I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter
day upon the earth.”
My Redeemer Liveth
As has been said by others, “When you know that God loves you know that everything is going to be alright.” And we know that God does love us because He has told us so many times in His word. The most well known of the promises of God's love is of course in John 3:16.
As the enemy of our souls continues to unleash a torrent of evil throughout the world one could tend to think the situation hopeless. What is the use in even trying to combat the noxious smell of sulfur that seems to be permeating the world today. (See this weeks article on the Grammy awards below.)
It would seem that even the great prophet Elijah had to be encouraged along these lines. “Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.”
Of course he wasn't alone because God was always with him, but there were seven thousand others like him with the same vision who had not given in to the evil surrounding him.
Revelation, chapter seven, also comes to mind which says; “I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
There are many millions and millions of Christians in the world today who have taken a stand against the evil that is in our world and many more will in the days ahead.
Another thing we may be tempted to do is to fear when we see how far the pernicious inroads of depravity have advanced into so many areas of society.
Again, when we know that God loves us we know that everything is going to be alright. Faith replaces fear.
An example we have used before concerns Elisha and his servant. “When the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” 2 Kings 6:15-16.
Although some of the articles we post could cause a bit of trepidation, they need not, because we know that when God loves us we know that everything is going to be alright.
Have a great week ahead.
CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION? NO. ANNIHILATION!
'We are faced with a potential extinction of the church'
Published: January 28, 2014
ALYSSA FARAH About | Email | Archive
Alyssa Farah is a special Washington correspondent for WND.
WASHINGTON – The first delegation of Syrian Christian church leaders to visit the U.S. since civil war broke out in March 2011 spoke Monday at the Heritage Foundation, issuing a stunning warning that the nation’s Christian population could vanish.
“Today we are faced with a potential extinction of the church,” Patrick Sookhdeo, chairman of the Westminster Institute, warned. “Not just in Syria. We’ve seen it in Iraq. The church could fall in Lebanon.”
The panel discussion, “Marked for Destruction: The Plight of Syria’s Christians,” featured Syrian Christian leaders Rev. Adib Awad, the general secretary of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon; H.E. Bishop Elias Toumeh, Orthodox bishop of Pyrgou-Syria; Rev. Riad Jarjour, former general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches; H.E. Bishop Dionysius Jean Kawak of the Syrian Orthodox Church; Bishop Armash Nalbandian of the Armenian Church of Damascus, and Bishop Julian Dobbs.
Dobbs said Syria “used to be one of the easiest places in the Arab world to be a Christian across the Middle East.
“The church has existed there since biblical times,” he said. “Christians were respected by the Muslim majority and were able to practice their faith with little interference. But, this has largely changed since the civil war broke out.”
He described the persecution Christian Syrians have faced since the conflict erupted, and he criticized the West for largely ignoring their plight.
“Christians in their homelands have been attacked and invaded, houses have been ransacked, Christians have been kidnapped for ransom and brutally murdered,” Dobbs said. “Yet much of the Western World, the church, the media have remained silent about this situation.”
According to reports, there were more than 1,200 Christian martyrs in Syria in 2013 alone, while tens of thousands have been displaced.
Jarjour took to the podium to explain the plight of Christians still in Syria.
“Our Christian community is a broken community; it’s a suffering community. We have thousands and thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) not in their homes, not knowing what to do,” he said.
The delegation was hosted by the Westminster Institute and Barnabas Aid, a group that gives aid to oppressed Christians worldwide.
Kawak spoke of the horrific risk church leaders face in Syria particularly. He said the kidnapping of 12 Orthodox nuns, bishops and a priest by Syrian rebels “instilled fear in the hearts of Christian leaders” in Syria.
All speakers ultimately warned of the dangers of persecuted Christians fleeing Syria and leaving it as a nation with virtually no Christian population, drawing parallels to Iraq.
Awad noted that prior to the Iraq war, the Christian population in Iraq was 5 percent of the population, with more than 1.5 million. Now, just a decade later, there are as few as 400,000.
“Due to persecution, due to pressures, due to killings, we are all together less than 20 percent of the Syrian population,” Awad said.
Adib commented on the title of the discussion, “Marked for Destruction,” saying: “We can accept being marked for destruction if it’s by our Lord. But we will not accept it if it is by terrorist, whether Saudis, or from Qatar or any other nation.”
Sookhdeo urged the Western media to stop turning a blind eye to the plight of Christians in Syria.
“We plead for your media to break the silence,” Sookhdeo said. “Why is it that the media of the Western world choose not the address what happens to the minorities? Whether it being Shiites or Sunnis or moderate Muslims or Christians that are being butchered?”
The lecture coincided with United Nations-hosted peace talks on the conflict in Syria in Geneva. According to reports, the talks appeared to be in deadlock Monday.
The talks in Geneva are being overseen by U.N. special envoy to Syria Lakdar Brahimi, who told reporters on Monday that the talks “haven’t produced much.”
Ancient Jerusalem a religious ground zero
By Rick Steves,
Sunday, January 26, 2014 12:00:00 EST AM
Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock marks the site where Jews believe Abraham was preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac and where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad journeyed to heaven. RICK STEVES/RICK STEVES EUROPE
Before Columbus, many maps showed Jerusalem as the centre of the world. Jerusalem -- holy, treasured and long fought over by the three great monotheistic religions -- has been destroyed and rebuilt more than a dozen times. Its fabled walls corral a tangle of colourful, holy sites, and more than 30,000 residents -- most with a deep-seated reason to live so close to their religious ground zero.
Jerusalem's tiny historic core, a dense and complex "old town," is contained within a mighty 3.5-km-long Ottoman wall. The old city within is divided into four distinct quarters: Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim.
During my visit, I found the old town is fraught with endless little struggles. For example, the volume of the call to prayer at local mosques is turned up high -- some residents think it's to make a statement and to annoy the Jews. And some Jews buy a house in what is historically the Muslim quarter and festoon it with Israeli flags.
But the fascination of Jerusalem isn't limited to its old town within the walls. Well beyond them lies the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea She'arim. Kiosks sell posters of leading rabbis. Each rabbi has his own following, and the rabbi you follow influences how you live and dress. Since this population takes the Shabbat (Saturday) very seriously, Friday is a huge day as all are busy preparing for their holy day of rest.
Some Israelis see these fundamentalist Jews as leaders of their faith. And others see them in less flattering light. One secular local told me, "To these Hassidic Jews, I -- with my modern ways -- am the enemy. And to me, they are parasites. They don't work. Our taxes pay for them to just sit around and learn the Torah. Their job is to be religious." He explained, "They speak Yiddish because they think Hebrew is not for small talk. It's a holy language."
The religious scene in Jerusalem is complicated even for tourists. Before planning our day, my guide asked me my religion. Local guides know that, among Christians interested in seeing Jesus' tomb, most Protestants prefer the burial chamber outside the walls in the Garden Tomb, while Catholics prefer the tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. While I'm Lutheran, this is one case where I would definitely go with the Catholics.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is built upon the summit of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. Because it's holy for all kinds of Christians, who see things differently and don't communicate very well, it's a cluttered religious hodgepodge of various zones -- each controlled by a different sect. There are chapels for Greek Orthodox, Franciscans, Coptic Christians, Armenians, and so on -- each run by a different religious community.
While that church is important, the city's overall religious focal point is Temple Mount -- considered by many to be the closest place on earth to God in heaven. That's why Jews believe Abraham came here to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The golden Dome of the Rock shrine marks its summit. For Muslims, this rock marks the spot where the Prophet Muhammad journeyed to heaven. It is the third most holy place in Islam. While Muslims have worshipped here since the mid-600s, the first Jewish temple was built in Jerusalem around 925 BC.
The Western Wall, one of the holiest places on earth for Jews, wasn't designed to be that way. About 2,000 years ago, it was just the retaining wall that supported the main Jewish temple, which stood upon Temple Mount.
When the temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, the Jewish people went into exile. Over the centuries, throughout the diaspora, Jews returning to Jerusalem came here -- to all that was left of their temple -- to pray and mourn its destruction. That's why it's often called the Wailing Wall.
The wall is divided into a men's section and a women's section. As part of their ritual, Jews place prayers printed on paper into cracks in the wall and stand where they've stood since ancient times to pray.
A local Christian told me, "We like to believe that, while God is everywhere, all prayers go through Jerusalem (as if it were a cell-phone tower), and the Holy Spirit comes down to us via Jerusalem."
As he continued, I realized he was spinning a joke.
"There's a golden phone with a direct connection to God at the Vatican," he said. "To make a call, it costs $1,000. And there's a similar golden phone offering the same service here in Jerusalem, where the same call cost only 25 cents."
When I asked why, he said, "It's a local call."
Rick Steves (ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow his blog on Facebook.
World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli minister calls for 'Third Temple' in Al-Aqsa compound
Palestinians are suspicious of so called archeological excavations taking place under the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
The Israel Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel on Friday expressed his wish to see the construction of a "Third Temple" in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Al-Quds (East Jerusalem).
