President Obama’s War on Poseidon

President Obama’s War on Poseidon

Jay Baker/Maryland GovPics

How do we know that raising the minimum wage will end poverty? Because I said so.

“In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour,” President Barack Obama said during his State of the Union speech. “[I]f you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

If solving economic problems were only so easy: Issue an executive order; Command businesses to pay employees more; Make companies promise not to fire employees. End poverty by decree.

Realistically, you might as well stand before the ocean and command the waves to cease.

Are there not economic laws? Laws that determine employment levels? Doesn’t supply and demand determine what jobs are worth? Can these laws simply be banished by presidential edict?

And what about poverty? Can it simply be extinguished from the land by outlawing all jobs that pay less than $10.10 per hour?

During President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech he told America that poverty could be eliminated by prohibiting jobs that pay less than $9 per hour. Now he says jobs that pay less than $10.10 per hour should be exiled.

Doing what he says will “lift millions of Americans out of poverty and help millions more work their way out of poverty,” says the president. Best of all, it won’t require a “single dollar in new taxes or spending.”

See what a great plan this is? There is no downside.

To illustrate the lunacy that passes for economic literacy today, the Huffington Post and the Economic Policy Institute (epi) have come to the aid of the president. Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour would actually cause the economy to “grow by about $22 billion” and result in 85,000 new jobs, they say!

Hahaha. Ocean, I command you to recede!

If a measly $2.85 per hour is all it takes to add another $20 billion or so to the economy, why stop there? Why not give the economy a real boost and raise it by $5.70 per hour and add $40 billion. Or raise it to $57 per hour and add $400 billion! We can all be rich via government decree.

In case you think $57 per hour is out-of-this-world ridiculous, the Huffington Post actually argues that the minimum wage should really be at least $21.72 per hour based upon advances in productivity. Businesses should be forced to share that bounty and pay workers what they “deserve,” they argue. The epi says the fair minimum wage should only be $18.30 per hour.

So here is a tip for the Huffington Post’s economic writers and the analysts down at the Economic Policy Institute: time for a career change.

If all it takes to eliminate poverty is raising the minimum wage—why haven’t we done this before?

The answer is: We have—and often.

Based upon the same flawed populist pandering, and in the name of “fixing poverty,” President George W. Bush raised the minimum wage three times. The last raise went into effect in 2009. President Bill Clinton raised the minimum wage twice. “These 10 million Americans will become part of America’s economic success story,'’ he declared. President George Bush also raised the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, many states went further. Twenty-one adopted minimum wages higher than the federal level.

Did that fix poverty in those states? Did it result in lower unemployment? If so, would we be here talking about it again?

Common sense tells you that making it more costly to hire workers results in fewer jobs, not more.

So what does raising the minimum wage actually do? It hurts the very people politicians claim to be helping.

It is possible that small rises in the minimum wage would not cause many job losses, but raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 is a massive 39.3 percent increase. It is beyond ridiculous to seriously propose that such whopping increases wouldn’t impede hiring and cause job losses. People who claim otherwise generally point to all the extra spending poor people will do once they get raises, but they conveniently downplay the other consequences.

If companies are mandated to spend more on labor, that increased spending must come from somewhere—that is an economic law that can’t be avoided. Some people say that raising the minimum wage would make people work harder, reduce turnover, and increase productivity. Reality argues otherwise. So, when possible, businesses will pass their increased costs on to consumers. When prices go up, the cost of living goes up—and everyone’s money becomes less valuable. When passing on the cost is not possible, employees will be let go. Or some combination of the above takes place.

Additionally, if businesses have to pay more for workers, they have less incentive to expand.

“How many stores will Walmart, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc., not open that they would have otherwise if the minimum wage rockets up to $10.10?” economic analyst Mike Shedlock asks. Good question!

Additionally, as the price of labor goes up—the drive toward automation, which is rapidly accelerating, will speed up even further. How many more self-checkout lines and robots will we see? Again, this means fewer jobs for the unskilled poor.

