Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrinethem that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”
(Isaiah 28:9-10)

Precept Upon Precept

Dear Friends,

Greetings! Our introduction this week is by friend and colleague Mark McMillion. Mark has contributed articles in the past to People of the Keys. This article was written after a well known Christian leader gave a specific time frame for the second coming of Jesus. This article also appeared in Christianity Today

The Whites of Their Eyes”

Posted on October 29, 2014

There used to be an old saying, “Don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!” Maybe that was what was said by military commanders 200 years ago or so. But the idea I guess was that you don’t shoot your gun till the target is close enough that you can actually see what you’re shooting at.

And that principle could certainly apply to modern pronouncements on Bible prophecy. I’m appalled at times by how many people are convinced without a doubt that… (take your pick) …Obama is the Antichrist? The Pope… no, wait; Islam is the seedbed and fountain head of all evil, the primordial force of Satan in the last days? And on it goes.

They” are out to get us. Five years ago in Houston I was in a gathering of sober and sincere Christians and we were told that the roads out of Houston would be blockaded within 6 months… 6 months I tell you!… and everyone would be corralled in FEMA camps. A very serious Christian brother was telling this to us. That was in 2009. And on it goes.

As a person who utterly believes in the coming of the Lord and that we’re very likely living in the endtime, it interests me and also saddens me that there are so very many “Wolf, Wolf” calls coming from so many Christians at this time.

The Apostle Paul said, “Judge nothing before its time…” (I Corinthians 4:5) But this admonition is rejected or forgotten by so many Christians today as they jump on their soap box or band wagon to shout the latest “warning” which ends up being another false pronouncement and false dawn of troubles to come.

Invariable there is no accountability for the false proclaimer of immediate doom. But without hesitation or twinge of conscience they’ll re-proclaim their next declaration of imminent doom for a date another 6 months away. And virtually no one calls them on it or takes note of these ones who constantly proclaim imminent woe and it doesn’t come to pass as they’ve told us it would.

And yet I don’t disagree with much of what they are saying; just the continual over-specific-ness of their declaration, plus the fact that so often they just end up plain wrong. That’s the problem.

Very many see and realize that we live in dire times. But the common thing to do for many Christian commentators is to personally declare that some very short and specific length of time will expire before “the very end” is upon us.

Like the guy said, “Don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes”. Jesus actually gave us some very specific things to look forward to, in the gospels, concerning the times leading up to His return. In my video series on the book of Daniel I have gone over some of those specific points, such as the appearance of “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place”. (Matthew 24:15) This was the sign Jesus said to watch for which would mark the beginning of the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21) which is said to be in a surprising number of places a length of time of 3½ years. Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29) is when He would return to gather His elect, His people.

I utterly believe this and numerous other things that are solid, bedrock doctrines that completely hold up to scrutiny. But present Christian dialog among believers on the coming of the Lord is cluttered, strewn and clogged with false declarations and false declarers. It seems the gullibility of His sheep is successfully taken advantage of over and over again.

Does it matter? Can’t we just go on enjoying the latest shout of woe, regardless of whether it is founded in God’s truth and actual reality? Jesus said “It would be better that a millstone be hung about your neck and that you be drowned in the sea than that you offend one of these little ones” (Matthew 18:6), one of His searching sheep, longing for the truth and looking to what they can find in Christianity to see if the truth is there. How many are stumbled and turned away by the sensationalists with their latest announcement when they see that their prophecy of imminence fell through and they were just another empty vessel?

God help us to have a higher standard. Jesus said He was the truth. (John 14:6) The Holy Spirit is “the spirit of truth” (John 16:13). So many who are involved with teaching prophecy would do well to heed the warning of centuries ago when it comes to foretelling the future.

Don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes”. Don’t keep proclaiming things that must imminently occur when you really don’t know that for certain in Him. If you have a record of yelling “Wolf, Wolf” to the extent that you stumble the weak and are a pitiful testimony of the Lord’s Word and truth, please stop for your own sake, for the sake of His sheep and for the witness of Christ that is besmirched.



Jerusalem lurches towards open conflict over Temple Mount (+video)

An assassination attempt of a rabbi, a provocative visit by an Israeli MP, and a Palestinian leader saying Israeli moves are tantamount to a "declaration of war" have Jerusalem at its most perilous moment since the end of the second intifada.

By Christa Case Bryant, Staff writer NOVEMBER 2, 2014

JERUSALEM — Today Moshe Feiglin walked on the holiest site in Judaism and posed for photos in front of the Dome of the Rock, a revered Muslim shrine that rests where many believe the Jewish Temple once stood. In doing so the Israeli member of parliament fueled growing Muslim-Jewish tensions around Jerusalem's Temple Mount, which in the past week saw an assassination attempt against a right-wing rabbi and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas call Israel's decision to temporarily close the site a "declaration of war."

Mr. Feiglin's action was a direct challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call this morning for parliament to exercise “responsibility and restraint" around the Temple Mount complex.

“The Temple Mount is the most sensitive kilometer on earth,” Mr. Netanyahu said, as tensions in Jerusalem reached an intensity not seen in a decade. “It is easy to start a religious fire, but much more difficult to extinguish it.”

Feiglin, like Yehuda Glick, the rabbi currently recovering from the murder attempt last week, favors building Judaism's Third Temple on the site, which would require the destruction of both the Dome of the Rock and, many Muslims believe, the nearby Al Aqsa mosque.

Many Muslims say that a prayer at Al Aqsa, situated on a grand plateau overlooking Jerusalem, is worth 500 prayers elsewhere. By the same token, a match lit here can start a far bigger fire than if it were struck in almost any other hotspot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fire danger on the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, is arguably at its highest point since the second intifada.

That intifada, or uprising, broke out in the wake of a September 2000 visit to the Temple Mount by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, who was escorted by 1,000 Israeli policemen. While he and even some Palestinian politicians later claimed that an intifada had been planned for months, the visit provided a rallying point for Palestinians.

For both Israelis and Palestinians, this compound is not only a sacred space but the front-line of their battle for sovereignty over Jerusalem.

In recent years there has been a significant uptick in Jewish visits, led by lawmakers like Feiglin and activists like Mr. Glick. The attack on Glick came after particularly heated clashes during the Jewish holidays last month. Masked protesters inside Al Aqsa, equipped with rocks and fireworks, battled Israeli police just outside the mosque, who responded with stun grenades. Israeli officials allege the violence is being organized by Hamas and other Islamist groups.

Many Palestinians and Muslims see visits such as Feiglin’s and Glick’s as highly provocative and a threat to a status quo that has prevailed since 1967, whereby the site is administered by Muslim authorities but security is provided by Israeli police.

This morning Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev dismissed concerns that Israeli religious leaders will be given control over the site as “ridiculous” and insisted that the status quo would be “scrupulously” upheld.

But Feiglin's visit still poses a quandary for the prime minister. For in this conflict, words alone are enough to ignite war.



Temple Mount crisis fuels unrest in volatile Jerusalem

By Tim Lister, CNN

updated 2:52 AM EST, Mon November 3, 2014

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Swirling winds and heavy downpours probably did more than the massive Israeli police presence to dampen Palestinian protests in Jerusalem over the weekend.

Dire predictions that a third intifada was about to erupt after the brief closure of the Temple Mount -- known to Arabs as the Noble Sanctuary -- came to nothing. But the weather could not sweep away the toxic atmosphere in the city.

Tension in Jerusalem is perhaps at its greatest since the end of the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, ten years ago -- stoked by a rash of what some call hate crimes and others acts of terror. Regular -- almost daily -- outbreaks of stone-throwing by Palestinian teenagers are answered by tear gas and rubber bullets; hundreds of minors have already had their first taste of jail.

The city's mayor, describing the violence as intolerable, has announced that surveillance balloons equipped with HD cameras will be deployed above troublesome neighborhoods to prevent disturbances. The Israeli cabinet is considering legislation that would introduce prison terms of up to 20 years for throwing stones.

One of the most restive neighborhoods in Jerusalem is Silwan, a densely-packed area in the shadow of the Temple Mount, where there is little work, a heavy police presence and a growing colony of Jewish settlers, moving into properties bought from Palestinians.

Touchstone issue

Last month, a Palestinian from Silwan drove his car into passengers getting off a tram in Jerusalem, killing a baby and injuring several others, including a woman who died later. And last week, a 32-year-old Palestinian shot and gravely wounded a right-wing rabbi, Yehuda Glick, as he left a Jerusalem conference called "The Jewish people return to the Temple Mount."

READ: Israel partially reopens access to Temple Mount

Glick, now in a serious but stable condition in hospital, has long argued that the Jews must have a place of worship on the Temple Mount, a touchstone issue for Muslims who suspect a plan to expel them from the site, where the al Aqsa mosque is also situated.

Glick's view is supported by some elected officials, including Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (and a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party) Moshe Feiglin.

Glick's assailant, Mutaz Hijazi, who had spent more than a decade in prison, in part for crimes of violence, was shot dead by an Israeli counter-terror unit hours later. Hundreds of Palestinians attended Hijazi's funeral; his father said that if Hijazi had shot Glick it was because "occupation equals resistance."

Israeli authorities reacted to the attempted assassination of Glick by closing the al Aqsa mosque altogether for one day, then restricting access to men over 50 years of age and women, and putting thousands more police on the streets. The Palestinian Authority described the closure -- the first in 14 years -- as a "declaration of war." There were also harsh words from Jordan, which remains the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem according to its peace treaty with Israel.

In such an environment acts of political violence can spark outsize responses and set off an uncontrollable chain of events. The killing of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank back in May, which Israel said was the work of Hamas, sparked a crisis that ultimately led to the Gaza conflict. In July, the abduction and murder of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem provoked serious rioting. Three Israelis are on trial for the killing.

Feiglin said "the government's weakness and incompetence in handling terrorism" were responsible for the attempt of Glick's life. Early on Sunday morning, with a police guard, Feiglin returned to the Temple Mount in defiance of an appeal from Netanyahu for Knesset members to show responsibility and restraint.

'Most sensitive kilometer on Earth'

Netanyahu is walking a fine line between supporting the existing right of Jews to visit (but not pray at) the Temple Mount and preventing that right from sparking a broader crisis and renewed violence. In a statement Sunday aimed as much at the likes of Feiglin as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, he said the Temple Mount complex is "the most sensitive kilometer on Earth," and insisted the government would not change the status quo.

