Europe’s Crises Are Back!

Europe’s Crises Are Back!

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September 2012 could be the month Europe changes forever.

After an August spent frolicking on the warm beaches of Greece and Spain and sipping chardonnay on the sunlit steppes of southern France and northern Italy, Europeans have now returned to work—and to a month that promises to be the antithesis of relaxing and stress-free.

For Europe, and the rest of the world, September will likely be marked by extreme stress, severe financial convulsion, and intense political debate and bickering. The next few weeks will be tumultuous and transformative, and will quite likely determine the fate of Europe.

So, as September kicks off, here are four major events you need to pay close attention to.

1) German Constitutional Court Ruling

On September 12, Germany’s Constitutional Court will rule on the legality of Germany’s participation in the European Stability Mechanism (esm). Established in the wake of the 2008 debt crisis, the esm was designed to collect funds from eurozone states and then disperse money to struggling states. Although it collects money from numerous European states, the esm is worthless without Germany’s checkbook.

Most analysts expect the German high court to approve of Berlin continuing to contribute to the esm. Many, however, expect the court to impose strict conditions on Germany’s participation. “The German Constitutional Court sees itself as the guardian of a certain idea of Germany—small, stability-minded, and inwardly oriented—and court watchers expect a ‘yes, but …’ ruling that stipulates that the red lines of German democracy have been reached,” explained Tyson Barker in Foreign Policy last week.

Whatever the specific conditions imposed by the court, they will undoubtedly compel the German government to protect and further Germany’s national interests, and to extract concessions from eurozone states that the Berlin-led esm might be forced to rescue. A “yes, but” decision from the court will elicit two general responses from Europe. First and most unlikely, ailing European states could flatly reject German/esm assistance on account of its imposition on national sovereignty. This would be a decision that effectively amounts to national financial suicide.

Second, and more likely, eurozone states could simply capitulate to Berlin’s demands and sign away sovereignty in return for sorely needed cash.

Either way, a “yes, but” decision by Germany’s Constitutional Court will augment Germany’s position at the center of Europe’s debt crisis.

If Germany’s Constitutional Court says no to Germany’s participation in the esm—a decision Moody’s says is 40 percent likely—it would gut Europe’s current bailout infrastructure. A negative ruling, reported Reuters, “would cast the 17-nation European single currency area into turmoil, spurring panic on bond markets,” and quite likely precipitate a major political and financial catastrophe.

2) Dutch Elections

On September 12, at exactly the same time that Germany’s Constitutional Court is making its pivotal ruling, the Dutch will be electing a new government. This too, could prove hugely important for Europe’s future, and especially the German-led axis of northern European states that has dictated the management of the eurozone crisis.

As Barker notes, the Netherlands “is one of the small economic powerhouses that has aligned itself with Germany—[it’s] tough-minded but traditionally somewhat pro-European.” Since Europe’s debt crisis began, the Netherlands, together with Finland and other northern European states, has solidly supported the German solution of demanding more austerity. That is, until recently.

Over the past few months, the Dutch have grown increasingly disconcerted and frustrated with Berlin’s approach to the eurozone crisis. Many don’t like the imposition of austerity measures. The economic picture for the Netherlands is darkening; its economy shrunk by 1.5 percent in the first six months of 2012 and unemployment is rising. The economic malaise, which is mild compared to that of Greece or Spain, has boosted the popularity of some of Holland’s anti-Europe political parties ahead of next week’s election.

In particular, watch the Socialist Party, led by Emile Roemer. As Barker notes: “The far-left Socialist Party (SP), which is currently leading in the polls, says it would flout EU budgetary rules, call for a referendum on the recently signed EU fiscal pact, oppose rescue packages for Greece, and roll back the ‘Berlin consensus’ economic policy built on hard money, tight fiscal controls, and structural reform.”

In all likelihood, the electoral success of the Socialist Party (and other marginal parties, such as Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party) will necessitate the cobbling together of some sort of coalition government. Whatever new government forms, it is likely to have a formidable Euroskeptic contingent. Such a contingent will make it more difficult for Amsterdam to quickly and simply endorse Germany’s approach to the eurozone crisis.

If the Netherlands diminishes its support of German leadership, and possibly leads the way in a northern revolt against German stewardship, the pressure on Berlin will quickly intensify. The growing Euroskepticism among northern European states means Germany’s window of opportunity to solve this crisis by integrating further is fast closing.

