Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"Do You Remember..."

 "Do you remember still the falling stars
that like swift horses through the heavens raced
and suddenly leaped across the hurdles
of our wishes - do you recall?
And we did make so many! 
For there were countless numbers of stars: 
each time we looked above we were
astounded by the swiftness of their daring play,
while in our hearts we felt safe and secure
watching these brilliant bodies disintegrate,
knowing somehow we had survived their fall."
- Rainer Maria Rilke

"A Little Parenthesis In Eternity..."

 "We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust,
swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity.
Life is eternal.
We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other,
to meet, to love, to share.
This is a precious moment.
It is a little parenthesis in eternity."

- Paulo Coelho, "The Alchemist"

Musical Interlude: Simon & Garfunkel, "A Hazy Shade Of Winter"

Simon & Garfunkel, "A Hazy Shade Of Winter"

The Poet: Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within A Dream”

“A Dream Within A Dream”

“Take this kiss upon the brow! 
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream; 
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone? 
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep! 
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp? 
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave? 
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?” 

- Edgar Allan Poe

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Near the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies 5 million year young star cluster NGC 602. Surrounded by natal gas and dust, NGC 602 is just below center in this telescopic field of view with the angular size of the Full Moon on the sky. 
Click image for larger size.
The cluster itself is about 200 light-years in diameter. Glowing interior ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602's massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster's center. Of course, the more extended wings of emission in the region suggest a popular name for the complex cosmic environment, The Flying Lizard Nebula.”

The Poet: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "What If?"

"What If?"

"What if you slept?
And what if,
In your sleep
You dreamed?

And what if,
In your dream,
You went to heaven
And there plucked
A strange and
Beautiful flower?

And what if,
When you awoke,
You had the flower
In your hand?

... Ah, what then?"

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Free Download: Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act,
 just once, with beauty and courage.
 Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, 
something helpless that wants our love.”

Freely download “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke here:

Chet Raymo, “The Universe Becomes Conscious of Itself”

“The Universe Becomes Conscious of Itself” 
by Chet Raymo

"By now most of us will have seen this spectacular photograph of a dusty star-birthing region of the Carina Nebula. I offer a slightly different cropping from what you may have seen in the media or on APOD. Please click the image to see it it all of its glory.

Click image for larger size.
Let me add some context. The image shows an area of the sky that you could cover with the intersection of two crossed sewing pins held at arms length. Think about that for a minute. Hold two imaginary crossed pins up against the sky and think of the area covered by their intersection, what a tiny part of the visible universe you are looking at. The photo shows a nebulosity that is invisible to the naked eye, in the midst of the southern-hemisphere Milky Way. Where is this object? Our Sun is on the inside edge of an arm of our spiral galaxy, about two-thirds of the way - 30,000 light-years - out from the center. The Carina Nebula is in the same spiral arm, trailing along 7500 light-years behind us as we make our languorous 200-million-year rotation about the galactic axis. There are hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, including the ones you see aborning here. And the Milky Way Galaxy is just one of tens of billions of galaxies we could potentially see with present telescopes.

Now, in my usual mischievous way, let me juxtapose two images of the heavens (please click to fill your screen). On the left is Gustave Dore's rendering of Dante and Beatrice looking upon the heavenly realm, the choirs of angels attendant upon the Diety, the anthropomorphic Empyrean Fields where the souls of the Blessed find everlasting life, just up there beyond the spheres of air and aether. And on the right, the new image from the Hubble.

Click image for larger size.
I'm confident that anyone who visits here, and probably most educated people, will agree that the image on the right, and my description above, is the truer representation of the universe we live in. But which universe do we psychologically inhabit? I would maintain that the great majority of educated people today have not yet assimilated the picture on the right, and continue to live as if they were contemporaries of Dante. I know I have a hard time grasping the scale of the universe as revealed by modern astronomy - and I have been studying and teaching this stuff for a lifetime. Coming to terms with the vast size and apparent indifference of the universe is not easy when the tug of culture continually pulls us back into the cozy human-centered cosmos of our ancestors.

Where is our contemporary Beatrice who will take us by the hand and lead us into the swirling star-birthing vortex of the Carina Nebula, and say to us, "See, all this is the gift of the human intellect - human ingenuity and human daring - all this is contained in those convolutions of mortal flesh that sit at the top of your spine"?

