Friday, February 25, 2011

I'll Be Back

I'll be away for the next couple of days on personal matters. Commenting is disabled to dismay those clever Comment live link spammers. Meanwhile, there are 13,140 posts here, hopefully something of interest. Be safe, and be kind to each other, we're all we've got. See you soon! - CP

"How It Really Is"

Justice William O. Douglas

 "As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both
instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged.
And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air -
however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

- Justice William O. Douglas

Bill Bonner, "The Role of US Debt in the Current Revolution"

"The Role of US Debt in the Current Revolution"
by Bill Bonner

“Cereal Wars…and Zombie Wars… Hey, how ’bout that Ben Bernanke… He’s a freedom fighter! Look what he’s done to North Africa! Seems like every time we pick up the paper another dictator is toppling over. Where does it lead, we wonder? What would a world be like without dictators? Without them, who will the CIA and the State Department give our money to?

On the run this morning (but not quite given up) is Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Wait… Is this guy a friend or an enemy? We can’t remember. Wasn’t he a bad guy a few years ago? But recently we’ve heard that he is a good guy. He’s helped with the War on Terror. And he sells oil. Friend or foe, we don’t know…but whatever he is, he’s beginning to look past tense. As of this morning, reports say he’s lost control of Libya’s second largest city. His troops are firing on protesters in the capital, where he and his loyal guards are holed up in a few government buildings. His son vows to fight back. He says there will be “rivers of blood” before he gives up.

That “rivers of blood” image was used by Enoch Powell in Britain fifty years ago. It came from Virgil’s Aeneid, in which a character foresees “wars, terrible wars, and the Tiber foaming with much blood.” Powell was referring to the effects of immigration into Britain from Africa and elsewhere. He thought he saw race wars and power struggles coming as a result. But the younger Gaddafi uses the language as a threat, not a prophecy.

Still, it didn’t do Powell much good. Maybe Gaddafi will have better luck with it. Most likely, he’ll high tail it out of the country before the blood is his own. That will bring to three the number of regime changes in the last few weeks. Which leads us to ask: what’s up? The answer comes from our old friend, Jim Davidson. He pins the revolutions on Ben Bernanke. Behind the popular discontent is neither the desire for liberty nor the appeal of elections. It’s food. And behind soaring food prices is Ben Bernanke.

The Arab world is a model Malthusian disaster, says Davidson. Populations have ballooned. Food production has not. Which makes Arab countries the biggest importers of cereals in the world. And when the price of food goes up, the masses rise up too.

From Jim’s latest newsletter, Strategic Investment: “Food prices hit an all-time high in January. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) “the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) rose for the seventh consecutive month, averaging 231 points in January 2011, up 3.4 percent from December 2010 and the highest in both real and nominal terms” since records began. Note that prices have now exceeded the previously record levels of 2008 that sparked food riots in more than 30 countries. “Famine-style” prices for food and energy that prevailed early in 2008 may also have helped precipitate the credit crisis that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke described in closed-door testimony “as the worst in financial history, even exceeding the Great Depression.”

This time around, the turmoil surrounding commodity inflation has taken center stage with more serious riots and even revolutions across the globe. Popular discontent is not just confined to “basket case” countries like Haiti and Bangladesh as in 2008. High food prices have roiled Arab kleptocracies with young populations and US backed dictators such as Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen. Even dynamic economies have been affected. Indeed, all of the BRIC countries, except Brazil, have witnessed food rioting.

Well, how do you like that, Dear Reader? All those billions of dollars spent propping up dictators – $70 billion was the cost of supporting Hosni Mubarak in Egypt alone – and then the Fed comes along and knocks them down. The Fed lowers the cost of money so speculators can borrow below the rate of inflation. And then it prints up trillions more – just to top up the worlds’ money supply.

Is it any wonder food prices rise? Imagine you’re a farmer…or a speculator. You can sell food. Or you can hold it in storage. You know the food is valuable. You know the world has more and more mouths to feed everyday. You know food production is limited. And you know Ben Bernanke can print up an unlimited number of dollars. What do you do? Do you sell immediately? Or drag your feet…holding onto your valuable grain as the price hits new highs?

Davidson continues: “While Mr. Bernanke modestly declines the credit for de-stabilizing much of the world, close analysis confirms that he played an informing role. His QE2 program of counterfeiting trillions out of thin air has helped ignite a raging bull market in raw materials with food and commodities – up 28% in the past six months. The fact that the US dollar has heretofore been the world’s reserve currency means that almost all commodity prices are denominated in dollars. As a matter of simple math, when the dollar goes down, the prices of commodities tend to go up.”

Today, Libya. Tomorrow…Yemen? Or Saudi Arabia. In North Africa, Cereal Revolutions… In North America, Zombie Wars…

Yes, the battle rages in the Dairy State. And yes, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman (Economics!) has no idea what is going on: It’s “not about the budget. It’s about power.” He thinks it is a battle between the rich and powerful, whom he calls the “oligarchy,” and the decent lumpenproletariat on the other. Wisconsin’s governor is trying to bust the union, says Krugman, so that the elite can ride roughshod over poor government workers, cut their pay, and reduce their benefits (thereby downsizing the state’s budget deficit).

It’s not about money, says the New York Times columnist. He’s wrong, as usual. The Zombie Wars are always about money. There is less money available and more zombies who want it. In the present case, rather than hire honest people to work at market rates…Krugman wants the state to be forced to deal with a privileged union. Union zombies should bargain with government zombies, he says. Together, in cooperation, not in conflict, they should figure out how to rip off the taxpayer. Stay tuned…the Zombie Wars are just beginning."

John Pilger, “Behind the Arab Revolt Is a Word We Dare Not Speak”

“Behind the Arab Revolt Is a Word We Dare Not Speak”
by John Pilger

“Shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I interviewed Ray McGovern, one of an elite group of CIA officers who prepared then-president George W. Bush's daily intelligence brief. At that time, McGovern was at the apex of the "national security" monolith that is American power and had retired with presidential plaudits. On the eve of the invasion, he and 45 other senior officers of the CIA and other intelligence agencies wrote to Bush that the "drumbeat for war" was based not on intelligence, but lies.

"It was 95 percent charade," McGovern told me.
"How did they get away with it?" I asked.
"The press allowed the crazies to get away with it."
"Who are the crazies?"
"The people running the [Bush] administration have a set of beliefs a lot like those expressed in 'Mein Kampf,'" said McGovern. "These are the same people who were referred to, in the circles in which I moved at the top, as 'the crazies.'"
I said: "Norman Mailer has written that he believes America has entered a pre-fascist state. What's your view of that?"
"Well ... I hope he's right, because there are others saying we are already in a fascist mode."

On January 22, 2011, McGovern emailed me to express his disgust at the Obama administration's barbaric treatment of the alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning and its pursuit of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. "Way back when George and Tony decided it might be fun to attack Iraq," he wrote, "I said something to the effect that fascism had already begun here. I have to admit I did not think it would get this bad this quickly."

On February 16, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech at George Washington University in which she condemned governments that arrested protestors and crushed free expression. She lauded the liberating power of the Internet, while failing to mention that her government was planning to close down those parts of the Internet that encouraged dissent and truth-telling. It was a speech of spectacular hypocrisy, and McGovern was in the audience. Outraged, he rose from his chair and silently turned his back on Clinton. He was immediately seized by police and a security goon and beaten to the floor, dragged out and thrown into jail, bleeding. He has sent me photographs of his injuries. He is 71. During the assault, which was clearly visible to Clinton, she did not pause in her remarks.

