Teen Sex 101

Teen Sex 101

PT

The recent revelation and acknowledgment of teen icon Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy has forced parents of “tweens” to once again confront the issue of talking to their preteens and teenagers about sex. Is there a practical approach to having the “sex talk”?

Jamie Lynn Spears, star of Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 and baby sister of pop star Britney Spears, at 16 years old is shocked, scared and four months pregnant.

Many parents are now confronted with the issue of how to broach the subjects of teen sex and pregnancy with their children since the “wholesome” star of the hit TV series made the announcement. Couple that with the recent release of a film in which a 16-year-old girl gets pregnant, decides to have the baby and then gives it up for adoption and you have a cauldron of teen sexual confusion foisted upon the masses of impressionable minds. The unwed teen mother is becoming pop culture!

Some have openly voiced their disapproving points of view regarding this reprehensible matter: “She should have known better.” “Why didn’t she use protection?” “Her mother is a bad parent; how could she have let this happen?” And those are just a few of the numerous outcries heard from the societal school of all-knowing parenting and sex educational “experts” known as the media.

What makes this situation even more difficult is the fact that Jamie Lynn’s fictitious character on her show is a “good girl.” Zoey is a great student, well-liked and, on top of all that, supposedly still a virgin. To most girls between ages 9 and 14, Zoey was a role model. Jamie Lynn Spears was one of the rising starlets that young girls looked up to.

The Internet is abuzz with both criticism and advice alike. But there is one perspective, one dimension that is markedly missing from the heated teen-sex debate.

Many, especially those in religious circle, will proclaim that drumming home the teaching of abstinence is the answer. But will that conservative view alone provide desperate parents with a reassuring solution?

Can we as parents search for and find not only the answers to how to talk to our children about sex, but also the reason for sex in the first place?

Has the supreme Creator and Sustainer of mankind supplied us with the instructions that concerned parents are searching for in the wake of this alarming controversy? Therein lies the heart of the problem: No one stops to ask what God thinks!

When we take the time to stop and take a sober look at this issue that is plaguing our teens, we as parent must begin asking ourselves some soul-searching questions.

What then is the answer?

Two Words: True Education!

TheTrumpet.com is a treasure trove for those who are genuinely earnest in their desire to instruct their children in the proper meaning and use for sex. Here are just a few excerpts:

From the article “The New Teen Sex Epidemic”: “Giving children God’s perspective on sex education goes well beyond teaching abstinence only. If children are told to avoid all experimentation with sex until marriage, they should understand why—or else the chances of them actually abstaining are slim. The reason God’s law forbids acts like fornication is because of the automatic harm they bring—and because these violations rob us of future happiness and joy.”

From “Taking Time to Save Our Teens”: “The Bible shows us clearly how to solve problems with our teens. Of course, to solve any teen problem, both parents and teens have a role to play. Both sides must come to know and fulfill their obligations to each other.”

In the midst of the media outcry, we’ve heard a lot about Lynne Spears, the mother of Jamie Lynn and Britney, when it comes to the tumultuous behavior of both her daughters. But no one asks the question, where is their father? It all gets down to the continued breakdown of family and the proper roles within the family. Both parents have to be responsible for loving and educating their children. A wise proverb admonishes us as parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6).

Here is another excerpt from “The New Teen Sex Epidemic”: “Perhaps parents avoid teaching their children about sex because they are too embarrassed or maybe feel unqualified to offer such instruction. But any parent who is embarrassed about discussing something this important with their own children is not fit to be a parent! And if you are uneducated on the subject, then you need to get educated now so that your children won’t make the same mistakes you probably have.”

The effects of a lack of true education regarding sex are blaring obnoxiously all around us! We see it in the clothes; we hear it in the music; we watch as more and more sexual content and innuendo is thrust upon us via television and in movies.

But the situation is not hopeless! As parents, we can find comfort in the fact that there are real solutions that will make a lasting impact in the lives of our children, there is a practical approach to teaching our children not only about the special use for sex, but also what the missing dimension in sex is—and it emanates from the very source of all truth. For more on this subject and the solutions, request your free copy of The Missing Dimension in Sex.

Yes, there is a beautiful purpose for sex and a proper time for the welcoming news of a new addition to the family—and it all points to an incredible, transcendent potential!

Jimmy Carter Still Haunting the Peace Process

Jimmy Carter Still Haunting the Peace Process

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Even after repeated failures, the former president’s policies for peace continue to thrive within policy-making circles.

When Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi led Iran, he was a strong ally of America. President Jimmy Carter virtually pushed the “corrupt” shah of Iran out of power in the late 1970s. America’s liberal press and politicians, like President Carter, thought he was too undemocratic, so they helped to drive him from power. As he was falling, America gave him little or no support.

After overthrowing the shah in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established Iran as the world’s number-one state sponsor of terrorism. Shortly after the ayatollah came to power, he held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. It was an extremely agonizing time for Americans. The ayatollah did this because he knew President Carter didn’t have the will to confront Iran, which was pathetically weak compared to the United States.

President Carter made a feeble attempt to free the hostages, but it failed miserably. The botched rescue attempt was symbolic of the entire Carter foreign policy. It was perhaps the worst four-year period ever for American foreign policy. The U.S. hostage crisis had a great deal to do with President Carter losing the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan. Mr. Carter and the U.S. had been humiliated by the Iran hostage crisis and other foreign-policy disasters. The voters reacted by kicking Mr. Carter out of office.

Did we learn any lessons from that wretched history? Certainly not for long. Today, Mr. Carter’s foreign policy is back.

