Saturday, January 31, 2009

Military to Pledge Oath To Obama, Not Constitution

Conservative News and Reporting
"News for the Rest of Us"
Michele Chang

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is extremely frustrated with orders that the White House is contemplating. According to sources at the Pentagon, including all branches of the armed forces, the Obama Administration may break with a centuries-old tradition.

A spokesman for General James Cartwright, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states that the Obama Administration wants to have soldiers and officers pledge a loyalty oath directly to the office of the President, and no longer to the Constitution.

"The oath to the Constitution is as old as the document itself." the spokesman said, "At no time in American history, not even in the Civil War, did the oath change or the subject of the oath differ. It has always been to the Constitution."

The back-and-forth between the White House and the Defense Department was expected as President George W. Bush left office. President Obama has already signed orders to close Guantanamo and to pull combat troops from Iraq. But, this, say many at the Defense Department, goes too far.

"Technically, we can't talk about it before it becomes official policy." the spokesman continued. "However, the Defense Department, including the Secretary, will not take this laying down. Expect a fight from the bureaucracy and the brass."

Sources at the White House had a different point of view. In a circular distributed by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the rationale for the change was made more clear.

"The President feels that the military has been too indoctrinated by the old harbingers of hate: nationalism, racism, and classism. By removing an oath to the American society, the soldiers are less likely to commit atrocities like those at Abu Ghraib."

"We expect a lot of flak over this," the classified memo continues. "But those that would be most against it are those looking either for attention or control."

The time frame for the changes are unknown. However, it is more likely that the changes will be made around the July 4th holiday, in order to dampen any potential backlash. The difference in the oath will actually only be slight. The main differences will be the new phrasing. It is expected that the oath to the Constitution will be entirely phased out within two years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

generation SEX

How the faceless and amoral world of cyberspace has created a deeply disturbing... generation SEX

By Olivia Lichtenstein
Last updated at 11:47 PM on 27th January 2009

Remember that Hilaire Belloc cautionary tale - Matilda told such dreadful lies, it made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes? I used to love it as a child when telling lies was one of the naughtiest things you could do: Matilda ended up getting burned to death.

These days, however, everything has changed and it’s the truths that children tell that make one gasp and stretch one’s eyes.

A couple of years ago, my daughter Francesca, then aged 13, told me about a party she had been to one Saturday night.

Insight: Olivia (left) and daughter Francesca
In the course of the evening, she came upon one of her friends, also aged 13, performing oral sex on a boy in the garden. The boy was standing and videoing the event on his mobile phone.

My daughter, in whom the feisty gene has always found strong expression, pulled her friend off the boy, knocked the phone out of his hand and slapped him round the face.

I apologise for shocking you, but then there are a number of things shocking about this event: the casual nature in which such an intimate act is performed in public, the young age of the participants and last, but by no means least, the fact that it is being filmed.

This not only signals the boy’s disassociation from the physical experience, it also indicates his intention to replay the event and, no doubt, to share his triumph with his friends as one might brandish a trophy above one’s head for all to see.

Reality TV has a lot to answer for

Nor was this the only such event on this particular evening. I am no prude, but Francesca painted a picture of Bacchanalia that certainly made me gasp.

That week at school, when conducting a post mortem of their weekend as teenagers do (and always have done), the girls at her then school (she’s since moved), a private girls’ school in London, exclaimed: ‘Hurrah, now we’re more slutty than Slutney’, the affectionate nickname of another school.

Call me old-fashioned, but when I was a gal, sluttishness was not a condition one aspired to.

That year, they were all dressing in Hooters T-shirts (the uniform of the well-endowed waitresses of a U.S. restaurant chain whose slogan ‘delightfully tacky yet unrefined’ sums up its approach) and buttock-skimming shorts.

They looked, as girls so often do, far older than their 13 years and not unlike the Playboy Bunnies who incensed a generation of feminists. (Interestingly, clothing depicting the distinctive Playboy bunny is highly popular now among teenage girls.)

When one considers our society, it’s no surprise that our children have lost all sense of modesty.

Reality check: TV's Skins glamorises teenage promiscuity
Not only do social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo encourage teens to share information about themselves; but when they are not taking their clothes off, their role models are spilling their guts about their ‘private’ lives all over the pages of every national newspaper, magazine and on television.

We have an immoderate interest in the private lives of perfect strangers. Pop stars such as Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears expose the car crash that is their life for all to see.

Jordan, who won fame by revealing her breasts, has a documentary series where she and her husband, Peter Andre, discuss their sex life (or lack of it) in intimate detail.

The Osbournes revealed all for our entertainment in their television series. Was this extraordinary exposure responsible in part for the subsequent drug and alcohol abuse of the two of their children who participated? One can’t help feeling it might have been. Their third child, Amy, wisely chose to stay out of the limelight.

Whatever its exponents may say, reality television has a lot to answer for. I have been a documentary film-maker for more than two decades and am well aware of the power of the medium.

Today’s teenagers are starring in the reality show of their own lives and doing all they can to make it as dramatic as possible.

Where before mistakes we made when young - excessive drinking, acts of promiscuity - were quietly forgotten, now they are recorded and broadcast on the internet for all to see.

From happy slapping to amateur sex videos (Paris Hilton rose to fame when a shamelessly intimate video of her and her boyfriend found its way on to the internet, a reality TV show followed, and the rest, as they say, is history).

Do these girls even know what feminism is?

The sexualisation of our young is ubiquitous: boys caught cheating on their girlfriends on mobile phones, ritual humiliation and worse by YouTube (In February 2008, a gang of London teenagers aged 14-16 drugged and raped a woman in front of her children and then posted the film of the attack, videoed on a mobile phone, on YouTube), television programmes like Sex And The City with man-eating Samantha as the living embodiment of casual libidinous sex, all provide the back projection to our children’s lives.

Instant fame is all. In today’s celebrity culture, no one cares how you made your name, as long as you’ve made it; there’s no distinction between fame and notoriety.

Do you really want things that you’ve done when drunk to be plastered all over the internet?

These images are like puppies; they’re not just for Christmas, they’re for life.

Would the 13-year-old girl administering oral sex in a London garden have done so if she’d fully considered the possible repercussions of the video the boy was taking of her?

Once broadcast on the internet the images would have become available not merely to the boy’s friends, but to the whole world; to paedophiles and to prospective employers in the future.

In her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women And The Rise Of Raunch Culture, Ariel Levy writes about the American experience, where many a young girl’s dream seems to be the desire to dance around a pole or cheer while others do.

She says that feminist terms such as liberation and empowerment, that used to describe women’s fight for equality, have been perverted.

Now the freedom to be sexually provocative or promiscuous is not enough - now it can mean the freedom to be an exhibitionist.

During the same summer as the party my daughter had told me about, she casually mentioned at a lunch gathering of family and friends how another of her friends allowed boys to ‘touch them up’.

There was a sharp, shocked intake of breath around the table; the casual use of language and the public mention of such an act astonished us.

Although many of us might have engaged in such activities at a similar age, none of us could have imagined discussing it in front of our parents let alone in front of our parents’ friends.

So how much are the parents to blame?

It is precisely this erosion of the boundaries of privacy and the absence of taboo that is so shocking about today’s teenagers. Modern technology allows children access to images and information we, as children, could scarcely have imagined.

You want to see a naked girl? Click on to the internet. You want to hear exactly what your friend got up to the night before? Log on to Facebook. Not only will their boasts tell you that they are recovering from the excesses of the night before, there’ll be the pictures to prove it.

In today’s world of fast information and access to all areas, too many - particularly the young - are having to up the stakes to chase their particular dragon and get the high they crave.

Sometimes, they’re so busy creating drama and tension in the movie of their own lives that they’ve forgotten to be human beings.

A video I was told about shows how far things have gone: a dying woman lay inert on a street while a man urinated on her, saying as he did so: ‘This is a YouTube moment.’

When I was young, secretly looking up the word penis in the dictionary and sniggering was how we got our thrills. This is small beer for today’s children: the girls especially, who, where once they might have struck a pose in front of mirrors in the privacy of their own bedrooms, now exhibit themselves scantily clad in hookers’ poses in photo albums on social networking sites.

There’s something about the one step removal into cyber space that allows people to behave even more outrageously than they might in person. Now, even this boundary is becoming blurred.

Perhaps it’s the freedom or lack of boundaries they’ve learned from virtual reality that give them permission to behave with such frightening lack of inhibition in person. That and the demon drink, for today’s teenage girls drink in a way we rarely did.

So how much are the parents to blame? Those of us who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies will do almost anything to appear ‘cool’ to our children; we certainly don’t wish to come across as some sort of Mary Whitehouse scandalised by today’s youth.

Nor do we wish to appear as joyless, men-hating feminists, although many of us remember that we fought hard for the right to do as men have always done.

One can’t help but wonder what happened to feminism and its lessons. On the one hand, girls drink like men; on the other they dress in a manner that invites sexual objectification. Do these young girls even know what feminism is?

‘The problem is that teenagers have rejected the values of the previous era and to reject the values of the Sixties or Seventies, which was very laissez faire, you have to go very far,’ says Dr Pat Spungin, psychologist and founder of parenting website

The bar has unquestionably been raised. Where will it end? In bizarre fetishism or S&M as teens strive to outdo each other?

The lessons learned are confusing ones; girls feel they have the right to get drunk and sleep around, but certain attitudes never change.

According to a sample group of 17-year-olds I spoke to, there is an enormous double standard between the sexes. Boys treat sex as being a sign of ‘laddishness’ and masculinity, they say; promiscuous behaviour on their part is an achievement.

Girls, on the other hand, are caught between a rock and a hard place.

‘Boys demand that they go further before they are ready; if they do, they’ll quickly be labelled as sluts, and gain a reputation as an easy target, so that drunk boys will seek them expecting that they’ll be easy to get off with,’ says one.

‘If they don’t, they’ll be labelled as frigid and become instantaneously unattractive; most boys won’t bother investing time and energy flirting with a girl if they think there is little prospect of pulling.’

‘Girls I know often get drunk and allow themselves to be touched up at bus stops or up against walls,’ says my daughter, Francesca.

Many of her classmates, she says, have been sleeping with their boyfriends since the age of 14 or 15.

