Pope Endorses ‘Prussian’ PM

Pope Endorses ‘Prussian’ PM

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The pope has been quick to endorse technocrat Mario Monti as Italy’s prime minister designate.

“At home in Italy … he is more often referred to as the ‘Italian Prussian,’” writes Spiegel Online (November 14).

“I have always been considered to be the most German among Italian economists, which I always received as a compliment, but which was rarely meant to be a compliment,” Mario Monti said last week during a panel discussion in Berlin.

The son of an Italian banker, he has referred to the postwar German culture as “one of its ‘better exports’—a view which certainly will help Rome’s relations with powerful Berlin as he tackles Italy’s enormous debt and stagnant growth” (Associated Press, November 13).

For some time, the Trumpet has been watching for a closer cementing of ties between three cities—Berlin, Rome and Frankfurt. Why these three? Simply because there’s a powerful prophecy in your Bible that forecasts a time when a dominant northern political power, in association with a great religious power, will exert such excessive control, globally, for a moment in time, that this consortium will literally dictate the terms of global trade (Revelation 13).

We have long warned of that political power being centered in Berlin and the religious power in Rome. But where does Frankfurt figure in this equation? It is the seat of the most powerful central bank in the world, the European Central Bank (ecb).

Now, with a Germano-centric Catholic prime minister designate in Rome, and a Catholic president of the ecb, the economic and financial connection between Rome, the EU ‘s bank and the EU’s leading nation, Germany, is strengthened powerfully.

When you add to that mix a Bavarian pope, it’s easy to see why the Vatican lost no time endorsing the candidature of Monti as interim leader of Italy. “Holy See gives its blessing to Italian PM candidate,” read the headline in Monday’s edition of Italian newspaper La Stampa.

The official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in lauding Italian President Giorgio Napolitano for his appointment of Monti and noting the president’s appointing him as “senator for life,” described how “various political and other forces … see in him a balance and a wisdom that are exemplary in his guidance through the difficult phase the country is currently going through” (November 11).

Small wonder that Pope Benedict was quick off the mark to throw his papal weight behind Monti’s appointment. Last year, Mario Monti was effusive in his endorsement of the pope’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate,” claiming that it was a virtual textbook for the operation of a global economy and universal society.

La Stampa reported that as he presented Benedict xvi’s social encyclical in Saint John Lateran, the pope’s cathedral, on Feb. 23, 2010, Monti declared that “The ‘Caritas in Veritate’ document resembles a technical governing handbook for society in which economy plays a fundamental role, as a natural outcome of ethical reflection, and even has the agreement of those who do not share in the Catholic ethical vision” (November 14). Monti used that occasion also to publicly declare himself “to be Catholic.”

Mario Monti is a member of the EU splinter organization called “The Spinelli Group.” That group is committed to establishing a federal Europe based on the Catholic social chapter that underpins the pope’s “governing handbook for society.” Endorsement of that Roman imperialist vision marks Monti out as one of those in tune with the European elites who are in the process at this time of carving up Europe into a continent where the many will become the vassals of the few.

EU elites are playing for high stakes, Holy Roman imperial stakes. With Joseph Ratzinger and Mario Monti joined at the hip in Rome, and the Roman Mario Draghi now heading up the ecb at its Frankfurt home base, the one Roman Catholic name missing from the list to complete the quadrella is the future leader who will one day soon cement the Roman connection with the chancellorship in Berlin.

Germany Wants to Shrink the Eurozone

Germany Wants to Shrink the Eurozone

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Behind the scenes, German officials are plotting to form a smaller, better-integrated single currency area.

Germany supports a new euro that could exclude weaker nations, according to anonymous sources. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a two-speed Europe last week, saying, “In the end, clearly, there will be two European gears: one gear towards more integration in the eurozone and a gear that is more confederal in the European Union.” But France does not call the shots in Europe—Germany does. This makes the reports of German support far more significant.

“France and Germany are understood to want to strengthen the union between eurozone countries with new taxes and legal measures to stop nations borrowing and spending too much in future,” the Daily Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent Bruno Waterfield writes. “Weaker countries such as Greece could even be barred from the new eurozone, under radical suggestions from some of those involved in discussions over the plan.”

