Friday, August 28, 2015

Gullible Americans Forever

By Paul Craig Roberts and originally published at paulcraigroberts.org  
“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.” — Mark Twain
Listening to NPR news today I was reminded how thoroughly this once independent voice has sold out.
I was also reminded of the Mark Twain quote above. NPR reported that Syrians were lined up in Turkey waiting on passage on inflatable rafts to Greece. According to the NPR report, there are 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey and 250,000 Syrians have been killed. NPR said nothing about the cause of this murder and displacement of vast numbers of people. It was if the plight of these people materialized out of thin air. The fact that Washington sicced ISIS, al Qaeda, Turkey, the US and NATO Air Forces, and Washington’s Middle Eastern vassals on Syria was not mentioned. The view on NPR is the same as Washington’s — that if only Assad would resign and hand Syria over to Washington, everything would be fine.
Americans don’t go to bed every night unable to sleep from shame from the atrocities that the US government has inflicted on Syria. And on Iraq. And Libya. And Afghanistan. And Pakistan. And Yemen. And Somalia. And Ukraine. And Serbia. According to the prostitute media, all of these human catastrophes are the work of dark forces that America must combat. It is all a clever orchestration of public emotion in favor of the military/security complex’s bank balance.
The corruption of public discourse in America, indeed throughout the West, is total. There are no reliable reports, not from public or private institutions. The economic reports are propaganda to keep alive the image of a successful America. The reports about Russia, Ukraine, and Muslims are propaganda designed to inculcate fear in the gullible, fear that ensures more power and profit for Washington and the military/security complex.
Americans have proven themselves to be the easiest sheep ever to be shorn.
The gullibility of Americans threatens the world with armageddon.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Raping of America: Mile Markers on the Road to Fascism




“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

By John W. Whitehead and originally published at rutherford.org
There’s an ill will blowing across the country. The economy is tanking. The people are directionless, and politics provides no answer. And like former regimes, the militarized police have stepped up to provide a fa├žade of law and order manifested by an overt violence against the citizenry.
Despite the revelations of the past several years, nothing has changed to push back against the American police state. Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—continue to be choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.
Despite the recent outrage and protests, nothing has changed to restore us to our rightful role as having dominion over our bodies, our lives and our property, especially when it comes to interactions with the government.
Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases—these are just a few ways in which Americans continue to be reminded that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials. Thus far, the courts have done little to preserve our Fourth Amendment rights, let alone what shreds of bodily integrity remain to us.
Indeed, on a daily basis, Americans are being forced to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States.
In other words, we are all guilty until proven innocent.
Worst of all, it seems as if nothing will change as long as the American people remain distracted by politics, divided by their own prejudices, and brainwashed into believing that the Constitution still reigns supreme as the law of the land, when in fact, we have almost completed the shift into fascism.
In other words, despite our occasional bursts of outrage over abusive police practices, sporadic calls for government reform, and periodic bouts of awareness that all is not what it seems, the police state continues to march steadily onward.
Such is life in America today that individuals are being threatened with arrest and carted off to jail for the least hint of noncompliance, homes are being raided by police under the slightest pretext, and roadside police stops have devolved into government-sanctioned exercises in humiliation and degradation with a complete disregard for privacy and human dignity.
Consider, for example, what happened to Charnesia Corley after allegedly being pulled over by Texas police for “rolling” through a stop sign. Claiming they smelled marijuana, police handcuffed Corley, placed her in the back of the police cruiser, and then searched her car for almost an hour. They found nothing in the car.
As the Houston Chronicle reported:
Returning to his car where Corley was held, the deputy again said he smelled marijuana and called in a female deputy to conduct a cavity search. When the female deputy arrived, she told Corley to pull her pants down, but Corley protested because she was cuffed and had no underwear on. The deputy ordered Corley to bend over, pulled down her pants and began to search her. Then…Corley stood up and protested, so the deputy threw her to the ground and restrained her while another female was called in to assist. When backup arrived, each deputy held one of Corley’s legs apart to conduct the probe.
As shocking and disturbing as it seems, Corley’s roadside cavity search is becoming par for the course in an age in which police are taught to have no respect for the citizenry’s bodily integrity.
