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Thursday, November 17, 2011

God's Plan of the Ages - The Harvest Allegory

Before Yahweh ever began to form the creation, He had fully worked out the plan of the ages from the beginning to the end. Everything that exists, or will exist; every event that has occurred, and is yet to transpire, was planned before the creation began.

Isaiah 14:24
Yahweh of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand...”

Yahweh will accomplish all His good pleasure. Knowing that Yahweh has perfect and complete power to perform all His desire, and perceiving Him to be perfect in knowledge and wisdom, we are able to agree with Scripture’s testimony that everything in the creation is accomplished according to a master plan that Yahweh established by His own counsel.

Ephesians 3:8-11
Unto me - the less than least of all saints, was given this favour, unto the nations, to announce the glad-message of the untraceable riches of the Christ, and to bring to light - what is the administration of the sacred secret which had been hidden away from the ages in God, who did all things create: In order that now, unto the principalities and the authorities in the heavenlies, might be made known, through means of the assembly, the manifold wisdom of God, - according to a plan of the ages which he made in the anointed Jesus our Lord.
[Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible]

Those things God will do have been known from ancient times. Yahweh has set testimonies in His creation, among the heavens, and on the earth, to proclaim His will. Thousands of years ago Yahweh established a witness in the scriptures that He entrusted to man. The Law and the prophets give testimony to Yahweh’s plan of the ages.

Our Father has not neglected to provide a testimony of the resurrections of mankind. Even as plants mature and crops are harvested on the Earth, the day will come when mankind will reach maturity. The time of man’s harvest will be at hand. The Bible frequently uses a harvest allegory to show forth the resurrections of mankind. The crops we grow arise from the dust of the earth even as man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth.

Genesis 2:7
And Yahweh God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

We have previously observed Christ’s parable where He compares men to both wheat and tares that are sown in a field and grow together. There are many more Scriptures that compare men to various types of plants that arise from the dust of the earth. Following is a small sampling of the great variety of Scriptures which employ this allegory.

John 12:24-25
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”

Psalms 1:1-4
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of Yahweh, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Psalms 80:8-13
You removed a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground before it, and it took deep root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shadow, and the cedars of God with its boughs. It was sending out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River. Why have You broken down its hedges, so that all who pass that way pick its fruit? A boar from the forest eats it away and whatever moves in the field feeds on it.

Psalms 92:12-14
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of Yahweh, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green...

Isaiah 40:23-24
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.

I Corinthians 3:6-7
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.

A great many more Scriptures could be cited, as the comparison of men to plants is one of the most abundant analogies that Yahweh uses in the Bible. There are truths that we can glean (pun intended) as we look at men in this light.

One thing that is observable in the natural realm is that plants bear fruit at different times of the year. Even so, Yahweh has determined that men should come to maturity at different times which He has established by His own counsel. Every man must eventually arrive at a state of conformity to Christ so that Yahshua might “fill all things.” However, this subjection of all men to Christ will occur “each in his own order.”

When Yahweh sought to give a testimony of the resurrections of man in the Law delivered to Moses, He chose to use annual gatherings as the symbol to represent this matter. Three times a year Yahweh required that all males appear before Him at a place He would choose. These appointed times (moedim in Hebrew) serve as types of the three resurrections. Each of them occurred at a time of harvest. The three feasts and the harvests associated with them are:


Yahweh chose these three crops to reveal specific truths about those men who would attain to each of the three resurrections. Before I address what is revealed through these three types of plants, let us first establish the foundation upon which we can correctly conclude that the Feasts were intended as symbols of the resurrections of man.

When Yahweh delivered the Law to Moses, He did so to provide mankind with types and shadows that would give those with understanding insight into the hidden mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

Colossians 2:16-17
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to afestival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a shadow of what is to come...

The word “festival” that Paul used here is a reference to the Feasts established by Yahweh. The apostle says that these “are a shadow of what is to come.” The Law with its festival ordinances was given to Moses 1,500 years before Christ was born. It would be about 2,000 more years before a group of firstfruits sons would pass through death into life at the first resurrection. The hour is now close at hand. Those things that have been foreshadowed from ancient times are soon to take place.

In the details of the Feasts of Yahweh we can discern much about the character and timing of the three resurrections of man.

Deuteronomy 16:16
Three times in a year all your males shall appear before Yahweh your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) andat the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and at the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles)...

Appearing before God is symbolic of resurrection. Men were required by Yahweh to leave their dwelling places and journey to a place where they were to meet with Him. At each feast the men were to bring with them the firstfruits of that which was being harvested in that particular season.

Exodus 23:15
And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.

