From Hero to Human: The Man in the Oval Office

By Ken Connor

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV)

It's official. Barack Obama is the new President of the United States. All of the excitement, angst, and exhaustion of the presidential race is behind us, and we are on the threshold of four years under a new national leader.

Mr. Obama's inauguration was a momentous occasion. As our first African-American President, his election serves as a great encouragement that our country is moving towards a more complete embrace of one of its great founding principles: the equality of all men. As President of our country, Mr. Obama deserves our respect and needs our prayers. But some, in their excitement over the historic nature of his election, appear to offer him their adulation. We would all do well to realize, however, that he is just a man—fallible and flawed like other human beings. President Obama will inevitably stumble, he will not live up to all of his promises, and he will not be able to solve every national crisis. In the midst of the Inauguration hoopla, let us pause to recognize the limitations of his humanity and his post.

In reality, no one man can save a nation. A number of voters who placed such great hopes in an Obama Presidency have already been disappointed—and he has only just taken office. His decisions during the Presidential transition period raised many questions and much commentary, but one thing is clear: even before he took office, people's illusions about Obama were fading. He left many of his most fervent supporters wondering why he appeared to be waffling on his campaign promises.

Realism is the grease of the gears of politics, so it should not surprise us that President Obama has already been qualifying his previous campaign promises and dampening the hopes of his supporters. Regardless of their political stripe, no politician ever fulfills every campaign promise. The wheels of Washington grind much too fine for that. Those who put their dreams in the hands of politicians inevitably will be disappointed.

We would do well to remember that President Obama is merely a civil servant. He operates in the political realm. Having just taken office, he is confronted with an array of national problems, including disintegrating families, an ailing economy, a two front war, and a bubbling cauldron in the Middle East. Many of these problems have roots that extend far beyond the political realm. They involve cultural, moral, and spiritual issues. As the nation's top political leader, Mr. Obama will not be able to address the root causes of many of our problems. To the extent that these problems have political dimensions, our new President can and should address them. But beyond the civil realm, other cultural institutions (church, family, local communities, etc.) must take the lead.

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There are things that make or break a leader, among them are; the people he is trying to lead, the circumstances and conditions of the time of his leadership, his abilities and capacities, and most of all, the hands of the Lord.

In the hands of the Master, the heart of the king is like the windings of the waterways. The Lord can turn it whichever direction His plan for a nation will go.


Being Tested With "Unforeseen" Change?

Change We Never Imagined
By J. Matt Barber

Well, the high-sheen veneer and cult-of-personality euphoria surrounding America's new oratory endowed president looks to be dissolving rather quickly. While millions had hoped for a political "messiah," it's fast becoming evident that, instead, we've stuck ourselves with an extreme leftist ideologue whose brand of "change we can believe in" is, in fact, "change we never imagined." (Sorry to burst the Barack bandwagon bubble, but I say it like I see it.)

The examples are piling up in terms of the radical pro-abortion polices he's planning to implement, the many-times-failed Marxist fiscal policies he's promised to test yet again, and -- relative to his national security goals -- the noxiously naive peacenik policies that have Mahmoud and Osama giggling themselves to sleep at night.

But on issues involving marriage, family and sexual morality, Obama's been even more brazen than some of his most ardent detractors could have expected. Literally within minutes after he took the oath of office, the official White House webpage was updated -- under the heading of "The Agenda: Civil Rights" -- to detail his wholesale "support for the LGBT (homosexual activist) community." His stated plans include the following:

- Defeating all state and federal constitutional efforts to defend the millennia-old definition of natural marriage from attacks by "gay marriage" activists.

- Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996. This is the only line of defense keeping all 50 states from being forced to recognize so-called "same-sex marriages" from extremely liberal states like Massachusetts and Connecticut.

- Repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy despite the fact that the vast majority of military commanders and personnel say it will dangerously disrupt unit cohesion and troop morale.

- Passing constitutionally dubious and discriminatory "hate crimes" legislation, granting homosexuals and cross-dressers exclusive rights -- denied other Americans -- based on sexual behaviors that are deviant, changeable, and widely regarded both here and around the world as immoral.

- Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would force business owners (religious and otherwise) to abandon traditional values relative to sexual morality under penalty of law.

