"It came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom."
Greetings! Below are two sets of verses from the Bible, one from Luke, chapter 16, dealing with Abraham's bosom, and another set of verses from 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, dealing with the changes to our bodies at the time of the rapture and resurrection.
We are presenting these verses along with commentary on the same subjects from Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. (See more below concerning Flavius Josephus.)
" It came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (Luke 16:22-26)
Some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:...
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another...
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body...
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual...
As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption...
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:35-54)
Thoughts to ponder: Do the Christian gospels record actual events during the First Century A.D. or are they the ecstatic visions of a small religious group?
There are no surviving Roman records of the First Century that refer to, nor are there any Jewish records that support the accounts in the Christian gospels --- except one.
In Rome, in the year 93, Josephus published his lengthy history of the Jews. While discussing the period in which the Jews of Judaea were governed by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, Josephus included (see below) the following account:" (The Flavius Josephus Home Page)
Titus Flavius Josephus (37 - c. 100 CE), also called Joseph Ben Matityahu was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish - Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD.
His most important works were "The Jewish War" (c. 75 CE) and "Antiquities of the Jews" (c. 94 CE). "The Jewish War" recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66 - 70). "Antiquities of the Jews" recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into 1st century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity. Wikipedia
This then, is how Flavius Josephus writes of Jesus in his "Antiquities Of The Jews".
"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day." Antiquities Of The Jews - XVlll Chapter lll
Below, is his discourse concerning the above quoted scriptures.
An Extract Out Of Josephus's Discourse To The Greeks Concerning Hades (The unseen state. Ed)
1. NOW as to Hades, wherein the souls of the of the good things they see, and rejoice in the righteous and unrighteous are detained, it is necessary to speak of it. Hades is a place in the world not regularly finished; a subterraneous region, wherein the light of this world does not shine; from which circumstance, that in this region the light does not shine, it cannot be but there must be in it perpetual darkness. This region is allotted as a place of custody for souls, ill which angels are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary punishments, agreeable to every one's behavior and manners.
2. In this region there is a certain place set apart, as a lake of unquenchable fire, whereinto we suppose no one hath hitherto been cast; but it is prepared for a day afore-determined by God, in which one righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men; when the unjust, and those that have been disobedient to God, and have given honor to such idols as have been the vain operations of the hands of men as to God himself, shall be adjudged to this everlasting punishment, as having been the causes of defilement; while the just shall obtain an incorruptible and never-fading kingdom. These are now indeed confined in Hades, but not in the same place wherein the unjust are confined.
3. For there is one descent into this region, at whose gate we believe there stands an archangel with an host; which gate when those pass through that are conducted down by the angels appointed over souls, they do not go the same way; but the just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns, sung by the angels appointed over that place, unto a region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the world; not constrained by necessity, but ever enjoying the prospect of the good things they see, and rejoice in the expectation of those new enjoyments which will be peculiar to every one of them, and esteeming those things beyond what we have here; with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, nor are any briers there; but the countenance of the and of the just, which they see, always smiles them, while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in heaven, which is to succeed this region. This place we call The Bosom of Abraham.
4. But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand by the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good-will, but as prisoners driven by violence; to whom are sent the angels appointed over them to reproach them and threaten them with their terrible looks, and to thrust them still downwards. Now those angels that are set over these souls drag them into the neighborhood of hell itself; who, when they are hard by it, continually hear the noise of it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapor itself; but when they have a near view of this spectacle, as of a terrible and exceeding great prospect of fire, they are struck with a fearful expectation of a future judgment, and in effect punished thereby: and not only so, but where they see the place [or choir] of the fathers and of the just, even hereby are they punished; for a chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it.
5. This is the discourse concerning Hades, wherein the souls of all men are confined until a proper season, which God hath determined, when he will make a resurrection of all men from the dead, not procuring a transmigration of souls from one body to another, but raising again those very bodies, which you Greeks, seeing to be dissolved, do not believe [their resurrection]. But learn not to disbelieve it; for while you believe that the soul is created, and yet is made immortal by God, according to the doctrine of Plato, and this in time, be not incredulous; but believe that God is able, when he hath raised to life that body which was made as a compound of the same elements, to make it immortal; for it must never be said of God, that he is able to do some things, and unable to do others. We have therefore believed that the body will be raised again; for although it be dissolved, it is not perished; for the earth receives its remains, and preserves them; and while they are like seed, and are mixed among the more fruitful soil, they flourish, and what is sown is indeed sown bare grain, but at the mighty sound of God the Creator, it will sprout up, and be raised in a clothed and glorious condition, though not before it has been dissolved, and mixed [with the earth]. So that we have not rashly believed the resurrection of the body; for although it be dissolved for a time on account of the original transgression, it exists still, and is cast into the earth as into a potter's furnace, in order to be formed again, not in order to rise again such as it was before, but in a state of purity, and so as never to he destroyed any more. And to every body shall its own soul be restored. And when it hath clothed itself with that body, it will not be subject to misery, but, being itself pure, it will continue with its pure body, and rejoice with it, with which it having walked righteously now in this world, and never having had it as a snare, it will receive it again with great gladness. But as for the unjust, they will receive their bodies not changed, not freed from diseases or distempers, nor made glorious, but with the same diseases wherein they died; and such as they were in their unbelief, the same shall they be when they shall be faithfully judged.
6. For all men, the just as well as the unjust, shall be brought before God the word: for to him hath the Father committed all judgment : and he, in order to fulfill the will of his Father, shall come as Judge, whom we call Christ."
lPeter 3:18-20 also comes to mind regarding the above: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Robert Fisk: We've been here before - and it suits Israel that we never forget 'Nuclear Iran'
The Ayatollah ordered the entire nuclear project to be closed down because it was the work of the devil
Turning round a story is one of the most difficult tasks in journalism - and rarely more so than in the case of Iran. Iran, the dark revolutionary Islamist menace. Shia Iran, protector and manipulator of World Terror, of Syria and Lebanon and Hamas and Hezbollah. Ahmadinejad, the Mad Caliph. And, of course, Nuclear Iran, preparing to destroy Israel in a mushroom cloud of anti-Semitic hatred, ready to close the Strait of Hormuz - the moment the West's (or Israel's) forces attack.
Given the nature of the theocratic regime, the repulsive suppression of its post-election opponents in 2009, not to mention its massive pools of oil, every attempt to inject common sense into the story also has to carry a medical health warning: no, of course Iran is not a nice place. But ...
Let's take the Israeli version which, despite constant proof that Israel's intelligence services are about as efficient as Syria's, goes on being trumpeted by its friends in the West, none more subservient than Western journalists. The Israeli President warns us now that Iran is on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon. Heaven preserve us. Yet we reporters do not mention that Shimon Peres, as Israeli Prime Minister, said exactly the same thing in 1996. That was 16 years ago. And we do not recall that the current Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999. That would be 13 years ago. Same old story.
In fact, we don't know that Iran really is building a nuclear weapon. And after Iraq, it's amazing that the old weapons of mass destruction details are popping with the same frequency as all the poppycock about Saddam's titanic arsenal. Not to mention the date problem. When did all this start? The Shah. The old boy wanted nuclear power. He even said he wanted a bomb because "the US and the Soviet Union had nuclear bombs" and no one objected. Europeans rushed to supply the dictator's wish. Siemens - not Russia - built the Bushehr nuclear facility.
And when Ayatollah Khomeini, Scourge of the West, Apostle of Shia Revolution, etc, took over Iran in 1979, he ordered the entire nuclear project to be closed down because it was "the work of the Devil". Only when Saddam invaded Iran - with our Western encouragement - and started using poison gas against the Iranians (chemical components arriving from the West, of course) was Khomeini persuaded to reopen it.
