Thursday, November 26, 2015

Reasons - For Thankfulness...

By Charlie Daniels and originally published at  
Almighty God, As we approach this day that has been set aside to express our thankfulness to you for the boundless blessings you have showered on this United States of America and the people who are fortunate enough to be called Americans, I would like to take a few minutes to, in my own words, say thank you for some of the things that mean so much to me.

I thank you for every breath I take and every beat of my heart, every step I make, every sight, every sound, every note of music I write or sing or play.

I thank you for the wonderful woman who has been my inspiration, my help mate, my lover, my best friend and my wife for almost fifty years, who never fails to excite me, console me and follow me to wherever our eventful lives have lead, through thick, thin, ups, downs and side ways and stood firmly beside me no matter what.

I thank you for the wonderful son you gave us, who has always been the center of our world a bright and talented young man who never fails to show his affection for his mother and me, a source of joy and pride and our lives would have never been complete without him.

I thank you for the grandchildren we never thought we'd have, a boy and girl to spoil and see the world through their eyes, eyes to which all thing are new and shiny and innocent a world where cartoons are king Santa Claus is as real as the rain.

I thank you for the men and women who I have been privileged to work with these last forty years, who are faithful, trustworthy and are more like family than employees to me.

I thank you for the blessing of being able to make a living doing exactly what I wanted to for almost sixty years, the accolades and successes that have helped to keep me going and even the failures that helped to make me strong.

I thank you for the beautiful place in Tennessee you've given us to spend our earthly years on, knowing that no matter how glorious and wonderful it is, it can never compare to the place you have prepared for us when we leave our earthbound home.

I thank you for gentle horses, for little white face calves that frolic in the pasture, for the mocking bird that fills the early summer morning air with song, the way a hard rain sounds on the tin roof of our house and how a full October moon reflects in the big pond at the bottom of our hill.

I thank you for the bounty of our table, the overflowing of our cup, for the millions of miles I've traveled in safety, for the sights these old eyes have seen from the glaciers in Greenland to the deserts of Iraq, from the teeming streets of Hong Kong to the quiet of a country lane in Georgia, from Atlantic to Pacific, the Smokies, the Rockies, the Alps and the Cascades, the magnificence of the planet made by Your hand and blessed by Your love.

I am grateful for the beauty of a quiet and gentle snowfall, the soft nicker of a yearling Colt in a barn stall, the color of the hardwood trees in the fall, for the first big frost that sparkles like a field full of little diamonds in the early morning sun and watching a young deer jump a fence like it wasn't even there.

I thank you for the innocent sound of a baby's laugh, the excitement on a child's face gazing at a store window full of toys and the joy of a church full of worshipers praising you in song on a Sunday morning.

I thank you for the men and women in our military who take upon themselves the solemn task of standing between us and those who would destroy us.

And Lord, above all, we thank you for the gift which words can not articulate and, adjectives cannot describe, the gift of Your own Son, Jesus, who suffered more than any man ever has or any man ever will to bring your free gift of eternal salvation to all who would accept it.

And God we thank you for our beloved United States of America and join our hearts in prayer that you will give us yet another chance to get our feet back on the paths of righteousness, that godly, stalwart men and women would come to power and lead this nation out of the darkness and back into the light.

Happy Thanksgiving America

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why The Status Quo Is Doomed: Income Stagnates, Costs Rise

By Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at  
Why are costs rising inexorably? The answer in most cases is simple: cartels.
Even if nothing else doomed the status quo, the widening gap between household incomes and costs will push the corrupt contraption over the cliff by itself. The status quo (whatever you wish to call it) requires "growth" to sustain itself--growth in consumption, spending, sales, debt, asset valuations, profits and of course taxes, and ultimately all of those "growths" depend on household incomes.
Incomes even for the most highly educated workers are stagnating:
Adjusted for inflation, median household income is down significantly in the 'recovery":
Some observers quibble that since this doesn't include food stamps and other transfer payments, it isn't accurate: in other words, it's not so bad if we include social welfare.
If the status quo now depends on government payments to households to sustain "growth," then the system is nearing the cliff edge.
Another trend that pushes the contraption closer to oblivion is income disparity:virtually all the non-welfare gains in income have gone to the top 5%, with most of those gains concentrated in the top 1%:
We all know what's happened to major household expenses such as higher education, healthcare, rent/housing: they're soaring to the moon. Here's higher education:
The status quo views additional healthcare spending as an unalloyed good thing, but as this chart (courtesy of B.C.) shows, rising healthcare costs correlate to recessions: it turns out paying $500 for a medication that cost $10 a few years ago isn't the kind of "growth" that the system needs to survive:
Here's urban area rents:
Why are costs rising inexorably? The answer in most cases is simple: cartels.Cartels and quasi-monopolies create artificial scarcities by limiting competition (usually via regulatory collusion with the government). This artificial scarcity enables the cartels to raise prices because consumers have no choice: the "competition" (i.e. the other members of the cartel) have the same prices for the same services.
Take college as an example. The artificial scarcity is accreditation: if the institution isn't accredited, the diplomas it issues are worthless.
Suppose (as I propose in my book The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy) that college diplomas were awarded on the basis of standardized exams and essay questions: the only thing that matters is what the student learned, not what bureaucratic hoops the cartel has erected to protect itself from real competition.
As for healthcare, the cartel hides behind opaque pricing and complex billing that is paid by insurers or the government; the consumer has no choice and no access to the real costs.
Many cartels are obscured by complex ownership arrangements. The majority of the mainstream media is famously owned by six corporations; this concentration of ownership (and thus of political influence) dominates the cartel-state-dominated American economy.
Cartels will fight to the death to retain their privileges and profits. The status quo works just fine for them, and they will never let reform reduce their privileges, power or profits.
But once the average household depends on government handouts just to remain nominally solvent, the slide over the cliff has already started.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Will The Matrix Prevail?

By Paul Craig Roberts and originally published at 
UPDATE Nov. 19: Note that the authorities almost always claim that they had no warning or indication of an attack, but they can almost instantly identify the “mastermind.”
The Paris attack is playing out as I expected. The French government is attacking French civil liberty with legislation similar to the US PATRIOT Act. 
Readers in France have informed me that 84% of the French people, according to a poll, are content to be spied upon as long as it keeps them safe. This means that only 16% of the French nation is not brain dead.
Another reader informs me that a TV news station read a letter left behind by one of the alleged ISIL bombers, a letter written in perfect English. Really! I mean, Really! Those with their secret agendas know how stupid the Western peoples are, collectively a hopeless basket case.
French and American politicians are demanding that NATO Article 5 be used to put NATO boots on the ground in Syria. This is important not in order to fight ISIL, which the Russians are successfully doing, but to overthrow Assad under the pretext of fighting ISIL, a crazy policy that could bring conflict with Russia.
Alternatively, to avoid conflict with Russia, Washington can take advantage of the Russian government’s hope that the Paris attack will show the West that Putin was correct that the West should join Russia in opposing ISIL. Once a NATO-Russian coalition, as advocated by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, is formed, Putin becomes the West’s captive in the overthrow of Assad.
To insure that no one is informed of the true facts by the English language Russian media, such as RT and Sputnik, the US Senate arranged hearings on foreign propaganda. Kenneth Weinstein, a member of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, that is, the censors, told the senators that RT, Sputnik, and a variety of other truthful news sources are “well-funded state propaganda outlets.”
In other words, only believe what you read in Washington-controlled propaganda outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, BBC, NPR, and so forth.
The aftermath of the Paris attack is like the aftermath of the so-called Boston Marathon Bombing. Fifty heavily armed police converged on two people and murdered them. The murdered female is described even by RT as a “female suicide bomber.” If the murdered woman is a suicide bomber, how is she still alive to be murdered by police? Not even the “Russian propaganda outlet” RT asks why 50 heavily armed police were unable to capture two people alive and had to kill them!
A number of readers have sent to me information that indicates that the Paris attack was reported on both Wikipedia and Twitter the day before it occurred. I do not know what to make of this. I do remember that the BBC reported the collapse of WTC building 7 prior to its collapse. The BBC reporter is actually standing in front of the still standing WTC 7 as she makes the report of its collapse. In other words, orchestration mistakes occur. But hardly any of the brainwashed pubic notices.
The question that raises itself is to what extent is this false flag attack in Paris a hoax. Why don’t we see the large number of dead and wounded. What we seem to have are uninjured crisis actors.
Where are the eyewitness videos?
Witnesses in behalf of the official story seem to have performed the same function on other occasions:
Having been at the top of government, journalism, and academia for a lifetime, it is clear to me that there is a great deal wrong with the explanations that people are being given. However, the majority of Western peoples have been thoroughly brainwashed to believe that anyone who doubts official explanations is a “conspiracy theorist.”
In other words, only governments and their media presstitutes tell the truth.
This makes it simple for governments with their secret agendas to protect their agendas from the facts. Who would believe me when the alternative is to believe Fox News, CNN, the BBC, NPR, Dubya, Obama, Wolfowitz, Hollande, Merkel, Cameron, the Weakly Standard?
If Putin’s government and the Chinese people are so desperately determined to be part of the “glorious West” that they will accept a false reality, the world is doomed.
If it is up to Western politicians, the world is doomed for sure. To the man and the woman they are warmongers. Moreover, the response to the false flag/hoax attack is mindless. The morons declare that the West is attacked because it allows women to be educated. The West is attacked because of “french values and French way of life, because we dance” (Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius). In other words, the nonsense that worked for the idiot US president, George W. Bush, works for the French. “We are attacked because we are good.” All of us good people here in the West would never be attacked because we have looted and robbed the Middle East for a century and followed up the looting with 14 years of military devastation of seven countries, producing millions of deaths and displaced persons.
Really, it is a wonder that there are not round the clock REAL TERRORIST ATTACKS on Western countries, who certainly deserve them.

