Sunday, May 17, 2009

More fun with conspiracy theories

World Bank president Robert Zoellick has been in Greece on unspecified business since May 14th, US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s public schedule is mysteriously empty for the next couple days, Josef Ackermann, head of Deutsche Bank, will be travelling “somewhere in Europe” while Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank, will not be around until the end of the week. Yep, it's conspiracy theorists wet dream time again, the Bilderburg Group is meeting this weekend at a hotel in Vouliagmeni, Greece, just south of Athens. Do 140 of the world's most powerful people meet every year to make key decisions on international policy that essentially control the world?

Named after the Bilderberg hotel in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands, where the first meeting was held in 1954, the group operates under the Chatham House Rules, meaning that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. Adding more fuel to the conspiracist's view is the total media blackout maintained at these meetings; it's truly amazing that a group of names like this could have met just outside Washington, DC last year with almost no mainstream press coverage. Therefore, like any good conspiracy story, we're forced to mostly rely on rumor and coincidence to piece most of the Bildeberg story together.

So how does a group that doesn't even have a web page control the world? Seems the groups origins can be linked to the Knights of Malta, whose Hospitaller's connections are almost as strong a conspiracy magnet as the Templars, through its organizer, Joseph Retinger, a Pole who effectively forged ties with the European Council of Princes, the CIA, and Britain's MI6 to create the New World Order (NWO) think-tank. Bill Clinton was just a governor from Arkansas when he was invited in 1991, Margaret Thatcher's first appearance in 1975 was a near disaster as she needed to be prodded to join the discussion. When she finally did, she was marked for higher office. That other Clinton, Hillary, may have been convinced to let Obama become the next president at the 2008 event, privacy being ensured by locking reporters in the bathroom of a plane! Wars don't simply happen either, many say Bildeberg at the very least set the timeline for the latest Iraq war, facilitated the Falklands war by determining sanctions should be imposed on Argentina and perhaps triggered the war to bring down Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia.

Finance and politics mix freely at Bilderberg, of that there can be no doubt. This year's focus will more than likely be the global economy, pushing to the backseat the North American union plans feared by many a loony. Who am I calling loony? Bilderberg did put together the European Union after all. Working on ways to get the Lisbon Treaty to pass will be on the agenda, with bets being placed on thinking they will focus a smear campaign on “Libertas”, an anti-treaty group led by Declan Ganley. One of the Bilderberger supposed planned moves is to use a whispering campaign in the US media suggesting that Ganley is being funded by arms dealers in the US linked to the US military. Having come so far, the EU project now numbers 27 countries (and of course the Eurovision song contest this weekend) they will find a way to get the treaty ratified, with or without Ireland's 'yes' vote. Retinger didn't bring Bildeberg into existence by himself, his strongest supporter was Prince Bernhard from the Netherlands. German-born Bernhard was a card-carrying Nazi and member of the SS, a fact that makes another conspiracy about the group, that it is a zionist organization, hard to swallow. Alden Hatch wrote a biography of Prince Bernhard where he insists that Bilderberg was the cradle of the European Community - later rebranded European Union. He describes Bilderberg's ultimate goal as a one-world government.

Of course most of the rumors this year are swirling around the economic crisis. Bilderberg 'guru' Daniel Estulin claims the pre-meeting booklet sent out to attendees stated they are looking at two options: Either a prolonged, agonizing depression that dooms the world to decades of stagnation, decline, and poverty ... or an intense-but-shorter depression that paves the way for a new sustainable economic world order, with less sovereignty but more efficiency. Credence to Estulin's claims are strengthened by his previous claims of using leaked information from his sources of what was said at the 2006 meeting in Canada and 2007 in Turkey to correctly predict the housing crash and the 2008 financial meltdown in his book The True Story of the Bilderberg Group. According to Estulin, they plan to continue to deceive millions of savers and investors who believe the hype about the supposed up-turn in the economy, setting them up for massive losses and searing financial pain in the months ahead. The bank “stress tests” conducted by Washington were little more than a shameless hoax. Hmm, why not? After all, the oil shocks of 1973 and last year both could have been masterminded by the group to get the petrodollar engine revving. In Europe, Belgian viscount and current Bilderberg-chairman Étienne Davignon recently admitted they "helped create the euro in the 1990s"; now thanks to the crisis it could be fast tracked into use in the 11 EU countries still not using the currency.

