"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
(Revelation 22:12)

My Reward

Dear Friends,

      Greetings. There are many different things changing in the world at a faster and faster pace. We have included several articles on diverse subjects, or so it would seem. Much of what is happening in the world today is being orchestrated to help pave the way for the rise of the antichrist and his one world government.

      Some of the articles are longer than usual but because of the nature of the subjects involved we felt inclined to maintain them in their entirety when and where possible.

      Things are changing, but there are also some things that do not change including Jesus, the Bible, and the promises contained therein which will help to lead us, guide us, and keep us in the unprecedented times into which we have entered.

      The time is soon coming, which many have already experienced, when promises such as, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 38-39)

      At the same time it could be said that we are living in very exciting times. Of all the people that have ever lived in the world, God chose to have us live in a time in which many believe, precedes the soon second coming of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom here on earth.

      If we think positively concerning this issue we could even apply a verse out of Matthew, chapter 13; "For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."

      So let's remember, God gives us "power for the hour". Don't worry, trust the Lord. He will see us through anything the devil or the world may try and throw at us.

      For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37)


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Raiders New Network

Comments On Coast To Coast AM About The Arrival Of The Jewish Messiah In 2012

Tom Horn

NOVEMBER 27, 2009

This last Wednesday on Coast to Coast AM, people were particularly taken with comments I made about the 700-year old Zohar predicting the arrival of the Jewish Messiah in the year 2012.

I must give credit where credit is due.

I was in my office earlier this year when Dr. J.R. Church of Prophecy in the News called me about my latest research, asking if I was aware that ancient orthodox Jewish prophets in the Zohar had predicted the arrival of their Messiah in the year 2012. I was not, and given that the Zohar is widely regarded the most important work of Jewish Kabbalah, J.R. certainly had my attention. Our conversation lasted about an hour with exciting details I am hoping to write soon, but involved several startling observations including those by a rabbi named Simeon:

"When the sixtieth year shall have passed over the threshold of the sixth millennium, the God of heaven will visit the daughter of Jacob with a preliminary remembrance. Another six and a half years will then elapse, and there will be a full remembrance of her ...

"This "sixtieth year" of the Jewish calendar, says J.R., passed over the "threshold of the sixth millennium" in the year 2000.

J.R. followed up in an email:

It was the Jewish year 5760. According to the 700 year-old prophecy, God will visit the "daughter" or remnant of Jacob with a "preliminary remembrance." Just what this preliminary remembrance should be is not clear. But what is clear, is that it is only preliminary. It is not the final arrival of the Messiah to establish the kingdom.

That this "remembrance" should occur around the year 2000 is quite interesting. The prophetic commentary continues by saying that the following "six and a half years" will conclude with a "full remembrance." The thirteenth-century rabbinical commentary continues:

"Then all the nations shall combine together against the daughter of Jacob in order to drive her from the world. It is of that time that it is written: "And it is a time of trouble unto Jacob, but out of it he shall be saved" (Jeremiah 30:7)."

This ancient rabbinical dissertation claims that Rome will be destroyed in the Jewish calendar year 5773, which, in our calendar begins with the new moon of September 2012 and concludes a year later:

"In the year seventy-three [2012 / 2013] the kings of the world will assemble in the great city of Rome, and the Holy One will shower on them fire and hail and meteoric stones until they are all destroyed, with the exception of those who will not yet have arrived there."

Besides the obvious revelations of the Zohar prophecies, another thing that immediately stood out to me was how among other scholars of the implications of the year 2012, a few have pointed to a prophecy by Malachy O'Morgair, or "St. Malachy" as he is known to Catholics, having to do with "the last pope." This prophecy, taken from St. Malachy's "Prophecy of the Popes," is among a list of verses predicting each of the Roman Catholic popes from Pope Celestine II to the final pope, "Peter the Roman," whose reign would end in the destruction of Rome. According to Malachy's prophecy, the next pope (following Benedict the 16th) is to be the final pontiff, Petrus Romanus, or "Peter the Roman." He will assume authority during a time of great tribulation, and then "the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible and fearsome Judge will judge his people."

So both the 700-year old prophecies of the Jewish Zohar and 870-year old prophecies of the Catholic St. Malachy focused on the timeframe 2012, with very similar predictions of the rise of a "Messiah" combined with the destruction of Rome.

(And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. Daniel 11:45)

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theage.com.au

Faithful funds help museum prepare for the end

JASON KOUTSOUKIS, JERUSALEM.

November 14, 2009

Yehuda Glick, director of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, is preparing for the arrival of the Messiah. Photo: Gali Tibbon

YEHUDA Glick is a 44-year-old US-born Jew who spends the greater part of every day preparing for the arrival of the Messiah in Jerusalem.

