The more thou searchest, the more thou shalt marvel.”
(2 Esdras 4:26)

Thou Shalt Marvel

Dear Friends,

We thought you might find the following of interest. We have published part of this before, but have included additional entries.

An Extract Out Of Josephus's Discourse To The Greeks Concerning Hades (The unseen state. Ed)

1. NOW as to Hades, wherein the souls of the of the good things they see, and rejoice in the righteous and unrighteous are detained, it is necessary to speak of it. Hades is a place in the world not regularly finished; a subterraneous region, wherein the light of this world does not shine; from which circumstance, that in this region the light does not shine, it cannot be but there must be in it perpetual darkness.

This region is allotted as a place of custody for souls, ill which angels are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary punishments, agreeable to every one's behavior and manners.

2. In this region there is a certain place set apart, as a lake of unquenchable fire, whereinto we suppose no one hath hitherto been cast; but it is prepared for a day afore-determined by God, in which one righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men; when the unjust, and those that have been disobedient to God, and have given honor to such idols as have been the vain operations of the hands of men as to God himself, shall be adjudged to this everlasting punishment, as having been the causes of defilement; while the just shall obtain an incorruptible and never- fading kingdom.

These are now indeed confined in Hades, but not in the same place wherein the unjust are confined.

3. For there is one descent into this region, at whose gate we believe there stands an archangel with an host; which gate when those pass through that are conducted down by the angels appointed over souls, they do not go the same way; but the just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns, sung by the angels appointed over that place, unto a region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the world; not constrained by necessity, but ever enjoying the prospect of the good things they see, and rejoice in the expectation of those new enjoyments which will be peculiar to every one of them, and esteeming those things beyond what we have here; with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, nor are any briers there; but the countenance of the and of the just, which they see, always smiles them, while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in heaven, which is to succeed this region.

This place we call The Bosom of Abraham.

(There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores , And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass , that the beggar died , and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died , and was buried ; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said , Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said , Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted , and thou art tormented . And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed : so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot ; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said , I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said , Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent . And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded , though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:19-31)

Unique phrase found in a parable of Jesus describing the place where Lazarus went after death ( Luke 16:19-31 ). It is a figurative phrase that appears to have been drawn from a popular belief that the righteous would rest by Abraham's side in the world to come, an opinion described in Jewish literature at the time of Christ. The word kolpos [kovlpo"] literally refers to the side or lap of a person. Figuratively, as in this case, it refers to a place of honor reserved for a special guest, similar to its usage in John 13:23. In the case of Lazarus, the reserved place is special because it is beside Abraham, the father of all the righteous. The phrase may be synonymous to the paradise promised to the thief on the cross ( Luke 23:43 ). Together these passages support the conviction that a believer enjoys immediate bliss at the moment of physical death.

Sam Hamstra, Jr.

4. But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand by the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good-will, but as prisoners driven by violence; to whom are sent the angels appointed over them to reproach them and threaten them with their terrible looks, and to thrust them still downwards.

Now those angels that are set over these souls drag them into the neighborhood of hell itself; who, when they are hard by it, continually hear the noise of it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapor itself; but when they have a near view of this spectacle, as of a terrible and exceeding great prospect of fire, they are struck with a fearful expectation of a future judgment, and in effect punished thereby: and not only so, but where they see the place [or choir] of the fathers and of the just, even hereby are they punished; for a chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it.

5. This is the discourse concerning Hades, wherein the souls of all men are confined until a proper season, which God hath determined, when he will make a resurrection of all men from the dead, not procuring a transmigration of souls from one body to another, but raising again those very bodies, which you Greeks, seeing to be dissolved, do not believe [their resurrection].

But learn not to disbelieve it; for while you believe that the soul is created, and yet is made immortal by God, according to the doctrine of Plato, and this in time, be not incredulous; but believe that God is able, when he hath raised to life that body which was made as a compound of the same elements, to make it immortal; for it must never be said of God, that he is able to do some things, and unable to do others.

We have therefore believed that the body will be raised again; for although it be dissolved, it is not perished; for the earth receives its remains, and preserves them; and while they are like seed, and are mixed among the more fruitful soil, they flourish, and what is sown is indeed sown bare grain, but at the mighty sound of God the Creator, it will sprout up, and be raised in a clothed and glorious condition, though not before it has been dissolved, and mixed [with the earth].

So that we have not rashly believed the resurrection of the body; for although it be dissolved for a time on account of the original transgression, it exists still, and is cast into the earth as into a potter's furnace, in order to be formed again, not in order to rise again such as it was before, but in a state of purity, and so as never to he destroyed any more.

And to every body shall its own soul be restored.

And when it hath clothed itself with that body, it will not be subject to misery, but, being itself pure, it will continue with its pure body, and rejoice with it, with which it having walked righteously now in this world, and never having had it as a snare, it will receive it again with great gladness.

But as for the unjust, they will receive their bodies not changed, not freed from diseases or distempers, nor made glorious, but with the same diseases wherein they died; and such as they were in their unbelief, the same shall they be when they shall be faithfully judged.

6. For all men, the just as well as the unjust, shall be brought before God the word: for to him hath the Father committed all judgment : and he, in order to fulfill the will of his Father, shall come as Judge, whom we call Christ."

l Peter 3:18-20 also mentions regarding the above: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The Lake of Fire and Brimstone signifies a fire burning with brimstone; the word 'brimstone' or sulfur defines the character of the fire. The Greek word THEION translated 'brimstone' is exactly the same word THEION which means 'divine.'

Sulfur was sacred to the deity among the ancient Greeks; and was used to fumigate, to purify, and to cleanse and consecrate to the deity; for this purpose they burned it in their incense.  In Homer's Iliad (16:228), one is spoken of as purifying a goblet with fire and brimstone.  The verb derived from THEION is THEIOO, which means to hallow, to make divine, or to dedicate to a god (See Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon, 1897 Edition).

To any Greek, or any trained in the Greek language, a 'lake of fire and brimstone' would mean a 'lake of divine purification.' The idea of judgment need not be excluded. Divine purification and divine consecration are the plain meaning in ancient Greek. In the 'standard theology' explanation, this fundamental meaning of the word is entirely left out, and nothing but eternal torment is incorrectly associated with it.”

