News for October 11, 2008
EU Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq (EUJUST LEX) EUJUST LEX is a civilian crisis management operation under the auspices of the European Security and Defence Policy. Following an invitation to the EU by the then Prime Minister of the elected Iraqi Interim Government, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, to commence training activities for Iraqi rule of law professionals, the operational phase of the EUJUST LEX Mission started on 1 July 2005. During a meeting with the Head of Mission on 18 June 2006, the current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also extended his welcome to and support for the Mission and its activities.
Established to strengthen the rule of law and promote a culture of respect for human rights in Iraq, EUJUST LEX provides professional development opportunities to senior Iraqi officials from the criminal justice system. Member States provide courses which offer learning opportunities and demonstrate best practice in rule of law. In addition, the courses facilitate an exchange of views between the EU trainers and the Iraqi participants. The core aim of the courses is to foster confidence, mutual respect and operational cooperation between the different branches of the Iraqi criminal justice system (police, judiciary and penitentiary). In March 2005, Stephen White was appointed Head of Mission of EUJUST LEX. From the outset, the Head of Mission has set three guiding principles for all staff to adhere to. These are:
Most of the EUJUST LEX team are based in the coordination office in Brussels.
The Mission also has a small but vitally important liaison team in Baghdad.
EUJUST LEX is the first EU Integrated Rule of Law Mission. Following it's
first extension in 2006, the Mission was mandated to conduct its programme
of operations until the end of 2007. After the EU's Civilian Crisis Management
Committee's assessment of Mission achievements and ongoing and future needs
of Iraq, the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the EU decided
on 25 September 2007 that the EUJUST LEX Mission will be extended for another
18 months. This extension to the Mission's mandate takes its operational
phase up to 30 June 2009. The EUJUST LEX Mission looks forward to continue
to work in partnership with the Iraqi Government and EU Member States.
The Silent Church Lighthouse Trails Research | Warren Smith - Many Christian believers smirked when Shirley MacLaine stood on the beach in her made-for-TV movie, Out on a Limb exclaiming, "I am God!" Today, Marianne Williamson exclaims that we are all "God" and is introduced by Tom Brokaw on a primetime NBC special report about September 11 as one of our "religious leaders."1 Gary Zukav, a man who personally endorsed the Barbara Marx Hubbard book that describes the "selection process," tells us in his post-September 11 television appearances how we can all spiritually grow and bring peace to the world. And Wayne Dyer, in a post-September 11 PBS fundraising event, stands in an historic New England church and tells his national audience that the world would be a much more peaceful place if everyone adopted the "brilliant" teachings of A Course in Miracles.
Traditional Christian believers frequently mention the analogy of the frog that is so slowly and gradually boiled in a kettle of water that it dies before ever realizing what is going on. Yet many believers fail to realize that the very same thing is happening to them as they tell that story. How else do you explain the rapid rise of the "new gospel" movement with hardly a word of concern within the Church about what's been happening? As "new gospel" advocates continue to publish bestselling books and flock to the airwaves in ever-increasing numbers to advance their cause, there is a strange silence in Christendom. Does the Church have any idea what is going on?
So often we have heard the impassioned refrain, "We can never let what happened in Germany ever happen again." And with all of the Holocaust memorials, survivor testimonies, and multitudinous books on the subject, we have done a pretty good job of convincing ourselves that we will never make the same mistakes the German people did in allowing someone like Hitler to rise in their midst. We think that Americans would never stand by and allow something like that to happen here in our country. Our democratic processes and old-fashioned common sense would never allow it.
In the introduction to a 1999 publication (Sixth Pressing) of Hitler's Mein Kampf, Konrad Heiden describes how everything that Hitler was about to do was telegraphed in his early writings:
Somehow, Christians don't seem to grasp Jesus' warnings about the tremendous deception that characterizes the time of the end. Perhaps deceived into thinking that we can't be deceived, we don't take seriously enough His warnings that a Hitler-like antichrist figure will one day rise to rule the world - and that many people calling themselves "Christians" will support this spiritual counterfeit who will actually come in the name of Christ. Our adversary wants us to believe that these warnings are for another people at another time. Yet through Scripture, and in our heart of hearts, the Spirit of God tells us that they are not. As we study the Bible, and as we watch and pray and observe the events all around us, we come to understand that these future times described by Jesus are now suddenly and undeniably upon us.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul warns of their vulnerability and susceptibility to false teaching in the name of Jesus. He suggests that if someone approached them with "another gospel," "another Jesus" and "another spirit" they might very well go along with it (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Earlier in that same letter Paul had indirectly encouraged the Corinthians not to be ignorant of their adversary's schemes and devices, lest they be taken advantage of (2 Corinthians 2:11). Paul told the Ephesians that it is a shame that we even have to talk about the things of darkness, but when we expose them they are brought into the light (Ephesians 5:12-13). He also told them that he had not ceased to warn them night and day for three years that men who were "grievous wolves" would "arise" in the Church "speaking perverse things" as they attempted to lead men away from their faith and into the enemy's camp (Acts 20:29-31). Let us beware of these same warnings today.
It is extremely disturbing to see the website of a Colorado-based Christian leader listed as a recommended resource in the back of a 1998 Barbara Marx Hubbard book entitled Conscious Evolution.3 It is equally alarming to find out that this individual is also a member of the same World Future Society that lists Barbara Marx Hubbard as one of its co-founding and current board members.4 And that this respected Christian leader serves as the secretary of a World Future Society subcommittee that once gave Hubbard a special award for her outstanding contributions to the field of religion.5 But perhaps what is most unbelievable is that the Colorado Springs Christian leadership lets him get away with it. Apparently, being "unequally yoked" with a woman who (at the direction of her "Christ") has "re-written" the Book of Revelation and authored the "selection process" is not a major concern for church leaders - leaders who are actually starting to sound a lot like Hubbard themselves.
And it is, indeed, very disturbing to see many Christian leaders today using many of the same words and expressions commonly used by their "new gospel" counterparts. "New revelation" describing how a great "move of God" is going to take believers "pregnant with destiny" to "a new spiritual level" and into a "new dimension" sounds a lot more like the "new gospel" than the traditional Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Are Christian leaders leading the church ever closer to the cross, or ever closer to the "Planetary Pentecost"? Why is there almost no call for spiritual discernment within the Church (except to warn believers not to be deceived into doubting their appointed Christian leaders)? Why is spiritual experience taking precedence over spiritual discernment? Why are there so few warnings about a counterfeit "new gospel" movement that maligns the person of Jesus Christ and threatens the lives of His followers? Why is "new revelation" in many ministries starting to supersede God's written Word? Why are Christians only being prepared for blessings and not for persecution? What in the world is going on?
Expecting only revival and the return of the true Christ, will the Church be deceived by the one who will come in the name of Christ and pretend to be Him? Caught unawares, will the Church mistake the counterfeit Christ's "Planetary Pentecost" for the great "move of God" they had been told to expect? Are we getting set up for the great delusion described in the Bible? Is there any good reason not at least to consider that possibility?
The prophet Daniel makes mention of the God of "forces" in conjunction with antichrist (Daniel 11:38). The "God" of the "new gospel" asks Neale Donald Walsch, "What if I am not a 'man' at all, but rather, a Force?"6 The "Christ" of A Course in Miracles states that there is an "irresistible Force" within each person.7 Marianne Williamson explains that this "universal force" can be "activated" within each person and has "the power to make all things right."8 The "new gospel Christ" tells Barbara Marx Hubbard that on the day of "Planetary Pentecost" a "planetary smile" will flash across the face of all mankind; that an "uncontrollable joy" that he describes as the "joy of the force" will "ripple" through the one body of humanity.9 Benjamin Creme describes the event "as a pentecostal experience for all."10 The "Christ" of A Course in Miracles tells how the world ends in "peace" and "laughter."11
Has anyone wondered whether this same "Force" may be counterfeiting the Holy Spirit in churches and may be producing "revivals" and "moves of God" that are not really "revivals" or "moves of God" at all? Is the "God of forces" in the process of preparing the Church for the "Planetary Pentecost"? Should we not be doing a more thorough job of testing the spirits? Have we put our faith and trust in Christian "leaders" rather than in God? Have we all talked ourselves out of the end times? Have we all agreed that persecution is not something we need to be concerned about? Have we prayed to God that we would not be deluded or deceived?
Ten years ago in my book, The Light That Was Dark, I wrote the following: "Clearly many who said they were of 'the faith' would soon become a part of the deception too, if they weren't already."
Were we already witnessing the great "falling away" predicted in the Bible? Was the "mystery of iniquity" talked about in the Scriptures already doing its deceptive work with "all power and signs and lying wonders"...? Would people calling themselves Christians abandon their faith in the Bible and the Bible's Christ? Would they join an ecumenical movement that in the name of love and God and unity would sacrifice the truth of the Bible and perhaps one day merge with the new age itself?
Jesus warned that such a faith would lead not to life but to ultimate destruction: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).12
Could it be that the reason the Church is so unaware of the "new gospel" movement is because it is being led by that same spirit and heading down that same broad way? Is it happening now, right in front of our very own eyes?
This is from Reinventing Jesus Christ by Warren Smith, chapter 10. Click here to read the entire online edition.
U.S. confirms bank buy-ins Chicago Tribune (October 11, 2008) - The government will buy an ownership stake in a broad array of American banks for the first time since the Great Depression, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said late Friday. "This is a period like none of us has ever seen before," Paulson declared. He said the government program to purchase stock in private U.S. financial firms will be open to a broad array of institutions, including banks, in an effort to help them raise desperately needed money.
The administration received the authority to take such direct action in the $700 billion economic rescue bill that Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed last week. Paulson announced the administration's new effort to prop up banks at the conclusion of discussions among finance officials of the Group of Seven major industrialized countries. That group endorsed the outlines of a sweeping program to combat the worst global credit crisis in decades.
Paulson said the U.S. program would be designed to complement banks' own efforts to raise fresh capital from private sources. The government's stock purchases will be of non-voting shares so it will not have power to run the companies. Few details of the plan were available.
The purchase of stakes in companies would be in addition to the main thrust of the $700 billion rescue effort, which is to purchase distressed assets from financial institutions as a way of unthawing frozen credit, getting banks to resume normal lending operations and staving off severe problems for businesses and everyday Americans alike. It would mark the first time the government has taken equity ownership in banks in this manner since a similar program was employed during the Depression.
The Treasury, under the equity purchase program, would not be involved
in bank management, Paulson said. "Such a program would be designed
to encourage the raising of new private capital to complement public capital,"
China stiffing America for $100 billion in debt WorldNet Daily (October 11, 2008) - While Chinese companies are in line to benefit directly from U.S. taxpayers' $700 billion-plus bailout of Wall Street, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other financial institutions, Beijing is stiffing the U.S. for $100 billion or more in unpaid debt.
The status of the Chinese economy, including its repudiated debt, has prompted one analyst to warn of an "ominous threat" involving China's finances and suggest the possibility of "a dramatic reversal" for the "so-called Chinese Miracle." "One of the greatest problems facing China is the government's failure to acknowledge and effectively address the true extent of state institutions' bad debt," Kevin O'Brien writes in an article titled, "Reassessing China's Sovereign Risk: Emerging Global and Domestic Trends Threaten the 'Chinese Miracle."
O'Brien's report was published at a website for the Global Association of Risk Professionals, a not-for-profit independent trade association of risk management practitioners around the world. It has 77,000 members from fields such as banking, investment management and academics. One problem that should be addressed, he writes, is the $260 billion in sovereign debt owed U.S. and other investors which China has said it simply won't repay. "The repayment obligation was inherited by the People's Republic of China, when the communists took control in 1949. The successor government doctrine of settled international law affirms continuity of obligations among international recognized successive governments," O'Brien said.
"The PRC is the internationally recognized successor government … which contracted the credit sovereign debt … and which had a loan agreement that states that such debt is intended to be 'a binding engagement upon the Republic of China and its successors.'" The bonds, however, were excluded from a 1979 settlement of Chinese debts and in 1987, China even "concluded a discriminatory settlement accord with bondholders in Great Britain – an agreement that excluded from settlement any bonds held by non-UK citizens."
Then in 2006, the Chinese Ministry of Finance issued an official communiqué addressed to "the Embassy of the United States of America in China," in which the Chinese government formally repudiated China's defaulted full faith and credit sovereign debt and announced that it would not repay any debt held by American citizens, O'Brien said. The repudiation still stands, even though the China Economic Review confirmed that major Chinese banks own $8 billion in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities that are the targets of bailout provisions.
"Bank of China said last month it owned $7.5 billion in Fannie and Freddie bonds," the report continued. "The bank also held $5.2 billion in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the two agencies." Those owners will be among the beneficiaries of the overall bailout plan assembled by the government and funded by taxpayers to "rescue" bad debt created by an agenda of loaning money to "subprime" recipients who may not have had the wherewithal to repay the loans. Recipients of the U.S. taxpayers' generosity also may include various private Chinese interests with investments in American real estate and mortgage.
As recently as three weeks ago, China Investment Corp. was in active discussions to buy into U.S. financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley. All the while Congress has been aware of the Chinese default but unwilling to mandate action. Elton Gallegly, a California Republican in Congress, called it the "China debt syndrome." "After Saddam Hussein's government was replaced in Iraq, China demanded that the new government pay off the debt Saddam's regime ran up against China. China prevailed and is getting 100 percent of the more than $10 billion Iraq owes it," he said in a recent commentary. "China, however, refuses to recognize the debt its current government inherited when the communists took control in 1949. That debt includes about $260 billion on bonds issued by the former Republic of China. Of that, more than 300 American citizens are owed nearly $100 billion from bonds on which the People's Republic of China has defaulted," the congressman wrote.
"It's time China owned up to its international obligations. Pressure is the only thing China understands. And pressure works. Americans weren't the only ones owed billions when the communists seized control. British citizens were among the bondholders communist China had been ignoring. That lasted until 1987, when Great Britain enacted a law denying Chinese access to British capital markets and China responded by negotiating a settlement to pay off the bonds," he wrote.
Now, he said, China is in negotiations with France on defaulted bonds but "continues to ignore the United States." He said worse than the actual monetary loss is the message that suggests China "does not have to play by the rules when it competes in the global economy. This helps explain Beijing's refusal to abide by trade agreements, the manipulation of its currency, its underwriting of the genocidal regime in Sudan and its financial relationship with the terrorist-sponsoring government in Iran." "To that list we can add China’s refusal to crack down on the widespread theft of intellectual property. The piracy of U.S. movies, books, music and other products is costing Americans billions of dollars each year," he said.
China, meanwhile, is boasting of its economy growth and influence. On a Chinese-promoted website today the headlines bragged: "China ranks among the world’s top 30 economies," "China Investment Corp to start investing in Japan stocks" and "China's ship industry strives for No. 1 spot."
A resolution similar to Gallegly's also has been introduced in the Senate. The plan by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., targets China's attempt "to conceal its defaulted government debt from investors." "The Senate measure labels China's present 'investment-grade' credit rating as artificial and in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox acknowledged that wrongful actions by a credit rating agency may subject the agency to revocation of its SEC registration," an announcement said.
At Washington Watch, the criticism focused on the U.S. credit rating agencies that have allowed the situation to remain under the radar. "In China's instance, the three largest rating agencies (Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch) are accused of intentionally violating their published criteria and metrics," said the report. "Sovereign Advisers, a risk metrics firm assisting the defaulted creditors of the Chinese government, has performed comprehensive research on this matter and has provided the U.S. Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission with evidence suggesting that the actions of Standard & Poor's and Moody's were intentionally designed to conceal the Chinese government's debt repudiation and establish an artificial sovereign benchmark in order to increase ratings revenue from expanded securities issuance by Chinese corporations."
On the Washington Watch website, several participants in an online discussion expressed concern over the situation. "It is about time the PRC was made to pay for their financial indiscretions from the past," said one. "The situation is crystal clear," said another. "China has an obligation and if it wishes to operate globally it must meet this and any other obligations." "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck. China's credibility should be disclosed so investors are aware of the risk. China needs to pay its debts," added another.
Gallegly's effort also was to encourage that knowledge among investors. "This action will put all investors on notice that China has refused to honor its obligations in contravention of international law," he wrote. "It will also encourage China to negotiate in good faith with American bondholders to settle their claims on defaulted bonds." O'Brien called China's actions "selective default." He said that's "a practice whereby a government selectively defaults on one specific class of full faith and credit soverereign obligations … yet honors repayment to selected creditors of a separate class.."
