Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Musical Interlude: Gov't Mule, "Soulshine"

Gov't Mule, "Soulshine"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years away, toward the constellation Leo. Relatively bright in planet Earth's sky, NGC 3521 is easily visible in small telescopes but often overlooked by amateur imagers in favor of other Leo spiral galaxies, like M66 and M65. It's hard to overlook in this colorful cosmic portrait, though. 
Click image for larger size.
Spanning some 50,000 light-years the galaxy sports characteristic patchy, irregular spiral arms laced with dust, pink star forming regions, and clusters of young, blue stars. Remarkably, this deep image also finds NGC 3521 embedded in gigantic bubble-like shells. The shells are likely tidal debris, streams of stars torn from satellite galaxies that have undergone mergers with NGC 3521 in the distant past.”

Chet Raymo, “Moments of Being”

“Moments of Being”
by Chet Raymo

“A passage from the "Pensees" of Teilhard de Chardin: "Though the phenomena of the lower world remain the same- the material determinisms, the vicissitudes of chance, the laws of labor, the agitations of men, the footfalls of death- he who dares to believe reaches a sphere of created reality in which things, while retaining their habitual texture, seem to be made out of a different substance. Everything remains the same so far as phenomena are concerned, but at the same time everything become luminous, animated, loving..."

Whatever we think of Teilhard's Christocentric phenomenology, however much we are baffled by his vague and gushy prose, it is clear from his writing that he was a man who was in love with the world and experienced it as luminous, animated, and loving. Certainly, the experience he describes is not restricted to "he who dares to believe," by which Teilhard means a specifically Christian faith, or at least a faith which for him involved an image of the "cosmic Christ." No, I would suggest that the interior experience of the world he describes- as luminous, animated, and loving- is an predisposition of the human condition, part of our evolutionary makeup. It finds expression in religion, certainly, but also in art, music, poetry, scientific discovery, and in even in the quiet contemplation of a single flower or grain of sand.

It is an experience we all consciously or unconsciously seek, with varying degrees of success. For certain people- an artist like Kandinsky or a mystic like Teilhard- the interior rhapsodic state seems more or less permanent. For most of us, its achievement is a struggle against the humdrum and superficial, the "habitual texture" of things.

The challenge is not to abjure the world of immediate sensation, but to experience the world as fully as our present knowledge allows- not just earthworms and nematodes, wind and weather, Sun, Moon and stars, but also the ineffable flow of atoms, the ceaseless dance of the DNA, the whirling of the myriad galaxies, the infinite and the infinitesimal- to see in the mind's eye and feel in the mind's heart the fire and the flow that animates all things. We may not experience the universe as "loving," but we might certainly find it lovable.

"The whole universe is aflame," wrote Teilhard. His vision was partly informed by his science and partly by his religious faith. And partly, surely, because he was born with a particularly acute sensitivity to the ineluctable wholeness of things. Those of us of a less sensitive nature will settle for the occasional moments when the gates of our senses unaccountably fling themselves open to the unspeakable and unspoken mystery of the world.

"A Chime Of Words..."

"Yes there is a meaning; at least for me, there is one thing that matters-
 to set a chime of words tinkling in the minds of a few fastidious people."
- Logan Pearsall Smith

Paulo Coelho, “Dreams: The 12 Steps”

“Dreams: The 12 Steps”
by Paulo Coelho

"When Joseph Campbell created the expression “follow your blessing,” he was reflecting an idea that seems to be very appropriate right now. In “The Alchemist,” this same idea is called “Personal Legend.” Alan Cohen, a therapist who lives in Hawaii, is also working on this theme. He says that in his lectures he asks those who are dissatisfied with their work and seventy-five percent of the audience raise their hands. Cohen has created a system of twelve steps to help people to rediscover their “blessing” (he is a follower of Campbell):

1. Tell yourself the truth: Draw two columns on a sheet of paper and in the left column write down what you would love to do. Then write down on the other side everything you’re doing without any enthusiasm. Write as if nobody were ever going to read what is there, don’t censure or judge your answers.
 
2. Start slowly, but start: Call your travel agent, look for something that fits your budget; go and see the movie that you’ve been putting off; buy the book that you’ve been wanting to buy. Be generous to yourself and you’ll see that even these small steps will make you feel more alive.
 
3. Stop slowly, but stop: Some things use up all your energy. Do you really need to go that committee meeting? Do you need to help those who do not want to be helped? Does your boss have the right to demand that in addition to your work you have to go to all the same parties that he goes to? When you stop doing what you’re not interested in doing, you’ll realize that you were making more demands of yourself than others were really asking.
 
4. Discover your small talents: What do your friends tell you that you do well? What do you do with relish, even if it’s not perfectly well done? These small talents are hidden messages of your large occult talents.
 
5. Begin to choose: If something gives you pleasure, don’t hesitate. If you’re in doubt, close your eyes, imagine that you’ve made decision A and see all that it will bring you. Now do the same with decision B. The decision that makes you feel more connected to life is the right one – even if it’s not the easiest to make.

6. Don’t base your decisions on financial gain: The gain will come if you really do it with enthusiasm. The same vase, made by a potter who loves what he does and by a man who hates his job, has a soul. It will be quickly sold (in the first case) or will stay on the shelves (in the second case).
 
7. Follow your intuition: The most interesting work is the one where you allow yourself to be creative. Einstein said: “I did not reach my understanding of the Universe using just mathematics.” Descartes, the father of logic, developed his method based on a dream he had.
 
