May 31, 2012

15-year Mortgage Loan Drops Below 3 Percent for the First Time Ever

Mortgage Rates Plummet - 15-Year Fixed Below 3 Pct

May 31, 2012

ABC News - If you can get a new mortgage or refinance an existing one, interest rates have fallen to incredible new lows.

Interest on a 15-year loan has dropped below 3 percent for the first time ever, according to data from Freddie Mac.

The average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.75 percent. That's down from 3.78 percent last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The 15-year mortgage rate is down to 2.97 percent this week from 3.04 percent last week. The 15-year loan is often used for refinancing, that is if you can get the bank to call you back and then meet the requirements.

If the economy doesn't fall apart in other ways, these low rates may help the housing market as we are now in the buying season.

Federal Appeals Court Declares That the 'Defense of Marriage Act' Unconstitutionally Denies Federal Benefits to Married Gay Couples

Court: Heart of Gay Marriage Law Unconstitutional

May 31, 2012
AP - A federal appeals court Thursday declared that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a groundbreaking ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In its unanimous decision, the three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman deprives gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples.

The court didn't rule on the law's more politically combustible provision, which said states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it's legal. It also wasn't asked to address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The law was passed at a time when it appeared Hawaii would legalize gay marriage. Since then, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004.

The court, the first federal appeals panel to deem the benefits section of the law unconstitutional, agreed with a lower level judge who ruled in 2010 that the law interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.

The 1st Circuit said its ruling wouldn't be enforced until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the case, meaning that same-sex married couples will not be eligible to receive the economic benefits denied by DOMA until the high court rules.

That's because the ruling only applies to states within the circuit, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico. Only the Supreme Court has the final say in deciding whether a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional.

Although most Americans live in states where the law still is that marriage can only be the union of a man and a woman, the power to define marriage had always been left to the individual states before Congress passed DOMA, the appeals court said in its ruling.

"One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage," Judge Michael Boudin wrote for the court. "Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress' denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest."

During arguments before the court last month, a lawyer for gay married couples said the law amounts to "across-the-board disrespect." The couples argued that the power to define and regulate marriage had been left to the states for more than 200 years before Congress passed DOMA.

An attorney defending the law argued that Congress had a rational basis for passing it in 1996, when opponents worried that states would be forced to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere. The group said Congress wanted to preserve a traditional and uniform definition of marriage and has the power to define terms used to federal statutes to distribute federal benefits.

Since DOMA was passed in 1996, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Washington state and the District of Columbia. Maryland and Washington's laws are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums.

Last year, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. Department of Justice would no longer defend the constitutionality of the law. After that, House Speaker John Boehner convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend it. The legal group argued the case before the appeals court.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Boston-based legal group that brought one of the lawsuits on behalf of gay married couples, said the law takes one group of legally married people and treats them as "a different class" by making them ineligible for benefits given to other married couples.

"We've been working on this issue for so many years, and for the court to acknowledge that yes, same-sex couples are legally married, just as any other couple, is fantastic and extraordinary," said Lee Swislow, GLAD's executive director.

Two of the three judges who decided the case Thursday were Republican appointees, while the other was a Democratic appointee. Boudin was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, while Judge Juan Torruella was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Chief Judge Sandra Lynch is an appointee of President Bill Clinton.

Tax Apocalypse in Your Retirement Account

Stern Advice: Tax Apocalypse in Your Retirement Account

May 31, 2012Reuters Amid all the gloom and doom about forced retirement, skyrocketing healthcare costs and nest egg-cracking financial markets, there's another threat facing baby boomers: future tax liabilities.

The generation that has depended solely on 401(k)s and tax-deferred individual retirement accounts may not realize how much of a tax hit it will take when it starts withdrawing the money and living on it.

With the prospect of rising tax rates after the Bush tax cuts expire, some retirees could find themselves paying even more in taxes than they did when they were working. "It continues to surprise our clients that taxes are that big of an expense in retirement," says Mark Davis of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.

He estimates that clients who optimize retirement withdrawals to minimize their taxes can end up with as much as 33 percent more to spend in retirement years than they would if they ignored the impact of taxes.

How to do that? Here are a few options.

-- Build a tax-diversified portfolio going in. If all your savings are locked away in a 401(k) or tax-deferred IRA, you will end up paying income taxes on all your withdrawals. It's better to have other accounts to pull money out of.

To really optimize your post-retirement withdrawals to minimize taxes, it would be good to have a tax-deferred account, a tax-free account (such as a Roth IRA or a healthcare savings account) and a regular taxable investment account. You can use the taxable account to take capital losses as they occur, and to keep income taxed at lower capital gains and dividend rates.

-- Consider taxes as you decide when to start your Social Security benefits. That's a complex consideration, so it's best to have an expert with a spreadsheet help you. The basic issue is this: Many advisers recommend that you delay starting your benefits as long as possible, to maximize the monthly payments you'll ultimately receive. But if you have to withdraw money from a tax-deferred account to live on while you're waiting to start Social Security, that could backfire. If your combined marginal state and local tax rate is 35 percent, and you're deferring $20,000 in Social Security, that could conceivably cost you as much as $7,000 a year to defer those benefits.

-- Know your limits. It's good to know your tax bracket and whether or not you are on the verge of being in a higher or lower bracket. For example, the 25 percent federal tax bracket starts at $35,350 in income ($70,700 for couples filing jointly)and runs all the way up to $85,650 for single filers and $142,700 for joint filers. If you have multiple accounts, you can finesse your withdrawals to keep your marginal income below a bracket line.

-- Don't forget Social Security taxes. It is likely, though not certain, that you will have to include a portion of your Social Security benefits into your taxable income. If your income, including 50 percent of your benefits, exceeds $25,000 for singles or $32,000 for couples, then half of your benefits will be taxable. Once that figure exceeds $34,000 for singles and $44,000 for couples, 85 percent of your benefits would be taxable. That means you could end up giving back as much as 21 cents in taxes for every dollar in benefits you collect.

If you can use withdrawals from tax-free accounts to keep your income below that breakpoint, that would save you money, too.

To get an idea of whether and how much of your Social Security benefits will be taxed, you can use the calculator at the website of CompleteTax.

-- Optimize what you put where. Bond and bank account interest is typically taxed at higher ordinary income levels, while dividends and capital gains are taxed at lower levels, which currently max out at 15 percent. So match up the right investments in the right vehicle, suggests Davis. That means putting your bonds in a tax-deferred rollover IRA (or tax-free Roth)and putting your stocks in a regular taxable account.