When Khomeini died 10 years after the Islamic Revolution, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani intensified Iran’s international network of terrorism. It was only then that some observers began to see what a terrible mistake President Carter had made in assisting the shah’s downfall.

Back in 1994, then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher called Iran “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.” How pathetic to make such a statement back then and do nothing about it! Just how much of a superpower is America? America has known for years who “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism” is. But it lacks the will to deal with Iran—to hold Iran accountable for its terrorist acts of war!

In the 1990s, state-sponsored terrorism became deeply entrenched in Iran, and America’s leaders did almost nothing to combat it. And the U.S. “superpower” allows Iran to continue sponsoring violent terrorism to this day!

More than any other nation (apart from Iran itself), America (led by President Carter) was responsible for the overthrow of the shah and the ushering in of Ayatollah Khomeini. President Carter led the charge. That weakness could prove to be the biggest foreign-policy disaster in modern times!

How did it all happen?

History Repeating Itself

We must understand how this relates to the present situation in Iraq. General David Petraeus is commanding U.S. forces in Iraq. He has said that Iran is fighting a war by proxy in Iraq. The Iranians direct a powerful arm of their military in Iraq. This is why America can never win in Iraq. We are afraid, once again, to confront Iran.

We have adopted the Carter method of foreign policy and cannot win, and that in spite of what General Petraeus is telling our political leaders.

Look at the present situation in the little nation of Israel. Here again, we find President Carter and his foreign policy in the spotlight.

When World War ii ended, there were many Jewish refugees with no place to call home. Most of the world became sympathetic to these Jews.

After a bitter struggle in the United Nations, the land of Israel was declared a nation. In 1948, when Israel (biblical Judah—the name Jew is just a shortened version of Judah) was declared a nation, the Arabs attacked immediately. The Jews had no real army. They were losing the war after three weeks. Then the Arabs strangely agreed to a temporary UN-sponsored truce. This is exactly what Israel needed to re-arm and train its weary troops—many of them civilians who carried guns. Shortly thereafter the Arabs started fighting again. This time the Jews were well prepared and soon won the war.

It was a miracle from God. Most Jews acknowledged that. They experienced many miracles in the following years.

The Jews were prophesied to have a nation in this end time. So it had to happen. That too was a miracle.

The Jews were determined fighters. This was their first sovereign nation in 2,000 years. Only death could make them surrender their new and only homeland.

There continued to be many problems between Jews and Arabs. The problems became so intense in 1967 that almost every nation in the world believed the Arabs were about to attack Israel again.

The Soviet Union was strongly urging Egypt to attack. Egyptian troops poured into the Sinai and ordered the UN forces out. War was imminent. Egypt, Jordan and Syria were allied to start a war. So the Jews felt compelled to strike first. Jewish war planes flew into Egypt and destroyed 300 Egyptian combat fighters in three hours. The Jews then captured all of the Sinai, the Suez Canal, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights in just six days.

Again, a series of miracles by God saved the Jewish nation.

Tourists poured into Israel. The state became prosperous—and complacent. The Jews were lulled into a false sense of security.

In late 1973, the Jewish military ignored serious intelligence reports that the Arabs were again going to attack. The attack occurred on October 6—during the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The Jews won the war in three weeks, with much aid from the Americans. Egypt was beaten, but not humiliated. Once again biblical Judah had been miraculously saved.

Carter Gets Involved

Soon after, something dramatic changed in Israel. Menachem Begin was elected prime minister in 1977. President Carter persuaded him to give the Sinai back to Egypt in the late 1970s. This is when the miracles began to fade! And there is President Carter, once again working his destructive magic! This was the beginning of the Israeli-Arab peace process. The Jews gave up land for a piece of paper. This was also the beginning of the Jews’ downward slide—a slide that will end in oblivion unless they wake up!

When the Jews gave the Sinai back to Egypt, that probably included Mount Sinai, where God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. This fiery mountain spectacle gave birth to the nation of Israel! The Sinai area was where the children of Israel wandered for 40 years as they rebelled against God’s law.

Again, the biblical name for the modern nation called Israel is Judah. But the modern descendants of the ancient Israelites include many nations—primarily the U.S. (biblical Manasseh) and Britain (biblical Ephraim). In other words, biblical Judah is only a small part of Israel today. America and the British peoples are also Israel. The prophecies about end-time Israel are primarily focused on those three nations. (For proof, read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

The United States and Britain were both instrumental in pressuring Judah to give the Sinai back to Egypt, even though our ancestry was also a part of Israel when God’s law was given on Mount Sinai. Why are these three nations in such serious trouble today? Giving the Sinai back to Egypt is at the heart of their problems! Those three nations are looking to men for peace and not to the great God of Mount Sinai. Their history with God is virtually meaningless!

The Jewish nation was born and sustained by godly miracles. But it still refuses to trust God!

Today, in spite of the fact that the Jews gave the Sinai back to Egypt—an unparalleled gift—Egypt is fast becoming one of Israel’s most hostile neighbors. That should give us some idea of how giving land away does not buy peace.

Nevertheless, Israel has taken on the same mentality of weakness and trusting in men in its dealings with the Palestinians living in Israel. The Jews continue to give land for empty promises of peace. It started in 1993 on the White House lawn with a handshake between the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. There Israel surrendered bits of that hard-won, strategically important land in hope that the Arabs could be simply bargained into giving up their goal of destroying Israel.

The Jews have also given Gaza, Jericho, Bethlehem and other West Bank areas back to the Palestinians. It seems the world has forgotten that those areas were won in a war where the Arabs were trying to annihilate the Jews. This land-for-peace process is almost unheard of in history, except perhaps what happened in South Africa.