X22 Report: “Deep State Playbook Dead, Fear, Panic, Cornered, The Light Is Shining Brighter"

X22 Report: “Deep State Playbook Dead, Fear,
 Panic, Cornered, The Light Is Shining Brighter"

"All Alone..."

"We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and - in spite of True Romance magazines - we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely - at least, not all the time - but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness."
- Hunter S. Thompson,
“The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman”

"Alone" does not mean "lonely"...

"13 Symptoms That Point to a Weak Immune System"

"13 Symptoms That Point to a Weak Immune System"
by Irina Radosevix, MD

"We all know someone who radiates good health. They jump out of bed in the morning and whizz through their day without an ounce of fatigue. They have great skin, healthy hair, and they’re never ill. They probably aren’t just lucky; the chances are they have a robust immune system which keeps them free from illness and full of energy. If you find that you come down with every bug that goes around and you feel under the weather most of the time, your immune system probably needs a little help.

The Role of the Immune System: 
So, what is our immune system exactly, and what does it do? The immune system is made up of a lot of different cells which protect the body from parasites, bacteria, viruses, and the growth of tumors.
Click image for larger size.
What makes up the immune system?
The Bone Marrow: The cells of the immune system form in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces cells called B cells, which produce antibodies to fight infection, killer cells, which can kill tumor and viral infected cells, granulocytes, which break down bacteria in the body, and red blood cells.

The Thymus: The function of the thymus is to produce T cells. T cells are responsible for the body’s immune response when a foreign body or toxin enters the bloodstream. Their cells can also kill viruses and bacteria. The cells can be found in the liver, lungs, blood, and intestines.

The Spleen: The spleen filters the blood. It is made up of B cells, T cells, killer cells, red blood cells and cells called macrophages. Macrophages are like scavengers, they pick up and ingest foreign bodies in the blood, whether it be a virus, parasite, or bacteria. Macrophages carry foreign bodies to the spleen to be destroyed and to initiate an immune response in the body.

The Lymph Nodes: Lymph nodes are found throughout the body and are a kind of filter for the immune system. The lymph nodes drain fluid from our body’s tissues, foreign bodies are filtered out and the lymph is returned to the bloodstream.

Signs of a Strong Immune System:
You rarely catch a cold, or any other illness for that matter. The most visible sign of having a good immune system is that you will hardly ever catch colds or infections. If you do get sick, the symptoms tend to be milder, and the illness doesn’t tend to last as long. You don’t tire easily. If your immune system is healthy, you will have plenty of energy and won’t suffer from fatigue too often.

A healthy immune system can fight off infection or viruses, though this does not mean that you will never require medical intervention for an illness. Medicine is often needed to reduce inflammation, which is the cause of most of the unpleasant symptoms that you get when you’re ill. However, the fact that the inflammation occurred in the first place is because your immune system at work!

What can compromise the immune system?
A weakened immune system can’t protect the body from illness. Your immune system might be weak if you have cancer, heart disease, blood disorders or HIV. If you have one of these conditions, it is possible that your immune system can become overwhelmed and you can die from a simple infection that a healthy immune system could fight off. If you don’t suffer from one of these illnesses, you could still be weakening your immune system in the following ways:

Binge Drinking: Alcohol can destroy antibodies necessary for fighting disease. It can cause dehydration and nutritional deficiency which harms immunity. A study in a biomedical journal found that even a single incidence of binge drinking can weaken the immune system for up to a few days.

Smoking and exposure to smoke:  Smoking causes inflammation in the body, and the chemicals can weaken immune defenses. It is well known that people, especially children, who are exposed to secondhand smoke suffer from more respiratory infections.

Not getting enough sunlight: Exposure to the sun makes our bodies produce vitamin D which makes our disease-fighting T cells function at their best. Vitamin D deficiency is linked with an increased risk of infection. Try to get at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure per day, without sunscreen.

Stress: Stress and worry affect your immune system. Stress increases the production of a hormone called cortisol which can affect the immune response, the digestive system, and the reproductive system.

Lack of personal hygiene: Poor hygiene exposes you to more germs and potentially harmful bacteria which cause illness. However, studies have shown that the lack of exposure to germs in childhood can increase the risk of disease as there is no chance to build up immunity. Washing your hands regularly, showering daily and keeping your teeth clean can all reduce the risk of getting infections.

