Current Events

Barack Obama Wins US Election–and the World Hopes for Real Change

Deutsche Welle reported on November 5:

“Democrat Barack Obama has won the US presidential election by a large margin. Voter turnout at 64 percent was the highest since World War II. Speaking to supporters in Chicago, the president-elect promised a new direction for the country, and reached out to supporters of his opponent, Republican Senator John McCain. Outgoing President, George W. Bush, congratulated John McCain for the campaign he conducted with Governor Sarah Palin. Obama, who takes office in eleven weeks, will be the first African American president in US history. He has won 28 states to win 349 Electoral College votes, far more than the 270 he needed…”

“World leaders have hailed Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential election as ‘the dawn of a new era’ and called for the global superpower to change the way it does business. German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Obama for what she called his ‘historic victory’. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, extended his ‘warmest  congratulations.’ Kenya, the birthplace of Obama’s father, declared a national holiday to welcome the world’s first, black US president.”

The EUObserver reported on November 5:

“… Brussels urged for a ‘new deal in a new world’ under the leadership of Barack Obama. ‘This is a time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America,’ European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said… [He] assured the US President-elect of his support when both Brussels and Washington will ‘face together the many challenges ahead of us’…

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy whose country is currently chairing the EU congratulated him for the ‘brilliant victory,’ noting ‘By choosing you, the American nation has chosen change, openness and optimism.’

“‘It would give an excellent message to the people of the EU if Barack Obama were to make a speech in the European Parliament during his first visit to Europe,’ the parliament’s president, Hans Gert Poettering, said in his statement of congratulation. ‘This way he could address the almost 500 million citizens of the European Union,’ he added.”

The Difficult Road Ahead for President-Elect Barack Obama

The New York Times wrote on November 5:

“No president since before Barack Obama was born has ascended to the Oval Office confronted by the accumulation of seismic challenges awaiting him… On the shoulders of a 47-year-old first-term senator, with the power of inspiration yet no real executive experience, now falls the responsibility of prosecuting two wars, protecting the nation from terrorist threat and stitching back together a shredded economy…

“What kind of decision maker and leader Mr. Obama will be remains unclear even to many of his supporters…

“Whatever collaboration there may be in the short term, Mr. Obama represents the end of the Bush era in the long term. Yet he will find himself dealing with the Bush legacy for years to come. He promised on the campaign trail to close the detention facility at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but analysts in both parties expect that to be more difficult than he imagines. He will inherit a deficit that could approach $1 trillion next year, which could curtail his ambitions, like expanding health care coverage…

“Mr. Obama’s soaring speeches have created such a well of anticipation that there is a deep danger of letdown. He talked during the campaign of a ‘new politics’ bringing Republicans and Democrats together. But if he really works with Republicans to find common ground on issues like Iraq, terrorism and climate change, he risks alienating his liberal base…

“‘There’s always some surprise that you can’t plan for,’ said Nancy E. Soderberg, a top national security aide under Mr. Clinton. She recalled the first President George Bush’s decision to send troops into Somalia just before handing over the Oval Office to Mr. Clinton…”

The Los Angeles Times added on November 4:

“The nation is in dire economic straits… The new president will focus first on stabilizing the economy… he will probably defer some of his biggest, most controversial goals until later — a decision that may send some of his liberal supporters into postelection depression…”

The Associated Press wrote on November 5:

“No president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has faced economic and financial market crises so dire and so urgent as Obama confronts now. And Obama also must deal with wars in Iraq, which he has promised to end, and in Afghanistan, where he plans to send U.S. reinforcements. He may have headaches with his own Democrats on war issues. Liberal Democrats want immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and may balk at sending more troops to Afghanistan…

“With election-reinforced majorities in both the House and the Senate, the Democrats are in full command of the government. They will have an effective Senate majority of at least 56 seats, counting two independents who have sided with them… [but] it takes 60 votes to end debate and force action. That will remain an obstacle…

“Bush is the past. Obama is the future, and it begins now, in troubled times, for a president-elect with a costly agenda of promises that would be difficult to deliver in far better economic circumstances.”

The Bush Legacy–“The Era of American Leadership Is Over”

On October 30, Der Spiegel Online published an article, which gave an interesting assessment of the USA. We are setting forth below excerpts from the article, which accurately describe how most Germans and Europeans look today at President Bush, his administration and the country as a whole. The big question is, will the new U.S. administration under President Obama be able to substantially change European perceptions of the USA?

