Contrary to popular belief, Brussels is not the only major European capital which is away from the seacoast as well as devoid of a river. The Senne is a far cry from the similar-sounding Seine further south, however: it is a nasty, brutish, mercifully short waterway. By the mid-1800’s it had become so putrid and unstable that the city elders decided to cover it—the massive project was known as the voûtement de la Senne—and to build boulevards and public edifices on top. The city did not gain much in charm, but its denizens’ life expectancy was instantly improved. (Whether living a long life in Belgium’s capital is a blessing or a curse is a separate issue.)
There is an equally nasty but infinitely more brutish monstrosity in today’s Brussels that cannot be dealt with so neatly. The European Union today is like the “Socialist Community” under Leonid Brezhnev in his dotage: totalitarian yet inefficient, glorified by its self-serving nomenklatura yet unloved by its subjects, devoid of any unifying ideology beyond the worn-out phrases and platitudes parroted by the absurd men and repulsive women in dull suits.
For the reality of this “United Europe,” as it is today, let us be dryly empirical for a moment and look at a few EU-related news items reported on one day—Thursday, March 14, 2013:
- EU leaders gathered in Brussels for a two-day summit in an attempt to negotiate the dilemma between austerity and growth. Thousands of protestors from all over the 27 member nations converged outside the EU HQ.
- Eurozone employment dropped by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the third, despite the Christmas shopping season. Experts say the unemployment rate will remain above 11% until early 2018.
- European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi says that “generally unsatisfactory economic developments in Europe” will improve in the course of 2013, but only if governments implement austerity measures and structural reforms. His fellow-Eurocrat, EU-appointed Italian prime minister Mario Monti, nevertheless says he will have to ask his EU partners to grant Italy more “flexibility” in its budget deficit reduction targets.
- The troika of international lenders—the EU, the ECB, and the IMF—left Greece without resolving a dispute with the government in Athens over further budgetary cuts. In the meantime, Greek shipyard workers protested outside the development ministry and hundreds of Greek students blocked up the education ministry to protest cuts resulting from EU-imposed austerity measures.Unemployment in Greece is 26%, up from 24.8% in the third quarter of 2012. Among under-24’s it is 57.8%. The percentage of unemployed Greeks who have been looking for a job for more than one year is 65.3%.
- In Spain, eviction proceedings against defaulters have soared since 2007 to 450,000. The number of repossessions ending in evictions increased by 135% in 2012 from the year before, indicating worsening trends. Spanish retail sales dropped 10.2% in the year to January, continuing the decline of the past 31 months.
- Cyprus bailout talks are crucial to next stage of crisis, but deep divisions remain over how to manage a bailout. Without a cut in the €17bn cost, Cypriot sovereign debt will reach 145% of GDP, by far the highest in the eurozone except for Greece.
- President François Hollande has said that France won’t be able to cut the public deficit to the EU limit of 3% of GDP this year; it was more likely to reach 3.7%. Amazingly, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble subsequently corrected Hollande, saying not that he “hoped,” or “expected,” but that he was “sure that France would, like us, respect the rules” on the public deficit. (Perhaps Herr Schäuble knows a thing or two about France’s future finance policy that Monsieur le Président de la République does not!)
- Germany, meanwhile, smugly claims that its finances are the model for all humanity. Its 2014 budget plans, revealed on March 13, show the structural deficit dropping to zero. “With all modesty [sic!], this is a result of historic proportions,” economy minister Philipp Rösler declared on that occasion. “Germany is in the vanguard in Europe. Our success with a policy of growth-oriented consolidation is the envy of the world.” Ach, modesty—the quintessential German weakness…
This is but a quick selection on a randomly selected day—the day of this writing. The tenor and substance have not changed much in recent months and years; and things will likely change for worse—OK, with that oneenviable exception, perhaps—in the months and years ahead.
Unsurprisingly, anti-EU feeling is escalating all over the continent. On March 1, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party was beaten into third place in the Eastleigh by-election, in southern England, by a party that wants Britain to leave the EU. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) supporters were once described by Cameron as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”—but they accounted for 28 percent of the vote in the traditionally Tory constituency. UKIP leader Nigel Farage declared the vote “a protest against an entire political class.” Under pressure from UKIP, Cameron had earlier promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017 if he wins the next election, but many British Euro-skeptics see this as a mere ploy to deflect the threat from UKIP.
Marine Le Pen, who finished third in the French presidential election, also demands a referendum on France’s membership. On Mach 3 she declared that the FN wants France to leave the EU unless four reforms are agreed: the return to the franc; the abolition of the Schengen single-borderarea; the primacy of France’s economic interests over “Europe’s”; and the primacy of national law over EU law. Otherwise, Le Pen has promised to transform the European elections a year from now into a referendum for or against Europe. Having polled 18% of the vote in the presidential election last year, Mlle Le Pen has a solid base to build upon.
In Italy, two anti-austerity, anti-euro parties—led by Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo—captured over half the vote and paralyzed the political system. Berlusconi returned from the dead to take just over 29% of the vote, less than one half of one percentage point behind the first-placed Center-Left. Newcomer Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S, Five Star Movement), entirely created via the web outside the traditional party system, took just over 25% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies—and demolished Italy’s balance of political forces. Pro-EU Monti’s coalition came fourth with a paltry ten percent.
Even in Germany, the apparent hegemon, there is little popular enthusiasm for the Euro-project. The recently-founded Alternative for Germany (AfD) is not even a political party yet, but expects to be a serious player come federal elections on September 22. It demands dissolution of the “coercive euro association,” an orderly end of the monetary union, and a referendum to decide if “the Basic Law, the best constitution that Germany ever had,” was violated to allow the transfer of sovereignty to the EU. Dr. Bernd Lucke—the AfD co-founder, economics professor and a life-long CDU supporter until he turned against Merkel in 2011 over her bailout policies—is adamant that Germany “has a government that has failed to comply with the law… and has blatantly broken the word that it had given to the German people.” With 14,000 paid members thus far, the AfD is respectable and distinctly upper-middle-class, with a higher concentration of PhDs than any party. Among its early supporters is Hans-Olaf Henkel, ex-president of the Federation of German Industry representing 100,000 businesses. Let it be added that as of now 26% of Germans say they would consider voting for a party committed to leaving the monetary union.
It will be a tough fight. Political, media and cultural elites in the leading countries of the Union are overwhelmingly pro-EU, pro-euro, pro-immigration, and vehemently opposed to any sign of national or ethno-linguistic coherence. If those elites have their way, there will be many more “Europeans” by the end of this century than today—some atheist, but mostly Muslim; some black, but mostly brown—but there will be precious few great-grandchildren of Europeans. The native populations are aborting and birth-controlling themselves into minorities. If Euro-elites have their way, disused churches will be converted into teeming mosques. Just over a decade ago, they refused to acknowledge Christian heritage as an element of European identity—but today they insist Islam is essential to that identity. Brussels rejects the notion that Europeans are defined by blood ties, collective memories, emotional bonds, culture, and kinship. Instead, “Europe” marches along the path of “civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived… to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world…”
This is the mindset of 1792 and 1917 all over again. Its derivative expressions are foreseeable. The EU relentlessly encourages abortion, sexual deviancy, and population replacement as “basic human rights.” Its political process means the manufacture of ideologically correct outcomes as defined by the unelected Brussels machine, before the quasi-democratic machine of the European Parliament and the member countries’ institutions are set in motion. The preamble of the EU Charter on Human Rights claims to be “based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law” (implying the two were not in conflict), and concludes that “Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibilities and duties with regard to other persons, to the human community and to future generations.” Those rights are naturally demarcated by those who reserve the right to decide what exactly one’s obligations to “the human community” and “future generation” happen to be.
The true meaning of “the rule of law” is defined by the European Arrest Warrant, a hideous device created by the Lisbon Treaty, under which any citizen of a member country—or even a visitor from outside the Union—is liable to arrest and extradition at the behest of a judge in any other EU member country, under one of 32 categories of “crime.” Those offenses include murder, terrorism, as well as “racism and xenophobia.” The EU thus came to equate beliefs, opinions and sentiments with the worst of actual crimes, in the best tradition of Soviet and Nazi jurisprudence.
The workings of the machine are mainly in the hands of the European Commission (EC), whose members are appointed by the 27 prime ministers who make up the Council. The EC has the authority to create and impose policies, but it cannot be removed or held accountable by any electorate. Its duty is to uphold the interests of the Union as such: its members swear that they will discard any vestige of loyalty to any nation. The only EU institution that has any claim to democratic credentials is the European Parliament, the least powerful of the three key bodies.
How and why did the monstrosity get this way? Gradually at first, with a great deal of patience and cunning exercised by its visionary creators. In 1945 Western Europe was in ruins, a shadow of what it had been only four decades previously. The old, pre-1914 balance-of-power system had collapsed, and the interwar mechanisms of collective security were neither collective nor secure. The beginnings were seemingly pragmatic: the 1951 European Coal and Steel Community—as engineered by Robert Schuman—seemed like a sound idea, a plus-sum-game if there ever was one. But the upholders of Euro-federalism had a bigger fish to fry. From the outset they held that a sense of common history had to be developed, as well as a sense of an existing and growing common identity, to complement those early economic integration mechanisms. As Jean Monnet, the father of the project (and, significantly, a man never elected to a public office), admitted six decades ago, “Europe has never existed; one has genuinely to create Europe.”
Monnet and his disciples had a long way to go. The initial ideological basis for the project was de Gaulle’s distinctly non-federalist vision of l’Europe des patries. A concert of nation-states, brought together by a common interest, would seek the withering away of their old hostilities—with France and Germany leading the way—but all of them would retain their substance and identity regardless of the institutional arrangement. This was the “Europe” of the Six, a logical heir to the pragmatic Coal and Steel Community. Euro-integralists—notably Belgium’s prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak and Monnet himself—nevertheless kept their powder dry for a more opportune moment when the European Economic Community might be steered in the direction of a political union. De Gaulle and his immediate successor, Georges Pompidou, did not want that; and until the early 1970’s the institutional framework remained essentially the same.
Then came the notion of Europe’s unity in diversity, the reverse of the Europe of the Fatherlands. (In 2000 In varietate concordia was adopted as the official motto of the European Union.) The new concept coincided with the European Community’s expansion to the Nine, then to the Twelve. Its proponents claimed that Europe was not only a mosaic of cultures but an organic whole. The implication that this whole required a single source of decision-making authority gave rise to the method of European integration Monnet had advocated from the outset: a series of gradual yet regular transfers of small slices of national sovereignty—in ostensibly technical areas—from national capitals to Brussels. The Community apparat made a quantum leap toward this goal with the Single European Act (SEA, July 1987). It was a thorough revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, but in the direction of a super-authority rather than a superstate.
The distinction is essential. The standard Eurosceptic accusation that the Brussels machine is plotting the creation of a single federal state is incorrect. The people who run the Brussels machine have never wanted the end result to be a superstate modeled after the United States. In the context of pan-European federal statehood they would be held more accountable and would come under far greater public scrutiny than if they remained faceless and continued to operate from the corridors of the monstrous EU HQ at Barleymont. The strategy was for the states to be drained gradually of statehood and their power transferred to Brussels, but without the unwelcome trappings and limitations of statehood itself. Its guiding spirit was then-Commission PresidentJacques Delors, a French Socialist. From the SEA on, the EU became—in the words of British MEP Roger Helmer—“a slow-motion coup d’etat.” In addition to the creation of the eurozone 12 years ago, which has grown to 17 member-states since, the Schengen Agreement (1990), the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the Amsterdam Treaty (1998), the Treaty of Nice (2000), and the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) have transferred vast powers from national capitals to Brussels.
The era of Delors coincided with the rise of the Generation of 1968 to the positions of power. The activists had cut their hair, put on suits and ties, and discovered that it was more fruitful and comfortable to take the Gramscian long road through the institutions than to blow them up. The veterans of the hard-left era, like Catherine Ashton and Jose Manuel Barroso, still subscribe to the concept of permanent revolution, but it is wrapped into the open-ended evolution of the EU that they now control. The result is a European Union in a state of indeterminacy and permanent flux, a postmodern edifice within which the meaning of sovereignty is relativized and the separation of foreign and domestic policies blurred to the point of interchangeability. What all of these Euro-enthusiasts share—as John Laughland has noted—is a love of indeterminacy and permanent change, and a hostility to what they regard as inadequate, old-fashioned, and simplistic certainties of classical sovereign statehood.
Far from being the “capital of Europe,” Brussels is the regional HQ of the post-Christian anti-Europe, just as Washington DC has morphed into the global HQ of the same project. The goals of the project managers are the same because their degenerate minds are the same. They cannot be shamed into changing their ways through arguments or defeated through the ballot box any more than a malignant cancer can be arrested with aspirin. A stronger medicine is needed.
To paraphrase a bad man from a time much better than our own, écrasez l’infâme!
Recently I was asked to give a presentation on the current state of the global economy to a local group of concerned citizens here in Northwest Montana. I was happy to oblige but when composing my bullet points I realized that, in truth, there were no legitimate economic numbers to examine anymore. You see, financial analysts have traditionally used multiple indicators of employment, profit, savings, credit, supply, and demand in their efforts to divine the often obscured facts of our financial system. The problem is, nearly every index we used in the past, every measure of capital flow and industry, is absolutely useless today.
We now live in an entirely fabricated fiscal environment. Every aspect of it is filtered, muddled, molded, and manipulated before our eyes ever get to study the stats. The metaphor may be overused, but our economic system has become an absolute “matrix”. All that we see and hear has been homogenized and all truth has been sterilized away. There is nothing to investigate anymore. It is like awaking in the middle of a vast and hallucinatory live action theater production, complete with performers, props, and sound effects, all designed to confuse us and do us harm. In the end, trying to make sense of the illusion is a waste of time. All we can do is look for the exits…
There is some tangible reality out there, but it is difficult to find, and there are few if any mainstream numbers to verify. One has to remember always that the fundamental world of money and trade revolves around real people and real circumstances. No matter how corrupt our economic system is, as long as there are human beings, there will always be supply and demand that cannot be hidden. We have to look past the “official numbers” and look at the roots of trade. Where has demand fallen? Where has supply diminished? Where are the tangible goods and needs and how have they changed?
Let’s first start with the mainstream version of our system, looking at each aspect of the economy that no longer represents the truth of our situation…
Employment, Savings, And Debt
Much of this information is old news to those of us in the Liberty Movement, who tracked the progress of the global collapse long before the general public even knew of its existence. However, it is useful to take a step back and look at the basic picture every once in a while.
According to numbers issued by the Department of Labor, weekly unemployment reports have dropped to a five year low, and the overall employment rate is holding at 7.9%. This would seem to be a vast improvement over the dreadful bloodletting in the system only a few years ago. Has the private Federal Reserve and the Obama Administration really done it? Have they turned back the tide on the greatest fiscal crisis the U.S. has seen since the Depression?
No. They haven’t.
They have only changed how the data is disseminated to the public. In order to understand how the employment statistics con is being engineered, it is important to understand the difference between “Adjusted” and “Unadjusted” numbers.
Labor Department data is “seasonally adjusted”, using a series of statistical assumptions including something called “Trend Cycle Analysis”. Trend Cycle Analysis is, basically, a sham, but a sham put together in a very complex and confusing manner. If you ask a mainstream economist what it is, you’ll likely get a three hour long dissertation filled with financial babble and very little concrete explanation. So let me break it down as simply as I can…
Imagine that you are going to estimate how much profit you plan to make in a particular month, but you don’t just consider your current pay rate and pop it into a calculator; you also throw in the possibility of a few pay raises, an inheritance from a grandma who might kick the bucket, and, your exaggerated expectations of the entire year’s profit on top of that. You may also take into account future bad weather, a mugging, a nuclear war….whatever. All hypothetical situations not based in reality. Basically, you decide that a particular trend in your income is inevitable, then, mold your statistical analysis around that assumption.
When your real profit numbers come in (the unadjusted numbers) and they do not meet your expectations, you simply change them according to what you believe SHOULD have happened. If you insist that your profits are going to go up for the year, and they go down for a couple months instead, you change the variables you use to calculate the statistical average so that the results match your expectations, assuming that it will all balance out in the end.
Now, this sounds utterly insane for the common person out there trying to make a living. If you ran your household this way, without accepting the cold hard unadjusted numbers in front of you, you’d find yourself broke and on the street in no time. Unfortunately this is EXACTLY how our government handles most financial data; by coming to a final conclusion before hand, and then forcing the numbers to fit that conclusion.
This is why in February of 2013, “adjusted” first week unemployment rate was reported at 366,000 – a 5000 person drop from the week before. A seeming improvement in the trend. But, unadjusted numbers came in at 386,176 – a 16,000 person spike from the week before. When one examines real unemployment numbers, he finds that the divergence between the adjusted and unadjusted statistics is growing larger with each passing quarter. That is to say, the contradiction is becoming so blatant between the hard numbers and the Labor Department’s fantasy numbers that one must question whether or not the government is lying to us outright about the state of the economy (hint – they are lying).
These same methods are used by the government to calculate progress in the housing market, disposable income, etc.
