February 27, 2009

This Time It's Different...?

If there’s one warning that financial advisors try to give their clients whenever the market indexes are trending downward, it’s that the markets are cyclical-- they go up and they go down, so stay cool. In response, the harried clients, or some of the so-called contrarian investors, say ‘But, this time it’s different.’
Ever since the big crash of 1929, worry-prone investors have fretted that this time the downturn will not recover… and every time, they have been wrong-- very wrong.
The blue line on the beloved Andex charts may wiggle a bit, but its inexorable trend over the last 100 years has been, overall, onward and upward-- despite those horrid blips in ’29, ’89, the technology bubble burst, and so on. Anyone who stayed the course-- kept invested-- long enough ended up making handsome profits. So the recurrent doomsayers have come to be regarded as people who ‘cry wolf,’ and are scornfully dismissed.


As someone who’s been observing the situation for many years now (admittedly as an amateur) I can’t help but wonder as the world economy falters in 2009, whether this time it will, indeed, be different. My financial advisor acquaintances assure me that this is just another go-round in the cyclic financial ride, only a bit bumpier. We’ve had a good ride up-- now it’s time for the inevitable ‘correction.’ No need to panic; just make a few adjustments to your asset mix, and trust the ‘fundamentals’ to do their old magic... Heh, heh; relax and enjoy the ride. Yes, I’ve been thru this scene before, like the guy in Groundhog Day; and it always makes me uneasy. Yet, I’ve had a nagging suspicion in my gut that says one of these cycles, it is going to be different. How long can this insane, global pyramid scheme of free-enterprise capitalism keep on expanding before it finally crashes under the weight of its bizarre, fundamental beliefs? Among those doctrines is the notion that the economy in a closed system (this planet) can expand indefinitely when it is based on the consumption of ‘goods’ produced from limited resources. We have ecologists informing us that if the entire world population consumed goods at the same rate as Americans, that it would take 4 Earths to sustain such a system. Unless serious steps are taken to reduce the consumption of the rich nations, it is clear that the system must collapse. And far from reducing our intake, the opposite is happening, rapidly. Developing nations are making great strides in ‘industrializing’ and ‘raising the living standards’ of their citizens, with the inevitable result that their consumption has risen sharply. Since the whole capitalist system is premised on increasing consumption and unending expansion, then reducing the production of goods is failure, as judged by the only measure recognized by the system.

Sooner or later, this insane system is destined to implode; the question is when. That’s always the problem in financial matters-- you may have the right idea, but at the wrong time. It’s a question of timing, always. That’s a general kind of observation, but there are a number of factors converging lately in a way that makes the probability of disaster/ depression seem unavoidable. Just consider some of the major ones:
• The US dollar is being gratuitously printed to fund the mega-theft of public funds (a.k.a. ‘bail-outs’) with the inevitable result that inflation must soon follow.
• Several countries have signaled that they will no longer accept only US currency for their commodity transactions (esp. petroleum), so the dollar is effectively no longer the world’s ‘reserve currency.’
• Regardless of election rhetoric, the US government shows little sign of stopping its on-going wars-- wars that are draining huge sums of money; even if the US leaves Iraq, it is already planning a big ‘surge’ in Afghanistan.
• There are stories that US unemployment figures are being fudged to look better than they really are, and hence, the true extent of unemployment (and under-employment) is much worse than stated.
• The markets were being artificially buoyed by a White House ‘plunge protection team’ to appear more robust than they really were; but with the mortgage crisis, nothing could stop the dominoes from toppling as they are doing.
• The bail-out packages rigged by TPTB in the financial world haven’t the least chance at restoring stability in the global system; the smart buzz is that we are just seeing the beginning of bigger catastrophes to come.
• The financial guys cannot factor in the effect of global warming; no one can. The climate is becoming a wild-card in the world economy, and while some optimists see possible gains, most scientists predict instability and consequent crop reductions and increasing damage caused by turbulent weather. In ‘worst case’ scenarios, famines would result, and infrastructure would be severely impaired and require huge sums to repair.
• Wheat reserves are already at a long-term low point; food prices are beginning to escalate.

