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The Decade of Global Transformation and the New American Evolution

By Curtis Lang on Mar 13, 2009

Looking at the BIG Picture

Welcome to the March Spring Equinox 2009 Global News Flash edition of the SatyaCenter newsletter, entitled “Welcome to the Decade of Global Transformation and the New American Evolution”. Warm greetings from your Editor, Curtis Lang.

As you may know, although Jane and I spend full time running Satya Center, teaching Reiki, giving Reiki sessions, counseling as InterFaith Ministers, and writing about spiritual matters, I have over thirty years experience as a financial writer and editor and investigative journalist at The Village Voice, WORTH Magazine, and Ameritrade, where I was editor of the OnMoney.com financial portal.

I was one of the first to predict the depth and scope of the S&L Crisis in 1987 in The Texas Observer, and wrote many articles investigating the fraud and abuse in that industry.

In this newsletter, using research compiled over the last two years from honest and reliable financial experts, environmentalists, independent journalists and famous astrologers, I will give you a bird’s eye view of the current global financial crisis, provide you with a clear outline of its scope, depth and probable duration, and together we will take a look at the BIG picture – the cultural, political, economic, social and environmental changes set to totally transform human civilization during the next decade.

I maintain a steady focus on the financial, social, environmental, political and astrological factors that are most likely to shape America’s next decade. All point toward a massive awakening, a political confrontation, and a revolutionary change in the entire American way of life.

I recommend some major reforms of the current banking bailout, including a call for financial democracy and for public ownership and public control of the current Federal Reserve System, which is unduly influenced by private banks for their own profit and to the detriment of the public interest.

You may recall that a little over a year ago, last February, we predicted the coming collapse of the current global economic system in our Chinese New Year newsletter.

Since that time, a series of financial panics erupted in global markets. The crisis engulfed the last months of the Bush administration, which was widely seen as utterly incompetent in its handling of a devastating global financial catastrophe.

The conditions that led to the financial meltdown had developed on Bush’s watch, in large part because of radical Clinton-Bush bank deregulation and an extremely lax Federal Reserve Board. The public perceived the crisis as the result of 8 years of Republican dominance and unpopular Bush policies, but the roots of the crisis go back even further in history.

Over the last ten years, both the Clinton and Bush administrations deregulated the nations’ largest banks and allowed the merger of Wall Street investment banks and Main Street banks.

Such mergers had not been allowed since reforms following the Great Depression created impenetrable firewalls between investment banks and depository institutions. These firewalls had been placed between Wall Street and Main Street because big banks which had engaged in stock market speculation fueled the financial meltdown that caused the Great Depression.

By the late 1990s this crucial lesson of American history had been forgotten by a generation of policy makers in both Democratic and Republican parties who had drunk the Utopian laissez-faire capitalist Kool-Aid and considered such “firewalls” as quaint remnants of quasi-Socialist pre-Reagan America.

The financial mandarins at the Federal Reserve Board also contributed to our current crisis. It is always important to recall that the day to day operations of the Federal Reserve System are controlled by the Board of Governors in Washington and also by regional Federal reserve banks, and that those regional banks are in turn owned by member banks in the private sector.

American monetary policy and the direction of interest rates, is voted upon by a group called the Federal Open Market Committee, composed of the seven members of the Board of Governors, nominated by the President, and also five members from the regional Federal Reserve banks.

Thus the Fed has what may be termed a built-in bias toward the banking industry, and especially the big banks which dominate the financial landscape.

During the Clinton era, the Federal Reserve Board under Chairman Alan Greenspan lobbied for deregulation of banks, and presided over the dot-com bubble, allowing highly leveraged stock market speculation to spread unchecked until the dot-com market bubble collapsed.

Deregulation and speculation allowed Main Street bankers to enter the lucrative world of Wall Street securitization, packaging mortgages and credit card loans into totally complex financial instruments known as “derivatives”, featuring such well-known varieties as mortgage backed securities composed of bits and pieces of “liar loans”, “Tony Soprano” loans and other types of loans made without much concern for proof of ability to repay.

Main Street bankers saw themselves a newly minted Masters of the Universe, massively increasing the compensation to their own management while stockholders profited from the generally bullish marketplace for financial stocks of all kinds.

During the Bush administration, the Fed under Greenspan kept interest rates extremely low to help markets and banks recover from the damage caused by the dot-com collapse, served as cheerleader for the deregulation of finance, and allowed investors to use maximum leverage in the global stock casino, refusing to put limits on the amount of borrowing institutions and individuals could use to speculate in global markets.

Other countries mimicked Washington’s actions, and the end result was a truly global, largely deregulated financial marketplace.

The immediate result of this neo-liberal financial globalization and deregulation has been to create social conditions eerily similar to the super-rich Roaring Twenties, when global finance also reigned supreme. Superficial celebrity culture and reverence for the super-rich permeate the entire American media nexus and the collective American consciousness.

The end result has also been similar to America’s last experiment with deregulated finance and adulation of the super-rich.

A total financial implosion is devastating the entire global economy. It began in the last 100 days of 2008, beginning just prior to the Presidential election, and to a great extent determining the outcome of that contest, delivering the White House to Barack Obama.

The chart below, borrowed from Dr. Marc Faber's Market Commentary website, from December 1, 2008, shows a loss of $30 trillion in stock markets around the world. By some estimates, combined losses in commodities, stocks, bonds, and real estate during the Bush Meltdown were at that moment already greater than $60 trillion.

To give some sense of scale to these mind-boggling numbers, the CIA estimates that the US Gross Domestic Product in 2008 was some $14.58 trillion. America spends more than one trillion every year on military and defense operations worldwide. The entire US banking system contains about $10 trillion in assets.

