America, Wrong or Nothing

America, Wrong or Nothing
Vol: 49 Issue: 31 Monday, October 31, 2005

There is nothing quite so astonishing — or quite so disgusting, as the glee with which so many of my correspondents are greeting the news of the indictment of Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

That is not to say that perjury is to be ignored or that Scooter Libby, if guilty, shouldn’t face the same legal jeopardy as any other American.

Even if it was a set up, which it clearly was. Without rehashing it all again, the central issue began with the question:

“Why send such a rabidly anti-administration partisan as Joe Wilson to investigate the Niger/Yellowcake claim?” Wilson claimed in a New York Times column that he had been sent to Niger at the behest of VP Dick Cheney.

In that same column, he trashed Cheney, the administration, and the accumulated US evidence that mandated the removal of Saddam Hussein.

It is therefore not particularly surprising that reporters would want to know why in the world Cheney sent a guy like Joe Wilson to gather evidence helpful to the administration. It is also not surprising that Cheney, since he hadn’t sent Wilson, would deny having dispatched him.

And it is illuminative to learn that Wilson wasn’t sent by Cheney, but rather, was dispatched by the CIA, with whom the administration has been involved in a turf war ever since the CIA was called on the carpet for pre-September 11 failures.

The problem is, the CIA doesn’t like to get caught playing in domestic politics. So when it was revealed that Wilson’s visit was arranged by the CIA without administration approval, it was time for damage control.

So, instead of it being a case of the CIA conducting espionage against the administration, it was soon turned into a case of an administration ‘outing’ a covert CIA employee.

It doesn’t evidently make any difference that Valerie Plame didn’t fit the profile of a ‘covert’ agent under the terms of the statute. The statute defines a covert agent as one who served in a covert status outside the United States within the previous five years.

Plame was a CIA official, not a field agent. And both Plame and Wilson denied Plame’s involvement until after a memo surfaced during the 9/11 Commission investigation establishing the link.

Even more revealing, especially since it is being concealed as carefully as possible, is the fact that the 9/11 Commission caught Wilson in so many lies during his testimony that the Commission officially discounted his testimony as unreliable.

None of that is relevant, particularly to those Americans who hate the administration so much that, if in the course of destroying the administration, it causes America years and years of long term damage, it qualifies as acceptable collateral damage.

Assessment:

So, we find the CIA involving itself in domestic politics, in violation of federal law — and common sense, since the CIA is ostensibly an agent of the United States government, rather than political operatives seeking the destruction of political rivals.

We have both Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame lying about Plame’s involvement in undermining America’s war effort, under oath, to the federal commission set up to investigate September 11. This might also be a good time to throw in former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger’s theft of 9/11-related documents from the National Archives.

Berger’s sentence amounted to a slap on the wrist. Valerie Plame still has her government job. Joe Wilson’s lies before the 9/11 Commission investigating the intelligence lapses that led to the worst terror attack in US history are largely forgotten.

His reputation is rehabilitated and the only lies history will remember about the whole affair was that Scooter Libby lied about who told him Plame worked for the CIA.

And there are idiots like the correspondent who wrote me this morning demanding that I ‘eat crow’ because, after all, Scooter Libby was indicted. (For the record, the phrase, ‘a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich’ exists because an indictment means that a grand jury hears only evidence that supports the prosecutor’s case).

But this isn’t a defense of Scooter Libby. If he lied, he lied, and he should pay the penalty due the crime, even if Bill Clinton didn’t have to. What the case exposes (again) is the irrational, white-hot hatred of the administration shared by so many Americans.

I say irrational, because, after five years of constant scrutiny by a press corps and opposition desperate to find anything negative about the administration, this was the best they could do.

An indictment against an official for lying about a crime that was never committed.

And, to those Americans dedicated to the destruction of the administration, finding out that there are crooked officials in the government is a victory for their side, rather than a black eye on all of America. It isn’t a case of America, right or wrong, but rather a case of America, wrong or nothing.

It is difficult to imagine how America can ever hope to defeat its enemies abroad when the most vicious attacks come from within its own ranks. Try, for a second, to imagine a similar situation anywhere else in the world, and you see just how crazy this looks from the outside.

We have American officials seeking the political destruction of other American officials, while America’s enemies conduct a pool to see which of their adversaries will fall on his own sword next.

No wonder al-Qaeda believes it is winning. It just might be.

On the Testimony of Eyewitnesses . . .

On the Testimony of Eyewitnesses . . .
Vol: 49 Issue: 29 Saturday, October 29, 2005

Only days after Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech in which he called for ‘wiping Israel off the map’ Iran launched a reconnaissance satellite that will provide it with satellite surveillance of the entire Middle East, including Israel.

A Kosmos-3M booster rocket successfully launched Iran’s Sina-1 satellite from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northwestern Russia. The launch of Iran’s Sina-1 satellite was deemed a success.

Russian officials said Sina-1 was developed in cooperation with Moscow and manufactured in Iran. They said Sina-1, described as a miniature remote-sensing facility designed to evaluate satellite design concepts, can relay images of earth and communicate on VHF and UHF frequencies.

The Sina-1 weighs 375 pounds and is fitted with two space cameras. It is believed to have an operational life of about three years. Evidently, Tehran believes that will be enough time.

Iran’s official news agency reported; “The satellite will be mainly used in telecommunications and taking photographs of the earth. In addition, the satellite can be used to photograph natural disasters, resources and farmlands.”

It can also be used to photograph Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Research Center, where it is believed Israel stores its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Iran has developed an enhanced Shihab-3 missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and was working on a Shihab-4, with a range of 2,500 kilometers. The Shihab-4 was meant to also serve as a space-launch vehicle.

“The satellite launcher is apparently not ready, but they preferred to send it already rather than wait,” Tal Inbar, a researcher at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Strategic Air and Space Studies, said. “It is clear that Iran plans to use space for military purposes. We are talking about the first capabilities for Iran.”

Assessment:

While Iran continues, with Russia’s help, to build up its military capabilities, Israel is also nervously watching developments across its northern border with Syria.

German Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis and his UN team reported serious evidence that the Syrian security operatives were directly involved in the killing of popular Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others in Beirut.

The France and Britain are pressing for a Security Council resolution which will force Syria to co operate or else face economic sanctions. Opposing the resolution are the usual suspects; Russia, the Arab League and Communist China.

Syria and Iran equally share strategic interests. Syria has been a conduit for foreign fighters and weapons into neighboring Iraq to fight the U.S. troops especially in Anbar province.

A separate UN report warns that Syria has permitted an increasing influx of weaponry and personnel to terrorists in southern Lebanon to attack Israel.

The latter report, prepared by U.N. special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, said Syria was using its agents in the army, intelligence organizations and Lebanese administration.

It cited continuing Syrian shipments of arms to Hezbollah terrorists perched along Israel s northern border with Lebanon.

The report said Syria also sends weapons to armed Palestinian militias and most end up in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. And it noted that members of Iran s Revolutionary Guard have a base of operations in Lebanon from which they trained Hezbollah to fly drones on two occasions over northern Israel.

Running throughout the entire web of Middle Eastern diplomacy, terror and intrigue, there is a common connecting tissue. Russian fingerprints are all over the place, from Tehran to Damascus.

Both funnel Russian-made weapons and supplies into Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to Hezbollah, from which they find their way into action against Israel.

