2001 In Review
A Year Of War.
2001 turned out to be a year of war. It was a war of terrorism, Massive US retaliation against Afghanistan and extremely high tensions in Central Asia, where, as I write this fighting has broken out between two nuclear powers who have a visceral and long standing hatred towards one another. This is all happening in a region where a large segment of American Forces are now conducting military operations. Currently, the US has bases in Pakistan which are being used to conduct its 'war on terrorism'. In Israel, Arafat has lost all credibility and is no longer viewed as a partner for peace by the Israeli Government. It has broken off official contact with Arafat. Now, the Palestinians are halving a crisis of leadership and the Israelis have not relented in their search for terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In South America, the insurgencies continue, fueled by poverty and narco-trafficking while the worlds western governments are at a loss as to how to handle their increasing economic problems. South American poverty and narco-trafficing have their source in the Western nations' voracious appetite for illegal narcotics, and the policies of the IMF. This is true in, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador Venezuela. While some countries have larger problems than others, the situation in South America is far from stable and given the global economic downturn, insurgency movements will likely gain momentum in the coming months as more and more people lose their jobs, savings and faith in their governments. War is in the air. It is an ominous state of affairs that has as many problems as it has conflicts around the globe. Economics however, usually play a very strong role in any decision to go to war, and even if it is not always the primary reason, it usually can be placed pretty high on the list of reasons. Afghanistan is just the beginning of a long US war campaign ostensibly to fight the scourge of global terrorism. This necessity and the validity of the reasons stated for this war is questioned by many who posses seasoned political acumen and a suspicion of multi-billion dollar corporations that purport to provide 'news' to its audience, who can be better described, not as viewers but as victims.
It is the studied view of this writer and joyfully, an increasing number of thinking Americans, that this war is not primarily about terrorism. Terrorism as a concept is ill defined and cannot be fought with guns bombs and cruise missiles. As long as human beings long for freedom, and others desire to keep it from them, there will be 'terrorism'. George Washington was a terrorist to the British, but to us Americans, he is a freedom fighter. A freedom fighter is always (in the 20th and 21st century) defined by its enemies as such. To many people in Central America, Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and recently even in the Balkans, the US Government is a terrorist nation. It launches missiles and bombs on civilians on an almost daily basis somewhere in the world. This is not said to justify any terrorist act, to the contrary, constructive dialog is by far the better, sane and civilized choice when dealing with many of the problems terrorists claim to represent. Yet, what is one to do when ones oppressor will not talk or is unwilling to talk in good faith? One person might say, hope, the other says fight. Here is the dilemma that most Americans simply cannot understand. When you watch your child die in your arms from a bomb that says 'made in the USA', it is very hard not to want to fight. Most Americans cannot understand this and will not justify the use of violence when others are wronged. Yet, let one major attack happen to America and the response is not dialog, but violence. Violence against women and children, the old and infirm in order to get one man. If this act of mass murder in Afghanistan is not defined as a criminal act, it will be difficult in the future to define any act of mass murder as a crime, provided the same standards are applied. It is just this important contradiction that is the root of almost all anti-American sentiment and terrorism. It is a the violent hypocrisy and flagrant disregard for human life that the American Government has towards people if the skin is dark or the eyes are somewhat slanted. This contradiction will define the 21st century as long as the American Establishment has the reigns of power in the US Government and that government remains unchallenged on the world stage, politically, economically and militarily.
Possible future scenario
Terrorism will increase. This war will exacerbate political/military/economic tension throughout the world. The US's war in Afghanistan will be viewed as the beginning of World War III and this war will see the use of biological, chemical, and quite possibly, nuclear weapons. A nuclear detonation over a large city will almost certainly occur within the next 5-10 years, perhaps sooner. Terrorism will increase, especially against the US as the world slowly begins to drift into two camps. Those who have been purchased by the US government and those who have been victimized by it. If this war continues, it is likely to see China and the Middle East align themselves together in a more militarily menacing way to threaten US interests in key oil and mineral producing regions of the world. Look for the US to suffer a major defeat in the coming year, as its military capability gets stretched beyond its effectiveness. This could happen in Iraq, North Korea, or still yet in Central Asia if other regional combatants enter into the fray.