Since becoming executive director of the Temple Institute, Mr Glick's main task has been to supervise the manufacture of the utensils needed by the high priests when the day arrives.

Crowns and other instruments made of solid gold fill glass cases in the Temple Institute Museum in Jerusalem's Old City. There are trumpets made of silver and garments to be worn by the high priest woven from golden thread. Handmade harps and lyres lie ready for the Messiah's appearance.

So, when can we expect this momentous event?

''That is a very good question,'' Mr Glick told The Age this week.

''All that we know is that we are now living in the age of miracles, and all of those miracles are predicted in the Book as happening on the eve of the end of days,'' he said. ''It could well be tomorrow, but it might be another 100 years, or even 400 years.''

We are sitting in the Quarter Cafe in the Jewish sector of the Old City, overlooking the most contested religious site on Earth.

Jews call it the Temple Mount, or Mount Moriah, and believe it to be the site of the Foundation Stone, where God gathered the dust to create Adam.

Muslims call it al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, and believe it to be the spot from which the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven on his miraculous night journey. According to Judaism, the Temple Mount is also the site of the first temple constructed by King Solomon. After it was destroyed, a second temple was built around 500BC, and stood for 500 years before it was destroyed by the Romans.

Judaism holds that a third temple will be built upon the arrival of the Messiah. ''That is why we have engaged two architects,'' says Mr Glick. ''It will be a modern building, with car parks and elevators, but it will look very much like the second temple.'' The museum contains a scale model of this third temple.

Today, the site is dominated by the al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock. The Old City is in East Jerusalem, territory occupied by Israel in June 1967 and subsequently annexed by the state, a move that has never been legally recognised by the international community.

''Al-Aqsa can stay,'' says Mr Glick. ''It's not even on the Temple Mount proper. But we intend to just build over the Dome of the Rock. We might be able to find a way to include it in the third temple.''

Since its foundation, the Temple Institute has become a fixture for Americans on evangelical tours of Israel. Thanks largely to their donations, the Temple Institute has so far spent $US27 million ($A29 million) on preparations.

''We started with $US100,'' says Mr Glick. ''There are 70 million evangelical Christians around the world, and most of them have become Israel's strongest supporters.''

Mr Glick is interrupted by the arrival of another US tour group. Among them is Johnnie Butler, a retiree from Missouri on his first visit to the Holy Land.

''I would be willing to die for Israel,'' Mr Butler told The Age. ''Ever since I was saved by Jesus, I have been praying for the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.''

Ordinarily, the state of Israel prevents Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. It's considered so sensitive that when then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited with hundreds of Israeli riot police in September 2000, it sparked a wave of violence that came to be known as the second (or al-Aqsa) intifada, or ''uprising''.

''This 'Temple Institute' is a right-wing extremist movement interested in nothing more than provocation,'' says Khatem Abdel Qader, the Palestinian Authority minister in charge of Jerusalem affairs.

''We will vigorously defend our right to manage this site. No amount of insulting behaviour from these people will succeed in removing us.''

***

haaretz.com

If the Vilna Gaon was right, the 3rd Temple is on its way

By Nir Hasson

30/11/2009

If the 18th-century rabbinic authority the Vilna Gaon was right, on March 16, 2010, construction will begin on the third Temple. His projection states that the auspicious day will coincide with the third completion of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter.

The great day is at hand: On March 15, the reconstructed Hurva Synagogue, considered the most important house of prayer in Jerusalem will be rededicated. It was last destroyed in the War of Independence.

The Hurva, whose name means "ruin," was initially built by disciples of Rabbi Judah Hahasid in the early 18th century. It was destroyed shortly thereafter by Muslims demanding the return of loans given to build the synagogue. After it was rebuilt in the mid-19th century, it became the most important synagogue in the country, but it was blown up in 1948 by the Jordan Legion a few days before the fall of the Jewish Quarter in the War of Independence.

In 2001, after years of debate, the government decided to restore the building.

The historic building, whose famous dome one more dominates the skyline of the Jewish Quarter, has now been meticulously recreated, including furnishings and wall frescoes.

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CNN

Climate head steps down over e-mail leak

December 3, 2009 4:32 a.m. EST

Global warming scandal

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

E-mails cause controversy at hearing on global warming on Capitol Hill

Top U.K. climate research chief steps down after stolen e-mails are leaked online

Professor Phil Jones steps aside while investigation into leak is carried out

Jones apologizes for the tone of some e-mails but backs the findings of climate scientists

London, England (CNN) -- The director of a U.K. research unit that has been at the center of a row over climate change data has said he is standing down from his post while an independent review is conducted.

