Current Events

Hurricane Katrina–God’s Wrath on Man?

Some have wondered and commented about the possibility that Hurricane Katrina was a direct outpouring of God’s Wrath on the people of New Orleans and other devastated areas–that God decided to punish the affected people for their sins. Based on the biblical evidence, we don’t believe that God “singled out” New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Rather, Christ said that the people on whom the tower of Siloam fell were not worse sinners than others, and He told His listener (and He is warning all of us today) that if they (and we) don’t repent, they (and we) will all LIKEWISE perish (compare Luke 13:4-5). Hurricane Katrina was a warning, no doubt (as we pointed out in our last StandingWatch program, titled, “More Disasters Will Strike…”). On the other hand, the time when GOD specifically pours out His plagues has not yet come. So far, it is still Satan who rules this world, but he can only do, of course, what God allows him to do. The Great Tribulation, still to come, which will begin BEFORE the Day of the Lord [which is also called the Day of God’s Wrath] constitutes “SATAN’S wrath” (compare Revelation 6:9-11, and the insert chapter of Revelation 12, especially verse 12). GOD’S Wrath will FOLLOW the Great Tribulation and the “Heavenly Signs” (compare Revelation 6:12-17).

When reading this week’s Current Events section, reporting on Hurricane Katrina, we should notice several disturbing thoughts for sure– the continuing downfall of the United States of America, its decreasing reputation and prestige in the world and the world’s assessment of blame on the leadership of the USA. We are publishing the following comments FOR THE PURPOSE OF INFORMING OUR READERSHIP ABOUT THE PROPHESIED ONGOING DETERIORATION BETWEEN THE USA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD–ESPECIALLY EUROPE. (You might want to read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America” and “Europe in Prophecy,” which are posted on the Web.)

Reuters reported on September 2, 2005:

“The world has watched amazed as the planet’s only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society… ‘Anarchy in the USA’ declared Britain’s best-selling newspaper The Sun. ‘Apocalypse Now’ headlined Germany’s Handelsblatt daily…
“Many newspapers highlighted criticism of local and state authorities and of President Bush. Some compared the sputtering relief effort with the massive amounts of money and resources poured into the war in Iraq.

“‘A modern metropolis sinking in water and into anarchy — it is a really cruel spectacle for a champion of security like Bush,’ France’s left-leaning Liberation newspaper said… Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, in a veiled criticism of U.S. political thought, said the disaster showed the need for a strong state that could help poor people.”

More Reactions From the International Press–Has the Time of Reckoning Come?

The International press has been openly attacking the Bush Administration, alleging that it is incompetent, and that it is bringing shame on America.

When reading the following excerpts, these Scriptures about modern America (and Britain) might come to mind:

Ezekiel 22:4: “….You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries.”

Ezekiel 22:5: “Those near and those far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult.”

The conservative German mass tabloid, Bild Online, wrote on Sunday, September 4, 2005:

“In addition to the suffering, there is ANGER against Bush. SHAME, shame for America. Citizens and politicians are abhorred about the mistakes of the crisis management. They allege that Bush has failed.” The paper concluded: “US actor Pierce Brosnan (‘James Bond’) attacked Bush directly. He said in Deauville (France): ‘I don’t know whether this man is really concerned about America. He will have to answer for a lot of things.'”

LA Provence (Marseille, France) stated that the time will come when one must ask questions of an “indifferent president who seems to be more concerned about Iraq than his own people.”

Le Monde (France) wrote: “The superpower … is INCAPABLE of handling a national catastrophe of such proportions. A discussion is underway in the USA whether it makes sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraq, while there is inability to help its own citizens at home. Hurricane Katrina could become an historical (event) such as September 11… After Katrina, the world holds out its hand to a HUMILIATED America.”

Die Sonntagszeitung (Zurich) wrote: “President Bush will have to give an account to his own people, and to the rest of the world…These natural catastrophes cannot be viewed any longer as mere coincidences.”

La Repubblica (Rome) said: “We are seeing an AMERICAN POMPEII, which has been left to itself, and which is SLOWLY DYING.”

Il Messagero (Rome) stated that the mightiest army in the world could do nothing to prevent September 11, and that the biggest and most sophisticated technology could do nothing to prevent the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

The Sunday Times (England) commented on Sunday, September 4, 2005: “This time, America’s vulnerability is coupled with incompetence… The only superpower in the world appears like an average Third World Country during a crisis.”

The Observer (England) wrote early September: “The conclusion that the leadership has failed tremendously is inescapable… President Bush did not immediately end his vacation, and when he spoke to the nation, he did not make it clear that he understood the severity of the situation.”

