Signs of the Times

Tax Deadline Brings out Thousands of Protesters

Thousands of protesters, some dressed like Revolutionary War soldiers and most waving signs with anti-tax slogans, gathered around the nation Wednesday for a series of rallies modeled after the original Boston Tea Party. Americans took to the streets to protest wasteful government spending Wednesday, with estimated crowd sizes of 5,000 to 15,000 in Atlanta, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Olympia, Wash., Lansing, Mich., and Sacramento. The demonstrations are part of a larger grassroots movement against government spending called Taxed Enough Already, or TEA — giving name to the Tax Day Tea Parties — and come more than 235 years after the original Boston Tea Party revolt against taxes. They chose the income tax filing deadline to express their displeasure with government spending since President Barack Obama took office. There were several small counter-protests. One million tea bags delivered to Lafayette Park were reloaded and sent away because tea party organizers did not have the proper permit.

Army Prepares for U.S. Social Chaos

As reported by Human Events news, the threat of social meltdown and chaos is so large a domestic law-enforcement arm of the U.S. military (referred to by The Army Times as the “Consequence Management Response Force”) has been created to deal with what U.S. officials believe to be a coming, unprecedented wave of massive social chaos. A new report by the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute states flatly the U.S. military must prepare for “a violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States” that could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.” Late last year, The Washington Post noted the incoming Obama Administration is going to “earmark” at least 20,000 troops returning from Iraq to deal with “domestic emergencies.” Since then, the Army Times has broken the story that the domestic emergency army unit has been increased to 80,000 troops, who are being trained right now in Georgia.

  • What does the government know that they’re not telling us? Is this part of the New World Order plan to impose more socialistic control over our formerly free society?

Canadian Believers in a God Down To 71 Percent

All Headline News reports that 13 percent fewer Canadians believe in God today than in 2000, according to a new survey by Ipsos Reid. Ipsos vice president John Wright, quoted by Canwest, said, “One wants to say that faith is constant… But I think it is transient for the majority of people.” The study found that even fewer people believe in the existence of an afterlife; only 20 percent say they believe in some kind of life after death, and only 1 in 5 believed in heaven and hell. The study of 1,000 respondents also showed a sharp contrast between men and women on the questions. In 2000, 82 percent of women said they believed in God, compared to 79 percent today. By contrast, 86 percent of men believed in a God in 2000 – today, that percentage dropped to just 63 percent, plunging more than 20 percentage points.

  • The “great falling away” is well underway

Banks Repaying Some Bailout $$

A trickle of banks, large and small, are lining up to repay the government’s bailout money. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs raised $5 billion by selling more than 40 million shares for $123 apiece. To cheers from lawmakers, the New York investment bank said it would use the money to pay back the $10 billion the government gave it at the height of the financial crisis last October as part of the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Goldman would be the largest bank to do so, following six smaller banks, including Signature Bank and IberiaBank, who have already repaid the government with interest. But analysts are cautioning that the repayments should not be viewed as an indication that the economy is rebounding; rather as a sign of how worried bankers are about legislation that imposes limits on banks that take TARP money.

Bank lending to consumers and businesses for many types of loans fell in February despite the billions of dollars in government support the banks received. While the median level of activity in mortgage lending rose 35.4% and home equity lines of credit grew 17.7%, lending to businesses for commercial and industrial loans plunged 47%.

Economic News

Industrial production fell an unexpectedly sharp 1.5% in March, Federal Reserve data showed, capping a brutal quarter as businesses pared orders and cut inventory in a deepening recession. For the first quarter as a whole, output dropped at an annual rate of 20%, the largest quarterly decrease of the current recession, which began in December 2007.

The number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, government data on Thursday showed, but the number of people continuing to receive benefits rose to a fresh record. Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell 53,000 to a seasonally adjusted 610,000 the week ended April 11. It was the second straight week of decline in new claims, from a peak of 674,000. But the number of people remaining on benefit rolls rose 172,000, topping 6 million for the first time since records began in 1967.

The Commerce Department said housing starts fell 10.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 units, second lowest on records dating back to 1959, from February’s downwardly revised 572,000 units. New building permits, which give a sense of future home construction, dropped 9% to a record low 513,000 units.

The number of homeowners facing foreclosure surged in March as lenders lifted temporary moratoriums and resumed legal actions against delinquent mortgage payers. Foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 341,180 properties in March, 46% more than a year ago and 17% above February’s total.