3) Spanish Bailout

On September 14, two days after the Dutch elections and German court ruling, eurozone finance ministers will meet to discuss Europe’s outlook, and specifically that of Spain. “Following the meeting, Spain could well become the fourth country in the eurozone to seek assistance from its neighbors,” reported the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

The situation doesn’t look hopeful. Writing in the New York Times Monday, Landon Thomas Jr. noted that growing numbers of Spaniards are cashing out and fleeing the country ahead what they believe is an inevitable crisis (emphasis added):

In July, Spaniards withdrew a record €75 billion, or $94 billion, from their banks—an amount equal to 7 percent of the country’s overall economic output—as doubts grew about the durability of Spain’s financial system. … According to official statistics, 30,000 Spaniards registered to work in Britain in the last year, and analysts say that this figure would be many multiples higher if workers without documents were counted. That is a 25 percent increase from a year earlier.

Spain is hemorrhaging money. Investors, banks and the general public are pulling their cash out of Spain. At this rate, the equivalent of the entire annual output of Spain’s economy is leaving the country every six months.

That’s unsustainable. “Our economics team believes that Spain will not be able to avoid a full-blown bailout,” wrote financial services conglomerate Nomura in a research note.

With that kind of money leaving the country, Spain’s currency would be collapsing if it were outside the euro, the Nomura note points out. Of course, if it were outside the euro, it might not be in this situation.

Compounding Spain’s problems, its regions are also struggling. Spain has set aside €18 billion to bail them out, but it’s becoming more obvious all the time that it will not be enough.

Spain is due to pay around €20 billion by the end of October. It’s running out of time to come up with that money. The nation is teetering on the brink of needing a bailout. It will probably be pushed over the edge in September.

Spain’s economy is five times larger than Greece’s. Bailing out Greece strained Europe. Bailing out Spain promises to force some even more radical changes.

4) Grexit

On September 12, or sometime soon after, the European Central Bank (ecb), the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (imf) will release their combined assessment of how well Greece is doing at keeping its promises to impose austerity. The report comes ahead of the decision by Germany and others of whether to give Greece more bailout cash.

If the report is positive, which everyone knows is highly unlikely, Athens will be given more bailout money. If the report is negative, and says that Greece has failed to live up to its commitments—which many believe is certain and inevitable—then Germany and its allies will have to decide if they’re willing to continue funneling money to Athens. Chances are, Berlin will say no.

If that happens, the much-talked about Grexit—Greece’s exit from the eurozone—is likely to happen.

The New York Times recently reported that big American banks and consultancy groups have been “doing a brisk business advising their corporate clients on how to prepare for a splintering of the eurozone.”

“That is a striking contrast to the assurances from European politicians that the crisis is manageable and that the currency union can be held together,” it writes. Corporate Executive Board, a private advisory company, reports that four out of five of clients polled expect Greece to leave the euro.

The banks are putting together contingency plans like driving truck or train loads of money into Greece to pay employees as the financial system falls apart.

As these events unfold, they’re likely to be so dramatic and significant they will even make headlines in the mainstream media, perhaps even in America. As the headlines in the mainstream news mount, though, don’t be distracted away from theTrumpet.com. Share this website with your family and friends, with your acquaintances and workmates. Follow us on Twitter, on Facebook. Subscribe to our print magazine.

When it comes to Europe, no other news organization, media outlet or religious organization has a legacy like ours of explaining and forecasting events in this critical, prophetically significant region. For more than 70 years now, the Trumpet and its predecessor have been accurately and consistentlywatching and prophesying about events in Europe—events that are now coming to fruition. After decades of working faithfully and tirelessly, you can be sure we’re not about to stop now.

Is the EU About to Enforce Sunday Worship in Greece?

Is the EU About to Enforce Sunday Worship in Greece?

PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images

One of the Trumpet’s longest-standing predictions is on the brink of being fulfilled.

Greece must introduce a six-day working week, or lose its bailout money, Greece’s creditors said, according to a letter leaked to the Guardian and published September 4. This demand means Greeks would have to work Saturday and rest on Sunday as they’re forced to conform to the teachings of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, regardless of their personal beliefs.

The Guardian reported that the letter “orders the government to extend the working week into the weekend.” It was sent last week to Greece’s finance and labor ministries. An excerpt from the letter published by the Guardian called on the government to “increase the number of maximum workdays to six days per week for all sectors.”