Reuters quotes a senior EU official as saying: “France and Germany have had intense consultations on this issue over the last months, at all levels.”

“We need to move very cautiously, but the truth is that we need to establish exactly the list of those who don’t want to be part of the club and those who simply cannot be part,” he said.

“The discussions among senior policymakers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels raised the possibility of one or more countries leaving the eurozone while the remaining core pushes on toward deeper economic integration, including on tax and fiscal policy,” reports Reuters.

It quotes a German government official saying, “You’ll still call it the euro, but it will be fewer countries.”

“We won’t be able to speak with one voice and make the tough decisions in the eurozone as it is today,” he said.

“This will unravel everything our forebears have painstakingly built up and repudiate all that they stood for in the past 60 years,” Reuters quotes an EU diplomat as saying. “This will redraw the map geopolitically and give rise to new tensions. It could truly be the end of Europe as we know it.”

Both French and German government spokesmen have denied that any discussions are under way. But, in the murky world of EU diplomacy, those denials don’t mean much. For months EU officials insisted that no nation could leave the euro. Then France and Germany threatened to kick Greece out.

The picture painted by the German and European officials matches exactly what the Trumpet has forecast for years. What is coming in Europe will “redraw the map geopolitically,” and it will be “the end of Europe as we know it.”

Prepare for a leaner, more powerful Europe made up of 10 nations. For more information on what is coming in Europe, see Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser’s latest article “Europe—Here Comes the Ten.”

Germany After Italy’s Gold, Again

Germany After Italy’s Gold, Again

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Italy should sell its gold reserves to help deal with its debt, Gunther Krichbaum, chairman of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union in the German Parliament, was quoted as saying in the Rheinische Post.

Several months ago, members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (cdu) and its coalition partner the Free Democratic Party (fdp) made similar suggestions. Italy and Spain should “fix their budgets, something they can carry out through privatization and the sale of its gold reserves,” said Michael Fuchs, deputy spokesman of the cdu’s parliamentary group.

fdp economist Frank Schäffler agreed, saying it is “necessary” for nations to hand over some of their gold to the European Central Bank as collateral.

German Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Ursula von der Leyen has said that the piigs countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) should allow Germany access to their gold and industry in return for the loans.

According tocnbc, Italy has the world’s fourth-largest gold reserves. Germany has the second-largest, and seems set to get more.

Germany believes Europe’s struggling nations owe it a lot for its help. Germany’s power as a creditor nation already means it has toppled two governments. Expect its demands to grow.

Europe—Here Comes the Ten

Europe—Here Comes the Ten

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We are beginning to get a glimpse of the strategy behind German elites downsizing the EU.

“It’s amazing how we are now reading so much of what Herbert W. Armstrong preached from the mainstream media. It’s just pouring out. One would hope something would start to penetrate the minds of our siblings before the Tribulation.”

So e-mailed an old friend to me over the weekend. By “siblings,” he was referring to those who, like us, listened to and read Herbert Armstrong’s prophecies in years past, sometimes for decades.

Just read the headlines over the past week:

Germans Push EU to the Brink

Angela Merkel to David Cameron: Support Us or We Leave UK Behind

Berlin Prepares for Possible Greek Exit From Eurozone

Germany: Ruling Party Wants More Control of ECB

European Crisis Fertile Ground for Nationalist Parties

Germany Must Decide If It Wants the Eurozone to Survive or Perish

Merkel’s Christian Democrats May Adopt Euro Exit Clause in Party Platform

Eurozone Turmoil: Enter the Technocrats

What we are watching occur in Europe now, day by day, is the literal fulfillment of the Bible prophecy that this northern power, currently called the European Union, will fracture into 10 dominant entities, ruled by 10 “kings,” who yield their political power to one overarching leader, under the spiritual influence of a religion that the prophecies call “Babylon.”

But the real question for those many once enlightened on the reality of these prophecies for our day is, will this current drama in Europe finally wake up the skeptics?

Well, the fact that God has to exert His correction on the rebellious nations of Israel sevenfold before many repent of their rebellion against their Maker would indicate that the answer in most cases is probably no, not yet (Leviticus 26:18).