A key gauge of consumer prices fell unexpectedly in March and recorded its first annual drop since 1955, government data showed Wednesday, as slumping demand pushed down energy and food costs. The Labor Department said its closely watched consumer price index fell 0.1%, after increasing 0.4% in February. On a year-over-year basis, consumer prices were down 0.4%, the first 12-month decline since August 1955.

General Growth Properties, owner of more than 200 malls, including Fashion Show in Las Vegas and Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, declared bankruptcy Thursday in the biggest real estate failure in U.S. history.

The Los Angeles Board of Education has voted to lay off as many as 5,400 teachers and support personnel for the upcoming school year. Arizona announced layoffs of about 4,500 teachers and staff.

Officials say the owners of ground zero have proposed indefinitely putting off building two of three skyscrapers planned at the World Trade Center site, citing real estate market conditions. The Port Authority says real estate market conditions should determine if and when the other skyscrapers are built.

At a time when most retailers are begging for customers, second-hand shops are thriving as the laid-off, and those worried they will be, turn to them for less expensive clothes, furniture and household items. But many thrift shops are also running low on merchandise as fewer people are able to donate.

Most Illegal Immigrants’ Kids are U.S. Citizens

Nearly three-quarters of illegal immigrants’ children were born in the USA and are citizens, according to a report released Tuesday. Those 4 million children muddy the immigration debate, raising questions about enforcement and public services for illegal immigrant families. Of the 5.5 million children of illegal immigrants, 73% were born here, up from 63% in 2003. Because more families are made up of both legal and illegal residents, immigration enforcement becomes trickier.

$250M Effort to Secure Ports Lags

A six-year, $250 million anti-terrorism effort to secure the nation’s ports is delayed for at least two more years because the government lacks machines to read fingerprint ID cards issued to more than 1 million workers. Truckers, deckhands and others requiring access to secure areas at ports paid $132 apiece for the high-tech ID cards that have their fingerprints embedded in them. But the Homeland Security Department, which is overseeing the program, says it still lacks fingerprint readers that can be used reliably in harsh weather. Congress ordered the cards in late 2002 based on concerns that terrorists might try to blow up busy seaports or smuggle bombs, weapons or operatives into the country inside cargo containers. Homeland Security was supposed to issue orders this month requiring ports to install card-reading machines, under a 2006 law. The order will not be issued until late 2010 and it may exempt low-risk ports from having card readers.

  • We can always trust the government to be late, inefficient and ineffective. Why would we want more of it?

Justice Dept. Reins in Surveillance Program

The Justice Department has reined in electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency after finding the agency had improperly accessed American phone calls and e-mails. The problems were discovered during a review of the intelligence activities, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday night. The Justice Department did not elaborate on what problems it found. Once corrective measures were taken, Attorney General Eric Holder sought authorization for renewing the surveillance program.

  • The balance between privacy and safety is a difficult one to determine. Below the surface, however, is the looming threat of Big Brother tactics employed against those who stand up for freedom and God as our country sinks deeper and deeper into godless socialism.

Mexico Focused on Guns, Guns, Guns

When President Obama lands in Mexico City Thursday, there will be one main subject on Mexican officials’ minds. “For Mexico, the No. 1 priority is guns. The No. 2 priority is guns. The No. 3 priority is guns,” Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora told USA TODAY. The Mexican government wants Obama to take more steps to stop arms sold in the USA from flowing across the border, where they are frequently used by cartels in Mexico’s drug war. That issue and other contentious subjects, including a brewing trade dispute, will be on the agenda as Obama makes his first official trip south.

  • So, Mexico will provide the excuse for Obama to move on greater gun control. After all, the North American Union needs to get its laws coordinated for the coming merger. The New World Order knows that armed citizens remain a dangerous threat to their plans for socialism and globalization.

Drought Threatens Iraq’s Garden of Eden

A severe drought is threatening Iraq’s southern marshes — the traditional site of the biblical Garden of Eden — just as the region was recovering from Saddam Hussein’s draining of its lakes and swamps to punish a political rebellion. Marshes that were coming back to life a few years ago with U.N. help are again little more than vast expanses of cracked earth. The area’s thousands of inhabitants, known as Marsh Arabs, are victims of the debilitating drought that has ravaged much of Iraq and neighboring countries the last two years. The Marsh Arab culture existed for more than 5,000 years in the 8,000 square miles of wetlands fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The marshes boasted hundreds of species of birds and fish, and periodic flooding created fertile farm lands.

