Category Archives: general

Jupiter Venus Conjunction June 30, 2015 – Stellarium – YouTube

We’re back in Stellarium to give a preview to tonight’s planetary conjunction between Jupiter and Venus in the Western skies just after sunset. The planet’s will appear just 0.33-degrees apart in the sky and to the naked eye resemble a close double-star. Through binoculars or telescope you could make out the crescent phase of Venus and Jupiter’s moons.

Stellarium planetarium software: http://www.stellarium.org/

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Music: “Tranquility Base” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Jupiter Venus Conjunction June 30, 2015 – Stellarium – YouTube

Stellarium

Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.

Stellarium

Could Tehran be the Mystery Babylon mentioned in Revelation?

The story starts out with blood, calls for revenge, God’s judgment and another surprising judgment.

What if we looked at the Mystery Babylon (the whore) from the end?  What are the circumstances surrounding it demise? Why does everybody hate it? Finally, who is the mystery Babylon?

Let us start right off at the end. Mystery Babylon has just been destroyed:

The Saints Rejoice

Rev 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
Rev 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Rev 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

What did she do? Well, she killed a lot of saints. She quickly killed so many saints that there will be calls for revenge. She outraged a lot of people. God avenges the saints by destroying her. And he does it in one day:

Rev 17:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

That sounds a lot like a nuclear attack. Pretty serious stuff, but why attack with nuclear weapons? We will learn later that it is likely the Mystery Babylon used nuclear terrorism to kill the saints.

It’s not just God and the saints who hate the whore:

Rev 18:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

The ten horns also hate the whore. It is likely that they are regional governors across the planet. A large part of the planet hates the whore.

In case you weren’t aware of it, the world is moving right now toward a sphere of influence model. In this model the world is divided up into regions or spheres. Each region or sphere is heavily influenced by a dominate country. It’s not hard to make a leap into having regional governors to facilitate issues like trade and possibly defense. Dominate players pushing the world in this direction are Russia, China and Iran.

The problem here is that the Mystery Babylon has killed a lot of saints and because of that God is out for revenge. But we haven’t seen anything like that yet. While saints have been killed, we haven’t seen anything that cries out for revenge. It’s referring to a future event.

In order to understand the future event involving saints, we look to the seals of Revelation. For a better understanding of how I interpret the seals, please read the following article: America in Bible Prophecy: Three Biblical Signs of Impending Doom on America.  Generally, one must establish a framework before addressing each individual seal.

1. The seals must help you.
2. The seals open with a bang.
3. The seals provide a guide to major end-time events.
4. The seals are consistent with Nebuchadnezzar’s statue concerning the future.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

So how are you going to be blessed? Very careful reading and study will open up signs. I will show you one such sign right here.

The seals contain both signs and catastrophes. The signs are smaller events – like 9/11. Catastrophes are larger events – like the destruction of America or the EU. Signs can also act as a catalyst for catastrophes. We see that in the fifth seal which opens up the sixth seal.

The fifth seal (shown below) appears to be an event affecting saints. They call out for judgment and revenge. There are actually two separate things going on here. Although, this duality is not at all clear at this point. The saints are calling on God to “avenge our blood.” However, they are directing this at the people who live on the earth. That’s very strange. Of course they live on earth. Why say that? Because there is more going on here than just revenge. The revenge is on one people. A separate judgment is on another people.

Notice the words “under the altar” mentioned in the fifth seal. This suggests that this particular event is localized to a small area.

The Fifth Seal

9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the people slaughtered because of God’s word and the testimony they had.
10 They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth??”
11 So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow slaves and their brothers, who were going to be killed just as they had been.

The fifth and sixth seals are related. There is an attack in the fifth seal. It is a smaller attack. The sixth seal represents the revenge, and it is big. It is almost certainly nuclear in nature. And if the sixth seal is nuclear then the fifth seal must be nuclear as well.

The Sixth Seal

12 Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like •sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood;
13 the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind;
14 the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb,
17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand??”

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

Here we see that people are hiding from what looks like a nuclear attack. That’s why they’re underground. The attack appears to come from one or more Christian nations – those aligned with the Lamb. It also comes shortly after the fifth seal opened: “they were told to rest a little while longer” – the fifth seal. The fifth seal tells them to wait a little bit until revenge comes in the sixth seal.

The sixth seal looks like a nuclear attack. And that means the fifth seal was a nuclear attack as well, but a local one: “who were going to be killed just as they had been” – the fifth seal. And a local nuclear attack almost certainly means nuclear terrorism.

Do we know the name of a city currently being targeted for destruction by terrorists? Indeed we do.

Hamas cleric Yunis Al-Astal elaborated in a 2008 sermon:

Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam — this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe.

