Punchinello’s Chronicles

November 6, 2010

All Players Take Your Positions

Well, we’ve concluded the US midterm elections of 2010 and the large urban centers have remained Democrat. The middle of the country has moved to the Republican party, but the “message” was that voters want a more conservative ideology in Washington. California and New York elected strongly liberal governors, Illinois almost went Republican, but Pat Quinn (removed Rob Blagojevich’s lieutenant governor) squeaked through with 19,000 votes ahead of Bill Brady.

At the same time, the world is moving into the middle of the Fourth Turning for the 1940-2025 period. In a nutshell, this is a statistical theory based on a “seculum,” which is a “long lifetime” of about 80 years. The theory examines 400+ years of history, showing that every generation of about 20 years falls into a cyclical type. Every fourth generation there is a “winter” of endings in preparation for a “spring” of rebirth.

In the middle of each fourth turning there’s a major war in just about every case, with the an exception for the Civil War. The cycles and repetitions are so similar, they’re astonishing. World War II came during the previous fourth turning, with the “boom” of the post-war period coming from the start of the current seculum. Curiously, the American Revolution also took place during a fourth turning.

We’ve now had many chances, time and again to choose between two fundamental philosophies (or ideologies, as some people like to call them). In today’s world, we know them as liberalism (progressive) versus conservatism. The so-called Tea Party movement reflects modern conservative thinking. The current Democrat Party leadership reflects today’s liberalism. Nobody knows what the Republican Party represents; it’s a mystery.

This election was a referendum on the Constitution of the United States. Do we keep the existing document or do we get rid of it and start some different country? Liberalism proposes that the Constitution is a “living, breathing” document. That generally means the rules and charter for the United States can change according to some inexplicable set of ideas, mostly set forth by unelected judges and courts.

Conservatives would like there to be a strict reading of the Constitution. It isn’t a living breathing anything! It’s a document outlining the explicit rules for how this country and its government shall work. In the past two years, we’ve seen so many breaches of that Constitution that even the average American is now a bit concerned. And so, a referendum.

Starting back around 1977, with the election of Jimmy Carter, the United States entered into the Third Turning cycle. This was the time when much of the growth and development of “spring and summer” began to be “harvested.” America began to experience the consequences of many social ideas, and we entered into the “autumn” of the cycle. That proceeded through 1995-2005.

Each and every one of us has been given the opportunity to vote for a position. We also saw that the split between liberal and conservative was getting more and more polarized. Now in 2010, that split has completed. There no longer is any possibility of compromise between the two thoroughly opposing ideologies.

Many people and politicians like to say they’re fiscal conservatives “but” social moderates. There’s no such thing! Someone either is conservative or they’re not. The entire ideology of conservatism is based on an objective reality in which actions have consequences. Words have specific, defined meanings. The artificial split tries to have it both ways. Fiscal conservatives would like to spend money “wisely,” trying to keep budget deficits at a minimum.

A social moderate would like to have government act as a safety net, offering subsidies and aid to “someone.” Who is that someone? Nobody knows, it’s a mystery. It “feels” like it should be The Poor, The Elderly, The Sick, The Halt, and The Lame. Indeed, nobody really knows, they just feel like some people don’t have enough of something, so the government ought to do something about it.

Be that as it may, we also are entering into a new astrological age. It doesn’t matter if you believe in astrology or not, it’s simply convenient to note historical eons and milleniums. This is the Age of Aquarius, and represents the start of a new 2,000 year cycle. The Age of Pisces can be summarized as the age of organized religions. The overall concept refers to human morality being formulated by a metaphysical Supreme Being of some or another kind.

With the evolution of monotheism (one God), humanity has been split between two basic sources of morality. The one is this God, the other is the State (the government). For 2,000 years we’ve seen the rise and fall of empires, nations, businesses and other societies, each time based on how humanity will, could or should be led, and who shall be those leaders.

We’re now in the endgame both for this particular turning point, and for a 2,000 year cycle. It doesn’t matter if you voted or not, nor does it matter for whom you voted. Each of us has had ample opportunity to solidify our thinking, choose our perception and definition of reality, and adjust our lives accordingly. This election was only a “marker” in the game. It’s the final running around, getting into place, getting ready, set and prepared to start.

A lot of people think this election was an end of something. Many others believe it’s just another cycle, not particularly different from any other election. Many people claim that older people “always” grumble about younger people, “always” see things going from bad to worse. Understanding the theory of seculums, we find that no, older people aren’t “always” the same.

In the Third Turning period, people DO always say about the same things. Problems mount, seeming to be unsolvable. Morality collapses, civilization becomes more anarchistic, and the focus moves toward helping “the children.” There are lots of reasons for this, but you can read the book. I won’t get into them all in this post.

“Everything” seems to get worse during the Third Turning, and finally begins to become unsustainable as we enter into the Fourth Turning. At that point, tensions within the society are so high that the social fabric begins to unravel. The social contract fails, and nations begin to collapse. Political leaders fumble around, increasingly more frantic as they try to put everything back together again.

