Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saudi’s Dangerous Gambit

Saudi’s Dangerous Gambit

Charles Payne

11/29/2014 12:01:00 AM

The biggest news for the United States stock market and American consumers happened on Thanksgiving in a far off desert kingdom. Saudi Arabia has taken the big gambit of not cutting production which means downward pressure on oil will continue, and that means less revenue for them. Why would a nation that gets 90% of their revenue from oil allow the price to plunge? I’ve said it several times, but I’m more convinced this is their (last) chance to crush, or at least derail/stall, America’s fracking miracle.
It’s a war without bullets, but make no mistake, it's also about no prisoners. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Eagle Ford Region is the only drilling region still able to be profitable with oil prices at a 4-year low of approximately $69.27 per barrel.
Drilling RegionBreakeven Begins
Permian Basin$75
Eagle Ford$65
Mississippi Lime$83
Texas Panhandle$81
Tuscaloosa Marine$86
In the meantime, this is party time for American consumers as gasoline is poised to get even cheaper.

 Early reports from retail land shows robust foot traffic at malls and shopping centers, but not sure how much people are buying, although it’s clear retailers are getting smarter and smarter about coaxing people to malls in the internet era and getting them to buy stuff.

Please note, due to the shortened trading session, there will not be an afternoon commentary. We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful weekend.

China’s Rate Cuts Spur Speculation

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China’s Rate Cuts Spur Speculation
Posted By Alan Gula On November 26, 2014 @ 5:00 am In Alan Gula,International,Market Analysis,Special Situations | No Comments
Nowadays, it seems like everyone claims they foresaw the magnitude of the collateral damage that hit after the U.S. housing bubble burst.
In reality, most people ignored the major warning signs.
In July 2007, Bear Stearns disclosed that two of its credit hedge funds with exposure to subprime mortgages had lost nearly all of their value.
Yet the S&P 500 didn’t peak until October 2007, well after problems in the mortgage market had begun to spread. And even then, most economists and strategists were clueless as to what would happen next.
Well, what if I told you that an even larger housing bubble is in the process of bursting?
Just like before, very few people are paying attention… And once again, everyone will claim they saw the collateral damage coming.
On a year-over-year basis, the average new-home price in China declined by 2.5% in October. Home prices fell in 67 of the 70 cities tracked by the government in October from a year earlier.
Prices were also down 1.1% in September, the first annual decline in almost two years.
With deterioration in the housing market, it’s no wonder China’s central planners blinked.
Last Friday, the People’s Bank of China unexpectedly cut benchmark lending and borrowing rates. It was the central bank’s first rate cut in more than two years.
But there’s even more to the story…
As China’s economic growth rate slows, we’re starting to get a glimpse of the ugly details concerning China’s epic credit expansion, which has fueled the housing boom over the past several years.
It turns out that loan guarantees, in which companies back loans to other firms, are starting to wreak havoc. These guarantee chains are causing cascading failures and transmitting stresses throughout the banking system.
It’s estimated that around a quarter of the $13 trillion in total loans outstanding in China are backed by promises from other companies, individuals, or dedicated guarantee companies.
These guarantees remind me of the problems surrounding the monoline insurance companies, which guaranteed U.S. subprime mortgages. Unsurprisingly, it seems as though loan guarantees are a fixture of rapid and unsustainable credit expansions.
Nonetheless, fresh Chinese central bank stimulus has a lot of investors bullish on China’s stock market.

Speculating on Red

Furthering this bullishness is the development of a new pathway for more foreign investment in China’s local shares.
The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect is a pilot program that links the stock markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Although mainland Chinese stock purchases are still capped, the hope is that further global integration of China’s equity markets will lead to significant capital inflows.
Obviously, everyone wants to be among the first in. Fund assets for the Deutsche X-Trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (ASHR [1]) is taking off, and the ETF now trades at around a 5% premium to net asset value (NAV), which is unusual for an ETF.
Meanwhile, the lesser-known Morgan Stanley China A Share Fund (CAF [2]), a closed-end fund, still trades at a 7.8% discount to NAV.
I expect CAF to eventually trade at a significant premium to its NAV, just like ASHR.
Much like in the United States circa 2007, it will take time for the markets to come to grips with the enormity of the problems in China.
Until then, stimulus and hope will trump common sense.
Whereas the U.S. mortgage market and banking system was ground zero for the credit crisis in 2008-2009, Asia will be the epicenter of the next credit crisis.
Just imagine if the Federal Reserve had been ultra-stimulative throughout 2007. Speculation and leverage would have reached even greater heights before the crisis – with even more disastrous consequences, of course.
This is the situation that China finds itself in today. Its housing bubble is trying to correct itself, but the central planners are going to fight it by encouraging even more malinvestment.
Safe (and high-yield) investing,
Alan Gula, CFA

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Point to a Larger Renminbi Currency Plan

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Mini Contracts Point to a Larger Currency Plan
Posted By Shelley Goldberg On November 24, 2014 @ 5:00 am In Commodities,International Events,Precious Metals,Shelley Goldberg | No Comments
Mini is all the rage this season. At least it is on the now Hong Kong-owned London Metal Exchange (LME).
Three new mini futures contracts for aluminum, zinc, and copper are launching on December 1. Priced in Chinese renminbi, these mini contracts carry a big punch and have a few distinct advantages over their larger brethren.
Retail investors would be wise to explore this new option, but they should also take note of the implications.
You see, the Chinese want to move the U.S. dollar aside and make the renminbi the world’s reserve currency. And these new mini contracts are just a small part of their diabolical plan.

Tiny Is Taking Over

The size of each mini contract is just five metric tonnes (MT), smaller than the standard LME nonferrous metal contract, which is 25 MT.
And they have three distinct advantages over the traditional contract.
First, mini contracts are designed for the retail markets or smaller industrial hedgers that find the standard LME contract too large.
Second, they add greater liquidity to the industrial metals market, allowing more participants to trade. Greater liquidity means a heightened level of trading volume for global industrial metals, which is a good thing for the market’s participants. And while mini contracts already exist on the LME, none were traded in renminbi. This meant that prior to the launch of these hybrid minis, you had to put on both a metals trade and a renminbi trade. The minis facilitate this transaction by removing that additional step.
And third, the launch of any new financial instruments tends to create interesting arbitrage opportunities – in this case, between Hong Kong and other industrial metals futures markets around the globe, such as London, Singapore, and New York.
This window will likely narrow quickly due to the efficiency of currency and metals markets, meaning the mini-contract trend will far outlive the arbitrage.
The mini contract’s specifications are as follows:
Bigger Isn't Better When it Comes to Metal Futures
The contracts will be based on the settlement prices of LME futures and will be settled in cash, not with physical metal like the standard LME contracts.
The final settlement price will be the Official Settlement Price published by the LME. This will be converted to the renminbi equivalent using spot USD/ renminbi pricing (published by the Treasury Markets Association in Hong Kong at 11:15 AM Hong Kong Time).
Also, it’s important for investors to note that the last trading day will be two business days before the third Wednesday of the spot month, and that the schedule will follow the Hong Kong Futures Exchange.
If the launch proves successful, down the road we could see minis in other metals – both industrial and precious – traded in renminbi.
The close ties with the Hong Kong Futures Exchange are not surprising, considering the Exchange now owns the LME. But mini futures do mark a change in China’s positioning of the renminbi in the world’s markets.

