Prophecy News Watch - Week In Review/Sep 3- Sep 7

Keeping You Informed of World Events From A Biblical Perspective 

Prophetic Trends & Headline News

1. Where is the United States in Bible Prophecy?

God & Jerusalem Blowback Hits Democrats

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte today booed, jeered and shook their fists when the chairman at the time, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, declared that an amendment to the party¯s platform ¯ adding a mention of God ¯ had been adopted.

It took him calling for the vote three times before he could make the declaration that in his opinion, the ayes made up two-thirds of the vote.

After the first vote, which sounded like a dead heat between the yes and no votes, he said, ¯In the opinion of the ¯. Let me do that again.¯

The second vote sounded the same, and Villaraigosa looked offstage for help and advice.

A woman is seen coming up behind him, and says, ¯Let them do what they¯re going to do.¯

On the third vote, Villaraigosa was prepared and launched into the statement that in his opinion, two-thirds of the voters said ¯aye,¯ apparently without considering the volume of the voice vote.

Shaking fists and jeers followed erupted even as he was speaking.

The platform of the party drew nationwide astonishment just a day earlier when it failed to even mention God. It also failed to mention Jerusalem.

The amendment, proposed by former Gov. Ted Strickland, chief of the platform committee, added the notation that Americans were encouraged to reach their ¯God-given potential.¯

It also recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Strickland didn¯t offer an explanation for why God and Jerusalem were not in the original platform, explaining only that ¯our belief in God is central to our American story¯ and ¯the president recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party¯s platform should as well.¯

David Brody reported on the Brody File in CBN,¯This has become a disaster for the Democrats and a boon to the Romney campaign. The DNC has now added God back into their platform language after originally taking it out. They have also added language back in that says Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. When they tried to change the language on the convention floor, there were boos! Oy-Gevalt.¯

He said notwithstanding any corrections the Democrats have tried to make, ¯The Romney campaign can now argue that the Democrats don¯t know what they believe on two very important topics. They can also argue that the Democrats only did this because of the pushback. That¯s true.¯

Romney told Fox, ¯It¯s a very sad say when we have our best friend in the Middle East ¯. for us at a stage like this to take an action of that nature, to cease calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel, this is a very troubling development.¯

He also said the Democrats¯ initial decision to remove ¯God¯ from its 2012 platform ¯suggests a party which is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of American people. I think this party is veering further and further away to an extreme wing that Americans don¯t recognize it.¯

The AP described the Democrats as ¯embarrassed¯ over the issue, and explained that the language resurrected simply said, ¯We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.¯

Several Democrats said the attempt to fix the platform was a mistake. Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim from Salt Lake City, told AP, ¯There are people who don¯t¯ believe in God and you have to respect that as well.¯

Another delegate from Utah, Angela Urrea, told AP, ¯The majority spoke last night. We shouldn¯t be declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.¯

The Foreign Policy column at The Cable said Obama himself intervened to push the changes.

And CBS New York said of the president before today¯s reversal, ¯Obama handed the Republicans a new avenue of attack on a silver platter when he supported a Democratic Party platform change that does not state that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.¯

The platform earlier had been adopted with the statement, ¯We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth ¯ the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.¯

GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan told Fox, ¯I guess I would just put the onus and the burden on them to explain why they did all this, the purges of God.¯

At U.S. News, Peter Roff accompanied his commentary with a cartoon of a car carrying a ¯What Would Jesus do?¯ bumper sticker. Only ¯Jesus¯ is crossed out and ¯Obama¯ written in.

¯There are no doubt other examples but the message is clear,¯ he wrote. ¯One candidate, Romney, stands for the proposition that religious freedom is paramount to American liberty. The other, Barack Obama, seems to believe it is subservient to the desires of the state. For most of us, this would seem to be the more important issue upon which to base a vote for president.¯

Pro-Israel Language Removed From Democratic Party Platform

Several pro-Israel sections of the 2008 Democratic Party platform have been removed from the 2012 platform¯on Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and Hamas. The new platform represents another shift by the Obama Democrats toward the Palestinian position on key issues in the peace process.

For Jerusalem, the new platform has been brought into line with the Obama administration¯s policy of not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel¯s capital and supporting its division. 

Jerusalem is unmentioned in the 2012 document, whereas the 2008 and 2004 Democratic Party platforms declared ¯Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel¯It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.¯ The Obama administration¯s refusal to recognize Jerusalem has been a point of significant controversy in recent months.

On the issue of Palestinian refugees, the new document has removed language from the 2004 and 2008 platforms specifying that Palestinian ¯refugees¯ should be settled in a future Palestinian state, not in Israel.

The 2004 platform: ¯The creation of a Palestinian state should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.¯

The 2008 platform: The peace process ¯should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.¯

The 2012 platform contains no language on the matter.

Previously, Obama has incorporated the Palestinian positions on Jerusalem and borders into his administration¯s policies. It appears that with his party¯s new platform, he is also doing so with refugees.

Gone as well is the language from 2008 on the terrorist group Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip. That platform declared, ¯The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel¯s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.¯

The 2012 platform contains no mention of Hamas.

Previous platforms also contained promises to maintain Israel¯s ¯qualitative military edge¯ in the region. The 2008 platform, for example, spoke of a ¯commitment which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense.¯ The 2012 platform mentions only that ¯the administration has also worked to ensure Israel¯s qualitative military edge in the region,¯ with no commitment to doing so in the future.

Mitt Romney released a statement Tuesday afternoon, criticizing the Democratic platform for removing the Jerusalem language:

¯It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama¯s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel¯s capital.

Four years of President Obama¯s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.¯

US Disowns Israel Over Iran Strike: No Weapons Or Military Backup

US Gen. Martin Dempsey¯s assertion Thursday, Aug. 30 that the US would not be ¯complicit¯ in an Israel strike against Iran, together with the drastic reduction in the scale of next month¯s joint US-Israeli war game disclosed by TIME, add up to a blunt message from US President Barack Obama to Israel: 

You are on your own! See how you manage without special US weapons and US military backup, including a shield against missile counter-attack, if you decide to defy us and go through with a military operation against Iran.

Instead of the 5,000 US troops originally assigned for Austere Challenge 12, the annual joint exercise, the Pentagon will send only 1,200 to 1,500 service members. 

The missile interception systems at the core of the joint exercise will be reduced in number and potency: Patriot anti-missiles will come without crews and maybe one instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships, according to the magazine.

debkafile¯s military sources: The Obama administration has put Israel on harsh notice that an attack on Iran to disrupt or delay its nuclear armament will be refused US missile backup - both in the course of the operation and to cover Israel¯s back in the event of a counter-strike widening into a general Middle East conflict. 

The Netanyahu government will bear full and exclusive responsibility for the consequences of attacking Iran.

Obama, who has repeatedly pledged his commitment to Israeli security, is the first American president to cut Israeli adrift against a major threat to its security explicitly posed by Iran. 

The US president has put his campaign for reelection next month at great albeit calculated risk. His rival Mitt Romney will not doubt follow up on the charges he made during his acceptance speech to the Republican convention Thursday that Obama threw ¯allies like Israel under the bus¯ and failed utterly to stop Iran¯s centrifuges spinning.

Obama may find the Jewish vote and campaign contributions fading. For Romney an incumbent president throwing Israel to the wolves against the ayatollahs is a dream come true. 

Binyamin Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak must bear some of the onus for one of the most damaging ruptures US-Israel relations have ever faced - as will be discussed later. However, the prime cause must be sought elsewhere.

In the last month, Obama has undergone a change of face: The top US soldier and ambassador Dan Shapiro were told to start treating Israel like a pest and telling its leaders that the administration is fed to the teeth with their clamor for action on Iran.

This change did not come out of the blue. debkafile¯s Washington and Moscow sources report it evolved from three events:

1. During this month, President Vladimir Putin severed Russia¯s military ties with Iran and Syria as debkafile reported earlier: Obama reciprocated by cutting Israel down to size. Moscow informed Tehran and Damascus that there would be no more Russian arms supplies after the delivery of the last items in the pipeline. 

Putin therefore left both Iran and Syria high and dry amid war dangers in return for Obama cutting Israel off from advance military hardware at a time of peril.

The Russian and American leaders thus put in place the first bricks of an accord for resolving their disputes over a nuclear Iran and the Syrian crisis by the device of slashing the military capacity of Iran, Israel and Syria.

The Russian president took another step as a gesture to Obama: He pulled Russian warships out of the Syrian base of Tartus and the eastern Mediterranean, leaving only a floating dry dock. In return, he counted on Washington forcing Israel to abandon any plans to strike Iran.

2. But this exercise in symmetrical reciprocity ran into a major snag: Obama found a tough nut in Jerusalem: Binyamin Netanyahu held out for a pledge of US military action against Iran as his price for holding back. Despite the massive pressure Obama threw at the Israeli government, both through the highest ranking US political and military channels and by mobilizing the government¯s most vocal opponents and anti-war circles at home, Netanyahu and Barak did not budge. 

