Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Welcome To Terminus


“Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible.” – Edward Teller
Originally published at theburningplatform.com
I was a late arrival to the Walking Dead television program. I don’t watch much of the mindless drivel passing for entertainment on the 600 worthless channels available 24/7 on cable TV. I assumed it was another superficial zombie horror show on par with the teenage vampire crap polluting the airwaves. Last year a friend told me I had to watch the show. I was hooked immediately and after some marathon watching of seasons one and two, I understood the various storylines and back stories. What the show doesn’t openly reveal is the deeper meanings, symbolism, and lessons we can learn from viewing human beings trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. In my opinion, the horror and gore is secondary to the human responses to horrific circumstances and the consequences of individual and group decisions to their survival.
As the end of season four approached, the disbursed characters were descending upon a place called Terminus. They were drawn by the intriguing and hopeful signs posted at various railroad junctions promising sanctuary, community and survival. Of course the name Terminus does not sound very inviting or hopeful. There are multiple possible meanings regarding Terminus. The Roman god Terminus protected boundary markers and sacrifices were performed to sanctify each boundary stone. The bones, ashes, and blood of a sacrificial victim, along with crops, honeycombs, and wine, were placed into a hole at a point where estates converged, and the stone was driven in on top. Maintaining boundaries and sacrifice are major themes throughout the series.
The show is set in the metropolitan Atlanta area of Georgia and the surrounding countryside. It just so happens that during the 1830s Terminus was the name of a settlement at the end of the Western and Atlantic railroad line. That settlement is now Atlanta. Terminus is also the title of the final poem ever composed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The poem focuses on a conversation between the author and the god Terminus, discussing the author’s forthcoming death. The message of the poem is to resist fear and prepare for death. The destination is worth the journey.   
“As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
“Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed.”

We are only given a short time on this earth and the end of the line will be the same for everyone. What matters is how we conduct ourselves during our own journey towards our personal Terminus. Have we served as a virtuous example for our children, sacrificed for others, and benefited humanity or have we displayed greed, avarice and selfishness during our trek through life? As we approach our own meeting with destiny, the actions and morality of individuals will matter. I don’t know the motivations of the writers creating the themes for the Walking Dead, but the show connects with me on a number of levels. I look around and see hordes of zombies everywhere.
Zombification of America
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited
The vast majority of the population in the post-apocalyptic world of the Walking Dead is mindless zombies driven by only their need to feed upon human flesh. They are infected with a disease that disables the cognitive portion of their brains and leaves them as slobbering predatory zombies seeking to satisfy their vile needs. They are referred to as “walkers” or “biters” as they aimlessly roam the countryside seeking human flesh. Everyone bitten or killed by a zombie is infected and turned into a zombie. The only way to stop them is by destroying their brain. The relentless violence and gore is not for the squeamish, but is probably a realistic portrayal of the brutishness and harsh conditions that will overwhelm this country once the electrical grid goes down, fuel becomes scarce and the global supply chain fails. Our just in time society is about one week from chaos, lawlessness, starvation and death on a grand scale.
As I watch the hordes of hideous brain dead zombies shuffling across the apocalyptic landscape seeking to satiate their basest cravings I can’t help but see the parallels with the millions of mindless tattooed obese slobs waddling across mall parking lots past vacant store fronts staring zombielike at their iGadgets as they seek to satisfy their basest desires at Macy’s and Chipotle. A virus has overspread our country causing a vast swath of the population to gratuitously assuage their every want without thinking of the consequences. The sickness is caused by being imprisoned for twelve years in government run public schools, watching thousands of hours of propaganda emitted by the corporate media, viewing hundreds of brain cell destroying reality TV shows, reading and sending thousands of texts and tweets, and being overwhelmed by the delusional belief spending more than they make, saving nothing, and piling up mountains of debt is the path to success in our contaminated society.
