News for October 22, 2008
In One Hour Everything Is Going to Change World Challenge Inc. (September 3, 2007) - The prophet Isaiah warns us that in the last days God is going to “turn the world upside down.” He declares, “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down” (Isaiah 24:1).
According to this prophecy, sudden judgment is coming upon the earth, and it will change everything in a single hour. Within that short span, the whole world will witness fast-falling destruction upon a city and a nation, and the world will never be the same.
If you are attached to material things — if you love this world and the things of it — you won’t want to hear what Isaiah has prophesied. In fact, even to the most righteous of God’s people, what Isaiah says might seem unthinkable. Many would surely ask, “How can an entire world be stricken in one hour?”
If we didn’t believe the Bible is God’s pure Word, few of us would take Isaiah’s prophecy seriously. But Scripture makes it clear: in a single hour, the world is going to change. The church is going to change. And every individual on earth is going to change.
The apostle John gives a similar warning in Revelation. He speaks of destructive judgment coming upon a city and nation: “In one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her…. For in one hour so great riches is come to nought” (Revelation 18:8, 17).
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the city under judgment is cast into confusion. Every house is shut up, with no one coming or going. “The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in” (Isaiah 24:10). The entire city is left desolate: “In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction” (24:12). All entrances and exits to the city are gone. The passage indicates that a fire has come, a blast that has shaken the very foundations of the earth (see 24:6).
We who live in New York City know something about this kind of scene. When the Twin Towers were attacked, the ominous fires and smoke could be seen ascending to heaven for miles. Recently, New Yorkers panicked as a mass of steam erupted from below a city street. People ran in all directions screaming, “Is this it? Is this the end-all attack?”
Today, multitudes of secular prophets are saying a nuclear attack is inevitable. The target they mention most often is New York, but it could happen in any major city: London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Washington. Neither Isaiah nor John names the city upon which destructive judgment falls. more...
I don't know much about David Wilkerson, but I just found this audio message I had saved and listened to again from over a year ago where I think he brings into perspective the things that give me hope, a very powerful message that expresses what I feel. I would really rather you listen than read it though.
Recommendation 816 WEU Assembly (June 3, 2008) - WEU Assembly calls for Solana, 10 nations to lead EU’s security strategy. WEU Assembly Recommendation 816 encourages Javier Solana “to lead the way in providing the Union with a foreign, security and defence policy vision to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
On the revision of the European Security Strategy - reply to the annual report of the Council
Top Iran officials recommend preemptive strike against Israel Haaretz (October 22, 2008) - Senior Tehran officials are recommending a preemptive strike against Israel to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear reactors, a senior Islamic Republic official told foreign diplomats two weeks ago in London. The official, Dr. Seyed G. Safavi, said recent threats by Israeli authorities strengthened this position, but that as of yet, a preemptive strike has not been integrated into Iranian policy.
Safavi is head of the Research Institute of Strategic Studies in Tehran, and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The institute is directly affiliated with Khamenei's office and with the Revolutionary Guards, and advises both on foreign policy issues. Safavi is also the brother of Yahya Rahim Safavi, who was the head of the Revolutionary Guards until a year ago and now is an adviser to Khamenei, and holds significant influence on security matters in the Iranian government.
An Israeli political official said senior Jerusalem officials were shown Safavi's remarks, which are considered highly sensitive. The source said the briefing in London dealt with a number of issues, primarily a potential Israeli attack on an Iranian reactor.
Safavi said a small, experienced group of officials is lobbying for a preemptive strike against Israel. "The recent Israeli declarations and harsh rhetoric on a strike against Iran put ammunition in these individuals' hands," he said. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said in June that Israel would be forced to strike the Iranian nuclear reactor if Tehran continues to pursue its uranium enrichment program.
Safavi said Tehran recently drafted a new policy for responding to an Israeli or American attack on its nuclear facilities. While the previous policy called for attacks against Israel and American interests in the Middle East and beyond, the new policy is to target Israel alone. He added that many Revolutionary Guard leaders want to respond to a U.S. attack on Iranian soil by striking Israel, as they believe Israel would be partner to any U.S. action.
Safavi said that Iran's nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes only, and that Khamenei recently released a fatwa against the use of weapons of mass destruction, though the contents of that religious ruling have not yet been publicized. Regarding dialogue with the United States and the West, Safavi said Iran's decision would be influenced by the results of the U.S. presidential elections next month, as well as by the Iranian presidential elections in June and the economic situation in the Islamic Republic.
Safavi also said that a victory by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would pave the way for dialogue with Washington, while a John McCain presidency would bolster Iran's extreme right, which opposes dialogue. If conditions are favorable following the U.S. election, he said, Iran could draw back from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that "the nuclear case is closed," and put it back on the agenda.
Safavi said he believed that U.S. sanctions on Iran have run their course, and that there would be no point in strengthening them. Tehran would therefore demand "firm and significant" U.S. measures in return for stopping uranium enrichment. He also said Ahmadinejad is not guaranteed victory in the June 2009 elections, particularly given the dire economic situation in Iran. Still, Iranian experts believe his only real competition is former president Mohammad Khatami, who has not yet joined the race.
Safavi said the inflation rate in Iran is similar to that before the
1979 Islamic Revolution, but that unrest among civilians today is not as
strong. This is because the current government uses oil revenues to help
the poor, he said.
Coordinated European action needed to tackle financial crisis says the European Parliament European Parliament (October 22, 2008) - MEPs say the EU needs a coordinated response on a range of fronts in order to tackle the financial crisis and limit its impact on economic growth, jobs and small businesses. In a resolution on last week's EU summit, they also call for measures to improve financial supervision and look at issues from climate change to the Caucasus. The resolution was adopted with 499 votes in favour, 130 against and 67 abstentions.
Parliament stresses the importance of a coordinated macroeconomic response to resuscitate global growth, without undermining the principles of the stability and growth pact. MEPs also want to see coordinated action to restore confidence in the financial markets.
Financial market crisis and the real economy
The crisis, says the resolution, has implications beyond financial markets: for business viability, jobs, personal finance and SMEs. Parliament stresses the paramount importance of ongoing access to credit for citizens and SMEs and of investments in EU infrastructure to avoid a dramatic downturn in growth and employment.
It therefore supports measure to return liquidity to the markets, and the rapid reaction of the Commission in applying state aid rules on measures taken to rescue financial institutions. When public money is spent in this way, say MEPs, it must be accompanied by public oversight, improvements in governance, limitations on remuneration, strong accountability to public authorities and investment strategies for the real economy.
MEPs welcome the setting up by the Commission of a high-level group to consider the future supervisory architecture for EU financial services, but they criticise the lack of Parliamentary involvement in the Commission's "financial crisis cell".
Better supervisory structure for the future
Looking beyond the immediate crisis, MEPs reiterate their calls on the Commission to propose measures to strengthen the EU regulatory and supervisory framework and EU-level crisis management, including on banks, credit rating agencies, securitisation, hedge funds, leverage, transparency, winding-up rules, clearing for over-the-counter markets and crisis prevention.
The Lamfalussy process should be strengthened, including colleges of supervisors for cross-border institutions and a clearer role and legal status for the Level 3 committees (which bring together all the Member States' banking, securities and insurance supervisors). Parliament also wants to see proposals drawn up for effective cross-border crisis management.
Lisbon, climate change, energy, Caucasus conflicts
The resolution also considers other issues arising from the European Council meeting last week. Among other points:
Obama's expected victory in US election could signal bad times for Israel YNet News (October 22, 2008) - Unless we see a dramatic and unexpected development, in about two weeks we shall have a new president in the United States: Barak Obama. Did I say “we”? Yes, we. The identity of the man who will be entering the White House and staying there in the coming years is more important for us and for our lives here than one could imagine. Seven million Israeli citizens go about their daily lives while having no clue as to how much their lives and wellbeing depend on the US, and first and foremost on the person who sits in the Oval Office.
As not to argue with the faithful amongst us, certainly not right after Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we shall only say that some of the prayers we recently uttered would do well to make it to Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. Our life hinges on the desire, or heaven forbid lack of desire, declarations, and deeds of the president – and apparently it will be Barack Obama.
To be honest, Obama doesn’t make us sleep well at night. We are about to see a president who has nothing to do with Judaism, Jews, and the State of Israel. He doesn’t know Malcolm Hoenlein (executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents), he is not scared of Abe Foxman (head of the Anti-Defamation League,) he has not delivered speeches on behalf of the Israel Bonds, and he has not traveled as the guest of the Jewish National Fund. His familiarity with the Middle East is minimal, and on top of that, right now he has a global economic crisis to resolve before he can drink tea with Tzipi Livni and coffee with Mahmoud Abbas.
The way things look now, with an emphasis on “for the time being,” the State of Israel won’t be overjoyed as a result of this development. Obama is not Bush Sr. (who was so-so in his attitude to Israel,) he is not Bill Clinton (who was like a member of the Jewish Federation,) and he is not Bush Jr. (who was like a former fighter in Ariel Sharon’s unit.) Meanwhile, we have several minor problems that require a solution, such as the Iranian nuke threat, Islamic terrorism, Hamas, Syria, and the economy.
For generations, we heard legends around here about the power of the
Jewish “lobby” in Washington: AIPAC – now, its members are facing a test.
However, here too we have a problem: American Jewry is not what it used
to be when it comes to its attachment to Israel, and the generation of the
children and grandchildren no longer blindly follows Israel’s leadership,
its speeches and demands. Therefore, prepare for the arrival of the Obama.
Apparently, although let’s hope this won’t happen, soon we shall go back
to the biblical verse we love so much: “A people dwelling alone."
Post-'excellent' speech euphoria at the UN The Jerusalem Post (October 22, 2008) - Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, the 75-year-old Nicaraguan Catholic priest, winner of the International Lenin Peace Prize and newly elected president since September 16 of the UN General Assembly for the current session, is not just a "fan of plain words," he is also a fan of heroic deeds. On September 23, we were witnesses to a 21st-century chamber of horrors at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, when he said: "On behalf of the General Assembly, I wish to thank his excellency the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran and request the representatives to remain seated while I greet the president."
Brockmann, who personally thanked "his excellency," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for his "excellent" speech, which was dripping with anti-Zionism and hate, interrupted the session and rushed down the stairs to warmly, even enthusiastically, hug and kiss Ahmadinejad. Everyone in the hall clapped and cheered - and here in Europe and everywhere there is dead silence about it.