According to the Alray Palestinian News Agency, Uri Ariel said "The first Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE, the second Temple in 70 CE, and ever since the Jews have been mourning its loss."
He then went on to say "Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently in place of the temple, despite the temple being much holier than it. Al-Aqsa Mosque is only the third most holy mosque in Islam."
"Now that Israel has once again become a Jewish sovereign state, there have been occasional calls to rebuild the Temple," he added.
Palestinians who have stated their desire to see Israeli occupying forces retreat out of East Jerusalem back to their 1967 borders are suspicious of so called archeological excavations taking place under the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. They believe the works are destabilizing the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and have already reported damage to the building.
In recent months, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has been subject to numerous raids by far-right Jewish settlers under the protection of Israeli security forces, who have performed Jewish rituals on the site. On a number of occasions last year, the Israeli authorities banned Muslim congregational Friday prayers at the mosque.
‘Govt. to Split Jerusalem – Where are the Rabbis?’
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel wonders at fellow rabbis’ silence over plan to give away Jerusalem holy sites.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/23/2014, 9:01 AM
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The government is planning to cede several sites in ancient Jerusalem to Muslim and Christian ownership, and Israel’s rabbis remain silent, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel has accused.
“There is a terrible plan, called the ‘holy basin,’ to split Jerusalem between Christians, Muslims and Jews,” Rabbi Ariel said, speaking to Arutz Sheva.
Rabbi Ariel, who heads the Temple Institute, continued, “The Christians will get the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Zion, the Muslims will get the Temple Mount, and we Jews will need to visit the Kotel (Western Wall) under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) denies the Jewish connection to the Western Wall, and PA TV has labeled Jewish worship at the holy site “sin and filth.”
Even if Jewish worship at the Kotel were to continue freely, the loss of access to the Temple Mount would be highly significant. The Temple Mount is the holiest site on earth according to Judaism, and is the place where the First Temple and Second Temple once stood.
The plan to split Jerusalem’s holy sites between various religions “has existed for some time, and now they’re going to implement it in stages,” Rabbi Ariel warned, adding, “During the Pope’s next visit they plan to transfer the Cenacle on Mount Zion to him, turning it into a pilgrimage site.”
He criticized Israel’s rabbis, including the Chief Rabbis, for their silence. “Not long ago they gave the Russian Compound to Russia, now the Christians are restoring a church – unused until now – on the Mount of Olives, and thus they slowly sell Jerusalem, and nobody raises their voice in protest,” he charged.
“Where is the Chief Rabbinate? They’re going to take the heart of Jerusalem and make it a Christian center,” he continued.
“Remember Rabbi Nissim. When the Pope came to visit fifty years ago, he insisted that if the Pope wanted to meet him he could come to his office in Jerusalem, he would not go greet him,” Rabbi Ariel recalled.
He accused his fellow rabbis of focusing on “price tag” vandalism of Arab property rather than the future of Jerusalem. “Three hundred rabbis spoke out against ‘price tag.’ Is this what you’ve found to get involved with, is this what pains you?
“Instead of meeting with the Prime Minister to protest the sale of Jerusalem, you’re speaking out against a handful of youths who burned a rug,” he accused.
Letter from Jewish liberals slams de Blasio over AIPAC address
By Daniel TreimanJanuary 29, 2014 5:07pm
New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, is taking some flak over his recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in which he promised “that City Hall will always be open to AIPAC, that when you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call, and I’ll answer it happily, ’cause that’s my job.”
The lefty mayor’s pledge to be a loyal ally to the pro-Israel lobbying group irked some prominent lefty Jews. In an open letter sent to de Blasio today, 58 Jewish liberals told the mayor that “your job is not to do AIPAC’s bidding when they call you to do so.”
“AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us,” they concluded. (The letter’s full text is pasted below.)
The letter’s signatories include a mix of rabbis, philanthropists, activists and cultural figures.
The list — while solidly left-leaning — has a bit of political diversity, with liberal Zionist journalist Peter Beinart signed on alongside Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of the far-left Jewish Voice for Peace. There are some significant Jewish communal figures, including Karen Adler, the president of the Jewish Communal Fund, Rabbis Rolando Matalon and Felicia Sol of prominent Upper West Side shul B’nai Jeshurun, and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of the city’s leading gay and lesbian synagogue. There are also a few semi-bold-face names, such as famed feminist Gloria Steinem, “Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler, and novelists Anne Roiphe and Erica Jong.
The letter’s signatories are not the only ones criticizing the de Blasio’s AIPAC appearance. The absence of the engagement from de Blasio’s publicized schedule and the ban on press at the event has drawn criticism for being inconsistent with the principle of open governance. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, wrote in Haaretz that de Blasio and AIPAC had, with their secrecy, “managed to take a routine political event intended to promote support for Israel and turn it into a mini-crisis and a major embarrassment for all concerned.”
Here is the text of the letter:
January 29, 2014
An Open Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio:
We are Jewish residents of New York who read, in the leaked transcript of your private speech to a meeting of AIPAC leaders, the following:
“City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.”
We understand that the job of mayor of New York is a complex one that often calls for your participation on the international stage, and we would not presume to define your job for you. But we do know that the needs and concerns of many of your constituents–U.S. Jews like us among them–are not aligned with those of AIPAC, and that no, your job is not to do AIPAC’s bidding when they call you to do so. AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us.
Israel Jails Member of Anti-Zionist Jewish Sect
Added by Bernard O'Leary on January 29, 2014.
A court in Israel today handed down a four-and-a-half year jail sentence to a man accused of offering to spy on behalf of Iran. Yitzak Bergel, 46, a member of the anti-Zionist Jewish sect Neturei Karta, had met with Iranian officials in Berlin in 2011. This is where he is believed to have offered to deliver information to them. Bergel pleaded guilty to all charges, including intent to commit treason and attempting to aid an enemy of Israel.
Bergel was detected by the Israeli security force Shin Bet when he contacted Iranian agents after returning to Israel. Following an investigation involving many members of the local community, Bergel offered a full confession and admitted that his actions were driven not only by the promise of financial gain, but also for a hatred of Israel. As part of his plea bargain, he was given a three-year suspended sentence on time of the custodial term.
According to reports, it was Bergel who approached Iran about spying. He is believed to have gone to the Iranian embassy in Berlin under his own initiative where he requested a meeting with Iranian representatives who initially thought that he had come to seek asylum. Bergel expressed his desire to see an end to the state of Israel and goaded the Iranians for their inability to prevent Israeli security forces operating within Iran. It is believed that during the conversation, he offered to pass information on to Iranian security forces and, if required, to “kill a Zionist.” On his return to Israel, he kept in touch via telephone and email, but was soon detected by Shin Bet.
Neturei Karta, the radical sect to which Bergel belongs, are an ultra-orthodox group who oppose the current state of Israel on religious grounds. According to the group’s philosophy, a Jewish homeland can only be established by the messiah, and man-made to create such a state are a violation of God’s will. The group exist worldwide and are believed to have 5,000 members in Jerusalem, where they continue a non-violent campaign for the dismantling of the Jewish state.
Although this is the first time a member has been jailed, the anti-Zionist Jewish sect have caused controversy both in Israel and abroad in recent years. Most famously, a delegation traveled to Iran in 2006 where they met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defending the Iranian leader’s stance on the Holocaust and praising his commitment to peace.
The group vociferously campaigns against Zionism in the U.S., where they are believed to have ties to the Nation of Islam, as well as across Europe. Recently, in association with pro-Palestine activists in Norway, the group raised funds to purchase an ambulance which was provided to a hospital in Gaza, with an inscription that read, “a gift from people of Norway and global anti-Zionist Jews.”
Neturei Karta have not issued a statement on the case yet. With the investigation now seemingly over, it seems that the recently jailed member of this anti-Zionist Jewish sect may have been acting on his own rather than on instructions from within the group but this is yet to be confirmed.
By Bernard O’Leary
Benjamin Netanyahu under fire from right wingers for letting his son date a non-Jew
'I bet it pains him. Any Jew... wants to see his son marry a Jewish girl,' says politician from the ultra-orthodox Shas party
Monday 27 January 2014
Benjamin Netanyahu has been criticised by right-wing politicians in Israel who have accused the country’s prime minister of failing to set an example for the Jewish people by not preventing his son from dating a non-Jewish girl.
Yair Netanyahu, a 23-year-old student, is thought to be dating a Norwegian woman after the pair met at the prestigious Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, which they both attend.
According to a report in the Norwegian newspaper Dagen, when the Israeli leader met Norwegian premier Erna Solberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, he mentioned that Yair had a Norwegian girlfriend, 25-year-old Sandra Leikanger, and that the couple had visited Norway last summer.
The newspaper also published photos posted on Ms Leikanger’s Facebook page appearing to show the pair posing together at various sites in Norway.
“It’s a big problem,” Nissim Ze’ev, a politician representing the ultra-orthodox Shas party, told the Jerusalem Post. “As the prime minister of Israel and the Jewish people, he must display national responsibility via the values he presents inside his own household.
