The USA Is in a Lonely Spot…
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 27:
“Reality has taught America a bitter lesson. Years after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the wars in those countries are still raging… The United States is in a lonely spot, even in the West. When Tony Blair resigned as British prime Minister, the US lost its last European vassal. In Asia, home to half the world’s population, America has many military bases but virtually no friends. To make matters worse, the weak dollar has made oil-rich Moscow and Tehran both strong and impudent.”
Shift in Global Power NOT in America’s Favor
The New York Times wrote on May 21:
“There has been much debate in this campaign about which of our enemies the next US president should deign to talk to. The real story, the next president may discover, though, is how few countries are waiting around for us to call. It is hard to remember a time when more shifts in the global balance of power are happening at once — with so few in America’s favor…
“[In] ‘The Post-American World,’ by Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, [the following is discussed:]
“Mr. Zakaria’s central thesis is that while the US still has many unique assets, ‘the rise of the rest’ — the Chinas, the Indias, the Brazils and even smaller nonstate actors — is creating a world where many other countries are slowly moving up to America’s level of economic clout and self-assertion, in every realm…”
None of this should surprise us. We have warned for decades that this development would come upon us. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America”
U.S. Housing Slump Continues to Deepen
The Associated Press reported on May 27:
“U.S. home prices dropped at the sharpest rate in two decades during the first quarter, a closely watched index showed Tuesday, a somber indication that the housing slump continues to deepen.
“Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller said its national home price index fell 14.1 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, the lowest since its inception in 1988. The quarterly index covers all nine U.S. Census divisions.”
In a follow-up article, the Associated Press reported on the same day:
“Sales of new homes rose in April for the first time in six months although the unexpected increase still left activity near the lowest level in 17 years.
“The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that sales of new homes rose 3.3 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 526,000 units. But the government revised March activity lower to show an even bigger drop of 11 percent to an annual rate of 509,000, which was the weakest pace for sales since April 1991…
“The Commerce report showed that the median price of a new home sold in April dropped to $246,100 in April, down 4.2 percent from April 2007… Many analysts don’t expect to see a rebound in prices until sometime next year.”
“USA Already In Recession”
On May 28, Der Spiegel Online published a revealing interview with US billionaire Warren Buffett. Buffett does not share the optimism of some regarding an alleged recent improvement of the U.S. economy. We are bringing you the following excerpts:
“I do believe that we are already in a recession. Maybe not according to the economists’ definition. That would require two consecutive quarters of negative growth. We haven’t reached that point yet. But people are already feeling the effects of the recession. It will be deeper and last longer than many believe.
“… the Germans know something about business. In fact, the strong euro works against Germany. But if an exporting nation like Germany is still strong, it proves that the supply and quality are right.”
The Associated Press reported on May 29:
“Consumers — whose spending is the economy’s lifeblood — are feeling the pressure from the economy’s problems. They increased spending at just a 1 percent pace in the first quarter. That was the slowest since the last recession in 2001. Consumers are pulling back as high energy and food prices leave them with less money to spend on other things. Falling home values are making many homeowners feel less wealthy and less inclined to spend. And, the credit crunch has made it harder to finance big-ticket purchases…
“Even if economic activity strengthens later this year, the unemployment rate — now at 5 percent — is expected to climb to 6 percent or higher early next year… An inflation measure linked to the GDP report showed that prices grew at a rate of 3.5 percent in the first quarter… Excluding food and energy prices, ‘core’ inflation increased at 2.1 percent pace in the first quarter… The core inflation figure… is still outside the Fed’s comfort zone. The upper level of the Fed’s inflation tolerance is 2 percent… Looking forward, inflation pressures could get worse given surging food and energy prices.”
No Freedom of Conscience for California County Clerks?
The Associated Press reported on May 20:
“The city attorney said Monday that county workers authorized to perform marriage ceremonies must be willing to conduct same-sex marriages under last week’s landmark court ruling, regardless of their personal views on homosexuality. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said in similar letters to the Secretary of State and Los Angeles County Supervisors that any policy that would allow certain workers to conduct only marriages between a man and a woman would be inconsistent with Thursday’s state Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriages in California… ‘County clerks have no legal standing to grant county employees the authority or ability to choose which marriage they wish not to officiate at, based on their personal views or biases,’ he wrote.”
