State of the Union Address 2005
As The Associated Press reported on February 2, 2005, “President Bush challenged a hesitant Congress on Wednesday to take political risks to make Social Security ‘permanently sound,’ saying the nation’s costliest social program was headed for bankruptcy unless changed. Bush’s plan would cut guaranteed retirement benefits for younger Americans but would not affect checks for people now 55 and older… He pledged to confront regimes that promote terror and pursue weapons of mass destruction, and singled out Syria and Iran… Bush also promised to push forward for Mideast peace, including $350 million in aid to the Palestinians… With the United States spending more than $1 billion a week in Iraq, Bush urged Congress to support his request for an additional $80 billion.”
To quote from the transcript of President Bush’s speech, as published by WorldNetDaily on February 2, 2005:
“Tonight, with a healthy, growing economy, with more Americans going back to work, with our Nation an active force for good in the world – the state of our union is confident and strong… So next week I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009… Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra 200 billion dollars to keep the system afloat – and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than 300 billion dollars. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be drastically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs… For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage…. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and sold as a commodity…
“We are working closely with governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions… The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom… To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder. Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region. You have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act – and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom. Today, Iran remains the world’s primary state sponsor of terror – pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium re-processing, and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you. “
The Democrats are strongly opposed to President Bush’s plans to privatize social security. The Democratic National Committee also pointed out, on February 2, 2005, that ” Experts recently announced that Bush’s growing $8 trillion dollar debt translates to roughly $26,000 per person… 4.3 million more Americans are now in poverty… 5.2 million more people are uninsured today than in 2000.”
To quote from the transcripts of the “Democratic Reponse” to the State of the Union Address, by Senator Harry Reid (Democratic Leader in U.S. Senate — Nevada) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (House Democratic Leader — California):
“After World War II, through the Marshall Plan, we rebuilt Europe and they went from poverty to an economic powerhouse. Today, we need to invest in our nation’s future with a Marshall Plan for America – to build the infrastructure our economy needs to go – and grow…. This 21st century economy holds great promise for our people. But unless we give all Americans the skills they need to succeed, countries like India and China will take good-paying jobs that should be ours… And that’s why we so strongly disagree with the president’s plan to privatize Social Security… it’s wrong to replace the guaranteed benefit that Americans have earned with a guaranteed benefit cut of 40 percent or more… The Bush plan would take our already record high $4.3 trillion national debt and put us another $2 trillion in the red. That’s an immoral burden to place on the backs of the next generation….”
“Despite the best efforts of our troops and their Iraqi counterparts, Iraq still faces a violent and persistent insurgency. And the chairman of the National Intelligence Council said in January that Iraq is now ‘a magnet for international terrorists.’ … Yet, the gaps in our security exposed by those attacks remain… airline cargo still goes uninspected, shipping containers go unscreened and our railroads and power plants are not secure… The greatest threats to our homeland security are the tons of biological, chemical, and even nuclear materials that are unaccounted for or unguarded.”
The Run from the U.S. Dollar
As WorldNetDaily reported on February 3, 2005, “Decisions by the world’s two wealthiest men to bet on a further weakening of the U.S. dollar, coupled with China’s lack of confidence in American currency should grab the attention of every working person, says Craig Smith, CEO of Swiss America Trading… Citing widening U.S. trade and budget deficits and a federal debt of $7.62 trillion, [Bill] Gates said in a TV interview at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last weekend he expects the dollar to extend its three-year decline…
“Smith said the actions of Buffett, worth more than $42.9 billion, and Gates, $46.6 billion, [to sell the dollar and to buy foreign currencies] are significant in light of the lack of confidence recently expressed by leaders of the world’s fastest growing economy, China, which has its currency pegged to the dollar… Since the beginning of 2002, the dollar has dropped 26 percent against a basket of six major currencies, and the trade deficit grew to a record $609 billion. In addition, the Bush administration expects the budget deficit this year to hit an all-time high of $427 billion.”
The EU Constitution — Unknown in Europe?
On January 28, 2005, the EUobserver reported that “one third of EU citizens [are] unaware of [the] European Constitution.” The article continued to explain that “a new poll has shown that a high percentage of EU citizens feel they know little about its content and a third are completely unaware of the document… Thirty-three percent have never heard of the new EU charter which was signed with great ceremony last year and is to be put to a referendum in at least nine member states – starting in Spain next month. In individual member states, the figures are higher – 50% of Britons, 45% of Irish and 39% of Portuguese are unaware of the document.”
In addition, “only 39% of citizens know that the Constitution does not foresee the creation of a direct European tax; meanwhile only 38% of respondents know that the President of the European Council will not be directly elected by citizens…”
The article also pointed out that most people in the UK are opposed to the ratification of the EU constitution (while, at the same time, 50% don’t even know of its existence). The article explained: “The UK, which many feel may reject the Constitution in its planned referendum next year, has among the most extreme results. At 30%, it has the most people against the Constitution; while, at 20%, the least in favour of the document. This contrasts strongly with Italy and Belgium where the figures in favour are 72% and 70% respectively.”
