Monday, January 16, 2017

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky. Its more familiar outlines are seen in the brighter central region of the nebula in this impressive wide-angle view. But the composite image combines many short and long exposures to also reveal an extremely faint outer halo. At an estimated distance of 3,000 light-years, the faint outer halo is over 5 light-years across. 
Click image for larger size.
Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phase in the life of a sun-like star. More recently, some planetary nebulae are found to have halos like this one, likely formed of material shrugged off during earlier episodes in the star's evolution. While the planetary nebula phase is thought to last for around 10,000 years, astronomers estimate the age of the outer filamentary portions of this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years. Visible on the left, some 50 million light-years beyond the watchful planetary nebula, lies spiral galaxy NGC 6552.”

Chet Raymo, “Caught In The Middle”

“Caught In The Middle”
by Chet Raymo

"It doesn't take a genius to recognize that human males have a propensity for intergroup violence, and that the killing is often accompanied by rape. One need only read the newspapers. The only question is to what extent these tendencies are innate or culturally inculcated. Nature or nurture? Or both? A new book, "Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World," by population biologist Malcolm Potts and science writer Thomas Hayden, dishes up a bit of both. The violence is in our (male) genes, they maintain, but it is susceptible to cultural control.

Click image for larger size.

What the authors calls "behavioral propensity to engage in male coalitional violence" evolved as far back as the common ancestor of humans and chimps, they claim, although our other close relations, bonobos and gorillas, seem to have found more peaceful ways of living. Genes predispose, say Potts and Hayden, but cultural forces can alleviate the worst of male nastiness. By empowering women to be leaders in cultural, social and political spheres, the violent propensities of men can be restrained. Further, empowerment will give women control of their reproductive destinies, and will therefore result in fewer offspring. Less population pressure will reduce other factors fueling violence and conflict, the authors claim.

Anthropologist Hillard Kaplan reviews the book in the October 9, 2009, issue of "Science." He agrees that the available evidence suggests that male intergroup violence has a long evolutionary history. He believes this tendency was exacerbated into large scale warfare with the development of agriculture and the associated larger population groups and competition for fertile land. Kaplan believes that male group violence is stoked by poor economic prospect for young males. To the empowerment of women he would add education and jobs as a way to reduce antisocial behavior.

There is nothing particularly new or revolutionary about any of this. Progress? Yes, I suppose so, but we clearly have a long way to go before women exercise equal power in society, or before young men in the developing world, especially, have an economic stake in social stability. Meanwhile, as the painting above by Jacques-Louis David, "The Sabine Women," suggests, women and children will continue to be caught in the middle.”

The Poet: Mary Oliver, “The Leaf and the Cloud"

 "Flare, Part 12"

"When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,
like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
    like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.
In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling."

~ Mary Oliver,
 “The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem”

Free Download, "Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing"

"You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don't.
You have wings,
Learn to use them, and fly."

 "What in your life is calling you,
When all the noise is silenced,
The meetings adjourned...
The lists laid aside,
And the Wild Iris blooms
By itself in the dark forest...
What still pulls on your soul?"

- Rumi (1207 - 1273)
"Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi was a 13th century Afghan poet and philosopher who heavily influenced both eastern and western poetry. His poetry is divided into categories: the quatrains and odes of the "Divan," the six books the "Masnavi," the discourses, the letters and the "Six Sermons." Rumi's major poetic work is "Matnawiye Ma'nawi," a six-volume poem, considered by many literary critics to be one of the greatest works of mystical poetry ever written. Rumi's prose works included "Fihi Ma Fihi," "Majalese Sab'a" and "Maktubat." His prose work largely contains sermons and lectures given by Rumi to his disciples and family members. Following Rumi's death, his followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the "Whirling Dervishes."
FREE download, "Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing" is here:

"Nature..."

"Nature has been to man not a mother, but a step-mother,
sending him into the world naked, frail, and infirm,
toiling under a burden of care, fearful, slothful, and given over to lust,
but not without a spark of divine reason.”

- Pierre Bayle (1647-1706)

The Daily "Near You?"

Marietta, Georgia, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"The Big Scary Unknown..."

 “People don’t want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved.
 Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. 
Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.”
- Chuck Palahniuk

"Welcome To One of The Most Pivotal Weeks In Modern American History"

"Welcome To One of The Most Pivotal Weeks In Modern American History"
By Michael Snyder

"Many are anticipating that a wonderful new era of peace and prosperity is just a few days away, but others are using terms such as “civil unrest” and “civil war” for what they believe is about to happen in America. Without a doubt, Donald Trump is one of the most electrifying politicians in modern American history, but he is also one of the most polarizing. So will the next four years bring us together as a nation, or will anger, frustration, strife and discord tear us much farther apart? It is being projected that extremely large crowds of supporters will attend Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, but the mainstream media is also reporting that “hundreds of thousands of protesters” are on their way to Washington. Many on the far left are hoping to turn Trump’s inauguration into one of the biggest riots in U.S. history, but thousands of law enforcement personnel are going to do their very best to prevent that from happening.

There are sites on the Internet that are literally counting down the hours until Barack Obama leaves office. Knowing that his time is short, Obama seems determined to squeeze as much “change” out of his final hours as he possibly can. Just check out what the Washington Post says that he was able to accomplish on just one day last week: "On Thursday alone, the administration designated three new national monuments and expanded another two in sites including a forest in the Pacific Northwest and a school for freed slaves in South Carolina; took away one of the special immigration privileges Cubans arriving in the United States without visas have enjoyed for 50 years; announced sanctions designations against 18 senior Syrian officials for their role in the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon in 2014 and 2015; awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden; and accused Fiat Chrysler of cheating on national emission standards for some of its diesel trucks."

