On the morning of the Annapolis summit, theTrumpet.com posted a story about how the growing divide between the United States and Israel was of greater geopolitical significance than any of the topics discussed at the conference that day. “Whatever the outcome of Annapolis,” we wrote, “the months prior to the conference have already revealed a dangerous erosion of U.S. support for Israel.” In the week and a half since the conference, the U.S.-Israeli relationship has been further pounded by a combination of two deadly blows.
First, there is the sell-out of Lebanon. Contrary to what Israel might have thought going into Annapolis, Syria did not show up in hopes of laying the groundwork for retrieving the Golan Heights. We now know that its participation was contingent upon the U.S. allowing Damascus to handpick Lebanon’s president.
Over the last three years, there has been a violent power struggle in Lebanon between pro-Western and pro-Syrian forces. In early 2005, a pro-Syrian suicide bomber assassinated Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who had been calling for Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon. The murder triggered an onslaught of anger, both in Lebanon and around the world—virtually all the wrath pointed directly at Syria. Facing enormous pressure from the West, Syria agreed to withdraw its 40,000 troops from Lebanon, allowing the Lebanese to form a new government.
Since that time, Damascus has been feverishly working to undermine the ruling March 14 movement (named after the date of Lebanon’s 2005 “Cedar Revolution”). The coalition has seen its majority rule in parliament dwindle to a slim 68 out of the 128 seats. Six parliamentarians in the coalition have been assassinated in the last two and a half years. Syrian operatives have simply been murdering the opposition in order to obtain a majority rule.
In an October visit to Washington, Saad Hariri, head of the March 14 alliance and son of the slain former prime minister, pleaded for President Bush and Congressional leaders to support anti-Syrian forces in Lebanon. Hariri’s coalition wanted an anti-Syrian to be installed as president and for Damascus to face the consequences for sabotaging the Lebanese political process with state-sponsored assassinations.
According to the Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith, after his White House visit, Hariri told reporters, “There is a killing machine in Syria. We came to Washington to say, ‘If you are going to do something about it, let us know. If you are not going to do anything about it, let us know. But no matter what, we’re not going to give in’” (emphasis mine throughout).
Soon after Hariri left Washington, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) introduced a House resolution condemning Iran and Syria for their murderous campaign to overthrow the Lebanese government. Syria and Iran “have clearly violated numerous UN Security Council resolutions protective of Lebanon. They are the puppet masters pulling on the strings of Hezbollah, Amal and Aoun,” Ackerman said. They “are attacking Lebanon’s sovereignty no less than if they sent a fleet of bombers, or a wave of tanks, or a swarm of infantry,” he added.
The resolution passed by a vote of 375 to 5.
In early November, six March 14 members, including Druze chieftain Walid Jumblatt, followed up Hariri’s visit with another appeal to Washington for help. In a letter addressed to Representative Ackerman, the parliamentarians wrote, “What is left of the majority (March 14) pledge to elect a president who puts Lebanon on top.”
Less than three weeks later, Jumblatt’s pledge and Hariri’s vow to not give in to Syria both vanished like Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
On Wednesday, November 28, the day after Annapolis, the March 14 bloc reluctantly dropped its opposition to support Lebanon’s army chief, Gen. Michel Suleiman, a pro-Syrian military man with close ties to Hezbollah. In order to lure Syria to Annapolis, Washington forced the March 14 coalition to go along with Syria’s choice for president. Without regard to Lebanon’s fledgling democracy or the security of Israel’s northern border, Washington handed Lebanon to Hezbollah in hopes of driving a wedge between two terrorist-sponsoring nations—Syria and Iran.
The National Intelligence Estimate
Within days of Hezbollah’s political victory in Beirut, the United States dumped another diplomatic bombshell on Israel. In a move intended to spark another line of dialogue with a state sponsor of terror, the United States extended an olive branch to the one nation it had worked so hard to alienate just one week earlier—the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This stunning reversal came in the form of a politically driven policy report masquerading as an intelligence analysis.
