Friday, September 26, 2008

Chasers: Chasing HIV For Benefits

Lo and behold, generations of neglect by the have's have resulted in something new for have not's to chase in order to survive: HIV. You read it right. A small number of the poor ain't running away from it. They're trying to catch it - for benefits.

On Monday and Tuesday, I attended an advanced HIV training seminar. The location was Baltimore. It's a one hour drive from my home.

This is where I almost missed my turn and almost got creamed.

The only way I know how to enter this seaport city of two and a half million residents is from the south. Each day I was rolling north up 95 to the 395 overpass. They don't call it an overpass for nothing. Yo' azz is so high up in the air as you drive over the water, that you know if there's an earthquake, you don't have a prayer.

So much for logistics. Right now, I'm gonna ask you fill in the blank:

"I like to chase ________, or
"I've always chased ________," or
"Lately, I've been chasing __________. "

So many words can be placed in that space.

I chase the paper $.
I chase sex.
I chase love.
I chase Jesus.
I chase higher education.
I chase the best jobs.
I chase beer with hard alcohol.
I chase my weed with beer.
I chase the dragon.
I chase wisdom.
I chase the American dream.

That's just a small example of nouns and adjectives one can use to describe the object of their desire or someone elses. Everyone chases something.

Chances are, HIV isn't on your list.

Below are snapshots of unexpected conversations I had with professionals about this. Names and a few details have been changed to protect the privacy of others. The folks attending have various levels of education and backgrounds. Some only have high school diplomas but are professional in every sense of the word.

Like their clients, they were black, white, and Latino. Remember this, because this story is not confined to impoverished black inner city Baltimore residents. Not at all.

Tonya is a slender Baltimore white girl of 23. She has very pretty face, an emo look, her hair is dyed black, and her eyes are stunningly blue. She reminded me of my son's Baltimore girlfriend last year, the one he met at a rehab, but four years older and more mature.

"How did you get into this work?", I asked.

"I used to be a dancer," she said easily, "down at the strip clubs. The money was good. I was never into tricking like some of the girls, but they were my friends. I wasn't doing well, though. A family friend could tell, and said he had a feeling I'd be good at this job."

Her office is a mobile van and she does outreach with sex workers and tries to convince them to get tested for HIV. Tonya's youngest contact in the field may be 12 or 13, and tricks with her mother on the streets.

"Can't you call Child Protective Services on them?", I asked.

"I don't know their names," she said, "and they won't get tested, at least so far. The girl is gorgeous too. She can pass for 16. If they eventually do, we can get them the medical help they'll need. Our goal is to cut down on the spread of infection."

Being an old CPS worker myself, I was fixated on the issue of an unprotected minor being pimped by her mother.

"What's this mom like?", I asked "You ever talk to her?"

"Yes. The two of them are proud of what they do. They enjoy the work and are very close."

"Can't you call the police when you see them?"

"We don't have proof of the girl's real age, last names, address, nothing. So what can we do? Nothing. Then there's the trust issue. Other addicts won't talk to us or get tested if they don't trust us."

Tonya isn't a social worker nor has a college degree. She's good at what she does, but I swear, her agency's approach freaked me out. I'm an old school social worker, and my brain would be working overtime to figure out a way to save this kid.

I also know that if I spotted them on the street and called the cops, all that would happen is denial, denial, denial when this family of two were confronted with questions. If this helps you understand the problem better, I'll say this: that's their job. Don't fuck with people's livelihood especially when their economic survival depends on it. They'll stonewall you and you won't get a thing out of them. Still.... I'd be pressed as hell to give it a shot.

Another one of her cases was just as bad.

"She's maybe 18, and met this guy in rehab. I've met him and the two of them are so in love. Once she disappeared all night and he cried and cried and was worried to death. She's a sex worker, he's an HIV+ IV drug user."

IV stands for intravenous, which means he uses needles to take drugs, such as heroin.

"She was negative earlier this year," Tonya said. "Currently she's four months pregnant, crack addicted, has a lump in her breast that may be cancer which runs in her family, and they're both homeless. She likes to talk with me, but so far, hasn't agreed to get tested or any services for her medical problems. She is interested in help for her drug problem. I'm working on getting her a placement now, but she won't get tested."

Can you imagine being 18 and having all that shit on your plate? I'm old enough to know that at 18, you're still a child in so many ways. It's an age where your biggest decision should be what you're going to do if and when you finish high school, and if that's too big to handle, what you'll wear when you go out.

Yet, these are real people with real problems, the invisible and sad side of America that you never see on CNN - not that it would make a difference in Congress more generously funding social programs and rebuilding our country from the ground up. Since 40% of whites and 50% of blacks never finish high school, this is where society should invest our money. Won't happen now, because nation's piggy bank is currently being robbed.

Shit is bad out there. Bad beyond bad. While the rich boyz on Wall Street feel pained that they won't be raking in six and seven digit salaries, there are people in NYC and a few hours away in Baltimore and other cities and towns who don't know where they're going to sleep tonight nor have money for their next meal.

We can hang onto our stereotypes and dismiss them all as drug addicts who are getting what they deserve. This is true for quite a few, but it's hardly the whole picture. Some are just damn poor, or have mental health issues or serious learning disabilities or borderline intelligence or are so starved for love that loneliness has compromised their judgment. Or a combination of any of these.

This is how bad and shocking this shit has become for some people:

"Doing counseling with the chasers is the hardest," Evelyn said. She does testing with another program.

"Chasers?", I asked.

"Yeah, they want to get infected."

"What? Why?"

"They'll say things like, I need the benefits. I'll get them quicker if I'm HIV positive."

Several other counselors and testers nodded their heads in agreement. A few people there like myself, who do not work exclusively with HIV populations, were shocked.

This conversation wasn't even part of the program. It came up unexpectedly from the front line workers.

I disbelief, I repeated what she said. "There are folks out there doing this for benefits?"

At least a half dozen folks in the room said yes, plus the teacher. I was dumbfounded, and knew I had to talk with them during our two breaks and lunch.

Like myself, Ellen was one of the few social workers in the group, and had been doing this work since the 80s.

"Yes," she told me during break. "They know they can get housing and food stamps if they're HIV+, and they're so desperate that they don't care. They figure they can treat it with medication."

"But they can get that anyway if they're poor," I replied.

I paused in thought. I added, "Well, at least if if they have kids."

She nodded in agreement. "That still leaves a lot of people who have no way to survive, except the men getting out of jail. If they have nowhere to go or family support, they get housing and food stamps. Everyone else gets nothing unless they have a disability. It's weird. I had one lady who had a stroke and was partially paralyzed on one side of her body. She worked a job that paid minimum wage. All SSI (Social Security Insurance) would give her was $20 a month. Can you imagine? She kept coming in for testing and every time would look disappointed when I told her she was negative. She finally told me she wanted to be positive because she could get benefits. Then life wouldn't be so hard."

Damn. That woman was chasing the disease to alleviate poverty stemming from her medical disability.

Tonya told a disturbing tale about one man. "He had a small home and mortgage but a crappy job. He had been laid off several times and was worried it would happen again soon. He got tired of tired of all, and decided to chase HIV so he'll get benefits and finally get the rest he needed."

