Mysterious Changes in Ocean Salt Spur NASA Expedition
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s research vessel Knorr docked before its departure on Sept. 6 to study salinity in the mid-Atlantic ocean. (NASA)
By Wynne Parry
Researchers are heading out into one particularly salty ocean region, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, in the hopes of better understanding what drives variation in salinity in the upper ocean.
Ultimately, they hope, research like this will offer insight on the dynamics behind the dramatic changes in the ocean’s salt content.
Many oceanographers have a hunch about what is going on: Climate change, Ray Schmitt, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told journalists during a news conference Wednesday (Sept. 5).
“Climate is changing all the time, and some of that change is due to natural variation,” Schmitt said. “The 50-year trend we are talking about, most of us believe is really due to the general trend of global warming.”
Salt & the global water cycle
This matters because the ocean is at the heart of the planet’s water cycle: 86 percent of global evaporation and 78 percent of global precipitation occur over the ocean, according to NASA, the lead entity behind the project, called Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS).
Over the ocean, more evaporation as compared to precipitation translates into saltier water. Meanwhile, in regions where precipitation is favored, water is fresher.
By tracking ocean salinity, researchers can better understand the global water cycle. Global warming is expected to intensify it, but current computer models do not predict the amount of change seen over the last 50 years, Schmitt said.
Aside from an increase in evaporation caused by warming, such factors as winds can also contribute to changes in salinity.
“We have a lot of questions about the basic physics we hope to resolve with this cruise,” Schmitt said.
In addition to instruments attached to the research vessel itself, scientists plan to deploy a variety of drifting, remotely operated and moored sensors. European researchers are also visiting the site and collecting data.
Salinity data is also expected to come from the satellite-borne instrument, called Aquarius, launched about a year ago, as well as the global network of Argo floats, which measure temperature and salinity. [Satellite Gallery: Science from Above]
The research vessel Knorr departed Woods Hole, Mass., for the mid-Atlantic Thursday (Sept. 6). The researchers will spend about three weeks deploying their instruments, leaving some behind for when they return. Due to hurricanes Leslie and Michael, the vessel’s captain decided to travel quickly to the east and then south to miss the worst of the weather on their way to the study site.
The mid-Atlantic isn’t the only area where researchers hope to study ocean salinity in detail.
“SPURS is named because spurs come in pairs,” said Eric Lindstrom, a physical oceanography program scientist at NASA headquarters, explaining that researchers hope to do something similar in a low-salinity region, such as the Bay of Bengal or an area south of Hawaii.
While researchers think global climate change may be behind the changes in ocean salinity, changes like these are expected to have their own implications for climate. This is because ocean salinity also affects ocean circulation, and as a result, ocean temperatures, which have implications for weather.
Here’s how it works: Compared with fresh water, salty water is heavier, and so more prone to sinking. Temperature has a similar effect, with warmth causing water to rise. Differences in salinity and temperature drive a slow-moving conveyor belt of ocean currents that encircles the planet. The Gulf Stream, which carries warm water across the Atlantic to Europe, is part of this conveyor belt.
It may work out that higher salinity in some regions counterbalances fresher water in others, Schmitt said: “It is a delicate balance and what we think now is it is not too likely the conveyer belt is going to shut down anytime soon.”
Black pastors: Stay home on Election Day
Abrams: Benghazi ‘had nothing to do with any film’
“There’s clear evidence these were planned in advance, especially in Egypt,” Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the Free Beacon Friday. “The movie wasn’t up online until Sept. 10, and they didn’t know about it when these things were planned.”
Israel facing most fateful days since 1973, says PM confidant
Former MK Tzachi Hanegbi, considered a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tells Likud conference he believes a decision on Iran will be made within the next 50 days • Ehud Barak: U.S. respects Israel’s right to decide on its own.
Photo credit: Dudi Vaaknin
Photo credit: Alon Bason/Defense Ministry
Former Likud and Kadima member Tzachi Hanegbi said this week that he believed the fate of Israel’s conflict with Iran will be decided within the next 50 days. Hanegbi, who is considered a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, later told Israel Hayom the assessment was his own and not based on specific information disclosed to him.