- Creating intentionally motherless and fatherless homes and sexually confusing untold thousands of children by expanding "gay adoption."

The gravity of this situation cannot be overstated. Right out of the chute, Obama has told the world that he is signing off, without exception, on every demand of the extremist homosexual and transsexual lobbies.

The radical homosexual agenda and religious/free-speech liberties cannot occupy the same space. It's a zero-sum game. When 1-2 percent of the population is granted exclusive rights based on the aforementioned deviant sexual proclivities and changeable sexual behaviors -- to the detriment of everyone else -- that's called tyranny of the minority.

Obama recently said, "I don't want to pit Red America against Blue America. I want to be President of the United States of America."

Well, Mr. President, remember that whole "actions versus words" cliche Your words ring hollow and your actions speak volumes. Every policy you promise to implement does exactly what you've denounced. Both your actions and your words very much pit Red America against Blue America.

For all the talk of "hope," "change," and "coming together," it's becoming abundantly clear that Barack Obama's administration will be the most leftist, divisive and discriminatory in recent memory. I suspect the immediate, stark and in-your-face revisions he's made to the White House website are a metaphor for what we can expect, in terms of broader policy, from his administration.

Obama said in an August 19, 2008 speech: "Change doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington." Well, radical change in the form of Barack Obama has certainly come to Washington. Not just in terms of the man's skin color -- which is historic and most encouraging -- but in terms of his exceptionally extreme and demonstrably dangerous liberal policies (not so encouraging).

So it would seem that change does in fact "come from Washington." Change more radical than our nation has ever seen. Change our founders could have never imagined.

People of faith, conservatives, and those of you with traditional values: hold on to your hats -- it's going to be a bumpy four years.

Matt Barber is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action. Send comments to Matt at jmattbarber@comcast.net. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)

Man-made policies may control the actions of the body, but nothing can restrain the spirit other than free will.

Enduring the struggle for righteousness is won not primarily by the establishment of human laws, but rather by God's words being written in the hearts of people. No matter how much man-made laws there are established, yet if in the hearts of people no Words of the Lord are treasured and obeyed, jails and prison cells will only be overflowing.

Consider, for instance, abortion. No amount of anti-abortion laws will prevent a non-obedient soul from the intention to abort her baby while having an unwanted pregnancy. Similarly, no amount of pro-abortion laws will compel a God-obedient soul to commit abortion even if her pregnancy may be the result of a rape.

A new leader with his change of policies may indeed be a big test for some groups of people. How we see things is itself a test of our own convictions.

The Lord is an equal opportunity giver. Everyday is an opportunity,
so let us take each day and use it in striving to write God's Words in the hearts of people so that we may endure and sustain the struggle for righteousness till He comes again one glorious day -- patiently, even if we may be doing it just one soul at a time (though slowly it may be, but yet surely like no man-made laws can accomplish).


Recession: Will the U.A.E. Withstand the Storm?

A Forwarded Email

Here is recession explained in simple terms. I found it in a local website.

It seems like a lot of people have forgotten what happens in a recession. There are some historical facts to look at but a lot boils down to a chain reaction of what people do in every recession.

Therefore, here is a short explanation of what happens in a recession:

When you are in recession is determined by the country’s potential negative growth. How a government actually determine you are in a recession is different in different parts of the world. In Europe , the general clause is you have two quarters (6 months) with negative growth. The US government itself decides after some time if it is in a recession or not, and have last week announced the U.S. has been in a recession since Nov. 2007.

What can happen?

1. Interest rates falls as governments try to improve available money in the market. The access to money is a key factor in recession management. This has an adverse effect on the currency, since people do not want their money in a country with low interest rates, so they “sell” their Dollars and move into another currency that offers higher Interest rates (and seems stable) Many has seen Swiss Francs as a safe haven, so very often downturns, you will see the Swiss Franc increase.

2. People get scared and move their money from the stock markets into government bonds or metals and some even under their pillow.

3. Share prices starts to drop, on expected lower earnings from companies. If you monitor companies P/E (Price/Earning) values, you will see P/E going towards 10 and below, but that is because the E (earnings) part of P/E is expected to lower dramatically. However, when you look at P/E – the Earnings is a HISTORICAL figure, not a future figure. Therefore, future “E” will be a lower number, resulting in a HIGHER P/E value again. So don’t just buy a share because P/E seems low.

