Thursday, August 27, 2015

America "racing toward judgment" as Shemitah draws to close

Jonathan Cahn / Hope of the World
As the 2014-2015 Shemitah year draws to a close, the world is once again falling into financial turmoil. The US stock market moved into correction territory last week and, in early trading this week, the Dow crashed more than 1,000 points before recovering to a mere 588 point loss. The current volatility in the market is not the only bad news of the current Shemitah, however. The Shemitah, which began last September, was ushered in with several ”shakings,” in the words of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who discovered the Shemitah pattern and wrote the book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”

"America is racing toward judgment," says Rabbi Jonathan Cahn in a video posted on You Tube. "Not one but multiple factors are converging."

The Shemitah began on September 24, 2014 with another stock market correction. CNN Money noted that the “September slump” did not last for the entire month of September. Instead, “starting on Monday, September 22, investors hit the pause button and kept hitting it for much of the rest of the month.” This coincided almost perfectly with the onset of the Shemitah.

Following on the heels of the stock market crash was a shaking of a different sort. On September 30, 2014, the CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States. Over the next few weeks, several other cases were identified around the country, prompting a state of near panic in many urban areas. The panic lasted throughout the month of October as more cases were diagnosed and the first patient, a Liberian immigrant, died. Spurring more fears, a number of medical professionals who had treated patients in the original outbreak in Africa flouted quarantines and traveled around New York and the country.

The stock market experienced a rough October as well. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced sharp downturns in mid-October. Although both indexes regained their losses over the next few weeks, Shemitahs have historically been marked by volatility in the markets and the current Shemitah is no exception.

 In early July, the Chinese stock market crashed after reaching a record high on June 12. On July 4, the Chinese government suspended the sale of stocks in an attempt to stave off losses. In spite of the Chinese government’s attempts to manipulate the market, the International Business Times reports that Chinese stocks lost more than eight percent of their value on what has come to be known as “China’s Black Monday.” Quartz notes that stock markets around Asia closed with sharp declines. Further, Zero Hedge listed 23 countries around the world where stock markets are currently crashing. Thomas DeMark, founder and CEO of DeMark Analytics, told CNBC that the Chinese stock market crash closely resembles the US crash of 1929 in which the stock market lost 50 percent of its value and the contagion spread around the world.

Other factors that may be contributing to the world’s economic woes are the collapse in oil prices, the Greek debt crisis and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. Holman Jenkins wrote in the Wall St. Journal that the Greek crisis has largely been resolved without Greece having to address its core problem of deficit spending. Reform of Europe’s welfare state has been kicked down the road and Europe’s debts will continue to mount.

Martin Feldstein, President Reagan’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, wrote in the Wall St. Journal that some of the US market’s difficulty can be attributed to the Fed’s policy of low interest rates that dates back two seven-year Shemitah cycles to the September 11 attacks and the resulting stock market crash in 2001 on the last day of the Shemitah. The Fed kept interest rates low throughout the remainder of the Bush Administration which fed the real estate bubble that burst in 2008 on the last day of that Shemitah year. Feldstein notes that after the failure of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke promised to hold rates near zero for the long term. Low interest rates have also pushed investors into the stock market due to low yields on other investments. Recent articles have pointed out that with interest rates hovering near zero, the Fed has little room left to combat a new economic crisis and may even take rates into negative territory.

The confluence of bad economic news into a perfect storm scenario is compounded by the rejection of Judeo-Christian values and morals. The 2015 Shemitah has been hallmarked by a turning away from God. The most notable example of this is the Supreme Court decision to overturn the will of the people and thousands of years of tradition to redefine marriage. By the time the Supreme Court ruled on the Obergefell case, same sex marriage had become the law in a majority of the United States. In almost every state, the redefinition of marriage was imposed by a small clique of judges and not the voters of the state.

Also in the summer of 2015, a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos unveiled the dark world of the abortion provider. The videos revealed the callous disregard for life among Planned Parenthood employees and the stark truth that the sale of body parts from aborted babies is a vital part of the organization’s business model. In one video, a former employee of a stem cell harvesting company accused Planned Parenthood, which receives federal government funding, of harvesting the brain of a baby whose heart was still beating. Contrary to the public face of abortion in which proponents deny the humanity of unborn babies by using the euphemism “fetus,” Planned Parenthood’s employees freely refer to “babies” on the videos as they joke about the killings. Even during the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell the horror of abortion has never been so clearly exhibited.

