Sweeping into office in 2009, President Barack Obama captured near rock-star status around the world among millions who saw him as the embodiment of a new sense of social purpose. Now, that baton has largely been passed to Pope Francis, whose visit to the White House next month will put his common cause with Obama on vivid display.
Obama has made no secret of his affection for the outspoken pope, calling him a "transformative leader" whose influence has transcended the Roman Catholic community. The pope has embraced many of the issues Obama has sought to advance, including global warming, poverty and diplomacy with Iran and Cuba.
Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, said the pope's Sept. 23 visit will mark an important moment not only for Catholics but for all Americans.
"Pope Francis has breathed new life into what I believe is the central mission of our faith: Catholic social doctrine," Biden said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Invoking key elements of Obama's agenda, Biden added that Francis "has become a moral rudder for the world on some of the most important issues of our time, from inequality to climate change."
The pope's brief visit to the White House is part of his highly anticipated trip to the U.S. and Cuba. It's a reunion of sorts for Obama and Francis, who first met when the president visited the Vatican last year.
Obama and the pope are expected to focus on areas of agreement. The White House said economic opportunity, immigration and refugees, and protection of religious minorities were high on the agenda.
"It's going to be a come-to-Jesus moment — no pun intended — for the many politicians who want to claim the mantle of Pope Francis," said Michael Wear, a former White House official who led faith outreach for Obama's 2012 campaign.
For Obama, the visit offers a chance to imbue his remaining goals with a sense of moral authority as he approaches the end of his presidency.
Viewed as largely above politics, Francis is extremely popular in the U.S. Tickets to his speech to Congress are such a hot commodity that an overflow crowd of thousands is expected to watch on Jumbotrons from the National Mall.
"In a way, Pope Francis has become a conscience for this age of the world. When President Obama came to office, he too had that aura for at least the first couple of years," said Stephen Schneck, who runs the Catholic politics institute at Catholic University of America. "But Pope Francis' message is moral and religious. He's not going to be talking about legislation."
The White House has praised Francis for involving himself in issues usually left to politicians. And on climate change, a cornerstone of Obama's desired legacy, Francis added the weight of the pulpit by publishing a landmark encyclical calling climate change real and man-made.
The military wing of the Islamist Hamas terror group released a video on Wednesday apparently showing renewed cross-border tunnel infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as well as a range of military equipment and techniques for targeting IDF forces.
Published by the group’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing exactly a year after a ceasefire brought to an end a 50-day war between Hamas and Israel, the short clip begins with a large excavator digging into the sandy ground common to many areas in the Gaza Strip.
With rousing Arabic music playing in the background, the footage moves on to various scenes showing armed men in camouflage fatigues praying before battle, moving through concrete-lined tunnels, emerging from beneath the ground, and using rifles, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to engage targets including buildings and what appears to be an IDF tank.
Hamas fighters are also seen practicing tending to wounded comrades in the tunnels, storming mockups of IDF army posts, ambushing IDF patrols, and pretending to shoot soldiers.
Earlier this month, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that the IDF had confirmed that “not a small number” of cross-border tunnels have recently been dug by Hamas under the border into Israel, including one in the area of the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
The new Hamas war efforts have been buoyed by Iranian assistance, including cash, military training for Hamas fighters, weaponry, and electronics equipment, some of which can be used to counter drones, the report said.
It is undeniable; the final collapse triggers are upon us, triggers alternative economists have been warning about since the initial implosion of 2008. In the years since the derivatives disaster, there has been no end to the absurd and ludicrous propaganda coming out of mainstream financial outlets and as the situation in markets becomes worse, the propaganda will only increase. This might seem counter-intuitive to many. You would think that the more obvious the economic collapse becomes, the more alternative analysts will be vindicated and the more awake and aware the average person will be. Not necessarily…
In fact, the mainstream spin machine is going into high speed the more negative data is exposed and absorbed into the markets. If you know your history, then you know that this is a common tactic by the establishment elite to string the public along with false hopes so that they do not prepare or take alternative measures while the system crumbles around their ears. At the onset of the Great Depression the same strategies were used. Consider if you’ve heard similar quotes to these in the mainstream news over the past couple months:
John Maynard Keynes in 1927: “We will not have any more crashes in our time.”
H.H. Simmons, president of the New York Stock Exchange, Jan. 12, 1928: “I cannot help but raise a dissenting voice to statements that we are living in a fool’s paradise, and that prosperity in this country must necessarily diminish and recede in the near future.”
Irving Fisher, leading U.S. economist, The New York Times, Sept. 5, 1929: “There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash.” And on 17, 1929: “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.”