8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind: If you put a decision aside and this bothers you, think again about what you chose. Don’t struggle against what gives you pleasure.
 
9. Learn how to rest: One day a week without thinking about work lets the subconscious help you, and many problems (but not all) are solved without any help from reason.
 
10. Let things show you a happier path: If you are struggling too much for something, without any results appearing, be more flexible and follow the paths that life offers. This does not mean giving up the struggle, growing lazy or leaving things in the hands of others – it means understanding that work with love brings us strength, never despair.
 
11. Read the signs: This is an individual language joined to intuition that appears at the right moments. Even if the signs point in the opposite direction from what you planned, follow them. Sometimes you can go wrong, but this is the best way to learn this new language.
 
12. Finally, take risks! The men who have changed the world set out on their paths through an act of faith. Believe in the force of your dreams. God is fair, He wouldn’t put in your heart a desire that couldn’t come true.”

The Poet: Mary Oliver, "Flare, Part 12"

 "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”

THe Daily "Near You?"

Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Thanks for stopping by.

"Isochronic Tones: Cognition Enhancer For Clearer and Faster Thinking"

"Isochronic Tones: 
Cognition Enhancer For Clearer and Faster Thinking"
by Jason Lewis 

“HEADPHONES REQUIRED - Note: As this session stimulates each ear with different frequencies, you will need to use headphones to experience the full effect. Alternative background sounds available on Mp3 here: Orchestral, Hybrid, World Music, Rain, Brown Noise.

What does this track do? This session stimulates Beta, SMR and Alpha, alternating in 2 minute increments to help keep the user relaxed and engaged. Note: SMR (sensorimotor rhythm) relates to the frequency range between 12 - 15Hz. It's associated with sensory processing and motor control. Stimulating this can result in relaxed focus and improved attention. This session is meant to speed up the brain while keeping the left hemisphere dominant (good for attention, concentration and reducing emotional response and hyperactivity). ADD and similar disorders are often characterized by "slow-wave" EEG patterns, particularly in the left frontal region. As such, this session stimulates the left brain hemisphere with Beta frequencies and the right with SMR.

Can it be used to help with studying and if so, when should you listen to it? Yes, it can be helpful to use while studying, and if you read through the many comments about this track, you'll see that many people have successfully used it for studying. You can either listen to it while you are studying, to get your brain into a good mental state when you need it. Or if you are someone that gets a bit distracted by music while studying, listen to it just before you begin.

How Loud Should The Volume Be? There is varying advice and opinions on the impact of volume with brainwave entrainment, with some saying the louder it is the more impact it has. From my own experience, my advice is to play it at a volume level you feel comfortable with. The main thing to consider is that it should be loud enough to hear the repetitive isochronic tones, so you don't want it so quiet you can hardly hear them. But you also don't want it so loud that its uncomfortable for you. Somewhere in the middle is my recommendation. 

Use this session in the morning or afternoon, to train your brain for better cognition, such as clearer and faster thinking. You can either sit somewhere quiet and comfortable with your eyes closed and give your brain a nice workout, or you can also listen to this while doing an activity that requires a boost in concentration, like studying. 

How long should you listen for to get a good effect? It takes around 6 minutes for your brainwaves to fall in step with the tones and become entrained. It then takes time to be guided along the frequency range used in the track. Listening to about half way through is the minimum in my opinion, but 30 minutes is the optimum and preferred length to listen for. 

IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS:

Drink some water - Make sure you are well hydrated before listening to brainwave entrainment.
WHY? Your brain is made up of around 75% water, so it needs plenty of water to function well. When you stimulate your brain in this way, you're increasing electrical activity and blood flow in the brain and giving your brain a good workout, so it can be a good idea to drink before listening, so that your brain can fire on all cylinders.

It is not recommended to listen to this while driving or operating machinery. 
WHY? Brainwave entrainment involves a process of stimulating your brainwaves and changing your mental state. While this is safe to do and use in normal situations, it can sometimes zone you out during the track, as you focus in on the sound of the tones. This could result in you being distracted temporarily, which is not a good thing while you're driving or operating machinery. Some people also experience tingling and other sensations from the stimulation. While that might feel quite nice sitting in a comfortable chair at home, it could cause you to be distracted while driving and result in an accident.

It is not recommended to listen to this while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or any mind altering substance.
WHY? When your brain is under the influence of drugs or alcohol it's not operating to it's full capacity, and you react differently to stimulation and situations, compared to when you are sober. So as a precaution and because I don't know how you will react in that situation, I recommend you do not use it in that situation.

Who Should NOT listen to this audio? Those who should not listen to this video/audio include: Those who are prone to or have had seizures, epilepsy, pregnant or wear a pacemaker should NOT listen to this video/audio. 
WHY? There is insufficient research data in this area, so as a precaution, if you are among the categories listed above, I would recommend you consult a doctor or medical professional before listening to this video/audio.”

"What Makes People Tick? Exploring An Alternate Universe"

"What Makes People Tick? 
Exploring An Alternate Universe"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

"Many people are very different from ourselves and coming to a place of acceptance can make the road easier. All people have their own way of being in the world. It is easiest to comprehend this basic yet profound fact when we consider that every human being on the planet occupies a distinct role in the universe. We grow up in different environments, affected by a unique range of influences. The preferences, values, and beliefs we embrace are frequently related intimately to our origins. And the need to individualize our experiences is instinctive, as doing so enables us to cope when we must face challenges on our own. Consequently, each of us has developed a perspective that is uniquely ours. Interacting peacefully and constructively with people from all walks of life is a matter of first understanding where they are coming from. Then we can adjust our expectations so that we avoid making undue assumptions about what they are about.

