Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Poet: J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Road"

"The Road"

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet."

- J.R.R. Tolkien

"If It Exists..."

"We make choices everyday, some of them good, some of them bad. And if we are strong enough- we live with the consequences. To be truthful I am not entirely sure what people mean when they talk of happiness. There are moments of joy and laughter, the comfort of friendship, but enduring happiness? If it exists I have not discovered it."
- David Gemmell

"How It Really Is"

"Get Up Off Your Knees!"

"Get Up Off Your Knees!"
On your knees you may live to see another day, 
but you’ll never live to see better days.
by Robert Gore 

"Zoos are among the saddest places on earth: magnificent but confined creatures on display for gawking crowds, prevented from living out their biological destinies, fed their daily rations, and domesticated beyond where they could ever return to the wild. You have to feel pity and sorrow for these innocent prisoners; they’d flee in a heartbeat if they could.

Humans have made themselves inmates—whether of a zoo, prison, or asylum is hard to say, likely a combination of all three. Animals earn our admiration because they resist losing their freedom. Humans occasionally do too, but usually surrender theirs for promises and trifles. The promises are broken and the trifles grow more trifling as humanity for the most part gives up. Keep people amused and make sure the rations don’t stop and no outrage rousts them to try to reclaim their birthright. When they visit the zoo, the animals stare back at them with contempt.

In this country, we sing, “Sweet land of liberty,” and, “The land of the free, and the home of the brave.” We incant “freedom” and “liberty” during election seasons, but anything beyond that is considered embarrassing, bad form. A legislator denouncing a proposed law as an infringement of freedom would be regarded as a lunatic. Millions of pages of federal, state, and local laws and regulations already infringe freedom. The denouncer might be irrefutably right, but his denunciation would be irrelevant.

While wildlife should be free in the wild, coping with the risks to the best of their capabilities, humans are supposedly unsuited for freedom. Free humans might develop their own talents and capabilities, produce, exchange, exercise their rights, and engage in voluntary association and social intercourse, all unsupervised. You can argue that such activities are generally beneficial. However, there is a special class who are permitted to supervise and coerce the rest of us, to curtail our freedom. This special class ensures fairness or equality or some such thing. Who knows what might happen without them. Think of the dangers!

Just consider the concept of people deciding what’s in their own best interest. A hyphenated word lurks: self-interest. The special people are motivated by everything but self-interest, or so they say. Indeed, nobility of motive justifies their power and the destruction of your liberty. The desire to better your life is selfish, unlike the impulses supposedly animating those holding the guns to your head. After widespread surrender, few champion their right to their own lives, which is selfish after all, or challenge the special people’s moral superiority, which confers their right to hold the guns.

It might mitigate moral condemnation for liberty’s surrender if it had produced some benefit for those waving the white flag. An old bromide has it that liberty is irrelevant when people are starving. Nothing is further from the truth; it’s freedom that feeds people, creates wealth, and advances humanity. The historical record offers ample proof. It’s the absence of liberty that produces starvation, poverty, decay, destruction, genocide, and war. Here too the historical record is clear, one need go no farther back than the last century. During this ascendancy of the special people, humanity fought its two deadliest wars and over a hundred million were murdered, victims of special plans for a better world.

But somehow it’s liberty that’s dangerous. Fortunately the special people still rule, to make sure it doesn’t break out somewhere. Their reign assures that this century will challenge the last for the title: Century of Slaughter. They see their subjects are domesticated draft animals, just smart enough to keep economies running, not smart enough to challenge domestication. However, it’s been free minds and free markets, not draft animals, that have produced the wonders that make modern life modern. Welfare states are halfway houses to totalitarianism. As they grow, liberty shrinks and progress slows, stops, and reverses, the deterioration culminating in either anarchy or tyranny.

Judging from the prevalence of terms like “secular stagnation” and the “end of growth,” we are in the stop phase and reversal is nigh. People have seen their freedom shrink and have borne the consequences, although most don’t make the connection between the two. Incomes have stagnated, opportunities have diminished, life grows ever coarser, and fear of a looming apocalypse pervades the popular consciousness. Many are preparing for a future in which modernity is no longer modern, where access to necessities and conveniences cannot be taken for granted. Guns and gold are at the top of checklists, for a day when the inevitable failure of the special people leads to the inevitable tyranny or anarchy.

The discontent sweeping the planet is recognition that things are wrong on multiple fronts, although recognition of the root cause is rare. The idea that changing the hands on the levers offers solutions is magical thinking. The problems stem from granting the special people the levers in the first place. They may be replaced, but once the replacements have their hands on the levers, they’ll feel special, too. Power assuredly corrupts.

We’re closer to the real solution in the lament: “Why can’t they just leave us alone?” They—the special people—must leave us alone, it’s our moral right. Those who think the collapse will never come, or that freedom can be reclaimed without a fight, delude themselves. The craven adage: It’s better to live on one’s knees than die on one’s feet, offers a false choice. On your knees you may live to see another day, but you’ll never live to see better days. You may die on your feet, but liberty offers the only hope for better days. It’s worth fighting for. It’s worth dying for.”

“The Coming War on China”

“The Coming War on China,” Introduction
by Paul Craig Roberts

"Years ago when I was staff associate, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, a tutorial was provided on the destructive power of the Soviet ICBM SS-18, known as Satan. Employing hyperbole, the lecturer said that one SS-18 on Washington would kill everyone from Boston to Atlanta.

The Russian response to the “useable” mini-nukes that the neoconservatives have been concocting over the last three warmonger presidential regimes is Satan II. One hit from Satan II takes out an area the size of France or Texas. Three or four hits and the East Coast of the United States disappears for all time. The same for Europe. With weapons such as these, the crazed US presidential regimes that have raised tensions with Russia and China are reckless, irresponsible, and inhumane. These crazed American regimes represent a threat to the existence of planet Earth, which makes them the worst criminals in the history of humanity.

