This Week in the News

The war between Israel and Iran, including their proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, is far from over. With upcoming Israeli elections on February 10, we can expect another volatile and violent week. Concerns regarding President Obama’s politics in the Middle East are growing in Israel–which begins to feel betrayed by the USA and sees itself all alone in its fight against Iran. The call for European troops in the Middle East is becoming louder!

Germany’s Angela Merkel is adopting a wait-and-see attitude, refusing to join the crowd of pro-Obama enthusiasts. One country which not too many had anticipated–the violent nation of Mexico–seems to become a real security risk to the world and therefore a challenge to Mr. Obama.

President Obama’s $900 billion stimulus package is facing strong resistance in the Senate, but hope is expressed that a compromised version will be adopted before Presidents’ Day (February 16). President Obama has expressed his feeling that if the stimulus package is not adopted, this country will be facing a “catastrophe, from which we may never recover.”

But does it even have a chance of “working”? Der Spiegel Online expressed serious doubts this week, stating: “The United States is experiencing its worst crisis in decades. Obama is trying to fight it by preparing one gigantic economic stimulus program after the other. But the hangover is inevitable, and if the desired economic miracle doesn’t materialize, it will be a massive one.”

Some controversial U.S. laws were enacted this week, including a bill for a kids’ health care program (which had been vetoed twice before by President Bush), “despite the embarrassing withdrawal of [President Obama’s] nominee (Tom Daschle) to lead the initiative” (Welt-On-Line, February 5), and a bill to delay digital TV transition for four months.

In addition, it was decreed that in the future, CEOs of troubled banks, which seek bailout money from the government, cannot earn more than $500,000 a year–but they still can get stock from their banks. This new directive is not retroactive, which means that it does not cover executives of those banks which have already received taxpayers’ money from the government. The question has been asked, Why do we even reward CEOs who were responsible for running their banks into the ground with taxpayers’ money in the first place?

President Obama’s approval rate in the USA has dramatically decreased by about 20%. He admitted in a television interview with CNN this week that he did not realize the severity of the economic crisis, and that financial experts did not foresee it either. He said, verbatim: “What’s alarming right now is how fast the economy is deteriorating.” But there WERE voices which warned over six months ago that our economy would deteriorate with lightning speed. However, these voices were apparently ignored!

California is broke and in the worst economic condition of all U.S. states. In spite of promises to the contrary, Governor Schwarzenegger has proven unable to improve California’s economy. This shows again how idle and useless the promises are which we hear from political leaders–especially BEFORE their elections. Our new member letter by Brian Gale addresses this question in much more detail.

The war of words directed against the Pope’s controversial appointments of bishops and priests escalated this week, including criticism from Catholic and Jewish leaders alike. Der Spiegel Online wrote that “the Pope lost his magic.” But has he, really? According to the magazine, the “Vatican is horrified by the discussion in Germany. The impression there is that all of the anti-Catholic resentments hiding under the surface in Germany are now coming to the surface.”

But the Pope received some unexpected support. Bild Online reported on February 5 that the President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert (CDU) defended the Pope, stating, “‘A lot that is being insinuated about the Pope is almost malicious; in no way fair.’ Lammert also slammed Chancellor Merkel’s demand for a clarification from the Pope: ‘I find the doubts about the Catholic Church and the Pope on this matter ill-founded.'”

It must be admitted, perhaps, that the outrage, especially in Germany, is a bit hypocritical–given the fact that most Germans are not as sympathetic towards the Jews–or the Moslems–as their political leaders or the “politically correct” main-stream press would like to portray it.

And while the Catholic Church is facing some dire challenges, one of the last remaining multi-million dollar empires of another TV Evangelist in the USA has begun to crumble.

An interesting report was filed this week, strongly suggesting that the scientific “creation” of human-animal hybrids may be impossible, and another article shows that insects have been used quite often in man’s wars–and might very well be used again by terrorists in the not-too-distant future.

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