Current Events

Pakistani Terrorists Behind Failed New York Car Bombing?

USA Today reported on May 3:

“A Muslim terror group in Pakistan that is vowing to attack U.S. cities and took credit for a failed car bombing in Times Square is emerging as a serious threat, terrorism experts said Monday. Hakimullah Mehsud, head of Tehrik-e-Taliban and a man Pakistani intelligence agencies once said was killed in a missile strike, appeared in two videos posted on YouTube and militants’ sites recently to say his group is preparing to move beyond fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“‘If you look at the Mehsud video, one thing you can’t worry about anymore is intent,’ said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer in Pakistan. ‘It’s a question of capability,’ he said. ‘Given there is a pretty large Pakistani and Afghan community in the United States, could they find someone here to help carry out an attack? It’s possible.’

“Tehrik-e-Taliban spokesman Qari Mehsud claimed in a third video that the group was responsible for the Saturday night attack in Times Square, in retaliation for the killing of two top al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders last month, he said…

“The group has battled NATO troops in Afghanistan and was accused by Pakistan of assassinating politician Benazir Bhutto. In the past two years it has shown a desire to target NATO countries, experts said.

“‘Regardless of the (Times Square claim) being true or not, they raise the specter of the Pakistan Taliban morphing into a more global platform and direct threat to the West,’ said Juan Zarate, who served as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism in the Bush administration.”

The Los Angeles Times wrote on May 4:

“An arrest was made overnight in New York in connection with the attempted car bombing in Times Square, police said early Tuesday… U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr…. identified the man as Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen [in 2009] of Pakistani descent. [According to the Wall Street Journal of May 5, Mr. Shahzad was born in Pakistan and is the son of retired Air Vice Marshall Baharul Haq, a former top Pakistani air force officer and deputy director general of the civil aviation authority; he received two degrees from the University of Bridgeport—a B.A. in 2000 in computer science and engineering, and an M.B.A. in 2005; he is a junior financial analyst, but financially broke; facing foreclosure of his home in Connecticut. He is married to a U.S. citizen, a Muslim woman, since 2008.] ‘It’s clear the intent behind this terrorist attack was to kill Americans,’ Holder said.

“He said Shahzad was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens as he attempted to fly to Dubai [and from there to Pakistan]. Holder indicated more arrests would be made. ‘This investigation is ongoing. It is multifaceted,’ he said. ‘We will not rest until we have brought everyone responsible to justice’…

“The Associated Press reported that the [suspect] had traveled recently to Pakistan [In 2009, he stayed overseas for eight months]… The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the incident…”

The Associated Press added on May 4:

“The suspect in the failed Times Square bombing told authorities he trained at a terrorism camp in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday as they worked to unravel the events leading up to the nearly catastrophic attack… The report of training raises the possibility the attack was a coordinated international effort…”

Reuters reported on May 6:

“Pakistan said on Thursday it was unlikely a Pakistani-American arrested over a failed plot to bomb New York’s Times Square had acted alone. Investigations in Pakistan had uncovered possible links between the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, 30, the Pakistani Taliban and a Kashmiri Islamist group, officials and news reports said.”

Nuclear Attack on the USA Certain…

Newsmax wrote on April 29:

“A Hiroshima-sized nuclear device smuggled into the U.S. inside a cargo container detonates in California’s Port of Long Beach, killing 60,000 people instantaneously, exposing another 150,000 to deadly radiation, touching off massive fires and forcing the evacuation of 6 million panicked people in the Los Angeles basin. Could it happen?
“Top experts say it not only could happen, it is ‘more likely than not’ to occur within the next several years. Last month the Obama administration admitted that al-Qaida is frantically trying to acquire a nuclear device…

“New York Times best-selling author and Newsmax Contributing Editor Kenneth R. Timmerman, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work exposing Iran’s nuclear program… warns that a nuclear strike against a high-profile American target remains the No. 1 goal of Islamic terrorists. And when they do strike, the experts say, America almost certainly will be grossly unprepared to handle it.”

The Bible prophesies that the USA will be attacked with nuclear weapons. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal

A-7 wrote on May 4:

“The United States, which already has tied Israel’s agreeing to Palestinian Authority demands with solving the Iranian nuclear threat, now cites Israel’s nuclear arsenal as the key… A proposal for a ban on mass destruction weapons in the Middle East is being circulated by the Obama administration and Russia. Egypt also is circulating a proposal that links removing nuclear weapons from Israel with eliminating the Iranian threat to become a nuclear power.

“The United Nations this week opened its NPT conference and heard Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad charge, ‘The Zionist regime continues to threaten the countries of the Middle East with its arsenal. It continues to threaten the world’s countries with acts of terror and invasion, and even gets the necessary assistance for its nuclear program.’