"China's refusal to honor repayment of its full faith and credit sovereign debt to American bondholders is best characterized by a statement that appeared in a recent news article: 'When it comes to territory, China claims Tibet and Taiwan based on historical claims predating the current communist government assuming power, but when it comes to debts owed to American citizens, it's a different story," he wrote.
WND reported in 2007 about the influence China wielded over the American
dollar because of its investments in financial instruments.
WND also has reported extensively on a long list of defective and even
dangerous products that have been exported from China to the U.S.
Quake shakes British Virgin Islands CNN
(October 11, 2008) - A 6.1-magnitude earthquake
shook the British Virgin Islands at 6:40 a.m. ET Saturday, according to
the U.S. Geological Survey. There was no immediate information about possible
damage. The quake was centered about 50 miles (81 km) north of Little Harbour,
British Virgin Islands, at a depth of 18 miles (29 km), the USGS said.
Iceland turns to Russia for bailout RIA Novosti (October 10, 2008) - Russia has agreed to bail out Iceland by granting this small island state a huge stabilization loan at an unbelievably low interest rate. Is it an act of wanton generosity, or a far-sighted geopolitical step? And in general, four billion euros, is it a lot or a little? The fate of Iceland has until recently not concerned Russia one bit. Now only a lazy person is not discussing the incredible sum the "island of stability" is going to inject into the economy of a sinking island of geysers.
Europe has meanwhile been discussing Iceland for a long time. Hedge-fund country, an example of liberal economic regulation and a model of a rapidly developing economy, Iceland was the first in the world to feel the impact of a full-bodied economic crisis. This happened at the end of 2007. Since this year began, Iceland's currency - the krona - has lost one-third of its value against the euro. Iceland's leading banks - Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki - have been marauded by international financial sharks. At the end of September, the country's authorities bought out (read, nationalized) Glitnir bank, and on October 7 Landsbanki, while on the same day Kaupthing bank received a 500 million euro loan from Iceland's National Bank. By the autumn of 2008 it had become clear Iceland might become the world's first country to suffer a default.
Why is the bubble of Iceland's economy bursting so loudly? It ballooned too rapidly, the IMF believes. In 2003-2007, the country's GDP had risen by 25%, with this robust growth fed mainly by outside borrowing. To attract foreign investments, the authorities strengthened the currency and ratcheted up interest rates (by the beginning of 2008, they were the highest in Europe - 15.5% per annum). The result was a monstrous misbalance: a modest GDP, on the one hand, and immense financial assets and tremendous liabilities, on the other. According to 2007 figures, Iceland's GDP was $16 billion, while its financial assets stood at 1,000% of GDP and an external debt of 550% of GDP.
With Iceland teetering on the brink of default, Russia's stabilization loan of four billion euros is a lifebelt, and a very sizeable one (on the evening of October 7, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin acknowledged Russia's readiness to pay, although previously he had denied such claims by Iceland's National Bank). Judge for yourself: when, in May 2008, Iceland was drowning, the central banks of three Scandinavian countries - Sweden, Denmark and Norway - set up a special $2.3 billion rescue fund for Iceland. Now Russia alone is ready to fork over two and a half times as much for the same purpose. In other words, four billion euros by Iceland's standards is substantial.
In Russian eyes, it is a vast sum, too. And one pledged at a very fair rate. To judge from a release issued by Iceland's National Bank, Russia promised it at LIBOR+(0.3-0.5)%. This compares with LIBOR+1% at which the Russian Central Bank wants to offer loans to Russia's Vnesheconombank. At a time when Russian authorities hold crisis emergency meetings almost daily, this looks strange, to say the least. The man in the street would say this is no time for liberal loans when one's own existence is at stake. This man's response would not be quite right, in my opinion.
There are several reasons why Russia should agree to issue the loan to Iceland. The first and overwhelming one is geo-economic. Leaders in many countries are gradually beginning to understand that a world caught in the maelstrom of a financial crisis could be saved only by cooperative efforts. This was a theme running through a three-day world policy conference in Evian; it will certainly be taken up at an annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
WB chief Robert Zoellick only recently proposed that the G8 also include BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. World leaders more and more often speak of the need to shelve personal ambitions, put away political squabbles and do something.
To come to the aid of Iceland at such a time has been for Russia a decision prompted by stark necessity. Russia has a rich war chest of windfall oil money. By the end of September, its Central Bank had $566 billion in international reserves, and $32-plus billion in the National Welfare Fund and the Reserve Fund. Of course, Russia could sit it out on its "island of stability" and fight the crisis within its four walls. But in this case Russia risks suddenly discovering that the global financial storm whipped up even further by Iceland's hurricane has wiped out all its stockpiled reserves.
Most of Iceland's lenders are European banks. Should Iceland declare a default, the whole of Europe would go into a spin, and would drag Russia after it, which now has a chance to scrape its way out of the crisis the cheap way. It emerges that by saving Iceland, Russia is saving itself first.
Other considerations are less global and more pragmatic. Crises come
and go, but allies (sometimes) remain. Iceland, a rapidly developing economy
and a happy hunting ground for businessmen from many European countries,
is certain to remember this gesture and take more kindly to Russian investments
in the future. So far, Russia-Iceland trade has been $100 million per year.
And it was only shortly before the crisis that Russian business (represented
by Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska) began exploring the country's investment
possibilities. Now the price for entering Iceland's economy could prove
very low. Besides, it makes a good staging post for flights to Latin America.
This principle is how I believe the world will be forced into a global fix for the economic failures by those who are the lenders. Perhaps the servants will be offered a clean slate in exchange for participation in the new system. I wouldn't be surprised because ultimately the spirit behind this is not worried about making money, but pulling souls away from their Creator and according to scripture, those who accept the terms of the new cashless system that relies on a mark make not only an immediate decision, but one that affects their eternity.
It seems to me the house of cards is falling and everything that they try to do in order to prop it back up fails to do anything to stop it. How close are we to being indentured servants as a nation who will be offered a new financial system as a way out? I don't know for sure, but there are already globalization talks going on for the financial system: Foreign economists urge 'global plan'
Proof Obama backed ruthless, foreign thug WorldNet Daily (October 10, 2008) - Sen. Barack Obama designated a personal aide as his direct contact for the 2007 Kenyan presidential campaign of Raila Odinga, who later was appointed prime minister after his election loss was followed by widespread, deadly violence that destroyed or damaged 800 Christian churches, according to e-mails obtained by WND senior staff writer Jerry Corsi during a trip to Kenya.
Corsi attempted to release this and other information at a Tuesday press conference in Nairobi. The WND reporter and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author was detained by Kenya security officers as soon as he entered the hotel to make his presentation. He was held incommunicado and without food for the entire day before being permitted to board his regularly scheduled flight out of the country to London, where he is currently recuperating from the ordeal.
As WND has reported, Obama openly campaigned for Odinga during the Illinois Democrat's 2006 Senate "fact-finding visit" to Kenya. Odinga called for protests over alleged voter fraud after losing the December 2007 general election. The resulting protest violence left an estimated 1,000 members of the dominant Kikuyu tribe in Kenya dead and an estimated 500,000 displaced from their homes.
The links between Obama and Odinga were documented by copies of two e-mails obtained by Corsi during his meetings in Kenya with various government officials and others. The e-mails, apparently sent by Obama himself, referenced the senator's aide, Mark Lippert. The e-mails were provided to WND by an insider in Kenya who fled Odinga's Orange Democratic political party and requested anonymity because of the danger of retaliation.
The e-mails, identified as coming from Obama's Senate office, are addressed to "railaaodinga" at a yahoo.com address. A WND e-mail to the same Obama address generated an automated response and a list of contacts for Obama's offices. A WND e-mail sent to the Odinga e-mail address didn't generate a response.
One e-mail purportedly from Obama, dated Dec. 22, 2006, read, "I will kindly wish that all our correspondence [be] handled by Mr Mark Lippert. I have already instructed him. This will be for my own security both for now and in future." It is reproduced here with the e-mail address of the person who forwarded it to WND redacted:
Lippert is a long-term Obama Senate staff member identified by the Chicago Sun-Times as a member of Obama's "inner circle of foreign policy experts." The Sun-Times has said if Obama is elected president, his secretary of state and national security advisers are expected to come from this inner circle.
In December 2006 Odinga was in the early stages of planning to run as the Orange Democratic candidate against President Mwai Kibaki. The e-mails from Obama's office to Odinga's presidential campaign seem to show Obama and Odinga, who once told the BBC he is Obama's cousin, had discussions about Odinga's 2007 campaign.
WND was unable to reach the Obama campaign for a comment, as the campaign telephone system disconnected a WND call three times in a row without any provision to leave a message.
The former Orange Democratic official who provided the e-mails to WND asked for anonymity because of concerns the disclosure of his identity could endanger his life in a volatile political atmosphere in Kenya where Odinga's fellow Luo tribal members staged sometimes violent protests against Kibaki's supporters, who primarily are Kikuyu. Sen. Obama's relatives in Kenya are Luo. The former Orange Democratic official reported abandoning the party and opposing Odinga because of concerns Odinga had manipulated tribal violence in Kenya to gain political power.
During Corsi's trip to Kenya, WND also confirmed the role of the anonymous party source in implementing an Odinga campaign strategy which the source claimed was shared with Obama's Senate office. The strategy is described in a document titled "Executive Brief on the Positioning and Marketing of the Orange Democratic Movement & 'The People's President.'"
The document at one point suggests: "It is possible to trigger a class war by painting the Kibaki Government as an insensitive, uncaring group of Muthaiga Golf clubbers. Available research also suggests that this strategy could also resonate with poor kikuyu youth who feel economically marginalized by their own government. As part of this strategy the party should seek to elevate the emotions within all youth constituents who may it successful, be willing to vote for us in the protest. Visible signs of class disparity will provide important fodder for this theme."
WND previously reported Obama was in telephone communications with Odinga on nearly a daily basis during the Democratic primary in New Hampshire in January.
The second e-mail, again from Obama's Senate address to Odinga's e-mail, stated, "Thanks for contacting me about Mr Lippert through email. Contact him through mark_lippert.obama.senate.gov."
Chapter 4 of Corsi's "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," titled "Kenya, Odinga, Communism and Islam," refers to the strategy document, but its authenticity was confirmed by the former Oorange Democratic official during interviews with Corsi in Kenya over the last week. The document describes an Odinga strategy of exploiting "anti-Kikuyu sentiments," a clearly racial strategy aimed at inflaming long-standing tribal animosity to gain electoral advantage for Odinga. The last point of the campaign document describes what happened when Odinga lost the December 2007 election: "Ethnic Tensions/Violence as a Last Resort."
Obama continued to support Odinga's effort to share Kenya's head-of-state with President Kibiki even after the wave of Odinga-prompted violence that followed his defeat.
Some pundits in the U.S. already are suggesting that if Obama is not elected, there could be violence. On CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" show, James Carville said, "But you stop and contemplate this country if Obama goes in and he has a consistent five point lead and loses the election, it would be very, very, very dramatic out there."
According to a Wall Street Journal article posted on the Obama campaign website, Lippert is doing double duty: in civilian life as Obama's chief foreign-policy adviser and in the military as a Lieutenant JG who is planning to serve as an intelligence officer for the Navy SEALS.
The site gives Lippert, 34, credit for helping "hone" Obama's
anti-war views. The website report states: "Over the past two years,
Sen. Obama and Lt. Lippert have traveled around the globe together, played
one-on-one basketball and shared each other's shoes. Lt. Lippert has continuing
email exchanges with the senator's half sister in Africa. Sen. Obama encouraged
Lt. Lippert to get engaged. Sen. Obama calls Lt. Lippert, 'one of my favorite
people in the world.'" Lippert previously worked at the State Department
and at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, Md. The report says
Lippert accompanied Obama as an adviser to Russia and then to Kenya.
To be clear, I don't have much hope in the other option on the table as both are following suit toward global government.
Berlusconi says leaders may close world’s markets Bloomberg (October 10, 2008) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said political leaders are discussing the idea of closing the world's financial markets while they "rewrite the rules of international finance." "The idea of suspending the markets for the time it takes to rewrite the rules is being discussed," Berlusconi said today after a Cabinet meeting in Naples, Italy. A solution to the financial crisis "can't just be for one country, or even just for Europe, but global." The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much 8.1 percent in early trading and pared most of those losses after Berlusconi's remarks. The Dow was down 0.5 percent to 8540.52 at 10:10 in New York.
Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers are meeting in Washington today, and will stay in town for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this weekend. European Union leaders may gather in Paris on Oct. 12, three days before a scheduled summit in Brussels, Berlusconi said today, while Group of Eight leaders may hold a meeting on the crisis "in coming days," he said.
Berlusconi didn't give any details about what kind of rules leaders were
looking to change, except to say that leaders are "talking about a
new Bretton Woods." The Bretton Woods Agreements were adopted to rebuild
the international economic system after World War II in a hotel in Bretton
Woods, New Hampshire. The aim of the agreements was to establish a monetary
management system, initially by pegging currencies to gold. The IMF was
set up later to help manage the international financial system.
Potential Economic Seizure Dead Ahead The Market Ticker (October 9, 2008) - Ok folks, this is serious stuff.
This is now a national emergency. Seven trillion dollars of wealth has been vaporized in US Stocks in the last seven days alone, with five of it since the passage of that ill-designed and foolhardy "bailout" bill. The selloff this afternoon is the "real deal." It was not caused by the stock market getting "mad", it was caused by the short-term credit market along with the Treasury market suddenly dislocating at a few minutes before the bond pit closed at 2:00 PM.
Worse is also the fact that institutional lending has essentially disappeared - both between banks and now it is choking off commercial short-term credit across the board. It doesn't get any more serious than this. To repeat: short-term commercial credit is threatening to completely disappear from the American scene. Every action our government has taken thus far, including repealing mark-to-market requirements have made the situation worse by further destroying confidence.
In the overnight market the futures are imploding once again; the Osaka exchange was closed in Japan after hitting its "lock limit" within minutes prior to the Nikkei opening; the Nikkei is now down ANOTHER 10%, for a total loss of nearly 20% in just two days, with Japanese banks trading "offer only" - that is, NO BID. There are rumors of government bond market fails in parts of Europe, and Iceland has essentially been cut off from the rest of the world Interbank marketplace.
Japanese banks are now firewalling themselves from European and US claims; the interbank market is about to explode. Iceland has effectively defaulted on sovereign debt and today there was a rumor that Hungary had a failed bond auction, effectively defaulting as well.
Key: Sovereign debt (that is, Treasuries from various nations) has become infected with trash - unfortunately including ours now that Fannie and Freddie were nationalized and TARP has been passed - and may fail in a cascade-style fashion across the world. If this occurs our ability to fund our government will be cut off as well, leading to a need to reduce government spending by $800 billion a year immediately. This means huge and immediate cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Military budgets - by as much as half.
Over a year ago I warned in my writings that this could happen if we did not take action. If we did not force accountability through Congress and onto our financial system. If we did not force the thieves, liars and thugs on Wall Street to take their medicine. Instead of taking action we have sat on our collective asses and allowed Congress to pass bailout after bailout - now our stock market is down close to 40% from the top with 20% of that loss coming in just over one week! We are facing a global DEPRESSION and the cut-off of essential goods and services in this nation if we do not stop this lunacy immediately.
Please understand - the TRUCKER who has a full load of food headed for your grocer REQUIRES commercial credit in order to fill his truck with diesel. The local GAS STATION owner REQUIRES commercial credit to fill his underground storage tank. The local CAR DEALER REQUIRES commercial credit to have cars - and parts - in his dealership. No credit, no car - and no car repairs. The manufacturer over in China REQUIRES commercial credit (letters of credit from the buyer's bank) to be able to ship those goods to America, where you can buy them. If the bank over there won't take the LOC from the bank over here, suddenly you have no tires, DVDs and other similar products to buy.
IF THESE MARKETS DO NOT IMMEDIATELY UNFREEZE THE CONSEQUENCE WILL BE THAT FOOD AND FUEL, ALONG WITH ALL OTHER MANNER OF CONSUMER PRODUCTS, MAY NOT FLOW TO YOUR GROCERY STORE AND GAS STATION.