Professor Phil Jones, director of the U.K.'s University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit said he stands by the science produced at the center but while the investigation takes place it was important that the CRU "continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible."

His decision, which has received the full backing of the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Acton, to stand down came after hundreds of private e-mails were published on the Internet when a computer hacker breached the security of the CRU database in November.

The stolen material has since made its way onto numerous Web sites that are skeptical about climate change. The leaks have led to claims that the files were stolen in an attempt to undermine the climate talks which start next week in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"One has to wonder if it is a coincidence that this e-mail correspondence has been stolen and published at this time. This may be a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks." Jones said in a statement on the University's Web site.

The e-mails also caused controversy on Capitol Hill where a congressional hearing on global warming was under way Wednesday.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin said the e-mails in question poke a hole in the conclusion that the question of human influence on climate change is settled. The Republican said the E-mails "read more like scientific fascism than scientific process."

Rep. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, called the focus on the e-mails a distraction from the "catastrophic threat to our planet."

Jones admitted that some of the emails that were published "do not read well" but he apologized for the "upset" and "confusion" they may have caused. But he remained confident of the data that the CRU and other climate institutions are collecting.

***

Telegraph.co.uk

Climategate e-mails sweep America, may scuttle Barack Obama's Cap and Trade laws

By Gerald Warner Politics

November 26th, 2009

Just a few considerations in addition to previous remarks about the explosion of the East Anglia Climategate e-mails in America. The reaction is growing exponentially there. Fox News, Barack Obama's Nemesis, is now on the case, trampling all over Al Gore's organic vegetable patch and breaking the White House windows. It has extracted some of the juiciest quotes from the e-mails and displayed them on-screen, with commentaries. Joe Public, coast-to-coast, now knows, thanks to the clowns at East Anglia's CRU, just how royally he has been screwed.

Senator James Inhofe's Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has written to all the relevant US Government agencies, acquainting them with the nature of the e-mails. But the real car crash for Obama is on Capitol Hill where it is now confidently believed his Cap and Trade climate legislation is toast. It was always problematic; but with a growing awakening to the scale of the scientific imposture sweeping the world, as far as the Antipodes, the clever money is on Cap and Trade laws failing to pass, with many legislators sceptical and the mid-term elections looming ever closer.

At the more domestic level, the proposed ban on incandescent light bulbs, so supinely accepted in this servile state of Britain, is now provoking a huge backlash in America. US citizens do not like the government coming into their houses and putting their lights out. Voters may not understand the cut and thrust of climate debate at the technical level, but they know when the Man from Washington has crossed their threshold uninvited.

The term that Fox News is now applying to the Climategate e-mails is "game-changer". For the first time, Anthropogenic Global Warming cranks are on the defensive, losing their cool and uttering desperate mantras such as "You can be sceptical, not denial." Gee, thanks, guys. In fact we shall be whatever we want to be, without asking your permission.

At this rate, Copenhagen is going to turn into a comedy convention with the real world laughing at these liars. Now is the time to mount massive resistance to the petty tyrants and hit them where it hurts - in the wallet. Further down the line there may be, in many countries, a question of criminal prosecution of anybody who has falsified data to secure funds and impose potentially disastrous fiscal restraints on the world in deference to a massive hoax. It's a new world out there, Al, and, as you may have noticed, the climate is very cold indeed.

Gerald Warner is an author, broadcaster, columnist and polemical commentator who writes about politics, religion, history, culture and society in general.

***

REUTERS

Big developing states reject Copenhagen climate plan

Dec 2, 2009

By Krittivas Mukherjee and Gerard Wynn

NEW DELHI/LONDON (Reuters) - China and other big developing nations rejected core targets for a climate deal such as halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 just five days before talks start in Copenhagen, diplomats said on Wednesday.

China, the world's top emitter, together with India, Brazil and South Africa demand that richer nations do more and have drawn "red lines" limiting what they themselves would accept, the diplomats told Reuters.

The four rejected key targets proposed by the Danish climate talks hosts in a draft text -- halving global greenhouse gases by 2050, setting a 2020 deadline for a peak in world emissions, and limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, European diplomats said.

Developing nations want richer countries to do much more to cut their emissions now before they agree to global emissions targets which they fear may shift the burden of action to them, and crimp their economic growth.

"We cannot agree to the 50/50 (halving emissions by 2050) because it implies that ... the remaining (cuts) must be done by developing countries," South Africa's chief climate negotiator Alf Wills said, partly confirming the EU diplomats' comments.