Symbolic of America’s rejection of God, a statue of Baphomet, a satanic deity, was unveiled in Detroit in July. The nine-foot tall statue was unveiled at what is purported to the “largest public satanic ceremony in history” according to Time.

A landmark event of the Shemitah that touches on both morality and policy is President Obama’s tentative nuclear deal with Iran. The deal marks not only a danger for the United States, since it fails to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but is a historic break between Israel and the United States. Since its birth in 1948, Israel and the United States have maintained close relations. The US was among the first countries to recognize the nation of Israel and the US provided valuable support to Israel during many of its wars for survival. Most notably, in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, it was resupply by the United States that helped Israel to survive a coordinated attack by its Arab neighbors.

The Iran deal changes the relationship between the two countries. Barack Obama has been more hostile to Israel than any other president. From the beginning of his administration, Obama pushed for a return to Israel’s almost indefensible pre-1967 borders. The deal with Iran will place the United States at odds with Israel as it provides financial support to the Iranians. The removal of sanctions and lack of inspections will make it easier for Iran to build nuclear weapons with which to threaten both Israel and the United States.

The 2015 Shemitah has been a momentous period. With three weeks left in the current Shemitah, which ends on September 13, there is the possibility of even more volatility and chaos. Secular analysts are predicting that the current financial unrest will continue for several months until markets find an equilibrium.

Rabbi Cahn believes that it is not too late to avert judgement. “I am led to call for a period of prayer, repentance and intercession for America, to end on Sept. 23, Yom Kippur," he says. "It is crucial the people of God come before Him now on the foundation of 2 Chronicles 7:14: 'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”

Friday, August 21, 2015

The scoop on birthright citizenship

Gage Skidmore/Flickr
When Donald Trump revealed his immigration policy this week, the aspect of the plan that got the most attention was his desire to deport the American-born children of illegal immigrants. Under current US law, children born in the United States automatically become US citizens. In his plan, Trump says that this policy, “birthright citizenship,” is the “biggest magnet for illegal immigration.”

Birthright citizenship is also called “jus soli,” which means “the law of the soil.” Like many aspects of American law, it has its roots in English common law. In Calvin’s Case, a 1608 ruling, the court determined that a Scotsman born under the reign of King James of Bible fame, whose rule united the kingdoms of Scotland and England, was also an English subject. The court found that “a person's status was vested at birth, and based upon place of birth—a person born within the king's dominion owed allegiance to the sovereign, and in turn, was entitled to the king's protection.”

The Naturalization Act of 1790, the first US law addressing immigration and naturalization, did not specifically address the citizenship of aliens living within the United States, but the fact that English common law subsequently became US common law was referenced in an 1866 federal circuit court decision in the case of United States v. Rhodes. Justice Noah Swayne wrote, “All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country, as well as of England.” The only two exceptions, Swayne wrote, were the children of ambassadors and the children of slaves.

The slave question had been raised nine years earlier by the Dred Scott decision, generally considered one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history. In that case, the Court ruled that slaves were not US citizens and struck down the ability of Congress to prohibit slavery in the territories.

Earlier, in 1830, the Supreme Court had specifically endorsed jus soli in the Sailor’s Snug Harbor case. The Court held that the infant son of a loyalist, born in American-occupied New York City, was a US citizen by birth, even though children born after the British occupied the city were not.

After the Civil War, the 13th and 14th amendments were passed to effectively overturn the Dred Scott decision. The 13th amendment made slavery illegal while the 14th amendment extended citizenship rights to former slaves and banned former Confederate officials from holding public office.

Section one of the 14th amendment reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The first clause of the amendment specifically codified the traditional birthright citizenship of common law. The phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” hearkens back to Calvin’s Case and Justice Swayne’s decision in US v. Rhodes. Under this view, being born in a country automatically makes one subject to the laws and jurisdiction of that country.

Even before Donald Trump burst onto the political scene, some Republicans were challenging birthright citizenship for illegal aliens on the grounds that immigrants who were in the country illegally were not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States government.

