makers to view firsthand the enticing start-up atmosphere and discuss future alliances with local businesses. “We hope that this visit will lead to many new partnerships and that the bilateral trade will extend to new areas and sectors,” said Hemdat Sagi, director Israel’s Trade Center.

Top of the daytime agenda for the German economic minister was a meeting in Tel Aviv with his counterpart, Naftali Bennett. Discussion centered on continuation and expansion of trade relations, with Dr. Rösler noting, “Israel and especially Tel Aviv are known worldwide for their strong founders scene–Germany for its powerful smes [small and medium enterprises]. Under these conditions, the bilateral cooperation will be a success.”

Evening hours were spent on the roof top of the famed Bar Valium. Hosted by the Trade Center, the informal setting enabled further establishment of contacts and closing of deals for more than 30 locally participating start-up companies.

Last year, the two countries traded over €5.3 billion, dominated by €3.7 billion in German exports to Israel, topped off by its €1.6 billion in materials to Germany. Chief items imported by the Jews were machines, vehicles, and chemical items, with exports featuring food, engineering, chemicals and electronics.

For Israel, as with continental Europe and pro-Western Mideast countries, Germany is the most vital regional economic partner. The economic fruit borne from this and future business trips will underscore the confidence expressed by the German economic minister that “bilateral cooperation will be a success.”

Why this increased economic bond? The answer is found in the inspired writings of Hosea the prophet. “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13). Both Britain and Judah are mentioned here, with the Hebrew translation revealing their respective overtures toward Germany as a result of their incurable “wound,” or peace pacts (Obadiah 1:7).

“Why does Judah go to Germany?” asks our editor in chief in his booklet Hosea: Reaping the Whirlwind. “Already the European Union has been mentioned publicly as a protector to Israel as the U.S. grows weaker. Germany has grown more and more active in the region. It sent observers to look after the border with Egypt after Israel vacated the Gaza Strip; it sent peacekeepers to Lebanon after the Hezbollah-Israel war in the summer of 2006; for some years there has been talk of German troops helping to secure the Golan Heights should Israel give this strategic area back to Syria. Germany now has its navy deployed throughout the whole of the Mediterranean, one of the world’s most strategic waterways, from Gibraltar to Suez. Relations between German and Israeli politicians are the best they have been in decades.”

Expect more rapid political trust, and trade and military partnerships to be cemented between these two countries in fulfillment of this prophecy in Hosea. However, it may shock you to learn that this will lead to a double cross of historic proportions. Request Hosea: Reaping the Whirlwind to learn more of this and other unfolding and impending prophecies.

Detroit Residents Battle Crime on Their Own as Police Force Shrinks

Residents in Detroit, Michigan, are organizing community patrols to deal with increasing crime. The city has drastically downsized its police force over the years because of extensive financial difficulties. It takes police anywhere from 31 to 115 minutes to reach a location after being called—whether the call is top-priority or routine.

James Jackson was a policeman for the Detroit Police Department for more than 30 years. He planned to live the rest of his life in a peaceful environment, but the city’s economic and crime problems have scuttled that hope. Increasing crime has led to increasing calls from his neighbors asking for his help. This has prompted James to start up community patrols. However, several days ago he got injured trying to stop a crime.

[SOUNDBITE: James Jackson, retired Detroit policeman]

“They promised us when they closed our police station that it was going to get better because they were going to take two stations and combine them and make one. But it didn’t work out like that. It wound up that we didn’t get any more police officers—we got less, and crime got worse. So seeing that crime was getting worse, I got involved with trying to do community patrols, trying to help out.”

In recent years, the government has cut an estimated 40 percent of its police force. Roughly one in five houses in Detroit is abandoned, which has provided approximately 78,000 possible havens for criminals.

[SOUNDBITE: James Jackson, retired Detroit policeman]

“We patrol around. Later on we got started to use our video cameras. Using the video camera to videotape criminals when they’re doing what they do. … And when you videotape them, we take the video and turn it over to the police. As it turns out, the video is stronger than a gun. They are really afraid of having their picture taken.”