Economic Turmoil and the Rise Of the Euro
The world is in a serious economic slump. GNP for the US is declining and major corporate bankruptcies hinder any genuine sign of recovery. Nevertheless the 'experts' that get paid substantial fees for their pronouncements, continue to see an elusive recovery 'just around the corner'. America has seen some its biggest and proudest corporations go bankrupt in 2001, among these are:
Pacific Gas And Electric - $24 billion lost
Finova Group - $12 Billion Lost
Reliance Group - $12 Billion Lost
WR Grace And Co. - $2 Billion Lost
Laidlaw $4 Billion Lost
Comdisco- $8.7 Billion Lost
AMF Bowling- $1.7 Billion Lost
PSInet $2.5 Billion
Enron Largest In US History ($ amount uncertain as the companies total liabilities are still being investigated)
TWA $2.1 Billion Lost
Net 2000 'Funding Gap' of $80 Million
Problems on the horizon
JDS Uniphase Largest single year Loss in Corporate History $50.6 Billion
AT&T Dropped From $60 a share to $17
Engage revenues down 50%
Value Vision Lost $2.7 Million in just the 3rd Quarter.
Phillips- Van-Heusen 35% Drop in profits.
This is just a very small snapshot of real economic trouble that is out there. This is the largest destruction of jobs in US history. Fortunately, there are no bread lines (yet) because unlike the 1930's, social safety nets have been created to hold people over. Yet these nets are already strained and will become more so as state and federal tax bases continue to shrink. The Social Security system is seriously underfunded. Estimates range from 4 to 11 Trillion Dollars shortage. These are serious deficiencies that no one wants to own-up to because of the enormous tax increases and or decreases in Government spending a real solution would entail. This is a massive problem that is not going away. In short America is living way beyond her means.
Bush's tax cut was meant to help the US economy out of the doldrums. It did not work. The pittance of a rebate that people received did not go for some massive consumer spending spree as hoped. Instead, the money went to pay off credit card debts, pay back taxes (which the IRS and state Governments dutifully took before people even saw the money). Bush's tax cut, while admirable, is just a tip of the iceberg of the kind of tax relief that is needed. As we spend America's future for a war in Afghanistan, our nation is carrying massive and uncontrollable debt loads in a recession with historic levels of job losses. It is important to note here that this writer no longer views the Dow and the NASDAQ indices as reliable gauges of economic strength or weakness. They are too heavily manipulated by The FED, fund managers and Wall Street insiders. This is done to prop up economic confidence in the millions of Americans who have their retirement in the market, to keep them in it. If Americans realized how messed up the markets really were, then there would be a mass exodus from the market and things would go to 'hell in a hand basket' in very short order. Hence key players work in unison with the Fed to keep the major indices from dropping too far too fast and even rally from time to time. Many will not believe this. Well, the evidence is abundant from Government policy documents to Presidential executive orders to statements made by some the the worlds largest investors that this is what is going on. You may believe the fund managers who get paid to sell you stocks and the talking heads on TV who get paid by those same fund mangers or you can do your own research. The bottom line is this: It's your money, not mine.
This is a disaster. The government resigns, people loot the parliament, this is anarchy. Argentina defaulted with 155 billion dollars of outstanding debt. This bankruptcy was after the bailout in 1993 with Brady Bonds, these financial instruments were how the IMF 'fixed' its problem last time. Now those loans may never be repaid. Indeed the nation will have to undergo some kind of bankruptcy reorganization. This is not good news. It effects all of Latin America, especially Brazil and it also affects the US. It is unwise t o make the mistake that this is only 'another default' and 'they'll figure it out...' whatever the solution is, it will b e very painful to the Argentine people, who have already had scores killed in rioting and looting that is still sporadic at this writing. What is happening there should be of great interest to us here in the USA. A nation like Argentina cannot go under without enormous repercussions on the rest of the hemisphere and the Global banking system.
Japan's economy is on the brink of collapse. This is not alarmism it is a simple fact. Its banking sector is in shambles and without a major infusion of capital to stave off a wave of bad loans, its banking system will be not just technically bankrupt, as it is today, but bankrupt in the real sense that it cannot meet the demands of its daily depositors. How Japan gets out of 2002 without a major banking failure will be a difficult if not impossible feat.