The letter is from the “troika”—Greece’s three main creditors who oversee its bailout program: the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They also called for Greece to take several other steps to make working hours more flexible and to cut labor market regulation.

Their demand for a six-day week would mean that workers would be pushed to work on Saturday, not Sunday. Greek law already forbids working on Sunday. It states: “Employees are entitled to a minimum continuous period of rest of at least 24 hours per week, including Sunday as a rule, depending on the labor law provisions in force for each category of employees,” according to the European Commission’s website (emphasis added throughout).

If the working week is extended to six days, this law will almost certainly remain in force. Employers could soon be demanding a six-day week from most Greek workers. If someone tries to stick to his religious principles by working on Sunday and resting on Saturday, it would be illegal.

Catholic bishops have been working to introduce similar laws across the EU, robbing Europe’s citizens of the choice of which day they rest. They have tried several times to change Europe’s Working Time Directive, which says that all European workers must have at least one rest day a week, to say that all EU workers must take that rest day on Sunday.

They continued this push in July, when European religious leaders held their annual meeting with the presidents of EU institutions. Monsignor Gianni Ambrosio, vice president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, called for the EU mandated Sunday worship to encourage stable families and help combat Europe’s demographic crisis. “Especially for the family, for the spiritual life of its members and for human relations, both inside the family and with relatives and friends, the common Sunday rest is of fundamental importance,” he said.

In March, the Catholic Church and trade unions across Europe joined up in what the church called a “holy alliance” to call for governments to enforce Sunday observance.

Herbert W. Armstrong warned for years that a European power would enforce Sunday worship. Anyone that refused “would not be able to earn a living, to earn a wage or salary, or to engage himself in business,” he wrote.

That is exactly what is happening in Greece!

The Bible is full of proof that Christ and the early Church kept the Sabbath on Saturday, not Sunday. But if you live in Greece and want to follow Christ’s example—refusing Sunday observance and keeping Saturday—you could soon be out of a job! This is exactly what the Bible prophesied.

We don’t know, yet, if Greece will submit to this six-day week. It may be able to negotiate a way out of it. It could quit the euro. Or it may be thrown out. But the economic crisis will get worse. And now we know that the EU sees the six-day week as a solution.

The Bible prophesies that Europe will rise from the crisis as the global economic superpower. Perhaps one of the ways it will do this is by introducing a six-day workweek across the Continent.

This enforced Sunday observance won’t end with Greece. Watch this trend very closely. The Bible clearly reveals that Sunday observance is in fact the mark of the beast, as prophesied in Revelation.

For more information on this vital subject, read our free booklets Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? and Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?

Breivik Gets Maximum Sentence: Only 21 Years!

Breivik Gets Maximum Sentence: Only 21 Years!

HEIKO JUNGE/AFP/GettyImages

A little over a year ago, the Western world was shocked by the news that Norwegian militant Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb at the government headquarters building in Oslo and then, dressed as a police officer, invaded and opened fire at the annual summer camp of the governing Labor Party’s youth wing.

This monster managed to kill eight people and injure over 200 with the bombing. Then he slaughtered 69 people, most of them teenagers, at the campsite on Utoya Island. The youngest victim was 14.

During a 10-week trial this summer, Breivik confessed to the attacks, giving gruesome details of the bombing and his military-style assault on the innocent teens. Prosecutors sought to have Breivik declared insane, which would have committed him to a mental hospital. Breivik fought against a declaration of insanity because he felt the prosecutors were attempting to cover up his political views.

On August 24, Breivik was declared sane and sentenced to be incarcerated from 10 to 21 years for the mass murder of 77 people. This is the maximum sentence allowed by Norwegian law. Breivik was delighted with the verdict because it characterizes him as a political terrorist, not a psychotic mass murderer. Breivik carried out the two atrocities to draw attention to his belief that Muslim immigration is destroying European society.

FoxNews.com reported that at the sentencing Breivik apologized in court to “militant nationalists” for not having killed more than 77 people.

Even though Breivik will not spend time in an insane asylum, the New York Times reported that he “will live in prison outside Oslo in a three-cell suite of rooms equipped with exercise equipment, a television and a laptop, albeit one without Internet access.” If Breivik is not considered a threat after serving his sentence, he will be released from prison in 2033 at the age of 53.

Now that the trial is over and the sentence has been handed down, the tiny nation hopes to return to a state of peace and calm.