Think about that very carefully and then consider whether YOU can afford to sit on your ass for one more second, or whether you have an absolute NEED to get on the phone, fax, and whatever else RIGHT NOW to your elected and appointed representatives and, if you do not get in response that they will IMMEDIATELY resolve this matter whether you will vow to band together with every one of your associates and friends, form a group consisting of everyone in your local city or town, and call a GENERAL STRIKE, refusing to both work and permit commerce to be conducted UNTIL THE LIARS ARE FORCED INTO THE OPEN, DEALT WITH, AND THE SYSTEM IS ABLE TO CLEAR.
We are quite literally out of time. This freeze in the markets WILL continue around the globe unless something is done NOW. Every "intervention" and "promise" made by our government thus far - all of them - have been LIES. Our government has done NOTHING to alleviate the problem and in fact every one of their "solutions" have made the situation worse - going back for more than a year. We have "pumped liquidity" and even bailed out firms with taxpayer money, and yet the markets have not unfrozen.
They remain frozen because the root cause of the problem is that banks and other financial firms have been lying for more than a year, each quarter claiming to have "kitchen sinked" their losses only to report more the next quarter, and in some cases have gone on national TV to proclaim they're "well-capitalized" only days or weeks before they collapse!
The first question anyone asks when someone wishes to borrow money is whether or not they will get paid back. If the lender does not believe they will be able to be paid back then that loan will not be made, no matter how much money someone has available to them. It really is that simple folks and yet this fundamental principle has been willfully and intentionally ignored for more than a year.
YOU MUST CHOOSE RIGHT NOW, TONIGHT, AS AN AMERICAN WHETHER YOU ARE GOING TO GO TO WORK TOMORROW AND PRETEND THAT NOTHING IS WRONG, OR WHETHER YOU ARE GOING TO ENGAGE IN PEACEFUL BUT FORCEFUL PROTEST IN DEMANDING THAT THIS CRISIS BE ADDRESSED NOT WITH "MORE OF THE SAME" BUT BY ARRESTING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE CROOKS, BY FORCING BALANCE SHEET TRANSPARENCY FOR EACH AND EVERY FIRM IN THE UNITED STATES, AND BY THEN FORCIBLY RECAPITALIZING VIA DEBT-TO-EQUITY "CRAMDOWNS" EACH AND EVERY INSOLVENT BANK AND OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTION, WITH TREASURY STEPPING IN WITH TAXPAYER MONEY ONLY AFTER THE TRUTH (OR FALSEHOOD) OF SOLVENCY IS ESTABLISHED IN PUBLIC WHERE WE CAN ALL SEE IT.
THIS IS NO LONGER JUST ABOUT YOUR RETIREMENT SAVINGS AND HOUSE (although that's important) IT NOW IS, QUITE LITERALLY, ABOUT THE ABILITY OF ORDINARY COMMERCE TO CONTINUE AND ESSENTIAL GOODS AND SERVICES - FOOD AND FUEL AMONG THEM - TO REACH OUR MARKETS. YOU LITERALLY MUST CHOOSE NOW, AS THE TIME TO DAWDLE AND THINK ABOUT IT HAS EXPIRED.
Update 7:30 AM CT 10/10 - Overnight LIBOR has come in dramatically, but 3 month dollar LIBOR has not - in fact, it went higher. This tells you that while people do not believe the market is due to implode tomorrow - an improvement over yesterday - they also don't believe that anything will be fixed in the next few months. Thus, as of this time, the nightmare scenario remains on the table.
8:00 AM - Trading desks (from the forum and a quick check) are reporting agencies being dumped by Chinese holders. Don't be too quick to call this "screw those evil Americans" - this smells like have to sell as opposed to want to sell. LOC seizures mean goods aren't moving which means you have to sell what you can, irrespective of price. Ditto for the price dislocation in the Treasury market. Say goodnight to what's left of the housing market - as I expected would happen - its done.
9:53 - Again,
the second day, no OMO (Open Market Operations) at The Fed. Read this
report carefully. Note that there are no Agencies and no Treasuries left
on The Fed's balance sheet. All gone. All that is left is $80 billion of
crappy MBS. Bluntly, without printing raw money, The Fed is out of Treasuries
with which to lend into the market, and thus cannot perform OMO any more;
they must do "other things" (like print money.) We are now officially
into the twilight zone and Fed Solvency is an issue on the table. President
Bush spoke again but none one word about forcing transparency among financial
institutions. Raise cash now and be prepared for potential essential
good and service disruptions as the supply pipelines could begin to go dry
on these as soon as early next week.
Interview: EU to govern Internet of the future Euractiv (October 9, 2008) - The European Commission will roll out a range of initiatives in the coming months to promote the Internet of the Future, while remaining highly vigilant in protecting citizens and networks, Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding told EurActiv in an interview.
The EU executive identified the following key topics to be addressed by 2009 in to prepare Europe to the new generation of the Internet: the early challenges of the Internet of Things, rolling out Next Generation Access Networks, opening radio spectrum to wireless services, broadband for all, security of critical communication infrastructure, privacy concerns related to the massive deployment of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and Internet governance.
Speaking at the Internet of Things conference organised by the French EU Presidency in Nice on 6-7 October, Commissioner Reding outlined told EurActiv what she expected would be the main challenges ahead.
First of all, Brussels wants to pave the way for possibly the biggest revolution that the Web has ever seen: the emergence of an Internet of Things, whereby objects have a virtual identity and communicate between each other to provide services of every kind, from healthcare to transport security.
At the end of September, the Commission opened a public debate on the main issues related to the Internet of Things, publishing a position document . In November, a recommendation is expected on the privacy and security risks linked to the deployment of RFID tags, the technology at the core of the Internet of Things. Commissioner Reding wants to maintain a fair balance between the promotion of RFID and the new societal risks posed by society (EurActiv 06/10/08).
In early 2009, the EU executive is due to publish definitve guidelines for the roll-out of Next Generation Access Networks, the key infrastructure for a future Internet based on data-hungry services (EurActiv 19/09/08). A review of radio spectrum is also ongoing, so as to exploit the so-called 'digital dividend' which will result from the switch from analogue to digital TV by 2012. The target is to increase the provision of wireless and mobile Internet services and, as a result, broadband penetration in Europe.
Protection of critical online infrastructure, such as networks or key servers, is also high on the Commission's agenda. To avoid cyber-attacks such as that which hit Estonian public Internet services in 2007, the EU executive will propose concrete action at EU level in a document to be published in 2009 (EurActiv 09/04/08).
The global governance of the Internet and its next developments is also
considered crucial by Brussels, with Reding explicitly aiming to challenge
US control of many key elements of the Net. To read the full text of the
interview, please click
European electronic ID framework gathers pace vnunet (October 9, 2008) - Further details of a new European electronic ID interoperability scheme were revealed this week at the ISSE 2008 security event in Madrid, with pilots set to go live as early as 2010. In the first public discussion of the project, meeting chair work group leader Miguel Alvarez Rodriguez claimed that the Stork framework would ultimately enable cross-border e-government services for individuals and businesses. "Our mission is to develop and test common specifications for secure and mutual recognition of national electronic ID schemes," he said. "We will try to interact with other EU institutions to maximise the usefulness of electronic ID services."
As part of the initiative, security and identity experts from some of the 13 participating member states will evaluate emerging and existing technologies, collaborate with key organisations such as the European Network and Information Security Agency, and work on process flows.
UK representative Jim Purves, head of product strategy for the Government Gateway at the Department for Work and Pensions, explained that the first live pilots for the project would be delivered over a 12-month period from June 2010 to May 2011.
The trials will focus on areas including cross-border authentication
for electronic services, student mobility, and technology to enable easy
changes of address across borders. "If we want to create cross-border
e-government services, one of the main building blocks is the creation of
an e-identity framework like this," said Rodriguez. Although the UK
government's problems in implementing plans for a national ID card scheme
are well documented, the first cards for foreign nationals will be rolled
out from November.
Farrakhan on Obama: 'The Messiah is absolutely speaking' WorldNet Daily (October 9, 2008) - Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, another powerful Chicago-based political figure associated with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and other long-time associates of Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama, is leaving no doubt about what he thinks of the leader in the campaign for the White House. He says when Obama talks "the Messiah is absolutely speaking."
Addressing a large crowd behind a podium Feb. 24 with a Nation of Islam Saviour's Day 2008 sign, Farrakhan proclaims,
"Brothers and sisters," Farrakhan said, "Barack Obama to me, is a herald of the Messiah. Barack Obama is like the trumpet that alerts you something new, something better is on the way." Farrakhan points out that the man Nation of Islam followers refer to as "the Savior," Fard Muhammad, had a black father and a white mother, just as Obama did. "A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he said. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.
"Would God allow Barack to be president of a country that has been so racist, so evil in its treatment of Hispanics, native Americans, blacks?" he asked. "Would God do something like that? Yeah. Of course he would. That's to show you that the stone that the builders rejected has become the headstone of the corner. This is a sign to you. It's the time of our rise. It's the time that we should take our place. The future is all about you."
Farrakhan suggested he would keep a low profile in the campaign, despite his enthusiasm for Obama. "That's why you have never heard me make any comment," he explained. "I love that brother, and I want to see that brother successful. I don't want to say anything that would hurt that brother, and I don't want them to use me or the Nation of Islam."
Returning to the theme that Obama is a mystical figure, Farrakhan said, he "is not the Messiah for sure, but anytime he gives you a sign of uniting races, ethnic groups, ideologies, religions and makes people feel a sense of oneness, that's not necessarily Satan's work, that is, I believe, the work of God." He went on to point out that when religious scholars talk about Christ or the Islamic Mahdi, they never talk in racial terms – again, pointing to Obama's mixed racial background.
WND previously reported a website called "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?" captured the wave of euphoria that followed the Democratic senator's remarkable rise. The site is topped by an Obama quote strategically ripped from a Jan. 7 speech at Dartmouth College just before the New Hampshire Primary in which he told students, "… a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote" for Obama. MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews is among the many members of the media enraptured by Obama, admitting he felt a "thrill going up my leg" listening to an Obama speech.
At the media watchdog Newsbusters, P.J. Gladnick writes that Obama has a charisma that goes beyond "his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric." "Bill Clinton, with all his effortless, winking charm, didn't have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity," Gladnick says. "Dismiss it all you like, but I've heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who've been intuitively blown away by Obama's presence - not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence - to say it's just a clever marketing ploy, a slick gambit carefully orchestrated by hotshot campaign organizers who, once Obama gets into office, will suddenly turn from perky optimists to vile soul-sucking lobbyist whores, with Obama as their suddenly evil, cackling overlord."
WND also reported when talk radio host Rush Limbaugh criticized Democrats who were comparing Obama to Jesus and Gov. Sarah Palin to Pontius Pilate. "I know Jesus Christ. I pray to Jesus Christ all the time," said Limbaugh." I study what Jesus Christ did and said all the time, and let me tell you something, Barack Obama, you are no Jesus Christ." He also attacked Obama's stances for abortion and sex education for children in kindergarten, saying, "I can't find any such references to Jesus promoting infanticide nor do I find any references to Jesus Christ suggesting sex education be taught to 4- and 5-year-olds, but I'm still looking in the New Testament and I'll let you all know if I come up with anything."
Democrats, including party strategist Donna Brazile and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., made nearly identical biblical comparisons of the characters in this presidential election, which Limbaugh traced back to a Sept. 4 posting on a Washington blog. "Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus," Cohen said during a one-minute speech on the floor of the U.S. House yesterday. "Pontius Pilate was a governor."
New World Order: Global co-operation, nationalisation and state intervention - all in one day The Scotsman (October 9, 2008) - IT WAS a day of desperate global action, unprecedented in both scale and cost, intended to stymie the international devastation being wrought by the financial crisis. As the London stock market steeled itself to open again following days of vicious battering, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, rose to stake the future of the country and the Cabinet on an audacious £500 billion banking bail-out.
And barely had the City begun to digest the hugely complex and unorthodox scheme when it was sent reeling again by an unscheduled interest rate cut – mirrored across the world – by the Monetary Policy Committee. It was the first such co-ordinated approach since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 – yet another indicator, had one been needed, of the gravity of the situation. The half percentage point drop was immediately passed on to millions of borrowers, with leading high-street banks cutting their mortgages.
The government's scheme, a three-part plan which takes in short, medium and long-term measures, was welcomed by business leaders and analysts. David Kern, adviser to the British Chamber of Commerce, said: "The government has taken a radical step, but it is one we welcome."
But there was concern a phenomenal amount of taxpayers' cash was being staked on a last-ditch measure that could fail. The Taxpayers' Alliance accused ministers of failing to address other options first. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a fresh warning that Britain was on the brink of recession. In its latest World Economic Outlook, it predicted the UK economy would contract by 0.1 per cent next year as growth across the developed countries slowed to almost zero.
The downturn will mean lost jobs, with unemployment forecast to rise from 5.4 per cent to 6 per cent, while public finances were said to be "considerably weaker" than in previous slowdowns. However, the IMF said it was expecting Britain to bounce back strongly in 2010.
The £500 billion plan includes the government taking shares of up to £50 billion in leading banks, increasing funds available to banks to £200 billion, and guaranteeing their debts when they lend to one another. The guarantees are likely to cost up to £250 billion. The Prime Minister called the plans "bold and far-reaching", but admitted they would offer no quick fix.
Eight UK banks and building societies – including Royal Bank of Scotland, Halifax Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Nationwide – have pledged to increase their capital by £25 billion but the government will pump in the funds if called upon. The Treasury also stands ready to make at least another £25 billion available, if necessary. The Bank of England – alongside its interest rate cut – is taking emergency action to help ensure banks have enough cash to run their day-to-day activities. It has increased to £200 billion the size of its special liquidity scheme that lets banks swap risky assets for Treasury bonds.
The government is also making the further £250 billion available for banks to guarantee debt, but a fee will be charged. Mr Brown moved to reassure taxpayers they would have the potential to "earn a proper return" from their investment. There would be "strings attached and conditions to be met" to protect taxpayer interests.
One key concern is whether there will be controls over the bonuses of the "fat cat" bank bosses. Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, said such issues would be dealt with case by case. Remuneration should be "based on responsibility, hard work, effort and enterprise", he said. It had been claimed that RBS bosses, chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin and chairman Sir Tom McKillop, had offered to leave under a boardroom clear-out agreed with the government, but this was denied by the bank.
The announcement provided an initial boost to the FTSE 100 index of leading shares, and in particular to banking stocks, but this fell away later in the day. The FTSE closed at a loss of 5 per cent – its lowest close since 2004 – while banks failed to hold on to the huge gains of up to 60 per cent made earlier in the day.
When Mr Brown stood to address the House of Commons on the package, which could well determine how his premiership is judged, he was able to announce the interest rate cut. Central banks across Europe, the US, Canada and China also reduced interest rates in an emergency move. The banks hope to encourage nervous consumers and businesses to spend more freely again after widespread housing, credit and financial problems. The cut – which was immediately passed on to more than five million homeowners – was cautiously welcomed by analysts and business leaders.
Miles Templeman, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said: "Before today's announcement, the financial system was in the deep freeze. After today, it might be in the fridge, but there is no guarantee. Nobody should be under any illusion that the financial system is now fixed. Our concern now is for the real economy and how much it will slow. "There remains a real risk that the economic downturn under way will further undermine bank capital due to rising repossessions and bad debt."
Howard Archer, an economist, of Global Insight, said: "It's not the magic pill. We have a lot of difficult times ahead. But the first stage is stopping things getting worse, and the hope is this will help to stabilise the economy." Martin Weale, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said that, for the UK, it was important that the move came alongside the £500 billion package. He said: "The international banks concluded there is a major international banking crisis. Banks were collapsing in Europe, as well as the United States. I think they rather optimistically concluded a rate cut of this type can restore confidence." Rate cuts were "a valuable piece on the side", but he added: "The key issue is for affected countries to do what Britain has done and show governments are prepared to inject equity capital into banks that look as though they need it. "We will only be confident the worst is over when the US adopts a scheme like Britain."
And Louise Cuming, the head of mortgages at moneysupermarket.com, warned: "This
is not a magic cure-all, and we won't see either the mortgage or the housing
market bouncing back to where it was 18 months ago." Following the
announcements, Mr Brown spoke by phone to the French president, Nicolas
Sarkozy, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Italian prime minister,
Silvio Berlusconi, as well as the EC president, José Manuel Barroso. The
government is expected to hold up its plan as a potential model for the
rest of Europe. The EU – which is concerned about competition implications
of a scheme by Ireland to safeguard its deposits – later said it saw no
problem with Britain's move.
