Friday, May 18, 2012

US Leads Major War Drill in Jordan – Israel Not Invited

        The United States is leading what it described as the "largest military exercises in the Middle East in 10 years" in Jordan on Tuesday.

Eager Lion 2012 “is the largest exercise held in the region in the past ten years,” Major General Ken Tovo, head of the US Special Operations Forces, told reporters in Amman.

“Yesterday we began to apply the skills that we have developed over the last weeks in an irregular warfare scenario … They will last for approximately the coming two weeks,” he added.

The message that I want to send through this exercise is that we have developed the right partners throughout the region and across the world … insuring that we have the ability to … meet challenges that are coming to our nations,” Tovo said.

Over 12,000 soldiers are taking part in the war games, representing 19 countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Australia.

Jordanian army operations and training chief Major General Awni Adwan said the military exercise “has been in the planning phase for the past three years.”

“No forces will be deployed north … the exercise is not connected to any real world event,” Adwan said when asked if the war games were related to the ongoing violence in Jordan’s northern neighbor Syria.

"This has nothing to do with Syria. We respect the sovereignty of Syria. There is no tension between the Syrians and us. Our objectives are clear,” Adwan said.

Israel – despite having extensive security agreements with Jordan – was not invited to participate in the exercises. Several Arab nations participating in the drill are still formally at war with the Jewish state.

Washington has granted Amman $2.4 billion in military and economic aid in the past five years, according to official figures.

Big Brother Street Lights Capable of Recording Conversations, Talking To People Coming To A City Near You

Story taken from

  Talking surveillance cameras that bark orders at passers-by and can also record conversations are heading for U.S. streets, with manufacturer Illuminating Concepts announcing the progress of its ‘Intellistreets’ system.

As we first reported last year, high tech street lights with “homeland security applications” are now being installed in major U.S. cities.

The street lights also have loudspeakers that can give audible warnings to individuals, mimicking the talking surveillance cameras in the UK that shout out orders through microphones telling people to pick up litter or leave the area.

A recent press release put out by Amerlux announces the company’s partnership with Illuminating Concepts to further advance the rollout of ‘Intellistreets’.

The announcement confirms that the street lights will have a number of “homeland security features” including a loudspeaker system that will be used to “engage captive audiences”.

“The built-in speaker can broadcast emergency information,” states the press release, adding, “SmartSite luminaires can be equipped with a variety of cameras and sensors to ensure real-time 24/7-security coverage.

The sensors detect a variety of threats that enable rapid response from emergency personnel or help prevent crime and gain control of the streets.”

The press release adds that the SmartSite system developed to operate the ‘Intellistreets’ surveillance hubs is intended not only for street lighting but also for “retail malls, sports venues, on college campuses, and in new construction,” and “might well become commonplace” in the near future.

Not only can the street lights, now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh with Department of Energy backing, act as surveillance cameras, Minority Report-style advertising hubs, and Homeland Security alert systems, they are “also capable of recording conversations,” according to a report by ABC 7.

The ABC video clip, featured at the end of this article, includes creepy footage of the street lights being used to transmit Orwellian security alerts, including “pay attention please….please stand by for a public safety announcement,” and “this is a security alert”.

Illuminating Concepts responded to the controversy over ‘Intellistreets’ last year by ludicrously claiming the system did not represent a “big brother” intrusion, as if talking surveillance cameras that also record private conversations are a perfectly normal concept.

The company also denied that it had received funding from the Department of Homeland Security yet subsequent reports confirmed that owner Ron Harwood is now “working with Homeland Security” to implement the high tech network, which is connected via a ubiquitous wi-fi system.

In reality, the system represents Big Brother on steroids – George Orwell’s worst nightmare come to life with interconnected wireless ‘telescreens’ blanketing America, all in the name of safety and security.


Rove: Obama Campaign Looking Desperate

Carl Rove

By Andra Varin

  Former Bush adviser Karl Rove says president Barack Obama’s re-election bid has had a rough month that suggests the president’s campaigning skills are waning.

“In 2008, team Obama ran a first-rate campaign. They made relatively few unforced errors and capitalized on openings. Things look very different this time,” Rove wrote in an opinion piece Wednesday for The Wall Street Journal.

He said Obama, who formally launched his re-election campaign earlier this month, has had to contend with “lowlights” including disappointing job numbers for the month of April.

Rove said Obama had also tried to capitalize on the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death without acknowledging the Navy SEALs who actually carried out the dangerous raid on the terror kingpin’s compound.

“The whole thing came across as ungracious and egocentric,” he wrote in the WSJ.

And Rove said Obama had been pushed into declaring his support for gay marriage earlier than planned in what seems to be a blatant bid to woo young voters and gay donors.

“Mr. Obama may have difficulty leading and governing but has been considered an effective campaigner. Events in May are starting to call that into question,” Rove said.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 17, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 17, 2012

Does Isaiah 9:10 Judgment Pattern Suggest Coming Calamity For US in September 2015?

                                                    United States Currency
                                                    Story taken from

     If the world makes it through the end of the Mayan calendar this year, a pattern of recent economic disasters based on the Hebrew calendar portends what some suspect we will be the biggest U.S. financial calamity yet Sept. 13, 2015.

The No. 1 bestselling Christian book in America, “The Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn, points out that the Americans two greatest financial shakings, occurred on successive Hebrew Shmitah years following the 9/11 Islamist terror attacks on the U.S., the key to the series of limited judgments the author sees as a result of America’s turning away from God just as ancient Israel did before the dispersion.

While Cahn prefers not to speculate on what, if anything, might befall America on Sept. 13, 2015, it will be the next Shmitah year – which occurs on Elul 29 every seven years on the Hebrew calendar. It is a time when debts are to be forgiven and the land, in the agricultural communities of ancient Israel were to be given a rest.

Sept. 17, 2001, was the beginning of the economic calamity associated with 9/11 and the lowering of interest rates by the Fed resulting in the collapse of the stock market Sept. 17, 2001 – Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar. Likewise, Sept. 29, 2008, marked the next big crash. Sept. 29, 2008, also fell on Elul 29.

All of this is laid out in a new documentary video called “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” the leading faith video in the nation and one of the top-selling documentaries of any kind, produced by Joseph Farah and WND Films.

Farah believes the date Sept. 13, 2015 bears close watching – though he is quick to admit he has no idea what, if anything, will happen in America.

“A clear pattern has been established,” he says. “I don’t believe it’s a coincidence what happened in America on Elul 29 in 2001 and 2008. It would be foolish to ignore the possibility that a greater judgment might be in the works – especially if America continues to move away from God and His Word.”

It’s also worth noting that Elul 29, 2015, represents the eve of the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashana at sundown. An unusual astronomical phenomenon, a blood red moon – or tetrad – is expected to occur that evening, according to NASA. The Feast of Trumpets begins a period known by Jews as “the days of awe” that lasts through Yom Kippur a week later.

Hebrew roots pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Washington state noted several years ago that a cluster of tetrads will occur in 2014 and 2015 – all of them on Hebrew high holidays. There won’t be any more for the rest of the 21st century.

Joel 2:31 says: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” Other biblical references can be found in Acts 2:20 and Revelation 6:12.

Whether or not anything significant occurs of a prophetic nature Sept. 13, 2015, Farah said he is immensely pleased with the documentary treatment of the message found in the best-selling book “The Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn, which has remained on the New York Times bestsellers list for all of 2012.

“If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I urge you to get it, screen it with your family, show it to your friends and arrange church viewings,” said Farah. “This is the most important project I have been involved in through my 35-year media career. This is a message, I believe, God directed me to undertake for a time such as this.”

In January, “The Harbinger” by Cahn, a messianic rabbi from New Jersey, exploded onto the publishing scene, immediately becoming a surprise New York Times bestseller, already read by hundreds of thousands nationwide.

“A number of years ago, as I was standing at the edge of Ground Zero in New York City, I came across the first puzzle piece of an ancient biblical mystery and a prophetic message known as ‘The Harbinger’ that concerns the future of America,” explains Cahn, who helped write the two-hour documentary “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment.”