As we discussed yesterday, what we may be witnessing is the development of the Gog Magog alliance foretold some 2500 years ago by the prophet Ezekiel, together with the beginnings of that alliance’s case for war with Israel.

There is some dispute among scholars as to whether or not the Gog Magog war is a pretribulation event; some argue that it takes place just before, others put it in the middle of the Tribulation, others put it at the end, just before the Millennial Kingdom age.

Each position has a scholarly argument to support it, but it would appear that the most logical time frame would be at some point just before the Tribulation Period begins.

The other views require too much theological gymnastics to get around Ezekiel’s prediction that, after Gog’s defeat, it will take Israel seven years just to clean up the battlefield. (Ezekiel 39:9)

It means that what we are witnessing may come to its full fruition before the Rapture. . . but not much before the Rapture, if at all.

We are eyewitnesses to the fulfillment of events prophesied in detail, thousands of years before the fact.

Our eyewitness testimony will carry great weight, should Ezekiel’s scenario continue to unfold until it comes to its conclusion on the mountains of Israel. Weight that could be enough to tip the scales for the skeptics out there, until all those “He hath chosen . . in Him before the foundation of the world,” (Ephesians 1:4) have come to know Christ.

“And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)

We are almost there.

“All of Them With Shield and Helmet”

“All of Them With Shield and Helmet”
Vol: 49 Issue: 28 Friday, October 28, 2005

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed international criticism of his call for Israel’s annihilation, saying, “They [Israelis] are cheeky humans and they think that the entire world should obey them. They destroy Palestinian families and expect nobody to object to them,” Ahmadinejad said, asserting his comments “are the exact words of the Iranian people”.

It was the first time since early in the days of the Islamic Revolution that such a high-ranking Iranian official has openly called for the destruction of Israel.

Ahmadinejad made his comments during Iran’s annual hatefest called ‘Jerusalem Day.’ Iran’s ‘Jerusalem Day’ is a carnival-like event during which one can express his hatred for the Jews, burn a few flags and meet with jihadist recruiters looking for suicide bombing candidates.

Protestors in Tehran and other Iranian cities burned Israeli flags and held banners displaying anti-Israeli slogans including “Death to Israel, Death to America”.

Ahmadinejad also said “anyone who signs a treaty which recognizes the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world”, and warned Muslim leaders who recognize Israel that they “face the wrath of their own people”.

Noted David Horovitz in the Jerusalem Post, ” The man was standing at a podium bearing a large poster blaring the title of the gathering, in English: ‘The world without Zionism’. He was stating, calmly and confidently, that such a world was indeed entirely within reach… This week, in the boldest language imaginable, Ahmadinejad made plain that, where Israel is concerned, a nuclear Iran under his watch would be anything but benign.”

Yediot Aharonot said in an editorial; “What is worrying, other than the minor issue that one day we might all turn into dust because of a nervous Iranian missile, is that 60 years after the Holocaust a leader of a state again openly threatens to destroy the Jews.”

Haaretz also heard echoes of the Holocaust in Ahmadinejad’s speech, writing; “The open call to destroy the state of Israel highlights the comparison with another leader who was elected by his people in 1933 [Adolf Hitler], whose agenda included an open call to destroy the Jewish people.”

Israel immediately called for an emergency session of the UN security council.

“We have decided to open a broad diplomatic offensive,” said Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom.

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon is also demanding that Iran to be expelled from the UN. “A country that calls for the destruction of another people cannot be a member of the UN,” he said.

Kofi Annan, in what, for him, was an unusually harsh public condemnation, expressed his “dismay” yesterday at Mr Ahmadinejad’s remarks and warned Tehran that all UN members had agreed to “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity … of any state”.

One wonders. Even Israel?

Assessment:

The Russian Interfax News Agency reported today that, while the Russians condemned Ahmadinejad’s comments as having ‘provided added grounds for sending the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program to the UN Security Council,’ it plans no change in Moscow’s nuclear policy vis a vis the Islamic republic.

“Our position regarding Iran has not changed,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Interfax during a visit to Jordan.

So, in a nutshell, we have the government of Iran promising to wipe Israel from the face of the earth and the government of Russia pledging to continue its efforts to provide Tehran with the nuclear means to do so.

Although it is a mortal sin under the UN Charter for one nation to advocate the destruction of another, particularly for ethnic reasons, the most forceful adjective that Kofi Annan could come up with to describe the UN’s official position was ‘dismay’.

The stage is not only set, but the current situation reads like a dress rehearsal for the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophesied ‘Gog-Magog’ invasion of Ezekiel 38-39.

To summarize the prophecy, the prophet Ezekiel, writing during the Babylonian Captivity (606-536 BC) foretold the formation of an alliance in the ‘latter years’ that would launch a sneak attack/invasion of Israel.

Ezekiel identified the leader of this alliance as “Gog and Magog” whom many scholars more credentialed than I have identified as comprising modern Russia and some of the various ‘Stans’.

Gog’s chief lieutenant is identified as ‘Persia’, the traditional historical name for modern Iran. Persia is joined by Ethiopia and Libya, (modern North Africa) together with much of the Middle Eastern Muslim world.

“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8)

The identity of the invasion target could not be more clear. ‘Brought back from the sword, gathered out of many people against the mountains of Israel, which have always been waste’ — this can only refer to modern Israel. No previous historical incarnation of Israel meets Ezekiel’s specifications.

Although Russia is the titular head of the invasion force, Persia is the catalyst. Ezekiel says Russia’s participation is reluctant at best; Ezekiel says God will “put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth,” (38:4) when ” at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought.” (Ezekiel 38:10)

And what is the United Nations doing during all this time?

Incredibly, Ezekiel not only identifies them as being dominated by the Western nations; “the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof” but he says their response amounts to little more than a weak diplomatic protest.

“Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (38:13)

Russia and Persia are currently joined at the hip by their joint nuclear project, the schizophrenic nature of which puts Moscow at odds with the rest of the world.

There is little doubt that a nuclear Iran would make good on Ahmadinejad’s threat with only minimal provocation. Moscow simultaneously condemns Iran for making it while supply it with the means to make the threat good.

And, while the Western world might express ‘dismay’ at a Moscow-led sneak invasion, it is unlikely that it will risk nuclear war with the Russians over Israel.

Washington might, but the Europeans certainly wouldn’t, leaving only Israel’s never-confirmed nuclear arsenal between Jerusalem and the barrier mountains separating it from the West Bank.

Ezekiel, writing from his historical vantage point two thousand years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, gave this description of the battlefield:

“And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (38:22)

Now, let’s leave Ezekiel aside for a moment and pretend we are prophets writing from our vantage point in history, trying to predict three years hence.

Israeli intelligence determines Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad’s call for wiping Israel from the map is now a practical possibility.

Since the US is currently involved in operations with Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, it is up to Israel to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities or live under the threat of instant annihilation at the whims of guys like Ahmadinejad.

With no other choice, Israel launches its strike, taking out much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, together with the thousands of Russian contractors, scientists, security personnel and administrators stationed there.

Iran, furious at being deprived of its nuclear ambitions, turns to the wounded Russians and together, they launch a surprise retaliatory invasion of the Jewish state.

Neither Europe nor the UN are prepared to stand against nuclear Moscow, particularly in light of Russian casualties inflicted by Israel in an attack that meets the definition of an act of war under international law.

Such an attack would provide all the excuse necessary for the rest of the Arab world to declare war on Israel and join in on the invasion.