Peer pressure has always been a persistent factor of teenage life. The stakes are higher now and teenagers, not surprisingly, have become even more competitive and paranoid. They may often find themselves in situations they are not equipped to deal with.

The internet personae that children create turn them into avatars - an online persona - in their own lives and diminish their empathy for each other. It becomes hard to tell what is real and what isn’t.

Role models? Paris Hilton (left) rose to fame when an intimate video of her and her boyfriend hit the internet. Britney Spears (right) had a very public meltdown

Facebook has an application called the Honesty Box, which invites you to send and receive anonymous messages to discover what people really think of you.

The application’s blurb declares triumphantly that messages cannot be removed: ‘Once you send a message, it’s forever.’ Thus has bullying moved from the playground into cyber space?

The implications of all this behaviour are far reaching. A survey about violence in teenage relationships released last month by Women’s Aid and Bliss magazine found that nearly a quarter of 14-year-old girls who responded had been pressured into engaging in sexual activity with somebody they’ve dated.

According to the survey, boys see girls as sexual commodities and one in four 16-year-olds had been hit or hurt in some other way.

Many felt it was OK to hit a girl if she’d been unfaithful. It also found that more than half of 14 and 15-year-olds have been humiliated in front of others by someone they were dating.

‘There used to be a stricter and more regulated approach to bringing up children,’ says Dr Pat Spungin.

‘Parents should take back some of the control they’ve ceded. We don’t say “no” enough, so vulnerable girls don’t have enough experience of saying “no” themselves.’

This is not to say that we should be condemning teenagers for being sexual and proposing that they take chastity vows and attend purity balls as is fashionable in parts of the U.S.

However, we do need to consider what is appropriate behaviour and to help our teens ensure that ill-considered or drunken acts which are sometimes a part of growing up won’t come back and hurt them in the future.

Some, of course, have always been sexually precocious

There have, of course, always been girls and boys who are sexually precocious.

When I was in the fifth form (Year 11) at my girls’ grammar school, I remember a classmate going to Majorca and returning to boast that she’d slept with six boys in a week. Luckily, neither she, nor they, had the pictures to prove it. These days they might well have had.

‘The girls who are most vulnerable and have the most desire to be liked are the ones who are tempted to cross these boundaries,’ says Dr Pat Spungin.

The event cited at the beginning of this article is an extreme one and by no means common to all teens’ experience. It did, however, occur.

Others will have similar stories, and it is symptomatic of a worrying tendency among our teens to live their lives in an inappropriately public arena where they reveal far more of themselves, both literally and metaphorically, than is wise.

Barack Obama recently commented on the fashion among young men for wearing their trousers low on their hips: ‘Brothers should pull up their pants. You’re walking by your mother, your grandmother, and your underwear is showing. (Some people might not want to see your underwear - I’m one of them.)’

Few would wish a return to the hypocritical constraints of life before the sexual revolution; however, the trouble with the pendulum is that it has a habit of swinging too far the other way.

Perhaps it’s time for everyone to pull up their pants and show each other a little more respect; and, since we’re supposed to be the adults, it has to start with us, with how we behave, how we draw boundaries and what we put in our newspapers and magazines and on our television screens.

* Olivia Lichtenstein is a TV producer/director and novelist. Her novel, Mrs Zhivago Of Queen’s Park, is published by Orion at £6.99.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hedge-Funders Are Bullish on Gold, Guns, and Inflatable Lifeboats

The New Paranoia: Hedge-Funders Are Bullish on Gold, Guns, and Inflatable Lifeboats

* By Timothy Sohn
* Published Jan 11, 2009
During the final months of 2008, as the financial markets imploded, talk on trading desks turned to food and water stockpiles, generators, guns, and high-speed inflatable boats. “The system really was about six hours from failing,” says Gene Lange, a manager at a midtown hedge fund, referring to the week in September when Lehman went bust and AIG had to be bailed out. “When you think about how close we were to the precipice, I don’t think it necessarily makes a guy crazy to prepare for the potential worst-case scenario.”

Preparations, in Lange’s case, include a storeroom in his basement in New Jersey stacked high with enough food, water, diapers, and other necessities to last his family six months; a biometric safe to hold his guns; and a 1985 ex-military Chevy K5 Blazer that runs on diesel and is currently being retrofitted for off-road travel. He has also entertained the idea of putting an inflatable speedboat in a storage unit on the West Side, so he could get off the island quickly, and is currently considering purchasing a remote farm where he could hunker down. “If there’s a financial-system breakdown, it could take a year to reset the system, and in that time, what’s going to happen?” asks Lange. If New York turns into a scene out of I Am Legend, he wants to be ready.

He’s not the only one. In his book Wealth, War, published last year, former Morgan Stanley chief global strategist Barton Biggs advised people to prepare for the possibility of a total breakdown of civil society. A senior analyst whose reports are read at hedge funds all over the city wrote just before Christmas that some of his clients are “so bearish they’ve purchased firearms and safes and are stocking their pantries with soups and canned foods.” This fear is very much reflected in the market—prices of corporate bonds have been so beaten down at various points that they suggest a higher default rate than during the Great Depression. Meanwhile, while the overall gold market has fluctuated, the premium for quarter-ounce gold coins—meaning the difference between the price for gold you can hold in your hand and that for “paper gold,” such as exchange-traded funds—rose to an all-time high of 20 percent. “Gold is transportable, it’s 100 percent liquid, and it’s perfectly divisible in the context of ounces, bars, or coins,” says the head of a California research firm who keeps a supply of it, along with food, water, and guns, on hand. “And most important, there’s no counterparty”—i.e., it’s an investment beholden to no one, and perhaps one of the few assets that will retain value if the financial system collapses.

While it may look like these Wall Streeters are betting on such a collapse, their embrace of survivalism is an outgrowth of their professional habits of mind: Having observed the economy’s shaky high-wire act from their ringside seats, they are trying to manage their risk and “hedge” against a potential fall. “It’s like insurance,” says an investor who has stockpiled MREs and a hand-cranked radio. “And by the time you need it, it’s way too late.” Leave it for others to weep for the collapse of the social order. These guys would prefer to be in a high-speed boat or ex-military vehicle, heading off toward their fully provisioned compounds in pursuit of the ultimate goal: to win the chaos.

Radio vet signs off as CFRB cuts back - Entertainment - Radio vet signs off as CFRB cuts back
Parnaby leaves with 50 years under his belt, along with five others; Syrett's show cancelled
January 27, 2009

Award-winning reporter and commentator Tayler Parnaby, a 50-year news radio veteran whose pre-noon daily broadcast was the last link to NewsTalk 1010 CFRB's fabled past, is calling it quits.

Parnaby and controversial shock news radio personality Richard Syrett were among six long-time news staffers whose positions were lost in a cost-cutting shakeup at the once-formidable Toronto radio station in the past week.

They were among 23 jobs cut from Astral Media's English-language radio division. The specialty TV, radio and outdoor advertising company, which acquired Standard Radio in 2007 for $1.1 billion, released a statement citing the need to "maintain and enhance the competitive position of its 82 radio stations."

The positions, which included four held by veteran CFRB news producers/writers David Bent, Jane Brown, Bill McDonald and John Elston, will not be replaced, station manager Steve Kowch told the Toronto Star yesterday.

"Only one show, the Richard Syrett Show, has been cancelled, and that's because after two years it is not performing the way it should.

"This sort of thing happens in radio all the time."

Parnaby's signature 11:50 a.m. newscast has been a fixture since the Star's Gordon Sinclair launched it during World War II.

"It's been a hell of a ride," said Parnaby, 67, CFRB's chief correspondent since 1988 and a former mainstay at CKO, CKEY and CHUM.

"I've been part of the Toronto soundtrack, I guess, since 1964," he told the Star yesterday from the Caledon home he shares with his wife of 43 years, Lynda.

Parnaby had been semi-retired for the past 18 months, Kowch said.

"He made the decision to retire for good this past weekend. He asked for two things: for (news director and Toronto at Noon host) Dave Trafford to do the newscast (announcing his retirement), and for no fuss to be made on air about his decision to step away."

Based at CFRB's Queen's Park bureau, Parnaby enjoyed grilling politicians with an almost patrician formality that frequently gleaned more thoughtful responses than from other, less polite questioners.

A tireless newshound, Parnaby reported on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, the 2005 tsunami in Southeast Asia, the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial in Los Angeles, and numerous federal, provincial and U.S. election campaigns.

But he was most famous for his popular pre-midday newscast and commentary, which continued a tradition begun around 1942 by Sinclair, a famed Star correspondent fired for, among other indiscretions, daring to take his act to CFRB.

"The `10 to 12' newscast, which Gordon Sinclair began, is being retired. I'm retiring, too," Parnaby said wryly.

"It's clear, I think, that CFRB is suffering from a declining audience and, in these difficult circumstances, declining revenue," he said.

"It's my understanding ... that CFRB will undergo a fairly substantial reformatting or refocusing in the coming weeks."

Kowch said there were no plans for a new format, "just a readjustment in the newsroom and some staffing shifts."

Kowch wouldn't say how many news staff remain at the station. But on the day the cuts were made, CFRB had a team of about six reporters and producers in Washington to cover President Barack Obama's inauguration, he said.

"And we have a full team in Ottawa reporting on the budget and Canada's national political scene. We have more than enough people to do the job. These changes will have no impact on the Toronto radio operation."

With files from Robert Benzie

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Swift and Violent Rise of Oil

Whiskey & Gunpowder
By Dan Denning
January 26, 2009
Melbourne, Australia

You’re still with us? Good. Now, why are oil prices lying?

Prices communicate information. The NYMEX February oil contract fell over 5% today in New York trading to $34.40. This suggests oil is falling in value, at least in the short term. And maybe that’s not totally a lie.

After all, the current oil price results from two factors. First, the absence of leverage from the oil futures market leaves prices reflecting immediate supply and demand. With inventories full, the market seems well supplied (so much so that OPEC is cutting production). Second, the reality that oil demand will be flat or slightly fall this year because of the worldwide financial pandemic.

Adequate supply plus stagnant demand equals $35 oil. So why is the December 2010 oil contract trading nearly 80% higher at $61.80? What could possibly happen between now and December 2010 that would cause oil to go up 80%?