China Tries to Take the Reins

As I alluded to before, there are some interesting implications stemming from these new contracts as they relate to China and its role in international trade.
China’s dominance over metals trading became evident in 2012, when Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. gained instant access to commodities trading by buying the LME for the equivalent of $2.16 billion.
The transaction made sense, since China is the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals – representing approximately 40% of global consumption.
China has also been working to make the renminbi more competitive with the U.S. dollar. In fact, China seeks to make the renminbi the reserve currency of the world!
How will it try to do this? Well, China will continue to gradually open up its capital account, make offshore renminbi liquidity more easily available, and sign up more renminbi trading centers – it has opened two recently in London and Frankfurt.
On top of that, in March of 2014, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced a historic economic policy shift. China realized that it needs to let its currency’s value be market determined rather than tightly managed, and thus the PBOC widened its band around the renminbi’s central value relative to the U.S. dollar from 1% to 2% in either direction.
This act created major volatility in the currency markets and in China’s capital flow and trade reserve levels, eventually leading to currency intervention by the PCOB.
But despite these efforts, the U.S. dollar will continue to be the world’s reserve currency because of three crucial characteristics: 1) It’s the most widely used and accepted currency around the world, 2) it is free floating against other currencies (unlike renminbi, which trades in a tight band against the U.S. dollar), and 3) it can be printed to increase supply in times of easy monetary policy.
Good investing,
Shelley Goldberg

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Fixing Global Finance: Unfinished Business

The RSIS Working Paper series presents papers in a preliminary form and serves to stimulate comment and discussion. The views expressed in this publication are entirely those of the author(s), and do not represent the official position of RSIS. This publication may be reproduced electronically or in print with prior written permission obtained from RSIS and due credit given to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email for further editorial queries.

No. 285 dated 26 November 2014
Fixing Global Finance: Unfinished Business

By Stephen Grenville

The 2008 financial crisis was hugely damaging. The focus of reform has been on increasing banks’ required capital. Together with the other measures taken, this makes a repetition of 2008 less likely. However, the crisis also taught us that financial markets do not work as well as we thought. Financial innovation has made the markets more volatile, short-term focused and more pro-cyclical. Not much has been done to address this issue. This paper suggests that the government-guaranteed banking sector should be separated much more clearly from the rest of the financial sector, which should be more explicitly identified as a risky sector. This separation would change the way the financial sector is managed (with conservative management returning to the banking sector). Such beneficial changes would reduce the size of the financial sector, which currently attracts too many of our best brains.

Click on the following link to download the working paper


Dr Stephen Grenville
is a Non-resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. He works as a consultant on financial sector issues in East Asia. Between 1982 and 2001 he worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia, for the last five years as Deputy Governor and Board member. Before that, Dr Grenville was with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, the International Monetary Fund in Jakarta, the Australian National University and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra. His special interests are in monetary policy and financial development in the Asian emerging economies. He has written extensively on capital flows, recognising the serious policy challenges that arise from the volatile nature of these flows on economies that have not yet developed deep and resilient financial sectors. He has also written on the 2008 financial crisis and the reform efforts since then. His interests include the international economic institutions (particularly the International Monetary Fund and the Asian institutions). He is member of the Lowy Institute’s G20 Studies Centre. More broadly, he blogs weekly on the Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter web-site on a range of current international economic issues and is a regular contributor to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Church Leaders Alarmed That IRS Agents Could Pose As Clergy To Access Privileged Information, Enforce Birth Control Mandate

Church Leaders Alarmed That IRS Agents Could Pose As Clergy To Access Privileged Information, Enforce Birth Control Mandate
November 26, 2014 |
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Church leaders are upset after a recent article in The New York Times revealed that the Internal Revenue Service can use undercover agents disguised as members of the clergy as a means to gather privileged information.

Following the Times' report last weekend that over 40 federal agencies use undercover agents disguised as attorneys, doctors, news media and other positions to gain access to privileged information, church leaders are appalled to find out that IRS agents are also allowed to pose as clergy, even though the agency doesn't have a crime-fighting function that warrants such a use of undercover tactics.

In a Tuesday interview with The Christian Post, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, said he thinks it's an "absolute disgrace" that the IRS is allowed use undercover agents disguised as clergy. He added that he couldn't think of any justifiable reasons as to why the agency should be allowed to disguise agents as clergy.

"It is an absolute disgrace that IRS undercover agents can pose as members of the clergy. It is the role of government to protect religious freedom and the first amendment, and not to use it to gather information and spy on American citizens," Mahoney said. "One has to ask why is the IRS using undercover agents to gather information posing as clergy. Why is this even part of their mandate? What does the IRS have to do with this?"

Mahoney and fellow church leaders that he's spoken with in the days since the Times' article was published have expressed concern that the IRS could possibly use undercover investigators disguised as clergy to help enforce the HHS' mandate that requires group and employer health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, thus forcing churches and other faith-based organizations to act against their beliefs.

"The red flag that's raised by all the ministers and faith leaders that I talked to over the last 48 hours is it would seem to have to do with healthcare and the Affordable Care Act, and churches complying with that," Mahoney added. "Is the IRS investigating churches and ministers who've said they cannot, in good faith, comply with Obamacare? These are very serious questions when you have a government agency sending undercover agents in as clergy to gather information and spying on American citizens.

"I cannot think of a more serious issue and I think the IRS needs to explain why they are doing this?" Mahoney said.

The IRS issued a statement to the Times stating that senior officials within the agency "are not aware of any investigations where special agents have posed as attorneys, physicians, members of clergy or members of the press specifically to gain information from a privileged relationship." However, the IRS declined to say whether undercover agents have posed in roles in efforts to gain information that's not considered "privileged."

Although other federal agencies use undercover agents, like the FBI or the Department of Justice, they have to obey strict guidelines that provide tight oversight on their undercover operations. The IRS, however, doesn't have to abide by such guidelines and its undercover operations have far more latitude.

"It makes it even more disturbing when you realize that the IRS has wide latitude, even wider than the Department of Justice," Mahoney asserted.

