Sunday, July 31, 2016

Musical Interlude: Justin Hayward, “Something To Believe In”; "The Way of the World

Justin Hayward, “Something To Believe In”

Justin Hayward, "The Way of the World"

“The Democratic Party No Longer Exists”

“The Democratic Party No Longer Exists”
 by Paul Craig Roberts

"The Democratic Party that once was concerned with workers’ rights, the elderly, civil rights, and the constitutional protections of America liberty no longer exists. As the just completed Democratic presidential primaries and the Democratic presidential convention have clearly demonstrated, the United States now has two Republican parties in service to the One Percent.

The organized Democrats–the Democratic National Committee–have shown themselves to be even more venal and corrupt than the Republicans. Leaked emails document that the Democratic National Committee conspired with the Hillary campaign in order to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders. It is clear that Sanders was the choice of Democratic Party voters for president, but the nomination was stolen from him by vote fraud and dirty tricks.

The DNC and the media whores have tried to discredit the incriminating emails by alleging that the leaked emails resulted from a plot by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in behalf of “Putin’s American agent,” Donald Trump. “A vote for Trump is a vote for Putin,” as the presstitute scum put it. This diversionary tactic has not worked. Not even Americans are stupid enough to fall for it.

Consequently, the corrupt “leader” of the DNC had to resign and was unable to deliver her speech at the nominating convention from fear of being booed off the stage. Sanders’ supporters have abandoned Hillary and the fake “Democratic Party.” Probably most of them will vote for the Green Party candidate.

The organized Republicans–the Republican National Committee–and the zionist neoconservatives wanted to block Donald Trump from the nomination just as the DNC blocked Sanders, but could not. The neoconservatives are organizing for Hillary as she is their warmonger and Trump says he is not, but as the Presidential contest is really a contest between the two Republican parties about which gets to be the whore for the One Percent; the RNC, impressed with Hillary’s lack of voter support, seems to be sticking with Trump. Better to be a well-paid whore than to be out in the cold.

In the coming presidential election, the outcome will probably be determined by whether the powerful oligarchic interest groups decide whether Trump is an actual threat or whether they can cosy up to him and rope him in by appointing his government. Trump’s disability is that no matter how able an individual is, that person cannot simultaneously make themselves a multi-billionaire and be knowledgeable of economic and foreign policy issues. The bald fact is that Trump, if he becomes president, does not know whom to appoint in order to have the support from his government to effect the changes for which his supporters hope he stands.

When a person becomes President, that person doesn’t suddenly become an encyclopedia with full knowledge. The President is dependent on the information flows from his government. If those information flows support the interests of Wall Street, the corrupt “banks too big to fail,” the military-security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and the extractive industries (energy, mining, timber), the President’s decisions will support these material interests.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice, because he is opposed to the offshoring of American jobs–a corporate practice that has enriched the One Percent at the expense of the American middle class.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice, because he opposes the fabricated, gratuitous conflict with Russia. Even Americans understand that taking war to a major nuclear power will not end well. Donald Trump is the American people’s choice because he realizes that NATO–an organization whose purpose disappeared 25 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed as a result of the coup against Gorbachev by extreme elements of the Soviet Communist Party–now serves as a vehicle and cover for Washington’s aggressions, which are war crimes under the international statutes that Washington created. Washington’s wars benefit some of the One Percent at the expense of both the 99 Percent and millions of innocent peoples in many countries.

What will happen now is that the presstitutes will demonize Donald Trump even more than they have demonized Vladimir Putin. The scum presstitutes will do everything that they can possibly do to make a vote for Trump into an act of treason against America.

Now that the presstitutes have learned that they can tell the most blatant lies– Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Russian invasions–without being held accountable, they know that they can lie about Trump. And they will. To the hilt. But the presstitutes have lost credibility. A person has to be an imbecile to believe a word that they say.

“Progressives” will wander off the track. They will be turned off by Trump’s stand on immigration, which is where the American people stand. “Progressives” will be worried about whether the ‘fascist” Trump will persecute transgender and homosexual people or revoke the right of women to abort the unborn. To “progressives” this will seem all important as Washington and its NATO vassals hurl the world into nuclear war.

Neither can any intelligence be expected from the defunct American left-wing. The American left-wing supports the official story of 9/11, the excuse for the last 15 years of illegal wars and the American Police State. To find the American left-wing totally allied with the official explanation of what is in reality a false flag event, committed in order that the neoconservatives would have their new Pearl Harbor in order to invade the Middle East, is demonstrable proof that the American left-wing is irrelevant.

The American left interprets 9/11 and subsequent false flag events as oppressed peoples striking back at their oppressors. The emotional satisfaction of this takes the impotent American left-wing out not only of action but of relevance in commentary. The American left-wing has become an asset of the enemy–the neoconservatives who control policy in Washington.

So, where do we stand? The answer is that we are closer to nuclear annihilation than ever before. I know of what I speak. I held the highest security clearances. I was a member of a secret committee that enabled President Reagan to end the Cold War.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin is doing everything he can possibly do to avoid the nuclear war that the crazed American neoconservatives are bringing to humanity. For his efforts in behalf of planet Earth he is demonized 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year after year. For simply stating facts, I am described by the presstitutes as “an apologist for Putin.”

The endless lies about Russia have convinced the Russian media that Washington is mobilizing its NATO vassals for an attack on Russia. Read the transcripts to this Russian media broadcast.

If you aren’t scared after absorbing this Russian news broadcast, you are stupid beyond belief. The message is clear: the West has declared war on Russia but is trying to keep Russia off guard by denying it.

