Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, folks! 
Wishing you the very best in 2015, and thank you all for stopping by!

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Falling Through Time”

2002, “Falling Through Time”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Drifting through the one-horned constellation Monoceros, these dusty streamers and new born stars are part of the active Monoceros R2 star-forming region, embedded in a giant molecular cloud. The cosmic scene was recorded by the VISTA survey telescope in near-infrared light. Visible light images show dusty NGC 2170, seen here just right of center, as a complex of bluish reflection nebulae. 
Click image for larger size.
But this penetrating near-infrared view reveals telltale signs of ongoing star formation and massive young stars otherwise hidden by the dust. Energetic winds and radiation from the hot young stars reshape the natal interstellar clouds. Close on the sky to the star-forming Orion Nebula, the Monoceros R2 region is almost twice as far away, about 2700 light-years distant. At that distance, this vista spans about 80 light-years.”

The Poet: John Gillespie Magee, Jr., "High Flight"

 
"High Flight"

 "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
 And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
 Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
 of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
 You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
 High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
 I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
 My eager craft through footless halls of air...

 Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
 And, while with silent lifting mind I have trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."

- John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

http://en.wikipedia.org

"Pass It On..."

 "Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on;
'Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another's tears.
Pass it on."

- Rev. Henry Burton

"Our Best Choice..."

"Good or bad, everything we do is our best choice at that moment."
- William Glasser

"Free Downloads: The Books Of Paulo Coelho"

“Asking Questions”
by Paulo Coelho

"Warriors of light always keep a certain gleam in their eyes. They are of this world, they are part of the lives of other people and they set out on their journey with no saddlebags and no sandals. They are often cowardly. They do not always make the right decisions. They suffer over the most trivial things, they have mean thoughts and sometimes believe they are incapable of growing. They frequently deem themselves unworthy of any blessing or miracle. They are not always quite sure what they are doing here. They spend many sleepless nights, believing that their lives have no meaning. That is why they are warriors of light. Because they make mistakes. Because they ask themselves questions. Because they are looking for a reason – and are sure to find it.”
- http://paulocoelhoblog.com/

"Free Downloads: Paulo Coelho"
"The Brazilian best sellers' author Paulo Coelho has decided to give away all his books in electronic form from the Internet. He created the blog "Pirate Coelho" where he lists links to all his books, downloadable for free. What Coelho quickly discovered was that the more his books were available for free, the more sales of paper copies increased. As an example, he cites the Russian translation of his book, where it went from only 1,000 sales to well over 100,000 in a period of two years, and has only continued to grow since then." Works include:

"The Alchemist" (1988)
"The Valkyries" (1992)
"By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept: A Novel of Forgiveness" (1994)
"Veronika Decides To Die" (1998)
"The Devil and Miss Prym" (2000)
"The Zahir" (2005)
"The Witch of Portobello" (2006)
"RULES OF THE GAME"
"A] In the case that you download a book and like it, please buy the book, so we can tell to the industry that sharing contents is not life threatening to the book business.
B] You can do a relevant service to your community. Print and handle FOR FREE to a local library in a small town, to a hospital, to a prison. The intention of Pirate Coelho (as well as my free web books) is first and foremost share thoughts with people who cannot afford buying books."
- Paulo Coelho

FREELY Download the works of Paulo Coelho here:
(Use the HTTPS link for pdf format)

"And This Is The Weaving Of Human Living..."

 "...and this is the weaving of human living:
of whose fabric each individual is a part;
each is intimately connected with the
bottom and the extremist reach of time:
and not one of these things nor one of these persons
is ever quite to be duplicated or replaced:
but each is a new and incommunicably tender life,
wounded in every breath, sustaining for a while,
without defense, the enormous assaults of the universe."

- James Agee,
"Now Let Us Praise Famous Men"

The Daily "Near You?"

Coppenbrügge, Niedersachsen, Germany.
Thanks for stopping by.

"Even The Biggest Failure..."

"The early bird catches the worm; a stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. We can't pretend we haven't been told. We've all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the damn poets urging us to ‘seize the day'. Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today's possibility under tomorrow's rug until we can't anymore, until we finally understand for ourselves like Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake beats the hell out of never trying."
“Dr. Meredith Grey,” “Grey’s Anatomy”

"Only This Moment..."

"Begin doing what you want to do now.
We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand-
and melting like a snowflake..."

- Marie Beyon Ray

"The Power..."

“If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
— J. K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement speech.

"How It Really Is"

Oh, if you "liked" 2014 you're just gonna LOVE 2015...