According to IRS undercover operations guidelines, the permittance of IRS agents to be allowed to go undercover in roles such as clergy is relatively new. In November 2012, a provision to the IRS undercover operations guidelines was made allowing for agents to disguise as clergy and other privileged professionals.

Mahoney claims the 2012 changes to the IRS undercover operations guidelines has President Barack Obama's fingerprints all over it.

"When one considers that the IRS, under President Obama, has had serious charges of using the IRS for political intimidation and harassment on people that the White House considers it opposes, like conservative groups, religious organizations, this just adds another level to those charges and concerns," Mahoney explained. "If the president allowed this to be put in, it does raise even much more serious concerns, particularly churches complying with the Affordable Care Act. One has to seriously look at the possibility that this whole role was put into place to address churches struggling with the HHS mandate and Obamacare."

Mahoney said when the newly elected Republican-majority in Congress takes effect on Jan. 3, he and other clergy members will lobby committees with IRS oversight to act and prevent the agency from being able to go undercover as clergy in the future.


How Israel's Restoration Signals The End

How Israel's Restoration Signals The End
November 26, 2014 |
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"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21, KJV).

The return of Christ is contingent upon "the times of restitution of all things." The word times is in the plural form, meaning "a series of events" linked to restitution. The word restitution is similar to the word restoration. The Greek word for restitution (apokatastasis) was used to describe the Jews' return to Israel from Egypt with Moses and their return to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

In both cases the Hebrew nation was released from bondage, returned to their land and brought restoration to the land through agriculture and farming (Jer. 27:22; Joel 2:25). Christ will return after an order of restoration occurs.

The biblical prophets also predicted a series of restorations that will unfold prior to the return of the Messiah. When these predictions begin to come to pass, it is a major witness that the closing out of the end of the age is at hand and the kingdom of the Messiah is over the horizon.

The first major event would be the reestablishing of Israel as a nation. Over 100 years before Israel was reborn on May 14-15, 1948, Bible scholars who accepted the literal interpretation of the restoration prophecies began writing and teaching that the Jews must return to a restored nation called Israel prior to the Lord's return.

One such man was Professor S.W. Watson, who in 1888 taught that three things must occur before Christ could return. First, Israel would again be a nation. Second, Jerusalem must be in the hands and control of the Jews, and, finally, the Jews would be returning from all nations back to the Promised Land.

In 1912, A.B. Simpson wrote a book titled The Coming One, in which he stated: "Then there is the promise of their [Israel's] restoration. This is to be in two stages: first, national and then spiritual. The two stages are represented by Ezekiel in the vision of the valley of dry bones."

In 1940 Harry Rimmer wrote a prophetic book titled The Coming War and the Rise of Russia. In it he mentions 14 things that must occur prior to the coming of Christ. He stated that the Jews would be back in Palestine and will have Jerusalem back. He predicted that there would be a great war that would drive the Jews back to Palestine. He also spoke of Hitler dividing Germany and how Germany would later be united again.

In the 1930s and 1940s, a great Bible scholar, Finis Dake, author of the Dake's Annotated Bible, spent thousands of hours researching the Scriptures and writing personal notes and commentaries on each verse. In Isaiah 35, the prophet Isaiah predicted a time when the barren deserts of Israel would blossom as a rose and fill the world with fruit (Is. 35:1; see also Is. 27:6). At the time of Mr. Dake's research, most of Palestine was either a swamp or a desolate, dry wilderness with little or no vegetation. In this setting, Dake commented on the 2,500-year-old prediction by Isaiah that Israel's deserts would blossom and fill the world with fruit: "A complete restoration or reestablishment. It refers to the Millennium when Christ will reign 1,000 years. No prophecy about the coming of the Lord can be fulfilled until the Jews are back in their land."

In the 1930s and early 1940s, Dake understood two facts: that no prophecy about the coming of the Lord could be fulfilled until the Jews were back in their land (Israel), and that the blossoming of the desert was to be taken literally and not as some spiritual allegory. In other words, the dry land would one day become fruitful. He only missed one part of his interpretation. He placed the timing of this fulfillment during the thousand-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:4), not during the time of the end. When his Bible notes were written, the Jews were still scattered among the nations and were being persecuted by the Nazis. The nation of Israel was nonexistent, and the land was called Palestine and was under British mandate.

When examining prophetic Scripture, these men and others like them took the prophecies about Israel's restoration literally and not spiritually or allegorically. They predicted a day when the Jews would return and rebuild the places of old. 


ISIS' Global Network Expands: At Least 12 Military Allies In 9 Countries Beyond Iraq, Syria

ISIS' Global Network Expands: At Least 12 Military Allies In 9 Countries Beyond Iraq, Syria
November 26, 2014 |
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The Islamic State terrorist organization now has at least 12 known military allies, operating in nine countries outside of Iraq and Syria, that have publicly pledged their allegiances to the caliphate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As Islamic State leadership continues to call on extremists worldwide to wreak havoc on the West,'s Daily Intelligencer reports that the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) has identified 12 international militia organizations that are now affiliating their efforts with the Islamic State's jihad and could help expand the group's caliphate.

Militia allies in Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Jordan and Gaza/Israel have all announced some sort of cooperation with the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi. Many of these organizations were recently affiliated with Al Qaeda and have since switched to ISIS allegiances over the summer and into the fall.

In the latest edition of ISIS' English language online magazine, Dabiq, the group details its plans for its expansion into North Africa and the Arabian Peninsuala.

"On the 17th of Muharram 1436 (Muslim year), the world heard announcements from the mujāhidīn of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, Sinai, Libya, and Algeria, pronouncing their [allegiances] to the Khalīfah of the Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," the Dabiq article states. "All of them announced uniformly: We call the Muslims everywhere to give bay'ah to the Khalīfah and support him, in obedience to Allah and actualization of the unheeded obligation of the era."

In the North African country of Libya, a new group founded at the beginning of 2014, Islamic Youth Shura Council, has already made significant headway for the Islamic State by seizing control of the Mediterranean coastal town of Derna in April. Although the group initially pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda when it was first established, the group formally switched its allegiance to ISIS in June. In October, the group announced Derna as an official ISIS outpost, making it a rare ISIS-controlled town outside of Iraq and Syria.

"It is incumbent on us to support this oppressed Islamic State that is taken as an enemy by those near and those far, among the infidels or the hypocrites, or those with dead souls alike," a statement issued by Islamic Youth Shura Council states.

TRAC Editorial Director Veryan Khan told Daily Intellegencer that she believes the Islamic Youth Shura Council could have a huge impact on luring Libya's inland extremists considering the nature of the country's volatile political climate.