And this was just the beginning of the beginning.

So far in 2009 we have seen a series of crises that have undermined faith in financial markets and governments around the world.

The press and the Pentagon are monitoring the financial and political pulses of dozens of countries considered to be in danger of financial destabilization followed by unpredictable, sudden and radical changes in political leadership and foreign policy. America’s military leaders believe these are places where American interests are at stake -- and where American intervention in markets or politics might eventually be required.

“. . .Hang a world map on your wall and start inserting red pins where violent episodes have already occurred. Athens (Greece), Longnan (China), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Riga (Latvia), Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sofia (Bulgaria), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Vladivostok (Russia) would be a start,” suggests Professor Michael Klare, a well-known author and expert in geostrategic analysis. “Many other cities from Reykjavik, Paris, Rome, and Zaragoza to Moscow and Dublin have witnessed huge protests over rising unemployment and falling wages that remained orderly thanks in part to the presence of vast numbers of riot police. If you inserted orange pins at these locations -- none as yet in the United States -- your map would already look aflame with activity. And if you're a gambling man or woman, it's a safe bet that this map will soon be far better populated with red and orange pins.”

America’s election of President Barack Obama triggered a brilliant ray of hope that was welcomed by billions of Earthlings, offering a tangible sign that the dominant energy in America’s collective consciousness supports positive social change, peace, environmentalism, feminism, financial democracy, human rights, and racial and religious tolerance.

But so far the global financial meltdown has continued to outpace the efforts of both Presidents Bush and Obama, and there is no sign of a bright dawn beyond the dark abyss stretching before global markets and stock exchanges.

The two month period from January 1-February 27, 2009 represented the worst start to a year in the history of the S&P 500, which recorded a drop in value of 18.62%. By March 2, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index had dropped more than 50% from its summer 2008 peak. The decline has been compared to that of the 1929 Great Depression, which was 53% between September 1929 and March 1931. The DJIA ultimately dropped 89 percent from its 1929 high before beginning to recover in mid-1932.

America’s credit markets are still frozen. GM, Chrysler and Ford are on the verge of bankruptcy, despite a government bailout and more government action expected by many observers. Housing prices continue to fall and experts predict 8 million more foreclosures likely in the next couple of years. In California, tent cities are springing up around Sacramento and San Diego and people sleep in their cars in the Central Valley as local unemployment rates spiral above 25% with no end in sight.

Professor Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the global financial collapse long before most other observers, says that, “In 2008's fourth quarter, gross domestic product fell by about 6% in the U.S., 6% in the euro zone, 8% in Germany, 12% in Japan, 16% in Singapore and 20% in South Korea. So things are even more awful in Europe and Asia than in the U.S.,” says.

Dr. Roubini has a new article out in Forbes magazine, in which he says that America’s entire banking system is bankrupt. Roubini says that “The scale and speed of synchronized global economic contraction is really unprecedented (at least since the Great Depression), with a free fall of GDP, income, consumption, industrial production, employment, exports, imports, residential investment and, more ominously, capital expenditures around the world. And now many emerging-market economies are on the verge of a fully fledged financial crisis, starting with emerging Europe.”

In the meantime, the massacre in financial markets and among financial firms is continuing,” Dr. Roubini continues. “The debate on ‘bank nationalization’ is borderline surreal, with the U.S. government having already committed--between guarantees, investment, recapitalization and liquidity provision--about $9 trillion of government financial resources to the financial system (and having already spent $2 trillion of this staggering $9 trillion figure).

Thus, the U.S. financial system is de facto nationalized, as the Federal Reserve has become the lender of first and only resort rather than the lender of last resort, and the U.S. Treasury is the spender and guarantor of first and only resort. The only issue is whether banks and financial institutions should also be nationalized de jure.”

In other, simpler words, America has spent $9 trillion to bail out our biggest banks, while allowing the present owners, managers and stockholders to retain their power over policies in those banks – and their memberships in the Federal Reserve System. This gives the private bankers continued leverage over American monetary policy and the entire Federal Reserve System.

The biggest American banks are not retreating from their deregulated business models combining Wall Street and Mains Street banking in one giant global financial supermarket. In fact they are using the taxpayers’ money to go shopping for smaller banks around the world, attempting to seize market share overseas rather than providing Americans with affordable financial services.

The biggest banks who received the bailout funds are not lending to Americans at low, low interest rates. They are lending at rates that are high relative to the zero-interest bailout monies they receive. Terms on credit cards are becoming more complex, more onerous and rates are rising for most of us. Bank fees for ATMs, late fees and other types of fees are multiplying and rising simultaneously. . .And the trillion dollar bailout has not been enough.

The bailout has not been enough because these big banks are zombie banks!

The McClatchy newspaper reported (03/08/2009) bad news affecting the banks:

"America's five largest banks, which already have received $145 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars, still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments if economic conditions substantially worsen, their latest financial reports show.

"Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase reported that their "current" net loss risks from derivatives — insurance-like bets tied to a loan or other underlying asset — surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31. Buried in end-of-the-year regulatory reports that McClatchy has reviewed, the figures reflect a jump of 49 percent in just 90 days.

"The disclosures underscore the challenges that the banks face as they struggle to navigate through a deepening recession in which all types of loan defaults are soaring.

"The government has since committed $182 billion to rescue AIG and, indirectly, investors on the other end of the firm's swap contracts. AIG posted a fourth quarter 2008 loss last week of more than $61 billion, the worst quarterly performance in U.S. corporate history.

