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Friday, March 18, 2011

Calif. Pastor: End of the World Is Near, Really

"Haven't we heard this all before?" Greg Laurie acknowledged on Sunday. "Every generation ... that has thought it was the generation that would see the Lord's return has been wrong because he didn't come, did he?"
"This idea of the end of the world coming, Christ returning, is this the truth?"
Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., continued his messages on the end times in light of recent events, including the deadly earthquake in Japan.
This generation might be repeating what past generations have been saying, that these are the last days, but Laurie wonders whether the "cumulative effect" and the frequency of the events are cause to believe that indeed Jesus might return in his lifetime.
"Yes, we have heard this message before but over the years, certain things have happened that have immense prophetic significance," he said.
He listed the dramatic escalation of global wars and terrorism, the push for unity or globalism, the change in world economics toward a cashless society, the unprecedented increase of killer earthquakes, and false teaching permeating the church.
The world isn't quite yet at the seven-year Tribulation Period that the Bible prophesizes, Laurie said, but he believes it's close.
"That means the return of Jesus Christ is even closer yet," he said.
There may be some disagreements over the order of the prophetic events, he noted. But there is no division on "this one truth: that Jesus Christ is coming back again soon."
Of course, no one can say with certainty when that day will be.
"I'm not one of those date setters," the famed evangelist said. "Some looney tune will come along and say he's cracked the code. No man knows the day or the hour."
But what people can know are the "signs of the times," a phrase Jesus coined, according to Laurie.
What are these signs? "We see them on the headlines of newspapers," he said.
Earthquakes are just one of many signs. More than 10,000 people are estimated to have died from Friday's magnitude-8.9 quake and tsunami in Japan. One thousand bodies were found washed up across the coastline of Miyagi prefecture on Monday, according to The Associated Press.
Japan's quake was preceded by a smaller but still deadly quake in southwestern China a day earlier. It's been only weeks since a powerful quake also shook Christchurch, New Zealand, and just one year has passed since the catastrophic Haiti earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000 people.
While disasters are one obvious sign, Laurie believes one of the most significant signs indicating the Lord's return in this generation is the 1948 return of the Jewish people to their homeland.
With "plenty of signs of the times," Laurie asked the Harvest congregation, "Are you ready to meet God?"
"If we really understand anything about Bible prophecy ... it'll make us want to be a more godly person," he said.


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Debt Problem: Who In The World Is Going To Buy The Billions Of Dollars Of Debt The U.S. Government Is Constantly Pumping Out Now?

Is the U.S. government on the verge of a massive debt problem?  For years, the U.S. government has been able to borrow all the money that it has wanted to at extremely low interest rates.  But now many of the lending sources that the U.S. government has been depending on are drying up.  Even before this recent crisis in Japan, a number of big players were moving away from U.S. Treasuries and the U.S. 
Federal Reserve was having to step in to pick up the slack.  But now this debt crunch is about to get a whole lot worse.  For years, many had feared that it would be China that would start dumping U.S. government debt, but now it turns out that Japan is going to be the real problem.  
Right now, Japan is the second largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt.  Japan currently holds about $882 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds and they are likely going to have to liquidate much of that in order to fund the rebuilding of their nation.  So needless to say they won't be accumulating any more U.S. government debt.  But the U.S. government still needs to borrow a trillion and a half dollars from someone every single year.  So where in the world are they going to get it?
This is called a debt problem.  Have you ever gotten to the point where you are in debt up to your eyeballs and nobody wants to lend you any more money?
Well, the U.S. government is rapidly reaching that point.
Even before the crisis in Japan, several of the big boys had starting moving away from U.S. government debt.
Economic Collapse


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Tsunami of Inflation to Hit U.S. with Japan Crisis