Well, for one thing you might be in the early stages of an economic recovery by then. Demand would have recovered. Shares could be higher. Everything could be fine.

But we can think of at least three reasons why the current oil price is headed much higher this year (not in 2010). First, the lower oil price is actually going to lead to lower oil production later this year and next. Oil production is declining to begin with. But the crash in prices has put the kibosh on exploration and production.

Second, as Diggers and Drillers contributor Mike Graham explains in a January article on the subject, the clear trend within the oil market is that historical exporters are exporting less oil. There are several reasons for this, which Mike gets into in his story.

One is that oil exporters are hoarding it now and waiting for higher prices later. Another is that oil exporters are consuming more of their own production, leaving less for export. And still a third reason is that the world’s largest oil exporters face declining production trends thanks guessed it...Peak Oil.

Yes. Peak Oil has not gone away. It’s been sent to the corner while the Credit Depression hogs the stage. But Goldman Sachs oil analyst Jeffrey Currie issued a report yesterday predicting a, “swift and violent rise” in oil prices in the second half of 2009.

Currie told a conference in London that, “Thirty dollar oil reflects the same imbalances that got us to $147 oil. The problems haven’t gone away. We still believe the day of reckoning is to come.” What problems?

There are still major infrastructure bottlenecks in the global oil network. Currie says that despite the big fall off in demand, “This is not 1982-1983 all over again. The supply picture’s radically different...the demand picture’s radically different. The key difference is that today there are no large-scale next generation projects that are going to save the world. Commodity demand is exponentially higher than it was.”

This brings us to the third reason oil prices should rise later this year: the oil trade is back on. Sure, credit may still be a scarce commodity. But if you judge traders by their actions, you can see the market is setting up for a big oil back draft. As evidence, Bloomberg reports that, “Morgan Stanley hired a super tanker to store crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, joining Citigroup Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc in trying to profit from higher prices later in the year, two shipbrokers said.”

Our friend Dan Amoss back in America calls this the oil arbitrage trade, where supply is stockpiled offshore, and thus withheld from refiners, allowing existing gasoline inventories to be worked down. Then in six to twelve months time, when crude prices have moved higher, you simply park your ship at the terminal and cash in on the difference between what you paid six months ago (today) and the new market price.

It is normal for the oil futures to be in contango, where spot prices are lower than futures prices. What’s less normal is the amount of oil being stockpiled offshore. “Frontline Ltd., the world’s biggest owner of supertankers, said Jan. 14 about 80 million barrels of crude oil are being stored in tankers, the most in 20 years,” Bloomberg ads.

We also suspect that oil as an inflation hedge will come back into vogue later this year, which might be adding to the appeal of buying today at bargain basement prices. What’s more, you can never discount (although you can never fully quantify) the geopolitical aspect of oil prices. A good general rule of thumb is the more war there is in the Middle East, the more likely oil is to go higher.

Next is a massive topic we are reluctant to introduce today. But we have to. There is no other way around it. It begins with a question: how much air is left in the credit bubble?

Actually, the question comes via Howard Ruff and Steve Hochberg. Let’s start with Hochberg.

He’s the lead analyst at Elliot Wave International. Bob Prechter’s folks have been forecasting for years that the collapse of the credit bubble would lead to a general and massive deflation, including much lower gold prices. In his latest analysis, courtesy of a DR Reader, Hochberg explains:

“The systemic build up of total market credit is so large, currently about $52 trillion, that its implosion will swamp the Fed’s attempts to inflate. And as Conquer the Crash discusses, the remaining dollars that are not extinguished through bankruptcy, restructuring and write-offs, will increase in value. The thirst for cash will be insatiable relative to all other assets.

“Initially, the Fed’s attempt to inflate was akin to using a garden hose to refill Lake Mead after the Hoover Dam collapsed. Over the past five months the chart shows that the Fed has graduated to a fire hose. But creating just over $2 trillion in the face of a contracting pool of $52 trillion in total credit market debt is just not going to get the job done, and the only thing getting hosed right now is us.

“Eventually credit will contract to the point whereby the income generated from economic production will be able to sustain it and at that point, yes, the U.S. dollar should indeed collapse of the weight of all the Fed’s machinations and gold should soar. But before the market arrives at that point, deflation must run its course. In our opinion, there is still a long way to go.”

But how far? A lot depends on the composition of that $52 trillion in credit. It can’t all just vanish can it? But how much of it is securitised by relatively stable assets? And how much of it could potentially melt away under the intense heat of deflation?

This is not an easy question to answer. But it begins with knowing what you’re dealing with. Specifically, you have to know who owes how much, and who owns how much. Those are two different questions. Let’s deal with the first one. And we promise we’ll make this as painless as possible. If you want to review this data yourself, by the way, you can find it here.

Keep in mind this data deals just with the U.S. And keep in mind it is government data. But the general question is this: how much deflation is left in the credit bubble and who stands the most to lose from it?

The Fed breaks up the total credit market debt outstanding into three categories: Domestic Nonfinancial Sectors (households, farms, nonfinancial corporations, state and local governments, and the Federal government), Financial Sectors (commercial banking, REITs, broker dealers, savings institutions, Government sponsored enterprise, Agency and GSE pools, and issuers of asset backed securities), and finally, the rest of the world.

What we find is that $32.9 trillion in credit market debt outstanding, as of the third quarter in 2008, was owed by the domestic non-financial sector. That’s 63% of the $52 trillion total. Households are on the hook for most of that, with $13.9 trillion owed (or 26% of all credit market debt outstanding). That would mostly be home mortgages we reckon.

Next within the financial sector are non-financial corporate businesses with $7 trillion, non-farm corporate businesses at $3.7 trillion, state and local governments at $2.2 trillion, and the United States Federal government at $5.5 trillion.

So what does it tell us? Well it tells us that if U.S. house prices continue to fall, there is a lot of room left to deflate in the credit bubble, at least several trillion dollars. It’s not hard to see this happening, given the rise in foreclosures, the prospect of even less federal funding for refinancing of mortgages, and the sudden collapse of American’s banking model.

But the lack of credit for refinancing and the looming wave of Alt-A recasts this year and next is, in some sense, already old news. What also keeps us up at night is the $16 trillion in credit owed by the financial sectors. How much of that is at risk to further deflation?

You can get an idea by looking at the L2 table on page 59 of the Flow of Funds report. There is $6 trillion in corporate bonds outstanding. Nearly $5 trillion in Agency and GSE-backed securitised mortgage pools are on the books, and another $3.1 trillion in GSE debt itself. This does not include $1 trillion in “other loans and advances” which may or may not include home equity lines of credit.

We’re sure you get the picture by now. There is still at least $8 trillion housing related assets owed by the financial sector. That might be kind of tough to pay off, given the falling value of the assets which securitise that debt. So who stands the most to lose if households can’t pay their mortgages, corporations default on their bonds, and housing-related assets held by financial corporations continue to fall?

The financial sector combined holds $37 trillion in credit market “assets.” It owns $37 trillion in other people’s promises to pay. Those promises, all $37 trillion of them, are on the books at face value. What’s more, U.S.-chartered commercial banks (Citibank, Bank of America for example) own $8.2 trillion in credit market “assets.” Life insurance companies own another $2.9 trillion. Money market mutual funds own $2.1 trillion in credit market assets, while mutual funds own $2.3 trillion.

Do you see what we’re getting at? The institutions that have the most to lose from a fall in the value of their credit market “assets” also have large obligations to shareholders and pensioners. Those institutions are counting on those assets to meet their own future liabilities (which do not fluctuate in value). And households are relying on those assets to retire, or in some cases, to live month-to-month on a fixed income.

Someone is going to lose, somehow. Or everyone will.

Households win if the value of the credit they owe (their mortgage) is written down or managed lower by some new law. But investors counting on that asset (often the household itself through a pension or life insurance) don’t win if the amount they are owed is arbitrarily reduced.

Either way, Prechter’s group is probably right. There is more deflation ahead. A lot of it. And not just in housing.

The corporate bond market would be another place to look. Corporate defaults haven’t begun to rise noticeably yet. But faced with a much slower economy and much higher borrowing costs, it’s going to be tough for highly indebted firms to roll over their debt, much less take on anything new. Dividends are already being slashed here in Australia.

And where does the deflation of the $52 trillion credit bubble leave us? Well Howard Ruff reckons we get a period of serious deflation, punctuated by a period of hyperinflation. Over at Kitco, he writes that, “First, we will continue to plunge into a major deflation period which will be characterized as a ‘recession,’ and later in the year as a ‘depression.’ Deflation and inflation are always monetary phenomena.”

“Second, deflation will evolve into a run-away-hyper-inflationary depression because of what government will do to try to prevent deflation, which is synonymous with depression and has overtones of the 1930s.”

How will government accomplish that? Stay tuned…

Dan Denning


Friday January 23,2009
Alison Little, Deputy Political Editor

BRITAIN is facing a “credit crunch crimewave” with a big rise in knife-point robberies, burglaries, and fraud.

As the country slips further into recession, figures yesterday revealed large increases in crimes with a financial motive.

Robberies at knife-point are up 18 per cent, domestic burglaries are up four per cent and fraud or forgery is up 16 per cent.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “These statistics show yet another harsh consequence of Gordon Brown’s economic downturn.

“This is made worse because the Home Secretary clearly has no idea how to deal with this credit crunch crimewave.”

Jacqui Smith herself acknowledged the link to the financial downturn. The Home Secretary said: “There will be a small minority of criminals who think they can take advantage in tough times. Let me tell them now, they can’t and they won’t.”

The jump in financially motivated crime came as the same figures revealed a big rise in knife crimes.

More people died last year as a result of stabbings than at any time since records began.

The Tories accused the Government of complacency. Mr Grayling said: “It is particularly alarming that robberies involving knives have soared and that fatal stabbings are at an all-time high. The Government’s complacency in this area is proving fatal.”

Worryingly, the latest statistics for England and Wales do not even include the most serious violent crimes – such as murder and rape – because 18 police forces have been asked to do a recount after concern over how they record offences.

The Home Office figures show that robberies involving “knives or sharp instruments” were up 18 per cent between July and September last year, compared with the same period in 2007.

Fatal stabbings increased by 10 per cent to 270 in 2007-8, the highest since records began in 1977.