-- Don't forget munibonds. Interest on municipal bonds is typically not subject to state and local taxes, so folks in high-tax states might find these bonds or the mutual funds that hold them attractive. And there is a bonus there: In recent topsy-turvy markets, munis have skirted, and occasionally out-yielded U.S. Treasuries. That's unusual. If you are going to invest in munis for income, don't put them in a tax-free or tax-deferred account.

-- Where you live matters. It's not just the cost of living that makes some places, such as Florida and Delaware, retiree magnets -- it's the fact that those states have much lower state tax structures. Florida has no income tax at all. If you're going to be living solely on tax-deferred withdrawals, Florida might start seeming more attractive than you ever thought it would be.

-- Remember not to let the tail wag the dog. You can have a richer retirement life if you keep taxes to a minimum, but - of course - taxes shouldn't be the driver in how you invest, where you live, or how you run your life. Use strategies like these to minimize taxes when you can, but don't make them the focal point of your retirement plan or day.

New AIDS-like Disease Sparks Warning

Chagas: Is Tropical Disease Really the New AIDS?

May 31, 2012

The Lookout - Chagas, a tropical disease spread by insects, is causing some fresh concern following an editorial—published earlier this week in a medical journal—that called it "the new AIDS of the Americas."

More than 8 million people have been infected by Chagas, most of them in Latin and Central America. But more than 300,000 live in the United States.

The editorial, published by the Public Library of Science's Neglected Tropical Diseases, said the spread of the disease is reminiscent of the early years of HIV.

"There are a number of striking similarities between people living with Chagas disease and people living with HIV/AIDS," the authors wrote, "particularly for those with HIV/AIDS who contracted the disease in the first two decades of the HIV/AIDS epidemic."

Both diseases disproportionately affect people living in poverty, both are chronic conditions requiring prolonged, expensive treatment, and as with patients in the first two decades of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, "most patients with Chagas disease do not have access to health care facilities."

Unlike HIV, Chagas is not a sexually-transmitted disease: it's "caused by parasites transmitted to humans by blood-sucking insects," as the New York Times put it.

"It likes to bite you on the face," CNN reported. "It's called the kissing bug. When it ingests your blood, it excretes the parasite at the same time. When you wake up and scratch the itch, the parasite moves into the wound and you're infected."

"Gaaah," Cassie Murdoch wrote on, summing up the sentiment of everyone who read the journal's report.

Chagas, also known as American trypanosomiasis, kills about 20,000 people per year, the journal said.

And while just 20 percent of those infected with Chagas develop a life-threatening form of the disease, Chagas is "hard or impossible to cure," the Times reports:

The disease can be transmitted from mother to child or by blood transfusion. About a quarter of its victims eventually will develop enlarged hearts or intestines, which can fail or burst, causing sudden death. Treatment involves harsh drugs taken for up to three months and works only if the disease is caught early.

"The problem is once the heart symptoms start, which is the most dreaded complication—the Chagas cardiomyopathy—the medicines no longer work very well," Dr. Peter Hotez, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine and one of the editorial's authors, told CNN. "Problem No. 2: the medicines are extremely toxic."

And 11 percent of pregnant women in Latin America are infected with Chagas, the journal said.

May 29, 2012

How to Prevent Homeland Security from Spying on Your Social Networking

Avoid These Words to Prevent Homeland Security from Spying on Your Social Networks

May 29, 2012

Tecca - With the FBI reportedly forming a new internet surveillance unit and the National Security Agency building a data center in Utah that will be able to sift through communications between private citizens, you can assume that the government can readily spy on you whenever it wants to. Another agency, Homeland Security, began its social media monitoring program a few months ago. But you don't have to worry about being included in its watch list, so long as you avoid using any word found in its list of keywords.

The agency was recently forced to release its list after a freedom of information request was submitted by privacy watchdog, Electronic Privacy Information Center. Some of the words like "Al Qaeda" and "Taliban" are pretty much self-explanatory. But others like "pork" and "sick" make no sense until you hear the agency's explanation about its program monitoring social networks not only for signs of terrorism, but also for public health threats and natural disasters.

Of course, if your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking profiles are set to private, you don't have anything to worry about. And there's really no reason why you can't use these words even if you have public profiles... unless you're strongly opposed to the government keeping tabs on you. Check out the full list of words below and the full document on Scribd.

Whatever you do, don't use these words online

Hundreds of Thousands Losing Unemployment Benefits

U.S. Winds Down Longer Benefits for the Unemployed

May 29, 2012

New York Times - Hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Americans are receiving their final unemployment checks sooner than they expected, even though Congress renewed extended benefits until the end of the year.

The checks are stopping for the people who have the most difficulty finding work: the long-term unemployed. More than five million people have been out of work for longer than half a year. Federal benefit extensions, which supplemented state funds for payments up to 99 weeks, were intended to tide over the unemployed until the job market improved.

In February, when the program was set to expire, Congress renewed it, but also phased in a reduction of the number of weeks of extended aid and effectively made it more difficult for states to qualify for the maximum aid. Since then, the jobless in 23 states have lost up to five months’ worth of benefits.

Next month, an additional 70,000 people will lose benefits earlier than they presumed, bringing the number of people cut off prematurely this year to close to half a million, according to the National Employment Law Project. That estimate does not include people who simply exhausted the weeks of benefits they were entitled to.

Separate from the Congressional action, some states are making it harder to qualify for the first few months of benefits, which are covered by taxes on employers. Florida, where the jobless rate is 8.7 percent, has cut the number of weeks it will pay and changed its application procedures, with more than half of all applicants now being denied.

The federal extension of jobless benefits has been a contentious issue in Washington. Republicans worry that it prolongs joblessness and say it has not kept the unemployment rate down, while Democrats argue that those out of work have few alternatives and that the checks are one of the most effective forms of stimulus, since most of it is spent immediately.

After the most recent compromise reached in February, another renewal seems unlikely.

The expiration of benefits is one factor contributing to what many economists refer to as a “fiscal cliff,” or a drag on the economy at the end of this year when tax cuts and recession-related spending measures will all come to an end unless Congress acts. The Congressional Budget Office warned last week that the combination could contribute to another recession next year.

Candace Falkner, 50, got her last unemployment check in mid-May, when extended benefits were curtailed in eight states. Since then she has applied for food stamps and begun a commission-only, door-to-door sales job. Since losing her job two years ago, Ms. Falkner said, she has earned a master’s degree in psychology and applied for work at numerous social service agencies as well as places like Walmart, but no offers came.

Ms. Falkner, who lives on the outskirts of Chicago, said she was grateful for the checks she received. But when they ended, she said,

“They should have had some program in place to funnel those people back into the job market. Not to just leave them out there cold, saying, ‘The job market has improved, but there’s still 60,000 people in the city who can’t find one.’ ”

Unemployment is lower than it was when the emergency unemployment extensions were ramped up in November 2009. Now, it is 8.1 percent, down from 9.9 percent then. But it is still far higher than pre-recession norms, and there are more than three job seekers for every opening.

