Signs of the Times (10/24/14)

America’s Perpetual State of Emergency

The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency. Thirty separate emergencies, in fact. Since 1976, when Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, presidents have declared at least 53 states of emergency — not counting disaster declarations for events such as tornadoes and floods, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents. Most of those emergencies remain in effect. An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later. A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror.

Tuesday, President Obama informed Congress he was extending another Bush-era emergency for another year, saying “widespread violence and atrocities” in the Democratic Republic of Congo “pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.” Those emergencies, declared by the president by proclamation or executive order, give the president extraordinary powers — to seize property, call up the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will. In his six years in office, President Obama has declared nine emergencies, allowed one to expire and extended 22 emergencies enacted by his predecessors.

  • The balance of powers established in our constitution has dramatically shifted toward the Executive Branch of government giving the President unprecedented power to act unilaterally, which Obama has embraced enthusiastically. All of which gives the globalist New World Order the ability to enact its agenda at an accelerated pace.

Ebola Update

The first case of Ebola arrived in New York City on Thursday. A doctor who recently returned from West Africa, working with Doctors without Borders treating Ebola patients, had tested positive for the infection. Craig Spencer, 33, was taken to Bellevue Hospital after experiencing fever and other symptoms Thursday, less than a week after returning from Guinea, in West Africa. Spencer’s fiancé and two friends with whom he has been in contact are under quarantine. None of those people, in addition to an Uber driver with whom he rode, have symptoms. One contact has been hospitalized as a precaution. New Yorkers and others further afield took to social media to criticize New York City Ebola victim Dr. Craig Spencer for going out and about in the city – including on the subway, in an Uber car and visiting a bowling alley – despite reportedly feeling unwell, though apparently before full symptoms exhibited themselves.

The World Health Organization is sending additional medical experts to Mali to help handle its first confirmed Ebola case, a spokesman said Friday, as a senior WHO official announced accelerated vaccine trials. The World Health Organization is sending additional medical experts to Mali to help handle its first confirmed Ebola case, a spokesman said Friday, as a senior WHO official announced accelerated vaccine trials. Local authorities say they are monitoring 43 people who had contact with the infected child. Five more potential Ebola vaccines are to start clinical trials soon, WHO Assistant Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny said at a news conference Friday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Texas nurse Amber Vinson, being treated for Ebola at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, is steadily regaining her strength and her spirits are high, her family said. Doctors can no longer detect the virus in Vinson’s body, and she’ll be transferred from isolation. The condition of Nina Pham, who, like Vinson, contracted Ebola after treating Duncan, has been upgraded from fair to good.

EU Agrees to 40% Cut in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

European Union leaders agreed early Friday to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the 28-nation bloc to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The deal was aimed at countering climate change and setting an example for the rest of the world ahead of key international climate negotiations next year. The agreement also requires climate-friendly, renewable energy to provide at least 27% of the bloc’s needs and demands that energy efficiency increase by at least 27% in the next 16 years. The decision makes the EU the first major economy to set post-2020 emissions targets ahead of a global climate pact that is supposed to be adopted next year in Paris.

  • The U.S. and other nations have pledged reduction goals in the past but have never come close to actually achieving the objectives. So-called called ‘climate change’ is actually an end-time phenomenon that human intervention will not cause nor mitigate

Obama Administration Misinformed Congress, Public on Immigrant Release

New records contradict the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it is “deeply troubling that ICE would knowingly release thousands of undocumented immigrant detainees – many with prior criminal records – into our streets, while publicly downplaying the danger they posed.” Immigration authorities detain an average of about 34,000 people a day and pays an average of $122 a day for each immigrant it keeps in detention.

Flood of Border Crossings Down to a Trickle

The migrant children and families from Central America crossing the Southwest border have gone back to being nearly invisible — at least for now. Customs and Border Protection said that the numbers of unaccompanied minors and of families with children apprehended crossing the border in September reached the lowest levels since the start of this year. The September numbers continue a significant decline seen through July and August, since a peak of crossings in June provoked intense national media attention. The Border Patrol apprehended 2,402 unaccompanied children at the border in September. That’s down 77 percent from June, when the Border Patrol apprehended 10,622 unaccompanied minors. The numbers of families with children apprehended also fell sharply, to similar levels.