Rich nations' carbon offers so far were far below those recommended by a U.N. panel of scientists, Wills told Reuters, making clear that developing nations could change their stance if industrialized states tightened their carbon targets.

The dispute underscored a rich-poor rift which has haunted the two-year talks to agree a new global climate deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2013 and dampens hopes of rescuing the December 7-18 Copenhagen summit.

A legally binding deal is already out of reach for the U.N. talks, with only a political deal possible.

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Neithercorp Press -

Recent World Events Indicate Impending Market Chaos

Giordano Bruno

December 2, 2009

For the past couple years we have been covering every nuance of the economic collapse and in almost every instance we have come to the conclusion that 2010 would be the year that the U.S. would see an incredible downturn, possibly resulting in the inflationary disintegration of the Dollar, and a major stock market revolt which would destroy any remaining illusion Americans still have that a recovery is in progress.

We are now on the edge of winter 2009, and recent events across the globe indicate more and more that our predictions for 2010 were correct. Let's examine some of those events and their implications now...

Dubai: Why Should We Care?

Only a year ago, Dubai was the jewel of the Middle East. A financial Mecca centered in the midst of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has been nicknamed the "Global City," not necessarily because its population is "globally conscious," but because without investment from numerous foreign nations, Dubai would not exist.

Dubai is often mistaken as an oil rich nation, but the fact is, only 6% of Dubai's GDP is supported by oil revenue. The vast remaining portion of Dubai's economy operates completely on money from the U.S., China, Europe, and other foreign interests.

Since the "Great Recession" began in 2007, rumors of a systematic financial collapse in Dubai have circulated, along with reports of frozen investment, and even abandoned Real Estate projects that have left the country looking like a ghost town. In the past week, those rumors have been officially confirmed.

Essentially, Dubai is bankrupt, and this news has sent a shockwave through markets around the world. But why? Why would Dubai's bankruptcy affect U.S. markets?

The first thing that we must understand is that this is the result of living in a "globalized" economy. Instead of having sovereign and self sufficient financial systems that act as checks to total world collapse, we now have "interdependent" economies connected like a chain of dominoes. All it takes is for one to tip over, and the others follow suit.

If a once explosive economy like that of Dubai's is now on the edge of insolvency, this means Western companies are incredibly weak and unable to invest any longer. Dubai's collapse indicates that the capital that once flowed from rich nations like the U.S. has dried up. The world is reeling, and perhaps even broke. Dubai is the canary in the coal mine, and the canary has just dropped dead. The signal is clear; the astounding resurgence of world markets is an illusion built on nothing but fantasy and fiat money printed out of thin air and used to prop up the Dow. Dubai has kicked off the coming avalanche, but there is more...

Chinese Banks Frantically Try To Raise Capital?

A recent event that has gone almost completely ignored by MSM economists was the announcement that Chinese banks are now under government pressure to shore up their finances, and are set to unleash a wave of billions of dollars in capital raising that could strain equity markets.

The Chinese government seems to be very concerned about the financial cushion available to the country's banks.

Over the next year or more, Chinese financial institutions will be pulling billions of Yuan out of various investments, selling stocks and bonds in order to raise a massive amount of capital, but for what?

The move appears quite sudden, as if the push for capital is meant as a hedge for a possible panic event, much like an inside trader selling off his shares in a company because he knows it is about to go bust. Either these banks are much weaker than the Chinese government has let on in its economic reports, or, they are expecting a severe downturn in the markets, which would explain why they need billions of Yuan as a parachute. Either way, as soon as the Chinese begin pulling capital out of U.S. markets (in which they are heavily invested) we can expect to see the DOW falter drastically.

The shoring up of billions of Yuan could also indicate that the Chinese are preparing to dump more U.S. treasuries, as they did a couple of months ago.

The dollar has been dropping steadily and hard, and eventually, China and other nations with large dollar holdings will attempt to move out of U.S. treasuries. A 300 billion Yuan capital pool may be intended as a hedge to protect against a U.S. dollar collapse, allowing China to eventually dump their T-bonds without completely destroying their own savings in the process.

We also reported recently on China's move to bring the ASEAN economic block to fruition, along with the announcement that ASEAN and all countries involved may take on the Yen as their "reserve currency."

This new trade agreement along with an internationally traded Yen would put China in a prime position to drop its reliance on the U.S. and the Dollar. All signs indicate a move toward separation from the traditional economic agreement between China and the U.S. will occur in 2010.

Trouble Brewing In Japan

The MSM has been relatively quiet on Japan's current financial condition, perhaps because its condition is growing increasingly worse, and this reflects poorly on the condition of the U.S. Dollar.