“U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed to the conference Monday that the United States has 5,113 nuclear weapons, nearly 50 percent less than most estimates. However, she did not disclose how many weapons have long-range capability. The United States and Russia have ‘enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over,’ she said…

“An American-inspired Middle East peace, with Israel at the core, remains in the background of the official statements. Besides the Russian-American proposal, Egypt’s position paper calls for countries signing the non-proliferation treaty ‘to disclose all information available to them on the nature and scope of Israeli nuclear capabilities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel.’

“Washington Post’s Walter Pincus… noted, ‘How the Obama administration deals with the nettlesome problem of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East will determine U.S. success or failure at the NPT conference.’”

Iran’s Axis Spreads to Austria

A-7 wrote on May 5:

“Austria’s warm welcome this week of Iranian’s foreign minister, along with its increasing trade relations with the Islamic Republic, signal Iran’s widening axis that already stretches to South America. Indonesia, which hosts the world’s largest Muslim population, also has embraced Iran’s ‘strategic ties.’

“Austria’s friendliness with Iran is even more significant because the European country is one of the rotating members of the United Nations Security Council. It has paid only lip service to sanctions against Iran, Simone Dinah Hartmann… wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week.

“’To what degree Austria…would actually support tough sanctions is more than questionable,’ she stated, noting that trade with Iran has flourished the past several years in contradiction to policies of other European nations to distant themselves from Tehran… Hartmann pointed out the bitter irony of Austria’s aligning itself with Iran… ‘Austria prefers to present itself as Nazi Germany’s first victim when in fact it was Hitler’s —born and raised in Austria—first collaborator,’ she wrote.

“The United States, Britain and France objected to the Austrian welcome mat for the Iranian official, which featured a friendly reception including hoisting the Islamic Republic flag along that of Austria and the European Union… Hartmann… also charged that several Austrian companies are suspected of working with front companies that are associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.  ‘Bilateral business relations between Austria and Iran are excellent, but still expandable,’ said the president of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce during a visit to Tehran last year. Austria was once described as the ‘gateway to the European Union’ by an Iranian minister…”

The Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

The Los Angeles Times wrote on April 30:

“The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico presents BP Exploration and Production with a problem of unprecedented severity — a limitless gush in very deep waters — forcing the London-based company to grasp for fixes that have never been tried before. The problem with the April 20 spill is that it isn’t really a spill: It‘s a gush, like an underwater oil volcano. A hot column of oil and gas is spurting into freezing, black waters nearly a mile down, where the pressure nears a ton per inch, impossible for divers to endure. Experts call it a continuous, round-the-clock calamity, unlike a leaking tanker, which might empty in hours or days.”

USA Today reported on May 3:

“Some good news swept through here Monday: Winds so far are keeping most of the Gulf oil spill away from shore, and chemicals are doing a decent job dispersing the giant swath of slick crude oil looming off the coast. Charlie Henry, a science coordinator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), cautioned that the long-term path of the oil remains unclear. Officials from Louisiana to Florida said they are still preparing for an environmental catastrophe in days and weeks ahead…

“At least 210,000 gallons of oil a day have been leaking from a well off the Louisiana coast since the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig operated by BP, exploded April 20 and sank… Efforts to stop the leak have failed… The Gulf… is a crucial habitat teeming with 400 to 600 species, including sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead turtles and sturgeon. The longer the oil remains in the water, the more contaminated the food chain will get…

“Political fallout from the spill continues. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the Gulf oil spill has caused him to withdraw his support for an expansion of offshore drilling off his state’s coast…”

Reuters reported on May 4:

“For the birds that nest in the fragile marshes, swamps and barrier islands of the U.S. Gulf Coast, the timing of a massive oil slick threatening the shore could not be worse… On the Chandeleur Islands — a chain of islands off the Louisiana coast… — about 3,000 brown pelicans, Louisiana’s state bird, are nesting and laying eggs… The dozens of state and national parks and wildlife reserves that line the four Gulf Coast states in the path of the spill are vitally important to hundreds of species of birds that live there or rest there during migrations.

“… even if the oil is kept from shore, birds that fly out to sea to catch fish will inevitably be soiled… Birds are apt to ingest the toxic oil as they feed in the water… Coastal birds like brown pelicans, egrets, herons and ibises are the most vulnerable to an oil spill, because the oil will seep into their habitat and stay there for years. Once it settles into the mangroves and cat-tails of the marshes, oil migrates into the filter-feeding creatures that birds, in turn, feed on — like oysters, clams and shrimp.”

The end-time prophecy of Hosea 4:3 comes to mind: “Therefore the land will mourn; And everyone who dwells there will waste away With the beasts of the field And the birds of the air; Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.”

