Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have either arrived in Europe in recent months, or will do soon.
There are daily reports of migrants dying in great numbers. Just today, 71 deaths were reported after an abandoned truck was forced open in Austria. This number included four children. It is thought they all suffocated. It is also thought they came from Syria. Also today, 200 are feared dead after their boats capsized off the coast of Libya.
There has always been a trade in human beings. The end-time economic system called Babylon, prophesied in Revelation 18, lists the trade in the “bodies and souls of men” as one of the thriving businesses (v.13) that make up the final economic system. One aspect of this trade is the millions that are being made from “helping” people escape war-zones and get into Western Europe illegally. There are plenty of people willing to cash in, trading in human misery.
Under international agreements on refugees, people fleeing dangerous situations should go to the nearest country where they can seek help. Instead, they are routinely going through a number of countries to reach the wealthy, welfare-generous nations of Western Europe.
Not all these arrivals are fleeing from war and upheaval. Many interviewed on TV news programs are coming from democratic nations that have a free enterprise system. There is no reason for them to migrate, except the desire to better themselves, by taking advantage of all the freebies available in their new country.
However, some are fleeing from war. Their lives are at risk.
Although the US is not directly affected by this migrant surge, the wars can be blamed on America. The refugees are escaping from the continuing carnage in Iraq and Syria, with lesser numbers from Afghanistan and Somalia. All four of these countries are Islamic – there are plenty of Islamic countries they could migrate to, but instead they want to go to Europe or Australia.
The naïve assumption that American style democracy could be introduced into Islamic countries divided by religious hatreds that go back centuries and with no tradition of tolerance or freedom has bequeathed today’s migrant disaster upon the European continent.
But, naïveté is not restricted to America. Many Europeans seem to think they can take in all these refugees and assimilate them into their irreligious social democracies. This is not going to happen.
What is more likely is that the post-World War II social order in Europe will start to unravel. Xenophobic right-wing parties are gaining strength with the new arrivals. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was booed when she went to speak at an arrival center for migrants, a center that was earlier burnt down by extremists opposed to their arrival.
European governments seem incapable of handling this crisis, due to the sclerotic administrative structures that comprise the European Union. Added to which are human rights laws that make it almost impossible to turn anyone away.
But people are starting to demand change. Anti-immigrant parties are seeing increased support. The Sweden Democrats are now the largest party in Sweden, the country that has been the most generous in taking in Syrian migrants. UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, won over 13% of the vote in the recent British election. France’s National Front is expected to do well in the next French election.
It should be noted that Donald Trump is capitalizing on similar anti-immigrant feeling in the US. People in many western countries feel their way of life and culture are threatened with so many migrants.
When Jesus Christ said of the end-time that “nation will rise against nation” (Matthew 24:7), He was predicting increased ethnic conflict. The Greek word for “nation” is ethnos, a reference to ethnic groups rather than political entities.
The primary causes of migration are ethnic and religious conflict; in turn, the migrants are bringing ethnic and religious tensions into their new countries.
I’m currently reading a new non-fiction book that may interest some of you. It tells the story of the British Consul in Charleston, South Carolina, in the years leading up to and into the US Civil War (1861 to 1865).
When southern states seceded from the United States, the hope across the Confederacy was that they would receive support from the British government. Britain was the greatest power in the world at the time and had the most powerful military. They had a great deal of support in the British press. British commercial interests strongly suggested the United Kingdom would support the South – the UK was the biggest importer of southern cotton, which was needed to feed the clothing factories in the North of England.
The British government’s Consul in Charleston was Robert Bunch, who lived in the city with his wife and children. His instructions were to ingratiate himself with prominent citizens and report to London. His reports to the British government, via the Ambassador in Washington, Lord Lyons, were highly influential in determining Britain’s attitude toward the breakaway republic.