The Rheinische Post reported on it, days later, on September 27: "Steinmeier chastizes Iran," according to which the German foreign minister accused the Iranian president of "pure anti-Semitism" because of his speech. But not a word was uttered about the behavior of the "wannabe humanist," the president of the UN General Assembly on September 23.
Once you look more closely into the personal background of Brockmann, you aren't at all surprised at such heroism. As the "son of a wealthy career diplomat who served during the Somoza dictatorship," he is a Nicaraguan socialist with US citizenship. He wandered since his birth in Los Angeles back and forth "between luxury and revolution," and "as one of the few remaining companions he is still a close friend, political consultant and father confessor to [Sandinista leader Daniel] Ortega."
So he developed an enormous need for altruism and charity, which he demonstrated
on September 23, 2008 in New York. That is why he is also working to reform
the UN Security Council. Brockmann is pushing for a "democratization"
of the organization, a kind of "Durban 2," the conference that
will meet in Geneva on April 4, 2009 to install another 21st-century chamber
of horrors. more...
MEPs debate EU response to world crises with French president Sarkozy European Parliament (October 21, 2008) - At a debate with MEPs on the EU summit of 15-16 October, EU President-in-Office Sarkozy said the Russo-Georgian war and the financial crisis had strengthened the case for a united European response to major world problems. He rejected any idea that the EU should backtrack on its climate change commitments because of the crisis. While the main EP political groups broadly supported him, some felt the roots of the financial crisis went back a long way and queried the role of unbridled free markets.
Introducing the debate, the President of Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, said that in the recent crises, Europe under the leadership of President Sarkozy had shown its ability to take coordinated, collective action. Without such action - and without the existence of the euro - "we would have been in a disastrous situation".
The first subject considered by President Sarkozy, speaking on behalf of the European Council, was the Russo-Georgian war. While regarding the Russian reaction as "disproportionate", he also stressed it was a "reaction" to a previous "inappropriate" action. He then described the peace-making efforts carried out by himself on behalf of the EU. The Americans had thought "dialogue with the Russians is pointless" but in his view this was folly, since "Europe does not want another Cold War". He emphasised "it is Europe that has brought about peace", adding "it is a long time since Europe has played this sort of role in this kind of conflict".
World financial crisis: how to prevent a recurrence
Turning next to the world financial situation, Mr Sarkozy said "what was a serious crisis became a systemic crisis" with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Moreover, the solutions now being found - in which Europe had taken the lead - simply amounted to "crisis management".
A key point was "how can we prevent a recurrence?". He had proposed to the UN General Assembly the creation of a "new global financial system" or "new Bretton Woods". The aim must be to "overhaul capitalism", not "by questioning the idea of a market economy" but observing certain principles: no bank working with state money must work with tax havens, all financial institutions must be subject to financial regulation, traders' bonus structures must not push them to take undue risks and the monetary system must be rethought. The USA and the EU had proposed a series of "summits on global governance", starting in November, involving first the G8 and then adding the G5, at which, he stressed, "Europe must speak with one voice".
Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Sarkozy returned to the financial crisis, saying it was undoubtedly now leading to an economic crisis and this too would require a "united European response". Among ideas he floated were measures to ensure that "European companies are not bought up by non-European capital while their stock exchange values are low" and the creation of sovereign wealth funds by each EU country. At a later point in the debate he pointed the finger at hedge funds and questioned the competence and independence of ratings agencies, pointing out that the latter were mainly US-based and perhaps Europe needed its own ratings agencies.
He also believed that "the eurozone cannot continue without clear economic governance". The European Central Bank must be independent but must be able to hold discussions with "an economic government" at head of state/government level.
No backsliding on energy/climate change
Mr Sarkozy's next topic was the future of the EU's energy and climate package. He rejected any idea "that the world should do less to combat climate change because of the financial crisis", saying "Europe must set an example" to the world. He recognised the difficulty some European countries were facing, especially those that are 95% dependent on coal, but some flexible solution must be found. Referring to the 20/20/20 targets, he described "respect for the climate change objectives" and "respect for the timetable" as essential.
Turning to the EU Immigration Pact, the French president said this was "a great example of European democracy" as, despite initial differences, the EU had agreed on a joint policy.
Lastly, the president argued that the recent crises with Georgia and the financial markets showed that "it would be a major mistake not to proceed with institutional reform" since Europe often needs "a powerful, rapid and united response", something which was difficult, for example, with the EU's six-month rotating presidency. The French presidency was thus looking to a roadmap to find a solution by December to the question of Irish ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Concluding, he said "the world needs a Europe that speaks with a strong voice" and expressed appreciation to the EP for its "solidarity" in helping to create this sense of unity.
Commission President Barroso
President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said Mr Sarkozy's handling of the crisis had shown him as "dynamic as only he can be" and welcomed the fact that Europe was now working hand in hand with the US. He said "the EU should mould a global response with it values and interests".
He outlined a number of practical steps. He said the Commission would be looking at executive pay and derivatives. The feasibility of pan-Europe financial regulation would also be under review. He also signalled his forthcoming visit to China for talks saying: "The goal should be to devise a system of global financial governance adapted to the challenges of the 21st century – in terms of efficiency, transparency and representation."
Turning to the so called "real economy" he said that Europe faced a "serious economic slowdown" with jobs, incomes and order books affected. He went on to say: "There is no national road out of this crisis...we will swim or sink together. We must not give in to siren calls for protection. We must not turn our backs on globalisation or put our single market at risk."
He said that "European citizens need support - especially the vulnerable". To deal with the slowdown he called for "smart support" that would hit two targets at once. For example: "Helping the construction industry...but doing this by promoting an energy-efficient housing stock....Helping key industries like cars...but preparing them for tomorrow's markets of clean cars."
He told MEPs that there is "no national route out of this crisis" and that in Europe "we swim or sink together". He said that: "Europe shows its true colours in a crisis - in Georgia we stopped a war whilst with the financial crisis we are dealing with it."
He went on to say that: "There is no magic bullet to turn around the EU economy. What we have to do is take every option, explore every potential way in which EU policy can help Member States to seize every opportunity to put Europe on the road to growth. That is our task in the coming weeks. And it is a task I want to tackle together with the European Parliament." He finished by saying that it was: "The kind of occasion where the crisis calls into question old certainties and minds are more open to change."
Later, speaking after the main group speakers Mr Barroso said that analysis
compiled by the Commission showed the crisis was triggered "by sectors
that were not regulated in US". On climate change he said that with
the financial crisis it would be "dramatically bad" if the EU
backtracked on the 20/20/20 emission formula agreed last. He said that "the
world - not just Europeans, are looking to us". more...
Training A Socialist Army of World Servers Part II News With Views (October 21, 2008) - Click here for part 1
Mind Change and Collective Service
"Obama.... plans to double the Peace Corps' budget by 2011 and expand AmeriCorps, USA Freedom Corps, VISTA, YouthBuild Program, and the Senior Corps. ...he proposes to form a Classroom Corps, Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, Veterans Corps, Homeland Security Corps, Global Energy Corps, and a Green Jobs Corps." Obama's Civilian National Security Force
"Jesus was a community organizer." (A visitor's response to "Training a Socialist Army of World Servers")
"[A community] organizer... does not have a fixed truth -- truth to him is relative and changing. ... To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations...." Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, the Marxist "organizer" whose disciples mentored Obama
“Jesus said... 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'” John 8:31-32
"I was shocked," wrote one of our visitors, "when I read your first article on Obama's service programs. "Why is this getting a free ride in the press?" The simple answer is that Obama's revolutionary values match those of the mainstream media and the power brokers behind it.  Contrary voices are ignored or ridiculed. Perceptions are swayed by suggestions and exciting images, while facts become increasingly irrelevant. And as discernment drowns in this postmodern muddle, illusion reigns -- and few even care!
Without facts we'll lose our freedom! A sobering 1970 prediction by Professor Raymond Houghton, a spokesman for "progressive education," may soon be reality:
STEPPING STONES TO RADICAL CHANGE
At the dawn of Stalin's deadly reign in the 1930s -- when Communist leader Antonio Gramsci was writing his cunning formula for transforming the West -- numerous European Marxist were searching for effective strategies for mass control. As Hitler rose to power, some fled to America where they fine-tuned their tactics at "progressive" institutions like Columbia University. Welcomed by "progressive" educators, they found plenty of opportunity to test and teach their theories. Others merely exported their research to fellow revolutionaries in America. Their names -- Adorno, Marcuse, Lukács and Lewin -- don't ring many bells today, but no one can escape their impact on our nation.
Their radical schemes fit right into the dialectic process. Like Saul Alinsky, their followers would "unfreeze" minds from uncompromising Truth, fill them with a passion for collectivism, "and refreeze" them with the new ideology. Before long, the mind-changing tactics that transformed the Soviet masses became the centerpiece of "service learning" in American schools and communities.
Remember, the primary goal behind such group service is "service learning," NOT compassion for the poor. The latter is mainly a feel-good incentive for group participation in a communal purpose, vision, activity and transformation.
This scheme matches the old Nazi model. Young Germans from age 10 to 19 had to serve in the Hitler Youth program. And, as Hitler affirmed back in 1933, 'the whole of National Socialism [Nazism] is based on Marxism." His brainwashed servants, who became anything but compassionate, just copied the Communist strategies:
But shouldn't we gladly and willingly serve the needy and each other? Yes, of course! But not in ways that prompt us to twist, compromise or hide His Word under the banner of unity or charity.
LOVING THEIR SERVITUDE
"Belongingness" is the "ultimate need of the individual," wrote William Whyte, co-author of The Organization Man. His benchmark book -- a bestseller back in the sixties -- describes group thinkers who would gladly trade their home-taught convictions for the warm fuzzies of "belongingess."