All this has been deleted from the historical record; it was the black-turbaned mullahs who started the nuclear project, along with the crackpot Ahmadinejad. And Israel might have to destroy this terror-weapon to secure its own survival, to ensure the West's survival, for democracy, etc, etc.
For Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel is the brutal, colonising, occupying power. But the moment Iran is mentioned, this colonial power turns into a tiny, vulnerable, peaceful state under imminent threat of extinction. Ahmadinejad - here again, I quote Netanyahu - is more dangerous than Hitler. Israel's own nuclear warheads - all too real and now numbering almost 300 - disappear from the story. Iran's Revolutionary Guards are helping the Syrian regime destroy its opponents; they might like to - but there is no proof of this.
The trouble is that Iran has won almost all its recent wars without firing a shot. George W and Tony destroyed Iran's nemesis in Iraq. They killed thousands of the Sunni army whom Iran itself always referred to as "the black Taliban". And the Gulf Arabs, our "moderate" friends, shiver in their golden mosques as we in the West outline their fate in the event of an Iranian Shia revolution.
No wonder Cameron goes on selling weapons to these preposterous people whose armies, in many cases, could scarcely operate soup kitchens, let alone the billions of dollars of sophisticated kit we flog them under the fearful shadow of Tehran.
Bring on the sanctions. Send in the clowns.
EU bans Iran oil imports, targeting nuclear program
By Richard Allen Greene,
January 23, 2012
(CNN) -- European Union foreign ministers imposed fresh sanctions on Iran Monday, banning the import of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products in order to cut off sources of funding for Iran's nuclear program, the bloc announced.
It also froze the assets of Iran's Central Bank in the EU, and blocked trade with Iran in gold, diamonds and precious metals, it said.
And it is blocking the export to Iran of "key" petrochemical equipment and technology from the EU, it said.
The sanctions come because of Iran's "defiance of six U.N. Security Council resolutions and its refusal to enter negotiations over its nuclear program," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement from Brussels, Belgium.
Iran exports 2.2. million barrels of oil a day, with about 18% bound for European markets, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The world consumes about 89 million barrels of oil per day.
The EU will allow contracts that are already in place to be fulfilled until July 1, it said.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told CNN last week that his country could make up the difference if Iran was banned from exporting oil.
Al-Naimi said the country has a spare capacity "to respond to emergencies worldwide, to respond to our customer demand, and that is really the focus. Our focus is not on who drops out from production, but who wants more."
Tehran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the only outlet to and from the Persian Gulf between Iran and the United Arab Emirates and Oman, as it faces possible sanctions.
The United States has made clear it will not let that happen.
The critical shipping lane had 17 million barrels of oil per day passing through in 2011, according to the EIA.
The Iranian government gets about half its revenue from oil exports, according to the EIA.
Analysts have said that while the new sanctions are the toughest ever imposed, they still contain many loopholes.
Iran is expected to still be able to sell its oil to places like China, India or other Asian countries, but perhaps at a discount of 10% to 15%. About 35% of Iran's oil exports currently go to China and India.
Western leaders have been walking a fine line with Iran, working to come up with a plan that squeezes the country's finances yet doesn't result in a loss of Iranian oil exports, which could send crude and gasoline prices skyrocketing.
The United States and United Kingdom have already put new measures in place against Iran, and Washington has been pressing allies including Japan and South Korea to stop buying Iranian oil.
On Friday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton challenged Iran to respond to an offer she made in a letter last October.
Ashton wrote that world powers are open to negotiations if Iran is serious about addressing its nuclear program without preconditions. Her office released the letter on Friday.
Ashton's spokesperson pointedly noted, "We are waiting for the Iranian reaction."
Ashton wrote that the West wants to "engage in a confidence-building exercise" that would lead to a "constructive dialogue" and a "step by step approach" in which Iran would assure the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington that "we stand by that letter."
"They have to give up their nuclear weapons program ... and they have to be willing to come to the table with a plan to do that," she said.
Clinton made the comments after a meeting at the State Department with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
The German minister was blunt in his assessment of Iran's actions: "Tehran keeps violating its international obligations on the transparency of its nuclear program. We have no choice but to pass tough new sanctions that address the financial sources of the nuclear program."
Iran says its nuclear program is not military, but the United States and many of its allies suspect Iran intends to produce a bomb. The International Atomic Energy Agency has expressed similar concerns.
"One thing is clear," Westerwelle added. "The door for serious dialogue remains open, but the option of nuclear weapons in Iran is not acceptable to both of us."
Iran's preemptive energy strike against the EU
Investment bank Merrill Lynch predicts a $40 rise in oil prices if the country's 2.2 million barrels day of crude are shut off completely.
Press TV - January 27, 2012
A Russian news network says Iran can react to the European Union's new sanctions on its oil sector by stopping oil exports to EU member states. - - The Russia Today reported on Thursday that Iran's move will be a good response to EU sanctions which have been already slammed by Iran's close allies like China.
The report quoted Nasser Soudani, a member of Iran Majlis (parliament) Energy Committee, as saying that in reaction to EU measure, Iranian lawmakers are drafting a new law, which would stop oil supply to European countries as soon as possible.
"A number of representatives of the Majlis and I are seeking to approve a bill according to which all European countries that made Iran the target of their sanctions will not be able to buy even one drop of oil from Iran, and oil taps will be turned off to them so that they will not play with fire again," the lawmaker added.
The report stated that the legislation may be ratified in Iran's Majlis as early as this Sunday, adding that such a ban would result in a fuel shortage in Europe as the countries which joined the sanctions, while receiving a considerable amount of crude from Iran, would not have enough time to secure a substitute.
In their latest meeting in Brussels on January 23, EU foreign ministers imposed new sanctions on Iran which include a ban on purchasing oil from the country, a freeze on the assets of Iran's Central Bank within the EU, and a ban on the sale of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to Iran.
EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, claimed that the new sanctions aim to bring Iran back to negotiations with P5+1 -- US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany -- over the country's peaceful nuclear program.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuingmilitaryobjectives in its nuclear program. Iran has strongly rejected the allegation.
Iran could ban EU oil exports next week - lawmakers
By Hashem Kalantari and Robin Pomeroy
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A law to be debated in Iran's parliament on Sunday may halt oil exports to the European Union as early as next week, foiling an EU plan to phase in an oil embargo gradually to help its struggling economies adapt, lawmakers said on Friday.
"On Sunday, parliament will have to approve a 'double emergency' bill calling for a halt in the export of Iranian oil to Europe starting next week," Hossein Ibrahimi, vice-chairman of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.
Parliament is pushing for the export ban to deny the EU a six-month phase-in of the embargo on Iran's oil, which the bloc agreed on Monday as part of a raft of tough new Western sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to curb its nuclear programme.
The EU accounted for 18 percent of Iranian crude oil sales in the first half of 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), making it Iran's second-biggest customer after China.
"If the deputies arrive at the conclusion that the Iranian oil exports to Europe must be halted, parliament will not delay a moment (in passing the bill)," Fars quoted Moayed Hosseini-Sadr, a member of parliament's energy committee, as saying.
"If Iran's oil export to Europe ... is halted, the Europeans will surely be taken by surprise and will understand the power of Iran and will realise that the Islamic establishment will not succumb to the Europeans' policies," he said.
Indicating the plan had the support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of Friday prayers at Tehran university mocked the EU's decision to phase in sanctions.
"Why wait six months, why not right away? The answer is clear. They are in trouble; they are grappling with crisis," hardline cleric Ahmad Khatami said.