The Jews have given back many biblical sites to the Arabs. America and Britain have strongly urged them to do so. We fail to realize that such a lack of faith is why all the adults of ancient Israel had to die in the Sinai wilderness.

Throughout this terribly misnamed “peace” process—Israel giving up land and seeing no appreciable drop in violence—Palestinian leaders have consistently told politicians and media that they want peaceful coexistence with Israel while simultaneously promising to their own people that they will destroy Israel.

Now, after years of gambling with its own soil, Israel finds itself depleted of property and will, sapped and bloodied by a policy that has publicized, for all to see, the fatal weariness of this tiny nation.

The delusion of President Carter was that Middle East peace can be achieved by negotiation. The whole Middle East peace process is a deadly delusion. Why? Because we are negotiating with people who want to wipe Israel off the map. These people don’t want peace—they want to rule the Middle East.

We have already gone far beyond the time for negotiation. President Carter showed us how that policy fails. For more information about the Middle East in Bible prophecy, read our free booklets The King of the South and Jerusalem in Prophecy.

The Weekend Web

The Weekend Web

Dreamstime

The Swiss cheese state and the death toll that keeps decreasing; plus, was Obama a Muslim? And guess who believes Ehud Olmert is a “strong leader”?

As theTrumpet.com reported two days ago, President Bush’s Thursday morning exchange with Benjamin Netanyahu indicates that Washington is at least preparing for the possibility of working with an Israeli government that opposes the Annapolis diplomatic process. But within hours of his meeting with Netanyahu, the president revealed his strong preference for Ehud Olmert to remain Israel’s prime minister.

At a dinner hosted by Olmert on Thursday night, President Bush referred to Israel’s prime minister as a “strong leader” and urged Olmert’s coalition partners to take care of him “so he will stay in power.” This, of course, is the same Ehud Olmert who in June 2005 said, “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.”

Prior to being elected prime minister in March 2006, Olmert campaigned on a promise to remove tens of thousands of Jews from settlements in Judea and Samaria. After his victory, Olmert assured Palestinian leaders, “We are ready to compromise, to give up parts of the beloved land of Israel … and evacuate, under great pain, Jews living there, in order to create the conditions that will enable you to fulfill your dream and live alongside us” (bbc News, March 29, 2006).

Mr. Olmert presented his plan for West Bank withdrawal to President Bush at the White House in May 2006. At a press conference on May 23, the president expressed concern about creating a state for a people who reject Israel’s right to exist. “The only thing that worries me about the plan,” Bush said, “is that Hamas has said they want to destroy Israel. And the reason that worries me is, how can you have two states side by side in peace if one of the partners does not recognize the other state’s right to exist? It’s illogical for somebody to say, I’m for a state side by side with another state, and yet I don’t want the state to exist. And so we spent time talking about Hamas, and I assured the prime minister that our position is steady and strong, that Hamas must change.”

Since that press conference, Gaza has turned into Hamastan and the Bush administration has inexplicably pressured a worn-out, “we’re tired of fighting” Olmert government to make more concessions to an intrinsically corrupt Fatah wing that represents only half of what would be a future Palestinian state.

Now, it appears, President Bush is more concerned about Benjamin Netanyahu returning to power than he is about the state of Israel existing side-by-side with a state that denies Israel’s right to exist and foments terrorist acts against Jews.

Divided in the City of David

We have been reporting recently about the significant role ancient ruins might play in the current political dialogue regarding the Middle East peace process. Benjamin Netanyahu, as we noted on Friday, presented President Bush with a 2,000-year-old coin bearing a Hebrew inscription, revealing the depth of Jewish roots in the region around Jerusalem.

One of our readers alerted us to a story that appeared in the South China Morning Post on January 3 (subscription only). In recent years, the article explains, a right-wing settler group known as Elad has transformed the City of David into one of Jerusalem’s most popular tourist attractions—drawing 350,000 visitors a year, most of them Israelis.

The location of the archaeological park is what makes it so controversial. It’s imbedded in the low-income Arab neighborhood of Silwan—in the annexed half of Jerusalem that Israel captured in 1967. Silwan has about 40,000 Arab residents. Since 1991, according to Elad spokesman Doron Spielman, about 300 Jews have moved into the neighborhood, most of them proudly flying Israeli flags, behind heavily fortified property lines.

Within the archaeological park, there are numerous ongoing excavations, both above ground and below—the best-known being King David’s palace, discovered in 2005. The scmp article points out how some “dovish Israeli archaeologists” either disagree with the conclusions of their peers who are excavating the City of David or take exception with the strong emphasis tour guides place on the Jewish history being uncovered at the park.

Notice how the article related these developments with the present political discourse in the lead-up to President Bush’s Middle East trip:

The question of to whom Jerusalem belongs is one of the thorniest issues on the agenda of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that resumed last month as a follow-up to the Middle East peace conference in the U.S. in November.U.S. President George W. Bush hopes to encourage both sides to overcome their differences during a visit to the region next week. The talks have thus far been foundering amid Palestinian protests against Israeli plans to build hundreds of new housing units at Har Homa, a settlement inside occupied territory Israel annexed as it expanded the borders of Jerusalem after its victory in the 1967 war. Israel, for its part, has voiced worry about Mr. Abbas’ ability to meet security obligations. …Israeli public opinion is divided over relinquishing territory in Jerusalem. Settler groups are dead set against such a withdrawal, and the dovish archaeologists maintain that the tours of the City of David enable Elad to spread an anti-compromise message. “They see the tours as a way of drafting thousands of people on their behalf,” Tel Aviv University archaeologist Rafi Greenberg said. Mr. Spielman denied this, saying any guide who discussed politics would be dismissed.

