The Real ‘Bombshell’: France and Germany United (Source thetrumpet.com) American journalists love to report “bombshells.” Bombshell news about a celebrity. Bombshell news about a “miracle cure.” Bombshell news about President Donald Trump. But there was a much bigger bombshell on January 22, and most journalists didn’t even notice that it had gone off!
The biggest bombshell of January was the Aachen Treaty.
The Times of London reported that the January 22 treaty includes “shared defense, foreign and economic policies in an unprecedented ‘twinning’ pact regarded as a prototype for the future of the European Union.”
In some of the most important aspects of national power, France is bolting itself to Germany. And people think that other EU nations should do the same.
The Times wrote that the treaty enables Germany and France “to present a united diplomatic front and act jointly in peacekeeping missions. … Some officials regard these experiments as a petri dish for the integration of the EU.”
This is a real bombshell! Europe’s second-most powerful nation is giving its power over to Europe’s most powerful nation, and this might be just the beginning.
The Aachen Treaty does not shy away from the issue of military cooperation. After signing the treaty, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said its provisions will build a “common military culture” between France and Germany and “contribute to the creation of a European army.” French President Emmanuel Macron said, “[A]uthoritarian powers are emerging everywhere … let’s build a real European army to protect ourselves and have a real foreign policy.”
The treaty also contains a mutual defense clause. If either France or Germany is attacked, the other nation will come to its defense. The nato alliance, which includes the United States, already provides these two nations with guaranteed defense in case of attack. So why are they making an independent agreement about it? The treaty indicates that these two countries are already looking past nato. If America pulls out of nato or the agreement otherwise falls apart, Europe will have to protect itself without American firepower.
Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration (Source The Washington Post) President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said. Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.
The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.
As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is thought to be in the final stages of an investigation that has focused largely on whether Trump or his associates conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
‘PUTIN KNOWS A LOT MORE THAN THE AMERICAN PUBLIC KNOWS’ ABOUT TRUMP’S DEALINGS WITH RUSSIA, SAYS EX-CIA CHIEF BRENNAN(Source Newsweek)
Brennan said Trump’s relations with President Vladimir Putin and Russia since taking office have raised questions.
“Donald Trump’s actions and behavior towards Russia and towards Putin are quite…quite puzzling in terms of ‘What is he doing?’ Is he trying to pay back? Is he trying to cover up? Is he trying to follow through on some commitments? And the FBI financial investigators are among the best in the world. And I am hoping and confident that they are going to come up with whatever transpired,” Brennan said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible Trump campaign collusion. Brennan went on to discuss Trump’s relationship with Putin and his behavior after the summit between the leaders in Helsinki in June 2018.
“Yes, and it’s quite clear that President Putin knows a lot more than the American public knows about what president Trump has done and said vis-à-vis Russia,” Brennan said.
“There is some kind of special rapport relationship between the two of them. And I think Mr. Putin, who is an exceptionally well-trained KGB officer, intelligence officer, I think has exploited and cultivated this relationship and is taking full advantage of it. He [Trump] acts like he has an ulterior motive that is not apparent and whether or not he is trying cover up something, whether he is fearful of what Mr. Putin might do.” Brennan remarked that several of Trump’s decisions would have delighted Russia. “I think the Russians are laughing at what’s happening here in the United States. Because we are in such disarray and because Mr. Trump is pursuing these mindless policies that I think are undermining national security interests,” said Brennan. He cited a recent New York Times report that Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the NATO alliance, as well as the president’s recent decision to withdraw troops from Syria, a move praised by Putin.
Taiwan holds live-fire exercises following China threats (Source Associated Press) Taiwan held live-fire exercises along its east coast Thursday amid renewed threats from China to bring the island under its control by force if deemed necessary. Artillery and assault helicopters fired at targets off the west coast city of Taichung, while French-made Mirage fighter jets took off amid rainy conditions from the air base at Hsinchu to the north. The drills are Taiwan’s first since Chinese President Xi Jinping on Jan. 2 reasserted Beijing’s willingness to use military force to bring self-ruling Taiwan under Chinese control.