Fascism is a difficult word, because it comes with an iconography that touches the Nazi nerve and is abused as propaganda against America's official enemies and to promote the West's foreign adventures with a moral vocabulary written in the struggle against Hitler. And yet, fascism and imperialism are twins. In the aftermath of World War II, those in the imperial states who had made respectable the racial and cultural superiority of "western civilization" found that Hitler and fascism had claimed the same, employing strikingly similar methods. Thereafter, the very notion of American imperialism was swept from the textbooks and popular culture of an imperial nation forged on the genocidal conquest of its native people, and a war on social justice and democracy became "US foreign policy."

As the Washington historian William Blum has documented, since 1945, the US has destroyed or subverted more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and used mass murderers like Suharto, Mobutu and Pinochet to dominate by proxy. In the Middle East, every dictatorship and pseudo-monarchy has been sustained by America. In "Operation Cyclone," the CIA and MI6 secretly fostered and bankrolled Islamic extremism. The object was to smash or deter nationalism and democracy. The victims of this western state terrorism have been mostly Muslims. The courageous people gunned down last week in Bahrain and Libya, the latter a "priority UK market," according to Britain's official arms "procurers," join those children blown to bits in Gaza by the latest American F-16 aircraft.

The revolt in the Arab world is not merely against a resident dictator, but against a worldwide economic tyranny designed by the US Treasury and imposed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which have ensured that rich countries like Egypt are reduced to vast sweatshops, with half the population earning less than $2 a day. The people's triumph in Cairo was the first blow against what Benito Mussolini called corporatism, a word that appears in his definition of fascism.

How did such extremism take hold in the liberal West? "It is necessary to destroy hope, idealism, solidarity, and concern for the poor and oppressed," observed Noam Chomsky a generation ago, and "to replace these dangerous feelings with self-centered egoism, a pervasive cynicism that holds that ... the state capitalist order with its inherent inequities and oppression is the best that can be achieved. In fact, a great international propaganda campaign is underway to convince people - particularly young people - that this not only is what they should feel but that it's what they do feel."

Like the European revolutions of 1848 and the uprising against Stalinism in 1989, the Arab revolt has rejected fear. An insurrection of suppressed ideas, hope and solidarity has begun. In the United States, where 45 percent of young African-Americans have no jobs and the top hedge fund managers are paid, on average, $1 billion a year, mass protests against cuts in services and jobs have spread to heartland states like Wisconsin. In Britain, the fastest-growing modern protest movement, UK Uncut, is about to take direct action against tax avoiders and rapacious banks. Something has changed that cannot be unchanged. The enemy has a name now."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"A Look to the Heavens"

"South of the large star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, lies bright blue reflection nebula NGC 1999. Also at the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant, NGC 1999's illumination is provided by the embedded variable star V380 Orionis. The nebula is marked with a dark sideways T-shape near center in this broad cosmic vista that spans over 10 light-years. The dark shape was once assumed to be an obscuring dust cloud seen in silhouette against the bright reflection nebula. 
Click image for larger size.

But recent infrared images indicate the shape is likely a hole blown through the nebula itself by energetic young stars. In fact, this region abounds with energetic young stars producing jets and outflows that create luminous shock waves. Cataloged as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, named for astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro, the shocks appear bright red in this view that includes HH1 and HH2 just below NGC 1999. The stellar jets and outflows push through the surrounding material at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second."

Historical Research: "What Is the Piri Reis Map?"

 "What Is the Piri Reis Map? 
"In 1929, a group of historians found an amazing map drawn on a gazelle skin. Research showed that it was a genuine document drawn in 1513 by Piri Reis, a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet in the sixteenth century, whose passion was cartography. His high rank within the Turkish navy allowed him privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople. The Turkish admiral admits in a series of notes on the map that he compiled and copied the data from a large number of source maps, some of which dated back to the fourth century BC or earlier. Click image, right, for larger and very large sizes. 
The Controversy: The Piri Reis map shows the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica. The northern coastline of Antarctica is perfectly detailed. Most puzzling is how Piri Reis managed to draw such an accurate map of the Antarctic region 300 years before it was discovered, and that the map shows the coastline under the ice. Geological evidence confirms that the latest date Queen Maud Land could have been charted in an ice-free state is 4000 BC. Officially, science claims that the ice-cap which covers the Antarctic is millions of years old.

The Piri Reis map shows that the northern part of that continent had been mapped before the ice did cover it. The last period of ice-free condition in the Antarctic ended about 6000 years ago. There are still doubts about the beginning of this ice-free period, which has been put by different researchers between year 13000 and 9000 BC. The question is: Who mapped the Queen Maud Land of Antarctic 6000 years ago? Which unknown civilization had the technology or the need to do that? It is well-known that the first civilization, according to traditional history, developed in the Mideast around year 3000 BC, soon to be followed within a millennium by the Indus Valley and the Chinese ones. Accordingly, none of the known civilizations could have done such a job. Who was here 4000 years BC, able to do things that only NOW are possible with modern technologies?
On 6th July 1960 the U. S. Air Force responded to Prof. Charles H. Hapgood of Keene College, specifically to his request for an evaluation of the ancient Piri Reis Map:

"6, July, 1960
Subject: Admiral Piri Reis Map
TO: Prof. Charles H. Hapgood
Keene College, Keene, New Hampshire

Dear Professor Hapgood,

Your request of evaluation of certain unusual features of the Piri Reis map of 1513 by this organization has been reviewed. The claim that the lower part of the map portrays the Princess Martha Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctic, and the Palmer Peninsular, is reasonable. We find that this is the most logical and in all probability the correct interpretation of the map. The geographical detail shown in the lower part of the map agrees very remarkably with the results of the seismic profile made across the top of the ice-cap by the Swedish-British Antarctic Expedition of 1949. This indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap. The ice-cap in this region is now about a mile thick.
We have no idea how the data on this map can be reconciled with the supposed state of geographical knowledge in 1513.

Harold Z. Ohlmeyer, Lt. Colonel, USAF Commander"

All through the Middle Ages were circulating a number of sailing charts called "portolani", which were accurate maps of the most common sailing routes, showing coastlines, harbors, straits, bays, etc. Most of those portolani focused on the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas, and other known routes, just as the sailing book which Piri Reis himself had written. But a few reported of still unknown lands, and were circulating among few sailors who seemingly kept their knowledge of those special maps as hidden as they could. Columbus is supposed to have been one of those who knew these special sailing charts.

To draw his map, Piri Reis used several different sources, collected here and there along his journeys. He himself has written notes on the map that give us a picture of the work he had been doing on the map. He says he had been not responsible for the original surveying and cartography. His role was merely that of a compiler who used a large number of source-maps. He says then that some of the source-maps had been drawn by contemporary sailors, while others were instead charts of great antiquity, dating back up to the 4th century BC or earlier.

Dr. Charles Hapgood, in his book "Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings" (Turnstone books, London 1979, preface), said that: "It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and the compilations of them were made by the geographers who worked there.

Piri Reis had probably come into possession of charts once located in the Library of Alexandria, the well-known most important library of the ancient times. According to Hapgood's reconstruction, copies of these documents and some of the original source charts were transferred to other centers of learning, and among them to Constantinople. Then in 1204, the year of the fourth crusade, when the Venetians entered Constantinople, those maps begun to circulate among the European sailors. Most of these maps were of the Mediterranean and the Black sea. But maps of other areas survived. These included maps of the Americas and maps of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. It becomes clear that the ancient voyagers travelled from pole to pole. Unbelievably, the evidence nevertheless indicates that some ancient people explored Antarctic when its coasts were free of ice. It is clear too, that they had an instrument of navigation for accurately determining the longitudes that was far superior to anything possessed by the peoples of ancient, medieval or modern times until the second half of the 18th century.

This evidence of a lost technology supports and gives credence to many of the other hypotheses that have been brought forward of a lost civilization in remote times. Scholars have been able to dismiss most of those evidences as mere myth, but here we have evidence that cannot be dismissed. The evidence requires that all the other evidence that has been brought forward in the past should be re-examined with an open mind."