And in the last few days of his presidency, there is a great deal of concern about how much more damage he may be able to do on his way out the door. Late last week he enraged the Russians by moving U.S. troops into Poland, and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova is warning that Obama still has a few more days left to “destroy the world”: "Zakharova charged that “Obama and his illiterate foreign policy team have dealt a crushing blow to America’s prestige and leadership” and described his administration as “a bunch of geopolitical losers, enraged and shortsighted. Obama’s administration still has a few days left to “destroy the world,” Zakharova wrote."

However, there is one piece of good news. According to the Jerusalem Post, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Obama will not support any additional action against Israel at the UN Security Council before Trump is inaugurated. Of course politicians lie all the time, and John Kerry may not have been entirely honest with Netanyahu, and so we will keep a close eye on the UN Security Council when they meet on Tuesday.

On Friday, the eyes of the entire world will be on Washington. What once seemed so impossible is on the verge of actually becoming a reality, and security officials will be working overtime to make sure that nobody tries to stop Trump from being inaugurated at the last minute.

Needless to say, the festivities on Friday would be a big, fat juicy target for anyone that hates Trump, hates America or that just wanted to make an unforgettable political statement. In fact, Republican Senator Roy Blunt has admitted that the inauguration of Donald Trump will be “the most appealing target in the world." “Security is my greatest concern,” Republican Senator Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, has said. “No question that on inaugural day, this would be the most appealing target in the world.”

Even if there isn’t any violence on Friday, there will definitely be plenty of angry protesters. And instead of attempting to calm things down, many in the mainstream media are actually promoting the protests. For example, the Washington Post has even published a “guide to inauguration demonstrations, marches and protests”.

It appears that most of those on the left plan to protest peacefully, but there are definitely groups that are planning to be as disruptive as they possibly can. I have previously reported about an organization known as DisruptJ20, and now audio has been released of one of their leaders saying that they want to “do everything we can to try and stop people from being able to access the inauguration”: "A conservative group also shared with FoxNews.com what it said was audio from a Jan. 8 #DisruptJ20 meeting at a Washington church, giving even greater insight into the group’s planned D.C. “shutdown.” The audio, recorded by Trevor Loudon with Capital Research Center, purports to show a female member detailing plans to “do everything we can to try and stop people from being able to access the inauguration.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how they are going to do that. According to the shocking new audio recording obtained by Fox News, DisruptJ20 plans to physically block “roads and other modes of transit into the city. ”“We’re going to be doing blockades,” the woman says in the audio. “We’re going to [be] blockading checkpoints into the security zones. We’re also going to be blockading roads and other modes of transit into the city.

Traffic in the Washington D.C. area is a major headache even at the best of times, and so even if everything went perfectly transportation would be a major issue at Trump’s inauguration. So it isn’t going to take much for these anarchists to create a very real crisis.

And some leftists have been encouraging those that cannot physically come to Washington D.C. to go online and help take down the official White House website on January 20th. PR Newswire, a global news-release distribution service, circulated a release on Thursday highlighting a campaign launched by Protester.io, a digital protest organizing platform, to “take down” the White House website next Friday in protest of Trump’s inauguration. “On January 20th, hundreds of thousands of Americans are going to Washington, DC to march in protest of the inauguration of Donald Trump. Millions more around the country will be joining the cause from home. If you can’t make it to Washington DC on inauguration day, you can still participate by occupying whitehouse.gov online,” the release read.

Many on the left truly believe that Trump is the modern equivalent of Adolf Hitler, and therefore he must be resisted at all costs. And one of the reasons why they want to be as disruptive as possible is so that they can provoke an extremely harsh response. If law enforcement officials can be filmed treating protesters very harshly, that can be used as fuel to inspire thousands of others to join the movement against the “fascist” Donald Trump.

Following the “blockades” and other “actions” on the 20th, there will be a “million woman march” on the 21st.  Michael Moore and a whole host of liberal celebrities will be there, and it is being reported that there will be close to 300 “sister marches” in other cities around the nation: "Protesters are using the hashtag #WhyIMarch to explain why they are heading to Washington- from calls for equality to initiatives to curb gun violence to pleas for health care reform. Nearly 300 “sister marches” have been organized in other US cities- including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle- and around the world."

This is going to be a week that none of us will ever forget. Many are hoping (myself included) that the protests will soon fade and that Trump’s presidency will represent a true turning point for America. But there are many others that are literally gearing up for a “war”, and they intend to fight for as long as it takes to achieve their goals.

We are a nation that is deeply, deeply divided, and it isn’t going to take much to push us over the edge. So this week is definitely a beginning, but is it the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in American history, or is it the beginning of the end for our once great nation? This story will unfold over the next four years, and let us hope that it is a good one."

“Why There’s Never Enough Time”

“Why There’s Never Enough Time”
by David Cain

“I have this dream, and maybe you do too, of one day having enough time. It always feels like I’m in a particularly time-squeezed period of the year, or of my life. The state of having enough time seems like a real place but we but never seem to be there. Once I finish this project, once Christmas is over, once the move is done, I’ll have time. But right now, there’s not enough time to do everything.

Quite a bit gets done, but something is always falling behind: emails, bookkeeping, self-improvement promises, things I said I’d do. Am I still learning French? I’m not sure. Sometimes I wonder if having enough time is achievable at all, or if it’s like trying to reach light speed. We can approach it, if we have vast amounts of energy, but the laws of reality prevent us from quite getting there.