“I bet it pains him. Any Jew who wants to maintain his roots wants to see his son marry a Jewish girl,” Mr Ze’ev said.
Judaism is traditionally seen as matrilineal, with a child’s religion determined by that of its mother. Mr Netanyahu has not escaped criticism from within his own party either.
“All I can say is that it is very unfortunate,” said Moshe Feiglin, head of the Jewish Leadership faction of Israel’s centre-right Likud party. The right-wing anti-assimilation organisation Lehava, which is strongly opposed to intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, has been more outspoken: “Bibi’s son has found a Gentile! His father is proud of him and gives legitimacy to the assimilation and destruction of the Jewish people.”
According to Israeli media, the group’s activists have attacked Mr Netanyahu, telling him: “Your father is turning in his grave.”
CHRISTIANS GOING FULL FORCE AT 'GATES OF HELL'
Expecting 'greatest revival the world has ever experienced'
Published: January 27, 2014
Men, mostly, like comfort. A sofa, a good football game and some snacks.
A heated driver’s seat in the car is great.
Wood stoves are fine as long as the firewood is split when it’s delivered.
Men are why malls have benches.
So what’s with this announcement from the Promise Keepers men’s ministry in Denver talking about storming the gates of hell?
But that’s exactly what will be happening in September when the organization, which once staged a “Stand in the Gap” call for America to return to faith on the National Mall in Washington and 1.4 million men showed up, holds a revolutionary event on the doorstep to Jerusalem.
The the “Jesus Reigns 2014″ will be held on Sept. 17.
The assembly, expected to draw tens of thousands in person and perhaps millions around the globe because of plans to simulcast online, will be in Sultan’s Pool in the Valley on Hinnom.
Even tourism promoters in Israel note there’s something not entirely cheerful in that location’s history. It was the site of ritual sacrifice.
That led to the naming of Judaism’s Purgatory-esque “concept of an afterlife Gehinnom (Valley of Hinnom), from which the contemporary world gets its word ‘hell.’”
Jesus refers to “Gehenna” 11 times in the Gospels as the opposite of the Kingdom of God. In the Old Testament, it is the location where Israel worshiped Baal and Molech by sacrificing their children. The prophets also use the Valley of Hinnom to describe the destiny of the enemies of God.
And about storming those gates?
Promise Keepers’ “revolutionary event” will be in that valley, and broadcast worldwide.
“The purpose of the event is to call the body of Christ together in unity to declare that our faith isn’t in any government, financial institution, or man, but in Jesus alone, and that He reigns,” conference organizers explained.
In Matthew 16:13-19, the strategy is revealed: “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Conference organizers say Promise Keepers will be calling the church, worldwide, to unite together around the simple truth that Jesus reigns, and then to take the battle right to the gates of hell – both metaphorically, and literally.
“We believe it’s time for the people of the one true God to once again come together in unity – in response to Jesus’ prayer in John 17 – and declare that ‘our God is greater!” organizers said. “But this time, it must be more than just the men of America. It will include both men and women from every race, nationality, and continent, all declaring that ‘Jesus reigns!’”
PK founder Bill McCartney says, “I’m calling you out [to] stand together as one and demonstrate that Jesus reigns.”
Promise Keepers has scheduled, too, conferences in Jacksonville, Fla., Peoria, Ill., Baton Rouge, La., Loveland, Colo., and Wallingford, Conn., this year.
It is setting up an Israel tour that coordinates with the Jesus Reigns event Sept. 14-23.
“The greatest revival the world has ever known – a revival prophesied by the Apostle Paul and affirmed by men like Jonathan Edwards and C. H. Spurgeon – has begun,” Promise Keepers says.
Edwards once said, “When they shall be called, that ancient people, who alone were so long God’s people for so long a time, shall be his people again, never to be rejected more. They shall be gathered together into one fold, together with the Gentiles…”
Spurgeon? He said, “I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews. We do not think enough of it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible, it is this…The day shall yet come when the Jews, who were the first apostles to the Gentiles, the first missionaries to us, we who were far off, shall be gathered in again. Until that shall be, the fullness of the churches’ glory can never come. Matchless benefits to the world are bound up with the restoration of Israel; their gathering in shall be as life from the dead.”
The Telegraph (The Anglican church in the US is the Episcopal Church. Ed)
Welby flies to Africa telling Anglicans to treat gay people as ‘children of God’
Archbishops of Canterbury and York condemn African anti-gay laws urging Anglican churches to ‘demonstrate the love of Christ’ to same-sex couples
Archbishop Welby with primates from across the Anglican communion at his enthronement lastyear Photo: AP
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
7:49PM GMT 29 Jan 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury is on a collision course with Anglican leaders in Africa as he sets off on a five-day trip to the continent while denouncing new laws persecuting gay people.
The Most Rev Justin Welby and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, issued a joint letter to the heads of Anglican churches around the world urging them to “demonstrate the love of Christ” to same- sex couples.
It comes just days after the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan – with the approval of many Christians – signed harsh new laws making homosexual acts offences punishable with 14 years in prison and with 10 years even for public displays of affection.
The Ugandan parliament also recently passed new laws increasing the punishment for gay sex and making speaking about homosexuality without condemning it an imprisonable offence.
President Yoweri Museveni has so far refused to sign the bill into law.
The Anglican Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, is among the most vocal of African church leaders in condemning homosexuality, recently saying that it would incur God’s wrath.
African clerics have also publicly criticised the Church England for the publication of the Piling Report, which recommends special wedding-like services to honour gay couples.
But in their joint letter to all Anglican Primates, the Archbishops speak of people with same-sex attraction as “children of God”.
It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury embarks on a five-day visit to Africa, meeting church leaders in South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He used a BBC interview earlier this week to condemn homophobia, while reiterating his opposition to gay marriage.
In their letter, the two Archbishops quote a joint communiqué issued by Anglican leaders in 2005 which condemns the “victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex” as “anathema”.
“We hope that the pastoral care and friendship that the Communiqué described is accepted and acted upon in the name of the Lord Jesus,” the two archbishops wrote.
“We call upon the leaders of churches in such places to demonstrate the love of Christ and the affirmation of which the Dromantine communiqué speaks.”
Oscar shocker: 'Alone Yet Not Alone' best original song nomination revoked
By Faith Karimi, CNN
January 30, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
(CNN) -- In a rare move, "Alone Yet Not Alone" is ending its Oscar run on a low note.
The Academy rescinded the best original song nomination for the film of the same name over accusations of improper campaigning.
Its board of governors voted Tuesday night after revelations that the song's composer, Bruce Broughton, e-mailed members during the voting period.
Broughton is a former member of the board.
"No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one's position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one's own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage," said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy.
Any perceived campaigning is considered a rule violation.
"It is the Academy's goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner," the Academy said in a statement.
"If any campaign activity is determined by the board of governors to work in opposition to that goal, whether or not anticipated by these regulations, the Board of Governors may take any corrective actions ... to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process."
No other song will be nominated in its place.
Though rare, this is not the first time the Academy has revoked a nomination.
In 1992, "A Place in the World" lost its Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film over questions over whether it was produced in Argentina, and not Uruguay as it had designated itself.
(“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.Philippians 1:18 ESV)
21 Century Wire
The American Dream
Katy Perry: Illuminati Priestess Conducts Witchcraft Ceremony In Front Of The Entire World
By Michael Snyder, on January 27th, 2014
Did you see Katy Perry’s performance at the Grammys? It was essentially an Illuminati-themed occult ritual. Various media reports say that Perry “dressed up as a witch”, and her performance included a Knights Templar cross emblazoned across her chest, a beast with Moloch horns, dancers in dark robes with devil horns protruding from their heads, and pole dancing with a broom. At the end of the “ceremony”, Perry was “burned at the stake” as the song ended. All of this hardcore occult symbolism did not get into her performance by accident. The attention to detail that this performance exhibited shows that someone put a lot of thought and effort into it. So was Perry actually kidding when she said that she had “sold my soul to the devil” during a television interview a few years ago? The kind of stuff that Perry is doing now is not for amateurs. She is either working with someone who is deep into the occult or she is deep into it herself. And of course the elite absolutely love this stuff. Even if you don’t believe in “occult rituals” or “Illuminati symbolism”, it is important to remember that the elite do. In fact, many of them are completely obsessed with this stuff. And they are more than happy to promote any performer that embraces their world. That is why we see this stuff pop up in high profile public performances time after time after time.
But without a doubt, Kary Perry has taken things to an entirely new level.
Needless to say, her performance immediately prompted strong reactions all over the world. The following are just a few of the things that people were saying about it on Twitter…
One user tweeted: “I mean they showed Katy Perry ‘s demonic witchcraft performance & I’m like oh that’s talent?”
Another said, “Katy Perry promoting witchcraft, demons, magic, Satanism, the dark horse with demonic red eyes of the apocalypse ready for the perfect storm.”
“Katy Perry pole dancing on a witchcraft broom stick; everything I’ve ever aspired to be.”