Japan is another Asian country that once relied heavily of American consumption as a support mechanism for its economy. This mechanism has survived due to the Yen's relative weakness to the Greenback, allowing for a profitable trade deficit in Japan's favor. However, Japanese exports have taken a tremendous hit due to the Dollar's steady decline, falling between 20% and 30% every month for the past year.

This major decline in exports (Japan's bread and butter) has caused a deflationary trend in Japanese markets, as well as sending the middle class there into a mode of savings and self protection. Japanese companies have attempted to stall job-loss in the country by cutting the pay of their employees, instead of issuing pink slips. This has resulted however in many families being "equally" on the edge of poverty.

In August 2009, elections placed the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in power, a regime change that has not occurred since 1955. The new Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, has announced publicly and often that he would like Japan to break from its reliance on the American economy and form more tightly with the ASEAN trading bloc.

For now, Hatoyama feels that this move would take some time, and that America's economic dominance will be weakened but sustained. However, if Japan's deflationary spiral continues at its current pace due to a weak dollar, a dollar being slowly destroyed by the private Federal Reserve, he may change his mind about a timetable for joining ASEAN and breaking from the U.S.

Japan holds a substantial amount of U.S Treasury debt, meaning just like in the case of China, if these treasuries are dumped, our currency will implode.

Gold Buying Bonanza By Foreign Central Banks

We have reported for a long time on China's quiet gold buying habits which have increased it reserves by 75% or more since 2003.

These reserves have probably been expanded much more in the past few months, and China has indicated a desire to increase its gold holdings from 1600 tons to 6000 tons in the next few years!

But even bigger news is the announcement that India has bought 200 tons of gold from the IMF and may buy 200 more.

The IMF originally offered up the 400 ton gold sale in the midst of one of the biggest gold rallies in recent history, obviously as an attempt to flood the market and manipulate the price down. The attempt failed, and gold has surged to nearly $1200 an ounce in the past couple months.

Russia has also been stocking gold, buying 15.6 tons in October and bringing their reserves to approximately 606 tons. Not only this, but Russia has also announced its intentions to diversify into other national currencies and away from the dollar. Even the Chinese Yuan may be included in Russia's forex.

Numerous nations are obviously moving to protect themselves. Right now, gold is the only currency alternative to the dollar that is accepted everywhere (until the SDR gets rolling). Gold buying indicates that these countries fully expect market turmoil and dollar weakness to continue and perhaps escalate.

Bad Signs On The Homefront

The situation in American employment, credit, currency, and real estate has only become worse since the federal stimulus plan was instituted. "Official" unemployment has soared to 10.2% while REAL unemployment according to the U-6 measurement is around 18%.

Real Estate continues to be incredibly weak, and mortgage payment delinquencies and bankruptcy have grown unabated.

Over 125 banks across the country have been closed in 2009. You can see the FDIC's closed bank list here.

The FDIC has announced that it has officially run out of funds, and is now in the red for $8.2 billion (that they admit to, the real amount could be much more). The FDIC is now pulling funds directly from the Treasury to cover future bank losses. This puts even more of a strain on the already crumbling dollar.

American's buying habits are perhaps the biggest indicator that something is very wrong. Polls indicate the 93% of U.S. consumers will most likely spend much less this Christmas season then they did the last, and many of them will not be using credit cards.

The U.S. economy has been fueled by easy credit for decades. The fact that Americans have dumped credit in favor of cash means they will be spending FAR less this holiday season than any MSM economist wants to admit to. I believe the seasonal retail numbers for 2009 will be startling to many who are not aware of the true condition of the economy, and who have blindly believed the Federal Reserve's announcements that the recession is "over."

We have predicted for at least the past two years that the primary collapse of the U.S. economy would occur in 2010. We stand by that prediction. Our hopes remain that this prediction will be proven incorrect, and that all will be well, however we have no illusions according to the current data that this will be so. Neither Corporation encourages all of our readers to examine the conditions and information for themselves, and we request that all those who find our conclusions to be correct should make preparations to protect your savings and the well being of your families.

A climactic economic event is on the horizon, and the train is already in motion. We may not be able stop the event from taking shape, but together we can determine its outcome. All those who value truth, liberty, and an honorable society, should be ready not only to save themselves, but to save each other, and to save their country. The time for readiness grows short.

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Bloomberg.com

Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public:

Alice Schroeder

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- "I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit," said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

I called Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag to ask whether it's true that Goldman partners feel they need handguns to protect themselves from the angry proletariat. He didn't call me back. The New York Police Department has told me that "as a preliminary matter" it believes some of the bankers I inquired about do have pistol permits. The NYPD also said it will be a while before it can name names.