Great Britain had abolished the slave trade in 1807, the first major power to do so. With the world’s most powerful navy, the British took it upon themselves to stop vessels on the high seas and free any slaves they found. The US followed one year later, but American vessels continued to transport slaves from West Africa, where African leaders continued the practice. These slave ships transported people in the most horrible conditions, many dying en route. The Royal Navy’s ships were kept busy along the West African coast throughout the nineteenth century.
Bunch was repulsed by slavery and by those who kept slaves. But he hid his feelings extremely well, as he mixed with leading Charlestonians in the 1850’s. The people around him thought that he sympathized with them and their “peculiar custom” of slavery and would support the South when it broke away from the North. But he was, in fact, sending back to London reports on the brutality of slavery, reports that made it impossible for London to show any support for the Confederacy.
He did his job so well that the US Secretary of State, William Seward, pressured the British government to remove Bunch from Charleston as he was a “known” secessionist!
In late 1861, there was a major crisis between Washington and London that almost brought the two countries to war. If that had happened, the UK would likely have recognized the South and the Confederacy would still exist.
The crisis was triggered when an American navy steamer, the USS San Jacinto, under Captain Charles Wilkes, boarded a British mail ship, the Trent, and arrested two prominent Southerners who were on their way to London to appeal for recognition and help. The British protested volubly. The British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, wrote a seriously threatening note, which would have placed Abraham Lincoln’s Administration in a difficult position and would almost certainly have led to another war between the two great English speaking nations.
Then something interesting happened.
“Before the ultimatum could be sent, however, it had to be read and approved by the palace. On other occasions this might have been largely a formality, and, indeed, in this case Queen Victoria had other priorities. She was giving a dinner party and did not want it interrupted. But Prince Albert, her beloved consort, begged off from the dinner, saying he felt ill. Feverish with the first symptoms of the typhoid that would kill him a few days later, Albert sat down at his desk to look at the ultimatum, and he did not like what he saw. Palmerston and Russell (British Foreign Minister) were giving Lincoln and Seward no way out. They would have to bend to Britain’s will, release Slidell and Mason (the two Southern gentlemen), and apologize abjectly or face the greatest military power on earth.
“For twenty years Albert had made the fight against slavery, and especially the slave trade, one of his important causes. He did not want to see the Crown tarnished by a war that might guarantee the continuation of slavery for generations to come. He deeply mistrusted Palmerston’s bellicosity and thought of Russell as something of a lightweight. He wanted the brashness in the official note to be softened: “Her Majesty’s Government are unwilling to believe that the United States Government intended wantonly to put an insult upon this country…..” The new wording left a way open for Seward to explain the incident as an accident, if only he would take it.” (“Our Man in Charleston”, by Newsweek’s Christopher Dickey, pages 297-8, Crown Publishers.)
“The language offered by Prince Albert had left room for a face-saving response in Seward’s reply: Charles Wilkes had not been acting under orders. Three days after Christmas the correspondence of Seward and the British and French foreign ministers was published, announcing the release of the Confederate emissaries.”
War between the US and Britain had been averted, thanks to a German prince’s careful editing of a diplomatic note, written in English! If the more strident note had resulted in war between Britain and America, London would have supported the Confederacy and the United States would have been permanently divided. If Prince Albert had not been seriously ill, the outcome of the Civil War could have been very different.
The book is an interesting read and gives some fresh insight into the Civil War.
So much is happening across the globe right now, it’s difficult to know where to start.
It’s Monday morning and the world news is dominated by further falls on stock markets across Asia and Europe. China’s economy is heading south fast and is dragging other countries down with it. As the country is the second biggest single economy in the world, it’s not surprising.
It’s not that long ago that China was a third world backwater. Then, the communist dictatorship allowed free market reforms that led to an incredibly fast growth rate. Too fast. And suspiciously fast – could the numbers be trusted? Now, we know the truth – the reality is not what we thought it was. Millions of Chinese people are losing their life savings and are naturally angry about it. If this continues, the Chinese people may conclude the ruling Communist party has “lost the mandate of heaven,” a precursor to significant change.