The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that hit Japan this past week and the destruction that it caused is nothing compared to the tsunami of inflation that will soon hit the U.S. as a result of this crisis. A tsunami of inflation in the U.S. will mean a complete collapse of our monetary system, which could lead to millions of deaths due to a lack of food and heat. 44 million Americans are now dependent on food stamps, but when the U.S. dollar becomes worthless as a result of hyperinflation, the government will no longer have the power to support these Americans and many of them will simply starve to death.
Japan's citizens were smart enough to save up $885.9 billion in U.S. treasuries to spend in a situation like it finds itself in today. The U.S. has no such savings and is the world's largest debtor nation. Our ability to survive depends on our ability to print money that has purchasing power. The only reason the U.S. dollar still has purchasing power is the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency.
All Japan has to do is sell their U.S. treasuries and they will have the financial resources necessary to rebuild the parts of their country that were destroyed by this past week's disaster. However, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday that he doesn't think Japan will unload their $885.9 billion in U.S. treasuries. It remains to be seen if Japan will do the right thing and sell their U.S. treasuries or if they will make the mistake of continuing to artificially prop up the U.S. economy.
The Central Bank of Japan (BOJ) in recent days has already been repeating many of the same mistakes the Federal Reserve made in the U.S. After this past week's disaster, the BOJ printed hundreds of billions of dollars worth of yen in an attempt to prop up their financial markets. Japan's central bank should be raising interest rates, which would encourage its citizens to increase their savings so that they have more resources to rebuild their country and invest into the production of clean energy. By printing trillions of yen out of thin air, the BOJ will cause prices to rise for the very building materials the Japanese need to purchase in order to rebuild.
Although the yen has been rising in recent days, it would be strengthening a lot more if it wasn't for the BOJ's actions. In fact, NIA believes that while the yen may continue to rise in the short-term, the yen is now likely to lose a substantial amount of its purchasing power over the long-term. Instead of allowing the yen to strengthen so that it is cheaper for the Japanese in import copper, iron, steel, oil, natural gas, and other commodities needed to rebuild, the BOJ's actions are actually hurting the Japanese and having the effect of propping up the U.S. economy in the short-term.
The mainstream media frequently talks about Japan's national debt and how it is 225% of their GDP. However, Japan owes most of their national debt to themselves. We have a much worse national debt crisis here in the U.S., where we owe half of our debt to foreigners. Not only that, but once you include America's unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, along with its debts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which are now government backed entities), total U.S. debt obligations now exceed $76 trillion.
The Japanese economy reached peak consumer spending in 1990 and entered their "Lost Decade" of deflation with a balanced budget, high savings rate of 15%, low unemployment rate of 2%, and a net debt to GDP ratio of less than 20%. The average American peaks in spending at age 46 and the last babyboomer just turned 46 in 2010. This means the U.S. economy just passed peak consumer spending, similar to Japan in 1990. Instead of entering this decade from a position of strength, the U.S. has entered it with a real budget deficit of $4.3 trillion, a savings rate of only 4%, a real unemployment rate of 22%, and total debt obligations that are 5 times higher than GDP. We won't be so lucky to escape this decade with deflation, but will instead be faced with hyperinflation as the world loses confidence in the U.S. dollar and rushes to dump their dollar-denominated assets.
When Japan comes to their senses and realizes just how dire the fiscal situation is in the U.S., they will realize that they are much better off investing into their own economy and abandoning the U.S. economy. Just the fact that Geithner is now saying that he doesn't expect Japan to dump their U.S. treasuries, illustrates just how nervous the U.S. government is about the U.S. dollar and how devastating it would be for all Americans if the Japanese did dump their treasuries. No amount of tax increases and spending decreases will ever allow the U.S. to balance its budget. All the U.S. government can do is talk up a strong U.S. dollar, because they have absolutely no real way to keep it propped up.
All NIA members know that Geithner is perhaps the biggest liar in the U.S. government today. Geithner has long said that the U.S. will not monetize its debt, yet the Federal Reserve is now the buyer of 70% of U.S. treasuries being sold. Foreign central bank purchases of U.S. treasuries have fallen from 50% down to 30%. The days of the U.S. exporting its inflation to the rest of the world are now over.
The U.S. just reported a record budget deficit last month of $222.5 billion, a bigger deficit than the entire year of 2007. Up until today, the U.S. has been paying off its debts plus interest by selling larger amounts of U.S. treasuries to new buyers. This is effectively a ponzi scheme, although the U.S. government will never admit it. Even if Japan doesn't sell the U.S. treasuries they already own, that won't be enough for the U.S. to keep this ponzi scheme going. The U.S. needs Japan to keep buying U.S. treasuries, but not only that, they need Japan to buy larger amounts of U.S. treasuries than ever before. The odds of Japan increasing their U.S. treasury purchases during this time of crisis are close to zero, they simply don't have the financial means to do so.
If Japan doesn't step up its U.S. treasury purchases, who will pick up the slack, China? Geithner infuriated China last year by calling them currency manipulators and since then, China has been rapidly expanding the yuan's use in cross border transactions and is now setting up the yuan to be the world's next reserve currency. NIA believes China is likely to stop buying U.S. treasuries, and will instead loan money to Japan to help in their rebuilding efforts.
It is unbelievable just how many of the economists featured by the mainstream media are calling the disaster in Japan a "stimulus" for not only the Japanese economy, but also the U.S. economy. When a country is forced to rebuild an asset that it already had, it is not stimulating the economy, but is spending resources that could have went towards increasing the production of goods and services. When Japan is eventually finished rebuilding the parts of the country that were devastated this past week, the country isn't going to be better off than they were before the crisis. They will likely be even more deeply in debt, with less foreign currency reserves, and a much larger money supply. The Nikkei will likely be a lot higher than it is today due to inflation, but the yen will be worth a lot less and the Japanese will be far less wealthy as a result.
America has nothing to benefit from Japan's rebuilding efforts. Most of the commodities that Japan will import as part of their rebuilding efforts will likely come from Australia, China, and even Canada, with very little of it coming from the U.S. All of the fear and uncertainty in the world today is not going to cause another rush into the U.S. dollar like there was in 2008. When the world dumps risky assets in uncertain situations, the U.S. dollar is going to become one of the risky assets that it dumps. With all of the world's central banks now fixated on printing money in order to "solve" any short-term economic problems, gold and silver will be the new beneficiaries of all safe haven buying during times of crisis. Don't let yesterday's dip in gold and silver fool you. Precious metals were due for a dip and would have sold off no matter what. Now is the time to load up with precious metals before the Federal Reserve begins dropping hints of QE3.