As my late father used to say, there's no rest for the weary. I understand that. I began working at the age of 15. It was a part-time after school and weekend job. The conditions were so bad that I was glad I was fired after a few months. I worked off and on in a variety of jobs through high school, college and beyond. The one thing that struck me the most was that the people who worked the hardest and have to take the most shit in work conditions and the way they are treated by employers are the ones who get paid the least.

A good education, phat salary and a couple lucky real estate investments spared me of a lot of misery. Even with all this, the grind of life can wear you down.

As an educated black woman, I haven't been exempt from sexism and racism even on my last full-time job. That was very stressful.

Parenting had unexpected twists and turns when my son's behavior led me to symbolically hanging off a cliff when he nose-dived into alcohol, drugs, gang banging, suicidal attempts and homicidal threats when I'd try to make him go to school or even clean up after himself, along frequent visits by the police to our home. Sometimes they'd bring him home in handcuffs because I'd refuse to pick him up and wanted him charged as a juvie - which almost never happened because the police are trifling with teens around here who do minor shit - and other times the cops would come because I called when he'd violently flip out and needed to be escorted to a mental hospital.

At the exact same time, both of my elderly parents became frail and needed a lot of help. They died within six months of one another.

My job, my parents, my oldest kid... it's like my whole life blew up at once. Hell, it's a wonder I'm sane.

In life, shit happens whether you're rich or poor. Had I not had a decent savings to fall back on, the luxury of not having to work full-time for the past few years, and two kids who relied on me, eating my gun would have been easy.

My point is that the poor, because of their chronic lack of resources or ability to navigate their way through life or have the social supports which we all of need to survive well, doesn't have jack shit to fall back on.

They can't wake up one morning and say fuck it all, I'll quit working and just sell a piece of property for money and sit on my ass to recover from the traumas I've been through. Many turn to alcohol and/or drugs, other forms of self-destructive pleasure seeking or even suicide for relief from chronic and unbearable stress.

Suicide comes in many forms.

And now we have this new tiny group turning to HIV so they can get a needed break from life, a roof over their heads and not starve to death. Damn.

I pulled the instructor to the side during break and asked her about benefits. She said, "The bad thing about SSI (social security insurance for disabilities) is that now you need an AIDS diagnosis to get it. Having HIV isn't enough. It used to be that if your T-cell count was 500 or below, you qualified as having full blown AIDS. Not anymore. So many people are infected that this rule was changed to 200 or less."

Clearly, there are a number of folks out there who have given up in a brand new way. Life is too hard, too complicated and too demanding. The present and future are so damned bleak that they've taken the fuck it approach to life to a whole new level.

I did a little research on this when I got home. On the Internet, there are a number of stories about chasers. In January 2003, Rolling Stone magazine did an article called Bug Chasers: Men Who Long To Be HIV+.

Excerpt: "In this world, the men with HIV are the most desired, and the bug chasers will do anything to get the virus... or "initiated into the brotherhood." Like a lot of sexual fetishes and extreme behaviors, bug chasing could not exist without the Internet, or at least it couldn't thrive."

Well, I got news for those mofo's. It's thriving just fine among a very small segment of the poor and homeless in Baltimore and in other cities. They don't have the Internet and could care less about any loony ideas of 'brotherhood' by primarily white gay men.

This new group has been poor for generations, they're tired of it and just want the economic benefits that comes with HIV. This is a helluva roll of the dice, but if you're at the point where you feel you have nothing to lose, it might look like the best game in town.

It isn't. On meds, a lot of people can live 20 years or more before getting super ill. To get benefits, however, the solution would be to not take meds. This involves going through a lot of sickness, from frequent diarrhea and oral thrush in the early stages, then to a form of pneumonia that's specific to people with low immune systems, to various cancers and other severe illnesses that can occur after those T-cells drop to a federally-approved level to get funding.

Hell, by that time the immune system is significantly impaired. Turning to medication might not even work.

For example, Janice, an HIV tester and counselor whom I spent part of lunchtime with, looked sad when talking about one of her clients. She described a young woman in her 20s who had never been a drug user, became infected from deadbeat, live-in boyfriend who used hard drugs on the sly and cheated "a few times".

"They had both tested negative at the beginning of their relationship," she said. "He messed around, got burned, and didn't care because he could get benefits to help pay the rent. He didn't tell her, and infected her. None of the meds worked for her. She died only a year after diagnosis."

Janice said that woman had not been a chaser of the disease, but she was victim to a man who was what could be called a passive chaser. This branched out to her discussion of other clients who were.

"There was this other client I had, a young girl. She was in love with her best friend, and he wasn't even straight. They never sex, but she loved him. He's an HIV+ gay man. She wanted the disease so they could share the experience. She was open about this."

"Hmmm. That's bizarre," I said. "Was she mentally ill or mildly retarded?"

"If she was, I couldn't tell," Janice said. "She's not the only one in my caseload who does this. I have another woman whose living with a HIV+ man. They never use protection when they have sex. She says she doesn't care, that whatever happens, happens."

"Are they drug users?"

"He is, she isn't. The problem with these women is that they're desperately lonely, then fall in love with a guy so hard that they'll do anything to please him even when they know this will cut their lives short. Nothing matters to them but being loved."

"Janice," I asked, "is it hard getting a boyfriend or girlfriend in Baltimore if you have HIV?"

"Not at all."

"Why is that?"

"So many people have it. They think it can be controlled with meds if they get it accidentally. And a lot of these teen and young adults just don't care."

Just don't care.

That's a sentence I heard a lot in describing the inner city, underclass youth of Baltimore. Just don't worry about it might be a more accurate sentence. Teens are notorious for not worrying about matters that give adults pause. They're reckless due their brain not being fully developed in areas that are associated with wisdom and caution.

Several people present at this training were HIV+. One young woman, Cherise, became infected at the age of 15. She was raised in Baltimore, and at the age, never thought it would happen to her. She's been living with the disease for over ten years and does counseling to HIV+ teens. There are around 80 teens in her caseload, and most of them are homeless and gay.

I've worked with quite a few gay teens. Mine were generally more creative than the average person, and on the surface appear more sexually impulsive. Gay males just have more opportunities for sex compared to straight males who generally have to work a little harder to get a female to give up the sex. This also presents more opportunities for infection. This applies too when some of them get locked up in juvie jail.

I didn't need to ask Cherise why so many of her gay teen males are homeless. They tend to be runaways or throwaways due to family stress and/or rejection. Throw in grinding poverty and you get the idea of the hell a lot of them go through from the day they're born or at least hit puberty and become targets of their family's homophobia.

Cherise also mentioned that she has a daughter. I wondered if the child is HIV+, but didn't ask. I was afraid my negative feelings would show. I know there's a decent chance that when a HIV+ woman takes medication during a pregnancy, the baby will be negative. But what if it's not? Why push that burden on another human being and your own child?

At the same time, I understand the powerful need many people have to have a family. It's an unconscious, biological imperative that demands we reproduce or become extinct. Cherish rolled the dice. I hope her baby won the HIV negative lottery.

I also spent time talking with Carlos, a self-described gay man, immigrant and HIV tester at a predominantly gay men's clinic. He's in his late 20s and is also HIV+.

Carlos described two chasers. One was after the benefits. He's heard of a few others from colleagues who also test for the virus and provide counseling.

His other client, however, young, uneducated and poor like many of them, had the need to 'connect' with his lover by becoming infected.