The claim of “recovery” in the jobs market simply doesn’t jive with other indicators, like 2012 Christmas retail, which had the worst showing since the crash in 2008 (and these are still mainstream numbers!):
Average household savings continue to scrape the bottom of the barrel, indicating that the public is not spending or withholding cash. They are simply broke:
The downturn in consumption and industry also seems to be supported by the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global shipping and rates. The BDI has fallen to near historic lows THREE TIMES in the past year, which to my knowledge, has never happened before. In the past, the BDI has been a strong prophetic indicator of future market volatility. Usually, around a year after a severe decline in the index, a dangerous economic event takes place. The BDI made its first sharp drop to all time lows at the end of January 2012, exactly a year ago.
U.S. household debt was recently reported to have fallen to a 29 year low, but the ratio used by the Federal Reserve applies a statistic for disposable income that is derived from the Trend Cycle boondoggle method. While markets cheer, the truth is, the only reason household debt obligations have fallen at all is because bank lending and credit issuance remains frozen. Consumer debt falls when there is no money to borrow. In fact, the Federal Reserve actually pays large banks NOT to lend to the public; an activity which was exposed by Dennis Kucinich in 2009 on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. An activity that continued through 2012:
Keep in mind, one of the primary arguments the Federal Reserve used when promoting the bailout concept was that it would “free up credit markets” so that lending could pick up again and fuel a recovery, and yet, at the same time, they were paying banks to NOT lend.
Meanwhile, the supposed job recovery has produced an astonishing increase in welfare recipients in the U.S., including a record 46 million Americans on foodstamps (approximately 15% of our population):
If we are to apply any “trend” to our calculations on overall economic health, then we should include the extreme level of government handouts, and poverty levels which are now at all time highs. The facts are undeniable; the number of people who have much less than they did in 2008 has grown. How then could the U.S. be considered “in recovery”?
National Debt And The Fiat Lie
With the Dow Index hovering near highs of 14,000 our system truly looks to be on a rocket ship to pre-2008 money market bliss. In a mere five years we have returned to equity spikes that stagger the mind and the wallet. At least, that’s how it all appears…
What needs to be taken into account, though, is the amount of fiat money being created by the Federal Reserve, and how much of that printed pixie dust currency is fueling our magical flight to Neverland. Since 2008, our official national debt has increased from $10 trillion to $16.4 trillion, and some estimate $17 trillion to $18 trillion by the end of 2013 (unless, of course, a collapse occurs). Which means our national debt, which took decades to reach the $10 trillion mark, will have nearly doubled in only six years!
So, what has a doubling of our national debt in such a short span of time bought us? Well, credit markets remain frozen, property markets remain stagnant, poverty is at historic levels, welfare recipients are at epic highs, and consumer activity and GDP is back at 2008 lows. Where did all that printed money go? Where was it spent? To answer that question, we only need to find what area of the economy has seen the most positive (or fantastical) activity. What sector is seeing a massive boost while the rest tumbles?
I suggest that a large portion of QE1 through QE3 has gone to prop up the stock market, and nothing else. I suggest that American taxpayers are fronting the bill for the equities bonanza we see today. I suggest that the Dow is being used as a Red Herring to distract the populous for as long as possible while real assets are being snapped up and hoarded by international banks and foreign entities. I suggest that we are being leached dry and that the parasites are almost ready to move on…
When will it all end? Perhaps sooner than many people think. The decision by D.C. to delay talks on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” until March may not be coincidence. Extensive cuts in federal spending are absolutely necessary and cannot be dismissed forever, but, because the last vestiges of our system that still operate do so through government money, such cuts will cause immediate damage to the economy, including possible default and dollar devaluation. Refusal to make cuts will result in credit downgrades, currency inflation, and a loss of the greenback’s world reserve status. There is no “right” way out of this quandary.
When this collapse is initiated, it would certainly behoove all parties involved, including central banks, international banks, and criminal politicians, to have a scapegoat handy for the citizenry to direct their rage at.
Event Horizon Economics
An “Event Horizon” in physics is a moment or singularity in spacetime at which a gravitational pull becomes so great that there is no way to escape it. It is a point of no return. I believe America’s economy has reached its own Event Horizon. Our system is now entirely fiat driven, with very little or no true economy left. Without constant injections from the Fed, and perpetually low interest rates, the country would implode tomorrow. This is not recovery. Actually, I’m not sure what to call it.
Today, independent economic analysts cannot look to the numbers to determine future trends. Most are fake, and the rest are ugly, and I’m not sure much else can be said in their regard. Instead, we must now look to events, rather than statistics, because our country has been maneuvered into a position of utmost frailty. Like an avalanche shelf waiting for that perfectly timed disturbance to trigger its roaring collapse. All that is needed is a macro-crisis, and it is no great feat for such a thing to be created in our tension filled global environment.
War in Syria and Iran leading to a tripling of energy prices. Sanctions and strife with North Korea leading to Chinese economic retribution. Conflict between China and Japan, again leading to Chinese economic warfare and perhaps real warfare. An opportune “cyber attack” which could be used as an excuse for a market crash and even an internet shutdown. A “political impasse” between Reps and Dems which leads to a default of U.S. credit. Any one of these catastrophes could easily occur (with a little nudge from some well placed people) and feed a wider global tragedy. The important thing to remember is that while this event will be blamed for the breakdown, it was international banks, the Federal Reserve, and elements of our own government that made the domino effect possible. They put the pieces in place. The act that knocks them over is secondary.
I have spent the past seven years writing about “potential” threats to our overall system, but these dangers were always just beyond our sight. Just around the corner. Today, it is as if the journey is over, and all those threats have materialized right before my eyes as real, and imminent. I am watching that which I warned of come to fruition, and this is certainly not a pleasant thing. What is valuable, though, is what we have all done in the Liberty Movement with the time that we had. From when I began writing for the movement until now, I have seen an overwhelming increase in public awareness. It may not be obvious to newer activists, but it is there all the same. While we still face disparaging odds, and millions upon millions of oblivious bystanders, there is, amidst these darker moments, a steadfast community of free men and women forming. I have full faith in the future. Much more so than I ever did before. Our economy may be detached from reality, but our endeavors as individuals will not be. Our resolve will be the great game changer. Not fiscal calamity.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
You’ve got to hand it to bloviating Brit Piers Morgan. While he got most of the facts wrong in his recent targeting of the Second Amendment, it hasn’t stopped him from moving on to even more formidable targets.
Such as the Bible.
He says the book is “inherently flawed” — and needs to be amended.
Piers handed down his decree while interviewing SaddlebackChurch pastor Rick Warren on the December 24th “Piers Morgan Tonight.” Yes, on Christmas Eve. When other hosts might be discussing love, brotherhood, salvation, and all things ethereal, Captain Morgan was giving us the world according to Piers. And how would he improve the Good Book? Said he, “Both the Bible and the Constitution were well intentioned, but they are basically, inherently flawed. Hence the need to amend it. My point to you [Warren] about gay rights, for example; it’s time for an amendment to the Bible.”
Well, Piers, we’re so blessed to have you to correct both America’s founding document and the most influential book in history. We had to suffer more than 200 years with one and more than 2000 with the other, but the right god-man has finally come along. Oh, and when you’re done with that, old boy, can you contact the Genome Project and rewrite the human genetic code for us? We’re flawed, too.
To Warren’s credit, he politely but firmly disagreed, responding to the amendment call by saying:
What I believe is flawed is human opinion because it constantly changes. […]What was hot is now not. […]My definition of Truth is: if it’s new, it’s not true. If it was true a thousand years ago, it’ll be true a thousand years from today; opinion changes, but Truth doesn’t.
To this Morgan quite predictably responded, “We’re going to agree to disagree on that.”
Warren then noted how pleasant their exchange had been, prompting Morgan to concur and say, “The debate should always be respectful. By the way, it applies to politics, too. The moment it becomes disrespectful, and discourteous, and then rude, and then poisonous, you never achieve anything.” Talk about amendment — without making amends. If that’s what Morgan now believes, he has definitely discovered a new “truth” since his recent interview with Larry Pratt.
This brings us to what lies at the very heart of modern liberalism and confuses the head of Piers Morgan. When Morgan disagreed on the unchanging nature of Truth, he was espousing moral relativism. This is the notion that what we call “morality” is determined by man and thus is relative to the time, place, and people. It is also something virtually every liberal believes.
And while Morgan’s relativistic statement was almost made in passing, and was allowed to pass — perhaps partially because of time constraints — it was actually the most significant comment of the exchange (relativistic sentiments always would be). Why? Because that was precisely when Morgan, completely and abjectly, lost the debate. And if you understand what I’m about to explain, you’ll be able to cut any liberal off at the knees — anytime.
While many will say, as Warren might have implied, that relativism reduces morality to opinion, even this is both too generous and a misunderstanding. “Opinion” often refers to a thesis about what may be the answer to a particular question, about what may be true. But this presupposes that there are answers to be found, that there is such a thing as “true.” In other words, Mars exists not because everyone believes it does, but because its existence is a physical truth. And the question is, does moral Truth exist in the same way, apart from man and his imagination? If not, then saying that something is morally “true” would make as much sense as saying that planet Vulcan exists simply because you felt it did. Delusion does not a truth make.
So relativism does not reduce morality to opinion. It implies something else.
That morality doesn’t exist.
After all, to say that society determines “morality” is to simply put lipstick on the pig of man’s preferences about behavior. To analogize the matter, if we learned that 90 percent of the world preferred vanilla to chocolate, would this somehow make chocolate “wrong” or “evil”? No, it would simply be an issue of taste. But then how does it make any sense to say that murder is “wrong” if the only reason we do so is that the majority of the world prefers that one not kill in a way the majority calls “unjust”? If this is all it is, then murder falls into the same category as flavor: taste. Again, delusion does not a truth make.
More intellectually nimble moral relativists have thought the above through and — although their ultimate conclusion is wrong — they don’t fool themselves the way Morgan, Richard Dawkins, and virtually every other leftist do. For example, I know of a fellow who has echoed the Protagorean mistake “Man is the measure of all things” and said, “Murder isn’t wrong; it’s just that society says it is.” He takes liberals’ cherished relativism to its logical conclusion (or at least close to it).
This brings us back to Morgan’s philosophical juvenility. He repeatedly stated in his Warren interview that the Bible was “flawed,” but such a concept is incomprehensible in a relativistic universe. For what yardstick is he using to judge the Bible? He certainly cannot refer to any transcendent Truth (a redundancy). And the times, places, and people that extol(led) Scripture certainly don’t align with his judgment, and who is he to impose his values on them? “What you espouse is your ‘truth,’ Piers; theirs is different. Don’t be so judgmental.” That’s how easy it is to hoist liberals on their own petards.
The same applies to homosexual “rights.” If “morals” are values and values just reflect tastes, how can respecting homosexuals be morally superior to persecuting them? How can any behavior preference rightly be judged at all? I think here of how the robot in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day repeatedly asked the adolescent John Connor why he shouldn’t kill people. “Why? Why?” The machine was just being logical, unlike the liberal organic robots (atheism=no souls=man is merely chemicals and water) that entertain meaning-inducing illusions. In a relativistic universe, moral principles do not compute. This is why any relativism-buttressed point collapses upon itself.
Feelings can become fashions, but never morals. “The Bible isn’t flawed; it’s just that secular society says it is. Respecting homosexuals isn’t right; it’s just that secular society says it is. And what Adam Lanza did isn’t wrong; it’s just that all of society says it is.” Does that sound sociopathic, Piers? It is.
It is also what your relativism implies.
That is Philosophy 101. And if you can’t understand even that, Mr. Morgan, you’re going to start to seem, to use your own words, like an “unbelievably stupid man.”
Will this be the last normal holiday season that Americans ever experience? To many Americans, such a notion would be absolutely inconceivable. After all, in the affluent areas of the country restaurants and malls are absolutely packed. Beautiful holiday decorations are seemingly everywhere this time of the year and children all over the United States are breathlessly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. Even though poverty is exploding to unprecedented levels, most families will still have mountains of presents under their Christmas trees. Of course a whole lot of those presents were purchased with credit cards, but people don’t like to talk about that. It kind of spoils the illusion. Sadly, the truth is that our entire economy is a giant illusion. The extreme prosperity that we have been enjoying has been fueled by debt, and any future prosperity that we will experience is completely dependent on our ability to go into even more debt. The total amount of debt in our economy is almost 10 times larger than it was just 30 years ago, but we don’t like to think about that too much. Most Americans are way too busy living the good life to be bothered with “doom and gloom”. Well, get ready to say goodbye to normal. As history has shown us, no financial bubble lasts forever, and time is rapidly running out for us.
You know that the hour is late when even mainstream news sources start publishing articles with titles such as this: “Will 2013 Mark the Beginning of American Decline?”
That article appeared on Bloomberg.com the other day, and it was written by Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. He is convinced that a day of reckoning is coming for U.S. government finances, and he seems resigned to the fact that we will not be ready when that day arrives…
“Sooner or later, it will be America’s turn to fall out of favor with investors and to see its own interest rates rise. It is hard to know when that day will come, or precisely what pressures the country will face.
Let me only venture one forecast: We will not be ready.”
Other analysts are far more pessimistic. For example, the following is what Gerald Celente said about the “bond bubble” during a recent interview with King World News…
Eric King: “Gerald, I wanted to take a look at this upcoming issue you have coming out. (In here it says,) ‘Bonds Away! The bond bomb is ready to explode … threatening to make the real estate and dot-com bubbles, and even the Great Recession, look like market corrections.’ Can you talk about that?”
Celente: “Yes. This piece is being penned by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, the former Assistant Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan. And he is convinced that the bond bubble is about to burst. This cannot continue to go on the way it is. Everyone knows that the whole game is rigged, and so is this….”
“The whole game is rigged. It’s ready to go down, and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts believes it’s ‘Bonds Away’ in 2013 as the bond bubble explodes and brings about a financial disaster even worse than the Great Depression.”
Eric King: “He’s saying here it’s a road to financial collapse that we are going to head down when this thing bursts.”
Celente: “It is. Because the whole world is being propped up by these phony bonds and it’s going to collapse. It has to happen. Interest rates are going to start going up, and when they do the bond bubble explodes. You cannot keep interest rates at zero for this amount of time and expect anything other than disaster to follow.”
For much more on all this, you can listen to another excellent interview with Gerald Celente right here.
Our politicians just assume that we will be able to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars far into the future at super low interest rates, but that is a very dangerous assumption.
As I noted the other day, the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 2.534 percent at the end of November. If that number just rose to where it was about a decade earlier we would be in a massive amount of trouble.
Back in the year 2000, the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 6.638 percent. If we were at that level today, the U.S. government would be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
But our politicians just keep borrowing and spending as if we could do this forever.
From the time that George Washington was inaugurated (1789) to the time that George W. Bush was inaugurated (2001), the U.S. government accumulated about 5.7 trillion dollars of debt.
During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about 5.7 trillion dollars of debt.
How can anyone support this kind of insanity?
You can see an excellent video demonstrating the vastness of our national debt right here. In the end, all of this debt will absolutely destroy the U.S. dollar, our economic system and the bright futures that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.
As if all of that was not enough to be concerned about, there is also the threat that Wall Street could implode at any time. Most Americans have no idea that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world. The “too big to fail” banks are the ringleaders, and the derivatives bubble hangs over our financial system like a “sword of Damocles” that could fall at virtually any moment.
Everything will remain fine as long as the spiral of derivatives that our bankers have constructed remains perfectly balanced. But if something happens and it becomes unbalanced and starts to collapse, the consequences could be unlike anything we have ever seen before.
A recent Zero Hedge article entitled “1000x Systemic Leverage: $600 Trillion In Gross Derivatives ‘Backed’ By $600 Billion In Collateral” detailed how there is barely any collateral backing up the hundreds of trillions of dollars of derivatives that are out there…
But a bigger question is what is the actual collateral backing this gargantuan market which is about 10 times greater than the world’s combined GDP, because as the “derivative” name implies all this exposure is backed on some dedicated, real assets, somewhere. Luckily, the IMF recently released a discussion note titled “Shadow Banking: Economics and Policy” where quietly hidden in one of the appendices it answers precisely this critical question. The bottom line: $600 trillion in gross notional derivatives backed by a tiny $600 billion in real assets: a whopping 0.1% margin requirement! Surely nothing can possibly go wrong with this amount of unprecedented 1000x systemic leverage.
Our entire economy has become a giant pyramid of debt, risk and leverage. At some point there is going to be a giant crash. When that happens, people are going to become very desperate.
When people become very desperate, they often accept “solutions” that they were not willing to consider previously.
We need to learn some lessons from history. This is exactly the kind of thing that happened back in the 1930s.
For example, an elderly woman named Kitty Werthmann is telling audiences what life was like in Austria back in the late 1930s…
“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.”
“Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.”
The Austrian people were really hurting and they were desperate for answers. When Hitler came to them with “solutions”, they were ready to embrace him with open arms…
“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.”
“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.”"Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.”
“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.”
Sadly, America is already starting to go down the same path in many ways. If you doubt this, you can read the rest of her account right here.
Right now, things are still relatively good in America. Yes, there are a whole host of economic numbers that look really bad, but what we are experiencing right now is nothing compared to the horrific economic pain that is coming.
When our economy finally crashes, nobody is going to be able to press a button and restore things to how they were previously. We will be told that we have to “adjust” and consider “new solutions” to our “new challenges”. Someday we will look back on the good life that we were enjoying in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and wish that we could go back to those days.