While we wait, Goldman has wrapped itself in the flag of Warren Buffett, with whom it will jointly donate $500 million, part of an effort to burnish its image -- and gain new Goldman clients.

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein also reversed himself after having previously called Goldman's greed "God's work" and apologized earlier this month for having participated in things that were "clearly wrong."

Has it really come to this? Imagine what emotions must be billowing through the halls of Goldman Sachs to provoke the firm into an apology. Talk that Goldman bankers might have armed themselves in self-defense would sound ludicrous, were it not so apt a metaphor for the way that the most successful people on Wall Street have become a target for public rage.

Pistol Ready

Common sense tells you a handgun is probably not even all that useful. Suppose an intruder sneaks past the doorman or jumps the security fence at night. By the time you pull the pistol out of your wife's jewelry safe, find the ammunition, and load your weapon, Fifi the Pomeranian has already been taken hostage and the gun won't do you any good. As for carrying a loaded pistol when you venture outside, dream on. Concealed gun permits are almost impossible for ordinary citizens to obtain in New York or nearby states.

In other words, a little humility and contrition are probably the better route.

Until a couple of weeks ago, that was obvious to everyone but Goldman, a firm famous for both prescience and arrogance. In a display of both, Blankfein began to raise his personal- security threat level early in the financial crisis. He keeps a summer home near the Hamptons, where unrestricted public access would put him at risk if the angry mobs rose up and marched to the East End of Long Island.

To the Barricades

He tried to buy a house elsewhere without attracting attention as the financial crisis unfolded in 2007, a move that was foiled by the New York Post. Then, Blankfein got permission from the local authorities to install a security gate at his house two months before Bear Stearns Cos. collapsed.

This is the kind of foresight that Goldman Sachs is justly famous for. Blankfein somehow anticipated the persecution complex his fellow bankers would soon suffer. Surely, though, this man who can afford to surround himself with a private army of security guards isn't sleeping with the key to a gun safe under his pillow. The thought is just too bizarre to be true.

So maybe other senior people at Goldman Sachs have gone out and bought guns, and they know something. But what?

Henry Paulson, U.S. Treasury secretary during the bailout and a former Goldman Sachs CEO, let it slip during testimony to Congress last summer when he explained why it was so critical to bail out Goldman Sachs, and -- oh yes -- the other banks. People "were unhappy with the big discrepancies in wealth, but they at least believed in the system and in some form of market-driven capitalism. But if we had a complete meltdown, it could lead to people questioning the basis of the system."

Torn Curtain

There you have it. The bailout was meant to keep the curtain drawn on the way the rich make money, not from the free market, but from the lack of one. Goldman Sachs blew its cover when the firm's revenue from trading reached a record $27 billion in the first nine months of this year, and a public that was writhing in financial agony caught on that the profits earned on taxpayer capital were going to pay employee bonuses.

This slip-up let the other bailed-out banks happily hand off public blame to Goldman, which is unpopular among its peers because it always seems to win at everyone's expense.

Plenty of Wall Streeters worry about the big discrepancies in wealth, and think the rise of a financial industry-led plutocracy is unjust. That doesn't mean any of them plan to move into a double-wide mobile home as a show of solidarity with the little people, though.

Cool Hand Lloyd

No, talk of Goldman and guns plays right into the way Wall- Streeters like to think of themselves. Even those who were bailed out believe they are tough, macho Clint Eastwoods of the financial frontier, protecting the fistful of dollars in one hand with the Glock in the other. The last thing they want is to be so reasonably paid that the peasants have no interest in lynching them.

And if the proles really do appear brandishing pitchforks at the doors of Park Avenue and the gates of Round Hill Road, you can be sure that the Goldman guys and their families will be holed up in their safe rooms with their firearms. If nothing else, that pistol permit might go part way toward explaining why they won't be standing outside with the rest of the crowd, broke and humiliated, saying, "Damn, I was on the wrong side of a trade with Goldman again."

(Alice Schroeder, author of "The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life" and a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

(For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36

Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. James 5:1-6

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. Ecclesiastes 5:8)

***

Telegraph.co.uk

EU President takes office as Lisbon Treaty enters into force

The EU's first president, Herman Van Rompuy, officially took office Tuesday as the bloc's reforming Lisbon Treaty entered into force, giving the European project a human face as it enters a new era.

01 Dec 2009

Belgium's PM Van Rompuy and EU Trade Commissioner Ashton arrive at a news conference after being elected respectively as EU President and EU foreign policy chief Photo: REUTERS

Baroness Catherine Ashton at the same time became the European Union's foreign policy supremo - a post already dubbed "EU foreign minister".