The Economy: Greg Hunter, “Rick Ackerman: ‘We are Definitely in a House of Cards Situation’”

“Rick Ackerman: 
‘We are Definitely in a House of Cards Situation’”
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 

“Financial analyst and newsletter writer Rick Ackerman is no stranger to contrarian calls. At the beginning of 2014, he said forget about rising interest rates because they were going down. They did. Now, Ackerman predicts rates will go lower and will stay low for a long time. Ackerman explains, “My perspective is that of a deflationist, and it’s been easy for me to see. Even though we have inflation in certain things, the much bigger picture is deflationary. It is that huge $1 quadrillion edifice the central banks are fighting to keep from imploding. So, I am a deflationist and I see rates coming down.  My (2015) projection for the 30-year Treasury is 1.74%.”

Ackerman goes on to say, “There is a kicker there for U.S. debt paper in particular, and that is if everything should start to unravel globally, the USA would be perceived as the last man standing. I think you would have that flight to quality, and I am going to put quality in quotes, but we definitely have that safe haven status that would make Treasuries a buy even if everything goes awry.”

On the effect of all the Fed money printing since the 2008 financial meltdown, Ackerman points out, “We certainly have pumped up asset prices, but it hasn’t really done much for the real economy. You understand what happened in 2007 and 2008, and we are actually going back to the dot-com craze. We are more pumped up right now than in dot-com times in terms of valuations. So, you know there is a collapse out there somewhere. Whatever pumping they are going to do is not going to work.  It’s not as though dollars get shoveled out of airplanes. They only work in the financial sphere. Let me say also, when you talk about priming the pumps, that does nothing to meet real bills which are deflationary, including every pension that is offered by U.S. companies and the U.S. government. There we are talking about real dollars, and we are not talking about real dollars when we are talking about monetization.” Ackerman goes on to say that state and local governments cannot print money. Thus, Ackerman contends, “They aggregate to numbers we can’t pay our way out of. Those are essentially hugely deflationary forces in the pipeline.”

On gold, Ackerman predicts, “I have given an over/under number for my projections for 2015. I am leaning a little bit toward an $810 target on COMEX, meaning it’s going to come down a few hundred points. That’s probably the worst I could see, but if something I cannot imagine right now that would send gold much higher, my target would be in the $1,700’s with an outside shot at $2,300 per ounce.”

On the possibility of a repeat of the financial implosion of 2008, Ackerman says, “I think the collapse in energy prices is probably the most logical catalyst for a real crisis, and it could feed into other things. We are definitely in a house of cards situation, and I haven’t seen anything as obvious or logical as the energy price collapse as far as what might produce that black swan. Of course, the higher the prices go, the higher the averages go and the more money it takes to sustain it. So, it is not a perpetual motion machine.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with professional trader Rick Ackerman(There is much more in the video interview.)”

Obamacare: “Again, An Admission You Were SCAMMED”

“Again, An Admission You Were SCAMMED”
 by Karl Denninger

“And where are you, Boobus Americanus? You're not in the streets. You're not picketing both the White House and The House of Representatives, nor the Senate. You're not in front of Pelosi's home, or Boehner's, or any of the other Congresscritters.

You're going to get drunk tonight, aren't you?

Good- go celebrate your consent to being robbed. Oh sure, you were robbed by a thief in the night originally, but now you've consented to the continued theft that flows into the coffers of the medical and insurance "industries", leveraging your fear of death and disability to ply their trade. This isn't up for debate any more. Everyone now knows that Obamacare was passed under intentionally false pretense. In other words you were suckered on something that comprises more than one quarter of Federal Spending and nearly one dollar in five spent through the economy, which all ultimately comes from you.

“I wish that President Obama could have stood up and said, ‘You know, I don’t know if this bill is going to control costs. It might, it might not. We’re doing our best. But let me tell you what it’s going to do…” Gruber said on a San Francisco podcast in 2012. “If he could make that speech? Instead, he says ‘I’m going to pass a bill that will lower your health care costs.’ That sells. Now, I wish the world was different. I wish people cared about the 50 million uninsured in America…But, you know, they don’t. And I think, once again, I’m amazed politically that we got this bill through.”

You were intentionally lied to and financially raped.

This occurred because the limits of claiming you were going to die and thus must give up ever more of your earnings on a more-or-less voluntary basis (with only the threat of bankruptcy) was running into its natural limit. There was the possibility of mass defections and establishment of alternatives, along with shunning (or worse) aimed at health providers and employees within the industry.

The "industry" responded through intentional deception promulgated by the government to sucker you into allowing them to use force on a pre-emptive basis in order to extract even more of what you earn, thereby cutting off your option to erect the middle finger and increase the fear of retaliation, this time by government thugs with guns, should you try to resist their theft. (The IRS hired 16,000 new agents specifically to enforce compliance with Obamacare. - CP)

Come talk to me about why I should give a damn about whatever your pet whine is when, and only when, you'll stand up and do something about the fact that fully one fifth of every dollar spent in this country is stolen as a direct consequence of what has occurred here- and which now has been turned into a theft that you cannot opt out of as the government will now fine you if you refuse to participate. In other words ordinary theft by deception has now been turned into armed robbery.”
Yeah...

