Railroad Strike Inevitable?
Breitbart wrote on November 23:
“A national freight rail strike is viewed as increasingly inevitable as four rail worker labor unions have rejected a tentative agreement with rail companies… a strike [could] take effect early next month [by December 5 or December 9]… American consumers could be plagued with far-reaching economic turmoil, and Congressional intervention would become increasingly likely…
“Biden and his fellow pro-union Democrats in Congress face a tough political predicament…
“Rail companies have estimated that some $2 billion daily would bleed from the American economy during a strike… Railroads haul about 40% of the nation’s freight each year… if a strike drags on for a month some 700,000 jobs would be lost as manufacturers who rely on railroads shut down, prices of nearly everything would increase even more and the economy could be thrust into a recession.
“And although some businesses would try to shift shipments over to trucks, there aren’t nearly enough of them available… 467,000 additional trucks a day would be needed to handle everything railroads deliver. The ability to transport crucial chemicals, packaged food for humans, food for livestock, and retail goods would be greatly undermined as families get ready for Christmas and Hanukkah.”
What Would a Prolonged Railroad Strike Do to Consumers?
PBS and AP wrote on November 22:
“It wouldn’t take long for the effects of a rail strike to trickle through the economy. Many businesses only have a few days’ worth of raw materials and space for finished goods. Makers of food, fuel, cars and chemicals would all feel the squeeze, as would their customers. That’s not to mention the commuters who would be left stranded because many passenger railroads use tracks owned by the freight railroads…
“Chemical manufacturers and refineries will be some of the first businesses affected, because railroads will stop shipping hazardous chemicals about a week before the strike deadline to ensure that no tank cars filled with dangerous liquids wind up stranded… the chlorine that water treatment plants rely on to purify water, which they might only have about a week’s supply of on hand, would become hard to get. It would be hard for manufacturers to make anything out of plastic without the chemicals that are part of the formula.
“Consumers will also pay more for gasoline if refineries shut down either because they can’t get the ingredients they need to make fuel or because railroads aren’t available to haul away byproducts like sulfur…
“About 30 percent of all packaged food in the U.S. is moved by rail… That percentage is much higher for denser, heavier items like cans of soup.
“Some products, like cereal, cooking oils and beer, have entire operations built around rail deliveries of raw ingredients like grain, barley and peanuts, along with shipments of finished products. Those companies typically keep only two to four days’ worth of raw ingredients on hand because it’s expensive to store them… and grocers also keep a limited supply of products on hand… big food companies don’t like to discuss the threat of a rail strike because of worries about product shortages can lead to panic buying…
“Any disruption in rail service could threaten the health of chickens and pigs, which depend on trains to deliver their feed, and contribute to higher meat prices… a rail strike now would hit pork and chicken producers in the southern U.S. hardest, because their local supply of corn and soybeans from this year’s harvest is likely exhausted and they’d have to ship feed by truck, dramatically increasing costs…
“Retailers are also concerned about online orders. Shippers like FedEx and UPS use rail cars that hold roughly 2,000 packages in each car…
“Drivers are already paying record prices and often waiting months for new vehicles because of the production problems in the auto industry related to the shortage of computer chips in recent years. That would only get worse if there is a rail strike, because roughly 75 percent of all new vehicles begin their journey from factories to dealerships on the railroad. Trains deliver some 2,000 carloads a day filled with vehicles.
“And automakers may have a hard time keeping their plants running during a strike because some larger parts and raw materials are transported by rail.”
Should/Will Congress Intervene?
The Prospect wrote on November 23:
“Congress could end talk about strikes and worker lockouts by passing a joint resolution, under the Railway Labor Act of 1926, which is then sent to President Biden’s desk. If he signs, the resolution could force workers to accept the contract approved by the Presidential Emergency Board, the board set up by the president to mediate the dispute. If that happens, it would run counter to Biden’s repeated commitment to being the ‘most pro-union administration in American history.’…
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 led to John Carroll’s order to the National Guard to put down the strike, and Baltimoreans attacked the troops. Street battles between the striking workers and the Maryland militia left 10 dead and 25 wounded. By the end of August 1877, the strike had ended primarily due to federal government intervention, the use of state militias, and the employment of strikebreakers by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company.
Launched on July 1, 1922, by seven of the sixteen railroad labor organizations in existence at the time, the strike continued into the month of August before collapsing. A sweeping judicial injunction by Judge James Herbert Wilkerson effectively brought the strike to an end on September 1, 1922.
The last time US railroads went on strike was in 1992. That strike lasted two days before Congress intervened. The Los Angeles Times reported at that time, on June 26, 1992:
“Congress and the White House moved with rare speed Thursday night to end a crippling two-day nationwide rail shutdown that already had begun to threaten the economy by forcing layoffs at coal mines and auto assembly plants. The House and Senate passed emergency legislation barring strikes and lockouts by large margins…
“Bush signed the legislation early today. Many lawmakers objected strongly that the action was anti-labor, but anxiety about the impact of a prolonged stoppage on the still-fragile economy overrode those concerns.”
All of this poses a no-win situation for the Biden Administration. Please view our new program, “War and the Railroad Strike–Comments on News and Prophecy, November 26, 2022.”
“Democrats Prepare To Impose A Rail Union Contract That Many Workers Rejected”
The Huffington Post wrote on November 29:
“The party of paid family leave finds itself in a very awkward position.