In the face of emerging interpersonal conflict, it is easy to assume that others are being difficult, unreasonable, or stubborn. We are apt to grow frustrated when someone in our environment does not share our opinions or feel compelled to support us in our endeavors. It is likely that the individual or individuals before us may simply possess differing notions with regard to what is and what is not important in this life. We can ease the tension that exists between us by reaffirming our belief in the fundamental right of all beings to determine their own destinies. To foster a harmonious relationship, we need to do our best to relate to the unique universes they inhabit. And as we discover what makes them tick, our ability to find a mode of interaction that is pleasing to both of us is enhanced.

When there are barriers keeping you from connecting with someone else, think of questions you can ask them to gain a more thorough understanding of their point of view. You may discover that in addition to the differences in perspective dividing you, they are subject to insecurities and other personal issues that influence their way of seeing the world. It is likely that you will never fully grasp the myriad complexities embodied by humanity, but you can go a long way toward encouraging mutually satisfying relations by reaching out to others in the spirit of sympathetic comprehension."

Related:
“Different Perspectives”

"How It Really Is"

“Countdown to Global Financial Collapse?” Part 1

“Countdown to Global Financial Collapse?” Part 1
by Raymond Matison

“It is a well established practice of market and economic observers to either predict the direction of a company, financial market or the economy, or the expected timing of an event- but not both. The reason for this is that past experience has made such prognosticators humble in attempting to predict both. However, since many experienced observers have already predicted a continued decline in our economy, the likely collapse of our currency and banking system, and a consequent global depression, what remains is only to answer the question of timing. No longer are we required to forecast both events; we can now concentrate on predicting just the timing of this event. Famous economists and market commentators have valuable reputations to shield, and so they are not likely to forecast the window in time when the likely rapid collapse is to begin. This can only be risked by others.

In their book “This Time Is Different” authors Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff note that “In effect, for the advanced economies during 1800-2008, the picture that emerges is one of serial banking crisis”. They also note that the “problems of external default, domestic default, and inflation are all integrally related”. Such crisis devolved into “250 sovereign external default episodes during 1880-2009 and at least 68 cases of default on domestic public debt”, suggesting that such episodes occur on a regular basis, but just infrequently enough to be forgotten or ignored by the next generation.   

It would be foolhardy to just pick a global reset date for these events, but a window in time for their occurrence can be reasonably estimated. This reset itself will take place over a period of years, and observers may argue as to which event and what date, month or year started the entire avalanche of events. In addition, it will likely take several decades for the economy and markets to recover to current levels. However, that does not mean that it is impossible to narrow substantially the window of time in which these events start to occur. 

Corporations are recognized to have a lifecycle starting with a slow growing beginning period, followed by a rapid growth period of many years, followed by a long period of slow growth during its corporate maturity. Similarly, governments, monetary systems and economies have life cycles which grow, evolve, mature and decline or die in fairly predictable patterns. Historically, such patterns have shown themselves to be repeated across differing political systems of government, basis for its economy, system of banking and currency creation, time in history, and geographic location of the country. By gauging current events in the life cycle of such a system we can predict where we are within it, and what events likely remain yet to occur before the final collapse, and therefore, roughly to gauge how much time it may take before the onset of this end period will occur.

Intricacy of our global economic interconnectedness makes it also imperative that we include and gauge some events of major foreign economic powers as their actions also impinge on our own system.  With military conflicts in several key areas of the world, sanctions, currency wars, geopolitical maneuvering for energy supplies, emerging new political powers created by elections which are challenging existing power structures in Europe and elsewhere, the effects of a Greek bond default on the banking system of Europe and the European Union as a whole, emergence of a China/Russia relationship there is a plethora of predictable foreign events capable of triggering the big global reset.

In providing a general framework for the events that occur in this systemic GEB (government, economy, banking system) lifecycle, it is noteworthy that different circumstances in time, location, nature of government, immediate nature of the crisis, individuality of responses and their intensity all have an effect on a specific historic event. While a government may implement policies which are counter business growth for many years, it could take decades before cumulatively it reaches levels of a crisis. Poor economic performance may persist for many years reflecting abusive tax policies of politicians and bureaucrats for wealth redistribution – but not precipitate a collapse. The currently expected currency crash which will precipitate a banking and economic crisis, requires a fairly short period of just a couple of years, during which the faith and acceptance of a currency becomes increasingly rejected, and ultimately its value collapses. A broad representative outline of possible steps of this complex cycle, which could easily be varied somewhat in its order, or with the addition of other historically observed events in prior crisis, is presented below. 

