I am still working on the rewrite for the Erosion of Democracy piece. It is an ambitious topic, so though it will still be relatively terse, it will take some more time.
However, I recently read that there are expectations for a global bumper crop of wheat. Barring any sudden weather disaster, it is expected that Russia, Ukraine, and Canada will have a significant increase in production and export. Again, barring possible droughts, those countries are in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere, so those countries may actually benefit from weather trends arising from global warming. Despite this current bounty, we do need to monitor for any developments in the food chain, as we are warned by recent articles of weak links(http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/7139/20130528/biodiversity-loss-wild-farm-threatens-human-food-supply.htm, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/28/us-swine-virus-insight-idUSBRE94R0VD20130528).
The stock market has recently taken to worrying about the timing for the eventual removal of the mega-stimulus by the Federal Reserve. Stocks are at all time highs while the US economy is still trying to find its legs. We are not talking about the Fed raising rates, but merely reducing its massive purchases of US government and agency debt. We have long warned of the dangers of the current Fed policy. Recently, famous hedge fund managers are making similar warnings. The mega stimulus policy of the Fed is distorting markets and causing a misallocation of resources — with the implication that once QE3 stops, markets adjusting back to fundamentals may cause severe financial loss for many. For example, the Federal Reserve has been targeting the housing market, hoping that to reflate the housing bubble. Recently, it was reported that there was a 10% rise, year over year, in average housing prices. One might argue that this is a Fed success story — however, it would appear that housing prices are being driven higher by Wall Street, fueled by the massive monetary stimulus. This means that the price gains are not grounded in fundamentals, but by Wall Street speculative investments (http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/behind-the-rise-in-house-prices-wall-street-buyers/).
Things are still not going well for the average people of America. On a topic that we had touched on earlier, we again find reports of the rising suicides among the baby boomer generation (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/baby-boomers-are-killing-themselves-at-an-alarming-rate-begging-question-why/2013/06/03/d98acc7a-c41f-11e2-8c3b-0b5e9247e8ca_story.html?wprss&google_editors_picks=true). As we have argued, the underclass in America has been growing, and continues to suffer as inflation reduces the value of any money saved. The ‘Immigration Reform’ bill, should it pass, will only exacerbate this as it will give the 11 million illegal immigrants equal standing for any available jobs. The depressing wage impact and impact on the working poor will become permanent.
Nothing has changed — the trade, monetary, and fiscal (and immigration) policies continue to support the top 1% and suppress the bottom 60%. The fact that Wall Street investors are gobbling up residential real estate will mean that the landlord for millions will be distant and heartless and faceless Wall Streeters, who will have a team of lawyers to wear down any tenant.
Technology and the Mark of the Beast
In the past, people have referred to chips that can be implanted under a person’s skin when discussing how the mark may be implemented. There is now an electronic tattoo, than can identify a person to electronic devices (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/22731515). There any number of options available when the time comes.
In a somewhat related story, the US Supreme Court has ruled that the police can take a person’s DNA just as readily as their fingerprints, arguing that it is just another way to identify a person (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/dissent-scalia-joins-court-liberals-blast-police-dna-184252969.html). This is part of a dangerous trend by the government, to build a biometric database. We have already warned that the a section of the Immigration Reform bill currently being debated in the Senate, will authorize the creation of a nationwide biometric database that will be used as the basis for a national identification system — something that would be necessary for the introduction of the mark of the Beast.