In the show there is no clear explanation as to why the majority of the population have been infected and turned into zombies, while a tiny minority is unaffected and able to think critically and act rationally. It is revealed that all living people are infected with the zombie virus, but it remains dormant in a minority of the survivors. Death by any means triggers the virus and turns the corpse into a mindless flesh eating zombie. There are 318 million Americans and a majority of them fall into the category of zombies in my estimation. Every American has the zombie virus within them. It has been incubated by corrupt vote seeking politicians, control hungry government sociopaths, mind numbingly worthless public education, and the relentless dumbing down through corporate media propaganda and vacuous reality TV entertainment. Once cogent thinking aware citizens have been zombiefied into mindless impulsive consumers.
How can you not see the parallels between American society and the zombies in the Walking Dead? Walk down any city street in America and you see hordes shuffling along staring with blank faces and glazed over eyes at their iGadgets. Black Friday is identical to flinging a freshly slaughtered hog in front of the flesh eating zombies. Americans flock to malls across our apocalyptic suburban sprawl landscape and proceed to stampede, gouge, and punch their way to a fantastic bargain on a Chinese slave labor produced microwave they must have to cook their toxic frankenfood created by one of our corporate food conglomerates. The Black Friday crowds actually make the zombies from the Walking Dead seem well behaved. While the American zombies are shambling through superficial lives of pleasure seeking, mass consumption, and a delusional faith in debt based wealth, there is still a minority of rational thinking people who can control their impulses and resist the disease devouring our culture.
 
“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” ― Philip Slater                  
Collapse Will Be Sudden
“That’s the thing about the collapse of civilization. It never happens according to plan – there’s no slavering horde of zombies. No actinic flash of thermonuclear war. No Earth-shuddering asteroid. The end comes in unforeseen ways; the stock market collapses, and then the banks, and then there is no food in the supermarkets, or the communications system goes down completely and inevitably, and previously amiable co-workers find themselves wrestling over the last remaining cookie that someone brought in before all the madness began.” ― Mark A. Rayner – The Fridgularity
What you note after watching a few episodes of the Walking Dead is that collapse happened suddenly. Cities, towns, houses and highways remained relatively intact. The decay and deterioration caused by neglect and abandonment are the only visible signs that modern civilization has ceased. The show highlights the life-threatening difficulty of enduring on a day to day basis without the certainty of shelter, food, water, and fuel. The average asleep American isn’t prepared to last one week without the basics of modern life. They haven’t stocked any food, water or fuel in case of an emergency. Their normalcy bias keeps them from even considering the high likelihood of even a natural disaster caused by a hurricane, snowstorm, or earthquake. Recent examples of most people’s complete helplessness were the snow and ice storms that struck this past winter and hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. Without power and access to food and water, modern society breaks down quickly, with chaos, looting and anarchy only days away.
It is unlikely that collapse of civilization as we know it will happen due to some extreme event such as nuclear war, super volcano, or asteroid. When our central banker masters of the universe trigger the next financial system collapse, with no monetary bullets of debasement left in their pop gun, the resulting chaos when ATMs stop spitting out $20 bills and EBT cards for 47 million people stop functioning at Wally World will be epic. We got a glimpse into the future this past October when the EBT system went down in several states for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Zombies began to ransack Wal-Mart stores attempting to steal as much as they could get away with. Chaos, anger and criminal behavior was virtually instantaneous. A vast swath of EBT dependent zombies live in our numerous urban ghettos and when the EBT system goes down permanently violence will quickly erupt. Police will be vastly out-numbered, hungry mobs will become armed gangs of violent looters burning down their ghettos, ransacking and plundering businesses, stores and homes, and stealing everything that isn’t nailed down. Visualize the L.A. riots after the Rodney King verdict in every urban area in the country.
The fragility of our debt financed oil dependent just in time global supply chain system is beyond the comprehension of the average zombie American. They are too distracted by mass consuming the products dependent on that very same fragile scheme. They are clueless zombie-like dupes who believe $20 bills magically appear in ATMs, Funyuns and Cheetos miraculously materialize on Wal-Mart shelves, gasoline endlessly bubbles up from the ground into the hose they stick in their $40,000 monster SUVs “bought” with a 0% seven year loan from Ally Financial, and that enchanted plastic card with a magnetic strip empowers them to fulfill every craving like a zombie feeding on a dead carcass.