"It is easy to start a religious fire but much more difficult to extinguish it," Netanyahu said. On that note he and Abbas were in rare accord, the Palestinian President saying "assaults and provocations by fanatics will lead to grave consequences."

Some commentators say Netanyahu is politically vulnerable on this issue. The Israeli right, and especially the Jewish Home Party led by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, is growing in strength, according to opinion polls. Bennett -- a member of the Israeli cabinet -- argued for a tougher Gaza campaign aimed at destroying Hamas and is widely seen as Netanyahu's principal challenger. He told the Financial Times last month that "the logic that the world will love us if we give up more land doesn't work" and has pressed for more settlement construction. He also told CNN he supported the right of Jews to pray at the Temple Mount.

By contrast, support for the centrist and leftist parties is dropping, while opposition to a two-state negotiated settlement is widespread. A poll this month for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found that 75% of the Israeli Jews oppose Israel's withdrawal from the Jordan Valley and the division of Jerusalem, which would give the eastern half to the Palestinians.

The volatility in Jerusalem has become the latest flashpoint in Israeli-Palestinian relations. The peace process is moribund amid an absence of trust between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority; much of Gaza is in ruins following seven weeks of conflict there this summer in which more than 2,000 people were killed.

The European Union has questioned Israel's "commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians" in the wake of renewed momentum in expanding Jewish settlements in Arab East Jerusalem. The U.S. State Department made a similar criticism.

In such an atmosphere, it is hardly surprising that U.S. efforts to promote dialogue have stumbled. Writing in Foreign Policy, Stephen M. Walt says that if you invest real effort in the peace process -- as have President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry "and you get precisely zero help from Netanyahu and his lieutenants, a degree of irritation is to be expected."

"The United States wants a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a meaningful détente with Iran, the Netanyahu government opposes both," he added.

The left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a cartoon showing a grinning Netanyahu piloting an Israeli plane whizzing toward a U.S. skyscraper. Responding to a furious reaction in social media, cartoonist Amos Biderman said: "The message is that Bibi is arrogantly and wantonly destroying Israel's ties with the U.S."

From the other end of the political spectrum, journalist Caroline Glick wrote: "While [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas himself is responsible for the hit on [Yehuda] Glick, he has had one major enabler -- the Obama administration."

A Jerusalem Post poll at the weekend found that 53% of Israeli Jews now regarded the US administration as pro-Palestinian, with just 16% seeing it as pro-Israel. Responding to disparaging remarks made about him by unidentified U.S. officials last week, Netanyahu sought to turn the criticism to his advantage, saying "the assault on me comes only because I defend the state of Israel."

But that doesn't include changing the delicate status quo on the Temple Mount and inviting yet more violence at the end of a year already full of bloodshed.




Israeli legislator calls for end to debate on 'who this land belongs to'

Published: November 2, 2014

Israeli Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin

An Israeli legislator who made news for visiting Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound declared in a radio interview Sunday that the Jewish people will return to the Temple Mount, currently in Muslim hands.

“No one will be able to stop that momentum of Jews coming back to their homeland, coming back to the city of Jerusalem and coming back, of course, to the heart of the heart of the nation, to the Temple Mount,” exclaimed MP Moshe Feiglin.

Feiglin discussed his Mount visit in an interview on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s AM 970 The Answer.

Feiglin, a hard-line member of the ruling Likud party, who also serves as deputy Knesset speaker, explained the political and religious significance of the Mount in the Israeli-Arab dispute.

“The Arabs have a very sensitive spiritual understanding, and they understand that this connection to the Temple Mount, that actually there is a bottom line and the real answer of who this land belongs to,” Feiglin said.

“The story here is not about religion. It’s also about religion. But the real story here is about sovereignty,” Feiglin added. “[The Arabs] understand that if a Jewish kid will pray on the Temple Mount, that means it will show the deep connection of the Jewish nation to the place and … end the debate of who the city, who the mountain, who the land belongs to.”

Earlier Sunday, Feiglin ascended the Mount as part of a movement calling for Jewish prayer on the site.

He was reportedly met with protests from Muslims crying, “Allahu akbar!” when he visited the site, an AFP photographer told reporters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today urged Jewish leaders and activists to behave “responsibly” in the face of near daily clashes in Jerusalem.

“At this time we must show responsibility and restraint,” he said at a cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu also accused the Palestinian Authority and Islamic groups of releasing propaganda to inflame passions about the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“They are disseminating lies to the effect that we intend to destroy or harm the Al-Aqsa mosque and that we intend to prevent Muslims from praying there,” he said.

Tensions have been particularly high since the assassination attempt last week of Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who remains at a Jerusalem hospital in serious but stable condition.

The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their Intifada, or “uprising,” by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.

Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.

The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It’s been open to non-Muslims only during certain hours, and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered “sensitive” by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, or an Islamic trust that governs the Temple Mount.

During “open” days, Jews and Christians are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which include demands that they not pray or bring any “holy objects” to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.



Temple Mount closed to visitors 2nd time in week after Palestinians, police clash

Published time: November 05, 2014 07:04

Edited time: November 05, 2014 07:39

A Palestinian protester carries tyres during clashes with Israeli troops following an anti-Israel demonstration over the recent entry restrictions to the al-Aqsa mosque, at Qalandia checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Ramallah November 2, 2014. (Reuters / Amm

Israeli police have again closed access to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to Palestinian worshipers as clashes continue in the heart of the city. It comes a day after an Israeli minister said the mosque would be replaced with a Jewish temple.

The holy site has been a focus of tension since last week, when Israel closed it to Muslim worshipers.

Al-Aqsa, also known as the Temple Mount, is Islam’s third most-venerated site.

Israeli police closed it for the first time since 1963 in retaliation for the killing of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist, provoking outcry from the Arab population.

Access was renewed a day later, but males under 50 were still banned from entry.

The renewed shutdown of Al-Aqsa on Wednesday comes after daily clashes in the streets of East Jerusalem and the Old City. Palestinian youths attack Israeli police with stones and fire crackers.

Police said they sent forces to the holy compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, as clashes erupted near it minutes before it was due to be opened to the public.

"Police entered the area, pushed the masked rioters back, and they fled back into Al-Aqsa. Police closed the front gate of the mosque but did not enter," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld as cited by Reuters.

Israeli security forces used stun grenades to disperse the protesting crowd. Some 20 people were reportedly injured in the fresh clash.

The entry ban for Al-Aqsa was imposed on Thursday last week after a prominent right-wing activist, Yehuda Glick, was shot dead a day earlier.

Israeli special forces killed Mutaz Hijazi, the young Palestinian man they believe responsible for the attack, in a raid to detain him on Friday.

Israel’s control of access to Al-Aqsa has been a sore point in relations between Jews and Palestinians for decades.

The Second Intifada, a wave of armed Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, was triggered by a September 2000 visit to the mosque by right-wing politician Ariel Sharon, who at the time was campaigning for the Israeli prime ministership.



105 Israeli ex-generals, spy chiefs call on Netanyahu to make peace with Palestinians


Published time: November 04, 2014 11:22

Edited time: November 05, 2014 09:33

Palestinian boy sits outside his family's house that witnesses said was damaged by Israeli shelling during the most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, on a rainy day in the east of Gaza City. (Reuters/Mohammed S

Army, Conflict, Intelligence, Israel, Military, Police, Security, Violence

The largest-ever protest by Israeli top brass has taken place, with at least 105 retired generals and intelligence chiefs writing a letter to premier Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to “initiate a diplomatic process” for peace with Palestine.

"We, the undersigned, reserve IDF commanders and retired police officers, who have fought in Israel’s military campaigns, know firsthand of the heavy and painful price exacted by wars…. Here we are again sending our children out onto the battlefield, watching them don their uniforms and combat vests and go out to fight in Operation Protective Edge,” the letter read.

A few of those who signed the letter told the state Mako-Channel 2 News that, in their opinion, Israel had the strength and means to come to a two-state roadmap to get out of the current crisis.

The agreement wasn’t reached due to “weak leadership,” the country’s top brass added.

“We’re on a steep slope toward an increasingly polarized society and moral decline, due to the need to keep millions of people under occupation on claims that are presented as security-related,” reserve Major General Eyal Ben-Reuven told the channel.

“I have no doubt that the prime minister seeks Israel’s welfare, but I think he suffers from some sort of political blindness that drives him to scare himself and us,” he added, Haaretz reported.

The idea of writing the letter belonged to reserve Major General Amnon Reshef, who said in an interview he was “sick and tired of a reality of rounds of fighting every few years, instead of a genuine effort to adopt the Saudi initiative,” Ynetnews.com quoted him as saying.

He referred to the Saudi peace plan adopted in 2002 that offered full peace for Arab states and Israel. Tel Aviv, in turn, was to withdraw to borders based on the pre-1967 armistice lines.

Among the signatories to the protest, 101 are IDF veterans with the rank of brigadier or major general, two are ex-chiefs of the Mossad intelligence agency and three former commanders of Israel’s National Police, Haaretz reported.

It’s not the first collective effort of the Israeli top brass to urge the country’s leadership to step up the peace drive.

For instance, almost three years ago, 52 former generals signed a petition calling for a law to make military or equivalent national service compulsory for men who practice Haredi Judaism.

And in November 2011, 19 ex-top brass urged the IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz to fight against increasing religious extremism in the military forces.

The latest letter comes a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans for around 1,000 new settler homes to be built on occupied Palestinian land. This triggered an alarmed response from the Palestinian authorities.



Update: Why did Netanyahu respond to chickenshit with ‘grassy knoll’ remark?

Israel/Palestine Annie Robbins on October 31, 2014

PM shoots down President (Graphic by @NewryForGaza)

(Update below regarding possible mistranslation from Hebrew~A.R.)

Wading through all the chickensht over the last few days Netanyahu’s “grassy knoll” comeback somehow missed out on all the action, but what the hoot guys? Where I come from that terminology only means one thing, as far as I know, that applies to the lexicon anywhere in America, if not the world. Hey, even Google agrees with me. And what are the chances Netanyahu and/or his speechwriters don’t know this? Nada. Impossible.

Why would Netanyahu make a reference to one of the most alarming chapters in American history, the assassination of a beloved American president? And for many, an assassination still shrouded in mystery and deceit? I just thought it was very weird. Where is our press?