The main mileposts for the lifecycle in a GEB system are:

• A new government assumes or comes to power.
• It may form a new system of money and its creation.
• It issues a new currency.
• A central bank eventually comes to control the issuance of debt based money.
• Its economy grows from a population increase, and technologic advancement.
• The central bank starts stimulating the growth of its money supply to increase and manage economic growth.
• The government becomes involved in a war whose cost exceeds that which is collected from its citizens in taxes.
• The government borrows expenditure of war by issuing sovereign bonds.
• Politicians desiring to increase reelection prospects promise social security, medical care, and numerous welfare benefits over time to a growing segment of the population.
• Sovereign debt is increased to pay for some of these growing benefits.
• The portion of the budget attributable to interest on debt becomes large enough to become a concern to politicians and citizens alike.
• The central bank accommodates government borrowing depressing the level of interest rates to facilitate the servicing of growing debt.
• Advances in technology reduce the required number of employees in the production of food and manufactured products, shifting such workers either to become unproductive government employees, or become unemployed.
• Unproductive government employment grows and becomes a larger part of total employment, as overall government expenditures increase dramatically.
• Generally increasing unemployment reduces citizen income, increases personal borrowing, and tends to decrease government tax revenues.
• Lower income of citizens translates into less consumption, and a cycle of decreasing economic growth.
• Our debt based money creation mandates a requirement of economic growth. When such growth is in danger of stalling, the central bank increases the currency or credit in circulation in order to stimulate growth and inflation.
• The banking system and its loan portfolio experience a level of default which with realistic accounting bankrupts most banks.
• The central bank creates more money, and uses the funds to purchase at full value the defaulted loan securities saving the banks. The banks are saved, but this does nothing to help citizens, as banks fear to lend out their newly received funds.
• Citizens try to deleverage, and do not seek additional credit.
• Banks speculate with FED provided funds increasing the bubble in bonds and stocks benefiting exclusively the wealthiest 1%, thereby increasing income inequality.
• The increasingly indebted and unemployed middle class becomes slowly impoverished adding to economic contraction and a deflationary bias.
• The central bank prints more money (as in its “Quantitative Easing” series) as a hope to offset deflationary pressure.
• Financial repression is practiced whereby interest on savings is less that inflation, benefiting government and the banks further impoverishing citizens.
• The central bank changes its policy from maintaining stable prices to generating a given level of inflation as its means to stimulate economic growth and reduce the real value of national debt. 
• Inflation ultimately accelerates wiping out the value of incomes, and financial assets.
• The illiquid bond and stock markets crash despite central bank support.
• Destruction of currency value grinds trade to a near halt increasing cost of all products, raising concern about an adequate and affordable food supply.
• Citizen strife reduces trust in government and promotes increasing civilian unrest.
• Confrontation between citizens and government agencies, including municipal police, escalates.
• Retribution to perceived guilty politicians and bankers for the malaise is initiated.
• People increasingly avoid paying taxes, decreasing government revenue and accelerating its need for more money and borrowing.
• The downward spiral continues until a new currency replaces the old, and there is a large restructuring and some forgiveness of debt.
• There is a massive transfer of wealth as former owners of monetary assets are financially destroyed.
Stability of the nation may need to be restored by military dictatorship destroying what was left of a constitutional republic.
• The GEB cycle is reset and a new cycle is initiated.  

We start with a country government which has a banking system and a currency. Its natural and human resources and geography determine many of its economic decisions. Governments have been proven to be incapable of operating on a balanced budget over time, and this is the principal reason for such lifecycles. To cover its initial budget deficits government goes first through an attempt to increase taxes, including the less visible tax by inflation, on the populace. As politicians learn reelection advantages of promising free benefits without increased taxes, governments will borrow money by issuing bonds. The existing system of central banks facilitates this borrowing falsely making the public believe that they are getting a free benefit. Credit and borrowing will grow over decades as the cost of this debt increases. At one point the cost of debt becomes noticeable even to an uninformed public, and it becomes necessary for the central bank to reduce interest rates such that the interest on debt seems contained. This process of financial repression affects the public’s savings and investment as it reduces the income that the public has available for spending, and creates a negative effect on economic growth. To avoid the economy’s slide into deflation, the government with the full support of its central bank and banking system will increase government spending expanding budget deficits, in turn increasing the need for more government borrowing, for whose repayment the taxpaying public remains responsible."  

“Countdown to Global Financial Collapse?” Part 2

“Countdown to Global Financial Collapse?” Part 2
by Raymond Matison

"If indicators show that the economy is still slowing or declining, the need for extraordinary efforts start. First, one easy way to convince the public that things are really better than they seem intuitively is to simply fudge that statistics. In our current cycle this is borne out by the downward revision of previous economic statistics. Another way is to manipulate the markets in a way to increase stock or bond prices which make the public feel wealthier, and more inclined to spend. Yet another method is to create capital controls such as limiting or eliminating offshore bank accounts from which more taxes may be squeezed. Talk will arise reducing the repatriation tax rate of corporate foreign profits. When things get truly serious, central bank will purchase the low rated bonds held by banks in order to issue Treasury bonds which are counted towards a bank’s reserves, and its solvency. Foreign military interventions may be precipitated in order to focus the public’s attention away from the real crisis towards a manufactured one. All of these efforts are made to increase economic growth, which can be taxed. Note that we have already experienced each of these progressive steps in the U.S. towards eventual collapse and reset.

Over the last several years, many sovereign leaders have announced economic growth as an objective. Most have in mind increasing the money supply as a means to reduce the value of their currency thereby facilitating foreign trade. But creating growth is not the panacea of such a system. The real reason growth is mandatory is because of our false currency and banking system, whereby money is created by first issuing debt, and congenital weakness of governments not living within their intended limited means. It is for this reason that such systems grow to bulbous dimensions, blow up, collapse and are reset to start its next cycle. 