The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years By J.W. HANSON, D. D. Boston and Chicago Universalist Publishing House 1899

    And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
    (1 Corinthians 15:28)


    Irish Central

    Are the Celts one of the ten lost tribes of Israel?

    Evidence that the lost Dan tribe may have reached Ireland

    By JAMES O'SHEA, IrishCentral Staff Writer

    Published Friday, November 29, 2013, 7:41 AM

    Updated Saturday, November 30, 2013, 10:29 AM

    Modern artists use the "scales of justice" to represent the Tribe of Dan due to Genesis 49:16 referencing Dan judging his people. Photo by Google Images

    There is a theory that the Celts are descended from one of the ten lost tribes of Israel, the tribe of Dan.

Proponents of this theory on Wikipedia, in historical essays and elsewhere point to various parallels between Irish and ancient Hebrew culture. For example, they note that the harp, the symbol of Ireland, also plays a role in Jewish history, as the musical instrument of King David.

Some maintain that the tribe of Dan, known for its seafaring, conducted sea voyages to Ireland and colonized it as early as the period of the Judges in the 7th century BC under the name Tuatha Dé Danann.

Scholar Janet Moser writes: "There are certain facts that suggest that the Celts might have derived from a Jewish tradition from the East. The Celtic body of ecclesiastical and civil knowledge was Druidism. Their system can be traced to about 1800 B.C...”

In 'The Psalter of Cashel' an ancient text written by Saint Cormac it states that: 'The Tuatha de Danaan' ruled in Ireland for about two centuries, and were highly skilled in architecture and other arts from their long residence in Greece.'

The Tuatha de Danaan were the descendants of Danaus, the son of Belus, who went with his fifty daughters to Argos, the home of his ancestor Io. In Irish legends the Tuatha de Danaan, who were considered to be demi-gods, ...were said to have possessed a ...Grail-like vessel... These teachers of wisdom ... were the founders of the Druidic priesthood."

Were they connected back to the tribes of Israel? As part of the kingdom of Israel, the territory of Dan was conquered by the Assyrians, and the Dan were exiled; the manner of their exile led to their further history being lost.

Soon after the Celtic tribe appeared in Europe leading to speculation that the Celts were the tribe of Dan.

    According to the Hebrew Bible, following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BC, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes. Dan was allocated the most northerly region, to the north of the Galilee, and west of the Jordan, stretching north as far as Laish, Dan's main city (which became known as Dan). (Joshua 19:40-48)

In the Biblical census of the Book of Numbers, the tribe of Dan is portrayed as the second largest Israelite tribe (after Judah).Some textual scholars regard the census as being from the Priestly Source, dating it to around the 7th century BC. Following the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in 1050 BC, the Tribe of Dan was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government existed, and in times of crisis the people were led by ad hoc leaders known as Judges.

With the growth of the threat from Philistine incursions, the Israelite tribes decided to form a strong centralised monarchy to meet the challenge, and the Tribe of Dan joined the new kingdom with Saul as the first king.

After the death of Saul, all the tribes other than Judah remained loyal to the House of Saul, but after the death of Ish-bosheth, Saul's son and successor to the throne of Israel, the Tribe of Dan joined the other northern Israelite tribes in making David, who was then the king of Judah, king of a re-united Kingdom of Israel. However, on the accession of Rehoboam, David's grandson, in c. 930 BC the northern tribes split from the House of David to reform a Kingdom of Israel as the Northern Kingdom.

The most celebrated Danite was Samson, who some suggest is derived from Danyen tribal legends. The anti-Christ is also said to be a member of the tribe of Dan.

Modern artists use the "scales of justice" to represent the Tribe of Dan due to Genesis 49:16 referencing Dan judging his people. However, more traditional artists use a snake to represent Dan, based on Genesis 49:17.

Their primary trade characteristic was seafaring, unusual for the Israelite tribes.In the Song of Deborah the tribe is said to have stayed on their ships with their belongings. As part of the Kingdom of Israel, the territory of Dan was conquered by the Assyrians, and the tribe exiled; the manner of their exile led to their further history being lost.

Did they reappear as the Tuatha De Dannan or later the Celts? The truth is lost in the mists of time.


    Arutz Sheva

    Hamas: Israel Engineering an Earthquake Attack on Al-Aqsa

    Hamas Min. of Religious Affairs warns Israel is trying to collapse Al-Aqsa Mosque with 'artificial earthquake' to build 3rd Temple.

    By Dalit Halevi, Ari Yashar

    First Publish: 12/12/2013, 9:34 PM

    Ismail Radwan, Minister of Religious Affairs in Gaza's Hamas government, claims that Israel is trying to cause an artificial earthquake to totally collapse the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. According to Radwan, Israel is attempting to do so to establish the Third Temple.

    The comments came at an event organized by female students of the College for Professional Applied Sciences. In response to the supposed "earthquake attack," Radwan called for a general national enlistment to the military, and to support the mosque by having fixed presence at the site.

    Radwan said through repeated Jewish access to the Temple Mount, as well as "excavations and criminal acts," the Israeli "occupation" has "arrived at the stage of accustoming Palestinians, Arabs and Muslim to accept the existing reality so as to implement their goals to destroy the mosque and build the supposed Temple."

    The minister blamed peace talks and security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) as providing cover for the "criminal acts" on the Temple Mount.

    Regardless of Hamas's fantastic scenarios, Israel is facing a real earthquake danger. In October, the Home Front Minister MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) warned that a major earthquake is looming that could potentially kill 7,000 Israelis.


    Raiders News Network (Edited from longer article.)

    As first described in Zenith 2016

    An earthquake for the Third Temple

    Posted: December 13, 2013

    Before ending this entry I should point out that, due to the occult value or sacredness of the numerous elements surrounding these mythologies and the occultist’s version of Solomon’s temple, there has been an idea for some time that groups from among the Freemasons and illuminated fraternities intend to rebuild or to participate in the rebuilding of a glorious new temple in Jerusalem fashioned after the one built by Solomon. Disclosure of this has occasionally reached the public’s ear. The Illustrated London News, August 28, 1909, ran a spectacular supplement detailing this goal. The article was titled, “The Freemason’s Plan to Rebuild Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem.” Three years later, September 22, 1912, The New York Times published an outline by Freemasons to rebuild the temple under the title, “Solomon’s Temple: Scheme of Freemasons and Opinions of Jews on Rebuilding.” By 1914, some publishers had begun adding unprecedented details, including a report that the land on which the Dome of the Rock now stands had been secretly purchased and that plans were already under design for the construction of the third and final temple. Researchers since have produced intelligence that a hushed collaboration is firmly in place, held back only against the right time, opportunity, and circumstances when exalted Freemasons and their associates will move with haste to reconstruct a new temple, from which their “earthly representative” will reign.

