China’s Leap Toward One-Man Rule Should Alarm the World

President Xi Jinping’s power grab will affect the future of China and the world.

China made a bombshell announcement on February 25: The ruling Communist Party said it would abolish a constitutional clause that limits presidential service to two terms. The change will clear the way for President Xi Jinping—already China’s most powerful ruler in decades—to rule the country for as long as he wishes.

President Xi came to power in 2013. Under the existing rules, he would have to leave office in 2023 after his second five-year term ends. But the constitutional revision means he could keep ruling as head of the world’s most populous nation for as long as his heart beats. Emperor for life.

This has alarming implications for the future of China and the world.

Within China, the move positions Xi to rule as an authoritarian ruler in the tradition of Mao Zedong. Mao founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and led the nation with an iron grip for decades—with no term limits. Tens of millions of Chinese people died as a result of Mao’s disastrous leadership, and the only force that brought an end to his rule was his death in 1976 at age 82.

Under Mao Zedong, China was a military lightweight. This meant that Mao’s ambitions rarely spilled over China’s borders in a significant way. But in recent years, the Chinese military has become a formidable force. Under the streamlined leadership of Xi—a man who vowed last year to make China “stand taller and firmer in the world”—such a military should be taken seriously.

Even before this constitutional revision, President Xi has led China on a path of international belligerence, grabbing territory from its neighbors and attempting to close off global commons.

Now that Xi is positioned to essentially be China’s emperor for life, the world should expect China to become even more aggressive on the international stage.


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The Role of Psychiatric Medications in School Shootings

The Role of Psychiatric Medications in School Shootings

More than 35 million Americans are on antidepressants. This means that severe side effects are likely affecting thousands of people.

In the aftermath of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Americans are fixating on the role of guns. Debate over gun control has grown very heated.

It is easy to blame the weapon, but this does not address the cause of such tragedies. There are millions of AR-15 rifles in the United States that aren’t being used to indiscriminately murder people. What causes someone to commit such a horrifying atrocity against fellow human beings?

The Trumpet has written about fatherlessness as a relevant common denominator in school shootings. In case after case—Charleston, Newtown, Decatur, University of Central Florida, mit—the shooter was a young man whose parents divorced or never married. Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland killer, was adopted, and his adopted father died when he was 6 years old. He was a child left to himself (Proverbs 29:15). He got into some terrible evil, and no one stopped him. That is a cause the leaders and media are unwilling to address.

Another potentially major cause is also being widely overlooked: the role of psychiatric medications in these tragedies. In many mass shootings, the murderer was on legal drugs. This hasn’t been confirmed in Cruz’s case, but the Miami Herald reported his aunt saying she believed he was on medication “to deal with his emotional fragility.”

The published side effects of many of these pharmaceuticals include “suicidal ideation” and “homicidal ideation.” These drugs are known to cause people to think about killing themselves or other people!

Read the possible psychiatric side effects for the popular antidepressant Paxil. “Common” symptoms (which the Food and Drug Administration defines as occurring in as many as 1 in 10 users) include abnormal dreams, agitation, anxiety, depersonalization, depression, drugged feeling, emotional lability (breakdown), lack of emotion and nervousness. “Uncommon” symptoms (as many as 1 in 100 users) include abnormal thinking, alcohol abuse, hallucinations, hostility, manic reaction, neurosis and paranoid reaction. And fewer than 1 in 1,000 users experience antisocial reaction, delirium, delusions, hysteria, irritability, manic-depressive reaction, panic attacks, psychosis, psychotic depression, stupor and withdrawal syndrome. The frequency of “suicidal ideation and behavior” is “not reported.” There are postmarketing reports of confusional state, disorientation and homicidal ideation. explains:

Antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. An increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents and young adults (aged 18 to 24 years) with major depressive disorder (mdd) and other psychiatric disorders has been reported with short-term use of antidepressant drugs.

Adult and pediatric patients receiving antidepressants for mdd, as well as for psychiatric and nonpsychiatric indications, have reported symptoms that may be precursors to emerging suicidality, including anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia, hypomania and mania.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2011 that 11 percent of Americans age 12 and up are taking antidepressant medication. With 323 million Americans, that’s 35 million people. Even if only 1 in 10,000 of these users experiences the most severe of these symptoms, we are looking at thousands of psychotic, hysterical, delusional or even homicidal people.

It only takes one to cause a Parkland tragedy.

Journalist David Kupelian compiled a list of instances where people who committed school shootings or similar mass murders had been taking psychiatric medications. Here is a sampling of them from his article “Media ignoring 1 crucial factor in Florida school shooting”:

  • Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox—like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or ssris. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999 during which they killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves. Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox—that’s 1 in 25—developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.
  • In 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed twenty 6-to-7-year-old children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He also shot and killed his mother and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Afterward, friends of the shooter’s family were interviewed on cbs and abc as saying that Adam was on medication.
  • Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, California, in 1989 …. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.
  • Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Oregon, and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin. …
  • In Paducah, Kentucky, in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal … traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.
  • In 2005, 16-year-old Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.
  • Kurt Danysh, 18, shot his own father to death in 1996, a little more than two weeks after starting on Prozac. Danysh’s description of his own mental-emotional state at the time of the murder is chilling: “I didn’t realize I did it until after it was done,” Danysh said. “This might sound weird, but it felt like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun.”