The drills also follow a new Pentagon report laying out U.S. concerns about China’s growing military might, underscoring worries about a possible attack against Taiwan.
Taiwan’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen has made national defense a priority while refusing China’s demand that she recognize Taiwan as a part of China. That’s led to Beijing ratcheting up economic, military and diplomatic pressure on the island of 23 million.
In a meeting with U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson in Beijing on Tuesday, China’s Chief of Staff Li Zuocheng issued a warning against foreign forces coming to Taiwan’s assistance. The U.S. is Taiwan’s chief source of military hardware and is legally bound to respond to threats against its security.
Russia, U.S. fail to save missile treaty, Washington to pull out (Source Reuters) The United States on Wednesday rejected a Russian offer to save a landmark treaty that keeps nuclear missiles out of Europe because it could not be properly verified, setting the stage for Washington to withdraw from the pact next month. After a meeting in Geneva between Russian and U.S. officials, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson said Moscow was refusing to allow proper inspection of a new Russian missile system that Washington says breaks the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the U.S. Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.
The treaty bans land-based missiles with a range between 500 kms and 5,500 kms (300-3400 miles).
“We weren’t able to break any new ground yesterday with Russia,” Thompson said of the Jan. 15 meeting with Russian Foreign Ministry officials. “Based on yesterday’s discussions and corresponding rhetoric today, we see no indication that Russia would choose compliance,” Thompson told reporters.
America’s Achilles’ Heel: Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons (Source thetrumpet.com)
America is the greatest superpower in world history. Achilles was the greatest mythical warrior in the Trojan War. But even he had a fatal vulnerability. If an enemy of the U.S. could sabotage this technology, it could conquer the nation. One of the main ways to sabotage information systems is cyberwarfare. But there are others.
The U.S. Air Force released an Electromagnetic Defense Task Force report on November 28. It concluded that an electromagnetic pulse generated by solar flare or a nuclear weapon could cripple communication systems that the military desperately needs. Such an eventuality would fulfill a major Bible prophecy. Radiation from solar flares sometimes affects radio communications and power-line transmissions. In 1859, a powerful solar storm knocked out telegraph systems all over Europe and North America. If a similar high-energy storm occurred today, it would cause widespread blackouts and long-term damage to the electrical grid. After nuclear weapons were developed, the U.S. government decided to test whether a nuclear explosion could create a burst of electromagnetic radiation similar to a solar flare. In 1962, the U.S. detonated a 1.4-megaton bomb 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean. The high-altitude explosion blew out streetlights and caused phone outages 900 miles away in Hawaii. The blast also damaged several American, British and Russian satellites.
The electronics of the 1960s were more resilient to electromagnetic pulses than today’s smartphones, computers, nuclear power facilities and other technologies. The high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon over North America would theoretically incapacitate power grids for months, bringing chaos to major cities. The U.S. military is ill prepared to respond to such chaos, as it is dependent upon the very advanced electronics that would be destroyed. Communication between military bases would be cut off. Many weapons systems would be rendered useless.
“Based on the totality of available data,” the Air Force report states, “an electromagnetic spectrum attack may be a threat to the United States, democracy and the world order.”
Oceans hottest on record in 2018, warming faster than previously thought (Source usatoday.com)
Global warming isn’t only cooking our atmosphere, its also heating up the oceans. The world’s seas were the warmest on record in 2018, scientists announced Thursday. Also, ocean temperatures are rising faster than previously thought, a new paper said. Specifically, they’re warming as much as 40 percent faster than an estimate from a United Nations panel just five years ago. “If you want to see where global warming is happening, look in our oceans,” said paper co-author Zeke Hausfather, in a statement. “Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought,” said Hausfather, who is a climate scientist with Carbon Brief.
He also said that while 2018 was the 4th-warmest year on record in the atmosphere, it was the warmest year on record in the oceans, as was 2017 and 2016 before that. In fact, Hausfather told Reuters that records for ocean warming have been broken almost yearly since 2000.
Overall, while we’re rightly concerned about what climate change is doing to our atmosphere, ocean heating is critical because an estimated 93 percent of all heat trapped by greenhouse gases settles in the world’s oceans.
