For disobedience to the laws of God, ancient Israelites were told that He would “break the pride of their power” (Leviticus 26:19). Hebrews 13:8 states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” Disobedience to God’s Laws carries the same penalties it did centuries ago.
The pride of America’s power rests in two areas: the economy (and, with it, the status of the “Almighty Dollar”) and the military, which is dependent on a vibrant economy.
The economy is going to take a big hit this summer. (In the UK they are predicting the biggest slump in three centuries!) Along with the virus itself, this must also have an effect on military preparedness.
Could we see a fulfillment of Lev. 26:19?
Anti-Governor Demo in Michigan
It’s not very often Lansing, MI, where we live makes headline news:
Lansing, MI — It’s a wild scene in Lansing today. Hundreds, if not thousands of demonstrators showed up to the Capitol, protesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay home order intended to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Police watched as horns honked and vehicles from around the state jammed the nearby roads. Crowds even gathered in front of the Capitol, out of their cars, some ignoring social distancing orders. (Detroit Free Press, 4/15/2020)
VIRUS COULD BREAK UP EU
BERLIN – The coronavirus pandemic, with its simultaneous health and economic crises, is deepening fault lines within Europe in a way some leaders fear could prove to be a final reckoning. The cohesion of the European Union had been battered by Brexit, bruised by the political fallout from the 2015 migration surge and the 2008 financial crisis, and challenged by rising autocracy in the east that runs contrary to the professed ideals of the European project.
Now, if Europe’s leaders cannot chart a more united course, the project lies in what one of its architects described this week as “mortal danger.”
In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the response among European Union member states showed that national interests trump more-altruistic European ideals. Border restrictions were reimposed haphazardly, and Germany and France threw up export bans on medical equipment such as masks and ventilators, even as Italy clamored for assistance.
Quick to capitalize were the propaganda machines of Russia and China. Moscow and Beijing have swept in with much-trumpeted — if sometimes defective — medical aid, pushing a savior narrative and providing fodder for the region’s Euroskeptics. (Drudge Report, 4/3/2020)
GERMANY BLOCKS CORONABONDS
At the euro finance minister’s video conference, the German government blocked the introduction of “coronabonds,” in spite of massive pressure from other EU nations and recently even from within Germany. Whereas mainly Italy, Spain and France had insisted that this measure be taken, voices are now being raised from within the German establishment warning that the German government should stop blocking its implementation. The reason, as leading Green Party politicians are explaining, is that should Italy and Spain suffer economic collapse, Germany’s export industry would be seriously damaged by the loss of these important markets, and – should German assistance be refused – both countries could turn to China. This must be prevented. The “coronabonds” will cost Germany, however, specialists estimated years ago that the costs would be in the lower double-digit billions, while Germany is simultaneously reaping triple-digit billions in profits – annually. (German Foreign Policy, 4/9/2020)
GERMANY’S WAY OUT
The German government has announced plans to gradually lift Covid-19 containment measures, beginning with the partial opening of schools from May 4. Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday said the country had achieved “fragile intermediate success” in managing the pandemic but said that social distancing would remain in place until at least May 3. (BBC) Shops smaller than 800 square metres will be permitted to reopen from next week but must comply with strict hygiene rules. Der Spiegel reports on how an 11-page tentative exit plan was thrashed out between leaders of the federal government and regional prime ministers using a mix of social distancing and videoconferencing for over four hours.
Berlin lets mask slip on feelings for Trump’s America The crisis has convinced Germans that Trump puts other countries at risk.
BERLIN — Late last week in Bangkok, a shipping container holding thousands of masks destined for the German capital was redirected at the last minute. As far as Berlin’s city elders are concerned, there wasn’t any doubt about who was to blame: the “Amis.” And not just any Amis (German slang for Americans, not to be confused with French ami, or friend), but the commander-in-chief variety. “The actions of the U.S. president do not just betray a lack of solidarity, they are inhumane and irresponsible,” Berlin Mayor Michael Müller, a Social Democrat, thundered on Twitter. Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s interior minister, went even further, accusing the U.S. of “confiscating” the masks in Thailand. If Germans didn’t trust President Donald Trump before the coronavirus outbreak, the crisis has convinced them that his unyielding “America First” instinct puts other countries and their citizens at risk. That such accusations should emanate from Berlin, a city the U.S. saved from Soviet domination during the Berlin Airlift, underscores the depth of distrust for the American president.
