Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"Choices..."

"Choices"

"Our capacity to choose changes constantly with our practice of life. The longer we continue to make the wrong decisions, the more our heart hardens; the more often we make the right decision, the more our heart softens - or better perhaps, comes alive. Each step in life which increases my self-confidence, my integrity, my courage, my conviction also increases my capacity to choose the desirable alternative, until eventually it becomes more difficult for me to choose the undesirable rather than the desirable action. On the other hand, each act of surrender and cowardice weakens me, opens the path for more acts of surrender, and eventually freedom is lost.

Between the extreme when I can no longer do a wrong act and the extreme when I have lost my freedom to right action, there are innumerable degrees of freedom of choice. In the practice of life the degree of freedom to choose is different at any given moment. If the degree of freedom to choose the good is great, it needs less effort to choose the good. If it is small, it takes a great effort, help from others, and favorable circumstances. Most people fail in the art of living not because they are inherently bad or without will that they cannot lead a better life; they fail because they do not wake up and see when they stand at a fork in the road and have to decide. They are not aware when life asks them a question, and when they still have alternative answers. Then with each step along the wrong road it becomes increasingly difficult for them to admit that they are on the wrong road, often only because they have to admit that they must go back to the first wrong turn, and must accept the fact that they have wasted energy and time."
- Erich Fromm,
"The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil"

"My Thing, Your Thing..."

"I do my thing, and you do your thing. 
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, 
and you are not in this world to live up to mine. 
You are you, and I am I, 
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful."

- Frederick E. Perls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The cape was first class, Don. But that was the most stereotyped, outlandish... I wasn’t scared at all.” He sighed. “Oh well. But you got the point, at least, and that’s what matters.” “What point?” “Richard, in being so fierce toward my vampire, you were doing what you wanted to do, even though you thought it was going to hurt somebody else. He even told you he’d be hurt if...” “He was going to suck my blood!” “Which is what we do to anyone when we say we’ll be hurt if they don’t live our way.”

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

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

“When you look at it that way...”

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

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

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

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Wait For Me”

2002, “Wait For Me”

Musical Interlude: Deuter, "Sea & Silence"

Deuter, "Sea & Silence"

“Why Trump Can’t Cure America”

“Why Trump Can’t Cure America”
by Bill Bonner

"We drove up to Cherbourg yesterday, boarded a ferry, and are now cruising towards Ireland. The trip takes nearly an entire day, but the wifi works onboard…so we were able to stay in contact.
Harbor at Cherbourg
It can be a miserable crossing for someone who gets seasick easily. But the sky was sunny when we got on board, and the trip has been smooth. We have only a couple more hours to go; we are approaching the Irish coast already.

The ship is full of children - French teenagers who are going to Ireland. There must be at least a hundred of them. They are everywhere…and they are always in motion. We sat in the bar this morning, drinking a cup of coffee while watching them go by. One way…then the other. In twos and threes. Some walking. Some running.

Where were they going? We are on a ship; there is nowhere to go. But they couldn’t sit still. Instead, they wandered up and down, round and round, talking, laughing. We pitied their poor chaperones, who tried to keep them quiet and under control. Whoever invented school trips must have done so to torture them.

Below, we follow up on how the feds are bankrupting America, and why a stock market crash, a bear market in bonds, and a depression are now probably inevitable.

Second-place debt: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now predicts that the US government debt load will be worse than Italy’s by 2023. This will put America in second place, just behind Japan, in the race to go broke. It is expected to have a debt/GDP ratio of 117%. This IMF forecast assumes that things will go well. That is, it assumes that there will be no shocks or unexpected developments. But we have already gone a long time without a recession - 109 months. The record is 119 months.

Most likely, a recession will begin…fairly soon. Then, all the estimates will be tossed aside and replaced with much worse numbers. Instead of a $30 trillion debt in 2028, for example, the debt will explode to $40 trillion, or even to $56 trillion, as one of our Dear Readers forecasts.

But even as things now stand, extrapolating only budget projections and visible trends, the federal government is already programmed for bankruptcy. Yes, it can ‘print’ money to cover its debts, but this is just bankruptcy masquerading as inflation. That’s what happens when receipts habitually fail to meet outlays and debt rises faster than the economy that supports it. Some will want to blame Donald J. Trump immediately. But let’s not rush to judgment. The disease was well advanced long before Mr. Trump appeared at the craps game with his MAGA cap.