For instance, 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley, were pulled over by a Texas state trooper on July 13, 2012, allegedly for flicking cigarette butts out of the car window. Insisting that he smelled marijuana, he proceeded to interrogate them and search the car. Despite the fact that both women denied smoking or possessing any marijuana, the police officer then called in a female trooper, who carried out a roadside cavity search, sticking her fingers into the older woman’s anus and vagina, then performing the same procedure on the younger woman, wearing the same pair of gloves. No marijuana was found.
David Eckert was forced to undergo an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a colonoscopy after allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Cops justified the searches on the grounds that they suspected Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture [was] erect” and “he kept his legs together.” No drugs were found.
Leila Tarantino was subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic during a routine traffic stop, while her two children—ages 1 and 4—waited inside her car. During the second strip search, presumably in an effort to ferret out drugs, a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. Nothing illegal was found. Nevertheless, such searches have been sanctioned by the courts, especially if accompanied by a search warrant (which is easily procured), as justified in the government’s pursuit of drugs and weapons.
Meanwhile, four Milwaukee police officers were charged with carrying out rectal searches of suspects on the street and in police district stations over the course of several years. One of the officers was accused of conducting searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his fingers into their rectums and leaving some of his victims with bleeding rectums. Halfway across the country, the city of Oakland, California, agreed to pay $4.6 million to 39 men who had their pants pulled down by police on city streets between 2002 and 2009.
It’s gotten so bad that you don’t even have to be suspected of possessing drugs to be subjected to a strip search.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Florence v. Burlison, any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband.
Examples of minor infractions which have resulted in strip searches include: individuals arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, driving with an inoperable headlight, failing to use a turn signal, riding a bicycle without an audible bell, making an improper left turn, engaging in an antiwar demonstration (the individual searched was a nun, a Sister of Divine Providence for 50 years). Police have also carried out strip searches for passing a bad check, dog leash violations, filing a false police report, failing to produce a driver’s license after making an illegal left turn, having outstanding parking tickets, and public intoxication. A failure to pay child support can also result in a strip search.
It must be remembered that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intended to prevent government agents from searching an individual’s person or property without a warrant and probable cause (evidence that some kind of criminal activity was afoot). While the literal purpose of the amendment is to protect our property and our bodies from unwarranted government intrusion, the moral intention behind it is to protect our human dignity.
Unfortunately, the indignities being heaped upon us by the architects and agents of the American police state—whether or not we’ve done anything wrong—don’t end with roadside strip searches. They’re just a foretaste of what is to come.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the government doesn’t need to strip you naked by the side of the road in order to render you helpless. It has other methods, less subtle perhaps but equally humiliating, devastating and mind-altering, of stripping you of your independence, robbing you of your dignity, and undermining your rights.
With every court ruling that allows the government to operate above the rule of law, every piece of legislation that limits our freedoms, and every act of government wrongdoing that goes unpunished, we’re slowly being conditioned to a society in which we have little real control over our lives. As Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone and an insightful commentator on human nature, once observed, “We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.”
Indeed, not only are we developing a new citizenry incapable of thinking for themselves, we’re also instilling in them a complete and utter reliance on the government and its corporate partners to do everything for them—tell them what to eat, what to wear, how to think, what to believe, how long to sleep, who to vote for, whom to associate with, and on and on.
In this way, we have created a welfare state, a nanny state, a police state, a surveillance state, an electronic concentration camp—call it what you will, the meaning is the same: in our quest for less personal responsibility, a greater sense of security, and no burdensome obligations to each other or to future generations, we have created a society in which we have no true freedom.
Government surveillance, police abuse, SWAT team raids, economic instability, asset forfeiture schemes, pork barrel legislation, militarized police, drones, endless wars, private prisons, involuntary detentions, biometrics databases, free speech zones, etc.: these are mile markers on the road to a fascist state where citizens are treated like cattle, to be branded and eventually led to the slaughterhouse.
If there is any hope to be found it will be found in local, grassroots activism. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., it’s time for “militant nonviolent resistance.”
First, however, Americans must break free of the apathy-inducing turpor of politics, entertainment spectacles and manufactured news. Only once we are free of the chains that bind us—or to be more exact, the chains that “blind” us—can we become actively aware of the injustices taking place around us and demand freedom of our oppressors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Worse Than Hitler?