"The five major banks, which account for more than 95 percent of U.S. banks' trading in this array of complex derivatives, declined to say how much of the AIG bailout money flowed to them to make good on these contracts.

"The banks' quarterly financial reports show that as of Dec. 31:

— J.P. Morgan had potential current derivatives losses of $241.2 billion, outstripping its $144 billion in reserves, and future exposure of $299 billion.

— Citibank had potential current losses of $140.3 billion, exceeding its $108 billion in reserves, and future losses of $161.2 billion.

— Bank of America reported $80.4 billion in current exposure, below its $122.4 billion reserve, but $218 billion in total exposure.

— HSBC Bank USA had current potential losses of $62 billion, more than triple its reserves, and potential total exposure of $95 billion.

— San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, which agreed to take over Charlotte-based Wachovia in October, reported current potential losses totaling nearly $64 billion, below the banks' combined reserves of $104 billion, but total future risks of about $109 billion.

"Kopff, the bank shareholders' expert, said that several of the big banks' risks are so large that they are "dead men walking."

“. . .Even with the $2 trillion of government support, most of these financial institutions are insolvent, as delinquency and charge-off rates are now rising at a rate--given the macro outlook--that means expected credit losses for U.S. financial firms will peak at $3.6 trillion. So, in simple words, the U.S. financial system is effectively insolvent,” concludes Dr. Roubini.

So now the taxpayers have bought these banks. Why aren’t they being run as public utilities, for the benefit of taxpayers? Why aren’t mortgages easy to get at 3%? Why can’t we refinance credit card debt at 5%? Why don’t banks renegotiate lower mortgages, reducing the principal on all houses in America by 35% or the amount comparable properties have dropped in the last two years?

By continuing to bail out big banks without requiring the bankers to implement policies that would promote economic growth, create jobs and provide debt relief to homeowners and workers, President Obama has followed in President Bush’s footsteps by continuing to socialize losses at financial institutions while privatizing profits for a chosen few. This is simply unacceptable morally and bad public policy besides.

The government has already paid for the big banks. Now the government will have to manage them. Their current managers have already proven their total incompetence and their imprudent actions have destabilized the entire global financial system, largely because of the creation of a massive and opaque market in financial derivatives.

Only by taking over the biggest troubled banks can bank regulators understand the full extent of the derivatives mess. There are tens of trillions of dollars worth of derivatives in the banking system in America, and $600 trillion dollars worth of derivatives worldwide! Famous global investor Warren Buffet calls derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction”.

Now, post-financial meltdown, we know that such powerful financial instruments can’t be left in the hands of the Wall Street warlords who created and hoarded them. They have to be defused.

Financial experts say that the derivatives market is a lot like a casino. Most of these financial contracts called derivatives could be cancelled by experts without doing the real economy any harm. Speculators might be left with losses or minuscule gains, but the rest of us would definitely be better off.

Global investors in every country have gone on strike because they can’t tell which banks and financial markets are broke and which ones aren’t. They suspect that if the biggest banks in the world are all bankrupt, then most of the rest of them probably are also broke. That’s not an unreasonable assumption after all.

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett is so livid by the sheer magnitude of the financial mess that he said: "These instruments [derivatives] have made it almost impossible for investors to understand and analyze our largest commercial banks and investment banks . . . When I read the pages of 'disclosure' in (annual reports) of companies that are entangled with these instruments, all I end up knowing is that I don't know what is going on in their portfolios. And then I reach for some aspirin."

Until bank regulators go into the banks they won’t be able to clearly enumerate all the derivatives and their face value, or calculate a present day value. They will most likely find that trillions of dollars worth of derivative contracts exist between these few big banks and every other big bank in America, Europe and Asia, and most every investment bank in every major world market.

If those assets were to be scrutinized, enumerated and marked to market, then the world would see that all these financial institutions are insolvent on a present day value basis. Not just a few big banks.

On the plus side, such scrutiny would restore market confidence while providing a good foundation for a workable government policy to unwind excessive speculation in our markets, cancel trillions of dollars worth of purely speculative derivatives contracts, and provide transparency to our banking and financial system. This transparency would be what markets most desire.

Banks would then be able to clearly see the value of their assets, and thus they could separate out the “toxic” assets from those that should be retained. Then, as in the case of the S&L crisis, a government entity would have to take charge of the toxic assets with the goal of selling them to the private market.

The governments of the world would have to cancel most of the derivatives contracts, reducing the losses to a manageable size worldwide.

So the end result of the exercise would be that the banks are cleansed and properly valued, and at that time, the taxpayers would own two amazingly valuable assets. The newly resurrected banks! And the huge number of foreclosures and other real estate and other properties owned by the banks as a result of default by borrowers!

Yet we taxpayers are to get nothing in return for our bailout bucks.

Why is that? We own the banks and also the “toxic” assets. Couldn’t some of those “toxic” assets be turned into affordable housing? Couldn’t the government’s stimulus strategy be to spend some money to hire people to fix up foreclosed houses and make them available at far below market rates and prices to people who need affordable housing?

There must be hundreds of ways the government could utilize these amazing assets – an entire financial system, after all, if slightly banged up, but it could be repaired. My new Honda Civic got totaled and after being completely reconstructed with Honda factory parts it’s impossible to tell it’s been in an accident.

I expect to drive it happily for quite a few years. I get 34 miles/gallon on the highway and I live in a rural area so I don’t do much stop and go driving.

I recommend that the taxpayers demand that the financial system they have just bought be used to promote the general welfare, not the interests of a small oligopoly.

