Sunday, September 30, 2012

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Sea of Dreams”


2002, “Sea of Dreams”
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yi7yGfJ3z20

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Galaxies don't normally look like this. NGC 6745 actually shows the results of two galaxies that have been colliding for only hundreds of millions of years. Just off the above digitally sharpened photograph to the lower right is the smaller galaxy, moving away. The larger galaxy, pictured above, used to be a spiral galaxy but now is damaged and appears peculiar. Gravity has distorted the shapes of the galaxies. 
Click image for larger size.
Although it is likely that no stars in the two galaxies directly collided, the gas, dust, and ambient magnetic fields do interact directly. In fact, a knot of gas pulled off the larger galaxy on the lower right has now begun to form stars. NGC 6745 spans about 80 thousand light-years across and is located about 200 million light-years away."

Chet Raymo, "Six Impossible Things"

 
"Six Impossible Things"
by Chet Raymo

"It is morning. Early morning. I am sitting at my desk with my laptop open before me. The shelves are lined with books. At my elbow, the big glass windows looking out to Dingle Bay. On the sill, morning glories and tomatoes. At my other elbow, a mug of coffee. In an hour or two I'll have breakfast. This is my White Queen time. "But one can't believe impossible things," cries Alice, in frustration. "Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast," replies the White Queen smugly. If I can believe six impossible things before breakfast I count it a useful day.

For example, yesterday I screwed up my puss and believed the life cycle of the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum. Rather impossible when you think of it, that those teeming amoebas know how to build those gleaming minarets, that it's somehow built into their genome. A four-letter code. Impossible! But I believed it. Why? Because I had seen it with my own eyes.

And the tiny red spider mite that I picked- ever so carefully- off the tomato plant. As small as the period at the end of this sentence. And that little dot- it has legs, and mouth, and eyes, and digestive system, and- and everything I have basically, and it eats and excretes and repeats, just like I do, that pinprick of red. Impossible! But I believed it. Because I placed the spider mite here on my laptop and examined it with my magnifier. And all that was before my coffee was half gone.

Oh, lordy, the world is full of impossible things. And it takes a lot of practice to believe them. I try to practice every morning. Six impossible things before breakfast, I say. But I have one rule. I only believe impossible things that I've seen myself. Or have reliable, reproducible evidence that someone else has seen. Goodness knows there's enough reliably attested impossible things to keep me occupied for many mornings to come without making up impossible things that no one has reliably seen. I don't believe in Cheshire Cats, for instance. Cheshire Cats are all well and good, but they have a way of drifting in and out of existence. You say you talked to a Cheshire Cat, but when I went to look it had faded away. Not even a whisker remained. I require of my impossible things some measure of permanence."

"The Daily "Near You?"

Maisuru, Karnataka, India. Thanks for stopping by.

"One Big Road..."

“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you're riding through the ruts,
don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy.
Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake up and live!”
- Bob Marley

The Economy: Peter Schiff, “The Real Fiscal Cliff: How to Spot the Ledge”


Peter Schiff, “The Real Fiscal Cliff: How to Spot the Ledge”
"Archived from the live Mises.tv broadcast, this lecture by Peter Schiff was presented at the Mises Circle in Manhattan: "Central Banking, Deposit Insurance, and Economic Decline." Includes an introduction by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Music by Kevin MacLeod."
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ptMrAgWqRfg#!

Ok... wonky, yes. Important, yes. Who said life was simple?
- CP

"How It Really Is"


The Poet: Mary Oliver, "What I Have Learned So Far"

"What I Have Learned So Far"

"Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world?  Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause?  I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance.  The gospel of
light is the crossroads of- indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone."

~ Mary Oliver

"The Economics Of War: The Real Story"

"The Economics Of War: The Real Story"
By Shobhit Agarwal

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Fact list-1:
• Almost half the world, over 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day.
• 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, and 270 million have no access to health services.
• 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized.
• Funds close to the tune of $150 billion are required to meet the complete targets set by countries in Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to wipe out poverty.

Fact list-2:

• Global military expenditure stands at over $1.7 trillion in annual expenditure.
• The UN was set up to be committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Yet, the UN’s entire budget is just a tiny fraction of the world’s military expenditure, approximately 1.8%.
• The military expenditure corresponds to 2.6 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP) or approximately $236 for each person in the world, having seen a 50% increase since 2001.

On combining the two lists together, what we get is a list of startling facts:

• Less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school.
• Poverty will be eradicated many times over from the face of this planet if a fraction of the funds spent on military was spent on that front.
• Every person in the world will be immunized against all form of preventive diseases if only a small portion of the world’s military budget was employed for the same.

The facts are for everyone to see. It is not that we aren’t familiar with these facts. Rather, we choose to pretend to not be in the know-how of reality. Advocators will argue that war is a necessary evil required to maintain peace. But most such preachers of war have vested interests. With billions of dollars riding on arms sales and deals, rather than the need of the times, it is usually the need of economics that dictate the onset of war.

There is no novelty in talking about the cultural and social impact of war. Enough has been said and written about it and that too by people with significant credentials. However, what needs to talked about is the economics behind the war. Just to cite an example, the war on Iraq was carried out by the USA on the pretext of “removing a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction; that harbored and supported terrorists; committed outrageous human rights abuses and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world.” Even at the initial phase of the war itself, theories about the chief reason of war being America’s intent on stamping an authority on Iraq’s oil fields had been doing the rounds.

On August 30, 2005, Bush stated that one of the roles of the occupation of Iraq was ‘also’ to prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists: “If Zarqawi and Bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks. They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions.” Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said in an interview that the removal of Saddam Hussein had been essential to secure world oil supplies. He quoted, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

We see how what appeared to be a clear cut war against a tyrant dictator, has more to it than what meets the eye. And this unfortunately is true for almost all the wars that have been fought in the past century. What is further surprising is to know that at a time when a deep economic recession is causing much turbulence in the civilian world, defence giants such as Boeing and EADS, or Finmeccanica and Northrop Grumman, are enjoying a reliable and growing revenue stream from countries eager to increase their military might.

Wars have been fought in the past and will continue to be fought in the future. The vested interests of a few are going to outnumber the needs of the many. At least, the powers who initiate wars owe the bearers the real reasons behind their attacks."

"US Military Deaths in Afghanistan Hit 2,000"; A Comment

 "US Military Deaths in Afghanistan Hit 2,000"
by AP

KABUL, Afghanistan — "The killing of an American serviceman in an exchange of fire with allied Afghan soldiers pushed U.S. military deaths in the war to 2,000, a cold reminder of the perils that remain after an 11-year conflict that now garners little public interest at home. The toll has climbed steadily in recent months with a spate of attacks by Afghan army and police — supposed allies — against American and NATO troops. That has raised troubling questions about whether countries in the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan will achieve their aim of helping the government in Kabul and its forces stand on their own after most foreign troops depart in little more than two years.

"The tally is modest by the standards of war historically, but every fatality is a tragedy and 11 years is too long," said Michael O'Hanlon, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "All that is internalized, however, in an American public that has been watching this campaign for a long time. More newsworthy right now are the insider attacks and the sense of hopelessness they convey to many."

Attacks by Afghan soldiers or police — or insurgents disguised in their uniforms — have killed 52 American and other NATO troops so far this year. "We have to get on top of this. It is a very serious threat to the campaign," the U.S. military's top officer, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said about the insider threat. The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, was blunter. "I'm mad as hell about them, to be honest with you," Allen told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday. "It reverberates everywhere across the United States. You know, we're willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign, but we're not willing to be murdered for it."

