Collective Madness

Collective Madness
Vol: 89 Issue: 17 Tuesday, February 17, 2009

California’s economy is so vast that if California were a country, it would be the world’s seventh largest economy.

In good times, that is a blessing. But right now, California is on the brink of economic catastrophe. The state is nearly out of cash, has laid off scores of workers and put hundreds more on unpaid furloughs.

It stopped paying counties and issuing income tax refunds and halted thousands of infrastructure projects. Matt David, communications director for Governor Schwarzenegger said another 20,000 pink slips would be going out this morning.

In the absence of a budget we need to realize this savings and the process takes six months, David said.

California has also lost access to much of the credit markets, nearly unheard of among state municipal bond issuers. Recently, Standard & Poor s downgraded the state s bond rating to the lowest in the nation.

No other state is in the kind of crisis that California is in, said Iris J. Lav, the deputy director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research group in Washington.

While nearly all U.S. states currently face budget shortfalls, California’s deficit is more than one-third of its general fund. That’s largely due to its dependence on income taxes, which slide during a recession. And the state can’t easily borrow due to the government bond-market freeze.

There’s no easy fix to the problem, as any solution likely requires cutting benefits and social services tough political choices for Schwarzenegger. But the state does have an abundant natural resource it may be able to draw on for help.

Marijuana is California’s largest cash crop. It’s valued at $14 billion annually, or nearly twice the value of the state’s grape and vegetable crops combined, according to government statistics.

Marijuana accounts for two-thirds of the local economy of Mendocino County north of San Franscisco.

Proponents of legalizing and taxing marijuana say the numbers involved justify rethinking California’s marijuana laws.

A national legalization effort would save nearly $13 billion annually in enforcement costs and bring in $7 billion in yearly tax revenues, according to a study by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron.

Since California represents 13 percent of the U.S. economy, those numbers suggest the state could save $1.7 billion in enforcement costs and nab up to $1 billion in revenues.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration the revenues narco-tourism would rake in, as in the Netherlands.

Proponents say that legalizing and taxing marijuana could bring in more than $3 billion in annual revenues. Recently, the Fraser Institute did a study calculating how much tax revenue the Canadian government could make by legalizing and taxing marijuana.

The study estimates that the average price of 0.5 grams (a unit) of marijuana sold for $8.60 on the street, while its cost of production was only $1.70. In a free market, a $6.90 profit for a unit of marijuana would not last for long.

Entrepreneurs noticing the great profits to be made in the marijuana market would start their own grow operations, increasing the supply of marijuana on the street, which would cause the street price of the drug to fall to a level much closer to the cost of production.

Noted Easton: “However, it’s quite likely that the demand for marijuana would change from legalization. We saw that there was a risk in selling marijuana, but since drug laws often target both the buyer and the seller, there is also a risk (albeit smaller) to the consumer interested in buying marijuana. Legalization would eliminate this risk, causing the demand to rise. This is a mixed bag from a public policy standpoint: Increased marijuana use can have ill effects on the health of the population but the increased sales bring in more revenue for the government.”

Ok, so we create more dope addicts, but getting into the narcotics business will bring in the bucks. So it makes a few addicts. Look at cigarettes, booze and gambling.

Think it won’t happen?

Assessment:

Think back to when gambling was illegal. Numbers runners would work the neighborhood ‘lotteries’ making their ‘bankers’ rich men. The government’s role was to expend a fortune on law enforcement in order to break up the numbers runners and smash the bookie dens.

Until the government decided to go into the numbers running business for itself. Between the profits from the gambling operations and the savings to the legal system, it seemed like a great idea.

Of course, legalized gambling had its own social downside, much like legalizing marijuana.

In their greed, lawmakers forgot that downside was the reason that gambling was outlawed in the first place. Gambling quickly became a major social problem. Soon, the government started running ads telling problem gamblers where to go for government help with their ‘addiction’.

There was a time when the idea of government-run lotteries was as foreign as the idea of buying pot from the government sounds now.

But the pro-legalization arguments for marijuana are persuasive. And they fit entirely with the outline of the last days as set forth by Bible prophecy.

The Bible makes a number of references to sorcerers and sorcery. In Exodus 7:11, Pharaoh called on his sorcerers to face down Moses. Exodus 22:18’s admonition, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” translates ‘witch’ using the same Hebrew root word, “kashaph” for both ‘witch’ and sorcerer.

The word or a variation of it appears six times in the Old Testament and five times in the New. In each of the OT instances, the same root word, “kashaph” is translated as ‘witch’ or ‘sorcerer’. “Kashaph” means to practice or use witchcraft or magic arts.

In the New Testament, we find the word appearing twice in the Book of Acts:

“And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus . . .” (Acts 13:6)

“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” (Acts 13:8)

Throughout both Testaments, the word translated ‘sorcerer’ (and all its variations) is translated from either ‘kashaph’ (Hebrew – magic) or magos or magea (Greek -magic, magic arts).

Until one comes to the Book of Revelation — the only book of Scripture whose narrative is entirely prophetic. That can’t be stressed enough — it is a book that only the generation to whom it was penned can understand.

“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” (Revelation 9:21)

“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. ” (Revelation 18:23)

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:18)

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. ” (Revelation 22:15)

There are a couple of things I want to call your attention to in the Revelation verses. The first, as noted, is that Revelation describes the events of the last days before the return of the King.

Although penned in the 1st century, it is an eyewitness account of events from the 21st century. Secondly, Revelation lists sorceries as one of the REASONS for judgment. (Revelation 9:21)

Thirdly, sorceries and sorcerers make more appearances in the Book of Revelation than any other single book of Scripture.

Finally, let’s look at the original Greek word translated as ‘sorceries’ in the KJV version of the Book of Revelation. The Greek word is not magos or magea. The Greek word translated as “sorceries” in Revelation is used uniquely in the Book of Revelation.

It does not appear elsewhere in Scripture since it describes a circumstance unique to the last days before the Return of Christ. (And just imagine how confusing it must have been to the translators four hundred years ago.)

That word is ‘pharmakea,’ meaning ‘the use or administration of drugs.’

The Joy of Thy Salvation

The Joy of Thy Salvation
Vol: 89 Issue: 16 Monday, February 16, 2009

King David of Israel is referred to by Scripture as “a man after God’s own Heart.” (Acts 13:22) King David is also the patriarch with the most blood — innocent and otherwise — on his hands.

David was a warrior-king but there is no sin in being a warrior. The OT is filled with accounts of bloody battles being led by God’s hand-picked leaders, from Moses to Joshua to Gideon to David.

But among the patriarchs, David uniquely holds the record for depravity.

David was a king chosen expressly by God Himself. Under David’s rule, Israel became a world superpower.

Despite all that God had given him, David wanted more. David wanted Bathsheeba, who was the wife of one of his most trusted soldiers, Uriah.

David sent Uriah to the battle front with an urgent message for its commander.

Uriah was too loyal to read it, or he would have discovered he was carrying his own death warrant. The message instructed the commander to put Uriah in the thick of battle where he was sure to be killed.

After Uriah’s murder, David claimed Bathsheeba for himself.

Later, convicted of his sin by the prophet Nathan, David went to the Lord in prayer, and in so doing, revealed exactly why David was called “a man after God’s own Heart.”

His prayer of contrition, as recorded in Psalms 51, has inspired sinners for three millennia. Having outlined his sin, David cries out to the Lord, saying;

“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.” (Psalms 51:12-13)

Note that what David asked was NOT for a restoration of his salvation, but rather, David prayed that the Lord would restore unto him the “joy of Thy salvation.”

Assessment:

“Salvation: The act of saving; preservation or deliverance from destruction, danger, or great calamity.”

It is one thing to experience salvation, but it is quite another to explain it. Especially to someone that has no Bible background.

Being ‘saved’ — by definition — means that until the moment of salvation a person is ‘lost’. To someone that IS lost, this is a very difficult concept to communicate.

If salvation means to be ‘preserved or delivered from destruction, danger or great calamity’ the skeptic cannot even consider his need to be saved unless he first recognizes such destruction, danger or great calamity exists.

I never cease to be fascinated by the atheist who denies the existence of heaven and hell, but admits to fearing death. If there is no certain judgment beyond the grave, what is there to fear?

