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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Another close asteroid encounter for Earth coming Friday

In a few days, sky watchers in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Australia will get a chance to see one big rock hurtling through the heavens. One very big rock. Compared with other asteroids traveling through space, this one may seem a relative pebble -- at half the size of a football field -- but for Earth, it will make for a relatively close call.

"This is a record-setting close approach," says Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth."

The asteroid, known as "2012 DA14," will pass inside the ring of Earth's geosynchronous weather and communications satellites this week, coming within just 17,200 miles of the Earth's surface at around 12:30 p.m. PT.

But don't worry, there's no chance, NASA says, that the asteroid might be on a collision course with Earth. Though the impact of an object this size would not be a global catastrophic event, it would surely cause massive and widespread devastation on a regional scale. On June 30, 1908, an asteroid similar to 2012 DA14 did in fact impact Earth, leveling trees for 820 square miles in Tunguska, Russia. These asteroids are serious business and could easily take out an entire city.


Houston City council passes ordinance to fingerprint, photograph precious metal sellers

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Next time 
you try to sell gold, silver or other precious metals you can expect to be fingerprinted and photographed.

The Houston City Council passed an ordinance meant to help track down criminals who try to resell stolen valuables. Gold-buying businesses will now be required to photograph and fingerprint sellers as well as photograph the items that are being sold to the dealer.

"It's going to allow us the tools necessary to combat a lot of the high-end jewelry thefts that's going on in the city, whether it's robberies or burglaries," said Houston Police Officer Rick Barajas.

A similar ordinance is already in place for scrap metal sellers and dealers.


Military deploys cruise missiles in reaction to North

The South Korean military has deployed long-range cruise missiles to target any part of North Korean territory, in reaction to further military provocations by the communist regime, following its third underground nuclear test.

Kim Min-seok, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, said at a press conference yesterday that the military “has developed and deployed indigenous cruise missiles that have the capability of deep strikes and precise attacks with the most advanced technology in the world so that they can target any North Korean territory immediately at any time.”

“In order to respond to threats from North Korea, our military possesses a variety of strike forces, including development of cruise missiles and ballistic missiles,” Kim said. “We will soon reveal the information on these missiles.”

Along with cruise missiles, Kim said the military continues to develop ballistic missiles with an 800-kilometer (497-mile) range that was extended by the Korea-U.S. missile range pact, by 2015.

Previously, the military was supposed to complete the development of the ballistic missile by 2017, but after North Korea’s nuclear test, they adjusted its schedule. The military also has a plan to hire an additional 100 employees for the development.

“We will accelerate the development of 800-kilometer-range ballistic missiles, which can attack the entire North Korean territory,” Kim said. “It’s difficult to strike a missile before it blasts off. So we are planning to develop our own missile defense system, called KAMD (Korean Air and Missile Defense System), which can shoot down missiles coming from North Korea.”

In April 2012, the South Korean military unveiled two high-end missiles in response to the North’s defiant rocket launch for the first time - a long-range cruise missile and a ballistic missile. Although the ministry didn’t offer details of the exact profile of the cruise missile, experts say it has an estimated range of at least 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

The military is stepping up its plan to launch a high-end missile interception system, dubbed “kill chain,” by 2015.

“We have a plan to complete the early launch of kill chain, a real-time system that detects, targets and determines to strike a target by itself,” Kim said.

A military monitoring satellite will be also launched, according to Kim, by 2021, with an image resolution of 30 centimeters.

When it comes to North Korea’s third nuclear test, Kim said the military believes that the regime was preparing two tunnels at the test site, so there is still another tunnel available.

Asked if the ministry has any clues of whether Pyongyang indeed succeeded in “miniaturization” of a nuclear bomb, Kim said they doubt it.

In an effort to figure out which fuel Pyongyang used, uranium or plutonium, the military is working in cooperation with the state-run nuclear power institute, Kim said.

“Technically, it takes two days for chemicals to arrive from the North to the South via the East Sea,” Kim said. “Currently, we are working on sampling airborne nuclear material from the ground, the water and the air.”

JoongAng Daily

U.S. President calls for more redistribution of wealth to America's working poor

After delivering his first State of the Union address since winning re-election, Mr Obama pledged to restore the country's "basic bargain", starting with an almost 25 per cent rise in the minimum wage.