Satire: “House Majority Whip Calls For Clearer Labeling Of White Supremacists”

“House Majority Whip Calls For Clearer Labeling Of White Supremacists”
by Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)— “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on Tuesday that he would introduce a new bill requiring clearer labeling of white supremacists.The White Supremacist Labelling Act of 2015 would require white supremacists to wear 4-inch-by-6-inch name tags clearly designating them as members of an official hate group. “Right now, it’s impossible to tell the difference between neo-Nazis and collectors of WWII memorabilia,” Scalise said.

The Louisiana congressman said that proper labelling for white supremacists should make it easier for lawmakers to know what kind of organizations they are addressing in the future. “Sometimes it’s hard to see through all that smoke from the burning crosses,” he acknowledged."
- http://www.newyorker.com/

What this is all about:
"Scalise: I 'regret' speech to white supremacy group.”
- http://www.vox.com/

Our reaction, of course...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Musical Interlude: Ocarina, "Song Of Ocarina"

Ocarina, "Song Of Ocarina"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“What's going on in the center of this spiral galaxy? Named the Sombrero Galaxy for its hat-like resemblance, M104 features a prominent dust lane and a bright halo of stars and globular clusters. Reasons for the Sombrero's hat-like appearance include an unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent dust lanes that appear in a disk that we see nearly edge-on. 
Click image for larger size.
Billions of old stars cause the diffuse glow of the extended central bulge. Close inspection of the bulge in the above photograph shows many points of light that are actually globular clusters. M104's spectacular dust rings harbor many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don't yet fully understand. The very center of the Sombrero glows across the electromagnetic spectrum, and is thought to house a large black hole. Fifty million-year-old light from the Sombrero Galaxy can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of Virgo.”

"It Come, Then, To This..."

"It comes, then, to this: that to be "viable", livable, or merely practical, life must be lived as a game - and the "must" here expresses a condition, not a commandment. It must be lived in the spirit of play rather than work, and the conflicts which it involves must be carried on in the realization that no species, or party to a game, can survive without its natural antagonists, its beloved enemies, its indispensable opponents. For to "love your enemies" is to love them as enemies; it is not necessarily a clever device for winning them over to your side. The lion lies down with the lamb in paradise, but not on earth - "paradise" being the tacit, off-stage level where, behind the scenes, all conflicting parties recognize their interdependence, and, through this recognition, are able to keep their conflicts within bounds.

This recognition is the absolutely essential chivalry which must set the limits within all warfare, with human and non-human enemies alike, for chivalry is the debonair spirit of the knight who "plays with his life" in the knowledge that even mortal combat is a game. No one who has been hoaxed into the belief that he is nothing but his ego, or nothing but his individual organism, can be chivalrous, let alone a civilized, sensitive, and intelligent member of the cosmos."
~ Alan Watts,
"The Book on The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are"

Chet Raymo, “Holy Ignorance”

“Holy Ignorance” 
by Chet Raymo

“At a press conference in 2002, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously explained foreign policy: “There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know." The same can be said of science.

The textbooks are full of known knowns. We are quite confident affirming the circulation of the blood, the distance to the Sun, the common descent of animals and plants. I sit here in the college library within a few steps of shelf after shelf of known knowns, the accumulated body of reliable knowledge- the Qs, in our Library of Congress classification system- upon which is based modern "civilization"- the Rs, Ss, Ts, Us and Vs, medicine, agriculture, technology, and military and naval science.

To be sure, it is a characteristic of science that the known knowns are not etched in stone. Even the most confidently affirmed paradigms are written in pencil, ready to be erased or edited if necessity requires. That doesn't happen often. By and large, the known knowns accumulate at an ever-increasing rate. It is impossible for even the most accomplished scientist to keep up, except, perhaps, within a narrow specialty.

Then there are known unknowns. The nature of dark energy, for example. The mechanisms of memory and consciousness. The origin of life on Earth. Questions like these attract the curiosity of the most talented researchers. Faced with such questions, we say "I don't know yet, but I'd like to find out."

I have often used here the metaphor of knowledge as an island in a sea of mystery. The island is the known knowns. The shoreline is where we encounter the known unknowns. And then there is whatever is over the far horizon- the unknown unknowns.

The known knowns are- or should be- a source of pride for our species. The known unknowns spark our curiosity. The unknown unknowns keep us undogmatic. Or should keep us undogmatic. On the floor below me here in the college library are shelf after shelf of books- the Bs, theology and religion- that drag the unknown unknowns kicking and screaming into what is purported to be the known knowns. Much of sectarian violence was and is caused by dressing up unknowns unknowns as known knowns.