The desire to balance the budget is described as a ‘conservative’ attitude. But ‘conservativism’ only makes sense in a world of scarcity. If you’re going to live forever anyway, why bother with an estate plan? We try to save time because we know our time is limited. We try to save money because we know it doesn’t grow on trees. But since 1987, when Alan Greenspan rescued the stock market from a correction, the Fed has appeared to have an especially green thumb.

Even at today’s Fed Funds rate of 1.69%, the real rate of interest is less than zero. Because consumer prices are rising at about 2% per year. The Fed’s money is free (to member banks, of course). Even at nominal yields, there is still some $7 trillion in bonds worldwide trading below zero. For nearly three decades, this new money has seemed to be unlimited.

Reality TV White House: Together, central banks have increased their holdings by $17 trillion over the last 10 years. That’s money that didn’t exist before. This gush of liquidity did remarkable things to the economy. Chiefly, it shifted the focus from making things and earning money to consuming things and speculating with credit.

The price of financial assets rose, while the price of the working man’s time stayed about the same. The resulting ‘wealth effect’ made it seem benign. But it was malignant. And it gave the feds the wrong idea - that deficits really don’t matter because there is an almost unlimited amount of money for them to borrow.

The illness was entering its terminal phase even before Donald J. Trump was elected. But his ascendance seemed to give some people hope. He promised to ‘drain the swamp.’ In an era of mealy mouthed, double-talking politicians, Mr. Trump sounded direct, almost honest. Maybe he had a cure! The difference turned out to be mostly aesthetic. Instead of normal TV programming, we got Mr. Trump’s reality TV, in which things are staged to look as though they aren’t staged.

And instead of Deep State insiders calling the shots, we now have an administration that pretends to be fighting the elite, but is even more enthralled to the insiders than its predecessors, largely because it has no idea what else to do.

And instead of a budget deficit of $700 billion as scheduled by Obama-era programs, we now have an additional $300 billion, giving us a projected budget deficit of $1 trillion, under DJT’s leadership.

The Washington Post elaborates: ‘By 2022, the US government is projected to spend almost as much money on interest payments for its massive debt as it will on the Pentagon, more than $600 billion every year. The spiraling expense underscores a frightening reality in Washington: President Trump and Congress have not only massively expanded the US government’s debt, they have broken free of multiple guardrails intended to keep budgets balanced, freeing future lawmakers to further expand the yawning gap between what the government takes in and what it spends.’

Now, this borrowing binge appears impossible to reverse… All the hoopla and razzmatazz about trade deals, Russian meddling, Syrian bombing, and porn stars may not amount to a hill of beans. But $300 billion is a lot of money. That’s on top of the $700 billion already authorized. And it comes as the Fed tries to reverse course.

Instead of enabling the feds’ fantasies by buying their bonds, for the first time in 30 years, the Fed is selling bonds. The combination of frauds and foolishness undoubtedly deserves an ‘extreme warning’. It may or may not be imminent. But it is surely inevitable. Disaster to follow."
"Today’s Fed Funds rate of 1.69%... (to member banks, of course)."
What's the interest rate on your credit cards? Your mortgage? Your car payment?
"Land of the free, and the home of the brave...", baby.

"Stop Stress From Killing You"

"Stop Stress From Killing You"
by Elizabeth Walling

"What is stress? Physiologically, stress could be considered any event that triggers a marked response by the adrenal glands. In basic terms, this response is the release of cortisol. It's the body's natural reaction to any stressor. For occasional stressors, cortisol can provide a burst of benefits like increased energy, heightened reflexes and a higher threshold for pain. However, when stress is chronic, as it often is in modern society, cortisol levels can remain unnaturally high and lead to damaging effects, which include:

• Poor thyroid function
• Hypoglycemia
• Loss of lean body tissue like muscle and bone
• Higher blood pressure
• Susceptibility to illness, infection and disease
• Weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region

Eventually, if the stress is intense or chronic, the adrenal glands struggle to keep up with the many stressors your body encounters. Adrenal fatigue or burnout can result. Lack of energy, poor moods and a decreased ability to handle life's daily stresses are common signs of weak adrenal glands. The health problems caused by adrenal weakness are far reaching and can be serious because without strong adrenal health the body isn't capable of dealing with everyday problems like illness, toxins or emotional stress. Understanding what constitutes stress is one of the most important keys in dealing with it. Otherwise, we could very well be letting untold sources of stress slip through our fingers without notice. Here are some examples of common stressors:

• Emotional and psychological stress. This includes an unhappy work situation, marital friction, negative thought patterns, or death of a loved one.
• Lack of sleep, relaxation and downtime. This is all too common in our society, where many people sacrifice sleep and downtime in order to get more done.
• Allergies. Allergens in food or in your environment can cause stress, and stress can in turn trigger allergic reactions. This results in a vicious cycle which is sure to wear on your adrenals.
• Poor eating habits and diet. A healthy, balanced diet is the foundation of overall health and especially adrenal health. Skipping meals, dieting, or cutting out macronutrients are all stressors.
• Excessive exercise. Staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but the mantra of "exercise more" is repeated so often people tend to think more is better. This is not necessarily true. Over-exercising is just as bad as not exercising at all, if not worse.
• Physical stressors. Whether it's a common cold or a sports injury, illness and physical trauma are stressors. Recurring infections, chronic pain or repeat injuries are especially stressful.
• Toxin exposure. This includes substances like refined sugar, chemical food additives (such as MSG), caffeine, nicotine, airborne pollution, chemicals found in household cleaners, toxins in our water supply, and the host of other chemicals and toxins we encounter every day.

The above list is meant to be used as a resource for identifying the top sources of stress in your life. It may not be possible to avoid every single one of these stressors - in fact, you are sure to encounter many of them throughout your life. But whenever possible, making positive changes in order to reduce the number or intensity of stressors you experience can have a substantial impact on your physical and emotional health.

Seven Keys to Reducing Stress: Once you've identified the top sources of stress in your life, it's important to take action and start moving things in a positive direction. Most people are amazed at the improvement they see in their health after making just a few small but very significant changes. Here are seven simple keys for reducing the stress in your life:

1. 
Reduce Emotional and Psychological Stress: The impact of emotional stress cannot be underestimated, but this type of stress is often overlooked because it is difficult to make changes in this area. A difficult living situation, an unhappy marriage or a stressful job could be a source of major stress that is wearing down your health. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to move, get a divorce or quit your job, but it's important to look for ways to improve your situation in any case. If you're dealing with other stressors like depression, anxiety, or the loss of a loved one, you may want to seek counseling or join a support group that can offer you help. Although it appears small on the surface, negative thought patterns have a way of chipping away at our quality of life by compounding our stress. Establishing healthy patterns of enjoying the moment, reframing, and learning to forgive can have a very positive effect on your health.

2. Prioritize Quality Sleep and Regular Downtime: The impact sleep can have on your life is well documented. Getting at least seven hours every night will balance your cortisol levels, improve your energy and brighten your mood. And just as important as sleep is downtime. It may take some rearranging if your schedule is packed with activities, but it's vital for your health to take time each day to relax and unwind. Taking a day off now and then and freeing yourself from a mile-long to-do list is very restorative as well. And by all means, if you can take a vacation and get away from it all, do it!

3. Improve Food Quality and Eating Habits: It can't be emphasized enough: food is the foundation of your health. A balanced diet of natural foods is a must. All macronutrient groups (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) should be included in balanced ratios. Avoid skipping meals or under-eating. Your body needs quality food for nourishment.

4. Avoid Allergens: If you have allergies, these can trigger a stress response in the body. Do your best to avoid allergens, which includes identifying food allergies so you can make better food choices. On the up side, if you deal properly with other stressors in your life, this may decrease the severity of your allergic reactions (which are, in part, a stress response of their own).

5. Exercise: Make It Smart and Sensible: Exercise is very healthy, but it's important not to overdo it if you're otherwise stressed. Emphasize activities like strength training, yoga, walking and swimming. Avoid overtraining or doing too much cardio, which can exhaust the adrenals.

6. Reduce Physical Stressors: If you get sick, injured or have to deal with chronic pain, try to get the rest and care you need so you can reduce the stress these cause on your body. Allow your body time to heal or, in the case of chronic pain, look for ways to treat the pain or the underlying cause that prevents you from living a normal, happy life.

7. Avoid Toxin Exposure: Most of us can't completely eliminate toxins from our lives, but we can take measures to greatly reduce the amount of toxins our bodies must deal with every day. Filter your water, use natural beauty and cleaning products, eat organic foods, avoid chemical food additives and take the time to enjoy fresh air as much as you can."
For More Information:
1. Schwarzbein, Diana. (2002) "The Schwarzbein Principle II: The "Transition" - A Regeneration Program to Prevent and Reverse Accelerated Aging." Published by HCI.
2. Wilson, James L. (2002) "Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome." Published by Smart Publications.
3. "Cortisol and Stress: How to Stay Healthy"

"As I'm Sure You Guys Know By Now..."