What If Iran Had Had Nukes? | National Review Online

What about Malachy’s prophecies concerning the last pope, the destruction of Rome and judgment of Christ?

An author who predicted Pope Benedict XVI would be the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to resign believes the election today of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th Roman Catholic pontiff lines up with a medieval prophecy that would make him the “final pope” before the End Times.

Tom Horn, co-author with Cris Putman of the book “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here,” told WND today Bergoglio’s selection was a “fantastic fulfillment of prophecy.”

Malachy’s prophecies, first published in 1595, culminate with the “final pope,” “Petrus Romanus,” or “Peter the Roman,” whose reign ends with the destruction of Rome and the judgment of Christ.

Pope Francis history’s ‘final’ pontiff?

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 09 13.45
St. Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes and Antipopes (2nd edition) – YouTube

Once Rome is destroyed by Muslims, God will judge his people. That means Christians. He will avenge the blood of saints, and he will judge his people. How does that work?

If Rome were destroyed by nuclear terrorism, then the Nato/EU would be looking for revenge. They would investigate the event and determine in short order who was behind it. And there would be revenge – a nuclear attack. But it is almost certain that the EU would also suffer massive damage from return nuclear fire. It appears that two judgments are taking place: The whore and the EU.

We’ve seen Rome destroyed and avenged by the Nato/EU. We’ve seen the EU heavily damaged if not mostly obliterated. But who is the most likely candidate to provide a nuclear weapon for terrorists in order to destroy Rome? It would have to be a Muslim nation with nuclear weapons. Right now the leading candidate would have to be Tehran (Iran.) It is close to developing nuclear weapons. It is anti-western. It is a heavy supporter of terrorism.

My analysis does not prove that Tehran is the Mystery Babylon, but it points to Tehran as being a leading candidate at this time.

America will no longer be around at the time of the Nato-Iran nuclear war. This war will usher in the arrival of a leader who will lead the world down a path to Islamic domination and the mark. See the connection between Islam and 666: Going from Greek 666 to “In the Name of Allah.”

Mystery Babylon in the Bible

The Woman on the Beast

1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

The Mystery Explained

7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

The Victory of the Lamb

14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Revelation 17 KJV

Babylon is Fallen

1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Lament over Babylon

9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

The Saints Rejoice

20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Revelation 18 KJV

Germanwings crash: Descent may have been ‘deliberate, suicidal choice’ by pilot, claims experts – The Independent

The descent to destruction of the Germanwings Airbus may have been a deliberate, suicidal choice by the pilot who remained in the cockpit, French aviation experts believe.

They said  that a conscious decision must have been made by the remaining pilot to put the Barcelona-Dusseldorf flight onto a downward 11-minute descent until it collided with a mountain in the French Alps.

Following the revelation that one of the two pilots was locked out of the cockpit , the experts told the French news agency AFP that events pointed to either the suicide or sudden illness of the remaining pilot.

Germanwings crash: Descent may have been ‘deliberate, suicidal choice’ by pilot, claims experts – Europe – World – The Independent

Altar of Jewish Holy Temple Rebuilt – Breaking Israel News

The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has announced that it has finished building an altar suitable for the Temple service. The altar, which took several years to build, can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice, reported Matzav Haruach magazine.

The Temple Institute is committed to preparing all the necessary clothing and tools for the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, the institute operates an educational center for visitors and a preparatory training program for members of the priestly family who wish to be ready to serve as soon as the Temple is rebuilt.

The altar is a central component to the Biblical sacrificial service. In fact, there were separate altars for the incense and for other sacrifices.

What makes the altar so unique is that it can be disassembled and reassembled easily, allowing it to be transported quickly and efficiently from its current location, on display at the institute, to the Temple Mount when the time comes. It was inaugurated in December 2014 and is now ready for use. With Passover around the corner, and the Passover sacrifice a central component of the traditional celebration, perhaps that time will come soon!

Altar of Jewish Holy Temple Rebuilt – Breaking Israel News

Risk and Robustness: A Conversation with Nassim Nicholas Taleb | IPI Global Observatory

You have identified markers of country fragility like centralization, absence of diversity, debt, and lack of political variability. If you see that there is a highly constrained system, what are the triggers that would make that country explode?

Never predict catalysts. The big mistake that historians make is to confuse catalysts for causes. Let me give you an analogy. You have a bridge that is very fragile. Eventually it is going to collapse. Why should we focus on the car or truck that could make it collapse? It is extremely unwise to try to predict an event. Instead, you should look at the underlying fragility and try to modify it and make it more stable so we don’t have to predict why and when something will collapse. Don’t try to predict when the bridge will collapse, just build a safer bridge.

Why do you say that measuring risk is “predictive and sissy”?

