Monday, December 30, 2013

Musical Interlude: Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah"

Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah"

"I did my best, it wasn't much,
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch.
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you.
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah"

"Fukushima Radiation Hits San Francisco"

"Fukushima Radiation Hits San Francisco"

"This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach), California.

 Geiger Counter used:

Background radiation is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it’s 150 CPM. The fine mist coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump".

Update, 12/2013:

Fukushima radiation disaster info:
Massive starfish deaths on West Coast: "We all must come to the realization that swimming in the Pacific Ocean (let alone eating anything out of it) is a thing in the past. And it’s only going to get worse, as it’s unstoppable. This is by far the worst man-made disaster in human history, and our garbage media and government say nothing."

I ask you check this link here  and thisReactor 3 blew again early Monday morning and was NOT reported by the media, TEPCO should be taken to a field and SHOT for this as should the Japanese Government. Another could has traveled the globe 3 times over already, this one will directly hit the USA and Canada in the coming days and also Australia and parts of Russia and China and that area. This is bad, I am NOT FEAR MONGERING. I'M SAYING, PREPARE!!! This is HELL. If you can get  Potassium Iodide drugs do so. I have sat on this all day today and yesterday and pondered to blog or not. I will. DO NOT EXPECT THIS ON YOUR NEWS, You are on your own. This is killer. I am sorry…"

This is also heartbreaking:
 "Special Report: Japan's Homeless Recruited For Murky Fukushima Cleanup"

NEWSFLASH–URGENT– December 28, 2013 11:00 PM EST — (TRN)  — "Persons residing on the west coast of North America should IMMEDIATELY begin preparing for another possible onslaught of dangerous atmospheric radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site in Japan. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says radioactive steam has suddenly begun emanating from previously exploded nuclear reactor building #3 at the Fukuishima disaster site in Japan. TEPCO says they do not know why this is happening and cannot go into the building to see what’s happening due to damage and lethal radiation levels in that building. Experts say this could be the beginning of a “spent fuel pool criticality (meltdown)” involving up to 89 TONS of nuclear fuel burning up into the atmosphere and heading to North America. The announcements from TEPCO (in Japanese) can be viewed here .  You can use Google Translate to convert to English.

On December 28, 2013, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admitted steam was seen billowing out of reactor building #3, saying the steam appeared to be coming from what’s left of the fifth floor of the mostly-destroyed building. It is widely known that persons cannot get inside Reactor Building #3 because it is severely damaged and highly radioactive, so TEPCO cannot state for certain what is happening in that building or why. TEPCO admits they do not know why this steam is being generated, but matter-of-factly revealed today (December 28) the steam was first spotted on December 19 for a short period of time, then again on December 24 and again on December 25.Nuclear energy experts have told TRN that the ONLY way this could be happening is if radioactive material previously ejected from the reactor explosion in March, 2011 has mixed together with other materials and has begun its own self-sustaining reaction(s), also known as a “criticality.” Put simply, another “meltdown” may be taking place.

Turner Radio Network (TRN) has issued a report regarding Fukushima Diachi Nuclear Plant that is expected to affect the entire Northern Hemisphere. According to the report: “Persons residing on the west coast of North America should IMMEDIATELY begin preparing for another possible onslaught of dangerous atmospheric radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site in Japan.”

TEPCO has confirmed that via camera surveillance, that steam has begun to pour from Reactor 3, although they have “not been identified abnormal plant conditions.” TEPCO are reporting that “radioactive steam has suddenly begun emanating from previously exploded nuclear reactor building #3 at the Fukuishima disaster site in Japan.”

The corporation is not clear on the details of the sudden change at Reactor 3 because of “lethal radiation levels in that building.”

Summations from experts conclude that this may “be the beginning of a ‘spent fuel pool criticality (meltdown)’ involving up to 89 TONS of nuclear fuel burning up into the atmosphere and heading to North America.” Steam has been viewed coming from Reactor 3. Educated guesses suggest that the steam is “coming from what’s left of the fifth floor of the mostly-destroyed building.”

TEPCO has admitted that “they do not know why this steam is being generated, but matter-of-factly revealed today (December 28) the steam was first spotted on December 19 for a short period of time, then again on December 24 and again on December 25.”

The accord is that “pellets of radioactive fuel, ejected when the reactor exploded, went into the spent fuel pool located above the reactor and have begun melting down so seriously they are boiling off the water in the spent fuel pool.” Should this be the case “the situation could escalate rapidly out of control.”

TRN is warning of preparatory measures that should be taken by those living on the West Coast of America because after the “releasing 89 tons of deadly radioactive fuel directly into the air”, it would be a matter or 2 to 3 days before the deadly material would fry North America “by [the] levels of airborne radiation and ‘hot particles’ which could kill.”

Some of the recommendations to mitigate damaging effect of radiation exposure include:

• Keep up-to-date on developments via the Internet
• Buy Duct tape, masking tape and self-adhesive weather stripping
• Cover windows and doors with plastic
• Cover electrical outlets and light switches with plastic
• Cover vents in bathrooms and stoves with plastic
• Purchase a NIOSH N100-certified filter mask for each member of the family
• Purchase disposable TYVEK suit for going outside
• Wash obsessively

Just my (informed) opinion... if you live on the West Coast, California particularly- leave, now, if at all possible, go inland or north to Oregon or Washington state.. Get out of this monsters way until we can at least determine what is actually happening, despite the total blackout from the main stream media. Go! - CP

"The Oyster and the Cormorant"

 "The Oyster and the Cormorant"
by CoyotePrime
“Brandt's Cormorants feed either singly or in flocks, and are adaptable in prey choice and undersea habitat. It feeds on small fish from the surface to sea floor, obtaining them, like all cormorants, by pursuit diving using its feet for propulsion. Prey is often what is most common: in central California, rockfish from the genus Sebastes is the most commonly taken, but off British Columbia, it is Pacific Herring. Brandt's Cormorant have been observed foraging at depths of over 40 feet.”-WikiPedia

Westport is a small fishing town on the western coast of Washington, a place we visited for fishing from their public dock. Pelicans, terns, sea gulls and many other birds are abundant there. My favorite was the cormorant, a sleek bird known for diving like an arrow into the water to catch its prey. One sunny afternoon we saw a strange sight among the many Brandt’s cormorants floating near the rock jetty. One apparently had something large stuck to its beak, and was in distress. Walking closer, we saw to our horror that it was really a very large oyster, encrusted with barnacles, which must have weighed several pounds. The cormorant, while diving for food, had obviously poked his beak into the oysters shell, which the oyster promptly closed, trapping them both in a death grip. Despite the cormorants frantic efforts at removing the oyster it remained firmly in place. Barely able to breathe, the effort to keep the oysters weight from pulling him underwater was rapidly exhausting the bird. Desperately he pulled his head above water, trying to catch a breath, until the weight of the oyster slowly pulled his head back under. Helpless, all we could do was watch as the birds head was gradually pulled beneath the surface for longer periods of time, until finally they both disappeared beneath the waves.

This made me wonder what “oysters” many of us invisibly carry around, the possessions or experiences we “REALLY” believe we must have or possess, which turn out to harm us in the long run: debt stress from the house and new car; job problems; health problems; relationship problems; family problems; losses of all kinds, all adding to the weight of the “oyster” attempting to drown us. Are they really worth it? What’s YOUR oyster made of? Can you safely remove it before it drowns you?