"I've met with them both," he said. "His partner says he's tried to keep it safe, but the one who wanted the disease would act very seductive so they wouldn't always use condoms. I figured out what was going on because he'd come for testing too often, and look disappointed when the test result was negative. I tried to talk him out of this behavior and did counseling with both him and his boyfriend. He wouldn't listen. Finally, though, he got his wish."

"How did he react when he found out?"

"He smiled. He brought his partner with him, who cried."

Carlos looked off into space as he surely pondered the lunacy of this. "Cried really hard," he said again, repeating himself.

As I sit here now, I can't cry over any of it. It's too crazy. It makes me numb, so numb that I wrote most of this on Tuesday night but couldn't pick it up again to finish it until the wee hours of this morning.

How can I, you, or any of us fathom poverty so deep and right here in America, that there are people are chasing HIV for benefits? I can barely fathom anyone doing this for love or to feel 'connected', but for food, shelter and money, here in the USA? It's incomprehensible.

In some Third World nations, the poor will sell a kidney for cash. Prove to me that what I learned in Baltimore isn't the equivalent.

Well, it isn't. It's worse.

The extent of our growing national poverty, like an HIV-impaired immune system, is still deeply hidden.

How long before it becomes full blown?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is John McCain Ill?

Yesterday, while watching McCain speak about canceling the scheduled debate with Obama, I noticed that his right eye looked much larger than his left.

Keith Olbermann comments on McCain's canceling this debate
and other unexpected behavior yesterday, and notable flip-flopping
this month, but you can also see how strange his eye looks.

I wondered then if his former cancer re-emerged and is spreading to his brain. This morning I read that other people noticed it too. Commenters to that article are speculating it's Bell's Palsy, Alzheimer's, a stroke, etc. Given his health history of cancer and swollen-looking lymph node in his jaw, the comment that 'feels' most plausible was, "Melanoma is often a precursor to a metastatic brain tumor."

No, I'm not wishing him ill health. My question is, however, what in the heck would happen to this election if he becomes seriously sick before November 4th? Or dies? What kind of strategies do you think the GOP will try to use in either case? And, is there a historical precedent for this?

Personally, I'll be disappointed. If McCain has a serious medical problem, I see the timing as bad from a political standpoint because Obama is pulling ahead significantly in the polls and may win this thing.

I prefer it go down in history that Barack won because the majority of Americans clearly chose the
Prince of Hope - incidentally the first African-American to get this far - as the better candidate, not because his opponent couldn't continue, which is how the haters will spin it.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

AIG Bailout: We Are Getting Sucked Dry By Spooks Now Barely Disguised As Vampires

The conversations we've heard this week is not about "bailing out Wall Street." It's a sales pitch to Congress, designed to get their approval to force the American tax payer to spend $700 billion dollars to keep one corporation - the American Institute Group, also known as AIG - from going under.

The quotes below by Fed Chairman Ben Benanke begin at 2:45

Today, Bernanke testified,
"The Federal Reserve took this action because it judged that, in light that the prevailing market conditions and size and composition of AIG's obligations, a disorderly failure of AIG would have severely threatened global financial stability, and consequently, the performance of the US economy...

"The collateral for the loan is the company itself, together with it's subsidiaries. Insurance policy holders and holders of AIG investment products, however, are fully protected...

"In addition, the US Government will equity participation rights, corresponding to a 79.9% equity interest in AIG, and has the right to veto the payment of dividends shared to common and preferred share holders, among other things."

This is why this crisis is not about 'bailing out Wall Street'.

What's not in any video that I could find was what happened moments after the testimony ended. On C-Span, you could see Ben Bernanke walk over to the guy chairing this fuck fest. They shook hands, and the man gave him the thumbs up.

I couldn't imagine why. Bernanke confronted several of angry congressmen and gave so few concrete answers that he reminded me of McCain's VP running mate, Sarah Palin.

AIG is an octopus with tentacles that reach all around the globe. AIG's history dates back to WWII. It was involved in spying in other countries while fronting as an insurance business, which was a tool to win wars. If you haven't already, read about this in my Sunday 9/21/2008 post, The Spooks Who Sit Beside Everyone's Door.

This gives us perspective in why the US Government is in a panic to save AIG now - and to claim 79% ownership of it. If one assumes that AIG is still in the global spook and war-profitering business, you'll understand that they don't want to save it, but have to so no one else will.

The last thing the US Government wants or needs is for the Chinese or Russians offering to buy it, and Americans asking what the fuck? when our leaders say "no thanks, we'd rather our taxpayers foot the bill."

Unlike the other dead and dying Wall Street firms, AIG's failure ain't a whole lot about shitty subprime loans.

I wonder who the biggest investors were, and did they manipulate it so it would fail?

Could it be the gang of mutli-billionaires like Rockefeller and the Bilderberg Group, who have a unique plan for squeezing out money of us for their war plans?

Or international investors like Russia, China, and the even the UK, who may have pulled the plug as covert economic war on America, designed to castrate AIG's spying abilities and thus, restrict our war plans and goals for domination of the world's oil reserves and other resources?

Or both?

This is what Chairman Bernanke, politicians and the White House is not revealing. Instead they're talking about how they saved Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so that the housing loan market would not collapse overnight, and why they should spend nearly one trillion dollars to 'save Wall Street', when it's only AIG they're planning to rescue.

They will too, by Friday, is my guess. This is why that puppet John McCain postponed the debate with Obama on Friday and suspended his campaign until after this blows over.

I'm dead certain McCain is secretly expecting the deal to go down tomorrow or the next day, then he won't need to make a stand on it, and risk saying something stupid or that sounds like a promise to the American people.

Instead, he can later posture that "under the circumstances, Bernanke, Congress, and the President did the best they could, and I will blah blah blah (fuck you even more in the ass) if you elect me."

I'd sure like to see Congress get some spine and say hell no to voting on it this week. Then we can all enjoy watching McCain show us a few more of his incompetence cards in an already fucked up deck.

Meanwhile today, Barack gave a banging speech about his efforts for both McCain and himself to come out with a joint statement on the crisis. Obama has a decent plan, too, compared to anything else I've heard.

McCain, the roach he is, scurried away from this light of sanity and then cancelled their debate. Mofo fronted that he needed to keep in tune with the crisis. Sheeit. Ain't like he can do a damn thing about it except make it worse if his hand is in it. It's his buddy and former financial adviser, Phil Gramm, who helped doom the housing market in the first place by passing the loophole bill several years ago that allowed white collar criminal lenders allow folks get over their heads with mortgages they couldn't afford.

You'd also do yourself a favor by reading this brief article at James Kunstler's site, titled "Bailout Games", dated 9/24/08. Here's an excerpt:

Notice that this is essentially a swindle.

Notice that many of the holders of this paper are the same people (and companies) that created it.

Notice that the company headed until recently by Treasury Sec'y Paulson (former CEO of Goldman Sachs), was not only in the forefront of engineering these debt securities, but that an office within Goldman Sachs was shorting the very securities that they were creating and selling to other banks, pension funds, and municipal investment funds?

My prediction is that Wall Street per se won't go under; it will be "restructured" - a fancy word that tells the ordinary American nothing, who will believe that by our saving AIG, Wall Street was saved.

