Current Events

Politics Made in Washington…

The New York Post wrote on February 15:

“After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway [before signing the bill on Tuesday, February 17]… The push to get the bill through before the holiday weekend was so frantic, members of Congress didn’t have a chance to read all 1,071 pages of the document before they could vote.”

Not that anyone WOULD HAVE read it…

The Stimulus Bill–How Costly Is It Really?

WorldNetDaily wrote on February 13:

“Before this bill is signed, actual federal obligations are already $65.5 trillion – exceeding the gross domestic product of the entire world. The Obama administration economic stimulus package is going to force the Treasury to borrow approximately $2.5 trillion in 2009 and another $4 trillion in 2010, with the result of increasing the current $10 trillion national debt by 65 percent in just two years. If the Obama administration increases the national debt by 65 percent every two years, the debt will be $16.5 trillion in 2010 and $27.225 trillion by 2012, the year of the next presidential election.

“Let’s consider the real meaning of these numbers:

“… If you had gone into business on the day Jesus was born, and your business lost a million dollars a day, 365 days a year, it would take you until October 2737 to lose $1 trillion. $1 trillion dollars divided by 300 million Americans comes out to $3,333 per person. One trillion $1 bills stacked one on top of the other would reach nearly 68,000 miles into the sky, about a third of the way from the Earth to the moon. Earth’s home galaxy, the Milky Way, is estimated to contain about 200 billion stars. So, if each star cost $1, $1 trillion would buy five Milky Way galaxies full of stars.

“But you don’t need to know all that.

“Just let the ‘experts’ in Washington figure it all out for you – the ones who are not even reading the bills, the ones who lied to you last year when they campaigned for office, the ones who are hiding this information from you even today.”

How U.S. Tax Payer Money is “Used”… reported on February 14:

“The gargantuan stimulus bill Congress has rubber-stamped with virtually no Republican support contains tens of billions of the very spending projects that made the legislation a lightning rod for criticism. And although the bill is generally described as costing $787 billion, the Congressional Budget Office reports the actual figure is now closer to $3.27 trillion. That stems from the $744 billion it will take to pay for the additional debt the legislation will create, and $2.527 trillion in increased spending from the new and expanded programs the bill will spawn over the next decade…

“The plan has more than $3 billion in ‘neighborhood stabilization’ and Community Development Block Grant funding, much of which may go to benefit ACORN, a low-income housing and voter registration ‘community’ organization that is under federal investigation for its suspicious voter registration practices.

“$1.3 billion [will be used] to bailout AMTRAK, the perennial money-loser railroad. $1 billion for educational programs, including courses on sexually transmitted diseases. $30 million for restoration of wetlands to be spent in the San Francisco Bay Area – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district. The money will go in part to protect the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.

“$200 million for a low-pollution, coal-fired power plant in President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois. $45 million for ATV four-wheeler trails, and government office renovations, according to RNC Chairman Michael Steele. $200 million to provide computers to community colleges.

“$50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts. Over $650 million in coupons to help consumers buy digital TV converter-box coupons. A reported $300 million for hybrid vehicles and electric-powered cars. According to the Washington Times, this item will include buying golf carts for federal workers.”

California at the Abyss

The Los Angeles Times reported on February 16:

“Ending a weekend marathon of tense negotiations, bleary-eyed state lawmakers late Sunday suspended their bid to plug California’s $41-billion deficit… The two-day hunt for a third Republican in the state Senate willing to vote for $14.4 billion in temporary tax increases proved futile…”

Finally, on February 19, the Sacramento Bee reported:

“The state Legislature voted early today to approve a massive budget package of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to close a $40 billion deficit after granting major concessions to one holdout Republican senator. The votes came after… 45 1/2 hours, the single longest Senate session in California history.”

Freedom of Speech in California?

The Los Angeles Times reported on February 16:

“A classroom dispute at Los Angeles City College in the emotional aftermath of Proposition 8 has given rise to a lawsuit testing the balance between 1st Amendment rights and school codes on offensive speech. Student Jonathan Lopez says his professor called him a ‘fascist bastard’ and refused to let him finish his speech against same-sex marriage during a public speaking class last November, weeks after California voters approved the ban on such unions…

“Lopez also said the teacher threatened to have him expelled when he complained to higher-ups. In addition to financial damages, the suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, seeks to strike down a sexual harassment code barring students from uttering ‘offensive’ statements…

“Lopez, a Los Angeles resident working toward an associate of arts degree, is described in the suit as a Christian who considers it a religious duty to share his beliefs, particularly with other students… Lopez is represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal organization based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and co-founded by evangelical leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family…”

Germany to Rescue Ireland?