Homicides rose to 773 from 758 the previous year.

Domestic burglaries were up for the first time since 2002, by four per cent from 66,900 between July and September 2007 to 69,700 in the same period last year.

Other types of burglary were also up, by three per cent.

Drugs offences were nine per cent higher in July to September 2008 than in the same quarter the previous year and fraud and forgery increased by 16 per cent. Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: “There is now clear evidence of rising crime as the recession bites.”

He also questioned the effectiveness of the anti-knife crime campaign launched last June.

Mr Huhne said: “The Government has failed to effectively roll out the measures that we know work against knife crime.

“Posturing about penalties is no substitute for the hard graft of visible and intensive policing.”

The figures showed falls in some crimes, including sexual offences (down seven per cent); car crime (down six per cent); criminal damage (down eight per cent); and firearms offences (down 29 per cent).

Three per cent fewer overall crimes were recorded by police in July to September last year than in the same period in 2007, and overall violence against the person was down six per cent. Robberies fell three per cent overall.

The Tories said that under Labour, violent crime has risen nearly 80 per cent, fatal stabbings by a third and gun crime nearly doubled, while conviction and sentencing for knife possession is inadequate.

The Home Office yesterday also published the latest British Crime Survey, which is based on interviews with individuals rather than police records. It showed overall crime remained “stable” in the year to September 2008.

Ms Smith welcomed the falls in overall recorded violent crime, robbery, gun and vehicle crime. But she said there was more work to be done.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

UK and Iceland: Not So Different

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I would urge you to sell any sterling. It's finished. I hate to say it, but I would not put any money in the UK." –Jim Rogers

The British Pound (XBP) broke important support around $140 from the 1993 and 2001 bottoms. The speed and magnitude of the decline should really raise some concerned eyebrows right about now because there is a very real possibility that the Pound could go Krona on us. It really is possible for the UK to be a bigger, badder Iceland.

All the growth in tax receipts linked to real estate and financial services was of course was nothing but an illusion. Those tax receipts are gone now, almost certainly never to return. Most of the financial firms won't record profits for years and when they finally do, they will have years of losses to carry forward. The net result will be a giant, prolonged corporate tax shortfall.

In the meantime, the government is throwing good money after bad. This is of course plunging the country deep into debt. Just like in Iceland, although to a lesser degree relative to GDP, UK banks have liabilities in other currencies. As the pound goes into free fall, these liabilities explode in value crippling the banks. As the UK issues more debt to stabilize the banks, even more pressure is put on the pound. A vicious, debt death spiral could easily be sparked.

Don't dismiss the possibility that even a respectable first world economy could get swept away in this credit crisis. Take it seriously, because the consequences will certainly devastate every financial market in the world.

Calls to nationalize RBS and Lloyds as markets lose faith in bail-outs. Sterling hammered on currency markets as traders take: "Jim Rogers, a veteran US investor, said the UK economy was "finished". He told Bloomberg: "I would urge you to sell any sterling. It's finished. I hate to say it, but I would not put any money in the UK."

Rumors were awash in febrile markets that ratings agencies could downgrade the UK's sovereign debt ratings if the government had to issue tens of billions of pounds of government bonds to finance its latest rescue for the banks. A downgrade would increase the cost of raising debt for Britain, the world's fifth largest economy. The price of insuring British debt against default also rose sharply.

Alistair Darling, the chancellor, was forced in Brussels to dismiss market talk that he, like Denis Healey in 1976, would have to turn to the IMF for a bail-out, saying he had laid out at the pre-budget report in November how he intended to pay for the government's schemes.

But Peer Steinbr├╝ck, Germany's finance minister, also at the EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels, said he and others had urged a swift return to sound public finances and expressed fears about the situation in Britain, which is forecast to have a 9.5% budget deficit next year, and Ireland, whose deficit in 2010 is put at 13%.

Saying he did not understand Darling's scheme to insure UK banks' multibillion-pound toxic assets via the Bank of England and a "bad bank", he said: "I am skeptical that a national scheme will work."

Steinbr├╝ck echoed market fears about the UK scheme by saying it was unclear how to find the right price for the securities in a bad bank. The bank might have to be capitalized with up to 30% of what was on lenders' balance sheets – up to €200bn.

The bail-out also worries the City. "The market rightly fears the long-term fiscal costs of a collapsing banking system," said Graham Turner, of consultancy GFC Economics. The gilts market was spooked by the potential costs to the public purse. Gilts prices fell sharply on the fear of greater supply, which in turn pushed yields up to 3.55% for a 10-year benchmark gilt. Falling yields recently have helped bring down the price of some corporate borrowing and fixed-rate mortgages."

Fed Manipulating Market Prices, Gold, Oil and Bonds

Stock-Markets / Market Regulation Jan 20, 2009 - 02:28 PM

By: Rob_Kirby

So we have the price of gold, the price of crude oil and interest rates – three items vital to the integrity of the U.S. Dollar - ALL trading in total disregard for their underlying fundamentals?

The following is a thought provoking analysis with commentary:

The Situation In Gold

First and foremost it is imperative that everyone realize and understand that Gold "is" Money . We know that gold is money because every Central Bank in the world carries gold on their balance sheets as 'an official reserve asset'.

With that in mind, folks would do well to read one of James Turk's latest articles titled, The Fed's blueprint for market intervention . In this article, Turk offers commentary on a recently unearthed 1961 document from the archives of the late, long-time former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, William McChesney Martin Jr. which details in the Fed's own pen; their plans to intervene surreptitiously in the currency and gold markets to support the dollar and to conceal, obscure, and falsify U.S. government records so that the intervention would not be discovered. In Turk's words,

"In short, [the newly unearthed document] lays out what the Treasury and Federal Reserve needed to do in order to begin intervening in the foreign exchange markets, but there is even more. This document plainly shows what happens when government operates behind closed doors. It also makes clear the motivations of the operators of dollar policy long described by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee and its supporters -- namely, that the government would pursue intervention rather than a policy of free markets unfettered by government activity. The run to redeem dollars for gold had put the government at a crossroads, forcing it to make a decision about the future course of dollar policy. This paper describes what the government would need to do by choosing the interventionist alternative.

This document provides primary, original source supporting evidence that GATA has been right all along."

In Feb. 2007 here's what the Royal Bank of Canada 's Chairman, Tony Fell had to say , confirming unequivocally that gold is money,

"At Royal Bank of Canada, we trade gold bullion off our foreign exchange desks rather than our commodity desks," says Anthony S. Fell, chairman of RBC Capital Markets, "because that's what it is – a global currency, the only one that is freely tradable and unencumbered by vast quantities of sovereign debt and prior obligations.

"It is also the one investment and long-term store of value that cannot be adversely impacted by corrupt corporate management or incompetent politicians," he adds – "each of which is in ample supply on a global basis."

In short, says Fell, "don't measure the Dollar against the Euro, or the Euro against the Yen, but measure all paper currencies against gold, because that's the ultimate test."

Fell's admission coupled with the recently unearthed account of the Fed's game plan shows that gold "is" and always has been feared as competition for the U.S. Dollar and a game plan has long been in place to thwart it. This explains why economic data has been falsified and the price of gold has been surrepticiously managed and interfered with by the United States Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

The mounting evidence is this regard is so compelling that from this point forward any 'economist' attempting to explain our current situation without prefacing their explanation with an EXPLICIT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that our capital markets are not free and are in fact RIGGED by officialdom – their analysis is not worth the time to read it. In this regard, perhaps never have more prescient words been uttered than GATA's Chris Powell in Washington in April, 2008 – when he opined, There are no markets anymore, just interventions .

The recent decoupling in price of gold as measured by the spread between the futures price and the cost to obtain physical ounces is a stark reminder that smart money is beginning to repudiate fiat money by seeking tangible ownership of goods perceived to posses value instead of derivative 'promises' to deliver the same.

The Oil Picture

Back in June, 2007, Market Watch reported ,

Normally, Brent crude costs $1-$2 less than WTI crude, according to James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics. At its peak, the price spread between the two topped $5, according to his data.

The article went on to explain,

WTI usually trades at a premium to Brent " because of the slightly higher quality , and the extra journey" oil tankers have to take to get the oil to the U.S. , according to Amanda Lee, a strategist at Deutsche Bank. So "WTI minus dated Brent should be roughly equal to the freight rate," she said. Indeed, "crude-oil prices usually depend on two things: quality and location," said Williams. "The greater the distance from the major exporters, the greater the price."

But here's what's happened recently in the global crude oil market:

Brent Crude trading at a 7 Dollar premium to West Texas Intermediate is like the SUN rising in the west and setting in the east – and no-one asking any questions why?

Thanks to the unearthing of the Fed's Playbook Document, referenced above, along with cumulative knowledge of the existence of the President's Working Group On Financial Markets [aka the Plunge Protection Team]; we know that interference in strategic markets with national security implications is now practiced commonly by the Government and the Fed working together. No other explanation for this distortion is plausible other than NYMEX regulators like the Commodities Futures Trading Corp. [CFTC - Plunge Protection Team members] are more brazen and actively complicit in market rigging of strategic commodities than their London counterparts. This manipulation is all being done in desperation; to preserve U.S. Dollar hegemony by perpetuating the illusion that inflation is being held at bay. Ample anecdotal evidence exists in a host of articles – particularly relating to derelict CFTC oversight of COMEX gold and silver futures - archived at to support this position.

Spiking VLCC Rates Reflect "The Movement to Tangibles"

The "unusual" premium for Brent Crude is even more perplexing given that crude oil shipping rates [unlike their dry goods shipping counterparts, as depicted by the Baltic Dry Index] for VLCCs [very large crude carriers] have, as recently as Dec. 2008, been enjoying robust and improving charter rates,

Last week the spot rate for Suezmax tankers was in the low $40k per day range. Yesterday, I check the rates and they have popped to over $90k this week! VLCC (very large crude carriers, i.e. supertankers) rates have not jumped as much but appear to be following the trend. So what is the deal here? Oil prices are falling and so is the apparent global demand for oil. Are not oil tankers just sitting around idle like the dry bulk carriers?