To those minds truly free of bias, opened to receive the divine revelation of the Creator’s great plan for the universal family of mankind, this blindness of their “peers” is truly amazing. Yet that is the reality. When a human mind is slammed shut against seeing the obvious, there’s no greater blindness.

So it really is only those minds that are eager to find ultimate solutions to the great questions of the day that will heed the Trumpet’s message at present. The sad fact is that most of the “peers” with whom my friend and I once associated, and with whom we once excitedly discussed the coming fulfillment of the Bible prophecies that are daily being fulfilled today before our eyes, will have to wait to wake up to their reality when they find themselves subject to the enslavement of the rising great northern power (Revelation 18:3). That too is most powerfully prophetic.

To the rest, the remnant who remember (Malachi 4:4), we say, Watch Europe this week!

In particular, watch Germany!

This week Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats hold their annual conference. It is not going to be pretty. The divisions within Merkel’s own party, let alone her wobbly coalition government, are potent.

It is thus in an extremely divided and divisive political climate in Berlin that Christian Democratic Union (cdu) members will be asked to vote on the question as to whether or not to allow eurozone members to exit the EU monetary union, the currency area that binds 17 of the EU’s member states to a common currency, the euro.

The EU has already morphed into a two-tier enterprise, with the weaker economies now forced to bow to the strong (read Germany) just to survive—witness Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Italy, with the prospect of Spain and even perhaps France next. The next stage in the EU elites’ imperialist project is to separate a third tier of vassal states to be economically and then politically enslaved to the whim of the elites in Berlin/Brussels.

Bible prophecy speaks of this rising northern power as eventually separating into three tiers—a middle tier of 10 predominant nations, submitting to the rule of an overarching dominant top tier based in Rome and Berlin, with a third tier at the base of the combine enslaved to the 10. What we see happening right now is the fracturing of the current 27-nation EU bloc into these three tiers (see Revelation 13, 17).

The EU was created as a technocracy, its agenda pursued not by representatives elected by universal suffrage, but rather by unelected technocrats based at its headquarters in Brussels. Those technocrats were most essentially appointed to the mushrooming EU bureaucracy to ensure that the imperialist vision of Franco-German elites was brought to its ultimate Holy Roman fruition.

It is thus not by mere accident that such technocrats have recently been appointed to head the most powerful bank in the world, the European Central Bank, and to lead interim governments in Greece and Italy.

The die is cast.

The transition of the EU into its final form will be overseen by unelected technocrats having their strings pulled by Holy Roman imperialist German elites.

The spiritual influence of Rome in the fulfillment of this imperialist vision (Revelation 17:13, 18) has come, to this point, not so much from the city of that name as from technocrats of deeply committed Roman Catholic faith embedded within EU headquarters in Brussels. We have followed that trend closely. For decades they have worked tenaciously to bind the EU member states together via a multiplicity of rules and regulations guaranteed to enforce the conditions of a number of treaties signed by the heads of EU member states.

The European Union is an entity built by treaty, without any say by its continental electorate in the process.

In fact, the common electorate of Europe, the people themselves, has had no say whatever in either the acceptance or rejection of its main body of regulations enshrined by default in EU law, which the EU calls the acquis communautaire. The sheer size of that document, said to currently exceed 100,000 pages, is beyond the capability of any person to absorb.

That is the way of EU elites. It’s the classic mushroom syndrome of “keep them in the dark and feed them manure.” So much for democracy in the EU.

The EU project was imperialist from its beginnings, being the vision of Nazi elites cemented in the minds of key German industrialists, scientists, bureaucrats and military men during the closing stages of World War ii.

The impetus behind the tenacious, ongoing pursuit of that vision initially came from those imbued with the Nazi spirit employed in Germany’s first postwar administration under the chancellorship of Konrad Adenauer. In turn, those elites educated a second generation in the imperialist strategic concept of those same Nazi-era elites. It has been largely that generation of committed Roman Catholic imperialist socialists, educated in the continuing vision that emanated from the Red House meeting, which has driven the revival of Germany to its present position as the dominant nation, by far, in Europe.