    In addition to occultists, groups including the Temple Mount Faithful and the Temple Institute in Jerusalem are busy restoring and constructing the sacred vessels and vestments that will be used for service in the new temple at the arrival of their “Messiah” (see Students of Bible prophecy recognize the importance of such plans as signaling the coming of Antichrist. Old and New Testament Scriptures explain that a false Jewish messiah will appear, enthroning himself as God in the temple in Jerusalem, but afterward he will defile the holy place by setting up a sacrilegious object in the temple and ordering the sacrifices and offerings to cease (see Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). For any of this to occur, it is necessary for the temple to be rebuilt, thus making claims by Freemasons or other groups interested in fulfilling this monumental task highly suspect with regard to unfolding end-times events.

    A major obstacle that arises when discussing the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem is the present-day existence of the Islamic shrines known as the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, an issue that may also be resolved in Bible prophecy. A fault line near Jerusalem has been the cause of a half-dozen major earthquakes over the last thousand years, and may be strategically located to utterly destroy the Islamic shrines at any point in time. Zechariah 14:3–4 reads:

    Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.  

    Such a catastrophic event could wipe out the Muslim compound and provide a catalyst for rebuilding Solomon’s temple. Reports in recent years have featured scientific evidence and geological surveys warning that buildings in this area could be severely damaged if not utterly demolished by an earthquake. The Associated Press, in what sounded particularly prophetic in this regard, reported:

    Most at risk…is the Old City and the eleven-acre elevated plaza housing two major mosques, including the gold-capped Dome of the Rock. The site is known to Muslims as the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount—once home to the biblical Temples.[iv]  

    It is also entirely possible that an event such as an earthquake would not be required to bring about the dream of a new temple in Jerusalem. The Middle East is a powder keg, and war, with its missiles and bombs, could take out the Islamic shrines in a single hour. Some claim the Muslim structures could even be intentionally targeted during a conflict as a way of facilitating the construction of a new temple. Some writers and researchers in this field of study predict that a Masonic version of the prophesied third temple (see 2 Thessalonians 2) will be built on the very spot from where the debris of the Muslim structures are cleared following some calamity, and then a new messiah will pass through the golden Masonic portals of the temple, announcing to the world that the universal savior of mankind has come.

    On June 18, 2009, a third possibility was announced in Jerusalem as a result of theological research that would allow for an extension of the Temple Mount to be made on which the third Jewish temple could be constructed. In an article called “A New Vision for God’s Holy Mountain,” Ohr Margalit, rabbinical studies professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, wrote that “The scenario of a holy revelation given to an authentic prophet that the temple be rebuilt on the current or an extended Temple Mount in peaceful proximity to the Dome, Al Aqsa Mosque, and nearby Christian shrines” is all it would take to approve such a plan.

    According to Jewish law…such a prophetic mandate would then be binding. It would also be in keeping with the words of the twelfth-century Jewish sage Maimonides that Christianity and Islam are part of God’s ultimate plan “to direct the entire world to worship God together.” Interestingly, Theodore Herzl, the preeminent secular Zionist, detailed the same vision for a rebuilt temple in peaceful proximity to Islamic and Christian shrines on what he called “the holy region of mankind.”[v]

    Whether or not circumstances will be sufficient to build the new temple before America elects its next president in 2012, what started in 2001 may well have laid the foundation upon which the Man of Sin shall reign.

    [iv] Jason Keyser, “Jerusalem’s Old City at Risk in Earthquake,” Associated Press (January 19, 2004) (

    [v] Ohr Margalit, “A New Vision for God’s Holy Mountain” (



    Israeli government kills plan to uproot Bedouin

    Alex Kane on December 12, 2013 7

    Protesters call for the release of people who were arrested in actions against the Prawer Plan on November 30th. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

    The “Day of Rage” protests held last month by Bedouin Arabs and their allies to protest the Prawer Plan were met with defiant rhetoric from Israeli officials.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to move forward with the Israeli government’s initiative to demolish Bedouin villages, uproot their inhabitants and build Jewish towns on top of them.

    But two weeks after the protests, the plan has been scrapped.  In a big reversal, Netanyahu’s office announced today that the plan has been killed after Benny Begin, the co-author of the plan, recommended that course of action.

    The development, first predicted this week by Yariv Levin, the chairman of Israel’s governing coalition, will be welcomed by Bedouins as well as by right-wing opponents of the plan, who felt that it gave too many concessions.

    On December 9, Levin said that the plan would probably be scrapped because the co-author of the plan admitted he never consulted with the Bedouins themselves about the legislation. Benny Begin, who helped draft the plan along with Ehud Prawer, made the admission during a Knesset hearing Monday on the initiative, though Bedouin activists have been making the point that they weren’t consulted for years.

    “I wish to again make clear that contrary to what has been claimed in recent weeks, I didn’t tell anyone that the Bedouin agreed to my plan,” he said. And with that, Levin said that “there’s no chance of approving the second and third reading of the Prawer bill in its present form, because there is no justification to do so,” according to Haaretz‘s Jonathan Lis.

    Levin’s comments came days after a government map was revealed that provided, for the first time ever, concrete details on what the Prawer Plan would actually entail, though it’s unclear if it was a working map or simply meant to swing Knesset votes, according to +972 Magazine‘s Michael Omer-Man. The map, prepared by Housing Minister Uri Ariel but never given to Bedouin communities, showed that 40,000 Bedouin Arabs would be displaced and that the state would take over 61,700 acres of Bedouin land.