Here is how Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman famously described minimum wage laws and those that push them (emphasis added):

The fact is, the programs labeled as being “for the poor,” or “for the needy,” almost always have effects exactly the opposite of those which their well-intentioned sponsors intend them to have.[T]ake the minimum wage law. … The do-gooders believe that by passing a law saying that nobody shall get less than … whatever the minimum wage is, you are helping poor people who need the money. You are doing nothing of the kind. What you are doing is to assure that people whose skills are not sufficient to justify that kind of a wage will be unemployed. …The minimum wage law is most properly described as a law saying that employers must discriminate against people who have low skills. … Thus, the consequences of minimum wage laws have been almost wholly bad. We have increased unemployment and increased poverty.There is absolutely no positive objective achieved by the minimum wage law.Its real purpose is to reduce competition for the trade unions and make it easier for them to maintain the higher wages of their privileged members.

America has known for decades that minimum wage laws actually do the opposite of what politicians claim. Yet we keep pushing them. Isn’t that the definition of arrogance? Doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result just because this time you said so?

And remember, the proposed minimum wage hike comes on top of the Obamacare penalties that are also raising the cost of employing people.

There will be additional consequences for poor people too.

For example, there will also be fewer full-time jobs. Businesses will logically seek to keep healthcare costs to a minimum and avoid the penalties of Obamacare by employing more part-time and fewer full-time workers.

That is why President Obama recently issued another executive order mandating all businesses certify under penalty of perjury that they are not firing workers due to Obamacare.

By presidential order I command that businesses are no longer allowed to fire people.

Now businesses are not allowed to make staffing decisions based on tax-implications or their healthcare costs? How is this ridiculous law even enforceable?

It’s as if America’s rulers think they can void the consequences of their diktats by simply issuing more diktats.

The truth is, poverty cannot be made to disappear simply by ordering it to disappear. Jobs cannot be created by mandating businesses to employ more people. Economic laws and the consequences for breaking them cannot be avoided.

You might as well do as Roman Emperor Caligula did and declare war on Poseidon. He ordered his soldiers to march to the sea and stab the waves. After declaring victory, he proclaimed himself a god more powerful than Poseidon. And ordered his soldiers to collect a treasure chest of worthless seashells as proof.

Caligula issued a lot of ridiculous orders that could not be carried out. He wasted a lot of time and effort fighting a fake war. He also spent a lot of resources trying to convince people he was a god.

But none of that changed reality. He was not God. His orders could not negate natural laws. And, in the end, all his ridiculous antics led to his downfall. It wasn’t long before Caligula was replaced by Claudius.

Raising the minimum wage will not end poverty any more than stabbing at the ocean and commanding the tide to recede will make you a god.

Franco-German Brigade to Deploy for First Time

Franco-German Brigade to Deploy for First Time

PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images

A symbol of Franco-German unity is now a symbol for Germany’s new appetite for military adventures.

The Franco-German Brigade has been a powerful symbol of cooperation and trust between the two countries since it was formed in 1987. But the nearly 5,000-strong brigade has never actually done any fighting—at least not as a complete unit. Every time the soldiers in the brigade go to war, they get split up, back into their separate national armies.

“France has petitioned the German government for many years to provide assistance with military missions in Africa, in particular,” writes Deutsche Welle. “But for just as long, Germany has refused—even in clear cases of humanitarian missions.”

But on February 19, the two countries announced they would be sending the brigade to Mali to train Malian soldiers. Most of the details, including the size of the deployment, have yet to be announced. But the decision to finally use the brigade is a significant and symbolic step.

Around the same time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave some timid support for Germany’s new push to use its military more often. “We supported the French Army in Mali by helping them refuel their aircraft,” said Merkel in an interview with the Franco-German Youth Office. But, she added, “There’s room for more cooperation.”

It was just a few words, but Deutsche Welle noted that “many commentators in both countries view Merkel’s comments on German-French cooperation as a turning point in Germany’s foreign policy approach.”

Germany’s president, defense minister and foreign minister have given their enthusiastic support for this pivot. But so far Chancellor Merkel has been more cautious.