Survey: 40% of U.S. Web Users Harassed Online

More than one-third of adult Internet users in the U.S. say they’ve personally experienced harassment online, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. The most common form experienced by users is being called an offensive name (27%) or having someone try to “purposefully embarrass them” (22%). As for the more serious forms of harassment, the survey found 8% of users have been physically threatened, while another 8% say they’ve been stalked. In most cases, users are targeted by someone they don’t know. Social media is the most common place for harassment online, finds Pew.

Americans Taking Fewest Vacation Days in Four Decades

A new study has found that U.S. workers forfeited $52.4 billion in time-off benefits in 2013 and took less vacation time than at any point in the past four decades. American workers turned their backs on a total of 169 million days of paid time off, in effect “providing free labor for their employers, at an average of $504 per employee,” according to the study conducted by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association. According to the study, in 2013 U.S. employees took an average of 16 days of vacation, compared with an average of 20.3 days as recently as 2000.

Economic News

The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week after falling to a 14-year low the previous week. Despite the increase, weekly applications remain at historically low levels. The Labor Department says applications rose 17,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 283,000. That is the sixth straight week below 300,000. Applications have fallen 19 percent in the past year. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 3,000 to 281,000, the lowest in 14 years.

The Social Security Administration says the average yearly salary stands at $44,888.16. The current debt level of over $17.9 trillion would thus take more than 398 million years of working at the average wage to pay off. This means that even if every man, woman and child in the United States would work for one year just to help pay off the debt the government has piled on in their name, it still wouldn’t be enough. Even more incredible than the debt owed right now is what’s owed down the line from all the promises politicians have been making decade after decade. These unfunded liabilities come to an astonishing $116.2 trillion.

A drop in gasoline prices tempered inflation for the third straight month in September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The consumer price index rose 0.1% after falling 0.2% in August. Over the past 12 months, prices have increased 1.7%.So-called core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy categories, were unchanged in August. Last month, gas prices fell 1% and airline fares were down 0.5% after tumbling 4.7% in August. Apparel prices also declined. Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs increased 0.7%, while vegetables rose 0.5%.

In the oil boom towns of North Dakota, Texas and Colorado there’s a big demand for new homes — but there’s no one to build them. That’s because construction companies keep losing skilled workers to the oil companies, which are offering big bonuses and six-figure salaries. Recruiters even loiter at truck stops and offer drivers $10,000 signing bonuses to take jobs driving for the oil companies. With so many carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other trade workers going to work for the oil services companies, builders have to rehire and train crews constantly.

Wealth inequality is greater than any time since 1929, new research from Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics reveals. “The share of wealth held by the top 0.1 percent of families is now almost as high as in the late 1920s,” the study reports. Wealth disparity was high in the beginning of the 20th century, fell from 1929 to 1978 and has increased since then. The bottom 90 percent of the population held 15 percent of total wealth in the late 1920s, rose to 35 percent in the mid-1980s, then fell to 23 percent in 2012 due to increasing mortgages and other debt.

China’s economy in the third quarter grew at its slowest pace in five years as it battles a slumping real-estate market and weak domestic demand and industrial production. Gross domestic product expanded by 7.3% in the third quarter versus the same period last year, according to government data, the weakest performance since the global financial crisis.

If sanctions, inflation and political risk weren’t enough, falling oil prices are pushing Russia’s already beleaguered economy toward recession. Russia, whose budget gets half its revenue from oil and gas exports, is losing billions of dollars in oil revenue due to the price drop. Cheap oil has further devalued Russia’s currency, with the official exchange rate falling almost 20% this year. The troubles in Russia — the world’s eighth-largest economy — could have global repercussions.

Persecution Watch

Christian pastors in Idaho have filed a lawsuit and asked the courts to temporarily restrain city officials from making them perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. Donald Knapp and wife, Evelyn, operate Hitching Post Wedding Chapel and have been required by city officials to perform same-sex marriages or else be jailed or fined. The Christian Post reports that Knapp’s penalty could be up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $1,000 per day that they refuse to officiate the weddings. After one week, that would amount to three years in prison and $7,000 in fines. The city of Coeur d’Alene says its non-discrimination ordinance requires the couple to perform the wedding ceremonies. “The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement.