    The big question mark hanging over the news that the plan is scrapped, though, is what comes next.  The drive to solve the “Bedouin problem,” in the rhetoric of Israeli officials, won’t be stopped because the Prawer Plan has been scrapped.  Likud’s Levin has suggested that a new plan should be implemented:

    The present bill should be changed significantly. I’m willing to be generous to the Bedouin that would immediately agree to join the process. Whoever won’t agree should be forcefully placed in the areas allotted to Bedouin. The agreement to join the generous outline should be limited in time, and is should be determined that the lands would only be leased to the Bedouins, not registered with the land authority as their property

    Meanwhile, the status quo for unrecognized Bedouin communities–unconnected to water or electricity and bracing for demolition orders to make way for Jewish National Fund forests and new Jewish communities–holds steady.



    Saudi prince Bandar led attacks on Syria Christians

    Saturday, December 07, 2013

    The Convent of Our Lady of Saidnaya

    Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency has commanded thousands of militants to prepare to attack the Christian city of Saidnaya in the war-torn Syria.

    According to militant sources, several Wahhabi and al-Qaeda-linked groups, including the Ahrar al-Sham Brigade and the Free Syrian Army's Tahrir al-Sham brigade, backed by al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front terrorists among others, have mobilized 3,000 armed men to storm the Christian city of Saidnaya in the north of Damascus.

    Saidnaya, located in the mountains and 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of the city of Damascus, is the second largest Syrian Christian city after Maaloula.

    Saidnaya is famous for its ancient convents, especially the Convent of Our Lady of Saidnaya.

    Before the breakout of the war in Syria, Saidnaya was one of the most important tourist destinations in the Arab country.

    According to the Syrian sources, 80 percent of the Saidnaya residents have mobilized and taken up arms to defend the city and fight back the militants.

    The Saudi Intelligence Agency had previously ordered different armed groups to attack Maaloula and East Ghouta in Rif Damascus.

    After heavy fighting with army forces and taking the ancient quarter of Maaloula, militants abducted12 Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox nuns from a convent on Monday.

    Syrian Ambassador to Jordan Bahjat Suleiman has recently described the Saudi Prince as "the real gang leader of terrorists fighting in Syria."


    RIA Novosti

    Russia Warns of Nuclear Response to US Global Strike Program


    © RIA Novosti. Sergei Kazak

    17:15 11/12/2013

    MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – A senior government minister warned Wednesday that Russia could retaliate with a nuclear strike if a new US military strategy threatened its security.

    Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia was “preparing a response” to plans by the United States to develop a new fast-strike weapons platform capable of hitting high-priority targets around the globe.

    He told the State Duma that the development of a global strike program was “the most important new strategy being developed by the United States today.”

    “They may experiment with conventional weapons on strategic delivery platforms, but they must bear in mind, that if we are attacked, in certain circumstances we will of course respond with nuclear weapons,” Rogozin said.

    He stressed that Russia cannot ignore the development of high-precision hypersonic weapon systems. Rogozin’s comment came a day after President Putin announced that 40 new Yars (SS-29) Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) would be added to Russia’s nuclear arsenal in 2014.

    The US administration under President George W. Bush considered the idea of a global strike capability, but abandoned the project over fears that launching an ICBM with a conventional warhead might accidentally trigger a nuclear war.



    DoD BUZZ

    Call Made to Congress for China War Plan

    By Kris Osborn Thursday, December 12th, 2013 3:26 pm

    The U.S. military needs a more focused war plan specific to China, especially after China’s recent declaration of an air defense zone over the East China Sea, a group of defense analysts told a prominent House subcommittee Wednesday.

    As part of the Pentagon’s overall defense strategy to pivot to the Pacific, the U.S. should buy more Virginia-class attack submarines, prioritizing long-range anti-ship missiles, carrier-based drones, and missile defense technology, the analysts told the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

    Seth Cropsey, a senior fellow at The Hudson Institute, told the subcommittee that the U.S needs a detailed war plan for China in the event that conflict arises.

    “Chinese leaders are ambitious and they are moving toward great power status. The U.S. is not taking this possibility as seriously as it should,” said

    Much of the hearing was focused on how the U.S. can counter-balance Chinese strategic moves to deny access to certain areas in the region through the use of long-range missiles, guided missile destroyers and submarines. In particular, the analysts said China have sought to control waterways, choke points and restrict access to key islands and territories in the region.

    China has already provoked tensions in the region by declaring an air-defense zone in the East China Sea. U.S. leaders flew two unarmed B-52s through the area shortly after the announcement. However, the White House has also asked civilian U.S. airliners to alert China when their aircraft fly through the zone.

    “While Naval modernization is a natural development for any sea-faring nation such as China, it is clear the modernization is emboldening the Chinese government to exert their interests by bullying their neighbors and pushing back the United States in the Asia Pacific region,” said Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

    If China succeeds in restricting access to or controlling its near seas, that would present “major implications for U.S. strategy and constitute a major challenge to the post World War II international order,” said Ronald O’Rourke, specialist in Naval Affairs, Congressional Research Service.

    Chinese defense spending has increased from an estimated $45 to $60-billion annually in 2003 to $115 to $200 billion today, said Jim Thomas, vice president and director of studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

    This includes investments in ships, long-range missiles, fighter jets and submarines, he explained. Unlike the U.S. which maintains a global posture, the Chinese military can spend all of its funds on regional counter-intervention, Thomas said.

    The Chinese military has as many as 100 land-based strike fighters equipped with sophisticated avionics, sensors and advanced air-to-air missiles, he testified. Thomas also mentioned China’s DF-21D long-range ballistic missile, a weapon with a maneuverable warhead able to attack large surface combatants at ranges up to 930 miles.

    “A decade ago China was reliant upon Russian assistance in its armaments, but is now increasingly shifted toward indigenous design and production. It is rapidly building up a modernized submarine force and its advanced guided missile destroyers represent a major improvement in fleet air defenses,” he told the Subcommittee.

    These defenses are designed to protect aircraft carriers and help China push its Naval perimeter further off the coast, Thomas added. China also has an armada of small, armed fast-attack craft which could make it difficult for foreign forces to approach to within 200 nautical miles of the Chinese coast, Thomas testified.

    Being able to thwart or spoof command and control and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance networks needs to be a key part of a counter-China defense strategy, Thomas emphasized as well.

    Andrew Erickson, associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College, testified that the U.S. should do more to deny China the ability to seize and hold off-shore territory. This includes  developing anti-ship cruise missiles such as the recently tested Long Range Anti-Ship Missile as well as long-range surface to air missiles, he said.