The insider attacks are considered one of the most serious threats to the U.S. exit strategy from the country. In its latest incarnation, that strategy has focused on training Afghan forces to take over security nationwide — allowing most foreign troops to go home by the end of 2014. As part of that drawdown, the first 33,000 U.S. troops withdrew by the end of September, leaving 68,000 still in Afghanistan. A decision on how many U.S. troops will remain next year will be taken after the American presidential elections. NATO currently has 108,000 troops in Afghanistan — including U.S. forces — down from nearly 150,000 at its peak last year. The program to train and equip 350,000 Afghan policemen and soldiers has cost the American taxpayer more than $22 billion in the past three years.

The most recent attack came just days after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said most U.S. and coalition combat units in Afghanistan returned to their practice of partnering with Afghan forces, nearly two weeks after the top U.S. commander put restrictions on such cooperation. Like so many other deaths in Afghanistan, the latest were shrouded in confusion and conflicting accounts.

On Sunday, U.S. officials confirmed the deaths of two Americans, a service member and a civilian contractor killed late Saturday. The fighting started when insurgents attacked a checkpoint set up by U.S. forces in eastern Wardak province, said Shahidullah Shahid, a provincial government spokesman. He said the insurgents apparently used mortars in the attack. The Americans thought they were under attack from their allies at a nearby Afghan army checkpoint and fired on it. The Afghan soldiers returned fire, Shahid said. The Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman said the shooting broke out as a result of a "misunderstanding" while ISAF forces were on patrol near an Afghan army checkpoint.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force, commonly referred to as ISAF, gave a different account of the fighting in Sayd Abad district. "After a short conversation took place between (Afghan army) and ISAF personnel, firing occurred which resulted in the fatal wounding of an ISAF soldier and the death of his civilian colleague," the coalition said in a statement. It said the three Afghan soldiers died "in an ensuing exchange of fire." NATO did not say whether it considered this an "insider" attack on foreign forces by Afghan allies.

In Washington, Pentagon press secretary George Little said 2,000 deaths is one of the "arbitrary milestones defined by others" that the U.S. administration does not mark. "We honor all courageous Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan to make the American people more secure," he said. "The fact of the matter is that America is safer because of all of those who have served in this war, including our fallen heroes." In addition to the 2,000 Americans killed since the Afghan war began on Oct. 7, 2001, at least 1,190 more coalition troops from other countries have also died, according to iCasualties.org, an independent organization that tracks the deaths.

According to the Afghanistan index kept by Brookings, about 40 percent of the American deaths were caused by improvised explosive devices. The majority of those were after 2009, when President Barack Obama ordered a surge that sent in 33,000 additional troops to combat heightened Taliban activity. The surge brought the total number of American troops to 101,000, the peak for the entire war. According to Brookings, hostile fire was the second most common cause of death, accounting for nearly 31 percent of Americans killed.

Tracking deaths of Afghan civilians is much more difficult. According to the U.N., 13,431 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict between 2007, when the U.N. began keeping statistics, and the end of August. Going back to the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, most estimates put the number of Afghan civilian deaths in the war at more than 20,000. In recent years, some of those casualties have generated a great deal of criticism from President Hamid Karzai and changed the way NATO forces carry out airstrikes. The overwhelming majority of civilian casualties are caused by insurgents — with the United Nations blaming them for more than 80 percent of the deaths and NATO putting that figure at more than 90 percent.

The number of American dead reflects an Associated Press count of those members of the armed services killed inside Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion began. Some other news organizations use a count that also includes those killed outside Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the global anti-terror campaign led by then-President George W. Bush. The 2001 invasion targeted al-Qaida and its Taliban allies shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives. Victory in Afghanistan seemed to come quickly. Kabul fell within weeks, and the hardline Taliban regime was toppled with few U.S. casualties. But the Bush administration's shift toward war with Iraq left the Western powers without enough resources on the ground, so by 2006 the Taliban had regrouped into a serious military threat.

Obama deployed more troops to Afghanistan, and casualties increased sharply in the last several years. But the American public grew weary of having its military in a perpetual state of conflict, especially after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq at the end of last year. That war, which began with a U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein, cost the lives of nearly 4,500 U.S. troops, more than twice as many as have died in Afghanistan so far. Although Obama has pledged that most U.S. combat troops will leave by the end of 2014, American, NATO and allied troops are still dying in Afghanistan at a rate of one a day.

Even with 33,000 American troops back home, the U.S.-led coalition will still have 108,000 troops — including 68,000 from the U.S. — fighting in Afghanistan at the end of this year. Many of those will be training the Afghan National Security Forces that are to replace them. "There is a challenge for the administration," O'Hanlon said, "to remind people in the face of such bad news why this campaign requires more perseverance."
- http://Newsmax.com
Afghan Online Newspaper: http://www.khaama.com/

A Comment: When's it end, folks? How many more until this insanity stops? And don't bother with all that bullshit, "Oh, what can I do? I didn't cause this" nonsense. YOU, Good Taxpayer Citizen, are paying for every bit of this, and YOU can stop it if you want to. So far, after nearly 7,000 dead Americans in Iran and Afghanistan, at least 1,000,000 Iraqis killed, thousands of Afghans slaughtered, $3-4 trillion wasted dollars, all that, and you still haven't wanted to stop it. Next up, Iran, right? That blood's on all our hands, not just the psychopathic politicians who ordered it all. When's it stop?
- CP

"World War 3 Conditioning in La La Land"

"World War 3 Conditioning in La La Land"
by Zen Gardner

"The hypno-induced psychotic public can’t even hear the war drums any more, no matter how loud and obvious. They’re intoxicated with intense, repetitive and confusing war propaganda and images of overthrown dictatorships that have only given birth to more chaos.

But that’s OK in La La land. All the distracted dystopian subjects can hear is that for some reason American boots march unopposed into far regions of the world, protecting liberty and democracy. So “keep up the good work, boys. Honey, put the game back on, I have to go to f*ing work in the morning and this is my only chance to think…”

Such is today’s surreal world environment. 11 years of genocidal wars and now these latest barbaric atrocities have made their inroads even broader, not just in the middle east but in the human mind. And as they continue their saber rattling and massive propaganda campaigns, little do people realize these globalist warmongers are garnering a tsunami of unspoken public permission with each passing day...”

What few are realizing is that war with Iran will no doubt initiate at least a limited nuclear conflagration, the effects of which will change history forever. Diabolically couched as a preemptive strike on a rogue nation to save Israel and US interests, such a move will inevitably draw China and Russia into the conflict.

Don’t think so? When you come to realize that’s exactly what they want in the end, that’s when you’ll know you’re waking up. When you know a New World Order is the desired outcome, you realize the old world order needs to be debunked, crippled, smashed and reset. Our global financial and economic structure has been effectively brought to the brink. Sovereignty is being scuttled worldwide, and the population is taking to the streets.

Need I say more? Since the highly charged first years of OPEC the strategic Straight of Hormuz have been a hot button issue, with scenario after scenario envisioned that would drastically affect the planet. It’s true. If they were cut off it would undoubtedly precipitate a crisis. For everyone. And drastic action would be broadcast as inherently justified.

