Inflation Is Destroying the Dollar

Inflation Is Destroying the Dollar

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The Dow Jones hit a new record—right?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average flirted with new highs again on Tuesday. The index bounced around 14,445. That put it 352 points above its previous October 2007 high of 14,093.

For investors who bought into the top of the market in 2007, this is welcome news. They finally have a profit!

Not so fast.

Over the past five years, Federal Reserve money printing has devalued the dollar. During that time frame, the purchasing power of the greenback has fallen. It now takes more dollars to buy the same amount of goods.

So have investors really made a profit? The government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics answers: After adjusting for inflation, the Dow Jones would really need to hit 15,072 to make a real, inflation-adjusted high. So in real terms, the Dow is still 4.3 percent below its all-time high.

A 4.3 percent loss over five years is not the end of the world. Besides, many investors have been invested in the market much longer than five years. So how have investors who bought into the market back in 2000 fared?

On January 14, 2000, the index hit 11,782. According to government statisticians, the Dow would need to be at 15,755 just to compensate for inflation. After 13 years, the Dow still hasn’t regained that peak. Anyone who invested on January 14, 2000 is down 9 percent.

But the Dow isn’t the only measure of the stock market. How about the S&P 500, which measures the 500 biggest companies in the U.S. Surely the value of these companies has increased over the past 13 years? The reality is that America’s best and biggest have a long way to go to reach their previous highs too. After accounting for inflation, the S&P 500 is actually down around 25 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down by more than 50 percent!

These are huge, wealth-destroying losses that most people are unaware of because of the insidious masking effects of inflation.

As measured by the stock market and adjusted for inflation, America’s economy is back to where it was in the 1990s, according to the popular financial blog My Budget 360.

But even if you haven’t invested in the stock market, the effects of inflation have ravaged you.

The dollar has lost approximately half its value since 1987, according to the bls. That means a $1,000 put under your mattress in 1987 is only worth $500 today.

The really scary thing is that your $1,000 you put under your mattress in 1987 may actually be worth even less because government statistics tend to understate the inflation rate. That cool grand may really be worth more like $300 to $400 today.

Inflation is destroying the dollar—and, along with it, much of America’s wealth.

What Sort of Man Will Become the Next Pope?

What Sort of Man Will Become the Next Pope?

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Looking at the man who had the most to do with the composition of the papal conclave gives us strong clues.

It’s official. On Tuesday the voting will commence to select a new pope. Who will occupy the Holy Roman throne?

We accurately forecast the election of Joseph Ratzinger to the papal throne. He was the obvious and natural successor to Pope John Paul ii—an ideological clone if you like—one who could be relied upon not to deviate from the post-World War ii ultra-conservative drive pursued by European Catholic elites. Herbert W. Armstrong forecast for decades—beginning before the end of World War ii—this rise of the Fourth Reich, the prophesied revival of the ancient Holy Roman Empire, under the spiritual influence of the Vatican (Revelation 17:10-12).

Largely undetected by the general public and commentariat, four of the past five popes have assiduously advanced this clear strategic agenda—and the one who didn’t, Pope John Paul i, died prematurely after only 33 days on the papal throne.

In the light of Bible prophecy, this post-World War ii papal history clearly indicates that in order to continue this line of imperialist succession, the next pope will be an ideological clone of Joseph Ratzinger. Popes today may not produce heirs by offspring, but in a very real sense, the past few have reproduced “sons” in their likeness—heirs apparent guaranteed to continue the revival of the imperial Catholic vision.

Hence, Benedict is key to the selection of the next pope. As Gerald Flurry said in a recent Key of Davidtv program, by resigning, Benedict “thinks he can get a person in there that will bring about the uniting of the Holy Roman Empire.”

A close look at Vatican history reveals years of precision planning as Ratzinger rose, step by strategic step, up the ecclesiastical ladder. Mr. Armstrong often warned not to underestimate German thoroughness and long-term planning. Ratzinger’s Vatican career, largely unparalleled in its influence upon the governance of the universal church, exemplifies this German mindset and is essential to consider in the context of the selection of the next pope.

As Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of church history at Oxford University and author of A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, discerningly observes: “You can’t predict the results of a conclave, but the thing you can predict is that whoever emerges will be an ideological clone of Benedict. The reason for that is the present voting cardinals have been chosen by John Paul ii and Benedict to be in their image, to be conservative, to keep a line going. This is going to be another conservative pope ….”

