should I fear in the evil day?"
BILLY GRAHAM CHAPLAINS DEPLOY TO VEGAS ON MASSIVE PRAYER MISSION
'We do it to share love and compassion that comes from only God that we serve'
October 4, 2017
As families and friends grieve the deaths of loved ones in the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, pray for the recovery of the wounded, or search frantically for news about their loved ones, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is deploying chaplains to minister to those impacted by the horrific shooting.
The Rapid Response Team was created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has ministered to people following more than 300 acts of violence and natural disasters since that time.
Just this year, chaplains responded to the Berlin truck attack, terrorism in Barcelona and Manchester, and in the wake of deadly hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Its mission is simple.
“We do it to share the love and compassion that we know comes from the only God that we serve and comes through His Son, Jesus Christ,” said Jeff Nader, manager of chaplain development and chaplain relations at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Monday morning, the group immediately made plans to help in Las Vegas.
“We stopped everything else we were doing in the office and dedicated every minute to moving chaplains in this direction,” said Nader. “Today we have 18 chaplains here on the ground, many of them just landed. We had chaplains out near the site of the shooting last night and around Mandalay Bay until midnight.”
Nader says the Rapid Response Team ministers in multiple ways, but he says the biggest focus is on the ministry of presence, literally just being there for hurting people.
“Most people can probably look back on a time when they were sitting in an emergency room waiting area or someplace else, wishing someone else was there with them during their lonely time. Having a chaplain walk up just to be there with them is over half the work that we do,” said Naber.
“That’s going on right now and I ask you to pray at this very moment for people who are talking with and for people who are standing next to one of our chaplains, that they would feel the love and they would feel the compassion that flows from our chaplains to them from Christ,” said Naber.
The next focal point is praying with the people impacted by the massacre.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve prayed with people at the airport. I’ve prayed with people who were serving me food. I prayed with the person at the (hotel) front desk. We ask people if they would like to pray, not to pray for them but to pray with them,” said Naber.
“In this town, with what happened, everyone just stops what they’re doing and openly says yes when we ask that question about prayer,” said Naber.
The third element of the Rapid Response Team is to share the gospel.
“We pray that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of people. It’s not everyone we come in contact with but specific people, that their hearts are open and that they would be accepting of not only hearing the message of salvation, but of accepting Jesus as their savior,” said Naber.
As the days march on, the team will look to connect people they minister to with local churches.
The Rapid Response Team is accustomed to getting some blowback to its presence in these places. Naber says some don’t want them there, but that doesn’t change the mission.
“We know there are people and groups that oppose us. But we’re to love on them the same as anyone else. We will probably have opportunities here to meet people who are opposed to what our mission is and may be opposed to God,” said Naber.
He says the ministry is to the entire Las Vegas community because virtually everyone has some sort of personal connection with people impacted by the attack.
“An event like this can have such a devastating impact on the emotional and spiritual parts of us. It can affect the whole community and that’s what we’re here for is to help people through that time and to show them the love and the comfort that only comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Naber.
ANCIENT TOMB OF SANTA CLAUS DISCOVERED BENEATH TURKISH CHURCH
BY CALLUM PATON
Archaeologists in Turkey may be on the cusp of solving a mystery thousands of years in the making after they stumbled on a tomb beneath the ruins of an ancient church they believe contains the remains of Saint Nicholas—known popularly as Santa Claus.
A portion of the site believed to contain the undamaged grave was discovered in St. Nicholas Church, located in Turkey’s southern Antalya province. The Demre district in which the church is found is known to be the revered Christian saint’s birthplace.
The head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, Cemil Karabayram, told the Turkish press the shrine was discovered during electronic surveys that showed gaps beneath the church.
“We believe this shrine has not been damaged at all, but it is quite difficult to get to it as there are mosaics on the floor,” Karabayram told Hurriyet Daily News. In the excavation process, archaeologists will have to loosen each tile from the mosaics and remove them together in a mold.
The claims over the 1,674-year-old remains of Saint Nicholas would compete with differing narratives that place the original saint’s relics as far away as Italy and Ireland.
At the time of his death in 343 A.D., Saint Nicholas was interred at the Church in Demre, formerly known as Myra, where he lay undisturbed until the 11th century. Then, according to different accounts from Italy at the time, his remains were taken during the crusades to either Venice or Bari, Italy. One story, less widely believed, places the bones in an abandoned churchyard in southern Ireland after they were brought there by French knights.
Most Catholic and Orthodox Christians accept that the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy, is the final resting place of Santa Claus’s remains. However, Turkish expertsare now claiming the wrong bones were removed and those taken abroad belong to an anonymous priest.
Karabayram has said he is very optimistic about uncovering Saint Nicholas’s remains. He explained researchers from eight differing fields of study were involved in the process of uncovering the grave.
Santa Claus morphed from the third- and fourth-century Asia Minor bishop Saint Nicholas to the generous figure associated with the Christian holiday of Christmas he is today.
The saint became popularized in 16th century Europe when he became Father Christmas, known for giving presents to young children. Dutch arrivals to the United States called their version of Saint Nicholas ‘Sinterklaas,’ which later became Santa Claus.
October 3, 2017
London commuters wrenched open the doors of a packed rush-hour train Monday morning, forcing the train to stop and the power to the tracks to be cut. Witnesses described the scene as "panicked" and a "commotion."
The reason: a fellow passenger was reading the Bible aloud.
"I specifically heard him say things about homosexuality and sex before marriage being sins and how we had to repent for our sins, the lord gave his son for our sins, et cetera," one passenger told the Richmond & Twickenham Times. "I sort of zoned out a little after that as I had no interest in listening to him."
Others weren't able to zone out. They "started to panic and push."
Some commuters "became scared when the man also began saying 'Death is not the end,'" a rider told the BBC.
Trains on the route from the southwest London suburb of Shepperton to the city center were delayed for hours. No one was injured in what the police described as a "self-evacuation."
Fleeing wasn't the only option for commuters who didn't want to hear about their sins. A passenger finally asked the Bible-reading man to be quiet because he was scaring people, and "the guy stopped and stood there with his head down."
London has endured terrorist attacks in recent years, including a deadly one on London Bridge in June.
Surveys show that Great Britain is one of the most secular countries in the world. The "avowedly non-religious," The Guardian newspaper reported earlier this year, now make up half of Britain's population.
-- Douglas Perry
In End of Days, Everyone Will Speak Hebrew
By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
In the End of Days, all the nations of the world will study Hebrew to call out the name of God together in His holy language, explained Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder of the Yeshiva for the Nations.
Speaking to Breaking Israel News, Rabbi Weisz said that the prophet Zephaniah describes how all the nations of the world will have “purity of speech” in the End of Days:
“For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they all invoke Hashem by name and serve Him with one accord.” Zephaniah 3:9
Rabbi Weisz said Jewish tradition has always maintained that the pure language that Zephaniah promises is the language of Hebrew.
Today, students of all backgrounds have a chance to learn Hebrew in a new Yeshiva for the Nations course, “Introduction to the Hebrew Alphabet and Hebrew Reading.” Yeshiva for the Nations is a Jewish school for religious studies, designed for non-Jews. Registrants dip into the deep wells of Jewish knowledge by engaging with Jewish texts through the eyes of Jewish rabbis and teachers.
Rabbi Weisz said the language of creation was Hebrew and that God spoke Hebrew to the first people, Adam and Eve. He believes the whole world spoke Hebrew until right after Noah’s flood, at which time the people of Babel joined forces to build an impressive tower with evil intentions: to display the achievements of man without acknowledging the Creator above.
“Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world.” Genesis 11:4
The punishment for the people’s sin of rebellion and failure to acknowledge God as creator was to be scattered across the earth, their language diversified so they could no longer communicate as one, explained Rabbi Weisz.
However, despite their dispersion, the Jews worked to maintain some use of the Hebrew language. With the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 and the ingathering of the exiles, the Jewish people miraculously revived Hebrew and made it, once again, their national language.
“Hebrew is one of the most beautiful languages,” said Sharon Niv, who teaches the Yeshiva for the Nations Hebrew course. She said that while in English there are more words than in Hebrew, the Hebrew language has greater depth.
“Every word has its own history because of the history of the Jewish people,” Niv expressed. “Every word can take you to a different time or place.”
As God gave the Torah to the Jewish people in Hebrew, Rabbi Weisz stressed the importance of learning the Bible in Hebrew to “understand all of its nuances…Reading in translation loses a lot of the meaning, nuance and spirit of the message.”
Niv said a person can learn Hebrew at any age, with any background. In her course, she starts slow, focusing on basic letter recognition and sound. She told Breaking Israel News that if a student lets the language flow within him or her, he or she will ultimately pick it up.
In recent years, there has been growing interest by Christian Zionists to learn Hebrew. Rabbi Weisz said this is likely a step toward the redemption described by Zephaniah.
“Unlike in the generation of Babel, nations are coming together to serve God through the language of purity,” said Rabbi Weisz. “With Jews and Christians reconciling for the first time in history, may our sense of unity not be for the glory of man, but may we study together the language of Hebrew to build a great tower to the One true God of Israel.”
The following is a letter we wrote to Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman in regards to the above article.
To: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman – Director of Publishing
Subject: “IN THE END OF DAYS, EVERYONE WILL SPEAK HEBREW
Date: October 4, 2017
Dear Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman,
I wanted to write you concerning your recent article: “IN THE END OF DAYS, EVERYONE WILL SPEAK HEBREW.
Zephaniah 3:9 would certainly seem to back up the your argument concerning the speaking of Hebrew as a universal language.
In additon, three verses from The Book of Jubilees would also help to support and validate this supposition.
If you are not familiar with The Book of Jubilees following these verses is a condensensed explanation excerpted from Wikipedia.
“And the Lord God said: 'Open his mouth and his ears, that he may hear and speak with his mouth, with the language which has been revealed'; for it had ceased from the mouths of all the children of men from the day of the overthrow (of Babel).And I opened his mouth, and his ears and his lips, and I began to speak with him in Hebrew in the tongue of the creation.And he took the books of his fathers, and these were written in Hebrew, and he transcribed them, and he began from henceforth to study them, and I made known to him that which he could not (understand), and he studied them during the six rainy months.” The Book of Jubilees 12:25-27
“The Book of Jubilees, sometimes called Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work of 50 chapters, considered canonical by...Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews), where it is known as the Book of Division (Ge'ez: መጽሃፈ ኩፋሌ Mets'hafe Kufale).
The text was also utilized by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls. No complete Hebrew, Greek or Latin version is known to have survived.
The chronology given in Jubilees is based on multiples of seven; the jubilees are periods of 49 years, seven "year-weeks", into which all of time has been divided.
Consequently, even before the Qumran discoveries, R.H. Charles had deduced that the Hebrew original had used an otherwise unrecorded text for Genesis and for the early chapters of Exodus, one independent either of the Masoretic text or of the Hebrew text that was the basis for the Septuagint. According to one historian, the variation among parallel manuscript traditions that are exhibited by the Septuagint compared with the Masoretic text, and which are embodied in the further variants among the Dead Sea Scrolls, demonstrates that even canonical Hebrew texts did not possess any single "authorized" manuscript tradition in the first centuries BC.