Not getting enough sleep: A lack of sleep is associated with a weak immune function. The body repairs and restores itself during sleep, and prepares its defenses. Without sleep, this doesn’t happen, leaving you more prone to infections and other chronic illnesses.

Being sedentary: Regular moderate exercise strengthens the immune system, though don’t push yourself too hard. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that strenuous exercise depletes the immune system for up to 24 hours.

Dehydration: Drinking plenty of water helps flush toxins out of the body and gives the immune system a helping hand. Dehydration can affect your energy levels and even your sleep quality, both of which can impact upon immunity.

Overusing antibiotics: The misuse of antibiotics can lead to you becoming resistant to their effect so they might not work as well as they should. You will end up needing stronger treatment which will increase the chance of unwanted side effects. Remember, antibiotics are for bacterial infections, not viruses.

Signs That Your Immune System is Weak:
Fatigue: If you always feel exhausted, and you get tired quickly, it could be a sign that your immune function isn’t too high. Of course, fatigue can have a lot of causes so see your doctor if the tiredness persists.

Frequent Infections: If you often pick up respiratory or urinary infections, it means that your immune system is overwhelmed and can’t fight invading viruses and bacteria as it should.

You Always Catch a Cold or Have a Sore Throat: If you pick up every bug going, your immune system might not be working well. See your doctor to discuss possible reasons why you might be more prone to illness, and if there’s anything underlying going on.

Allergies: Some people are allergic to dust and pollen, but they respond more than most and become quite ill. This is a sign of an overwhelmed immune system which needs a little help.

Injuries That Are Slow to Heal: Our skin is the first line of defense against invading viruses and bacteria. If the immune system is low, the skin can become infected, invaded by bacteria, and you will notice that wounds will be slow to heal.

Weight Loss or Weight Gain: If the immune system is impaired, the body will not be able to protect itself, so it musters all its available energy to fight infection, which can result in weight loss. The immune system also works in the digestive system to prevent the growth of bacteria and parasites. If the immune system is weak, parasites and bacteria can flourish and reduce the amount of nutrients absorbed from food. This can also lead to weight loss. Weight gain is also associated with low immunity. If fat cells are stored rather than broken down for energy, the liver has to work overtime to help break fats down, rather than being able to fulfill its primary role of getting rid of toxins from the system.

Digestive Problems: If you suffer from digestive issues like diarrhea, stomach infections, and nausea, it’s a sign that your immune system might be weakened. Bacteria and cells live in your gut that are an essential part of your immune system, so if all is not well, it’s likely that your immunity is not that great either.

Anemia: If the immune system is compromised, sometimes it can mistake healthy red blood cells for invaders. The immune system attacks and destroys the red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

Hair Loss: If the immune system is in overdrive, it can attack other cells in the body. If the immune system attacks the hair follicles, it can cause hair loss. A severe form of this is alopecia, which can cause loss of eyelashes and eyebrows too.

Joint Pain: When the immune system is impaired, it can start to attack healthy tissue and cause damage to it, so if you are regularly suffering from joint pain, your immune system might be a little off-kilter.

Mouth Ulcers: Mouth ulcers often appear when we are run down or stressed, or in other words, when the immune system is compromised.

Cancer: Cancer cells can sometimes hide from the immune system so they can’t be identified, so they are quite clever. The cancer cells can prevent the immune system from responding effectively. A healthy immune system can generally recognize invading cells and destroy them. A weak immune system is more easily defeated by stronger, more organized cancer cells.

What can you do to improve immunity? 
There’s no magic pill to improve immunity, you have to adopt some healthy habits to keep your system functioning as it should.

Exercise: Not getting enough exercise can make you sluggish and it can affect your immune system. Exercise is excellent for general immunity, and you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, even walking has been shown to benefit your immune system. Research shows that people who exercise regularly have more efficient white cells which fight infection. And as we know, exercise is known to release endorphins into the bloodstream; the body’s happy hormone, which reduces stress and promotes sound sleep. These are essential for good immunity.

Eat a Healthy Diet: Proper nutrition is essential for the proper functioning of your immune system. A diet high in sugar and alcohol can feed infections so you might want to avoid these if your immune system is low. Ensure that your diet contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Other immune boosting foods include garlic and mushrooms, both of which have antiviral and antibiotic properties.