The answer is somewhat counter intuitive. The spike in spot tanker rates is actually the result of the low oil prices. Many tankers are being leased on the spot market as storage tanks. Oil producers, for whatever reason, do not want to significantly slow their oil production, but at the same time do not want to sell it for $45 a barrel. So they are leasing tankers to store oil in the hope or belief that oil prices will recover shortly. Two names in news articles that I have read doing this are Royal Dutch Shell and Iran . The majority of the planet's oil production is owned by national oil companies that have policy and employment as well as financial reasons to keep the oil flowing. So at least in the short term, the current low oil prices are a boon for tanker owners.

Oil tanker companies, like their dry cargo brethren, can sign their ships to either long term, multi-year leases or charter them on the spot market where they are leased for a single voyage at the current spot rate.

The fact that "smart money" is now paying elevated prices to lease very large crude carriers [to store physical crude for later sale] is further evidence that faith in fiat money is waning simply because – you can do the same "trade" on paper – utilizing futures - without the bother and nuisance of leasing ships and handling the physical. Ask yourself why smart money has recently become engaged in buying 'relatively illiquid' physical crude oil, in a world allegedly awash in the stuff, for resale at a later date – instead of playing futures, accepting promises and holding cash?

Smart money is in the process of losing confidence in cash.

Interest Rates

It is vital that everyone understand that the function of interest rates in a system of usury is to solemnly act as the efficient arbiter of capital – rising to restrict money / credit growth when the economy overheats and falling to create the opposite when the economy cools.

Interest rates no longer serve this function.

As deceitfully disastrous as the surreptitious interventions in the crude oil and gold markets has been – they pale in comparison to the travesty which has been perpetrated through the premeditated hobbling of usury.

The roots of this most wicked experiment are traceable to the appointment of Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and then to academia – Harvard – where Robert Barsky and Lawrence Summers co-authored an academic research paper in the 1980s titled, Gibson's Paradox and the Gold Standard . The "elevator speech" of what the paper examined was the co-relation between bond prices, inflation and the price of gold and, by extension, theorized that interest rates could be driven down [or kept low] – without sacrificing the currency - in the face of and despite profligate monetary policy so long as gold prices declined or did not rise.

After a stint as Chief Economist at the World Bank, Mr. Summers brought this "theory" to Washington mid-way through the first Clinton Administration [late1993] as Under Secretary of Treasury to Robert Rubin where he began laying the groundwork – with co-conspirators Greenspan, Rubin and Clinton - for the implementation of his "theoretical research":

Gold price suppression began in earnest concurrently with changes in how the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [OCC] begins records the mushrooming growth of derivatives [mostly interest rate swaps which – absent end user demand – only create artificial demand for government bonds]:

The Federal Reserve acting in cahoots with the U.S. Treasury utilizing the futures pits in N.Y. [COMEX] and the obscenity that has become J.P. Morgan's Derivatives Book – the Fed / Treasury combo seized control of both the gold price and interest rates. The mechanics of how interest rate swaps were utilized to suppress interest rates is chronicled and explained in detail at in a paper titled, The Elephant in the Room .

Subscribers are reading about the logical implications, and what comes next, as a result of the market manipulations outlined above as well as actionable suggestions to help insulate your investment portfolio from the inevitable fallout.

By Rob Kirby
Rob Kirby is the editor of the Kirby Analytics Bi-weekly Online Newsletter, which provides proprietry Macroeconomic Research. Subscribers to are benefiting from paid in-depth research reports, analysis and commentary on rapidly unfolding economic developments as well as recommendations on courses of action to profit from chaos.

the Hat Trick Letter

Jim Willie, CB publishes the Hat Trick Letter. The following are three points of interest from 1/20/09.


The giant oilfield called Cantarell in Mexico will be totally dry of output by yearend 2009. That is correct, kaput. The decline is accelerating. The PEMEX management and Mexican Govt supervision has been an unmitigated disaster. Drug lords are taking control of the nation. The ugly financial facts are these. Over 40% of the Mexican Govt revenue stream came from the PEMEX oil industry in 2007. That source is running on empty. The national energy surplus will turn to a deficit by 2010, like early next year. The import of refined gasoline doubles the rate of foreign reserve decline, since crude oil not produced means gasoline that must be imported. The US will lose 10% of its crude oil import supply. Texas and Louisiana will struggle to find oil feedstock for gasoline refineries. More importantly, the Mexican Govt will dissolve before our eyes, and drug lords will carve up the nation south of the border.


While many observers have been busily gauging and tracking the Open Interest and Demands for Delivery by COMEX participants, they have focused on the wrong things. Robbery and gutting of a giant KMart does not occur in broad daylight through the front door, removing items on shelves by a pack of kerchiefed men brandishing shotguns and escaping in Chevy Econoline vans. That is what the observers seem to expect by their tracking. No! The COMEX default will come from removal of inventory by means of denial by the powerful billionaires who have targeted the corrupted exchange. Sales of large blocks of gold & silver take place outside the COMEX in private transactions at prices 20% to 30% above the corrupt COMEX prices. The sold bullion does NOT find its way back to the COMEX. Furthermore, many large gold & silver mining firms have reduced sharply their actual mine projects, enough to reduce new supply to the COMEX. The big lie is the stated COMEX inventory, half probably pure fiction. Some is likely 'Deep Storage' bullion, as in unmined mountain deposits, the major ore bodies. The cracks have formed in the December gold & silver contract month. The breakdown should occur in 1Q2009 here, like by the end of March. All is on schedule, if only the observers knew what to monitor. They are errantly focused on the front windows, ignoring the back doors and loading docks.


A series of maneuvers has begun. Last week, the nation of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia just cut a deal with Mighty Russia, its neighbor. In return for a big trade deal, Kyrgyzstan might be required to deny renewal of its lease to the USMilitary for airbase usage. The tiny nation is a key supply route connection point for the Afghan War. Russia is applying the screws, angry beyond words at the Georgia & Osettia invasions. Also, while not hosting airbases, Ukraine will suffer mightily for its adoption as a US puppet regime, and likely be carved up into managed territories. Also, Poland will suffer mightily for its installation of ballistic missiles aimed at Russia by its US master. Eastern Europe will be reorganized soon, according to Russia designs, replete with retribution. With Russian energy supply comes total control from above, the US puppets swept aside, and the US strings cut. Closer to home, the Russian Navy is working very closely with Venezuela. China has had for years the contract to defend the Panama Canal. The 2010 decade will be identified by the retreat of the USMilitary machine, after its isolation. Word has come to me that foreign parties are actively working to cut off the commodity supply chain to the USMilitary defense contractors. This is the exposed artery.

Pumping secrets from Gas Man

Dan McTeague at a Petro-Canada station in downtown Toronto on Jan. 23, 2009. The Liberal MP is almost always correct in predicting the next day's gas prices.
How MP Dan McTeague is able to predict prices at the pump and dismay his political foes
January 25, 2009
Daniel Dale

Poor George Khouri. It's hard enough to unseat an anonymous Member of Parliament. Much harder to unseat a petroleum psychic.

"Constantly. Over and over again," complained Khouri, the Conservative candidate in Pickering-Scarborough East, his irritation undiminished three months after the 2008 election. "Six, seven, 10, 20 times a day. ... "

Dan McTeague's name on CFRB 1010. Dan McTeague's name on CP24. Dan McTeague's name on 680 News – every half an hour, every weeknight, between 5 p.m. and midnight.

How was he supposed to beat Dan McTeague?

"It's all people talk about when you go to the door," Khouri said. "`Oh, you're running against the Gas Man.' It's unfair."

For the Gas Man, a 15-year Liberal MP who has never been a minister, knowledge may not be power. At the very least, however, it is name recognition.

For Dan McTeague is a member of Parliament who doubles as a human coupon. For Dan McTeague knows how to calculate gas prices the day before the oil companies change them – and, unlike your everyday neighbourhood clairvoyant, he shares his valuable knowledge for free. On the "Tomorrow's Gas Prices, Today" section of his website, launched in April 2008, he posts, before 5 p.m., the next day's prices in nine Canadian cities. To the tenth of a penny, he is almost always correct.

"Because he's spent the time and done the homework," said Petro-Canada spokesperson Jon Hamilton, "he's figured out some things."

His accuracy has earned the MP acclaim across the country. His website now receives more than 30,000 hits per day. He has received hundreds of emails, he said, from people thanking him for saving them money at the pumps.

But in providing information giddily consumed by gas price conspiracy theorists, McTeague, 46, has himself become the subject of conspiracy theories. Surely, Khouri and others say, McTeague has an arrangement with the oil companies to receive prices in advance. Wrote one member of "McTague (sic) has some explaining to do. How does he know exactly what the changes are?"

It feels somehow inappropriate to ask for his magic formula. But McTeague, the Liberals' gregarious, outspoken and occasionally controversial Treasury Board, consumer affairs and consular affairs critic, is nothing if not candid.

This, he said, is how he makes the predictions. He pays more than $300 per month out of his own pocket – "and I've got five kids" – for a subscription to the Oil Price Information Service, a website that provides a daily list of oil companies' wholesale "rack" prices. Rack prices, based in part on the prices of gasoline futures and crude oil on New York markets, are posted on the companies' websites in the wee hours of each morning; McTeague's subscription simply gives him advance access.

There is a direct relationship between rack prices and retail prices. To predict prices at Toronto pumps, McTeague takes the Esso rack price – here, he said, Esso is the firm whose prices the others follow – and adds the Ontario gasoline tax (14.7 cents), the federal gasoline tax (10 cents), and the 7-cent-per-litre margin he says all major gas retailers currently allow themselves in the city. (When one company increases its margin, he said, the others quickly follow.) Then he tacks on the 5 per cent GST. Presto. Tomorrow's gas price, today.

"Frankly, anyone could do it," he said in a telephone interview. "The information is publicly available."

McTeague makes his predictions not for the attention, he said, but to demonstrate the uncompetitiveness of the Canadian oil industry – a problem he has long sought to remedy by amending the Competition Act to toughen restrictions on mergers and acquisitions, expand the definition of predatory pricing, and introduce new penalties for corporate conspiracy.

Unlike many consumers, McTeague does not believe the oil companies have illegally conspired to set identical gas prices. "You don't need to have price-fixing when you, in fact, have no competition," he said. "The big problem is concentration."