The EU gave a muted response to the news.
"Yes, we have seen the reports about Iran's intentions," said a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
"But we have introduced our measures because of extreme concerns regarding Iran's nuclear programme. Sanctions are not the goal in itself," Maja Kocijancic said.
"We want to see Iran coming back to the negotiating table, engaging in meaningful discussion on confidence-building measures and demonstrate the willingness to address concerns over its nuclear programme, without preconditions."
Iran's conservative-dominated parliament has previously shown it is ready to force the government to take action against what it sees as hostility from the West, and oil analyst Samuel Ciszuk said it was likely the assembly would pass the EU ban.
"From a strictly political point of view, it makes sense to demonstrate Iranian resolve and that it is not on the back foot, particularly as the measure could hit European refiners at a time of deep economic weakness," said Ciszuk, Middle East and North African (MENA) analyst at consultancy KBC Energy Economics.
The sudden loss of such a big customer would create problems for Iran too, however, and may force it to offer discounts to other buyers in order to shift excess output.
"They would not be able to cater for that many days' production in their floating storage capacity, which means NIOC (National Iranian Oil Co.) would be under immense pressure to place the volumes very quickly - translating into having to offer discounts, most likely," Ciszuk said.
The news helped push Brent crude above $111.
In November parliament voted to expel the British ambassador after London announced new sanctions ahead of other EU countries. The day after that vote, radical Iranians stormed the British embassy, causing London to withdraw all staff and close the mission.
Iran says its nuclear research is intended for civilian purposes only, but the United States, the EU and others dispute that claim, and the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a November 2011 report that Iran had engaged in activities consistent with weapons development.
Senior IAEA inspectors are arrive in Iran on Sunday for a three-day visit that will be closely watched by the EU and Washington for signs of any change of position that might lead to a resumption of talks that stalled a year ago.
Newsweek (Edited from longer article.)
George Soros on the Coming U.S. Class War
The situation is about as serious and difficult as I've experienced in my career.'
by John Arlidge
January 23, 2012
You know George Soros. He's the investor's investor--the man who still holds the record for making more money in a single day's trading than anyone. He pocketed $1 billion betting against the British pound on "Black Wednesday" in 1992, when sterling lost 20 percent of its value in less than 24 hours and crashed out of the European exchange-rate mechanism. No wonder Brits call him, with a mix of awe and annoyance, "the man who broke the Bank of England."
Soros doesn't make small bets on anything. Beyond the markets, he has plowed billions of dollars of his own money into promoting political freedom in Eastern Europe and other causes. He bet against the Bush White House, becoming a hate magnet for the right that persists to this day. So, as Soros and the world's movers once again converge on Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum this week, what is one of the world's highest-stakes economic gamblers betting on now?
He's not. For the first time in his 60-year career, Soros, now 81, admits he is not sure what to do. "It's very hard to know how you can be right, given the damage that was done during the boom years," Soros says. He won't discuss his portfolio, lest anyone think he's talking things down to make a buck. But people who know him well say he advocates making long-term stock picks with solid companies, avoiding gold--"the ultimate bubble"--and, mainly, holding cash.
He's not even doing the one thing that you would expect from a man who knows a crippled currency when he sees one: shorting the euro, and perhaps even the U.S. dollar, to hell. Quite the reverse. He backs the beleaguered euro, publicly urging European leaders to do whatever it takes to ensure its survival. "The euro must survive because the alternative--a breakup--would cause a meltdown that Europe, the world, can't afford." He has bought about $2 billion in European bonds, mainly Italian, from MF Global Holdings Ltd., the securities firm run by former Goldman Sachs head Jon Corzine that filed for bankruptcy protection last October.
Has the great short seller gone soft? Well, yes. Sitting in his 33rd-floor corner office high above Seventh Avenue in New York, preparing for his trip to Davos, he is more concerned with surviving than staying rich. "At times like these, survival is the most important thing," he says, peering through his owlish glasses and brushing wisps of gray hair off his forehead. He doesn't just mean it's time to protect your assets. He means it's time to stave off disaster. As he sees it, the world faces one of the most dangerous periods of modern history--a period of "evil." Europe is confronting a descent into chaos and conflict. In America he predicts riots on the streets that will lead to a brutal clampdown that will dramatically curtail civil liberties. The global economic system could even collapse altogether.
"I am not here to cheer you up. The situation is about as serious and difficult as I've experienced in my career," Soros tells Newsweek. "We are facing an extremely difficult time, comparable in many ways to the 1930s, the Great Depression. We are facing now a general retrenchment in the developed world, which threatens to put us in a decade of more stagnation, or worse. The best-case scenario is a deflationary environment. The worst-case scenario is a collapse of the financial system."
Soros draws on his past to argue that the global economic crisis is as significant, and unpredictable, as the end of communism. "The collapse of the Soviet system was a pretty extraordinary event, and we are currently experiencing something similar in the developed world, without fully realizing what's happening."
Understanding, he says, is key. "Unrestrained competition can drive people into actions that they would otherwise regret. The tragedy of our current situation is the unintended consequence of imperfect understanding. A lot of the evil in the world is actually not intentional. A lot of people in the financial system did a lot of damage without intending to." Still, Soros believes the West is struggling to cope with the consequences of evil in the financial world just as former Eastern bloc countries struggled with it politically. Is he really saying that the financial whizzes behind our economic meltdown were not just wrong, but evil? "That's correct." Take that, Lloyd Blankfein, the Goldman Sachs boss who told The Sunday Times of London at the height of the financial crisis that bankers "do God's work."
It is "now more likely than not" that Greece will formally default in 2012, Soros will tell leaders in Davos this week. He will castigate European leaders who seem to know only how to "do enough to calm the situation, not to solve the problem." If Germany's Angela Merkel or France's Nicolas Sarkozy nurses any lingering hopes of finding their salvation outside the continent, they are mistaken. "I took a recent trip to China, and China won't come to Europe's rescue," Soros says. Despite all its woes, he nevertheless thinks the euro will--just barely--survive.
As anger rises, riots on the streets of American cities are inevitable. "Yes, yes, yes," he says, almost gleefully. The response to the unrest could be more damaging than the violence itself. "It will be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States."
Soros insists the key to avoiding cataclysm in 2012 is not to let the crises of 2011 go to waste. "In the crisis period, the impossible becomes possible. The European Union could regain its luster. I'm hopeful that the United States, as a political entity, will pass a very severe test and actually strengthen the institution." Nor has he quite given up hope that the central bankers and prime ministers gathering in Davos this week have got what it takes to rally round and prove him wrong. This time, being wrong would make him happy indeed.
8 months after devastating tornado, Missouri hospital to be demolished
By Ashley Hayes
January 28, 2012
(CNN) -- When the roaring stopped, when the debris stopped whirling and the glass stopped breaking, the
4-foot wooden cross remained on the wall.
It was a fixture in the emergency department waiting room of St. John's Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, a symbol of the hospital's Catholic roots and, perhaps, a comfort to the sick and injured who sought help there.
And after St. John's took a direct hit from a catastrophic tornado May 22, it became a symbol of something else: Joplin's resilience, the strength and compassion of its people and their determination to rebuild.
On Sunday, the cross will be loaded onto a truck bed and will lead the way from the old hospital to the site of a new facility during a dual demolition-groundbreaking ceremony. Demolition of the old hospital building -- a reminder of the tragedy -- will begin, and ground will be broken for a new building as Joplin moves forward.
"It's hard to say goodbye to the building that has been St. John's since 1968," said Gary Pulsipher, president of St. John's Mercy, in a statement. The hospital has occupied three different sites in Joplin since 1896.