That scenario puts the invading army on the mountains of Israel. It leaves Israel with the choice between its own annihilation and use of nuclear weapons to destroy the invaders.

Sound about right?

The above scenario is not only possible, it is probable, given that Iran will not give up its nuclear ambitions and Israel can not allow Iran to achieve them.

And it is an exact match to Ezekiel’s prophecy, right down to the various members of the various alliances and their various positions relative to Israel as they exist in this fifth year of the 21st century.

The only differences are that my scenario is an educated guess based on conditions as they exist today, and I could be wrong about the exact order and detail.

Ezekiel wrote from Babylon, one hundred and fifty years after the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by Sargon the Assyrian and two thousand five hundred years before a sovereign nation called ‘Israel’ would again be numbered among the nations of the world.

“Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46-8:10)

On Heroes, Victims and Losers

On Heroes, Victims and Losers
Vol: 49 Issue: 27 Thursday, October 27, 2005

On Heroes, Victims and Losers

The Michael Moores, Joe Wilsons, John Kerrys and Cindy Sheehans of America are beginning to see some real progress in their efforts to defeat America’s war effort in the Middle East.

Especially Cindy Sheehan. She has been the beneficiary of lavish attention being given her by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and the other usual suspects.

Why Cindy Sheehan? True, she lost a son in Iraq. Nobody with a heart would attempt to mitigate that tragedy in her life.

But, as the Left continues to gleefully trumpet, America just saw its 2000th American death as a result of enemy action in Iraq. So there are another 1,999 bereaved moms who grieve anonymously for their own sons and daughters.

Why isn’t the mainstream media all over them? Where are the reporters that should, since it is such a big story, be interviewing the parents of KIA 2000?

By and large, the majority of America’s grieving war dead families are not newsworthy. The loss of their sons and daughters didn’t turn them against their country. Instead, it strengthened their resolve to see this through to the end.

There are few parents of sound mind in America that have made it their mission in life to minimize the sacrifices made by their children in combat — or to destroy the cause for which they gave their lives.

In a sense, it’s hard to tell which is the sadder situation; the grief of those 1,999 other families, or the cynical efforts to exploit that grief by Cindy Sheehan and her herd of simpletons that are still trying to relive the Sixties.

Casey Sheehan died in Iraq in April, 2004, when his unit was attacked by RPGs and small arms fire. Sheehan was a volunteer who was eager to do his part to serve his country and he died a hero.

Assessment:

Let’s sidetrack for a moment and take a look at the word ‘hero’ as it has come to be understood since September 11th. In our national grief, we’ve come to assign the word ‘hero’ to anyone killed by terrorists in the past five years. The 9/11 victims are universally regarded as ‘heroes.’

There were heroes on 9/11 — lots of them. The ones who had a choice to save their lives and gave them instead in an effort to save others were ‘heroes’– like the firefighters, policemen, the passengers who revolted over Shanksville, Pa.

Then there were those who were killed without warning as they went about their daily routines. They had no choice, they were simply murdered. They were victims, which is not the same thing as ‘heroes’.

I mean in no way to diminish the victims, but if everybody is a hero, then there is no distinction between the firefighter who faced certain death running into the jaws of death to save lives and the victim who died trying to escape.

Casey Sheehan had a choice. One can find hundreds of references to Casey Sheehan’s mother but almost nothing about him. Casey Sheehan was a man worth knowing.

Casey enlisted in the Army when he was twenty years old. He decided to be a mechanic. He would undergo Combat Lifesaver training – a class on how to give IVs and treat trauma — an effort only second in intense learning to combat medic training.

Specialist Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army in 2004 knowing full well that he could be sent into a combat zone.

He wasn’t drafted, he volunteered for a second tour. He willingly answered the call of his country, and he willingly put himself between us and our enemies.

Sheehan died after volunteering to go out on a rescue mission to relieve soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment who had been ambushed with RPGs and small arms fire. They were pinned down and dying.

Casey knew the risks, took them anyway, and paid for our freedom with his blood. When volunteering for the mission, he reportedly said, “Where my chief goes, I go.” Casey Sheehan was a hero.

His mother has turned him into a victim and a martyr to the cause that took his life.

It is impossible to argue that Cindy Sheehan’s antiwar effort is aiding the US war effort, and it is equally impossible to miss the fact that her every word is front page news at al-Jazeera.

Cindy Sheehan is exemplar of the majority of the antiwarrior movement. To them, the ‘heroes’ are our enemy.

Liberal talk show host Bill Maher once remarked on television that it didn’t take any courage to kill our enemies from a distance. The real courage belonged to the 9/11 hijackers.

There is something glaringly off-center about the antiwar movement, however. Something unique. During the Vietnam War, the antiwarriors were against the war itself. Antiwar demonstrations grew so vociferous that Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, announced his refusal to seek a second term.

Instead, the White House was captured by Richard Nixon, a Republican. Watergate may have been the vehicle, but it was Vietnam that was responsible for Richard Nixon’s downfall, as it had been for Lyndon Johnson’s before him.

Do you see the difference? Opposition to the Vietnam War was genuine, albeit misguided. It cut across party lines, scarring Republican and Democrat alike. Antiwarriors of the Vietnam era had no partisan agenda.

That isn’t the case today. Opposition to the war in Iraq isn’t aimed at the war — it is aimed at the administration. The same leftists who now carry signs like ‘Impeach Bush’ and ‘Castrate Cheney’ (a sign at one of Sheehan’s ‘peace’ rallies) were outspoken about the need to bring down Saddam’s government, until the Bush administration actually started taking concrete steps to that end.

We’ve quoted various leading Democrats, from Hillary Clinton to Ted Kennedy, all endorsing Saddam’s removal until the Republicans came to power. The Left’s opposition, from the macabre, publicity-seeking Cindy Sheehan, to John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, isn’t to the war. Their opposition is to George Bush. Before September 11, the Left had already vowed to make the Bush presidency a failure by ‘whatever means necessary’, as Jesse Jackson promised supporters in Florida following Al Gore’s defeat in 2000.

The September 11 attacks against America handed them a gift that has kept on giving, and they continue to rewrap it at night so they can unwrap it before the cameras again and again the next morning.

It isn’t about the war with al-Qaeda. Few Americans honestly believe al-Qaeda will go away if America does. And it isn’t about the war with Iraq. As I’ve noted dozens of times, we won that war in 2003.

The Iraqi government is no longer our enemy. And we aren’t fighting the Iraqi government, but the same al-Qaeda we were fighting in Afghanistan. The same al-Qaeda that attacked America on September 11.

The same al-Qaeda that vowed it would do it again.

But the antiwarriors continue in their quest to destroy the Bush presidency, even if it means rendering the sacrifices made by 2000 genuine American heroes in vain. Nothing is as important to them as the destruction of the Bush administration.

Not even America’s sons and daughters on the battlefield.

“And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:36)

Bill Gates is Not the Antichrist . . . I Think!

Bill Gates is Not the Antichrist . . . I Think!
Vol: 49 Issue: 26 Wednesday, October 26, 2005

During Hurricane Ophelia, the only damage we sustained was when the motherboard on my main computer system got fried by a power spike. Of course, all my files and data were on that system, and my backup was anything but complete. (I know, I know. But it’s too late now)

In any case, I ordered a new motherboard, waited patiently for delivery, and set to work putting the parts together to rebuild my computer.