Yet, the Guardian reported, “The verdict of the most high-profile criminal trial in Norway since Nazi collaborators were prosecuted following the Second World War is certain to provoke a strong response.”

Most of that strong response will likely come from the United States.

Norway sees itself as a gentle country with a collective commitment to values like tolerance, nonviolence and merciful justice. Norway no longer has the death penalty and considers prison more of a means for rehabilitation than retribution.

Norway and most of the rest of Europe view American justice as too harsh. So, even though shocking to American thinking, survivors of the attacks and relatives of the victims welcomed the ruling.

Although Norwegian judges can indefinitely add five-year extensions to his sentence, isn’t it fair to ask whether justice was done in Norway? Isn’t a 21-year prison term an extremely light sentence considering that 77 people were murdered and over 200 people injured?

Would not a death penalty verdict stop others considering committing a similar crime? Norway is likely to have a future full of even more vicious crimes.

We live in a world where national governments are fearful of enforcing law. Only just law enforcement will bring us true peace.

Here is a quote from an article we published in the Philadelphia Trumpet in the year 2000:

To understand how the death penalty can be a blessing, one must have God’s perspective on human life. Human death means nothing to God except a temporary sleep (1 Corinthians 15:51-55), because God can resurrect humans from the grave! If we understand the resurrections, then we can see how the death penalty is one of the greatest acts of love there can be—even toward the condemned criminal!Imposing and carrying out the death penalty stops the example of lawlessness in society that can corrupt other human beings into following the same wrong ways of violence and murder. Swiftly carrying out the death penalty also prevents the murderer from continuing in a downward spiral of ever deepening rebellion against God’s law. The longer such a person is allowed to live, the more deeply entrenched will become his evil habits and twisted and corrupted human nature, all of which must be changed when the person is resurrected to physical life in the second resurrection!The merciful God will even resurrect Attila the Hun and Adolf Hitler, along with every serial killer and mass murderer who has ever lived! Once resurrected, all those who did not receive the truth of God in their brief human life (the vast majority) will have their first opportunity to have an open mind and receive God’s truth!Every human being only gets one opportunity to respond to God’s truth! Just because a person has lived does not mean he or she understood God’s truth. Those who didn’t will receive their one opportunity in the second resurrection!That is how the death penalty can be implemented in love! It deters others in this life from committing offenses worthy of the death penalty. And it prevents a murderer or violent career criminal from continuing in his wrong and worsening ways and more firmly establishing habits that must be broken when he has his opportunity to receive God’s truth.

Read our article “The Merciful Death Penalty” for God’s view on capital punishment. Also write for or download a free copy of our booklet No Freedom Without Law.

What an Iranian Bomb Means for This World

Mario Draghi’s Moment—the Devil’s in the Details

Mario Draghi’s Moment—the Devil’s in the Details

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ECB President Mario Draghi suddenly became the chief influence on the global economy.

The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has, seemingly overnight, become the most powerful single personality having influence over the world economy.

Long predicted by the Trumpet, this outcome should be no surprise to our readers. In less than a year since taking over the European Central Bank presidency in November 2011, the Jesuit-educated son of Rome, Mario Draghi, suddenly holds power far in excess of his counterparts at the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

As Associated Press reported yesterday,

The European Central Bank president is overtaking the Federal Reserve chairman … as the central banker with the most influence on the global economy and markets. … As head of the ecb, which meets Thursday, Draghi also has more ammunition left than Bernanke does. … [T]he focus of the global financial world has shifted to Draghi. …”Draghi’s role in averting an implosion of the eurozone puts him in the unfortunate position of being the central banker with the greatest influence on global financial stability in the short term,” says Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University.

However, there is one powerful influence that places limits on Draghi’s initiatives—the combined political and economic clout of Europe’s most dominant nation, Germany.

“Theoretically, Draghi has limitless power to print money to pour into bond purchases. But Germany’s conservative Bundesbank opposes the purchase plan. It says governments could become addicted to central bank support—and slack off on cutting their deficits” (ibid).

As Julian Brigden, managing partner of Macro Intelligence 2 Partners, an investment consultancy, reportedly observed, “Draghi can do a lot, but he’s significantly more constrained by politics” (ibid). Those politics are overwhelmingly German. Recognizing this, last week Draghi sent out a special appeal to the German electorate to support his initiatives.

“Draghi urged Germans to support his efforts to rescue the euro. Writing in the German weekly Die Zeit, he said the ecb sometimes must use ‘exceptional measures’ to stabilize the currency alliance” (ibid).