Is the Federal Reserve Engaged in Acts of Economic Warfare Against America? Natural News (October 8, 2008) - In 1942, German intelligence officers rounded up skilled Jewish prisoners and launched Operation Bernhardt, a clever scheme designed to counterfeit hundreds of millions of dollars worth of British Pounds and destroy the British economy by flooding it with counterfeit money. Located in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Operation Bernhardt was, even by modern standards, a runaway success that resulted in the creation of forged bank notes worth 132 million British Pounds. This "economic warfare" operation resulted in a devastating economic effect on the British economy. You can read the true history of this operation here.
It is important to note that Operation Bernhardt was an act of war, specifically pursued for the purpose of destroying Britain's economy by creating so much new money that the value of the money already in circulation would plummet. This was considered a strategic attack, just as effective as carpet-bombing tank factories or mowing down soldiers on the field with German-made MG42 machine guns.
What does all this have to do with the Federal Reserve?
Today, the Federal Reserve is engaged in an eerily similar operation, counterfeiting trillions of dollars in U.S. bank notes and flooding the U.S. money supply with money created from nothing. The result, of course, is the same as was intended by Operation Bernhardt in 1942: The economic destruction of the target nation. Only this time, the target is the United States of America.
Hilariously, the Fed claims it's doing this to save the economy. Yet the laws of economics tell us that flooding the money supply with trillions of dollars in new money actually harms the economy. And the Fed has been hard at work causing this harm: $250+ billion two weeks ago, $600+ billion last week and $900 billion earlier this week! It's beginning to crank up the printing presses to the tune of a trillion dollars a week, and by doing so, it's contributing to the destruction of the U.S. economy at a pace the Third Reich could have barely imagined.
Has the Fed declared war on the working class?
If the actions pursued by the Federal Reserve were being masterminded by Al-Qaeda, they would be denounced as acts of war. In World War II, such actions were deliberate acts of war. Targeting the economy for destruction by flooding the money supply with counterfeit currency is, by any measure, a threat to any nation.
So why is the Federal Reserve engaged in actions that, if committed by other nations, would warrant a military response? This is not an idle question. I'm not asking this in a satirical way. I'm quite serious about this: Why is the Fed committing acts of economic warfare against the United States of America? (The Fed, by the way, is a private company. It is not, as you've been led to believe, part of the U.S. government.) [Some videos presenting the facts on that here, here, here and here]
The answer is obvious. You've probably already figured it out: The Federal Reserve is at war with America. It's an economic war, of course, not a bombs-and-bullets war. The casualties, though, are just as real: Savings accounts, retirement funds, bank accounts, jobs, businesses, pensions and much more.
By counterfeiting trillions of dollars like a Sachsenhausen operation on steroids, the Fed is carpet-bombing the U.S. economy with an unprecedented flood of fiat currency, causing the exact same economic destruction intended by the Nazis in World War II (but on a much more devastating scale). And it's doing this as part of a new economic war.
Class warfare has begun
What war? The war between the wealthy elite and the working class. The Fed is working hard, of course, to protect the wealthy elite. Over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money has already been earmarked to bail out the rich, elite bankers who lost other people's money in a series of idiotic bets on fictitious financial instruments.
And what are these bankers doing with this taxpayer money? According to an Associated Press report published yesterday, executives of the failed insurance company AIG were sent on a $440,000 retreat "to a posh California resort" less than one week after the U.S. government bailed them out. At the spa, AIG executives enjoyed spa treatments, massages, organic food buffets and bodywork therapy, all while the American taxpayers footing the bill were slaving away in real jobs, doing real work. Want to see the invoice for yourself? View it here.
That's how this new class warfare is taking shape: YOU (the working class) get all the debt, all the losses, and all the financial burden. THEY (the wealthy elite) get all the profits, all the luxury spa treatments, all the tax breaks and billions of dollars in free money from the Federal Reserve.
In the 1942 Operation Bernhardt, the Germans literally planned to load hundreds of millions of dollars in British Pound bank notes and air-drop them over London. The resulting chaos, it was believed, would shut down the British economy, halting the flow of money needed by Britain to fund its war effort. In the United States today, the Fed is taking a different approach: Air-dropping trillions of dollars into the laps and bank accounts of wealthy bankers and financial institution CEOs, concentrating the massive creation of fiat currency into the hands of less than 1% of the population.
And just to make sure the economic carpet-bombing is a complete success, the Federal Reserve and U.S. government are conspiring to create more than a trillion dollars in new money each week, then flood those funds into banks, businesses and insurance companies. This will, of course, devastate the value of the dollars being saved, held or earned by the wage slaves who labor their lives away under this economic regime. (That would be you and me.)
It's a brilliant plan... if you're interested in destroying a nation. This kind of attack would bring almost any nation to its knees. It's an act of war that requires no violence, no bombs and no destruction of real infrastructure. And yet it achieves what every war in history has ever sought to achieve: The transfer of power from the hands of the many to the hands of the few. The Federal Reserve, in effect, has become a modern-day economic Third Reich, and it has set its sights on the U.S. economy.
Acts of economic terrorism?
The Federal Reserve is now doing to the U.S. what the terrorists could never have accomplished: The destruction of a large portion of its economy, its currency and the savings of its people. The economic losses of 9/11 pale in comparison to the financial destruction that has been unleashed onto America by the Federal Reserve.
Yet, amazingly, it wasn't "terrorists" who put this plan into place. Who was it, exactly? Your Congressional representatives played an important role in allowing this to happen. In a grand, historical betrayal of the American people, members of your own U.S. House of Representatives and Senate voted to initiate a massive economic coup in America, violating the wishes of 99% of the American people (who are aligned against bailing out the rich on the backs of the poor).
Of course, to hear them explain it, their actions are meant to save the taxpayers. Yep, that's their plan: To save YOU, the taxpayer, by confiscating your money and handing it over to the wealthy elite. And whatever money can't be stolen from the taxpayers will be counterfeited by the Fed's money-creation machine.
The Real Agenda: A Massive Transfer of Wealth
We are not watching an economic rescue, friends. We are watching an economic coup. Creating and dumping trillions of dollars into the money supply is an act of war. But it's a war with a specific purpose.
What's happening right now is that the United States is being taken over by King Henry and his accomplices. More than fifty percent of the housing and nearly twenty percent of the entire U.S. economy is now controlled by one person -- Henry Paulson -- and that person answers to no one. He isn't elected, he can't be removed from office, and he's subject to no law.
King Henry controls unlimited funds. He can print any amount of money, or confiscate any amount from the taxpayers (by spending taxpayer dollars to bail out his rich friends). If the Federal Reserve is the new Third Reich, King Henry is its Hitler.
The economic war has already been lost by the People. It was lost on September 30, 2008, when Congress surrendered the U.S. economy to King Henry. The People now own nothing but paper money and ephemeral digital account numbers, all of which could be turned into worthless digits overnight by a single decision from King Henry.
In this economic bailout and the Fed's unlimited creation of new money,
America has suffered the greatest act of economic warfare in our nation's
history. Note carefully that it wasn't conducted by the Nazis, Saddam Hussein
or Al Qaeda. It was, in fact, put into place by 172 Democrats and 91 Republicans
in the House, and a similar majority in the U.S. Senate. (See the complete
list at the original article source linked above.) more...
AIG Hits Up Fed for More Money CNN Money (October 8, 2008) - The New York Federal Reserve is lending up to $37.8 billion to American International Group to give the troubled insurer access to much-needed cash. In exchange, AIG is giving the New York Fed investment-grade, fixed-income securities that it had previously lent out to other institutions for a fee. Those institutions are now returning these securities and want their money back.
The new program, announced Wednesday, is on top of the $85 billion the federal government agreed to lend to AIG last month to prevent the global company from collapsing. AIG said last Friday it had drawn down $61 billion. The lending program is a way for AIG to get funding for its businesses, said a New York Fed spokesman. The system is similar to lending facilities the Fed provides to banks, which can also exchange collateral for cash.
The latest announcement does not jeopardize the government's ability to recoup its loan to AIG, experts said. "AIG will repay the loan," said Stewart Johnson, portfolio manager at Philo Smith, an investment bank specializing in insurance. "It's just a matter of how much of themselves they will have to sell."
Paying back a big debt
On Sept. 16, the Federal Reserve Board agreed to lend AIG $85 billion, using the company's assets as collateral. The loan is expected to be repaid from the proceeds of the asset sales. Interest on the line of credit is steep, and the government took a 79.9% stake in the company. Last week, AIG said it planned to hold onto its property-and-casualty insurance businesses, while selling off the rest of the company to pay the massive debt. Those other business lines include its aircraft leasing unit; asset-management division; retirement services; and U.S. life insurance operations.
AIG chief executive Edward Liddy, who was installed by the Federal Reserve last month after the bailout, on a conference call last Friday was optimistic about the potential for the asset sales. "We fully expect to emerge from this with a capital structure that's fit to fight," he said. "Our insurance businesses...are strong and well-capitalized." But some analysts are more skeptical. "The current disruption in the credit markets could make it difficult to sell businesses at attractive valuations," ratings agency Standard and Poor's said.
CreditSights valued the units AIG planned to sell at $32.9 billion and
the divisions it will keep at $86 billion. These figures do not include
the sale of a minority stake in its foreign life insurance operations, valued
at $133.1 billion. First to hit the market will likely be units tied to
airline leasing and consumer lending, both of which require funding from
the debt markets, which is hard to come by these days. International Lease
Finance Corp. could command more than $7 billion and American General Finance
Corp. will likely bring in about $2 billion, according to CreditSights.
Once AIG sells its assets, it faces many hurdles in stabilizing its property
and casualty insurance divisions, experts said.
Federal Reserve, ECB and Bank of England make emergency interest rate cuts
Telegraph UK (October
8, 2008) - The Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the
Bank of England have all cut interest rates in an emergency move to restore
confidence in the global financial system. The Fed cut its benchmark rate
by a half point to 1.5 pc, the central bank said in a statement. The ECB
and central banks of the U.K., Canada, Sweden and Switzerland are also reducing
rates, the Fed added. "The recent intensification of the financial
crisis has augmented the downside risks to growth and thus has diminished
further the upside risks to price stability," according to a joint
statement by the central banks. "Some easing of global monetary conditions
is therefore warranted." The move comes as the turmoil in financial
markets deepens and the UK today unveiled a £500bn rescue package for the
country's banking sector.
National Interests and European Foreign Policy Council of the European Union - Javier Solana (October 7, 2008) - I would like to thank the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik for convening this conference. It follows a good tradition. For many years it has hosted the NATO Review Conference. As NATO General Secretary I valued these intense political brainstormings. It is timely to launch a similar exercise for our Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Next year, it will be ten years since the Kosovo crisis, which played a fundamental role in the creation of the European Security and Defence Policy. The European Security Strategy will see its 5th anniversary in December. So this is a good moment to look back. But even more to think about the future. I hope and expect this conference to contribute to tangible progress in the evolution of Europe's global role.
At the request of the organisers, my intervention will focus on the question of national interests and how they relate to building a common European foreign policy. This is not an easy topic. These days, when debating foreign policy, the concept of "national interest" can seem outmoded and unattractive. In both public opinion and specialist circles, we tend to associate the idea with the cynical pursuit of self-interest.
Take historical figures like Machiavelli: "it is far safer to be feared than loved". Or Lord Palmerston: "my country has no permanent friends, only permanent interests". We like to think diplomats have moved beyond that kind of thinking in the twenty-first century.
In the European context this feeling becomes stronger. European integration has been built on compromises. So a ruthless pursuit of national interests sits ill with the European method of consensus-building. But are national interests and European foreign policy therefore incompatible?
It would be tempting to say yes. But that would miss an important point. For I think the relationship is more complex. Properly defined, national interests have a place in European policy-making, What has changed in Europe is how people define their interests and, even more, the structure in which they pursue them.
The point is not that we have abolished national interests in the European Union. Rather, the point is that we agree that the best way to safeguard these interests is by working together. Moreover, working together helps to create and identify common European interests. So, it is a two-way street. This is a fundamental truth, which bears repeating.
To avoid any misunderstanding: values matter as much as interests. A foreign policy which is not informed by our values is neither possible nor acceptable. This very much applies to the European Union. Values are at the core of our external actions and an expression of our collective identity. We promote them because of who we are. But also because it is in our interest to do so.
This explains why the European approach to international relations is characterised by the primacy of international law; the search for consensual solutions; and a commitment to making multilateral institutions effective. This is the European way. What we do abroad is shaped by who we are. Not only is this approach right. It is also very effective, as the history of Europe over the last fifty years demonstrates.
There is another aspect to all this. The very concept of national interest has changed in our globalised world. In a nutshell: interests have gone global. We face common problems. You all know the list: terrorism, climate change and energy security, proliferation, organised crime, failing states. These are complex and interconnected problems. They defy simple solutions.
No country acting alone can solve them. So, national and collective interests are linked. You cannot pursue one at the expense of the other. Of course there will always be differences of emphasis, based on history, geography and the electoral cycle. We should be aware of these differences - and discuss how they can be overcome. But the collective, common interest is clear. Global and complex issues require global answers.
So much for the theory. How to do it in practice, in a Union of 27 member-states? By working hard every day. I believe it is possible, because there is such a thing as common European interests. Let me try to explain.
First, I believe it is an interest in itself for the 27 Member states to build unity. Unity is the best way to be heard in a globalised world. Unity is a precondition for Europe to be effective. In turn, being effective helps with creating unity, as the Balkan and Georgia conflicts have shown.
Second, there is the inter-connected nature of the threats that we face, as I mentioned earlier. We have a common interest in addressing complex threats, diplomatically and through collective action on the ground. What is stated in principle must be demonstrated in practice. And Europe is doing just that, tackling crises in our neighbourhood and beyond.
Let me mention some examples which seem of special relevance.
The Iran nuclear issue is a case in point. The importance of the Iranian issue cannot be over-stated. At stake is nothing less than the treaty-based system of non-proliferation. Europe's role has been central. We have been at the forefront of international efforts to solve this sensitive and complex issue, working through the multilateral system. It is consistent with the objectives, interests and values we uphold. We hope for success, but know that it will require cooperation of many actors, first of all Iran.
Or take the Western Balkans. The scale of the EU commitment to putting that region on a path of sustainable peace, reconciliation and growth is unprecedented. From Bosnia Herzegovina to Kosovo, from Serbia to FYROM Europe is seen as an indispensable anchor of stability and development.
Europe is committed to the Balkans for good reasons. This is an area of strategic importance. And our engagement has made the difference, even in very sensitive issues like relations with Kosovo and Serbia. I do not deny or downplay the challenge that was posed by Kosovo's independence - including among EU Member States. But we delivered.
The Union agreed on a common interest in ensuring stability and security in Kosovo, and deployed the EULEX mission to achieve that aim. We were right. Since February, we have seen positive trends in both Kosovo and Serbia, with the EULEX mission gradually deploying and a pro-European political constellation in Belgrade.
All this would have been impossible without the impulse and political initiative from the European Union - and especially the incentive of the European perspective. Compare this situation to the mid- 1990s. The progress we have made is remarkable.
Then there is Georgia. The initiatives taken by the European Union, under the leadership of the French Presidency, were key to preventing further dangerous escalation. It is too early for final judgements at this stage. But over the last two months the EU has been crucial to establishing a path through the crisis, and providing the means, with the EU Monitoring Mission to doing so.
Let me conclude. National interests and European foreign policy have to be linked. But it should be clear that in a globalised world, national interests can best be achieved through collective action. European foreign policy is work in progress. We all know that we can and should improve the efficiency of our decision-making and the effectiveness of our actions. But perhaps paradoxically, the Georgian crisis gives me hope. It showed that strong political will and good co-ordination between the institutions and Member States is critical. And that it can be forthcoming when we need it.
Now we need to ensure that the same conditions will be there in the future. The Treaty of Lisbon will be a central part of delivering that. A swift entry into force of that Treaty is clearly in our common interest.
Dear friends, The world today is more complex and interconnected. Our
approach of bringing together member states into collective positions which
are stronger than the sum of their parts, is the only realistic response.
It is in our interest to continue on this path. Thank you very much.
