Current Events

Will USA Invade Pakistan?

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 29:

“Mumbai a terror zone, and India bitterly points its finger at Pakistan… Pakistan is nearly a failed state — and a US invasion under President Obama can’t be ruled out…

“The murderers expressly went after Britons, Americans and Jews… The crimes bear the clear and bloody fingerprints of militant, political Islamism… It’s obvious the terrorists follow the ideology of al-Qaida, though it’s unclear whether the head of that organization gave orders for this mission…

“For years a kind of death industry has been taking hold in Pakistan’s tribal areas. There are hundreds of Koranic schools which could better be described as cadet schools for Islamists… The idea is to condition or brainwash them. The goal is jihad…

“The Pakistani government has long ago given up control of this region… The state is as good as bankrupt. Its political leadership is either corrupt or — when it comes to the military-intelligence service complex — almost without influence. And somewhere in Pakistan, nuclear weapons are stored…

“Barack… Obama was open about bringing military intervention in the tribal areas into the discussion. Strengthening the US presence there seems, in any case, a firm part of Obama’s agenda. The planned American withdrawal from Iraq could — in a worst-case scenario — be followed by an invasion of Pakistan…”

Iran–Barack Obama’s Hornet’s Nest

The Times wrote on December 3:

“Iran poses the greatest foreign policy challenge to Barack Obama… with Tehran on course to produce a nuclear bomb in the first year of an Obama administration, a coalition of top think-tanks gave warning yesterday…

“Gary Samore, one of the authors, said that [a] ‘hornet’s nest’ [is] facing the President-elect in the Middle East… The report paints a grim picture of the problems in the region…”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on December 1:

“The world may be focused on Iraq, Afghanistan, and terror in India, but experts say the biggest foreign policy challenge for the next US president will be dealing with Iran. Obama has promised a new approach — but the risk of failure is great… Iran now has access to more than 630 kilograms of slightly enriched uranium, is building more and more centrifuges for enrichment, and is barely cooperating with inspectors. A successful nuclear test from Tehran is imaginable within a year…

“Iran has proceeded with its atomic plans so effectively that their success now seems virtually unstoppable… Even a possible first strike from Israel is now out [of] the question in the White House — although, according to Haaretz, Israel’s national security council wants to present a paper in December with plans for attacking Iran.”

Israel Prepares Strike Against Iran

The Jerusalem Post reported on December 4:

“The IDF is drawing up options for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities that do not include coordination with the United States… While its preference is to coordinate with the US, defense officials have said Israel is preparing a wide range of options for such an operation… Israeli officials have said it would be difficult, but not impossible, to launch a strike against Iran without receiving codes from the US Air Force, which controls Iraqi airspace. Israel also asked for the codes in 1991 during the First Gulf War, but the US refused…

“Several news reports have claimed recently that US President George W. Bush has refused to give Israel a green light for an attack on Iranian facilities. One such report, published in September in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, claimed that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert requested a green light to attack Iran in May but was refused by Bush…

“On Monday, Teheran dismissed the possibility of an Israeli strike, saying it didn’t take Israel seriously.”

USA Can Expect Terrorist Attack Before 2013

The Associated Press reported on December 1:

“The United States can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013, reports a bipartisan commission in a study… The commission believes biological weapons are more likely to be obtained and used before nuclear or radioactive weapons because nuclear facilities are more carefully guarded…

“Al-Qaida remains the only terrorist group judged to be actively intent on conducting a nuclear attack against the United States, the report notes. It is not yet capable of building such a weapon and has yet to obtain one. But that could change if a nuclear weapons engineer or scientist were recruited to al-Qaida’s cause, the report warns. The report says the potential nexus of terrorism, nuclear and biological weapons is especially acute in Pakistan.”

“Hillary Clinton–No Hope for Change in the Middle East”

Die Welt On Line reported on December 1:

“Obama’s choice of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state gladdens Israel, but does not overjoy Arabs and Iranians keen for a new start after eight years of perceived U.S. policy calamities. Clinton talked tough when running to be the Democratic presidential candidate, decrying her rival’s ‘naive’ call for direct talks with foes such as Iran and North Korea and vowing to ‘obliterate’ Iran if it attacked Israel…

“Obama and Clinton are inheriting a distinctly gloomy outlook for progress towards settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Washington’s Arab allies are not expecting a new dawn…”

President Bush’s Biggest Regret of All His Presidency

ABC News reported on December 1:

“Looking back on his eight years in the White House, President George W. Bush pinpointed incorrect intelligence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction as ‘biggest regret of all the presidency. I think I was unprepared for war,’ Bush told ABC News…  Bush, who has been a stalwart defender of the war in Iraq and maintaining U.S. troop presence there, said, in retrospect, the war exceeded his expectations…

“‘A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein,’ Bush said. ‘It wasn’t just people in my administration. A lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence…’ Bush declined to ‘speculate’ on whether he would still have gone to war if he knew Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.”

No End in Sight for Iraq War?