German Government Can’t Rule Effectively
More and more German newspapers and magazines admit now what we have stated from the outset in the pages of this weekly Update: That the German grand coalition under Angela Merkel is unable to rule effectively. Note the following article:
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 27:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government will limp on to the next general election in 2009 but is too divided to rule the country effectively… The Social Democrats’ decision on Monday to nominate political professor Gesine Schwan to challenge conservative President Horst Köhler in Germany’s presidential election next May (May 23, 2009) has angered Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and rammed another nail in the coffin of their grand coalition government…
“Merkel’s left-right government is unlikely to fall because neither party will dare to withdraw from the coalition and risk being blamed for its collapse. Both the Social Democrats (SPD) and the CDU know that German voters would punish the perceived culprit at the ballot box. Nevertheless, this government is now too weak and divided to take any major decisions in the remaining 16 months of its term, say commentators…
“The left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘The coalition crisis will remain absurd because neither the conservatives nor the SPD will dare to break it up. After all, they haven’t got any alternative coalition partners, and an early election can be ruled out because it would undermine the credibility of both parties if they dissolved parliament prematurely yet again. But this grand coalition won’t be taking any more major decisions. Or put another way: this government has turned into a non-government organization, with immediate effect… The grand coalition was no successful model for Germany…'”
Germany Without Leadership
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 27:
“Politically, Germany seems rudderless these days. The government and the ruling parties’ leaders are unable to get their projects through or no longer have any policies to agree on.
“… what is the grand coalition good for? What will it do with its remaining 18 months? The government only has two grand projects, a difficult budget and an even more difficult healthcare reform program. The government lacks the strength to tackle any more than that…”
High Gasoline Prices in Europe
Time magazine reported on May 28:
“American motorists are understandably grumbling over skyrocketing oil prices as the summer travel season approaches. But their pain hardly registers against the rage afoot in Europe these days. Fishermen, truck drivers, and farmers are threatening to bring entire economic sectors to a halt with protests against crippling fuel costs. The wave of angry action is expected to spread further across Europe in coming days, despite efforts by political leaders to feel the pain and figure out what, if anything, they can do to alleviate it.
“Strikes and blockades staged over the past three weeks by French fishermen spread this week to Spanish ports; Italy, Portugal, and Greece expect more of the same on Friday as mariners seek to force national governments to offset marine diesel prices, which have shot up by 40% since January. Single boat owners and entire trawler fleets face a real threat of bankruptcy…
“On Tuesday, hundreds of British truck drivers in London and Cardiff brought traffic to a crawl in a campaign to get their government to lower taxes on diesel fuel, which now costs over $11 per U.S. gallon (3.8 liters). Other businesses owners who rely heavily on gas use – including farmers, ambulance and taxi drivers, and private bus companies – have joined the protest movement or are preparing to do so.
“Those labor protests reflect the hit millions of Europeans are taking at the gas pump. As American drivers groan over prices nearing $4 a gallon, the French are paying $8.67 for a gallon of super, compared to $7.10 in January, 2007. A gallon of diesel in French gas stations averages $8.54, up from $5.35 just a year ago. And in the U.K. diesel costs $11.50 per gallon, compared to around $3.90 in the U.S. Across the European Union, the average cost of a gallon of gas runs to about $8.70 – more than twice what Americans are shelling out to fill ‘er up. And Europe’s dizzying fuel costs would be even worse if it weren’t for the considerable appreciation of the euro and the British pound against the dollar over the past year, which has partially off-set the price escalation in dollar-traded oil.
“One big reason for the difference is that European governments put a much higher tax burden on fuel than the U.S. does. State and federal taxes currently make up just 11% of the pump price in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration; in France and the U.K., taxes account for an average of around 70%.