Summer in Washington state is an incredibly delightful time, bright warm sun in a panorama of pure green unlike anywhere else. Winters are another matter entirely, and it’s common for rain to fall daily for months on end, a 24 hour a day onslaught of endless gray and gloom. Frequently animals like raccoons, mice or squirrels will burrow into the walls and roofs of homes, trying to find a warm and dry place to nest.

And so it was one afternoon that the house cat suddenly and frantically charged across the living room into the corner, howling ferociously at something we couldn’t yet see. After clawing the object several times, the force of her strike threw it into the middle of the room- a small, gray mouse, now bleeding from its head, and trembling wildly in shock and pain. The cat, now sure of her catch, slowly strolled over and sat in front of the mouse, eyeing it menacingly, eager, as cats are fond of doing, to continue slowly torturing her victim. The mouse, realizing there was no possible escape, sat there trembling violently, staring directly into the cats eyes towering so high above him. Before we could move to save him, he suddenly pulled himself upright, stood on his back legs, and, shouting his death cry of “SCREEEE!!!” jumped as high as he could straight towards the cats face. The cat, of course, caught him in midair, and dispatched him with a crunch of her powerful jaws.

Think of the courage of that mouse who decided, when the outcome was inescapable, to leave life under his own terms, without surrender, beaten down but unconquered, in the final and bravest deed of his life. When and if our own time comes let's remember that mouse and stand up boldly, bellow our "screee" war cry, spit in their eye, and go down with our heads held high...
- CoyotePrime

"Bravery: "The Killings Fields of Gaza""

"The Killings Fields of Gaza"
by Colin Green

"Revelations from Israeli sources such as ‘Breaking the Silence’ and ‘Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’ that the Israeli assaults on Gaza in 2008/9 (Cast Lead) and 2012 (Pillars of Defence) were planned many months ahead pose many questions about the real motives for the seven year siege and these massive attacks on a helpless concentration of impoverished and imprisoned people.  Let us then pose just some of those questions and seek objective answers to:

*Why does the international community and UN allow Israel to blockade and besiege a tiny strip of land called Gaza for near seven years with absolute impunity?

*In a related vein, why is Israel allowed to commit piracy in international waters to prevent unarmed merchant ships reaching Gaza under the nose of NATO naval fleets operating in the Eastern Mediterranean?

*Were the asymmetric assaults on Gaza in 2008/9 and again in 2012 genuinely a response to Qassam rocket attacks or carefully planned attacks for other reasons?

*Could the siege and attacks actually be about testing of new weapons, testing of new missile defence systems, field trials of new strategies of population control and control of the immense energy resources found in the Eastern Mediterranean?

Let’s begin by examining the demographics obtaining at the time of the Cast Lead assault. Gaza is a narrow strip of land, 45 km long by 5-12 km wide, into which 1.5 million Palestinians were concentrated and virtually imprisoned – at a density of 4119/km2, four times the density of Bangladesh. The population is confined mainly to five cities and seven large refugee camps, with one million people registered as UN refugees. There is only about 24 km2 of potentially productive farmland, the best of it adjacent to the north-eastern border with Israel, most of it inaccessible because it falls within the Israeli ‘buffer zone.’ Eighty percent of Gazans, 59% of whom are children, live below the poverty line. Forty percent are unemployed, 60% are food dependent on UNRWA.

Gaza had been ruled by Hamas, a freely elected government, for over a year before the attacks, but Israel and the US designated it a ‘terrorist organisation’ and Gaza a ‘hostile entity’ soon after those elections, and then set out to make life hell for its citizens. From 2006 onward, Israel set out to destroy the Gazan economy, using food insecurity, a kind of controlled starvation, as a means of punishing the population and breaking its will.

The buffer zone inside the border removed 68% of arable farmland, making farming dangerous and impossible. Available fish stocks were reduced by 84%, Palestinian fishermen limited by Israel to three instead of the 20 nautical miles agreed upon in the Oslo process, thus reducing protein intake to dangerous levels and destroying one of the bases of the Gazan economy. No less telling is that by limiting Palestinian access to the sea the Israelis have also prevented Gazan exploitation of natural gas reserves of Gaza Marine 1 and 2 estimated at nearly 1.4 trillion cubic feet, which could have turned the economy around and made Gaza energy independent of Israel.

Analysis of the timelines of both major military assaults is instructive. For six months leading up to the Cast Lead invasion, Hamas observed a ceasefire until an Israeli incursion into Gaza on November 4th (election day in the US) killed six Palestinians, predictably triggering a response of Qassam rocket fire into Israel. This provided just the pretext needed by the Israeli military to attack on a massive scale.

The Israeli attack commenced on December 27, 2008, carefully coordinated to coincide with the changeover in American Presidencies. After three days of intensive air strikes, the Security Council attempted to pass Ceasefire Resolution 1860, but the US blocked it, giving Israel the political space it needed to launch a full ground assault. (Congress supported the invasion overwhelmingly, the House by a vote of 390-5, the Senate by an overwhelming bi-partisan voice vote.)

The Ceasefire Resolution was finally passed by the Security Council on January 8th, almost a week after the ground invasion, but the US abstained, thereby affording Israel the necessary political cover to continue its operations. US President-elect Barack Obama uttered not a word. Tony Blair, the Quartet representative, issued a tepid call for an immediate ceasefire.

Palestinian casualties in the Cast Lead invasion were appalling. About 1400 people were killed, of which 313 were children and 116 were women; less than 20% of those killed were combatants. More than 6000 were badly injured, including 1855 children and 795 women (source: Palestinian Center for Human Rights). My Norwegian medical colleagues Mads Gilbert and Eric Fosse, working in Gaza at the time alongside Palestinian medical staff, reported lesions which they had never seen before and which provided circumstantial evidence that the Israelis had used and tested new weapons as well as white phosphorus in heavily populated civilian areas. Apart from severe burns, there were an abnormally high number of amputations and maiming among the surviving wounded.

For example, 150 amputees had to be referred to Egyptian hospitals; in Jabalia refugee camp there were 165 newly disabled patients of whom at least 90 had amputations, some multiple. These casualties were caused by the full armamentarium of known conventional weapons, but some injuries caused strongly suggest that other ordnance was tested for the first time under battle conditions. Some of these described here were definitely used but others are still in doubt.

White phosphorous shells contain the chemical impregnated into small strips of felt, which scatter over a radius of 100 metres when the shell explodes in mid-air. It is officially used as a smoke-screen device and for illumination at night, but it is also an incendiary device and was used as such in Gaza on several occasions. Flechette shells contain thousands of darts about 4 cm long which disperse in a widening cone when the shell explodes about a metre from the ground; these darts are ballistically designed to tumble on penetration and wreak havoc in soft tissues. They were used in 2008/9 but not in the 2012 assault.

The Keshet rapid fire automated mortar was tried out to devastating effect in a crowded street in Jabalia Refugee camp near the Al Fakhoura School, in full view of the Israeli troops. Kalanit shells were fired from 120mm tank cannons; these explode in the air, stop and release 6 mini-charges which spray a target with shrapnel from above.

