“You’re an old-timer if you can remember when setting the world on fire was a figure of speech.” ~Franklin P Jones
For those of you perhaps unfamiliar with the title phrase, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Bible (Revelation 6; Zechariah 6) were (1) conquest on a white horse, (2) war on a red horse, (3) famine on a black horse, and (4) death on a pale horse. Since almost every era of history—from Egyptian to Roman to the American Empire—has witnessed conquest, war, famine, and death, one may wonder, What’s new? Well, the Book of Revelation tells of a seven-year period called the Tribulation or the Great Tribulation, and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse signal the beginning of that catastrophic Endtime event. During their ride, a quarter of the earth’s population will perish.
Not long ago I saw a rerun of Prophets of Doom (History Channel), formerly aired January 2011. Six men sat in an austere, dark basement talking about their vision of the future. They were Michael Ruppert (former policeman concerned with peak oil), Nathan Hagens (former hedge fund manager thinking economics), John Cronin (interested in a shortage of freshwater), James Howard Kunstler (journalist concerned with peak oil), Hugo De Garis (futurist interested in artificial intelligence), and Robert Gleason (editor concerned with nuclear threat and terrorism).
Assuming, evidently, that concern for the future was age-related, the narrator informed us that each pundit was at or near sixty years of age. It was the six men themselves who brought out the point that, generally speaking, people—younger people, I guess—were asleep and that the timing of these issues—economic chaos, peak oil, dearth of freshwater, nuclear terrorism, artificial intelligence—was apocalyptic. I don’t want to go into all they mentioned, but simply look at some things that concern thinking people today who agree with their general assessment: that we are living in the Last Days.
“There will be no polar ice by 2060 … Somewhere along that path, the polar bear drops out.” ~Larry Schweiger, President, National Wildlife Federation
In some circles global warming is a joke. “The whole global warming thing is created to destroy America’s free enterprise system and our economic stability” (Jerry Falwell). “The more the case for man-made warming falls apart, the more hysterical Gore gets about an imminent catastrophe” (Fred Barnes).
Churchmen, commentators, correspondents, and even weathermen laugh. Especially when the temperatures plunge, and snowstorms bring whiteouts. However, the truth is that the average temps worldwide are rising incrementally—about 2.0°F since the Industrial Revolution—but even a few degrees can make a difference in a closed system.
Years ago I had an aquarium in the foyer of my home and another one in my classroom, along with a terrarium (which creates its own environment). An aquarium requires a charcoal filter, a pump, a heater, fresh (nontap) water, and a scavenger (shark or barracuda) to keep the tank clean. Occasionally when I brought home a goldfish or a guppie, I arose the next morning and found some fish missing. Where did they go? Simple: the scavenger (barracuda) ate them. Sometimes the fish got sick. The solution? Turn up the heater. Normally the temp in an aquarium is 71°-86°F; to treat parasites, the upper end. A few degrees more, say 90°, and fish die. Such is the delicacy of an aquarium.
The earth is no different. Turning up the average heat, a few degrees, can adversely affect its delicate balance. Since temps can fluctuate a couple degrees in a given area, someone asked, “How do you get the average?” It’s the tally of the official weather stats, per town or airport. You know, those temps your local weatherman throws up on the TV screen—not what your thermometer reads on your back porch. Meteorologists keep meticulous records. Calculating the official highs and lows is how they arrive at the average temp, for any given city, which you will find in a good road atlas or at Accuweather.
Along with the earth’s rising temps comes things like red tides, colony collapse disorder, melting glaciers, etc. (In fairness to scientists, I don’t know that anyone has tied together colony collapse disorder and global warming.) Though I don’t know how it’s all linked, anyone can see that the world around us is changing. Honeybees are dying. Fish are disappearing from coastlines—the only place fish live. The USA no longer cans sardines and is buying its seafood from Asia. Fishermen are going global looking for fish, even invading the waters of other countries.
Glaciers are melting. Scientists have photographed images showing what glaciers once looked like and what they look like today. I’ve been to the Columbia Icefields in Alberta and seen markers indicating where the Athabasca Glacier was at various years and where it is now. The photos alone should be enough to convince die-hards.
