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Monday, August 27, 2012

Astrological Insights by Chuck MIssler

Forsaken And Forgotten

These days, a lot of formerly middle class Americans are down on their luck and can't even afford to buy enough food.  The following is from a recent Yahoo article....

America is becoming a very cold place.  If you don't have money, you don't really matter much in our society.  The ads on television aren't for you - they are directed at people that actually have good jobs and that can afford to buy the nice little "extras" in life.  The politicians aren't really interested in you either - they figure that they can buy your vote with all of the money that they are getting from the wealthy people.  When you don't have money, even friends and relatives start to distance themselves from you.  Perhaps they are afraid that you will ask them for money or perhaps they are afraid that your "failure" will start to rub off on them.  When people know that you are struggling for money, the barriers immediately go up.  In the United States today, there are tens of millions of people that have been forsaken and forgotten.  They mostly stay at home (if they still have a home), and for most of them quiet desperation has become a way of life.  You won't ever read much about them or see them appear much on television because nobody really cares too much about them.  As far as society is concerned, there are just way too many of them and they are a problem that "the government" should be able to handle anyway.  Sadly, the truth is that many communities all across America want absolutely nothing to do with those that can't take care of themselves.  All over the country cities are passing laws making it illegal tofeed the homeless, and in other instances cities are actually making it illegal to be homeless.  Unfortunately, this problem is not going away.  In fact, the number of Americans living in poverty increases with each passing day.  So where do we go from here?
Cheryl Preston knows that others are worse off. But she's still hungry.
As grocery prices creep higher and her income sags, rationing her family's food is a daily task. The 54-year-old mother of three and grandmother of three in Roanoke, Va., says there are days she skips meals so her husband and son can eat. If they notice, she says, she'll let them think she's fasting. She waters down the milk and juice to make it last longer. She visits food pantries, but it's not enough.

Have you ever had to skip meals because you simply could not afford to buy enough food?
Have you ever wondered how you were going to make it to the next paycheck?
When you look into the eyes of your hungry children and you realize that your best efforts have not been good enough to provide what they need it can be absolutely soul crushing.
And when you have lost everything it quickly becomes apparent that most people in society simply do not care about you.
About a third of the country is already on some form of welfare.  Another family falling out of the middle class and into poverty is not going to cause anyone to sit up and take notice.
The middle class in America is being absolutely shredded.  In a recent article I wrote entitled "84 Statistics That Prove That The Decline Of The Middle Class Is Real And That It Is Getting Worse" I detailed this very clearly.  But most Americans don't think about this very much because they are just focused on what is going on in their own little worlds.  If they still have their jobs and if their family and friends are still doing okay then they are likely to believe that everything is just fine.
But everything is not fine.
According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were "middle income" back in 1971.
Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are "middle income".
There aren't enough good jobs in this country and there never will be enough good jobs ever again.
Those that are just entering the job market understand very clearly that there are not enough good jobs.
Of the recent college graduates that have been fortunate enough to actually get a job, about half of them have taken jobs that do not even require a college degree.
But at least if you have a job, even if it is really crappy, you still matter in this economy.
Many of those that are not working at all have been completely forsaken and forgotten.
Over the past year, approximately 1.3 million Americans have seen their extended unemployment benefits end.  Most of them are considered to have "dropped out of the labor force" even though they aren't working, they don't have any income coming in and they are very desperate.  They are told to go "get a job" in an economy that does not produce enough jobs for everyone.  The music stopped playing and they were left without a seat and nobody really cares too much.
But if you live in the good areas of New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle this article might seem like complete nonsense to you.  After all, corporate profits are at an all-time high and the stores and malls where you live are packed with people.  Everyone around you is driving new cars, wearing designer clothes and using the latest tech gadgets.
But it is not like that everywhere in America.
There are two Americas today.  One is swimming in money and is seemingly more prosperous than ever.
The other America is a complete and total economic nightmare.
Just check out the percentage of blighted properties in some of America's most run down cities....
Baltimore: 14 percent
Cleveland: 19 percent
Youngstown, Ohio: 21 percent
New Orleans: 21 percent
Detroit: 24 percent
Flint, Michigan: 27 percent
But those that are paying millions of dollars for dinky little apartments in New York City may be wondering what all the fuss is about.
Well, in the forgotten areas of America "despair" is what people experience on a good day.  Unemployment and government dependence are a way of life, and alcohol and drugs are used to dull the pain.  The following is from a recent article by Chris Hedges.  It describes what life is like in the little town of Gary, West Virginia....
Joe and I are sitting in the Tug River Health Clinic in Gary with a registered nurse who does not want her name used. The clinic handles federal and state black lung applications. It runs a program for those addicted to prescription pills. It also handles what in the local vernacular is known as “the crazy check” -- payments obtained for mental illness from Medicaid or SSI -- a vital source of income for those whose five years of welfare payments have run out. Doctors willing to diagnose a patient as mentally ill are important to economic survival.
“They come in and want to be diagnosed as soon as they can for the crazy check,” the nurse says. “They will insist to us they are crazy. They will tell us, ‘I know I’m not right.’ People here are very resigned. They will avoid working by being diagnosed as crazy.”
The reliance on government checks, and a vast array of painkillers and opiates, has turned towns like Gary into modern opium dens. The painkillers OxyContin, fentanyl -- 80 times stronger than morphine -- Lortab, as well as a wide variety of anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, are widely abused. Many top off their daily cocktail of painkillers at night with sleeping pills and muscle relaxants. And for fun, addicts, especially the young, hold “pharm parties,” in which they combine their pills in a bowl, scoop out handfuls of medication, swallow them, and wait to feel the result.