Get Enough Sleep: Apart from making you chronically fatigued, lack of sleep can make you prone to illness and infection. If sleep deprivation is chronic, it can lead to diabetes and heart disease.  When you sleep, the body heals itself. If you don’t sleep, your body does not get the chance to repair and restore, and your immune function is impaired. Research has shown that 7 hours of sleep per night is associated with an optimal immune function.

Learn to Manage Stress: When your body is under constant stress, you’re more prone to illness and infection. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream when we are under stress, and these weaken the immune system. Find out what works for you regarding managing stress, whether it’s meditation, yoga or listening to music.

Don’t Abuse Alcohol or Drugs: Drinking too much alcohol can reduce the ability of the body’s white cells to fight infection. A moderate amount of alcohol, such as red wine can have some health benefits due to the antioxidants. Recreational drugs also affect the white blood cells and inhibit their disease-fighting function.

Nurture Your Relationships: People with healthy personal relationships and good support networks tend to be healthier and have better immune systems. A healthy sex life can even improve immunity. A study of students found that those who had intercourse regularly had higher levels of an immune system protein called immunoglobulin. Sex can reduce stress and promote better sleep too.

Final Thoughts:
If you are always tired, come down with every bug going, and just feel like you’re dragging your feet all the time, that chances are that your immune system isn’t functioning as well as it could. The immune system is a fantastic thing. If you think about the numbers of potential germs and bacteria that are just waiting to invade our systems at any given time, it makes you realize how hard our cells work to combat the nasties.

If you have a chronic illness, or if you are receiving cancer treatment, for example, the immune system is likely to be low, and you must be extra careful not to pick up any infections as they could potentially be much more severe for you than they would be for a person with a healthy immune system.

But if your immune system is not compromised, factors in your lifestyle could be to blame for poor immunity. Drinking too much alcohol and smoking can inhibit immune function, as can lack of sleep, lack of exercise and a poor diet. Our immune system is very powerful, but it can only do so much, and it needs a little help from time to time. When it becomes overwhelmed, we become unable to fight infection, we might have skin trouble and digestive problems. It’s our body’s way of telling us that something is not right and that we have to make changes.

Stress has a significant effect on immunity. Who doesn’t get stressed these days? A little bit of stress is stimulating, but too much stress can impair our immune function. The fast pace of modern life is too much at times, so we need to be aware that work hard, play hard is not always going to be an option. Sometimes we have to listen when our body is telling us to slow down and look after ourselves better. We need to remember to keep life simple, to nurture our relationships and friendships, which will ultimately make us healthier, happier, and more fulfilled.

Our immune system works tirelessly to protect us, and we don’t give it a second thought until something goes wrong. Until we experience a sore throat, the inflammation, the stomach problems, which is our immune system fighting desperately hard to tackle any invading bugs.

We get one body, and we need to look after it. Our bodies are complicated pieces of machinery which have been protecting us from disease, adapting to changing surroundings and lifestyles and helping us to survive since the beginning of time. Our bodies are not cut out for modern life; for processed diets and sedentary lifestyles, yet they still survive. Take a moment to think about what an amazing thing that is. Think about what we put our bodies through every day, yet they do (mostly) what we ask of them. Be kind to your body. Nourish it with healthy food, condition it with exercise and balance it with healthy products, after all, it has to last you a lifetime."
Updated: September 05, 2018 by Dr. Kimberly Langdon M.D. All medical facts and points stated on this page are correct as of this date. Please be aware that new content and additional references were added in this last update. All the content and media has been uploaded by Lily Greene our webmaster, who is also in charge of page design. 

The Daily "Near You?"

Thief River Falls, Minnesota, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"I Hope I End Up..."

"I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun- hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, "Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case." I will turn and say to them, "It is you who are the basket case! For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!" And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup."
- Henry Rollins

Gregory Mannarino, "Post Market Wrap Up 9/25/18: Tomorrow Is FED. DAY!"

Gregory Mannarino, "Post Market Wrap Up 9/25/18: Tomorrow Is FED. DAY!"

"After All..."

"A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, 
and life is after all a chain." 
- William James

"It Is Our Fate..."