Proponents of extended benefits say the cuts are premature. Chad Stone, the chief economist at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said Congress had never before put the brakes on extended benefits when the labor market was so weak.

“It’s moving in the wrong direction, and it’s occurring at a time when unemployment is very high,” he said.

Conservative economists and political leaders have argued that unemployment benefits prolong joblessness and simply transfer wealth from one area of the economy to another without contributing to growth.

Kevin A. Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said,

“I haven’t liked the 99-week solution from the beginning because it creates an environment where people are subsidized to become a structural unemployment problem.”

Still, he is troubled by the latest developments.

“If you just reduce the weeks of unemployment for people already unemployed but don’t do anything else, it’s a bad deal,” he said, “because they’re already about the worst-off people in society.”

He points to alternatives like using unemployment money to encourage entrepreneurship or paying benefits in a lump sum, rather than over time, to encourage people to find work faster.

Most states offer 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, plus the federal extensions that kicked in after the financial crash.

The number of extra weeks available by state is determined by several factors, including the state’s unemployment rate and whether it is higher than three years earlier. So states like California have had benefits cut even though the unemployment rate there is still almost 11 percent.

“Benefits have ended not because economic conditions have improved, but because they have not significantly deteriorated in the past three years,” Hannah Shaw, a researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote in a blog post.
In May, an estimated 95,000 people lost benefits in California.

After the recession, 99 weeks became a symbol of the plight of the jobless, with those who exhausted their benefits calling themselves “99 weekers” or “99ers.” But by the end of September, the extended benefits will end in the last three states providing 99 weeks of assistance — Nevada, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Some states have tightened eligibility as well. Nationwide, most people apply for benefits by phone. Last August, Florida began requiring people to apply online and to complete a 45-minute test to assess their job skills, according to a complaint submitted to the federal labor secretary by the National Employment Law Project and Florida Legal Services.

The complaint said that applicants with limited Internet access or English skills, disabilities or difficulty reading had effectively been shut out, and that failure to complete the assessment was illegally being used to deny benefits. Denials have soared; now just over half of applicants are rejected. Nationally, 30 percent of applicants are rejected, according to the law project.

The changes have saved the state $2.7 million, according to James Miller, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The state’s unemployment rate, he pointed out, has declined for 10 straight months.

“The Department of Economic Opportunity provides accommodations to individuals with barriers to filing their claims,” he wrote in an e-mail. “D.E.O. welcomes any review and is certain that Florida’s statutory changes are in full compliance with federal law.”

The Labor Department is reviewing Florida’s unemployment program in response to multiple complaints, a spokesman said.

States, Federal Government Reduce Length of Jobless Benefits

May 29, 2012The Lookout - Hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans are losing their federal unemployment benefits earlier than they expected due to new rules passed in February that make it harder for states to qualify for extended jobless aid, the New York Times reports.

At the height of the recession, Congress passed a law to boost unemployment assistance to up to 99 weeks: The unemployed would receive federal money instead of state funds if they continued to be jobless past the traditional period of six months. In February, Congress extended this law, but added rules that would draw down the number of weeks the government would pay for, based on whether a state's jobless rate had decreased and other factors. Now, only three states still offer 99 weeks of assistance, and all three will stop doing so in September.

More than 5 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months, down from a high of more than 6 million two years ago. Supporters of extending benefits say they stimulate the economy and provide a crucial safety net for vulnerable workers, but those opposed say they discourage people from finding work.

Meanwhile, some states, independently of the federal government, have made it more difficult for people to receive jobless benefits. The National Employment Law Project (NELP), a nonprofit that advocates for more support for unemployed people, filed suit against Florida, saying it wrongfully denied people jobless benefits. The group says only 15 percent of eligible people are receiving unemployment assistance in the state, the lowest rate in the nation. This is due in part to a new law passed last year that requires unemployed people to take an online "skills test" before qualifying to receive the roughly $275 per week in benefits, the Miami Herald reported. The state's unemployment rate has fallen to 8.7 percent from 10.6 percent a year ago.

On the state level, unemployment insurance is paid for by a tax on employers, and only people who were let go through no fault of their own are eligible to receive the funds.

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Crossed the Pacific from Japan to U.S.

How Fukushima May Show Up in Your Sushi

May 28, 2012

ABC News - Those looking for evidence of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan may need search no further than their next plate of sushi, Stanford University researchers report.

The researchers tested 15 Pacific bluefin tuna that had migrated from Japan to the California coast and found that the levels of radioactive cesium in these fish were 10 times higher than those found in bluefin tuna from the years before the disaster.

Before you swear off your maguro nigiri, it’s important to realize that the levels of radiation the researchers found from the cesium in the tuna were exceedingly low — about 30 times less than the amount of radiation given off by other common, naturally occurring elements in the tuna we eat.

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The findings appeared Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The finding should be reassuring to the public,” said Timothy J. Jorgensen, associate professor of radiation medicine at Georgetown University, who was not involved with the study. “As anticipated, the tuna contained only trace levels of radioactivity that originated from Japan. These levels amounted to only a small fraction of the naturally occurring radioactivity in the tuna, and were much too small to have any impact on public health.

“Thus, there is no human health threat posed by consuming migratory tuna caught off the west coast of the United States.”

Still, the fact that the researchers could trace this radioactive material back to its source in Japan could have implications for seafood monitoring methods in the future. Dr. Michael Harbut, director of the Environmental Cancer Program at Wayne State University’s Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, agreed that the findings are no cause for panic. But he said that the finding that tuna and migratory food animals could carry this radioactive material so far across the ocean deserves consideration.

“In general, when you hear the word ‘radiation’ at all, it’s cause for some alarm, and I agree always a cause for significant attention.”

Harbut, who described himself as a physician, scientist and “guy who likes sushi,” added that while the levels of radiation found should not be seen as a direct threat to human health, scientists should focus their efforts on how this extra little bit of contamination fits into the bigger picture of food safety.

“For somebody to say this is an immediate threat to large numbers of humans and their health is irresponsible,” Harbut said. “We don’t see people dying left and right all over the West Coast from radiation poisoning. But to say this is nothing to worry about is equally irresponsible, because you have radioactive material ingested by fish, which is in turn being eaten by people.”

For now, the findings may be most important as a demonstration of how migratory food animals connect different areas of the globe — and how an event in one part of the world can affect food animals in an entirely different region.

“[The findings] should be of value to both environmental studies of the marine ecosystem and to ensure that the public is not exposed to seafood contaminated with significant levels of marine radioactivity,” Jorgensen said.