Are there unknown unknowns that are unknowable? Who knows? My guess is yes. We are finite creatures living (even as a species) for a finite time in a universe that may be infinite and eternal. Which should be reason enough to live lives of quiet, tolerant, agnostic reverence.”

The Poet: Rolf Jacobsen, "When They Sleep"

"When They Sleep"

"All people are children when they sleep.
There's no war in them then.
They open their hands and breathe
in that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.

They pucker their lips like small children
and open their hands halfway,
soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters.
The stars stand guard
and a haze veils the sky,
a few hours when no one will do anybody harm.

If only we could speak to one another then
when our hearts are half-open flowers.
Words like golden bees
would drift in.
God, teach me the language of sleep."

- Rolf Jacobsen,

"The Roads Have Come to an End Now"

"Life is A Journey- Don't Be Afraid"

"Life is A Journey- Don't Be Afraid"
Author Unknown

"Life is a journey filled with lessons, hardships, heartaches, joys, celebrations and special moments that will ultimately lead us to our destination, our purpose in life. The road will not always be smooth; in fact, throughout our travels, we will encounter many challenges. Some of these challenges will test our courage, strengths, weaknesses, and faith. Along the way, we may stumble upon obstacles that will come between the paths that we are destined to take. In order to follow the right path, we must overcome these obstacles. Sometimes these obstacles are really blessings in disguise, only we don't realize that at the time.

Along our journey we will be confronted with many situations, some will be filled with joy, and some will be filled with heartache. How we react to what we are faced will determine what kind of outcome the rest of our journey through life will be like. When things don't always go our way, we have two choices in dealing with the situations. We can focus on the fact that things didn't go how we had hoped they would and let life pass us by, or two, we can make the best out of the situation and know that these are only temporary setbacks and find the lessons that are to be learned.

Time stops for no one, and if we allow ourselves to focus on the negative we might miss out on some really amazing things that life has to offer. We can't go back to the past, we can only take the lessons that we have learned and the experiences that we have gained from it and move on. It is because of the heartaches, as well as the hardships, that in the end help to make us a stronger person.

The people that we meet on our journey, are people that we are destined to meet. Everybody comes into our lives for some reason or another and we don't always know their purpose until it is too late. They all play some kind of role. Some may stay for a lifetime; others may only stay for a short while. It is often the people who stay for only a short time that end up making a lasting impression not only in our lives, but in our hearts as well. Although we may not realize it at the time, they will make a difference and change our lives in a way we never could imagine. To think that one person can have such a profound effect on your life forever is truly a blessing. It is because of these encounters that we learn some of life's best lessons and sometimes we even learn a little bit about ourselves.

People will come and go into our lives quickly, but sometimes we are lucky to meet that one special person that will stay in our hearts forever no matter what. Even though we may not always end up being with that person and they may not always stay in our life for as long as we like, the lessons that we have learned from them and the experiences that we have gained from meeting that person, will stay with us forever.

It's these things that will give us strength to continue with our journey. We know that we can always look back on those times of our past and know that because of that one individual, we are who we are and we can remember the wonderful moments that we have shared with that person. Memories are priceless treasures that we can cherish forever in our hearts. They also enable us to go on with our journey for whatever life has in store for us. Sometimes all it takes is one special person to help us look inside ourselves and find a whole different person that we never knew existed. Our eyes are suddenly opened to a world we never knew existed- a world where time is so precious and moments never seem to last long enough.

Throughout this adventure, people will give you advice and insights on how to live your life but when it all comes down to it, you must always do what you feel is right. Always follow your heart, and most importantly never have any regrets. Don't hold anything back. Say what you want to say, and do what you want to do, because sometimes we don't get a second chance to say or do what we should have the first time around.

It is often said that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. It all depends on how one defines the word "strong". It can have different meanings to different people. In this sense, "stronger" means looking back at the person you were and comparing it to the person you have become today. It also means looking deep into your soul and realizing that the person you are today couldn't exist if it weren't for the things that have happened in the past or for the people that you have met. Everything that happens in our life happens for a reason and sometimes that means we must face heartaches in order to experience joy."
- Author Unknown, found here: 

"No Bragging Point..."

“It shouldn’t be a bragging point that “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn’t insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable.” 
– Bill Maher

Kahlil Gibran, “Children of Gods, Scions of Apes”

 “Children of Gods, Scions of Apes”
 by Kahlil Gibran

"All that you see was and is for your sake. The numerous books, uncanny markings, and beautiful thoughts are the ghosts of souls who preceded you. The speech they weave is a link between you and your human siblings. The consequences that cause sorrow and rapture are the seeds that the past has sown in the field of the soul, and by which the future shall profit.

