Friday, August 14, 2009

The buzzards are circling

Things are getting really rancorous in the halls of government, with conservative pundits attempting to demonize Obama after barely 6 months in office. Health care reform is one flash point, but morons like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are employing thinly-veiled references to race in an attempt to stir up passions among the minions that still harbor prejudice. The “birther” issue, while not actually embraced by mainstream pundits, is allowed enough coverage to do damage at little political cost to same pundits.

As predicted, reminiscent of Hilary’s reform effort 15 years ago, the Big Money is pouring into the fray in staggering proportions. Soulless operatives like Dick Morris are spearheading media campaigns to frighten seniors with claims that Obama will want to cut off their life support systems when they are in intensive care. Would anyone care to guess at who is bankrolling him?

Obama now says he is willing to stake everything on health care reform, even if it means being a single-term president. This is rather curious, considering that the major issue everyone should be dealing with is the nation’s continued slippage into a major economic depression. The “green shoots” of recovery are about to wither big time.

Could this be but a diversionary tactic? Guess it’s better than starting a war, but even that may be on the agenda before long.

In case you missed it, retail sales dropped in July, despite the “cash for clunkers” spending. The expectation has been for a decent gain, so the markets retreated and gloom is on the rise again. More bad news is likely to follow in coming weeks, in employment, foreclosures, and bank failures. All the health care reform in the world will do no good if no one can afford insurance and government can’t afford to fund the program.

At some point, people will realize what is really going down and start to get quite angry. The town meeting protests thus far may have been instigated by right-wing groups, but eventually people won’t need any encouragement to stir their passions. What we see now could be just a beginning.

The predictive linguistics work at foresees a revolutionary meme taking hold before long, with tragic violence a possibility. This coincides with a “secrets revealed” meme wherein the PTB could be caught with their proverbial pants down. Once the truth is openly exposed concerning how badly ordinary citizens have been screwed by the Elite PTB, it will probably be too late for rational discourse. This is why I have been promoting the concept of understanding and embracing the already-started Paradigm Shift. Civilizations are notoriously difficult to restart once they collapse - it would sure be nice if we could have a soft landing and try to preserve the better aspects of the present system. It’s much preferable to have an informed, positive outlook rather than be drawn into mass insanity fueled by fear, anger, and a lack of information.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

The scam of the century

As the bankster crisis broke last fall, I recall commenting in this blog about how Hank Paulson should be investigated for conflict of interest at least, if not outright criminal activity for his relationship with Goldman Sachs. Now, suddenly, this idea is
gaining traction in the MSM. Even the NY Times has run an investigative piece, focusing on the ethics (or lack thereof) exhibited by Paulson during the bailouts.

In a somewhat humorous twist, the Times reports that Paulson requested and received an “ethics waiver” so he and Goldman CEO Blankfein could spend more quality time together. WTF – since when do government officials need prior approval for “ethical waiver”? Apparently the topic of discussion was having the Treasury funnel billions of bailout funds to Goldman, and helping to off a couple of major competitors (Bear Stearns and Lehman). As we know, mission was accomplished on all counts.

Well, the bailouts did their job, and today Goldman is solidly in the black. Actually, they are so successful that it raises some interesting questions about just how they are generating such impressive profits while the rest of the financial industry struggles.

A recent
news item surfaced, concerning a former Goldman Sachs programmer that was arrested for stealing proprietary stock trading software. Goldman made a nearly hysterical plea for authorities to hold him without bail, implying the software theft represented a threat to the entire financial system, though he was later released on $750,000 bail. Didn’t the judge think of asking what the nature of the threat could be?

Just what does this stolen software do? According to reports, it allows traders at Goldman Sachs to monitor stock trades in real time. Since most trades are now funneled through the computer network that Goldman controls, the program can analyze transactions during a split-second window while still pending but not finalized. And, it can execute programmed buy or sell orders based on the pending transactions, and conceivably profit from market trends that are about to happen. Thus, the stolen software is the ultimate insider trading tool. So now we know why Goldman’s stock brokerage operation has become so profitable, and why they are so desperate to keep the stolen copy out of play.

For some reason, this story has not gained much traction in the MSM. Wouldn't you think people ought to be asking questions about this software? Such as, just what legitimate use could there be for it? Perhaps the recent uptick of scrutiny on Paulson is a signal that the spotlight will be placed on Goldman, so this story could become really huge.

