Monday, February 1, 2016

Ban Uses Unprecedented Tone In Scolding Israel, 'Retail Apocalypse', Gog Incentive

Analysis: Ban uses unprecedented tone in scolding Israel in op-ed

In a rare New York Times op-ed, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon scolded Israel on Monday for its criticism of his comments last week that Jerusalem interpreted as giving a tailwind to terrorism, chiding Israel for “lashing out” at “well-intentioned” critics.

In the op-ed headlined “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel,” Ban defended what he said was the simple truth that he pointed out in the UN last week, that “history proves that people will always resist occupation.”

Last week, at the monthly Security Council debate on the Middle East, Ban condemned “stabbings, vehicle attacks, and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians.”

Then he went on, 105 words later, and said: “As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”

That comment irked Jerusalem, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately shot back, saying: “The secretary-general’s remarks provide a tailwind for terrorism.

There is no justification for terrorism. Those Palestinians who murder do not want to build a state, they want to destroy a state and they say this openly.”

Netanyahu added, “The United Nations long ago lost its neutrality and its moral force, and the secretary-general’s remarks do not improve its standing.”

Without mentioning Netanyahu by name, it was clear whom Ban was referring to in his op-ed piece when he wrote, “Some sought to shoot the messenger – twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence.”

After stating that “nothing excuses terrorism,” and that he condemns it categorically, he wrote that ignoring “Palestinian frustration and grievances” born of “nearly a half-century of occupation” will not disappear just by ignoring it.

“No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution,” he wrote.

He then slammed the government’s settlement policy, said thousands of Palestinian homes risk demolition, called on Israel to change its policy toward Area C, and to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

“I will always stand up to those who challenge Israel’s right to exist, just as I will always defend the right of Palestinians to have a state of their own,” he wrote.

“That is why I am so concerned that we are reaching a point of no return for the two-state solution. And I am disturbed by statements from senior members of Israel’s government that the aim should be abandoned altogether.

“Criticism of the United Nations – or attacks against me – come with the territory.

But when heartfelt concerns about shortsighted or morally damaging policies emanate from so many sources, including Israel’s closest friends, it cannot be sustainable to keep lashing out at every well-intentioned critic.”

The finger-pointing at Netanyahu and his government and the specificity of the criticism in this piece are unprecedented.

Ban’s website lists 85 op-eds he has written since becoming secretary general in 2007 for various newspapers and websites around the world – five of which were in The New York Times – and not one of them has the finger-wagging tone toward a specific government that Ban used in his Monday piece.

Of those 85 pieces, there is not one devoted to the scourge of terrorism, or to Iran, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela or Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Of the 85 pieces, 15 were written about climate control, 11 about global economic issues, and 10 generic pieces about the UN. He has now penned four on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – more than any other conflict on the planet.

The Russian Defense Ministry has presented video evidence it says shows Turkish military shelling Syrian territory using heavy artillery positioned close to the border.

Syria’s General Staff has provided its Russian counterparts with video footage of deployment of self-propelled large caliber artillery vehicles at a Turkish frontier post, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said at media briefing on Monday.

Syrian opposition groups have also provided video evidence of the Turkish military shelling Syrian territory, he added.

“This is what we call a fact. This is irrefutable proof that Turkish armed forces shell borderline Syrian settlements with large-caliber artillery systems,” Konashenkov stressed.
We expect an immediate reaction and explanations of the actions of Turkish military by NATO and the Pentagon,” Konashenkov said, recalling the US’s notably short response time to Ankara’s allegations that a Russian warplane violated Turkish airspace.
Non-stop bombing of terrorist positions in Syria continues, with Russian warplanes making 468 sorties in a week, hitting over 1,300 targets, Konashenkov said.
Russian airstrikes hit terrorist infrastructure in the provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Daraa, Deir ez-Zor, Hama, Homs and Latakia.

Most of the airstrikes carried out by Tu22M3 bombers took place around the city of Deir ez-Zor, which is besieged by jihadist forces.

It’s now been nearly a year since the world woke up to what Beijing was doing in the South China Sea.
Early in 2015, satellite images seemed to show that China had embarked on a rather ambitious land reclamation effort in the Spratlys a disputed island chain claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
As the months wore on it became readily apparent that this was no small project. Ultimately, China would build 3,000 acres of new sovereign territory atop reefs in the area much to the chagrin of Washington’s regional allies.
Especially disconcerting for the US was the construction of a giant runway on Fiery Cross Reef (one of the artificial islands).

It’s long enough to land military aircraft and just last month, Beijing began to land planes on the man-made outpost.

Beijing contends it has every right to continue its construction efforts. In fact, China says it can forcibly expel other nations from the area if it so chooses.
As the summer wore on, the situation devolved into a war of words between Beijing and Washington with each accusing the other of acting "aggressively" in the Pacific. Each side also swore up and down that in the end, the "agression would not stand - man."

The staring contest lasted until late October when, after months of deliberation, the Obama administration sent a warship to the islands in what Washington called a "freedom of navigation" exercise. 
Fortunately, China didn't shoot at the vessel, but Beijing was profoundly displeased. The Pentagon patted itself on the back for reasserting America's right to control the shipping lanes through which some $5 trillion in global trade pass each year and Washington promptly decided to conduct the exercises several times per quarter. 
As it turns out the US has so far kept its promise. Late last week the USS Curtis Wilbur, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton island. 
China is not happy.
"The so-called freedom of navigation plans and acts that the United States has upheld for many years in reality do not accord with generally recognised international law," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing on Monday.
Lu didn't stop there. He also accused the US of "ignoring numerous littoral states' sovereignty and security and maritime rights [on the way to] seriously harming relevant regional peace and stability."
And just to drive the point home, Lu delivered the following sharply worded assessment: 

"Its essence is to push the United States' maritime hegemony in the name of freedom of navigation, which has always been resolutely opposed by most of the international community, especially certain developing nations. What the United States has done is dangerous and irresponsible."