This latest admission seems all the creepier as this super secret society has been taking steps towards more transparency going so far as issuing a press release for the first time last year. How else could the acceptance by the public to handing over the economy to the banksters during the past 6-months be explained than the fact that we actually want to be controlled by these people. As far back as 1991, permanent Bilderberg member David Rockefeller said:

"It would have been quite impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries ..."
The club is strictly European and American, very white and very male. According to Bilderberg founder member Dennis Healy: "Bilderberg is a way of bringing together politicians, industrialists, financiers and journalists. Politics should involve people who aren't politicians. We make a point of getting along younger politicians who are obviously rising, to bring them together with financiers and industrialists who offer them wise words. It increases the chance of having a sensible global policy." Are they Satan preparing the ground for a NWO through economic collapse, the coming food shortage and the ensuing war leading to the global government's birth to restore order? Do they want to create a global department of health out of the World Health Organization, a global treasury with a global currency out of the IMF? Are they telling the Americans to sign onto International Criminal Court treaty? Is climate change simply part of a plan to impose a global carbon tax to fund it all? Probably not, but whether it's the Bilderberg's who are marching us down the path toward the corporate autocracy or not, we seem to be going on our own anyway.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Can you remember something you wanted to be true so badly that you'd have done anything to make it happen. Perhaps a Christmas wish when you were eight, the outcome of a life-saving surgery on a loved one, or if only that girl in class would stop at your desk and say hi. Imagine now that you'd have had that power to make it so but by using that power you would've had to cross some moral boundary, be it lying, cheating or hurting someone else. Would you have used your power? Well, it seems we live in a world where most people will do whatever it takes to advance their cause, and sadly, we all seem more than willing to sit on the sidelines applauding their deception.

The results of the so-called stress tests on US banks were released last week, while across the pond here in Europe, Wednesday night Barcelona defeated Chelsea to reach the Champion's League final where they'll face Manchester United. Perhaps two unrelated events, yet both conform to a pattern of manipulation and deception. You need to reassure investors and the public that banks are safe to keep the financial world afloat, invent a 'stress test' to prove their solvency; you need a championship final that will ensure more interest and thus advertising dollars, fix a match.

In Washington you had US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a man who made his name being wined and dined by the big banks during his time as head of the New York Reserve Bank, announcing that these same banks need a few billion to stay afloat. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "I think I can, I think I can..." the markets have reacted predictably by staging a rally, receiving the news that the banks are OK as an indication to continue to bid up prices on Wall Street. Even before the results were announced, Geithner had told us the results would be "reassuring". While the tests revealed a capital shortfall in the nations 19 biggest banks of $75 billion, the IMF declared recently that this number is closer to $275 billion (page 13) and folks like Nuriel Rubini have cast even more dire predictions. But on Wall Street, it seems like the more you believe, the higher the market.

European football is a confusing world for a Canadian transplant. However, the myriad of leagues and cups can be ignored when it comes the the Champions League where the best of the separate national leagues get thrown together in an effort to find one continental club champion. While North American sports have their Goliaths who always seem to be in the running, your Yankees, Patriots, Red Wings and Lakers, the last decade or so has brought a new buzzword, parody. Measures such as salary caps and reverse standing draft order have allowed unexpected challengers to emerge, notably the Tampa Bay Rays in baseball and the Arizona Cardinals in football last year. Meanwhile, in Europe, every year seems like a repeat of the previous, with the same teams qualifying over and over. This year was no exception as Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea made it to the semi-final round once again with the only change being Arsenal making it instead of Liverpool (who fell in the quarters). Predictability breeds boredom in sports and UEFA wanted to avoid a second consecutive final involving Chelsea and Manchester United.