The Daily Mail (England) wrote on September 3, 2005, about the “humbling of a superpower,” pointing out: “Like some lurid scene from an apocalyptic disaster movie, a world-famous city is overwhelmed by the awesome forces of nature. Familiar landmarks lie half-submerged in a toxic swamp of polluted water. Thousands are feared dead. Images of desperate people smashing through the roofs of their homes to escape the floods fill our TV screens. But this is no Hollywood blockbuster. This is New Orleans today. The most exotic, un-American corner of the United States has fallen victim to a cataclysm that almost defies belief. A city the size of Sheffield will soon be lying completely empty, its residents fled, evacuated, or drowned. While Washington struggles to respond to the storm that has humbled the most powerful nation on the planet, we should perhaps reflect on how quickly the thin veneer of civilisation can be stripped away…

“Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised. George Bush, so decisive when it came to launching an illegal war on Iraq, froze like a rabbit in the headlamps… Now back in Washington, the President finds his reckless adventure in Iraq coming back to haunt him. The National Guard, the part-time soldiers whose prime role is to provide emergency services in natural disasters, have in large part been deployed overseas. Five thousand members of the Louisiana National Guard who should be spearheading the rescue effort watch the disaster unfold from their HQ – Camp Liberty, west of Baghdad. Equipment that could have been so valuable in the rescue operations is parked in depots there. The same is happening across all the neighbouring states, leaving Washington bereft of vital manpower as it grapples with the greatest homeland crisis in memory. Here is a superpower that can crush at will a tinpot dictatorship–but then becomes so bogged down in the grisly aftermath of war that it finds itself unable to respond anything like adequately to the plight of tens of thousands of its own citizens engulfed by a natural calamity. President Bush, his ratings already in free-fall, could pay a high price indeed for his military folly.”

The Independent (England), a conservative paper, wrote on Sunday, September 4, 2005: “New Orleans will have to be abandoned for at least nine months, and many of its people will remain homeless for up to two years, the US government believes. The bleak assessment will deepen the biggest crisis faced by President George Bush, who last week called the devastation of Hurricane Katrina a ‘temporary disruption’… The President is now facing a political hurricane of his own, with gathering criticism, even from inside his own party, for failing to heed warnings of the city’s vulnerability, cutting spending on its defences to pay for the wars on terror and in Iraq, and responding sluggishly to the worst natural catastrophe ever to hit his country… The criticism is all the sharper because the President did nothing to alter his holiday schedule for 48 hours. Vice-President Dick Cheney remains on holiday in Wyoming [as of the date of the publication].”

The Independent (England) wrote in another article, published on September 4, 2005: “Vital measures to protect New Orleans from ‘catastrophic’ hurricane damage were scrapped by the Bush administration to pay for its wars on terror and in Iraq, despite official warnings of impending disaster. Funding for flood prevention was slashed by 80 per cent, work on strengthening levees to protect the city was stopped for the first time in 37 years, and planning for housing stranded citizens and evacuating refugees from the Superdome were crippled. Yet the administration HAD BEEN WARNED repeatedly of the dangers by its own officials. In early 2001, at the start of Mr Bush’s presidency, his Government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) warned that a HURRICANE HITTING NEW ORLEANS would be the DEADLIEST OF THE THREE MOST LIKELY CATASTROPHES facing America; the others were a MASSIVE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE and, PROPHETICALLY, A TERRORIST ATTACK ON NEW YORK… Natural and man-made defences have long been neglected. A 10-year plan to strengthen levees after a 1965 hurricane was never completed. But the skimping has worsened since President Bush’s election, particularly after 11 September. Federal spending on flood control in south-east Louisiana has been cut by almost half since 2001.”

Der Spiegel Online republished, on September 3, 2005, an article which had been published in the New York Times, titled, “THE UNITED STATES OF SHAME.” It stated: “Stuff happens. And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens. America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it’s happening in America…

“Who on earth could have known that New Orleans’s sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy’s uneasy fishbowl… Not only was the
money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq… Michael Brown… in charge of FEMA… admitted he didn’t know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center…. When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they SHOOK THE FAITH OF THE WORLD IN AMERICAN IDEALS. When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans–most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first–they SHOOK THE FAITH OF ALL AMERICANS IN AMERICAN IDEALS. AND MADE US ASHAMED. WHO ARE WE IF WE CAN’T TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN?”

On September 7, 2005, The Associated Press published an article with the headline: “Europeans Wonder About Slow Katrina Relief.” The article stated: “For four days, a C-130 transport plane ready to lift supplies to Katrina victims has stood idle at an air base in Sweden. The aid includes a water purification system that may be urgently needed amid signs deadly diseases could be spreading through fetid pools in New Orleans. The one thing that stands in the way of takeoff? Approval by U.S. officials. Although some foreign aid is on the way to the U.S., many international donors are complaining of frustration that bureaucratic entanglements are hindering shipments to the United States… The United States has accepted offers of nearly $1 billion in assistance from some 95 countries, said Harry K. Thomas Jr., the State Department’s executive secretary. One of those rejected came from Iran… because it was conditional… But Poland, Austria and Norway said they had not heard back on their aid offers, and countries outside Europe said they were also waiting for replies.”