Current news reeks of this pre-framed scenario. It’s been going on for a long, long time..this article is from 5 years ago!
    U.S. Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff speaks to journalists in Bahrain, Monday, 
June 30, 2008. Cosgriff said that any attempt by Iran to seal off the Strait of
 Hormuz would be viewed as an act of war.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Newser– "Is Washington, or its Israeli allies, really ready to attack Iran? “The threats, counterthreats, and counter-counterthreats… have reached new levels of hysteria in recent days,” Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post. Rumblings of an Israeli strike prompted Tehran threats to close oil-shipping lanes. That would be an “act of war,” declared one US admiral—a statement superiors didn’t back down from. President Bush reiterated that “all options are on the table,” while the State Department said it couldn’t deter Israel. Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz was more direct, saying: “The Iranians have to believe that we will use force.” So is this a bluff? And could it lead to real war? “It is high stakes,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs says. “I’d just leave it at that.”
Be Prepared: Any way you look at it, be forewarned and prepared emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and practically. While a nuclear world war seems an unlikely horror that sane men and women would want to avoid at any cost, a quick look at history, and especially current events, shows something very ugly and aggressive is marching towards a self defined goal that does not represent you and me. It’s their design, and apparently must be done at any cost.

That, my friend, is a fact of life in the world we’re living in. However, we are conscious humanity and we will triumph despite the death throes they are willing to put themselves and the innocent people of the earth through.

Don’t Despair: We’re all here for a purpose and it’s really a wonderful time to be alive. Only not facing the truth will bring on trauma in the days to come. As we participate in this amazing consciousness shift and spiritual awakening that’s taking place and realize the empowerment it gives us, the very reality of this planet will continue to change.

Their tool is fear, to keep us preoccupied and distracted and living in their projected reality. Turn it completely off. If we stop participating, stop conforming through fearing and fixating on their projected assaults of their visual and mental states, and separate and expose their falseness, love and truth will manifest in increasingly amazing ways. And each of us then becomes a vessel to help enliven and encourage the brave souls we have the privilege to be with on this wonderful journey! 

I know…wild ride, eh? Ha! Laugh in their faces!! We are eternal!"

"Forbes 400 List Reveals Why the Greedy Rich Fully Deserve Your Contempt - And Jesus’s"

 "Forbes 400 List Reveals Why the Greedy Rich 
Fully Deserve Your Contempt - And Jesus’s"
 By Lynn Parramore

"Last week, as you were treated to Mitt Romney’s contempt for nearly half the country, Forbes Magazine published its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. The list reveals that Bill Gates is still the top dog, boasting a whopping $66 billion fortune. Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, various members of the Walton family, and the Koch brothers are all in the top 10. Mark Zuckerberg hung on, despite the evaporation of a big chunk of his wealth. Spanx founder Sara Blakley, who brought women a whole new world of restrictive undergarments, is on the list. Nothing extraordinary in all that. But this year’s Forbes list has a big lesson for us: It shows just how jaw-droppingly rich the top 400 have become compared to everybody else.

Forbes reports that in the last year alone, the total net worth of the 400 people at the top skyrocketed $200 billion. The average net worth of a 400-lister jumped from $3.8 billion to $4.2 billion, the highest figure ever recorded. Two-thirds of the individuals got richer in the past year.  Forbes, not exactly a cheerleader for income equality, concluded: “The gap between the very rich and the merely rich is widening.”

And how did the rest of us do while the uber-rich were getting richer? Not so well, according to the Census Bureau. Adjusted for inflation, America suffered a 1.5 percent drop in median household income last year.

The redistribution of wealth toward the top is clearly getting worse. In fact, despite the financial crash, the Occupy movement, and the obvious failure of trickledown economics, the Census Bureau reports that the gulf between the rich and the rest of us is at an all-time high. Maybe that’s why the rich and their apologists are getting a bit defensive lately. Like a drug addict turning every cushion upside-down in search of lost change, the 1 percenters are scrounging up every timeworn myth, lame justification and absurd rationalization they can think of to convince us that the rich are super-smart, hard-working job creators instead of greedy parasites refusing to pay their share in taxes and play by the same rulebook as everyone else.

This line gets harder to sell every minute. Mitt Romney’s candidacy has done wonders to expose not only the general contempt of his class toward ordinary people, but also just how many special privileges the rich enjoy. Romney has accumulated great wealth not only because of his job-destroying and predatory business activities, but also because he gets a special break that allows him to get away with paying the capital gains tax rate of 15 percent.

And that’s one big reason that the rich are getting richer. Romney and his ilk claim this is good for the economy – the old “trickledown” myth. But as New York Times columnist Joe Nocera points out, that canard is easily exposed: “In 1986, when Ronald Reagan was president, the differential between capital gains and ordinary income was eliminated — and the economy soared.” Interesting, isn’t it? Nocera adds that the capital gains rate was higher during the Clinton years than in the George W. Bush years, yet the economy miraculously did better under Bubba. Doesn’t sound like a low capital gains tax rate that lines the pockets of the rich is what the doctor ordered, does it?

Let’s take a closer list of who is on the Forbes list. Financiers make up a big chunk. Around 40 percent inherited their wealth. The vast majority, some 65 percent, came from circumstances ranging from very comfortable (Mark Zuckerberg went to the fanciest schools) to downright plush (Donald Trump inherited his dad’s company). A mere 35 percent came from backgrounds that could be described as middle- to lower-middle-class.

Most of the folks on the list got great breaks in life. And yet in a recent survey conducted by Salon, only 2 percent of people in this Happy Billionaires Club said they would be willing to pay more in taxes (Warren Buffet, Todd Wagner, James Simons, Leon Cooperman, Mark Cuban, John Arnold, Herbert Simon, and George Soros). Which is proof that not all of the rich are unpatriotic and rapacious. But they are lonely voices in a storm of greed. Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries and funder of conservative causes, summed up his opposition to the idea of forgoing special tax breaks: “I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.”

Ordinary Americans are plainly getting screwed, and the vision of America as a land of opportunity is increasingly becoming dimmed. And yet a recent article in Fortune magazine, “Stop Beating Up the Rich,” shamelessly calls for an end to what author Nina Easton describes as “diatribes against the 1%.” “America stands out among Western nations for its grudging, and often fawning, admiration for the wealthy classes it produces,” explains Easton. (It’s hard to argue with that. Score one point for Easton). She continues: “With the road to riches seemingly wide open, Americans favor aspiration over resentment, envy over animus.”

The key word here is “seemingly.” It seems like anybody can make it, because the press makes much of those Horatio Alger rags-to-riches stories. Unfortunately, as economist Joseph Stiglitz frequently points out, those stories make the news for a simple reason: they are rare. And becoming rarer all the time. By Easton’s own admission, “today American upward mobility (especially for men) lags behind Canada's and some European nations.”

Easton goes on to complain that the Occupy movement, the most recent incarnation in America’s traditional disdain for cheating, hording fatcats, is wrong in its 99% v. 1% frame. ”Sadly, it is a confusing and flawed prism,” sniffs Easton, “marred by hyperbole, half-truths, and unnecessary pessimism about what it means to succeed in America.” She goes on to whine that “if Americans really understood who the 1% are, they would be more likely to stop the name-calling and shift the debate to the dire task at hand - getting millions back to work.”