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By James Howard Kunstler and originally published at kunstler.comEven the formerly august New York Times grants that Donald J. Trump has ignited a voter firestorm of grievance against a dumb show election process that rewards a craven avoidance of real issues. Immigration is actually a stand-in for the paralysis, incompetence, overreach, and bloatedness of government generally in our time — but it is a good doorway into the larger problem.
Immigration is a practical problem, with visible effects on-the-ground, easy to understand. I’m enjoying the Trump-provoked debate mostly because it is a pushback against the disgusting dishonesty of political correctness that has bogged down the educated classes in a swamp of sentimentality. For instance, Times Sunday Magazine staffer Emily Bazelon wrote a polemic last week inveighing against the use of the word “illegal” applied to people who cross the border without permission on the grounds that it “justifies their mistreatment.” One infers she means that sending them back where they came from equals mistreatment.
It’s refreshing that Trump is able to cut through this kind of tendentious crap. If that were his only role, it would be a good one, because political correctness is an intellectual disease that is making it impossible for even educated people to think — especially people who affect to be political leaders. Trump’s fellow Republicans are entertainingly trapped in their own cowardliness and it’s fun to watch them squirm.
But for me, everything else about Trump is frankly sickening, from his sneering manner of speech, to the worldview he reveals day by day, to the incoherence of his rhetoric, to the wolverine that lives on top of his head. The thought of Trump actually getting elected makes me wonder where Arthur Bremer is when we really need him.
Did any of you actually catch Trump’s performance last week at the so-called “town meeting” event in New Hampshire (really just a trumped-up pep rally)? I don’t think I miscounted that Trump told the audience he was “very smart” 23 times in the course of his remarks. If he really was smart, he would know that such tedious assertions only suggest he is deeply insecure about his own intelligence. After all, this is a man whose lifework has been putting up giant buildings that resemble bowling trophies, some of them in the service of one of the worst activities of our time, legalized gambling, which is based on the socially pernicious idea that it’s possible to get something for nothing.
I daresay that legalized gambling has had a possibly worse effect on American life the past three decades than illegal immigration. Gambling is a marginal activity for marginal people that belongs on the margins — the back rooms and back alleys. It was consigned there for decades because it was understood that it’s not healthy for the public to believe that it’s possible to get something for nothing, that it undermines perhaps the most fundamental principle of human life.
Trump’s verbal incoherence is really something to behold. He’s incapable of expressing a complete thought without venturing down a dendritic maze of digressions, often leading to an assertion of how much he is loved (another sign of insecurity). For example, when he attacked Jeb’s (no last name necessary) statement that we have to show Iraqi leaders that “we have skin in the game,” Trump invoked the “wounded warriors,” saying “I love them. They’re everywhere. They love me.” In the immortal words of Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it?”
Trump’s notion that he can push around world leaders such as Vladimir Putin by treating them as though they were president of the Cement Workers’ Union ought to give thoughtful people the vapors. It doesn’t seem to occur to Trump that other countries could easily get pugnacious towards us. He would have us in a world war before the inaugural parade was over.
The trouble is that it’s not inconceivable Trump could get elected. Farfetched, perhaps, but not out of the question. The USA is heading for a very rough patch of history — as those of you with your eyes on the stock indexes lately may suspect. The country stands an excellent chance of waking up some morning soon to discover it is broke and broken. When that happens, all the anxiety and animus will be focused on looking for scapegoats, and they are likely to be the wrong ones. World leaders considered Hitler a clown in the early going, too, you know. But the Germans were wild about him. He pushed a lot of the right buttons under the circumstances. Trump is worse than Hitler. And the American people, alas, are now surely a worse lot of ignorant, raging, tattooed slobs than the German people were in 1933. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Economic Crisis Goes Mainstream - What Happens Next?



By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
Last year, when alternative economic analysts were warning that the commodities crush and oil crash just after the taper of QE3 were blaring signals for a downshift in all other financial indicators, the general response in the mainstream was that we were overreacting and paranoid and that the commodities jolt was temporary. Perhaps the fact needs repeating that it’s not paranoia if they are really out to get you.