So enjoy the relative peacefulness and prosperity of these times while you still can. A horrific economic collapse is on the way, and once it strikes none of our lives will ever be the same.
Source: The Economic Collapse
The markets, as most people reading this should now well know, no longer reflect in any way the true economic health of our country. If one was to measure the financial “recovery” of this nation by the strength of global stocks alone, he would probably come to the conclusion that the collapse of 2008 was a mere hiccup in the overall success of the worldwide economic system. However, electronically traded equities with little more to back their value than scraps of receipt paper and numbers on a screen have no bearing on what is going to happen to you, and to me, over the course of the coming year. The stock market is a sideshow, a popcorn movie, a façade. The real drama is going on behind the scenes and revealed in fundamentals that mainstream analysts no longer discuss…
The only advantage of a long drawn disintegration of the overall system is that as the years pass, it becomes possible to discover a pattern through which we can gauge where we really stand today and will stand tomorrow, giving us a chance (a narrow chance) to limit the eventual damage. Unfortunately, the pattern now in motion suggests that the next year will be exactly what we have been predicting over the past several months: Dismal.
The MSM refuses to discuss it at great length, but all signs show an epic global slowdown in demand and production, especially in the final quarter of 2012. This slowdown cannot be denied, nor can it be shrugged off as inconsequential. This development is exactly as I predicted in January of this year using the Baltic Dry Index as a guide. During that first quarter, the BDI fell to record lows, indicating an extreme decline in shipping demand around the world, which, in turn, indicated a fall in demand for raw goods, which, in turn, indicated a fall in demand for consumer goods. Mainstream pundits sought to distract the public from this fact by claiming that the BDI was collapsing due to an “oversupply of ships”, not rescinding demand. This disinformation was proven incorrect in the beginning of the third quarter of this year, when export nations from China, to Japan, to Germany all began reporting abysmal manufacturing numbers and steep faltering in overseas purchases.
Of course, we all know what happened next: The markets began to tank when they caught the scent of a slowdown, losing a thousand points within the span of a week. Not so unpredictably (since I also predicted it at the beginning of the year) the Federal Reserve leapt into action with its announcement of QE3 (QE Infinity).
QE3 has done little to change the problem of falling global demand, but it has certainly defibrillated stocks. In fact, I think it is safe to say that a majority of QE fiat funds are flowing (directly or indirectly) into the DOW, and not much else. International trade and consumption is starting to feel the pain, and respective countries are no longer able to hide it. Keep in mind that this slowdown is occurring right at the height of the Christmas season, when consumption is usually supposed to reignite.
Despite the sugar coated claims of insane Keynesians who only a few years ago were predicting a “resurgence” of American industry and exports due to the Federal Reserve’s ongoing devaluation of the dollar, production in the U.S. has remained pathetically weak, and continues to decline:
This is of course a direct result of slowing global demand, reducing potential markets all over the world, which is something deflation fear mongers apparently didn’t see coming. The reality is that demand is faltering EVERYWHERE, not just in the U.S., and this begs a particular question: In an interdependent economic system driven primarily by consumption, who is going to fill the void when all nations are dry of spending cash? That is to say, who is going to take up the slack, when obviously no one has the wealth to do so? Without a cultural cash engine, the globalized framework is destined to fail.
China’s export growth fell far more than expected in November, something which many Chinese economists are attributing to a complete lack of revival in American markets:
Manufacturing in the UK went into steep decline almost simultaneously, showing that sinking demand is striking both the Pacific and the Atlantic:
Germany, the largest economy in the EU and the only country still holding the absurd political entity together, has been shocked to discover that its own Bundesbank is forecasting a contraction in growth to near zero in 2013:
This contraction has recently caused Japan to install a new revamped government during elections this month, which unfortunately will be instituting almost identical policies to the last regime.
Finally, Brazil, a developing export nation with very important significance as a litmus test for world consumption, posted near zero growth in the third quarter of 2012, far below expectations but in line with the bigger picture. The global financial machine is grinding to a halt right under our very noses…
At the end of 2012, it is undeniable; the system is running out of steam, and not even constant fiat injections by central banks are reversing our current course.
In order to understand what is happening, I want you to imagine a quickly diminishing cycle. Imagine that in 2008, America was on the edge of a whirlpool, or a spinning vortex, and was suddenly caught in the outermost current. Today, we have circled the epicenter several times, each rotation becoming smaller and more volatile than the last. Eventually, the whirlpool will reach an end, and our economy will be sucked into the destructive funnel. One can see clear evidence of this decline in the Baltic Dry Index:
Notice how each year since 2008 there is a spike in shipping rates indicating a rise in demand for materials at the onset of the Christmas season, which is the natural progression of things. Yet, also notice that this spike in demand grows smaller with each passing year. In 2012, the increase has been almost nonexistent, meaning that we are likely very close to going down the drain.
Some pundits may argue that November’s Black Friday sales were tremendous, and this signals a recovery in spending and consumption. I would point out that such numbers are deceiving. High sales during the most discounted day of the Christmas buying season is not necessarily a good thing. What it really reveals is that a majority of shoppers were looking for the lowest prices possible because of a lack of personal savings. It is a sign of desperation, not revitalization. Full season numbers have not yet been released, but when they are, I believe we will see a fantastic spike in sales on Black Friday followed by a complete flatline for the rest of the year. Obviously high consumption has not been sustained, otherwise, worldwide manufacturing and shipping would be in much better shape.
The issue here is one of priorities. With multiplying distractions going on around the globe, including the fear of recent mass murders at home, will the public be able to keep track of the deadly financial tidal waves just off the coast, or will they even care when distracted by so many sharks in the water? The next two months will be very revealing. The so-called “fiscal cliff” is on the way, and the question of whether or not the U.S. government should kick the can down the road or take the sour medicine it needs and move on has arisen once again. This debate is and always has been an illusion. Whether we continue to increase government spending, taxation, and inflation, or we cut all spending and shut down the fiat presses, there is still going to be a collapse.
However, the “fiscal cliff” could be very dangerous in an entirely different respect…
The coming collapse will not be due to the indecision or partisan bickering of our politicians. They are in much closer agreement than the MSM would like to admit. Instead, the monolithic Catch-22 of our age will be the direct result of the actions of the private Federal Reserve and the peripheral international banking cartel; the engineers who gave birth to the toxic derivatives implosion in the first place. What I fear most is that the results of the fiscal cliff negotiation along with other triggers around the planet (Syria, Iran, the EU breakdown, etc.) will be used to veil the true weaknesses of our already imploding system, and eventually be exploited as scapegoat events for a disaster that has been in the making for decades, not just a few years. The omens are not good for 2013, and we can only circle the drain for so long.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
While our government still happily continues to peel big bucks off its wad and shower it down on Wall Street, big business and the “war” machine like it was Christmas for banksters and war-mongers all year long whether they need it or not, all too many hard-working tax-paying victims of Hurricane Sandy out in Staten Island and Rockaway are still getting no help at all. Zero. Ziltch. Nada.
Nothing is currently being peeled off our government’s endless roll of big bucks for them.
Last week I was riding in a Muni bus over in San Francisco (on my way back from an audition to play a bored office worker in a student film) and on the bus was a very delightful older couple who seemed to have absolutely no cares.
“Where are you from?” I asked them.
“Rockaway,” they replied hesitantly. Rockaway? OMG! Not THAT Rockaway? “Yeah, that’s the one. And, yes, we did live through Hurricane Sandy and, yes, our home was badly damaged and almost destroyed.” http://www.phillipvan.com/
“So what the freak are you doing out here?”
“Having fun! After having survived a personal visit from Sandy, we realized that life is just too short not to enjoy it. So we came out here to have fun.”
“But did you at least get any help from FEMA?” I asked, figuring that after our government has spent trillions on bailing out Wall Street (where no one hardly ever pays taxes and pretty much lives on Welfare for the Wealthy), then the least that our government could do is send a measly few billion bucks off to bail out afflicted taxpayers in Rockaway. http://www.phillipvan.com/
“Have we received any help from FEMA? In a word? No.”
“Not even anything?” No.
“It’s been a whole month after Sandy and parts of Rockaway still don’t even have electricity now. Or places for people to go.”
“But did FEMA give you any money to help you out?” No.
“We got nothing but an avalanche of paperwork.” They didn’t even get bottled water. “A relative in Wisconsin finally ended up bringing us some.” And they can’t go back to their home because the wife has asthma and their house is a hell-hole of black mold right now. Ah, black mold, the bane of asthma sufferers’ existence.
“We just took out a 60-day insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London on our stuff and left.”
I tried to grill the happy couple for more information on what is happening in Rockaway right now — and right in the middle of the Christmas season too — but they weren’t interested in being reminded. All they wanted to do was forget their worst nightmare and celebrate that they, unlike some of their neighbors, were still alive and had survived one of the fiercest mega-storms ever.
And as our bus drove on past Chinatown, the happy couple soon had all us passengers singing “Merry Christmas” — in Chinese. Brave souls. I almost cried.
The Salvation Army has long been a holy-day season fixture in front of my local supermarket, providing some Christmas sounds and cheer as it raises money to serve the poor. But when I went grocery shopping a couple of days ago, a difference was apparent: there was an SA volunteer and collection pot on the premises, but no trademark bell-ringing. So I asked the man why — even though I already knew the answer.
You might have read the recent news stories concerning complaints about the SA bells. And, sure enough, the volunteer at my supermarket confirmed that these grinches’ griping was the reason they’d been silenced. So now another element of the Christmas season is no more, at least in my area.
Of course, some may say that any continual noise can be irritating. But this raises questions: why didn’t people seem to find the SA bells as annoying 25 years ago? Is it any coincidence that increasing irritation with them seems to hew closely with the growth of our society’s secularist-grinch constituency?
It goes without saying that some people must have found the bells annoying decades ago as well. Most everything irks someone and everyone is irked by something (with me, it’s the grating, purposeless noise emanating from liberals’ mouths). Yet we tend to often tolerate things that annoy us, realizing that dealing with such comes with the territory of living among other beings. And tolerance is the relevant factor here because, clearly, it is only growing intolerance that could explain complaints intense enough to instigate the change in question.
Before proceeding, I’ll point out that “tolerance” is almost universally misunderstood today. While we often conflate it with affection or sympathy, the word actually implies the abiding of a perceived negative. We wouldn’t tolerate a fine car, delectable meal, or a beautiful work of art; we relish those things. But we would have to tolerate bad weather, a cold, or a Nancy Pelosi speech. Could you imagine someone asking not about pain, but “How much pleasure can you tolerate?”?
This explains why liberals fancy themselves the epitome of tolerance when they’re anything but. They will point to their attitudes toward homosexual behavior, illegal entry into our country, and the exaltation of other cultures within our borders as prime examples of tolerance, but they’re nothing of the sort. Liberals actually like or at least don’t mind those things, which means that, by definition, they cannot be tolerant of them. Their affinity or indifference makes that impossible.
So how tolerant are liberals really? Well, just consider how they react to things they actually do perceive as negatives. How tolerant are they of conservative commentary, politically incorrect dissent on college campuses, or expressions of Christianity? Heck, anything that finds disfavor with a liberal sets off bells in his head.
Now, it’s also true that what influences whether we perceive something as a negative or, at least, how tolerant of it we’ll be, is the person or group with which it’s associated. For example, we may discover that a habit we found intolerable in a person we disliked we find quite tolerable, or even endearing, in someone we like (I must confess to having once been guilty of this myself). Then we may realize it wasn’t that the earlier individual was so intolerable; it’s that we were unjustly intolerant and let our negative feelings for a person color our judgment of everything he did.
Liberals exhibit this all the time. They may detest former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet, pointing out that 3000 people disappeared under his rule, while seeming not to bat an eye at Joseph Stalin’s murder of tens of millions. They’ll condemn Sarah Palin for supposedly using crosshairs imagery, but then say nothing about Barack Obama’s statement, “If they [Republicans] bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” And they’ll defend the broadcast of the Muslim call to prayer in Hamtramck,Michigan, while getting all bent out of shape over SA bells.
So it’s clear that the main problem some people have with the SA bells is not the ringing, but who is doing the ringing. The Salvation Army is a Christian organization with a mission statement that reads, in part:
“[The SA] is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”
Christian, church, Bible, love of God, and Jesus Christ…. It’s no wonder liberals perceive the SA as a negative.
Of course, this is just one little front in the War on Christmas. But now yet another element of the Yuletide season has been purged, thanks to the actions of liberals and inaction of yesterday’s liberals (conservatives).
Ah, liberals, the very embodiment of negativity, negative about all the wrong things for more than 100 years.
Neo: “What truth?”, Morpheus: “That you are a slave, Neo. That you, like everyone else, was born into bondage… kept inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch – a prison for your mind.”
In the movie the Matrix, Morpheus and Trinity knew that something in reality had suddenly changed when Neo experienced a deja-vu. The deja-vu resulted as a bit of the virtual world reformatted changing reality enough so a new ’reality’ presented with an advantage to the controllers.
It is interesting to pay attention to the Matrix of ‘real’ life because there are many similarities to the inspired ideas communicated in the movie of the same name. If you pay attention long enough you’ll notice some deja-vu. This ‘real’ life appears to have scripted components that when noticed change reality right before our eyes.
Right now the global controllers are modifying the script so as to bring about some kind of change that facilitates their plan of global domination and enslavement they’ll call global government.
The stage is being populated with new props and I sense a deja-vu.
WHO CONTROLS THE WORLD
I think the sociopolitical framework of the united States and the world are scripted plays created by powers-that-be having critical knowledge of human psychology and control of the worlds media, education, money, military, religions, and energy (including food, water and medicine). And because it is important later, I will note the world’s-a-stage script writers are obsessively interested in esoteric occulted symbols, numerology, astrology and religious ritual.
As many of you already know, the united States of America’s over government (by agreement made called the Constitution), commonly known as the United States Federal Government (USG), was infiltrated and usurped many years ago; the final purge was nearly complete with the bankruptcy and subsequent relaunch of the USG in 1933. One way to help your mind work better when thinking about this is to mentally rename the USG. Renaming results in clearer thinking because it makes allegiances transparent. I like to think of the USG as Federists (rhymes with terrorists), which helps me remember I’m talking about an foreign occupational, hostile, well funded, highly intelligent, malevolent gang of usurpers. Federists occupy the highest offices and control the primary enforcing agencies of the former USG.
Federists control of America is maintained first by deception, then bribery and blackmail and finally, as needed, murder.
In other words, the control system that has been pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth, is now in control of the world’s wealthiest and militarily powerful nation on earth.
The world, then, is controlled by an unnamed, focused group of powerful, malevolent, super-staters, which, by proxy, occupy and control the highest offices, enforcing agencies and military of the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.
The world is controlled by the globalists.
The globalist maintain their control over the world through control of the worlds media, education, money, military, religions, and energy (including food, water and medicine).
The primary source of globalist power comes from pretended money in the form of currency and energy monopolies. All the other controls are derived from these two sources. And, for future reference, these two main sources of power are the globalist’s Achilles heel.
Counterfeit currency is a system of pretended money loaned by imitation banks to governments at interest. The interest represents real wealth streamed back to the imitation banks in payment for the counterfeit currency (nothing).
The crux of the crime is that nothing of value is loaned in return for interest payments. Using the borrower’s promise to pay as currency, the imitation banks return debt as money. In other words, nothing of value was loaned by the bank in return for interest payments. Hence a system was devised so globalists can issue currency in nearly unlimited quantities, at no cost to the globalist, in return for an ever growing stream of interest payments siphoning off the wealth of the borrowers.
The globalists using middle men like the Federists can then ‘loan’ unlimited ( at least in the short term because this banking scam eventually self destructs) currency to the Federists, who use the currency to further the globalists agenda, while the globalist still retain the interest stream now passed off as income tax to the working class of the united States of America.
The actual currency (dollar) is worthless, but derives a phony value because people accept the dollar in trade for real goods. Since the currency grows on trees, the quantity can always increase (and of course it does), thereby reducing the supply of goods available causing prices to rise in proportion to the quantity of pretend money in existence. The rising prices are a second form of tax since it now takes more dollars to purchase the same good. (Your loss of purchasing power has been transferred to the Federists to be used in service of the globalist.)
Using this currency, the globalist can then fund legislation in the affected country to erect monopolies on energy, buy and control the media, fund education trusts and university grants, bribe and control religions and the military.
HOW THE GLOBALISTS WRITE THE SCRIPT
For the record it is easy to write the script when you own the media, schools, churches, energy, money and military.
The globalists write the script through careful control of images, themes and thought. Deception is the operative concept, even if the details are complex and complicated. In essence, the globalists frame the problems of the world and then provide the solutions. Many people have reported this idea, David Icke calls it ‘problem, reaction, solution’. Using fear as a means of gaining and keeping attention, globalists, behaving like the best magicians, maintain your attention on fear while they move the props around the stage. Then when horrific problems do emerge (usually staged) , the globalists through their operatives are standing by with solutions, solutions that require the transfer of more power, wealth, resources, liberty and subjugation to the globalists.
Strictly controlling the media and churches with propaganda and topic restrictions , while limiting your energy, issuing your currency and directing the military, the globalist have near total control of an individual’s mind, wealth, health and spirituality. This control is used to create a pseudo world, not a complete Matrix (I hope) , but a mixture of scripted and directed macro story and permitting a limited personal directed micro story. You do have control of parts of the play, but the point is, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”
Mind control of Americans is of pivotal importance to the globalist because America has been captured and occupied by the Federists, their primary tool of action and it is American’s that have the best chance of switching off the Matrix and welcoming everyone to the real world.