"Corporate profits have skyrocketed to an all-time high," Mr Obama said in a speech in North Carolina. "But it's also true that for more than a decade, wages and incomes haven't gone up at all."

Noting that a minimum-wage American worker makes $14,500 (£9,329) a year, Mr Obama added: "If you work full-time, you shouldn't be in poverty".

The proposal was part of an ambitious second-term domestic agenda laid out hours earlier by the president in his annual remarks to the US Congress, which remains sharply divided along political lines.

It was swiftly dismissed by John Boehner, the Speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, whose party rejected Mr Obama's remarks as a blueprint for more "big government" rather than free enterprise.

"A lot of people who are being paid the minimum wage are being paid that because they come to the workforce with no skills," said Mr Boehner yesterday. "This makes it harder for them to acquire the skills they need in order to climb the ladder successfully."

In his address, Mr Obama made a vigorous call for more investment in America's education system and crumbling infrastructure, rejecting Republican plans to slash public spending during a fragile economic recovery.

He offered "modest reforms" to reduce spending on expensive benefit schemes for the elderly and the poor that are scheduled to further increase America's $16 trillion national debt in the coming years.

"Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can't just cut our way to prosperity," he said, urging Congress to set aside partisanship to replace "reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future".

In front of high-profile victims of gun violence, including former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Mr Obama made an impassioned call for new firearms regulations, repeating that those killed in recent massacres "deserve a vote" on all his plans, even if some are unlikely to be approved by Congress.

"If you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote," he said, noting that in the two months since the massacre at a primary school in Connecticut, "more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun".

In remarks notably light on foreign policy, Mr Obama indicated that he had no intention of abandoning his ultra-cautious approach to assisting the rebel forces in Syria.

He repeated that Iran would not be allowed to develop a nuclear bomb, scolded North Korea for its nuclear test this week and promised to work for peace in the Middle East during a visit in the Spring.

The Telegraph

Rebels capture airport near Aleppo, seize Syrian MiG fighter-jets

NICOSIA — For the first time, Sunni rebels have captured Syrian Air
Force fighter-jets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels seized a military
airport in the northern province of Aleppo. In a statement on Feb. 12, the
London-based opposition group said the rebels also captured MiG fighter-jets
stations at the airport in Jarrah.

“The rebels seized dozens of fighter-jets, most of them MiG-17s, and
others that included the Sukhoi and L-39,” Syrian Observatory said.

Western analysts said the statement appeared to refer to the Mi-17
utility helicopter, also used in strikes on rebel strongholds. The L-39 is a trainer and light attack aircraft supplied by the Czech Republic.

A rebel video statement showed two MiG fighters at Jarrah, located 60
kilometers east of Aleppo. The statement said an Islamist militia, Ahrar Al Sham, captured the base, which contained scores of inoperable aircraft.

Opposition sources said rebels have been trying for more than a year to
capture Syrian fighter-jets, particularly the MiG-21. They said the MiGs
played a major role in bombing missions of rebel strongholds in northern and central Syria.

Syrian Observatory said the rebels captured or killed 40 Syrian Air
Force personnel at Jarrah. The group said a large amount of ammunition was
also found in the base.

The rebels said several battalions attacked Aleppo International Airport
and the Nayrab military airport on early Feb. 12. They said the rebels were
focusing on capturing the bases to stop the daily air strikes by the regime
of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

World Tribune

California to Ban all Semi-Automatic Guns, Confiscate Firearms and Limit Ammo Sales

California legislators are in the process of rolling out what will be the strictest gun control laws in the country. Democrat state Legislatures rolled out a list of proposals that will instantly criminalize most of the state’s law abiding gun owners.
The new law would outlaw all semiautomatic weapons, criminalize anyone who has more than 500 rounds of ammo, and require a permit to buy ammunition in the future. California, which already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, is also looking at a proposal which would call for the immediate confiscation of 166,000 registered modern sporting rifles. This is why people are against Registration!
Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, unveiled the gun control package in a news conference Thursday at the state Capitol.
The package includes:
  • Banning the possession — not just manufacture and sale — of magazines holding more than 10 rounds.
  • Making possession of hollow point bullets and similar “assault bullets” a felony.
  • Requiring anyone wishing to buy ammunition to first get a permit by passing a background check.
  • Requiring the registration and reporting of all ammo purchases. Limits the number of rounds anyone can have at one time to 500 rounds.
  • Requiring all gun owners will have to be licensed like drivers, and will be forced to carry gun liability insurance.
  • Banning any gun that has a detachable magazine, and requires a 100% prohibition of all fixed magazines greater than 10 rounds.
  • Making all previous grandfathered magazines become illegal, and it will become a felony if you keep one.
  • Prohibiting anyone barred from owning a weapon from living in a home where weapons are kept
  • Expanding the list of crimes that would bar a person from gun possession.
  • Letting the state Justice Department use money from the state’s Dealer’s Record of Sale system to eliminate the backlog of people identified as no longer allowed to own guns but not yet investigated and contacted by law enforcement.