They understood, despite Obama¯s concealment, that the secret US-Russian deal would in fact preserve Iran¯s nuclear program at a point at which Iran¯s leaders could have a weapon assembled and unsheathed at any moment.

The also realized that as long as Israel¯s military option against Iran was alive, the Obama-Putin deal was stuck, because both Iran¯s Ali Khamenei and Syria¯s Bashar Assad would likewise refuse to fall into line.

When Romney said he would give America¯s friends ¯more loyalty¯ and Putin ¯a little less flexibility and more backbone,¯ he was referring to President Obama¯s request from Putin on June 18, at the G20 conference in Mexico, for more time against his promise to the Russian leader of ¯more flexibility¯ later.

To keep his deal with Putin in motion, the US president will have to tighten his squeeze on Israel¯s leaders to forego an attack on Iran.

3. The Netanyahu government, for its part, committed three tactical errors:

One: They dragged out the dialogue on Iran with the US administration for far too long - three years or more ¯ and come away for it empty-handed. If their purpose was to persuade the United States to carry the can against Iran, as many Israelis believed, they failed. 

No Israeli leader has the right to procrastinate to this extent on action affecting its fundamental security, if not existence. Netanyahu fell into the trap of crying wolf by shouting year after year that Iran must be stopped ¯ and doing nothing.

Two: Israel¯s deterrent capacity, already sapped by inaction, was further eroded by US General Martin Dempsey¯s assertions that Israel lacks the capacity to destroy the Iranian nuclear program.

Three: They failed to act expeditiously to prevent the political opposition using a campaign against an attack on Iran as a stratagem for bringing the government down.

It has been four weeks since the former Mossad director Ephraim Halevi said that if he was an Iranian, he would be worried in the next twelve weeks.
That was on Aug. 2.

Thursday, Aug. 30, Halevi said: ¯It is important for Israel¯s military threat to be credible.¯

He was throwing down the gauntlet for Netanyahu and Barak to show they were serious about striking Iran ¯ or else back down completely.

His timeline gives them another eight weeks to show their mettle. During that time, they will be under heavy bombardment from Washington.

Hezbollah: Iran Could Strike US Bases If Israel Attacks

Iran could hit U.S. bases in the Middle East in response to any Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities even if American forces played no role in the attack, the leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah said on Monday.

"A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great," Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview with the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen television.

"The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity - American bases in the whole region could be Iranian targets," he said, citing information he said was from Iranian officials. "If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility."

Heightened Israeli rhetoric about Tehran's nuclear facilities, which the West says could be part of a weapons program, has stoked speculation that it may attack Iran before U.S. elections in November.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Sunday to set a "clear red line" to convince Iran they would prevent it from obtaining nuclear arms.

Israel, thought to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, views Iran's nuclear program as a threat to its regional dominance and to its very existence. Tehran says the atomic work is for peaceful purposes only.

But Netanyahu's cabinet is divided over the wisdom of attacking Iran, and Israeli officials have dropped heavy hints of a climbdown strategy, under which Netanyahu would shelve threats of an attack now in return for a stronger public pledge from President Barack Obama on conditions that would provoke U.S. action in future.

Nasrallah said there were divisions in Israel over attacking Iran. "Personally I do not expect the Israeli enemy - at least in the coming months or foreseeable future - (to wage) an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said.

Nasrallah pointed to the fragile global economy, which would be weakened further by any sharp rise in crude oil prices stemming from conflict in the Gulf, and to likely Israeli casualties in any war with Iran.

"Netanyahu and (Defence Minister Ehud) Barak inflate the benefit and play down the cost," he said, referring to Barak's estimates that Israel could suffer up to 500 fatalities in any conflict aimed at wiping out Iran's nuclear facilities.

Hezbollah guerrillas fought a 34-day war with Israel six years ago in which 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 people in Israel, mostly soldiers, were killed.

War with Iran would be more deadly, Nasrallah said. "We don't know what will happen in the region."

He repeated a warning he made last month that Hezbollah could cause widespread destruction if it came into conflict with Israel again, but denied that the Shi'ite Islamist guerrilla and political movement would ever use chemical weapons.

"We do not have chemical weapons and we will not use chemical weapons," Nasrallah said. "The use of chemical weapons is forbidden - for us that is absolute.

Unrest in neighboring Syria, which acknowledged for the first time in July that it possessed chemical or biological weapons, has led to Western fears that those weapons might fall into the hands of Islamist groups including Hezbollah.

"I do not need chemical weapons - regardless of the religious or practical position," Nasrallah said, addressing Israel. "You have factories, and you have bases, and compounds, and I have rockets."

Israel had several "weak points" which could be targeted, including "economic, industrial, electrical, chemical and nuclear" sites, the Hezbollah leader said.

Even if Israel launched a first strike attack on Lebanon, destroying a large part of Hezbollah's missile arsenal, the militant group would retain the capacity to hit back with deadly force, he added.

Two weeks ago Nasrallah said Hezbollah could kill tens of thousands of Israelis by hitting targets with what he described as precision-guided missiles.

"Hitting these targets with a small number of rockets will turn ... the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists to real hell," he said at the time.

2. Israel - God's Timepiece

Pro-Israel Language Removed From Democratic Party Platform

Israeli security officials on Saturday tried to downplay the Pentagon's decision to significantly scale back its participation in a joint military exercise with Israel next month, but some government officials said the decision came as a response to the growing tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and the Obama administration. 

"This is the Obama administration's response to the dinner party Netanyahu held in (Mitt) Romney's honor," a senior member of the political-security cabinet told Ynet, while another official said the Pentagon's decision "isn¯t boosting deterrence and is not making the Iranians sweat. 

"Regardless of the exercise, the relations between Israel and the US have soured," another minister said, while another added cynically that "our relationship has never been better. 

"The US elections are in two months, and there is no doubt that President Barack Obama, if he is reelected, will make Netanyahu pay for his behavior," said the security cabinet member. "It will not pass quietly." 

Other officials in Jerusalem said Washington is trying to send a message that Israel will not drag it into war, certainly not before the elections. The Americans were enraged by Israel's repeated threats to launch a solo military attack on Iran's nuclear sites, and top US General Martin Dempsey's recent statement that he does not "want to be complicit" if Israel chooses to attack was carefully worded. 

Officials said that while Jerusalem has received the message, the Americans' conduct is leading Iran to believe that it is safe at least until the US elections. 

"This is why the Iranians are issuing threatening statements against the US," one official argued. "Washington's hesitant policy is making the Iranians feel freer to move ahead with the nuclear program. This is not how you create deterrence to avoid a military operation." 

The joint military drill is scheduled to begin in September and conclude in mid-November. "Israel has no idea why the Americans decided to reduce the number of troops it will send to the drill," a security official said. "The ties between the US and Israeli armies are strong, and we would have known if the reduction had something to do with any tensions between Jerusalem and Washington." 

Another security official also rejected the notion that the Pentagon's decision to scale back its participation in the military exercise was meant as a message to Israel: "There are various reasons for decision, but they have nothing to do with the mounting tensions between Jerusalem and Washington. The drill will still be the largest these armies have ever conducted." 

According to Time Magazine, the US slashed the number of American troops who were slated to take part in the drill by more than 60%. Instead of the approximately 5,000 troops originally assigned to "Austere Challenge 12," as the exercise is dubbed, the Pentagon will send only 1,500 servicemen and perhaps as few as 1,200. 

The number and the potency of missile interception systems that were to be used in the maneuvers were also reduced. Patriot anti-missile systems will arrive in Israel as planned, the crews that can operate them will not. Instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships, only one will be deployed ¯ and even that is uncertain, Time said, citing officials in both the US and Israeli militaries. 

Egypt Confronts Israel With 6,000 Sinai Islamists As An Approved Militia

To keep the truce with the Islamist terrorist networks in Sinai in place, while avoiding a large-scale military operation to suppress them, Egypt is now releasing dozens of jailed Salafist gunmen in batches every few days, so feeding the Islamists a steady supply of reinforcements. 

Cairo is also in negotiation with Bedouin tribal elders to grant a body of 6,000 Al-Qaeda-linked Salafi gunmen the status of an approved, independent militia. Armed with up-to-date Egyptian weapons, this militia is to be charged with responsibility for maintaining security in the peninsula.

This may be a neat way out for Egypt and let the Morsi government off the hook of grappling with the violent Islamist networks infesting Sinai. But it leaves Israel squarely face to face with a whole new terrorist outfit which has the freedom to choose between operating in the service of Al Qaeda or Cairo ¯ or playing both sides.

Israeli security circles on the southern front familiar with the Sinai security situation explain that the Egyptian army¯s claim Monday, Sept. 3 that it pulled ¯another 20 tanks¯ out of the peninsula, marking the tail end of its putative counter-terror military offensive, was therefore the reverse of welcome news for Israel.

All the same, out of certain diplomatic considerations, Israelis officials are collaborating with the US and Egypt in drawing a veil over this dangerous downturn in security along its southwestern border.