In Algeria, a group that once held close ties to Al Qaeda leadership called Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), issued their pledge of allegiance to ISIS in September. This particular militia group held personal ties to Osama Bin Laden and current Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The group's leader, Gouri Abdelmalek, issued a statement claiming Al Qaeda "has deviated from the true path."

No more than two weeks after Jund al-Khilafa publicized its ISIS affiliation, the group beheaded a French man in the name of the Islamic State to avenge for France's participation in U.S.-Coalition airstrikes against ISIS.

"The Caliphate soldiers have actually beheaded on the Islamic State's behalf," Khan said.

As was reported earlier in November, the Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in Egypt has pledged its support to ISIS and currently contains about 1,000 fighters. Since Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, was kicked out of power in July of 2013, the leadership of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis felt that it was in their best interest to pledge loyalty to ISIS in hopes that the Islamic State's leaders would provide more supplies to help the group defeat Cairo's military leadership. After the group pledged its allegiance, it was renamed to Wilayat Sinai, which means the governance of Sinai.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis also has a branch that operates in Gaza, which has previously conducted attacks against Israel. According to TRAC, the group claimed responsibility for launching rockets into Israel in July. Since pledging its allegiance to ISIS, the Gaza branch of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has changed its name to al-Dawla al-Islamiyya, which in English simply means "the Islamic State."

Exanding into Asia via affiliates in Pakistan, a country that consists of 97 percent muslims and has a low tolerance for blaspheming against Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, multiple militia organizations have expressed their ISIS allegiance.

Last Monday, a former Pakistani Taliban splinter group called Jundallah pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State. Jundallah joins other Pakistani Taliban militia's such as Tehreek-e-Khilafat and Jamaat al-Ahrar, who pledged allegiance over the summer. All three of the former Taliban groups had close ties with Al Qaeda leadership and as the Intelligencer points out, Al Qaeda is starting to lose much of its affiliated support due to the emergence of ISIS.

"[ISIS] is our brothers, whatever plan they have we will support them," a Jundallah spokesperson said.

In the Philippines, the group Abu Sayyat pledged allegiance to the Islamic State over the summer and has been attempting to create its Islamic governance within the archipelago. The group successfully received a $5 million ransom payment after they kidnapped and threatened to behead two German captives.

In mid July, Ashorut Tauhid, an Indonesian militia group based in Java, issued its allegiance to ISIS when the group's arrested leader pledged from inside his jail cell. However, the decision to pledge allegiance to ISIS was to the dismay of many of the group's top members, who have since left the group.

In Lebanon, the group that took credit for the 2013 bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade, issued its allegiance to ISIS through a Twitter post in June.

The Sons of the Call for Tawhid and Jihad, a Jordan-based youth militia, that is believed to have thousands of members, denounced Al Qaeda leadership in July and offered their support to ISIS.

Although TRAC's analysis identified just 12 international militia organizations, TRAC holds that there could possibly be more groups that have pledge allegiance to ISIS but have not done so publicly.


Study: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe Natural Disasters Are Rising Due to 'End Times' Not Climate Change

Study: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe Natural Disasters Are Rising Due to 'End Times' Not Climate Change
November 26, 2014 |
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Nearly half of Americans now believe that the recent surge in natural disasters is the result of biblical "End Times" than climate change, and more than two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants hold this belief, according to a new study.

While only 44 percent of Americans agreed in 2011 that natural disasters are evidence of the apocalypse, their number has now increased to 49 percent, the Public Religion Research Institute reported, quoting results of a new poll.

Especially white evangelical Protestants are more likely — 77 percent — to attribute the severity of recent natural disasters to the End Times than to climate change, added the poll on religion and the environment.

African-American Protestants were close behind white evangelicals in attributing natural calamities to the end times. But, they are most likely to acknowledge climate change at the same time.

However, the study also found that only 39 percent of Americans believe that God would not allow humans to destroy the earth, while 53 percent disagree.

The poll added that 57 percent of Americans believe that God holds humans responsible for animals, plants and other resources which are not just for human benefit. By contrast, about one-third of Americans say that God gave humans the right to use animals, plants and all other resources of the planet solely for their own benefit.

The study found that Hispanic Catholics are among the most concerned faith groups about climate change, almost at par with religiously unaffiliated Americans.

The study showed that 54 percent of Americans say that science and religion are often in conflict, but substantially fewer believe that science clashes with their own religious beliefs.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans say that science does not conflict with their religious beliefs, while roughly 40 percent disagree, saying that science sometimes conflicts with their religious beliefs.

These attitudes have remained stable over the last few years, the study noted.

The poll also said that while 46 percent of Americans believe the earth is getting warmer and blame it on human activity, 25 percent say the global temperature is rising but due to natural fluctuations in the earth's environment or uncertain causes. Besides, 26 percent of Americans say there is no concrete evidence that the earth's temperature has been rising over the past few decades.

Americans who identify with the Tea Party are even more skeptical about the existence of climate change than Republicans, the study added, saying that less than one-quarter of Tea Party members believe in climate change and 53 percent of them do not believe so. 


10 Signs That Russia Is Preparing To Fight (And Win) A Nuclear War With The United States

10 Signs That Russia Is Preparing To Fight (And Win) A Nuclear War With The United States
November 26, 2014 |
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If the United States and Russia fought a nuclear war, who would win? You might be surprised by the answer. Under the Obama administration, the rapidly aging U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal has been shrinking.

Meanwhile, the Russians have been developing an entirely new generation of bombers, submarines and missiles that have the capability of delivering an absolutely crippling first strike. At this point, most Americans consider a full-scale nuclear war to be inconceivable. But in Russia attitudes are completely different.

To the Russians, the United States is enemy number one these days and the Russians are feverishly preparing for a potential military showdown.

Of course the Russians don’t actually want to have to resort to nuclear war. Such an event would be an unspeakable horror for the entire globe. But if one does happen, the Russians want to make sure that they are the ones that come out on top.

A lot of Americans are still operating under the faulty assumption that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” still applies. The thinking was that both sides had so many nuclear missiles that a launch by one side would guarantee the destruction of both parties.

But since that time, so much has changed.

For one, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is far, far smaller than it was back then. Back in 1967, the U.S. military possessed more than 31,000 strategic nuclear warheads. Now, we only have 1,642 deployed, and that number is scheduled to be further reduced to about 1,500.

Sadly, reducing the size of our nuclear arsenal by close to 95 percent is not enough for anti-nuke crusader Barack Obama. He has spoken of unilaterally reducing the size of our strategic nuclear arsenal down to just 300 warheads.