Joseph Ratzinger has played a most proactive role in the universal church’s postwar return to power and the pursuit of its former glory. A review of some highlights of Ratzinger’s career path, from Hitler Youth to pope emeritus, gives us a clear indication of what sort of pope will soon be elected. Consider the consistency of purpose in Ratzinger’s intimate involvement with the following Vatican achievements.

1942 saw the earliest beginnings of the now infamous Vatican ratlines with the blessing of “Hitler’s pope,” Pius xii. In the years following the war, Ratzinger became a key link in the operations of this network of Nazi escape routes, as exposed in a 1991 bbc documentary series (Secret History, “Ratlines,” Nov. 28, 1991). As a young clergyman and protégé of Cardinal Montini—who would become Pope Paul vi—he worked behind the scenes to aid the survival of Nazi leadership, shepherding Catholic elites and funds to international locations where they could continue to work for an imperial Europe.

On Oct. 11, 1962, Vatican ii Council convened, resulting in a dramatic exposure of the liberal and secular influences within the Catholic clergy that even infected the Vatican itself. Nov. 8, 1963, signaled perhaps the most significant intervention in Vatican ii, submitted by Cardinal Joseph Frings, archbishop of Cologne. It resonated like an earthquake through the assembly of more than 3,000 bishops. The resulting tremors would dramatically shake the Vatican. It firmly turned the church in a direction favoring conservative elites and their empirical vision, thus enabling their “hostile” takeover of the most powerful department in the Vatican Curia.

In his book on Vatican ii, Cardinal Henri de Lubac reports that the author of Fring’s intervention was none other than his personal secretary, Joseph Ratzinger (Entretien autour de Vatican II; emphasis added):

Joseph Ratzinger, an expert at the Council, was also the private secretary of Cardinal Frings, archbishop of Cologne. Blind, the old cardinal largely utilized his secretary to write his interventions. Now then, one of these interventions became memorable: It was a radical criticism of the methods of the Holy Office. Despite a reply by Cardinal Ottaviani, Frings sustained his critique.It is not an exaggeration to say that on that day the old Holy Office, as it presented itself then, was destroyed by Ratzinger in union with his archbishop.

The upshot was, the Holy Office of the Inquisition—which, following Vatican ii, became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—was overthrown by the conservative cabal, actually giving it control of the execution of the Vatican ii Council’s recommended reforms. Hence, under successive conservative popes, these liberal reforms have been cleverly thwarted, denied, reinterpreted, sidelined or buried, most particularly by Ratzinger.

As MacCulloch wrote of Ratzinger: “Neither he nor his predecessor John Paul ii liked the direction which Vatican ii took, though a veritable industry of official Catholic historiography has assiduously promoted the view that they were all for it and its results. … One crucial principle so prominent in the Council’s thinking, ‘collegiality’ in making decisions on the future of the church, has been set aside during both John Paul ii’s and Benedict’s pontificates.”

It becomes obvious that John Paul ii’s choice of Ratzinger for the office of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was to carry out the destruction and reengineering that he initiated in the infamous Vatican ii intervention. He would serve in this role for over 24 years until his ascendancy to the papal throne. During his tenure, Ratzinger earned himself the nicknames of “Cardinal No” and the “Pope’s Rottweiler” for the iron fist with which he systematically worked to purge the church of reformists. He worked intimately with John Paul ii during this time, the two collaborating to methodically stack the deck in the Curia, positioning and shaping ideological clones to ensure their future line of succession.

By April 17, 2005, when the papal conclave was convened following the death of Pope John Paul ii, Joseph Ratzinger had become a towering figure in the resurgence of Vatican power and influence, casting a long shadow over both church and state. Unsurprisingly, this was to be one of the shortest conclaves in Vatican history, the College of Cardinals obviously primed as to the order of succession.

Consequently, Ratzinger reigned supreme for almost eight years as sovereign of Vatican State, consolidating and further advancing what had been achieved by his partnership with his predecessor.

On February 11, Pope Benedict announced his resignation, catching the world and most Catholics off guard. The specific timing of his announcement and subsequent vacating of the papal throne on February 28 particularly reveals the keen strategic nature of this son of Rome. Here again, Ratzinger’s Holy Roman imperial strategy is clearly seen as he forces the hand of his appointed cardinals to select his successor within a precisely limited time frame.