Europe is being set up as the model for which the rest of the world should follow suit in working together and better integrating to make a better world. It sounds great, but as we've seen historically the leaders with the power misuse it to the detriment of the people and according to Bible prophecy, the ultimate incarnation of this will be seen in the man of sin who will rise to power from the revived Roman Empire and from among 10 kings to gain global influence and eventually control the world by his policies. See chart Just a quick review, the man delivering this "intervention" has held and holds the following positions:
George Bush to summon leaders to emergency finance summit Telegraph UK (October 7, 2008) - The prospect of a high-level global meeting came as the US central bank launched a new bid to unfreeze credit markets by effectively lending billions of dollars to US companies. The Federal Reserve moved after lending in the commercial paper market - where companies raise money from the open money markets - all but ceased, raising a serious threat to many American businesses' operations. "This facility should encourage investors to once again engage in term lending in the commercial paper market," the Fed said.
The Fed's move -- which puts billions of dollars of US taxpayers' money at risk -- was the latest sign of how desperate American leaders are to unblock the global financial system and avert a severe recession. Mr Bush underlined that message personally on Tuesday in conversations with other world leaders. The Prime Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, spoke with the United States President by telephone. Mr Bush urged his European counterparts to coordinate efforts to solve financial crisis spreading around the globe. All are expected to agree to attend a meeting if the details can be thrashed out.
Downing Street said it was "a good idea" and welcomed the President's close attention to events in Europe. The idea was floated by Mr Sarkozy, who holds the presidency of the European Union. Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, said: "The president obviously talked to President Sarkozy about his idea to have a meeting. The president's open to that." The venue for the meeting would still have to be decided, although Washington is the likely destination.
Mr Brown squeezed in a last-minute meeting with Mr Bush when he was in America two weeks ago, prior to Congress agreeing the £700 billion rescue plan that had been proposed by Hank Paulsen, the United States Treasury Secretary. At that stage the problems of Europe seemed to relatively minor compared to the crisis unfolding on Wall Street, but events in Europe and elsewhere in the last week have highlighted the need for concerted and co-ordinated action.
In Luxembourg EU finance ministers on Tuesday said that they will talk daily in future and "ensure a comprehensive and coordinated response to the current situation." They agreed to guarantee private savings of up to Euro 50,000 (£38,900) for one year after failing to agree on a higher limit of Euro 100,000 (£77,800). The new limit is below the protection already offered by many EU countries, including the UK.
EU governments have been trying to restore confidence after a series of bank bailouts last week and a "beggar-my-neighbour" scramble by individual countries to increase deposit guarantees, started by Ireland's promise to underwrite 100 percent of deposits. Disparities in EU states' treatment of banks is unnerving investors and prompting savers to shift billions across borders.
In another unilateral European move, Spain on Tuesday announced it was
setting up a £30 billion fund to help the financial sector. Taro Aso, the
Japanese Prime Minister, said he was concerned that the EU leaders' failure
to agree a seamless response to the banking crisis will cause continued
turmoil in world markets. Mr Aso said: "European leaders have met,
but it didn't go well, and European financial markets have fluctuated rapidly
and substantially, so I'm worried about the impact on Japan."
Syria 'boosts troops on border' BBC News (October 7, 2008) - Syria has reportedly moved more troops to its side of the eastern Lebanese border, weeks after boosting numbers along Lebanon's northern frontier. Reports said the troops had dug trenches and set up checkpoints in the northern Bekaa valley region. The Syrian authorities have not commented on the latest deployment. Damascus said earlier troop movements were aimed at combating smugglers. On Monday, the US warned Syria against a possible intervention in Lebanon.
Anti-Syrian Lebanese groups fear Damascus might use insecurity in northern Lebanon as a pretext for a military intervention. The Lebanese army says about 10,000 Syrian forces have been deployed on the border since 22 September when the first units moved in. Syria was the main power broker in Lebanon after the 1975-90 civil war but withdrew tens of thousands of troops from the country after popular pressure from opponents in Lebanon in 2005.
It says measures taken along the border are in line with agreements between
Lebanon and Syria, which have been trying to normalise relations with support
from France. In recent days, the US has established a bilateral military
commission with Lebanon, aimed at building up the country's armed forces.
European Crisis Deepens; Officials Vow to Save Banks Bloomberg (October 6, 2008) - The credit crunch deepened in Europe as government leaders pledged to bail out troubled banks and protect depositors. BNP Paribas SA will take control of Fortis's units in Belgium and Luxembourg after government efforts to ensure the company's stability failed, while Germany's government and financial institutions agreed on a 50 billion euro ($68 billion) rescue package for Hypo Real Estate Holding AG. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said Britain is "ready to do whatever it takes" to help its banks.
The developments yesterday came a day after a summit in Paris where leaders of Europe's four biggest economies stopped short of a plan mirroring the $700 billion rescue in the U.S. to counter the worst financial crisis since World War II. Instead, they agreed to work together to limit the economic fallout, ease accounting rules, and seek tougher financial regulations. "Until now the solutions have appeared to be uncoordinated, so perhaps it's time for a more coordinated approach globally," said Torsten Slok, an economist at Deutsche Bank AG in New York. "It's not just the U.S. and Europe, it's banks in every part of the world."
The euro slid to a 13-month low against the dollar and Treasuries rose as the credit crisis spread outside the U.S., prompting investors to opt for less risky investments. Asian stocks fell for a third day, led by financial companies.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who convened the Oct. 4 meeting, called for a global summit "as soon as possible" to implement "a real and complete reform of the international financial system." He said "all actors" must be supervised, including credit-rating firms and hedge funds. Executive-pay systems must also be reviewed, he said. "We want a new world to come out of this," Sarkozy said. "We want to set up the basis for a capitalism of entrepreneurs, not speculators." Finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations meet in Washington later this week.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's opposition to collective action underscored the hurdles to a European front. "Each country must take its responsibilities at a national level," she told a joint press conference after the summit. Germany will guarantee the savings of private account holders, Merkel said, in a bid by Europe's biggest economy to prevent a rush of withdrawals. Denmark said today commercial lenders will provide as much as 35 billion kroner ($6.4 billion) over the next two years to a fund to insure depositors against losses.
Until now, German savings accounts, including those of small, privately held companies, have been guaranteed by 180 banks in Germany, the BDB private banks group said on Oct. 2. The guarantees of the banks covered 90 percent of an account's balance to a maximum of 20,000 euros, the group said. The German and Danish governments' commitments follow similar verbal pledges by Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, both of whom have promised to prevent losses for depositors in their countries. Ireland is guaranteeing banks' deposits and debts for two years, to restore confidence in the country's financial industry. Amid the race to shore up Europe's faltering financial institutions, BNP Paribas, France's biggest lender, agreed to pay 14.5 billion euros for control of Fortis's units in Belgium and Luxembourg.
The sale comes after a Sept. 28 bailout failed to stabilize what was Belgium's biggest financial-services provider, as clients withdrew money and the company had trouble obtaining loans. Fortis received an 11.2 billion euro capital injection from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Belgian government will have an 11.6 percent stake in BNP Paribas, and Luxembourg a 1.1 percent holding, after the purchases are completed, BNP Paribas said in a statement today.
On Oct. 3, the Dutch government took control of Fortis's units in the Netherlands for 16.8 billion euros after deciding the initial rescue didn't go far enough. Meanwhile, Hypo Real Estate won a reprieve after Germany's finance ministry said the country's banks and insurers agreed to double a credit line for the company to 30 billion euros. The federal government's guarantee for the credit line remains unchanged, Torsten Albig, a spokesman for Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
Too Big to Fail
Munich-based Hypo Real Estate had earlier announced that a government-backed 35 billion-euro bailout plan collapsed after commercial banks withdrew their support. The government and the Bundesbank have said that the nation's second-biggest property lender is too big to fail. The Hypo reprieve comes after Dexia SA, the world's biggest lender to local governments, got a 6.4 billion euro state-backed rescue on Sept. 30. Belgium's federal and regional governments, France and the company's largest shareholders will supply the funds for Brussels- and Paris-based Dexia.
Meanwhile, UniCredit SpA, Italy's biggest bank by assets, said it planned to boost capital by as much as 6.6 billion euros in an effort to calm investors' concerns about the strength of the lender's finances. The capital-raising project approved late yesterday by the bank's directors includes replacing the lender's cash dividend for 2008 earnings with 3.6 billion euros of new shares, and selling 3 billion euros of convertible securities.
In the U.K., Darling said the government, which took over Bradford & Bingley Plc last week, is ready to offer further support to banks that may get into financial difficulty. He did not rule out a further injection of capital for failing institutions. "We are ready to do whatever it takes, and that is, we've put money in to help banks generally," Darling told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Sunday AM program. "There are other measures we will be taking too, and I will announce them when we are ready to do that."
Darling's boss, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was among the leaders gathered in Paris, along with Berlusconi, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Central Bank President Jean- Claude Trichet.
"The good news out of the Paris meeting is that the European heads of state now recognize the severity of this crisis," Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists Natacha Valla and Erik Nielsen said in a note to investors. "A pan-European approach would be much preferred, but given the urgency and complexities of organizing such measures between different fiscal regimes, national measures -- coordinated to the extent possible -- might still be good enough."
The leaders agreed on policy recommendations touching on regulation and accounting and said they'd press for looser enforcement of budget and competition rules at the EU level. They said they would seek to harmonize guarantees of deposit levels. The U.K. bank regulator increased its insurance ceiling to 50,000 pounds ($88,300) per account from 35,000 pounds to stem a flow of funds to Ireland after officials in Dublin guaranteed all debts and deposits of its banks.
Anticipating increased spending, declining tax revenue, and government bank takeovers, European leaders called for "greater flexibility" in the application of the EU budget ceiling. European finance ministers last month pledged to keep their budget deficits below 3 percent of gross domestic product even as the economic slowdown dents tax receipts and boosts welfare payments. The leaders said they want to allow banks to keep some assets valued as if they'd be held until maturity, instead of having to review their value each quarter.
They also said they want to change accounting rules that require banks
to review their holdings each quarter and report losses when the values
decline, the so-called mark-to-market standard. Banks worldwide have written
down more than $580 billion since last year, according to data compiled
Panic engulfs global stock markets AFP (October 6, 2008) - World markets suffered massive losses Monday, striking four-year lows, as panic-stricken investors doubted whether a Wall Street bailout package would stem the global financial crisis. London, Frankfurt and Paris all tumbled more than six percent approaching the half-way mark while a 15-percent dive in Moscow forced a halt to Russian trading. "We have a seriously weak and fear driven market at our hands," said Tom Hougaard, chief market strategist at City Index. "It is anyone's guess where we will end the day."
Investors dumped shares after US stock markets had fallen sharply on Friday, despite US congressional approval of a 700-billion-dollar bank bailout. On Monday, Tokyo ended down 4.25 percent as Hong Kong's stock market shed 5.0 percent, Seoul tumbled 4.3 percent and Sydney lost 3.3 percent. Shanghai dived 5.23 percent and Mumbai was down 5.58 percent in late afternoon trade. European stocks plummeted after Germany's fourth biggest bank had to be rescued over the weekend -- news that pushed the euro to a 13-month low against the dollar on Monday.
Crude oil futures tumbled to eight-month lows below 90 dollars a barrel in London and New York as worsening financial turmoil triggered fears about slowing demand for energy. "The market is not convinced that the US bailout package can protect the economy from the financial crisis," said Toyo Securities strategist Ryuta Otsuka. The Saudi stock market, the largest in the Arab world, shed 9.6 percent at the opening on Monday after a week-long holiday, and shares in other energy-rich Gulf states also slumped. "The Fed's bailout plan may have been passed on Friday but so far there's been no real reaction in credit markets and because of this the natural assumption is going to be that the measures won't work, even if such a call is rather premature," CMC Markets dealer Matt Buckland added.
Underscoring the worsening conditions in the United States, the world's largest economy, 159,000 US jobs were lost in September, according to government figures published Friday. "The approval of the financial rescue plan failed to bolster market confidence. Pessimism towards the global economy is running deeper," said Young Wang, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting in Taipei, where stocks ended down 4.1 percent, also at a four-year low.
As the US-born financial crisis takes a stronger grip in Europe, the German government agreed an emergency rescue package of 50 billion euros, or 68 billion dollars, for Hypo Real Estate, late Sunday before markets opened in Asia. It also announced an unlimited guarantee for personal savings deposits. France's BNP Paribas meanwhile announced Sunday that it was taking control of the operations of ailing financial group Fortis in Belgium and Luxembourg. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Britain vowed over the weekend to protect fragile banks but did not discuss a European financial rescue package. "Financial stocks are certainly going to be under pressure again with German mortgage lender Hypo Real Estate being the latest to receive state aid but the overall impact is going to cross all sectors with the prospect of slowing demand weighing on all the (company) heavyweights," added Buckland.
In an effort to keep credit flowing, global central banks pumped billions
of extra dollars into short-term lending markets in what has become a daily
effort to keep cash moving in a critical network. Markets were looking ahead
to a meeting Friday of finance chiefs from the Group of Seven rich nations,
waiting for any announcements on coordinated action such as liquidity injections
or interest rate cuts, dealers said. A speech Tuesday by US Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke would also be closely watched for any clues on the
possibility of a US interest rate cut. The Bank of England was expected
to cut British borrowing costs by at least a quarter of a percentage point
when it meets on Thursday.
Kyrgyzstan hit by magnitude 6.3 earthquake: US seismologists
5, 2008) - A strong magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck southern Kyrgyzstan
Sunday near the Chinese and Tajik borders, seismologists in the United States
reported. The temblor shook the region at 15:52 GMT with the epicenter 55
kilometers (35 miles) east-southeast of Sary-Tash, Kyrgyzstan at a depth
of 35 kilometers (22 miles).
Ministers okay Moscow's property claim The Jerusalem Post (October 5, 2008) - The cabinet on Sunday voted to transfer ownership of Sergei's Courtyard in downtown Jerusalem's Russian Compound to the Russian government. The move is the culmination of four years of negotiations, after then-Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is currently his country's prime minister, laid claim to the site on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church. Sergei's Courtyard currently houses offices of the Agriculture Ministry and the Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, and the Jerusalem branch of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.
On Monday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will begin a two-day trip to Moscow. Israeli officials expect the Russians to raise the question of the transfer of Russian church property in Jerusalem. Olmert had planned to visit Russia last month but the trip was put on hold due to the political uncertainty here. Israeli officials rejected assertions that an outgoing prime minister should not be making such a trip, saying it was approved by both Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Iran's nuclear program and Israeli concerns over the sale of advanced Russian weapons to Syria are expected to top the talks' agenda.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel had said it would petition the High Court of Justice if the current caretaker government approves the transfer of Sergei's Courtyard. The group cited the decision by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch two weeks ago preventing the appointment of Supreme Court justices until a new government is formed. In a letter sent on Friday to the prime minister, Cabinet Secretary Ovad Yehezkel and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, the forum wrote: "A caretaker government is not entitled to take important and irreversible decisions that the incoming government will have to deal with."
The transfer of "important property in the center of Jerusalem to a powerful foreign state with interests in this region and imperial designs" was no less important than the appointment of Supreme Court justices, the forum wrote. Some Israeli officials had expressed concern that such a transfer could set a precedent for other property in the capital owned by the Russian, Greek and Roman Catholic churches. The Knesset and the Prime Minister's Office stand on land originally owned by the Greek Orthodox Church.
The site was built in 1890 to accommodate Russian pilgrims visiting the
Holy Land and was named after Tsar Alexander II's son, Sergei Alexandrovich.
Israel acquired some 90 percent of the Russian Compound in 1964, paying
the former Soviet Union $3.5 million. The purchase was dubbed the Orange
Deal because Israel, lacking hard currency, paid the Russians in citrus
fruit. Sergei's Courtyard, however, was part of the remaining 10% not covered
in the deal.
Four European nations call for new EU body to supervise banks Breitbart.com (October 4, 2008) - Four major European nations agreed Saturday to set up within the European Union a body to supervise banks as part of their efforts to stem the spread of the financial turmoil, triggered by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, in Europe. In a statement released after an emergency summit in Paris to deal with the financial crisis, leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy said mechanisms should be established within the European Union to oversee cross-border European financial institutions and enhance international cooperation.
The four nations also agreed that should public support be necessary for ailing financial institutions, it should take place in "a framework which recognizes adequate protection of taxpayers' money, the responsibility of managers, and shareholders to bear their share of the burden." They welcome the decision of the European Investment Bank to mobilize 30 billion euros of support for small and medium size European enterprises and urge the bank to frontload this effort, the statement said.