The financial system must be brought under the control of Congress, and thus under the control of the American people. That means the Federal Reserve Board must also be brought under the control of the American people.

Congress now has the responsibility for the privately owned Banks that dominate the Federal Reserve Banking System, because the American government is now the largest shareholder in these banks.

Thus the banks must be managed to secure the best interests of the American people as a whole, not the interests of the few who own the banks.

And by the way, shouldn’t the Federal Reserve Bank System be overseen by the Congress? Shouldn’t power tilt a little now toward the “public” part of the “public/private partnership” known as the Federal Reserve Banking System? Maybe the taxpayers should own a larger share of that system than private bankers? What do you think?

Maybe the people of America should own and control the financial machine that creates the American dollar? What do you think?

We can call this a world-historical moment – a time when it’s necessary to demand financial democracy. It’s time for individuals and groups to assert our rights as citizens and taxpayers and to demand that our financial system serve the needs of all the people. We are disappointed in our present financial system, where all the people serve the interests of the few owners of financial assets. We are disappointed in our present political system, where the people serve the needs of the best connected friends of our public servants, rather than having public servants who serve the needs of we, the people.

Banks, including the Federal Reserve Banks, must be treated as publicly owned utilities for the moment, until we can determine the best financial model in a lengthy, open and deep conversation about the nature of a 21st century banking system, a system that is accountable to the public, transparent to investors, and governed by a clearly defined mandate to provide affordable financial services and products to people of all income levels.

It is clear that those banks, and the investment banks and insurance companies intertwined with them in financial interchanges of the most intimate kind, must begin to work with the government to provide financing on extremely favorable terms for all Americans: for small businesses in the Green Economy – such as those who insulate houses or install solar power systems for homeowners; for organic farmers; for community garden projects; for small communities to install their own wind power or large scale geothermal or water-based power projects or open shared community green space.

It’s time for our financial system to provide interest-free start-up capital for Green Economy innovators, structured so that if the start-up enterprise succeeds, the taxpayers receive a return after becoming stockholders. Community sponsored agriculture projects should be eligible for such financing.

Where are the tax credits and low interest long-term government guaranteed loans for promising college students and post-graduate students working on innovative research projects in the sciences and in private sector projects incubating new businesses to grow the Green Economy?

Where are the new tax credits and direct funding for art and cultural and educational projects to help put creative people in distressed communities to work – projects such as we had during the New Deal?

Where are tax credits and direct funding and land and housing at fire sale prices for “mini-farmers” who would like to create small scale community based vegetable gardens in urban, suburban and rural settings that could provide neighborhoods with expertise and demonstrate best organic practices for that area simultaneously, receiving membership fees in exchange for vegetables in addition to grants from government and tax-exempt donations from individuals?

What about redistributing foreclosed rural properties to young farmers who agree to create Green organic community sponsored agriculture projects, and then provide legal protections for that land so that it will remain fertile organic farmland in perpetuity?

What about agricultural & multifaceted grants & work projects which can begin & implement land recovery & toxic spill cleanup with organic soil & water remediation projects?

The American economy can’t recover until we succeed in creating many millions of new jobs to replace the tens of millions of jobs lost over the last thirty or forty years during globalization.

Even if the banks are all made healthy, and credit is again easy, Americans can’t resume their free-spending ways.

Americans have lost the savings they had in their house, the savings they had in the stock market, and their job security. Meanwhile, the cost of college and health insurance is totally off the charts.

We all remember the recent oil price spike, and people in the Northeast wonder what will happen during severe winters when another spike forces people to choose between food and heat. And the next oil price spike will occur as soon as an economic recovery begins to bloom, stifling the recovery and muting its upward trajectory.

Professor Roubini and other Wall Street sources of a bearish persuasion agree that we are increasingly likely to face a situation of stagnation and possibly worse, for several years, perhaps an entire decade.

Some commentators take an even more dismal view.

“Let's today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession?” asks New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who has been an ardent proponent of neo-liberal globalization for years. “What if it's telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall -- when Mother Nature and the market both said: ‘No more.’”

“We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese ...

“We can't do this anymore,” a newly chastened Friedman admits.

“’We created a way of raising standards of living that we can't possibly pass on to our children,’ said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog climateprogress.org. We have been getting rich by depleting all our natural stocks -- water, hydrocarbons, forests, rivers, fish and arable land -- and not by generating renewable flows,” Friedman continues.

"You can get this burst of wealth that we have created from this rapacious behavior," added Romm. "But it has to collapse, unless adults stand up and say, ‘This is a Ponzi scheme. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate ...' Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy."

“Over a billion people today suffer from water scarcity; deforestation in the tropics destroys an area the size of Greece every year -- more than 25 million acres; more than half of the world's fisheries are over-fished or fished at their limit,” Friedman points out.

"Just as a few lonely economists warned us we were living beyond our financial means and overdrawing our financial assets, scientists are warning us that we're living beyond our ecological means and overdrawing our natural assets," argues Glenn Prickett, senior vice president at Conservation International. But . . ."Mother Nature doesn't do bailouts."

In The Huffington Post, Journalist Tom Englehardt asks, “If, indeed, this is ‘the big one,’ and does result in a ‘lost decade’ or more, here's what I wonder: Could the sort of ‘recovery’ that everyone assumes lies just over a recessive or depressive horizon not be there? What if our lost decade lasts long enough to meet an environmental crisis involving extreme weather -- drought and flood, hurricanes, typhoons, and firestorms of unprecedented magnitude -- possibly in some of the breadbasket regions of the planet? What will happen if the rising fuel prices likely to come with the beginning of any economic ‘recovery’ were to meet the soaring food prices of environmental disaster? What kind of human tsunami might that result in?