The video of the Russian news broadcast also shows the dismissive way the Russian media was treated at the recent NATO conference in Poland. The non-entity representatives of the non-entity countries of Latvia, which has been ruthlessly looted by the West, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, and the Ukraine representative either refuse to speak to the Russian media or use the interview to repeat Washington’s false accusations against Russia. These imbeciles insulting Russia are representatives of countries that Russia could destroy in a few minutes. If these idiots think Washington could save them, they are as stupid as the Polish colonels who thought that the British guarantee in March 1939 meant anything and could save Poland from the rash action of sticking Poland’s fingers in Hitler’s eye. This Polish stupidity provoked by the stupid British set off World War II with the British and French declaration of war against Germany, thus consigning Poland to Soviet rule for a half century. Some guarantee! The imbecile Chamberlain who wanted peace started WWII with Britain’s worthless “guarantee.”

Does it make you feel safe that the arrogant warmongering imbeciles in Washington have convinced a nuclear power the equal of the United States that America is going to attack? Moreover, Russia is a nuclear power allied with another nuclear power, China, which has had enough of Washington’s imbecilic provocations. Are you willing for “your” government to lead your future into nuclear war with two nuclear powers?

“Here we Americans are going into a presidential election and the overpowering fact of our time–that Washington is threatening humanity with nuclear war–is not a subject for discussion! What is the matter with us Americans? Are we stupid beyond all belief? We sit stupidly, thinking that issues of no importance are the most important issues of our time while “our” insane government provokes nuclear war. Have any people in history failed their obligation to this extent? If so, who?

My case rests. There is no countervailing evidence against the fact that unadulterated evil rules the West and is driving the world to extinction. Western democracy is a total failure. Democracy could not prevent the crazed warmonger Hillary from presidential nomination despite the opposition of the American people.

How long can Russia, and China, wait before they conclude that they have to pre-empt the coming attack from Washington? Does anyone, even stupid Americans, think that once Russia and China are convinced that they are targets for attack that they will just sit there and await the attack? Do peoples as guilty of dereliction of duty as Western peoples are have any right to survive?"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud by chance has assumed this recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is some 1,500 light-years distant, embedded in the vast Orion cloud complex. 
 Click image for larger size.
About five light-years "tall", the dark cloud is cataloged as Barnard 33 and is visible only because its obscuring dust is silhouetted against the glowing red emission nebula IC 434. Stars are forming within the dark cloud. Contrasting blue reflection nebula NGC 2023, surrounding a hot, young star, is at the lower left. The gorgeous color image combines both narrowband and broadband images recorded using three different telescopes.”

"A Complete Substitute..."

"The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that 
for some people it is a complete substitute for life."
 ~ Andrew Brown

Like this:

"What Lies Beyond the Edge of the Observable Universe?"

"What Lies Beyond the Edge of the Observable Universe?"
by Casey Kazan

“The-big-bang-theory- few theories qualify for Nobel laureate Niels Bohr's famous question than the current Big Bang Theory of the origin of the Universe: "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct."
Click image for larger size.
There is a growing body of data and theory which question whether the Universe may have begun with a Big Bang 13.75 billion years ago. Several leading cosmologists, such as Sean Carroll of CalTech and Neil Turok of Cambridge University challenge the prevailing model of a "Big Bang" and believe that  in the future we will only look back in wonder at how anyone could have believed in a creation event which was refuted by so much evidence. The origin of the Big Bang, that is, the state of "existence" which resulted in a Big Bang, is a mathematically obscure state - a "singularity" of zero volume that contained infinite density and infinite energy. Why this singularity existed, how it originated, and why it exploded, has led many scientists to question and challenge the very foundations of the Big Bang theory. 

It has been pointed out that an accelerated expansion limited to the most distant regions of the known universe, is incompatible with an explosive origin, but instead is indicative of an attractive force -a "universe-in-mass" black hole whose super-gravity is effecting red shifts and illumination- creating the illusion of a universe which is accelerating as it speeds away, when instead the stars closest to the hole are speeding faster toward their doom. Other scientists observe that the interpretation of red shifts as supporting a Big Bang, is also flawed and lacking validity. Some experts believe that there is little evidence to support the belief that red shifts are accurate measures of distance or time; that they are so variable and effected by so many factors that estimates of age, time, and distance can vary by up to 3 billion years following repeated measurements, over the just a few years, of the same star.

Although the "Big Bang" is often presented as if it is proven fact, there is a wealth of data, including recent revelations of the several space probes and findings in fundamental physics, which possibly tell a different story.

One of the first problems are found in the Large - Scale Structures in the Universe. In recent years, there have been a number of very serious challenges to the current theory of cosmic evolution and the belief the universe began just 13.7 billion years ago. The existence of these "Superclusters", "Great Walls" and "Great Attractors" could have only come to be organized and situated in their present locations and to have achieved their current size, in a universe which is at least 80 billion to 250 billion years in age. The largest superclusters, for example, the  "Coma", extend up to 100 Mpc!

In 1986, Brent Tully of the University of Hawaii reported detecting superclusters of galaxies 300 million light years (mly) long and 100 mly thick - stretching out about 300 mly across. At the speeds at which galaxies are supposed to be moving, it would require 80 billlion years to create such a huge complex of galaxies.

In 1989, a group lead by John Huchra and Margaret J. Geller at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered "The Great Wall"- a series of galaxies, lined up and creating a "wall" of galaxies 500 million light years (mly) long, 200 mly wide, and 15 mly thick. This superstructure would have required at least 100 billion years to form.

A team of the British, American, and Hungarian astronomers have reported even larger structures. As per their findings, the universe is crossed by at least 13 'Great Walls', apparent rivers of galaxies 100Mpc long in the surveyed domain of 7 billion light years. They found galaxies clustered into bands spaced about 600 million light years apart. The pattern of these clusters stretches across about one-fourth of the diameter of the universe, or about seven billion light years. This huge shell and void pattern would have required nearly 150 billion years to form, based on their speed of movement, if produced by the standard Big Bang cosmology.

Click image for larger size.
The "Sloan Great Wall" of galaxies, as detected by the Sloan Digital Survey, has earned the distinction of being the largest observed structure in the Universe. It is 1.36 billion light years long and 80% longer than the Great Wall discovered by Geller and Huchra. It runs roughly from the head of Hydra to the feet of Virgo. It would have taken at least 250 billion years to form.