Kupelian also cited the case of Andrea Yates, who in 2001 drowned her five children—between 7 years and 6 months of age—in a bathtub. She said she heard voices telling her to kill them. A longtime friend of hers testified at her trial, “She asked me if I thought Satan could read her mind and if I believed in demon possession.” A doctor who evaluated Yates said that after her first child was born, she felt a satanic presence “telling her to take a knife and stab her son Noah.” When she murdered her children, she was under the delusion “not only that she had to kill her children to save them, but that Satan had entered her and that she had to be executed in order to kill Satan,” Kupelian wrote. She had been taking the antidepressant Effexor. Kupelian reported:

In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added “homicidal ideation” to the drug’s list of “rare adverse events.” The Medical Accountability Network, a private nonprofit focused on medical ethics issues, publicly criticized Wyeth, saying Effexor’s “homicidal ideation” risk wasn’t well publicized and that Wyeth failed to send letters to doctors or issue warning labels announcing the change.

Kupelian noted that though the fda defines “rare” (as in “rare adverse events”) as occurring in fewer than 1 in 1,000 people, that year there were 19.2 million prescriptions for Effexor filled in the United States. So here was just one brand of antidepressant that could have been causing murderous thoughts in thousands of Americans! Kupelian wrote,

Effexor is Wyeth’s best-selling drug, by the way, which in one recent year brought in over $3 billion in sales, accounting for almost a fifth of the company’s annual revenues.

This is big business. Thousands of consumers of these drugs who experience problems sue these drug companies each year, and these companies routinely shell out millions of dollars to plaintiffs in order to settle these cases out of court and keep them out of the public eye. As Kupelian noted, pharmaceutical companies are also the biggest sponsors of tv news programs, which rarely if ever confirm reports that these mass murderers were taking prescription medications.

Read for yourself the fda’s “black box” warning label, included on all antidepressants sold in the U.S. today. It begins: “Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (mdd) and other psychiatric disorders.” The evidence is strong that these drugs do play a role in pushing some mentally unstable people into violence.

We have to think about why this would be the case. To take a gun and try to kill as many people as possible with it is an act of pure evil. Can that be simply explained by material, chemical changes in the brain caused by the introduction of pharmaceuticals?

There is a spiritual dimension to this issue. And as loath as the mainstream press is to address the issue of how drugs may play a role in mass murders, it is even less interested in acknowledging this dimension—undeniably a root cause of these tragedies.

The Bible reveals the active presence of an evil spirit world. Read Chapter 2 of Mystery of the Agesto prove the truth about the “Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits” from your own Bible. This evil influence is far more pervasive than most people realize. It is also something that we must individually protect ourselves against, or that influence can quickly expand and become extremely dangerous.

Mind-altering drugs can definitely make a human mind far more vulnerable to demonic influence and activity. And as the Trumpet’s editor in chief Gerald Flurry has repeatedly emphasized lately, such activity is increasing in our world as we approach the end of this age, and the devil “knoweth that he hath but a short time” before being deposed (Revelation 12:12).

Fixating on gun control, Americans are ignoring the real causes of these horrific tragedies. The Apostle Paul warned us not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices, lest he gain an advantage over us (2 Corinthians 2:11). This is why the devil’s evil influence will continue to grow—thankfully, for only a short time.

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Learn what the Bible reveals about who and what God is!

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How Satan Uses Hollywood to Twist and Warp the Human Mind

How Satan Uses Hollywood to Twist and Warp the Human Mind

Listen to the March 7, 2018, episode of the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

Hollywood is working hard to make the abnormal seem normal. Just look at some of the award-winning movies from this past weekend: Best Original Screenplay went to a horror movie about an interracial relationship and racial tensions; Best Adapted Screenplay was a romance movie involving bisexuality, homosexuality and pedophilia; and Best Picture went to a romance movie about a mute woman falling in love with a fish monster and involved scenes of bestiality. What is behind the gross immorality Hollywood is broadcasting with all of these movies? We discuss this and more on today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

Listen on Stitcher.

Download the show on iTunes.

Catch up with the latest programs here.


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Surveillance State: A Preview of Your Future?

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Surveillance State: A Preview of Your Future?

It’s not 1984 yet, but it’s getting awfully close. Is this leading to the ‘mark of the beast’?
From the April 2018 Trumpet Print Edition

As you step out of your apartment in the morning, the camera at the entrance records your departure. Cameras track you as you drive your car to work. As you walk down the street from the car park to your office, cameras track your movements. Monitoring software follows you from one camera to the next. You walk past a police officer. He wears sunglasses, not because it’s bright outside, but because the glasses contain cameras connected to facial recognition software.

Once at the office, a camera outside the building alerts both the government and your employer that you’ve arrived.

As you log on to your computer, the government records your web browsing. The information forms a “citizen score.” Your score suffers when you visit sites that criticize the government, when you leave comments that are insufficiently supportive of government leaders and policies, or if you buy the wrong thing online.

This dystopian total surveillance state sounds far-fetched, like an idea for a fictional Hollywood movie. But it’s not.

Each of these surveillance tactics are being tested in pilot schemes in China right now. And the Chinese aren’t the only ones under surveillance.

Sharp Eyes

It may be hard to take the idea of such centralized control seriously; after all, we’ve heard warnings about it for years. George Orwell described “Big Brother,” the all-seeing government, way back in 1949. His book is titled 1984, but in 2018, Big Brother is still not here.