There is a worldwide currency and petroleum war being waged today as too much fiat currency is chasing a dwindling amount of cheap petroleum supplies. The developed world has experienced a century of relative illusory prosperity as cheap easy to access fuel and cheap easy to print fiat currency have led zombies to believe progress and prosperity are their god given right. The most highly educated zombies will be the most shocked when they realize the reality they believed was all an illusion. The Starbucks “Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato” crowd who isolate themselves in their 100% financed 5,000 square foot luxury cookie cutter brick McMansions amidst 200 other identical McMansions occupied by reclusive strangers in enclaves pretentiously named The Preserve at Meadow Lakes, and driving multiple leased BMWs, are about as prepared for a collapse of modern society as a helpless child. The suburban wasteland of strip malls, office parks, and fast food joints is completely dependent upon an endless supply of cheap oil and cheap credit.
The cracks in this delusionary foundation are visible for all to see as Space Available signs outnumber actual businesses, pothole dotted highways deteriorate, sewer lines crack, and houses in disrepair outnumber those being kept up. It takes money to keep a home from deteriorating and it happens to be in short supply for 90% of the population. Despite the non-stop money printing operation at the Fed and the mainstream media fantasy stories of shale oil energy independence, the suburban dream is turning into a nightmare. When the inevitable financial implosion strikes in the next few years, the illusion of progress will come to an end. The inner cities will explode in violence and will burn. The police will be helpless and scared. There will be death on a large scale.
Suburbia will turn into a lawless landscape where neighbors turn on each other, as they have failed to create real communities. The isolation and seclusion which have marked suburban existence for the last thirty years will contribute to the creation of criminal gangs looting and pillaging stores, businesses and unprotected homes. After the collapse the only people likely to survive relatively unscathed are rural folk. Farmers, ranchers and those capable of living off the land have the abilities to endure a breakdown in our modern society. These people are prepared, know how to use firearms and create communities of self-sufficiency. No one will thrive in the world coming our way, but those not dependent upon or tied to our modern societal paradigm have a better chance to survive.      
“If people feel lost and alone and helpless and broken and hopeless today, what will it be like if the world really begins to come apart at the hinges?” Brandon Andress – And Then the End Will Come!
Individualism vs Community
“The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.” ― Jared Diamond – Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Our society has always glorified rugged individualism. We celebrate individual accomplishments and make heroes of those who have gone it alone and triumphed either in business, politics, sports, or the arts. Overcoming tremendous obstacles and going it alone in the face of adversity has been the narrative Americans admire and seek to emulate. Even the reality TV shows about preppers focus on individuals who plan on going it alone when civilization enters collapse mode. These rugged loners take pride in individualism, build bunkers, amass small arsenals and stockpile food and supplies. They will likely survive the initial onslaught of collapse and first wave of violence. But how long can an individual expect to survive alone in a Walking Dead environment? The traits which were appropriate and rewarded in modern society will be inappropriate and fatal in a post-modern society. A lesson from the show is clearly that a community of like-minded individuals working together has a better chance at long-term survival than a loner. Just make sure you join the right community.
With hordes of flesh eating automatons roaming the countryside it was essential for the living to form communities in order to fend off the zombies, protect each other, provide shelter, and forage for food. An individual alone had no chance at survival as falling asleep would ultimately prove fatal if a zombie stumbled upon your camp. The group led by Sheriff Rick Grimes eventually creates a community within the gates of an abandoned prison. The irony of seeing mindless throngs of soulless killers attempting to breakdown the fences to get “into” the prison is not lost on the audience. At first, the occupants of the prison would leave on foraging/pillaging missions to nearby cities and towns attempting to find food, medical supplies, gasoline and any other essential necessities of life. Eventually Hershel, the wise old man of the community, convinced Rick that cultivating the soil, sowing seeds and growing their own food was the only chance for their community to thrive over the long haul. Working with your hands is refreshing to the soul. Jesus’ Parable of the Sower immediately comes to mind.