Jewish housing in Silwan hasn’t attracted the same level of attention as other settlement proposals, like at Har Homa. But as the article points out, some Silwan residents are not happy about what is going on:

Abed Shalodi, a Silwan resident who helps the alternative archaeologists conduct their tours, views Elad as an threat. “They want to take over all the land here. We can’t live with them because they don’t want us here. They want the land without the people.”Mr Spielman said it was not “realistic” to expect the area to become completely Jewish. “Our goal is that it should be as strongly Jewish or Jewish-identified as possible,” he said.Palestinian fears of Israeli intentions are not entirely baseless. In 2005, Jerusalem municipal engineer Uri Shetreet announced plans to demolish an entire section of Silwan—88 homes—to make room for an archaeological park. Amid an international uproar, Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski distanced himself from the plans.

The article concludes by quoting a dovish archaeologist who said, “Archaeology should not be a political tool.” Dr. Yoni Mizrachi, who wonders aloud if King David was anything more than a mythical figure, offers this tidbit of convoluted self-hatred:

If I find a synagogue or a mosque or a church [and] it tells me about the past of a place … that doesn’t mean that one person has more rights in a place because the find belongs to his culture. The past also belongs to those who live here now. Even if they found the palace of David, it doesn’t mean that what existed 3,000 years ago needs to be resumed today.

He should apply that same “logic” on both sides. If it’s wrong for Jewish settlers to lay claim to the region by raising the ruins of their historical legacy, where does that leave Islamic scholars who inexplicably deny that those ruins even exist, or work behind-the-scenes to destroy them in some cases, all while holding the position that the Jewish nation is illegitimate and should be obliterated?

Iran to Destroy Tomb of Cyrus?

This must be a new low for anti-Semites. As if desecrating the ancient Hebrew culture is not enough, Iranian mullahs are now looking into the possibility of crushing the tomb of their own Persian King Cyrus just because he was friendly to Jews. Cyrus, who ruled the Persian Empire more than a thousand years before the beginning of Islam as a religion, released a remnant of captive Jews during the sixth century b.c. and allowed them to return to Jerusalem to build the Second Temple. According to a report by Omedia,

The Iranian government is in the final stages of constructing a dam in the country’s south that will submerge the archaeological sites of Pasargad and Persopolis—the ancient capital of the Persian Empire. The site, which is considered exceptional in terms of its archaeological wealth and historical importance, houses the tomb of the Persian King Cyrus.

Arutz Sheva, in Israel, reports on the story here.

The Truth About the Mughrabi Bridge

According to the Jordan Times, Jordanian experts will take part in a unesco-sponsored meeting in Jerusalem today “to discuss the issue of Israeli excavations in the city and a proposed bridge linking the Mughrabi Pathway to the Western Wall in Al Aqsa Mosque compound.”

The excavation of the Magrahbi gate was halted early last year after Arab nations voiced fears that the Israeli archaeological team was getting too close to the sacred Al Aqsa mosque. In actual fact, the excavation work was part of a renovation of the walkway leading up to the gate itself, some distance from the actual mosque. The Jordanian newspaper reports about last year’s dispute over the bridge construction this way:

In February last year, the Israeli antiquities authority started demolition of historic sites near the Western Wall of the holy sites compound. The plan is to build a permanent bridge/walkway for Jewish settlers to access the Jewish Wailing Wall ….

Here again, in actual fact, last year’s archaeological excavation was conducted in accordance with unesco’s international standards and was part of a salvage dig necessary in order to construct a safer, more solid walkway up to the gate for entrance onto the Temple Mount. It had nothing to do with accessing the Wailing Wall.

The truth of the matter is this: The Israel Antiquities Authority (iaa) was prepared to trample over remains that are important to Jews in order to rebuild a bridge for Arabs (and tourists) to have easier and safer access to the Muslim holy sites. But once the Western media latched on to the Arab propaganda that the Jews were “destroying the Al Aqsa Mosque,” the iaa immediately halted the project.

Pakistan: Power to the People!

Signs of destabilization in nuclear-armed, Islamist-packed Pakistan continue to emerge. Today’s Sunday Times has this article about growing anger in Pakistan toward the one institution in the country that has enjoyed popular support for decades: the military.

Feelings are running so high that officers have been advised not to venture into the bazaar in uniform for fear of reprisals.”The interests of the people of Pakistan are now totally at odds with those of the army,” said Asma Jahangir, the head of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission ….

What put this institution in the doghouse? The reasons this Times piece discusses all revolve around one person: Benazir Bhutto.

Aside from the provocative accusations that the military or intelligence services played a part in her assassination, it seems Bhutto’s injection into the political situation—thanks in large part to the U.S. State Department—did much to increase the Pakistani people’s appetite for having democratic representation. The military is increasingly viewed not for what it is—the nation’s only real insurance against the most dangerous forms of radicalism—but as an obstacle to freedom. The Times reports that even the military generals themselves are now arguing that “if the country is to stay together, power must go back into the hands of the politicians, however corrupt or inept.”

That makes plenty of sense. Let’s heal the divisions with corrupt, inept leaders.

This reasoning—which, by the way, has become conventional wisdom in American politics and the press—is dangerously wrong. So wrong, in fact, that it would be worth tracing its pedigree. It is almost surely the Islamists themselves—who in many other nations have proven their savvy in creating propaganda that convinces liberals of the righteousness of their violent cause—most vociferously promoting the virtues of democracy in Pakistan.

If—or when—the “freedom agenda” takes hold in this country, it will mark the world lurching notably closer to nuclear Armageddon.