In our own personal lives, we find ourselves struggling more and more just to survive. Pressures mount economically, socially, idealistically, philosophically and everywhere else. We become more and more frustrated, angry, nervous, anxious and afraid. It all eventually explodes in a major war. The oldest of the generation, remembering the “glory days” of the previous major war, enlist the youngest to “go solve everything.”

The youngest generation, far removed from warfare, now identifies with the adventure and glory of those wars. They’re encouraged by the grand-parents, and so off it goes again. The great war is so destructive that everyone wakes up, everyone stops, and nobody wants to continue the destruction. At that point, those warriors returning from the battle fields want only two things: peace and quiet.

What about the generation that follows the warriors? These are the artists, builders, creators and members of what’s often called The Lost Generation. They’re the leaders of today’s Hollywood and entertainment industry. They also produced some of the great business leaders, and helped initialize America’s economic and military move into super-power status following WWII. So too, the 7-15 yearolds of today will build the next First Turning.

We saw this in the 1950s, and those returning warriors gave birth to the “idealistic” generation, what we know as the Baby Boomers. That generation grows up without any real trouble or pain, free to put into place all the ideals and wishful dreams for a Utopia. In the Fourth Turning, that idealistic generation has become the society’s leadership and moves to legislate all those ideal dreams.

While all that’s happening, each and every one of us has to make choices. We choose what to believe, we choose how to live, and we choose our political leaders. We either vote or we don’t, win or lose, elect or fail to elect. But one way or another, we become polarized. Just as we are in America today.

The things we see around us economically are almost an exact copy of what was taking place in 1893. The only (and major) difference is that for the first time, the majority of the population now has access to unsecured credit. Back in the late 19th century, if you wanted a loan you had to have collateral. Today, you can get thousands of dollars in simple credit.

With this election, everyone is now in place. Everyone who was a principal cause of the current economic depression has once again been voted into office. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama are the central figures. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, engineered the subprime mortgage crisis. Andrew Cuomo enforced the subprime loan problems, forcing banks to take bad loans as the head of HUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development). Mr. Cuomo now has been elected as governor of the bankrupt state of New York.

In California, the people have elected Jerry Brown to be their governor for the second time around. Mr. Brown was the man in charge during the Enron fiasco, setting in place most of the economic forces that have California at the point of total financial default. In Washington State, Patty Murray cast an important vote in the Senate for the Obama health-care reform act, the financial reform act, and the various bailouts.

Wisconsin chose to walk away from liberalism, moving toward conservatism. Michigan, the most bankrupt of the states so far, went toward conservative Republicans on a state level, but chose to remain liberal at the federal level. So too, throughout the country, each state has made its final choice. Each voter has done the same.

And so we now let the game begin. Reality will either produce the consequences that have been “kicked down the road” for so long, or conservatives are wrong. In that case, there never will be any consequences for anything, based on how liberals see things.

We’re about to see the state of California become the first state in the union to declare bankruptcy. Do you believe it? Do you agree? Or do you believe that California now finally has a “good” government that will really empathize with The People?

Not long ago, several of the brightest, smartest, brilliantest, bestest people were brought together for an economic experiment. In that experiment, a virtual state called New Jefferson declared bankruptcy. No, it didn’t have the slightest resemblance to California, New York, Illinois or Michigan. Not at all! These Most Brilliant economic planners went through an exercise to examine what The Government likely would do.

In the experiment, the state asked for emergency help from The Federal Reserve. It was given, but only for 30 days. In exchange for that help, New Jefferson promised, cross-your-heart-hope-to-die that they would change their accounting method, act like adults, cut spending, and whatever whatever, yadda-yadda.

I would expect that in 2011, no later than 2012, California will go bankrupt. As the 8th largest economy in the world, it’ll be a Come To Jesus moment for Pat Quinn, who’s been ignoring completely anything having to do with Illinois budgets. At the same time, starting November 3, 2010, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve has announced he will buy up the rest of the United States.

“Qualitative Easing,” the second time around, otherwise known as QE2 means that the privately held Federal Reserve will authorize the US Treasury to print whatever amount of money it takes to buy all United States securities. That means Treasury bills, bonds, and so forth, along with bad loans on the books for the Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks. Bernanke claims he’ll limit to only….$600 billion. More likely it’ll be $4 trillion.

The players are all in position. Jerry Brown will have to smoke a lot of (still illegal) marijuana to come up with a way to pay everyone in California. Pat Quinn will have to figure out what to do about a $13-billion shortfall in the Illinois operating budget, and $175-billion unfunded liability in state pension funds. So what? Who cares?

The main thing is The Children won’t eat fat foods anymore because Happy Meals have been outlawed in San Francisco! New Yorkers may not be able to put salt on their food anymore, in order to “save costs” in the New & Improved National Health Care System. Right?

Sadly, there aren’t any more “chances.” We’ll see what’s what for the 2012 elections, but my prediction is that between now and then, the world as we know it will change into something very, very different from what we all see around us today. The good news is that whatever happens, it’ll be done by around 2020-2025. The key time to watch will be 2015.

It’s all a mystery. An interesting one, but a mystery nonetheless.


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