Meanwhile, more of our banks will go under. My greatest worry is that FDIC will go bust. It would be the kiss of death for every aspect of how we do business and include people losing their retirements and pensions. If you're only 35 and have worked at some place for ten years, you might have well over $20K saved toward this. Don't blink; it might go poof.

For the newbies, FDIC is the federal insurance that protects your money up to $100 grand if your bank fails. Not just yours, but the business you work for that signs your paycheck. If their bank loses their money, you ain't getting paid.

Do I think AIG should be saved?

If it were strictly a Wall Street financial institution, I'd say no, let 'em take their licks.

I also have a moral dilemma over saving a covert spook agency that's quite possibly involved in our imperialistic war-mongering. To me, keeping AIG out of bankruptcy feels a lot like saving Halliburton seasoned with CIA and NSA flavors.

I also wonder who came up with the $700 billion dollar price tag... and why the corporation can't simply be turned over damn near free to the US Government since it will be nationalized and the feds will own 79.9% of it.

In other words, it's like a clever sales pitch asking us, We The People, to buy the IRS or the US Army.

Because of all this, I wonder if the price tag is just a scam, and the $700 billion dollars these vampires will suck out of us will be used for maintaining the war theaters in Iraq and Afghanistan, along the upcoming wars with Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba... and perhaps, Russia.

Where is Buffy the Vampire Slayer when you need her?


Addendum, Oct 8, 2008 - Betrayed By The Bailout is a must-read article as a follow up to this post.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

AIG History: The Spooks & Spies
Who Sit Beside Everyone's Door

Get ready for another effed up Wall Street week. Hopefully it won't be any more traumatic than the last one. Quite a few of us lost our shirts when the market nearly threw the economy into an immediate Great Depression II. One of my favorite brothas, my adopted daughter's biological uncle, lost nearly a quarter of a mill.

As she pointed out, "Good thing he's gotta a good job and some real estate."

You got that right.

Damn, damn, dammit, though. I was hoping to take her and my other rug rat to live with him if my bank goes bust and I can't keep a job and the landlord sets us out. Last thing he told me was we can live in my tent...

He is one fine brotha. I could go for that, even though it would freak out Casie. Oh well.

On Friday, I called my last mega-employer and asked them how my retirement fund is doing.

"It's doing fine."

"Any chance y'all can go bankrupt?"

"If the state does, we will too."

"How's it looking from your end?"

"Let me refer you to our website..."

...which didn't say jack, and you know why?

Everyone's got their fingers crossed and hoping no more chickens will come home to roost.

Shit. That's what those chickens are already doing, roosting and shitting on us.

Kudos to Jesse Jackson Jr., by the way, for being the first to bring up this point on Social Security. I saw him when he said it too, on MSNBC's Morning Joe program on Thursday or Friday.

Brotha said something to the effect, "It's a good thing the GOP push to privatize Social Security didn't go through. Imagine if that had been part of Lehman or Merrill Lynch."

You should have seen those three white conservatives pretending to be journalists stare at him in hostile amazement. Not one of them said, "OH MY GOD, Jesse! You're so right! How could we have been so wrong!?"

Morning Jackass Joe or the other two jealous azzes didn't even follow up with a single question. Fucking bastards still can't let it go. They're too pressed to keep the black man out of office, and the Dems with their social program plans and no more friggin' profitable wars ideas out of power.

So what happened that the feds stepped in and bailed out AIG and saved the global economy from collapse? I'll tell ya now. Come close. Gotta whisper this in case 'they're' listening.

The thing that saved our asses last week is the very thing that created so many of our problems:
Spook agencies and imperialism.

Less than ten days ago, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac died. The feds came to the rescue out of sheer necessity.

On Black Monday, September 15, Lehman Brothers officially died. The following day, Merrill Lynch sorta did too, but the Rockefeller-owned Bank of America sorta saved it by cannibalizing it.

Then on Wednesday, the American International Group, also known as AIG. collapsed, and that's when the Spooks Who Sit Besides Everybody's Door had to jump in and rescue it, even though they previously said they weren't bailing out no more gawd damned financial institutions. The feds now own 89% of AIG.

Take a guess why. Go 'head, I'll wait.

Read this excerpt below, and it will explain a whole lot to you that you likely haven't seen nor will ever see discussed in the mainstream media.

Bailout of AIG, the CIA, & Covert Operations

By now you no doubt have heard about the AIG bailout... the insurance business is heavily involved in covert operations. Some of you may be thinking "Huh? Insurance companies and covert operations?! Wow, this is some real nutballery..."

Well if so then just consider the following excerpts from an article entitled "The Secret (Insurance) Agent Men" by Los Angeles Times staff writer Mark Fritz, originally published on September 22nd, 2000 [in blue font]:


COLLEGE PARK, Md. They knew which factories to burn, which bridges to blow up, which cargo ships could be sunk in good conscience. They had pothole counts for roads used for invasion and head counts for city blocks marked for incineration.

They weren't just secret agents. They were secret insurance agents. These undercover underwriters gave their World War II spymasters access to a global industry that both bankrolled and, ultimately, helped bring down Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

Newly declassified U.S. intelligence files tell the remarkable story of the ultra-secret Insurance Intelligence Unit, a component of the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA, and its elite counterintelligence branch X-2.

. . . the unit mined standard insurance records for blueprints of bomb plants, timetables of tide changes and thousands of other details about targets, from a brewery in Bangkok to a candy company in Bergedorf. 'They used insurance information as a weapon of war,' said Greg Bradsher, a historian and National Archives expert on the declassified records.

The men behind the insurance unit were OSS head William "Wild Bill" Donovan and California-born insurance magnate Cornelius V. Starr. Starr had started out selling insurance to Chinese in Shanghai in 1919 and, over the next 50 years, would build what is now American International Group, one of the biggest insurance companies in the world.

Starr sent insurance agents into Asia and Europe even before the bombs stopped falling and built what eventually became AIG, which today has its world headquarters in the same downtown New York building where the tiny OSS unit toiled in the deepest secrecy.

Starr died in 1968, but his empire endures. AIG is the biggest foreign insurance company in Japan. More than a third of its $40 billion in revenue last year came from the Far East theater that Starr helped carpet bomb and liberate.


If the insurance business was heavily involved in OSS covert operations during World War II, it is most definitely NOT a leap of logic to suspect that the world's biggest insurer today (AIG) is also heavily involved in them. This is particularly the case when you consider that, as the L.A. Times article explained, the man who ran the OSS's insurance intel unit is the same man who established AIG.

What exactly the insurance related covert operations currently involve I (obviously) don't know. It stands to reason, however, that whatever they do involve, a bankruptcy of the world's biggest insurer would likely be very disruptive to them.

In other words, federal government was probably *extremely* motivated to save AIG for reasons that aren't going to be acknowledged in the mainstream or alternative press.

Hopefully this puts the bailout of AIG in a bit more perspective.

- Matt


No shit, Matt. That was very en-fucking-lightening. I sincerely thank you, and hope that you won't get an anal probe the next time you try to fly somewhere. Seriously, though, thanks for digging up that eight year old LA Times article, and I wish you well. Somebody's gotta connect the dots to this shit or we're all sheep headed for the slaughter house.

Michel Chossudovsky, a liberal watchdog for democracy and famous as hell author, says we're watching "an internal war within the financial system [that] is unfolding."

In this article, Global Financial Meltdown, dated 9/18/2008, he says,

"What is of utmost significance is that this plunge in stock market values occurs at the crossroads of a major military adventure. The global financial crisis is intimately related to the war.