That doesn’t make much sense though. You always get some things done, and if those things were all you felt you needed to do, you’d have enough time. If you had another couple of hours a day, you would have kept up with Spanish lessons, you would have culled your sock drawer, you would have finished the 30-day yoga challenge.

The amount we fail to do is finite- we aren’t literally trying to do everything. We do say no. We decide to learn guitar, but not piano. We vow to spend more time with Grandma, but not necessarily with cousin Steve. We plan to read "The Great Gatsby" but not "War and Peace."

This elusive state of “enough time” is possible. We only need more time to budget, or fewer pursuits eating it all up.

It’s a simple equation:
Time available to you
divided by
Time required to do everything you have to do

If the result is greater than 1, you have enough time.

Even though we have a lot of control over what we intend to do with our time, there’s strangely never enough of it. How do we always mess up this simple equation so badly? Do any of you feel like you have enough time?

We often argue that we don’t choose our time obligations, so we’re stuck in a permanent time deficit and that’s just the way life is. Bills need to be paid. The body needs sleep. The dogs need walking. We don’t have time for all these obligations, yet we can’t get rid of them. But I think that’s mostly just a bad faith tactic we use to relieve ourselves from having to disappoint others, give up on dreams that aren’t working, and make other bold but nerve-wracking lifestyle moves. Besides, if we’re constantly failing to meet some of our obligations, it can’t be true that they must be done.

We do say yes to things we could have said no to. The big house that requires the big job to pay for it. Entertainment choices. Self-improvement ventures. Social media time. TV time. Reading the paper. Spending two years talking about who to vote for. There’s a lot of choice hidden in our overstuffed lifestyles.

As if to rub it in, some anthropologists tell us that thousands of years ago people had much more time available to them than their hunting, gathering and child-rearing required. Three or four hours of work a day paid the bills, so they had a lot of downtime. Then came agriculture, and eventually industrialization, and somehow these helpful developments turned almost all of us into people living under time debt.

This is ironic, because both of those developments were essentially revolutions in efficiency, slashing the time required to produce food and other stuff. When one farmer’s workday creates enough food for ten people, the other nine people can do other stuff all day long, like make art, map the night sky, assemble armies, build temples, or think up jokes. I’m sure there are complex political and social reasons why all these time-saving innovations ended up leaving us perpetually out of time, and you can consult your nearest social sciences major for some ideas.

Mass production freed up a lot of time, and we essentially used that time to make new ways to use up all our time. Twenty thousand years ago, the idea of deciding what to do with your life might have seemed like an absurd question. Nobody was perturbed by a lifelong yearning to be a poet until there was such a thing as being a poet, or going to India before anyone went to India. It may not have been on purpose, but we’ve created a steaming buffet of possibilities for time-spending. Many of them are enriching and more than worthwhile.

But we all know the problem with buffets. They aren’t conducive to rational thinking. Clearly the savannah did not equip us to deal sensibly with forty glistening tubs of hot food. You see something you like, and you’re already stacking mini-quiches next to meatballs next to egg rolls sitting in tikka masala, reaching to every corner of the vast palette and never looking at what’s going on the canvas. The self-consciousness sets in only when you return to the table and begin to dismantle the nihilistic, Lovecraftian pyramid of horrors you didn’t know you were creating.

I recently spent a few of my hours (and few hours’ worth of earnings) going to see Jerry Seinfeld do standup at one of our local temples. He commented on the bizarre human institution of the all-you-can-eat buffet: "There’s something about the buffet that breaks down the mind, reason, judgment… Nobody would go into a restaurant and say to the waiter, “I want a yogurt parfait, spare ribs, a waffle, four cookies and an egg white omelet.” (Watch the whole bit here)

Certainly, an abundance of food is preferable to scarcity, and the same is true for ways to spend our time. More options do give us more to work with in our quest to build a satisfying life. But there’s a huge danger here. We are covetous creatures, and grasping at too many things leaves us feeling stressed and inadequate, and constantly wondering whether we’re on the best path. Psychologist Barry Schwartz tells us that a wealth of options has a way of making us less satisfied with our eventual choice. When there are fifty possibilities rather than two, we know it’s unlikely we will choose the best one.

So maybe that’s why we’re perpetually trying and failing to find time to bake our own bread, learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu, see all the Best Picture nominees and master the guitar solo in "Stairway to Heaven"- on top of a stable life of working, sleeping, eating and socializing. The modern world puts so much within reach if we just play our cards right, but there are a thousand cards to play. The stakes are extreme- these are our lives, after all- so to avoid playing the wrong cards, we try to play them all.

I do believe living with “enough time” is possible, and I believe it’s more worthwhile than the fruits of any 25-hour-a-day schedule I could think up. But for that pruning process to be effective, it needs to be harsh. The math involved creates a serious existential dilemma. When there are ten thousand ways to spend your time, having enough time can only mean saying no to the vast majority of the things you’ve imagined yourself one day doing. And that means never becoming most of the people you imagined becoming: the novelist, the world traveler, the dinner party host, the black belt, the keeper of spotless inboxes, the guy that knows his wines.

It’s a scary thought, all the letting go that must happen. But it must happen consciously, and if we never get around to it, there will never be enough time.”
http://www.raptitude.com

“How small a portion of our life it is that we really enjoy. In youth we are looking forward to things that are to come; in old age, we are looking backwards to things that are gone past; in manhood, although we appear indeed to be more occupied in things that are present, yet even that is too often absorbed in vague determinations to be vastly happy on some future day, when we have time...”
- Charles Caleb Colton, “Lacon”

"How It Really Is"

"Ever Wonder?"