Permafrost is thawing. In Alaska and the far North, where civilization sitself is constructed on permafrost, buildings are sinking, utility poles are toppling, and roads are turning to mush. Further, underneath the melting glaciers and thawing permafrost are carbon dioxide and methane gas, the latter about twenty times most potent in trapping solar heat.
My personal theory is that carbon dioxide from the respiration of seven billion people is causing global warming. Also, the Clean Air Act. Smog and clouds hinder sunlight and, thus, intense heat. Clean air allows bright sunshine and, thus, global warming. In that case, the world needs more carbon sinks (trees). A seven-year moratorium on logging might be a good idea.
“Climate change … presents a dire challenge to humanity. Damage to ecosystems is already taking place; flooding, destructive storms, increased drought, and polar ice melt are causing loss of life and property.” ~Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
“Our farmers and ranchers have never faced as many problems as they do today with drought, range fires, high gas prices and an ever tightening budget on agriculture subsidies.” ~ Michael McCaul
If you look at a drought map of the world, you will see that there is almost a worldwide drought, which brings its own set of hazards. This has been going on for several years, maybe a decade. I’ve driven the Taconic Parkway, in New York, and witnessed the same brown grass and trees that I’ve seen in Maryland and Virginia. Even fir trees are turning brown. In Maryland, near Antietam National Battlefield, last year, I was shocked to find mile after mile of parched corn. The US Department of Agriculture, in 2010, designated 22 counties in Maryland natural disaster areas because of crop losses from drought and excessive heat.
In Texas the drought this year, 2011, was so bad that ranchers had to sacrifice 600,000 head of cattle, 12 percent of their herds, which puts an immediate glut of beef on the market, but means a shortage in coming years. “Texas’ and America’s farmers are suffering,” observed Rep Michael McCaul. “As the Member of Congress representing the 10th Congressional District of Texas, I have traveled throughout our area and have seen first-hand how the drought has affected our agricultural communities …. Texas has been hit especially hard this year by a continuing drought, threatening high winds and increasingly destructive range fires. Simply, these conditions have led to extremely adverse conditions in the agriculture industry.”
In northern Mexico, a region parched by the same drought as Texas, five states are suffering from lack of drinking water. Crops are withering in the fields; 1.7 million cattle have died of starvation and thirst; and the government is having to truck in food and water. In Australia, water is rationed; persons can take only five-minute showers. Singapore is recycling waste water for drinking water.
Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, through a project called Miracles in the Desert, is trying to assist Israel with desalinization—”Without water, everything will die. The dream will be over” (Anonymous). Considering how wealthy Jews are, this sounds a little like “carrying coals to Newcastle.” The point is that the Middle East is hurting for fresh water. Jordan, for instance, is the fourth-thirstiest country in the world; desalinization is its only hope for survival.
In Europe the drought is so severe that the Danube and the Rhine, the longest rivers in Europe, are too shallow to allow ships to pass. This has paralyzed shipping (in Austria shipping is being done at only 25 percent of normal) and negatively affected tourism (passengers are being taken off river cruises and bussed to the next stop). In Bulgaria the Danube is at its lowest level in seventy years. “There is just no water. The situation is critical not only here on the lower Danube but also upriver in Hungary, Austria, Germany,” said Ivan Ivanov, deputy chief of Bulgarian River Shipping.
The Czech Republic is having its worst drought in over two hundred years. In Serbia hydro-power supplies are running low, leaving part of the country without electricity. Bosnia is suffering from a deficiency of drinking water. In Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary crops and utilities are threatened. East Africa is experiencing the worst drought in sixty years.
“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict; but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.” ~Jan Schakowsk
There is growing concern that a drought in South America could tighten grain supplies the world over. US wheat, oat, and barley crops have been poor the past couple of years. In northern Mexico the government is trucking in food for five suffering states. In Uganda families are eating one meal a day. Large parts of East Africa, including Kenya, are experiencing food crises. In Somalia, where the UN has officially declared a famine, thousands have died from lack of food.
