Tag Archives: debt

Lid-ism—the West Struggles to Preserve the Status Quo

It is now one hundred years since the beginning of World War I. It is more than a little evident that the “war to end all wars,” as they used to call it during the 1920s and early 1930s, did nothing of the sort.

In fact, it would now appear that the rising levels of armed conflict and instability spreading over large parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and a whole tier of sub-Saharan African states isis  executeslike Nigeria, Mali, and the Central African Republic, has resulted in a higher level of violent conflict than at any other time during the last 25 years. This turmoil is evicence that the current episode of “The Great Game,” which strives for geopolitical power and domination, is truly alive and well in our time.

Yet, both the planned outcomes and unintended consequences of all this maneuvering to seriously re-arrange the world’s present status quo could make the experience of WWI look like a relatively tame political disagreement between reasonable gentlemen. After all, our state-of-the-art 21st Century weaponry with its lasting effects offers far greater potential for annihilating a much larger percentage of humanity than the technology of WWI.

An increasing number of closely interconnected issues—political, military, economic, financial, environmental, and religious—are all synergistically feeding into the present de-stabilization of the current geopolitical status quo, one in which Uncle Sam presently sits on the top world's policemanas “the world’s policeman (superpower)” daring anyone else to try and knock him off.

However, reliable polls show the American public no longer has the stomach for the sacrifice of treasure and blood that are needed by any powerful nation that wants to be in the top spot. Much of the public’s response is due to the failed American adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan that are proving to have been completely in vain or worse.

America is divided and weakened by a national leadership elite that is self-interested, shortsighted, hypocritical, covetous, and immoral as defined by the Holy Scriptures.

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [the teaching of God in the Scriptures]—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. Proverbs 29:18 (AMP)

The U.S. public is now mostly isolationist, focused on its growing domestic problems and bitter political divisions. The lame-duck Obama administration now has to content itself with covert special ops carried out by its numerous intelligence agencies, while only overtly waging war with its enemies economically by using the “Almighty dollar,” the world’s reserve currency, and its present domination of the world’s financial system. But as I write this, the U.S.’s financial grip isBRICS being weakened by its competitors from the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China [the world’s second largest economy], and South Africa  who have just set up their own competing version of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, deliberately excluding the United States and the E.U. from any say in this new multinational fund’s policies and operations.

We are probably witnessing the twilight phase of an American Century as financially solvent, politically cunning actors carefully plot to upstage the U.S financial hegemony and de-throne the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. America’s federal government debt alone now surpasses 100 percent of the nation’s G.D.P. Day by day we’re edging closer to an American day of reckoning and a time of profound geopolitical re-alignment.

Yet most of the mainstream, corporate-run news outlets and their government handlers in the Western world keep repeating to the public a message that the authorities “have it all under control.” That our peace, safety, and prosperity are assured and that they will continue on despite a few occasional blips. This is blatant “lid-ism.” Huw Rogers, a journalist with the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper defined this interesting word this way:

Much of modern politics is concerned with what I call “lid-ism,” measures aimed not to address the underlying issues but to keep the lid on.” http://www.waywordradio.org/lidism_1/

Lid-ism has its positive benefits, however. It allows us to sleep at night. But lid-ism doesn’t change the new reality that is coming and will profoundly touch our private lives.

For instance, the mainstream North American and European media are practicing lid-ism when it comes to reporting on implications of the violent struggles for domination and control presently underway in what we still call Syria and Iraq. In fact, you could even say the media is completely ignoring what’s happening there at the moment in favour of the more easily reported slug-fest between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. Much of the media portrays it incorrectly as a conflict between a more powerful Western nation, Israel the bully, beating up on a weak Arab state! The media is failing to see this conflict as just one more piece of the isis black flagpuzzle, one violent event concurrent with even larger and more important events taking place in the region. This region is widely experiencing the convulsions accompaning the re-animation of the jihadi Frankenstein monster. The new revival is similar in form to the original version of Islam set up by the successful Arabian warlord, Mohammad, who unleashed conquering hordes that over-ran the Middle East and tried repeatedly to take over Europe, so-called “Christendom.”

Again, because of the media’s lid-ism, we don’t hear much about how the status quo set up in the Middle East by Great Britain and France at the close of WWI is now close to completely breaking down.