Dense inert metal explosives (DIMES) are newly developed ordnance comprising a carbon fibre casing packed with micro-shrapnel of inert metals like tungsten, nickel and cobalt causing a massive implosion within a relatively confined space, supposedly allowing a precise kill without collateral damage over a wide area. Small diameter bombs (SDBs) which glide toward their target under laser direction can be fitted to F16 fighter aircraft, and were used in Gaza (1000 were purchased from the US in early December in readiness for the 2008 attack).

It is thought that they contained dense inert metal shrapnel. However the evidence for the use of DIMES is based on the powdered shrapnel found over the liver surface and other soft tissues, as well as the clean-cut multiple amputations suffered by so many casualties; it is not definitive.

Depleted uranium tipped shells are designed for deep penetration of targets such as tanks and create a high temperature fireball inside; in Gaza they were used to attack large buildings, not tanks. Finally although the Israelis have been accused of using thermobaric weapons in Gaza as bunker busters targeting the Egyptian border tunnels, there is no clear evidence for that.

Operation Cast Lead was a supreme example of asymmetric warfare between, on the one hand, the most powerful military state in the Middle East and, on the other, a besieged concentration camp. To give you an idea of the military might of this prototypic modern warrior state, Israel has at the last count between 240 and 300 nuclear warheads; huge stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (yet calling indignantly for the destruction of all in Syria); 620 warplanes including F16 fighters (soon to be replaced with the latest F35 lightning fighters costing $200 million each, 25 of which promised by the US to Israel ahead of all other recipients as they come off the production line), as well as Cobra and Apache helicopters; six German-built and donated Dolphin Class submarines, some capable of being armed with nuclear warheads and two thought to be currently operational in the Persian Gulf; an unknown number of short, intermediate and long range (up to 8000 kilometres) ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload (Jericho1,2,3); a modern navy of 58 combat surface warships many armed with missiles which regularly exercises with the NATO Fleet in the Mediterranean; three squadrons of drones (Hermes, Searcher and Heron), many designed and built in Israel with 100 on order by the UK Government; a highly trained army with 2442 heavy Merkava tanks, 1265 armoured troop carriers and numerous other smaller military vehicles; 2754 pieces of heavy artillery with diabolical ordnance specifically designed to create havoc in civilian populations; and a standing army of 26,000 bolstered by 107,000 conscripts to a total of 133,000 troops (60% bigger than the British Army) which can be rapidly expanded nearly 3-fold in emergency with 400,000 personnel who have been trained for mandatory periods each year of their life from 18 up to the age of 40-50.

Think back to the size of that total population of 7.8 million Israelis, of which at least 20% are ineligible to join the armed forces because they are regarded as a Fifth Column of Israeli Arabs. This represents a massive investment in war both in blood and in money. How much does all this cost? Officially, Israel says it spends roughly 7% of total GDP ($265 billion) on the military (as compared with 4.5% US and 2.5% UK). Once a tiny state like Israel commits itself to such a massive proportion of its GDP for war, the only way to pay for it is through economies of scale, an indigenous arms development programme, partly for domestic use by the IDF and partly for sale.

Based on their 2012/13 sales ($13 billion), it lies 4th in the world league table (UK 3rd with $19 billion in sales). If you factor in, however, Israel’s homeland security trade (perhaps as much as its arms trade, whose goods have been honed over decades of control over the Palestinians), such profitable enterprises as retrofitting and its largely unreported arms trade through the shadow world of arms dealers, its global reach and profits place it among the leading arms and security exporters. The Israeli arms and homeland security industry has certainly made its mark both in hardware weaponry (particularly drones), in IT (avionics, robotics, other forms of electronic warfare, plus the military applications of nanotechnology) and in cyber warfare (where IDF Unit 8200 works closely with the NSA), plus myriad forms of security-for-hire. Labelling their products “Field-tested” or “Combat-proven in Gaza” gives Israeli weapons manufacturers a key edge in the market.

Besides unquestioning bi-partisan support for Israel in Congress for domestic reasons, are there other interests at work that explain why the US routinely vetoes in the Security Council any and every UN resolution critical of Israel (43 times so far, more than all other countries have used their veto on all other issues combined)? Could the ability of the Pentagon and American (and European) arms manufacturers to test their new weaponry in Gaza and the West Bank offer an explanation?

The immediate connection between American financial support of the Israeli anti-missile defence system Iron Dome, its use against Qassam rockets whose firing Israel actually provoked and announcements that the system is being sold to American forces in Afghanistan and to India has to raise questions. Similarly, could a demonstration of “aerial occupation” in which drones complete dominate, intimidate and control the lives of 1.7 million people in Gaza have any effect on Israeli sales of drones as part of its larger export of means of control to governments, armies, security agencies, and police forces around the world? And what about the massive natural gas fields off-shore from Gaza being exploited by Israel while the Palestinians are denied access to their own natural resources through supposed “security” controls?

Israel’s armoury serves as the ultimate extension of Western hegemony in the region. That and the Western military-security-industrial complex being served by Israeli weapons and the opportunity to develop and test weapons in the Palestinian Territories makes the assaults on Gaza and the ongoing repression a case study in what is rapidly becoming Global Palestine – the “palestinization” of us all. For the Gazans are only the guinea pigs. We are the end-recipients. In that sense we all are, truly, Palestinians.”

“To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good... Ideology - that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.”
- Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
Such brave warriors, proudly defending their country from terrorists...

Yeah, real men, the IDF, brave warriors all. 
Tanks, helicopter gunships, fighter jets, artillery... 
against defenseless women and kids, and old people. 
Don't look away, Good American Taxpayer Citizen, YOU paid for all this, 
and the blood is on your hands, too, as well as mine... 
My opinion, and I don't give a damn who doesn't like it, either.
- CP
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
- William Shakespeare

"How It Really Is"

"Fukushima Update, 12/30/2013"

"Fukushima Update, 12/30/2013"
By Susan Duclos, et al

"Earlier I reported that Unit #3 of the Fukushima nuclear plants was steaming, multiple times just this past week and in another report we found out that dust, rain, fog, food and water are all ways that radiation can enter the human body. Now Turner Radio Network has spoken to some experts and are issuing a major urgent alert for the West Coast of the US about the radiation that could possibly hit them, in a massive way, in the next three to five days.

 The area around #3 is so 'hot' and dangerous that people cannot even go there. Instead, robot cranes operated by remote control are picking up the debris around the spent fuel pool in preparation for removing whatever fuel rods are left; after a fire and meltdown event a few days after 3/11. TEPCO is not even planning on approaching this spent fuel pool to do any removal of anything in the near future, other than the debris. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of the human race. Plutonium was released from this spent fuel pool in the fire and the explosion at reactor #3, and the only question left is how much, where it went, and what effects it will have globally on all life. 

Two possibilities according to experts:
1) Pellets of radioactive fuel, ejected when the reactor exploded, have mixed together and “mini” meltdowns are taking place with those small clumps of pellets.  This would not be a horrific problem and may be manageable, OR;
Pellets of radioactive fuel, ejected when the reactor exploded, went into the spent fuel pool located above the reactor and have begun melting down so seriously they are boiling off the water in the spent fuel pool.