“Katy Perry went from singing Country Gospel Music to Witchcraft on Tv….. Well then..”
“This Katy Perry performance look like some Witchcraft Devil Work”
And of course this is hardly the first time these kinds of symbols have appeared in Perry’s performances.
She appears to be someone that fully embraces the darkness.
For me, one of the most striking examples of this is her song “E.T.” in which she expresses her desire to have sex with an “extraterrestrial” who also could “be the devil”…
You’re so hypnotizing Could you be the devil? Could you be an angel?
Your touch magnetizing Feels like I am floating Leaves my body glowing
They say, be afraid You’re not like the others Futuristic lover Different DNA They don’t understand you
[Pre-Chorus] You’re from a whole ‘nother world A different dimension You open my eyes And I’m ready to go Lead me into the light
Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me Infect me with your love and Fill me with your poison
Take me, ta-ta-take me Wanna be a victim Ready for abduction
Boy, you’re an alien Your touch so foreign It’s supernatural Extraterrestrial
[Verse 2] You’re so supersonic Wanna feel your powers Stun me with your lasers Your kiss is cosmic Every move is magic
[Pre-Chorus] You’re from a whole ‘nother world A different dimension You open my eyes And I’m ready to go Lead me into the light
[Chorus] Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me Infect me with your love and Fill me with your poison
Take me, ta-ta-take me Wanna be a victim Ready for abduction
Boy, you’re an alien Your touch so foreign It’s supernatural Extraterrestrial
[Bridge] This is transcendental On another level Boy, you’re my lucky star
I wanna walk on your wave length And be there when you vibrate For you I’ll risk it all
[Chorus] Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me Infect me with your love and Fill me with your poison
Take me, ta-ta-take me Wanna be a victim Ready for abduction
Boy, you’re an alien Your touch so foreign It’s supernatural Extraterrestrial
You have to be blind not to see what Perry is talking about in this song.
And the video for this song makes this message even more clear. It has been watched more than 256 million times on YouTube so far.
Having sex with “extraterrestrials”, “aliens”, “demons” or “the gods” is something that only those deep into the occult are into. And Katy Perry is introducing these concepts to millions upon millions of young kids around the globe.
And what do you think is going to happen to these kids as they sing these words over and over out loud and in their minds?
That is why the elite love performers like Katy Perry so much. They are the perfect platform for indoctrinating the youth of the planet into the occult one world religion that they have planned.
In fact, nearly all of the top music acts are into this stuff these days. In a previous article, I discussed the Illuminati themes that permeate the music and performances of Jay Z and his wife Beyonce. At the Grammys, this time there was not too much of that from Jay Z and Beyonce. Instead, they seemed content to be as lewd as possible. The following is how the Daily Mail described Beyonce’s performance…
Beyoncé’s Grammy Awards performance was slammed by concerned parents on Sunday as they deemed the incredibly risqué routine too explicit for children to watch.
The 32-year-old singer wore a revealing black thong bodysuit over fishnet tights to perform a rendition of her hit Drunk In Love alongside husband Jay Z at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Beyoncé’s sexy dance routine, which aired at 8pm on both coasts and at 7pm central time, had many furious parents posting comments on social media that the performance was ‘disrespectful’, had ‘no class’ and was entirely inappropriate for young viewers.
So what do you think about all of this?
Matt Drudge Issues Warning: “Have An Exit Plan”
January 27th, 2014
His web site may consist of just a single page, but Matt Drudge is arguably the most influential media personality in the world. Garnering nearly one billion readers monthly, the Drudge Report is able to literally shift public sentiment, making it an essential read for D.C. insiders, Wall Street professionals, and anyone who wants to stay on top of the latest global issues.
If Matt Drudge headlines a story its viral spread to millions of readers in near real-time is guaranteed.
With his established connections to critical spheres of influence that include everything from politics and government to finance and entertainment, when Drudge speaks, people listen.
Over the weekend, as noted by Steve Quayle and Susan Duclos,the self made media behemoth took to his Twitter account with a simple warning consisting of just four words… Have an Exit Plan
Drudge included no other details with his Tweet.
The warning, while cryptic, may be the result of direct insider information. Considering he once nearly brought down the Clinton administration by revealing the President’s indiscretions with a White House intern, one could make the case that if anyone has legitimate sources pouring in from across the world it’s Matt Drudge.
Could his warning be for stock market investors regarding foreknowledge of an imminent collapse of financial markets in the United States, China and Europe?
Or has Drudge’s access to insiders in key positions given him the ability to connect the dots for an event that may occur in the near future? Few may recall, but just three weeks ahead of the September 11th attacks, Drudge headlined warnings of possible strikes on US-based targets, so there may well be a credible insider source for his most recent warning as well.
In recent years the mogul has expanded his news distribution service to include alternative news powerhouses like Alex Jones’ Infowars, which researches and analyzes key events and happenings globally. As of late, Drudge has made it a point to link to a variety of topics at Infowars that include the militarization of America’s domestic policing apparatus, Constitutional transgression at the highest levels of our government, and other insider reports often ignored by the mainstream media. While establishment news media shuns the rapidly growing alternative media, a warning to “have an exit plan” is one that the alternative news sphere has consistently suggested, while often being laughed at in mainstream circles.
Given Drudge’s massive following, reach, and credibility, perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing any more.
Something has spooked Matt Drudge and he’s not alone. Last year one of America’s leading talk show hosts, Mark Levin, warned that the U.S. government has been simulating the collapse of our financial system and society with the potential for widespread violence. There are countless such examples of highly influential media personalities who are issuing similar warnings.
Within the realm of the alternative media, the last several years have yielded incredible insights into the inner workings of the U.S. government, political system and economic machinations. Everything from manipulations of our monetary system to the sometimes unbelievable expansion of the American police state has been extensively studied and reported by thousands of independent journalists, broadcasters and bloggers operating outside of the mainstream establishment’s sphere of influence.
There have been insider reports indicating that a crisis of unprecedented magnitude is coming to the United States. Contrarian economists, who are almost completely ignored by mainstream media, have warned of dire consequences to the continued operation of our systems of commerce, including our domestic food distribution networks. And though it has not been reported on the alphabet news channels, the U.S. military has been actively war gaming collapse scenarios and engaging in highly suspicious exercises across U.S. metropolitan areas.
While Matt Drudge’s latest comments could be referring to anything, given the types of stories he’s covered in recent years we could make the case that he is referring to worst-case scenarios.
His exit plan warning may encompass any number of potential scenarios such as a coming shock to financial markets, evacuating major cities in an emergency, preparing for the destruction of our currency, or having a way to get out of the United States in the event of a Soviet-style purge.
Whatever the case, Matt Drudge understands that his views and comments are followed by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, thus we are confident that he would not publicly issue such a warning unless he has access to credible information that supports his claims.
That being said, we urge readers to remain vigilant. And, in the off chance that some terrible event is in our near future, we strongly suggest having a preparedness plan that includes emergency food storage, barter supplies, medicines, precious metals, and a strategic relocation plan in case you are forced to evacuate your current residence.
King World News – Blog
Celente - The Entire World Is Now Unraveling Before Our Eyes
Today the man who remarkably predicted months ahead of time that the Fed would taper in December warned King World News that the entire world is now unraveling before our eyes. He also discussed his ominous 2014 predictions and a coming gold and silver spike. Below is what Gerald Celente, founder of Trends Research and the man many consider to be the top trends forecaster in the world, had to say in this remarkable interview.
Eric King: “The Fed tends to never do anything in December, and yet long ago you predicted this (tapering action).How did you know they were going to start tapering in December of last year?”
Celente: “They have to do something. This is the greatest Ponzi scheme in modern history that the Fed has pulled off by dumping all of this money into the system. And at some point they have to start pulling back....
“They have no plan. They are running blind. But they have to do something because it’s the only thing that’s fueling world growth.
After the January Fed meeting, we believe that absent a real market shock between now and then, they are going to go in for another round of tapering. They have to. But what it’s doing, it’s unraveling all the emerging markets.
The real news started coming out, as we were talking about it (on KWN), in mid-December. This so-called shadow banking system in China, it’s not a shadow banking system. When I was a kid growing up in the Bronx we called them ‘loan sharks.’ That’s what’s going on now.
You have all kinds of booms going on in China and it’s being fueled by the same cheap money. Now, what happened is the people could not get their hands on the cheap money, so they starting going to the ‘shadow banks.’
You look at these shadow banks over there (in China), and they are now accounting for an estimated 20% to 30% of fueling the GDP by dumping that money into the economy. So now the interest rates are really high and going higher in China.
And, as I said, we believe they (the Fed) are going to do another round of tapering in January. What does that do to the emerging markets? Simple: The only reason a lot of these emerging markets emerged was because of all of this cheap money coming out of the United States and into the carry trade -- the hot money going into the emerging markets. Now that hot money is flowing out and you can see the repercussions all over the world.