When I finally got it reassembled, I slipped my old hard disk drive into its place, hooked it all up, and fired up the computer. I was immediately notified by Microsoft that my operating system needed to be validated. When I performed the required validation procedure, my operating system was declared illegal by Microsoft.

I paid for the operating system when I bought the computer, but, according to Microsoft, the computer isn’t the sum of its parts — it is the motherboard itself. Consequently, Microsoft insisted that I purchase a new copy of Windows XP, or conversely, if I sent them $149.00, they would supply me with a new serial number that would unlock my current operating system.

Buying a number for $149.00 seemed like an awful lot to pay of something I already thought that I owned, so I surfed the net until I found a discounted copy for $79.00 and ordered that instead. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday.

Meanwhile, my ‘bootleg’ copy (that I paid for) continues to unravel and sputter and cough, thanks to the fact I have been locked out of all the Windows updates until I get a ‘legal’ operating system. So, I’ve been dancing around the various driver and other peripheral problems, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for the better part of a week.

My frustration level peaks every time I recall that I already paid for my operating system once, but that Microsoft couldn’t care less. After all, there isn’t much else I can do — and Microsoft knows it.

I have neither the time nor the patience to learn a new OS, and I can’t afford to replace my hardware investment with Macs, so Bill Gates has nothing to worry about in terms of customer backlash.

Besides, if I switched to Linux or Red Hat or Macintosh, the majority of my software investments would be useless, as well. Many Microsoft applications won’t run on Linux, and almost all PC software is useless to a Mac.

After a week of waiting for my discounted copy of XP to show up in the mail, I couldn’t wait anymore. Most of my software applications either don’t work properly, need to be updated, or I haven’t installed them, since whatever I install on this particular OS will only have to be reinstalled later.

A variation of Microsoft’s tag line keeps playing in my mind: “Where can we keep you from going today?”

Assessment:

This isn’t so much a rant about Microsoft as it is an object lesson about how things work when there is only one game in town. Let me ask a rhetorical question of those of you who are computer ‘power users.’

How many of you are fans of Microsoft? How many of you are frustrated by having to pay the prices Microsoft demands for software other manufacturers have to give away free in order to get noticed in the marketplace?

Now, for those who are frustrated beyond words, how many of you are reading today’s OL on a PC using one of Microsoft’s operating systems?

Red Hat offers the Linux graphical operating system, but, as noted previously, most software is designed to operate on the Windows operating system, so Linux is not much of an alternative.

Mozilla makes a great internet browser and email client that works with Microsoft’s OS, but Windows already comes with a browser and email client.

Microsoft’s has more vulnerabilities, and it isn’t as good, but, since it is already bundled with the OS, how many browser clients does one need?

Besides, using something not bundled by Microsoft demands a degree of computer expertise most users don’t have. Microsoft has done everything it can do legally to ensure third-party software is harder to use than its own versions.

So, even if one is utterly dissatisfied with Microsoft, there aren’t any genuinely viable alternatives. If Microsoft demands more money in order to use their software, there is little choice but to send it to them.

Consider Microsoft’s $149.00 deal. I pay them $149.00 and they let me use the software I’ve already paid for and installed. Or I can learn Linux. Or buy a Mac.

The Bible says that in the last days, the antichrist will control the global economic system as tightly as Bill Gates controls the software industry.

According to Revelation Chapter 13, the antichrist will control things so tightly that he, “causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)

The antichrist’s system will demand that, in order to participate, one will have to not only swear allegiance to his government, but will have to swear personal allegiance to him.

Over the years, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a dozen times. “If a guy takes over the world and imposes a mark, I’ll know its all true and I won’t take it.”

Sure. Just like you dumped Microsoft.

Bill Gates isn’t the antichrist. The Bible says, (at least at first,) that most people will LIKE the antichrist.

But Microsoft provides an object lesson worth noting. When you control the only game in town, choice is irrelevant. I can choose Linux if I want to, but it is a lot easier to just suck it up and play by Microsoft’s rules.

“And they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” – Revelation 13:4

Blood in the Water

Blood in the Water
Vol: 49 Issue: 25 Tuesday, October 25, 2005

According to a report in the New York Daily News, five years of Bush-bashing is beginning to take its toll on the president. The Daily News says that President Bush is frustrated, even bitter and offers examples of outbursts of temper by the Commander in Chief as evidence.

Bush, like Clinton before him, worries about his legacy, although Bush has less to worry about than Clinton. Only the most hard-core Clintonites can recall much about his presidency apart from the scandals.

For the most part, Clinton s accomplishments will always be overshadowed by his corruption and his subsequent impeachment.

Bush s presidential legacy is in danger of being overshadowed by five years of unrelenting harassment by his political enemies. Just as 20 years from now, should the Lord tarry, Clinton will be remembered chiefly for his scandals, Bush will be remembered as the Chief Executive of Red State America at war with Blue State America, overshadowing everything else.

After five years of fighting a two-front war; one on terror, the other with Blue State America, his administration is in danger of collapse. While our nation is at war, with troops in harm s way and while the homeland is under constant threat of attack.

That can t be good. But somehow, for millions of Americans, it is very good news, indeed.

The Sunday talk shows were inundated with Democratic strategists gleefully predicting the indictment of senior members of the administration over the Valerie Plame affair.

The New York Times, who stood behind Judith Miller s refusal to reveal a source to the grand jury (for which she spent 85 days in jail), was livid to discover that the source she was protecting was a member of the Bush administration.

The Times went from supporting her to systematically destroying her reputation within their own pages, with the final straw coming when a NYTimes editor hinted in a column that Miller was having a physical relationship with Cheney s Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby. (Both Miller and Libby are married)

The network anchors are abuzz with excitement at the prospect that special prosecutor Fitzgerald will indict Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and, maybe, just maybe, Vice President Dick Cheney himself.

The only thing that could make the news any brighter would be the prospect of a successful terrorist attack on the homeland.

Then even more of the administration would be vulnerable.

Assessment:

It all began with the Iraq War. It wasn t that the Democratic leadership opposed the war. Virtually every single Democratic critic of the war today was shouting for Saddam s head during the Clinton administration.

“Saddam’s goal … is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed. – Madeline Albright, 1998

“Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement.” – Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

“The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.” – Bill Clinton, 1998

“As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” – Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sept. 27, 2002

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members . . . . It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” Sen. Hillary Clinton, Oct 10, 2002.

That all changed when the Democrats switched sides. It became party policy to oppose the administration by opposing the war. By early 2003, George Bush was more unpopular than Saddam Hussein.

Enter Joe Wilson, former ambassador and outspoken administration critic. He was sent by the CIA on a fact-finding mission to Niger after President Bush spoke the infamous Sixteen Words in a State of the Union speech.

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Joe Wilson returned from Niger and accused the president of lying. The charge caught on among Democrats, despite the fact the British government still stands behind their intelligence assessment, which is what Bush quoted in the first place.

It turns out that Wilson s CIA assignment came at the suggestion of Wilson s wife, Valerie Plame, who is a high level CIA employee. Wilson denied it until the 9/11 Commission subpoenaed a CIA memo that confirmed Plame recommended Wilson for the assignment.

The Democrats turned their attention away from Nigeria yellowcake uranium (that subsequently proved to be true) and attacked the administration for leaking Valerie Plame s name to the press.

It is illegal to reveal the name of a covert CIA employee, but only under certain circumstances, not one of which applied to Plame. But that didn t matter, once the smell of blood was in the water.

The outcry prompted the appointment of a special prosecutor, whose investigation determined what was already obvious before the investigation began.