Off Grid Survival

PETRUS ROMANUS (Pt 2) The False Prophet And The Antichrist Are Here

The Good News and the Bad News

After studying the history of the prophecy of the popes and the surrounding scholarly literature, we have some good news and some bad news. What’s that? You want the bad news first? Sure, no problem, let’s get this unpleasantness out of the way.

The bad news is that part of the prophecy may be a forgery which was fabricated around 1590. We say forgery meaning that over half of the prophecies, the first seventy or so predictions, are vaticinia ex eventu (prophecy from the event). It seems someone irrevocably altered the original medieval document and the original is either hidden away or lost to history. The first known publication of the “Malachy Prophecy of the Popes” was in Arnold de Wion’s massive eighteen-hundred-page volume entitled Lignum Vitae(Tree of Life), which was published in 1595. That text will be presented and examined below. Even though we have good reason to believe a much older document is still visible, we must accept that the earliest instance of the prophecy surfaced nearly four hundred years after its alleged origin in 1139. Despite the legend which pleads it was locked away in a musty Vatican vault those four hundred years, the skeptics still have valid points. Even so, it very well could be the work of Saint Malachy coarsely corrupted by a forger. Of course, this would fall neatly in line with the Roman Catholic practice demonstrated by the Donation of Constantine and Pseudo–Isidorian Decretals. Alternatively, some have suggested it was partially the work of Nostradamus cleverly disguised to protect his identity. While the identity of the actual prophet remains unclear, the author was a prophet whether he knew or not.

The exciting news is that the prophecy of the popes, although tainted, is still a genuine prophecy. Despite the superficial insincerity detectable in the first section of “prophecies,” the post publication predictions show astonishing fulfillments. We have no critical analysis to explain away the sometimes jaw-dropping, post-1595 fulfillments. Indeed, we are currently at 111 out of 112 and believers argue they seem to have increased in precision over time. However, we shall deal with bad news first. As we shall demonstrate, the Vatican’s penchant for propaganda is undisputed in the record of history. In Rome’s tradition of the altering ancient documents for political expediency, the prophecy of the popes was probably used as propaganda for Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli papal ambitions. Nevertheless, it was a ploy which did not work as Simoncelli lost to Gregory XIV, Innocent IX, and Clement VIII. While textual evidence for this conspiracy is provided, we suggest the reader remain objective and patient in lieu of the more astounding findings.

Historically, the prophecy has enjoyed mixed acceptance. Four hundred years ago, with so many more popes to go, it was a mere novelty. However, as time runs short, the forecast understandably becomes more urgent and the criticism more caustic. Accordingly, beginning in the nineteenth century, the Jesuits, save one, have been outspokenly critical. As a result, the most recent edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that the prophecy is a late sixteenth century forgery, while the older 1911 edition allows, “it is not conclusive if we adopt Cucherat’s theory that they were hidden in the Archives during those four hundred years.”[i] He refers to the nineteenth-century author, Abbé Cucherat, who is one of the few who argued for the authenticity of the prophecy in his book, Revue du monde catholique,published in 1871. We will examine it and other positive assessments in the next chapter. Even so, most scholars point out that Malachy’s biographer and dear friend, St. Bernard, makes no mention of the papal prophecy in Life of St. Malachy of Armagh.[ii] This argument from silence is ubiquitous in the literature.
Modern academic sources are also not very charitable. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church bluntly states, “The so-called Prophecies of Malachy, which are contained in a document apparently composed in 1590, have no connection with St. Malachy except their erroneous attribution to him.”[iii] Jesuit scholarship presents a united front. M.J. O’Brien’s An Historical and Critical Account of the So-Called Prophecy of St. Malachy Regarding the Succession of Popes is a thorough attempt at debunking. Herbert Thurston, another Jesuit, was a prolific late nineteenth-century critic. He argues that “not one scrap of evidence has ever been adduced to show that St. Malachy’s prophecy about the Popes had been quoted, or even heard of, before it was published by Wion in 1595.”[iv] This is not necessarily the case as we will discuss a possible reference to the prophecy published by Nicholas Sanders in 1571. Even so, most scholars bifurcate the list of 112 Latin phrases at number 76, due to the circumstances surrounding its publication. In so doing, two layers of context are established in the prophecy. This approach is adapted from biblical scholarship.

