What Joe Biden Got Right

What Joe Biden Got Right

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Thoughts on the vice presidential debate

I wrote in a recent column about the “alternate universe” that some of our politicians seem to inhabit. Last night, watching America’s vice presidential debate, much of the time I felt like I was listening to a conversation in that universe.

Several statements from Vice President Biden were particularly perplexing:

  • He said Iran was on the ascendancy when President Obama took office, whereas now it is more isolated than ever, and far less powerful. He is looking at a completely different set of criteria than I am.
  • He said the American and Israeli military and intelligence communities are in perfect agreement that Iran is “a good way away” from getting a nuclear weapon. Is Benjamin Netanyahu aware of this? Why then has he been traveling around talking about a “red line,” complaining about America’s lack of concern over this existential threat to his country, and turning to Germany for help?
  • The vice president admitted that Iran has grown in its capacity to produce fissile material, but said it doesn’t matter because Iran doesn’t have a weapon to deliver it. I have never heard this defense of Iran’s nuclear program before. Apparently there’s nothing to worry about with all this talk of uranium enrichment; Iran hasn’t even started to build an actual weapon yet. This is supposed to make us all a lot less concerned about the regular reports we hear about missiles Iran is developing, including missiles that can reach Israel and even Europe.
  • The vice president said of President Obama, “This is a guy who’s repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again.” Which alliances is he talking about? Britain? Israel? Pakistan? Egypt? Russia? China? Mexico? Maybe Venezuela? And did you know that the rest of the world is following America’s lead again? This is news to me.
  • He said that the White House’s account of the 9/11 Benghazi attack was “exactly” what the intelligence community had told them. In reality, the State Department was calling it a premeditated terrorist attack almost immediately, while the White House stuck to its story that it was a protest against a YouTube video for weeks.
  • He said the White House wasn’t told the U.S. consulate in Libya wanted more security. But it has been proven the State Department had received those requests and turned them down. The vice president blamed the security lapse in Benghazi on, of all things, Congressman Ryan’s budget, which “cut embassy security … by $300 million below what we asked for.” Of course, the U.S. doesn’t use Ryan’s budget—or any budget at all for that matter. It hasn’t had a budget for more than three years. And even if the security budget did lack that $300 million, the State Department decides where to spend its dollars based on the threats to its interests. Clearly the lack of protection in Benghazi was a serious mistake, one that this administration will not even acknowledge, let alone take responsibility for.
  • He blamed the national debt on Republicans in Congress, even though it has risen nearly $5 trillion under President Obama.
  • He said that no religious institution would have to “refer contraception … pay for contraception … [or] be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide.” What in the world, then, is the Catholic Church thinking by suing over Obamacare’s insistence that it support contraception?
  • He said he believes life begins at conception, but “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that—women they can’t control their body.” How can these both be true? If life begins at conception, people are being murdered. This is not a matter of opinion, or simply a woman controlling her own body. It is life or death. Yet the vice president went so far as to warn that a Romney administration could well install one or two conservative Supreme Court justices who could overturn Roe v. Wade, thus denying women the right to choose to murder the life within them that begins at conception.
  • Just a few “alternate universe” statements. What, though, are the headlines today? It was a big win for the vice president. “Feisty Biden gives Democrats reason to smile after debate,” wrote cbs News.

    I do think Joe Biden got one thing right, and that was to expose the weakness in the Romney/Ryan foreign policy. He pressed the issue on what exactly a Romney administration would do against Iran, and against Syria—would it actually go to war against those countries? Governor Romney strongly criticizes the present administration, but in the end, I’m not convinced he would do anything substantially different. America is simply in no mood for another war in the Middle East.

    Biden pressed the congressman about the 2014 timetable in Afghanistan, and I honestly couldn’t detect any substantive difference between what the Obama administration has done and what Ryan was advocating: He said he wants to pull out in 2014 and would really work to do so. With the possible exception of Governor Romney’s willingness to be openly friendly to Israel, it seems that most of what we’re getting from him foreign policy-wise amounts to a difference in rhetoric more than of substance.