Each resurrection will be distinct in its character even as the three feasts, and the crops associated with them, were different. God looks for fruit in the lives of men. Christ told His disciples, “You shall know them by their fruit.” Yahweh knows every man by his fruit. He knows those who are the barley crop. He knows those who are wheat. He also knows those who are grapes.

Passover, and by extension the first resurrection, is associated with the barley harvest. Barley is an early ripening crop. It matures in the spring of the year, being spared the heat and drought of the summer months. This is a parable. Those who attain to the first resurrection come to maturity quicker than the rest of the body of Christ. Because they gave themselves eagerly to pursue God’s will for them of becoming like Christ, they will not have to experience the heat of the Lake of Fire, even as barley doesn’t have to go through the heat of summer.

The Barley of Passover differs from the wheat of Pentecost in a very significant way. Barley contains very little gluten, while wheat has an abundance of gluten. Gluten is the component of grain that reacts with yeast to make the bread rise. Because barley lacks gluten it is often baked as an unleavened bread. This is a parable, for bread represents man’s flesh and leaven represents sin.

The Last Supper was held during the Feast of Passover. During that meal, Christ took an unleavened loaf of barley bread and said to His disciples, “This is My BODY, broken for you.” The bread had to be unleavened, for Christ was completely righteous, having never sinned.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

The disciples partook of this meal during the days of unleavened bread prescribed by Moses.

Exodus 12:15
“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”

These days are called The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and they are part of the larger Passover celebration. The Feast of Unleavened bread occurs at the time of the barley harvest. The barley loaves represent not only Christ, but those overcomers in Christ who buffet their bodies and keep them under subjection. These ones do not permit their flesh to rise up in the presence of sin. They keep their bodies under the rule of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:24
Now those who belong to Christ Yahshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Wheat is harvested at Pentecost, and therefore corresponds to the second resurrection. Wheat contains an abundance of gluten. At Pentecost Yahweh gave instructions that the wheat presented to Him be baked as a leavened bread. Pentecost occurs fifty days after Passover.

Leviticus 23:16-17
“You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to Yahweh. You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to Yahweh.”

It was not a random whim of God to instruct Israel to remove all leaven from their homes during Passover and to bake the barley as unleavened bread, anymore than it is a meaningless requirement that the bread at Pentecost must be baked WITH leaven. Yahweh is showing forth truth through means of parables.

Those who do not rule over the flesh with its passions and desires, will be excluded from the honor of attaining to the first resurrection. Because many Christians sow to the flesh, rather than to the Spirit, they must wait until a later resurrection to enter into their inheritance in Christ. God will not be mocked. Whether a person is a Christian, or an unbeliever, they will reap what they sow.

Those Christians who walk in a manner unworthy of Christ will not only be excluded from being numbered among the firstborn of Yahshua, they will have to experience “apollumi” in the lake of fire, because they did not present themselves to God as “a living sacrifice” in this present age.

Revelation 2:11
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.”

Revelation 20:14
This is the second death, the lake of fire.

There is a parallel observed between the baking of the leavened loaves of wheat at Pentecost and the Christians who share a place with the unbelievers in the lake of fire. The action of the yeast in wheat bread continues to cause the bread to rise until the bread is placed in the oven and baked. The heat of the oven stops the reaction between the leaven and the gluten in the bread. Similarly, many Christians will only turn away from sin and learn righteousness as they go through the heat of the lake of fire.

The last feast of the year is Tabernacles, often called Sukkot, or the Feast of Booths. It is held in conjunction with the harvest of grapes. Grapes represent those men and women who have given themselves fully over to sensuality and have become the enemies of God. Even as the fruit of the grape can induce drunkenness, attended by an absence of self-control, so too are there many men and women who set aside all inhibitions and give themselves fully to a pursuit of selfish pleasure and ungodliness.

Romans 1:32
Though they are fully aware of God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.
[Amplified Bible]

These are the last to come to maturity. They are the last group from among mankind to be resurrected. They must experience the wrath of God in full measure.

Having this introduction to the symbolism of the three feasts established by Yahweh, let us look once more at Paul’s words to the saints in Corinth relating to Christ’s work of subjecting all things to the Father.

I Corinthians 15:22-26
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: the anointed first fruits (Barley/Passover), after that those who are Christ's at His coming (Wheat/Pentecost), then the remainder (Grapes/Tabernacles), when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.

The more one learns about the Feasts, the better able they may discern the relationship between the feasts and the resurrections as described by Paul in these words. At Passover the firstfruits offered to Yahweh were to be anointed with oil.

Numbers 28:17-20
On the fifteenth day of this month shall be a feast, unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days... You shall present an offering by fire, a burnt offering to Yahweh: two bulls and one ram and seven male lambs one year old, having them without defect. For their grain offering, you shall offer fine flour mixed with oil...

