Europe remains in a continual state of flux. The UK is leaving the EU and facing an uncertain future. The EU must punish Britain. It cannot afford to let the UK succeed outside of the Union, or others may follow her through the “exit” door. Greece is finally coming out of years of serious economic troubles. Eastern European nations are at variance with Germany over immigration. Austria has a new conservative government that includes the right-wing Freedom Party. Always remember, when looking at Europe, that the turmoil the continent is now going through will lead to the fulfillment of the following prophecy.
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.” (Revelation 17:12-13)
It looks as if Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (supposedly a conservative party) is going to be able to form a coalition with the left-of-center Social Democrats, led by Martin Schulz. This combination is referred to as a Grand Coalition, bringing two opposing parties together again.
“One downside to the grand coalition is that it leaves the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which made a surprisingly strong showing in September’s polls, as the largest opposition party, giving it a number of advantages including public funding and leadership roles in some parliamentary committees. The AfD, the closest thing to Nazis to win seats in the Bundestag since the actual Nazis, ran a racially inflected populist campaign that capitalized on widespread anxieties about the influx of refugees and migrants from the Muslim Middle East, which the AfD said were threatening both Germany’s national security and its national identity.” (“Germany’s political turmoil is bad news for Europe,” Jonah Shepp, New York magazine, 1/16/18).
Looking to the future, Mr. Shepp wrote:
“Part of Merkel’s problem is that she represents a waning generation of political leadership whose preference for moderation and incremental progress is being rejected in favor of bold new ideas on both the right and the left. German voters flocked to smaller parties in September, particularly the AfD and FDP, while the Greens and the Left made gains among younger voters.
“Younger members of Merkel’s own conservative party have been urging her step aside, while a rising generation of leaders is waiting in the wings to succeed her. The most talked-about potential successor is 37-year-old Jens Spahn, an openly gay man who has criticized Merkel from the right on immigration issues. Another name that comes up is Ursula von der Leyen, the current defense minister, whose positions are more liberal.
“The other mainstream parties are also looking at generational transitions: CSU chairman Horst Seehofer is handing the Bavarian premiership over to Markus Söder, 18 years his junior, while many Social Democrats are looking to oust their leader Martin Schulz after their disappointing performance in September.”
The composition of the new coalition means there will be fireworks ahead as each party wants different things. It’s not likely the government can stay together very long. That also means Mrs. Merkel’s future is uncertain and will be short-lived. She has been Chancellor for over twelve years.
Change is likely not far off.
Meanwhile, the German World Socialist website is warning that the new German government plans a massive expansion of its military. (This is exactly what President Trump has been demanding, that Germany spend at least 2% of its GNP on defense.)
Incoming German government plans massive military rearmament By Johannes Stern 3 January 2018 * World Socialist Web Site
“At the beginning of December, in a keynote address to the Körber Foundation in Berlin, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel demanded that after seven decades of relative foreign policy restraint, Germany return to an independent foreign and military policy – supported by a militarized European Union under German leadership. “Now we realize that even with great economic prosperity in our country there is no comfortable place on the side-lines of international politics for us anymore. Neither for us Germans nor for us Europeans,” he declared provocatively.
“Significantly, the SWP, which is close to the government, has once again submitted a paper titled “Dissolution or Replacement? The International Order in Transition,” which openly makes the case for the establishment of a new world order under German-European leadership. Above all, it considers China and the US, with or without Trump, as international rivals.
“ . . . The entire paper makes clear that the ruling classes in Germany and Europe are again preparing for a new major war. “
The Brits are on their way out and leaving the EU with an almighty headache about money. Rows over the common pot of cash in the EU27 will be about €13bn a year more painful after the UK blows a hole in the budget after 2020. (FT Brussels Briefing, 1/9)
GREECE’S 8 YEARS OF AUSTERITY UNDER GERMAN DIRECTION IS ALMOST OVER
It’s a Grexit with a difference. 2018 should be the year Greece ends eight years of economic tutelage, closing a chapter on an extraordinary period in the EU’s financial crisis fight.
August is the planned exit date and Greece’s Syriza government has been quietly crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s on its €86bn bailout ahead of the summer. In a familiar ritual, the Greek parliament this week passed its last mountain of sweeping reforms – touching everything from energy markets to trade unions – to unlock its latest dose of rescue money. Eurozone finance ministers should sign off on the penultimate bailout review on Monday.