But the technocrats will not be the ultimate leaders of the prophesied 10-nation combine. They are but the lackeys of Berlin/Brussels maneuvered into place by the elites to oversee the division of the EU into its three-tier format. Ultimately, “ten kings” (Revelation 17:12), probably of Roman Catholic royal dynastic descent, will be the heads of government of those 10 leading nations.

“… Daniel 7, and Revelation 13 and 17, is referring to the new United States of Europe that is now forming, out of the European Common Market, before your very eyes! Revelation 17:12 makes plain the detail that it shall be a union of ten kings or kingdoms that (Revelation 17:8) shall resurrect the old Roman Empire” (Mystery of the Ages).

It is not by sheer coincidence that many of the current pretenders to European royal thrones have returned to the Continent since the unification of Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Watch the cdu conference in Berlin this week. If the largest political party in Germany’s current ruling coalition, the party of Chancellor Merkel, votes in favor of ousting economically weak member states from the eurozone, the die will be cast for the acceleration of three-tier Europe—the prophesied 10-nation combine, ruled by the Berlin/Rome nexus, with the majority of European nations, from the Baltic to the Aegean seas, enslaved by this final and seventh resurrection of the old Holy Roman Empire.

To the enlightened, the events happening today in Europe are tremendously exciting, for they build a great feeling of anticipation. The anticipation of the cataclysmic collapse of the whole Babylonish system that has dominated the world since old Nimrod and his mother-wife Semiramis first established it within a short time after the great Flood.

It’s an exciting, most realistic and tangible anticipation of the replacement of that failed system, forever, by the only perfect form of government in the universe—the government of its Maker, Creator of humankind! The government of God!

How Kenya Inspired Herbert Armstrong

How Kenya Inspired Herbert Armstrong

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Remembering one of the world’s most honored dignitaries and his African legacy

Radical Islam is spreading at breakneck speed across North Africa. Kenya is feeling the impact of its fury as evidenced by its current offensive against terrorist group Al-Shabaab. Since aligning itself with al Qaeda last year it has grown in strength, impact and influence. The group has found a regional home in Somalia and from its bases there is surging into Ethiopia to the west and northern Kenya to the south.

Our editor in chief recently proclaimed that Ethiopia will soon fall to radical Islam (Daniel 11:43). Bible prophecy declares it will become subject to the pushing of the biblical king of the south. That push is led by the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism—Iran. How? Through its regional proxies such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab. For North Africa, this is a regional crisis that is currently impacting other countries such as Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and most notably Christian-dominated Kenya.

Amid the fight for freedom, Kenyans have forgotten a past time of joy, happiness and infectious inspirational encouragement which God delivered to them via an unofficial ambassador for peace. Those memories and the message they received contain the very solutions to their security, social and governance challenges.

Kenya’s Welcomed Witness

As far back as 1974, preliminary work was well under way for public appearance campaigns featuring Herbert Armstrong for Nairobi, capital of Kenya. A year later, on May 26, 1975, Herbert Armstrong wrote to co-workers: “I am seven miles high over the Sahara Desert flying to Nairobi, Kenya, for the next big campaign. We expect a large and very successful campaign there.”

After his arrival, Mr. Armstrong was greeted by President Jomo Kenyatta at the official State House. The president asked him questions about his work and mission in relation to seeking world peace. “President Kenyatta and I generated a warm friendship immediately,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “We found that we had much in common in general philosophies and grasp of human conditions, right principles and concepts.

“Our first visit, almost an hour, was at his office in the State House. He does not live there, however, and the second visit was at his home, some 35 or 40 miles outside Nairobi. I met his wife and family. We were met at the airport on our arrival by his niece (whom he calls his daughter), and to a considerable extent we were guided and escorted by her during our two weeks in Nairobi. She and the president’s wife are going to visit us a little later in Pasadena, and they want me to try personally to induce President Kenyatta to visit Ambassador College at Pasadena. He never flies, but they feel that perhaps I may be able to induce him to make the flight.

“I still marvel at the favor God gives me in the eyes of the world leaders—a favor really needed to accomplish Christ’s great commission. … [I]t (Nairobi) may become a very important city to us, in terms of getting God’s work done in Africa” (co-worker letter, June 24, 1975).