Thursday, Aug. 30 Defense Minister Ehud Barak said: ¯The Egyptians must combat terror and if they need to bring extra military strength into Sinai [for this purpose], we should let them.¯

As he spoke, Egyptian spokesmen claimed the tanks, illegally deployed in breach of the peace treaty with Israel, were being withdrawn at the end of a ¯successful military offensive¯ to root out the terrorists.

This statement, say debkafile¯s counter-terror sources, contains at least two untruths: The tanks were falsely presented as backing a fictitious Egyptian operation, just as the Cairo communiqu¯ pretended that large numbers of terrorists were killed and wounded ¯in action¯ or detained.

There were no terrorist casualties because the entire operation was made of whole cloth, a Sinai desert mirage.

That the Netanyahu government and defense chiefs went along with this fiction is the real issue.

They have committed Israel to accepting the entry of Egyptian military forces into Sinai for the stated purpose of combating terror ¯ a stipulation the Cairo government under the Muslim Brotherhood has demonstrated it has no intention of upholding. 

Just the reverse: The Egyptian troops positioned in Sinai are ordered to keep their powder dry and stand by as the terrorist cells of the ¯Mujaheddin Brigades in the Jerusalem Vicinity¯ - which is closely allied to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - goes from strength to strength.

Yet some Israeli media have suggested sympathetically that the Egyptian army was forced to slow down its counter-terror operations for lack of intelligence on the armed cells¯ whereabouts.

An Israel officer serving in the sector retorted angrily that every Egyptian and Israeli officer serving anywhere in or near Sinai knows exactly where the gunmen are skulking and their training facilities located. ¯The trouble is that Egyptian officers who go past those places look the other way,¯ he said.

The only action the Morsi government has taken on the quiet is to place a security buffer strip along the Egyptian-Israeli border off-limits to civilian traffic.

Our military sources report this strip has been dubbed ¯The American Highway¯ of Sinai, because its 260 kilometers were paved in secret by US military engineers. 

It runs from the MFO peacekeepers' Mediterranean base at Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai down to Taba, providing a safe route for the peacekeepers, most of them members of the US 82nd Airborne Division, between their northern base and their headquarters at Sharm el-Sheikh.

Large sections of the American Highway run parallel to Israel¯s Route 12 from Nitzana to Eilat, Israel¯s southernmost town.

Egypt no doubt intended this buffer strip to serve additionally for keeping terrorists at a distance from its border with Israel. But IDF observers in that area see very little Egyptian military activity for keeping it sterile and closed to hostile movements.

Once the Salafis are organized in a militia and formally recognized as such by Cairo, it will be that much harder to keep them from breaching the buffer strip abutting the Israeli border.

3. A Revived Roman Empire?

As Fear Is Rising, Spaniards Pull Out Their Cash and Get Out of Spain 

It is, Julio Vildosola concedes, a very big bet.

After working six years as a senior executive for a multinational payroll-processing company in Barcelona, Spain, Mr. Vildosola is cutting his professional and financial ties with his troubled homeland. 

He has moved his family to a village near Cambridge, England, where he will take the reins at a small software company, and he has transferred his savings from Spanish banks to British banks.

¯The macro situation in Spain is getting worse and worse,¯ Mr. Vildosola, 38, said last week just hours before boarding a plane to London with his wife and two small children. ¯There is just too much risk. Spain is going to be next after Greece, and I just don¯t want to end up holding devalued pesetas.¯

Mr. Vildosola is among many who worry that Spain¯s economic tailspin could eventually force the country¯s withdrawal from the euro and a return to its former currency, the peseta. 

That dire outcome is still considered a long shot, even if Spain might eventually require a Greek-style bailout. But there is no doubt that many of those in a position to do so are taking their money ¯ and in some cases themselves ¯ out of Spain.

In July, Spaniards withdrew a record 75 billion euros, or $94 billion, from their banks ¯ an amount equal to 7 percent of the country¯s overall economic output ¯ as doubts grew about the durability of Spain¯s financial system.

The withdrawals accelerated a trend that began in the middle of last year, and came despite a European commitment to pump up to 100 billion euros into the Spanish banking system. Analysts will be watching to see whether the August data, when available, shows an even faster rate of capital flight.

More disturbing for Spain is that the flight is starting to include members of its educated and entrepreneurial elite who are fed up with the lack of job opportunities in a country where the unemployment rate touches 25 percent.

According to official statistics, 30,000 Spaniards registered to work in Britain in the last year, and analysts say that this figure would be many multiples higher if workers without documents were counted. That is a 25 percent increase from a year earlier.

¯No doubt there is a little bit of panic,¯ said Jos¯ Garc¯a Montalvo, an economist at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. ¯The wealthy people have already taken their money out. Now it¯s the professionals and midrange people who are moving their money to Germany and London. The mood is very, very bad.¯

It is possible that the outlook could improve if the European Central Bank¯s governing council, which meets Thursday, signals a plan to help shore up the finances of Spain and other euro zone laggards by intervening in the bond markets.

But right now, if anything, Spain¯s picture is growing dimmer.

On Friday, the government¯s bank rescue fund said it would need to pump up to 5 billion euros into the failed mortgage-lending giant Bankia, which the state seized in May. And on Monday, Andalusia became the latest of Spain¯s semiautonomous regions to ask the central government for rescue money.

The wider prospects for the euro zone are also still bleak. Moody¯s [MCO 39.89 0.17 (+0.43%) ]Investors Service said on Monday that it had changed its outlook on the AAA rating of the European Union to negative, and that it might downgrade the rating if it decides to cut the ratings on the union¯s four largest budget contributors.

Spain¯s gathering gloom comes despite a gradual return of capital to banks in Greece and the relative stability of deposits in those other euro zone trouble spots, Italy, Ireland and Portugal.

The continued exodus of money and people from Spain could be a warning to European policy makers that bailing out the country ¯ a step now widely expected ¯ may not stem the panic as long as the Spanish economy remains in a funk.

It was a lesson learned in Greece, where despite successive European bailouts, about a third of deposits have been withdrawn from its banks since 2009, as the public worried that Athens might have to return to the drachma.

Spain is still a far cry from a nearly bankrupt Greece: it has a much larger and more diverse economy, lower levels of debt and a bond market that is still functioning.

It might be more accurate to say that money is leaving Spanish banks at more of a jog than anything close to a sprint.

Although retail and corporate deposits are down 10 percent compared with those of July 2011, the country remains relatively rich in savings, with 2.3 trillion euros in overall deposits, according to data from Morgan Stanley.

But once under way, the flight of bank deposits can easily overwhelm rational facts and analysis.

Setting off the flight was the failure of Bankia, which came as a shock to Spanish savers who had been assured by government officials that the bank was in good shape.

Instead of calming fears, the state takeover prompted comparisons to Argentina in 2001, when peso bank accounts denominated in dollars were frozen in order to stem the flight of deposits.

The corralito, or corral, as the Argentine action is known, has become part of the public conversation in Spain. The million-plus Argentines who have since immigrated to Spain have provided ample and gory stories of desperate legal battles and wiped-out savings.

Eduardo P¯rez, a Spaniard who was working in Argentina during that period, remembers the events all too well. He said he lost four-fifths of the money he had kept in an Argentine savings account, though he declined to say how much money was involved.

¯Some of my friends lost everything,¯ Mr. P¯rez said. ¯So yes, everyone in Spain knows about the corralito.¯

Recently, Mr. P¯rez, who lives in the northern city of Bilbao, removed about a third of his euros from his Spanish savings account and sent them to Singapore, converting them to Singapore dollars.

Having lost his job at a multinational company a few months ago, Mr. P¯rez, 48, is trying to make ends meet by focusing on his travel Web site and blog, which aggregate Spanish-language travel videos.

But as the job outlook worsens, he is contemplating following in the path of his savings and starting a new life in Singapore with his wife.

¯Two years ago, we never would have thought of this, but now I have real fears that there will be a breakup with the euro,¯ he said. ¯And when you keep hearing people saying, ¯Don¯t worry, it¯s not going to happen¯ ¯ well, that is when you have to start worrying.¯

Analysts said that the record-high outflow from Spain in July was probably spurred in part by July¯s being a taxpaying month for many corporations, which prompted them to withdraw cash from deposit accounts.

Also playing a role were investment funds that moved cash reserves to foreign banks in light of the credit downgrades at Spanish banks.

Still, as the examples of Mr. Vildosola and Mr. P¯rez show, individual deposit flight is becoming more pronounced.

Some people are willing to fly to London for the day just to open an account there, as most banks in the city require such transactions to be made in person.

Spanish bankers working for British financial institutions say they have been hit with a barrage of questions about how to open savings accounts in London.

¯It seems as if everyone I know in Spain is getting on an easyJet to come to London and open a bank account,¯ said one such banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing his company¯s policy.

That is what Mr. Vildosola did before he took the more drastic step of moving his family to England.

¯It¯s sad,¯ he said. ¯But I just don¯t think there is a future for me in Spain right now.¯ 

5. Apostate Christianity

The Clergy Project - The Apostate Community Of Unbelieving Pastors

A prominent evangelical recently blasted a newly formed group of active and former clergy who are atheists as "a pathetic portrait of the desperation of many atheist and secularist groups."