Since steam is visible, experts tell TRN that Scenario #2 above is is the most likely scenario and if so,  it would be an absolute nightmare – WORSE than the original Fukushima disaster! The Spent Fuel Pool was situated on the fourth floor above Reactor #3, and if this is the source of the steam, the situation could escalate rapidly out of control.
In this newly released video from BPEarthwatch he shouts out a loud warning to the entire world and specifically North America after the recently announced leak  at Fukushima that Japanese authorities have warned will soon be over the America’s. Experts share this could be the beginning of a melt fuel spill meltdown for these GE designed plants and that a radioactive cloud will be here within days."


Just my (informed) opinion... if you live on the West Coast, California particularly- leave, now, if at all possible, go inland or north to Oregon or Washington state.. Get out of this monsters way until we can determine what is actually happening, despite the total blackout from the main stream media. Go! - CP

“Key Zeitgeist and Anthropology Trends 2014: What If The Unexpected Happens?”

“Key Zeitgeist and Anthropology Trends 2014:
What If The Unexpected Happens?”

By DK Matai

"OPPOSITES: 2014 is likely to be a year of Opposites:
a) Moving forwards in the digital world and moving backwards in the analogue world;
b) Balancing business and personal life becomes a key challenge whilst distinguishing between the increasingly blurred work and home-life boundaries;
c) Emotional and social ups and downs and coping with roller-coaster extreme mood swings within others and oneself;
d) Periods of fast moving complexity punctuated by periods of relative calm – every state of existence becoming more and more ephemeral;
e) Bouts of conflict and peace on several fronts: domestic, communal, regional, national and international; and
f)  The key battles at the highest level amongst nation-state and non-nation-state actors are for access to energy and natural resources whilst controlling and coping with enhanced life expectancy.

OPPORTUNITIES: Some industries are likely to continue to grow very fast as we get ever closer to entering the 21st century Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) matrix:
a) Machine-to-machine (M2M) interface or the internet of everything and the cross-coupling of mobile devices and everyday objects in wireless Peer-to-Peer (P2P) mode;
b) Ultra powerful Quantum Computing, Quantum Cryptography, Quantum Communications, Quantum Energy Devices, Quantum Healing and Quantum Healthcare applications;
c) 3D printing becomes more accessible and gets closer to becoming mainstream thereby eliminating the competitive advantage of China and other simple-product based exporters;
d) Domestic robots, robotic prosthetic limbs using automatic mind control and a step-by-step rise of more-and-more artificially intelligent and highly efficient machines;
e)  Alternative power sources become more mainstream including greater use of green technologies: solar power plants, rooftop solar panels, wind farms, geothermal systems, hydrogen power plants and recycling waste-to-energy solutions alongside conventional local power generation using fossil fuels to cope with prolonged power outages;
f) Certain medical areas which increase life expectancy such as regenerative medicine and healing technologies based on growing stem cells, new bones and new cartilage;
g) Breakthroughs in oceanography and our understanding of the sea including the not-so-welcome exploitation of the 'North Pole' Arctic zone for energy and minerals;
h) Growth in certain clean food industries, locally grown food, food preservation, catering and food technology as greater research is undertaken and more emphasis is placed on nutrition and diet;
i) New types of food outlets and digitally-enabled restaurants with innovative and quick-turnaround services and bespoke food preparation;
j) Traditional newspapers rendered increasingly obsolete by new forms of media where the people are the reporters, not the controlling few who sift through the news and may keep everybody relatively uninformed or perhaps fulfil corporate agendas of their advertisers and sponsors; and
k) Although more of a long term threat than a short term opportunity, the real elephant in the room is the increasing level of distraction that society generates for itself via the innovation and invention of ever more sophisticated technological ways for consuming, shopping and buying more and more new products and services for which there is an insatiable appetite but a scarcity of natural resources on this planet.

a) People’s aspiration for autonomy and sovereignty is increasing everywhere: More people power and transparency using smart mobile telephones with built-in powerful cameras; Social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Whatsapp etc that enable Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks (SADNs); Instantaneous insurrections with fast evolving and fading trends; Transference of power ultimately from corporations to consumers step-by-step and also perhaps from government agencies to citizens;
b) At the same time, governments- and unfortunately renegade crime syndicates and triads- are garnering ever greater access to citizens’ privacy and legitimate business details including: Having the precise knowledge of location, ie, where specifically a person and their family, friends and colleagues are at any given moment; Accessing private emails, digital files and monitoring phone conversations; as well as Collecting financial details from offshore and onshore locations without hindrance;
c) Cyber-reconnaissance-and-surveillance as well as offensive and defensive cyber-warfare by sovereign and non-nation-state actors continue to increase exponentially as cyberspace becomes the most important battleground of the 21st century. Expect more denial-of-service-for-ransom and denial-of-service-for-theft blended attacks and business interruptions to mission critical systems alongside the large-scale theft of intellectual property and digital embezzlement of funds from bank accounts;
d) Rising difficulty for ordinary citizens to rely on governments systems- as previous generations have done- to provide safety, stability and security as systemic vulnerabilities escalate and government support systems are pushed to the brink because of unprecedented upheavals caused by climate chaos, social-fabric deterioration, new and complex financial and economic regulations and metropolitan polarity between the rich and the poor; and
e) Expect increasing technological zombification as almost all generations are plugged into the digital matrix via smart phones, smart televisions and other computing and gaming devices and ubiquitously tap and massage their tactile screens with sign-language type cryptic finger and hand movements almost reminiscent of some long lost tribe communicating esoterically with the world beyond.

Extreme weather patterns from very cold to very hot and frequent ice and water crises around the world as climate chaos worsens:
a) Expect ice storms and frequent flooding both in the East and the West, delivering instant third-world conditions, squalor or worse to parts of the population in the rich and poor nations alike;
b) More power outages, and for longer, leaving the aged, the infirm and children most at risk;
c)  Rise of ever more complicated diseases including more virulent forms of the common cold, bird and swine flu, stomach bugs and allergies;
1-in-100 year type damages caused by storms, typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis become more frequent as humanity makes more adverse changes to the sustainability of the landscape and more of the population moves to new dwellings built in vulnerable low lying areas
Excess water ingress in coastal areas coupled with amplified media coverage;
f)  Fresh water purity and contamination issues caused not just by natural events including earthquakes, volcanoes and climate chaos but also man-made events like fracking-for-fuel and radioactive contamination;
g) Emergency and survival kits likely to become a necessity in areas most vulnerable to climate chaos in both rich and poor nations alike;
h) More failures of large insurance companies because of rising and unprecedented catastrophe claims; and
i)  Refusal to provide insurance cover in so many areas of the world hitherto considered safe for human habitation and business operations.