“We are entering the most fateful 50 days Israel has faced since, perhaps, the similarly fateful days prior to the Yom Kippur War,” Hanegbi said at a Likud conference this week, as quoted by the Makor Rishon newspaper.
Hanegbi, who in the past served as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as well as minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2004 and Internal Security Minister in 2003, recently left the Kadima party and rejoined the Likud.
At the same conference, Hanegbi explained that any decision that will be made on whether or not to attack Iran would have to be “taken by someone with foresight, with historical vision, who comes from an ideological home. Today, when we talk about how we understand the dangers of the Iranian threat and understand that confrontation comes at a cost, it is because we want to spare our sons and grandsons from having to pay an intolerable price.”
In an interview with Israel Hayom on Thursday, the former minister said that “the remarks I made were my interpretation of statements and analyses made by others in the media. They were not based on a conversation I had with the prime minister. Netanyahu does not consult with me on these issues and I am not, by definition of my position, privy to such information.”
“I do have my own interpretation though, and I have no doubt that these are fateful days. Even a decision not to do anything [about Iran] is a fateful decision. I have no doubt that there will be a price to pay for any decision or indecision,” Hanegbi said.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said he had no comment on Hanegbi’s assessment.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said differences remain with the United States over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, despite efforts by Israel and the U.S. to come to an agreement on the issue.
Barak told a meeting of his Independence party that “the clocks are ticking at a different pace” for the U.S. and Israel, suggesting disagreements remain on the timeline for any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“Israel reserves the right to make its own sovereign decisions. The U.S. respects that,” he said. At the event, Barak also called a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders a “post-Zionist outlook.”
Earlier this week, Israeli officials said the U.S. and Israel were working closely in hopes of getting the countries’ positions in sync, holding close discussions with American officials over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.
Barak, who spoke hours after meeting the U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James A. Winnefeld, reiterated that Israel reserves the right to carry out a strike unilaterally. He added, however, that there was “no doubt” about Washington’s “readiness to face the challenge on every level.”
Israel believes time is running out to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, while the U.S. opposes any Israeli military action at the current time.
Israel and the U.S. both believe, however, that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the allegations, and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes like producing energy and medical isotopes.
Part of the dispute over timing is related to military capabilities. Israel’s timeline for military action is shorter than that of the United States, which has far more powerful bunker-busting bombs at its disposal. Israel fears that the longer Iran is allowed to continue uninhibited with its nuclear program, the deeper underground the facilities will become, making them impenetrable to an Israeli attack.
Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, citing Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction, the country’s development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state, and Tehran’s support for Islamic terror groups hostile to Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Reiterating Russia’s opposition to a military strike on Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday “We want to warn those who are no strangers to military solutions that an attack will lead to great damage and will be catastrophic to the region’s stability. It will also affect the security and economic welfare of the entire world. The act will have repercussions far beyond the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, during a meeting with 12th grade students at a school in the northern city of Safed, opposition leader and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz commented on Netanyahu’s complaint of leaks from cabinet meetings and said “Leaks from cabinet meetings dealing with issues regarded as the ‘holy of holies’ and the deepest secrets of the country reflect reckless abandon.”
September 7, 2012
A devastating global food crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern times is coming. Crippling drought and bizarre weather patterns have damaged food production all over the world this summer, and the UN and the World Bank have both issued ominous warnings about the food inflation that is coming.
To those of us in the Western world, a rise in the price of food can be a major inconvenience, but in the developing world it can mean the difference between life and death. Just remember what happened back in 2008. When food prices hit record highs it led to food riots in 28 different countries. Today, there are approximately 2 billion people that are malnourished around the globe. Even rumors of food shortages are enough to spark mass chaos in many areas of the planet. When people fear that they are not going to be able to feed their families they tend to get very desperate. That is why a recent CNN article declared that “2013 will be a year of serious global crisis“.
The truth is that we are not just facing rumors of a global food crisis – one is actually starting to unfold right in front of our eyes. The United States experienced the worst drought in more than 50 years this summer, and some experts are already declaring that the weather has been so dry for so long that tremendous damage has already been done to next year’s crops. On the other side of the world, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have all seen their wheat crops devastated by the horrible drought this summer. Australia has also been dealing with drought, and in India monsoon rains were about 15 percent behind pace in mid-August. Global food production is going to be much less than expected this year, and global food demand continues to steadily rise. What that means is that food inflation, food shortages and food riots are coming, and it isn’t going to be pretty.