According to Whyte, "man exists as a unit of society," and "only as he collaborates with others does he become worth while." That sad assumption provided a useful "crisis" that spurred vast numbers of transformational "leadership training" conferences everywhere. As Whyte said,
Two decades earlier, Aldous Huxley had shared his concern about such "belongingness." Knowing the manipulative tactics behind collectivism, he wrote in Brave New World,
Today's leadership training and continual assessments help our managers assess and track "human resources" everywhere -- even in churches. Those assessments of "human differences" help facilitators create the conflicts and stir tension needed for change. As Saul Alinsky wrote,
Alinsky taught his "organizers" (or facilitators) to lead "with a free and open mind void of certainty, hating dogma." Do those words sound familiar? They would if you've read our excerpts from UNESCO: Its purpose and Its Philosophy by Julian Huxley (Aldous' brother). As head of this powerful UN agency, he wrote,
That's the aim of the dialectic process: to "uncrystalize our dogmas." Its success is evident in today's post-modern generation that rejects the very notion of truth and certainty. Though he claims to be Christian, Obama fits this picture. During a 2004 interview with Chicago Sun-Times religion editor Cathleen Falsani for her book, The God Factor, Obama said,
This is the new pluralism! Unity over Truth! Any path is okay -- unless it clashes with the ground rules for the dialectic process -- the foundation for Obama's expansive service plan. His website gives us a glimpse of that plan:
THE GLOBAL NETWORK
Donald J. Eberly is the president of The International Associations of National Youth Service -- an umbrella group that includes the Peace Corps, National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, National Service Learning Partnership, and others. At the 1998 "Fourth Global Conferences on National Youth Service," he traced the history of this global project. Ponder this progression:
UNESCO was a major participant in that Youth Service conference, which worked with over "140 member organizations." The United States was represented by key leaders in social and corporate development -- including the Rite of Passage Project and the Ford Foundation which has been funding "progressive" world programs for decades.
Few have been more zealous for interfaith education and global service than former UN Under-Secretary Robert Muller. In 1989 UNESCO honored him with its Peace Education Prize, and his acceptance speech touted cosmic world education. That's not surprising, since his beliefs are largely based on books penned by Theosophist Alice Bailey, who received them from her "spirit guide." [More on Alice Bailey and the mystery of iniquity]
Her message is now everywhere -- not because people read her books, but because her occult cosmology is promoted by Oprah Winfrey and communicated through a variety of popular New Age and "New Spirituality" books. They include A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, and A Course in Miracles received from a "spirit guide" called "Jesus." In Education for a New Age, Bailey's spirit guide summarized the basic principle behind "service learning:"
The notion that "self-love" leads to a universal "God consciousness" is a demonic lie! So it's not surprising that Alice Bailey's books were published by Lucis [initially Lucifer] Publishing Company. Saul Alinsky drew inspiration from the same occult source. Like Alice Bailey, he called for rebellion against the God we love:
THE RAGING BATTLE
The actual answer to the initial question is found in the Bible. It tells us that "the whole world is under the sway of the evil one" (1 John 1:19), and he uses every possible agency to win his battle against Truth. In fact, his servants are driving the transformation in every arena.
This is spiritual war! Unthinkable lies are now accepted by blinded masses who have forgotten the foundations of our freedom! Dialectic groups (led by trained facilitators) -- no matter how nice or "Christian" they sound -- are prompting people to shift their trust from God to the group. In that context, even the Bible is conformed to the group's changing visions.
In contrast, our sovereign God calls each of us to take a stand, resist compromise, and follow His unchanging Truth. Those who choose His way will walk together with Him. He will strengthen us for the battle and enable us to stand firm on the solid rock of His Word -- no matter how fierce the battle.
Thanks for the story JB, and he brings to light the connection of Obama with the Alliance of Civilizations. To find out some more on the AoC, please check out Richard Peterson's blog. To read the story from Obama's website in context to what the AoC stands for, read:
An Alliance of Civilizations Could Make Friends for Obama's America Official Obama Website (February 1, 2008) - "As an American residing in Spain, the Alliance of Civilizations (AoC), a United Nations initiative underway since 2004, sounds as tailor-made for Barack Obama as those trendy gray suits he wears. US participation in the Alliance or in some other similar peace initiative, led by an Obama Administration, could result in peace and understanding winning out over war and extremism."
Keep in mind that "extremism" to the AoC is defined as claiming sole ownership to the Truth, something the Bible does, and so anyone who associates themselves to absolutely becomes an "extremist."
For more on the beast from the sea with the seven heads and 10 horns, examine this chart and read about Daniel's prophesied fourth kingdom. Rome has been reborn as prophesied and now is coming to power as described with a seven-year confirmed covenant with many, including Israel, and is led by one man who has been given the power to speak for Europe with one voice. And Obama is very aligned with the policies coming from Europe. Is McCain any better? While not as vocal, he is a member of the CFR and also has globalist leanings. So from where I stand today it appears that either way the globalists will get what they want, but it also appears that Obama has captured the minds of much of the nation and the globalists and the rest of the world couldn't be happier. I'm glad my hope is not in this world or I might fall apart with it, where is yours? Are you watching?
Biden to Supporters: "Gird Your Loins", For the Next President "It's Like Cleaning Augean Stables" ABC News Political Radar Blog (October 20, 2008) - ABC News' Matthew Jaffe Reports: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions. "Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."
Not only will the next administration have to deal with foreign affairs issues, Biden warned, but also with the current economic crisis. "Gird your loins," Biden told the crowd. "We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than – think about it, literally, think about it – this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy."
The Delaware lawmaker managed to rake in an estimated $1 million total from his two money hauls at the downtown Sheraton, the same hotel where four years ago Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., clinched the Democratic nomination. Despite warning about the difficulties the next administration will face, Biden said the Democratic ticket is equipped to meet the challenges head on. "I've forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know, so I'm not being falsely humble with you. I think I can be value added, but this guy has it," the Senate Foreign Relations chairman said of Obama. "This guy has it. But he's gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us."
"There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don't know about that decision'," Biden continued. "Because if you think the decision is sound when they're made, which I believe you will when they're made, they're not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they're popular, they're probably not sound."
Biden emphasized that the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border is of particular concern, with Osama bin Laden "alive and well" and Pakistan "bristling with nuclear weapons." "You literally can see what these kids are up against, our kids in that region," Biden said in recalling when his helicopter was forced down due to a snowstorm there. "The place is crawling with al Qaeda. And it's real." "We do not have the military capacity, nor have we ever, quite frankly, in the last 20 years, to dictate outcomes," he cautioned. "It's so much more important than that. It's so much more complicated than that. And Barack gets it."
After speaking for just over a quarter of an hour, Biden noticed the
media presence in the back of the small ballroom. "I probably shouldn't
have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here,"
he joked. "All kidding aside, these guys have left us in a God-awful
place," he then said of the Bush regime, promptly wrapping up his remarks. "We
have the ability to straighten it out. It's gonna take a little bit of time,
so I ask you to stay with us. Stay with us."
Please listen to Glenn Beck's commentary on this story and the possible implications in the audio files here. I think this could be what Glenn pondered on his show and possibly related to Middle East tensions that I think may be starting in the near future. Glenn touches on some other significant topics as well in the audio clip such as the October money printing spree.
'Smears' About Obama Largely True Newsmax (October 20, 2008) - The Obama campaign says its candidate is a victim of “smears” — and has even created a Web site to fight such attacks. But a Newsmax investigation finds many of the so-called smears are largely based in truth — and the Obama campaign uses half-truths, clever language, and ad hominem attacks to spin the facts.
Obama’s www.FightTheSmears.com focuses mainly on anti-Obama messages being repeated on the Internet and talk radio, the only media where Obama's ideological allies are not dominant. These "smears" and the Obama rebuttals are often framed in lawyerly language that leaves much wiggle room in the candidate’s answers. FightTheSmears.com also makes no attempt at objectivity, describing Obama’s critics as “pushing misleading research and distorted claims” because they are “ideologues” busy “spreading a ‘pack of lies’ about Barack.”
In a section of the site titled, “Who’s Behind the Smears?” visitors can see a chart naming seven groups and six individuals with lines that suggest multiple, sinister connections between them. The people and groups named are real and are members of Washington’s small but conservative sphere of power and influence. The Obama conspiracy chart links all of these conservative individuals and groups back to the critics who dogged the “Clinton 1992 Campaign.” This may come as something as a surprise to Hillary Clinton, as many of the “smears” against Obama first surfaced during her heated primary contest with him.
Newsmax reviewed 10 random claims and related rebuttals posted on Obama’s ever-changing FightTheSmears.com to gauge their veracity. Here’s what we found:
Claim No. 1: Obama's campaign is funded by the rich, big corporations and foreigners.
“Barack Obama was the only major presidential candidate this year to completely reject contributions from The Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs that have dominated our politics for years,” the Obama site says of the persistent online criticisms of its fundraising. “Instead, this campaign has been owned by the more than 3.1 million everyday Americans who have donated in small amounts.”
Not so, according to campaign finance records. Nearly half of the $600 million raised by Obama to date has come from wealthy donors and special interests. Obama's allies months ago dropped their ad linking Republican rival “Exxon John” McCain to Big Oil after it came to light that Obama had taken far more money from Exxon-Mobil than McCain.
“The Obama campaign has complied fully with federal election law,” claims the Obama site, “including donor eligibility and contribution disclosure requirements.” However, one giant loophole the politicians wrote into the law allows contributions in amounts of $200 or less with no donor identification. Obama claims that $300 million in campaign funds was given by these small donors, and he won’t release their names and addresses. McCain has released his whole donor database, including those who have contributed less than $200.
Critics argue that the other half of Obama’s campaign haul — the part not raised from big corporate donors and special interests — came in a small flood of anonymous donations that might be foreign or corrupt, or both.
Claim No. 2: Obama has had a close, ongoing relationship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.
The Obama site acknowledges that its candidate and Ayers ”served on the board of an education-reform organization in the mid-1990s,” but maintains most stories about the links between Obama and Ayers are phony or exaggerated. It does not mention that Obama and Ayers worked together on the board distributing millions of dollars with the aim of radicalizing Chicago schoolchildren.
Nor does the site acknowledge that Obama kicked off his first political campaign in the living room of Ayers, the former Weather Underground leader. (Obama is currently saying it was not the first event. There is no dispute that one of Obama’s first political events in his first run for public office was held in Ayers’ home.)
There is also no dispute the Weather Underground bombed the Pentagon the Capitol, the home of a New York Supreme Court justice, and a police station, among other targets. FBI agent Larry Grathwohl, who infiltrated the group, has recounted Ayers teaching him how to make bombs and saying, “In the revolution, some innocent people need to die.”
“Smear groups and now a desperate McCain campaign are trying to connect Barack to William Ayers using age-old guilt by association techniques . . .” says the Obama Web site. Actually, McCain and Obama critics are questioning why Obama would continue to associate with a man who, as recently as 2001, said he did not do enough and wished he had bombed more.
Conservatives also note that if Ayers had bombed abortion clinics, the liberal media would brand him a pariah forever. What does it tell us about the liberal media’s and Obama’s judgment and values that they see nothing wrong with embracing unrepentant terrorist Ayers today?
