The Current System is PURPOSE-BUILT for Extreme Wealth Disparity, Draft Part 2

(Note: As explained here, this is a draft of a chapter from an upcoming book on vanquishing financial problems once and for all. Part 1 provided an overview of the structural unfairness in the system that makes extreme wealth inequality inevitable, and covered how that unfairness is implemented through money creation by banks and taxation.)

Money that is Loaned into Existence

Over the first three quarters of the 20th Century, the world’s monetary system was incrementally changed from a system where most money was either gold or silver—or was a certificate backed by one of those—to a system in which almost all money was loaned into existence by those with a government-granted license to create such money, primarily central and commercial banks. These banks do not simply create the money, they grant access to that new money by lending it. This means that, other than coinage and physical cash, which are a very small portion of the world’s money supply, all money is debt, that is, it must be paid back by the borrower with interest.

Most people do not think of their money as debt.  They feel that, if they have a bank account, their money is stored in a bank. They do not think that they have loaned that money to the bank, but that is the truth. The bank now owes the person money, plus perhaps some interest on that money. Almost all accounts for which depositors receive a paper or electronic statement involve money that has been loaned to a financial institution.

This reality has created severe problems:

First, a significant portion of the price people pay for anything is interest expense. Let’s say a person buys a bicycle. Many businesses were involved in creating that bicycle. A bulk shipping company transports iron ore from a mining company to a steel mill that supplies steel to a bicycle company that shapes the steel and then paints it with paint from a paint company that has its own suppliers of raw materials from which it makes the paint.  Another shipper ships rubber from a plantation to a company that makes the tires and a trucking company hauls the tires to the bicycle plant. The finished bicycle, with many parts attached and provided by yet another set of companies, is shipped to a wholesaler who ships it to a retailer. Each of these many companies is using energy in the form of transport fuels and electricity supplied by an energy company that also has its suppliers of raw materials that were mined, shipped, and so forth.

Most or all of these participating businesses are likely to have loans on which they pay interest. People who have studied this process, such as Monneta.org, say that on average, 30% of the price of any consumer product is due to interest payments made all along the supply chain.

Furthermore, all of those businesses used infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and port facilities built by government projects that are often financed by bonds, that is, by borrowing by the government. Monneta.org has studied this process and determined that the cost of government infrastructure projects would be cut by 40% if there were no interest to be paid on the funds for the project. Thus, much of what people pay in taxes goes to cover interest expense.

This 30% of every consumer product and 40% of every government infrastructure project for interest payments are a massive burden on people, on the society as a whole. (Add this interest payment burden to people’s tax burden and it is no wonder that so many people are struggling financially!)

Next, if everyone is paying so much interest, who is collecting all that money? Who benefits? Clearly, the lenders, that is, banks and those with sufficient means to lend money. Monneta.org takes its statistical analysis of this interest expense phenomena further and shows that 60% of all interest payments concentrate in the accounts of 10% of the populace. They show that the worst of the burden falls on the middle class, which pays a lot of the interest flow on purchased products and through taxes and yet collects relatively little of the interest flow compared with the wealthiest 10% of the population.

Monneta.org has a clear, concise 7-minute video on this topic called A flaw in the monetary system? about interest expenses, the concentration of wealth, and the gargantuan expansion of financial assets entirely out of proportion with the real economy:

Thus we see another major structural unfairness built into the system: money loaned into existence burdens the entire society for the benefit of those who can create money from nothing and those with the greatest amount of money to lend.

Money Designed to Lose Purchasing Power

As we have seen, when money is loaned into existence, there must always be more of it in circulation to pay back the principal plus the interest on the loan. Thus, central banks see it as part of their task to make sure that the supply of money in the society is ever growing to support an ever-growing economy. They publicly state their goal of keeping inflation in the general level of prices at 2% or 3% per year and they do their best to make sure that enough new money gets created to support that increase in prices. They do this to avoid the dreaded-by-them deflation during which there is a more or less widespread difficulty in the repayment of loans plus interest and, instead of money getting created and increasing, loan defaults lead to money simply disappearing from the ledgers of lenders, so the supply of money shrinks. During such periods, the central banks work even harder to make sure that new money gets created. Thus, they seek to have money creation occurring in both good economic times and bad.

But what is the effect on people of having the general level of prices increase 2% to 3% per year? To put it in Dollars, in the US, during a period that the authorities say is a period of relatively low inflation of prices, it takes a $1.46 in 2015 to buy what a person could buy for $1.00 in the year 2000. And this is using US government statistics that are designed to understate inflation, so the truth is very likely worse than that.

What is the effect of this inflation on people? First, it discourages saving and encourages spending. Many realize that if they simply save money, that this price inflation inexorably erodes the purchasing power of their savings.  Second, it encourages accumulation of debt. People realize that they can get a loan now and pay it back later with cheapened money. Third, it pressures people to put their money into investments or speculations that they hope will provide a return that is greater than general price inflation. Thus they enter the world of risk assets: speculation in stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, real estate, and so forth.

This is where the problem of dishonest money arises. Some call for a return to honest money, and by this they generally mean money that is gold or silver, or is backed by one of those. People generally understand that money is useful because it is a medium of exchange and a store of value. The dishonest part arises because of this inexorable loss of purchasing power due to intentional inflation. This puts the honesty of the store of value aspect of paper/electronic money in question because, in the long run, paper/electronic currency is a very poor store of value. In addition, historically, almost all such currencies have lost all of their value, disappearing entirely or being replaced by a new version of the currency that removes a few zeroes from the old currency, that is, 1,000 of the old currency is replaced by 1 of the new currency.

Perhaps the best definition of honest money is money that does not purport to be something that it is not. (For a discussion, see this.) Paper money that is not backed by anything tangible has proven to be an excellent medium of exchange, but a very poor store of value. This will be discussed in more detail in a future post. For our purposes here, what we see is a structure that encourages people to spend now and discourages the independence and security brought about by a person having some savings; that encourages them to take on debt that creates more interest payment flows for lenders; and that encourages entry into financial speculation that inevitably enriches the Wall Streets of the world.

ChinaBananaVendorTrader                            Photo source: @wmiddelkoop

Government Borrowing

The once flourishing and powerful Mesopotamian, Roman and Bourbon dynasties, as well as the British empire, ultimately lost their great economic vigor due to the inability to prosper under crushing debt levels.
Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt summarizing works by David Hume and Niall Ferguson

Most governments around the world are in a simple and intractable predicament: they have made promises they can’t keep, they continually borrow more money to try to meet those promises, and if they break those promises, they are thrown out of power.

Let’s say a government decides it needs a fire department and that their budget allows them to hire 15 firefighters. Part of the compensation for these firefighters is the promise of a pension and healthcare for their retirement years. When these 15 firefighters retire, of course a few will die, but let’s say that 12 of them collect their pension for many years. Now the city must hire 15 new firefighters and they are paying 27 firefighters instead of 15. People live much longer now.  With retirement cycles, they may end up paying 30 or more firefighters, some active, some retired, with pensions indexed to cost-of-living increases and with the price of healthcare benefits accelerating faster than the government’s tax receipts for all 30 of the firefighters and their families. So the current cost for firefighters now dwarfs that original budget. It has likely increased several-fold.

Now, add to this small example soldiers, police, school teachers, garbage collectors, administrators, tax collectors, secretaries, spies, building inspectors, diplomats, jailers, judges, clerks, elected officials, border guards, road builders, attorneys, programmers, researchers…you get the picture.

Here is a chart from the Wall Street Journal demonstrating this pension problem from just one of the states of the USA, and just for schoolteachers:

IllinoisTeachersPensions_WSJ

This state has 132,866 active teachers and 98,547 retired teachers. They have assets of $45.8 billion to meet retirement payments, but that is only 44% of what they really need, that is, they are $57.9 billion short. This is called the unfunded liability, that is, promises have been made but they do not have sufficient money to meet those promises.  This example, from just one of fifty US states and just for school teachers, gives an indication of the magnitude of the pension shortfall faced globally by governments.

Some say that a key factor in the demise of the Roman Empire was pension promises to soldiers: things worked well while military campaigns brought home the plunder of war, but when the flow of plunder subsided and the number of pensioner-soldiers increased, the massive amounts owed led to payment in severely debased Roman coinage, where base metals were substituted for precious metals, the money-printing technique of those times. To keep their pension payments coming, Roman soldiers sometimes sacked a city to make their point.

It is essential to understand the nature of borrowing: it pulls forward future spending into the present. It allows a person to buy now something for which they have not yet earned the money. But the need to pay that bill in the future, when the money is finally earned, often depresses future spending. When a person has debts, there is usually a payment due every month that is added to the burden of their current expenses. As debt builds up, the person might not be able to spend as much as they wish on current needs and wants. When debt builds up for a society, it can have an increasingly depressing effect on the entire economy. Too much money has to be spent to pay for expenditures from years ago. We are all observing this now across most of the world, with economies groaning under their massive debt burdens.