Only a short time later, it is truly amazing how the rhetoric from the mainstream economic yes-men is changing. The blind analysts who were cheerleading for the nonexistent global recovery are now being carefully relegated to the janitor’s closet over at The New York Times, where Paul Krugman’s office should be. Media outlets are begrudgingly admitting to global instabilities like, for instance, a U.S. interest rate hike leading to a return to recession. (Special note to the mainstream media: Take away the fruitless manipulation of indicators through Fed stimulus, and we never left the recession.) They also are now forced to acknowledge that China’s market crash and yuan devaluation have far-reaching implications for global crisis, whereas a year ago the claim was that China’s problems would stay in China. Even China’s own media are now warning of the chain of fiscally interdependent economies and what the nation’s downturn means for everyone.
The MSM are finally entertaining the obvious notion that the vast financial problems of the EU have little to do with the crisis in Greece and more to do with crushing debt obligations and employment problems in primary nations like France and Italy.
And suddenly, pundits are once again concerned with Japan’s epidemic of mini-recessions and the truth of fiscal contraction that is not just a way of life, but an exponential dynamic that is getting worse fast, rather than staying static. This concern is, of course, always followed with suggestions that the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel and that growth will inevitably return. The mainstream media may be discussing points of reality, but that does not stop them at times from mixing in fairy tales.
This alteration in rhetoric from the mainstream may not necessarily be due to an awakening in the media. Rather, it may be due to the new narratives being put forth by core banking elite institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of International Settlements, institutions that have established a mission to appear competent in the wake of an economic crisis they KNOW is about to be triggered. The IMF is consistently making statements regarding potential disaster in global markets due to central banking stimulus measures (which it originally championed), as well as potential rate hikes, sending mixed messages to devout mainstream followers. The IMF’s latest overviews of global markets have been far gloomier than mainstream media outlets until recently. Suddenly, it would seem, the media has been given direction to parrot internationalist talking points.
The BIS warns that the world is currently defenseless against the next market crisis. I would point out that the BIS has a record of predicting economic crashes, including back in 2007 just before the derivatives and credit crisis began. This ability to foresee fiscal disasters is far more likely due to the fact that the BIS is the dominant force in global central banking and is the cause of crisis, rather than merely a predictor of crisis. That is to say, it is easy to predict disasters you yourself are about to initiate.
It is no mistake that the warnings from the BIS and the IMF tend to come too little too late, or that they are beginning to compose cautionary press releases today that sound much like what alternative analysts were saying a few years ago. The goal of these globalist organizations is not to help people prepare, only to set themselves up as Johnny-come-lately prognosticators so that after a collapse they can claim they warned us all, which can then be used as a rationalization for why they are the best people to administrate the economies of the planet as a whole.
So now that the mainstream is willing to report on clear economic dangers, what happens next?
The change in the MSM narrative is a bad sign. The initial media coverage of the derivatives implosion in 2008 did not become negative until we were well within the shadow of the avalanche. If the same holds true today, then a market event is imminent. Here are some of the issues you may hear more about as the year goes forward.
China ‘Contagion’
Forget about Greek contagion, we will be hearing far more about Chinese contagion over the next several months.  The globalist run Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is already fielding the concept in their magazine 'Foreign Policy'. With the devaluation of the yuan, mainstream analysts are frantic over the possibility of currency wars, a concept they rarely ever entertained in the past. Yuan devaluation is not, though, necessarily a negative for China itself. In fact, the IMF in recent statements argues that China’s economy is entering a “new normal” of slower but more “stable” growth. The IMF also has announced that the recent shock of the falling yuan to global markets actually makes the currency MORE viable for inclusion in the Special Drawing Rights global currency basket, a decision that is supposed to be finalized by November (though a year long extension has been recommended by the IMF before approval).
Expect that economic news will be focused nonstop on China for the rest of the year, perhaps leading to the perpetuation of the false East/West paradigm and the idea that Americans should blame China for the overall financial crisis rather than the global bankers who engineered the mess.  In the meantime, top globalists will continue to remain "neutral", presenting themselves as peacemakers and problem solvers arguing that the crash is "no one's fault", that over-complexity is the danger,  and that interconnected economies must be simplified down to a single global currency and single global authority.
U.S. Economy Feeling Effects
The Federal Reserve push for a rate hike will likely be determined before 2015 is over. Talk of a September increase in interest rates may be a ploy, and a last-minute decision to delay could be on the table. This tactic of edge-of-the-seat meetings and surprise delays was used during the QE taper scenario, which threw a lot of analysts off their guard and caused many to believe that a taper would never happen. Well, it did happen, just as a rate hike will happen, only slightly later than mainstream analysts expect.