John Pilger describes Washington’s war plans against China. These plans are nonsensical, because China and Russia are now strategic allies, united by their opposition to Washington’s hegemony. If constant attacks on Trump by everyone else cause him to move into the welcoming militaristic neocon camp, the imbeciles who pushed him into that camp will have ended life on earth.

Hold your breath and pray. The working class elected Trump, but we do not know if we are going to have a government that acts in behalf of the working class. Before concluding that the rich people Trump has selected are going to act for the rich, remember that Osama bin Laden, a mega-millionaire, was a revolutionary.”

Full, lengthy, article is here:
“The Coming War on China” 
by John Pilger

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Musical Interlude: Liquid Mind, “Liquid Mind VI: Spirit” (Full Album)

Liquid Mind, “Liquid Mind VI: Spirit” (Full Album)

"A Look to the Heavens"

"M78 isn't really hiding in planet Earth's night sky. About 1,600 light-years away and nestled in the nebula rich constellation Orion, the large, bright, reflection nebula is well-known to telescopic skygazers. But this gorgeous image of M78 was selected as the winner of the Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition. Held by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the competition challenged amateur astronomers to process data from ESO's astronomical archive in search of cosmic gems.
 Click image for larger size.
The winning entry shows off amazing details within bluish M78 (center) embraced in dark, dusty clouds, along with a smaller reflection nebula in the region, NGC 2071 (top). Yellowish and even more compact, the recently discovered, variable McNeil's Nebula is prominent in the scene below and right of center. Based on data from ESO's WFI camera and 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, Chile, this image spans just over 0.5 degrees on the sky. That corresponds to 15 light-years at the estimated distance of M78.”


"Just when we think we figured things out, the universe throws us a curveball. So, we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find ourselves back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong."
- "Dr. Meredith Grey", "Grey's Anatomy"

Chet Raymo, "Awww…"

by Chet Raymo

“In one of his always delightful essays, Stephen Jay Gould traced the "evolution" of Mickey Mouse from the time of his creation by Disney, in 1928, to the mouse we know today. The early Mickey was a bit of a rascal - mischievous, occasionally cruel. And he looked more or less like a real adult mouse: small head in proportion to body, pointy nose compared to cranial vault, beady eyes, spindly legs. As time passed, Mickey's personality softened and his appearance changed. Head and cranium became enlarged, eyes grew to half the size of the face, limbs got pudgier. Gould elucidated the evolutionary principle behind Mickey's transformation: It is called neoteny, or progressive juvenilization.

Mickey became a national symbol, and Americans like their national symbols cute and cuddly. Mickey's chronological age did not change, but he developed babyish features. To explain these perhaps unconscious developments on the part of Disney's artists, Gould referred to the work of animal behaviorist Konrad Lorenz, who believed that juvenile facial and body features release "innate triggering mechanisms" for affection and nurturing in adult humans. The adaptive value of this response is obvious, since the nurturing of young is necessary for survival of the species. According to Lorenz, evolution has provided us with a caring response to juvenile features, a genetically-programmed reaction that apparently overflows onto other species. If Lorenz is right, teddy bears and Andy Pandas are beneficiaries of our innate nurturing response to big eyes, round craniums, and pudgy limbs. Mickey Mouse evolved juvenile features in response to our evolved preference for all things cute and cuddly.”

"Thankfully Remember..."

“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not,
 but reckon up the greatest of the blessings you do possess, 
and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.”
- Marcus Aurelius 

The Daily "Near You?"

Cluj-napoca, Cluj, Romania. Thanks for stopping by!

"How Tomorrow Could Trigger the “Most Violent Economic Shock in History”

"How Tomorrow Could Trigger the “Most Violent Economic Shock in History”
By Nick Giambruno

"It was the one moment that convinced Hitler suicide was better than surrendering. On the morning of April 29, 1945, the bodies of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress were dumped like garbage into Milan’s Piazzale Loreto. A large mob of Italians quickly gathered. They pelted the former leader’s corpse with vegetables. They spat on it. They urinated on it. Some even emptied their pistols into his lifeless body. After a few hours, the crowd hung the bodies from a metal girder at a nearby gas station for all to see.

I walked through Piazzale Loreto during a recent trip to Italy, which is suffering its worst economic downturn since 1945. And I realized that Italians are angrier now than they’ve been since they hung Il Duce up by his heels.

Italy has had no productive growth since 1999. Real GDP per person is smaller than it was at the turn of the century. That’s almost two decades of economic stagnation. By any measure, the Italian economy is in a deep depression. And things will probably get much worse. It’s no surprise Italians are in a revolutionary mood.

The Five Star Movement (M5S) is Italy’s new populist political party. It’s anti-globalist, anti-euro, and vehemently anti-establishment. It doesn’t neatly fall into the left–right political paradigm. M5S has become the most popular political party in Italy. It blames the country’s chronic lack of growth on the euro currency. A large plurality of Italians agrees. M5S has promised to hold a vote to leave the euro and reinstate Italy’s old currency, the lira, as soon as it’s in power. That could be very soon. Given the chance, Italians probably would vote to return to the lira. If that happens, it would awaken a monetary volcano.

The Financial Times recently put it this way: "An Italian exit from the single currency would trigger the total collapse of the eurozone within a very short period. It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash." If the FT is even partially right, it means a stock market crash of historic proportions could be imminent.

Here’s how it could all happen: Tomorrow, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s current pro-EU government is holding a referendum on changing Italy’s constitution. In effect, a “Yes” vote is a vote of approval for Renzi’s government. A “No” vote is a chance for the average Italian to give the finger to EU bureaucrats in Brussels. Given the intense anger Italians feel right now, it’s very likely they’ll do just that. According to one of the most recent polls, the “No” camp has 54% support and all of the momentum. Even prominent members of Renzi’s own party are defecting to the “No” side.