Discussion then centered upon the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (aicf). As Mr. Armstrong explained the aicf’s accomplishments, “the president was duly impressed by these concrete evidences of humanitarian concern for others and a definite manifestation of a willingness to help others to help themselves. We expressed our interest in establishing a permanent relationship with the people of Kenya in a project that would be meaningful both for the people and for us” (The Bulletin, June 3, 1975).

After meeting with the president, Herbert Armstrong was introduced to the minister of state, the attorney general and later the minister of defense, with whom he met for half an hour. Following this meeting, as was often the case in world capitals he visited, Mr. Armstrong was guest speaker for the Lion’s Club during a special luncheon. After this, at a formal dinner hosted by the president’s nephew and niece, Ambassador and Mrs. Mungo, he was introduced to Kenya’s social, academic, industrial and political ruling elite.

During this trip, plans were finalized for Mr Armstrong’s three-night campaign at the Kenyatta Conference Center during which a special film, Ambassador for World Peace, was shown to highlight other successful appearances worldwide by this messenger of peace.

“In the latest big campaign in Nairobi, Kenya,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “I had such an inspired and enthusiastic audience in that big auditorium that I had to tell them that their eager listening and enthusiastic response inspired me—and by the final, third night of the campaign they had me so inspired that I think my message was one of the most inspired and powerful I have ever delivered” (co-worker letter, June 24, 1975).

In July of that same year, Mr. Armstrong still could not stop thinking about the impact of the audience during his final campaign in Nairobi. He wrote of how the audience inspired him; he realized just how much he and we all need that kind of encouragement and inspiration. God used him as a messenger of encouragement to the Kenyan people, and that radiated right back through their joy and happiness upon receiving the very gospel message of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:14).

Memories of the Messenger

On the morning of Aug. 22, 1978, while sleeping at the State House in Mombasa, President Kenyatta died. That very day, Herbert Armstrong recollected, “I had visited with him … at his office in the State House in Nairobi and the better part of the whole day at his residence 35 miles outside Nairobi. … We had luncheon at his home with members of his family. He conducted us on a tour through a suburban self-help hospital, which he had built. He was, as am I, a staunch believer in helping others to help themselves—to help them get on their own feet so they can make their own way, rather than supporting others outright in pure charity while they do nothing to help themselves.

“Through the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, we had undertaken to join with President Kenyatta in founding in Kenya a self-help school to help reduce the illiteracy of the country. He was apparently just my age—86, though he did not know his exact birth date. He was a very close friend—like two close brothers with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.”

Mr. Armstrong went on to continue a strong relationship with the Kenyan government and people, establishing congregations in the country, aiding with the aicf school project, then later returning during November 1982 to meet Kenyatta’s successor, President Daniel Arap Moi, and conduct a lecture to Plain Truth magazine subscribers.

Legacy Lives On

Today, that message from Christ, the King of encouragement, lives on. The Philadelphia Church of God, which sponsors this website, hosts congregations across Africa and in Kenya. God in His mercy is still working to encourage this beautiful country with His gospel message and final warning of prophecy (Revelation 10:11).

We have often reminded readers that for almost 22 years, our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, has labored to continue the honored legacy of Herbert Armstrong—through the print and online magazine the Trumpet, the Key of David television program, the educational institutions Herbert W. Armstrong College and Imperial Academy elementary school, and also culturally through the concert series sponsored by the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation held at the breathtaking new Armstrong Auditorium. These initiatives are increasingly combining to perpetuate God’s message of His love for humanity which the Kenyan leadership and citizens acknowledged through their joy and enthusiastic reception of God’s message.

The one man who has truly sought to follow in the footsteps of Herbert Armstrong, ambassador for world peace, declares, “God protects those saints who ‘turn many to righteousness’ (Daniel 12:3). This is in the context of the king of the south. Getting out this message is why we understand God’s revealed truth. Our work is to give people a chance to turn to God.”