Was Obama a Muslim?

Daniel Pipes takes up the provocative question of whether Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was at one time a Muslim. After weighing the evidence he concludes,

Obama was an irregularly practicing Muslim who rarely or occasionally prayed with his step-father in a mosque. … [H]e for some years had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of his Indonesian step-father.

The ramifications of this revelation are important. Pipes documents one of them:

[I]f Obama once was a Muslim, he is now what Islamic law calls a murtadd (apostate), an ex-Muslim converted to another religion who must be executed. Were he elected president of the United States, this status, clearly, would have large potential implications for his relationship with the Muslim world.

U.S.-Egyptian Relations

Tensions between Egypt and America are escalating because of U.S.-Israeli criticism over Egyptian management of the border with Gaza. Stratfor summarized the situation like this on Friday:

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit dismissed Jan. 11 any plans for a permanent U.S. presence on the Egypt-Gaza border, and said it was too early to talk about deploying nato and Arab forces in the West Bank. Gheit’s comments follow a stream of Israeli and U.S. accusations against Egypt for not doing enough to curb smuggling along the border via tunnels. Egypt is fiercely resisting any outside interference in Gaza security and is unwilling to shoulder the security burden of Gaza while Israel works to divorce itself further from the territory. As Cairo wakes up to its traditional role in the region, Israel and the United States will need to adjust in dealing with a much more assertive Egypt in the months ahead.

Later in the piece, in an analysis that must be very disturbing to U.S. and Israeli officials, Stratfor comments on Egypt’s relationship with Hamas and Iran:

Despite its hostilities toward the Muslim Brotherhood, the Mubarak regime has friendly relations with Hamas and has been the unofficial spokesperson for the organization in its negotiations with Israel. If a U.S. or multinational force takes over or interferes in Egyptian border security in Gaza to isolate Hamas further, Cairo runs the risk of harming its relationship with Hamas. Cairo needs to protect this relationship—not only to manage its own Islamist threat, but also to retain its influence over Gaza and its position as the chief mediator in the dispute. …Egypt lacks the oil resources of the Gulf Arab states to make it a major economic power in the region. Instead, Cairo relies on its long-standing clout among the Arab states to project influence and to balance against Saudi Arabia, which has been the most active of the Arab states lately in countering Iran’s rise. The Egyptians appear to have woken up to this shifting regional balance and are starting to become more assertive again. For this reason, Egypt has steadily warmed up to the Iranians in recent months, taking the lead among the Arab states in seriously normalizing relations with Tehran.

Economic Outlook for 2008 Worsens, Bernanke Says

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke says he is more afraid about a slowing economy than a falling dollar and inflation—suggesting that he will again slash interest rates even though the dollar has plummeted. On Thursday, Bernanke said the Fed was prepared to “take substantive additional action as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks.” According to bbc,

The U.S. is facing the twin threats of how to tackle a slowing housing market and lower consumer spending while at the same time addressing inflation as oil and food prices rise.With banks having to write off billions of dollars of investments linked to sub-prime debt—loans taken out by people with bad or little credit histories—this has made them reluctant to lend, limiting the availability of credit, Mr Bernanke explained.He added that the financial situation “remains fragile, and many markets remain impaired,” saying that much uncertainty remained about the exposure of major banks to the credit crisis.

In other gloomy economic news, the Center for Economic and Policy Research predicts that the “current rate of house price decline will destroy $2.2 trillion of wealth this year.” Now unable to borrow against their homes, consumers are turning to credit cards in record numbers, which has caused a surge in credit card debt.

On Wall Street, the stock market dropped for the third straight week as recession speculation continues to build.

Greed Trumps Patriotism

In today’sWashington Times, William Hawkins explains how America’s international economic policy is more influenced by Wall Street than patriotism. In essence, capitalism and greed trump patriotism and national security.

Today, U.S. international economic policy is dominated by Wall Street through the Treasury Department. Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, was ceo of Goldman Sachs, which describes itself as a “global investment banking and securities firm.” …Consider Mr. Paulson’s behavior at the recent Strategic Economic Dialogue (sed) in Beijing. He assured his hosts nothing would be done to slow China’s expansion. His only apparent concern was that his pals on Wall Street get a piece of the action.He said in his opening statement, “The United States welcomes the rise of a stable and prosperous China,” but left out the third adjective “peaceful” found in most U.S. documents. This omission was very telling, as the reference to “peaceful” is meant to convey Washington’s concern that Beijing will translate its economic gains into military power aimed at U.S. security interests. China, of course, is already doing this. Mr. Paulson also denounced “economic nationalism” in both the United States and China.Mr. Paulson has used the sed to smooth over disputes with China, not to settle them—and to block action by Congress.

Wall Streets dependence on China as an economic partner undercuts both the ability and the credibility of the American government as it negotiates with the Chinese on economic issues, and China is not afraid to exploit this weakness:

As U.S. banks struggle to survive their subprime mortgage blunders, China is seizing the opportunity to buy into them. Morgan Stanley sold a $5 billion piece of itself to China Investment Corp., an arm of China’s government, after taking a $9.4 billion hit on mortgage-related investments. Bear Stearns agreed to a $1 billion cross-investment from China’s government-controlled Citic Securities Co.

Politically Motivated Death Tolls

An influential report released three weeks before the 2006 elections in America—and subsequently embraced by the media—claiming that the number of casualties in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion had exceeded 650,000 was nothing more than hogwash concocted by a consort of wealthy and influential liberals seeking the demise of a Republican president.

