“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall decieve many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Jesus Christ the Lord speaking to His disciples in the Olivet Discourse. Matthew 24:4-14
Daniel’s seventieth week of years, the end time (Daniel 9:27) (Mark 13:5-13) (Luke 21:8-11)
17 Reasons Why Those Hoping For A Recession In 2012 Just Got Their
If you were hoping for a recession in 2012, then you are going to be very happy with the numbers you are about to see. The U.S. economy is heading downhill just in time for the 2012 election. Retail sales have fallen for three months in a row for the first time since 2008, manufacturing activity is dropping like a rock, sales of new homes are declining again, consumer confidence has moved significantly lower and a depressingly small percentage of businesses anticipate hiring more workers in the coming months. Even though the Federal Reserve has been wildly pumping money into the financial system and even though the federal government has been injecting gigantic piles of borrowed cash into the economy, we still haven’t seen an economic recovery. In fact, we appear to be on the verge of yet another major downturn. In California the other night, Barack Obama told supporters that “we tried our plan — and it worked“, but only those that are still drinking the Obama kool-aid would believe something so preposterous. The truth is that the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years and now we have reached another very painful recession.
And don’t let the second quarter GDP number on Friday fool you. Analysts are expecting to see GDP growth of about 1.4 percent for the second quarter, but the only reason for our very small amount of “economic growth” is because the economy has been flooded with new dollars.
Let me give you an example. If I could go out overnight and magically double the bank accounts of every single American, would we all be twice as wealthy?
No, because there would be twice as many dollars now chasing the same amount of goods and services. The price of those goods and services would soon rise dramatically to reflect this new reality.
With all of those new dollars spinning around in the economy it would look like “economic growth” was going through the roof, but in reality the amount of real economic activity would be about the same.
So whenever we talk about GDP, we need to adjust it for inflation.
So let’s not deceive ourselves. The U.S. economy has been declining for a long time.
But soon even non-inflation adjusted GDP will turn negative. We will probably see a slightly positive number for the second quarter, and the number will likely go negative either in the third quarter or the fourth quarter.
Economists will debate when this new recession officially “began” just like they do with every recession, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is happening to our economy right now.
The following are 17 reasons why those hoping for a recession in 2012 just got their wish….
1. U.S. retail sales have declined for three months in a row. This is the first time this has happened since 2008. Every other time this has happened in U.S. history (except for once) this has signaled that the U.S. economy was either already in a recession or was about to enter one.
Seven out of eight times when the average reading has been that low (-11.8) for that long the U.S. economy has tipped into recession.
3. Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region has also declined for three months in a row. In fact, the only time in the past decade when manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic has fallen more dramatically was during the last recession.
4. A factory index calculated by the Institute for Supply Management has fallen to its lowest level since June 2009.
5. The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators has fallen for two of the past three months.
6. According to a recent survey conducted by the Conference Board, only 17 percent of CEOs had a positive view of the economy during the second quarter of 2012. During the first quarter of 2012, 67 percent did.
7. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is now the lowest that it has been since January.
8. Optimism among small business owners has declined in three of the last four months and is now at its lowest level since last October.
9. Believe it or not, the amount of waste being carted around on trains in the United States has an 82 percent correlation with U.S. economic growth. Unfortunately, right now the number of garbage carloads on trains is falling dramatically.
10. Sales of previously occupied homes dropped by 5.4 percent during June.
12. An increasing number of Americans are relying on high interest “payday loans” to pay the rent and put food on the table.
13. Far more companies are defaulting on their debts this year than last year.
14. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate fell in 11 states and Washington, D.C. last month, but it rose in 27 states.
15. The unemployment rate in New York City is now back up to 10 percent. That equals the peak unemployment rate in New York City during the last recession.
16. The teen unemployment rate in Washington D.C. right now is 51.7 percent.
17. A recent survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 23 percent of all U.S. companies plan to hire more workers over the next 6 months. When the same question was asked a few months ago that number was at 39 percent.
All of those are very powerful pieces of evidence that a new recession has started.
But do you want to know one of my favorite indicators that the U.S. economy is sliding into recession?
In a previous article, I noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made the following statement to Congress recently: “At this point we don’t see a double dip recession. We see continued moderate growth.”
“The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”
That turned out to be a great call, didn’t it?
On June 10, 2008 he doubled down on his call that the U.S. economy was going to avoid a recession….
“The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.”
Just before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed Bernanke made this statement….
“The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”
And there are dozens of other examples just like these.
This is the guy running our economic system.
The Federal Reserve is running our economy into the ground, and we need to pound this into the heads of the American people so that they will wake up and demand change.
Perhaps this next recession will be painful enough to wake people up.
The Wall Street Journal is already even using the “D word” to describe what we are experiencing. Just today, the Wall Street Journal ran an article that asked this question: “Do Two Recessions Equal One Depression?”
Sadly, this is just the leading edge of what is coming. By the time 2014 or 2015 rolls around, we are going to look back and long for the “good old days” of 2011 and 2012.
Over the next few years, the unemployment rate is going to skyrocket and poverty in the United States is going to get a whole lot worse.