“If the kinds of hits regional agriculture is now taking from record-setting drought became the future norm, wouldn't we then be bereft of our most reassuring formulations in bad times? For example, the president spoke at that press conference of our present moment as ‘the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.’ On an extreme planet, no such comforting ‘since the...’ would be available, nor would there be any historical road map for what was coming at us, not if we had already run out of history.

“Maybe the world we knew but scarce months ago is already, in some sense, long gone. What if, after a lost decade, we were to find ourselves living on another planet?” Englehardt asks.

If present trends continue, scientists believe that intense global warming will in fact produce a totally different planetary eco-system. The only places we will be guaranteed enough water will be in the high latitudes. "Everything in that region will be growing like mad. That's where all the life will be," says former NASA scientist James Lovelock, who developed the "Gaia" theory, which describes the Earth as a self-regulating entity. "The rest of the world will be largely desert with a few oases."

So if only a fraction of the planet will be habitable, how will seven billion human beings be able to survive? "Humans are in a pretty difficult position and I don't think they are clever enough to handle what's ahead,” Lovelock warns. “I think they'll survive as a species all right, but the cull during this century is going to be huge," he says. "The number remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less."

So we need to focus on Green jobs and organic agriculture, and begin efforts to train and educate Americans for participation in an emergency program to facilitate the transition to a post-oil, post-consumer-capitalism, post-financial-speculation, much-warmer planet Earth. This will help our economic problems and is the prerequisite to reducing global warming by reducing carbon emissions, which requires a drastic change in lifestyle.

The changes required to survive the 21st century are not at all like the changes required to manage the Great Depression of the 1930s. The sooner our leaders understand this the better. It’s our job to help them reach this understanding sooner rather than later.

In order to understand the current and future challenges we all face, I’ve been researching the finest minds working in the field of social astrology, the art of forecasting long-term trends in nations and around the world, based upon movements of the slow-moving outer planets, which affect entire generations, and vast groups of people, shaping the Zeitgeist and coloring the collective consciousness.

These astrologers also see a tsunami of environmental, financial and political change, in America and around the world. We are talking here about the need for us all to work together to insure the survival of global civilization. Failure could mean a possible descent into a chaotic world of war pitting all against all in a brutal struggle for survival that would make the Dark Ages look like the High Renaissance.

Astro-Weather Forecast: The Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune T-Square

The real beginning of this global environmental and cultural transformation arguably began in 2006, as a Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune T-square configuration appeared in the sky for the first time since the year 536 AD. The Great T-Square Sequence involves Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune in Leo-Scorpio-Aquarius.

Astrologer Richard Nolle has extensively analyzed the many signposts on our way into the 21st century, and compares the 2006 transit with “the epoch of the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune T-Square of 536.” That was the first time such a configuration had been seen in the sky since 3734 BC, near the end of the Neolithic era, and marked a period of sudden severe climate change. “It brought an end to a warm and rainy period in North African climate history that lasted from about 7000 to 3300 BC,” explains Nolle. “The effects were global. . .a sudden freeze in the Peruvian Andes, the onset of desertification in the Sahara, a drought in England and Ireland, floods in Mesopotamia. The point is, long term climate change accompanied this rare T-square.”

“Climate change was also part of the picture drawn up around the time of the 536 T-Square,” Nolle continues. “Volcanic winter, snow in the summer, floods in arid regions, crop failures and stunted tree growth. Volcanologist Ken Wohletz has reviewed geological evidence and concludes that the Dark Ages and indeed a whole historic shift in global human civilization were triggered by a volcanic eruption where Krakatoa is now, in 535, which initiated a cycle of global cooling on the order of ‘5 to 10 degrees C or more lasting over 10-20 years’ followed by ‘subsequent global warming with remaining water vapor acting as a greenhouse gas and decreased ozone.”

So you can expect a cascade of extreme environmental changes during the next twenty years to accompany the complete transformation of human society worldwide.

Tomorrow’s Heavenly Headlines: The Grand Cardinal Cross

America is headed into a period of total, revolutionary transformation. Of that you may be sure. There will be no quick return to business as usual.

“There have been four great depressions in US history: the 1780s, the 1840s, the 1870s and the 1930s,” explains astrologer Robert Gover in an extensive online article. “What looms ahead in the not-so-distant future is likely to combine the social upheavals of the Sixties with the angst of the 1930s Great Depression and the rebelliousness of the American Revolutionary period.”

“The single economic condition that has coincided with all great depressions of the past is a record gap between rich and poor,” Gover continues. “By the beginning of the new millennium, the gap had never been greater. This is so both inside the USA and throughout the world.”

“But isn’t it possible to fix this problem and minimize another great depression? Yes. The stars do not compel, the future is not set in stone. Even devout believers in laissez-faire capitalism know something must be done to narrow this gap that eventually threatens all,” Gover contends. “The problem is that there is no agreement concerning what must be done to solve the wealth disparity problem. That’s why we are likely to be well into the 2000-teens before circumstances overcome ideological debate and dictate practical solutions.”

“From a purely astrological perspective every time the USA suffered a great depression, Saturn was found in mid-Capricorn forming a 90-degree square angle, as viewed from Earth, to one of the so-called malefic planets in mid-Aries. These heavies have been Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Mars,” Gover explains.

The Great Depression of the 1780s involved a Grand Cross featuring Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Mars. Saturn was at 15° Capricorn, opposite the natal US Sun in Cancer, while Mars in Aries opposed America’s natal Saturn in Libra. Uranus opposed Saturn at the time in the sky, and Neptune opposed Mars in the sky, forming a Grand Cross in Cardinal signs.