Leaking Valerie Plame s name wasn t a crime. She didn t hold covert status, hadn t been outside the country on assignment for more than five years, and her identity was already well-known in Washington circles.

Any potential indictments would be the result of conflicting testimony between Libby and Rove and the two reporters they spoke with, Judith Miller and Matt Cooper of TIME Magazine.

If indictments are handed down, the president will lose his most trusted advisor, Karl Rove. The Vice President s office will lose its Chief of Staff. And there is even talk of indicting Dick Cheney, which would certainly result in his resignation.

Why? Because somebody spoke the name of a non-covert CIA officer whose involvement in sending Joe Wilson on a fact-finding mission was material to rebutting charges that Bush lied in a State of the Union speech by quoting British intelligence reports — which the Brits still maintain are accurate!

What makes this so remarkable is, as I noted earlier, America is in a war in which it faces existential threats from enemies actively seeking weapons of mass destruction that they have already proven they would cheerful use against American civilians in the homeland. It doesn t matter to al-Qaeda whether they are Democratic or Republican civilians.

But instead of fighting the enemy, America is fighting itself. The specter of American citizens cheering on the dismantling of the administration during such perilous times is evidence of how far along the road toward the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in this generation we truly are.

During the Tribulation, the Bible divides the world into four spheres of global influence; the kings of the east, the kings of the south, the revived Roman Empire of antichrist and the Russian/Persian Gog Magog Alliance.

There is no mention of a fifth, American superpower.

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: (Matthew 12:25)

Fake It Until You Make It?

Fake It Until You Make It?
Vol: 49 Issue: 24 Monday, October 24, 2005

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has come up with an ingenious method of making it appear that he is complying with the provisions of the Road Map for Peace, without actually doing anything.

Ok, so maybe its a bit transparent to you and me, but evidently, to the allegedly smartest political minds the Quartet has to offer, its an ingenious plan.

First, let me refresh you as to the specific provisions involved here. There are two main provisions upon which the entire Road Map for Peace are founded.

The first is that the Palestinian Authority’s leadership have no ties to terrorism and that its government renounces terror as a political tool.

The second provision is that the Palestinian Authority disarm and dismantle the multitude of terrorist organizations it spawned and encouraged over the past fifteen years of alleged ‘peace talks’.

It is important to keep these two provisions in mind as we examine the latest ‘breakthrough concession’ being offered by the Palestinians to Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister, Ahmed Qureia, announced yesterday that the PA had a plan for disarming the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, part of the Fatah party co-founded by Abbas, Queria and the late, unlamented Yasser Arafat.

They plan to ‘disarm’ the terrorists by absorbing them into the Palestinian Security Services! The PA plan is to disarm the terrorists by turning them into armed Palestinian police officers!

(Take another look at provisions #1 and #2 of the Road Map to Peace plan).

Qureia announced the new plan after a meeting of his top security chiefs Sunday.

“We have agreed today to establish five new camps for training and hosting ‘stragglers,'” he said, referring to the Al-Aqsa members. He said the disarmament efforts would begin in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Nablus, and then move into other areas.

Interior Minister Nasser Yousef, the top Palestinian security commander, said the camps would be operational “within weeks.”

Al-Aqsa spokesmen in the West Bank and Gaza Strip said they were confident the movement would join the new plan. “In principle there are no problems,” said Abu Ahmed, an Al-Aqsa official in Gaza. (One would think not.)

The plan is being received with delight by the Quartet (EU, UN, US and Russia) and even the war-weary Israelis are willing to look the other way if it either brings peace or exposes the Palestinian Authority for what it is.

Israel is tired of fighting the whole world. Even the illusion of forward movement toward peace is an improvement over the constant state of war.

“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” – (Jeremiah 8:11)

Assessment:

In a tacit admission of defeat, Israel has dropped its campaign to ban Hamas from seeking office in upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections. While Israel never made specific threats against the Palestinians in regard to fielding Hamas’ candidates, it previously said it would refuse to ease travel restrictions for Palestinian voters which would invalidate the results.

Israel is not merely exercising a little retaliation against an enemy. Hamas has no other enduring purpose apart from the complete destruction of the Israeli state.

Israel’s perspective is that if Hamas took part in the Palestinian government, there would be no hope for peace talks. During the last five years, Hamas has carried out dozens of suicide bombing attacks that have killed hundreds of Israelis.

The turning point came Thursday. When Bush met with Abbas at the White House, Bush warned that violent Palestinian groups could ‘undermine the democratic Palestinian state-in-the-making’, he pointedly did not mention Hamas by name nor call for its exclusion from the election. In diplomatic-speak, it was a sign that despite Israel’s strong feelings, the U.S. was not going to press the point.

In three rounds of local elections earlier this year, Hamas did well, forecasting significant inroads into the power of Abbas’ Fatah Party when the people vote for a parliament in January.

This is the first time Hamas is running candidates for parliament. Hamas skipped the only other election, a decade ago, complaining that the parliament itself is part of an interim peace accord with Israel, a pact Hamas rejects on religious principle.

And THAT is the key issue — the one that baffles and confounds the Quartet. ‘Religious principle’. They don’t understand it. To an Islamic fundamentalist, the world is divided into two zones: the Zone of Islam and the Zone of War.

The Zone of War includes anywhere that Islam is not the dominant religion. The Zone of Islam includes all those areas once conquered by Islam.

Under Islamic teaching, once included in the Zone of Islam, it can never be permanently removed. Land once claimed for Allah is Allah’s in perpetuity. Any loss of territory to the Zone of Islam is temporary and it becomes the religious duty of the faithful to reclaim it.

Since Jerusalem is inside the Zone of Islam, to recognize it as part of Israel is the Islamic equivalent to blasphemy. And under Islamic law, the penalty for blasphemy is death. So, for Hamas to recognize Israel is religious blasphemy deserving of death. A recognition of Israel’s right to exist is therefore a repudiation of Allah, the Prophet and Islam. No such blasphemer can have any hope of eternal life.

Recognizing Israel’s right to exist would eliminate Hamas’ only goal and consequently, the organization’s reason for existence. For Hamas to reach any kind of compromise with Israel means its religious and organizational suicide.

On the other side of the equation is Israel. Israel claims its right to exist under the direct mandate of God. It claims its title deed to the Holy Land was granted by God, and that the land upon which the al-Aqsa mosque sits was purchased by King David under God’s direction as the place where God would put His earthly Throne.

Israel’s claim to Jerusalem extends back three thousand years to the time when the city was founded by King David. Jerusalem appears 669 times in the Jewish Bible, and is mentioned another 154 times in the New Testament, always in connection with Israel.

The Psalmist wrote despairingly during the Babylonian exile, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalms 136:5-6)

For thousands of years, up to this present day, Jews in exile commonly take leave of one another by saying, “Next year, in Jerusalem!” The prayer was part of the Passover ritual throughout two thousand years of Diaspora.

For Israel to surrender Jerusalem means a repudiation of Judaism and the rejection of the Jewish Scriptures, which, in turn, means an end to Judaism and Israel’s national suicide.

This is not a war between two peoples so much as it is a spiritual war between the Author of the Scriptures and the author of the Koran. As such, it cannot be resolved by compromise or have a compromise solution imposed upon it that will have any lasting effect.