But change could also come elsewhere as a result of what’s going on.
The average American lost 6% of his retirement fund towards the end of last week. 6% isn’t too bad. But if this fall continues, people will get more angry and frustrated. It can only help Donald Trump’s presidential hopes.
Note the following from today’s The Daily Skimm:
“Last week, after some bad economic data from China, global stock markets completely freaked out. US markets ended up with their worst losses in four years. And today isn’t looking any better. China’s markets opened even weaker than yesterday, which has triggered a global domino effect. Think: Asian and European markets taking tumbles and oil prices way down.
“Right now, the ups and downs of global markets are hinging on two of the least transparent things ever: the Chinese government and the Federal Reserve.”
It’s time to worry!
It’s 8.20 AM Eastern time. I just received a news alert from the Wall Street Journal. The headline is: GLOBAL MARKET ROUT CONTINUES. Stock markets continue to fall around the world.
It’s a good reminder that we should not put our faith in this world and particularly in this world’s money, which is, frankly, worthless paper.
In Matthew 6:19-20 Jesus Christ said the following:
19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Our retirement funds are certainly set to take a big hit, though how big remains to be seen. Christians should take encouragement from Christ’s words and not worry as we go through this market “correction.”
It’s now 9.45, the New York Stock Exchange opened a few minutes ago, and we seem to be witnessing a big crash. The stock exchange is down over 1,000 points, heading rapidly toward a “correction,” usually defined as a drop of 10% or more. The dollar is also falling against other currencies. Commentators are saying that this crash started with China, but blame should also go to the high taxes and anti-business policies of the current US Administration. One lady said: “They’ve killed the economy!” Meanwhile, China is using the state pension fund to buy stocks in a hope of keeping up prices, an unwise move that could wipe out pensions for decades.
It’s really inspiring to hear that three young Americans on vacation in Europe helped save a train full of passengers from an imminent terrorist attack. Today’s news shows them receiving the “Legion d’Honneur” from France’s President Hollande.
But, you will notice there’s another guy standing with them, an older man who was also part of the rescue. The much-praised trio was actually a quartet. The other man was from England. It would be nice if just one American network would acknowledge his role along with the three Americans. All four were very courageous and may have saved dozens of lives!
In this age of mass murders, it’s interesting to note that America, with less than 5% of the world’s people, accounts for almost one third of all mass murders, defined as incidents where four or more people are killed.
On Friday afternoon, I took two of my granddaughters to the fair. The St. Johns Mint Festival, to be exact. St. Johns is a small town north of Lansing, Michigan.
Their father (my son) came along, too.
We got there a little early and the only thing running was the pony rides. At previous fairs, the girls were given a very short, once round the circle, ride for $5. This time, they went round at least ten times for the same price.
It was hot and humid so I sat down on one of two plastic chairs. The owner came and sat down next to me.
He told me that when he started taking his ponies to county fairs, there were hundreds of children enthusiastically wanting a ride. Now, the numbers are down to a mere handful. He said kids would rather spend time on electronic gadgets, but then made a comment on how many millions of children have been aborted, depriving us all of the joy of seeing happy children enjoying themselves at fairs and in the streets.
The man told me he was 81. From what he said he clearly felt I was about the same age, asking me how many GREAT grandchildren I have. I responded by saying that all my grandchildren are great. I added that I am “only” 64!
Later, while the girls went on other rides, I sat down at a table with a rather uncomfortable bench. Another man, looking a bit like he might be 81, sat down next to me and ate a meal he had just bought. I asked him if he was with his grandchildren. His sad response was: “No, I’m all alone. My family is dying out!”
Diane and I are privileged to have eight grandchildren whom we love dearly, but the Rhodes name is still dying out. Only two of the eight have the name “Rhodes” and, when they marry, they won’t have it, so the name will go with them. Fortunately, I have five nephews in England who will ensure the family continues, at least on that side of the Atlantic.