Possible future scenario
America's Economy will continue to slide throughout 2002. There may be another 'bear rally' out there but even that is not likely. As more and more companies report earnings, confidence will continue to wane. Job losses will continue unabated into 2002 and retailers may get hit hard in early 2002. Look for the Bureau of labor statistics (BLS) to pad the jobs numbers with accounting tricks and fictitious job creation numbers to help in projecting as positive a picture as possible to aid business confidence. This will be a watershed year for the American economy. The dollars preeminence as the World's reserve currency will be challenged forcefully by the Euro, which went into circulation on January 1st 2002. Europe too, has more than its share of economic problems. But here the decision by many non-European states to use the Euro over the dollar as a reserve currency will be a political as well as an economic decision, this could prove disastrous for the US if Oil producing nations begin to demand Euro's instead of the internationally agreed upon dollars for oil payments. In much of the world the US is viewed with great suspicion and holding large amounts of US dollars when a stable and more importantly gold backed currency is available will prove to be more than just a temptation to these nations. In a short time it will be a necessity to hold at least some of their reserves in Euro's as the true state of the US economy begins to show itself. The massive debt loads coupled with inflated production statistics will place America's continued prosperity in its greatest peril since the founding of the Republic. I cannot stress enough that Americans need to be prepared for hard times. Harder than most living Americans (except those in the 70's and up) have ever experienced. The Government cannot and will not protect you. You must depend on yourself to survive what is coming. There is no getting around it. If you do not prepare you may very well wind up homeless, hungry or worse. The seriousness of this problem will not really begin to show itself to people until late in 2002, and by late 2003 what I am saying now will be a forgone conclusion: This nation is in deep trouble.
Look for Argentina to adopt the dollar as its currency and look for calls to develop a hemispheric currency, not unlike the Euro, to increase. These calls will be intensified as Argentina struggles to pay its debts. Dollarization of the Latin Americans economies is already a reality in some nations and it may be the answer to an creeping dollar crisis that the world will see in 2002 and onwards.
The Bush Presidency
Bush has received high marks from Americans sine the September 11th attacks, provided the opinion polls can be believed. His actions during and just after the attacks are still very much shrouded in mystery and controversy however. Still, when it was time he acted decisively and many feel wisely. While many, such as myself, believe that more than ample warning was given to the US from many sources including allied nations that an attack was imminent. I, and many writers from both the political left and right, believe enough warning was given in fact to avert these attacks. The majority of Americans have not been resourceful enough to discover this and other troubling facts about 911. Hence, despite the fact that the intelligence community either has a massive failure (riddled with severe and inexcusable incompetence) on its hands or it has a faction within it that wanted the attacks to occur, is a possibility that is lost on most people and will continue to be until the very last vestiges of the Constitution has been torn up by some very, very evil men in high places in the US Government. Today we have military tribunals for anonymous defendants whose names are not even allowed to be made public. This is the very definition of tyranny. Yet Americans, in all of their mentally handicapped patriotism applaud these moves like the citizens of the Third Reich.
Bush's performance in the China spy-plane incident was hardly inspiring. The Chinese downed our plane, captured our crew, took apart a Top-Secret Spy Plane and demanded the US apologize and pay reparations to the Chinese Government. While the spin-meisters in the Corporate media, (who have billions invested in China) may hail this as a major victory for the US, it was a humiliation that just caused the Chinese to laugh and correctly mock the bought, paid for and fully mortgaged 'paper tiger' also known as the US Government.
Possible future scenario:
Bush will do everything he can to keep the eyes of the nation on foreign wars. He will put forth more so-called anti-terrorist legislation as quietly as possible. Yet Bush and Ashcroft will wind up going too far, as he stretches the limits of credibility. The Senate will begin, at first quietly, to investigate some of Bush's scandals, most notably the Enron mess. Mr. Lay, the CEO of Enron is a close friend of the President and it was his firm that was deeply involved in the California energy crisis which was not a crisis at all but appears to have been a sophisticated looting operation that left the state of California with huge bills to pay. Bush was conspicuously silent during this crisis while his friends made billions of dollars. Now with Enron bankrupt and its employees having been locked out of the ability to sell their stock while the executives sold theirs for hundreds of millions of dollars, criminal charges should and could still be filed. Yet, no one is doing anything or saying anything about it at the time of this writing. America is being looted. It is being looted by major corporate CEO's, banks and politicians. The American people have not figured it out yet, but by the end of 2002, many will have begun to figure it out as the blinders slowly come off. This is why we see the rush to pass 'anti-terror' legislation and the need to set up homeland defense forces in the US. It is to prevent the kind of scenario we are seeing in Argentina, where the people finally figure out they have been robbed by a truly evil and corrupt system and fight back.