Between 1947 and 1956 approximately 15 Jubilees scrolls were found in five caves at Qumran, all written in Hebrew. The large quantity of manuscripts (more than for any biblical books except for Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Exodus, and Genesis, in descending order) indicates that Jubilees was widely used at Qumran.
The Hasmoneans adopted Jubilees immediately, and it became a source for the Aramaic Levi Document.
According to this book, Hebrew is the language of Heaven, and was originally spoken by all creatures in the Garden, animals and man; however, the animals lost their power of speech when Adam and Eve were expelled. Following the Deluge, the earth was apportioned into three divisions for the three sons of Noah, and his sixteen grandsons. After the destruction of the Tower of Babel, their families were scattered to their respective allotments, and Hebrew was forgotten, until Abraham was taught it by the angels.” Excerpted from Wikipedia
I did however want to point out the difference between Paleo Hebrew and modern, Masoretic, Hebrew.
This involves an understanding of Paleo Hebrew and the Septuagint which was the Koine Greek translation of the Hebrew Tanakh.
Here is a little background on the Septuagint. This is excerpted from the Preface and Introduction to the Septuagint written by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton in 1851:
"The Septuagint (from the Latin septuaginta, meaning "seventy," and frequently referred to by the roman numerals LXX) is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The name derives from the tradition that it was made by seventy (or seventy-two) Jewish scholars at Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.).
"The earliest version of the Old Testament Scriptures which is extant, or of which we possess any certain knowledge, is the translation executed at Alexandria in the third century BCE.
The Jews upheld the Septuagint very strongly for the first 300 years as the Word of God, but when the Christians took a hold of it, then the Jews rejected it. The Jews started rewrote the Septuagint in the 2nd and 3rd centuries to suit their purposes.
The reason the Septuagint came about is because in Alexandria, Alexander the Great had come through and conquered many of those nations, and Greek became the predominant language. So they took the original Law, and translated it into Greek for those Jews that no longer spoke Hebrew, and also to convert many of the Greeks over to Judaism. They translated the original into the Greek at approximately 285 BC.
Between the sixth century AD and the year 1000 there was a subset of Jews known as the Masoretes.
They retranslated the Septuagint from the Koine Greek back into, what is today, modern Hebrew.
Another point, if you look at the original Paleo Hebrew found in the Dead Sea Scrolls which were found at Qumran along the Salt (Dead) Sea you will see there is virtually no resemblance to modern Hebrew. Palio Hebrew was a pictographic language which some say was derived from ancient Aramaic.
No one in the world today knows how the original Paleo Hebrew or Koine Greek sounded.
I hope this is a help in your research. If the prophecies in Zepaniah and The Book of Jublees are correct, which I believe they are, modern Hebrew is not the language that will be spoken but much more likely Paleo Hebrew, and this will truly require a miracle.
All the best,
SPIRIT OF BAAL 'MANIFESTING' NOW IN AMERICA
Jonathan Cahn: 'It's a dangerous period. It's a period of apostasy'
October 4, 2017
Author and Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn.
It’s the No. 1 prophecy book at Amazon.com and hit No. 5 on the New York Times bestseller list in its first week.
And it reveals the return of an ancient evil.
Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the New York Times bestselling author of “The Harbinger,” has produced his most ambitious and comprehensive work yet, “The Paradigm.”
On a recent appearance on SkyWatch TV, the man known as “America’s Prophet” detailed the implications of his newest biblical discovery.
“It [the paradigm] gives the modern leaders the amount of time they have to be on the national stage before they leave,” marveled Cahn. “I mean, it’s specific. … God uses everything, God weaves in everything. The paradigm is this master blueprint, from the Bible, that deals with a nation or a civilization that is heading away from God.
“Israel is the example, ancient Israel, when they turned away from God, what happened? ‘The Harbinger’ speaks of the signs of judgment, this [‘The Paradigm’] speaks of everything that’s happening. So everything we’ve experienced in our lifetime is all part of this paradigm and it takes us up to everything that’s happening right now. And then where do we go from here?”
One of the most consistent signs in a nation’s fall into apostasy is the reemergence of a certain spirit – the spirit of Baal. The rabbi detailed the highly important role of this false god during the apostasy of ancient Israel.
“Ba’al means lord, or master, or owner,” Cahn said. Switching to the more common pronunciation of “Baal,” Cahn explained how the pagan god has a symbolic meaning that goes far behind his actual historical importance.
“Baal’s importance, or his dynamic, is that when a nation has known God, as Israel knew God, and then they turned away from God, they turned to Baal,” he said. “Baal is the anti-God. Baal is the substitute god. Baal is the god of apostasy, of the turning away from God.”
Cahn linked Baal with the practice of idolatry, or the way humans can create their own god.
“Once you create your own god, you can create your own truth,” he said. “Once you create your own truth, you can overrule everything, call good evil and evil good. … Idolatry is linked to relativism, because you’re creating truths. Once you change your gods, everything else changes. It starts with that.”
Cahn explained how the worship of Baal was not just the worship of a false god, but was the precursor to the degeneration of an entire culture.
“It’s a move toward carnality,” he said of the change. “It’s a move toward materialism, but it was also a god of debasement, because you had sexual immorality. In the cult of Baal, you had ‘sacred prostitutes.’ You took sexuality out of marriage and put it into the public culture. So you have that going on. You had male prostitutes, now you have homosexuality.
“Then one more step, you have the offering up of children. You have this big statue of Baal, with bronze arms and bull head and they would place their baby on those arms and have it rolled into the fire. This is what happened in ancient Israel. This was a long-term apostasy.”
The messianic rabbi compared the situation of ancient Israel during its fall away from God to what is happening in America today.
“It’s a dangerous period,” he intoned. “It’s a period of apostasy, acceleration of apostasy. The same events that happened there, we’re replaying it now. It’s all affected our lives.”
He claimed both America and the West at large are turning away from their biblical foundations, with catastrophic consequences.
“We’re going to repeat those things!” he exclaimed. “You’re going to have the spirit of Baal manifesting. In the 20th century, you see this turning, the driving out of God. We begin to start going to other gods, but we don’t call them other gods, but we start going to it. We start going to ‘materialism,’ we start going to ‘prosperity,’ we start relativizing truth, we start driving God out. At first it’s subtle. But then the apostasy gets more and more blatant.”
Indeed, the “harbinger” of Baal has already manifested, as the reconstruction of a triumphal arch for the Temple of Baal in Palmyra has been constructed outside a number of global summits and in important world cities such as New York and London.
As Cahn pointed out, even the supposedly secular libertine movements of today have deep spiritual overtones. The pastor described how sexuality has been taken out of the marriage bed and put in the public square, how homosexuality has been normalized and how gender has been deconstructed. Most importantly, he said, is how child sacrifice is now standard in the America of today, with millions of babies being aborted.
“In fact, when you read some books of radical feminism, they will speak about abortion as a sacrament, they will speak about offering it up to the mother goddess,” said Cahn. “The big picture is being replayed.”
While the moral decline of Israel was long-term, according to Cahn, there came a point where there was a sudden acceleration and pagan morality overtook biblical morality and was endorsed from the centers of power.
America, he suggested, is going through that very point in the paradigm.
“You always had sinners, but you knew they were sinners,” observed the pastor. “Now, you’re changing the very standards. Has that happened in America? Yes, it has.”
SABOTEURS PART 17: On The Second Coming Of Osiris/Apollo And The Science Of Resurrection
October 1, 2017 by SkyWatch Editor
You may have read where a 45-foot tall nude sculpture of a woman that was first sent to the Burning Man occult festival (to be ‘energized’ with demonic power) has been approved to stand near the shaft of Osiris (Washington Monument) directly facing the White House. Organizers are trying to raise funds to transport the R-Evolution sculpture from San Francisco to Washington and have already gotten approval from the National Park Service to have the seductive idol on the grounds of the National Mallaccording to MSN. Readers of this online series and of the upcoming book Saboteurs will understand the high level of occultism this entity intends to “arouse” between the largest obelisk of its kind in the world for impregnating the belly of Isis (aka the US Capital Dome) with the second coming of Apollo-Osiris.
We ended the last entry saying “The legendary ritual for reincarnating Osiris (which, as we have discussed, is the ritual performed by Freemasons at each Master Mason ceremony) formed the core of Egyptian cosmology and was fantastically venerated on the most imposing scale throughout all of Egypt by towering obelisks (representing the phallus of Osiris) and domes (representing the pregnant belly of Isis) including at Karnak where the upright obelisks were “vitalized” or “stimulated” from the energy of the masturbatory sun-god Ra (mentioned prior) shining down upon them.”
There is historical evidence that this elaborate myth and its rituals may have been based originally on real characters and events. It is noteworthy that in 1998, former secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, claimed to have found the burial tomb of the god Osiris (Apollo/Nimrod) at the Giza Plateau. In the article, “Sandpit of Royalty,” from the newspaper Extra Bladet (Copenhagen), January 31, 1999, Hawass was quoted saying:
I have found a shaft, going twenty-nine meters vertically down into the ground, exactly halfway between the Chefren Pyramid and the Sphinx. At the bottom, which was filled with water, we have found a burial chamber with four pillars. In the middle is a large granite sarcophagus, which I expect to be the grave of Osiris, the god.… I have been digging in Egypt’s sand for more than thirty years, and up to date this is the most exciting discovery I have made.… We found the shaft in November and began pumping up the water recently. So several years will pass before we have finished investigating the find.[i]
As far as we know, this discovery did not ultimately provide the physical remains of the deified person. But what it did illustrate is that at least some very powerful Egyptologists believe Osiris was a historical figure, and that his body was stored somewhere at or near the Great Pyramid. Manly P. Hall, who knew that the Masonic legend of Hiram Abiff was a thinly veiled prophecy of the resurrection of Osiris, may have understood what Zahi Hawass was looking for, and why. Consider that he wrote in The Secret Teachings of All Ages: “The Dying God [Osiris] shall rise again! The secret room in the House of the Hidden Places shall be rediscovered. The Pyramid again shall stand as the ideal emblem of…resurrection, and regeneration.”[ii]
Some ancient Egyptian cultures held their own reenactments of the Osiris/Isis reincarnation ritual, in which the spirit of Osiris would be “raised” into a newly reigning pharaoh. When this occurred, theocratic statesmanship and the ultimate political authority was given to that leader. (This is later reflected in the political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy or “the divine right of kings,” who supposedly derived their right to rule from the will of God, with the exception of, in some countries, the king is subject to the Church and the pope.) The insinuation of this rite, among other meanings, was that the pharaoh’s authority was as the son of the sun god, Ra, and as the incarnation of the falcon-headed and all-seeing god Horus until the pharaoh’s death—whereupon he would become Osiris, the divine judge over the underworld. The pharaoh’s son and predecessor on earth, then, became the newly anointed manifestation of Horus. Within this worldview, every generation of pharaohs would supply their gods with a human spokesperson who carried out their will, as well as ensuring that the earthly leadership would be divinely appointed at all times.