Der Spiegel Online wrote:

“In his two terms in the White House, US President George W. Bush has presided over a precipitous fall in America’s reputation around the world. History is likely to judge him a failure. Now, his successor will have to dig the US out of a deep hole… Rarely has the decline of a nation… been so strikingly documented… Never before have such low approval ratings been measured for a US president than for Bush in his last few months. They are currently at between 19 and 20 percent. More than four out of five Americans believe that the nation is ‘headed in the wrong direction’… After seven years of Republican dominance in Washington, Bush’s fellow Republicans now avoid him like the plague…

“Iraq is the gaping foreign policy wound, even if the level of violence in Baghdad and some provinces has declined. The war violated international law, divided the allies and wounded the Americans in terms of their value system and self-respect. Over and above the enormous financial cost, the war has been the source of great human tragedy. More than 4,000 American soldiers and an estimated more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died, while more than four million Iraqi men, women and children have been forced to flee their country.

“There will always be debates over whether it made sense to bring down the brutal regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with military force and become an occupying power. There is much to suggest that it was the wrong choice. It undermined America’s political standing (while bolstering Iran’s influence as a regional power) and, even among US allies, fueled the suspicion that Washington was solely interested in oil and military bases… There is ‘no longer the slightest doubt,’ writes The New Yorker, that the Bush administration lied to and manipulated the American public to gain support for the invasion of Iraq. It is also considered indisputable fact today that the conduct of the war was incompetent…

“Another ugly blemish on the Bush administration is the disgrace of human rights violations in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. The administration bears responsibility — as it does for the scandalous weakening of prohibitions on torture, a move that is simply incompatible with a country based on the rule of law. The man in charge at the White House is believed to have directly approved the practice of waterboarding, which simulates the sensation of drowning in its victims…

“The domestic consequences of the Bush years have also been catastrophic. The national debt has almost doubled, to an inconceivable $10 trillion (€7.75 trillion). The number of Americans without health insurance rose by over eight million to 47 million, while the number of those living below the poverty line grew by almost six million. Bush’s tax breaks for the country’s wealthiest citizens have made America’s already extreme social disparities even more glaring…

“The well-known British philosopher and author John Gray… notes: ‘The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over’…”

U.S. Treasury Keeps Borrowing Over a Trillion Dollars

The speed with which the U.S. Treasury keeps borrowing astronomical amounts of money is frightening. It seems like every sense for balance has been tossed aside. How long do we have to watch until we realize that the American Titanic is hopelessly sailing full steam ahead against its providential deadly ice berg?

AFP reported on November 3:

“The US Treasury said Monday it would seek to borrow a record 550 billion dollars in the October-December period to help stabilize the financial sector hammered by the global credit crisis. The fourth-quarter borrowing estimate was substantially higher than the 408 billion dollars announced in July, and is a record high for quarterly estimates… The Treasury said the federal government had borrowed 530 billion dollars from the markets in the third quarter.”

EU at Brink of Recession

Deutsche Welle reported on November 3:

“The European Union’s economy is set to grind to a halt in 2009 and only start picking up in 2010 as the financial crisis takes its toll on one of the world’s major economic blocs. There is a ‘real risk’ of the world’s largest economy sliding into recession, officials warned… While they make for bleak reading, the EU’s 2009 figures are better than those of the United States and Japan…

“Of the EU’s four biggest economies, Britain is almost certain of facing a full-blown recession in 2009, with its gross domestic product shrinking by 1 per cent. Germany, France and Italy are all expected to post zero growth rates next year… Among the EU member states expected to feel the full pain of the downturn are… Ireland, Estonia and Latvia… Spain, the EU’s fifth-biggest economy and formerly one of its strongest economic performers, is also set to tip into recession… France… is expected to see its deficit hit the 3 per cent of GDP upper limit this year and to exceed this limit in 2010…

“The grim economic outlook comes as Europe’s top banks revealed how much they were being squeezed of profits by the credit crunch. Germany’s second-biggest bank, Commerzbank, said Monday it had lost 285 million euros and would seek an 8.2 billion euro ($10.5 billion) ‘stabilization’ injection from the government and another 15 billion euro to secure financing. French bank Societe Generale registered an 83.7 percent drop in third-quarter net profit after being hit hard by the collapse of US lender Lehman Brothers. Britain’s biggest home lender HBOS Plc reported it could lose as much as 5 billion pounds from risky assets and bad loans.”