If the currency used had not been created by issuance of debt, growth would not be a necessity. It is obvious that the natural tendency of an economy is to reflect the size of its populace, and advancement of its society as measured by its capacity to produce. Thus, if a country’s population is growing, it is likely producing and trading more products, and there is a legitimate need for a concomitant, but not inflationary, increase in the money supply. History shows us that absent monetary inflation scientific innovation has always decreased the use of human labor and the price of consumer products. This has been true in agriculture for food supply, in manufacturing, and very demonstrably for electronic gadgets and computers over the last decades. All of these trends would promote a deflationary bias in an economy.  Since deflation reduces gross national product, it also reduces the amount that government can collect in taxes, and therefore its ability to maintain its size, or to service debt. Because our currency system is created through debt, government and a central bank always promote growth and inflation. If a government did not spend beyond its collected tax, within a system of debt based money, the requirement for growth would be more limited, and the cycles between collapse would be longer.   

So it is noteworthy to observe that in the U.S. we have already advanced in this GED life-cycle process to the point that increased taxation schemes have been implemented by government, the use of corrupted financial data is presented to show a false vigor in our economy, financial repression of the public in all its variants including depressed interest rates,  purchase of tainted bank-owned assets at full value by the FED, the QE money printing, suppression of foreign bank accounts for citizens, limitation of the use of cash in transactions by limiting the size of our paper fiat currency in circulation with the $100 bill  – all indicating the we are well past the midpoint and closer to the end of this enumerated cycle. Recent clarification that saver bank deposits are considered as an extension of credit and could be seized by the bank for its next bailout shows the increasingly drastic steps the system is taking to preserve itself.  Indeed, the prospects of banks to charge savers via negative interest rates (as they already do in Europe), and to eliminate paper currency completely, clearly shows the desperate considerations of a panicked system.

This overall state of our economy, banking and currency system is corroborated by the observed financial frailty of many of our large cities and states by downgrades in state and municipal investment agency ratings. It is similarly corroborated by the severe turmoil in the European Union mirroring problems in countries around the world made worse by its financial global interconnectedness. And lastly that corroboration comes from the estimated $1000 trillion of counter party risk of derivatives, all out of reasonable proportion to global economic activity. In other words, so much money and credit has been created over the last decades that it can find no place to be traditionally invested and it sloshes around the world in a speculative frenzy. It is a veritable bull in the china shops of small and developing nations around the world, leaving destruction in its wake.

The policy of many countries to devalue their currency seems similar to the childish game of “follow the leader” or “monkey see monkey do” where everyone is learning from the “big gorilla”.  Rather than blaming other countries for manipulating their currencies we could more correctly see this as other countries copying the actions of U.S. policies. Some countries surely followed the U.S. example respectfully tying their currency to the U.S. dollar; some were forced to do so because of trade balances, while some are blindly copying our own destructive actions of money and credit creation. In this competition for export advantage there will be no winner, as everyone races to reduce the value of their own currency. It is a mania following the global leader to more rapidly bring about global currency collapse.

The militarization of our police, and random training exercises by the military in our domestic cities, heralds the very late stage of this cycle, and the government’s likely response to increasing citizen dissatisfaction and manifest anger. Conversely, the growth in the popularity of “preppers” programs in the media suggests that there is an acknowledged and increasing lack of faith in our government and financial institutions by a growing portion of our citizens, also a late lifecycle event.

What remains to happen is for the faith of the common citizen in government to decline further and eventually to shrivel to a point where there is no confidence in our politicians and the government bureaucracy to improve people’s economic conditions. Foreign countries would no longer finance our debt at low interest rates due to the loss of confidence, and force them to rise dramatically, as our bubble bond and stock markets will melt rapidly and dramatically, and our housing market will decline once more. With that additional loss of faith, the confidence in the currency evaporates completely, collapsing businesses and banks, precipitates the default of individual, corporate, state, and sovereign debt, and brings forth very high rates of inflation. Such events ravage all those on previously fixed incomes or pensions bringing them to famine and poverty. The supposed large debt that “we owe to ourselves”, which government officials claim is not important, will suddenly have relevance as government pensions can no longer be paid, or their value has dwindled to nothingness. This stage itself can take several years through which the populace barely survives, with widespread social disorder.  Eventually, even infinitely patient citizens revolt, which will require bringing those past secret military training exercises in our cities as preparation for real life events.

We have seen that predicted events usually take much longer to take place in managed or more appropriately stated centrally manipulated economies. For example, there have been highly regarded economists who predicted a collapse of the Japanese yen more than ten years ago, but to date it has not happened. The yen printing continues at a financially suicidal rate, yet the economy continues to hobble along without the expected and unavoidable collapse.  With the single mindedness of a powerful government bureaucracy to avert a crash and stay in power, it will take longer than any estimate for the beginning of a currency, banking, and economic collapse to initiate and develop. It will also take longer for it to evolve to its ultimate nadir, and for its subsequent resolution.  The decline and collapse from overspending and excessive money creation can be postponed by proactive power of government bureaucracies, but it cannot be corrected by additional money or credit creation, or seizing of public savings, nor can it be eliminated.