Of course, if the “green shoots” of recovery were real, folks might be more apt to forgive and forget the criminal activity surrounding the bankster crisis of ’08. Alack and alas, such fortune was not meant to be. Recall that nothing has changed regarding the vast derivative bubble that precipitated the crisis – the 700 billion TARP certainly was inadequate in the face of trillions in toxic debt.

The outlook that I foresee includes another major banking crisis by the end of the year, as the toxic derivative monster makes its presence unmistakably felt. This and other factors will converge for the perfect economic storm.

The federal annual deficit reached a trillion with 3 months left in the fiscal year. Tax revenues are diving, while spending is escalating. Keynesian economic theory normally would call for this scenario, except that this might finally be our day of reckoning. The rest of the world will likely cut off the flow of credit now. When the Treasury attempts to auction hundreds of billions in bonds, as they must do several times per year now, and nobody bids – then what?

No matter how you slice it, the model we have been pursuing is just not sustainable. It would have crashed sooner, except for the bubbles that were inflated to forestall the inevitable. Even in good years, the nation ran many billions of monthly deficit in balance of payments. With most productive jobs moved offshore, this means that we relied on borrowing from the rest of the world to keep our consumer lifestyle humming. Most jobs in recent years were created in the services sector, which meant that we simply pretended we were creating more wealth. The tangible goods we need have been produced by virtual slave labor in China, and we just added the bill to our growing tab. Now what happens if our credit gets cut off?

The home foreclosure situation is worse than reported, because banks have been reluctant to move troubled mortgages off their balance sheet. This will catch up at some point and the news will not sound upbeat any longer.

The unemployment statistics are distorted because those who ran out of unemployment benefits are not longer counted – keep that in mind when the pundits engage in happy talk over this. The stories circulating of skilled workers competing with thousands of others for each open position tells the tale. When widespread hiring actually resumes, rather than just the rate of reported lob loss declining, then I will be willing to believe in "green shoots of recovery".

A year from now we will definitely be looking at greatly changed scenery. Inflation may kick up to accelerated levels, especially on imported goods. The feds will either fund the deficit by printing vast amounts of money (and abandoning the pretense of "borrowing"), or else government operations will begin to fail. People may begin to measure wealth in terms of food and tangible goods rather than money.
Therefore, it behooves everyone to understand the nature of Paradigm Shift, for this is what we are witnesssing. Understand what it is and where it is leading us, for all is not necessarily doom and gloom.


Friday, August 7, 2009

$$ The best legislation money can buy $$

Obama’s push to reform health care is causing the various competing factions to pour enormous resources into lobbying and marketing campaigns. One of the money trails leads to congressional “Blue Dog” Democrats. While their “take” from Big Pharma is still less than republicans, it is substantially higher than among other democratic legislators. Could this possibly be influencing their votes? Ya think?

Obama had earlier vowed to impose cost controls across the board, and clip the wings of drug manufacturers in the process. Nothing doing; the
Big Money has spoken.

With the medical insurance industry fighting hard to eliminate the “public option” coverage proposals, and Big Pharma protecting their “constitutional right” to charge the highest list prices possible, whatever legislation gets passed could scarcely be labeled “reform” and will probably cost trillions more. Where is
Ira Magaziner when we need him?

One fundamental flaw in the current system is that fact that the concept of insurance just doesn’t fit well in the health care model. Insurance is a means of spreading risk among a large enough pool so that individuals can afford protection. When you step into your car and take to the road, you incur a risk of serious accident, with costly damages resulting. Enough trips end sucessfully without damage so that rates can be kept reasonable. If you have a dozen speeding tickets or DWI convictions, it’s only fair for the insurance company to rate your risk factor accordingly, or even deny coverage.

With health care, sure, there is some element of apparent randomness to catastrophic illness, but the odds are that most people are going to need serious medical attention at some point. If insurance companies rate risk the way they do for auto insurance, then the folks who need coverage the most are rejected or charged an unaffordable rate. Many of these uninsurables show up at the ER, and are responsible for some of the cost squeeze and distortions in the system.

Another distortion is caused by federal and state agencies trying to cut Medicare & Medicaid costs by squeezing payments to providers. Those with private insurance make up the difference, and those paying out of pocket pay even higher, because they lack the benefit of a large insurance company negotiating the charges.

A single payer system with universal coverage makes the most sense, because the pool is maximized. Hospitals generally don’t turn away uninsured patients, so everyone has a stake in the system and should be included. Conservatives attack this concept as “socialized medicine” but the costs are there and rising no matter what is done – the only question is finding a more equitable means of funding it.