Because measuring risk doesn’t work.

What about stock market analysts and investors?

There is a lot of luck in that business. Don’t be “fooled by randomness” (the title of my first nontechnical book). You can’t measure risk. If you have a million monkeys, at least one of them will be lucky. Collectively, money managers underperform the stock market. Some get lucky—but they only look good in retrospect.

Many of the things that you say are counterintuitive, for example, that volatility is a good thing.

A necessary thing, not a good thing. Any organic system needs a certain amount of volatility to operate, otherwise it becomes constrained. And this can cause a major explosion later.

Isn’t there a threshold where too much volatility becomes dangerous?

No, it’s the exact opposite. Take forest fires. If you leave a forest alone, it will have its own fires. They will come and die down, come and die down, and they will be pretty much harmless. If you repress every forest fire, the first major fire that you cannot control will destroy the whole forest. It’s the same things with states and how they solve their problems. If you have constant volatility and tension, the system can cope. Look at Switzerland—it has constant volatility and tension, but at the lowest possible level. I would rather have a lot of small problems than one large problem.

But surely you should try to avoid having fires.

You don’t avoid having big fires by avoiding small fires. There is a big difference between volatility and risk. Volatility can actually reduce risk. Look at the stock market—there are many small variations, but few crashes. The more you try to compress small variations, the more you can cause a crash. Or if you work in a highly sterile environment, the more likely you are to get sick because your system is overstabilized and not used to dealing with deviation.

You wrote in an article in Foreign Affairs, called the “Black Swan of Cairo,” that there is no freedom without noise and no stability without volatility. At the moment, the world seems like a pretty noisy and unstable place. Is that good?

The world is not unstable. …

[Published on September 22, 2014]

Risk and Robustness: A Conversation with Nassim Nicholas Taleb | IPI Global Observatory

Passport King Christian Kalin Helps Nations Sell Citizenship – Bloomberg Business

In 2006, the tiny Caribbean state of St. Kitts and Nevis was in deep trouble. Its sugar plantations had closed a year earlier, gang violence had given it the dubious distinction of having one of the world’s highest murder rates, and only two governments on Earth were more indebted. A three-hour flight south of Miami, the country of 48,000 people was more or less unknown. Certainly, the two specks of volcanic rock in the middle of the West Indies weren’t of much interest to the world’s rich. St. Kitts and Nevis had run a citizenship-by-investment program—had sold passports—since 1984, but it didn’t get much attention and was never a moneymaker.

Then a Swiss lawyer named Christian Kalin showed up.

Just as Kalin put St. Kitts on the map, Bloomberg Markets will report in its April 2015 issue, the reverse is also true. It made his reputation. Before St. Kitts, Kalin’s firm, Henley & Partners, was an obscure wealth management and immigration consultancy, and Kalin was working out of a small branch office in Zurich. Tall, with a runner’s build, Kalin was known as a researcher, he says, not the hard-nosed dealmaker he’s become. His claim to fame was having edited a 766-page guide to doing business in Switzerland, a tome found in every one of the country’s embassies.

Soon, prime ministers from around the world were seeking Kalin’s advice, in the hope he could reproduce the magic of St. Kitts, where he effectively created a resource out of thin air for a nation that had few. Many countries allow wealthy foreigners to buy residency cards through what are called immigrant investor programs, but before the financial crisis, St. Kitts and another Caribbean island called Dominica were the only ones selling citizenship outright. Since then, another five countries have gotten into the game. More are coming.

Passport King Christian Kalin Helps Nations Sell Citizenship – Bloomberg Business

U.S. Should Freeze Assets, Ban Travel of Human-Rights Abusers More Often – Bloomberg Business

Have you ever found yourself walking down a street in New York, Miami, or London and seen someone in designer clothing and expensive jewelry, speaking with a Russian accent, and stepping into a $150,000 car? And have you ever wondered where all their money came from? It may surprise you that some are no more than midlevel Russian government officials whose salaries are less than $20,000 a year. It may also surprise you that some of these elegant-looking people made their money by falsely arresting, torturing, and even killing people.

Since December 2012 the U.S. has attempted to make their lives less comfortable. The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, passed by overwhelming majorities in Congress and signed into law by President Obama, imposes visa sanctions and asset freezes on Russian human-rights abusers. Known as the Magnitsky Act, it represents the first time in almost 40 years that the U.S. has sanctioned Russia for its human-rights record. The European Parliament passed its own version of the Magnitsky Act last spring. Targeting the travel plans and bank accounts of dozens of allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin has unsettled Putin like few other Western policies have. After he assumed the presidency for a second time in 2012, Putin said one of his primary foreign policy objectives was to fight the sanctions. So far the U.S. has sanctioned 34 individuals and created panic among members of Putin’s inner circle as they realize their money is no longer safe in the West.