“Does the Deep State Have It in for Trump?”

“Does the Deep State Have It in for Trump?”
by Bill Bonner

"Two things. One we understand. The other we don’t. First, you gotta hand it to Wall Street. The financial elite were 1,000% behind Hillary. Then, when Donald Trump won the White House, within minutes, they were in his cabinet. During the campaign, not only were they loading Hillary up with millions of dollars in funding, but they also regularly predicted doom if ‘The Donald’ were to win. Then, apparently within seconds, in the middle of the night, they saw a great dollar sign in the sky… ‘By this sign will you conquer’ was written upon it.

Government Sachs: Not since the conversion of Constantine has a turnaround been so abrupt and so complete. Mirabile dictu! In a flash, the analysts at the nation’s top Wall Street firm suddenly realized something that had eluded them throughout the long and bitter presidential campaign: Tax cuts and spending increases might not be so bad after all!

The great selloff ended. A buying spree took over, pushing up the price of Goldman Sachs stock by 40% and making its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, the No. 1 beneficiary of the election. (Since the election, the value of his Goldman holdings have increased by $163 million.) Now the Goldman boys are in practically every important office- Mnuchin in the Treasury, Cohn at the National Economic Council, Clayton (a lawyer who has represented Goldman for years) at the SEC, and Bannon and Scaramucci, also from the Goldman litter, ready to do what is asked…

Henceforth, they will think no more about what is good for Goldman, the Street, and themselves. Now, they are public servants… with only the welfare and happiness of others to worry about.

Filling Jefferson’s boots: That’s what we love about democracy: It has the power to transform people as they rise to the challenges of public office. People we considered lowlife hustlers and two-bit pols are suddenly elevated. Their feet grow to fill Jefferson’s boots, their heads expand to wear Adams’ hat, and, well, sometimes they can even wear Taft’s pants.

Seriously, what we admire so much about Goldman is that it is honest. We know what the Goldman bunch is up to: It is looking out for No. 1. You remember Italian economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto? Pareto explained that no matter what you call your government, it will be run by a few sharp people- whom he called ‘foxes’. They figure out how to get control of the political infrastructure and make it work for them. Goldman is one foxy organization; it wasted no time moving into the DC chicken house.

Foxiest of the foxy: But what is really surprising is what is going on in the ‘security’ industry. Spooks are the foxiest of the foxy, and the deepest part of the Deep State. Since the end of the Second World War, they’ve managed to scare trillions of dollars out of the taxpayers, even though the US has not faced a worthy adversary at least since 1989, and even though almost all their ‘intelligence’ is either trivial or wrong.

From the bungled Bay of Pigs Invasion to the fall of the Soviet Union (which Stansfield Turner, who led the CIA from 1977 to 1981, admitted that the agency ‘missed by a mile’), US intelligence services have been out to lunch. More recently, it was the CIA that dutifully fed the neo-cons the phony weapons-of-mass-destruction story they wanted to hear, resulting in a war that has so far cost $7 trillion. (Which, of course, was the true goal of the "war," framed under the idiotic and nonsensical mantra of bringing "freedom and democracy." Who benefited from spending that $7 trillion? - CP) And in the latest brouhaha over Russian interference in the US election, apparently the key ‘intelligence’ came from watching the Russia Today international television network (on which your editor is interviewed from time to time).

Clownish ‘intelligence’: America’s spooks may or may not be very good at supplying useful intelligence, but they are definitely good at manipulating the system to stay in their cushy positions of power and money.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper clearly lied to Congress when he said the NSA wasn’t collecting information on US citizens, yet he continues to draw full pay. Former acting Director of the CIA Mike Morell claimed Trump was an ‘unwitting’ Russian agent, whatever that means. CIA Director John Brennan lied about collateral deaths from drone strikes. (He claimed there were none.) And Morell’s predecessor, David Petraeus, delivered state secrets to his biographer, with whom he was having an adulterous affair, then lied to the FBI about it. He got nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Time and again, incompetence and criminality in the ‘security’ industry are overlooked and forgiven. And still, there are no fewer than 17 intelligence agencies in the US, with thousands of snoops, analysts and informants paid largely out of classified budgets. At a cost to taxpayers of billions of dollars a year, they spy on us, foreigners, and each other.

Why, then, would they pick fights with the new president over clownish ‘intelligence’ reports? If we’re right… and the main goal of the Deep State is to shift power and money from the rest of society to itself… what purpose is served by annoying the new commander in chief? We don’t know. Mistake? Miscalculation? Something doesn’t add up."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Musical Interlude: Adiemus, “Adiemus”

Adiemus, “Adiemus”

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Falling Through Time”

2002, “Falling Through Time”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“South of Antares, in the tail of the nebula-rich constellation Scorpius, lies emission nebula IC 4628. Nearby hot, massive stars, millions of years young, irradiate the nebula with invisible ultraviolet light, stripping electrons from atoms. The electrons eventually recombine with the atoms to produce the visible nebular glow, dominated by the red emission of hydrogen. 
Click image for larger size.
At an estimated distance of 6,000 light-years, the region shown is about 250 light-years across, spanning over three full moons on the sky. The nebula is also cataloged as Gum 56 for Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum, but seafood-loving astronomers might know this cosmic cloud as the Prawn Nebula. The tantalizing color image is a new astronomical composition using data from the European Southern Observatory's wide field OmegaCAM and amateur images made under dark skies on the Canary Island of Tenerife.”