Those who lived behind the Iron Curtain, however, had a different experience. In East Germany, 2.5 percent of the population spied on the rest. Germans had to watch what they said in public, and even in private, in case the Stasi was listening. Say the wrong thing or hang out with the wrong people, and you could find yourself the victim of a government-sponsored harassment campaign. Or worse, in jail.

Now, however, we have reached a new era where technology has made mass surveillance easier than ever before.

A 1984-style surveillance state requires the linkage of millions of cameras and the transmission and storage of masses of data. Fiber-optic networks send data at light speed, and petabytes of information are stored with ease. Facial recognition software and machine learning means that one person can track thousands.

And China is leading the way.

“Surveillance technologies are giving the government a sense that it can finally achieve the level of control over people’s lives that it aspires to,” said Adrian Zenz, a German academic who writes about China.

“Sharp Eyes” is the Chinese government’s most ambitious initiative. It aims to link up the millions of security cameras already present in China into a single nationwide surveillance platform. This includes the government cameras already on streets and shops, as well as private cameras. Official documents state that they aim for an “omnipresent, fully networked, always working and fully controllable” surveillance system by 2020.

China is running a pilot scheme for this “omnipresent” system in Chongqing. There, housing complexes unlock with a facial scan. The resident doesn’t have to fumble with his keys, but this means the government is tracking who goes in and out. Policemen at computer screens follow citizens as they walk through the streets, using cameras and facial recognition software. They track criminals—and anyone who associates with them.

“Police Cloud” is a related project that aims to collect citizens’ online information and government data, and link it to their ID cards and their faces. An individual’s shopping receipts, browsing history, medical and criminal records, and social media comments are all collated and linked to his or her face.

According to Chinese government documents, these surveillance tactics will be used to monitor criminals, which include those who undermine Chinese stability or have “extreme thoughts.”

Another pilot scheme ties a lot of this data into a “citizen score.” A high score could result in better government services and more travel opportunities. And who determines the threshold below which the government may begin taking punitive measures?

The face-recognizing sunglasses are real, too. Railway police are testing them in Zhengzhou.

The Washington Post wrote in January that “the Chinese government is working hand-in-glove with the country’s tech industry, from established giants to plucky start-ups staffed by graduates from top American universities and former employees of companies like Google and Microsoft, who seem cheerfully oblivious to concerns they might be empowering a modern surveillance state.

“China seeks to achieve several interlocking goals: to dominate the global artificial-intelligence industry, to apply big data to tighten its grip on every aspect of society, and to maintain surveillance of its population more effectively than ever before” (January 7).

In December, China demonstrated this technology to the bbc. In the city of Guiyang, police have the face of every resident on record. The police found and mock-arrested the bbc’s reporter: It took them only seven minutes.

This surveillance reaches its most extreme form in the Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang. Here the Chinese government struggles with some dissent. Xinjiang authorities have not implemented some of these measures, but they have cameras everywhere. In the provincial capital of Ürümqi, security checkpoints and id scanners guard the roads and train station. Cameras track citizens’ movements everywhere. Police carry devices to access residents’ smartphones and search them for dissenting content or banned chat apps. To fill up with gas, you must swipe your id card and look into a camera. To buy a knife, your identification information must first be stamped into the blade in the form of a qr code.

Fall afoul of the authorities and you could be barred from traveling or sent to one of the “study and training centers”—behind barbed wire, concrete walls and watchtowers.

A Danger to the West

When a government possesses this kind of power, it is certain to abuse it. Orwell described his dystopian future as “a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” The increasing use of surveillance technology in China is curtailing freedoms, and indications are the trend will continue. How can there be real freedom of thought or association when the government tracks what you say and who you associate with, and punishes you if it does not approve?

But surely such a thing could never happen in the West?

China is and always has been different from the West in fundamental ways. Its 20th-century embrace of communism has given the government of the world’s most populous nation enormous powers over the populace. Freedom of speech, popular sovereignty and individual rights are not a part of Red China’s mode of operation. Because of this, the government directly or indirectly runs most of the nation’s big businesses.

According to Chinese government documents, these surveillance tactics will monitor criminals, which include those who undermine Chinese stability or have “extreme thoughts.”

China claims to have facial recognition software far more sophisticated than that used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the Washington Post, experts believe this is probably true. “More than anything else, experts say, deep learning technologies need huge amounts of data to come up with accurate algorithms,” it wrote. “China has more data than anywhere else in the world and fewer constraints about mining it from its citizens.”

But in terms of surveillance hardware, the West is ahead of China. America has more cctv cameras per head than China does. The United Kingdom stores 30 million to 40 million images of vehicle license plates every day, tracking the movements of most of the country’s population.

The biggest difference in the U.S. and UK is that surveillance is not used in the same heavy-handed way China does, even though your government may already be spying on you through your webcam, running facial recognition, and tracking your car far more than you realize (see Robert Morley’s article “Is the Government Reading Your E-mail?

Throughout history, governments have wanted to control their citizens—and have used every possible tool to do so.

As far back as ancient Rome, Cicero complained about the government reading his mail. Caligula and Nero both used surveillance as part of their reigns of terror over the Roman aristocracy. It’s easy to imagine either of these tyrants becoming a Joseph Stalin if he had Stalin’s highly organized state and the technology at his disposal.

“[G]overnment tyranny is routine in human history,” writes Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in his booklet America Under Attack. “Let’s not be naive and think something like that could never happen here. Our forefathers weren’t stupid. They wanted to guarantee Americans’ freedom. They really knew that God is a God of freedom; He wants us to be free. That’s a gift from God, and they understood that!”