Then there is the problem of gravity. The "Hubble length" Universe, which consists of those galaxies and stars which can be observed by current technology, appears, therefore, to be organized as titanic walls and clusters of galaxies separated by a collection of giant bubble-like voids. The Great Walls are far too large and massive to have been formed by the mutual gravitational attraction of its member galaxies alone.

Based on the cosmological principle, which is one of the cornerstones of the Big Bang model, cosmologists predicted the distribution of matter to be homogeneous throughout the universe, implying thereby that the distribution of the galaxies would be essentially uniform. There would be no large scale clusters of galaxies or great voids in space. Instead, contrary to the "Big Bang" universe, we exist in a very "lumpy" cosmos.

Many of the world's leading physicists believe we are entering  a "golden age" of cosmological discoveries. Astronomers working on the WMAP mission stunned the scientific community with their announcement that the first generation stars in the universe were surprisingly born just after 200 million years of the Big Bang birth of the cosmos. The age of the universe has been steadily pushed backwards in time, from 2 billion year to 8 billion after it was determined the Earth was 4.6 billion years in age, and now the estimates are 13.75 billion years. 

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), successor to the HST with ten times the light-gathering power, was launched in 2014, and may well detect ever more distant galaxies. Likewise, the ultra-high resolution radio telescopes such as Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile which is to become operational in 2012, will be peering still deeper into the universe, and probably pushing the hypothetical Big Bang further backward in time as ever more distant galaxies are detected."

The Daily "Near You?"

Port-of-spain, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Thanks for stopping by!

Chet Raymo, “The Broken Web”

“The Broken Web”
by Chet Raymo

“Every fall, when a mysterious seasonal alarm clock tells them to go, the monarch butterflies of our New England meadows set off on one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom. They wing their way to a tiny patch of forest in the mountains of central Mexico that they have never visited before, where they are joined by millions of their cousins from all over eastern North America. They rest and feed and wait out the winter. Then, in the spring, they set out for northern meadows, breeding and dying along the way. There will be no Mexican veterans to lead the next migration south.

How do they do it? How does a butterfly that has never made the journey know when to set out and where to go? That pinch of flesh with postage-stamp wings? The call, the map, and the navigational skills must surely lie in the monarch's DNA. The DNA encodes proteins. The proteins are a language of geometry that speaks through the monarch's nervous system: "Ven, sigueme! Come follow me."

To merely contemplate this mystery is wonder enough for a lifetime. Readers of my book "The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe" will know that I was once lucky enough to visit the monarch over-wintering refuge in Mexico. It was one of the most awe-inspiring adventures of my life: Tens of millions of monarchs, as thick as leaves on the trees. When they took to the air their numbers blocked out the sun. You cold hear the soft rush of their wings. On that trip, we also visited with the poet Homero Aridjis at his home in Mexico City. Aridjis has been instrumental in protecting the patches of forest crucial to the monarchs' survival.

That was some years ago. I recount it now because of an op-ed in the New York Times by Aridjis and Lincoln Brower, another champion of the monarchs. The monarchs are threatened as never before.

Nature strews the planet with miracles, which we have a gift for trampling. Even eco-tourists like me inadvertently contribute to the destruction of wonders that took nature millions of years to contrive. If I may paraphrase from "The Path": The poet E. E. Cummings wrote of acceptance "for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes." Science and politics and poets alone will not save the monarchs. What is required is a deeply felt, unintellectualized, instinctive "yes"- a sense that behind the gaudy delight of 20 million butterflies hanging on fir trees, there is a natural and infinite power that binds all life in a holy web.”

"A Little Parenthesis In Eternity..."

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

Paulo Coelho, "The Alchemist"

The Poet: Fernando Pessoa, “Since We Do Nothing”

“Since We Do Nothing”

“Since we do nothing in this confused world 
That lasts or that, lasting, is of any worth, 
And even what’s useful for us we lose
            So soon, with our own lives, 
Let us prefer the pleasure of the moment
To an absurd concern with the future,
Whose only certainty is the harm we suffer now
            To pay for its prosperity.
Tomorrow doesn’t exist. This moment
Alone is mine, and I am only who
Exists in this instant, which might be the last
            Of the self I pretend to be.”

- Fernando Pessoa

"Oscar and His Donkey VS the Churchgoers"

"Oscar and His Donkey VS the Churchgoers"
by CP

In the 1940's my grandfather Oscar lived near a small town in central Louisiana bordering the Kisatchie National Forest. To call it "rural" would be kind, but it provided him all the fishing, hunting and other simple pleasures he enjoyed. He harvested vegetables from his own garden, smoked meat in his smokehouse, and had many dogs and other farm animal like goats, chickens, pigs and a few milk cows. One day Oscar was offered a donkey at a very cheap price, and bought him. That's when things got interesting for Oscar, and even more so for his nearest neighbor, the Baptist church across the road. Every Sunday for as long as folks could remember Sunday services were held at the church, with joyous singing and fellowship among the good churchgoers. That was about to change, however.

On the first Sunday after Oscar brought the donkey home services started as usual at the church. The donkey, for reasons known only to himself, perhaps to join the fellowship in his own manner, started braying loudly as soon as the churchgoers began singing. Oscar, enraged at being deprived of his peace, stormed out of the house, grabbed a 2"x4" board, and began beating the donkey, demanding that he, "Shut up, you son of a bitch!", all of which only made the donkey bray more hysterically and loudly.

The combination of the donkey braying hysterically and Oscar screaming curses unnerved the congregation, but they carried on, hoping for the best. This pattern repeated itself every Sunday for a year- they'd sing, the donkey brayed, and Oscar went nuts, until finally the elders of the church begged Oscar to get rid of him. Oscar's absolute refusal to even consider this left them with only one choice, and they did it: they hired a company to literally move the church to another site they owned 5 miles away, just to be rid of Oscar and his donkey.
 And that's a true story...

