‘The Fourth Reich’ Has Arrived

‘The Fourth Reich’ Has Arrived

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The Fourth Reich has taken over Europe, according to Il Giornale, a right-wing Italian newspaper. In a headlining story last Friday, Alessandro Sallusti, the editor in chief for the paper, asserted that Italy is “no longer in Europe. It is in the Fourth Reich.”

These bold comments come in the wake of recent non-productive talks between Italy, Spain and the European Central Bank (ecb) over fiscal aid for the two struggling members of the eurozone. ecb President Mario Draghi has put pressure on Italy and Spain to formally apply for aid from the bank before any steps are taken to provide assistance. If either nation were to make a formal request, strict conditions would be enforced by the ecb in exchange for buying its bonds—strict conditions that would essentially put either nation at the mercy of the German-influenced ecb.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has openly criticized the bank, stating in an interview with Der Spiegel, “… I told Chancellor Merkel of increasing resentment here in parliament—against the EU, against the euro, against the Germans and sometimes against the chancellor herself. That, though, is a problem that goes beyond just Germany and Italy. The tensions that have accompanied the eurozone in recent years are showing signs of a psychological dissolution of Europe.”

Il Giornale also dished out criticism for Monti for not standing up to Germany more in the midst of the euro crisis, vividly comparing him to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister infamous for hastily declaring “peace for our time” after signing the Munich Agreement and the Anglo-German Declaration with Adolf Hitler.

Germany is not making many friends at the moment, but frankly, it doesn’t need to. The euro is crumbling, Italy is in trouble, and there is only one place Europe can turn to. If Germany chooses to bail out indebted Europe, expect Germany to exact its full pound of flesh in return—and that means economic, if not more political, control. Although a crumbling Europe is a negative for Germany’s economy, Germany is taking full advantage of the crisis to consolidate its control over the Continent.

Falklands Dispute: British Ships Banned From Buenos Aires

Falklands Dispute: British Ships Banned From Buenos Aires

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British sovereignty in the Falklands faces yet another challenge from Argentina. Lawmakers in Buenos Aires province have passed a bill that will ban British ships from docking in any of its ports. Buenos Aires is the largest province in Argentina and houses the country’s most important ports.

The bill is the latest in a series of provocations by Argentina in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. The bill is designed to hinder British oil exploration in the islands. It also illustrates Argentine hostility to Britain, since most ships en route to the Falklands do not stop in Argentine ports.

Ships flying the Falklands flag are already banned from ports in Argentina and the other nations making up the South American trading bloc Mercosur. Last year, two Falklands-bound Norwegian ships, mistaken for British, sparked mass protests when they docked in the port of La Plata near Buenos Aires.

The bill was sponsored by Patricia Cubria, a deputy from President Cristina Kirchner’s Front for Victory coalition. It was nicknamed “Gaucho Rivero” after Antonio “Gaucho” Rivero, the Argentine cowboy who led an uprising against the British in the Falkland Islands in 1833. Of Rivero, Cubria said, “He fought so that the Argentine flag could fly in the Falklands.”

The British foreign office responded by expressing its concerns about Argentina’s political belligerence. A spokesperson said:

The UK remains concerned about recent Argentine measures designed to prevent access for British and other international vessels seeking to enter Argentine ports. Ministers have made clear in the past that the UK wants to have a constructive relationship with Argentina, but this will not be at the expense of the rights of the Falkland Islanders to choose their sovereignty and to develop their economy.The UK will take all steps necessary to ensure that the Falklands economy is not undermined by unilateral measures taken by Argentina.

Argentina is continuing to undermine British influence in the Falklands. Thirty years ago, when Argentina attempted to fly its flag in the Falklands, Britain responded with swift, decisive action to defend its territory. Today, however, despite Britain’s tough talk, it does not have the naval power necessary to defend the islands. Bible prophecy shows that Britain will eventually lose the Falklands. For more insight, read “Changing the Guard” in our free booklet He Was Right.

Syrian PM Hijab Abandons Assad for Opposition

Syrian PM Hijab Abandons Assad for Opposition

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Recently appointed Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab defected to the opposition forces this week, making him one of the highest profile deserters from President Bashar Assad’s government since fighting began.

Syrian state-run media announced that he had been fired, but the truth came out in a statement made Monday.

In a formal statement read by a spokesperson, Hijab said, “I announce today my defection from the killing and terrorist regime and I announce that I have joined the ranks of the freedom and dignity revolution. I announce that I am from today a soldier in this blessed revolution.”