The fine barley flour of Passover was to be mixed with oil. This was “the anointed firstfruits.” Paul says that these are the first to be resurrected. When Paul writes of those who are last to be resurrected, he concludes with the statement, “ For [Christ] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” Grapes are harvested and then crushed under the feet of men. From ancient days, this was the method of extracting the juice from the grape.

Paul attaches to his words on the order of the resurrection the words “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” These words express the thought that the resurrection work of God among mankind will not be complete until the enemies of God are crushed and then reconciled to the Father. These will be last in resurrection. Like grapes which are trodden under the feet of man, the enemies of God will be trodden under God’s feet, experiencing His wrath.

Isaiah 63:2-6
Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? "I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger, and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. And I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me; and My wrath upheld Me. And I trod down the peoples in My anger, and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

God’s work among mankind will not be finished until all mankind has appeared before God. Each group of men must be harvested from the earth, “for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order.” The enemies of God, like grapes, will be harvested last of all. They must endure the wrath of God. Before the ages are concluded, all who were incensed with Yahweh will be ashamed. They will confess “Surely in Yahweh I have righteousness and strength.”

Yahweh was very deliberate in choosing these three crops to represent the various groups of men to be resurrected. Not only are the three resurrections of man observed in the Old Testament in the feasts established by Yahweh, they are proclaimed all the way to the last book of the Bible. In Revelation chapter fourteen, all three resurrections are in view.

Revelation 14:1-5
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads... These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men asfirstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.

In these words we see the overcomers in Christ. These are firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. They are the first to pass through death into the resurrection life of Christ. Later in this same chapter we see the next group to be resurrected.

Revelation 14:14-16
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe." Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.

The harvest allegory is clearly being employed in this chapter. We have seen the firstfruits, now a second resurrection is occurring. The earth is being reaped. Those who have come to maturity must be gathered together to be presented before the Father. Immediately after this we see a third and final reaping of the earth.

Revelation 14:17-20
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe." So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

In this chapter we see a distinct parallel to Paul’s words in I Corinthians chapter fifteen, and to the three feasts of Yahweh with their associated harvests. This chapter of Revelations begins with the firstfruits of Passover standing on Mount Zion with Christ. It ends with the grapes of Tabernacles being harvested and trodden under foot. In between is the wheat harvest of Pentecost. John further elaborates on the enemies of God in this chapter.

Revelation 14:9-11
Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up to the ages of ages; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

Christ must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. How fitting it is that the Holy Spirit pictures these enemies as grapes. What marvelous design is seen in Yahweh’s creation where the grape harvest is in the end of the year, long after the barley and the wheat have been gathered in. There is an appointed time for all things.

Joseph Herrin

Spanish, French borrowing costs climb as contagion worries build

A man gets a shoeshine next to a kiosk displaying a Spanish flag with a bull on it in downtown Madrid November 16, 2011. The Spanish general elections will be held on November 20.  REUTERS/Susana Vera
(Reuters) - Spain and France struggled with government bond auctions on Thursday, throwing into sharp relief the threat of larger euro zone economies succumbing to the debt crisis that began in Greece and is already lapping at Italy's shores.

Madrid was forced to pay the highest borrowing costs since 1997 at a sale of 10-year bonds, with yields a steepling 1.5 points above the average paid at similar tenders this year, drawing descriptions from the market ranging from "pretty awful" to "dreadful."

The euro fell on the foreign exchanges in response.

Paris fared a little better, but again had to pay markedly more to shift nearly 7 billion euros of government paper. Fears that the euro zone's second largest economy is getting sucked into the maelstrom have taken the two-year debt crisis to a new level this week.

"The euro zone has got to deliver something which is going to calm markets down and at the moment markets feel like they are being given no comfort whatsoever," said Marc Ostwald, strategist at Monument Securities.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti outlined a broad raft of policies including pension and labor market reform, a crackdown on tax evasion and changes to the tax system in his maiden speech to parliament ahead a confidence vote to confirm backing for his technocrat government.

With Italy's borrowing costs now at untenable levels, Monti will have to work fast to calm financial markets given Italy needs to refinance some 200 billion euros ($273 billion) of bonds by the end of April.

Ireland, which has been bailed out and gained plaudits for its austerity drive, will also be forced to do more.

Dublin will increase its top rate of sales tax by two percent in next month's budget, documents obtained by Reuters showed.

But no amount of austerity in Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and France is likely to convince the markets without some dramatic action in the shorter-term, probably involving the European Central Bank.

Many analysts believe the only way to stem the contagion for now is for the ECB to buy up large quantities of bonds, effectively the sort of 'quantitative easing' undertaken by the U.S. and British central banks.