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me to love what the people abhor and to show good will toward the one they hate. It showed me that Love is a property not of the lover but of the beloved. Before my Soul taught me, Love was for me a delicate thread stretched between two adjacent pegs, but now it has been transformed into a halo; its first is its last, and its last is its first. It encompasses every being, slowly expanding to embrace all that ever will be.

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me to touch what has never taken corporeal form or crystallized. It made me understand that touching something is half the task of comprehending it, and that what we grasp therein is part of what we desire from it.

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me not to measure time by saying, "It was yesterday, and will be tomorrow." Before my Soul taught me, I imagined the past as an era not to be met with, and the future as an age that I would never witness. But now I know that in the brief moment of the present, all time exists, including everything that is in time — all that is eagerly anticipated, achieved, or realized.

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me not to define a place by saying 'here' or 'there'. Before my Soul taught me, I thought that when I was in any place on the earth I was remote from every other spot. But now I have learned that the place where I subsist is all places, and the space I occupy is all intervals.

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me never to delight in praise or to be distressed by reproach. Before my Soul taught me, I doubted the value of my accomplishments until the passing days sent someone who would extol or disparage them. But now I know that trees blossom in the spring and give their fruits in the summer without any desire for accolades. And they scatter their leaves abroad in the fall and denude themselves in the winter without fear of reproof.

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me and demonstrating to me that I am not exalted over the panhandler nor less than the mighty. Before my Soul taught me, I thought people consisted of two types: the weak, whom I pitied and disregarded, and the powerful, whom I followed or against I rebelled. Now, I have discovered that I was formed as one individual from the same substance from which all human beings were created. I am made up of the same elements as they are, and my pattern is theirs. My struggles are theirs, and my path is theirs.

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me that the lamp which I carry does not belong to me, and the song that I sing was not generated from within me. Even if I walk with light, I am not the light; and if I am a taut-stringed lute, I am not the lute player.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Horton, Michigan, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

Musical Interlude: Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ma5tF6TJpA

“I can't run no more 
with that lawless crowd, 
while the killers in high places 
say their prayers out loud. 
But they've summoned, they've summoned up 
a thundercloud, 
and they're gonna hear from me...”

Good luck, and God help us all, in 2015...

"The American People Are Utterly Clueless About What Is Going To Happen As We Enter 2015"

"The American People Are Utterly Clueless About
 What Is Going To Happen As We Enter 2015"
by Michael Snyder

"The American people are feeling really good right about now. For example, Gallup’s economic confidence index has hit the highest level that we have seen since the last recession. In addition, nearly half of all Americans believe that 2015 will be a better year than 2014 was, and only about 10 percent believe that it will be a worse year. And a lot of people are generally feeling quite good about the people that have been leading our nation. According to Gallup, once again this year Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America and Barack Obama is the most admired man in America. I don’t know what that says about our nation, but it can’t be good. Unfortunately, when things seem to be going well common sense tends to go out the window. A couple days ago, the Guardian ran an article entitled “Goodbye to one of the best years in history“, and a whole lot of people out there are feeling really optimistic these days.  But should they be?

Sadly, what we are experiencing right now is so similar to what we witnessed in 2007 and early 2008.  The stock market had been on a great run, people were flipping houses like crazy and most people were convinced that the party would never end. But then it did end – very painfully. The signs of trouble were there, but most people chose to ignore them.

Sadly, the exact same thing is happening again. On Monday, the price of oil hit a brand new five year low. As I write this, U.S. oil is sitting at a price of $53.76 a barrel, which is nearly a 50 percent decline from the peak earlier this year. There is only one other time in history when the price of oil has declined by more than 50 dollars a barrel in such a short time frame. That was back in the middle of 2008, shortly before the worst stock market crash since the Great Depression.

Unless the price of oil starts really bouncing back, the U.S. economy is going to be hit really hard. Since 2009, oil industry employment has risen by 50 percent. And jobs in the oil industry pay quite well. One figure that I saw put the average weekly wage at about 1700 dollars.

But now we aren’t going to be gaining those types of jobs. Instead, we are going to rapidly start losing them. Already, the oil rig count has dropped for three weeks in a row and is now at an 8 month low.  And as the oil industry suffers, all of the industries that it supports are also going to start feeling the pain.  In fact, Business Insider is reporting that Texas business executives are “freaked out” about what is happening: "Business executives in Texas are worried about the drop in oil prices. On Monday, the Dallas Fed’s latest manufacturing survey showed that activity in Texas was slowing down. The latest composite index came in at 4.1, widely missing expectations and down big from November’s reading. Expectations were for the index to come in at 9, down from 10.5 last month."

So while most Americans are feeling really good about the coming year, many of those with an inside view are becoming quite alarmed. One Texas business executive went so far as to say that the stunning decline in oil prices was “going to make things ugly … quickly.“ Meanwhile, the 9 trillion dollar U.S. dollar carry trade is starting to unwind.