Death is merely a cessation of consciousness, an end to existence. Without the fear of judgment, what is so terrifying about death? We aren’t terrified to go to sleep. We aren’t terrified of general anasthesia, in and of itself, before an operation.

Humanity fears death because of the existence of God, whether the atheist wants to admit it or not. We are all built with a God-shaped vacuum in our being.

Humans try and fill that void with all kinds of things; money, drugs, sex, pagan religions, personal relationships, and on and on, but nothing ever quite fits except God.

One cannot communicate the need for salvation without first communicating what one is being saved from. The atheist demands to know, “how can a loving God condemn people to hell?”

It is the nature of all human beings to sin, which further separates them from God, which turns that aching void into an insurmountable chasm.

All human beings are sinners, by nature and by personal action, and none are righteous. Some may sin to a greater or lesser degree, but all have failed to attain to the standard of God, which is perfection of character, spiritual righteousness and performance (Romans 3:9-10)

Since God created man in His eternal image, all human beings have an eternal destiny. We were created to spend eternity in God’s presence, but the fall of man and our inherited sin nature render us ineligible for heaven.

But being eternal, we have to go somewhere.

The Lord created the Lake of Fire for the devil and his rebellious angels, and not for mankind. But since sin bars us from heaven, and since we are eternal, when we shuffle off this mortal coil, there are only two choices. (And make no mistake, there is a choice.)

If not to heaven, well, then, there is only one other place left. God doesn’t condemn us to hell, we condemn ourselves by choosing to go there.

It IS a choice, but it is NOT God’s choice. If it were God’s choice, He would not have provided the way of salvation.

Confronted with the choice of condemning the human race, God’s choice was to bear the condemnation in His Own Body at the Cross, so that the human race might be saved through faith in His accomplished work.

Through Jesus Christ, God paid our ransom to deliver us from the bondage (and the consequences) of sin.

Sin places humanity into a state of captivity from which a price must be paid in order that a person might be redeemed or purchased out of that state.

The state of captivity, brought about by the sinful condition of humanity, is like a slave market where people are sold as the possession of the purchaser, and in order to be free, the slave must pay for a release or deliverance; this is a ransom.

Humanity is “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14) and therefore fall under the judgment of God.

The judgment has already been pronounced by God and the penalty is eternal death.

The death of Jesus Christ is the ransom paid in order to redeem the human race from the penalty of sin. The ransom is paid to God, as a payment for the release of humanity from the penalty of their sinful state. (cf. Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 1:17-19, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Galatians 3:13)

God’s perfect justice demands that a penalty for sin be paid. Jesus Christ is a propitiation that satisfies the justice of God and allows Him to forgive sinful human beings through His mercy and grace.

By committing sins, which all have their direction toward God, humanity has become separated and alienated from God.

A reconciliation cannot be effected because humanity cannot meet the requirements of God in a sinful state and cannot be removed from the authority of judgment by God.

It is Jesus Christ who is the Mediator of the reconciliation between man and God.

Finally, God Himself provided a Substitute to pay that penalty for us. The perfect and sinless life of Jesus Christ is the substitute for that of sinful human beings, and His death is also a substitute for the eternal spiritual death that has been pronounced as the judgment against all sinful human beings.

The problem with salvation, from the perspective of the lost, is admitting that they have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Pride will not let them depend entirely on the substitutionary payment made on their behalf — pride demands that they participate in some way in the process.

But to the lost, participation in the process means giving up all the stuff they like, living like a monk, wearing a hair shirt and walking around praying all the time.

Being saved means BEING saved. One doesn’t save oneself from drowning — in fact, a drowning person’s panicky flailing about can pull down both parties. Being saved means relaxing and allowing Jesus to save you.

Your participation is limited to accepting the fact you cannot save yourself.

Imagine you have a child that gets lost in the woods for days. You are out there, searching under every bush for your lost child, when suddenly, you see him afar off.

You run to the child, calling his name, as he runs to you, in slow motion, like in the movies.

Both of you have your arms outstretched, but, just as you are about to embrace your lost child, you notice that he is all dirty and smelly and matted from his time in the wilderness.

So, instead of embracing your lost child, you hold him at arm’s length, scold him for being dirty, and tell him you will embrace him after he’s had a bath.

That is the way the lost generally understand salvation. That before they can embrace Jesus, and He them, they must first clean themselves up. That is too big a job to contemplate, and so they hide under a bush.

The lost fail to grasp the simplicity of salvation. Ephesians 2:8 explains, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: “

Look at the elements: For BY GRACE are ye saved — through FAITH — and THAT not of yourselves — it is a GIFT of God.

It is so simple that most people can’t explain it, and even if they can, even more can’t accept it without further complicating it. God grants the ‘grace’ (an unmerited, undeserved gift) through faith that is ‘not of yourselves’ but is rather a gift from God.

There is no room in that equation for us to play any greater role than accepting that gift with gratitude.

Thank you, Jesus, for the Gift of eternal life. I pray right now that You will burn its truth into my soul, and help me to communicate to others their need for salvation.

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude:24-25)

Note:

I came down with the flu on Saturday. I’m still too sick this morning to rub two thoughts together. I hope you enjoy this repeat from February 12, 2008.

The Beeb, Israel and Anti Semitism

The Beeb, Israel and Anti Semitism
Vol: 89 Issue: 14 Saturday, February 14, 2009

The BBC is fighting a court order calling for the release of an internal report outlining the Beeb’s institutional antisemitism. The Beeb has spend more than a quarter of a million dollars so far in its suppression effort.

The 20,000-word report is rumored to have concluded that the BBC’s coverage was biased against Israel, but so far, nobody has seen the report. The Beeb, on the other hand, says the report doesn’t say any such thing.

If not, then why spend all that money to suppress the report’s findings?

(Sort of reminds you of Obama’s claim his birth certificate says he was born in Hawaii, while he’s spent millions suppressing it, doesn’t it? If true, why spend all that money to hide it?)

The BBC has faced numerous charges of anti-Israel bias, including an official complaint from Israel in 2004 after correspondent Orla Guerin dismissed terrorists’ use of a teenage would-be suicide bomber as a picture that Israel wants the world to see.

In the complaint, Minister Natan Sharansky accused Guerin of anti-Semitism and total identification with the goals and methods of Palestinian terrorist groups.

Antisemitism is an entirely different animal than the hatred of Jews that is the hallmark of Arab/Islamic states. Arabs are themselves a Semitic race, and the Arab/Israeli conflict is a conflict among brothers.

Antisemitism is unique to Gentiles, and the target is generally the younger son of Abraham. A few recent historical instances of institutionalize antisemitism include the following:

At the University of Manchester in Britain a resolution was introduced to ban any support for Zionism on campus. Although it got a majority vote, it didn’t get the two-thirds majority it needed to be adopted.

Then, at San Francisco State University, a pro-Israel rally was broken up by students who told the Israel supporters it was too bad Hitler didn’t finish the job.

Universities around the world are witnessing a rise in anti-Semitism with a goal of “delegitimizing” Israel.

At an event organized by the Canadian Zionist Federation on Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism and Israel Today, experts speaking at the Gelber Conference Centre in Montreal said the situation is even worse than during the development of large-scale anti-Semitism in Europe at the end of the 19th century.

“At universities throughout North America, you’ll see a (star of David) equal to a swastika and even more vile posters and propaganda,” said Stephen Scheinberg, a history professor at Concordia who is also national chairman for the B’nai Brith League for Human Rights.

In Europe, at least five countries have banned the kosher slaughter of animals, including Holland, on the nonsensical premise that the ritual of kosher slaughter constitutes ‘cruelty to animals’.

Kosher slaughter, (shechita) involves cutting the trachea and esophagus with a sharp, flawless knife. At the same time, the carotid arteries, which are the primary supplier of blood to the brain, are severed. The profound loss of blood and the massive drop in blood pressure render the animal insensate almost immediately.

Studies done by Dr. H. H. Dukes at the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine indicate that the animal is unconscious within seconds of the incision. Under Jewish tradition, even a mother bird must be sent away before taking her young to save her grief. Inhumane treatment of animals violates Jewish law.