The New York Times wrote on December 4:

“On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to ‘end the war’ in Iraq. But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months…

“To date, there has been no significant criticism from the antiwar left of the Democratic Party of the prospect that Mr. Obama will keep tens of thousands of troops in Iraq for at least several years to come.”

Will Britain Adopt the Euro?–Highly Unlikely

The Daily Mail reported on December 2:

“Lord Mandelson was at the centre of a row last night over ‘secret’ plans to ditch the pound after an explosive claim that Britain is ready to join the euro. The European Commission president… Jose Manuel Barroso said he had held private conversations with ‘the people who count in Britain’ and knew that they were ready to move into the euro-zone…

“Lord Mandelson was the loudest cheerleader for the single currency during his stints in Tony Blair’s Cabinet… But now he appears at odds with his new boss Gordon Brown. Downing Street denied there had been any policy shift and said it had ‘no plans’ to ditch the pound. Sources said the suggestion that Britain was ready to enter was ‘wishful thinking’.

“Mr Barroso’s remarks led to a backlash in Westminster. Shadow foreign secretary William Hague pledged that there were ‘no circumstances’ in which a Conservative government would propose joining the euro.”

Merkel Under Attack in the Face of Financial Turmoil

Even though Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to have the best approach and insight into the current financial crises, she is being criticized by commentators and governmental leaders alike, as she avoids to becoming infected by the worldwide “financial bailout” disease.

Der Spiegel Online wrote on December 2:

“Media commentators are criticizing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s steadfast refusal to take more drastic action to avert recession in Germany…

“Left-wing Berliner Zeitung writes, ‘Angela Merkel is really lucky. She’s lucky that no one in her party is brave enough to run against her…’ The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung [writes]… ‘Chancellor Merkel, in pointing to the fundamental causes behind the financial crisis, said “one can’t continually live beyond one’s means”… She said nothing in response to the proposals from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and nothing to the plans of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown…’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, however, offered a note of support: ‘Merkel is behaving like a doctor who knows her patient is seriously ill but doesn’t yet know what therapy will work best. So she wants to calm the patient for the time being, to see how the first weak dose of medicine will work. That’s what the rescue package agreed in October is supposed to do. It hasn’t yet taken effect. That’s why Merkel wants to wait and see how the crisis develops…

“‘The chancellor is taking a risk. She’s in danger of being perceived afterwards as someone who recognized the crisis but didn’t do enough to fight it. The voters will punish [any] hesitation at the general election next September…'”

For more information, please watch our StandingWatch program: “Insane–Bailouts Topping $8.5 Trillion.” StandingWatch Google Video YouTube.

USA in Recession Since December 2007!!!

In spite of consistent and persistent denials of the U.S. government, it was now finally openly admitted that the U.S. has been in recession for A YEAR.

CNN reported on December 1:

“The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, making official what most Americans have already believed about the state of the economy… The current recession is one of the longest downturns since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The last two recessions (1990-1991 and 2001) lasted eight months each, and only two of the 10 previous post-Depression downturns lasted as long as a full year…

“In a statement, White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto said that even though the recession is now official, it is more important to focus on the steps being taken to fix the economy… Nonetheless, several economists said the real concern is that there is no end in sight for the downturn. Some suggested that the best case scenario for the economy is that it would reach bottom in the second quarter of 2009. And even if that happens, that would still make this recession the longest since the Great Depression.”

Financial Scholar Bernanke out of Touch with Reality

AFP reported on December 1 that “Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday the current economic situation bears ‘no comparison’ to the much deeper crisis of the 1930s Great Depression.” However, President Bush contradicted Bernanke with statements he himself had made earlier. The news agency continued:

“‘Well, you hear a lot of loose talk, but let me just … say, as a scholar of the Great Depression… there’s no comparison,’ Bernanke said… President George W. Bush said in an interview released Monday that Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned him weeks ago that bold action was needed to avert a new Great Depression. ‘I can remember sitting in the Roosevelt Room with Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke and others, and they said to me that if we don’t act boldly, Mr. President, we could be in a depression greater than the Great Depression,’ Bush told ABC News.”

So, no comparison, Mr. Bernanke? Get real, please!

While Home Values Decrease, Property Taxes on the Rise

USA Today reported on December 3:

“Property taxes are rising across the USA despite the steepest drop in home values since the Great Depression. Home values dropped 17% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2007… At the same time, property tax collections across the USA rose 3.1%…  State and local governments are on track to collect more than $400 billion in property taxes this year, the most ever. One reason: Laws in most states that prevent big tax hikes when property values soar also block big tax drops when values sink…

“Most states cap how fast taxes rise in boom times. In bad times, the same laws keep taxes from falling… Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada — the four states hit hardest when overheated real estate markets crashed and triggered waves of foreclosures — all have tax laws that work this way… Most states are slow to change the assessed value of homes.”

More Governmental Attempts to Help the Housing Market?

The Financial Times wrote on December 4:

“The US Treasury is working on a new plan to help revive the ailing housing market by reducing mortgage rates on new home loans… The plan, which is at preliminary stages and could change, would involve using government-sponsored mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to push down rates on 30-year mortgages to as low as 4.5 per cent, or almost a full percentage point lower than current levels…

“But while lower mortgage rates should help to ease the rapid falls in US home prices and reduce the cost of monthly loan payments for millions of people, they may not help homeowners facing foreclosure, market participants say.”