“Congressional Democrats are moving toward a vote that would override the wishes of unionized rail workers by imposing a new contract with the nation’s major rail carriers. The memberships of four out of twelve rail unions — including the largest — have voted against the proposal sending their leaders back to the bargaining table for a better deal. But top Democrats are planning to force the contract on them through legislation in order to head off a massive rail strike in early December that could hurt the economy.
“President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a bill enforcing the tentative contract… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed Biden’s plan… [So did Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)].
“To make things even more awkward for the party, workers have been holding out largely for paid sick days and better quality-of-life provisions in their contracts — issues for which Democrats fashion themselves as champions… Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the omission of paid sick days ‘outrageous’ and suggested he will push for an amendment to the bill providing more leave…”
The New York Post added on November 29:
“Rail workers unions blasted President Biden on Monday after he pressed Congress to force the organized labor groups to accept a tentative agreement in order to avert a strike. ‘Joe Biden blew it,’ Railroad Workers Union treasurer Hugh Sawyer said in a press release… ‘He had the opportunity to prove his labor-friendly pedigree to millions of workers by simply asking Congress for legislation to end the threat of a national strike on terms more favorable to workers. Sadly, he could not bring himself to advocate for a lousy handful of sick days. The Democrats and Republicans are both pawns of big business and the corporations,’ Sawyer added…
“The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, the third-largest rail union in the US, said in a statement Tuesday that it was ‘deeply disappointed’ with Biden’s decision to appeal to Congress to force an agreement…
“Organized labor is one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies…”
That may not continue for long.
Newsmax added on November 29:
“The National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) and The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED) apparently have no plans of relenting from its respective bargaining positions… the NRLC and BMWED didn’t share the Biden administration’s optimism for concocting a labor resolution within the next 10 days.
“Congressional legislation regarding a railway strike ‘denies railroad workers their right to strike while also denying them of the benefit they would likely otherwise obtain if they were not denied their right to strike,’ the statement reads. ‘Additionally, passing legislation to adopt tentative agreements that exclude paid sick leave for railroad workers will not address rail service issues. Rather, it will worsen supply chain issues and further sicken, infuriate, and disenfranchise railroad workers as they continue shouldering the burdens of the railroads’ mismanagement.’”
Republicans Against Congressional Intervention
Breitbart wrote on November 30:
“Rubio ripped Biden… stating his belief that the parties should negotiate new terms of the contract without congressional involvement and pledged he would only vote for a deal that union members support. ‘Just because Congress has the authority to impose a heavy-handed solution does not mean we should. It is wrong for the Biden Administration, which has failed to fight for workers, to ask Congress to impose a deal the workers themselves have rejected,’ said the senior senator from Florida…
“Sen. John Thune (R-SD) [the No. 2 Senate Republican] shared the same sentiment that Congress should not intervene, stating the matter is the Biden administration’s ‘responsibility.’ In calling on Congress to impose a contract, Biden, a pro-union Democrat, has effectively disregarded the lingering sick time concerns of union members in fear of substantial economic consequences, which would have further negative impacts on Americans who have already been grappling with inflation not seen for decades.
“Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) called the idea of congressional intervention insane and said he ‘won’t support it.’”
On Thursday, Congress DID intervene, totally ignoring some of the dissenting voices… See the next article.
House and Senate Adopt Bill Coercing Dissenting Railroad Unions
Newsmax reported on December 1:
“The Senate passed a bill to bind rail companies and workers to a proposed settlement that was reached between the rail companies and union leaders in September. That settlement had been rejected by some of the 12 unions involved, creating the possibility of a strike beginning Dec. 9.
“The Senate vote was 80-15. It came one day after the House voted to impose the agreement. The measure now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature…
“The House passed the legislation enacting September’s labor agreement with broad bipartisan support. A second measure adding seven paid sick days for rail workers passed on a mostly party-line vote in the House, but it fell eight votes short of a 60-vote threshold needed for passage in the Senate.”
This move might very well backfire.
Europe Accuses US of Profiting From Ukraine War
Express wrote on November 26:
“Putin’s strategy of using Russia’s gas supplies against the West is starting to sow dissent among NATO as top European officials take aim at Joe Biden, accusing him of ‘profiting from this war’. Multiple high-ranking officials from the bloc have accused the US president of capitalising on the opportunity represented by the invasion and jacking up the price of weapons and gas…
“Speaking to Politico, a senior EU official said: ‘The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the US because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons.’ Another said: ‘We are really at a historic juncture.’ The official added that the combination of trade disruption and high energy prices jeopardises the US’s reputation with countries on the other side of the Atlantic.
“They said: ‘America needs to realise that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.’ Emmanuel Macron has also accused the US of not being ‘friendly’ in its approach to the EU. The EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, meanwhile, called on the US to acknowledge the impact they were having on the European economy…
“However, the US has refused to concede that they are impacting the price of gas in the EU… The EU has turned to the US as an alternative to Russian gas, in order to avoid indirectly funding Putin’s war and giving him leverage over them for the crucial resource. However, Europeans say the price they are facing in the US is nearly four times as high as the same fuel costs in America.
“This row is compounded by a surge in orders for US-made military gear, as the EU’s supply of weapons to Ukraine leaves them running low themselves… [According to the Daily Mail, “… the Americans continue to send more, with the cost of supplying Ukraine to the US now at over $19billion as another $400million was added earlier this week.”]