    It’s always hard watching these debates because it feels like the truth is given so little respect. There were a few exchanges last night where the vice president was directly contradicting everything Congressman Ryan was saying, point by point. Who are we to believe? After every debate we need professional fact checkers to tell us what was true, what was partially true, and what was completely false, and even there we get conflicting accounts.

    I feel like I’m listening to my children explaining an incident where I’m getting contradictory stories because each child is shading the facts in order to put themselves in the best possible light while making the other look as guilty as possible. That is, if they’re not simply outright lying.

    The Vatican Begins ‘Year of Faith’

    The Vatican Begins ‘Year of Faith’

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    The pope just launched a 21st century crusade. What will be the ultimate results?

    Commencing October 11, on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (Vatican ii), Pope Benedict launched what amounts to a new crusade by the Roman Catholic Church.

    Called the “Year of Faith,” the next 12 months will showcase a plethora of initiatives designed to revive what the Vatican sees as the key role of the church: its commitment to evangelize the world.

    “The church exists to evangelize. … At various times in history, divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the church’s evangelizing activity.” Thus announced Pope Benedict during his latest homily to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, October 7.

    Pope Benedict is strongly implying that “divine providence” is, at this moment in history, giving “birth to a renewed dynamism in the Church’s evangelizing activity.” Our question is, with Europe in crisis and the world in the utter turmoil of global disorder, why now?

    Believe it or not, your Bible answers that question. The timing of Pope Benedict’s new crusade gels perfectly in sequence with the signs Jesus Christ gave to highlight those world events leading up to his return (Matthew 24:4-5, 24).

    The Vatican’s Year of Faith was launched on the 50th anniversary of Vatican ii, called by Pope John xxiii in 1962 to address how the Roman Catholic Church would maintain relevance in the post-war 20th century as communism and its country cousin, liberal socialism, began offering ideological alternatives to a new generation.

    Pope Benedict is one of four clerics with an active role in Vatican ii who subsequently became pope.

    Vatican ii became the catalyst for an ecumenical drive by Rome to garner back into its fold the Orthodox churches and the wayward Protestant daughters.

    Whereas the most well-known doctrine affirmed unanimously by all delegates to Vatican i, convened by Pius ix in 1868, was papal infallibility, the most declarative statement made at Vatican ii relating to Rome’s interpretation of its role was the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. This states that “the sole church of Christ which in the creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth.’ This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him” (emphasis mine).

    Thus it was reestablished as a binding doctrine of Roman Catholicism at Vatican ii that the Roman Church is the only true church.

    Notwithstanding this, for some reason Vatican ii created a set of problems that Rome has contended with to this day. A freer spirit entered the church post-Vatican ii leading to the rapid rise of liberalism within the ranks of the clergy.

    This movement festered globally but found particularly fertile ground in Latin America.

    On ascending to the papal throne in 1978, one of John Paul ii’s first actions was to appoint his Vatican ii contemporary, Josef Ratzinger, as his prime enforcer with a directive to oust the most influential liberal voices in the church.

    Subsequently, both John Paul ii and Ratzinger (as Pope Benedict xvi) stacked the curia with the most conservative of clergy in an effort to swing the pendulum back to Roman Catholic conservative dogma.

    Now comes the crusading Year of Faith, launched with deliberate intent on the jubilee of Vatican ii.

    One of the pope’s main efforts in the Year of Faith is to garner back into Rome’s fold the wayward who have drifted from the church following its liberalization in the wake of Vatican ii.

    Another prime goal is to evangelize globally for new converts. This will accelerate the ecumenical movement of the church—and simultaneously cause deep concern to one of Roman Catholicism’s chief competitors, pan-Islamism.