    Erickson said offensive mine warfare could also provide key elements of the strategy. Most of all, however, Erickson emphasized that the U.S. should use its undersea technological advantage to deny China the ability to seize territory.

    He stressed that the Navy should maintain its current pace of building two Virginia-class attack submarines, called SSNs, per year.

    “It is therefore essential to ensure the present two-a-year construction rate of Virginia-class, nuclear-powered attack submarines. These SSNs are ideal for denying China the ability to hold and re-supply any forcefully seized islands. Given China’s ongoing limitations in anti-submarine warfare and the inherent difficulty of progressing in this field,  China could spend many times the cost of these SSNs and still not be able to counter them effectively,” Erickson.

    Rourke also told the Subcommittee that the U.S. might want to consider acquiring three Virginia-class submarines per year, citing the importance of the platform.




    'There is direct evidence of government incitement to genocide'

    Published: 11/10/13


    With the death of South African revolutionary icon Nelson Mandela, outside analysts and locals alike are expressing fear of a coming genocide of European-descent Afrikaners.

    So significant is the threat in South Africa, some genocide experts are urging Afrikaners to consider fleeing their homeland.

    Dr. Gregory Stanton, head of Genocide Watch and a man who himself fought against the apartheid system, warned as early as last year that South Africa was at Stage 6 out of 8 on the road to genocide: the planning and preparation phase.

    “There is thus strong circumstantial evidence of government support for the campaign of forced displacement and atrocities against white farmers and their families,” said Stanton, after a fact-finding mission to South Africa last year. “There is direct evidence of government incitement to genocide.”

    In an e-mail to a prominent Afrikaner monitoring the dangers, Stanton emphasized that Genocide Watch had raised the Genocide Stage level for South Africa to Stage 6 based on “evidence that the murders of Afrikaaner farmers and other whites is organized by racist communists determined to drive whites out of South Africa, nationalize farms and mines, and bring on all the horrors of a communist state.”

    Discover what lessons post-Apartheid South Africa holds in store for America with “Into the Cannibal’s Pot,” from the WND SuperStore!

    Moments after Mandela’s death was announced last week by current South African President Jacob Zuma, threats of killings and mayhem began appearing online.

    Sources from South Africa told WND – and reporters on the scene confirmed – residents in many areas began taking up the traditional, so-called “struggle songs,” which sing not just of liberating the black population, but pledge the mass-murder of whites. There are many songs and variations on them, but among the most common themes are “kill the Boer, kill the farmer,” “bring me my machine gun” and similar genocidal topics.

    While officially considered “hate speech” – even incitement to genocide – the songs advocating the mass-murder of European-descent South Africans were popular with Mandela and remain a regular feature of politics. Even the current president, Jacob Zuma, regularly sings the songs at political rallies.

    Often dismissed as just old “struggle” songs, even by many Afrikaners, experts have long warned that such rhetoric can easily contribute to atrocities.

    In South Africa, some Afrikaners are on edge, too.

    “It sounds more like a war cry than anything else,” said South African analyst Jacques Maré, who describes himself as a minority-rights activist. “The atmosphere is charged.”

    “The mood of the crowd in the township seems to be excited, unlike the somber emotions one would expect,” Maré told WND as he monitored developments intently from Pretoria. “It is going to be a difficult and uneasy time for the ethnic-European minority of South Africa.”

    Night of the long knives?

    For years, significant segments of all race groups in the “rainbow nation” of South Africa have feared that after the passing of Mandela, a shadowy plan to slaughter Afrikaners dubbed “Uhuru,” or “freedom,” could be set in motion.

    The alleged genocidal scheme, sometimes referred to as the “night of the long knives,” is back in the global headlines as reporters from Britain to the United States describe the fears of South Africa’s whites, who now make up less than 10 percent of the population.

    A report published by the London Guardian referred to it all as an “urban myth,” but acknowledged that the fear remains in some segments.

    “They always talk about the night of the long knives. We’re quite scared about it,” preschool teacher Madeleine Prollus was quoted as saying. “Mandela was always the one who said he wouldn’t allow it to happen, but now he’s gone.”

    Another South African quoted in the report said his children were worried that 10 days after Mandela’s death – the eve of the Blood River anniversary – the situation would turn “bad.”

    Whites were hardly the only ones expressing concerns.

    “It’s not going to be good,” 28-year-old Sharon Qubeka, a secretary from Tembisa township, told Reuters. “I think it’s going to become a more racist country. People will turn on each other and chase foreigners away.”

    “Mandela was the only one who kept things together,” she argued.

    Many communities began making extensive preparations for potential eventualities as far back as a decade ago – especially after witnessing the atrocities perpetrated against whites by the regime of Marxist strongman and Mandela ally Robert Mugabe in neighboring Zimbabwe and the current ruling alliance in South Africa composed of the African National Congress, or ANC, and the powerful South African Communist Party.

    In recent years, especially, even prominent media outlets across the West have highlighted the potential for mass unrest and violence directed at European-descent minorities in South Africa.

    Just two months ago, barely noticed outside of South Africa, a small group of Afrikaners, including a prominent celebrity, gathered for a protest against the farm murders dubbed “Red October.”

    As WND has previously reported, brutal violence directed at Afrikaners – especially farmers, or Boers – has been steadily on the rise since 1994. Thousands have been slaughtered, including babies, often in the most barbaric ways imaginable.

    Especially troubling, according to analysts who monitor and track threats and violence aimed at Afrikaners, are social-media posts made after Mandela’s death vowing to exterminate European-descent South Africans.

    In a hate-filled Dec. 5 post titled “The Bullet or the Bullet,” the South Africa-based outfit “BlaqSoul Afrika,” which is affiliated with the openly genocidal New Black Panther Party, proclaimed, “We are not fighiting [sic] a faceless oppressor, the oppressor is not just a system of white supremacy, the oppressor is the white race, and when we speak of the distraction [sic] of white supremacy in its totality, we speak of the distraction [sic] of the white race in its totality!”

    The post presumably meant “destruction” of the white race, rather than distraction.

    Concluding, the outfit ended with a call to exterminate descendants of Europeans: “Now repeat after me Black woman and Black man: The oppressor has a face and the face is white. We ought to wipe out the white face, ending our suffering as a people! Black power!”