Exegesis in biblical studies is always an attempt to derive the original author’s intention for his original reader and that is the methodology undertaken here. For instance, when scholars study the New Testament Gospels, they take into account layers of context. There is the context in which Jesus is interacting in the original historical setting and then there is a layer of context in which the author of the gospel is presenting his account to a later audience. Careful study reveals that each evangelist author, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, frames the events of Jesus’ life in unique ways for their own theological and evangelistic purposes. The underlying context of Jesus can be assimilated by studying first-century Judaism in Israel. We study the Pharisees to understand Jesus’ criticism of their traditions. In the same way, the upper level, the author’s context, can be discerned by how he presents Jesus. Still, the order in which a certain account is presented in a Gospel is often unique. This requires the careful student to “think vertically” for potential significance.

You might ask, “Is the author making a statement by where he places this parable?” The context of the evangelist author speaks to why and how he selected, arranged, and adapted the historical material about Jesus. Additionally, the scholar must “think horizontally” meaning to read each pericope with awareness of the parallels in other Gospels.[v] While each of the four accounts preserves actual historical data, they are not always chronologically identical because of the secondary layer of context pertaining to the unique purpose of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. This methodology unveils new insights into the prophecy of the popes as well.

At first glance, there appear to be at least two levels of historical context, that of the original author and then that of the publisher. We will examine the possibility of even deeper contextual layers in the next chapter but for now we might accept the Malachy legend or perhaps a pseudepigrapher as the lower contextual level. To determine the upper level, the context of the publisher/commentator, we discover that is has been suggested that a papal emissary, Nicholas Sanders (1530–1581), may have brought an original Celtic version of the prophecy to Rome during the reign of Pope Pius V (1566–72).[vi] While he may have obliquely referred to the prophecy in a book published in 1571, it has also been suggested that the first specific mention of the prophecy was in a handwritten account by Don Alphonsus Ciacconus, a Spanish Dominican scholar in Rome, in the year 1590.[vii] At the time, Ciacconus was a recognized expert on ancient Greco-Roman paleography and ancient manuscripts, as well as the history of the papacy. Apparently the publisher, Dom Wion, had received the text from someone and turned to Ciacconus for his opinion. Ciacconus ostensibly authenticated the manuscript. We cannot know exactly when it was altered but the textual and circumstantial evidence points to the original manuscript being tampered with by 1589–1590, in time to promote a particular papabile. In the meantime (1590–1595), it circulated surreptitiously amongst the Cardinals creating quite a stir. Wion published it with the previous popes named and interpretations of the fulfillments added in 1595.
Thus, we have discerned two layers of context:

·         Lower level of historical context: An original document possibly by St. Malachy or a pseudepigrapher circa 1139 –1571.
·         Upper level of historical context: Alterations imposed and interpretations added circa 1571–1595.

