"Jesus had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
Greetings! In the book of ll Kings, chapter six, the Syrian king, along with his armies are planning an attack on Israel. The problem for the Syrian king is that God tells His prophet Elisha their plans. Elisha then sends a message to the king of Israel warning him of the plans of the Syrians, and thus prevents a defeat for the nation of Israel.
The king of Syria at first believes there must be a traitor in his midst. He later finds out from one of his servants that it is the prophet Elisha, who is obviously hearing the kings plans from God, and revealing his plans to the king of Israel.
Now it would seem at this point, the king of Syria would realize that he is up against a supernatural force and would turn around and go home to Syria. Instead the king sends an army to "get" Elisha.
When Elisha's servant woke early in the morning and saw the city surrounded by this army it seems he was filled with consternation. Elisha then said; "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
There is a similar verse in the New Testament, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..."(Hebrews 12:1) The point being, don't think you ever have to fight battles on your own, we have a lot of help surrounding us.
And one day soon, Jesus is going to put an end all those who fought Him and troubled this world so badly, in a great battle, along with our help.
" And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Sounds a bit gory really, but that's the outcome. If you would like to know how the story about Elisha and his servant ends, you can read it in ll Kings, chapter six.
Swords are mentioned many times in the Bible. One of the most famous swords ever mentioned, not in the Bible, but in history is Excaliber.
Hope you enjoy the following articles.
Top 10 Archaeological Clues to the Real King Arthur
Submitted by Christopher Gidlow
The King Arthur we are familiar with is a literary figure, but was he also a historical one? In my book Revealing King Arthur: Swords, Stones and Digging for Camelot, I show how archaeologists over the last 50 years have interpreted the evidence from Dark Age Britain. At first they were happy to link their discoveries to legendary names. Then came a backlash, when Arthurian links were ignored or derided. Now, new discoveries have raised again the possibility of a real King Arthur.
The HISTORY channel documentary King Arthur's Round Table Revealed (video preview) brings together the leading experts to consider the evidence as a whole, and they come to some startling conclusions about the reality of Dark Age Britain.
Archaeology is helping to unravel the msyteries of King Arthur and sort fact from fiction. Here are 10 top archaeological sites that have provided clues to the real King Arthur, the man behind the legend.
The legendary site of King Arthur's conception is Tintagel Castle. Excavations demonstrated that, as the legends said, this was a fortified home of the ruler of Cornwall in about 500AD. The largest fortified site of the 'Arthurian' period, it contained unprecedented remains of luxury goods from the Eastern Roman Empire. In 1998, a slate engraved with the name 'Artognou' and other names from the legends was discovered there. For more on Tintagel and the discovery of the 'Arthur Stone', see Heritage-Key's extract from Revealing King Arthur.
2: The London Basilica
The earliest historical accounts of Arthur see him as a leader of the kings of the Britons against the invading Saxons. Medieval legends showed him uniting them by a combination of force and magical displays. Most famous is his drawing the sword from the stone, "outside the greatest church of London, whether it were Paul's or not", writes Sir Thomas Malory. In fact, the largest Church in Roman London discovered, probably the seat of its Bishop, was at Tower Hill. Christianity was an important part of the identity of the Britons resisting the pagan Saxons.
Said to be the site of King Arthur's coronation, the Roman town of Silchester was heavily fortified in the Arthurian period. Road blocks were set up on all the approach roads and the perimeter made more defensible. Resistance to the Saxons was so successful that Silchester never became a Saxon town. Could there be a connection between Arthur's sword, Excalibur and the late Roman name for Silchester, Calleba?
4: South Cadbury Castle
There are numerous contenders for the site of Arthur's Camelot, with Colchester (Camulodunum) probably the forerunner. However, Henry VIII's librarian, John Leland, identified the Iron Age hill fort of South Cadbury as the original Camelot. This inspired the famous Cadbury/Camelot excavations by Leslie Alcock in the 1960s. These showed it had indeed been heavily refortified in the 5th/6th century. Further work revealed it as one of the centres of a West Country kingdom characterised by large scale defensive works such as the Wansdyke from Bath to the Savernake forest. This so impressed invading Saxons they attributed it to the god Woden himself.
