Catastrophes and Conspiracies
By Dene McGriff
And there will be great (Grk. “mega”) earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences;
and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven…These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
Catastrophes – mega-earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, climate change - no doubt we are experiencing changes, some natural and cyclical but others prophetic – signs in the heavens and signs on earth. Men’s hearts will fail with fear as natural disasters grow in number and intensity. Meanwhile deep in the bowls of the earth we hear whispers of conspiracies. We wonder as power and wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few elites—elites whose greed suppress and squeezes what’s left of the vanishing so-called middle class. Could it possibly be that they were right all along? Perhaps there is a cabal of international bankers and power brokers calling the shots.
Doesn’t it seem to us there is an increase in the number and frequency of all kinds of natural disasters? Huge and devastating earthquakes in Haiti (7.0), Chile (8.8) and Sumatra (7.8), Baja California (7.2) and swarms in China, the South Pacific. Now we have air traffic grounded in Europe because of ongoing eruptions from a volcano in Iceland. Glaciers around the world are disappearing all over the world including Glacier National Park, Greenland, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Matterhorn, etc. Please see the before and after photos. I am not one who believes that CO2 emissions are the major cause of global warming, although something is surely afoot. The earth has gone through many periods of warming and cooling, having nothing to do with man-made activity.
However, there is a growing body of evidence that weather, volcanic activity, earthquakes and the like are strongly influenced by the Sun, and other activity within the solar system. NOAA has recently formed a Space Weather Center where they track solar and other activity. The earth is constantly bombarded by particles from the sun as well as super nova, black holes and other space. If you look at the activity for April 15, 2010, you will see a spike in the KP index, and solar x-ray flux coinciding with the recent volcanic activity in Iceland. This space activity causes fluctuations in the atmosphere and in the molten core of the earth. Solar cycles last from 9 to 14 years, averaging about 11 years. It is directly related to the reversal in the Sun’s polarity.
2012 & Solar Cycle 24
We have had a lull in solar activity the past couple of years, but during Solar Cycle 23, there were spikes in solar activity which perfectly coincided with Hurricane Katrina and several other massive named storms that year. We have now entered Cycle 24 which began in 2008. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center said there would be a solar minimum in December, 2008 with a peak between December, 2012 and May of 2013. The correlation between solar activity and weather has been observed for centuries. We are just now beginning to understand how the charged particles interact. Solar flares explode from the sun with the power of a million nuclear bombs and when those charged geomagnetic storms and ultraviolet, gamma and other rays are sent directly at earth they can disable satellites, disrupting communications and electrical grids and causing physical harm to astronauts in orbit. See this government release on the impact of space weather on earth.
The most powerful geomagnetic storm since December 2006 struck the earth on Monday, April 5, 2010. NOAA issued a space weather advisory on April 3, a coronal mass ejection traveling at 500 kilometers per second meaning it would arrive in two to three days. The geomagnetic flux is measured on the KP index. This was a 7 on a scale of 0 – 9. How can it affect earthquake and volcanic activity? The molten core is magnetic and the correlation with solar changes is well documented. NASA sees a “big and intense” cycle beginning in 2011 and 2012.
“Having said this, something seems unusual with the traditional cause and effect time-linked-means associated with plasma discharge. I would suggest it is not geo-magnetic storms we have historically witnessed over the past few millennia (maybe 2000 - 3000 years), but a more galactic-driven form of charged particle discharge. In other words, I believe the initial source comes from outside our solar system. I would suggest it comes from identified - and unidentified celestial orbs.
Celestial orbs include supernovas, brown dwarfs, black holes, dark matter, plasma fields, planets, asteroids, and comets. Something within our galaxy Milky Way (and perhaps outside) appears to be the cause of recent unusual geo-magnetic storms.”
Time will tell. We’ll keep an eye on events as they unfold. One thing we do know is that prophecy is clear that in the last days there will be an increase in disasters and extraterrestrial phenomena along with wars, rumors of wars, famine, etc.