“The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope installed by next Friday so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies starting Palm Sunday, March 24,” cbn News reports. “Many Vatican-based cardinals have been pushing for a quick decision-making process.” Beginning Tuesday, this means they have only four days of balloting to arrive at the required two-thirds majority.

In a final stroke of genius, not only will the pope emeritus wear the papal white robes and reside in Vatican City, he will additionally retain the services of the papal secretary. As one news source described the unique situation, “Two pontiffs, both wearing white, both called ‘pope’ and living a few yards from one another, with the same key aide serving them.” The loyal and trusted private secretary of Pope Benedict since 2003, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, will continue to serve the needs of the pope emeritus in addition to fulfilling his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household.

Swiss theologian Hans Kueng, Benedict’s one-time colleague-turned-critic, told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, “With Benedict xvi, there is a risk of a shadow pope who has abdicated but can still indirectly exert influence.”

Whether Ratzinger’s continuing influence is direct or indirect, this strategic move further ensures the line of succession—a pope who will expedite the age-old imperialist Catholic vision.

In these and many more ways, Pope Benedict xvi has strategized to “reproduce” through his successor. His precisely engineered Vatican career has shaped ample “offspring,” cloned in the ideological image of post-World War ii popes, himself in particular. Over the past 62-plus years, as the last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire has slowly risen under the guise of a German-dominated European Union, Ratzinger has concurrently played a powerfully integral role in positioning the universal church to seize the reins of that emerging empire. Now it falls to his ideological clone—the next pope—to take up those reins and prepare to ride the beast of a prophesied, united European superpower (Revelation 17:3).

Number of Americans Receiving Food Stamps Hits New High

Number of Americans Receiving Food Stamps Hits New High

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The government says the more people are on the program, the stronger the the nation becomes. Is that true?

Thanks to the Obama administration’s drive to get more citizens enrolled, more Americans are receiving food stamps now than ever before. On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture (usda) released new statistics showing that throughout 2012, the program averaged 46,609,072 people each month, with a record-breaking 47,791,996 drawing benefits in December.

The usda’s website says “food stamps make America stronger.” For four months last summer, the department spent between $2.5 million and $3 million for advertisements like this one encouraging Americans to enroll in the program. Friday’s data and the general upward trend show that the drive to boost the numbers is working.

Over the weekend, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady voiced his concern about those growing numbers, saying, “When President Clinton left office only one in 16 Americans needed food stamps. Under President Obama, it’s grown to nearly one in six. … The number of Americans forced to subsist on food stamps to avoid hunger has grown faster than those finding jobs under President Obama. That’s not an economy built to last.”

Some of the program’s critics disagree with Brady’s assessment that the growing number of recipients are “forced to subsist” on the handouts. Sen. Jeff Sessions pointed out during the weekly Republican address that the Obama administration is actively encouraging more Americans to sign onto the program:

Amazingly, the federal government says that the more people we have on food stamps, the more it grows the economy. The Department of Agriculture proudly declares: “Each $5 in new [food stamp] benefits generates almost twice that amount in economic activity for the community.” Our government is running food stamp promotions at foreign embassies.

Sessions called attention to one aspect of the trend that he finds especially concerning: “One worker was given an award for overcoming ‘mountain pride’ and getting more people to sign up. Where I grew up in Alabama, all honest work, even the hardest, was honored. And pride, self-respect and a desire to be independent was valued, not a thing to be overcome.”

In some cases, an individual’s decision to receive food stamps is driven by genuine need, and the program may contribute to his well-being. But an increasing number of able-bodied recipients enroll because the idea of getting “something for nothing” appeals to an unambitious part of them. They take the handouts simply because they can, and because it is easier than working—especially during this time of economic downturn. In such cases, the program erodes recipients’ work ethic and self-worth. The policy of pushing handouts on capable people panders to weaknesses, and exacerbates them. Such policies do not make America stronger, but contribute to the deterioration of its moral fabric.

These policies also help to create government dependency by effectively ensuring that recipients keep on voting for those leaders who keep their refrigerators stocked.

To understand the only true hope mankind has for our multiplying problems, request a free copy of our booklet The Wonderful World TomorrowWhat It Will Be Like.