In examining the scans of the original 1595 Latin text, even with no comprehension of Latin, one can note that that explanations of the mottos with papal names cease at time of publication. Wion claimed that Ciacconus was responsible for the interpretations but this has been called into serious question by O’Brien, who suggests it was someone else who simply copied from Onuphrius Panvinius’ short history of the Popes,Epitome Romanorum Pontijicum usque ad Paulum IV, printed in Venice in 1557. He bases this on the case that the interpretations presented by Wion match Panvinius’ work but disagree with Ciacconus’ own book about the popes, Viltae et res Gesltae Romanorum Ponlificum el Cardinalium, printed in 1601. While Ciacconius’ work resembles Panvinius’, it disagrees in important areas that Ciacconius made explicit. O’Brien ponders this issue: “Now, if Ciacconius was the interpreter of the prophecies, as Wion asserts, Ciacconius must be pitching into himself, for we find reproduced in Wion’s book the errors of which he complains. Who then is the interpreter? Is it Panvinius? Or may not the prophecy as well as the explanation have come from the same hand? May not Wion have been merely duped (which could have been easily done considering his character); and may he not in good faith have given the prophecy as that of the great St. Malachy?”[viii]
Whoever the interpreter was, the last comment in Lignum Vitae referred to Urban VII who died in 1590 and the last papal name listed was Clement VIII who took office in 1592 just prior to the prophecy’s 1595 publication. In reading the Latin text, underneath “Crux Romulea…Clemens VIII,” the last page simply lists the remaining mottos in three columns ending with the famous apocalyptic codex centered on Petrus Romanus and the destruction of Mystery Babylon headquartered on Vatican Hill in the seven-hilled city.
Here is the original 1595 Latin text from Lignum Vitae:
The second paragraph above reads: “Three Epistles of St. Bernard addressed to St. Malachy are still extant (viz., 313, 316, and 317). Malachy himself is reported to have been the author of some little tractates, none of which I have seen up to the present time, except a certain prophecy of his concerning the Sovereign Pontiffs. This, as it is short, and so far as weknow, has never before been printed, is inserted here, seeing that many people have asked for it.”
The bottom two lines by Wion read, “What has been added to the popes is not the work of Malachy, but of Father Alphonsus Giacon, of the Order of Preachers, the interpreter of this prophecy.” This may seem confusing in light of the above discussion about Ciacconius. Gaicon is also Chacon or Ciacconius because he was from Spain, his original name, Alphonso Chacon, was Italianized to preserve the soft Spanish sound of “ch” in his name into Ciacconius or alternately as Wion has it “Giacon.” But this last line reveals that the original prophecy was a mere string of obscure Latin phrases, and that Giacon, Ciacconius, added each pope’s name and explained how the prophecy applied to him. The comments end with to Urban VII who died in 1590 and the last papal name listed is Clement VIII. Since the evidence points to the prophecy appearing in 1589–90, we observe the next prophecy after Urban was “ex antiquitate Urbis” which translates to “from the old city” and no interpretation is offered. This is the critical point where scholars detect an attempt to influence the conclave when Gregory XIIII was opposed by one Girolamo Simoncelli.
 As a representative example of scholarly detective work, Louis Moreri, a native of Provence born in 1643 and doctor of theology, is chosen. He was the author of the acclaimed Dictionnaire Historique. As his life’s work, the dictionary contains such a wide variety of information it is considered to be an early forerunner of the modern encyclopedia. In the 1759 edition, we read:
“They attribute to him [Malachy] a prophecy concerning the popes from Celestine II. To the end of the world, but the learned know that this prophecy was forged, during the conclave of 1590, by the partisans of Cardinal Simoncelli, who was designated by these words: ‘De anlzguilale Urbis,’ because he was of Orvieto; in Latin, ‘Urbs vetus.’”[x]
The argument “from the old city” would arguably predict Girolamo Simoncelli who was at that time the Cardinal of Orvieto which also means “old city.” This is the dominant opinion of Malachy scholars. The scholars are right; it does seem a little too perfect. It seems that the conspirators hoped to rig the papal conclave by encouraging the voters to fall in step with the much venerated Saint Malachy. The clever ruse failed when Simoncelli lost to Gregory XIV, albeit Gregory only lived a year to be followed by Innocent IX who similarly only lived a brief term dying in 1591. Because popes had a short life expectancy in those days, Simoncelli was a viable candidate in the conclaves in September and October–December 1590, and those in 1591 and 1592. Altogether, he missed out on seven opportunities including the earlier conclaves of April and May 1555, 1559, and 1565–66. Even so, Simoncelli died February 24, 1605 never winning the pontificate. While the trail of the conspiracy seems evident, the coherence of the frustrated papbile’s “old city” Cardinalate is not the most compelling reason we hold that it was tampered with.

To demonstrate why we can confidently discern that at least some of the pre-1590 mottos were written after the fact I will use an analogy from counter-cult apologetics, specifically in regard to Mormonism. Joseph Smith claimed that he miraculously translated the book of Mormon directly from gold plates which were written by a divine hand. Thus, it was a one-generation translation from plates to Smith’s manuscript. Accordingly, one would then expect the book of Mormon to be sacred scripture of the most direct and pure translation. The insurmountable obstacle for the veracity of the book of Mormon is demonstrated by the fact that when the book of Mormon references passages from the Hebrew Bible, it follows the translated text of the King James Bible a little too perfectly. For instance, where the King James italicized words, the Book of Mormon follows suit. Obviously, this proves that Smith copied his references from a King James Bible and not more ancient source material like the mythological golden plates. We have a similar line of evidence with the prophecy of the popes.