Was Arthur a Celtic warrior, harking back to the warlike days of his ancestors? Other writers see him as a 'last of the Romans' struggling to uphold the values of civilisation against the barbarian storm. Some sources describe him as a Roman general, others even as 'Emperor'. Dramatic evidence of sub-Roman culture was discovered by Philip Barker in the 1960s at Wroxeter. Wooden buildings tried to keep up the functions of the forum as well as the defences. Tradition put the home of his wife, Queen Guinevere, at nearby Old Oswestry. Wroxeter, too, never became a Saxon town.
6: Chester Amphitheatre
One of Arthur's celebrated - '12 battles' against the Saxons was fought at the City of the Legion. This was the name - given to Chester in the Dark Ages. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a - Dark Age battle at nearby Heronbridge. Recent excavations show that the amphitheatre was fortified in the period, with a shrine to a Christian martyr at its centre.
Is it a coincidence that - Arthur's Round Table was originally described as a - very large structure, seating - 1,600 of his warriors in a circle?
A brief 10th century account records the death of Arthur and Medraut at the battle of Camlann. This was spun out by later writers into a tragic encounter between Arthur and his rebellious son Mordred. Many scholars believe that Camlann was 'Camboglanna', a now vanished fort on Hadrian's Wall. The next fort, Birdoswald, was excavated in 1987- 92. With the end of Roman central authority in the 5th century, the local garrison commander had set himself up as a tribal-style warlord. A Celtic feasting hall was added to the military buildings. Other forts along the wall were similarly refortified - the work of a King Arthur and a potential power base for rebellious lieutenants?
Medieval writers opted for a west country site for Arthur's last battle. Slaughterbridge on the River Camel has proved popular, for obvious reasons. There are numerous reports of finds of dark age weaponry from the site. It is now the location for an ongoing archaeological project intending to get a clearer picture of life in the Dark Ages here and around nearby Tintagel. A sixth century memorial stone, inscribed in Latin and Irish Ogham, is still visible here, bearing an enigmatic inscription, probably to a Romano-British warrior named Latinus.
9: Glastonbury Tor
Excavations by Philip Rahtz in the sixties showed some-one had been living on top of Glastonbury Tor in the Arthurian period. But who? Medieval legends provided several candidates. King Meluas of the Summer Country had abducted Queen Guinevere to his castle at Glastonbury, a story which formed the basis of romances about her rescue by Sir Lancelot. The demonic Gwynn ap Nudd, one of Arthur's legendary warriors, was said to have been banished from his Palace on the Tor by St Collen. Gerald of Wales reported that Arthur's kinswoman, Morgan, had owned land near the abbey and arranged for his burial there. He berated writers who made her the fabulous enchantress 'Morgan le Fay'.
10: King Arthur's burial at Glastonbury
In 1191, the monks of Glastonbury Abbey uncovered the body of a gigantic man. Wounded several times on the head, he had succumbed to the one last fatal blow. The bones of his wife, along with a tress of her beautiful golden hair, shared his oak coffin. Ralegh Radford recovered the site in 1962, showing how two slab lined tombs of the very earliest stratum of the ancient church had indeed been disturbed at the period. The monks displayed an ancient lead cross found with the burial, inscribed 'Here lies buried the famous king Arthur with Guinevere his second wife, in the Isle of Avalon'. Where the cross and bones are now, nobody knows
Historians locate King Arthur's Round Table
Historians claim to have finally located the site of King Arthur's Round Table - and believe it could have seated 1,000 people.
By Martin Evans
11 Jul 2010
Historians claim to have found the site of Camelot Photo: photolibrary.com
Researchers exploring the legend of Britain's most famous Knight believe his stronghold of Camelot was built on the site of a recently discovered Roman amphitheatre in Chester.
Legend has it that his Knights would gather before battle at a round table where they would receive instructions from their King.
But rather than it being a piece of furniture, historians believe it would have been a vast wood and stone structure which would have allowed more than 1,000 of his followers to gather.
Historians believe regional noblemen would have sat in the front row of a circular meeting place, with lower ranked subjects on stone benches grouped around the outside.