There are hundreds of small towns all over America today just like Gary that have been forsaken by society.  Most people in those towns are just "existing" and gave up all hope of a better life long ago.
Some of these stories are being told in a new documentary film called "American Winter".  You can view the trailer for the film right here.  It is a very powerful 5 minutes and 41 seconds.
Sadly, the truth is that there really does not need to be so much suffering in America.
Did you know that Americans waste 165 billion dollars worth of food each year?
That could sure feed a lot of hungry people.
And the overwhelming greed that we see in society today is absolutely astounding.
For example, Yahoo recently profiled a hoarder who packed her home with $500,000 worth of "stuff" that she could not resist buying....
There are shoe closets, and then there are shoe rooms. Monte, a retired teacher in her fifties, had scattered $20,000 worth of footwear throughout six rooms in her home. Some were organized by color, but most lay in mountainous piles of clutter in her 4,000 square foot home outside Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Over a period of 10 years, she'd spent over $500,000 on clothing, accessories and home furnishings, all of which lay strewn across her kitchen, entryway and bedrooms, tags intact.

But far worse are the "Rich Kids of Instagram".  It has apparently become trendy for wealthy kids to take pictures of themselves enjoying their outrageous wealth.  It truly is disgusting.
Meanwhile, most American families are really struggling to get by.  In fact, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.
And jobless claims are rising again.  We are on the verge of another major economic crisis and that means that millions more Americans are going to lose their jobs and their homes.
If you think that things are bad now, just wait, because things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Don't be afraid to reach out and help those that are hurting.  When things are the darkest, that is when heroes are needed the most.

Rescue plan could be 'addictive like a drug', says Weidmann

Jens Weidmann argued that any radical effort to buy eurozone’s stricken sovereign bonds, as hinted by ECB president Mario Draghi three weeks ago, would be an inappropriate extension of the bank’s mandate.“In democracies, parliaments rather than central banks should decide on such an encompassing mutualization of risks,” he said at the weekend, adding that it was not the ECB’s job to “guarantee that states remain in the euro area at all costs.”

“We shouldn’t underestimate the danger that central bank financing can become addictive like a drug. Such policy is too close to state financing via the money press for me,” he said.