My deep, gut-level suspicion is that this time-- the crash of ’08-- really is different. In fact, I think it will turn out to be very different. Remember that in the ‘dirty 30s’ the market crash was followed by the ‘dust bowls,’ the years-long draught in the bread-basket prairies of America. That made for a brutal combination, compounded by a lack of social safety nets of any kind. Today, we are seeing crazy weather patterns in several crucial, food-producing areas of the world-- Australia (wild fires), China (draught), and the USA (draught/flooding/fires). So far, due to the international flow of food, and other management methods, we’ve avoided the sting of food scarcity (at least in the comfortable West). But a few more unexpected disasters in the right places, and we could see the beginning of serious food shortages. That will drive the price of some foods higher at a time when there will be a lot of unemployed people trying to survive on much less money. Do you see images of ‘soup lines,’ from those old b&w news-reels from the 1930s?

Another Great Depression, that of the 21st century, is one more bolt of tribulation to strike this planet at a moment when it is coping with an unprecedented onslaught of troubles. As if in preparation for a date with destiny, the planet is in turmoil. Geo-politically, the chess moves have been fast and furious since 2001; that hardly needs elaboration. In terms of weather, again, the global agitation is well known, even if there is disagreement over the cause. Now, financially, we are seeing a gigantic melt-down in the making, affecting virtually every country on Earth. (First, ‘they’ lock us into international trade agreements... then they pull the plug!) On the religious front, there is great confusion, due in no small measure to the failure of mainstream Christian churches to free themselves from the tyranny of the Old Testament.

In short, the ‘winds of strife’ seem to be blowing quite actively. All we need now is for a few ‘good’ earthquakes in populated, ‘modern’ centers, along with another ‘good’ hurricane season, and things will get very ugly. Oh, and of course, we’re all expecting another ‘attack on America,’ because the powers that be are telling us to expect it. In other words, they will ensure that it will happen ‘when the time is right.’ Then the mayhem meter will really climb, and there will be anger and confusion in the streets of Yourtown, USA, the like of which hasn’t been seen before. All these things influence the economic situation, and vice-versa. The Bible’s book of Revelation mentions specifically ‘buying and selling,’ (ch. 13:17) in what many have taken to be reference to economic upheaval, although other commentators treat it more symbolically. It’s difficult to say for certain, but if it does refer to the world economy, we will recognize the pattern when it occurs (or at least some of us will).

It’s interesting to note what seasoned financial commentators and entrepreneurs are saying about the current mess and the almost ad-hoc strategies being invoked by the US government. While Bernanke, Geithner, and Obama make their ‘cautiously optimistic’ predictions for a hoped recovery, almost every other authoritative voice is saying, unequivocally, that the plan of throwing vast sums of money at the problem is doomed to fail. First I found the ‘nay-sayers’ only on the ‘alternative news’ websites. Now I’m finding them on the mainstream economic advice sites. The officials seem to have no alternatives, no ‘plan-B;’ it’s just throw public funds wildly or ‘doing nothing is not an option,’ to quote directly. What will happen, therefore, when this madness must end-- when trillions have been ‘spent,’ and the situation is worse? When individual nations have gone bankrupt, they were placed into a kind of ‘international receivership,’ and had to accept many deprivations as a consequence of their indebtedness. What will happen when the whole world is effectively bankrupt? Well, where did all those billions of dollars go? Someone must have them. It’s the international bankers (banksters) who will hold all that vast treasure, and it’s the governments-- representative of their peoples-- who will be indebted. Which means, if you haven’t seen it coming, that each of us poor saps will be considered to owe an unpayable debt to the banking elite. Think of that for a bit. Whether populations accept that neo-bondage with quiet resignation or not, the result will be a new era of misery for the great majority of us.