After the takeovers of numerous Canadian refineries and the closing of others, the wholesale market became uncompetitive, he said. And at both the wholesale and retail levels, he said, the major firms have worked to price independents out of business; where they have succeeded, there is no pressure on them to keep retail prices low.

"A lot of people said, 'Well, stop complaining about the problem and fix it.' So in order to fix the problem, I said, you have to make it pretty clear so everyone realizes there is a problem. I've been able to literally calibrate it, pinpoint it, quantify it, with the predictions."

Although Petro-Canada's Hamilton said McTeague is wrong to claim the industry is not competitive, he said McTeague's vocal criticism has "challenged the industry to do a much better job of explaining ourselves.

"I'll probably take flak for this at the office," Hamilton said. "But I kind of like the guy."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pastor Lindsey Williams Details "Economic Calamity" Ahead

January 16, 2009

(This is a summary by "Tom" of a recent interview of Williams by Gianni Hayes)

Dear Friends and Family:

For some years now, I have been saying that the "money changers" and "banksters" in London and New York are setting us up. They're playing a money game in which all of the marbles are on the table. It seems that this game is now in the bottom of the Ninth inning. Tonight I listened to the Reverend Lindsey Williams on American Voice Radio, hosted by Ms. Gianni Hayes. Some people will recognize his name, some won't. I am not going to go into a lengthy bio. You will have to do that research yourself, assuming you even have an interest. I will only mention that he is the man who, because of his contacts in the oil industry, correctly predicted that the world price for oil would fall from roughly $140.00 per barrel to less than $50.00 per barrel. He claims to be well connected to what he calls "the power elite," and I firmly believe that he is telling the truth. But, what he calls the power elite is just one level of corporate America. He interacted with the high paid servants of the oil industry. That would be the executives of ARCO and other big oil companies when he served as chaplain for the Alaska pipeline. He knows and admits that the "real power" is much further up the food chain. Bottom line? Personally, as far as I am concerned, Reverend Williams character and credibility are unimpeachable. I think it is very important to pay attention to what he has to say.

After two hours of interview I had four legal pages of notes. I am going to relate as best I can the highlights of that interview. Some of you will get duplications because some of you are on more than one of my mailing lists. Please understand. I consider this matter to be extremely important!

This will be rough, since it will be stream of consciousness, right off of my note pad. But it is the message that is important and not the delivery.

1. The reason why the "elite" dropped the world price of oil down below $50.00 a barrel was to wage economic warfare against the Arab/ OPEC countries. "They" seek to bankrupt OPEC countries., especially the Iranians by cutting their revenues more than 75%. (Do you think that is why Mr. Chavez is so belligerent towards the USA?) Why would they do that? Because Iran and the other OPEC states are getting too strong and too wealthy. The Iranians are running an oil bourse, that effectively sidesteps the oil markets of New York and London. (My note. Even worse they are trading oil not for dollars but for other currencies such as the Euro. This is a direct threat to the western banking system.) According to Williams, this will not be allowed to continue. This is about control!! "What is happening today has been planned for years and there are other more nefarious motives, which will be outlined below.

2. The world reserve currency is the dollar and dollar denominated assets such as U.S. Treasury Debt. The Arabs have been recycling their petro dollars into U.S. Treasury debt for thirty five years. (My comment. The Arabs/OPEC have been financing our national debt. This is per agreement with the New York Banking establishment, and the U.S. Treasury. This arrangement has been part of the world order since the collapse of the Bretton Wood Agreement in 1971. This is now coming to an end.) Now that they are being bankrupted (intentionally) the OPEC/Arab states are no longer willing or able to buy Treasury Debt. Hence, the interest on the National Debt (which now exceeds 15 Trillion dollars?) is not being financed by foreign creditors. China, India and other Asian states are doing the same thing. "They are running from dollar denominated assets." Therefore, the Federal Reserve is now buying up all the Treasury Debt issued by the U.S. Treasury to cover the debt maintenance on the national debt. (My Comment: this is called monetization and it is highly inflationary.) (My note: to put this in perspective, the so-called bailout, which was really nothing but a heist without the guns, in the amount of 700 billion dollars, was actually in the amount of 8.5 trillion dollars. All of this sum represents more debt "created" by the Federal Reserve which is then added to the National Debt. In addition to being extremely inflationary, we will be paying interest ("tribute?") on this debt to the banksters in perpetuity.)

3. Gold and Oil generally move in tandem i.e., when oil goes up, so does gold. This has not been the case since the oil market collapsed. Gold has shown huge relative strength to the price of oil. Because of intense world wide demand and speculation the relationship between gold and oil will no longer continue. Gold will now move independently of oil.

4. This year, 2009, the USA will face total financial collapse. The dollar will also collapse in value, and it will take years for the U.S.A. to recover.

5. OPEC has been cutting production steadily but they cannot influence the supply of oil enough to affect the world price.

6. Pastor Lindsey said that the Papacy and the Jesuits had nothing to do with what was going on.

7. He said we have more than enough oil in the USA for our own needs, but the so-called "elite" as he calls them have no intention of EVER developing a major oil field in the continental U.S. or Alaska. "They" will not allow this country to become energy independent, and they intend to continue to keep us dependent on foreign oil sources. (My note: Dependency is another world for control.) Later he mentioned the field just disclosed by the USGS which is located in Montana and N. Dakota. (This I believe is the Bakken Field.) He said that it contains 320 billion barrels which is only 10% of the reserves. This oil is worth about 15 trillion dollars. (My note: in others words the 300 BB is the easy oil. It's the oil that will flow out of the ground under its own pressure. That means total reserves of this one field using secondary and tertiary recovery techniques are probably near three trillion barrels. To put that in perspective the Saudis have reserves of about 260 Billion barrels.) One of the senators from Montana has been screaming about this to Congress. He has been totally ignored by both Congress and the media.

8. Regarding Obama. "It did not matter who won the election." The handlers around Obama are, for the most part, members of the Council on Foreign Relations. "The elite." "The globalists." They are essentially the same people who ran the Clinton administration and both Bush Administrations. "There will be absolutely no change in either our domestic or foreign policy. (My note: the people who have looted this country will continue to loot this country.) Regarding economic policies "Obama" will be another Hoover." In other words Obama will follow orders and will take the fall for the economic calamity that is about to unfold. (My note: Obama is another feckless, empty suit, who was selected, trained, groomed, packaged and sold to a gullible, naive and lazy American public.)

9. Because of the tremendous cut in revenue to the Arab states (75%.) Dubai will become a "wasteland." Already they have suspended all construction on major buildings in Dubai. "There will be no change in the future. "

10. All of the Arab states are sliding into a depression. Their budget planning is based upon $80.00 oil, so they are cutting their expenditures dramatically----especially infrastructure and public works.

11. In addition to no longer buying our treasury debt, the Arab/OPEC states are now actively selling what treasury debt they hold. This is also occurring throughout Asia, especially China. This of course amounts to Trillions of dollars of Treasury debt etc. (My Note: if the Fed is now monitizing these debt instruments, which they must surely do since they are the buyer of last resort, this will also be highly inflationary.) The Arabs/OPEC/Asia are converting their dollars and dollar denominated assets to gold and other hard assets.

12. The long term goal of "these people" is to control and own everything. "They intend to break us." (My comment: Geeeez. I am confused. Here, all along, I have been told by the media that our enemies are in the Middle East.)

13. Gasoline will remain at approximately $1.50 per gallon for the next year to a year and half. This is killing the State government gas tax revenues. Total, state tax revenues are collapsing. Expect many states to go bankrupt----especially California.

14. "They" intend to control the world price of oil by dumping massive amounts of oil on the market to keep the price down. They intend to use, among other sources, an oil field in Indonesia that "they" just brought "on line." This field has reserves of more than 300 billion barrels. He also mentioned another field in northern Russia.

15. The ultimate objective is to "destroy the USA." At the same time "they" seek to consolidate control over all assets of any significance. "They" already own and control, the banks, and the media. (My note: Williams did not say, but obviously, they also control the oil industry.) "They" intend to gain control of the entire auto industry. According to Williams "why not buy the auto industry? All they need to do is create the credit in a computer entry." The takeover of the auto industry will happen when the time is right. They also seek control of all the real estate that is worth owning. According to pastor Williams, everyone is going to be paying rent by the time this thing is over. Again he emphasized that "After years of collapse they intend to own everything."

16. Russia is a major world power. Tensions will increase between the west and Russia. Look for a return of the cold war. (My note: he did not say it but I got the feeling that the Russians are not anxious to become part of the New World Order. Of course this oil price suppression is really hurting the Russians. They have had to devalue the Ruble seven times.)

17. "There will be no attack on Iran. There will no war with Iran." "The American people will not stand for it." They intend to accomplish their goal of destroying Iran by economic means. "They will accomplish their goal of destroying Iran without the need of another 911 false flag operation."

18. "Within six to nine months we will be into full blown hyper inflation." "Buy everything you need right NOW!!!!" "Prepare your dinner table NOW! It is going to be 1933 all over again."

19. "The nations of the world, especially China, are dumping U.S. currency and buying gold.

20. "The reason why it is getting so hard for people to buy gold is that "they" do not want people to be able to protect themselves." "They don't want people to have something that is REAL." (My note: it's hard to find any significant quantities of gold anywhere. Silver too!)

21. "They fear people buying gold because it is something "they" can NOT control. They feel that only they, the elite, should own gold.""They regard it as real money."

22. Their greatest fear is that the people will "wake up" from their slumber. "In fact they are terrified." They do not intend to impose martial law. They believe this would cause an armed revolution and that they do not want. Hmmmm. (I guess that is why the founders included the Second Amendment in the Constitution.) "A revolution means they could lose control."

23. "The American people are terrified of Obama." "The day after the election the gun shops in the USA were emptied by alarmed and frightened citizens." "Wal Mart reported that the day after the election their sales of ammunition went up by 400%. It was a record for ammunition sales in a twenty four hour period. (My note: this continued for several weeks after the election.) Evidently this behavior caused a great deal of alarm.