Monday, November 23, 2015

ISIS Is Being Aimed At The West By Globalists - Here’s What We Can Do About It

By Brandon Smith and originally published at
Over the past year and a half, I have been writing on the engineered nature of ISIS, delving deeply into its history and its backing by Western intelligence agencies in articles such as “Is Martial Law Justified If ISIS Attacks?” as well as “What Will You Do When Tyranny And Terrorism Work Hand In Hand?” and “The Time Is Ripe For A False Flag Attack On American Soil.”
Specifically, I compared the ISIS phenomenon to another establishment-backed terrorist program that began at the onset of the Cold War in Europe and was publicly exposed in the 1990s. That program was called Operation Gladio.
Gladio involved the manipulation of existing extremist groups as well as the complete fabrication of terrorist cells within Europe claiming to be “left-wing.” The reality was that these terrorist cells were made up of intelligence agency operatives (including CIA operatives) acting as handlers often for duped scapegoats and patsies. These proxy terrorists initiated decades of attacks in Europe, which focused on shootings and bombings in public areas with full media saturation. Gladio-influenced cells, such as Action Directe, carried out at least 50 different violent attacks in France in the 1970s and 1980s, along with groups like Red Army Faction, Black September and the PLFP.
Governments across Europe began using the attacks as a rallying cry for a centralized one-European nation; that cry culminated in the formation of the EU.
Operation Gladio began in France in 1947, when French Interior Minister Edouard Depreux revealed the existence of a secret stay-behind army codenamed “Plan Bleu.”
In France in 1948, the Western Union Clandestine Committee (WUCC) was created to coordinate secret unorthodox warfare. After the creation of NATO a year later, the WUCC was integrated into the military alliance under the name Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC).
The former director of the French intelligence service DGSE, Adm. Pierre Lacoste, said in a 1992 interview with The Nation, that France’s “secret army” was involved in terrorist activities against Charles de Gaulle, whom the CIA wanted to assassinate.
De Gaulle was apparently not entirely innocent in the Gladio affair, either. De Gaulle was very familiar with a secret organization called Service d’ Action Civique. It ended up being exposed as a training ground for Gladio Agents under Jaques Foccart, a government “adviser” who would go on to mastermind multiple military coups in Africa. Whether de Gaulle was fully aware of this problem is not known. It was discovered, though, that SAC had infiltrated communist student groups in the late 1960s through the 1970s and attempted to provoke violent actions.
De Gaulle was eventually driven out of office after the 1969 failure of the Referendum of Regionalisation. He was replaced by Georges Pompidou, who (what a surprise) was an avid promoter of European unification (centralization). Pompidou founded the French arm of the Pan-European Union Movement. And immediately after he took de Gaulle’s position, he helped initiate the European Communities Summit, which led directly to the formation of the European Union structure.
Gladio was not fully exposed to the wider public until 1990 when Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti came forward to the senate with detailed information.  After the information hit the mainstream, the European Parliament was forced to write a resolution against any future false flag projects.  Clearly, they have since ignored these promises.
For more information on Gladio, I highly recommend the intensively researched book “NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe” by Daniele Ganser, as well as the 1992 BBC documentary “Operation Gladio.”
As I have stated time and time again, government engineered crisis is designed to do one thing: drive the fearful public toward more centralization and less freedom. Although Operation Gladio was later exposed, it was too late; Gladio (along with other clandestine economic measures) had achieved the goal of a malleable citizenry desperate for more centralized governance; a social attitude which led to a transnational union in Europe with a single currency mechanism.
What does this have to do with ISIS? In order to defeat an enemy, you have to know where he comes from, what his motivations are, and who pulls his strings if he has any.  As I predicted in the pieces linked at the beginning of this article, ISIS has now been exposed as being supported if not entirely funded and managed by Western covert intelligence through documents obtained from the Department of Defense by Judicial Watch, making ISIS very similar to Gladio in its origins and tactics.
This DoD paper should not have been at all surprising to most of us in the liberty movement. The West had been shifting militants from Libya into Syria just before protests suddenly erupted into all-out war. Instructors from the U.K. and France, under U.S. advisement, had been training militants in Jordan specifically for the purpose of invading and disrupting Syria and overthrowing president Bashar Assad. This training continued well after it became clear that the same militants had formed under the banner of ISIS.