In 1953, a Turkish naval officer sent the Piri Reis map to the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Bureau. To evaluate it, M.I. Walters, the Chief Engineer of the Bureau, called for help Arlington H. Mallery, an authority on ancient maps, who had previously worked with him. After a long study, Mallery discovered the projection method used.  To check the accuracy of the map, he made a grid and transferred the Piri Reis map onto a globe: the map was totally accurate. He stated that the only way to draw a map of such accuracy was aerial surveying: but who, 6000 years ago, could have used airplanes to map the earth?

The Hydrographic Office couldn't believe what they saw: they were even able to correct some errors in the present days maps! The precision on determining the longitudinal coordinates, on the other hand, shows that to draw the map it was necessary to use spheroid trigonometry, a process supposedly not know until the middle of 18th century. Hapgood has proved that the Piri Re'is map is plotted out in plane geometry, containing latitudes and longitudes at right angles in a traditional "grid"; yet it is obviously copied from an earlier map that was projected using spherical trigonometry! Not only did the early map makers know that the Earth was round, but they had knowledge of its true circumference to within 50 miles!

Hapgood had sent his collection of ancient maps to Richard Strachan, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hapgood wanted to know exactly the mathematical level needed in order to draw the original source maps. Strachan answered in 1965, saying that the level had to be very high. In fact Strachan said that in order to draw such maps, the authors had to know about spheroid trigonometry, the curvature of the earth, and methods of projection, knowledge that is of a very high level.

The way the Piri Reis map shows the Queen Maud land, its coastlines, its rivers, mountain ranges, plateaus, deserts, bays, has been confirmed by a British-Swedish expedition to Antarctic (as said by Olhmeyer in his letter to Hapgood); the researchers, using sonar and seismic soundings, indicated that those bays and rivers etc, were underneath the ice-cap, which was about one mile thick.

Charles Hapgood, in 1953, wrote a book called "Earth's Shifting Crust: A Key to Basic Problems of Earth Science," wherein he developed a theory explaining that the Antarctic had been ice-free until year 4000 BC. The theory summed up: The reason the Antarctic was ice-free, and therefore much warmer, it is to be found in the fact that, at one time, its location wasn't the south pole. It was located approximately 2000 miles further north. Hapgood says this "would have put it outside the Antarctic Circle in a temperate or cold temperate climate." The reason the continent moved down to its present location is to be found in a mechanism called "earth-crust-displacement". This mechanism, not to be confused with the plate-tectonics or the continental drift, is one whereby the lithosphere, the whole outer crust of the earth "may be displaced at times, moving over the soft inner body, much as the skin of an orange, if it were loose, might shift over the inner part of the orange all in one piece". (Charles Hapgood, "Maps of the Ancient Sea-Kings") 

This theory was sent to Albert Einstein, which answered to Hapgood in very enthusiastic terms. Though geologists did not seem to accept Hapgood's theory, Einstein seemed to be as much open as Hapgood saying: "In a polar region there is a continual deposition of ice, which is not symmetrically distributed about the pole. The earth's rotation acts on these unsymmetrically deposited masses, and produces a centrifugal momentum that is transmitted to the rigid crust of the earth. The constantly increasing centrifugal momentum produced in this way will, when it has reached a certain point, produce a movement of the earth's crust over the rest of the earth's body..." (Einstein's foreword to "Earth's shifting crust" p.1)

Anyway, whether Hapgood's theory is correct, the mystery still thrills. The Piri Reis map is something which is not supposed to exist. I mean that by no means there was supposed to be anyone that far back in time able to draw a map of such precision; in fact the relative longitudinal coordinates are totally accurate, as stated by Official studies on the map that we saw above. And this is a demonstration of impossible technology: the first instrument to calculate the longitude in a approximately correct way has been invented in 1761 by the Englishman John Harrison. Before there was no way to calculate the longitude in an acceptable way: there could be errors of hundreds kilometers. And the Piri Reis map is just one of several which show supposedly unknown lands, impossible knowledge, precision which still today would surprise.

In fact Piri Reis himself admitted he based his map on much older charts; and those older charts had been used as sources by others who have drawn different maps still of great precision. Impressive is the "Dulcert's Portolano", year 1339, where the latitude of Europe and North Africa is perfect, and the longitudinal coordinates of the Mediterranean and of the Black sea are approximated of half degree.
An even more amazing chart is the "Zeno's chart", year 1380. It shows an area in the north, going up to Greenland; its precision is flabbergasting. "It's impossible" says Hapgood "that someone in the fourteenth century could have found the exact latitudes of these places, not to mention the precision of the longitudes..." Another amazing chart is the one drawn by the Turkish Hadji Ahmed, year 1559, in which he shows a land stripe, about 1600 Km. wide, that joins Alaska and Siberia. Such a natural bridge has been then covered by the water due to the end of the glacial period, which rose up the sea level.

Oronteus Fineus was another one who drew a map of incredible precision. He too represented the Antarctic with no ice-cap, year 1532. There are maps showing Greenland as two separated islands, as it was confirmed by a polar French expedition which found out that there is an ice cap quite thick joining what it is actually two islands.

As we see, many charts in ancient times depicted accurate earth geography. They seem to be pieces of a very ancient world wide map, drawn by unknown people using use technology that we consider modern. When human beings were supposed to primitive, someone "put on paper" the whole geography of the earth. And this common knowledge somehow fell into pieces, then gathered here and there by others who had lost the knowledge and just copied what they could find in libraries, bazaars, and markets.

Hapgood made a disclosure which amazingly lead further: he found out a cartographic document copied by an older source carved on a rock column, China, year 1137. It showed the same high level of technology of the other western charts, the same grid method, the same use of spheroid trigonometry. It has so many common points with the western ones that it makes one think that there had to be a common source: could it be a lost civilization, perhaps the same one which has been speculated about for thousands of years?"

Walter Anderson

“We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone -
but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”
 - Walter Anderson

Advanced Life Skills: "Do You Find it Difficult to Trust Others?"

"Do You Find it Difficult to Trust Others?"
by Jonathan

"Are you naturally trusting, or do you tend to be suspicious of other people’s motives? Have you ever been taken advantage of by someone you trusted? Do you feel that trusting others is naive? Sadly, there is no shortage of people in this world who will try to take advantage of you. How many weird emails do you get telling you that you have won a lottery, or there’s a question about your item on ebay, or that you are the beneficiary of millions of dollars from overseas someplace? What do all these messages have in common? Someone is trying to take advantage of you. Does this mean that it’s unwise to be trusting of others? Well, sometimes it is unwise, but then again, being suspicious of everyone you meet is not a very positive way to live your life. So what’s the answer?

Before we delve into answers, let’s consider how we are affected by our own attitude toward trust. As with everything else, your level of trust, or suspicion, sends a subtle message to those around you. People respond to that message in various ways, and their response will have a direct impact on your quality of life. How do you feel when you meet somebody, and right away you sense that they don’t trust you? Consider three possibilities:

1) Does it make you feel like you have to prove that you are trustworthy? That’s not a very comfortable feeling because it immediately puts you on the defensive.
2) Perhaps it causes you to jump to negative conclusions about that person, thinking, “what is their problem anyway?” In this case, you reacted with suspicion to their lack of trust. Again, not a comfortable feeling.
3) If you are someone who struggles with a lack of self confidence, how do you think it would feel to have someone who doesn’t even know you, be suspicious of you? Needless to say, it is very difficult to build self confidence with that kind of negative emotional feedback.

In all three of these examples, having someone else treat us with a lack of trust had a negative influence on our mental and emotional state. If that is how they made us feel, we need to ask ourselves… Are those the feelings I want to bring out in other people? The truth is, we don’t like it, and neither do they. 