Cahn says he has since found nine harbingers that tie the problems America has experienced beginning Sept. 11, 2001, to parallels that led to the destruction of ancient Israel.

“Before God judges a nation, He sends warning,” explains Cahn. “He sent warning to ancient Israel. He even allowed its enemies to breach its borders in a devastating strike that would traumatize the nation. It was a wake-up call, the call to return to God. But the nation responded with defiance. God then gave nine harbingers of judgment, nine prophetic signs, alarms and foreshadows of what was to come. Now America is the nation in rapid departure from God’s will. And God likewise allowed an enemy to breach its borders in a devastating strike – the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was, likewise, a wake-up call. But America, like Israel, has not responded with repentance, but with defiance. And now the nine harbingers of judgment have reappeared and have done so on American soil.”

Isaiah 9:10 is a verse in which Israel’s national leaders utter a vow of defiance following an attack by Assyria. It declared that the nation would not repent before God but would defy Him instead. Cahn reveals in “The Harbinger” – and in even more dramatic fashion in the video – that beginning the day after Sept. 11, 2001, American leaders began repeating that 2,500-year-old vow, word for word.

“Having no idea what he was doing, the majority leader of the U.S. Senate (Tom Daschle) was declaring America as under the judgment of God,” Cahn says. “It was the reenactment of an ancient mystery – and bore the most grave of consequences.”

He continues: “According to the ancient mystery revealed in the Book of Isaiah, if after that first calamity and warning, the nation doesn’t return to God but responds in defiance, it will end up triggering a second calamity. It was because of this ancient key, that, seven years after 9/11, the American economy collapsed.

In the days after 9/11, the Federal Reserve slashed the base interest rate in an attempt to defy the consequences of the attacks. That action put us on the path leading to the collapse of the American economy seven years later. In 2008, the government made a second fatal mistake, another ill-fated financial decision, that would trigger the collapse of the American economy. Amazingly, it took place on the seventh anniversary of the uttering of the ancient vow on Capitol Hill.”

Cahn also reveals in “The Harbinger” and “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” something that readers and viewers universally find astonishing – that New York’s Ground Zero actually represents more than the former financial center of the country. It represents the exact place at which America was first consecrated to God in prayer by the country’s new leaders.

“When judgment came to Israel, the calamity returned the people’s attention to the place where the nation had been consecrated to God – the Temple Mount,” says Cahn.

“God was calling the nation back to Himself. What about 9/11? Could there be, in the American calamity, as well, a mystery of return? Could there be a prophetic message hidden in the place where it happened? There is a place where America was consecrated to God in prayer. It is also a place linked to a prophetic warning given on that same day – uttered by the nation’s first president – now coming to pass.”

In 1789, newly inaugurated President George Washington gave a prophetic warning at Federal Hall in New York City. He declared that America’s prosperity and protection were dependent upon its adherence to God.

Later, the political leaders of the young nation gathered at St. Paul’s Chapel to commit the nation’s future to God’s purposes. That chapel is located at Ground Zero and miraculously survived 9/11 virtually unscathed. But the foundation of Federal Hall was ominously cracked.

All of this is covered in “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” using actual archival footage along with narration by Cahn.

“I had a chance to hear Jonathan Cahn’s message last fall,” said Farah. “Then I had an opportunity to read an early manuscript of ‘The Harbinger’ before it was released in January. I was determined to produce this video documentary, ‘The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,’ because I believe its message is the most important one for Americans at this moment in history. In fact, I believe this project may be the most important one of my life. That’s how strongly I feel about it.”

The video is directed by award-winning filmmaker George Escobar.

The key to decoding the harbingers, Cahn says, is found in understanding the seemingly innocuous words of Isaiah 9:10 (King James Version), what it meant to Israel and how the history seems to be repeating itself in America today: “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: The sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.”

These words were first uttered by leaders in Israel and in response to a limited strike by Assyria on the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali – an attack the prophet makes clear is actually part of a limited judgment by God against apostasy. It wasn’t meant to destroy the nation, but to awaken it, according to most commentaries.

But, says Cahn, Israel didn’t take the cue. Instead, the response from the people in Isaiah 9:10 is one of defiance. The brick buildings were toppled, but they vowed to build bigger and better. The little sycamore trees may have been uprooted, but they vowed to plant bigger and better cedars in their place.

God, speaking through Isaiah, explains what will happen as a result of their pride and arrogance and failure to heed the harbinger: Bigger and more potent attacks will follow.

Because neither the northern kingdom of Israel nor the southern kingdom of Judah truly repents, the first is eventually swept away by Assyrian invaders and the latter is carried off into captivity by the Babylonians for 70 years.

But what does this have to do with the United States of America – particularly what the U.S. experienced on 9/11 and since? Cahn has found some eerie parallels.

“In the aftermath of the attack, the nation was stunned,” said Cahn. “Everyone was trying to make sense of what had happened – this unprecedented attack on America. The very next day, Sept. 12, then Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle presented America’s response to the world. And what did he say?”

Daschle said: “America will emerge from this tragedy as we have emerged from all adversity – united and strong. Nothing … nothing can replace the losses of those who have suffered. I know there is only the smallest measure of inspiration that can be taken from this devastation. But there is a passage in the Bible from Isaiah that speaks to all of us at times like this.”

The majority leader then went on to read Isaiah 9:10.

“Daschle has no idea what he is doing here,” explains Cahn. “He thinks he’s offering comforting words to a grief-stricken people, but he is actually embracing the spiritually defiant and arrogant words of the children of Israel, proclaiming the ancient and ominous vow of the leaders of that nation. He doesn’t realize it, but he is actually inviting more judgment on the nation.”

It might be of some significance that Daschle, one of the most powerful men in the nation when he spoke those words, later fell into disgrace – to the point where he couldn’t even serve in Barack Obama’s Cabinet.

That might have been the end of the story – if no other top leader in the nation uttered those strange and obscure words after 9/11. But that’s not the case.

On the third anniversary of the attack, Sept. 11, 2004, another powerful U.S. senator running for vice president that year, and who would famously run for the presidency four years later, gave a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus.

This time, John Edwards’ entire speech was built on a foundation of Isaiah 9:10.

“Today, on this day of remembrance and mourning, we have the Lord’s Word to get us through,” he said.

He then read Isaiah 9:10. He went on to talk about how America was doing just that – rebuilding with hewn stone and planting cedars.

In “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” viewers get to see these remarkable, largely forgotten or overlooked speeches, which directly link the events of 9/11 and the events referred to in Isaiah 9:10.

“Like Daschle, Edwards thinks he’s invoking inspirational and comforting words from the Bible, but he’s actually inviting judgment on America,” says Cahn. “He’s repeating the vow that provoked God to bring calamity on ancient Israel.”

Even more astonishing, Daschle and Edwards were not alone among U.S. leaders in making similar statements, as “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” shows. Even Barack Obama’s Inauguration Address in 2009 made similarly eerie allusions.

But aside from such statements, which could be chalked up to political talk and coincidences, is there anything else linking Isaiah 9:10 to 9/11?

The video documentary, like the book, is full of shocking parallels. There was actually a very famous sycamore tree felled in the attack on the World Trade Center. It was replaced by trees in the same genus as the cedar. There have been many plans made to rebuild the twin towers bigger and better and a large “hewn stone” was actually quarried out of the Adirondack Mountains in New York and brought to Ground Zero as a cornerstone.

“The parallels are truly stunning,” says Farah, founder of WND, who produced the documentary for WND Films. “In fact, they are overwhelming in their number and their exactitude. I am persuaded God is trying to tell America something and Rabbi Cahn has found the key to unlocking the message.”

Farah says events continue to unfold that seem to link directly to the message of Isaiah 9:10 right here in the United States.

In “The Harbinger” and “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” Cahn gives some remarkable answers to the following questions:

Does a relatively obscure verse of Scripture hold the secret to the pain and suffering America has been experiencing in increasing doses since 9/11?

Does Barack Obama play a role?

Are America’s key leaders unknowingly fulfilling a prophetic destiny of national judgment by uttering words from the Bible they don’t comprehend?

