Current Events

American Economy MUCH MUCH WORSE Than Assumed

Bloomberg reported on July 21:

“American Express Co., the biggest U.S. credit-card company by purchases, withdrew its 2008 earnings forecast after second-quarter profit fell 37 percent on worse-than-expected consumer defaults… Profit from continuing operations declined to $655 million… ‘By almost any measure, the U.S. economy and business environment are much weaker than the assumptions’ the company had in January, Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault said today in a conference call. ‘Unemployment rates took the largest jump in over twenty years. Home prices declined at the fastest rate in decades and consumer confidence is at one of its all-time low points.’ The U.S. economic slowdown worsened in June, affecting even American Express’s wealthier cardholders with high credit scores…

“American Express, Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services shares have dropped by more than a third in the past year as consumers have a harder time repaying debt of all kinds… Discover, based in Riverwoods, Illinois, said last month that profit from continuing operations in the quarter ended May 31 fell 19 percent to $202 million.”

The Associated Press reported on July 22:

“Wachovia Corp. reported a surprisingly large second-quarter loss Tuesday, deflating Wall Street’s hopes that the nation’s big banks are weathering the credit crisis well. The nation’s fourth-largest bank by assets said it lost $8.86 billion, is slashing its dividend and eliminating 10,750 positions after losses tied to mortgages soared. Even excluding one-time items, the results substantially missed Wall Street estimates…

“Late Monday, Wachovia announced plans to leave the wholesale mortgage lending business. And beginning Friday, the company will no longer offer mortgages through brokers, joining other lenders making similar moves to exit the troubled sector. Big banks, such as Bank of America Corp. and National City Corp., have stopped making loans through brokers entirely, relying instead on their loan officers.”

In a related article, The Associated Press reported on July 22:

“A federal rescue of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost taxpayers as much as $25 billion, Congress’ top budget analyst said Tuesday… [Treasury Secretary Henry M.] Paulson said that Fannie and Freddie have issued $5 trillion in debt and mortgage backed securities. Of that amount more than $3 trillion is held by U.S. financial institutions and over $1.5 trillion is held by foreign institutions, making the stabilization of the two companies essential to the global economy… Paulson said that housing was at the ‘heart of our nation’s economy.’ He added that a key to turning the housing market around was bringing home buyers back into the market, an area where he said Fannie and Freddie needed to play a critical role to provide mortgage financing.

“The effort to provide support to the two mortgage giants follows the government’s involvement in dealing with the near-collapse of Bear Stearns in March when the Federal Reserve provided a $30 billion loan to facilitate the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan.”

How much longer can the Federal Reserve “bail” out banks and thereby deplete its FDIC fund of an estimated amount of $75 billion? How soon are taxpayers going to be asked to “help” in the form of higher taxes and other hidden “incentives”? Surely, this country is facing a gigantic economic storm of unparalleled proportions in recent times–with all of our politicians being absolutely unable and helpless to weather it.

God HAS declared far in advance that this IS going to happen–all gainsaying and scoffing of so-called experts and an uninformed and indifferent public notwithstanding. The reason is that we do NOT OBEY God and that this country has been turning its back on God FAR TOO LONG. Now, man is going to reap what he has been sowing.

For more information, please read our free booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound

Worldwide Economy in Mortal Danger

The Telegraph wrote on July 21:

“It feels like the summer of 1931. The world’s two biggest financial institutions have had a heart attack. The global currency system is breaking down. The policy doctrines that got us into this mess are bankrupt. No world leader seems able to discern the problem, let alone forge a solution. The International Monetary Fund has abdicated into schizophrenia…

“Oil has queered the pitch. So has America’s fatal reliance on foreign debt… China, Russia, petro-powers and other foreign states own $985bn of US agency debt, besides holdings of US Treasuries. Purchases of Fannie/Freddie debt covered a third of the US current account deficit of $700bn over the last year. Alex Patelis from Merrill Lynch says America faces the risk of a ‘financing crisis’ within months. Foreigners have a veto over US policy…

“The coalitions in Belgium and Austria have just collapsed. Germany’s left-right team is fraying… This is the healthy part of Europe… Finance minister Pedro Solbes said Spain is facing the ‘most complex’ economic crisis in its history.”