Two Christian men in Kazakhstan have been given ten-day prison terms for distributing Christian literature after the authorities claimed the contents of one of the books incite religious hatred. Vyacheslav Cherkasov and Zhasulan Alzhanov were sentenced on 6 October, five months after the authorities confiscated Christian books that the two men were handing out near a market in Shchuchinsk, in the Akmola region. The book Jesus: More than a Prophet, which was among 252 Christian books seized by the authorities on 10 May, was found by officials who conducted “expert analysis” to contain “elements inciting religious hatred and discord.” It is actually a collection of testimonies written by Muslims who became Christians.

Middle East

A terror attack was carried out in Jerusalem Wednesday evening involving a car ramming into a crowd waiting at a light-rail station. The attack, carried out by a Palestinian man known to police as a member of the Islamist terror militia Hamas, killed three month old Chaya Zissel, a dual American-Israeli citizen and wounded her parents and five other people. The driver of the vehicle attempted to escape on foot but was shot by police and later died of his wounds. Rioting broke out in the eastern Jerusalem following the incident, and on Thursday morning masked Arabs attacked a Jewish kindergarten in the Ma’aleh Zeitim neighborhood with stones, before being chased away by police. The attacks against Israeli children in the capital was only the latest incident in an escalating spiral of violence which has flared over recent months.

Islamic State

ISIS militants have once again begun pushing for more territory as the terrorist group has launched 15 simultaneous attacks on land controlled by Kurdish forces. The group attacked several locations in northern Iraq Monday, as well as the Mosul dam, and the Sinjar mountain range. A senior official at the Ministry of Peshmerga said that the terrorists’ attack against the Sinjar mountain range was not successful. “ISIS failed in their attempt to control the village of Sharaf ad-Din after Peshmerga forces repelled the attack and managed to kill a number of ISIS militants,” the official said.

The Islamic State terrorist group is making an estimated $800 million per year in crude oil sales. The sales come from oil regions that the group has captured in Iraq and Syria. The report said that the crude oil is sold to black market traders. ISIS also sells the oil to middlemen who then take the oil to Jordan and other areas of Iraq that are not controlled by the militants. “Oil fuels ISIL’s war machine, notably including the military vehicles vital to its movements and fighting capabilities,” the report said.

Dizzy, vomiting and struggling to breathe, 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 50 miles north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers: Islamic State extremists. The chlorine attack appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State on the battlefield. An Iraqi Defense Ministry official corroborated the events, and doctors said survivors’ symptoms were consistent with chlorine poisoning. Iraqi forces say two other crude chlorine attacks have occurred since the extremists seized vast tracts of Iraqi territory this summer.

U.S. airstrikes have reportedly killed 521 Islamic militants and 32 civilians in the past month. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 464 militants were members of ISIS and 57 militants belonged to the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. The U.S. began its airstrike campaign against ISIS in Iraq in July; the airstrikes were expanded to Syria in September. The U.S. has been aided in the fight against the Muslim extremist group by Britain and France, as well as Arab allies.

In a new video, ISIS shows American-made weapons it says were intended for the Kurds but actually were air dropped into territory they control. At least one bundle of U.S. weapons airdropped in Syria appears to have fallen into the hands of ISIS, a dangerous misfire in the American mission to speed aid to Kurdish forces making their stand in Kobani. ISIS had broadly advertised its acquisition of a broad range of U.S.-made weapons during its rampage across Iraq. ISIS videos have showed its fighters driving U.S. tanks, MRAPs, Humvees.

Tunisia

Nearly four years after the Arab Spring revolt, Tunisia remains its lone success as chaos engulfs much of the region. But that is not its only distinction: Tunisia has sent more foreign fighters than any other country to Iraq and Syria to join the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State. Tunisians have approved a new Constitution by a broad consensus, and a second free election is to take place this month. The country has the advantage of one of the Arab world’s most educated and cosmopolitan populations, numbering just 11 million. But instead of sapping the appeal of militant extremism, the new freedom that came with the Arab Spring revolt has allowed militants to preach and recruit more openly than ever before. At the same time, many young Tunisians say that the new freedoms and elections have done little to improve their daily lives, create jobs or rein in a brutal police force. They view ISIS with pride and many point to the movement as the fulfillment of Islamic end-time prophecies.