The article continued:

“The global mobilization has been accompanied by widespread surprise at the mayhem in New Orleans. People around the world have been shocked by the images of the devastation, and also by the looting and disorder that followed and the perceived shortcomings in the response by U.S. authorities. ‘We have all watched as a large part of the United States fell from a First World society into Third World death, chaos and social breakdown,’ historian J.L. Granastein, a fellow of the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute, wrote in Canada’s The Globe and Mail. Fintan O’Toole, writing in The Irish Times, said the disaster revealed ‘the underlying nature of a troubled country. When America looks at the huge expanse of filthy, fetid water that has drowned New Orleans, it becomes a mirror in which it finally sees the scars on its own face. The scars of poverty, of racism, of ideological zealotry, of public corruption and of environmental degradation, usually concealed by a cosmetic media, become visible,’ he wrote.”

According to AFP, China’s “most important state-run newspaper has accused US President George W. Bush and his administration of ‘negligence of duty’ in its response to the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina.” The article, which was published on September 8, 2005, continued: “‘… ever since “September 11″, the Congress had cut anti-flood allocation to Louisiana, which later became a main reason for the slow rescue work this time,’ said the officially controlled [Communist] paper. ‘In the face of the hurricane, Americans accepted the challenge but failed to beat it off. This is really a shame on the United States.’ It said the anarchy and chaos seen in New Orleans after the hurricane looked to the world like America was ‘fighting a city war at home.’ ‘New Orleans has become Baghdad,’ it said… ‘it revealed the fragility of American society, as well as despair and disorder in a state of anarchy.'”

America Needs Help! published the following article on September 7, 2005:

“From Germany, 25 tons of food rations and more on the way. Mexico sent bottled water. And from France, Red Cross workers flew to Baton Rouge to join in the relief effort. But big is too small a word to describe the international response to Hurricane Katrina–more than 60 nations have reached out and responded to America’s call for help. And it doesn’t capture the SHOCK that other countries have over the images that have emerged from the Gulf Coast. Here in Britain and elsewhere newspaper editorials are asking why the world’s only superpower APPEARS SO HELPLESS. The Independent newspaper in Britain declared on its front page Tuesday that people were dying because they were poor… And all across Europe people are talking about HOW AMERICA COULD GET IT SO WRONG. In the Middle East satellite news channels came up with an answer. In a word: ‘Iraq.’… Several Arab networks claim American can’t fight a war in Iraq and battle storm damage at home. One commentator said the natural disaster has put Iraq as the number-one issue in the United States, saying, ‘most Americans are drawing a link between the Iraq war and the delay in rescue efforts.’… The criticism from those with an agenda was predictable. Still there was GENUINE DISMAY from Arab countries expecting the U.S. to at least take care of their own. Egyptian newspapers called it SHOCKING that America was incapable of handling the disaster… At the London School of Economics, Professor Rodney Baker said the disaster has ALTERED AMERICA’S IMAGE.”

The article continued:

“But rich or poor, nations are lining up to help. How about the image of Afghanistan pledging a hundred thousand dollars? Or that Singaporeans are now flying rescue helicopters over New Orleans? Or that Sri Lanka, itself a victim of a national disaster during the tsunami, offered $25,000 to the Red Cross, all it could afford? So nations with little to offer give what they can PERHAPS IN RECOGNITION OF AMERICA’S LONG HISTORY OF GENEROSITY IN TIMES OF NEED.”

Horror Statistics and Facts

The Independent (England) wrote on September 4, 2005: “In New Orleans, fires burn amid a sea of sewage and uncounted corpses. Across the coast of the southern United States, up to 10,000 are killed, hundreds of thousands displaced, and nearly every shred of civilisation removed.”

The Associated Press wrote on September 4, 2005, that “Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Sunday the death toll from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath is in the thousands, the first time a federal official has acknowledged what many had feared.”

AFP wrote on September 2, 2005: “US Senator David Vitter said that the death toll from Hurricane Katrina could top 10,000 in Louisiana alone.”

On September 2, 2005, The Huffington Post published an editorial by Randall Robinson, a social justice advocate and author whose works include, “The Debt–What America Owes to Blacks”: “It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive. Four days after the storm, thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs.”

Incredible Lack of US Reserves of Crude and Heating Oil

Reuters reported on September 2, 2005:

“France, Germany, Spain and Italy [who have “SUBSTANTIAL emergency reserves”] declared they were ready to send fuel across the Atlantic… EU nations have watched in horror as the world’s richest country struggles with the aftermath of Katrina. Thousands are feared dead and troops in the flooded city of New Orleans have been told to shoot-to-kill to crack down on looting. Gasoline prices have soared by nearly a fifth over the past week and President George W. Bush has urged Americans to go easy on fuel… the United States has ONLY emergency reserves of crude and a SMALL stockpile of heating oil… ” The article pointed out, too, that “Europe’s pledge of gasoline may carry a POLITICAL PRICE for Washington.”