So here is our forecast: Barring a major economic panic between now and when the Fed meets later this month, absent that they taper. You are already seeing the investors fleeing the emerging markets in droves. You are looking at their stock indexes going way down. There is going to be (even) more panic with another taper.
After this taper, they are going to come up with another stimulus plan and they will dump more dough in there (to the system). That is when you are going to see gold and silver prices spike. We started off the new year and the Asian markets, the emerging markets, US markets, the European equity markets, all of them (are) down. But gold has been moving up nicely. So this is a lesson for everybody to watch: This is not a happy new year for the equity markets.”
Celente added: “You look around the world and it is unraveling before our eyes. I’ve written about this -- it was the top trend of 2013 last year. Now everybody is talking about it, how it looks so much like pre-World War I, as we are watching all of this unraveling going on around us.”
King World News - Blog
What’s Starting Now Will Be Much More Terrifying Than 2008
On the heels of a wild trading week which saw stocks plunge and the metals surge, today a 42-year market veteran warned King World News that the turmoil and chaos which has just started in global markets will be much more terrifying than what the world witnessed in 2008. Below is the powerful interview with Egon von Greyerz, who is founder of Matterhorn Asset Management out of Switzerland.
Greyerz: “Eric, in my last few interviews I spoke about the risks I see worldwide. I have also said that each one of these risks is serious to start a cascading series of events which would bring the entire financial system down....
“But another area which we haven’t discussed is the danger that is present in the emerging markets. There is a major crisis in a number of emerging markets right now. Let me just mention a few: In Argentina, they are in an absolute mess, and the peso fell 10% on Thursday -- that’s the lowest in 12 years.
If you take the Turkish lira, that plunged to new lows this week, and the Russian ruble is at the lowest level in 5 years. In South Africa, the rand is at the weakest since 2008. The currencies are also weak in Brazil and Mexico. But there are many other countries whose situation is extremely dire, like India, Indonesia, Hungary, Poland, the Ukraine, and Venezuela.
I’m mentioning these countries individually just to stress that this situation is extremely serious. It is also on a massive scale. In virtually these countries currencies are plunging and so are bonds, which is leading to much higher interest rates. And the cost of credit-forward swaps in these countries is surging due to the increased credit risks.
So why are we seeing this major pressure in emerging markets? People are worried about these countries’ ability to repay. This fear was triggered by the Fed’s tapering announcement. Most of these nations have very low reserves in relation to external debt, and they are totally dependent on rolling over the loans.
So what’s happening in the emerging markets is exactly what’s going to happen to all the major economies in the world. Will we see contagion now? Yes, it’s possible. But the Western central banks will probably try to defer this by doing what Lagarde of the IMF just suggested. She said that ‘deflation is disastrous for a global recovery.’ Of course the heads of central banks know this. This is why they will increase QE worldwide.
It’s only a matter of time before the Fed reverses tapering and increases QE. They will obviously blame emerging markets for this. This may lead to a joint package between the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England, and the IMF.
But the effective increase of QE worldwide will not result in any improvement for the world economy. Instead, the global economy will continue to decline at a faster pace, as falling currencies create inflation, and. soon, hyperinflation in the West.
In the mainstream media we hear about how the US economy is improving. Since the US economy is totally dependent on consumption, how can the US prosper when major retailers like JC Penny and Sears are closing a massive number of stores and firing workers? We already know that 23% is the real unemployment in the US, and there are over 100 million in the US who receive some kind of government financial benefit.
If we look at bank profits, they are now coming under pressure in the US and in Europe. Citi, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, are all seeing profits hurt due to tens of billions of dollars of litigation costs, bad debts, and falling trading profits. So the fight for the survival of these banks will be fierce in the next few years. In my view these banks won’t survive without enormous amounts of QE.
But since QE will have very little effect, central banks will eventually lose control. There was a recent EU stress test study of the European banks. This study came to the conclusion that European banks need $1 trillion just to withstand the pressure of the next crisis that is rapidly approaching.
This brings me to the gold market. It’s important for KWN readers to understand that the move in gold is a consequence of what I’ve just outlined. The decline in the US dollar was also the impetus for the move in gold. It is the continued fall of the dollar which will make gold go to new highs in 2014. Silver will also hit new highs this year. This week was largely a dollar move in the price of gold, and silver has not yet followed gold’s breakout. But silver’s move will come very soon.
People should not wait to buy gold at $1,100 or even lower. It could happen, but it’s very unlikely. Your gold must be held without counterparty risk and outside of the banking system, and with direct control for the investor.
So, Eric, remember that 2008 was just a light rehearsal. What’s starting now will be much worse. Anyone who isn’t fully protected by getting out of the system must do it now. There will be exchange controls and bank bail-ins. Sadly, this will be a year of disaster for people who are not prepared.”
Are We On The Verge Of A Massive Emerging Markets Currency Collapse?
January 26th, 2014
By Michael Snyder
This time, the Federal Reserve has created a truly global problem. A big chunk of the trillions of dollars that it pumped into the financial system over the past several years has flowed into emerging markets. But now that the Fed has decided to begin “the taper”, investors see it as a sign to pull the “hot money” out of emerging markets as rapidly as possible. This is causing currencies to collapse and interest rates to soar all over the planet. Argentina, Turkey, South Africa, Ukraine, Chile, Indonesia, Venezuela, India, Brazil, Taiwan and Malaysia are just some of the emerging markets that have been hit hard so far. In fact, last week emerging market currencies experienced the biggest decline that we have seen since the financial crisis of 2008. And all of this chaos in emerging markets is seriously spooking Wall Street as well. The Dow has fallen nearly 500 points over the last two trading sessions alone. If the Federal Reserve opts to taper even more in the coming days, this currency crisis could rapidly turn into a complete and total currency collapse.
A lot of Americans have always assumed that the U.S. dollar would be the first currency to collapse when the next great financial crisis happens. But actually, right now just the opposite is happening and it is causing chaos all over the planet.
For instance, just check out what is happening in Turkey according to a recent report in the New York Times…
Turkey’s currency fell to a record low against the dollar on Friday, a drop that will hit the purchasing power of everyone in the country.
On a street corner in Istanbul, Yilmaz Gok, 51, said, “I’m a retiree making ends meet on a small pension and all I care about is a possible increase in prices.”
“I will need to cut further,” he said. “Maybe I should use my natural gas heater less.”
As inflation escalates and interest rates soar in these countries, ordinary citizens are going to feel the squeeze. Just having enough money to purchase the basics is going to become more difficult.
And this is not just limited to a few countries. What we are watching right now is truly a global phenomenon…
“You’ve had a massive selloff in these emerging-market currencies,” Nick Xanders, a London-based equity strategist at BTIG Ltd., said by telephone. “Ruble, rupee, real, rand: they’ve all fallen and the main cause has been tapering. A lot of companies that have benefited from emerging-markets growth are now seeing it go the other way.”
So why is this happening? Well, there are a number of factors involved of course. However, as with so many of our other problems, the actions of the Federal Reserve are at the very heart of this crisis. A recent USA Today article described how the Fed helped create this massive bubble in the emerging markets…
Emerging markets are the future growth engine of the global economy and an important source of profits for U.S. companies. These developing economies were both recipients and beneficiaries of massive cash inflows the past few years as investors sought out bigger returns fostered by injections of cheap cash from the Federal Reserve and other central bankers.
But now that the Fed has started to dial back its stimulus, many investors are yanking their cash out of emerging markets and bringing the cash back to more stable markets and economies, such as the U.S., hurting the developing nations in the process, explains Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist at BlackRock.
“Emerging markets need the hot money but capital is exiting now,” says Koesterich. “What you have is people saying, ‘I don’t want to own emerging markets.’”
What we are potentially facing is the bursting of a financial bubble on a global scale. Just check out what Egon von Greyerz, the founder of Matterhorn Asset Management in Switzerland, recently had to say…
If you take the Turkish lira, that plunged to new lows this week, and the Russian ruble is at the lowest level in 5 years. In South Africa, the rand is at the weakest since 2008. The currencies are also weak in Brazil and Mexico. But there are many other countries whose situation is extremely dire, like India, Indonesia, Hungary, Poland, the Ukraine, and Venezuela.
I’m mentioning these countries individually just to stress that this situation is extremely serious. It is also on a massive scale. In virtually all of these countries currencies are plunging and so are bonds, which is leading to much higher interest rates. And the cost of credit-default swaps in these countries is surgingdue to the increased credit risks.
And many smaller nations are being deeply affected already as well.
For example, most Americans cannot even find Liberia on a map, but right now the actions of our Federal Reserve have pushed the currency of that small nation to the verge of collapse…
Liberia’s finance minister warned against panic today after being summoned to parliament to explain a crash in the value of Liberia’s currency against the US dollar.
“Let’s be careful about what we say about the economy. Inflation, ladies and gentlemen, is not out of control,” Amara Konneh told lawmakers, while adding that the government was “concerned” about the trend.
Closer to home, the Mexican peso tumbled quite a bit last week and is now beginning to show significant weakness. If Mexico experiences a currency collapse, that would be a huge blow to the U.S. economy.