"Well, it is our fate to live in a time of crisis. To live in a time when all forms and values are being challenged. In other and more easy times, it was not, perhaps, necessary for the individual to confront himself with a clear question: What is it that you really believe? What is it that you really cherish? What is it for which you might, actually, in a showdown, be willing to die? I say, with all the reticence which such large, pathetic words evoke, that one cannot exist today as a person – one cannot exist in full consciousness – without having to have a showdown with one’s self, without having to define what it is that one lives by, without being clear in one’s mind what matters and what does not matter.” 
- Dorothy Thompson

"Can Only 'Good Guys' Enforce the Constitution?"

"Can Only 'Good Guys' Enforce the Constitution?"
by Bill Bonner

FRANKFURT, GERMANY – "Time is money. Money is time. Get over it. We lost a lot of time yesterday. We were meant to fly to Buenos Aires from Frankfurt. But things often go wrong. Our flight from Dublin was late, so we missed the onward plane. Then, Frankfurt Airport turned into a bad French movie – with hundreds of passengers (including your editor) wandering around like zombies in a dead-zone area, and no way to get out. Finally, a fat man on a bicycle came along and showed us the way to liberate ourselves.

We also complicated our situation by leaving a small bag on the plane. Size matters. In a small airport, such as the one in Cork, Ireland, we could have just told someone. They would have retrieved the bag for us, and we would have been on our way in minutes. But the airport at Frankfurt is immense. There is no one to ask about anything. And since many flights had been delayed by a sudden storm, as ours was, hundreds of people were lining up to ask the clerks to reroute them.

It could have been worse. They could have been starving people lining up for food. Or refugees trying to get out of a war zone. Or a mob of millions, whose credit cards no longer work after the credit market collapses.

Out of Time: Out of money and out of time, people become desperate. But there will be no use raising a fist and howling at the cosmic injustice of it. Neither money nor time will care, and neither should the Supreme Court.

The bull market on Wall Street is running out of time. The economic expansion, too, is at the end of its life expectancy. A trade war is heating up, which could cripple the Chinese economy, and flatten that of the U.S., too. China depends on its surpluses with the U.S. But so do the Deep State moneybags. If trade seizes up, it’s just a matter of time before the whole thing blows up. And the Supremes, as we showed yesterday, are partly to blame.

But what ho! A new accuser! And maybe another 100 million hours spent on the story! This time, a woman alleges that she got drunk at a party. And with the aid of lawyers and the media, she was able to recover a hazy memory of the Supreme Court nominee taking off his pants! (Readers are invited to get used to exclamation points! We’re going to need a lot of them to get through the story!) We didn’t even know it was an offense to take off your pants at a party! Shows how out-of-it we are! And here we connect some dots, perhaps unwanted, and surely unwelcome.

But time is not to be trifled with. The minutes leave; they don’t come back. It doesn’t matter what anyone remembers… what they want… or how they feel about it. The press reported yesterday that the elite students of Yale Law School want a chance to tell the nation how their personal lives – as women, gays, whatever – could be affected by a Justice Kavanaugh.

But to make a long story short, neither time, money, nor the Supreme Court give a damn. Yes, dear reader, here at the Diary, Trump’s true believers are mad at us because we have our doubts about him. Trump’s enemies are mad at us because we have our doubts about him. And now, women are mad at us, too. Why? Because we have our doubts about the entire thing. “Believe the women!” they say. And yes, we believe the women are telling what they think is the truth. But what difference does it make what we believe, or what truth the women are telling?

Slain Giant: Ah, there it is… Right there, out in the open… like a giant slain by a sling. The mighty Supremes… the (pre-1971) almighty dollar… the supreme might of time itself – they are supreme because they are all indifferent. They don’t care what we… you… or the Yale Law School students think.

Do you have to be a nice guy to enforce the Constitution? Of course not. Do you have to go to Georgetown Prep to travel in first class? No, you just have to have the money. Does it matter if you’re running late for your flight? Nope. The plane takes off without you.

The Constitution was set in place to protect the liberties of states and individuals against the federal government. It lays out what the feds can do. Everything else, it says, is left for the states and the people. Does it matter what you think? Does it matter how you feel about it? Does it matter how it affects your personal life? Would it matter if a Supreme Court justice believed in angels, hated women, and smoked dope in public places? Not at all. He is only supposed to make sure the liberties of the people and the prerogatives of the states are protected.

Time doesn’t slow down, even if you need more of it to save for your retirement. Real money doesn’t get easier to get just because you are running short. And a disaster isn’t avoided just because the president thinks the economy is doing great. The world turns, whether you like it or not.