You can read the grim details about the Lancet study at length in this report by reporters Neil Munro and Carl Cannon. But the Wall Street Journal summed it up nicely last week:

It turns out the Lancet study was funded by anti-Bush partisans and conducted by antiwar activists posing as objective researchers. … While the media were quick to hype the original Lancet report—within a week of its release it had been featured on 25 news shows and in 188 newspaper and magazine articles—something tells us this debunking won’t get the same play.”The Lancet death toll was more than 10 times what had been estimated by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, and even by human rights groups. …What the National Journal adds is that the Lancet study was funded by billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Institute. Mr. Soros is a famous critic of the Iraq campaign and well-known partisan, having spent tens of millions trying to defeat Mr. Bush in 2004.But “Soros is not the only person associated with the Lancet study who had one eye on the data and the other on the U.S. political calendar,” write Messrs. Munro and Cannon. Two co-authors, Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins University, told the reporters that they opposed the war from the outset and sent their report to the Lancet on the condition that it be published before the election.

The Lancet report is merely a link in a long chain of lies concocted by radical liberals and advanced by their mules in the left-wing media. Read this article from Gerald Flurry last Monday, showing how it was pacifist liberal dogma and a leftist media that made World War ii inevitable. The Journal concluded,

In other words, the Lancet study could hardly be more unreliable. Yet it was trumpeted by the political left because it fit a narrative that they wanted to believe. And it wasn’t challenged by much of the press because it told them what they wanted to hear. The truth was irrelevant.

Elsewhere on the Web

Iran continues to string the rest of the world along in its on-again, off-again cooperation over its nuclear program. Read more here.

In what amounts to a regime change, Taiwan’s pro-China Nationalist Party gained a parliamentary majority in yesterday’s elections. Read about it here.

In what appears to be an exception to the rule, the Justice Department has finally won a conviction against leaders of an Islamic charity that supported militants and terrorists overseas.

Britain’s title as “the sick man of Europe” is being confirmed: 3 million Britons have been hit by the winter vomiting bug, and another 200,000 are falling each week.

Victor Davis Hanson offers this refreshing little essay decrying the press’s hyperventilation over every move in the presidential campaign, overinterpreting the tiniest development as being indicative of the Big Trend.

And Finally …

During his visit to Israel last week President Bush got creative when explaining his vision for peace in the Middle East. The future Palestinian state should be whole, he explained, not riddled with pockets of Israeli settlements. “Swiss cheese isn’t going to work when it comes to the outline of a state,” he said.

Ironically, should the international community gets its way, that is essentially what Israel will be reduced to after the “peace” process—a Swiss cheese state.

The Week in Review

The Week in Review

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Bush visits Israel, Europe hurts for energy, Islamists fill the Philippines, a Big Man gets tried, and much more.

Middle East

U.S. President George W. Bush is currently on an eight-day tour of the Middle East, visiting Israel, the West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, according to his official itinerary. Stratfor reports, “Given the length of time and the scope of his travels, the trip will have to involve the three issues of the region: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the future of Iraq and U.S. relations with Iran. What is not clear is precisely what Bush is trying to achieve with this trip” (January 9). Certainly, if his aim is to build his legacy by making decisive headway in the peace process—as his predecessor Bill Clinton tried to do before him—his efforts will be futile. On Wednesday, even as President Bush was in Israel, the south of the country came under a bombardment of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. For its part, the Palestinian government made the preposterous claim Tuesday that Fatah’s terrorist wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, has been disbanded—a deceitful attempt by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to get Bush to put further pressure on Israel to make concessions on core issues.

Israel is also facing increasing pressure from Egypt. The Jerusalem Post reported last week, “Egyptian irresponsibility is risking Israeli lives, harming Israeli security, and working directly counter to the international goal of isolating Hamas ….” Egypt allowed 2,000 Palestinian pilgrims back into the Gaza Strip through the Hamas-controlled Rafah border crossing in violation of its commitment just a few days earlier not to do so (so they could be checked at a crossing controlled by Israelis). The group included more than 20 senior Hamas members carrying money, weapons and terrorist-training material, according to Israeli officials.

U.S. failure to make progress overseeing the peace process may well be welcomed by the European Union. Responding to Palestinian calls for the EU to be more active in supporting the creation of a Palestinian state, the foreign minister of Slovenia (which took over the EU’s rotating presidency at the beginning of this year) promised on Wednesday that the EU would resume a key role in the negotiations if U.S.-sponsored talks failed.

During and following on from President Bush’s Mideast trip, watch for any U.S. overtures toward Iran as the U.S. president attempts to solve the Iraq problem before his term ends. The rhetoric at the moment, of course, is not friendly, following the incident in the Persian Gulf on Sunday when three U.S. ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz were harassed by five vessels believed to be from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy. Still, Washington’s response to that act of aggression was muted, fitting a pattern of appeasement and compromise.

Despite some nations in the region getting nervous about Iran’s increasing power, Tehran is succeeding in cementing ties with others. Iran and Pakistan are increasing cooperation in the energy sector, with the Iranian ambassador and the Pakistani minister for petroleum and natural resources discussing the promotion of bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sectors. Iran and Pakistan will sign a gas sales and purchase agreement next week for a pipeline project linking the two countries. Increasing overtures from the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism toward the politically unstable, nuclear-armed, Islamist-leaning Pakistan are something well worth monitoring.