We were duly warned-- right at the start of the century, on Sept. 11, 2001-- that the new millennium was going to be different; that it was no longer ‘business as usual’ on planet Earth. The powers behind the scenes have been setting things up for a long time-- since the founding of the USA, one can argue. The creation of the ‘Federal Reserve Bank,’ the decoupling of the dollar from the gold standard, the creation of GATT/WTO, the IMF, international currency flows, the triumph of capitalism; all these innocuous milestones were but stepping stones to the turn of the millennium and the final maneuvers to bring the world to its ultimate financial crisis. You have to recognize that crisis, or ‘chaos,’ is the blatant methodology of the bankster elite-- they print it right on the US dollar bill, as the inscription ‘Ordo ab chao.’ They create the chaos; they wait for the wailing to reach the right pitch; and then they offer their ‘solution.’ In this latest crisis, it remains to be seen what trap they will spring to solve their monetary crisis. But many jaded observers speculate that it will involve a global currency, and may make use of electronic id of some kind. At the rate money is being hurled down the rat hole, it won’t be too long before the game reaches the climax, and we’ll be presented with our Hobson’s choice.

So, while it may be far more comforting to believe the liars (oops, I mean experts) who assure us that this ‘recession’ will soon be over, as the magic economy cycle chugs along as usual, the awful truth for those with the stomach to face it, is that ‘this time it IS different. You would do well, dear reader, to prepare yourself for the possibility.

February 19, 2009

Introduction

Welcome to the 'Truth-seekers' website.
For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie-- deliberate, contrived, and dishonest-- but the myth-- persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. [John F Kennedy]
These essays are aimed to open minds to think beyond the constraints of 'conventional wisdom'; to venture into realms dismissed and denigrated by the exalted 'experts;' to question everything you think you know about this world you live in.

Those are lofty goals, and not exclusive to this site. I harbor no grand illusions about changing the world; I’m just driven to try to reach as many enquiring minds as possible. I have to trust that those who are meant to have their myths challenged will see these messages.


Proceed with me on a journey into risky territory, the frontiers of common sense reality. Leave your excess baggage at the gate-- your precious preconceptions of what the world must be; and take only your latent ability to discern truth when you sense it... to force your mind to think outside the neat boxes of pre-packaged 'information' served up by your friendly, commercial news outlets. For it is high time to cast off the numbing illusions of the masters of this world, and to see what is really happening before our eyes.
In the interest of full, honest disclosure, I make the following declaration. Every view of the world is biased-- it must be, for we are human, not divine. The question is always 'What is this writer's bias?' This is not one of those raving websites that boldly promises that their outrageous views are infallible, 100% 'truth.' We all know that is nonsense! What I promise is that I've studied widely, over many years, gone down numerous dead ends, given fair hearing to a lot of far-out ideas... and in the end, I am compelled by intellectual honesty (almost against my inclination) to accept the authentic Christ-based paradigm. I deliberately avoid stating 'Christian' because I believe most of what is proclaimed or understood to be Christian is, in fact, mostly garbage! I hate to be so blunt, but what else can one call the self-contradictory melange of scriptural truth and error, Old Testament mixed with New, oil and water, that is slickly packaged and sold as doctrine? But I get ahead of myself. Listen, even if you are an avowed atheist, at least be willing to explore something new. After all-- you must have found this site for a reason!

From this introduction, I suggest you go to the Index of essays, and click on the title of one that interests you. NOTE: if a title link does not work (i.e. is broken) you can find the essay by its date from the 'Blog Archive' on the right side.
These are the main themes that my essays deal with:
1. Conspiracy
Many people are starting to become concerned about the stability of their world. They've heard some claims that a ‘conspiracy’ is behind much of the troubling news. Others dismiss such theories as absurd. But, could it be true? Join a skeptic who considers the matter, with no particular axe to grind.

2. End of the World?

You can find any number of websites talking about 'the coming Apocalypse' or predicting the soon End of the World. Could there be something to it? As an amateur student of 'end times' speculation for many years, I've got some unsettling conclusions on the topic. Forewarned is fore-armed!

3. Religion- (reflections of a Christian and former church-goer)

A lot of sincere Christians are finding a strange stirring in their souls calling them to leave the church they now attend. And go... where? These essays are aimed at giving guidance about what it means and what to do... from one who's taken the leap. Also, there are several Bible studies intended to help readers get a new insight into scripture.