Besides routine patrols, James also teaches residents how to protect themselves against crime. His efforts have improved the security situation of his community. However, not all Detroit residents have a James Jackson.

[SOUNDBITE: Detroit resident, name not given]

“I see abandoned houses on my block, they just go in and take it. We call the police; they never showed up. I don’t know—that’s all in a nutshell. It’s just a terrible situation, and we’re making worldwide news.”

Once ranked among the top five American metropolises, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy on July 18. The city government was unable to repay its debt of more than $18 billion.

The decline in the automobile industry along with the 2008 financial crisis have taken Detroit’s finances from bad to worse. Over a million residents have left the city. The population has dropped from 1.8 million several years ago to the present 700,000. Many skyscrapers, factories and houses have been abandoned.

Crime statistics from 2012 listed 411 murders and 16,000 household robberies. That means an average of 44 crimes occurred every day in Detroit last year.

Detroit’s bankruptcy and rising crime rate foretell an ominous future for other American cities. To understand what is coming, read “Detroit Bankruptcy: Nothing to See Here, Move Along.”

Japan’s Deputy Leader: ‘Tokyo Could Learn From Nazis’

Japan’s Deputy Leader: ‘Tokyo Could Learn From Nazis’

TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso suggested on Monday that Tokyo could learn from Nazi Germany’s history about how to quietly adopt reforms to change Japan’s pacifist constitution.

Since World War ii’s end, Japan’s U.S.-imposed constitution has technically limited its military to being a defensive force. To avoid stirring fears of a resurgence in Japanese militarism, Tokyo has relied on Washington for security guarantees during this time. But three factors are now causing Tokyo to shift away from the belief that it needs to quell global fears about a revival of Japan’s militaristic nationalism: Japan’s dwindling faith in America’s security promises, its rising tensions with China and the Koreas, and, similar to today’s Germany, the desire for Japan to be looked upon as a world power in its own right, complete with the ability to defend its national interests militarily. These factors have prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to intensify efforts to revise the constitution to define Japan’s military as a full-fledged force.

A growing number of Japanese embrace these efforts, but media outlets have expressed alarm over Tokyo’s apparent swing toward nationalism and militarism. And the concern has stirred emotions in China and South Korea, which have long said Tokyo hasn’t really come to terms with its militaristic history.

It was that alarm and concern that prompted Deputy Prime Minister Aso this week to say that Japan should have taken a page from the Nazi playbook. “First, mass media started to make noises [about Japan’s proposed reforms] and then China and South Korea followed suit. The German Weimar constitution changed, without being noticed, to the Nazi German constitution. Why don’t we learn from their tactics?” he said in a speech to a conservative think tank.

After seeing the outcry his remarks generated, Aso apologized, saying his comments had “led to a misunderstanding.” But for some, like Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the damage was done. “What ‘techniques’ from the Nazis’ governance are worth learning? How to stealthily cripple democracy?” Cooper asked.

The Nazi Party’s rise to power in the early 1930s was made possible by emergency decrees that bypassed the Weimar constitution. The same was true of Adolf Hitler’s grab of absolute power in 1933. These constitutional circumventions ended up with a Germany-Italy-Japan Axis engulfing humanity in the unprecedented carnage of World War ii.

Perhaps Aso, seeing Germany’s rise to dominance being actively supported by its former enemies—in particular the U.S.—believes the time is ripe for Japan to copy Berlin’s example in the Asian arena.

Way back in 1971, Herbert W. Armstrong, editor in chief of the Trumpet’s forerunner magazine, said, “Japan today has no military establishment. … But we should not lose sight of the fact that Japan has become so powerful economically that it could build a military force of very great power very rapidly.”(Plain Truth, March 1971)

Even before the newest military shifts under Abe and his party began, Japan had been making strong moves in that direction. Today, Japan is home to the fourth-largest navy in the world, and one of the top military arsenals on the globe.

As current trends persist, Japan’s military will continue to expand, and it will look less and less like a “self-defense” force. Although Japan’s expanding military is, at present, largely a response to threats from other Asian countries, Bible prophecy reveals that the militaries of China, Japan and other Eastern powers will set aside their differences and join forces. To understand more, read the fourth chapter of our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy, called “Japan’s Place in the Future.”