The Bible predicts a period of false peace for Israel in the last days, one that will arise out of the confirmation of a seven-year peace deal between Israel and her enemies. (Daniel 9:26)

The Oslo Accords were heralded as a ‘breakthrough’ for peace that would finally end the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was divided into three segments; three years for the experiment in autonomy, two years to negotiate final settlement borders, and the final two years to reach a settlement on the ‘final status of Jerusalem’.

The deal was inked on September 13, 1993, and imposed a deadline of September 13, 2000 — a period of seven years altogether. Although Oslo failed, every subsequent effort was based on the Oslo formula of land for peace.

Daniel says that eventually, that formula will bear fruit in the form of a false peace agreement negotiated by the leader of Revived Rome [the EU] on behalf of the global establishment.

The seven year deal remains unconfirmed, but it exists. The religious nature of the conflict means that Christian America will never be accepted as an impartial broker. The European Union has been making that argument for years while Javier Solana continues to insist that only Europe can be successful in mediating the conflict.

The entire world opposes Israel, as the prophets Zechariah and Ezekiel predicted they would, and the central bone of contention is possession of Jerusalem, in complete harmony with Bible prophecy for the last days.

And it was Jesus Christ Who told us, “And when these things BEGIN TO COME TO PASS, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

It couldn’t be more obvious.

Could the antiRapturists Be Right?

Could the antiRapturists Be Right?
Vol: 49 Issue: 22 Saturday, October 22, 2005

Could the antiRapturists Be Right?

Did you ever wonder whether or not the Rapture detractors might be right when they make their arguments against what they deride as the ‘Great Escape’?

I mean, when you sit right down and explain to someone what the Rapture is all about, doesn’t it occasionally make you wince?

Don’t you ever wonder whether or not the Rapture really WAS an invention of J.N. Darby in the early 1800’s as the preterists often argue? And don’t you sometimes wonder, if the Rapture is such a key component of Bible doctrine, why there are so many mainstream Christian denominations that neither teach nor believe in it?

Dispensationalists make up but a tiny minority of the professing Church, while almost all mainstream Protestant and Catholic Churches ignore Bible prophecy as irrelevant. Indeed, the world’s largest Christian denomination, the Roman Catholic Church, denies any possibility of a Rapture at any time. Catholicism teaches that, even saved people still have unforgiven sins at the time of their deaths.

Purgatory, according to the Catholic encyclopedia, is a ” place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. ”

Depending on one’s sins, one could spend hundreds, or even thousands of years, in Purgatory, unless some living person prays you out of there by obtaining from the Church something called a ‘Plenary Indulgence’.

A Rapture of the Church cannot therefore exist, without first eliminating the doctrine of Purgatory.

Christian Reconstructionism, which represents the majority of mainstrean theological thought, teaches that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled with the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

It teaches that Jesus will not return again until the Second Coming and His Second Coming will not occur until Christianity becomes the world’s dominant religion and the world itself is prepared by the Church to accept Him when He comes.

If one sits down with a Christian Reconstructionist to discuss the major doctrines of the Church, including salvation, sin and the Deity of Christ, one discovers that the proponents of that doctrine are as sincere as you and I, and love the Lord as much as you and I.

They are as well-versed in Scripture as you and I and are as confident of their understanding as you and I. Moreover, and maybe most importantly, they are as sincere and unshakeable in their beliefs as you and I.

So, we return to the central question. Since they represent the majority of the professing Church, and are as studied, as certain and as sincere as you and I are, is it possible that maybe they are right, as well?

After all, each of us claims to serve the same Jesus and each of us uses the same Bible to gain our understanding of both Jesus and our faith. But we reach entirely different conclusions from our studies.

And things that are different are not the same.

Assessment:

When applied to a sinner seeking forgiveness for his sins and trusting in Jesus for salvation, sincerity is an essential element. One cannot fool God. But sincerity is no substitute for scholarship, and one can be sincere and be sincerely wrong.

The doctrine of the Rapture, when expressed out loud and described to an unbeliever, sounds almost like a science-fiction story or a religious fable. Especially when one is articulating it to a skeptic.

Until one compares it to the more mainstream interpretations. They share a common denominator that, to a discerning Christian, leaves no doubt as to which view is in error.

Note that Catholics must finish paying for their sins in Purgatory before they can enter heaven. And whether or not they enter at all depends on their state of grace at the time of their death. Whether or not they make it to Purgatory depends on their own works, and when they get out is conditional on their making their own payment for sin.

Note that Reconstructionism demands that man purify himself by his actions and conduct, thereby influencing the world for good until eventually, all men turn to Christ, at which time, the Lord will return. Jesus can’t come back to the world until we human beings make it a fit place for Him to set Foot on.

Both views subtly deny His Deity, while elevating man to the place where he plays a role in his own salvation. The forgiveness of Christ is not all sufficient and His power is limited and conditional upon human behavior.

Jesus cannot keep you after salvation unless you are somehow able to keep from sinning from there on in. If you sin hard enough, you will sin yourself out of His Hands, in spite of His promise;

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My Hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s Hand.” (John 10:28-29)

Man cannot help but want to play a role in his own salvation. It is a matter of pride. The very first time it rears its head in human history is in the Garden of Eden. Compare the First Lie with the doctrine of conditional salvation:

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

Starting back to front, is it possible for a fallible human being to know good from evil? We can know right from wrong, but good and evil are not actions, they are outcomes, and only God knows outcomes. One can give a bum on the street some money for food. That is a good thing.

The bum spends the money on crack cocaine, and then kills an innocent person while under the influence. That’s an evil thing.

Both events sprang from your gift of money. Was giving the bum the money a good thing, or an evil thing? Right and wrong are obvious. Good and evil are the provinces of God.

But according to Reconstructionism, the world is too evil a place for the Lord to return to, and it is the role to the Church to make it ‘good’.

The next lie, in reverse order, is that ‘we shall be as gods’. James writes that, “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy . . .” (James 4:12) Salvation is the sole province of God.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

Note there are two elements to this verse, ‘grace’ and ‘faith’. One of them is a ‘gift of God’. Which? Is it ‘grace’? Only if one redefines an action to become a thing. ‘Grace’ means ‘a gift’.

One cannot give grace AS a gift. It is not a thing, it is the extension OF a thing. Which brings us to the second element, the element of ‘faith’.

FAITH is the gift of God, not grace, which is the extension of the gift itself. That means that even that saving faith is not of ourselves, but is God’s gift to us. Our role as an active participant in our salvation is therefore excluded. We are not ‘as gods’ — no matter how sincerely we want to believe otherwise.

The third lie, in reverse order, is that by straying away from the Word of God, ‘our eyes will be opened’ to truths that would have otherwise escaped us.

Note that when the serpent asked Eve to repeat God’s prohibition, she replied, “of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Genesis 3:3) God never told her not to ‘touch it’ — she added that part, which provided the serpent with all the leeway he needed to cast doubt on her understanding of the rest.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired TO MAKE ONE WISE, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat . . ” (Genesis 3:6)

Returning to the original question, is it possible that our understanding of eternal security is wrong and that the mainstream was right all along? That there is no Rapture, that Bible prophecy was all fulfilled already, and that we are simply seeking some mythical “Great Escape?”

After all, they argue, why should one generation, out of all those who came before, be chosen as the generation that will never die? It is a compelling argument. Viewed that way, it doesn’t really seem fair. Who do we think we are?

The Rapture is as earned and deserved as our salvation, which we obtained through God’s extension of grace whereby He gifted us with saving faith. That saving faith is in the unearned remission of our sins which was obtained on our behalf on Calvary’s Cross.