Religion has always been a contentious point among humans. Today, we can add the new ‘religion’ of science to the fracas. They all claim ‘truth,’ yet that’s obviously impossible. Can we ever distinguish fact from confabulation? Anyone with a curious mind-- atheist or religious-- is invited to join my enquiry.
You may not agree; but before you fire off a comment-- do some serious study, thinking, and praying!

4. Resources
These essays are intended to help the reader to make the paradigm shift... from the comfortable, familiar world of illusion, to the brave, new world of reality. They aim to assist in seeing thru the 'Matrix;' learning to recognize the awful, omnipresent stench of BS emanating from all our trusted media outlets and government officials. Most of the material comes from my own, hard-won, life experiences.

5. Society and Miscellaneous
Those essays that don't fit into one of the previous 4 categories will be filed under one of these general headings. 'Society' includes my comments on the economic situation; 'miscellaneous' includes some of my letters to the editors of various newspapers.

*- Guidelines for Posting Responses -*
Your responses to these essays are invited; however, please adhere to these guidelines... or wait until you are able to do so. ;-)
> Please refrain from profanity and personal attacks-- they get you nowhere but the 'delete bin.'
> Keep comments brief and addressed to the issue(s) raised in the essay.
> Most software now includes a spell-checker; learn to use it, and your comments will merit more respect.

February 18, 2009

Should Canada be in Afghanistan?

The death toll of Canadian troops in Afghanistan has now reached the ‘century mark,’ and many continue to wonder what, really, are Canadians doing in that far-off part of the world. There’s something very incongruous seeing images of coffins being loaded on aircraft, followed by clips of crowds waiting in Canada waving banners proclaiming ‘We support our troops.’ If you stop and think about it for a moment, isn’t that ridiculous? If we really cared about our soldiers, wouldn’t we keep them out of harm’s way entirely? “But,” you protest, “that’s what soldiers are for-- taking risks to fight for their country.” Alright, then: just how are they helping Canada by fighting in Afghanistan?

Nobody in Afghanistan had anything against Canada prior to the US-led invasion of their country in 2002. Oops, that’s ‘the ISAF’ invasion, of course. And who is ISAF (the ‘International Security Assistance Force’)? Apparently, ISAF was put together by NATO… and NATO was ‘authorized’ by the UN to do their nasty work. However, we all know now that the UN was deceived and bullied by the USA into agreeing to the whole deal. As a long-time, faithful member of NATO, Canada was ‘expected’ by our ‘friends’ the Americans, to supply substantial military muscle to their ‘war on terrorism.’ Treading with political caution, our Prime Minister of the day, Jean Chretien, stick-handled the puck past the Iraq war… mainly by agreeing to send our troops to Afghanistan. The mission has been sold to Canadians, by both Liberal and Conservative governments, as some kind of ‘humanitarian, forceful peace-keeping,’ which has had a hard time being understood by ordinary Canadians. The European NATO partners-- who know something about war-- have shown no desire to expose their troops to battle-risk in such a quagmire.

While the big media corps have pretty much regurgitated the government line, the Globe and Mail ran a column on June 19 that essentially described how the war was a necessary part of Washington’s global strategy to secure control of petroleum sources and the pipeline routes used to deliver the oil to friendly ports. Like most stories of foreign policy, it’s a long, sorry tale; but the upshot is that Canadian soldiers are dying in Afghanistan to serve the insatiable lust for petroleum of our giant neighbor… that’s the bottom line. All the talk about bringing ‘democracy’ etc., etc., is just a lot of self-serving bunk. If we really ‘support our troops,’ let’s bring them home alive! As to the argument that we’re doing ‘humanitarian work,’ just think of how many civilians are being killed as ‘collateral damage’ by ISAF weapons-- surely they’d be better off without foreign troops on their soil. Meanwhile, we ‘support our troops’-- by weeping appropriately and assuring ourselves that they die for noble causes. It’s incredible madness.