German Reactions to the Oil Spill

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 3:

“It could turn out to be America’s worst ecological disaster yet. Oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico following last month’s explosion of a BP oil rig… As 800,000 liters of oil per day continue gushing into the Gulf of Mexico following the April 20 explosion and subsequent sinking of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, pundits are increasingly comparing the political damage it might do to that suffered by President George W. Bush in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“At stake is not only President Barack Obama’s energy strategy, which only recently called for increased oil drilling on America’s East Coast and in the Gulf. The president’s entire climate plan could be at risk as well. Indeed, Obama embraced oil drilling as part of an effort to attract the votes he will need from Republican Senators to pass his package of climate laws, aimed at limiting US carbon emissions and ending the country’s status as international climate pariah. Now, however, it seems unlikely that he will be able to withstand the increased opposition to drilling from Democrats and from political leaders in coastal states. His grand deal — oil drilling and nuclear power for the right, renewable energy and climate protection for the left — is in danger of collapse.

“Of more immediate concern, however, is the ongoing inability of British Petroleum, operator of the Deepwater Horizon, to stop the oil from continuing to flow into the Gulf and the advance of the vast oil slick toward environmentally and economically sensitive areas of the Gulf Coast. Visiting the area on Sunday, Obama said ‘the oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our gulf states and it could extend for a long time. It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home’…

“Business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘The horsetrading was well thought out: Barack Obama gives Big Oil and the Republicans the ability to drill off America’s shores and in return, they agree to a climate law that they don’t want. But with the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, nothing of the deal remains. What’s more: the disaster… lays bare just how cynical political deals are. For years Republicans and Democrats alike have lauded the safety of deep water oil drilling. Not because they could prove it with facts, but because they didn’t want to counter a trend which the oil companies approved of and voters supported. Now, however, all those who were recently cheering “Drill, baby drill!” have suddenly sunken into silence…’

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘We are watching one of the largest disasters in the history of oil production play out in slow motion. By now, the extent of the oil spill is gigantic, covering 9,000 square kilometers (3,475 square miles) — or about half the size of the state of Saxony — and it will continue to grow…’

“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘The US president’s political enemies’ mouths are watering. They are predicting that the oil catastrophe on the southern coast of the US will be for Barack Obama what Hurricane Katrina was in 2005 for George W. Bush… Obama reacted late, but not too late. And he made a political correction: all oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico will be checked for safety and exploration permits off the Atlantic coast are suspended. Furthermore, Obama’s planned expansion of oil drilling is once again up for debate. The oil catastrophe will be BP’s Katrina, not Obama’s.'”

But that remains to be seen…

Volcanic Ash Cloud Returns…

The Times on Line wrote on May 4:

“Air passengers are facing more travel chaos as a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland re-forms over the British Isles. Flights in and out of the Republic of Ireland will be grounded from 7am today [Tuesday], with Belfast International, Belfast City and City of Derry airports in Northern Ireland also closed.”

Times On Line wrote on May 5:

“The Met Office has said that ash over British airspace has increased in density as emissions from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano have become stronger, meaning forecasts of no-fly zones have been extended farther south. The CAA warned that the situation remains changeable and urged passengers travelling from airports in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North of England and North Wales to contact their airlines to check for cancellations.

“It said that a 60 nautical-mile buffer zone imposed around high concentrations of ash in the skies was close to Edinburgh, Carlisle, Blackpool, Liverpool and Manchester airports. Eamonn Brennan, the chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority, said: ‘We could be faced with this periodically during the summer. We are probably facing a summer of uncertainty due to this ash cloud.’

“EU transport ministers agreed at an emergency meeting yesterday to speed up plans to unify European airspace, which they hope will ease future disruption. Siim Kallas, the EU Transport Commissioner, said that there had been progress on the plan, which would reconfigure the airspace of all 27 member states into nine larger blocks by June 2012.

“However, there was little sign of agreement on a state bailout of airlines, which have lost about £1.12 billion as a result of the ash crisis.”

U.S. Supreme Court Without a Protestant?

CNN wrote on May 3:

“For most of American history, a Supreme Court with no Protestant Christian judges would have been unthinkable. Nearly three quarters of all justices who’ve ever served on the nation’s high court have been Protestant. And roughly half of all Americans identify themselves as Protestant today. But since John Paul Stevens announced his retirement last month, legal and religious scholars have begun entertaining the unprecedented prospect of a Supreme Court without a single Protestant justice. Besides Stevens, who is Protestant, the current Supreme Court counts six Catholics and two Jews…

“President Obama is expected to nominate Stevens’ replacement early this month. Of the three candidates who are reported to lead Obama’s short list, two — Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appeals judge Merrick Garland — are Jewish, while one, federal appeals judge Diane Wood, is a Protestant. Obama’s first Supreme Court appointee, Sonia Sotomayor, is Catholic…

“Today, Catholic law schools at Georgetown University, Fordham University, and Notre Dame are considered among the best in the country… And law schools with Protestant roots — like Harvard and Yale — shed their religious identities a long time ago, part of the broader fading of a distinct mainline Protestant identity in the U.S.”