Need for Repentance

On September 3, 2005, WorldNetDaily published a statement by Billy Graham on the catastrophe in New Orleans. Although it proves to be a mixture of truth and error–in fact, more error than truth–we are quoting Graham, with approval, as follows:

“The disaster of Hurricane Katrina may be the worst tragedy America has known since the Civil War. The aftermath has almost been frightening… The tragedy is so overwhelming that it is beyond comprehension… The flood of refugees may be one of the greatest challenges our society has ever faced. It is clear that it will take years for thousands of lives to return to normal… Times like this will make us react in one of two ways: Either we will become bitter and angry–or we will realize our need of God and turn to Him in faith and trust… May this tragedy make each of us realize our need of God, and may we turn to Christ in repentance and faith and find our hope in Him.”

California Next?

The Los Angeles Times reported on September 8, 2005:

“U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones remembers attending an emergency training session in August 2001 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that discussed the three most likely catastrophes to strike the United States. First on the list was a terrorist attack in New York. Second was a super-strength hurricane hitting New Orleans. Third was a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault. Now that the first two have come to pass, she and other earthquake experts are using the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to reassess how California would handle a major temblor… officials believe that a major temblor could cause the level of destruction and disruption [in California, especially Los Angeles] seen over the last week on the Gulf Coast…

“There are about 40,000 structures in California made from ‘non-ductile reinforced concrete,’ a rigid substance susceptible to cracking… A state study published last year on hazard reduction paints a sobering picture of California’s earthquake danger. About 62% of the population lives in a zone of high earthquake danger, including 100% of the population of Ventura County, 99% of Los Angeles County and 92% of Riverside County… One of the biggest concerns of seismic safety officials is the fate of hospitals… About 78% of hospitals have at least one building deemed at risk… A 2002 state study found that more than 7,500 school buildings across California are expected to ‘perform poorly’ in a major temblor… About 60% of Southern California’s water is imported from outside the region in three major aqueducts that cross the San Andreas fault, making them particularly vulnerable to major earthquake damage… Major gas lines also come into Southern California over the San Andreas at several points.”

Iraq in the News

The Catholic paper, Zenit, published the following article on September 2, 2005:

“The archbishop of Baghdad warns that there are ‘serious risks’ of civil war in Iraq… tensions are rising as the Shiites and the Sunnis fight over the future constitution. ‘We are still in great chaos, but perhaps this word does not express the daily tragedy of the situation… The chaos is fueled, in fact, by violence, which I would not describe as “blind,” as it seems to be very well planned and, therefore, perverse.’… Democracy ‘might come soon, but it might never come,’ continued the archbishop.”

TV Debate in Germany

As The Associated Press reported on September 4, 2005, “Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder reminded Germans of his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and his challenger Angela Merkel focused on unemployment, as the two squared off Sunday in a key televised debate [the only one agreed to by both parties] two weeks ahead of elections. The 90-minute debate, broadcast live during prime time, offered the beleaguered Schroeder an opportunity to showcase his strong television skills as polls give Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats a double-digit advantage over his Social Democrats. Polls found that the media-savvy Schroeder performed better–an outcome that had been widely predicted… A poll of 1,276 people carried out for ARD television after the debate found that 49 percent believed Schroeder fared better overall, against 33 percent for Merkel.”

As Bild Online explained, 57 percent felt that Schroeder was more competent than Merkel; only 34 percent favored Merkel. 56 percent had more sympathy for Schroeder than for Merkel; only 34 percent favored Merkel. According to a poll for ZDF television, 48 percent believed that Schroeder was the victor of the debate; only 28 percent felt that Merkel had fared better.

It will have to be seen, what impact, if any, the TV debate will have on the governmental election on September 18, 2005.

Europe’s Galileo Satellite Navigation System

As Reuters reported on September 7, 2005, “India joined Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system on Wednesday, becoming the fourth non-EU country to join the program that rivals the U.S. Global Positioning System. Galileo is Europe’s plan to create its own global navigation satellite system, with uses ranging from helping motorists navigate electronic maps to assisting search-and-rescue operations. It is scheduled to go into service in 2008 and eventually will have 30 satellites orbiting almost 24,000 km (15,000 miles) above the earth… China, Israel and Ukraine have already joined Galileo and talks were also underway with Argentina, Brazil, Morocco, Mexico, Norway [and] Chile… The project is meant to rival the U.S. Global Positioning System.”

Europe’s new navigation system is a big step towards independence from the US satellite system, which could also be used, of course, for military purposes.

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