Winding down after scrutinizing, dissecting and eviscerating Goldberg’s now infamous Chickensht article, Justin Raimondo, in The Chickenshit Lobby Is Mad As Hell– but just how mad are they? makes the argument had a leader of Iran slipped “grassy knoll” into a message to an American president the press would have gone bonkers. I agree.

What’s surprising is how Netanyahu, in a speech to the Knesset, took the opportunity to answer his critics in the Obama administration: “Netanyahu angrily insisted he was ‘under attack simply for defending Israel,’ adding that he ‘cherished’ Israel’s relationship with the US.”

The famously combative Israeli Prime Minister went on to say:

When there are pressures on Israel to concede its security, the easiest thing to do is to concede. You get a round of applause, ceremonies on grassy knolls, and then come the missiles and the tunnels.”

Bibi, who spent many years in the United States, is surely cognizant of what his “grassy knoll” reference connotes. You can argue it was just an infelicitous phrase, or that Bibi was referring to himself, not Obama. Maybe so. But what if, say, an Iranian official, even a low-ranking one, had said such a thing? The uproar would be deafening. And so the question must be asked: was Bibi threatening the President of the United States?

If we take seriously Goldberg’s depiction of the poisoned relationship between Bibi and Obama, the possibility can’t be completely dismissed.

Do you think anyone at the White House noticed Netanyahu’s phraseology? Me too. So why the silence from the press? Grassy knoll, it only means one thing here in America:




Popular 'Dr. Dino' was only months from release

Published: November 3, 2014

Only months away from being released to a halfway house after nearly eight years in prison, the popular creation-science lecturer and theme-park creator known as Dr. Dino is facing new charges in his tax-related case.

A federal court Monday in Pensacola, Florida, scheduled a trial to begin Dec. 1 for Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventure Land, on mail-fraud charges in connection with court filings on land seized by the federal government in his case.

As WND reported, Hovind was sentenced to 10 years in prison in January 2007 after he was convicted of 12 tax offenses, one count of obstructing federal agents and 45 counts of structuring cash transactions.

Hovind contends the original charges were based largely on the Internal Revenue Service’s misinterpretation of his tax obligations as a minister of the gospel who had taken a vow of poverty and, therefore, owed no income tax. He and his wife, Jo Hovind, who spent one year in federal prison, paid employees in cash without filing payroll tax returns, designating them as “missionaries.” Although Kent Hovind, an avid blogger, has made statements challenging the authority of the federal government to collect income taxes, he has insisted he has never been “anti-tax or a tax protester,” has advocated obeying the government and “always paid every tax I owe.”

The new indictment also names his current chief legal adviser, attorney John Paul Hansen of Omaha, Nebraska, as a defendant. Hansen has declared himself a “free inhabitant” or “sovereign citizen” who does not recognize U.S. sovereignty. He pays no income or property tax and drives a car without owning a driver’s license.

The new charges center on Hovind’s and Hansen’s attempts to regain Creation Science Evangelism property seized by the federal government in fulfillment of the jury’s $480,400 judgment. They are charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. and obtain money and property by false pretenses through the mail.

A tax expert who writes regularly for Forbes.com, Peter J. Reilly, has said that while he doesn’t share the belief of some that Hovind was targeted by the IRS because of the effectiveness of his creation science ministry, the latest criminal charge “really strikes me as piling it on.”

The indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida recounted the sequence of events leading to the charges.

After the jury in November 2006 unanimously issued a judgment of $480,400, the federal government filed a notice of pending action against the ministry’s property and its bank accounts. The federal court in Pensacola in July 2009 authorized the government to seize the cash and property, and the property was sold in July 2011.

The same month, according to the indictment, Hansen caused liens to be filed on nine of the seized properties. In July 2012, the court ruled in favor of the federal government and held that Hansen’s liens were null and void.

Then, in May 2013, Hovind filed a claim against federal officials in federal court in South Carolina. Later that month, he notified an agent of the federal government by mail that he intended to file liens on four of the properties the district court previously ordered forfeited. On May 29, 2013, he filed the liens.

Hovind had scheduled to be transferred to home confinement Feb. 11, 2015, where he would serve the final six months of his sentence.

Questioning government’s judgment

Reilly, in a new column for Forbes.com, said that while he thinks Kent Hovind’s troubles “are pretty much of his own making,” he “questions the judgment of the government in going after Kent for making one more stupid filing.”

“Frankly, if I was on the jury, they might have a hard time getting a conviction. There is stupid and stubborn and there is criminal. Plenty of tax related crime to fight elsewhere. If Hovind is convicted, he will seem like a martyr. If he is acquitted, it will look like a victory for tax defiers.”

Kent Hovind’s son, Eric Hovind, who now directs a ministry in Pensacola with the same mission of his father’s Creation Science Evangelism, contends the government misrepresented his parents in the 2006 trial, portraying them as anti-government radicals.

“If there is one thing I can say about my dad, it is that he is a man of principle, and it is an honor for me to support him as he goes through these trials,” Eric Hovind told WND Monday.

Eric Hovind is founder and president of Pensacola-based Creation Today, which describes itself as an “international Christian-apologetics ministry desiring to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.”

Kent Hovind established Creation Science Evangelism in 1989 with the aim of presenting the Christian message through evidence for divine creation. In 2001, he opened the dinosaur theme park behind his home, which depicted humans and dinosaurs co-existing.

Dinosaur Adventure Land, however, was among the nine properties seized by the government in a forfeiture judgment.

Hovind has been place in Santa Rosa County Jail in Milton, Florida, near Pensacola, for the trial after being incarcerated at various federal penitentiaries.

As WND reported in 2009, Hovind has argued he took a vow of poverty as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and, therefore, owns nothing and receives no income. All of his needs were taken care of by the ministry, he insisted.

He said he understood that as a registered 508 non-profit organization, he was not required to withhold taxes, leaving IRS obligations with each worker. In November 2006, however, Hovind was convicted of failing to collect and pay $470,000 in withholding taxes, obstructing tax laws, structuring transactions totaling $430,500 to avoid financial reporting laws, filing a frivolous lawsuit against the IRS, filing an injunction against an IRS agent and threatening investigators and others who cooperated with the investigation.

The “structuring” charges are based on application of laws designed to expose money-laundering by drug traffickers, which require banks to fill out a transaction report if any customer deposits or withdraws more than $10,000 in one day.

Hovind contends he abandoned any practice he discovered was legally questionable. But in the early morning hours of July 13, 2006, about 20 armed government agents arrived on ministry property without notice to arrest the Hovinds.

As WND reported in January 2012, Hovind has made numerous appeals in federal court, including claims that he was not given due process and that his case record does not contain a warrant “supported by Oath or affirmation,” as required by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

Eric Hovind has explained to WND that his father sent numerous letters to the IRS, asking exactly which laws apply to a 508 (c) (1) (a) church ministry, but he received no response. During the trial the special agent in charge of the investigation, Scott Schneider, acknowledged he never sent Kent Hovind any copies of the law or citations to specific laws in the tax code.




The Bizzare Electromagnetic After Effects of Near-Death Experiences

Buck Rogers, Staff Writer

Waking Times

The conversation about near-death experiences (NDE’s) is typically centered around questions about the afterlife and what happens to consciousness should you follow the iconic tunnel of light. Skeptics, of course, look at the various scientific angles, debating whether or not the patient was truly dead, or the research was legitimate, and so on.

Less frequently discussed, however, is what happens to people after a near-death experience, and what changes occur in their psychological and physiological makeup. There are thousands of recorded examples of NDE’s that offer testimony to the possibility of life after death, but what about life after near-death?

“Around eighty percent of the people who experienced near-death states claimed that their lives were forever changed by what happened to them. On closer examination, though, a pattern of surprising dimensions emerged. Experiencers were not returning with just a renewed zest for life and a more spiritual outlook. They were evidencing specific psychological and physiological differences on a scale never before faced by them.” – P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D.

Researcher P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D is the author of Dying To Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience, one of the world’s leading researchers on near-death experiences, and a survivor of 3 NDE’s.

After having interviewed thousands of NDE experiencers for her work, she has moved beyond the curiosity of what lies beyond, and has researched the after effects of NDE’s in ordinary people finding some curious patterns. Common among the after-effects are:

Changes in personality, often including becoming more loving, calm, and non-judgmental, or leading to major life changes, like divorce, estrangement from family and friends or increased magnetism around others

Noticeable increase in intuitive and psychic capabilities, including communication with spirits, plants and animals

A shift in a sense of life priorities

A sense of timelessness and non-duality

Sensitivity to light and sound

Changes in attitudes about health, wellness and spirituality

In addition to these notable after effects, the research of P.M.H. Atwater revealed another, more bizarre pattern, indicating that many people undergo rather remarkable changes to their body’s electromagnetic field. Called ‘electro-sensitivity’ this can bring on puzzling, frightening, and even dangerous situations for some of the most sensitive of NDE survivors.

“Since beginning my research of near-death states in 1978, I have consistently noticed that a large majority of experiencers (both as part of my study and in general conversation with them) reported becoming more sensitive to electrical and magnetic fields – disturbances, equipment, devices, wrist watches – after their episode.” – P.M.H. Atwater

This strange and lasting physiological change is seen by the majority of those who experience NDE’s. Most commonly, those who experience electro-sensitivity after a NDE report ‘interference’ with potentially anything electronic in the external environment. Some examples are:

Lights flickering on and off when entering room, and especially so when there is a high intensity situation occuring

Computers and other electronics malfunctioning when near

Light bulbs exploding

Disruptions in recording equipment leading to unusual or distorted photos and videos

Wrist watch batteries die quickly, or watches stop for no reason at all

Feeling ‘drained’ when near anything electronic

Receiving television or radio channels that shouldn’t be picked up in that location

Feeling more ‘connected’ to electronics and being able to use them better than before the NDE

Extreme sensitivity to earth changes such as thunder storms, earthquakes, lightening, and tornados

For those who experience this phenomenon, the physiological interference with their environment becomes a part of every day life, and they learn to do things in different ways in order to mitigate any harm they may cause to any electronics or people near-by.

“I have no business wearing watches – neither does my husband. We cannot keep a watch ticking on our wrists, not even if our lives depended on it. Not only are watches involved, in our acquired electrical freak-outs (AEF’s), but we each have our own, peculiar affect on other electrical objects.