IRS Enforcer of New Health Care Law? Sort of…

USA Today wrote on April 30:

“The IRS processed more than 230 million tax returns last year, paid 127 million refunds and received about 68 million phone calls. The agency is responsible for enforcing a tax code that, at 71,000 pages, makes Anna Karenina look like a comic book. Starting in 2014, the agency will have another task: making sure all Americans have health insurance. Under the law, Americans who can afford health insurance but refuse to buy it will face a fine of up to $695 or 2.5% of their income, whichever is higher. More than 4 million Americans could be subject to penalties of up to $1,000 by 2016 if they fail to obtain health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office said last week. The IRS will be the enforcer — sort of.

“While the IRS can impose liens or levies, seize property or seek jail time against people who don’t pay taxes, it’s barred from taking such actions against taxpayers who ignore the insurance mandate. In the arsenal instead: the ability to withhold refunds from taxpayers who decline to pay the penalty… Still, compliance with the health reform law will be largely voluntary… The IRS is ‘being put in a position where it will be sending notices that will annoy people’ and not much else, says James Maule, professor of law at Villanova University and author of the tax blog MauledAgain. ‘It’s basically designed for failure’…

“In this political environment, even a defanged IRS stirs up powerful emotions… The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the IRS will need an additional $5 billion to $10 billion over the next 10 years to administer the health care law. That projection has fired up activists who believe the IRS should be downsized, or abolished. Some Republican lawmakers have extrapolated from that estimate that the IRS will need to hire an additional 16,500 agents to enforce the health insurance mandate… And enforcement is only one part of the IRS’ responsibilities under the law. The agency will also be in charge of providing tax credits to small businesses, along with refundable tax credits to individuals who can’t afford health insurance…

“Only 64% of taxpayers who called the IRS during last year’s tax-filing season reached an IRS representative… Even more callers could have trouble getting through when the IRS takes on its obligations under the health care law…

“The IRS does a poor job of managing social programs. Critics of the legislation say problems with the Earned Income Tax Credit, a federal program that provides tax rebates to low-income working families, illustrate the pitfalls of putting the IRS in charge of administering health care reform… In tax year 2006, the latest year available, IRS made $10 billion to $12 billion in erroneous EITC payments…

“Under the law, millions of middle- and low-income taxpayers will be eligible for subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. Taxpayers with incomes of up to four times the poverty level — currently $43,320 for an individual and $88,200 for a family of four — would qualify… Starting in 2014, insurers will be required to send the IRS a document showing that the taxpayer has insurance coverage. The IRS will match taxpayers’ returns with information it receives from insurers, and individuals who don’t have insurance will receive a letter explaining how much they owe in penalties. Those who ignore the letter could have the penalty withheld from their refunds — but that will only be effective if they’re due a refund… The IRS will have up to 10 years to withhold refunds from individuals who owe penalties… any time they overpay, those monies will be available.”

May 6–Britain’s Election Day

The Times wrote on May 6:

“General election day is a celebration of democracy. And on one of those rare election days — there have been only two in the past thirty years — when a change of government seems possible, it can feel like a day of liberation. Today, however, feels very different. The mood is sombre…

“Britain is in trouble. This election comes at a time when the quiet assumptions of our nation and its politics are in question. It is no longer clear that Britain will be able to remain a great power, or a harmonious society, or one prosperous enough to be able to guarantee its citizens liberty and justice… We can no longer take it for granted that Britain will go forward, not back.

“This country could well become less than it was — less prosperous, less cohesive, less significant in the world: a country where employment among 16 to 17-year-olds is at a record low is one in which business is no longer providing enough jobs for young people. We have increased state spending by 54 per cent in the past 13 years but cannot boast world-class public services. The State has become more intrusive as it has become larger, threatening civil liberties. We are not going forward. We may go back.

“Election day 2010 is the moment when this country will have to stop running away from its debts… The price of our borrowing will have to be paid. Across Europe you can see the social breakdown that is the inevitable consequence of government and people living beyond their means. Murder, arson and riots may be a Greek tragedy today. But this tragedy awaits any European nation that does not begin to reduce its public borrowing…”

The Los Angeles Times reported on May 6:
“An analysis by Britain’s main television networks suggested David Cameron’s Conservative party will win 307 House of Commons seats, short of the 326 seats needed for a majority. Polls gave Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party 255 seats, and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats 59 seats — far less than had been expected. Small parties got 29 other seats. The result would bear out predictions that this election would not give any party a majority, resulting in a destabilizing period of political wrangling and uncertainty… Even combined, Labour and the Liberal Democrats would not have the 326 seats needed to form a majority in a coalition…”

Europe and the USA

The EUObserver reported on May 6:

“In a highly-anticipated speech to the European Parliament on Thursday (6 May), US vice-president Joe Biden… spared no compliments on the history of EU institutions, with the bloc set to mark on Sunday the 60th anniversary of the Schuman declaration, the key document which laid the foundation of what was later to become the European Union.

