European Political Extremists Demand Authoritarian State

European Political Extremists Demand Authoritarian State

Dani Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

The discontent that is currently simmering in Europe will soon prove to be the catalyst that leads to the ascension of a dictator.

A spirit of extremism is sweeping across Europe. As deteriorating economic conditions and German-led austerity programs take hold in almost every nation of the eurozone, parties on both the far-left and the far-right are rising. These worrying trends will only intensify as anger and resentment continue to build.

In France, over one third of voters cast a ballot for either far-left Trotskyites or far-right nationalists in the first round of voting last April. In Greece, the situation is even worse, with a full 70 percent of voters supporting either radical left-wing socialists or far-right xenophobes.

Far-left and far-right extremist parties are also taking root in Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands.

Many news analysts are now warning of the polarization of European politics. Despite such warnings, however, the far-left and far-right political parties currently rising in Europe have far more in common with each other than they do with the centralist Social Democrats that have until recently dominated European politics.

The far-left political parties in continental Europe—like their sister parties in other parts of the world—espouse high levels of taxation, government entitlement programs and redistribution of wealth as the solution to the world’s economic woes. For the most part, these parties are anti-capitalist and anti-American.

A typical politician of the far-left is the firebrand Frenchman Jean-Luc Melenchon, who says his country should reach out to China and resist U.S. hegemony in an attempt to transform France into a neo-Communist state.

The far-right political parties in continental Europe, however, are much different than their so-called sister parties in the United States. In the contemporary Anglosphere, right-wing politics usually refers to the idea of minimalist government and economic libertarianism. Conversely, the so-called far-right parties on the rise across the eurozone espouse economic ideas that are even more “left wing” than most centralist European political organizations.

The National Front Party, led by Marine Le Pen, of France is usually referred to as a far-right political organization because of its staunch anti-immigration platform and its emphasis on French nationalism. Economically, however, the National Front favors many of the same big-government, anti-capitalistic ideas of its left-wing rivals.

This is why Marine Le Pen is so often referred to as a neo-Nazi. Nazism—or National Socialism—was the synthesis of right-wing nationalism and left-wing socialism.

In the words of Adolf Hitler’s air force commander, Hermann Göring: “Our movement seized the concept of socialism from the cowardly Marxist, and tore the concept of nationalism from the cowardly bourgeois parties, throwing both into the melting pot of our worldview, and producing a clear synthesis: German National Socialism.”

So really, both the far-left and the far-right parties now emerging on the European political scene are in favor of the same style of authoritarian socialism. The only real difference between these two political ideologies is in their respective view on the role of the nation-state.

The neo-fascist parties espouse a socialist model that applies to their nation only, while the radical leftist parties espouses a type of international socialism—wherein the working classes of the world unite in a struggle against Anglo-Saxon-style capitalism.

Bible prophecy reveals that extremist forces across Europe will soon unite behind a populist demagogue who will rule over a revived Holy Roman Empire. This tyrant could very well draw support from both the far-left and the far-right political parties that are currently on the rise.

Instead of establishing a type of socialism that is exclusive to one nationality (as Adolf Hitler did) or trying to establish a type of socialism that purposes to include all nations on an equal footing (as Vladimir Lenin tried to do), he will establish an authoritarian government that rules over a union of 10 nations in Europe. Like many of the far-right parties currently on the European scene, these nations will be bound together by the Roman Catholic faith, and like many of the far-left parties, they will also be bound together by their hatred for the Anglo-Saxon world.

For further proof of this, read Ron Fraser’s most recent column, “Merkel and Monti Revive Old Berlin-Rome Axis,” and Joel Hilliker’s most recent column, “Watch for Mr. Europe!

Would Jesus Flip-Flop on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’?

Would Jesus Flip-Flop on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’?

iStockphoto

‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.’

When campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama credited religion and faith for dictating his position against same-sex “marriage.” “I’m a Christian,” he said. “I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman” (emphasis added throughout). He reiterated this same position when campaigning for president in 2008, saying marriage was a “sacred union” between a man and a woman.

This week, however, President Obama changed his mind and decided to endorse homosexual “marriage.” He then defended his flip-flop by invoking the same Jesus—and the very same inspired text—that he once used to defend the traditional marriage union. He also credited staff members, neighbors, friends and family members—even his two daughters—for influencing his “evolving” position over the years. But in the end, what mattered most was the Golden Rule—“treat others the way you would want to be treated,” the president said, paraphrasing Luke 6:31.