Coming–Worldwide Water Shortage

The Economist wrote on July 19:

“SO WORLD markets are short of oil, and supplies of food are running thin. The prices of all sorts of basic commodities are soaring, and now there may also be reason for many to worry about the most fundamental of necessities—water. Some experts believe so, at least, and they are spreading doom-laden warnings of a Malthusian crisis in the world’s water supply.

“Goldman Sachs, an investment bank which likes to ponder the future of the world, recently suggested that a global lack of water could prove to be a bigger threat to mankind than rising food prices or the depletion of energy resources. Sir Nicholas Stern… points to some big local problems, for example in the Himalayas, where melting glaciers risk disrupting supplies of usable water in the region, just as many underground aquifers are drying up. He argues that water—at least the fresh sort—is not a renewable resource…

“Global water consumption is doubling every 20 years says Goldman Sachs. According to Sir Nicholas, in many places supplies are running short as rising consumption cannot be matched by fresh rainfall. As a result, suggests Goldman Sachs, the price of water is bound to rise…”

Coming–Worldwide Flu Pandemic

The Independent wrote on July 21:

“The world is failing to guard against the inevitable spread of a devastating flu pandemic which could kill 50 million people and wreak massive disruption around the globe, the [British] Government has warned… The Government’s evidence appeared in a highly critical report… which attacked the World Health Organisation (WHO) as ‘dysfunctional’…

“The Government said: ‘While there has not been a pandemic since 1968, another one is inevitable.’ Ministers said it would… leave up to 75,000 people dead in Britain and cause ‘massive’ disruption.”

Obama Wants MORE Troops–Not Less…

The Associated Press reported on July 19:

“Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama started a campaign-season tour of combat zones and foreign capitals, visiting with U.S. forces in Kuwait and then Afghanistan — the scene of a war he says deserves more attention and more troops… Obama advocates ending the U.S. combat role in Iraq by withdrawing troops at the rate of one to two combat brigades a month. But he supports increasing the military commitment to Afghanistan, where the Taliban has been resurgent and Osama bin laden is believed to be hiding…”

Jerusalem the Capitol of Israel?

AFP wrote on July 23:

“Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to forge an ‘unshakeable’ bond with Israel if he becomes the next US president and warned a nuclear Iran would pose a ‘grave threat’ which the world must forestall. The Democratic White House hopeful hailed Israel as a ‘miracle’ as he courted Jewish voters at home… The Illinois senator also tried to convince the Palestinians, during a short trip to see the conflict from the other side, on the occupied West Bank, that he would sponsor a vigorous peace effort if elected…

“The senator reiterated his vow to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon, but defended his offer of talks with leaders from the Islamic Republic, promising to use ‘big carrots and big sticks. A nuclear Iran would pose a grave threat and the world must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,’ Obama said…

“Obama also said that he had not backed down from his comment that Jerusalem should not be divided, which he made before the US Jewish lobby last month, sparking anger among Palestinians… ‘I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the [capitol] of Israel. I have said it before and will say it again… but I’ve also said that it is a final status issue’ that must be decided by negotiation. Obama’s original comment was seen by some observers as prejudging final status peace talks, and his campaign has since said that it was poorly worded.”

Israeli Attack on Iran Inevitable?

The Jerusalem Post wrote on July 16:

“An Israeli attack on Iran seems inevitable. If it succeeds, it will return to Israel its deterrent power and send a clear message to the saber-rattling jihadists that they were too early in beginning the countdown for the disappearance of the Jewish state.

“If it fails, or fails to achieve the majority of its objectives, it could amount to an act of national suicide. Fanatical Muslims on every side will be encouraged by the failure and outcome of an Iranian retaliation which would cause heavy damage to the whole center of our country… A non-nuclear Israeli attack on Iran would be a ‘surgical’ operation… Iran has the motivation to destroy Israel, and if it is allowed to gain nuclear weapons it will not need an excuse to do so…

“Let us try a scenario in which Israel carries out a successful attack, with or without active American help, on a few key Iranian reactors. Such an operation would not completely destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, but it would badly wound its national and Islamic pride.