“Brussels has a ‘legitimate claim’ to the title of ‘capital of the free world,’ normally a title reserved for Washington, Mr Biden said… Time and again he reassured MEPs of America’s strong desire to have Europe as a ‘strong partner,’ even if they sometimes disagree. The main source of current friction with the EU legislature is the ‘Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme’ (TFTP), sometimes called the Swift agreement due to the name of the main company facilitating international bank transactions, which the US authorities screen when looking for terrorist leads.

“Back in February, the European Parliament struck down an interim agreement allowing US investigators to inspect European data, dealing a blow to Washington’s last-minute lobbying efforts. The No-vote was an expression of the new powers acquired by the EU legislature in the field of justice and home affairs, and was also justified by concerns on privacy and civil liberties.

“A new agreement is currently being negotiated by the European Commission and the US administration, both hoping a deal could be sealed before summer recess. The parliament will then have to give its consent or to strike it down again… Green MEP Jan Albrecht… noted that the Biden speech was ‘a good step forward,’ as it recognised the importance of the EU legislature, but that this still didn’t mean the Swift agreement is a done deal. Issues such as bulk data transfers, the definition of terrorism and the legal basis for the data being transferred to other countries could still trigger a second No-vote if not tackled in the agreement, he warned.”

The Future of Europe and the USA

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 3:

“If the emergency surgery [regarding Greece] isn’t successful, there will be much more at stake than the fate of the euro. Indeed, Europe could begin to erode politically as a result. The historic project of a united continent, promoted by an entire generation of politicians, could suffer irreparable damage, and European integration would suffer a serious setback — perhaps even permanently.

“And the global financial world would be faced with a new Lehman Brothers, the American investment bank that collapsed in September 2008, taking the global economy to the brink of the abyss…

“European governments agree that saving Greece is imperative. They are worried about the euro, and the Germans are concerned about their banks… At the weekend, euro-zone members and the IMF agreed on a €110 billion bailout package over three years. The EU will provide €80 billion in loans, with Germany’s share over three years amounting to €22 billion, including €8.4 billion in the first year alone…

“Euro-zone leaders will formally launch the package, which still needs to be approved by the German Bundestag and a number of other euro-zone parliaments, at a summit on Friday… Even Germany, in international terms a country with relatively sound finances, has amassed enormous debts. If it became caught up in the maelstrom of a euro crisis, the consequences would be unforeseeable…

“But what is the alternative? Should Europe simply allow Greece to go bankrupt instead? In that case, the possible future scenario would happen right away instead. One might argue that it is better to get things over quickly, even if that is painful, rather than prolonging the agony. But one can also hope that everything will turn out for the best in the end. The euro-zone countries prefer to hope, which is why they have agreed to a rescue program that will provide Greece with the funds it can no longer borrow on the open market, now that it is being forced to pay such high interest rates…

“When Greece faces a possible bankruptcy, the euro-zone countries and the IMF come to its aid. But what happens if the entire euro group bites off more than it can chew? What if the United States can no longer service its debt because, say, China is no longer willing to buy American treasury bonds? And what if Japan, which is running into more and more problems, falters in its attempts to pay for its now-chronic deficits?

“The conditions that prevail in Greece exist in many countries, which is why governments around the world are paying such close attention to how — and if — the Europeans gain control over the crisis… Washington is worried about being drawn into the vortex of national bankruptcies itself. The national debt has exploded in the United States in the last two years, more than in almost any other country…

“The US budget deficit has now reached $1.6 trillion, or 10 percent of GDP. The national debt is now over $12 trillion and is forecast to expand to more than $20 trillion by the end of the decade. At that point, Americans will be paying $900 billion a year in interest alone… The disastrous financial situation is in large part due, not to the economic stimulus packages and programs to fight the global economic crisis, but to behavior during the years under former President George W. Bush. At the time, Americans became accustomed to consuming far more than they produced… But current President Barack Obama has also contributed substantially to the biggest American budget deficit since World War II. His healthcare reforms alone will cost the government about $900 billion in the coming years. And the military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will swallow up $160 billion in the coming budget year…

“At any rate, experts like Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson warn that confidence in the United States could be lost at some point, and that this could come as a complete surprise, with a single piece of bad news serving as a spark and potentially triggering a global conflagration. The ‘alarm bells should be ringing loudly’ in the United States, says Ferguson. He points out that historically, large empires like the Roman Empire and the Chinese Ming dynasty also fell into decline because they had overextended themselves economically…

“In Britain, new borrowing has already reached Greek dimensions… So far, Germany has come through the crisis relatively unscathed, compared with other Western industrialized nations. While Britain and the United States are showing deficits of more than 10 percent of annual economic output for 2009 and 2010, Germany’s budget deficit only totaled 3.2 percent in 2009… This year, the deficit is likely to climb to about 5.5 percent.

