Turmoil in Trump Administration and the Real Watergate Scandal

Turmoil in Trump Administration and the Real Watergate Scandal

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on Feb. 15, 2017.

In less than one month in the White House, the Trump administration has been burdened with “scandal, legal challenges” and “personnel drama,” the New York Times wrote this morning. The latest development came Monday with the resignation of security adviser Michael Flynn. His departure sent the media swirling in an attempt to pinpoint just what’s going on in the White House. Listen to Stephen Flurry discuss this and other news on today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

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Murders Up in U.S. Cities

Murders Up in U.S. Cities

Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The national homicide rate is rising faster than any time in almost half a century.

America’s murder rate is rising faster than any time in the past 45 years. According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 15,696 murders were committed in the United States during 2015. This means the nationwide homicide count rose by 10.8 percent, the biggest year-to-year percentage jump since 1971.

While official government crime statistics for 2016 won’t be available until September, the Economist gathered data for 50 of America’s most violent cities and found that homicides rose in 34 of them. These 50 metropolitan areas contain 15 percent of the country’s population, yet account for 36 percent of the country’s murder victims. The Major Cities Chiefs Association (mcca) estimated that the homicide count increased by double-digit percentages in 61 American cities last year. Since the lion’s share of murders in the United States takes place in big cities, this indicates that the nationwide murder rate almost certainly increased substantially in 2016.

“We’ve had at least two years running now where there’s been an increase in 35 to 45 major cities,” said mcca executive director Darrel Stephens in an interview with Time magazine. “It’s a major issue and should be in the cities where it’s taking place.”

Stephens cites gang violence, drug-related violence, and the easy availability of firearms as root causes behind this spike in homicides. Meanwhile, American political commentator Heather Mac Donald, author of The War on Cops, argues that this recent surge of murders is a result of the “the Ferguson effect”—the concept that public hostility toward law enforcement in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in August 2014 has caused police officers in minority neighborhoods to back off from interacting with residents when not absolutely necessary.

Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. digs deeper and blames government entitlement programs for making his fellow black Americans in America’s inner cities dependent on the state, fueling a breakdown of nuclear families that exacerbates criminal behavior. While 1 in 3 American children are raised without a father, this figure goes up to approximately 1 in 2 or more in some big cities. Approximately 85 percent of youths in prison come from such fatherless homes.

The foundation of any stable society—the family—is under attack in America. As long as this is true, American society will continue to produce criminals at a record rate. One of the reasons that violent crime has been decreasing for the past quarter century is because America’s prison population has quintupled since 1970. Almost 700 out of every 100,000 Americans sit in the nation’s prisons and jails—higher than any other country in the world.

President Donald Trump has promised to “make America safe again” by declaring a federal war on crime. Until the root cause behind America’s crime epidemic is fixed, however, the nation will continue to struggle with this problem.

North Korea Ups the Stakes With Game-changing Missile Launch

North Korea Ups the Stakes With Game-changing Missile Launch

STR/AFP/Getty Images

A more advanced missile brings the world closer to nuclear war.

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile last Sunday, according to government-controlled Korean Central News Agency. The successful test of the Pukguksong-2 missile represents a significant technological breakthrough for the rogue state—making its missile systems fast, more efficient, more sustainable, and harder to detect.

According to analysts, the developments are a “game-changer.”

The Pukguksong-2 is a medium-to-long-range ballistic missile, reportedly capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It has an estimated range of more than 1,240 miles. Although North Korea’s Taepodong-2 missile has an estimated range of 4,000 miles, the Pukguksong-2 represents some worrying developments beyond just pure range. Unlike North Korea’s previous land-launched missiles, last Sunday’s launch used solid fuel, rather than liquid. This technology slashes preparation time and allows missiles to be launched on far shorter notice. The use of solid fuel also cuts the number of support vehicles necessary for launching the missile.

The Pukguksong-2 was also cold ejected from a mobile vehicle. Different from a “hot” launch, in which the rocket engines ignite at the beginning of the launch, cold ejection involves the missile being propelled away from its launch vehicle using compressed gas, before the rocket engines fire up. This limits potential damage to the launch vehicle, allowing more immediate reuse and reliability.