February 5, 2009

Reality Check, Early 2009

Back in the 1930s, a few prescient individuals living in Europe could foresee a growing storm gathering over the continent, especially in Germany. In response, they moved themselves and their families to the safe haven of America to start a new life. Today, similar, but much bigger storm clouds are roiling towards us, this time, however, over the whole world. So, where do you run?
In today's 'global village,' no place is safe from possible calamity resulting from war, industrial-ecological mess, natural disaster, or whatever. Sometime in the 1970s, a couple moved their family from the America to a remote island in the Atlantic, where life was hard, but they expected would be peaceful. Within a decade, their lives were in ruin, as they found themselves in the middle of an all-out shooting war between Britain and Argentina over a small group of islands called the Falklands by the Brits, and Maldives by the 'Argies.' It is impossible to predict what location might escape notice or attack by either nature or pernicious mankind. In a worldwide danger zone, we have to look in another direction for security.

Since my epiphany of 2001, I have become increasingly certain that the world-- as we think we know it-- is in it's final throes, and has only limited time left before hitting a global catastrophe of some kind... probably, several kinds at once. Those are the dark clouds gathering over us, and predictably, it's not a fashionable message. Despite the 'global economic crisis' that suddenly appeared in the last months of 2008, many people in the Western nations would still challenge me for being pessimistic. The popular fad of the times is optimism, as if a positive attitude is the thing that will extricate us from our convoluted trap regardless of its magnitude. By being contrarian enough to call the situation as it is, for raising the alarm, I am labeled a pessimist, which is a supreme put-down in an age of denial. Even if a majority have a growing suspicion that there may some truth in the warnings, one must not voice them; it is deemed better to pretend all is well, than to acknowledge the monster in the room.

To those who are solidly employed, earning a handsome salary, enjoying all the goodies of the affluent, Western lifestyle, the idea that it may be in imminent danger of collapse is just too horrible to contemplate, even for a moment. Sure, our follicles bristled when the price of crude oil hit $140 or more in the summer of '08; but, ha, ha, see-- it was just a temporary aberration of the capitalist mechanism, a bit of greed that was quickly overturned. Life is back to normal now, let's breathe easy, jump in the SUV and grab a venti latte. Then there was a little 'dust-up' somewhere in a place called, what was it?-- Ossetia, yeah, South Ossetia, between Georgia and Russia. But that's just a remote corner near a mountain range called the Caucasus, and it blew over quickly, and never really involved 'us', did it? Oh, and we can't forget the global economic crisis that came out of nowhere, and now is said to threaten the welfare of every person in the industrial world... and beyond. But, so far, I'm okay, Jack, and so are most of the people I know. And the talking heads, and my financial advisor insist that everything is under control. These 'corrections' are just part of the recurrent 'financial cycle,' and we just have to hang tough for a little while, and soon the indexes will be rising and we'll be kicking ourselves if we haven't positioned ourselves to take advantage of the next growth spurt. And those reports about the melting of the Arctic ice cap? Well, that's another of those cyclical processes, and notice how cold it's been all over the northern hemisphere, this winter. Surely the speculation about the Arctic melt-down is just screwy science. As for earthquakes occurring in every part of the world, well, we've always had earthquakes, but today our measuring equipment and recording systems are better than ever, so it just appears that there are more tremors.

Yes, everything is just dandy on planet Earth; every signal of looming disaster can be facilely and glibly explained away, so there is nothing to worry about. Sure, except for a few annoying details. The problems alluded to above are only the most obvious and egregious ones that even the mainstream media can't ignore. But there are more, and they are troubling, and are often reported in the news because the media don't yet realize that these curious incidents may in fact be harbingers of great grief yet to fall upon us; otherwise, they'd be cencored. Let me illustrate. For several years, citizens of the central, eastern states (ie. roughly a corridor from 'tornado alley' up to about Pennsylvania) have reported occasional loud sound blasts, described as a 'boom' like a sonic boom, or an explosion; yet no supersonic aircraft were in the area, and no explosive damage discovered. No official explanation has been forthcoming. Similarly, there have been reports of 'sink holes' appearing suddenly in various locations, some over 100 feet across, and in one case, over 300 feet deep. So far, no one has been killed or injured, so the stories quickly fade. Then there are flocks of birds that simply fall, dead, out of the sky, for no apparent reason. Those are some of the more curious phenomena.