The following is an excerpt from a recent Zero Hedge article: "Oil’s collapse is predicated by one major event: the explosion of the US Dollar carry trade. Worldwide, there is over $9 TRILLION in borrowed US Dollars that has been ploughed into risk assets. Energy projects, particularly Oil Shale in the US, are one of the prime spots for this. But it is not the only one. Economies that are closely aligned with commodities (all of which are priced in US Dollars) are getting demolished too.

Just about everything will be hit as well. Most of the “recovery” of the last five years has been fueled by cheap borrowed Dollars. Now that the US Dollar has broken out of a multi-year range, you’re going to see more and more “risk assets” (read: projects or investments fueled by borrowed Dollars) blow up. Oil is just the beginning, not a  standalone story. If things really pick up steam, there’s over $9 TRILLION worth of potential explosions waiting in the wings. Imagine if the entire economies of both Germany and Japan exploded and you’ve got a decent idea of the size of the potential impact on the financial system. And that’s assuming NO increased leverage from derivative usage."

Ouch.

And yes, as that last excerpt mentioned, derivatives could soon become a massive problem.  The big banks are holding trillions in commodity derivatives that could blow up if the price of oil does not rebound.  Overall, there are five U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives of all types, and the total global derivatives bubble is at least 700 trillion dollars at this point.

At the same time, many are becoming concerned that the unprecedented bond bubble that we are witnessing could soon implode and trillions of dollars of “wealth” could disappear into thin air. In fact, Bloomberg says that we should “get ready for a disastrous year” for bonds: "Get ready for a disastrous year for U.S. government bonds. That’s the message forecasters on Wall Street are sending. With Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen poised to raise interest rates in 2015 for the first time in almost a decade, prognosticators are convinced Treasury yields have nowhere to go except up. Their calls for higher yields next year are the most aggressive since 2009, when U.S. debt securities suffered record losses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

That certainly does not sound very optimistic, does it? Anyone with even a minimal amount of intelligence should be able to see the massive financial bubbles that the central banks of the world have created, and anyone with even a minimal amount of intelligence should be able to see that we are heading for a massive financial implosion which will be extraordinarily painful.

Unfortunately, as I wrote about yesterday, the American people have become “zombiefied“.  Instead of thinking for themselves, they let “the matrix” do their thinking for them. And right now “the matrix” is telling them that everything is going to be just fine in 2015.

If you do not think that there is a propaganda machine that tells us what to think, I want you to watch the video posted below very carefully. This video makes it so obvious that even a small child can understand it…”

"The Rule..."

"Insanity in individuals is something rare- 
but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." 
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"How It Really Is"

"Am I Wrong to Doubt the Government's Economic Figures?"

"Am I Wrong to Doubt the Government's Economic Figures?"
by Bill Bonner

"Has anyone seen my charger?" was probably the most common question heard in the Bonner household this Christmas. Everyone has an electronic communication device of some sort. Every device has a charger. And at any given moment its owner can't find it. iPhones and chargers all look alike. If you are in a house full of young people, and you are slightly retarded, the one in your pocket probably belongs to someone else.

That leaves the poor owner disconnected from what he believes is the real world – the world of Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Instagram. Cut off, he soon goes into a kind of catatonic withdrawal – like a dead Christian mistakenly assigned to the Devil – and cries out in indignation, desperation and pain: "Who took my phone?" Thus prompted, your editor pulls the phone out of his pocket and tries his passcode on it. It doesn't work. So, he replies: "I can't find my phone either."

The Age of Miracles: Christmas has changed since the days of Scrooge and Cratchit. Even at the dinner table, you are likely to find someone checking the latest sports score or stock price. As to the stock price, he needn't bother. There was nothing much going on in the markets. Traders, investors and speculators are enjoying a midwinter holiday. They're also enjoying a spate of good news. As Chris reported yesterday, the latest revision to the third-quarter GDP growth number reveals the US economy growing at a 5% annual rate, with much of the boost coming from consumer spending.

Could that be correct? Sure. This is the Age of Miracles. People are ready to believe anything. Besides, it must be true. The Commerce Department calculated it. And the New York Times reports: "The American economy grew last quarter at its fastest rate in over a decade, providing the strongest evidence to date that the recovery is finally gaining sustained power more than five years after it began. Bolstered by robust spending among consumers and businesses alike, economic output rose at an annual rate of 5% during the summer months, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, a sharp revision from its earlier estimate of 3.9%.

The advance followed a second quarter where growth reached a rate of 4.6% after a decline last winter that was exacerbated by particularly harsh weather. The revision was led by an upswing in investment by businesses, a powerful force for growth in most economic recoveries but one that has lagged in the latest rebound. Higher consumer spending, including increased outlays on health care, and a narrower trade balance also contributed to the summer improvement. The gain makes the third quarter the strongest since the summer of 2003."