Chet Raymo, "In the Cave"

 "In the Cave"
by Chet Raymo

"I have mentioned here before the ospreys that patrol our beach- or "fish hawks," as they call them here- generally in the afternoon at about the time I take my long walk to the palm point. Magnificent birds with broad wings that glide seemingly effortlessly on the wind. And here's the thing: As often as not I am startled by a bird's shadow before I see the bird itself. That wide-winged shadow, sweeping across the white sand, sometimes across me. That flicker of chill as the osprey blocks the sun.

And generally when it happens I think of Plato's allegory of the cave. Prisoners in a cave are constrained to look only at a blank wall. Somewhere behind them there is a fire, and people come and go in front of the fire, casting shadows on the wall. The shadows are the only reality the prisoners know. They have no idea of the flesh-and-blood people behind them or the blazing fire. The prisoners know only what presents itself to their senses.

Forget for the moment Plato's point, which has to do with the duty of the philosopher to enlighten the benighted. There is a humbling moral to the story for all of us: We can only know what our senses- directly or indirectly- can perceive.

Who, a century ago, could have imagined the universe of the galaxies, or the marvelous dance of the DNA in every cell of our bodies? By cleverly extending our senses- limited as they are- with technological enhancements a whole new universe has opened up to us. Who can imagine what we might know a century from now? Plato's "real" world is like a shadow compared to the universe we inhabit today. Our own universe may be a shadow of a reality vastly more wonderful than anything we have so far dreamed.

Never mind. We live in the world we have. Even the osprey's shadow is magnificent in its own way. I am privileged to lift my eyes and see the feathered bird. And I have an intuition that there is more- much more- yet to see.”

"This Is Your Life..."

"We are all dying, every moment that passes of every day. That is the inescapable truth of this existence. It is a truth that can paralyze us with fear, or one that can energize us with impatience, with the desire to explore and experience, with the hope- nay, the iron-will!- to find a memory in every action. To be alive, under sunshine, or starlight, in weather fair or stormy. To dance with every step, be they through gardens of flowers or through deep snows."
- R.A. Salvatore

The Daily "Near You?"

Sémalens, Midi-Pyrenees, France. Thanks for stopping by!

"Feeling Fed Up with Humanity, In the World and in Ourselves"

 
"Feeling Fed Up with Humanity, In the World and in Ourselves"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

"We are all capable of the best and the worst that humanity has to offer and knowing this allows us to find compassion. From time to time, we may all feel fed up with humanity, whether it’s from learning about what’s going on around the world, or what’s going on next door. There are always situations that leave us feeling as if people are simply not capable of behaving in a way that is coming from a place of awareness. Often it seems as if people are actually geared to handle things in the worst possible way, repeatedly. At the same time, none of us wants to linger in a judgmental mood about our own species. As a result, we might tend to repress the feelings coming up as we take in the news from the world and the neighborhood.

It is natural to feel let down and disappointed when we see our fellow humans behaving in ways that are greedy, selfish, violent, or uncaring, but there are also ways to process that disappointment without sinking into despondency. As with any emotional response, we honor our feelings by feeling them fully, without judging or acting on them. Once we’ve done that- and we may need to do it every day, as part of our daily self-care - we can begin to consider ways that we might help the situation in which humanity finds itself.

As always, we start with ourselves, utilizing our awareness of the failings of others to renew our own commitment to be more conscious human beings. We are all capable of the best and the worst that humanity has to offer, and remembering this keeps us in check, as well as allowing us to find compassion for others. We may find ourselves feeling compelled to serve people who are suffering injustices at the hands of other people, or we may begin to speak out when we see something that we don’t think is right. Whatever the case, the only thing we can do is pledge to serve the best, rather than the worst, of what humanity has to offer, both in the world, and in ourselves."

"The Most Costly Of All Follies..."

"The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel."
- H.L. Mencken

"Will The CIA Assassinate Trump?"

"Will The CIA Assassinate Trump?"
by Mac Slavo 

"It isn’t just that Donald Trump routinely thumbs his nose at the establishment, insults media figures he sees as unfair and bucks conventional wisdom. It is that President-elect Trump is defying the will of the deep state, military industrial complex base of ultimate power in the United States. That is why he is treading dangerous waters, and risks the fate of JFK.

Trump publicly dissed the intelligence community assessments on Russian hacking; they retaliated with a made up dossier about the alleged Trump-Putin ‘golden shower’ episode. While it may be a silly falsehood, it may also be serving as a final warning that they get to script reality, not him. Perhaps they want Trump to feel blackmailed and controlled by alluding to fake dirt, while reminding him of the real dirt they hold on his activities (whatever it may be).

Insulting the credibility of the intelligence community in a public way– as the man elected to the highest office in the land– is liable to ruffle a few feathers, and it could provoke a serious response. Trump knows the power of the people he is taunting, but he may not be aware of where the line is between play in political rhetoric and actually irritating and setting off those who control policy.

There is plenty of Trump misbehavior that can be simply written off, or trivialized, but cutting into the war and statecraft narrative of the shadow government steering this deep state is a deviation too far. It is one thing to play captain, but another to imagine that you steer the ship. They are happy for Trump to take all the prestige and privileges of the office; but not for him to cut into the big business of foreign conflict, the undercurrent of all American affairs, the dealings in death, drugs, oil and weapons, and the control of people through a manipulation of these affairs.