“What’s going to happen is, very soon, we’re going to run out of petroleum, and everything depends on petroleum …. This is the end of the world.” ~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
Evidently, the same persons skeptical of global warming are also skeptical of peak oil. “I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all, and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time” (the late Jerry Falwell). If that sounds oxymoronic, as well as irresponsible, consider that Falwell was not alone. “When the President [Bush] was asked about global warming at a public appearance yesterday, he responded by talking about America’s addiction to oil. You make the connection” (Gwen Ifill). The only connection may be that the Industrial Age parallels the Oil Age, and together industrialization and oil-fueled machinery have contributed to global warming.
The fact is that the world now consumes 30 billion barrels of oil a year, 85 million barrels of oil a day, 40,000 gallons a second, and demand is growing exponentially. In 2009 the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security said, “The next five years will see us face…the oil crunch.” Last year, 2010, the US Department of Defense (DOD) said that by 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear.
For decades the USA has taken for granted Saudi Arabian oil; but the mother load of oil in Saudi Arabia is almost depleted. The number-one producer of oil in the world is now Russia. If you were the USA, how would you like to be dependent on Russia or Venezuela for oil? Maybe you can see, then, why the USA is going after the Middle East. “We need a new law,” suggests Jello Biafra, “that owners of SUVs are automatically in the military reserve. Then they can go get their own … oil.”
Did you know that the country possessing the world’s number-two oil reserves is Iran? Maybe you can see, then, why the USA is going after Iran. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are preparing for war. Further, already allied with Russia, they are generating growing ties with Latin America.
For my take on the economy, read my blog “The Future of Money—and How It Impacts You.”
“War does not determine who is right—only who is left.” ~Bertrand Russell
Did you know that both the USA and Russia have warships in the Persian Gulf? In the Mediterranean Sea, off the Syrian coast, are several Russian ships including the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov as well as the American Sixth Fleet, and the aircraft carrier George HW Bush. In November the US tried to give the impression the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group was anchored off Marseilles, when it was spotted in the eastern Mediterranean opposite Syria. After that the George HW Bush, whose access to Syria or Lebanon had been cut off by new weapons reaching Syria, departed to parts unknown, while the USS Carl Vinson Strike Group took up a position opposite Iran.
Moscow has also been playing hide and seek with its only air carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. It was announced the ship would set sail for the Mediterranean on 6 December 2011; but 25 November it was seen passing Malta—then, Cyprus—en route to join a flotilla of Russian guided-missile destroyers anchored off Syria. Moscow rushed to Syria’s defense by airlifting, to Damascus, missiles capable of hitting naval targets 300 kilometers away.
Would either the USA or Russia have concentrated two powerful fleets in the proximity of Syria and Iran unless a military conflagration was imminent? While Washington, Moscow, Tehran, Tel Aviv, or Damascus could step back from the brink of war, at the moment, there is no sign of this happening. If anything, just the opposite.
US special forces are massing on the Syrian border. Russia is in Syria inspecting missile bases. Egyptian and Turk navies are joining together to conduct maneuvers. Iran is planning to hold war drills in international waters, an exercise that could bring it into close proximity with a US fleet. Both China and North Korea want in the game and are angling for position. North Korea is testing missiles capable of hitting the USA. The North Korean military is “helping” the new leader, Kim Jong-un, lead the country. China, which claims the South China Sea, through which passes one-third of global sea trade, is urging its Navy to prepare for military combat and is talking World War III. Putin has told his generals to prepare for Armageddon. While America is watching football and being entertained, the world stands on the threshold of thermonuclear war.
“The world stands at the brink of a second nuclear age. The United States and Russia remain ready to stage a nuclear attack within minutes, North Korea conducts a nuclear test, and many in the international community worry that Iran plans to acquire the Bomb.” ~Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
“War is never a solution; it is an aggravation.” ~Benjamin Disraeli
“It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state.” ~Bruce Schneier
The story is the Federal government is activating camps for incarceration. Army Regulation AR 210-35 (2005) provides for a Civilian Inmate Labor Program and Prison Camps on existing US Army bases. The buzz is that these are not unlike the forced labor camps in Russia’s gulags or China’s (láojiào) reeducation camps.