Now, let’s look at the flip side. How does it make you feel when you first meet somebody, and you immediately sense that they are trusting toward you? It makes you feel good, right? In fact, you like that person right off, don’t you? If they make you feel good, and you like them, you are much more likely to treat them with respect in return. If you want others to treat you with trust and respect, do the same for them. In most cases, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Trusting others sets up a subconscious desire in them, to live up to your trust. Many times, that is all that is needed to help them rise to the occasion.
Everybody likes approval: Trust is a form of approval, and when someone else feels your approval, they will generally respond in a very positive way. Approval is one of the strongest motivators there is. People seek out approval, and will go to great lengths to gain it. If they view you as a source of approval, they will feel drawn to you without even realizing why. Making people feel good about themselves is a win-win situation.
Successful relationships are built on trust: The more we count someone as trustworthy, the higher they rate on our internal people-meter. Obviously, complete trust is something that must be earned. But, could we begin every relationship by giving the other person the benefit of the doubt?

Who do you like to do business with, and who are your best friends? The answer to both of those questions is directly related to who has earned your trust. When we feel that we have good reasons for trusting a company and their products, we become repeat customers. When we feel that we have legitimate reasons for trusting other people, they become our friends. Now, let me ask you this: who is the most important person in your life? Isn’t it the person that you trust above all others? Trust is a factor in all positive relationships. The greater the level of trustworthiness, the stronger the relationship.
Back to our opening question: In a world where some people are looking to take advantage, is it unwise to trust others? Only if you have some legitimate reason not to trust them. Keep in mind that we’re not talking about trusting somebody you just met with your newborn baby or life savings. All we are talking about here is the attitude you project toward people you meet for the first time. So use common sense and exercise caution when caution is called for. But, don’t let the spammers and scammers of this world mold your opinion of people in general. If you greet most people with trust and give them the benefit of the doubt, you will not be disappointed. Helping others to feel good about themselves will raise the quality of their life, and yours.”

“Synchronicity and Magical Thinking”

“Synchronicity and Magical Thinking”

“Synchronicity and magical thinking are close friends. They may even be Siamese twins who share a common heart. But what is magical thinking?

Elias Howe had an idea about a machine with a needle that would penetrate cloth. He fiddled around with various ideas – a hole through the middle of the needle, for instance – but nothing worked. One night, he dreamed he was taken prisoner by a group of cannibals who danced around him with spears. Howe noticed that the spears all had holes near the tip. When he woke up, he realized the dream had provided the solution to his problem. By locating a hole at the tip of the needle, the thread could be caught after it went through cloth thus making his machine operable. Is that magical thinking? You bet.

A man entered a tanning salon shortly before closing time and asked the female employee if he could use the restroom. She felt intuitively uneasy about the guy and asked several customers if they would check outside. The police found the man, a convicted sex offender,  waiting in the parking lot with a ski mask, handcuffs, a butcher knife, and sex devices. He had opened the spa’s back door before leaving. Instead of dismissing her unease as paranoia, the female employee listened to her intuition. Magical thinking? Absolutely.

One night, Cj bolted out of a sound sleep and in the mirror at the foot of her bed, saw an image play out: a short, bulky man with shoulder-length hair walked up a sidewalk to the porch of a Victorian house that Cj recognized as her friend’s home. The man wore a red plaid shirt and held a gun and Cj had the strong impression that the man intended to kill her friend. She glanced at the clock: it was 3:30 AM. She felt the murder would happen at that time, the next night. Early the next morning, she called her friend and described the vision. Her friend called the police. Even though they were doubtful about the source of the information – a vision, a hunch – they assigned an officer to the property the next night. At  exactly 3:30 am, a short bulky man with shoulder-length hair, wearing a red plaid shirt, walked onto the sidewalk approaching the porch to the house.  The officer grabbed him. The man, a religious fanatic, believed Cj's friend was a witch and had intended to kill her. Magical thinking? Yes.  And it saved a woman’s life.

In each of these instances, individuals acted on the basis of their personal perceptions and  emotions.  And yet, mainstream science says that if we trust our own perceptions and experiences, if we trust what has not been proven, we’re living in the fool’s paradise of magical thinking. Really?

Magical thinking enables us to think outside the narrow box of consensus reality and creates a fertile environment in which synchronicity is more likely to occur. It enables us to undertake the hero's journey that Joseph Campbell wrote about so movingly. Magical thinking is precisely what makes life so mysterious, so ultimately unknowable that our lives are changed in unimagined ways simply because we don't have all the answers.

Once you acknowledge the validity of your own perceptions and experiences, you discover that magical thinking and synchronicity possess momentum that cuts across cultures, religions, ethnicities. Born within our collective humanity, this momentum sweeps outward, like a force of nature."

The Daily "Near You?"

Frankfort, Indiana, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

Alan Cohen

 "It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."
- Alan Cohen

"How the Rising Oil Price Might Affect the US Economy"

"How the Rising Oil Price Might Affect the US Economy"
by Bill Bonner

"We don’t especially like numbers here at The Daily Reckoning. You can’t trust them. But we follow a few of them anyway. Like these numbers… 107.01   12.70

The first number above is for the Dow. The second is for gold. They show us what happened in yesterday’s trading. And yesterday, the first number was negative. The second was positive. Not that there aren’t a lot more interesting, provocative numbers around. But we only follow the big picture here. And those two numbers tell us most of what we need to know. At least, they give us a good starting point. The Dow number is going down because investors are worried. That’s why the gold number is going up too.

What if these Cereal Revolutions get out of hand? What if they spread to Saudi Arabia? What if the price of oil keeps going up? “Gasoline at $4 a gallon?” asked a headline yesterday. What would gasoline at $4 a gallon do to the US economy? This is another of those pieces of the puzzle that we mentioned yesterday. Ben Bernanke, who would probably make a fine high school math teacher, knows nothing about economics. He thinks all he has to do is to add more money and the whole “recovery” picture will be complete. Investors will see their stocks go up. Employers will hire. Shoppers will shop. Bakers will bake more. Shoeshine boys will start slapping the leather. Wheelwrights will…well, never mind.

But then, the puzzle pieces change shape. He pumps in money. The price of oil goes up. And food. And the Arabs, who depend heavily on grain imports, get themselves worked up. And then the price of oil goes up more. And stocks begin to fall. And US consumers pay more for gasoline… and suddenly, the picture is not at all what the Fed chairman had hoped for. But wait. It gets worse. Look at a third number: 220. It’s what the big Japanese securities firm, Nomura, thinks the price of oil could reach, thanks to the Cereal Revolutions.

And maybe they’re right. Gaddafi is no Mubarak, say the papers. When he says he’ll fight…he could mean it. And others are getting ready for a fight too. Saudi Arabia is trying to head off trouble. And reports tell us that China is worried and increasing its security measures. And what about France? And the USA? Has your editor lost his mind? Not completely.

“I’ll give you a prediction,” said a smart French woman with whom we dined last night. “What’s happening in North Africa will soon be happening in France. And if you look at how wealth is distributed in the US,” said a companion, “it is really amazing. Something like 95% of the population lives below what we would consider the poverty level here in Europe. I don’t know how they live. It’s only the extremely high earnings of the other 5% that makes the average seem normal. And almost all the new wealth created in the last 10 years has gone to a tiny percentage of the population. You and I may know that Ben Bernanke and US monetary policy are largely responsible for the wealth that has been concentrated in the hands of the rich. But the man on the street has no idea. He just thinks it is wrong. And unfair. What is really amazing is that he hasn’t already begun a revolution…”
What the American "Elites" stupidly insist on seeing...
And what's really there...
"It's just a matter of time..."