This crossroads Grand Cross sparked Shay’s Rebellion. Vast numbers of American soldiers, decommissioned after winning the war against Britain, found themselves without any financial support. The Continental currency was almost worthless and the Confederation was paying VERY slowly, so soldiers found themselves back on the farm without any way to rebuild or begin farming again.

During the 1840s Saturn returned to mid-Capricorn, square to Pluto in mid-Aries. The Grand Cross pattern was replicated as these planets squared America’s Sun and Saturn, while Mars squared America’s Sun.

The US economy slipped into a great depression that lasted for seven years from 1840 to 1846.This was also called the Debt Repudiation Depression. Business activity fell by more than 20%.

“Although largely forgotten by historians and by the public, repudiation of public debt is a solid part of the American tradition,” explains Murray Rothbard of the ultra-conservative Mises Institute. “The first wave of repudiation of state debt came during the 1840's, after the panics of 1837 and 1839. Those panics were the consequence of a massive inflationary boom fueled by the Whig-run Second Bank of the United States. Riding the wave of inflationary credit, numerous state governments, largely those run by the Whigs, floated an enormous amount of debt, most of which went into . . . public works . . . and into the creation of inflationary banks. Outstanding public debt by state governments rose from $26 million to $170 million during the decade of the 1830's. Most of these securities were financed by British and Dutch investors.

“During the deflationary 1840's succeeding the panics, state governments faced repayment of their debt in dollars that were now more valuable than the ones they had borrowed. Many states, now largely in Democratic hands, met the crisis by repudiating these debts, either totally or partially by scaling down the amount in ‘readjustments.’ Specifically, of the 28 American states in the 1840's, nine were in the glorious position of having no public debt, and one (Missouri's) was negligible; of the 18 remaining, nine paid the interest on their public debt without interruption, while another nine (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida) repudiated part or all of their liabilities. Of these states, four defaulted for several years in their interest payments, whereas the other five (Michigan, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida) totally and permanently repudiated their entire outstanding public debt. As in every debt repudiation, the result was to lift a great burden from the backs of the taxpayers in the defaulting and repudiating states,” concludes Rothbard.

Immediately after the Civil War in the 1860s, America suffered its third great depression in the 1870s. Saturn in Capricorn formed a square with Neptune in Aries, creating a Grand Cross with the natal US Sun and Saturn.

“The Long Depression was a depression that affected much of the world and was contemporary with the Second Industrial Revolution,” according to the Wikipedia. “At the time it was regarded as the Great Depression, remaining so until the Great Depression of the 1930s. The depression started in the United States following the Panic of 1873. The National Bureau of Economic Research dates the contraction following the panic as lasting from October 1873 to March 1879. At 65 months, it is the longest recession identified by the NBER.”

Sixty years and two Saturn cycles later the US faced what is arguably its worst financial crisis to date, the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In 1931, Saturn in mid-Capricorn squared Uranus in Aries forming the by now familiar Grand Cross pattern with America’s natal Sun square Saturn. Jupiter and Pluto also opposed transiting Saturn at the time, and were both square Uranus as well.

Although Saturn returned to mid-Capricorn in 1960, but with no heavyweight planets square Saturn there was no depression. Instead stocks had a rough time, but the onset of the Vietnam war provided an economic boost that kept the American economy humming along in a business as more or less usual mode.

Saturn is not due to arrive in mid-Capricorn again until January 2019, but Pluto will arrive in mid-Capricorn opposite the US Sun in Cancer in 2014, and will simultaneously square Uranus in mid-Aries forming the malevolent Grand Cross with the US natal Sun-Saturn square.

“What appears most likely is that the overall economy will not be brought down by one dramatic stock market crash as happened in 1929, but rather that a series of stock market crashes will lead into the next great depression,” predicts Robert Gover.

“These stock market crashes will most likely begin in earnest in 2008. By 2010, Pluto and Uranus will form a T-square pattern with Saturn, heralding a collapse of the overall economy,” Gover concludes.

By April 2014, the Grand Cross will be formed by Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter and Mars, afflicting the US Sun-Saturn square. This Grand Cross influences the American natal chart during a long period, from 2008-2019.

The last time Pluto moved through this area of the heavens was in the period leading up to the American Revolution. “By December 2015, Saturn in Sagittarius will be moving opposite the US Uranus in Gemini, and square transiting Neptune, as the Grand Cross pattern formed by transiting Uranus and Pluto continues to hold the US Sun-Saturn square in its grip,” says Robert Gover. “This indicates a prolonging of economic troubles and the distinct possibility of a second revolution and/or civil war. Since the influence of the US ‘corporatized’ government now spans the Earth – and because news travels so much faster now – a second revolution would most likely be worldwide as well as national.”

“Big combines of corporations and their network of associated wealthy investors and lobbyists now control the US Congress and many other branches of our government, and the governments of other nations around the world,” Robert Gover continues. “The neo-feudal world they are building is anti-democratic. No semblance of democracy is possible in a world under their control. The purest form of capitalism is slavery. Since mankind is simultaneously moving with considerable momentum toward more and better democracy, the clash will be between these forces. The neo-feudalists may win every battle – they control the guys with the guns – but their world is unsustainable, economically as well as ecologically.”

Speaking of the series of Saturn-Uranus oppositions exact five times between 2008 and 2010, astrologer Richard Nolle says, “It’s the kind of socio-economic storm that set up the English Civil War, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution and the cultural revolutions around the world in the 1960s – all of which occurred under the aegis of the Saturn-Uranus oppositions.”