France and Germany have stepped up their war of words over whether the ECB should intervene more forcefully to halt the euro zone's debt crisis after modest bond purchases have failed to calm markets.

Facing rising borrowing costs as its 'AAA' credit rating comes under threat, France has urged stronger ECB action but Berlin continues to resist, saying European Union rules prohibit such action.

"If politicians think the ECB can solve the euro crisis, then they are mistaken," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that even if the ECB assumed a role as a lender of last resort, it would not solve the crisis.

Investors and euro zone officials hope that if Merkel and others find themselves staring into the abyss, the unthinkable will rapidly become thinkable.

"The Germans have made some remarkable changes to their position over the past few months, you have to give them credit for that, it just takes rather a long time. It's Chinese torture," one euro zone central banker told Reuters. "They are not drawing lines in the sand as clearly as they were."

The ECB's policy of buying Italian and Spanish bonds in limited amounts is barely holding the line, with the former's borrowing costs above the 7 percent level widely seen as unsustainable and the latter's homing in on that level.

"It keeps contagion intact not just for the peripherals but also for the core countries and increases the pressure on the ECB to do something," Nick Stamenkovic, bond strategist at RIA Capital Markets said of the Spanish and French auctions.

"Clearly at the moment the ECB is reluctant to do anything."


With turmoil reaching a crescendo, euro zone banks are finding it harder to obtain funding. While the stresses are not yet at the levels of the 2008 financial crisis, they have continued to mount despite ECB moves to provide unlimited liquidity to banks.

Fitch Ratings warned it might lower its "stable" rating outlook for U.S. banks because of contagion from problems in troubled European markets.

And fellow ratings agency Moody's cut ratings of 12 German public-sector banks, believing they are likely to receive less federal government support if needed.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday that the euro zone's debt crisis was beginning to hit the real economy and urged vigilance to prevent contagion from infecting banks and insurance firms.

The International Monetary Fund replaced its European Director in a sign the global lender is setting a more forceful course of action in dealing with the European crisis.

The Fund named Reza Moghadam, currently director of the fund's strategy, policy and review department, as its new director for Europe, replacing Antonio Borges who last month suggested the IMF could buy Spanish or Italian bonds alongside the euro zone's bailout fund but was forced to backtrack.

Monti starts his first full day as Italian prime minister comforted by an opinion poll that said an overwhelming majority of Italians supported him.

Greece's new technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos faces mass street protests on Thursday, the day after winning a confidence vote for a national crisis coalition that is already split on the need for further austerity measures.

The size and mood of the rally, an annual march marking the end of military rule in 1973, will signal just how bitterly a restive public will fight further tax rises and spending cuts that international lenders demand in return for a massive bailout.

Greece's main conservative leader Antonis Samaras has refused to bow to EU demands for a written commitment to the bailout program and called for elections in three months to restore social peace.

Major institutions are in financial trouble

YOU OWE 15 Trillion


Have you seen this lately? U.S. National Debt Clock

The U.S. has crossed the 15 Trillion dollar mark of national debt, not including social security, medicare, and prescription drug liabilities.


To bring that debt back to zero, not only would the U.S. have to balance the budget, but every tax paying citizen would have to pay $133,000.00 to the government to pay off the debt.

Yes, that’s right, YOU (and everyone else that pays taxes – EVERYONE) would have to pay $133-Grand to Uncle Sam.

How’s that sound to you?

While the attention is currently focused on Europe and the Eurozone’s financial woe’s, what about those of the United States of America? Oh, don’t you worry… as soon as the European financial troubles implode, the attention will turn quickly to the U.S., since the great debt bubble ‘balloon’ in Europe is actually part of the same balloon in the U.S., and there are many ‘pins’ ready to burst that balloon.

What’s a citizen to do?

Step one is to get angry about the situation.

Step two is to become vocal about the situation.

Step three is to vote all the ‘regulars’ out of office – regardless of the political party.