The treaty, drawn up to replace the aborted EU constitution, is designed to boost the bloc's global standing and streamline the institutions which represent half a billion people.

Catherine Ashton prepares to replace Javier Solana as EU foreign chief

"The Treaty of Lisbon puts citizens at the centre of the European project" EU Commission chief José Manuel Barroso said in a statement.

The treaty will also reinforce the EU parliament's role and cut the number of national vetoes on European policy.

"The EU will be better equipped to meet expectations in the fields of energy, climate change, cross-border crime and immigration. It will also be able to speak with a stronger voice on the international scene," promised Mr Barroso.

But most attention is on the two new top jobs, the most immediate and visible effects of the treaty which came into being at midnight (2300 GMT on Monday).

The 27 EU heads of state and government chose Mr Van Rompuy, who was the serving Belgian prime minister, for the top jobs at a summit this month after much behind-the-scenes horse-trading.

His post, the President of the European Council is for a two-and-a-half year term renewable once.

One goal is to give the EU a more stable leadership than the current system, whereby the EU presidency rotates among the member states every six months.

The leaders also chose Ashton, who was EU trade commissioner, to become the bloc's high representative for foreign and security affairs for a straight five years.

A ceremony to mark the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, and the positions it creates, will take in the Portuguese capital on Tuesday, where the text was first signed, with Mr Van Rompuy and Lady Ashton attending.

***

arstechnica

Sprint fed customer GPS data to cops over 8 million times

A blogger has released audio of Sprint's Electronic Surveillance Manager describing the carrier's cooperation with law enforcement. Among the revelations are that Sprint has so far filled over 8 million requests from LEOs for customer GPS data.

By Jon Stokes

December 1, 2009 5:38 PM

Christopher Soghoian, a graduate student at Indiana University's School of Informatics and Computing, has made public an audio recording of Sprint/Nextel's Electronic Surveillance Manager describing how his company has provided GPS location data about its wireless customers to law enforcement over 8 million times. That's potentially millions of Sprint/Nextel customers who not only were probably unaware that their wireless provider even had an Electronic Surveillance Department, but who certainly did not know that law enforcement offers could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they've been and where they are.

Through a mix of documents unearthed by Freedom of Information Act requests and the aforementioned recording, Soghoian describes how "the government routinely obtains customer records from ISPs detailing the telephone numbers dialed, text messages, emails and instant messages sent, web pages browsed, the queries submitted to search engines, and geolocation data, detailing exactly where an individual was located at a particular date and time."

The fact that federal, state, and local law enforcement can obtain communications "metadata"--URLs of sites visited, e-mail message headers, numbers dialed, GPS locations, etc.--without any real oversight or reporting requirements should be shocking, but it isn't. The courts ruled in 2005 that law enforcement doesn't need to show probable cause to obtain your physical location via the cell phone grid. All of the aforementioned metadata can be accessed with an easy-to-obtain pen register/trap & trace order. But given the volume of requests, it's hard to imagine that the courts are involved in all of these.

Soghoian's lengthy post makes at least two important points, the first of which is that there are no reliable statistics on the real volume and scope of government surveillance because such numbers are either not published (sometimes in violation of the legally mandated reporting requirements) or they contain huge gaps. The second point is that the lack of reporting makes it difficult to determine just how involved the courts actually are in all of this, in terms of whether these requests are all backed by subpoenas.

Underlying both of these issues is the fact that Sprint has made it so easy for law enforcement to gain access to customer data on a 24/7 basis through the use of its Web portal and large compliance department. Regarding the latter, here's another quote from Paul Taylor, the aforementioned

Sprint/Nextel Electronic Surveillance Manager:

"In the electronic surveillance group at Sprint, I have 3 supervisors. 30 ES techs, and 15 contractors. On the subpoena compliance side, which is anything historical, stored content, stored records, is about 35 employees, maybe 4-5 supervisors, and 30 contractors. There's like 110 all together."

All of those people are there solely to serve up customer data to law enforcement, and other comments by Taylor indicate that his staff will probably grow. Sprint only recently made the GPS data available through the Web portal, and that has caused the number of requests to go through the roof. The company apparently plans on expanding the menu of surveillance options that are accessible via the Web.

***

On the Commons

Stealth Treaty Seeks Strict Controls Over Internet

David Bollier -

December 2, 2009

ACTA will make YouTube, Flickr, and Blogger impossible.

A sweeping international treaty to regulate how knowledge and creativity may flow on the Internet is now being negotiated. Haven't heard of it? Funny thing, that's exactly what the backers of the treaty want. The film, music, publishing and information industries don't want a public debate about the issues or an open debate in Congress. So they have been working hand-in-glove with the U.S.