Establishment elites have openly applauded the radicalization of insurgents in Syria. The Council on Foreign Relations argued that the inclusion of what they called “extremist al-Qaida elements” in the Syrian insurgency “improved the moral” of the movement, stating that the “Free Syrian Army needs al-Qaida now.” The CFR acknowledges that the goal of al-Qaida operatives in Syria is not necessarily to overthrow Assad, but to establish an Islamic state. Despite this, the CFR continued to support the same strategy of militant training to overthrow Assad.
The facts are this:
- ISIS was created by covert intelligence and continues to be trained and supplied by Western governments.
- The tactics ISIS uses, including monstrous acts of genocide, were clearly taught to them by covert intelligence interests (look into the School of the Americas for similar programs), considering ISIS insurgents continue to receive aid from Western intelligence despite their behavior.
- Western governments are well aware that ISIS agents have been inserted into refugee camps and are being imported into Europe and the U.S.
- ISIS smugglers have openly admitted to this infiltration plan, yet the U.S. and EU governments continued the immigration surge.
- Lower echelon ISIS fighters that have actually been captured and interviewed apparently have wide-ranging views on Islam and are not the staunchly unified theocratic zealots the Western public has been led to believe. This is a considerable departure from groups like al-Qaida (also Western funded and trained), which required complete theological conformity.
In truth, the only unifying drive of many captured ISIS fighters has been a concerted hatred of the West and the U.S. in particular due to our government’s complete destabilization of the Middle East. Meaning, the establishment (globalists) brought chaos to the Middle East, then conjured the rise of ISIS out of that despair, then used ISIS to recruit young men with a hatred for the West, and has now led those fighters right to our doorstep.
The escalation of force in Syria by both Russia and the West is likely now useless, as thousands of ISIS insurgents have been removed from the combat zone and transported exactly where they prefer to be — right next door to us. But defeating ISIS has never been the goal.
One must conclude given these facts that the plan by the establishment to force public acceptance of Syrian mass immigration was a Trojan horse strategy to plant ISIS extremists within deadly proximity to western civilians. But why?
Again, this is yet another Gladio-style program designed to strike terror in the hearts of the public and condition them into accepting even greater centralization and less freedom. A European superstate with common border security and a single government authority will certainly be on the table soon. Not to mention, martial law is essentially in place in France today and will be expanded to other EU members as the attacks continue. As with Gladio, Europeans should expect many more events like the Paris attacks in the months to come.
The U.S. is set to receive over 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next couple months. Unlike in Europe, where numerous activist groups have been able to partially track numbers and types of people within refugee groups, Americans have little access to information surrounding Syrian immigration to the U.S. I suspect that, as in Europe, the claims that the refugees are only “single mothers, children and religious minorities” is mostly false, and many of them are actually single military-age males.
In the U.S., the federal government has been legally positioning for martial law for years, from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its indefinite-detention-without-trial provisions that apply to citizens, to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and mass surveillance measures without warrant, to resource confiscation provisions through executive order that apply during any event the White House labels an “emergency,” to elitist insiders like Wesley Clark planting the concept on national television of World War II-style internment camps for citizens deemed hostile to the status quo.
I would also point out that the U.S., and the global economy in general, is currently witnessing a massive slowdown rivaling the credit collapse of 2008. Widespread terrorist attacks are a perfect rationalization for a complete lockdown of Western peoples, as well as a perfect distraction from the banker-generated economic implosion that is progressing in exponentially harsher stages as we head into 2016.
Another major advantage to consider to the Paris attacks is that now, with a Syrian passportbeing conveniently found on one of the terrorists (possibly fake), the war in Syria is given greater rationale while the immigration plan continues unabated. NATO countries are gearing up for a large-scale assault in the region, while Russia is already entrenched. Imagine the potential for an “accidental” trigger event between the East and West as Russian troops and planes come within spitting distance of NATO troops and planes.
Americans should see a Paris-level attack as inevitable in the near term. They should expect similar events in unusual areas of the country, including more suburban and rural areas to ensure that no one feels safe anywhere. They should expect that said attacks will be high frequency and that they will occur in a coordinated manner. This is how Gladio operated, and this is undoubtedly how ISIS will operate.
The question is: What can be done about it?
We must first recognize that ISIS is only a surface problem; the deeper problem is corrupt governments across the globe creating dangerous terrorist groups out of thin air.  That said, ISIS is still a threat, and must be dealt with along with globalists.