24. "They" have given up on implementing the North American Union and are "going all the way." The goal is total global control of everything. Global Government. Global bank. Global Currency. Etc. (My note: this NWO globalism business has always included a global army, and a global religion. I am sure we will be hearing more about global religion from "Americas pastor," Rick Warren)

Pastor Williams was asked what can we do? He made some suggestion which are not surprising. They are:

1. Get your spiritual house in order. (My note: I totally agree with Rev. Williams. At the core, this struggle is spiritual in nature. It is also a war on human consciousness. And, It is about both controlling and breaking the human spirit. That can only happen if we allow it to happen. "They" need us to surrender our God given powers to them for them to accomplish their evil deeds. Think, think, think! People must learn to use the magnificent brain that God gave us. Be skeptical of everything. In the coming months accept nothing at face value. Investigate everything. To do that you will need to turn off the "electronic sewer" "they" call television. Better yet, throw the damn thing in the dump where it belongs.The electronic and print media are a wasteland designed to keep you distracted, misled, confused and misinformed. You will NEVER discover anything of value watching boobokvision. Never!!!! Trust nobody until that person has EARNED your trust. And above all, question everything, especially if it comes from people in a position of authority. And, finally recognize that "the enemy" is within. The enemies of freedom are right here. Inside the gates.)

2. Plant a garden.

3. Get out of debt. He said debt is the main weapon of subversion and control used by "these people." (My note. I totally agree with that remark unless all of your debt is unsecured and you own no real assets. Can't squeeze blood from a stone.)

4. Store lots of food. "The farm economy is collapsing."

That was all he had to say, but I am sure everyone on this list can fill in the rest.

I would only add, that disclosure is what these parasitic cockroaches fear the most. So, feel free to circulate this memo. But, PLEASE remove my address. I don't want to be spammed. I have already won so many lotteries I just can't collect the money fast enough.

Get ready. Be prepared. Protect yourself and your family. Protect your fellow Americans.

Keep smiling!!! It confuses "the enemy."
Good luck and God bless! Choose life!!!! Tom

Google Video- Williams "The Next 12 Mos"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Self Defence: A Pro-Gun Strategy

By John Orth
Canadian gun owners are slowly digging our own graves with our timid, apologetic approach to gun rights. Most Canadian gun owners, and most Canadian pro-gun organizations, have utilized a sporting purposes only argument in support of civilian gun ownership. Self defence has become a taboo topic. This reticence is a huge blunder. By failing to actively promote handgun ownership for self defence, we leave ourselves tongue-tied at the most critical juncture in the gun control debate: the aftermath of a mass murder.


The march towards civilian disarmament has followed the same pattern in nearly every English speaking nation. Pro-gun and anti-gun forces generally battle to a draw until there is a mass murder involving firearms. After a massacre has taken place, outraged citizens will grasp at any solution, regardless of how limited its chance of success. It is at these times the gun grabbers have scored their greatest victories.

British gun prohibition laws were enacted in 1988 as a response to the Hungerford massacre in 1987, then again last year as a result of Dunblane. In Canada, C-17 and C-68 can both be traced back to Ecole Polytechnique. The impetus for C-51 in 1977 was an incident in which a student ran amok with a rifle in a school. The recent Australian ban on semiautomatic rifles stems from the Port Arthur massacre. Earlier Australian legislation resulted largely from two mass murders which occurred in Melbourne in 1987. The 1992 amendments to the New Zealand Arms Act, which restricted access to military look-alikes, were the government's answer to the Aramoana massacre in 1990.

This pattern has been repeated so many times you would think gun owners would have recognized the pitfalls by now. We have not. Time and time again we are drawn into the same debate. Time and time again we offer the same ineffectual arguments. Time and time again we lose, and the noose is pulled ever tighter around our necks.

Allow me to offer this generalized scenario for a firearm massacre and its aftermath:

1. A psychopath acquires a gun, usually by legal means.

2. Using X type of gun with Y type of magazine, he shoots and kills a large number of people in a crowded location.

3. After a delay of approximately half an hour, the police arrive.

4. The murderer kills himself, or is shot by police.

5. The public is outraged. "How can this happen?" people ask. "What can we do to prevent it from happening again?"

6. Anti-gun groups are quick with answers. We must ban X type of gun and Y type of magazine. Such things, they say "are only good for killing people." We must also register all guns, place restrictions on the sale of ammunition, and increase licensing and testing requirements for prospective gun owners.

7. Pro-gun groups argue that you cannot legislate against insanity. They suggest no amount of gun control would have prevented this tragedy, since anyone who wants a gun can always acquire one illegally. They point out that the use of gun type X or magazine Y was irrelevant. Since the killer had half an hour to rampage before police arrived, he could have killed just as many with a double barrel shotgun. We complain loudly that hunting, collecting, and target shooting are legitimate sports, and the prohibition of certain types of firearms would place unfair restrictions on these activities.

8. The public examines both sides of the debate. They see clearly the pro-gun side offers nothing but selfish excuses and fatalistic platitudes, while the anti-gun side offers a solution which, superficially at least, appears to be workable. Should we really be surprised when most people who do not own firearms side with our opposition?

Pro-gun forces have failed completely to grasp the mechanics of the debate. The public is seeking a method of minimizing the possibility a similar massacre could happen again. Our opponents suggest numerous ways of tightening gun control laws which they say will prevent a comparable tragedy. We then attempt to demonstrate why their plans are not be feasible. But we never offer any viable solutions of our own. When backed into a corner, and pressed to provide some kind of positive suggestion, we will sometimes mutter something about bringing back the death penalty, or increasing penalties for the use of a firearm in a crime. But harsh punishment would be completely ineffective as a strategy to combat mass murder. As I have already stated, in the majority of cases the murderer kills himself, either directly, or by deliberately placing himself in a position where he is shot by police. It is unlikely the threat of a long prison term would be much of a deterrent to someone who has decided to commit suicide in a blaze of gunfire.

There is one very effective method of preventing mass murder which does not involve gun prohibition, but it is one Canadian gun owners have typically been loathe to suggest: concealed carry of handguns. Somehow, our opponents have been able to convince us that anyone who advocates such a thing is a primitive barbarian, guilty of simply beastly behaviour. We are Canadians after all, not violent, uncivilized Americans. Surely no rational human being could endorse arming against his fellow citizens.

To this, we nod our heads in stupefied agreement. "Of course we are Canadians" we say "We only wanted our guns for target shooting and hunting."

Anti-gunners have cleverly duped us into agreeing to debate on terms which will place us permanently on the defensive. We are fighting with both hands tied behind our backs. We might dodge their punches, but we can never score any of our own. It is not surprising gun owners in Canada, Australia, and Great Britain have been fighting losing battles for the past thirty years. Under these conditions, how could one expect anything else?

The only English speaking nation in which anti-gunners have often failed to parlay public outrage over a mass murder into gun prohibition legislation, is the United States. Most people assume this is simply a reflection of the lobbying power of the NRA. To some extent this is true. The US undoubtedly has the world's strongest pro-gun lobby. But this is not the principal reason for their success. The US is also the only country where pro-gun forces do not shy away from advocating the use of firearms for self defence. This is the critical distinction between the US and other English speaking nations.

It may be instructive to examine an American mass murder, and how their pro-self-defence position changes the nature of the subsequent debate.

On October 16, 1991 Suzanna Gratia was having lunch with her parents at Lubby's cafeteria in Killeen Texas. Suddenly, a man drove a truck through the front window and started shooting the customers. When it was over, twenty-two people lay dead, including both Ms. Gratia's parents. Ironically, Suzanna Gratia had a gun that day too - in her car. Texas law at the time did not permit citizens to carry a handgun on their person.

Ms. Gratia immediately became active in the gun rights struggle. She was the prime mover behind a law, passed in 1995, which allows citizens of Texas to carry concealed handguns. As she testified before the Texas House Public Safety Committee: "I'm not saying I could have stopped this guy, but I would have had a chance. The fact is you can't go up against an armed man unless you are armed. Someone legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my loved ones."

American gun control groups understand the importance of the self defence issue. Sarah Brady has stated "To me, the only reason for guns in civilian hands is for sporting purposes." On a purely logical basis, this statement makes no sense. If we are not going to allow a farmer to possess a gun to protect the lives of his wife and children, then why should we give him one to shoot coyotes, and protect the lives of a coop full of chickens? From the standpoint of strategy however, the statement makes a great deal of sense. Sarah knows full well, once she restricts the list of acceptable reasons for firearms ownership to sporting uses only, her battle is won. Ultimately, every gun control argument can then be reduced to a contest between one person's life and another person's hobby.

After the Ecole Polytechnique massacre, when Wendy Cukier asked "Why do we allow people to own this type of gun?" the best we could manage was some mumbled excuse about the police not investigating Mr. Lepine's FAC application properly. A superior response would have been: "You should not be asking why a lunatic had a gun, but why no one else did." Of course, she would have described in lurid details how concealed carry would cause gun battles to erupt as people jostled for position at supermarket checkouts. She would have called us neanderthals. She would have accused us of being un-Canadian. But an aggressive response would have placed her on the defensive. The focus of the discussion would be shifted away from the viability of strict gun control, and towards the viability of concealed carry permits.

We must stop being so damned apologetic. It is the gun control activists that have blood on their hands, not us. Every time the do-gooders make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to acquire a gun, they guarantee someone else will be left to stand unarmed before an armed criminal or lunatic. Canadian citizens are dying like lab rats in some insane social engineering experiment, while most gun owners do nothing more than prattle on about the joys of moose hunting. The Ecole Polytechnique massacre should have steeled our resolve as much as it did the gun grabbers. Fourteen young women died needlessly. Fourteen young women died because their government did not trust them to possess a means of self defence. How many more deaths must there be before we find our damned backbones?

I am not suggesting all Canadian citizens should arm themselves. Such a thing is not necessary. Massacres generally occur in crowded locations where dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of people are nearby. If only one or two percent of the population carried handguns, there would be an excellent chance at least one armed citizen would be present at the site of any potential mass murder. Moreover, since the murderer would have no way of knowing which citizens were armed, they would essentially be waiting in ambush.

Canadian pro-gun forces have developed sound, cogent arguments to counter most gun prohibitionist propaganda relating to common criminal misuse of firearms (although even here a self defence argument would improve our position). We can rebut whatever they say about suicides and firearms accidents. However, we have nothing to offer on the topic of mass murder, because virtually the entire thrust of the pro-gun argument in Canada has been based on the sporting use of firearms. Those who claim we need guns to hunt ducks and shoot holes in paper, while the bullet riddled bodies of six year old children lie strewn across the floor of a Scottish public school, are engaged in a debate they cannot win.