Trade Representative to move U.S. policymaking offshore and throw a dark cloak of secrecy around everything. The next stop: draconian penalties for anyone who is accused of violating copyright law.

Details about the treaty are murky. But the latest draft, according to a leak summarized on the Boing

Boing website, would require:

That Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the U.S. and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.

Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM [Digital Rights Management systems], even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM).

***

New York Times

In Month of Giving, a Healthy Reward

By Tara Parker-Pope

December 1, 2009

When Cami Walker of Los Angeles learned three years ago that she had multiple sclerosis, her health and her spirits plummeted--until she got an unusual prescription from a holistic health educator.

Ms. Walker, now 36, scribbled the idea in her journal. And though she dismissed it at first, after weeks of fatigue, insomnia, pain and preoccupation with her symptoms, she decided to give it a try. The treatment and her experience with it are summed up in the title of her new book, "29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life" (Da Capo Press).

Ms. Walker gave a gift a day for 29 days--things like making supportive phone calls or saving a piece of chocolate cake for her husband. The giving didn't cure her multiple sclerosis, of course. But it seems to have had a startling effect on her ability to cope with it. She is more mobile and less dependent on pain medication. The flare-ups that routinely sent her to the emergency room have stopped, and scans show that her disease has stopped progressing.

"My first reaction was that I thought it was an insane idea," Ms. Walker said. "But it has given me a more positive outlook on life. It's about stepping outside of your own story long enough to make a connection with someone else."

And science appears to back her up. "There's no question that it gives life a greater meaning when we make this kind of shift in the direction of others and get away from our own self-preoccupation and problems," said Stephen G. Post, director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University on Long Island and a co-author of "Why Good Things Happen to Good People" (Broadway, 2007). "But it also seems to be the case that there is an underlying biology involved in all this."

An array of studies have documented this effect. In one, a 2002 Boston College study, researchers found that patients with chronic pain fared better when they counseled other pain patients, experiencing less depression, intense pain and disability.

Another study, at the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, Calif., also found a strong benefit to volunteerism, and after controlling for a number of variables, showed that elderly people who volunteered for more than four hours a week were 44 percent less likely to die during the study period.

How giving can lead to mental and physical changes in health isn't entirely clear, although studies suggest that altruism may be an antidote to stress. A Miami study of patients with H.I.V. found that those with strong altruistic characteristics had lower levels of stress hormones.

By contrast, being self-centered may be damaging to health. In one study of 150 heart patients, researchers found that people in the study who had more "self-references" (those who talked about themselves at length or used more first-person pronouns) had more severe heart disease and did worse on treadmill tests.

And like Ms. Walker, numerous people have reported feeling better after helping others. A 1988 Psychology Today article dubbed the effect the "helper's high." Analyzing two separate surveys of a total of 3,200 women who regularly volunteered, the article described a physical response from volunteering, similar to the results of vigorous exercise or meditation. The strongest effect was seen when the act of altruism involved direct contact with other people.

For Ms. Walker, a former creative director for an advertising agency, most of the gifts involved time, emotional support or small acts of kindness. After the first 29 days, she began a new cycle, a pattern she continues. Neither she nor Mbali Creazzo, the spiritual adviser who taught her about the month of giving, knows why it is 29 days rather than 30 or 31--it may have something to do with the lunar cycle, which is 29.5 days.

Ms. Walker says she now approaches daily giving as a crucial part of her treatment, just like regular medication. She has also found new purpose in her experience and started a Web site that encourages giving to improve health.

"Giving for 29 days is not suggested as a cure for anything," Ms. Walker said. "It's simply a coping mechanism and a simple tool you can use that can help you change your thinking about whatever is going on. If you change your thinking, you change your experience."

Dr. Post, of Stony Brook, agreed. "To rid yourself of negative emotional states," he said, "you need to push them aside with positive emotional states. "And the simplest way to do that is to just go out and lend a helping hand to somebody."

***

Sounds like a great way to help self-medicate these types of health problems. The Bible in the book of Mark, even goes further in chapter 8 ,verse 35; "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it" and John 15:13 says; "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

As we approach Christmas the emphasis at this time of year is once again remembering the greatest act of love ever shown mankind, when God sacrificed His only begotten Son for our sakes, that we may live and be with Him for all eternity. (John 3:16)

If you have not already experienced this free gift of love you can do so right now by simply opening your heart and life to Jesus and asking Him to come into your heart and to give you His gift of eternal life. God loves you and wants you to live in His paradise, New Jerusalem. He has already prepared living accommodation for you. β€œIn my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) See you there!

Until next week...

Almondtree Productions

β€œBut God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 5:8)


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