“Germany’s economy minister called on Washington to show more ‘solidarity’ by reducing their energy costs… An EU diplomat added: ‘It’s not good, in terms of optics, to give the impression that your best ally is actually making huge profits out of your troubles.’
“The high gas prices add to existing tensions over Mr Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a huge tax, climate, and healthcare package for the US – but which caused one EU official to question whether Washington was ‘still our ally’. Fears are rising of a transatlantic trade war as a result of the package, which EU officials say put European industries at risk of collapse.
“Dutch Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said the IRA is ‘very worrying’, adding: ‘The potential impact on the European economy is very big.’ An official from France’s foreign affairs ministry described the IRA as ‘discriminatory subsidies that will distort competition.’ Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship added: ‘The US is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against US allies.’”
The Daily Mail added on November 26:
“European nations, now dependent upon the U.S. and its gas supply, say they are fretting over the impacts of the $369 billion green subsidies [mainly for products made in the USA] and what it will look like for them after already being squeezed on gas prices.’…
“The nearly $400 billion subsidy ‘scheme’ introduced in the Inflation Reduction Act incentivizes Americans into buying products that are both U.S. made and energy efficient. The IRA provides tax credits for businesses and individuals who purchase ‘green’ products, including wind turbines and elective vehicles. The credits are mostly available, however, for products made in the United States.”
Europeans are getting increasingly upset with America.
Coming Trade War Between USA and EU?
In regard to a potential trade war, caused by the IRA, The Associated Press wrote on November 25:
“The European Union and the United States are treading precariously close to a major trans-Atlantic trade dispute at a time when the two Western giants want to show unity in the face of challenges from Russia and China. EU trade ministers on Friday insisted they would be forced to respond if Washington stuck to all the terms of its Inflation Reduction Act, which is favorable to local companies through subsidies and, according to the EU, will unfairly discriminate against its firms that want to compete for contracts.
“‘Nobody wants to get into a tit-for-tat or subsidy race. But what the U.S. has done really isn’t consistent with the principles of free trade and fair competition,’ Irish Trade Minister Leo Varadkar said. ‘What we are asking for is fairness. We want and expect European companies and exports to be treated in the same way in the U.S. as American companies and exports are treated in Europe,’ EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said.
“And beyond the European Commission, which negotiates on behalf of the 27 member nations on trade issues, the concerns are largely shared in EU national capitals, too. ‘All the member states are concerned,’ said Czech Trade Minister Jozef Sikela…
“Trade disputes have been a red line for decades in trans-Atlantic relations, highlighted by fights over aircraft subsidies and steel exports and affecting everything from hormone-treated beef to liquor exports…”
When Biden began to occupy the White House, many Europeans thought that the relationship between Europe and America would improve. The opposite has been occurring.
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 30:
“French President Emmanuel Macron is on a state visit to Washington. This week’s visit should mark the end of a quarrel between the two countries…”
Dream on, Deutsche Welle.
Politico wrote on November 30:
“It’s gotten cold in Europe, the economy is tanking and the natives are getting restless. There’s only one answer: Blame America. Pointing across the Atlantic has long been a favorite diversionary tactic for Europe’s political elites when things start to get dicey on the Continent. Whether it’s the war in Ukraine (Washington shouldn’t have expanded NATO), natural disasters (too many American SUVs fueling climate change) or the demise of French as a lingua franca (cultureless Hollywood), America is inevitably the culprit.
“… While Europeans are understandably upset that their gas prices are four times what they are in the U.S., no one told them to make themselves dependent on Russian gas or to switch off perfectly functioning nuclear power plants (in fact, Washington told them for years not to)… While American defense contractors stand to benefit from replacing stocks and from stronger demand for arms among NATO allies, so too should their European counterparts. Yet therein lies the rub: European firms should benefit as much as Americans, but don’t. The main reason is that Europe has underinvested in its defense industry...
“The Europeans fear the generous ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ subsidies will undermine their industry and are threatening a trade war. The inconvenient truth, however, is that Europeans are having difficulty getting their own companies to invest at home because governments have placed more emphasis on subsidizing household gas bills than helping the region’s industry weather the crisis… it’s difficult not to conclude that Europe’s blame game is really about something else — envy…
“In Germany, a book titled ‘Ami, It’s Time to Go!’ (Ami is German slang for Americans) has become a bestseller. The author is Oskar Lafontaine, a former finance minister who once led the Social Democrats before breaking with the party. ‘We have to free ourselves from the tutelage of the U.S.A.,’ Lafontaine writes, describing America as the root of most evil and arguing that Europe needs to blaze its own path….”
For more information, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Europe and USA on Collision Course”
Europe’s Goal in the Ukraine Debacle?
Indian Punchline wrote on November 30:
“The meet-up location of NATO foreign ministers on November 29-30— Bucharest — was where ten years ago, former US President George W. Bush persuaded America’s transatlantic partners that Ukraine and Georgia should one day join their military alliance. The foreign ministers duly ‘reaffirmed’ that decision yesterday and left it at that.
“However, their statement on the conflict in Ukraine emphatically stated that the NATO ‘will never recognise’ Russia’s incorporation of four Ukrainian regions… [But] there are… growing signs of disunity on [the] Ukraine issue among the US’ European allies and between the latter and the Biden Administration… Macron still hopes to be the western leader to accept President Putin’s surrender terms and go down in history books, but in reality his credibility is in shatters in Europe and Atlanticist circles in particular, and even within France.