"But like the rest of the city, we are glad to be moving ahead and looking to the future. While we will never forget what happened here, taking down the hospital is another step in the process of removing the visible signs of the tornado's devastation from the landscape," Pulsipher said.
"As I drive by it, like everyone else, it reminds me of that horrible night that lives were changed in our community," said Gary Shaw, a Joplin city councilman. But, he said, the building is also "a testimony" to the past eight months "and how strong people have been, and how they've pulled together."
"A lot of cleanup has been done, a lot of rebuilding is going on," Shaw said. But "people are still somewhat confused, and they're going through, I think, a time of 'This happened. What do I do now?' I think that's kind of where we are now. We're trying to get over the shock of all of it."
The final death toll from the tornado was 161 -- including five patients and one visitor at St. John's. More than 1,000 people were injured. The Joplin twister was the deadliest on U.S. soil since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1950. It was classified as an EF-5, the highest ranking on the scale used to measure tornado intensity, with winds of more than 200 mph.
Inside St. John's, on the corner of 26th and McClelland Boulevard in the southwestern part of the city, patients were watching television, resting, eating dinner or receiving visitors that Sunday evening when the twister slammed into the nine-story building about 5:40 p.m.
Windows were blown out. Cars were hurled in the parking lot like toys, piled near the emergency room entrance. Gurneys were thrown blocks away. In parts of the hospital parking lot and in a parking lot just to the west, 200- to 300-pound concrete parking stops, fastened into the asphalt with rebar, were lifted and tossed up to 180 feet, the weather service said.
The hospital's helicopter lay crumpled, some distance away from its pad. X-rays from St. John's were found in driveways in Dade County, Missouri, about 70 miles away. The building looked as if it had been bombed.
"The houses are all gone," Sara Ferguson, who was near the hospital when the storm struck, told The Joplin Globe newspaper at the time. "The medical buildings are gone. (The hospital) windows have all been blown out. It was horrible. I couldn't even take pictures on my phone. I was crying."
The hospital was very nearly the only structure in the immediate area left standing, albeit severely damaged.
Hospital officials swung into action almost immediately. About 183 patients and 200 staffers were evacuated from the building. Triage centers were set up outside. Other hospitals in the area opened their doors for St. John's patients and others who had been injured. Doctors and nurses rushed to the scene.
"Within a matter of hours, we had almost more help than we could put to use," Dr. Jim Roscoe told CNN at the time. "I just can't begin to tell you, we've had people coming from several hundreds of miles away, grabbing their stethoscope and anything they could get, and threw it in the car and came."
Across Joplin, people were also pulling together. The injured were transported to hospitals on doors in the back of pickup trucks. Businesses loaded trucks with donations. Restaurants helped provide food to those in need.
"You have shown the world what it means to love thy neighbor," President Barack Obama told the people of Joplin at a memorial service for the victims a week after the tornado. "You've banded together ... you've demonstrated a simple truth: that amid heartbreak and tragedy, no one is a stranger."
That same day, St. John's was beginning to see patients in a tent facility set up across the parking lot. Built to withstand 100-mph winds, the facility had an emergency department, surgical suites, MRI and CT scan capabilities, a pharmacy and 60 inpatient beds, the hospital said.
"The building is not St. John's," Dr. Bob Dodson, who worked to set up the temporary facility, said at the time. "St. John's is the people who worked in that building. And they're going to be the people in this building."
A modular hospital has since taken the place of the tent, said St. John's spokeswoman Miranda Lewis, and a more permanent structure was built nearby. The structure can be moved, and can be used to upgrade other facilities after St. John's moves into its new home, she said.
In the days after the tornado, Mercy was "a blessing," Shaw said. They continued paying their employees, he said, and set up the temporary facilities. "You have to admire that they didn't let it defeat them."
In all, five buildings across 47 acres at the hospital site will be demolished and cleared, according to a statement from Mercy, St. John's parent company. Its facility is by far the largest, at about 750,000 square feet. Three medical offices and a rehabilitation facility will also be torn down.
Typically, a building so large would be imploded. But underground lead mines made that an impossibility for St. John's.
"Joplin traces its roots back to the early miners who settled here in the late 1800s," said Dan O'Connor, the demolition project manager, in the statement. "As is the case in many places throughout the city, those mines were filled in to make way for growth. While they can be made safe to build on, we don't want to take any chances that demolition charges and crashing debris could create an uplift pressure that might cause damage to surrounding properties."
Instead, a wrecking ball will demolish the hospital's west tower, and grappling equipment will be used to take down the east tower. The demolition process should take about six weeks, officials said.
But before it began, crews searched the hospital for anything in good condition -- Bibles, artwork, memorial plaques, stained glass and marble. Teams began cleaning out and salvaging in December, the hospital said.
Three time capsules were recovered -- one buried when the current hospital was built in 1968, one when the east tower was completed in the 1980s and a third that marked St. John's 100th anniversary in Joplin in 1996.
And, of course, the cross.
"The cross certainly has some scars on it," said Terry Wachter, vice president of mission for St. John's, in the statement. "But they just add character." Many of the items recovered will either be relocated to the new hospital or placed in a tornado memorial museum, she said.
Other pieces -- plastic piping from the sprinkler system, windows -- will be studied and tested to see how they weathered the storm.
Meanwhile, officials are making efforts to limit the amount of debris that winds up in landfills from the demolition. Steel, aluminum and copper from the buildings is being salvaged and recycled, hospital officials said. Concrete and asphalt will be crushed into small pieces and used as backfill to ready the site for redevelopment.
"The devastation from the tornado was bad enough," said John Farnen, executive director of planning, design and construction for Mercy. "We really want to take all the measures possible to care for this site throughout the demolition process."
Before the hospital comes down on Sunday, a demolition ceremony will be held on the hospital campus, part of several events designed to help Joplin "say goodbye to the past and celebrate the future," Mercy said.
The Missouri Highway Patrol will transport the cross to the new hospital site, located about 2 1/2 miles away at Interstate 44 and Main Street. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held there, "a celebration of Mercy's future and the rebuilding of Joplin," according to Mercy.
Mercy has invested nearly $1 billion to help rebuild Joplin's health care complex, according to its website. "Though the tornado took our hospital, it did not destroy our spirit," the site says. "Mercy is rising again in Joplin."
After the buildings are torn down, the land will be readied for development by Mercy. Twelve acres have been donated to the Joplin school district for a new elementary school that will replace two schools destroyed by the tornado; construction is set to begin in May.
Options for the other acreage are being considered, Mercy said. Ideas under consideration include a memorial museum, a courtyard and a memorial garden.
"The future is just so bright," Shaw said, as Joplin's new hospital will be "one of the most up-to-date facilities in the country."
Asked what the ceremonies might mean to Joplin residents, he said, "Maybe the word is 'hope.'"
"To me, you can dwell on all the debris, or you can think about what's going to rise up out of the debris," Shaw said. "I kind of have a tendency to want to concentrate on the future."
Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization's collapse
By Jim Forsyth Reuters
Jan 21 2012 -
When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.
"In an instant, anything can happen," she told Reuters. "And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared."
Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as "preppers." Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.
They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government.
Preppers, though are, worried about no government.
Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a "survival center," complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present. She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home. And she thinks that emergency could come soon.
"I think this economy is about to fall apart," she said.
A wide range of vendors market products to preppers, mainly online. They sell everything from water tanks to guns to survival skills.
Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck seems to preach preppers' message when he tells listeners: "It's never too late to prepare for the end of the world as we know it."
"Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity and fragility of our modern technological society, the chances of a societal collapse are increasing year after year," said author James Wesley Rawles, whose Survival Blog is considered the guiding light of the prepper movement.
A former Army intelligence officer, Rawles has written fiction and non-fiction books on end-of-civilization topics, including "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It," which is also known as the preppers' Bible.
"We could see a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots," he told Reuters. "The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures."
Many of today's preppers receive inspiration from the Internet, devouring information posted on websites like that run by attorney Michael T. Snider, who writes The Economic Collapse blog out of his home in northern Idaho.
"Modern preppers are much different from the survivalists of the old days," he said. "You could be living next door to a prepper and never even know it. Many suburbanites are turning spare rooms into food pantries and are going for survival training on the weekends."
Like other preppers, Snider is worried about the end of a functioning U.S. economy. He points out that tens of millions of Americans are on food stamps and that many U.S. children are living in poverty.
"Most people have a gut feeling that something has gone terribly wrong, but that doesn't mean that they understand what is happening," he said. "A lot of Americans sense that a massive economic storm is coming and they want to be prepared for it."
Tegeler, who recalls being hit by tornadoes and floods in her southwestern Virginia home, said that none of her "survival center" products will go to waste.
"I think it's silly not to be prepared," she said. "After all, anything can happen."
Woman in Beit Shemesh attacked by ultra-Orthodox extremists
In latest incident sparked by 'immodest dress,' crowd of ultra-Orthodox men smash car of Natali Mashiah, 27, who says she believes they were going to set her on fire.
By Oz Rosenberg
A woman was attacked in her car in Beit Shemesh Tuesday by ultra-Orthodox extremists - the latest in a series of incidents apparently sparked by what members of the town's Haredi community view as immodest dress.
A crowd of ultra-Orthodox men jumped on 27-year-old Natali Mashiah's car in the Haredi Ramat Beit Shemet Bet neighborhood, she said. Members of the crowd smashed her car windows and punctured her four tires before spilling bleach on the inside of her car, said the Beit Shemesh resident, adding that she believed the men were going to set her on fire. As she fled the car, she said she was hit on the head by a rock thrown from very close range.
Police arrested three suspects when they arrived on the scene, and searched the area for other suspects. Although a crowd was said to have gathered during the attack, no one reportedly came to Mashiah's assistance.
The incident follows the highly publicized case of 8-year-old Na'ama Margolese last month, who was reportedly spat at for her supposedly insufficiently modest dress despite the fact that she comes from a religious family.
In a separate incident about a week ago, a third-grade American immigrant boy was attacked in Beit Shemesh by a group of young Haredim as he walked home from school.
The incident occurred at about 1 P.M. when Mashiah came to the neighborhood for her work, in order to post advertisements. Mashiah parked her car and set out to hang the ads. "All of a sudden a man came up to me and called me a shikse [a derogatory term for a non-Jewish woman] and a slut," she said, and told her to leave.
Mashiah said she then called the police, who told her to remain there until a police cruiser came, she recounted. She said she was then immediately approached from several directions by about 10 ultra-Orthodox men carrying rocks and bottles. She ran to her car, she said, but before she could start the engine, they jumped on her car and started pounding on it.
She said she begged them to stop and promised to leave the area. She also called her brother, Omri, a company commander in the Givati Brigade who was at the family home at the time.
She said before help arrived members of the crowd smashed her car windows and punctured the tires, before someone spilled bleach on her. "I thought, this was it, this is the end, I am going to die," she said, adding, "The look in their eyes reminded me of the lynching in Ramallah," an apparent reference to a 2000 lynching by two Israeli reserve soldiers by a group of Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "I yelled to them, 'But I'm Jewish,'" she said. She said at that point one of the assailants leaned into the car and took the car keys.
Mashiah said she managed to get out of the car and started to flee the scene when she was hit on the head by a rock. She ran to a nearby building with members of the crowd in pursuit, but said that at that point the police cruiser arrived. "When they saw the lights of the police car, they ran away," she said.
At about the same time, Mashiah said, her brother arrived by cab. He said he was aware of what was happening before he got to the scene because he had been in constant contact with his sister from her cell phone. "I heard her screaming," he said. "I heard the sound of the smashing [windows]."
AlterNet (Edited from longer article. The second half of the article advocates for a movement to change the laws concerning student loans, to allow them to be cleared when declaring bankruptcy.)
By Bruce E. Levine
January 24, 201
Will the Young Rise Up and Fight Their Indentured Servitude to the Student Loan Industry?
The solution to class exploitation and abuse is always the same: Get conscious, get angry, get energized, and get organized.
January 24, 2012 |
In October 2011, the White House announced, "Currently, more than 36 million Americans have federal student loan debt." By the end of 2011, student loan debt had exceeded $1 trillion. Two-thirds of college seniors graduate with student loans, including over 62 percent of public university graduates. According to the Project on Student Loan Debt, they carried an average of $25,250 in debt in 2010, but many have far greater debt than that average. And nowadays, with high unemployment, even higher underemployment, the inability to pay bills, and accumulating interest and penalties, the lives of student loan debtors can quickly turn into financial nightmares.
Indentured Servitude? I'll be paying for my student loans for the rest of my life....A large portion of my earnings goes to the Wall Street elites that have commoditized and securitized my loans....I knew at the time I signed the student loans (again and again) that I would be responsible...what I didn't figure was the cost to my children --Jeff Vincent, AlterNet
How outlandish is it to say that the spirit of indentured servitude has been revived in the United States? What can young people and their parents do to prevent student loan debt servitude, and what can all of us do to help liberate student loan debtors who are currently doomed to decades of financial misery?
Colonial Indentured Servants and Modern Student Loan Debtors
In colonial America, historians estimate that between one-half and two-thirds of white immigrants arrived as indentured servants. Indentured servants in England were in servitude typically for one year, while indenture in America was typically four to seven years. Today in the United States, student debt is an even longer debt commitment than colonial indentured servitude. The standard Stafford federal loan is, for example, 15 years, and with waivers and refinancing, it is not uncommon for Americans to be paying off student loans well into middle age.
In "Student Debt and the Spirit of Indenture," Carnegie Mellon University professor Jeffrey Williams concludes, "College student loan debt has revived the spirit of indenture for a sizable proportion of contemporary Americans." Williams points out that college loan debt, like indentured servitude, "looms over the lives of those so contracted, binding individuals for a significant part of their future work lives."
Similar to students signing their college loan papers, indentured servants also "freely chose" their servitude. In colonial times, while the elite saw indentured servitude as a freely chosen and fair economic deal, the servants themselves routinely saw it as an exploitative system of labor, a form of time-limited slavery. Like colonial indentured servants who "freely chose" to sign papers agreeing that they would pay off their debt directly in labor, modern student loan debtors "freely choose" to sign papers agreeing to pay off their debt. However, this is a choice that the financial elite do not have to make.
Like colonial indentured servitude, the student loan contract is virtually unbreakable. Student loans are enforced by garnishing wages, and unlike most other forms of debt, student loan debt is almost never forgiven even in personal bankruptcy.
Similar to some indentured servants, some student loan debtors--most famously, Michelle and Barack Obama--do go on to prosper. However, half of those who attend college don't graduate, and many college graduates do not get high-paying jobs and struggle to make debt payments for much of their adult lives.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (October 20, 2010) reported, "Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants....The growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all."