While government borrowing began to support war and still does, currently it is often justified like this: “We will borrow money now to pay for infrastructure—roads, bridges, and schools, for example—that will be a benefit over decades. By borrowing to pay the cost over 30 years, we spread that cost to the many taxpayers who will benefit from these investments over those next 30 years.”  While this has some logic to it, the reality is that infrastructure spending is now only a small portion of the spending of most governments. Most government borrowing now supports current consumption and huge standing bureaucracies.

This distinction is crucial. When a business borrows money to buy equipment that it can use to increase production, then the plan is that the use of that equipment increases company income so that paying the loan plus interest is easy, hopefully with more money left over for profits.  Most consider this to be productive debt. But if that same business borrows money to pay rent, utilities, and salaries, how does that present spending produce the future income needed to repay the debt? The same applies to individuals. Financing a car can make sense for people: perhaps it allows them to travel to their job where future income will pay the auto loan plus interest. But when they are borrowing for current rent, food, utilities, vacations, and so forth, the debt tends to build up and, in the future, they must add the cost of paying the debt to then-current costs for rent, food, and utilities.

Borrowing for current consumption, except to cover an emergency that can easily be determined as short-term in nature, is a losing game. The debt for today’s expenses piles up as more debt is added for tomorrow’s expenses. When the amount of debt and interest payments overwhelm the borrower, they are bankrupt, that is, there is no way they can pay back their loans.

Most world governments are in this situation today. Their debt load from the past pressures their ability to spend in the present. And there is no conceivable way they can repay their debts. Yet people keep loaning them money as if nations never go bankrupt, never default on their debt. Here is a chart from The Economist showing country debt defaults from 1800 through 2014. And this chart only shows those countries that have defaulted at least four times, the rest are not shown. Note that the list includes supposed financial stalwarts like Germany:

Sov20140731_default

(Chart sourcefrom The Economist.)

This situation is unjust on multiple counts:

  1. When countries are unable to repay their loans, it is often a disaster for the regular people of the country. Rich people typically have ways to relocate and shelter their resources, but these methods are unavailable or unknown to the middle and lower financial classes. Essential products and services often become unavailable, leading to hunger and severe medical problems. People’s life savings are often wiped out by bank collapses and/or currency collapses in which multiple zeroes are lopped off the old currency as it is replaced with a new currency. The suffering in recent years of people in Argentina and Greece demonstrates these problems.
  2. Countries are borrowing with no intention to fully repay the loans. We see overly-indebted countries struggling to create inflation so that they can repay current loans in future currency that is far less valuable, in other words, they borrow today and hope to pay the loans back in cheapened currency.
  3. Countries are saying to their children and unborn citizens: we want our benefits now and we want you to pay for them. People who claim to want to create a great legacy and life for their children and grandchildren think nothing of lobbying the government to keep and increase their personal benefits which that government clearly cannot afford. Spain, Austria, France, Japan, the UK, Canada, and the Czech Republic have all sold 50-year bonds. Mexico has sold 100-year bonds. These bonds finance current consumption and the taxpayers 50 to 100 years in the future are expected to pay for that current consumption.
  4. As if the preceding sins are not enough, perhaps the greatest immorality is the one that is hidden from most people: interest payments on all this debt go mainly to those who are already financially secure, paid for by those who are much less so. Monneta.org has shown only those who are financially in the top 10% are net beneficiaries (they receive more interest payments than they pay out in interest and taxes) from all this interest expense. And the amounts of interest are huge. From 1988 through 2014, the US federal government, for example, has paid $9.4 Trillion in interest. With the current national debt at $18 Trillion (in early 2015), clearly a huge portion of the accumulated national debt is due to interest payments. Since the few benefit from these interest payments as the rest of the populace pays the bill, once again we see the intentional structural unfairness that pervades the entire financial system.

Governments borrowing money into existence

Almost every government today does not simply have its Treasury Department or Finance Ministry create its national currency, it grants that concession to its central bank, which lends that money to banks or the government itself. Thus, as with commercial banks, the money is loaned into existence and interest must be paid. In some nations, the central bank is a branch of the government, in others it is a private bank. Either way, the money is loaned into existence, saddling the entire society with massive debt that requires interest payments. Were the government to either back its money with gold or silver, or to simply create that money without borrowing it, the taxpayers of nations would not be saddled with today’s huge interest payment burden.

Why is it done this way? Well, what is the job of the central bank? Since it can create infinite amounts of money if needed, it is considered the lender of last resort when there is a financial panic. And whom does it save during financial panics? Primarily banks. So the real job of this central bank is to protect commercial banks, to assure that their money creation cartel remains intact.

And what is the first resort when a nation gets into trouble because its debt load has become too large? More loans! This is always the solution from international banking organizations such as the International Monetary Fund. So the fire of too much debt is fought with additional fire, placing an even larger debt burden on the already over-burdened taxpayers of a country, who now owe even more money to bankers.  If an economically-troubled nation does not cooperate with these measures to saddle them with even more debt, the international banking community threatens them with various types of monetary exile—such as lack of access to markets to export their own products or to import essential products not produced in that country—that will turn their economic situation from a serious problem into a humanitarian disaster.

In this manner, all nations and their people become debt slaves. This is a key element in the very well-devised plan for structural unfairness in the financial system.

There is more in Part 3.

The Current System is PURPOSE-BUILT for Extreme Wealth Disparity, Draft Part 1

(Note: As explained here, this is a draft of a chapter in an upcoming book on vanquishing financial problems once and for all.)

AVOIDING STRUCTURAL UNFAIRNESS

In a condition of societal financial collapse, and its associated privations, people are understandably desperate to reinstate that which prevailed before the collapse.  This is a poor choice when that which is familiar is inherently flawed in ways that:

  • made financial collapse inevitable and,
  • caused a great deal of unnecessary pain prior to the collapse due to structural unfairness in the financial system.

Thus, to avoid creating a future that necessarily includes the pains resulting from structural unfairness (among people, businesses, and regions) and inevitable financial collapse, it is crucial that we all understand the preventable flaws of the modern financial system to assure that these flaws are not reinstated. Repeating these flaws guarantees a world where a very few have great wealth, where a very large number of people struggle daily for basic necessities, and where the vast majority works daily to provide more for the very wealthy few.

The Problem: Structural Unfairness, an Executive Summary

It is essential that people understand this concept of structural unfairness. Allowing structural unfairness means there is no “level playing field” for all parties. It guarantees ever-growing and societally destructive wealth inequality. This is not wealth inequality based on inevitable differences in financial effort and talent among people, this is severe inequality that is built into the system. That is what is meant by structural.

Here are some conclusions to this section, to be followed by the supporting details:

  • Most people and industries work diligently to produce a product or service from which they earn money. Yet one industry, banking, can create money from nothing, lend that money to others, and charge interest on that new money. It is virtually guaranteed that this single industry with access to free money will come to dominate the economic and political worlds.
  • Many people in the world work hard to obtain what is considered a good salary, a steady income. But when they achieve that goal in developed economies, between national, state/provincial, county, and municipal taxes on their income; VAT, sales, and fuel taxes on their purchases; property taxes; and agency taxes and fees (for example, on telecommunications and utility bills); for many, at least 50% of their income is taken.
  • In an economy in which most businesses in the vast supply chain that provides the world’s products and services have taken on debt in their businesses, according to those who have studied it, on average, 30% of the cost of everything people buy is due to interest expenses in the supply chain.
  • Because governments borrow money to fund infrastructure projects, the cost of building roads, bridges, schools, airports, stadiums, and so forth would be, on average, 40% less were it not for interest expenses on the debt for the project.
  • If a person in this economy takes on one or more forms of personal debt–mortgage, car loan, student loan, credit card debt, and so forth—yet another substantial chunk of their income is consumed by interest payments.
  • Because almost all governments have made promises they cannot keep and which are not sufficiently funded by taxes, they borrow ever-increasing amounts of money. From 1988 through 2014, the US federal government, for example, paid US$9.4 Trillion in interest on its borrowings, so a substantial portion of the US$18 Trillion national debt (in early 2015) is due to accumulated interest payments. Furthermore, these vast and accumulating government debts mean that all children are now born with a portion of the nation’s debt burden they are expected to pay so that the lenders can continue collecting interest payments; in the US as of early 2015, each child is born with a national debt burden of more than US$57,000.
  • Who collects these vast flows of interest payments? Those who can create money from nothing, that is, the banks; and those who have excess assets to lend. According to those who have studied it, 60% of the massive flow of global interest payments go to the wealthiest 10% of the populace. And we all now know from more detailed studies that these massive money flows concentrate further within that 10%, especially to the 0.01%, who then use those money flows to have a major influence on government and media, thus controlling the laws under which people live and the messages with which they are constantly bombarded by television, radio, and in print.
  • High taxation and heavy government borrowing go hand-in-hand with massive expenditures by government. Those businesses that continuously benefit from these expenditures use profits to influence elections, elected officials, appointments at regulatory agencies, the writing of laws, and media coverage of issues, continually increasing the flow of government expenditures in their direction at the expense of taxpayers and the rest of the business community. Thus, the banking cartel, the military-industrial complex, the medical-industrial complex, and so forth, become permanent, major fixtures in government budgets, strong voices always moving policy in a direction favorable to their business prospects.
  • The fact that all money is now loaned into existence by either a commercial or central bank means that all money is debt that carries an interest payment that must be made. This means the economy must always grow so that the loans plus interest can be paid. When the economy stays stable or shrinks, some are unable to pay their loans plus interest and money starts to disappear from the ledgers of the lenders, leading to the banker-dreaded “deflation.” Because of this debt-based money, our economies are inherently unstable and thus we hear the endless chants for “growth, growth, growth.” But what is the impact of this quest for infinite growth when our economies are powered by finite resources such as fossil fuels, iron ore, cement, fertilizers for industrial agriculture, and so forth? As we watch our growth-at-any-cost approach accelerate the extinction of species around us—many of whom provide crucial support for humanity—how long will it be before we threaten our own species?
  • If a person tries to save money to gain independence from this structural treadmill, their savings constantly lose purchasing power by design, pressuring them to spend, borrow (which they can pay back later with cheapened money), and to put their savings into riskier assets “to keep up with inflation.”
  • If a person or group attempts to operate financially outside of this web of debt, they are punished by legal tender laws that, while appearing innocuous, go a long way toward locking them into the system. The legal tender laws say that any debt can be satisfied by payment in the legal tender currency. If a person tries to operate using gold or silver or bitcoins, these forms of money are considered by the system not as legal tender, but as assets. Thus, when they are sold–for example, if you buy a cup of coffee using a fraction of a bitcoin or a barter currency—this is the sale of an asset and thus some governments want to know whether that bitcoin gained in price from the time you purchased the bitcoin to the time you “sold” it to buy coffee. And they want to tax you on any gain. Thus, alternatives to the government fiat currency such as gold and silver go into hiding in vaults as forms of savings and are not used for transactions.
  • Attempts to undo structural unfairness rarely surface as part of the political debate, and if they do, it is the voices of those providing the bulk of financing for expensive modern political campaigns that are heard and heeded, increasing structural unfairness rather than undoing it.