Is the United States following in the footsteps of ancient Israel with a spirit of defiance against God leading to increasingly severe judgments?

Is America in danger of impending judgment? And is this judgment revealed in an ancient mystery that foretells current events down to the exact dates?

What can Americans learn that can prevent their nation from falling like ancient Israel did when it failed to heed God’s warnings?

Greeks Withdraw $894 Million In A Day: Is This The Beginning Of A Run On Banks?

                             Greek President Karolos Papoulias
                                         Story taken from

     Political leaders in Athens were due to discuss an emergency government Wednesday to deal with a possible run on banks as it emerged Greeks withdrew almost $900 million in a single day, fearing their country could crash out of the euro currency by the end of the week.

An interim government would take the country through to new elections on June 17, triggered by the collapse on Tuesday of talks to form a coalition between winners of the inconclusive May 6 election.

Greeks are withdrawing euros from banks, apparently afraid of the prospect of rapid devaluation if the country leaves the European single currency and returns to the drachma.

President Karolos Papoulias warned of “great fear that could develop into a panic,” the minutes of Papoulias' negotiations with political leaders showed, according to Reuters.

The minutes also reveal Papoulias was warned by George Provopoulos, head of the country’s central bank, that savers withdrew at least 700 million euros ($894 million) on Monday, Reuters said.

"Withdrawals and outflows by 4:00 p.m. when I called him exceeded 600 million euros and reached 700 million euros," the president said according to the minutes of the meeting. "He expects total outflows of about 800 million euros."

Several banking sources told Reuters similar amounts had also been withdrawn on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, there was no sign of panic or queues at bank branches in Athens on Wednesday. Bankers dismissed suggestions that a bank run was looming. A senior executive at a large Greek bank told Reuters: "There is no bank run, no queues or panic. The situation is better than I expected. The amount of deposit withdrawals the president mentioned referred to three days, not one."

Still, some were taking no risks. Jenny P., an Athens private medical clinic receptionist originally from Ohio, told she had withdrawn 85 per cent of "what's left" in her bank account.

"We could have a new currency in a couple of days and nobody knows for sure what will happen," she said. "There are no lines to withdraw money, but maybe that's because many Greeks have precious little left in the bank. Many have been surviving on [$500] 400 euros a month, which has to cover tax, bills, food and medical costs."

She said she was planning to return to the United States amid the economic turmoil which has left her Greek husband unemployed. "It is hard to see what the future will be here," she said.

Greeks have already been withdrawing their savings from banks at a sharp clip - nearly a third of bank deposits were withdrawn between January 2010 and March 2012, reducing total Greek household and business deposits to 165 billion euros.

A senior bank executive said there had been withdrawals in recent days but there was no sign yet of a panic, as had happened in April 2010 when eight billion euros were withdrawn just before Greece obtained its first foreign bailout.

The likelihood of a Greek exit from the euro – dubbed the "Grexit" by commentators – is now so high that even political leaders committed to avoid it admit preparations are under way.

Asked in an interview whether Greece could leave the euro zone, IMF director Christine Lagarde replied: "We certainly don't hope so, from the IMF point of view ... but we have to be technically prepared for anything".

Will there be a run on Greek banks?

A Twitter image shared by economics blogger Tyler Durden, posted on UK website Zero Hedge, showed what appeared to lines outside ATMs in Greece, although it was impossible to verify where the picture was taken or if lines were longer than normal.

Reuters reported early Wednesday that there has “so far been no sign” of lines at banks in Athens, despite the likelihood that an exit from the euro would see a dramatic devaluation in of Greek currency.

CNBC’s John Carney raised the prospect of reduced limits on ATM withdrawals, citing a calculation by London analysts Capital Economics that if every working-age Greek withdrew the maximum permitted ATM amount of 300 euros a day, every single deposit of Greek households would be gone within 61 days.

“So the controls put in place in advance of an exit from the euro would have to include not only limits on moving funds abroad, but limiting withdrawals from ATMs and possibly declaring a bank holiday,” Carney wrote.

In practice, however, any Greeks lucky enough to possess any savings have already taken the precaution of withdrawing them from banks.

“Over the last two years Greeks withdrew approximately 70 billion euros from their bank accounts, an amount equivalent to approximately 35 percent of Greek GDP,” Dr Michael Arghyrou, senior economics lecturer at Cardiff Business School in Wales told

“This is a negative demand shock of enormous proportions and with increased uncertainty this trend will almost certainly accelerate. So yes, we will almost certainly see more deposits withdrawals over the next few days, I just hope is that they will not be so large as to lead to a full-blown bank run.”

How likely is ‘Grexit’? Are drachma notes being printed?

A year ago, it was nearly impossible to get officials and political leaders to talk about the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone. Now it appears to be an open secret.

Ireland's central bank chief and European Central Bank policymaker, Patrick Honohan, signaled on Sunday that a Greek exit might not be as painful as previously thought.

"Technically, it can be managed," he told reporters. "It would be a knock to the confidence for the euro area as a whole ... It is not necessarily fatal, but it is not attractive."

The tone from the European Commission, the EU's executive, has shifted too.

On Monday, spokeswoman Pia Ahrenhilde-Hansen said: “We wish Greece will remain in the euro and we hope Greece will remain in the euro ... but it must respect its commitments. Greece has its future in its own hands and it is really up to Greece to see what the response should be.”

Asked about contingencies, she did not rule them out.

Reuters quoted one European Commission official saying: "Clearly, the future of Greece is in the Eurozone. We are working on that. The 16 other governments in the Eurozone really are at the end of their patience with Greece. There isn't room or any willingness to move. The decisions are really in Athens' hands. But it doesn't look good."

However, the official response remains that a Greek exit is not being considered.

In an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said: "I have the will, the determination, to keep Greece in the Eurozone. I think it will be good for Greece and good for all of us. We want Greece to stay in the Eurozone."

Some commentators have pointed to a 13 percent rise in the share value of British firm De La Rue, which is the world’s largest currency printer, amid speculation it is best placed to pick up the contract for issuing new versions of the drachma, the Greek currency phased out in 2002.

It has remained tight-lipped on whether it is working for the Greek government, but in the meantime an interim solution has been mooted in which existing euro notes would be converted into drachmas by being endorsed with an official stamp.

Would a 'Grexit' be so bad? If so, what are the alternatives?

Lagarde said a Greek exit from the Eurozone would “have consequences on growth… consequences on trade and…consequences on financial markets “. She added: “You can certainly assume it would be quite messy."

Global financial institutions have a $536 million exposure to Greek debt, according to the latest figures from the International Monetary Fund, although almost all is borne by France, Germany and other key European economies.

The Institute of International Finance has estimated that the global cost of a Greek exit could hit $1.2 trillion, according to the Daily Telegraph in London. When Argentina defaulted in 2001, foreign debtors lost around 70 percent of their investments, it said.

The Telegraph said a report in Germany’s Wirtschaft Woche magazine forecast that a Grexit would cost the Eurozone governments alone $300 billion, pushing the whole European economy – which narrowly avoided entering recession on Tuesday by recording exactly zero quarterly growth - into a crisis not seen since the 1930s.

Many are looking at the possibility that Athens issues IOUs to meet salaries and key service bills for a fixed period, much in the way California did during its budget crunch in 2009 when it issued 'registered warrants' with a coupon in place of dollar salaries and which banks then accepted for cash.

Much hinges on whether the European Central Bank would allow the Greek central bank to accept such IOUs and there's little clarity on those hypotheticals.

However, strategists believe any Greek government IOUs would quickly act as a proxy for a new drachma and exchange values against the euro would mostly likely plummet in practice as people rushed to cash out - offering Greeks a glimpse of the shock of devaluation in a euro-ised economy with euro-denominated debts.

"I'm really not sure Greece could survive for very long if external money was cut off," said Darren Williams, economist at fund manager AllianceBernstein. "But what an experience of IOUs may do rather quickly is bring home to the average Greek citizen just how much more difficult a place it is outside the bailout programme and outside the euro."

What would happen to the euro?