Conversations with Young People about Class and College
Several years ago, I was speaking to a group of high school seniors, and I mentioned that my experience is that the adult world tries to scare young people about so much crap, that the net effect is for young people not to take anything we say seriously. I told them that most mistakes are useful learning experiences, but that there are two things that should concern them because they are very difficult to overcome, and I then moved on to another topic. A sea of hands went up, and several students shouted out demanding that I tell them what the two things were. So I told them: One, it's difficult to overcome driving drunk and killing somebody; and two, it also tends to drag your life down if you have a kid with someone you can't stand.
These days, however, I've had to modify what I say to high school kids. My recent experience is that, for more people, even more depressing than having a kid with someone you can't stand is running up a gigantic student loan debt. So, now I talk with young people in groups, individually, and their parents about student loan debt hell.
Many young people among the 99 percent, in my experience, have been socialized not to have "class consciousness." So, we discuss how kids from 1 percent families can go to expensive colleges without any career plans, party, flunk out, go to another expensive college, and have no student loan debt--and can fall back on either the family business, a trust fund, or a career in politics. While the 1 percent can afford--without loans--to shell out whatever money is necessary for college, many of the 99 percent will have a "debt sword" that hangs over their heads for a significant part of their lives.
The 1 percent and the corporate media have succeeded in making the terms "class consciousness" and "class war" taboo, which is part of the reason why they are winning the class war and enslaving the 99 percent.
College Decision-Making for the 99 Percent
Today, high school students hear repeatedly that they are losers if they don't go to college, and their parents are made to feel like failures if their kids don't go to college. For the 99 percent, the truth is that it may make sense to go college, or it may not. College may make sense if you want to earn a living at something that requires a college-level certification. But college may not make sense, especially if you are not motivated for it, or your career desires don't require a degree and certifications.
Exiting from the modern world-religion view that not attending college is sinful and shameful, let's look at it soberly. Colleges offer 1) learning; 2) certifications and accreditation; and 3) partying and potential for meeting people.
While learning does take place in college, it is just as easy to gain knowledge outside of college. Most college learning is book learning, and one need not go to college to read books. Moreover, most of us have learned much of what we use to make a living and survive through experience, not through coursework.
It is true, however, that without a college degree and specific certifications, one simply will not be hired for certain jobs. While much of what I learned in my formal schooling was worthless or worse than worthless, I needed degrees for credentialing and licensing. The same is true for teachers and other professionals. But there's little reason not to get that degree as inexpensively as possible.
High school students are intimidated by media, peers and even some guidance counselors to worry about the so-called prestige of an institution, and parents are guilt-tripped to pay for prestigious institutions. I tell young people and their parents that in more than 25 years of private practice, no client has asked me what university I went to before they made an appointment. Furthermore, no publisher or editor has ever asked me where I received my education before they published my books or articles. So if you need to get some certification, shop around for the most inexpensive financial deal.
Besides learning and credentialing, colleges do offer a certain kind of socializing and partying that one does not get via independent study. However, is the typical college partying worth the price tag? How expansive is the typical socializing that goes on at colleges compared with many other ways of mixing it up with the world that are far less expensive?
I have worked with many extremely intelligent young people who simply don't like school. They can be shamed into going to college, or they can be exposed to a math that, from my experience, will very much interest them. Specifically, help them add up the money that will be spent on college. Add that to four years' lost income from not working. What's the total? $150,000? $200,000? More? Then consider financial resources--specifically, how much debt will likely accrue? How much money per month will that debt will cost? How long will that debt persist? If their parents were going to contribute some money toward their schooling, what could their children do with it instead of going to college? Use it to start up a business? Buy a home that is free and clear?
For the $100,000 price tag of four years of tuition plus room and board for the University of Cincinnati or Ohio State University (both public universities), one can buy two homes free and clear in a safe neighborhood where I live in Cincinnati, then live in one, rent out the other, and sit on them until the real estate market improves. I know intelligent, industrious and hardworking young non-academics who passed on college and student loan debt, and are now in their 30s and own their own homes, have money in savings, have successful businesses and are enjoying life, and whose major pain is sorrow for some of their student debtor friends.
Working with teenagers, young adults and their parents, I have discovered that the corporate media has given many of them a distorted sense of life with regard to risk. Specifically, many of them have been socialized to believe that the least risky path is the most prestigious college that one is admitted to. While young people have been socialized to be terrified of not having a college education or not receiving a degree from a prestigious institution, they have not been told about the risk of carrying huge debt.
Confirmed: The Eye Emits Actual Light (Biophotons)
by Sayer Ji
Post date: January 22nd 2012
"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." ~ Matthew (ch. VI, v. 22)
Look deeply into the human eye, and you are bound to get lost in its abysmal beauty. Much like mirrors facing one another in the dizzying cascade of visual infinitude, the seer gets lost in the spectacle, of which s(he) forms a part, i.e, you are an eye seeing at the same moment that you are seeing an eye; percipient and perceptible; seeing and visible.
That exquisite aperture - the mammalian eye - through which the light of the Universe passes into the darkest recesses of the human brain, is actually an extension of the nervous system - that like a plant - grows towards the light which nourishes it. Nourishes it how? With both energy and information, which is the very dual nature of Light.
The eyes do not age like the rest of our organs, due to the exaggerated expression of the chromosome-healing enzyme telomerase. As cells divide, important code at the end of the chromosomes can be damaged when the telomeres are sliced apart during mitosis (cell division). Like the ends of shoe strings, these telomeres are tended to and healed by the enzyme telomerase. The better shape the telomeres and the enzyme telomerase are in, the healthier will be the daughter cells following cell division, and the more long-lived and youthful these organs will be. Since the eyes have a unique level of chromosome-healing activity at their disposal, this explains so well how an aged individual's eyes can relume brilliantly the youthful qualities of their soul.
Look closely at the image above, or at your own eyes in a reflective surface, and tell me whether or not you see that they are not simply receptacles of light and perception, but that they project their own light (i.e. their soul)?
Indeed, new research published in the Journal of Brain Research in Jan. 19 2011 show that the mammalian eye exhibits a "spontaneous and visible light-induced ultraweak photon emission."
"I Believe there is a spiritual affect as well, particularly when we look into someone's eyes. We are receiving in our eyes the light which is being reflected from their eyes. There is therefore a sort of a light exchange when you look into someone's eyes--a literal physical light exchange! You see the light that is reflected in their eyes and they see the light that is reflected in your eyes. But I believe it is more than that, since light is power.
I believe there is an actual physical and psychical power exchange. The eyes become projectors as well as receivers!
There is a definite projection of power in a look! There is also a reception of power in a look into someone's eyes, so much so that you can really feel it! If you look deeply into someone's eyes, you know something is going on and it affects you, especially if you're very spiritually sensitive as well as physically sensitive!
A deep look into someone's eyes can move the emotions. After all, sight is one of the five senses, and when you look deeply into each other's eyes, you are sensing something. There is a definite spiritual exchange, a power contact by means of this light exchange which is definitely related to love!
There is power in a look! in the Bible they were told to "look and live!"--one look brought life and healed them! How much power is there in a loving look into someone's eyes?--You know there is!--You've felt it! You yourself have felt someone's love through a look--the "look of love"--and you feel it!
There is power in a look, particularly the tremendous power of a look of love which brings such light and life! There is some kind of real spiritual power, a power connection which occurs when you look into each other's eyes. It is as though your spirits are drawn out of each other's eyes and meet and contact each other. Though you're not yet touching each other physically, your spirits have touched--your spirits have each reached out and touched each other!" (David Berg - Love Light 1974 Edited by Almondtree Productions.)