On the political scene, we've had a terrorist attack in the heart of the metropolis of Mumbai; an attack that was quickly pinned on Islamist extremists of Pakistani provenance. The smoke had hardly cleared from the fires of Mumbai when the Israelis attacked the helpless enclave of Gaza, bravely throwing the latest, US-supplied weaponry against a rag-tag people armed with little more than Kalashnikovs and home-made rockets. After killing a suitable number of women and children, the IDF celebrated the inauguration of their new puppet in Washington by pulling back and calling what they term a cease-fire. Meanwhile, the rumor-mill has ramped up the old whispers of an attack against the Israelis' favorite bogeyman, Iran. And while Barack Obama makes plans to pull American troops out of a ruined Iraq, he is simultaneously arranging for a dramatic increase in the US presence in Afghanistan. It's like a global shell game.

The point I'm constructing here is pretty clear, but has some less apparent facets. While I argue that the above evidence is proof that world events are headed in a nasty (or nastier) direction, I realize that others will immediately pounce on each specific example and tear it down with their brilliant rebuttals. Humor yourselves, clever optimists; it's only for a while. Because there's more. You see, those strange booms, and odd sink-holes, and bird deaths, may not be 'just' silly phenomena that we simply haven't noticed before. If the speculation of certain commentators is correct, these things are linked by a common thread, a very bothersome thread. Their theory is that the North American continent is stretching, and tearing apart along a rough diagonal line from south-west to north-east, from the Mississippi valley to the mouth of the St. Lawrence river. As it tears, the shearing causes occasional loud booming sounds, and may release methane or other gases into the air above, sometimes catching birds in mid-flight. (And we know that birds are particularly sensitive to noxious gases, hence their use in mines and near volcanoes, as early warning systems). Likewise, sink-holes are forming in areas of loose soil where the stretching leaves gaps. If that weren't bad enough, in the period of barely two months, over the Christmas-New Year season, that same sector of the US experienced the drastic rupture of a huge drainage pipe that flooded a major road artery (Maryland, Dec. 23/08), then the breaking of a dam releasing millions of gallons of toxic sludge from a holding pond adjacent to a coal-fired generating plant (Tennessee, Dec. 23/08), followed just days later by a second, similar spill at another plant (Alabama, Jan. 9). Of course, the explanation is the failure of old infrastructure, but a little research will quickly cast reasonable doubt on that convenient pretext. This is where you have to exercise two latent, human faculties. First, you have to force yourself to discard, if only for a moment, the all-too-glib 'explanations' of the experts and spokespersons who are employed for their ability to sound convincing. You must play the role of objective investigator, even if it's only acting. Second, you have to exercise the long-denigrated faculty of common sense. When you get a cluster of incidents, all sharing certain characteristics, in a particular region, and conforming to a theory that offers an explanation; then, surely, there may be some truth to it.

There's even more to the story. If you found the previous speculation bizarre, this is the part that will really upset some readers, especially the ones who call themselves atheists. You see, many of the events and phenomena I describe above fit into another pattern. That is the clues given in the passages of the Bible. Okay, I can practically hear some readers howl that Christians have been spouting that nonsense for decades, if not centuries. True; I know that. Yet, never have the conditions been as closely fitting as they are today. Numerous Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled during Jesus' first advent, 2,000 years ago; it is reasonable to expect that New Testament predictions concerning his second advent will, likewise, find fulfillment. The question, as always, is one of timing. The prophecies are deliberately opaque in foresight, but more transparent in hindsight. The idea is that they had to prevent tampering with the text by opportunistic exploiters, while still demonstrating their integrity once the events had transpired. If we could find one or more milestones that can be confidently established, then we'd have a better idea of where we are in the time scale of prophecy. The NT writers told their hearers that they were living in the 'last days,' but this expression covers the entire 'church era' from their day forward.

While there's much chatter in 'alternative sources' regarding 'Bible Predictions,' most of them are self-serving propaganda for some cult or another. A few sober sources can be found, but how can anyone, especially a 'layman,' discover the true story? It sounds like an impossibility; yet I think it's up to each individual to examine the scriptures for themselves, and to study various proposed explanations, and then to pray for proper discernment. No matter what the churchy preachers try to imply, the scriptures were written for ordinary believers, not for specially educated Doctors of Law who arrogate knowledge to themselves. This is not my opinion, it is stated bluntly right in the scriptures. Of course, the preachers don't tell you that; if they do, they first tell you what to believe, and then they tell you to 'find it for yourself' in the Bible! Yeah, sure.