Besides the huge liabilities, there is the risk that a Greek exit from the euro would set a precedent for the possible exit of other weakened economies including Spain and Portugal.

"Opening up the Pandora's box of exit means deposit risk across the periphery,” an RBS analyst told Reuters.

Jan Randolph, head of sovereign risk, IHS Global Insight, told the BBC: “It would be difficult for the [European Central Bank] to keep banks afloat. The Greek banking sector would collapse as well. What happens next is a political question. European nations would probably not accept another Western European country descending into chaos and collapse.”

What is the political future for Greece?

Rampant inflation, civil unrest and even a return to dictatorship could be on the cards, analysts warn.

Arghyrou told “There will be no credit for Greek banks or the Greek state. That could mean a shortage of basic commodities, like oil or medicine or even foodstuffs.

The country would end up in a volatile period. There would be institutional weakness. The worst case scenario would be a social and economic breakdown, perhaps even leading to a totalitarian regime.”

Henry Wilkinson, head of analysis at the Risk Advisory Group, said: "We are entering into unknown territory and it remains profoundly unclear what actually will happen. I wouldn't overstate it, but I think the big concern out of all of this is that in times of great uncertainty and hardship, more extreme parties tend to find greater resonance with their message."

Roger White, an American private tutor who moved back to the United States from Greece three weeks ago to escape the economic crisis, told "I see violence on the Greek horizon. Will the Greeks continue to withdraw their savings? Yes, for as long as they can. Then, the government will intervene with limits on withdrawals and other controls.

Then, Greeks will protest in the streets, light banks afire, smash bank windows and rip out ATMs.

"Oddly, I can say that in many ways my Greek experience gave me wonderful opportunities.

Nonetheless, my epiphany came when Greece's economic collapse and the government's implosion revealed just how reliant on the government we are, and just how vulnerable to government mismanagement we are."

The Brody File: Joe the Plumber takes on Washington

The Brody File: Joe the Plumber takes on Washington

Christian Leaders Not Surprised by Obama's Support of Same-Sex Marriage

President Obama
Story taken from

      President Barack Obama's comments today that he approves of same-sex marriage have created a great stir among Christian leaders in the country, with some welcoming it as a good political move for them.

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, said in a statement that the president's remarks were not surprising and that they create a clear distinction between him and likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is against same-sex marriage.

"The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law," Perkins said Wednesday.

"The President has provided a clear contrast between him and his challenger Mitt Romney. Romney, who has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, may have been handed the key to social conservative support by President Obama," the FRC president continued.

Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and director of the Culture War Victory Fund, echoed Perkins' statements.

"On the one hand, morally this is good because lying to the American people is always wrong. President Obama has come clean that he is for gay marriage," she said.

She added, "Politically, we welcome this. We think it's a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage.

"We now have clear choice between Romney and Obama, and we look forward to demonstrating in November that it's a bad idea for a national candidate to support gay marriage. Marriage is a winning issue for the GOP."

Obama revealed in an interview with ABC News Wednesday that after years of pondering the issue, he now supports marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

"At a certain point I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think that same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said.

The president's comments come after Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he is "fully comfortable" with same-sex marriage. Education Secretary Arne Duncan shared a day later that he is also on board with homosexual marriage.

Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) President Andrea Lafferty explained that it was clear where Obama stood on same-sex marriage even since Vice President Biden made his views known on Sunday.

Lafferty started: "This isn't exactly a bold move by the president. Forced by Joe Biden's big mouth, Obama had no choice left but to publicly embrace an agenda he has privately promoted for years.

"I've been saying this for the last four years. Obama has always been in favor of homosexual marriage, but was forced to keep his enthusiasm at a distance for fear of offending the American public.

"Obama needs new friends. His leadership has completely alienated Wall Street, financial investors, small businesses, soccer moms, and virtually every other constituency by pushing his radical ideology at a time when America needed principled leadership. Who better to appease than the LGBT community with tons of disposable income to fund his re-election campaign?" she continued.

Not all members of the faith community were critical of the president, however. Some, like the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy from the Interfaith Alliance, praised Obama for his support of same-sex marriage:

"President Obama's affirmation of the right to same gender marriage today is an important and historic moment in the life of the nation. His statement shows that he understands his role is to protect Constitutional principles over sectarian ideology. While I appreciate that the president thinks his position is consistent with his faith – a belief I have long held -- it is the Constitution, not his religion that should form the basis of his position.

"The continued denial of equality to the LGBT community is an anachronism in today's world. I hope and trust that the President will now lead us down a path towards public policy that codifies the right to marriage equality for the LGBT community."

Obama, a Christian, noted in his interview with ABC that his support for gay marriage "may be considered to put us (Obama and his wife) at odds with the views of others but when we think about our faith the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf but it's also the golden rule – treat others the way you'd want to be treated."

The Rev. Mark Harris, president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, who was one of the most prominent backers of the state specifically banning same-sex marriage via a constitution amendment which passed Tuesday, expressed that he found the timing of the president's disclosure "fascinating."

"It is really a fascinating turn of events to come out [on the issue] the day after the 31st state in the United States voted overwhelmingly that marriage, under our constitution, is between one man and one woman, and that will be the only domestic union recognized in the state," he told CP.

"For the president to boldly state that 31 of our states have gotten it so wrong, that they believe so wrong, is absolutely a very fascinating decision to make. I have no idea of his rationale, of course I personally think he's wrong, I have diligently worked with others here in North Carolina to make it (ban on same-sex marriage) part of our state constitution, as we did yesterday," Harris said, adding, "I just don't understand it."

Asked if the president's statement might influence the opinion of North Carolinians who supported the same-sex marriage ban in the state, Harris said there is no chance. He emphasized that the amendment's opponents pulled out all their heavy financial artillery in fundraising and got backing from prominent pro-gay marriage politicians prior to the vote, and still did not manage to aggregate nearly enough backing.

"They pretty much played all the cards they had here in North Carolina," he said, hinting that even the president's backing is little likely to change anything. If anything, Obama's comments would make the supporters of the amendment "stand more boldly," he added.

Others, like Catholic Advocate President Matt Smith, pointed out that President Obama's open stance on same-sex marriage goes directly against Catholic Church teachings, which Obama has been at odds with in recent months with his push for religious-based employers to provide insurance that allows for contraception coverage.

"Once again, the President is spending time advancing an anti-Catholic agenda. Marriage was created long before any government came into existence. It is a settled issue in the eyes of the Catholic Church and should not be redefined," Smith began in a statement.

"First, the Obama administration takes away grant money helping victims of sex-trafficking over the Church refusing to refer the victims for abortions. Then the Obama administration violates our religious liberties by forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization as the President's health care law is being implemented. And now, should his advocacy for same-sex marriage succeed, Catholic institutions could be forced once again to violate our beliefs," he continued.

Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of Faith & Freedom Coalition, believes Obama's newly pronounced support for gay marriage will prompt more people of faith to vote in this year's presidential election.

"Four years ago ... Barack Obama promised if elected not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term -- and made clear his support for traditional marriage. All those promises are now broken."

"At a time of high unemployment and severe economic distress, President Obama chose the week he launched his re-election campaign to flip-flop on same-sex marriage," he added. "Combined with his administration's opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, it reveals a president who is tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans. This is an unanticipated gift to the Romney campaign. It is certain to fuel a record turnout of voters of faith to the polls this November."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 16, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 16, 2012

Israel Warns Hizbollah Over Iran

Badge of the Israeli Defense Forces

Story taken from

      Despite the inevitable international outcry, Israel would be left with no choice but to lay waste to swathes of southern Lebanon because Hizbollah has entrenched itself so deeply within the civilian population, he said.

The unusually stark warning comes after months of heightened speculation that the Israeli government is considering unilateral military action against Iran's nuclear installations despite opposition from the United States.

Although the prospect of an attack in the next few months is unlikely until after Israelis vote in a September general election, Ehud Barak, the country's defence minister, recently insisted that military strikes had not been ruled out.

Israel has always been aware of the heavy price it could incur from such an attack, with Iran able to retaliate through Hizbollah and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza. Both Islamist movements have long been funded and armed by Tehran and have built up vast stockpiles of rockets capable of reaching deep into Jewish territory.