All righty then. While we’re trying to get back to work, we’ll try to forget that Wall Street’s reckless casino games crashed the economy in 2008, destroying millions of jobs. And we’ll see if we can ignore the fact that corporate-friendly policies pushed by the greedy rich have made decent wages and job security a thing of the past for many. And we’ll pretend that all the people at the top of the pyramid are ordinary folks who had the same chances as everybody else and made it through hard work and grit. And we’ll make an effort to discount the fact that it is the super-rich who should be thanking us, for our job creation, and our tax dollars that build their roads, educate their workforce, provide the research needed to make their products – and, oh wait! - lots of them don’t make or do anything, they just bleed money out of the real economy and deplete the government of revenue with their special tax breaks!

While we’re at it, we’ll see if we can forget the famous teaching of Jesus, uttered after a rich young man came to ask how he could be saved. Very simple, said Jesus. You just sell your worldly possessions and become a follower of my teachings. But the young man was overly fond of his worldly possessions, and turned away. To which Jesus said: "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). That Jesus. He sure did beat up on the rich, didn’t he?”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Elysian Fields"

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Another Answer Came"


2002, "Another Answer Came"
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILt_GZqJzjQ&feature=related

"There Is A Theory..."

"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
- Douglas Adams

Chet Raymo, “In Place of Belief”

“In Place of Belief”
by Chet Raymo

“A lightning storm the other night, slipping down from Florida. For an hour we sat on the terrace and watched the northern sky blaze with pyrotechnics, the best we'd ever seen, almost continuous rivers of electricity streaming between the clouds, clouds heaped like mountains and lit from within. After some particularly sky-filling explosions we could not resist applause. From horizon to horizon, from Andros to San Salvador the streamers ran, trailing their rumbles of far-off thunder. So much energy! Energy entirely beyond the human capacity to control, beyond the human capacity to comprehend.

There is a delicacy in nature- the hummingbird at the feeder, the gecko's flicking tongue, the textured sand after a shower. There is a power too- awesome and ominous, booming and cascading across the night. I think of lines from a poem of Grace Schulman, a poem called “In Place of Belief”:

    “...I would eavesdrop, spy,
    and keep watch on the chance, however slight,
    that the unseen might dazzle into sight.”

 •
Graphic: Storm over Tucson, Arizona in August, 2011.

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Like delicate cosmic petals, these clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023 this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers. Still, this remarkable image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. 
 Click image for larger size.
The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the dusty clouds glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula is about six light-years across.”

"The Wonder Of Life..."

"We live in radical times surrounded by tasks that seem impossible. It has become our collective fate to be alive in a time of great tragedies, to live in a period of overwhelming disasters and to stand at the edge of sweeping changes. The river of life is flooding before us, and a tide of poisons affect the air we breathe and the waters we drink and even tarnish the dreams of those who are young and as yet innocent. The snake-bitten condition has already spread throughout the collective body.

However, it is in troubled times that it becomes most important to remember that the wonder of life places the medicine of the self near where the poison dwells. The gifts always lie near the wounds, the remedies are often made from poisonous substances, and love often appears where deep losses become acknowledged. Along the arc of healing the wounds and the poisons of life are created the exact opportunities for bringing out all the medicines and making things whole again."
- Michael Meade,"Fate And Destiny"

The Daily "Near You?"

Mindelo, Cape Verde. Thanks for stopping by.

"The 'Self-Made' Hallucination of America's Rich"

"The 'Self-Made' Hallucination of America's Rich"
by Sam Pizzigati

"Let's cut Mitt Romney some slack. Not every off-the-cuff comment he made at that now infamous, secretly taped $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton reveals an utterly shocking personal failing. Take, for instance, Mitt's remark that he has "inherited nothing." A variety of commentators have jumped on Romney for that. They've pointed out that Mitt, the son of a wealthy CEO, has enjoyed plenty of privilege — everything from an elite private school education to a rolodex full of rich family friends he could tap to start up his business career. On top of that, the struggling young Mitt had $1 million worth of stock his father threw his way to tide him over until the big paydays started arriving.

Not quite "nothing." But there's no reason to pick on Mitt either. Most deep pockets, not just Mitt, consider themselves "self-made." The best evidence of this predilection to claim "self-made" status? The annual September release of the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans.

Each year Forbes celebrates the billionaires who populate its 400 list as paragons of get-up-and-go. The latest list, according to Forbes itself, "instills confidence that the American dream is still very much alive." Of America's current 400 richest, says the magazine, 70 percent "made their fortunes entirely from scratch."

Forbes made the same observation last year, too, and most news outlets took that claim at face value. But United for a Fair Economy did not. The Boston-based group's analysts took the time to investigate the actual backgrounds of last year's Forbes 400. They released their findings on the same day Forbes released the new 2012 list. The basic conclusion from these findings: Forbes is spinning "a misleading tale of what it takes to become wealthy in America." Most of the Forbes 400, like Mitt, have benefitted from a level of privilege unknown to the vast majority of Americans. As commentator Jim Hightower has colorfully put it, most of our super rich were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

United for a Fair Economy extends this baseball analogy in its new Forbes 400 analysis. UFE defines as "born in the batter's box" those Forbes 400 rich who hail from poor to middle-class circumstances. Some had nothing growing up. Others had parents who ran small businesses. About 95 percent of Americans, overall, currently live in these "batter's box" situations. Just over a third, 35 percent, of the Forbes 400 come from these backgrounds. Just over 3 percent of the Forbes 400, United for a Fair Economy found, have left no good paper trail on their economic backgrounds. Of the over 60 percent remaining, all grew up in substantial privilege.

Those "born on first base" — in upper-class families, with inheritances up to $1 million — make up 22 percent of the 400. On "second base," from households wealthy enough to generate inheritances over $1 million, UFE found another 11.5 percent. On "third base," with inherited wealth of more than $50 million, sits 7 percent of America's 400 richest. Last but not least, is the "born on home plate" crowd. These high-rollers, 21.25 percent of the total Forbes list, all inherited enough to "earn" their Forbes 400 status.

Forbes, the United for a Fair Economy researchers sum up, has glamorized the myth of the "self-made man" and minimized "the many other factors that enable wealth," including tax breaks and other government policies that help the really rich get ever richer.

The narrative of wealth and achievement that Forbes is pushing, the new UFE study adds, "ignores the other side of the coin — namely, that the opportunity to build wealth is not equally or broadly shared in contemporary society." And many of those who do have that opportunity — like the mega millionaires in Boca Raton who applauded Mitt Romney's bogus assertion that he "inherited nothing" — see absolutely no reason to turn that coin over.”

The Poet: Joy Harjo,"A Map to the Next World"

"A Map to the Next World"

"In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map
for those who would climb through the hole in the sky.
My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged from the killing fields,
from the bedrooms and the kitchens.
For the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.

The map must be of sand and can't be read by ordinary light.
It must carry fire to the next tribal town, for renewal of spirit.

In the legend are instructions on the language of the land,
how it was we forgot to acknowledge the gift, as if we were not in it or of it.
Take note of the proliferation of supermarkets and malls, the altars of money.
They best describe the detour from grace.

Keep track of the errors of our forgetfulness; a fog steals our children while we sleep.
Flowers of rage spring up in the depression, the monsters are born there of nuclear anger.

Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye and the map appears to disappear.

We no longer know the names of the birds here,
how to speak to them by their personal names.
Once we knew everything in this lush promise.

What I am telling you is real and is printed in a warning on the map.
Our forgetfulness stalks us, walks the earth behind us,
leaving a trail of paper diapers, needles and wasted blood.