We’ve explored the Scriptures that clearly promise a coming Rapture, and examined all the various views at one point or another. A pretribulation Rapture of the Church is in harmony with the Scriptures for the last days. Fairness, insofar as mankind views fairness, is irrelevant.

‘Fairness’ as we understand fairness, would be when each of us pays our own way. But all of us are saved on the understanding that Jesus was condemned ‘unfairly’ for sin and His payment was therefore acceptable payment for our own sins.

Faith in Christ means faith in Christ, not in men, or in our own actions, or in what we believe sounds fair.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Assad’s Gamble

Assad’s Gamble
Vol: 49 Issue: 21 Friday, October 21, 2005

In February, Rafik Hariri was killed along with nine innocent bystanders when a suicide bomber detonated a massive car bomb that carved a 30-foot hole in a street and turned armored vehicles into burning wrecks.

In addition to killing the target, Rafik Hariri , and the nine other victims, the blast also wounded more than one hundred people. It was an horrific act, made more horrific by Hariri ‘s popularity.

Rafik Hariri was one of the few honest politicians in Lebanon’s recent history, having served as that country’s prime minister five times since 1992.

An ardent nationalist, Hariri was also a major player in the drive to end Syria’s forty-year occupation of Lebanon that ended in a Syrian withdrawal this year. His assassination sent shockwaves throughout the Arab world and prompted the UN to involve itself.

Kofi Annan dispatched a team of UN investigators to Beirut to dig into rumors of Syria’s direct involvement in the assassination of its arch-nemesis.

Annan’s handpicked lead investigator, German magistrate Detlev Mehlis, issued his final report to the UN Security Council yesterday. It said there was probable cause to believe the decision to kill Hariri could not have been taken “without the approval of top-ranked Syrian security official(s),” nor carried out without the complicity of Lebanese security services.

It accused top pro-Syrian Lebanese officials of a major role in the killing, with suspicion cast even on President Emile Lahoud.

Assessment:

In the wake of the report’s release, Syria’s Bashar Assad had only three options. Arrest those responsible, blame it on some underground network, or dismiss it all as a political conspiracy hatched by the United States.

Assad chose the ‘conspiracy theory’ — after it was leaked that the US offered Assad a deal.

The deal offered Syria a chance to avoid UN action if he agreed to surrender the guilty, end its destabilization efforts in Iraq and Lebanon and withdraw support for terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

The offer caught Assad like a rat in a trap. To accept it would be suicidal. If he tried to arrest the guilty parties, his regime wouldn’t survive the night. But an outright rejection of the offer paints him as a conspirator in an official Syrian government assassination of a foreign leader on foreign soil. Hence the third option scenario. “It’s all a US conspiracy.”

But it won’t fly. This wasn’t a US investigation, but rather one conducted by the UN under official mandate of the UN Security Council. Among the members of the Security Council are a number of prominent Arab states. The chief investigator was German. The report was accepted by France, Russia and China. Assad’s goose is cooked.

U.S. officials quoted in a New York Times story last week suggested that Syria had become like Cambodia during the Vietnam War: a sanctuary for those opposed to stability next door.

On Wednesday, in an appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refused to rule out the use of force against Syria because of its actions, particularly in Iraq. “The president never takes any option off the table and he shouldn’t,” Rice said.

Syria now faces mounting pressure from the UN and the international community at large, and perhaps even the imposition of UN sanctions, opening up a whole new can of worms in the region.

Assad is backed into a corner. Unlike Khadaffi in Libya, Assad can’t afford a sudden change of heart. Khadaffi is a genuine strongman of the old school of Arab dictators, as was Assad’s father.

But the younger Assad remains in power in something of a ‘first among equals’ arrangement with the Syrian military establishment. Assad rules at their pleasure. In a showdown, Assad would stand alone. And fall immediately.

Throughout history, one truism stands out. Dictators have a lousy retirement plan. Assad’s only hope of survival is to remain in power. And his only hope of remaining in power is to stay the course, ride out the UN, and hope his efforts to destabilize Iraq will keep Washington occupied.

Assad has evidently decided to follow the Saddam Hussien Guide to Crisis Management and hope it turns out better for him than it did for Saddam.

Like Saddam before him, Assad is counting on the threat Syria’s WMD arsenal poses to Israel to shield his nation from US attack. Syria has an extensive chemical and biological missile arsenal pointed at population centers across Israel. To prevent Israel from destruction, an attack would have to simultaneously destroy all command and control plus all missile launch sites — before the launch command could be given from Damascus.

But, according to Bible prophecy, Assad’s gamble won’t work any better than Saddam’s did. Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Damascus suggests exactly that scenario — the complete destruction of Damascus in a massive, single attack.

Damascus holds the record for being the longest continually inhabited city in world history. Damascus is first mentioned in Scripture in the Book of Genesis during the time of Abraham. Damascus was one of Israel’s principle enemies since the time of King David. Throughout the Old Testament, God promises to send judgment on Damascus for its transgressions.

“Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:” (Amos 1:3)

“And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.” (Jeremiah 49:27)

But Damascus has yet to face the judgment forecast for her by Scripture.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” (Isaiah 17:1)

As noted, Damascus is the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. So we know Isaiah’s prophecy remains yet future. Should Syria prepare to launch its chemical or biological missile arsenal against Israel, Israel will have one of two choices. The destruction of Damascus or the destruction of Israel.

Isaiah also provides another clue as to when Damascus can expect to meet its prophesied fate:

“And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim.” (Isaiah 17:5)

Abbas: “Israel Strengthening Palestinian Terror”

Abbas: “Israel Strengthening Palestinian Terror”
Vol: 49 Issue: 20 Thursday, October 20, 2005

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is in Washington for a White House meeting with President George Bush. But before the meeting Abbas explained in a Wall Street Journal column just exactly why Palestinians can’t break the habit of killing Israeli civilians.

It’s Israel’s fault, he wrote, in his widely-quoted and virtually undisputed opinion. It is virtually undisputed because Americans have been conditioned to understand this kind of double-talk. Anti-warriors have created a cottage industry out of explaining why America was ultimately responsible for creating al-Qaeda terrorism.

And evidently, Mahmoud Abbas has tapped into that line of reasoning to make his case for Israel being responsible for Palestinian terrorism.

So Abbas is peddling his own brand of victim responsibility and it is getting rave reviews. According to Abbas, Israel is strengthening Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade by isolating them in Gaza after pulling out.

A couple of points to consider at this juncture. The first is that the officially stated reason that Israel pulled out of Gaza was to isolate terrorism by putting Israeli civilians out of reach.

Ariel Sharon carefully explained to anybody that would listen that since the Palestinian Authority had not met a single one of its commitments under the Road Map plan, Israel had no choice but to adopt a policy he called ‘unilateral disengagement’.

Stay with me on this. The policy is still called Israel’s ‘Unilateral Disengagement Policy’. It is ‘unilateral’ since only one side is ‘disengaging’. ‘Disengaging’ from what?

I’m glad you asked. Israel is ‘disengaging’ itself from the Oslo War. Israel doesn’t want to fight it anymore. Since the Palestinians do, however, Israel has to disengage from the war ‘unilaterally’.

I can’t make this point strongly enough. The term ‘Unilateral Disengagement’ means only one side is trying to stop fighting the war. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be ‘unilateral’. It is so simple that even an idiot or a liberal (but I repeat myself) could figure it out.