If President Trump takes his rogue populism too far, he will suffer the wrath of the same people who took out Kennedy… there are some things that are not tolerated by those who are really in charge. And now leaders in the Senate are warning President-elect Trump about the stupidity of going against the national-security establishment.

As Jacob G. Hornberger warns: “In a truly remarkable bit of honesty and candor regarding the U.S. national-security establishment, new Senate minority leader Charles Schumer has accused President-elect Trump of “being really dumb” for taking on the CIA and questioning its conclusions regarding Russia. “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. He’s being really dumb to do this.”

No president since John F. Kennedy has dared to take on the CIA or the rest of the national security establishment. They knew that if they opposed the national-security establishment at a fundamental level, they would be subjected to retaliatory measures. Kennedy, after the Bay of Pigs, vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the winds. He also fired CIA Director Allen Dulles, who, in a rather unusual twist of fate, would later be appointed to the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s murder.

Kennedy’s antipathy toward the CIA gradually extended to what President Eisenhower had termed the military-industrial complex, especially when it proposed Operation Northwoods, which called for fraudulent terrorist attacks to serve as a pretext for invading Cuba, and when it suggested that Kennedy initiate a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Worst of all, from the standpoint of the national-security establishment, [Kennedy] initiated secret personal negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, both of whom, by this time, were on the same page as Kennedy.

Kennedy was fully aware of the danger he faced by taking on such a formidable enemy. And to the extent that President Kennedy consciously stood up to the system, he paid the price for his attempt at independent wielding of power from the Oval Office."

It is a shuddering thought. A sharp lesson in history that must not be misinterpreted. The implications for Trump are quite clear. If his refusal to take intelligence briefings, or follow CIA advice is serious, then serious consequences will follow. If Trump is serious about peace with Putin when they insist on war, there will be a problem.

There are powers behind the throne that have wanted to ensure that presidents don’t let the power go to their head, or try to change course from the carefully arranged crisis-reaction-solution paradigm. True peace is not good for military industrial complex business; true peace, without the persistence of grave threats, and plenty of sparks of chaos to back it up, cannot be tolerated.

As things have progressed today, making friendly with Putin, and calling off the war with Russia may simply be impermissible. If Trump is attempting to negotiate his own peace– and sing along with Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” at the inauguration, then he is in for a very rude awakening.

If, on the other hand, he is the Trump card being played by this very same establishment, then things may develop according to the same ultimate objectives, albeit through a ‘wild card’ path styled after the ego of President Trump. With Goldman Sachs and neocon advisors filling up his administration, Trump may be simply nudged in the right direction. But the intelligence community is not willing to take many chances– and there are clearly contingencies in place.

As SHTF has previously reported, the continuity of government “Doomsday” command-and-control planes were brought out after the election as a public show of power to Trump and the American people. The shadow government is real, and for now, maintains dominance.


Former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul warned of the shadow government taking control of President Trump’s administration before it was even formed: “You know, we look at the president, we look at what he said, we look at what he might do, and we look at his advisors, but quite frankly, there is an outside source, which we refer to as a deep state or a shadow government. There is a lot of influence by people that are actually more powerful than our government itself, our president and on up. I mean, you take for instance how our government gets involved in elections around the world, whether it’s in the Middle East or Ukraine.”

Trump is reportedly retaining his own private security, bucking the protocol of Secret Service detail, and this is clearly a sign that he and his team have thought through security issues and the possibility of an inside job. This is prudent, but these deep state guys have access throughout the system at every level. They are anywhere, and everywhere. Probably someone that Trump trusts. There are certainly many threats. For the sake of the stability of this country, and President-elect Trump’s own life, let us hope that they stay several steps ahead of anyone who might want to do him harm. This is eerie, but real.

On a personal level, it seems wise to prepare for the possibility of widespread unrest due to political instability. Tread carefully at the scene of the inauguration, and any high profile political gatherings or demonstrations. Riots at the inauguration, or in cities throughout the country are possible, maybe even likely, as is an attempted assassination. Even if this scenario is a long shot, and taboo to even discuss, the role of the CIA in past coups, revolutions and uprisings is enough to warrant taking precautions. There is an element of chaos present during this unprecedented transfer of power to the 45th president, and a wounded animal in the defensive-attack posture.

If you are at a protest, either as a participant, or as an observer, remain aware of the larger actions of the crowd, identify potential provocateurs and stay away from points of potential violence. Police could use anti-riot gear and spray the crowd, fire rubber bullet, use microwave heating or auditory devices, make mass arrests, or block off large portions of the city.

If anything significant happens, use any available phone or camera to film it, but be prepared for confiscation or technologies to wipe phones. An EMF shielded bag could block this; live stream or upload instantly to as many video platforms as possible, but they have been known to jam cell phone signals at mass gatherings and demonstrations. Make copies and store a physical copy, and several back-ups.

If you are at home, do not wait for the all clear signal from the authorities, shelter in place and prepare to ride out a storm, if something sensational or deadly takes place and panic spreads. Do not trust the media; and try to take notice if a coup has taken place, and constitutional authority subverted."

"How It Really Is"

"Election 2016 Seen As Remakes Of Great Hollywood Comedy”

"Election 2016 Seen As Remakes Of Great Hollywood Comedy”
 by JWMJR

“Before we can get into examining the comedic insanity of the left's vindictiveness, that serves no purpose but to damage the nation as a whole we have to lay out the facts, the how and why we got here. From the very beginning of this Presidential election season the Democrats had convinced themselves that the results were a forgone conclusion. Sure, there were going to some variables and deviations from what they saw as a path of inevitability, but the election itself was going to be a pro forma act. Jan. 20th 2017 was to be Hillary's coronation and as much a finishing act for the American Republic as the rise of Octavian was for the Roman Republic.