    As the pope declared in last Sunday’s homily, “Such renewed evangelical dynamism produces a beneficent influence on the two specific ‘branches’ developed by it, that is, on the one hand the Missio ad Gentes or announcement of the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his message of salvation, and on the other the new evangelization, directed principally at those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life.”

    Toward the end of his homily, Pope Benedict declared, “We cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire for conversion.”

    Oft repeated is the statement that those who forget history are bound to repeat it. We only have to go back in history 70 years to witness the horror of forced conversions to Rome’s religion at the end of a gun in the Balkans. Search the history of past crusades and conversion to Rome’s religion by force, and violence was integral to them.

    In our Anglo-Saxon politically correct societies, it has become most unfashionable to dwell on the atrocities committed under the banner of religion in two world wars. Yet your Bible prophesies that there is coming a crusade of a nature that will far eclipse the devastation wrought by Rome’s past efforts at converting the world.

    We would do well to view the Vatican’s Year of Faith, with its drive for a “new evangelism,” with more than a little concern. At its beginning it may all sound as benign as a lamb. But in the end, it will have the bite of a serpent (Revelation 13:11).

    Why Rome/Berlin Can’t Let Spain Fail

    Why Rome/Berlin Can’t Let Spain Fail

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    All eyes are on Spain, waiting for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to blink. But Rajoy knows EU elites cannot afford to let Spain fail.

    The Spanish prime minister, Jesuit-educated Mariano Rajoy, is playing a great game of brinksmanship with the Spanish economy, the fourth largest in the eurozone.

    He is postponing till the absolute death knock the day of reckoning when Spain will formally ask for bailout assistance for its economy. This, he is doing in the hope of extracting concessions on the imposition of austerity measures, part of any deal for a bailout. Additionally, Rajoy knows that the longer things fester economically in Spain, the greater the degree of social disruption within the nation.

    The spreading of such disruption carries with it a strong risk of negative effect on the euro crisis and even on global markets. EU elites know there’s a limit to the market’s patience in tolerating inaction over one of the European Union’s major economies in crisis. It’s now a matter of who blinks first in relation to a rescue plan for the Spanish economy—Rajoy or the bailers out!

    Following riots in late September, demonstrations were mounted in various Spanish cities on October 9, with calls for a general strike heating up.

    If Rajoy is waiting for a signal from those with the capacity to “rescue” the Spanish economy, the time for such a signal must be very close. The major player in the whole grand scheme to resurrect the Holy Roman imperial system in Europe, which has a particularly strong interest in the survival of the Spanish economy, is the Rome/Berlin axis.

    Spain is the largest Roman Catholic country in the EU. Its historic connections to Latin America, where Spanish remains the dominant language and Roman Catholicism the most influential religion, are vital to the increasing hegemonic aspirations of European imperialist elites.

    A year or so ago, the nation most mentioned in relation to Germany was France. For decades the Franco-German nexus had been the bastion of strength behind EU growth and expansion. But that all changed around this time last year. If you checked the headlines, in particular since the French elections, there are two nations that since register more than France in relation to their connection with Germany and their vital role in the ongoing euro crisis—Italy and Spain. This, to any keenly aware watcher of European affairs with an eye to history and prophecy, does not seem strange at all. It seems inevitable.

    It was by no means accidental that EU elites installed the Jesuit-educated Eurocrat Mario Monti as unelected prime minister of Italy, home nation to Vatican City. Monti’s close connections with his fellow Jesuit-educated EU cohorts, EU Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Central Bank guru, Mario Draghi, have stood him in good stead in handling Italy’s approach to the euro crisis.

    Also, as Ambrose Evans-Prichard has observed, “Nor is the Monti-Rajoy axis as weak as it looks. The Latins can inflict a deflationary shock and banking crisis on Germany at any time by walking out of emu and imposing capital controls—as a chorus of leading economists now advocate—if provoked. Who really holds the aces in this game of poker?” (Telegraph, August 5).

    Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy, similarly Jesuit-educated and therefore of the same spirit and imperialist orientation as his fellows mentioned above, is enjoying strong support from his Jesuit-educated friends behind the scenes as the Spanish crisis plays out.

    That the Spanish economy will be rescued there is no doubt. As to the conditions attached to the rescue, they will guarantee much closer ties to the Rome/Berlin axis, as Spain becomes one of the key nations in the dominant 10-power combine that will soon comprise a reorganized European Union.

    The two continents to which EU elites crave more direct access for raw materials and for markets for EU exports are Africa and South America.

    The penetration of Africa involves considerably complex interaction with a multiplicity of disparate ethnic groups, often at each other’s throats involved in internecine warfare. Traditionally, imperialistic nations have gained access to that continent’s trove of raw materials by force, not without considerable cost in the process.

    By comparison, Spain’s unique history attached to Latin America gives it a considerable diplomatic edge in granting the EU easy access to South America’s raw materials and markets. The common cultural bonds of language and religion ease the process considerably.

    Thus we can expect that current events in relation to the rising Holy Roman imperialist expansion will play out similar to past history. One factor will serve to ease the situation somewhat for EU elites. Those pesky Anglo-Saxons who tended to interfere with the progress of Holy Roman imperialism in recent centuries will be nowhere to be seen on this latter occasion. Their influence on European affairs is waning rapidly as their internal problems sap their political will.

    Back in 1982, Pope John Paul ii made a pilgrimage to Spain. While there he pleaded with his Spanish audience, and through them to Europe as a whole, to return to their Holy Roman roots. Herbert Armstrong observed of that visit, “On the pope’s recent 10-day visit to Spain, he made an urgent plea for a united Europe. He warned that Europe faces many crises in the immediate future. The solution, he said, lies in the affirmation of Europe’s Christian heritage. He told the audience: ‘Find yourself … discover your origins. Give life to your roots,’ which are Roman Catholic.

    “So even the pope now comes out in public advocating European restoration of ‘the Holy Roman Empire’” (co-worker letter, Nov. 22, 1982).

    That cry by the pope for the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire was issued from Santiago de Compostela, the traditional site for pilgrims traveling from Canterbury to Europe, known as the Way of St. James, a prime Catholic pilgrimage route originated from the ninth century.

    In 2005, Pope Benedict powerfully endorsed the words of his predecessor: “I would like to do so by thinking back to the pilgrimage in 1982 of my beloved predecessor, the servant of God John Paul ii, to Santiago de Compostela, where he made a solemn ‘Declaration to Europe’ … in which he spoke these memorable words of the greatest timeliness which I now repeat: ‘I, bishop of Rome and shepherd of the universal church, from Santiago, utter to you, Europe of the ages, a cry full of love: Find yourself again. Be yourself. Discover your origins, revive your roots. Return to those authentic values which made your history a glorious one and your presence so beneficent in the other continents.’”

    Benedict was, of course, referring to Europe’s “Holy Roman” imperial roots.

    Visiting Santiago de Compostela for a pilgrimage in 2010, Benedict confirmed the symbolic linkage between that city and Europe’s future: “I raise my eyes to the Europe that came in pilgrimage to Compostela. What are its great needs, fears and hopes? What is the specific and fundamental contribution of the Church to that Europe which for half a century has been moving towards new forms and projects?” (Catholic Herald, November 7, 2010).

    It just so happens that not only is Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy a native of Santiago de Compostela, he was Jesuit educated at the University of Santiago de Compostela. So his own roots run deep in this pilgrim city. The pope’s words would certainly not be lost on Mariano Rajoy.

    As you watch the continuing rise of the prophesied seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, expect a continuing diminution of influence from France and a concomitant rise in influence in Italy and Spain in consortium with Berlin in the process.