The United States exports more food than anyone else in the world, and that is why the entire globe has been nervously watching the horrific drought in the United States this summer with deep concern.
It has been the worst drought in more than 50 years, and it has absolutely devastated corn crops all over the nation. According to Bill Witherell, the U.S. corn crop this year “is said to be on a par with that of 1988 crop, the worst in the past thirty years.”
Sadly, this will be the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.
That has never happened before in the history of the United States.
And coming into this year we were already in bad shape. In fact, U.S. corn reserves were sitting ata 15-year low at the end of 2011.
So where will we be at the end of 2012?
The official estimates for corn yields put out by the U.S. government just keep dropping, but many fear that they aren’t dropping quickly enough. There have been some reports on the ground from some areas of the country that have been very distressing. The following is from a recent Wall Street Journal article….
Meanwhile, scouts with the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour on Monday reported an average estimated corn yield in Ohio of 110.5 bushels per acre, down from the tour’s estimate of 156.3 bushels a year ago. In South Dakota, tour scouts reported an average yield estimate of just 74.3 bushels per acre, down from 141.1 bushels a year ago.
Those are catastrophic numbers.
But farmers are not the only ones that have been impacted by the dry weather. A recent article by Chris Martenson summarized some of the other effects of this drought…..
Even though the mainstream media seems to have lost some interest in the drought, we should keep it front and center in our minds, as it has already led to sharply higher grain prices, increased gasoline costs (via the pass-through of higher ethanol costs), impeded oil and gas drilling activity in some areas (due to a lack of water), caused the shutdown of a few operating electricity plants, temporarily reduced red meat prices (but will also make them climb sharply later) as cattle are dumped in response to feed- and pasture-management concerns, and blocked and/or reduced shipping on the Mississippi River. All this and there’s also a strong chance that today’s drought will negatively impact next year’s Winter wheat harvest, unless a lot of rain starts falling soon.
Ranchers have had a particularly hard time during this drought. If you expect to pay about the same for meat this time next year as you are doing now you are going to be deeply disappointed. The following is from a recent Reuters article….
The worst drought to hit U.S. cropland in more than half a century could soon leave Americans reaching deeper into their pockets to fund a luxury that people in few other countries enjoy: affordable meat.
Drought-decimated fields have pushed grain prices sky high, and the rising feed costs have prompted some livestock producers to liquidate their herds. This is expected to shrink the long-term U.S. supply of meat and force up prices at the meat counter.
All over the western United States pastures have been destroyed and there is not enough hay. It would be hard to overstate the damage that this nightmarish drought is doing to our ranchers….
I spoke with Caldwell [of Indiana horse rescue] and a number of other horse-rescue organizations around the country by telephone this week. The relentlessly hot dry weather, amplified in many areas by wildfire, has been devastating to farmers, ranchers and other horse owners.
‘Everybody is using their winter hay now. The pastures are destroyed and they probably won’t recover before winter,’ said Caldwell. ‘The price of hay has doubled, and the availability is down by 75 percent.’
Caldwell is somewhat sanguine about his own lot, but not optimistic about what lies ahead.
‘Today the problem is not nearly as bad as it’s going to be,’ he told me. ‘It’s terribly bad today, but it is going to get a lot worse.’
But of course as I mentioned earlier this is not just an American problem.
The truth is that the entire globe is facing a rapidly growing food crisis.
According to the UN, the global price of food rose 6 percent in the month of July alone.
According to the World Bank, global food prices actually rose 10 percent during July.
Either figure is really, really bad.
The other day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program issued a joint statement in which they stated the following….
‘We need to act urgently to make sure that these price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe hurting tens of millions over the coming months.’
If the price of food at our supermarkets suddenly went up 20 percent that would really stretch our family budgets here in the United States, but we would survive.
On the other side of the globe, such a price change can mean the difference between life and death. The following is from the CNN article mentioned above….
But step outside the developed world, and the price of food suddenly becomes the single most important fact of human economic life. In poor countries, people typically spend half their incomes on food — and by ‘food,’ they mean first and foremost bread.