But Israel has also sensed an unexpected opportunity as a result of the Arab Spring, which has significantly diminished Tehran's regional clout.

Hamas has begun to reorient itself towards the resurgent Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and is seen as increasingly unlikely to join a regional war should Iran come under attack.

Unlike Sunni Hamas, Hizbollah remains far more dependant on its fellow Shia patrons in Iran but its popularity in the Arab world has suffered because of its support for the Assad regime in Syria, which has long backed the group.

Hoping to drive a wedge between Hizbollah and Lebanon's Sunni and Christian communities, the officer urged the Lebanese people not to be drawn into a war for which they, rather than Iran, would bear the brunt of Israel's anger.

"The situation in Lebanon after this war will be horrible," the officer, a senior commander on Israel's northern border with Syria and Lebanon, said.

"They will have to think about whether they want it or not. I hope that Iran will not push them into a war that Iran will not pay the price for but that Lebanon will."

Israel drew international condemnation in 2006 when it last launched military action against Hizbollah in an offensive that is believed to have killed more than 1,000 people, many of them civilians.

But the officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggested that Israel had taken too cautious an approach in the conflict, leading to the deaths of dozens of Israeli soldiers.

No such mistake would be made in the next conflict, he said, especially as Hizbollah had built military sites in the centre of many villages and towns in southern Lebanon. Pointing to a satellite map of the town of Khiam, he identified a series of buildings that the movement had allegedly taken over for military purposes.

"In these villages where Hizbollah has infrastructure I will guess that civilians will not have houses to come back to after the war," he said.

"The Lebanese government has to take this into consideration. Many of the villages in southern Lebanon will be destroyed. Unfortunate, but we will have no other solution. The day after (we attack) the village will be something that it will take 10 years to rebuild."

Since the war in 2006, Hizbollah has acquired a stockpile of 50,000 rockets of greater sophistication and range than it had before and is capable of striking at Tel Aviv, more than 70 miles away, according to Israeli intelligence assessments.

The conflict in Syria has also made it easier for Hizbollah to smuggle weapons into Lebanon, the officer said, and there is concern that some of the Assad regime's stockpile of chemical weapons could end up in the group's hands.

Stakelbeck on Terror: Islamization in America

Stakelbeck on Terror: Islamization in America

Iran Readies Secret Salt Desert Bunkers For Nuclear Facilities

                                    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

                                                   Story taken from

       When International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Yukiya Amano declared Friday, May 4, that “Parchin (the suspected site of nuclear-related explosion tests) is the priority and we start with that,” he may have missed the boat.

As he spoke, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said it was possible that Iran was already putting in place the infrastructure for building a nuclear bomb in 60 days.

In this regard, debkafile’s military sources disclose that Iran had by the end of 2009 early 2012 completed the construction of a new chain of underground facilities deep inside the Dasht e-Kavir (Great Salt Desert) - all linked together by huge tunnels.

Nevertheless, Tehran keeps on putting off nuclear watchdog inspections at Parchin for three reasons:

1. To carry on squeezing concessions from the US in private talks between the Obama administration and Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as from the Six Powers at their formal negotiations. Iran has won permission to enriching uranium up to 5 percent purity and is after approval for the 20 percent which is close to weapon grade.

2. The Iranians can’t be sure they have scrubbed out every last trace of the nuclear explosives and detonators tested at the Parchin military base – even after clearing away the evidence and relocating the facility in the salt desert wastelands.

Asked to define the activities he wanted inspected in Parchin, Amano said: “We do not have people there so we cannot tell what these activities are.” According to debkafile’s intelligence sources, while the IAEA may want hard physical evidence collected by its inspectors, US and Israeli intelligence have long possessed solid information on the illicit activities in Parchin collected by the nuclear-sensitive instruments carried by their military satellites.

3. To guarantee that the IAEA inspection at Parchin will be the last and there will no further demands for visits to any more suspect sites.

Tehran cannot tell exactly what data on additional facilities has reached US or Israeli intelligence and at what moment they may pull their discoveries out of their sleeves with fresh demands. Iran is therefore bargaining for a line to be drawn at Parchin to close any future road for good so that it can carry on nuclear work at the new Great Salt Desert locations safe from discovery.

debkafile’s Iranian sources report that American negotiators in their private exchanges have thrown out hints about limiting IAEA inspections. But Tehran is holding out for a more solid commitment from the US and Europe to halt all demands for IAEA visits and for the Six Powers to veto inspections at any new nuclear locations Israel may expose.

This was what Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh, Iranian ambassador to the IAEA Vienna headquarters, was driving at when he stipulated Friday that that talks with the six powers must be limited to negotiations on “a modality and framework to resolve outstanding issues and remove ambiguities.”

To arrest the perilous slide toward letting Iran off the hook, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent his National Security Advisers Yaacov Amidror to the capitals of four of the six powers, Moscow, Berlin, London and Paris last week. His mission was to persuade their governments not to allow international inspections to stop at Parchin but to keep Iran’s nuclear activities under tight supervision.

Netanyahu has used his own contacts in Washington for warnings of what was afoot.

This week, the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces passed a resolution requiring the Pentagon Missile Defense Agency to have an operational plan ready by 2015 for posting a missile shield on America’s east coast to protect New York, Washington and Boston against Iranian missile attack. $100 million was earmarked for this purpose.

Our Washington sources note that this step opened the way for a drive by the Obama administration to have any deal the Six Powers may reach with Iran cover Iran’s clandestine underground Salt Desert nuclear locations.

One of the biggest, our sources disclose, is managed by the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, manufacturers of the ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. US intelligence discovered in November 2010 that North Korea had transferred to Iran 19 nuclear-capable BM-25 ballistic missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometers.

On April 13, a dozen Shahid Hemmat missile experts attended the test fire of the North Korean long-range, three-stage Unha-2 missile. That test failed but the North Koreans and Iranians are pressing on together with work to extend the range of those missiles to America.

However, like the Netanyahu government, Washington is under constant assault by vocal lobbies opposed to a preemptive attack on Iran. They open fire on any suggestion that such an attack is on the cards, and pounced on the congressional resolution as a scheme for torpedoing US-Iranian diplomacy.

Israeli leaders battling Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon therefore find themselves fighting to keep their military option from being snatched off the table by antagonists at home.

Tehran is cannily exploiting the diplomatic track to get rid of international inspections after Parchin and so gain the freedom to proceed with building a nuclear arsenal in the Salt Desert far from the world’s sight.

The Israeli ex-security chiefs and former politicians are focusing on preventing an Israeli attack to pre-empt a nuclear Iran. They know exactly what is at stake but are so eager to topple Netanyahu and Barak that they are more than ready to pay the price of letting Iran get away with acquiring a nuclear bomb.

CIA Super Spy Centers Near Completion

                                                   Story taken from

   The CIA’s plan to spy on every American by bugging everything—clock radios, phones, refrigerators, everything—is ready to be operational as soon as Big Brother’s super spy centers can go online. They will not only track everything you say and do, but will be able to correlate all the data they have been collecting for decades on you—every personal phone call, email, check, receipt, doctor’s visit—everything.

James Bamford, the fearless author who has been exposing the NSA and its spying techniques since the early 1980s, now reports Big Brother can watch us all in real time.

Up until now, the impossible task of managing the enormous quantity of data the CIA has accumulated on Americans for the past half-century and correlating and retrieving this data instantly had paralyzed the efforts to keep tabs on all of us. Bamford has uncovered the government’s ace to finish two secret projects they need to totally conquer the American people: a super spy center in the Utah desert and a super-fast code breaking center at Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Multiprogram Research Facility.

Bamford says: “NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the U.S. and its citizens. . . . It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. . . . And, of course, it’s all being done in secret.”

He added: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target. To try and make sure nothing escapes the never-sleeping eye of Big Brother, the feds are building a $2B heavily fortified center, more than five times larger than the U.S. Capitol, near remote Bluffdale, Utah. [It] requires its own 65-megawatt electrical power substation—the electric bill costs at least $40M a year—and 60,000 tons of cooling equipment to keep its computer servers from overheating.”