America Vs. Terrorism— Business as Usual

America Vs. Terrorism— Business as Usual

Center for Strategic and Internationl Studies

Afghan terrorists continue to profit from contracts sponsored by the U.S. government.

There’s something called “the simplicity in Christ.” It’s akin to perfect common sense. It’s bound up in the basic law of God, His statutes and judgments and the gospel message of Jesus Christ. It has to do with perfection in government, and it’s what’s profoundly lacking in the general conduct of our society today.

Take, for instance, the manner in which the Pentagon conducts the business of letting contracts in Afghanistan.

On July 30, the office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (sigar) issued its latest report to the U.S. Congress. It is quite condemning of the U.S. government’s refusal to deny contracts to enterprises associated with insurgents and terror groups.

In a letter accompanying the report, the Special Inspector, John Sopko, stated that his agency is now “viewed as the key player in combating corruption and ferreting out contract-related criminal activity in the reconstruction effort.”

In the process of carrying out 30 audits and inspections, in addition to issuing alert letters and other reports, Mr. Sopko comments on the results highlighting a disturbing trend: “I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract. There appears to be a growing gap between the policy objectives of Washington and the reality of achieving them in Afghanistan, especially when the government must hire and oversee contractors to perform its mission.”

In a severe indictment of U.S. government’s contracts oversight in Afghanistan, Sopko observes: “These investigations, along with sigar’s audits, inspections and special projects, highlight serious shortcomings in U.S. oversight of contracts: poor planning, delayed or inadequate inspections, insufficient documentation, dubious decisions, and—perhaps most troubling—a pervasive lack of accountability.”

Yet the most troubling of Mr. Sopko’s observations contained in his covering letter attached to sigar’s quarterly report is his need to “reiterate the concerns I raised in our last report about the Army’s refusal to act on sigar’s recommendations to prevent supporters of the insurgency, including supporters of the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and al Qaeda, from receiving government contracts” (emphasis added throughout).

Highlighting this concern, Mr. Sopko states, “I continue to urge you to change this faulty policy and enforce the rule of common sense in the Army’s suspension and debarment program.”

Sadly, there exists little evidence to support “common sense” being any part of the current U.S. administration’s methods of governance.

To use American taxpayers’ money to pay for government contracts carried out by or on behalf of Afghan entities directly associated with the slaughter of U.S. military personnel is, at a minimum, treasonous. Yet treason, it appears, was thrown out of the window as a legal sentence for any individual or entity operating directly against America’s national interests when liberal socialists gained possession of the law of the country.

Unrighteous judges are condemned by God (Isaiah 10:1). There exists a particular prevalence of unrighteous judgment in the minds and actions of those who govern in our day (Isaiah 3:12; 5:20-23). The Prophet Isaiah is here speaking of our day, today. These verses refer to the seeming entire lack of common sense—certainly the absence of the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3)—that is present in so many of our government institutions today.

sigar’s report emphasizes just one aspect of this, yet it is one that has our enemies laughing in our face as they use one hand to rake in billions of dollars from U.S. government contracts, and blow up our soldiers with the other.

Read Isaiah’s End-Time Vision for deeper insight into this current-day phenomenon and where it is all leading.

The Lesson of Hezekiah’s Tunnel

It takes intense effort on our part to obey God, but it can’t be done by human effort alone.

One of the great lessons true Christians are reminded of often during their study of God’s Word is that we must diligently work to remove sin from our lives and replace it with God’s character and nature. If we are to become a part of God’s family and receive the gift of eternal life, we must prove our obedience here and now by getting the sin out of our lives! This is our part in God’s plan.

Detroit Bankruptcy—Nothing to See Here

Detroit Bankruptcy—Nothing to See Here

Martin Gonzalez

The collapse of this great American city isn’t just a case of not selling enough cars. It signals something far more ominous.
From the September 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Detroit is “just an innocent victim of market forces.” There is no bigger lesson here, said New York Times economist Paul Krugman. “For the most part, it’s just one of those things that happens now and then in an ever changing economy” (July 21).

What garbage. It is exactly this kind of mixed-up thinking that guarantees more cities will turn into Detroit.