The Sunday Times wrote on February 15:

“Fears are mounting that Ireland could default on its soaring national debt pile, amid continuing worries about its troubled banking sector. The cost of buying insurance against Irish government bonds rose to record highs on Friday, having almost tripled in a week. Debt-market investors now rank Ireland as the most troubled economy in Europe…

“With Ireland set to borrow an additional €15 billion (£13.4 billion) this year, the national debt pile will hit €70 billion… One possible solution would see Germany buy billions of euros of Irish government debt through a fund set up by the European Central Bank.”

Germany to Help in Rebuilding Iraq?

The Associated Press reported on February 17:

“Germany’s foreign minister met with top Iraqi leaders in Baghdad on Tuesday in the latest high-level visit by a major Western nation that opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion…

“Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s visit–the first by a German foreign minister since 1987–comes on the heels of a similar trip by French President Nicolas Sarkozy a week ago… German and French companies could… [strike] lucrative Iraq reconstruction contracts. Iraqi leaders appear eager to shore up their ties with European nations like Germany and France to ease their dependence on the United States.”

Demonstrations and Clashes in Dresden

Bloomberg reported on February 14:

“German anti-immigrant, skinhead and neo-Nazi groups in the eastern city of Dresden staged one of their biggest demonstrations since German reunification in 1990 today, as 6,000 extremists marched through the streets, police said.

“Groups tied to the National Democratic Party used the 64th anniversary of the 1945 firebombing of Dresden to hold a ‘mourning march’ through the [capitol] of the state of Saxony. Two counter-demonstrations, led by unions and political activists, drew almost 10,000… a group of historians commissioned by the city last year concluded that as many as 25,000 died [during the 1945 fire bombing]… Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Verfassungsschutz, has also said online activity is increasing organization among extremist groups.”

The Los Angeles Times added on February 14:

“Police clashed with leftist opponents of a march by about 6,000 right-wingers marking the anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden during World War II. A police spokesman said the leftists tipped over two police vehicles and threw bottles and rocks as authorities struggled to keep the two groups separated. Several police officers and demonstrators were injured and some people were detained… A third group held a largely peaceful march in Dresden.”

France Was Responsible for Deporting Jews

The Times wrote on February 17:

“The French State was responsible for deporting Jews during the Second World War, the top judicial authority ruled for the first time yesterday, but it dismayed families of victims by declaring that they had already been compensated.

“The… Council of State… called for a ‘solemn recognition of the responsibility of the State’. France was ‘responsible for damages caused by actions which did not result from the occupiers’ direct orders but facilitated deportation from France of people who were victims of anti-Semitic persecution’, it said. The ruling endorses a view that was proclaimed by the former President Jacques Chirac when he took office in 1995.”

Anti-Semitism on the Rise in Europe?

Times on Line wrote on February 16:

“World depressions lead to a rise in anti-Semitism. All over Europe, the evidence is around us… As the world enters a new era of crisis, anti-Semitism is back. History, as ever, begins to repeat itself…

“The Great Depression gave rise to the worst expressions of anti-Semitism ever seen, namely the politics that led to the Holocaust. But even in Britain the Duke of Wellington of the time was leader of a secret anti-Jewish organisation which had the initials PJ – Perish Judah – on its letterhead…

“The distress and upset over the terrible pictures of children killed in Israel’s attacks on Hamas in Gaza have allowed anti-Israeli feelings to be more violently and vehemently expressed than ever before. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. But all anti-Semites hate the existence of a Jewish state…

“In Italy, the streets of Milan are daubed with slogans urging Italians not to buy goods at Jewish shops – an echo of the Nazi slogan ‘Kauft Nicht Bei Juden’. In Germany, radio phone-ins are full of accusations that the bankers accused of being responsible for the current economic crisis are Jews. In anti-Israel demonstrations in Berlin, placards stating ‘It was a good idea to use gas’ or ‘I’m anti-Semitic and that’s a good thing’ were carried…”

Israel Engaged in Covert War of Sabotage Inside Iran

Welt On Line reported on February 17:

“Israel is involved in a covert war of sabotage inside Iran in an effort to delay Tehran’s attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Tuesday… As evidence of Israel’s reported strategy, Iran watchers have pointed to events such as the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a nuclear scientist at the Isfahan uranium plant who died at home from apparent gas poisoning in 2007.