Now is not the time to goof off. Now is the time to work really hard to get yourself and your family into the best position that you can for the storm that is coming.
Nothing is going to stop the terrible economic crisis that is coming, but at least we can get prepared for it.
There is hope in being prepared.
Sadly, most people will never even see the next crisis coming until they get blindsided by it.
12 Signs That Spain Is Shifting Gears From Recession To Depression
Where have we seen this before? Bond yields soar above the 7 percent danger level. Check. The stock market crashes to new lows. Check. Industrial activity plummets like a rock and the economy contracts. Check. The unemployment rate skyrockets to more than 20 percent. Check. The bursting of a massive real estate bubble pushes the banking system to the brink of implosion. Check. Broke local governments beg the broke national government for bailouts. Check. The international community pressures the national government to implement deep austerity measures which will slow down the economy even more and hordes of violent protesters take to the streets. Check. All of this happened in Greece, it is happening right now in Spain, and mark my words it will eventually happen in the United States. Every debt bubble eventually bursts, and right now Spain is experiencing a level of economic pain that very, very few people saw coming. The recession in Spain is rapidly becoming a full-blown economic depression, and at this point there is no hope and no light at the end of the tunnel.
The bad news for the global economy is that Spain is much larger than Greece. According to the United Nations, the Greek economy is the 32nd largest economy in the world. The Spanish economy, on the other hand, is the 4th largest economy in the eurozone and the 12th largest economy on the entire planet. It is nearly five times the size of the Greek economy.
Financial markets all over the globe are very nervous right now because if the Spanish government ends up asking for a full-blown bailout it could spell the end for the eurozone. There simply is not enough money to do the same kind of thing for Spain that is being done for Greece.
Of course European officials are going to do their best to keep the eurozone from collapsing, but what they have completely failed to do is to keep these countries from falling into depression.
As I have written about previously, Greece has already been in an economic depression for some time.
I warned that Spain, Italy, Portugal and a bunch of other European nations were going down the exact same path.
Now we are watching a virtual replay of what happened in Greece take place in Spain.
Unfortunately, the global financial system may not be able to handle a complete implosion of the Spanish economy.
The following are 12 signs that Spain is shifting gears from recession to depression….
#1 At one point on Monday, the IBEX stock market index fell to 5,905, which was the lowest level in nearly ten years. When it hit 5,905 that represented a drop of about 12 percent over just two trading days. If that happened in the United States, it would be the equivalent of the Dow falling by about 1500 points in 48 hours.
#2 So far this year, the Spanish stock market is down more than 25 percent. Back in 2008, the IBEX 35 was well over 15,000. Today it is sitting just above 6,000.
#3 Spain has banned many forms of short selling for 3 months.
#4 The yield on 10 year Spanish bonds is now well above the 7 percent “danger level”.
#5 Thanks to the problems in Spain, the euro continues to fall like a rock. On Monday it hit a new two year low against the U.S. dollar, and it is near a twelve year low against the Japanese yen.
#7 Local governments all over Spain are flat broke and need to be bailed out by the broke national government. The following is from a recent CNBC article….
Adding to Madrid’s woes, media reports suggested another half a dozen of Spain’s 17 regional authorities, facing an undeclared funding crisis, were ready to follow Valencia in seeking aid from the central government.
#8 The percentage of bad loans on the books of Spanish banks has reached an 18 year high. European officials have already promised a 100 billion euro bailout for Spain’s troubled banking system, but most analysts agree that 100 billion euros will not be nearly enough.
#9 Spanish industrial output declined for the ninth month in a row in May.
#10 The unemployment rate in Spain is up to an astounding 24.6 percent. The unemployment rate in Spain is already higher than it was in the United States at the peak of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
#11 The youth unemployment rate in Spain is now over 52 percent.
#12 The Spanish government has just announced a whole bunch of new tax increases and spending cuts which will cause the Spanish economy to slow down even more. In response to these austerity measures, people are taking to the streets all over Spain. Last week, 100,000 demonstrators poured into the streets to protest in Madrid alone.
Sadly, the nightmare in Spain is just beginning.
If the yield on 10 year Spanish bonds stays above 7 percent, that is going to be a really bad sign. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 7 percent level is key as far as investor confidence is concerned….
Monday’s dramatic market moves suggest Spain may be stuck in a spiral that culminates in a bailout from other euro-zone countries.
“The rise in the 10-year yield well beyond 7% carries a very distinct reminder of events in Greece in April 2010, Ireland in October 2010 and Portugal in February 2011,” said analysts at Bank of New York Mellon. “In each case, a decisive move beyond 7% signaled the start of a collapse in investor confidence that, in each case, led to a bailout within weeks,” they added.
So keep an eye on that number in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, the Spanish economy continues to get worse with each passing month.
So just how bad are things in Spain right now?
Just check out this excerpt from a recent article by Mark Grant….
Recently two noted Spanish economists were interviewed. One was always an optimist and one was always a pessimist. The optimist droned on and on about how bad things were in Spain, the dire situation with the regional debt, the huge problems overtaking the Spanish banks and the imminent collapse of the Spanish economy. In the end he said that the situation was so bad that the Spanish people were going to have to eat manure. The pessimist was shocked by the comments of his colleague who had never heard him speak in such a manner. When it was the pessimist’s turn to speak he said that he agreed with the optimist with one exception; the manure would soon run out.