When grain prices spiked in 2007-2008, bread riots shook 30 countries across the developing world, from Haiti to Bangladesh, according to the Financial Times. A drought in Russia in 2010 forced suspension of Russian grain exports that year and set in motion the so-called Arab spring.
Already, 18 million people in Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Senegal are dealing with very serious food shortages.
In Yemen, things are even worse….
Yemen has a catastrophic food crisis. Nearly half the population, 10 million people, does not have enough to eat. While 300,000 children are facing life threatening levels of malnutrition.
The United Nations says Yemen is already in the throes of a disaster.
‘The levels are truly terrible. Whatever we do thousands upon thousands of children will die this year from malnutrition,’ Unicef’s man in Yemen, Geert Cappelaere, said.
‘In some areas child malnutrition is at 30%, to put it in context, an emergency is 15%. It is double that already.’
But this is just the beginning. These food shortages are going to spread and we will eventually see food riots that will absolutely dwarf the food riots of 2008.
Many scientists fear the worst. Some are even now warning that food shortages will become so severe that they will eventually force much of the globe on to a vegetarian diet….
Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world’s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.
Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world’s leading water scientists.
‘There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,’ the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.
The days of very cheap meat are coming to an end. Meat will be increasingly viewed as a “luxury” around the globe from now on.
Sadly, there are some in the financial world that actually intend to make lots of money off of this crisis….
The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world’s largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a ‘good’ business opportunity.
With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought ‘Dust Bowl’ days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin’s government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: ‘Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits.’
Does that disturb you?
Driving up the price of food for starving people is not a good way to make money. Food is one of our most basic needs. When people are deprived of food they become very desperate.
Just look at what is already happening in Spain. The economic crisis in that country has just begun, and people are already looting supermarkets. You can see a video news report about Spanish activists looting 3 tons of food from local supermarkets right here.
Much of that food was donated to food banks, but in the future I am sure that the desperate “activists” will not be so generous when things get really tight.
In other areas of Spain, large numbers of people have been filmed digging through trash dumpstersfor food.
Could you ever see yourself doing that? Don’t be so sure that hunger will never come to America. Right now, a record 46.7 million Americans are on food stamps, and anti-hunger organizations all around the country are reporting more of a need than ever before.
For now the federal government is able to feed the tens of millions of Americans that do not have enough money for food, but what happens when a day comes when the federal government stops doing that?
And what happens if the drought in the United States continues throughout the winter and into next summer and Dust Bowl conditions return to the United States?
In a previous article entitled “17 Signs That You Better Start Preparing For A Nightmarish Global Food Crisis“, I detailed some more of the reasons why people need to start preparing for food inflation and food shortages.
In the past we could always go out to the supermarket or to Wal-Mart and fill up our shopping carts with huge piles of very cheap food whenever we wanted to.
It will not always be that way.
Get prepared while you still can.
Meanwhile, many Americans continue to enjoy life as if nothing will ever change. For example, the “Rich Kids of Instagram” have been very busy showing off their wealth all summer long. You can see some of the ridiculous ways that they are blowing their wealth right here.
Sadly, they are just a product of our degenerating society. We have piled up wealth in these troubled times while the rest of the world has suffered.
But even our great wealth was not enough for us so we went out and borrowed trillions upon trillions of dollars. We have accumulated the greatest mountain of debt in the history of the world, but we are still not satisfied.
In the end, we will weep and howl in misery as everything that we have built falls apart around us.
Michael Snyder is the writer and editor at The Economic Collapse
‘Hezbollah aiming 60-70 thousand rockets at Israel’
Amos Gilad says next war will be against the home front; Meridor: Arabs questioning congruence between Western, Islamic values.
Photos taken within past 18 hours of Hezbollah supporters in Beruit:
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beruit, Lebanon
Hezbollah has between 60 and 70 thousand rockets aimed at Israel, Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security chief Amos Gilad said Monday.
Speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s World Summit, Gilad said the Lebanese terrorist organization has stockpiled rockets of various types, and its arsenal is far more robust than the one it had prior to the Second Lebanon War. “The next war will be aimed against the home front,” Gilad warned.
Gilad also blamed Hezbollah for a number of successful and unsuccessful terrorist attacks abroad.