The Bitter Truth About Splenda
Post date: January 18th 2012
If you were told to ingest a biologically alien synthetic chemical whose presence on this planet did not predate 1976, and whose structure is only a few atoms away from the deadly pesticide DDT, and you knew that not only were there no long term human safety studies performed on it, but that it had been already proven in tests to have following adverse health effects would you still consume it? Of course not! And yet, millions of Americans (including our precious children!) are doing exactly that by consuming Splenda. So, what is sucralose, chemically speaking?
Like "Splenda," the term "sucralose" is a cute little marketing ploy. The true name of this ugly little chemical is actually too long for the human tongue to comfortably pronounce (which is usually an excellent indication that it is not safe to ingest!) Go ahead and see if you can wrap your vocal chords around this phonetic monstrosity:
Despite the intended insinuation, sucralose is not a form of sucrose (cane sugar). Sucralose/Splenda is produced through artificially substituting three hydroxyl groups (hydrogen + oxygen) with three chlorine atoms in the sugar (sucrose) molecule. Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon built around 12 carbon atoms. When transformed into Splenda it becomes a chlorocarbon, in the same family as deadly pesticides like DDT, insecticides, biocides, disinfectants like Chlorox Bleach, and WWI poison gas like dichlorourea. The makers of sucralose/Splenda argue that this "remarkably stable" chemical passes unchanged into the urine and feces, when in fact, up to 11% to 27% is absorbed into the body (FDA, 1999). In fact, the varying degrees to which sucralose is absorbed is used as a marker for gut and intestinal permeability to determine certain disease states. Once absorbed, some portion of this chlorocarbon accumulates in the body (between 1.6% to 12.2%). What effects will these accumulated chemicals have? According to James Bowen, M.D:
"Any chlorocarbons not directly excreted from the body intact can cause immense damage to the processes of human metabolism and, eventually, our internal organs. The liver is a detoxification organ which deals with ingested poisons. Chlorocarbons damage the hepatocytes, the liver's metabolic cells, and destroy them. In test animals Splenda produced swollen livers, as do all chlorocarbon poisons, and also calcified the kidneys of test animals in toxicity studies."
How can this be true for an FDA approved sweetener?
FDA approval does not in any way guarantee safety.....sadly enough, in many cases, it guarantees the exact opposite. Take aspartame for instance. Aspartame (Equal/NutraSweet) contains 10% methanol, which is broken down in our body into two extremely toxic substances: formaldehyde and formic acid. There are over 30 known adverse health effects associated with its consumption! This sweetener gained FDA approval in 1981, despite appalling evidence linking it to cancer, particularly, brain cancer.
So, if Splenda is not a viable alternative to sugar, what can we use instead?
When one uncouples the experience of "sweetness" from caloric content, the body becomes confused because it does not receive nourishment and therefore will not attain satiety - this, in turn, leads to overindulgence. Indeed, new studies have shown exactly this: those who consume synthetic sweeteners are more prone to obesity. What this means is that when we ingest something sweet, it should also have caloric and nutritional content. Anything less than this equation is a recipe for failure and ill health. Thankfully Nature provides us with a veritable cornucopia of healthy sweeteners: honey, stevia, xylitol, erythritol, and dehydrated organic cane juice, all of which are available at your local health food store. Next time that sweet tooth calls, remember not to succumb to advertising hype which would convert poisonous chemicals into "magical" no-calorie sweeteners. Use both common sense and a sense of moderation, and your body will thank you.
Man refuses surgery, drops 270 pounds
By Jacque Wilson
Moncks Corner, South Carolina (CNN) -- Bryan Ganey slowly climbed out of his parents' car. Michael and Martha Ganey had driven their son to work because he wasn't feeling well -- for the past couple of days, simple tasks had left him short of breath and exhausted.
At 577 pounds, being out of shape was normal for Bryan, so he ignored it. But as he headed toward the door of his office on June 20, 2010, the ground suddenly shifted.
The Ganeys were pulling away when Martha's cell phone rang. All she heard on the other end was gasping.
The couple stopped the car and sprinted back to the building, where they found their son lying in the bushes, struggling to breathe. The ride to the hospital took only five minutes, but to Martha, it seemed like hours. Bryan didn't care how long it took -- he knew he was going to die.
"I was absolutely convinced that I was having a heart attack. I had been told by doctors before that at my size, if I ever had heart problems, they weren't going to be able to operate on me. So there was a very good chance that this was the end -- that I would get there and there wouldn't be anything they could do," he said.
Out of control
For years, Bryan worked the night shift at a Verizon call center in Charleston, South Carolina, 20 miles from his home in Moncks Corner.
He skipped breakfast, ate fast food for lunch and dinner, then picked up a pizza or some convenience store snacks on his way home. He often drank more than a gallon of soda a day. By the age of 37, he had a body mass index around 87. A BMI over 30 is considered obese.
"He was very aware that he had a problem," Martha said. "It was out of control."
June 20 was possibly the best thing that could have happened to Bryan, although it certainly didn't seem like it at the time. His "heart attack" was actually a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot that had traveled to his lungs, blocking his oxygen flow. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "sudden death is the first symptom" in about a quarter of patients who have a pulmonary embolism.
For six days, Bryan lay in a hospital bed, covered in bruises caused by the blood thinners being pumped into his body. The blood thinners slowly cleared the blockage in his lungs, giving him plenty of time to think.
"At first, I felt like a victim, like somebody or something had done this to me," Bryan said in a YouTube video about his experience. "But then reality set in and the pain turned to anger. My condition was unacceptable."
Several doctors tried to broach the subject of weight-loss surgery while he was in the hospital, but Bryan refused. Both he and his mother had friends who had gone through the surgery and were suffering from complications.
If I can make it out of here alive, he thought, I'm not coming back.
Today, Bryan, 39, tells his story from the driver's seat of a car that he wouldn't have fit in two years ago . He shops for clothes at department stores, buys one seat on an airplane instead of two and sleeps through the night.
"The absolute best thing about all the weight that I've lost is just waking up every day and realizing that I don't weigh 577 pounds anymore," he said with a laugh. "The biggest rewards are the smallest ones."
Small steps are what began Bryan's weight loss journey. After leaving the hospital, he began to move -- at first pushing a shopping cart around the grocery store like a toddler learning to walk. Then he ventured to the mailbox at the end of his driveway. Soon, he was conquering several miles at a time.
He lost 130 pounds in the first six months, then dropped another 140 pounds over the course of the next year. At 5-foot-8, Bryan now weighs just under 300 pounds.
"It turns out it really is true," Bryan wrote in his iReport submission. "If you use more energy than you take in, you will lose weight."
Bryan switched to a day shift at work to conquer his bad eating habits. He's very particular about what he puts in his mouth, refusing to stray from self-prepared lean meats, vegetables and fruits. He eats five to six meals a day, every two to three hours. He measures his portions so that his total calorie count for the day hits 2,500.
"Food is everywhere," he said, reflecting on his struggles to keep on track at work or in social settings. "I just can't eat it anymore. I can't do it ever again. I don't have the ability to have just a little bit. They think I must be miserable because I ... don't allow myself to have certain things. [But] the benefits I have gained, the prize is worth the struggle."
After dropping his first 70 pounds, Bryan decided to hire a personal trainer. This wasn't the first time he had tried to lose weight by exercising, and in the past he had burned himself out pushing too hard, too fast. His trainer, Martha Peake, started slowly. At first, all they did was sit down and stand up. For the 500-pound Bryan, that was enough.
Last year, Bryan limped across the finish line of the 10K race he entered. This year, he plans to run the whole race. He's still losing six to seven pounds a month and hopes to eventually get down to 200 pounds.
Every morning, Martha wakes up and asks God to give Bryan one more day. She understands the obstacles placed before her son -- most addicts can give up their abusive substance, but he can't just give up food.