“Unlike most other countries, Germany entered the deepest recession of the postwar era with a balanced budget. As a result, the federal government had to take on less new debt to support the economy and banks during the crisis, as well as to fund the higher costs of rising unemployment… Germany, with a triple-A rating, is considered a borrower with a credit risk of almost zero. German government bonds set the benchmark in Europe…”

Kohl Defends the Euro

The EUObserver wrote on May 5:

“Germany’s former chancellor and re-unification figurehead, Helmut Kohl, has defended the euro… and said he has ‘no understanding’ for those against the Greek bailout… Nicknamed the ‘father of the euro’ for his pro-European policies at the end of the Cold War, Helmut Kohl said the common currency is a ‘guarantee for peace’ on a continent that witnessed so many wars in the past.”

What May Come Out of the Greece Debacle…

The EUObserver wrote on May 4:

“The White House is keenly following the fast-changing developments on the Greek crisis, with the US ambassador to the EU expecting the union to move ahead on joint economic governance as a result…

“The diplomat said nobody in Washington had asked him about the possibility of Greece leaving the euro, as mooted by some economists such as Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman. But he predicted the crisis will lead to EU institutional change… ‘My own personal view is that … it’s more likely than not that the EU puts some governance structures in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. It’s probably easier for them to do that than to deal with a eurozone country leaving the eurozone, which would be quite cataclysmic’… The diplomat said the US has recognised the new law-making powers of the European Parliament.”

Greece in Turmoil

Deutsche Welle reported on May 5:

“At least three people are reported dead as protests in Athens turned violent on Wednesday. Fire officials in Athens revealed that bodies had been found in the bank building, which lay on the route of a march against government austerity cuts… Police said that some 20 people were evacuated from the building, a branch of the Marfin bank group, after it was set alight by protesters.

“Two women and one man had died, police said, with five people from the bank wounded. The bank was engulfed in flames when hooded youths threw petrol bombs during the demonstrations. Officials said that two government buildings had also been set alight… Police clashed with protesters in both the capital and the northern city of Thessaloniki, with tens of thousands of Greeks marching against the government’s harsh new spending cuts amid a nationwide strike.

“At least 50 people tried to storm the parliament building in Athens, throwing rocks at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Police estimated the crowd size to be more than 25,000, though other media reports put the number as high as 60,000. In Thessaloniki, youths smashed the windows of stores and fast food restaurants as 20,000 people marched through the city center. The nationwide strike brought Greece to a standstill as unions rallied against major new spending cuts aimed at warding off a financial meltdown…

“Financial markets fell sharply on Tuesday, seemingly unconvinced that Greece’s bailout package will be enough to stop the spread of the financial crisis to other weak eurozone economies in Ireland, Portugal and Spain… Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund [said:] ‘Portugal has been mentioned, but it is already taking measures and the other countries are in a much more solid situation. We have to succeed in avoiding contagion… but we should remain vigilant.’ He added that there was ‘no real risk’ for Europe’s main economic powerhouses, such as France and Germany…”

Der Spiegel Online added on May 5:

“It is the worst violence [in Greece] since the Socialist government came to power in October. Anger has mounted against Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou’s government after it announced cuts in salaries and pensions for public workers and another round of tax increases on Sunday.”

German Media Reaction to the Greece Crisis

The willingness of German banks to help in the Greek crisis has received harsh criticism in the German media. According to it, the banks are again taking advantage of the misery of the people.

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on May 5

“The Greek drama would be easier to bear if the German government finally stopped playing the public for fools. The hastily prepared agreement on a ‘significant, positive contribution,’ to aid for Greece by Finance Minister Schäuble and Deutsche Bank boss Ackermann insults the citizens’ knowledge of economics. The banks will emerge unscathed as creditors and beneficiaries of high-return Greek government bonds as long as governments in the euro zone try to prevent a bankruptcy of Greece with the help of taxpayer guarantees.

“What the banks have agreed on with Schäuble doesn’t even serve as a fig leaf. They declare their readiness to keep open the lines of credit to Greece ‘wherever possible.’ And they want to buy bonds issued by the state-controlled KfW — and therefore guaranteed by the German government — to help finance the billion-euro German bailout to the Greeks. It’s a generous offer, and one that means that the banks can once again only win since there are no more secure bonds anywhere than these.”

The mass-circulation tabloid Bild wrote on May 5

“German banks and insurance companies want to buy Greek and German bonds for a few billion euros and thereby make a ‘significant contribution.’ Hats off? Respect? Not at all! The banks are buying bonds, but the interest and the amortization are being guaranteed by German taxpayers. It doesn’t get more secure than that. The financial institutions have also earned a great deal from the Greek roulette. As long as things were going well, they wanted a market economy — and for the governments to keep out of things. But now that the party is over, no one wants to pay the bill. It has to be urgently clarified how the banks are to be made to do their duty. Either they waive Greece’s debts, or they contribute through a levy to the rescue package.”