Computers – this is a rough one. If too much pent-up energy isn’t dissipated before I touch a keyboard, my computer frequently cuts off, and won’t recover until I remove my hands, and any other part of me that’s touching the computer. Once I stop touching the computer, it flickers back on, and lets me know it stopped responding…If I am emotionally intense, while typing away on my computer, the computer cut-off occurs. Once I settle my emotions down, it comes back without any errors.

Transfer all this weirdness over to cell phones, actually any phone. And, it doesn’t have to be my phone. I’ve caused my son’s phone to stop responding more than once. He’ll say to me, “Mom! Stop it!”, and then I will settle my thoughts down, and the darn thing starts working.” – Cathy L. Jones - Near-Death Experiencer

In his book, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and The Foundation of Life, published in 1985, surgeon Robert O. Becker brought new light on the electromagnetic dimension of the human being, presenting his discoveries that demonstrated the conductive nature of the brain, the skin, tissue cells, and the entire body. A decade later, more pioneering work in the study of the human electromagnetic body was published by Albert Roy Davis and Walter C. Rawls in the book, Magnetism and Its Effects on the Living System, which revealed the polar nature of the human body.

Russian scientist Semyon Kirlian took this study a step further and produced a now-famous high-voltage technique for photographing human electromagnetic fields, now called Kirlian photography. Later, K. Korotkov, also of Russia developed a way to measure Qi, the life force energy of all things, as explained by Chinese medicine.

Many are raising awareness of the dangers in electromagnetic industrialization of our world, noting that interference with the body’s natural electromagnetic patterns can seriously effect health, while skeptics claim there is little harm in the amount of electromagnetic radiation introduced by cell towers, wi-fi, smart meters, and so on. The phenomena of electro-sensitivity, if more closely examined, may give more insight into just how pliable the human electromagnetic body really is, and the connection between the energy body and the spiritual dimensions of human existence.

The human subtle energy body is a tangible reality for many who practice meditation, yoga, or the internal martial arts. It is remarkable that there is such a connection between near-death experiences, which which commonly involve bright, radiant, white light, and changes in electro-sensitivity. A near-death experience is considered by many to be a ‘spiritual’ experience, so, could resulting electro-sensitivity be validation of the experiences of many of the world’s sages and mystics who believe life and spirit to be comprised of ‘energy.’ Could this also indicate that our universe is predicated on the physics of electricity after all?


Natural News

Life after death is real, concludes scientific study of 2,000 patients

Thursday, November 06, 2014 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) In the largest such study ever conducted, researchers have found evidence that consciousness continues even after brain activity has ceased. This evidence of life after death came from a study led by researchers from the University of Southampton and published in the journal Resuscitation.

"Contrary to perception, death is not a specific moment but a potentially reversible process that occurs after any severe illness or accident causes the heart, lungs and brain to cease functioning," lead researcher Dr. Sam Parnia said. "If attempts are made to reverse this process, it is referred to as 'cardiac arrest'; however, if these attempts do not succeed it is called 'death.' "

Nearly 40 percent of those interviewed recalled experiencing some form of awareness after cardiac arrest (being pronounced clinically dead).

Wide diversity of near-death experiences

The AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation) study sought to use the scientific method to investigate the experiences typically described by the imprecise terms near-death experience (NDE) and out-of-body experience (OBE). Researchers interviewed 2,060 patients who had survived cardiac arrest from 15 hospitals across Austria, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"In this study we wanted to go beyond the emotionally charged yet poorly defined term of NDEs to explore objectively what happens when we die," Dr. Parnia said.

The researchers found that 39 percent of cardiac arrest survivors interviewed described a sense that they had been "aware" following cardiac arrest. But many had no specific memories associated with the perception.

"This suggests more people may have mental activity initially but then lose their memories after recovery, either due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory recall," Dr. Parnia said.

Of those who reported a perception of awareness, only 2 percent described an experience consistent with the popular idea of an OBE, such as seeing or hearing events taking place around their bodies. Nine percent reported experiences consistent with the popular idea of an NDE, such as feelings of warmth or the presence of a light. Forty-six percent, however, reported experiences that were not consistent with either an OBE or an NDE, including fearful or persecutory experiences.

Clinical confirmation of out-of-body experience

Perhaps the study's most significant finding was what may be the first-ever clinical confirmation of an OBE. In this case, a 57-year-old social worker accurately reported things that were happening around him after his brain activity had ceased.

"This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions," said Dr. Parnia said, "occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with 'real' events when the heart isn't beating.

"In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat. This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn't resume again until the heart has been restarted. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events."

The man's memories were not only accurate but even helped the researchers place his experience in time.

"The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the [experience] lasted for," Dr. Parnia said.

"He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened."

"The researchers are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die," wrote Dr. Jerry Nolan, editor-in-chief of Resuscitation.









Biometrics Institute eyes ‘Trust Mark’ certification program

By Adam Vrankulj

November 2, 2014

The Biometrics Institute is working on a program that it says will reassure the public of the responsible use of biometrics, and will make privacy compliance more transparent and easier to understand.

According to Biometrics Institute CEO Isabelle Moeller, the group is presently building an advisory panel for the proposed “Trust Mark” program and it is currently in consultation with its members and stakeholders, brainstorming the new idea. The Biometrics Institute announced the new proposed Trust Mark system earlier this month, at the Biometrics 2014 event in London.

The essence of the idea is that the Biometrics Institute will come up with specific criteria and will test members’ products and services will be tested against these standards. Those that pass would then be given a badge or “Trust Mark” to show their compliance.

“We’ve been working on this Trust Mark for about a year internally and have spoken with members quite proactively in meetings and member meetings,” Moeller said. “And the overall feedback has been extremely positive.”

Today the Biometrics Institute has 172 global members.

Last month, the Institute announced that it had made a submission to the UK government’s Science and Technology Committee, looking to establish and enforce guidelines regarding privacy assessments for the responsible use of biometrics.

So far the program is in its early stages and Moeller says that a 2015 launch would be ideal, but that it’s still quite soon to pin down a specific date. There’s a lot of work yet to be done, and the breadth of membership that the Biometrics Institute boasts poses a challenge to composing the Trust Mark criteria.

According to Moeller, “there will only be one Trust Mark, but depending on the organization, we may have different criteria.”

Evaluating privacy compliance is nothing new for the Institute, Moeller says. In the group’s early days, it helped inform policy for the Australian privacy act. The Trust Mark idea has already seen interest from U.S. and American government agencies.

“The critical thing is compliance,” Moeller said. “We need to work out what the criteria are that we’d put this product or service through to then receive this Trust Mark. That is the challenge we have, because we have a global membership and we can’t just link [the Trust Mark] to a certain privacy act.”



Which New Technology Will Win the Race to Repair and Replace Our Organs?


ON NOV 02, 2014

An extraordinary competition is underway—one that could be more impactful to the human species than any other technological rivalry to come before it. Soon, the radical concept of substantially improving or outright replacing our organs is going to be commonplace.

Globally, organ failure is a leading cause of death. But transplantable organs are in far too short of a supply around the world to help many in need—even former Vice President Dick Cheney had to wait 20 months to get his new heart.

Various methodologies, technologies, and even spiritual and philosophical preferences are dividing up this human upgrade quest. Companies are launching into the field, hoping to create the dominant longevity tech that people in the near future will use to live to 150 and beyond. Many futurists believe each of our major body parts will likely one day be replaced or significantly modified by extreme science and technology.

Recently, I wrote about the growing use of artificial hearts and optimistically predicted in 10 years robotic hearts may be equal or better than human hearts. On September 5th, a revolutionary new robotic heart—the Carmat heart—was fitted into a patient in France. According to the AFP, French Health Minister Mariso Touraine said, “This intervention confirms that heart transplant procedures are entering a new era.”

While researching artificial hearts, however, I was surprised to learn that healing damaged organs with stem cells or growing new organs outright may end up beating the creation of artificial organs to the marketplace.

Right away, I realized one of the great races of the 21st century might already be underway.

The technological rivalries of the 20th century have long fascinated people. The evolution of the transportation industry: cars vs. trains vs. airplanes. Or what about Bill Gates’ infamous tactics against Apple and IBM to establish Microsoft Windows as the dominant operating system in the world?

The healthcare industry has rarely had such a publicized competition, as most innovation was isolated to its own specific causes and needs. But the modern world of invention is now more connected than ever.

Hardly any major new science or tech emerges without WiFi capabilities, or microchip processors, or something synthetic. For example, robotic limbs are connecting to the nervous system. Chip implants can release hormones in the body. And exoskeletons are helping the disabled walk.

The synergies of this interconnected world are stronger than ever. Coders, engineers, and biologists often work hand in hand, all in the same lab.

“There’s no longer this big divide between medicine and technology,” says Gray Scott, a futurist and co-executive producer of upcoming documentary The Future of Work and Death. “We are increasingly becoming cyborg-like beings. We are becoming literally what we create. Biology, physics, and technology are evolving towards one-and-the-same-thing.”

So which approaches are worth watching in the race to repair and replace our organs? While there is no single dominant method yet, I’m keeping an eye on three technologies: robotics, stem cells, and 3D-printed organs.

Diehard robotics fans believe the future lies entirely in becoming machines. Indeed, I agree that the long-term future will be dominated by robotics and then later by mind uploading, where no biological organs are used at all.

But not everyone will sign up for such radical technology in their lives.

Some people, for spiritual or philosophical reasons and preferences, may not want such extreme transformation, especially in the near term, while it takes society time to adjust to the strange but inevitable transhumanist age.

In the next five years, those people may be able to have it all. New stem cell technology will likely outpace the creation of robotic body parts for human use.

In the UK, a major study of 3,000 patients is underway to determine if injecting stem cells into heart attack-damaged hearts will speed recovery and lengthen lives. Early results are positive, giving experts hope that injected stem cells (taken from patients’ hips in the UK study) might offer a simple solution to healing damaged organs in the body.

In another independent study, damaged hearts in monkeys were given stem cell injections that also showed significant improved organ usage after the treatment. Also, doctors in Japan are beginning to test using induced pluripotent stem cells to fight macular degeneration. Induced pluripotent stem cells are produced from adult cells, unlike embryonic stem cells.

Might we 3D print whole organs in the future?

More fascinating is the possibility of growing or even 3D printing organs (or bioprinting as it’s called) in the lab. For years now, scientists have engineered very minor parts of the body in laboratories, such as organ tissue. But now they have devised methods and devices that can create more complex cellular structures. For example, CNN reports that “last year a 2-year-old girl in Illinois, born without a trachea, received a windpipe built with her own stem cells.”The trachea was first constructed with plastic fibers and then stem cells were later meshed with it to create the respiratory organ.