Claim No. 3: Obama takes advice from executives of troubled mortgage backer Fannie Mae.
“John McCain started smearing Obama about non-existent ties to Fannie Mae in some of his deceptive attack ads,” says FightTheSmears.com. The site downplays connections between Obama and two former heads of the giant mortgage-backing institution — James A. Johnson and Franklin D. Raines — whose corruption played a key role in the current financial crisis. But an editorial in the Aug. 27, 2008, Washington Post described Johnson and Raines, as “members of Mr. Obama’s political circle.”
Raines advised the Obama campaign on housing matters. Obama chose Johnson to select his vice presidential running mate. But because neither are advising Obama today, this Web site’s present-tense claim that he “doesn’t [not didn’t] take advice from Fannie Mae execs” is technically, if deceptively, true. Johnson also reportedly helped raise as much as $500,000 for Obama’s campaign.
And despite Obama’s lack of seniority in the U.S. Senate, he pocketed more than $105,000 in political contributions, the third-highest amount given to any lawmaker, directly from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama’s Web site leaves all this unmentioned.
Claim No. 4: Obama has close ties with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a group suspected of massive voter registration fraud.
Obama’s site says the candidate was never an ACORN employee and that ACORN “was not part of Project Vote, the successful voter registration drive [Obama] ran in 1992.” In defending Obama, the site resorts to smearing former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell — calling him a “discredited Republican voter-suppression guru” — for daring to fight the vote fraud so often associated with operatives of ACORN, among the largest radical groups in the United States.
As Newsmax has documented in ["Clever Obama Tries To Bury ACORN Past,"] Obama’s Web site is attempting to deceive when it says Obama was never “hired” to work as a trainer for ACORN’s leaders. In fact, he did the work for free from at least 1993 until 2003. ACORN spokesman Lewis Goldberg acknowledges in the Oct. 11, 2008, New York Times that Obama trained ACORN leaders. And Obama worked as a lawyer for ACORN.
As to heading up Project Vote in Illinois, Obama said during a speech to ACORN leaders last November, "[When] I ran the Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack-dab in the middle of it.” Veteran journalist Karen Tumulty described Project Vote in the Oct. 18, 2004, issue of Time magazine as “a nonpartisan arm of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now” after interviewing its national director.
The co-founder of ACORN, former Students for a Democratic Society official
Wade Rathke, described Project Vote as one of ACORN’s “family of organizations.”
Over the years, ACORN and its front groups, like the one Obama ran in Illinois,
have registered more than 4 million voters. When authorities in Virginia
checked ACORN registrations, it found that 83 percent were fraudulent or
had problems. This, in theory, could mean ACORN may have created the opportunity
for stealing more than 3.3 million votes in this November’s election, a
margin far wider than that by which Obama is likely to win. more...
Bush backs EU plan on global financial reform EU Observer (October 20, 2008) - US President George W. Bush has backed the European idea of a series of global talks on reform of the world's financial system, with the first summit set to be held shortly after the US presidential elections in November.
The outgoing American leader agreed there needs to be further co-ordinated effort to tackle the "challenges facing the global economy" after a three-hour meeting at Camp David on Saturday (18 October) with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country currently chairs the 27-strong EU, and with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The three politicians said they would approach other world powers - both from the richest nations and the newly emerging economies such as China and India - and try to reach "agreement on principles of reform needed to avoid a repetition and assure global prosperity in the future."
Later summits will be "designed to implement agreement on specific steps to be taken to meet those principles," the trio said in a joint statement. The top-level talks are due to tackle controversial elements of the current financial order which are seen by some as having contributed or failed to prevent the credit crunch, which originated in the US and spread across the globe.
At the EU level, several such issues have been highlighted as the possible targets of stricter regulation - rating agencies, tax havens, hedge funds, executive pay but also the very role of key global institutions, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. "We believe in the capacity and the ability of the American people to come up with the answers the world is waiting for, is expecting. Because this sort of capitalism is a betrayal of the capitalism we believe in," Mr Sarkozy said, newswires report.
"The meeting should be held rapidly, perhaps before the end of November. Since the crisis started in New York, maybe we can find the solution in New York," he added. However, US president Bush stressed that "as we make the regulatory and institutional changes necessary to avoid a repeat of this crisis, it is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism - the commitment to free markets, free enterprise and free trade." "We must resist the dangerous temptation of economic isolationism and continue the policies of open markets that have lifted standards of living and held millions of people escape poverty around the world."
More European banks in the red
Meanwhile, Dutch ING and French Caisse d'Epargne have joined the list of banks affected by the financial crisis. The Dutch government agreed on Sunday (19 October) to pump €10 billion into financial group ING, with the bank's management agreeing to scrap executive bonuses and its year-end dividend to shareholders. The move followed a round of tense negotiations over the weekend sparked by recent share falls by over a 25 percent of value, Reuters reported. The financial injection by the Dutch government is part of €20 billion package the Hague had put aside for possible bank bail-outs, in a move agreed in principle by all other European member states last week in a bid to prevent a bankruptcy of any financial situation essential for a country's whole economy.
In Germany, Bavaria's public sector bank BayernLB will be the first to use the German government's €500 billion rescue package. The bank's supervisory board is due to meet on Tuesday (21 October) to discuss the package, Bavarian state Finance Minister Erwin Huber said in an interview for Bild newspaper.
In France, the chairman of Groupe Caisse d'Epargne and two other top
managers resigned on Sunday, following a €600 million trading scandal where
a small team of traders had placed illicit bets on stock markets. The French
government reacted by suggesting a special audit of all banks in the country.
Strong quake hits Indonesia's Sulawesi island Reuters (October 20, 2008) - A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Monday but there were no immediate reports of any deaths or damage, an official at the national quake agency said.
The epicentre of the quake lay at a depth of 33 km (21 miles) and about
96 km (60 miles) southwest of Tolitoli town in Central Sulawesi province,
Anas Fauzi, an analyst at the agency in Jakarta, said. He said no tsunami
warning had been issued. Earthquakes are frequent in Indonesia which lies
in an area of intense seismic activity where several tectonic plates collide.
Europeans signal clash with US over global capitalism Telegraph UK (October 19, 2008) - World leaders will meet in the United Sates next month to find a fix for the international financial crisis after President George W. Bush bowed to European calls for a global economic summit. Mr Bush bowed to demands from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, at his Camp David presidential retreat.
The emboldened Europeans signalled that the bloc was ready to ambush Mr Bush and his successor, who is expected to attend the meeting, to impose a European vision for new financial market regulation. "The EU must take over the leadership of change because that is what it has long been calling for while the US was not favourable," said José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister. "There has to be regulation and limits to everything to do with incentives and rewards."
The French leader reiterated his attacks on the American-led sytem of capitalism. "We cannot continue along the same lines because the same problems will trigger the same disasters," said Mr Sarkozy. "This is no longer acceptable. This is no longer possible. This sort of capitalism is a betrayal of the sort of capitalism we believe in."
The summit, expected to take place just days or weeks after US presidential elections in November, will start a political tussle over The US President has backed the steps European nations have taken in recent weeks to stabilise financial markets but has signalled American uneasiness with some EU calls for a root and branch overhaul of capitalism.
But remarks after the Camp David meeting has already exposed deep trans-Atlanic differences. "We will work to strengthen and modernise our nations' financial systems so we can help ensure that this crisis doesn't happen again," said Mr Bush. "As we make the regulatory and institutional changes necessary to avoid a repeat of this crisis, it is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism a commitment to free markets, free enterprise, and free trade," he said. "We must resist the dangerous temptation of economic isolationism and continue the policies of open markets that have lifted standards of living and helped millions of people escape poverty around the world."
In contrast, President Sarkozy and other EU leaders have floated radical ideas of reforming rating agencies, the creation of new international financial supervisors and tough regulation of hedge funds and tax havens. Even the venue of the global economic conference could be a source of discord after President Sarkozy called for it to be held under the auspices of the United Nations in New York, near America's Wall Street financial district, the source, the EU claims, of the present economic crisis. "Insofar as the crisis began in New York, then the global solution must be found to this crisis in New York," Mr Sarkozy said.
A weakened President Bush, who will be seeing out his last months in
office after US presidential elections on Nov 4. The US leader is expected
to try and wrest back control by holding the summit in Washington. European
diplomats are hoping that a new US President-elect might be more receptive
to European style "social market" reforms, especially if the elections
sweep Democrat candidate Barack Obama into power. As Mr Bush nears the
end of his second term and prepares to hand over the White House in January
next year, any future American financial reforms will fall to his successor.
In light of the Glenn Beck show regarding Biden's comments, what I've been feeling about an Obama win would fit quite well into the further integration of America into the global economy as a step to a new global financial system not run on paper currency, but electronically tracked data based on a unique ID system to label individuals in a global database. Crazy? You bet, and every day it seems a step closer in this climate of fear and uncertainty. My guess is that much of the world will accept this solution as an only way out. Time will tell - keep watching.
Police Arrest Temple Institute Director Israel National News (October 19, 2008) - While waiting in line to visit the Temple Mount early Sunday afternoon, Temple Institute Director Yehuda Glick was suddenly singled out and arrested. A police spokesman said he would look into the incident. Glick was standing together with hundreds of others, many of whom had been denied entry in the first round of Temple Mount visiting hours on Sunday morning and were told to return at 12:30 PM. The Moslem Waqf [Islamic Trust] is very strict about enforcing the Mount's visiting hours for Jews, and closes the gates sharply at 10 AM, opens them again at 12:30 PM, and closes them for the day an hour later.
Around 1 PM, Glick, who stands out in a crowd with his full shock-red beard, was suddenly approached by policemen, who told him they wanted to question him about his acts of "instigation and provocation," and then promptly arrested him and led him to a paddywagon. In court later this afternoon, the police asked the judge to distance him from the Temple Mount area for six months, for having prayed on the Mount.
Finally, Sunday evening, he was brought before a judge, who ordered his immediate release. The judge stated emphatically that Jews' right to pray on the Temple Mount is legally guaranteed by the State of Israel to all Jews.
Earlier Sunday morning, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, hundreds of Jews were permitted by police to ascend to the Temple Mount, Judaism's most sacred site - but only in groups of 20. Many were thus left waiting on line for hours.
Lawyer: This is Harassment
Attorney Baruch Ben-Yosef told Arutz-7, "This is harassment, plain and simple, just because he has successfully brought many new people to the Temple Mount, and because of what happened last Wednesday. It is an outrage."