The conservative daily Die Welt wrote on May 5:

“For Germany, this is a fateful week. The gigantic aid package that is now being implemented fundamentally changes the conditions within the euro zone. The farthest-reaching decision since the introduction of the euro is happening without public debate, which is just what the German government wants. The involvement of parliament is a pure farce.”

“Finance Minister Schäuble has repeatedly stated that there is no alternative to providing Greece with aid. It is the only way to ensure the euro’s stability, he says. …. Yet no one can seriously promise that the new money will prevent Greek insolvency or a restructuring of its debts. It is pure speculation that is being used to hoodwink citizens and invoke European solidarity as a way to purchase economic and political stability. If the Greeks still go bust after a few months, not only will the taxpayers’ money be lost, but trust in politicians will also be permanently damaged.”

Greece May Break Merkel’s Neck…

The Associated Press wrote on May 5:

“Merkel’s Cabinet agreed Monday upon the German contribution to a three-year euro110 billion bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. As Europe’s largest economy, Germany will provide euro8.4 billion ($10.8 billion) in 2010 and up to euro14 billion more over 2011 and 2012, according to the plan.

“‘Nothing less than the future of Europe, and with that the future of Germany in Europe, is at stake,’ Merkel told lawmakers. ‘We are at a fork in the road.’

“Fallout over Greece’s financial situation has hit the euro, the common currency used by Greece and 15 other EU nations. The euro fell below $1.30 this week [to $1.27 on Thursday, according to Deutsche Welle, dated May 6] — compared to about $1.50 last November… ‘Germany, as the strongest economy in Europe, has a particular responsibility and Germany takes this responsibility earnestly,’ Merkel said. The chancellor made clear that, beyond the current Greek bailout, changes are needed to ensure eurozone countries stick to the deficit rules in future.

“She called for more effective sanctions, such as depriving countries that run excessive deficits of part of their EU structural funds or farm subsidies; at least temporarily depriving repeat offenders of their voting rights; and procedures allowing for the ‘orderly insolvency of a member state.’

“Going ahead with the bailout appears to have hurt Merkel in polls ahead of a regional election this weekend in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. Only 41 percent of Germans believe Merkel has handled the crisis well — as opposed to 48 percent who say she has handled it ‘not so well’ or badly, according to a poll conducted April 29-30 by the Forsa group for Stern magazine… [and it] found a small drop in national support for Merkel’s conservative party, which declined two points compared with a week earlier to 34 percent.”

AFP reported on May 6:
“Merkel said it was now up to the European Union member states to reassert their authority and shore up the financial rules governing the bloc.”

To deprive certain more vulnerable and unstable member states of voting rights might perhaps, if implemented, lead to the rise of powerful leading core nations in and WITHIN, NOT OUTSIDE, Europe, as prophesied in the Bible (compare Revelation 17 and Daniel 2).

European Ban on Smacking Children?

The Daily Mail wrote on April 28:

“The Council of Europe is calling for a complete ban on smacking across the continent, saying even the smallest slap can leave psychological damage. One official even compared parents who smack to men who violently beat their wives. The Council says that Britain lags behind other countries who have initiated a ban…

“European judges ruled a decade ago that smacking could breach children’s rights and in the last three years some 20 countries have implemented a ban. Britain is among a handful of European states, including France and Poland, who are holding out against the pressure for a ban. Corporal punishment is banned in British schools but parents have a defence against assault charges on the grounds of ‘reasonable chastisement’…

“Academic research released earlier this year found children who are smacked by their parents grow up to be happier and more successful than those who are never physically disciplined. It revealed children who are smacked before the age of six perform better at school once they reach their teenage years, are more likely to do voluntary work and go to university.”

Isaiah 3:12 comes to mind:  “As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.”

Europe-Wide Ban of Burka?

The Local wrote on May 1:

“After Belgium’s parliament voted to ban Islamic full-face veils, the German vice-president of the European Parliament has called for a ban of the burka throughout Europe. Silvana Koch-Mehrin called the full-body veil an attack on the rights of women… She called the burka a ‘mobile prison,’ saying that those who veil women take away their faces and therefore their personalities… She said she found it unsettling to come across fully veiled women on the street, since she could not tell what their intentions were. ‘I am not afraid, but it does make me anxious,’ she wrote.

“Her commentary follows the approval by Belgium’s lower house of parliament of a ban on the full-face veil. That decision has unleashed debate throughout Europe. It could set the stage for similar moves in other countries, as citizens fear that growing Muslim populations may pose a threat to their liberal and secular values…”

The Washington Post wrote on April 30:

“France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority, is next in line, planning to debate a draft law from mid-May and ban all face veils in public within months. Polls say about 70 percent of voters want some ban, but not all back a complete one… Promoters of a ban denounce the veils as a threat to public security, an affront to women’s dignity, a negation of gender equality or an intrusion of religion on public life. Concern over radical Islamism echoes through their arguments.