The American media, with the exception of some uncontrolled, unaffiliated, non denominational, unregulated, alternative media is busy supporting normalcy biases or fear (as needed) via images and symbols. Images and symbols are necessary to maintain control of the mind while transmitting massive, encrypted data through the short hand of symbols.
The events of Nine-Eleven (leaving the numerology in the background) permitted a glitch in the Matrix, a deja-vu was noticed by the very sensitive, the Matrix was updating the stage to facilitate the globalists. Unlike other false flag events throughout history however, Nine-One-One happened in a time of technology benefiting the global media. The global media, being controlled by the same people that perpetrated the crimes, provided the globalist with an unprecedented opportunity to reach the minds of Americans and the world in a realtime televised ritualistic mass murder. Murder, being one of the ways the globalist maintain control over Americans (as needed), the globalists were signaling a change in the Matrix to include tighter control of Americans (the new security, police state.) Tighter control that would require cooperation from Americans to achieve. American cooperation was secured using hypnosis and trauma based mind control. The events of Nine-One-One were orchestrated to move the globalists to the next level of their long term plan.
ONE WORLD, ONE STAGE
For decades awake Americans and others have put together the pieces forming a story that told of the controllers, the globalists, destroying the world’s social structures, reducing populations and reforming a unified global society taking the form of communism or some similar socio-political-economic top loaded tyranny. Communism and its collective cousins are pseudo economic and socio-political systems invented by the globalist as tools to manipulate minds into cooperating with their own enslavement.
The globalists, it seems, are not happy controlling nations while raping and robbing the people through deception. The globalists have a higher goal, the goal of ruling the world outright, not through deception but through outright tyranny. Perhaps the globalists tire of ruling by deception, only able to tell their story through predictive programming and the works of obscure minions given tidbits of inside information.
Regardless of the reasons, the globalists are moving quickly now to complete their prison planet. In fact it is critical to finish their handy work now because many people are waking up, unplugging and noticing the real world. It’s also critical to finish now because the universe is waking up and the sun and the earth are responding with changes of their own.
You see the globalists know Americans, armed with the vestiges of a philosophy supporting right to life, a philosophy that supports individuals living their own life as a means to their own ends, still have an opportunity to change the script.
Americans are also armed with the necessary weapons to take back control of the nation by throwing out the Federists and arresting globalists where ever they may be.
But the clock is running, tick tock, the next change in the Matrix is coming and this time Americans will be traumatized into cooperating with their own disarming.
Nine-Eleven AS A STAGED MEGA RITUAL AND THE FINAL AMERICAN STAGED EVENT
I mentioned above that our controllers have an obsessive interest in esoteric occulted symbols, numerology, astrology and religious ritual.
Take a stroll around Washington DC looking for occult and ancient religious symbols. See if you can spot Egyptian or Roman gods. Have a good look at the Statue of Liberty, see if you can identify lady Liberty as someone else from ancient occult history. Investigations into the world of Freemasonry and Babylonian cults will expose many overlaps. For fun explore the beginnings of the Mormon religion or the church of Scientology. The world of religion is comprised of symbols and secrets and is an ancient system of mind control. And, as I have said, mind control is even easier when you own the media, schools, churches, energy, money and military.
I have recently read a book by S.K. Bain entitled “The Most Dangerous Book on Earth: 9/11 as a mass ritual”
This is one of the best resources for understanding the occult and esoteric meanings and rituals associated with Nine-One-One. According to the author the entire hideous event was scripted with great attention to detail using ancient religions and occult symbols, numerology, deity worship and incantation.
In this well researched analysis of the scripting of Nine-Eleven, Bain describes the event as having an opening ceremony followed by a declaration asserting the ritual was to worship a deity, followed by incantation identifying the deity and then worship including sacrifices, and finally closing ceremonies. A modern MEGA occult ritual played out, including mocking those that could not see or recognize the event, while doing a hat tip to Aleister Crowley – all done in plain view and transmitted via television around the world.
The point of bringing this to your attention is that Bain makes a good argument, and so do many others in his documented research and elsewhere, that Nine-One-One was planned many decades, if not centuries in advance. Information detailing the extent to which the controllers scripted Nine-Eleven is startling even to those of us that have been awake for some time. For many readers this may be hard to accept, but I recommend you clear your mind of accepted beliefs and begin your research.
The second part of the book is what Bain calls ’Predictive Fiction’ wherein, using information learned by decoding the events of Nine-One-One and noting the props placed on the stage of life in advance to be ready for use in the MEGA ritual (recent ritualistic mass murders), he makes a prediction that the MEGA ritual which had its origins long before Nine-One-One, and included the deaths of over 3000 people on September 11, 2001, has not ended.
Using the literary tool of telling a story after the events of the story happened (in advance of the actual events in reality) , Bain follows his line reasoning from investigating Nine-One-One and leads us to the conclusion the next step and the conclusion of the events witnessed on September 11, 2001 will culminate in the nuclear destruction of downtown Phoenix, Arizona on the religiously and astrologically significant date of December 25, 2012. The MEGA ritual concluding as the beginning of the NEW GREAT AGE begins with the start of the next 26,000 year solar cycle around the milky way.
Conclusions and implications drawn in the book are shocking and follow the facts, as they are known to date, including information on recent and related ritualist public sacrifices in Arizona, allegedly by lone gunman Jared Lee Loughner, and Colorado, the ‘Batman’ shooting, allegedly done by lone gunman James Holmes; sacrifices that foreshadow the Christmas day event.
Events in the world and especially in America are telegraphing something big is coming soon. This all leading up to something and If I’m correct, the clues are already in place, props and propaganda are taking shape in the Matrix.
For Americans, like Neo in the Matrix, it means waking up and reading the writing on the screen. We have an exponentially rising police state growing before our eyes. Men, machines and assets are being deployed at rate greater than population growth. Military is actively participating in police duties, cities are seeing full scale military drills including jets and helicopters. The Federists are buying hollow point ammunition in quantities not required except for all out war; ammunition that has no other purpose than killing. The Federists are purchasing MREs, coffins, death certificates, building prison camps and announcing kill lists. The Federists by decree have announced they can do roundups of Americans for detention and disappearing with no due process. The Federists are arming drug gangs in Mexico and America and have opened the border with Mexico for entry by hoards of non American Citizens for purposes of causing stress, chaos and racial strife.
Further indications that something big is planned is the outrageous growth of the TSA. The Transportation Safety Agency was originally part of the department of Transportation, but it did not stay there long. In 2003 the TSA was assimilated by the Soviet sounding (legitimizing and acknowledging the communist system the globalists installed in Russian after 1917) Department of Homeland Security. The TSA originally were badge-less bag checking public servants assigned as ancillary security helpers in airport baggage areas. But after 2003, the agency took on its primary role which has nothing to do with the safety of transportation. The TSA is clearly only a Tyranny Support Asset and is part of security theatre creating false fear in the minds of travelers and traumatizing travelers by groping, sexual assault, theft and verbal abuse. Clearly we are being conditioned to associate fear and pain with travel, and unqualified thugs in blue shirts and tin badges.
As far as security is concerned, the TSA obviously is not charged with or concerned about traveling security. The TSA has no skin in the game of transportation (unlike the airlines or airports) and deliberately employes some of the poorest personality types from the lowest walks of life. Theft, sexual assault and more by TSA agents is rampant, begging the question, how could you trust a TSA agent to protect you from outside criminals when crime is rampant on the inside.
The TSA is a cancer on commercial air travel ( and now moving into the train stations, bus stations, malls and highways) and using them for security is akin to Rolling Stones management hiring the Hells Angels to provide security for the concert in Altamont Park in the winter of 1969. According to Wikipedia “Although peaceful at first, over the course of the day, the mood of both the crowd and the Angels became progressively agitated, intoxicated and violent.”
The point is there have been no terrorists, except those admittedly created and deployed by the FBI and intelligence agencies but yet the number of TSA employees has tripled since 2003, from over 16000 to now over 50000.
This agency has never thwarted a single terror plot, never captured a single terrorist and the very best you can say is the airline industry is still surviving despite the TSA. Therefore one might ask is there more to the TSA story than transportation security theatre. Perhaps the TSA is being grown to fill the responsibility of supporting a full on tyranny, where the real function will be to support the tyranny via arrests, documents processing, impeding travel, searching for valuables (under currency controls) and disappearing marked targets.
Perhaps the TSA is being grown for some new event, forming on the stage now, but out of site. After all, at this growth rate the TSA will soon be the size of a small army – yet with nothing productive to do.
What is it going to take to get past the trauma based mind control of Nine-One-One so that Americans can start resisting now. When the weapons are confiscated, America’s chances of stopping the tyranny will have been confiscated as well.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
If we had been able to read something like “The Most Dangerous Book in the World” sometime prior to Nine-One-One, we could have started watching and looking for signs the script writers were placing props and propaganda into the ’Matrix’ and, possibly, in pointing out the props and propaganda, we may have been able to stop the event. We might have seen the World Trade centers being prepared for destruction. We may have noticed the outrageous number of financial bets placed against business and airlines involved with the event (insider trading). Flight control center operators and military strategists may have notice the unusual number of exact scenario ‘drills’ planned for that particular day.
Fortunately we can read the book now, and, even if nothing happens on Christmas day (hopefully), we can all start watching and paying more attention to the stage and the changes in the Matrix.
For example, remembering who the Federists are and globalists control the media, then everything presented in the media must be constantly analyzed for propaganda.
For example the religious media is telling Americans that Iran is a boogie man and Israel must be protected at all costs. This mantra is in support of a propaganda campaign to attack Iran going back more than 10 years. But now a ripple has hit the pond in support of this narrative from a slightly different angle, now we are beginning to hear about possible ‘sleeper cells’ of Iranians or Hezbollah or other Iran related groups hiding out in America. We are also being told by some alternative media that Iranian or Hezbollah troops may be massing in Mexico or Belize preparing to infiltrate the country via the unprotected borders.
This narrative could be used as a tool for assigning blame after a nuclear attack on an American city via some technology, which by the way could only be created and built by the Federists or globalists, such as a portable nuclear bombs. For the record Iran/Persia has a history of self reliance and non aggression; a nation, ironically, being encircled by warring, aggressive nations claiming Iran is destabilizing the peace in the region. See my article “Iranian Hostage Crisis: Reloaded” for more information regarding Iran.
Globalist misinformation and disinformation usually carries a signature of being opposite of the truth. Remember the Federists tell Americans that al-Qaeda is responsible for Nine-One-One, but Federists in league with NATO and United Nations fund and deploy al-Qaeda to destabilize Middle Eastern and Arab nations.
If an American city is being targeted for a nuclear bomb, there may be other props noticeable by Americans. Now is the time to start looking and reporting.
I recommend buying and reading “The Most Dangerous Book in the World” and do so before Christmas. The in-your-face mockery of the globalists is over the top and the time has come to wake up and route them out.
Bain wonders how the names of Obama and Osama and Saddam Hussein and Barack Hussein can all be so similar. In the name Osama Bin Laden is the name Obama or the name Biden. Inside the name Barack Hussein Obama is the sentence “Amen Ra is Back BHO USA” Is this just an accident ? I firmly believe that accidents are very unlikely in this highly controlled Matrix.
As individuals we do not have to consent to tyranny and rule by occult loving psychopaths. Passive aggression and deliberate peaceful non compliance is possible by anyone ready and willing to work for the end of this madness. The time is now:
• Get vocal at local and state government events and meetings,
• Get your money out of the globalists banks and keep your savings in physical silver and gold and long term food and guns and ammo,
• Move to states that seem to be organizing against this tyranny,
• Withhold consent and support for the system by getting off the grid,
• Support the second amendment, learn to shoot, talk about guns, support second amendment organizations,
• Turn off the TV,
• Stop buying products from globalists companies when possible,
• Grow a garden,
• Oppose agenda 21 any chance you get,
• Create new products and service in the privacy protection market,
• Create new products and services in the home off the grid market,
• If you are teacher, reverse indoctrinate your students, help wake them up,
• If you work for the “defense” industry, find other work,
• If you are a cop or in the military check out Oath Keepers,
• Stop supporting the war on drugs,
• Oppose the militarization of your Sheriff and Police departments,
• Film and post to youtube signs of tyranny,
• Stop answering questions, when silence will do,
• Learn about the law and your rights,
• Exercise and eat right,
• Learn a martial art,
• Stop supporting the system, do not seek help from the state or government, learn to solve your own problems, including domestic problems,
• Get off prescription medicine, alternative medicine has remedy for nearly everything,
• Support food markets selling organic,
• Ask your local food stores to stock organic,
• Oppose Fluoride in your water, even if no one listens,
• Learn more about yourself and your own power.
Stand up now before gun confiscation leads to a false flag civil war.
Source: Jack Mullen | RedIceCreations.com
In my bicycle adventure across America in 2010, near Denton, Texas, a man drove up behind me. He waved at me to stop. I pulled my bicycle to the side of the road.
Seconds later, the driver walked up to me, “My name is Dave Carder.”
“Frosty Wooldridge,” I said, extending my hand.
“I couldn’t help but wonder what you are doing on a 100 degree day riding a bicycle through Texas,” said Carder.
“Sweatin’, lots of sweatin’” I said. “Just making my way coast to coast across America.”
“I’m an endurance runner,” he said. “So, I have a feel for what you’re doing.”
After some small talk, we exchanged business cards and he drove away. Over the past two years, we kept contact through Facebook. While he didn’t say very much about his life when I met him, his website activities astounded me. He moved to Yellowstone National Park shortly after I met him. Over Facebook, I asked him why he had left his very successful life in Texas to move to a remote area in Wyoming.
“I needed to get out of the box,” he said. “I wanted to live a more minimal and happy life in the woods. Big city living may bring lots of money, but it also brings lots of stress, pressure and a feeling of being in a box.”
I said, “John Muir said something about.”
Muir said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
In 2011, I bicycled down the Continental Divide through Yellowstone National Park, but Dave Carder ran in a 100 mile endurance race in another state. We just missed each other as I pedaled through Yellowstone.
On Facebook in 2012, he told his 1,600 friends that he and three women and four other men would run 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica Pier 59 in California on old Route 66. You can see the run at www.runitforward.cc . To tell you the truth, his running escapades defy my imagination, but at the same time, inspire me to my own greater potential.
All in all, I didn’t think much more about his run as I bicycled across the USA in 2012. But as luck would have it, his brother moved within several blocks of me in September. Dave Carder decided to visit his brother in Golden, Colorado last week.
He called and we made a lunch date. During the discussion, he talked about his run across America. Not only did he and his companions run across our country, they stopped at dozens of schools along Route 66 to start running clubs in disadvantaged communities. They brought healthy food to kids without food. They worked with local dentists to drill and fill as well as teach kids and parents how to brush and floss. They inspired kids to work through obesity problems toward healthiness in their lives. They created support systems to keep kids enthusiastic about health, wellness and doing well in school.
As I sat there listening to this man who is a boyhood friend of the seven time world champion of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong, I felt my spirit move. I felt inspired by his true grit, his compassion for humanity, his sense of responsibility to others. Later, I talked about taking a backpacking trip to one of my favorite locations in the Colorado Rockies—a small pond at 11,000 feet near Vail, Colorado in the Mount Holy Cross area.
“You got time to go backpacking?” I said.
“I’m in,” Dave said.
On the weekend, my old friend Bob, Dave and I hoisted our packs over our shoulders and hiked from 8,000 feet to 11,000 feet to a little known pond with lodge pole pines surrounding its crystal clear waters. I call it my “Walden Pond of the Rockies.”
After a three hour hike through the golden colors of autumn, we reached the pond and set up camp. We hiked around the pond. Stunning beauty in magnificent colors!
“Hey, you might like this,” said Dave, as he pulled a flat smooth rock out of his pocket. “Do you see this?
It read, “Meg Annette Rork.”
On the other side, it read, “May the force be with you.”
“Yeah,” Dave said. “I found it while I was running along the Teton Range this summer. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would leave such a beautiful flat rock with a person’s name and a quote from Star Wars. I looked up her name and found out that she was a really beautiful woman who died at the age of 41. She had lived a fantastic life. She got married a month before she died. I Googled her to find out about her life story. From now on, I am going to carry this rock with me and take Meg on many adventures in my lifetime. It seems like a good thing to do.”
“Man,” I exclaimed, “that’s heavy duty profound. You have touched me deeply with that story. Good grief, what a terrible early death, but she lives on through her friends and that rock that you will carry on your adventures. Deeply touching my friend.”
“No telling what life brings to us or how fast it will end,” said Bob. “Nice to see you’re advancing Meg’s life a thousand fold.”
As usual around any campfire, mountaineers tell stories. We laughed as we sipped more hot chocolate. I told of my love affair with Henry David Thoreau.
“Well, I’ve got a surprise for you,” said Dave.
“Yeah, what’s that?” I asked.
Henry David Thoreau said, “If you advance confidently toward your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with success unexpectedly in common hours. You will pass through invisible boundaries and you will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”
“Since you’re a Thoreau admirer,” he said. “You might like this.”