The four European Group of Eight member nations also agreed that the application of the Stability and Growth Pact, which governs fiscal policies of EU member states, should "reflect the current exceptional circumstances." The pact requires EU member states to limit the size of their budget deficit to less than 3 percent of gross domestic product. But the agreement by Britain, France, Germany and Italy suggests they will tolerate the deficit of an EU member state breaching the 3 percent of GDP threshold if it occurs as a result of the nationalization of failed financial institutions.
The four nations also expressed strong support for the recent actions
taken by the European Central Bank and other European central banks to respond
to the financial crisis and pledged to "take all the necessary measures"
to ensure the soundness and stability of the European banking and financial
system. French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a press conference after the
summit that an emergency G-8 summit should be convened to discuss and come
up with global countermeasures for the crisis. In addition to British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi, other European leaders, including ECB President
Jean-Claude Trichet attended the summit.
Syria rebuffs nuclear inspectors BBC News (October 3, 2008) - The head of Syria's nuclear programme has said that the country's military sites will remain off-limits to international nuclear inspectors. Damascus said it would co-operate with an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inquiry only if it did not threaten its national security. The watchdog is investigating claims of a secret Syrian nuclear programme. Syria's announcement comes after it dropped a bid to win a place on the board of the IAEA.
The IAEA investigation follows US allegations that Damascus was close to completing a nuclear reactor at a secret location, which was bombed by Israel last year. Syria has denied the allegations as "ridiculous". Ibrahim Othman told the IAEA that his government was "co-operating with the agency in full transparency". "However, this co-operation will not be in any way at the expense of disclosing our military sites or causing a threat to our national security," he added.
Damascus allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the site at al-Kibar in June but has refused any follow-up trips. On Friday, Syria dropped its bid for a place on the IAEA board, leaving the post open to Western-backed Afghanistan. Both had been vying for the same seat on the board, representing the Middle East and South Asia (Mesa) group.
The body had been facing a divisive and unprecedented vote on the issue. IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said Syria's co-operation had been "good", but it needed to show "maximum co-operation" for the agency to draw any conclusions.
A Syrian officer reported to have been in charge of facilitating the
IAEA probe was killed in unexplained circumstances last summer, further
delaying the proceedings. On Wednesday Iran, also accused by some countries
of clandestine nuclear activity, dropped its bid for a seat on the IAEA
board, saying it wanted to make way for regional ally Syria to join instead.
Rebuilding EU-US relations Euractiv (October 3, 2008) - "There is a new window of opportunity to rebuild relations between the US and the EU as the Bush era draws to a close," according to Ronald D. Asmus, executive director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Centre, a think tank. To do this, the United States and Europe need to define a common strategic agenda, argues Asmus's November paper. Deepening their economic integration ranks highly among the issues on which they must cooperate more, believes Asmus.
Rather than lowering tariffs or trade barriers, the aim here should be to create more common regulatory frameworks that eliminate barriers to trade and investment altogether, the author argues. Not only would leadership on this issue boost the GDP of both countries, it would also "assure the stability and openness of the global economy in this new era," he argues.
Asmus also calls on the "United States and Europe to define cooperation in homeland security to defend their societies and borders against the risk of terrorist and bio-weapon attacks". Furthermore, the two continents should aim to create fully liberalised visa regimes and travel between the United States and Europe because "such openness has tremendous potential to touch the lives of average citizens and bring both sides of the Atlantic back together". In Asmus's view, the transatlantic alliance should also promote democracy and freedom beyond its own borders and embrace those who seek to join the democratic community. Indeed, he states: "Keeping our doors open and anchoring young democracies while confronting a more nationalistic and assertive Russia is again at the top of the transatlantic agenda." Nevertheless, he says that the United States and Europe are not yet able to pursue a new and broader transatlantic agenda. He believes "we need to get the plumbing – the day-to-day processes of working together – of a new transatlantic relationship right" first.
In today's world, the US does not only need to cooperate with Europe
on military and defence issues, but other policy domains such as energy,
health and the environment, Asmus argues, all of which are within the competence
of the EU. Thus, the United States cannot afford to have strong relations
with NATO alone. "It needs strategic engagement with both organisations,"
he claims. To ensure that the transatlantic alliance works in practice,
Asmus suggests that pragmatism should be the guiding principle, stating: "Washington
and Brussels should embrace the well-known lesson of past transatlantic
disputes: first work it out in practice; then rewrite the theory."
To conclude, Asmus hopes that the next US president will have "the
vision and the will to make the right kind of difference".
'Abbas to meet with Assad in Damascus' The
Jerusalem Post (October 3, 2008) -
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is planning to visit Damascus
in a week and a half, Army Radio reported Friday. According to a senior
official in the PA, Abbas is expected to meet with Syrian President Bashar
Assad. The two are slated to discuss recent indirect talks between Syria
and Israel, as well as a possible rapprochement with Hamas. The Jerusalem
Post could not confirm the report. Meanwhile, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) told the
Reuters news agency that Abbas is already holding secret talks with Assad,
and that the two leaders were working to coordinate policies on diplomatic
issues. Abbas is scheduled to finish his term as president on January 9,
and in the absence of new elections - due to the Hamas takeover of the Gaza
Strip - Abbas, according to the PA constitution, will be replaced by the
speaker of the PA parliament, Abdel Aziz Dweik, a senior Hamas official
currently in an Israeli prison. Abbas, however, is not expected to step
down from his post and is looking for ways to extend his term. Both the
IDF and the PA are concerned that Abbas's refusal to hand over the reins
could set off violent clashes in the West Bank between Fatah and Hamas.
NATO and EU to pool helicopters and air carriers EU Observer (October 2, 2008) - Both the EU and NATO seek to pool their defence capabilities drawn from the same European countries, after having experienced similar shortfalls in helicopters and air carriers in their missions in Chad and Afghanistan. The idea has been championed by the French EU presidency, which hopes to see several concrete initiatives adopted in November by EU defence ministers.
At an informal EU defence minister meeting in Deauville on Wednesday (1 October), France obtained the backing of several member states for initiatives such as setting up a trust fund to upgrade Europe's helicopter fleet to make up for shortfalls in helicopters and transport aircraft needed for quick and effective EU deployments abroad. The final decision will be taken at a formal defence ministers' summit in Brussels on 10 November.
The shortfall in helicopters was already highlighted on Monday, when General Patrick Nash, the operational commander of the EU mission in Chad told a press conference in Brussels that four helicopters might be soon borrowed from Russia, with talks being at "a very advanced stage." Yet the problem is not unique to the EU mission, as NATO and the United Nations experience similar challenges.
General James Mattis, in charge of NATO's capability development and transformation, recently met his EU counterpart, the chief executive of the European Defence Agency, Alexander Weis, in order to find "areas of common interest", such as helicopter and airlift capabilities. "In regards to airlift, helicopters, medical transports – whether it is an EU mission to Darfur or a NATO mission somewhere else, we just need those capabilities," General Mattis told journalists at a briefing on Wednesday during NATO Industry Day, which took place in Brussels.
He also stressed that when the EU and NATO draw on troops, they do it "from the same population of forces", which means that the two entities need to look for solutions that "resonate with each other, not contradict each other." "We're not a the point right now where the EU and NATO are working that closely, although they're starting," General Mattis said.
The French connection
Yet France might play a pivotal role in this regard, with President Nicolas Sarkozy setting the improvement of EU defence capabilities as a precondition for his country to rejoin NATO's military structure, which is expected to take place at NATO's 60th anniversary summit in April next year.
French defence minister Herve Morin proved his commitment to pool EU military capabilities even when asked if the current global financial crisis will have an impact on the member states in terms of defence spending. "There are two ways you can face an economic crisis, when you have reduction in state revenue," Mr Morin said on Wednesday after the ministers meeting in Deauville.
"One is to say, let's forget everything and say there is nothing we can do in the future. The other reaction is to say, we may have less available, so let's pool our resources. That's a more intelligent response, surely. Let's share we've got, if we are going to have less," he urged.
Boeing for NATO, Airbus for EU
While the French defence minister was unveiling in Dauville a plan to lend Airbus A400M transport planes between EU countries or to create a multinational fleet at their disposal, in Brussels 10 NATO countries plus Sweden and Finland signed a deal to jointly buy and operate three Boeing C-17 carriers.
This NATO initiative, called Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) "will support operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, as well as other national missions, including EU and UN missions", Peter Flory, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment said in a press release.
The 10 NATO members involved in SAC are Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania,
Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States, while
the planes are to be placed at the Hungarian air base Papa early next year.
Palestinians accept Olmert peace offer Israel Today (October 2, 2008) - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said that the recent peace offer made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is enough to get a final status agreement signed, but recognized that the outgoing Israeli leader does not have the ability to implement the proposal. "We could have peace in two days" if Olmert's offer could be implemented, Abbas told a group of Muslim clerics at the tail end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Olmert made his offer in a Rosh Hashanah interview with Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. In the interview, Olmert said he was ready to withdraw from 93 percent of Judea and Samaria, including nearly all of eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. Olmert offered to make up the difference by giving the Palestinians 5.5 percent of sovereign Israeli land. The proposed deal also included a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
Abbas said he hopes that Olmert's proposal will form the foundation of peace talks with his successor. The Palestinian leader said he would like to view Olmert's offer as a peace "deposit." The international community tried to make sure that will be the case when the Middle East Quartet last week insisted that all Israeli offers, no matter how tentative, be made binding.
Meanwhile, Israeli opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated in
a holiday interview with Israel National News that the nation does not have
a viable Palestinian peace partner with whom to make a deal. In another
holiday interview with Israeli Internet portal Walla!, Netanyahu said that
if he regains the prime minister's chair he will actually increase Jewish
settlement activity and shelf all talk of a peace deal leading to the creation
of a Palestinian Arab state. There is no hope of a viable final status peace
deal at this point, said Netanyahu, so the best thing to do is forge an
economic arrangement with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. Polls conducted
over the past year consistently show that Netanyahu will win the next national
election by a healthy margin.
Rally against violence on Christians taken out in Tamenglong Kangla Online (October 1, 2008) - Hundreds of Christians in Tamenglong district of Manipur marched down the streets at the district headquarters to protest against the atrocities meted out to the Christians in Orissa and Karnataka. The rallyists gathered at the deputy commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum shouted in one voice, “We condemn attacks on Christian minority”, “Don’t repeat such barbaric acts”.
As the DC was not present in his office, the memorandum which was meant to be forwarded to the Union home ministry, New Delhi was handed over to the SDC who promised to fax it to the office of the MHA immediately. The memorandum appealed to the government of India and concerned states to take immediate action to stop killing of Christians and atrocities on them. It also demanded rehabilitation of the persecuted Christians by providing adequate relief materials and safeguarding the minority Christians in the two states.
The rally organized by various church organizations based in Tamenglong district and participated by around 2000 people including students and youths kicked off from the Tamenglong Indoor Stadium at around 10 am and gathered at the DC office complex, located some half kilometer away from the originating place. Slogans like, “We condemn all forms of violence in Orissa and Karnataka against Christians”, “Stop killing in the name of religion”, “We strongly condemn the barbarism in Orissa and Karnataka”, “We still have faith in Christianity”, “Stop persecuting Christians, save the minority Christians” etc. were displayed during the rally.
Speaking to this correspondent, a member of the organizing committee
said that the rally was organized to show solidarity to the suffering Christians
in the two states of Orissa and Karanataka where tens of hundreds of Christians
were rendered homeless by the Hindu fundamentalists and many churches were
ransacked apart from claiming several lives.
Sometimes it is easy for those of us in the United States or other countries with greater religious freedoms to forget that the war on the saints is felt by many Christians in other nations. We need to keep the bride of Christ in prayer and remember that we may be joining them as the minority under attack in the near future, but definitely in our future according to Bible prophecy.
Evangelicals see moral decline in Wall St. woes Reuters (October 1, 2008) - Conservative U.S. Christians say the culture has gone to hell and it has taken the economy and Wall Street down with it. It is a view which outsiders may find puzzling but has wide resonance in the U.S. heartland: the notion that moral decay and a lost sense of responsibility has brought on the worst banking and credit crisis since the Great Depression. Such a view helps explain the unpopularity in conservative Christian circles -- which have a big influence on the Republican Party -- of a $700 billion bailout plan which the U.S. House of Representatives rejected on Monday, rocking financial markets. Mounting consumer and household debt as housing prices fall is one of the main reasons behind the current crisis -- a crisis that religious conservatives say has moral roots.
The narrative goes roughly like this: the "collapse" of the traditional family, widespread divorce and a "permissive" culture have led to a disregard for personal responsibility. A culture focused on instant gratification -- through the overuse of credit cards to buy consumer goods, for example -- has also lost other "traditional values" such as thrift and hard work. "You can't have a strong, vibrant society when you don't have strong, vibrant families. It's a crisis of commitment, it's a crisis of responsibility," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative lobby group with strong evangelical ties. "If you don't live up to your responsibility you are going to see that in the broader culture. You see this on Wall Street," he told Reuters.
It is a view that has been echoed by other conservative commentators, on Christian radio stations and on popular "Talk Radio" programs. "To spend more than you've got is not the way we brought up our kids ... You have a whole credit industry that grew up around people wanting what their parents had without working 20 years to get it," said Gary Ledbetter, spokesman for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
Conservative Christians and evangelical Protestants in particular are a key base of support for the Republican Party which has rallied to John McCain's White House bid since he picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Tying "values" to economic problems is one way that religious conservatives can keep some focus on the "culture" issues they have long fought over as public attention is riveted on Wall Street, job security and house prices. Upholding "traditional" values which they say have been under assault since the 1960s informs much of their outlook, ranging from their opposition to abortion and gay rights to a professed aversion to heavy debt loads.
"Although debt is not a sin, it also is not a normal way of life,
according to Scripture ... debt is a dangerous tool that must be used, if
at all, with extreme caution and much prayer," says the conservative
evangelical advocacy group "Focus on the Family" on its web site.
But some commentators have noted that the "Religious Right" has
long been among the staunchest supporters of the free-market ideology and
the deregulation of financial markets preached by the Republican Party. "Essentially
the Christian Right did not do serious biblical reflection on economics,
it just borrowed its model from the Republicans," said David Gushee,
a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta. "Conservative
Christians who accepted the unregulated free market ethos must bear some
of the responsibility for its consequences," said Gushee.
Spain holds 121 over child porn BBC News (October 1, 2008) - Spanish police says they have arrested 121 people in the country's "biggest-ever operation against child pornography on the internet". Millions of images that show child sex abuse were seized in a series of nationwide raids, which uncovered a network spanning 75 countries. Police say two of those held were using their own children to make pornography. A further 96 people have been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
The arrests, made over the past seven days, were part of a long-term operation which began in July last year with the help of Brazilian police. Those detained include bank clerks, porters and airline pilots, and some are foreigners resident in Spain. About 800 officers were involved in conducting 210 searches in 42 different provinces that "seized millions of archives of videos and photographs some of which show extremely harsh abuse of minors", police said. In addition, 347 hard drives, 1,186 CDs and DVDs and 36 laptops were seized.
Enrique Rodriguez, from the police's Technological Investigation Brigade,
told Spanish radio that the network was enormous, involving 18,000 IP addresses
across the world, including 1,600 in Spain. IP addresses are unique numbers
that identify each computer connected to the internet. Police say the foreign
leads will now be followed up through Interpol. The raids bring to 1,200
the number of people arrested for child pornography in Spain over the past
Just think of the young lives destroyed by this and what kind of adults they will grow up to be as you pray for them. I think that this is a sign of the depravity this world is falling deeper into and this is just what was discovered in one small sting operation.
Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age Newsmax (October 1, 2008) - Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age. As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times. "Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle."
An image, taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on Sept. 27, 2008, shows a solar disk completely unmarked by sunspots. For comparison, a SOHO image taken seven years earlier on Sept. 27, 2001, is peppered with colossal sunspots, all crackling with solar flares: image. The difference is the phase of the 11-year solar cycle. 2001 was a year of solar maximum, with lots of sunspots, solar flares and geomagnetic storms. 2008 is at the cycle's opposite extreme, solar minimum, a quiet time on the sun.
And it is a very quiet time. If solar activity continues as low as it has been, 2008 could rack up a whopping 290 spotless days by the end of December, making it a century-level year in terms of spotlessness. Hathaway cautions that this development may sound more exciting than it actually is: "While the solar minimum of 2008 is shaping up to be the deepest of the Space Age, it is still unremarkable compared to the long and deep solar minima of the late 19th and early 20th centuries." Those earlier minima routinely racked up 200 to 300 spotless days per year.