If Obama had the kahunas to overcome the well-financed lobbying of Big Pharma and Big Insurance, a reasonable reform bill might result. However, the battle is
going poorly, and his political capital is being quickly depleted. I predict that whatever fig leaf finally passes will only make matters worse for the average citizen.

Alternative health care models should be on the table, such as one put forth by the
WAAAM. Emphasis should be placed on individuals taking responsibility for their own health through lifestyle modification. Of course, the present allopathic medical system is predicated on people becoming ill. A tremendous amount of money is at stake on people becoming and remaining chronically ill. If a cost-effective treament were developed that cured or prevented a major disease, the profit model would be imperiled.

This has actually happened numerous times, and each time the medical industrial complex applied enourmous pressure to kill, delay or restrict the therapy and associated medical researchers from practicing, through their lackeys at the FDA and FTC.

One example is the overwhelming evidence that
folic acid supplement during pregnancy prevents fetuses from developing spina bifida. This was known for years, yet the medical industry refused to validate the data untl recently. There is no major profit in selling folic acid supplements, so how many babies had to be born with this defect while the big money prevailed?

There are a tremendous number of alternative therapies and practices that show promise at least equal to costly patented prescription drugs, but the medical industry places a stranglehold on trials that could prove effectiveness. If congress could somehow develop the political will to reign in the medical monopoly and level the playing field, medical costs could conceivably be sharply reduced. However, this is akin to the “when pigs can fly…” cliché – not gonna happen.

One hopeful trend that could happen is the ongoing paradigm shift causing the PTB to slowly lose their grip. Alternative medicine is the wave of the future, and the present medical system is slowly sinking under its own weight.

Meanwhile, people can start to take responsibility for their own health by educating themselves and challenging conventional assumtions when appropriate. There is a wealth of knowledge available for this.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Momentous Time Begins

We are in the midst of a wrenching period of change in our world, the most profound of any in recent human history. Life as we have known it is being transformed into something radically different. The fundamental paradigms that govern our understanding of civilization are shifting; for simplicity I refer to this as The Paradigm Shift.

The most noticeable aspect of the shift at present is the ongoing global economic collapse. The shift encompasses everything from planetary physics to social systems, culture and religion. The turbulent waves of change are currently moving like a wrecking ball throughout the economic structures of the world, so this tends to be the focus of attention right now.

There is understandably a great deal of fear regarding the present changes, as many are losing jobs, homes, and retirement savings. Coupled with fear is denial, as mainstream economists attempt to explain the meltdown in the context of their traditional paradigm. The business cycle is expected to have ups and downs, so any downturn, however severe, must be followed by recovery. If finding the bottom proves elusive, then the outlook is simply adjusted for a deeper and longer downturn; a “severe recession”. Although more economists are beginning to broach the “D” word (for depression), few are ready to toss their paradigm completely aside and consider the signs of a complete social and economic transformation having begun.
What is actually occurring is that we are leaving one major age of human civilization and entering another. The transformation currently underway will affect far more than the economy; the complete collapse of the current economic system is simply a prerequisite for the transition into the next age.

Civilizations have risen and fallen, and the planet has endured cyclic ages since the beginning of time. Making this particular transition unique is the apparent prospect of a planet-wide shift into a higher physical dimension.

Of course, we have scant knowledge of what has transpired throughout Earth’s ancient history. Some have suggested that humanity has devolved from a much higher level of development. Perhaps we are only returning to where we once had been.

The Ages of Humanity
Mystical tradition holds that there is a recurring cycle of four major ages of humanity, known as Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron. Hindu teaching names the present Age of Iron as Kali Yuga and the forthcoming Golden Age as Satya Yuga. While Hindu tradition tends to peg the length of a Yuga as 100,000 years, the esoteric mysticism under consideration here is concerned with the 25,800 year astronomical cycle of the Zodiac.

Many religions teach that a golden age will eventually arrive, following an end-time period of turmoil. Christianity portrays a horific period in the book of Revelations, after which a millennium of peace and prosperity ensues. This common theme indicates that various mystical sources of wisdom have anticipated the imminent transition into a new age.