"How It Really Is"

The Economy: "Collapse Of the German Credit Market"

"Collapse Of the German Credit Market as Berlin Suddenly Stopped Issuing New Debt.
 Earnings Down, US Economy in Worse Shape, 1.2% Growth and QE 4 is Coming"
 by IWB

"Top financial institutions in Europe have hardly been more vulnerable to an economic tremor, a situation worsened by the collapse of the German credit market as Berlin suddenly stopped issuing new debt. Europe’s top financial institutions are teetering on the edge of collapse as access to high quality debt products have created a liquidity freeze rendering many institutions near insolvent according to the European Union stress test that assesses each bank’s ability to withstand the shock of a global economic slowdown. The Bank of England rushed in to reassure global markets that UK lenders remain in a strong position to weather global financial shocks, but the rest of Europe may be in for more than its fair share of turbulence.

The European Banking Authority (EBA), an EU institution, coordinated the test of 51 lenders from across the bloc expressed concern in the wake of the test noting that most of Europe’s banks are not properly situated to withstand a major market event. Coming in with one of the worst stress test results was perhaps the most systematically important financial institution in Europe, Deutsche Bank. The financial institution saw a 98% plunge in its annual profits sparking concern that it may be the Lehman Brothers of 2016 creating a domino effect infecting the assets of the global financial system. NEWS FLASH: The European Stress Test Results Didn’t Disclose All Failed Banks!

The shock that crushes Europe’s financial sector may not be the start of worldwide recession – although Britain’s post-Brexit economic output looks dreary, China is surviving on a flood of stimulus spending, and the United States GDP growth was an uninspiring 1% in the last quarter – but instead the sudden drying up of German debt markets which means overleveraged financial institutions cannot access capital to cover bad bets.

The European Central Bank largely created the dry up in the credit markets through its Quantitative Easing stimulus program fueled by the purchase of German government bonds to infuse new liquidity into the financial markets, but Germany has halted borrowing and the ECB is blocked by its own rules from purchasing other bonds that are below benchmark interest rates, reports Die Welt."
"Collapsing U.S. GDP Growth Belies Rosey Forecasts"
"Earnings Down, Housing Declining & Retail Contracting, This Is The Collapsing Economy"
"Initial Jobless claims inch up a little fighting the manipulation. Corporate earnings are declining. Ford doesn’t see sales getting better in 2017. Cash purchases in the real estate market is starting to dry up, mortgage apps down, the bubble is popping. US homeownership declines and we are now at 1965 levels. Trade deficit widens the US is now importing more than exporting. Baltic Dry Index declines further. Atlanta Fed revises GDP even lower".
"Why The Fed Will Do QE4 (In 4 Ugly Charts)"

"Trump, Hillary and the American Autumn"

“Trump, Hillary and the American Autumn,” Introduction 
by Brian Maher

“We appear to be two separate and hostile peoples, living apart in two separate Americas...” So concludes that old political warhorse Pat Buchanan, after the Barnum & Bailey acts just concluded in Cleveland and Philadelphia. “Obama’s America is a country of all races, creeds, colors, lifestyles,” Pat continues, “a Kumbaya country to be made more wonderful still when Clinton takes the helm.” Then there’s Pat on Trump’s America: “Cry the beloved country. America has lost her way. She is in peril. A new captain is needed. A new course must be set if America is to find her way home again.”

Trump, a raven of foreboding. Clinton, a nightingale of hope…

Presidential elections are battles for the soul of the radical American middle. But the middle is giving way. The middle class totaled 61% of American households in 1971, according to the Pew Research Center. These days, they say it’s down to about 50% — as of 2015, anyway. And slipping... “Now it may no longer represent an economic majority of this country,” adds Pew. Interesting, it strikes us, that they began their comparison in 1971... 1971 was, of course, the year Buchanan’s old boss Nixon severed the dollar’s last tethering to gold. The middle class has been declining ever since. Coincidence?

"You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold," thundered populist firebrand William Jennings Bryan all the way back in 1896. Gold was the money of the bankers, the elites, the 1%. And the scourge of everyman jack. The solution? Take that poor fellow down from the cross, make money more democratic, gussy it up in the red, white and blue. Put it to work for the common man.

But maybe old Bryan had it wrong... America took the last step down from the gold cross in 1971. And now? A 1971 dollar is worth about six today. The economy can’t breathe without zero interest rates. The country drowns in $19 trillion of debt. The middle class shrinks by the year while the 1% fattens on stocks. The poor? They’ll always be with us, say the Gospels. But we could sure do with less.

Of course, there’s much more to the story. Only a fool would blame the decline of the middle and lower classes all on paper — really, digital — money. But the easier money gets, the harder life seems to get for those who hew America’s wood and draw its water. And the easier life gets for those in first class.

“Two separate and hostile peoples, living apart in two separate Americas.” Which is your America?Below, former U.S. Air Force special operations pilot and asymmetrical warfare expert John Robb, shows you how this November’s election could potentially trigger unrest “bordering on a civil war.” And he says it could be caused by as few as five people. Please read on.”

"Trump, Hillary and the American Autumn"
By John Robb

"Trump has won the Republican nomination. What's most surprising to many pundits and analysts is that Trump has done this without presenting all of the detail plans, voluminous position papers, etc. that we've come to expect over the last couple of decades. He has simply refused to play by those rules, and he's not paid a price for it.