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Dark days in ghost town of Tokyo

Ghost town: A landmark crossroads in Tokyo's Ginza district is eerily dark and empty as citizens stay indoors after warnings about a radioactive cloud from the stricken nuclear plant 150 miles away

It is one of the great cities of the world, home to 13million and as advanced as any metropolis on the planet.
Now Tokyo, usually so full of life by day and night, has the aura of death about it.
Its lights have been cut, supermarket shelves are empty, there are queues for everything and aftershocks come every day.

No man's land: The normally bustling streets of the dynamic city are virtually deserted

No man's land: The normally bustling streets of the dynamic city are virtually deserte

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Road Slide Closes Stretch of California’s Scenic Highway 1


A portion of California's scenic two-lane Highway 1 in Monterey County is closed to traffic due to a 40-foot section of the road that slipped into the Pacific Ocean on March 16, 2011.

The closure will have a significant impact on southbound tourists planning to visit California state parks in the Big Sur area.

California's Department of Transportation (Caltrans) said Highway 1 north of Big Sur and south of Carmel at Rocky Point will be closed indefinitely.

The closure is for all travelers including emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

"The incident happened around 5 p.m. Wednesday (March 16) and it was one of our crews that discovered it," said Susana Z. Cruz, Caltrans District 5 spokesperson. "There were no injuries."

All of the southbound lane is completely gone, while a portion of the northbound lane slipped away as well. The soil under the northbound lane remains soft and reportedly continues to give way.

"Caltrans crews are assessing the roadway right now to determine a repair strategy," Cruz said. "It may take a month to provide a temporary fix. We will need to re-establish the road bed."

Cruz said the cause of the slippage is uncertain, but recent rains in the area may have been a factor.

All businesses along coast Highway 1 remain open, she said. Alternate routes include state Highways 101, 68 and 46.

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Geologist Jim Berkland Predicts Quake for US West Coast Between March 19 to 26th

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Efforts to cool reactors continue in nuclear crisis

Efforts to cool down the overheating reactors and spent fuel continued Friday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was crippled a week ago by a massive earthquake and tsunami, with workers braving the risk of radiation exposure to prevent the problems from developing into a catastrophe.
The unprecedented cooling mission, which was launched Thursday by the Self-Defense Forces by spraying tons of water over the plant’s No. 3 reactor building, was bolstered on the second day with more pumps, after efforts were focused in the morning to restore power to some of the reactors’ cooling systems, the government said.
Seven SDF fire trucks began shooting 50 tons of water at a spent fuel pool of the No. 3 reactor in the afternoon, after up to 64 tons of water was aimed at it the day before by SDF helicopters and five of the trucks plus a police water cannon truck.
The Tokyo Fire Department is slated to join in the mission at the Fukushima plant with 30 trucks capable of discharging massive amounts of water to high places and some 140 firefighters of its ‘‘hyper rescue’’ team, who are specialists in rescue operations in large-scale disasters.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the fire department’s trucks are considering dousing a spent nuclear fuel pool at the No. 1 reactor, although it does not pose as imminent a threat as the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of releasing radioactive materials into the air, to extend all possible means.
Radiation readings at the troubled nuclear plant have consistently followed a downward path through Friday morning, according to data taken roughly 1 kilometer west of the plant’s No. 2 reactor, but plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co stopped short of calling the move a trend.
The radiation level at 11 a.m. dropped to 265.0 microsievert per hour from 351.4 microsievert per hour at 12:30 a.m. Thursday. It measured 292.2 microsievert per hour at 8:40 p.m. Thursday, shortly after SDF trucks sprayed water at the No. 3 reactor pool as part of efforts to avert any massive emission of radioactive materials into the air from the facility.