Our definitive signal of economic crisis came with the market crash in 2000, followed by the housing and stock market meltdown in 2008.  Since that time no credible fundamental actions have been taken to correct the systemic distortions – only the creation of more debt, money, and credit, and miniscule interest rates for savers. It appears ill considered that an economy that can no longer service its debt without issuing additional debt is stimulated by taking on even more debt. This can only be understood as a proper response to a system of money creation that is based on debt and must be continued in order to avoid contraction at any cost. Seven years have passed since this last near collapse, yet our elites, politicians, and FED policies have not corrected a single fundamental problem – ironically, excluding arming our police with military style weapons. 

In the meantime, countries opposing the single polar world are forming their own communications and money clearing systems and their own infrastructure investment banks to become immune to our economic sanctions and financial warfare in the future. The West will yield to include the renminbi in the IMF’s SDR this year, acknowledging the ascent of China’s currency and the relative retreat of the US dollar in world calculus, or the descent of the petrodollar will simply take place by the rest of the world trading more without the use or demand of the dollar. The new world order will become multi-polar, as the dollar’s time to rule singularly has come and passed. Sadly, this will have been brought about by the collusive forces of government’s lack of fiscal discipline embracing socialism, central bank self interest, and singular corporate focus on profit regardless of public benefit. These powerful events make possible that the global financial reset could start anytime, and certainly between now and the end of the current year.

The coming U.S. presidential elections in 2016 will raise debate about our economy, as  it will be abundantly clear to all, that employment, wages and family incomes and consumer spending are not growing; debt of families, states and federal government are too high to be paid down or even serviced for interest, the FED is accommodating government having reduced interest rates to a minimum eviscerating income on public savings and further impoverishing the middle class, and printing money;  our ill-conceived government spending in military misadventures have caused trillion dollar increases in our national debt solidifying unity of our potential adversaries and even raising the resistance of our allies to reject our desperate actions to remain the singular leader of the world.  These debates during 2016 will clarify that the emperor has lost some of this clothes, and this public realization is likely to precipitate a more rapid decline in our currency, markets, and economy. It hardly matters which political party candidate wins, for in one case the socialist policies will become recognized as unaffordable, and in the other voters will recognize that the huge government we have allowed to emerge over decades, regardless of its priorities is just too intrusive and oppressive for the nation, business and people to thrive. Under this scenario the reset could take place before or shortly after the national elections in 2016.

With liberation of information on the internet, even common folks will soon recognize the ruse of government supported, FED promoted inflation as a means to reduce the purchasing power of people’s incomes, savings, and assets. It will become recognized for what it is –theft. Their reaction will be to reject such corrupted leadership, either by demanding changes, or failing to achieve such changes by peaceful means seek alternatives. The currency crises then loops back to cause an increasingly dire economic crisis, and a catastrophic economic crisis creates impetus to change government and governance.  A historic reading of such events past in other countries is not inspiring nor comforting.

Given the events that have occurred over the last decades in terms of bubbles and market crashes, financial meltdown of 2008, recent explosion in our national debt, persistently destructive FED policies, upcoming elections, organized resistance by other countries to global U.S. policies, their preparations to offset future dollar hegemony, failures in the European Union, concerns about China’s fit and engagement into global eminence, and taxpayer increasing rejection and inability to subsidizing and socializing a major part of our populace, it appears that given the confluence of these events, a high probability of the  global reset, likely starts sometime between June 2015 to July 2017. By mid 2017 more of the points enumerated in the lifecycle in the GED will have taken place, and there will be no doubt that the reset (global collapse) has started.

For humanistic considerations, it would be comforting to be proven wrong!  However, the downside of being proven wrong is that a further delayed reset would be harsher.”
Related:
"‘Limits to Growth’ Vindicated: World Headed Towards Economic, Environmental Collapse”

"The BAU scenario results in collapse of the global economy and environment (where standards of living fall at rates faster than they have historically risen due to disruption of normal economic functions), subsequently forcing population down. Although the modelled fall in population occurs after about 2030—with death rates rising from 2020 onward, reversing contemporary trends—the general onset of collapse first appears at about 2015 when per capita industrial output begins a sharp decline. Given this imminent timing, a further issue this paper raises is whether the current economic difficulties of the global financial crisis are potentially related to mechanisms of breakdown in the Limits to Growth BAU scenario. In particular, contemporary peak oil issues and analysis of net energy, or energy return on (energy) invested, support the Limits to Growth modelling of resource constraints underlying the collapse."

The Economy: “America’s Second Greatest Generation”

“America’s Second Greatest Generation”
by Bill Bonner

London, England - “Fed chief Janet Yellen is talking about raising rates. From USA Today: “If the economy continues to improve as I expect, I think it will be appropriate at some point this year to take the initial step to raise the federal funds rate target,” Yellen said in a speech at the Providence Chamber of Commerce in Rhode Island. She added, however, that after the first hike, “I anticipate that the pace [of subsequent increases] is likely to be gradual.” Yellen said that “it will be several years” before the Fed’s benchmark rate is back to normal – which is close to 4% in an economy that’s performing well.

No Real Recovery: We have proven – beyond reasonable doubt – that if anyone can predict the market’s movements, he doesn’t work at the Diary. But when it comes to the economy, we claim a little credibility. We saw the debt crisis of 2008 coming. Addison Wiggin and I wrote about how America was due a debt collapse in our 2006 book, “The Empire of Debt.” It was so big… so obvious… and so in your face, who could have missed it? 