In a restaurant a few months ago, we met an elderly couple in their eighties, who told us they had 40 grandchildren and were awaiting the birth of their 25th great grandchild. Can you believe that? Yet, their familial situation would not have been unusual in previous generations. It has become unusual in this generation; I should add “in the western world.” It’s not unusual in many other parts of the world. For four centuries the Bible believing Protestants, who dominated the West, took seriously God’s command to “go forth and multiply” (Gen 1:28). That era has gone and birth control has made it possible.
It helps explain why the dynamics are changing in the United States and elsewhere. Nations are changing hands, as they pass from one dominant ethnic group to others. You can see this very clearly in Western Europe. Because America is a much bigger country with a lower population density, we don’t see it as much, but demographic trends show it is still happening.
President Theodore Roosevelt warned, when the first Planned Parenthood clinic opened in 1916, that it would lead to the death of the race. And that was before abortion. It’s not just abortion that has led to this dramatic change. All forms of birth control have contributed to it.
But we can’t blame birth control, either. Birth control was simply the means. But we, the people, made it happen by choosing a higher standard of living over the responsibility of more children.
Let’s face it, we didn’t give it much thought. It was a no-brainer.
But the result is exactly what TR said a century ago – we are now facing the death of the race. In every country where Europeans and their descendants have dominated for centuries, significant changes are taking place. Not one of those countries will still have a dominant western culture by the end of this century.
It’s a sobering reality and perhaps the most significant one happening right now.
A few months ago, NPR reported that Ann Arbor, one of the most affluent areas in Michigan, had seen a 40% drop in school enrollments in ten years. Just pause for a moment and think of the effect this is going to have on the local economy. The figure will be roughly the same across the US, except in areas with a high population of Hispanics, Muslims and others, who all have a much higher birthrate. They may fill the gap in terms of numbers, but how much will that change the country? Additionally, will they volunteer to defend us against our enemies, to whom many of them will feel a closer cultural connection?
Interestingly, when we visited Ann Arbor last month for medical appointments, we stopped at Costco, which now has an halal meat section occupying a significant part of the freezer area. Headless sheep hung there, covered in burlap so that sensitive Anglo eyes would not freak out! This is illustrative of how things are changing.
The St. Johns Mint Festival is highly unlikely to make the national news, but the declining numbers of children wanting pony rides illustrates the most significant trend in America, the fact that many couples no longer want children.
A nation that does not make the raising of children a priority is doomed to failure. Worse . . . to extinction.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s an election going on – in Canada!
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the election a couple of weeks ago, allowing 78 days of campaigning before the general election. Many Canadians are not happy about the grueling eleven weeks of electioneering. Normally, an election is held 35 days after being called. They should try living in America – here, 78 days would seem merciful!
As with all elections, there are many issues to be discussed. But one is national security and here the three main parties are very different. Canada has already been attacked by al-Qaeda operatives and those inspired by ISIS – there was a threat to behead Mr. Harper himself, then last year an attack on parliament in Ottawa. A Canadian soldier at the War Memorial in Ottawa was killed. A few days earlier, two members of the Canadian Armed Forces were deliberately hit by a vehicle in Quebec, causing the death of one.
So, it’s not unsurprising that Mr. Harper takes national security seriously. Even without these incidents, he might have done anyway, as he had already boosted the armed forces and committed Canada to further involvement in the wars on terror.
Sadly, the other two party leaders are clueless on this issue.
Tarek Fatah of the Middle East Forum wrote an article in the Toronto Sun August 11th, titled “Why Canada’s Left has lost my vote.” Accompanying the article was a photo of New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair. His socialist party is now the main opposition party to the currently ruling Conservative party. Mr. Mulcair believes that the war against ISIS “is not our fight.”
“This political cowardice within the Left, camouflaged in a burka of anti-war rhetoric, is visible right here in Canada. Both New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have demonstrated the symptoms of appeasement,” writes Mr. Fatah, who is a Muslim.