Greater EU Political Role in the World

The EUObserver wrote on November 4:

“The EU has in a letter to the next US president appealed for a greater European role on the world stage, more engagement with a resurgent Russia and more emphasis on peacemaking in Afghanistan and the Middle East… The letter urges the new US administration to put the Middle East peace process at the top of its agenda and foresees a ‘useful role’ for the EU as co-guarantors of a future Israeli-Palestinian accord…

“The US remains critical of Germany’s reluctance to commit troops to combat zones in southern Afghanistan, while the former-communist EU states are concerned by France’s Russia-friendly tone.”

Russia vs. the West

The Times wrote on November 5:

“President Dmitri Medvedev took advantage of the euphoria in America today to order the deployment of missiles inside Europe as a response to US plans for a missile defence shield. Speaking within hours of Barack Obama’s election as the new US President, Mr Medvedev announced that Russia would base Iskander missiles in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad next to the border with Poland…

“His announcement prompted a burst of applause from government ministers and parliamentary deputies assembled in the Kremlin. The President failed to congratulate Mr Obama or even to mention him by name during his 85-minute state of the nation address televised live across Russia. Instead… [he] accused the West of seeking to encircle Russia and blamed the US for encouraging Georgia’s ‘barbaric aggression’ in the war over South Ossetia in August. He issued a warning that Russia would ‘not back down in the Caucasus’…

“Mr Medvedev blamed the US for the global financial crisis, saying that the rest of the world had been ‘dragged down with it into recession’. He claimed that the era of American domination after the collapse of the Soviet Union was now over.”

How Ministers of Religion Get Involved in Politics

Surely, one should not have expected too much, if anything, from the American propaganda associated with the circus of its presidential elections. Exaggerations and misrepresentations were common-place, and the Hollywood-type showmanship of America’s candidates and their political supporters were big entertainment. And famous and not-so-famous entertainers were anxious to throw their weight behind a particular candidate–as if this would mean anything.

But when ministers of religion–who are supposed to keep their noses out of the political arena–began to compare a presidential candidate with Moses, then something is for sure morbid and rotten. It reminds us of Austrian priests and bishops who praised Hitler as the new Savior and asked Austrian Catholics to vote for him and the Anschluss [“Union”]. It reminds us how the popes crowned the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. When religions and religious representatives get involved in politics, it has ALWAYS resulted in political disaster.

The Telegraph reported on November 3:

“Adulation of the Democratic nominee is building to a crescendo. Offering a prayer before a rally in Columbus, Ohio today, Cornal Garnett Henning, an AME [American Methodist Episcopal Church] bishop for parts of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, compared him to Moses and Martin Luther King in the same breath. He thanked God for having ‘given us a Moses and a Martin called Barack Obama’ and asked the Almighty to ‘grant that we together… may have the will to bring about the change we need’ and ensure that ‘those who cast their sacred vote will not be deprived this right’…

“As I left the rally, there was a man chatting into his cell phone while selling clothing that offered a modified version of the national motto of the United States, substituting the candidate’s name in place of that of the Almighty. ‘In Obama We Trust’, proclaimed his t-shirts.”

Such misplaced trust in ANY political candidate or president is a major reason WHY America is going down–and WHY its status of a respected superpower is a thing of the past. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

More Religious Confusion

A striking example of the hopeless confusion among some American “preachers” and “prophets” can be seen in the following article, published by the Salt Lake Tribune, dated October 30. The mistakes and errors contained in the preaching of some of those ministers are too numerous to mention, but here are some excerpts:

“Some Web sites and conservative Christians have tried to argue that Obama could be the foretold Antichrist… Tim LaHaye, co-author of the millennial Left Behind series, told the Wall Street Journal that he recognized allusions to his work in the ad but comparisons between Obama and the Antichrist were incorrect. ‘The Antichrist isn’t going to be an American, so it can’t possibly be Obama. The Bible makes it clear he will be from an obscure place, like Romania,’ the 82-year-old author told the paper…”

The Bible makes it clear that there will be NO rapture, as postulated in the Left Behind series, and that there is not even an “Antichrist” per se. Rather, the Bible speaks of the “spirit of antichrist” and “many antichrists.” However, it does talk about a military leader–the “beast”– and a religious leader–“the false prophet.” It is true that the “beast” won’t be an American, but neither will he be from an obscure country, “like Romania.” For further information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Will There Be a Black Pope?