While this is not the complete picture of the structural unfairness in our current system, let’s take a quick look at the finances of someone who is “doing well” according to the world, that is, earning what is considered to be a very good salary. Between national, state/provincial, local, property, VAT, sales, fuel, and agency taxes and fees, at least 50% of their income is directly taken. Then, of almost everything they buy, 30% goes to interest expenses. If this person has any debt of their own—such as a mortgage, automobile or student loan, or credit card debt—then another serious portion of their income is dedicated to interest expense. Any money they save constantly loses purchasing power. Is this person really “doing well”? Or have they been enslaved by those collecting taxes and interest? If the minority on this planet that are said to be “doing well” are often in or near financial difficulty, what about the vast majority, the billions of people who do not have that “very good” salary?

Is this beginning to sound like a movie about a criminal syndicate that collects “a piece of the action” from all businesses in an area? For the “protection” of those businesses? It should: the analogy is not far-fetched. The structures described above—structures through which a portion, a “cut” is taken of nearly every transaction in the economy—are not accidental, they are intentional:

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
Frederic Bastiat, The Law, 1848

Structural Unfairness, the Details

In early 2015, OXFAM showed that by the end of 2015, “1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.” In other words, the richest 1% own half of the world’s wealth. In early 2015, just 80 people owned the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet. And the trend toward extreme wealth inequality is accelerating, with the wealth of those 80 people doubling between 2009 and 2014.

This is not accidental, this is by design.

The major structural problems that relentlessly add to this extreme disparity will be shown in these sections:

  • Money Creation by Banks
  • Taxation
  • Money that is Loaned into Existence
  • Money Designed to Lose Purchasing Power
  • Government Borrowing
  • Governments Borrowing Money into Existence
  • Growth at any Cost
  • Legal Tender Laws
  • Government Guarantees for Banks; Derivatives
  • Financial Domination of Politics

Money Creation by Banks

One primary source of structural unfairness is granting bankers—both commercial and central bankers—the license to create money from nothing and to charge people for the use of that money.  A bank does not lend cash from its vaults, it creates ledger entries that create money.

The process by which banks create money is so simple the mind is repelled.
  –John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, professor—Harvard University

Commercial Banks

Let’s say you sign up for a four-year car loan from a Bank A. Bank A now claims it has an asset—your promise to repay the loan.  It creates a ledger entry recording the fact that you will be repaying the loan with interest in installments over four years. So for the next four years, each month, you pay the bank a portion of the money you borrowed plus some additional money as interest, the fee the bank charges you for renting money from them. (If you don’t pay, the bank will claim your car by repossessing it.) If the car dealer is also a customer of Bank A, then the car dealer’s account is credited with the amount of the loan. That’s it. The transaction is done. The money has been created and you are charged interest over the life of the loan for the use of that money.

If the car dealer’s account is at Bank B, an electronic transaction is created that credits the car dealer’s account at Bank B. Of course, like Bank A, Bank B has been busy creating car loans, mortgages, and business loans that day. At the end of the day, all of the electronic credits between Bank A and Bank B are totaled up (by a clearing organization—for example, the Federal Reserve in the US) and whichever bank is owed money receives a credit for that money and the paying bank has a debit. In reality, even though both banks possibly created a lot of money that day, the balance between the banks, the difference at the end of the day, is relatively very small in practice.

Here is a quote from Robert B. Anderson, Treasury Secretary under US President Eisenhower, in 1959:

When a bank makes a loan, it simply adds to the borrower’s deposit account in the bank by the amount of the loan. The money is not taken from anyone else’s deposits; it was not previously paid in to the bank by anyone. It’s new money, created by the bank for the use of the borrower.

And here is one from the Bank of England in its quarterly bulletin in the Spring of 2014:

The reality of how money is created today differs from the description found in some economics textbooks: Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits. . . Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.

Yet both Bank A and Bank B can charge interest—the continuing rent for borrowed money—on all of the money they created that day. Alternatively, the bank might package up most or all of the car loans they made that month and sell that package to another party, perhaps a pension fund, who pays the bank a hefty amount of cash for the right to receive the interest payments on all of those car loans over the next four years.  In this case, the bank receives a hefty cash payment for all of the money it created from nothing for car loans during that month.

So for doing some fairly straightforward computer processing, the bank received quite a lot of money. It might have also packaged up and sold the business loans and mortgages it created as well. Or it might keep any or all of these loans and collect the interest each month. Either way, since so many believe that they need that money loaned to them by the bank, the bank makes a huge profit from something it created from thin air because it has the license to do so.

Clearly, it is vastly easier for a bank to accumulate money than it is for people and other businesses to do so. All others typically need to work hard to provide useful products or services to earn money. Is it any wonder that most city skylines are, if not dominated by banks, let’s just say that the banks are very well represented.

The credit card business is another highly profitable operation of banks for which they rarely need to use any of their own capital. It typically runs strictly off of the fees charged to vendors who accept credit cards. For those who want the details, they are explained in this article by Ellen Brown:

       Usurious Returns on Phantom Money: The Credit Card Gravy Train

This ability of banks to accumulate money far more easily than others is a structural advantage that makes it inevitable that banks will eventually dominate both the commercial and political domains. Their access to free money makes it nearly inevitable that they will lend to favored businesses and governments; deny loans to those they do not favor; use outsized profits to participate in and dominate what are supposed to be free markets for stocks, bonds, currencies, and so forth; and use their profits to purchase political influence, thus writing laws that guarantee and enhance their privileged position, and placing those who favor the banking industry as government regulators.

Some argue that the public banking model—in which banks are a branch of the government and all banking profits fund projects for the public good—solves this structural advantage problem, even to the point of eliminating the need for taxation and government borrowing. We will analyze the Public Banking Model in a future post.

Central Banks

In almost all nations, the cash and base electronic money of the society is created by a central bank. (While cash may be printed at a mint, central banks currently control how much of that money makes its way into the economy.) This central bank, sometimes a private corporation and sometimes a branch of government, is granted the license, the concession, to create the nation’s money, most of which is electronic, and to manage the quantity of it in circulation.

In recent years, the central banks have engaged in what they call quantitative easing, but which is known in more honest circles as money printing. In this practice, the national government borrows money to pay those bills that it cannot cover through taxation by issuing various forms of government bonds, and the central bank creates electronic money from nothing to buy those bonds.

Prior to this, and in addition to it still, central banks created money in a variety of ways. For example, central banks of the West often create money through operations to add reserves to banks. Central banks in the East, in countries with large trade surpluses, create new national money to exchange for the foreign money that flows in from their exports. Foreign money is deposited into their commercial banks by their exporting corporations; these commercial banks want to exchange that foreign money for their local national money. The central bank then holds onto that foreign money as reserves. For example, we all hear about the central bank in China holding almost $4 Trillion in reserves.

In addition to the great power implied by being able to create the nation’s money from nothing, central banks have the power to manipulate interest rates, thereby strongly influencing the cost of borrowed money.

These powers have given them such influence over economies and markets that they are nearly considered gods in today’s world. Their public statements are awaited with bated breath and then endlessly analyzed and debated as if their words came “from on high.” Financial markets often have large, spasmodic moves because of a single word or sentence uttered by a central banker.