Lord Byron

 “'Tis strange- but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction.”
- Lord Byron

9/11: “Rumsfeld Feigns Dumb on Building 7”

“Rumsfeld Feigns Dumb on Building 7”
By Sterling Allan

“Yesterday, Alex Jones had Erich " Mancow" Muller on his show to talk about an interview Muller had the day before (February 23) with Donald Rumsfeld, who was US Secretary of Defense during the attacks of 9/11.  Muller asked Rumsfeld what he says to people in response to the felling of World Trade Center, Building Seven, which wasn't hit by a plane, and the fires were almost out, yet it fell at freefall speed, in classical demolition manner; following buildings 1 and 2 on 9/11. Rumsfeld answered: "What is building 7?" ... "I have no idea. I have never heard that."

Muller, a mainstream who is awakening to the realities of 9/11 being an insider conspiracy, admitted to Alex Jones that this is a big stinking lie, as blatant as a wife laying in bed, caught with another man, saying, "what man?" yet there he is in bed with her.

Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977, under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006, under President George W. Bush. Combined, he is the second longest-serving defense secretary after Robert McNamara, CFR.

Jones points out earlier in his show that Building 7 was hardly an inconsequential building to the defense apparatus.  It was a giant CIA command base, FBI base, NSA base, Defense Intelligence base. Almost the entire building, but a few floors, was government black ops.  The State Command Center, the Federal Command Center for a three state area was in there; Mayor Rudy Giuliani's bunker was there. And Rumsfeld said: "What is building 7?" ... "I have no idea. I have never heard that." That is such a blatant lie that no thinking person with a brain larger than a chicken could miss that fact.  It is prima facie evidence of his complicity in bringing that building down.

The Internet blogosphere is afire with this news; yet, as of this writing, no mainstream press picked up by Google News aggregation has covered it. Here is the video where Alex Jones interviews Mancow Muller.

Rumsfeld is the classic instance of the devil wearing a tie, having a smooth voice, appearing nice and friendly; yet in reality he is as wicked as they come when it comes to complicity in the destruction of modern society, trashing freedom and the Constitution. Here is more evidence that he belongs firmly in the list of top conspirators who should be brought to justice.  You can see why I listed him at He is a Benedict Arnold and shouldn't be walking freely about the streets of the planet as if he truly is a nice guy."
"Who are you gonna believe, me or your own lying eyes?"
- Groucho Marx

"How It Really Is"

Will Rogers

 “If stupidity got us into this mess,
then why can't it get us out?"
- Will Rogers

The Economy: D Sherman Okst, "U.S. Economy Flight 666"

 "I didn't say it would be easy. I just said it would be the truth."
- Morpheus
"U.S. Economy Flight 666,
On a One Way Inflation Ticket To Zimbabwe Part2"
By: D Sherman Okst

Part 1 Here: "In the fine book “I.O.U.S.A.” former Comptroller General David Walker said, ”[The] fourth and most serious of all is a leadership deficit.” The material I reviewed underscores Walker’s observation.

I’m a huge Paul Ryan fan. I’m impressed with his handle on our budget. I give him a tremendous amount of credit for addressing our dismal fiscal situation head on. I commend him for making it the center of his work. This is something most politicians refuse to even mention, let alone address in public. Congressman Ryan is working to solve it. As much as I like, admire and respect Representative Ryan - I have to sate: He epitomizes Walker’s illustration of our biggest deficit. He does not have the economic vision to see the picture and he is therefore stunted from forming a dynamic and cohesive plan that will solve our problems.

The one thing 15,000 hours of flying taught me is this—when there is an emergency, or even an anomaly, the procedure for saving one’s assets boils down to 5 simple steps:

   1. Identify the Problem.
   2. Clearly Annunciate the Problem.
   3. Verify it.
   4. Remember the Corrective Procedure [memory items] - and if there isn’t a procedure—create one.
   5. Execute the Plan - and if you have any weak links in your crew remove that link immediately—rely on the strong points of your team.

Bernanke is by definition a weak link. Obama should have fired him. He and Greenspan created the housing bubble. They deserve no rewards for ordering a 10.4 trillion dollar carpet to sweep their mess under in order to hide and prolong the disaster. Paul Ryan should have used this opportunity to publicly condem the man and demand the idiot's resignation. You can see by the videos that the committee is bumbling around in the dark feeling its way around. The only question that should be asked is: “Bernanke, do you want to resign now or when you leave this meeting?” So what we should be hearing from Congressman Ryan is this:

   1. Identify the Problem: We are insolvent. We take in less than we spend. Our current fiscal situation is that we take in about 2 trillion in tax revenue, we borrow about 1 trillion and we spend 4.5 trillion.

   2. Annunciate the Problem: Bernanke is destroying our currency by monetizing our 1.5 trillion dollar shortfall electronically. His intention is admirable—he wishes to avoid defaulting on our debt. The downside to this is that it expands the money supply because the money has already been spent by our overextended government. Please read that again. The money is not sitting in a bank or over at the Fed, this money has been spent. Without this monetization Social Security payments would not go out, debt service to China et al would not be made, government workers would not get checks. Bernanke is fooling himself (and us if we listen) that when the time is right he’ll contract the money supply by selling assets - the buyers have not been there, they won’t magically appear. You can’t contract a money supply without creating a deflationary depression. Furthermore, if we can’t sell 1.5 trillion more treasuries today to China et al no one in their right mind would buy into that in a month, several months or a few years from now that China or any other investor will want to buy more of this debt.
   3. Verify it: The GAO verified it, lack of demand has verified it.

   4. Formulate a Corrective Procedure: Since there is no real written procedure for countries declaring bankruptcy we are left with five options, only the fifth option below is sound:
         1. Going to the IMF (the financial hit-men) and getting a high interest loan in giving them our resource rights as collateral (bad idea).
         2. Defaulting (bad idea - won’t fix the consumer, state or municipality collateral damage).
        3. Sneakily debasing the currency and paying old debt with worthless dollars created with a computer and keyboard (what Bernanke is knowingly or unknowingly doing)—a painful hard way of doing it. Commodity prices are pegged to the reserve currency, exporting inflation to countries where people make 2 bucks a day is a recipe for the other countries revolting from the US reserve or winding up in deposed induced anarchy. If we are not the reserve currency we will be like Greece—unable to print money and left with more debt than we can ever pay. Governor Christie is about to learn this lesson.
         4. Re-valuing the currency by saying bring us 100,000 old dollars and we’ll give you one new dollar, which usually diminishes faith, causes a great deal of pain and sometimes takes several attempts before success is achieved.
         5. The best idea would be doing the latter (revaluing the dollar by reissuing a new dollar) but backing it (at least loosely) to gold - (even if for just a short amount of time). The United States supposedly has 10,000 tonnes of gold. More than any other country. I say supposedly because it hasn’t been audited in decades. We also hold another 8,000 tonnes of gold for other countries (if our leadership stole money from us, our kids and their unborn kids and enslaved us and them into a world of instant debt just to bail out the morons on Wall Street who created these derivatives of mass destruction (because they bribed them with 85 billion in lobbyist donations)—then “borrowing” 8,000 tonnes of gold which belongs to other countries is a given. The trick is to do this now, in a few years China will move from 1,000 tonnes of gold to God knows how many thousand tonnes and they will execute this step. We need to get our manufacturing jobs back from China, and we need to kettle their energy thirst. Let me be blunt: Until there is a new energy technology it is us or them. One country will be in cars, the other will be three peasants hanging off a moped

     5. Execute the Plan: Paging President Teleprompter.

During one of these FOMC meetings Bernanke asked about a chart showing the value of our dollar losing 10 percent per year. Ask yourself: Just how that plays into the Fed’s dual mandate of maintaing price stability by preserving the value of “our” currency? Just where can you put the savings from your flat, circa 1970s wages, to work and get 10% per year? No small wonder why gold was up 29% last year and silver was up 89%.