Switzerland is considering a ban extending even to the import of kosher meat, and the Swiss Animal Association is backing a national referendum on barring the import of such products.

A poll shows 76 percent of the population would support such a move.

“It’s ominous,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, the kashrut administrator for the Orthodox Union, the largest kosher-certifying organization in the world. “This kind of legislation in Europe has to be understood in the context of European history. A person would have to be extremely naive not to think that this is linked to anti-Semitism.”

“They simply don’t want foreigners and they don’t want Jews,” said Rabbi Michael Melchior, former chief rabbi of Norway, another European nation that bans kosher meat production.

“I won’t say this is the only motivation, but it’s certainly no coincidence that one of the first things Nazi Germany forbade was kosher slaughter. I also know that during the original debate on this issue in Norway, where shechitah has been banned since 1930, one of the parliamentarians said straight out, ‘If they don’t like it, let them go live somewhere else.'”

But not Canada. Since October 2000, there have been 300 anti-Semitic occurrences there.

Not Australia. Australia made headlines when they introduced a new product line of Moslem ‘kosher’ food, slaughtered according to a similar ritual, and specifically sacrificed to Allah.

While Australian Christians may inadvertently find themselves ordering food ritually sacrificed to idols, Australia’s Jewish community is also experiencing the highest level of anti-Semitism since statistics were first collected 57 years ago, figures released recently by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry showed.

Assessment:

Anti-Semitism appears to be universal; it has existed in every generation, among every people, on every continent upon which the Jew has put his foot.

European anti-Semitism dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, but Jews have been the targets of discrimination and pogroms on every continent and virtually every nation on the earth.

There is no nation that can claim to be free of anti-Semitism, and at the same time, there is no nation that can credibly claim it was harmed by its indigenous Jewish population.

Although an infinitesimal fraction of the global population (0.2%), Jews have been awarded a quarter of all the Nobel Prizes given in the 20th century for chemistry, economics, literature, peace, physics and medicine.

Any of the nations of the Arab world could have peace with Israel for the asking. Yet there is no nation on earth more universally despised.

Some anti-Semites (those who admit to themselves that they are) will argue that the Jews are “Christ-killers” invariably citing Matthew 27:25 as their ‘proof text’.

“Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”

That doesn’t explain anti-Semitism among non-Christians — in fact, it doesn’t even explain anti-Semitism among Christians.

The Jews who happened to be in the crowd self-pronounced the curse. But they weren’t the entire people of Israel, just the rabble.

And in any case, it was Jesus Himself Who lifted that curse as soon as it was pronounced, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

It wasn’t Jews that drove the nails through His hands and feet, or thrust a spear through his side. Crucifixion was a Roman punishment, imposed by Roman decree, carried out by Roman executioners, not for crimes against Judaism, but for crimes against the Roman Empire.

If the charge of ‘Christ-killer’ applies to the Jews, logic would dictate it would apply equally to the Italians.

Finally, Christians understand that Jesus was not executed for crimes against the Jews, or for crimes against Rome: those were simply the legal justifications under prevailing law at the time.

There is no nation, tribe or individual human being on this earth that did not play an equal role in His Death — He came to atone for the sins of all mankind.

And for three raging, horrific hours, the cumulative sin of the entire human race was heaped upon Him. Every person who ever sinned shares equal guilt with the Roman soldier who actually drove the spikes in His Body.

Of all the nations carved from the empires of history, there is no greater rags-to-riches story than that of Israel.

A truly representative democracy surrounded by a sea of brutal dictatorships, it should shine as a beacon of hope to oppressed peoples everywhere.

Israel should, by all existing standards, be as much a beneficiary of ‘historical guilt’ as are Native Americans or African Americans, or Australian aborigines or any other historically oppressed peoples.

No matter what identifiable, historically oppressed ethnic group one compares to the Jews, there is no common denominator.

In the first place, a Jew is a person of a particular faith but of no particular ethnic background, as well as being a person of a particular background with no particular religious faith.

Moreover, those who explain their anti-Semitism on religious grounds generally don’t believe in the Jewish God anyway.

Jewish anti-Semitism is a fundamental tenet of Islam, and is cited as the principle reason for both the global jihad against the West and for the Islamic world’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Down through the centuries, they were hated as ‘Christ-killers’ and were slaughtered wholesale on that charge. I always found that curious on several levels. First, the Bible was written by Jews. Jesus Christ was born a Jew. And Jesus absolved those responsible for His Death at the Cross.

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34)

The condemnation to death was issued under Roman authority, Roman soldiers drove the nails, wielded the spear — it was the Romans who killed Christ, strictly speaking. Why the Lord’s absolution extended to Rome but not to the Jews is a mystery to me.

But ‘Christ-killers’ was a convenient label — it was commonly applied by barbarians who would have killed Him themselves, if they’d had a chance. The Nazis justified the Holocaust under the banner of exterminating Christ-killers.

The Roman Catholic Church waited until 1965 before it absolved the descendents of Israel from collective guilt for the Crucifixion.

Apart from the ‘Christ-killer’ label (which shouldn’t bother the world so much, it isn’t like Jesus Christ is all that popular outside of church), one wonders why from the perspective of what did Israel ever do to earn all this hatred?

To those who don’t like the antisemite label, there is the anti-Zionist tag; this is reserved for those who choose to hate Israel apart from religious reasons.

To them, the Jews are oppressors and thieves who stole Arab land, oppress the indigenous Arabs, and who stole Jerusalem away from Islam. This view isn’t just the view of the Islamic world, it is widely held in capitals from Ottawa to Berlin to Paris to Rome.

Since this view requires denying history and reinventing reality, anti-Zionism is really a convenient way of hating Jews for being Jews without having to take a religious stand.

Anti-semitism and anti-Zionism know no national boundaries. You can find both in every country on earth. Why?

If one removes the Christ-killer label (which was lifted by Jesus Himself at the Cross), and strips away the myth from the anti-Zionists, Jews are still hated world-wide.

Why? Simply because they exist. In the final analysis, it isn’t the Jews that the world hates so much. It’s God.

The Jews are God’s Chosen People. Recognizing that Israel exists means acknowledging that God exists.

To the world, that’s unacceptable.

“Deluded? Who Are YOU Calling Deluded?”

“Deluded? Who Are YOU Calling Deluded?”
Vol: 89 Issue: 13 Friday, February 13, 2009

Nobody knows what to think about the economic crisis, the stimulus bill or where it will lead America.

The bill itself was finally cobbled together last night. It’s more than a thousand pages long, meaning nobody will have read it through before voting on it.

I heard Mike Huckabee describe the rush to pass the spending bill unread as analogous to “grabbing a can out of the garage and throwing it on the fire, not knowing if the can contains water or gasoline.”

Then there is the continuing problem with the man who will ultimately sign it into law. Who the heck is he, anyway?

President Obama has a high-priced team of Los Angeles lawyers whom he pays out of his own pocket. Evidently, their only task is to prevent Americans from learning anything about him.

The firm of Strumwasser and Woocher are fighting against the production of Obama’s college records from Occidental College in California. Presumably, those records may shed light on how Obama managed to travel to Pakistan in 1980 without a US passport.

Or whether or not Barry Soetero was registered as a US citizen or foreign national. Or how he ended up making the jump from a community college to Columbia and Harvard.

This high-priced legal team is also fighting to prevent the production of his actual birth certificate, passport records, hospital records or any other documentary evidence useful in determining his actual citizenship.

The firm has answered no fewer than a dozen lawsuits including several that made it all the way to the Supreme Court and has been successful in blocking or having all of them dismissed so far.

To this point, Obama’s popularity has been such that no court has been willing to even entertain the possibility that Obama’s presidency may be unconstitutional. One wonders if that might change — should the trillion dollar stimulus fall on its face?

The entire scenario is bizarre to the point of being other-worldly; I think that is what creates that nightmarish sense of standing frozen in place like a jack-lighted deer in front of a runaway train.

First, why would any public official pay out millions in legal fees to conceal his background from the public, let alone the President of the United States? Can anyone out there suggest any possible innocent explanation? Anybody?

Secondly, why would President Obama want to carry this kind of baggage with him into the White House when he could clear it up so easily?

Thirdly, why didn’t the DNC National Committee clear this up during the campaign — and certainly before the nomination? Why would the DNC take such a risk if it’s leadership wasn’t sure?