At the close of WWI, Great Britain and France carved up the defeated Ottoman Empire and created out of it’s carcass many of the states found on a current political map of the Middle East. The Ottoman Empire was replaced by nation states like Lebanon, Syrian, Iraq, Jordan, the Arabian peninsula states, and what we now call Israel, as well as, the secular Turkish Republic that was created by Mustafa Kamel Ataturk in the early 1920s.

Considering the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and its Islamic form of government as a clear sign of the obsolescence of the old way, Ataturk embraced instead the West’s model state set up on secular, democratic ideals. He also, of course, abolished the dynastic position of Sultan and its Islamic political title of Caliph—meaning a religious/political successor to Mohammad. A ruler with the title of Caliph in Sunni Islam can legitimately call for and demand the loyalty of the entire faithful Muslim community.

For over a thousand years various Caliphates dominated the Middle East, and North Africa.  They invaded Europe and conquered Spain, the Balkan area, Greece, and Hungary, advancing as far as Vienna before the Caliph and his army were stopped.

Now a new Islamic State ruled once again by a Caliph has been re-created by the jihadi movement caliph ibrahimformerly known as ISIS: the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This Islamic State believes the secular, Western-oriented, nationalist model of government espoused by Ataturk with its separation of “Mosque and State,” democracy, and talk of human rights has failed the Muslim community, due to its moral corruption. So the Islamic State is actively suppressing anyone who holds Western political ideas, like democracy. Symbolically they are erasing the old Western-imposed political map of the Middle East and North Africa in order to resurrect the ideals of an Islamic Empire that embraces and unifies all Muslim believers under the black banner of jihad no matter their ethnicity, tribe, or place of birth.

This newly proclaimed Islamic State (I.S.) presently extends its control from the outskirts of Aleppo (in western Syria not too far from the Mediterranean Sea) to the outskirts of Baghdad christian refugees(south-central Iraq). Within its area of control it tolerates no other religious groups. Christians in the areas under the control of the new Islamic State are given a choice: convert to Islam, flee, or die. Most of the Christians who formerly lived in Mosul are now refugees in the autonomous Kurdish region of old Iraq. Recently France has offered asylum to these Iraqi Christian refugees.

It is highly unlikely that either the United States or the European Union will send their armed forces once more back into the Middle East to crush this reborn Islamic State and its Caliph. Why? Because at present the United States, specifically, and the Western nations in general have lost both their pride in their power, and their willingness to use it. Being secular nations that no longer self-identify themselves as Christian nations or as peoples living by Christian values, they do not fully appreciate the mortal danger posed to them by the re-born Islamic State (I.S.) with its Caliph. The U.S.A. and the E.U. are making a strategic error of historic proportions.

Shiraz Maher, an expert on the Syrian jihad at King’s College London, says there is little appetite for concerted international action to dislodge them:

Which leaves the prospect of a violent, extremist, well-armed, well-funded and religiously intolerant militia becoming a permanent part of the Middle East landscape, a sort of de facto “Jihadistan.”

Would it stop there?

IS jihad mapUnlikely. As far back as last year its adherents were proclaiming their ultimate aim of conquering territory as far away as Spain (once ruled by Muslims for centuries as al-Andalus), Austria, and China.

Even if [the I.S.] remained within the boundaries of the areas it has taken so far, it would likely be a springboard for attacks on neighbouring countries like Jordan and Lebanon, as well as attracting hundreds of young jihadists from the UK and the wider West.

Shiraz Maher, an expert on the Syrian jihad at King’s College London,  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28222872

Rex Murphy in his National Post column, “The mighty combustion of small events, and other lessons from the First World War,” noted:

The West has had some peace since the last great war [WWII], almost 70 years of it now. And we have had with that peace an astounding march of technological and material progress. Both tend to make people forgetful of worse times. It renders them careless of the foundations upon which peace is first secured and then maintained, and nourishes the delusion they are exempt from the horrors and perils that have been a constant in human affairs.

So it seems now to some, as it seemed to some a century ago, that there is a menacing scattering of events and conflicts, where a disturbance, an accident or misadventure… in one arena could unwind into a chain of unforeseen events, a haphazard flow of unpredictable cause and effect. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/07/26/rex-murphy-the-mighty-combustion-of-small-events-and-other-lessons-from-the-first-world-war

Well, the chain of menacing events unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa will eventuallyclash of civil blow the lid off the present geopolitical status quo in an all-out “War between Civilizations.” The root word “civilized” for “civilization” in this context seems like an oxymoron if I ever heard one. What’s coming will be anything but civilized. It will be a free-for-all struggle for survival and the coming of hard times and peril to most in this world. North America will not escape a painful re-adjustment to a new diminished status in the coming shift in the geopolitical status quo.