If that doesn’t work…

…get ready for social and financial chaos


22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear

In order for a society to function, there has to be a certain level of trust.  Each day when we leave our homes, we take for granted that most people are not going to attack us for no reason, that there will only be isolated incidents of theft in our community and that rioting and violence are not going to erupt in the streets.   Whether we realize it or not, we depend on the fact that the vast majority of the people around us are going to act in a civilized manner.  Unfortunately, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear.  When I was growing up, I was taught that challenging times reveal our true character.  There are many that believe that the declining economy is causing a lot of the chaos that we are now witnessing, but perhaps what is going on is that these challenging economic times are simply revealing the character that has been there all along.  For decades, a "false prosperity" that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt has masked a lot of the internal rot that has taken hold in America.  But now that our prosperity is crumbling, our lack of values is becoming startlingly clear.
Greed, corruption and extreme self-centeredness have deeply infected our society.  We see this on Wall Street and in Congress, and we see this among those that are trying to survive on the mean streets of our largest cities.
Our nation is breaking down on every level.  If by some miracle we were able to fix our economy, that would mask our problems for a while, but it would not solve them.
Unfortunately, as I write about nearly every day, there are a whole host of indications that our economy is about to get even worse.  When it does, millions of Americans will become even more desperate, and as we are now seeing all over this country, desperate people do desperate things.
The following are 22 signs that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear....
#1 In Detroit, 100 bus drivers recently refused to drive their routes out of fear for their own personal safety.  An article posted on the website of the CBS affiliate in Detroit is quoting the head of the bus drivers union, Henry Gaffney, as saying that the drivers are "scared for their lives"....
“Our drivers are scared, they’re scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit,” said Gaffney.
#2 In Wilmington, Delaware recently, a man offered to help someone carry a television down the street, but quickly realized that it was his own television which had just been stolen out of his house....
A Wilmington resident who stopped home for lunch about noon today saw a man carrying a flat screen TV down the street and asked the man if he needed help.
He then recognized the television as his own, looked up and saw the door to his home ajar, said Master Sgt. Adam Ringle.
#3 Shocking video has surfaced of a young thug walking up to a defenseless elderly man in a Chicago subway station and knocking him out cold.  In the video, the friends of the young man are cheering him on and laughing at how easy it was to knock the old man out cold.
#4 Beating up old people for no reason seems to be catching on all over the country.  Just check out the following report from a recent article posted on philly.com....
AN 84-YEAR-OLD ex-university official savagely attacked by four young punks during a walk in Wissahickon Valley Park earlier this week theorizes that the beating he endured was a cruel game of "get the old geezer."
Jim Shea, a former vice president of university relations for Temple, from 1968 to 1983, walks up to five miles on Forbidden Drive, in Fairmount Park, three times a week, but that type of stamina wasn't enough to stave off the lowlifes who not only beat him bloody, but dealt a blow to one of the things he holds most dear - his pride.
#5 All over the United States, police are wailing on Occupy Wall Street protesters with clubs and liberally using pepper spray on them.  Whatever you may think of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the reality is that this is not a sign that things are becoming "more stable" in America.  You can see video of one very disturbing confrontation right here.
#6 Clashes between police and protesters in Oakland, California recently became so violent that at one point the streets of Oakland resembled a war zone.
#7 Unfortunately, as the American people become increasingly frustrated with out system many of them are actually starting to consider violence as a solution.  According to one recent survey, 31 percent of all Occupy Wall Street protesters "would support violence to advance their agenda".
#8 In New York recently, a confrontation between two female customers and a frustrated cashier ended with the cashier beating the living daylights out of them with a metal rod.  The following is how a local CBS affiliate in New Yorkdescribed this incident....
It appeared to have started when two female customers argued and yelled obscenities at the cashier when he questioned a $50 bill they gave him.
One of the female customers then slapped the cashier. A woman is then seen jumping over the counter while the other woman goes behind the register.
That’s when the cashier can be seen on the video disappearing into the back of the fast-food restaurant. He comes back with a metal rod and begins hitting the women.
You can see video of this violent confrontation right here.
#9 These days, many Americans are so "on edge" that just about anything will make them snap.  For example, a 60-year-old woman in New Mexico recentlyrepeatedly stabbed her boyfriend because she thought that he was cheating during a game of Monopoly.
#10 If you thought that the above example was crazy, just check out what one man down in Georgia did recently.  He actually firebombed a Taco Bellbecause they did not put enough meat in his Chalupa.
#11 In Cleveland last week, a 49-year-old man was sent to the hospital after a poll monitor working for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections tried to bite his nose off.