A Middle East ‘Peace Pipe’

A Middle East ‘Peace Pipe’

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Iran and Pakistan strengthen ties with a natural gas pipeline.

Iranian and Pakistani officials met on March 11 for the groundbreaking ceremony of a controversial gas pipeline that defies U.S. sanctions. The meeting was broadcast live in Iran as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari shook hands and prayed together following the announcement of the deal.

The gas line, dubbed the “peace pipeline,” when completed will run 1,140 kilometers from Assaluyeh in southern Iran, to Nawabshah in Pakistan. lran claims it has finished its section already. President Zardari will oversee the construction of 78 kilometers of pipeline on Pakistani soil.

If the construction goes as planned, the pipes will be finished in late 2014. At that point, 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day will start pouring into Pakistan from Iran. Such vast quantities of gas means plenty of cash for Iran.

This is what upsets the United States. By trading directly with Iran, the U.S. claims Pakistan is defying sanctions on Iran.

Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserve in the world, yet it doesn’t have the means to sell it. International sanctions limit sales of crude oil and gas. For President Ahmadinejad this is a welcome lifeline to sidestep the crippling sanctions.

The Iranian president was quick to defend the project and its peaceful purposes. “With natural gas you cannot make atomic bombs. That’s why they should have no excuse to oppose this pipeline,” he said on state tv after the ceremony. Of course, with the profits from selling that gas, you can buy a lot of arms or technology for building a nuclear weapon.

The whole project is set to cost $7.5 billion, and Iran is willing to foot most of the bill. It has even promised to pay a third of Pakistan’s costs in the project. Combine this with the fact that Iran has already finished its part of the project, and it is clear to see that Iran desperately wants this deal to happen.

The Pakistani government also has a number of reasons for striking this deal with Iran, and shunning the wishes of the United States.

From an energy perspective, Pakistan is starving. It has been enduring daily blackouts and energy shortages that affect businesses and homes. Pakistan produces only 30 percent of its energy needs, and must spend precious foreign currency to import the rest. More than a fifth of all cars in Pakistan run on natural gas.

With elections looming, the current administration may turn the pipeline into a political issue as well. By starting on the pipeline, not only will the government appear to be addressing the country’s dire energy problems, but it will be seen as taking a stance against the United States. Popularity for the world’s only superpower has waned in Pakistan over recent years despite the billions of dollars in aid that it receives from Washington.

“The pipeline not only caters to Pakistan’s energy needs, but also lodges brownie points with the many critics of the U.S. amongst the electorate,” said Anthony Skinner, director of Maplecroft Risks Consultancy. The savvy government in Pakistan will be sure to increasingly promote the energy partnership as the election draws closer.

The U.S. has been working to persuade Pakistan to ditch the pipeline. It has suggested building hydroelectric dams with U.S. assistance to strengthen the power grid. The deal with Iran shows which side Pakistan is choosing.

America isn’t happy. U.S. Consul General Michael Dodman said in January that the U.S. would impose sanctions on Pakistan if the “peace pipe” went ahead.

The pipeline appears to be going ahead. Will America now back its words with action and levy sanctions against Pakistan? Such a move would likely push Pakistan into an even closer alliance with Iran.

After the ceremony, President Ahmadinejad told assembled dignitaries from both countries: “Today is a historic day. The gas pipeline project is the beginning of a great work.” The pipeline not only means an increase in profits for Iran, but will enable the terrorist-sponsoring nation to cozy up to and strengthen relations with Pakistan.

The gas line is another rung in the ladder that Iran is furiously climbing. That ladder will eventually take Iran to dominance in the Middle East. Iran will lead a combination of Islamic nations, but their rule will be short-lived. Read The King of the South to understand where events such as the “peace pipe” are leading.

Web Exclusive: Cyprus in Prophecy

To see the Web Exclusive referenced in this video by Mr. Flurry, also watch: Cyprus Surrenders To Germany

A Civil War Hijacked

A Civil War Hijacked

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Just who is the Syrian opposition?

As the war in Syria continues, more moderate rebels are joining the radical Sunni camp. The Syrian opposition has been effectively hijacked by radical Islam. The People’s Liberation Army is bogged down in its fight with the government. Simultaneously, the radical groups are growing in popularity through a series of military victories, and through providing public services to war-torn communities.