On July 18, the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The filing, if approved, would make it the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, and probably the biggest municipal bankruptcy of any advanced nation ever.

But according to one of America’s leading papers, there is no lesson to be learned here! What do you think?

No Lesson?

The city has lost close to two thirds of its population. No lesson?

Last year, Detroit high schools had a dismal 65 percent graduation rate. In 2007, a study from Education Week found that only 25 percent of freshmen really ended up graduating on time. The children of Detroit have a better chance of going to prison than graduating on time. Almost half of Detroit adults are considered functionally illiterate. No lesson?

What about Detroit’s sky-high divorce rates? Detroit has become a city of single mothers and delinquent dads. It is a tale of welfare addiction, family breakdown and social disintegration. No lesson?

Krugman talks about innocent victims. Well, there are a lot of victims in Detroit. It is the most dangerous big city in America and one of the most dangerous in the world. The gang activity and crime rates make Cúcuta, Colombia, and Sao Luis, Brazil, blush. Detroit is the city of 11,000 unsolved homicides. Bodies lie in streets for hours due to morgue cutbacks. Victims are stuffed in trunks. Or left in the streets. Or dumped in abandoned buildings, which are then lit on fire. For the living, police response times average almost an hour.

Apparently, a population crash from 2 million to 700,000 is just one of those things. The white flight is historic and well documented. But there is also black flight. And the flight of the dead. That’s right: People are actually exhuming dead relatives to move them out of the city because it is too dangerous to visit the cemeteries.

Move along, there are no lessons here. But take a drive by at your peril.

A Warning

Detroit’s plight is a gigantic, flashing warning sign for the nation.

Currently, the city owes money to more than 100,000 vendors, contractors and other lenders. The city emergency manager thinks the bill comes to around $19 billion, but it might be more. Some of the city’s invoices haven’t been paid in years.

To put this enormous debt in context, consider that the average annual per capita income of a Detroit resident is a measly $13,969—less than the average per capita income of a resident in Romania, Botswana or Belarus. Over the past 60 years, Detroit has gone from one of the most prosperous cities in the world, with the highest standard of living, to one of the world’s poorest.

During that whole time, the city was run by one political party, adhering to a specific economic philosophy. Politicians said they wanted to create a “fairer” city by raising taxes on businesses and productive individuals and redistributing it. The effect was to drive business out and make everyone poor. Think that policy warrants further investigation? This same economic philosophy is currently being nationalized.

Detroitification is spreading.

But back to Detroit’s debt. If the city taxed residents at 100 percent of their salaries—took every dime from each of its 700,000 remaining residents and made each of them slaves—it would still take two years of servitude to pay off the debt.

How did Detroit’s leaders ever justify taking on so much debt? And where did all the money go? How were these leaders able to waste and steal so much? What is the connection to the big unions, both private and public? Surely there are more lessons America can learn from this.

Now Detroit has run out of money—both its own and other people’s. With its credit rating trashed, no one is silly enough to lend to it anymore (except maybe the federal government, if President Obama decides to bail out the city). And with one of the highest tax rates in the country, one of the lowest per capita incomes and sky-high poverty levels, the city has nothing left to take.

And fewer citizens are willing to give. Almost half of all property owners are refusing to pay their property taxes. The Detroit News reports that there were 77 city blocks where only one owner paid taxes last year.

It is hard to blame them.

In the words of Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager: “The city does not provide basic and essential services to the residents who remain …. The city is infested with urban blight.”

America’s First Third World City

Detroit is described variably as a post-apocalyptic ghost town, a post-industrial ruin, the city of flames, the city where the sirens never stop, America’s first Third World city, Murder Town, Hell on Wheels. Veteran Detroit reporter Charlie LeDuff describes it as “an archaeological ruin … empty and forlorn and pathetic.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that Detroit was closing another 45 schools. Once closed, the abandoned structures will be stripped of their copper wiring and plumbing. Anything of value will be stolen. Before long, they will probably burn.