That may make you laugh, but for those in Europe going through these horrific economic conditions it is no laughing matter.
On Sunday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras actually told former U.S. president Bill Clinton that Greece is already in a “Great Depression“.
Like Spain, the unemployment rate in Greece is well above 20 percent and the youth unemployment rate is above 50 percent.
The only reason the Greek financial system has not totally collapsed is because of outside assistance, but now there are indications that the assistance may soon be cut off.
At this point there are persistent rumors that the IMF does not plan to give any more aid money to Greece unless Greece “shapes up”.
Meanwhile, the suffering in Greece just gets worse and worse.
Sadly, most Americans pay very little attention to what is going on in Greece and Spain.
Most Americans just assume that we will always have “the greatest economy on earth” and that we can take prosperity for granted.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the United States already has more government debt per capita than either Greece or Spain does.
Just like Greece and Spain, we are also rapidly traveling down the road to economic oblivion, and depression-like conditions will arrive in this country soon enough.
So enjoy these last months of economic prosperity while you still can.
A whole lot of pain is on the horizon.
Economic Crises Set Stage for World War II
26 July 2012
Reprinted from The American Dream
The Illuminati set the stage for WW2 from 1925 -1931 with a program of economic warfare.
The program was designed to destroy the world economic system beyond repair. It included two seismic events – the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the British gold default in 1931.
The Bank of England was the hub of Illuminati operations. The other major central bank chiefs took orders from BoE Chairman Montague Norman, who ’was built up by the private bankers to such a position where he was regarded as an oracle in all matters of government and business.’ (Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley, pg. 325)
The Wall Street Crash of 1929
Britain returned to the gold standard in 1925. As the pound sterling was the only world currency, this meant that world trade was put back on the gold standard.
The pound was purposely brought back at a grotesquely over-valued rate of £1 equaling $4.86. For a world gold standard to operate around an over-valued pound sterling, the dollar had to be devalued. This was the pretext the Illuminati used to launch a bubble economy in the US.
Webster Tarpley records how the central bank chiefs conspired to create inflation in the US:
‘In 1925, as the pound was returning to gold, Montague Norman, Heldjimar Schacht and Charles Rist, the deputy governor of the Banque de France visited Benjamin Strong in New York to mobilize his network of influential insiders for easy money and low interest rates in the US.
Strong was able to guarantee these policies. Norman & Co. made a second pilgrimage to Wall Street between 28 June and 1 July 1927 to promote American speculation and inflation.’
The easy money was used to feed the stock market bubble and provide loans for indebted countries, particularly Germany.
The Wall Street bubble was burst by raising the central bank discount rate. They raised the BoE Bank Rate to a whopping 6.5%, a full point above the Fed. This move was imitated immediately by British satellites such as India, Denmark, the Irish Republic and Norway. This generated a giant sucking sound as money was pulled out of New York across the Atlantic.
This was the start of the Great Depression that would be worsened by the withdrawal of money from circulation. Milton Friedman has said, ”The Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression by contracting the amount of currency in circulation by one-third from 1929 to 1933.”
The Great Depression allowed the Illuminati to bring in Franklin D Roosevelt with his ‘New Deal’, greatly expanding the power of the American government, and by extension the Fed and the Illuminati.
The ‘New Deal’ was a resounding failure. In 1938, unemployment was still at 20%. The depression was only relieved after World War 2. I.e. America was not allowed to recover until it had fulfilled its role in the war.
The Wall Street crash had another purpose: bring Hitler to power.
Plunging Germany into Crisis
The German economy had been dependent on short-term loans from US banks to pay their WW1 debts and fund industrial activity.
After the crash, struggling US banks started called loans in. German firms cut back production dramatically, creating huge unemployment. The Weimar government introduced a program of crippling austerity measures. This all fed into the hands of Nazis.
Then in 1931, the Rothschild’s purposely destroyed the German banking system by allowing their Austrian mega bank Kreditanstalt to declare bankruptcy in 1931. The bankruptcy of Kreditanstalt is widely credited with crashing the central European banking system.
Kreditanstalt defaulted on debts of $76m. Do we really believe that the Rothschild’s couldn’t stump up $76m? International efforts to save the bank were suspiciously weak. The Berlin correspondent for The Economist reported at time:
“It was clear from the beginning… that such an institution [as the Kreditanstalt] could not collapse without the most serious consequences, but the fire might have been localized if the fire brigade had arrived quickly enough on the scene. It was the delay of several weeks in rendering effective international assistance to the Kreditanstalt which allowed the fire to spread so widely.”
Shortly after the failure of Kreditanstalt Germany’s 2nd biggest bank Danatbank failed, and the rest followed like dominos.
The Bank of England goes off the Gold Standard – 1931
The Illuminati put the world back on the gold standard in 1925 with the intention of destroying the gold backing at a later date. This took place 21st September 1931, when Britain left the gold standard.
The British gold default destroyed orderly world trade. The ‘world monetary system’ of that time was a pound sterling system based on the gold standard.