If tomorrow's referendum fails, Renzi has promised to resign. Even if he doesn’t, the loss would politically castrate him. In all likelihood his government would collapse. (Italian governments have a short shelf life. There have been 63 since 1945. That’s almost a rate of a new government each year.)

One way or another, M5S will come to power. It’s just a matter of when. If Renzi’s referendum fails tomorrow—and it looks like it will—M5S will likely take over within months. Once it’s in power, M5S will hold a referendum on leaving the euro and returning to the lira. Italians will likely vote to leave. Italy is the third-largest member of the eurozone. If it leaves, it will have the psychological effect of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Other countries—notably France—will quickly head for the exit and return to their national currencies.

Think of the euro as the economic glue holding the EU together. Without it, economic ties weaken, and the whole EU project unravels. The EU is the world’s largest economy. If it collapses, it would trigger an unprecedented global stock market crash. That’s how important Italy’s December 4 referendum is. It would be the first domino to fall.

December 4 referendum fails > M5S comes to power > Italians vote to leave the euro currency > European Union collapses. Almost no one else is talking about this. That’s why I just spent several weeks in Italy, taking the pulse of the country.

"If This Happens, Italy’s Banking System Becomes 'Insolvent'”

"Europe is “screwed.” That’s what Steve Eisman thinks, at least. If the name rings a bell, it’s because Eisman was one of the few major investors who saw the last housing crisis coming. He famously made a huge bet against the U.S. housing market. When housing prices tanked, Eisman pocketed more than $1 billion. The actor Steve Carrell played Eisman in the Oscar-winning film "The Big Short."

A few weeks ago, Eisman hinted at his new big short: Italian banks. Reuters reported yesterday: "Nobody is going to invest in the Italian banks unless they trust their balance sheets," said Eisman, adding that Italian lenders have been "very slow" to recapitalize and sell off troubled assets. "In the Italian system, the banks say (assets) are worth 45-50 cents in the dollar. But the bid price is 20 cents. If they were to mark them down, they would be insolvent." In other words, Eisman thinks Italy’s banking system is a ticking time bomb. And it’s only a matter of time before the “market” realizes this. He told the British newspaper The Guardian: Europe is screwed. You guys are still screwed."

Eisman isn’t the only one betting against Italian banks, either. Reuters reported: "Data from the Italian market regulator shows "significant short positions" in Banco [sic] Popolare Di Milano and Banca Carige, while the regulator has restricted short-selling in shares of floundering Monte dei Paschi since July. There is also evidence that investors have taken short positions in Italian government debt on a scale not seen since the euro zone debt crisis of 2011/2012."

Bill Gross is worried about Italy’s banking system, too. Gross is one of the world’s most respected investors. He founded PIMCO, one of the world’s biggest money managers, and now runs Janus Capital. You may also know Gross by his nickname, “The Bond King.” This morning, Gross told Bloomberg that Italy is becoming a “basket case” due to its troubled banks.

In short, Italy is teetering on the edge of a cliff. If a banking crisis unfolds, Italians and people across Europe will undoubtedly suffer. But an Italian banking crisis could also reach you if you live on the other side of the world. We’ll explain why today. We’ll also tell you about an event taking place tomorrow that could set off a full-blown Italian banking crisis. But let’s first look at why Eisman, Gross, and so many others are worried about Italy.

Italian banks are in worse shape today than they were before the 2008–2009 financial crisis. The Financial Times reported last week: "The woes of the banks stem from the Italian economy, which never recovered from the most recent crisis. Gross domestic product per head is 9 percent smaller in real terms than it was in 2007 and is stuck near the levels of two decades ago. Italy staggers under an aging population and the second highest public debt load in Europe, at more than 130 per cent of GDP."

That’s not the only problem. According to Business Insider, the country’s banks are sitting on €360 ($384) billion worth of impaired loans. About €200 ($213) billion of those loans are “non-performing,” meaning they’ll likely never be paid back. For perspective, Italian banks have €225 ($240) billion in equity on their books. In other words, Italy’s banking system is drowning in debt.

Italy’s biggest banks are seeking life support: The Financial Times explains: "UniCredit, the country’s largest bank, is seeking to raise €13bn capital, and Monte dei Paschi, its most troubled large bank, may close a €5bn combined debt-for-equity swap and capital increase this week. But these sums are small compared with the system’s needs and the worst problems are concentrated in the smaller banks."

But there’s a problem. Italy’s government might not be able to stop its troubled banking system from collapsing under the weight of its own debt. The Financial Times went on: "If the government were to inject capital into the banking system, EU rules would require- at the very least- that subordinated creditors be converted to shareholders. This would be politically explosive."

Italian banks have long sold their own shares and debt to their retail customers as an attractive alternative to savings products, a disgraceful practice that should never have been allowed. It means that ordinary Italians, many in retirement, have already suffered as bank shares have fallen. They will suffer much more in a bail-in.

What’s worse, Italy is running out of time. Italy will hold an important constitutional referendum on Sunday. If Italy votes “Yes,” Italy’s current government will stay in power. If it votes “No,” a new radical government could rise to power in Italy. And MarketWatch reports this could trigger “a possible chain reaction of political upheaval, market instability and economic uncertainty.”

A “No” vote could also accelerate the banking crisis in Italy. Business Insider explained: "Now comes the nightmare scenario: If Italian premier Matteo Renzi loses his constitutional reform referendum on December 4, the markets may turn against Italy. The referendum asks whether Italy should reduce the power of its Senate and concentrate more power in Rome vs. the regions. A "yes" vote would make Italy's government less sclerotic. A "no" vote leaves the status quo in place. Put another way, Italy’s government could have a tough time saving its banking system if the Italian people vote “No” tomorrow. And, based on the latest polls, it looks like Italy will go in that direction."