“Meir Javendafar, an Iran expert at Meepas, a Middle East analysis group, said there were also reports Iran was being sold faulty equipment for its nuclear programme on international markets, and that there were attempts to disrupt the electricity supply to Natanz, a uranium enrichment facility in central Iran…

“However, he said there were also indications that several more countries other than Israel were involved in attempting to infiltrate Iran to disrupt its nuclear programme… ‘Numerous intelligence agencies are trying their best to do this. Not just Israel but the Americans and many European spy agencies — there are even reports that neutrals such as Holland have been involved,’ he said… ‘Since none of this is confirmed, we can’t be sure. But even if there’s no truth to it, it’s part of what is a massive psychological war against Iran’s nuclear programme…'”

The “Unthinkable” Could Have Happened!

The English tabloid, The Sun, reported on February 16:

“British and French nuclear submarines which collided deep under the Atlantic could have sunk or released deadly radioactivity, it emerged last night. The Royal Navy’s HMS Vanguard and the French Navy’s Le Triomphant are both nuclear powered and were carrying nuke missiles. Between them they had around 250 sailors on board.

“A senior Navy source said: ‘The potential consequences are unthinkable. It’s very unlikely there would have been a nuclear explosion. But a radioactive leak was a possibility. Worse, we could have lost the crew and warheads. That would have been a national disaster.’

“The collision is believed to have taken place on February 3 or 4, in mid-Atlantic. Both subs were submerged and on separate missions. As inquiries began, naval sources said it was a millions-to-one unlucky chance both subs were in the same patch of sea. Warships have sonar gear which locates submarines by sound waves… this is the biggest embarrassment to the Navy since Iran captured 15 sailors in 2007.”

The Independent added on February 17:

“Defence chiefs are facing an inquiry into the safety of the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent after British and French submarines, each laden with missiles powerful enough for 1,248 Hiroshima bombings, collided while submerged in the mid-Atlantic…

“Anti-nuclear campaigners said the two vessels had been moments from a potentially catastrophic accident which could have resulted in the widespread release of radioactive material…”

How Europe Muzzles Its Member States

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 16:

“The Federal Constitutional Court in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe had hardly begun its hearing on the Lisbon Treaty when a higher power — the European Court of Justice — intervened. The Luxembourg-based rival court’s demonstration that there are no limits to the Eurocrats’ claim to power — was spread by whispers through the German courtroom… The [European] court’s reasoning seemed bizarre… It’s a cunning line of argumentation which effectively allows the court to intervene in many different political spheres within member countries…

“A [proposed national] veto [to be included in the Lisbon Treaty]… is only useful with those decisions that must be made unanimously. But all areas of domestic and legal policy where competency is transferred to the European bodies under the Lisbon Treaty would be exempt from the unanimity requirement. Even worse, the European Council can also decide to apply the majority vote principle to decisions that would normally require a unanimous vote. If that happens, Germany could simply be overruled, such as on the question of joint military operations abroad…”

Europe Still in Need of Strong Unifying Leadership

Der Spiegel wrote on February 16:

“As the economy in the European Union sinks deeper into recession, Brussels has proven itself to be devoid of ideas and solutions. Member states are going it alone — and often getting in each other’s way… There is, in short, little good that Brussels can do. But it can do plenty of harm…

“A wave of bankruptcies is spreading throughout the European economy. In Italy, bankruptcies were up 30 percent last year, and they have almost doubled in Ireland and Spain. This year experts anticipate about 35,000 bankruptcy filings in Germany, where the most prominent victims to date include underwear producer Schiesser, model train maker Märklin and porcelain company Rosenthal [In addition, Hertie and Opel are also in deep financial trouble].

“The economic climate in the European common currency zone has reached ‘an historic low’… Countries like Romania are on the brink of bankruptcy. The Greek health minister is not even able to pay suppliers to government-owned hospitals… The Swedish government has promised Swedish automakers Saab and Volvo government subsidies if they agree to shift production away from Germany and Belgium and home to Sweden. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has hinted to Fiat that he plans to rescue the company if need be.