"As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing."
- David Foster Wallace

Free Download: Hermann Hesse, "Siddhartha"

 
"Siddhartha"
by Hermann Hesse

"Siddhartha" is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of a boy known as Siddhartha from the Indian Subcontinent during the time of the Buddha. The book, Hesse's ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple yet powerful and lyrical style. It was first published in 1922, after Hesse had spent some time in India in the 1910s. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated "Siddhartha" to Romain Rolland, "my dear friend".

The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in the Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (meaning or wealth). The two words together mean "he who has found meaning (of existence)" or "he who has attained his goals". The Buddha's name, before his renunciation, was Prince Siddhartha Gautama. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as "Gotama".

Plot summary: It starts as Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin, leaves his home to join the ascetics with his companion Govinda. The two set out in the search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes from asceticism, to a very worldly life as a trader with a lover, and back to asceticism as he attempts to achieve this goal. The story takes place in ancient India around the time of Gautama Buddha (likely between the fourth and seventh centuries BC.

Experience is the aggregate of conscious events experienced by a human in life – it connotes participation, learning and knowledge. Understanding is comprehension and internalization. In Hesse’s novel "Siddhartha," experience is shown as the best way to approach understanding of reality and attain enlightenment – Hesse’s crafting of Siddhartha’s journey shows that understanding is attained not through scholastic, mind-dependent methods, nor through immersing oneself in the carnal pleasures of the world and the accompanying pain of samsara; however, it is the totality of these experiences that allow Siddhartha to attain understanding. Thus, the individual events are meaningless when considered by themselves—Siddhartha’s stay with the samanas and his immersion in the worlds of love and business do not lead to nirvana, yet they cannot be considered distractions, for every action and event that is undertaken and happens to Siddhartha helps him to achieve understanding. The sum of these events is thus experience.

For example, Siddhartha’s passionate and pained love for his son is an experience that teaches him empathy; he is able to understand childlike people after this experience. Previously, though he was immersed in samsara, he could not comprehend childlike people’s motivations and lives. And while samsara clung to him and made him ill and sick of it, he was unable to understand the nature of samsara. Experience of samsara at this point did not lead to understanding; perhaps it even hindered him. In contrast to this, Siddhartha’s experience with his son allows him to love, something he has not managed to do before; once again, the love itself does not lead to understanding.

The novel ends with Siddhartha being a ferryman, learning from a river, and at long last at peace and capturing the essence of his journey: "Slower, he walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: “But what is this, what you have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers, and what they, who have taught you much, were still unable to teach you?” And he found: “It was the self, the purpose and essence of which I sought to learn. It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome it, could only deceive it, could only flee from it, only hide from it. Truly, no thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being separated and isolated from all others, of me being Siddhartha! And there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about Siddhartha!”
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhartha_(novel)

FREE download, in PDF format, of "Siddhartha," by Hermann Hesse is here:
http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/siddhartha.pdf

"Yet Now..."

“Yet now, as he roared across the night sky toward an unknown destiny, he found himself facing that bleak and ultimate question which so few men can answer to their satisfaction. What have I done with my life, he asked himself, that the world will be poorer if I leave it?”
- Arthur C. Clarke, “Glide Path”

Monday, April 23, 2018

“Trump’s Deal With the Deep State”

“Trump’s Deal With the Deep State”
by Bill Bonner

“South Beach… Last week, we were sitting in the hotel restaurant in Miami Beach having breakfast… A man - about 30 - was leaning on the counter. His dirty pants were falling down. He wore a black t-shirt with a skeleton on it. He put his head down on the counter, and said something incomprehensible. He got a cup of coffee, and staggered over to a chair and flopped down, talking to himself. After a few minutes, he got up. He clutched his pants, which were almost around his knees. He wobbled. He lurched. He headed for the door and disappeared out through it.

Then, a woman… voluptuous… pretty… dressed in white jeans, with a very low-cut t-shirt came in the same door. She looked in our direction. She said something. We couldn’t make it out. Was she asking the time of day? Directions? We smiled. She came towards us and sat down next to us on the couch. She whispered… “Would you like a massage?”