  • As promised, God has ensured that we will never enter the Garden of Eden again on our own, except through His Son

Somali Pirates on Hijacking Spree

Somali pirates have launched a series of attacks on international ships this week, apparently undeterred by the U.S. Navy’s daring rescue of an American sea captain that left three pirates dead. The hijackings come only days after the rescue and vows by U.S. officials to redouble efforts on combating pirates, who have roamed the seas with near impunity. The continued attacks highlight the difficulty in combating pirates who have used Somalia, a largely ungoverned country in east Africa, as a base of operations.

Somali pirates fired grenades and automatic weapons at an American freighter loaded with food aid but the ship managed to escape the attack and was heading Wednesday to Kenya under U.S. Navy escort. In defiance of President Obama’s vow to halt their banditry, pirates have seized four vessels and over 75 hostages off the Horn of Africa since Sunday’s dramatic rescue of an American freighter captain.

The French Navy captured 11 suspected pirates off the coast of Kenya Wednesday. The Navy tracked the pirates overnight after they attacked a ship called the Safmarine Asia. The French launched a helicopter from the frigate Nivose to head off the attack Tuesday night, then seized the suspected pirates Wednesday morning.

America is going after the pirates’ loot. The Obama administration announced plans Wednesday to freeze assets belonging to the pirates operating off Somalia’s coast, which could make it harder for them to collect million-dollar ransoms until more sweeping diplomatic or military action is taken. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged that the pirates’ assets could be difficult to locate, but said that targeting their finances could stop them from acquiring faster boats and surveillance equipment.

  • What’s so hard about this? Use our satellites to track them and shoot the pirates’ boats with air-launched missiles when they drive away with the ransom money.

Will Israel Attack Iran’s Nuclear Plants?

Iran‘s president on Wednesday sent the clearest signal yet that the Islamic republic wants warmer ties with the U.S., just one day after Washington spoke of new strategies to address the country’s disputed nuclear program. Taken together, the developments indicate that the longtime adversaries are seeking ways to return to the negotiating table and ease a nearly 30-year-old diplomatic standoff. President Barack Obama’s administration has sought to start a dialogue with Iran, a departure from the Bush administration’s tough talk.

  • Just as North Korea has done, Iran will try to gain incentives all the while scheming to keep its nuclear program going.

Israel‘s president dismissed talk of attacking Iranian nuclear facilities in talks with the U.S. Mideast envoy Thursday, saying there is no military solution to the nuclear threat from Tehran. Shimon Peres told President’s Barack Obama’s representative George Mitchell that progress with Iran depended on international cooperation. Peres said the international community must explore whether dialogue is a real opportunity or Iran is just stalling. Israel sees a nuclear Iran as the most serious threat to its existence. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and Iran has tested long-range missiles that could strike Israel.

Jerusalem Report says that Israel will be forced to launch a massive air strike lasting a few days at most against Iran’s nuclear sites “if President Obama decides on a policy of engagement that leaves the Iranians with a viable nuclear option.” If the Russians step up the delivery date for large numbers of S-300 missiles, it could foment an earlier attack. Even without a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel has the capability to completely disrupt the Iranian economy by targeting strategic oil production plants. This would severely hamper an Iranian counterstrike. Could this be why Tehran’s top nuclear negotiator called the EU’s foreign policy chief on Monday and indicated that Iran was open to such talks and that the discussions should be aimed at “construction cooperation” between Iran and the West?

  • Netanyahu is a lot more hawkish than Peres and is unlikely to let Iran get away with diplomatic obfuscation

N. Korea Ousts Inspectors, Reviving Nuclear Facilities

The International Atomic Energy Agency says North Korea is expelling its inspectors. The North has also told the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it is reactivating all of its nuclear facilities. The moves reflect North Korea’s anger at U.N. Security Council criticism of the country’s latest missile launch. The White House, meantime, said North Korea’s vow to restart its nuclear reactor and boycott international disarmament talks is a serious step in the wrong direction.

Strong Quake Rattles Hawaii’s Big Island

Officials say a strong earthquake shook parts of Hawaii’s Big Island but no damage has been reported. U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says a temblor with a magnitude of 5.0 struck Tuesday at 12:44 p.m. local time about 8 miles (12 kilometers) southeast of volcano Kilauea’s summit. The observatory says it caused no apparent changes in volcanic activity at Kilauea, which began erupting in 1983. It also says 11 quakes with magnitudes of 4 or greater have hit the area in the past 25 years.

Weather

A 17-mile stretch of Interstate 40 was closed Wednesday near Winslow, Ariz. due to a dust storm. The Arizona Department of Public Safety says the highway was closed in both directions between Winslow and the Meteor Crater rest area east of Winslow. It’s the third time in as many weeks that high winds and blowing dust have forced closure of I-40 in the Winslow area.

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