Lid-ism will not forestall the future, rather it may well hasten it. We should not be surprised that the American Century and the status quo is ending despite the best attempts of the Western governing elites to keep the lid on. Jesus himself predicted a scenario that seems not so different from what we see developing right before our eyes. Consider this prophecy by Jesus of Nazareth:

While He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”

Then Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains.“Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-14 (HCSB)

Ignoring the Big Bad Wolf? Take warning from reliable sources!


This evening I listened to the 6 p.m. news on CBC’s Radio 1 to catch up on the latest. The lead story was about the Executive Director of Scouts Canada resigning after less than a year in her new job. Next, there was a story about women and mammograms, or perhaps more accurately, when women shouldn’t get mammograms, as they have been over prescribed.

And then, there was a report about how the U.S.’s congressional super committee composed of 6 Republicans and 6 Democrats failed to agree on how to begin to cut the U.S.A.’s trillion-dollar budget deficit. Presently, for every dollar the U.S. federal government spends, it must borrow 36 cents. That means 36 percent of its budget must be financed by borrowing the money from the financial markets!

But, is it really news that the political situation in the U.S.A. is deadlocked and the nation divided. Most Americans know something about their unsustainable budget fiasco. They also know they are lacking the sound leadership to do something about their predicament, so their confidence in their elected representatives in Congress is at an all time low.

But it was the last part of this particular CBC news story that caught my attention. To conclude the reporting on the American impasse, the CBC cut away for a comment on the super committee’s failure by Christine Lagarde, who is the head of the International Monetary Fund. She remarked somewhat cryptically that this American bad news is especially ill-timed considering the extremely delicate situation in Europe.

Really, CBC ignored the biggest news story in the world at this moment that should have been last night’s lead. This story is about the unraveling of the European financial system, the Euro, and possibly the European Union itself, and how this is going to profoundly affect the lives of all of us living here in North America and everywhere else in the world.

Do you remember that it was the financial crisis of the 1930s that lead to the rise of the Nazis in Germany, the fascists in Spain and Italy, the militarists in Japan, and the isolationists and appeasers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France? The final outcome of all that economic volatility and bad or inadequate political leadership in the 1930s was the Second World War.

Craig Alexander, who is Senior Vice President & Chief Economist of the TD Bank Group (one of the major Canadian banks), sent out an unusually sober briefing on November 21, 2011, to the bank’s investing clientele, observing:

The European debt crisis is like the Energizer bunny. It keeps going, and going, and going. Financial markets remain gripped by events in Europe; and, this is entirely appropriate. If Europe loses control of the situation the resulting government debt defaults could lead to European bank failures that could, in turn, create a global financial crisis akin – if not worse– to that in late-2008.

There have been several recent key developments. First, major European banks now face the very real possibility of failing in the near future. As Porter Stansberry wrote in the S&A Digest last Friday:

Most of Europe’s major banks are insolvent. But only in the last week have they lost most of their access to additional funding. Their key source of funding has been U.S. money-market funds. But these funds are bailing out of Europe as quickly as they can. The result is a run on Europe’s banks. This crisis is now past the point where the authorities can hope to control the situation. We are now days (not weeks or months) away from the first major bank failures.

The United State’s renowned investment “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffet, while traveling in Japan on November 21, commented about the Euro zone crisis stating:

The system as presently designed has revealed a major flaw. And that flaw won’t be corrected just by words. Europe will either have to come closer together or there will have to be some other rearrangement because this system is not working.

The bottom line for Mr. Buffet is that the survival of the European Union (EU) itself is “in doubt now.” Buffet is following the European situation closely because he has more the U.S.$2 billion invested in Munich Re, a German re-insurance company.

Even that old staid Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, —where I once had a bank account during my 1970s student days in Switzerland—believes that the Euro sovereign debt crisis is now so bad that it will require a dramatic, massive intervention by the European Central Bank to cover the losses:

We seem to have entered the last days of the Euro as we currently know it. That doesn’t make a break-up very likely, but it does mean some extraordinary things will almost certainly need to happen – probably by mid-January – to prevent the progressive closure of all the Euro zone sovereign bond markets, potentially accompanied by escalating runs on even the strongest banks.