And tomorrow… we’ll look closer at what time, the Supreme Court, and funny money have done to Americans’ real wealth."

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Land of Forever"

2002, "Land of Forever"


"How It Really Is"

"Naked Emperors Don’t Get Much Respect"

"Naked Emperors Don’t Get Much Respect"
What happens when most of your military infrastructure is suddenly obsolete?
by Robert Gore 

"The emperor was the last to realize he was naked. This is not unusual, emperors are the last to find out anything. Who has the fortitude to tell them the truth, especially an upsetting truth? And so it is with the US’s empire, the existence of which most of its citizens, media organs, and officials are unaware or won’t acknowledge. The truth is, the American empire, acknowledged or not, is over. It will be years before that’s accepted by the governing class. They’ll never officially inform their subjects, who are stuck with the tab for its immensely wasteful spending.

Empires are built on military strength. The American empire was no exception. Many Americans still think the US military enjoys the dominance it had back in 1946, a notion Vladimir Putin buried March 1. On that date he announced new weaponry which will render our naval surface fleet, ground forces, worldwide bases, and antiballistic systems obsolete (see herehere, and here). The US military leadership has grudgingly acknowledged many of Putin’s claims.

The unmistakable conclusion: most US military spending is the welfare state with epaulets. It pays for weapons, bases, and personnel whose uselessness would be revealed within half an hour after a non-nuclear war with Russia began. We have no conventional defenses against Russia’s new weaponry.

It’s cold comfort that US land installation, submarine, and airborne nuclear deterrents are still relevant. If Russia or anyone else launched a conventional or nuclear attack against us, we can annihilate the aggressor. The destruction we bore would be matched in kind, but the planet might be rendered uninhabitable.

Fortunately, it can be said with 99 percent certainty that Russia has no desire to launch a war, nuclear or conventional, against the US. That nation wants what many nations and US citizens want: for the US government to leave it alone. Although spending only 10 percent of what the US does on its military and intelligence, Russia now has the muscle to back it up. The Chinese are right behind.

The story doesn’t say what happened to the emperor and his courtiers after the lad revealed his nudity, but we can assume the emperor’s smarter toadies started heading for the exits. Why stay on a vessel that can’t navigate the shoals of reality?

Welfare states—giving money to people who haven’t earned it—so inevitably lead to corruption that they might as well be synonyms. For years the US has bought compliance with its dictates within its confederated empire, picking up the lion’s share of the defense tab. Nations hosting US military bases welcome the jobs and spending just like congressional districts back home.

Even before Putin’s March 1 announcement, asking how non-nuclear bases, domestic and abroad, actually made anyone in the US safer occasioned awkward silence. Russia’s military spending and economy are dwarfed by the US’s and its EU protectorate’s; a Russian invasion of Europe, even with its new weapons, would be suicidal. The chances of Russia or any other nation invading the US are even more remote. Russia has been invaded far more often than it has invaded, and other than securing its own neighborhood, exhibits no desire to launch offensive warfare. Putin stressed the new weapons’ role defensive role.

After the announcement, US bases will be targets, the personnel they house hostages. That includes the mobile bases known as the US surface fleet, from aircraft carriers on down. They have no defense against the Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile, aircraft-launched with a range of 2000 kilometers, capable of reaching Mach 10.

Defending on sea or land against the Russians’ new nuclear powered cruise missiles—which have essentially unlimited range—is possible but problematic, especially if they’re launched in a swarm. Location has become irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if the US outpost is in Germany, Texas, or floating in the middle of the Pacific, they’re all vulnerable.

Poland’s recent proposal for the US to establish a military base there, at Poland’s expense, possibly to be named Fort Trump, is a strong contender for the year’s, perhaps the decade’s, most insane idea. Fort Courage, from the zany F Troop TV show, would be a more appropriate name. It’s one thing to hop on the US military spending gravy train, that’s just venal and corrupt. To install a useless military base and pay for it as well is incalculably stupid. The goal of politics is to get someone else to pay for your stupid ideas, but perhaps they do politics differently in Poland.