If a delay occurs, it will be short-lived, triggering a dead cat bounce in stocks, with rates increasing before December as dismal retail sales become undeniable leading into the Christmas season.  It is important to remember that the Fed's job is to DERAIL the U.S. economy, NOT protect it.
In the meantime, the IMF’s SDR conference continues, with the inclusion of the yuan now widely considered a threat to the dollar’s world-reserve status. The mainstream media are now preparing the American people (or at least those who are paying any attention) for the coming loss of world-reserve status. The propaganda aims to paint the dollar’s reserve position as a bad thing. The MSM argue that loss of reserve status could actually help the U.S. economy get back on track and that a global harmonization of sovereign currencies will be a boost to our fiscal outlook. This is clearly an attempt to inoculate the public against any concern over the eventual crash of dollar value.
Oil Price Panic
Oil prices will continue to deflate, and the after-effects will be difficult to gauge. With John Kerry publicly warning that the failure of an Iran deal (including the lucrative oil export deals that would be included) could lead to the loss of the dollar’s world-reserve status, I am not very optimistic about the future prospects of energy markets.
Kerry claims that a failed Iran agreement would put the U.S. at odds with allies who brokered the deal, but this is not the whole story. What is really taking place is an attempt by Kerry to distract the public away from the real reasons for the future fall of the dollar, including the rise of the SDR and the likelihood that Saudi Arabia will soon decouple from the dollar as the solitary purchasing mechanism for their oil (Saudi Arabia is surprisingly one of the main supporters of an Iran deal). It is perhaps possible that a collapse of the Iran agreement could be used as an excuse for a loss of dollar reserve status that was going to happen anyway.
Events Moving Faster
Economic news is moving extremely fast this year, and it will only become more frenetic as we close in on 2016. The general consensus among alternative economic investigators seems to be that 2015 will be the year for trigger events and dead fantasies. In my six part series entitled 'One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes' I essentially agree with this timetable. If 2014 was the new 2007 with all its immediate warning signs, then 2015 is the new 2008 with all the chaos and broken paradigms.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why the Bear of 2015 Is Different from the Bear of 2008

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Are there any conditions now that are actually better than those of 2008?
By Vharles Hugh Smith and originally published at charleshughsmith.blogspot.com
It's tempting to see similarities in last week's global stock market mini-crash and the monumental meltdown that almost took down the Global Financial System in 2008-2009. The dizzying drop invites comparison to the last Bear Market that took the S&P 500 from 1,565 in October 2007 to 667 on March 9, 2009.
But this Bear is beginning in circumstances quite different from 2007-08. Let's list a few of the differences:
1. Then: Markets and central banks feared inflation, as WTIC oil had hit $133 per barrel in the summer of 2008.
Now: As oil tests the $40/barrel level, markets and central banks fear deflation.
2. Then: China had a relatively modest $7 trillion in total debt, considerably less than 100% of GDP.
now: China's debt has quadrupled from $7 trillion in 2007 to $28 trillion as of mid-2014, an astonishing 282% of gross domestic product (GDP)
3. Then: Central banks had a full toolbox of unprecedented monetary surprises to unleash on the market: TARP, TARF, BARF (OK, that one is made up) rescue packages and credit guarantees, quantitative easing (QE), zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and direct purchases of mortgages, to name just the top few.
Now: The central bank toolbox is empty: every tool has already been deployed on an unprecedented scale. Every potential new program is simply a retread of QE, yield curve bending, asset purchases, etc.--the same old bag of tricks.
4. Then: Central banks had a relatively clean slate to work with. Interventions in the market and economy were limited to suppressing interest rates in the post-dot-com meltdown era.
Now: Central banks have never stopped intervening since 2008. The market is in effect a reflection of 6+ years of unprecedented central bank interventions. Rather than a clean slate, central banks face a global marketplace that is dominated by incentives to speculate with leveraged/borrowed money established by 6 years of central bank policies.
5. Then: Interest rates had rebounded from the post-dot-com lows in 2003. The Fed Funds rate in 2006-07 was above 5%, and the Prime Lending Rate exceeded 8%.