4. Real estate markets plummet – both for rentals and for sales properties. People lose their jobs and can no longer afford the property they are in. They will move to smaller properties if possible, putting very high pressure on “High End properties” for middle income families.

5. Unemployment will start to increase. First at a slow rate, then later at rush rates.

6. People and companies will start saving money and not spend as much.

a. That fuels P/E rates upwards – due to lower earnings for companies

b. It makes even more people unemployed

c. People will not buy as much gasoline or oil – resulting in lower oil prices.

d. People will move to cheaper residences either because they have less available income.

e. Governments won’t get as much money in sales taxes and other consumption based taxes.

So all in all a vicious cycle, that is self-amplifying. The more consumers save up their money and the fewer products they buy, the more the economy will suffer.

Will U.A.E Weather the Storm?

So how does a typical recession scenario compare to Dubai and the U.A.E.? And what can the U.A.E. do to minimize the impact?

1. Interest rates in the U.A.E. have sky-rocketed as banks have seen loans and mortgages as high risk – making LESS funds available to the consumers and companies, fueling the risk of recession in the U.A.E. – and stopping the real estate market. This reaction is hurting the market a lot.

When a bank sees a loan as high risk, they increase the Interest rate. When Banks can see low risk, they have lower Interest rates. Banks also increase the “spread” between what you get when you deposit money in the bank and what you can borrow money for. A low spread between deposit interest and loan interest is equal to a secure market. The larger the spread, the more the Banks are scared of the future.

So the U.A.E. needs to get the Interest rate down not to amplify the risk of recession here and make money available for the consumers and real estate market.

2. People travel less in a recession. Since 17-22% of Dubai GDP is based on tourism, the impact here will be harder than in a country where only 5-10% of GDP is based on tourism. Tourist based economies are some of the hardest hit in a recession.

Tourist destinations must change their approach to get people to the U.A.E. Lower prices, better offers, more “value” is essential for attracting the visitors who now have a smaller budget to travel for.

3. When people lose their jobs, they spend less. But in the U.A.E. when people lose their jobs, they also risk losing their visa, forcing them to leave the country within 30 days of visa cancellation. So hardly enough time to find a new job in a market downturn. So in the U.A.E. spending from unemployed will not just be less – the spending will completely disappear, leading to more people losing their jobs.

So losing your job in the U.A.E. and not being able to find a new one before visa cancellation leads to:

1. You have to get out of your flat/house. If you paid 12 months up front for a rental property, you don’t might not get any money back. You might have to sell your house if it did not come with a residence visa and you can’t afford to keep it without a job.

2. You need to sell your U.A.E. possessions, like cars, TV, boats, furniture etc.

3. You need to settle credit card bills, Electricity and Water, Phone lines, TV, Internet, and all other bills you might have BEFORE you check out of the U.A.E.

The above will lead to even lower prices on property, lower prices on 2nd hand cars, lower prices on all other 2nd hand items.

And since you are under hard time pressure to get rid of your assets – you will be forced to sell at any available price you can get.

People with cash are kings in a recession.

So in short – losing your job in the U.A.E. can be a disaster for your personal life and can leave you with a lot of debt. But it will also impact the U.A.E. in a bad way.

And since an estimated 15% of tourists to the U.A.E. are relatives and friends coming to visit YOU – and spending money in the U.A.E. economy, these visitors might be lost, impacting even more.

So this is an even more vicious cycle than a “normal” recession and if nothing is done the potential recession can hit the U.A.E. harder than the western markets, despite the government having plenty of money.

To stop the outflow of people and local revenue, the visa rules need to be changed in the U.A.E. or we can face very hard consequences for the local economy.

There shall be downfalls, but they won't destroy totally...

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The Seasons Ahead Call For Real Unity

[...] The days of the coming seasons call for real unity among nations and among leaders of different sectors. Therefore may all those called and set aside by the Lord for the even greater tasks ahead arise and rise to the occasions they have been prepared to function.

Let there be courage to face the difficulties in the seasons to come, for the Lord is a God of order, justice, and mercy.

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