After studying the Bible prophecies on my own, I believe that there is a 'milestone' that can be determined, and that indicates we are living in the 'final days' of the present age. As I've stated elsewhere, there are numerous other traditions that converge on this period as being the last days of the current 'aion.' How many such coincidences does it take before a thinking person takes some notice? Of course, if you're solidly in the camp of the optimists, you have a handy rebuttal for every one of those esoteric schools.

Anyway, back to the Biblical signpost, I will spare the suspense, and divulge a nutshell summary of my conclusion... and leave it to you to carefully research the subject and arrive at your own opinion. If you carefully read Revelation chapters 13 and 17, letting the text define its own images (paying special attention to vs. 13:3, 12, 18; 17:8, 11) it seems completely obvious to me that the words refer to the establishment of modern Israel. (See my website studies for a full elaboration). If this conjecture is correct, it means we are living in the final time frame described in Biblical prophecy. How long it will last is unknown, but certain clues in scripture hint that the 'end times' will likely conclude within a generation of the reappearance of Israel. In any case, even secular writers aver that the world simply cannot sustain for much longer the Western, capitalist way of life, which is (when you strip away the jingoistic rhetoric) a vast pyramid scheme.

Not surprisingly, then, it is my belief that our security can only be found in the realm of the spirit. This will upset some 'survivalists' who are banking everything on the gamble that they can stock enough food and ammunition to keep their families secure during, and in the aftermath of, an 'apocalyptic crisis.' As I stated at the beginning, no place on Earth will be safe from all turmoil once the cosmic guano starts to hit the earthly fan. Only those with a simple faith in a divine Creator/Protector will retain their mental stability and some hope of survival. Those who trust their own resources could find themselves completely unbalanced and overwhelmed by the disintegration occurring around them.

There's one recurring theme of atheists that strikes me as particularly lugubrious. Many of them would agree with me that, yes, things in the world are getting worse and worse, and we appear to be a race headed for self-destruction. Then, incredibly, they will invoke this evidence as 'proof' that God does not exist! Their reasoning seems to go like this: if there were a God, He would not possibly allow this evil, self-destruction to go on; but since it continues, therefore there's no God. How wonderfully anthropomorphic! Why should they presume, arrogantly, that God must be constrained by the loony logic of non-believers? Scripture indicates that God endowed humanity with free will, and-- guess what? He actually respects it. Yes, as difficult as it must be, God will allow humanity to play out the logical consequences of our own self-destructive nature. That, it seems, is the only way that we will learn the true degree of our pernicious spiritual state, and of our utter need for a divine Savior. But for the secular society, it is more convenient to blame God for our ills than to accept the responsibility ourselves.

And another barometer of the sorry state of the Last Empire, was provided recently in a spectacle that was, so they boasted, viewed by multi-millions of enthralled bio-bots worldwide. Yes, I refer to the 'Super-Bowl' football game, with its unrelenting focus on what really matters in America, namely, numbers and money. It's a three-ring circus, among the half-time entertainment, the fawning adulation of (get this!) TV commercials, and, oh yeah, the game itself. Said advertising reflects a feverish need to degrade men into some kind of mindless and violent state, and complete the dumbing-down process with attendant numbing of the moral and intelligence faculties of Americans. As the US goes, so goes the rest of the world, is the expedient logic of the enemies of decency. This is a hedonistic society in full melt-down, and like the denouement of the Roman Empire, it's a vicious spiral of wars, sports and entertainment, consumption, vacuous patriotism, and the nauseating, perfunctory invocation for God to 'bless America' at every public manifestation of godless activities.