Now: The Fed Funds Rate has been screwed down to .25% for 6+ years--an unprecedented period of near-zero interest rates.
6. Then: The average 30-year mortgage rate was above 6% from October 2005 to November 2008.
Now: Mortgage rates have been under 4% in 2015.
7. Then: The U.S. dollar only soared in financial crises as capital flowed to safe havens in late 2008-early 2009 and again in 2010.
Now: The U.S. dollar began a 20% increase in mid-2014, in the midst of what was generally perceived as a solid global expansion.
8. Then: The U.S. dollar fell sharply from 2006 to 2008, and again in 2010 to 2011, boosting the overseas profits of U.S. corporations that account for 40% to 50% of total multinational corporate profits.
Now: The rising dollar has crushed the overseas profits of U.S. corporations. The soaring USD has also crushed emerging market currencies and stock markets, and forced China to devalue its currency, the the RMB (yuan)--a unexpected devaluation that triggered the current global meltdown in stocks.
9. Then: The global boom 2003-2008 was widely viewed as a tide that raised all ships.
Now: Central bank policies are recognized as engines of inequality that have widened income and wealth inequality for 6+ years.
Are there any conditions now that are actually better than those of 2008? Or are conditions now less resilient, more fragile and more dependent on unprecedented central bank interventions?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Unfolding Narrative

By Margaret Manning Shull and originally published at rzim.org
Most of us, if we’re honest, live by the clock. The alarm sounds and we are off, watching the minutes slip by. Time-sensitive deadlines drive our days. We have appointments and meetings, we eat at a certain time, and the day ends by a certain time. Bound to our timepieces, it often seems our every moment is synchronized and controlled.
In contrast to the “objective” measures of time marking seconds, minutes, and hours, there is also a “subjective” experience of time being “fast or slow.” Those of us who are growing older describe our experience of time as passing by more and more quickly. We feel our vacation time as ephemeral, while our work week plods slowly by—and yet both are marked by the same objective measurements of time. How is it that our subjective experience of time is so different from what our watches and clocks objectively mark out for us, second by second, hour by hour?
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This question of our subjective experience of time is one that the ancient philosophers and early Christian leaders pondered. Their philosophical and theological musings bequeathed to us many perplexities regarding the human experience of time. Saint Augustine, for example, wrestled with the fleeting character of our human temporal experience. No sooner do we apprehend the present than it has receded into the past. He wrote, “We cannot rightly say what time is, except by reason of its impending state of not-being.”(1)
Regardless of our perceptual and philosophical difficulties with understanding the nature of time, what seems most crucial for our lives is the significance of events that happen in time, moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by day. Seeking to reclaim this emphasis, theologians have tried to understand the nature of time by what takes place in time—a narrative of unfolding events.(2) These theological discussions involve God’s engagement with time. Is God a wholly atemporal being, outside of time and history? Or is God genuinely engaged with time and revealed through an unfolding story of historical disclosure?
The biblical writers give witness to a God who progressively unfolds saving acts within history. The divine plan of salvation that Christians believe culminates in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is called salvation history. God did not, for example, reveal every aspect of salvation to Abraham or to Moses. Instead, the biblical writers give witness to the God who works within and through the temporal events of history to reveal the plan of redemption. We see this unfolding in God’s commissioning of Moses prior to the Exodus: “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai) but by my name ‘the Lord (Yahweh)’ I did not make myself known.”(2) Within the long ministry of the prophets, a God is revealed who gradually discloses what will take place. Isaiah presents the God who “proclaims to you new things from this time; even hidden things which you have not known. They are created now, and not long ago: and before today you have not heard them” (Isaiah 48:6-7).
For Christians, God’s decisive revelatory action in time is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While there are many glimpses, sign-markers, and hints pointing towards a messianic redeemer in the Old Testament, ultimately God chose to enter a particular time as a human being to live life among the time-bound.
The significance of those time-bound events continues into our time, and indeed into eternity. And through the unfolding of time, humans can grow in their understanding of who God is and what God has done through Jesus, the Messiah. Indeed, as Jesus spoke with his disciples, he suggests that there would be more to learn and more to reveal through the work of the Holy Spirit: “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative, but whatever he hears he will speak; and he will disclose to you what is to come” (italics mine; John 16:12-13).