    In the immediate term, watch for EU elites to rush together a formula guaranteeing Spain’s survival economically and socially so as to cement that nation’s role as a bastion within the coming 10-power combine that will ultimately comprise the prophesied seventh, and final, resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.

    Germany Demands More Power Over ECB

    Germany Demands More Power Over ECB

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    Germany wants more control over the eurozone’s new banking supervisor, set to be run by the European Central Bank (ecb).

    Currently, each nation has one vote on the ecb’s board, meaning Germany can be easily overruled. Germany controls other key leavers of the eurozone economy, meaning its demands can’t be ignored. But a banking authority organized with the same structure as the ecb would put Germany in another position where it lacks the formal power to stop proposals it doesn’t like.

    Instead, Germany wants a nation’s votes to be weighed according to the size of its banking sector—giving Germany one of the largest votes on the board. The Financial Times (FT) reported October 9 that Germany raised the idea in private talks with EU officials.

    The idea “touches on some of the founding principles of the single currency and is likely to rile smaller eurozone countries fearful of Germany’s growing willingness to flex its muscles,” it writes.

    “The boost in influence would give Germany and other states with big financial sectors a much better handle on the supervision work of the ecb—extra clout that EU officials fear could hamper its independence,” the FT continues.

    Germany is also pushing for the board to appoint its own leaders, removing more power from the general ecb board, where Germany has just one vote.

    Continue to watch for Germany to push for greater control over EU institutions. It’s already powerful behind the scenes. Now, it’s increasingly using that power to give itself greater formal control.

    As American Support Falters, Israel Looks to Europe

    As American Support Falters, Israel Looks to Europe

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Europe by the end of year, Israeli officials announced October 2, to push for more European support of sanctions on Iran. The visit is part of a strategic shift by Israel away from America and toward Europe, the New York Times reported, citing a senior anonymous source.

    The Times of Israel also said the plans indicate a shift in Israel’s foreign policy away from the U.S. and toward Europe: “After unsuccessfully lobbying U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration for support for [a military] strike—or for an American declaration that Iranian activity beyond a certain ‘red line’ would invite U.S. military intervention—Netanyahu’s plans for a European trip to push for tighter sanctions on Tehran seem to signal a shift in policy.”

    “Mr. Netanyahu is expected to personally urge leaders in France and Germany to step up the already severe sanctions against Iran, according to one senior Israeli government official,” wrote the New York Times. “He added that the new strategy was to focus on Europe out of concern that the impending American presidential election made any new action from Washington less likely” (October 2; emphasis added).

    “Our feeling is that with the elections and everything, we’ve not seen much on the American front except for sealing holes where the Iranians have found ways to get around the sanctions,” it quoted the official as saying. “Up until now, it’s been the U.S. and then the Europeans following. If it’s the other way around, so be it. We’ve got to go with what we’ve got.”

    Israel sees that Europe is becoming the leader in the Middle East, and is shifting its focus accordingly.

    Long-time readers of the Trumpet will recognize this as a shift we’ve been forecasting for years.

    The Bible contains specific prophecies that talk about Israel’s alliance with America being broken (see our article “Band of Brothers” for more information). It also prophesies that Israel will rely on Europe, and especially Germany (see our article “The Outcome of the Israeli/German Relationship”).

    Both of these prophecies are being fulfilled right now. Watch the relationships between Israel and Germany and between Israel and America closely, to see Bible prophecy fulfilled before your eyes.

    Police Union: If You Value Your Life, Don’t Visit Detroit

    Police Union: If You Value Your Life, Don’t Visit Detroit

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    Will the violence spiral beyond Detroit?

    The Detroit Police Officers union is warning people that they enter Detroit at their “own risk.” Due to cuts, the police force is now “grossly understaffed,” overworked, and unable to adequately protect the public in one of America’s most notoriously vicious cities.