In the story posted on the day of the summit, theTrumpet.com wrote, “Besides an Iranian bomb, the greatest threat to Israel’s existence is diminished support from its long-time ally, the United States.” What astonishes me about the National Intelligence Estimate the United States declassified on Monday is that while shamefully denying the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, Washington simultaneously managed to nuke what remained of its strategic alliance with Israel.
Could it possibly get any worse for the Jewish state?
As recently as October 17, President Bush warned, “We’ve got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. … [I]f you’re interested in avoiding World War iii, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”
But with the release of Monday’s report, everyone from the Bush administration to the New York Times editorial board to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all breathed a collective sigh of relief—even if for different reasons.
Israel, though, is not relieved. It is deeply concerned—and now, very alone. Israel’s top officials were quick to reject the nie assessment, albeit as tactfully as possible to avoid adding further strain on an already dead relationship. On Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s Army Radio that while Iran may have momentarily stopped its nuclear weapons program, it has since been revived. When asked if America’s new assessment, which directly contradicted its own 2005 estimate, now diminishes the chances of a U.S. pre-emptive strike against Iran’s weapons facilities, Barak admitted that that was possible. But “we cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the Earth, even if it is from our greatest friend,” Barak said with false optimism.
Other Israeli sources, according to Haaretz, assessed the situation more bluntly, saying “the Bush administration appears to have lost its sense of urgency regarding Iran’s nuclear program, making a military strike in 2008 increasingly unlikely.”
Ron Prosor, Israel’s new ambassador to Britain and one of Prime Minister Olmert’s leading experts on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, said this in an interview with London’s Daily Telegraph yesterday:
At the current rate of progress Iran will reach the technical threshold for producing fissile material by 2009.
This is a global threat and it requires a global response. It should be made clear that if Iran does not cooperate then military confrontation is inevitable. It is either cooperation or confrontation.
While that may still be true, the transformative event from this past week now means Israel stands alone in using force to confront the Iranian threat. And if the United States is no longer justified in preemptively striking Iran, what do you suppose world opinion would be after an Israeli strike? If American intelligence thinks Iran froze its nuclear program, a former Israeli military intelligence official told the New York Times, “that makes it harder for Israel to go against it.”
Describing Israel’s lonely position in a Haaretz column on Wednesday, Amos Harel wrote, “Over the last year, a certain hope has developed in Israel that the U.S. would do our dirty work for us …. Yesterday, from talking to a number of senior officials in the defense establishment, you could sense this hope had been buried in the wake of the report.”
The sad truth is that while purporting to prove that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003, in actual fact, Monday’s National Intelligence Estimate proves America has abandoned Israel. As Clare Lopez noted in a column for Middle East Times,
The U.S. administration, in effect, has just thrown in the towel over Iran’s geostrategic ambitions in the Middle East. Coming hard on the heels of the Annapolis charades, the nie makes clear that the lame duck George W. Bush team has lost the will to defend either the existence of its ally Israel or even its own national security interests.To understand more about the broken U.S.-Israeli alliance and how it will factor into future events within the geopolitical arena, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
WHY IS ISRAEL IN THE HEADLINES EVERYDAY WHEN THEY ARE A COUNTRY ABOUT THE SIZE OF DELAWARE AND THE NARROWEST POINT IN ISRAEL IS 9 MILES WIDE. IN A WORLD OF ABOUT 6 "BILLION" PEOPLE - THERE ARE ONLY 12 "MILLION" JEWS.
GET READY FOR THE WRATH OF G-D...
As another American presidential election approaches, voters are being bombarded by candidates offering a smorgasbord of wondrous benefits, tax cuts, income tax credits and other tasty treats. And as usual, the issue of whether or not the country can afford it is forgotten in all the hoopla.
One of the most blatant recent examples is the many new hundred-billion-dollar-per-year government-subsidized health care plans currently being offered by political candidates.
Haven’t they heard? America is broke!