Man has never invented a weapon he has not used. And man has never invented a surveillance technique that governments have not used.

America’s Founders designed a Constitution that limited government power. They knew that the human heart is naturally evil, and that those who hold the most power over other people’s lives would quickly turn this power into tyranny if they are not held in check by law. But most of that constraint has eroded. The philosophical, political and technological potential for a surveillance state exists in nations throughout the West.

‘The Mark of the Beast’

History and an understanding of human nature tell us that these techniques could be used anywhere. But biblical prophecy gives a more specific warning.

It tells of a time coming when no man can “buy or sell” without the approval of a central government (Revelation 13:17).

The Bible calls this stamp of approval “the mark of the beast.” It is a mark of religious observance—compliance with the state-approved religion.

It is easy to see how a China-style surveillance state could enforce such a policy. Refuse this mark, and you appear on the list of people not permitted to hold a job and unable to buy goods or food at the shops.

Man has never invented a surveillance technique that governments have not used.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “In this scriptural usage, the expression ‘buy or sell’ more literally indicates being able to buy—not that stores or those from whom one might make purchases of the necessities of life would refuse to accept the money, but that the one refusing the ‘mark’ would not be able to buy, would not be able to earn a living, to earn a wage or salary, or to engage himself in business” (Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?). So this prophecy could be fulfilled without a surveillance state. But mass surveillance would make it much easier. And when you see how European powers have acted throughout history, a surveillance state is likely.

History is full of religions using surveillance to enforce their beliefs. The bbc even noted in its history of government spying, “In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was more powerful than most governments—and it had a powerful surveillance network to match” (Nov. 1, 2013).

Nothing brings out a government’s passion to control what people say and think like religion does.

In A History of Christianity, Paul Johnson describes the Catholic Church’s dogged pursuit of “thought crimes”—another term popularized by Orwell. In this pursuit, the church violated “town charters, written and customary laws, and virtually every aspect of established jurisprudence,” he writes.

What would such an organization do with modern surveillance technology?

Mr. Armstrong proved in his booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?that this “mark” refers to Sunday observance. The religious power in Europe will require everyone to keep Sunday.

Imagine, then, this scenario. Cameras outside of churches record all who attend. Miss a service and you can expect to explain yourself to the authorities. The government monitors mobile phone signals: Too many in an office could mean that some are breaking the law and working on Sunday. Dashcams automatically record anyone spotted working outside.

Get caught, and your bank account is nullified. You lose your job. You cannot buy or sell. Try to get around this and the police will track you down. With cameras everywhere, there is nowhere to hide.

Phone signals are monitored every other day of the week. At large gatherings, the police can remotely turn on the microphone and listen to all that is said. If it’s an illegal religious service, the police are there within minutes.

Does all this sound like a dystopian nightmare? Again, today’s technology makes all of this possible already.

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The King of Debt

Gary Dorning/Trumpet

The King of Debt

America has embraced reckless spending and no longer even pretends it will repay what it owes. What could go wrong?
From the April 2018 Trumpet Print Edition

The United States is exploding its debt in a way never seen in its history. The nation has amassed large debts before, in times of war or recession. But generally it has paid much of its debt back after the nation has recovered.

Right now, the nation is recovering, according to most economic indicators. During recoveries under the Coolidge, Truman and Eisenhower administrations, America paid down much of its debt. But during the “recovery” of the early 21st century, the nation has continued borrowing on a massive scale.

America has reached a new level of debt addiction.

On February 9, President Donald Trump signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. On February 12, he unveiled his own budget proposal for the financial year ending in 2019. According to the Office of Management and Budget (omb), these proposals will see the U.S. borrow $833 billion in 2018, equivalent to 4.2 percent of America’s gross domestic product. It forecasts that America’s debt will near $21.5 trillion by the end of the year.

America is going into debt at an unprecedented rate, but what is even more alarming is that its leadership does not acknowledge that this is even a problem!

It was hard to wrap our minds around borrowing a trillion dollars to stave off the 2008 financial crisis. But now the Treasury forecasts that the United States will be borrowing nearly a trillion dollars every year from now on! That is astronomical.

‘The King of Debt’

America’s attitude on debt has shifted. Everyone once agreed it was a bad thing, even though no one took any action.

In 2008, then Sen. Barack Obama vocally criticized President George W. Bush as “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” to take the U.S. from $5 trillion to $10 trillion in debt. At least he and other politicians voiced rhetoric criticizing that massive liability.

Then Mr. Obama was elected president, and he himself added $10 trillion to the debt in just eight years. By the time he left office, the debt had doubled from $10 trillion to $20 trillion! That means America no longer owes $30,000 for every man, woman and child but more than $60,000. Is that irresponsible and unpatriotic?

“The deep, dark secret is Republicans like to spend money just as much as Democrats. They just want to spend it on something different.”
California Democrat Rep. Jim Costa

Now there is not even much rhetoric against debt. When Donald Trump was campaigning for the presidency in 2016, he bragged about how much he was able to “prosper” because of debt!

Speaking about his personal businesses, he told cnn on May 4, 2016, “I’m the king of debt. I love debt.” The next day, Mr. Trump told cnbc that if he became president, he would borrow knowing that “if the economy crashed, you could make a deal. And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.” On June 22, 2016, he reiterated to cbs This Morning: “I’m the king of debt. I’m great with debt; nobody knows debt better than me. I’ve made a fortune by using debt, and if things don’t work out, I renegotiate the debt. I mean, that’s a smart thing, not a stupid thing.”