Signposts in Time
We are just past the 7 year anniversary of 9/11. Regardless of who was responsible (Turban-wearing Saudis crouched in a cave in Afghanistan are not high on my list of suspects), this event marked a watershed moment in history. Although many events are determined by the variables inherent in human freewill, a few events such as this appear to have been "etched in stone" in the timeline. It was a marker, of sorts, altering the landscape and helping to unfold events to where we are now.

Of particular interest to me is the sense that ancient mystics were aware of a timeframe that marks the end of the present age and beginning of the next. The 12 signs of the Zodiac act as a celestial clock, each sign marking the passage of 2150 years, as the earth wobbles through its cycle of orbital precession. The transition of Pisces into Aquarius appears to have been linked to coincide with the “end of this age”.

How could the ancients have known? Even to become aware of precession would require observations of star movements over thousands of years. Were the creators of the Mayan calendar privy to the same source of knowledge? We shall examine these questions in detail, and consider the various schools of opinion regarding the Mayan end-date.

From what we know, it appears likely that the Mayan end-date, and astrological transition into Aquarius, merely serve as markers in time for events that are otherwise coincidental. Others believe that catastrophic earth changes and widespread destruction are due to occur. This latter approach would imply there is something significant astronomically regarding this point in the precession cycle. Some suggest that periodic alignments with the galactic center are involved, and there is support to be found for this in ancient lore.

In my investigation, I have tried to separate science from pseudo-science. Although I greatly value mystical sources of wisdom and insight, it should be recognized that science and mysticism are still separate disciplines. I respect and consider contributions of mystical insight, but less so those who claim their mystical insight to be scientifically verified, when it is not. Unfortunately, the topic of galactic alignment in 2012 is rife with annoying pseudo-scientific assertions. Claims of a pending extraordinary galactic alignment need to be carefully investigated.

Are astronomical alignments the cause of periodic destruction cycles on Earth? Or are they simply arbitrary markers in time? Certainly cataclysm has swept across our planet on numerous occasions, and the cause could be cyclical. The open question is whether the astronomical alignment on December 21, 2012 marks one of those cycles of destruction.

Next: Ancient Sources of Knowledge regarding 2012

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Letting Bush off the hook

Leon Panetta says Bush/Cheney & Co can be excused for crimes of constitutional usurpation of power and torture, due to “the reality of 9/11”. Seems like calls for a congressional inquiry into the past administration’s war crimes are hitting a sensitive nerve with the PowersThatBe (PTB). My first guess would be that they would dearly have us continue to cling to the “unreality of 9/11”.

Of course, the official line is still the implausible theory that 19 ill-trained Saudis somehow took over the controls of large passenger jets and caused buildings to collapse, and Bin Laden was supposedly the mastermind of the operation. Oops! Panetta may have not caught the just-released news item where Sibel Edmonds spills some classified information on how Bin Laden was a CIA asset until 9/11. Not that it would matter – all public officials are required to toe the official line on these things. Even congressmen Collin Peterson of MN had to take his obligatory shots at “conspiracy theorists”, while admitting that a quarter of his constituents questioned the official account of 9/11. Some national polls have pegged this higher than 50%, but oh well. Must be a lot of ignorant people around to placate.

The “birther movement” is providing another excuse to pile it on anything that smacks of “conspiracy theory”, with some TV pundits even implying that anyone in that camp is “psychologically disturbed”. Of course, such opportunities are generally taken to paint all “conspiracy theorists” with the same broad brush, implying that distinguished scholars such as James Fetzer and Steven Jones are in the same camp with crazed militia groups in rural Idaho or the nutjobs that kill abortion doctors. As I’ve pointed out before, there are several laws on the books that target illegal conspiracies of various sorts, and the FBI and federal courts take them very seriously. The only difference between these conspiracies and the ones scorned by the media is magnitude of scale, and the fact that crimes committed by the upper echelon in power are generally covered up and not brought to justice. Part of the cover-up is to ridicule anyone who actually looks too closely at evidence.

I never expected Obama to pursue justice against Bush/Cheney, because the PTB do not wish to risk exposing too much to the light of day. However, Eric Holder is quoted to be seriously considering appointing a special prosecutor. If he goes ahead with that against Obama’s wishes, it should provide for an interesting confrontation. Don’t get your hopes up; The likely outcome would be a cover-up along the lines of the 9/11 commission, and the earlier Warren commission that investigated the JFK assignation. Recall Gerald Ford’s comments shortly before his death that tacitly admitted the JFK cover-up as being necessary for the “good of the nation”. I’m so glad these folks in power are looking out for my interests. :(