A spiraling defense budget backlashes on the civilian sectors of economic activity. The war economy has a direct bearing on fiscal and monetary policy. Defense expenditure is in excess of $500 billion. A separate $70 billion is earmarked "to cover war costs into the early months of a new administration...

Those who have access to privileged information (political, intelligence, military, scientific, etc.) will invariably have the upper hand in the conduct of these highly leveraged speculative transactions, which are the source of tremendous financial gains. The CIA has its own financial institutions on Wall Street.

In turn the corridors of private banking and offshore banking, enable financial institutions to transfer their profits at ease, from one location to another. This procedure is also used as a safety net which protects the interests of key financial actors including CEOs, major shareholders, etc of troubled financial institutions. Large amounts of money can be moved out at an opportune moment, prior to the company's demise on the stock market. (e.g. Lehman, Merrill Lynch and AIG).

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and its powerful stakeholders have "inside information" on the conduct of US monetary policy. They are thereby in a position to predict outcomes and hedge their bets in highly leveraged operations on the futures and derivatives markets. They are in an obvious conflict of interest because their prior knowledge of particular decisions by the Federal Reserve Board enables them as private banking institutions to make multibillion dollar profits.

Links to US intelligence, to the CIA, Homeland Security, to the Pentagon are crucial in the conduct of speculative trade, since it allows the speculators to predict events, through prior knowledge of foreign policy and/or national security decisions which directly affect financial markets. An example: the put options on airline stocks in the days preceding the 9/11 attacks."

Chossudovsky mentions Rockefeller too. "The financial meltdown on Wall Street largely benefits Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, which is part of the Rockefeller empire, at the expense of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley." He also sees Citigroup and American Express Co. as potential losers.

So, Rockefeller and his CFR are major playas in this.

lt helps to understand they are fans of population control to lessen the burden on world resources. As an abstract this is sensible, but the policies used have the stink of brutal and suspiciously racist depopulation measures. You might want to google around a bit on this.

And, if you listen carefully to this CSPAN news clip of a speech David Rockefeller gave, he clearly illustrates his Malthusian thinking and values of using economics to carry out the goal of population control.

In addition, unless I misunderstand and unless the CFR shelved their plan to consolidate the US, Canada, and Mexico into one nation, they still hope to transform the USA into the North American Union and have one new currency for all three countries. I wrote about that here, on Independence Day just for the irony.

They need oil to do that.

They need to win imperialistic wars to do that, and lots of 'em.

They need money to do that.

Ours... and much of it gone missing in the past two weeks and during the Bush reign.

Poof. We had Black Monday last week, but as I said in a post that day, it's going to be a Black Autumn. I keep hoping some group will be able to plug and repair the dam; in absence of this, Divine Intervention.

I've always wondered, ain't those mofo's rich enough? Is money like good sex to them, where they never get enough? Is that what happens when you get really friggin' old and decrepit?

Mark my words, peeps, three more biggies will go down by the end of this month. If we're really lucky, they'll be mergers, not bankruptcies.

Fuck it. Worse comes to worse, I gotta tent.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Listening To Greed & Consequence

On the surface, this will appear to be a simple and personal story. The lessons, however, apply to the larger story that is going on now with the financial meltdown. Sit back and enjoy.


Back in my earliest college days out in the Midwest, I met a 2nd cousin for the first time when I was barely 18. I'll call him Gerald. He's three years older than me.

Gerald was both handsome and slick. Lemme tell you how slick this brotha was. For one, he mainly had white friends and only white girlfriends. I thought that maybe he just really liked white people and wished he was one himself.

Nah. That wasn't the case. He liked everybody, but he mainly liked comfortable living. In this small city, black folks didn't live nearly as well as white folks. They didn't have the generational wealth passed down to them by inheritance, or the easier job opportunities. Many had never been to any of the two colleges and university right there in town. Not a single black in my school came from there; most were middle class or had scholarships and came from the larger cities further away.

If Gerald ever took a few college classes, I can't recall him talking about this. He was an only child, raised only by his mother because his father, my 1st cousin, died when he was young. They were marginally working class and had little.

But Gerald had some special gifts to compensate for this - cunning, charisma, and sexual magnetism. His character defects is what tripped him up. Had he been doing today what he did back then, he might still be in jail.

Bro loved money, sex, and weed, in that order. All are related to pleasure and comfort, in case you didn't notice. Maybe this is because he had so damn little of it as a child, so as an adult, he pursued things that made him feel good.

Giving up his time to do something productive, like applying for a school loan, going to classes, doing all that homework, was not a sacrifice he was willing to make. I don't think the word 'sacrifice' was in his vocabulary unless he was persuading someone to sacrifice something for him. Oh yeah, he was slick.

Gerald almost suckered me out of $500 in the first few weeks I was in college. That doesn't sound like much now, but back then, it was equivalent to a lot more, maybe $1,500. Keep this in mind.

Nigga begged me to loan him my clothing and pizza allowance that my father gave me for the school year.

"I have some friends who have a great reefer," he said with his killer smile. "I can triple my return on it in days. Loan me the money, and you'll double your investment. You'll walk away with your original investment and an extra $500, and so will I."

"How much are you buying?"

"Five hundred dollars worth."

"You're not putting up anything?"

"Not this time. I have some bills to pay."

"Uh, I don't know," I said. "We could go to jail."

"That won't happen," he replied convincingly. "Trust me. I've done this before, lots of times. I've never been arrested. The police don't care about white kids smoking reefer. If I got caught, they'd get caught. They don't want that."

"I'll think about it."

I thought about his friends. Bunch of white hippie potheads for the most part. He had one black male friend in med school who had a white girlfriend. Everyone was very nice and liked to party.

That night I called him and said I wasn't ready to venture into those waters.

"That's fine," he said. "I've already lined up another investor. I'll be celebrating tomorrow night."

My cousin had a knack for making drug dealing sound professional. I was jealous of the easy money and wondered if I hadn't made a big mistake. Like a shark, he could smell my unspoken regret and greed.

"I might be able to get you in on the next deal," he offered. "Hang onto your money, okay?"


With that one word, okay, the deal was struck.

He was the broker. I was the investor. He would put up none of his own money, but be rewarded with a huge cut. Finding buyers was virtually guaranteed. Unless he snitched, most of the risk would be his. He'd been doing this for quite some time. Had no job, but had a comfortably furnished two bedroom apartment, nice clothes, and convertible.

In my young eyes, he was amazing, if not dazzling. Anyone who can easily acquire money usually is. I drove over to his crib the next afternoon in the old car my daddy had loaned me. I planned to let him know that I was most definitely in on the next deal.

Luck rode with me on that visit.

I knocked on his door. No answer. I could hear music on the other side, but no voices. As family, I was comfortable in trying the door knob and walking in. It turned easily and I stepped into his apartment.

"Gerald?", I said, not seeing anyone at a glance. "Gerald?"

I walked down the hallway to check the bedrooms and bathroom. Empty. No one was home. Maybe he had stepped out to visit a neighbor in another unit.

I walked back to the living room to take a seat on the sofa. That's when I saw it. Bags and bags and bags of marijuana covered the coffee table. I couldn't believe he left his door unlocked with all this shit out in the open.