    The same group previously posted: “As much as South Africans are banned from singing ‘Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer’ in public, that is what they dream of everyday [sic].”

    Even though the genocidal sentiments are hardly considered “mainstream” in South Africa, they are prevalent enough that politicians from Europe, genocide experts and many Afrikaner leaders have sounded the alarm.

    More than just revenge

    According to experts like Dr. Stanton, however, the forces behind the scenes stirring up the racial hatred and unrest do not see it as an end in itself. Instead, it is a means to another end: finalizing the imposition of communist tyranny on South Africa.

    Particularly troubling is the example set in neighboring Zimbabwe by loyal Mandela and ANC ally Robert Mugabe, a brutal Marxist dictator who has ruled the nation with an iron fist.

    As part of his regime’s consolidation of total power, white farmers there were tortured, murdered and evicted from the nation en masse. Their land was seized and redistributed to political cronies who knew nothing about farming.

    Discover the truth about Mandela, and the extent of his communist plans, in his very own words!

    “Nelson Mandela’s renowned and illustrious political life will forever remain a beacon of excellence,” Mugabe said after the announcement that South Africa’s revolutionary leader had passed away.

    In a span of a few decades, the Zimbabwean tyrant managed to destroy the nation so thoroughly that it went from being known as “the breadbasket of Africa” to mass-starvation and dependence on international food aid.

    Zimbabwe’s despot, almost universally considered a pariah, might seem like a far cry from the “democratic” South African government led by Mandela’s ANC and its Communist Party partners.

    However, more than a few observers have suggested that, absent a dramatic change in course, South Africa may eventually follow Zimbabwe into chaos, war, starvation and elimination of European-descent Africans.

    With popular anger over ANC-SACP government cronyism, corruption and lawlessness on the rise, meanwhile, anti-Afrikaner and anti-market demagogues are becoming increasingly influential. The radicals feel Mandela – once a key member of the Soviet-backed South African Communist Party leadership who helped lead a terror campaign that left mostly civilians dead – did not go far enough.

    Among the most alarming to critics is Marxist firebrand Julius “Juju” Malema, the former Youth Leader of Mandela’s ANC.

    Claiming that the ANC was not radical enough in its drive to crush Afrikaners under the guise of lifting up blacks, Malema recently founded a new political party known as “Economic Freedom Fighters,” or EFF. One of its stated goals: “Fight white males.”

    In its founding document, the EFF also calls for the “transfer of all land to the state,” nationalization of virtually everything – banks, mines and more – along with seizure of wealth and an even more powerful government.

    So far, Malema has attracted cadres of enthusiastic supporters, but he remains largely on the fringes after his falling out with the ruling ANC.

    As the economy continues in what many analysts say may ultimately be its death spiral, however, ludicrous promises made by Malema and people like him – free wealth for everyone through total state control – may appear increasingly appealing.

    The end result of such a scenario, as has been shown dozens of times over the last century, would almost certainly be bloodshed, grinding poverty, and horror, according to analysts who spoke to WND.

    Blood River

    Virtually no two analysts agree on precisely where South Africa goes from here. Not everyone is entirely pessimistic, however.

    South African analyst Jacques Maré also cited an Afrikaner group that called for calm after Mandela’s death, urging its members to prepare for the Dec. 16 “Day of the Vow.”

    On that day, exactly 175 years ago, a key historical development in the history of the Afrikaner people took place: the Battle of Blood River.

    A Voortrekker party and its leader, Piet Retief, had been betrayed after signing a treaty with Zulu king Dingaan. Using deception, the Zulu leader brutally murdered Retief, his son, and his small party following the agreement.

    After the murders, the Zulu king assembled some 10,000 to 20,000 warriors, who promptly set out to track down and slaughter the rest of the Voortrekkers in the area. Almost 200, including women, children and babies, were ruthlessly killed.

    Before the Battle of Blood River on Dec. 16, 1838, a small group of Voortrekkers, led by pastor Sarel Celliers, took an oath to God. They pledged that if the Lord would grant them victory over the massive Zulu force, they and their descendants would celebrate and honor the day in perpetuity.

    When the Zulu attack came, the tiny, 470-strong Voortrekker party killed some 3,000 Zulus, suffering no casualties in the process, outside of some minor wounds.

    The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, built 100 years after Blood River, still stands today as a reminder of the victory, which segments of the Afrikaner population still hold was granted by God.

    “It is now more than ever of special significance for us, because our people believe that God delivered us from annihilation on that day in 1838,” Maré explained. “It will indeed be even more of a miracle and a testament of our faith, if the same should happen again 175 years later, don’t you think?”

    Analyst Henri Le Riche, an Afrikaner patriot and South African exile who closely monitors developments in his homeland and is well-known among the expat community, told WND, “With the death of Mandela, a new era will start.”

    “First, the beginning of the end of the ANC,” he said. “The ANC used Mandela like a mascot, and also like smoke and mirrors. With him out the way, and after the news subsided, the focus will change, but they will try and get as much exposure out of Mandela’s death till the South African elections next year. The outside world’s focus will now shift to the real ANC government of South Africa.”

    With the death of Mandela, the eyes of the world are now on the rainbow nation. Obama even ordered U.S. flags flown at half-mast. Where it all goes from here, though, is hard to determine.

    Based on current trends – economic indicators, for example, and the explosion of murder and rape across the country – analysts largely agree that every day, there appears to be less and less reason for optimism about the future of South Africa.


    Horrific Consequences: “People Don’t Understand the Scale of the Emergency That’s Going On Right Now”

    Mac Slavo

    December 5, 2013

    Back in the mid-2000′s, when jobs were plentiful and everyone was concerned with buying zero-interest homes, new cars and taking luxury vacations, Mike Maloney from the Hidden Secrets of Money was warning of the financial and economic destruction to come. In his assessment, a crisis was imminent:

    First the threat of deflation (1), followed by a helicopter drop (2), followed by big reflation (3), followed by a real deflation (4), and then followed by hyperinflation (5),

    We now know that Maloney was right.