The long bond (30 year) is tanking, the 3 decade old bond bull market is finished! This is evident because the yield busted the 10 year moving average when it blew above 4.75%. Money moves out of bonds when central banks print. Money flows into hard assets, gold, silver and commodities when central banks go berserk. The central banks will have to come in and buy more bonds in order to drive bond prices up, inversely lowering yields/interest rates. Bernanke’s QEII won’t hold rates down, there is not enough Fed bond buying. It’ll take QE III, QE IV, and QE V to dominate the bond auctions and drive rates below 4.75%.

When that happens the dollar will have the value of toilet paper. So to answer the question: “How does monetizing the un-payable portion of our deficit play into preserving the value of the dollar?”—it flat out doesn’t. That is why our dollar has the purchasing power of 4 cents. The Fed was created 100 years ago, the dollar lost 80% since Nixon took us off the gold standard in 1971. The dollar will literally be worthless when Captain Bernanke completes his flight. The engines (read: the printing presses) are melting the wings off the plane.

Bernanke is kidding himself, the House Budget Committee and the entire 60 Minutes audience when he says that he can raise interest rates in 15 minutes. He can raise rates but it would be the INSTANT end of the economy. I’ve read the book: “Temple of Secrets: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country”, and a large portion of the book was dedicated to Paul Volcker’s 21.5% rate hike. The adverse effects on the economy were disastrous. Businesses stopped borrowing, or went broke borrowing, unemployment went through the roof, housing was crushed, large purchases of automobiles crumbled.

When someone’s voice crackles it indicates a total lack of confidence in what they are saying. They are not being truthful. Bernanke says:

    * ‘The fear of inflation is overstated’ — Like the housing bubble Ben?
    * ‘We aren’t printing money’ — BS.
    * ‘The money supply isn’t changing’ — The government spends roughly 1.5 trillion more than it takes in with taxes and borrows (there are 1 million "millions" to a trillion only 21% of our nation know this fact).
    * Spends is the key word Ben, the money supply IS increasing, the government spends money it doesn’t have and you create it.
    * ‘What we’re doing is lowering interest rates’ — Not working Ben, money left the long bond, rates blew out to 4.75% breaking the 10 year moving average signaling the end of the 3 decade bond bull market. It’ll take massive amounts of QE to sop up enough bonds to drive rates down and bond prices back up. It’ll toast the dollar’s value. Supply and demand is the key law to economics and even money supply has supply and demand issues. Economics 101 Ben.
    * ‘Trick is to unwind it at the right time’ — IMPOSSIBLE, your the only one buying this trash. There is NO demand for this crap. Time or timing won’t change that. You are bluffing yourself and us. This is another “Housing isn’t in a bubble, I don’t agree with your premise” delusion. Time will - once again—show you for the inept economic moron you really are. And by the way Bernanke, housing prices have declined in our nations history, it happened during the last Great Depression, you know the one you profess to be an expert on!

But the single biggest reason the Fed can’t raise rates is debt service. It is right in Bernanke’s testimony. Just the cost to service our debt would go up to 6 trillion if rates went up. RATES CAN NOT BE RAISED - ONLY A REVALUATION OF THE CURRENCY AND MIGRATING BACK TO A GOLD STANDARD CAN PREVENT INFLATION. Paul Ryan did the math. Why he or anyone else listens to Bernanke say he can raise rates in 15 minutes is absolute absurdity.

    * $1,500,000,000,000.00 deficit - Which Bernanke is monetizing.
    * Sound money - Can’t have it with monetization.
    * Public Debt is Now 69% of GDP - Let’s not forget that public debt is about 14 trillion and the off balance sheet debt (Social Security 14.6 trillion, Medicare 76 trillion, Prescription Drugs 19.2 trillion and GSE is about 3 trillion), all toll you have about 128 trillion of debt. Then think about the states and local municipalities. Greece starts to look good. Sorry Paul, you can’t have an economy with a consumer that has been bled to death with taxes hidden and overt.

    * Representative Paul Ryan asks: ‘Isn’t QE II debt monetization?’ — It is, the government has spent the money that it couldn’t borrow or raise with taxes. SPENT is the key word
    * Bernanke lies and says it isn’t monetization he goes onto say that the money supply will be contracted — BS, the money has leaked into the economy vis-a-vis Social Security payments, government salaried workers, China et al receiving debt service on bonds and so on.

    * Unemployment discussed is based on 9.6% — Unemployment is actually 22%, if you aren’t aware of that you’ll want to watch the Crash Course mentioned and check out Basically the numbers Bernanke and Congressman Mulvaney use to calculate how long before there is an economic turnaround are predicated on half  of the actual rate. Bernanke should have been slammed on this. While Mulvaney is one of the brighter bulbs in the room he clearly has more pets and chickens than economic horse power. We can expect over a decade (barring a bubble, some energy invention or the clearing of tax debt and personal debt) before rates get back to where they were.
    * A 3.2% GDP growth rate is also discussed — Again, you’ll want to watch the Crash Course chapters outlined above if you don’t have a clear understanding of how the government calculates GDP. We didn’t have a 3.2% improvement in GDP.
    * The Fed’s FOMC minutes discuss CEO’s desire to exploit LDC (Least Developed Countries) labor rates. Either one of two things will happen: 1) We get the manufacturing jobs back, wipe away the debt and flourish or 2) We endure a depression and our wages get reset to that of the LCD’s (2 bucks a day). Again, Mulvaney and the rest of the gang should have chastised Bernanke for condoning discussions about exploiting labor as acceptable and routine.
    * Our leaders chose the fixing of roads as incentive. It takes 121,600 gallons of oil to pave 1 mile of highway. China is way behind on their roads. Chris Martenson suggested in a podcast that people be put to work insulating houses to save oil.
    * 67% of the economy is driven by consumers, if you read Jim Quinn’s article, The Shallowest Generation, you’ll see that consumers got their money from credit, that is how the economy thrived. 9 billion borrowed dollars wracked up on HELOC’s and spent at Starbucks on 4 dollar coffees is a case in point. We have massive debt and 22% unemployment because we gave good jobs to China so CEOs could make 400 times what their workers here earned.

In Summary: This will, without a doubt be another Katrina. All I witnessed was 2 hours of empty words and a tremendous amount of chicanery on the Fed’s part. We can’t get to a stable monetary system stuck on this flight to hell. I am deeply saddened that Paul Ryan won’t be a good leader until after he learns from this colossal failure."
D. Sherman Okst, Bernardston MA USA: I'm an ex-airline captain with about 15,000 hours and am amazed at all the BS we are taught. Most of my friends still in the business were also taught the wrong aerodynamic principles with respect to what makes planes fly. Aviation or economics, Keynes to Austrian - Bernulli to Newton we've been sold bad goods. It's amazing anything works as backwards as we do things.
-, davossherman @

The Mogambo Guru, "Protecting Yourself from Bernanke’s Money Printing"

"Protecting Yourself from Bernanke’s Money Printing"
by The Mogambo Guru

"As I was lying to my wife about where I had been when I was supposed to be home “over two hours ago,” it suddenly occurred to me that this is just an example of the lying crap that comes out of your mouth when called upon to cover up something bad about yourself.

For me it was that I was casually driving along, innocently on my way home to happily meet my loving family, when I saw that Lulu’s Ooh La La Lounge had, I guess, gotten their license back, and was having a “Get Acquainted Sale,” the specifics being drinks 3-for-the-price-of-1 and no cover charge. Well, one thing led to another and then I was telling one of the pole-dancers named Amber that if she stuck her tongue in my ear, I would tell her how to survive the coming inflationary collapse being caused by the foul Federal Reserve creating So Freaking Much Money (SFMM).