“Europe’s number one priority at this juncture… ought to be its strategic autonomy to act in its own interests. But that requires deep thinking as to what is it that Europe wants to be autonomous about… Europe… is struggling with its demons…
“Russian forces are outnumbering Ukraine’s and Russian fortifications have been significantly strengthened… the narrative of victory in Kiev — that Ukraine is winning the war and is about to capture Crimea, etc. — is becoming unsustainable for much longer… The regime-change-in-Russia propaganda is not going to wither away even under the emerging stark realities of the… ground situation in Ukraine…”
It is difficult to decide whom to believe these days regarding the reports on the war situation in Ukraine.
Western Apathy Is Ukraine’s Deadliest Foe
The Guardian wrote on November 27:
“As blacked-out Moldova warned last week, another huge humanitarian and migrant crisis looms, akin to that of last spring. It will challenge every EU country. Yet as the strain of multiple Ukraine-related problems begins to tell, European support may be faltering at this critical juncture. The war and its atrocities are being normalised and, increasingly, discounted… Nine months in, western public opinion is dulled, deadened and desensitized… People are no longer shocked, nor even greatly surprised. They feel powerless. The majority still wants Ukraine to prevail. But victory is not expected soon… war fatigue teeters towards apathy…
“As the war becomes a familiar fact of daily life, and negative fallout spreads, will public support soften further?… The Ukrainian people are a formidable force. They have shown they can beat their enemies. But should they fear their friends? A weakening of US and European support, leaving Ukraine out in the cold, is perhaps the most dismaying hazard they face. Putin is counting on it.
“Might the peoples of the west, for the sake of a quiet life, really get ‘fed up’ with the war to the point where they are ready to ignore or even tolerate mass murder, war crimes and the evisceration of a sovereign nation as the new normal? It’s democracy’s biggest test. Every day, it gets harder in Ukraine. One thing is certain: it’s going to be a long winter.”
Ultimately, Russia and Ukraine will unite.
US Military Aid in Ukraine Missing
Fox News wrote on November 27:
“President Biden’s administration is scrambling to track the nearly $20 billion in military aid it has sent to Ukraine as Republicans warn of impending audits when they take control of the House in January.
“Kevin McCarthy has said his party will not be giving Ukraine a ‘blank check’ to fend off Russia’s invasion. A potential audit would determine how much, if any, of the U.S. aid is ending up in the wrong hands…
“The Republican push to ramp up oversight enjoys some bipartisan support in Congress… The lawmakers agree that current monitoring efforts appear woefully inadequate, with the Biden administration inspecting just 10% of the 22,000 weapons the U.S. has provided to Ukraine between February and November 1… U.S. allies in Europe have expressed hope that Republican skepticism of Ukraine aid will not lead to a widespread cutting of funding, however…
“‘No one in Republican leadership has called for an end to aid for Ukraine,’ Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said Monday. ‘People on the Republican side are saying, “Why do we have to pass a $40 billion package to send $8 billion to Ukraine?”’”
There have been many concerns that the weapons and the money being sent to Ukraine are ending up in Russian hands.
“Slick Use of Loophole Keeps Russian Oil Flowing Into Britain”
The Times wrote on November 20:
“As Vladimir Putin’s army bombarded Ukrainian soldiers trapped in the Azovstal steelworks in May, the tanker Mariner III pulled out of the south Russian port of Tuapse carrying nearly 200,000 barrels of oil. After five days at sea, the 170m (558ft) ship stopped alongside a bigger tanker, the Greek-owned Marinoula, in the waters off Kalamata, Greece. Over the next 36 hours, the two vessels were connected by large rubber pipes while the Marinoula siphoned off some of the Mariner’s cargo. After the ship-to-ship transfer, the Marinoula sailed to the UK, where it docked at Immingham in Lincolnshire and, on June 6, offloaded about 250,000 barrels of oil.
“Official records, however, declare that the UK received no oil from Russia in June or in July. The shipment was classified and reported correctly under British reporting protocols and there was no breach of maritime rules. The fuel was one of at least 39 cargos of Russian oil, worth more than £200 million, to have arrived at British ports since the invasion of Ukraine but to have been classified as imports from elsewhere. Almost £80 million of this was in June and July. In total, £778 million of Russian oil has arrived at ten UK ports since March…
“One arrived last week. On Wednesday, the 244m Delta Pioneer docked at Immingham, carrying oil directly from Russia. According to Refinitiv data analysed by Global Witness, a research group, the vessel brought half a million barrels of fuel to the port. It is not yet known how the fuel will be classified. Official records show that Russian oil worth about £23 million that has arrived at Immingham since March has been recorded as imports from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
“The Sunday Times has tracked four vessels that have carried more than a million barrels of Russian oil to Immingham. Two of the cargos involved ship-to-ship transfers, while a third brought Russian oil from Rotterdam. At least 13 shipments, including the Marinoula’s, arrived in June and July. The east London port of Thamesport has received £130 million of oil from Russia since March. These were classified as imports from Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands…
“The import of Russian oil to the UK is legal until December 5, when all imports will be barred… However, maritime experts say the way the UK registers imports, as well as the increased use of ship-to-ship transfers, will make it difficult for the UK to sanction Russian oil… it is the country of dispatch that is used to measure the nationality of an import, not the country where it was produced. This means a cargo of Chinese-made goods could be registered as being from Germany if it were imported to the UK by a German firm…
“British ports accepted more than £78 million of Russian oil in June. These were reported as imports from the Netherlands, Estonia, Poland or Belgium. A further £1.5 million of Russian oil arrived at UK ports in July and was logged as imports from France, the Netherlands, Germany and Latvia…”
Whenever greed and money are involved, “loopholes” are found.