The high-profile defection is simply further proof that the Assad regime is crumbling and that a new government will soon transition into power, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, asserted on Monday.

It has been reported that Hijab and his family have fled to Jordan. Jordanian state media at first denied that allegation, but official statements from Hijab’s spokesman, Mohammed Otari, have confirmed that he did in fact flee to Jordan.

Hijab’s defection comes at a time of immense turmoil. President Assad is trying to show that he is still in control, but he is coming under increasing pressure from Turkey and Saudi Arabia to cave to the opposition. Surrounding states are verbally supporting the arming of the Syrian rebels and Turkey has shown support by sending troops and weapons to the Syrian border.

The fighting between the Syrian forces and the Free Syrian Army has claimed over 18,000 lives already, and there is no sign that the violence will lessen in the near future.

Watch for the increased weakening of Assad’s regime, a new Syrian government transitioning into power, and the shift of Syrian allegiance from Iran to Gulf nations, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, that are wary of Iran’s growing regional power.

NASA’s ‘Curiosity’ Exploring Mars

Nasa is celebrating the precision-landing of its Curiosity rover on Mars. Scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been celebrating and even oohing and ahhing as the rover beams back its first images of the Martian landscape.

The first grainy, black-and-white images sent back by Curiosity show Martian gravel, with nearby landmark Mount Sharp visible in the background. Alongside the photographs, scientists released a low-resolution video of the spacecraft’s plunge through the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

Curiosity, a one-ton rambling laboratory the size of a compact car, landed directly on target late on Sunday night after an eight-month, 352 million-mile journey.

Although the deployment of Curiosity on Mars represents a noteworthy advancement in mankind’s exploration of space, our capacity to discover the rest of the universe remains incredibly limited. Yet the Holy Bible repeatedly states that God did not create the universe in vain. In fact, Mars and the entire immense universe beyond is intended to be inhabited. To prove this mind-boggling future for yourself, read our booklet Our Awesome Universe Potential.

The Mighty Mississippi to Run Dry?

The Mighty Mississippi to Run Dry?

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If the world’s largest navigable river system goes dry, the economic consequences will be felt around the world.

What is the single greatest reason America is so wealthy? According to the analysts at Stratfor, it is because of a river.

They have to be joking, right?

What about America’s vast gold resources? What about its mountains of coal? America is the world’s third-largest oil producer—surely that is why. Then there is America’s temperate climate and fertile soils that traditionally make it the world’s breadbasket. And don’t forget America’s human capital, Yankee ingenuity, and Protestant work ethic. Surely these factors are cumulatively more important than a river.

Not according to one of America’s premier think tanks. Many countries have large natural resources and hospitable climates, but don’t even come close to having America’s wealth. What sets America apart from the rest of the world is the Mississippi River basin. It is what makes exploiting America’s resources economically possible.

But now, due to the worst drought since the 1950s, the Mississippi may be about to go dry.

In Memphis and Vicksburg, the shrinking river is obvious: slower river, exposed river banks, and more sandbars. The water is down more than 13 and 20 feet in each city respectively. The Mississippi on average is about 13 feet below normal—and a whopping 55 feet below where it was at this time last year. On some stretches, the water level is perilously low. On July 17 it was reported that a 100-mile stretch of the Platte River in Nebraska, had dried up.

A buoy used to help guide barges rests on the bank after the water level dropped on the Mississippi River July 18, near Wyatt, Missouri. (Getty Images)

In fact, water levels are now so low that barge operators are no longer able to operate at full capacity and have to shed both weight and number of towed barges.

For each one-inch loss of water, the standard barge must unload 17 tons of cargo—that is a loss of 204 tons, per barge, for every one-foot loss. A typical tow on the upper Mississippi river may have 15 barges. A one-foot loss of water translates into a loss of 3,000 tons of capacity. Tows on the lower Mississippi River may have up to 45 barges, resulting in a loss of capacity of over 9,000 tons. It would take almost 600 semitrucks to haul the freight unloaded by one large barge grouping under those conditions! There are thousands and thousands of barge strings that ply the Mississippi each year. The shutdown of the Mississippi would be an absolute catastrophe!

Already, the cost to ship bulk goods is rising. As the weight that can be put on barges shrinks, the cost per unit weight is rising. And that translates into higher costs on the consumers’ end. Products that are already only marginally profitable may not be economic at these higher transport costs.