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some an hundred. He said unto them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear. — Mark 4:3-9
Some communities are evil at their core and will commit malevolent atrocities. Some communities will appear ethical, but when hardship strikes they will fall back to their wicked ways. Communities of those addicted to riches and wealth will ignore the pleas of the downtrodden and wail and gnash their teeth when their worldly wealth evaporates.  A fruitful community that chooses decent honorable leaders, adopts a moral code, treats all members with respect, encourages hard work and accountability, and plans for the future, will reap the benefits of sustainability and stability. Cultivating a good community is difficult, requiring sacrifice, compromise, hard work, difficult choices, and depends upon the goodwill of all members. Rick tried to become a farmer, but Carol saw the future clearly telling him, “you can be a farmer, you can’t just be a farmer”. A peaceful happy ending was not to be.
The community of Woodbury, led by a despicably evil man referred to as the governor, gave outward appearances of stability and health. But it was ruled through fear, intimidation, vindictiveness and evil. Leaders like the governor arise during desperate times when the weak seek someone who promises to save them and keep them safe. Leaders like the governor are far more savage, ruthless and dangerous than the flesh eating zombie hordes because they kill with malicious intent, fully knowledgeable of the consequences of their actions. Eventually good communities led by good people must stand up and fight bad communities led by evil men, no matter the consequences. Under dire circumstances and an uncertain future we will need to decide what kind of community we will be. What kind of people we will be. Will we fight for a better future for our children? Can we retain our humanity or will we become no better than the walking dead?   
Brutal: Hershel awaits his fate at the hands of The Governor on last night's The Walking Dead
“What fascinates me is not so much humanity’s engulfment in darkness, but what kind of culture we will construct from the rubble of this one.” Carolyn Baker – Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times
Who Are the Real Walking Dead?
The central question permeating the Walking Dead is whether the living can maintain their humanity amidst so much horror, brutality, death, and desolation. Can the living continue to show compassion, kindness, mercy and love in a world torn apart by disarray, violence, viciousness and despair?  Throughout the series those who haven’t “turned” still have the capacity to empathize, comfort one another, offer succor, and show mercy and kindness. But after enduring unending horrors, cruelty, death and sorrow, it appears some of the characters are “turning” into the very monsters pursuing them.
Every human being has their breaking point. The main characters must commit increasingly heinous acts in order to survive. The walkers have no choice. Their humanity was stripped from them by the virus. The living have a choice. The mental anguish pushes some (Lizzy) over the edge into insanity. Others (Michonne and Carl) are torn by guilt that they have become monsters. Carol justifies her ruthlessness as the only choice for survival – just like the walkers. The seismic shift occurs when Rick, seeing his son being sexually assaulted, goes full zombie and bites the jugular of his captor and relentlessly stabs his son’s attacker. Daryl kills one of the bad guys by crushing his skull with his boot. Many of the characters have made a choice to shed their humanity in order to protect their family and friends. As the series completes its fourth season we are left with a question. Are the zombies really the “walking dead” or are the living really the “walking dead”?       
Life is complicated and those seeking simplicity and consistency will be terribly disappointed. The future is not going to be bright for our empire of debt and delusions. Times that will try men’s souls are on the horizon. The choices we make as individuals and communities will matter. Every human being has the capacity for good or evil. We will be alone in deciding whether we gravitate toward the dark side of our character or whether we make a stand for all that is noble and decent. Retaining our humanity during the trials and tribulations that await us will be crucial to creating a community that is sustainable and a future worth living and fighting for. It is clear that Terminus is not a true sanctuary for all. It permeates evil. As all of the “good” people are herded into a single boxcar I couldn’t help but see the parallels of the Nazis herding the Jews into boxcars for their final destination. Passive submission to an evil authority never ends well.
As the door is slammed shut and the protagonists are reunited, Rick declares“they’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out.” Abraham then asks “find out what?” Rick’s “they’re screwing with the wrong people” response confirms his transformation from an ambivalent reluctant leader into a powerful figure who will do anything necessary to protect his family, friends and community. This Fourth Turning has yet to reach its bloody, violent, chaotic zenith. The popularity of shows like the Walking Dead is a sign of the darkening mood change in this country. With our fragile fraudulent finance driven eco-system teetering on the edge, the threat of collapse is ever present. Within one week of a financial system collapse we would enter a Walking Dead like scenario. Each American who hasn’t already been infected with the zombie virus needs to prepare now and decide what kind of person they will become as the collapse engulfs our society. We all exit this world as we entered it – alone. But we have the wherewithal to positively impact the rebuilding of our culture from the rubble of this one. Are you ready to meet the deadly trials ahead? The choices we make over the next decade will determine if this is the end of the line for our civilization or a new beginning..       