Though admitting that the threat from Lebanon is growing, Gilad was largely optimistic about Israel’s security situation, citing positive developments in Syria, Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
“In Syria, there is good news,” Gilad said. “The Golan Heights remains the quietest region in the entire Middle East. Our deterrence capabilities are sufficiently, for the time being, keeping out warring parties in Syria.” Gilad also warned that al-Qaida is starting to rear its head in Syria, with a view that the fall of Assad will allow it to open a new terror front against Israel.
Turning to Egypt, Gilad said that though there are many terrorist groups actively trying to strike Israel from the Sinai, recently-elected President Mohamad Morsy and his officials remain committed to peace.
Gilad called the situation in Gaza “relatively restrained,” with Hamas generally holding other Palestinian terror groups back from striking Israel.
Gilad also stated that Israel is currently not facing a conventional military threat, a massive improvement over Israel’s historical security situation.
Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, who lectured at the same conference, said that the Arab Spring is forcing populations across the Middle East to answer difficult questions about the congruence between Western and Islamic values.
“What happens when the majority does not want democracy?” Meridor asked rhetorically. “What happens when the majority does not believe a woman is equal to a man? What happens what it wants the Muslim Brotherhood?”
Meridor said the Middle East is experiencing a “battle between Western ideals of freedom and democracy versus traditional conservative and Islamic values.”
Study: Most Churchgoers Do Not Read Bible on Daily Basis
(Photo: The Christian Post)The Holy Bible, NIV
A recently released study by a Christian research organization shows that most churchgoers do not read or study the Bible on a daily basis.
The findings of the Transformational Discipleship Assessment released by LifeWay Research noted that 19 percent of respondents report reading or studying the Bible outside of church “every day.”
By contrast, 36 percent of respondents said that they either engage the Bible “once a week,” “once a month,” or “a few times a month.” Eighteen percent reported rarely or never reading or studying the Bible outside of worship.
Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, told The Christian Post that he felt attributes from the modern American culture influenced the responses.
“Regular Bible engagement is both personal and requires discipline. Neither are popular in Western culture today,” said McConnell. “Too many churchgoers want the benefits of salvation without investing in personally knowing Christ and the abundant life He offers.”
For the study, LifeWay Research interviewed a demographically balanced online panel of American adults last year, Oct. 14-22. A total of 2,930 surveys were completed, with churchgoing respondents being defined as those who attend a Protestant church at least once a month.
“Bible engagement encompasses more than just Bible reading. It measures the extent to which individuals interact with the truth of Scripture and allow it to permeate their thinking and influence their actions,” said McConnell.
“There is a widespread desire among churchgoers to please Jesus, but much less interested in daily wrestling with what pleases Jesus. Instead of Christ being preeminent in the lives of every churchgoer, He is often only the preamble to lives lived apart from biblical truth.”
Other findings in the study included 90 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement “I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do” and 59 percent agreeing with the statement “Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths.”
In an interview with Baptist Press, LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer explained the importance of scriptural study and reading.
“God’s Word is truth, so it should come as no surprise that reading and studying the Bible are still the activities that have the most impact on growth in this attribute of spiritual maturity,” said Stetzer. “As basic as that is, there are still numerous churchgoers who are not reading the Bible regularly. You simply won’t grow if you don’t know God and spend time in God’s Word.”
While the study noted the small percentage of regular Bible engagement from respondents, it also pinpointed six actions that “positively impact” the level of Bible engagement a churchgoer partakes in.
These actions were confessing wrongdoings to God, believing in Jesus as the only way to Heaven, following God with an awareness that it “may be costly,” praying about the spiritual statuses of acquaintances who are not Christian, reading a book on spiritual growth, and being mentored by a “more spiritually mature Christian.”