If they haven’t, they shouldn’t be running for office. And they definitely should talk to David Walker, the nonpartisan comptroller general of the United States—the nation’s top auditor. Walker is responsible for certifying the government’s books, so he should know exactly what kind of financial shape America is in. According to him, America is in deep trouble.
Politicians simply refuse to acknowledge America’s financial reality. David Walker says he has practically given up trying to get elected officials to take up the issue. For two years now, according to cbs News, Walker has been touring the nation like an Old Testament prophet trying to get America and its leaders to wake up to the financial reality facing them—the reality that America is facing bankruptcy (July 8, 2007).
That financial reality has been called the “dirty little secret everyone in Washington knows.” It is a set of facts so inconvenient that most politicians don’t even want to acknowledge the problem, let alone fix it.
$50 Trillion We Don’t Have
There is nothing difficult to comprehend about Washington’s “dirty little secret.” Even though the numbers involved are fantastically huge, the concept is elementary. Simply put, America has made promises to its citizens, in the form of Medicare, Social Security and government pensions, far beyond the nation’s ability to pay. And each year the problem is ignored, the funding shortfall gets worse by the billions.
Just how big is the shortfall? Walker says it now totals approximately $50 trillion. He calls it the most serious threat facing the nation.
To put $50 trillion in context, the total 2007 federal budget was only $2.4 trillion. But that $2.4 trillion wasn’t even enough to cover current expenditures. The government had to borrow hundreds of billions extra just to pay for all the programs.
Where is this additional $50 trillion going to come from? Even the U.S. gross domestic product, which is the total value of all the goods and services produced in the country for a full year, is only around $13.5 trillion.
If you think higher taxes will be able to cover the massive shortfall, think again. Besides being a political no-no that few politicians would have the nerve to tackle, America’s tax base when compared to the number of retirees is about to start shrinking rapidly.
80 Million Retirees in the Wings
America’s population is aging. Walker calls it a “demographic tsunami” that “will never recede.” The 80 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are getting set to start retiring—the first ones could retire early in 2008. As they age, it will have a dramatic impact on consumer spending, federal expenditures and tax revenue.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the section of the population most responsible for consumer spending is the 45-to-54-year-olds. These are consumers whose earned incomes are peaking and whose expenditures are greatest. They own the biggest homes, have several family vehicles, send their kids to music lessons, and generally contribute the most to the overall economy. Once beyond this age, children move out on their own, the family holiday cottage is sold, and overall spending drops. Once people reach age 65, spending really plummets as couples retire and shift to living on fixed incomes.
The number of people ages 45 to 54 is about to peak in America, after which it is expected to then drop until after 2020. Simultaneously, the number of people retiring and beginning to collect Social Security, Medicare and other government-funded benefits is about to mushroom.
In other words, the economy is about to get double whacked.
The population demographic ramifications are very significant. Seventy percent of all economic activity in the U.S. is consumer spending. The 45-to-54-year-olds drive that spending, but their numbers are about to drop dramatically.
At the same time, there will be more retirees collecting benefits. With Social Security, for example, there were originally 42 people paying into the system for each person collecting. By 2030 there will be barely more than two workers paying for each retired individual. The Social Security caseload is expected to jump from 50 million people to 84 million by 2030, which will be especially painful for government coffers since the SS trust fund is already empty, cleaned out and holding only government ious. Medicare’s caseload is predicted to leap from 44 million to 79 million enrollees. Already Medicare’s hospital insurance fund pays out more than it takes in.
The demographic tsunami is heading our way.
Kathleen Casey-Kirschling was born in Philadelphia on Jan. 1, 1946, at 12:00:01 a.m. Kathleen, who is generally accepted as America’s first baby boomer, will take early retirement when she turns 62 on January 1. America’s first baby boomer isn’t waiting until she is 66 to collect her benefits; she is applying for Social Security right away. Maybe she realizes that the system is approaching insolvency.
The system will go broke. Everyone knows it. No one has the courage to face it.
Instead of preparing for the approaching demographic tsunami, government leaders will probably continue to ignore it. After all, it’s not a pretty picture—increased taxes, reduced benefits, reduced consumer spending, and a rapidly slowing economy—who would vote for that kind of a message, no matter how realistic it is?