They claim rather than Camelot being a purpose built castle, it would have been housed in a structure already built and left over by the Romans.
Camelot historian Chris Gidlow said: "The first accounts of the Round Table show that it was nothing like a dining table but was a venue for upwards of 1,000 people at a time.
"We know that one of Arthur's two main battles was fought at a town referred to as the City of Legions. There were only two places with this title. One was St Albans but the location of the other has remained a mystery."
The recent discovery of an amphitheatre with an execution stone and wooden memorial to Christian martyrs, has led researchers to conclude that the other location is Chester.
Mr Gidlow said: "In the 6th Century, a monk named Gildas, who wrote the earliest account of Arthur's life, referred to both the City of Legions and to a martyr's shrine within it. That is the clincher. The discovery of the shrine within the amphitheatre means that Chester was the site of Arthur's court and his legendary Round Table."
The Europeon Union Times
King Tut's DNA is Western European
Jun 7th, 2010
Despite the refusal of the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, to release any DNA results which might indicate the racial ancestry of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, the leaked results reveal that King Tut's DNA is a 99.6 percent match with Western European Y chromosomes.
The DNA test results were inadvertently revealed on a Discovery Channel TV documentary filmed with Hawass's permission -- but it seems as if the Egyptian failed to spot the giveaway part of the documentary which revealed the test results.
Hawass previously announced that he would not release the racial DNA results of Egyptian mummies -- obviously because he feared the consequences of such a revelation.
On the Discovery Channel broadcast, which can be seen on the Discovery Channel website, or if they pull it, on YouTube, at approximately 1:53 into the video, the camera pans over a printout of DNA test results from King Tut.
Firstly, here is a brief explanation of the results visible in the video. It is a list of what is called Short Tandem Repeats (STRs).
STRs are repeated DNA sequences which are "short repeat units" whose characteristics make them especially suitable for human identification.
These STR values for 17 markers visible in the video are as follows: - DYS 19 - 14 (? not clear) - DYS 385a - 11 - DYS 385b - 14 - DYS 389i - 13 - DYS 389ii - 30 - DYS 390 - 24 - DYS 391 - 11 - DYS 392 - 13 - DYS 393 - 13 - DYS 437 - 14 (? not clear) - DYS 438 - 12 - DYS 439 - 10 - DYS 448 - 19 - DYS 456 - 15 - DYS 458 - 16 - DYS 635 - 23 - YGATAH4 - 11
What does this mean? Fortunately, a genius by the name of Whit Athey provides the key to this list. Mr Athey is a retired physicist whose working career was primarily at the Food and Drug Administration where he was chief of one of the medical device labs.
Mr Athey received his doctorate in physics and biochemistry at Tufts University, and undergraduate (engineering) and masters (math) degrees at Auburn University. For several years during the 1980s, he also taught one course each semester in the electrical engineering department of the University of Maryland. Besides his interest in genetic genealogy, he is an amateur astronomer and has his own small observatory near his home in Brookeville, MD.
He also runs a very valuable website called the "Haplogroup Predictor" which allows users to input STR data and generate the haplogroup which marks those STR data.
For those who want to know what a haplogroup is, here is a "simple" definition: a haplogroup is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor with a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation.
Still none the wiser? Damn these scientists.
Ok, let's try it this way: a haplotype is a combination of multiple specific locations of a gene or DNA sequence on a chromosome.
Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations, for example R1b or R1b1. Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups have different haplogroup designations. In essence, haplogroups give an inisight into ancestral origins dating back thousands of years.
By entering all the STR data inadvertently shown on the Discovery video, a 99.6 percent fit with the R1b haplogroup is revealed.
The significance is, of course, that R1b is the most common Y-chromosome haplogroup in Europe reaching its highest concentrations in Ireland, Scotland, western England and the European Atlantic seaboard -- in other words, European through and through.
So much for the Afro-centrists and others who have derided the very obvious northwestern European appearance of a large number of the pharonic mummies. It seems like March of the Titans was right after all...
Close encounter of the 3-D kind? Crop circle followers spotted dancing around mysterious 200ft 'cube'
Perhaps it was caused by a close encounter of the 3-D kind.