And if the DNC leadership IS sure, then why play along with the charade? All they need do is trot out the evidence that convinced them they weren’t risking seeing their political world implode mid-term.

Fourth, why won’t any court in America hear the lawsuits? It isn’t as if the suits are demanding something that EVERY American isn’t required to produce? The suits ask only for evidence of citizenship — the various ancillary demands for college, hospital and passport records are only because Obama has suppressed his birth certificate.

Finally, the general public is not only disinterested in Obama’s eligibility, they are actively opposed to its investigation. That doesn’t make any sense. Indeed, it is one of the most bizarre aspects of this whole picture. But only one. The stimulus bill is another.

It is more money than anybody ever imagined. Do you remember all the debate about universal health care, how much it would cost, and whether or not America could ever afford it?

This so-called ‘stimulus bill’ is so massive that universal health care got tucked away inside it — and nobody even noticed it was there.

Like hiding an elephant inside a continent.

Assessment:

It’s no wonder many Americans are reeling – three weeks into office, the dependably liberal Newsweek ran a headline entitled, “We’re All Socialists, Now!”

I found it interesting that the Newsweek piece advanced two concurrent arguments. First, argued liberal authors Jon Meachem and Evan Thomas;

“Whether we want to admit it or not and many, especially Congressman Pence and Hannity, do not the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.”

Secondly, it’s George Bush’s fault: “It was “under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly.”

Newsweek continues, “the architect of this new era of big government? History has a sense of humor, for the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W. Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700 billion.”

Newsweek is reliably liberal. It’s the print version of MSNBC, which is the TBN of network Obama worship. If Newsweek is invoking George Bush, then it means that Newsweek’s liberals are as nervous about Obama’s lack of policy direction as the rest of us are.

“Now comes the reckoning. The answer may indeed be more government. In the short run, since neither consumers nor business is likely to do it, the government will have to stimulate the economy. And in the long run, an aging population and global warming and higher energy costs will demand more government taxing and spending. The catch is that more government intrusion in the economy will almost surely limit growth (as it has in Europe, where a big welfare state has caused chronic high unemployment). “

To summarize, socialism is a necessary thing, but we might not be able to tell how much we like it, until after we get used to the idea of high unemployment. But if Obama fails, it isn’t because socialism has either failed or is failing everywhere it has ever been tried. Of course not. If it fails, it’s because of George Bush.

In his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul paints a word picture of the world as it will be in the time leading up to the revelation of the antichrist.

Paul was addressing a heresy then-circulating among the Thessalonians. The Thessalonians thought that Nero was the antichrist and that the Rapture had taken place and they had been left behind to go through the Tribulation.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-2)

Paul is addressing the Rapture of the Church “our gathering together unto Him” as an event which precedes “the Day of Christ” — which is the 2nd Coming. If the Rapture had occurred, as the Thessalonians supposed, then they believed the Day of Christ was “at hand”.

From the context of Paul’s remarks they were clearly terrified at the prospect of enduring the reign of antichrist and the Tribulation.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (v.3)

Paul wants to make sure there is no misunderstanding as to the identity of this man of sin. He is the antichrist who will stand against Jesus at Armageddon.

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (v.4)

Paul then asks the Thessalonians rhetorically, “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (v.5)

What ‘things’ was Paul metaphorically cuffing them in the back of the head for forgetting? The order of ‘things’ to come.

First, Paul says, the antichrist can’t be here yet because “ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.” (v.6)

Until that restriction is lifted, Paul admonishes, the antichrist cannot come to power. Paul says the ‘mystery’ of the antichrist — that weird human desire for a substitute messiah — is already at work, only there’s some One that prevents that desire from taking over humankind completely.

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way. ”

The ‘He” referred to in this verse is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God that Paul says also indwells the Church at Thessonika. So if they are still there, then He [the Holy Spirit] is still indwelling them.

I don’t know how else to read that verse without destroying its context. He will ‘let’ (indwell, as in the sense of ‘room to let’) until He is ‘taken out of the way’

“And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed. . . .” [Again, to remove all doubt that we’re talking about the antichrist here] “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

But before any of this is accomplished, Paul reveals to the Thessalonians, presumably to disabuse them of the notion that the antichrist could be Nero or some other ordinary man, the road he takes to power.

‘Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. . . .” Paul says that this leader will be acclaimed by a population characterized “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (v.10)

This is a population that prefers a lie to the truth — if it makes them feel better about themselves.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

This isn’t THE Lie. Not yet. If we’re still discussing it, then the Holy Spirit is still indwelling us.

First, comes the delusional state necessary for the world to believe it. Then comes the disappearance of uncounted millions, throwing the world into an even greater sense of panic. Then comes The Lie.

But when it comes to the world’s susceptibility to delusion, then any old lie will do to prove the point. Like the stimulus bill will fix the economy. Or that Obama has a good reason for concealing his birth certificate.

Or that we’re all socialists, now.

Israeli Elections a Setback For Obama

Israeli Elections a Setback For Obama
Vol: 89 Issue: 12 Thursday, February 12, 2009

It appears that the Obama administration is unhappy with the way the Israeli elections are turning out. At least, that is what the Jerusalem Post is reporting.

US officials are publicly taking a wait-and-see approach to the formation of a new Israeli government, but privately many have expressed concern that Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu might preside over a right-wing coalition.

“There would be great unease” at the prospect of such a government, said one Capitol Hill source.

Since the source for the Jpost piece is an official “who didn’t want to be identified speaking about another country’s internal politics” one can’t be sure if this is an actual US official or the JPost editorial board hoping to influence the process.

First, the process. The Israeli election process is ponderous — the Knesset has some thirty-odd political parties ranging from the ultra-orthodox to the secular, including 9 Israeli Arab seats.

Because there are so many parties, whoever ends up forming a government does so as part of a wider coalition. After the general election for the Knesset members, the leader of the winning party is given forty-two days to form a majority coalition government.

After forty-two days, if the winning party is unable to cobble together a majority, the next leader down gets a shot at it. And sometimes, if it seems obvious the winner can’t get a Knesset majority, as in this case, the President can decide to give the runner-up first shot.

Confused, yet? There’s more. Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party picked up one more seat that did Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud. In a perfect electoral world, that would make Kadima leader Tzipi Livni Israel’s next PM, since Olmert has to resign to face criminal charges.

But Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has more allies within the Knesset overall than does Kadima. So even though Netanyahu’s party came in second, it is still possible that Netanyanu will be able form a government while Livni cannot.

In that case, Benjamin Netanyahu will become prime minister, even though he technically “lost” the election.

As the parties began negotiating possible pacts, Israeli media said it seemed Peres would have no choice but to tap Netanyahu if the hardline Knesset majority supports him.

But it would be the first time in Israel’s 60-year history that the winner of an election would be passed over.

Indeed, Yedioth Ahronoth ran a split photo of Livni and Netanyahu under the headline, “I Won.” “One thing is clear to all Israeli voters,” said the paper’s Eitan Haber as quoted by Reuters, “The political system is shattered.”

Reuters quoted Abraham Diskin, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, “Tzipi Livni has only the slightest chance, or none at all, of forming a government under her leadership.”

And Obama isn’t liking those odds.

Assessment:

I find it interesting that pretty much everybody except political liberals expected Obama to favor the Arabs in the peace process. (I find it disturbing that Americans elected him anyway, but that’s a different column). Among political liberals, the greater fear was that he would not.

Writes Barry Schweid for the Associated Press: “Israel’s shift to the right could throw a monkey wrench into President Barack Obama’s conciliatory overtures to Iran and his budding drive to promote Arab-Israeli peacemaking.”

Netanyahu has promised not to divide Jerusalem and not to return the Golan Heights to Syria. He has also warned of the danger Israel would face if it gave up the West Bank, saying that Palestinians could use the territory to fire rockets at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Opines the AP: “That could torpedo Obama’s hopes for good relations with Tehran, so he may be impelled to apply pressure of his own on a new Israeli government.”