The launch vehicle that was used on Sunday is North Korean-made. Typically, the nation has depended on imported vehicles. The vehicle also uses caterpillar tracks instead of wheels, meaning it can travel over more types of terrain; access “off the beaten track” gives the launch vehicle the potential to become more undetectable.

The test-firing has been the rogue nation’s first missile launch during the administration of United States President Donald Trump. Thus far, the U.S. has only issued condemnation for the launch, as well as affirming security commitments with South Korea and Japan. Reuters global affairs columnist Peter Apps wrote of the recent developments:

Now Donald Trump faces North Korea, but stopping its nuclear and missile program may prove impossible, creating what may be his first and perhaps defining international crisis. …The Korean War [1950–53] came dangerously close to sparking a nuclear confrontation, with the White House preventing U.S. commander Douglas MacArthur from using atomic weapons to stop the Chinese and North Korean armies. Under Pyongyang’s current leader, Kim Jong-un, it is reaching what may be its most dangerous point since then. …This is a crisis everyone has seen coming. That’s why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has been so desperate to court Trump, visiting him even before the inauguration. …Trump may see himself as a master of the “art of the deal” and has raised the prospect he might meet North Korean leaders. His problem is that there may be no deal to be done. This situation may become more dangerous—perhaps until something truly cataclysmic happens.

As Apps mentions, Gen. Douglas MacArthur considered it impossible to win the Korean War against Communist North Korea without engaging its powerful supporter, China. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese had attacked American forces in North Korea, driving them back to the South—as such, MacArthur requested permission to attack China, famously stating “there is no substitute for victory.” President Harry Truman refused, in the interests of a “limited” war. MacArthur was eventually fired.

Many years have passed since the bloodshed died down to the Korean War’s inevitable stalemate. North Korea has remained a thorn in the side of South Korea, Japan, the United States and the Western world. The rogue nation’s economy, military and general infrastructure still remain tightly linked to the umbilical cord of China. China enjoys the advantage of North Korea’s unique position as a buffer to Western forces in the South, and North Korea’s human rights crises keep other nations distracted from China’s own internal problems.

And so, for over half a century, the results of Truman’s “limited” war have only served to consolidate the status quo: a belligerent North Korea still propped up by a shrewd China. But North Korea is rapidly developing its arsenal of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads, taking the world to the knife-edge of nuclear cataclysm.

The Korean War was the first major conflict that the U.S. entered following World War ii. Judging by the state of affairs from then until now, it is safe to say that it was a failure. You can say the same of the succeeding conflicts that have involved America: Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, for example—none brought real success.

Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Trumpet’s predecessor, boldly proclaimed just after World War ii that the United States had won its last war. That prediction held true during the Korean War, through Vietnam, the Cold War, Iran, Libya and many other conflicts. It certainly rings true today as North Korea continues to become more and more dangerous.

The U.S. has the unquestioned power to utterly crush any form of North Korean aggression. Yet in an age of “limited” warfare, the will to properly deal with such a problem is absent. As such, alongside already deteriorating relations between China and the U.S., we can expect the North Korean problem to only intensify, likely to the point of some catastrophe. That’s the result of letting a nuclear problem fester—that’s the problem of a broken will. Read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “A Nation of Cowards?” to learn why that will has failed and what it means for the future.

German Army Continues to Swallow Its Neighbors

German Army Continues to Swallow Its Neighbors

Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Czech Republic and Romania are sending major chunks of their armies to the Bundeswehr.

A Czech and Romanian brigade will be integrated into divisions of the German army. The agreement is to be signed at a meeting of nato defense ministers tomorrow. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (faz), which broke the story on February 2, wrote, “The Bundeswehr is developing into the leading nato army in Europe.”

The agreement is the most dramatic of a series of arrangements Germany is negotiating to deepen its cooperation with other countries. The EU Observer summarized the faz’s report, noting, “The longer-term strategy would turn the Bundeswehr into the leading nato army in Europe, with small countries integrating their military forces into the German command structures.”

Two thirds of the Dutch army’s command structure began to integrate into the German army last year.

The faz wrote (Trumpet translation throughout): “This policy means Germany strengthens its own military power and, secondly, it creates practical road marks for the goal of European armed forces.”