Furthermore, most central banks operate behind a veil of secrecy and often with no outside audit of their actions. They claim that this secrecy protects their independence from political influences. However, this secrecy enables massive abuse of this license for money creation on behalf of favored groups. They create secret bailouts, currency swaps, and special loan programs worth trillions of US Dollars. For example, the Bank of England, still the central bank of the UK, was founded to support the war machine of the King of England in 1694. And it is now known that actions of the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank of central banks, supported financing for Hitler’s activities, and facilitated Nazi theft of national gold from other countries. It is extremely likely that there would be far less war in the world were it not for central banks printing money in support of the war-making capabilities of national governments.

Regardless of the publicly stated aims of central banks for currency and price stability, full employment, economic growth, and so forth, their actions are easily understood when it is clear that the paramount goal of central banks is to protect the game of the large banks. While nominally they are regulators of large banks, in practice, they support and protect the banking cartel. Thus this power further assures the structural advantage of the banks.

We will return to the topic of central banks in the discussion of fiat money below.

Taxation

Taxation is another major structural unfairness, along multiple lines:

Sheer Size of the Tax Burden: First is the sheer size of taxation in the modern world. As an example, government costs the citizens of Denmark 48% of their country’s Gross Domestic Product, and they are not the only country in which the cost of government is approaching 50% of the nation’s output. Yes, some of the money collected by government is returned to citizens in the form of direct disbursements such as retirement pensions and purchased services such as health care. But much of it funds a permanent bureaucracy, standing military, and interest payments on debt. Can a tax jurisdiction and the individuals within it be prosperous in the long term when government takes nearly half the income of those actually producing goods and services in the economy?

Why is this “sheer size” problem structurally unfair? It is on at least two counts:

A. Government career employees deciding their own salaries has resulted in a structural unfairness in the US, where average federal civilian compensation is almost twice average private sector compensation:

Fed_V_Civilian_workers_1(Chart source)

And these compensation statistics do not include the lavish lifestyles and red-carpet treatment politicians and bureaucrats often arrange for themselves at taxpayer expense.StateDinner151533376__586699b

B. Huge taxation results in massive government spending for goods and services. This disproportionately enriches those vendors who secure government contracts, at the expense of other businesses, and at the expense of the taxpaying public. These vendors can use their profits to curry further favor with those in charge of government expenditures, leading to the dreaded “military industrial complex,” “medical industrial complex,” and so forth.

The Legitimacy and Inevitability of Taxes: People have come to accept “death and taxes” as inevitable. While people often argue about the fairness of particular taxes, it is rare to hear a discussion of whether taxes are legitimate at all, despite the fact that this page on the History of tax resistance lists hundreds of tax revolts and rebellions, including famous events such as the American and French Revolutions. Most national boundaries and governments were formed through war, with taxes being promptly levied within the jurisdiction by the victors. Does skill in war make taxing legitimate? Or is it simply imposed by force, particularly with the threat of jail time, without the consent of the governed?

If governments can print money, why are there taxes?  If a national government can print money, why do they need to tax at all, why not simply print the money they need? If this question seems absurd or fanciful, here is a paper written in 1946 by the then-president of the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York making precisely that point.  He said that if a national currency is not backed by gold or any other commodity, and the national government or its central bank can print the money, then taxes at the national level are unnecessary. He said taxation at that point can be a tool of social and political policy, for example, to “subsidize or penalize various industries or economic groups,” or to implement progressive income or estate taxes to redistribute wealth, but that it is not a necessity. So we need to ask ourselves: what is the true purpose of the large tax burdens currently heaped on citizens?

Taxes Used for Personal Power: Taxation directs a vast and seemingly ever-increasing flow of funds to an entrenched political class that identifies the good of the nation, state, or municipality with their personal retention of power. Increasingly, this political class uses all possible organs of state power—spy agencies, tax agencies, the courts, regulatory agencies, government spending, control of the media, and so forth–to strengthen their personal power by destroying or suppressing opposition. They use state apparatus to attack political opponents, jail whistleblowers, and destroy the lives of dissidents and of capable investigative reporters who refuse to “play the game.” They often claim that those who oppose them are a threat to “national security.”

This power is further enhanced by direction of the flow of tax money to favored supporters and away from opponents through government spending, changes to tax law, loans and loan guarantees, and manipulation of purportedly free markets.

While one would expect this in dictatorships, it has become true in nominal democracies as well.

Secrecy: In addition, parts of the tax collection, government borrowing, and government expenditure processes are shrouded in secrecy, making accountability impossible.  Most governments now have “black budgets”–typically related to military and spying operations, the infamous “black ops”–where the amount and purpose of the expenditures is secret. This is a small part of the massive secrecy that shrouds much of government planning and operations, even in nominal democracies.  Much of governing today happens “behind closed doors,” and what goes on behind those doors is not revealed for years or decades, if ever.

This secrecy and lack of accountability allows for the theft of trillions of dollars. On rare occasions, this is admitted by government officials, as in this video:

from CBS News of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announcing, on the day before the infamous 9/11 attacks, that $2.3 Trillion had gone missing at the Pentagon. (Any mention or tracking the missing $2.3 Trillion disappeared, of course, after the 9/11 attack.) Independent investigators have documented additional trillions that have gone missing from US government coffers.

Worldwide, most are all too familiar with the stories of politicians who arrived in an office of “public service” as a person of modest means who left that office with great wealth.

Market Manipulation Departments: Also in the realm of secrecy, almost all governments have departments funded by taxpayers for the manipulation of supposedly free markets. In the US, this work in centered in the Exchange Stabilization Fund of the US Treasury. The actions and trading profits of these departments are almost invariably hidden from public scrutiny. Which markets they manipulate and when they do so is rarely revealed, offering ample opportunity for abuse in terms of cementing the personal power of entrenched politicians and the advantage of favored constituencies.

The Tax Avoidance Game: Large and complex taxation regimes lead to businesses and individuals putting great effort into avoiding taxes. Rather than deploying resources in the most logical and productive way, many make decisions based on tax consequences instead. Entire industries exist to help them find loopholes, tax advantages, tax deferrals, off-shore tax havens, and strategies and tactics whose legality is sometimes questionable at best. Businesses and individuals struggle through a blizzard of tax forms, regulations, and audits to pay as little as possible in taxes rather than spending their precious time and resources on productive and life-enhancing activities. Huge government bureaucracies exist solely to collect, interpret, and enforce large and ever-growing tax codes, often now assisted by national spy agencies and law enforcement agencies who are “following the money” and can provide mountains of information about the financial behaviors of the populace.

Taxes that strongly benefit the money creators: In many countries, interest expense on business loans and mortgages is tax deductible.  This is a huge incentive for companies and individuals to take on debt, thus super-charging the flow of interest expenses into the hands of those who have large sums of money to lend, especially the money creators, the banks.  Just in the US in 2015, from corporate announcements, it is expected that companies will purchase over $1 Trillion of their own company stock from the public market. For many companies, all of this stock buying is funded by new debt. This drives up the stock price of the company and the interest expense is deductible. So rather than investing their money in productive activities, companies deploy vast sums in so-called financial engineering, which is a polite term for gaming the system.

Summary on Taxation: Taken together, taxation–grudgingly accepted by most in part because of its ballyhooed noble aims and inevitability–has been hijacked by a small class of people, government and private, to assure the increasing vastness of their wealth at the expense of the rest of society.  It is as though this small group has steeply tilted the economic table in their direction so that they receive a portion of every economic transaction, of every payment for someone’s labor, and of every payment for every product sold in the society.  If we are to vanquish financial problems once and for all, taxation as currently practiced must be understood as a major structural unfairness and impediment, and every avenue for its complete elimination must be explored.

But wait. . . There’s more. Here is Part 2.

A New Direction

Some have asked why there have been no new posts recently. Here is the answer.

Thundering Heard has reported on emerging trends in this time of transition, and offered some suggestions on how people might wish to prepare for the financial, political, energetic, and earth changes that continue to accelerate and that will have impacts over the next decade that are currently unimaginable.

While that work will continue, now it’s time to get into the details of how we take advantage of this confluence of end-of-cycle changes. The first installment is a draft of a chapter from an upcoming book on how we vanquish financial problems once and for all. The words vanquish financial problems once and for all are not chosen as some statement of vague hopefulness.  As you will see in this chapter, this is about the nitty-gritty of how things work now as a starting point for how to accomplish the goal.

The chapter is being labeled as a draft as a way of asking for your help. I sincerely seek your comments on this chapter, especially on anything questionable, unclear, or vague. If you were sending this post to friends, would they need more explanation, better explanation? More examples? Or is it too verbose? Is there a specific section, paragraph, sentence, or word that is unclear? Or should be deleted? Or perhaps the whole thing is fine as it is and should be left alone—but what are the odds of that?!

If this book is to truly help in accomplishing the goal, it needs to be excellent. I am asking for your help so that this chapter and upcoming chapters become as good as they can be.

Please post comments below or send them by email to my personal address or to the address on the Contact page.

In the upcoming book on vanquishing financial problems for all, this current chapter will be called Avoiding Structural Unfairness. On Thundering Heard, it will be posted in three parts. Here is the link to Part 1:

The Current System is PURPOSE-BUILT for Extreme Wealth Disparity, Draft Part 1

Thank you!