It is not a smart thing to accumulate debt! At some point we are going to see the bubble burst, and we are already seeing some disturbing signs.

When asked what renegotiating the debt meant, Trump responded, “You go back and you say, ‘Hey, guess what? The economy just crashed. I’m gonna give you back half.’”

In other words, if the economy crashes, President Trump says that America will just pay back less than what the nation actually owes. This is dangerous thinking! It’s never wise to accumulate debt and assume that if things don’t work out you can always renegotiate. How will creditors like China react when America says, “I’m gonna give you back half”?

Mr. Trump told cnbc on Aug. 11, 2016: “[T]his is a time to borrow, and to borrow long term, so that we can have money to rebuild our infrastructure.”

It’s clear that the president is now putting those beliefs into practice. In his State of the Union Address on January 30, he called on Congress to produce a bill that includes an additional $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending. “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land,” he said. According to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, infrastructure will take top priority this year.

Mr. Trump believes that he knows how to use debt to rebuild America.

Everyone Loves Debt

The U.S. president cannot raise debt alone. He must have the support of Congress.

On February 8, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul delayed the votes for Mr. Trump’s proposed budget for a couple of hours by delivering a speech on the floor of the Senate. In his speech, he asked, “How come you were against President Obama’s deficits and then how come you’re for Republican deficits? … Isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy?” He warned that “this new stimulus of deficit spending will be as big as President Obama’s stimulus.”

Despite Paul voicing his concerns and initiating a short government shutdown, the Senate passed the bill (71-28), and the House followed suit (240-186).

“The deep, dark secret is Republicans like to spend money just as much as Democrats,” said California Democrat Rep. Jim Costa. “They just want to spend it on something different.”

In December, when Mr. Trump introduced a new $1.5 trillion tax cut, the Democrats protested, saying it would swell the national debt. But as the New York Times pointed out in an article titled, “As Deficit Soars Toward $1 Trillion, Congress Shrugs and Keeps Spending”: “[D]emocrats are pressing to secure a sizable boost in spending on domestic programs, including billions of dollars to address the opioid crisis. And lawmakers from both parties are looking to approve at least about $80 billion in additional aid in response to last year’s hurricanes and wildfires” (January 30).

When it is politically expedient, Democrats will condemn runaway spending. But when it comes to their programs, they always want to spend more. Sadly, the same can be said of Republicans. Both parties claim they want to be fiscally responsible, but both keep spending and adding more debt.

The government’s new spending plan will hit the oft-revised debt ceiling, which is currently at $20.5 trillion, by mid-March. Rather than raising the debt limit, the new budget deal signed into law on February 9 completely removes the cap on borrowing until March 1, 2019. This means the national debt will be allowed to grow unchecked for an entire year. When the suspension ends, it will automatically be increased to reflect the borrowing that occurred in the interim. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that when it resets, it could easily be set as high as $22 trillion.

America is addicted to debt. We are hooked on it like we are hooked on drugs, and no one is serious about conquering this nation-destroying addiction.

Debt Is Getting More Expensive

At the same time that America’s borrowing is exploding, many are warning that the nation could soon find it harder to borrow money.

Harvard economist and former Reagan adviser Martin Feldstein told Bloomberg, “It is terrible. Those deficits and the debt that keeps rising [are] a serious problem, not only in the long run, but right now” (January 31; emphasis added throughout).

America’s debt is so high that investors are getting worried. “The belief in Washington and on Wall Street has long been that the U.S. government could just keep issuing debt because people around the world are eager to buy up this safe-haven asset,” wrote the Washington Post’s Heather Long. “But there may be a limit to how much the market wants, especially if inflation starts rising and investors prefer to ditch bonds for higher-returning stocks” (February 3).

The flash crash of February, when the stock market suffered its biggest one-day loss in history, was partially caused by higher interest rates on U.S. debt. The government must pay high levels of interest to attract investors, which, in turn, increases borrowing costs for companies. Investors feared these high rates would hurt U.S. companies—companies that are also addicted to debt.

There is another force ready to push up America’s borrowing costs. The Federal Reserve has been buying America’s debt since the financial crisis. The nation avoided economic ruin by applying Band-Aids like printing vast amounts of money and borrowing from nations like China. But now the Federal Reserve is getting ready to cut back on its debt purchasing. What happens if China and other nations also decide to purchase less of America’s debt?

“Some of my Wall Street clients are starting to talk recession in 2019 because of these issues. Fiscal policy is just out of control,” former Congress tax economist Peter Davis told Long (ibid).

Some analysts are sounding the warning because high borrowing costs can quickly spiral out of control. The omb forecasts that America will spend $310 billion in the next year just on interest payments for its debt. Right now, the interest rate is near its all-time low. If it starts creeping up, the problem will spiral out of control fast. A higher interest rate means the government must borrow more money to pay the interest. The higher borrowing rate will worry investors. They will be less likely to buy debt, which will push interest rates still higher. And the cycle continues.

Historian and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Niall Ferguson has warned that empires fall when the interest on their debt equals what they spend on defense. According to the omb, this will happen around 2024. If interest rates increase, it could come much sooner.

Besides a few conservative economists, who is concerned about this state of affairs? Which party is concerned about reckless spending and the effect it will have on the future of our children and the nation?