"They are thrilled to parade a few trophies of unbelief, but do they really believe that these examples are serving their cause?" asked R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

"They celebrate a former Pentecostal preacher with no education, who was already a theological liberal when called to his church, and who then educated himself by reading Sagan, Dawkins, and Hitchens. Seriously?

"The Clergy Project is a magnet for charlatans and cowards who, by their own admission, openly lie to their congregations, hide behind beliefs they do not hold, make common cause with atheists, and still retain their positions and salaries," he wrote in his blog.

The Clergy Project describes itself as "a community for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs." It was launched in March 2011 and currently has some 300 members who network and discuss "what it's like being an unbelieving leader in a religious community."

The online community has recently gained media attention from such outlets as The New York Times and NPR. Teresa MacBain, a former Methodist worship and teaching pastor who became an atheist and is part of the new community, was interviewed by The Christian Post last month.

Mohler noted in his blog that NPR and The New York Times have portrayed these clergy-turned-atheists as "victims." He also pointed out that atheist Richard Dawkins, who has promoted and contributed to The Clergy Project, and the new group are trying to "embarrass the church and weaken theism" through unbelieving pastors.

But the Southern Baptist argued that the former pastors joining The Clergy Project were liberal in their theology to begin with, not holding to a form of orthodox Christianity.

"Given the fact that so many liberal churches and denominations already believe so little, how is atheism really different?" Mohler wrote. "In the name of tolerance, the liberal denominations have embraced so much unbelief that atheism is a practical challenge."

Mohler isn't intimidated by The Clergy Project.

"Christianity has little to fear from the Clergy Project. Its website reveals it to be a toothless tiger that will attract media attention, and that is about all," he stated. "The greater danger to the church is a reduction in doctrine that leaves atheism hard to distinguish from belief. And the real forces to fear are those who would counsel such a reduction."

6. The Rise of Islam

Egypt: Kill A Christian, Collect A Reward

Recently an Egyptian Muslim posted a YouTube videotape of himself cursing Islam and its holy book, the Koran; then tearing it to pieces and throwing it in the garbage. Here are excerpts of what he said:

There it is, Allah's book; this is the basic catastrophe. I don't know what day it is of this disgusting month of Ramadan. You are making the tearing of the Quran such a big and dangerous thing... it is instinctive to tear up this book, those sons of [profanity] think they can threaten me and challenge me not to tear up the Quran, but I want to prove to them that they are nothing, and what is the big deal in tearing up this book?! 

There it is [he starts tearing the Quran] in the trash. Are you feeling better now? You cannot touch a hair on my head. We keep blaming Hamas and Gaza, but it is not them, it is this son of [profanity] book that I am stepping on right now. 

That book is the source of all evil and the real catastrophe. There is nothing new here; it is not Omar Abdel Rahman, Abbud or all the others: it is this garbage that is causing us to run in a demonic, never-ending circle that will never end.

This latest Koran desecration is a reminder of the new Egypt¯not merely that there are everyday Egyptians who are sick of the Islamization of Egypt, but aghast at what is in store for them.

On a recent talk show on Al Hafiz channel dealing with this incident of Koran-tearing, after playing the video of the man tearing the Koran, one of the guests, a bearded and white-robed Dr. Mahmoud Sha'ban, visibly shaken by what he had just seen, said:

Someone like him must receive the punishment he deserves¯and it is death! He is an apostate¯ It is clear from what he says that he is a Muslim, and must be killed as an apostate. 

As for that act itself, it is an infidel act, and he deserves to be struck by the sword in a public place¯and as soon as possible; as soon as possible; as soon as possible. 

It must be announced and photographed and disseminated among the people, so that all the people may know that we respect our Koran and its words from Allah, and whoever insults it, receives his punishment from Allah. If people like him are left alone, they will only get bolder and bolder.

The next guest, Sheikh Abdul Mohsin said: "I support the words of Sheikh Mahmoud [who just spoke], that this man must be killed fast, that he may be an example to others, so that all learn that we have reached a new phase in respecting Islam and the holy sanctity of the Koran and Sunna. This man has become an apostate and must suffer the penalty in front of the people."

The third and final guest Dr. Abdullah was somewhat critical of the first two Islamic scholars¯not because they called for the man's death, but because, by focusing on the fact that the man had apostatized, it seemed as if they were exonerating non-Muslims: "The issue of killing him is not limited to his being a Muslim and then apostatizing. No, it is known to us from the Sharia that whoever insults the Prophet or tears the Koran, his judgment is death¯whether he's a Muslim or non-Muslim."

Later, a listener called in saying, "Just so you know, if I ever meet one of these people, their life is void¯they're simply dead." The talk show host, who agreed that the man must be slain, responded with some moderate talk about letting the state handle such people, to which the first sheikh, Dr. Mahmoud Sha'ban, erupted in rage:

"Man, we're talking about the religion of Allah! The religion! The religion!! The woman who insulted the Prophet, he voided her life! There were ten people at the conquest of Mecca whose lives the Prophet also voided!" When the host tried to get a word in, the cleric exclaimed: "I am the sheikh, not you. I am the sheikh, not you! I am the sheikh! Hear me to the end, before I get up and leave!"

Dr. Abdullah clarified for the host: "Do you know what the word 'void' [hadr] means [in Islamic jurisprudence]? It means it is the right for anyone who meets them [those who insult Islam] to kill them."

In other words, the host was wrong to think that those who insult Islam should be killed only by the state. Any good Muslim can¯and should¯kill them, wherever he finds them. Of course, with a Muslim Brotherhood president in office, whether those who offend Islam are killed by the state or by Islamic vigilantes becomes somewhat semantic.

Already under President Morsi's first two months, Islamists have become more emboldened¯whether by pressuring women to wear the hijab, by killing a Muslim youth for publicly holding hands with his fianc¯e, or by disseminating flyers that call for the total genocide of Egypt's Christian Copts. The flyers include the names and contact points for those Muslims who wish to collect their rewards for killing Christians.

7. Increase in Knowledge/New Technologies

How Long Before Robots Can Think Like Us?

Will this summer be remembered as a turning point in the story of man versus machine? On June 23, with little fanfare, a computer program came within a hair¯s breadth of passing the Turing test, a kind of parlour game for evaluating machine intelligence devised by mathematician Alan Turing more than 60 years ago. 

This wasn¯t as dramatic as Skynet becoming self-aware in the Terminator films, or HAL killing off his human crew mates in 2001, A Space Odyssey. But it was still a sign that machines are getting better at the art of talking ¯ something that comes naturally to humans, but has always been a formidable challenge for computers. 

Turing proposed the test ¯ he called it ¯the imitation game¯ ¯ in a 1950 paper titled ¯Computing machinery and intelligence¯. Back then, computers were very simple machines, and the field known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) was in its infancy. But already scientists and philosophers were wondering where the new technology would lead. In particular, could a machine ¯think¯? 

Turing considered that question to be meaningless, so proposed the imitation game as a way of sidestepping the question. Better, he argued, to focus on what the computer can actually do: can it talk? 

Can it hold a conversation well enough to pass for human? If so, Turing argued, we may as well grant that the machine is, at some level, intelligent. 

In a Turing test, judges converse by text with unseen entities, which may be either human or artificial. (Turing imagined using teletype; today it¯s done with chat software.) A human judge must determine, based on a five-minute conversation, whether his correspondent is a person or a machine. 

Turing speculated that by 2000, ¯an average interrogator will not have more than a 70 per cent chance of making the right identification¯ ¯ that is, computers would trick the judges 30 per cent of the time. For years, his prediction failed to come true, as software systems couldn¯t match wits with their human interrogators. But in June, they came awfully close. 

The event in question, billed as a ¯Turing test marathon¯, was organised by the University of Reading as part of the centenary celebrations of the mathematician¯s birth ¯ and held, appropriately enough, at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, where he played a key role in cracking the Enigma code as part of the Allied code-breaking effort. 

I joined 29 other judges in chatting electronically with 25 ¯hidden humans¯ (ensconced in an adjacent room) and five sophisticated ¯chatbots¯ ¯ computer programs designed to imitate human intelligence and ability to converse. 

Altogether, some 150 separate conversations were held. The winning program, developed by a Russian team, was called ¯Eugene¯. Attempting to emulate the personality of a 13-year-old boy, Eugene fooled the judges 29.2 per cent of the time, just a smidgen below Turing¯s 30 per cent threshold. 

As a judge, I got a first-hand look at the strengths and weaknesses of the test. First of all, there¯s the five-minute time limit ¯ an arbitrary figure mentioned by Turing in his paper. 

The shorter the conversation, the greater the computer¯s advantage; the longer the interrogation, the higher the probability that the computer will give itself away ¯ typically by changing the subject for no reason, or by not being able to answer a question. The 30 per cent mark, too, is arbitrary. 