America is facing massive economic trouble. Yet at the time strong leadership is most needed, it is lacking. As Walker has stated many times, “The American people are starved for two things: truth and leadership.” Unlike in earlier times, God says that this time leadership would catastrophically fail the modern nations of Israel (Isaiah 3:1-6).
Though the tsunami isn’t here just yet, it is quickly approaching. With elections coming up and big promises hitting the airwaves, conditions may appear better. But you can be sure that America’s fiscal hole will just get deeper and deeper.
Then, one day soon, the fraud and deceit of today will end in sudden destruction in the form of financial collapse. As Isaiah 30:12-13 say, the collapse will be fast, like a swollen wall “whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant”—kind of like a tsunami.For proof Isaiah is referring directly to America, and for the underlying causes of this coming collapse, request a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
The end of cheap food
Dec 6th 2007
From The Economist print edition
Rising food prices are a threat to many; they also present the world with an enormous opportunity
FOR as long as most people can remember, food has been getting cheaper and farming has been in decline. In 1974-2005 food prices on world markets fell by three-quarters in real terms. Food today is so cheap that the West is battling gluttony even as it scrapes piles of half-eaten leftovers into the bin.
That is why this year's price rise has been so extraordinary. Since the spring, wheat prices have doubled and almost every crop under the sun—maize, milk, oilseeds, you name it—is at or near a peak in nominal terms. The Economist's food-price index is higher today than at any time since it was created in 1845 (see chart). Even in real terms, prices have jumped by 75% since 2005. No doubt farmers will meet higher prices with investment and more production, but dearer food is likely to persist for years (see article). That is because “agflation” is underpinned by long-running changes in diet that accompany the growing wealth of emerging economies—the Chinese consumer who ate 20kg (44lb) of meat in 1985 will scoff over 50kg of the stuff this year. That in turn pushes up demand for grain: it takes 8kg of grain to produce one of beef.
But the rise in prices is also the self-inflicted result of America's reckless ethanol subsidies. This year biofuels will take a third of America's (record) maize harvest. That affects food markets directly: fill up an SUV's fuel tank with ethanol and you have used enough maize to feed a person for a year. And it affects them indirectly, as farmers switch to maize from other crops. The 30m tonnes of extra maize going to ethanol this year amounts to half the fall in the world's overall grain stocks.
Dearer food has the capacity to do enormous good and enormous harm. It will hurt urban consumers, especially in poor countries, by increasing the price of what is already the most expensive item in their household budgets. It will benefit farmers and agricultural communities by increasing the rewards of their labour; in many poor rural places it will boost the most important source of jobs and economic growth.
Although the cost of food is determined by fundamental patterns of demand and supply, the balance between good and ill also depends in part on governments. If politicians do nothing, or the wrong things, the world faces more misery, especially among the urban poor. If they get policy right, they can help increase the wealth of the poorest nations, aid the rural poor, rescue farming from subsidies and neglect—and minimise the harm to the slum-dwellers and landless labourers. So far, the auguries look gloomy.
In the trough
That, at least, is the lesson of half a century of food policy. Whatever the supposed threat—the lack of food security, rural poverty, environmental stewardship—the world seems to have only one solution: government intervention. Most of the subsidies and trade barriers have come at a huge cost. The trillions of dollars spent supporting farmers in rich countries have led to higher taxes, worse food, intensively farmed monocultures, overproduction and world prices that wreck the lives of poor farmers in the emerging markets. And for what? Despite the help, plenty of Western farmers have been beset by poverty. Increasing productivity means you need fewer farmers, which steadily drives the least efficient off the land. Even a vast subsidy cannot reverse that.
With agflation, policy has reached a new level of self-parody. Take America's supposedly verdant ethanol subsidies. It is not just that they are supporting a relatively dirty version of ethanol (far better to import Brazil's sugar-based liquor); they are also offsetting older grain subsidies that lowered prices by encouraging overproduction. Intervention multiplies like lies. Now countries such as Russia and Venezuela have imposed price controls—an aid to consumers—to offset America's aid to ethanol producers. Meanwhile, high grain prices are persuading people to clear forests to plant more maize.