    In 2008 we saw asset valuations from stocks to commodities lose significant value. It was a deflationary impact so threatening that the U.S. government was on the brink of a collapse which subsequently led to members of Congress being warned that if nothing was done there would be tanks on the streets of America. This was followed by an unprecedented bailout package, which included an astronomical infusion of cash by the Federal Reserve under the direction of Chairman Ben Bernanke. Since then we’ve seen a massive reflation in a system where the economic fundamentals have only gotten worse – stock markets have hit all time highs, home prices have seemingly re-stabilized and personal debt is approaching 2007 levels.

    Mike’s first three stages have, without a doubt, now come to pass.

    If his forecast is correct – and it sure seems like it – then we will soon enter the next stage of this crisis and it will involve yet another deflationary hit to global asset prices. We know how destabilizing such an event can be from our country’s experience during the Great Depression. But as Mike notes in a follow-up to his original forecast, the next event will be nothing like what we saw during the 1930′s:

    I think it’s going to be a whole lot worse than the 30′s…

    People don’t understand the scale of the emergency that’s going on right now.

    They think that Ben Bernanke fixed things and that the economy is back on track, but the Fed is still doing emergency measures. They’re printing $85 billion a month – that’s over a trillion dollars a year… and people do not grasp the scale of the emergency measures that they’re doing right now.

    There was just a little over $800 billion of base money in existence before the crisis in 2008… that’s 200 years worth of currency creation… So that’s 0.8 trillion… now we create a trillion every year… that means we’re creating more than 200 years of currency every single year.

    …For him [Bernanke] to say that they’re not going to taper is an admission that they can never, ever taper… If they do the whole thing comes crashing down.

    I think the crash of 2008 was just a speed bump on the way to the main event… the consequences are gonna be horrific… the rest of the decade will bring us the greatest financial calamity in history.

    If Maloney is right, then the next crash is going to be followed by something so severe that many have suggested our civilization may not survive in its current form.

    Hyperinflation on this scale, originating in the United States, will lead to immediate global consequences. First, our systems of commerce break down. Next, the government will be left with no choice but to implement a state of martial law, something they have been war-gaming for years in anticipation of this very event. And finally, as noted by many contrarian experts, the world could very rapidly descend into widespread global conflict.

    We are, by all measures, on the very precipice of what is potentially the most enormous financial, economic, and social collapse in the history of the world.

    Both scenarios – deflation and inflation – are going to impoverish this nation and make it nearly impossible for people to acquire the basic necessities for life. One hundred million people are already struggling right now and are only capable of paying their rent and putting food on the table because of direct government assistance.

    When the system collapses that assistance will not be enough and those who failed to prepare by stocking long-term food stores, gold and silver, and barter supplies are going to be living in horrific conditions.

    This is big – and most people are completely ignorant to the possibility.



    The Blaze


    Dec. 7, 2013 9:57am Oliver Darcy

    The FBI can secretly activate a computer’s webcam to spy on an individual without turning on the indicator light, a former official revealed to the Washington Post in an article published Friday.

    According to the Washington Post’s account of what Marcus Thomas —former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico — said, “The FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years, and has used that technique mainly in terrorism cases or the most serious criminal investigations.”

    An FBI official told the Washington Post they have been able to secretly activate an individual’s webcam for years now. (Image source: Shutterstock)

    “Because of encryption and because targets are increasingly using mobile devices, law enforcement is realizing that more and more they’re going to have to be on the device — or in the cloud,” Thomas added, in reference to remote storage services. “There’s the realization out there that they’re going to have to use these types of tools more and more.”



    Nevada rescue: 5 things family did right to survive

    By Ed Payne and Sarah Aarthun, CNN

    December 11, 2013 -- Updated 2205 GMT (0605 HKT)

    Source: CNN


    Tell family and friends where you're traveling

    Stay with your vehicle, don't go looking for help

    Make sure to wear proper clothing for the elements

    Carry food and water with you

    (CNN) -- It could have had a much different outcome. A family of six spent two days in the Nevada wilderness in sub-zero temperatures after their Jeep rolled off the side of a dirt road and into a crevice.

    James Glanton and his girlfriend Christina McIntee huddled with their two children, and her nephew and niece, keeping everyone together and keeping everyone warm. They suffered no frostbite.

    McIntee, 25, and the youngest child Chloe, 3, were released from Pershing General Hospital on Wednesday. Glanton and the other three children continued to receive IV hydration at the hospital. None were expected to face any long-term health problems.

    So how did this family manage to survive two days when others may not have been so lucky? Here are five things the family did right:

    Rescued Nevada family in 'good spirits'

    1) They told relatives where they were going

    Knowing where Glanton and McIntee were taking the kids was a huge help to authorities. It narrowed down the scope of the search. The Pershing County Sheriff's Office knew the family had planned to play in the snow in the Seven Troughs mountain range. Even knowing where the family was headed, the search area was still 6,000 square miles.

    Contrast their decision to that of Aron Ralston. In 2003, Ralston didn't tell anyone he was going hiking in a remote Utah canyon. He spent nearly a week with part of his right arm pinned under an 800-pound boulder. He made it out only after he amputated his forearm and hiked four hours. Had anyone known where he was, the outcome might have been different.

    2) They didn't leave to go find help

    Survival expert Joseph Teti said this was key, sticking with the vehicle when you're in trouble. That's better than striking out on your own.

    "Mother Nature will not allow you to make too many mistakes at all," said Teti, co-star of Discovery Channel's "Dual Survival."

    In 2011, Canadians Albert and Rita Chretien were lost in a very remote section of the Nevada wilderness. They said their GPS took them the wrong way. After a few days, Albert went looking for help. He died. Wife Rita was found alive by a search team some 49 days later.

    3) They were prepared for the elements

    The family planned a romp in the snow. So they packed heavy winter clothing. As a result, they were ready for their unintended outdoor adventure. The experts say it's best to be prepared for the elements you're traveling in even if you're not planning on being outside for any length of time.

    4) They improvised to stay warm

    This really impressed authorities.

    The couple, who didn't have extra blankets, started a fire outside after the Jeep overturned. They heated rocks and placed them in the spare tire to keep the children, ages 3 to 10, warm at night.

    "I have never heard of such a thing, but I think it was pretty clever of him," search team leader Paul Burke with state Department of Public Safety, said of Glanton's tactics. "To the extent he was ingenious about it, that is one for the books."

    5) They had food and water

    Dr. Vacek said having basic supplies proved to be key, especially having water so they could stay hydrated in the dry conditions. The food didn't last long, it was gone by Monday, but still it was enough to get them by until help came.