Like I said, this is something that is happening on a global scale.
If this continues, we will eventually see looting, violence, blackouts, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks in emerging markets all over the planet just like we are already witnessing in Argentina and Venezuela.
Hopefully something can be done to stop this from happening. But once a bubble starts to burst, it is really difficult to try to hold it together.
Meanwhile, I find it to be very “interesting” that last week we witnessed the largest withdrawal from JPMorgan’s gold vault ever recorded.
Was someone anticipating something?
Once again, hopefully this crisis will be contained shortly. But if the Fed announces that it has decided to taper some more, that is going to be a signal to investors that they should race for the exits and the crisis in the emerging markets will get a whole lot worse.
And if you listen carefully, global officials are telling us that is precisely what we should expect. For example, consider the following statement from the finance minister of Mexico…
“We expected this year to be a volatile year for EM as the Fed tapers,” Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said, adding that volatility “will happen throughout the year as tapering goes on”.
Yes indeed – it is looking like this is going to be a very volatile year.
I hope that you are ready for what is coming next.
Zero Hedge (Since this article was first published they have reversed this policy. Ed.)
Bank-Run Fears Continue; HSBC Restricts Large Cash Withdrawals
January 25, 2014
Following research last week suggesting that HSBC has a major capital shortfall, the fact that several farmer’s co-ops were unable to pay back depositors in China, and, of course, the liquidity crisis in China itself, news from The BBC that HSBC is imposing restrictions on large cash withdrawals raising a number of red flags. The BBC reports that some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it. HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November for their own good: “We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual… the reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.” As one customer responded: “you shouldn’t have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.”
Via The BBC,
Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it, the BBC has learnt.
Listeners have told Radio 4′s Money Box they were stopped from withdrawing amounts ranging from £5,000 to £10,000.
HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November.
The bank says it has now changed its guidance to staff.
“When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved.”
The arrogance is incredible…
HSBC Holdings plc is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London, England, United Kingdom. It is one of the world's largest banks. It was founded in London in 1991 by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation to act as a new group holding company. The origins of the bank lie in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where branches were first opened in 1865. The HSBC name is derived from the initials of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. As such, the company refers to both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong as its "home markets".
HSBC has around 7,200 offices in 85 countries and territories across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, and around 89 million customers. As of 31 December 2012 it had total assets of $2.693 trillion, of which roughly half were in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and a quarter in each of Asia-Pacific and the Americas.As of 2012, it was the world's largest bank in terms of assets and sixth-largest public company, according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine.
Once Russia's henchmen, Cossacks now helping with Olympic security
By Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva, CNN
January 25, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, there has been a revival of Cossack culture and pride
(CNN) -- In their tall, fur hats and embellished traditional jackets, hundreds of Cossacks are patrolling the streets of Sochi, Russia, as the 2014 Winter Olympic Games approach.
These Russian soldiers, whose ancestry dates back thousands of years, are known in the West for their gravity-defying dance style. Closer to home, the Cossacks have long symbolized rebellion and military might in Western and Southern Russia and Ukraine.
That reputation was further enhanced in the writings of Russian literature giants Leo Tolstoy and Alexander Pushkin, whose writings contributed to the myth surrounding the Cossacks.
But within their high hats is hidden a dark history.
Known for rebelling against Russia's feudal system, the Cossack state allied itself with Russia's tsars to help create the monolithic Russian Empire. These warrior horsemen helped bring Russian rule to vast parts of the country, most notably Siberia.
During the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, the Cossacks fought for the Russian crown in regional wars against the Russian people, garnering a reputation as the tsars' henchmen. Acting on behalf of the Russian Empire, the Cossacks carried out pogroms, or massacres of the Jews, in 19th century Russia.
But over time, the tsars became wary of the Cossacks' impunity against the Russian Empire and their inability to fully control them. So, when the Cossacks again turned to rebellion against the empire and its imposed rule, the tsars ruthlessly punished the Cossack leaders and their warriors, as documented in the Cossack rebellion, led by Yemelyan Pugachev, against Catherine the Great in the late 18th century.
The tsars and the Cossacks found themselves united once again during the rise of the Bolsheviks in the early 20th century. The Cossacks supported Tsar Nicolas II and the anti-communist forces that made up the White Movement during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and the ensuing Russian Civil War.
After the Bolsheviks (who later became Communists) came to power, they massacred many Cossacks for their opposition to the revolution.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 20th century, there has been a revival of Cossack culture and pride in Russia and the former Soviet states. Russia has been turning to the Cossacks to help bolster security, even before Sochi was named as the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Russian forces hunt Dagestan militants, 'black widows'
Last year, the governor of Russia's Krasnodar region -- where Sochi is located -- hired about 1,000 Cossack patrolman to rein in the surge of illegal immigrants, mostly Muslim, according to the New York Times.
"What you cannot do, a Cossack can," Krasnodar Gov. Aleksandr Tkachev explained to local police.
His comments sparked an outcry from Sochi natives, minorities and migrants. Analysts say it is not a coincidence that the Cossacks revival is taking place as nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise in Russia.
This new role for the Cossacks has opened up a "can of worms," writes Valeriy Dzutsev, an analyst with the Jamestown Foundation. That's because some Cossacks are starting to demand more power and land from Moscow "to support the process of the rebirth of the Cossacks," Dzutsev writes in the Central Asial-Caucasus Institute (CACI) Analyst.
And Dzutsev warns that Russia's reliance on the Cossacks "may naturally translate into conflicts between the indigenous population of the North Caucasus and the Cossacks.
So far, most Russians have embraced this rebirth of the Cossacks, due in part by the mythology surrounding them, aided by Tolstoy and Pushkin's writings.
But as Moscow calls on the Cossacks to fulfill this myth of the warrior class -- traditional clothing and all -- the tumultuous relationship between the Cossacks and the Russian Empire will be important to remember.
DIRTY-BOMB FEARS SOAR AT OLYMPICS
Terrorists behind threats demonstrate explosives expertise
Published: January 29, 2014
F. MICHAEL MALOOF
WASHINGTON – National security experts are expressing increasing alarm over the possibility Islamic militants could use a “dirty” bomb at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and spark mass panic at the seaside location where potential escape routes could become choked.
Despite the 1,500 mile “ring of steel” that Russian President Vladimir Putin said surrounds Sochi to prevent the infiltration of North Caucasus militants, who have vowed to disrupt the Olympics with violence, experts say that a dirty bomb not only would be difficult to stop but could cause a major disruption.
A dirty bomb, known as a radiological dispersal device, or RDD, is a weapon combining radioactive material with conventional explosives. Essentially, it would have nuclear materials attached to something as simple as plastic explosives.
Experts say materials suitable to make a radiological weapon include nine reactor-produced isotopes such as americium-241, californium-252, cesium-137, cobalt-60, iridium-192, plutonium-238, polonium-210, radium-226 and strontium-90.
The “ring of steel” of some 50,000 Russian security personnel includes the Olympic village and the 30-mile road and rail transport to the mountain village where the Olympics will take place. Sources say that the mountainous road network wasn’t designed to handle large numbers of vehicles, making chokepoints along the way ideal for attacks.
In addition, the lack of interconnectedness of the 1,400 miles of roads will make detours and avenues of escape almost impossible.
There already have been three recent explosions by North Caucasus militants in the Russian city of Volgograd. The perpetrators posted a video before the attacks vowing there would be “surprises” at the Olympics.
In addition, an all-points bulletin has gone out for three “black widows,” or widows of dead militants. They are Jhannet Tskhaeva from Dagestan, Oksana Aslanova from Turkmenistan in Central Asia and Ruzana Ibragimova.
Further, there now are two men, identified as Ruslan Saufutdino and Murad Musaev, also being shown on wanted posters, which sources say suggests there may be holes in Sochi’s security. The concern is that the jihadists may already be within the “ring of steel.”
The threat of Islamic militant attacks has prompted a recent travel advisory by the U.S. State Department. The U.S. has placed military aircraft in Germany on alert and deployed two warships to the Black Sea to be on standby at the seaside city of Sochi.
Some countries such as Canada are considering whether even to allow their athletes to participate. Even the National Hockey League is considering keeping its athletes at home.
Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who recently returned from Sochi, said that the security threats “to this particular Olympics are the greatest I think I’ve ever seen.”
He said consideration should be given to canceling the Olympics.
However, he said that the U.S. team will be the largest and should not allow the terrorists “to win.”
The reason McCaul is concerned was underscored by a call by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for a global jihad against the Olympics.
Zawahiri’s threat is only the latest from Islamic militants. Last week, the Sunni terrorist group Ansar al-Sunna released a video threatening attacks against the Olympics.
In addition, the leader of the North Caucasus militant fighters, Dokku Umarov, has issued a call for his Islamic militants to “do their utmost to derail” the “satanic” games.
Umarov, who has led the fighting for years against Moscow, wants to establish a Caucasus Emirates subject to strict Islamic law, or Shariah, in the North Caucasus region that includes the predominantly Muslim Russian provinces of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria.