What occurred last Wednesday was that Glick similarly found himself among hundreds of Jews who were not allowed to enter the Mount. The four policemen on duty at the time were unable to handle the large crowds, and delayed the entry until the hour of 1:30 PM, when they said they could do nothing and that everyone must leave. Glick and others said they refused to leave - until large forces of Yassam riot police arrived and "began pushing," according to one eyewitness.
Richman: Police Know They Were Wrong
Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, who was also present at the time, told Arutz-7, "What is particularly infuriating about this arrest is that the police know that it was their own fault last Wednesday. We coordinated the list of visitors with them in advance, just as they had asked, and yet they still were unable to deal with us."
"A number of weeks ago," Richman explained, "the police told us that if we want to have many holiday visitors, we should give them their names in advance, and that that would speed the process along. So that is what we did! We gave them a list of 500 names - including people with little children and strollers, and people who came from as far away as Haifa - and yet they just turned us down flat and didn't let us in!"
Rabbi Richman said that later that day, "two police officers spoke with Yehuda and myself, and very cordially admitted that they had been at fault, and said that we should have a meeting to straighten everything out - and now they come up and arrest him!"
Jerusalem Police District spokesperson Shmulik Ben-Ruby told Arutz-7 said he was not aware of the incident and would look into the matter. A later call to him was not returned.
Ironically, the police control the visits only of Jews who ascend "in
sanctity," i.e., having taken the halahkic precautions (such as immersion
in a ritual bath) prescribed by those rabbis who permit visiting the Mount.
Those who appear to be ascending as mere "tourists" are permitted
to visit without restriction.
Powerful quake rattles Tonga Breitbart (October 19, 2008) - A powerful earthquake hit near the South Pacific archipelago of Tonga on Sunday, but there was no tsunami alert and no immediate report of injuries, Australian seismologists said. The 6.8-magnitude quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) and hit east of the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa, Geoscience Australia said.
An AFP correspondent said the Tongan capital shook for about two minutes but said she did not see any damage, and no tsunami alert was issued for the island nation. "We've got it at a magnitude 6.8 and very shallow," seismologist Clive Collins told AFP. "There's been some light shaking in Nuku'alofa." The US Geological Survey and the Hong Kong Observatory registered the magnitude at 7.1.
Collins said no tsunami alert has been issued for Australia, but added: "We haven't had any other reports of anything from that quake." He said any tsunami generated by the quake would likely have occurred within about 15 minutes of the quake, which hit at about 0510 GMT.
"It's not that big an earthquake," he said. "But I add
to that it very much depends on local conditions." "It's possible
that there's some small islands that might have experienced something...
but we probably won't know about it for a long time. "If there was
something very large in a large populated area, we probably would have heard
Obama raises stunning $150 million in September Associated Press (October 19, 2008) - Barack Obama raised more than $150 million in September, a stunning and unprecedented eruption of political giving that has given him a wide spending advantage over rival John McCain. The Democrat's campaign released the figure Sunday, one day before it must file a detailed report of its monthly finances with the Federal Election Commission.
Obama's money is fueling a vast campaign operation in an expanding field of competitive states. It also has underwritten a wave of both national and targeted video advertising unseen before in a presidential contest. Campaign manager David Plouffe, in an e-mail to supporters Sunday morning, said the campaign had added 632,000 new donors in September, for a total of 3.1 million contributors to the campaign. He said the average donation was $86.
The Democratic National Committee, moments later, announced that it raised $49.9 million and had $27.5 million in the bank at the start of October. The party has been raising money through joint fundraising events with Obama and can use the money to assist his candidacy.
Obama's numbers are possible because he opted out of the public financing system for the fall campaign. McCain, the Republican nominee, chose to participate in the system, which limits him to $84 million for the September-October stretch before the election. Obama initially had promised to accept public financing if McCain did, but changed his mind after setting primary fundraising records. His extraordinary fundraising is bound to set a new standard in politics that could doom the taxpayer-paid system. Many Republicans have begun to second-guess McCain's decision to participate in the program.
McCain, reacting to Obama's announcement, raised the potential for fundraising abuses. He said Obama is "completely breaking whatever idea we had after Watergate to keep the costs and spending on campaigns under control. ... That has unleashed now in presidential campaigns a new flood of spending that will then cause a scandal, and then we will fix it again" While McCain said he was not suggesting the Obama campaign had done anything illegal or improper, he said "history shows us where unlimited amounts of money are in political campaigns, it leads to scandal."
Obama's monthly figure pushed his total fundraising to $605 million. No presidential candidate has ever run such an expensive campaign. His campaign raised $65 million in August, his previous best. "The overall numbers obviously are impressive," Plouffe said in a campaign video. "But it's what's beneath the numbers in terms of average Americans who have had enough, who want a change and who are really fueling this campaign." With his money, and a favorable political wind at his back, Obama has secured his foothold in states that have voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the past. But he has also been able to expand the contest to reliably Republican states, forcing McCain and the Republican Party to spend their money defensively.
Plouffe pointed out that the campaign is now spending resources in West Virginia. Obama running mate Joe Biden was scheduled to campaign in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday and the campaign has secured television advertising in the state for the next two weeks, according to ad data obtained by The Associated Press. Plouffe hinted at further expansion, noting that public opinion polls show the race tightening in Georgia and North Dakota.
As much as Obama raised, he needed a big fundraising month to justify
his decision to bypass the public finance system. Financially, he has been
competing not only against McCain, but against the GOP, which raised $66
million in September. The combined Obama and DNC totals for September now
give the Democrats a distinct financial advantage going into Election Day,
just 16 days away. McCain spoke on "Fox News Sunday."
New Home Construction at Lowest Level Since World War II Fox News (October 18, 2008) - The nation is on track to build fewer homes this year than at any time since the end of World War II, adding to the woes of an economy that analysts said Friday has almost certainly entered a recession.
While the economic outlook darkened even further with bad reports on layoffs and consumer confidence, it was one of the quietest days since the financial meltdown began a month ago. Wall Street's tumultuous week turned out to be its best in five years. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 127 points Friday but turned in the strong week because of two huge days of gains — a record 936-point jump on Monday and an increase of 401 points Thursday.
Friday was still marked by the huge swings that have become typical lately. At various points the Dow was up nearly 300 points and down nearly 250, and it finished with a triple-digit move for the 22nd time in 25 trading sessions.
A monthly survey by the National Association of Home Builders showed sentiment among home builders hit a record low in early October. David Seiders, chief economist for the group, said builders are being hit by a double whammy from the financial turmoil: It's harder for them to get loans to pursue new houses, and more difficult to sell those they do build. He forecast that builders will keep slashing production in coming months, with construction starts for new homes and apartments totaling just 936,000 this year, the lowest level since 1945. "The builders are telling us that the financial crisis is really hurting because people justifiably have no idea where things are going," Seiders said.
Before the markets opened, President Bush went to the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to say that the $700 billion financial rescue package was "big enough and bold enough to work." But he cautioned that it would take time to unlock credit markets.
Adam Levitin, an associate professor at Georgetown University Law School, said that even with the government's injection of billions into the banks, the high debt loads carried by consumers and shortage of creditworthy borrowers could continue to chill lending. "Who's going to lend to GM right now?" Levitin said at a conference organized by the American Bar Association. He also asked what banks would lend money to homeowners with troubled mortgages.
Analysts said new data released Friday showed it's probably too late for the economy to avoid a recession. Many of them said they now had recessions in their forecasts, believing that the overall economy, as measured by total domestic production, probably shrank in the July-to-September quarter, dragged lower in part by the continued plunge in housing. "I don't think there is any ambiguity with respect to whether we are in a recession," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "I think it actually started at the end of last year, and because of the financial panic we are going through now, it is likely to last another year."
Other economists said they were looking for at least three consecutive quarters of contraction, reflecting in part the fact that consumers, who account for two-thirds of total economic activity, are showing the strains of the biggest upheaval in the financial sector in 70 years.
A new University of Michigan/Reuters survey showed consumer confidence plunged in early October to its second-lowest level in the past 28 years. "Concerns about falling employment, incomes and wealth have overshadowed relief from lower energy prices," said Sara Johnson, an economist at Global Insight, a Lexington, Mass., forecasting firm.
The Commerce Department said Friday that construction of new homes and apartments dropped by a bigger-than-expected 6.3 percent in September to an annual rate of 817,000 units, the second weakest performance in government statistics dating back to 1959. The only weaker monthly showing occurred in January 1991, when the U.S. was in a recession and going through a similar painful housing correction.
In a bleak sign of future construction, applications for new building permits fell a sharp 8.2 percent to an annual rate of 786,000 units, the weakest level in more than 25 years. The government also sharply revised lower its construction data for July and August. That was after dismal news earlier this week that retail sales fell by 1.2 percent in September.
Influential billionaire investor Warren Buffett said in opinion piece in The New York Times that he sees opportunity in the Wall Street chaos. He's been moving his personal investments from safe Treasuries into U.S. stocks. "To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions," Buffett wrote. "But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation's many sound companies make no sense." The market eventually will turn around. "So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over," he said.
On the housing front, while the sharp cutbacks in production will help reduce huge inventories of unsold homes, the problem is that rising levels of foreclosures are dumping more homes on the already glutted market. Zandi said he believed that home prices, which have already fallen by 20 percent, will fall by another 10 percent and will not stabilize until the middle of next year.
Kim Shelpman, the chief executive of Holiday Builders, which operates in Texas, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina, said that her company was competing against a rising tide of foreclosures, but that she believed the excess inventory of homes was being "eaten up at a much quicker pace."
Jesse Barrington, a sale consultant with Sotherby Homes, said the sales slowdown nationwide had been less pronounced in the upscale suburbs of north of Dallas where about 20 homes in a new subdivision had recently sold. "In a normal economy, this is a good year. In this economy, it's phenomenal," he said. In the South, sales managed a small 0.5 percent gain in September. They rose by 5.6 percent in the Midwest, where a boost in apartment building offset a slide in single-family homes to a record low.
The weakness last month was led by a 21 percent drop in the Northeast, where construction of single-family units fell to the lowest level on record, and the West, where building slipped by almost 17 percent with single-family construction also hitting a record-low in that region.
On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced it would inject up to $250
billion in U.S. banks in return for partial ownership stakes, in a program
similar to one launched in 1932 by President Herbert Hoover. The government
hopes banks will use the capital infusions to rebuild their reserves and
bolster lending to customers.