40 Signs That We Have Seriously Messed Up The Next Generation Of
What in the world have we done to our kids? If you spend much time with them, you quickly realize that the next generation of Americans is woefully unprepared to deal with the real world. They are overweight, lazy, undisciplined, disrespectful, disobedient to their parents, selfish, self-centered, and completely addicted to entertainment. And that is just for starters. We feed them insane amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup and then when they become overactive we pump them full of prescription drugs to calm them down. Instead of raising our children ourselves, we allow the government schools and the entertainment industry to do it. By the time they reach the age of 18, they have spent far more time with their teachers, their video games and the television than they have spent with us. Our young people are #1 in a lot of global categories, but almost all of them are bad. Young people in the United States are more obese than anyone else in the world, more sexually active than anyone else in the world and they become pregnant more often than anyone else in the world. Of course it probably doesn’t help that we have the highest divorce rate in the world either. Our families are a complete and total mess and it is our kids that are paying the price. One top of everything else, we have accumulated a 16 trillion dollar debt which we will be handing down to the next generation. I am sure that they will appreciate that.
The following are 40 signs that we have seriously messed up the next generation of Americans….
1. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
2. More than 25 percent of all U.S. children have a chronic health condition that affects their ability to learn. Perhaps we should not be feeling them so much junk food.
3. In 2011, SAT scores for young men were the worst that they had been in 40 years.
4. The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.
5. One study discovered that 88 percent of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that approximately four times as many boys are addicted to video games as girls are.
6. According to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find the nation of Iraq on a map.
7. According to one survey, 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot find the state of New York on a blank map.
8. Only 26 percent of Oklahoma high school students know what the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are called.
9. Only 10 percent of Oklahoma high school students know how many justices sit on the Supreme Court.
10. At this point, 15-year-olds that attend U.S. public schools do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math or science literacy.
11. Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than children in Europe are.
12. The United States leads the world in eating disorder deaths.
13. The average American drinks more than 600 sodas every single year. That is by far the most in the world.
15. In America today, many families allow the television to raise their children. In fact, the United States is tied with the U.K. for the most hours of television watched per person each week.
16. There are more school shootings in America than anywhere else in the world.
17. The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin. This is ripping millions of families with children to shreds.
18. Without solid family units, more kids than ever are joining gangs. Today, there are approximately 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States. That number has risen by 40 percent just since 2009.
19. There are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every single year.
20. If you can believe it, an average of five children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every single day.
21. Sadly, the United States actually has the highest child abuse death rate on the entire globe.
22. Approximately 20 percent of all child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8.
23. In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.
24. According to researchers, convicted rapists in the United States report that two-thirds of their victims were under 18, and among those cases 58% said that their victims were 12 years old or younger.
25. The percentage of children living in poverty has risen from 17 percent in 2007 to 22 percent today.
26. Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
27. It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.
29. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.
30. It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.
31. It is estimated that child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.
32. Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.
33. Law enforcement officials estimate that about 600,000 Americans and about 65,000 Canadians are trading dirty child pictures online.
34. The average high school boy spends two hours watching pornography every single week.
36. In the United States today, 47 percent of all high school students have had sex.
37. One out of every four teen girls in the United States now has an STD.
38. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate on the entire planet by a wide margin.
39. One survey found that one out of every five teen girls actually wants to be a teen mom.
40. We have borrowed 16 trillion dollars that we expect future generations to repay. We have consigned our children and our grandchildren to a lifetime of debt slavery and they don’t even realize it yet. When they do realize what we have done to them they will probably curse us bitterly.
The Tip of the Iceberg of Christian Persecution
September 13th, 2012
Reprinted from FrontPageMag.com
Originally published by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
Two Christians living in the Islamic world under arrest and awaiting execution—the one charged with apostasy, the other with blasphemy—were just released.
According to a September 8 report on CNN, “A Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran for apostasy was reunited with his family Saturday after a trial court acquitted him… Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, born to Muslim parents and a convert to Christianity by age 19, was released after being held in prison for almost three years under a death sentence…. Setting aside the death sentence, a trial court convicted Nadarkhani of a lesser charge—evangelizing Muslims—and declared that his prison sentence had already been served… His case drew international attention after his October 2009 arrest, and the 34-year-old pastor refused to recant his Christian beliefs.”
In a separate story published the same day, “Pakistani authorities on Saturday released a teenage Christian girl detained over accusations of blasphemy,” for allegedly burning pages of a Koran. Up till then, local Muslims were calling for the death of the 14-year-old Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, warning that, if released, they would “take the law into their own hands.”
Why were these two Christians released—when both apostasy and blasphemy are great crimes in Islam, punishable by death? Is this a sign that Iran and Pakistan are reforming, becoming more “moderate”? One U.S. paper, for example, optimistically offers the following title, “Rescue of Christian Girl may be Turning Point in Abuse of Blasphemy Law.”