At that moment, Dave pulled out his smart phone and turned on the audio from the book Walden. In a split second, Henry David Thoreau began talking about his experiences on Walden Pond. He spoke quietly and simply. He spoke to us as we sat around the campfire. He spoke about life and the pursuit of living. He spoke to us from 150 years ago—through the amazing technology of a smart phone with an audio book download.
“Good grief!” I said. “This is fantastic! This is incredible.”
“Pretty neat,” said Dave.
For the next half hour, we listened to Thoreau espouse his wisdom, his ideas, his thoughts on life. He described everything about living on Walden Pond.
“I can’t thank you enough,” I said to Dave. “Just amazing!”
“I thought you might like this as a special treat in the wilderness on your special pond that you have shared with us,” said Dave.
A few moments in life stand out. Somehow, those moments cement themselves into your memory banks—never to be forgotten. That night, as I sat there with my college roommate Bob and my new friend Dave whom I had met on my bicycle ride across America in Texas in 2010, I knew that I would remember the magic of Walden Pond at 11,000 feet, the campfire and the amazing voice of Thoreau reaching out to all of us over the endless tracks of time. Dave showed us the rock with Megan Annette Rork that he would carry to further her life adventure. Bob sat back with a sense of peace and tranquility for his own remembrances in the woods. All three of us gathered for a photo flash near the campfire. It turned out fantastically with three dudes enjoying a singular moment in time.
“I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~Henry David Thoreau
“Rise and shine dudes,” I said next morning, slapping their tent nylon. “The sun is coming up over the mountains and will soon be upon the lake. Get out your cameras.”
We stood on the shoreline to watch the sun first hit the mountain tops, then work its way into the tree line, and finally, with slow moving drama, it reached the glass still waters of Walden Pond. The tall pines reflected off the water followed by the jagged rocks from the mountains above—they created a sublime tapestry of nature’s artwork. The combination of huge rocks along the shoreline, criss-crossing logs, dragon flies, water bugs and sunbeams—gave Thoreau’s musings a special accent on the transcendent.
We watched the magic unfold. Slow moving, changing colors. Certain evolving of sunbeams on the still waters. A slight breeze kicked up to create ripples on the far end. The pine needles seemed to spin on their own with the water ripples.
After the lake filled with sunshine, we filtered some fresh water, ate some breakfast and loaded our backpacks.
We stood on the edge of the water for a group shot. Three smiling faces. Three exultant spirits. Three souls plus Megan Annette Rork smiled into the camera. Seconds later, we headed into the deep woods too silent to be real. Walden Pond would continue shimmering throughout the day while we made our way along the mountain riches and pure golden memories.
Down the mountain, we walked on golden gilded trail replete with endless fallen golden leaves raining down from branches above. Golden ribbons hemmed the slopes and traced the streams that meandered down the valley—orange to red, saffron to copper and yellow to gold. They rained down on us like gentle golden butterflies. They decorated pine trees like Christmas lights. They caught in the purple asters and snagged themselves in the heavy under brush.
Next summer, Dave Carder and his team will run from El Paso, Texas to Orlando, Florida to help establish running clubs in cities along the way. I urge you to donate your money and time to their efforts to make America a better, healthier and kinder place. Check him out at www.runitforward.cc . You will be inspired and happy to be a part of his legacy to serve the youth of America. His work will inspire you to create something good in your own community.
By far the biggest obstacle the Church faces is the infiltration of ubiquitous, aggressive liberals, many of whom are renowned pastors, authors, conference speakers, missionaries, televangelists, radio hosts, and CEOs of Christian organizations. As of late, even some of our most beloved evangelical leaders appear to be morphing into theological liberals. The extent of movement to liberal ideology varies with each individual, but in certain cases they have gone completely off the rails. False doctrine abounds in books, Bible studies and Bibles authored by notable Christians and promoted by so-called Christian publishers and book sellers. We have been duly warned about this sort of thing happening:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1).
That, brothers and sisters, is a pretty severe warning!
To give readers a sense of what kind of person to be on the lookout for let me introduce one of the most dangerous wolves in Christendom, the Rev. Jim Wallis. This man wears many hats. He is the founder of Sojourner’s Magazine, speaker, author and activist. He’s also President Obama’s “spiritual advisor.” This alone speaks volumes. Rev. Wallis insists that he’s an evangelical Christian even though he has abandoned thebiblical gospel for the “social gospel.” He believes he’s on a mission from God to assist the poor and oppressed to bring forth the Kingdom of God on earth.
David Noebel sheds light on some of the good reverend’s activities:
Wallis’ Sojourners enterprise has been a radical, socialistic undertaking from the start. Frontpage Magazine (March 17, 2009) says, “As one of its first acts, Sojourners formed a commune in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Southern Columbia Heights, where members shared their finances and participated in various activist campaigns that centered on attacking the U.S. foreign policy, denouncing American ‘imperialism,’ and extolling Marxist revolutionary movements in the Third World.”(Source)
Jim Wallis is also a champion of unbiblical movements such as the Emergent Church, Spiritual Formation (contemplative prayer/mysticism) and what he refers to as “spirituality.” Here is his view of prayer:
I pray, but there are many understandings about prayer. For many, prayer is talking to God, sometimes a great list of requests and needs—sort of like a child’s Christmas list mailed to Santa Claus. But at least for me, prayer is becoming a time of listening rather than talking. There is so much noise in our world and our lives (much of our own making); prayer becomes a quiet space that enables us to stop talking long enough to see what God might be trying to say to us.
The disciplines of prayer, silence, and contemplation as practiced by the monastics and mystics are precisely that—stopping the noise, slowing down, and becoming still so that God can break through all our activity and noise to speak to us. Prayer serves to put all parts of our lives in God’s presence, reminding us how holy our humanity really is. (The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World, 290) (Source)
Wallis is promoting unbiblical contemplative/centering prayer.
On homosexuality he believes:
[T]he major differences of theology and biblical interpretation in the church with regard to issues such as the nature of homosexuality, gay marriage, and ordination are not issues that should be allowed to divide the churches – that local churches should lead the way here, and that an honest, open, respectful, and, hopefully, loving dialogue should characterize the church on these very controversial questions.(Source)
Issues which are clearly unbiblical, such as the sin of homosexuality, should not be allowed to divide us? Really?
Are professing followers of Jesus Christ supposed to ignore the Bible’s explicit teaching on marriage, one man and one woman for life, so that men can marry men? Should we really go against what God says in His Word regarding His plan for sexuality and marriage and adopt a “pro-gay” theology to accommodate a small group of gays and lesbians? The answer is “May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘That Thou mightiest be justified in Thy words, And mightiest prevail when Thou art judged.’” (Romans 3:4)
Going against God is folly! (For the biblical view of homosexuality read Answering the Gay Christian Position)
Even though Wallis is a Red-Letter Christian and a Wild Goose chaser, he poses as an evangelical. Sadly, he and his ilk have many starry-eyed, misguided followers who, like most liberals, wish to farm out their obligations to the tax payers.
Liberals such as Jim Wallis dub themselves “progressive Christians” and more recently “social justice Christians” (SJC). Social justice has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? But hold your horses! SJC has its roots in communism and has the same aim: The common good.
Sounds magnanimous, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled! What these people are striving for is government transfer of wealth from one group of citizens to another to level the playing field. Some liberals use Genesis 4:9 “I am my brother’s keeper” to make their case. Leftist hypocrites have no problem quoting Scripture to defend wealth redistribution, but when conservative Christians quote Scripture to defend their opposition to abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and so forth they cry foul!
In an essay entitled “A Biblical View of Social Justice,” John Wheaton writes:
[I]t is essential that Christians clearly define what social justice entails. On its face, the term has a positive connotation that conveys a seemingly strong sense of virtue and morality. Basing a claim on an appeal to “social justice” provides the claim holder with a degree of persuasive advantage – a kind of moral blessing on his or her political, theological, or social ideas. However, social justice involves much more than a superficial label or feelings of compassion. It must involve a clear understanding and delineation of each social problem, the root cause of the problem, and the best solution for the problem. In short, “Good justice requires good judgment.”(Source)
For SJCs, Christianity is a lifestyle. Their morality comes, not from Scripture, but from popular opinion. Although they believe that some things in the scriptures are true, the Bible doesn’t hold a place of authority in their lives. As one blogger put it, “the emphasis is more on growth thru the process of work and serving others.” In other words, a person must have faith plus he/she must do good “works” in order to be saved. This teaching is demonstrably unbiblical. ”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:8, 9) (Bold added)
Many SJCs are Darwinian evolutionists, environmental extremists (save the planet, not souls), and they think nothing of co-mingling Christianity with paganism gleaned largely from Eastern mysticism. They are supposedly Christians, yet many of them support abortion, the normalization of homosexuality, and same-sex “marriage.” What is most telling is their denial of basic biblical doctrines such as the inerrancy of Scripture; the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ as God’s judgment for sin; Hell; and Jesus Christ as the only way to God and instead hold to collective salvation – all roads lead to God (religious pluralism).
What it all boils down to is that many SJCs are cultural Christians. They are not regenerate (born again) believers. In fact, they are hostile to the true gospel. Moreover, their goal is the redefinition of traditional Christianity.
Liberal wolves are spreading a false gospel or what Peter called “damnable heresies.” (2 Peter 2:1–2) In a word, evil.
WOLVES IN THE HEN HOUSE
Purpose-Driven aka Seeker Sensitive/Seeker-driven/Radicalis (Pragmatism)
Some of the most prominent players are Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Perry Nobel, Steven Furtick, Ed Young, Jr., Ed Stetzer, Craig Groeschel, and Kerry Shook.
Individuals like Brian McLaren, Marcus Borg, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Leonard Sweet, Brennon Manning, Eugene Peterson, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Ken Wilbur, Tony Campolo, Andy Stanley, John Ortberg, Frank Viola, Laurie Beth Jones, Ruth Haley Barton, Shane Claiborn, Shane Hipps, Spencer Burke, and Jay Bakker hang their hats here. The Leadership Network has played a pivotal role in the Emerging Church movement. So have Catholic mystics. Be aware of Meister Eckhart, Ignatius of Loyola, St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, William Meninger and Basil Pennington.
New Apostolic Reformation aka Kingdom Now/Latter Rain/Elijah’s List/Joel’s Army/International House of Prayer (Gnosticism)
Some of the movers and shakers are Kenneth Hagin, William Branham, C. Peter Wagner, Doris Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Rick Joyner, Dutch Sheets, John Arnott, Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, Bill Hamon, John Eckhardt, Lew Engle, Che Ahn, John Benefiel, Bill Johnson, Jack Deere, Ed Silvoso, Lance Wallnau, Todd Bentley, Samuel Rodriguez, Harry Jackson, Steve Shultz, Patricia King, Alice Smith, Kim Clement and Reinhard Bonnke.
Word of Faith aka Prosperity/Health and Wealth/Name-it-and-claim-it (What you believe you can achieve)
Leaders in this heretical movement are Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, James Robison, Paula White, Jan and Paul Crouch, Ken and Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Rod Parsley, Robert Morris, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, John Avanzini, Eddie Long, Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Jentezen Franklin, and Jesse Duplantis.
Off the reservation
In this group are luminaries such as “possibility thinker” Robert Schuller, so-called Christian historian David Barton, Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore, influential pastors like James MacDonald, Tim Keller,Max Lucado, Jim Garlow, David Jeremiah and formerly Emergent now Reformed Pastor Mark Driscoll.
Become A Better You by Joel Osteen
The Shack by William P. Young
The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn
Love Wins by Rob Bell
Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick
A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson
SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT…ON THE WANE
Spiritual discernment is almost becoming nonexistent in the visible Church. So – what exactly is spiritual discernment? Pastor and Bible expositor John MacArthur defines it thusly:
In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.
First Thessalonians 5:21-22 teaches that it is the responsibility of every Christian to be discerning: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” The apostle John issues a similar warning when he says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). According to the New Testament, discernment is not optional for the believer-it is required.
The key to living an uncompromising life lies in one’s ability to exercise discernment in every area of his or her life. For example, failure to distinguish between truth and error leaves the Christian subject to all manner of false teaching. False teaching then leads to an unbiblical mindset, which results in unfruitful and disobedient living-a certain recipe for compromise. (Source)
In an article entitled Got Meat? I offered some advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of compromise:
[It is] important to learn what someone really believes about God. A discerning Christian will pick up on the deception. Always find out what a professing Christian believes about Jesus. Is He the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, as orthodox Christians believe? Is He the Son of God? The Savior of the world? If someone’s view of God is radically different from what the Bible teaches, that person is not a Christian!
Had followers of Jesus Christ exercised spiritual discernment, perhaps what my friend Ken Silva refers to as the apostasy-palooza would never have gotten a foothold in the Church — and the wolves in sheep’s clothing would be considerably less threatening to the Body of Christ than they are today.
I’ll close with this reminder:
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20: 31)
Religious Trojan Horse—By Brannon Howse
Worldview Weekend Training—Brannon HowseJim Wallis: Obama’s “Red” Spiritual Adviser—By David NoebelLiberals changing word meanings with intent to deceive—By Marsha West
Fourteen centuries of Islam have fatally undermined Christianity in the land of its birth. The decline of the Christian remnant in the Middle East has been accelerated in recent decades, and accompanied by the indifference of the post-Christian West to its impending demise. Once-thriving Christian communities are now tiny minorities, and in most countries of the region their percentages have been reduced to single digits. Whether they disappear completely will partly depend on Western leaders belatedly taking an interest in Christian plight and persecution. This seems most unlikely, as the examples of Iraq, Egypt and Syria demonstrate.
In Syria the Obama administration is fully committed to supporting the rebels, although it should be well aware of the ideological outlook and long-term objectives of Bashar al-Assad’s foes. They are Sunni fundamentalists. The partnerships forged thus far are ominous. The New York Times reported last June that CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, deciding which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms. The weapons are being funneled across the Turkish border “by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood.”
Syria is the region’s only remaining country where Christians live effectively as equals with their Muslim neighbors. It has the second largest Christian community in the region (after Egypt), some 2.5 million strong. Most of them are supporting President Bashar Al Assad amidst ongoing rebellion in the country because they prefer a dictator who guarantees the rights as a religious minority to the grim future that Assad’s departure might bring. According to George Ajjan, an American political strategist of Syrian origin, an existential fear about a bloody fate awaiting them—should the Assad regime fall in Syria—is the main driver behind the Christian community’s almost unanimous support of its policies:
“The secular regime of the Baath Party dominated over the past four decades by the Alawites, a heterodox Shiite sect to which the Assad family belongs, undoubtedly secured life and liberty for the Christians— although dire economic circumstances resulting from the regime’s failure to provide growth have driven many middle-class Christians to emigrate, seeking a better standard of living abroad. Taking that into account, the commonly-cited figure of 10% Christians is perhaps close to double the real number living in Syria at the start of the uprising.”
It is not to be doubted that if the Obama Administration is successful in its stated objective of bringing Assad down, the Christians in Syria will follow their Iraqi brethren into exile. The predictable consequences of Assad’s fall and the Brotherhood’s victory would be the creation of a Shari’a-based Islamic state.
According to political analyst James Jatras, it sometimes appears as if Washington’s policy toward the unrest sweeping the Middle East is impacted by a network of Muslim Brotherhood agents working in cohorts with Obama who is only pretending to have strayed from his Islamic birth (as defined by Sharia). If this scenario is even only partly correct, Jatras says, then it would be hard to see how the result would be different from the one we have:
“If the conscious goal of the policy were the final uprooting of Christ’s followers from the region of His birth and earthly ministry, it could not have been better crafted. No one can doubt that should the regime of Bashar al-Assad fall, Syria’s Christians (primarily Orthodox), already singled out for attack by the ‘democratic’ opposition, would be subject to a full-scale campaign of elimination that they (unlike the Alawites, who at least can try to defend themselves in mountain areas in which they predominate) are unlikely to survive as a living community. It is thus not too strong to accuse, in so many words, those bipartisan champions of ‘Free Syria’ who urge outside intervention of advocating Christian genocide, whether or not that is their conscious intention.”
That this scenario seems acceptable to the Obama Administration became obvious in October 2011 when Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, blocked a delegation of Middle Eastern Christians led by Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai from meeting with Obama and members of his national security team at the White House. Mogahed reportedly cancelled the meeting at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood in her native Egypt. Rai has warned repeatedly that a Brotherhood-led regime would be a disaster for Syria’s Christian minority, but his admonitions are unwelcome in Washington.
Last July, the Department of State vigorously lobbied against bipartisan Congressional legislation to send “protection envoys” to the Middle East to examine the position of the Christian minorities. The State Department called the protection envoy role “unnecessary, duplicative and likely counter-productive.” In the meantime, tens of thousands of Syria’s Christians have already fled rebel-controlled areas as Islamists who dominate in the rebel ranks target them for murder, extortion and kidnapping. As George Ajjan concludes, this gradual downward demographic pressure of recent years will explode with the exodus of Christians from Syria that is occurring and will accelerate without an end to the current armed conflict:
“Should the uprising continue, with the regime losing control of more and more territory to armed rebels and law and order further breaking down, Christians will increasingly become the targets of intimidation tactics, kidnapping, and overt hostility—if not ethnic cleansing from mixed areas.”