W. McNeel, market analyst, as quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, Oct. 30, 1929: “This is the time to buy stocks. This is the time to recall the words of the late J. P. Morgan… that any man who is bearish on America will go broke. Within a few days there is likely to be a bear panic rather than a bull panic. Many of the low prices as a result of this hysterical selling are not likely to be reached again in many years.”
Harvard Economic Society, Nov. 10, 1929: “… a serious depression seems improbable; [we expect] recovery of business next spring, with further improvement in the fall.”
Here is the issue – as I have ALWAYS said, economic collapse is not a singular event, it is a process. The global economy has been in the process of collapse since 2008 and it never left that path. Those who were ignorant took government statistics at face value and the manipulated bull market as legitimate and refused to acknowledge the fundamentals. Now, with markets recently suffering one of the greatest freefalls since the 2008/2009 crash, they are witnessing the folly of their assumptions, but that does not mean they will accept them or apologize for them outright. If there is one lesson I have learned well during my time in the Liberty Movement, it is to never underestimate the power of normalcy bias.
There were plenty of “up days” in the markets during the Great Depression, and this kept the false dream of a quick recovery alive for a large percentage of the American population for many years. Expect numerous “stunning stock reversals” as the collapse of our era progresses, but always remember that it is the overall TREND that matters far more than any one positive or negative trading day (unless you open down 1000 points as we did on Monday), and even more important than the trends are the economic fundamentals.
The establishment has made every effort to hide the fundamentals from the public through far reaching misrepresentations of economic stats. However, the days of effective disinformation in terms of the financial system are coming to an end.
Here are some of the lies you will likely hear as the collapse accelerates…
The Crisis Was Caused By Chinese Contagion
The hypocrisy inherent in this lie is truly astounding, to say the least, considering it is now being uttered by the same mainstream dirtbags who only months ago were claiming that China’s financial turmoil and stock market upset were inconsequential and would have “little to no effect” on Western markets.
China’s Rate Cuts Will Stop The Crash
No they won’t. China has cut rates five times since last November and this has done nothing to stem the tide of their market collapse. I’m not sure why anyone would think that a new rate cut would accomplish anything besides perhaps a brief respite from the continuing avalanche.
It’s Not A Crash, It’s Just The End Of A “Market Cycle”
This is the most ignorant non-explanation I think I have ever heard. There is no such thing as a “market cycle” when your markets are supported partially or fully by fiat manipulation. Our market is in no way a free market, thus, it cannot behave like a free market, and thus, it is a stunted market with no identifiable cycles.
The Fed Will Never Raise Rates
Don’t count on it. Public statements by globalist entities like the IMF on China, for example, have argued that their current crisis is merely part of the “new normal”; a future in which stagnant growth and reduced living standards is the way things are supposed to be. I expect the Fed will use the same exact argument to support the end of zero interest rates in the U.S., claiming that the decline of American wealth and living standards is a natural part of the new economic world order we are entering.
A rate hike may not occur in September. In fact, as I predicted in my last article, the Fed is already hinting at a delay in order to boost markets, or at least slow down the current carnage to a more manageable level. But, they WILL raise rates in the near term, likely before the end of this year after a few high tension meetings in which the financial world will sit anxiously waiting for the word on high. Why would they raise rates? Some people just don’t seem to grasp the fact that the job of the Federal Reserve is to destroy the American economic system, not protect it. Once you understand this dynamic then everything the central bank does makes perfect sense.
Get Ready For QE4
Again, don’t count on it. Or at the very least, don’t expect renewed QE to have any lasting effect on the market if it is initiated.
There is truly no point to the launch of a fourth QE program, but do expect that the Fed will plant the possibility in the media every once in a while to mislead investors. First, the Fed knows that it would be an open admission that the last three QE’s were an utter failure, and while their job is to dismantle the U.S. economy, I don’t think they are looking to take immediate blame for the whole mess. QE4 would be as much a disaster as the ECB’s last stimulus program was in Europe, not to mention the past several stimulus actions by the PBOC in China. I’ll say it one more time – fiat stimulus has a shelf life, and that shelf life is over for the entire globe. The days of artificially supported markets are nearly done and they are never coming back again.
It’s Not As Bad As It Seems
Yes, it is exactly as bad as it seems if not worse. When the Dow can open 1000 points down on a Monday and China can lose all of its gains for the year in the span of a few weeks despite institutionalized stimulus measures lasting years, then something is very wrong. This is not a “hiccup”. This is not a correction which has already hit bottom. This is only the beginning of the end.