The article stated in its concluding remarks: “The Constitution, which will introduce an EU foreign minister, a permanent chair of the EU and greater powers to the European Parliament, has to be ratified by all 25 member states before it can come into force.”
In light of these statistics, and the lack of knowledge amongst many Europeans as to what the EU Constitution entails, the following prophecy in Revelation 13:3 is remarkable: “And all the world [inside and outside Europe] marveled and followed the beast” [a modern resurrected Holy Roman Empire, forming right now in Europe].
Australia vs. Europe?
The Australian reported on January 31, 2005, that Australia’s “John Howard has lashed out at ‘old Europe’, describing criticism of the US as ‘unfair and irrational’, as global tensions grow over the Iraq war and free trade. During a vigorous panel debate on US global relations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several European officials attacked President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy, but Mr Howard stood up to defend his ally. Earlier in the summit, Mr Howard attacked the European Union over the reintroduction of wheat export subsidies, which he said harmed underdeveloped nations and were contrary to free trade. ‘Some of the criticism (of the US) by some of the Europeans is unfair and irrational,’ Mr Howard said in the panel debate, organised by Britain’s BBC TV. ‘I mean the negative mindset of the last five minutes (of this debate) is ridiculous – of course America has made mistakes,’ he said. Later Mr Howard told The Australian he found the European ‘irrational level of anti-Americanism’ perplexing. ‘It is a sign of parochialism and it is disturbingly intense.’ He said the BBC debate ‘was based on an anti-American mindset which was established right at the beginning by the moderators from the BBC’. “Mr Howard said anti-Americanism had already affected world co-operation. ‘But it is very important to remember it is confined to sectors of Europe – not all Europeans. In that debate there was a significantly different tone taken by the Latvian President to that taken by the German and other contributors,’ Mr Howard said. ‘The British have a different view through their Government, but there remains in Britain some of the old jealousies that have always been there. I found the French and German attitude has lingered longer than I thought it might, and longer than is in anyone’s interests.'”
The Bible describes ongoing “jealousies” between the United States of America and Great Britain. It also prophesies increasing feelings of Anti-Americanism in Europe, especially in leading nations, such as Germany.
Elections in Iraq — Legitimate or not?
On February 2, 2005, The Associated Press filed this report about the recent elections in Iraq:
“Iraq’s leading Sunni Muslim clerics said Wednesday the country’s landmark elections lacked legitimacy because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting, which the religious leaders had asked them to boycott… Large numbers of majority Shiite Muslims and Kurds participated in Sunday’s election for a new National Assembly and regional parliaments. Although no results or turnout figures have been released, U.S. officials say participation appeared much lower in Sunni areas where the insurgency is strongest. The low turnout has been blamed variously on the clerics’ own boycott call and on fears of insurgent reprisals against those who voted… “In its first statement since the balloting, the Association of Muslim Scholars said the vote lacked legitimacy because of low Sunni participation. The association months ago urged Sunnis to shun the polls because of the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops, and insurgents threatened to kill anyone who voted. Iraqi officials have acknowledged voting problems, including a ballot shortage in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul, which have substantial Sunni populations and which also may have contributed to a low Sunni turnout. With many Sunnis having stayed away, a ticket endorsed by the Shiite clergy is expected to gain the biggest number of seats in the 275-member National Assembly, followed by the Kurds and a list headed by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite. Shiites comprise an estimated 60 percent of Iraq’s 26 million people, and Shiite candidates were expected to fare best regardless of Sunni turnout. However, low Sunni participation was believed to have reduced the totals of other tickets.”
Russia and China — a New Power Bloc?
The Associated Press reported on February 2, 2005, that “Russia and China will hold regular security consultations, President Vladimir Putin and a visiting Chinese official announced Wednesday, moving to further strengthen close military cooperation between the two Cold War-era adversaries… Putin hailed an increasingly close cooperation between the former Communist rivals, saying that ‘relations in the political, economic and security sphere and in the field of military cooperation have been developing intensively.'”
The article continued to point out: “The maneuvers, set to begin in August, were seen by many observers as Russia’s response to the cooling of relations with the United States and other Western nations, most recently over the presidential election in Ukraine… After decades of rivalry, Moscow and Beijing have developed what they call a strategic partnership since the 1991 Soviet collapse, pledging their adherence to a ‘multipolar world,’ a term that refers to their opposition to a perceived U.S. domination in global affairs. China has purchased billions of dollars worth of fighters, missiles, submarines and destroyers, becoming the No. 1 customer for struggling Russian defense industries.”
The Bible prophesies that Russia and China will unite, militarily, to form a mighty power bloc. Ultimately, it will find itself in opposition to Europe.
Terrorists in Germany?