Ireland to work with EU lawyers on Lisbon opt-outs EU Observer (October 17, 2008) - Irish Taoisach Brian Cowen said his government is consulting with EU council legal services on drafting possible "opt-outs" to the Lisbon treaty, speaking after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday (17 October). "We are prepared to go into that process in good faith," he said, the Irish Times reports, with the structure of the European Commission, EU military integration, taxation and civil rights the likely areas of concern.
The Irish leader also underlined his personal support for the Lisbon document and used Iceland's financial meltdown to show the benefits of EU and eurozone membership. "There is a huge body of opinion - not shared by the Irish people as things stand - that sees the need for stronger institutions, for better decision-making processes, for more effective decision-making to make sure we can deal with challenges that transcend national boundaries," Mr Cowen said. "I wouldn't like to think what the situation would be if we ended up like them [Iceland] with our own currency," he added. "The access to the resources of the ECB [European Central Bank] far outweighs the resources of the Irish central bank or Iceland's central bank."
Ireland rejected the Lisbon treaty in a referendum in June, causing a headache for the country's pro-European Fianna Fail government, with 22 other EU states having already completed ratification. The Irish leader on the first day of the EU summit pledged to come up with a road map for getting out of the situation in time for the EU summit in December. But any future solution is unlikely to be in place in time for the June 2009 European elections, in a situation that will see 12 EU states lose 15 MEPs between them in order to comply with exisiting Nice treaty rules.
A debate in Ireland's upper house - the Seanad - on Thursday saw senator
Eugene Regan, a lawyer and a member of the equally pro-European Fine Gael
opposition party, suggest the EU runs the elections on Lisbon rules anyway. "I
don't believe any constitutional issue arises here. I do think it is a problem
that we have created," he said.
Russian envoy: Tehran-Moscow ties in an unprecedented stage
Islamic Republic News Agency
(October 16, 2008) - Russian Ambassador to Tehran Alexander Sadonikov
said here Wednesday that Iran-Russia relations are now in an unprecedented
stage and mutual cooperation in the oil and gas sectors will get a boost
in the near future. "Now, there are good and growing cooperation between
the two countries in different economic and industrial sectors, an instance
of which being Bushehr atomic power plant," Sadonikov told IRNA on
the sidelines of his tour of the Teachers Training Center of Iran's technical
and Vocational Organization. He said Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan have launched
good cooperation in transportation sector, especially in the Caspian Sea,
which will also be in favor of Europe and the region. He lauded Iran's progress
in setting up such a big and developed center for technical and vocational
Swords and Shields: Russia shields Syria Space War (October 16, 2008) - Until Russia can revitalize its naval forces to a much larger degree, its deployments to the Mediterranean contribute more to symbolic and diplomatic activity than being a viable military counterweight to NATO in the region. Yet the Black Sea Fleet in the Med is a significant show of force and a diplomatic irritant and a potential threat to shipping in the Suez Canal and to America's ally Israel. The increased Russian naval presence in the region means that the Kremlin is seeking to cultivate Syria as a close regional ally, and is looking to secure additional bases for the Black Sea Fleet besides its current base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.
In addition, Russia would also be able to deploy electronic intelligence-gathering ships that could then improve its monitoring capabilities against NATO forces and Syria's ability to monitor NATO and Israeli transmissions, expanding the previous naval intelligence engagement during the Balkan wars. Finally, Russian naval forces could deter or disrupt Israeli naval or air assets deployed in wartime against Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Syria is pursuing new arms deals with Russia, including the purchase of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 M2, MiG-31, the latest Sukhoi Su-30 version -- Flanker, Tor-M1 air defense systems, AT-14 antitank missiles, upgrades for Syria's aging T-62, T-72 and T-80 Main Battle Tanks, SA-5 Gammon anti-aircraft missile systems, and upgrading Syria's existing S-125 Air Defense systems to the Pechora-2A.
Iran is also involved in supporting Damascus. In 2007 alone Iran reportedly financed Syrian purchases of Russian arms to the tune of $1 billion. Iran and Syria, which have had a mutual defense treaty since 2004, train and equip Hezbollah, the biggest terrorist organization in the Middle East. Russia is cultivating both states as allies and as customers for Russian arms. What is particularly disturbing is that the Russian layered air defenses, both short-range TOR and long-range S-300 anti-aircraft systems, are capable of providing the defensive envelope to the mysterious Syrian nuclear research activities, as well as to the significant chemical weapons arsenal deliverable by Damascus' short-range ballistic missiles, such as Syrian-produced SCUD-C and SCUD-D and, potentially, Russian-made Iskander-E -- NATO designation SS-X-26.
Damascus has also acquired Pantsir-C1 air defense systems, which represent the current state of the art in Russian military air defense technology, but no deal has yet been reached. According to sources in Moscow, Russia is likely to equip Syria's Tartus naval base with S-300PMU-2 Favorit ballistic missiles and a radar system more sophisticated than Syria's current capabilities.
During the Cold War era, the Soviet Union boasted a global naval power
projection capability with yearly naval maneuvers in the Caribbean and the
North Fleet naval brigade in Conakry, Guinea, and Luanda, Angola. The 8th
Operational Squadron of the Pacific Fleet had supply bases in Aden and Socotra
in Yemen and Dahlak in Eritrea, and in Berbera in Somalia. After the five-day
Aug. 8-Aug. 12 war in the former Soviet republic of Georgia in the Caucasus,
the Russian Black Sea Fleet is planning to deploy in Abkhazia, at the ports
of Ochamchira and Sukhumi. For Moscow today, Tartus is only the first step
in the long road to a renewed global naval presence.
Corsi releases statement blocked by Kenya WorldNet Daily (October 17, 2008) - For the past week, I have been in Nairobi, Kenya, investigating the ties between Sen. Barack Obama and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, as first presented in my New York Times No. 1 best-selling book, "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality." Chapter 4 of my book was devoted to Kenya. As a result of the investigative journalism I have done in Kenya this past week, I can now verify the following:
Until the U.S. presidential election in November, I will be substantiating
these charges on WorldNetDaily, where I am a senior staff investigative
reporter. I also plan to be actively on radio and television in the United
States to explain the results of my research in Kenya and the articles I
plan to write on WorldNetDaily.
6.5 earthquake sparks panic in southern Mexico
16, 2008) - A 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico's Chiapas state
Thursday, sparking panic in the town of Tapachula, near the Mexico-Guatemala
border, local civil protection officials and US scientists said. Mexican
officials, who estimated the strength of the temblor at 6.2 using the Richter
scale, said there were no immediate reports of damage. The US Geological
Service (USGS) measured the quake at 6.5, using the more reliable Moment
Magnitude scale. The earthquake struck at a depth of 75.2 kilometers (46.7
miles), 40 kilometers (25 miles) south-southwest of Tapachula, the USGS
Gordon Brown expects news on global regulation plans in the 'next few days' Citywire (October 15, 2008) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he expects progress towards a cocoordinated approach to cross order regulation of the financial markets in 'the next few days.' Taking time out from his meeting with EU leaders in Brussels, he told journalists that leaders needed to work together to create a new ‘financial vision’ to ensure that the current crisis in financial markets does is not repeated.
He said it was time to move to stage two of the recovery process and establish appropriate regulation and an early warning process to ‘root out irresponsibilities and excesses’. ‘We need supervision and regulation where it has been lacking and where it is necessary, and international co-operation. We need an early warning system and proper co-ordination,’ he said.
José Manuel Barroso paid tribute to Brown’s role in driving forward the EU response to the financial crisis and said he agreed it was time to take action ‘to the next level’. The two leaders will attend the EU Council in Brussels over the next two days. Gordon Brown said that US president George Bush shared his sense of urgency. He said that although the new US president elected at the end of November will have to sign up to any eventual plan, he said there is no need to wait.
On Monday, Gordon Brown said the world needs an effective global early
warning system to alert people across continents to economic and financial
risks. He also called for globally accepted standards of supervision that
apply equally in all countries, stronger arrangements for cross-border supervision
of global firms, and much stronger institutions for co-operation and concerted
action in a crisis. Brown is understood to have recommended the creation
of a series of colleges of supervisors to oversee cross-border financial
The O Jesse Knows New York Post (October 14, 2008) - PREPARE for a new America: That's the message that the Rev. Jesse Jackson conveyed to participants in the first World Policy Forum, held at this French lakeside resort last week. He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy - saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."
The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end. Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.
"Obama is about change," Jackson told me in a wide-ranging conversation. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it." Jackson warns that he isn't an Obama confidant or adviser, "just a supporter." But he adds that Obama has been "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Jackson's son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and Jackson's daughter went to school with Obama's wife Michelle.
"We helped him start his career," says Jackson. "And then we were always there to help him move ahead. He is the continuation of our struggle for justice not only for the black people but also for all those who have been wronged."
Will Obama's election close the chapter of black grievances linked to memories of slavery? The reverend takes a deep breath and waits a long time before responding. "No, that chapter won't be closed," he says. "However, Obama's victory will be a huge step in the direction we have wanted America to take for decades." Jackson rejects any suggestion that Obama was influenced by Marxist ideas in his youth. "I see no evidence of that," he says. "Obama's thirst for justice and equality is rooted in his black culture."
But is Obama - who's not a descendant of slaves - truly a typical American black? Jackson emphatically answers yes: "You don't need to be a descendant of slaves to experience the oppression, the suffocating injustice and the ugly racism that exists in our society," he says. "Obama experienced the same environment as all American blacks did. It was nonsense to suggest that he was somehow not black enough to feel the pain."
Is Jackson worried about the "Bradley effect" - that people may be telling pollsters they favor the black candidate, but won't end up voting for him? "I don't think this is how things will turn out," he says. "We have a collapsing economy and a war that we have lost in Iraq. In Afghanistan, we face a resurgent Taliban. New threats are looming in Pakistan. Our liberties have been trampled under feet . . . Today, most Americans want change, and know that only Barack can deliver what they want. Young Americans are especially determined to make sure that Obama wins."
He sees a broad public loss of confidence in the nation's institutions: "We have lost confidence in our president, our Congress, our banking system, our Wall Street and our legal system to protect our individual freedoms. . . I don't see how we could regain confidence in all those institutions without a radical change of direction."
Jackson declines to be more concrete about possible policy changes. After all, he insists, he isn't part of Obama's policy team. Yet he clearly hopes that his views, reflecting the position of many Democrats, would be reflected in the policies of an Obama administration. On the economic front, he hopes for "major changes in our trading policy."