Some cycles due in 2015

So you can be prepared, if you wish, here are some cycles due in 2015. One of them is gigantically important to both the political and financial worlds, so I hope my exposition is clear.

The first cycle is very easy to understand: something economically important really hits the fan every seven years. Going in reverse from here, seven years at a time:

  • 2008, start of the Great Recession, first real estate debt bubble pop;
  • 2001, recession begins as part of 2000-2002 internet/tech stock bubble pop;
  • 1994, worst year for bond markets in modern history;
  • 1987, the famed stock market Crash of ’87;
  • 1980, inflation, the “Misery Index”, start of a major recession that doesn’t go away for three years;
  • 1973, Arab Oil embargo, start of a major recession;
  • […] you get the idea.

The article at this link talks more about this cycle, including the note that the years in this seven-year cycle that coincided with an Autumn solar eclipse (1931 and 1987) had particularly strong events; and 2015 does have two solar eclipses. Again, from the article at the link:

In 1931, a solar eclipse took place on Sept. 12…Eight days later, England abandoned the gold standard, setting off market crashes and bank failures around the world. It also ushered in the greatest monthlong stock market percentage crash in Wall Street history.

In 1987, a solar eclipse took place Sept. 23…Less than 30 days later came “Black Monday” the greatest percentage crash in Wall Street history.

Some great forecasters think that March is a strong candidate for significant financial turbulence in 2015, and there is a total solar eclipse on March 20. And there is a partial solar eclipse on September 13, a better calendar correspondence with the events referenced in the quote above. So maybe we’ll get two strong events this year.

For those of you who believe what you read in the US media, perhaps you are wondering how we could get major financial problems when things are allegedly so “awesome.” Well, sorry to tell you, but even Goldman “doing God’s work” Sachs just admitted that the world economy has gone into contraction:

     It’s Official: Global Economy Back In Contraction For First Time Since 2012 According To Goldman 

(As a side note, Al Jazeera did a great video on true nature of Goldman Sachs. The link is here, but, if you are in the USA, the censors won’t allow you to view the video in the “Land of the Free” US, it’s only playable outside the US. A lot of that type of thing is going on these days. It’s a small part of what has dropped the US down to 49th globally in press freedom; see World Press Freedom Index Plunges – USA Now Ranked #49 Globally.)

If this seven-year cycle repeats in 2015, then I think we can easily predict what the authorities will do since it seems to be the only thing they know how to do when there’s trouble: print more money by creating more debt! But as explained in The deflationary wave intensifies, this strategy has become counter-productive and is locking the world economy in a deadly stranglehold.

Some realize all this and some do not. But this brings us to our second cycle: Martin Armstrong’s Sovereign Debt Big Bang. Here is a slide of Armstrong’s forecasts from a conference in early 1998:

Armstrong1998-Forecast

(Source, from Martin Armstrong’s blog)

These major forecasts all came true. The only one left to go (2015.75 = September 30, 2015) is the Sovereign Debt Big Bang. What it says in that the tide will monumentally shift away from confidence in government bonds starting on September 30, 2015. Currently, confidence in government bonds is so high that people are buying them even with negative interest rates. The easiest way to understand interest rates is that they are the rental charge for lending someone money. So you rent someone $100 and you hope to get back maybe $103, the original $100 plus $3 of rent. But people are now buying government bonds even though they get back less money than what they lent to some government in the first place. They are paying governments to lend them money!

     16% Of Global Government Bonds Now Have A Negative Yield: Here Is Who’s Buying It

That was a few weeks back, at which point JP Morgan calculated that $3.6 Trillion worth of government bonds were paying negative interest rates. Some of the countries involved were Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. In Denmark, because interest rates went negative, some adjustable rate mortgages are now paying interest to the people who took out the mortgage!

     In Denmark You Are Now Paid To Take Out A Mortgage

Now you might say: Why would anyone buy a government bond with a negative interest rate?!?! When I first said we should expect negative interest rates in More shackles readied for deploymentI did get a few e-mails politely suggesting that I might want to get checked for dementia. Here’s what was said:

The policy is that savers will soon be hit with negative interest rates…So people would have to pay the bank interest on their own savings. So if the negative interest rate were -3%, if you had $100 in your account, you’d have to pay the bank $3 in interest.

This is crazy. Most people alive today think governments never default on their debt.  But that’s just plain wrong. Here is a chart showing country debt defaults going back to 1800. And this chart only shows those countries that have defaulted at least four times, the rest are not shown. Note that the list includes supposed stalwarts like Germany:

Sov20140731_default

(Chart sourcefrom The Economist.)

What Armstrong is saying–and he has been saying it since the 1990’s and has strong mathematical/historical models backing up his forecast–is that, near the end of this year, the world at large is finally going to wake up and understand the insanity of all this government borrowing. Not all at once, but relentlessly. They will see that most if not all countries are not going to pay back what they borrowed. They can’t. They don’t have the money. Greece is the first country to forthrightly admit it. One of the pompous Eurocrats threatened Greece last week, saying “If you don’t do what we say, Greece will go bankrupt.”  To which the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis replied, “Greece is already bankrupt.”  (Straight truth! From a politician! Finally! Maybe that will become a trend!)

So what will this do to those who own all these government bonds? Who does own them anyway? For one, most of what is called capital at banks is government bonds. So there go the banks: no capital, insolvent. (Watch out for the upcoming bail-ins if you still keep money in banks.) Insurance companies and both government and private pension funds are huge holders of government bonds. So there goes insurance, and pensions. A well-placed German friend says that several European insurance companies are on the verge of bankruptcy. All of the assets of the US Social Security system, for example, are US government bonds: that’s all they own!

And somehow, the financial system has come to accept government bonds as collateral for other loans and bets. The $1 Quadrillion (that’s 1,000 Trillions) world derivatives casino market floats on a thin veneer of government bonds as “collateral” for these bets. Before the US defaulted on its debts in 1971 when Nixon said they were no longer payable in currency backed by gold, as previously promised, but now were backed by promises alone, collateral meant something real. For example, when you have a mortgage, your house is the collateral. A car is the collateral for an auto loan. But now in the financial world, someone’s promise to pay back a loan that they can never repay counts as collateral for even more loans. This is insane. Starting later in the year, a lot more people will start to understand that. That’s the nature of this Big Bang cycle. And there will be major repercussions. We talked about the demise of banks, pensions, and insurance. The derivatives collapse will take down all the brokerages and investment banks. So where will people get money?

Governments love to hide the truth about their historical defaults on their debt. Thus everyone is taught that the “cause of the Great Depression” of the 1930’s was the 1929 stock market crash. Total BS. The stock market crash wiped out stock speculators. That wasn’t a truly big deal. What took down thousands of banks were defaults on government bonds they and their customers were holding. Let’s look at that government bond default chart again. This time there is a red box around the worldwide wave of country debt defaults in the early 1930’s that wiped out thousands of banks and millions of savers:

Sov20140731_defaultBox

Get it? That’s what’s coming up again, only this time it will be worse. Way worse. There’s been far more borrowing, far more leverage, and all of it is floating on paper and electronic currencies and promises. The link to reality–gold–was removed in 1971.

World-Debts

Now some people say all this unpayable debt can be wiped off the books in a debt jubilee, like they used to do in Old Testament times. Well that’s true. It can. The problem is that anyone who put money in a bank account needs to realize that they have loaned that money to the bank. It’s a debt of the bank, they owe you money. And your deposit is backed by government debt, not by actual cash. So, if there were a debt jubilee, no one would have any money in their bank account anymore. Same for businesses, so no business would be able to write a paycheck to anyone. ATM’s would not be able to dispense any cash. Credit cards would no longer work. All of the money in the world is someone’s debt to someone else. So a debt jubilee would mean there was no money.

So now, do you want a debt jubilee? Of course not. But we are going to get one anyway. Not on purpose. By accident. Starting in a big way later this year.

Why can anyone be confident that this is true? Well first, go back and look at the rest of the predictions on Armstrong’s slide from 1998. Second, it’s already starting to happen. Greece, Argentina, Puerto Rico–the dominoes are starting to fall. Japan is a financial basket case, there is no way they can repay their debts, and they have the second largest pile of government debt on the planet. The whole world has gone wild for debt!

Which brings us to a third “cycle of interest’ for 2015. What else floats on a sea of debt? Real estate prices! This cycle was described before here:

As examples, due to his real estate cycle work for the US, he was telling clients–in the 1990’s to give them ample time to act–to be out of all US real estate investments by February, 2007; that real estate prices would then fall from 2007 into 2012, then rise into 2015 in a snapback rally that would sucker a lot of people back into real estate, and then fall again through 2033.

Well here we are in the snapback real estate rally into 2015. So many have forgotten the 9 million US foreclosures and the 7 million US households that are still “under water” on their mortgages. All the signs of a bubble are back, though now some are already starting to dissipate as real estate prices in some of the bubbliest areas roll over:

     Southern California home sale volume for January slowest since 2008: The stalemate accelerates with Orange County seeing a monthly median price drop of $28,500.