Conspiracies and Deception
Now let’s turn our attention to another aspect of the last days – conspiracies. The Bible clearly reveals that in the last days there will be the greatest deception the world has ever experienced. Doesn’t that suggest “conspiracy” as well? The two definitely go together. We can pretty much count on the fact that whatever the conventional wisdom is (whether of political leaders, church leaders or society as a whole), the truth has little to do with the accepted position. Who or what is the source of the conspiracy to deceive and amass power and wealth? No doubt, there is evil in the world. Neither God nor Satan would get very far without the help and cooperation of humans, the only sentient beings able to respond to lies and truth, to the promise of being a “god” to the reality of having a relationship with God, from being the “master of our own destiny” to serving and loving the “maker of our destiny”, from worshipping the “designer gods” we create (which is fast becoming “us”) to worshipping the one true and holy God who reached out, saved and gave us His life. Luke 16:13 tells us there are two masters and we can only serve one: God or Mammon (the Aramaic word for “riches”).
Human nature (which we as Christians believe is sinful apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ) is naturally greedy (covetous) – wanting to amass as much power and wealth as possible. History is filled with the rush to greed, and we can see how most wars have been fought over who controls the wealth – whether gold, productive land, minerals, oil, etc. In the modern world, who controls wealth? Thomas Jefferson wrote,
"The [privately-owned] Central Bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the principles and form of our Constitution...if the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Years ago I wrote a chapter titled Modern Alchemy: the Money Illusion in which I explained the origin and role of the Federal Reserve – which is neither “federal” but a private banking cartel, nor does it have “reserves” but prints “money” out of thin air. In the past year and a half we have seen the biggest transfer of wealth ever to occur in the history of the world as trillions and trillions of dollars were transferred from the pockets of the poor middle class American to the wealthy elites, banks and failed corporations. Those who caused the crisis profited from it, all with the blessing of the so-called “Federal Reserve” and the U.S Government. This is the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and it isn’t over yet.
So let’s shift to a question and answer format since there is so much material to cover and so little time.
Question: Did the government strategy to get us through this crisis work?
Answer: According to conventional wisdom, the Great Depression in the 1930s could have been avoided if the government spent more freely (a false assumption). The goal this time was to supply liquidity (money) first to save large banks and investment houses from failing and then to spend, spend, spend in order to get the economy moving.
Question: Didn’t the stimulus work? We seem to be in recovery.
Answer: Only in the short run. The classic modern example is Japan. It stimulated the economy by creating money, lowering interest rates, doing public works but as soon as the stimulus was withdrawn, the economy slipped back. Now 20 years later, there is no rebound in their markets, real estate or other assets.
It may appear to be working, but at what cost? The economy grew at a rate of about 3 percent in the last two quarters of 2009 and seems to still be on the upswing in 2010. Research indicates that without government spending the economy would have shrunk by 6 percent. The government pumped about $13 trillion into the economy indirectly by shoring up the banks and buying toxic assets and spending a trillion in stimulus programs. It will be interesting to see what happens when they take the foot off the gas pedal.
Question: Isn’t the U.S. able to absorb more debt as the biggest economy in the world?
Answer: America has shown an incredible capacity to absorb debt, trade imbalance and maintain its international reputation, but even America has its limits. In order to save the banks and stimulate the economy, the Federal Reserve and the government created trillions of dollars and borrowed trillions more. Debt has to be paid eventually. The interest on the national debt is already a large percentage of the budget. Economists point out that the interest on the national debt as a percent of GDP is historically low – about 3 percent. Interest rates on treasury bonds is abnormally low, but it will eventually have to rise. It could easily double, and if so, the amount spent on interest on the national debt will double. Where can cuts be made? See the chart to the right and notice that over half the budget is mandated (health and retirement/pensions) and a quarter is defense, leaving all other programs susceptible to cuts
The US GDP is $15 trillion and current national debt is $12.5 trillion and growing at $1 to $2 trillion a year. It is projected to more than double in the next nine years. Where will the money come to pay it, especially if interest rates rise? Say you go to the bank and borrow $10 million. You can live like a king for a few years, even make payments with some of the money you borrowed, but eventually it catches up with you. You either default and don’t pay it, or, if you are a government, you print money like crazy and pay it off with cheaper dollars. I know that doesn’t sound very honest, but that is what governments do. Welcome to the new Argentina!