Libya is another nation Iran is getting friendly with. Tripoli’s warming to Washington has made big news, but its growing ties with Tehran go almost unreported. The Libyan foreign minister received a warm reception in Washington last week, but only a week earlier, the Iranian vice president visited Libya, the first such high-level trip in 25 years. The two countries signed 10 memoranda of understandings on mutual cooperation. Even while Libya makes promises of friendship to the U.S., its prime minister said, “We discussed [with Iran] the issues related to Iraq, Palestine and other issues, and our views are identical on all those issues.” The Trumpet has long written that Libya would ally with Iran. We can now see such a relationship developing.

And finally, the political crisis in Lebanon continues. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said last week that no election for the president would take place unless Hezbollah received veto power in the future government. Nasrallah’s avowal came just days after the government postponed for the 11th time a parliamentary presidential election. In this political stalemate, the Lebanese government is simply being held to ransom by a terrorist organization.

Europe

Pipeline politics reasserted themselves as a dominant issue this week. Europe was forced to question its energy security yet again as a price dispute in Central Asia spilled over into the European Union. Turkmenistan cut gas supplies to Iran during one of Iran’s most severe winters. Iran then cut its supplies to Turkey, and Turkey cut supplies to Greece. Europe gets its gas from these regions to decrease its dependency on Russia. The upshot of this gas price domino affair is that Europe is forced to question how reliable these new sources are, and whether extra intervention will be needed to guarantee a steady supply.

Europe and Russia edged closer together this week. Slovenia’s presidency of the EU opens up more opportunities for the EU and Russia to get along. “We have a good feeling about this presidency. Slovenia is a close partner,” Sergei Yastrzhembsky, who is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative on European matters, said. “There is not one cloud on the horizon of Russian-Slovenian relations.” Yastrzhembsky also said that if the EU could get past the Polish veto, the “long-awaited negotiations” on a new Russia-EU partnership agreement could begin under the Slovenian presidency.

Russian-Polish relations are also rapidly improving. Early in the week, the Polish President Donald Tusk announced plans to visit Russia next month. On Thursday, a Russian Foreign Ministry delegation met with Polish officials. “These were very interesting talks held in a favorable atmosphere,” said Polish Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski. A long-standing dispute between the two nations over meat imports ended last month. The stage is set for the “long-awaited negotiations.”

Asia

In the latest example of Asian military cooperation, Russia, India and Malaysia are working together on air force defense drills. On Monday, the Russian online daily Kommersant reported that Indian trainers are teaching Malaysian pilots to fly Russian jets. This training is part of an Indian-Malaysian defense agreement signed by the defense ministers of the two countries. Two weeks ago, India reached out to China, conducting its first-ever military exercises with that country. Now India and Malaysia are forming a regional defense agreement. For years, Asia has been integrating into a gargantuan economic bloc. Now the nations of Asia are taking steps to cooperate militarily.

In other news, it was announced Wednesday that Filipino President Gloria Arroyo is to ask congress to change the Filipino Constitution in an attempt to pacify Islamic separatists. By editing the Constitution to enact a shift from a centralized form of government to a more localized form of government, Arroyo would be able to grant Islamic separatists in the Mindanao province a semi-autonomous state. If the change is enacted, Mindanao could become an Islamic pseudo-state within the Philippines. Islamic separatists have been conducting guerilla warfare and terrorism in the Philippines for years. Now Filipino leadership is giving in. Islamic separatist movements like this are developing worldwide. Watch for the Islamists to become emboldened by their successes in places like the Philippines and continue to become more aggressive, until they are stopped by a greater power.

Africa, Latin America

On Wednesday, EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said the European Union would form a partnership with China regarding Africa. European concerns about growing Chinese influence in Africa will be alleviated if China’s investment benefits Europe. Michel said that he has “the impression that this idyllic relation between Africa and China is inevitably going to end.” It appears Europe intends to be there to break the fall—and to gather up any resources that may be left lying around.

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor once again found himself in a war crimes trial on January 7. Taylor, who brokered an exile deal in July 2003, will likely spend a long time in prison. However, as Stratfor observed, his trial also sends a strong message to other African leaders “that their only true security guarantee is to remain in absolute power.” Other despotic leaders, like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, will never accept a deal now that the international community has shown it can’t be trusted to keep an exiled leader out of prison.

Anglo-America

More than a dozen prominent U.S. leaders convened at the University of Oklahoma Monday to address some of the nation’s most dangerous issues, likening America’s current state of affairs to the lead-up to World War ii “in slow motion.” At the meeting, well attended by news media, 17 prominent politicians, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, compared the current crisis to events surrounding the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Second World War. The solution to impending disaster, the forum concluded, was bipartisanship. Not only will that never happen, even if it did it wouldn’t be enough.

Meanwhile in Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcomed Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam last week with a grand reception—only a week after Libya received the Iranian Vice President Parvis Davoudi, the first such high-level visit in 25 years.

As the U.S. economy wobbles, it is costing more to eat healthy. The price of fruit and vegetables is rising faster than inflation, and according to a new study of 372 foods and beverages monitored over an extended period, junk food is actually getting cheaper.

Meanwhile, in the importing/exporting market, grain inventories are hitting record lows and export sales of U.S. wheat are “beginning to look like panic buying” according to some analysts.

In the United Kingdom, the bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, has said that Britain is besieged by a national identity crisis, has lost confidence in its Christian roots, and has embraced “the novel philosophy of multiculturalism.” The resulting dramatic spread of Islamic extremism across the nation includes some areas becoming “no go” areas for non-Muslims. The bishop of Blackburn, Nicholas Reade, stated that “the writing is on the wall” for the decline of the Church of England.

Abbas Not “Moderate” as President Bush Believes

Abbas Not “Moderate” as President Bush Believes

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President Bush has lauded Fatah as the solution in the peace process. What are Fatah’s true intentions?