Things are looking up. And if they keep looking up like this, we may have to revise our Weltanschauung... or at least that part of it where we think the economy is going to hell in a handcart. On the evidence, it's not going to hell at all. It's going to heaven... without even dying.

Ready to Believe Anything: Nietzsche remarked that there were those who believe nothing and those who are ready to believe anything. There is a time and place for everyone... and this is clearly a time for the latter group. But wait. There's more...

Real personal disposable income is up. Unemployment is down. The lower oil price is putting more than $100 billion of spending power in US consumers' hands. And now we can see Seth Rogen's movie "The Interview" without risking assassination in a crowded movie theater. We watched the movie over the weekend, after we found the appropriate charger. It was so forgettable that we have already forgotten what it was about. But it seemed less and less likely, as the plot unfolded, that the North Koreans would get hot about it. There just wasn't much to get hot about.

Also, it included a familiar, and annoying, line that showed the writers know no more about money than investors do. When he is finally given the opportunity to interview North Korea's top man, our hero asks: "Why don't you feed your people?"

The same question could be asked of any leader anywhere on Earth. No matter whom you put it to, it is equally absurd. No leader feeds his people, no matter what his politics. Farmers feed people. Restaurants feed people. Grocery stores feed people. Mothers feed their children. Charities feed the poor. But political leaders are always and everywhere parasites who are fed by the real food producers.

A more intelligent question would have been: "Why don't you allow the food producers to feed your people?" But we are just picking nits. And why bother? Wonders are all around us, each one more wondrous than the last. Politicians feed their people. Central bankers rescue and rehab their economics. Stocks are more valuable. And we get gluten-free wafers at church. What more could we ask for?

Where's our charger?"

"Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! (With Apologies To Jim Nabors)"

"Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! 
(With Apologies To Jim Nabors)"
by Joseph W. Martin, Jr.

"The conservative voters who cast their ballots for Republicans on the basis of their opposition to Presidential amnesty, Obamacare, out of control spending and the like are at this point disappointed, dare I say angry at the mainline Republicans aligning with Democrats to pass yet another massive spending bill. If this were just a short term continuing resolution too keep government functioning until the new congress is seated the reaction might not have been so visceral, but this was a 7 month funding bill and little more than a sell out to Wall Street.

None of us should be terribly surprised really. What the politicians and the news media doesn't want the public to know is that when it comes to inside the beltway there are three political affiliations. You have those who call themselves Republicans, those who call themselves Democrats and most importantly those who are owned, lock, stock and barrel, body and soul, by the Wall Street financial interests. Of this latter group, this affiliation to Wall Street is binding and they merely disguise themselves as either Republicans or Democrats.

This is the result of the existence of several factors. Namely that we have allowed ourselves to become burdened with career politicians (no term limits on Congressional offices), we have stolen the sovereignty of the individual states with the passage of the 17th amendment and we have allowed Congress to abrogate its responsibilities under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution by its creation of the Federal Reserve Bank and allowing it to control the creation of the nation's currency.

Make no mistake, harbor no illusions, this bill was not some work of bi-partisanship, it was the work of the party of Wall Street and had absolutely nothing to do with so-called traditional party affiliations.  Those who opposed it were not a coalition of conservative Republicans and radical Democrats but simply a combination of those conservatives and Democrats who either lie about or are so deluded as to believe that there is a difference between the fascist statism of Wall Streets moneyed interests and the neo-socialist/communist statism of the left.

If any one has any doubts about this they need only examine the political contribution lists. On average those Democrats (the Clinton wing, for lack of a better term) who voted for this corruption received twice as much cash from Wall Street as those who did not.  Further proof is demonstrated by the included language that allows Wall Street institutions to once again back their derivatives trades with FDIC insured instruments, a practice that had been banned under the Frank Dodd legislation. This puts the taxpayer directly on the hook for several hundred TRILLION dollars of dubious (i.e. worthless) commercial paper. The potential losses in Credit Default Swaps alone dwarf the bank bailout under Bush 43 by a factor of a hundred if not several hundreds. These derivatives are what even Warren Buffet has called "weapons of mass destruction."

With nations like Greece again facing financial ruin, (they have become so desperate for hard currency that they have once again started selling off entire islands in the Aegean Sea. Japan has entered a path of aggressive deliberate inflation, the Yen having fallen from the mid 80s to the USD to over 120 to the USD. With their fractional reserve banking policies the FED and Congress have written us into an $18 Trillion hole that is becoming increasingly acknowledged can NEVER be repaid.