Nadarkhani and Masih were certainly not released because their governments are acting according to universal standards of justice or reason. If so, they would not have been arrested in the first place. Nor do these releases suggest that Iran or Pakistan are rethinking their Islamic apostasy and blasphemy laws.
The fact is, there are many more Christians imprisoned in both countries for apostasy and blasphemy. Unlike Nadarkhani and Masih, however, the Western mainstream has never heard of these unfortunate Christians.
And that’s the whole difference.
In Iran, where at least as early as 1990 a convert to Christianity, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, was executed by the state, apostates from Islam are under siege. A few examples from the last few months include:
• A six-year prison sentence for Pastor Farshid Fathi Malayeri—whose crime was to convert to and preach Christianity—was upheld last July following an unsuccessful appeal hearing.
• Another prominent house church pastor, Benham Irani, remains behind bars even as his family expresses concerns that he may die from continued abuse and beatings, leading to internal bleeding and other ailments. The verdict against him contains text that describes the pastor as an apostate who “can be killed.” According to one activist, “His ‘crimes’ were being a pastor and possessing Christian materials.” He is being beaten in jail and getting sick, to the point that his hair has “turned fully gray.”
• A woman, Leila Mohammadi, who had earlier converted to Christianity was arrested when security agents raided her house. Imprisoned for five months in Iran’s notorious Evin prison without any word on her fate, she was later sentenced to two years in prison.
• A June 17 report indicated that, five months after five Christian converts were arrested, their condition and fate had remained unknown. They were 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.”
• A young woman, who had 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.
Then there are Iran’s many other faces of Christian persecution, including the shutting down of churches, regular crackdowns on house-church gatherings, detaining and abusing Christians, banning church services in Farsi, and confiscating Bibles and other Christian literature.
As for Pakistan’s blasphemy law—which calls for the death penalty—here are a few stories from the last few months:
• A Muslim mob doused a man with gasoline and literally burned him alive for “blaspheming” the Koran (graphic picture here).
• A 26-year-old Christian woman was arrested after neighbors accused her of “uttering remarks against Muhammad.” A few days prior, some of her relatives who converted to Islam had pressured her to do likewise: “She refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert.” She was arrested of blasphemy soon thereafter.
• A female Christian teacher was targeted by Muslims due to allegations that she burned a Koran. A mob stormed her school in an attempt to abduct her, but police took her into custody.
• A Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy” for rescuing his 8-year-old nephew from a beating at the hands of Muslim boys who sought to force the boy to convert to Islam. Later, “a Muslim mob of about 55 led by the village prayer leader besieged the Christian’s house,” and insisted that “the blasphemer” be turned over to them.
• A banned Islamic group attempted to burn down a Christian village after accusing a 25-year-old mentally retarded Christian man of “blasphemy.”
• A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy” after Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian “dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away.” Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating “panic among Christians” who “left their houses anticipating violence.”
In the last two decades, over 50 people have been murdered in Pakistan for blasphemy. Even the recent assassination of the nation’s only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, was in retaliation for his being an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws.
In light of all the above, why were Pastor Nadarkhani and Masih, the Christian girl—whose fates were sealed—released? Because unlike the many nameless and faceless Christians persecuted for blasphemy and apostasy in Pakistan and Iran, not to mention the rest of the Islamic world, the mainstream media actually reported the stories of these two in the West, prompting much public outrage, international condemnations, and the threat of diplomatic actions and/or sanctions.
For example, Canada just cut relations with Iran, citing, among other reasons the fact that Iran is “one of the world’s worst violators of human rights.” It was the very next day that Pastor Nadarkhani was “coincidentally” released, even as the Iranian regime, playing the victim, accused Canada of being “racist.”
In short, these two particular Christians were simply too much of a liability to punish as Sharia law demands—the same Sharia, incidentally, that teaches Muslims to be lax and tolerant when in their interest. While it is good that Western outrage and condemnation was fundamentally responsible for the release of Nadarkhani and Masih, the West must learn that these two Christians merely represent the tip of the iceberg of Christian persecution in Muslim countries.
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