The European Central Bank (ECB) is bracing for the worst: Reuters reported on Tuesday: "The European Central Bank is ready to temporarily step up purchases of Italian government bonds if the result of a crucial referendum on Sunday sharply drives up borrowing costs for the euro zone's largest debtor, central bank sources told Reuters. The ECB could use its 80-billion-euro ($84.8 billion) monthly bond-buying program to counter any immediate, further spike in bond yields after the vote, smoothing market moves and supporting bonds, according to four euro zone central bank sources who asked not to be named."

Unfortunately, emergency measures by the ECB won’t prevent an Italian banking crisis. At best, they’ll buy Italy and the rest of Europe time.

Chart of the Day

Italian banks are buried under a mountain of bad debt. Today’s chart shows the percentage of non-performing loans (NPL) for five of Italy’s biggest banks—UBI Banca, UniCredit, Banca Intesa, Banco Popolare, and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. (Again, these are loans where the borrower has stopped paying the bank.) The column on the far left is the average NPL ratio for other European banks. You can see that Italy’s banking system is in far worse shape than the rest of Europe. Its banks have about twice as many bad loans as the average European bank.

These efforts might postpone a banking crisis in Italy. But they won't fix Italy’s problems. You see, Italy’s banking system is broken beyond repair at this point. Like Eisman suggested, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world wakes up to this.”

And this concerns you how, Good Citizen? In a word: derivatives. The global banking system is so interconnected that a failure of, say, Deutsche Bank, would have catastrophic effects on European and American banks like these due to their derivates exposure. (For perspective, the entire GDP of the US is about $17 trillion):

• Goldman Sachs- $47.7 trillion
• Bank of America- $53 trillion
• Citigroup- $56 trillion
• JPMorgan- $78.1 trillion

Here we see fraud in its most-elementary form. ‘Legitimate’ bookies never bet in their own “market”. Even in the world of quasi-illicit gambling, it is recognized that allowing this would allow bookies to rig their own gambling. But not in the world of “banking” and “derivatives”. Here the biggest bettors in this fraudulent gambling (by many orders of magnitude) are the bookies themselves. (Numbers from October 2015, undoubtedly much higher today.)

Like dominoes, if the Italian banks collapse, they'd drag down Deutsche Bank and the rest of Europe with them, who then in turn would collapse the American banks into instant insolvency and bankruptcy. Meaning, lights out for the global, and local, financial system as we know it. Look at the numbers involved, this is what these psychopaths have done... Brace for impact!

"Trump and the Taiwan Call"

"Trump and the Taiwan Call"
by Scott Adams

"By now you know that President-Elect Trump took a call from the President of Taiwan and simultaneously lit on fire the underpants of the mainstream media and maybe the leadership of China too. Apparently taking a phone call from the president of Taiwan is a major diplomatic change from the so-called “One China Policy” that imagines Taiwan as a rogue province of China, not its own country. Reports are saying this call was planned, not a mistake on the Trump team’s side.

Was this a mistake by Trump? If you look at this call through the filter of normal politics it is clearly a mistake. It provokes the Chinese leadership and gains nothing obvious in return. The media is reporting this event as exactly the sort of thing that leads to nuclear annihilation. This is the same mainstream media that got everything wrong about Trump for the past year.

But if you look at this situation through the filter of a Master Persuader, it makes perfect sense. Trump is “setting the table” for future negotiations with China. He just subtracted something from China’s brand that they value, and later he will negotiate with them to maybe give it back in some fashion. Probably in return for some trade concessions.

But what about the risk? Does it ever make sense to poke a nuclear power? In this case, probably yes. As I have said in this blog before, China’s leadership is both mature and competent. Many of them have engineering degrees. They understand what Trump is doing, and none of it is a path to war because neither side has any interest in war. None. Zero. I can imagine some scenarios in which China and the U.S. might dangerously escalate toward war, but one friendly call to a major trading partner isn’t one of the scenarios.

But why take that call now? Shouldn’t Trump have cleared this with Obama, or waited until he was President? No. Because the Obama administration would have advised him not to do it. And waiting until January is the way old politics is done. This sort of bold, rapid action is evidently what Trump wants you to think is his brand as president. The Taiwan call is consistent with the New CEO Play that I described in this post. He’s setting the tone as bold, effective, and not waiting for red tape to slow him down.

Don’t worry about China going to war over a phone call. They understand Trump, in part because they read my blog too. And look at the brilliance of China’s diplomatic response. Their Foreign Minister labelled the phone call, "a shenanigan by the Taiwan side.“ That is exquisite diplomatic framing, Master Persuader-style. You can see why China and Trump respect each other; they both earned it. Mutual respect is a safe place to be. Relax. Adults are in charge.”

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WhenHub app for Android:

"How It Really Is"

Midday Musical Interlude: George Winston, “Sea”

George Winston, “Sea”

"We Are All Free To Do Whatever We Want To Do..."

"We are all free to do whatever we want to do,” he said that night. “Isn’t that simple and clean and clear? Isn’t that a great way to run a universe?” “Almost. You forgot a pretty important part,” I said. “Oh?” “We are all free to do what we want to do, as long as we don’t hurt somebody else,” I chided. “I know you meant that, but you ought to say what you mean.”

There was a sudden shambling sound in the dark, and I looked at him quickly. “Did you hear that?” “Yeah. Sounds like there’s somebody...” He got up, walked into the dark. He laughed suddenly, said a name I couldn’t catch. “It’s OK,” I heard him say. “No, we’d be glad to have you... no need you standing around... come on, you’re welcome, really...”