"I guess there's always that little shadow of a doubt," Martha said. "But I know also that he's a very strong person ... if it can be done, he can do it."
When Bryan returned to the doctor, the change in his blood work was almost unbelievable. He's off many of the medications he was on before; his blood pressure medication has been cut four times over the last two years. His LDL cholesterol, the bad kind, is 100 -- an optimal number.
Most importantly, at 577 pounds, Bryan was prediabetic. Now, he's looking forward to a bright, diabetes-free future.
"I think what gets lost in the advertisements and everything that's written about weight loss is that if people would keep it simple, that everyone has that power in them. You can change your life."
Voluntary 'De-Baptism' Rising in Europe
Lisa Bryant | Paris
January 18, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI baptizes one of 21 newborns during in the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, Jan. 9, 2011 (file photo).
Sunday evening youth mass in Saint-Germain-des-Pres is overflowing with parishioners. People stand in aisles or sit cross-legged in corners of the cavernous, sixth century Paris church. - - Father Benoist de Sinety, parish priest at Saint Germain for the past three years, says he has always had the good fortune of seeing crowds of young people seeking their bearings or rediscovering faith. But he knows it is not the same everywhere. - -
Churches in France and elsewhere in Europe have been battling falling numbers, a trend evident not only in the empty pews, but in the sharp fall in baptisms. But "de-baptisms", a church's deletion of one's name from the official baptismal registry at a parishioner's request, are a recent phenomenon, and they are taking place in both Protestant and Catholic communities. - -
There are no official statistics, but experts and activists count the numbers of those seeking de-baptism in the tens of thousands, and websites offering informal "de-baptism" certificates have mushroomed.
- - Anne Morelli, who heads a center for religion and secularity studies at the Free University of Brussels, says de-baptisms, both official and unofficial, increased in 2011, particularly in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Austria. The numbers, she said, reflect public anger at the church pedophilia scandals.
- - Terry Sanderson, head of the National Secular Society in Britain, agrees. "I think what sparked the real desire of people to leave the church, particularly the Catholic church, were the huge child-abuse scandals that revolted so many people [that] they no longer wanted to be associated with it," he said. "
That's when people started to leave in large numbers.
- - A decade ago, Sanderson's society posted an unofficial "de-baptism certificate" on its website, which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times to date. - - "
It was a joke to begin with, but now it has taken on a new significance because there are so many people who are anxious to leave the church that they are actually taking it seriously now, and they want some way to make their break with the church formal," he says. "Often the church won't acknowledge their desire to leave."
- - But Christian Weisner, a spokesman for the international grassroots We Are Church movement, points not only to a range of issues that have resulted in de-baptism, but a range methods by which people choose to sever ties to the church.
In Germany, where a record 181,000 Catholics formally split from the church in 2011, some terminated their relations by legally opting out of paying state church taxes. For the first time, he says, more German Catholics cut ties to their church last year than Protestants. - - "
They are thinking about leaving the church and there might be one special event, like the pedophilia crisis, like a [conservative] announcement by the pope, and then they decide now is the time to go," says Weisner, referring to the fact that some Catholics oppose Pope Benedict's stances on issues like abortion, homosexuality and married priests. - -
In France, 71-year-old Rene Lebouvier decided it was time to go a decade ago. After requesting to have his name crossed off his church's baptismal registry, he ultimately filed a lawsuit to have it legally deleted. In October, a lower court in Normandy ruled in his favor, but a local bishop is appealing the verdict.
According to religion professor Philippe Portier of the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, Lebouvier's case could set a legal precedent in a country where few seek to be de-baptized. - - "It will be the first time in Europe, and especially in France, that the church will be obliged to delete from its registers the name of churchgoers who do not want to be considered as church goers," he says.
- - While Portier doubts the appeals court will rule in Lebouvier's favor, France's Catholic Church will not comment on the court case.
- - Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French Bishops Confederation, says the church views de-baptisms with vigilance and willingness for dialogue, but that the phenomenon should not be exaggerated..
- - Church figures indicate that numbers of baptisms are plummeting, with only about one in three French children baptized compared to 90 percent half a century ago.
- - Portier says the church has been proactive in addressing the issue, putting in place a new evangelizing strategy to encourage families to baptize their children.
- - At Saint-Germain-des-Pres, the effort appears to be working. The church offers many activities, from ski outings to professional support networks, in order to draw in young Catholics. - - Aware of dwindling baptisms, Father Benoist says there may be fewer Christians today, but those who remain also understand their mission more strongly -- to be of service to man and God and to love.
CHUCK SMITH: TIME FOR ANOTHER 'JESUS MOVEMENT'?
'Rarely does a man come along that literally changes a generation'
by DAVE TOMBERS
Many Christians around the world were rocked by recent news that the "father of the Jesus Movement," Chuck Smith, has developed lung cancer. He made the announcement to his Calvary Chapel congregation just two weeks ago.
Chemotherapy and radiation lie in front of the 82-year old pastor, but behind him is a legacy that will live for decades to come, if not eternity.
Smith graciously talked with WND despite his recent diagnosis and his full schedule as pastor of one of the biggest churches in the U.S.
On deciding to become a preacher, or as he prefers to be called, a teacher, Smith recalls the words of a youth camp counselor back in the 1940s, words that, along with a nudging by the Holy Spirit, propelled him into the ministry: "You have only one life - it will soon be past, and only what's done for Christ will last."
Smith described for WND the beginning of the "Jesus Movement," during the turmoil of the 1960s.
"My wife truly had a heart for the lost youth of the day," Smith recounted. "She used to make me park the car near Huntington Beach, just so we could watch the kid's wandering aimlessly up and down the sidewalk. They were searching for peace and love."
Through his wife, Kay, God placed a love for those youth deep in Chuck's heart, and he said, "We just knew we had to reach out to them with the hope and peace offered through the gospel of Jesus Christ. These kids were ripe for hearing the gospel. The message resonated with them."
Smith said that the hippie festivals of the day featured drugs and bands whose leaders encouraged the kids to join the counter-culture revolution, but when the Jesus Movement began, young people came in droves, beckoned by word-of-mouth to the corner of Greenville and Sunflower in South Santa Ana, to hear more about the love of Jesus.
Smith told WND that at the beginning of the Jesus Movement, his daughter was "dating a fellow named John - an outstanding witness for the Lord."
"He had been a part of the hippie movement and used to eat dinner with our family and told about meeting scores of hippies and leading them to the Lord," Smith recalled. "He used to pick up hitchhikers for the sole purpose of witnessing to them.
"One day he picked up a hitchhiker in order to witness to him," Smith says. "It turned out the young man was Lonnie Frisbee, who was only hitchhiking so he could witness to drivers who picked him up."
John brought Frisbee over to the Smith's, and a friendship was born.
"He moved in to our home and every few days would bring home a group of kids to be baptized in our pool," said Smith.
In a recent televised conversation with Smith, hippie-convert-turned-pastor Greg Laurie said, "Kids came to your Calvary Chapel because of Lonnie, but they stayed because of you.
"He was the nitro to your glycerin, and together you were an explosive combination," Laurie said.
Laurie explained that not only was the Jesus Movement started under Smith, but also contemporary Christian music and contemporary praise and worship.
Smith said that the new Christian kids needed peace and love, but also a place to stay, where they could fellowship and learn more about God.
Before long, Smith and his wife had taken in around 20 young hippies, and they knew it was time for this ministry to grow. Within months, they had arranged for dozens of communal homes for the young Christians to live in.
"It was an exciting time," Smith said. "We had a full-blown revival on our hands."
Until next week...
"Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
(1 Timothy 4:15)