#12 Not only do TSA agents make us feel like dehumanized cattle as we go through airport security, some of them are evening making fun of us at the same time.  For example, one TSA agent recently scribbled “GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL” on a TSA inspection notice after discovering a sex toy in the luggage of one female traveler.
#13 Identity theft is rising to very alarming levels all over the United States.  For example, a recent article in the Palm Beach Post described what has been going on down in Florida this year....
In the first half of this year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 20,000 complaints from Floridians whose identities had been stolen -- nearly as many as in all of 2010. More than half of those reporting their Social Security numbers or other personal information had been ripped off and used to commit fraud or theft were in South Florida, with heavy concentrations in parts of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.
"That kind of increase is really shocking,'' said Vance Luce, deputy special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service in South Florida, which investigates identity theft and financial crimes. "The fact that it's on the upturn doesn't surprise me at all, but that's pretty alarming.''
#14 In the Seattle area, an elderly couple in their eighties was recently brutally attacked by a 31-year-old man armed with a crossbow and a hatchet.  The following description of this brutal crime comes from King 5 News....
Prosecutors say 31-year-old John Chase was walking down the highway when he saw Ralph Aldrich, 88, in his back yard. Detectives say Chase shot and killed Aldrich with a crossbow and then went inside the home and repeatedly hit 83-year-old June Aldrich with a hatchet.
#15 As America falls apart, more of us than ever are taking medication for depression.  At this point, more than 1 out of every 10 Americans over the age of 12 is taking prescription antidepressants.
#16 In some areas of the country, people have been literally tearing apart their own cities in an attempt to find things to sell.  I recently discussed this phenomenon on The American Dream Blog....
In Fresno, California the damage caused by thieves stealing copper wire from city street lights is costing the city about $50,000 a month.  So far, about 2,500 street lights have been stripped of their wiring.
#17 As people become more desperate, we are starting to see some truly bizarre crimes in many parts of the nation.  In northern Alabama, one team of crooks has been using a forklift to pull entire ATM machines out of the ground.
#18 Most Americans don't realize this, but all over the U.S. livestock is being stolen from ranchers in unprecedented numbers.  The following is from a recent Associated Press article....
While the brazenness may be unusual, the theft isn't. High beef prices have made cattle attractive as a quick score for people struggling in the sluggish economy, and other livestock are being taken too. Six thousand lambs were stolen from a feedlot in Texas, and nearly 1,000 hogs have been stolen in recent weeks from farms in Iowa and Minnesota. The thefts add up to millions of dollars in losses for U.S. ranches.
Authorities say today's thieves are sophisticated compared to the horseback bandits of the rugged Old West. They pull up livestock trailers in the middle of the night and know how to coax the animals inside. Investigators suspect it's then a quick trip across state lines to sell the animals at auction barns.
#19 At this point, thieves are becoming so bold that they will steal literally anything that they are able to cart away.  For example, in the San Francisco area a while back thieves actually stole a copper bell that weighs 2.7 tons.
#20 According to the FBI, the number of gang members in the United States has increased by a staggering 40 percent since 2009.  Right now, there are 1.4 million gang members terrorizing citizens on the streets of America.
#21 Down in Miami, thieves have become so bold that they have actually beenbreaking into parked police cruisers and stealing guns and ammo out of them.  Many of those guns undoubtedly are ending up in the hands of gangs members.
#22 Be careful who you befriend online.  They might just hold you captive and use you as part of a Satanic sex ritual.  The following description of an incident that recently happened in Milwaukee comes from thesmokinggun.com....
Two young Milwaukee women were arrested this week after an 18-year-old Arizona man--who traveled to Wisconsin by bus after meeting one of the suspects online--told cops that he was held captive in the duo’s apartment for two days and slashed and stabbed more than 300 times as part of an apparent satanic sex ritual.
Anger and frustration are growing to unprecedented levels in this country, and all of this anger and frustration is manifesting in thousands of different ways.
As I have written about previously, the rioting, the crime and the violence that we are seeing now is only just the beginning of what is coming.
Unless a miracle happens, our country is going to keep heading down the road toward societal collapse.  For even more examples that show that our country is starting to come apart at the seams, please see the following articles that I have authored previously....
It won't happen all at once, but unless our nation changes direction dramatically, we will see things get progressively worse and worse.
Instead of teaching our children to love and care for one another, we have taught them to be incredibly self-involved.  Today, way too many Americans deeply love themselves, deeply love money and are deeply addicted to entertainment.  Each new generation seems to be even more prideful, even more arrogant and even more violent.  As a nation, we are losing our empathy for others, our compassion for the needy and our respect for the elderly.  Our family units are breaking down and thousands of our communities are being transformed into hellholes.