What's particularly interesting there is that it was just last month when we reported that Japan is set to build a missile blockade in the East China Sea in order to keep China from exerting complete control over regional waters. 

Major retailers in the United States are shutting down hundreds of stores, and shoppers are reporting alarmingly bare shelves in many retail locations that are still open all over the country.  It appears that the retail apocalypse that made so many headlines in 2015 has gone to an entirely new level as we enter 2016.  As economic activity slows down and Internet retailers capture more of the market, brick and mortar retailers are cutting their losses.  This is especially true in areas that are on the lower portion of the income scale.  In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned.  It has been estimated that there is about a billion square feet of retail space sitting empty in this country, and this crisis is only going to get worse as the retail apocalypse accelerates.

-Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.
-K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.
-J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.
-Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.
-The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.
-Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.
-Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.
-Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.

But these store closings are only part of the story.
All over the country, shoppers are noticing bare shelves and alarmingly low inventory levels.  This is happening even at the largest and most prominent retailers.

Exports are plummeting all over the globe, and the Baltic Dry Index just plunged to another new all-time record low.  The amount of stuff being shipped around by air, truck and rail inside this country has been dropping significantly, and this tells us that real economic activity is really slowing down.
If you currently work in the retail industry, your job is not secure, and you may want to start evaluating your options.
We have entered the initial phases of a major economic downturn, and it is going to be especially cruel to those on the low end of the income spectrum.  Do what you can to get prepared now, because the economy is not going to be getting better any time soon.

One recent day’s headlines combine to produce a picture that brings the lateness of the prophetic hour into focus:
  • China’s Xi calls for creation of Palestinian state
  • Tunisia declares nationwide curfew as violent protests against unemployment and poverty spread
  • Syria conflict: “US expanding air strip” in Kurdish north
  • Saudi-Iranian proxy war over Syria spreads to World Economic Forum meeting
  • French Prime Minister warns Europe will be “totally destabilized” if it takes all refugees
  • This is what the death of a nation looks like: Venezuela prepares for 720% hyperinflation
  • Haiti postpones Sunday’s presidential election as violence erupts
Nations are in distress with perplexity. The seas and waves of peoples around the world are roaring. All signals point to the soon coming Tribulation outlined in the greatest of all prophetic books —The Revelation. All the while, it is pretty much business as usual within the confines of the United States while  the country prepares for  another presidential election.
The global financial powers that be are in disarray equal to that of the national leaders around the world who are in the aforementioned distress with perplexity. The international stock exchanges appear to be set for massive collapse, yet the trigger point for that Humpty-Dumpty fall seems held up by some unseen hand of fate. All appears to be in configuration precisely as Jesus foretold it will be at the time of His next, catastrophic intervention into the affairs of mankind. –Not the Second Advent of Revelation 19:11-14, but the Rapture as given by Paul as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 and 1 Corinthians 15:52-55, and even by Jesus Himself in John 14:1-3.
Surrounding all of these stage-props for the final act of the age, the handwriting is appearing on the walls of human history, perhaps beginning to clarify how the Ezekiel 38-39 scenario will play out. The nation Israel, as the student of Bible prophecy might expect, is in the middle of these most interesting developments.
News reports have informed for some months the many intrigues of the oil industry while cost  per barrel has been tumbling since Saudi reduced its prices. It is believed by many “experts” that that oil-rich nation’s royal family, in concert with the United States presidential administration, cut prices to undercut Russia’s upsurging involvement in oil production and sales around the world.
The undercutting worked. The ruble  fell precipitously, and although the  Russian currency unit is now up to around 85 cents against the U.S. dollar, Vladimir Putin’s budding Russian empire continues to suffer. And, while he and his country suffers, he remains resolute in presenting the image of being able to project power in the manner of the Soviet regime at the apex of its being able to threaten the world.
Despite great concerns that Putin indeed has the military resources and other assets to  truly threaten his neighbors–and the rest of the world–experts with first-hand knowledge of Russia’s capability provide interesting perspective to somewhat the contrary.
Bill Browder, chief executive officer of Hermitage Capital, and a former champion advocating for Vladimir Putin, now believes the Russian president leads a nation in such great peril of likely collapse that the situation portends danger for the world.
Browder’s ire against Putin was generated as the result of two of his colleagues who opposed Putin’s rule being killed–Browder supposes–by Putin’s henchmen. Browder, himself, was expelled from Russia in 2005 after criticizing alleged endemic corruption in the country.
Browder told CNBC that Russia is in severe recession and could very soon descend into chaos if money in Russia “runs out.”
“I don’t think you can underestimate how bad the situation in Russia is right now, you’ve got oil below any measure where the budget can survive and you’ve got sanctions from the West. Russia is in what I’d call a real serious economic crisis,” he said on Thursday [Jan 21]…
He told CNBC while attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) that Russia’s Central Bank is “running out of money.” He added: “Eventually they’re going to run out of that money and when they do, that’s when the real trouble begins.”(Rapture Ready News 1/22/16)
So, perhaps the Gog “evil thought” of Ezekiel 38-39 begins to become increasingly understandable to the diligent student of Bible prophecy.
Russia’s movement into the Middle East is itself an astounding development. Astonishing oil and gas discoveries off the coast of the Jewish state and within the Golan Heights area truly add prophetic intrigue in the minds of those who observe. These things, combined with such reports of Russia’s dire economic straits give food for thought, indeed. Does it all add up to being the incentive that will put hooks in the jaws of that prophesied leader termed “Gog”? Stay tuned, as they say…

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