In a televised debate, Mr. Mulcair also remarked that: “(W)e know that a lot of the horrors that we are seeing are the direct result of the last misguided war (U.S invasion of Iraq).”
Fatah adds: “Mr. Mulcair thinks it is America’s fault that ISIS beheads fellow Muslims, pushes homosexuals off roofs and enslaves women.”
In rejecting the idea that everything going on is America’s fault, Mr. Fatah’s most telling comment is follows: “Nonsense, jihadis have been doing this since the dawn of Islam.”
The Liberals, in recent decades the dominant party in Canada, are also clearly out of touch with contemporary reality. “As for that other man seeking to replace Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s positions on Canada’s and the West’s national security reflect his fear of offending Islamofascists.
“When CBC’s Terry Milewski asked Trudeau, “If you don’t want to bomb a group as ghastly as ISIS, when would you ever support real military action?” Trudeau’s response was shocking. “That’s a nonsensical question,” he retorted.”
It seems that only Mr. Harper lives in the real world.
However, this does not mean his party will win the election. The electorate throughout the western world is just as clueless as most Canadians. It seems unlikely to change.
In the neighboring land of never-ending elections, the term “War on Women” is not being applied to ISIS, but rather to the Republicans, whose leading candidate Donald Trump has made some very unwise and tactless comments on the female sex. Conservative columnist Cal Thomas had this to say in today’s Lansing State Journal:
“The real war on women is an economy that has left a record 93 million people out of the labor force; 56 million of these non-workers are women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The war on women is also about the 56 million aborted babies who will never have a chance at life thanks to the lies Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers tell women about their babies.”
The war on women continues to be vigorously pursued by ISIS. Rape has become a recruiting tool. It’s not surprising that ISIS keeps growing.
Meanwhile, from the UK comes the following report, sent to me by one of my brothers:
“Religious sectarianism is on the rise in Britain’s Muslim community and threatens to spill over into violent crime and terrorism, leading clerics warned yesterday. An investigation by The Times has found a sharp but largely hidden rise in sectarian tensions between the minority Shia community and the dominant Sunni groups, driven by the long, bitter war in Syria. Ill-feeling is being stoked by vitriolic preachers on both sides of the divide — including some who lecture at British universities — and incidents such as assaults, attacks on buildings and intimidation online. Sayed Ammar Nakshwani, one of the world’s leading Shia clerics, revealed that he recently left Britain for the United States after enduring years of intimidation from hardline Sunnis who allegedly threatened his life, followed his parents and vandalised his car.”
USA Today disclosed yesterday that there are 12,800 transgendered people serving in the US military. Their treatment costs $5.6 million a year. The number really surprised me.
This is clearly the age of sexual confusion, most probably the result of the breakdown of the family.
It brings to mind the last words in the Old Testament:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
A father’s role is so important in the raising of children. Yet so many are not involved in the lives of their boys and girls.
I would like to think that we are close to the return of Jesus Christ. Certainly, world conditions, particularly in the Middle East, indicate this is the case. However, I do not believe these two verses have been fulfilled yet – and that must come first.
(A big thank-you to those who have contributed to the costs of my blog in recent weeks. I really appreciate the support.)
Following the Republican debate Thursday evening, one newspaper quoted on PBS’ McLaughlin Group observed that Jeb Bush spoke as if he thinks that America’s problems are all psychological and not real at all. The Bushes have done well and live the dream and can’t understand why others have failed to achieve the same.
On Sunday, reports from Moscow showed a similar problem. President Vladimir Putin, by some accounts now the richest man in the world, thanks to the accumulation of ill-gotten gains, ordered the destruction of 350 tonnes of food from the EU in retaliation for western sanctions on Russia. Mr. Putin’s decision shows that he is oblivious to the fact that millions of Russians are struggling to feed their families. 40% of Russia’s food was imported before the sanctions were announced.