“And in Germany the latest conservative rising star is already wading into protectionist territory. Shortly before his appointment as Berlin’s new economics minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a Bavarian, blue-blooded member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), made it clear that he plans to stimulate ‘jobs in Germany, not in the Far East.’

“It was precisely these sorts of protectionist policies that fired up the worldwide economic crisis in the 1930s. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, the current holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, warned that the ‘scenario of 1930’ could repeat itself. German Finance Minister Steinbrück warned of a ‘race of the lemmings.’

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who sought to portray himself as a model European only last year, is suddenly an ardent nationalist. He wants to lend French automakers PSA Peugeot Citroën and Renault a total of €6 billion ($7.8 billion) at low interest rates to ‘keep jobs in France’…

“But the Germans, too, quickly turn into combative nationalists when their own interests are at stake…

“Economic policy measures can be left largely to the jurisdiction of the member states… Europe today is only as strong as the 27 heads of government in the EU allow it to be. But views on many issues differ widely in Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Prague or Riga — not exactly a basis for workable bailout concepts.”

80th Anniversary of the Vatican City State

The Catholic news agency, Zenit, reported on February 13:

“Despite its small size, Vatican City State is great in other aspects, according to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Benedict XVI’s secretary of state said Thursday at the opening of the congress ‘A Small Territory for a Great Mission,’ held in Rome’s Lateran palace, that the Vatican is ‘small but great; the greatest in the world from any point of view.’

“The event, organized by the Governorate of the Holy See, marks the 80th anniversary of the Feb. 11, 1929, accords that recognized the independence and sovereignty of the Holy See, created the Vatican City State, and defined the civil and religious relationship between the government and the Church in Italy… The signing of the Lateran Pacts [under Benito Mussolini] put an end to the so-called ‘Roman question’ that began in 1870 when Italy invaded and took possession of Church properties…”

Tame Chimpanzee Becomes Violent

The Associated Press reported on February 17:

“A 200-pound domesticated chimpanzee who once starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola was shot dead by police after a violent rampage that left a friend of its owner badly mauled. Sandra Herold, who owned the 15-year-old chimp named Travis, wrestled with the animal after it inexplicably attacked her friend Charla Nash, 55…

“After the initial attack, Travis ran away and started roaming Herold’s property until police arrived… the chimpanzee… went after several of the officers, who retreated into their cars… Travis knocked the mirror off a cruiser before opening its door and starting to get in, trapping the officer. That officer shot the chimpanzee several times… The wounded chimpanzee fled the scene, but… police were able to follow the trail of his blood: down the driveway, into the open door of the home, through the house and to his living quarters, where he had retreated and died of his wounds.

“… the chimp was acting so agitated earlier that afternoon that Herold gave him the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in some tea [Xanax can lead to aggression in people, but Herold later denied that she had given Xanax to the chimp]… the animal may have attacked Nash because she was wearing her hair differently and perhaps wasn’t recognized… Police have dealt with [Travis] in the past, including an incident in 2003 when he escaped from his owners’ vehicle in downtown Stamford for two hours. Officers used cookies, macadamia treats and ice cream in an attempt to lure him, but subdued him only after he became too tired to resist.

“… the chimpanzee was toilet trained, dressed himself, took his own bath, ate at the table and drank wine from a stemmed glass. He also brushed his teeth using a Water Pik, logged onto the computer to look at pictures, and watched television using the remote control… ‘He’s been raised almost like a child by this family,’ [the police said]. ‘He rides in a car every day, he opens doors, he’s a very unique animal in that aspect….'”

In its article of February 17, the New York Post quoted a police spokesman as saying: “There was no provocation that we know of. One thing that we’re looking into is that we understand the chimpanzee has Lyme disease and has been ill from that, so maybe from the medications he was out of sorts. We really don’t know.”

The paper also quoted Colleen McCann, a primatologist at the Bronx Zoo, as saying that “chimps are… dangerous even after living among humans for years. ‘They are unpredictable, and in instances like this you cannot control that behavior or prevent it from happening if it is in a private home,’ she said.”

In a recent video-taped sermon series, Norbert Link addresses the increasingly violent behavior of animals around the world. The sermons can be viewed on Google Video or on our Webpage.

The Biblical World of Animals, Part 2, Norbert Link, Nov. 1, 2008
The Biblical World of Animals, Part 1, Norbert Link, Oct. 25, 2008

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