An imperfect map will have to do little one.
The place of entry is the sea of your mother's blood,
your father's small death as he longs to know himself in another.

There is no exit.

The map can be interpreted through the wall of the intestine-
a spiral on the road of knowledge.

You will travel through the membrane of death,
smell cooking from the encampment where our relatives make a feast
of fresh deer meat and corn soup, in the Milky Way.
They have never left us; we abandoned them for science.

And when you take your next breath as we enter the fifth world there will be no X,
no guide book with words you can carry.
You will have to navigate by your mother's voice, renew the song she is singing.

Fresh courage glimmers from planets.
And lights the map printed with the blood of history,
a map you will have to know by your intention, by the language of suns.

When you emerge note the tracks of the monster slayers
where they entered the cities of artificial light and killed what was killing us.
You will see red cliffs. They are the heart, contain the ladder.

A white deer will come to greet you when the last human climbs from the destruction.
Remember the hole of our shame marking the act of abandoning our tribal grounds.

We were never perfect.
Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth
who was once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.
We might make them again, she said.
Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.
You must make your own map."

- Joy Harjo,
"A Map to the Next World: Poems"

Hunter S. Thompson, "Not Much Mental Distance..."

“A man who has blown all his options can't afford the luxury of changing his ways. He has to capitalize on whatever he has left, and he can't afford to admit — no matter how often he's reminded of it — that every day of his life takes him farther and farther down a blind alley... Very few toads in this world are Prince Charmings in disguise. Most are simply toads... and they are going to stay that way... Toads don't make laws or change any basic structures, but one or two rooty insights can work powerful changes in the way they get through life. A toad who believes he got a raw deal before he even knew who was dealing will usually be sympathetic to the mean, vindictive ignorance that colors the Hell's Angels' view of humanity. There is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed and the ethic of total retaliation, or at least the random revenge that comes with outraging the public decency.”
- Hunter S. Thompson

Musical Interlude: Buffalo Springfield, "Stop Children, What's That Sound?"

Given the times and circumstances this is very appropriate...

Buffalo Springfield, "Stop Children, What's That Sound?"

"There's something happening here,
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware...

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down...

There's battle lines being drawn,
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
Getting so much resistance from behind.

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down...

What a field-day for the heat,
A thousand people in the street,
Singing songs and carrying signs,
Mostly say, hooray for our side.

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down...

Paranoia strikes deep,
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid,
You step out of line, the man come and take you away.

We better stop, hey, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down...
Stop, hey, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down,
Stop, now, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down.
Stop, children, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's going down..."
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjSpO2B6G4s

"How It Really Is"


"Why You Should Prepare for Economic Catastrophe"; A Comment

"Why You Should Prepare for Economic Catastrophe"
by Gary North

"It is not often that readers get a clear-cut choice between two forecasts. Most forecasts have wiggle room. Not the following.

    1. The United States government will default.
    2. The United States government will not default.

I hold the first position. John T. Harvey holds the second. He wrote a piece for Forbes defending his position: "It Is Impossible For The US To Default". I regard this as the most fundamental economic issue facing the U.S. government. I regard it as the most fundamental economic issue facing Americans under age 60.

Mr. Harvey begins: "With so many economic, political, and social problems facing us today, there is little point in focusing attention on something that is not one. The false fear of which I speak is the chance of US debt default. There is no need to speculate on what that likelihood is, I can give you the exact number: there is 0% chance that the US will be forced to default on the debt."

That is the kind of forthrightness that I appreciate. Here is my response. With so many economic, political, and social problems facing us today, it is crucial that we focus attention on something that is both catastrophic and inescapable. The fear of which I speak is the chance of U.S. debt default. There is no need to speculate on what that likelihood is, I can give you the exact number: there is 100% chance that the U.S. will be forced to default on the debt.

UNFUNDED LIABILITIES: Why do I believe this? Because I believe in the analysis supplied by Professor Lawrence Kotlikoff of Boston University. Each year, he analyzes the statistics produced by the Congressional Budget Office on the present value – not future value – of the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government. The latest figures are up by $11 trillion over the last year. The figure today is $222 trillion. This means that the government needs $222 trillion to invest in private capital markets that will pay about 5% per year for the next 75 years.

Problem: the world's capital markets are just about $222 trillion. Then there are the unfunded liabilities of all other Western nations. These total at least what the U.S. does, and probably far more, since the welfare state's promises are more comprehensive outside the USA.

Conclusion: they will all default.

Mr. Harvey thinks that the U.S. government could choose to default, but it won't: "We could choose to do so, just as a person trapped in a warehouse full of food could choose to starve, but we could never be forced to. This is not a theory or conjecture, it is cold, hard fact. The reason the US could never be forced to default is that every single bit of the debt is owed in the currency that we and only we can issue: dollars. Unlike Greece, we don't have to try to earn foreign exchange via exports or beg for better terms. There is simply no level of debt we could not repay with a keystroke."

There are a lot of people inside the camp of the gold bugs who also believe this. They are probably wrong. They are wrong for the same reason why Mr. Harvey is wrong. They do not understand Ludwig von Mises.

MISES ON THE CRACK-UP BOOM: Mises was a senior advisor to the equivalent of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce after World War I. He understood monetary theory. His book on money, The Theory of Money and Credit, had been published in 1912, two years before the war broke out. In the post-War edition of his book, he wrote of the process of the hyperinflationary breakdown of a currency. He made it clear that such a currency is short-lived. People shift to rival currencies.
"The emancipation of commerce from a money which is proving more and more useless in this way begins with the expulsion of the money from hoards. People begin at first to hoard other money instead so as to have marketable goods at their disposal for unforeseen future needs - perhaps precious-metal money and foreign notes, and sometimes also domestic notes of other kinds which have a higher value because they cannot be increased by the State '(e.g.the Romanoff rouble in Russia or the 'blue' money of communist Hungary); then ingots, precious stones, and pearls; even pictures, other objects of art, and postage stamps. A further step is the adoption of foreign currency or metallic money (i.e. for all practical purposes, gold) in credit transactions. Finally, when the domestic currency ceases to be used in retail trade, wages as well have to be paid in some other way than in pieces of paper which are then no longer good for anything. The collapse of an inflation policy carried to its extreme - as in the United States in 1781 and in France in 1796 does not destroy the monetary system, but only the credit money or fiat money of the State that has overestimated the effectiveness of its own policy. The collapse emancipates commerce from etatism and establishes metallic money again (pp. 229-30)."

In 1949, his book "Human Action" appeared. In it, he discussed hyperinflation. He called this phase of the business cycle the crack-up boom. "The characteristic mark of the phenomenon is that the increase in the quantity of money causes a fall in the demand for money. The tendency toward a fall in purchasing power as generated by the increased supply of money is intensified by the general propensity to restrict cash holdings which it brings about. Eventually a point is reached where the prices at which people would be prepared to part with "real" goods discount to such an extent the expected progress in the fall of purchasing power that nobody has a sufficient amount of cash at hand to pay them. The monetary system breaks down; all transactions in the money concerned cease; a panic makes its purchasing power vanish altogether. People return either to barter or to the use of another kind of money (p. 424)."