The voice was heavily accented, not quite Russian, nor Czech, more Transylvanian. “Thank you. I do not wish to impose myself upon your evening...” The man he brought with him to the firelight was, well, he was unusual to find in a midwest night. A small lean wolflike fellow, frightening to the eye, dressed in evening clothes, a black cape lined in red satin, he was uncomfortable in the light.

“I was passing by,” he said. “The field is a shortcut to my house...” “Is it?” Shimoda did not believe the man, knew he was lying, and at the same time did all he could to keep from laughing out loud. I hoped to understand before long.

“Make yourself comfortable,” I said. “Can we help you at all?” I really didn’t feel that helpful, but he was so shrinking, I did want him to be at ease, if he could. He looked on me with a desperate smile that turned me to ice. “Yes, you can help me. I need this very much or I would not ask. May I drink your blood? Just some? It is my food, I need human blood...”

Maybe it was the accent, he didn’t know English that well or I didn’t understand his words, but I was on my feet quicker than I had been in many a month, hay flying into the fire from my quickness. The man stepped back. I am generally harmless, but I am not a small person and I could have looked threatening. He turned his head away. “Sir, I am sorry! I am sorry! Please forget that I said anything about blood! But you see...”

“What are you saying?” I was the more fierce because I was scared. “What in the hell are you saying, mister? I don’t know what you are, are you some kind of VAM-?” Shimoda cut me off before I could say the word. “Richard, our guest was talking, and you interrupted. Please go ahead, sir; my friend is a little hasty.” “Donald,” I said, “this guy...” “Be quiet!” That surprised me so much that I was quiet, and looked a sort of terrified question at the man, caught from his native darkness into our firelight.

“Please to understand. I did not choose to be born vampire. Is unfortunate. I do not have many friends. But I must have a certain small amount of fresh blood every night or I writhe in terrible pain, longer than that without it and I cannot live! Please, I will be deeply hurt - I will die - if you do not allow me to suck your blood... just a small amount, more than a pint I do not need.” He advanced a step toward me, licking his lips, thinking that Shimoda somehow controlled me and would make me submit.

“One more step and there will be blood, all right. Mister, you touch me and you die...” I wouldn’t have killed him, but I did want to tie him up, at least, before we talked much more. He must have believed me, for he stopped and sighed. He turned to Shimoda. “You have made your point?” “I think so. Thank you.”

The vampire looked up at me and smiled, completely at ease, enjoying himself hugely, an actor on stage when the show is over. “I won’t drink your blood, Richard,” he said in perfect friendly English, no accent at all. As I watched he faded as though he was turning out his own light... in five seconds he had disappeared.

Shimoda sat down again by the fire. “Am I ever glad you don’t mean what you say!” I was still trembling with adrenalin, ready for my fight with a monster. “Don, I’m not sure I’m built for this. Maybe you’d better tell me what’s going on. Like, for instance, what... was that?”

“Dot was a wompire from Tronsylwania,” he said in words thicker than the creature’s own. “Or to be more precise, dot was a thought-form of a wompire from Tronsylwania. If you ever want to make a point, you think somebody isn’t listening, whip ‘em up a little thought-form to demonstrate what you mean. Do you think I overdid him, with the cape and the fangs and the accent like that? Was he too scary for you?”

“The cape was first class, Don. But that was the most stereotyped, outlandish... I wasn’t scared at all.”

He sighed. “Oh well. But you got the point, at least, and that’s what matters.”

“What point?”

“Richard, in being so fierce toward my vampire, you were doing what you wanted to do, even though you thought it was going to hurt somebody else. He even told you he’d be hurt if...”

“He was going to suck my blood!”

“Which is what we do to anyone when we say we’ll be hurt if they don’t live our way.”

I was quiet for a long time, thinking about that. I had always believed that we are free to do as we please only if we don’t hurt another, and this didn’t fit. There was something missing.

“The thing that puzzles you,” he said, “is an accepted saying that happens to be impossible. The phrase is hurt somebody else. We choose, ourselves, to be hurt or not to be hurt, no matter what. Us who decides. Nobody else. My vampire told you he’d be hurt if you didn’t let him? That’s his decision to be hurt, that’s his choice. What you do about it is your decision, your choice: give him blood; ignore him; tie him up; drive a stake of holly through his heart. If he doesn’t want the holly stake, he’s free to resist, in whatever way he wants. It goes on and on, choices, choices.”

“When you look at it that way...”

“Listen,” he said, “it’s important. We are all. Free. To do. Whatever. We want. To do."
“Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah”
by Richard Bach
“Born in 1936, Richard Bach is an American author who has written many excellent books. His quotes are inspirational and motivational. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull;” “Illusions;” “The Bridge Across Forever;” to name only a few of his books. His books are ones that have great messages in them. If you have never read one of his books, you should."

Notice: This electronic version of the book has been released for educational purposes only. You may not sell or make any profit from this book. And if you like this book, buy a paper copy and give it to someone who does not have a computer, if that is possible for you.

FREE download of "Illusions", in PDF format, is here:

"Humanity's Brotherhood Of Misery..."