The witness of Scripture suggests that the events of our lives reveal this ongoing work of the Spirit. Sometimes, we apprehend the significance of those events in the present time. Other times, it is only through the lens of hindsight as events recede into times past that we understand God’s action. While time might move slowly for some or quickly for others, while minutes and seconds and hours are filled with appointments, meetings, and all the events that make up our time-bound existence, we would do well to look around to see how the Spirit of God is working through what might appear to be ordinary events in the march of time. Indeed, those who follow Jesus ought never to forget that God entered time to enact the new creation in Christ’s resurrection. As we grow in our understanding of that timeless act, the events of our temporal lives act as sign-markers for eternity. And while we often see the significance of our time-bound events “through a mirror darkly,” the day will come when “all things are subjected to Him…that God may be all in all.”(4)

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

(1) Augustine, Confessions, XI, 14.
(2) Colin Gunton, cited in John Polkinghorne, Exploring Reality: The Intertwining of Science and Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 120.
(3) Exodus 6:2-3, Italics mine.
(4) 1 Corinthians 15:28.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hillary in Deep Trouble, Iran Nuke Side Deal, Economic Warnings


4_jpgBy Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
Hillary Clinton’s email troubles keep getting worse. It is reported that national security laws were broken by Clinton and at least two of her staff. More that 300 of her emails have now been deemed classified and allegedly mishandled.   Clinton turned over her server to the FBI and says she doesn’t know who wiped it clean. It is also reported that two of Clinton’s top aides have disregarded a federal judge’s order to make sworn statements that all government documents in their possession have been turned over. Every day, this email scandal is getting worse. As I said months ago, Hillary Clinton will not be President, and it will not be the Republicans that pull the plug on Hill’s Presidential run, it will be the Democrats. Democrats have to be worried because this is looking like it is turning into a full blown crime and cover-up. At some point, the Dems will replace her, and they are not going to wait until a few months before the election. I think Hillary will be out before the first debate.
We know what was in part of the so-called side deal in the deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. It is reported that Iran will be responsible for inspecting its own military nuclear facilities. The Obama Administration has said this deal is not going to be about trust, but verification. How in the world can the verification be left up to Iran? Remember I told you that Secretary of State John Kerry said he did not “have access” to the side deal? I said he is either a buffoon or a liar or both? Now, we know it’s both. How can a key point in this deal, namely verification, be a “side deal”? Isn’t verification the key point in this deal? Of course it is, and John Kerry sat in front of Congress and said he doesn’t have access to the deal he brokered. Outrageous and imbecilic. Kerry should be embarrassed, and he should resign. This is why it is going to be very easy for top Democrats like Senator Robert Menendez to vote no. Senator Menendez just came out this week and gave this deal a big thumbs down. It is looking more and more like Congress will be able to override President Obama’s upcoming veto on nixing the Iran deal.
Federal Reserve VP Stephen Williamson says that QE (money printing) did not help the real economy but did help the stock market. The QE did expand the Feds balance sheet from under $1 trillion, when all this started more than 6 years ago, to more than $4.5 trillion today. There have been all sorts of warnings coming out about how bad the economy is including from the Fed itself.   The warnings are also coming from past Fed Chiefs like Alan Greenspan.  Greenspan is warning about a bond market bubble, and you know what happens to bubbles. They pop. Greenspan says interest rates could shoot higher and said the bond market was in an “extraordinary unstable position.” How many times have I said there is not recovery for Main Street? They have crammed the “recovery” story down our throats, and now even the MSM and the Fed know that is one big lie. There is no recovery. This fall is going to be turbulent. My friend Gregory Mannarino of TradersChoice.net says the Fed will not raise rates in September. He says the market may bounce, but as he predicted in May, the highs are in and the overarching trend is down.
California and the West continue to be starved for rain. They say the weather pattern will change with the coming El Nino, but who knows. What I do know is California is ground zero in the drought picture. So far, nearly 21,000 jobs have been lost mostly in agriculture, and nearly $3 billion has been lost to the drought. I do not know what Governor Jerry Brown is planning on doing, but betting on hope and El Nino looks like a very long shot.  In March, NASA estimated that California had only one year’s worth of water left. The drought map looks like it is getting worse and not better.
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.