Of course, Mr. Obama’s “evolving” position on same-sex “marriage” is really about political expediency—certainly not the inspired teachings of Jesus. But it still comes as quite a shock when Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible are dragged through the mud in order to defend behavior that God emphatically condemns.

Last year, in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron upset many traditional Christians when he announced plans to legalize homosexual “marriage” before the next election. Last month, to defend his controversial plan and to bridge the gap between his government and the Christian community, Mr. Cameron once again turned to—you guessed it—Jesus Christ.

“The New Testament tells us so much about the character of Jesus; a man of incomparable compassion, generosity, grace, humility and love,” Mr. Cameron said. He then referred to the same passage in Luke that President Obama paraphrased on Wednesday.

Never mind what it says in Genesis 19, Leviticus 20:13, Luke 17:28-30, Romans 1:26-27, 2 Peter 2:6 or Jude 7. Those are now obsolete verses, often cited by homophobes and bigots, we’re told. Jesus, don’t you know, would have wanted homosexuals to get married—so say the “enlightened.”

The Church of England, meanwhile, was quick to criticize the prime minister’s same-sex “marriage” crusade. Marriage is between one man and one woman, the church said in response to the government’s attempt to redefine the union. In the very same statement, however, the Church of England endorsed homosexuality and same-sex unions—but it drew a very distinct line between that and homosexual “marriage.”

What a pathetic and weak defense of an institution ordained by Almighty God! The supposed moral authority in Britain summarized its official position on homosexuality and marriage and didn’t even include one biblical passage or scriptural reference. Not even one verse!

And we wonder why our leaders are so quick to disparage the Bible and the reputation of Jesus Christ to disingenuously defend their lawless agendas. Today’s “enlightened” clergy is far too busy figuring out how much of the Bible can be categorized as myth or hyperbole to ever be bothered with the task of actually preaching the plain truth of God’s inspired Word!

What an ominous sign of the times in which we are living.

“I charge thee therefore before God,” the Apostle Paul wrote to his young assistant, his faithful minister—the evangelist Timothy. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

God has charged His true ministers with the sobering and momentous responsibility of preaching the truth of the Bible. It doesn’t say preach what men want to hear or to modify doctrinal positions as societal behavior evolves over time.

“I am the Lord, I change not,” God thunders in Malachi 3:6. And His ministers must uphold and defend the sanctity and permanency of His revealed truth. Be instant with God’s truth, Paul said. That means we must stand up and fight for the truth of God!

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That is the time we are living in right now. Most people today have turned away from what the Bible actually says and have accepted lies in place of truth.

What about you, dear reader? Will you accept the simplicity and purity of God’s revealed truth? You can know the truth if you are honest in your study of God’s Word and willing to submit to the authority of the Bible.

In his book The Incredible Human Potential, Herbert W. Armstrong said that God has made His revealed knowledge and truth available to anyone who is willing to believe what He says in His inspired book, the Holy Bible. It’s the world’s best seller, Mr. Armstrong said, “But this precious book has been interpreted and misinterpreted, distorted, twisted, misrepresented, misunderstood, and maligned as no other book ever has.”

Indeed it has been, which is why you must put aside what men say about the Bible and investigate the source for yourself. It doesn’t need any “private interpretation,” as the Apostle Peter wrote. God’s Word interprets itself for those who are humble and honest—and who are faithfully willing to dig in and study. The Bible says what it means—and with authority! And it means exactly what it says. Just take it as the timeless masterpiece that it is and it will begin to make sense.

“Look into it for yourself,” Mr. Armstrong urged Plain Truth readers in February 1982. “It’s full of surprises—it’s full of truth—it’s full of the way to a positive peace of mind, to happiness, to prosperity, abundant living here and now and to salvation in joyous eternal life—forever!”

The Significance of Russia’s Threats on Missile Defense

The Significance of Russia’s Threats on Missile Defense

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

One of the touchiest subjects in the U.S.-Russia relationship just got touchier.

As Vladimir Putin returns to the Kremlin, exuding more swagger than ever before, it’s becoming clearer that Russia has shifted into a new, higher gear in its quest to rebuild the old Soviet power bloc.

In an especially bold statement just days before Putin’s rule became official once again, Russia’s top soldier said that if Washington forges ahead with plans to build missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe, Russia will destroy the posts with a preemptive strike.