Warnings From History

In the 1800s, Lord Randolph Churchill said, “The first and most vital interest of the nation is finance! Upon finance everything connected with government hinges. Good finance ensures good government and national prosperity; bad finance is the cause of inefficient government and national depression.”

One could make a strong case that a nation’s first and most vital interest is the morality of its people, or the strength of its families, or the rule of law—all matters that America is unconcerned about losing today. Nevertheless, Churchill’s point should not be ignored. How sad that you have to go back several generations to get such sound advice and counsel!

George Washington was concerned about the direction America would take after he left office. In his 1796 Farewell Address, he warned his fellow Americans as a “parting friend.” He wrote a lot about how the country needed to be unified—but today the only thing America seems to agree on is that we need to spend more money! Republicans and Democrats may disagree about what to spend it on, but everyone agrees that we need to keep spending.

The average American citizen loves to accumulate debt just as much as his government does. We are addicted to it at every level of society.

Notice what Washington said on the eve of his retirement: “As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”

Washington specifically warned America to avoid accumulating debt. This is the exact opposite of what our leaders are doing today. When was the last time the United States paid down its debt? You have to go back 60 years to the administration of Dwight Eisenhower!

Debt Is a Moral Issue

Deficit spending is not limited to America’s government. The average American citizen loves to accumulate debt just as much as his government does! We are addicted to it at every level of society.

In November, the Federal Reserve reported that revolving credit among Americans, mostly from credit cards, increased to $1.023 trillion! That’s an all-time high, even surpassing the 2008 credit bubble burst. Non-revolving debt—which includes student, auto and similar loans—also increased, by $16.8 billion to $2.8 trillion in November.

We are a nation focused on instant gratification, selfishness and greed. This explains why the wealthiest nation in history is still borrowing astronomical amounts of money. If you want something you can’t afford, you charge it on your credit card.If you want government benefits the nation can’t afford, you vote for the politician who promises to borrow money to give you what you want. President Washington was deeply concerned about imposing a financial burden on the next generation. But who even considers what kind of burden we are placing on our future generations?

Living according to the spiritual principle of giving produces prosperity. Borrowing is about getting for self, regardless of the consequences. God says in Acts 20:35 that it is more blessed to give than receive. If you are giving, God says you will be blessed. If you are living within your means, saving, managing and preparing for the future and thinking about your children, then you will be blessed!

Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrows, and cannot pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives” (Revised Standard Version).

As a nation, we have dug ourselves into a pit from which we will not escape, purely because of selfishness and greed.

Herbert W. Armstrong explained in a May 1983 Plain Truth article, “Prepare to Greatly Reduce Your Standard of Living,” that God “is about to punish our nations, in order finally to bring us to Him!” He warned that Britain had already lost its empire and that the United States was also about to lose its prominence.

“[A]lready the noose is around our necks, and is almost daily tightening!” he wrote. “Economic ills are starting greatly to reduce our standard of living!”

He was far ahead of his time, forecasting about a financial collapse that is now about to happen! People may have dismissed this back in the 1980s, but it is clear that those blessings are quickly being withdrawn today, just as he warned.

Here is a truth of which most people are ignorant, but it can be proved: All the national prosperity and wealth that the American and British peoples have is a result of God fulfilling His promises to Abraham. (We encourage you to request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof. We will gladly send you one.) The reason we have had unprecedented wealth in the first place was because God promised to bless Abraham’s descendants, not only to honor this righteous man, but also in hopes of creating a nation that would serve as a positive example to the world. But instead of being thankful, or even being content to live in the richest nations of all time, we have become corrupt, dishonest, selfish and insatiable. Rather than using our prosperity to give, we have turned inward and continue to seek to get.

After God fulfilled His promises (beginning around the year 1800), they became conditional upon our people’s obedience. In Deuteronomy 28, God warned the Israelites that if they disobeyed His instructions, they would fall into debt and become servant to the lender (verse 44). This warning applies to us today, and we are now experiencing these curses of indebtedness.

Sins have consequences. Mr. Armstrong believed that a worldwide financial crisis would accelerate many dire end-time prophecies. He wrote that a major banking crisis in America “could suddenly result in triggering European nations to unite as a new world power, larger than either the Soviet Union or the U.S.” (co-worker letter, July 22, 1984).

Just as Mr. Armstrong predicted, we are fast moving toward the collapse of the Western world’s financial system, which will help cause the 10 European kings of Revelation 17 and Daniel 2 to unite into what is called the Holy Roman Empire.

America’s greed, its debt and its soon-coming financial crisis will have global ramifications.

Hong Kong—the End of Freedom Begins

China’s tightening grip should concern ‘anyone in any country.’

Read More

Nunes Memo Exposes Unseen Threat to America

Nunes Memo Exposes Unseen Threat to America

Americans should be deeply alarmed by revelations of corruption and lawlessness within the nation’s top law enforcement agencies. It is our responsibility to cut through the noise and politics to understand the truth.
From the April 2018 Trumpet Print Edition

On February 2, the House Intelligence Committee released a document known as the Nunes memo, named after chairman Devin Nunes. This memo exposes loads of corruption inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice. America’s law enforcement agencies have been compromised and politicized. The radical-left Democrats fought against the memo being released and never admitted wrongdoing.

We live in a dangerous time in world history. Events are particularly dangerous in America, Britain and the Jewish state in the Middle East. The reality exposed by this memo is much more dangerous than most people realize. Yet even those with inside knowledge of the memo don’t understand the full danger.