The revolutionary handover of sovereignty from the Netherlands is already being seen as a proof of concept that other nations can follow, providing “the closest and most varied example of how far the military cooperation between two nato states can go” (ibid). Last year, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen set out her ambitions to create “a multinational Panzer division” by integrating soldiers from other nations into the German army.

Die Welt explained, “This should create a unit with up to 20,000 active soldiers, which should be operational by 2021—which would be the nucleus of a European army” (March 17).

Now von der Leyen is taking further practical steps in that direction. The Czech 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade will be integrated into the 10th German Panzer Division and the Romanian 81st Mechanized Brigade will be assigned to Germany’s Rapid Force Division.

These are not mere token forces. The Czech Republic is integrating one of its two combat brigades into the German army (this does not include combat support forces, such as the 13th Artillery Regiment).

On February 13, Reuters reported that unnamed sources with the defense ministry say that Germany also plans to lay out plans to create a joint fleet of transport aircraft with France and to join a joint fleet of tanker aircraft with the Netherlands.

At first glance, the plans seem unimpressive. The Franco-German fleet would begin with 10 transport planes. The United States operates more than 5,000. However, Europe is so short of transport planes that even an additional 10 will make a difference. This move is also a proof of concept. If successful, it will serve as a platform that more and more units can be added to. With Britain on the way out, France and Germany are the European Union’s two largest militaries. If they can prove that they can share resources and work together, there’s great potential for cooperation.

Germany will also sign a declaration of intent to join the Multinational Multi-role Tanker Transport Fleet of aircraft led by the Netherlands. The group also includes Luxembourg; Belgium and Norway may also join. Germany said it could spend up to €1 billion on planes, which would be based in the Netherlands and in Germany.

Germany will also expand its cooperation with Norway, with plans to work together in buying submarines and missiles.

Germany has made no secret of the fact that it aims to build a European army through these deals with other nations. It is creating a network of military cooperation—with Germany at the center. In 2013 then-Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière concluded that efforts to create a European army in one sweep were simply not working. Instead, he aimed to create much deeper cooperation within individual nations, gradually building the nucleus of a European army out of bilateral cooperation.

“If Germany can prove that integration can work with the Netherlands and Poland—and they can save a lot of money doing so—other nations will want in. Once Berlin brings a few more countries on line, this project will gain critical mass,” we wrote at the time. “The result would be an EU army, or a very closely coordinated group of armies, centered on Germany.”

U.S. President Donald Trump’s insistence that Europe must bear the burden, the cost and the responsibility of defending itself is further encouraging this effort. Von der Leyen said that German requests to do more were “fair.” They certainly encourage other nations to sign up to the initiatives that Germany began long before Mr. Trump launched his bid for the presidency.

The timing of Germany’s push is deliberate. From February 17 to 19, national defense leaders, politicians and academics will gather in Germany for the Munich Security Conference. Talk of EU military cooperation is included in the conference’s annual report, which has been published ahead of the event. The report includes an infographic illustrating how far the Dutch have gone in integrating with the Germany army. With so much uncertainty about President Trump’s plans for Europe’s defense, extra attention is being focused on the conference this year to see what America will do, and how Europe will react. European military integration is definitely on the agenda.

The rise of a Europe capable of fielding a powerful military force, independent from the United States, would be one of the biggest geopolitical events in the last century and would revolutionize the balance of power around the world.

Herbert W. Armstrong warned of this exact military union for decades. In May 1953, he wrote that “10 powerful European nations will combine their forces.” In August 1978, he warned: “The Europeans are far more disturbed about their safety in relying on United States military power to protect them than Americans realize! …

Europeans want their own united military power! They know that a political union of Europe would produce a third major world power, as strong as either the U.S. or the ussr—possibly stronger!”

He saw that this cooperation would not come easily. But Europe is being forced in this direction. For more on how this force is coming together, read our article “Is Europe Finally Ready for an Army?

Hamas Installs Yahya Sinwar as Leader in Gaza

Hamas Installs Yahya Sinwar as Leader in Gaza

Ramadan El-Agha/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

Hamas has elected a literal killer with violent views to lead the Gaza Strip into conflict against Israel.