“The Iranian people, including the opposition would, at least in the initial stage, rally around the ruling mullahs. The price of oil would soar, Israel would be blamed for the destruction of the West’s economy, and Europe might go so far as to impose sanctions on Israel, with or without a UN decision.

“Moreover, being an easy target, Israel would have to brace for the inevitable Iranian retaliation. Iran would attack with the Shihab 3 ballistic missiles that carry a warhead of up to one ton and have an accuracy of 50 meters-100m. Israel has an answer to a limited number of these missiles, of which Iran has probably a few hundred. It has no answer to all the missiles that would be launched against it from three fronts.

“Theoretically, Iran can deliver 1,000-1,500 tons of the most modern explosives within a few days. The long-range missiles that have been supplied to Hizbullah via Damascus, and the arsenal that has been massed by Hamas in Gaza, which includes missiles that can reach Beersheba, must also be taken into consideration.

“There is no question that these two organizations will move into action together with Iran, and it is not impossible that Hizbullah would attempt the invasion of Israel proper to gain a local victory by occupying a border village, killing inhabitants and kidnapping a few over to Lebanon.”

German Politicians Warn Obama

Der Spiegel Online reported on July 21:

“In the run-up to Barack Obama’s visit to Berlin, leading foreign and security policy experts for Germany’s center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) are warning the United States presidential candidate against making any far-reaching demands on the Germans.

“‘Obama should only ask of us what we are able to deliver,’ Niels Annen — a member of Germany’s federal parliament, with the left wing of the SPD — told SPIEGEL ONLINE Monday. ‘We won’t increase our number of troops.’

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, however, has approved a plan to increase the number of troops from Germany’s armed forces in Afghanistan by 1,000 to 4,500 soldiers. All troop deployments of the Bundeswehr require a mandate from the German parliament, which is expected to consider the issue in the autumn. And SPD party chief Kurt Beck made clear over the weekend that 4,500 was the ceiling of what could be expected from Germany…”

Will Europe’s Adulation of Obama Soon End?

On July 21, Der Spiegel Online wrote about Germany’s Adulation of Barack Obama, which may end very soon. The magazine reported:

“Germans have fallen in love with the man many in Europe have come to see as the anti-Bush — the man who many hope will steer America back toward the path of peace, love and happiness. Almost three-quarters of Germans would vote for Obama were they given the opportunity to do so; in France, that number approaches 90 percent…

“… The financial daily Handelsblatt… looks at what Berlin might expect from Obama’s speech. ‘With the speech at the Siegessäule on Thursday, a new phase is beginning. And there are a number of signs pointing to the fact that those pleasantly anticipating an Obama presidency might not be quite as euphoric should he get elected. The reasons are clear: Obama’s superstar status in Germany is based primarily on two factors. One is the fact that he is not George W. Bush…. The second is that Obama has remained quite vague until now: Everyone can see in him what he or she wants. But now the senator from Illinois is beginning to mold a concrete foreign policy. Soon, it will be clear what ‘change’ really means. Obama wants to withdraw from Iraq but at the same time he wants to bolster troops in Afghanistan… Obama, should he become the superpower’s next president, will not suddenly transform into a dove. He too will use the US military to reach his political goals.'”

“An American Idol in Germany”

In a related and unnecessarily lengthy, laborious and almost tiresome article of July 21, titled, “An American Idol in Germany,”  Der Spiegel Online wrote about Europe’s perception of Barack Obama as a savior of mankind–a perception which might soon disappear. We are bringing you the following excerpts:

“Europeans have fallen in love with the Democrat, mostly because he’s not Bush. But they may not like what they hear this week… He will be in Berlin this Thursday, when Germans will hail him as a magician with the ability to transform a gloomy world into a brighter place. Never before has there been so much excitement in Germany over the visit of a presumed US presidential candidate. Obama may be running for the White House, but judging by the commotion, one would think that he had already advanced two steps further and were the president of the world.