He wants to split the republics from the rest of Russia, which some ethnic Russians support. But Russian President Vladimir Putin sees such action as a potential slippery slope that would prompt other ethnic entities throughout Russia to also seek independence.
Umarov’s threat is the realization of Moscow’s worst fear, since it sees security at the games as one of its highest priorities. It is estimated that Moscow will spend more than $51 billion to make a success of the games, which it sees as a showpiece for its economic and technological achievements.
Umarov has vowed to us “all means” to disrupt the Olympics.
Security experts say “all means” could include the use of dirty bombs, which are conventional explosives laced with radiological materials.
“Several factors make a radiological attack attractive to terrorists,” according to a report of the open intelligence Langley Intelligence Group Network, or Lignet.
Preparation for a dirty bomb attack would be low, requiring only a small amount of a radiological source material and conventional explosives.
“The technical requirements also are low,” the report said. “No specialized training is required beyond knowing how to detonate an explosive.
“The havoc caused by a successful attack would be substantial for competitors and spectators alike,” the report warned. “The prospect of being involved in an attack involving radioactivity could lead easily to panic. The ensuing disruption would result in enormous financial losses and raise questions about where and how future games should be held.”
Underscoring the concern over the use of a dirty bomb is the assessment that the North Caucasus fighters have access to radioactive materials and the capability to make dirty bombs.
In November 1995, Chechens planted a cesium-filled explosive package in Moscow’s Ismailovsky Park to show they had an ability to construct a radiological bomb. The rebels alerted the press of the buried cache in the park, where authorities found a partially buried container.
To this day, the source of the cesium remains unknown.
Then, in December 1998, the head of the Russian-backed Chechen Security Service at the time, Ibragim Khultygov, announced that his security team had found a container filled with radioactive materials attached to an explosive mine hidden near a railway line.
The security team defused the bomb in a suburban area of Argun 10 miles east of the Chechen capital of Grozny, where a Chechen rebel group was known at the time to have an explosives workshop.
In September 1999, thieves attempted to seal a container holding some 200 grams of radioactive materials from the Radon Special Combine chemical factory in Grozny, Chechnya.
Following exposure to the container, however, one of the suspects died and the other collapsed, even though they held the container for only a few minutes while carrying it out of the factory.
In December 2001, three woodcutters found two heat-emanating containers near their campsite in the remote Muslim Caucasus region of Abkhazia, Georgia. They intended to use the containers as a heat source but within hours began to fall ill and later went to a hospital for treatment.
The International Atomic Energy Agency was notified, and a team was sent to recover the containers at the campsite, discovering that they were Soviet-era radiothermal penetrators containing 40,000 curies of strontium. The amount of radiation was said to be equivalent to that released in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine.
U.S. officials at the time thought the generators had been stolen by Chechen rebels who were then operating in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge and transporting them to other rebel-occupied areas.
South Milwaukee Now
Scientists Develop Human-Powered Battery For RFID Implantable Chips
Posted by Kristan Harris on Jan. 24, 2014
conformal piezoelectric energy harvesting, rfid, human battery, National Academy of Science, trans-humanism, kristan t. harris, the rundown live
The video footage above demonstrates installation of a complete, flexible, and integrated system that is capable of harvesting and storing energy from the natural contractile and relaxation motions of the heart, lung, and diaphragm.
A group of United States and Chinese researchers have collaborated to created a tiny implantable batteries that feed off of human energy. These thin, flexible mechanical energy harvesters have had been successfully tested on cows. The process uses what is known as conformal piezoelectric energy harvesting and storage from motions of the heart, lung, and diaphragm.
It the future, they say, it could be used to power a range of gadgets. Will it be long until you will charge your I-phone by plugging into your own body?
So how piezoelectric power plants work? The tiny piezoelectric power plants are made of lead zirconate titanate nanoribbons, incased with-in biocompatible plastic. The integrated rectifier converts the electric signal which stores it in a tiny rechargeable battery. Multiple batteries can be combined for more power and storage, the researchers do believe.
These will at first be sold as a good product. Subsequently, heart rate monitors, pacemakers, cardioverter-defibrillators, and neural stimulators constitute broad classes of electronic implants that rely on battery power for operation, and will further these technologies.
The National Academy of Science’s Website had this to say about conformal piezoelectric energy harvesting:
“Heart rate monitors, pacemakers, cardioverter-defibrillators, and neural stimulators constitute broad classes of electronic implants that rely on battery power for operation. Means for harvesting power directly from natural processes of the body represent attractive alternatives for these and future types of biomedical devices. Here we demonstrate a complete, flexible, and integrated system that is capable of harvesting and storing energy from the natural contractile and relaxation motions of the heart, lung, and diaphragm at levels that meet requirements for practical applications. Systematic experimental evaluations in large animal models and quantitatively accurate computational models reveal the fundamental modes of operation and establish routes for further improvements.
Another new technology that will benefit from this is RFID. Humans will now be able to implant self-powered microcomputers inside of ones body. Like all technology, it is neutral. It is how we use it that dictates the tools outcome.
As the line between humans and robots begin to blur the government can be seen blow voicing concerns over trans-human technology.
21 Century Wire
NSA and Disney Drone Cartoon Grooms Children for Total Big Brother and ‘Big Nanny’ Society
JANUARY 29, 2014 BY 21WIRE
The NSA are clearly trying to make an agency career an aspiration for young people , but the material itself is harmless enough when compared to the subtle propaganda embedded in the Disney-type animation entertainment production, entitled, ‘Special Agent Oso’ and its ‘Shutterbug’ segment (see report below). In this segment, a mother leaves her child in a parked car, where the child has no seat belt on. This infraction is picked up by Shutterbug, a nano-spycam and then transmitted up to an NSA satellite and then back to a central data fusion center.
The level of programming in this children’s production is breathtaking in its detail and scope. It’s nothing less than complete indoctrination into a dystopic future of spycams watching your every move, and where Big Brother and Big Nanny takes precedence over self-responsibility and family.
Counterpunch (Irregardless of how we may personally feel about Pete Seeger, he did exert a tremendous influence on his generation and and future generations. Ed.)
Farewell to a Great American
Pete Seeger: a Troubadour for Peace and Justice
by PETER STONE BROWN
JANUARY 28, 2014
Pete Seeger was my first hero. I cannot remember a time when I did not know who he was. I first listened to him on my parent’s 78s of the Almanac Singers singing “Talking Union” and “I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister,” and then on a Folkways record of work songs, singing “The Young Man Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn.” I begged my dad for more, and my first LP on Folkways was The Rainbow Quest and then American Ballads. And of course there were Weavers albums. Eventually I got all of them.
I was a little too young to know about the blacklist. Somewhere around the time I was eight or nine, Seeger was supposed to play a concert at Temple University in Philadelphia. We arrived at the show to find out it was cancelled. Maybe a year later, I finally saw him at Town Hall in Philly. The great Texas blues singer Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins was his special guest. In 1961, when I was nine, Seeger was convicted of Contempt of Congress for refusing to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee six years before citing not the Fifth Amendment, but the First Amendment. He was sentenced to a year in prison. I wrote him a letter and he responded on photographic paper below pictures of his family and his cabin home in Beacon, New York, saying the case was under appeal. I still have that letter framed. I saw him again in concert not long after, and again in 1963.
At the concert in 1963, my life changed. It was only a few days after his famous concert at Carnegie Hall, released on Columbia, We Shall Overcome. Most of the songs at that concert weren’t old folk songs, but new songs. Songs from the Civil Rights demonstrations in the South and songs from a new group of folksingers in Greenwich Village, including songs by Tom Paxton and Bob Dylan. The Bob Dylan songs he sang that Father’s day afternoon were “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” I knew “Hard Rain” was like no other song I’d heard before. It was my introduction to Bob Dylan.
Pete Seeger in the cottonfields of Mississippi on tour with SNCC.
Over the next several years, I saw Seeger several more times, at Broadside Magazine Topical Song Hoots at the Village Gate, at innumerable anti-Vietnam rallies and demonstrations and in concert at Carnegie Hall. Seeger’s whole thing in concert was getting the audience to sing, and I will never forget being way up in one of the high balconies at Carnegie while the entire audience sang, “We Shall Overcome.” At the beginning of the documentary film on Seeger, Power Of Song, Bob Dylan (decades after Newport) described it perfectly:
Pete Seeger, he had this amazing ability to look at a group of people and make them sing parts of the song. He’d make an orchestration out of this simple little song with everybody in the audience singing, whether you wanted to or not, you’d find yourself singing a part. It was beautiful.
Seeger came from a musical family. His father was a musicologist. He attended Harvard in the same class as John F. Kennedy, but dropped out to learn folk music. He bummed around the country with Woody Guthrie, playing union halls. He sang protest and topical songs early on. He played with Leadbelly. And he was a communist.
But he was also one of the great collectors of folk music. He recorded hundreds of old ballads for Folkways. The Leadbelly films easily findable on youtube today are because of him. He consistently put other musicians first, and always pointed to those who came before.