Ukraine

Ukraine’s national government and separatists in the country’s east may have agreed to a cease-fire and peace talks six weeks ago, but you wouldn’t know that in Donetsk, the stronghold of the rebellion. Streets in this once-bustling metropolis are nearly empty because so many businesses are closed. Tanks and mobile rocket launchers operated by pro-Russian separatists regularly rumble down city streets. And the sound of artillery fire around the airport is so regular that people ignore it. The continued fighting raises doubts about whether negotiations can settle the bitter dispute over the future of eastern Ukraine between nationalists who want to preserve a united nation and ethnic Russians just as determined to separate and become part of the Motherland. The Ukrainian government estimates there are 1,000 rebels in Donetsk, though residents say they believe the number is higher.

Pakistan

Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent news organisation based at City University, London, has found that only 12% of victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan could be identified as militants. In the report, released by the organization on Thursday, researchers also found that fewer than 4% of those killed have been identified as members of al Qaeda. The report said that out of the 2,379 known victims of drone strikes between June 2004 and October 2014, 704 have been identified. Only 295 of these were reported to be members of some kind of armed group.

Nigeria

Boko Haram militants broke the established ceasefire with Nigerian troops on Sunday (Oct. 19), deflating hopes that the kidnapped schoolgirls would be returned to their families. The terrorist organization had agreed to a truce with the Nigerian government during negotiations in Saudi Arabia. The group had also promised to return nearly 200 girls who had been kidnapped from a school in Borno state on April 14. Charisma News reports Boko Haram has launched at least five attacks since the ceasefire was announced.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s top official has offered a controversial defense of Beijing’s plan for elections in the financial capital, warning that a free vote would give the city’s poorest residents too much power. The remarks by Chief Executive C.Y. Leung came in his first interview with foreign media since protests erupted late last month, led by student groups demanding the right to vote for any candidate of their choosing — not only those approved by Beijing. Leung’s comments are likely to strike a chord with the pro-democracy protesters, who often list Hong Kong’s massive wealth gap and out-of-control home prices as some of their top grievances.

Weather

The fog of uncertainty cast by rising seas is starting to lift from $25 billion worth of public projects planned in San Francisco. The City by the Bay has adopted a first-in-the-nation approach to assessing potential infrastructure risks posed by rising seas. The new policy will help officials incorporate sea level rise into decisions about building and upgrading everything from pipes to police stations to streets. Two or three more feet of sea level rise is forecast globally this century. The guidance was adopted last month by the city’s capital planning committee, a group of lawmakers and city officials formed nearly a decade ago to guide and prioritize byzantine capital spending by departments and agencies.

There were 45 reports of flooding in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island Wednesday night and Thursday. Vehicles were stuck in flood waters in Peabody and Lowell, Massachusetts. The Beverly (Massachusetts) Municipal Airport tallied 6.13 inches of total rainfall through mid-afternoon Thursday. Gardner (5.60 inches) and Brockton (5.03 inches), Massachusetts also topped the five-inch rain threshold. Strong winds were also reported throughout southern New England Wednesday, some of which downed numerous trees and left thousands without power. Winds gusted to 60 mph in Scituate and Hull, Massachusetts, and gusted to 54 mph at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

A heavy rain maker has set up in the Pacific Northwest, and it will continue to bring much needed rain and mountain snow through the weekend. An upper-level low, coupled with the jet stream, will pump moist air from the Pacific Ocean into Washington, Oregon and Northern California. On Friday, rain will taper off for much of the region, with the exception of Oregon and central Idaho, as the initial low weakens and diminishes. On Saturday, a second low pressure system will usher heavy rain into the Pacific Northwest. This second system is forecast to bring rain as far south as San Francisco and Sacramento, as well as snow over the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Friday, October 24 marks nine years since Hurricane Wilma made landfall in southwest Florida, a record hurricane-free streak for the Sunshine State. This is the longest stretch on record dating to 1851 that no hurricanes have made landfall in the state.

A series of powerful solar flares disrupted communications systems this week. The solar flare disrupted radio signals transmitted in the upper atmosphere, which includes some radar and plane systems as well as amateur radio. No high-energy particles were witnessed coming from the flare, meaning damage to satellites or the electrical grid is unlikely. NASA says the radiation burst didn’t pose a risk to humans.

 

 

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