Yet the observant reader may wonder, “Was there something more to the pharaoh’s deification than faith in ritual magic?” The cult center of Amun-Ra at Thebes may hold the answer, as it was the site of the largest religious structure ever built—the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak—and the location of many extraordinary mysterious rites.
As I’ve written before, the great temple, with its one hundred miles of walls and gardens, was the place where each pharaoh reconciled his divinity in the company of Amun-Ra during the festival of Opet. The festival was held at the temple of Luxor and included a procession of gods carried on barges up the Nile River from Karnak to the temple. The royal family accompanied the gods on boats while the Egyptian laity walked along the shore, calling aloud and making requests of the gods. Once at Luxor, the pharaoh and his entourage entered the holy of holies, where the ceremony to raise the spirit of Osiris into the king was performed and pharaoh was transmogrified into a living deity (a repeat coronation, so to speak). Outside, large groups of dancers and musicians waited anxiously. When the king emerged as the “born-again” Osiris, the crowd erupted in gaiety. From that day forward, the pharaoh was considered to be the son and spiritual incarnation of the Supreme Deity. (The all-seeing eye of Horus/Apollo/Osiris above the unfinished pyramid on the Great Seal represents this event.)
Modern people, especially in America, may view the symbols used in this magic—the dome representing the habitually pregnant belly of Isis, and the obelisk, representing the erect phallus of Osiris—as profane or pornographic. But they were in fact ritualized fertility objects, which the ancients believed could produce tangible reactions, properties, or “manifestations” within the material world. The obelisk and dome as imitations of the deities’ male and female reproductive organs could, through government representation, invoke into existence the being or beings symbolized by them. This is why, inside the temple or dome, temple prostitutes representing the human manifestation of the goddess were also available for ritual sex as a form of imitative magic. These prostitutes usually began their services to the goddess as children, and were deflowered at a very young age by a priest or, like Isis’ choice piece, by a modeled obelisk of Osiris’ phallus. Sometimes these prostitutes were chosen, on the basis of their beauty, as the sexual mates of sacred temple bulls that were considered the incarnation of Osiris. In other places, such as at Mendes, temple prostitutes were offered in coitus to divine goats. Through such imitative sex, the dome and obelisk became “energy receivers,” capable of assimilating Ra’s essence from the rays of the sun, which in turn drew forth the “seed” of the underworld Osiris. The seed of the dead deity would, according to the supernaturalism, transmit upward (through the portal) from out of the underworld through the base (testes) of the obelisk and magically emit from the tower’s head into the womb (dome) of Isis, where incarnation into the sitting pharaoh/king/president would occur (during what Freemasons also call the raising of Osiris ceremony). In this way, Osiris could be habitually “born again” or reincarnated as Horus and constantly direct the spiritual destiny of the nation.
This metaphysical phenomenon, which originated with Nimrod/Semiramis and was central to numerous other ancient cultures, was especially developed in Egypt, where Nimrod/Semiramis were known as Osiris/Isis (and in Ezekiel chapter 8 the children of Israel set up the obelisk [“image of jealousy,” verse 5] facing the entry of their Temple—just as the dome faces the obelisk in Washington, DC, and in the Vatican City—and were condemned by God for worshipping the Sun [Ra] while weeping for Osiris [Tammuz]). The familiar Masonic figure of the point within a circle is the symbol of this union between Ra, Osiris, and Isis. The “point” represents Osiris’ phallus in the center of the circle or womb of Isis, which in turn is enlivened by the sun rays from Ra—just as is represented today at the Vatican, where the Egyptian obelisk of Osiris sits within a circle, and in Washington, DC, where the obelisk sits within the eclipse/lens flare oval—situated so as to be the first thing the sun (Ra) strikes as it rises over the capital city and which, when viewed from overhead, forms the magical point within a circle known as a circumpunct. The sorcery is further amplified, according to ancient occultic beliefs, by the presence of the Reflecting Pool in DC, which serves as a mirror to Heaven and “transferring point” for spirits and energies.
And just what is it the spirits see when they look downward on the Reflecting Pool in Washington? They find a city dedicated to and built in honor of the legendary deities Isis and Osiris, complete with the thirteen gathered pieces of Osiris (America’s original thirteen colonies); the required obelisk known as the Washington Monument; the Capitol dome (of Isis) for impregnation and incarnation of deity into each pharaoh (president). And, last but not least, they observe official government buildings erected to face their respective counterparts and whose cornerstones—including the US Capitol dome—were dedicated during astrological alignments related to the zodiacal constellation Virgo (Isis), as required for the magic to occur.
And, one should note, lest this all seem nothing more than myth and fantasy, the magicians in Egypt were able to duplicate many of the supernatural acts that God performed at the hand of Moses during the Exodus.
Since Waite’s analysis was so useful to us in understanding the importance of the magnetism at play behind the pentagram of DC and the beliefs of the occultists who designed it in yesteryear and those who believe in it yet today, let’s see what he has to say about the relationship between the “Great Magical Agent,” the sun, and the creation of a life.
The soul of the earth is a permanent glance from the sun which the earth conceives and conserves by impregnation.…for the atmosphere is the recipient, and, as it were, the crucible [receptacle] of the solar rays, by means of which there is produced that living image of the sun which penetrates, vivifies, and fructifies the entire earth, determining all that is brought forth on its surface by its continual currents and emanations, which are analogous to those of the sun itself. [More simply, it is the power of the sun’s rays that determine what is “brought forth” on the earth, including all life, which Waite subsequently clarifies.]
The Astral Light, being the instrument of life, naturally collects at living centres; it cleaves to the kernel of planets as to the heart of man (and by the heart we understand, in magic, the great sympathetic), but it identifies itself with the individual life of the existence in which it animates. [So far, we see that it both “determines”—or chooses—and “animates” life in accordance to where it “collects.” Think “magnetism”…] Thus it is terrestrial in its connection with the earth, and exclusively human in its connection with man.… The settlement and polarization of light about a centre produces a living being; it attracts all the matter necessary to protect and preserve it…[and] it is the first physical manifestation of the Divine Breath.…
The Astral Light was the instrument of the omnipotence of Adam.…
The Astral Light is the key of all dominion, the secret of all powers, the universal glass of visions, the bond of sympathies, the source of love, prophecy, and glory, the instrument of thaumaturgic art and divination. To know how to master this agent so as to profit by and to direct its currents is to accomplish the magnum opus, to be master of the world, and the depository even of the power of God.[iii]
“Master of the world”? Men who “direct” the sun can be masters of the world? Now, not only have we established that the sun “determines” and “animates” life through its rays and currents, according to this celebrated scholar of mysticism, mere men can control it? They can be masters of the world? They can be “depositories even of the power of God”? Sounds more like “playing God” to me. But who could these men be whom Waite is referring to? Could he have been talking about the brethren he met with as a Freemason? He immediately goes on to say:
The absolute secret of this direction has been possessed by certain men and can yet be recovered—it is the Great Magic Arcanum; it depends on an incommunicable axiom, and on an instrument which is the great and unique Athanor of the Hermatists of the highest grade. All magic science consists in the knowledge of this secret. To know it and to dare make use of it is human omnipotence; to reveal it to an outsider is to lose it; to reveal it to a disciple is to abdicate in favour of such disciple, who, from that moment, has the right of life and death over his initiator, and will certainly kill him for fear of dying himself.[iv]
Let’s pretend for a moment that we weren’t completely and unanimously distracted by Waite’s mini-speech about the right of life and death and killing and dying, and focus instead on the group he’s describing. Waite, himself, was a Freemason, and throughout much of his work, he refers to secrets shared between “disciples” and “initiators” of that very Order. Who else would he be talking about here? He clearly stated that “certain men” have in the past “possessed” the ability to direct the Astral Light (sun)—and that this art “can yet be recovered.” If the redirection of the sun by man can “determine” and “animate” life through mystical impregnation via polarized vibrations/rays collecting at “centres” and so forth; and if the men chosen for such a task are the “disciples” and “initiators” of the Brotherhood Waite belonged to (Freemasons); and if Freemasons have so much of their occultic practices tied into Abiff/Osiris/Horus-type resurrections and reincarnations; and if there are magnetic “centres” drawing the power behind this potential animation of a new, reincarnated/resurrected lifeform to the “Devil’s footprint” of Washington, DC…then what in the otherworld would they be trying to bring to life?
Follow this incredibly complicated thread as I simplify it to the best of my ability:
Isis is connected to the power of the Agent through monuments. She was the very sister/wife of Osiris, who impregnated herself through her dead husband’s corpse in order to birth Horus, who was really Osiris reincarnated into a new body.
Horus-with-the-spirit-of-Osiris was gifted with the “Al-Seeing Eye,” which is the symbol on our Great Seal of the United States, our dollar bill, and in countless places all over Washington, DC.
Osiris/Horus was/is openly recognized by the greatest Freemasons in history as the true identity of Hiram Abiff. These same Freemasons ritualize Hiram Abiff in their Master Mason ceremonies as a way of cementing the integrity of secrecy.
Hiram Abiff died protecting secret words and building plans of a temple dedicated to worship. These building plans had a purpose and order from a supernatural world (heaven) and Deity (God). As William Henry and Mark Gray pointed out in their work, Freedom’s Gate, “It is clear that the builders viewed the Capitol as America’s sole temple.”[v] The building plans of our capital have now been shown to connect through Freemasonry to a purpose and order from a supernatural world (black magic of the open “footprint of the Devil” pentagram) and deities (Isis, Osiris, Horus, and all those other deities worshiped throughout time since the Ancient and Mysterious Order of the Rosae Crucis—but never Jesus Christ or Yahweh).
The Freemasonic structures just mentioned—those that have been put into place since the leadership of our first Freemasonic president—have the power (occultists believe) to direct something through the force of magnetism to the center of its representational symbol (the pentagram)…and with the shaft of Baal/Osiris and the ever-pregnant belly of Isis, along with the regenerative rays of the Astral Light, that something is no longer a something, but a someone.
A someone who will be risen upon the “Devil’s footprint.”
I will remind the reader at this very sensitive conjuncture of study that it doesn’t matter if the mainstream believes any of this; it matters if they do. The Freemasons aren’t just made up of a few groups of misguided teenagers conducting naïve rituals while playing Dungeons and Dragons in a basement somewhere. We are talking about a citadel of politically and socially powerful and nefarious schemers who have been planning something very dark since the time of Moses, when they were known by another name. And although many involved in Freemasonry are simply normal people with normal lives, many are not. If or when those of the Craft feel the time has come to conduct whatever life-breathing ceremonies they have organized, the most radical adherents of Freemasonry will pull from the depths of any and all dark spiritual conduits to see it finally, after thousands and thousands of years, come to pass. The Bible lists Satan as the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and his power throughout the ages has been very real.
I will now take a moment to ask the unsettling question that has been abundantly implied but remains to be asked directly: Was the United States designated to generate or “birth” the Antichrist?
Could it be that all these symbols and monuments and domes, etc., actually mean more than an “accidental oversight”? Considering all the mathematical and architectural planning that went into its construction, I think the answer is obvious. But don’t take my word for it. There are plenty of other sources that suggest this very reality.