The Heritage Foundation makes this case by claiming that Senator Jacob Howard (R- Maine), author and proponent of the citizenship clause, specifically pointed out that Indians were excluded from citizenship because they owed their allegiance to their tribe and not to the nation even though they were born within the geographical limits of the United States.

Other historians point out that Howard also said that the 14th amendment was intended to mirror the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Sen. Howard was also a strong supporter of this law and indicated that it was the basis for the 14th amendment. The Act stated, “… all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States….”

Birthright citizenship has been established since 1898 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wong Kim Ark. Ark was born in California to Chinese citizen parents. Ark moved to China with his parents after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, but returned to the United States, the only home he had ever known. Four years later, he visited his parents in China and, upon his return, was not allowed to enter the US on the grounds that he was not a citizen. 

The Supreme Court ruled that a child whose parents “have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.” Ark’s parents, who were citizens of China, were not excluded from being under the jurisdiction of the United States.

While the Supreme Court has never ruled on the question of whether illegal aliens are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, but the Wong Kim Ark case would seem to settle the question of whether having parents who are citizens of a foreign country would prevent birthright citizenship. The Supreme Court rejected this theory more than a century ago.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill this year, H.R. 140, which would define a person born in the United States and “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” as a US citizen or national, a lawful permanent resident alien residing in the US or an alien performing active service with the US military. By redefining the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction,” King and the bill’s proponents hope to legislatively end the ability of illegal aliens to anchor themselves in the United States with a native born child.

A possible problem with this strategy is that the second clause of the 14th amendment reads “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States….” King’s bill, which would effectively abridge the birthright citizenship rights of the children of illegal immigrants, might well be considered unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.

With the present balance of power in Congress, King’s bill is unlikely to pass the Democratic filibuster. If it were approved by Congress, it would face a certain veto by President Obama. If it became law, it would almost certainly be challenged in court.

If King’s bill were ruled unconstitutional, the next step would be to amend the Constitution to change the 14th amendment. A constitutional amendment must be approved by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate and then ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures. An amendment repealing birthright citizenship would have no chance of passing the current Congress where Democrats control enough seats to prevent the amendment from even being considered.

An alternative method of amending the Constitution is by a convention called by two-thirds of the state legislatures. At last count, 27 states had passed a call for a convention of states, seven short of the necessary number. An amendment proposed by a convention of states, also called an Article V convention, would still have to be approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures. Only 13 states are needed to block an amendment and Democrats control more than enough state governments to prevent the redefinition of birthright citizenship.

Nevertheless, a number of Republicans have signed on to oppose birthright citizenship. Among the major presidential candidates, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Bobby Jindal have expressed support for redefining birthright citizenship according to CNN. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had supported a bill to eliminate birthright citizenship as a congressman, now opposes the change.

As noted by NPR, birthright citizenship is practiced almost exclusively in the New World where populations are made up largely of immigrants. Only 30 of the world’s 194 countries provide automatic citizenship for babies born within their borders.

Any attempt to change the traditional US policy of birthright citizenship faces an uphill struggle. If the change somehow makes it through Congress, it is almost certain to be challenged and struck down by the courts. For the near future at least, birthright citizenship is here to stay.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bernie Sanders tweet quoting Marx is fake

Yesterday an alarming tweet by Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders went viral. The tweet contained the radical message, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” The big problem is that the tweet is fake.

The phrase in the tweet is actually attributed to Karl Marx, German revolutionary and the father of communism. The quote does not appear in “The Communist Manifesto,” Marx’s most famous work or any of his other known writings, but is similar to a documented quote from “Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne.” In that work, Marx wrote, “If I dethrone God I also dethrone the king who reigns by the grace of God.”

Bernie Sanders, a sitting senator from Vermont, is an avowed socialist. While the line between socialism and communism is thin and blurred, Sanders seems to shy away from vocally supporting communist countries like the Soviet Union and China. Instead, he lavishes praise on the democratic socialism of Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden according to Oregon Live.