Larry Elliot in The Guardian on where the buck stops post-pandemic
“One of the problems a party faces when it is in power for a long time is that blaming the opposition for the mess it allegedly left behind no longer cuts it. The Conservatives have been in power for a decade. They will eventually be held to account over how prepared the UK was for this crisis . . . For the right, this is the second major economic crisis in little more than a decade. It’s the second time the state has needed to come to the rescue of an economic system where the gap between rich and poor has widened, corporations pay as little tax as they can get way with, too little attention is paid to the climate emergency, and a large proportion of the workforce is one paycheck from penury. For the left, it should be an open goal.” (The Week, 4/3/2020)
GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY–Establishment voices in Berlin warn that the EU could disintegrate in the corona crisis and call for economic concessions to Italy and Spain. Both countries would “never forget in a hundred years, if Europe and we, in particular, would forsake them now,” former foreign ministers Joseph Fischer and Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an appeal published yesterday. This should not happen because it would endanger the EU. But “our country” is the Union’s “biggest economic and financial winner.” Studies show, in fact, that with €86 billion annually, Germany profits more from the EU’s single market than any other EU member. Since its introduction up until 2017, the single currency has provided Germany nearly €1.9 trillion, whereas it has cost France €3.6 and Italy even €4.3 trillion. Fischer and Gabriel are pushing for an urgent EU aid program to dampen the rapidly growing EU criticism in Rome and Madrid. According to a recent opinion poll, 67 percent of Italy’s population thinks that the EU harms their interests. (German Foreign Policy, 4/6/2020)
Brazilian minister says Covid-19 part of China ‘plan for world domination’
China is furious after a minister in Brazil suggested Covid-19 is part of a plan in Beijing for “world domination.”
Abraham Weintraub, the far-right government’s education minister, wrote on Twitter: “Geopolitically, who will come out stronger from this global crisis? Who in Brazil is allied with this infallible plan for world domination? (The Week, 4/6/2020)
COVID WORSENS IN SINGAPORE
As the world shut its doors, Singapore remained open for business. Its measured yet effective approach to containing covid-19, which won praise from the World Health Organization, permitted shops, restaurants and schools to stay open. No longer. Confronted with a sudden surge in new cases, almost all of them contracted locally, the government has decided to adopt much more stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus. On April 7th all but essential businesses closed, with Singaporeans allowed out of their homes only to buy food and medicine, to exercise and get their hair cut. The “circuit-breaker,” as the government calls it, will remain in place for at least a month. Those who violate a new law banning public and private gatherings risk a $7,000 fine, a six-month stint in prison or both. Even Singapore is no longer able to preserve a semblance of normality. (The Economist, 4/9/2020)
Fox News viewers are at particular risk from coronavirus due to their age, yet they have been regularly subjected to misleading recommendations and misinformation downplaying its prevalence, write dozens of journalists led by Prof Todd Gitlin from Columbia Journalism School.
Fox News does not clearly distinguish between the authority that should accrue to trained experts on the one hand, and the authority viewers grant to pundits and politicians for reasons of ideological loyalty. (The Guardian, 4/10/2020
TO THE POINT
- Economic turn-around — Six weeks ago, Trump was boasting, and justifiably so, of having the greatest economy of any president in recent memory. Now, the possibility exists that he could go into the fall election with the worst economy since Hoover and the Great Depression of 1932. (Pat Buchanan, 4/10/2020)
- The Israeli government closed off ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem to stem the spread of covid-19. Israel has so far reported 11,235 confirmed cases of the disease and 110 deaths. The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has become the centre of the country’s outbreak. Meanwhile, talks to establish a new governing coalition were ended, making another election in the summer likely.
- “If there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now.” Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, announces she will take a 20% pay cut for six months. (The Week, 4/15/2020)
- Donald Trump has announced that the US has “passed the peak” of new Covid-19 cases, suggesting the nation is successfully flattening the curve of the outbreak. But there is another plateau that might be playing on his mind: a new comparison of approval ratings for world leaders shows several lines, including Boris Johnson’s, rising – while Trump’s remains relatively flat. (The Week, 4/16/2020)
- Plane fares “to double” after coronavirus crisis – Airlines may be forced to increase passenger fares dramatically once foreign travel is allowed again, experts have warned. With many countries banning international flights to try to stem the spread of coronavirus, airlines have been hit particularly hard by the crisis. Many of them have cut staff, reduced fares and cancelled many flights altogether. As a result, analysts fear that in an effort to recoup some of their losses – and to cancel out lower plane capacity caused by social distancing rules – prices could skyrocket once travel restrictions are lifted. (The Week, 4/14/2020)