I might remind you that Manly P. Hall said:
The rise of the Christian Church broke up the intellectual pattern of the classical pagan world. By persecution of this pattern’s ideologies it drove the secret societies into greater secrecy; the pagan intellectuals then reclothed their original ideas in a garment of Christian phraseology, but bestowed the keys of the symbolism only upon those duly initiated and bound to secrecy by their vows.[vi]
Gary Lachman, in his book, Politics and the Occult, describes in detail how Washington, DC, was laid out according to the precepts of sacred geometry “associated with Freemasonry.”[vii]
George W. Bush, forty-third president of the United States, in his 2005 Inaugural Address, said, “When our Founders declared a new order of the ages…they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.”[viii]
On that, was Time magazine sending a secret message to Freemasons everywhere when it portrayed Donald Trump as a danger to the ancient, occult scheme when in March 2017 it chose to depict his war on Washington in this way?[ix] In the next entry we’ll answer that question with “The Great Seal Prophecy and America’s Coming Grey Champion.”
[I] “Sandpit of Royalty,” Extra Bladet (Copenhagen, January 31, 1999).
[ii] Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages, locations 2215–2217.
[iii] Arthur Waite, Mysteries of Magic, 70–73; emphasis added.
[iv] Ibid.; emphasis added.
[v] William Henry and Mark Gray, Freedom’s Gate, 3; emphasis added.<>br [vi] Manly P. Hall, Secret Destiny of America, Kindle locations 553–565.
[vii] Gary Lachman, Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen(Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 2008), 39.
[viii] George W. Bush, “Inaugural Address: January 20, 2005,” The American Presidency Project, last accessed April 27, 2017, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=58745.
Lt. Col. Maginnis: 'Washington Is The Heart of Evil In The United States'
By Michael W. Chapman | October 3, 2017 | 11:59 AM EDT
Commenting on the "deep state" and the occult in the federal government, Lt. Col. (ret.) Robert Maginnis, a Pentagon security and intelligence official and a senior fellow for National Security with the Family Research Council, said he has "personally met people" that identify as "witches" in the government and added that "Washington is the heart of evil in the United States, as well as the world."
During an interview on The Jim Bakker Show, Sept. 29, Maginnis explained that there are essentially three layers operating in the federal government: the politicians and the bureaucats; the lobbyists, special interests, and other groups that seek to influence the politicians; and the demonic or spiritual level that influences the first two layers.
To put it into context, Maginnis, a West Point graduate, said, “I have 50 years in Washington, D.C. I am coming here today -- literally my job is in the Pentagon. I’ve been there 15 years this time. Before that I was the vice president for policy at the Family Research Council in Washington, so I dealt with all the policy."
"I’ve personally met people that identify themselves as witches that are in the government," he said. "I have seen things in the government I will not talk about."
"But over 50 years, I’ve got a wealth of experience of working with the political class, the bureaucracy, the lobbyists, who I know," he said. "I’ve been in the non-government organizations and then, of course, I’ve been very much involved in the spiritual climate in Washington."
"So when I talk about those three layers [of governance and the occult], they’re all very, very clear to me, they’re all very interactive," said Maginnis, "and Washington is the heart of evil in the United States, as well as the world.”
Earlier this year, Maginnis, the former chief of the U.S. Army Infantry School's leadership and ethics training branch, described the nation's capital as follows: “You have a lot of witchcraft. You have a lot of hedonism. You have all the issues. When I think of Sodom and Gomorrah I often think of Washington, D.C. in the same thought."
Over the years, Lt. Col. (ret.) Maginnis has testified numerous times before Congress and appeared on countless news outlets, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the Fox News Channel.
(This should not really come as a surprise. The Bible is very clear on this issue.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places.]” Ephesians 6:12)
US, Israel afraid of independent Iran: Chomsky
October 4, 2017
The United States and Israel cannot tolerate Iran as an “independent force” and that is why Washington and its allies have been “tormenting” the people of Iran over the past decades, says prominent American scholar Noam Chomsky.
In an interview excerpted from his upcoming book Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy, Chomsky discussed the real reasons behind his country’s years-long animosity towards Iran, dismissing as mere smokescreens Washington’s objections to Iran’s nuclear program and its support for resistance groups in Lebanon and Palestine.
“Iran has long been regarded by US leaders, and by US media commentary, as extraordinarily dangerous, perhaps the most dangerous country on the planet,” Chomsky said in response to a question by David Barsamian, the book’s co-author.
The scholar noted that Washington’s doctrinal system tends to introduce Iran as a “dual menace” that “is the leading supporter of terrorism, and its nuclear programs pose an existential threat to Israel, if not the whole world.”
Support for ‘terrorist’ groups
Chomsky explained that America’s branding of Iran as a state sponsor of terror was based on Israel’s interests.
“In the real world, Iranian support for terrorism translates to support for Hezbollah, whose major crime is that it is the sole deterrent to yet another destructive Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and for Hamas, which won a free election in the Gaza Strip—a crime that instantly elicited harsh sanctions and led the US government to prepare a military coup,” he argued.
Rather ironically, the philosopher pointed out to America’s unconditional support for Saudi Arabia, which he described as “a brutal dictatorship, miserably repressive” committing “disgraceful atrocities in Yemen.”
The US has been providing weapons and intelligence to the Riyadh regime over the course of its more than two-year-long aggression that has killed more than 12,000 Yemeni civilians.
Iran’s nuclear program
Chomsky dismissed US claims that Iran was in possession of nuclear weapons and said any concerns in this regard had been alleviated by Tehran’s own calls for destroying all weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in the Middle East region.
“Such a zone is strongly supported by the Arab states and most of the rest of the world and is blocked primarily by the United States, which wishes to protect Israel’s WMD capabilities,” he said.
Real reasons behind Washington’s animus
The renowned historian said the “true reasons” behind America’s hostility towards Iran were the country’s growing regional influence and the 1979 Islamic Revolution that led to the ouster of US-backed monarch Mohammad Reza Shah.
“The United States and Israel cannot tolerate an independent force in a region that they take to be theirs by right,” he argued. “An Iran with a nuclear deterrent is unacceptable to rogue states that want to rampage however they wish throughout the Middle East.”
Chomsky said Washington was still angry about the Iranian people’s removal of Shah, “the dictator installed by Washington.”
“Iran cannot be forgiven for overthrowing the dictator installed by Washington in a military coup in 1953, a coup that destroyed Iran’s parliamentary regime and its unconscionable belief that Iran might have some claim on its own natural resources.”
Citing more instances of US double standards, Chomsky noted that former US President George H. W. Bush had invited Iraqi nuclear experts to the US for advanced training in nuclear weapons production.
Chomsky said Washington’s enmity towards Iran has been an ongoing trend over the past six decades and “scarcely a day has passed when Washington was not tormenting Iranians.”
“After the 1953 military coup came US support for a dictator described by Amnesty International as a leading violator of fundamental human rights,” he said.
After that, the Unite States, under then President Ronald Reagan, directly helped Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein with his military invasion against Iran, which lasted for eight years.
“Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed, many by chemical weapons. Reagan’s support for his friend Saddam was so extreme that when Iraq attacked a US ship, the USS Stark, killing 37 American sailors, it received only a light tap on the wrist in response. Reagan also sought to blame Iran for Saddam’s horrendous chemical warfare attacks on Iraqi Kurds,” Chomsky added.
Anti-Iran sanctions, Trump presidency
After the Iran-Iraq War, Washington tried to pressure Iran by resorting to harsh economic sanctions.
“Washington has been the driving force behind harsh sanctions against Iran that continue to the present day,” he added.
The situation has only gotten worse under current US President Donald Trump, Chomsky said, adding that the US president “has joined the harshest and most repressive dictators in shouting imprecations at Iran.”
Although Trump has on many occasions threatened Iran and imposed new sanctions against the Islamic Republic in order to weaken a landmark nuclear deal it signed with six world powers in 2015, Chomsky said the animus went beyond the billionaire-turned-president.
“It includes those regarded as the 'adults' in the Trump administration, like James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, the secretary of defense. And it stretches a long way into the past.”
Syria will never forget Iran’s sacrifices, support: Assad
October 5, 2017
Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi (C-L) meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syria, on October 5, 2017. (Photo by SANA)
President Bashar al-Assad says his country will never forget the sacrifices of the Islamic Republic in support of the Syrian government and nation during the hard times of war.
The Syrian president made the remarks in a meeting with senior Iranian lawmaker, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, in Damascus on Thursday, noting that recent developments in the region were unfolding in favor of the "resistance axis."
"These developments have added to the strength and capabilities of the resistance axis," he told Boroujerdi who is chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy.
The Syrian president also stressed the need for close cooperation among members of the "resistance axis" in different fields, especially economy.
Boroujerdi, for his part, congratulated Assad on the recent victories scored by the Syrian army against terrorists, hailing the Arab country as the "symbol of resistance in the face of the enemies."
"The immensity of the recent developments in Syria will certainly be further understood in the future, because the Syrian government and nation have succeeded in defeating moves by the United States, the Zionist regime and their regional allies through resistance and perseverance," the Iranian lawmaker said.
Boroujerdi also referred to President Assad's letter to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei last month, saying it reflected “the depth of the ties between the two countries and the positive role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the recent victories" gained by the Syrian army.
In the letter, Assad thanked and congratulated the friendly government and people of Iran on the strategic achievements of the Syrian military in their counter-terrorism operation.
“I express my deep gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran over its principled positions against terrorism and its support for our people to liberate our homeland's soil from the contamination of Takfiri terrorists," Assad wrote in the letter.
Boroujerdi said the "resistance axis" was facing a common enemy, stressing the need for constant cooperation and coordination among its members.
He further expressed Tehran’s readiness to help reconstruct Syria, which has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since 2011.
Talks with FM Muallem
Boroujerdi also met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on Wednesday, and the two discussed bilateral relations, the fight against terrorism and extremism, and a controversial secession referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan.
The two sides also expressed support for the sovereignty and unity of Iraq and warned of the negative effects of the Kurdish vote.
During the meeting, Muallem underlined the importance of the military achievements made by the Syrian army in cooperation with the country's allies, saying that Syria will continue its war on terrorism until it is totally rooted out.
Boroujerdi, for his part, called for enhancing parliamentary relations between Iran and Syria, affirming that the Islamic Republic would continue to support Damascus in its anti-terror fight until peace and stability is restored to the Arab country.
Boroujerdi meets with Syrian parliament speaker
The Iranian lawmaker also met with Speaker of the Syrian People's Assembly Hammoudeh al-Sabbagh, who highlighted the depth of bilateral relations that have strengthened during the war on Syria.
The Iranian lawmaker, for his part, said plots hatched by the US and the West against Syria had failed, calling for further strengthening of bilateral parliamentary cooperation and reiterating Iran's readiness to support Syria in its reconstruction process.
'I Was Seeing Devils Everywhere': Singer Fergie Opens Up about Her Personal Struggle and How She Found Redemption
Singer and songwriter Fergie Duhamel has achieved chart-topping success worldwide as female vocalist for The Black Eyed Peas.