Those who do not turn may well remember God’s message during the rapidly approaching Tribulation and Day of the Lord. Perhaps the terrible suffering of that great trial will finally awaken them. They will know how to repent because of the message this work is urgently straining to publicize—a work of very urgent warning of the Great Tribulation to come (Matthew 24:21). God prophesies that those who join with us to declare this urgent warning are to shine like the stars and the brightness of the firmament forever! They will literally become the bride of Christ.

To read more articles by this author, click here.

The Week in Review

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The Middle East going nuclear, Berlusconi leaving office, Germany changing its mind about war, Asia planning a NATO rival, and British babies being born into harm’s way.

Middle East

Iran on threshold of nuclear capability: Iran has worked, with help from foreign experts, to design nuclear weapons and is likely still conducting secret research on the project, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said in a report released Tuesday. The report, produced by the International Atomic Energy Agency, said many facets of Iran’s secret weapons program went on past the 2003 date the United States had believed was when Tehran stopped all nuclear arms development. Among the findings that were of gravest concern to UN inspectors was the amount of uranium being enriched to 20 percent in facilities in the city of Qom. Uranium enriched to 3.5 percent is what is required for civilian energy purposes. Once it is enriched to 20 percent, the uranium can be used for medical purposes. It is a long and tedious process to go from 3.5 percent to 20 percent, but it is much easier to go from 20 percent up to 90 percent, which is the grade required for nuclear weapons. The true significance of a nuclear-armed Iran, wrote Courcy’s Intelligence Brief on November 9, lies not in the threat of a direct attack, but rather that “an Iranian nuclear deterrent would prevent Israel from using its own nuclear weapons to defeat an overwhelming conventional attack from its Arab neighbors. Israel came close to doing exactly this during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, and (as chief of staff Benny Gantz has admitted) Israel’s strategic environment could soon become worse than in 1973, with the possibility of Jordan, Hezbollah, the Palestinian territories, Turkey, and Iran all being added to Egypt and Syria in the balance against Israel.”

Pakistan’s nukes are getting more dangerous: The threat of nuclear war is high and rising, says an independent British think tank, the British American Security Information Council. “Nuclear weapons are present today in some of the most unstable and violence prone regions of the world, and in Northeast Asia, the Middle East and South Asia, there are serious conflict and proliferation concerns that suggest an increased potential for nuclear weapons use,” it wrote. One of the biggest concerns is the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal in the world: Pakistan. It is on course to become the world’s fourth-largest nuclear power, above France and the UK. Since the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden in May, Pakistan has become more concerned about keeping its weapons secure from the U.S. The Atlantic reports that “the Pakistani government is willing to make its nuclear weapons more vulnerable to theft by jihadists simply to hide them from the United States, the country that funds much of its military budget” (December).

Another earthquake in Turkey: An earthquake in the city of Van in eastern Turkey on Wednesday killed at least 10 people. The magnitude-5.7 quake follows the devastating magnitude-7.2 temblor on October 23 that hit the same area, killing more than 600 people and leaving thousands homeless. Jesus Christ prophesied that earthquakes would occur in different places in the end time (Matthew 24:7)—the time we are living in now.


The euro’s dramatic week: The interest rates on Italy’s 10-year government bonds rose past 7 percent, November 9. When the 10-year bonds of Greece, Portugal and Ireland exceeded this threshold they had to ask for a bailout. But the European Union currently has no way of bailing out Italy. Its fund is too small. If the interest rate doesn’t fall soon—which it hasn’t for any other eurozone nation—then the eurozone will have to make some big changes. Already, Germany is dictating the governments of eurozone nations. Over the last week, European elites have blackmailed Athens into foregoing a democratic election, establishing a unity government and then agreeing to pass into Greek law a series of harsh, transformative rules that were created in Brussels. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dared to suggest that Italy might get on fine without the EU. He has been forced to announce that he will resign. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on November 9 that the solution to the problem “will mean more Europe, not less Europe.” She said, “It is time for a breakthrough to a new Europe. A community that says, regardless of what happens in the rest of the world, that it can never again change its ground rules, that community simply can’t survive.” Expect Germany to remake Europe the way it wants to.

