The prior post (“Twillight of the Gods – Greed and Money“) mentioned increasing economic distress throughout our nation. This is for real.
I expect it will continue, though the extent to which it spreads and strengthens, and it’s impact on our international positions, are very much debatable questions.
We could be facing major tragedies in our economic life. That means major tragedies for millions of individual Americans and their families.
But we could also be moving into a time of repentance. After all, much of the corruption of the past 20-30 years has often ridden on very slim electoral or congressional majorities, in some cases on clearly stolen elections, all enforced by brutally disciplined extreme partisanship. That means a large number of us were not really behind these attitudes and actions to begin with.
Today it is very clear that a large majority of the American people have had way more than enough.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be a price to pay. The mess is big, the damage is deep, the bad patterns are well entrenched. And at least some of the people who did it – and who will defend it to the end – will still be in positions of great power.
But the Bible tends strongly to the side of hope – on condition of a change of heart, a change of direction, repentance. If there is repentance happening, and to my mind there clearly is, there is also hope – even if we cannot imagine HOW in the world we will ever get through this. Hope is most useful, perhaps, when it seems most silly. In fact we have been in bad fixes before where it seemed very unlikely we would come out on the right side of things.
16 wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,
17 learn to do right!
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.
18 “Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
– Isaiah 1
Did you realize that the “sins” of “though your sins are like scarlet they will be as white as snow” are explicitly sins of economic exploitation, injustice within one’s own society, even bloodshed against the poor?
It is possible for a nation to repent of such things – even if the actual change of direction and of pattern may be a complex project, may take some years to get well underway, and may not be completed in our lifetimes if ever.
Still, there are wonderful promises made to such repentance.
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
– 2 Chronicles 7
That’s a good thing!
Apologies again for the break in the post.
To continue, here are some articles concerning global repercussions of Wall Street/Washington fiscal recklessness:
“More than 6,000 shareholders of the Swiss banking giant UBS packed the house to vent their fury over tens of billions in losses on American subprime mortgages and what they saw as an insult to traditional Swiss values like prudence and thrift.”
“The target of their anger wasnâ€™t just UBSâ€™s chairman, Marcel Ospel, or any of the bankâ€™s other top executives, who were arrayed under a giant screen near where goalies usually tend the net. Instead, much of their ire was aimed at the United States itself â€” specifically an addiction to high-octane risk-taking, easy credit and dubious financial assumptions that created the domestic mortgage mess in the first place.” ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/business/06ubs.html?_r=2&ref=business&oref=slogin&oref=slogin )
“The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks. ” ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/18/cnrbs118.xml )
“DUBLIN â€” The collapse of the housing bubble in the United States is mutating into a global phenomenon, with real estate prices swooning from the Irish countryside and the Spanish coast to Baltic seaports and even parts of northern India.” ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/business/worldbusiness/14real.html?_r=1&ref=business&oref=slogin )
“SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP) â€” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday blamed Western countries for the world’s current economic woes and said Russia’s vast energy reserves could be part of the solution.”
“Speaking at a meeting of high-powered business executives in Saint Petersburg, Medvedev said the United States was behind a global credit crunch and that other countries had caused a food crisis by investing in biofuels.”
“It is precisely the gap between the United States’ formal role in the world economy and its real capabilities that was one of the key reasons for the current crisis,” said Medvedev, who came to power last month.” ( http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hGKzGN1lryTM3GYtl4Bsmi0348wQ )
“BERLIN (Reuters) – Banks taking on risky investments without adequate risk provision have turned the world’s financial markets into a “monster that must be tamed,” German President Horst Koehler said in an interview published on Wednesday.” ( http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSL1436810920080514 )
“April 12 (Bloomberg) — Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven nations signaled concern on the dollar’s slide and said the global economic slowdown may worsen amid an “entrenched” credit squeeze.
“Since our last meeting, there have been at times sharp fluctuations in major currencies, and we are concerned about their possible implications for economic and financial stability,” the G-7’s finance ministers and central bankers said in a statement after talks in Washington yesterday. ” ( http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a7Yh8jULL1W8&refer=us )
“Strike action by thousands of Spanish and Portuguese truckers produced ominous knock-on effects on food supplies, aviation and industry yesterday, as Lisbon airport ran out of fuel, car factories shut down and petrol stations and supermarkets reported shortages.