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, said that unlike Mr Weidmann she believed the ECB was acting within its mandate but she said it was “good” that he warned “politicians again and again” about over-stretching the ECB.

The comments will fuel fears that Germany is ready to scupper the ECB’s efforts to launch an unlimited bond buying programme to bring down the borrowing costs of Spain and Italy. The so-called 'Draghi Plan’ triggered a rally on global markets throughout August as traders bet that the ECB would unveil the proposal after its meeting next week. If Germany manages to stall the plans, hopes for a recovery could also quickly stall.

As the war of words raged over whether Athens should be given more time to meet its austerity targets, Ms Merkel called for politicials to “weigh their words very carefully”.

Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, called for Germans to “stop bullying” Greeks. Mr Westerwelle criticised fellow politicians calling for Greece to be ejected from the eurozone. “The bullying of individual countries in Europe has to stop,” he said, arguing that the language undermines Germann policies and its standing abroad.

The Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann broke ranks and said he would be happy for the Greece’s austerity deadlines to be relaxed. “The most important thing is that the Greeks stick to the reforms and savings targets agreed with us,” he said. “If that is guaranteed, I am in favour of a delay in the repayment. That could be a delay of two or three years - the experts should decide that.”

Ms Merkel refused to comment after Greece’s prime minister Antonis Samaras asked for “time to breathe”, while economy minister Philipp Roesler said the idea “was not do-able”.

At a meeting with Francois Hollande on Saturday, Mr Samaras found that even France’s position had hardened. “Greece needs once again to demonstrate the credibility of its programme and the determination of its leaders to go all the way,” said Mr Hollande. “Once these commitments, which are not only financial but about structural reforms that the Greeks want, have been ratified by parliament and confirmed, Europe must do its part.”

Meanwhile, Athens needs to find an extra €4bn of cuts over the next two years - taking the total to €17.9bn - to stand a chance of meeting its austerity targets, according to Greek finance officials quoted annoymously at the weekend.
The Telegraph

"Earthquake storm" continues to rattle Imperial County

An “earthquake storm” continued to rattle Imperial County on Sunday, with the region experiencing about 300 temblors throughout the day but causing little damage.

The majority of the quakes were low-intensity, but two reached magnitudes above 5.0 -- 5.3 and 5.5 respectively -- early in the afternoon.

"Obviously, all this activity is related or interconnected, but it doesn't really follow the typical main shock, aftershock activity," said Rob Graves, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological survey.

Such earthquake storms are not unprecedented or unusual in that region. The most recent, Graves said, also centered near Brawley, was in 2005, when the area was shaken by hundreds of earthquakes, the largest measuring magnitude 5.1. A previous swarm in 1981 reached a magnitude of 5.8.

The earthquakes caused cosmetic damage to at least three buildings dating to the 1930s in downtown Brawley, said Capt. Jesse Zendejas of the Brawley Fire Department. Crews were still assessing other areas of the city, he said, but no injuries had been reported.

The cause of the swarm phenomenon is not entirely understood, Graves said, although he noted that the Brawley area is a transition between known active earthquake faults, including the Imperial fault to the south and the San Andreas fault to the north.

The data collected during this event may give clues to what causes the phenomenon, he said.

The succession of quakes rattled Brawley resident Alfonso Alvarez, who has a business renting “bounce houses” and other party supplies. Alvarez, 28, said he and his family had felt 15 quakes over two and a half hours and, after the biggest one, had relocated to the front yard.

“It’s been pretty bad. Some of them are slow and then they get intense,” he said. “We’re so anxious right now we can’t sit still.”

The USGS' "Do You Feel It" system shows the quakes were felt as far away as San Diego, Temecula and San Clemente. The 5.3 quake was also felt in Moreno Valley, Indio, National City and Palm Desert.