Jackson E. Reynolds, then President of the First National Bank of New York, has said, “When England went off Gold it was like the end of the world.”
The world fractured into competing currency blocs, including the British pound sterling bloc, the US dollar bloc, the Franc bloc, the Soviet ruble area and the Japanese yen zone.
Webster Tarpley explains how this trade war would lead to a world war:
“The currency chaos meant that there was no reliable means of settling commercial payments among these blocs. World trade atrophied. The situation was difficult for everyone, but it was worst for those blocs which had the greatest dependency on exports and on importing oil, metals, rubber, and strategic raw materials.
The pound sterling, dollar, franc and ruble each had some raw materials backing. But the German mark, Japanese yen and Italian lira had virtually none. Each of these states embarked on an economic regime of autarky so as to conserve foreign exchange. For Germany, Italy, and Japan, aggressive territorial expansion towards possible sources of oil and metals became the only available surrogate for foreign trade.”
The Illuminati effectively started WW2 in 1931.
American congressman Louis McFadden clocked on to what had happened. In 1932 he made a speech in the House of Representatives, in which he accused the Federal Reserve of deliberately causing the Great Depression, “It was a carefully contrived occurrence. International bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair, so that they might emerge the rulers of us all”.
For this and other similar tirades, McFadden received numerous death threats. He died in 1936 after being poisoned at a banquet.
In the “Red Symphony,” (1937) Illuminati insider Christian Rakovsky describes how the Illuminati use economic turmoil to achieve political control.
He says Oct 24, 1929, the date of the New York Stock Exchange crash ( “the beginning of the so-called ‘depression’”) was more important than the 1918 Bolshevik revolution. It broke the “classical American” individualism and resulted in “a flourishing of parasitism, and capital is a large parasite.” It began “a real revolution.”
“Although the power of money is political power, before it had only been used indirectly, but now the power of money was to be transformed into direct power. The man through whom they made use of such power was Franklin Roosevelt. Have you understood? Take note of the following: In that year 1929 the first year of the American revolution, in February Trotsky leaves Russia; the crash takes place in October…the financing of Hitler is agreed in July 1929.
You think that all this was by chance? The four years of the rule of Hoover was used for the preparation for the seizure of power in the United States and USSR; there by means of a financial revolution, and here [Russia] with the help of war and the defeat [of Stalin] which was to follow.” (Full text in Des Griffin, “Fourth Reich of the Rich,” p.273)
The Illuminati used economic crises for political purposes in the thirties and they are doing it again. This time they are debasing and destroying faith in currency, first the Euro and later the $US Dollar. Since they are all based on unpayable debt, economic collapse is a constant threat. And with collapse comes war…
Obama Plan To Shatter “Permanent War Economy” Panics Global Elites
26 July 2012
Reprinted from The Total Collapse
An astounding report prepared by the Ministry of Finance for President Putin today estimates that up to $35 Trillion in assets owned by what are estimated to be the 10 million individuals classified as “global elites” has been lost to global tax havens over fears that President Barack Obama is about to “shatter” the United States “permanent war economy” that has been in place since 1944.
The amount of this staggering elite money hoard, which dwarfs the entire United States economy (the world’s largest) was confirmed by the Tax Justice Network (TJN) whose spokesman, John Christensen, told London’s Guardian News Service yesterday:
“In total, 10 million individuals around the world hold assets offshore; but almost half of the minimum estimate of $21tn – $9.8tn – is owned by just 92,000 people. And that does not include the non-financial assets – art, yachts, mansions in Kensington – that many of the world’s movers and shakers like to use as homes for their immense riches.”
The CEO of General Electric and vice-chairman of the War Production Board, Charles Edward Wilson (1886-1972) warned at the close of World War II that the US must not return to a civilian economy, but must keep to a “permanent war economy” thus creating the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) (aka. “The Iron Triangle”) whereby the collusion between militarism and war profiteering became manifest as a permanently subsidized industry.
Between the years of 1944-1961 the power of this Military-Industrial Complex had became so great that President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1961) in his last address to the American people on 17 January 1961 warned:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Upon taking over the leadership of the United States from Eisenhower in 1961, President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) waged a relentless battle against the Military-Industrial Complex refusing to invade Cuba during the Bay of Pigs debacle, refusing to start nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis (even though his military advisors were demanding it), stopped atmospheric nuclear testing and had began the process to withdraw troops from Vietnam.
Upon Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 his successor President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) fully embraced the Military-Industrial Complex guaranteeing the survival of the “permanent war economy”.
Even worse, under Johnson’s Defense Secretary, Robert Strange McNamara (1916-2009) the way the Military-Industrial Complex operated in the“permanent war economy” was changed.
Within the Pentagon that McNamara ruled when Johnson assumed the Presidency, civilian and uniformed officials were in conflict about the procedures for how to determine the costs of weapons to be contracted for manufacturing. On the one side, led by an industrial engineer, the idea was to base costs on the formulation of alternative designs and production methods—a competitive approach that promoted economic growth.
The other side proposed generating costs based on what was previously spent. For the Pentagon, this meant following the “cost-plus” system used during World War II, also known as cost maximizing. In other words, “contractors could take the previous cost of making a product for the Pentagon and simply add on an agreed-upon profit margin.”