    On October 6, Detroit police officers were handing out and posting notices reading: “Attention: Enter Detroit at Your Own Risk.” The notices highlighted the fact that Detroit’s homicide rate—which was already the highest in the country—has jumped 11 percent from 2011. The flyers also labeled Detroit as the most violent city in America.

    The notices seemed to be an attempt by the police to shame city officials as contract negotiations continue and forced layoffs look increasingly likely. Police officials say that not only has pay been slashed, but staff numbers have already been cut to the point that officers are being forced to work 12-hour days. Additionally, union president Joe Duncan says that Detroit officers are the lowest paid in any big city.

    “Detroit is America’s most violent city, its homicide rate is the highest in the country and yet the Detroit Police Department is grossly understaffed,” said Detroit Police Officers Association Attorney Donato Iorio. “The dpoa believes that there is a war in Detroit, but there should be a war on crime, not a war on its officers.”

    “These are the men and women who we look to protect us … and police officers can’t protect you if they’re not there. Officers are leaving simply because they can’t afford to stay in Detroit and work 12-hour shifts for what they are getting paid …. These police officers are beyond demoralized, these officers are leaving hand over fist because they can no longer afford to stay on the department and protect the public,” he said.

    “The explosion in violent crime, the incredible spike in the number of homicides and for officers trying to work 12 hours in such deplorable, dangerous and warlike conditions is simply untenable,” he said.

    On Monday, it was announced that Detroit’s chief of police Ralph L. Godbee Jr. resigned over having an affair with an internal affairs officer. It was Detroit’s second police chief in a row to resign over misconduct. Less than two years ago, Police Chief Warren C. Evans resigned. Mr. Godbee’s resignation comes as Detroit’s former mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick (who resigned in 2008) is on trial for lying under oath about his misconduct while in office.

    The sad fact is that Detroit is a city that may be facing irreversible decline. Years of mismanagement and corrupt city officials has turned one of America’s most prosperous cities into a crumbling, crime-ridden post-industrial ruin. Police unions may be crying about cuts now, but it was the public unions themselves that helped bring their own doom. Years of coercing politicians into giving them outrageous salaries and retirement benefits are now taking their toll on public finances. It is these pension-type costs, along with the sky-high tax rates, that are busting the city, and that have driven out and destroyed many jobs.

    Coupled with the breakdown in families, a terribly dysfunctional education system, out-of-control gangs and drug usage, Detroit is becoming America’s first failed city.

    Without a functioning, trustworthy police force, the breakdown in law and order in Detroit will get much worse before it gets better. More ominous, however, is that Detroit is a harbinger of what is happening in other cities too, as years of corruption are increasingly breaking budgets.

    You won’t have to wait long. According to the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, New Orleans has surpassed Detroit’s homicide rate—which makes them both more dangerous than notoriously violent Kingston, Jamaica and Cuiabá, Brazil. According to the report, people have a higher chance of being killed in Baltimore than Johannesburg, South Africa. St. Louis is more dangerous than Mosul Iraq, or Panama City, Panama.

    Bible prophecy indicates that due to violence and riots, America’s cities will burn from within.

    As Gerald Flurry wrote in 2002, “[A]s the U.S. and Britain become less and less competitive worldwide, unemployment will steadily increase. As that happens, domestic rioting and violence will become much more prevalent” (Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet).

    When times are good, it is easier for family division and racial strife to remain hidden. But in times of serious crisis and distress, it doesn’t take much for this hatred and division to quickly break out into the open.

    We are now in the early stages of this society-wide plague of violence and burning to strike our major cities. Detroit is a small preview of what will soon spread to major cities around America—so say the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel.

    But why is this happening?

    God wants people to turn to Him. The destruction of America’s cities is what it takes for us to finally come to really know God. “And they shall know that I am the Lord, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them,” it says in Ezekiel 6:10. This is the big lesson God wants America and the rest of this world to ultimately learn. Until then, enter Detroit, and America’s other big cities “at your own risk.”