Because we are examining the upper level of context from the time of publisher, specifically the interpretations offered prior to 1590, we can discern that they were manipulated in line with what was available at the time. Books were hard to come by. The prophecy follows the descriptions and details found in a work on the history of the popes by Onuphrius Panvinius: Epitome Romanorum Pontijicum usque ad Paulum IV, printed in Venice in 1557. The prophecy transparently follows this reference work. O’Brien argued, “Any person who opens this work and compares the account of the popes in it from Celestine II to Paul IV, with the corresponding part of the ‘Prophecy of St. Malachy’ will come to the conclusion that the writer of the latter, if not Panvinius himself, must have been someone who followed Panvinius’ account rather too closely.”[xi] This is more than just an assertion; his evidence is detailed and specific:
In Panvinius’s Epitome, the popes’ armorial bearings are given, but not in every case. When the arms are given, we usually find that they figure in the prophecy, when not given, the prophecy is a play upon or a description of the pope’s name, country, family, or title, when cardinal. Moreover, we find in Panvinius the very same antipopes as given in the prophecy. Even when the pope’s family-name, armorial bearings or cardinalic title is wrongly given by Panvinius, we find the forger of the prophecy to perfectly chime in with him.[xii]
In other words, it matches too perfectly because, even in the few places where Panvinius’ papal history makes mistakes, the interpretations of the prophecy follow those errors. This only makes sense if someone was using Panvinius’ book or if it were Panvinius himself. If we allow that they were following Rome’s penchant for altering an authentic ancient document to meet their purposes, then we have two layers of context. The prophecy itself (the lower, an older level of historical context) seems to have been manipulated to match the interpretation (the upper, the late sixteenth-century level). O’Brien’s parting shot is a zinger:
According to Wion, Malachy’s prophecy was a mere string of meaningless Latin phrases. How did the supposed interpreter know with what pope to commence? How was he persuaded to take up the antipopes?[xiii]
While O’Brien’s incredulity is clear, the answer to the first question is trivial. As the legend goes, Malachy was summoned to Rome in 1139 by Pope Innocent II (r. 1130–43). Thus, the prophecy commenced with the Pope following Innocent II who was Celestine II (r. 1143–44). The second quandary concerning antipopes is much more problematic. For instance, in the Malachy prophecy, predictions 6: Octavius (“Victor IV”) (1159–1164); 7: Pascal III (1165–1168); 8: Callistus III (1168–1177) are antipopes. Antipopes are alternative popes elected in opposition to a standing pope during various schisms and controversies. The problem is that those antipopes listed opposed Alexander III (1159–81) but in reality there was another antipope Innocent III (1178–1180) who is not included in prophecy.[xiv] What makes this revealing is this is exactly the same wayPanvinius recorded it. Panvinius neglected antipope Innocent III as well.
This state of affairs points to the fact that someone redacted the pre-1590 prophecies to conform to Panvinius’ book. In light of their goal, it makes perfect sense. Panvinius’ work was the authoritative source at the time and likely the only one most people had access to. By manipulating all of the pre-1590 mottos to have obvious fulfillments that any semi-studious Cardinal could verify, they launched an ingenious conspiracy to promote papabile Simoncelli as the candidate of divine destiny. Because the lower level of historical context, the original text, was just a series of nebulous Latin phrases, how could someone like the alleged interpreter Ciacconus or the publisher, Wion (who discovered the list over four hundred years after their composition), know to include these and only these specific antipopes? It is just not plausible. If the antipopes are not included, the whole list gets thrown out of sync. Of course, the original text left no such instructions. Even so, it is in sync…but not with actual history; rather, with Panvinius’ book!
In summary, there is ample evidence pointing to a sixteenth-century pseudepigrapher who referenced Panvinius’ book for all of the prophecies up until Paul IV in 1559 (when Panvinius’ book ends). The five popes between him and Urban VII (Pius IV, Pius V, Gregory XIII, and Sixtus V) would in recent memory and easy for anyone to describe. It is our belief that whoever perpetrated the ruse for the 1590 conclave used an actual prophetic document and modified all of the entries prior to coincide with the principle text on Pontifical history of that time. He then altered the next prophecy on the list “of the old city” to promote Girolamo Simoncelli who was the Cardinal of Orvieto (Latin urbs vetus = “old city”) at the 1590 conclave. While this evidence supports the conspiracy to promote Simoncelli, what it does not explain is what has happened over the last four hundred years since Wion’s publication.