“In France this week, both the communist deputy Andre Gerin and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen used the same term — ‘the tip of the iceberg’ — to urge a full ban on the veils. ‘Once we solve the burqa problem, we’ll still have the problem of polygamy, of praying in the streets of big cities, of banning pork from cafeterias, in short all the sectarian demands the French are confronted with daily,’ Le Pen said…

“Bans are under debate in several other European states. Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said this week a veil ban was ‘conceivable’ there…

“The moves toward a full veil ban have evoked protests from Muslim leaders in Europe, many of whom do not consider veiling obligatory in Islam but resent laws that single out Muslims… Under Belgium’s draft law, wearing a full facial veil could lead to fines of 15-25 euros (about $20 to $33) and imprisonment for up to seven days. According to the Paris daily Le Figaro, Paris plans to slap a 150 euro ($200) fine on women wearing full veils, with stiffer penalties for people who force others to veil themselves… President Nicolas Sarkozy has described the full veil as demeaning to women…”

AFP reported on May 4:

“Italian police fined a Muslim woman for wearing a full Islamic veil in a street in the northern city of Novara, possibly the first such incident in Italy, city officials said on Tuesday. ‘City police ticketed her last night and she will have to pay a 500-euro (650-dollar) fine,’ Mauro Franzinelli of the Novara municipal police told AFP. ‘As far as I know this is a first in Italy,’ he said adding that the woman could appeal.

“Novara, in Italy’s northeastern Piedmont region, is a stronghold of the anti-immigration Northern League, a key party in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government. The woman, a Tunisian national, was stopped by police officers outside a post office in the company of her husband. When her husband refused to have her identified by male officers they called in a patrol comprising a woman officer.

“‘City hall adopted a decree in late January banning the burqa in public places and their vicinity, which is based on a commentary by the interior ministry who received a copy of the draft,’ said Franzinelli, who is also a local Northern League official. Covering one’s face — with a veil or a motorcycle helmet — in public has been banned in Italy since 1975.”

Anti-Semitism and anti Gypsy Sentiments

A-7 wrote on May 4:

“Three men sprayed tear gas on an elderly Jew outside a French synagogue Sunday, the second violent attack on Jews in the country in three days. The attackers of the elderly man left behind an anti-Semitic slogan… The attackers, still at-large, launched the attack as the man, described as being in his 80s, was waiting outside to attend daily prayer services… Friday night, assailants brutally attacked a 42-year-old man in Strasbourg, hitting him across the back of the head with a metal rod and stabbing him in the chest… Approximately half a million Jews live in France. Local Zionist groups, along with the Jewish Agency, have been trying to encourage them to move to Israel as anti-Semitism rises throughout Europe and the rest of the world. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon urged French Jews to immigrate to Israel.”

The Associated Press wrote on April 28:

“Robert Csorba and his son were murdered a year ago for being Gypsies… The Csorba slayings were part of an unprecedented string of serial killings of gypsies that stopped after claiming six victims with arrests in August. But Gypsies fear that big gains made by an extreme-right party in national elections over the weekend could further feed the climate of hatred that spawned the murders.

“The Jobbik party exploited anti-Semitic and anti Gypsy sentiment to surge from almost nowhere to 16.7 percent of the voting that ended Sunday. That makes Jobbik — which is linked to combat-booted paramilitaries that staged an anti-Gypsy march in this village three years ago — the third strongest party in parliament.

“Compounding gypsy fears is the fact that Fidesz, the center-right party that won the election, has linked its ‘law and order’ pledge to keeping a closer eye on… Hungary’s estimated 500,000-800,000 Gypsies or Roma. In postelection comments Monday, Fidesz leader Viktor Orban, who is set to be the country’s next prime minister, promised a crackdown on petty crime in language clearly alluding to the Roma…

“Roma representatives do not deny that some of their community are often guilty of petty crime — but said the phenomenon is linked to chronic poverty rooted in age-old discrimination against Gypsies.”

This article shows what is just beginning to emerge in Europe–especially the anti-Semitic undertone. Europe’s problems are giving rise to “solutions” of blame, and the Jews are becoming more and more a target because of their role in the business world. The Gypsies are hated by the Hungarians, and that hatred seems ready to break loose.

Anti-Semitism in Venezuela

A-7 wrote on May 5:

“Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to be leading a drive to make his nation Judenrein, according to a documentary by Nora Zimmett that was broadcast Wednesday night on the HDNet World Report. Chavez expelled Israel’s ambassador to the country… [in] 2009. Simultaneously, he drew closer to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly vowed to wipe the Jewish State off the global map.

“Zimmett expressed shock in her report, and not a little apprehension of her own, while documenting what local Jews had to say about their daily living conditions… Also documented were the frequent publications in the state-run media calling for the expulsion of the Jews, and the speeches by Chavez himself, comparing Zionists to Nazis on national television. The Venezuelan president also had other complaints about the Jews – ‘the descendants of those who crucified Christ’ – implying they are the ones that have all the wealth in the world…”

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