McNamara opted for the second option. The result was that by 1980, the cost of producing major weapons systems had grown at an annual rate of 20 percent, meaning, that by 1996, the cost of the B-2 bomber exceeded the value of its weight in gold.
So damaging to the US has their “permanent war economy” become that in March of 2003, New York City put out a request for a proposal to spend between $3 and $4 billion to replace subway cars. Not a single US company bid on the proposal—in part because the nation no longer had the tools it needed to build its own subway trains. It was calculated that if this manufacturing work were done in the United States, it would have generated, directly and indirectly, about 32,000 jobs.
Not being understood by the American people is that the operation of a “permanent war economy” makes President Obama the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Military-Industrial Complex controlling the largest single block of capital resources the world has ever known and that has spent this year alone nearly $1.5 Trillion.
To be noted is that this combination of [economic, political, and military] powers in the same hands has been a feature of statist societies—communist, fascist, and others—where individual rights cannot constrain central rule.
Unlike any US President since Kennedy, however, Obama has been the first American leader since 1963 to take “tentative” steps against the Military-Industrial Complex with this report further stating that upon his reelection he will begin an “all-out assault” to reclaim his economy for civilian use instead of war.
In our previous report, “US Military Reveals Coup Plan To Topple Obama”, we noted how Obama was building up his countries internal police forces to include the militarization of nearly every local police force in the United States, a move, this report suggests, he has undertaken so he, unlike Kennedy, will be prepared when his own military forces turn against him.
To which side the American people will back as this titanic internal struggle intensifies this report doesn’t say. But, and critical to note, as the wealthiest US investors were warned on 9 July to prepare for a“fundamental geopolitical shift”, it would only seem prudent that the masses of other Americans follow their lead.
July 22, 2012 © EU and US all rights reserved. Permission to use this report in its entirety is granted under the condition it is linked back to its original source at WhatDoesItMean.Com. Freebase content licensed under CC-BY and GFDL.
U.S. Drought Could Cause Global Unrest
Twice in the last five years, rising food prices triggered global waves of social unrest. With drought baking U.S. crops, another round of soaring, society-straining price spikes may happen in coming months.
According to researchers from the New England Complex Systems Institute, commodity speculation — investors betting on food prices — will amplify the drought’s market signals, creating a new food bubble and the crises that follow.
“The drought is clearly going to kick prices up. It already has. What happens when you have speculators is that it goes through the roof,” said NECSI president Yaneer Bar-Yam. “We’ve created an unstable system. Globally, we are very vulnerable.”
The ongoing drought, the United States’ worst since the Dust Bowl, is expected to last until October and will decimate U.S. harvests. America is the world’s largest exporter of corn, wheat and soy beans; global prices for those commodities have already surged to record levels.
While the United States is relatively insulated from food price increases, people in developing countries, who spend far more of their budgets on food and rely on agricultural imports, are extremely vulnerable. For them, high prices are a catastrophe.
Since 2004, global food prices have slowly but steadily increased, with drastic and socially destabilizing spikes in 2007 and again in 2010. Economists argued over the causes, with blame cast on poor regional harvests, supply shortages caused by converting food crops to biofuels, and — most controversially — speculation.
Until the late 1990s, food markets in the United States were mostly limited to people with direct interests in food prices, such as farmers and crop buyers. Deregulation allowed hedge funds and investment banks to start betting, changing market dynamics and making them prone to sudden, massive fluctuations.
In earlier research, Bar-Yam’s group developed mathematical models of global food market behavior that found biofuels responsible for a slow upwards rise in prices, and speculation for the spikes. That model anticipated a new food bubble in early 2013, but couldn’t have foreseen the drought.
In the new analysis, released July 23 on NECSI’s website, Bar-Yam’s group added drought-triggered price increases to the model. With those figures included, the already grim forecast becomes even darker. “The drought may trigger the third massive price spike to occur earlier than otherwise expected, beginning immediately,” wrote the NECSI team.
According to Bar-Yam, excessive speculation acts as an amplifier, exaggerating whatever signal the market receives. Left alone, a highly speculative market would naturally experience boom-and-bust cycles, but this summer’s drought-precipitated surge in food prices will accelerate the next bubble’s formation.
Models are, to be sure, always tricky, but this one does seem to have predictive power.
“The work they are doing on food prices is pathbreaking,” said agricultural economist Peter Timmer of the Center for Global Development, who is familiar with NECSI’s modeling. “I don’t think their empirical model ‘proves’ that biofuels and speculation are the main causes of volatile food prices, but their model is the only one that’s empirically tracked those prices accurately over the last eight years.”
What happens after another bubble is a pressing question, said Bar-Yam. In both 2007 and 2010, massive unrest almost immediately followed food price surges, tracking market behavior with uncanny synchronization. Some Middle East experts say that rising prices even triggered the Arab Spring,providing a spark that ignited long-simmering tensions and resentments.
While the exact role played by food is difficult to isolate, a new NECSI analysis of the 2008 Yemeni uprising supports the spark hypothesis. In a paper released July 24, NECSI found that the geographical character of violence changed immediately after the price spikes, shifting from ethnically localized to widespread.