Harbut said that the next step is for governments to learn more about this issue and act appropriately to ensure the seafood safety.

“I think that the appropriate government agencies have to appoint appropriately trained people to give the public an honest assessment,” Harbut said. “Not something tailor made for ignorance, like ‘This will definitely kill you,’ or ‘This poses absolutely no risk to human health.’

“We’ve gone too far in poisoning the world to settle for simple ‘yes’es and ‘no’s like that.”

Georgia Police Officer Kicks Pregnant Woman in Stomach; Department Never Investigated the Incident and Five Supervising Officers Signed Off on the Officer's Action

DeKalb Officer Investigated After Allegedly Kicking Pregnant Woman in Stomach

May 8, 2012

DECATUR, Ga., Channel 2 Action News - Channel 2 Action News has learned a DeKalb County police officer is under criminal investigation for allegedly kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach, then charging her with obstruction of a police officer.

Records show the department never investigated the incident and five supervising officers signed off on the officer's actions.

"I was upset because I couldn't believe an officer would kick me, with my child in my stomach," Raven Dozier told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.
Dozier was nearly nine months pregnant and helping to calm down her brother who was arguing with police. They used a Taser on him, and she cried out.

That's when Officer Jerad Wheeler used what he described in his report as "a front push-kick to the abdomen, as he was taught to do at the academy."
"What kind of a human being kicks a pregnant woman? I mean, forget whether or not it is a police officer that is supposedly protecting people," Dozier's attorney Mark Bullman said.
Dozier filed a complaint with the DeKalb police department's internal affairs unit, but it was never investigated. Instead, four supervisors and an internal affairs detective signed off that Wheeler's use of force met policy.
"He was not, he had no reason to do that, and for a higher authority to say that he is OK, his boss is wrong too," Dozier said.
Fleischer filed an open records request and found two more use-of-force complaints against Wheeler within the last nine months. In all three cases, the victims were not the focus of the original police incident.

In September 2011, a 53-year-old woman said Wheeler twisted her arm behind her back and pushed her face down in the patrol car. The woman's daughter had just been in a car accident and she had gone to the scene to help with her young grandchildren.

In January 2012, a family complained after Wheeler shot their dog while he was on a chain inside their garage. Wheeler had responded to the wrong address.

In both cases, the department justified Wheeler's actions and exonerated him.

"It's showing that there is an ongoing pattern and practice of attempting to clear officers of clearly illegal, unconstitutional, and improper conduct," Bullman said.
Wheeler charged Dozier with obstruction of an officer.

In his report, he said she was coming toward him in an aggressive manner that it was very dark, she was wearing a large shirt, and he couldn't tell she was pregnant.

But workers at the DeKalb County Jail recognized it immediately, and refused accept Dozier. She had an emergency C-section two weeks later, and now baby Levi is doing well.
"I believe that something should be done. Men go to jail every day for hitting women and it's not OK just because he is a police officer," said Dozier.

"My hope is that with this and other cases, things will change at the DeKalb Police Department, that it is no longer possible for officers to commit felonies against citizens that have committed no crime whatsoever," Bullman said.
A DeKalb police representative did not want to comment on how the department handled this case.

Priest Removed from Ministry Due to Sex Abuse Allegations Now Works as TSA Supervisor

Priest Removed from Ministry Due to Sex Abuse Allegations Now Works at PHL

A Catholic priest that left the ministry because of allegations of sexual abuse has been hired by the TSA and works as a supervisor at an airport in Philadelphia.

May 24, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) The CBS 3 I-Team has learned that a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport.

The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids – pass through every day. But you might not believe who the I-Team observed working as a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.

Until 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.

The I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.

“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.

The new lawsuit, filed in federal court against the Camden Diocese says quite a bit. It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.

The I-Team asked Harkins if the traveling public should be worried.

“No, they shouldn’t be,” he said.

“The public should not be worried with you in a position like this despite your past?” reporter Ben Simmoneau asked.

“I have nothing to say,” Harkins repeated.

He then used his TSA badge to walk into a restricted area where our cameras could not follow.

“They should know who they’re hiring,” said Karen Polesir, a Philadelphia spokeswoman with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She believes Harkins’ TSA job is inappropriate.

“As the public, we are screened to our underwear getting on a plane, and yet they hire a man like that.”

A TSA official tells the I-Team Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager, Baggage,” meaning he deals mostly with luggage, not passengers.

“Sure, that’s his title,” Polesir said. “That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

The TSA says all its employees go through a criminal background check before they’re hired, but because these cases are so old, criminal charges were not filed. A spokesman says the Camden Diocese settled the first two lawsuits with Harkins’ accusers–it has not seen this suit just yet.

Astounding Quote Lifts Veil on Elite’s Arrogance

“A Greek economy in depression, austerity that guarantees they’ll stay in depression and living on life support from the rest of Europe is the best.” - Kit Juckes, global head of foreign exchange at Societe Generale, May 18, 2012 (video below)

Bankers Want to Keep Greece Mired in Depression

May 29, 2012 - An astounding quote buried at the bottom of a CNBC article lifts the lid on the arrogance of the global banking elite and their desire to see Greece remain mired in depression.

The article, entitled Greece to Leave Euro Zone on June 18: Wealth Manager, focuses on Integral Asset Management’s Nick Dewhirst’s contention that Greece will exit the single currency the day after national elections on June 17 if the populist party is victorious.

However, in the very last paragraph of the story we read: “Kit Juckes, global head of foreign exchange at Societe Generale, told CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” (see video above) that the best outcome was “the status quo.”

“A Greek economy in depression, austerity that guarantees they’ll stay in depression and living on life support from the rest of Europe is the best,” he said.

As the representative of Societe Generale, one of Europe’s biggest banks, Juckes is brazenly admitting that the elite would rather see Greece rot and decline into a failed state than allow her to leave the euro and become economically independent once again.

Juckes’ quote also underscores how the austerity measures imposed on Greece by European technocrats are not in the country’s best interests at all and are in fact designed to keep Greece’s economy under the dictatorial control of the banking elite.

As we have previously documented, the biggest fear amongst technocrats is not for the welfare of the Greek people in the event of bank runs and panic engendered by an exit from the euro, but that a post-euro Greek economic recovery would provide a good example for other countries in the eurozone to follow.

In a Financial Times piece written by Arvind Subramanian, a Senior Fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, which counts amongst its directors numerous influential Bilderberg members, including former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former United States Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and Bilderberg kingpin David Rockefeller, the elite’s true concerns over a ‘Grexit’ are perfectly encapsulated.