Global warming is caused by humanity’s burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal, which release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the earth’s atmosphere and oceans.
‘H.R. 420’ is a proposed bill that would regulate marijuana like alcohol (Source usatoday.com)
A bill introduced in Congress this week that seeks to regulate marijuana like alcohol has been numbered “H.R. 420,” a name the bill’s sponsor has called a “tongue-in-cheek” reference to cannabis. A press release from U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer — a Democrat from Oregon who is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus — says that “while the bill number may be a bit tongue in cheek, the issue is very serious,” according to Forbes.
“Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives,” Blumenauer is quoted as saying by the publication. “Congress cannot continue to be out of touch with a movement that a growing majority of Americans support. It’s time to end this senseless prohibition.” Blumenauer’s proposed bill would remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list. The “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” would establish regulation for cannabis that would be overseen by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
U.S. AND CHINA TUSSLE IN SOUTH CHINA SEA, CHINA ORDERS MILITARY “TO BE READY” TEST MOAB, RUSSIA AND IRAN PLAN DRILLS IN ATLANTIC Source Activist Post)
Tensions are continuing to rise between world superpowers. China has ordered its military to “enhance combat readiness” following a test of a MOAB (mother of all bombs); Russia and Iran are planning drills in the Atlantic; and the U.S. just sailed a Navy destroyer through the contested South China waters. Last week, China’s President Xi Jinping Friday ordered the Chinese armed forces People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to enhance their combat readiness to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests after the U.S. had issued a travel warning to China stating Americans were at risk to arbitrary and indefinite detention. “The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,” Xi said, to the Central Military Commission (CMC) warning that various risks and challenges were on the rise. “The entire armed forces should have a correct understanding of China’s security and development trends, enhance their awareness of danger, crisis and war, and make solid efforts on combat preparations in order to accomplish the tasks assigned by the Party and the people,” Xi added according to a press release. This followed the test of China’s dubbed Mother Of All Bombs, (MOAB) only a day prior, according to the official Xinhua news agency which described the bomb as the “Chinese version of the ‘Mother of all Bombs,’” Dawn reported. The bomb’s strength was compared second to that of a nuclear weapon, according to the agency.
Sebastian Kurz Sets His Sights on Jerusalem (Source thetrumpet.com) The first stone of the foundation of the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family in Jerusalem was laid on New Year’s Eve 1856. Today, the pilgrim’s house has reason again to celebrate. With Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the hospice has found its strongest supporter since the end of the Habsburg dynasty in 1918.
In 2018, one century after the collapse of the Habsburg dynasty, Kurz and Vienna Archbishop Christoph Schönborn have again joined forces to revive its legacy. One small part of this legacy is a seemingly insignificant hospice in Jerusalem that lost its historic importance after the end of World War i. In 2018, the Austrian government and the Catholic Church together invested $3 million in its restoration. By itself, this is of little-to-no significance compared to the earthshaking events that happen almost every day. But because of its history, the restoration of the Austrian Hospice is far more significant than offering improved accommodations for travelers. The hospice has been a key part of the Vatican’s involvement in the Holy Land. Its restoration symbolizes the revival of relations between Austria and the Vatican—and their ambitions in Israel. Through the centuries, the Holy Roman Empire has claimed rulership of Jerusalem. But in only very few cases did it ever actually rule the city and then only in a limited way. The empire’s claim over the city caused some of the world’s most bloody conflicts and is prophesied to be the center of yet another world war.
The Holy Roman Empire’s last attempt to gain control of Jerusalem failed in the 14th century. While later emperors of the Habsburg dynasty claimed to be the true “king of Jerusalem,” they themselves have never even set foot on its soil and neither had many of their subjects. But this changed with the establishment of the Austrian Hospice in the 18th century. The hospice opened the way for Catholic monarchs to enter Jerusalem. In addition, it proved crucial in housing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims over the years.
While the hospice remains as nothing more than a temporary stay for pilgrims, it speaks volumes for Europe’s desire to rule Jerusalem. Schönborn and Kurz understand the hospice’s religious and historic significance and seek to strengthen it.