But what about the nature of the test itself? Traditionally, language has been as the ultimate hallmark of intelligence, which is why Turing chose to focus on it. Yet while it may be our most impressive cognitive tool, it is certainly not the only one. 

In fact, what gives our species its edge may be the sheer variety of skills we have at our disposal, rather than its proficiency at any one task. ¯Human intelligence,¯ says Manuela Veloso, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, ¯has to do with the breadth of things that we can do.¯ 

Not that we would necessarily want a machine that could ¯do it all¯. Aside from being a staggeringly ambitious task, the idea of building an all-purpose robot ¯ an ¯artificial human¯ ¯ has never been a useful approach to AI, not least because it would simply replicate our own impressive capabilities. 

Instead, the greatest progress has come when AI is applied to very specific tasks, such as the satellite navigation system in your car, the apps on your iPhone, or the search engines that pull needles out of the Internet¯s haystack. 

Indeed, its most widely publicised achievements ¯ the chess-playing skills of the computer Deep Blue, or the quiz knowledge of an IBM supercomputer called Watson, which last year triumphed in the American TV show Jeopardy! ¯ are very narrow indeed. (Watson can answer difficult trivia questions with impressive skill, but it can¯t do your taxes, fold your laundry, or make you a cup of tea.) 

¯That very simplistic idea, that we¯re trying to imitate a human being, has sort of become an embarrassment,¯ says Pat Hayes of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, Florida. ¯It¯s not that we¯re failing, which is what a lot of people think ¯ it¯s that we¯ve decided to do other things which are far more interesting.¯ 

Finally, there¯s another aspect of the Turing test that¯s easy to overlook: it makes a virtue out of deception, forcing the machine to pretend to be something it¯s not. ¯This is a test of being a successful liar,¯ says Hayes. ¯If you had something that really could pass Turing¯s imitation game, it would be a very successful human mimic.¯¯ 

Of course, a computer¯s ability to act human is aided by the amount of information at its fingertips, and the rise of powerful internet search engines and massive storage and retrieval capability is already paying off for AI. 

A good example is Siri, Apple¯s ¯intelligent personal assistant¯, which has become a big hit with iPhone users, chirping out birthday reminders, restaurant recommendations, and more. With the web at its disposal, Siri seemingly ¯knows¯ a great deal. 

But is Siri merely simulating intelligence? Some scientists and philosophers have argued that machines lack awareness or consciousness, and that, as a result, their words are just empty chatter. 

Professor Roger Penrose of Oxford University has long argued that computers are missing something ¯ he can¯t say precisely what ¯ that is necessary for full-fledged consciousness and awareness, which in turn make intelligent conversation possible. 

What the Turing test measures, Penrose says, is the ability of a machine to dupe humans. ¯You make it look as though they understand something, when they really don¯t,¯ he says. As a result the Turing test is only ¯a fairly rough test¯ of understanding and intelligence ¯ though, he admits, ¯I don¯t know of a better one.¯ 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who feel that the difference between machines and humans is merely one of complexity. The staunchest defender of that view is probably the philosopher Daniel Dennett, of Tufts University in Massachusetts. 

Dennett rejects the idea that we have a mysterious ¯essence¯ endowed by our biological structure that underlies our cognitive abilities. ¯It¯s not impossible to have a conscious robot,¯ he told me. ¯You¯re looking at one.¯ What he means is that the human brain is the most complex known arrangement of matter in the universe. 

That, more than anything, accounts for the challenges facing AI: that while the human body is a machine, too, it¯s one that far exceeds the current capabilities of information technology. 

Perhaps, however, we¯re closer than we think to ¯true¯ AI. After the Wright Brothers¯s aeroplane lifted off in 1903, sceptics continued to debate whether we were ¯really¯ flying ¯ an argument that simply faded away. It may be like that with AI. 

As Hayes argues, ¯You could argue we¯ve already passed the Turing test¯. If someone from 1950 could talk to Siri, he says, they¯d think they were talking to a human being. ¯There¯s no way they could imagine it was a machine ¯ because no machine could do anything like that in 1950. So I think we¯ve passed the Turing test, but we don¯t know it.¯

Self-Driving Cars Approved By California Legislature 

In California, it's illegal to talk on a cell phone handset while driving your car. The reasoning is pretty simple: with one hand glued to your smartphone, not only are you distracted chatting about what happened on last night's episode of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," but you also only have one hand to hold the wheel. 

But what if you were sitting in your car and didn't actually have to drive? What if all you had to pay attention to was getting to the next level in Angry Birds? 

The California state legislature just moved that dream a little closer to reality by approving a bill paving the way for driverless cars to be allowed on Golden State freeways. 

The bill, authored by State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Van Nuys), was passed by the state Assembly on Wednesday and then given the overwhelming thumbs up by the state Senate the following day. 

If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, Padilla's bill would legally allow autonomous vehicles on the road and charge the state's Department of Motor Vehicles with determining the standards for self-driving cars, rules which current do not exist under the present vehicle code. 

The Economist notes that about 90 percent of traffic accidents are caused by human error, meaning that if humans are taken out of the process, there's a strong probably that accident rates will plummet. 

Even so, the bill requires the cars to have a flesh-and-blood human being behind the wheel if something goes wrong. 

"It sounds space age, but it's almost here," Padilla told the San Jose Mercury News. "If we can reduce the number of accidents, that alone is worth doing this bill." 

Bay Area tech giant Google has been leading the way in self-driving cars. The team behind the project asserts that the technology is largely already there and their self-driving cars are ready to hit the road right now. 

Earlier this year, Google took a number of state legislators on a test non-drive of their driverless cars. 

"I had the pleasure of going out for a drive on the autonomous vehicle," California state Senator Alan Lowenthal told Reuters. "I have to say that there are some still issues with it, but it's a better driver than I am." 

Earlier this week, Google engineers announced that their fleet of self-driving cars have logged a combined total of 300,000 miles. 

Despite the bill's widespread political support, some quarters have voiced reservations, particularly over what happens if driverless cars crash and lawsuits are filed. "This does not protect adequately the manufacturers for liability concerns," Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spokesman Dan Gage told the Mercury News. 

California is the second state to pass legislation addressing self-driving cars; Nevada passed a law last year. In May, Nevada's DMV issued the country's first license plate to one of Google's self-driving Priuses. 

Hawaii, Florida, Arizona and Oklahoma are all also considering similar legislation.

8. Christian Worldview/Issues

Lutherans Latest to Reject New NIV Bible Over Gender Language

The updated NIV Bible has gained another critic: the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. In a recent report, a panel of Lutherans cautioned against use of the new NIV over gender-related issues.

"The use of inclusive language in NIV 2011 creates the potential for minimizing the particularity of biblical revelation and, more seriously, at times undermines the saving revelation of Christ as the promised Savior of humankind," the Commission on Theology and Church Relations Executive Staff stated in an August report.

"Pastors and congregations of the LCMS should be aware of this serious weakness. In our judgment this makes it inappropriate for NIV 2011 to be used as a lectionary Bible or as a Bible to be generally recommended to the laity of our church."

The New International Version is reported to be the world's leading contemporary English Bible translation as it is known for being easy to understand. It was announced in 2009 by global ministry Biblica that the popular translation would be revised for the first time in 25 years.

The updated NIV (completed by members of the Committee on Bible Translation, an independent body of global biblical scholars that has the sole authority to update the text of the NIV) was released in 2011 and has drawn criticism largely over its revised gender language.

Critics include the Committee on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the Southern Baptist Convention, which officially rejected the revised NIV last year, saying it "alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language."

Conservative Lutherans are the latest to express caution against use of the 2011 NIV.

The Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the LCMS has long recognized that language evolves. It also acknowledged the intent of the Committee on Bible Translation to try to communicate the meaning of the Bible's texts in English as it is used today.

But the commission took issue with some of the substitutions for masculine singular pronouns.

"While there may be many examples in which such substitution does not change the sense or inherent intent of the passage," the commission reported, the approach is advised against because "of its potential to alter significantly the meaning of passages."

Among the changes made in the updated NIV is the substitution of "he," "him," and "his" for "they," "their," and "them."

The commission provided two significant examples where such a revision proved to affect the meaning of Scripture "adversely."

Example one:

Genesis 1:26-27 in NIV 2011 reads: "Then God said, 'Let us make mankind [collective noun substitution for "man"] in our image, in our likeness, so that they [the plural pronoun is in the original] may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' 

So God created mankind [collective noun substitution for "man"] in his own image, in the image of God he created them [plural pronoun substitution for "him"]; male and female he created them."

In the first substitution of "mankind" for "man," the particularity of the first man is made unclear. The rationale for this would seem to be the desire to emphasize that all humanity is created in God's image, but the original text itself had made that abundantly clear already by paralleling "man" in the first clause of verse 26 with "they" in the following clause. 

In verse 27, the second substitution of "mankind" for "man" again undermines the particularity of Adam's creation. Moreover, when coupled with the substitution of "them" for "him" as the verse continues, the progression of the verse is obfuscated. 