However, her most recent solo work, a song entitled A Little Work, takes a look at the 42-year-old's struggle against her personal demons.
"I got to a point where I was seeing devils everywhere. Devil faces. Creatures that would appear to me and say 'fly, fly, fly.'" Fergie says in the song's music video.
"I would constantly be in the state of just listening to these characters, or these demons, or creatures – what they were going to tell me, what their messages were," she adds.
Fergie recalls a time when she almost had a panic attack in public.
"I was just going to lose it. I was about to start screaming at everybody on the street," she says.
That's when she saw her only source of hope – a church.
"I saw this church and there was nobody in there. I started to go through the different aisles and I started to pray," Fergie says.
She is seen in the music video barricading herself in the church and crossing herself as she approaches the altar.
Fergie, who says she takes her four-year-old son to church every Sunday, goes on to explain what happened.
"It was just this epiphany I had in this holy war. The war between good and evil, that good will always be more powerful," she says.
In the music video she has flashbacks of her late grandfather, who she says helped her overcome her demons.
"I had to really work hard at telling the visions, the spirits, to go away," she recalls. "I had to say it out loud – 'Leave me alone. I choose the good.'"
Fergie walked out of the church a completely different person.
"That walk out of there, that demon that was there...it all of a sudden felt like it had lifted. It was almost like walking into the light," she says.
Despite her revelation, she says loving herself is still "a struggle."
Fergie and her actor husband, Josh Duhamel, have separated since the video was filmed.
Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god
Way of the Future, a religious group founded by Anthony Levandowski, wants to create a deity based on artificial intelligence for the betterment of society
28 September, 2017
Are you there God? It’s me, robot. Photograph: Ociacia/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Intranet service? Check. Autonomous motorcycle? Check. Driverless car technology? Check. Obviously the next logical project for a successful Silicon Valley engineer is to set up an AI-worshipping religious organization.
Anthony Levandowski, who is at the center of a legal battle between Uber and Google’s Waymo, has established a nonprofit religious corporation called Way of the Future, according to state filings first uncovered by Wired’s Backchannel. Way of the Future’s startling mission: “To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”
Levandowski was co-founder of autonomous trucking company Otto, which Uber bought in 2016. He was fired from Uber in May amid allegations that he had stolen trade secrets from Google to develop Otto’s self-driving technology. He must be grateful for this religious fall-back project, first registered in 2015.
The Way of the Future team did not respond to requests for more information about their proposed benevolent AI overlord, but history tells us that new technologies and scientific discoveries have continually shaped religion, killing old gods and giving birth to new ones.
As author Yuval Noah Harari notes: “That is why agricultural deities were different from hunter-gatherer spirits, why factory hands and peasants fantasised about different paradises, and why the revolutionary technologies of the 21st century are far more likely to spawn unprecedented religious movements than to revive medieval creeds.”
Religions, Harari argues, must keep up with the technological advancements of the day or they become irrelevant, unable to answer or understand the quandaries facing their disciples.
“The church does a terrible job of reaching out to Silicon Valley types,” acknowledges Christopher Benek a pastor in Florida and founding chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association.
Silicon Valley, meanwhile, has sought solace in technology and has developed quasi-religious concepts including the “singularity”, the hypothesis that machines will eventually be so smart that they will outperform all human capabilities, leading to a superhuman intelligence that will be so sophisticated it will be incomprehensible to our tiny fleshy, rational brains.
For futurists like Ray Kurzweil, this means we’ll be able to upload copies of our brains to these machines, leading to digital immortality. Others like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking warn that such systems pose an existential threat to
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” Musk said at a conference in 2014. “In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”
Benek argues that advanced AI is compatible with Christianity – it’s just another technology that humans have created under guidance from God that can be used for good or evil.
“I totally think that AI can participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes,” he said, by ensuring it is imbued with Christian values.
“Even if people don’t buy organized religion, they can buy into ‘do unto others’.”
For transhumanist and “recovering Catholic” Zoltan Istvan, religion and science converge conceptually in the singularity.
“God, if it exists as the most powerful of all singularities, has certainly already become pure organized intelligence,” he said, referring to an intelligence that “spans the universe through subatomic manipulation of physics”.
“And perhaps, there are other forms of intelligence more complicated than that which already exist and which already permeate our entire existence. Talk about ghost in the machine,” he added.
For Istvan, an AI-based God is likely to be more rational and more attractive than current concepts (“the Bible is a sadistic book”) and, he added, “this God will actually exist and hopefully will do things for us.”
We don’t know whether Levandowski’s Godhead ties into any existing theologies or is a manmade alternative, but it’s clear that advancements in technologies including AI and bioengineering kick up the kinds of ethical and moral dilemmas that make humans seek the advice and comfort from a higher power: what will humans do once artificial intelligence outperforms us in most tasks? How will society be affected by the ability to create super-smart, athletic “designer babies” that only the rich can afford? Should a driverless car kill five pedestrians or swerve to the side to kill the owner?
If traditional religions don’t have the answer, AI – or at least the promise of AI – might be alluring.
The Ring of Fire is exploding right now: 32 volcanoes erupting, 33 showing minor activity, and several strong earthquakes
October 4, 2017
The Ring of Fire is exploding right now with 32 volcanoes erupting, 33 showing unrest or minor activity, and several strong earthquakes.
The latest volcanic peaks to have erupted being Rincon de La Vieja and Turrialba in Costa Rica, Fuego and Pacaya in Guatemala, and the continuous seismic unrest at Mount Agung in Indonesia.
If you then add the volcanoes showing unrest, then you can clearly say that the Ring of Fire is exploding:
Current erupting volcanoes (red), current volcanoes showing warning or minor activity (orange). and current volcanoes showing unrest (yellow).
Middle and South America are currently showing increased signs of eruptive activity and volcanic unrest with Popocatepetl spewing ash consecutively during the last 4 days, a swarm of 600 earthquakes hitting below Llaima volcano in Chile, and 45 daily explosions at Sabancaya in Peru.
On October 3, 2017 Rincon de La Vieja and Turrialba in Costa Rica, Fuego and Pacaya in Guatemala started erupting, while Mount Agung in Indonesia was showing continuous signs of unrest:
On 3 October 2017, two phreatic eruptions – 8:48 and 14:45 local time – rattled Rincon de La Vieja in Costa Rica, sending a white plume at 500 meters, 700 meters and 1500 meters above the crater, respectively.
Just before, at 7:00 local time, a small eruption ejected ash and gas up to 500 meters above the crater of Turrialba in Costa Rica.
Ashfalls have been reported on Santa Cruz, Las Verbenas, Santa Teresita, Calle Vargas, Guayabito, La Isabel.
Meanwhile, in Guatemala, the Fuego volcano is exploding at a dramatic rate of 10-12 eruptions / hour, expelling plumes of ashes rising between 4,400 and 5,000 meters asl.
Depending on the direction of the wind and the power of the eruptions, ashfalls were reported at Antigua Guatemala, Alotenango, Villa Nueva, San Miguel Petapa and even reached Guatemala City.
The Pacaya volcano in Guatemala is also active with explosions sending materials 40-80 meters above the Mackeney cone crater. Officials say this new periodof activity is likely to result in larger explosions and new lava flows.
Finally, the situation hasn’t much changed at Agung volcano in Indonesia. A small white plume is spewed out of the summit.
However, the seismic activity is still high on October 3rd, with 322 deep volcanic earthquakes, 287 volcanic earthquakes and 48 local tectonic earthquakes.
If you add to these volcanic eruptions the 4 strong earthquakes (>M5.0) from the last 24 hours (see map above), we can say that the Ring of Fire is clearly exploding… And nobody knows when it is going to slow down!
"Putin Is The New Master Of The Middle East"
With the Trump administration lately focused mostly on domestic policy - even as Mueller's ongoing Russian probe continues to hang over Trump's head - US power and influence in the Middle East has found itself in retreat, a continuation of unsuccessful and/or failed policies implemented by the Obama administration, resulting in a power vacuum that has to be filled, and one country has emerged willing to take America's spot.
As Bloomberg writes today, "the Israelis and Turks, the Egyptians and Jordanians - they’re all beating a path to the Kremlin in the hope that Vladimir Putin, the new master of the Middle East, can secure their interests and fix their problems."
And now, none other than Saudi Arabia is the latest to make friendly overtures toward the Kremlin, when Saudi King Salman visits Moscow on Wednesday, the first monarch of the oil-rich kingdom to do so. At the top of his agenda will be reining in Iran, a close Russian ally seen as a deadly foe by most Gulf Arab states.
As Bloomberg concedes, until very recently, Washington stood alone as the go-to destination for such leaders. Now, however, "American power in the region is perceptibly in retreat" a testament to the success of Russia’s military intervention in Syria, which has not only succeeded in squashing the local Islamic State threat, but kept President Bashar al-Assad in power after years of U.S. insistence that he must go.
“It changed the reality, the balance of power on the ground,” said Dennis Ross, America’s former chief Mideast peace negotiator who advised several presidents from George H. W. Bush to Barack Obama. “Putin has succeeded in making Russia a factor in the Middle East. That’s why you see a constant stream of Middle Eastern visitors going to Moscow.”
There's also money: as RT writes, a joint Russian-Saudi fund to invest in the energy sector will be announced during the forthcoming visit of the Saudi King to Moscow, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the Al Arabiya TV Channel. According to Novak, the basic agreement to establish the $1 billion fund has already been reached.
Novak said Russia is "focused on developing cooperation with Saudi Arabia not only within the OPEC framework but also outside the cartel,” including the energy sector, the electric power sector, and renewable energy resources. Additionally, Moscow and Riyadh are expected to announce a new investment platform and manufacturing projects. Last week, the Director-General of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev praised significant results in investment cooperation between the RDIF and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).
In 2015 the two sovereign funds agreed to a partnership, establishing a joint $10 billion platform and inking several investment deals. RDIF has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), to jointly search for investment projects in Russia. SAGIA is supposed to bring Russian companies to the Arabian market.
Still, Putin's success will bring problems, because as conflicting demands pile up, it won't be easy to send all the visitors home satisfied. “The more you try to adopt a position of dealing with all sides, the more you find that it’s hard to play that game,’’ Ross said.
To be sure, Moscow was a major power in the Middle East during the Cold War, arming Arab states against Israel, however as communism collapsed in the late 1980s, so did Russia's influence. When the US invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, Russia was a bystander, unable to do more than protest. However, the tables began to turn in 2013, when the U.S. under Obama decided not to attack Assad. Two years later, Putin sent troops and planes to defend him.
For the most part, America’s local allies were firmly in the Assad-must-go camp. They were disillusioned when U.S. military might wasn’t deployed to force him out.
Russia’s clout in the region has grown “because Obama allowed it to,’’ said Khaled Batarfi, a professor at Alfaisal University’s branch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “Unfortunately he withdrew to a great extent from the Middle East.’’
That view is widespread. It was bluntly expressed last month by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spent years urging American action against Assad. Talks with the U.S. “couldn’t get any results,’’ he said.