Times on Line wrote on November 6:

“The election of Barack Obama as the first African-American US President could pave the way for the election of the first black Pope, according to a leading black American Catholic. Wilton Daniel Gregory, 60, the Archbishop of Atlanta, said that in the past Pope Benedict XVI had himself suggested that the election of a black pontiff would ‘send a splendid signal to the world’ about the universal Church.

“Archbishop Gregory, who in 2001 became the first African American to head the US Bishops Conference… said that recent Popes, beginning with John XXIII and Paul VI, had brought prelates ‘from all nations and races’ to Rome to take up senior positions in the Curia, the Vatican hierarchy… Archbishop Gregory said that the next time cardinals gathered to elect a Pope they could ‘in their wisdom’ choose an African pontiff…”

Evolution in Harmony With Creation?–NO WAY!!!

On November 3, 2008, Zenit reported the following:

“There is no incompatibility between the scientific theory of evolution and the Christian understanding of creation, says the archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn… Citing various addresses from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, before and after his election as Pope, the Austrian cardinal explained that ‘there are many proofs in favor of evolution.’ Nevertheless, he stressed, ‘though this theory enriches our knowledge of life, it doesn’t respond to the great philosophical question: Where does everything come from and how did this everything take a path until coming to be man?’…

“In the same vein, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, explained to Vatican Radio that the theory of evolution is even closer to the biblical account of creation than many other theories. ‘Considering the fact that the Bible presents us with a God who created the world in seven days, the idea of a progressive creation is introduced,’ he explained. ‘In this sense, it is closer than, for example, the theories of the ancient Greeks, who thought of an eternal and cyclical world.'”

The plain truth is: Both Cardinal Schönborn and Bishop Sorondo are WRONG. There is no conceivable way to harmonize the biblical account of creation with the theory of evolution. To do so would require an interpretation of the Scriptures completely contrary to their expressed statements. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–A Fairy Tale for Adults?”

“Frozen Mice Cloned – Are Woolly Mammoths Next?”

Will the Jurassic Park of Michael Crichton (1942-2008) become reality after all? And is the world watching helplessly and indifferently how some of its scientists may bring it to the brink of utter disaster?

Reuters reported on November 3, 2008:

“Japanese scientists have cloned mice whose bodies were frozen for… 16 years and said on Monday it may be possible to use the technique to resurrect mammoths and other extinct species… Mammoths may be the extinct animals that scientists would be most likely to try to clone, as many of the animals have been found preserved in ice. In July 2007 Russian scientists discovered the body of a baby mammoth frozen in the Arctic Yamalo-Nenetsk region…”
AFP added on November 4:

“The scientists extracted a cell nucleus from an organ of the dead mouse and planted it into an egg of another mouse which was alive, leading to the birth of the cloned mouse, the researchers said… The cloned mouse was able to reproduce with a female mouse, it added.

“But the researchers said tough challenges remain ahead on how to restore extinct animals, which would require breeding with animals that are still alive. To revive a mammoth, researchers would need to find a way to implant a cell nucleus of a mammoth into the egg of an elephant and then implant the embryo into an elephant’s uterus, it said.”

Ban on Same-Sex Marriages in California

The Associated Press reported on November 5:

“In an election otherwise full of liberal triumphs, the gay rights movement suffered a stunning defeat as California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriages that overrides a recent court decision legalizing them. The constitutional amendment… will limit marriage to heterosexual couples, the first time such a vote has taken place in a state where gay unions are legal.

“Gay-rights activists had a rough election elsewhere as well. Ban-gay-marriage amendments were approved in Arizona and Florida, and Arkansas voters approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. Supporters made clear that gays and lesbians were their main target…

“Similar bans had prevailed in 27 states before Tuesday’s elections, but none were in California’s situation—with about 18,000 gay couples married since a state Supreme Court ruling in May. The state attorney general, Jerry Brown, has said those marriages will remain valid, although legal challenges are possible…

“Elsewhere, voters in Colorado and South Dakota rejected measures that could have led to sweeping bans of abortion, and Washington became only the second state—after Oregon—to offer terminally ill people the option of physician-assisted suicide. A first-of-its-kind measure in Colorado, which was defeated soundly, would have defined life as beginning at conception. Its opponents said the proposal could lead to the outlawing of some types of birth control as well as abortion. The South Dakota measure would have banned abortions except in cases of rape, incest and serious health threat to the mother…

“Two animal-welfare measures passed—a ban on dog racing in Massachusetts, and a proposition in California that outlaws cramped cages for egg-laying chickens…”

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