Detroit is shutting down its green spaces too. Only 53 of the city’s 300-plus parks are still open to the public. Of those, 38 are on limited maintenance, which means periodically mowing the lawn. Detroit’s most famous park, Belle Island, is literally sinking into the river due to lack of preservation. There are about 78,000 abandoned homes in Detroit, and another 80,000 or so additional abandoned buildings. Forty percent of the city’s stoplights don’t work.

Half of Detroit’s 1,000-strong fire department are captains, battalion chiefs, drivers and other non-firefighters. Those who actually fight fires do so with ladders that don’t work, fire hydrants that often malfunction, and trucks that routinely break down. Its fire stations operate on a schedule of rolling brownouts. Ambulance drivers risk their lives trying to help people; they face automatic gunfire all around them.

Detroit’s police officers battle internal and external lawlessness. Its citizens battle to survive. Its leaders battle over the scraps that are left. And regardless of what union activists, corrupt politicians, or bankruptcy judges opine, regardless of what teachers, police officers, city clerks, or maintenance workers hope, and regardless of what bond holders, investors, or pensioners feel is just and fair, the simple truth is somebody just isn’t going to get paid. The money simply isn’t there.

A colleague from the Philippines who recently visited Detroit said that parts of the city he saw were just like the shanty towns back home, the difference being, “The abandoned buildings are a lot bigger.”

Yet the New York Times takes no lessons.

It Had Everything

Why is it so hard to understand that the Detroit that used to symbolize American prowess is gone? Maybe it is the “Detroit Is Back” Super Bowl commercials, or Eminem telling us that the city has “been to hell and back,” so everything is okay now. We are on the verge of a revival. Go out and buy a Chrysler.

But take a closer look. GM and Chrysler may have been bailed out, and sales are up this year, but they are maxed out on debt again. Ford is no different. They are just one recession away from the next bailout. How many of their vehicles are actually made in Detroit anymore—and how much is outsourced?

Want to fix Detroit? Then stop pretending it is just a random victim of a changing economy. It is not!

Detroit is a victim, but it is a victim of an imploding national culture, not some mysterious market forces.

How can you know? It really is simple. Consider Detroit’s situation. It is located in one of the choicest parts of the most blessed country in the world! Pull out a map and look at Detroit’s location. Situated in the interior of North America—yet thanks to its location on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, it still has waterway access to the whole world. Add on its position on the Detroit River, connecting lakes Huron and Erie, and that it also sits on the overland gateway to the heart of Canada. One hundred and thirty billion dollars’ worth of international trade crosses its bridges each year. Detroit also lies within easy trucking and rail distance from the Ohio River, making it the beneficiary of Mississippi River trade and transport. Then there is its climate, fertility of soil, proximity to markets, economies of scale and skilled labor that all work in its favor.

Geographically, Detroit is a golden child. It was bequeathed virtually everything needed to make it a world-class industrial center.

Yet despite that—and despite becoming one of the most prosperous cities in world history—it still collapsed.

The Big Lesson

Now the same thing is happening to many American cities. Despite America’s unparalleled agricultural, mineral, scientific and geographic resources, cities across the country are in various stages of Detroitification. Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Portland, Providence and Houston are all going the same way. And it doesn’t stop with municipalities either. California, Illinois and Kentucky—many states are headed for bankruptcy too. Then there are the tens of trillions in federal government obligations that everyone pretends will be paid.

So, what is the big lesson that America should really take from Detroit?

Detroit’s dramatic downfall can only be understood by identifying the source of its original prosperity.

Ingenuity, work ethic, economies of scale, access to capital, resources, mass transportation, low taxation, freedom, private ownership and a skilled labor pool were all important factors. These things, if re-implemented in Detroit, would help. But they are not the most important and essential factors leading to prosperity.

It is God that makes the difference. It was God who showered down the blessings on Detroit—and on America—that made it great. It was God—not random economic forces—who provided America with its formerly unrivaled level of prosperity, that set it apart from all the other nations in the world.

Yet now, because the conditions of retaining those blessings—things like keeping God’s commandments—are being broken, those blessings are being removed. If you read your Bible, you know this is the case. Cities are collapsing in spite of all the blessings they used to have, and in many cases still have. Detroit is in effect a warning from God about what is in store for all America.