“In a worrying sign for other European countries that face rising discontent at the spiralling cost of diesel, a third day of strikes generated widespread mayhem and the mood turned ugly after the first casualties of the standoff: two strikers died in clashes on picket lines.” ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jun/12/oil.spain )
Headline: “The Weak-Dollar Threat to World Order” ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121296987173655833.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries )
Headline: “An Economy Thrown Into Turmoil
U.S. Financial Crisis Increasingly Infecting The Rest of the World”
Fresh worries spread through world markets yesterday as a crisis of confidence battered more U.S. financial institutions and the chairman of the Federal Reserve issued a sober assessment of the country’s economic woes. It appeared to mark a new phase in the U.S. financial crisis, with fears of a contagion effect that could yet weigh more heavily on the global economy. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/15/AR2008071500999.html )
Headline: “Barclays warns of a financial storm as Federal Reserve’s credibility crumbles – US central bank accused of unleashing an inflation shock that will rock financial markets, reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard” ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/27/cnbarclays127.xml )
Well that might suffice to persuade any skeptics that the US has caused financial mayhem all over the world, infuriating every nation under the sun with its fiscal hubris.
Add it to the ultimate cost of 60 years’ worth of constant wars (much called “police actions” to “protect American interests”).
May I suggest that it’s not only the US who are in trouble… but the US stands unique as the focus of international ire for causing it. I’d say it qualifies as plenty of judgment.
BTW… to those who are thinking they can count on their pensions, better check it out. Most of the balance statement that “financial instruments” are sending out are hypothecated months in advance. You may not have the wealth you think in actuality.
Sorry for the interruptions… patchy server here, and I don’t like losing work after typing so much!
You write: “We could be facing major tragedies in our economic life. That means major tragedies for millions of individual Americans and their families.”
Oh, but it’s so much worse than that. Have you heard about the global food riots? These are all strictly associated with the falling value of the US dollar. That’s right, the behavior on Wall Street is forcing hunger on much of the world.
Because – previously – there was such faith and confidence in the US government and it’s currency – the dollar – throughout the world, governments have pegged the value of their currencies to the value of the dollar.
Understand that on an international level, currencies of all nations rise and fall all the time in related value to one another. The reason the US dollar is used as the “international reserve currency” has always been because of its stable value.
Well, what was going on for any number of years was something called “dollar hegemony” ( http://www.atimes.com/global-econ/DD11Dj01.html ) whereby all nations made their economic decisions to protect the value of their accumulated US dollars (China now has about 1.8 TRILLION in $100 denominated notes in its central banks, as reserve).
No one wanted to ever start a “run” on selling off US dollars, because with that extent of investment, such as China’s, who wants their investment value to go down?
Crudely bypassing a lot of points along the way, let’s just say now that we’re on the brink of a world-wide rush to dump dollars. It’s happening slooooowly, now, but look out.
So, as the dollar tanks in value, so do all the currencies that are pegged to it, meaning that their currencies no longer buy as much as before. This results in the price of food rising everywhere.
The other factor is that such huge capital groups as hedge funds are now dumping dollars and hoarding commodities instead. This drives up the price of food at the same time that falling value of various currencies curtails their spending power.
For further reading, here are some links about the food riots which are related DIRECTLY to Wall Street greed, and the consequences of its insane actions:
“The new face of hunger” ( http://www.atimes.com/global-econ/DD11Dj01.html )
“Rising Grain Prices Panic Developing World” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/03/AR2008040304054.html )
“Finance Ministers Emphasize Food Crisis Over Credit Crisis” ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/business/14finance.html?_r=3&ref=business&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin )
“Wheat prices hit record highs” ( http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0227/p01s05-usec.htm )
So. Judgment? If the actions of the Wall Street/White House cartel cause world starvation… well, we heard Jeremiah, didn’t we?
This article titled “US faces global funding crisis, warns Merrill Lynch” ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/07/16/ccusdebt116.xml ) explains the patience now snapping on behalf of US foreign creditors.