During this same time period, the Russians have been developing some very impressive stealth delivery systems which have the capability of hitting targets inside the United States within just minutes of an order being issued. This is particularly true of their submarine-launched missiles. The newest Russian subs have the ability to approach our coastlines without us even knowing that they are there. If the Russians came to the conclusion that war with the United States was unavoidable, an overwhelming first strike using submarine-based missiles could potentially take out nearly our entire arsenal before we even knew what hit us. And if the Russians have an anti-ballistic missile system that can intercept the limited number of rockets that we can launch in return, they may be able to escape relatively unscathed.

In order for “mutually assured destruction” to work, we have to see the Russian missiles coming and have enough time to order a launch of our own. Thank to emerging technologies, the balance of power has fundamentally shifted. The old way of thinking simply does not apply anymore and the Russians understand this.

The following are 10 signs that Russia is preparing to fight (and win) a nuclear war with the United States…

#1 Russia is spending an enormous amount of money to develop the PAK DA Strategic Bomber. Not a lot is known about this stealth bomber at this time. The following summary of what we do know comes from an Australian news source…

Russia’s answer to the B-2 “Spirit”, this next-generation strategic bomber is intended to be almost invisible to radar and capable of carrying a huge array of conventional and nuclear missiles. Little else is known other than its expected service date: 2025.

#2 Russian nuclear bombers have been regularly buzzing areas in northern Europe and along the coast of Alaska. The Russians appear to be brazenly testing NATO defenses. Here is just one recent example…

Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

Six Russian aircraft, including two Bear H nuclear bombers, two MiG-31 fighter jets and two IL-78 refueling tankers were intercepted by F-22 fighters on Wednesday west and north of Alaska in air defense identification zones, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Two other Bears were intercepted by Canadian jets on Thursday.

#3 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says that Russian nuclear bombers will now conduct regular patrols “in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico“.

#4 Russia is constructing an anti-ballistic missile system which will supposedly be superior to anything that the U.S. currently has…

Currently under development, the S-500 missile is intended to be capable of intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles when combined with radar input from the likes of the new A-100 AWACS aircraft. It is supposed to be able to track and shoot at up to 10 supersonic targets at any one time at heights of up to 40km.

#5 Russia recently successfully test launched a new submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missile…

A Russian Northern Fleet nuclear submarine on Wednesday fired a test intercontinental missile from the Barents Sea to the country’s far eastern Kura Range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

“Within the frameworks of testing the reliability of marine strategic nuclear forces, the Tula [nuclear submarine] launched a Sineva intercontinental ballistic missile from the Barents Sea to the Kura Range [in Kamchatka],” the statement says.

The RSM-54 intercontinental ballistic missile Sineva (NATO code name SS-N-23 Skiff) is part of the D-9RM launch system.

The D-9RM launch system equipped with RSM-54 missiles was put into service in 1986. The production of the RSM-54 was halted in 1996 but after three years, the Russian government resumed the production of a modernized version of the missile.

#6 Russia already possesses super silent nuclear attack submarines that are virtually undetectable when submerged. In a previous article, I discussed how the U.S. Navy refers to these virtually undetectable subs as “black holes“…

Did you know that Russia is building submarines that are so quiet that the U.S. military cannot detect them? These “black hole” submarines can freely approach the coastlines of the United States without fear of being detected whenever they want. In fact, a “nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles” sailed around in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks without being detected back in 2012. And now Russia is launching a new class of subs that have “advanced stealth technology”. The U.S. Navy openly acknowledges that they cannot track these subs when they are submerged. That means that the Russians are able to sail right up to our coastlines and launch nukes whenever they want.

#7 Russian media outlets are reporting that 60 percent of all Russian nuclear missiles will have radar-evading capability by 2016…

Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to complete the rearmament of Strategic Missile Forces within six years. “By 2016, the share of new missile systems will reach nearly 60%, and by 2021 their share will increase to 98%. At the same time the troop and weapon command systems, combat equipment will be qualitatively improved, first of all — their capabilities for the suppression of antimissile defense will be built up,” Defense Ministry’s RVSN spokesman Colonel Igor Yegorov told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

#8 For the first time ever, Russia has more strategic nuclear warheads deployed than the United States does…

For the first time, Russia, which is in the midst of a major strategic nuclear modernization, has more deployed nuclear warheads than the United States, according to the latest numbers released by the State Department.

Russia now has 1,643 warheads deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers. The United States has 1,642, said the fact sheet released Wednesday.

The warhead count for the Russians, based the Sept. 1 report required under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), shows an increase of 131 warheads since the last declaration on March 1. The U.S. reported a warhead increase of 57 during the same period. It is not clear why the warhead numbers increased.

#9 Russia has a massive advantage over the United States and NATO when it comes to tactical nuclear weapons…

As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over NATO is even stronger.

The Americans are well aware of this. They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it’s too late.

To date, NATO countries have only 260 tactical nuclear weapons in the ETO. The United States has 200 bombs with a total capacity of 18 megatons. They are located on six air bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. France has 60 more atomic bombs. That is pretty much it. Russia, according to conservative estimates, has 5,000 pieces of different classes of TNW – from Iskander warheads to torpedo, aerial and artillery warheads! The US has 300 tactical B-61 bombs on its own territory, but this does not change the situation against the backdrop of such imbalance.

#10 Russian President Vladimir Putin has initiated a huge “weapons modernization program” that is projected to cost the equivalent of 540 billion dollars…

Putin said Russia’s weapons modernization program for 2016-2025 should focus on building a new array of offensive weapons to provide a “guaranteed nuclear deterrent;” re-arming strategic and long-range aviation; creating an aerospace defense system and developing high-precision conventional weapons.

He would not elaborate on prospective weapons, but he and other officials have repeatedly boasted about new Russian nuclear missiles’ capability to penetrate any prospective missile shield.

The Kremlin has bolstered defense spending in the past few years under an ambitious weapons modernization program that runs through 2020 and costs the equivalent of $540 billion.

Meanwhile, the Chinese have been investing heavily in this kind of technology as well.

In fact, just the other day the Chinese successfully tested a new submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile…

China’s JL-2 second-generation intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile, which has the ability to reach the continental USA, is already believed to be deployable by the People’s Liberation Army, reports Huanqiu, the Chinese-language website of the nationalistic Global Times tabloid.

The Julang-2 — literally “Giant Wave 2″ — has reached a preliminary level of proficiency, according to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in its report to US Congress on Nov. 20.

Most Americans do not believe that any of this is a concern whatsoever.

Most Americans just assume that a full-scale nuclear war is virtually impossible.

But the truth is that a successful first strike against the United States is more possible today than it ever has been before.

Hopefully the American people will wake up to this reality before it is too late.


Shocking Events Now Taking Place As Run On Gold Intensifies

America's dirty little secret

And I thought this was a thing of the past!