Dearer food is a chance to break this dizzying cycle. Higher market prices make it possible to reduce subsidies without hurting incomes. A farm bill is now going through America's Congress. The European Union has promised a root-and-branch review (not yet reform) of its farm-support scheme. The reforms of the past few decades have, in fact, grappled with the rich world's farm programmes—but only timidly. Now comes the chance for politicians to show that they are serious when they say they want to put agriculture right.
Cutting rich-world subsidies and trade barriers would help taxpayers; it could revive the stalled Doha round of world trade talks, boosting the world economy; and, most important, it would directly help many of the world's poor. In terms of economic policy, it is hard to think of a greater good.
Where government help is really needed
Three-quarters of the world's poor live in rural areas. The depressed world prices created by farm policies over the past few decades have had a devastating effect. There has been a long-term fall in investment in farming and the things that sustain it, such as irrigation. The share of public spending going to agriculture in developing countries has fallen by half since 1980. Poor countries that used to export food now import it.
Reducing subsidies in the West would help reverse this. The World Bank reckons that if you free up agricultural trade, the prices of things poor countries specialise in (like cotton) would rise and developing countries would capture the gains by increasing exports. And because farming accounts for two-thirds of jobs in the poorest countries, it is the most important contributor to the early stages of economic growth. According to the World Bank, the really poor get three times as much extra income from an increase in farm productivity as from the same gain in industry or services. In the long term, thriving farms and open markets provide a secure food supply.
However, there is an obvious catch—and one that justifies government help. High prices have a mixed impact on poverty: they hurt anyone who loses more from dear food than he gains from a higher income. And that means over a billion urban consumers (and some landless labourers), many of whom are politically influential in poor countries. Given the speed of this year's food-price rises, governments in emerging markets have no alternative but to try to soften the blow.
Where they can, these governments should subsidise the incomes of the poor, rather than food itself, because that minimises price distortions. Where food subsidies are unavoidable, they should be temporary and targeted on the poor. So far, most government interventions in the poor world have failed these tests: politicians who seem to think cheap food part of the natural order of things have slapped on price controls and export restraints, which hurt farmers and will almost certainly fail.
Over the past few years, a sense has grown that the rich are hogging the world's wealth. In poor countries, widening income inequality takes the form of a gap between city and country: incomes have been rising faster for urban dwellers than for rural ones. If handled properly, dearer food is a once-in-a-generation chance to narrow income disparities and to wean rich farmers from subsidies and help poor ones. The ultimate reward, though, is not merely theirs: it is to make the world richer and fairer.
WEAVER NIGHT VISION OPTICS - RECOMMENDED
| We are close very close to a major war.
Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2007
- written by jerry golden
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We now learn that
We all know of the great battle that will take place in the northern part of
They all have of course left out the main deciding factor, “GOD”. For His Word is always 100% true and He cannot lie.
How much time do we have none of us known but one thing is certain if you don’t know Yeshua as your personal Messiah you are in the most trouble. And if you feel the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) tugging at your heart now is the right time to get on your knees before Holy God and ask Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah to come into your life and be the absolute Lord of your life.
As for this Ministry we only know that we must continue trying to purchase a larger boat for surely we are going to need one. The 60 footer we now have will limit us to the point that we will have to say no to more than we say yes to, not the position I want to be put in. So the answer to how much time we have is we don’t know, but what we do know is this is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. That today is what we know we have and in it we must be about the Father’s business, we only fail if we are not obedient. Remembering always that God does nothing apart from Faith. Faith has lots of descriptions but all of them is in motion, for faith is a verb an action word and God wants us moving towards Him.
I will be making a trip in a couple days and meeting people for the first time and I know very little about them, I can only pray that they are who and what they say they are, please pray with me. In times like these we can only trust God and move forward.
Pray for the peace of