"We cannot continue with the open-door policy," he says. "We need to protect our manufacturing industry against unfair competition that destroys American jobs and creates ill-paid jobs abroad." Would that mean an abrogation of the NAFTA treaty with Canada and Mexico? Jackson dismisses the question as "premature": "We could do a great deal without such dramatic action."
His most surprising position concerns Iraq. He passionately denounces the toppling of Saddam Hussein as "an illegal and unjust act." But he's now sure that the United States "will have to remain in Iraq for a very long time." What of Obama's promise to withdraw by 2010? Jackson believes that position will have to evolve, reflecting "realities on the ground." "We should work with our allies in Iraq to consolidate democratic institutions there," he says. "We must help the people of Iraq decide and shape their future in accordance with their own culture and faith."
On Iran, he strongly supports Obama's idea of opening a direct dialogue with the leadership in Tehran. "We've got to talk to tell them what we want and hear what they want," Jackson says. "Nothing is gained by not talking to others." Would that mean ignoring the four UN Security Council resolutions that demand an end to Iran's uranium-enrichment program? Jackson says direct talks wouldn't start without preparations. "Barack wants an aggressive and dynamic diplomacy," he says. "He also wants adequate preparatory work. We must enter the talks after the ground has been prepared," he says.
Jackson is especially critical of President Bush's approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict. "Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss," Jackson says. "Barack will change that," because, as long as the Palestinians haven't seen justice, the Middle East will "remain a source of danger to us all."
"Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of
Islam and Muslims," Jackson says. "Thanks to his background and
ecumenical approach, he knows how Muslims feel while remaining committed
to his own faith."
Obama's Abortion Extremism The Witherspoon Institute (October 14, 2008) - Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.
Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.
Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals - who aggressively promote Obama's candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view. What is going on here?
I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama's self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama's abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as "pro-abortion" rather than "pro-choice."
According to the standard argument for the distinction between these labels, nobody is pro-abortion. Everybody would prefer a world without abortions. After all, what woman would deliberately get pregnant just to have an abortion? But given the world as it is, sometimes women find themselves with unplanned pregnancies at times in their lives when having a baby would present significant problems for them. So even if abortion is not medically required, it should be permitted, made as widely available as possible and, when necessary, paid for with taxpayers' money.
The defect in this argument can easily be brought into focus if we shift to the moral question that vexed an earlier generation of Americans: slavery. Many people at the time of the American founding would have preferred a world without slavery but nonetheless opposed abolition. Such people - Thomas Jefferson was one - reasoned that, given the world as it was, with slavery woven into the fabric of society just as it had often been throughout history, the economic consequences of abolition for society as a whole and for owners of plantations and other businesses that relied on slave labor would be dire. Many people who argued in this way were not monsters but honest and sincere, albeit profoundly mistaken. Some (though not Jefferson) showed their personal opposition to slavery by declining to own slaves themselves or freeing slaves whom they had purchased or inherited. They certainly didn't think anyone should be forced to own slaves. Still, they maintained that slavery should remain a legally permitted option and be given constitutional protection.
Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but as "pro-choice"? Of course we would not. It wouldn't matter to us that they were "personally opposed" to slavery, or that they wished that slavery were "unnecessary," or that they wouldn't dream of forcing anyone to own slaves. We would hoot at the faux sophistication of a placard that said "Against slavery? Don't own one." We would observe that the fundamental divide is between people who believe that law and public power should permit slavery, and those who think that owning slaves is an unjust choice that should be prohibited.
Just for the sake of argument, though, let us assume that there could be a morally meaningful distinction between being "pro-abortion" and being "pro-choice." Who would qualify for the latter description? Barack Obama certainly would not. For, unlike his running mate Joe Biden, Obama does not think that abortion is a purely private choice that public authority should refrain from getting involved in. Now, Senator Biden is hardly pro-life. He believes that the killing of the unborn should be legally permitted and relatively unencumbered. But unlike Obama, at least Biden has sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it. If we stretch things to create a meaningful category called "pro-choice," then Biden might be a plausible candidate for the label; at least on occasions when he respects your choice or mine not to facilitate deliberate feticide.
The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, "forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead." In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.
But this barely scratches the surface of Obama's extremism. He has promised that "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act" (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed "fundamental right" to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, "a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons." In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."
It gets worse. Obama, unlike even many "pro-choice" legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a "punishment" that she should not endure. He has stated that women's equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing "pro-choice" about that.
But it gets even worse. Senator Obama, despite the urging of pro-life members of his own party, has not endorsed or offered support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, the signature bill of Democrats for Life, meant to reduce abortions by providing assistance for women facing crisis pregnancies. In fact, Obama has opposed key provisions of the Act, including providing coverage of unborn children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and informed consent for women about the effects of abortion and the gestational age of their child. This legislation would not make a single abortion illegal. It simply seeks to make it easier for pregnant women to make the choice not to abort their babies. Here is a concrete test of whether Obama is "pro-choice" rather than pro-abortion. He flunked. Even Senator Edward Kennedy voted to include coverage of unborn children in S-CHIP. But Barack Obama stood resolutely with the most stalwart abortion advocates in opposing it.
It gets worse yet. In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.
You may be thinking, it can't get worse than that. But it does.
For several years, Americans have been debating the use for biomedical research of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (originally for reproductive purposes) but now left in a frozen condition in cryopreservation units. President Bush has restricted the use of federal funds for stem-cell research of the type that makes use of these embryos and destroys them in the process. I support the President's restriction, but some legislators with excellent pro-life records, including John McCain, argue that the use of federal money should be permitted where the embryos are going to be discarded or die anyway as the result of the parents' decision. Senator Obama, too, wants to lift the restriction.
But Obama would not stop there. He has co-sponsored a bill-strongly opposed by McCain-that would authorize the large-scale industrial production of human embryos for use in biomedical research in which they would be killed. In fact, the bill Obama co-sponsored would effectively require the killing of human beings in the embryonic stage that were produced by cloning. It would make it a federal crime for a woman to save an embryo by agreeing to have the tiny developing human being implanted in her womb so that he or she could be brought to term. This "clone and kill" bill would, if enacted, bring something to America that has heretofore existed only in China-the equivalent of legally mandated abortion. In an audacious act of deceit, Obama and his co-sponsors misleadingly call this an anti-cloning bill. But it is nothing of the kind. What it bans is not cloning, but allowing the embryonic children produced by cloning to survive.
Can it get still worse? Yes.
Decent people of every persuasion hold out the increasingly realistic hope of resolving the moral issue surrounding embryonic stem-cell research by developing methods to produce the exact equivalent of embryonic stem cells without using (or producing) embryos. But when a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to put a modest amount of federal money into research to develop these methods, Barack Obama was one of the few senators who opposed it. From any rational vantage point, this is unconscionable. Why would someone not wish to find a method of producing the pluripotent cells scientists want that all Americans could enthusiastically endorse? Why create and kill human embryos when there are alternatives that do not require the taking of nascent human lives? It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.
This ultimate manifestation of Obama's extremism brings us back to the puzzle of his pro-life Catholic and Evangelical apologists.
They typically do not deny the facts I have reported. They could not; each one is a matter of public record. But despite Obama's injustices against the most vulnerable human beings, and despite the extraordinary support he receives from the industry that profits from killing the unborn (which should be a good indicator of where he stands), some Obama supporters insist that he is the better candidate from the pro-life point of view.
They say that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually go down-despite the federal subsidizing of abortion and the elimination of hundreds of pro-life laws. The way to save lots of unborn babies, they say, is to vote for the pro-abortion-oops! "pro-choice"-candidate. They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn.
This is delusional.
We know that the federal and state pro-life laws and policies that Obama has promised to sweep away (and that John McCain would protect) save thousands of lives every year. Studies conducted by Professor Michael New and other social scientists have removed any doubt. Often enough, the abortion lobby itself confirms the truth of what these scholars have determined. Tom McClusky has observed that Planned Parenthood's own statistics show that in each of the seven states that have FOCA-type legislation on the books, "abortion rates have increased while the national rate has decreased." In Maryland, where a bill similar to the one favored by Obama was enacted in 1991, he notes that "abortion rates have increased by 8 percent while the overall national abortion rate decreased by 9 percent." No one is really surprised. After all, the message clearly conveyed by policies such as those Obama favors is that abortion is a legitimate solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies - so clearly legitimate that taxpayers should be forced to pay for it.
But for a moment let's suppose, against all the evidence, that Obama's proposals would reduce the number of abortions, even while subsidizing the killing with taxpayer dollars. Even so, many more unborn human beings would likely be killed under Obama than under McCain. A Congress controlled by strong Democratic majorities under Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would enact the bill authorizing the mass industrial production of human embryos by cloning for research in which they are killed. As president, Obama would sign it. The number of tiny humans created and killed under this legislation (assuming that an efficient human cloning technique is soon perfected) could dwarf the number of lives saved as a result of the reduced demand for abortion-even if we take a delusionally optimistic view of what that number would be.
Barack Obama and John McCain differ on many important issues about which reasonable people of goodwill, including pro-life Americans of every faith, disagree: how best to fight international terrorism, how to restore economic growth and prosperity, how to distribute the tax burden and reduce poverty, etc.
But on abortion and the industrial creation of embryos for destructive research, there is a profound difference of moral principle, not just prudence. These questions reveal the character and judgment of each man. Barack Obama is deeply committed to the belief that members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect. Across the spectrum of pro-life concerns for the unborn, he would deny these small and vulnerable members of the human family the basic protection of the laws. Over the next four to eight years, as many as five or even six U.S. Supreme Court justices could retire. Obama enthusiastically supports Roe v. Wade and would appoint judges who would protect that morally and constitutionally disastrous decision and even expand its scope. Indeed, in an interview in Glamour magazine, he made it clear that he would apply a litmus test for Supreme Court nominations: jurists who do not support Roe will not be considered for appointment by Obama. John McCain, by contrast, opposes Roe and would appoint judges likely to overturn it. This would not make abortion illegal, but it would return the issue to the forums of democratic deliberation, where pro-life Americans could engage in a fair debate to persuade fellow citizens that killing the unborn is no way to address the problems of pregnant women in need.
What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama's America is one in which being human just isn't enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama's America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: "that question is above my pay grade." It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator's pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy - and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.
In the end, the efforts of Obama's apologists to depict their man as
the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even
should vote for, doesn't even amount to a nice try. Voting for the most
extreme pro-abortion political candidate in American history is not the
way to save unborn babies.