“I think the analysis has merit,” said political geographer Charles Schmitz of Towson University. “The food prices did disturb things. The legitimacy of the government was undermined.”
While some might see the Arab Spring’s catalysis as a positive side effect, food shortages and panicked riots are hardly the most desirable path to social change. To keep prices under control, experts have recommended limiting financial speculation in commodity markets and using biofuel crops for food instead.
“In the short run, USDA needs to figure out a way to remove the mandate on ethanol use from corn,” said Timmer. “If we could free up 20 to 30 percent of the U.S. crop, reduced as it is, it would bring corn prices down very quickly.”
New speculation limits are scheduled to be enacted by year’s end, but drought means that may be too late, said Bar-Yam. In the meantime, the USDA has rebuffed all requests to reduce corn biofuel allotments.
“These are new tools for understanding social change,” said Bar-Yam of NECSI’s modeling. “The thing we’re worried about is that they’re pointing to global catastrophe in a short period of time.”
Muslim Persecution of Christians: June, 2012
National Christian Center in Nigeria. Photo: wiki commons.
U.S.-backed rebels are committing Christian genocide in Syria, where they are sacking churches and issuing threats that all Christians will be cleansed from rebel-held territory. A mass exodus of thousands of Christians is taking place, even as mainstream Western reporters like Robert Fisk demonize those same Christians for being supportive of the secular regime.
The bloody jihad waged against Nigeria’s Christians, which has seen hundreds killed this year alone, now includes plans to kill Christians with poisoned food, as part of the Islamic organization Boko Haram’s stated goal of purging Nigeria of all Christian presence.
During Egypt’s presidential elections, Al Ahram reported that “the Muslim Brotherhood blockaded entire streets, prevented Copts from voting at gunpoint, and threatened Christian families not to let their children go out and vote” for the secular candidate.
Meanwhile, under President Obama, the U.S. State Department, in an unprecedented move, purged the sections dealing with religious persecution from its recently released Country Reports on Human Rights. Likewise, the Obama administration insists that the Nigerian crisis has nothing to do with religion, even as Obama offered his hearty blessings to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, in the midst of allegations of electoral fraud.
Categorized by theme, June’s assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity.
Egypt: Because many visitors were in attendance, Muslims surrounded a Coptic church during Divine Liturgy “demanding that the visiting Copts leave the church before the completion of prayers, and threatening to burn down the church if their demand was not met.” The priest contacted police asking for aid only to be told to comply with their demands, “and do not let buses with visitors to come to the church anymore.” Christian worshippers exited halfway through liturgy to jeers outside. As they drove away, Muslims hurled stones at their buses. Also, repairs to a Coptic church that was torched and gutted a year ago by rioting Muslims were woefully inadequate, leaving the congregation with a staggering debt from further necessary repairs.
Indonesia: A Muslim mob of 300 wrecked a store that was being used for a Sunday church service on the pretext that it had not obtained “permission to hold Mass.” The mob wrecked the first floor of the store, breaking windows and damaging furniture. Police stopped them before reaching the third floor, where some 60 Christians had congregated. None of the Muslims were arrested, although 12 Christians were taken into custody for questioning. Separately, in compliance to calls by Islamic clerics, authorities ordered 20 churches to be torn down, following the closure of 16 smaller Christian places of worship in the same district last month. The congregations continue to hold services inside their sealed-off buildings as other members stand guard outside.
Iran: Authorities ordered the closure of yet another church in the capital, Tehran, “amid a government campaign to crack down on the few recognized churches offering Farsi-speaking services,” according to a human rights group. The church originally served Assyrian background Christian members; however, “due to an increasing number of Farsi-speaking believers—mostly MBBs [Muslim Background Believers]—it [the church] has become a cause of concern for the authorities and they now ordered it to shut down.”
Kashmir: A 119-year-old church was torched by Muslims. The local bishop “said that the Muslim fundamentalists want Christians to leave the state… He said that the church had filed a case with the police but had been advised not to ‘play up’ such incidents.” Christian minorities “are coming under growing threat from Kashmir’s Muslim majority. A Christian human rights group in India said that over 400 Christians have been displaced as a result.”
Kazakhstan: Land use regulations are being exploited “as a means to prevent religious communities and their members exercising freedom of religion or belief.” Most recently, authorities “forced a Methodist church to ‘voluntarily’ close and fined the wife of the Church’s Pastor, who further paid for an announcement in newspapers saying the church was ‘liquidating itself,’” simply because “We do not want more punishment from the authorities.”
Nigeria: Islamic militants attacked several churches during every Sunday of the month with bombs and guns killing dozens of Christian worshippers, and critically wounding hundreds, including many children. Growing numbers of Christians “dare not” attend church services anymore, even as reports suggest that some police are intentionally abandoning their watch prior to such attacks.
Sudan: Authorities bulldozed two church buildings to the ground and confiscated three Catholic schools, as a response to the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, saying that such buildings are associated with now unwelcome, largely Christian South Sudanese in the Islamic-ruled country. Another church building belonging to the Full Gospel Church was destroyed in the same area two months ago, also on the claim that it belonged to South Sudanese.