Trump has been able to pull this off because he's not running a political campaign. Instead, he's running an insurgency. Not only that, it's a very specific type of insurgency. It’s a type of insurgency so effective, it held the U.S. at bay in Iraq for years, drove oil prices to $147 a barrel in 2007, and toppled governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Libya. I’m talking about an open source insurgency. This means he is playing by very different rules than his competitors. Let me walk you through an example of what I mean by that…

Candidates typically take positions on a range of issues. These issues serve as a means of attracting a coalition of voters energized by these issues. An open source insurgency works differently. It forms around a single idea. In Trump's insurgency, the central idea is seen in a tweet he made on the 29th of February:

It's a simple promise. It says: I'll Represent You and Your Needs as President. That's it. It might not seem revolutionary. But in a country where big money owns the political system, the middle class is being shredded, and politicians are afraid of offending anyone, this is a big deal. With this promise in hand, Trump executed on the second important step in open source insurgency. He demonstrated that this promise was plausible. He won again and again in the primaries, growing with each win. This explains why:

• Trump doesn't take policy positions on the small issues most campaigns are built on. Those positions would only divide his insurgency.
• Trump will ONLY talk about corruption, hypocrisy, underhandedness etc. of the people opposing him.
• Trump gains ground when he is attacked by the media, the corrupt, and special interests. These attacks demonstrate his devotion to the promise of his campaign.

Regardless of what you think about this, his insurgency has proven effective... note turnout earlier this year in South Carolina, for example.

This suggests that Trump's insurgency also has the capacity to take the White House this fall. That might have sounded wild and remote not long ago. But not anymore. Serious people are now giving Trump a legitimate shot.

This election isn't a normal election. It is also a good demonstration of something the great scholar of warfare, Martin van Creveld said: if you fight barbarians long enough, you become a barbarian too. Look at what’s happening:

Trump has secured a whopping 7 points (47 to 40) lead over Clinton in a recent national poll by the LA Times/USC — despite the fact that nearly everyone in the media, academic, government, and political establishment is working against him. This loss of control has infuriated the establishment, leading to increasing levels of paranoia, hyperbole, and anger (particularly in the media). In short, the establishment is starting to act increasingly like Trump does — exaggerating and amplifying everything.

We are in a wild and out of control year. And anything can happen. Things just got more interesting now that a treasure trove of e-mail and voicemail messages from the Democratic National Committee has been leaked. Here's what happened.

• The first installment of the leaked e-mails was released by Wikileaks at the start of the DNC convention. More leaks have and will follow.
• The contents of the leak show a brazen attempt by the DNC to help Hillary win the primary. It also shows Dem campaign staffers to have acted inappropriately and in a prejudiced manner.
• Based on forensic analysis of the leak, it appears that the Russian government is involved.
• The leak provided the confirmation to Sanders supporters that the primary was rigged against them. 
• This has led to intense protests both within and outside the convention. This suggests that the Clinton campaign lost a large number of Bernie supporters forever.
• The media and the U.S. government reaction to the leak has been aggressive. They claim that the release is a brazen attempt by Putin to influence the U.S. election by helping Trump win. There have been attempts by the media to tie Trump to Putin but those lack evidence of any connection.
• Further, if the Russian have interfered in our election, it's possible they will do again. This could be done through more leaks or as computer security Bruce Schneier has pointed out: a hack of poorly secured voting machines on election day.

Here's something that I didn't think possible until this week. The Trumpified establishment might have found an avenue for disqualifying Trump as President: Trump's rhetorical suggestion that Russian hackers should find Hillary's deleted e-mails. This has led many people in the establishment to contend that Trump committed 'treason and is now a clear and present danger to the security of the U.S.' This national security angle — the overt interference by Russia in U.S. governance — could make it possible to block Trump as a candidate on national security grounds.

But the potential threat of Russian hacking (voting machines, etc.) has even greater implications than that. Tensions between the divisions in the country are increasing rapidly. And any overt attempt to rig (through disruption or hacking) the outcome of the election could result in widespread violence and/or a national fracture.

There’s also a way terrorists could use November’s election to trigger great unrest bordering on a civil war. How so? Here's a simple scenario… It's November 8th and the choice is between Trump and Hillary. Both candidates have negatives approaching 70%. The campaign has been vicious. Like a rematch of Hitler vs. Stalin in U.S. politics. For months, there has been violent protest in every U.S. state. Protesters vs police vs. each other. Voters are edgy when they head to the booths on November 8th. Everyone is ready to put this campaign behind them. However, things are about to change for the worse...

Early in the afternoon (EST) a small group of global guerrillas spring an N-1 trap (N-1 is a last moment action or betrayal) on the U.S.:

• A dozen faux bombs in suspicious packages are placed at heavily (Rep or Dem) polling locations resulting in evacuation and widespread concern.
• Robocalls pour in to police departments and polling places in heavily (Rep or Dem) polling locations with bomb/terrorist threats. Widespread poll closures occur. Calls continue until late.
• Election results are skewed. Electoral college swings to the candidate helped by the threats.
• One candidate declares victory. The other cries foul. Protests go national. Violence, looting and active engagement with police soon follow. Calls for calm ignored. Martial law is declared in different areas.
 The Internet is turned off in problematic areas.

Violence grows. The global economy collapses due to uncertainty over U.S. economy (ill-conceived financial derivatives ensure that virulent U.S. contagion spreads to every nook and cranny of the global financial and economic system). The U.S., suddenly impoverished, extremely angry, and mortally betrayed stumbles into civil war.

The most interesting thing about this scenario is that it can be pulled off with only five people. This isn’t a prediction, by the way. But it’s a possibility. And given everything else that’s gone on this year, would it really surprise you?"

Julian Assange:
“We have proof that the Clinton camp is rigging the election, we will release it soon.”

"Expert report: Evidence proves election fraud and Bernie WON the Democratic nomination."

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Of Course..."