“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.” ― Aldous Huxley – Doors of Perception

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Goodbye American Middle Class


New report reveals that 62 percent of Americans earn $20 or less per hour. Household income stuck in neutral for a generation


Originally published at mybudget360.com
The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reveals that 62 percent of Americans earn $20 or less per hour.  And this only examines those that actually have a job.  Most of the new jobs added since the Great Recession ended have come in the low-wage segment of our economy which seems to be adding the bulk of employment.  These are certainly interesting times that we live in.  The US has close to 130 million jobs.  18 million jobs pay less than $10 an hour and 63 million pay between $10 and $20.  These two segments makeup 81 million jobs so it is understandable why the two income household is more of a necessity rather than a luxury.  The median household income in the US is roughly $50,000 per year.  Adjusting for inflation income is back to levels last seen in the 1980s.  Americans feel poorer because their purchasing power has been eroded by inflation and also the swarm of lower paying jobs that now dominate the market.  The US middle class is shrinking and to ignore this is to ignore the actual facts.
What is causing the middle class to disappear?
The mainstream press rarely talks about the disappearing middle class.  If this issue is brought up it is in the context of the inevitable.  The middle class is declining simply because of global competition and a race to lower prices, or so the argument goes.  There simply isn’t enough money to go around.  However, compensation at the top has never been better.  What is occurring is basic items like health benefits, access to affordable schooling, and livable wages are being neglected for fast profits.
If you really want to feel how little purchasing power you have you need to travel outside of the US.  Take a look at what has happened to the US dollar in the last generation:
us dollar
The US dollar has lost more than 50 percent of its purchasing power since the 1980s.  The impact of all of this is reflected with inflation.  Inflation is problematic in itself but it is much more challenging when prices are going up but wages remain stuck in neutral.
All you need to do is look at household incomes to see this stagnation:
median-income
Adjusting for inflation household incomes are back to levels last seen in the 1980s.  Are you noticing a pattern here?  The middle class has been losing ground for a generation here.  Some mitigated this impact by going deep into debt to finance the following items:
-Housing
-College tuition
-Automobile purchases
Most of these big ticket items have seen massive price increases but if you look at monthly payments, they are moving up slowly to stay on pace with many struggling Americans.  It once was thought to be shocking for a student to graduate with $50,000 or $100,000 in debt but those stories are all too common today.  The sticker shock is stunning but the Fed has forced rates to as low as they can go to keep this debt binge going.
Wealth distribution is highly tilted today because most of the gains in productivity are flowing to a small group:
wealth distribution
Wealth is the best measure of financial success.  Most Americans in the past were able to build up wealth in housing but that avenue is being closed off thanks to Wall Street and the Fed turning this market into another speculative vehicle.  The result?  The home ownership rate in the country continues to decline.  This used to be a major cornerstone and brass ring of the middle class.  Not anymore.
Lower paying jobs, stagnant wages, and rising costs.  Will politicians bring this up in the 2014 elections?  It doesn’t seem like the middle class is on their radar.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Are Real Americans Getting Close To Snapping?

By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
Despite popular belief, every culture of every nation draws a line in the sand against government tyranny. The problem is, many draw this line so close to total defeat that it rarely matters. For the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, for instance, it wasn't until the Germans had already herded millions onto railroad cars destined for death camps and cornered the rest into dilapidated central housing that the ZOB resistance was formed, only to be wiped out a month later. Perhaps hindsight is 20/20, but clearly too many freedom movements throughout history waited too long to respond to the trespasses of oligarchs.
The Founding Fathers frequently struggled with the proper measure of resistance. Many colonials wanted vengeance on the British after the Boston Massacre in March of 1770, but patriots knew that the timing was not right. The battle to rally citizens to the cause and to educate the masses as much as possible on the facts took precedence over the desire to enter conflict. The Founders endured five more years of British government criminality until nearly 80 farmers and militiamen stood outnumbered on Lexington Green on April 19th, 1775 to confront an army of 700 British regulars on a mission to capture rebel leaders and destroy weapons caches. No one knew at the time that the war would be sparked that day, but everyone knew that a fight was inevitable and near.