I was amused by the dismay expressed by many of Obama’s worshippers, like this comment from the Washington Post:

“Administration officials said yesterday they would not comment pending official returns, but many key players have long and difficult memories of dealing with Binyamin Netanyahu, the Likud leader, when he was prime minister during the Clinton administration. It is no secret that U.S. officials would prefer to deal with Livni, who as foreign minister spearheaded unsuccessful talks with the Palestinians in the waning days of the Bush administration.”

How’s that again? Obama’s recycled Clintonistas didn’t like Netanyahu, under whose watch peace prevailed in Israel. They’d prefer Livni, who the Post acknowledges spearheaded unsuccessful talks?

Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. peace negotiator, was quoted in the Post giving the bad news: “You may get a government good at war-making, not peacemaking,” he said. “It’s really going to create a major headache for the administration.”

Israel NEEDS a government that is good at warmaking. It HAD a government good at peacemaking. Kadima gave away Gaza, abandoned its settlements there, negotiated away all of the West Bank and half of Jerusalem.

In exchange, when Hamas wasn’t firing rockets into Israeli cities and towns, the PA was in order to keep up the pressure. Peace requires two interested parties.

Mahmoud Abbas is the Palestinian Authority’s chairman and widely touted as Israel’s real peace partner. Abbas is calling on the international community to isolate Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud the way that it does Hamas, according to a report in Ha’aretz.

Abbas met last week with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and discussed with them his deep concerns about the establishment in Israel of a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu.

The two-state solution is the raison d’etre for the Quartet’s existence. None of the Palestinian leadership actually supports a two-state solution. They refuse to discuss anything less than the Right of Return which demographically hands the Palestinians a one-state solution.

The influx of refugees would create an Arab majority and Israel would be voted out of existence as a Jewish state at the next election.

Obama knows this. So does Solana. So do the various European leaders.

Abbas told the Europeans that a Netanyahu government would deal a ‘death blow’ to the peace process. Nobody laughed. To the liberals on either side of the Atlantic, it is the process that is important, not peace.

As long as it is a process, they can dictate terms. It provides liberal Marxist leaders on all sides with a handy conflict they can use to manipulate their populations.

The last thing any of them (excepting Israel) really want to see is anything resembling a negotiated settlement leading to peace.

According to Scripture, the Israeli-Arab conflict is part and parcel of the overall last days’ scenario.

Having once begun, it will continue until a pro-Arab ‘prince’ of a revived form of the Roman Empire confirms a seven year peace covenant between the two sides.

That covenant, which the prophet Daniel says is rooted in the ‘land for peace’ formula (Daniel 11:49), will result in Israel’s recovery of the Temple Mount and the restoration of Temple worship. [Daniel 9:26-27)

So the fact that the major Western governments have a vested interest in maintaining the level of conflict between the Arabs and Israelis is in complete harmony with the overall picture for the last days.

For the Marxists in Washington and Brussels, peace would be a catastrophe.

“Stuck in Front of a Runaway Train”

“Stuck in Front of a Runaway Train”
Vol: 89 Issue: 11 Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One of our forum members summed up the Barack Obama Experience so far this way: “We’re stuck in front of a runaway train with no way to escape.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is a sense of inevitability about it all, like watching two trains approaching one another on the same track. There’s nothing you can do but watch the wreck happen.

I caught Glenn Beck’s show yesterday and his guest was a guy by the name of Gerald Celente.

Celente claims at his website to have predicted the rise of gourmet coffee, the boom in bottled water, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the last two recessions, the dot-com meltdown, the Crash of ’87, the Asian currency collapse of ’97 and the war on terror.

Pretty impressive track record, even if one takes into account the fact this is Gerald Celente evaluating Gerald Celente. Again, from his website:

“The proof is in his past Gerald Celente has earned his reputation as “The most trusted name in trends” by accurately forecasting hundreds of social, business, consumer, environmental, economic, political, entertainment, technology trends, etc.”

That’s fair enough. So, what does Celente (who says he forecast the Crash of ’08), forecast for ’09? The Collapse of ’09.

“We’re going to start seeing the retail sector collapse . . . a lot a empty stores, at lot of vacancies. Also the commercial sector of real estate. . .”

On the viability of the economic stimulus package . . .”You can’t spend your way out of problems. You have to produce your way out of problems. This isn’t even Economics 101 — this is Economics for Dummies. You can’t print money based on nothing and expect it to fix the problems.”

The news gets worse. Celente predicted we are entering the greatest depression in American history. Celente listed the reasons why this depression would be worse, (mainly the explosion in personal debt and trade deficits).

The rest of the segment was largely about who predicted more catastrophes earlier and how difficult it is to be the bearer of bad news. I was somewhat amused at Beck’s assertion that it damaged his career, given he was saying it from the set of “The Glenn Beck Show”.

(It reminded me of when Tim Robbins complained from the podium of the Washington National Press Club that his right to free speech was being violated.)

While Celente and Beck were explaining why government can’t spend its way out of the current economic crisis, the Senate was passing the nearly $1 trillion ’emergency stimulus’ bill.

And Timothy Geitner was announding the Federal Reserve was planning to bypass Congress and spend another $1.2 trillion more.

When Senator Chuck Schumer was asked about that during a ‘quicky’ interview outside the Senate chambers, Schumer explained that the Fed plan didn’t need to go through Congress because it ‘wasn’t taxpayer money.’

Whose money is it? Suddenly, he had to break off the interview and head back to the Senate. Schumer’s reaction typified those on the Left — it proves (to me, at least) that they recognize this for the swindle that it is.

The look on Schumer’s face when asked to elaborate on whose money the Fed was planning to use is the same look I used to see on suspects during interrogations at that moment when they realized they were just caught in a lie.

The runaway train analogy is a good one.

Assessment:

If I were prone to sensationalism and conspiracy theory, I would say that what we are now experiencing is deliberate. But since I’m not prone to such things, I’ll just say it is PROBABLY deliberate. Here’s why.

For most of the past eight years, even during periods of unbroken and almost unrestricted growth, the Democrats have continued to talk down the economy.

One of the side benefits of writing (or reading) a daily column like the OL is that it makes us a bit more resistant to historical revisionism. I wrote the following in an Omegaletter that was published on July 25, 2002:

It’s pretty transparent, really. This is political, not economic. The fundamentals of the economy are no different now than they were five years ago.Smoke and mirrors and unsustainable growth. Except now somebody has blown away some of the smoke.

The market is also tanking because the politicians have made it a campaign issue, further exposing the ‘miracle’ as the shell game it is.

If the economy improves, it works for the GOP. If it tanks, it works for the Democrats. In fact, the more it tanks, the better it is for Democratic hopefuls in the November mid-terms.

To accomplish the DNC strategy, your 401K has to go down the tubes and your investments have to dry up and go south.

It either happened that way or it didn’t. You tell me. We lived through the last eight years together. And here is HOW it happened. Again, from Volume 10, Issue 25, July 25, 2002:

The 19th century philosopher Georg Hegel outlined the crisis management dialectic that bears his name.

Hegel concluded that conflict creates history. Therefore, he concludes, history can be shaped by conflict. Hegel concluded that a population can be convinced to work against its own best interests via the application of a logical three stage program.

The Hegelian Dialectic offers a thesis, an antithesis, and resolves the argument between the two with a synthesis, which is presented to avoid a crisis. The crisis is often designed for the purpose of getting acceptance of the synthesis.

Thesis: Americans will blame the incumbent for an economic downturn and vote against the incumbent party.

Synthesis: Identify a connection between the party in power and the market downturn, continuing to talk down the market, talk up corporate fraud and scare small investors out of the stock market.

Antithesis: If enough people pull their money out, the market will head south, jobs will be lost, causing a ripple effect across the lower socio-economic strata [that the Democrats claim as their base] and those injured by the economy will vote for the Democrats.

They’ll worry about how to undo the damage they are doing in order to win votes after they accomplish their primary goal. Which is not to help the economy, by the way. It is to get elected.

I am astonished that there is anyone in America that cannot see through this — but that is the reason everybody quotes Georg Hegel and not Jack Kinsella. Hegel was undoubtedly smarter — ’cause it works.

This isn’t about Jack Kinsella having to bear the heavy weight of career-smashing doomism that plagues Glenn Beck and Gerald Celente.

The point is that if I could identify the plan in such detail in 2002, then I’m probably not blowing smoke when I say in 2009 that it was deliberate.