"To show mercy is not naïve. To hold out against the end of hope is not stupidity or madness. It is fundamentally human. Of course... we are all doomed; we are all poisoned from our birth by the rot of stars. That does not mean we should succumb to the seductive fallacy of despair, the dark tide that would drown us. You may think I'm stupid, you may call me a madman and a fool, but at least I stand upright in a fallen world."
- Rick Yancey

Musical Interlude: Ludovico Einaudi, "Run"

Ludovico Einaudi, "Run"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Sunlight ripples through a dark sky on this Swedish summer midnight as noctilucent or night shining clouds seem to imitate the river below. In fact, the seasonal clouds often appear at high latitudes in corresponding summer months. Also known as polar mesospheric clouds, they form as water vapor is driven into the cold upper atmosphere. 
Click image for larger size.
Fine dust supplied by disintegrating meteors or volcanic ash provides sites where water vapor can condense, turning to ice at the cold temperatures in the mesosphere. Poised at the edge of space some 80 kilometers above, these icy clouds really do reflect sunlight toward the ground. They are visible here even though the Sun itself was below the horizon, as seen on July 16 from Sweden's Färnebofjärdens National Park.”

Chet Raymo, “A Fear of Freedom?”

“A Fear of Freedom?”
by Chet Raymo

“It is almost a cliché to say that Western civilization was created by the Greeks. Our government, law, art, music, architecture, literature, drama, historiography, science, and mathematics are largely Greek inventions. The sublime refinement and sophistication of the Parthenon have been widely taken as reflecting qualities of the Athenians citizens who built the temple and adorned it with sculptures.

No doubt something remarkable happened in the Greek world of the 6th to 3rd centuries B.C.E., with its epicenter first at Athens, then at Alexandria. But Connelly reminds us of the lingering hold of the mythological past on the Greek psyche.

In his book “The Greeks and the Irrational”, the scholar E. R. Dodds was thinking of Greek culture when he wrote: "Despite its lack of political freedom, the society of the third century B.C. was in many ways the nearest approach to an 'open' society that the world had yet seen, and nearer than any that would be seen again until modern times." It was a society confident of its powers, says Dodds. Aristotle had asked his fellow citizens to recognize a divine spark within themselves: the intellect. Men and women who exercise reason can live like gods, he said. For Zeno, the human intellect was not merely akin to God, it is God, a portion of the divine substance. Temples are superfluous, Zeno said; God's true temple is the human intellect.

But the seeds of irrationality were also there, embedded in popular culture, or perhaps embedded in human nature. Soon enough supernaturalism returned. Astrology and magical healing replaced astronomy and medicine. Cults flourished, rationalists were scapegoated, and the scientific culture perfected at Alexandria began to decline. The old dualisms- mind and matter, gods and mortals, soul and body -- which the rationalists had striven to overcome, reasserted themselves with fresh vigor.

Dodds calls it "the return of the irrational," and speaks of a "fear of freedom -- the unconscious flight from the heavy burden of individual choice which an open society lays upon its members." Connelly might be inclined to say that the irrational never went away, and that for all their innovative gifts, the Greeks never learned to stand on their own without the support of the gods, clinging to the foundational myths that exalted them above "the others."

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”

"The Dreamers Of the Day..."

"A Real Church Sign"

"Yeah, we're doing ok, thanks for asking..."
- CP

The Poet: Eugene O'Neill, "Free"


"Weary am I of the tumult, sick of the staring crowd,
Pining for wild sea places where the soul may think aloud.
Fled is the glamour of cities, dead as the ghost of a dream,
While I pine anew for the tint of blue on the breast of the old Gulf Stream.

I have had my dance with Folly, nor do I shirk the blame;
I have sipped the so-called Wine of Life and paid the price of shame;
But I know that I shall find surcease, the rest my spirit craves,
Where the rainbows play in the flying spray,
'Mid the keen salt kiss of the waves.

Then it's ho! for the plunging deck of a bark, the hoarse song of the crew,
With never a thought of those we left or what we are going to do;
Nor heed the old ship's burning, but break the shackles of care
And at last be free, on the open sea, with the trade wind in our hair."

- Eugene O'Neill

Midday Musical Interlude: Vangelis, “Alpha”

The Daily "Near You?"

Arvada, Colorado, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

History: “New Details Surface on Loss of WWII USS Indianapolis”

“New Details Surface on Loss of WWII USS Indianapolis”

WASHINGTON – "A Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) historian recently uncovered information that sheds new light on a dark episode in U.S. Navy history: the loss of the WWII cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35), NHHC officials announced July 25.

Saturday, July 30, marks the 71st anniversary of the sinking of the World War II Cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35). The plight of the crew after the loss of the ship was dramatically retold by actor Robert Shaw in the 1975 blockbuster motion picture "Jaws", and has since become the stuff of legend, parts of which are more accurate than others.

The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) joins all Americans in honoring the service and sacrifice of the Sailors and Marines who served aboard the ship throughout the war frequently serving as the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, earning 10 battle stars, and successfully completing of a top secret mission that directly contributed to the end of WWII. To that end, NHHC is sharing historically accurate information in a special online Indianapolis collection page (

In the final days of the war, Indianapolis completed a top secret mission to deliver components of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima to U.S. forces in the theater. After dropping those components off at Tinian in the Marianas Islands, Indianapolis headed to Leyte, an island in the Philippines, when it was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine just after midnight on July 30, 1945. Around 800 of the ship’s 1,196 Sailors and Marines survived the sinking, but after four to five harrowing days in the water, suffering exposure, dehydration, drowning, and shark attacks, only 316 survived.

While reviewing the Navy’s holdings and other information related to Indianapolis, NHHC historian Richard Hulver, Ph.D., found a blog post and photo online that recounted the story of a World War II Sailor whose ship passed Indianapolis less than a day before the ship was sunk. This corroborated an account by Indianapolis Captain Charles McVay, III that his ship passed an unspecified tank landing ship (LST) approximately 11 hours prior to the sinking. Hulver located the Sailor’s service record from the National Personnel Records Center which identified the Sailor as a passenger on tank landing ship USS LST-779 during the period in which Indianapolis sank. That sent Hulver to the National Archives where LST-779’s deck logs confirmed the story.