“Suppose that by mid-2013 Greece’s economy is recovering, while the rest of the eurozone remains in recession. The effect on austerity-addled Spain, Portugal and even Italy would be powerful. Voters there would not fail to notice the improving condition of their hitherto scorned Greek neighbour. They would start to ask why their own governments should not follow the Greek path and voice a preference for leaving the eurozone.

“In other words, the Greek experience could fundamentally alter the incentives for these countries to remain in the eurozone, especially if economic conditions remained grim,” writes Subramanian, adding that Greece’s potential exit “may prove an infectious model” and lead to the demise of “the eurozone and perhaps for the European project.”

As Nick Dewhirst explains, the pro-euro camp has been exaggerating the negative consequences of a Greek exit by ignoring the fact that it would in fact be a boon for the Greek economy.

“Greeks would no longer be able to afford German cars and Germans would be able to buy Greek villas and the young unemployed in Greece would have jobs as tourism booms. The best thing would be that they [Greeks] could blame the foreigners,” he said.

Globalists want to keep Greece in depression and “living on life support from the rest of Europe” as Juckes puts it because they know that if Greece escapes the clutches of the technocrats its inevitable economic recovery will blaze a trail for other eurozone countries to follow suit, leaving the elite’s 50-year plus project for a European federal superstate in tatters.

Growing Rift Between Greece and IMF Chief

There's A Growing Rift Between Greece and Christine Lagarde

May 28, 2012

The Atlantic Wire - While it hasn't hit our Spat Watch level just yet, tensions between Greece and the current head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, are starting to heat up.

Things started on Saturday when Lagarde made some unsavory comments in an interview with the Guardian about Greece's tax-paying habits, or lack there-of. In the interview, Lagarde was asked about how she deals with suggesting Greek financial measures that might, "mean women won't have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won't get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care."

Lagarde said she, "thinks more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education," because, "I think they need even more help than the people in Athens."

Lagarde then chose to add,

"As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax."
The Guardian asked if she was saying, "you've had a nice time and now it's payback time," to the Greeks and Laraged responded, "Yeah."

The Guardian asked if she thinks about Greek children, who couldn't be held responsible, and Lagarde said,

"Well, hey, parents are responsible, right? So parents have to pay their tax."

As the New York Times' Harvey Morris points out, the Greeks found her remarks to be a little insulting. Commenters lit up Lagarde's Facebook page after the Guardian interview was released. Lagarde issued a statement via Facebook that attempted to soften her remarks in the Guardian interview. She wrote:

As I have said many times before, I am very sympathetic to the Greek people and the challenges they are facing. That's why the IMF is supporting Greece in its endeavor to overcome the current crisis and return to the path of economic growth, jobs and stability. An important part of this effort is that everyone should carry their fair share of the burden, especially the most privileged and especially in terms of paying their taxes. That is the point I was emphasizing when I spoke to the Guardian newspaper as part of a broader interview some time ago.

The post gained over 20,000 comments, many of them in Greek, many of them still angry with her. Greece still hasn't managed to form a government. We've prepared for what might happen if Greece leaves the Euro, and we've switched back to preparing for them to stay, but that plan could change again any minute.

Greece Pours $22.6 Billion Into Four Biggest Banks

May 28, 2012

Reuters - Greece handed 18 billion euros ($22.6 billion) to its four biggest banks on Monday, an official said, allowing the stricken lenders to regain access to European Central Bank funding.

The long-awaited injection — via bonds from the European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund — will boost the nearly depleted capital base of National Bank, Alpha, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank.

"The funds have been disbursed," an official at the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

The HFSF was set up to funnel funds from Greece's bailout programme to recapitalise its tottering banks. The HFSF allocated 6.9 billion euros to National Bank, 1.9 billion to Alpha, 4.2 billion to Eurobank and 5 billion to Piraeus.

All four are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings this week.

The news came as two government officials told Reuters that near-bankrupt Greece could access 3 billion euros, left from its first bailout programme, to cover basic state payments if efforts to revive falling tax revenue fail.

"Our finance ministry efforts at this time are focused on boosting revenue," one official told Reuters. But he added that if these efforts failed they would "examine all alternatives, including the 3 billion euros from the first bailout."

Greek state coffers are on track for a more than 10 percent fall in revenue this month, a senior finance ministry official said last week. Officials had warned the state could run out of cash to pay pensions and salaries by end-June.

The 3 billion euros is held in an intermediate HFSF account.

Greece has been struggling through a fifth year of recession and political turmoil, triggered by an inconclusive vote this month that has fanned fears the country could be forced to leave the euro zone.

The country's struggling banks have been among those hit hardest by the uncertainty, with a rise in deposit outflows.

Huge writedowns from a landmark restructuring to cut Greece's debt nearly erased the capital base of its biggest four banks, which rely on the ECB and the Bank of Greece to meet their liquidity needs, after savers began pulling their cash out on fears that Greece could go bankrupt and out of the euro zone.

Last week the ECB stopped providing liquidity to some Greek banks because their capital base was depleted.

With access to wholesale funding markets shut on sovereign debt concerns, Greek banks have been borrowing from the ECB against collateral, and from the Greek central bank's more expensive emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) facility.

Bleeding deposits, the country's lenders have borrowed 73.4 billion euros from the ECB and 54 billion from the Bank of Greece via the ELA as of end-January.

Together, the sums translate to about 77 percent of the banking system's household and business deposits, which stood at about 165 billion euros at the end of March.

Funded by the euro zone and the IMF, the HFSF is due to inject up to 50 billion euros into the country's banks in return for shares which it hopes to sell some day. The funds are part of a second, 130-billion euro bailout Greece agreed this year with its euro zone partners and the IMF to stave off bankruptcy.

So far the HFSF has received 25 billion euros under the scheme and the 18 billion euros it disbursed on Monday is its largest payout to banks.

Key details of the recapitalisation plan for Greece's battered banking sector, including the mix of new shares and convertible bonds to be issued, and whether call options will be included as incentives, remain unclear.

That framework is expected to be finalised after a government is formed, following a June 17 election.

Second Big Quake Hits Northern Italy, 10 Dead

Second Big Quake Hits Northern Italy, 10 Dead

May 29, 2012

Reuters - An earthquake struck northern Italy on Tuesday, killing at least 10 people, damaging buildings and spreading panic among thousands of residents still living in tents after a tremor shook the region just over a week ago, destroying their homes.

Officials and a source from the Italian Red Cross said several people were trapped under the rubble of houses and warehouses in the Emilia-Romagna region. Police said 10 people were confirmed dead but the toll was likely to rise.

The 5.8-magnitude quake struck near Modena and was felt across much of northern and central Italy.

"The situation is very serious, some people are stuck under the rubble," Alberto Silvestri, the mayor of San Felice sul Panaro, one of the towns near the epicenter, told SkyTG24.