But then like the title of the hit Broadway play and movie, "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" the Democrat's certainties turned into a tragedy, a travesty and a comedy of errors. Hillary wasn't supposed to face anything but token opposition for the nomination, which would allow her to stockpile vast sums of money with which she would simply steamroll over her Republican opponent, whomever it might be. Martin O'Malley was supposed to look good but ineffectual. Jim Webb would be the last gasp of whatever conservatism remained in the party and Hillary would roll triumphantly into Philadelphia.

But then along came the upstart Socialist Senator from Vermont. He changes his registration to Democrat, declares his candidacy for President and immediately commences to tear the gears out of Hillary's and the DNC's plans for inevitability. For decades the left had worked to turn America's colleges and universities into machines pumping out propaganda-induced automatons who would never ever think of voting for anyone but a Socialist/Democrat. But then here was Bernie, more Socialist than Democrat and ideologically much closer to the propaganda models generations of naive kids had been fed than anything Hillary could ever dream of being or portraying herself as.

Suddenly Hillary's cakewalk was turning into a real contest, a contest she was at first by no means prepared for, because she was exactly as Bernie portrayed her, the typical, run-of-the- mill formulaic politician everyone had seen for the last half a century if not longer. Her gender card was as useful as drawing a duce when trying to fill two pair into a full house.

Unfortunately for Bernie, although he may have had the naive and brainwashed youth of America on his side, Hillary had both the vast and corrupt network of the Clinton machine and a bought and paid for DNC on hers. Her agents-provocateurs Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Donna Brazile swung into action. From manipulating caucus voting procedures to feeding Hillary debate questions in advance, Bernie Sanders was going to get screwed just as assuredly as Juanita Broaddrick in a Little Rock, Arkansas hotel room.

The accusations of collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC were already on full display even before the WikiLeaks revelations of the DNC emails removed any doubt and all but forced Shultz's resignation as DNC chair. That Hillary then hired her into a do nothing but collect a fat paycheck position confirmed the corruption of both of them.

With the chairman's position vacant the equally corrupt Brazile was brought in as interim chair. A long-time Democrat operative, Brazile had been the party's propagandist in residence at CNN. What better place from which to obtain and pass along to Hillary the questions to a debate to be sponsored by none other than CNN? That she had done so surprised precisely no one, and the fact that she has not apologized to Bernie Sanders, the party or the public for this malfeasance and still retains the position of interim chair just went to show how putridly foul the entire Democrat party is.

By this time the Clinton machine had at last completed securing if not stealing the nomination. Bernie of course made perfunctory and hollow protests about taking his fight to the convention floor, and then claimed victory in having succeeded in getting certain meaningless and quickly forgotten planks added to the party platform. He then declared his support for Hillary with one hand while inking a sweetheart real estate deal for a $600,000 lakefront lodge with the other. The commissar from Vermont sold out and got his dacha in the woods, plain and simple

The stench of this systemic corruption could knock a buzzard off of a renderings truck and had at that point pounded more than a few nails into the coffin of Hillary's presidential aspirations. Her poor debate performances, persistent coughing fits, the unrecoverable bad optics of her collapsing and getting tossed into her campaign bus like a sack of potatoes, along with her clearly inebriated "Why am I not 50 points ahead..." taped presentation to the AFL-CIO drove in several more.

All of this was added to the malodorous and persistent investigations into her incompetent if not criminal use of a private email server while Sec. of State and the questions of the Clinton Foundation's raking in untold millions from every corrupt Arab Potentate from the Straights of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Oman. The Clintons were simply trying to juggle way too many rotten eggs all at once. As they started to fall she stepped on them while reaching to grab the next one. As we all know stepping on a day old rotten egg both makes it stinks even more and loosens your footing. That is precisely what happened with the revelation just days before the election when it was discovered that Huma Abedin's pervert husband Anthony Weiner had a massive cache of Hillary's emails on his laptop computer, incriminating or not, new materials or not, it no longer mattered. The camel's back was broken. All the celebrity endorsements and all the spending in the world couldn't have saved her. Above and beyond the fact that Donald Trump's support was as much if not more anti-establishment than it was pro-Trump, in the end the combination of her own arrogance and history of incompetence sealed her fate.

That percentage of lifelong Democrats who could no longer stand the stench got added into those Rust Belt Democrats and union voters who had long felt betrayed and Bernie's primary voters who either stayed home or voted for Trump out of spite. The result was a fait accompli before the first ballot was counted.

So now here we are less than a week from Inauguration Day. As that day draws closer the left's reaction to the election becomes more and more unhinged from reality. First came the old tried and true tactic of calling for recounts. That fell flat on its face in short order. Failure. Next came attempts to appeal to and even to intimidate the members of the Electoral College. Failure. Next up was trying to disrupt the actual casting of ballots by the Electoral College. Failure. Not finished with their display of childish butthurt they tried to disrupt and challenge the tabulation of those votes presided over by Vice President Biden. Failure again.

With all these legal tactics having failed the left still can't say: "Well we tried so we'll just have to reorganize and come back in two and four years and appeal to the voters again as proscribed in Constitutional law." Nope, they can't do that so they will turn to the semi-legal and illegal, the obstructionist protests and demonstrations that they hope to turn into violent riots.