The bubble is stronger than ever in countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK. Unless people request it by sending me e-mails saying they want it, I’m not going to do a detailed post on real estate. I doubt it will change anyone’s mind, so it probably isn’t worth it. But when the biggest debt bubble the world–and perhaps the galaxy–has ever known pops, and governments are falling left and right, real estate prices will be hammered. And those falling governments will be desperately raising property taxes to try to stay afloat.

And anyone who agrees with people who say that “debt doesn’t matter,” like Dick Cheney from the right or Paul Krugman from the left, is going to get quite an education over the next few years. Actually, we all will. Which is good, in my view. Humanity badly needs to understand which actions have real value and which do not.

An evolutionary event

It isn’t often that one realizes, at the time of an event, that it will have a definite evolutionary impact. But I think this one will.

For those interested, the Sanctus Germanus Foundation has posted a simple yet powerful chant designed to intentionally develop or enhance clairaudience, to make this ability commonplace.  This has the potential to change people’s experience of what life is.

Clearly, from the amount of channeled information in books and on the web, clairaudience is already more commonplace than in prior time periods. Some of this channeled info is extraordinarily helpful, some is misleading. Thus, precautionary comments are in order: Success will reveal that not all beings from “the other side” are beneficent saints. Nor are they omniscient. Some communicate to advance their own selfish interests, not the interests of the seeker of truth. And just as misunderstandings happen in standard verbal communications, so can the same easily happen with clairaudient communications. The best protection is to take the Mystery School course that is the source of the chant; this provides the wider context and the opportunity to work directly with the Master Serapis Bey.

For those who wish to go it alone: first, if you get into trouble, let’s just say with an entity that doesn’t want to go away, you can request a telepathic healing for that here; second, you might want to read the section under the heading “Tricky Discarnate Souls” at this link.

These cautions are not given to discourage anyone from developing a skill that is the right of all humans, but to highly recommend that discernment and reason be an integral part of the process.

The chant is explained here in a transcript excerpt from the course audio; and you can hear the chant at the link which is the title of that page.

For those who wish to do so, this can help people expand the portion of the energetic spectrum in which they are conscious participants.

Earth Changes Update, End of 2014 – Part 2

Before embarking on the discussion of the unusual happenings in the animal kingdom promised in Part 1, I’d like to cite a quote that demonstrates the nature and impact of exponential change. The quote comes from a remarkable article from Reuters:

      Special Report: In Jakarta, that sinking feeling is all too real

about major world cities combating the combination of rising seas and sinking landmass due to subsidence from draining the groundwater under each city:

Higher seas, sinking cities and more people mean worsening impacts from storms and floods. And the frequency of these events is increasing, too. Recorded floods and severe storms in Southeast Asia have risen sixfold, from fewer than 20 from 1960 to 1969 to nearly 120 from 2000 to 2008, according to an Asian Development Bank study.

So a sixfold increase in severe storms in SE Asia: Take a guess what annual percent increase in storms accounted for that sixfold change. The answer is 6%. Six percent per year doesn’t sound like much. But when it’s applied relentlessly–and that is the nature of an exponential increase–the change seems small at first, but at some point, the change can be overwhelming. Food for thought regarding the many exponential chart patterns shown over time at Thundering Heard. We are living in unprecedented times on many fronts.

     *     *     *

The point about pervasive permeability in Part 1 (accidental alliteration!) sparked some interest. Here’s a perfect example of increasing permeability, in this case in the Greenland ice sheet from Phys.org:

     Two lakes beneath the ice in Greenland, gone within weeks

As everyone knows, that ice sheet stores enough ice to raise the global sea level about 7 meters (24 feet).  As it gets more permeable, it becomes less stable. As I said, food for thought.

     *     *     *

The animal kingdom*

Especially during the last year, the animal kingdom has shown signs of extreme duress.

First, there are many stories of pets attacking, and sometimes killing, their owners:

If you would like to dismiss this as anecdotal, of course you can, but it would fly in the face of statistical evidence, from around the globe:

Here’s a quote from the India link just above:

In 2012, nearly 10,100 people were affected by dog bites from April to December. Number went up to 16,000 in 2013.

Sometimes the dogs are even attacking…CARS:

     Animal crackers: As well as terrorising people in Modesto, crazy dogs are now attacking stationary cars

dogcarwbeTd_AuSt_11

© JOAN BARNETT LEE
Damage done by an animal is seen Tuesday on a Ford Focus at Heritage Ford in Modesto. The car had some damage done to it by an animal. Three vehicles at the dealership have scratches and bite marks on them. The front grille of the Focus was torn completely off.

     Modesto, California: Vicious dogs roaming streets, chasing people and trapping them inside homes

Deer are known for trying to avoid people and buildings. Not these:

Elephants are running amok:

Then there are the many cases of fish that normally live deep in the oceans appearing at shorelines, sometimes thousands of miles from their usual area of habitation:

There are stories of birds so far from their usual turf that they sometimes end up on the wrong continent:

Whales are beaching and dying just about every day now:

And things are increasingly bad for sea turtles:

Fish die-offs have become quite common:

I have a lot more links for animals attacking humans (especially coyotes, jackals, wild dogs, and wild boars, but also including owls, foxes, and otters), but I’ll spare you having to scroll past them, and pass to another category: regional animal die-offs across many species.

Michael Snyder posted an excellent example:

     North America: Massive numbers of sea creatures dying along the west coast

in which he listed reports of devastations of West Coast starfish (A marine epidemiologist at Cornell University says that this is “the largest mortality event for marine diseases we’ve seen“); bluefin tuna (only 4% are left); sardine, anchovy, herring, and oyster populations; and major difficulties for many marine birds including pelicans. And more:

     West Coast devastation continues: seals, oysters, pelicans, fish, squid — all sick, dying or failing to breed

     Study: Dead sea creatures cover 98 percent of ocean floor off California coast; up from 1 percent before Fukushima

At an ocean research station known as Station M, located 145 miles out to sea between the Californian cities of Santa Barbara and Monterey, Huffard and her colleague Ken Smith observed a sharp uptick in the amount of dead sea life drifting to the ocean floor. The masses of dead sea plankton, jellyfish, feces and other oceanic matter that typically only cover about 1 percent of the ocean floor were found to now be covering about 98 percent of it — and multiple other stations located throughout the Pacific have since reported similar figures.

“In March 2012, less than one percent of the seafloor beneath Station M was covered in dead sea salps,” writes Carrie Arnold for National Geographic. “By July 1, more than 98 percent of it was covered in the decomposing organisms. … The major increase in activity of deep-sea life in 2011 and 2012 weren’t limit to Station M, though: Other ocean-research stations reported similar data.”

Anyone who still thinks the ongoing effects from Fukushima are trivial really needs to consider the meaning of that 98 to 1 ratio reported in the study at the preceding quote and link. Truly, what do people expect when this August 2014 article Japan Prepares To Release Thousands Of Tons Of Fukushima Groundwater Into The Pacific quotes NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, as saying:

Highly radioactive water at the plant is seeping into the earth and mixing with ground water. Experts estimate around 200 tons of contaminated ground water are leaking into the ocean each day.

Each day!

Then there are the global problems:

     More mass animal deaths occurring now than ever before, study claims

Mass die-offs of certain animals has increased in frequency every year for seven decades, according to a new study.

Researchers found that such events, which can kill more than 90 per cent of a population, are increasing among birds, fish and marine invertebrates.

     Silent Spring: Songbirds are disappearing across the planet reveals new documentary film

     Report: Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs Could Be Extinct In 10 Years

     Otters across the world are threatened with extinction says new report

And this link points to a study that lists 794 species that are on the brink of extinction:

     Study pinpoints species facing extinction threat

So, what are the reasons for this dreadful state of affairs. There are several, to be sure.

In the case of the whales (and perhaps the other creatures that normally inhabit the ocean depths and who can now be found at the beaches), one major cause is certain: the use of powerful sonar technologies by the militaries to hunt for submarines and the oil and gas companies to hunt for that stuff we pump into our cars. This link:

     The epic fight to protect cetaceans from the US Navy

has a sad but amazing story of how proof of this was accepted by the US Navy itself. A retired navy guy with an interest in whales–the guy actually worked in the navy’s secret sonar program–witnessed the beaching of 17 beaked whales immediately following US Navy exercises in his area. This is the deepest diving whale species of them all. For them to beach as a group was unprecedented. Suspecting the cause, the guy immediately had their heads sent to a lab for autopsy and it was found that the ear drums of each whale had been shattered. The guy had to get this info onto the 60 Minutes television program before the navy would respond, but finally, respond they did, strongly limiting their own sonar use during exercises. And this link:

      Whale Mass Stranding Attributed to Sonar Mapping For First Time

describes how the mass stranding of 100 whales was connected with exploration by ExxonMobil.

So, is there relief for the whales and other deep-sea creatures? Given the near-daily whale beachings listed above, probably not much. In July, the purportedly liberal White House approved the use of such technologies in Federal waters off the US East Coast:

The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters.