And, as discussed here previously, Turkey has now alligned with Russia and Iran in a plan to de-escalate the conflict. It’s “achieving a result,’’ Erdogan said.
Two years ago, tensions between Putin and Erdogan had threatened to boil over, after the Turkish military shot down a Russian jet on the Syrian border. Last Friday, the Russian president flew to Ankara for dinner with his Turkish counterpart and “friend,’’ who’s agreed to buy Russian S-400 air defense missile systems, riling fellow NATO members.
Meanwhile, in the most bizarre reversal, the Saudis, who had financed rebels fighting against Assad as well as radical, Al Qaeda splinter groups and according to Hillary Clinton, the Islamic State itself, are cooperating with Russia in coaxing the opposition to unite for peace talks – which will likely cement the Syrian leader in power, even as Saudi Arabia has splintered from its long-time ally Qatar.
America’s Middle East allies mostly welcomed the change of U.S. president, and Donald Trump’s tough talk about challenging Iran. So far, though, he’s stuck close to his predecessor’s policy in Syria, concentrating on fighting Islamic State not Assad.
So, as the goal of regime-change in Syria recedes, priorities have shifted. The Saudis and other Arab Gulf powers are urging Russia to reduce Iran’s role in Syria, where Hezbollah and other Shiite militias supported by Tehran have provided shock troops for Assad’s offensive.
“Russia is better off not to be on one side of it. That’s the key message," Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a U.A.E.-based political analyst, told Bloomberg. “Here is the king, representing Arab Gulf countries, representing a lot of geopolitical weight, coming to Russia. And Russia has to take that into consideration.’’
However any expectations the Saudi monarch may have of inserting a wedge between Russia and Iran will soon be dashed: Putin won’t shift his stance on Iran to accommodate Saudi wishes, according to a person close to the Kremlin quoted by Bloomberg. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has visited Russia four times in the past 18 months, has also found it hard to sway the Russian leader.
In August, Netanyahu told Putin that Iran’s growing foothold in Syria is “unacceptable.’’ In September he told CNN that the Iranians are trying to “colonize’’ Syria with the aim of “destroying us and conquering the Middle East."
Russia, though, refused his demand for a buffer zone inside Syria that would keep the forces of Iran and Hezbollah at least 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border, a person familiar with the matter in Moscow said. Instead, Russia offered a 5-kilometer exclusion zone, the person said.
Relishing its newly-found power broker position, Russia also rejected a U.S. demand to make the Euphrates river a dividing line between Syrian government troops and U.S.-supported forces in eastern Syria. This led to a race to capture territory from retreating Islamic State fighters in a strategic and oil-rich border region, and is currently manifesting itself in the scramble to control Drer Ezzor.
At the same time, Russia has succeeded in keeping open channels of communication to all sides, from Iran to Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian radical Islamist group Hamas to Israel, said Ayham Kamel, Middle East and North Africa director at Eurasia Group.
While Russia didn’t give way on the buffer zone, it has a tacit understanding that permits Israel to carry out airstrikes against Hezbollah in Syria, said Andrey Kortunov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, a research group set up by the Kremlin.
It’s been mediating, along with Egypt, to end the decade-old inter-Palestinian rift between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. Putin invited rival Libyan factions to Moscow, after a series of peace efforts by other countries came to nothing. Russia has become a leading investor in oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan, and was one of the few world powers to refrain from condemning its recent vote on independence.
What is most surprising, is that in economic terms, the contest for influence looks dramatically one sided: America’s GDP is 13 times Russia’s. However, that’s not always the decisive factor, said Alexander Zotov, Moscow’s ambassador to Syria from 1989 to 1994. “Sometimes you have two boxers coming out to the ring, one is huge with bulging muscles and the other is smaller but nimble, and has a better technique,’’ he said.
Making matters worse, the nimble fox has managed to, supposedly, sway US elections courtesy of $100,000 in Facebook ads, when both the Clinton and Trump campaign spent hundreds of millions.
While economics are a limiting factor for Russia, Putin has another material advantage over American presidents according to Paul Salem, vice president of the Middle East Institute in Washington. He has no Congress to worry about, and no elections that he risks losing. Putin has been around for almost two decades, a long time in geopolitics, with “very consistent leadership, a consistent message,” Salem said.
“He says what he does, he does what he says.”
Russia’s rise came as U.S. policy makers grew preoccupied with Asia, and the American public tired of Middle East wars – something both Obama and Trump acknowledged.
To be sure, “Washington remains the indispensable power in the region,’’ said Eurasia’s Kamel. But its commitment to traditional alliances is weakening, he said, and that’s encouraged regional leaders to hedge their bets.
As Bloomberg concludes, “The Kremlin is on everyone’s mind."
Existing only from the Nile, Egypt fears disaster from a dam
October 2, 2017
A file photo shows the Blue Nile river flows near the site of the planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam near Assosa in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia. (By AP)
The only reason Egypt has even existed from ancient times until today is because of the Nile River, which provides a thin, richly fertile stretch of green through the desert. Now, for the first time, the country fears a potential threat to that lifeline, and it seems to have no idea what to do about it.
Ethiopia is finalizing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, its first major dam on the Blue Nile, and then will eventually start filling the giant reservoir behind it to power the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa.
Egypt fears that will cut into its water supply, destroying parts of its precious farmland and squeezing its population of 93 million people, who already face water shortages.
Dam construction on international rivers often causes disputes over the downstream impact.
But the Nile is different: few nations rely so completely on a single river as much as Egypt does. The Nile provides over 90 percent of Egypt’s water supply. Almost the entire population lives cramped in the sliver of the Nile Valley. Around 60 percent of Egypt’s Nile water originates in Ethiopia from the Blue Nile, one of two main tributaries.
Egypt hardly gets by with the water it does have. It has one of the lowest per capita shares of water in the world, some 660 cubic meters a person. The strain is worsened by inefficiency and waste. With the population expected to double in 50 years, shortages are predicted to become severe even sooner, by 2025.
Egypt already receives the lion’s share of Nile waters: more than 55 billion of the around 88 billion cubic meters of water that flow down the river each year. It is promised that amount under agreements from 1929 and 1959 that other Nile nations say are unfair and ignore the needs of their own large populations.
Complicating the situation, no one has a clear idea what impact Ethiopia's dam will actually have. Addis Ababa insists it will not cause significant harm to Egypt or Sudan downstream.
Much depends on the management of the flow and how fast Ethiopia fills its reservoir, which can hold 74 billion cubic meters of water. A faster fill means blocking more water, while doing it slowly would mean less reduction downstream.
Egyptians have slammed statements made by the country’s officials concerning Cairo’s dispute with Addis Ababa over the latter’s construction of a mega-dam on the Nile River.
Once the fill is completed, the flow would in theory return to normal. Egypt, where agriculture employs a quarter of the work force, is worried that the damage could be long-lasting.
One study by a Cairo University agriculture professor estimated Egypt would lose a staggering 51 percent of its farmland if the fill is done in three years. A slower, six-year fill would cost Egypt 17 percent of its cultivated land, the study claimed.
Internal government studies estimate that for every reduction of 1 billion cubic meters of water, 200,000 acres of farmland would be lost and livelihoods of 1 million people affected, since an average of five people live off each acre, a senior Irrigation Ministry official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the figures.
Other experts say the impact will be far smaller, even minimal. They say Egypt could suffer no damage at all if it and Ethiopia work together and exchange information, adjusting the rate of filling the reservoir to ensure that Egypt’s own massive reservoir on the Nile, Lake Nasser, stays full enough to meet its needs during the fill.
Originating in Ethiopia, the Blue Nile flows into Sudan, where it joins with the White Nile, whose source is Lake Victoria in east Africa. From there, it flows through Egypt to the Mediterranean.
For Ethiopia, the $5 billion dam is the realization of a long-delayed dream. Ethiopia’s infrastructure is among the least developed in the world, leaving most of its 95 million people without access to electricity. The hydroelectric dam is to have a capacity to generate over 6,400 Megawatts, a massive boost to the current production of 4,000 Megawatts.
The dam, around 60 percent complete, is likely to be finished this year or early next. Ethiopia has given little information on when it will start the fill or at what rate.
Oxfam: Yemen cholera outbreak nearing largest in recorded history
By Daniel Uria | Sept. 30, 2017 at 2:03 PM
A Yemeni stands near a sewage swamp covered with plastic waste and creating a high-risk environment for cholera, in Sana'a, Yemen, 26 July 2017. British charity Oxfam warned the cholera outbreak, which has reached 745,205 suspected cases, could soon become the largest in recorded history.File photo Yahya Arhab/EPA/YA Yemeni stands near a sewage swamp covered with plastic waste and creating a high-risk environment for cholera, in Sana'a, Yemen, 26 July 2017. British charity Oxfam warned the cholera outbreak, which has reached 745,205 suspected cases, could soon become the largest in recorded history.File photo Yahya Arhab/EPA/Y
Sept. 30 (UPI) – Yemen's massive cholera outbreak could infect more than one million people by the end of the year, experts believe.
The World Health Organization's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean reported 745,205 suspected cholera cases and 2,119 associated deaths in the country as of Wednesday.
British charity Oxfam sad the epidemic is already the fastest-growing in recorded history and is expected to soon surpass the 754,373 cases recorded in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
"Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis and it is getting even worse. More than two years of war have created ideal conditions for the disease to spread," Oxfam's Humanitarian Director Nigel Timmins said. "The war has pushed the country to the edge of famine, forced millions from their homes, virtually destroyed the already weak health services and hampered efforts to respond to the cholera outbreak."
The United Nations and global children's advocacy group Save the Children warned of the ongoing cholera epidemic in early August while reinvigorating calls for international humanitarian aid.
Less than half of the country's medical centers remain functional following a civil war that engulfed the country in March 2015.
The severe damage to the medical system, along with 14.5 million people lacking regular access to clean water, allowed the deadly disease to spread since the epidemic began in March of this year.
The U.N estimated $2.1 billion is needed to prevent Yemen from becoming a completely failed state, but donor governments only provided half the amount at an April aid conference in Geneva.
"Yemen's tragedy is a man-made catastrophe for which all sides bear responsibility. Yet it is being fueled by deliberate political decisions in London, Washington and other world capitals," Timmins said.
Catalonia referendum result plunges Spain into political crisis
By Isa Soares, Vasco Cotovio and Hilary Clarke, CNN
October 2, 2017
Barcelona (CNN)Spain is facing a political and constitutional crisis after Catalans voted in favor of independence in a contested referendum that descended into chaos when police launched a widespread and violent crackdown.
The Catalan government said it had earned the right to split from Spain after results showed 90% of those who voted were in favor of a split.
But amid an unexpectedly harsh response from Spanish police, turnout was only around 42%. The Catalan health ministry said 893 people were injured in the clashes Sunday as riot police raided polling stations, dragged away voters and fired rubber bullets.
The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont denounced the police crackdown as the worst violence Catalonia had seen since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco, and demanded the withdrawal of Spanish national forces from the region.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, called for "independent and impartial investigations into all acts of violence" around the independence referendum, and asked the Spanish government to allow UN human rights experts to visit.