I can't help but suspect that Trump's internal polling was far more accurate than Hillary's and he used the question during the third debate as to whether he would accept the results as a wonderful opportunity to set up the Democrats once again. Once he said he would have to take a wait-and-see approach it immediately became the screeching point for the media and Hillary to the exclusion of almost everything else. Trump's answer was immediately cast as "a threat to democracy", "an affront to the American people". This quickly became the new campaign mantra repeated by Hillary and her media lackeys every day. Trump put out the bait and once again they swallowed it hook line and sinker.

Just as "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" had played out in the campaign, the post-election has become a parody of Carl Reiner's "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!" For decades the left has had nothing but contempt and derision for the CIA and the American security apparatus. Similarly they have put up Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy as the role model for Republican anti-communist/anti-Russian paranoia. Once all the damaging email revelations began to appear the Democrats started complaining about the Russians being behind them. Never mind that they couldn't deny the truthfulness of any of it, the Russians were "interfering" with the election. Now that the election is over and the unthinkable has happened not only are the Democrats and the media seeing Russians hiding behind every bush, they are taking every pronouncement from the CIA and or the FBI as if they have discovered the Gospel itself. They have taken on the mantle and cloak of "Tail Gunner" Joe and it's a perfect fit. Of course there is no sense of shame, irony or hypocrisy on the left so they have no problem becoming everything today that they condemned yesterday.

The hook was set with the "wait and see" answer. Now they have been reeled in and are hanging from the yard arm. The flashbulbs pop illuminating the record catch and they still can't see what the whole world can, that they are making bigger and bigger fools of themselves with each passing day. They have no sense of humor so the parody is simply beyond their grasp.”

The Economy: “Mad As Hell”

“Mad As Hell”
by Chris Martenson

“Fair warning, my family just received a 61.5% increase in our healthcare insurance premium of 2017, on top of last year’s 24.8% increase, so I am quite annoyed at the moment. For my non-US readers, perhaps what follows will interest you as a means of understanding how and why Donald Trump came to be elected President. I am going to be channeling some of my inner crank today.

If you want to understand why Trump won the recent US presidential election, you can't overlook the economic data. If you do, his victory may look mighty confusing, alarming even. But once you understand the degree to which the average US family and the entire Gen-X and Millennial generations are being completely hosed economically, everything starts to take shape.”

The rest of this lengthy and highly informative article can be viewed at the link below.
 I encourage you to do so.
http://www.24hgold.com/

Peter Finch as "Howard Beale", "Network", 1976

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Realms of Splendor”

2002, “Realms of Splendor”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Clouds of stardust drift through this deep skyscape. The cosmic scene spans nearly 2 degrees across the Perseus molecular cloud some 850 light-years away. A triangle of dusty nebulae reflecting light from embedded stars is captured in the telescopic field of view. With a characteristic bluish color reflection nebula NGC 1333 is at left, vdB13 at bottom right, and rare yellowish reflection nebula vdB12 lies at the top. 
Click image for larger size.
Stars are forming in the Perseus molecular cloud, though most are obscured at visible wavelengths by the pervasive dust. Still, hints of contrasting red emission from Herbig-Haro objects, the jets and shocked glowing gas emanating from recently formed stars, are evident in NGC 1333. At the estimated distance of the molecular cloud, legs of the triangle formed by the reflection nebulae would be about 20 light-years long.”

"Two Ways To Be Fooled..."

Predictive Linguistics: "Clif High, WUJO, January 2017"

"Clif High, WUJO, January 2017" 
Web Bot: Antarctica Ready to Give up Secrets the Elite Can’t Hide
by SGT, SGT Report

"Internet data mining expert Clif High uses what he calls “Predictive Linguistics,” to mine the Internet and collects billions of data points to produce forecasts of the future. Obama, Kerry and others recently went to Antarctica- why? Why is it being called "The Discovery"? 

Friends, time for a little woo. As web bot creator Clif High noted in his most recent wujo, below, our planet is undergoing major changes, including what Clif High believes is a pole shift. Clif says that what’s happening in Antarctica is that the ice is sloughing off on one side and growing on the other, “This is how the poles actually shift the glacial mass over time.”


Here’s where it get fun. According to Clif, “As the ice sloughs off of that part of Antarctica, it’s going to reveal all kinds of stuff that the powers that be would rather remain hidden. And they’re just going to have to deal with it. It just will be too large and too massive for any attempts to hide it. And so the point now is going to be to manage it.” And here’s where it gets really fun. How do you “manage it” when ancient civilizations, massive pyramids or crashed UFO’s are exposed? As Joseph P. Farrell wrote recently, it seems the entire world’s power structure has become suddenly and extremely interested in Antarctica: "Antarctica, John Kerry, Pyramids, And Conspiracy Theories."

And although we don’t know exactly what the obsession with the frozen tundra down below is all about, many internet sleuths are coming up with some intriguing theories: Flash frozen advanced civilizations, inner earth entrances, and hidden UFO bases to name but a few. I don’t know what’s going on in Antarctica, but  it’s becoming increasingly clear that we are living in the most interesting time in human history."
Google Earth Coordinates of Interest:
Disc coords: 74°38'18.53" S 164°31'48.53" E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boU8eM_-JO4

Caves: 66°33'12.33"S, 99°50'20.37"E
 66°36'12.69"S, 99°43'12.44"E

And just why did Secretary of State John Kerry go there on November 12, 2016?

Questions, questions, food for thought...