This sophisticated crop circle uses an optical illusion to give the impression of a three dimensional cube.
The creators of the 200ft wide design in a field of wheat at Clay Hill near Warminster, Wiltshire remain a mystery.
The area is known as the UFO capital of Britain after repeated sightings of unearthly objects and numerous crop circle appearances over the last few decades.
An amazing four-dimensional crop circle has appeared in field of wheat at Clay Hill, Warminster, Wiltshire
Some believe Westbury's proximity to the prehistoric stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury is the reason for the strange goings-on.
Others say it is because it lies on the confluence of two so-called leylines, which link spots said to have 'mystical energy'.
Conspiracy theorists put them down to the proximity of Salisbury Plain, home of secret military work.
Crop circle expert Steve Alexander said of the latest design: 'It appears to be a cube which involves the circle makers using techniques other than just flattening the crop.'
The 5770 Tisha B'av March of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement
"We will call to the people and to the government of Israel to immediately build the end-time third Temple"
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement will march to the Holy Temple Mount on Tisha B'Av 5770, Tuesday, 20 July 2010, calling to the people and to the government of Israel to immediately build the end-time Holy Third Temple. This important event will take place during a very special time in the history of the people of G d. The Holy Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and Jewish tradition, particularly after the destruction of the Second Temple, have indicated that three events shall happen before the coming of Messiah Ben David:
the first event is the regathering of the Jewish people from all corners of the world back to the Promised Land of Israel;
the second event is the re-establishment of the sovereign Kingdom and State of Israel; and
the third event is the rebuilding of the Holy Temple of G d on the Holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The first two events have been fulfilled, and the Jewish people continue to be regathered to the Holy Land of Israel. Now is the time to bring to pass the third event, the rebuilding of the Holy Temple of G d.
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement will march on Tisha B'Av this year to the Holy Temple Mount with a resounding call to Israel: "Build the House of G d immediately!" Only the dwelling of G d in the midst of Israel on the Holy Temple Mount, and in the end-time Holy Temple of G d in the midst of the lives of all the nations will bring peace to Israel and also to the entire world. The Temple Mount Faithful Movement will call to Israel on Tisha B'Av 5770 and to its government to immediately bring to pass the end-time vision of G d given through His prophets Isaiah and Micah:
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement will soon begin to prepare marble stones for the Holy Third Temple. We already have two cornerstones but we feel that we should continue to show everyone that our call is not mere words but also tangible action. Time is short and we want to be ready. Everyone is called to help us financially with this project, it needs abundant funding. At the same time everyone can have the opportunity and the special privilege to take part in this holy work and the rebuilding of Holy Third Temple.
In G d we trust!!
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement wants to again thank all of you who stand with the Faithful Movement both spiritually and practically with such great faithfulness and love. At this special time the Faithful Movement is fulfilling an important part and role, which is in the midst of all these end-time events that are increasingly focused on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. From this most holy place starts all the godly end-time events, and here they will soon be completed, when G d will dwell in His rebuilt Temple among His people Israel and among all humanity. For this and for making Israel again a biblical nation with a biblical mission, the Faithful Movement is dedicated.
Solomon's Temple in Brazil would put Christ the Redeemer in the shade
Huge replica planned for SÃ¢o Paulo would be twice the height of the iconic statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro
Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro
21 July 2010
Church members say the planned temple would be twice the height of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Danny Lehman/Corbis
One of the world's largest and most controversial Pentecostal churches has been given permission to build a $200m (£130m) replica of Solomon's Temple in Brazil's economic capital, SÃ£o Paulo.
The 10,000 capacity "mega-church", which is the brainchild of Brazil's Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, will also house a replica of the Ark of the Covenant and be built according to "biblical orientations".
According to the Estado de SÃ£o Paulo newspaper, planning permission was granted this week and church officials say it should be completed in four years.
"We are preparing ourselves to build the temple, in the same mold as Solomon's," the church's leader and founder, Bishop Edir Macedo said in a televised service, posted on his blog. "[Solomon's] Temple ... used tonnes of gold, pure gold ...We are not going to build a temple of gold, but we will spend tonnes of money, without a shadow of doubt."