If you’re running one of the US’s protectorates, why should you accept the empire’s dictates when it can no longer defend your country? The question has added piquancy in Europe. Setting aside Russia’s new weapons, how would a country that’s botched military engagements in second string nations like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria defend Europe short of nuclear war? If the answer is that it can’t, where does US leverage come from? The US demands more useless defense spending and presses Europe to curtail or cease profitable trade relations with Russia and Iran, both of which pose a minimal threat to Europe’s safety. Why should Europe comply?

President Trump has questioned the US subsidization of Europe’s defense. How much effort would the US make to defend Macedonia or Latvia? If the answer is not much, or if it can’t actually protect those or any other European country, then subsidies are the only “glue” for the American Empire, European division. It’s unclear if Trump realizes he can’t have his cake and eat it too. He may be happy to see Europe come unglued. Bankruptcy looms; the US has to start cutting spending somewhere.

It should come as no surprise that some countries aren’t toeing the US line, faithfully parroted by the EU. Turkey, straddling Europe and Asia, is edging toward Russia and China, and the goodies promised by their Belt and Road Initiative.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban and Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the League party that shares power there, are seeking better relations with Russia, notwithstanding the US and Europe’s long running demonization of Vladimir Putin. Those two are also challenging received wisdom on the desirability of open borders and unlimited immigration. They and other nationalist leaders are finding an increasingly receptive audience among Europe’s voters.

The two Koreas are also writing their own script, one that diverges from the one the US has written for them since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Among those who favor the status quo, the line is that impoverished albeit nuclear-armed North Korea poses an offensive threat to South Korea, Japan, and the US. Kim Jong Un is singing a beguiling song of denuclearization, rapprochement, trade, and peace, but he’s not to be trusted. Only if he agrees beforehand to the complete subjugation of his country can negotiations proceed.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has other ideas. The people of both Koreas want reconciliation and an end to the war (there’s an armistice but no official peace). Moon appears willing to entertain the possibility that Kim would rather bring his country into the 21st century than launch nuclear strikes. The impetus for negotiations has come from these two leaders and Trump has jumped on the bandwagon, much to the consternation of a motley collection of swamp denizens who profit from current arrangements. Peace may come in spite of their efforts to prevent it.

As the US government continues to spend money for weapons, bases, and personnel our putative enemy can obliterate, defend countries that are under no threat, and intervene in conflicts that promise only interminable stalemate and lost blood and treasure, the question presents itself: are those running the empire and its satrapies stupid, rapaciously corrupt, evil, or all of the above? We’ll take the obvious: all of the above.

Those who have placed their safety in the hands of the US’s would-be emperors can no longer afford to ignore the emperors’ nudity…and insanity. The empire is fraying at the edges and it won’t be long before fraying becomes unraveling. Nobody respects a naked emperor, certainly not one who doesn’t even realize he’s naked."

They steal spend $1 TRILLION a year- for this?

"Since When?"

“Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to 
authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us?”
- Supreme Court Justice

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
 - Albert Einstein

"The Four Disastrous Presidential Policies That Are Destroying the Nation”

"The Four Disastrous Presidential Policies That Are Destroying the Nation”
by Charles Hugh Smith

"The nation is failing as a direct consequence of these four catastrophic policies. It's admittedly a tough task to select the four most disastrous presidential policies of the past 60 years, given the great multitude to choose from. Here are my top choices and the reasons why I selected these from a wealth of policy disasters.

1. President Johnson's expansion of the Vietnam War, which set the stage for President Nixon's continuation of that disastrous war for an additional five years. For those who missed the 30-minute lecture on the Vietnam War in history class, Johnson took a low-intensity guerrilla war in South Vietnam in which the U.S. was supporting a corrupt and venal South Vietnamese elite and expanded it into a full-blown war with over 500,000 troops on the ground and numerous other forces engaged in a vast regional conflict.

Johnson's basic motivation was domestic politics: being a domestic political animal, Johnson was obsessed by the possibility that the Republicans could accuse the Democrats of being "soft on Communism" and win congressional seats in the next election if he declared victory and withdrew from Vietnam.

To insure this wouldn't happen, Johnson relentlessly pursued a war in ways that guaranteed it couldn't be won while killing and maiming millions of people, mostly civilians, and squandering the lives of U.S. servicemen and women. Johnson did not follow the Constitutional requirement of declaring war with congressional approval. He opted to undermine the Constitution with an open-ended declaration of Imperial Presidential Powers (The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution) to wage unlimited war based on a "fake news" fictitious attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

But the war itself was only one disaster of many. To mask the complete and utter failure of his "limited" war, Johnson launched a massive, concerted "fake news" propaganda effort in support of the "we're winning the war" narrative. When Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, the true story was revealed: thousands of Deep State insiders knew the war was unwinnable and was being lost, at great cost. But few dared challenge the disastrous policy or the lies and propaganda being distributed by the federal government in support of the war.