Turkmenistan: An Evangelical church in the Muslim-majority nation was raided by authorities: “All adult believers at the meeting were questioned about their faith and all of their Christian literature was confiscated.” Their literature was returned two weeks later.
Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism
Egypt: A Christian student handing out Christian literature in Assuit University “raised the ire of Muslim students,” resulting in clashes on campus, “amid shouts of sectarian chants,” leading to many injuries. Likewise, a Salafi leader declared on Egyptian TV that Muslims have no right “to convert to Christianity.”
Iran: Five months after five Christian converts were arrested, their condition and fate remain unknown. They are accused of “attending house church services, promoting Christianity, propagating against the regime and disturbing national security.” Being imprisoned for 130 days without word “is an obvious example of physical and mental abuse of the detainees…. one of the prison guards openly told one of these Christian detainees that all these pressures and uncertainties are intended to make them flee the country after they are released.” Also, a young Iranian woman, who recently converted to Christianity and was an outspoken activist against the Islamic regime, was found dead, slumped over her car’s steering wheel, with a single gunshot wound to her head.
Pakistan: A banned Islamic group filed a blasphemy case against a 25-year-old mentally retarded Christian man. Muslims had converted him to Islam two years earlier, to use him as a pretext to annex his Christian village. In the words of a witness: “These people (Muslims) do not let us live. We are poor but are working hard to survive. On the night of the incidence a mob of Muslim clerics gathered [around] our colony to burn us all because of the blasphemy Ramzan [the retarded man] committed. Everyone was very scared. We all have small children in our houses and we didn’t know what to do. The mob surrounded our colony and raised a slogan to burn all the houses, they had torches in their hands and petrol in the cans. We called police and thank God police arrived just in time.
Saudi Arabia: Thirty-five Ethiopian Christians arrested in December for praying in a private home remain jailed, even as Saudi officials offer contradicting reasons for their arrest. Meanwhile, they have been beaten and subjected to interrogations and strip searches. Saudi Arabia formally bans all religions other than Islam. However, in 2006, Saudi authorities told the United States that they would “guarantee and protect the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice.”
Sudan: A Muslim woman divorced her husband, a convert to Christianity, causing the court automatically to grant her custody of their two sons. When the father tried to visit his children, his wife threatened to notify authorities. “They might take the case to a prosecution court, which might lead to my sentencing to death according to Islamic apostasy law—but I am ready for this,” said the Christian. “I want the world to know this. What crime have I done? Is it because I became a Christian? I know if the world is watching, they [Sudanese authorities] will be afraid to do any harm to me.”
United States: Two Christian men in Saint Louis, Missouri received death threats from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, apparently for converting to Christianity and preaching it. One of the men formerly served in the Revolutionary Guard and was once even assigned a suicide mission against Israel, before converting and immigrating to the U.S. “The two men believe that Islam is a religion that could easily radicalize a Muslim into a terrorist.” Likewise, in Dearborn Michigan, Christian demonstrators exercising their free speech rights were stoned by Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of Non-Muslims as “Tolerated” Citizens]
Indonesia: “The number of violations of Christians’ religious rights in Indonesia reached 40 in the first five months of the year, nearly two-thirds the amount of anti-Christian actions in all of last year,” according to the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum. The Christian minority in Indonesia faced 64 cases of violations of religious freedom last year, up from 47 in 2010.” Violence against Christians also increased.
Mali: “Islamists in control of northern Mali are enforcing a strict version of Sharia law that victimizes Christians, women and other vulnerable groups.” The radicals took control of northern Mali in April after ousting the armed forces of the government. “All the Christians have left Timbuktu (the main city in north Mali) because of the Sharia law as well as because of the presence of people linked with al-Qaeda,” said a Christian leader who fled from northern Mali.
Pakistan: Police are siding with the Muslims accused of beating a pregnant Christian woman, causing her to miscarriage twins, and gang-raping her 13-year-old Christian niece. “Muslim criminals believe police and courts will give little credence to the complaints of Christians in the country, which is nearly 96 percent Muslim,” adds the report. The Christian family is “paying a huge price for being poor … and for being Christian,” said the uncle: “What can we expect from the police when they are not paying heed even to the court orders? They are distorting facts and have even gone to the extent of accusing a 13-year-old [raped girl] of committing adultery with three men.” Another Christian politician’s ID mistook him for a Muslim, causing him to insist “on the floor of the Punjab Assembly that he was born a Christian and appealed to them and the media not to indulge in propaganda against him that could incite Muslim extremists to kill him.”
South Africa: More than 70 students were kicked out of the Coastal KZN As-Salaam campus dormitories and are currently homeless, because campus officials tried to make them observe Islam, including by banning Bibles, which the students resisted. “All we wanted was to be free to practice our own religions and not be forced to follow Islam, but now we have been punished by being deprived of safe accommodation,” said one student.
Turkey: Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Hagia Sophia—formerly Christendom’s greatest cathedral now a museum—shouting, “Allahu Akbar!” and demanding the building be opened as a mosque in honor of the jihadi sultan who conquered Constantinople in the 15th century.