Macedo said his church had signed an $8m contract to import stones from Israel. "We have signed the contract and commissioned the stones that will come from Jerusalem, just like the ones that were used to build the temple in Israel; stones that were witnesses to the powers of God, 2,000 ago," he said. "It is going to be a knock-out, it is going to be beautiful, beautiful, beautiful -- the most beautiful of all. The outside will be exactly the same as that which was built in Jerusalem."
The 55-metre high temple, the equivalent of an 18-storey building, would tower over central SÃ£o Paulo and be "twice the height of [Rio's] Christ the Redeemer statue", the blog said.
The project, drawn up by Brazilian architect Rogério Silva de AraÃºjo, includes a car park for 1,000 vehicles, TV and radio studios, and classrooms for 1,300 children.
Founded in Brazil in 1977, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God claims an estimated 8 million followers in 180 countries worldwide, with a TV channel and a free newspaper, the Folha Universal, which it says has a weekly print run of 2.5m. The church claims its leader's blog receives up to 4m hits a month.
The church supports so-called "prosperity theology" - by which acts of faith including donations are rewarded with material wealth.
In 2009, SÃ£o Paulo's public prosecutor accused 10 senior members of the church, including Macedo, of siphoning off billions of dollars of donations to buy cars and property. Macedo, who denied the charges, owns a $45m private jet.
The most obfuscated photo in history?
There's a very old photo no one can see! Not that it doesn't exist! It exists alright. But no one is really allowed to see it by the "thought police". Even when people see it, many still can't really see it as it is! At least very few of them. I hope you can!
It's an old sepia colored photo that was printed in a "believe it or not" type book in the U.S., according to many people who either used to have a copy or read it. It was published sometime between the 1950-ies and 1960-ies. Then, in the early nineties, this amazing photo got scanned and put on the internet, in plain sight! Nevertheless, today, very few people can see it for what it really is!
Scientists baffled by unusual upper atmosphere shrinkage
By Derrick Ho
July 17, 2010
Decreased solar activity, increased CO2 levels affect Earth's outer atmosphere
Those factors, however, can't explain this much of a contraction, researcher says
Changes in thermosphere won't affect life on the surface but can affect satellites
The thermosphere has already begun to rebound, but monitoring will continue
(CNN) -- An upper layer of Earth's atmosphere recently shrank so much that researchers are at a loss to adequately explain it, NASA said on Thursday.
The thermosphere, which blocks harmful ultraviolet rays, expands and contracts regularly due to the sun's activities. As carbon dioxide increases, it has a cooling effect at such high altitudes, which also contributes to the contraction.
But even these two factors aren't fully explaining the extraordinary contraction which, though unlikely to affect the weather, can affect the movement of satellites, researchers said.
"This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years," John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab was quoted as saying in NASA news report.
Emmert is the lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
"We cannot explain the abnormally low densities, which are about 30 percent lower" than from previous contractions, Emmert told CNN.com.
The thermosphere lies high above Earth's surface, close to where the atmosphere ends and space begins. It ranges in altitude from 55 miles (90km) to 370 miles (600km) above the ground -- the realm of meteors, auroras, space shuttles and the international space station.
This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years.
--John Emmert, the Naval Research Lab, quoted in a NASA news report
International Space Station
The thermosphere interacts strongly with the sun and hence is greatly influenced by the sun's solar activity, which occurs in cycles.
When solar activity is high, solar extreme ultraviolet rays warm and expand the thermosphere. When it's low, the opposite occurs.
The collapse occurred during what's known as a "solar minimum" from 2007 to 2009, during which the sun plunged into an unprecedented low of inactivity. Sun spots were scarce and solar flares were nonexistent, NASA reported.
Still, the collapse of the thermosphere was bigger than the sun's activity alone can explain.
Emmert suggests that the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide making its way into the upper atmosphere might have played a role in the anomaly.
Carbon dioxide acts as a coolant in the upper atmosphere, unlike in the lower atmosphere, shedding heat via infrared radiation. As carbon dioxide levels build up on Earth, it makes its way into the upper levels and magnifies the cooling action of the solar minimum, Emmert said.