The Economic Collapse

Citigroup may cut 3,000 or more jobs to cut costs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Citigroup Inc. is the latest bank seeking to trim costs with a smaller work force.

The New York-based bank is considering cutting 3,000 or more workers, which would amount to about 1 percent of its work force worldwide. A person with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday that a decision on the timing and number of cuts hasn't been finalized, but that the reductions could exceed 3,000 in the next year or so.

About 900 of the cuts would be in the company's securities and banking division, which serves institutional clients. The rest would be spread throughout various departments.

The person, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the layoffs, said some employees have already been notified of the cuts. The person did not know how many of the potential cuts would in the United States.

Citi's investment banking division and trading in stock and bonds have been hurt by turmoil in financial markets, the bank said in October as it reported third-quarter results. Its North American consumer unit has also been hurt by new regulations that limited the ability of banks to raise interest rates on credit cards, hike fees for late payments and collect fees from merchants when customers swipe their debit cards.

The most recent layoff plan would also be an extension of the company's moves to shrink certain parts of its work force in recent years.

When CEO Vikram Pandit was first hired in 2007, the company had 375,000 employees. That number has been whittled down 30 percent to about 260,000, in part through the spinning off of units the company doesn't consider central to its business.

Citi, and other banks hurt by the financial meltdown in 2008 and the subsequent downturn, have been selling off "non-core" divisions. In June, for example, Citi sold a $1.7 billion private equity portfolio to a French bank.

Citigroup was one of the biggest recipients of taxpayer support during the financial crisis. It received $45 billion in bailouts funds and was partly owned by the government until December 2010.

While the company has been selling off some businesses, Pandit has focused on expansion in emerging markets. Citigroup's consumer banking unit has 4,600 branches around the world, with about 3,500 of them in emerging markets such as Asia and South America.

Citi isn't the only major bank cutting jobs as the financial industry gets leaner.

In September, Bank of America said it would cut 30,000 jobs over the next few years as part of an initiative to shrink and reduce expenses. The cuts represent 10 percent of the Charlotte, N.C., bank's work force. Bank of America said it expects the cuts and other measures will result in $5 billion in annual savings by 2014.

The possible job cuts by Citigroup were reported earlier by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

MUST-READ: Citi's Willem Buiter Says Europe Could Just Have Days Before A Financial Catastrophe

Willem Buiter

This is a fantastic interview with Citi's Willem Buiter on Bloomberg TV.

You can hear the anger in his voice as he argues that Europe may have a matter of days before an unnecessary default and a financial catastrophe.

The answer: the ECB must act fast, and ignore the Germans who don't get it. While some people don't think that the ECB can really monetize sovereign debt this way, Buiter believes there's absolutely nothing preventing the ECB from doing whatever it wants on the secondary market.

This summary of the key points and quotes was provided to us by Bloomberg TV. You can watch the full video here.

Buiter on Europe's crisis:

"Time is running out fast. I think we have maybe a few months -- it could be weeks, it could be days -- before there is a material risk of a fundamentally unnecessary default by a country like Spain or Italy which would be a financial catastrophe dragging the European banking system and North America with it. So they have to act now."

"The only two guns in town, one is only theoretical, and that is increasing the size of the EFSF to 3 trillion. It should happen but it can't for political reasons. The other one, the only remaining share is the ECB. They may have to hold their noses while they do it, and if they don't do it, it's the end of the euro zone."

On why the ECB hasn't acted yet:

"Because after the error of the Bundesbank, they consider central banks purchasing sovereign debt outright to be like swearing in church. It's just not done. This has been in fact to a certain extent embedded in the treaty which forbids the ECB from lending directly to governments or buying stuff in the primary market. But there is no restriction at all on them buying any amount of sovereign debt at any time in the secondary market, so they can do it."

"This crisis is the result of the failure to provide the minimal institutional underpinning for a monetary union in the euro area and also a result of the ECB unfortunately being the heir of the Bundesbank and therefore not understanding and rejecting the role of central bank as lenders' last resort to sovereigns. They certainly are a central bank. They just are a central bank that prefers to fight with both hands behind their back. If they just let go of one hand, that would be enough."

On Italy’s situation:

"This is already challenging. If this was the rate at which they are going to fund themselves, even over the medium term, that becomes an explosive debt deficit spiral…This is clearly unsustainable. You can live here for awhile, they're not going to keel over tomorrow, but this is not sustainable…The only way they can get back there is for the ECB to provide the liquidity while Italy does the hard work for years, in fact for the rest of the decade quite possibly, of restructuring their economy and tightening the budget in a major way."

On whether he's concerned about France:

I think France definitely has its work cut out for itself. It has a government budgeting problem which is structural to a large extent. And then they have a large banking sector. Do not forget that the U.S. banking sector balance sheet is less than 100% of GDP. In Europe and France, it is 300%. Their banks are under fire and so their sovereigns are under fire. I do not think the sovereign will keel over, but they have their work cut out for them.

On what he'd like to see in Europe to get the fiscal house in order:

Clearly some minimal federal fiscal structure would be desirable, but it is completely unrealistic. They best they can hope for is that the ECB will indeed ring fence the euro area sovereigns in exchange for basically glorified IMF programs. So that they will temporarily transfer a significant amount of fiscal sovereignty to some super-national body, but then when they get restored to health, they regain this. That is not a long-term solution. Ultimately there will have to be some form of fiscal union that creates a federal solution, but that's for the next crisis, not this one.