There is no loyalty among the greedy or the dishonest. I had unexpectedly wandered into this new world, and was surprised at my own thought: I could walk away with his shit and sell it to the kids I had met on campus.

The thought surprised me. I had never stolen anything from a friend. In fact, the only thing I had stolen were candy bars once in awhile until I stopped in 4th grade after a store owner caught me. He said nothing, and had only stared at me with surprise and then sadness. I felt ashamed and didn't do it again.

Somehow this situation was very different. My mind quickly rationalized that since Gerald was breaking the law by getting the reefer (that's what we called it back then in that area), then I could be dishonest and take it from him. It didn't occur to me that if he hadn't paid his 'investor', he could get hurt or killed.

All of these thoughts of being an opportunistic criminal and preying on my own damn cousin took place in 60 seconds or less.

The phone rang. I ignored it and kept thinking, but it kept ringing. Stupidity and grace made me answer it.


"Hello," replied the worried voice of middle-aged white woman. "Is Peggy there?"

"No one by that name lives here," I said.

"I know that," she said quickly and tearfully. "I'm her mother. I know she's been over there every day with that Gerald fellow. I know she's using drugs and drinking and not going to school or anything. Please put her on the phone, I'm begging you!"

I had been over to Gerald's place several times and knew he was sleeping with a bunch of girls. This was the era of free love, black light posters, smoky rooms, beer and chips and pizza and rock music, and even LSD. The only thing I liked was the pizza, posters, and lights on evenings when I was bored or tired of studying at my dorm.

"No one is here now," I said, "and I don't know your daughter."

"I think she's using LSD, too," her mama cried.

"I've never heard of anyone doing that here," I said. "I'll write down a message that you called, okay? I don't know if she'll see it because I don't know her."

"She's a good girl," her mother weeped. "Please, please, tell her to come home. We love her. We don't want to see her throw her life away!"

"Yes ma'am."

"Maybe I should call the police," she said.

Oh shit, I thought, looking at all the marijuana on the table.

"I really will leave her your message," I said. "I'll make sure she gets it. She's probably more likely to want to come on her own than in a police car, if you know what I mean."

"Yes, that's probably true," she agreed. "Thank you, and don't forget!"

"I won't."

I hung up, in shock. It had been like the phone call from ghost of the future, warning me of what could happen to me I became a player of this game... playing the law, the system, even my own cousin, all because of my heart discovered Greed. The words and tears of that woman could come from my parents if I took this road.

My eyes swept the coffee table again. The temptation was gone. I left, but even as I walked to my car, Greed whispered in my ear again, trying to seduce me.

"No one is around," Greed said. "Go back in. At least take some. Think of all the extra things you can buy."

I hesitated a few seconds.

"Nuh uh," I answered.

I got in my car and drove back to my dorm.

That evening Gerald called me. I could hear the music and laughter in the background. The party was on.

"You should come over," he said. "Great party."

"Thanks, but I'm studying," I said. "I came by earlier. Why'd you leave your door unlocked? Anyone could have walked in and ripped you off."

"No one would do that to me," he said confidently.

That's when I realized he was incredibly stupid in his judgment. If I was stopped only by a phone call from ripping him off, anyone would. If that mother had decided to call the cops and they walked in, his black ass would be sitting in the county jail. I sure wasn't going to bail him out.

"Some lady called too and is really upset. She's ready to call the police if her daughter Peggy doesn't come home."

"Hmmm. I take care of it."

I'm sure Peggy got a ride home that evening.

Now, the thing is, Gerald was under the correct impression that we had struck a deal from the 'okay'. He called me a few times during the next week, and each time I was distant and didn't 'have the time' to drop over his place. Suddenly I was getting a glimpse of another side of him.

"I'm in the lobby," he said less than ten days later. "Come on down. I need to talk to you."

"Oh darn," I faked, "I'm cramming for a test."

"We'll go for a drive and I'll have you back in an hour."

"Alright," I sighed, thinking that I couldn't avoid him forever.

Once in his car, he laid on that killer smile. "Why you been ducking me?", he asked.

I shook my head in denial. "Just been busy with school," I said.

He hit the back roads and began driving like a maniac.

"Slow down!" I yelled. "You're scaring me!"

I saw a horrible car accident as a child, and from that day on have been terrified of being in or near a speeding car.

He laughed and ignored this, and took death curves on the road that nearly brought me to tears. He finally pulled over in a remote area.

"Look," he said. "I need that money. Today, no later than tomorrow."

"You just made a bunch of money last week!", I yelled. "I know you did because I saw all of that marijuana myself! What happened to all of that?"

"It's gone."

"Gone? How the hell is it gone so soon? That was a small fortune!"

"I had bills to pay."

Something about his eyes didn't look right. I didn't know the signs of cocaine back then, but in hindsight, I'd venture a guess that he was a cokehead.

"Well, I'm out," I said. "I thought about it. I'm sorry. I can't do it. I don't want the risks or that kind of life. You'll need to call someone else, maybe your last, uh, investor."

He glared at me hard. I looked out the window.

Suddenly he reached across me and unlocked his glove compartment. He removed a large, ugly gun. I wasn't terrified, but I was scared.

"Wh-wh-what's that for?", I stammered.

"I need the money," he growled. "If I don't get it, people will come after me."

I breathed a little sigh of relief. He was trying to intimidate me, but at least he didn't plan to kill me... I hoped. As I said earlier, I just met my second cousin for the first time only a few weeks earlier and realized I didn't know him well, even though he's family.

"Well I can't help you," I said. "Daddy will come after me if something goes wrong and I lose it all."

My father used to visit all of his relatives every other year. Gerald knew him well enough that he knew my dad - his great uncle, loved money as much as he did. My father was legit, but he had the reputation of being a hard-eyed businessman, even with family. He'd haul your azz into court if you tried to screw him out of a dollar on a real estate deal, which was something he dabbled in. I could see Gerald thinking about this.

I said, "Maybe you should stop dealing and get a job or go to school. It's not like you're stupid."

"Tsk. Ain't no good jobs for black men."

"Then go to college. Daddy did, my brother did. They're doing fine. Or trade in your car for a truck like uncle Lou did. He got rich and ended up with a whole bunch of 'em and a good business. You can too, and you won't need a gun."

He put it away and drove me back to my dorm.

In the meantime, I met another cousin through an aunt. This girl, like me, was gorgeous, but she had a serious drug problem.

"I can't get out of bed in the morning without lighting a joint," she said.

"I never heard of that," I replied.

I learned she drank and used pills, probably speed. Most of my Midwest kin was doing fine, but those like her and Gerald who were raised poor weren't doing well. Their greatest poverty was not the lack of money, but their lack of dreams.

They simply didn't believe that the formula of going to college would guarantee them success. In their depression over feeling that being black and poor would keep them down forever, they sought relief from a lifestyle devoted to pleasure. I wasn't sophisticated enough to think like this at the time, but it clicked later as I got older and began a social work career. Poverty is a bitch in too many ways to count.

"Have you heard from Gerald lately?", I asked her. "Last time I did, he was having problems."

"Oh, that," she said. "He's doing fine. Real good in fact."

She filled me in. Gerald's credit with the bigger dealers had gone bad. He was unable to pay back his loans because he mismanaged and abused the trust they had in him.

He needed a bailout. He talked another dealer on his level into merging their business and clients together. Then they could expand and even do better.