The announcement came after an annual Franco-German meeting of ministers in Paris on February 19, where the new, more cordial relationship between France and Germany was clearly visible. “In contrast to earlier joint press conferences, Chancellor Angela Merkel and [French President François] Hollande were cheerful and relaxed,” wrote Lara Marlowe in the Irish Times.

After all of Germany’s talk about becoming more active militarily, this is one of its first concrete steps. It also shows a serious interest in working together with France and other European nations. Germany wants to move beyond having a merely symbolic combined Franco-German armed force. Now, after 25 years, it actually wants to use it.

Facebook Adds More Than 50 ‘Custom Gender’ Options

Facebook Adds More Than 50 ‘Custom Gender’ Options

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook added 56 custom gender options on February 13 for users of the website that do not identify themselves simply as “male” or “female.”

Users who want their Facebook friends to know that they consider themselves to be anything from “gender fluid” to “transsexual” to “two-spirit” can now conveniently convey that right on their profile page.

Here is a complete list of the options, which Facebook has opted not to publish in full:

Agender • Androgyne • Androgynous • Bigender • Cis • Cisgender • Cis Female • Cis Male • Cis Man • Cis Woman • Cisgender Female • Cisgender Male • Cisgender Man • Cisgender Woman • Female • Female to Male • FTM • Gender Fluid • Gender Nonconforming • Gender Questioning • Gender Variant • Genderqueer • Intersex • Male • Male to Female • MTF • Neither • Neutrois • Non-binary • Other • Pangender • Trans • Trans* • Trans Female • Trans* Female • Trans Male • Trans* Male • Trans Man • Trans* Man • Trans Person • Trans* Person • Trans Woman • Trans* Woman • Transfeminine • Transgender • Transgender Female • Transgender Male • Transgender Man • Transgender Person • Transgender Woman • Transmasculine • Transsexual • Transsexual Female • Transsexual Male • Transsexual Man • Transsexual Person • Transsexual Woman • Two-Spirit

Facebook also now offers users their choice of “preferred pronoun,” so instead of alerting a user’s friends to wish “him” a happy birthday, it would remind those friends to send regards to “her” or “them,” depending on the user’s preference.

This news demonstrates that the efforts to reshape society are intensifying and advancing in ever more radical ways.

Trumpet columnist Joel Hilliker wrote about the trend this past September:

An effort is gaining ground to create a world where not just “sexual orientation,” but sex itself, is a choice. Where boys can be girls and girls can be boys, or something in between. Where people are expected to ignore the biological reality of sex so that all people coexist androgynously, or according to whatever gender suits them at the moment. Where everyone pretends that gender confusion is normal, if not desirable, and anyone who doesn’t play along can be punished and silenced.This demonstrates unprecedented contempt for reality and common sense, let alone morality.

To understand the scope of these intensifying efforts—and what they mean for society—order a free copy of our booklet Redefining Family. If you order, there is absolutely no cost, no follow up, and no obligation. Yet the booklet can give you precious clarity and understanding that is unavailable anywhere else.

End-Time War in Heaven

The book of Revelation tells us that there was a recent war in heaven in this end time, after which Satan and his demons were cast down to this Earth! That sounds outrageous to a lot of people, but it’s right there in your Bible.

The Resurrection of Soviet Russia

The Sochi Olympics are a celebration of the muscle, ambition and ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Bible Prophecy Comes Alive in Sochi

Bible Prophecy Comes Alive in Sochi

ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Forget the athletes. The Sochi Olympics are a celebration of the muscle, ambition and ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin, the prophesied ‘prince of Rosh.’

Imagine if we added up the number of hours every individual on Earth has spent watching the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The figure would easily be in the billions of hours, perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 billion. That’s the equivalent of 1,140,000years—an incredible time investment. Here’s something else incredible: Despite this enormous investment of time, 99.9 percent of viewers have yet to experience the most powerful and inspiring lesson of the Sochi Olympics.