It's hard to imagine that a banking system which was so broken but a few months ago, needing trillions of dollars to get credit flowing again could now only be $75 billion short. Supposedly, the test was meant to ensure that the banks could survive a 'worst-case scenario' economy, an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent next year, an economic contraction of 3.3% this year and a 22% further decline in housing prices — the losses by the 19 banks could total $600 billion this year and next, or 9.1 percent of the banks’ total loans, regulators concluded. That rate of loss would be higher than any other since 1921. While the adverse situation was supposed to be unlikely, it is not that much worse than what has happened so far, unemployment hit 8.9% this month as 'only' 539,000 non-farm jobs were lost, the smallest number since October. 5.7 million people have lost there job in America since December 2007. Of course the results could have meant something if the banks hadn't been allowed to dictate the terms of the tests, but we'd hate to have had the results mean something, that would have just caused investors to sell bank shares, wiping out the weaker banks and allowing capitalism to work its magic by making room for new, stronger players to rise up and take their place. Oh yeah, that's what should have been done ages ago, instead, Tim & Co. have kept their friends firmly in place at the head of world finance.

UEFA, the administrative and controlling body of European football, is run by Michel Platini, a man who has made no attempt to hide his contempt of English teams, going so far as hinting at banning teams such as Chelsea and Man U. But does his England hating mean that he would instruct the referee to help Barcelona get by Chelsea? Well, why was Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo even given the assignment? At least 2 non-calls were absolute no-brainers and a couple others were more than arguable. Adding fuel to the fire, it's come out that UEFA had posted a dummy match report on its website hours before kick-off, a report that correctly, as it turned out, predicted the final 1-1 score, that Barcelona would score a late equalizer and even predicted three of the four Chelsea players who would get booked, Ballack, Alex and Drogba. Or did the advertisers lean on Platini in a bid to avoid another Chelsea-Man U final which would have been anathema to the rest of the continent? Before the match, even English papers were abuzz with articles proclaiming that Barcelona needed to win "for the good of football".

So, here we are with the banksters controlling the economy and the advertisers controlling European football, what a lovely corporatist world we live in! All we need now is a little lithium added to our water supply and we'll be as cuddly as kittens. As usual, greed has been allowed to run amok, resulting in a fixed world where the outcome is decided before kick-off or the opening bell. Since the bank stress tests were first announced on Feb. 10th, the S&P 500 financial index has gone from 133.13 on February 9 to 96.18 two weeks later on apocalyptic nationalization fears, but through careful managing of leaks and results, the index has roared back, closing above 175 on Friday. Close your eyes, make a wish and all is good. Football, the beautiful game, seems no better, through luck or manipulation, we'll have our dream final come May 27th as Manchester United face Barcelona FC in Rome. Fans are happy and more importantly, continental advertisers are happy. Who needs a level playing field? Maybe I should just ignore it all and be happy with the masses.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Just a couple of quick hits which brought me back to last summer. Woke up this morning to news that the Georgian army was rebelling after falling asleep to last Thursday's Daily Show with a clip of the Large Hadron Collider. The never failing race to see who will truly bring about the end of the world, war or science (both?). Seems as though Saakashvili will live to see another day in power as the BBC only has the Rebellion Over story posted. Yet it seems that his presidency is on the same start and stop schedule of the machine that could bring about the end of it all, at least if crazies like this are to be believed:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Large Hadron Collider
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

The accelerator was powered up for a short time last fall, fired up on Sept. 9th, just after the war down in Georgia wound down, then burst a pipe 10 days later leaking liquid helium. The Russians bitch slapped the poor little Georgians, taking out most of Gori, a town I visited a few years back to see native son Stalin's statue, almost as quick as the circuit was completed by the beam of low-energy particles fired through the collider's 17-mile (27-kilometer) underground track. In case you missed it, this experiment is out to show the world as it existed fractions of moments after the big bang, with collisions at speeds 99.999999% that of light hopefully yielding the fabled Higgs boson, or God particle - or maybe a micro black hole or strangelet . Meanwhile, the Russians and the Americans along with NATO, continue their proxy war in poor Georgia as fingers are being pointed at the Russians for instigating the attempted coup.

Re-start for the collider was to be early spring, but instead continue on the parallel universe shared with Georgia. NATO exercises are planned around Tbilisi - or more importantly designed because Abhkazia and South Ossetia. The planning of these exercises is almost too blatant a display, but it is playing out as expected. The sound of Putvedev's protests seemed to foreshadow the sounds of the colliders start up hum once again. It seems like yet another play scripted for Medvedev to step from out of Putin's shadow, but I somehow doubt Putin is ready to take a farewell bow.