(And the sub-point isn’t that I’M so smart. It’s that the Bible that I rely on is so true that even a donkey like me can use it to make sense of the apparently senseless.)

Although the Democrats tried to shake investor confidence, until they managed to get a majority in Congress in ’06, they didn’t have the power. Since winning both Houses and the White House, they’ve revised the dialectic.

The market operates based on investor confidence. If investors are confident they will get a return on their investment, then they will invest. If not, then they will keep their money under a mattress. So if you want investors to invest, you create an atmosphere of confidence.

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn this crisis into catastrophe” – President Barack Hussein Obama

The economy is “dark, darker, darkest. 650 million Americans lose their jobs every month. ” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

“If we don’t pass [this stimulus bill] it’s Armageddon.” Senator Claire McCaskell – [D-Mo]

(During the Great Depression, US unemployment reached 33%. During the 1970’s OPEC recession, it hit 10.2%. Right now, it is at 7.2%.)

That’s why it seems like a runaway train headed straight for us, rather than, say, a lightning bolt or a meteor strike. This was carefully planned, but somewhat sloppily executed ‘crisis’, and now it’s spiralled out of control.

Is Celente right? Are we on the cusp of a global depression that will make the 1930’s pale by comparison? Possibly. But not because of any fundamental changes in the economy.

We are where we are as part of a political plot that we outlined in detail almost seven years ago. This is no accident of history.

If they can right the ship before its too late, then the collapse may be forestalled for a few more years, but the collapse eventually will come regardless, because the Bible predicts economic collapse as part of the overall picture for the last days.

So, is this it? Are we toast? Or can we find, for a change, a little good news in Bible prophecy for the last days? Let’s see.

I want you to notice with me, the order in which these things are predicted to unfold. It is a key to understanding the Book that one understands that the Revelation is written in chronological order.

In Revelation Chapter Six, we have the opening of the seven seals and the first seven judgments. The first four seal judgments are represented by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

First comes the rider on the white horse — the antichrist. Then after that, the rider on the red horse, War. After that comes the rider on the black horse that brings economic collapse and famine.

This ISN’T the ride of the Rider on the Black Horse that we are witnessing. Not yet. The Seal Judgments are what they are and God didn’t number them arbitrarily.

It could well be a setting of the stage for that ride, but if that is true, then the antichrist and global war are just around the corner. Because they HAVE to come first. Each is interdependent upon the seal judgment that comes before.

It is like an equation: antichrist + global war = famine + death.

The antichrist kicks things off by starting the global war that collapses the global economy — bringing about the death of about a third of the population.

So where’s the good news in all of this? The Book of Revelation is written in chronological order. Revelation 1-3 deals with the Churches and the Church Age. Beginning in Revelation 4:1, the perspective of the Church shifts from that of earth to that of heaven.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” (Revelation 4:1)

To recap, the four horsemen are Antichrist, War, Famine and Death. Each of the seal judgments depends on the one that comes before — antichrist brings war, which brings famine, which results in death. Those events are ALSO interdependent with an event that takes place concurrently in Heaven.

First, BEFORE the breaking of the first seal (the rider on the white horse) the Bible says this:

“the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” [Revelation 5:8-10]

Who is redeemed by the Blood of Christ out of every kindred, and tongue and nation? Who did Jesus make kings and priests unto God? Who does the Bible promise will reign with Him?

These promises are unique to the Church. And the Church sings this new song BEFORE the first seal is broken. The seal that brings economic collapse is broken third. And when the Church is singing this new song, it is singing it in Heaven.

The runaway train analogy is EXACTLY the right analogy. The Church is standing on the tracks, transfixed by the oncoming train. And then, as certain doom approaches,

“the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

For THIS reason, as we see the train approaching, Paul says, “Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)

To the world, that approaching Light looks like an oncoming train. Be comforted. The Engineer’s a Friend of ours. He said to watch for it.

And when we saw it BEGIN to start bearing down on us, THAT was when He said would be the time to look up and lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigh.

Maranatha!

National Socialism

National Socialism
Vol: 89 Issue: 10 Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It is ironic that the progressive socialism espoused by Barack Hussein Obama is rooted, not in change, but in the tired old policies of the past. Not the policies of recent past, like say, Ronald Reagan or George Bush.

Obama’s brand of progressive socialism tends more to ape the policies of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, particularly in areas like isolationism and protectionism.

Both have been historically discredited as failed policies but they nonetheless are appealing to the Democrats, who’ve made their brags about bringing ‘change’to the American scene.

Lamented the American Thinker during the Obama campaign last year:

Both are discredited, [isolationism, protectionism -ed] but they form a powerful appeal to today’s Democratic Party, and a form of neo-isolationism seems likely to emerge — even if well-disguised. . . He will only talk the talk, not walk the walk: This “citizen of the world,” as he called himself in Berlin, simply echoes George McGovern’s “Come home, America,” and damn the consequences.”

“Ironically, even his emphasis on international organizations and agreements means disengagement. As always, if everyone is responsible, no one is responsible; and the UN and the other international talk shops Obama favors become convenient black holes for any action more strenuous than a Turtle Bay cocktail party. . . .”

“The Obama doctrine, if it is lucid enough to be called that, holds that the United States has neither wisdom, right nor economic logic on its side to engage internationally in the ways that have proven necessary for our material well-being, national security and the peace of the world.”

That last paragraph is an echo of both his first official interview, which he gave to al Arabiya and his various domestic speeches.

When he was in Elkhart Indiana, he let slip that “only government can solve our economic problems” before telling his audience that the new stimulus bill; “Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size. … There aren’t individual pork projects that members of Congress are putting into this bill.”

Once he assured them there was no pork in the bill, he told his Elkhart audience that Indiana will benefit from work on “roads like U.S. 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on.” He added: “And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart.”

And $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard.

Its like going on a credit-based shopping spree in reaction to losing one’s job.

Assessment:

The Obama administration says that the economic stimulus bill will either create or save three million jobs. If one does the math (which Obama clearly hopes nobody does) then it works out that this job creation bill will cost $275,000 per job.

(The average individual American job pays about $28,000 per year. )

Noted the New York Post recently: “The true welfare cost could be as much as $787 billion, not the $264 billion that supporters have claimed, the study by the conservative Heritage Foundation found. Democrats insist, however, that many of the welfare expansions will expire after two years.

Rector suggests otherwise. “If these welfare expansions are made permanent – as history indicates they will – the welfare cost of the stimulus will rise another $523 billion over 10 years,” he said.”

How in the world does welfare stimulate the economy? Answer: It doesn’t. But it does solidify a permanent underclass of voters who will agree to anything that doesn’t interrupt their welfare payments.

When he was mocking his opponents last week, he said that “people keep complaining” that the stimulus bill is really a spending bill before quipping sarcastically; “What do they think a stimulus bill is?”

I’m not sure if that means we’ve a president in office who totally doesn’t understand the US capitalist system — or we have one who understands it completely and intends to use that understanding of how it works to bring it down.

‘Stimulus’ is not when the government spends tax money. Stimulus comes from a confident public spending their own money. One does not raise public confidence by using words like ‘crisis’ and ‘catastrophe’ to describe America’s economic future.

Obama knows that. His advisors know that. So what’s the deal?

The “Buy American” provision in the stimulus bill managed to survive despite the best efforts of the GOP to remove it.

The Book of Proverbs tell us that “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. ” (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)

In terms of international geopolitics, the ‘way that seemeth right’ is protectionism and ‘the end thereof’ — isolationism — the ways of death.

Protectionism and isolationism are the handmaidens of nationalism. Isolationism leads inevitably to socialism. National Socialism has been tried before in Europe.

Historically, however, National Socialism is known best by its acronym – Nazi.

The End From the Beginning . . .

The End From the Beginning . . .
Vol: 89 Issue: 9 Monday, February 9, 2009

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 46:9-10)

Christianity deserves a candid examination; indeed, it demands nothing more. The history of the life and character of its Founder is so completely without parallel that the fiction of His existence is even more inconceivable than the reality.

Simply put, He couldn’t have been ‘made up’. Unlike fictional gods, He displayed no temporal power; He was the very definition of virtue. He lived life was without blemish. He preached a doctrine without flaw.