For awhile, a lot of nations secretly have profited big time from the Iraq war. They can come in through hedge funds and other international capital groups, to enjoy their part in the proceeds. Finally Wall Street (which is joined at the hip, fiscally speaking, with the White House) engaged in too much hubris, and has infuriated nations from the rising to the setting of the sun.
One thing few in the great economic tower known as the US ever understand, is the meaning of this phrase: international reserve currency.
What it means, in a nutshell, is that the US dollar was so highly respected it literally took the place of gold in the world’s banks. From a bank’s point of view, at any given moment in time, most of their money is lent out, not in vaults. Therefore they need to keep something around in case the public makes a run on the bank. This has been the role of the US dollar.
This is directly related to the fact that Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971. When asking oneself “what makes a dollar worth a dollar?” most certainly it is no longer the gold in Fort Knox.
When a monetary note is not backed by gold, but mere faith and trust in the issuing government to pay its debts and obligations, it is called a “fiat currency,” “fiat” coming from the Latin word for “trust.”
Most nations followed suit. What we call “inflation” is the fact that nations worldwide are just freely printing notes like toilet paper. Many nations secure such notes with nothing. China, prudent old behemoth she is, wanted to insure the value of her currency with investments in the US dollar.
Well, since the US dollar is a fiat currency, based in trust… once the whole world found out that what backed it up is phony, and that the national debt is probably too huge to ever properly repay all its lenders, guess what? They’re in a race to get rid of the dollar. This is simplified, but accurate.
Furthermore, certain nations are attempting to invest in a new “international reserve currency,” and the likely candidate is the Euro. Note: two major oil producers sought to dethrone the US dollar from her exalted status as “international reserve currency” by only accepting the Euro in payment for oil. Know who they are? Iraq and Iran. Funny, now the US is at war to protect the US dollar’s reign as queen of all currencies: the international reserve currency.
Now do you think these wars are about “freedom” and “democracy?”
The judgment is already headlines in secular news, albeit such rare and wingnut sources (e.g. Wall Street Journal online, the Economist, the New York Times, etc.) that it doesn’t dribble into the MSM at all. Just a little finger-pointing from one citizen at another for “going in over their heads on mortgages” without any examination of the puppetmasters of Wall Street.
What is going on, in a nutshell, is that the US has effectually burned its foreign creditors. When the country goes into debt, it auctions off Treasury instruments. Wanting more interest for their trouble, lender countries (e.g. Japan, China, Russia, Saudia Arabia – hey, aren’t our creditors the same “enemies” we, the public, went into debt to fight? Wazza goin’ on here???) then sell T-Notes back to Wall Street Pirates for more high-yield interest items. Most of those supposed high-yield interest items were the now notorious securities based on the US mortgage market, which have now been found out by the entire world to be of phony value – just like the housing market itself.
Don’t let this talk scare you – a “security” is in essence nothing but a jumbo group of smaller debts – say, 100,000 mortgages put into a single bundle.
Anyway, all the foreign creditors to the US national debt are feeling quite angry, all together, because they’ve been victims of Wall Street Fraud.
Following are some links for the interested reader to study up on the subject:
“Why No Outrage?” ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121642367125066615.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal ) is an excellent round-up of the highly criminal activities by the “playerz” on Wall Street;
“Closer to a Financial Meltdown” explains the interrelationship of all the failing banks and more exotic “playerz” as well as what highly informed critics are calling the socialization of the US banking system ( http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/Issues.aspx?Closer-to-a-Financial-Meltdown-1558 )
“America and China: The Eagle and the Dragon Part two: Requiem for a dream” is a three-part series looking at the rise of China (the Dragon) against the fading economic prowess of the US (the Eagle). This second part of the series focuses on Detroit, an empty, beseiged city like so many other formerly (largely African-American) manufacturing cities which have fallen into ruin, but never are factored into the government’s official phony numbers (consumer price index). Shame on all who keen at the stock market news and take no heed of the rest of the country, which is literally falling to ruin. And, surprise, surprise, one’s major foreign creditors (China) end up on top of the game. It starts with economics; war is simply the punctuation mark on the first part of the transaction. ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jhtml?xml=/portal/2008/07/05/sm_america05.xml )
Here’s a start.