This lesson revolves around Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and a prophecy in Ezekiel 38.

Let’s start with Putin. No one has more invested in Sochi than Putin. He’s been the driving force behind these Olympics ever since the idea of Russia hosting was first conceived—which apparently occurred in Putin’s mind during a 2001 ski jaunt in Sochi’s mountains. In 2007, Putin traveled to Guatemala and personally delivered the sales pitch to the International Olympic Committee (ioc). Putin made his appeal in both French (the ioc head was French) and English, the latter of which he apparently learned specifically for this occasion (an extremely rare gesture for Putin).

After being given the games, Putin gave his organizers a blank check and unfettered access to the vast resources of the Russian government. He withheld nothing, as long as the organizers followed his orders. The final tab of the 2014 Sochi Olympics came to $51 billion, making these games seven times more expensive than the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and by far the most expensive in history. The opening ceremony—which had Putin’s fingerprints all over it—was an absolutely stunning experience, full of energy, color and history. Since then, Putin has been omnipresent in and around Sochi—flirting with athletes, watching from the stands, visiting nightclubs and parties, and entertaining world leaders and diplomats.

The past two weeks have been a high point of Putin’s life, and certainly the high point of his 14 years on Russia’s throne. Not because of Putin’s love of sports or his affection for the sense of unity and camaraderie the Olympics sometimes engender. These Olympics are important to Putin because they embody and declare a powerful message about Russia, and about Russia’s president. Forget the athletes; the Sochi Olympics have been a two-week celebration of the muscle, ambition and ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin! In July 2005, during his annual State of the Union address, Putin bewailed the fall of the Soviet empire as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. Putin’s supreme ambition as president has been the restoration of the Soviet empire.

The2014 Sochi Olympics are Vladimir Putin’s declaration that the Soviet empire has been resurrected!

Remarkably, this message has been greeted by the mainstream media and most Western governments with apathy and disinterest; in some instances, with excitement. America and the West, for the most part, have shown themselves entirely ignorant of who Vladimir Putin really is and the danger his newly resurrected Russian empire poses to the global order. It’s true that the Sochi Olympics and Vladimir Putin himself have received some bad press. (President Obama and a few counterparts refused to attend the opening ceremony.) But this public display of opposition wasn’t in response to Putin’s revival of a powerful and belligerent Russia—it was in response to Putin’s supposed “war” on homosexuals.

Let’s slow down for a moment and think about who this man is, what he has done, and what he seeks to do in the future. Vladimir Putin is the mastermind behind Russia’s ongoing war on Chechnya, which has a death toll far in excess of 100,000. Vladimir Putin is widely known to be responsible for the 2004 poisoning of Ukraine’s opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, as well as the 2006 poisoning and death of Russian dissenter Alexander Litvinenko. Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s devastating cyberattack on Estonia in 2007 and Russia’s military invasion of Georgia in 2008. Vladimir Putin, together with China, is responsible for vetoing multiple UN sanctions designed to impair some of the world’s most horrible regimes. Vladimir Putin is friend and defender of post-revolution Iran and Bashar Assad’s Syria, and for years has actively and tangibly propped up both.

Putin’s conduct inside Russia is equally alarming and repulsive. Since he became president, 40 journalists have been murdered. He’s destroyed private business and enterprise, crushed independent media outlets, brought Russia’s energy infrastructure under almost total government control, and walked all over Russia’s constitution. Only two months ago, Putin dissolved Russia’s primary news agency, replacing it with Rossiya Segodnya, which is basically a PR tool to promote Russia’s image abroad. In January, the last largely independent television news organization, tv Rain, was threatened after it published an online survey which asked a question that displeased the Kremlin.

Putin’s PR machine sells this man as a brave and masculine daredevil with high morals and a soft, empathetic heart. Don’t buy it. The real Putin is a cold, calculated autocrat. For 14 years he has bullied, tortured and murdered opponents, both at home as well as abroad; he has actively buttressed many of the planet’s most dangerous despots and regimes; he has intentionally destabilized neighboring governments, and he has aggressively sought to undermine U.S. and Western efforts. Even now Ukraine is being torn apart by political chaos and violence that is a direct result of Vladimir Putin’s meddling. Yet, despite this track record, the only infraction America and the West make any significant noise about is Putin’s war on homosexuals!