She made an ugly face and said, “Eww! Gross!” and then started struggling to break free from my loving embrace, saying, “Let me go, you stupid old man!” which alerted me that she needed, you know, more convincing. So I said, “If you don’t, then I won’t tell you the Big Mogambo Secret To Wealth (BMSTW), then you will be so destroyed by the inflation in prices that you will be begging me – begging me! – to let you do that tongue thing, and more! Much more! Oh, so much, much more! I am laughing diabolically at your choice! Hahahaha!”

Well, the reason I got home after just two lousy hours is that I got discouraged when she said, “We all know all about your stupid Big Mogambo Secret To Wealth (BMSTW), which is to buy gold, silver and oil stocks when the Federal Reserve is creating so much money, because that means lots of inflation in prices, which will destroy the currency, the kind that you are supposed to be sticking in my G-string, but you don’t, you cheap bastard!”

So you can see why I was trying to lie my way out of revealing the truth.

As for Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve, he is lying to cover up the sheer incompetence and Utter, Utter Failure (UUF) of the Federal Reserve in general since 1913, the UUF of his personal chairmanship of the Federal Reserve during the disaster of the last Five Freaking Years (FFY), and the UUF of the entire clot of neo-Keynesian econometric theoretical crapola that is still, unbelievably, all the rage amongst mainstream economists, the media and drooling morons, as entirely redundant as that is.

As a result of all of that disastrous Federal Reserve creation of money, food prices have been rising horrifically, at a reported 28% worldwide over the last six months, but Ben Bernanke is certain – absolutely certain! – that it is NOT related, in any way, to the enormous amounts of money that he has been creating for the last five years In A Freaking Row (IAFR). In fact, Bernanke says that the inflation is “not a dollar effect, it’s a growth effect.”

My immediate, overwhelming outrage at such a preposterous, nonsensical idiocy is such that my brain kind of explodes, and I cannot actually form intelligible words, barely managing a kind of spluttering, raging incoherence. My hands are clenched into fists, my neck muscles contracted into tight, stiff knots, and yet with a Mogambo Herculean Effort (MHE), I manage to contain my adrenaline-fueled need for vengeance against the Federal Reserve and their neo-Keynesian econometric theoretical stupidities, all of which have the effect of bizarrely recommending permanent inflations in the money supply, which causes inflation in prices, which is causing (at last count) 87 riots around the world. And now that people are being killed, it makes you ask, “What price monetary growth?”

Easing one almost paralyzed-with-rage, ham-handed fist onto a button on the console, I will just switch you over to Dan Amoss, in his essay “The Food Crisis is a Dollar Crisis” here at The Daily Reckoning, who says, “At this week’s hearing on Capitol Hill, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke demonstrated a lack of understanding about what causes inflation. His comments reflected a belief that GDP growth causes inflation.” Through gritted teeth I say, “Bravo! Well said!”

He goes on, “When asked about the impact of QE2 on global food prices, Bernanke responded that the destabilizing spikes are due to weather and rapid growth in demand for grains in emerging markets. What a lame excuse! As an admirer of Milton Friedman, he must know that ‘inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.’ Inflation isn’t a ‘weather phenomenon.’” His point is that inflation in all prices can only happen as a result of creating more money, as “Without forever-growing money supplies, price spikes in one set of goods, like food, would be offset by price declines in more discretionary goods.”

But that ain’t the way it is these days, and like I said to Amber, the stupid Big Mogambo Secret To Wealth (BMSTW) is to buy gold, silver and oil when the Federal Reserve is creating so much money, because that means lots of inflation in prices, and 4,500 years of history says that when inflation in consumer prices goes up, so do gold, silver and energy, saving the proverbial butt of those lucky enough to own them! Whee! This investing stuff is easy!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ihab Hassan

 "Unknowingly, we plow the dust of stars,
blown about us by the wind,
and drink the universe in a glass of rain."

- Ihab Hassan

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Can a picture of the sky be relaxing? A candidate for such a picture might be this image taken from Cape Schank, Victoria, Australia. The frame is highlighted by a dreamlike lagoon, two galaxies, and tens of thousands of stars. The rock cropping on the left may appear from this angle like a human head, but the more famous rock structure is on the far right and known as Pulpit Rock.
 Click image for larger size.

Across the top of the image runs a distant stream of bright stars and dark dust that is part of the disk of our spiral Milky Way Galaxy. On the right, just above Pulpit Rock, is the Milky Way's small neighboring galaxy the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The bright white object just to the left of the SMC is a globular cluster of stars in the Milky Way known as 47 Tucana.”
    Deep Throat: "Mr. Mulder, why are those like yourself, who believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life on this Earth, not dissuaded by all the evidence to the contrary?"
    Mulder: "Because all the evidence to the contrary is not entirely dissuasive."
    Deep Throat: "Precisely."
    Mulder: "They're here, aren't they?"
    Deep Throat: "Mr. Mulder, they've been here for a long, long time."

- "The X-Files"

Calvin and Hobbes

"Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, 
and you're just a reflection of him?" 
~ Calvin and Hobbes

Chet Raymo, "In the Cave"

 "In the Cave"
by Chet Raymo

"I have mentioned here before the ospreys that patrol our beach - or "fish hawks," as they call them here - generally in the afternoon at about the time I take my long walk to the palm point. Magnificent birds with broad wings that glide seemingly effortlessly on the wind. And here's the thing: As often as not I am startled by a bird's shadow before I see the bird itself. That wide-winged shadow, sweeping across the white sand, sometimes across me. That flicker of chill as the osprey blocks the sun.

And generally when it happens I think of Plato's allegory of the cave. Prisoners in a cave are constrained to look only at a blank wall. Somewhere behind them there is a fire, and people come and go in front of the fire, casting shadows on the wall. The shadows are the only reality the prisoners know. They have no idea of the flesh-and-blood people behind them or the blazing fire. The prisoners know only what presents itself to their senses.

Forget for the moment Plato's point, which has to do with the duty of the philosopher to enlighten the benighted. There is a humbling moral to the story for all of us: We can only know what our senses - directly or indirectly - can perceive.

Who, a century ago, could have imagined the universe of the galaxies, or the marvelous dance of the DNA in every cell of our bodies? By cleverly extending our senses - limited as they are - with technological enhancements a whole new universe has opened up to us. Who can imagine what we might know a century from now? Plato's "real" world is like a shadow compared to the universe we inhabit today. Our own universe may be a shadow of a reality vastly more wonderful than anything we have so far dreamed.

Never mind. We live in the world we have. Even the osprey's shadow is magnificent in its own way. I am privileged to lift my eyes and see the feathered bird. And I have an intuition that there is more - much more - yet to see.”

Chris Floyd, "'The Persians': Soliloquy of the Suffering"

"'The Persians': Soliloquy of the Suffering"
by Chris Floyd

"As the ancient spirit of defiance against brutal - and brutalizing - elites waxes strong once more across the world, I thought the spoken-word piece below might be of some relevance. The depredations of the high and mighty store up great reservoirs of wrath, even in the most cowed and broken souls. And when the levee breaks, who can say what course the flood will follow?  How stupid, how evil and stupid, are the masters who believe they can control the forces they unleash with their crimes."

"The Persians"
by Chris Floyd 

"Let them march out to fight the Persians,
And we will rise that very night
To slaughter everyone remaining:
Every Spartan, man and boy, girl and woman, in their beds.
Not a house will be left standing,
Not a stone unsmeared with blood.
A hundred generations of helot pain
Will be revenged before the dawn.

Let them march out, take all the army,
To meet the mighty Persians.
Strip the walls of men, the stockades;
Let them, O hot-faced Dis, let them
Cloud their minds with haughty visions
Of their triumph over Persians.
Set them on the road to Susa,
Have them preen before their women,
Fall in step beside their lovers,
Give their sons their weighty counsel,
How to comport themselves as Spartans
Should their fathers not return.