The last time the Mississippi shut down due to low water was in 1988. Then just a small section of the river became unnavigable—but it cost the shipping industry $1 billion.

If the Mississippi shut down today, sources quoted by nbc estimate that the direct costs to the economy would be a massive $300 million per day—a cost that would skyrocket exponentially if the river did not reopen after more than a few days!

We are still a few feet of water away from that, but the summer isn’t over either.

1988 is the only time in recent memory that can compare with this summer, says Lynn Muench, senior vice president of American Waterways Operators. “For the last two or three weeks, the phrase I keep hearing is, ‘Close to 1988. Worse than 1988. Same as 1988,’” she says. “There’s a real possibility that it’ll be worse this year.”

Making matters worse for barge traffic, last year’s record flood stirred up debris and changed the location of underwater obstructions. The Army Corps of Engineers is working like crazy to dredge shallow areas and mark dangers.

But still, the number of barges going aground is rising. Shipping lanes are narrowing. And traffic is slowing. On Tuesday, a barge grounded in Minnesota. It took 24 hours to clear it, and another day to dredge the channel before other barge-trains could pass. The same day, another barge got stuck in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It took about a day to get traffic moving there again. cbs News says barge traffic is getting hung up all up and down the Mississippi, even in areas that normally don’t have any problem.

America’s Mississippi River system is an absolute jewel that America cannot afford to lose—no matter how short the duration.

The Mississippi River, in conjunction with Missouri, Red, Arkansas and Ohio rivers, comprises the largest interconnected network of navigable rivers in the world. Stratfor calls the Greater Mississippi river network “the circulatory system of the Midwest.” It is what opens up one third of America to the world. Even without the addition of canals, it is possible for products from anywhere in the world to reach nearly any part of the Midwest. With the addition of canals, goods can now be transported from the Great Lakes in the north to New Orleans in the south.

And this fantastic water highway just happens to sit astride the most fertile crop-growing region in the world.

It is hard to overstate the economic implications of this overlap. The geography of most nations requires their governments to devote scarce resources to lay endless rail and road to build the transport capacity that was gifted to America at no expense. And water transport costs a fraction of moving goods by road and rail.

The Mississippi River network virtually guaranteed that America would be rich.

But the Mississippi blessing may now be turning into a curse. Everybody is aware that America is in the midst of an epic drought. Contingency plans are being made for reduced corn, soybean and wheat crops. America has experienced droughts before. Markets are prepared for this reality, although they may be underestimating the global consequences of the drought.

America is now critically reliant upon the uninterrupted functioning of this vast intercontinental transport network. The drying up of the Mississippi—even for as short a period as a week—would be a huge, unexpected blow to this nation, never mind the global economy. And it is one that America and the world can ill afford at this time.

If you liked this column, follow Robert Morley on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorleyRobert

Democracy Is Tearing Europe Apart, Moans Monti

Democracy Is Tearing Europe Apart, Moans Monti

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European leaders need to ignore their national parliaments more often or the euro could be forced to break up, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti warned in an interview with Spiegel published August 5.

“If governments allow themselves to be completely bound by the decisions of their parliaments without maintaining some room for maneuver in international negotiations, then a breakup of Europe will be more likely than closer integration,” he said.

Monti, unelected leader, heading a government of technocrats and academics, came to power after Italy’s elected government made financial markets nervous.

But Monti is right. Parliaments in nations like Germany, Finland and the Netherlands have been a persistent stumbling block to EU integration. The public in these countries doesn’t want to see its money being sent overseas. Parliament tends to have a greater fear of the public than the top leaders.

The EU has been an undemocratic institution from the start. European integration has been consistently rejected in referenda across the Continent.

But the desire of national leaders to forge a new Carolingian empire has overcome the will of the public so far. In the face of the euro crisis, anti-European sentiment is hardening and spreading. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party brought down the government, and in Finland the True Finns party is pushing the government toward Euroskepticism.

But it is German parliamentarians who have taken greatest offense at Monti’s remarks: “Greed for German taxpayers’ money is blossoming undemocratic blooms in Mr. Monti,” said Alexander Dobrindt, a Christian Social Union member of parliament.

But there is no democratic way to persuade the richer countries to part with their money and the poorer countries their sovereignty. The euro crisis is pushing Europe down an undemocratic path. An unelected leader calling for elected parliaments to have a smaller role in Europe is proof of this.

There will be protests, but watch for Europe to morph into an undemocratic superstate.