Lucy Navarro, who works at the front desk at the Vacation Inn in El Centro, said she felt two of the afternoon’s quakes, including the one that reached 5.3 magnitude at 12:30 p.m.

“The first one was pretty strong," she said. "That one scared me because it really shook me. I could see the building move."

The first quake — a magnitude 3.8 temblor — occurred at 10:02 a.m. about three miles northwest of Brawley, and was followed by a series of other quakes in the same general area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The agency's data have changed throughout the day, but the two largest quakes measured at magnitudes of 5.5 and 5.3.

Seismologist Lucy Jones of the USGS said the activity was not uncommon for the area, a region known as the "Brawley Seismic Zone" that sits between the San Andreas and Imperial faults. Similar swarms occurred in the area in the 1970s, she said, the most recent in 1981.

"This is a classic Brawley Seismic Zone swarm," she said. "It's relatively hot."

Experts can't predict what size temblors could come, but Jones said they have never seen a Brawley swarm produce anything larger than a magnitude 5.8 quake. That rattler was part of the 1981 swarm.

"We've never seen a Brawley swarm followed by a big earthquake on another fault," she added.

The current swarm could last for days, Jones said.

La Times

Merkel Wants An EU Political Integration Pact

BERLIN (AP) — German media report that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government wants a new treaty aimed at deepening political integration among the European Union's 27 members.

Respected news weekly Der Spiegel reported on its website late Saturday that German diplomats have indicated Merkel wants European leaders to start work on the treaty at a summit in December.

Merkel's office didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.

Der Spiegel says the treaty could include provisions such as giving the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg power to monitor the budgets of member states and punish those who exceed deficit limits.

Merkel has repeatedly said closer political integration is needed to balance the deepening economic integration of EU member states resulting from measures to solve the eurozone crisis.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/spiegel-germany-merkel-policital-integration-treaty-2012-8#ixzz24koVliZm

Train Passengers Face Airport-Style Security

The Government wants to security scan at least a quarter of all train passengers for explosives, knives and guns to protect railways and the London Underground from terrorists.

The Home Office has published details of what it wants the scanners to detect and how they should work, and is asking for advice on the technology available.

"The main focus is on the detection of explosives and weapons on people and in bags," the research brief states, suggesting that technologies including X-ray, magnetometry, vapour and trace methods, electromagnetic radiation and ultrasound could be used.

The researchers also want to know whether wheelchairs, false limbs, crutches, pushchairs, and bikes could be scanned and whether so-called dirty bombs could be spotted.

Crucially, the document insists the scanning must be done without holding anyone up.

"Any screening methodologies proposed must not delay the passengers any more than they are currently as they pass through the station," it states.

The scale of the challenge is highlighted by official figures which show almost four times as many rail passengers arrive in central London in the morning rush-hour period as pass through the security scanners at Heathrow and Gatwick airports all day.

The Department for Transport, which is also involved in the project, said it wants to balance "the need to protect passengers with the need to travel freely and easily on rail networks."

Aware of the limitations of existing scanning methods, the Home Office is asking for future technology to be assessed in addition to commercially available equipment.

It wants to know how many people might be able to go through each scanner when one in four is being actively scanned, and what the rates would be for hazard detection and false alarms.

But a leading detection company told Sky News the Government's wish-list is unlikely to be achieved in the foreseeable future.

Kromek, in County Durham, designs and builds cutting edge scanners including one that can that can differentiate between water and paint thinner held in a metal container.

Commercial director Nigel Day said even with predicted screening technology advances, the quickest security check inevitably involves some kind of delay.

"There would be too many people trying to move too quickly through a security checkpoint with various different items," he explained.

And he predicted that airport screening, which is the main focus of scanning technology development, is unlikely to be transferrable to the rail system.

"We've already seen the challenges in aviation security," he pointed out. "They're only going to be magnified in rail transport."

Sky News

N Korea warns of 'all-out war' with South Korea and US

NORTH Korea's leader has warned of an "all-out" war against the South while denouncing its ongoing joint military drill with the United States.