France begins austerity measures: French Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced a new austerity package on Monday that will reduce spending by €65 billion over the next five years as France fights to keep its aaa rating. “We wish to protect the French against the grave problems facing other European countries,” said Fillon. “Bankruptcy is not an abstract word.” France must make these sacrifices to “avoid the day where policies are imposed upon us by others,” he said. This comes less than three months after France’s last announced austerity measures. Under the new measures, France will increase its retirement age from 60 to 62, increase the sales tax on books, public transport, restaurant meals and other items, reduce health-care spending, and temporarily increase corporation tax. France’s struggles to maintain its aaa rating prove an important point. Some commentators talk about Europe being led by a Franco-German axis. But that is not true. France does not have the resources to bail out impoverished nations. It could need a bailout itself soon. He who pays the piper calls the tune. France is not the one paying, so it isn’t calling the shots.

Germany: War is legitimate foreign policy: The German Council on Foreign Relations is opening up a debate in Germany via its leading periodical Internationale Politik on how Germany views its military. Its senior editor observes that postwar German society has difficulty “openly discussing power—which in the end includes military force” (No. 6/2011). In its current edition, the periodical quotes Germany’s defense minister, Thomas de Maizière, as declaring that “Military means are the ultimate and not merely the last means.” Commenting on the continuing reform measures of the Bundeswehr (initiated by his predecessor Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg), Maizière stated that “The question of the deployment of our armed forces will most likely be posed more often in the future,” with the Bundeswehr becoming “consistently oriented toward deployability and … a large range of capabilities” also involving “high-intensity combat missions.” In the same journal, Lt. Col. Christian Freuding (Ret.), a member of the German Defense Ministry’s planning staff, points to the Balkan wars as having “contribution to regional stabilization” by yielding a “strategic advantage” to Europe. This is a blatant admission that Germany had but one motive in destabilizing the Balkans when, with papal support, it initiated conflict in the region by the unilateral recognition of Slovenia and Croatia as separate nation-states. German-Foreign-Policy.com comments that the debate on Germany’s need for a new approach to militarism is really geared to achieving the will of Berlin elites as summed up by the current edition of Internationale Politik: “The culture of military restraint must give way to a culture of responsibility.” Being mindful of Germany’s history, German-Foreign-Policy.com observes that “culture of responsibility” means “nothing more than the readiness to willingly support a growing number of the Bundeswehr’s combat missions” (November 2).

Germany sees the need to downsize Europe: Germany is ready to push nations out of the eurozone, say analysts, after Germany and France threatened to kick Greece out last week. “Only a short while ago, any idea of a Greek exit from economic and monetary union (emu) was rejected by Eurocrats as entertained only in the ravings of madmen,” wrote David Marsh for the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch. “Yet it suddenly became bitter reality after Athens Premier George Papandreou’s since-rescinded referendum call.” Now some experts think Germany will push Europe down this path. Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, told the Sunday Telegraph: “The Germans want more fiscal unity and much tougher central observation—with the idea of a finance ministry.” The future of other nations in the eurozone is “actually questionable,” he said. “The Greeks have a choice: reforms within the eurozone or no reforms and leave,” German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler said. “There is no third way.” “The Greek government must at least understand that at some point our patience will end,” he said.


Russia opposes military action or sanctions against Iran: On Thursday, after the publication of a UN report confirmed longstanding suspicions by Western countries that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, Moscow spoke out against military strikes on Iran, saying such action would be a serious mistake with unpredictable consequences. The previous day, veto-wielding Russia said it would not support another set of sanctions against Iran and expressed anger over the UN’s publication of the report. Since the report provides strong evidence that Russia aided Iran in its nuclear program, Moscow’s defense of Tehran comes as no surprise. As Russia works to regain its former Soviet-era influence, it will become increasingly confrontational toward the West.