For nearly two weeks now, countless millions of people around the world have been fixated on Russia. Sochi is teeming with journalists, politicians and diplomats. What an opportunity these people have had: to seriously evaluate Vladimir Putin, to expose to the world who this man really is and what his ambitions really are, and to declare the danger a powerful and aggressive Russia poses to the world. Instead, the only thing we can get vocal about is Putin’s aggression toward homosexuality. You watch: Our willing ignorance of who Putin is and what he intends to do will come with a heavy price!

So, where’s the dramatic and inspiring lesson in all this?

Over the last three months, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has delivered three separate Key of David programs featuring Vladimir Putin and events in Ukraine and Russia. In the cover story of the February issue of the Trumpet (“Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?”), Mr. Flurry examined and explained the prophetic significance of the Russian president. “This world has a lot of authoritarian rulers,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “But Vladimir Putin is one we need to keep a particularly close eye on. His track record, his nationality and his ideology indicate that he could—and I strongly believe he will—fulfill a linchpin Bible prophecy that was recorded millennia ago. The time frame of his rule makes it almost certain.”

That prophecy is in Ezekiel 38:1-3. The events discussed here occur right before the return of Jesus Christ. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (verses 1-2). It’s not hard to discover who this prophecy is directed at. Ancient maps and ancient history, as well as many Bible commentaries, teach that “Gog” and “Magog” refer to the modern nations of Russia and China. The same sources also show that the names “Meshech” and “Tubal” are the ancient names of Moscow and Tobolsk, two prominent cities in Russia today.

Now notice verse 3: “And say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (New King James Version). You really need to study and prove all this yourself. However, the term Rosh, as Mr. Flurry comprehensively explained, is the ancient name of modern-day Russia. It’s also called Rus, or Rush. So, in modern terminology, Ezekiel 38:1-3 is a prophecy about the dramatic emergence just before Jesus Christ’s return of the “prince of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk.”

Is there another personality in Russia or China right now as dominant as Vladimir Putin? As Mr. Flurry wrote, “Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? I see nobody else on the horizon who could do that. … Vladimir Putin already has the power—and the will to use it. I believe there is not enough time for a competitor to arise and challenge him.”

Now, consider all this in the context of the Sochi Winter Olympics, which were the creation of Vladimir Putin, and which many aptly termed “Putin’s Olympics.”

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are sensational, divinely timed proof of exactly who this end-time “prince of Rosh” is!

One final important observation needs to be made about this prophecy in Ezekiel 38. Study the prophecy and you’ll easily see that two personalities are actually discussed here. In addition to the “prince of Rosh,” there’s also the “son of man.” This is God’s messenger. Notice, God not only reveals the end-time identity of the “prince of Rosh” to this individual, He also commands this messenger to “set thy face against Gog” and “prophesy against him.” In other words, God uses this man to warn the world about the “prince of Rosh.”

This would be hard to believe, were it not written in black and white in God’s inspired Word. This prophecy in Ezekiel 38, written 2,500 years ago, says explicitly that just prior to Christ’s return, a powerful leader who behaves as if he is royalty will emerge to take control of Russia. Not only that, this prophecy says that God will send an end-time messenger who will reveal the identity of the “prince of Rosh,” then deliver a dramatic warning from God. Is it coincidence that the 2014 Winter Olympics, hosted by Russia, have put the spotlight on Vladimir Putin? And is it coincidence that Russia’s prince is the center of global attention at precisely the same time Gerald Flurry identified Putin as the prophesied “prince of Rosh”?

What’s happening in Sochi right now proves the veracity of Bible prophecy, and reveals where God is working today and who He is working through. In effect, events in Sochi prove the existence of God and the authority of His Word! This, at least for me, is by far the most awesome and inspiring lesson to take from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.