On February 1, 2005, The Associated Press reported about the arrests of suspected terrorists in Germany: “In coordinated nationwide raids last month, police arrested 15 people on suspicion of belonging to an extremist network allegedly centered on Ulm and neighboring Neu Ulm… In the Jan. 12 raids, 700 police officers searched 60 mosques, homes and shops across Germany. Suspects included nationals of Germany, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Bulgaria; police said their activities included raising money, producing fake passports, and recruiting people for jihad, or holy war. The Ulm area operation focused on the mosque and an Islamic Information Center… The raids were part of a general crackdown on Islamic extremism in Germany that included the apprehension of three Ansar el Islam suspects alleged to have plotted to assassinate Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi when he visited Berlin in December, and the arrest of two others at the end of January on suspicion they belong to al-Qaida.”
Global Warming a Deadly Threat
AFP reported on February 2, 2005, about the widely underestimated deadly threats of global warming. The article pointed out that “Global warming will boost outbreaks of infectious disease, worsen shortages of water and food in vulnerable countries and create an army of climate refugees fleeing uninhabitable regions, a conference here was told.”
According to the article, “Global warming will also add significantly to Earth’s worrisome water problems. Already around 1.4 billion people live in water-stressed areas, a term defined as having less than 1,000 cubic metres (35,000 cubic feet) of water per person per year… Most of them live in southern and southwest Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. By the 2050s, water availability in these water-stressed regions — but also in parts of central, north and south America — may be further crimped because of changed rainfall patterns. Between 700 million and 2.8 billion people in such areas will be affected, depending on population growth and the pace of temperature rise… Between the 1970s — when temperatures first rose significantly — and the year 2000, climate change cost around 150,000 lives from malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria and floods. That tally will ‘approximately double’ by 2020, mainly because of diarrhoea, which is propagated easily in floods, and hunger, [an expert] said.”
Germany’s Staggering Unemployment Rate
Bloomberg reported on February 2 about Germany’s unprecedented unemployment rate since WW II. The article stated: “German unemployment jumped to the highest since World War II as new rules added welfare recipients to the jobless register…The number of people out of work in January rose by 227,000 to 4.71 million in seasonally adjusted terms [However, as is pointed out below, the accurate figures seem to be much higher.]… Germany’s rising unemployment contrasts with the U.S., where the jobless rate probably remained unchanged at 5.4 percent in January as 200,000 jobs were created outside farming, a Bloomberg survey of 70 economists showed… In December, Germany had the second highest unemployment rate after Spain among the 12 countries that share the euro, at 10 percent on a comparable basis. The rate in France was 9.7 percent. In the U.K., the latest available comparable rate is 4.6 percent for October….
“‘Unemployment has grown steadily over the last three decades and then reunification came on top of that,’ [a German expert said.] ‘There is no silver bullet for the reduction of unemployment and if anybody claims this can be done quickly then that’s simply false.’ While the German economy resumed expansion in 2004 after three years, there’s been no corresponding growth in job numbers… Germany is losing 1,200 full-time jobs a day… Siemens AG, Germany’s largest engineering company, plans to shed about 700 jobs at its fixed-line networks unit in Munich and Berlin, the company said Jan. 28. T-Mobile International AG, Deutsche Telekom AG’s wireless unit, plans to eliminate as many as 1,200 jobs in Germany by the end of 2006 to cut costs.”
According to Bild Online, the reality of Germany’s unemployment figures is even much worse. In an article, dated February 2, 2005, the German tabloid writes: “In Germany, there are 6.5 million without work… And even that is not the whole truth. In addition to the 6.5 million, there is the ‘silent reserve,’… people who are not entitled to benefits and who therefore don’t even register with the government, as they could not find a job… An improvement is not in sight. The [government] has already announced increasing figures for February.”
In a strongly worded commentary to the German government, the tabloid wrote: “Do you even care for these people [who are without work]?… In our country, [employees of the government] are disconnecting electricity in private homes, as the unemployed cannot afford paying electricity bills. Thousands of Germans are living without light or heat. Do you know… how many Germans are freezing today?”
Historians will recall that the unprecedented unemployment rate in Germany after WW I, and the inability of the government to improve the situation, was one of the reasons why Hitler came to power.
The Next Pope
The Associated Press reported on February 2, 2005, that in light of the pope’s recent health crisis, speculations of a successor have been increased. The article pointed out: “After 26 years in the papacy, Pope John Paul II has outlived many of the men once considered possible successors. Should he die, there would be no clear favorite, making the question of papal succession as unpredictable as any in recent history…
“On the theory the cardinals may seek a transitional figure, one name that has emerged in Rome is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German who heads the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He’s 77 and has proposed retiring several times to John Paul, but the pope has turned him down. Ratzinger is favored by those who want assurances the conservative policies of John Paul – opposition to contraception, women priests and any loosening of mandatory celibacy for priests – won’t be relaxed, according to a prelate who closely follows the succession maneuvers.
“Another camp is touting Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who at 62 is seen as a dynamic churchman from Latin America. Other prominent names mentioned include Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Vatican-based Nigerian; Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina; Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium; Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Austria and Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy [and] Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes… But Chicago Cardinal Francis George does disqualify one group – his fellow Americans. ‘An office like the papacy needs to be free. And to some extent, even the appearance of being in some sense captured by, as we say now, the world’s only superpower, would not be helpful to the mission of the church,’ he told reporters in Rome during a 2003 visit.”