About this Series
Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching epidemic proportions, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:
- Intrinsically, to document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
- Instrumentally, to show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy and blasphemy laws; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (tribute); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed “dhimmis” (barely tolerated citizens); and simple violence and murder. Oftentimes it is a combination thereof.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the west, to India in the east, and throughout the West, wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Face to face with the ‘human barcode’
July 25, 2012
Reprinted from The Financial Post
BIOPTid Inc.’s cube reads unique sweat-gland patterns and can be hooked up to personal computers and electronic devices as an alternative to password logins.
Sure, it’s cool and easy to pay for stuff with the wave of a smartphone — but why bother when you could just use your face?
Fast-evolving biometric technologies are promising to deliver the most convenient, secure connection possible between you and your bank account — using your body itself in place of all of those wallets and purses stuffed with cash, change and plastic cards.
Biometrics is the science of humans’ physiological or behaviourial characteristics and it’s being used to develop technology that recognizes and matches unique patterns in human fingerprints, faces and eyes and even sweat glands and buttock pressure. Its applications in the financial realm are a potentially huge time and effort saver, but that’s just a beginning for the technology’s usefulness.
“The basic thing is that you are the person who has to be authenticated for transactions. In addition to carrying other tokens and some knowledge, like your PIN for ATMs — you are you, so why not be used to authenticate yourself?” says IBM researcher Nalina Ratha.
As technologies advance, the use of biometrics in everyday life is shifting from traditional law enforcement and government security to a host of more consumer-friendly applications.
Touch payment technologies that employ fingerprints as an identifier are already in the works, Mr. Ratha says, and despite being hundreds of years old, fingerprinting and its uses are still developing rapidly. In fact, IBM introduced fingerprint scan pads for personal log-ins on its then-laptops (which are now produced by Lenovo Group Ltd.) back in 2004.
The next generation of fingerprinting is being developed to go beyond simple recognition to incorporate pressure sensors that can determine if a device is being touched by a live object or not, which helps with fraud detection.
“Fraud can be done if people design [fake prints] using some moulding and they can create a gummy finger and fool the biometric technology,” said Svetlana Yanushkevich, co-founder of the Biometrics Technology Lab at the University of Calgary.
A New York-based technology company says its patented sweat-gland recognition technology will help add even more security to existing biometric devices that may be susceptible to fraud.
“With most of the biometric technologies, there are ways around most of those technologies — you could lift somebody’s fingerprint and create a Latex copy, you can create a contact lens to copy somebody’s iris and so on and so forth. We think we’ll be the only technology that’s ‘spoof-proof,’ ” says Scott McNulty, president and chief executive of
BIOPTid Inc., which owns “the human barcode” technology.
The company’s One Touch cube, set to be on the market within a year, is an external device that users can hook up to their computers and mobile electronics to replace passwords for Internet logins and banking. The cube reads a personal sweat gland barcode to verify identity from the moisture on a user’s fingertip.
In addition to the metaphorical connotation, he trademarked his technology as “the human barcode” because the sweat-gland patterns create a numerical reading like a computerized barcode.
Vancouver-based Face Forensics Inc., a face-recognition software company, is also transitioning its products to more transactional-based uses from their traditional law enforcement and government access mandate — the company typically works with governments around the world on e-passports as well as registry systems, such a licence plate databases.
Chief executive Iain Drummond says Face Forensic’s software platform is the only one in the world that can recognize a face based on a partial image. “So, for instance, a criminal wearing a balaclava or someone whose face is obscured by something in front of them,” he says.
The move to digital tech for travel is happening in Canada too, which started unrolling e-passports this year.
Travellers who want to avoid long border-crossing lines can also sign up for the Canadian Border Services Agency’s Nexus program, which uses kiosks to scan the iris of a person’s eye and verify their identity.
But recognition technology doesn’t end at the hand or face.
Thanks to Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology, a car seat is being developed that aims to identify a driver by reading body pressure — technology dubbed “butt biometrics” by some tech press following its introduction last year.
Beyond simple identification, biometric situational awareness tools can also help make a judgment call. For example, facial expression recognition is not just about identifying a person, but drawing conclusions about their emotional state.
“There are major expressions that can be linked to emotions, such as neutral, sad, happy, exhausted or hungry, and so on,” Ms. Yanushkevich says.
Related technology is being developed for the health-care and biomedical fields.
“Think about the care homes for the elderly. Expressions are important if these facilities are equipped with sensors. For example, the facial expression can tell you if the patient was in pain,” she says.
Thermal monitoring technology has already been used at airports to detect travellers with elevated body temperature that may by carrying diseases, Ms. Yanushkevich notes.
Video gaming has also adopted situational awareness technology — Microsoft Inc.’s Kinect device reacts to user voice command and gestures — but they could also incorporate facial expression recognition to put a gamer’s mood into play.
“If we see the expression that the person is very tired or sad, it can give feedback. And it can improve the gaming environment,” Ms. Yanushkevich explained.
Industry players say they hope the trend towards biometrics in consumer products spells the end of the negative stigma associated with the field.
“Biometrics is something that’s used by governments, it’s used by ‘Big Brother’ to keep an eye on us and we want to change that,” says Mr. McNulty.
“We think biometrics is something that can be actually used by the people and it becomes their technology that they use to protect themselves.”