America’s dirty little secret: Sex trafficking is big business
Sex trafficking in the United States (file photo)
Sex trafficking in the United States (file photo)
Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:32AM GMT
John W. Whitehead,
Related Viewpoints:
The mysterious disappearance of 18-year-old Hannah Graham on September 13, 2014, has become easy fodder for the media at a time when the news cycle is lagging. After all, how does a young woman just vanish without a trace, in the middle of the night, in a town that is routinely lauded for being the happiest place in America, not to mention one of the most beautiful?
Yet Graham is not the first girl to vanish in America without a trace—my hometown of Charlottesville, Va., has had five women go missing over the span of five years—and it is doubtful she will be the last. I say doubtful because America is in the grip of a highly profitable, highly organized and highly sophisticated sex trafficking business that operates in towns large and small, raking in upwards of $9.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone by abducting and selling young girls for sex.
It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged sex workers in the U.S. The average age of girls who enter into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old, with some as young as 9 years old. This doesn’t include those who entered the “trade” as minors and have since come of age. Rarely do these girls enter into prostitution voluntarily. As one rescue organization estimated, an underaged prostitute might be raped by 6,000 men during a five-year period of servitude.
This is America’s dirty little secret.
You don’t hear much about domestic sex trafficking from the media or government officials, and yet it infects suburbs, cities and towns across the nation. According to the FBI, sex trafficking is the fastest growing business in organized crime, the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns. It’s an industry that revolves around cheap sex on the fly, with young girls and women who are sold to 50 men each day for $25 apiece, while their handlers make $150,000 to $200,000 per child each year.
In order to avoid detection by police and cater to male buyers’ demand for sex with different women, pimps and the gangs and crime syndicates they work for have turned sex trafficking into a highly mobile enterprise, with trafficked girls, boys and women constantly being moved from city to city, state to state, and country to country. The Baltimore-Washington area, referred to as The Circuit, with its I-95 corridor dotted with rest stops, bus stations and truck stops, is a hub for the sex trade.
With a growing demand for sexual slavery and an endless supply of girls and women who can be targeted for abduction, this is not a problem that’s going away anytime soon. Young girls are particularly vulnerable, with 13 being the average age of those being trafficked. Yet as the head of a group that combats trafficking pointed out, “Let’s think about what average means. That means there are children younger than 13. That means 8-, 9-, 10-year-olds.”
Consider this: every two minutes, a child is exploited in the sex industry. In Georgia alone, it is estimated that 7,200 men (half of them in their 30s) seek to purchase sex with adolescent girls each month, averaging roughly 300 a day. It is estimated that at least 100,000 children—girls and boys—are bought and sold for sex in the U.S. every year, with as many as 300,000 children in danger of being trafficked each year. Some of these children are forcefully abducted, others are runaways, and still others are sold into the system by relatives and acquaintances.
As one news center reported, “Finding girls is easy for pimps. They look on MySpace, Facebook, and other social networks. They and their assistants cruise malls, high schools and middle schools. They pick them up at bus stops. On the trolley. Girl-to-girl recruitment sometimes happens.” Foster homes and youth shelters have also become prime targets for traffickers.
With such numbers, why don’t we hear more about this? Especially if, as Ernie Allen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children insists, “this is not a problem that only happens in New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. This happens in smaller communities. The only way not to find this in any American city is simply not to look for it.”
Unfortunately, Americans have become good at turning away from things that make us uncomfortable or stray too far from our picture-perfect images of ourselves. In this regard, we’re all complicit in contributing to this growing evil which, for all intents and purposes, is out in the open: advertising on the internet, commuting on the interstate, operating in swanky hotels, taking advantage of a system in which the police, the courts and the legislatures are more interested with fattening their coffers by targeting Americans for petty violations than actually breaking up crime syndicates.
Writing for the Herald-Tribune, reporter J. David McSwane has put together one of the most chilling and insightful investigative reports into sex trafficking in America. “The Stolen Ones” should be mandatory reading for every American, especially those who still believe it can’t happen in their communities or to their children because it’s mainly a concern for lower income communities or immigrants.
As McSwane makes clear, no community is safe from this danger, and yet very little is being done to combat it. Indeed, although police agencies across the country receive billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment, weapons and training that keeps them busy fighting a losing battle against marijuana, among other less pressing concerns, very little time and money is being invested in the fight against sex trafficking except for the FBI’s annual sex trafficking sting, which inevitably makes national headlines for the numbers of missing girls recovered.
For those trafficked, it’s a nightmare from beginning to end. Those being sold for sex have an average life expectancy of seven years, and those years are a living nightmare of endless rape, forced drugging, humiliation, degradation, threats, disease, pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages, torture, pain, and always the constant fear of being killed or, worse, having those you love hurt or killed. A common thread woven through most survivors’ experiences is being forced to go without sleep or food until they have met their sex quota of at least 40 men. One woman recounts how her trafficker made her lie face down on the floor when she was pregnant and then literally jumped on her back, forcing her to miscarry.
Holly Austin Smith was abducted when she was 14 years old, raped, and then forced to prostitute herself. Her pimp, when brought to trial, was only made to serve a year in prison. Barbara Amaya was repeatedly sold between traffickers, abused, shot, stabbed, raped, kidnapped, trafficked, beaten, and jailed all before she was 18 years old. “I had a quota that I was supposed to fill every night. And if I didn't have that amount of money, I would get beat, thrown down the stairs. He beat me once with wire coat hangers, the kind you hang up clothes, he straightened it out and my whole back was bleeding.”
As McSwane recounts: “In Oakland Park, an industrial Fort Lauderdale suburb, federal agents in 2011 encountered a brothel operated by a married couple. Inside ‘The Boom Boom Room,’ as it was known,  customers paid a fee and were given a condom and a timer and left alone with one of the brothel’s eight teenagers, children as young as 13. A 16-year-old foster child testified that he acted as security, while a 17-year-old girl told a federal judge she was forced to have sex with as many as 20 men a night.”
One particular sex trafficking ring that was busted earlier in 2014 caters specifically to migrant workers employed seasonally on farms throughout the southeastern states, especially the Carolinas and Georgia, although it’s a flourishing business in every state in the country. Traffickers transport the women from farm to farm, where migrant workers would line up outside shacks, as many as 30 at a time, to have sex with them before they were transported to yet another farm where the process would begin all over again.
What can you do?
Call on your city councils, elected officials and police departments to make the battle against sex trafficking a top priority, more so even than the so-called war on terror and drugs and the militarization of law enforcement.
Insist that law enforcement agencies in the country at all levels, local, state and federal, funnel their resources into fighting the crime of sex trafficking. Stop prosecuting adults for victimless “crimes” such as growing lettuce in their front yard and focus on putting away the pimps and buyers who victimize these young women.
Educate yourselves and your children about this growing menace in our communities. The future of America is at stake. As YouthSpark, a group that advocates for young people points out, sex trafficking is part of a larger continuum in America that runs the gamut from homelessness, poverty, and self-esteem issues to sexualized television, the glorification of a pimp/ho culture—what is often referred to as the pornification of America—and a billion dollar sex industry built on the back of pornography, music, entertainment, etc.
Stop feeding the monster. This epidemic is largely one of our own making, especially in a corporate age where the value placed on human life takes a backseat to profit. The U.S. is a huge consumer of trafficked “goods,” with national sporting events such as the Super Bowl serving as backdrops for the sex industry’s most lucrative seasons. Each year, for instance, the Super Bowl serves as a “windfall” for sex traffickers selling minors as young as 13 years old. As one sex trafficking survivor explained, “They're coming to the Super Bowl not even to watch football. They’re coming to the Super Bowl to have sex with women and/or men or children.”
Finally, as the Abell Foundation’s report on trafficking advises: the police need to do a better job of training on, identifying and responding to these issues; communities and social services need to do a better job of protecting runaways, who are the primary targets of traffickers; legislators need to pass legislation aimed at prosecuting traffickers and “johns,” the buyers who drive the demand for sex slaves; hotels need to stop enabling these traffickers, by providing them with rooms and cover for their dirty deeds; and “we the people” need to stop hiding our heads in the sand and acting as if there are other matters more pressing.
Those concerned about the police state in America, which I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, should be equally concerned about the sex trafficking trade in America. It is only made possible by the police state’s complicity in turning average Americans into suspects for minor violations while letting the real criminals wreak havoc on our communities. No doubt about it, these are two sides of the same coin.