Historically, there is a tipping point where the debt equals the GDP of the country. It is at that point where things start to deteriorate. We have believed the Keynesian lie that debt doesn’t matter. It does matter for a family or a state or local budget. The only difference is that a family, a business or even a state such as California or a country like Greece cannot print their way out of debt.
The greatest tax we pay is the insidious tax of inflation. In 1970 you could buy the average car for $2,000 and the average house for $20,000. We paid 35 cents a gallon for gas and bought hamburger on sale three pounds for a dollar. Multiply everything by ten and there you have it. I lived like a king on a thousand dollars a month and would need ten times that to live the same today. The only way for a family, a city, county or state to get out of debt is to cut expenses or raise taxes. The more we pay in taxes, the less we have to invest and expand the economy and the more things slow down. Yes it is a vicious cycle and there is no happy ending. Perhaps we will see the old adage come true. “The bigger they are the harder they fall.” To say it doesn’t matter is the height of folly.
In 1986 I was evaluating the USAID multimillion dollar health aid to El Salvador. I sat down with the Minister of Health and we talked about it. I mentioned that the health budget had remained the same so why hadn’t the budget increased? Oh, they spent it on the war. Asked if he realized that ninety percent of “AID” was a loan and had to be paid back. He said, “yes,” but I could tell he didn’t really care – nor did the President or any of the politicians. They would be long gone and the problem would belong to someone else.
The fact is no one cares. It won’t be any American politician’s problem because they will be gone. “Kicking the can” down the road so it becomes our grand children’s problem is not a good solution. American debt is so big, it is greater than the debt of the whole world combined according to CIA estimates. What a foolish nation to think we are too big to suffer the consequences for our foolish actions.
Question: You said that we had created trillions to save the banks. I hear there is a credit crunch and banks aren’t loaning. Why?
Answer: Great question. The TARP money was one thing and much of that has been paid back. But beyond that, the government (which loosely includes the Federal Reserve) loaned money to banks at record low rates (the Fed funds rate was .25%) and the banks bought Treasuries from the government (getting from 3.5 to 4.75% on the treasuries). No risk! A win-win all the way around except that none of it gets to people or businesses that need it. Meanwhile, we don’t have inflation because money in circulation is actually dropping. The velocity (turnover of money) is extremely low. Banks have made it very hard for any business or individual to get a loan. Why should the banks make risky loans when they can get money from the Fed for nothing and buy bonds from the government that give them a nice spread?
Have the banks learned their lesson? Creative banking instruments called derivatives got us into the mess to begin with. They packaged mortgages and sold and resold them. So, they cleaned up the mess? No, they continue to play the derivative casino and still have trillions in toxic assets hidden in their books – even more than before. They hide their losses and cook their books. Eventually, this will all come to light and have to be dealt with. That is why this crisis is far from over. It has barely begun.
Where did the money go? The banks hoarded it. They paid out record bonuses. Goldman Sachs is paying out over $5 billion to themselves in bonuses coming to $498,000 per employee. Other banks were in a big hurry to pay off TARP money so they could pay themselves big bonuses.
Question: House prices are going up in my neighborhood and there are very few houses on the market. Where are all the houses we hear about being foreclosed on, short sales, etc.? There are several empty houses on my street and one was on the market for years.
Answer: Another good question. This is called “shadow inventory”. Banks are withholding houses from the market for two main reasons. First, if they flooded the market with inventory, prices would keep going down. Second, say they have a house on their books for $400,000 but it will only sell for $200,000. As long as they keep the house on the books, they book it at the original price but when it sells, they take the loss. Again, we thank government regulators for changing “mark to market” rules which required them to write down assets as they lost value. The mortgages that are resetting won’t hit the market until 2011. Meanwhile, unemployed people can’t pay mortgages so the spiral continues.