"Police responses must at all times be proportionate and necessary," he said in a statement. "I firmly believe that the current situation should be resolved through political dialogue, with full respect for democratic freedoms," he added.
Trade unions in Catalonia called a strike and a mass demonstration for Tuesday, an action likely to test public support for the Catalan government in the aftermath of Sunday's chaos.
The Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy said it was discussing its response with opposition parties in Madrid.
'No traumatic break'
All eyes were on the Catalan government as it considered its next move. Under the referendum legislation passed by the Catalan parliament, the regional government has 48 hours after the result is finalized to declare independence from Spain. Final votes were still being counted Monday.
The Catalan President stopped short of declaring independence from Spain Monday -- a move that would further deepen the crisis. But Puigdemont called for an international arbiter to mediate the crisis, ideally the European Union. "This moment needs mediation," he said. "We only received violence and repression as an answer."
Puigdemont said Catalonia did not want a "traumatic break" with Madrid. "We want a new understanding with the Spanish state," he said.
If the Catalan government unilaterally declared independence from Spain, Rajoy could suspend the President and take over the running of the province. Such a move would inflame tensions considerably and would likely be a last resort for Rajoy.
Several thousand people gathered outside Barcelona's town hall Tuesday morning where the executive of the autonomous Catalan government was meeting.
People shouted "Long live free Catalonia, we are peaceful people and we only want to vote."
Catalan officials called on the EU to step in. "Today Europe has to choose, shame or dignity. Violence or democracy, this is our demand," the Catalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Raül Romeva said.
But the EU backed Madrid. The European Commission, the European Unions's executive body, said the vote was illegal. "We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics," the commission said in a statement posted on Twitter.
It said it trusted Rajoy "to manage difficult process" in respect of the Spanish constitution.
Rajoy has said the vote was illegitimate. "At this point, I can tell you very clearly: Today a self-determination referendum in Catalonia didn't happen," he said in a televised speech Sunday night.
Majority votes for split
Of 2.2 million ballots counted, about 90% were in favor of independence, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull told a news conference shortly after midnight. Turnout was about 42% of the 5.3 million eligible voters, authorities said later Monday.
Turull said more people would have voted had it not been for the Spanish police suppression. Up to 770,000 votes were lost as a result of the crackdowns at polling stations, the Catalan government estimated.
Spain's national government in Madrid has ardently resisted separation. In the runup to the vote, national authorities seized ballot papers, voter lists and campaign material. Thousands of extra national police were sent to the region and high-ranking Catalan officials involved in organizing the referendum were arrested.
Regional officials said 400 polling stations were closed as a result of the police crackdown. The Spanish Interior Ministry said 92 of about 2,300 polling stations were closed.
Pablo Guillen Alvarez, an economist and associate professor at the University of Sydney, told CNN that the violent scenes could lead to more support for Catalan independence.
While sympathy in the press and on social media lies with the Catalans, hard-right supporters of the Spanish government put Madrid under a lot of pressure to show strength, he said.
"The Catalan question has been boiling for 150-200 years. It's a no-go, red line for the Spanish right.
"(The government) reacted in only way that they could have."
The UK's Foreign Ministry said the referendum was a matter for the Spanish government and its people.
"We want to see Spanish law and the Spanish constitution respected and the rule of law upheld. Spain is a close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to us," it said in a statement.
Charles Michel, Belgium's Prime Minister, said that violence was never the answer and called for political dialogue.
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, whose party strongly advocates Scottish independence said that people should be allowed to vote peacefully.
CNN's Isa Soares and Vasco Cotovio reported from Barcelona, while Hilary Clarke wrote form London. CNN's Emanuella Grinberg, Euan McKirdy and Julia Jones contributed to this story.
Catalan leader vows to declare independence within days after Spain's King Felipe VI says vote illegal
Spanish King Felipe VI giving a speech on Catalonian referendum
By Hannah Strange
3 October 2017
The Catalan leader has vowed to declare independence from Spain in a matter of days.
Carles Puigdemont was speaking less than an hour after a rare intervention from the Spanish King, Felipe VI, who had stated Catalan leaders had put themselves "outside the law".
Mr Puigdemont said in an interview with the BBC that his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next".
He said that, were the Spanish government to intervene, it would be "an error which changes everything".
Felipe VI had earlier made a rare emergency address to demand Catalan leaders end their "inadmissible disloyalty" to the state and said they had put themselves "outside the law".
In his address, Felipe VI accused the Catalan government of endangering the stability of the entire nation, delivered a thundering warning against an illegal declaration of independence and insisted the powers of the state would ensure "the constitutional order".
"They have broken the democratic principles of all rule of law and undermined the harmony and coexistence in Catalan society itself," Felipe VI said.
They had "tried to break the unity of Spain and the national sovereignty, which is the right of all Spaniards to decide democratically together".
Spain "will overcome these difficult moments", he said, promising those in Catalonia who were worried that they were "not alone".
The king's intervention followed a day of chaotic scenes as a general strike brought Catalonia to a standstill and tensions on the ground continued to rise.
Some 700,000 people took to Barcelona's streets on Tuesday, city police said, to protest against police violence during the banned weekend independence referendum in Catalonia, demanding to be heard.
Meanwhile, a union of Spain’s Guardia Civil called for urgent reinforcements in the autonomous region, accusing the government in Madrid of “abandoning” them to “harassment” it said had reached the level of ETA’s heyday in the Basque Country.
Spain storm may end in a civil war, says EU official: Ally of Angela Merkel warns 'very worrying' situation risks spiralling into an armed conflict
Gunther Oettinger said the dispute risked spiralling into armed conflict
He added that civil war 'is imaginable now in the middle of Europe'
But Mr Oettinger said the EU should not intervene in the dispute
By MARIO LEDWITH and HUGO DUNCAN FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 00:31, 6 October 2017 | UPDATED: 00:36, 6 October 2017
In a highly-charged intervention, Gunther Oettinger said the dispute over the region’s independence risked spiralling into Western Europe’s first armed conflict for decades.
Despite the EU’s reluctance to become involved, Mr Oettinger, an ally of Angela Merkel who serves as the bloc’s budget commissioner, said the situation is ‘very, very worrying’. ‘There is a civil war imaginable now in the middle of Europe,’ he said. ‘One can only hope that a thread of conversation will soon be recorded between Madrid and Barcelona.’
The use of the phrase ‘civil war’ is particularly antagonistic to Spain due to its bloody civil war from 1936 to 1939.
Anger: Thousands of demonstrators chant slogans outside the HQ of Spain's national police force in Barcelona
Catalonia, in particular, will baulk at the suggestion because the region played a key role in the conflict. Speaking at a discussion in Munich, Mr Oettinger insisted the EU should not intervene in the dispute and that moderation ‘would only be conceivable if we were asked’.
In another major development, Spain’s constitutional court tried to block Catalonian officials from declaring the region’s independence by stopping a key parliamentary meeting next Monday.
Spain’s government warned the region that such a move amounted to ‘blackmail’. Last night the speaker of the region’s parliament, Carme Forcadell, said the ruling by the court ‘harms freedom of expression and the right of initiative of members of this parliament and shows once more how the courts are being used to solve political problems’.
Meanwhile, Banco Sabadell, Spain’s fifth largest bank which owns TSB having bought it from Lloyds two years ago, announced it will move its ‘registered domicile’ away from Catalonia.
A spokesman said it will launch ‘rapid’ procedures that within days will move its legal base, but not its HQ and employees, to the eastern city of Alicante.
The board of Spain’s third largest bank, Caixabank, will meet today to discuss a similar move.
The Madrid government appeared to fan the flames of economic uncertainty in Catalonia by announcing it will change the law to make it easier for companies to re-locate their HQ without having to hold a shareholders’ meeting.
It means the economic stability of Catalonia is looking uncertain.
Madrid tried to shut down last weekend’s independence ballot with a policing operation that saw hundreds of people injured and turnout at just 42 per cent.
The constitutional court previously ruled that Sunday’s vote, in which 90 per cent of people backed independence, was illegal.
Catalonian officials ignored the order to the fury of Madrid, which said stopping the vote was to enforce the ‘rule of law’.
Tsunami carried a million sea creatures from Japan to US west coast
Disaster of 2011 caused longest maritime migration ever recorded, with crustaceans, sea slugs and worms riding 4,800 miles on debris
29 September 2017
The deadly tsunami that struck north-east Japan in 2011 has carried almost 300 species of sea life thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the United States.
In what experts are calling the longest maritime migration ever recorded, an estimated one million creatures – including crustaceans, sea slugs and sea worms – made the 4,800-mile (7,725km) journey on a flotilla of tsunami debris.
“This has turned out to be one of the biggest unplanned natural experiments in marine biology – perhaps in history,” said John Chapman, an expert at Oregon State University who co-authored a study of the creatures published this week in the journal Science.
The towering tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on the afternoon of 11 March 2011, generated five million tonnes of debris from the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
About 70% sank quickly to the ocean floor, according to experts, but countless buoys, docks, boats and other items with buoyancy were swept out to sea.
Between June 2012 and February this year 289 Japanese species attached to 600 pieces of debris washed up on beaches in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii, as well as in the Canadian province of British Columbia, according to the study.
Some of the creatures – about two-thirds of which had never been seen on the US west coast – reproduced as they drifted eastward.
“The diversity was somewhat jaw-dropping,” said James Carlton, a marine sciences professor at Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. “Molluscs, sea anemones, corals, crabs, just a wide variety of species, really a cross-section of Japanese fauna.”
Only last year – five years after the disaster – a Japanese boat arrived in Oregon with 20 fish native to the western Pacific inside. Some of the fish can be viewed at an aquarium in the state, Carlton said.
The tsunami flotilla is a reminder of the threat that millions of tonnes of plasticpose to the global marine environment.
Most of the creatures found in the US were attached to buoys, boats, crate and other items made from plastic, fibreglass and other materials that do not decompose.
“I didn’t think that most of these coastal organisms could survive at sea for long periods of time,” said Greg Ruiz, a marine biologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, who co-authored the study.
“But in many ways they just haven’t had much opportunity in the past. Now, plastic can combine with tsunami and storm events to create that opportunity on a large scale.”
Experts say it will be several years before they can say if any of the creatures have colonised on the west coast, which might pose a threat to native marine life.
The creatures are not the only products of the tsunami to have generated interest on the other side of the Pacific. In April 2012 a couple in Alaska found a footballbelonging to Misaki Murakami, a Japanese teenager who had lost his home in the disaster.
One month later a Harley-Davidson motorcycle lost in the disaster washed up on a Canadian beach 4,000 miles away.
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Mind-Blowing Photographs From Puerto Rico Vindicate President Trump And Prove 'Cell Phone Zombies' Will Be Among The 90% Who Don't Have A Chance When TEOTWAWKI ArrivesPR Photos [/URL]
School Janitor’s Former Occupation Is Revealed
By Taylor McAdams
July 17, 2017
People usually don’t grant janitors a second glance, but this was not the case for one of the cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy, who stumbled across a secret from the janitor’s past that was truly incredible.William Crawford was born in 1918, in Pueblo, Colorado. A devoted American and red-blooded patriot, Crawford always put everyone before himself, no matter the personal cost. A humble man who kept to himself, Crawford never would have suspected his secret would be discovered in his old age.