“It’s obviously gratifying to find a part of the story that hasn’t been told—to discover a new part of an important episode in U.S. naval history,” said Hulver. “But more importantly, the Navy has an obligation to honor the sacrifice of those who serve. NHHC does this by expanding the body of knowledge about our Navy’s history.”

“The LST-779 data sheds new light on where Indianapolis was attacked and sunk.” Hulver continued,”This brings us closer to discovering the final resting place of the ship and many of her crew. It has been humbling and an honor to learn more about the crew of Indianapolis and do my small part to ensure that their story lives on. I’m honored to a part of that effort.”

Hulver summarized the historical literature, conducted archival research, and prepared a report incorporating the new information gleaned from LST-779’s brief encounter with Indianapolis. NHHC’s summary was published online as part of a project to consolidate the entirety of NHHC’s holdings on Indianapolis into an easy-to-navigate, online resource ( prepared in advance of the 71st anniversary of the ship’s loss July 30.

In addition to the summary of Hulver’s research, the collection page includes links to high-level intelligence not made available to the crew because of operational concerns, rescue operations, the subsequent investigation and court martial proceedings against the ship’s captain, artwork, Navy photos of survivors, oral histories and much more. Research into the sinking is ongoing. NHHC’s holdings and online resources will be updated as new information becomes available.

Although the loss of Indianapolis was a tragic moment, the ship and crew had served faithfully throughout the war frequently serving as the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, earning 10 battle stars, and successfully completing of a top secret mission that directly contributed to the end of WWII. The loss of the ship also resulted in several sweeping changes for the U.S. Navy including improvements to reporting procedures for ship arrivals and non-arrivals, establishing requirements for ships of a certain size to be escorted, and a reevaluation of the lifesaving equipment used on combatant ships.
"USS Indianapolis Final Voyage Story Map"

"Where was the USS Indianapolis When Sunk? Deck Logs of Tank Landing Ship Provide Key Details"

"Looking Beyond the Sharks: The Legacy of USS Indianapolis"

“Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues To Build Character”

“Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues To Build Character”
by Scotty Hendricks

“At the ripe old age of twenty, Benjamin Franklin set out to make himself morally perfect. Having studied the ancient philosophers and their ideas of the virtues required to be an ideal man, he created his own list of thirteen virtues. Like the virtue ethicists of the ancient past and more modern times, Franklin sought to develop his entire character rather than focus on the question of how to act in a certain situation. His hope being that with the perfection of his character, he would never again have to ask how to act, as he would simply act as a virtuous person would by habit. Never again would he commit a fault at any time, he thought. His selections were ordered by importance, and he saw the earliest ones as being needed to achieve the latter ones. They were also chosen for simplicity, as each covers a small and defined area of character.

1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. 
2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. 
3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. 
4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. 
5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing. 
6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 
7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 
8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. 
9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. 
10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation. 
11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. 
12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation. 
13. Humility. Imitate Jesus, Caesar, and Socrates.

His method of enacting these virtues was simple, on a weekly basis he focused on one virtue and one alone, leaving the others to chance and the strength of his character. At the end of each day, he reflected on rather or not he had lived up to that virtue, and recorded the answer. His goal was to make each virtue a habit, and thus achieve moral perfection. By his own admission his failures in reaching moral perfection were many and often of great magnitude. His acknowledged illegitimate son William, his often indomitable pride, and his love for wine which occasionally went to excess are both admitted and well known. 

He also noted that his career choices often prevented him from reaching the ideal of "Order", often by no real fault of his own. As he noted: "My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I found that, tho' it might be practicable where a man's business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer, for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours." 

However, despite never reaching moral perfection and having the major failures that he acknowledged in his own character. He still continued the project for most of his life. It was the attempt at reaching an ideal that made him better, even if he was remarkably far from reaching it. 

In his own words: "In truth, I myself incorrigible with respect to Order; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it. But, on the whole, tho' I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, tho' they never reach the wished-for excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavor, and tolerable, while it continues fair and legible." 

Even when he was unable to reach the ideals of personal growth, by either his own vices or by circumstance, he was constantly able to improve by means of practice. And, in the end, isn't that what matters?”

"Life Is Like A Deck chair..."

"Maybe I can put it another way. Life, Charlie Brown, is like a deck chair."
"Like a what?"
"Have you ever been on a cruise ship? Passengers open up these canvas deck 
chairs so they can sit in the sun. Some people place their chairs facing the rear of
 the ship so they can see where they've been. Other people face their chairs forward. 
They want to see where they're going! 
On the cruise ship of life, Charlie Brown, which way is your deck chair facing?"
"I've never been able to get one unfolded..."
- Charles M. Schulz

Psychology: "Why You Don't Know Your Own Mind"

"Why You Don't Know Your Own Mind"
Alex Rosenberg

"It is often said that we can never truly know the minds of others, because we can't "get inside their heads." Our ability to know our own minds, though, is rarely called into question. It is assumed that your experience of your own consciousness clinches the assertion that you "know your own mind" in a way that no one else can. This is a mistake. 

Ever since Plato, philosophers have, without much argument, shared common sense's confidence about the nature of its own thoughts. They have argued that we can secure certainty about at least some very important conclusions, not through empirical inquiry, but by introspection: the existence, immateriality (and maybe immortality) of the soul, the awareness of our own free will, meaning and moral value. In a Stone column Gary Gutting explained how this tradition continues to manifest itself in contemporary philosophy as the search for "a 'transcendental' or 'absolute' consciousness that provides the fuller significance of our ordinary experiences." Thomas Nagel has invoked the same source to trump science in this publication as well. 

Introspection, "the mind's eye," assures us with the greatest confidence that it is the best, in some cases the only authority on how the mind works, because we all think it has direct, first person access to itself. We're all very confident that we just know what's going on in our own minds, from the inside, so to speak. 