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Japan raises nuclear alert level

Japan has raised the alert level at its quake-damaged nuclear plant from four to five on a seven-point international scale of atomic incidents.
The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi site, previously rated as a local problem, is now regarded as having "wider consequences".
The UN says the battle to stabilise the plant is a race against time.
The crisis was prompted by last week's huge quake and tsunami, which has left at least 17,000 people dead or missing.
Japanese nuclear officials said core damage to reactors 2 and 3 had prompted the raising of the severity grade.
The 1979 incident at Three Mile Island in the US was also rated at five on the scale, whereas the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was rated at seven.
Further heavy snowfall overnight all but ended hopes of rescuing anyone else from the rubble after the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami.
Millions of people have been affected by the disaster - many survivors have been left without water, electricity, fuel or enough food; hundreds of thousands are homeless.
The national police say 6,911 people are known to have died in the disaster, and 10,316 are still missing.
On Friday, people across Japan observed a minute's silence at 1446 (0546 GMT), exactly one week after the disaster.
As the country paused to remember, relief workers toiling in the ruins bowed their heads, and some elderly survivors in evacuation centres wept.
Japanese officials continue to try to reassure people that the radiation risk is virtually nil outside the 30-km (18-mile) exclusion zone around the plant.

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Russia says ground military intervention in Libya may trigger war

MOSCOW : Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that any military intervention in Libya may trigger a war, RIA Novosti reported

We realize what a ground military operation is. Ground intervention is likely to mark the start of war. Not a civil war, but a war with the international troops," Medvedev said, adding that such a serious issue should be thoroughly considered by the UN Security Council.

His statement comes after the G8 agreed to implement further measures against the Libyan leadership, including possible military actions, RIA Novosti reported.

The UN Security Council held a closed-door debate on Wednesday on a draft resolution seeking to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, after the Arab League voted on Saturday in favor of it.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has repeatedly said that the alliance was considering various options against Libya, including possible military action, but said any intervention in Libya would be strictly in line with UN Security Council decisions.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all parties in this conflict to accept an immediate cease fire and to abide by Security Council Resolution 1970, which was adopted on February 26 by the UN Security Council. The resolution imposed an arms embargo and other arms restrictions on Libya, as well as a travel ban on sixteen loyalists to Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi and Gaddafi himself, who are also subject to a freeze of their assets.

The Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Abdul Ilah Khatib, departed Libya on Wednesday with his delegation after two days of discussions in which he conveyed to senior Libyan officials the strong calls by the international community to cease the fighting and the violence, to ensure humanitarian access and to work toward a peaceful solution of the crisis.

On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees requested a safe passage for people needing to flee combat areas in conflict-ridden Libya, as the number of refugees nears 300,000.

Sub-Saharan nationals living in Libya's eastern and western parts have been trapped by the fighting and have appealed for help to leave the country. To date 280,614 people have fled the violence, including over 150,000 to Tunisia and another 118,000 people have fled to Egypt.
--BNO News

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Higher prices for food are about to get worse