The original verse itself progresses from the particular creation of Adam-the one man who is father of all creation, created in God's image, and in whom all will die through his sin (Rom 5:12)-to the male and female, which is paralleled to him. The original text then preserves both the particularity and universality which NIV 2011 undermines.

Example two:

Psalm 8:4-5 in NIV 2011 reads: "What is mankind [collective noun substitution for "man"] that you are mindful of them [plural substitution for "him"], Human beings [plural noun substitution for "son of man"] that you care for them [plural substitution for "him"]? You have made them [plural substitution for "him"] a little lower than the angels and crowned them [plural substitution for "him"] with glory and honor."

Once again, the rationale for the translation changes seems to be the desire to emphasize a universal truth about all humanity-that humankind has received glory and honor as the crown of creation. The translation decisions, however, obfuscate other things. First, and most importantly, the decision to use plurals here vitiates the Messianic meaning of this psalm, its particular application to Christ. 

Hebrews 2:5-9 quotes Ps 8:4-5 and notes that these verses testify to our Lord Jesus. He is the Man to whom the Lord gives all glory and honor; the Son of Man to whom all creation is subject. He is the One who exceeds the angels in glory and honor, even though he was made to be lower than them for our salvation.

Second, we should note that the substitution of a generic term like "human being" or "human beings" for "son of man" (a consistent pattern in NIV 2011), impoverishes the understanding of "Son of Man" as the self-designation our Lord uses throughout the Gospels. 

Jesus uses a term (a particular idiom, "son of man") from the Old Testament that indicates full humanity and refers it to himself. This is of great importance, especially when it is seen in the light of Daniel 7:13-14. There that same term, "son of man," is used in a prophecy of our Savior's incarnation, where "one like a son of man" is "given dominion and glory and a kingdom" in which all nations are included under a rule that shall never be destroyed.

Though critiquing the updated NIV for its "misguided attempt to make the truth of God's Word more easily understood," the Lutheran commission clarified that its judgment is not on "the entirety of NIV 2011 as a translation." The commission would have to do a much more extensive study of the translation, it said.

LCMS describes itself as a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination. The Commission on Theology and Church Relations was established by the Synod in 1962 and it provides study documents, opinions and statements on theological issues.

Christianity Facing A Middle Eastern Exodus

The final outcome of the Arab Spring will not be known for years, perhaps decades, but in the meantime Christian communities across the Middle East continue to wither.

The latest to face a possible exodus are Syrian Christians, many of whom are on the wrong side of the deepening civil war there.

The birthplace of Christianity has held populations of denominations that predate Islam: Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Chaldean and Assyrian Christian.

But theses churches have never stopped shrinking, in early times because of conversions to Islam to escape discrimination or worse, and more recently from emigration, low birth rates compared to their Muslim neighbors and violence by extremists among them. 

A century ago, Christians made up perhaps 1 in 5 of Middle East peoples. Today it¯s not even 1 in 20.

Though criticized for their human-rights records, some authoritarian and secular regimes, such Syria¯s Assads, ironhandedly crushed most religious strife.

But the toppling of Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt exposed a tragic result: resurgent Muslim radicals making life harder on the Christians of those lands. 

Iraq is the most extreme example; two-thirds of its original 1.5 million Christians have fled homes and churches since U.S. forces invaded nine years ago. In Tunisia, a mob in June beheaded a convert to Christianity. 

A recent news story reported: ¯Dozens of Gaza Christians staged a rare public protest ¯ claiming two congregants were forcibly converted to Islam and were being held against their will.¯ 

The Syrian Christians may regret allying with President Bashar Assad against the majority Sunni Muslims. Assad belongs to the ruling Alawite minority, a sect out of mainstream Islam seen by fundamentalist Sunnis as heretical. Alawites make up about 12 percent of the Syrian population, same as Christians.

Some Christians have refused to take sides or have already fled to Lebanon. In Wadi al-Nasara, or the Valley of the Christians, west of Homs, some are fighting beside Alawite loyalists.

¯Many Christians in Syria believe that there¯s no alternative to the Bashar Assad regime,¯ Jesuit Father Paulo Dall¯Oglio told the Wall Street Journal after being expelled by the government in June. Retribution is expected from the rebel groups supported by radical Wahhabist Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

¯We have been leading a life that has been the envy of many,¯ said Isadore Battikha, who until 2010 served as the Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Homs, Hama and Yabroud. ¯But today fear is a reality.¯

Cairo¯s once-crowded Coptic quarter is now home to fewer than 50 of their families.

¯We know many Christians have left,¯ said Mounir Ramsis, speaking not only about his quarter but about all of Egypt. ¯But we love this country and will stay until death.¯

An estimated 8 million Christians live among more than 70 million Muslims, but not easily.

Under Mubarak, special presidential permission was needed for churches to be built. That kind of discrimination led Christians to demonstrate alongside Muslims.

The first free elections handed power not to moderates, however, but to Muslim Brotherhood and radical Salafi candidates, who won nearly 70 percent of seats in the parliament and left near-panic in ancient Christian communities. 

¯If people try to rule the country with the Qur¯an, with Shariah law, that means they look to us as second-class people,¯ said Mina Bouls, a Copt who has fled to America. 

The Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks a nation run on Qur¯anic law, has said Egypt would respect the rights of religious minorities. The Salafis, Muslim fundamentalists who want a complete application of Shariah law ¯ seen as generally denying equal rights to women and minorities, also assure Copts of their safety.

Coptic Church Bishop Pachomius criticized President Mohammed Mursi, who had pledged to include Copts but swore in a Cabinet with only one. The bishop characterized that woman¯s portfolio, scientific research, as a ¯semi-ministry.¯

¯In the past, there were fewer ministries,¯ he said, ¯and there were two or three Christian ministers.¯

He also accused security forces of ¯standing with their arms crossed¯ while Muslims attacked Christians outside Cairo. Last year, when Copts protested the failure to investigate the fatal New Year¯s Day bombing of an Alexandria church, security forces ran down the Cairo demonstrators with military vehicles, killing 17 more, Human Rights Watch said.

About 13 million Christians account for 4 percent of the people of the Middle East and North Africa, the smallest share of its population that is Christian of any other major geographic region, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Ancient communities face extinction even in Israel, where Christians make up only 2 percent of the population. Nor can the most famous Holy Land towns escape being squeezed and drained by ongoing tension between Israelis and Palestinians. Jerusalem is now 1.5 percent churchgoers, leading some to foresee what would amount to an empty Christian theme park for Western visitors. 

The birthplace of Christianity, Bethlehem, is often cited as a parable. Followers of Jesus once made up 90 percent of its people; now it¯s 14 percent. The Israeli security wall and checkpoints isolate the city from Christian sites in Jerusalem, just seven miles away. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority has been accused of stealing West Bank land from Christians.

Only in Lebanon, where Christians were once dominant, do they retain considerable political power. After a civil war from 1975-89 largely along religious lines, relations amid the patchwork of religious communities remain delicate. 

The constitution dictates that the president is always Christian, the prime minister Sunni Muslim and the parliamentary speaker Shia Muslim.
In Jordan, nine of the 110 parliamentary seats are reserved for Christians, who have slipped to just 3 percent of the population.
History unearthed

A hundred yards or so from taxiing airliners, Iraqi archaeologist Ali al-Fatli shows a visitor around the delicately carved remains of a Christian church that may date back 1,700 years.

The church, a monastery and other ruins emerging from the sand with the expansion of the Najaf airport has excited scholars who think it may be Hira, a legendary Arab Christian center. 

¯This is the oldest sign of Christianity in Iraq,¯ said al-Fatli, pointing to the ancient tablets with designs of grapes that litter the sand next to intricately carved monastery walls. The site¯s stone crosses and larger artifacts have been moved to the National Museum in Baghdad. 

Legend traces Christianity in Iraq to Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles who fanned out to spread Christ¯s word after the crucifixion. 

Historians believe Hira was founded around A.D. 270. It grew into a major force in Mesopotamia centuries before the advent of Islam, and it reputedly was a cradle of Arabic script. 

A professor of early Christianity at London¯s School of Oriental and African Studies, Erica Hunter, spoke of evidence that by the early third century, the faith was well established in what is now southern Iraq by the Lakhmid dynasty, an Arab kingdom whose final ruler converted to Christianity. 

For centuries Hira was an important center of the Church of the East, sometimes known as the Nestorian church, whose modern offshoot is the Assyrian Church of the East. 

It¯s clear that Christianity at Hira continued to thrive alongside Islam until at least the 11th century. ¯In fact, Muslim historians talk of 40 monasteries in the vicinity,¯ Hunter said.

Eventually the region¯s Muslim rulers began persecuting the Christians, and Hira¯s churches were abandoned.

History seems to be repeating itself. Many of the people now struggling in Iraq¯s Kurdish north came in the wake of a 2010 suicide attack at Our Lady of Salvation Church. That atrocity left 50 worshipers and two priests dead and turned the church into a graveyard of scorched pews and shattered stained glass. 

Christian families in Baghdad grabbed clothing, cash and a few other provisions and headed north for the Christian communities along the Nineveh plain and Kurdistan¯s three provinces. They joined tens of thousands of other Christians from the capital, Mosul and other cities who traced similar arcs after earlier attacks and assassination campaigns. 