And after the worst of the crisis subsided, we saw not only that there was no genuine economic recovery, but also that the economy couldn’t recover. Genuine economic growth is something you can allow, but you cannot force. If you try to trick your way to it – with phony interest rates, more debt, and cockamamie inflation targets – you will retard the growth, not speed it up. 

This is obvious, too. But Ms. Yellen is paid not to see it. And in the absence of real growth, the Dow at 18,000 looks vulnerable. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a rolling top take shape… with a sharp break in the fall. But here we leave the vagaries of the market to pay homage to America’s Second Greatest Generation. 

In the wake of Memorial Day, we feel guilty about the way we’ve treated the old f**ts. We wish to make amends to all our readers over the age of 55. After all, these are the people who made America what it is today. 

The Funny-Money Generation: So, today, we rise to take their part… to sing praises to the fallen heroes… and to wave their banners. Here at the Diary, we are used to standing up for lost causes, die-hards, and underdogs. But today, we defend those who don’t need it. Everyone knows that people who came of age in World War II were our Greatest Generation. They risked their lives to beat the grisly war machines of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Not only that, but also they were the ones who made the innovations we take for granted today – freeways, credit cards, jet engines, pressurized air cabins, radar, nuclear power, the computer… you name it. 

But it is to the baby boomers – the Second Greatest Generation in U.S. history – that we raise our glasses today. Wasn’t it on our watch that we developed PowerPoint, twerking, the Frappuccino, and “wife bonuses”? As to this last innovation, we just learned about it yesterday. The Financial Times reports that Manhattan’s elite bankers and lawyers are rewarding their wives – with money, we presume – for their children’s SAT scores… and other measures of family success. Good luck with that! 

The business world has long known about the power of financial incentives. But sometimes they backfire. Managers with financial bonuses often underperform those without bonuses. 
Psychologists tell us that there are “intrinsic” benefits to, say, seeing your children do well in school. “Extrinsic” benefits sometimes seem to get in the way. The money may distract mom, in other words. 

That gets to the heart of our critique of the funny-money generation – those who lived most of their adult lives between the 1970s and today. The Fed oversees an EZ money regime. It distracted people. We quickly forgot the essential formula for a healthy economy and a decent society. Instead of saving, learning, investing, and cultivating the virtues that build real wealth, our generation went for the easy money.

Making War, Not Love: But today, we put that aside. Today, we come to praise the Second Greatest Generation, not throw mud in its face. This, after all, was the “make love, not war” generation. But the one thing that stands out, following Memorial Day, is that it has made more war than any generation before it. 

We know our parents won World War II, for example, but we forget who won the Vietnam War! Who? Ho, that’s who: Ho Chi Minh. So forget that one. Fifty-eight thousand dead Americans… and more than 3 million dead Vietnamese. For what? Nobody can say. Not a great moment in U.S. history. But at least former secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had the decency to admit it. Late in life, he apologized. And cried. 

All right. We didn’t win. But at least we tried. And Vietnam was just the first of a long list of wars that the Second Greatest Generation fought – each time doing its level best to make the world a better place. Or at least to make itself richer – whichever came first. 

War on Poverty – lost. But $15 trillion has gone to the poverty fighters since 1964. 

War on Cancer – lost. But $30 billion was spent on cancer research since 1971… and hundreds of billions on cancer treatments that didn’t work. 

War on Drugs – lost. “A trillion-dollar failure,” said CNN. Cops, dealers, lawyers, and private prison owners – everybody gets more money, and the drugs keeping coming. 

War on Terrorism – lost. “Five-Trillion-Dollar War on Terror,” says Time. 

We don’t know if Time included it in its calculations… but it should have counted the money the U.S. government spent to create its enemies – Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, al-Qaida, and ISIS – as well as the money it spent fighting them. 

But the Pentagon is a big winner, along with all the lard-butt zombies in Congress and Northern Virginia. 

War in Iraq? 4,500 dead Americans. 

War in Afghanistan? 2,500 dead Americans. 

Korea, Cuba, Cambodia, Granada, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, Libya, Pakistan… 

Oh, forget it. “

Monday, May 25, 2015

Musical Interlude: Deuter, “Wind and Mountain”

Deuter, “Wind and Mountain”

Musical Interlude: Constance Demby, “Ocean Without Shores”

Constance Demby, “Ocean Without Shores”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Rich in star clusters and nebulae, the ancient constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer, rides high in northern winter night skies. Composed from narrow and broadband filter data and spanning nearly 8 Full Moons (4 degrees) on the sky, this deep telescopic view recorded in January shows off some of Auriga's celestial bounty. The field includes emission region IC 405 (top left) about 1,500 light-years distant. Also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, its red, convoluted clouds of glowing hydrogen gas are energized by hot O-type star AE Aurigae. IC 410 (top right) is significantly more distant, some 12,000 light-years away. 
 Click image for larger size.
The star forming region is famous for its embedded young star cluster, NGC 1893, and tadpole-shaped clouds of dust and gas. IC 417 and NGC 1931 at the lower right, the Spider and the Fly, are also young star clusters embedded in natal clouds that lie far beyond IC 405. Star cluster NGC 1907 is near the bottom edge of the frame, just right of center. The crowded field of view looks along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, near the direction of the galactic anticenter.”

"All Man Can Do..."