In 2006 Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR)—a Halliburton subsidiary—was contracted to build detention centers to deal with interning large numbers of people. In 2008 plans were made for thousands of US troops to be stationed inside the USA to deal with “domestic terrorism.” According to the National Emergency Centers Act (2009), HR 645, emergency camps are to be made available for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The National Guard has been recruiting military police, corrections officers, and internment specialists. Even now, the NYPD are staging “mobilization exercises” to deal with civil unrest, and the Department of Defense (DOD) is distributing $500 million military gear to local police ($200 million military gear was given to local police in 2010). Over 17,000 local law enforcement have ordered $2.6 billion worth of tools. “They’re setting the stage for violence in this country” (Ron Paul). According to now-retired four-star Gen Tommy Franks, the next step will be “martial law.”
The Senate recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act (2012), S 1867, which allows the Federal government to arrest and imprison “terrorists,” including American citizens, without charge or trial. Section 1031 declares the whole country a battlefield and allows American citizens to be arrested on USA soil and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. “It puts every single American citizen at risk” (Rand Paul).
Further, the FBI is teaming with the DOD to create a biometric tech center. In late July 2011 the House Judiciary Committee passed HR 1981, “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.” Basically this means that persons wanting to log onto the internet will have to submit their credentials to a government agency and register their ID. Consumers will then use their universal ID stored in a smart card. Some are calling this an “ecosystem ID.”
Our passports are now infected with RFID; some persons have enhanced drivers licenses with RFID; soon we all will. For years speculation has been that we’d be barcoded or required to have a subcutaneous RFID. In India, a new biometric system, Unique ID or Aadhaar, is already in place. It is a 12-digit number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The number alone is proof of identity and address. Without papers or RFID. The number, which is good for driving, banking, and government services, is unique to an individual, costs nothing, and remains valid for life. Interestingly, in India, a Hindu country, it is a random number, devoid of any classification based on caste, creed, religion, or geography. Soon every country will have the same system.
During the Iraqi War the US assembled a massive biometric database on Iraqis, who have been referred to as guinea pigs for what the US plans to do in this country. A couple of years ago the FBI awarded a $1 billion 10-year contract to Lockheed Martin to develop and deploy the Next Generation ID System: fingerprints (“nature’s barcode”), palm prints, iris scans, and facial recognition images (biometrics). The US and the EU now collect all ten fingerprints of foreign visitors. Employees are clocking in with thumbprint scans and being tracked by iris scans. All new employees must be approved by DHS via E-verify. At airports preregistered international travelers can bypass conventional security lines by scanning their passports and fingerprints at a kiosk.
Have you noticed that US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has a new name? In 2003 it was triangulated into the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and was placed under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Services (DHS), just as are the US Coast Guard, US Secret Service, US Customs and Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).
“I’m tired of living in a police state.” ~L Neil Smith
“We keep encouraging countries to develop a plan because a pandemic is inevitable.” ~Dick Thompson
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is calling for synagogues, mosques, churches, and other faith groups to team with Walgreens to “influence” people to get a flu shot. If you get an annual flu shot, this may not bother you. You may even see it as a convenience, like having bloodmobiles in church parking lots: go to Sunday school and get your flu shot. However, some of us have a different take. Why is the government pushing this? Why is the government preparing for—planning for—a crisis? The Bible does talk about Endtime plagues (Revelation 16), but this takes place during the Great Tribulation.
“Frankly, there will be a pandemic, sooner or later.” ~Dr Nabarro
“The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.” ~Dwight D Eisenhower
The Bible foretells a Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39). The general interpretation is that Russia (Gog), together with Iran, North Africa, and former Soviet satellites (Magog, or those with him) will confront Israel and its allies, the West (Europe, USA, and Saudi Arabia). In this battle five-sixths or 83 percent of the Russia-Iran group will be destroyed.
Afterward, it will take seven months to bury the dead; persons spotting the dead will place a marker, then burial details will pick up the deceased. This suggests the battle may be nuclear, requiring special handling of casualties. Also afterward, it will take Israel seven years to dispose of all the weapons left behind. That seven years could be the seven-year Tribulation period.
In secular circles, not the Bible, it has been speculated that in the event of all-out thermonuclear war—mutually assured destruction (MAD)—the Northern Hemisphere would last 3.5 years; the Southern Hemisphere would last an additional 3.5 years; then Planet Earth would be history. This too is a seven-year scenario.
If any or all of this happens, then, the imminent Mideast war could indeed be apocalyptic.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10).
Copyright © 2011 Alexandra Lee