Statistical dead heat Boston Herald (October 14, 2008) - Zogby International called the presidential race a “statistical dead heat,” yesterday citing a slip in the polls by Democrat Barack Obama, though major polls continued to show more significant leads over Republican John McCain. Zogby recorded 47.9 percent support for Obama among likely voters, and 43.6 percent for McCain, a 4.3-point spread.
“In this latest report, McCain gained eight-tenths of a point, while Obama lost one full point,” Zogby reported. “While the worldwide economic system underwent dramatic turmoil last week, the poll shows the presidential race remarkably unchanged overall at the end of the first full week of daily tracking. Through the week, Obama has always held a small lead, as large as 6.1 points (on Saturday) and as little as 1.9 points (last Wednesday).”
Meanwhile, Gallup polling, which has given double-digit leads among all
registered voters for the past week, tightened into single digits over the
weekend. Sunday, for the first time in a week, Gallup recorded a 7-point
lead, with 50 percent of registered voters preferring Obama to 43 percent
for McCain. Polling of likely voters has been even tighter, with Obama’s
lead shrinking to 4 points. Obama’s lead in the latest Gallup three-day
average among registered voters remained in double digits at 10 points,
while his lead among likely voters was 7 points.
Jalili's letter to Solana circulated as UN Security Council document Tehran Times (October 12, 2008) - Iran's letter to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and foreign ministers of the 5+1 group has been circulated as the UN Security Council's document.
Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili forwarded a letter to Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy/ Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and Representative of the six countries on Tuesday, complaining that the Group is looking at nuclear talks with Iran as merely a tactical tool.
""In view of the Geneva Talks and the emphasis of both sides on presenting a clear response to each other, the Islamic Republic of Iran in its letter of 5 August 2008 expressed its readiness to offer transparent response vis-à-vis reciting clear replies to its questions,"" Jalili said in his letter to Solana.
It is interesting for the international community to see that in the course of talks when a rational question is raised, the other party to the talks resorts to levers of pressure instead of offering answers to questions and trying to remove ambiguities, Jalili said, adding that in the judgment of the world community, this unreasonable behavior is an indication of the lack of a clear response to the principled questions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The absence of civilized tradition of ""dialogue""
among certain powers that prefer to use levers of pressure instead of reasoning
is not a matter that is unknown to the world community, he said.
America bad, Europe good is what I see here from Iran.
EU flag and anthem revived by MEPs Telegraph UK (October 12, 2008) - The flag, a politically correct motto and Beethoven's Ode to Joy will all be used more by the European Parliament as it tries to help citizens identify more easily with the EU.
But Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and an MEP himself, has accused his parliamentary colleagues of "trying to ram them down our throats". MEPs said: "Symbols are vital elements of any communication process." The politicians stated they "convey an emotional image of the underlying values of the organisations they represent."
With this in mind, they have decided to make more use of the flag and the motto "United in Diversity." It is to be printed on all material emanating from the European Parliament. More controversially, the finale from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy, is also to be played more at official occasions. It has unfortunate associations, having been used previously to celebrate Adolf Hitler's birthday and as the anthem of a socially divided Rhodesia under Ian Smith. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had said that eliminating the use of symbols was a key difference between the EU constitution, which was rejected in French and Dutch referenda in 2005, and the Lisbon Treaty which followed.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has also welcomed their reduced
importance, telling the House of Commons last July: "It is good that
the symbols, flags and anthems, which distracted attention from the discussion
of the European constitutional treaty, are done away with so that we can
focus on what will make the EU useful to this country - jobs, climate and
energy, the issues that matter to ordinary people." Mr Farage told
The Times: "We were told that the symbols would disappear .. now they
are trying to ram them down our throats."
More than 60,000 affected in Tibet quake Xinhuanet (October 11, 2008) - An earthquake followed by some 1,000 aftershocks has affected more than 60,000 people in the Tibet Autonomous Region this week, the local government said in a news conference Saturday.
Since Monday's 6.6-magnitude quake struck Damxung County in Lhasa, more than 1,000 aftershocks have been monitored, including one that measured 5.4 on the Richter scale, said Gong Puguang, vice president of the regional government. 61,231 people in the region's capital have been affected and 989 houses collapsed, said Gong. More than 4,800 people have been relocated out of the quake zone.
The quake-hit areas include Lhasa, Xigaze and Shannan regions, where
28 km of road and 11 bridges were damaged. So far, ten people have been
confirmed dead. 54 others sustained injuries, one third of those injuries
are serious. The central government allocated 10 million yuan (1.46 million
U.S. dollars), 11,000 tents, quilts, and other quake relief materials to
the affected area. The items were being distributed as traffic and telecommunication
resumed in the area. The local government is evaluating economic losses
from the disaster. Seismologists predict more aftershocks will hit the county
but the force is unlikely to exceed 5.5 on the Richter scale.
From Syrian fishing port to naval power base: Russia moves into the Mediterranean Guardian UK (October 8, 2008) - Military foothold part of closer ties with Damascus. Move could deter Israel from attacks on Syria. During balmy evenings in the sleepy Syrian port of Tartous locals promenade along the seafront or suck on hookahs discussing the two great pillars of their society: business and family.
Politics, such as it is in the tightly controlled one-party state, rarely gets a mention, and certainly not in public. But few could fail to wonder about the foreign sailors dockside and the grey warship dominating a harbour that was once a trading hub of the Phoenician empire and is now the centre of a new projection of power, this time by Syria's old ally Russia.
Tartous is being dredged and renovated to provide a permanent facility for the Russian navy, giving Moscow a key military foothold in the Mediterranean at a time when Russia's invasion of Georgia has led to fears of a new cold war.
The bolstering of military ties between Russia and Syria has also worried Israel, whose prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was in Moscow yesterday seeking to persuade the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, to stop Russian arms sales to Syria and Iran. Mr Olmert later said he had received assurances that Russia would not allow Israel's security to be threatened, but offered no indication he won any concrete promises on Russian arms sales.
Igor Belyaev, Russia's charge d'affaires in Damascus, recently told reporters that his country would increase its presence in the Mediterranean and that "Russian vessels will be visiting Syria and other friendly ports more frequently".
That announcement followed a meeting between Medvedev and the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, at the Black sea port of Sochi in the immediate aftermath of Russia's victory over Georgian forces and its recognition of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia - actions Assad supported.
Now, with Ukraine threatening to expel Russia's Black sea fleet from its base in Sebastopol, the only route for the Russian navy into the Mediterranean, military cooperation between Moscow and Damascus appears to have taken on a new zeal.
"Israel and the US supported Georgia against Russia, and Syria thus saw a chance to capitalise on Russian anger by advancing its long-standing relations with Moscow," said Taha Abdel Wahed, a Syrian expert on Russian affairs. "Syria has a very important geographical position for the Russians. Relations between Damascus and Moscow may not yet be strategic, but they are advancing rapidly."
Tartous was once a re-supplying point for the Soviet navy at a time when Moscow sold Syria billions of dollars worth of arms. "Tartous is of great geopolitical significance considering that it is the only such Russian facility abroad," a former Russian navy deputy commander, Igor Kasatonov, said, following a meeting on September 12 in Moscow between the naval leaders from Russia and Syria.
Syrian-Russian relations cooled after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But they have taken on a new dynamic since Assad succeeded his father in 2000. After a state visit to Russia in 2005, he persuaded Moscow to wipe three-quarters off a £7.6bn debt Syria owed, mainly from arms sales.
Since then the two countries have been in talks about upgrading Syria's missile defences with Russia's advanced Strelets system, provoking condemnation from Israel, whose fighter jets in September 2007 flew unchallenged into north-east Syria to bomb a suspected nuclear site.
Last month Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Moscow would consider selling Damascus new weapons that "have a defensive character and that do not in any way interfere with the strategic balance in the region". Though no defence pact has been signed between the two, as it has between Syria and Iran, observers suggest the very presence of Russian warships in Tartous would bolster Damascus's military standing in the region. "Israel would think twice about attacking Syria again with Russian ships stationed in Tartous," said Abdel Wahed, an analyst.
A senior Israeli colonel has also accused Russia of passing intelligence about Israel to Syria and indirectly to Hizbullah. Describing electronic eavesdropping stations on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights believed to be operated by Russian technicians, Ram Dor, information security chief for the armed forces, told an Israeli newspaper: "My assessment is that their facilities cover most of the state of Israel's territory. The Syrians share the intelligence that they gather with Hizbullah, and the other way around."
During the 2006 July war Hizbullah fighters used advanced Russian tank-buster
missiles to cripple at least 40 of Israel's Merkava tanks, a key tipping
point in a war that Israel later admitted it lost. The Russian embassy in
Damascus could not be reached for comment.
Glenn Beck: What happened?? Glenn BeckGlenn Beck (October 7, 2008) - Yes, another email letter from your crazy brother. You raised a lot of questions in your last email and I am going to try to answer all of them. I think all of your questions fall into three areas: (1) how did we get here; (2) what's coming; and (3) what can I do to prepare myself and my family.
Consider this email as my answer to your first question, "how did we get here?". I'll be sending you 2 more emails answering your other two questions. Since there's a lot of misinformation out there I will document each of the facts in my emails so you know where I pulled the information from and where you can go to read and learn more.
What you shouldn't do is panic. We'll get through this--don't pull all of your money out of the bank but have enough cash on-hand to meet any possible emergencies.
First, you've got to get the stock market's ups-and-downs out of your mind. The recent drops and upticks are short-term. Our economic problems are much bigger and deeper. Too many people believe that if the stock market goes up our problems are behind us and that's simply not true.
Last week the market had big drops and big upswings. In the end, the market ended down more than 800 points and lots of 'experts' were shouting it was a time to buy. I don't see it that way.
Did you know that just two days after the stock market crashed in October 1929 the market actually gained ground the next two days? The New York Times reported that "the market quickly regained its poise and stability...." Today, Wall Street 'pros' are telling us it's a good time to invest because Warren Buffet is investing. A lot of people were probably using the same argument when the Rockefeller family was buying stocks right after the 1929 crash, what they didn't know was that it would take Wall Street ten more years to see those prices again.
Our current economic crisis was caused by politicians, both Democrats
and Republicans, who perverted the American Dream by treating home ownership
as an undeniable right rather than what it really is, a privilege. President
promoted the benefits of home ownership through various policy positions,
reckless zero down-payment initiative for some homebuyers and
praised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even after concerns about their accounting
standards began to surface.
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
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