    Surival News Online

    Prep Your Vehicle for Emergencies

    by Sno Man on 10 December 2013

    Prep Your Vehicle in One Hour

    Most people can prep their vehicle for emergencies in about one hour with items they already have around the house. Of course, this is basic prep, and you can spend a great deal more time refining your vehicle emergency kit later, but the important thing is to get from “zero” to “something” right away.

    In S1 E2 of Survival Tips, we do a surprise inspection of Jake’s Jeep to see how he fares with his preparedness. He’s the SnoMan’s oldest son, so he’d better pass inspection!

    Basic Vehicle Emergency Kit

    The basic kit consists of the following seven items [note: I include some links to items on Amazon. See my FTC disclosure statement and my product recommendation policy]:

    1. Tire change. This item requires a run-through; change the tire and make sure you have all the tools you need, and that the spare is properly inflated. Make sure everyone who drives the vehicle is capable of safely changing the tire.

    2. Fire extinguisher. This is the one item you might not have just lying around the house, but you can get one for under $30. Here’s one example from Amazon that includes a mounting bracket.

    3. Water. Ideally, you should store one gallon of water per person per day. Realistically, I know that’s hard to do in a vehicle, but one thing is undeniable — it’s better to have some water than none. I recommend you buy a case of your favorite bottled water, stick it somewhere in the vehicle, and then forget about it. If you ever do tap into it, replace it immediately. However you store your water, make sure it will withstand freezing without bursting its container. Just FYI, our water stock came in handy when our entire family got stranded on the highway for several hours late one night due to a fatal accident ahead of us. The Interstate was shut down and became a parking lot for four hours.

    4. Snacks. We also tapped into our snacks that same night. Stock anything you’ll be happy to eat. A balanced diet is something you consider globally, but an emergency food stock in your car is really about eating something quick and easy, without cooking, just to get you home. Just make sure it can take heat and cold, and that you have the means to open it, if it’s canned food. Easy-pull canned goods work great, and so do snack bars. Avoid chocolate, which gets messy in the heat. Rotate your stock two or three times a year, since the intense heat in parked vehicles will degrade even canned goods. I rotate the stuff into my pantry, so nothing goes to waste.

    5. Jumper cables. I have to warn you: Good cables are expensive. Get them if your budget allows, but again, something is better than nothing. If all you can afford is cheap cables, they could still get you going, so go ahead and put something in the car. Here are some fairly expensive 800 amp cables from Amazon. Look for the following indicators of quality;

      • Heavy gauge. Small gauge number means thicker cable.

      • Copper wire. Most cables are made of copper-clad aluminum; all-copper cables are very expensive.

      • Long cables. The longer the cable, the easier you can connect to another vehicle. However, longer cables transmit lower voltage, and so they need to be correspondingly thicker. I recommend at least 16-foot cables, and 20 is better.

      • Sturdy clamps. Cheap clamps won’t hold up to frequent use. Hopefully, you won’t use the cables much.

        6. Tools. The basic tool kit includes duct tape, an adjustable wrench, a flat-head screwdriver, a #2

        Phillips-head screwdriver, pliers with a wire cutter, a flashlight, and a few zip ties. You also need

        something to cut with; this could be a knife, a utility knife, or a box cutter. You should also

        consider some sort of multitool like a Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman.

    7. First aid. As usual, in a basic first aid kit I want to see, at a minimum, some adhesive bandages

    and some antiseptic wipes. I’m not saying that’s all you need, but these are the items I use most

    often, so I’m sure to include them in every kit. Additional items to consider for a basic kit: a few

    pain pills like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin; a razor blade or scalpel; antibiotic ointment;

    surgical tape; and a self-adhesive wrap, like to wrap a sprained ankle. You can get as elaborate as

    you want. I keep a kit similar to this one in my vehicle.

    Your needs may vary — feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.


    The Washington Post (Edited from longer article.)

    Middle East’s first snowy winter in decades


    December 12 at 1:20 pm

    Snow has swept across much of the Middle East, a rare event in this part of the world. Arching south from Turkey, the storm blanketed parts of Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. While parts of the region often see snow in winter, others are dusted perhaps once in a generation; Jerusalem was last snow-covered about 50 years ago.

    Israeli Arabs throw snowballs as snow covers the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

    A man stands in front of the Western Wall as snow falls in Jerusalem's Old City. (Reuters/Darren Whiteside)

    Orthodox Jews walk past the Damascus gate in Jerusalem. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

    A Palestinian man stands in the snow at Damascus gate outside Jerusalem's old city. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

    Two Palestinian women play with snow outside al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)


    You've Never Seen a Snowflake in This Much Detail

    By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer

    December 07, 2013;

    As the saying goes, no two snowflakes are exactly alike. Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov's collection of high-resolution magnified flakes makes this widely-held belief more convincing.

    The Moscow-based photographer captured dozens of structurally diverse snowflakes, showcasing the complexity of each one against a dull backdrop.

    "This year I planned to save current temperature and relative humidity, taken from weather sites with all shooting sessions, but previously I [didn't] do that."

    Shooting at a variety of different conditions is critical to Kljatov's work, as snowflakes form into different shapes depending on temperature and humidity at the time of their formation.

    "Snowflakes are merely ice crystals whose shape are determined by the organization the water molecules are in when they freeze," according to Meteorologist Erik Pindrock.

    "Temperature can greatly influence them," Pindrock said.

    According to Kenneth G. Libbrecht, professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology, "snow crystals tend to form simpler shapes when the humidity (supersaturation) is low, while more complex shapes at higher humidities."

    Dendrites, the common six-armed shape, form at temperatures between 3 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Hollow columns form at 14 to 21 F and needles form at 21 to 25 F.

    "It is even possible for a single snowflakes to be a combination of shapes as it moves into different temperatures within a cloud," Pindrock said.

    "But with so many variables to influence a single snowflake's design and shape, it is highly unlikely that two large snowflakes would turn out exactly the same."


    Until next week...keep on believing.
    Almondtree Productions

    Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? By his commandment he maketh the snow to fall aplace. The eye marvelleth at the beauty of the whiteness thereof, and the heart is astonished at the raining of it.”
    (Job 38:22, Ecclesiasticus 43:13,18)