George W. Bush believes that there is a distinct difference between the visions of Palestinian political factions Hamas and Fatah.

On Thursday, President Bush met with Fatah-oriented Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a press conference in Ramallah. There Bush praised Fatah as the means to a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and criticized Hamas for bringing misery and terrorism to Gaza. “There will be no better difference, a clear difference, than the vision of Hamas in Gaza and the vision of the president and the prime minister and his team based here in Ramallah,” he said.

President Bush’s comments echo the sentiments of much of the Western world. Fatah is viewed as the antithesis of Hamas. Fatah is supposed to be the group of peace-loving Palestinians who just want a land of their own, free from Jewish oppression, while Hamas is supposed to be the radical terrorist organization that wants to wipe Israel off the map.

That idea is flat wrong.

Here is what Abbas said in a Jan. 11, 2007, speech commemorating the 42nd anniversary of Fatah: “Shooting your brother is forbidden. Raising rifles against the occupation is our legitimate right, but raising rifles against each other is forbidden. We should put our internal fighting aside and raise our rifles only against the Israeli occupation.” This statement came shortly after America and Israel sent 7,000 assault rifles and 1 million rounds of ammunition to Fatah to use against Hamas. Abu Yousuf, a Fatah militant from Abbas’s Force 17 security force, stated the majority of these weapons would be used against the Zionists.

Clearly Abbas is not opposed to the use of violence to push forward his agenda. He has publicly stated that Palestinian rifles are to be used “against the Israeli occupation.” On Dec. 5, 2005, he approved financial aid for the families of suicide bombers—an unmistakable signal that he supports terrorist activities.

Fatah is viewed as the “two-state solution” party, but this year’s 43rd anniversary of Fatah is to be commemorated with a poster presenting all of Israel as Palestine. Like Hamas, Fatah’s ultimate goal is the transformation of Israel into a Palestinian state.

The difference between Fatah and Hamas is not in the two groups’ vision, but in their means. Hamas seeks Israel’s destruction through violence alone. Fatah continues its media war initiated by its founder Yasser Arafat.

Arafat was enraptured with Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh’s method of using the media to undermine his enemies. The Vietnamese manipulated America’s media to the point where America was so internally divided it could not continue to fight. Palestinian terrorist Abu Iyad wrote in his book Palestinian Without a Motherland that he traveled to Hanoi in early 1970 with a high-level Palestinian delegation to learn the art of Vietnamese propaganda. Arafat himself traveled to Vietnam on 10 separate occasions. The propaganda and media-manipulation techniques learned there established the foundation of Fatah’s “jihad” against Israel.

Through talk of peace and a two-state solution, Abbas has rallied most of the world behind him. Whereas Hamas’s methods have brought only criticism from the West, Fatah is receiving military arms, billions of dollars in aid, the support of the international community, and a visit from the U.S. president. Abbas’s plan worked in getting the Gaza Strip for the Palestinians. Now it has put him on the path to getting the West Bank. One step at a time, Abbas is striving to make all Israel look like his Fatah poster—draped in a Palestinian flag.

As the Philadelphia Daily News once put it, Abbas “has consistently held the hardline anti-Israel agenda since his years as a student. His doctoral dissertation was a full-blown foray into Holocaust denial and aimed to prove that Zionism and Nazism are branches of the same tree. … [Abbas] may wear a suit while Arafat wore fatigues, but much of their world view is still the same—the destruction of Israel remains on the ‘to do’ list” (Jan. 8, 2005).

There are not two visions among the Palestinians. Both Fatah and Hamas want the transformation of Israel into Palestine.

Watch as American support of Fatah continues to weaken the American-Israeli alliance. For more information on Abbas’s true intentions, read “U.S., Britain Resume Aid to Palestinian Authority.”

German Politicians Tapping Xenophobic Sentiment

German Politicians Tapping Xenophobic Sentiment

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The immigration issue is back on the mind of German voters, and candidates are responding in kind.

Germans are wrestling with immigration again, and leaders are speaking out against the nation’s foreign resident woes, Charles Hawley writes for Spiegel Online.

Hawley, a pro-immigration voice in Berlin, appears somewhat startled at the rising tide of “xenophobic rhetoric” which “underscores decades of foreigner bashing by the country’s politicians.” The debate has most recently been prompted by the assault of an elderly German man in Munich by a 20-year-old German-born Turk and a teenage Greek immigrant.

Roland Koch, a conservative Christian Democrat campaigning for re-election as governor of Hesse, has appealed to German voters wary of immigration’s negative effects, saying that Germany has “too many criminal young foreigners” and that it is “not a country of immigration” like Canada or Australia.

Koch subscribes to the concept of “Leitkultur” (“leading culture”), a view in staunch opposition to modern multiculturalism.

A 2006 Bielefeld University study found that 59.4 percent of Germans “agree” or “strongly agree” that too many foreigners live in Germany. More than 35 percent said foreigners should be deported if there were a job shortage.

On the other side, another study by the University of Hamburg shows that 44 percent of German Muslims think they will enter paradise if they die defending their religion, and 40 percent would justify the use of violence if Islam is being threatened by the West. One in three stated anti-Semitic or anti-Christian views, according to Deutsche Welle. In response to German concerns about increasing mosque-building, German Muslims have vowed to double the number of mosques in the country.

The friction has given rise to Germany’s first anti-Islam political party and numerous bills designed to combat Islamist terrorism, and the country has cracked down on Muslims in the past few years.

Continue to watch for Germans to resent the Islamic dissolution of their culture, and for the sentiment to ultimately contribute to open conflict with Muslims. For more on this subject, read “Germany: Clash of Civilizations Already Underway.”