"Life is messy. It's not easy and it's definitely not for the timid. Everyone has a past. Things that stab them right between the eyes. Old grudges. Old shame. Regrets that steal your sleep and leave you awake until you fear for your own sanity. Betrayals that make your soul scream so loud you wonder why no one else hears it. In the end, we are all alone in that private hell. But life isn't about learning to forgive those who have hurt you or forgetting the past. It's about learning to forgive yourself for being human and making mistakes. Yes, people disappoint us all the time. But the harshest lessons come when we disappoint ourselves. When we put our trust and our hearts into the hands of the wrong person and they do us wrong. And while we may hate them for what they did, the one we hate most is ourself for allowing them into our private circle. How could I have been so stupid? How could I let them deceive me? We all go through that. It's humanity's brotherhood of misery."
- Sherrilyn Kenyon

Fukushima Update: "Your Radiation This Week: November 19 to December 3, 2016"

Publishing Note: Due to Bob Nichol's other commitments the city-specific radiation reporting will now be published every 2 weeks until further notice. The next such reports will be on December 17 and 31, 2016. I will update the weekly Hiroshima bomb equivalents information. This is to keep you as aware and informed as possible, not alarm you, though you should be alarmed, and is scientific FACT, not sensationalistic nonsense. Everything here is active-linked for your own verification, or not; I encourage you to do so. The radiation's not going anywhere, folks, but we are... - CP

"Your Radiation This Week: November 19 to December 3, 2016"
By Bob Nichols
  "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
- Shiva

(San Francisco) December 3, 2016 – "Good Day, this is “Your Radiation This Week” for the past two weeks. The city-specific radiation lever reporting of YRTW is now every two weeks until further announcements. YRTW is published every two weeks on Saturday; the next publication dates are December 17 and December 31, 2016. This is a brief hiatus in the numbers while I finish other projects. Based on seven years of historical records from EPA, the Rad numbers will continue to increase in the deadly levels. The outlook is not good.

Updated by CP December 3, 2016:  Fukushima Equals 13,416 Hiroshima Bombs Today, More Tomorrow; There is No Place On Earth to Escape the Rad: The 3 melted-through cores of the destroyed reactors, totaling over 600 tons, at Fukushima daily release the radioactive equivalent of 6.45 Hiroshima bombs directly into the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean. As of November 26, 2016, 2,080 days since the disaster began, this equals the detonation of 13,416 Hiroshima atomic bombs and it is still going strong, with no end in sight, considering that the half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years and that of uranium-235 is 704 million years. There is no technology on this planet to deal with this situation. There are only 336 cities on Earth with more than one million people. That is the equivalent of 39.92 Hiroshima atomic bombs apiece. First thing, grasp the difficult concept that this is an ELE or Extinction Level EventThe deadly meltdown and dispersion of radioactive fuel throughout the world is on-going to this day. There is no escaping our fate, there are no solutions. No one is exempt. The radioactive particles are all over the world now.

All reporting cities are above normal. These are a portion of the American cities that exceeded 1,000 CPM these past 2 weeks. 65 cities are reporting radiation above 1,000 CPM. Take precautions.

Normal "Background" Radiation is 5 to 20 CPM. 50 CPM is an alert level.

1,963 CPM,   392.6 Times Normal,   Raleigh, NC.              Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,911 CPM,   382.2 Times Normal,   Denver, CO.              Beta. Gamma           Yes
1,845 CPM,   369.6 Times Normal,   Pierre, SD.                 Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,811 CPM,   362.7 Times Normal,   Duluth, MN               Beta, Gamma.  
1,725 CPM,   345 Times Normal,      Grand Junction, CO.  Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,638 CPM,   327.6 Times Normal,   Colorado Sprgs, CO  Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,630 CPM,   326 Times Normal,      Pittsburgh, PA,          Beta, Gamma.         Yes
1,526 CPM,   305.2 Times Normal,   Louisville, KY.           Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,469 CPM,   293.8 Times Normal,   Mason City, IA.         Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,448 CPM,   289.6 Times Normal,   Little Rock, AR.         Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,402 CPM,   280.4 Times Normal,   Lincoln, NE.             MIA-Recent High        Yes
1,392 CPM,   278.4 Times Normal,   Tulsa, OK.                Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,342 CPM,   268.4 Times Normal,   Kearney, NE.            MIA 7 Yr Record        Yes
1,323 CPM,   264.6 Times Normal,   Salt Lake City, UT.    Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,306 CPM,   261.2 Times Normal,   Augusta, GA.            Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,298 CPM,   259.6 Times Normal,   Billings, MT.             Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,292 CPM,   258.4 Times Normal,   Madison, WI.            Beta, Gamma.  
1,276 CPM,   255.2 Times Normal,  Harrisonburg, VA.     Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,260 CPM,   252 Times Normal,     Dodge City, KS.        MIA, RecentHigh        Yes
1,243 CPM,   248.6 Times Normal,  Idaho Falls, ID.          Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,240 CPM,   248 Times Normal,     Spokane, WA.            Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,238 CPM,   247.6 Times Normal,  Portland, ME.             Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,232 CPM,   246.4 Times Normal,  Wichita, KS.               Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,226 CPM,   245.2 Times Normal,  Champaign, IL.          Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,254 CPM,   244.2 Times Normal,  Memphis, TN.            Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,220 CPM,   244 Times Normal,     Amarillo, TX.             Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,201 CPM,   240.2 Times Normal,  Bismark, ND.             Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,179 CPM,   235.8 Times Normal,  Rapid City, SD.          Beta, Gamma.
1,171 CPM,   234.2 Times Normal,  Worcester, MA.          Beta, Gamma.  
1,164 CPM,   232.8 Times Normal,  Paducah, KY.            MIA, RecentHigh  
1,157 CPM,   231.4 Times Normal,  Anaheim, CA             Beta, Gamma.  
1,137 CPM,   227.4 Times Normal,  Des Moines, IA          Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,137 CPM,   227.4 Times Normal,  Rochester, NY.          Beta, Gamma.  
1,134 CPM,   226.8 Times Normal,  Casper WY.               Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,131 CPM,   226.2 Times Normal,  Fresno, CA.               Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,129 CPM,   225.8 Times Normal,  Riverside, CA.           Beta, Gamma.  
1,128 CPM,   225.6 Times Normal,  Atlanta, GA.              Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,128 CPM,   225.6 Times Normal,  Birmingham, AL.       Beta, Gamma.  
1,126 CPM,   225.4 Times Normal,  El Paso, TX.              Beta, Gamma.  
1,126 CPM,   225.2 Times Normal,  Shawano, WI.            Beta, Gamma.  
1,124 CPM,   224.8 Times Normal,  Dallas, TX.                Beta, Gamma.  
1,121 CPM,   224.2 Times Normal,  Los Angeles, CA.       Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,120 CPM,   224 Times Normal,     Tucson, AZ.              Beta, Gamma.  
1,115 CPM,   223 Times Normal,     Hartford, CT.            Beta, Gamma.  
1,110 CPM,   222 Times Normal,     Alburqueque, NM.    Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,107 CPM,   221.4 Times Normal,  San Diego, CA.         Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,096 CPM,   219.2 Times Normal,  Kansas City, KS.       Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,088 CPM,   217.6 Times Normal,  Boston, MA.             Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,088 CPM,   217.6 Times Normal,  Omaha, NE.              Beta, Gamma.  
1,077 CPM,   215.4 Times Normal,  Cleveland, OH          Beta, Gamma.  
1,071 CPM,   214.2 Times Normal,  Boise, ID                  Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,046 CPM,   209.2 Times Normal,  Oklahoma City, OK  Beta, Gamma.          Yes
1,045 CPM,   209 Times Normal,     Ft Smith, AR.           Beta, Gamma.  
1,042 CPM,   208.4 Times Normal,  Charleston, WV.       Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,040 CPM,   208 Times Normal,     Ft Worth, Tx.           Beta, Gamma.  
1,035 CPM,   207 Times Normal,     Shreveport, LA.        Beta, Gamma.  
1,030 CPM,   206 Times Normal,     Navajo Lake, NM.     Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,024 CPM,   204.8 Times Normal,  Phoenix, AZ             Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,015 CPM,   203 Times Normal,     Concord, NH.           Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,013 CPM,   202.6 Times Normal,  Tallahassee, FL.       Beta, Gamma.
1,009 CPM,   201.8 Times Normal,  La Crosse, WI           Beta, Gamma.  
1,003 CPM,   200.6 Times Normal,  Knoxville, TN.          Beta, Gamma.           Yes
1,003 CPM,   200.6 Times Normal,  Nashville, TN.          Beta, Gamma.  
1,000 CPM,   200 Times Normal,     Lexington, KY.         Beta, Gamma.           Yes