Unchristian England and Wales?
AFP wrote on November 29:
“For the first time, less than half of the population in England and Wales identifies as Christian, according to census data released Tuesday. The 10-yearly census carried out in 2021 showed rapid growth for the Muslim population, but ‘no religion’ was the second most common response after Christian, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
“In an increasingly secular age, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said it was no ‘great surprise’ that the Christian proportion was declining over time…
“Some 27.5 million people or 46.2 percent in England and Wales described themselves as Christian, down 13.1 percentage points from 2011. ‘No religion’ rose by 12 points to 37.2 percent or 22.2 million, while Muslims stood at 3.9 million or 6.5 percent of the population, up from 4.9 percent before.
“The next most common responses were Hindu (1.0 million) and Sikh 524,000), while Buddhists overtook Jewish people (273,000 to 271,000)…”
Christianity Today had written on December 23, 2016:
“The last 18 months may have significantly dented the UK’s faith in God, a poll for The Times indicates. The proportion of people who say they believe in God has dropped four points from 32 per [cent] in February last year to 28 per cent now… Meanwhile those saying they actively do not believe in any form of God or higher power has gone up five points…
Express had written on October 16, 2012:
“Nearly 60 per cent of people believe we are not alone in the universe and that alien life-forms exist, a new poll has found. While a report carried out by the University of Chicago claims that just 37 per cent of us believe in God.”
There could be, of course, a link between denying the existence of God and believing in the ungodly theory of evolution and the existence of aliens.
UK’s Army “Overstretched”
Express wrote on November 30:
“[Prime Minister] Rishi Sunak has been accused of ‘completely’ underestimating the global threats facing the UK, as Britain embarks on ‘swathing’ cuts to the army. Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood told Express.co.uk that the world has ‘moved into a dangerous era’, warning that the British army is ‘overstretched’.
“Mr Ellwood has urged Mr Sunak to commit to spending three percent of GDP on defence, one percent more than the UK currently spends… ‘We need to see those swathing cuts which were outlined in the last defence review reversed. Cuts to our tanks, ships and planes, as well as our troop numbers… “
Merkel in Defiance
The Guardian wrote on November 25:
“Angela Merkel has insisted that her position as a lame duck in the last months of her time in office made it more or less impossible for her to influence the behaviour of Vladimir Putin. The former German chancellor appeared both defensive and quietly defiant about her inability to change the course of the Russian president’s decision-making in the run-up to the invasion of Ukraine in February…
“‘I no longer had the power to push my ideas through because everyone knew “she’ll be gone by autumn”’ she said [during an interview with Der Spiegel], describing how she had tried to establish a round of European talks after a meeting in the summer of 2021 between the US president, Joe Biden, and Putin. ‘Had I been standing again in the September I’d have kept drilling down, but … at my final meeting in Moscow [with Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov], the feeling was clear: from a political power point of view, you’re finished. For Putin it is only power that counts.’
“In her interviews with Alexander Osang, which took place over a period of a year and in various locations, Merkel insisted that her stance on the Minsk agreement – which brought a ceasefire after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula – had been right. Key points of the Minsk peace talks, including disarmament and supervision by an international body, were never followed through. But Merkel said the agreement had nevertheless helped buy Kyiv time to arm itself better against the Russian military.
“According to Osang, she repeatedly implied that she felt misunderstood over what she had tried to achieve as German leader, facing as she now does a barrage of accusations over some of her choices, such as her decision to block Ukraine’s admission to Nato in Bucharest in 2008, seen by many as having harmed its ability to defend itself. Her refusal to acknowledge her mistakes in allowing Germany to become ever more dependent on Russian gas supplies is another major criticism.
“Merkel also appeared to be loosely comparing her behaviour to that of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister associated with the flawed policy of appeasement towards Adolf Hitler by allowing him to expand the territory of Nazi Germany in the 1930s…
“Merkel added it was unfair to suggest she had not paid Ukraine enough attention in 2013 and 2014…
“Among the anecdotes she relays in a wide-ranging interview in which she is reflective and sometimes gloomy about her time in office, are encounters with the Queen – though Merkel said she was never able to establish what the British monarch thought about Brexit – and a G7 meeting with Boris Johnson, who she said had been attempting to undermine the Northern Ireland protocol…
“She had also watched the Queen’s funeral on television, and taken an interest in many of the guests she had recognised, including Tony Blair, whom Osang said she referred to as a ‘great political talent who had lost his reputation’ over the Iraq war…
“Merkel said she had no regrets about not standing for office again, after 16 years at the helm. ‘Somebody new was needed. Domestically it was high time and from a foreign policy perspective… (there were) so many things we tried again and again, but were not moving a millimetre on. Not just over Ukraine, but also Transnistria, Moldova, Georgia, Abkhazia, Syria and Libya. It was time for a new approach.’
“She said she sometimes woke in the night and worried about many of the dramatic events taking place in the world. ‘I think about… how the horror disappears as the eye witnesses die. And the spirit of reconciliation also disappears.’”