Yet research in cognitive and behavioral sciences increasingly undermines that confidence. It seems hardly a week goes by without another article in the media reporting counterintuitive laboratory findings by empirical psychologists studying cognition, emotion and sensation. What makes many of these results remarkable is their consistent violation of expectations, assumptions and prejudices forced on us by our own conscious awareness. 

In fact, controlled experiments in cognitive science, neuroimaging and social psychology have repeatedly shown how wrong we can be about our real motivations, the justification of firmly held beliefs and the accuracy of our sensory equipment. This trend began even before the work of psychologists such as Benjamin Libet, who showed that the conscious feeling of willing an act actually occurs after the brain process that brings about the act — a result replicated and refined hundreds of times since his original discovery in the 1980s. 

Around the same time, a physician working in Britain, Lawrence Weiskrantz, discovered "blindsight" — the ability, first of blind monkeys, and then of some blind people, to pick out objects by their color without the conscious sensation of color. The inescapable conclusion that behavior can be guided by visual information even when we cannot be aware of having it is just one striking example of how the mind is fooled and the ways it fools itself. 

Meanwhile, philosophy has largely persisted in its centuries-long Cartesianism — following Descartes' insistence in his "Meditations" (1641) that our knowledge of our own minds' nature is more reliable than any other belief. Galen Strawson recently illustrated this centuries-old conviction in a recent essay in The Stone: "We know what conscious experience is because the having is the knowing: Having conscious experience is knowing what it is." He writes "It is in fact the only thing in the universe whose ultimate intrinsic nature we can claim to know." 

Despite these assurances from philosophy, empirical science has continued to build up an impressive body of evidence showing that introspection and consciousness are not reliable bases for self-knowledge. As sources of knowledge even about themselves, let alone anything else human, both are frequently and profoundly mistaken. 

To see the mistake we need to recognize another mistake Descartes made: his denial that other animals have any mental lives at all. Careful field observation by primatologists beginning with Jane Goodall revealed that apes have well developed "theories of mind." They engage in "mind reading" to make (sometimes good) guesses about the future behavior of others. Mind reading is psychologists' shorthand for treating other animals as having something like desires and beliefs that work together to produce choices in behavior. 

After a certain point in the evolutionary past, organisms began needing to predict whether others posed threats in order to protect themselves, and later needed to coordinate to attain outcomes not achievable alone. This environment strongly selected for mind reading. Had variation in cognitive abilities not hit on this adaptation, puny creatures like us would never have survived in the face of savanna megafauna. 

Mind reading, even in our own hands, is a very imperfect tool: We have to go on others' behavior (including verbal behavior). We can't really tell with much precision exactly what others believe or want, because we can't get inside their heads. So our predictions are often pretty vague and frequently false. Like other Darwinian adaptations, mind reading is an imperfect, "quick and dirty" solution to a "design problem." It was just good enough that, equipped with this theory of mind, we managed to gradually climb to the top of the food chain. We were able to do so in large part because once mind reading was in place human language, which requires it, became possible. 

FMRI research, the study of autism, and experiments on infant "false-belief" detection have shown that mind reading is a relatively well-localized module in the human brain, innate in structure, subject to breakdown — often genetically caused, and identifiable in infant/toddler development. 

Most important, there is compelling evidence that our own self-awareness is actually just this same mind reading ability, turned around and employed on our own mind, with all the fallibility, speculation, and lack of direct evidence that bedevils mind reading as a tool for guessing at the thought and behavior of others. When, as David Hume said, we look into ourselves, all we ever see are images, all we ever hear is silent speech-sounds. These sensations (along with emotions) are the only contents of consciousness, the only things introspection can use to figure out what we are thinking. The resources of introspection are exactly the same as the resources our minds work with to explain and predict the actions of others: sensory data provided by sight, hearing, smell, touch (and sometimes taste, too). 

Of course we have a lot more sensory data — images and silent speech instead of visual experience and heard speech — to go on in trying to figure out our own desires and beliefs than what other people's behavior reveals about what is going on in their minds. That's part of what makes for the illusion that we know our own minds so much better. But the difference is only the amount of data, not its quality or source. We never have direct access to our thoughts. As Peter Carruthers first argued, self-consciousness is just mind reading turned inward. 

How do we know this? Well, Hume would have answered that introspection tells us so. But that won't wash for experimental scientists. They demand evidence. Some of it comes from the fMRI work that established the existence of a distinct mind-reading module, more from autistic children, whose deficits in explaining and predicting the behavior of others come together with limitations on self-awareness and self-reporting of their own motivations. Patients suffering from schizophrenia manifest deficiencies in both other-mind reading and self-mind reading. If these two capacities were distinct one would expect at least some autistic children and schizophrenics to manifest one of these capacities without the other. 

That we read our own minds the same way we read other minds is evident in what cognitive science tells us about consciousness and working memory — the dual imagistic and silent-speech process that we employ to calculate, decide, choose among options "immediately before the mind." The most widely accepted psychologist's theory of consciousness identifies it as a mode of "global broadcast" solely from sensory modalities to "executive"— deciding, and "affective"— feeling systems that act on this sensory input. Self-consciousness has nothing else to work with but the same sensory data we use to figure out what other people are doing and are going to do. 

The upshot of all these discoveries is deeply significant, not just for philosophy, but for us as human beings: There is no first-person point of view. 

Our access to our own thoughts is just as indirect and fallible as our access to the thoughts of other people. We have no privileged access to our own minds. If our thoughts give the real meaning of our actions, our words, our lives, then we can't ever be sure what we say or do, or for that matter, what we think or why we think it. 

Philosophers' claims that by reflecting on itself thought reliably reveals our nature, grounds knowledge, gives us free will, endows our behavior with moral value, are all challenged. And the threat doesn't stem from some tendentious scientistic worldview. It emerges from the detailed understanding of the mind that cognitive science and neuroscience are providing." 

Alex Rosenberg is co-director of the Center for Social and Philosophical Implications of Neuroscience in the Duke Initiative for Science and Society. His second novel, "Autumn in Oxford" will appear in August.