Some solar physicists are welcoming the lull. "This gives us a chance to study the sun without the complications of sunspots," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Right now we have the best instrumentation in history looking at the sun. There is a whole fleet of spacecraft devoted to solar physics -- SOHO, Hinode, ACE, STEREO and others. We're bound to learn new things during this long solar minimum."
As an example he offers helioseismology: "By monitoring the sun's vibrating surface, helioseismologists can probe the stellar interior in much the same way geologists use earthquakes to probe inside Earth. With sunspots out of the way, we gain a better view of the sun's subsurface winds and inner magnetic dynamo."
"There is also the matter of solar irradiance," adds Pesnell. "Researchers are now seeing the dimmest sun in their records. The change is small, just a fraction of a percent, but significant. Questions about effects on climate are natural if the sun continues to dim."
Pesnell is NASA's project scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a new spacecraft equipped to study both solar irradiance and helioseismic waves. Construction of SDO is complete, he says, and it has passed pre-launch vibration and thermal testing. "We are ready to launch! Solar minimum is a great time to go."
Coinciding with the string of blank suns is a 50-year record low in solar
wind pressure, a recent discovery of the Ulysses spacecraft. The pressure
drop began years before the current minimum, so it is unclear how the two
phenomena are connected, if at all. This is another mystery for SDO and
Foreign economists urge 'global plan' The Washington Times (October 1, 2008) - Leaders and economists from Western Europe to East Asia Tuesday urged the United States to go beyond reviving a failed domestic bailout and start working on a new global financial system. Associated Press Traders at MICEX, the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, watch and wait during a tense session in Moscow on Tuesday when stock indexes sank despite a two-hour trading halt. "The Americans don't have a choice — they must absolutely have a global plan," Christian Noyer, head of the French central bank, said in Paris.
David Smick, a global strategist and author of "The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers of the Global Economy," said the next U.S. president should immediately call for a second "Bretton Woods" conference to devise a new doctrine of international finance. The tiny New Hampshire town hosted a conference shortly after World War II that established rules for economic interchange among the world's industrial powers and created the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. "I am convinced that the sickness runs deep and that we need to rethink the entire financial and monetary system, as we did in Bretton Woods ... to create the tools for worldwide regulation made necessary by the globalization of trade," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in the French city of Toulon on Monday.
He said that officials from France, Britain, Germany and Italy will meet next week in Paris with the Continent's top financial officials to prepare for a proposed global summit on the economic crisis. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will participate. The 27-nation European Union said Tuesday that the crisis "has become a global problem" and Washington has a "special responsibility" to resolve it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel took aim at the House failure to pass the Bush administration's $700 billion bailout proposal, which sparked a global stock market plunge. She called the package a "precondition for creating new confidence in the markets." Kaoru Yosano, the Japanese minister of economic and fiscal policy, agreed. "The outcome has caused a major impact on not only the U.S. economy but also the world economy," he said.
Until a few weeks ago, foreign governments were blase and even gloated
about U.S. financial woes, Mr. Smick said. "The decoupled theory has
taken a crash landing," demand is plummeting worldwide and foreign
financial institutions have been forced to come to terms with their own "toxic
waste," he said.
Americans Clueless About Plans to Create New Life Forms Live Science (September 30, 2008) - If you've never heard of the exciting field of synthetic biology, you're not alone, but you might want to get wise to the field's controversial promise to create life from scratch. About two-thirds of U.S. residents are clueless as well, having never heard of the synthetic biology. Only 2 percent in a new telephone survey of 1,003 adults said they have heard a lot about the work, which crosses biology with technology and promises to create forms of life that Nature never thought of.
Synthetic biologists engineer and build or redesign living organisms, such as bacteria, to carry out specific functions. The field is a scientific playground for the genetic code, where previously nonexistent DNA is formulated in test tubes. By taking genetic engineering to the extreme, synthetic biologists aim to make life in the lab.
The promise is that the novel organisms will fight disease, create alternative fuels or build living computers. Already, researchers have transplanted genetic material from one microbe species into the cellular body of another, described last year as the living "equivalent to converting a Macintosh computer to a PC by inserting a new piece of software."
"We face daunting problems of climate change, energy, health, and water resources," a group of 17 leading scientists in the field stated last year. "Synthetic biology offers solutions to these issues: microorganisms that convert plant matter to fuels or that synthesize new drugs or target and destroy rogue cells in the body."
Now you know. But why should you care? For one, the field "is potentially controversial because it raises issues of ownership, misuse, unintended consequences and accidental release," according to a report earlier this year commissioned by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in England. In a nutshell, some fear microscopic lab freaks might escape and wreak havoc.
That in mind, scientists are concerned that the United States is falling behind other countries in many areas of science and technology and that the current administration has been downright hostile toward some fields of science. Obtaining federal funding for cutting-edge research can be challenging when the public doesn't even know what the research is about or what its benefits might be.
And as the new poll showed, we tend to fear what we don't know. Respondents were asked how they viewed the potential risks and rewards of the new technology. "Those more familiar with synthetic biology are more inclined to have a positive assessment of the tradeoff," the pollsters found.
"Early in the administration of the next president, scientists are expected to take the next major step toward the creation of synthetic forms of life," said David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "Yet the results from the first U.S. telephone poll about synthetic biology show that most adults have heard just a little or nothing at all about it." The poll was conducted in August by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. The results were announced today.
Nearly half of the poll respondents said they have heard nothing at all
about the broader field of nanotechnology. Again, "there is a positive
association between awareness of nanotechnology and the belief that the
benefits of nanotechnology will outweigh the risks," the analysts found.
Congo's children abducted back to battle and abuse Reuters (September 29, 2008) - Two steps forward, five steps back. That's the stuttering pace of progress in rescuing children in Democratic Republic of Congo from a life of war. For every two youngsters set free in the conflict-ravaged east, five are abducted and forced to serve again as child soldiers, according to a new Amnesty International report.
It's a depressing fact that children who have borne arms are more likely to be re-recruited. In the volatile eastern province of North Kivu, where a recent peace agreement has done little to smother violence, as many as half of former child combatants who have been reunited with their families may have been press-ganged back into service, Amnesty says.
They are abducted from schools and snatched from their homes. Children who try to escape are tortured or killed. Sometimes other children are forced to do the killing. "The more they know, the more they are at risk of re-recruitment," says Amnesty researcher Andrew Philip. "In this case, experience can be deadly."
Congolese forces and rebels led by renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda started their latest bout of fighting in late August when a January peace deal aimed at ending more than a decade of violence collapsed. The United Nations says the conflict has driven more than 100,000 people from their homes in recent weeks - adding to the ranks of more than 830,000 North Kivu people who had already fled on-off fighting in the remote east.
It's no coincidence that recruitment of child soldiers goes hand-in-hand with other crimes under international law. The Amnesty report finds that despite the January deal that promised to end abuses, civilians are still being killed, raped, kidnapped and tortured. The perpetrators are North Kivu's militias and government troops alike. Precise figures on sexual violence are hard to come by, but U.N. statistics from December 2007 put the number of reported rape cases in North Kivu at about 350 a month. Amnesty's anecdotal evidence suggests the scale may be much worse. "Even infants and elderly women are amongst the victims - some of whom have been gang raped," Philip said. "Disturbingly, rapes are often committed in public and in front of family members, including children."
Amnesty's interviews and case studies make disturbing reading. They also underline just how central the human rights fight is to the revival of North Kivu's peace process. Conventional wisdom says that to stop the abuses, first you have to stop the war. But the study suggests otherwise. "Amnesty International believes that no further amount of mediation or facilitation will significantly advance the cause of peace in North Kivu unless, first, there is an immediate and unequivocal halt to violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law," the report says. "The priority of the international community must therefore be to convince all armed forces present in the Kivus to abide immediately by international human rights standards or face justice."
That won't happen, of course, until Congo gets its own institutions in
order. That means rehabilitation of its courts and police so abuses can
be investigated and prosecuted. It means ending a culture of impunity and
providing psychological and emotional support to victims. "One of the
factors leading to a resurgence of any conflict is the distinct failure
to adequately address issues affecting survivors of rape and other forms
of sexual violence," said Heather Harvey, who manages Amnesty International
UK's Stop Violence Against Women campaign. "The Democratic Republic
of Congo government must urgently consult with women and women-led organisations
to develop effective mechanisms which would protect women and girls from
ongoing sexual violence and restore stability to the community."
France's Sarkozy battles fallout from financial crisis AFP (September 29, 2008) - President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday battled to contain fallout from the global financial crisis, moving ahead with plans for a world summit and calling a meeting of French banking and insurance chiefs. France will host a meeting of European officials to prepare a summit "in the coming weeks to establish the basis of a new international financial system," said Sarkozy, whose country holds the presidency of the European Union. Officials from Britain, France, Germany and Italy -- the EU members of the G8 -- will meet in Paris in the coming days to lay the groundwork, he said on the sidelines of an EU-India summit in the southern city of Marseille.
On Tuesday, the president is to meet at the Elysee presidential palace with banking and insurance company chiefs to take a close look at the health of French banks and review the credit level of French households and businesses. The announcements came as the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia announced an emergency board meeting after liquidity concerns sent its shares into freefall. Dexia's shares closed Monday down 30 percent on the Paris exchange, at seven euros worth less than a third of their value this time last year.
Belgium's federal government announced late Monday that it had tentatively agreed, along with its three main regions and shareholders, to help prop up the embattled bank -- less than 24 hours after stepping in to rescue Belgian-Netherlands banking and insurance giant Fortis. "During consultations between the federal government and the three regional governments (Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels) this afternoon, they confirmed their in-principle agreement to take part in a joint effort to boost Dexia group's funds," a statement said. The statement, distributed by the office of Prime Minister Yves Leterme, made no mention of financial details but Belgian media said the support could amount to seven billion euros (10 billion dollars).
On Sunday, the Benelux countries stepped in to partially nationalise Fortis, increasing fears the crisis that has wiped out several US and British banks was spreading across Europe. Sarkozy warned in a major address last week that France would not be spared from the turmoil unleashed by the US banking crisis. In Paris, the CAC 40 index plunged 5.04 percent to 3,953.48 points Monday in line with other European stock markets.
A further sign of economic trouble came with the release Monday of jobless figures showing that 41,300 people joined the ranks of France's unemployed in August, the biggest monthly spike since 1993, bringing the figure to 1,949,600. The government convened a crisis meeting of job sector officials late Monday to discuss the figures, which have compounded worries about the financial storm. Critics accused the government of deceit, saying that for months it had touted progress in economic reforms when the jobless situation was less than rosy even before the financial storm struck.
Last week Sarkozy insisted the government would "guarantee the security" of the French banking system and warned he would "not accept that a single customer loses a single euro" to collapsing banks. The right-wing president won election in May 2007 on a promise to rev up the economy and bring unemployment -- long the nation's number one concern -- down to five percent. The government unveiled a draft budget on Friday that scrapped a pledge to stamp out the deficit by 2012 and as Paris struggled to rein in public spending amid sluggish growth. "We are in a quasi-recession," said presidential adviser Henri Guaino.
France is headed into a "difficult period" and the government will "do everything that is necessary" to prevent the economy from taking a nosedive, Guaino said. Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said she nevertheless expected 2009 to end with a jobless rate of 7.1 percent, down from 7.2 percent in the second quarter of 2008. That figure was the lowest rate in 25 years, capping a steady decline in the unemployment rate that had even allowed the problem to slide off the national radar over the past year. Opinion polls show purchasing power has replaced unemployment as the number one concern of the average French voter.
Lagarde also Monday unveiled a plan to help French households from falling
into a credit trap after the Bank of France said 88,000 people had filed
for personal bankruptcy over the past four years, an increase of 70 percent.
They're working to "establish the basis of a new international financial system" huh? Where is this leading do you think? What is the cheapest way to implement a new international financial system in a short period of time? Technology... and the technology is here now.
Dow drops 777 after house rejects bailout bill East Bay Business Times (September 29, 2008) - The Dow Jones Industrial average dropped a record 777 points Monday after the House of Representatives rejected a proposed $700 billion rescue plan for the nation’s struggling financial firms. The Dow closed the day at 10,365.45 as the S& P 500 plunged 106.85 to 106.42 and the Nasdaq dropped 199.61 to 1,983.73.
The House vote, 205 in favor and 228 against, came as a surprise, despite being an unpopular proposal among many American voters. The loss is seen as a blow to leaders of both parties who couldn't keep enough of their members in line to pass the measure. Two-thirds of Republicans voted against it, as well as 95 Democrats. The bill had been modified to satisfy its Congressional opponents, and included language that curbed executive pay and would have created an oversight committee to review the Treasury Department’s actions. With no other alternative plan immediately in the works, the rejection triggered a slide in financial stocks.
The House rejection comes on a day full of signs the financial crisis
is accelerating. European regulators moved to bail out four major banks.
Citigroup agreed to acquire Wachovia’s banking operations in a stock deal
valuing Wachovia at about $1 per share, 90 percent less than its market
capitalization Friday. Mitsubishi UFJ said it would take a 21 percent stake
in Morgan Stanley for $9 billion. Lehman Brothers agreed to sell its Neuberger
Berman mutual fund operations to Bain Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman
LLC for $2.15 billion, part of Lehman’s bankruptcy liquidation. Citigroup
(NYSE:C) closed the day at $17.75, down 12 percent. Wachovia (NYSE:WB) closed
the day at $1.84, down 82 percent. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) closed the
day at $30.25, down 18 percent. Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) closed the day at
$33.25, down 11 percent.
Geno, one of the readers, shared this and some other stories with me referencing a passage in scripture I think is appropriate considering where this could very well be headed and where our hearts should be in the midst of it all.
7.3 quake strikes outer New Zealand islands
International Herald Tribune (September 29,
2008) - A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck near New Zealand's remote
and largely uninhabited Kermadec Islands early Tuesday, New Zealand's GNS
Science geological agency said. New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defense
issued no tsunami warning following the quake, while the Pacific Tsunami
Warning Center said in a bulletin on its Web site that "no destructive
widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami
data" for the Kermadec area. Only the Kermadec's Raoul Island is inhabited,
with up to six New Zealand Department of Conservation workers living there
at any time. The Hong Kong Observatory said the quake was centered about
630 miles south-southwest of Nuku'alofa, Tonga and was recorded in Hong
Kong at 4:19 a.m. Tuesday, New Zealand time. The U.S. Geological Survey
put the magnitude of the quake at 7.0 and said its depth was 12.5 miles.
“These are serious times," said Barack Obama recently. "And they call for a serious debate about where we need to take the nation.” That's true! So where does he want "to take our nation?" How does his version of "service" fit his vision of CHANGE? And what will it cost in terms of freedom, privacy, taxes, and government control?
There's nothing wrong with the old voluntary, personal service to the poor and needy. For centuries, Christian missionaries have given their lives and comforts to serve God among the sick, hungry and dying people in distant parts of the world. Others have shown the same God-given compassion in their own community. They've demonstrated His love, shared His Truths, and brought hope as well as help to the needy.
Obama's plan is radically different. Aimed at socialist change, it would raise "religious" boundaries, limit free speech, and ban divisive truths. It must be tolerant of today's amoral values and militantly intolerant toward traditional values. And -- like the tactics outlined in Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" -- it would use deception and "agitation" to create conflict, and the Hegelian/Marxist dialectic process to manipulate minds and establish the planned solidarity. Obama learned all about it during his years as "Community Organizer" in Chicago.
THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF "SERVICE LEARNING"
"Service learning" isn't a new phenomenon. It has been well tested by U.S. educators for more than a decade. What's new is the scale of Obama's plan. His massive system would press students and citizens of all ages in a revolutionary government-led program to change the way we think and relate to each other. A more descriptive term would be mass brainwashing! He outlines it on his official website:
National guidelines? Documenting each server? Such traditional words now carry new meanings  and requirements unknown to the public. Service learning implies socialist indoctrination through facilitated group dialogue designed to break down barriers, manipulate minds, and build unity in diversity. All members will be monitored and tracked by massive computer networks. And all the personal attitudes, beliefs, values, adaptability, and especially resistance to the planned change -- i.e. all the countless factors that now define a person's "mental health" -- will be recorded within these systems. Does that remind you of China's dang'an -- the growing personal data file that follows each Chinese citizen through life?
It should, because America is following the well-tested footprints of Communist dictators in both China and Russia. As I pointed out in my last article on the Olympics, China is using (and testing) sophisticated American technology to advance its universal and transformational surveillance system. This fact sheds some sobering light on Obama's promise that,
"Make their own change?" That may sound good, but there would be no freedom to deviate from the new evolving guidelines. Besides, all this personal information would be available to government leaders and facilitators.