At the same time, Administration officials pressed Egyptian generals into gradual surrender to the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the country. The decision to treat the Muslim Brotherhood as a strategic partner has been on the cards at least since February 10 of last year—one day before Hosni Mubarak’s resignation— when President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made an astounding statement. He told the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence that the Brotherhood “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements… a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam.”
The assertion by a top-ranking member of Obama’s team that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular” defies belief. It came into being in 1928 as an outright reaction against secularism, which the Egyptian elites had largely embraced during the British dominance in the country. To this day the Brotherhood’s simple credo remains the same: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Contrary to Clapper’s assurances, the Brotherhood is an archetypical Islamic revivalist movement that opposes the ascendancy of secular ideas and advocates a return to integral Islam as a solution to the ills that had befallen Muslim societies. Today it has branches in every traditionally Muslim country and all over the world, including the United States. Its members share the same long-term goal: the establishment of a world-wide Islamic state based on Sharia law. As is to be expected, they believe that the Koran and the Tradition justify violence to overthrow un-Islamic governments, and they look upon America as a sworn enemy.
During the Cold War, Washington routinely pandered to various Islamists as a means of weakening secular Arab nationalist regimes. In the mid 1950s, the Americans even promoted the idea of forming an Islamic bloc—led by Saudi Arabia—to counter the Nasserist movement. That approach may have made some sense during the Cold War, but it certainly makes none today. The strategy of effective support for Islamic ambitions against the Soviets in Afghanistan has helped turn Islamic radicalism into a truly global phenomenon detrimental to U.S. security interests. The ridiculous notion that the Muslim Brotherhood can become America’s user-friendly partner merely proves that the architects of our Middle Eastern policy have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
Egypt’s dwindling Copts have seen their position deteriorate over the past year from precarious to perilous. Already facing discrimination and harassment from Mubarak’s secular regime, they now see that things could get a lot worse under the Islamists who are now poised to take complete power. Their annus horribilis started on New Year’s Day 2011, when a powerful car bomb targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria, killing 25 parishioners and wounding nearly 100 just as they were finishing midnight liturgy. The next turning point was the Maspero massacre on October 9, 2011, when 27 unarmed Christian protesters were killed and hundreds more injured, not by some shadowy Islamic extremists but by the military. An official commission—established by the Army—has unsurprisingly absolved the Army of all responsibility for the killings.
Egypt shows that the prospect of the end of Christianity in Syria as a direct consequence of American policy is not unique, nor limited to one party or administration. The almost complete Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt already is accompanied by an accelerating Coptic exodus, as church attacks and kidnappings (mainly of girls, who after rape and supposed “conversion” to Islam are denied return to their families).
The process is accelerating. On August 1 Sherif Gadallah, a prominent lawyer from Alexandria, submitted a report to the public prosecutor demanding the exclusion of Copts from the committee in charge of forming Egypt’s constitution. That same week a sectarian crisis escalated in the village of Dahshur, only 25 miles south of Cairo, where hundreds of Muslims torched and looted Coptic businesses and homes. “As 120 families had already fled the village … the businesses and homes were an easy game for the mob to make a complete clean-up of everything that could be looted,” said Coptic activist Wagih Jacob. “The security forces were at the scene of the crime while it was taking place and did nothing at all.” The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement criticizing officials “for not dealing firmly with the events, demanding the speedy arrest of the perpetrators, the provision of security to the village Copts, their return to their homes, and monetary compensation for all those affected.” Its adherents see the Dahshur incident as a continuation of the Mubarak-era policy of collective punishment of Copts. Renowned Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany said, “What if the Americans acted the same way as the extremists of Dahshur; would you accept the expulsion of Muslims of America in response to Bin Laden’s terrorism?”
Egypt’s ongoing transition to what passes for democracy in the Muslim world is going to make matters far worse for the Copts, who are fearful the army and courts will not shield them from ever-greater discrimination and harassment. The Freedom and Justice Party, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood, now controls the country’s parliament, and the president is a Brotherhood disciple. The adherents of political Islam are in charge. Their spiritual leader is Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who in a recent video reminded the faithful that Christians are infidels. The Sheikh’s position is in line with orthodox Islamic teaching, which may explain the fact that he is still hailed in the West as a moderate. Five years ago, a U.S. News article described him as “a highly promoted champion of moderate Islam.” As a result, according to an August 14 report in El Fegr, jihadi organizations openly distribute leaflets inciting for the killing of Copts and promising them “a tragic end if they do not return to the truth” (Islam). The letter even names contact points and a location, Sheikh Ahmed Mosque in Kasfrit, where those supportive of such goals should rally after Friday prayers and join forces.
“Liberation” of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s secular dictatorship has devastated that country’s Christian community, with many taking refuge in Syria, where they are now again under threat. “At least proponents of Muslim liberation in the Middle East can claim, however implausibly, that the negative impact on local Christians is an unintended and regrettable consequence of a fundamentally humane and progressive program,” James Jatras says.
“But in the Balkans, specifically in Kosovo and in Muslim-controlled areas of Bosnia, no crocodile tears are required. The victims are Serbs, and of course they deserve everything they get. But excuses and window-dressing aside, the bottom line is the same: Washington—supposedly the great global opponent of jihad terror—in fact is the consistent supporter of militant Islamization of one country after another, with the predictable result of streams of Christian refugees, burned churches, murdered clergy, and enslaved girls. Given the collusion between our government and media, not one American in ten has a clue what our government is doing in our name and with our money.”
Iraq’s dwindling Christian population marked Christmas 2011 with bomb attacks across Baghdad that killed dozens of them. After U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from the country, Christian exodus from Iraq accelerated. “Our faithful in Iraq live in fear,” Chaldean Bishop Shlemon Warduni complained, “they feel there is no peace, no security, so they go where they can live in peace… The government cannot ensure their lives.”
The Christian community in Iraq was some two million strong before the US-led invasion of 2003. Up to four-fifths is estimated to have left the country in recent years following a series of attacks by Muslim extremists. While they were still there, the U.S. forces did little to protect them, leaving the task to the Iraqis. On October 31, 2010, an assault on a Baghdad church left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force members dead. According to Louis Sako, Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, “the security forces are not sufficiently prepared to ensure the protection of Christians.” He says that 57 churches and houses of worship in Iraq have been attacked since the invasion with a thousand Christians killed and more than 6 000 wounded.
At the outset of the Islamic conquests under Muhammad’s successors all of these lands were 100 percent Christian. By the time the Ottomans took over they had a Christian plurality, and in Palestine and Lebanon the outright majority. Under the British Mandate (1919-1947), Palestine officially was a Christian country. Bethlehem, for instance, had a population that was 90 percent Christian. Today, they are disappearing: Bethlehem is now less than 10 percent Christian. Among almost three million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, only 50,000 Christians remain. Within the pre-1967 borders of Israel there are six million people; only two percent are Christians. In the city of Jerusalem the Christian population has declined from 45,000 in 1940 to a few thousand today. At the current rate of decline, the Christian population will be a fraction of one percent in the year 2020, and there will be no living church in the land of Christ
If the Jewish or Muslim population of America or Western Europe were to start declining at a similar rate, there would be an outcry from their co-religionists all over the world. There would be government-funded programs to establish the causes and provide remedies, and heart-rendering Hollywood movies. The endangered minority would be awarded instant victim status and be celebrated as such by the media and academia. But the disappearing Middle Eastern Christians, or their remnant, remain invisible to the Western world. It is evidently hard to be “post-Christian” without becoming anti-Christian.
America prides itself in being called “the land of the free.” But, what, exactly, does it mean to be free? Does it mean owning a car and having a job? People in communist countries own a car and have a job. Does it mean going to a mall to shop. People in communist countries go to a mall to shop. Does it mean going to an amusement park to recreate? People in communist countries go to amusement parks. Does it mean going to the polls and voting? People in communist countries go to the polls and vote. In reality, many, if not most, of the things that most Americans would identify as marks of freedom are commonly practiced in the most oppressed communist countries of the world. So, what does it mean to be free?
Obviously, the freedom of speech is a crucial element of freedom, so much so that it is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. And the truth is, freedom of speech is not at all what it used to be in this country. If you doubt that, just ask the hundreds and thousands of journalists, news anchors, sportscasters, business executives, religious leaders, non-profit organization heads, teachers, scientists, government employees, etc., who have lost their positions for saying something politically incorrect. If you could, ask the late Howard Cosell or the late Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Ask Judge Andrew Napolitano, Glenn Beck, or Lou Dobbs. There are literally millions of people across America who daily “bite their tongues” and refuse to speak for fear of demotion, dismissal, retaliation, persecution, or worse! You call that freedom of speech? Gag!
Another critical element of freedom enshrined in the First Amendment is the right to worship freely. But, this, too, is not what it used to be. Can anyone remember when pastors and church leaders were free to say what they wanted in regard to issues that tread into government? If you do, you are probably over 50 years old or attend a non-501c3 church. On the whole, pastors and church leaders today are literally “scared silly” to broach any topic that might have political overtones, which means a sizeable percentage of the Bible is either ignored or spiritualized away by the vast majority of America’s pulpits. You call this freedom of worship? Barf!
Of course, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is one of the most crucial ingredients of a free society. It is this right that, for the most part, separates the United States from the oppressed nations of the world. And, of course, the Powers That Be have been chipping away at this fundamental tenet of liberty for nearly half a century, to the point that there are literally tens of millions of Americans who are forbidden by law from owning or possessing a firearm due to a conviction or plea bargain for some “crime” in which no one—nada–was injured. And in many states, even those who have never run afoul of the law are forbidden from owning–and especially–possessing a firearm. Can anyone say Massachusetts or California?
Government attacks against the Second Amendment notwithstanding, I am absolutely convinced that the ownership and possession of more than 100 million firearms in the hands and homes (and hearts) of the American citizenry is the main thing that has kept the overt forces of tyranny somewhat at bay to this point in our country. I suggest that even you folks who do not really care anything about guns and shooting, but who claim to love liberty, go purchase a firearm and learn the fundamental elements of firearm safety and usage–if for no other reason than because you are an American who believes in freedom and who understands that only free men own guns!
The right to be secure in your homes, papers, effects, etc., is also an essential element of liberty. But this right has been largely expunged in the United States–especially since 9/11/01. The NDAA (and other federal laws and executive orders) suspends the right to a trial by jury and the right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, among other essential liberties.
But perhaps the most essential element of liberty is the right to be left alone, the right to privacy, the understanding that a man’s home is his castle, the right of free people to live their lives without Big Brother looking over their shoulder. Without the right to be left alone, liberty does not exist! And ladies and gentlemen, it is this freedom that is under attack the most in this country.
This is an issue that cuts across all political, social, racial, and religious lines. It doesn’t matter to a hill of beans whether one is liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, white or black, or Protestant or Catholic. The right of free men to be left alone without government sticking its nose into our personal and private business is the quintessential ingredient of a free society. And in this regard, do you really believe America is still the “land of the free”? You’re kidding, right?
America is no longer “one nation under God.” Today, America is “one nation under surveillance.” Cameras monitoring our every movement, satellites taking pictures of our homes, listening devices being used to record our conversations, hi-tech computers capturing virtually every piece of correspondence, banking institutions forwarding our private financial records to Big Brother, and now armed drones flying over the neighborhoods of the American citizenry all reveal that America is anything but the “land of the free.” The following My Way News report is merely another example of this repulsive reality:
“The U.S. intelligence community will now be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.
“Until now, the National Counterterrorism Center had to immediately destroy information about Americans that was already stored in other government databases when there were no clear ties to terrorism.
“Giving the NCTC expanded record-retention authority had been called for by members of Congress who said the intelligence community did not connect strands of intelligence held by multiple agencies leading up to the failed bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.
“‘Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,’ Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement late Thursday. ‘The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively.’
“The new rules replace guidelines issued in 2008 and have privacy advocates concerned about the potential for data-mining information on innocent Americans.
“‘It is a vast expansion of the government’s surveillance authority,’ Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said of the five-year retention period.
“The government put in strong safeguards at the NCTC for the data that would be collected on U.S. citizens for intelligence purposes, Rotenberg said. These new guidelines undercut the Federal Privacy Act, he said.
“‘The fact that this data can be retained for five years on U.S. citizens for whom there’s no evidence of criminal conduct is very disturbing,’ Rotenberg said.”
See the report at:
Go to any oppressed country, and what will you find? A surveillance society! This is the most glaring characteristic of an Orwellian state. And ladies and gentlemen, Communist China or Red Russia has nothing over the United States when it comes to the development and implementation of a surveillance society. And the truth is the US would have already plummeted into overt oppression if it were not for the fact that there are so many guns in the possession of the American citizenry. But, I say again, without the right to be left alone, liberty does not exist.
Folks, we must start paying attention to this surveillance society that it quickly taking shape in this country. No! Not just start paying attention to it, start RESISTING it! A surveillance society cannot emerge without the cooperation of State governors, attorney generals, legislators, senators, county sheriffs, city mayors, police chiefs, etc. And where are America’s pastors to sound the alarm bells from the church houses regarding this attack against our liberty? Where are the college professors? Where are the journalists and reporters? Where are the retired military personnel who were willing to sacrifice their lives on foreign shores? What good is it to fight for freedom overseas, if we are not willing to fight for freedom at home?
So, the next time you hear someone shout out that America is the “land of the free,” ask them if they have given any thought to the fact that virtually everything they do, everything they say, everywhere they go, and every financial transaction they make is being monitored, scrutinized, and surveilled by the federal government and the private institutions they control. Ask them what they are doing to resist this sinister surveillance society that is quickly enveloping this country. Ask them what their pastor is doing to resist this burgeoning surveillance society. Ask them what kind of country do they think their children and grandchildren are going to grow up in one day. Then ask them if they truly understand what it means to be free. And maybe more importantly, ask them if they understand what it takes to keep America free, because people who are not left alone are not free!
The economic crisis across Europe has perhaps been most keenly felt in Greece, where people have taken to the streets in violent and emotional protests against the austeriy measures imposed on the nation.
In this heartbreaking dispatch from the streets of Athens, SUE REID finds mothers who have been forced to sell their own children in the battle for survival.
Once a month, usually on a Saturday, Kasiani Papadopoulou packs a bag with children’s presents and takes the bus from her one-bedroom flat in a dusty suburb of Athens up into the cool hills outside the Greek capital that overlook the sea.
The 20-mile journey is an emotional one for her, but she would not stop making it for anything in the world.
A young widow of 30, she travels to see her two daughters and son — aged 14, 13 and 12. Kasiani was forced to give them away a year ago when her money ran out and she was unable to pay for their food, her rent or send them to school with shoes or books.
Effects of austerity: Juliana Tsivra with her mother Maria. Maria used to work in a bakery but lost her job more than a year ago
At the charity home where the three are now cared for, the children excitedly shout ‘Mama’ as they run down the steps to greet her. Her eldest daughter, Ianthe, hugs her tightly and gives her a kiss.
When, a few hours later, it is time to say goodbye, Kasiani is always close to tears. The youngest, Melissa and Markos, cling to her before she leaves to go home alone.
‘It is not easy for a mother to leave her kids,’ she says to me, her voice cracking with emotion when I spoke to her this week in Athens.
‘At Christmas, at Easter, on their birthdays, I am always so sad because I do not see them. Some people judge me over what I’ve done — even my own family and neighbours — but they do not understand the truth. I’ve done what is best for my children.
‘I cannot count the number of doorbells I have rung of government departments, asking officials to help me and my family. They make promises but do nothing. They have no money either. Our country is in crisis.’
Tough times: Maria Tsvira, pictured with her daughter Juliana, is now forced to use the charity medical centre set up in Athens
Kasiani’s children were born in a country which has been brought to its knees by crushing debt. This was built up by Greece’s huge profligacy after joining the European Union and then milking the system for everything it could get.
The public sector wage bill doubled in the past decade as perks and fiddles reminiscent of Britain in the union controlled 1970s flourished. Paying taxes became optional for the middle and upper classes and corruption was rife.
Until two years ago, the big fat Greek gravy train carried on racing towards the buffers. Even pastry chefs and hairdressers were listed among the 600 ‘professions’ allowed to retire at 50 (with a state pension of 95 per cent of their final year’s earnings) on account of the ‘arduous and perilous’ nature of their work.
Now drastic austerity measures imposed by Eurozone finance leaders mean that benefits, state pensions and pay rates have been pared to the bone as taxes are hiked heavenwards in a last ditch attempt to balance the books and stop the country going bankrupt.
For example, the threshold at which personal tax has to be paid has been reduced to £3,000 a year, while Vat has soared to 23 per cent. There is a new annual levy on private property which costs the average homeowner £1,000 a year.
Sad: Sophia, a child who is now being looked after at the SOS children’s refugee in Athens after being abandoned
Even charities, including the one running the complex for 55 children where Kasiani Papadopoulou’s three now live, have been forced to hand over some of their donations to the empty Greek state coffers.
The price of such austerity, say many here in Greece, is too high to pay, because whatever tough measures are introduced, they will never cover the massive national debt of £366 billion, even with the help of the two bailout packages worth a combined £184 billion coughed up by other EU countries, including Britain.
A sign of the Greeks’ belligerent refusal to face up to reality is the rise of a grassroots movement called ‘We Won’t Pay’ that encourages the middle classes to break the law by taking public transport without validating their ticket or driving through tolls without paying. ‘We have already paid through our taxes so we should be able to travel for nothing,’ claims Konstantinos Thimianos, a 36-year-old activist protesting on the streets of Athens.