Prime Minister Mario Monti said: "

I want to assure everyone that the state will do all that it must do, all that is possible to do, as fast as it can to guarantee the return to normality in a region so special, so important, so productive for Italy."

Seven people were killed in the previous quake on May 20 that had its epicenter not far from Modena.

That quake, which registered magnitude 6, destroyed hundreds of buildings, including ancient churches and castles, and forced more than 7,000 people to sleep outdoors in tents.

It also hit production of some of the area's most internationally famous produce, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Farmers estimated the damage to agriculture in one of Italy's most fertile zones at more than 200 million euros.

On Tuesday, officials said operations to rescue people from the rubble had been hampered by disruption to the mobile phone network.

"The town has been largely damaged. There are people under the rubble, we don't know how many," a police officer from Cavezzo told Reuters.

Train services around Bologna, near Modena, were disrupted, media said, and schools and other public buildings had been evacuated as far south as Florence.

"We felt a very strong tremor," said Raffaella Besola, a resident of Bologna.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of Tuesday's quake was less than 30 km (19 miles) from Modena, not far from where the quake hit just over a week ago.

A 3.8 magnitude earthquake was also felt through western Bulgaria on Tuesday, causing no casualties or serious damage, the National Geophysical Institute said.

The tremor had its epicenter near the town of Pernik, shaking buildings and causing residents to rush into the streets.

A 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook Bulgaria last Tuesday, centered about 25 km west of the capital Sofia. Damage was estimated at more than 20 million levs ($12.82 million).

World War III Scenarios

According to David Bay, Cutting Edge Ministries:

President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order #11647 on February 14, 1972, which reorganized the United States into 10 federal regions... The unconstitutional goal of this reorganization into 10 super regions is to set the stage for the abolishment of governments from the federal, to the state, to the county, and even to the local, levels. The objective is to set in place the form of government that could be implemented during a planned crisis, that would effectively strip us of our elected representational form of government. Suddenly, we would find ourselves being governed by officials who are not elected, nor responsible to any voters.

This regional system is apparently unlimited in its scope and powers. Thus, Americans could very well discover that they are back under the control of the type of government that our Founding Fathers spent their lives and fortunes overthrowing! Worse still, we could find ourselves facing the type of dictator which we have seen ruling Russia and Nazi Germany.

This regional system is also apparently a military structure. We will see this more clearly when the federal program called "General and Complete Disarmament" (Public Law 87-297) is fully integrated according to this 10-region system of government. We also will probably not see this 10-region system implemented until we are under the simultaneous crises of which we have spoken many times.

When America is under the following planned crises, we will witness this changeover to this 10-region system, most likely with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) exercising initial control. These are apparently the crises that are planned:
  1. All-out nuclear warfare in the Middle East (or neutron warfare).
  2. All-out nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula (or at least the threat of such a war).
  3. Arab terrorists threatening to devastate American cities with atomic, chemical or biological weapons (or actually carrying out this threat).
  4. Total oil embargo from the Arab nations in support of Arab forces fighting Israel in the Middle East.
  5. Earthquakes deliberately caused to create panic.
  6. Simultaneous riots in many American cities to further cause panic.
  7. American Presidency weakened because of scandal and infighting with Congress and the Courts to further cause panic among American voters.
  8. The Stock Market will crash, causing absolute panic amongst all Americans. Jobs will immediately begin to be lost, thus further adding to the panic.

Antichrist is supposed to appear at the end of the Middle East crisis. If this occurs, then aliens and visible "angels" are to appear to urge all peoples of the world to support him and his plan.

At this moment, the head of FEMA will suddenly appear, announcing that he is taking "temporary" control, and quoting all the various Executive Orders and laws passed by Congress giving him all the authority he needs to assume the powers of government, of all branches of our former Constitutional government.

Once this changeover to the new 10-region system of government occurs, amidst all these contrived and planned crises, you may rest assured the End of the Age is upon us.
Club of Rome's 10 Regions and the 10 Kings of Daniel and Revelation - The "10 horns" are explained in Daniel 7:23-25 and Revelation 17:12 to be 10 kings, and the whole vision is of the last form of Gentile world-power, a confederated 10-kingdom empire, most likely covering the whole earth. Now it's interesting to note that, in 1972, the Club of Rome proposed a plan to divide the whole world into 10 regions. Could these 10 regions be the 10 horns of the Bible? - his2ndcoming

The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12-14).

And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled (Revelation 17:16-17).

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army (Revelation 19:19).

Once the 10 Nations Have Arisen, Antichrist Will Appear - In 1957, Alice Bailey, then the leader of the House of Theosophy, wrote in her collection of writings, "The Externalisation of the Hierarchy," that the world must first be reorganized into "spheres of influence" before it could be organized into a global government (page 209). She made it very clear that this reorganization would not follow traditional national boundaries, but would be a completely different organization. Bailey did not specify how many "spheres of influence" would be created, but her plan was fleshed out in 1974 by New World Order authors, Mihajlo Mesarovic and Eduard Pestel, in a book entitled, "Mankind At The Turning Point." They wrote that the world would be reorganized into 10 Super Nation States, listed below. - David Bay, Cutting Edge Ministries

(1) North America
(2) Western Europe
(3) Japan
(4) Australia, South Africa, and the rest of the market-economy of the developed world
(5) Eastern Europe, including Russia
(6) Latin America
(7) North Africa and the Middle East
(8) Tropical Africa
(9) South and Southeast Asia
(10) China

Cold War Era 10-Region Map (Mexico Not Included in the North American Union)

The 'Little Horn' (Antichrist) Rises Up AFTER the Ten Kings Come to Power - So let us remember the basics here: the man of sin, little horn or antichrist, rises out of a system of 10 kings. The system of 10 kings is controlled by the harlot, Babylon, and the entire system is given its power by the dragon, Satan. Many people get a little too hung up on if it is a 'Masonic conspiracy' or a 'Jesuit conspiracy' or a 'globalist conspiracy.' They are all the same conspiracy. It is part of a Satanic conspiracy to control the globe for the prince of darkness. God has given us a witness as to the final form the system will take: 10 kings ruled by a harlot controlled by the devil. That system is not fully here yet, but true, born-again Christians who are awake and are not sleeping can and are seeing this system coming into being. It is not far off. - Mark S. Watson, September 18, 2003
I will tell thee mystery of the woman,
And of the beast that carrieth her
Which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not;
And shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition:
And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder,
Whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,
When they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

And here is the mind which hath wisdom.
The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come;
And when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth,
And is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings,
Which have received no kingdom as yet;
But receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them:
For He is Lord of lords, and King of kings:
And they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