Question: Why didn’t they just let the banks and other businesses (GM, Fanny Mae, Freddy Mac, etc.) fail?
Answer: Many would argue that is exactly what they should have done and that interfering with the normal market process only prolongs the inevitable adjustment. Instead they pumped trillions into failing enterprises rather than just letting them fail and liquidate. The Japanese government did the same thing and this has contributed to the length of their 20 year recession.
Question: Nevertheless, the banks and Wall Street trading firms seem to be making a lot of money.
Answer: Exactly! And therein lies the rub! How is wealth created? Do we make money by shuffling paper or by producing something of value? We deceive ourselves by thinking we create wealth by packaging loans and reselling them. When it is exposed for the worthless junk it is, the government bails them with tax dollars we will eventually have to pay. The next time they need money, there will be none to bail them out. Then what? Good grief – None Dare Call it Conspiracy!
Question: My econ class assured me that debt doesn’t matter. Why are you so uptight?
Answer: Your econ professor was wrong. There is only one real way to get rid of debt and that is to pay it off. But there are several ways for a government to get rid of debt: pay it off with real money, inflate the currency and pay it off with cheap money (the government’s preferable way) or default. The first way needs taxes because government has no money unless we give it to them (Ever hear of VAT – Value Added Tax – try floating on that one?). The second way (devalue currency) hurts us because it destroys our savings, devalues our currency and is the most onerous hidden tax we will ever pay. Default ruins the country’s reputation and standing in the world community. Remember El Salvador? “Government” is nothing more than bureaucrats and some elected officials with term limits. They don’t have to live with their decisions long term. All the bureaucrats want to do is keep their jobs. The problem even the ancient Greeks observed with democracy is that when the majority learns that they don’t have to work but can take someone else’s money by the vote so the “have nots” steal from the “haves”. We are now in the Obama phase – take from the rich and give to the poor. But this comes at a tremendous cost.
In all of history, no fiat (paper) currency has ever lasted because the temptation to devalue it is just too great. No country has carried the debt levels we have relative to GDP and survived in the long run. But America is resilient, wealthy and powerful and the dollar is still the world reserve currency for two reasons. First, other countries trusted us. The greenback was considered the most stable currency in the world. Second, other currencies are in worse shape than ours because they are also printing money and going into debt. But the value and reputation of a currency is only good as long as the other nations believe we can and will service our debt honestly. Once they question our ability to meet our obligations, the interest/risk rate will go up. If we try and inflate our debt away, the world will turn on us and it will get very ugly. America has been playing a high stakes game for some time since we are no longer the major producer but the consumer of the world. But the debt trend is not sustainable. There is a limit and we are about to reach it and when they do, Governments always choose inflation. Why? By increasing the supply of money and debasing their currency, policymakers pay off debt with cheap currency and create the illusion of prosperity via rising asset prices, especially housing.
Is there a Banking/Government Conspiracy?
So is this an evil conspiracy, a cabal of men meeting in smoke filled rooms making decisions on how to rule the world? Probably not but it sure seems like it. Money certainly rules and it doesn’t seem to matter whether it is Republican or Democrat. Business seems to be getting plenty of support from both sides.
If they hadn’t poured $13 trillion down the big business/banking rat hole, they could have given every family in the U.S. a $100,000 house free and clear. Think about crime for a moment. Enron was bad losing $11 billion in shareholder money. Madoff was worse with $50 billion scammed from investors. In the past 40 years, there has been an unparalleled concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. But our government has been giving trillions of dollars to the very banks and companies that caused the crisis to begin with. I don’t know if it is a conspiracy but it sure doesn’t make sense.
According to analysts, the top 1 percent control 75 percent of the wealth and the difference between the rich and the poor continues to grow. The chart below shows the share of capital income between the top one percent and the bottom 80 percent.