Last year, then President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia would retaliate militarily if the U.S. failed to reach an agreement with Moscow on the missile defense system. But Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov ratcheted the rhetoric up to a new level in his May 3 statement, saying “if the situation worsens,” the Russian military will “use destructive force preemptively.” Makarov said that if Moscow and Washington fail to reach an agreement, Russia will “be forced to take military and technological measures” to protect itself. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov warned that such a time is drawing near, saying talks between Moscow and Washington regarding the shield are “close to a dead end.”

Moscow’s threats are not empty bluster. Russia is exceedingly powerful militarily, and its recent threats were timed to coincide with the commissioning of a new military facility in Kaliningrad, its westernmost enclave, near the Polish border. This facility will be capable of monitoring missile launches from Europe and the North Atlantic, and will become capable of offensive measures. U.S. Sen. John McCain lambasted Russia’s plans in Kaliningrad, saying the use of missile defense “as an excuse to have a military buildup in this part of the world, which is at peace, is really an egregious example of what might be even viewed as paranoia on the part of Vladimir Putin.”

Sore Spot in U.S.-Russia Relations

For many years, the subject of U.S. missile defense plans in Europe has been one of the touchiest in U.S.-Russian relations. The U.S. and nato say the missile defense system is intended only to counter Iran’s missile threat. But Moscow rejects this claim, saying the shield could undermine Russia’s nuclear deterrent. The Kremlin has proposed running the missile shield jointly with nato, but the alliance has rejected that offer.

Originally, Washington and nato had planned to build a beefier version of the missile defense system. But, in order to appease the Russians, President Obama abandoned that proposed system, and substituted it with the current, less threatening plans. Critics said the substitution meant the Obama administration had effectively given Moscow veto power over U.S. defenses. But the concession wasn’t enough for Moscow.

Russia has been displeased with the speed of progress on the revised missile defense system. This displeasure led to Obama’s infamous open microphone gaffe in March, when he told Medvedev it would be wise to save the talks about the missile defense system until after U.S. elections, when President Obama would have “more flexibility.” But President Obama’s attempts at greasing Russia’s cogs were not enough to satisfy the Russians, as evidenced by the county’s top general threatening the preemptive strike. In a May 10 reinforcement of Russia’s stance on the matter, President Putin told Washington that he was too busy to come to the United States for next week’s G-8 summit at Camp David.

Under Russian pressure, Washington has folded like an origami crane, but it has not been enough to appease Moscow.

Western Response

Although the May 3 statements do not threaten immediate action, they heap extra pressure on Washington to further capitulate to Moscow’s demands. The U.S.’s military weariness is more evident with each passing month, and Russia’s belligerence gives Washington yet another reason to slide out of Eastern Europe.

In one indication of America’s fatigue, U.S. State Department special envoy Ellen Tauscher responded to the threat saying neither the U.S. nor Russia can afford another arms race: “Your 10-foot fence cannot cause me to build an 11-foot ladder,” Tauscher said.

So, who is willing to build that ladder—to provide security to Eastern Europe—if Washington won’t? The mantle of responsibility will ultimately be passed to Germany. Germany is the perfect candidate, because it is both powerful enough to provide protection and also on increasingly amicable terms with Russia.

European states are already aware of the fading relevance of Washington and nato in the region and are taking measures to replace them. Ireland recently joined the Scandinavian and Baltic states to form the Nordic Battlegroup. Meanwhile, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia formed the Visegrad Group. Stratfor said both of these military alliances are “responses to a militarily powerful Russia lying to the east” (“nato’s Ordinary Future,” May 9). They are just as much a response to the U.S.’s eroding military willpower.

European nations can plainly see that the U.S. is now a bankrupt nation with a shattered will. If the Visegrad countries and the Nordic Battlegroup nations have picked up on America’s fading capability, and have taken drastic measures to compensate for it, surely Germany will soon follow suit. And European calls for Germany to rearm and assert its power are becoming louder all the time.

As Russia’s desire to rebuild its former Soviet glory intensifies, so does its saber rattling and its actual military capabilities. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said that Russia’s resurgence is significant mostly because it will prod Europe to unify more quickly. Mr. Flurry said Russia’s “power will be able to challenge Europe when nobody else can,” and added that Russia’s rise “strikes intense fear in Europe.” The recent threat from Russia’s top military officer gives the beleaguered U.S. an excuse to wash its hands of the missile defense project and to entrust Eastern Europe’s protection to Germany. Moscow’s expanding military might and intensifying threats will hasten America’s egress from the region, and Russia’s European neighbors will take note and consolidate their power with Berlin at the helm.

College Students Spend 40 Hours a Week Socializing

College Students Spend 40 Hours a Week Socializing

Photos to Go

May is the month high-school seniors choose their college of choice.