Changes: The YRTW Table of poisoned American cities has changed by adding a Column on the Right hand side. It is labeled “Corrupted?” The purpose of the column is to provide guidance as to the reliability, consistency and truthfulness of an individual city’s High Rad reading for that given week. Since a city’s report is subject to many strongly felt opinions that can affect Rad Readings, whether or not the Rad Unit was reporting at least 168 Hours (24 X 7) takes on additional importance. The number of hours the machines work in a week is not an opinion. It is a documented fact; it is only a number, a measure of efficiency. The unit either reported publicly; or it failed to do so 100% of the time. It can’t do both. All things being equal there should be One Reading per Hour for 168 Rad readings a week. The corruption may originate with a machine error, programming glitch, human intervention or change, intended or not. The response may be “Yes” for “Yes, it is corrupted.” The entry will be “Left Blank” for “Not Suspected.”
Most Radioactive City in America: Raleigh, N.C. is the most radioactive city in the US, “Recorded,” that is. Other cities have the radioactive “contagion,” just not as severe,  even though the listed cities all exceed 1000 CPM. No action has been taken by the US Government, however; nor is it expected. They are the biggest cowards of all. The world destroying strength of Big Time Rads cannot be denied. The Rads can be ignored till they kill you. You can run but you cannot hide, the Rads always win.

California Dead Tree Count Way Up: The Forestry Service recent Aerial Survey greatly increased the dead tree count in the California forests to more than 102 Million dead trees. Worse yet, the radioactive trees do not decompose normally. This was also true at Chernobyl in Ukraine. All the conditions are ripe, though, for swaths of forest fires of really Biblical proportions. Actually, War Time proportions would be more accurate, since the Uranium and other isotopes are the metals that Burn fiercely at very high temperatures.

The forest is dead, the land is dead, the weaker people are croaking faster than predicted. The once strong people are weaker by the day. Little newborns don’t have much to look forward to; and ever increasing rad counts await them; if they are born at all. All in all, the Earth is in a downward spiral to a crash landing. Who the President is doesn’t matter, there is nothing the President can do about it. May s/he enjoy a long walk in a dead forest.

Even worse, at the beginning and end of the day the 102 Million dead Trees are and ever will be radioactive. Don’t get Scammed into living in a wood house made of dead, radioactive trees. The trees must be buried– not burned. Indeed, the smoke from a dead burned radioactive tree is also radioactive. The pieces of Rad are just smaller and more dangerous; reaching even further into your lungs and going through your skin. This is Creepy; like a Hollywood Horror Movie in real life.

Extreme Rad Alert: There is active consideration for changing the classification of the radioactive glass beads exiting the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is considering changing the characterization of the Cesium 137 glass beads from “soluble” to “insoluble.” This one word change is very significant, as it multiplies the true harm done by the Cesium 137 by 108 Times. For those of you who are wondering, Cs 134’s Multiple is 8 times. Soluble means Cs 137 dissolves in water– slowly. As a result a person passes it out in urine and feces; it is 99% gone in 2 years. Insoluble means it does NOT dissolve in water and is trapped inside the organism, that means your body, for up to 300 years– dead or alive. Since the Cesium 137 (Cs 137) Rad makes up about a third of the Rad escaping from reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, this is an extremely dangerous situation. Be advised and act accordingly. This situation occurs world wide.

* Isotope Count reporting: These CPM numbers do not represent the actual radiation counts in your radiation weather. It is higher [or worse] than these government certified partial reports say. Use these report numbers as your Starting Point in adding up your daily, monthly and annual exposure from your Rad Weather. Most radiation monitors report on the radioactive presence of Cesium 137 at the detector. YRTW will report on “the secrets the Pros use” in estimating the actual Total radiation counts. It is not a pretty picture. Squeamish readers may want to turn to other Veterans Today articles reporting on usual things like wars and people getting blown up by an actual named enemy you can see in pictures.