¯They traded everything for security,¯ said the Rev. Gabriel Tooma, who leads the Monastery of the Virgin Mary in the Christian town of Qosh, which took in dozens of families. 

¯We were in the worst of times,¯ says Younadam Kanna, a Christian in Iraq¯s parliament. To him, the discoveries at Hira provide some hope. 
¯It shows we can live together in peace with Muslims ¯ because we did for centuries before,¯ he says. ¯When Islam first came to Iraq, the Christians here welcomed them.¯ 

This article was compiled from a Religion News Service story by Oren Dorell and Sarah Lynch of USA Today; the Wall Street Journal; the Associated Press and other news services.

Syria was an important backdrop to the development of the region¯s once deep Christianity, long before Mohammed¯s followers emerged from the deserts of Arabia. Some highlights and low points:

¯ Antioch, then considered part of Syria, was the scene of early conversions, some by Peter himself, and where the term ¯Christians¯ was first tried out.

¯ The vast Roman Empire was bureaucratically divided between east and west in 285, reunited by Emperor Constantine in 314, then divided again in 395 by Theodosius I. Power shifted from Rome to the wealthier, Greek-oriented Constantinople; Eastern Christians began to grow away from the Roman Church. 

¯ The lands ruled by the Byzantines included those Jesus walked. It was Constantine who restored the name Jerusalem to the Roman town Aelia Capitolina, built atop the ruins of David¯s temple. Constantine¯s mother, Helena, arrived in 326 to find the ¯True Cross¯ and pull down the temples to the old pagan gods. With this kind of royal Eastern Orthodox attention, the town prospered, although not so much the generally mistreated Jews.

Egypt, where Joseph and Mary took Jesus to escape Herod, was regarded as the second Holy Land by the Byzantines. St. Anthony, believed to be the first monk, resided on the Red Sea. Other early monasteries were built where the Holy Family touched down, including St. Mary in Maadi (now a Cairo suburb), where baby Jesus boarded a boat on the Nile.

¯ The largest church in Lebanon is the Maronite Catholic, traced back to a fourth-century Syrian hermit monk, St. Maron. Another ascetic saint from near Aleppo, Syria, was Simeon Stylites, who lived atop a pillar for 37 years. 

¯ The fellow we know as Santa Claus, that is, fourth-century Saint Nikolaos, built his reputation by leaving gold coins in shoes in Myra (on today¯s south coast of Turkey). Beloved by children, sailors and prostitutes, the bishop was credited with many miracles, including resurrecting three children who had fallen afoul of a cannibalistic butcher. 

¯ Constantinople¯s crown jewel, the Sofia Hagia cathedral, was finished by Emperor Justinian soon before Rome¯s fourth sacking, by the Ostrogoths, in 546. 

¯ By 634, things began to go sour for the Byzantines. Having won a draining war against the Persians, a weakened Emperor Heraclius lost a crucial battle to Arabs south of Damascus. Withdrawing to Antioch, he noted: ¯Peace be with you Syria. What a beautiful land you will be for our enemies.¯ It wasn¯t long before Jerusalem also fell. 

¯ A small Arab army attacked the Byzantines in Egypt, and by 641, their general reported back to Medina: ¯We have conquered Alexandria. In this city there are 4,000 palaces, 400 places of entertainment and untold wealth.¯ The Coptic Church began its long decline. 

¯ In Damascus was a Christian basilica (recycled from a temple to Jupiter) dedicated to John the Baptist and said to still contain the saint¯s head. Once Damascus became the seat of a caliphate that ruled from India to Spain, the structure was converted again, to the current Umayyad Mosque. Its tallest tower is the Minaret of Jesus, said by Muslims to be where he will descend to battle the Antichrist in the End Days.

¯ Although the Byzantine Empire recovered somewhat and held sway in the Balkans over the next centuries, it never retook Asia Minor from the Seljuk armies.

¯ In 1052 came the Great Schism of Christianity. Rome, restored as the power center of the Catholic world, tried to impose Latin rites on Greek churches in southern Italy; Latin churches in Constantinople were shuttered in retaliation; Pope Leo IX excommunicated Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, who in turn did the same to Leo. 

¯ Christian armies, exhorted by Pope Urban II, arrived with the First Crusade and in 1098 captured Antioch. (During this siege, Crusaders discovered the sweet reeds known to Arabs as sukkar (sugar). The next year, the Europeans breached the walls of Jerusalem, herded Jews into a synagogue and set it on fire.

¯ By 1187, the gains of the first Crusades were largely wiped out by the great Kurdish commander Saladin, who entered Jerusalem on the anniversary of Mohammed¯s ascent to heaven. Five years later, he would foil Richard the Lionheart¯s Third Crusade to retake the Holy City. (Saladin died soon after and was buried in a Umayyad Mosque garden.)

¯ In 1204, the French of the Fourth Crusade, assigned to recapture Egypt, pillaged Constantinople instead, a disaster from which the city never recovered. Antioch was ruled by Christians until 1268. 
¯ Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, and Justinian¯s great church, the Hagia Sophia, was converted to a mosque.

¯ The Ottoman Empire lasted until it chose the wrong side in WWI. While it allowed freedom of religion, Christians had second-class status. Whole communities, such as those of the Assyrian Church in southeast Turkey and Maronites in Lebanon, were subjected to massacres in the 1800s.

¯ During World War I, the Turks tried to exterminate Armenian Christians; one notorious death camp was at Deir el-Zour in the Syrian desert, once famous for its Christian monasteries.

9. Other Events To Watch

Preparing For The Coming Economic Collapse

Most people just assume that since things have always been a certain way that they will always be that way in the future. Most people just have blind faith that the people running our government and our financial system know exactly what they are doing and that they are doing their best to take care of us. In fact, once upon a time I was fully convinced of that. 

When I was a kid I quickly realized that my elementary school teachers really didn't have the answers, but I had total faith that those running society at the highest levels were "experts" that were looking out for our best interests. 

As time went on I kept progressing in my education, and by the time I was finished with law school I came to understand that none of our "experts" really know what they are doing, and they are definitely not looking out for our best interests. The blind are leading the blind and we all need to finally admit that the emperor is not wearing any clothes. 

Unfortunately, most Americans will repeat the mantra of "if that was true I would have heard about it on the news" until it is way too late. Most people are waiting for the "authorities" to tell them what to do instead of thinking for themselves. Sadly, time is rapidly running out and a lot of people are going to end up getting totally blindsided by what is coming.

The man in charge of our financial system, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, is not going to save our economy. He didn't see the last financial crisis coming, and even after things started falling apart he continued to insist that housing prices would not go down and that we would not have a recession.

Well, it turned out that we had the worst housing crash and the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But still millions of Americans are trusting him to save us this time around.

It isn't going to happen.

The truth is that the design of the Federal Reserve system itself is fundamentally flawed.

The biggest reason why the U.S. government is 16 trillion dollars in debt is because the system is designed to create gigantic amounts of government debt.

Yes, without a doubt the vast majority of our politicians are corrupt and/or incompetent, but even if we replaced every single one of them our economic problems would still persist until the underlying structural problems were addressed.

Most Americans are pinning their hopes for an economic turnaround on the upcoming election, but the truth is that neither Obama or Romney has a plan that will fix things. That statement is going to upset a lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum, but it is true.

Over the past 40 years the total amount of all debt in the United States has gone from less than 2 trillion dollars to almost 55 trillion dollars. This bubble is going to burst no matter which political party is in power.

Obama and the Democrats have tried to kick the can down the road and extend the party by spending 5.3 trillion borrowed dollars over the past 4 years, but by doing so they have made our long-term problems far worse.

The next wave of the economic crisis is fast approaching and people need to get prepared.

So what do I mean by that?

Well, "preparation" is going to look different for each family, but there are some general principles that apply to almost everyone.

For example, during an economic collapse hard assets are preferable to paper assets.

Also, during an economic collapse necessities become much more important and luxuries become much less important.

For many more tips, please see this article.

For the moment, I want to focus on some of the really bad things that could happen to you if you choose not to prepare for the coming economic collapse....

You Could Find Yourself On The Wrong End Of A Banking Crisis

During a major financial crisis the banking world can change very rapidly.

You could wake up one day and discover that the bank holding all of your money has failed.

You could wake up one day and discover that because Ben Bernanke has printed trillions upon trillions of new dollars to "fix" the financial system your life savings have been devalued by 50 percent.

You could wake up one day and discover that your bank account has been converted over to a new currency that is worth far less than the one you thought you were holding.

Such a scenario may sound unthinkable in the United States (at least for now), but this is the kind of thing that millions of Europeans are extremely worried about right now.

Just check out what is happening in Spain....

After working six years as a senior executive for a multinational payroll-processing company in Barcelona, Spain, Mr. Vildosola is cutting his professional and financial ties with his troubled homeland. He has moved his family to a village near Cambridge, England, where he will take the reins at a small software company, and he has transferred his savings from Spanish banks to British banks.