Meanwhile, the "law enforcement" efforts of the FBI were focused on draft evaders and other dissenters. Organized crime got a free pass as the FBI was politicized to fight domestic dissent--an institutionalized politicization that continues to this day. Both the FBI and CIA engaged in concerted, covert and completely illegal campaigns to infiltrate, disrupt and destroy dissenters in the anti-war and civil rights movements. This was well-documented by the congressional Church investigations in the early 1970s.

Simply put, Johnson's policy of pursuing an illegal full-scale war laid waste to the Constitution and launched an era of official "fake news" propaganda and the politicization of federal law enforcement. These disasters live on to this day, as official "fake news" propaganda and the politicization of federal law enforcement is the New Normal. No wonder the Vietnam War remains a poorly understood taboo topic; understanding the destructive consequences of the war's embedded policies is extremely dangerous to the status quo.

2. President Clinton's deregulation of banking/finance in the early 1990s. Eliminating the common-sense and easily enforceable Glass-Steagall Act separating investment and commercial banking (and other limitations as well) opened the floodgates of financialization, i.e. institutionalized fraud and embezzlement which reached full flower in the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown triggered by U.S. banks and other financial institutions.

3. President G.W. Bush's Invasion of Iraq and the launch of Endless War. President Bush followed Johnson's playbook to a Tee: a "fake news" fictitious excuse for launching a full-blown war (weapons of mass destruction lurking in hidden bunkers, etc.), a wildly unrealistic understanding of the culture and politics on the ground (civilians would greet our conquering troops with flowers and smiles, etc.) and a propaganda machine spewing official fake news about our wonderful spreading of democracy via war. The complete and utter failure of the invasion policy ushered in the current era of Endless War. $3 trillion squandered and countless lives lost, and all for what geopolitical gains?

4. Presidents G.W. Bush and Obama's rescue of predatory parasitic banks in 2008-09. The nation had a once-in-a-century opportunity to eradicate the predatory parasite (the financial sector) that's killing the economy and democracy of the host (the USA) and replace the "too big to fail" aristocracy with 1,000 local and regional financial institutions with severely limited powers to institutionalize fraud and embezzlement and leverage fictitious collateral into unprecedented wealth and political power. Instead, both Bush and Obama obediently knelt down and served up $16 trillion in taxpayer-funded bailouts, backstops and loan guarantees to rescue the "too big to fail" aristocracy from their well-earned collapse.

The crippling inequality and dysfunction plaguing our economy can be traced back to this abject and needless surrender of sovereignty to the financial sector. The nation is failing as a direct consequence of these four catastrophic policies, policies that undermined our economy and system of governance, that introduced the poisons of official fake news and propaganda, that institutionalized the suppression of dissent and institutionalized the fraud and embezzlement of "too big to fail" financialization."
Click image for larger size.
"The consolidation of the banking sector into "too big to fail" parasites."

Monday, September 24, 2018

"Life's Tragedy..."

Musical Interlude: The Moody Blues, "The Story in Your Eyes"; "Question"

The Moody Blues, "The Story in Your Eyes"

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Firebird”

2002, “Firebird”

Musical Interlude: Peter Kater & R. Carlos Nakai, “If Men Were At Peace”

Peter Kater & R. Carlos Nakai, “If Men Were At Peace”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“How massive can a normal star be? Estimates made from distance, brightness and standard solar models had given one star in the open cluster Pismis 24 over 200 times the mass of our Sun, making it one of the most massive stars known. This star is the brightest object located just above the gas front in the featured image. 
Click image for larger size.
Close inspection of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, however, have shown that Pismis 24-1 derives its brilliant luminosity not from a single star but from three at least. Component stars would still remain near 100 solar masses, making them among the more massive stars currently on record. Toward the bottom of the image, stars are still forming in the associated emission nebula NGC 6357. Appearing perhaps like a Gothic cathedral, energetic stars near the center appear to be breaking out and illuminating a spectacular cocoon.”