An electrifying statement in Revelation 12:12 explains what is really going on. We must understand this truth. That verse reads, “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

Most people will heedlessly dismiss this warning. They do not consider the spiritual dimension to world events. This is why they fail to grasp their real significance.

Revelation 12:12 speaks of a time when Satan is wrathful because his time is short. We are in that time right now! The Nunes memo is evidence of just how active the devil is, particularly in his efforts to destroy America.

America Under Attack

Before digging into the Nunes memo, let’s review some background I wrote about in my booklet America Under Attack. You can request this booklet and we will send you a copy at no charge.

Other biblical prophecies show the time frame of the prophecy in Revelation 12:12 (America Under Attack explains this). Also, other prophecies show that America is about to experience a period of trouble like never before in history! Men inspired by the devil are going to cause unparalleled destruction.

America Under Attack provides evidence for why we believe the period prophesied in Revelation 12:12 began in 1986. Look at what has happened to America and the world since that time, and you see the impact that Satan and the demons have had since being cast down! They can seize control of human minds. This is the environment we live in now, due to millions of demons being confined to the Earth. There has never been another time like it.

As I recounted in that booklet, reporter Michael Hastings published a book titled Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Obama’s Final Campaign. It described how journalists covering Barack Obama swooned over him. As Hastings said in an interview with msnbc, “When they’re near him, they lose their minds sometimes. They start behaving in ways that are juvenile, and amateurish, and they swoon (emphasis mine throughout). Hastings even admitted to doing this himself, and laughed about it.

Out-of-control emotion has replaced logic. That is the American political scene today.

But this is far from being a laughing matter. Abundant fruits from Obama’s eight-year presidency prove what Hastings said about Obama.

This is not normal conduct for professional journalists! What is wrong with our media? This is aberrant behavior, to say the least. What causes that?

The way these people are being swayed and driven by their emotions is a strong sign of the devil’s influence. As America Under Attack brings out, they were somewhat spellbound by this politician who did unprecedented damage to America. They were deceived, and it led them into some terrible, disturbing reasoning. They actually contributed to the deadly damage of America’s constitutional republic! Their actions are illogical and impossible to explain purely on a physical level.

Daniel 8:9 is a prophecy about “a little horn”—a man who would do great damage. This was fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes, who ruled Palestine in the second century b.c. He murdered the Jewish high priest, slaughtered the people, defiled the temple and erected a statue of Jupiter Olympus in the holy of holies.

Anciently, Satan used that man to destroy the faith of the Jews. He has used the same strategy at other times—including in this country. America recently was ruled by a political “Antiochus” type. (Read America Under Attack to learn more about this.) Satan used this man to undermine the greatest superpower in world history!

This isn’t the first time that Satan has influenced the leader of Israel. King Saul repeatedly tried to kill David. We must know how Satan works, or we will become his victims (2 Corinthians 2:11).

While in office, Barack Obama said many times, “You know I tell the truth.” Yet he lied repeatedly and was never vetted by the media before his election. Media members didn’t report, for example, that he attended an anti-America, anti-white church for 20 years.

No constitutional republic can survive without the media vetting its presidential candidates. So the mainstream media were complicit in this treasonous crime.

How can you explain President Obama’s many lies, and the willingness of the American people to accept them?

Not many observers of the Obama presidency recognized what was really happening. The reality is that President Obama hated and wanted to destroy the foundation of Western civilization: Judeo-Christian religion and morality! His administration provided plenty of proof of Satan in action.

This happened under the previous presidential administration—and the Nunes memo shows that it is still happening under high-ranking fbi and Justice Department officials—planted there by Barack Obama during his presidency.

I am not looking at this through the lens of politics. I look at what is happening from God’s perspective. When you do that, you can discern when the devil is at work.

The Memo

The Nunes memo shows that federal law enforcement agencies used a Russian propaganda dossier to obtain a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign official. Top officials knew this document was “salacious and unverified,” as former fbi director James Comey put it, but they still presented it to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (fisa) court as if it were proof of a legitimate foreign threat to America.

See infographic: “The Story Behind the Nunes Memo”

Compiled by a British former MI-6 intelligence agent named Christopher Steele, this perverted, fictional document alleges in part that Mr. Trump engaged in revolting acts with a group of prostitutes in Moscow, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to use this secret information to blackmail Mr. Trump once he became president.

Steele created the dossier as opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He was paid by the Democratic National Committee through a law firm called Perkins Coie and the d.c.-based research firm Fusion gps.

Opposition research seeks to dig up dirt on a political opponent. It is often full of inaccuracies, and sometimes it is all an outright lie. That is certainly true in this case; in fact, the information was deliberately concocted by Russians aiming to sow seeds of discord.

In September 2016, Steele confessed to a senior Justice Department official that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” This was the man Democrats hired to find condemning information about Mr. Trump. Would a biased source like him have any motivation to lie?

Still, the fbi and the Department of Justice used the Steele dossier as the basis for their fisa request to surveil volunteer Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. On Oct. 21, 2016, they obtained a warrant to do so, and they renewed that warrant three times. Each time, these agencies had to convince the fisa court that America faced a dangerous threat from abroad, such as a terrorist attack. They had no actual evidence, so they relied on the Steele dossier. They conveniently neglected to disclose to the fisa court Steele’s close ties to the Clinton campaign.