“Which is precisely the issue. Obama raises hopes that he will not just change America, but politics as a whole. Obama is the hope of a Western world filled with concerns… It is time for leadership. And only one man inspires the kind of confidence that would enable him to assume this leadership: Barack Obama…

“Chancellor Angela Merkel was also a candidate for the global presidency once. But by now it has become clear that she even has trouble leading her coalition government at home. Obama will be visiting a country that lacks leadership… it’s no wonder that many a German sees the charismatic American as a savior… While Germany looks forward to being spellbound by Obama this week, the magician’s allure has already begun to fade in America…

“Perhaps the ‘honeymoon’ will last a little longer with Obama, says Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, a CSU foreign policy expert. But, Guttenberg adds, the ‘fracture point’ will be reached no later than the NATO summit in the spring of 2009, when the new US president, be it Obama or McCain, outlines exactly how he envisions trans-Atlantic cooperation in the future — and that will include US demands that Germany send more troops to embattled southern Afghanistan.

“Most US experts at research institutions share this assessment. They warn of exaggerated expectations. They warn against discounting McCain and the experience he brings to the table. And they warn of Obama’s lack of experience, speculating that the presidency could very well turn out to be a rude awakening for the Democratic candidate…

“Just how Obama feels about the Europeans becomes clear from chatting with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security advisor under former President Jimmy Carter and a current advisor to the Obama campaign… ‘I think the Europeans have to decide whether they want to be a global power or not,’ says Brzezinski. Should they decide they do, Brzezinski’s message continues, they will be called upon to assume their fair share of the decision-making process, responsibility and the financial burden.

“Suffering, of course, would also be a part of that. More than 4,500 Americans have died and more than 30,000 have been wounded, many of them severely, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only recently, President Bush invited a group of war invalids to join him for a jog at the White House. Bush posed for photographers next to the wounded soldiers, as they stood there on prosthetic metal legs and plastic feet. The war on terror would not cease under a President Obama. Bush’s foreign policy meant tanks, aircraft carriers and bombers. Obama’s foreign policy would be focused on diplomacy, reconstruction aid and, if this doesn’t work, tanks, aircraft carriers and bombers…

“In the 60 years since the end of World War II, there has been only one president who, with the exception of an attempt to liberate hostages, did not command a military campaign. That president was the hapless Jimmy Carter. All others have taken greater or lesser advantage of their powers as commander-in-chief of the US Armed Forces. In this regard, there have been few distinctions between Republicans and Democrats. Under Obama, the tone might be different than it has been under the stubborn President Bush, but the larger foreign policy substance likely would not be…”

In a related article, Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 24:

“Meanwhile, the foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, Eckart von Klaeden, told RBB-Inforadio public radio he didn’t share the expectation of many German politicians that there would be a major shift in foreign policy under Obama. ‘Regardless whether it is a President McCain or a President Obama, people will quickly determine that the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be transformed to the degree that many are expecting.'”

We share this assessment, in spite of Obama’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, during which the “restoration of Transatlantic ties” was discussed (see AFP, dated July 24). Regardless of who the next American President will be, the relationship between Europe and the USA will NOT improve. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,”and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Obama Speaks in Berlin

On July 24, Barack Obama gave his long-awaited speech in Berlin. The “Superstar,” as Der Spiegel Online called him, spoke to an estimated crowd of more than 200,000 people, according to Bild Online. He said a few things which Europeans and especially Germans might NOT have wanted to hear, including his allusion to the need of the continuance of the war in Afghanistan and the necessity of Europeans to send more troops. It was observed that the crowd was more enthusiastic when they came than when they left. The Associated Press reported on July 24:

“Before an enormous crowd, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama on Thursday summoned Europeans and Americans together to ‘defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it’ as surely as they conquered communism a generation ago.