Later in the book, Mises discussed the policy of devaluation: the expansion of the domestic money supply in a fruitless attempt to reduce the international value of the currency unit: "If the government does not care how far foreign exchange rates may rise, it can for some time continue to cling to credit expansion. But one day the crack-up boom will annihilate its monetary system. On the other hand, if the authority wants to avoid the necessity of devaluing again and again at an accelerated pace, it must arrange its domestic credit policy in such a way as not to outrun in credit expansion the other countries against which it wants to keep its domestic currency at par (p. 791)."

Mt. Harvey has described just such a policy. He concluded that the United States government can never go bankrupt. It can print its way out of every obligation. No, it can't.

HYPERINFLATIONARY COLLAPSE: The expansion of the monetary base can go on until such time as commercial banks monetize all of the reserves on their books. Prices then rise to such levels that transactions no longer take place in the official currency unit. The division of labor contracts. The output of capital and labor falls. At some point, people adopt other currency units. They no longer cooperate with each other by means of the hyperinflated currency. Professor Steve Hanke has co-authored an article on the worst 56 hypernflations. He discovered that most of these in industrial nations were over in a couple of years. The crack-up boom ended them.

No nation can long pursue a policy of hyperinflation. It destroys the currency and destroys the division of labor. The result is starvation. The policy of hyperinflation ends before this phase. Members of society shift to other forms of money. This is why the policy of hyperinflation is useless in dealing with the 75-year obligations of the federal government to support old people through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal pensions. These obligations are inter-generational. Hyperinflation lasts for months, not decades. When the government ends its policy of hyperinflation, it finds that it is still saddled with these obligations.

If the Federal Reserve resorts to hyperinflation, its retirement portfolio will reach zero value unless it shifts to foreign currencies, gold, or other hyperinflation hedges. It will publicly announce that the U.S. dollar is a failed currency, as manipulated by the FED.

If it refuses, then it will oversee Great Depression 2, monetary deflation, and the contraction of the division of labor. The U.S. government will go bankrupt. If Congress nationalizes the FED, then it will pursue hyperinflation. The crack-up boom will end the experiment.

At that point, all of the obligations to retirees will still remain. But the government will not have the money to pay them. The $222 trillion of present valued unfunded liabilities will still remain unfunded. The government's obligations are inter-generational. Hyperinflation is not. The latter in no fundamental way reduces the former. This means that the government will default. This is 100% guaranteed.”
A Comment: Yeah, I know, all doom and gloom. Not to be harsh, but too bad if this isn't all sweetness and light and you don't like it. I don't like it either, but it's the best "truth" I can find, and it will affect all of our lives whether we like it or not, and I for one need and want to know what's coming to prepare for it as best I can, and hope you're of a similar mind set. Articles like this provide the information needed for understanding the nature of the problems we face, and why seemingly disconnected events are happening, as follows:
“Cops Planning For Civil Unrest In October”
http://beforeitsnews.com/

“Will we get World War III for Christmas? Possibly, if the US election is close as it approaches. If the election is too close to call, Netanyahu might throw the dice and rely on Obama following his lead. Iran will be attacked, and the consequences are unknowable.”

"Marc Faber Warns: 'Everything Will Collapse'”
“the catastrophe may happen well before Americans hit the polls in November.”
http://moneymorning.com/ob/faber-warns-everything-will-collapse/

Troop and materiel movements all over the country it seems...martial law? Something's going on, and as usual we just don't know what. I don't know, but you alone, after informing yourself to the best of your ability, must decide what the truth is, and make your own decisions and act accordingly. For a multitude of reasons the month of October may well be an interesting time... - CP

The Economy: "Marc Faber Warns: 'Everything Will Collapse'”

"Marc Faber Warns: 'Everything Will Collapse'”
By Money Morning Staff Reports
“Ruin from Man is most conceal’d when near,
And sends the dreadful Tidings in the Blow.”
 – Edward Young, “Night Thoughts”

"Famed economist Marc Faber appeared on Bloomberg TV with a harsh, direct warning to investors. "U.S. monetary policies will destroy the world," he said, referring to the new round of stimulus - QE3, or "QE Forever" - the Fed plans to launch this year. As the publisher of the influential "Gloom Boom & Doom" report, Faber is well-known for making ominous predictions. Many regard him as the first to warn investors to get out of the stock market one week before the October 1987 crash. And since the 2008 meltdown, he's been a fierce critic of the Fed's policy of money printing, arguing it only creates a phony recovery. So it wasn't surprising to hear him speak out against Bernanke's most recent stimulus plan, quantitative easing or QE3.

What was surprising - and frightening - was the level of wealth-destruction he believes will occur. According to Faber, "eventually we will have a systematic crisis and everything will collapse." Faber couldn't pin down the timing of his alarming prediction, but said the bigger concern wasn't when the economic storm will begin, but how high the market will go until then. "The question is really between here and then," he said. "Will everything collapse with Dow Jones 20,000 or 50,000 or 10 million? Mr. Bernanke is a money printer and, believe me, if Mr. Romney wins the election the next Fed chairman will also be a money printer. And so it will go on."

Faber's not alone. A group of his economic peers agree that with more central bank action like QE3, global economic collapse is imminent.  In a newly released documentary that went viral last month, a team of influential economic experts say they have discovered a "frightening pattern" they believe points to a massive economic catastrophe unlike anything ever seen. And according to these experts - who have presented their findings to the United Nations, the UK Parliament and a long list of world governments - the catastrophe may happen well before Americans hit the polls in November. The work of this team garnered such attention, they were brought in front of the United Nations, U.K. Parliament, and numerous Fortune 500 companies to share much of their findings. 

"What this pattern represents is a dangerous countdown clock that's quickly approaching zero," said Keith Fitz-Gerald, the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Map Press, who predicted the 2008 oil shock, the credit default swap crisis that helped bring about the recession, and the Greek and European fiscal catastrophe that is still wreaking havoc until this day. The resulting chaos is going to crush Americans."

Another member of this team, Chris Martenson, a global economic trend forecaster, former VP of a Fortune 300, and an internationally recognized expert on the dangers of exponential growth in the economy, explained their findings further: "We found an identical pattern in our debt, total credit market, and money supply that guarantees they're going to fail," Martenson said. "This pattern is nearly the same as in any pyramid scheme, one that escalates exponentially fast before it collapses. Governments around the globe are chiefly responsible. And what's really disturbing about these findings is that the pattern isn't limited to our economy. We found the same catastrophic pattern in our energy, food, and water systems as well." According to Martenson, these systems could all implode at the same time. "Food, water, energy, money. Everything."

Dr. Kent Moors, one of the world's leading energy analysts, who advices 16 world governments on energy matters and who currently serves on two State Department task forces on energy, also voiced concerns over what he and his colleagues uncovered. "Most frightening of all is how this exact same pattern keeps appearing in virtually every system critical to our society and way of life," Dr. Moors stated. "It's a pattern that's hard to see unless you understand the way a catastrophe like this gains traction," Dr. Moors says. "At first, it's almost impossible to perceive. Everything looks fine, just like in every pyramid scheme. Yet the insidious growth of the virus keeps doubling in size, over and over again - in shorter and shorter periods of time - until it hits unsustainable levels. And it collapses the system."

Martenson points to the U.S. total credit market debt as an example of this unnerving pattern. "For 30 years - from the 1940s through the 1970s - our total credit market debt was moderate and entirely reasonable," he says. "But then in seven years, from 1970 to 1977, it quickly doubled. And then it doubled again in seven more years. Then five years to double a third time. And then it doubled two more times after that. "Where we were sitting at a total credit market debt that was 158% larger than our GDP in the early 1940s... By 2011 that figure was 357%." Dr. Moors warns this type of unsustainable road to collapse can be seen today in our energy, food and water production. All are tightly connected and contributing to the economic disaster that lies directly ahead.