The Islamic State: Is History Rhyming?

The Islamic State: Is History Rhyming?

November 26, 2014
baghdadi cc thierry ehrmann
The Islamic State has a library of ancient myths and prophecies it uses to lure warriors in a march towards the thirteenth century, where they will defeat the infidels in a great final battle in northern Syria. Whether they die and are rewarded with paradise or survive to enjoy the coming Utopia under divine rule, they will be the victors; and this is the appeal of the Islamic State.
On the 4th of July, Ibrahim ibn Awwad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad al-Badri, alias Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi took center stage in the Grand Mosque in Mosul for the first time as Caliph Ibrahim, the Emir of the Faithful in the Islamic State. He wore the black robes of the Abbasids Caliphate that reigned from 750 to 1258.
Muslims throughout the world were commanded to move to the caliphate and pledge their allegiance to Caliph Ibrahim. He had been appointed by the Shura Council that established the caliphate and had acceded to their wishes to assume the role of the Successor of Mohammad.
Abu Mohammed Adnani, a spokesman for Islamic State, announced to Muslims worldwide in a commentary titled “The Promise of God” that other organizations would have to acknowledge the supremacy of Caliph Ibrahim or face the wrath of the IS. Caliph Ibrahim declared that the Islamic State would encompass in five years the lands from India to Southern Europe. That would include Mullah Omar’s caliphate in Afghanistan, which has links to Al-Qaeda.  Neither organization has pledged its allegiance to Abu Bakr Baghdadi. The head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and many other Islamic scholars are also rejecting the demands of Abu Bakr Baghdadi to acknowledge his supremacy, but not the Islamic principles being promoted and not the idea of a caliphate.

The Dictates of History
Caliph Ibrahim offers believers a journey back eight centuries to the time of the Abbasids Caliphate when Islam was spreading far afield. It is that lost glory that he is trying to resurrect and impose upon the world. In keeping with the principles of that distant time, Christians and Jews are to be given the opportunity to convert, flee, or to pay a tax and live as second class citizens. All others are to be put to the sword, their property seized, and their wives and daughters violated and forced into slavery.  Everything is spelled out clearly in the Quran and in the “Majmu’ al-Fatawa” that was written by Sheikh Taqi ibn Taymiyyah after the fall of the Abbisids Caliphate. It is this doctrine that Ibrahim ibn Awwad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad al-Badri studied as a doctoral student in Islamic studies at the Islamic University in Baghdad. The doctrine is a part of the curriculum at Saudi-financed, Salafi-oriented madrasas.
This is why the Islamic State does not hesitate to display the mass killing of prisoners or speak openly of enslaving Yazidi women and others. Their practices were approved thirteen centuries ago and are supported by other Salafists. Time has not modified those ancient teachings.
Believers are being offered a Utopian promise and the opportunity to reap revenge upon all of those infidels and false Muslims who have suppressed righteous Muslims throughout the world and over the centuries. “Revenge, revenge, revenge,” is the battle cry; and it has all been heard before.

Sheikh Wahhab Is Still Speaking
By whatever name we call him, the words of the new self-proclaimed caliph are taken straight out of the mouth of Shaikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, who walked this road of revolution and reform through much of the eighteenth century. Because Caliph Ibrahim draws upon historical sources, he can be replaced with another candidate by the Shura Council if the need arises, thus representing an institutionalized succession procedure.
Sheikh Wahhab was a fundamentalist that rejected what he saw as the corrupting of the Faith. The practices of many Bedouins of praying to saints, giving a spiritual meaning to particular places, celebrating the birthday of Muhammad, and constructing monuments were all viewed as idolatry. True believers accept only God and his word.
The Sheikh invoked the practice of Takfir. The rule states that any Muslim who fails to uphold the Faith should be put to the sword, his property seized, and his wives and daughters violated. Under this practice, Shia and Sufis were not considered to be Muslims and not deserving of life.
The Turks and Egyptians who came on their pilgrimages to Mecca were considered to be particularly abhorrent. They traveled in luxury, smoked, and were declared to be Muslim pretenders. The sect substituted for nationalism and was directed against the foreign corrupt rulers before pan-Arab identity began to unite the tribes.
Ibn Saud, the leader of a minor tribal group in the Nejd saw in the sect a vehicle that could be used to forward his ambitions. Banditry could be transformed into jihad; and the defeated tribes could be given the choice of converting to the sect and to benefit in the spoils or die. If they died in battle, they would enjoy a direct move into paradise.
What the Wahhabi Sect added to Islamic practice and what appealed to Ibn Saud was the requirement of the followers to give absolute loyalty to the political leader. To question the teaching or to fail submitting to the leader was cause for execution with the loss of property and the violation of wives and daughters.
By the end of the eighteenth century, the success of Saud was evident with much of the Arabian Peninsula under his control. His raid upon the important Shia center of Karbala in 1801 saw an estimated five thousand Shia slaughtered and their religious sites destroyed. That was followed two years later by the capture of Mecca and later Medina.
The Ottomans could no longer ignore the carving up of their colonial territory by a desert tribe. An army of Egyptian troops was sent to settle the matter. The Wahhabi capital of Dariyah was seized and destroyed in 1818. Wahhabism receded into the Arabian Desert.
Yet it did not disappear. It remained the core philosophy of the Saud tribe and would become the core belief of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from where it began to spread throughout the Middle East.
Wahhabism arose at a time when the foreign Ottomans were enjoying the benefits of being colonial rulers, which left a religious and political vacuum that Wahhabism eventually filled. Exactly one century after it was defeated, it arose anew with the fall of the Ottoman Empire and its dismembering by the British and French.
The tribes went from one colonial rule to another without having any say in what form their lands would take or what type of government would rule. After World War II, the European rulers were replaced mainly by autocrats. Where oil was exploited, the autocrats had riches that gave little benefit to the masses.
The destruction of the Saddam regime and the dismantling of the state structure by the United States in 2003 created the next vacuum that would give a new reform movement the opportunity to grow.