Projection of increased confidence especially amongst many of the lawmakers and government agencies in our financial, economic and political systems' collective good health is probably premature.  The global financial crisis which started in 2007/8 is not truly over and behind us especially if the monetary stimulus provided by the US Federal Reserve on a monthly basis is withdrawn at any moment;
b) All it takes is for short term interest rates to rise by 2% and the Sea-of-Debt Tsunami will not only be triggered once again but on this occasion it may be larger by several orders of magnitude because of the quadrillion dollar derivatives pyramid and the trillions-of-dollars strong additional debts undertaken during the financial crisis;
c) More QE or Quantitative Easing continues to mask the real pain by artificially levitating the global financial markets and associated assets like a strong drug which is needed continuously and in large doses to be effective.  In September 2012, the US Federal Reserve embarked on QE3, another huge round of continuous borrowing and printing of money and that is likely to continue under their new chairman Janet Yellen.  Watch out for withdrawal symptoms even as some half-hearted tapering is undertaken. The Fed’s balance sheet is still rising month-on-month and is poised to cross four trillion dollars beginning with a monetary base in 2007/8 below one trillion dollars. A 350+% increase in less than six years is not sustainable; 
d) The bond yield curve is continuing to steepen and the short-term interest rates remain artificially low while the 10-year bond yields are now already touching 3% and may yet cross 4% and keep rising thereby causing the twin peaks of the sovereign and personal debt mountains to become more and more unsustainable in the near future; 
e) The reality is that the next stage of this global financial and economic crisis could get much worse with: Multiple trans-national investigations of large scale banking corruption and fraud cases already in the pipeline involving household names; New compliance regulations increasing the cost of business both for clients and financial institutions as new bureaucratic layers are added and mispricing is replaced with higher prices; Higher unemployment, particularly rising youth unemployment, leading to more demonstrations, insurrections and civil unrest as the inequality between the haves and the have-nots continues to rise as a global phenomenon embracing both rich and poor countries with somewhat equal ferocity as 99% look at the 1% profiting from loose monetary policies;
  There could be a continued upswing in the global economy based on the printing of money and artificial levitation.  However, if the recovery does gather pace, it may be short-lived and by the middle of 2014- if there has been the perception of an improvement in the economy via the global financial markets and rising asset prices- it is likely to be followed by a sharp drop at some stage within a year as: Multiple asset bubbles are pricked by rising interest rates that are ultimately linked to sovereign bond yields, which are already rising significantly in the 10-year and 30-year categories; Rising food and energy bills affect disposable income; and Stock market visible earnings of corporations continue to slide ever lower;
g) The Bitcoin craze is likely to blow up substantially but interest in cryptocurrencies, especially those that may be convertible into tangible physical assets, energy or commodities, may continue to rise as an alternative means of electronic payment across countries especially where: The national currency is not 100% convertible and restrictions remain in place in regard to exporting capital; and/or Confidence in the fiat currency's purchasing power is falling considerably because of over-printing of new money.
h) Electronic gold and silver prices are likely to remain very volatile with ever greater price manipulation strategies which manifest as lower and then much higher pricing on the financial markets.  However, passion investments including fine art and design as well as certain commodities will continue to benefit from the flight away from digitally denominated paper assets towards the acquisition and storage of ultra high value physical assets in secure locations;
i)  Financial markets are just a reflection of the ultimate quest for the ownership and control of in-demand natural resources, energy, products and services along with solutions which support the human-life-system and life-style.  Some economists are forecasting a further upswing in certain major economies all the way through 2014.  However, we should not be misled into thinking that the global financial crisis is totally behind us and that we can confidently invest with total security in the global financial markets. We have to learn to expect the unexpected and to recognise that because of high frequency trading and enormous dark pools of capital belonging to shadow banking entities we are always a hop and a skip away from significant chaos.  We ought to expect greater volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets with wider swings from high to low than ever before as longer-dated bond yields continue to rise;
j)  Increase in asymmetric and military threats especially in the Far East and potential wild cards in the Middle-East and South Asia:  it could become explosive very suddenly in the South China Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Sea; and
k) Space exploration including probing the moon and other planets such as Mars- continues not just by America and Europe but increasingly so by China, India and Japan along with the uncovering of greater knowledge about the availability of natural resources including rare earth metals and diverse energy sources as well as greater paranormal activity across the universe.  

CULTURAL METAMORPHOSIS: The key through all of these challenges is going to be compassion and love with people coming together and helping one another through the challenges. We can choose to make this a pleasurable and joyful time or we can make it even more difficult for ourselves. The choice is ours. We vote for helping one another, looking out for different and more innovative ways of doing things, sharing our knowledge and expertise, working together and creating a new, exciting and better future for all of us.  In short, we need to move from a conflicted competitive society towards a collaborative harmonious society in order to come together not only to survive but to thrive in 2014 and beyond in a more equitable world!  Happy New Year!  Enjoy 2014!"
- DK Matai,
What are your thoughts, observations and views? We are hosting an Expert roundtable on this issue at ATCA 24/7 on Yammer. Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA) & The Philanthropia: We welcome your participation in this Socratic dialogue. Please access by clicking here. ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The Philanthropia, founded in 2005, brings together over 1,000 leading individual and private philanthropists, family offices, foundations, private banks, non-governmental organisations and specialist advisors to address complex global challenges such as countering climate chaos, reducing radical poverty and developing global leadership for the younger generation through the appliance of science and technology, leveraging acumen and finance, as well as encouraging collaboration with a strong commitment to ethics. Philanthropia emphasises multi-faith spiritual values: introspection, healthy living and ecology. Philanthropia Targets: Countering climate chaos and carbon neutrality; Eliminating radical poverty- through micro-credit schemes, empowerment of women and more responsible capitalism; Leadership for the Younger Generation; and Corporate and social responsibility."

“Life in the Emerging American Police State: What’s in Store for Our Freedoms in 2014?”

“Life in the Emerging American Police State:
 What’s in Store for Our Freedoms in 2014?”
By John W. Whitehead

     “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
—George Santayana, "The Life of Reason", Vol. 1

"In Harold Ramis’ classic 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day”, TV weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) is forced to live the same day over and over again until he not only gains some insight into his life but changes his priorities. Similarly, as I illustrate in my book “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State”, we in the emerging American police state find ourselves reliving the same set of circumstances over and over again—egregious surveillance, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, etc.—although with far fewer moments of comic hilarity.

What remains to be seen is whether 2014 will bring more of the same or whether “we the people” will wake up from our somnambulant states. Indeed, when it comes to civil liberties and freedom, 2013 was far from a banner year. The following is just a sampling of what we can look forward to repeating if we don’t find some way to push back against the menace of an overreaching, aggressive, invasive, militarized government and restore our freedoms.

Government spying. It’s hard to understand how anyone could be surprised by the news that the National Security Agency has been systematically collecting information on all telephone calls placed in the United States, and yet the news media have treated it as a complete revelation. Nevertheless, such outlandish government spying been going on domestically since the 1970s, when Senator Frank Church (D-Ida.), who served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence that investigated the NSA’s breaches, warned the public against allowing the government to overstep its authority in the name of national security. Church recognized that such surveillance powers “at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.” Recent reports indicate that the NSA, in conjunction with the CIA and FBI, has actually gone so far as to intercept laptop computers ordered online in order to install spyware on them.

Militarized police. With almost 13,000 agencies in all 50 states and four U.S. territories participating in a military “recycling” program, community police forces across the country continue to be transformed into outposts of the military, with police agencies acquiring military-grade hardware—tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield—in droves. Keep in mind that once acquired, this military equipment, which is beyond the budget and scope of most communities, finds itself put to all manner of uses by local law enforcement agencies under the rationale that “if we have it, we might as well use it”—the same rationale, by the way, used with deadly results to justify assigning SWAT teams to carry out routine law enforcement work such as delivering a warrant.