In 1948, with Lee Hays, a fellow Almanac Singer, he formed The Weavers with Fred Hellerman and Ronnie Gilbert. They soon got a gig singing at The Village Vanguard where they were a big hit. Bandleader Gordon Jenkins saw them there, and signed them to Decca Records. Jenkins orchestra backed them. In 1950, they had a huge hit with Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene.” They had other hits and were set to have their own TV show, but in 1953 it all ended when they were identified as Communists in the magazine Red Channels. Seeger started playing solo shows at colleges and anywhere else he could play and wrote instruction books on the banjo, the guitar and the 12-string guitar.
In 1955, The Weavers reunited at Carnegie Hall and the concert was recorded by a small classical label Vanguard Records. The Weavers At Carnegie Hall kicked off the folk movement that bloomed in the ’60s. Every single folk group that came after is in their debt.
Though it is the last thing Seeger would want to be remembered for, he wrote or was involved in several hit records for other artists. With Lee Hays, he wrote “The Hammer Song,” better known as “If I Had A Hammer.” He wrote “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” and “Turn Turn Turn.” He brought “Wimoweh” later done by the Tokens as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” to this country. And he had an influence on the sound of several bands. Roger (originally Jim) McGuinn of the Byrds started out as a side musician playing guitar and banjo for The Chad Mitchell Trio, Bobby Darin and Judy Collins among others. His biggest influence on banjo and 12-string guitar was Pete Seeger. Mike Campbell, lead guitarist of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers was directly influenced by Jim McGuinn. Peter Buck of REM was influenced by both McGuinn and Campbell. It is not a stretch to say that there were thousands of kids who picked up a banjo and a guitar because of Pete Seeger and learned from his instruction books.
Seeger wrote a regular column for Sing Out!, the folksong magazine called “Johnny Appleseed Junior,” and that is how he saw himself musically, as the spreader of seeds. And some will argue his versions of songs were corruptions of the originals, but because of him a lot of people went back and found the old records and the original musicians and there is no doubt that is what Seeger wanted.
And there are some who will say The Weavers may have been the biggest corruptors of all. But The Weavers sang with a zest and a vibrancy that none of the groups who came after possessed. During the Woody Guthrie Centennial two years ago, I discovered a little known fact, that Guthrie himself rewrote his own songs so The Weavers could turn them into hits. He would sit on the floor of the studio while they were recording, rewriting his songs. He was into it!
The other Weavers referred to Seeger as “The Saint.” He quit the group after they recorded a commercial for L&M cigarettes.
In 1960 John Hammond took a bold step and signed Pete Seeger to Columbia Records, where he recorded some of his best albums, most of them live in concert. One of the best is called Strangers And Cousins recorded during his world tour in 1963 and 1964. On that record is a version of Dylan’s “Masters of War” recorded in Japan, while a translator translates the words to Japanese. It is one of the scariest renditions of that song.
Seeger was blacklisted from TV for most of the ’60s. In 1963, ABC TV started the Hootenanny Television show filmed live on college campuses with fresh faced folksingers. Hootenanny was a word coined by Seeger and Guthrie, but he was not allowed on show. Many singers including Joan Baez and Bob Dylan refused to appear o the show because of that. In the mid-’60s, Seeger finally got a television show, The Rainbow Quest on educational television, and presented innumerable musicians from Elizabeth Cotten to Richard and Mimi Farina to Judy Collins, Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt and Johnny Cash. Several of the episodes are on youtube. Finally in 1967, The Smothers Brothers invited him on their show. Seeger sang his original anti-Vietnam song, “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy,” but CBS cut it from the show. The Smothers Brothers persisted and finally in 1968, Seeger finally appeared on national TV singing that song. Johnny Cash followed suit a year or two later and had him on his ABC show, which was a hell of a bold move for a Nashville recording artist.
Seeger of course will be remembered for his activism as much as his music. He spoke out for peace, for civil rights, for justice and for environmentalism his entire life and never stopped. He risked his life going to the deep South early in the Civil Rights movement. In the ’30s and ’40s he sang for the unions. He sang for peace all over the world, and through his ship the sloop Clearwater, he is more responsible than anyone for cleaning up the Hudson River.
And in his own way, be could be pretty funny as his appearance not long ago on David Letterman’s show demonstrated. When he sang “This Land Is Your Land” with Springsteen at Obama’s inauguration in 2009, you could see the delight on his face as he sang the once banned verses of the song, especially the verse about the sign that said private property, but on the other side it didn’t say nothing. In 1965 or ’66 an article appeared in Sing Out!with the byline attributed to Seeger’s wife Toshi, that was a review of all of Seeger’s albums up to that point. It totally ripped into the records and his performing style, how he sang harmony to himself, tearing into his banjo and guitar style. Letters of protest followed in subsequent issues. Several months later, Seeger owned up to writing the article.
Unfortunately, Seeger is maligned in the online Bob Dylan community over Newport ’65. But Dylan made it clear in the movie clip and in an interview in Song Talk magazine in 1991 where he told interviewer, Paul Zollo, “Pete Seeger, he’s a great man,” that he doesn’t feel that way.
When Bruce Springsteen did his Seeger Sessions album and subsequent tour covering mostly the folk songs that Seeger recorded in the ’50s on Folkways, however well intentioned (and the shows and band were great), he kind of missed the point or more accurately the feel. The shows were a fun romp, but not much more than that. My memory of Seeger concerts was leaving them inspired and full of a now destroyed word called hope. The only performer I’ve seen who makes you leave a concert feeling that way is Arlo Guthrie, who of course recorded a couple of live albums and did several tours with Seeger. Seeger had the ability to make you believe that a peaceful world was achievable.
I stopped going to Pete Seeger concerts a long time ago. I didn’t need to anymore. But I still have all those records my dad bought me more than half a century ago, and every now and then I’ll pick one up in a used record store I didn’t get back then. To me, his example as a man who stood up, lived live on his own terms and never stopped speaking out is equaled by very few. He started me on this crazy road of a life in music and that’s something I’ll never forget.
Peter Stone Brown is a freelance writer and singer-songwriter.
The Myth of Cognitive Decline: Elderly Know More and Use it Better
A steady decline? Experts question whether the human brain really slows down with age.
Linguistic experts argue in new research that people’s brains do not slow down with age, but actually show the benefits of experience.
Tests that had previously been taken to show cognitive decline as people age, they maintain, are actually showing the effects of having more information to process.
The linguists, from the German University of Tübingen, publish their findings in the journal Topics in Cognitive Science (Ramscar et al., 2014).
While accepting that physiological diseases of old age clearly exist, they say that the usual cognitive changes associated with age are exactly what you’d expect as the brain gathers more experience.
As linguists, they decided to test their theory using words–specifically the number of words that a person learns across their lifetime.
They set up a computer simulation to model this. As the simulation got ‘older’, it began to slow down as it learnt more words–exactly as people do with ageing.
The lead author of the study, Michael Ramscar, explained it like this:
“Imagine someone who knows two people’s birthdays and can recall them almost perfectly. Would you really want to say that person has a better memory than a person who knows the birthdays of 2000 people, but can ‘only’ match the right person to the right birthday nine times out of ten?”
It’s not that people are forgetting words with age, it’s that there are more words competing for attention.
People face a similar problem with names: as they age, they learn more names, so one name is harder to recall because it is competing with a larger pool of alternate names in memory.
On top of this, names have become varied.
The authors give the example that in the 1880s, when trying to recall a woman’s first-name, there were about 100 equally possible alternatives.
Due to the greater variety in first-names now, however, you’d be trying to choose between 2,000 likely alternatives.
Age and experience
Even better news for the ageing population, the linguists argue, is that older people are actually making better use of the extra information that comes with experience.
On some tests, related to learning pairs of works, older people do better as they have access to more words which have been learnt over a lifetime.
What, you might wonder, about all the neurobiological evidence that the brain’s cognitive powers decline with age?
Well, excepting real diseases like Alzheimer’s, scientists have only discovered that the brain changes with age, not that these changes are the cause of any cognitive decline.
It has only been assumed that neurobiological changes in the brain are related to cognitive declines, since these two were thought to be happening simultaneously.
Now that there are questions over whether cognitive declines are really there, these neurobiological changes may have to be reassessed.
Is cognitive decline a myth?
If cognitive decline with age really is a myth then, the authors worry, simply being told that your brain slows down with age is damaging.
That’s because when people are told they are getting more stupid, they behave as though this were true.
The authors conclude by saying:
“…population aging is seen as a problem because of the fear that older adults will be a burden on society; what is more likely is that the myth of cognitive decline is leading to an absurd waste of human potential and human capital. It thus seems likely that an informed understanding of the cognitive costs and benefits of aging will benefit all society, not just its older members.” (Ramscar et al., 2014).
Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Until next week...keep on believing.
"Wisdom is with aged men, With long life is understanding. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green.”
(Job 12:12, Psalm 92:14)