Germany’s “new approach” can be seen in its current government—arguably the most incompetent government Germany has ever had since World War II. And Merkel’s wrong appeasement policies over many years towards Russia and Germany’s dependency on Russian oil can by no means be ignored.
Ben-Gvir to Be Head of Police
JTA wrote on November 25:
“Itamar Ben-Gvir… will head Israel’s police forces, under the terms of a deal inked with Benjamin Netanyahu early Friday.
“The deal would expand the ministry of internal security… into the ministry of national security and would also give Ben-Gvir authority over border police in Palestinian territories...
“In the role, Ben-Gvir will have the power to carry out some of his long-held wishes, including loosening rules so that officers can open fire on Palestinians who throw stones and expanding the ability of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, the Jerusalem site that is home to the Al-Aqsa mosque.
“Ben-Gvir… has ignited conflict by accompanying Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, where Jewish prayer has been strictly limited… Twice convicted of incitement in Israeli courts, Ben-Gvir has also called for annexing large parts of the West Bank and for deporting Arabs who are not loyal to Israel… The Biden administration is considering refusing to meet with Ben-Gvir…
“Netanyahu is still working to finalize an agreement with Bezalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionist party. Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to give Smotrich authority over Israel’s administration of the West Bank…”
This will undoubtedly lead to more friction between Israel and the USA and most other countries, especially Europe.
Ethiopia in the News
USA Today wrote on November 25:
“Tigray, Eritrea and Ethiopia’s 2-year-long civil war has killed more people than the war in Ukraine, yet nobody’s talking about it… An estimated 383,000 civilians died in Tigray between November 2020 and August 2022…
“Ethiopia is the oldest state in sub-Saharan Africa and the only state in Africa that has never been colonized. It has more than 2,000 years of history. It is where the oldest biblical texts have been found. Various forms of Pentecostal Christianity are widely followed in Ethiopia, including by [Prime Minister Abiy] Ahmed, who uses religious terminology in his speeches to explain his own power. He claims he has a divine mandate…”
FP wrote on June 18, 2022 about Ahmed:
“An ancient Christian imperialism is resurging in Ethiopia today under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This archaic vision promises to unify Ethiopia and restore its divine glory. But it appears to be shattering Ethiopia and fueling catastrophic suffering.
“Its core belief is that Ethiopia is a Christian nation created and destined by God for greatness under Christian leadership. Today it is supercharging enmity and silencing critical voices calling for the end of war, genuine dialogue, and an inclusive Ethiopia where diverse people can belong together…
“Abiy became Ethiopia’s first Evangelical prime minister. His father was Muslim, his mother Orthodox, and Abiy himself converted to Pentecostalism in his 20s. (In Ethiopia, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism are overlapping Christianities.) Abiy was ecstatically hailed by many Ethiopians—especially Evangelicals—as a messiah, as a new ‘Moses’ or ‘King David’ who would save Ethiopia from disintegration.
“In an early speech, Abiy announced himself as Ethiopia’s ‘seventh king,’ a reference to his Orthodox mother’s prophecy over him as a child. This self-presentation powerfully evoked the ancient history of Ethiopia’s Christian imperialism and the promise of Ethiopia’s restored greatness…”
Ethiopia should be watched.
Xi and Kim and Miguel to Work Together?
Thomson/Reuters wrote on November 25:
“Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that China would be willing to work together with North Korea for regional and global peace, stability and prosperity, North Korea’s state media KCNA reported on Saturday, citing Xi’s letter to Kim.
“KCNA did not mention North Korea’s recent missile launches that have heightened tensions around the Korean peninsula following joint military drills between South Korea and the United States.”
The Associated Press reported on November 25:
“Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Cuban counterpart [Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez] pledged mutual support over their fellow communist states’ ‘core interests’… China generally defines core interests as the defense of its economic and political development aims, along with control over territory it claims, especially self-governing Taiwan.”
Newsmax wrote on November 27:
“China has agreed to restructure Cuban debt and provide new trade and investment credits to the beleaguered Caribbean Island nation after a meeting in Peking between the two Communist countries’ leaders…
“Chinese trade and investment has slowed in recent years due to Cuba’s failure to meet restructured debt payments… Analysts estimate the debt in the billions of dollars, although no official figures are available. Cuba last reported its foreign debt in 2019 at $19.6 billion.
“China is Cuba’s most important commercial partner after Venezuela, though trade has declined from over $2 billion in 2017 to $1.3 billion last year, according to the Cuban government.”
Unprecedented Protests in China
The Daily Mail wrote on November 27:
“Chinese police have clashed with thousands protesting the country’s draconian COVID lockdowns – as unprecedented civil unrest gripped the nation. Demonstrations erupted in at least seven cities – including Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou – with violence breaking out between local cops and furious protesters. The largest demonstration appeared in Shanghai – home to 26million residents – with many boldly demanding President Xi Jinping resign. Officers used pepper spray against about 300 protesters, according to a witness, but western journalists reported the numbers to be in the thousands.