Police shootings of unarmed citizens. Owing in large part to the militarization of local law enforcement agencies, not a week goes by without more reports of hair-raising incidents by police imbued with a take-no-prisoners attitude and a battlefield approach to the communities in which they serve. Sadly, it is no longer unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later, such as the 16-year-old teenager who skipped school only to be shot by police after they mistook him for a fleeing burglar. Then there was the unarmed black man in Texas “who was pursued and shot in the back of the neck by Austin Police… after failing to properly identify himself and leaving the scene of an unrelated incident.” And who could forget the 19-year-old Seattle woman who was accidentally shot in the leg by police after she refused to show her hands? The lesson to be learned: this is what happens when you take a young man (or woman), raise him on a diet of violence, hype him up on the power of the gun in his holster and the superiority of his uniform, render him woefully ignorant of how to handle a situation without resorting to violence, train him well in military tactics but allow him to be illiterate about the Constitution, and never stress to him that he is to be a peacemaker and a peacekeeper, respectful of and subservient to the taxpayers, who are in fact his masters and employers.

The erosion of private property. If the government can tell you what you can and cannot do within the privacy of your home, whether it relates to what you eat or what you smoke, you no longer have any rights whatsoever within your home. If government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property. If school officials can punish your children for what they do or say while at home or in your care, your children are not your own—they are the property of the state. If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Likewise, if police can forcefully draw your blood, strip search you, and probe you intimately, your body is no longer your own, either. This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks like, where the lines between private and public property have been so blurred that private property is reduced to little more than something the government can use to control, manipulate and harass you to suit its own purposes, and you the homeowner and citizen have been reduced to little more than a tenant or serf in bondage to an inflexible landlord.

Strip searches and the loss of bodily integrity. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intended to protect the citizenry from being subjected to “unreasonable searches and seizures” by government agents. While the literal purpose of the amendment is to protect our property and our bodies from unwarranted government intrusion, the moral intention behind it is to protect our human dignity. Unfortunately, court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, strip search us, and probe us intimately. For example, during a routine traffic stop, Leila Tarantino was allegedly subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic, while her two children—ages 1 and 4—waited inside her car. During the second strip search, presumably in an effort to ferret out drugs, a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. No contraband or anything illegal was found.

Invasion of the drones. As corporations and government agencies alike prepare for their part in the coming drone invasion—it is expected that at least 30,000 drones will occupy U.S. airspace by 2020, ushering in a $30 billion per year industry—it won’t be long before Americans discover first-hand that drones—unmanned aerial vehicles—come in all shapes and sizes, from nano-sized drones as small as a grain of sand that can do everything from conducting surveillance to detonating explosive charges, to middle-sized copter drones that can deliver pizzas to massive “hunter/killer” Predator warships that unleash firepower from on high. Police in California have already begun using Qube drones, which are capable of hovering for 40 minutes at heights of about 400 ft. to conduct surveillance on targets as far as 1 kilometer away. Michael Downing, the LAPD deputy chief for counter-terrorism and special operations, envisions drones being flown over large-scale media events such as the Oscars, using them to surveil political protests, and flying them through buildings to track criminal suspects.

Criminalizing childish behavior. It wouldn’t be a week in America without another slew of children being punished for childish behavior under the regime of zero tolerance which plagues our nation’s schools. Some of the most egregious: the 9-year-old boy suspended for allegedly pointing a toy at a classmate and saying “bang, bang”; two 6-year-old students in Maryland suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns in a schoolyard game of cops and robbers; the ten-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for shooting an imaginary “arrow” at a fellow classmate, using nothing more than his hands and his imagination; the six-year-old Colorado boy suspended and accused of sexual harassment for kissing the hand of a girl in his class whom he had a crush on; and the two seventh graders in Virginia suspended for the rest of the school year for playing with airsoft guns in their own yard before school.

Common Core. There are several methods for controlling a population. You can intimidate the citizenry into obedience through force, relying on military strength and weaponry such as SWAT team raids, militarized police, and a vast array of lethal and nonlethal weapons. You can manipulate them into marching in lockstep with your dictates through the use of propaganda and carefully timed fear tactics about threats to their safety, whether through the phantom menace of terrorist attacks or shooting sprees by solitary gunmen.  Or you can indoctrinate them into compliance from an early age through the schools, discouraging them from thinking for themselves while rewarding them for regurgitating whatever the government, through its so-called educational standards, dictates they should be taught. When viewed in light of the government’s ongoing attempts to amass power at great cost to Americans—in terms of free speech rights, privacy, due process, etc.—the debate over Common Core State Standards, which would transform and nationalize school curriculum from kindergarten through 12th grade, becomes that much more critical. These standards, which were developed through a partnership between big government and corporations and are being rolled out in 45 states and the District of Columbia, will create a generation of test-takers capable of little else, molded and shaped by the federal government and its corporate allies into what it considers to be ideal citizens.

The corporate takeover of America. The corporate buyout of the American political bureaucracy is taking place at every level of government, from the White House all the way to the various governors’ mansions, and even local city councils. With Big Business and Big Government having fused into a corporate state, the president and his state counterparts—the governors, have become little more than CEOs of the Corporate State, which day by day is assuming more government control over our lives. The average American has no access to his or her representatives at any but the lowest level of government, and even then it’s questionable how much really gets through. Never before have average Americans had so little say in the workings of their government and even less access to their so-called representatives. Yet one of the key ingredients in maintaining democratic government is the right of citizens to freely speak their minds to those who represent them. In fact, it is one of the few effective tools we have left to combat government corruption and demand accountability. But now, even that right is being chipped away by laws and court rulings that weaken our ability to speak freely to the politicians who govern us.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, put it best: “Take alarm,” he warned, “at the first experiment with liberties.” Anyone with even a casual knowledge about current events knows that the first experiment on our freedoms happened long ago. Worse, we have not heeded the warnings of Madison and those like him who understood that if you give the government an inch, they will take a mile. Unfortunately, the government has not only taken a mile, they have taken mile after mile after mile after mile with seemingly no end in sight for their power grabs.

If you’re in the business of making New Year’s resolutions, why not resolve that 2014 will be the year we break the cycle of tyranny and get back on the road to freedom. As I’ve said before, it’s time for a second American revolution.”

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Michael Jackson, "Earth Song"

Michael Jackson, "Earth Song"

"Wounded, But Not Slain..."

"I am wounded but I am not slain.
I'm bruised and faint they say...
I shall lay me down and bleed a while, then I shall rise and fight again.
Just let me lie and bleed awhile;
I'll not be long this way.

My Spirit's low and my eyes flow.
My heart is sad and sore;
But when my pen'ent tears are gone,
I'll stand and fight some more.

I'll bind these wounds; I'll dry these tears;
I'll close this bleeding vein;
I'll not lie here and weep and die:
I'll rise and fight again.

'Twas yesterday I bowed so low,
Was weak from tears and pain;
Today I'm strong; my fears are gone;
Today I fight again.”