If the government insists upon financing and training dangerous militant groups and directly immigrating them along with Syrian refugees without any vetting whatsoever, if they insist on wide open borders, then there is not much we can do to prevent ISIS from slipping into the U.S. We also cannot go the fascist route and round up every Muslim in the name of security as some neocons are suggesting; this is exactly what the elites want, public support for liberty destroying measures against one group that can then be applied to ALL groups.
We can, though, take some measures that we should have been instituting all along.
Higher pressure on prime immigration centers: Legal immigration should not be an issue normally, but it has been made an issue due to deliberately lax security measures by the federal government. If the government is not going to take action, then the American people must. There are a limited number of these relocation centers in the U.S.; and activist pressure could be applied, along with pressure on local and state officials. Michigan, Texas  and Alabama among other states have publicly announced that they will not be taking any more refugees until the government revises its vetting standards. That is a perfectly rational approach. Although I suspect the hour may be too late to disrupt the flow of ISIS sleeper cells into our country, we should do what we can to end the current insane immigration policies.
Locally managed border security: The federal border patrol simply is not getting the job done right now. And the great threat is that once an attack does occur within the U.S., the federal government will suggest a militarization of the border (or the entire nation) rather than taking simple measures they should have taken long ago. You see, the goal of false-flag terror is to motivate the public to demand more government power. This is why followers of the neoconservative mindset are idiotic. The establishment CREATED the problem of ISIS and potential ISIS immigration. And when it all goes sour, neocons cry out that the same government needs expanded militarized authority to do its job. I say, “No more.”
Border security should be handled at the local level rather than the federal level, meaning the people of the vulnerable states should be organizing their own security measure, patrols, alarms, response teams, etc. I am so tired of hearing that we should “let the professionals do the job.” Frankly, there are no “professionals” in the area of border security seeing as we now have wide-open borders. The locals have every right to secure their own states and will probably do a better job that the federal government ever has.
Your tactical response kit: Build an active-shooter kit for your vehicle and ALWAYS carry a sidearm, either open carry or concealed if you have a CCW. I open carry at all times as a matter of principle and have never been asked to leave an establishment as a result. But if you are worried about confrontation with people or businesses, then simply carry concealed. Open-carry citizens could dissuade attackers from striking a particular place altogether through blatant show of force, while CCW holders are less visible. There are advantages to both.
An active-shooter kit would require a lightweight folding-stock rifle or a short-barrel AR-style pistol with an arm brace, a lightweight tactical vest with mags and ammo, ballistic plates, smoke, a rifle light (for dark indoor spaces in particular; night vision with limited depth perception is far less effective than a simple light), a trauma kit with pressure bandages, celox gauze, tourniquets, chest seals, decompression needles, etc., as well as a radio communications kit.  All gear should be tailored to the individual's expertise and needs.  This kit should be placed in a nondescript backpack or carrying case for easy transport. Obviously, train with all of your gear extensively before using it in the field.
Personal and team training for active shooters: The only way Americans can guarantee any measure of safety from a Paris-style attack is for as many citizens as possible to be armed and trained. This means mentally training to go TOWARD the sound of the shooting, rather than to run away from it, as well as tactical methods to marginalize a shooter’s ability to move and project violence. Team training is a must, and you should already be working within a group to learn how to function in combat without danger of friendly fire or misdirected fire that might put innocent bystanders at risk.
The common argument against citizens defending themselves is that they are untrained and are “likely to do more harm than good.” This is nonsense. One armed person in Paris could have made all the difference, as this man armed with a .38 revolver did when his church in South Africa came under attack by terrorists. Another argument is that when armed citizens respond aggressively to an attack, they risk being mistaken as terrorists by authorities. I have to point out that the authorities rarely arrive in time to accomplish anything, let alone mistake you on the scene as a terrorist while defending yourself.
Military-grade training far superior to the training mandated by law enforcement is widely available to U.S. citizens. It is time to accept that this is the world we live in now. Are you going to put blind faith in a corrupt government system that has deliberately put you in harm’s way, or are you going to take proactive measures to protect yourself and those around you? Make no mistake; your safety is in your hands whether you like it or not.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Crux of the Story