Asian security bloc calls for closer cooperation: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hosted his counterparts from China and four other Asian nations on Monday for a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco), which is widely seen as a tool Beijing and Moscow use to challenge U.S. influence in the strategic Central Asia region. The 10-year-old sco connects China and Russia with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in a security bloc that Moscow and Beijing hope will develop into an entity unified enough to rival nato. At the summit Putin lashed out at “arrogant world powers,” accusing Western nations of hypocrisy for their support of revolutions in North African nations. Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for major infrastructure investments to stimulate economic growth throughout the region. Members also discussed expanding the sco to include Pakistan and Iran, and Russia officially supported Pakistan’s bid to become a full member of the alliance. Wen said a top sco priority should be developing Central Asia’s transport and energy infrastructure, adding that nations should conduct bilateral transactions in their own currencies rather than the dollar. The time ahead will prove significant for the Asian bloc as it expands to include new member nations and becomes more unified. China and Russia are the regional behemoths driving the unification of the East; the sco may well be a vehicle they use to attain that goal.

Chinese manufacturers dupe U.S. military into using counterfeit parts: At a hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Carl Levin said China was the primary source of counterfeit parts which some of the largest defense contractors on the globe have been tricked into installing into U.S. military systems. The committee identified Boeing, L-3, Raytheon, and their suppliers as firms that had unknowingly used faulty components on equipment such as aircraft video displays, and helicopter night vision systems. “The failure of a single electronic part can leave a soldier, sailor, airman or marine vulnerable at the worst possible time. A flood of counterfeit electronic parts has made it a lot harder to have confidence that won’t happen,” Levin said at the hearing. “We are going to act. We cannot rely on the Chinese …. The Chinese say that they have an effort going on to act against counterfeits and it’s baloney.” When this news is added to reports of China’s cyberespionage, satellite developments, and warnings about the dollar, it is clear that China will undermine the U.S. from any direction it can.

China to make Nigeria major manufacturing zone: In an agreement forged Tuesday, Beijing pledged to transform Nigeria into a major manufacturing zone for some of China’s key industrial enterprises. Nigeria’s trade and investment minister stated during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart that making Nigeria a major manufacturing zone for most of China’s products would help to correct the current trade imbalance between the two countries. Expect both China and Europe to push for inroads into Africa as their need for raw materials increases.


One in four babies at risk from their parents: One quarter of newborn babies in the UK are at risk of death or abuse due to parents with a history of domestic violence, mental health problems or substance addictions, according to a report published by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children on November 10. One hundred and forty-four thousand live with parents with mental health issues. Ninety-three thousand live with a problem drinker, and for 50,000, one of their parents took an illegal drug in the past year.

Young men suffer most as economy staggers: Few groups are being hit harder by the current recession in America than young men. The unemployment rate for males between 25 and 34 years old with high-school diplomas is 14.4 percent—over double the 6.1 percent figure that existed before the downturn started four years ago. The picture is even bleaker for men in their early 20s, with the unemployment rate being 22.4 percent for high-school graduates 20 to 24 years old. Such devastating statistics are eroding the economic independence of many young men and forcing them to move back in with their parents. According to the Census Bureau, the share of men ages 25 to 34 living with their parents jumped to 18.6 percent from 14.2 percent four years ago—the highest level since at least 1960. By breaking the laws God outlines in the Bible, the people of America have wrecked their economy and emasculated a generation of would-be-leaders.

Occupy Oakland protest turns violent: What began as peaceful demonstrations in Oakland last Wednesday ended with police in riot gear arresting dozens of protesters who had marched through downtown and broken into a vacant building, shattering windows, spraying graffiti and setting fires along the way. The same day, another group of about 3,000 protesters converged on the Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth-busiest harbor, and forced port officials to cease maritime operations, citing concerns for workers’ safety. Smaller-scale demonstrations popped up in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and elsewhere in a show of support for the Oakland movement, which became a rallying point when an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured in a clash with police. The incident provides a glimpse of the kind of chaos that could quickly unfold as mass dissatisfaction and anger increase.

Biggest municipal bankruptcy yet: Alabama’s Jefferson County filed for bankruptcy court protection on Wednesday in the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Officials for the county, which is home to economic powerhouse Birmingham, said the county was swamped with $3.14 billion in debt it simply cannot service. The bankruptcy will add to concerns by investors that the $3.7 trillion municipal debt market is more risky than appreciated. Last month, Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, filed for bankruptcy protection. As more cities and counties collapse under the weight of debt, pension obligations and a stagnant economy, pressure on the municipal debt market will rise—possibly forcing other municipalities into the red and creating conditions for a systematic domino-type collapse.