On whether Europe is an AIG waiting to happen:

No for several reasons. First of all, AIG happened and everybody learned from it. Whereas the sovereign CDS, the regulators by and large know who wrote it, who issued it and who holds it. Unlike quite a bit of the CDS written by AIG. This stuff is all collateralized. So nothing is ever completely safe, even sovereign debt, but I think it's a lot safer to trigger them and use their insurance value than to kill the market."

On the quality of the German economy right now:

"It is a mixed bag. It has a very productive manufacturing exporting sector. Much of the rest of it is not very efficient at all, including the services sectors. Germany had the world's largest corporate takeover in 1999 when West Germany took on East Germany. That has not been fully digested yet. It is a country that is very much a dual economy. It is very strong at the moment strong at the moment as an export-oriented economy, which of course is vulnerable to cyclical slowdowns...it is structural and cyclical. The German demographics are terrible, even by European standards."

On whether the U.S. should use its currency to help with exports:

"No, I think to pursue competitiveness policies by manipulating or steering down the nominal values of the exchange rate is a loser's game. In the limit, it gets you to Zimbabwe, which didn't exactly become a hub of competitiveness. It's a gross misalignment for historical reasons…I think we shouldn't get too upset about the Chinese manipulating their currency. There's also no reason to attach great importance to the ability of the U.S. in manipulating its currency. Both are second order instruments."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/must-watch-citis-willem-buiter-says-europe-might-just-have-days-before-a-financial-catastrophe-2011-11?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheMoneyGame+%28The+Money+Game%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#ixzz1dyFQwNp8

Nigel Farage: Van Rompuy who give you the right to talk like that to the Italian people

Stocks sink after Fitch warns on US bank exposure

NEW YORK (AP) -- A warning from Fitch Ratings that large U.S. banks could be hit hard if Europe's debt crisis spreads sent stocks falling late Wednesday.

U.S. indexes were moving between small gains and losses before Fitch released its report around 3:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow was down 36 points with an hour of trading left, then plunged to end the day down 190.

Fitch, one of the three main credit ratings agencies along with S&P and Moody's, said U.S. banks could be "greatly affected" if Europe's debt crisis continues to spread beyond financially troubled countries such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Large banks took a late dive. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. each lost 3.7 percent. Goldman Sachs dropped 4.1 percent and Morgan Stanley 7.9 percent.

"This is a long-running, slow-developing story," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago. U.S. stocks had rallied in the past week as new governments took over in Greece and Italy and promised to implement budget reforms. It's a familiar pattern, Ablin said. "It seems like it's always one step forward and two steps back."

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 11,905.59, a loss of 190.57, or 1.6 percent. It was the Dow's first close below 12,000 since last Thursday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 20.89 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1,236.92. The Nasdaq composite lost 46.59, or 1.7 percent, to 2,639.61.

Concerns that the debt troubles of Greece and Italy could spread have been driving the borrowing rates of France higher on bond markets since the beginning of November.

The benchmark rate on France's 10-year bonds was just 2.54 percent on Oct. 5. It has climbed steadily since then, reaching 3.69 percent Wednesday. That's a reflection of deepening worries that France, the second-largest country in the euro bloc after Germany, could be in danger of losing its triple-A credit rating.

For the moment, Fitch said the risks to U.S. banks from Europe appeared to be "manageable." However investors have been quick to respond to headlines about how Europe's debt woes might hurt the global financial system. Fitch said the top five U.S. banks have a total of $114 billion in loans, deposits and other assets tied to French banks. French banks also have large holdings of bonds issued by Greece and Italy.

Stock indexes wavered earlier Wednesday as the price of oil crossed above $100 a barrel for the first time since July. The jump in crude prices could weaken the already U.S. fragile economy by raising costs for gasoline, heating oil and airline fuel. Oil futures surged 3 percent to $102.59 a barrel as U.S. supplies dropped and a new pipeline deal by a Canadian company threatened to cut them even more.

In corporate news, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. plunged 13.6 percent after the company reported earnings that fell far short of Wall Street's expectations. The company said rising costs for cotton and other commodities cut into profits.

Dell Inc. dropped 3.2 percent after the company said late Tuesday that its revenues will be held back by an industry-wide shortage of hard drives.

U.S. economic reports were mixed. Output at the nation's factories, utilities and mines rose at the fastest pace in three months in October, the Federal Reserve said. Production of autos and parts surged 3.1 percent.

Consumer prices held steady last month. The Consumer Price Index dropped 0.1 percent in October, led by a steep decline in gas prices. An index of builder sentiment rose to the highest level since May 2010 yet is still well below a level consistent with a strong housing market.

Yahoo Finance