Of course this bow is exactly what Saakashvili was most likely orchestrating the avoidance of through this 'coup'. While the collider only needed to be warmed from -271 degrees C to allow workers in to do the repair work last year, Georgia's president faces far more internal heat from opposition in his country. Images of protesters camped out in cages blocking the main drag of the capital (yes walked it, it is the only main artery) have reinforced the image of a nation without faith in its leader. Funny how many claimed the Russians lost the propaganda war, the real fight last year, yet I've been swayed to their side by what I've read since. NATO exercises are due to start tomorrow, the collider won't be up and running until September (with Tom Hanks flipping the switch?!?) with real results about the beginning (and end) of the universe not coming in until a year later. Maybe we've got a while to survive if these pesky Ruskies and Georgians can get along, well, until 2012 that is!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Moral Corrosion

As much of the world celebrated May Day, a day devoted to the worker which many have been indoctrinated to believe is a Communist holiday, we seem to be standing on a cultural, economic and political precipice. Voices are screaming from all directions telling us that a new pandemic is upon us while fascists are seizing control of government as the global markets teeter on the brink of collapse. Somehow during the last decade we seem to have lost the ability to objectively step back and assess situations, both good and bad, and come up with solutions to problems or game plans for success. Neither swine flu, economic depression nor waterboarding will bring about the end of the world, but you couldn't guess by reading the news.

It's hard to imagine the world pre-Y2K. Here I am typing away on my laptop on the couch in Poznan, Poland, connected to the internet by an invisible beam that grants me access to the world. Back then, I was in Canada, working at a bank, I used the internet for email, browsed a few web pages, some news oriented, many pornographic, the rest fantasy sports related. My news was still fed to me mainly through the TV, mostly CNN with most of the other networks providing entertainment of one sort or the other. I'd pick up the odd newspaper and sometimes hear the news on the way to work in my car, sometimes balanced, occasionally wacky, there were even shock jocks like Howard Stern to spice things up now and then. Perhaps my vantage point has changed more than most, but I'm assuming (dangerous word that) most people reading these words now get the majority or their information via these internets from blogs, tweets or web pages. Many more still get their news from the TV, but a different TV than I knew. There was no 'Faux' News. CNN blared in the background occasionally, but not continuously as it must do now, unless it's FOX or MSNBC, BBC or TV5. Since then we've lurched from crisis to crisis, Y2K, tsunamis, stolen election, 9/11, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, snipers, Colombia, Kerry, SARS, mad cow, 11-M, 7/7, Katrina, Virginia Tech, Sudan, Gaza, Burma, oops, Myanmar, Bali, North Korea, Pakistan, economic depression, avian flu and now swine flu to name but a few.

Point, yes. Swine flu. Well, chances are it will blow by, but we ALL know about it. Depression, that too, so steps are being taken. But while we also know that the US government executed Japanese generals for ordering waterboarding on American POW's during WWII, it still seems OK for Americans to order and execute the same torture on their own POW's, or illegal combatants. It took less than a decade, and one f#cked up terrorist attack to get to a point where our moral compass is being spun for us, by those intent on not even allowing one to form their own opinion on the ethical question of whether torture is right or wrong. Obfuscation of the question, causing confusion, bewilderment and stupefaction has been facilitated by this 24/7 news culture. The world would end when pigs flu, but it has a way to go to overtake the Spanish, Hong Kong or even just the Asian variety this century as we now seem to know what to do. The issue of torture is simply whether it's right or wrong, but the question for the masses gets mixed up with a witches brew of distractions: "is it torture?", it is, "did or does it work?", it didn't, doesn't and won't, hint: do you really believe that waterboarding someone the 183rd time in a month is any more likely to reveal information than the 182nd?, "why did Obama release the memos?", to clear the air, confirming what we already knew therefore allowing us to make up our mind about what to do, "are we now less safe?", well, thanks to the policies of torture, future American POW's will be, "was McCain speaking the truth when he mentioned the Japanese general executions?", he was. The Third Geneva Convention was created to protect prisoners of war off the battlefield. If one nation is allowed to flaunt these laws because crazy brown people are cutting off their prisoners' heads, what's to stop the rest of the world from doing the same to that nation sometime down the road? Therefore, you just don't do it. However, this question, like the flu, economics, or gay rights can be spun any which way you want these days with mind numbing effects thanks to these invisible connections.