I too have sons, O mighty Spartans;
Some worked to death, some killed by hunters;
And daughters, raped and yoked to service.
So put on your armor, your great helms,
Beat the ground with rhythmic march,
Turn your swords against the Persians,
That vast sea of Eastern men,
And leave us to guard your children,
Tend your flocks, work your gardens.
You have beaten us like oxen,
And we are broken, tamed – believe it.
Let every able, worthy man
Take the distant field with Athens;
Save us, masters, from the Persians,
Hear your lowly servants' plea.

March out, march out, you Spartans:
The Great King himself has come."

The Daily "Near You?"

Burbank, California, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

Robert Penn Warren

"Historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end,
be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make,
history is the big myth we live, and in our living, constantly remake."
- Robert Penn Warren

Archaeology: “Tiahuanaco: Gateway to the Gods”

“Tiahuanaco: Gateway to the Gods”
by Dan Eden
"Ask most people who are the oldest civilization or where the oldest civilization lived and you'll hear answers like Mesopotamia (Iraq), Egypt or Iran. While these cultures can be traced back to 4000 B.C., the mysterious ruins of Tiahuanaco, in Bolivia, could be 14,000 years old! If you think the Great Pyramid in Egypt is a technological marvel, wait until you see what artists and engineers were doing in Tiahuanaco. This culture thrived at the breathless, oxygen deprived elevation of 13,000 feet. They managed to somehow move stones weighing up to 200 tons and invented modular building techniques that would even today, be cutting edge.
The most famous icon of the archaeological site at Tiahuanaco is the Sun Gate. This structure has been described as a "calendar" almost as long as the monolithic gateway has been known to exist; thus the Sun Gate has also been called 'the Calendar Gate'. This calendar sculpture, though it undoubtedly depicts a "solar year," cannot however be made to fit into the solar year as we divide it at present. The calendar has only 290 days, divided into 12 "twelfths" of 24 days each, plus 2 intercalary days.

Some researchers have attempted to explain this as being a ritualistic calendar while others have claimed that, 14,000 years ago, the length of a year was somehow different from today. Still others believe that it may represent a year on some another planet. Extraterrestrial connections were first suggested by Eric von Danken and have been perpetuated by discoveries of the apparent advanced knowledge that Tiahuanacan engineers seemed to possess - thousands of years ahead of other cultures.

Analysis of this culture has shown that ancient Tiahuanacan scientists knew that the earth was a globe which rotated on its axis and they calculated exactly the times of eclipses - even those not visible at Tiahuanaco but visible in the opposite hemisphere. Scientists have also ascertained that the Tiahuanacans divided the circle mathematically into 264 degrees (rather than 360 as was initiated by the Babylonians); they determined the correct ratio of pi (22/7), and they could calculate squares (and hence, square roots).
Carved stone block at Puma Punku. This precision-made 6 mm wide groove contains equidistant, drilled holes. It seems impossible that these highly precision cuts were made with use of stone or soft copper tools. The purpose of these alterations is not known, but it has been suggested that gold or bronze plates might have been affixed to the walls. Others suggest the giant stone blocks were locked together with metal.
The modular technique allows the blocks to be mass produced on site and assembled in a variety of configurations. This technique appears at Tiahuanaco fully developed with no prior evidence of experimentation. Where did the engineers of this era get their ideas or experience? Why is this the only example of modular construction in the ancient world? These are but some of the many questions remaining to be answered at this remarkable site.

The fact that the culture of Tiahuanaco appeared fully developed in this high altitude, arid and inhospitable land is a real puzzle. Almost immediately they seem to have used advanced building techniques like modular construction. Huge blocks were carved from single stones and designed to fit together on the site with exact precision and artistic style. These techniques were only developed by modern builders in the last century. The massive blocks are extremely stable, resisting both time and earthquakes. But how were they made, transported and positioned, apparently by hand?
Tiahuanaco is located on the Southern shore of Lake Titicaca. Puma Punku [Above], Southwest of the temple structure, truly staggers the imagination. In the past, the lake was much higher and its shores lapped Tiahuanaco. Near the site, at a site called Puma Punku, there is a massive, four-part, now collapsed building. One of the construction blocks from the pier was fashioned from a stone block that weighs an estimated 440 tons (equal to nearly 200 full-size cars). Several other blocks are between 100 and 150 tons. The quarry for these giant blocks was on the western shore of Titicaca, some ten miles away. There is no known technology in all the ancient world that could have transported stones of such massive weight and size. The Andean people of 500 AD, with their simple reed boats, could certainly not have moved them. Even today, with all the modern advances in engineering and mathematics, we could not fashion such a structure.

The region was believed to have been populated by about 100,000 people at its peak. This estimate is based on the amount of pottery and other artifacts that remain and the total land area (more than 400 acres). Because this large population would require a significant food source, many scientists doubted that this was possible, especially at 13,000 feet. Thin air drops the ambient temperature to below freezing at night causing a frost that kills most plants. Recently, however, an aerial survey of the site revealed the solution. Multiple grid and maze like structures throughout Tiahuanaco, visible only because of the discoloration of the underlying soil, were discovered to be an ancient network of gardens and canals, capable of growing potatoes and other crops.

The plan was ingenious. Canals were placed in grids that surrounded the narrow gardens. The depth of these canals was kept to from 24 to 30 inches so that the strong daytime sunlight could easily warm the water. In the evening, when the frigid air caused frost, the canals vented their stored heat in the form of a fog. This kept the temperature around the plants elevated above freezing and also helped irrigate them. It is interesting to note that the canals were constructed in a well planned and artistic pattern. This further indicated the intellect and aesthetic appreciation of this culture.

How old is this site? The age of Tiahuanaco is difficult to assess and very controversial. Polish-born Bolivian archaeologist Arturo Posnansky has concluded that the Tiahuanaco culture began in the region at about 1600 B.C. and flourished until at least 1200 A.D. His disciple, Professor Hans Schindler-Bellamy, believed Tiahuanaco to have reached back 12,000 years before the present era, although a more conservative Peruvian archaeologist. More recently, other archaeologists have pushed back the date to an amazing 14,000 years ago.

The controversy arises because most of the datable artifacts are from the more recent past, while the stone megaliths and other structures do not lend themselves to dating techniques like Carbon 14. Many stone pieces have been uncovered from more than six feet of earth. The mountain ranges which surround the area are not high enough to permit sufficient runoff of water or wind erosion to have covered the ruins to such a depth. This suggests a very old date as the accumulation of sediment is slow in this arid land.

There is also evidence that architectural structures exist at the bottom of Lake Titicaca, suggesting that the civilization existed before the lake was formed. Many scientists believe that the lake formed during some great flood and find similar legends around the world of a flood dating back thousands of years. The local legend contains reference to this flood in their creation myth.

The religion of Tiahuanaco centered around the cult of a sky and thunder god Viracocha. The deity was generally depicted as having staves in both of his hands and an aureole around his head. The aureole suggests the qualities of a sun god, represented on the bas-relief in the upper part of the famous Sun Gate in Tiahuanaco. According to legend, the world was created by Viracocha near Lake Titicaca. After the great deluge or the receding of chaotic floodwaters Viracocha descended to earth and created plants, animals and men to the empty land; he built the city of Tiahuanaco and appointed 4 world rulers of whom Manco Capak became the superior of the Ursa Major world, i.e. the north horizon (Busto II 1981: 7).

The lake appears to lack a source, such as a river or stream, and there is proof that it is slowly evaporating and its shoreline receding with the passage of time. To date, there has been no satisfactory explanation of how the lake was formed in the first place. This is just one of many mysteries of the region and ranks Tiahuanaco as one of the top ten mysterious places on Earth."