By Ravi Zacharias and originally published at 
There is a vacuum at the heart of our culture. As Saul Bellow argued in his 1976 Noble Laureate lecture, “The intelligent public is waiting to hear from art what it does not hear from theology, philosophy, and social theory and what it cannot hear from pure science: a broader, fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are, and what this life is for. If writers do not come into the center, it will not be because the center is pre-empted; it is not.” Very simply stated, there is no center to hold things together. Or to put it differently, there is no over-arching imagination, no over-arching story to life by which all the particulars can be interpreted. The pursuit of knowledge without knowing who we are or why we exist, combined with a war on our imaginations by our entertainment industry, leaves us at the mercy of power with no center. May I illustrate this?
On many different occasions while driving and listening to music, every now and then a piece comes on that I find either unmusical or jarring. I usually shut the radio off. But then one day I was taken to see a play called The Phantom of the Opera. Suddenly I realized that some of the music I had not quite enjoyed was from this play. I was amazed at the difference knowing the story made, whenever I heard the music subsequently. In fact the music in some portions is utterly magnificent. The love songs, the discourses, yes, even the arguments made sense when you know the story. Life needs a story for one to understand the details. Life needs to hold together at the center if we are to reach to distant horizons. But our culture owns neither a story, nor holds at the center.
If such is the reality of our culture, where does that leave us? The challenge, as I see it, is this: Will we connect with a generation that hears with its eyes and thinks with its feelings?
Ironically, postmodernism may be one of the most opportune thought patterns because it has cleared the playing field. All disciplines have lost their “final authority.” The hopes that modernity had brought, the triumph of “Reason” and “Science,” which many thought would bring the utopia, have failed in almost every respect. With all of our material gains, there is still a hunger for the spiritual. In virtually every part of the world, students linger long after every session to talk and plead for answers to their barren lives. All the education one gets does not diminish that search for inner coherence, an imagination and a storyline for one’s own life.
There is a yearning that even the most cavalier attitude does not weaken. Moreover, there is indeed a story and one who stands at the center who answers this yearning. Only in the gospel message that culminates in worship is there coherence—which in turn brings coherence within the community of believers, where both individuality and community are affirmed. The worship of the living God is what ultimately binds the various inclinations of the heart and gives them focus. A worshipping community in spirit and in truth binds the diversity of our culture, the diversity of our education, the diversity of our backgrounds, and brings us together into a corporate imagination and expression of worship.
With all that the cultural terrain presents to us, the injunction that “to find one’s self, one must lose one’s self,” contains a truth any seeker of self-fulfillment needs to grasp. Apart from the cross of Jesus Christ, I know of no other hope. The songwriter said it simply: we have a story to tell to the nations. The last stanza of that great hymn says:
We’ve a Savior to show to the nations
Who the path of sorrow hath trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noon-day bright,
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come to earth,
The kingdom of love and light.