Two young men came in. Shorts. T-shirts. Almost identical outfits. But one wore his baseball cap backwards. They held hands. Smiled at each other. They got cappuccinos. They left. South Beach.

Staged Revenge: But let’s turn to our familiar beat - the world of money. Or, more particularly, the world of deceit and delusion known as “economics.” Unromantic. Tawdry. But fascinating. Last week, we were looking at fake wars. As you know, these are wars that no one wants to win, since their real purpose is to shift wealth from the public to the war-fighting industries. Our point was that even fake wars sometimes spin out of control - when people forget what kind of war they’re fighting, for example.

Early last week, U.S. President Donald J. Trump was taking the trade war far too seriously. Then, his Deep State handlers must have straightened him out on that; before the week was over, he declared that he wanted to get back into the Trans-Pacific Partnership! Then, he went off message again… this time, on the war on terrorism. A gas attack against civilians in Syria had been alleged; the president wanted to retaliate.

As you know, no sparrow can fall anywhere on the planet without inviting a U.S. counterattack against the starlings. Observers wondered why the president didn’t wait to find out who had actually perpetrated the attack, if anyone. But they failed to understand the nature of fake war. It didn’t really matter whether any atrocities had been committed, or who had committed them. As it turned out, the gas attack was most likely fake. Perfect; the U.S. could stage a fake revenge attack, too!

Russia was notified in advance of where and when the U.S. would attack, allowing time for the “enemy” - whoever they are - to make themselves scarce. The Donald had an opportunity to show what a tough, decisive leader he is without doing any real harm. It was all for the benefit of the fans… and, of course, the Deep State. So far, so good.

Deep State War: Then, no sooner had we all relaxed when, on Sunday, a new war flared up - the war between Donald J. Trump and the Deep State itself. Many people think this war is real. Donald J. Trump, they believe, is fighting for “the people”, and the Deep State is trying to stop him. He really wants to drain the swamp, they say; it’s not his fault the water is getting deeper.

Anything is possible. Mr. Trump’s instincts are clearly “populist - he certainly understands the showbiz side much better than most politicians. But he is no fool. Hardly had the sun set on the polling stations in November 2016 when he invited the Wall Street insiders from Goldman Sachs, and a trio of retired generals, to join him in the White House.

But there are many different factions in the Deep State. Like sows at a feeding trough, they bump into each other trying to get at the swill. And the winners are usually those that are most heavily armed. Leaping ahead, we notice that whenever there is a “populist” movement in politics, it almost always leads to the military wing of the Deep State taking control. Caesar, Lenin, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler, Perón, Castro - revolutions begun in the name of the “people” tend to degrade into military dictatorships.

Why? Because government is always a way for the few to take advantage of the many… and the fraud is easier to pull off when you can invoke those atavistic “us versus them” emotions. The lumpen naturally rally ‘round the flag and support the military - no matter how absurd the situation. And if they don’t, you shoot them.”

X22 Report, “Warning To All, The Establishment Reveals The People Are Liable For The Debt”

 X22 Report, “Warning To All, 
The Establishment Reveals The People Are Liable For The Debt”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCv3VTAlDI8

Musical Interlude: Liquid Mind, "Balance (Galaxies)"

Liquid Mind, "Balance (Galaxies)"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“This colorful skyscape features the dusty, reddish glow of Sharpless catalog emission region Sh2-155, the Cave Nebula. About 2,400 light-years away, the scene lies along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the royal northern constellation of Cepheus.  
 Click image for larger size.
Astronomical explorations of the region reveal that it has formed at the boundary of the massive Cepheus B molecular cloud and the hot, young, blue stars of the Cepheus OB 3 association. The bright rim of ionized hydrogen gas is energized by the radiation from the hot stars, dominated by the bright blue O-type star above picture center. Radiation driven ionization fronts are likely triggering collapsing cores and new star formation within. Appropriately sized for a stellar nursery, the cosmic cave is over 10 light-years across.”

Chet Raymo, “Trying To Be Good”

 
“Trying To Be Good”
by Chet Raymo

“A few lines from Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese":

    "You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves."