As carbon dioxide gradually builds up, "we expect every solar minimum to be a little lower, and then this solar minimum comes along, but instead it's a lot lower. And that's pretty surprising," said Stanley Solomon, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research who wasn't directly involved in this research.
But, Emmert said, even taking into account the solar activity and carbon dioxide buildup doesn't fully account for this abnormal collapse.
Despite the puzzling anomaly, the collapse of the thermosphere is unlikely to have a direct effect on our daily lives, said Solomon.
"It's not going to affect the weather, or you won't be able to tell that this is going on by looking at the sky. It's not going to look any darker," he said.
But the contraction of the thermosphere can affect the drag on satellites and space junk orbiting at those levels.
"Debris that's up there stays up longer. The amount of orbital debris is a concern for space navigation. There is concern that space debris is building up," Emmert said.
The abnormal change in the thermosphere may also affect other layers of the atmosphere, and though less certain, can result in slight disruptions of satellite communications, including global-positioning system signals, Solomon said.
Emmert said there were still other possibilities unaccounted for that could have contributed to this phenomenon.
"It could be that we're underestimating the effects [of carbon dioxide] somehow. It could be because there were some physics that we're missing in the region of the atmosphere below the thermosphere, which quickly affects the thermosphere," he said.
The researchers say they will continue to monitor the upper atmosphere, which is already rebounding.
"So we're probably going to work in the next couple of years to try and unravel this," Emmert said.
Dan Brown take note: Vatican's 'Secret Archives' unveiled
The Vatican Secret Archives is for the first time printing reproductions of more than 100 of its most fascinating, secret documents. Do we hear another Dan Brown novel coming?
By Nick Squires,Correspondent -
July 21, 2010
The name alone is enough to excite curiosity. For centuries, the Vatican Secret Archives have been regarded as perhaps the most enigmatic and inaccessible collection of documents in the world.
They contain more than 50 miles of shelves of correspondence between successive popes and some of history's biggest names, from Henry VIII to Hitler, Michelangelo to Mozart.
Now, though, the Vatican has allowed a sliver of light to shine into this most remarkable repository. The Holy See has permitted, for the first time, a commercial publishing company to produce a lavish, hard-bound book that features reproductions of more than 100 of the archives' most fascinating documents.
"We were amazed by the access we were given and the speed with which the whole project was completed," says Paul Van den Heuvel, the head of the Belgian publishing house undertaking the task. "The Vatican is beginning to realize what an incredible asset it has."
The tentative opening up to the outside world is also an attempt to dispel some of the myths and mystique that have always enveloped the archives.
The 30 archivists who work in the Secret Archives, in an inner sanctum of the Vatican City State, are eager to dispel the notion that they guard the Roman Catholic Church's darkest secrets.
"They are the private archives of the popes. We really don't have many secrets," says Marco Grilli, the secretary to the prefecture of the archives.
The ridiculous ban on crucifixes will have Italians falling out of love with Europe
By Cristina Odone Religion
June 30th, 2010
Banned from the classroom
My first classroom, in a convent school in Rome, was adorned with a wooden crucifix in a corner. We were 30 girls in the class, all Catholics who took our faith for granted. It was as much part of our lives as spaghetti and pop songs, and the notion that the small wooden image was an offensive imposition would have turned our schoolgirl giggles into loud laughter.
For today's Italians, though, it's no laughing matter. The crucifix in the classroom risks provoking a rupture with a European bureaucracy my compatriots have come to see as invasive and intolerant.The government is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn its judgement last year that religious symbols in schools are an infringement of human rights. The crucifix, that symbol of a supreme self-sacrifice, is supposedly unacceptable in a European culture that allows schoolchildren to download homophobic rap lyrics, watch sexist (and in Italy, semi-pornographic) TV programmes, indulge in crass consumerist competitions over designer trainers, sunglasses and iPhones.
Even the most hedonistic Italians realise that tolerance for porn but not for a crucifix is wrong. The government's appeal today sticks up two fingers to a court of so-called human rights that does not recognise the right to religious expression. Italians reject the anti-Christian culture that has infiltrated this court, and beyond it, the EU.