Revenge and Utopia
The strength of the Islamic State is that it gives the millions of impoverished people who see themselves as oppressed the opportunity to ride their 21st century tanks back to the promised Utopia, where the religious pure will reap all of the benefits and the disbelievers will receive their rewards at the end of a modern version of the sword.
If you believe, then all of the events that are converging in Syria were prophesized by Mohammad thirteen centuries ago, when he told the future generations that a great battle between Islam and the infidels would be fought out in northern Syria at the town of Dabiq near the Turkish border. That is where the old world will come to an end. It will precede the arrival of the Mahdi and the end of the world. Only the purest of the pure from the ranks of Muslims will enjoy the new state of peace and prosperity.
It has all been foretold, and the falling bombs on Islamic State positions in northern Syria are giving credibility to the ancient script for those who believe.
All that is needed to fulfill the prophecy is the arrival of an infidel army. The taunting of the United States by killing American citizens publically is intended to draw that army onto the battlefield to unite Muslims against the return of the Crusaders. If the United States rejects the challenge, it will be declared a coward and will confirm to followers of the Islamic State their strength. This is sure to give the movement even more appeal in the eyes of potential jihadists.

American Pivot to Asia Includes Return to US Military Presence in Pacific

(updated 19:50 16.11.2014)
Daniel Zubov
The three main partners of America’s military alliance in Asia are Australia, Japan, and South Korea, all of which have the status of Major Non-NATO Ally.
WASHINGTON, November 15 (Sputnik) —  America’s “pivot to Asia” is not limited to an attempt to consolidate trade partners — it also includes a return to an American military presence in the Pacific, a move meant to limit and confront China and Russia.
The three main partners of America’s military alliance in Asia are Australia, Japan, and South Korea, all of which have the status of Major Non-NATO Ally. Japan currently hosts almost 50,000 US troops, and another 28,500 are stationed at 36 installations across South Korea.
The goals of these forces becomes clear when their recent actions are considered together.
In April 2014, an American spy plane was intercepted by a Russian jet over the Sea of Okhotsk. In May 2014, two Global Hawk drones were moved from Guam to Japan with the express purpose of spying on Chinese and North Korean military positions.
Also in May 2014, Japan signed a cooperation accord with NATO to enhance integration on a variety of issues, including missile defense and presence in Central Asia. This agreement laid the groundwork for a “joint anti-piracy drill” in the Gulf of Aden in September, and Exercise Keen Sword, which began on November 11, and will allow 11,000 US troops to “practice and coordinate procedures and interoperability in all warfare disciplines.”
Leading Japan’s military resurgence is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, according to the New York Times, has “increased military spending for the first time in a decade, and loosened self-imposed restrictions on exporting weapons.” The Times also notes that “Washington has generally been keen for Japan to take on a more active military presence in the region to counterbalance China’s growing might.”
To understand Abe’s aggressive militarism, as seen by his desire to rewrite the Japanese constitution to allow the Japanese military to take a more aggressive role — a move rejected by voters, and his visit to the Yasukuni shrine honoring Nazi war criminals, it is helpful to explore the history of his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi.
After World War II, the American policy in Japan was similar its policy in Europe — establish a permanent presence and realign with defeated axis enemies to battle the Soviet Union. In Japan, that meant rehabilitating war criminal Nobusuke Kishi, who had played a role in the economic expansion and exploitation of Japan into Manchuria, and rose to Minister of Munitions in the Japanese government that declared war on the Allied powers.
Throughout the 1950s, when the Americans were placing puppet governments throughout Southeast Asia, Kishi was one piece in that game. Thanks to his close friendship with American business interests, Kishi received American support as early as 1954 while he was rebuilding the conservative Liberal Party (which later merged with the Democratic Party), and around $10 million a year between 1958 and 1960.
Kishi was also given control of the powerful post-war reconstruction M-Fund, which he used to enrich himself. The M-Fund was originally set up by American General William Marquat, chief of the Supreme Commander of Allied Power’s Economic and Scientific Section, to rebuild the Japanese economy, but quickly turned into a way to embezzle the gold stolen by Japanese Nazi’s during the war into far-right campaigns and mafia activities.
In return for this investment, Kishi helped turn Japan into an American military base for their operations in Vietnam. Now, sixty-five years later, his grandson is allowing America to continue their occupation of Okinawa and attempting to line up whatever parts of the Japanese military he is legally allowed to commit to support the American military buildup against China.
For its part, South Korea’s close military relationship to America has existed since the World War II partition agreement with the Soviet Union. After the Korean War ended, Americans drew down their troops, but never fully ended their occupation, and thanks to an October, 2014, agreement between the respective Defense Ministers, Americans will exercise “Operational Control” of the 500,000 Korean forces if any hostilities break out with North Korea.
South Korea has also moved closer to NATO thanks to Deputy Secretary-General of NATO, Alexander Vershbow, who served as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea in 2005-2008. During his tenure, he helped expand the American military base at Pyeongtaek, Camp Humphries, into the largest Army garrison in Asia.
In his current role at NATO, Vershbow visited South Korea on October 27, 2014, to speak at the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative Forum. He praised Korea for “contribut[ing] troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan; lead[ing] one of the most effective Provincial Reconstruction teams in Parwan, and running an important medical hospital,” and “pledg[ing] aid towards both the sustainment of the Afghan National Security Forces and Afghanistan’s future economic development.”
In addition to the NATO involvement, 200,000 South Korean troops drilled with 12,700 American troops from February to April as part of the “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” exercises.
No one doubts the importance of the economic ties and open markets between the United States and Asian nations. However, when military ties are used to aggressively push American troops to China and Russia’s borders, and trade deals are used to exploit the sick and push an environmental agenda that puts the profits of polluting industries ahead of the health of the masses, tensions in the area will only increase, and instability and unrest will follow.