“All man can do is lose one life, but also keep in mind that all we have is one life, so that the longest life and the shortest life amount to the same thing. Our only loss is the passing minute which is every man's equal possession for he cannot lose what is already passed nor what he does not possess in the future. Only the present can be lost for this is all that is man's. Also remember that the cycles of the world exhibit the same recurring pattern, so it makes no difference how long you watch them repeat.”
- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

"A Very Obscure Vulcan Quote"

"A Very Obscure Vulcan Quote"
By Moon

"Ideally, do no harm. Harm speeds up the heat-death of the Universe, and indirectly, your own. More practically, do as little harm as possible. We are creations of a Universe in which entropy exists, and therefore see no way of escape, but we do not need to help it.

Harm no one’s internal, invisible integrities. Leave others the privacies of their minds and lives. Intimacy remains precious only insofar as it is inviolate: invading it turns it to torment. Reach out to others courteously: accept their reaching in the same way, with careful hands.

Do not murder. The spear in the other’s heart is the spear in your own; you are he. All action has reaction: what force you inflict, inevitably returns. The murder of the other is the murder of your own joy, forever.

As far as possible, do not kill. Can you give life again to what you kill? Then be slow to take life. Take only life that will not notice you taking it. To notice one’s own death increases entropy. To die and not notice it increases it less, but still does so.

Cast out fear. Cast out hate and rage. Cast out greed and envy. Cast out all emotion that speeds entropy, whether it be love or hate. Cast out these emotions by using reason to accept them, and then move past them. Use in moderation emotions that do not speed entropy, taking all care that they do not cause others pain, for that speeds entropy as well. Master your passions, so that they become a power for the slowing of the heat-death.

Do no harm to those that harm you. Offer them peace, and offer them peace again, and do it until you die. In this manner you will have peace, one way or another, even if they kill you. And you cannot give others what you have not experienced yourself.

Learn reason above all. Learn clear thought: learn to know what is from what seems to be. This is the key to everything: the truth of reality, the reality of truth. What is will set you free.”

Surak’s concept of cthia, the guiding principle of Vulcan society, as written by Diane Duane in her novel, “Star Trek: Spock’s World.”

"A Single Thought..."

"Looking at the people, listening to the breathing, heaving, laughing, struggling music of the slum, all around me, I remembered one of Khaderbhai's favorite phrases. “Every human heartbeat,” he'd said many times,” is a universe of possibilities.” And it seemed to me that I finally understood exactly what he'd meant. He'd been trying to tell me that every human will has the power to transform its fate. I'd always thought that fate was something unchangeable: fixed for every one of us at birth, and as constant as the circuit of the stars. But I suddenly realized that life is stranger and more beautiful than that. The truth is that, no matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter how good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love."
- Gregory David Roberts, “Shantaram”

The Daily "Near You?"

Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

"Life Transitions: The Death and Rebirth of Self"

"Life Transitions: The Death and Rebirth of Self"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

"Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life. Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life. Even though this is a natural and necessary part of our growth, it is often painful or, if we don’t realize what’s happening, confusing and disorienting. In fact, confusion and disorientation are often the messengers that tell us a shift is taking place within us. These shifts happen throughout the lives of all humans, as we move from infancy to childhood to adolescence and beyond. With each transition from one phase to another, we find ourselves saying good-bye to an old friend, the identity that we formed in order to move through that particular time.

Sometimes we form these identities in relationships or jobs, and when we shift those areas of our life become unsettled. Usually, if we take the time to look into the changing surface of things, we will find that a shift is taking place within us. For example, we may go through one whole chapter of our lives creating a protective shell around ourselves because we need it in order to heal from some early trauma. One day, though, we may find ourselves feeling confined and restless, wanting to move outside the shelter we needed for so long; the new part of ourselves cannot be born within the confines of the shell our old self needed to survive.

We may feel a strange mixture of exhilaration and sadness as we say good-bye to a part of ourselves that is dying and make way for a whole new identity to emerge in its place. We may find inspiration in working with the image of an animal who molts or sheds in order to make way for new skin, fur, or feathers to emerge. For example, keeping a duck feather, or some other symbol of transformation, can remind us that death and rebirth are simply nature’s way of evolving. We can surrender to this process, letting go of our past self with great love and gratitude, and welcoming the new with an open mind and heart, ready for our next phase of life."

Paulo Coelho, “The Mystery of Discovery”

“The Mystery of Discovery”
by Paulo Coelho

“Tonight, before leaving, I’m going to spend time sorting through the pile of things I never had the patience to put in order. And I will find that a little of my history is there. All the letters, the notes, cuttings and receipts will take on their own life and have strange stories to tell me – about the past and about the future. All the different things in the world, all the roads travelled, all the entrances and exits of my life.

I am going to put on a shirt I often wear and, for the first time, I am going to notice how it was made. I am going to imagine the hands that wove the cotton and the river where the fibres of the plant were born. I will understand that all those now invisible things are a part of the history of my shirt.

And even the things I am accustomed to – like the sandals which, after long use, have become an extension of my feet – will be clothed in the mystery of discovery. Since I am heading off into the future, I will be helped by the scuff marks left on my sandals from when I stumbled in the past.

May everything my hand touches and my eyes see and my mouth tastes be different, but the same. That way, all those things will cease to be a still life and instead will explain to me why they have been with me for such a long time; and they will reveal to me the miracle of re-encountering emotions worn smooth by routine.

I will drink some tea that I have never tried before because others told me it tasted horrible.

I will walk down a street I have never walked down before because others told me it was totally without interest.

And I will find out whether or not I would like to go back there.’