Something dramatic is going to happen—soon—that is going to reshuffle the world’s geo-political-financial deck of cards in order to save Europe’s house of cards. Some astute financial commentators are expecting that we will see the most massive government intervention in history to the tune of trillions in order to adequately monetize the bad European debt. This is going to mean big time inflation.

As Mr. Alexander wrote in his investment news update:

The recent developments leave the end game for Europe still unclear. A default by Greece is inevitable, but that is old news now. The worry last month was about contagion, and the risks on this front have clearly intensified. European leadership still appears to be lacking. Despite announcements of new plans to address the crisis in mid-July and late-October, implementation of those policies has not occurred. Progress needs to be made urgently…. It seems the final outcome in Europe will be some form of a fiscal union and the launch of Eurobonds—but this will not happen soon. If the political system cannot deliver this end game and conditions start to spiral out of control, the ECB will step in and act as lender of last resort. This would arrest the financial crisis but also create a new set of economic and financial problems. We’ve gone from a world of banks too big to fail, to a world of countries too big to fail. The implication is that three of the top financial themes will be volatility, volatility, and more volatility.

A series of soon-coming events are going to affect your life and my life—and not for the good! Just think. Over the last few weeks the German Chancellor and the French President forced the democratically elected prime ministers of Greece and Italy to step down and to be replaced with unelected European Union bureaucrats, whose self-interest and obligations for their position rest with the EU rather than the people they are now governing.

There’s a lot I could say about how what is presently going on in this world is leading to a dramatic fulfillment of biblical prophecy. How Germany is using and will continue to use its pre-eminent financial position to achieve what it could not gain in Europe by force of arms both 72 and 97 years ago. Wealth is power in 2011. Watch out!

The spiritual bottom line to our current financial crisis, really, is that neither the 99.9% of this world’s elite nor the average person in the street really believes in using the teachings and instructions written in Bible as a basis for organizing our financial and social systems. Why? Because they don’t really believe that the God of the Judeo-Christian scriptures actually exists or that He has the authority to instruct us on what should be done. So, we ignore the cornerstones of the biblical economic system with its periodic secured and unsecured debt forgiveness and mortgage write-downs, real property asset re-allocations (see Deuteronomy 15:1-11 and Leviticus 25:9-18), as well as the responsibility to establish sound money based on a combined gold/silver standard (Ezekiel 45:10-12).

These elements of the divine economy would have prevented the perfect financial storm fueled by debt, fiat paper money, greed, and fraud that is soon to hit this world. We have ignored God at our peril and will pay the consequences. Nevertheless, our merciful God is not out of the picture and He does have a plan to pick up the pieces after humanity will have proven itself incapable of organizing a financial and political system that is just, equitable, fair, and just plain works without regularly throwing the entire world into a state of economic volatility with its recessions/depressions and sometimes war. As the prophet said so long ago:

Remember this, you sinners; consider what I have done. Remember what happened long ago; acknowledge that I alone am God and that there is no one else like me. From the beginning I predicted the outcome; long ago I foretold what would happen. I said that my plans would never fail, that I would do everything I intended to do (Isaiah 46:8-10 Good News Translation).

This is better news than anything you will hear, see, or read about over the next few years.

Forgive us our debts lest we stagnate, default, inflate, or worse

The Lord’s Prayer has been a classic piece of must-read spiritual economics for almost 2,000 years. Who would have guessed that its teachings would be more relevant to our 21st Century than Jesus of Nazareth’s time during the heyday of the debauched, luxury-loving 1st Century A.D. Roman Empire.  Do you remember how the “Our Father” prayer goes?

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:9-12 King James Version).

Since World War II the Western world’s governments, corporations, and individuals have accessed a seeming inexhaustible mountain of credit (supplied by the Chinese and oil-rich Arabs), which has allowed us to dig ourselves into what now seems to be bottomless pit of debt. Men may be born free, theoretically, in the Western world but our national and personal debts may surely enslave both us and our children and our children’s children.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender (Proverbs 22:7 English Standard Version).