¯The macro situation in Spain is getting worse and worse,¯ Mr. Vildosola, 38, said last week just hours before boarding a plane to London with his wife and two small children. ¯There is just too much risk. Spain is going to be next after Greece, and I just don¯t want to end up holding devalued pesetas.¯
During the month of July alone, 94 billion dollars was pulled out of the Spanish banking system.

So that means that the equivalent of 7 percent of Spain's GDP was withdrawn from Spanish banks during July.

That is a full-blown bank run, and Spain's problems are just getting started.

Eventually these kinds of problems will show up in the United States as well.

You Could End Up Losing All Of Your Investments

But at least U.S. bank accounts are federally insured (for whatever that is worth).

When it comes to investments, you better be very sure that the firms you have your money with are not going to collapse on you.

For example, many of you have already heard about how Gerald Celente had losses in the six figure range when MF Global went bankrupt. He has been warning about the coming economic collapse for years and he still got victimized. The following is what he told one interviewer about what he learned from this incident....

"What's the take away from this? It's to make sure you have every penny in your pocket. Because just like MF (Global), screwed everybody else. 

Your also gonna get the shaft, I don't care who it is. What's gonna happen when you get a message from your brokerage, from Fidelity or somebody... yeah infidelity. Or how about Raymond James, I don't care who they are! You have ETFs? Oh, there's a little error over here, we don't have your money. We don't have your positions."

"I went to a meeting... and the speaker said ETFs of GLD are supposed to be held by HSBC in a vault in Hong Kong or England some place, and HSBC, this guy said, is the biggest shorter of gold. Well you figure it out! They are the ones that are holding it and they're shorting it? 

So the takeaway is to make sure you have every penny in your possession."If the funds that you are relying on for your financial future are being held by a brokerage or by an insurance company the truth is that you could potentially lose every single penny during the coming collapse.

The financial institution that you are depending on could suddenly go "poof" and your money could be gone just like that.

Recent legal rulings have made brokerage accounts much more vulnerable. Jim Willie explained why this is true in a recent article....

The critical jump might occur in account thefts from futures brokerage to stock brokerage, which began in November 2011 with MFGlobal, then appeared in July with Peregrine Financial Group (PFG-Best). All private accounts from MFG and PFG have been pilfered, with a blessing of the theft by the courts, seen in the Sentinel Mgmt Group ruling. The federal Appellate court¯s August ruling (CLICK HERE) sets precedent for future private segregated account thefts, which were once considered sacred and untouchable. 

No more in the United States, not in the unfolding of criminality that stretches from USGovt offices to top corporate offices, with blessings sprinkled by the courts. The jump would be a major extension of the Fascist Business Model that nobody talks about. The major financial firms can rely upon this appellate court ruling as precedent, so as to protect their legal right to re-hypothecate client funds in their high risk leveraged positions and loans. 

It sure would be nice to use my neighbor¯s house and car to firm up my casino weekends. Stay tuned to the ongoing Morgan Stanley implosion, which could force the vanishing act of 50 to 100 thousand private stock accounts. The firm is the largest stock brokerage firm in the land. The dreadful impact will be nasty and might awaken the US masses. MFGlobal and PFG-Best surely did not.
Your financial advisers will swear up and down that your investments are safe.

But look at what happened to the clients of MF Global and PFG-Best.

Their investments disappeared like dust in the wind.

This isn't meant to scare you. It is just important that you understand that the landscape has totally changed.

You Could Lose Your House

During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their homes.

Some of them had poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into their homes and they lost it all.

Why did this happen?

Well, the number one reason is because so many American families are living on the edge. They purchased homes that they could not afford and they just kept living paycheck to paycheck as if nothing bad would ever happen.

But when many of those people lost their jobs, suddenly they could not make their mortgage payments and they lost their homes as well.

Sadly, we appear not to have learned much.

Today, 77 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.

You Could Lose Access To Electricity

Why don't more Americans have a backup source of power?

Most Americans are totally dependent on the grid, and that works well until the grid goes down.

Just look at what is happening down in Louisiana. The hurricane that just roared through was not even that strong, and yet more than 100,000 people are still without power.

The following is from a recent Huffington Post article....

Tens of thousands of customers remained in the dark Monday in Louisiana and Mississippi, nearly a week after Isaac inundated the Gulf Coast with a deluge that still has some low-lying areas under water.

Most of those were in Louisiana, where utilities reported more than 100,000 people without power. Thousands also were without power in Mississippi and Arkansas.

So what would you do if there was a major national crisis of some sort and the grid went down for an extended period of time during the winter?

When Thieves Get Desperate They Will Steal Just About Anything

Over and over it has been proven that when people cannot feed their families they will steal to get what they need.

When things hit the fan here in the United States, we will see widespread looting and robbing. In fact, we are already seeing it happen in Europe. Just check out what is happening in Spain right now....

Unemployed fieldworkers and other members of the union went to two supermarkets, one in Ecija (Sevilla) and one in Arcos de la Frontera (Cadiz) and loaded up trolleys with basic necessities. They said that the people were being expropriated and they planned to ¯expropriate the expropriators¯.

The foodstuffs, including milk, sugar, chickpeas, pasta and rice, have been given to charities to distribute, who say they are unable to cope with all the requests for help they receive. Unemployment in the Sierra de Cadiz is now 40%.

And already crime is rising in many areas of the United States. In some communities thieves are stealing just about anything that is not bolted down.

Just recently, 49 cows that were stolen from a farm in Massachusetts were discovered at an auction in Pennsylvania.

Who would be desperate enough to steal cows?

In other areas of the country thieves are stealing air conditioning units from churches and they are stripping copper wiring out of city street lights.

Are you prepared to defend your property when desperate thieves come knocking?

Shortages Can Happen

During an economic collapse shortages can happen very rapidly. Thanks to the popularity of the "just in time inventory" philosophy, most stores do not have much stuff sitting around in their back rooms. When things go bad, you may not be able to get the things that you need.

Just look at what is happening in Greece. Right now, medicine shortages have become a major problem. The following is from a recent Bloomberg article....

Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi (SAN)¯s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)¯s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacists¯ computer screens, meaning the products aren¯t in stock or that pharmacists can¯t order as many units as they need. 

¯When we see red, we want to cry,¯ Mavrou said. ¯The situation is worsening day by day.¯

The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. 

The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country¯s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.
You Could End Up Dependent On The Government

Don't think that it can't happen.

Today, 46.7 million Americans are on food stamps and more than half of all Americans are at least partially financially dependent on the U.S. government.

That may be hard to believe, but it is actually true.

During the month of June, the number of Americans added to the food stamp rolls was three times greater than the number of jobs added to the economy.

What a great "recovery", eh?

If you do not work very hard to prepare for what is ahead right now, you could also end up dependent on the government.

You Could Lose Your Life

Whenever there is a major economic crisis there is a spike in suicides.

And these days Americans are more wrapped up in materialism than ever before. When the coming crisis strikes there are going to be millions upon millions of extremely depressed people.

Suicide is about the most stupid thing that you can possibly do, but when people lose all hope of things turning around a lot of them are going to take their own lives.

It is foolish beyond belief, but a lot of people are going to make that choice. We are already seeing a significant spike in suicides over in Europe due to the economy. The following is from a recent CNBC article....

A growing number of global and European health bodies are warning that the introduction and intensification of austerity measures has led to a sharp rise in mental health problems with suicide rates, alcohol abuse and requests for anti-depressants increasing as people struggle with the psychological cost of living through a European-wide recession.

¯No one should be surprised that factors such as unemployment, debt and relationship breakdowns can cause bouts of mental illness and may push people who are already vulnerable to take their own lives,¯ Richard Colwill, of the British mental health charity Sane, told CNBC.

¯There does appear to be a connection between unemployment rates and suicide for example,¯ he said, referring to a recent study in the British Medical Journal that stated that more than 1,000 people in the U.K. may have killed themselves because of the impacts of the recession. 

¯This research reflects other work showing similar rises in suicides across Europe.¯

This is why I stress that preparation is not just about physical things like money and food.

We all need to get mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared for what is ahead.

If we understand what is happening and we come up with a plan to go through it, we will be in far, far better position to endure the coming crisis than people that are totally blindsided by it.

A recent article on entitled "How Horrific Will It Be For The Non-Prepper" explored some of these ideas more fully. I encourage people to go check it out.

For the moment, most people will just go on with their lives as if nothing is wrong because times are still quite good.

But time is running out. In fact, we might not have much time left at all before the next major downturn.

A recent CNBC article entitled "It's Coming: One Pro Sees Big Stock Selloff in 10 Days" detailed how some analysts are warning of a major stock market decline later this month....

An equity strategist for Goldman Sachs is predicting a September selloff that happens so rapidly he is telling clients to protect themselves before Sept. 14.

The reason: Market disappointment over key meetings of the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve¯all within the next 10 days.

September may turn out to be a bad month for stocks or it might end up being just fine.

But one thing is for sure.

Time is running out.

Are you ready?





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