“Given the growing chorus of angry protests, it isn’t surprising that leaders across Europe have begun scurrying for ways to provide some relief at the pump. But their margin for maneuver is limited. On Tuesday, for example, French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed suspending most value added tax (VAT) on gas, a measure he said would mean as much as $267 million in savings per quarter to those hit hardest by fuel price increases… But as Sarkozy himself acknowledged, no nation among the European Union’s 27 member states can make such a move without the unanimous approval of the others.”
How Europeans Would Vote in U.S. Presidential Election
The Telegraph reported on May 29:
“Senator Barack Obama emerged as Europe’s favourite candidate for America’s presidency today when a poll conducted for Telegraph.co.uk gave him 52 per cent support across five of the world’s richest nations, including Britain. John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, received only 15 per cent of the vote in [an] unprecedented survey covering Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia.
“The poll also found a striking level of anti-American feeling in every country. A clear majority of Russians – 56 per cent – believe the US is a ‘force for evil’ in the world. In Britain, only 33 per cent see America as a ‘force for good’.
“Opinion towards America has become steadily more hostile throughout the presidency of George W Bush, with the Iraq war probably being the single most important factor. Mr Bush’s unpopularity appears to have rubbed off on Republican presidential candidates in general. This might explain why Mr McCain, a strong supporter of the Iraq war, is the least popular potential president in all the countries surveyed.
“Meanwhile, Mr Obama, the only consistent opponent of the Iraq war in the race for the presidency, commands a clear lead. He is especially popular in Italy, where a remarkable 70 per cent would vote for him if they could. In France, historically the European country with the strongest anti-American sentiment, 65 per cent would back Mr Obama. In Germany, the Democratic Senator would get 67 per cent of the vote – while Mr McCain would receive a derisory six per cent. Mr Obama appears to have made less of an impact in Britain than elsewhere in Europe. A relatively modest 49 per cent of Britons would vote for him, while 14 per cent would back Mr McCain – twice the totals favouring the Republican candidate in Germany or France.”
“Hezbollah Triumphs in Lebanon”
The Associated Press reported on May 26:
“Lebanon’s new president got a red carpet welcome Monday, but was quickly thrust into the political thicket as Hezbollah’s leader warned against any efforts to disarm his Iranian-backed guerrilla group. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah delivered his stern message after military bands and an honor guard saluted President Michel Suleiman on his first day on the job… The Shiite militant group has rejected demands it disarm, insisting its weapons are needed to protect Lebanon from Israel…
“Pro-Western political groups, which hold a small majority in parliament, have repeatedly called for a defense arrangement that would eventually integrate Hezbollah’s fighters and weapons into the national army. Hezbollah rejects the idea…”
Der Spiegel Online reported on May 29:
“A new civil war has been averted in Lebanon, and Israel and Syria are back at the negotiating table. But Hezbollah is stronger than ever, and its arsenal is brimming with weapons — partly because the United Nations monitoring program has failed…
“Hezbollah has further expanded its position as a state within a state… Hezbollah and its allies… are expected to receive 11 cabinet posts in the new government of national unity to be formed in Beirut. This bloc will be large enough to veto any cabinet decisions in the future. Most of all, the Qatar agreement allows Hezbollah to keep its weapons, a sensitive issue that all parties to the talks were quick to remove from the agenda…
“Various intelligence services have long been warning of Hezbollah’s regaining strength. Intelligence experts believe that the militia replenished, and even doubled, its arsenal after the summer war against Israel in 2006. Hezbollah is now believed to have 27,000 medium-range missiles, some of which could even reach Tel Aviv… The weapons were purchased with the help of funds from Iran and Syria. In 2007 alone, Hezbollah is believed to have received anti-tank weapons and rocket launchers worth $800 million (€516 million) from Tehran. The weapons were delivered overland through Syria.
“Observers consider it a foregone conclusion that [Hezbollah’s leader] Nasrallah is both capable and willing to engage in a new round of fighting with Israel. Political scientist Saad-Ghureib believes that it is not a question of if, but when, this could occur.”
“Unwinnable War in Afghanistan”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 29:
“Forty nations are embroiled in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Anyone who travels through the country with Western troops soon realizes that NATO forces would have to be increased tenfold for peace to be even a remote possibility.”