The Lethality goes up for 35 years; then declines slightly and hangs steady for millions of years, for that release. New releases start a new clock all over again. Regrettably for all normal Humans, that is a bunch of generations. The end result is extinction, of course. Everybody is included; no one is left out. Truthfully, it is a bummer and I know of no variety of radiation-exempt Human Species.

Day One out of the reactor use a news reported Cesium multiplier of 150 Times. After 15 days outside the reactor the multiplier is still approximately 100 times the Cesium Twins. Take all appropriate Rad precautions. A second Multiplier is for Rad particles that have been outside the reactor for ten years or more. The Total radiation declines to approximately five (5) times the Cesium level. The lethality is still increasing though. Here’s how you can calculate an estimate of your Total Rad today: Use a reported account of the Cesium 137/134 CPM in your area and Multiply Times 5. Another way to say it is:

Cs137/134 CPM X 5.0 = Total Radiation released in CPM

Radiation types commonly measured by radiation monitors include Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Neutron and X-Ray radiation. Only Beta and Gamma are reported by the EPA and here on YRTW. There are 1,944 other individual Rad elements, only a few are ever mentioned in articles. In short: The disaster’s Cesium 137/134 radiation CPM that is conveniently echoed by local and national news outlets, tells you right away by simple multiplication (x 5.0) how big the disaster really is, even if they are lying. At least it gets you closer than “There is no danger to the public.” That would be You. Think of it as the insider’s secret code. Multiply away! That’s it. No magic or VooDoo, just the facts as close as you can calculate it. Good Luck.

No, It is not OK now: Reductions in the count of over cities over 1000 CPM does not mean it is OK now; or, even that it is getting better. Often times when the Radiation goes down the associated lethality of the Isotopes goes up. The two things are separate measures. It could mean that some of the Uranium 238 has gained a Neutron and changed to Plutonium 239, a more dangerous Isotope.

German Analysis of Certain Isotopes after Meltdown: Hold on to your hat. In 1992 Germany calculated that in reactor meltdowns like Fukushima Daiichi the radioactive isotope Strontium 90 would aggressively poison the environment for 109.2 years and then decline slowly over the next 273 years. Of course, we will ALL be long dead by then. Other deadly Rad isotopes put Strontium 90’s generous life span to shame. The German study is here for those brave enough to tackle it. Source: The IAEA: Dispersion of radionuclides and radiation exposure after leaching by groundwater of a solidified core-concrete melt by Bayer, A.; Tromm, W.; Al-Omari, I. (Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Germany)) from 8. International congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA8)

March 13, 2011: Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, 100 miles offshore of Fukushima: "During that March 13 phone call, Cleveland wrote, Troy Mueller- the deputy administrator for naval reactors at the US Department of Energy- said the radiation was the equivalent of “about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.” “So it's much greater than what we had thought,” Mueller reportedly warned other American officials after taking samples on the Reagan. “We didn't think we would detect anything at 100 miles.” After Mueller made that remark, according to Cleveland’s transcript, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman asked him if those levels were “significantly higher than anything you would have expected.” He responded yes. When Poneman later asked Mueller, “How do the levels detected compare with what is permissible?” Mueller said those on the scene could suffer irreversible harm from the radiation within hours. “If it were a member of the general public, it would take- well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit,” he said. At that point, Mueller added, “it’s a thyroid dose issue.” If people are exposed to levels beyond the Protective Action Guideline threshold released by the Energy Department, Cleveland acknowledged in his report, radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands."

Bob Nichols is a Project Censored Award winner, a correspondent for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper and a frequent contributor to various online publications. He reports on war, politics and the two nuclear weapons labs in the Bay Area. Nichols is writing a book based on 20 years of nuclear war in Central Asia. He is a former employee of an Army Ammunition Plant. You are encouraged to write Nichols at
Notes and Sources:
1. The Radiation charts and graphs of the EPA at Individual queries can be built at the EPA RadNet Query Builder. Don’t skip the “2” in www2.
2. The EPA based reporting of an LLC.
3. These station’s Radiation equals combined Beta and Gamma Radiation. Note: Not all locations report Beta Radiation. Gamma Radiation Monitors are reporting publicly at all these locations.
4. Reference: Digilert 100 Flyer pdf, “Normal background is 5-20 CPM.”  Copyright @ 2015 Keison International Ltd – All Rights Reserved.-
5. CPM. “Although we can’t see it, taste it, smell it or hear it we can measure radiation and observe its effects. One way to measure radiation which the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has chosen to use on its radiation websites is in Counts Per Minute. Each Count is One Radioactive Decay.” Quote from the ‘Your Radiation, This Week.’” Apr 3, 2015. 
6. Radiation destruction of chitin, IAEA, by Ershov, B.G.; Sukhov, N.L.; Nud’ga, L.A.; Baklagina, Yu.G.; Kozhevnikova, L.G.; Petropavlovskii, G.A. (Institute of Physical Chemistry, Moscow (Russian Federation) -
7. “Plutonium Air” by Dr Paolo Scampa, AIPRI Blog, Aug 19, 2016, 
8. “Radioactive Fertilizer,” AIPRI by Dr Paolo Scampa, September 23, 2016, AIPRI: Les engrais radioactifs,  
13. “Baghdad” by Dr. Paolo Scampa, AIPRI, Saturday 12 November 2016 
14. “News Release, New Aerial Survey Identifies More Than 100 Million Dead Trees in California,” USDA Office of Communications, “This brings the total number of dead trees since 2010 to over 102 million,”