According to polls, the average American is sensing danger. A recent survey found that 61% of Americans believe a catastrophe is looming - yet only 15% feel prepared for such a deeply troubling event. Fitz-Gerald says people should take immediate steps to protect themselves from what is happening. "If our research is right," says Fitz-Gerald, "Americans will have to make some tough choices on how they'll go about surviving when basic necessities become nearly unaffordable and the economy becomes dangerously unstable."

“How The Government’s Lies Become Truth”

“How The Government’s Lies Become Truth”
by Paul Craig Roberts

"In my last column, “A Culture of Delusion,” I wrote that “Americans live in a matrix of lies. Lies dominate every policy discussion, every political decision.” This column will use two top news stories, Iranian nukes and Julian Assange, to illustrate how lies become “truth.”

The western Presstitute media uses every lie to demonize the Iranian government. On September 28 in a fit of unmitigated ignorance, the UK rag, Mail Online, called the president of Iran a “dictator.” The Iranian presidency is an office filled by popular election, and the authority of the office is subordinate to the ayatollahs. Assange is demonized alternatively as a rapist and a spy. The western media and the US Congress comprise the two largest whore houses in human history. One of their favorite lies is that the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, wants to kill all the Jews. Watch this 6 minute, 42 second video of Ahmadinejad’s meeting with Jewish religious leaders. Don’t be put off by the title. Washington Blog is making a joke.

Last week the news was dominated by the non-existent but virtually real Iranian nuclear weapons program. The Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu, blatantly intervened in the US presidential election, demanding that Obama specify the “red line” for attacking Iran. Netanyahu believes his maximum leverage over Obama, the president of the “world’s only superpower,” is just prior to the election. Israel cannot attack Iran on its own without the risk of Israel’s destruction. But Netanyahu reasons that if he attacks Iran the week before the US election, Obama will have to join in or lose the Jewish vote for not supporting Israel in states such as Florida, which has a large Jewish population and many electoral votes. If the election is close, Netanyahu, a person consumed by arrogance and hubris, might exercise his threat and attack Iran, despite the opposition of former chiefs of Israeli intelligence and military, the opposition party, and a majority of the Israeli people.

In other words, the outcome of the “superpower’s” presidential election might depend upon whether the sitting president of the “superpower” is sufficiently obedient to the crazed Israeli prime minister. That the outcome of the US presidential election could depend upon the agenda of the prime minister of a tiny country that exists only because of US financial, military, and diplomatic support, especially the UN veto, should disturb those Americans who think that they are the “indispensable people.” How indispensable are you when you have to do what the Israeli prime minister wants?

The US media makes certain that this question never enters american minds. Americans have been told that if Iran doesn’t have nukes, it has a nuke weapons program. This is what the politicians of both parties, the media, and the Israel Lobby tell them. Americans are told this despite the facts that the CIA and the National Intelligence Estimate stick to the conclusion that Iran abandoned its flirtation with a nuclear weapon in 2003 and the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors on the ground in Iran report no evidence of a nuclear weapons program and no evidence of any diversion of enriched uranium to a weapons program. Moreover, what could Iran do with a nuclear weapon, other than use it against an aggressor? Any offensive use would result in Iran’s destruction.

Why do Americans believe Iran has nukes or is making nukes when the CIA says they are not? The answer is that Netanyahu says so, and the elected members of the US government in the House, Senate, and White House are afraid to contradict the Israeli prime minister, as are the American print and TV media. Some “superpower” we are! The “indispensable people” have to grovel in the dirt before Netanyahu. Americans are not even aware of their shame.

Iran, unlike Israel, signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Signatories to the treaty have the right to nuclear energy. Nuclear energy requires a low level of enrichment, 5% or less. The minute Iran announced a nuclear energy program, the Israeli government and its prostitutes in Washington lied that Iran was building a bomb. For exercising its legal rights under the treaty, Iran has been painted as a rouge criminal state and demonized.

A nuclear weapon requires 95% enrichment. To get to 5% from scratch and then to 95% is a long drawn out process. I think I first started hearing Israeli government claims of an Iranian nuke back in the 1990s of last century. When Iran announced that, in view of the sanctions imposed by the US, sanctions that affect medical supplies, Iran was going to enrich uranium to 20% in order to supply itself with medical isotopes, the Israeli allegations that this would lead to a bomb resulted in Iran saying that the Iranian government was content for France or some other country to supply their medical isotopes and would not pursue enrichment beyond energy requirements. The US and Russia were also mentioned as suppliers. According to the NY Times on September 29, 2011, “the Iranian president told the Washington Post and later, in basically the same terms, the New York Times: ‘if you [the United States and Europe] give us uranium grade 20 percent now, we will stop production.'”

On Israel’s orders Washington vetoed the Iranian concession. Solving the problem is not what the Israeli government wants. The problem has to be kept alive so that it can be used to foment an attack on Iran. The Iranian nuke is one of those grand hoaxes, a lie designed to hide the real agenda. What is the real agenda?

The real agenda hiding behind the hysterical concern about an Iranian nuke, is the rightwing Israeli government’s design on the water resources of southern Lebanon. Twice the Israeli government sent the Israeli army into southern Lebanon to occupy and eventually annex the territory. And twice Hizbollah defeated and drove out the vaunted Israeli army. The few thousand Hizbollah fighters were able to defeat the Israeli army, which is equipped and supplied by US taxpayers’ dollars while Americans are foreclosed out of their homes and left unemployed as Washington applauds the offshoring of their jobs, because Syria and Iran provide Hizbollah with financial support and weapons that destroy Israeli tanks.

Syria, of course, is currently resisting its destruction by Israel and its American puppet state. The overthrow of Syria hasn’t gone well, because the Russians and Chinese didn’t go along with it, like they stupidly did in Libya. But the far rightwing Israeli government has concluded that with American prestige involved in the overthrow of the Assad government in Syria, the deed will be done. That leaves Iran. The Israeli government knows that it cannot be forthright and say that it wants Americans to go to war with Iran so that Israel can steal southern Lebanon. But if fear over nonexistent nukes can muster the Western populations to support an attack on Iran, Iran can be eliminated as Hizbollah’s supplier, and Israel can steal the water from Lebanon.

There is no discussion whatsoever of the real agenda anywhere in the US print and TV media. I doubt there is any discussion anywhere in Europe, which is a collection of american puppet states.

Will we get World War III for Christmas? Possibly, if the US election is close as it approaches. If the election is too close to call, Netanyahu might throw the dice and rely on Obama following his lead. Iran will be attacked, and the consequences are unknowable.

Let’s turn to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Like Iran, Assange has been demonized, not on the basis of facts but on the basis of lies. Washington, which poses as a purveyor of human rights, has been mistreating if not torturing Bradley Manning since May 2010 without bringing him to trial in an effort to make Manning say that he and Assange constitute a spy team working against the US.

Assange is a celebrity, because Wikileaks publishes the news leaked to the organization that the Presstitute media suppresses. While in Sweden, Assange was picked up by two celebrity-hungry women who took him home to their beds. The women later bragged of their conquests on social media, but apparently when they found out that they were rivals, they turned on the “two-timer” Assange and made charges. One claimed that he had not used a condom as per her request, and the other claimed that she had offered one helping but he had taken two. Whatever the accusations, the Swedish prosecutorial office investigated and dismissed the case.