Americans are noticing higher prices at the grocery store, and it's about to get worse.
Food prices at the wholesale level rose last month by the most in 36 years. Cold weather accounted for most of it, forcing stores and restaurants to pay more for green peppers, lettuce and other vegetables, but meat and dairy prices surged, too.
The big questions are how long food prices will keep rising and how high they'll go.
The impact is already visible. Wendy's, paying higher prices for tomatoes, now puts them on hamburgers only by request. Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts have raised prices because they pay more for coffee beans. Supermarkets warn customers that produce may be of lower quality, or limited.
"It has thrown the whole industry into a tizzy," says Dan Bates, director of merchandising for the produce division of grocery chain Supervalu Inc.
Food prices rose 3.9 percent last month, the most since November 1974. Most of the increase was because harsh winter freezes in Florida, Texas and other Southern states, which damaged crops.
At the same time, global prices for corn, wheat, soybeans, coffee and other commodities have risen sharply in the past year. That's raised the price of animal feed, which has pushed up the cost of eggs, ground beef and milk.
Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, says his firm has warned since last summer that spikes in commodity prices would eventually work their way down to wholesalers and consumers, "and here it is. There is plenty more to come over the next few months."
Crop prices began to increase last summer, after droughts slammed harvests in Russia and several other countries. Sharp growth in new world economic powers like India and China has also increased demand.
Overall, the producer price index, which tracks price changes before they reach the consumer, rose 1.6 percent in February, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That's double the rise from the previous month and the biggest increase since June 2009. The index is adjusted to account for seasonal variations.



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Five air forces set to attack Libya. Qaddafi threatens reprisals in Europe and ME

Shortly before the UN Security Council met Thursday, March 17, to discuss a no-fly zone resolution for Libya, Moscow promised Washington and other Western capitals not to apply a veto, DEBKAfile's sources report exclusively. The US, British, French, UAE and Qatar air forces were on standby to attack Libyan army targets as soon as the resolution is passed. If attacked, Libya threatens retaliation against civilian and military targets in Europe and the Middle East, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry in Tripoli..
In Tunis, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained that a UN no-fly zone over Libya "would require the bombing of targets to take out the threat posed by Muammar Qaddafi's regime."
She spoke after Cairo rejected Washington's request for the use of Egyptian air bases to enforce the no fly zone against Libya and from which to launch US air attacks on Qaddafi's army. This too is disclosed by DEBKAfile's exclusive sources.
Earlier Thursday, March 17, DEBKAfile reported: Shortly before she left Egypt for Tunis Wednesday, March 16, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urgently asked the head of Egypt's military junta Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi for permission to use Egyptian air bases for American military jets to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. This is reported exclusively by DEBKAfile's military and Washington sources.
Clinton told Tantawi she hoped for UN Security Council approval of the no-fly zone at its special session Thursday March 17. But this might not be enough to stop Muammar Qaddafi's advance and the US might have to resort to military action against his army. She did not elaborate on this. In Tunis, she said later that a UN no-fly zone over Libya would require the bombing of targets to take out the threat posed by Muammar Qaddafi's regime.
DEBKAfile's sources say the White House is weighing the option of US aerial strikes for halting Qaddafi's march on Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and the primary rebel stronghold. The point of this action would be less to preserve rebel control of the city and more to keep Qaddafi from proclaiming his victory over the opposition to his rule and its foreign champions.



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Are you having a good time Mr. President?

Japan had a mega-earthquake, a tsunami, and multiple nuclear reactors in meltdown....Nuclear radiation will reach California this weekend....Uprisings are spreading across the Middle East....Gaddafi is brutally killing Libyans....Bahrain was invaded...Americans are paying MORE than $4 per gallon for gasoline....Millions of Americans are unemployed and homeless....44 millions live on stamps AND OBAMA IS TALKING ABOUT BASKETBALL!


WASHINGTON — Call it the audacity of chalk. President Barack Obama's NCAA bracket is conspicuously devoid of upsets, with all of the top seeds in the college basketball championship advancing to the Final Four. Three of those four No. 1 seeds — Duke, Pittsburgh and Ohio State — also just so happen to hail from swing states Obama hopes to carry again in 2012.

But the president ultimately picks the team from a deeply red state, Kansas, to win it all, defeating Ohio State in the championship game.
"I think that Kansas has more firepower," Obama said of the pick.
This is the third year Obama has filled out his tournament brackets before ESPN's cameras. In 2009, he correctly made North Carolina his championship pick but erred with his choice of Kansas to win it all in 2010. Duke, where Obama personal aide Reggie Love once played, won it all at last year's Big Dance.
This year, Obama is giving Kansas another shot, saying, "They always feel bad about losing when the president picks them."
ESPN analyst Andy Katz told ABC News that Obama played it "very conservative" as he made his selections, choosing very few upsets.
Asked by Katz about going with all "chalk," the president said it was the first time he'd ever done so.
As Obama filmed this year's segment, he acknowledged that "we are going through incredible changes all around the world." He also encouraged viewers to visit USAID.gov to find out how they can help the Japanese people.
The president also was set to make picks in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

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Devastation on JAPAN video

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