The US and South Korean militaries on Monday began a two-week exercise aimed at testing defences against the communist North, insisting it was defensive in nature but Pyongyang called it a drill for a preemptive nuclear attack.

More than 30,000 US troops, including most of those based in the South plus 3000 from overseas, are taking part in the annual joint drill known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called the drill a grave threat and said his army was ready to deal "deadly blows" if their territory was violated during the exercise.

"If the enemies fire even a single shell on our inviolable territory ... the whole army should turn out as one and lead the battle to an all-out counter-offensive," said the leader, according to KCNA news agency.

The courageous officers ... are now waiting for a final order for charge for a life-and-death battle against the enemies," Mr Kim was quoted as saying in a speech to army officials Saturday. "There is a limit to our patience."

Mr Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, took over the impoverished but nuclear-armed nation after his late father and longtime ruler Kim Jong-Il died last December.

On the eve of the ongoing drill, the young leader visited a frontliner artillery unit that carried out a deadly 2010 bombardment of a South Korean island near the disputed western sea border.

Mr Kim praised its personnel as heroes and told them never to tolerate enemy aggression.

The two Koreas have remained technically at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice, without a subsequent peace treaty.

Cross-border tensions have been high since the South accused the North of torpedoing one of its warships with the loss of 46 lives in March 2010.

The North angrily denied involvement but went on to shell the Yeonpyeong island in November of the same year, killing four South Koreans including two civilians.


Syrian Army helicopter downed over Damascus

Russian Air Force to Take Part in Antiterror Drills in U.S.

Russia’s servicemen will join efforts with their U.S. and Canadian colleagues during the Vigilant Eagle 2012 military drills to repel a hypothetical terrorist attack on a passenger airliner, the Russian Eastern Military District’s press service reported on Monday.

“The Vigilant Eagle 2012 exercises will be held on August 27-29.
They are aimed at practicing interaction between the Russian armed forces and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in case of a terrorist attack on a passenger airliner,” the district’s spokesman Col. Alexander Gordeyev said.

The drills will be held for the third time. They first were held in 2010.
The exercises involve Russian, U.S. and Canadian armed forces units. Exercise headquarters are stationed in Colorado Springs (Colorado) and Anchorage (Alaska), as well as in the cities of Khabarovsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Russian Far East.

The Russian units will be led by Maj. Gen. Sergei Dronov, the commander of the Eastern Military District’s Third Air Force and Air Defense Command, and NORAD’s units by Joseph Bonnet III, NORAD’s training and exercise director.

“The first group led by Maj. Gen. Dronov will operate as part of the main headquarters in Colorado Springs,” Gordeyev said.

“The second group led by Maj. Gen. Sergei Zhmurin, the head of the Eastern Military District’s Air Defense and Aviation, will take part in the work of the secondary headquarters in Anchorage,” he said.

NORAD is a joint U.S.-Canadian organization providing aerospace warning and defense for the two countries.

According to a NORAD press release, the computer-based exercise will “consist of simulating two international flights: one originating in Alaska and traveling into Russian airspace followed by one originating in Russia and traveling into the U.S. airspace.”

“The basic premise is that a foreign flagged commercial air carrier on an international flight has been seized by terrorists. The aircraft will not respond to communications. The exercise scenario creates a situation that requires both the Russian Air Force and NORAD to launch or divert fighter aircraft to investigate and follow the aircraft,” NORAD said.

It added that the drills will focus on “the cooperative hand-off of the aircraft between fighter aircraft of the participating nations.”

“These exercises continue to foster the development of cooperation between the Russian Federation Air Force and NORAD in preventing possible threats of air terrorism,” NORAD said.

RIA Novosti

Gov't Following 'Stalinist Model' for Detaining Veterans

Rockets hit southern Israel towns

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired three missiles at the southern Israel town of Sderot on Sunday morning.