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Terror Grips World, House Votes No to Refugees, Obama Care Disaster

By Greg Hunter’s 
The attack in France is a game changer, not just for France, but for the world. France is clamping down, and the President of France is now turning hard core. This is in part due to fear and outrage from the carnage, but President Holland is also afraid that his number one political adversary is pointing out the attack happened on Holland’s watch. There is no telling who is coming into Europe with the revelation that fake passports are being used by terrorists.
Here in the U.S., the House has voted overwhelmingly to curtail the Syrian refugees. Both Democrats and Republicans put a stop to the refugees 289 to just 137. That’s enough to override a veto from the President. Intelligence experts say there is no way to properly vet and check out the thousands wanting to come into the U.S.
The largest healthcare provider, United Health, might be calling it quits with Obama Care. It should be called the “Unaffordable Care Act.” It was pitched by the Obama Administration that it was going to be cheaper and, instead, it is thousands more per year on average per family. If United Health can’t make it, other insurance companies can’t either. Obama Care will go down in history as the biggest public policy lie and, also, probably the biggest failure.
For most people in the U.S., drought is not a problem. Out west, particularly in California, it is a big problem, and there is no sign of the problem getting better. There is not a single square inch of California that is not in some sort of drought condition. In March of this year, NASA projected that California had one year’s worth of water left.
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.
More visual evidence of the severity of the drought in California can be found by clicking here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Bitter, Crushing Poverty Of Appalachia Is A Preview Of What Is Coming To The Rest Of The Country