I believe the same feeling hangs in the air of modern America for REAL Americans, and by “real”, I mean those who actually support and defend the constitutional values and principles that lay at the foundation of our society. We sense that something is coming; a great change, or an unstoppable reckoning.
The question of when to strike back is pivotal to any resistance movement. Turn to violence too soon or without proper cause in the eyes of the public, and the rebellion may lose the moral high ground and the support of the populace. Wait too long, and the totalitarian hordes may be too far entrenched, forcing the rebellion to fight from a position of strategic weakness.
There are those who might argue that America crossed the “red line” long ago and now our society is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while arguing over futile semantics. In certain respects, I can see their point. The U.S. political system is utterly lost. Anyone who still has faith in the Left/Right paradigm after two terms of George W. Bush and nearly two terms of Barack Obama is either insane, or mentally challenged. It should be obvious to Republicans and Democrats alike that our government does NOT represent the average man, and our election process is a sham. Democrats in particular should be equally furious and ashamed as the candidate they blindly worshiped to the point of cultism has now forsaken every value they thought he represented.
The legal apparatus of the U.S. is also beyond repair. Those in the mainstream who argue that grievances with government should be addressed by the courts instead of independent action obviously have not considered that the courts continuously uphold and defend legislation like that contained within the NDAA, which allows for rendition, torture, and even assassination of American citizens without trial or due process. And where are the prosecutions of Constitutional violations by the NSA? Why aren't men like James Clapper in prison for lying directly to Congress. Why hasn't Eric Holder been slapped in irons for his involvement with “Fast and Furious”? And what about the international financiers who back these politicians? How many of them have been prosecuted for their involvement in the toxic derivatives scandals that are destroying our economy to this day?
No, we lost the courts a long time ago. They will do nothing to save this country. But is the fight already over? I think not.
Nihilism is tempting for those people who are lazy and frightened and looking for a philosophical excuse to run away from making a stand. Claiming the fight is lost before it has truly begun is a longstanding tradition amongst millions upon millions of cowards through history. Every freedom fighter in every great revolution for liberty has heard the same arguments that we hear today – “It's too late to change things. The enemy is too powerful and you will be crushed. The nail that sticks up will eventually be hammered down. Your movement is a minority on the fringe and no one will support you. None of you have the guts to really follow through...”
While there is certainly much to despair in the state of our nation, I find the notion that Americans will do nothing in response misplaced and ignorant. From what I have observed, it is not a question of “if” citizens snap, but when.
With objective eyes one could easily see it during the last attempts by the federal government to pass anti-gun legislation that would have led to confiscation. Pro-2nd Amendment protests erupted all over the country (though the MSM mostly ignored them) with participants far outnumbering the miniscule groups in support of gun control. The sentiment amongst millions of gun owners and millions of Liberty Movement proponents was that we were not going to allow government enforcement of new gun laws. Period. If that meant we had to start using those same guns to put an end to government, then that was exactly what we would do. The feds, of course, buckled.
Rather than take the more dangerous and unifying direct route of federal legislation, gun grabbers have shifted strategies, isolating and targeting specific states they believe will be more pliable and easier to conquer. Connecticut and parts of New York, however, have shown that even people in the most socialist of states have no intention of complying with gun registration or confiscation. In Connecticut, only 38,000 high capacity magazines were registered according to the new gun laws, while approximately 2.4 million purchased through retail remain unaccounted for. Only 50,000 “assault weapons” were registered, while at least 300,000 remain unaccounted for. A sizable number of police are also refusing to enforce registration measures (some out of constitutional loyalty, and some out of a desire for self preservation), causing the state of Connecticut to back off of its hard line rhetoric.
I can say with full confidence that the conditions within Connecticut alone would lead to an open shooting war if officials actually attempt to enforce registration and confiscation. If Safe Act-style legislation or executive orders are ever enforced at a national level, I have no doubt revolution would follow.