According to the Nunes memo, former fbi deputy director Andrew McCabe—who resigned just four days before the Nunes memo was released—admitted that there would be no Russia investigation if not for this dossier! Steele’s uncorroborated dossier allowed Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Justice Department, to commence the Russia investigation.

Over a year into the Trump presidency, there is still not one shred of evidence that he colluded with the Russians to win the election. Yet now, the Mueller team is focused on indicting Trump advisers and appointees for obstruction of justice, perjury and other “crimes” regarding an investigation that shouldn’t even exist.

Exposing a Conspiracy

The warrant authorized electronic surveillance of Page, which may seem insignificant since he was a relative nobody in the Trump campaign. But such a warrant can be used to track all of the target’s communications, including any he may have had with then Republican candidate Trump.

So this memo exposes a conspiracy within these government agencies to undermine candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Now he is the president of the United States, and is still a suspect in a criminal investigation without any evidence to justify it.

Steele admitted in a British court that he had leaked information from his dossier to the press in September 2016—a month before the fisa warrant based on his dossier was approved. He lied to the fbi that he was keeping the dossier confidential, showing himself to be an unreliable source. The fbi ended the relationship with him right after obtaining the warrant, but it continued to rely on his dossier for the three warrant renewals!

A Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo News article about Carter Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow relied extensively on the Steele dossier. The writer received this information from Steele directly, so his article does not serve as evidence of the dossier’s veracity. Still, the fbi and doj included this article in its request for the fisa warrant.

Think about that: A law-enforcement source fed information to the media, and then the law-enforcement agencies used the media’s stories as proof of its claims! The media wrote stories about these claims, which law enforcement agencies used as even more proof to renew the warrant. Law enforcement and the media formed an echo chamber.

So the mainstream media has been complicit in this lawless plot. They continually give credibility to this nonsense.

Lawless, Constitution-hating people now lead our federal law enforcement agencies. They act as if they are superior to Congress, but Congress provides oversight to hold them accountable to the American people. The Nunes memo does just that.

The New York Times illegally released the confidential Pentagon Papers in 1971. But this newspaper and the Washington Post lobbied hard to prevent the release of the Nunes memo, which is completely legal. Why the double standard?

These agencies are supposed to uphold and enforce the law. But this plot proves that they are willing to trample on the law to do whatever they want.

If these law enforcement agencies can illegally surveil the president, what can they do to you?

Will Worship

Where would America be right now if the radical left had won the last election? Hillary Clinton’s stated goal was to continue the legacy of Barack Obama. And if she had become president, none of this corruption would have come to light.

Watergate is trivial compared to the lawlessness of today’s radical left.

While serving as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton illegally sent, received and deleted 33,000 e-mails from an illicit server. Any hacker could access them. Many of these messages were top secret. fbi agent Peter Strzok played a leading role in the bureau’s investigation of Clinton. He also led the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. In a lengthy text exchange uncovered last year, he and a woman he committed adultery with expressed hatred for Mr. Trump. This man is extremely biased!

The radical left are working hard to smash the last remaining obstacles preventing them from accumulating so much power over the country that no one can do a thing about it.

The radical left has attempted to use the Russia investigation to cripple the Trump presidency. They don’t just want to wrest control from Mr. Trumpthey are trying to take control of the government forever. They are working hard to smash the last remaining obstacles preventing them from accumulating so much power over the country that no one can do a thing about it.

The radical left is lawless! They are satanically sick. These people no longer deal in logic because they have been overwhelmed by the devil!

Hitler said, “What you tell people in the mass in a receptive state of fanatic devotion will remain. Words received under a hypnotic influence are radical and impervious to every reasonable explanation.” Does that quote accurately describe the radical left? They worship the will (Colossians 2:18)—which means they worship the devil! Out-of-control emotion has replaced logic. That is the American political scene today.

We live in a dangerous time! Satan is cast down—and the Nunes memo is proof of that. Satan and his demons are trampling on America.

Why would God allow this to happen? Look again at the prophecy in Daniel 8. Verse 12 reveals that it is “by reason of transgression”—meaning revolt, rebellion and lawlessness—that the truth is being cast down to the ground. In America today everyone wants to blame our increasing problems on others—a certain politician, or political party, or one race or another, or one economic class or another. But the truth is that these problems would not be overtaking us if the people were not sinning! This plague on America is what happens when our people forsake God!

Woe to Those on Earth!

Through the Russia investigation, Satan is working to overthrow a constitutional republic and turn America into a police state like Cuba, Venezuela, Russia or China! Satan hates law. He is stoking a revolution in our land.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. … Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:9, 12).

Satan and the demons tried and failed to kick God off His throne. Today, millions of evil spirits swarm the planet. They are no longer free to roam the universe. This is a cause of great rejoicing among the righteous angels elsewhere in the universe—but this is very bad news for those of us on Earth!

However, remember why the devil is so wrathful today: It is because “he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” It is just a short time before Jesus Christ returns to Earth, to lay hold on him and bind him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-2).

The severity of the problems plaguing us today are a sign of just how short Satan’s remaining time is.

There is a lot of bad news in the immediate future. America will not last much longer. But God is allowing all of this to happen for an important and inspiring purpose. The punishment God is bringing on America today is correction intended to set us right again.

America has a history with God that stretches back before the formation of our nation—all the way back to biblical times. You can read about this in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. And the Bible reveals that our people have a hope-filled future with God as well, in a plan that includes all nations and people on Earth! Once Christ replaces Satan on the throne of the Earth, He will establish a just government, a lawful and truthful government, that will never end!