And he saith unto me,
The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth,
Are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore,
And shall make her desolate and naked,
And shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will,
And to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast,
Until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city,
Which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Revelation 17:7-18

The Middle East crisis will lead to World War III. Antichrist will appear at the end of WWIII to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. A one-world government with a one-world religion will be established, the anti-Christian kingdom prophesied in chapter 13 of the book of Revelation. This one-world power will offer apparent peace and prosperity to a world in chaos. The devil, Satan, will rule over his earthly kingdom for "a little season," so that he as God will stand in the holy place, showing himself that he is God, and he will deceive many with his signs and wonders.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them. - 1st Thessalonians 5:3

The goal of the New Jerusalem Covenant Project is to create the plan by which Antichrist can solve the Middle East crisis; Antichrist will use this crisis to stage his appearance in the world. Antichrist is supposed to appear at the end of the Middle East crisis (World War III). The prophetic reality of Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 24:15 and Revelation 11:1-12 is that the new Temple will be built after World War III and will produce the Man of Sin. Thus, the Illuminati plans to destroy the Dome of the Rock during the World War III fighting so that their Antichrist can rebuild Solomon's Temple. This reality means that Arabs will retain control over the Temple Mount until the moment Antichrist comes to the world scene and seizes it for the Jews so his temple can be created. "Peace and safety" will be heralded, and the leaders of the major nations will be busily taking credit for their "brilliant" leadership that seemingly finally solved the deeply engrained religious strife in and around Jerusalem that has plagued mankind for the past 1,400 years.- David Bay, Cutting Edge Ministries

The Sixth Seal, the Seven Trumpets, and the Return of Christ

At the opening of the sixth seal, cosmic disturbances will come upon the earth (great earthquake, sun turns black, moon turns blood red, stars fall to earth, sky rolls up like a scroll, every mountain and island moves), which will be followed by silence in heaven for about 1/2 hour before the seventh seal is opened.

The seventh seal in the Book of Revelation reveals itself as the seven trumpets, described as "the wrath of the Lamb." The first four trumpets will bring destruction upon the earth (1/3 of trees burned up, all green grass burned, 1/3 of sea turns to blood, 1/3 of sea creatures die, 1/3 of ships destroyed, 1/3 of waters poisoned, 1/3 of sun and moon and stars darkened).

When the fifth trumpet is sounded, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit to rule over his earthly kingdom (his one-world government and religion). He will stand in the holy place claiming to be God, and he will promise peace and security to a world in desperate need of grand solutions to profound problems. Satan, deceiving many with his signs and wonders, will reign as king over this earth for five months, during which time (the sixth trumpet) 1/3 part of man will be killed (most likely Christians and others who refuse to worship "the beast" and to receive his "mark" in their right hand or forehead).

After this earthly reign by Satan for "a little season" and his persecution of the followers of Christ, Christ will return in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory (the seventh trumpet) to deliver up His people to the kingdom of heaven. He then will destroy by fire the kingdom of "the beast" and create a new heaven and a new earth over which He will reign with His people for eternity.

"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, 'It is my people:' and they shall say, The Lord is my God." (Zechariah 13:9)

According to The Green Agenda:

You don’t need to look in the shadows for the coming world government: it is standing right before your eyes. When they bring “order out of chaos,” the United Nations will be transformed and the final global empire will be born. So what events could possibly bring about the conditions that would allow the emergence of a one world government? I will briefly describe what I consider to be the most likely scenario:
Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe an attack on Israel by a coalition of Islamic nations and Russia. It seems that this conflict also involves other parts of the globe. The invading forces are completely destroyed by God’s divine intervention. The military power of Russia is annihilated, and Islam, which promised its believers a final ultimate victory, is shattered.

The world economy lies in total ruin. Significant areas of the planet are devastated. People everywhere are distraught and in despair. Emergency meetings are held at the United Nations where the blueprints for a new global system are presented and quickly adopted.

“We need a new beginning” they will say; “We all must change and renounce our old destructive ways.” Amazingly everything is already in place. The Earth Charter would be endorsed as a Planetary Constitution and the Security Council replaced with some new 'United Earth Council.' The world would be divided into 10 administrative regions with each one represented by an Earth Councillor.

The blame for the recent conflict, and many of the world's other problems, would be placed firmly on traditional religions. They would be swiftly outlawed and replaced by reverence for the earth itself. “We nearly destroyed Gaia!” they would say, “We nearly destroyed our own Mother!”
Over the last decade, the United Nations has brazenly been reinventing itself into a global government, striving to obtain the legal framework, financial resources, and grassroots support to implement its policies. As outlined in my preceding articles, it has effectively seized legal and regulatory control in many countries, through Agenda 21, and developed a Constitution, the Earth Charter, for its vision on a transformed global interdependent society.

In 1992 the UN formed a Commission on Global Governance charged with devising a system of future global management. Second in charge of the Commission, and lead author of its report, was Maurice Strong, with whom readers will be quite familiar by now. After several years of “extension consultation” with “world leaders, philosophers and futurologists,” the Commission produced a report entitled Our Global Neighbourhood...

One of the primary thrusts of 'Our Global Neighbourhood' was the formation of “regional blocs or unions to enhance political, economic and environmental security.” The report proposed that “Regional Neighbourhoods” be established, modelled closely on the successful example of the European Union.

Recent years have seen a large number of such regional unions emerging, or being strengthened, including the African Union, the Mediterranean Neighbourhood Partnership, the Gulf States Coalition, and the proposed North American Union.

The report also recommended a gradual reduction in the sovereignty of independent states, arguing strongly in favour of international “courts of accountability,” binding global agreements, and significantly enhancing the legal authority of the UN.
Dr Robert Muller, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and co-founder of UNESCO, clearly describes this UN plan for a new 'World Union:'
In my view, after fifty years of service in the United Nations system, I perceive the utmost urgency and absolute necessity for proper Earth government... There is no shadow of a doubt that the present political and economic systems—if systems they are—are no longer appropriate and will lead to the end of life evolution on this planet. We must therefore absolutely and urgently look for new ways. The less we loose time, the less species' and nature will be destroyed.

Since the United Nations is the only worldwide, universal organization that is presently available, since it had fifty years of valuable experience and many successes, and since it paved the way to proper Earth government (instead of putting it on the defensive, unjustified attacks and criticism, reduction of resources and non-payment of obligatory contributions) governments should honestly ask themselves if a better way would not be to consider a second generation United Nations upgraded by a true quantum jump into a proper Earth-preserving and human-well-being and justice-ensuring organization of our planet.