“Is War With Israel on the Horizon With Hamas’s New Gaza Leader?” was the title of the Jerusalem Post’s report on this week’s election of Yahya Sinwar to the highest office in the Gaza Strip. The election inside the Hamas terrorist organization replaces Ismail Haniyeh with Sinwar as the undisputed leader of the territory. While Hamas operatives are notoriously brutal, Sinwar may be one of the most ruthless to ever rule Gaza.

According to the Post:

Sinwar is the first Hamas leader to be selected for this post from the military wing. In Israeli terms, he can be compared to a former general, with a strong background and leaning toward the military, who is appointed as a political leader.

In order to effectively and quickly find, condemn and eliminate suspected collaborators with the Israeli government, Sinwar received a fatwa from Hamas’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The fatwa granted him the ability to execute anyone who confessed without a formal trial. During this period, Sinwar became known as “the Man of the Twelve,” a reference to the 12 suspected collaborators he murdered with his own hands.

He was eventually captured and tried by an Israeli military court in 1989, which sentenced him to four life sentences. The Post wrote:

Inside the walls of the jail, he rose into prominence among Palestinian inmates in general and those affiliated with Hamas in particular. Within a decade, he became the undisputed leader of the thousands of Hamas inmates in Israeli jails. From his cell, he communicated with the commanders of the military wing and demanded the kidnapping of Israeli civilians and soldiers to be used as bargaining chips in prisoner swaps.

After receiving life-saving cancer treatment while in prison, Sinwar was released back to the Gaza Strip through just such a prisoner swap. He was part of the highly controversial 2011 deal, which exchanged 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. However, as an example of his no-compromise approach toward Israel, Sinwar actually argued against the specific deal that led to his own freedom. He regarded the terms of the deal as surrendering to Israel’s conditions. He said he was willing to remain in prison in order to get even more Palestinians released.

Sinwar’s 22 years in prison did not moderate his views. Israel’s weakness in allowing such a deal only emboldened Sinwar. Immediately following his release, he delivered a rousing speech before 200,000 Gazans, demanding a military onslaught on Israel. He espoused a new approach whereby Hamas would “take the battles into the enemy’s side”—which the Post says was the beginning of the terror tunnel strategy.

(Sinwar’s speech and celebration following his return to Gaza on Oct. 18, 2011)

Now Sinwar has risen through the most violent contingent of Hamas to now hold the highest political position in Gaza, which also reveals how powerful the military wing of Hamas has become inside the Gaza Strip. The Post wrote:

It is now apparent that the military wing is cementing itself as the dominant force of the movement, which has touted itself as an alternative to the [Palestinian Liberation Organization] plo and the Palestinian Authority. And since the military wing is more interested in building an army and less interested in developing social welfare and political institutes, its “nation-building” will be less important.

Given Sinwar’s position, it’s unlikely he will be willing to compromise at all with an Israeli government. There are already reports that Sinwar intends to reach out further to Iran to provide Hamas with military hardware and funding needed to begin another offensive against Israel.

The increased funding from Iran, in conjunction with Sinwar’s charismatic leadership, could very well increase Hamas’s popularity, not just inside the Gaza Strip, but also among Palestinians in the West Bank territory. Given the dismal approval ratings of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which is currently in charge of the West Bank, this is very likely.

The Trumpet has forecast for the past decade that Hamas would indeed rise to prominence, not just in the Gaza Strip, but specifically in the West Bank. Continue to watch as Hamas strengthens its power base in Gaza and entrenches itself in the larger territory of the West Bank. For more details on Hamas’s role in end-time events, please read “The Coming Arab Takeover of East Jerusalem.”

Oroville Dam Crisis: More Proof That California Is Cursed

Oroville Dam Crisis: More Proof That California Is Cursed

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Why can’t America’s Golden State catch a break?

Last week, massive rainstorms hit parts of northern California. The rain brought much-needed relief to the drought-stricken state but also another crisis. Water levels in Lake Oroville, a reservoir held back by the nation’s tallest dam, rose more than 50 feet in just a few days.