Despite this known fact, the Western Presstitute media reports that Assange is a fugitive evading rape charges by hiding in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. Even RT, an alternative media voice, has fallen for this disinformation. After Assange was cleared in Sweden, a female prosecutor has tried to reopen the case. There is no evidence for her to bring charges, so she demanded that England arrest Assange and extradite him to Sweden to be questioned. Normally, people are not subject to extradition for questioning. Only people who have been formally charged are extradited. But this detail wasn’t of interest to the Presstitute media or to the British courts which ruled as Washington desired.

Opinions vary as to whether the female prosecutor who wants Assange for questioning is an ideological feminist who believes no heterosexual sex is legitimate or whether she is in the pay of Washington. But experts agree that once Assange is in Sweden he is certain to be turned over to Washington, which will demand his extradition on trumped up charges. Extradition on trumped up charges is difficult in England but easy in Sweden. Assange offered to be questioned in London, but the female prosecutor refused. Now the Ecuadoran Embassy is offering to send Assange to the Ecuadoran Embassy in Sweden to be questioned, but Washington, London, and the Swedish prosecutor have refused. They want Assange without the protection of the asylum that Ecuador has granted him.

Washington has how made this obvious. John Glaser writing in Antiwar.com, September 26, 2012, reports: “Newly declassified documents have revealed that the US military designated WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange an enemy of the state, who can be killed or detained without trial.”  See this article also.

Assange is Washington’s enemy, because he let the truth get out. WikiLeaks is a journalistic enterprise, not a spy enterprise. It publishes information, some of which is leaked to it by whistleblowers, just as the Pentagon Papers were leaked to the New York Times. The information leaked to WikiLeaks has embarrassed Washington, because it shows Washington to be two-faced, a manipulator of other countries’ governments and medias, and overflowing with mendacity. In other words, Washington is not the light upon the hill but the gates of Hell or Mordor. Assange had best be careful. If he again speaks to supportive crowds from a balcony of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, he is likely to be shot down by a CIA sniper. Approved by Obama, of course. Or his successor.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Musical Interlude: Leonard Cohen, “Hallelujah”

A repost, yes, because I love it, and hope you do too...

Leonard Cohen, “Hallelujah”
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3Fkuq5Lf0Q

"When Eyes Are Blinders of the Soul"

"When Eyes Are Blinders of the Soul"
By Peter Michaelson

"One way to diminish our suffering is to become conscious of when our eyes go looking for something that upsets us. Another way is to be watchful of what our imagination is up to. Just as sponges can soak up dirty water as easily as clean water, our eyes can also take in impressions from the world around us that leak misery into our soul. We like to think we use our visual faculty in pursuit of pleasure, but we also use it to entertain old hurts, grievances, and longings. Our eyes go looking for pleasure and stimulation-but also needlessly for ways to suffer.

Groucho Marx famously asked, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" The drollery is delightful, yet our eyes are suspect nonetheless. Our eyes, along with our imagination, quite readily go searching for things to worry and brood about. Through our eyes and imagination, we can be tempted to look for sights or impressions that stir up within us negative emotions relating to deprivation, refusal, helplessness, rejection, and unworthiness.  

The writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, "The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes." He meant, of course, that we're emotionally blocked from seeing objectively. Often we're determined to see what we want to believe. Typically, we're eager to believe what's irrational or false when doing so safeguards our resistance, denial, projections, and illusions. While we unwittingly block out gleanings of truth and reality, we also allow, unimpeded into our minds, subjective perceptions that stir up negative emotions that have remained unresolved in our psyche. Meanwhile, we also possess an imagination that, in our mind's eye, can conjure up images and visualizations that dress up our inner life with speculative fears, negative propositions, and gruesome considerations.

To avoid unnecessary suffering, we need to be more conscious of our visual capacity (termed the visual drive in psychoanalysis) in order to regulate it. We want to be able to monitor ourselves so that we can correlate our negative feelings at any given moment with the related visual impressions we're absorbing or the imaginative musings we're producing. In this way, we catch ourselves dipping into negative emotions for no other purpose than to suffer.

When we look at a beautiful object, we naturally want to feel some pleasure. Instead, we could in that moment be feeling deprived of the object and envious of those who own it. Or we could be creating reasons in our mind to belittle the object. In doing this, we're using our eyes to deepen the hurt of feeling deprived or to wallow in the feeling of being a lesser person because we don't possess the object.

Orlando says in Shakespeare's "As You Like It": "But Oh, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes." Indeed the negative feeling of envy is a bitter one. A deeper emotion, however, is at play. This is our emotional entanglement in deprivation, a leftover effect from the oral stage of childhood and the driving force behind consumerism. Deep memories of deprivation-and unresolved resonance with that feeling-make us frantic consumers at the SuperMart of materialism, loading our shopping-carts with what we're determined to believe are the basic essentials of the good life.

Remarkably, most people aren't conscious of the inner mechanism through which they create this suffering. To understand this inner operation, we have to develop some awareness of how, deep in our psyche, we're holding on to unresolved emotions. That awareness grows as we see how and why we misuse our visual drive. We move about our environment with famished eyes, pawns of our psyche's determination to feel marginalized, disrespected, unfairly treated, and deprived. We don't do this all the time, of course. The tendency comes and goes, but it can be excruciating painful when it does come upon us.

There's a quaint, rather comic term from psychoanalysis- "negative peeping" -that identifies our tendency to absorb visually that which induces a negative reaction within us. When people look into the world, they're often "peeping" to see how others are indifferent to their existence. Or they're looking around to see how they can feel superior to others. Racists do this for the unconscious purpose of cozying up to unresolved feelings of inferiority within themselves. A hoarder creates mounds of clutter and then peeps at it in dismay, stirring up unresolved feeling of being helpless and overwhelmed by it all. A youngster can be peeping when she watches closely to see whether her brothers or sisters are getting more attention and love than she believes she gets from Mom and Dad.

The other related misuse of the visual drive involves our imagination, and here the same principles apply. Now we're seeing images and visualizations with our inner eye. Writers, artists, scientists, entertainers, and others use their imagination to create dramatic effects, useful products, or beautiful objects. We can all use our imagination wisely to produce pleasant thoughts and feelings. But many of us (worriers, for instance) produce images of bad things happening because of our unresolved affinity for feeling overwhelmed and helpless in the face of challenges or calamity. As well, painful feelings of fear, along with unresolved emotional attachments to feeling dominated or overpowered, are often behind the misuse of the imagination.

French novelist Marcel Proust was right when he wrote, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." New eyes refer, of course, to the consciousness behind the eyes. English poet William Blake immortalized this point when he wrote,
"This life's dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole,
 And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye."

In other words, we're unlikely to perceive our world with wisdom and insight unless we're developing an interior life, a growing consciousness, which sees from the depths behind our eyes. When we see in such a manner-from behind our eyes-we're more conscious of how to resist being lured visually into the arms of negative emotions such as deprivation, helplessness, and feelings of unworthiness."
Peter Michaelson is an author, blogger, and psychotherapist in Ann Arbor, MI. He believes that better understanding of depth psychology reduces the fear, passivity, and denial of citizens, making us more capable of maintaining and growing our while flourishing in our personal life.