- John Jefferson

"Cynicism Is Not Smart, Sophisticated or Detached...It’s a Cop-Out"

 "Cynicism Is Not Smart, Sophisticated or Detached...
It’s a Cop-Out"

by WashingtonsBlog

"We have overwhelming numbers.  If we worked together we would win. Why aren’t we? A large reason that we are failing is that people are copping out… by adopting a cynical attitude. Many of us pretend that we are too smart to think anything can change. Too smart to get emotionally involved in the destruction of our prosperity or our liberties.
“Cynicism is nothing but intellectual cowardice”.
- Henry Rollins

“Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It’s unrealistic and
kind of cowardly because it means you don’t have to try.”
- Peggy Noonan

“A cynic is a coward. Cynicism always takes the easy way out. It is a form of laziness that provides someone with an excuse for not making any attempt to change the world. Cynicism is a way to hide. Cynics are afraid. So, instead, they pass judgment on anyone who is trying to make a difference. They ridicule the efforts of individuals and organizations that are working hard under incredibly difficult circumstances. Being cynical is often thought of as being composed and detached. It is considered to be a sign of sophistication. Cynics are mistakenly given credit for possessing a deep awareness regarding the limits of what humans can accomplish which is somehow lacking in those who spend their time in passionate efforts to change the world. Being filled with cynicism is indeed a cowardly and sad way to go through life. ” - Michael Crawley

We’ve previously noted: The ironic thing is that if all of the people who think of themselves as cynics or skeptics made noise, things would instantly change for the better. In other words, the millions upon millions of cynics/skeptics/self-described “realists” aren’t raising a ruckus against the fraud being committed by the giant banks, the corruption of our political system, or the lawlessness and imperial arrogance of our military-industrial complex because they think things can’t change. But by staying silent, they are actually creating the conditions in which nothing can change.

If the millions of cynics woke up to the fact that they are a huge group – especially when combined with the people who are already actively working for the restoration of a democratic republic, justice, and the rule of law – they would suddenly realize that collectively we can change things in a heart beat. Skepticism, cynicism and “realism” is an act of fear, of cowardice, of apathy. Because if the skeptics just got off their backsides and made some noise, things would change.

The Real Hero Fights Without Knowing Whether Or Not He’ll Succeed: The optimist – whether a person of faith or plain old positive temperament – is sure that he’ll succeed. The pessimist – i.e. the cynic – is sure he’ll fail. But the truth is that we never know in advance whether we’ll win or not. We’ve previously noted: How do we know if what we’re doing will really have an effect or not? How do we know if we are being called upon to struggle in order to succeed in changing things for the better… or for the heck of it?

We are called upon as part of our core purpose to struggle to try to make the world a better place. But we are not privy to fruits of our actions. We are not granted a view of the future… we will never know how many people we will help, and how we will change the course of history. We are called upon to struggle, but we can never know the end result of our efforts… that is not for us mere mortals to know. Chris Hedges – the Pulitizer-prize winning reporter who challenged the indefinite detention law and amazingly succeeded against all odds in having a judge strike down that law, saying: "None of us thought we would win."

Another judge – amazingly – halted all nuclear construction and licenses until disposal risks are addressed. They didn’t know until they tried whether or not they could win. And – even if we lose the immediate battle – we will help win a long-term war.  Specifically – as bad as things are (and yes, we know things are getting worse)  – they would be much worse if millions of people worldwide hadn’t struggled. As Hedges writes: "The battles that must be fought may never be won in our lifetime. And there will always be new battles to define our struggle. Resistance to tyranny and evil is never ending."

So how can we fight not knowing whether we’ll succeed? F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise." Hellen Keller pointed out: "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." And Czech leader Vaclav Havel said: "Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out."

Go Viral… It’s Contagious: Courage is contagious (and as scared as we may be of the powers-that-be, they're terrified of us as well.) So is the ability to think. As we’ve previously noted: "Studies show that even one dissenting voice can give people permission to think for themselves. Specifically: Solomon Asch, with experiments originally carried out in the 1950s and well-replicated since, highlighted a phenomenon now known as “conformity”. In the classic experiment, a subject sees a puzzle like the one in the nearby diagram: Which of the lines A, B, and C is the same size as the line X? Take a moment to determine your own answer…The gotcha is that the subject is seated alongside a number of other people looking at the diagram – seemingly other subjects, actually confederates of the experimenter. The other “subjects” in the experiment, one after the other, say that line C seems to be the same size as X. The real subject is seated next-to-last. How many people, placed in this situation, would say “C” – giving an obviously incorrect answer that agrees with the unanimous answer of the other subjects? What do you think the percentage would be?

Three-quarters of the subjects in Asch’s experiment gave a “conforming” answer at least once. A third of the subjects conformed more than half the time. Get it so far? People tend to defer to what the herd thinks. But here’s the good news: Adding a single dissenter – just one other person who gives the correct answer, or even an incorrect answer that’s different from the group’s incorrect answer – reduces conformity very sharply, down to 5-10%. Why is this important? Well, it means that one person who publicly speaks the truth can sway a group of people away from group-think. If a group of people is leaning towards believing the government’s version of events, a single person who speaks the truth can help snap the group out of its trance.

There is an important point here regarding the web, as well. The above-cited article states that:
When subjects can respond in a way that will not be seen by the group, conformity also drops.What does that mean? Well, on the web, many people post anonymously. The anonymity gives people permission to “respond in a way that will not be seen by the group”. But most Americans still don’t get their news from the web, or only go to mainstream corporate news sites. Away from the keyboard, we are not very anonymous. So that is where the conformity dynamic — and the need for courageous dissent — is vital. It is doubly important that we apply the same hard-hitting truthtelling we do on the Internet in our face-to-face interactions; because it is there that dissent is urgently needed.

Bottom line: Each person‘s voice has the power to snap entire groups out of their coma of irrational group-think. So go forth and be a light of rationality and truth among the sleeping masses. And a recent study shows that when only 10% of a population have strongly-held beliefs, their belief will often be adopted by the majority of the society. This is true of soldiers as well as civilians.  Indeed, if the soldiers, sailors, seals, flyboys, intel operatives and law enforcement officers wake up to what is really happening, things would change overnight.

Some historical quotes may be helpful in illustrating the importance of struggling to make things better …

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F . Kennedy

"We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before; and it changed for the better; so I trust it will again. If difficulties arise; we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times." - George Washington

"We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history." - Sonia Johnson

"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

"Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up." - Studs Terkel

"At certain points in history, the energy level of people, the indignation level of people rises.  And at that point it becomes possible for people to organize and to agitate and to educate one another, and to create an atmosphere in which the government must do something." - Howard Zinn

"There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at points in history and creating a power that governments cannot suppress." - Howard Zinn"
by Almighty God we will keep up the good fight, until the last breath. 
There's nothing else we can do... - CP

Afshin, “Prayer of Change”

Afshin, “Prayer of Change”

Musical Interlude: Josh Groban, “Remember When It Rained”

Josh Groban, “Remember When It Rained”

Friday, December 27, 2013

"I'll be back..."

Roger Waters, Radio KAOS, “Tide Is Turning”

Obviously something pretty catastrophic happened health wise here, and I have to suspend any blog activity for at least another few weeks while recovering from quadruple (4) coronary artery bypass graft surgery. (Without surgical intervention I'm assured there would have been be a zero % probability of survival, within days at most, so I'm very grateful for that.) Recovery is usually 4-12 weeks, and this is only week 2, so not a real happy camper at the moment. Thank you for your patience as this new phase of life begins, I wish only the very best for you all. See you on the other side! - CP

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Musical Interlude: Justin Hayward, "Celtic Heart"

Justin Hayward, "Celtic Heart"

"In Praise of America's Bureaucrats"

"In Praise of America's Bureaucrats"
by Bill Bonner
"It's been "Bureaucrat Appreciation Week. Just when we had lost all respect for them, we notice a countertrend. It's time for us to get in step. So, today, we take time out from our regularly scheduled programming to thank the people who rule us... To the TSA agents at airports... to the IRS agents who audit our tax returns... to the NSA agents who read our emails... and to zombies everywhere... To all of you, we'd like to say a heartfelt "Go f***k yourself."