Steven Wolf of Daily Kos notes that Sanders “Sanders advocates for three things that should be the backbone of the Democratic Party. These include reducing economic inequality, removing the rigged influence of the rich on our political system, and of course most importantly, preventing climate change.” He calls Sanders a social democrat “despite his chosen label of democratic socialist” and notes that this breed of politician wants to “ensure that every person has access to housing, health care, education, meaningful employment, and transportation.” With the exception of reducing the influence of the rich on politics, this makes Sanders almost indistinguishable from other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.

It must be noted that the reference to “dethroning God” can apply to many modern Democrats as well. Democrats have shown a hostility to the free expression of religion in recent years including loud opposition to religious freedom laws. In 2012, an attempt to add a reference to God to the Democratic platform resulted in loud, almost overwhelming, boos.

Sanders, who is Jewish, is not religious, but does not seem overtly hostile to religion. According to the Christian Post, he is more likely to pick and choose from various religious texts to find passages that support his views. For her part, Hillary Clinton said in a speech last March that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to make way for more progressive policies according to the Daily Caller.

While Sanders might or might not agree with the Marx quote, he apparently never tweeted it. A review of the timeline of the Sen. Sanders Twitter account does not show the offending tweet. The time stamp on the tweet is August 10, 2015 at 9:27 p.m. There is a tweet on the Sanders timeline at the same time, but with a different message. The actual Sanders tweet reads, “The cost of war is real. It is terrible. I believe that war should be the last resort, not the first resort.”

A comparison of the two tweets reveals a subtle difference. The fake tweet shows the date is numeric characters while the authentic tweet uses the word “August” in the date. This may simply reflect a difference in device or settings.

Examiner traced the fake tweet to the Facebook account of John Trulli. Trulli’s Facebook wall contains a post claiming responsibility for the fake tweet: “Lol [sic] I'm still getting notifications for people sharing that fake Bernie sanders tweet I made. Hundreds of shares and everyone's pissed that he said that.”

The post immediately above Trulli’s admission of responsibility is another fake Sanders tweet. This one reads, “Pretty much everything I say is a lie lol [sic]. My closest friends growing up called me Bernie Slanders.” Further examination of his timeline shows other tweets supposedly by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

An attempt was made to contact the Sanders campaign in connection with this article, but no reply was received. Sanders leads Mrs. Clinton by a small margin in the latest New Hampshire poll.

Read the full article on

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bernie leads Hillary in new poll

The tide may have turned against the formerly presumptive Democratic nominee for president. A poll released yesterday, August 11, shows that Hillary Clinton is no longer the frontrunner in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

The poll by Franklin Pierce/Boston Herald found Mrs. Clinton trailing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by 44-37 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not formally launched a campaign, ran a distant third with nine percent while other Democratic candidates garnered less than one percent each. The poll’s margin of error was 4.7 percentage points.

Although Mrs. Clinton has been plagued by plummeting approval ratings, this is the first poll that has showed her trailing Sen. Sanders. Clinton’s campaign has suffered amid the revelation that she may have broken the law by using a private email server while serving as secretary of state under Barack Obama. On Tuesday, Clinton’s attorney agreed to provide the server and several thumb drives containing thousands of emails to the FBI, according to the Washington Post.

Amid the revelations of scandals, Mrs. Clinton’s approval rating has fallen to historic lows. According to the Huffington Post, Clinton now has a negative net approval rating based on a combination of polls. Forty-eight percent now view Clinton negatively while only 41 percent have a positive view of her. Her popularity peaked in January 2011 with 61 percent approval.  

Nationally, Mrs. Clinton retains a lead over Sen. Sanders, but that lead is dwindling. The most recent national poll, by Fox News, gave Mrs. Clinton a 51-22 percent lead. Nevertheless, Sanders has more than doubled his support over the past several months as Clinton’s has eroded sharply.

Another poll released Tuesday shows that Mrs. Clinton is also losing ground against potential Republican rivals. Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling found that four Republican candidates now lead Mrs. Clinton in Iowa. Ben Carson is the Republican who fares best against Clinton with a 44 to 40 lead. Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio all hold a one point lead.

The Iowa caucuses will open the 2016 election season on February 1. The New Hampshire primary will be held on Tuesday, February 9. In addition to being a political bellwether, Iowa is now considered a swing state by many observers.

Read the full article on