One company, Organovo, a California start-up, has also had success in 3D printing tiny strips of human liver. These may be used to test new drugs. But one day they hope to produce a fully functioning liver for commercial purposes. And a team from the University of Louisville in Kentucky has also had some success printing human heart valves and small veins earlier this year, according to AP.

If this all sounds a bit far-fetched, it’s because it is so outside our realm of experience. Many people’s immediate reaction to such radical technology is fear. However, experts think such tech and its acceptance in the future will be determined more by need than anything else.

People tend to cling onto their preferences until their health significantly deteriorates. In a life and death medical situation, most people opt to go with what will save their life and enable them to be healthy again.

Companies creating radical new medical tech, such as entire synthetic organs, are profoundly aware of this. They hope to sidestep some controversy by focusing on the human aspects of their innovations—such as how artificial organs might grant more time with grandchildren and loved ones—and not whether the organ was grown, printed, or created in a factory.

At the end of the day, for most people, being healthy, productive, and having the ability to spend time with loved ones is what remains most important. In this way, no matter what technology or field of science wins the competition to build the best organs—flesh, machine, or a mixture of both—we are all winners.




on OCTOBER 29, 2014

A trend seen by prolife activists that frequently engage college students on campuses nationwide is the growing acceptance of post-birth abortion, or killing the infant after he or she is born, campus prolife outreach leaders tell The College Fix.

Anecdotal evidence by leaders of prolife groups such as Created Equal and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust said in interviews that not only do they see more college students willing to say they support post-birth abortion, but some students even suggest children up to 4 or 5-years-old can also be killed, because they are not yet “self aware.”

“We encounter people who think it is morally acceptable to kill babies after birth on a regular basis at almost every campus we visit,” said Mark Harrington, director of Created Equal. “While this viewpoint is still seen as shocking by most people, it is becoming increasingly popular.”

Campuses where the high school, college students, local activists and staff members of Created Equal have encountered this opinion include Purdue, University of Minnesota, and University of Central Florida. And at Ohio State earlier this year, the group captured a debate on video between one of its members and an older woman on campus who defended infanticide.

“This is the whole problem with devaluing human life at any stage—it will naturally grow to include other groups of humans; in this case, born humans as well as preborn humans,” Harrington said. “[I] talked with one young man at the University of Minnesota who thought it was alright to kill children if they were under the age of 5 years old, as he did not consider them persons until that age.”

Kristina Garza, spokeswoman for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, a prolife organization that often sets up anti-abortion displays on campuses along the West Coast, said her group also frequently encounters college students who accept infanticide.

“For those who are firmly for abortion, because they understand it kills a human being, it’s very easy for them to accept killing a human being after birth,” Garza said. “There is this notion that is common on campus, that it’s OK to kill babies because somehow we don’t become human until we are self aware.”

“A common number that is going around is 4 years old,” she adds.

As for the trend, Garza said there’s an explanation for it. For one, the arguments put forth by Peter Singer and other philosophers who support infanticide are given as reading assignments to college students.

Singer wrote in 1979 that “human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons … [therefore] the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”

“He has been saying things like this since the 70s, but I think it has been more recently that this type of ideology is being promoted on college campuses,” Garza said. “When he said this stuff, there was a very select few who accepted it. But nowadays, we have become so desensitized, and college students lacking in a moral fiber easily accept this kind of strange ideology.”

But prolife advocacy and engagement on campuses has helped turn students away from pro-choice stances, she adds.

“While the number of students who believe it is OK with killing children after birth is growing, the number of students who accept that life beings at conception is also growing, and that is growing at a larger and faster rate than those who accept infanticide,” Garza said.

“The trends I am seeing is it’s not so much students are better grounded in morals, it’s that we as a prolife movement have done our job in presenting a better argument, and we are pushing people out of the middle,” she said. “We are seeing more students who see the logic and choose to be anti-abortion.”

Yet staunch opposition to the prolife philosphy remains.

Asked about the incident at Ohio State, at which a woman responded to a prolife display by defending infanticide, a pro-abortion activism group at the campus stated its views were similar to those of the woman in the clip.

“As for post-birth abortion, I would imagine that my colleagues would think the ‘post-birth’ part was largely irrelevant, as we believe very strongly in abortion on demand, without apology, and it’s plain and simple that we should look to the woman’s morals and not shove our opinions where they, frankly, don’t belong,” Devin Deitsch, leader of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood at Ohio State University, said in an email to The College Fix.

“Speaking as the primary leader of VOX, I assure you we are very pro-choice,” Deitsch also noted. “… We are not here to advocate for women to get abortions, we advocate for her ability to make that choice without fear, heckling, or barriers. Essentially, we ask for a woman (and her body) to be respected. Nothing more, nothing less.”

College Fix reporter Mairead McArdle is a student at Thomas Aquinas College.



Time for a 'new world order?' No, it's already here

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He wrote for Irish Independent and Daily Mail. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland as well as RT.

Published time: November 01, 2014 21:31

Putin has called for a “new world order,” with the aim of stabilizing the globe. He believes the US is abusing its role as global leader. What’s not being widely reported is the fact that the pillars of the old order have been crumbing for years.

It used to be all so simple. The world was split into two camps – the West and the rest. And the West was truly the best. Twenty years ago, six of the world’s biggest economies were part of the pro-Washington world.

The leader, the US itself, was so far in front that its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was more than four times larger than China’s and nine times the size of Russia’s.

The world’s most populous country, India, had almost the same gross income as comparatively tiny Italy and the UK. Any notion that the order would change so dramatically in a mere two decades seemed laughable.

The Western perception was that China and India were backward and would take a century to become rivals. Russia was seen as a basket case, on its knees and ruled by chaos. There was a lot of merit in that notion in the 90's.

The world economy in the 1990s and today:

World’s Largest Economies by GDP, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), Source: World Bank

1995 (in USD billions)

2015 (IMF Forecast)

United States 7,664

China 19,230

Japan 2,880

United States 18,287

China 1,838

India 7,883

Germany 1,804

Japan 4,917

France 1,236

Germany 3,742

Italy 1,178

Russia 3,643

United Kingdom 1,161

Brazil 3,173

India 1,105

Indonesia 2,744

Brazil 1,031

France 2,659

Russia 955

United Kingdom 2,547

US setting sun

Now the joke is on the West. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that by 2015, four of the world’s top economies will be members of the club known by its acronym, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China). China will replace the US as top dog. This might already have happened; economic figures tend to lag behind economic facts.

Italy, the sick man of Europe, is out of the top 10 and the UK is barely hanging on, although London is still promoted as a financial powerhouse. The only people who believe that anymore are little Englanders. The UK has become the Julie Andrews of geopolitics, a fading star that was once luminous. France is impotent, lurching from crisis to mishap and back again.

It's too soon to write off the US. The empire isn’t going to end any day soon, but the sun is lower in the sky. This is less the fault of the US and more to do with the diminishing importance of its traditional allies.

Indeed, the only two that are still holding their own are Germany and Japan, neither of which are serious military players. Britain and France have long supplied the heft for martial adventures. In reality, Germany is not a hugely enthusiastic partner because a large section of Berlin’s political class is extremely skeptical of US power. Significant numbers of the German intelligentsia feel that Moscow is their natural ally – not Washington.

The rise in importance of the BRICs and other emerging economies has major implications for global consumption, business, and investment. By 2020, the IMF estimates that Russia will have overtaken Germany, and India will outperform Japan. They also forecast a fall in US global share from 23.7 percent in 2000 to 16 percent by 2020. In 1960, the US represented 38.7 percent of the world’s economy. Conversely, in 1987, China scored only 1.6 percent – but at the end of this decade it will claim 20 percent. This is unprecedented change in a relatively short time.

Importance of stability

Putin’s speech at the Valdai Club was not a wild stab in the dark. It’s a nuanced understanding of where the global balance currently sits and is heading over the coming years. The US hegemony was based on the fact that, along with its allies, it controlled the bulk of global trade as well as wielding a big military stick. That is now history.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during the final plenary meeting of the 11th session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi. (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Rather than engage with Putin's issues, the Western media has mostly played the man and not the ball. Op-eds described his speech as a “diatribe” and assumed Putin was singularly focused on US foreign policy which he believes is anti-Russian. That misses the point.

Putin's concern is for stability and predictability, which is the antithesis of modern Western liberalism. In fact, Putin’s position is closer to that of past visions for world order promoted by the likes of Konrad Adenauer’s CDU in Germany and Harold Macmillan’s British Tories, classic European conservatism.

Putin is often misunderstood in the West. His public statements, aimed more at a domestic audience than an international one, come across as aggressive, almost chauvinistic. But observers would do well to remember that he is a judo master whose moves are calculated to confuse and wrong-foot an opponent. Reading between the lines, the Russian president is seeking engagement – not isolation.

The Russian president envisages his country as part of a new international alternative, joining with the other BRIC nations to restrain US aggression wherever possible. Putin sees this as the path to stability. Adenauer and Macmillan would have understood this perfectly but modern European and North American leaders don’t get it. Drunk on the dominance they have enjoyed over the past 20 years, the penny has yet to drop that the global order is rapidly changing.

How the US reacts to the new reality will be vital. In an almost cartoon-like way, Washington discourse is now focused on the NSA, spooks, shadow governments, a lost and pathetic fourth estate, squandered militaristic might, and rampant, terrifying nationalism. This juvenility requires a bad guy. In a decade, it has moved from Bin Laden, Saddam, and ‘Freedom Fries’ to Russophobia. If the American elite maintain the same behavior, the transition to a multi-polar world mightn’t be peaceful. That’s the fear, and that fear is real.



Germans Abandon Major News Sites in Anger Over Slanted Russia Coverage

Triggered by reader disaffection, internet traffic has collapsed for half a dozen major German media websites

Daniele Pozzati Thu, Nov 6

Der Spiegel – on its way out?

What's going on in the German media is huge. It is one of the most popular subjects on our site. The US and UK media have been hugely biased in their coverage of Russia, but German media has been far, far, worse, to the point which strains credulity.

Now it turns out that part of the reason is CIA fiddling with German media outlets. Coming on the heels of the Snowden revelations, this has Germans seriously ticked-off. Here's the latest revelation from our correspondent in Germany.