As water levels rose, engineers had to open the dam’s main spillway, a concrete channel that diverts water away from the dam and into the Feather River below. Prior to the storms, the primary spillway channel was suffering from lack of attention and poor maintenance and marked with craters. As the water rushed down, cracks started to emerge, and the spillway began to break apart, then eroded away as water continued to spill out uncontrollably.

(video of the primary spillway)

To alleviate the flow on the primary spillway, engineers relied on the emergency spillway, an earthen channel with a holding basin, which had never been used in the dam’s history.

The emergency basin functioned until Sunday, when it too began to erode away, sending an uncontrollable volume of water into the river below.

The overwhelmed dam prompted state authorities to quickly call for the evacuation of over 180,000 residents living in the flood plain below the dam. The rain has since stopped, however, and water levels are receding. Now workers are rushing to make repairs before the next series of storms hits.

(video of the emergency spillway)

Blame for the potential catastrophe is being passed around. The state ignored warnings back in 2005 from three environmental groups that called for the dam’s emergency spillway to be reinforced with concrete. Yet last week’s rain produced water flows well below the maximum amount officials believed the basin could hold, and it was still enough to erode the channel. Ailing infrastructure and government oversight are partially to blame. But, explaining why California went from extreme drought to crisis-level flooding is the question many people cannot answer.

The Atlantic described California’s flooding problem as a “bitter irony” to a state that has been so plagued with drought.

Are California’s problems just a matter of happenstance?

In recent decades, America’s Golden State has experienced record wildfires, extreme drought, massive earthquakes and flooding. Even an excellent human government could not withstand such a barrage of environmental disasters.

PT201410_EN How Bad Is California’s ‘Record’ Drought?

The October 2014 issue of the Trumpet magazine included an infographic about California’s record drought. Lake Oroville was one of many reservoirs in California that was well below average capacity. It took only a few days of rain in 2017 for that image to change from a dried-out reservoir to a torrent of raging water ripping apart the dam’s spillways and causing the evacuation of almost 200,000 people.

The Editorial Board of the Sacramento Bee wrote a short piece asking for politicians to set aside differences and focus on fixing California:

We may think we tame nature. We kid ourselves. An earthquake can strike at any time, liquefying seemingly solid ground, lifting entire buildings off their foundations, and fracturing bridges. Parts of Malibu can slide into the Pacific in one rainy season. A few months later, fire can destroy entire communities in the Sierra foothills.The current situation cannot be attributed to climate change alone. Scientists say no single event can be laid at the feet of global warming. But they also say climate change leads to extreme weather patterns. And California certainly is experiencing extremes. California is ending five years of drought, and now is experiencing one of the wettest rainy seasons on record.

Yet California’s extreme weather problems demand a much more serious solution than stopping climate change or ending partisan politics.

In 2003, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry asked, “Is California Under a Curse?” In his article, he wrote, “God does punish us with ‘natural’ disasters.”

The solutions to California’s problems are far beyond climate change, infrastructure choices or politics. In his article, Mr. Flurry refers back to a piece he wrote in 1993, saying, “One disaster after another is striking California. These deadly disasters are repeatedly labelled the ‘worst ever’! … With all the disasters that have struck California the past few years, it’s as if the state is under a curse.”

That article is as timely today as ever. These weather disasters are warnings from God designed to get people’s attention. Here is what we wrote in our free booklet, Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?:

The God of the Bible is not impotent. He wields the punitive sword of flood and mildew—and also that of drought (Deuteronomy 28:22; 11:17). Sometimes He uses both at the same time in order to heighten their corrective power: “And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered” (Amos 4:7). Notice—this is God talking through His Prophet Amos. God causes these weather disasters! In one region God sends a drought—in another region, floods—and it all happens right before harvest time. And why? God causes it because we haven’t returned to Him (verse 8). Amos is trying to help us see the connection between extreme weather upsets and human sin.

These extreme weather events are going to worsen in parallel with the worsening, not of partisanship, emissions or budgets, but of the nation’s sins. California went from five years of crisis-level drought to devastating floods in just a matter of days. It’s time we start asking, Why ‘natural’ disasters?

For more on this topic, read your free copy of Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? along with Mr. Flurry’s 2003 article “Is California Under a Curse?