He was executed as a criminal. His death didn’t end the new religion, it spawned it. The more His followers were persecuted, the greater their faith became and the wider it spread.

Christianity — offered first to the Jews, overspread the globe, taking root everywhere except where it originated, precisely as foretold by the Scriptures.

A careful examination of the Scriptures concerning the life and times of Jesus Christ can yield but one of two conclusions. Either the entire story is fiction, or, as the centurion said from the foot of the Cross, “Truly, this is the Son of God.”

And Bible prophecy is His signature.

Assessment:

Prophecy is not the exclusive domain of Judeo-Christianity. Islam also has a counterfeit version — one of the Five Pillars of Islam is prophecy.

Where they differ is in fulfillment. Judeo-Christian prophecy has been fulfilled throughout the ages with significant portions still pending.

All of Islam’s prophecy remains unfulfilled. Like any good counterfeit, most was lifted from, and now relies on the fulfillment of Christian prophecy.

Prophecies concerning the Mahdi and the coming war with the Infidel are simply retelling of various parts of Revelation reworked to reflect Islamic thought.

That isn’t a criticism, just a statement of reality. Islam views the rider on the white horse as the coming Mahdi. Christianity identifies the same figure as the antichrist.

No Islamic prophecy has come to fruition as foretold. Conversely, every prophecy of Scripture that has come to fruition was fulfilled in exact detail.

Bible prophecy is unique in its attention to detail. Bible prophecy names names: Isaiah 45:1 names Cyrus, by name, two hundred years before his birth.

It describes real locations: Micah 5:2 prophesies the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.

Minute details of His life and death are given, as are dates and the precise orders of events. Some other characteristics of Bible prophecy:

1) Bible prophecy is 100% accurate 100% of the time. No prophecy of Scripture has ever failed. Those already fulfilled were fulfilled to the letter.

2) All the Bible’s prophets agree with one another. No prophecy of Scripture contradicts any other. Think about that for a second!

All the centuries and all the distance that separates all the prophets and, while they sometimes overlap previous prophecies, ‘filling in the blanks’ so to speak, NONE contradict.

Within Islam, there is a law of superior revelation. When an earlier passage conflicts with a later passage, the Koran provides a kind of spiritual ‘White-Out’ that makes the later passage correct.

No such interpretive law is necessary with the Bible.

Some critics will argue that Bible prophecy is vague and obscure and that if God wanted to use prophecy to reveal Himself, He should have been more specific.

Agreed that must of prophecy is couched in symbolism requiring diligent comparisons with Scripture. Agreed that much of it, particularly to the unbeliever, appears vague.

That is by design. Consider if prophecies regarding political entities, kings and kingdoms, etc., were more explicit.

First, the skeptics could claim (accurately) that it interferes with man’s exercise of free will.

Secondly, the skeptics could claim Christianity caused, rather than predicted, the fulfillment.

Is the election of Barack Obama the unfolding of Bible prophecy, or its fulfillment? Who (at the moment) can know? Besides God?

For that reason, as viewed in real time, Bible prophecy unfolds, rather than fulfills.

Third, if prophecy were simply a communication of future events, man would find a way to pervert and exploit it. So wherever knowledge of the future might prove useful to the enemy, it is couched in allegory.

For these reasons and more, prophecy often doesn’t reveal itself to be prophetic until after the prophesied event as taken place.

The world in which we find ourselves is not the one most of us started out in. For many of us, it is barely recognizable.

This one is scary, unpredictable and confusing. What used to be wrong is now politically correct, what used to be correct is now politically wrong.

We’re not sure who the good guys and the bad guys are — and there doesn’t seem to be that much space between them anymore.

Everywhere we look is chaos and confusion and madness and impending anarchy.

Bible prophecy anticipated that — and more. See 2nd Timothy 3:1-7 beginning with, “This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.”

But Bible prophecy is not ALL doom and gloom.

See 1st Thessalonians 4 starting with verse 16 . . . “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout”, through to verse 18’s “wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

One of the advantages to Bible prophecy is that we can peek at the back of the Book and see how it all turns out. Viewed from that perspective, it isn’t bad news at all.

It all depends on where you put your trust.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2nd Peter 1:19)

Absolute Power

Absolute Power
Vol: 89 Issue: 7 Saturday, February 7, 2009

“In the Great Depression, the president and the Congress stood by idly,”said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. “Here, now, the U.S. Congress led by President Barack Obama is not standing idly by.”

Oh, if only saying it aloud made it true!

But history is what history was, so to speak. Wishing it was different doesn’t change history — but it often results in reliving its worst moments.

Had FDR and the Congress stood idly by in 1929, according to most historians, the Recession of 1930 would have probably ended in the Recovery of 1931.

Instead, FDR and the Congress, together with the Federal Reserve, managed to turn a stock market crash into a ten year economic depression that affected the whole world and was one of the sparks that ignited WWII.

The Stock Market Crash of 200 crash was a “Black Week” that began on October 6th. By week’s end, the Dow had shed 18% of its value. That was a lot. But not the worst in history by a long shot.

The worst stock market crash in history, in terms of speed and losses wasn’t October 29, 1929 OR October 6th, 2008.

It was October 19,1987. On that Black Monday, the Dow lost an incredible 22.6% of its value in a single day.

Like the current crisis, 1987 was a worldwide phenomenon. The FTSE 100 Index lost 10.8% on that Monday and a further 12.2% the following day. In the month of October, all major world markets declined substantially — 19 markets lost 20% or more and Hong Kong’s market lost 45% of its value.

One thing I think most of us will recall from the Crash of 1987 was that it took only two years for the Dow to recover completely; by September 1989, the market had regained all of the value it had lost in the 1987 crash.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ultimately gained six-tenths of a percent during the calendar year 1987 despite the crash.

The ’87 Crash hit overseas markets hard. But in America, there was no recession to speak of. Certainly no depression.

The main reason was because of a divided Congress that stood idly by. The president stepped out of the way and let the market sort itself out. The deficits run up by Ronald Reagan were in the form of tax reductions, not spending.

The proposed spending bill before the Senate amounts to $827 billion dollars. One thing that the spending bill has done (for which I am grateful) is spawn all kinds of new illustrations to highlight the differences between millions, billions and trillions.

For example, a billion seconds ago, Jimmy Carter was president. One billion minutes ago, King Herod ordered the beheading of John the Baptist. A trillion seconds was thirty thousand years before Christ.

The stimulus bill is $827,000,000,00. Starting at the time of Christ, one could spend a million dollars per day, every day, without days off, and still not have spent anything approaching that kind of money today.

We aren’t spending $827,000,000,00 that we have. We’re spending $827,000,000,00 that has to be paid back. We won’t LIVE long enough to pay this back.

(Neither will our children. At a million dollars a day, they’d still be making payments two thousand years from now. )

America was blessed in 1987 to have a divided Congress and Senate that limited Congressional interference in the markets. Congressional Democrats would pass spending bills and tax increases, Reagan would veto them and send them back, demanding spending cuts and tax rebates instead.

In the end, neither side managed to get their own way and the Crash of 1987 sorted itself out.

What is different this time is that the Democrats have virtually absolute power in both Houses and control of the White House. It takes a special kind of person to handle absolute power well.

Sadly, ‘special’ has a different meaning to Democrats.

Assessment:

In reality, according to Senator Jim Inhofe, the ‘stimulus’ bill is 93% spending and 7% stimulus. Barack Obama reacted by mocking Republicans like Inhofe:

“What do they think a stimulus is?”, he asked rhetorically to laughter and catcalls from his audience.

I guess he’s got me there. I didn’t know a stimulus meant ‘spending’ — I thought it had something to do with ‘stimulating’. It doesn’t, evidently.

Maybe its my imagination, but I’m getting the same sense of cautious annoyance I get from being subjected to a high-pressure sales routine when I’m still trying to make up my mind.

Barack Obama went on TV to warn us that if the idiots who don’t understand his plan don’t hurry up and agree with him, America’s economy might suffer irreparable damage.

He told us that speed trumped perfection. He would like the final stimulus package to be worked out with the House of Representatives and on his desk by Feb. 16. “The scale and scope of this plan is right, and the time for action is now,” he said.

He didn’t explain further, since he doesn’t have to — he’s Barack Obama.