Meanwhile, each crisis -- real or contrived -- will be used by today's "change agents" to raise the dissatisfaction, passion and justification needed to speed the planned change. "We are on the verge of a global transformation," said David Rockefeller. "All we need is the right major crisis..."
OBAMA'S TRAINING IN REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE
Thomas Sowell understands this transformation well. "As a young political leftist, I saw the left as the voice of the common man. Nothing could be further from the truth," he wrote in his book aptly titled "Is Reality Optional?" He continued, "Running left-wing movements has always been the prerogative of spoiled rich kids. This pattern goes all the way back to the days when an over-indulged and affluent young man named Karl Marx combined with another over-indulged youth from a wealthy family named Friedrich Engels to create the Communist ideology.
"The phoniness of the claim to be a movement of the working class was blatant from the beginning. When Engels was elected as a delegate to the Communist League in 1847, in his own words, 'a working man was proposed for appearances sake, but those who proposed him voted for me.' It may have been the first rigged 'election' of the Communist movement but it was certainly not the last."
Obama attended the elite Punahou School in Hawaii. He studied at prestigious universities such as Columbia and Harvard. His rise to power was funded by rich, liberal men and foundations. They sought his talents and used his rage to facilitate change.
As a "community organizer," Obama was supported by The Woods Fund, a wealthy left-wing foundation. So were Bill Ayers -- the former leader of the terrorist, Communist-driven Weatherman organization -- and two revolutionary training organizations founded by Alinsky's disciples: "The Center for Community Change" and "The Midwest Academy." According to David Freddoso, author of "The Case Against Barack Obama," Obama and Ayers served together as board members of The Woods Fund from 1999 to 2002.
The Woods Fund also supports the radical activities of ACORN -- the "Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." So do our taxes! The following quote from "Obama’s Secret Strategy," shows how left-wing groups use tax-payers' money:
ACORN's strategies are based on Alinsky's revolutionary tactics. Since socialists are not accountable to traditional ethics, ACORN's dishonest dealings -- exposed by Michelle Malkin's article titled "$800,000 campaign secret payment to ACORN" -- shouldn't surprise us:
In 1992 Obama helped start another revolutionary organization, Public Allies. He resigned the next year, before Michelle Obama became ther executive director of its Chicago chapter. Apparently, Obama plans to use it as the model for a national service corps -- a "Universal Voluntary Public Service." As Investor's Business Daily explains,
"When they're not protesting, they're staffing AIDS clinics, handing out condoms, bailing criminals out of jail.... It's training the 'next generation of nonprofit leaders' — future 'social entrepreneurs.'...
"The government now funds about half of Public Allies' expenses.... Obama wants to fully fund it and expand it into a national program that some see costing $500 billion."
A NATIONAL MILITIA
"Just in case you doubt the Marxist nature of their concepts of community transformation, Trojanowicz quotes Saul Alinsky, the extreme Marxist change agent of the 60’s who authored Rules for Radicals. Alinsky proposed 'we begin viewing community through the prism of issues (Issues= problems= crisis= conflict)....
REALITY VERSUS DELUSION
You've seen that the socialist power structure thrives on conflict, compromise, manipulation and deceit. It spreads its illusions by hiding its totalitarian aims under the noble banner of community service.
God's ways are totally opposite, and no one has demonstrated the true role of a servant more perfectly than did Jesus Christ Himself. Yet, He was hated for His unwillingness to compromise truth for the sake of unity. "If they persecuted Me they will persecute you," He warned us, "for they do not know the One who sent Me." (John 15:20-21)
His standard, echoed by one of His disciples, fits our times: "We must obey God rather than man!" (Acts 5:29) We may face some harsh consequences for choosing to trust and follow Him, but fellowship with Him is well worth it! And He will surely enable us to bring His love, hope, strength, peace to those in need.
Senate Sends $634 Billion Spending Bill to Bush Fox News (September 27, 2008) - Automakers gained $25 billion in taxpayer-subsidized loans and oil companies won elimination of a long-standing ban on drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as the Senate passed a sprawling spending bill Saturday. The 78-12 vote sent the $634 billion measure to President Bush, who was expected to sign it even though it spends more money and contains more pet projects than he would have liked.
The measure is needed to keep the government operating beyond the current budget year, which ends Tuesday. As a result, the legislation is one of the few bills this election year that simply must pass. Bush's signature would mean Congress could avoid a lame-duck session after the Nov. 4 election.
The Pentagon is in line for a record budget. In addition to $70 billion approved this summer for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defense Department would receive $488 billion, a 6 percent increase. The spending bill also offers aid to victims of flooding in the Midwest and recent hurricanes across the Gulf Coast. Such a huge bill usually would dominate the end-of-session agenda on Capitol Hill. But it went below the radar screen because attention focused on the congressional bailout of Wall Street.
The measure settles dozens of battles that have brewed for months between the Democrats who run Congress and the White House and its GOP allies. The administration won approval of the defense budget. Democrats wrested concessions from the White House on $23 billion for disaster-ravaged states, a doubling of low-income heating subsidies, and smaller spending items such as $24 million more for food shipments to the elderly.
The loan package for automakers would reward them with $25 billion in below-market loans, costing taxpayers $7.5 billion to subsidize the retooling of plants and development of technologies to help U.S. carmakers to build cleaner, more fuel efficient cars. Companies would not have to begin repaying the loans for five years, drawing objections from Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who predicted they would return for more help when the money is due.
Republicans made ending the coastal drilling ban a central campaign issue this summer as $4-plus per gallon gasoline stoked voter anger and turned public opinion in favor of more exploration. The action does not mean drilling is imminent and still leaves the oil-rich eastern Gulf of Mexico off limits. But it could set the stage for the government to offer leases in some Atlantic federal waters as early as 2011.
Also in the bill is money to avert a shortfall in Pell college aid grants and solve problems in the Women, Infants and Children program delivering healthy foods to the poor. In addition to the Pentagon's budget, there is $40 billion for the Homeland Security Department and $73 billion for veterans' programs and military base construction projects. Combined with the Defense Department's spending, that amounts to about 60 percent of the budget work Congress must pass each year.
Democrats came under criticism from the GOP for short-circuiting the normal process for a spending bill after it became clear that Republicans would force difficult votes on the drilling ban. Democrats also wanted to avoid an election-year clash with Bush that would have played in his favor. They are willing to take their chances that Democrat Barack Obama will be elected president in November and permit increases for scores of programs squeezed by Bush each year. Bush had threatened to veto bills that did not cut the number and cost of pet projects in half or cause agency operating budgets to exceed his request. Democrats ignored the edict as they drafted the plan and the White House has apparently backed down.
Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, discovered 2,322 pet projects
totaling $6.6 billion. That included 2,025 in the defense portion alone
that cost a total of $4.9 billion. Critics of such "earmarks"
promise to scrutinize them in coming weeks and months for links to lobbyists
and campaign contributions.
Isn't it great to have such money to throw around at a time like this?!
MEPs to ask US Congress about funding for Irish No vote EU Observer (September 26, 2008) - The European Parliament's delegation to the US will on its next trans-Atlantic visit ask Congress about allegations that the Irish anti-Lisbon Treaty campaign was funded out of America. The parliament's political group leaders - the "conference of presidents" - made the decision on Thursday (25 September) following calls for transparency by the Irish and French governments and the European Commission.
The move also comes after Declan Ganley - an Irish businessman with US interests who ran the prominent No-vote lobby, the Libertas group - admitted loaning it €200,000 of his own money. Under Irish rules, donations must be capped at €6,348. The conference of presidents decided not to set up its own commission of enquiry, leaving any investigation to Ireland's Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO). But the parliament's administration will "regularly and closely monitor the situation."
Using language that puts Mr Ganley in an unsavoury light, the parliament statement noted that SIPO "enjoyed real investigative powers and that any proven misuse of funds ... could lead to sanctions, including of a criminal nature." The leader of the Liberal group, Graham Watson, said he supported contacting the US Congress because Irish-American groups had funded the Irish terrorist group, the IRA, in the past.
The idea that Mr Ganley fronted a US plot to kill the Lisbon Treaty emerged when Irish media reported that his US firm, Rivada Networks, had a €200 million communications equipment contact with the Pentagon. The French leader of the Green group in the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, popularised the theory at the opening meeting of this week's plenary session in Brussels.
"The Irish press revealed that there possibly exists a link between the financers of the No campaign in Ireland and the Pentagon as well as the CIA ... If proved true, this would clearly show that there are forces in the US willing to pay people to destabilise a strong and autonomous Europe," he said. "We stand on the side of those who strive for absolute transparency in all of these questions in order to keep Europe from suffering harm," parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering added.
No means no?
Ireland rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum in June, with most No voters saying they lacked information on the treaty contents. Those who voted No were also concerned about threats to Irish neutrality, Europe's 'democratic deficit' and a weakening of Ireland's position in the European Union.
The main thrust of the treaty was to tidy up EU institutions after the
2004 round of enlargement and help create a robust EU foreign policy, its
supporters say. Mr Ganley is now campaigning around Europe to launch an
anti-Lisbon political group in time for European Parliament elections in
2009. A second Irish referendum on Lisbon is not expected before late 2009. "Libertas
is obliged to communicate the details of its funding to the Irish authorities
in 2009. Libertas will comply with this obligation," Mr Ganley said
in response to what he called the parliament's "baseless allegations." "This
statement gives us grave concern for the state of democracy in Europe,"
he added. "Neither Libertas nor I have done anything illegal or wrong
- this is interference in the electoral process in Ireland."
US textbooks misrepresent Jews, Israel The Jerusalem Post (September 25, 2008) - American elementary and high school textbooks contain many "gross misrepresentations" of Judaism, Christianity and Israel, according to a book-length study released this week by the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish and Community Research. "It is shocking to discover that history and geography textbooks widely used in America's elementary and secondary classrooms contain some of the very same inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism and the Middle East as those [used] in Iran," the IJCR said in a summary of the findings of the five-year study. In examining the 28 most widely-used history, geography and social studies textbooks in America, researchers Dr. Gary Tobin and Dennis Ybarra found some 500 instances of "errors, inaccuracies and even propaganda" on these issues. Tens of millions of schoolchildren in all 50 states use the textbooks, according to Tobin.
Among the "outrageous misrepresentations" the study found was "a denial of the Jewish roots of Jesus," as when the textbook The World relates that "Christianity was started by a young Palestinian named Jesus." "Textbooks include negative stereotypes of Jews, Judaism and Israel," the authors write. "For example, textbooks tend to discredit the ties between Jews and the land of Israel." According to Tobin, "you're much more likely to learn about Jewish terrorism before the founding of Israel [in the textbooks] than about terrorism against Israel since that time."
Among the claims made about Israel in some of the textbooks are that Arab countries never initiated wars against Israel, Arab nations desire peace while Israel does not and that it was Israel that placed Palestinians in refugee camps in Arab lands, not Arab governments. No mention whatsoever was found relating to the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were forced out after the establishment of Israel.
In their treatment of Judaism, too, the textbooks showed a negative bias, according to the study. They often expressed a view that "Jews and Judaism are legalistic," and that "Jews care only about the letter of the law and ignore its spirit," the study found. The Jewish God is presented as "stern and warlike," and not compassionate, as is highlighted in other religions. In some instances, Jews are charged with deicide in the killing of Jesus.
The study also found that 18 textbooks used "unscholarly and disparaging 'Old Testament' terminology for the Jewish scriptures when discussing the origins of Judaism." The study compared language used in describing Jewish and Christian belief with that describing Muslim belief. "The textbooks tend to be critical of Jews and Israel, disrespectful about Christianity, and rather than represent Islam in an objective way, tend to glorify it," says Ybarra.
"Textbook publishers often defer completely to Muslim groups for their content [on Islam] because they want to be sensitive to Muslim concerns," he explained. "So they write that Mohammed is a prophet of God, without the qualifier you should have in a public school that shows you're teaching about religion, rather than teaching religion."
One example among the many cited in the study is in World History: Continuity and Change, in which a glossary entry on the Ten Commandments describes them as "Moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew God Yahweh on Mount Sinai." The same glossary describes the Koran as a "Holy Book of Islam containing revelations received by Muhammad from God" - without a conditional qualifier. "Islam is treated with a devotional tone in some textbooks, less detached and analytical than it ought to be," the study finds. "Muslim beliefs are described in several instances as fact, without any clear qualifier such as 'Muslims believe... .' "No religion should be presented in history textbooks as absolute truth, either on its own or compared to any other, or they all should be." "All in all, there are repeated misrepresentations that cross the line into bigotry," the authors write.
The textbooks examined in the study are published by some of the largest publishers in America, including Pearson, an $8 billion dollar company which is one of America's largest textbook publishers, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, a global corporation with revenues totaling some $2.5 billion.
The publishers, however, are not bigots, Tobin emphasizes. "I learned in graduate school that you should never try to explain something with conspiracy when you can account for it with incompetence," he says. "That's what you've got here. The fact that publishers don't use scholars to write the textbooks, but amateurs," is a major source of the bias in the texts. "If the person writing about the founding of Israel isn't an expert in the field - and he's not - he'll go to whatever sources he can find, such as Google. Any misinformation he finds can get into the textbooks."
The lack of expertise among the writers is only one of the many "systemic ills" the study found in the textbook publishing process. "Developing a textbook and getting it adopted in the major states of Texas and California is so expensive that only those competitors with the deepest pockets stand a chance of succeeding. Only three mega-publishers (down from nine in less than twenty years) control the K-12 textbook market, meaning that more and more titles are concentrated in fewer hands. Errors in one book now stand a greater chance of replicating themselves across other books because they may originate from the same source."
These structural weaknesses leave the textbook industry susceptible to pressure from certain groups. "We do not believe that textbook publishers are 'out to get' anybody or any group," the authors note in the study. Rather, "they are subject to all kinds of external pressures so that the higher pursuit of truth and accuracy can be sacrificed to narrow interests."
"Arab and Muslim interest groups... promote a pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian agenda in textbooks' lessons on the Middle East," the study finds. "For example, the Council on Islamic Education has weighed in during adoption processes to oppose the direct and unconditional use of the term 'Israel' for the Israelite monarchy in textbooks, lest anyone make the connection between modern Jews' claims to Israel and the kingdom that existed in the same location 3,000 years ago." Says Tobin: "If the president of Iran wants to blast Israel at the UN, he can use American textbooks to do so."
For more about errors taught in school relating to evolution as science, watch these series of videos. There are plenty of lies in the textbooks working to replace fact with fiction, whether on purpose or by ignorance. Knowing what I do of the enemy of mankind, I think he takes advantage of our laziness to supplant truth with lies.
U.S. losing financial superpower status: Steinbrueck Market Watch (September 25, 2008) - Germany's finance minister on Thursday laid the blame for the global banking crisis on the Anglo-American free-market model's quest for ever-higher near-term profits, predicting the United States would soon lose its role as the world's dominant financial power.
"The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the global financial system, not abruptly but it will erode," Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck told the lower house of Germany's parliament in Berlin, according to published reports. "The global financial system will become more multi-polar."
Steinbrueck criticized the United States for failing to adequately regulate investment banks and said free-market policies embraced by the United States and Great Britain that emphasized a short-term "insane drive for higher and higher profits" were partly to blame for the crisis. "Wall Street will never be what it was," he said.
The finance minister said he would push for a global ban on speculative short selling and would use next month's meeting of the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers in Washington to press for new rules that would prevent banks from fully securitizing loans and selling them to third parties.
Steinbrueck said U.S. authorities were late in undertaking rescue efforts, but said he welcomed the decision to attempt to bail out only organizations whose collapse would threaten the world financial system.
He repeated that he felt there was no need for Germany or Europe to echo
the U.S. Treasury's proposal to spend around $700 billion to buy up toxic
assets from distressed banks' balance sheets, saying the financial crisis
is largely an "American problem." The minister warned, however,
that the fallout from the crisis would make for lower growth in the near
future and eventually impact the labor market.
Something to consider regarding the "multi-polar" global financial system, it is still all run by central banks with the power to create currency, or perhaps do away with currency as we know it all-together in favor of a replacement system with global control. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is a conspiracy in the works by the mystery of iniquity, 2 Thessalonians 2, to bring about consolidation of power to hand to the man of sin according to scripture.
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
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