The cover story is it’s “for cyber-security,” but in reality it is TIA, the “Total Information Awareness” program that was created during the first term of the Bush administration but was killed by Congress in 2003 after activists raised a national outcry.

For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician, largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network, codenamed Stellar Wind.

“We are [only] that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” warns Binney in an article by Bamford in Wired, a magazine dedicated to the cutting edge of technology.

Binney left the NSA in 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he said bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way.”

Another source, Adrienne J. Kinne, who worked as a voice interceptor at the NSA facility in Georgia, told Bamford: “Basically all rules were thrown out the window, and they would use any excuse to justify a waiver to spy on Americans.”

Journalists were specifically targeted by the NSA.

“A lot of time you could tell they were calling their families, incredibly intimate, personal conversations,” Mrs. Kinne told Bamford. She said she found the act of eavesdropping on innocent Americans “personally distressing.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 15, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 15, 2012

Al Qaeda Bombmaker Designs Bombs To Hide in Cameras, Hard Drives and Pets

                                              Story taken from

    At the age of only 30, the al Qaeda bombmaker behind the foiled plot on U.S-bound planes has emerged as the most feared face of terror for American authorities, a master technician with a fierce hatred for America and ingenious plans for hiding hard-to-detect bombs inside cameras, computers and even household pets.

Again and again, Ibrahim al-Asiri has created bombs that get past security screening -- the underwear bomb targeting a Detroit-bound jet in 2009, bombs hidden in printer cartridges set to explode over Chicago, even a bomb hidden in the body of a younger brother who was sent on a suicide mission against a Saudi official.

A Saudi citizen who studied chemistry in college, al-Asiri's parents say he became radicalized after the death of a brother.

"It makes him dangerous," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R.-Alabama, chair of House Homeland Security Committee, "and it's clear that we want to make sure that he doesn't have the opportunity to A, to continue to do, to build any device whatsoever, or impart his knowledge to anyone else who wants to build these devices."

U.S. authorities tell ABC News that al-Asiri's latest designs involve bombs surgically implanted in terrorists, as well as bombs hidden in pets to be carried on aircraft, cameras, and external hard drives that would explode when plugged into a laptop computer.

"He's very innovative in trying to find some way to get a bomb onto an airplane that will evade detection from airport screeners," explains Seth Jones, former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Operations Command and author of the just-published "Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa'ida since 9/11."

The bombmaker's hatred of the U.S. adds to the threat. "Ibrahim al-Asiri absolutely hates the United States," said Jones. "He hates what the U.S. culture has brought to the world. He's a violent supporter of the ideology of Osama bin Laden and has tried desperately, as hard as he can, to put a bomb together that will detonate and kill as many American as he can. He hates American ideology. He hates Western values."

Jones said that al-Asiri is also "operationally very savvy." According to Jones, he not only designed and built the device that with which underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253, he was also worked with AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki on how to preserve the bomb and how to detonate it for maximum effect. Said Jones, "In other words he's not just building the material himself, he's interested in working with the operatives so that they can actually detonate it and kill as many Americans as possible."

Because of the threat of al-Asiri and his al Qaeda group, AQAP, the United States has vastly expanded its drone operations in Yemen, with the U.S. military and the CIA given the freedom to operate in large zones.

Al-Asiri has survived at least one US drone strike in the last year.

While al-Asiri and al Qaeda's latest plot was foiled by a double agent working for U.S. and allied intelligence agencies, authorities tell ABC News there are several other plots aimed at US airlines that are at the least in the planning stages if not further along.

Tonight, the FBI continues to pore over the latest al-Asiri bomb that the double agent was able to bring out of Yemen, but at airport across the country security officials say they have yet to be briefed or receive any concrete guidance about the details of the bomb or what steps need to be taken to guard against it.

Al Asiri's twisted genius means the threat from al Qaeda remains very real and active. But even if he were to be killed by a drone strike, said Jones, the threat would not disappear.

"Taking out al-Asiri would take out the most competent bomb maker in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," he said. "But as we've seen in Pakistan with senior al Qaeda leaders, they can replace these individuals. It may not be with somebody as technically savvy for the moment, but just taking somebody out does not mean that the problem goes away. They have other bomb experts, so they will try again."

TBN: Trouble in Paradise

                                      TBN Founder Paul Crouch
                                              Story taken from

  It's a drama fit for reality television: Larger than life characters, familial infighting, private jets, mansions, pink poodles, and of course contentious litigation. Sadly, it's not the Real Housewives of Orange County or the Shahs of Sunset at the center of this drama, but the first family of Trinity Broadcasting Network. Brittany Koper, granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Janice Crouch, alleges that her grandparents are scamming the public with their prosperity gospel message and using the contributions of their viewers to sustain a lavish lifestyle that would make a hip hop mogul blush. Mama and Papa Crouch counter that granddaughter Brittany is merely attempting to distract attention from her own wrongdoing. They've accused her of misappropriating ministry funds while she served as finance director for the organization.

While the truth of the various allegations is yet to be determined, one thing that's indisputable is that the Crouches opulent living makes the extravagancies of our congressmen and women look like child's play. As advocates of the "prosperity gospel" the Crouches teach that the more you give to God, the more you get. And of course, since they are self-proclaimed agents of God's kingdom they would suggest that the best way to "give to God" is to give to them. According to a recent article in the New York Times this message is working quite out nicely for the pair, whose TBN brought in $93 million in donations in 2010.

A key question that the Times article doesn't address is whether the so-called prosperity gospel (which is closely bound up with the gospel of "health and wealth" trumpeted by so many televangelists) bears any resemblance to the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament. Jesus' Gospel teaches that there is good news for sinners living under the weight of condemnation for their sins. Through Jesus' life of obedience to the Father and His sacrificial death on a Roman cross, the gap that exists between sinful man and the one holy God is bridged, and reconciliation is possible. Faith in Christ and in his "finished" work is all that is required for eternal life. And, lest we deceive ourselves, even that saving faith is a divine gift; it is not something we conjure up for ourselves.

And yes, the Bible does teach the "sowing and reaping" principle by way of encouraging generosity toward the poor and oppressed. It suggests that Christians will be blessed by such giving and provided with more so that they will be able to give even more to those in need. And yes, it also teaches that by the power of God and the sacrificial suffering of His son we can be healed from our infirmities. However, the Gospel also teaches that we are to deny ourselves, that the meek will inherit the earth, and that the poor in spirit and the mournful are blessed by God. In other words, the Bible tells us that there is a place for suffering in the universe and that God's people are not immune from it. No story illustrates this principle more than the story of Jesus' own betrayal and execution at the hands of one of his own disciples, an establishment clergy threatened by the Messiah's teaching, and an unruly mob. Through faith in Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit however, Christians are equipped to deal with whatever comes their way, whether it be prosperity or poverty, blessing or suffering.

Just as important, the Bible also teaches that human beings are to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by our Maker, and that we will all be called to give an account for our use of His blessings here on earth. This includes Paul and Janice Crouch, and while they would insist that their stewardship of TBN's resources are honoring to God, they would likely benefit from some serious, Biblically-rooted soul-searching. Do multiple mansions, luxury hotel suites for poodles and clothing, and $300k per year fine dining budgets illustrate a ministry geared towards service to others or one designed for self-gratification and self-glorification? In the end, only God can answer that question.

Christian World News: May 11, 2012

Christian World News: May 11, 2012

The Countdown To The Break Up Of The Euro Has Officially Begun

                                             Flag of Europe
                                                   Story taken from

    The results of the elections in France and Greece have made it abundantly clear that there is a tremendous backlash against the austerity approach that Germany has been pushing.

All over Europe, prominent politicians and incumbent political parties are being voted out. In fact, Nicolas Sarkozy has become the 11th leader of a European nation to be defeated in an election since 2008. We have seen governments fall in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Greece.

Whenever they get a chance, the citizens of Europe are using the ballot box to send a message that they do not like what is going on. It turns out that austerity is extremely unpopular.