“‘The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand,’ Obama said, speaking not far from where the Berlin Wall once divided the city. ‘The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand,’ he said…

“He drew loud applause when he talked of a world without nuclear weapons and again when he called for steps to counter climate change. Obama mentioned Iraq, a war he has opposed from the start, only in passing. But in discussing Afghanistan, he said, ‘no one welcomes war. … But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success’…”

AFP added on July 24:

“The strikingly audacious speech, in a fevered atmosphere in Berlin’s famed Tiergarten, took the White House race out of US borders in a way never seen before, and was designed to portray Obama as a leader with unique global appeal… Despite its soaring cadences however, the speech was short on specifics… The Illinois senator rebuked both his country and Europe for blaming one another for strains in their relations…

“In a speech that risked being seen as presumptuous, considering Obama will not even face US voters for another three months, he warned of a world where partnership was not a choice but the only means of survival… He promised America under his watch would be serious about tackling global warning, a huge concern in Europe and a cause of rifts between the continent and the United States during the Bush administration. But he also signalled he would demand Europe live up to its side of the bargain, asking for more help in the struggle against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. ‘America cannot do this alone,’ Obama said.”

Europe Pressures Ireland

The EUObserver wrote on July 24:

“The Italian senate’s unanimous support for the Lisbon treaty on Wednesday (23 July) should help force Ireland into a revote, Italian politicians said, with Ireland looking increasingly likely to stand out as the only EU country not to ratify the text… Twenty one out of 27 EU states have definitively ratified the EU treaty despite the Irish No vote in a referendum in June. The Spanish, German and Polish parliaments have also approved the text, which now awaits the signatures of the respective heads of state…

“Meanwhile, France is pushing Ireland to hold a second vote, with President Nicolas Sarkozy on his visit to Dublin on Monday suggesting that the June 2009 European Parliament elections would be a good time for another referendum on Lisbon.

“The EU summit in October will see the next major discussion of the future of the EU treaty, with Irish foreign minister Micheal Martin pledging to give ‘clarity’ on Ireland’s plans in December.”

However, the article by the EUObserver is somewhat misleading. Deutsche Welle correctly reported on July 24:

“The Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty has left the bloc searching for a new way to move forward as the treaty must be unanimously ratified in order to go into effect. [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel was one of the driving forces behind the new treaty under Germany’s EU presidency in the first half of last year.

“The treaty faces obstacles in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. German President Horst Koehler has said he will await a decision by the Constitutional Court on the treaty’s compatibility with the German Constitution before signing into law the necessary legislation, which has been passed by both houses of parliament.”

The Bible clearly shows that ultimately, ten core nations or groups of nations will lead Europe, and they will, in turn, give their power and authority to a charismatic political leader.

The European “Beast” Overtakes the USA…

The EUObserver wrote on July 16:

“Mark Schapiro – an American investigative journalist of some twenty years’ standing and the editorial director of the Center for Investigative Journalism – believes… that we can date the eclipse of the United States by the European Union quite precisely indeed – 25 June, 2004.

“On that day, some 200 million Europeans went to the polls to elect their representatives to the European Parliament, consolidating the union’s ascendancy. Europe’s parliament leap-frogged the US Congress in size of population represented, with an additional two member states, Romania and Bulgaria, boosting the numbers still further to almost half a billion people in 2007. Even more critically, in 2005, the GDP of the EU overtook that of the States.

“‘The EU is now the single largest trading partner with every continent except Australia,’ he writes in his recent book, Exposed, which considers the massive global economic power shift that has occurred as a result of these changes. He looks at how companies and state governments in the US, China and the rest of the world increasingly take their legislative lead – whether willingly or dragged kicking and screaming – on issues such as environmental standards, health and safety regulation and consumer protection not from Washington, but Brussels.”

Shapiro was quoted in the article, as follows:

“The world is changing, and it’s changing in dramatic ways in a number of different arenas. What’s interesting is that the role of the United States is shifting very sharply, independent of Iraq. Let’s not even talk about Iraq – which has also delivered a body-blow to American power in the world – let’s just look purely at the level of economics. In 2005, the US was supplanted as the world’s largest single market by the EU, and that was reported to us by our own CIA in their World Factbook…

“US corporations along with other companies are increasingly reliant on foreign markets to sustain their profitability. For many American firms, that means Europe… all these firms, which had become quite expert at influencing the rule-making apparatus in the United States through lobbying in congress and campaign contributions – suddenly had this new beast to deal with – the EU… This is indeed a self-interested political beast…”

The choice of the word “European beast” is quite interesting–since the Bible uses the same expression for the final political European revival of the ancient Roman Empire–as well as for the human leader of that revival (Revelation 13:1-4, 18). For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

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