No... no... no... We meant to say THANK YOU!

Yes, dear reader, we've got to bring our thinking in line with the prevailing trend. And today, the US is developing a real affection and respect for authority! Americans seem to like to have people rifle through their luggage and pat down their grandmothers at airports. It makes them feel safer.

The Fed's Dirty Little Secret: Americans want someone "in charge" of the US economy too. That's why the new chairman of the Fed is so important. What are the requirements for the job? It has to be someone who can keep a secret and tell a joke with a straight face. The secret is that the Fed can't really control the economy. It can influence it. But the influence it has is all negative. That's the joke.

Fixing interest rates at any level other than that chosen by willing borrowers and lenders, the Fed distorts the price of credit... and the price of just about every other financial asset that is priced off interest rates. And distorting prices always leads to problems – either shortages or surpluses. Also, by fixing rates at ultra-low levels, the Fed is stealing from one group and giving to another. The middle class, savers and working people lose wealth. Hedge fund managers, bankers, zombies... and, of course, those lovable feds... gain.

That's why the rich are getting richer as everyone else loses ground. They call it a "stimulus" program. And they're right: It's very stimulating for those who get the money. As for the rest – well, the joke's on us!

A Message to Obama:
As you know, the best candidate to take over at the Fed, after Ben Bernanke leaves, is yours truly. But so far our phone has not rung. And the person not calling is the POTUS, Barack Obama. (We're hoping that this very sincere note of appreciation, respect and thanks to the feds will help our candidacy.)

As the end of Bernanke's term approaches, if things seem to be going well in the economy, President Obama will go with the safe choice: Janet Yellen. If they are going badly – as in the scenario we've outlined above – he will go for the bolder candidate: the "brilliant" Larry Summers.

Alas, your Diary editor is unlikely to get the nod. The president is too busy claiming to "save the middle class" to spend any time trying to figure out what's wrong with the middle class. Since he hasn't figured it out, he won't call the only candidate who could turn things around (albeit in an unpleasant way). And when the sound of helicopters reaches the news media, you will wish you had taken our advice and done your gold shopping now. We don't know what will happen... or when. But no fiat monetary system has ever survived a full credit cycle. This will be no exception.

Charm Offensive

But enough of that. Let's talk about something else...

Besides, it is not very civic minded of us to kvetch about our authorities this week. The feds have mounted a full-on charm offensive. From what we read, the progress of mankind depends on them. No kidding... From Edward Luce in the Financial Times: "Washington ain't that bad." From Clyde Prestowitz in Foreign Policy: "Thank Washington for shale oil." And from Martin Wolf, also in the Financial Times: "The state is the real engine of innovation."

What these headlines have in common is a breathtaking cloddishness... an appreciation of government that is so naïve you wonder about the species itself: How could the brightest people in the human race be so dull witted? Of Martin Wolf, we would expect no less. Said to be one of the "100 most influential people" on the planet, it raises questions about the other 99.

Wolf's influence comes from his post as chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, where he leads the "pink paper" to most of its wrongheaded ideas. In his article this week... in the first sentence... with no hesitation nor even a qualification... he sets out in the wrong direction: "Growth in output per head determines living standards."

He should have hesitated. Imagine an economy in which everyone is given a tiny shovel and told to turn the Earth. Then, in an effort to improve output per head, each is given a bigger shovel. Will living standards improve? Not a bit. They are all wasting their time, no matter how much dirt they turn over.

Having set out in the wrong direction, naturally, Wolf soon arrives at the wrong destination. There, he discovers a world well suited only to simpleminded intellectuals – where molecular research, Google's search engine, the Internet itself and even hydro-fracking are the products of what he calls "state-supported innovation."

Of course, the people who supposedly benefit from these innovations are the taxpayers. Do they want them? Do they get their money's worth? Is this the best way to get these benefits? Are they actually beneficial at all... and how does anyone know? The questions never seem to occur to Wolf. Instead, he accepts the feds' storyline without quibble or irony. And he regards the failure to appreciate the feds' contributions as "the greatest threat to rising prosperity."

What? Greater than the lack of real savings? Greater than the burden of crushing debt? Or unfunded pensions? Or overfunded, overleveraged, overhyped speculations? Or jackass economists? Standing on the Shoulders of the State?

Nevermind. Meanwhile, here comes Clyde Prestowitz, an agreeable and intelligent man whom we met in Georgetown just last year. "The truth," says Prestowitz, "is that virtually none of America's great inventors and entrepreneurs did it on their own. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they received taxpayer-supported federal help along the way." When we started our publishing business we looked around for a place to put it. At the time Baltimore was such a rundown dump that the city was giving away buildings for $1. We took two of them. Was our business also "supported by government"? You bet.

It is almost impossible to do anything without receiving some form of taxpayer support. The feds pass out money as though they were seeking re-election. Support the universities? Support research? Support everybody! As long as it's not your money, why not? But does that mean that government funding is an efficient or effective way of allocating capital resources?

With hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of taxpayer money running in every direction, some of it is bound to rub up against something useful. But why would public officials, with no skin in the game, do a better job of investing it than the people who earned the money in the first place? It's easy to piddle away money. It's hard to get a good return on it.

Nevertheless, Edward Luce looks on Washington with favor. It is "home to some of the brightest people in the US," he says. Hmmm... We lived in and around Washington for many years. As we recall, the gas station attendants and bootblacks were about as clever as those in any other city. But the closer you got to the halls of power, the more you ran into real nincompoops.

Imbecilities and Indignities: Years ago, we shared a car with a member of Congress from California... At first, we thought he was just stupid. But after a while, we began to wonder. His conversation was so mindless, it like elevator Muzak playing in a continuous loop. Soothing. Senseless. When he turned his head, we took the opportunity to peer in his ear, thinking we might catch of glimpse of the electronic gear that made him work. (We saw nothing but a normal ear... which just goes to show what great advances in bionics the feds have made!) But at least Washington has "the decency to apologize for itself," says Luce.

Huh? We can't remember getting an apology. During our lifetime, I estimate that the feds may have squandered as much as $30 trillion. And in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan they have gotten roughly 2 million people killed... for no apparent gain. Over the years, we have suffered countless imbecilities and indignities, from pointless gas lines and "Whip Inflation Now" buttons in the 1970s to the TSA, NSA and a silly War on Terror today. The war in Iraq alone cost an estimated $5 trillion (most of it still to be paid) and some 100,000 lives.

Apology? Public hangings would be more appropriate. But respect for authority is cyclical. And presently, the authorities are enjoying an upswing. People look to the feds to get things they can't get on their own. Health care paid for by someone else... a retirement they can't afford... and foolish pride they don't deserve.

US troops patrol the streets of towns we never heard of... US drones wipe out families we never met... the NSA listens in on the world's conversations... Yes, thanks to the NSA, TSA, CIA, IRS, FBI and the Pentagon. No sparrow can fall anywhere in the world without it setting off alarms in America's command centers. Larceny, bullying, eavesdropping, assassinations – they all help us to stand a little taller and hold our heads a little higher. Thanks, bureaucrats... really."