“Meanwhile last night hundreds gathered to mourn the deaths of at least 10 people in an apartment fire last week in Urumqi in the Xinjiang region, where residents were sealed in their buildings to try to stop the spread of COVID. It comes amid China launching another mass crackdown on the virus with crippling lockdowns put in place across the country, nearly three years after the pandemic started there…
“Public fury forced authorities in the far western Xinjiang region to open up parts of the capital Urumqi, which has been subject to a punishing ‘zero-Covid’ lockdown for more than three months…
“President Xi Jinping´s government faces mounting anger at its ‘zero-COVID’ policy that has shut down access to areas throughout China in an attempt to isolate every case… the ruling Communist Party faces growing complaints about the economic and human cost as businesses close and families are isolated for weeks with limited access to food and medicine…
“Internet users posted videos and accounts on Chinese and foreign social media showing protests in Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu and Chongqing in the southwest and Urumqi and Korla in Xinjiang… Posts on Chinese social media were quickly deleted, which Beijing often does to suppress criticism it worries might serve as a rallying point for opposition to one-party rule…
“The unprecedented protests, and anger online, are the latest signs of frustration at China’s approach to tackling Covid. It is the only major country still fighting the pandemic with mass testing and lockdowns…”
But other countries are still imposing massive restrictions in their alleged “fight” against Covid, and it may be only a matter of time until similar protests (and worse) will break out in those countries.
Demonstrations in Iran
Express wrote on November 27:
“… demonstrations have challenged Iran’s government following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 having been detained by the country’s morality police.
“The protests have seen at least 450 people killed since they started, as well as over 18,000 arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran…”
Iran’s powerful dictatorial government could find itself in hot water, as demonstrations and disagreement grow in the country.
Ties Between Russia and India Deepen
Express wrote on November 26:
“Russia has unveiled a new plan to boost the energy efficiency of Russian-built nuclear reactors in India… Despite Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year, New Delhi and Moscow have been deepening their energy ties, much to the West’s chagrin…. According to Hindustan Times, despite the war in Ukraine, Moscow has continued supplying vital components to build the 1000-MW nuclear reactors…
“India and Russia’s partnership on nuclear energy has a long history, with the Soviet Union first supplying New Delhi with nuclear reactors and fuel after it was hit with sanctions from the West for its refusal to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”
Far Eastern countries like Russia, China, India and others will ultimately be part of the biblical “kings of the East.”
Belarus Foreign Minister Dies Suddenly
The Daily Mail wrote on November 26:
“The foreign minister of Russian ally Belarus died suddenly today at the age of 64, it was announced in Minsk. Vladimir Makei was seen as the only main channel of communication to the West in dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s hardline pro-Moscow regime. His sudden death came the day after he met with the Pope’s envoy Ante Jozić amid speculation they were discussing a secret peace plan over the war in Ukraine.
“Career spy Makei had been foreign minister for a decade and was due tomorrow and Monday to host Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Minsk. Lavrov’s spokeswoman said Russia was ‘shocked’ at his passing. No cause of death was given – but several sources speculated that his demise could be suspicious…The pro-war Russian Telegram channel Mardan posted: ‘Strange death. Just in time. Just yesterday he discussed a peace plan with the envoy of the Pope.’ Narrative channel said: ‘Makei was Lukashenko’s main channel of communication with the West. ‘A career intelligence officer, Makei was closely associated with Austrian intelligence and the Austrian elites…’
“HVS channel said Makei was a politician ‘in whose natural death one can never believe’… While Lukashenko is Putin’s closest international ally, the Kremlin has remained concerned that Belarus has failed to fully sign up to his war in Ukraine – even though Moscow has troops stationed in Belarus. There were also concerns that Lukashenko – despite being a pariah – was seeking to do a secret deal with the West…
“The Belarus Foreign Ministry did not recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’ – sparking anger in Moscow…”
Turkey Threatens US Security in Syria
Newsmax wrote on November 25:
“Turkey earlier this week launched drone, air and artillery strikes on Syria and has vowed revenge on U.S.-allied Kurds for a Nov. 13 terror attack in Istanbul, a move that could lead to the release of thousands of imprisoned Islamic State terrorists…
“The United States has allied with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against Islamic State group in Syria, causing a deep rift with Turkey. SDF is led by the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG). Thousands of Islamic State terrorists from more than 50 countries have been incarcerated by Syrian Kurdish Forces…
“The White House told Axios the escalation in Syria ‘and along the Turkish-Syrian border in recent days is dangerous and a threat to the safety of civilians and U.S. personnel in Syria.’ ‘We strongly oppose military action that further destabilizes the lives of communities in Syria and risks the Global Coalition’s hard-earned progress against ISIS,’ the White House National Security Council spokesperson added. The U.S. still has around 900 troops in Syria.”
The rift between Turkey and the USA will deepen.
US Government Still Hides Information Regarding JFK’s Assassination
The Ron Paul Institute wrote on November 25:
“Fifty-nine years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. These many years later, the United States government continues to hold in secret piles of information related to the assassination.
“After the popular theatrical run of director Oliver Stone’s movie JFK that dramatically challenged the Lee Harvey Oswald as ‘lone gunman’ explanation for Kennedy’s assassination, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 became law. It created the Assassination Records Review Board tasked with reviewing and releasing records held by the US government related to the assassination. While some US government records have since been released, others remain hidden away.