And how could we forget this as an indicator of what’s plaguing sea creatures:

     Fourth Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill: Wildlife Is Still Suffering from Toxic Cover Up

Perhaps the deflationary wave that has been sent to the world economy–the price of oil, at $45.29 per barrel today, has now been cut by 58% since June, natural gas prices have also been crashing (again), and interest rates are now negative in several countries–will provide the kindness of some relief for the creatures of the ocean deep, kindness that humanity has been unwilling to provide.

Another monster problem for sea creatures and ocean birds is tens of thousands of tons of plastic:

One highly-recommended article that really gets the point across about the state of the oceans, especially the Pacific, is this one by an Australian yachtsman, which should be a must-read for everyone:

     The ocean is broken

What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat.

The birds were missing because the fish were missing.

Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he’d had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line.

“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalled.

But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two.

No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all…

If that sounds depressing, it only got worse.

The next leg of the long voyage was from Osaka to San Francisco and for most of that trip the desolation was tinged with nauseous horror and a degree of fear.

“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.

“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”

In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.

“Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea. And it’s still out there, everywhere you look.”

This lack of ocean fish is killing the ocean-migrating birds because there is nothing for them to eat:

     Up to 5 million seabirds likely to have died on Australian and New Zealand beaches

The industrial overfishing, the chemical pollution, the radiation, the acidification, the garbage…We truly are trying to “break” the oceans.

When that Malaysian airliner went missing, garbage hampered the search:

     Malaysia plane: Confronting searchers is an ocean full of garbage

Since the older generations can’t see a way to fix this, maybe younger people can start the process:

     19-Year-Old Develops Cleanup Array To Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From Oceans

As far as those rampaging elephants are concerned, can you blame them?

These are animals who walk miles to attend to the death of another elephant or the death of a person who was a friend to them:

     Wild Elephants gather inexplicably, mourn death of “Elephant Whisperer” 

Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 2. His family spoke of a solemn procession of Elephants that defies human explanation…

For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives. The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony…

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died?…

There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after Anthony’s death. “They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts. “The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.”

If humans were more rational, perhaps we would be trying to understand elephants’ telepathy and empathy rather than killing them for their tusks.

And then there are the poisons we spray, and the systemic poisons created by design in GMO crops:

     Neurotoxic pesticides linked to honeybee decline are affecting other species, scientists say after four-year assessment

Neurotoxic pesticides blamed for the decline of honeybees is also harming butterflies, worms, fish, and birds, and contaminating habitats worldwide which are crucial for food production and wildlife, scientists have concluded after a four-year assessment.

So we’re not just poisoning ourselves–and the bees and pollinators who are crucial to one third of humanity’s food supply–with toxic chemicals:

Glyph_autism

we’re poisoning lots of species.

And what about the migratory animals, both birds and sea creatures, who are losing their way?

     Birds are losing all sense of direction

It turns out that some migratory birds are stymied when they encounter the edges of a city, industrial area, or campus. The electromagnetic emanations from these places disturb the workings of these birds’ navigation systems. Given that experiments have shown that the emanations from wifi routers can kill plants, I guess it isn’t surprising that our electromagnetics are disturbing animals. And probably us as well.

And how can I fail to mention how we treat animals raised for food, putting them in cramped industrial settings and cages prior to their slaughter. Were it not for strong doses of antibiotics–which end up on our plates–most of these animals would die of disease.

Is the growing 2014 trend of animal attacks on people an indication that they have started to fight back? We better hope not. If the animal kingdom ever decided to fight with us, we’d likely all be dead within months. Without the ceaseless cleanup of our environment by insects, worms, algae, bacteria, fungi, etc., we would find ourselves living in waste. As it is, these beings constantly process billions of tons of materials into forms useful for us. And we often pay them back by trying to exterminate them, interested in the endless “growth, growth, growth” chant of our so-called leaders who definitely have no understanding of the exponential function.

Everyone has heard of the “lost animal syndrome” where there is a notable increase in pets getting lost before earthquakes. Are the animal agitations and disorientations a reaction to current Earth changes, or to an impending mega-Earth change. If it’s the latter, one might shudder to think what that would be.

Are the animals who normally remain deep in the oceans reacting to increases in methane and volcanic materials coming from the ocean floor? Perhaps.

Are the animal attacks a reaction to the changing energies of our evolving world? Are they reacting to the rapid decrease in Earth’s magnetic field, described here:

…based on the latest readings from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) satellite array called Swarm:

          Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Weakening 10 Times Faster Now

Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Previously, researchers estimated the field was weakening about 5 percent per century, but the new data revealed the field is actually weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought. As such, rather than the full flip occurring in about 2,000 years, as was predicted, the new data suggest it could happen sooner…

(Wow, 5% per decade. An exponential progression to be reckoned with.)

Or are the animal attacks on humans simply the animals reflecting our own emotional and mental states?

It seems clear that the assault, often clearly our assault, on the animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom, is unwise. Some Churchianity people quote Genesis about man being given “dominion” over the animals and plants. For some, this somehow justifies pillage and plunder versus the stewardship that, logically, must have been the intended meaning of the statement. Undoubtedly, dominion can’t mean the creation of a wasteland. But that is what we are doing in many domains. Here’s an excellent indicator of the bad news (I promise to follow it with some good news!):

     Photographic Adventure Reveals the Frightening Deadness of Genetically Engineered Corn Field

By Dr. Mercola

A recent NPR article highlights the truly frightening environmental effect of monoculture. NPR commentator and science writer Craig Childs decided to replicate a photo project by David Liittschwager, a portrait photographer who spent years traveling the world dropping one-cubic-foot metal frames into gardens, streams, parks, forests, and oceans, photographing anything and everything that entered the frame.

Around the world, his camera captured thousands of plants, animals, and insects within the cubes, with entirely different “worlds” of plants and animals living as little as a few feet away from each other.

Childs recruited a friend, and together they set out to replicate Littschwager’s “critter census” in a corn field in Grundy County, Iowa.

But whereas Littschwager’s camera captured several dozens of insects wherever he set up his frames, Childs and friend found nothing stirring among the genetically engineered corn stalks on the 600 acre farm in Iowa, where they spent an entire weekend crawling around on the ground. No signs of life with the exception of an isolated spider, a single red mite, and a couple grasshoppers.

“It felt like another planet entirely,” Childs said. “I listened and heard nothing, no birds, no clicks from insects. There were no bees. The air, the ground, seemed vacant. Yet, 100 years ago, these same fields, these prairies, were home to 300 species of plants, 60 mammals, 300 birds, hundreds and hundreds of insects,” Robert Krulwich writes2. “This soil was the richest, the loamiest in the state. And now, in these patches, there is almost literally nothing but one kind of living thing. We’ve erased everything else.”

The good news, the very good news, is that more and more people (permaculturists, organic growers, channelers of information from the devic realm in places like Findhorn and Perelandra, occultists, etc.) are realizing that nature provides a physical and energetic abundance that is currently well beyond our comprehension and perception; that we should be working with the processes, energies, and intelligences that provide that abundance rather than working against them; and that our own evolution depends directly on our turning our interaction with the natural kingdoms from one of exploitation and devastation to one of great respect and harmony. In this exponential accelerating trend lies great hope for us all.

*     *     *

(*Note of credit and thanks: Many links in this article come from the amazing SOTT.NET Earth Changes tracking page. They make great videos summarizing each month’s earth changes; you can see them here. As stated elsewhere, I think they do a wonderful job of collecting information, but a poor job of theorizing about its causes. They say that there is so much global cooling that a new ice age has already started, that “Planet X” is on the way, etc. I think they are wrong about these things. However, they do seem to like G.I. Gurdjieff, so there is hope.)

Earth Changes Update, End of 2014 – Part 1

When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.
–William Blake

NOAA, NASA, the Japanese, and the World Meteorological Org. all say 2014 is the hottest year in the modern record.

From NOAA Global Analysis – Annual 2014 :

The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880….To date, including 2014, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred during the 21st century. 1998 currently ranks as the fourth warmest year on record.

NOAAtrend-since-1998

Six individual months ranked as the warmest for that month in the modern record:

Six months of 2014 (May, June, August, September, October, and December) were record warm, while April was second warmest, January, March, and July were fourth warmest for their respective months, and November was seventh warmest.

Bloomberg did an interesting, brief (20 seconds) animated display of the temperature record since 1880, at this link:

     2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record

And from Japan:

     2014 was the hottest year on record, Japanese scientists say

Japan_an_wld.0

The global cooling people (they may have one good point, mentioned below) have a couple of things they’ll trot out. One is that 2014 was not the hottest year in the satellite temperature measurement data sets. The headline from the folks who keep the satellite data says this:

     2014 was third warmest, but barely

The article at the link, which only sometimes works, explains that they take measurements at different altitudes. In one data set, 2014 was the third warmest year; in another, 2014 was the sixth warmest year.

The other point is in this chart from NOAA:

NOAAland-ocean-combined

This shows the separate trends for temperatures taken on land, ocean, and the two combined. 2014 is the hottest year in the combined data (the black line) and in the ocean data (the blue line). It is the fourth warmest in the land-only data (the gold line). Some global cooling people impugn the ocean temperature data, claiming that the thousands of ocean temperature buoys provide suspect data. Even if they turned out right about that, which seems very unlikely, the long-term trends are exceedingly clear on all of these charts.