In 1945 consumer credit debt in the United States amounted to a little less than $5.4 billion. As of July 2008, this household debt had mushroomed more than 481 times to $2.6 trillion.  This personal debt of Americans represents about 100% of the U.S.A.’s total Gross Domestic Product for a year! The last time Americans racked up such a high percentage of household debt in comparison to their country’s GDP was in 1929. As we know, that debt did not foreshadow better things to come in the 1930s.

Of course, consumer debt is just part of the American “what’s owing” picture. Some economic analysts figure the combined total public and private debt and unfunded but legally mandated pension and health-care obligations in the U.S.A. now add up to roughly $100 trillion!

Where will the U.S.A. find enough creditors to cover these present and future debts? The origin of the English word “credit” comes from the Latin “credere, which means “to believe.” Historically, most creditors must believe that a debtor will repay him before the loan is made.  Does the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve really believe that his nation will be able to repay its borrowed trillions? Or has it become the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time?

Anywise, the United States has a lot of company when it comes to owing multiply times one’s national GD–much of the European Union including the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and even Switzerland are in the same mess. Iceland owes 12x their GDP, while Ireland carries a 7x load. Canada has a relatively lighter debt of about 2.5x GDP. But we shouldn’t be smug. If many of our trading partners enact austerity measures, as the recent G20 meeting announced, Canada will be affected negatively, too.

Again, the Western world is in serious trouble. Economists know the deficit financing model popularly used by most Western governments, corporations, banks, and private individuals has unraveled on a massive scale. What the future holds, according to these economists, may be an unpalatable mix of stagnation, default, and massive inflation.

The best of possible outcomes according to economists would be if the in-hock Western democratic nations worked off their debts through a combination of budget austerity and economic growth. But economic growth is unlikely due to ageing populations and smaller future workforces. As for democratic governments enacting sufficiently drastic austerity measures to make a difference, most voters will never voluntarily vote for their own economic pain.

Nevertheless, a debtor becomes a slave to the creditors. Some economists speculate that what is needed by the profligate Western democracies is a surrender of some measure of national sovereignty to a new global authority led by a “free-market dictator” similar to Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. Just as Pinochet forced Chileans to accept the constraints of the global economy (privatization, reducing wages and social services) and to repay their debts (principal and interest) to their creditors, so this “free-market dictator” would make the Western debtor nations accept “neo-liberal” reforms similar to those imposed by Pinochet. Don’t expect peace and harmony as part of such a scenario.

Perhaps it is time for us, hypocrites though we may be in things pertaining to God, to turn to the Bible for a real workable solution that would preserve our liberties instead of embracing those false, secular messiahs who would reduce us to a 21st Century version of slavery.

Jesus’ teaching about forgiving debts is soundly based in the Hebrew Scriptures.  (He was a Hebrew after all!) Check this out:

1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. 2 And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD’s release (Deuteronomy 15 New King James Version).

Under the divine economy massive amounts of debts and global elites parasitically living off interest payments would never have the chance to develop. Our present situation of massive debts and massive interest payments merely serves to widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

But the God of the Bible’s economic plan went much further than merely cancelling out debts every seven years. In Leviticus 25:8 the Scriptures outline a 50-year re-adjustment called the Jubilee. In the divine economy all land belongs to God. He divides it up by household giving a portion of the nation to every family. Families make their livelihood from this land and only pay taxes on their productive increase. There was no such thing as a fixed property tax like today. Taxes were paid only on productive increase. Since the land belonged to God, it could never be permanently sold, though it could be leased to any non-family member for up to 49 years.  But every 50 years was a Jubilee on which all land and buildings on that land freely reverted to the family who held the original inheritance. And this property would revert to the original stakeholders without mortgage, debt, or other encumbering lien.

Give me that old time religion and it would completely alter our present system of intergenerational economic inequalities and oppression, What freedom! What liberty! What equity! What economic stability and fairness! And we think we’re “progressive” and the ancient Hebrews primitive?

If we want to avoid what looks like a miserable economic and political future of austerity and authoritarianism maybe we should take Jesus up and ask God to forgive our spiritual debts while we wipe out all the financial debts and mortgages owed to anyone and everyone in this world. We would do this in a massive celebration in the spirit of the ancient Hebrews 7th year of debt release. Then, maybe, we can re-divide up our nations to all the people who actually live in the land. These are two policy changes that would change the entire world for the better instantly.