In one last act of defiance, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Greek parliament to vent their rage against labour laws that make it harder for trade unions to call strikes. “The law is totally undemocratic, a form of modern slavery” the head of Greece’s public sector union told The Guardian‘s Helena Smith. (FT Brussels Briefing, 1/17)
STRATFOR’S PREDICTION FOR NEW YEAR
2018 Annual Forecast – North Korea’s likely achievement of a viable nuclear deterrent next year will give rise to a new and more unstable era of containment. As the specter of war looms in the Asia-Pacific, China and Russia will band together while the United States cracks down even harder on Iran — as well as its own trade partners. (Stratfor 1/17)
ISRAEL EXPELLING 10,000 AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS
Israel launches plan to expel thousands of African migrants 4 Jan 2018
Jerusalem – Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. “This plan will get under way today,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel’s desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work during the day, is also set to be closed. Netanyahu pledged to “return south Tel Aviv to the citizens of Israel”, adding that the Africans were “not refugees but illegal infiltrators.”
BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN
Our youngest grandson, not even two yet, already knows a lot more than most politicians, judges and liberal intellectuals in the western world.
Hayden has it down pat. He knows to go to either Mom or Grandma when he wants food or needs his diaper changed; he’s also learned, when he wants fun, that Dad or Grandpa are the go-to people.
If a 20-month-old toddler can clearly distinguish gender roles, why can’t judges, politicians and lawyers?
They would do well to ponder the following words of Jesus Christ:
… Jesus called a little child to stand among them. “Truly I tell you, He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
FOUR LETTER WORDS
I took my wife and daughter to see a movie today. On the way there, our daughter was doing a crossword on her phone. She suddenly said: “I need a four lettered word.” I suggested she call the White House!
It’s ironic that the bad word President Trump allegedly used to describe African countries and Haiti has some truth to it. We lived in Africa for over ten years. During that time, we hosted many western visitors, both black and white. The one thing everybody complained about was the toilet facilities – or, rather, the lack of them.
This does not mean that there is nothing positive to say about Africa. As I often remarked to visitors: “we can teach them a lot about plumbing, but we can’t teach them anything about relationships. That’s where they can teach us.”
Back to Trump’s expletive. Both Richard Nixon and his predecessor LBJ used a lot of bad language. I suspect every president has since, to one degree or another.
Whenever I hear certain words, I am reminded of what my old English teacher said over fifty years ago. “People who use bad language have a limited vocabulary with which to express themselves!” There’s a lot of truth in that.
Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona Republican) has compared President Trump to Josef Stalin.
This kind of ignorance is appalling and dangerous.
Trump has his problems, but he cannot be equated with Stalin, a dictator who killed millions of people in his own country. Millions more were sent to their deaths in the gulags.
Additionally, ordering the murders of five of his top nine generals prior to World War II meant the country was almost defeated by the German army. The death toll from this alone was twenty million.
Senator Flake should not be allowed back into Congress until he has read all three volumes of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago.” This would give him a much better idea of Russia’s reality under Uncle Joe.
Others who have compared Trump to Hitler should be assigned William Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”
Unfortunately, ignorance does not preclude entry into Congress! If anything, it helps.
Israeli Mayors Rail Against Law Limiting Commerce on Shabbat 11 Jan 2018 * JNS.org
Dozens of mayors across Israel vowed on Tuesday to fight the country’s new law limiting commerce on Shabbat, saying they will not enforce it. The controversial “supermarkets bill” passed in the Knesset with a razor-thin majority of 58-57 on Tuesday morning. The law, an amendment to the Local Authorities Law’s provisions on the operation of local businesses on days of rest, gives the interior minister the power to shutter businesses that choose to remain open on Shabbat. During the past few weeks, Israeli municipalities have raced to bypass the looming supermarkets law, passing and bolstering bylaws allowing businesses to remain open on Shabbat.
“The supermarkets bill is meaningless. It is up to the mayors to enforce it and I say in no uncertain terms that I have no intention of sending inspectors to enforce it,” Ramat Gan Mayor Yisrael Zinger said Tuesday. “We are a liberal city, and we believe in allowing people to live their lives according to their own beliefs. This is what creates the fabric of life in the city,” he said. Prior to the vote on the bill, Holon Mayor Moti Sasson pledged “to do everything within my power to preserve the status quo in the city, as part of which some businesses will be open on Shabbat for the benefit of the residents.” Givatayim Mayor Ran Kunik also announced he would not enforce the new law, telling reporters he is determined to preserve the status quo in his city. “Givatayim knows what’s best for its residents better than any minister,” he said.