As I said at the beginning, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but appearances can’t be ignored. The whole central bank system is a giant cartel owned by the banks. There is a revolving door between the regulators and the regulated. Prior to becoming Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson was the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Poor Hank got an act of Congress to exempt him from paying any taxes on his $650 million nest egg when he went off to serve his country at Treasury. Just this week Goldman Sachs came under investigation by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) for fraud in a derivatives scandal. They were selling CDOs (packaged mortgage derivatives) they knew were subprime disasters and shorting them (betting against them) with other clients – a way of hedging your bet to make money if they fail. The new Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner, was Paulson’s lackey at Goldman and at the New York Fed just prior to coming to Treasury. If you look into it, you will see there is a long history of the foxes (bank executives) guarding the hen house (the Federal Reserve banking cartel).
Under the Obama administration we have seen banks, insurance companies, automobile manufacturers, and now health care come under the government umbrella. The government sector is expanding while the private sector contracts. Government worker salaries surpass the private sector salaries by a large margin. Meanwhile more stimulus spending, deficit spending, bank bailouts, and government hiring will inevitably lead to higher taxes at a time when job creation is anemic (especially when the stimulus is removed). People are being laid off in droves down at the local level – teachers, police, firemen, etc. Businesses are closing left and right. Foreclosures are at record highs. The tax base is decreasing leading to more layoffs, more foreclosures, but the current administration merely increases its efforts to spend more money, prop up failing businesses, paying people unemployment for two full years, turning them into hard core unemployed with no incentive to even get a part time job.
It is well documented that the gap between the rich and poor increased under the Bush administration. Now Obama is going to take away the tax cuts Bush gave the wealthy. Obama is going to take the cost of health reform out of the rich man’s hide. But don’t think taxes won’t eventually reach down and touch everyone. Health reform is scheduled to take a half trillion out of Medicare so good luck to the poor folk on fixed incomes. Bush was bad on deficits – at a few hundred billion a year but Obama is beyond belief by spending into the trillions. And will deficits do any good? No, there is a new bubble forming – in government debt. Stimulus programs do little to nothing for long term growth, but put an incredible burden on the average citizen at the same time services are being drastically cut. Obama appears to be creating a socialist welfare state that will completely bankrupt the country.
Wall Street and the banks on the dole are paying record bonuses, while they cook the books, overvalue assets and play the derivatives casino. So is there a conspiracy? In a loose sort of way, it appears that way. As we have pointed out before, catastrophe and conspiracy are prophesied in the last days. In Revelation 6 there are four horsemen: one on a white horse conquering with a bow and no arrows (“peace in our time”), the second on a red horse taking peace from the earth, the third on a black horse bringing scarcity and the fourth on a pale horse bringing plagues, famine and civil unrest. The third indicates that most people work all day to earn enough money just to subsist, while a few enjoy the luxuries of wine and oil – in other words a concentration of wealth with many poor just barely getting by. The prophetic sequence on the economy ends with the mark of the beast – “ He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or[a] the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17). So in the end, the economic system is destroyed and rebuilt by the Antichrist so that no one can buy or sell without worshipping the beast.
If there ever were a conspiracy – I’d have to say that bringing a New World Order out of chaos would be it. There’s nothing that can bring on international chaos than economic disaster. Economic disaster, coupled with catastrophes – so-called natural (earthquakes, volcanoes, Katrina) or man-made disasters (war, in particular) – will demand an emergency whereby the people will surrender their will to a new savior, an uber-bailout Fixer where the governing elite will undoubtedly, as the apocalyptic Scriptures suggest: “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the Beast” (Revelation 17:13).
We can expect catastrophes and conspiracies. Signs in the heavens and earth will cause men’s hearts to fail. We will see a vast transfer of wealth as the quality of life for the average person declines and the world as we knew it falls into chaos. It’s time to invest in eternity. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust does not corrupt and where thieves do not break into and steal—for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Only then will there be nothing to fear – for knowing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One who is coming again soon…only He can bring peace to the earth and bring order out of the pending chaos!
Dene McGriff, April 2010