Tom Horn

Draconian Cash Controls Are Coming To France

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault himself presided over Monday’s meeting of the National Anti-Fraud Committee—“a first for a head of government,” he said at the press conference afterward, to hammer home just how important this was. But he wasn’t worried about run-of-the-mill fraud that might fleece some old lady of her life savings. He was worried about people not paying their taxes.

He is desperate. In its just released annual report, France’s state auditor, the Cour des Comptes, told the government that it was dreaming. Its forecast of 0.8% growth for 2013 was way high. Try 0.3%. And forget about the budget deficit target of 3% of GDP, which had been based on that illusory 0.8% growth. And even if growth came in at 0.8%, the deficit would still be above that all-important 3%.

To get to the deficit target, the government had raised a slew of taxes to extract another €32 billion this year from households and businesses that are already gasping for air. Now “absolute priority” must be on bringing down spending, admonished Didier Migaud, First President of the Cour des Comptes, when he presented the report.

But spending cuts—whether corporate welfare projects or social programs—would be highly unpopular. Hence, the government’s emphasis on fighting tax fraud. Some estimates put tax fraud in the range of €60 to €80 billion per year, others at half that. Either way, a free gift. If the government could just get its hands on that money.

So Ayrault trotted out his national plan, a 20-page document that outlined his all-out effort to go after any kind of behavior that could possibly deprive the government of those sorely needed euros. A seamless fit for France’s principle: squeeze hapless “fiscal residents” like lemons to get their last drop of juice—fiscal residents, because citizens or foreigners who live in France only part of the year and pay taxes in some other country escape income taxes in France.

Stuffed into that 20-page national plan is a draconian tool: prohibiting cash payments of over €1,000 per purchase. The current threshold is €3,000. It’s urgent. He wants to get the process started soon so that “a decree and legislative measures” can be finished by the end of 2013.

Two crisp 500-euro bills and a single coin: voilà, an illegal transaction. OK, most cash transactions fall below that limit. But used cars, for example, might not. Between individuals, a cash transaction protects the seller. Otherwise, a trustworthy girl buys your car, signs the documents, hands you a check or initiates an electronic payment, and drives off. By the time you realize that the check bounced or that the electronic transfer didn’t go through, the car is on its way to Russia.

But the limit would only apply to fiscal residents. In a nod toward the wealthy and not so wealthy that the government has driven into fiscal exile, Ayrault included an exception: people, citizens or not, who are fiscal residents of a country other than France would be able to pay €10,000 in cash per purchase, down from the current €15,000 limit.

It will doubtlessly be called the “Depardieu exception.” Iconic actor Gérard Depardieu sought to establish a residence across the border in Belgium to escape the oppressive taxes at home [“Trench Warfare” Or “Civil War” Over Confiscatory Taxes In France]. Then suddenly, he obtained a Russian passport, a “defection” that caused a whirlwind of anger, derision, support, and laughs. But Russia does have a flat 13% income tax.

People like him, when they’re in France, will still be able to pay for high-end girls in cash. The rest must use another payment method, anything from smartphones to checks. But they leave indelible electronic skid marks. Companies that process the payments retain personal and transaction details that form a seamless record over time. And copies of these details are handed to the government, either upon request or automatically.

With this law, the French government will be able to tighten the vise on its people one more turn, restricting their freedom of choice (how to pay), wiping out any privacy in those transactions, and imposing another layer of government control. Once people have gotten used to the €1,000 limit—based on the great principle of incrementalism with which restrictions of freedom come to pass in democracies—the vise will be tightened further, until the government can document every purchase made by “fiscal residents.”

And here is the principle of Regulatory Capture: “Former employees of the SEC routinely help corporations influence SEC rulemaking, counter the agency’s investigations, soften the blow of SEC enforcement actions, and win exemptions from federal law.” A damning report on how Wall Street insiders rotate in and out of the SEC—until Wall Street culture and personalities dominate the agency. Regulation and enforcement become a joke. Read.... Wall Street Takes Over Its Regulator.