“We can’t expect relief from the tired old theories that, in eight short years, doubled the national debt, threw our economy into a tailspin, and led us into this mess in the first place,” he said. In other words, “I won. Shut up.”

Oh, if only speaking it aloud made it true!

How long is fifty-five months? That’s how many months in a row — after the September 11 attacks — that the same old, tired theories resulted in steady, national economic gains.

“We can’t rely on a losing formula that offers only tax cuts as the answer to all our problems while ignoring our fundamental economic challenges.”

There appears to be but one fundamental economic challenge. It is a crisis of confidence.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the reason for runs on the banks, withdrawals of investments, money under mattresses and so forth because people have lost faith in the system?

Further, when I say, ‘correct me if I am wrong, I really mean it. That’s why we have the forums. If I’m wrong, I don’t want to babble on in error. So help me out here. What was the platform on which the Democrats have run for the past four years?

My answer would be the ‘flagging US economy’ and how Bush wrecked it.

When did it actually start to flag? I’d say when it became clear that the Democrats would probably sweep the 08 elections.

When did it start to tank? It seems to me that it was about the same time that it became clear that Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee.

When did it completely collapse? About the time that George W Bush’s plane lost the designation “Air Force One.”

Nancy Pelosi took time out from her retreat at a swank Williamsburg, Va. golf resort to lash out at Senate efforts to pare down the House’s spending orgy, telling reporters:

“Washington seems consumed in the process argument of bipartisanship, when the rest of the country says they need this bill.”

Oh, if only speaking aloud made it true.

According to RealClear Politics ,only 28.5% of the country says we need this bell. 61.3% of those polled say this is taking the country down the wrong track. It isn’t the country that needs this bill.

It is Nancy Pelosi who needs this bill. The spending bill includes all kinds of spending and entitlement provisions that the Democrats need to consolidate their new power base in advance of 2010, inoculating themselves from voter backlash.

The Dems are masters at the use of entitlements to effect political change. Entitlements can be extended — or they can be taken away. Usually, the threat of taking away an entitlement is enough to ensure voter compliance.

Need the elderly to vote a certain way? Threaten (or increase) Social Security. Want to ensure the urban vote? Increase (or threaten) welfare and food stamp entitlements. Want to grab the union vote? Increase (or threaten) unemployment benefits.

That is why David Obey [D. Wi] got so annoyed when Republicans questioned how the stimulus money will be spent. According to, of all sources, National Public Radio, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who helped write the bill says he doesn’t like being asked about earmarks.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” he says. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important question facing us on putting together this package.”

Leaving out the earmarks does mean Congress will have less control over how the money is spent, noted NPR, (who was hoping for earmarks)

But, Obey says, “So what? This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

“And guess what?” the chairman of the House Appropriations Committeee asked rhetorically of his NPR interviewer.

“Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

The first and most monumental of which was obviously made last November.

It’s ‘Nigher’ Than We Think . . .

It’s ‘Nigher’ Than We Think . . .
Vol: 89 Issue: 6 Friday, February 6, 2009

The very best evidence pointing to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the 2nd coming of Christ in this generation is the daily news.

The headlines on any given day will yield all kinds of nuggets of information that point directly to the prophecies related to the return of Christ.

Israelis go to the polls this week to elect a new government. The polls say Benjamin Netanyahu is the likely next PM based on the strength of his campaign promise NOT to divide Jerusalem.

Netanyahu climbed the Tower of David, built 2,000 years ago to protect the walls of ancient Jerusalem, and then headed to the Mount of Olives. There, he gave a press conference in which he laid out his own Jerusalem policy in no uncertain terms.

“Jerusalem has been the pulsating heart of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said. “Now there are those who come and say, let’s divide this heart.”

“. . . and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

The local headline here yesterday concerned a conference on global warming held at Buffalo State College campus.

The headline? “Dealing With the Coldest Day in Years.”

One of the participants at the global warming conference was Dr. Michael Niman, who explained why six below zero is evidence of global warming to the local Buffalo TV station.

“What we’re seeing today here in Buffalo is extreme weather. It’s not that extreme for Buffalo, but we’re seeing all over the world extreme weather; weird weather. So, it’s climate change. We don’t really understand where it’s going, but it’s changing.”

Dr. Niman isn’t a professor of climatology advocating global warming alarmism. He is a journalism professor advocating global warming alarmism.

But global warming alarmism is just a hobby. His day job is teaching journalistic objectivity to the next generation of newspaper reporters.

Buff State DOES have a professor of climatology. When she was asked to explain why six below in Buffalo is either ‘extreme’ or caused by global warming, she said “…because the weather patterns get upset with an average change in temperature. . . . And there will be more severe extremes.”

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:23-24)

So we have two competing explanations. “Because I said so”, vs. “We don’t really understand where its going, but its changing.”

Distress. With perplexity.

Assessment:

I chose these two particular events for a couple of reasons. The first is that they are both part of today’s news cycle. The second is that, although they are totally different subjects, they fit with consecutive passages of prophecy, Luke 21:24-26.

A third reason is because I wanted to draw your attention to the delicate nuances of these prophecies. God did. So we should. (Nuance: ‘ n. a subtle distinction or fine detail’)

In broad strokes, one can draw from “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” as meaning the times of Gentiles were fulfilled in 1967 when Israel recaptured Jerusalem.

Entire philosophical arguments rest on 1967 marking the fulfillment of the ‘times of the Gentiles.’ But no Gentile nation recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Not even the United States has located its embassy in Jerusalem. The issue of ownership of Jerusalem is a major plank in the Likud’s political campaign of 2009.

That little nuance — that Jerusalem remains under Gentile domination up to this moment — fouls up all kinds of interpretative schemes.

The second story relates to the next passage of Scripture. Notice that while the overall verse in broad strokes is about signs in the sun, moon and stars, the details are what distinguish this from any number of celestial events. The prophecy isn’t so much about the events.

The sea and the waves are always roaring, as anybody that lives near the seashore can attest. Throughout history there have been solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, and stellar events. Astrology is rooted in the belief that signs in the sun, moon and stars have meaning. Jesus was not encouraging the study of astrology.

Generation after generation has studied this prophecy and watched for the appropriate signs to show up in the heavens. Until only the last few generations, every eclipse had Christians climbing to the mountaintops to await His immediate Second Coming.

It wasn’t until this generation that the nuances became clear. It’s not the signs that Jesus said would be significant. He simply said they would be there. What He told us to watch for was the irrational fear.

The kind of irrational fear in which a journalism professor feels totally comfortable advocating panic over something he isn’t sure he understands because ‘something’ is changing.

Fear of falling asteroids. Fear of global warming. Fear of something, even if we don’t really understand where it is going. Fear that consumes whole nations.

The International Panel on Climate Change was convened by the United Nations — one might argue that this is a fear that consumes the whole world.

What is it that we’re afraid of?

Well, when there’s a Buff State journalism professor telling people that global warming is why its cold in Buffalo in February and the local news carries it as straight news, whatever we’re afraid of, it isn’t rational.

There was a fourth reason why I picked a news story about the unification of Jerusalem and the irrational fear of global warming out of today’s headlines. Because we are seeing them come to pass.

Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles UNTIL the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. It’s not yet, but almost.

Global attention is split between the irrational belief that the City of David is actually an Islamic Palestinian Arab city and the irrational fear that six below in Buffalo in February is evidence of impending catastrophic climate change — the very shaking of the powers of heaven.

“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory,” the next verse says.

What? All eyes are on a divided Jerusalem except for the ones that are taking the earth’s temperature every few hours like it was a colicky baby. But the next thing prophesied is the Second Coming?

This is yet another of those ‘nuances’. Yes, it is Jerusalem, global warming, 2nd coming — that’s the way the world will see it.

But after giving the general outline, Jesus turns His attention from the world’s perspective to address His Own.

To those living during that one generation, somewhere in time, to whom the nuances would stand out, He says:

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. ” (Luke 21:27-28)

First Jerusalem, then global warming, then we’re outta here, THEN the 2nd Coming.

And if we can draw a straight line from a cold day in Buffalo to the Second Coming of Christ, then how far away is the Rapture?

It’s ‘nigh’. Even nigher that you think.