Ten years ago, I took part in a conference organised by the then Pope, John Paul II, for European writers on religion. I realised that although ostensibly the Pope wanted us to celebrate the millennium, his real ambition was to reclaim the European project for Christianity. He saw that the Christian vision of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman had been hijacked by a cadre of bureaucrats motivated by federalism not faith. The shared values of Christian Europe, rooted in the Gospel's message of love and forgiveness, had fuelled the post-war generation: the architects of the European Union had seen what secularist states were capable of, and were beginning to suspect that totalitarian (and equally godless) regimes could inflict even greater damage.
That was then. Today, Eurocrats have different fears: that Muslims are not treated like Christians, women are not treated like men, gays are not treated like straight people. They talk of "rights", not right and wrong. And in their hierarchy of rights, the right to religious freedom sits somewhere at the bottom. Italians can't stomach it. They may have taken their Catholicism for granted for centuries, but they don't want some bastion of alien culture issuing diktats about where to hang their crucifixes. Suddenly, they're ready to wage battle for their faith. Amen to that.
Cops May No Longer Respond to Crime in Oakland, California
Posted By admin On July 13, 2010
Kurt Nimmo -
Forget about police assistance in Oakland, California.
Oakland's police chief Anthony Batts says cops may be dismissed and citizens should not expect the police to protect them.
"Oakland's police chief is making some dire claims about what his force will and will not respond to if layoffs go as planned," reports NBC Bay Area. "Chief Anthony Batts listed exactly 44 situations that his officers will no longer respond to and they include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism. He says if you live and Oakland and one of the above happens to you, you need to let police know on-line."
In other words, if you live in the Bay area, you need to have a gun and plenty of ammunition. Because the cops just said they will no longer respond if criminals kick down your door. The bad guys no longer have anything to worry about.
Not that Oakland's government wants you to protect yourself. In February, Oakland's city council unanimously approved a measure requiring a thumbprint for all ammunition purchases. It also voted to enforce strict permit requirements for the sale of firearms and ammunition.
In California, you're on your own. Not that cops ever had an interest in protecting the citizenry. Cops are increasingly nothing but organized and uniformed shakedown gangs. Generating revenue for cash-starved municipalities is Job One for many police departments. Cops are instructed to write tickets. Protecting the community comes is a distant second.
As society crumbles under the weight of the engineered economic depression, more and more police departments will follow Oakland's example.
Best be locked and loaded if you don't want to be a victim.
Secret gold swap has spooked the market
It takes a lot to spook the solid old gold market. But when it emerged last week that one or more banks had lent 380 tonnes of gold to the Bank of International Settlements in return for foreign currencies, there was widespread surprise and confusion
By Garry White and Rowena Mason -
11 Jul 2010
Secret gold swap has spooked the market Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND
The news that a mystery bank has just pawned the family jewels gave traders a jolt - nervous about the sudden transfer of almost 20pc of the world's annual gold production and the possibility of a sell-off.
In a tiny footnote in its annual report, the bank disclosed its unusually large holding of gold, compared with nothing the year before. The disclosure was a large factor in the correction of the gold price this week, which fell below $1,200 for the first time in more than a month.
Concerns hinged on whether the BIS could potentially sell on this vast cache of bullion in the event of a default, flooding the market with liquidity. It appears to have raised $14bn for whoever's been doing the swapping - small fry on the currency markets, but serious liquidity in the gold market.
Denominated in euros, gold has fallen 8pc since the beginning of the month and is now trading at a seven-week low of â‚¬937 per troy ounce.
The big gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) - having peaked at record inflows in May - have also been showing net outflows over the past few days.
Meanwhile, economists and gold market-watchers were determined to hunt down which bank is short of cash - curious about who is using their stash of precious metal for what looks suspiciously like a secret bailout.
At first it looked like the BIS was swapping gold with a troubled central bank. After all, the institution is the central bankers' bank and its purpose to conduct transactions with national monetary authorities.
Central banks in the troubled southern zone of Europe were considered the most likely perpetrators.