Thus it is, as we have publicized in the recent past, Europe is once again at the behest of a Rome/Berlin axis. To the extent that Mario Draghi’s decisions in concert with Berlin impact global markets—and the possibility is considerable—this really means that the global economy is currently at the disposal of decisions made by the Rome/Berlin axis.

That this current outcome rings with powerfully prophetic overtones will be dramatically obvious to anyone even with a surface knowledge of the prophecies of Revelation 13 and 17.

That the devil’s in the details is made quite apparent by the inerrant prophecies contained in Revelation 13:2, 4, 16-17.

That the massively disruptive outcome of this scenario is now so imminent should be obvious to all students of Bible prophecy. There has never been a time when the need to warn the world of this outcome was more urgent!

Read our booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? for an educated approach on this vital and timely subject.

Entitlement Spending Creates a ‘Nation of Takers’

Entitlement Spending Creates a ‘Nation of Takers’

knape/iStockphoto

How this new spending is destroying American masculinity, families and character

America’s entitlement spending is destroying the economy. But political economist Nicholas Eberstadt isn’t worried about that. In an article published in the Wall Street Journal August 31, Eberstadt argued that the effect entitlement spending is having on the nation’s character is far more dangerous.

He outlines a shocking increase in entitlement spending: 727 percent in the last 50 years. And that’s after adjusting for inflation and the increase in population.

“Within living memory, the federal government has become an entitlements machine,” he wrote. “As a day-to-day operation, it devotes more attention and resources to the public transfer of money, goods and services to individual citizens than to any other objective, spending more than for all other ends combined.”

In a longer version of his Journal essay, published by Templeton Press and available here, Eberstadt meticulously backs up his claims with a wealth of data that even his critics do not dispute.

The shocking facts run against the popular historical narrative. For example, Eberstadt points out that America’s defense spending places a smaller burden on America’s economy now than almost any point in the Cold War. America spends 4.8 percent of its economy on defense. In 1961, when President Dwight Eisenhower warned of a “military-industrial complex,” 9.4 percent of America’s gdp was spent on the military.

In fact, since September 11, it hasn’t been out-of-control military spending inflating America’s debt bomb, but escalating entitlement spending.

American families, specifically American men, have borne the full brunt of the resulting attack on character, argues Eberstadt. He devoted considerable attention to making this point in the full essay, but the Wall Street Journal overlooked it.

“The adverse influence of transfer payments on family values and family formation in America” is critical, he writes. Earlier studies showed “that the perverse incentives embedded in federal-family support policies were actually encouraging the proliferation of fatherless families and an epidemic of illegitimacy,” he wrote. The payments were “a vehicle for financing single motherhood and the out-of-wedlock lifestyle in America.”

Manhood was also directly attacked. “Before the age of entitlements, self-reliance and the work ethic were integral and indispensable elements of the ideal of manliness in America,” he wrote.

“Put simply the arrival of the entitlement society in America has coincided with a historically unprecedented exit from gainful work by adult men,” he continued. And once again, Eberstadt commands a battery of statistics. Most surprisingly, more able-bodied American men shirk work than in almost all of Europe, despite the Continent’s infamy for entitlement spending.

Eberstadt’s numbers also show that America is tolerating widespread cheating. In 1960, 455,000 people received government payments for disability. In 2011, it’s 8.6 million. Nearly half of all these payments go to people suffering “mood disorders” or sicknesses affecting “musculoskeletal system and the connective tissue,” like back pain. These two are almost impossible for doctors to diagnose.

The entitlement system draws millions of people into a lifestyle of lying and cheating. And Eberstadt doesn’t just blame the claimants of the disability pay. The doctors and health care workers that allow this are “collaborators,” as is the U.S. judicial system. American voters and politicians are “willing and often knowing enablers.”

Finally, Eberstadt shows that the system drafts society into the robbery of “a pool of citizens who can offer no resistance to such schemes: the unborn descendants of today’s entitlement-seeking population.”

Far from being “pay as you go” systems, entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are in fact massively underfunded. Eberstadt blames “the impulse to take benefits here and now, and leave it to other people later on to figure out how to pay for it all.”

This is the sort of “taking” mentality that this entitlement system has fostered.

Man’s whole system is fundamentally flawed. To read more about this, and the contrast with what a God-inspired system would look like, read our article “The United Welfare States of America