He wears a yellow vest with ‘total disobedience’ emblazoned on his back and, with other activists, chants: ‘We won’t pay for their crisis.’
Such opposition to the austerity measures is growing. In this week’s parliamentary elections, Greeks rejected the moderate parties that support the hard-line policies imposed by the EU.
Already, one in five adults is out of work, a fifth of Greek firms have closed, the standard of living has fallen by 20 per cent in two years, and the country which created the Olympic Games in 700 BC can only afford to send half of its athletic team to compete in the London Games.
In the leafy suburbs of Athens this week, I watched two smartly dressed elderly men rifling through rubbish bins at the side of a busy road.
One, who said his name was Georges, told me that their state pensions had been cut to £220 a month. He said: ‘We are looking for anything we can sell.’
He walked away sheepishly with a dented silver picture frame he had found in the bin.
Meanwhile, Government health spending has been slashed by a third. This means that medical care is no longer free for those who have not paid full national insurance contributions. Half of routine prescription drugs are in short supply.
No wonder that the queues at the Social Mission, a charity clinic set up this year by volunteer doctors and the Archbishop of Athens in the centre of the city, lengthen each day. In three months, 650 uninsured patients, many of them children, have come for treatment.
Protests: Political instability has resulted in huge social unrest and civil disturbance
One regular visitor is Maria Tsivra, 37, a divorcee and mother of a five-year-old girl called Juliana who needs routine vaccinations and fortnightly doctor’s appointments to treat a throat infection.
Maria is the daughter of an Athenian shopkeeper and used to work in a bakery. She comes from a hard-working family but lost her job more than a year ago, as the crisis started, and she took time off to care for her ill daughter.
‘The financial crisis was just an excuse to sack me. The bakery was facing more taxes and had less customers.
‘I was a victim like thousands of others in other jobs,’ she says in a solemn voice.
She and Juliana are staying for free in a friend’s house. She has no national insurance and no money to pay £40 for an appointment with a private doctor. ‘I cannot afford for Juliana to see the doctor or get her medicines. That’s why I’ve come to the Social Mission.’
More dramatically, she says: ‘I need help, but not as much as some who are even selling their children on the streets.’
Crisis: Greece has been brought to its knees by crushing debt which has plunged it into political and economic turmoil
She tells of a friend, a single mother who lived in a charity shelter with her baby daughter because she had no money and the State would not help.
‘She could not afford to keep her own child and gave her away to a couple who did not have a family of their own.
‘These kinds of things are happening now in Greece. There are many who are suffering and I wonder what the future holds for children of my daughter’s generation.’
The fate of once-booming Greece is changing fast. Soup kitchens are commonplace. The destitute wander the streets.
At three in the afternoon, on the sizzling Wednesday this week, I watched Father John, a 34-year-old priest from the Greek Orthodox Church, presiding over a long queue of Athenians, mixed with African and Arab migrants, in a square off Sophocles’ Street.
Women are ringing churches begging for money to help pay to have their children delivered
They were each waiting for charity workers to give them a bowl of lentils and a piece of bread. This area of Athens was, until a few years ago, a thriving financial sector. It is now home to cheap take-away food stalls and shabby shops offering to buy impoverished Athenian’s gold trinkets and jewellery.
Father John says he has never witnessed such poverty. ‘Only today I was helping a young couple, both 24, who are having their first baby. It is due any time now,’ he explains.
‘They went to the hospital this morning and the doctors said they had to pay a fee for the birth of their child. But they have no money, and can barely pay their rent at a small flat they share with friends.
‘The father used to be a professional footballer, the mother an office clerk. Now they are jobless. The mother suggested to doctors that she had a Caesarean.’
Sad: Father John, a priest from the Greek Orthodox Church, says he has never witnessed such poverty
Such operations are considered emergencies (because they are done to save a baby’s life) and are therefore carried out without charge. So their request for a Caesarean was a way of getting round the rules. However, the doctors refused.
‘They said the Caesarean was unnecessary and she should have a normal birth and pay for it herself. They also warned that she would have to leave the hospital in labour if she did not find the cash to pay.
‘She rang our church in horror and distress. We sent money to the hospital so she can have her baby.’
Church charity workers hand out 2,500 free meals a day in central Athens. Among the throng waiting for Father John’s hand-outs last week was Maria Sissmani, a beautifully dressed 82-year-old wearing designer glasses and with tinted hair.
She worked in Germany as a seamstress in the fashion industry for years and her only income is 208 euros (£172) a month, a pension paid by the Government there.
She gets nothing from her native Greece. Yet she counts her blessings. Her father, who ran a carpentry business, left her an office in a building near Sophocles’ Street where she sleeps on a mattress next to the empty desks. ‘I want to rent the office out, but because of the crisis that is difficult.
No one is doing business so no one needs an office. I have nothing, only debts, and the church told me not to be too proud to join the food queue. I do not feel so bad about it, for I am not alone,’ she says with a sad smile as she looks at the Greek men, women and children, hungrily waiting too.
Across the city, a shelter run by a charity called Klimaka provides meals and an occasional bed to the homeless. Many here are middle-aged and middle class like George Barkouris, a former radio producer and computer engineer.
A divorcee, George worked all his life until the Greek troubles began. When he lost his job because of the cutbacks, he soon ran out of money to pay his rent on a flat in Patissia, a middle-class neighbourhood of Athens. He was reluctant to ask his daughter, a doctor, for help.
‘I walked out of the flat with nothing. For the first week I slept in the park on a bench. It was a terrible shock. Like many Greeks, I felt angry, then depressed. I am 60, and need to work for another five years before I qualify for even a small State pension,’ he says.
‘When I plucked up courage and came here for help I got a big surprise. I found doctors, scientists, all the professional classes, were here, too.
‘Now this charity gives me a bed, and in return, I run their website. But there are plenty like me still sleeping in the park. They are called the ‘new homeless’ who once had money, a lifestyle, a career. Now they are ruined.’
Civil unrest: Pensioners burn emergency tax notices during an anti austerity protest
Just what will happen next is anyone’s guess. At the SOS Children’s Villages, a worldwide charity with a network of homes and social centres in Greece, which cares for Kasiani Papadopoulou’s three children, they believe things will get worse.
Over the past year, 1,000 Greek families have turned to SOS for help, two-thirds with huge money problems.
The numbers are way up and the families from every walk of life. One toddler attending a nursery school where the fees had always been paid by her mother, was recently abandoned in with a note saying: ‘I will not return to get Anna. I don’t have any money. I can’t bring her up. Sorry.’
It is the sort of case where SOS picks up the pieces. The national director of SOS, George Protopapas, predicts: ‘Next year I fear that more middle class families will fall into poverty here. I think this is just the beginning and we will have many knocks on our door.’
As for widow and mother Kasiani, she prays that one day she will be able to afford to get her children back. Her decorator husband, Angelo, died at the age of 47 of pneumonia — at exactly the same time as Greece’s economic problems began.
She took two jobs to make ends meet, one in the local Town Hall and another in a shop owned by a middle-class family in the town. She was cleaning all hours God sent.
Then the work ran out. Cleaners became a luxury.
‘I had to tell my children that I could not afford to keep them. I buy them those little things that only a mother knows they want. I do my best for them when I see them, although I have next to nothing.
‘But my life has no meaning without my children. I blame the Greek government for the catastrophe that has struck our family.’
Source: The Daily Mail
But He Was Tortured And Crucified By Occupying Forces…
The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19. They tell the story of when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving and covering his path with palm branches. The story goes that immediately following this triumphant celebration Jesus began his tortured journey to the cross.
The Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; also called the Via Dolorosa, Way of Sorrows, or just The Way) is a series of artistic representations depicting Christ Carrying the Cross to his crucifixion in the final hours or Passion of Jesus before he died.
2,000 years ago the cross had no religious meaning and was not a piece of jewelry. When Jesus said, “Pick up your cross and follow me” everyone then understood he was issuing a POLITICAL statement, for the main roads in Jerusalem were lined with crucified agitators, rebels, dissidents and any others who disturbed the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces.
Jesus was never a Christian, for that term was not even coined until the days of Paul, about 3 decades after Jesus walked the earth a man.
Jesus was a social justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up and challenged the job security of the Temple authorities by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God already LOVED them just as they were: sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Military Occupation.
What got Jesus crucified was disturbing the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces and teaching the subversive concept that Caesar only had power because God allowed it and that God preferred the humble sinner, the poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Occupation above the elite and arrogant.
During my second [of seven] Reality Tours through the West Bank, I was introduced to Sabeel, Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center Contemporary Way of Cross.
The Sabeel way, transforms the traditional Christian tradition of meditating upon the journey that Christ took after his condemnation as he carried his cross to where he was crucified with an updated meditation on empire and occupation.
In Jerusalem there are fourteen plaques along The Via Delarosa hanging on the walls of buildings depicting where Christ may have fallen three times, meets his mother, is stripped, nailed and dies.
The Contemporary Way suggests fourteen reflections beginning with 1948, The Nabka: The Catastrophe which followed the failure of the UN partition plan of ‘47 when the Irgun and Stern Gang [Zionist terrorist groups] depopulated 400 villages and forced 726,000 Palestinians to flee to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.
Station Two reflects on those refugees and the 460,000 more that fled during the War of 1967. Currently there are 675,670 registered refugees in the West Bank, 938,531 in Gaza and over two million in Arab countries who have never received compensation and have been denied the right to return as guaranteed in Articles 13 and 15 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in UN Resolution 194.
At Anata, [Jerusalem's refugee camp] The Wall is butted up to the boy’s high school. The ‘playground’ where around 800 male adolescents ‘play’ is in reality a slab of cement about the square footage of a basketball court and is walled in on all four sides by the high school, two small cement walls and Israel’s Separation Wall.
A refugee informed me that on a daily basis, “The Israeli Occupation Forces show up when the children gather in the morning or after classes. They throw percussion bombs or gas bombs into the school nearly every day! The world is sleeping; the world is hibernating and is allowing this misery to continue.”
I wandered around taking photos and was warmly greeted by a teenage boy who asked my name and where I was from. I cringed when I said America, for I am ashamed that over one hundred billion USA dollars since 1948 has supported the occupation, promoted violence and helped build The Wall which is “financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile. The Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families’ sole livelihood for generations.” 
A five-minute car ride from the refugee camp, lies an Orwellian Disney Land of lush green grounds in the colony called the Pizgatzeev settlement. I was sick at heart and in my gut as I rode less than a mile into the colony and counted three playgrounds and a swimming pool. I still wonder how many USA tax dollars helped to build them.
As my Sabeel group was praying a gunshot issued from the Anata refugee camp, then another and another in rapid succession. I was told that the IDF was showering the refugees with gunfire and that terror is just a normal daily occurrence. I lost it completely then, and sobbed uncontrollably. I felt like the Magdalena when she could not find her Lord, and then I thought of Jesus, and how he cried buckets of tears over Jerusalem.
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.-Luke 19:41
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” -Matthew 23:37
While in Bethlehem in July 2007, I also met with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, the Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas church in Bethlehem since 1988 who was also born in that little town in Occupied Territory.
Raheb spoke with passion:
“We are not spectators, we have a role to play…we are nonviolent but I have problems with nonviolence; people from abroad come here and give us sermons on nonviolence and I appreciate it, but why don’t they preach nonviolence to Israel and America?
“It’s a miracle that the Palestinians are so nonviolent in spite of the abuse we live with on a daily basis. If you lived here every day you would get fed up too. The world assumes it is the Palestinians who are the violent ones, but nonviolence is who we are. If you operate in a system of violence you will also be violent when you go home.
“Palestinians who throw stones; and many think that is ok, but I say why do that? One day you will throw stones at Palestinians too and that is exactly what happened in Gaza, but the reason is the occupation! Where do you think Hamas learned to torture? In Israeli prisons from their captors!
“There is no way to end the violence without first ending the occupation!
“Our Palestinian government was boycotted for a year and a half by America and the EU: this is violence! As long as the violence is exercised against us that is OK with the world. When the Presbyterians talked divestment the Zionist rose up and said ‘you can’t do that!’
“I started interfaith dialogue in 1985 because Christians should not be islands and you don’t dialogue just with yourself, you must dialogue with the other and the biggest temptation for the church is to stay within their walls and only be dedicated to their own members; which leads to a dead church.
“We are called to go out, and we do not just preach with words, people here are fed up with words; they hear one thing and see another with their eyes.
“They hear peace, peace, peace and for 85 years the politicians have been working for peace and the situation gets worse. Blair, and all the politicians are into PR for themselves; they do nothing for our situation. Blair got himself a good job marketing himself and he will come and go and Israel will continue building the wall, settlements and carving the West Bank into Swiss cheese; Israel gets the cheese and we Palestinians fall into the holes!
“Fifty million American dollars went to build the checkpoints to ‘make our lives easier’ we were told, but these checkpoints and terminals are not for people, they are for cattle!
“We have too much religion and it suffocates us! If God would speak today he would say, ‘I am fed up with your religion!’ The more religion there is; the less spirituality.
“During the Israeli invasion in 2002 when the Church of Nativity was occupied by the IDF and Palestinians were sheltered within, as an eyewitness I wrote 18 short stories that will keep you awake at night, in my book “Bethlehem Beseiged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble.” 
One of the refugees I spoke with in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp told me, “I left Gaza on March 20, 2007. My husband has been there ever since he was sent there in 2002, after Bethlehem was besieged.
“It began on an ordinary day, helicopters and airplanes circled above and tanks came up the street. The soldiers were on the roof and breaking in doors and through walls. The resistance fighters and many young people ran to Manger Square. The soldiers stole money and jewelry. The Franciscan father Abraham Feltus sheltered my husband in the Church of the Nativity. After it was all over, I went and prayed and lit candles there.”
Reported by the National Catholic Reporter on 4/26/2002, “the standoff between the Israeli Defense Force and the 250 Palestinians holed up inside the church along with 45 monks, nuns and priests…is taking a toll on both those inside the church and without. Bethlehem residents living near Manger Square, where the church is located, continue to live under curfew. The Israeli army has said it will continue its siege, which began April 3, until it captures about 30 men inside the church whom the army says are wanted as terrorists.
“Reached by telephone April 16, Franciscan Fr. Amjad Sabbara, parish priest at St. Catherine’s Church, the Latin church that adjoins the 1,400-year, old Orthodox basilica enshrining Christ’s birthplace, said the most serious problem for all those at the Church of the Nativity is water. The Nativity complex, which includes Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian monasteries in addition to the basilica, has one well. With some 250 more people now living there, water is running low. So far, the Israelis have permitted the delivery of a crate with 20 bottles of water, but no food. Sabbara reported that those inside the church are living on one meal a day.
“A youth who escaped from the Church of the Nativity April 15 provided a fuller picture of the squalid conditions inside the church. In an article printed in The New York Times April 17, 16-year-old Jihad Abdul Rahman said cold and the stench from rotting bodies and gangrenous wounds drove him from the church. There was no water for washing and only one toilet for the 250 Palestinians taking shelter inside the church, Rahman said.
“Dwindling supplies of food and water are not the only problems those inside the church are contending with. The Israeli army is exerting psychological pressure by blasting loud music and shrieking cries at night as well as intermittent demands to those inside the church to give themselves up.
“It’s the Noriega technique,” said Bethlehem resident Br. Kenneth Cardwell, referring to the tactics the U.S. government adopted in its efforts to dislodge former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from the Vatican embassy in Panama City where he sought refuge in 1989.
“They play really repulsive music very loudly. They broadcast loud commands to surrender in the middle of night. They explode huge explosive charges and then lesser flash-bangs I call them. We’re a half-mile away and we wake up five, six times a night with this racket. There are blimps with a cable below. There’s been a drone flying overhead all day today. Yesterday colored gasses wafted across the square,” Cardwell said.
He added that a box dangling from a large crane the Israeli army has brought into or close by Manger Square “gave a laser light show the other night and that was pretty exciting…all the computers of the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem have been destroyed in what he called a deliberate attempt by the Israeli government to destroy the Palestinian economy and the Palestinian Authority.”
Cardwell added, “We watch on TV the great support Israel is receiving from the Jewish people in the United States. If they only knew what this government is doing to the Palestinian people, they would repent in dust and ashes. American Jewry has a very high sense of moral responsibility for the widow, the stranger and the orphan, and they just are blind to what the Israeli government is doing.” [IBID]
Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy ends his emails with:
“Jesus did not simply ‘suffer and die,’ just as Abel did not simply ‘suffer and die.’ Jesus was ‘tortured and murdered,’ and He responded to His torturers and murderers with a Nonviolent Merciful Love. ‘Suffered and died’ are minimizing, obscuring, evasive, amnesia-inducing, all-purpose, generalizing words. They do not convey properly the Gospel history of what took place on Golgotha. They do not convey properly the revelation and glory of God in Jesus during His final hours on earth, nor do they convey properly the revelation of the redeeming and redemptive Way of God through Jesus. The raw animal pain of suffering and death is not what saves. Identification with Jesus being tortured and murdered is identification with Jesus loving—loving the Father by doing the Father’s will and loving those responsible for His torture and murder. Communion with the tortured and murdered and risen Jesus Christ is communion with a love that conquers any evil and is stronger than death.”- Center for Christian Nonviolence
Jesus is also called The Prince of Peace and although I no longer attend or support any church institution, because I love Jesus and try to follow him, I am connected to the mystical Body of Christ and the most rigid of Christian fundamentalists are my sisters and brothers.