So, here we are, in the exciting days of the long-prophesied end times. We are like the passengers and crew aboard the Titanic, just in the last minutes before the vessel struck the iceberg. The captain has been notified of danger ahead but refuses to slacken the speed. Wealthy passengers are dancing the night away to the blaring music of a live band, drowning out the cries of poor passengers down in the lower decks. Under a full moon, the lookout sees an island of white looming directly in their path... and can do nothing more than stare, after giving his unwelcome report.

Vatican vs Israel-- Clash of Confusion

[Letter to CBC radio program, The Current, re story on the Vatican's problems with Bishop Williamson who impudently questions the 'holocaust gospel.']

[Greetings etc,] Your enquiry into the recent tempest in a teapot over Vatican dealings with Israel raised several glaring anomalies in the common mis-understanding of religion.

For notable example, I heard one of the Catholic apologists state that Vatican-II was about absolving the Jews of blame for the execution of Jesus Christ. That may be so, but it completely contradicts the words found right in the scriptures of the New Testament, which is the holy writ of the Christian faith. Christians, including scholars, seem to be ignorant of several salient facts:

1) the Jews who crucified Jesus accepted full blame for their decision; Matthew 27:25 records "And all the people said, 'His blood shall be on us and on our children!"

2) the disciples of Jesus, most of whom were born Jews, accused their countrymen of murdering Jesus; John 19:23 states "This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and YOU, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." And Acts 2: 36 says "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom YOU crucified, both Lord and Christ."

3) the Jews do not deny killing Jesus because they regard him as just another prophet in a succession of prophets whom their ancestors had murdered, previously; as written in Acts 7:52, "Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him [Jesus]."

So, while the Roman Catholic Church feels obliged to absolve the Jews for responsibility for the killing of Jesus, the Holy Scripture holds them accountable. Of course, it is pointless to continue 'blaming' anyone for Jesus' death, since he himself told his followers that he gives his life freely, for the benefit of all mankind (John 10:18).

Second, and much more egregious, the Catholic spokesman asserted that Vatican-II further recognized that the Jews' original covenant with God was still valid and provides them with a separate and distinct means of salvation. That belief is entirely antithetical to the fundamental message of the Christian gospel! The well-known verse, John 3:16, says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." It clearly refers to the whole world, making no distinctions among races or religions. Then, Acts 4:12 confirms that: "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

The New Testament book of Hebrews was written specifically as clarification for Jewish believers about the transition from the former, Sinai covenant (called the 'old covenant') to the new, Christ-centered covenant. In chapter 9, verse 15, it is written: "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritanceƑnow that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." The whole book is a careful, forensic explanation of the spiritual reasoning for the change from the Law of Moses to the Law of Love. Most Christians have no clue that this book even exists in their Bible, thanks to a clergy that would rather avoid it than face it honestly.

If the Catholic Church wants to recognize some alternative to the gospel of Christ, then they might as well simply close their doors and shut their church down! What would be the point of it? If Jesus isn't the only channel to the grace of God, then there's simply no need for a Christian Church, period. When will Catholics-- and all other so-called Christians, for that matter-- face the facts found in their own Bible, and either proclaim the authentic gospel, or just shut their apostate system down altogether?

Christians can still acknowledge other beliefs, and maintain dialog with them; but the primacy and uniqueness of Jesus is the foundation of their faith. If you don't accept Jesus as the one way to eternal life, then you aren't a Christian. Listeners may be upset, but they have to ask, then, what is it that makes the Christian faith different or worth believing in. (If your answer is 'the Ten Commandments,' then you are in truly sad shape, and must go back to square zero and start all over again.)

The current controversy underscores the spiritual vacuity of the Roman Catholic Church, and equally, the duplicity of Judaism. How can Jews continue to invoke the 'holocaust' as their free pass to prosecute the extermination of the Palestinians, whose land they usurped? And how can Western journalists keep on mouthing the lies perpetuated by the Jewish lobby groups, while ignoring the legitimate cries of a people apparently given up as a sacrifice by the West to placate their collective conscience for what the Nazis did during the Second World War?

Of course, you will not read this letter on the air, since we seem to be a society that much prefers our cherished fables to truths that may be unpleasant to face. But as a believer in the essence of the Bible, I could not just listen to foolishness without attempting a response.

Sincerely, JK