Astrologer Bill Herbst, who is renowned in the astrological community for his far-seeing forecasts focused on the slow-moving outer planets that signify generational and civilizational changes, sees tremendous opportunity for positive, populist political change in the next decade or two.

“[In 2009] Saturn and Uranus continue their opposition, which reached 10° orb initially in October 2007 and remains in effect through August 2011. Now Pluto moves toward perpendicularity with both, to form an immensely powerful and destructive T-square from August 2009 through August 2011,” Herbst explains. “When I use the word ‘destructive,’ I mean to imply that quality as part of the innate meaning of the triangle — literally, the function of the T-square is to destroy existing institutions of government, business, and society.
“We are watching that destruction gear up now in the economic meltdown, which has at least seven more years to run, and nothing anyone can do will stop it before its work is finished. This ruthless wiping-the-slate-clean is necessary for the many rebirths to follow during the seven exact passes of Uranus square Pluto from 2012 to 2015. Those rebirths (meaning creation of new economic, political, and social structures) will continue to emerge after 2015 out of a combination of powerful common-sense grassroots movements that work from the bottom up and inspire radical leadership decisions from the top down,” Herbst contends.
“2009 is much too early for these populist movements to coalesce. Their seeds are already planted, with some shoots and roots already present, but they have not begun to grow visibly yet, and they are nowhere near coming to flower. In addition, the powers that be have not yet realized that their game must change fundamentally if they are to preserve their wealth. At this point, the ruling elites still believe that they can call the shots and remain in power. That belief, like so many others, will be challenged over the coming years,” Herbst forecasts.
“We have been through only a single year of the amazing transformation that will take more than a decade to play out in the economic and political restructuring of civilization. Not until well into the 2020s will we know the outcome. As Winston Churchill so famously stated when the air battle over Britain concluded in 1940:
‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’”


Pluto in Capricorn and Hope for a New American Revolution

America was born on July 4, 1776, when the Founding Fathers decided it was time to separate from England and start a new life as an independent entity,” explains astrologer Michael Lutin in Vanity Fair magazine in December of 2006. “That makes America a Cancer nation. Cancer is the sign of fertility, and America sees herself as the world's nurturing mother. But because of the hostile presence of Mars and Uranus in our solar 12th house, we're the kind of nurturer that can bomb the hell out of a country one day and send over sandwiches and coffee the next. That makes the rest of the world love us and hate us. We're like the rich relative everybody is jealous of but still visits for the holidays because there's always plenty of food. It is the sincere and conscious wish of every Cancer, including the U.S.A., to make sure that all those under its wing are safe—and if you mess with them, you must be ready to face the Special Forces.

“Security and home are primal drives of this sign, sometimes to the point of clannishness or even xenophobia. America is and always has been about property, taxes, and land ownership. Conveniently, we forget that when the early settlers arrived they took one look around and said to the Indians, ‘What a gorgeous place you've got here! Get out!’ Territory is everything, and if anyone tells you that the essence of the American Dream is just about liberty and freedom, don't kid yourself. It's about mortgage rates.

“But are we, in the end, ruthless imperialists doomed to be brought down by our degenerate culture? That is the question Pluto's transit through the sign of Capricorn over the next 19 years will answer. It will challenge us as we have never been challenged before—until it will seem that the whole world is against us—but it will also reveal the secret of how we need to change.

“The sign of Capricorn has always been strong in our Cancer nation's horoscope, and it's going to get a lot stronger. We were born with Pluto in Capricorn, and now, more than two centuries later, Pluto is coming back to the same place. The seeds that were sown back in the 1770s are sprouting at last. That's how Pluto works, over hundreds of years.

“Pluto in Capricorn is going to change America from the inside out, threaten our very existence, challenge our economy, and divide the country politically. The government is going to be so paranoid during those years that it doesn't really matter who gets in in 2008.

“Pluto in Capricorn means the ascendance into overt power of corporations in relation to the government. But that situation will change when Pluto enters Aquarius, at the end of the 2020s.

“Uranus in Aries is going to be the 1960s all over again. The greatest time of upheaval will be between 2015 and 2019, when the square of Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn will create the seeds of revolution everywhere. Forces of repression are going to clamp down even harder on those who want to speak their minds.

“Then, in the years 2023–25, the final stages of the Pluto return and the Capricorn effect will reach a climax. Some astrologers believe that an empire lasts no longer than one Pluto cycle, and by 2025 this cycle will be played out. And no matter how you look at it, the U.S.A. is an empire.

“Just as the British Empire began enduring sunsets after the fledgling colonies won their independence, our turn may be coming. The Pluto return of 2025 will demand a redefinition of the United States and create the ultimate identity crisis. We will have to put ourselves on the line, as we did in the 1770s.

“The period of turbulence that lies before us all in America is not God's wrath or the work of radical Muslims, and it has nothing to do with the hole in the ozone layer. It is a necessary and inevitable step in the evolution of this country that will result in a reworking of the Constitution in the last half of the 2020s.

“This political, social, cultural, and economic change will mark the rebirth of the United States as a more global nation—a member of the world, if not the leader of the world. This is a threatening challenge to the notions of land ownership, security, wealth, and supremacy our Cancer nation has enjoyed for more than two centuries. The dollar will not likely go back to its post–W.W. II strength. Other countries will reject our exploitation and demand instead our cooperation. Luckily for us, the horoscope of the U.S.A. is strongly influenced by Venus and Jupiter, so we'll never go totally broke or hungry. We will, however, have to play ball with the rest of planet Earth as we never have before. From now on it's cooperate, or else.”