"I've quoted these lines before, if not here, then elsewhere. When I first read them back in the late 80s, they resonated with what I felt at the time. I had spent part of my earliest adulthood walking on my knees, both literally and metaphorically, seeking to tame what I took to be the animal within. Saint Augustine was whispering in my ear, and Bernanos' gloomy country priest walked at my side. I was ready to follow Thomas Merton into the desert; indeed, I once took myself briefly to the monastery at Gethsemane, Kentucky, where Merton was in residence. That was a journey of more than a hundred miles, and I was busy repenting, although of what I don't know.

As I read those lines from Mary Oliver in middle age, I had long been cultivating the "soft animal" within, immersing myself in the is-ness of things, the flesh and blood, the gorgeously sensual. No more walking on my knees, repenting. I walked proudly upright, with my sketchbook and my watercolors, my binoculars and my magnifier, sniffing the world like an animal on the prowl. I was letting my body learn to "love what it loves." Those were the years I wrote The Soul of the Night and Honey From Stone -- the most intensely creative years of my life. The world offered itself to my imagination, if I may borrow another line from "Wild Geese."

And now, another half-lifetime has passed. The soft animal dozes, the body seeks repose. And I think of the first line quoted above: "You do not have to be good." What could the poet have possibly meant by that? Of course one has to be good. In a cell at Gethsemane or on the bridge over Queset Brook, one has to be good. And so one tries, one tries. The soft animal of the body that nature has contrived for us is not fine-tuned for goodness.”
“Wild Geese”
by  Mary Oliver

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."

"Never, Ever Forget..."

Never, ever forget that nothing in this life is free. Life demands payment in some form for your "right" to express yourself, to condemn and abuse the evil surrounding us. Expect to pay... it will come for you, they will come for you, regardless. Knowing that, give them Hell itself every chance you can. Expect no mercy, and give none. That's how life works. Be ready to pay for what you do, or be a coward, pretend you don't see, don't know, and cry bitter tears over how terrible things are, over how you let them become.
- Ernest Hemingway, "For Whom the Bell Tolls "

"I Can’t Get No…"

"I Can’t Get No…"
by Bill Bonner

"In the summer of 1965, President Johnson opened a new phase of the war in Vietnam. Instead of observing, training, advising and protecting… US soldiers were to go on the offensive. It was already nearly a half-century after Woodrow Wilson had put America into the empire business; still, the country was just getting the hang of it. But in a matter of months, there would be more than half a million U.S. troops in that steamy hellhole. Their mission was to protect Western democracy from the communist menace. That they were on a fools’ errand, sent by imbeciles and commanded by blockheads was apparent then, as now, to anyone who took a minute to think about it. But only a philosopher with a stone heart could do so; almost everyone else went along - believing what they had to believe.

People think the most preposterous things. But the most preposterous thing they think is that they think at all. We have come to that conclusion after much observation, reflection and experience. Practically every stance any man ever took can be traced not to his head… but down to his feet…to the circumstantial rocks and sand upon which he stands.

Before the Limelight: When America was a humble republic, with neither the means nor the will to play a part on the world’s great stage, its leaders were content with minor, supporting roles. "Mind your own business," was practically engraved on the nation’s currency. Then, when its economy became the world’s largest, in 1910, and its ambitions grew, it stepped out under the proscenium arch with the cautious confidence of a young Booth or Barrymore. It knew even then that it was destined for a long career before the limelight.

So it adjusted its ideas. It found that it had to "make the world safe for democracy." Because democracy was what it had. For reasons that are still largely inexplicable, it decided that Germany, rather than England, represented a threat to democracy. As a matter of logical thinking, it made no sense. But thoughts are always subordinate to circumstance. Britain was in decline and ready to hand over the imperial baton to America. Germany, on the other hand, was an ascendant industrial power. It was Germany that had to be defeated in order for the US imperium to rule the world.

In this instance, as in so many others, America may have miscalculated. In defeating Germany, she gave rise to another competitor - the Soviet Union. And by the summer of 1965, this new empire - with its comic creed and suicidal tendencies - had taken over the half the world. So it appeared to the empire builders in Washington that they couldn’t afford to lose another square meter to the red menace. They did not know it, but communism had reached a peak. It was overpriced and overbought. A quarter of a century later, it would be history, probably whether a shot was fired or not.

If that were all that had happened in the summer of 1965, it would have passed in through these pages as just another warm spell of fraud and claptrap. But something important happened that year too.