Two of the rockets slammed into local factories, injuries two Israelis and causing extensive damage. One of the factories had been hit in previous attacks from Gaza. The third missile landed in the same area, but caused no damage or injuries.

Security officials commented to Israeli media that they were surprised by the accuracy of Sunday's attacks. The rockets fired from Gaza are usually crude or lacking in sophisticated guidance systems, and must be aimed manually. Either Gaza-based terrorists are getting better at manually aiming their rockets, or have come into possession of better guidance systems. Either way, it doesn't bode well for the residents of southern Israel.

Sunday's attacks ended weeks of quiet in the region, and suggested that the relatively calm summer period was coming to an end. Gaza-based forces regularly increase their attacks on southern Israel at the start of the school year, when Israeli are more typically congregated in public places.

Israel News

Al Qaeda targets Riyadh, Jeddah and Sderot. Saudi cell had chemicals

For the first time, a thread links the three rockets which hit the Israeli town of Sderot Sunday, Aug. 26, slightly injuring two workmen, and the two terrorist cells captured in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on the same day,DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report. Both events were conceived by Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP has ordered its Sinai cells and Egyptian and Palestinian offshoots to step up their attacks from Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
By three happenings Sunday, AQAP broke new and menacing ground:

1. Three Qassam missiles fired at the industrial zone Sderot shares with Shear Hanegev ushered in a Gaza-based anti-Israel offensive launched by the “Shura Council in the Jerusalem Area” - the umbrella organization of all the Salafi groups operating in Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
This group’s 6,000-strong force of well-armed terrorists is commanded by an Egyptian by the name of Hisham Saydani. Al Qaeda has dubbed him Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi. He and his lieutenants serve as liaison between the Sinai cells and AQAP headquarters in Yemen.

2. Hamas held Saydani in a special security prison cell in the Gaza Strip until two weeks ago when, for some unknown reason, which US, Egyptian and Israeli counter-terror agencies are trying to discover, Hamas let him go. His first action was to set up the Shura Council’s attack near Rafah, in which 16 Egyptian troops were killed and the Kerem Shalom crossing barrier into Israel was rammed. The gunmen were liquidated before they reached their target: the IDF Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion’s command base nearby.
This operation was designed at the highest AQAP command level.
Suspecting that at least three of the perpetrators had gone to ground in the Gaza Strip, Egypt demanded that Hamas hunt them down and arrest them. The Shura Council’s three-missile volley against Sderot was its way of warning Hamas to call off the hunt or else the missile fire would continue and bring Israeli retribution down on the Hamas-ruled enclave.

The same tactic was behind the firing of two Grad missiles against the southern Israeli resort and port town of Eilat Friday, Aug. 17. That too was an al Qaeda warning to Cairo to call off the Egyptian military’s pursuit of Salafi terrorists in Sinai or else more missiles would be loosed against southern Israel.
Two days later, Israel placed Eilat under the guard of an Iron Dome missile defense battery.

Following these two incidents, al Qaeda’s Shura Council announced that Israeli towns would be held hostage for the halting of Egyptian and Hamas military pursuit of its members in Sinai and the Gaza Strip, which must stop forthwith.
3. Sunday, too, the Saudi Interior Minister announced the busting of two al Qaeda cells in the capital Riyadh and the Saudi summer capital of Jeddah on the Red Sea, which were plotting attacks on Western targets, and local security forces and public places in the kingdom. There were eight arrests, two Saudis and six Yemenis.
Saudi sources disclosed that they were members of AQAP, operating under the orders of the organization’s headquarters in Yemen. Found in their possession were weapons and explosives and also chemical substances for loading into explosive charges.

This is the first evidence since 2002, when a bomb packed with poison chemicals was detonated by Palestinian suicide killer in Jerusalem, of the use of chemical weapons by Middle East terrorists. It is feared that those weapons may also have found their way to Sinai.


War & looming intervention vs island of peace in Syria