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that environmental scientists, astrologers, peak oil forecasters, and honest financial commentators all agree that the current economic, political and social system is broken.

Worse, our current way of life has forced 1.5 billion people into intense poverty and suffering, and is destroying the entire middle class around the world.

Worst of all, our consumer society is destroying our own habitat, rendering much of the Earth’s surface unsuitable for human habitation while killing off literally millions of species.

The system is global, and the transformation of human society that is coming will be global.

If we want to see a new world emerge that is democratic, fair, environmentally sustainable and spiritual in the best sense of those words, we all will need to contribute what we can in the next two decades.

If you are middle aged, like Jane and I, you might want to work out and get on a good, healthy diet and start a spiritual practice if you have not already done so. If you are young, you might want to learn skills that will be helpful during the transition and start a spiritual practice if you have not already done so. We will all need to help one another.

And we will all need to be prepared to speak up, stand up and put our bodies on the line to prevent corporate fascism and fundamentalist fascism from creating a living hell on Earth.

It’s our choice. It’s our destiny. We are the ones we have been waiting for. You may be feeling hopeless and helpless, but rest assured, that those who stay strong in body, healthy in mind, open-hearted and connected to Spirit will be given golden opportunities to contribute to the struggle to emerge from the collective chrysalis of our current failed society and fly freely in the Sun of a new dawn. Each one of us is an important worker in these changing times.

The Seven Prophecies of 2012

Although these are no doubt going to be challenging times for all of us, I am sure we are being offered a golden opportunity for accelerated spiritual advancement as individuals and as a species. This has been foretold many, many times.

For those of you interested in the Mayan Prophecies concerning 2012, and the potential Dawning of a New Age during this time of tribulations, here’s a vital and uplifting message from Esoteric Astrologer Robert Wilkinson:

“I want to offer you the news from those who supposedly know, since they're supposedly ‘in the know.’ Without further adieu, here's the latest from someone speaking for the Mayan elders and culture on the coming ‘end of the Mayan Calendar.’

“This information came from the Fundacion Centro Cultural and Asistencia Maya C.C.A.M. (CulturalCenter and Mayan Assistance Foundation) Their philosophy is to promote Mayan Culture in its different manifestations and contribute to the integral development of all people, and especially the Mayan people. Here it is:

“The interpretation of the prophetic texts is very complex, because in addition to being written in a metaphorical and mystical manner without a logical relationship, the texts are presented according to the Long Count. The start of the prophecies initiates with 11 Ahau Katun (3113 BC) and ends with 13 Ahau Katun (December 22, 2012). Thirteen periods are represented in which predictions are made with respect of the development of life.

“The date 2012, comes from the Long Count, which defines a very precise cycle of 1,872,000 days starting on August 12, 3113 BC, and ending on the decisive, December 22, 2012. This interval of days is often referred to as the ‘Great Sun Cycle’.”

“There is a series of seven prophecies with profound and mystical content, which is related to the end of the Long Count, that corresponds to December 22, 2012. Within these prophecies, the Mayans do not talk about the end of the world, but rather, specifically say that all things will transform, that the only thing that is permanent is the spirit in its evolutionary journey to higher spiritual levels.

“The messages are engraved in stones (stellas) the Mayans left us. In other words, the ‘Seven Prophecies’, constitute a message of alert and hope. The message of alert advises us of what will happen in these times that we live in, and the message of hope informs us of the changes that we should make within ourselves to lead humanity towards a new era where righteous values will start to flower in each and every one of us, through our daily practice. The new era that the seven prophecies refer to, will be the era of the woman, the era of the mother and the era of sensibility.

“In actuality, the world is in convulsion, living in times of war for no reason, climate changes that provoke calamities, natural disasters that occur with greater frequency. And, not to mention our own individual daily actions that demonstrate, first of all, that we are out of touch with ourselves. And secondly, that we are out of touch with others which, has lead to the consequential deterioration of relations with our Creator, with our brothers and sisters, and with humanity in general.”

The Mayans do not talk about the end of the world, but rather, specifically say that all things will transform, that the only thing that is permanent is the spirit in its evolutionary journey to higher spiritual levels.” -- (Fundacion Centro Cultural and Asistencia Maya C.C.A.M. Chichicastenango, El Quiche, Guatemala)

“Think about it, folks! Things may very well be not as they seem, and in fact a whole lot better than the glamorized ‘end of the world’ that the more extreme of our brothers and sisters seem to be flogging,” says Wilkinson.

“The ‘end of the Age’ is most certainly NOT the ‘end of the world,’” contends Wilkinson. “Life is not a Hollywood movie!! Get ready, and move into your Higher Self. The outer is not as important as the inner. Get right with your heart and you'll do fine in the coming Great Transition.”

In conclusion, Jane and I send you our Blessing: May your Guides and Teachers, and the angels and devas present around us all, help to strengthen you for the tests coming in the times just ahead. May you each receive the Grace and Guidance you require to help you achieve your loftiest spiritual goals. May you each receive the abundance and the wisdom you need to live a productive life in service to Spirit. May you each be helped to open your hearts and may Love ever live within your heart of hearts and be a daily part of your lives. May your bodies & your homes become the Sacred Vessels of Spirit made manifest on Earth.


Meditation Moment


Breathe! Breathe again! Pause......

Foot and Earth touch.
Bright sunflowers fill our eyes.
In the distance, Thunder roars.
Sweat Trickles down our cheeks.
Fully entering the world of birth and death,
our tears nourish all beings.
Transcending the world of birth and death,
empty footprints going nowhere.

-- Thich Nhat Hahn