They call it the Ulfkotte-effect. And it's beginning to resemble an avalanche.

Since the publication of Udo Ulfkotte's “Gekaufte Journalisten“ in September – now a #1 Amazon bestseller, in which he charges that the CIA regularly bribes top German journalists, himself included, – German readers' disaffection towards their mainstream media appears to have crossed a point of no return.

Granted, sales of newspapers and magazines have fallen everywhere, not just in Germany. But this is different. This is a boycott that is affecting web traffic. Germans are steering clear of mainstream media websites.

Many Germans have not been too shy to announce their intention on social networks. Some have uploaded videos calling for a boycott on YouTube. Others have created groups calling for the same on Facebook.

The other visible result of reader disaffection has been that throughout September the number of unique visitors to six major German newspapers and magazines was falling steadily.

In October, it simply sank.

Yet up until early summer these same websites had been generating a large and stable amount of traffic. This is an unprecedented trend, and one that is wholly distinct from the fall in newspaper sales generally.

The Spiegel's infamous “Stoppt Putin Jetzt” July 29 cover apparently played a key role in incensing public opinion. An official readers' complaint against Der Spiegel's cover was upheld in August by the German Press Council. The latter ruled that the pictures of MH17 victims on the cover had been “instrumentalized in the context of a political statement.”

Germany's print media was warned even before that, on April 28, when Cicero, a leading German monthly, published a column titled: “Pride after the Fall”. The captions read: “Newspapers die. The reason: they go against their readers. The current Russia reporting is an example. That's not the way to engage with readers.“

The author, Alexander Kissler wrote: “Every quarter the newspapers sector grieves. This is when plummeting circulation figures are released. The curve travels from top left to bottom right, in fact it is not a curve anymore, but a straight line, unstoppable on its way to Zero.“

German media was quick to go on an offensive against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, but just as quickly found itself on the defensive against its readers.

Now, after a further worsening of circulation figures during the spring, web traffic has declined as well.

And it still looks like just the beginning. Has the time come to print a book titled: “2019: The Last Copy of Der Spiegel?” – if the German print media will survive even until then, that is.


Los Angeles Times

Catalonia vows to defy Spain, hold secession vote

A young child is seen holding the Catalan flag alongside a group of Catalonia's pro-independence demonstrators during a rally in Barcelona, Spain, last month. (Juanjo Perez Monclus / Bloomberg)


Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia vowed Tuesday to defy both the central government and the country's highest court and proceed with a much-disputed weekend vote on whether to secede from Spain.

Hours earlier, Spain's Constitutional Court ordered Catalonia to freeze its plans for an independence vote, scheduled for Sunday. It was the second time the court issued an order siding with Madrid, which considers any Catalan independence vote illegal.

But Catalan leaders said they would not back down.

"Everything is all set for Nov. 9," Francesc Homs, a spokesman for the Catalan regional government, said at a news conference. "We are maintaining our participatory process. We couldn’t say this any clearer -- and we’re doing so regardless of the consequences."

Homs said the Catalan government would use the Constitutional Court to sue the central government "for threatening the right ... to freedom of speech."

The Spanish government has not specified what legal consequences Catalan leaders, poll workers or voters might face Sunday, when they go to vote. But Madrid has reportedly readied thousands of Civil Guard police officers to travel to Catalonia this weekend if needed.

We are maintaining our participatory process. We couldn't say this any clearer -- and we're doing so regardless of the consequences.

Just like Scotland, which held an independence referendum in September (but voted to remain in the United Kingdom), Catalonia had hoped to hold a similar referendum this autumn. But Spain's Constitution says the unity of the country is indivisible. The central government says it is the only authority with the power to call referenda, and that they must be voted upon by all Spaniards, not those from only one region. It considers any Catalan vote unconstitutional, and took its case twice to the Constitutional Court.

After a previous court ruling in September, Catalonia tweaked its voting plans. It recruited tens of thousands of volunteers to guard polling stations, to try to protect civil servants from prosecution. In its latest form, Catalan leaders call the vote a nonbinding, unofficial "participatory process," and acknowledge that its results are unlikely to be recognized.

With its capital, Barcelona, Catalonia has about 7.5 million residents and is one of Spain's wealthiest regions, benefiting from an industrial history and tourism. With its own language and culture, Catalonia has long sought autonomy from the central government in Madrid. Many of the region's residents were on the losing side of Spain's bloody 1936-39 Civil War. They endured repression under nearly four decades of military rule by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who died in 1975. More recently, in Europe's debt crisis, many Catalans felt their wealthy region was subsidizing poorer parts of Spain.

In both of its rulings, the Constitutional Court ordered Catalonia to suspend its plans for a vote, while the court studies its legality. That process could take months.

Meanwhile, ballot boxes are being readied this week at schools and town halls across Catalonia. A media center has been set up for international press, and a series of concerts and rallies is planned for the weekend.Opinion polls show Catalans are roughly evenly divided on whether to stay part of Spain, or break away and start their own new country. But a large majority of Catalans favor voting on the issue.



Total darkness: Country-wide blackout in Bangladesh as power grid collapses

Published time: November 02, 2014 01:13

A general view shows Dhaka during a power blackout on November 1, 2014 (AFP Photo / Munir

Imagine what happens when electricity is cut off nationwide in a country of 160 million people. In Bangladesh, everyday life was brought to a standstill on Saturday as factories, hospitals, and homes plunged into darkness or had to rely on generators.

Even the prime minister’s official residence was left with no electricity, as the small but extremely densely populated South Asian country experienced one of the worst blackouts in world’s recent history.

“The national grid collapsed so the whole country lost power,” Reuters quoted Mohammad Saiful Islam, a director of the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board, as saying. “Our repeated efforts to restore electricity across Bangladesh failed repeatedly.”

Local media reported that the blackout was caused by the failure of a transmission line transporting electricity from India. India’s Power Grid Corp, however, said there were no problems on their side of the border.

“I can’t run my shop without power and no one seems to care,” Mohammad Ripon, owner of a grocery store in the capital of Dhaka, told the agency. “It has been about eight hours now and still there is no word on when the power will come back.”

The airport and main hospital in Dhaka are running on emergency generators.

Garment factory owner Anwarul Alam Chowdhury said he was able to get 2-3 hours’ worth of power out of his generator, but then had to halt the factory’s output.

“This is a big slap for my business,” he said, explaining that many other factories were forced to shut down production as well.

A Bangladesh patient lies on her bed during a power blackout at a hospital in Dhaka on November 1, 2014 (AFP Photo)

Bangladesh’s plunge into darkness provides a glimpse into a recently debunked hoax about NASA confirming six days of ‘total darkness’ in December.

The hoax went viral on Twitter, leaving many people shocked and bewildered as to how the experience would feel.



Official: Fukushima “destroyed our life… it can destroy history itself” — Professor: “Very hard to imagine a future beyond Fukushima, it’s so uncontainable” — Filmmaker: Meltdowns “opened up a fissure in time and space… Horror of radiation menaces the future in the present”

Anjalika Sagar (at 2:00 in): Things have got much worse — and at the same time that things have got much worse, you have an accelerated form of secrecy relating to the level of the contamination in food products, in the sea… We were interested in… the politics of how disposable this population has become… Where the threat of the earthquakes could possibly contaminate the whole of Japan, which has happened…

Kodwo Eshun: We made a distinction between the nature of an accident and the nature of a catastrophe… The idea is that an accident is located in time and space… the earthquake and tsunami are a terrible tragic instance, but they are accidents. The catastrophe is potentially unlimited in time and space… The [meltdowns are] a catastrophe that opened up a fissure in time and space both in the past and in the present and in the future. So that what seems to be past is no longer past, but becomes present in a new way. And similarly what hasn’t happened yet is menaced by this moment… The horror of inhabiting radiation is that it menaces the future in the present. And it makes the future hostile in the present. So that mothers cannot be certain the babies they will have will not mutants. It makes the question of mutation — which is a core fantasy of science fiction, for comics, for superheroes — take on a real world effect… Very few people trusted the Japanese government anymore…. What we heard… was this notion of Japan as a laboratory, the notion of the citizens of Japan as guinea pigs. The sense that the Japanese government are carrying out an experiment in which they are

calculating the levels at which people will revolt, and the levels at which people will accept their fate.

Katsunobu Sakurai, Mayor of Minamisoma, Fukushima: “To put it simply, it destroyed our life… The region was lost, then the countryside was lost… In our history, it’s only for a moment that we’ve had nuclear power — 40 years. But it can destroy history itself.”

Katsutaka Idogawa, Mayor of Futaba, Fukushima during 3/11: “I’m really ashamed for my country, but I have to speak the truth for the sake of keeping our planet clean in the future… The same thing happened with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The authorities lied to everyone. They said it was safe. They hid the truth. That’s the situation we are living in. It’s not just Fukushima. Japan has a lot of dark history, what’s happening now is sort of a sacrifice to the past.”

Professor Norma Field, University of Chicago: “One can imagine a future beyond [the earthquake and tsunami]. It is very hard to imagine a future beyond the nuclear disaster of Fukushima. It is so uncontrollable — uncontainable — and that is why it gets left out of all the official and entertainment discourses. You have to be impassioned about it, and then you find a while lot. Especially on the internet.”


Mysterious Phenomena’ off U.S. West Coast: Fish disappeared, whales nearly absent, no krill, high rates of egg failure among birds — California Fishermen: “There’s almost nothing there, just a lot of warm clear water”


Sinkhole develops under dam in US — 7 nuclear reactors downstream — Water now seeping out — Gov’t notified of ‘stability issues’, plants begin evaluating potential flood impacts — Official: An ‘uncommon’ occurrence, we’re monitoring it continuously and working around clock — Structure same height as Niagra Falls

Johnson City Press, Oct. 30, 2014 (emphasis added): Oct. 20 inspection of [Tennessee's Boone] dam revealed a sink hole… Six days later, an uncommon occurrence happened when seepage was found near the location of the sink hole at the base of the dam…

NRC, Oct. 30, 2014: … BOONE DAM STABILITY ISSUES… “TVA conducted a briefing for government officials… after discovery of a sink hole near the base… water and sediment [has been] found seeping from the river below the dam. TVA is continuously monitoring the dam… The dam is located upstream of all three TVA nuclear sites… The NRC Senior Resident Inspector was notified. The licensee is evaluating this event for potential impact on the design basis flooding level.”