But if newly elected politicians all over Europe begin rejecting austerity, this puts Germany in a very difficult position. Should Germany be expected to indefinitely bail out all of the members of the eurozone that choose to live way beyond their means?

If Germany pulled out of the euro tomorrow, the euro would absolutely collapse, bond yields for the rest of the eurozone would skyrocket to unprecedented heights, and without German bailout money troubled nations such as Greece would be headed directly for default.

The rest of the eurozone is absolutely and completely dependent on Germany at this point. But as we have seen, much of the rest of the eurozone is sick and tired of taking orders from Germany and is rejecting austerity.

A lot of politicians in Europe apparently believe that they should be able to run up gigantic amounts of debt indefinitely and that the Germans should be expected to always be there to bail them out whenever they need it. Will the Germans be willing to tolerate such a situation, or will they simply pick up their ball and go home at some point?

Over the past several years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have made a formidable team. They worked together to push the eurozone on to the path of austerity, but now Sarkozy is out.

Francois Hollande, the new French president, has declared that the financial world is his "greatest enemy".

He may regret making that statement.

One of the primary reasons why Hollande was elected was because he clearly rejected the austerity approach favored by the Germans. Shortly after winning the election in France, he made the following statement....

"Europe is watching us, austerity can no longer be the only option"

Hollande says that he wants to "renegotiate" the fiscal pact that European leaders agreed to under the leadership of Merkel and Sarkozy.

But Merkel says that is not going to happen. The following Merkel quotes are from a recent CNBC article....

"We in Germany are of the opinion, and so am I personally, that the fiscal pact is not negotiable. It has been negotiated and has been signed by 25 countries," Merkel told a news conference.

"We are in the middle of a debate to which France, of course, under its new president will bring its own emphasis. But we are talking about two sides of the same coin — progress is only achievable via solid finances plus growth," she added.

So instead of being on the same page, Germany and France are now headed in opposite directions.

But if the French do not get their debt under control, they could be facing a huge crisis of their own very quickly. The following is from a recent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard....

“They absolutely must cut public spending and control the debt,” said Marc Touati from Global Equities in Paris. “It will soon be clear that we are in deep recession. If they don’t act fast, interest rates will shoot up and we will have a catastrophe by September,” he said.

Without German help, France is not going to be able to handle its own financial problems - much less bail out the rest of Europe.

Germany is holding all of the cards, but much of the rest of the eurozone does not seem afraid to defy Germany at this point.

In Greece, anti-bailout parties scored huge gains in the recent election.

None of the political parties in Greece were able to reach 20 percent of the vote, and there is a tremendous amount of doubt about what comes next.

New Democracy (the "conservatives") won about 19 percent of the vote, but they have already announced that they have failed to form a new government.

So now it will be up to the second place finishers, the Syriza party (the radical left coalition), to try to form a new government.

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Syriza party, is very anti-austerity. He made the following statement the other night....

"The people of Europe can no longer be reconciled with the bailouts of barbarism."

But at this point, it seems very doubtful that Syriza will be able to form a new government either.

PASOK, the socialists that have been pushing through all of the recent austerity measures, only ended up with about 13 percent of the vote. In the 2009 election, PASOK got 44 percent of the vote. Obviously their support of the austerity measures cost them dearly.

So what happens if none of the parties are able to form a new government?

It means that new elections will be held.

Meanwhile, Greece must somehow approve more than 11 billion euros in additional budget cuts by the end of June in order to receive the next round of bailout money.

Greece is currently in its 6th year of economic contraction, and there is very little appetite for more austerity in Greece at this point.

Citibank analysts are saying that there is now a 50 to 75 percent chance that Greece is going to be forced to leave the euro....

Overall, the outcome of the Greek election shows that it will be very difficult to form a viable coalition and to implement the measures required in the MoU.

Particularly, the identification of the 7% GDP of budget savings for 2013 and 2014 by the end of June looks very unlikely to us.

As a consequence, in a first step, the Troika is likely to delay the disbursement of the next tranche of the programme. Note that for 2Q 2012, disbursements of €31.3bn from the bailout programme are scheduled. If Greece does not make progress, in a second step, the Troika is likely to stop the programme.

If that happens, the Greek sovereign and its banking sector would run out of funding.

As a consequence, we expect that Greece would be forced to leave the euro area. With the outcome of the election, to us the probability of a Greek exit is now larger than our previous estimate of 50%, and rises to between 50-75%.

However, even after the elections in Greece, France and Germany, we regard the probability of a broad-based break up of the monetary union as very low. We continue to expect that in reaction to Greece leaving the euro area, more far-reaching measures from governments and the ECB would be put in place.

But if Greece rejects austerity that does not mean that it has to leave the eurozone.

There is no provision that allows for the other nations to kick them out.

Greece could say no to austerity and dare Germany and the rest of the eurozone to keep the bailout money from them.

If Greece defaulted, it would severely damage the euro and bond yields all over the eurozone would likely skyrocket - especially for troubled countries like Spain and Italy.

If Greece wanted to play hardball, they could simply choose to play a game of "chicken" with Germany and see what happens.

Would Germany and the rest of the eurozone be willing to risk a financial disaster just to teach Greece a lesson?

But Greece is not the only one that is in trouble.

 As I wrote about recently, the Spanish economy is rapidly heading into an economic depression.

Now it has come out that the Spanish government is going to bail out a major Spanish bank. The following is from a recent Bloomberg article....

Rodrigo Rato stepped down as head of the Bankia group as a government bailout loomed after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy retreated from a pledge to avoid using public money to save lenders.

Rato, a former International Monetary Fund managing director, proposed Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, ex-president and chief operating officer of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA), as Bankia executive chairman, he said in a statement today in Madrid. The government plans to inject funds into the lender by buying contingent-capital securities, said an Economy Ministry official who declined to be named as the plan isn’t public.

But this is just the beginning.

Major banks all over Europe are going to need to be bailed out, and countries such as Portugal, Italy and Spain are going to need huge amounts of financial assistance.

So does Germany want to keep rescuing the rest of the eurozone over and over again during the coming years? The cost of doing this would likely be astronomical. The following is from a recent New York Times article....

Bernard Connolly, a persistent critic of Europe, estimates it would cost Germany, as the main surplus-generating country in the euro area, about 7 percent of its annual gross domestic product over several years to transfer sufficient funds to bail out Europe’s debt-burdened countries, including France.

That amount, he has argued, would far surpass the huge reparations bill foisted upon Germany by the victorious powers after World War I, the final payment of which Germany made in 2010.

At some point, Germany may decide that enough is enough.

In fact, there have been persistent rumors that Germany has been very quietly preparing to leave the euro.

A while back, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party approved a resolution that would allow a nation to leave the euro without leaving the European Union.

Many believed that this resolution was aimed at countries like Greece or Portugal, but the truth is that the resolution may have been setting the stage for an eventual German exit from the euro.

The following is an excerpt from that resolution....

Should a member [of the euro zone] be unable or unwilling to permanently obey the rules connected to the common currency he will be able to voluntarily–according to the rules of the Lisbon Treaty for leaving the European Union–leave the euro zone without leaving the European Union. He would receive the same status as those member states that do not have the euro."

Most analysts will tell you that they think that it is inconceivable that Germany could leave the euro.

But stranger things have happened.

And Germany has made some very curious moves recently.

For example, Germany recently reinstated its Special Financial Market Stabilization Funds. Those funds could be utilized to bail out German banks in the event of a break up of the euro. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers....

In short, Germany has given the SoFFIN:

€400 billion to be used as guarantees for German banks.

€80 billion to be used for the recapitalization of German banks

Legislation that would permit German banks to dump their euro-zone government bonds if needed.

That is correct. Any German bank, if it so chooses, will have the option to dump its EU sovereign bonds into the SoFFIN during a Crisis.

In simple terms, Germany has put a €480 billion firewall around its banks. It can literally pull out of the Euro any time it wants to.

So has Germany been quietly preparing a plan "B" just in case the rest of the eurozone rejected the path of austerity?