“On December 15, the remaining Kennedy assassination records are scheduled for release. But, don’t get your hopes up. Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) President and Kennedy assassination researcher Jacob G. Hornberger predicts in an October 21 FFF article that President Joe Biden will, like President Donald Trump did in 2017 when the deadline for release of the final materials first occurred, refuse to let the public see all the information. Indeed, Biden already did so once in 2021 when the secrecy extension period Trump had set for the remaining records passed…
“Legal scholar Andrew Napolitano, who has known Trump since before Trump’s 2016 presidential run, provides some insight on Trump’s change of mind regarding the release of the still secret Kennedy assassination records in a Tuesday video conversation with Gerald Celente of the Trends Journal. Napolitano, who is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute and was a state trial judge in New Jersey, discusses a late December of 2000 phone conversation he had with Trump in which Trump not releasing the records during his presidential term was discussed. Napolitano relates that Trump, who was then finishing up his presidential term, told Napolitano, ‘Judge, if you saw what I saw, you would know why I can’t release them.’ Queried then by Napolitano concerning what Trump was talking about, Napolitano relates Trump said he could not tell Napolitano over the phone but could tell Napolitano next time they meet in person — something that is yet to happen.
“Napolitano, in the video conversation, speculates regarding why Trump changed his mind regarding releasing the Kennedy assassination records, stating, ‘… Whatever it was it was proof of more people involved than Lee Harvey Oswald — people in the government, and he didn’t want to reveal it even though many of those people are themselves now dead… I think they scared him or threatened him,’ further states Napolitano…”
If those documents are not released on December 15, then we know that something really troublesome has been going on all these years.
Dropping Charges Against Assange?
The New York Times wrote on November 28:
“The New York Times and four European news organizations called on the United States government on Monday to drop its charges against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, for obtaining and publishing classified diplomatic and military secrets.
“In a joint open letter, The Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País said the prosecution of Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act ‘sets a dangerous precedent’ that threatened to undermine the First Amendment and the freedom of the press. ‘Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists,’ the letter said. ‘If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.’
“Mr. Assange, who has been fighting extradition from Britain since his arrest there in 2019, is also accused of participating in a hacking-related conspiracy. The letter notably did not urge the Justice Department to drop that aspect of the case, though it said that ‘some of us are concerned’ about it, too…”
Fauci’s Memory “Vanished”
The New York Post wrote on November 25:
“A federal judge compelled Fauci to answer questions from lawyers suing to reveal the role of ‘dozens of federal officials across at least 11 federal agencies’ to suppress ‘disfavored speakers, viewpoints and content on social-media platforms.’ That lawsuit is exposing how Biden’s war on disinformation is demolishing Americans’ freedom of speech.
“Fauci was deposed on Wednesday by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Landry labeled Fauci the ‘man who single-handedly wrecked the US economy based upon “the science, follow the science.’” But ‘over the course of seven hours, we discovered that he can’t recall practically anything dealing with his COVID response,’ Landry said…”
Telling. Fauci should be held accountable for all the harm he has caused. But will that ever happen in man’s political “justice” system?
Trudeau Defends His Controversial Dictatorship
Fox News wrote on November 26:
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said he is convinced he ‘made the right choice’ in invoking historic emergency powers earlier this year to shut down the Freedom Convoy protests against Canada’s COVID-19 mandates. Trudeau defended his actions in testimony before a commission tasked with investigating his use of the Emergencies Act to end the trucker protest…
“Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canada’s history during February’s Freedom Convoy protest in the capital city of Ottawa. In doing so, he granted the federal government temporary powers to quell truckers and others protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions and freeze the bank accounts of those suspected of supporting the convoy. The emergency powers were lifted on Feb. 23.
“Trudeau’s actions were highly controversial, and civil liberties advocates questioned whether the circumstances of the protest necessitated his extreme response. Lawyers for the convoy and others said that Trudeau had ignored a plan prepared by Ottawa police and argued that the emergency powers were unnecessary to end the protest…
“Additional testimony and documents obtained by the inquiry revealed that U.S. officials had pressured the Canadian government to shut down the protests and remove blockades at border crossings between the U.S. and Canada… White House aides had reportedly contacted Trudeau’s staff as well, ahead of a Feb. 11 phone call that took place between the prime minister and President Biden. On that call, Trudeau reportedly informed the president that his government had a plan to end the protests and blockades.”
Shameful… but not surprisingly, Biden and his aides were apparently instrumental in Trudeau’s dictatorial action to suppress liberties and freedoms.
Deadly Walmart Shooting
Fox News wrote on November 25:
“… a Walmart employee killed six people inside a Chesapeake, Virginia store, wounded several others and taking his own life… In a manifesto, Bing allegedly claimed he ‘was harassed by idiots with low intelligence and a lack of wisdom.’… He legally purchased the 9mm handgun used in the shooting from a local store that morning and had no criminal history, police said Friday.”
It appears that demons become increasingly influential in the lives of people.
Earthquake in Indonesia
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 27:
“The death toll from the earthquake that struck Indonesia’s main island of Java this week has risen to 321 as rescuers found more bodies… The 5.6-magnitude quake struck the highly populated Cianjur region of West Java province on Monday. It damaged more than 62,000 houses and displaced more than 73,000 residents…
“While the magnitude of the earthquake itself would typically be expected to cause light damage, experts say proximity to fault lines, the shallowness of the quake, and inadequate infrastructure that cannot withstand earthquakes all contributed to extensive damage.
“Experts monitoring seismic activity said that 284 aftershocks with gradually lessening intensity have occurred since the main quake struck on Monday.”
Christ warned that in these end times, we will be hearing more and more about earthquakes “in various places” (Matthew 24:7).
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.