Times Free Press, Oct. 30, 2014: Tennessee Valley Authority engineers [will] search for the source of water seepage… Water and sediment were found Sunday seeping from the river bank below the dam.

TVA, Oct. 30, 2014: A sink hole was discovered near the base… water and sediment was found seeping from the river bank below the dam…

John McCormick, VP at TVA: [We're] exercising an abundance of caution… Unless it’s a huge storm, we can do what we need… we are continuously monitoring the dam… engineers want to be sure we understand what caused the sink hole and where the water and sediment is coming from.

WCYB, Oct. 30, 2014: [A] sinkhole and seepage of clay particulates into the water at Boone dam… [is near] the bottom of structure on the river side of the dam… TVA employees are working around the clock to find the cause of the sinkhole and the source of the seepage. “The seepage into the waterway is not a common occurrence,” said McCormick… they do not have a definite timetable for finding the source of the seepage…

Boone Dam is just over the border from Virginia, where a powerful M5.9 quake struck in 2011 — Times Free Press: TVA inspects dams, nuclear plants after earthquake [and] is in the process of performing visual walk downs and inspections at… Boone

USGS: [Quakes] in the eastern U.S. can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought [and] damaging effects can extend over a much larger area… the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude… [This quake] occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected [and] landslide distances… are remarkable… [it's] the largest distance limit ever recorded…


Chinese Billionaire Signs Deal for 100 year Takeover of Nicaragua’s New ‘Grand Canal’ Project

OCTOBER 31, 2014 BY 21WIRE

21st Century Wire says…

Plans are afoot for a new Nicaraguan canal which that would dwarf the existing Panama Canal to its south, but the only problem is that the project will effectively partition central America’s largest lake.

Although the deal has been fast-tracked by the Ortega government, the local population do not support it at all, not least of all because the project will decimate Lake Nicaragua – the region’s most valuable natural resource.

Local residents are threatening nothing short of armed insurrection, if (or when) Chinese bulldozers show up: “There is going to be a massacre because we are not leaving our land, our lives, and we’ll fight for it until death.”

Chinese billionaire Wang Jing celebrates deal with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (Image: Bloomberg)

Critics believe that this deal amounts to a near full foreign Chinese takeover of a large portion of the Nicaraguan economy, and with a cost of at least $40 billion, the project’s value will be four times the size of country’s 2011 gross domestic product.

President Ortega handed a 100-year concession to Chinese telecommunications magnet Wang Jing and Wang’s Hong Kong-based HKND Group (registered in the Cayman Islands).

In addition to Lake Nicaragua, Wang’s lucrative concession also includes control over giant tracks of Nicaraguan private and public required to build and manage the canal. The Chinese also net a number of other sweeteners in the deal – including two ports, free trade zones, airport, and hotel and resort properties.

It’s also highly probable that Nicaragua will become a new off-shore banking center once free trade areas are established within the canal zone becomes built up, as well as a completely deregulated, Chinese-owned and run off-shore gambling destination.

The Chinese kingpin has already moved to mitigate any western anti-Chinese, or activist criticism, as Bloomberg reports:

“Wang’s closely held HKND has hired Ronald MacLean-Abaroa, the former mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, and member of the advisory board to Transparency International and a consultant with the World Bank.”

Aside from the obvious environment destruction which will occur from this unprecedented industrial operation, it will ultimately transform the face of Nicaragua’s business culture – a future in which Chinese financial leverage and connections will become absolutely necessary in order to engage in any commercial property development or enterprise.

On the international shipping front, the project will give Chinese interests complete control over a large portion of international manufacturing and shipping distribution. With promises of faster transit for commercial shipping through Central America, Wang’s ‘El Gran’, or Inter-Oceanic Canal in Nicaragua will take away traffic and billions of dollars of annual business away from the Panama Canal, still largely regarded as a US-controlled interest.

A century ago, it was US and British billionaire scions who were doing these same deals, amassing power and wealth that would steer over 100 years of Anglo-American dominance across the globe.

Now it’s the Chinese who have all the leverage, liquidity – and power…

Giant canal threatens way of life on the banks of Lake Nicaragua

Nina Lakhani


A dozen or so cattle farmers are gathered at a ranch in the isolated community of Quebrada Seca, on the south-east corner of Lake Nicaragua.

It is nightfall after a piercingly hot, exhausting day but the farmers are on their feet and fired up about the proposed Inter-Oceanic Canal, which threatens to wash away their entire community.

LAKE NICARAGUA: One of the world’s most fertile regions – sold to a Chinese scion for a pittance (Image Source: Muppet Dogs)

“This is one of the most fertile regions in Nicaragua, and the government has sold it behind our backs to the Chinese, they’ve sold our heritage, our sovereignty,” says Arnulfo Sequeira, 51, a father of four with 200 acres of land and 100 cattle.

“There is going to be a massacre because we are not leaving our land, our lives, and we’ll fight for it until death.”

This picturesque setting, where most people still travel on horseback and children play under shady mango trees, is fighting for survival against plans for a 175-mile long shipping canal which would divide Nicaragua in two. From the Pacific to the Caribbean coast, the canal would dissect Central America’s largest lake – the country’s main water source – and force more than 100,000 people from their homes. If the Chinese company tasked with building the canal get the go ahead, it will become the world’s largest engineering project, dwarfing the Panama Canal in size.

Along the planned route, it is provoking a blend of anger, fear and defiance not witnessed since the civil war ended in 1988.

(…) “I’m not against the canal or development, but this project is brutal,” says Roger Garcia Rios, 69, a retired biology professor. “It’s inhumane and unpatriotic. Any risk to our lake is unacceptable and we will do everything humanly possible to protect it. Without water, there is no life.” …


AlterNet (Edited from longer article.)

Wall Street Can Now Disable Your Car When You're Driving on the Freeway

People with poor credit are being sold cars with GPS-based kill switches.

Photo Credit: Andrey Popov/Shutterstock

Imagine this scenario: You’re on an important trip miles from home and stopped in traffic, but before you can continue on your way, your car shuts down. You’ve got enough gas in the tank and no mechanical problems. But you’re stranded far from home because you’re a few days late on your car payment and the lender won’t let you drive until the debt is paid.

If this sounds like part of a dystopian future in which repo men are now cyborgs, it’s not. It’s happening today and becoming a big part of the new automotive landscape. Car dealers and automotive lenders are targeting those with poor credit by installing GPS-based kill switches, or starter-interrupt devices, on the cars that they sell.

The New York Times recently reported that about 2 million cars are now outfitted with such kill switches in the U.S., which is about one-quarter of subprime car loans, and creditors are not shy when it comes to remotely disabling cars whose owners are behind on their payments:

"Some borrowers say their cars were disabled when they were only a few days behind on their payments, leaving them stranded in dangerous neighborhoods. Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights. Some described how they could not take their children to school or to doctor’s appointments. One woman in Nevada said her car was shut down while she was driving on the freeway."Beyond the ability to disable a vehicle, the devices have tracking capabilities that allow lenders and others to know the movements of borrowers, a major concern for privacy advocates. And the warnings the devices emit — beeps that become more persistent as the due date for the loan payment approaches — are seen by some borrowers as more degrading than helpful."



Rampant corruption combined with economic woes to spark "revolution"


Economist Martin Armstrong is predicting that rising resentment against the status quo as a result of economic inequality is likely to cause a serious political uprising before 2016.

“It looks more and more like a serious political uprising will erupt by 2016 once the economy turns down. That is the magic ingredient. Turn the economy down and you get civil unrest and revolution,” writes Armstrong.

In making the forecast, the economist cites the case of 90-year-old World War 2 veteran Arnold Abbott, who is being targeted by authorities in Fort Lauderdale for defying a newly passed city ordinance that criminalizes feeding the homeless, an example says Armstrong of how “laws in the USA have simply gone nuts.”

Armstrong, who correctly predicted the 1987 Black Monday crash as well as the 1998 Russian financial collapse, asserts that the downfall of the system will be its inability to gauge the anger that Americans currently feel towards their government.

“You just cannot make up this stuff. And the Democrats cannot figure out that the people are getting pissed-off at who is ever in office? And what about the police?” asks Armstrong. “Is this just turning into thugs with badges who just enforce whatever law some nut-job politician writes? What if they passed a Herod type law to curb population and decree that everyone must kill their first-born. When does reason ever return to the police force these days? They no longer protect the people – they protect the politicians against the people.”

As we reported back in August, the U.S. Army is preparing for civil unrest in the United States. A 132-page document entitledU.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances outlines how troops may be required to deal with “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

Riots which rocked Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year and threaten to reignite should Officer Darren Wilson be acquitted illustrate how single events can spark sustained social unrest.

However, more widespread dislocation is only likely to occur in the aftermath of an economic collapse which impacts a huge number of Americans. As we have seen in numerous countries across Europe, including in Belgium just today, crippling austerity measures combined with anemic economic growth have set the stage for violent unrest.

In a February 2013 article entitled Why the Banking Elite Want Riots in America, we outlined why the political class is perfectly content to engineer and exploit social unrest as a means of paving the way for the IMF to engage in its tried and tested method of asset stripping and looting a nation.

With polls showing some 74% of Americans are already angry or dissatisfied with the government, further economic hardship could prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.




Aging Brains Aren’t Necessarily Declining Brains

By Angela Gutchess, Brandeis University | November 2, 2014

Last Updated: November 2, 2014 6:47 pm

It’s not all bad news for older brains. (Shutterstock*)

For years, conventional wisdom held that growing older tends to be bad news for brains. Past behavioral data largely pointed to loss in cognitive – that is, thinking – abilities with age, including poorer memory and greater distractibility. Physical measures of brain structure also showed atrophy, or loss of volume, in many regions with age.

Watching Older Brains at Work

Enter cognitive neuroscience, a subfield of psychology that incorporates methods from neuroscience. It uses measures of brain activity to understand human thought. The emphasis is on how the brain shapes behavior, asking questions like which brain regions help us form accurate memories or what area controls face perception.

Using cognitive neuroscience methods to study aging has unexpectedly revealed that, contrary to previous thought, aging brains remain somewhat malleable and plastic. Plasticity refers to the ability to flexibly recruit different areas of the brain to do different jobs. In contrast to the earlier, largely pessimistic view of aging, neuroimaging studies suggest aging brains can reorganize and change, and not necessarily for the worse.