St. Paul, who never failed to express his freedom of speech, warned the followers of Christ, NOT to judge the unbeliever but to provoke the believer onto good works.
Ever since my first trip to Israel Palestine in 2005, my work, hope and prayer has been to mend, heal and repair the flabby Body of Christ in the West by trying to reconnect it to its very roots in the land where Jesus walked and taught that it is the peacemakers who are the children of God; not those that bomb, torture or occupy others.
The Christian EXODUS from the Holy land-which is in pieces; Bantustans, has rendered their numbers from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3% since 1948. Their dwindling numbers are due to low birth rates coupled with their escape from a brutal, inhumane military occupation, which is aided and abetted by American foreign policy and ‘we the peoples’ tax dollars.
Every individual Christian is but one cell in the cosmic Body of Christ.
“So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” -Romans 12:4
“Its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part [of The Body] suffers, every part suffers with it.”-1 Corinthians 12:25-26
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and all the prophets said, “You will recognize the believers in their having Mercy for one another, and in their Love for one another, and in their Kindness towards one another; like the body, when one member of it hurts, the entire body hurts.”
In the gospel [good news] told in Mark 3: 31-35, the mother of Jesus’ and his brothers arrived at the house where he was teaching.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him out. The crowd around Jesus told him, “Your mother, sisters and brothers are outside asking for you.”
Jesus replied, “I am here with my mother, sisters and brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother.”-Mark 3: 31-35
“What does God require? He has told you o’man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord.” – Micah 6:8
Being just means correct, true, accurate, right and fair.
Merciful is to have, feel and show compassion, that sense of viscerally feeling the pain of another and being moved to help.
Being humble is knowing yourself-the good and the bad-for both cut through every human heart and all FREE WILL means is we get to choose which rules ours.
1. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Page 43, Jan/Feb. 2007
2. MEMOIRS of a Nice Irish-American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory
The Tug-of-War In Moscow…
Moscow – For a month, Moscow was bracing itself for the February 4 Rally. It was pre-planned and prepared by the anti-Putin pro-Western liberal opposition, donning white colours. Despite sub-zero Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Centigrade) arctic frost, the organisers hoped to break their pre-Christmas record and gather a huge crowd and a procession to shatter the will of the government supporters. They had bought all thermal underwear in the city stores, joined forces with anti-Muslim nationalists of Pym Fortuyn kind, and marched in strength probably exceeding the previous rallies. Police counted them at 38 thousand-strong; by their own calculation they were up to 60 thousand.
But the surprise of the day loomed elsewhere. While the pro-Western opposition gathered on the Bolotnaya Heath (Le Marais) just across the river from the Kremlin red crenelated walls, a small demo was also planned as a token of government support on the Poklonnaya Hill (La Montagne), overlooking Moscow from the west. The White Fronde of the Heath applied for 60 thousand-strong rally permit and almost made it; pro-government forces planned for 15 thousand, and even this assessment was considered too optimistic: previous pro-government rally made between three to five thousand. Indeed, demos are good “against”, not “for” the government. However, the Poklonnaya Hill demo turned something completely different – the rally of the opposition to the White Fronde. And this rally had 138,000 participants, by the police count, almost ten times more than predicted.
The numbers are discussed and debated. Vechernyya Moskva, a city paper, published huge headline “138 000 : 36 000 Putin Leads”. Echo Moskvy, the voice of the Orange opposition gives 62 000 Heath vs. 80 000 Hill. The disparity in assessments is partly due to methods of counting. Some count how many people are located in the square at any given time (this will be a low estimate) but it is just a guess how many people came and went away; this is the flow factor. I would guess that the Heath had a considerable flow: it is a downtown place, easy to come, easy to go. Probably the Hill have had less flow, as it is an out-of-town place, hard to get there, hard to leave. So my guess would be 50 thousand for the Heath, and 110 thousand for the Hill. Though precise numbers are being argued about, but the numerical victory of the Hill was accepted by the Heath people, who said that they are fewer but of better quality Some Heath organisers claimed that the Hill mobilised hire-a-mob technique and paid cash to participants. This is an empty claim: nobody in Russia can hire so many participants. It is a common knowledge that three to five thousand people is the absolute maximum that can be mobilised by such measures, especially at such frost.
The Hill won because this largest rally was not “for Putin” – there were many speakers known for their dislike of Putin and his regime, but they hated the “white” (or “orange”) opposition of the Heath even more. If the West hates Putin, it should try the forces woken up by the rally. It became a rally against neo-liberals, against pro-Western policies, a rally of Red-Brown (or “patriotic”) alliance of statist nationalist opposition of Russia-First. They out-Putined Putin in no time.
This was a great surprise for the people of Moscow. It was thought that Putin will rely upon his own pet youth movements like Nashi and Steel, organised and paid for by the Kremlin some years ago as a fighting reserve in the case of an Orange revolution, but they folded and faded away at the first sign of trouble. The government officials, both high and low, did not support Putin, either. Nobody predicted Putin will wake up the sleeping beast of popular feelings.
The western mass media missed the point altogether claiming that the participants were hired or forced to demonstrate, or alternatively that there were few of them. Fox News did their best by broadcasting pictures of the Hill demo and saying it was the Heath. Other western agencies published pictures of 1991 rallies saying they were taken yesterday on the Heath. In Moscow, nobody was fooled: people knew when they were licked.
There is a huge untapped potential of Russia-First feeling, connected with resentment against Western imperialist policies. It is not homogeneous: some of these people have strong attachment to the memory of the USSR, others prefer memory of Tsarist Russia, and some are looking for an alternative future. These people and these tendencies were repressed and delegitimised in the Nineties, during the unhindered rule of the pro-Western liberals.
Putin is a compromise figure between the westernised liberals and Russia-Firsters; he used some of the Russian nativist rhetoric while carrying out liberal economic policy. Russia-Firsters survived his years, but they were never allowed into the corridors of power, where such figures as Alexei Kudrin and Anatoli Chubais, the favourites of IMF, prowled. This opposition burst forth on the Hill rally.
Among the speakers, there was flamboyant Prokhanov, a prolific writer and the chief editor of the Zavtra newspaper, the main organ of the Brown-Red coalition. He placed Russia as the next on the line of the imperialist attack, after Libya, Syria and Iran. He fully supported the Russian veto in the Security Council, but he would like to see more of direct Russian support for Syria and Iran, more friendship with China. He is a frequent traveller to Syria and Iran, is a great friend of Palestine, published a book glorifying Hamas and supporting Hezbollah. An Orthodox Christian, a mystic and a unrepentant Soviet-style Communist, Stalin admirer, he was very critical of Putin and his compromises. Fear and loathing of the Orange revolution mobilised him and his numerous followers to the demo.
Actually, it was the first time since Yeltsin shelled the Parliament in 1993 with the US blessing, that this hard core of Russian political life emerged and was allowed by the Putin’s government to show its strength. There were other speakers, notably Maxim Shevchenko, a popular presenter of the state TV, known for his sympathy to the Muslims and his staunch anti-Zionist stand; Alexander Dugin, “the Russian Heidegger”, a controversial philosopher from the Moscow State University, the founder of the Eurasian movement and a friend of the European anti-American non-racist New Right. They were fiery and outspoken, not-so-much for Putin but surely against his liberal “orange” opponents.
The pools say this feeling is widely spread in Russia, as the Heath protesters allowed themselves to be presented as spoiled brats, rich kids, people in expensive fur coats who like each other and despise the rabble. In vain they protested that they do not strive for an Orange revolution; this was the general feeling, and their connection with the leaders of the Nineties did not add to their prestige. The Heath organisers were aware of that, and none of these old politicians, no controversial figure was allowed to speak during the demo. As the result, they had very little to say beyond chanting Down with Putin.
In the end, the Heath protesters emerged with despondent mood, contrasting their feelings after December demos. They discovered that they hold no patent on rallies, and that their opponents can field many more people to the street. Probably their enthusiasm for rallies will now vane somewhat. The Russians are afraid of “orange” revolutions, as arranged by your friendly NED and other tools of the State Department. Many, perhaps majority of the Hill demonstrators were afraid of a replay of Nineties, or of Tahrir, and they were happy to support Putin as a symbol of stability. The government stocked up the fears, by flooding with limelight a visit of the opposition leaders to the US Embassy. Michael McFaul, the new US Ambassador found himself in the centre of controversy, with many parliamentarians demanding him being sent home for this meeting took place almost immediately upon his arrival and even before he presented his accreditation papers.
The Western governments did not understand this change of mood in Moscow when they demanded to vote on their draft of Syrian resolution. They expected that the Heath rally will frighten the Russian government and make it more pliable. They had a good reason: this was the general feeling among embassies’ interlocutors. When President Medvedev visited Moscow State U a few days earlier, a student (a Heath protester, apparently) asked him whether he is ready to meet the fate of Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein, or will he escape to his friendly North Korea. After the Hill demo this Saturday, he would not ask this question: it seems now too far-fetched. Nor the Russian government felt it should give in to the Western pressure on Syria: if the Hill speakers are to be judged by, now Russia is more likely to send its anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.
So it was a momentous day; a day of cruel frost, probably the coldest day of the year – next day, as if by order, it rose to perfectly palatable minus 12 degrees Centigrade (10 degrees Fahrenheit). Putin can be pleased with this development: the demos brought the Russians out of their hibernation, they are likely to participate in the Presidential elections on March 4, and the danger of massive stay-away disappeared. Putin supporters were woken up and discovered they are majority, while liberal protesters were reminded that Putin is a compromise figure, and their lot could be much, much worse if the Hill crowd were allowed to set its rules.
The Communists stayed away from both demos, they are busy building up the party chairman Gennady Zuganov as a credible alternative to Putin in the forthcoming elections, so they did not want to be seen as supporting Putin. It is possible that the elections will run in two tours, and then it will be Zuganov vs. Putin. For pro-Western forces in Moscow, that will be a difficult choice: they will have to decide whom do they hate more: Putin or Communists?
However, the liberals are not defeated. Their numbers are small, but they are well positioned. Though ex-Finance Minister Kudrin is now out of power and with the protesters, all his former minions are still installed in the upper echelons. The opposition has a lot of media at its disposal barring the powerful federal TV channels, and the latter are mainly putting out entertainment. The opposition has its supporters among the ultra-rich, and within the inner sanctum of the Secret Service as well. Liberal anti-Putin papers receive quite a lot of advertising from friendly oligarchs. The struggle will go on well beyond March 4, the elections day.
Alexei Navalny is a rising star of the opposition movement. He made his name on disclosures of the barely legal tricks of Russian officialdom integrated with the moneyed crowd. These disclosures would hardly amaze Americans who remember Enron and the Brits who follow Tony Blair’s tax saga. Apparently, that is in part where the Russians learned the features of real capitalism, mainly warts. Such ugly arrangements – profiteering, usury and asset-stripping – are the mainstay of the current world political economical system. They should be disclosed, outlawed and punished, no doubt, but they are not uniquely or predominantly Russian, rather “modern-capitalist.” The U.S. ambassador in Moscow reported on Navalny some years ago to his bosses, calling him “a Russian Don Quixote” (08MOSCOW2632), for he fought a widely spread and common injustice.
Navalny’s other line was the uncovering of shady oil deals. The U.S. Embassy was not impressed by his results: they checked his findings, according to the wikileaked cable 08MOSCOW3380, with Western managers who told them in confidence that Russian seaborne oil trade had became “open and transparent,” in the words of Dave Chapman, general director of oil trading for Shell Russia.
The idea of Navalny as a new savior ran into obstacles, as his liberal supporters were visibly upset by his ties with Russian nationalists. An old Moscow liberal lady, a respected widow, reported that he called an Azeri party member by a racist term and was expelled from the liberal Yabloko party. Navalny reportedly made snide remarks about Georgian poets qua Georgians. However, the Russians are quite tolerant of racist abuse and probably this story did not hurt him much.
In a long interview with another liberal luminary, the best-seller writer B. Akunin (a Russian Harold Robbins), Navalny tried to dispel such fears, but he did not denounce nationalism. Perhaps Navalny’s nationalism is a clever card well played: at the top of the new Fronde there are not many ethnic Russians, and a “real Russian” with nationalist background would be a good thing to have in the front of a revolutionary movement which is blessed by many Jews.
“Ethnic origin” is not a major consideration in Russia – the country has been led by Tatars (Ivan the Terrible was a son of a Tatar princess), Germans (Catherine the Great was a German princess by birth), Jews (Trotsky and Sverdlov), by Georgians (Stalin) and Ukrainians (Brezhnev, also Khrushchev). Ethnic Russian nationalism was actively discouraged in Soviet times. Still, it is an advantage to have an ethnic-Russian personality at the helm of a movement.
Many liberals and non-ethnic Russians are deeply suspicious of Navalny. But their presentation of Navalny as a “new Hitler” is far-fetched. Blue-eyed, good-looking, a dash of the racist, yes, but not an especially silver-tongued one. Navalny tried to talk to the demonstrators in December but was catcalled more than once. His manner was too rude, as if he were talking to a street gang. He did not speak on the Saturday demo at all. His views are far from clear. When asked for a model state Russia should follow, Navalny said, “Singapore.” This is an odd choice for a person fighting Putin’s strong-arm style, as Lee Kuan Yew was probably more authoritarian than Putin. As fond as I am of Singapore street cooking, I can’t imagine a less suitable model for a vast multinational ex-empire than the tiny Chinese polis.
I have taken a number of cruise ship vacations. The last one was about a year and half ago. I learned a lot about cruise ships and what factors should go into decisions about selecting a specific cruise ship that I want to share with you. By now, of course, you have heard and seen a lot about the disaster of the Carnival Line’s Costa Concordia off the Italian shore where a number of people died and thousands went through an awful time trying to escape and survive the heavily tilted and partially submerged modern, huge cruise ship. What should never have happened, happened. That, sadly, is the way of the world. You can and must learn from this disaster. Size matters. Smaller is better.
The most important thing I learned over time was that I would never, ever want to go on one of the new monumentally huge “floating city” cruise ships that carry three thousand or more passengers. Frankly, I have been amazed that so many people have succumbed to the marketing and advertising for such ships, as if bigger is better. Of course, they all look incredibly top heavy, with a large number of decks stacked very high on the ship. As a former engineering professor, they have always looked to me as inherently unstable and prone to tilting over in various conditions, such as very rough seas, with the potential for capsizing and sinking. Indeed, such modern humongous ships have had more problems than generally recognized.
But more to the point, when it comes to comfort, enjoyment and time well spent on a cruise ship, everyone should understand that the bigger the ship and the greater the number of passengers, the more time you will inevitably waste trying to get around, access shipboard amenities and restaurants, and deal with leaving and returning to the ship when it comes to shore excursions. On such gigantic ships you cannot escape dealing with multitudes of people that are bound to raise your stress level at a time when you are supposed to be on a totally relaxing vacation.
Thus, let me crystal clear about my choice for my last cruise vacation which was absolutely wonderful and perhaps the most enjoyable vacation of any type I ever had. I chose a Regent Seven Seas Cruise. All their ships are top of the line luxury and, most important, carry only about 800 passengers. Some other genuine luxury cruise lines have even smaller ships. In other words, in the world of cruise ships the very best are relatively small. The result is terrific: You never waste any time dealing with crowds or waiting on long lines trying to enjoy various places and activities. It is akin to being on a billionaire’s private yacht, while going on the new generation of huge cruise ships is like shopping at a Wal-Mart on one of the busiest Christmas-period shopping days or going to Disney World on a very busy day.
Now to my second big piece of advice. You want to choose a cruise ship that includes almost everything in the basic price of the vacation. If not, you will get sucked into a vacation where you find yourself shelling out more money all the time. On the Regent and similar luxury cruise lines they are all-inclusive, meaning that all the alcoholic drinks you want are part of the basic price. You can go to a multitude of bars and other venues and have all the high quality beers, wines of hard liquor drinks you want without paying anything or tipping. Ditto for room service. Oh yes, all the tips for all the service providers are also part of the basic cruise price. Similarly, there are a large number of shore excursions that you do not have to pay additional fees for. Same is true for all the high-end restaurants.
Trust me, if you choose the more prevalent cruise vacations you will end up paying money all the time that will jack up the cost of your vacation by a large amount. You may even have to pay for soft drinks! And every day you will lose many minutes and perhaps a few hours because of all the crowds you must cope with.
What all the advertising and sales pitches fail to really reveal are these ugly truths about ordinary cruise lines, even though they may use words like luxury. And now you have seen with the incredible Concordia disaster what a penalty you pay if something serious goes wrong on a cruise vacation when there are THOUSANDS of passengers all trying to save their lives under the most awful conditions. The analogy with some truth is thinking about the World Trade Center skyscrapers that collapsed on 9/11 2001. In terms of personal risk management you want to avoid putting yourself in any situation with an incredibly large number of floors and people when a low probability disaster actually happens. You can get trapped in a gigantic cruise ship just like you could in a skyscraper.
Sure, a cruise vacation can be wonderful. But do not get fooled by sophisticated and deceptive marketing, especially the use of the term luxury. You can only get luxury on a relatively small cruise ship. Learn how to make a good decision.