This raises an obvious question: Why shouldn’t the U.S. do the same thing with an Uzbek, Venezuelan, or Burmese human-rights violator? …

U.S. Should Freeze Assets, Ban Travel of Human-Rights Abusers More Often – Bloomberg Business

The Real History of the Crusades – Crisis Magazine

So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression — an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity — and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion — has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed’s death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt — once the most heavily Christian areas in the world — quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? The answer to that question has been badly misunderstood. In the wake of the Enlightenment, it was usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne’er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders’ expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were only a front for darker designs.

During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. …

The Real History of the Crusades – Crisis Magazine

7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free) – The Washington Post

Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, and tuition fees keep rising. In Germany, they’ve done the opposite.

The country’s universities have been tuition-free since the beginning of October, when Lower Saxony became the last state to scrap the fees. Tuition rates were always low in Germany, but now the German government fully funds the education of its citizens — and even of foreigners.

Explaining the change, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a senator in the northern city of Hamburg, said tuition fees “discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

What might interest potential university students in the United States is that Germany offers some programs in English — and it’s not the only country. Let’s take a look at the surprising — and very cheap — alternatives to pricey American college degrees.

1. Germany
2. Finland
3. France
4. Sweden
5. Norway
6. Slovenia
7. Brazil

7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free) – The Washington Post

Need a way to get out of America? Then one of these seven countries just might be your ticket.

The Iron Laws of Revolution and the Failure of the Arab Spring | John C. Hulsman Enterprises

You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.” –Joseph Stalin

“I’m deeply troubled by the undemocratic turn that Egypt’s transition has taken”
–Tweet from former president Jimmy Carter, on the failure of the Arab Spring

In December 1942, the Red Army was finally turning the tables on the Wehrmacht. After a seemingly endless series of debilitating defeats the Soviets brought the German war machine to a halt at Stalingrad, where the Wehrmacht’s notorious Sixth Army found itself surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned. Back in the Kremlin, Stalin was planning the offensive that would put an end to the battle in his namesake city and seal the fate of the German army. He decided that General Konstantin Rokossovsky should lead the operation rather than General Andrey Yeremenko, who had been responsible for the defense of Stalingrad until then. The Soviet dictator could tell, however, that Marshall Georgi Zhukov had his reservations. “Why don’t you say anything?” he asked, to which Zhukov replied: “Yeremenko will be very hurt.” Understandably nonplussed by this sudden display of concern for other people’s emotions from a commander who had never had any qualms about using his men as mere cannon fodder, Stalin shot back: “It’s not a time for feeling hurt. We’re not schoolgirls, we’re Bolsheviks!”

It goes without saying that the man’s crimes were horrendous. His purges and collectivization drives killed untold people, to say nothing of his criminal failure to prepare an adequate defense against the German invasion that everyone except him knew was coming. Millions died under his rule, and his unwillingness to accept that Hitler was about to invade the Soviet Union made life for his people even more of a living hell. Nevertheless, there is a deep truth in his characteristically terse retort to Zhukov’s strangely mawkish objection: schoolgirls don’t make or defend revolutions.

And yet at the height of the Arab Spring, to listen to western journalists (CNN was particularly egregious) hipsters on the internet had invented a new way to rule the world; there was even a trendy slogan bandied about, ‘Revolution 2.0’. Shamefully, much of the western press left their analytical credentials at the door, essentially becoming mere cheerleaders for the students in the streets.

In those heady, irrational days, for our sins both of us were forced to attend foreign policy events where we were breathlessly told in no uncertain terms that the political rules of the road had been entirely upended; history no longer mattered. The telecommunications revolution allowed people to organize so quickly, efficiently, and differently–to share information at the speed of the click of a computer key–that the days of tyrants everywhere were surely numbered. Twitter, Face book, You Tube and the rest had definitively changed the world beyond all recognition. Power was out, communicating was in.

Just a few years on, surveying the ruins of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and especially Syria, these callow utopian claims look more than a little silly. But beneath this colossal analytical failure a far more important point needs making. There are iron laws governing revolutionary outcomes, outputs that have been tested and proven by history. The place to start is with Stalin’s quotation—people living alone in their basements with their parents are unlikely to be latter day Robespierres, Castros, Lenins, or Maos. But if it is easy (and necessary) to mock the ridiculous pretensions to world-historical change CNN and the others made in the first flush of the Arab Spring, it is far more important to look at what actually makes for successful revolutions, in order to underline the real reasons for the failure of Revolution 2.0.

The First Law: Organize (And not online)

The Iron Laws of Revolution and the Failure of the Arab Spring | John C. Hulsman Enterprises