“The Great Depression Ahead”

The Wall Street Digest wrote on December 2:

“The Next Great Depression will begin to unfold by mid-2010… Harry Dent’s latest book ‘The Great Depression Ahead’ will be released in December. Every investor should read this book for information on what to expect in the years ahead and how to survive the coming deflation. According to Dent, ‘By mid-2010 the long term baby boom trend of spending will slow down and create a greater crisis in economic growth, home values, derivatives and the banking system…’

“Any substantial recovery will be met by rising inflationary pressures, rising interest rates and mortgage rates, and rising commodity prices that will create the next bubble and crisis. Long-term interest rates–that are way below inflation rates now–will accelerate dramatically towards 7 percent plus 30-year Treasury rates and 9 percent plus 30-year fixed mortgage rates if there is a recovery… That would kill any chance of a housing recovery and put the banks and the economy back into a major crisis again…

“However, deflationary psychology is a far more difficult challenge: ‘Why purchase a home today when it will be cheaper tomorrow or next year?’ During the 2010- 2012 deflationary environment, the price of virtually everything will be declining, including stock prices, real estate, and commodities… Falling home prices continue to produce foreclosures and defaulting debt, which banks and financial institutions must write-off. Home prices peaked in June of 2005 and they are still falling. I do not see a bottom in home prices until perhaps 2013-2015… Four percent 30-year Treasuries could go to 7 percent plus by early 2010 and that means 9 percent plus 30-year mortgage rates!”

Please make sure to watch our eight-month-old StandingWatch program, “Coming–The Great Depression?”

California in DEEP Trouble

The Los Angeles Times reported on December 2:

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the new Legislature in to work on its first day, declaring a fiscal emergency Monday in response to the state’s deteriorating finances… But even as Schwarzenegger warned that California could run out of cash within two months, there was little indication that the Capitol’s partisan gridlock has waned enough to allow for an easy resolution to the state’s $28-billion budget gap.

“Republican lawmakers, who last week blocked a Democratic proposal to cut billions of dollars from schools, healthcare and welfare programs while tripling the vehicle license fee, quickly reiterated their opposition to any new taxes, which both Schwarzenegger and Democrats say are indispensable. Democratic legislators again dismissed some of Schwarzenegger’s proposals to ease labor rules on business in order to boost the economy…”

Germany Prevents Georgia and Ukraine from Becoming NATO Members

On December 3, 2008, Die Welt On Line reported the following:

“Foreign ministers of NATO members meeting in Brussels Dec. 2-3 have said that Georgia and Ukraine are not yet ready for beginning the process towards membership in the Atlantic Alliance…

“Before the December meeting of NATO foreign ministers… a dispute broke out within the Alliance over the enlargement question. The United States had suggested that the MAP [Membership Action Plan] was not a necessary precondition for Georgia and Ukraine to join the organization. This was interpreted by numerous NATO states as an attempt by the United States to inappropriately accelerate the entry of both countries to the Alliance.

“Several NATO countries, including Germany, have insisted on the standard procedure. Germany has said that not going through MAP would ‘set a dangerous precedent.’ A country undergoing the MAP process must fulfil requirements in areas including human rights, democratic control of the military, and free and fair elections…

“President Mikheil Saakashvili recently said in a teleconference that Georgia would not insist on going through MAP on its path to membership. The main goal of his foreign policy, then as now, he said, was simply to join NATO as soon as possible. He regretted that ‘skeptics like Germany’ were making this more difficult, he said.”

Krampus–The Demonic Alter Ego of “St. Nicholas”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on December 2:

“In Austria, Santa keeps track of who’s been naughty and nice — and [unleashes] a 7-foot-tall horned devil on the naughty. He’s called the Krampus… he roams rural Austria clad in chains and carrying a stick, terrifying misbehaving children on Dec. 5, the night before St. Nicholas’ Day…

“Krampus is very old indeed. Some say the tradition stems back to the pre-Christian era, and that the Krampus known and feared by Austrians today is a version of an ancient god incorporated into Christian holidays. There’s no doubt that today the frightening figure is an integral part of Christmas celebrations in some parts of Austria and Hungary…”

The online edition of the magazine published numerous pictures of Krampus “impersonations” by Austrians, and the following statements were made beneath those photographs:

“Krampus comes to Austria: On Dec. 5, men dressed in frightening goat masks roam villages terrifying children and spanking girls… Begun centuries ago, Krampus is considered St. Nicholas’s alter ego. If jolly St. Nick rewards children with presents, Krampus comes to terrify them… Austria’s Christmas devil has long horns, a goat-like face and cloven hoofs.”

In Germany, the figure of Krampus finds its counterpart in “Knecht Ruprecht”–a demonic personage accompanying “St. Nicholas”. He performs the same function as the Austrian Krampus, terrifying and punishing children. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas.”

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