As Tears Go By: Earlier in the year, Keith Richards was staying in a motel in Clearwater, Florida, with a guitar and a tape recorder by his side. He was 21 years old. Having a hard time sleeping, perhaps jet-lagged, he worked on a riff modeled after something by Chuck Berry. The year before, the Stones had done their first tour of the United States. Unlike the Beatles, they were received poorly. Dean Martin mocked them. Ed Sullivan was cold and reserved. But their popularity was growing. In 1964, their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, had practically locked Richards and Mick Jagger in an apartment in Chelsea. They had to write some songs, he told them. What they wrote was the tender "As Tears Go By."

Readers may wonder why we are writing about the Rolling Stones. We answer: first, because we have been thinking about the difference between price and value. We find the subject sticks in our brains, like a melody. We remember when "As Tears Go By," came out. That too haunted us like a ghost - it was there when we went to bed. It was still there when we woke up in the morning. It was a soundtrack in the back of our brains. We never knew exactly when we would hear it… or when it would be silent.

That is the way good music is. Whether it is popular or classical… it sticks with you. Somehow, without passing through the logical, word-processing, humbug-churning part of the brain, it goes into the mind and furnishes the sentiments. It has value - a value you can’t put a price on. You can hear music for nothing. In the summer of 1965, some of the best music ever produced by man came out. For some extraordinary reason, the world was flush with political claptrap for which it paid a high price but high-value popular music you could get for free. All summer long, the Stones’ new hit – "Satisfaction" – was on the radio.

Their Own Sound: We are not music critics. But we can’t help but notice that most of the music played by most of the world’s people most of the time is bosh. We do not know how it works; it does not appeal directly to the intellectual faculties. There is no rational way to judge it; still it seems as stupid and puerile as a Senate speech. The ideas, sentiments, and musical combinations themselves are worn out. They sound like humbug set to music. This true of all musical genres. You’re as likely to find it in the highbrow opera houses of Paris as in the low dives of the Tennessee backwoods… in the avant-garde, as in the traditional.

Against this backdrop of lame mediocrity in the early 1960s came an exceptional group of fresh and talented musicians; in the summer of 1965, they reached a kind of bull market peak. There was Bob Dylan with his "Like a Rolling Stone." The Beatles came out with "Yesterday." The Who produced "My Generation." And the Beach Boys classic, "California Girls," also came out that year.

Each had its own sound. Each left a tune in your mind that stayed for days… weeks… months - like an immunization against tetanus, some remained in the blood for years. Many are still there… nearly 50 years later… coursing through our vessels, pumping through the old heart valves, occasionally spraying up in our brains, too, like happy memories, for no apparent reasons. We recall when we first heard them. It was as if we had done more than merely listened to music. We thought we had lived through something special, something important. It was if we would never be the same, never able to go back to our work in quite the same way… or to look at things in the same way.

Inspiration and Suffering: They say that great artists are tortured… that they feel pain more acutely and are able to express it more eloquently than most people. "My compositions," said Schubert, "spring from my sorrow." Beethoven’s genius was traced to Guilietta Guicciardi. The Beach Boys had no shortage of California girls to provide inspiration and suffering.

The Stones were no exception; they shared models and mistresses. They had their Ruby Tuesdays who could not be tamed. But they also had plenty of women "under my thumb." That was the nice thing about the Rolling Stones; they were able to turn the conventions around. They were raw, but still refined. They were tortured, but they were torturers, too. They could dig around in the mud of man’s eternal tragedy, but they could have fun doing it. They appeared to trashy, cheap, layabout drug addicts, but they were imposters; they were far more than they appeared to be.

Their music rested on the work of Berry, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley, but they added some delightful nuance that the old rockers couldn’t manage. " Blue Turns to Grey," "Sitting on a Fence," as well as "Ruby Tuesday," were not just songs of disappointment and disillusion. They have a kind of elegant sweetness that surpass the genre.

In "Satisfaction," Keith Richards began by borrowing from Chuck Berry, but he worked on it and gave it more life. In a Los Angeles studio, he worked with a collaborator of Phil "Wall of Sound" Spector and the sound engineer David Hassinger. They managed to fill it out – and give it that distinct distortion that makes the opening of "Satisfaction" sui generis. By midsummer, the song was a No. 1 hit in practically the entire world. Young American boys listened to it on their way to getting themselves killed in the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam.

Some things have no value. Others have no price. A young man tends to focus on prices. But a middle-aged man sitting around in the French countryside listening to old Rolling Stones tunes wonders more about value. He sees more life behind him than in front of him, like a man down to his last dollar wondering how to get the most of it."