Our own elected and appointed officials may not be willing to state the obvious but many foreign nations can see the train wreck coming. This is why they are slowly and inexorably moving away from the US Dollar based system. Nations like China, Russia and India are accumulating Gold, Silver and Platinum in massive quantities. They are entering bi-lateral and tri-lateral trade agreements that bypass the US based Swift system in ever increasing numbers. They are also selling more US Dollar based instruments (US Treasury Bonds and Notes) at a faster pace than they are buying them, unloading large, long term paper (even at a loss) and buying much shorter term paper.

Factor in falling global oil demand along with Saudi/US colluding to keep production high as a purely political instrument against both Iran and Russia and the train grows ever closer and picks up speed.

Unless and until the American public turn out in the streets in numbers and proportions not seen since the Viet Nam War things will only get worse. The career politicians have to go, en masse. Any Congress critter who has served more than 4 terms in the House and/or 2 terms in the Senate must go. Legislation must be put in place to begin the process of repealing the 17th amendment. Further action must be taken thoroughly audit the Federal Reserve and then to quickly put it on the path to extinction. The "Full faith and credit" of the US dollar has run out and will only be restored to a sound asset based monetary system.

Time grows short. With the latest Supreme Court decision allowing the police to claim ignorance of the law as an excuse for violating the fourth amendment rights of citizens they have now openly admitted that there is one set of laws for the elite and their enforcers and another for the rest of us.  
The noose of naked tyranny grows ever tighter. But as long as the average citizen remains somnambulated with empty meaningless video games, "reality" TV that is anything but, and endless sports spectaculars there is little chance of these or any real and necessary changes will come about. I fear our liberty will die of indifference.”

Monday, December 29, 2014

Musical Interlude: Yanni, "Magical Concluding Musical Performance"

Yanni, "Magical Concluding Musical Performance"
-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbBAlUnNKjM&html5=1

Kahlil Gibran, “Maxims”

 
“Maxims”
by Kahlil Gibran

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.
Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection. 
Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood. 
All that spirits desire, spirits attain.

An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.
If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury;
but if you injure him you will always remember.

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children. I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance, and affection to be art.

And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours.
And if they don’t, they never were.

If you cannot work with love but only with distaste,
it is better that you should leave your work.

If you reveal your secrets to the wind, 
you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. Faith is an
oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”

"Illusions and Seagulls"

"There is a family of us who have this yearning for a kind of excellence that we can manifest every day of our lives, a family who wants to believe we're not pawns, we're not victims on this planet, that knows we have the power within us here and now to change the world we see around us!"

"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in 
each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof."
- Richard Bach, "Illusions: The Adventures of A Reluctant Messiah"

"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
- Richard Bach, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“NGC 7841 is probably known as the Smoke Nebula, found in the modern constellation of Frustriaus, the frustrated astrophotographer. Only a few light-nanoseconds from planet Earth, The Smoke Nebula is not an expanding supernova remnant along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, though it does look a lot like one. Instead it was created by flash photography of rising smoke. 
 Click image for larger size.
The apparently rich starfield is actually composed of water droplets sprayed from a plant mister by an astrophotographer grown restless during a recent stretch of cloudy weather in Sweden. A single exposure and three external flashes were triggered to capture the not-quite-cosmic snapshot.”

Chet Raymo, “We Are The Consciousness of the Universe”

 
“We Are The Consciousness of the Universe”
by Chet Raymo

"The leaves are raked and bagged. The grass is mowed for the last time. The geraniums smile weak goodbyes. Now, as if by some law of compensation, the curtain opens on the sky. The great starless spaces of autumn fall like a black velvet drape into the west. The show opens. The sky begins.

As the Sun sinks beneath the horizon, the Pleiades rise in the east, heralding the arrival of the spectacular winter stars. Aldebaran, the red eye of the Bull. Sirius, the Dog Star. Rigel and Betelgeuse in Orion. Castor and Pollux, the Twins. Old Capella, the She-Goat, with her Kids. And Jupiter, blazing this winter in Gemini, hanging at the zenith like a celestial lamp when I go out to fetch the paper in the pre-dawn dark.

"For one can always watch," said Rilke in the Duino Elegies, "we, spectators always, everywhere, looking at, never out of, everything."

Rainer Maria Rilke turned often to the stars in his poetry. "There, look: the Rider, the Staff, and that fuller constellation they call Fruitgarland. Then, further, towards the Pole: Cradle, Way, the Burning Book, Doll, Window." New, because he newly named them.

When we have stopped watching, stopped naming, then the things of this world will be only their visible selves, said Rilke. The winter stars will be only winters stars. Those most ancient of our household gods, those experienced lights, will have become indifferent. "The most visible joy," he said, "can only reveal itself to us when we've transformed it, within." It is we who must transform the stars. It is we who must give them an invisible reality, beyond the visible. By watching. By naming: Rigel, Betelgeuse, Capella, Aldebaran. They depend upon us, said Rilke, we are their transformers, "our whole existence, the flights and plunges of our love, all fit us for this task."