At some point, there will be another massacre involving firearms in this country. It might come next week, it might not be for ten years, but it will happen. Unless all gun owners are prepared to promote the right to possess handguns for self defence, we will have nothing but lame excuses to offer the public when it occurs.

Time is running out. We need only look to Great Britain to see our future if we continue down this path. Several years ago, in the midst of the controversy following the Hungerford massacre, the British Shooting Sports Council had this to say about reports people were buying shotguns for self defence: "This, if it is a fact, is an alarming trend, and reflects sadly on our society."

British gun owners now suffer under legislation which completely prohibits all handguns, all semi-automatic and pump action rifles and all semi-automatic shotguns. All guns, and all gun owners, are registered.

Canadian firearm owners must examine what the mealy mouthed, sporting use only, approach to gun rights has done for the British, then ask ourselves if we want the same result.

Baptism of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River

Links: | Wikipedia | Timeline |

January 16 (Day 16, Sanctification): US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River yesterday afternoon after engine failure, and miraculously all 155 passengers and crew were successfully rescued. After takeoff from LaGuardia Airport at 3:25 PM, the plane hit a flock of birds at 3:27/01 PM that knocked out both engines. The pilot glided the plane to an emergency landing in the Hudson River at 3:30/30 PM EST (2030/30 GMT). The landing site was between ferry terminals, and local ferries, along with New York Fire and Rescue and Police boats, quickly came to the rescue. The pilot, who was hailed as a hero, was Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, 57, of Danville, California. Headquarters of US Airways is Tempe, Arizona.

The landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River occured on January 15, where 15 symbolizes a covering, which handles a problem. The flight number, 1549, contains a 15 and a 49, for the number of days before Pentecost. Pentecost (50) is seven sabbaths (49 days) after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is on the 15th, the day after Passover (Lev. 23:16). So 1549 clearly symbolizes the time before Pentecost after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. After the Lord destroyed Egypt with the nine plagues, the children of Israel left Egypt in a hurry with bread that had not been leavened.

The Flight 1549 incident also corresponds to the next NASA Mission, STS-119, which rolled out to the Launch Pad in Florida on January 14, the day before Flight 1549 went down. The Mission Patch for STS-119 is shaped like an engine and a wing. The patch also shows a plane going down over the water. Rollout of STS-119 was on the 14th, for the Passover. Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River the next day, January 15, 2009, to commemorate the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread after the Passover. The number, 119, stands for the witness (11) of Dan (or federal judiciary, 19). The pilot of Flight 1549 was from Danville, California. He was 57, which stands for Zebulun and corresponds to Florida.

The Flight 1549 incident in 2009 relates back to the meaning of 2008, for the New Birth, or Salvation. After the Lord destroyed Egypt in the nine plagues, Israel was brought out after celebrating the Passover. The blood on the door posts at the Passover symbolized the Blood of Jesus Christ at the Cross. So, 2008 corresponds to the New Birth and Salvation, which Israel commemorated by celebrating the Passover. Subsequently, the nation of born-again believers marched out of Egypt on the 15th with unleavened bread and crossed the Red Sea to symbolize Positional Sanctification, their union with the Lord in Heaven. Following the Cross, the Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected and ascended to Heaven. The Lord has two congregations in Heaven, the Old Testament saints and the Church. Both are in union with the resurrected Christ, and both will also receive resurrection bodies. So, Salvation is symbolized by a ship in 2008, just as Resurrection is symbolized by a bird in 2009. Birds knocked out the engines of Flight 1549 to baptize it in the river. Those who were rescued were lifted out of the water to symbolize Resurrection.
Star Chart
Flight 1549 CrashThe Star Chart of the landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River contains a Bowl that appeared more like a dipper. A Bowl configuration symbolizes a bowl of blessing or cursing. A dipper is not normally defined as a configuration, but in this case it applies to passengers being dipped out of the water.

At the time of the landing in the river, Midheaven was in conjunction with the Mediator Planet in Aquarius, the Water Bearer. Conjunction with Midheaven signifies a glorious event that could receive high publicity. The Mediator Planet in Aquarius symbolizes a ferry or some other means of bridging a gap. Ferries rescued the passengers of Flight 1549.

The Sun Sign was Capricornus on the cusp of Sagittarius. The Sun in Capricornius symbolizes Gentile glory. The United States is a Gentile nation. The Moon Sign was Virgo, the Virgin, which symbolizes the retinue of a woman or queen. The Ascendant Sign was Gemini, the Twins, which symbolizes the double blessing and corresponds to Israel and California.


Midheaven was in conjunction with the Mediator Planet in Aquarius with the Morning Star only 5 degrees away. The Mediator Planet in Aquarius symbolizes something that bridges a gap, such as a ferry or boat. Aquarius corresponds to the river where Flight 1549 landed. It also corresponds to Gaza and Florida on the Zodiac Map. The Morning Star in Aquarius symbolizes a herald.

Planets in conunction with Midheaven signify a glorious or highly publicized event. The landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River and rescue of all the passengers, was hailed as a miracle around the world.

Sun Sign

The Sun Sign was Capricornus on the cusp of Sagittarius. The Sun in Capricornus symbolizes Gentile glory. The miracle of Flight 1549 was a glorious event in the history of the United States, a Gentile nation.

Moon Sign

The Moon Sign was Virgo, the Virgin. The Moon in Virgo symbolizes a woman's glory, whch includes her retinue or attendants, such as maids, domestic servants, cooks, seamstresses and nurses. Since the Moon is paired with the God of the Covenants Planet in Leo, for a king or ruler, the Moon corresponds also to a queen. The king and queen would then symbolize the new US President-elect and the First Lady, who will live in the White House. Virgo also corresponds to the location of Illinois on the Zodiac Map, which was the last residence of the new President-elect Obama.

The Bowl

The Bowl symbolizes a bowl of blessing or cursing, such as the bowl judgments of Revelation. Although the crash of Flight 1549 was cursing, it was turned to blessing when everyone miraculously survived. The configuration actually resembles a dipper more than a bowl. Although a dipper is not a normally defined configuration, it fits in this case because the passengers were dipped from the water. Of course, a bowl can also be used as a dipper.

The tipping point of the Bowl, which is the most important planet in the Bowl, was the God of the Covenants Planet in Leo. The God of the Covenants in Leo symbolizes the powers of a king or ruler. With the Moon nearby to form a pair, this corresponds to the new US President-elect, who is in the process of reorgainizing the various departments of government. Leo corresponds to North Carolina on the Zodiac Map. Flight 1549 was bound for Charlotte, North Carolina in Mecklenburg County, where Mecklenburg means kings castle.

The God of the Covenants Planet was in opposition to the Mediator Planet in Aquarius, which symbolizes a ferry. In order to resolve the opposition and get home the passengers of Flight 1549 had to take a ferry after they were baptized in the Hudson River. In order to get home to Heaven after a person dies, the person must have believed in Jesus Christ and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at Salvation.


There were four planets, including the Sun, in Capricornus, which adds great significance to the sign. Capricornus, the Goat, corresponds to the sins of the Gentiles and to Rueben, the adulterer. Capricornus corresponds to Texas on the Zodiac Map, the home state of President Bush, who is leaving office. The NASA STS-119 Mission Patch contains the sign of adultery. The planets in Capricornus were:

1. The Sun - Gentile glory
2. Almighty God - Gentile empire, like the USA
3. Savior - Rescuer. Rescuers converged on the airplane as soon as it landed in the river.
4. Redeemer - Oasis, water in the desert; or atonement, redeemed by blood.


Two planets were in Sagittarius, the Archer, and symbol of a raiding band, or terrorists. The Last Adam in Sagittarius symbolizes an enemy attack, and the Red Planet in Sagittarius symbolizes a bloody city, or plague. This all corresponds to the current incursion into Gaza by the Israeli Army, which has surrounded Gaza City. The Israeli Army is fighting the Hamas terrorists, who continue to shoot rockets into Israel. Sagittarius corresponds to the locationi of Arizona on the Zodiac Map, which ties back to the association of Aquarius with Gaza. The Headquarters of US Airways is Tempe, Arizona.

Sagittarius was the descendant sign, which means it was setting. The latest operation of the Israeli Army in Gaza appears to be nearing completion. This could also be a sign of the waning of terrorist attacks on the US after September 1, 2001.
The miraculous landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, was a sign of baptism that ties the year, 2008, for the New Birth and Salvation, to the year, 2009, for the Plagues of Egypt. The Lord destroyed Egypt to free Israel and take them to the Promised Land. Those who celebrated the Passover were saved, and crossing the Red Sea, which followed, symbolized Positional Sanctification of believers in union with the Lord in Heaven (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). The year, 2008, symbolizes the New Birth and Salvation in this life, and 2009 symbolizes the Plagues of Egypt, which redeemed Israel from slavery so they could inherit the Promised Land, the symbol of Heaven. Baptism symbolizes union with Christ in his death on the Cross and Resurrection. The plane going down symbolized death, and the rescued passengers coming out of the water symbolized Resurrection (Romans 6:4). The ferries on the river symbolized Salvation in 2008, and those who were rescued symbolized Positional Sanctification and Resurrection in 2009. A ship corresponds to Salvation as a bird corresponds to Resurrection (1 Peter 3:20-21).

NASA rolled out the Shuttle for the STS-119 Mission on January 14, 2009. The STS-119 Mission Patch, which always comes true, symbolized a wing and an engine along with a plane going down with a bad engine. Flight 1549 went down on January 15 with two failed engines after hitting birds.

The Star Chart for the landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River reveals the heavenly side of the miraculous event. Midheaven was in conjunction with the Mediator Planet in Aquarius to symbolize a ferry, for rescuing the passengers. Aquarius related the event to Florida and STS-119 as well as Gaza and the conflict between Israel and the Hamas terrorists. The four planets in Sagittarius also corresponded to conflict with terrorists. Headquarters of US Airways is in Tempe, Arizona. And the God of the Covenants Planet in Leo paired with the Moon in Virgo symbolized the rise of the new US President-elect and the First Lady.

Author: Larry Wood