Jeb Bush and Vladimir Putin aren’t the only two politicians who are out of touch with reality. It’s difficult, for example, to imagine how Hillary Clinton, who, together with her husband, earned approximately $30 million last year, can possibly claim to represent the middle class.
It’s dangerous when politicians at the top are out of touch with people at the bottom.
In 1789, France’s Queen, Marie Antoinette supposedly said: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake.” That same year, the monarchy was overthrown and, three years later, the hated Marie lost her head to Madame Guillotine. It wasn’t that simple. The queen actually did a great deal for the poor through her charitable work and the words she supposedly uttered were recorded over a century earlier, attributed to the Spanish wife of King Louis XIV.
But hungry people don’t care about historical accuracy – they just want to eat.
A lack of food has been a regular cause of revolution throughout history. In 1917, a bread riot in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) started the revolution that led to the downfall of the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty. It’s not inconceivable that something similar could happen to Mr. Putin. Of course, the revolution did not improve the situation – seven decades of communism included many years of famine and regular food shortages even at the best of times.
No nation is exempt. If billboards in Michigan are to be believed, one in five Michigan children go to bed hungry.
Former presidential candidate Ross Perot warned a few years ago that food stamps are all that stand between us and anarchy – in other words, take away free food for the poor and you could see a revolution in the United States.
In June, 1932, veterans marched on Washington demanding that a bonus they were promised by Congress should be brought forward as, in the midst of the Depression, they could not afford to feed their families. They built shanty-towns outside of Washington and were determined to stay until Congress met their demands. President Herbert Hoover sent in troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur to tear down the camps and send them home. Reports at the time tell of great hunger amongst the vets and their families, including young children. President Hoover was seen to be out of touch and uncaring (the shantytowns were dubbed “Hoovervilles”) and lost the election a few months later to Franklin Roosevelt.
Mr. Bush should remember the fate of the last Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 election to Mr. Obama. Mr. Romney was recorded dismissing the “47%” of the electorate who depend on government and who, therefore, were not going to vote for him anyway.
Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush, both claiming to be conservative, should have read a biography of Benjamin Disraeli, the nineteenth century Conservative British prime minister who warned of Britain becoming “two nations,” one rich and the other poor. He reshaped the Conservative Party to be a party that reached out to the working-man. If the Republicans are to succeed, they have to do the same, to show how their policies will help improve the life of Joe Citizen. To do this, they need to distance themselves from Big Business.
They can do it. The 1896 election was held in the midst of a Great Depression that saw 50% of the people unemployed, at a time when there were no unemployment benefits for those who were out of work. Understandably, the election saw the highest turnout in American history. 80% of the electorate voted. The presidential election that year was won by Republican William McKinley. He promised the people sound money and high tariffs to increase employment at home. It’s interesting to note that the same issues still prevail.
Left-leaning parties, whether the Democrats in the US or the Labour Party in Britain, do not represent working people. They are the parties of Big Government, which gives jobs to their supporters, but leads to a rise in taxes. Those taxes are paid by ordinary people and small businesses, making life harder for the majority of people.
Leaders, and aspiring leaders like Jeb Bush, cannot afford to be out of touch with the common people. This is especially true in democracies where every citizen has the vote. Perhaps Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin should copy Britain’s Prince William, who spent the night sleeping on the streets of London to get the feel of homelessness. At the very least, his gesture showed empathy with the poor, a realization on his part that tens of thousands of people are homeless and unable to take care of themselves.
Only a return to conservative values, including restoration of the traditional family, can help people get out of poverty. Conservatives everywhere need to convince the voters that they represent them and not Big Business.
They could start by following the example of Menachem Begin, an Israeli conservative and former prime minister. Mr. Begin spent many years in prison under the Bolsheviks. Reading a biography of Benjamin Disraeli helped him maintain his sanity and inspired his future conservative course. Focusing on struggling voters makes more sense than pursuing big business! After decades of Big Government, people want change.