Graduating from college has been seen as essential for financial success. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, full-time workers with bachelor degrees earn, on average, $20,000 more per year than those with high-school diplomas. This fact helps to explain why college remains a largely unquestioned advantage.

The average annual cost for a four-year institution is now more than $21,000. Yet, in a recent study chronicled in the book Academically Adrift, sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa show that students spend 40 hours a week socializing or hanging out with their peers and only 13 hours studying.

This is disturbing news considering that student debt has now passed the $1 trillion mark. Four million students, or nearly 15 percent of borrowers, are in default on their loans, according to the Wall Street Journal. Student loan debt is now larger than the American credit card debt. These facts have caused a growing number of people and experts to question the value of college.

Having studied the survey responses, transcript data, and standardized testing of 2,300 college students at 24 institutions, the two sociologists state, “They might graduate but they are failing to develop the higher-order cognitive skills that is widely assumed college students should master.”

The two go on to say, “The U.S. higher education system has in recent years arguably been living off its reputation.” They contend that America’s academic system is broken. In many large lecture halls the attendance barely reaches just 55 percent.

This means that little is being learned on campuses.

Several questions need to be answered. If students are not learning much at college, why are Americans willing to pay such high tuition? And, why do parents strive to get their children into the best schools?

Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University and author of soon-to-be-released book The Case Against Education, explains that colleges are more about certifying their students than teaching them useful skills, according to the Wall Street Journal. He believes that the primary function of colleges is to provide “signals” of intelligence and competency, which is why they put students through a variety of mostly arbitrary and useless academic hoops. Caplan writes: “When a student excels in school, then employers correctly infer that he’s likely to be a good worker.” This implies that the value of a college education has little to do with learning and more to do with a college’s application process.

There exists a missing dimension in our modern education system. There is a true education which is a life-long process that prepares young men and women to be a lasting success in all areas of life. Read our inspiring booklet Education With Vision.

Spain nationalizing banks, but can’t: Meltdown coming

The extremely informative Global Economic Trend Analysis blog, authored by Mike Shedlock, reported this morning that Spain’s banking sector is imploding:

On Wednesday, Spain nationalized bfa, the eighth nationalization since the start of the crisis.After sinking 3 billion into CatalunyaCaixa, Spain tried to privatize the mess but there were no offers at zero euros. Clearly CatalunyaCaixa bank is worth less than zero.Meanwhile, Der Spiegel reports, “Bundesbank has no idea of what is happening in Spanish banks.” Mish readers do. The Spanish banking system is without a doubt bankrupt.

According to Shedlock, the eurozone is on the verge of breakup.

Spain, like Greece before it, is indeed a bottomless pit.This is not a problem any amount of austerity or reforms can fix. Is Spain going to come up with €200 billion to support a trillion in bad loans?Here is the answer: Not now, not ever, never.The sooner Europe faces that simple fact the better. Instead, ecb president “Super” Mario Draghi spawned off the ltro (long-term refinance operation) that was supposed to have solved everything.That ltro actually made matters worse. Spanish banks levered up on their own debt, and now yields are back above 6 percent and the banks are underwater on those bond purchases.

Europe appears to be destined for a massive revamp. Germany must make some radical decisions soon if it is to save the eurozone. Alternatively, if the eurozone breaks up, watch for a core Europe to attach itself to the economic stability of Germany. A crisis is coming, and opportunities to revamp Europe will abound. See: “This Is Germany’s Moment!

Germany Condemns Syrian Attacks

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle strongly denounced two suicide attacks in Syria on Thursday that killed at least 55 people and wounded over 170.

The two explosions tore through the capital city of Damascus and marked the deadliest bombing attack in the capital city since Syria’s uprising began 14 months ago.

Westerwelle’s condemnation indicates that Germany’s interest in the Syrian crisis is increasing. Last month in Turkey, Germany met with the United States, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. The countries’ leaders discussed options for dealing with Syria’s revolution. Germany pledged to provide funding and communications equipment to the Syrian opposition activists. Days later, a German government adviser said that in the event of military intervention in Syria, “German participation should be assured.” While Germany was reluctant to participate in the Libyan intervention last year, it is increasingly eager to involve itself with Syria.

Over the weekend, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said the difference in Berlin’s approach to the two nations’ uprisings is because “there’s something going on in Syria that fits into Germany’s global strategy.” To understand the details of Germany’s geopolitical ambitions toward Syria, watch Mr. Flurry’s latest television program: “Psalm 83 Is Being Fulfilled.”