Protests began peacefully on the streets of Syria two years ago as opposition groups, made up in large part by Syrian youths, called for democracy and the ousting of President Bashar Assad. In true dictatorial form, the response from the government was swift and heavy. Today, Syria remains in the grip of civil war as the opposition gradually makes ground in what has become a war of attrition.

One reason the rebels are not able to make a lot of headway is because they do not have the weaponry they want. The international community has been hesitant to arm the opposition. Washington and Europe recognize that they are not the same group that cheered for democracy back in March 2011. Rafif Jouejati, the English spokeswoman for the Local Coordination Committees in Syria, said, “There is an increasing militarization and now increased radicalization of the revolution.”

As the fighting continues, the moderate opposition is beginning to wane. There is more than physical conflict going on. There is an ideological battle, and the extremists are winning. There are a number of reasons why the Syrian people are disillusioned with the main opposition factions, and are instead looking to the radical groups.

The main opposition is made up of a number of factions. The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces is one of the latest anti-government movements. These groups all have their own ideas on where the country should be heading post-Assad. With such division, no decisions are made quickly. They are seen as out of touch with the people. The leaders meet in high-class hotels in foreign countries and debate while the Syrian rebels fight for their lives. The people in Syria see the extremist groups taking action, often with notable victories against government forces.

The mainstream fighting force of the opposition is named the Free Syrian Army. It was the driving force behind the revolution at first. Today, it is accused of taking advantage of the power it has. There are claims of corruption and brutality. Execution of prisoners is common. This attitude and lack of discipline can blur the lines between friend and foe in Syria.

The more extreme Islamist groups are better armed and better trained. They have achieved high-profile victories like the capture of the Taftanaz airbase. Such victories help establish the credibility of radical Islamic groups within the revolution.

One of the most dominant radical forces in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra. The jihadist group has been labeled a foreign terror organization, which has been linked to al Qaeda in Iraq by the U.S. State Department. Al-Nusra has been increasingly effective in Syria and has bolstered its numbers with foreign fighters from Iraq and elsewhere.

Al-Nusra and nine other local jihadist brigades announced that they were going to form a regional unified command structure called the Mujahideen Shura Council. They are also installing cheap public services in ravaged Syrian communities. They clean roads and repair infrastructure. The city of Aleppo in northern Syria is an example of this idea of taking over and then cleaning up.

Al-Nusra ensures that the people see its victories, and see the benefits it provides. Why wouldn’t the people support such action?

As honorable as these radical militant groups appear, there is still an ulterior motive that must not be ignored. Look at Egypt. Remember the youths that called for democracy at the outset? What happened to them? They were silenced when the revolution was hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, which went on to gain control. Egypt now stands as an Islamic dictatorship worse than it was before the fall of Hosni Mubarak. It is a stark testimony to what happens when you let radical Islam go unchecked.

The United States is not unaware of this truth in Syria. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that al-Nusra “has sought to portray itself as a part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by aqi [al Qaeda in Iraq] to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes.”

The situation in Syria is dangerously similar to that in Egypt. The youthful protesters calling for democracy have been drowned out by the radicals. When the current administration falls, radical Sunni groups such as al-Nusra will be there to pick up the pieces.

President Assad is Shiite. The Shiites are the minority in Syria, but are closely aligned with their Lebanese neighbors and their long-time ally to the east, Iran. When the Assad regime crumbles, the international community will hope for a democracy to be established. However, radical Sunni is just as dangerous as radical Shiite.

The situation in Syria may be even worse if the Sunni militants such as al-Nusra come to power. Under Assad, nations had some understanding of Syria’s goals and allegiances. The militants are an unknown. There are so many different groups, each with their own plans. If they gain control of the chemical weapons stockpiles, they may be more inclined to use them than the current administration. Al-Nusra is well versed in the execution of terrorist attacks. Chemical weapons would be a serious upgrade from its current use of car bombs and regular militia.

The immediate future of Syria and its administration may be wracked with uncertainty, but there is one fact that can be confirmed well in advance of its fruition. Syria will break away from Iran and ally itself with Europe. That European power will step in and destroy Iran and its Islamic proxies. This is all prophesied in your Bible. Read Psalm 83 to see Syria’s role in this alliance. Watch “The Psalm 83 Prophecy” to gain a full appreciation of the incredible plan that God has laid out, not only for the Middle East, but for the whole world.