Crawford always called Colorado home. He was lucky enough to travel throughout his life, but there was something about Colorado that kept calling him back. Perhaps that is the reason why, once he hit retirement age, he looked for a laid back job there. He wholeheartedly joined the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where he was employed as a janitor. Not many would be thankful for such an occupation, but Crawford needed peace after the drama he experienced in his life.
He was thankful no one had any idea about his past – but that was about to change. Crawford was happy remaining anonymous, and did a good job staying that way. The cadets at the same base Crawford worked at reported that the shy janitor simply blended into the background. He kept to himself and never spoke about his personal life – the cadets didn’t even know his full name, so they only referred to him as Mr. Crawford.
Colonel Moschgat, the then-cadet who discovered who Crawford was, wrote the following: “Bill was shy, almost painfully so, seldom speaking to a cadet unless they addressed him first, always burying himself in his work. The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr. Crawford… well, he was just a janitor. That changed one fall Saturday afternoon…” Little did Crawford know that one particular cadet was about to blow his cover.
In his blog, Moschgat elaborated on why he did not give the janitor much thought: “For many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, ‘G’morning’ in his direction as we hurried off. Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job, always keeping the squadron area spotlessly clean. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours.”
Back in the day, there were not a lot of ways in which one could fully contribute to their country. Crawford was many things, most of which seemed to contradict one another – to those who were unfamiliar with his true characteristics, Crawford would appear shy and insecure. However, once he broke out of the exterior shell he put up very successfully over the years, it quickly became evident that the man was an honest, brave and a rare individual.
Moschgat continued: “I was reading a book about World War II…when I stumbled across an incredible story.” As he continued to read the book detailing WWII troops, he flicked through the pages to see Crawford’s name in big, bold letters. The book elaborated on the Allied advance through Italy, when all of the sudden, the cadet came across the story of a former trooper named William Crawford. It was not long before the entire class made the connection between the two.
Instead of beating around the bush, the cadet thought he would approach the janitor and ask if bluntly if that hero was indeed him. Taken aback with the inquiry, Crawford seemed uneasy, as if he was put on the spot. Almost as if he weighed his options, contemplated whether it was worth it to expose his gallantry. Crawford stared at his picture in the book the cadet held and then simply said, “That was a long time ago and one day in my life.”
However the young cadets pressed Bill, or as they knew him – Mr Crawford for more information. They had to find out what had really happened. The cadets were curious as to whether the book had missed anything out. Eventually Bill relayed the story, and so the cadets began to see another side to this quiet but incredible janitor.
Crawford joined the U.S. Army in July of 1942. He found his niche as an infantry scout in the 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division and was on the front lines in southern Italy less than a year after his enlistment. On September 13th a year later, he acted as a squad scout when his company attacked Hill 424 near Altavilla Silentina. The entire company was pinned down by intense machine-guns fire and mortars – there was no escape.
Private Crawford had a pivotal role against the German resistance. Crawford was near the front, therefore had a clear visual and was able to locate the first of the gun positions that wreaked havoc on the company. He had little time to act, therefore could not wait for an order. Under heavy fire, he crawled forward to eliminate the threat single-handedly. Within a few yards of the gun and placement and lobbed a grenade directly on top of the three defenders.
There was no time to celebrate this successful, gallant action, as before he knew it his company was under fire again from two additional machine gun nests that were deeply entrenched in a higher ridge. They made their way to the crest of the hill, an incredibly dangerous act. Again, Crawford showed initiative and set out to destroy the threat. He managed to crawl and duck with such skill and precision that the entire storm of bullets completely missed him.
Crawford came upon the first machine gun nest and with perfect accuracy once again landed a grenade right in their lap. He moved on to the second gun, Crawford mastered his craft and disassembled the gun completely. He made it unusable instantly. After he saw this, the rest of the defenders fled and wanted avoid being face to face with the man they just watched single-handedly destroy three entrenched positions. Thanks to Crawford’s gallant actions, Hill 424 was successfully overtaken and the Allied advance continued.
Unfortunately for Crawford, being so audacious translated into being in great danger. He stood at the frontline of the attack, close to enemy lines. Indeed, his position at the front of the assault eventually lead to his capture by the Germans during the chaos of the battle. Crawford’s chances of survival were low once being abducted by the enemy. The rest of the company believed Crawford’s fate was the same as the one that was delivered to his father – that Crawford was dead.
Somehow in the fog of war, Crawford was presumed dead by his unit and ended up a German Prisoner of War. There was no life signal sent their way, nor did history suggest Crawford would be released and be kept alive. During his time as a prisoner, Crawford was placed on a heroic pedestal for his brave actions while fulfilling his role, and was ‘posthumously’ awarded the nation’s highest military honor – the Medal of Honor.
U.S. Army regulations determine that in case such a prestigious awards is provided to a fallen soldier, such as the Medal of Honor, it is to be posthumously presented to a family relative. In Crawford’s case, this meant his father was due to receive the award in 1944. It wasn’t until later in that year that the unbelievable happened – a group of soldiers was rescued from German captivity, and as it turned out William Crawford was among them.
Crawford continued to serve in the military after World War II. On January 13, 1946, he married Eileen Bruce, and one year later, he re-enlisted in the Army. After 20 more years of service, Crawford retired with the rank of master sergeant. During his entire military career, Crawford reluctantly wore his Medal of Honor, feeling unworthy. Many would find it degrading to work as a janitor after having such a distinguished, remarkable career in the military, but not Crawford, who still had one surprise headed his way.
The book which cadet Moschgat found described a different William Crawford than the Bill he knew, the one who quietly moved around mopping and buffing floors, cleaning toilets, and tidying up the mess 100 college-aged kids left in the dormitory: “In the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire…with no regard for personal safety…on his own initiative…single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions. …for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States…”
As a janitor, salaries range between $24k-$33k in the United States. Bill was a dedicated employee and he honored himself and his job. However, he deserved more than his salary. He deserved to be commended for his war efforts, but at that time Bill wasn’t being given the credit he deserved. Until something unexpected happened.
The job benefits for a janitor don’t always cover a person’s needs. Especially if you are an elderly war veteran. Bill never complained about his job, but he was struggling. It was hard for Bill to grasp the fact that after serving his country, his country was no longer serving him.
Although Bill wasn’t getting the full appreciation he deserved, he was grateful for his life. As a true hero, Bill was never angry about his situation. That being said, he deserved more. Unbeknown to Bill, something was about to happen that would change his life forever.
Crawford worked as a janitor at the U.S. Air Force Academy and as director of the Lucretia Vaille Museum in Palmer Lake. While he worked at the Air Force Academy, Crawford mentioned to some friends that because of how he was mistaken for dead, he had never received the Medal from the president – which is how one is supposed to receive the highest military honor. The year was 1984 and Crawford was invited to the academy for a graduation ceremony, but he had no idea what would happen next.
President Reagan attended that very same graduation ceremony. Amongst cadets, general officers and the President himself, Master Sergeant Crawford was finally and formally awarded his Medal of Honor. In Reagan’s remarks, he cited leadership lessons that one could learn from Mr. Crawford. As the cadets looked to their janitor with a newfound respect, they managed to coax the deeply introverted individual into sharing his experience and epic stories with the next generation of leaders. After that, everything changed for all of them.
President Reagan cited a few leadership lessons they learned from their janitor, the first one was to be cautious of labels. Labels one places on people may define their relationship with them, therefore leaving little room to learn about a person. “Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, ‘Hey, he’s just an Airman’. Likewise, don’t tolerate the 0-1, who says, ‘I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.'”
“Everyone deserves respect,” said Reagan next. Moschgat explained that “Because we hung the ‘janitor’ label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.” But actions speak stronger than words, and Moschgat was about to change his ways, which Crawford could not anticipate.
Reagan also emphasized that “Courtesy makes a difference.” Moschgat added, “Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position,” as he referred to both military customs as well as common courtesies. Then, Reagan emphasized how important it is to take time to know your people. Moschgat added: “For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?” At this point, Crawford felt more on the spot than ever.
“Anyone can be a hero,” exclaimed former President Reagan. Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was a private on the day he won his Medal. Moschgat added: “don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team.” All eyes turned to Crawford, who turned bright red.
Reagan claimed “leaders should be humble”, and based this requirement on the fact that most modern day heroes and leaders are anything but meek. Celebrations and self-elevation are what we have come to expect from anyone who exceeds in their game, but Crawford should be a lesson to us all. Crawford was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics, and was too invested in his job to let his ego deprive him from aiding his country even long past his retirement.
Next, Reagan claimed that while life won’t always hand you what you think you deserve, one should also not pursue glory. Rather, as Reagan explained, it is better to pursue excellence. Using Crawford as an example, Moschgat later mentioned that Bill didn’t pursue glory – he did his duty and then swept floors for a living. It was at this point that everyone present at the graduation ceremony looked at Crawford, awaited his response to the President’s words.
“No job is beneath a leader,” was the ninth point Reagan pointed out. “If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity?” As the great Dr. Martin Luther King once said, ‘no matter what task life hands you, do it well’.” Lastly, Reagan explained that “life is a leadership laboratory.” Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look and listen. Moschgat also explained how everything changed on base…
“Things were never again the same around our squadron,” wrote Moschgat, as things inevitably changed after word spread like wildfire among the cadets that the troops had a hero in their midst. “Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had been bestowed the Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, ‘Good morning, Mr. Crawford.'” But it was not only their attitude that changed, they made a self note to watch their actions as well.
Those who left a mess for the janitor to clean up realized they made extra work for a heroic veteran. So, instead of slacking off, all started to clean up after themselves. The cadets took it upon themselves to put things in order. “Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates,” posted Moschgat. An example of heroism with humility, Crawford was the consummate hero who wanted little more than to be part of something bigger than himself.
“Mr. Crawford changed too,” wrote Moschgat. He felt overwhelmed with the amount of praise and appreciative words and acts he received, Moschgat noted that Crawford “seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders not as stooped, met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger ‘good morning’ in return, and flashed his crooked smile more often. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron.”
Bill Crawford died in March of 2000, at the age of 81. After he passed, the Governor of Colorado ordered that all Colorado flags be lowered to half-staff in his honor. To this day, he is the only non-USAF enlisted man of the U.S. Army to be buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs. Right before his death, Crawford finally spoke his mind about that eventful incident that altered his life completely…
Crawford had only a few modest words to remark on the event: “I was just glad that I was doing my part,” he said. “I figured it was just a normal call of duty. I happened to be at the right place at the right time.” Moschgat put it best when he concluded that “From storming machine gun nests half a world away from home to becoming a janitor to be closer to the military, he always placed the whole above himself.”
next week...keep on believing.
if ye should lie among the pots, ye shall have the wings of a dove
covered with silver, and her breast with yellow gold.”
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