Most people have assumed that it will be a nation such as Greece or Portugal that will leave the euro first, but in the end it just might be Germany.

And the "smart money" is definitely betting on something big happening.

Right now some of the largest hedge funds in the world are betting against the eurozone as a recent Daily Finance article described....

Some of the world's most prominent hedge fund managers are betting against the eurozone -- and not just the peripheral countries everyone knows are in trouble. They're taking positions against the core countries, economies that -- until now -- everyone has assumed were rock-solid.

Yes, the countdown to the break up of the euro has officially begun.

A great financial crisis is going to erupt in Europe, and it is going to shake the world to the core.

If you were frightened by what happened back in 2008, then you are going to be absolutely horrified by what is coming next.

Monday, May 14, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 14, 2012

News Channel Morning Edition: May 14, 2012

War Clouds Gather Over Israel

     Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, briefed Christian supporters of the Jewish state yesterday morning. He told a hushed audience crowded into his Embassy’s Jerusalem Auditorium of a recent visit by U.S. intelligence specialists. They had asked Dr. Oren, the historian, to compare Israel’s situation today with other critical periods in the nation’s past. Without hesitation, he answered: In the best case scenario, it’s May, 1967. In the worst case, it’s May, 1948.

May Day! May Day! That’s the international distress signal. In May, 1967, Israel had to prepare to attack Egypt, Jordan, and Syria before these neighboring states could “drive the Jews into the sea,” as Egypt’s left-leaning dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser was then exhorting Arabs to do. Nasser kicked out UN truce supervisors from the Sinai desert, and he closed off the Gulf of Aqaba to sea traffic, thus blockading Israel’s southern port of Eilat.

Israel responded to these acts of war with a lightning strike against all her enemies. Israel’s spectacular victory in the Six-Day War unified Jerusalem, captured the Golan Heights from Syria, and brought the West Bank regions of Judea and Samaria under Israeli rule for the first time since the days of the Bible.

That’s the best case for Israel. Still pretty scary. The worst case, as the Ambassador described, would be May, 1948. That’s when the UN-ordered partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states occurred. And seven Arab states—Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia--sent troops to exterminate the Jews. They all immediately declared their intention of wiping out the infant Jewish state.

That’s when President Harry S. Truman defied his Sec. of State, George C. Marshall, and recognized Israel, just 11 minutes after she declared her independence. It was on that Independence Day that the Christians had come to the Israeli Embassy to celebrate. The Jews fought with fierce determination not to allow Arabs to effect a final solution to Jewish settlement in the Mideast. Arabs were exhorted by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj-Amin al-Husseini.

This militant Muslim had spent most of World War II in Berlin, urging his fellow Muslims to support Hitler’s genocidal plans for the Jews of Europe.

So much for history. The Ambassador then provided a brisk tour d‘horizon of Israel’s borders right now. Suffice it to say, this is not Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. For thirty years, Israel has relied upon peace on her southern border with Egypt. No more.

Whoever wins Egypt’s presidential election—and there have already been dozens killed in the run-up to the vote—he is unlikely to reaffirm the Camp David accords from 1978. Israel’s military recently disrupted a sophisticated terror incursion from Egypt. There are 10,000 rockets in Gaza, now controlled by the avowedly terrorist Hamas group. In Southern Lebanon, controlled by Hezbollah, there are an estimated 50,000 rockets. Syria is unraveling before our eyes.

No one will miss the Assad regime in Damascus, but we do worry about the largest stash of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the world—which Assad controls. Might Assad’s WMD fall into the hands of Hamas? Hezbollah? Who does the opposition to Assad link to? They are employing suicide bombings, which suggests they may not hanker for Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. And then we have Iran. Which supplies Hezbollah. Which supplies Hamas. Which is now the Number One terror apparatus active throughout the region and the world.

Despite this truly terrifying list of lethal threats from bloodthirsty enemies, Ambassador Oren’s presentation was brisk, unemotional, business-like. He feared not. He paid tribute to the resilience, strength, and faith of the Jewish people. And he lauded “the greatest alliance in history—that between the American people and the people of Israel."

It’s little wonder that U.S. Secretary of State Al Haig referred to Israel as “the largest U.S. aircraft carrier in the world.” If the United States had to use Israel’s territory to launch a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, we know what the answer would be.

It does not seem that this administration will strike Iran. It prefers “talks,” as if endless efforts at talks with the militant mullahs of Tehran have not brought Israel, Western Europe and the U.S. itself to the current perilous point. Why don’t we limit our talks to this one question: Will you or will you not stop your nuclear projects today?

Of course, the Iranians won’t stop. Why should they? Day by day, the storm clouds gather. Day by day, this administration and the pacifists of the European Union dither. It is most unfortunate that the only American President to win the Nobel Peace Prize whose policies actually brought peace through strength was Theodore Roosevelt. It was TR who said," Walk softly, but carry a Big Stick." If the United States won’t use its Big Stick, then Israel should.

A Table in the Wilderness

A Table in the Wilderness

Change Of French presidents Weakens Western Front Against Nuclear Iran

                                French President Elect Francois Hollende
                                                Story taken from

             Two stalwarts of the Western confrontation against a nuclear-armed Iran suffered election defeats this week: Nicolas Sarkozy was swept out of the Elysee by the Socialist leader Francois Hollande Sunday, May 6.

Three days earlier, the two parties forming UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s government coalition were trounced in local elections across Britain. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who faces an election in four months, never imagined he would be left so quickly on shifting sands against the Iranian nuclear threat.

In Washington, Dennis Ross, Barack Obama’s former adviser on Iran and frequent visitor to Jerusalem with messages from the White House said Sunday, May 6, that oddly enough Israel had attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and destroyed Syria’s nuclear facility 2007 without talk. So why were Israelis talking so much now?

Ross answered his own question by suggesting that Israeli leaders aimed at giving the world a strong motive for raising the heat on Iran and tightening sanctions so as to stop Israel going to war; then, if sanctions and diplomacy failed, no one could complain if Israel attacked Iran’s nuclear program.

Ross appears to have forgotten the rows between the US and Israel in 1981 over attacking the Iraqi reactor and how hard Ronald Reagan leaned on Menahem Begin to stop him going through with it.

But most of all, Ross was reflecting the Obama administration’s impatience with the Iran debate going back and forth between Jerusalem and Washington for two years and is determined to wash its hands of the problem for now and get on with winning the president a second term in November.

The outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke more forcefully and frankly than any other Western leader about the real danger of a nuclear-armed Iran and accepted that it would have to be tackled by military action. He was also stood out as one of the few French leaders of recent times prepared to fight for French and Western Middle East interests.

The role of French special forces, navy and air forces, alongside US and British forces, was pivotal in the campaign to overthrow Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi. In recent weeks, he placed French units on standby in case President Obama decided to intervene in Syria. In the event, the US president pulled back from an operation that was planned to have involved Saudi and GCC armies as well.

France’s successful military showing in the Libyan war brought no political or economic rewards. Indeed, Paris shelled out a million dollars it could ill afford to pay for it. Sarkozy’s opponent Francois Hollande did not make this an issue in his campaign, but it was certainly not lost on the French voter. The French Muslim voter no doubt settled scores with Sarkozy for his ban on the veil and pro-Israeli policies and may even have cost him the presidency, although this issue too did not come to the fore in electioneering.

David Cameron, who probably spent even more on the Libyan war than Sakrozy and could afford it even less, is paying a heavy political price for the unpopular austerity measures he is clamping down on the British people to haul the country out of a deepening recession.

Iran has therefore won a handy breather on several fronts: Barack Obama is carefully avoiding any war involvement in the course of his election campaign – he even asked world leaders to give him “space”; French President Hollande needs time to find his feet, attack the declining French economy and rescue the euro. He will have no time or attention to spare in the months to come for Iran’s nuclear threat or the Syrian bloodbath.

When ten days ago, Netanyahu sent his security adviser Yaacov Amidror on a round trip to European capitals to pitch Israel’s case against Iran, he never imagined how quickly the Iranian issue would recede into irrelevance as key Western government go swept up in more pressing business and upsets.