Appalachia - Photo from the Appalachian Regional CommissionBy Michael Snyder and originally published at 
What do you say to people that have completely lost all hope that things will ever get any better?  The mountains of Appalachia stretch all the way from southern New York to northern Mississippi, and nestled within those mountains are dozens upon dozens of little towns that are so impoverished that they look like they have been through a war.  Thanks to Barack Obama’s relentless assault on the coal industry and the ongoing collapse of our industrial infrastructure, Appalachia has lost millions of good paying jobs over the past several decades.  Today, more than 40 percent of the population is living in poverty in some areas of eastern Kentucky, and addiction to “hillbilly heroin” (Oxycontin) is absolutely out of control throughout the region.  Yes, poverty is on the rise all over America, but it has especially been cruel to those that make the mountains of Appalachia their home.
An article that was published in the Guardian on Thursday profiled the deeply impoverished town of Beattyville in eastern Kentucky.  Life is very hard in Beattyville today, and it seems to be getting harder all the time…
The town’s poverty rate is 44% above the national average. Half of its families live below the poverty line. That includes three-quarters of those with children, with the attendant consequences. More than one-third of teenagers drop out of high school or leave without graduating. Just 5% of residents have college degrees.
Surrounding communities are little better. Beattyville is the capital of Lee County, named after the commander of the Confederate army of Northern Virginia in the civil war, General Robert E Lee.
Five of the 10 poorest counties in the US run in a line through eastern Kentucky and they include Lee County. Life expectancy in the county is among the worst in the US, which is not unconnected to the fact that more than half the population is obese. Men lived an average of just 68.3 years in 2013, a little more than eight years short of the national average. Women lived 76.4 years on average, about five years short of national life expectancy.
Because life can be so bitter in little towns like Beattyville, many have chosen to turn to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to escape reality.  The following description of what life is like in the region today comes from Kevin D. Williamson
Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.
Many of you that are reading this article know exactly what Williamson is talking about, because you are living in one of those communities.  It can be absolutely soul crushing to look into the hollow eyes of those that have long since given up on life day after day.  There are some communities in America where you can feel the bitterness the moment that you drive into them.  It is almost as if all of the life has been sucked out of the entire town.  If you have ever experienced this, you know what I mean.
If there is hope, most people can endure just about anything.  But when there is no hope, that is when deep depression sets in.  And for many of those living in Appalachia, hope has long since departed.  Just consider the words of long-time Beattyville resident Ed Courier
“It’s bad. I don’t think rural America has a future,” said Courier. “The advantage rural areas had in the past of cheap labour is gone. We used to have a lot of little factories in this area but they’ve gone to Mexico or China. In rural areas housing is cheap but everything else costs more. Utility rates are higher. Food and transport are higher. Management doesn’t want to live in rural areas. Education is horrible here. This is a third-world county. My kids grew up here until they were eight or nine, then they went to school in Louisville [a 145-mile drive away]. I wouldn’t send them to school here.”
Sadly, what has already happened in Appalachia is slowly happening to the rest of the country as well.  There is a chronic lack of good jobs, poverty is exploding, and more Americans than ever are giving into depression.
As economic conditions continue to deteriorate, people are starting to become more desperate.  In many large cities, crime rates are already up by double digit percentages in 2015, and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is beginning to disappear.  For example, down in Tampa it is being reported that there is an epidemic of house squatting going on right now…
Crooks find empty houses all over Tampa Bay and make themselves at home. And now, 8 On Your Side uncovered training manuals on the internet. They teach how to get away with squatting.
The handbooks are brazen. A pamphlet for sale on Amazon for $61.20. An entry on Wiki-How entices tells squatters how to “take a whole house from someone if you’re willing to take the risk.”
It points out the best areas to squat and even advises to spruce up the home to throw off suspicious neighbors.
And a tragic incident that just happened in Indianapolis really touched my heart.  The following comes from ABC News
A family in Indianapolis was torn apart when Amanda Blackburn, 28, died after being shot in the head by a mystery gunman.
Her husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn, returned to their home from the gym Tuesday and found his home broken into and his wife on the ground, officials said.
She died Wednesday, 12 weeks pregnant.
The couple, who have a child, appeared to be madly in love, posting YouTube videos on the way to a “romantic getaway” in Chicago and Amanda even offering marriage advice: “You can lead your wife best, by just being a really, really good Godly example to her.”
Please pray for Pastor Davey.
I can’t even imagine the pain that he must be going through right now.
Meanwhile, there are more signs that this new economic downturn that we are experiencing is about to get even worse…
-Four large U.S. energy companies with combined debt of 4.8 billion dollars have been warned that they are all on the verge of totally collapsing and falling into bankruptcy.
-Unfortunately for all energy companies, the price of oil is not likely to go up significantly any time soon.  The amount of oil being stored offshore has approximately doubled from earlier this year, and more supertankers full of unsold oil are joining the party almost every day
While the crude oil tanker backlog in Houston reaches an almost unprecedented 39 (with combined capacity of 28.4 million barrels), as The FT reports that from China to the Gulf of Mexico, the growing flotilla of stationary supertankers is evidence that the oil price crash may still have further to run, as more than 100m barrels of crude oil and heavy fuels are being held on ships at sea (as the year-long supply glut fills up available storage on land).
-The amount of goods being shipped by rail, freight and air inside the United States continues to decline.  For the month of October, the Cass Shipping Index was down 5.3 percent on a year over year basis.
-And it also looks like a new housing crisis is beginning to emerge.  From September to October, the number of newly initiated foreclosures in the United States rose by 12 percent.
-Of course the elite understand what is happening, and they are working hard to get prepared.  According to Bloomberg, global central banks are buying up gold “at a near-record pace”…
Central banks and other institutions boosted gold purchases to the second-highest level on record in the quarter to September as countries including China and Russia sought to diversify their foreign-exchange reserves.
Net purchases were 175 metric tons, nearing the record 179.5 tons in the same quarter a year earlier, and up from 127.9 tons in the preceding three-month period, the World Gold Council said in a report on Thursday. Still, over the first nine months central banks’ net purchases dropped 6.7 percent to 425.8 tons, according to the council.
When you add these items to the list that I shared with you yesterday, a very disturbing picture begins to develop.
We are clearly heading into an extremely difficult economic period, and that means that the suffering in Appalachia and elsewhere in America is about to get even worse.