The latest hotbed I have witnessed is the Bureau of Land Management attack on a cattle farm in Clark County, Nevada owned by Cliven Bundy. The BLM has so far stolen over 500 cattle from Bundy on the grounds that the federal government owns the land his family has been using for grazing pasture for generations. The confiscation was implemented under the auspices of “protection for endangered species”. The species in this instance being a desert tortoise.
The methods used by the BLM resemble a militant raid, with hundreds of agents, helicopters, and even snipers at their disposal. Adding insult to injury and making the issue a national concern, the feds have also staged “First Amendment Zones” miles away from their activities to keep protestors out.
This may seem like a minor event, a tiff over cattle grazing or possibly property rights, but there is much more going on here.
Tyranny leaves lasting scars, and each tyrannical act results in an accumulation of wounds on the public psyche that do not heal. In the end, a single event can become a trigger to unleash a torrent of rage pent up in a population for years or decades. The fight for Cliven Bundy's farm has the potential to become such a trigger.
So far, federal abuses have been primarily toward Bundy's cattle, with confiscation ongoing and suspicions that a number of the cows are being killed. Here, protestors try to stop a truck from leaving the area which they believed might be carrying dead animals. Agents respond with dogs and tasers.
However, I believe that if this situation escalates into a Waco or Ruby Ridge brand of event, not only Liberty Movement residents of Nevada, but Liberty Movement champions across the nation will indeed finally throw down the gauntlet. What does that mean? It means they are going to start shooting.  Opposing groups can debate whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the reality is that one way or another, it is going to happen.
Discussions within the movement are far from apathetic. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of eyes are watching every move of the BLM right now, and they should be taking this fact very seriously.
The naysayers will claim that we don't have the will to take action. They are welcome to think whatever they like. But mark my words, Constitutionally minded Americans are not going to stand by and watch another massacre, nor a loss of gun rights, nor will we be entertaining violations of our freedoms for much longer. This society is on the edge of something. It's kinetic, or electric. It is not yet quite visible but it is there, reverberating in the atmosphere. My suggestion to our federal bureaucracy would be to do what they did during the gun debate, and quickly back away.
Of course, we all know they won't.
Do the elites want to stir up insurgency in order to give pretense for a larger crackdown? They very well might. But it is transparent in the way they try to mitigate dissent and offer placation that they do not want a rebellion larger than they can manage. I think it is far too late for that. I think they've pissed off too many people, instead of just enough people. I think that though most pretend-Americans will do nothing but watch in horror or hide in their hovels, the size of resistance to the tides of despotism is growing far beyond common realizations. And, when this resistance erupts, it will shock even those who fully expect it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Scandal of the Cross

By Ravi Zacharias and originally published at rzim.org
There is a striking verse in the New Testament, in which the apostle Paul refers to the cross of Jesus Christ as foolishness to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew. One can readily understand why he would say that. After all, to the Greek mind, sophistication, philosophy, and learning were exalted pursuits. How could one crucified possibly spell knowledge?
 To the Jewish mind, on the other hand, there was a cry and a longing to be free. In their history, they had been attacked by numerous powers and often humiliated by occupying forces. Whether it was the Assyrians or the Babylonians or the Romans, Jerusalem had been repeatedly plundered and its people left homeless. What would the Hebrew have wanted more than someone who could take up their cause and altogether repel the enemy? How could a Messiah who was crucified possibly be of any help?
 To the Greek, the cross was foolishness. To the Jew, it was a stumbling block. What is it about the cross of Christ that so roundly defies everything that power relishes? Crucifixion was humiliating. It was so humiliating that the Romans who specialized in the art of torture assured their own citizenry that a Roman could never be crucified. But not only was it humiliating, it was excruciating. In fact, the very word “excruciating” comes from two Latin words: ex cruciatus, or out of the cross. Crucifixion was the defining word for pain.
 Does that not give us pause in this season now before us? Think of it: humiliation and agony. This was the path Jesus chose with which to reach out for you and for me. You see, this thing we call sin, but which we so tragically minimize, breaks the grandeur for which we were created. It brings indignity to our essence and pain to our existence. It separates us from God.