Zero Hedge

Obama pledges to protect Japan against any potential nuclear attacks

US President Barack Obama has vowed his ‘firm commitment’ to protect Japan against a potential nuclear attack in light of the fact that his nation is the only one that has ever used atomic bombs, which leveled two Japanese cities in 1945 and killed nearly 180,000 people.

In a telephone conversation with new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, Obama pledged the US military’s “steadfast” resolve to offer Japan protection against threats, including a nuclear one, according to a White House statement.

Obama further "reaffirmed that the United States remains steadfast in its defense commitments to Japan, including the extended deterrence offered by the US nuclear umbrella," says the official statement, also released on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Japanese prime minister is due to pay a visit to Washington later this month for major talks with the US president and other top officials and lawmakers.

During the telephone call, Obama and Abe also discussed ways to respond to what the White House statement referred to as “highly provocative violation of North Korea’s international obligations,” according to press reports.

The development comes following a reported underground nuclear test conducted by North Korea on Tuesday, triggering the usual strong reaction by the US and its major allies in the region, namely South Korea and Japan.

American and South Korean monitors claimed that the underground nuclear test was much more powerful than previous tests by North Korea in 2006 and 2009.

This is while the US, along with Russia, possesses the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world and persistently seeks to upgrade existing supplies and develop newer ones.

Obama and Abe further agreed to collaborate at the United Nations to impose stronger UN sanctions against North Korea.


Charlie McGrath with Greg Hunter

World must convince Assad to go, says Kerry

The world must persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to see the writing on the wall, top U.S. diplomat John Kerry said Tuesday, stressing Russia could play a key role in ending the conflict.

As observers wait to see if President Barack Obama plans any shift in U.S. policy towards Syria, the new U.S. secretary of state hinted at behind-the-scenes moves to try to cut off some of the last lifelines to the Assad regime.

But he made it plain that Assad needs to abandon hopes of riding out the war and instead accept the “inevitability” of his departure.

“We need to address the question of President Assad’s calculation currently,” Kerry told reporters. “I believe there are additional things that can be done to change his current perception.”

Kerry said he is convinced, given the current situation on the ground, “that there is an inevitability here” although it “hasn't sunk into him yet.”

Washington has in recent months increasingly called on a key Syria ally, Moscow, to halt its support for the Assad regime. It has also accused Iran of propping up Assad with money, men and materiel.

Despite working to shape a viable political opposition to Assad, the U.S. has stopped short of providing arms to the rebels, fearful of dumping even more weapons into an uncertain theater of war amid a rise of jihadist groups.

Various diplomatic initiatives led first by U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan and his successor Lakhdar Brahimi have so far failed to end the 23-month conflict that has claimed nearly 70,000 lives, according to U.N. estimates.

Obama, who a year ago predicted that Assad's days were numbered, made barely a mention of Syria in his State of the Union speech late Tuesday, vowing only “to keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people.”

Kerry said after talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh that he would not go into specifics, but added that he had “a good sense of what I think we might propose.”

Syria will likely top Kerry's talks at the State Department on Thursday with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as well as the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

He revealed that his first foreign trip, expected in the coming weeks, would focus on the Middle East as well as garnering opinions on Syria, and hinted the U.S. and Jordan could take renewed steps to urge Russia to bring more pressure to bear on Assad to quit.

Moscow has been sharply criticized for keeping up ties with the Assad regime as it battles the opposition rebels, and for continuing arms sales to Damascus.

“I still remain hopeful that there may be an equation where the Russians and the United States could in fact find more common ground than we have found yet with respect to that,” Kerry said, adding that Jordan's King Abdullah II was expected to visit Moscow.

“The current situation is untenable,” agreed Judeh, saying there was general “agreement across the board that a political discourse” is needed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz al-Khatib met for the first time in Munich earlier this month, with Moscow saying it wanted to keep in regular contact.

A top Russian diplomat also said that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem and Khatib will make separate visits to Moscow in the coming weeks.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said there was no “secret among the countries that have been working to increase the pressure on Assad that he’s living in his own fantasy world about his staying power.”

And as long as Russia keeps supplying the Syrian regime with arms and money, “then they’re feeling quite comfortable,” she added.

Sanctions put in place by other nations were however managing to squeeze the regime, Nuland insisted, saying the leadership had “run through more than half of the gold reserves of the country because they can't trade anymore and maintain their sources of hard currency.”

Al arabiya