Greed whispered in that guy's ear. The two of them worked as badly together as they had individually, because the way they did business was fucked up.

Like the stock market and financial institutions, these two dealers could always get plenty of clients. This is because a lot of people are as addicted to drugs as they are to money. Both bring pleasure and comfort.

Gerald and his partner were reckless. His buddy got busted.

Was Gerald worried? No. He ain't never put all his eggs in one basket. He had friends, and white friends with money at that.

The next time I heard about him was from his grandmother.

"You hear about Gerald?", she asked.

"No. What happened?"

"Read the paper today."

Gerald, broke again, did something the U.S. Government is currently trying to do to escape it's money woes: he hooked up with very slick guys who had made or got hold of a counterfeiting machine, and they were printing up their own money.

I've met a lot of people who committed a wide range of crimes, but to date, he's the only person I've ever known who did this.

My walking away that day from temptation of selling drugs was easy, compared to the temptation of having your own money machine. I honestly think I'd have been right there beside him in the money printing business if that 'investment' had been offered to me.

It also wouldn't surprise me if he set up his business partner to get busted so he could walk off with a bunch of cash to invest in the counterfeiting business. There is no honor among thieves, whether in the drug business or any other kind, so thus, had I been involved with him, I might have gone down on the drug level or later, the counterfeiting level.

Currently the US Treasury, if I understand it correctly, will have to print up more money since the US Government is broke. This is legal, but other countries are beginning to play the role of the feds by busting us. They can't arrest us, but they can stop doing business with us. They've been trying to detach their economies from ours and our dollar, but now no longer have to be sneaky or covert about it.

We and our bubble have been busted. Our prison will be called National Poverty when the Great Depression II sinks in. How will we escape this?

My cousin Gerald tried to escape prison when he went to court. He laid his charm on the judge. Pointed out that he was only 21, had no police record, and didn't understand himself how he got involved in that situation. If given a chance, he'd enlist and serve in Vietnam.

"I'd rather die for my country than rot in jail."

The judge liked this. War was the answer.


This was the last year or two that our soldiers were in Vietnam. Over a million Vietnamese lost their lives. Over 58,000 Americans died there and tens of thousands more returned physically and/or psychologically disabled.

I've often wondered if the judge agreed so easily to send him there, thinking that it would really help Gerald to mature while in the service, or if he figured he'd die there and would be one less nigga making trouble in town.

In my first visit to the Vietnam Memorial in the 1980s, I studied the wall.

My eyes swept across all of those names. I wondered about all of those lives. Flowers and letters and personal items from visiting families and friends who had lost love ones adorned the ground.

There was one name not on the wall.

Gerald, my slick young cuz, has always landed on his feet. The Lord must have been watching over him. The con man returned a new man. As such, he went legit, learned a trade, and married a young woman he met in Germany.

His eyes had seen what real hardship was in an unnecessary man-made hell across the sea. Once there, Gerald learned how to work as genuine part of team - not a pseudo partner with his own agenda to get over. He survived in a place and time where injuries and death were the norm, and everyone depended on each other to survive from one day to the next. He learned that his out of control greed led to an out of control life, and a damned dangerous one at that.

His life, the life of one young black male, is but a microcosm of the larger world. All that happened to him, and his nearly losing everything from his freedom to his life, finally woke his azz up.

What will it take to wake up the men in suits and ties who run Wall Street and Congress, and, have they finally learned to listen harder to voice of Consequence, rather than Greed, when it whispers in their ears?

Monday, September 15, 2008

From Black Monday to Black Autumn:
The New Great Depression Arrives

Lehman Brothers, the straw that broke our economy's back

Even though I wrote about the impending new Great Depression this past summer, I am still mentally unprepared for Black Monday. Unless I'm wrong, it will occur later this morning after the markets open, and be our new history by the close of business today.

Like recent protests at the RNC or the next peoples revolution, it may not be widely televised.

Black Monday is what they called that last pivotal day in 1929 when the stock market crashed so hard that it sent the economy into a downward spiral that lasted for years.

Alan Greenspan has already given this one a different, gentler name. He's calling it "A Once In A Century Event".

He said, "This is a once in a half century, probably once in a century type of event. We shouldn't try to protect every single institution. The ordinary cost of financial change has winners and losers."

Fuck you, Alan. You were warned years ago of the likely consequences of your decisions, a furthermore, a rose is still a rose by any other name, and so is a turd.

And here's the finger to all the incompetent, the greedy, the white collar criminals and predatory home lenders who ran our economy into the ground but will never see a day of jail time.

If I wasn't so damn financially vulnerable, I'd be laughing my azz off at how the Wall Street Sharks were running around this weekend, sweatin' bullets and trying not to scream like a bunch a lil' girls over how they fucked up.

The bodies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, dead only a week and not even warm, and now we have all these other cornerstones of comfy living going belly-up bankrupt or begging for multi-billion dollar welfare bailouts.

The more I think about it, Black Autumn may be a more fitting description of the dawn of the new Great Depression.

Too much other shit can go wrong for this to be only a Black Monday:

Hurricane season ain't over. Ike sucker punched Galveston and parts of Houston, but the latest news is that oil refineries were spared major damage.

Election Day, if it takes place, will be followed by the looniest racist white folks going beserk in the weeks following if Barack wins.

Black folks have mixed feelings about 'hood niggas, but we should be grateful for their presence in our 'hoods. If all of us were seen as 'nice' (non-threatening), those Confederate flag-waving hoodlums wouldn't think twice about riding into black neighborhoods, burning crosses, shooting up the place and starting shit in general.

Bush & Pirates are sneaky, too. I wouldn't put it past them to stage a mini-terrorist event and/or start another war before November 4th under some bogus pretext to declare Martial Law, which would would cancel out elections and suspend our Constitution if an act of terrorism takes place. This falls under his 2001 Continuation Of Government (COG) rules.

Yeah, it's a dumb idea for them to try any of that, but look at all the other dumb ideas they executed the past nearly eight years, i.e., invading Iraq based on lies stemming from 9/11.

Bush extended these COG rules only last month, on August 28th. Did the media report it? Hell no.

Then there's the possibility of the election being stolen again, if you believe it was the last time too.

In some states, racists in charge are already planning to cheat black folks out of voting if their homes are in foreclosure and their address doesn't match where they currently live, or if the name on your driver's license doesn't exactly match with your voter ID registration, i.e., your middle initial is on one but not the other.

The Shit That Could Happen list is disturbingly long with all the crap that can go wrong this fall, that will be the Fall of the American Empire.

God I'll miss the perks that came with it.

Some of you have only a vague idea what I'm ranting about. You get a pass because the broadcast mainstream media planned it this way.

In a nutshell, the major financial institutions Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG are bankrupt. Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch late Sunday for a mere $50 billion, but Wall Street nor the government can bail out or save the others. Over 150 banks are also expected to fail soon. The Big Three U.S. automakers are likewise in deep do-do.

When banks fail, the FDIC insures each account holder up to $100,000. No problem, you think; you ain't got that much. But what about your employer who looses everything over that and can't make payroll? Pensions? Or your car insurance company? Or perhaps, your city or county government whose bank has failed? What then of city services? Schools? Roads?

The FDIC can only afford to bail out so many banks. Then they go broke, the Treasury has to bail them out. That's what is coming to.

In the Great Depression, at least there were lots of family farms. It was much more of an agricultural society and oil was cheap. Now we have neither. Between
higher priced oil and bank and financial institution failures, producing and transporting food to markets will be a nightmare.

Food is pretty fundamental to survival. If "they" don't figure out something quick, we may be seeing food prices double, or maybe even food rationing by early next year.

Speaking of stores, they're having a harder time paying for all that stuff they import from other countries because of gas prices.

Look around at where you sit now, and unless you're blogging in your birthday suit, check out the tags. Think of your car parked outside. Chances are, most of the stuff you own was produced far from the USA.

Big box stores like Walmart, Target, IKEA, etc., are also taking hard hits because of the cost of transporting stuff from sweat factories abroad to here. IKEA, the Swedish furniture store, set up a factory in Virginia recently in a city suffering from high unemployment because shipping became too expensive due to increased gas and oil prices.

We haven't produced much of anything in decades. Our American dream was based on our being a Consumer Society that shuffles paper and makes fast food. You may love your office job if you have one, but at the end of the day, what's to show for it that you can hold in your hand besides paperwork and an empty paper lunch bag from your favorite deli?

Word: we're going on a national diet. Expect to consume a lot less of everything and to repair what you have. Check the news often to see if your bank is on the hit list to go down. Whether you only have $500, $5,000, or $50,000 there, you don't want to lose it.

There's talk that Treasury will bail out the broke-azz FDIC by printing more money when things get this bad. Notice that I said 'when', not 'if'. This strategy, however, will increase inflation IF what I've read is correct. Prices will go up as the value of money will go down.

I frankly don't trust any of the banks anymore. Today, I'm paying up my rent and bills for October and locking up the rest of most of my lil' stash in my safety deposit box at the bank, and hope that I can get to it when I need it. I don't dig the mattress solution because if the place burns down, I'll be up shit's creek without a paddle.

That small herd of Wall Street swine, along with billionaire foreign investors ready to buy up America, are the winners that Greenspan spoke of. The game was stacked against the middle and working class average folks, thanks to all the loopholes he and Congress gave a nod to years ago.

All of those rich as fuck folks ain't got jack to worry about. The Blue Blood Crew will ride through this with relative ease while the rest of us will be smack dab the middle of an economic Hurricane 5 combined with an 8.0 earthquake.

A bunch of Americans will be living in cardboard boxes by a polluted river and eating mudpies to keep the hunger pangs away like dirt poor Haitians, while they will still be fat.
That's how we'll know for certain that we're the latest Third World Nation.

Fuck it. Maybe the poor will eat the rich if shit gets worse than the last Great Depression.

Yep, the chickens have come home to roost. Rev. Wright was right after all, and although I respect his foresight, I feel no happiness about it. There does seem to be a curse on America for the treachery it's done since our country was founded and funded on genocide, slavery, dropping nukes on Japan, Jim Crow laws,
exploitation of women, the underclass and working class whites and minorities, etc. ad nauseum, right up to all the racist bullshit in this election and Russia daring us to even think about starting shit with them.

Those GOP bitches bettah blink and think if they get in office or we can add getting nuked to our painfully long list of problems.

Perhaps finally, the globalists and the racist elements of the GOP can kiss their imperialistic, take over the world ambitions goodbye. As it sinks into their minds by the end of Black Autumn that this is just the beginning, their pain will be more like the psychological disappointment of a spoiled brat who can't get his way, than any real suffering.

For the rest of us, it will be hello to economic hard times, which may surpass that of our grandparents or great grandparents.

We get no bailout.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Demonic:
If They Ain't Blinking, They Ain't Thinking

The headline at the LA Times reads Palin Talks Tough on Iran, Russia, In ABC Interview.

They are referring to John McCain's VP running mate, Sarah Palin, by the news network old-timer,
Charles Gibson yesterday.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, the headline reads Palin Would Support War With Russia.

At the Boston Globe: Palin Says She's Ready To Assume Presidency.

Presidency? How about we assume this grandiose, trigger-happy, crazy bitch is ready for a long inpatient stay at locked mental health facility?

At Bloomberg, their header reads, Palin Says She's Ready To Be Vice President, Wouldn't Blink.


*blink again*

The bitch wouldn't blink, huh? Now that's some scary shit.

I want my leaders to blink.

If they ain't blinking, they ain't thinking

And they damn sure ain't thinking about We The People.

Us. Or the rest of humanity either.

Fucktards. I ain't never dissed public folks quite like this, but this shit is deadly serious.

Palin talked all this shit on 9/11. I'll bet the victims of most of those families and the people who suffered and survived the WTC and Pentagon on this day seven years ago blinked when they heard her.

Bet they're thinking the same thing I am: the bitch wants to play chicken with the Russians over Georgia - just like Bush did in August. That's when he set up his Georgian poodle puppet to invade South Ossetia, the Russian-friendly side that split away from Georgia (like a secessionist state within a country) since the fall of the Soviet Union - and then blame the Ruskies for starting it.

Now Palin, the latest eager servant of the puppet masters, is ready to get in a nuclear global playground brawl with Russia over this lunacy. And Iran is on her things-to-do list too. And the nutty bitch says it as casually as though it's a grocery shopping list under a refrigerator magnet.

Instead of 'only' loosing one set of twin towers and Building #7 in NYC and a little chunk of the Pentagon, this megalomaniac is ready to roll the fucking dice and risk the house.

America is our house, but in her warped mind, her finger is already on the button. However, I can speculate that Palin is a sociopath of demonic proportions. The woman might be crazy and as opportunistic as a parasite, but she ain't stupid. She knows good and gawd-damned well that if we attacked Russia, we'll lose at least one American city.

Or more. Many more.


You know why? Because dropping bombs are like potato chips where you can't eat only one. Ask the 'shocked and awed' survivors of Baghdad about their memories of how we carpet bombed their home town, and then think how the US and Russia will treat each other in an all out nuclear war where mutually assured destruction will be a given.


What the genuine fuck is Palin's problem AND the neocon nuts who prepped her to lobby on their behalf?

Or John McCain, for grinning like the village idiot in his full support of her, them, and this insanity?

Let's stick his azz in a room next to hers. Then when they meet in the cafeteria, they can share their delusional fantasies of how they would have saved the world while the rest of us can breath collective sighs of relief that they didn't get elected and destroy it.

At best, I'm in ecstasy that the she tipped her hand, and by extension, the hand of the GOP, aka The Party That Wrecked America. That's James Kunstler's coined phrase in case you don't know. He knows what I know: those bitches are just getting started with their wrecking ball. They ain't even warmed up good.

At worst, I worry that enough American voters won't look at it. That their ignorant and/or racist hands will pull the lever in the voting booth for the candidate and his hand-maiden who will push the button that will take away us and our children - black, white, red, yellow and brown - as happily as the Grim Reaper.

The late and great Carl Sagan taught us about a real special and extra Grim Reaper card called Nuclear Winter. It's the second one in the deck that will stalk those whose cities are spared from direct nuclear hits. He described it well in his famous article by the same name, which I highly recommend.

We've seen her cards... their cards... and the political war cards designed by the New World Order tribe.

They're death cards.

Unlike the #13 Tarot death card, there will be no rebirth of civilization as we know it.



Kudos to Shark-Fu, who frequently uses the word *blink* in many of her writings.