Where the global cooling people may have a point is not about the warming trend being a fallacy, clearly they seem wrong about that, but about the cause of the warming. While I think humans do play a part in the warming, I think that part is small compared with natural cycles, especially those driven by the Sun, which people underestimate across the board: the Sun not only keeps our physical bodies alive, but also lights our inner life via its connection with each of us at the point of the pineal gland, in the center of the head. So the Sun has a very wide spectrum of influence. People have been amazed in recent years by repeated largest-storm-ever-recorded events, but these aren’t happening only on Earth, they’ve been noted on other planets as well. Check this from UC Berkeley:

     Amateur, professional astronomers alike thrilled by extreme storms on Uranus

uranusIR

“This type of activity would have been expected in 2007, when Uranus’s once-every-42-year equinox occurred and the sun shined directly on the equator,” noted co-investigator Heidi Hammel of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. “But we predicted that such activity would have died down by now. Why we see these incredible storms now is beyond anybody’s guess.”

Sea levels

While the warming trend brings changes, I think those changes will be quite welcome in the long run. Unless, of course, the place you live has a lot of its infrastructure near sea level. Coastal cities the world over are hiring Dutch water engineers to plan how to keep the rising water out. Cities like Miami don’t like to talk about it (they worry about real estate values!), but they are spending hundreds of millions on new sea walls, as shown in this seven-minute video (h/t KR):

     Is Miami Beach drowning?

Those new sea walls won’t help a bit with storm drains that, instead of draining water away from city streets, now bring sea water to those streets at high tide. Most of these people make their plans using the UN’s IPCC estimates for sea level rise, stated in millimeters per year. I think such numbers will come to be seen as vastly underestimating the trend. As the video of Prof. Bartlett’s famous course on exponential growth shows so well, people have a tough time seeing the implications (and sometimes dangers) of something that grows by a fixed percent each year. Chris Martenson tries to summarize the exponential concept in a six-minute video and does a pretty good job of it:

     Crash Course Chapter 3: Exponential Growth

Storms and Floods

And the storms–on Earth, that is–just keep on coming. The increase in precipitation is likely great proof of the Earth’s warming trend as more water evaporates and becomes available for storms.

     Increases in extreme rainfall

Dr Westra … said trends in rainfall extremes were examined over the period from 1900 to 2009 to determine whether they were becoming more intense or occurring more frequently.
“The results show that rainfall extremes were increasing over this period, and appear to be linked to the increase in global temperature of nearly a degree which also took place over this time.
“If extreme rainfall events continue to intensify, we can expect to see floods occurring more frequently around the world.” Dr Westra said.

Here is a map showing the observed increases in very heavy precipitation events in the USA by region from 1958 to 2012:

HeavyCS_very-heavy-precip_V8-1

(Map source.)

In last year’s Earth changes statistical update, a chart from the world’s largest re-insurance company, Munich Re, was used to show that the increase in storms and floods was not imagined by deranged bloggers but was being reported by the hard-nosed insurance industry. This year, they didn’t update the chart, but they did publish that the number of “loss events,” as the insurance world calls them, hit a new record of 980 events:

In total, 980 loss-related natural catastrophes were registered, a much higher number than the average of the last ten and 30 years (830 and 640).

If they had updated the chart, it would include a bar similar to the one I added in purple for 2014, with the 980 level shown by the purple arrow:

MunichReWeatherAndEarthChanges2014BarAdClearly, the trend of natural catastrophes, especially storms and floods, is still on the rise. Munich Re noted that there were fewer deaths than previous years and–while noting that the death toll was lowered by the lack of a mega-catastrophes like the Japan earthquake/tsunami of 2011–applauded countries for their use of improved early warning systems. It sounds like both nations and individuals are wisely beginning to gain respect for the power of these events. Let’s hope that this is a general trend that leads to more and more people moving away from areas prone to flooding, typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis. An appropriate regard for these accelerating trends can save individuals and humanity a great deal of anguish.

Unusual and massive flooding has become, well, usual, even epidemic. Here are some just from the last month, compiled by SOTT.NET:

     Catastrophic flooding continues in southern Africa, considered one of worst disasters in years

     Flooding hits Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique

     South Australia prepares for flooding: 15 times their monthly rainfall

     Flooding, landslides and power outages hit Washington state

     Uruguay suffers severe flooding with much of Montevideo under water

     31 dead, 7 missing after Tropical Storm Jangmi triggers floods, landslides in Philippines

     Malaysian national park receives heaviest rainfall in more than 40 years

     Flash floods in Sri Lanka displace 46,000

     4 dead and 14,000 evacuated after flooding on the Thailand – Malaysia border

     Extreme flooding in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Earthquakes

With 156 magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquakes during 2014, the large-earthquake uptrend is more than intact. Here is my updated chart, using data from the USGS, with the arrow showing the clear trend:

QuakeTrend2014ShorterLabeledArrow

Maybe you think that’s an anomaly, not enough data is shown? Here’s the same chart with an additional nine years of data, back to 1973:

QuakeTrendThru2014Labeled

The science community is starting to admit the trend:

     A global surge of great earthquakes from 2004-2014 and implications for Cascadia

The last ten years have been a remarkable time for great earthquakes. Since December 2004 there have been no less than 18 quakes of Mw8.0 or greater – a rate of more than twice that seen from 1900 to mid-2004.

In 2014, there were no mega-quakes like the magnitude 9+ quakes that caused the deadly tsunamis of 2004 in the Indian Ocean and 2011 in Japan, so there were no major tsunamis.

It’s becoming commonly accepted that fracking and its associated wastewater injection activity causes earthquakes. So far, at least, these have been smaller-size quakes:

     Hydraulic fracturing linked to earthquakes in Ohio

     Oil Wells Linked to Oklahoma’s Stunning Increase In Earthquakes

     Second Greeley, Colorado earthquake halts injection site work

     Wastewater disposal may trigger quakes at a greater distance than previously thought

If you don’t live near a fracking site, here’s a great “meet your new neighbors” photo:

Fracking

Volcanoes

At the start of 2015, these were the numbers for currently-active volcanoes, with their colors as shown on the maps below (the interactive version of the map is here):

Erupting (red)   44
Warning/minor activity (orange)   32
Unrest (yellow)   75
      TOTAL 151

Ring of Fire map:

VolcanoesRingOfFire2015Start

Rest of the world:

VolcanoesAME2015Start

Some say that the extraordinary amount of volcanic activity is contributing to weather wildness and a slowing of the Earth’s warming trend. The latter point would not be surprising given this chart from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project showing that truly major volcanic eruptions temporarily slow the rising temperature trend:

volcWeatherresults-plot-volcanoes

(Chart Source)

The article at this link has a short video of Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano which has been producing 50 to 70 cubic meters of lava per second since August, 2014.

And these are just the land-based volcanoes. No one knows how many undersea volcanoes are active, though some are starting to think they are active enough to be warming the oceans. Previously-underwater volcanoes have been creating new islands, one in Tonga (which has been erupting every five minutes for a month) and two in Japan.

      Tongan Volcano Creates New Island

tonga_volcano-new-island

     Dramatic Video Shows Volcano Making New Island Off Japan 

Methane

Methane is being released not just from the ocean floor in the Arctic:

     Arctic Ocean releasing large volumes of methane

but also all along the Atlantic Coast of the USA:

     Hundreds of Methane Plumes Erupting Along East Coast

methane-bubbles

In an unexpected discovery, hundreds of gas plumes bubbling up from the seafloor were spotted during a sweeping survey of the U.S. Atlantic Coast….Between North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras and Massachusetts’ Georges Bank, 570 methane seeps cluster in about eight regions, according to sonar and video gathered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ship Okeanos Explorer between 2011 and 2013.

Sinkholes

Sinkholes continue to proliferate. SOTT.NET is the only service I have seen tracking these numerically. Yes, many sinkholes can be explained by broken water mains and the like, but others have no known explanation. SOTT.NET shows this as the emerging trend:

SinkholesSOTT2014

What’s causing these trends?

There are several theories about the cause of these increasing Earth changes. In my view, the one that best encompasses the full array of changes is the one that says, summarized briefly: Earth and humanity are beginning their evolutionary passage from third dimension to fourth dimension reality and therefore everything, everything is becoming more permeable, from the Earth’s crust to the lies of our governments to the divisions between the planes of existence, enabling more people to increasingly access realms of life that have traditionally been hidden. In any case, it seems that two things are clear:

1. These trends are accelerating, not diminishing, and as such, they deserve people’s attention and respect. Prof. Bartlett is right, people don’t realize the power of exponential trends, even less so with accelerating trends. Living in places that these trends indicate as high risk areas reminds me of a phrase in the financial markets for remaining in trades to the very last minute where the chance of gain is small and the risk of loss is huge: “picking up nickels in front of a steamroller.”

2. Whatever the cause or causes, there is clearly a pervasive energetic component to this planetary event. One demonstration of this is the great upset and upheaval taking place in the animal kingdom, which will be covered in Part 2.