The article continued:
“Good days are in short supply in Afghanistan, a country at war — or involved in several wars, to be exact. There is constant fighting on many fronts, hard and soft. The newspapers, and there are many of them in Kabul now, serve up pages of chaotic images every day. Their reports are about bombs and drinking water, holy warriors and wheat prices, NATO air attacks and schoolbooks, kidnapped children, refugees and bandits.
“Almost seven years have passed since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, and in those seven years half of the world has tried to bring a better future and, most of all, peace to this new country, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As part of the NATO military operation known as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), 40 nations have 60,000 soldiers deployed in the country. There are 26 United Nations organizations in Afghanistan, and hundreds of private and government agencies are pumping money, materials and know-how into the country’s 34 provinces. But anyone seeking success stories or asking about failures will encounter reports that do not seem to be coming from the same country…
“There is no peace anywhere in Afghanistan, not even in the north, which officials repeatedly insist has been pacified… The United States and Europe have stumbled their way into a new type of international war, one in which all of today’s global and regional powers are involved…
“Since the fall of the Taliban regime almost seven years ago, the country’s opium harvest has been more abundant in almost each successive year. Last year, 93 percent of the heroin traded in the world came from Afghanistan… For fear of triggering hostility against foreign troops among the local population, the powers that be agreed early on that the Afghans would have sole responsibility for waging the drug war, with no NATO involvement whatsoever.”
And There WILL BE Earthquakes in Different Places…
On May 25, AFP wrote the following:
“A major quake such as the one that left at least 60,000 dead in southwestern China this month can trigger other earthquakes half way around the world, according to a study released Sunday… A team of geologists in the United States found that 12 out of 15 major quakes — registering a magnitude of 7.0 or higher — since 1990 generated surface waves that set off smaller seismic events in fault systems on distant continents… The terrible December 2004 mega-quake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, for example, provoked seismic events as far away as Alaska, California and Ecuador.
“There is a better than 95 percent likelihood that the earthquake rate in distant areas will be much higher in the immediate aftermath of a big quake than before or after, the study found. And while the seismic movements triggered by far away quakes were generally smaller — in the three-to-five magnitude range — there is no reason they could not be as big or bigger than the first.”
When the “Big One” Hits…
The Associated Press wrote on May 21:
“The ‘Big One,’ as earthquake scientists imagine it in a detailed, first-of-its-kind script, unzips California’s mighty San Andreas Fault north of the Mexican border. In less than two minutes, Los Angeles and its sprawling suburbs are shaking like a bowl of jelly. The jolt from the 7.8-magnitude temblor lasts for three minutes –15 times longer than the disastrous 1994 Northridge quake.
“Water and sewer pipes crack. Power fails. Part of major highways break. Some high-rise steel frame buildings and older concrete and brick structures collapse. Hospitals are swamped with 50,000 injured as all of Southern California reels from a blow on par with the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina: $200 billion in damage to the economy, and 1,800 dead. Only about 700 of those people are victims of building collapses. Many others are lost to the 1,600 fires burning across the region — too many for firefighters to tackle at once.
“A team of about 300 scientists, governments, first responders and industries worked for more than a year to create a realistic crisis scenario… The scenario is focused on the San Andreas Fault… [which] is the source of some of the largest earthquakes in state history, including the monstrous magnitude-7.8 quake that reduced San Francisco to ashes and killed 3,000 people in 1906…”
Even though these are frightening figures, it appears that they are far too conservative and optimistic. The reality will be MUCH grimmer–and who is to say that the earthquake which WILL hit Southern California in the not-too-distant future [and much sooner than 30 years from now] will not exceed a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale? The Bible predicts terrible calamities in the USA and around the world. Notice Jesus’ warning in Luke 21:11, 25-26:
“And there will be GREAT earthquakes in VARIOUS places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven… And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on earth DISTRESS OF NATIONS, with PERPLEXITY, the SEA AND THE WAVES ROARING; men’s hearts failing them from FEAR AND EXPECTATION of those things which ARE COMING on the earth, for the powers of the heavens WILL BE shaken.”
For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord“