2009: the Year of Bad Nuts - Peanut Butter and Psychopathic Fraudsters

Toxic peanut butter: what a metaphor for 2009, now known, in my mind, as "the year of bad nuts." From tainted food, (fed to children and old folks), to massive billion-dollar frauds (ripped-off children and old folks), what we have here are psychopaths and miscreants who've been running the show, and wrecking our lives.

Actually, these highly-publicized crimes started many years ago. But the fraudsters weren't caught until late 2008, and are still under investigation as we speak. The PCA and the FDA on one hand; Bernie Madoff and others like him, on the other. Many, many more to be unmasked.

Because I see life metaphysically, I understand that there is an underlying theme to all of this: too much emphasis on greed and personal self-interest  at the expense of public interest.  The cosmic signs are flashing off and on and have been for years; the red flags waving furiously in the wind. If we don't, universally, stop this runaway train and the evil conductors running it, we are destined to continue killing off our planet and our people, one by one.

Oh! You think I over-dramatize, but here's what these two cases in point are telling us about our current economy and its impact on our lives.

1) If we are to believe the news,  the folks running the peanut company ignored the unsanitary conditions and the germs found in their peanuts. They went ahead and processed and shipped to schools and institutions. No regulators stopped them, despite test results.The plant officials didn't police their product quality tests.  Result: At least 8 deaths and hundreds of illnesses (and salmonella ain't exactly a walk in the park). Lack of regulation and greed with wanton disregard of the impact on the vulnerable public.

2) The infamous Bernie Madoff managed through, connections and still undisclosed contacts, to rip off royalty and innocents alike in a massive Ponzi scheme. $50 billion!! (and counting down and up). The whistle blower (who fears for his life) was ignored by the SEC and government officials for years, and his comprehensive, detailed reports, ignored. Why? Because a psychopath nut-case insulated himself with the high-and-mighty. Like all psychopaths, Madoff believed he would never get caught. And because his greed and the greed of his chosen contacts (I say he didn't act alone) and their self-interest in keeping the money flowing, over-rode any thought about the welfare of the "little people" ($10 million investors and above) and the rules of law. Again, another case of regulators looking the other way. No matter what they say or how they try to dance around it, the regulators (SEC and other officials who were alerted to Madoff) failed big-time.

In both highly-publicized cases, the indisputable signs and red flags were ignored and shoved aside.  Pure and simple, these two cases show how  self-interest, and its best friend, greed, violated the public trust and broke the back of many laws and regulations. Look at the damage these two cases caused, and look at how they symbolize what has happened to the American and the world economies.

This poisonous "bad nut"  theme will continue to play out over this year and maybe the next as more and more wrongdoing comes to light:  The only positive news in this is that these massive cases have awakened the news media and the public watchdogs, who also fell down on their obligations. 2009 will be a turning point: There will be growing public outrage about how the banks and Wall Street firms spent their bail-out money. Watch for increased scrutiny over how the Iraq War was funded, and the contracts handed out. Watch as even more investment scams come to light. And, also watch for investigations of how mortgage companies and banks lured our customers,unsuspecting and trusting, into mortgages they couldn't afford and credit cards they couldn't pay. Each and every one of these foul deeds (pun intended) tied to rampant self-interest and greed, from the top down, but allowed to flourish by regulators looking the other way . In 2009, we finally start to get it and more to change the tenor of the times. Goodbye flash; hello pan.

Psychic Reading: Growing public outrage will cause new laws to be created to guard against repetition of the harm caused by crooked CEOs, regulators who failed to regulate, and companies that continue to spew toxins into the environment (literally and figuratively). The media (perhaps through the internet) finally wakes up and starts investigating older, and as yet unrevealed crimes. Major headlines about more fraud. More whistleblowers. More groups created, at the community level, to help mitigate some of the damages closer to home.

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