Researchers investigate which parts of the brain are engaged during different tasks using methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, which measures blood flow to various areas of the brain while active. By tracking what happens inside the brain during particular activities, neuroimaging data reveal patterns of change with age. For instance, older adults sometimes use a region in both the left and right hemispheres of their brains to perform certain tasks, while young adults engage the region in only one half of the brain. Older adults also appear to activate more anterior regions of the brain whereas young adults exhibit more posterior activation.

The emergence of the cognitive neuroscience of aging occurred alongside advances in the understanding of neurogenesis; neuroscientists discovered that the growth of new neurons could continue throughout life, not just when we are very young. It is still unknown to what extent new neurons contribute to behavioral and brain changes with age. But there is some evidence in rodents that new learning and enriched, stimulating environments increase survival of new neurons potentially allowing the new neurons to contribute to abilities and even improve health.

External Stimulation

Stimulating the left side of his brain generates movement in the right hand. (Eric Wassermann, M.D., CC BY)

One exciting new direction for research on the aging brain uses neurostimulation to temporarily activate or suppress distinct neural regions. With transcranial magnetic stimulation, a coil is held over a participant’s head. Participants may be able to feel some stimulation on the scalp when the coil is turned on. Transcranial direct current stimulation is an even more surprising technique, with current administered from a 9V battery. These methods are non-invasive, simply involving holding a device over a person’s head or attaching electrodes to the scalp, and are quite safe when operated within guidelines.

They allow us, for the first time, to manipulate brain activity in a healthy, functioning person. Other neuroscience methods allow neurons to be turned on or turned off using pharmacological, genetic, or other methods, but such manipulations can’t ethically be applied to humans. While neuroimaging methods allow us to view which brain regions are active while performing cognitive tasks, we haven’t been able to test whether those brain regions cause, or are critical for, those tasks.

Shocking results! Older subjects did almost as well as young ones when their brains were direct current stimulated. (Science/AAAS, Author provided)

The ability to manipulate brain regions – temporarily and safely – allows for new types of tests that couldn’t be done before. For example, stimulating the frontal cortex – the brain region behind the forehead – can decrease errors on cognitive tests. When older adults in one study were asked to give examples of items that fit into different categories, they made mistakes under time pressure. Administering transcranial direct current stimulation decreased the number of errors committed by older adults, bringing them close to the level of performance of younger adults.

Neurostimulation offers much promise to further understanding of how the brain works in aging people, but there are many limitations. The spatial area affected by neurostimulation is not very precise as the scientist passes the coil over the subject’s head. Many regions cannot be targeted because they’re located deep within the brain, particularly problematic for studying memory. And activating some regions can cause discomfort for participants, such as twitching induced in the area of the forehead.

It’s Not All Downhill

Much of our understanding of aging brains has thus far focused on declining cognitive abilities. But there is some evidence that social and emotional abilities are relatively well-preserved with age. Older adults seem to be just as good at forming impressions of others and are even better at regulating or controlling their emotions than younger adults.

This suggests that brain regions underlying these abilities may not exhibit the same downward trajectory with age as those associated with cognitive abilities; these brain areas may show different patterns of reorganization and change.

Should these abilities be better preserved with age, they could be harnessed to develop effective memory strategies. For instance, emphasizing the motivational, personal and emotional significance of information to be remembered could help older people’s memories. Much research remains to be done on these questions.

Brain Workouts

Older brains’ plasticity suggests they could benefit from training programs and engaging, immersive experiences such as learning new skills like quilting or digital photography. Such a finding would have profound implications for the large population of active seniors who wish to stave off age-related cognitive decline.

While research is flourishing on a number of potential programs that could positively affect brain health – including physical exercise, cognitive regimens and engaged, social lifestyles – caution is warranted. For example, researchers warn there is little scientific evidence of the effectiveness of brain training software – so-called brain games – to date.

The aging brain has proven to be much more dynamic than early research would have suggested. Advances in research methods and widening the range of questions under investigation will further enhance our understanding of how the brain changes and adapts across the lifespan. With luck, this knowledge will reveal ways to harness plasticity to better support cognition as we age.

Angela Gutchess has current funding from NSF and the Alzheimer’s Association. Past funding was received from NIH and AFAR. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.



Green Tea Helps Lower Blood Pressure, and Much More...

November 03, 2014 | 314,617 views

By Dr. Mercola

Pure water is by far the ideal beverage of choice, but high-quality tea can be a valuable addition. Not only does tea rehydrate as well as water does, most teas also have additional health benefits.

High-quality tea—green tea in particular—contains polyphenol antioxidants that are recognized for their disease prevention and anti-aging properties. Polyphenols can account for up to 30 percent of the dry leaf weight of green tea.

Within the group of polyphenols are flavonoids, which contain catechins. One of the most powerful catechins is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), found in green tea. EGCG has been shown to positively impact a number of illnesses and conditions.

Previous research has shown that green tea polyphenols act on molecular pathways to shut down the production and spread of tumor cells. They also discourage the growth of the blood vessels that feed the tumors.

EGCG even acts as an antiangiogenic and antitumor agent, and helps modulate tumor cell response to chemotherapy. Study results also show EGCG can be helpful for the prevention of arteriosclerosis, cerebral thrombus, heart attack, and stroke—in part due to its ability to relax your arteries and improve blood flow.

Green Tea Lowers Blood Pressure Naturally

Some of the latest research in this area again confirms such health benefits. After analyzing 25 randomized controlled trials, the systematic review, published in the British Journal of Nutrition in October concluded that long-term tea intake significantly improved blood pressure. As reported in Time Magazine:

“After 12 weeks of drinking tea, blood pressure was lower by 2.6 mmHg systolic and 2.2 mmHg diastolic. Green tea had the most significant results, while black tea performed the next best...

Reducing systolic blood pressure by 2.6 mmHg ‘would be expected to reduce stroke risk by 8 percent, coronary artery disease mortality by 5 percent and all-cause mortality by 4 percent at a population level...’”

While unable to determine exactly how much tea you need to drink to receive these benefits, a number of previous studies have suggested the ideal amount lies around three to four cups of tea per day.

For example, one 2007 study found “clear evidence” showing that three or more cups of tea—in this case black tea—reduced the risk of coronary heart disease.

Similarly, drinking three to four cups of green tea daily has been shown to promote heart and cardiovascular health, again courtesy of its ability to relax blood vessels and protect against blood clots.

Green Tea—Helpful Against Obesity, Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease

There are certain compounds and nutrients that seem to have near limitless health potential, and catechins are part of that pack. Fortunately, high-quality green tea is an excellent source of these antioxidants, making them easily available.

Besides its beneficial effects on your circulatory system, previous studies have demonstrated that EGCG in particular has a regulatory effect on fat metabolism, thereby increasing fat oxidation and preventing obesity. It can even help improve exercise performance.

One 2010 study evaluating EGCG’s potential in weight loss found it increases fat oxidation by a respectable 33 percent. EGCG may also aid weight loss by inhibiting fat cell development and increasing fat excretion. Obesity and diabetes tend to go hand in hand, and what is beneficial for one is usually beneficial for the other as well.

Indeed, one animal study found that EGCG was as effective as the diabetic drug Avandia in moderately diabetic mice, suggesting green tea, or a high-quality green tea extract, could be helpful for the prevention and/or treatment of diabetes.

Researchers have also discovered that green tea has the potential to enhance the function of your brain, and prevent age-associated brain degeneration.

Specifically, EGCG appears to decrease the production of the protein beta-amyloid, which can over-accumulate in your brain, resulting in nerve damage and memory loss over time – a condition related to Alzheimer’s disease.

In one study, published in 2005, researchers injected pure EGCG into mice genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer’s; the results showed a decrease of as much as 54 percent in the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s.

Other Health Benefits of Green Tea

Catechins in green tea may also help protect against glaucoma and other eye diseases. In one study, scientists analyzed eye tissue from rats that drank green tea and found that eye tissues such as the lens and retina had in fact absorbed green tea catechins.

According to the authors, oxidative stress causes biological disturbances such as DNA damage and activation of proteolytic enzymes that can lead to tissue cell damage or dysfunction—and, eventually, ophthalmic diseases. Green tea catechins have also been found to:

  • Lower your breast cancer risk

  • Ease inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

  • Reduce your risk of autoimmune diseases

  • Promote healthy gums

  • Improve digestion

A botanical ointment containing a green tea extract was even found to be an effective treatment for external genital and anal warts, according to the results of one 2008 study. Genital and anal warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), and there has been a lack of effective, well tolerated treatments.

The researchers assigned over 500 adults with up to 30 warts to receive either an ointment containing sinecatechins, or a placebo. In the sinecatechins groups, warts cleared completely in roughly 57 percent of patients, compared to just 34 percent of subjects in the control group.

Quality Green Tea Is Green

Out of the seemingly endless varieties of tea out there, there is only a handful I would recommend drinking. My two favorites are Matcha green tea and Tulsi—a powerful adaptogenic herb that also provides important therapeutic benefits.

Green tea in general is among the least processed kinds of tea, which is why it contains some of the highest amounts of EGCG. Unlike other teas that you steep and strain, Matcha tea comes in the form of a powder that you add right into the water.

Matcha tea can contain over 100 times the EGCG provided by regular brewed green tea, and since you’re consuming the entire ground tea leaf, you’re getting the most benefit from each cup of tea you drink.

Besides being an excellent source of antioxidants, green tea is also packed with vitamins A, D, E, C, B, B5, H, and K, manganese, and other beneficial minerals such as zinc, chromium, and selenium. A telltale sign of high quality is that the tea is in fact green. If your green tea looks brown rather than green, it’s likely been oxidized, which can damage or destroy many of its most valuable compounds.

To boost the benefits of green tea, add a squirt of lemon juice to your cup. Previous research has demonstrated that vitamin C significantly increases the amount of catechins available for your body to absorb. In fact, citrus juice increased available catechin levels by more than five times, causing 80 percent of tea's catechins to remain bioavailable!

Tea Can Be a Valuable Part of a Healthy Diet

If you enjoy green tea, by all means add a few cups to your day. Just be sure to drink your green tea “straight.” Adding sugar, milk, or other “embellishments” (one exception being some citrus juice), will counter many of the benefits of the tea. Again, green tea contains the most EGCG of all tea varieties, and other than water, I believe high-quality green tea is one of the most beneficial beverages you can consume.


Be not wise in thine own conceit; but fear God, and depart from all evil. Then shall there be health to thy body, and good keeping to thy bones.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)