Middle East Peace Process
Arafat has shown himself to be an unreliable partner in stopping terrorism against Israeli's. Israel has decided to no longer deal with him and has decided to take matters into its own hands using the blunt instrument of the IDF to accomplish its ends. Probably taking its cue from the American reaction to the events of 911, Israel no longer felt constrained by international opinion in dealing with the almost daily occurrences of terror in Israel. The peace process is dead. What we are witnessing now is a war process, a process where the good guys behave like bad guys and the bad guys behave like bad guys. Israel is viewed in the International community very much as a pariah because of the unique history of the Jewish people and the the unusual way the nation of Israel came to be. Israel's isolation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, as thinly disguised anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionist sentiment reacts with horror to every action Israel takes in defense of its population. Israel must deal daily with bombs in restaurants, suicide bombers in shopping malls and exploding school buses. The world's horror at the terrorism of 911 and its violent and hypocritical reaction to it, show that western opinion is only really concerned about terrorism when acts of terror are committed in western nations, not when they occur in Israel. This does not exonerate completely the actions of Israeli government against the Palestinians. Yet when one looks objectively at the history of many Palestinians, who were ejected from Jordan in the 1970's for continued acts of terror against Jordan and the fact that this all occurred without so much as a slap on the wrist by the world community, one must question conventional wisdom that continually wishes to reward the terrorists with the legitimacy of continued international protection from retaliation from its bloody deeds. With the continuing terrorism committed by the Palestinians one must wonder why again, we see a double standard of who gets to retaliate for terrorism and who must sit back and endure it. The Palestinian people blew the last chance they had to solve this problem peacefully when Ehud Barak made great strides towards peace and offered everything that the Palestinians wanted, except of course to see every Israeli cast into the sea. Barak bent over backwards and now this problem will only be solved with violence as no Israeli leader will make those kinds of concessions again as it has been demonstrated that terror and bloodshed are the reaction to these political and diplomatic sacrifices.
Possible future scenario
The Israel-Palestinian problem will continue to fester without any real resolution. However, Israel will feel much less constrained to deal with acts of terror as it has before the events of 911. Israel will meet terrorist violence with swift and deadly force. This will, over time, cause continuing rifts in the Middle East's political landscape. This, in my humble opinion, will lead towards war. This war will not be as others were in the past with great Israeli victories. While Israel will survive I think any war now will leave Israel badly damaged. I believe any war in the middle east in the future will be conducted with weapons of mass destruction, that is Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons. This may not occur in 2002, but barring a miracle of some sort it will occur before too long. One catalyst that may bring this about would be a US attack on Iraq. This could polarize opinion in the middle east enough to cause many of our allies in the region to turn on the US and attempt to deal with what they perceive to be 'the US-Israeli problem' on their own.
If you liked the terror and economic havoc of 2001, you're gonna love 2002. Americans will have no illusions that terrorism is bringing an end to their cherished freedoms. In fact most have been gone for some time but now, like the stench of rotting corpse, the death of the American Republic will be as unmistakable as it is nauseating. Consider: This war has not been declared by Congress as the Constitution demands, the President has suspected terrorists in jail and won't release their names, some of them, according to local Law enforcement officials, had last names like 'Smith' and 'Jones', before the Feds took them away. This is in total contravention of the Constitution. Consider that the President has allowed his friends to loot one of of the worlds largest corporations without so much as a word of rebuke, this is a totally corrupt state of affairs. While this is transpiring, Americans shrug, open a beer and pop a Prozac. Christians turn on Christian TV where multi-millionaire preachers beg for money from widows while far, far too many of them live in fornication and adultery, abuse drugs and holler 'Praise the LORD'. Is it any wonder why the world mocks 'Christianity'? America is going down the tubes. The world as a whole will accelerate towards Globalism and we will really begin to see the managed chaos necessary to bring about the beginning of a World Government. Most will not see it as anything sinister. They will explain it with their new age religions, humanistic philosophies and apostate Christianity. They will miss the fact that the God of the Bible said these things will be so in these times. They will devise arguments and various explanations to mock the prophecies of Jesus Christ as they come to pass. In the coming years people will begin to disappear in large numbers, they will be taken to re-education camps and labor camps because they refuse to bow to the new order. Christians will the the first priority target of the new order. Most Church-goers will be immune because they will obey the Anti-Christ and his system and eventually take his mark (See Revelation Chapter 13).
How many wise people will there be in the last days?
Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified and made white and tested. But the wicked shall do wickedly. And not one of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
Job 9:3 If he would argue with Him, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand.
Job 33:23 If there is a messenger for him, a mediator, one among a thousand, to declare for man his uprightness,
Ecc 7:28 that my soul still seeks, but I have not found; one man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all those I have not found.
I would guess perhaps that only one in a thousand will understand what is really happening in our times, the rest will be resurrected to everlasting shame and contempt.
(Dan 12:2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
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