On the way to the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus took the ultimate indignity and the ultimate pain to bring us back to the dignity of a relationship with God and the healing of our souls. Will you remember that this was done for you and receive his gift?
 You will then discover that it is sin that is foolishness. Our greatest weakness is not an enemy from without but one from within. It is our own weak wills that cause us to stumble. But Jesus Christ frees us from the foolishness of sin and the weakness of our selves.
 This is the very reason the apostle Paul went on to say that he preached Jesus Christ as one crucified, which was both the power of God and the wisdom of God. Come to the cross in these days given for our contemplation and find out this scandalous, mysterious, all-reaching power and wisdom.
 Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ukraine Crisis Intensifies, Lois Lerner & IRS Crime, More Obamacare Problems


4By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 
This headline is only half right–“Putin turns up the heat in Ukraine.”  It should read, Obama and Putin turn up the heat.  I think this is the big story, and it is being underreported.  It has both financial and real war implications.  Let’s start with what Russia is doing.  It is now going to issue a new bond based in the yuan.  Are you getting that?  This is yet another move away from using the U.S. dollar to settle international trade.  Russia is also hiking the price of natural gas to Ukraine by at least 50% in May.  The Russian’s are going to want the cash for natural gas up front.  Russia is warning of the dire debt crisis in Ukraine and how this could threaten Russian natural gas deliveries to the EU.  I said it’s game on for financial war, and this is proof.  Meanwhile, the U.S. is threatening more sanctions on Russia over the growing Ukraine crisis.  On top of that, it is being reported by the AP, NATO’s top commander says he could start deploying U.S. troops in Eastern Europe to counter Russian military pressure put on Ukraine.  There are negotiations next week between the U.S., EU, Russia and Ukraine.  I hope these talks go well, but I can’t see how they can.  Keep an eye on this crisis; it has global implications for continued financial war and a shooting war.  
Lois Lerner, the former IRS chief at the heart of the scandal targeting conservative groups such as the Tea Party, is now a target herself.  House Republicans have sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department.  The GOP wants Eric Holder to look into prosecuting her for criminal acts that go against basic First Amendment rights of the Constitution, among other allegations of criminal wrongdoing.  The mainstream media (MSM) has largely ignored this story, but make no mistake, this is big.  I think the MSM should be ashamed of themselves for not covering this.  After all, this is a 1stAmendment issue, and every news organization should be doing all it can to protect this Constitutional right.  If this was a Republican administration using the IRS to target liberal Democrats, I guarantee you they would be all over this non-stop, but they are not.  This is why I say the MSM lies by omission. This story is not going away.  There is much more than a “smidgeon” of evidence here. 
Yet, another phony headline about the “strength” of the U.S. economy.  This is Wednesday of USA Today, and the next day there is this “Fed reassures on Low Rates.”  If the economy is so strong, why are there 50 million people on food stamps?  Why are nearly 100 million out of the work force?  Why do we have phony accounting by FASB?  Why is the Fed pumping out $55 billion a month to by bonds and holding interest rates to near 0%?  It says here “Pleased investors send stocks higher.”  Yes, and pleased heroin addicts are pleased to get another fix.  My friend Gregory Mannarino at TradersChoice.net says, “This is desperation mode.  This is how we know we are close to the end.  It’s party over, but they are going to TRY to keep it going until after the November elections.”  He’s not sure they can hold the market and the U.S. dollar both together, but time will tell.  
The head of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, is stepping down.  It is no surprise after the disastrous rollout of Obama Care.  It’s not just the rollout that has most people angry at this law.  We now know the overwhelming majority of people are paying way more and getting less.  The MSM continues to soft-sell this huge disaster.  You hear it’s a work in progress and this takes sacrifice.  If this law was so great, why have all the delays and exemptions?  Wait until all those delayed plans have to comply with the Obama Care mandate–you know, where you have to offer free abortions and all kinds of birth control and sex change operations.  My favorite new feature: employees are taxed on the value of what their company pays for.  That is going to be considered income.  So, what you have coming is a big increase to your plan so it complies with what the government thinks everyone should have and a tax on top of that.  It’s all enforced by the IRS, which I think is the sprinkles on top of the cake. 
Join Greg Hunter as he analyzes these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.