The continental approach to a world union remains an important avenue. One could conceive five continental unions: the European Union, an American, an African, an Asian, and an Australian Union. A World Union could be constructed as a super-structure and common political, economic and environmental instrument to achieve these objectives. - The Earth Charter in Action
This strategy appears to be based on the Club of Rome's proposal to divide the earth into 10 administrative regions, which they outlined in their report Mankind at the Turning Point. You can find their original map in my previous article on that topic. Interestingly, the UN is currently in the process of reviewing and reforming the organization, with particular emphasis on the Security Council.

Several alternative models have been proposed which will make the Council more 'representative and democratic.' One of these, the Italian Model, proposes replacing the current 10 seats held by individual nations with 10 seats representing 'regional unions,' two seats for Europe, three for Asia, etc. You can compare the different proposals here.

'Our Global Neighbourhood' concluded with 12 key recommendations which I have listed below, and it was these that caused such a furore that the rest of the report barely received a comment. The UN claimed that the report was merely a “visioning exercise” intended to generate discussion and did not represent official UN policy goals. The report was effectively shelved and the Commission was disbanded:
  1. Consolidation of all international agencies under the direct oversight of the United Nations.
  2. Regulation by the United Nations of all transnational organizations and financial institutions.
  3. Independent source of revenue for the United Nations, and taxes on aircraft and shipping fuels, and licensing the use of the global commons.
  4. Eliminate the veto power and the permanent member status on the Security Council.
  5. Authorize a United Nations ready reaction force.
  6. Require United Nations registration of all arms and the reduction of national armies as a part of a multilateral global security system under the authority of the United Nations.
  7. Require individual and national compliance with all United Nations Human Rights treaties.
  8. Activate the International Criminal Court, make the International Court of Justice compulsory for all nations, and give individuals the right to petition the courts to remedy social injustice.
  9. Create a new institution to establish economic and environmental security by ensuring sustainable development.
  10. Create a new international environmental court.
  11. Adopt a declaration that climate change is an essential global security interest that requires the creation of a high-level action team to allocate carbon emission based on equal per-capita rights.
  12. Cancellation of all debt owed by the poorest nations, global poverty reductions, and equitable sharing of global resources as allocated by the United Nations.

One of Kofi Annan’s first actions when he became Secretary-General of the United Nations was to appoint Maurice Strong as his Senior Policy Advisor. He then tasked Strong with preparing a plan to “reform the institution of the United Nations.”

In 2002, Strong produced a 95-page document entitled Renewing the United Nations: A Programme for Reform, which was basically a step-by-step program to implement many of the recommendations of 'Our Global Neighbourhood.' Many of these reforms have been slowly working their way through UN system. However, after Maurice Strong was indicted for his involvement in the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal, he was forced by pressure from the United States to resign from his UN roles.

The reforms Strong designed are being implemented by the UN, but they have not been the transformation that he desired. It is the opinion of this author that the current bureaucratic and unwieldy structure of the United Nations is unlikely to ever deliver the “global interdependent society” that the Earth Charter, and the Green Movement, is fervently calling for. Most members of the general population are not motivated to change by mere words in a charter, and the majority are likely to resent further intrusion into their lives.

True fundamental change is most often born out of crisis. A common creed among the Green Agenda activists has long been “order out of chaos.” They believe that people from all nations will literally beg for their New World Order if it can promise safety and security at a time when people feel under personal imminent threat.

To once again quote the famous words of David Rockefeller “A New World Order is coming… all we need is the right major crisis.” And remember, it was the Rockefeller family that donated the land on which the United Nations now stands.

Thus it seems far more likely that the UN itself will be transformed, most likely after some major international crisis which the UN is unable to prevent or respond to adequately. After all, the League of Nations was born after the first truly global crisis, World War 1, and then it was “reformed” into the United Nations following World War 2. However there are some serious impediments to the implementation of the final phase of the Global Green Agenda:
  1. Evangelical Christianity – True Bible-believing Christians are very likely to resist the imposition of any system of global governance, especially if it based around an earth-centred religion. Christians realise that this earth is temporary and will soon pass away. The Bible specifically warns them that humans will eventually end up “worshipping the creature instead of the Creator.” However the leaders of certain denominations seem to have no problem with the Agenda. Pope Benedict proclaimed, during Live Earth that “environmental degradation is a sin, and global warming is a defilement of the Divine Will.”
  2. Islam – Moslems are also likely to fiercely resist any New World Order that mandates a form of earth-worship. There are more than one billion followers of Islam, and they show remarkably little enthusiasm for accommodating New Age eco-theology into their doctrines. Hence it is likely that the power of Islam will have to be shattered before the Global Green Agenda can be fulfilled.
  3. The United States of America – The USA has long been a bastion of individual liberty and freedom. Thank God George Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election. If Gore had won, I have no doubt we would now be deep in the midst of the Green Reich. President Bush has bravely defended American sovereignty from the clutches of the global elitists. However this could soon change. If Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is elected President it could well be the end of the American dream.
  4. Communist China – The totalitarian Communist Party of China is very unlikely to relinquish much of its power to a new transformed United Nations. However, China is currently treading a precarious path. Its economic miracle is in fact a house of cards built on slave labour and artificially managed conditions. China is very vulnerable to an economic collapse, which could lead to a popular revolution or bankrupt the country.
  5. Authoritarian Russia – Putin has established a tight authoritarian grip on Russia and is unlikely to bow willingly to a resurrected UN. However, Putin could soon be gone and a new Gorbachev could arise. Another possibility is that Russia could also once again lose its position as a global power broker through economic problems or war.
So, to quickly summarise, the activists behind the Global Green Agenda have established regulatory control in many societies through Agenda 21, they have written a Constitution for their transformed global society with the Earth Charter, and they have even described, in detail, how their new global system will operate in 'Our Global Neighbourhood.' However, several obstacles must be removed before the final phase of the Agenda, global governance based on a system of earth-worship, can be fulfilled:
  • Firstly, a situation must arise where otherwise apathetic, or even hostile, members of society will beg for a new global system. They must feel so personally threatened that they will eagerly give up their personal liberty for the promise of safety and security. 'Our Global Neighbourhood' said the surrender of liberty is "a principle that will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the imperatives of global environmental cooperation." In my opinion, global warming is currently being used as a conditioning tool with its fervent call for global unity to save a wounded planet.
  • Secondly, certain nations and religious groups are unlikely to accept a new global system that involves the loss of national sovereignty, the loss of individual liberty, and reverence for the earth as a divine being...

As David Rockefeller stated, “all we need is the right crisis.” Everything is now in place. They are just building momentum and waiting for the storm they know is coming. You don’t need to look in the shadows for the coming world government: it is standing right before your eyes. When they bring “order out of chaos,” the United Nations will be transformed and the final global empire will be born.


Escalation Scenarios: The Third World War and Its Aftermath