Oops, sidetracked again, point. Yes, swine flu. Got your mask? Chrysler now being controlled by the American and Canadian government, the UAW and a (gasp) European company (Fiat) is sure to be held up as more socialist/fascist fodder for the masses that still cling to the elephantine ideals of the Republicans in America. Tea bags won't save you this time, we're talking unions, governments and Europeans, not just raising taxes from 36% to 39% on income earned over a quarter million, real socialism. Dude, get a grip. (OK, maybe it's only the top 2% of earners today...) Cars are so 1950's, so the government won't pay indefinitely to keep producing them like they keep doing for the new millennium financial industry. Strange how no one questioned the swing in our ethics as it became more and more normal for our youth to enroll in 'business', 'finance' or 'economics' degrees while previous generations valued 'medicine', 'engineering' or 'philosophy'. Stocks in our 401k, RRSP or European retirement versions became more important than those worn by our workers or Guantanamo prisoners. Is it any surprise that now you can fool people into believing anything? Torture can simply be called robbery to advance your political agenda so why not do it to save lives?

The talking point that sticks in many people's heads is that thanks to the advanced interrogation techniques, or torture, attacks were averted and therefore innocent lives saved. The ticking time bomb scenario is used ad nauseum. Problem is it's not the right question. Yes, it's a familiar tactic by the 'left' as well in issues such as climate change. The sea is rising, ice caps are melting, we're all going to die. However, even this issue, when one is allowed to step back and think, can be boiled down to a simple 2 outcome question. Do something or don't. I for one think something should be done instead of confusing the debate by questioning whether or not we're causing the problem, debating if environmentalism is a communist plot or what Al Gore's motive is. Do something or don't, simple. While Obama's saving the banksters has been a wrongheaded approach to saving the economy, imagine the right wing ire if he'd of spent that same amount of money on greening the economy. Sure, he'd of been right, but instead of cries that he is steering his country towards a socialist state or a one world government and currency, he'd of moved away from the nation's vested interest in the status quo, where their might is still right.

More TVs and god cars equals more happiness, the average Joe works longer and harder, gets fatter and dumber while being fed from the fear factory. Most of the other kinds of factories have been relocated abroad, while the financial industry has grown to replace them. Somewhat ironically, that same industry has poisoned the economy, while the one that could produce the vaccines to save lives against pandemics such as the swine flu has been outsourced to China. The US has only one flu vaccination manufacturing plant left today. Our choices today have repercussions tomorrow, whether it's repealing Glass-Steagall or authorizing torture. The Bush, Cheney and Rice's are still running around the question, while others like Alyssa Peterson have paid the ultimate price for their hubris. Worse yet for many further down the chain of command, "I was only following orders" isn't an acceptable line of defence, especially if you're on the losing side like John Demjanjuk, a man possibly known as Ivan the Terrible more than 60 years ago and still being hunted down today.

Being the leader of the world comes with a price, not only a debt. Flag-waving, pin-wearing, jingoistic hysteria took a nation to war as everyone stood by, then moved on to putting prisoners on Guantanamo, using off-shore ships or other countries in what has become known as 'extraordinary renditions' to sidestep the Convention Against Torture rules while claiming that "America does not torture". Throw in some legal mumbo jumbo, label POW's unlawful combatants, unsign international treaties and create some chaos with a little help from some background noise. So where do we find guidance? Funny enough, the more religious you are, the more likely you are to believe torture is OK under certain circumstances. I'm not a big bible guy, but the whole do unto others quote seems to apply here quite nicely, for if you ignore it you never know when you'll be repaid in spades. To avoid this moral quagmire altogether, we have the rule of law. The last 10 years has seen a huge shift in how we see the issues of the day along with a growing taste for taking the easy route. In medicine, economics and morals: "you start taking shortcuts, and over time that corrodes what’s best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.