Central banks start to abandon the U.S. dollar
There's mounting evidence that central bankers have little faith in the greenback these days. Can we blame them?
by Heidi N. Moore, contributor
There are those who would argue that the financial crisis was caused by over-enthusiastic worship of the Almighty Dollar. Call it brutal financial karma, but that church is looking pretty empty these days.
A new report from Morgan Stanley analyst Emma Lawson confirms what many had suspected: the dollar is firmly on its way to losing its status as the reserve currency of the world. We already knew that central banks have preferred gold to dollars, and that they're even selling their gold for cash; now, according to Lawson's data, it seems that those central banks prefer almost anything to dollars.
Lawson found that central banks have dropped their allocation to U.S. dollars by nearly a full percentage point to 57.3% from 58.1%, and calls this "unexpected given the global environment." She adds, "over time we anticipate that reserve managers may reduce their holdings further."
What is surprising is that the managers of those central banks aren't buying traditional fall-backs like the euro, the British pound or the Japanese yen. Instead, she suggests they're putting their faith in other dollars - the kind that come from Australia and Canada. The allocation to those currencies, which fall under "other" in the data, rose by a full percentage point to 8.5%, accounting almost exactly for the drop in the U.S. dollar allocation.
Call it diversification, if you must, but the trendline indicates that central banks are finally putting their money where their anti-dollar mouths are. The dollar has been in free-fall since 2007.
Last year, both China and Russia have questioned why the dollar should be the world's reserve currency. (Naturally, they were advocating for the ruble and yuan).
And just last week, the United Nations released a report concluding that the dollar should no longer be the world's reserve currency because it is not stable enough. The dollar is down 5% over the past month, and even currency traders don't see it as a safe haven any more.
New types of money are popping up across Mid-Michigan and supporters say, it's not counterfeit, but rather a competing currency.
Right now, you can buy a meal or visit a chiropractor without using actual U.S. legal tender.
They sound like real money and look like real money. But you can't take them to the bank because they're not made at a government mint. They're made at private mints.
"I sell three or four every single day and then I get one or two back a week," said Dave Gillie, owner of Gillies Coney Island Restaurant in Genesee Township.
Gillie also accepts silver, gold, copper and other precious metals to pay for food.
He says, if he wanted to, he could accept marbles.
"Do people have to accept dollars or money? No, they don't," Gillie said. "They can accept anything they want or they can refuse to accept anything."
He's absolutely right.
The U.S. Treasury Department says the Coinage Act of 1965 says "private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash, unless there is a state law which says otherwise."
That allows gas stations to say they don't accept 50- or $100 bills after a certain time of day in hopes of not getting robbed.
A chiropractic office in Lapeer County's Deerfield Township allows creativity when it comes to payment.
"This establishment accepts any form of silver, gold, chicken, apple pie, if someone works it out with me," said Jeff Kotchounian of Deerfield Chiropractic. "I've taken many things."
Jeff Kotchounian says he's used this Ron Paul half troy ounce of silver to get $25 worth of gas from a local station.
While the government and banks don't accept them, many others do.
So why is there interest in these competing currencies?
Is it just novelty or is there something deeper?
BEST LAWYER/ INSURANCE STORY OF THE YEAR. - This took place in Charlotte North Carolina . A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among other things, fire. - Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company. - In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost 'in a series of small fires..' The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. - The lawyer sued and WON! (Stay with me.) - Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company, in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable 'fire' and was obligated to pay the claim. - Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars that perished in the 'fires'. -
NOW FOR THE BEST PART... - After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!! - With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine. This true story won First Place in last year's Criminal Lawyers Award contest.
Well, generally Jesus didn't have much good to say about lawyers although He was an advocate Himself. As has been said, if you want to make sure you are not on the wrong end of the sword, especially a twoedged sword you need to allow Jesus to be your advocate to get you off the hook or the sword.
To do this you just simply have to pray a prayer, similar to this; Dear Jesus I thank you for being my advocate and interceding on my behalf. I acknowlege you are the Son of God who died for the remission of my sins. I ask you to please come into my heart, forgive my sins, and give me eternal life, Amen.
As always we invite you to write us via the web site with any questions, ideas, suggestions, etc. you may have. You can also write us for any spiritual counseling or prayer you feel you may need.
Until next week...
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."