Nonetheless, Abbas complained that “even though Israel completed a withdrawal of settlers and soldiers from Gaza last month, the Jewish state was keeping the territory sealed off by land, sea and air from the outside world.”

Abbas also complained about the Israeli presence in the ‘Palestinian heartland’. Not a single editorial I found seemed remotely uncomfortable with the PA’s policy of ethnic cleansing of Jews from its territories.

If Israel began expelling its several million Israeli Arab citizens, UN troops would be massing on Israel’s borders the following morning.)

Abbas’ continued to spin his fantastic story, writing in the Wall Street Journal that he, Abbas, had created “a climate of peace” since his January election and that polls consistently show a majority of Palestinians wanted to live in a state at peace beside Israel.

“Yet this climate of peace needs the help of the US and the international community: For without sustained pressure on the Israeli government to sit down and negotiate, Israel will only bolster those within Palestinian society who do not share the majority’s desire for peace,” he wrote.

Assessment:

“Sit down and negotiate.” It sounds like a reasonable request on the surface, but Israel has been ‘negotiating’ with the Palestinian Authority since September 13, 1993 when it entered into the Oslo Agreement with Yasser Arafat.

The fruit of those negotiations was a surrender of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, from which territory the Palestinians launched an all-out war against Israel.

More Israelis have died at the hands of Palestinian attackers since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords than were killed by Palestinian terrorists in the period from Israel’s restoration until Oslo.

During the past fifteen years, the Palestinian Authority has not met a single commitment it has ever made in any of those ‘negotiations’. The current version of the ‘peace process’ is the Road Map to Peace Plan, advanced by the “Quartet.” (The US, UN, EU and Russia)

Under the Road Map Plan, Israel is to pull out of all contested areas, out of which will be created a Palestinian State. The Road Map has two preconditions.

The first is that the Palestinian Authority be divorced from Palestinian terrorism. Mahmoud Abbas is one of the co-founders of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah Party and joined the PLO in 1968 and was a member of the PLO Executive Committee.

This might be a good place to inject a little historical perspective: The PLO was, from 1968 to 1993, the best-known and one of the most-feared terrorist organizations in the world.

Its leader, Yasser Arafat, was the undisputed father of modern terrorism who pioneered, among other things, airplane hijacking as a terrorist weapon.

And Mahmoud Abbas was the PLO co-founder and a member of the PLO Executive Committee during that entire blood-soaked period.

When Mahmoud Abbas was named Palestinian Prime Minister in March, 2003, the Quartet decided to ignore Precondition #1 and pretend that Abbas’ lifelong occupation as a professional terrorist leader was no barrier.

The second precondition of the Road Map to Peace deal was that, BEFORE ISRAEL WAS REQUIRED TO DO ANYTHING, Mahmoud Abbas had to disband and disarm all Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas and Fatah’s own personal terrorist organization, the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade.

Once again, an injection of perspective is called for, here.

The al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade claimed responsibility for the most recent attack last week in which gunmen shot up a bus stop and killed three Israeli civilians. The al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade is part of the Fatah Party, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who co-founded it with Yasser Arafat.

Abbas has not only done NOTHING to disarm or disband those groups, he has promised them directly at numerous Palestinian terrorist rallies that he has absolutely no intention of doing either one.

Moreover, he has invited representatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade to run candidates in Palestinian elections and join his government!

Abbas didn’t give those speeches in his bathroom. He made them in public, they were recorded and transcribed, and every word was translated into languages that the EU, Russians, UN and US could understand. So much for Precondition #2.

In fact, as Abbas is meeting with President Bush in Washington to complain about Israel, a Palestinian group released photographs of masked gunmen in front of two men who were kneeling on the floor of an empty room with their faces against a wall.

According to a verbatim quote from the Associated Press report this morning, “The gunmen said they are affiliated with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, which controls the Palestinian Authority.” The two kneeling men were abducted by the masked gunmen, who accuse them of ‘collaborating with Israel’.

One of the terrorists, who identified himself as Abu Anan, told the AP in a telephone interview, “We will not make a decision on whether to execute the men until after our interrogation process is complete.”

The mere fact that President Bush would meet with Mahmoud Abbas boggles the mind. It is an equivalent absurdity with Bush meeting with al-Qaeda #2 man Ayman al-Zawahiri after the death of Osama and declaring Zawahiri a ‘changed man’ — even as Zawahiri continued to exhort his followers to jihad.

The only reason that Israel has closed the borders to the Palestinians is because when they open the borders, the grateful Palestinians respond by killing Israeli civilians.

The only reason Israel disengaged unilaterally from Gaza was because the Palestinians talked peace while continuing to make war.

The only reason Israel could possibly have for building a security fence between itself and the West Bank is to keep Palestinian terrorists on the other side of it. There is a common thread that weaves itself through all of this.

If the Palestinians would stop the terror attacks, Israel would have no reason for any of the actions the Palestinians are complaining about. It is pretty simple — if this were any other nation on earth except Israel.

But when it comes to Israel, all logic breaks down. Consider this explanation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as offered by MSNBC:

“The establishment of the state of Israel over 50 years ago starts one of the largest population displacements in history. 700,000 Arabs leave or are driven out of the budding Jewish state in 1948 and 1949. Languishing in crude camps, their sense of displacement spawns the Palestine Liberation Organization and violent attacks, beginning in the 1960s. Today the number of Palestinians in occupied territories and surrounding Arab states passes 3.6 million.”

One of the “largest population displacements in history”? And only three years after Hitler exterminated 12 million people in death camps!

How Big a Lie is necessary? Evidently, the sky is the limit.

Only Israel (and, not coincidentally, the United States) could be credibly blamed for their own victimization. I say, ‘not coincidentally’, that also applies to the United States, and for the same ultimate reason.

Israel is the world’s only Jewish nation. The United States is perceived by the rest of the world to be the world’s most Christian nation. (Actually, the percentage of Australians who claim Christianity is almost identical to that of the United States. But this isn’t about reality so much as perception.)

Every deity invented by mankind is welcome at the United Nations. The only Deity unwelcome at the table of nations is the One Who claims to be the Inventor of mankind, rather than being a product of mankind’s invention.

The world community hates Israel and the United States for one reason above all others — they are a constant reminder of the existence of God as He is revealed in the Bible. A God Who demands accountability from men, rather than the other way around.

Both Israel and the US acknowledge the Bible’s Creator God, and acknowledge that it is under His authority they derive their individual and national rights.

The rest of the world derives their right to exist, together with their individual human rights, from the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The UNDHR grants pretty much the same individual rights as are set forth by the Constitution and by Israel’s Basic Law.

But the critical difference that puts Washington and Jerusalem on one side and the rest of the world on the other is that the rights granted by the UNDHR are granted by the United Nations. What the UN can grant, the UN can rescind.

On the other hand, American and Israeli individual rights are granted by God. And what God grants, only God can rescind.

The UN hates both the US and Israel for that reason above all others. It recognizes that it therefore has no binding authority over either nation. The continued existence and independence of these nations under the God of the Bible is an offense to the god of this world and a rejection of his apostles among the global leadership.

The world therefore hates Israel and the United States with an unreasoning mindless hatred that defies natural explanation.

The reason, I believe, is because that hatred is supernatural in origin. And it will only get worse as the hours tick down to the final countdown on the plains of Megiddo, some time in the not-too-distant future.

“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)