Here Thar Be Monsters!

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29.10.12

Ladies And Gentlemen, The Presidents Of The United States

Special Note: Prior to my usual tirade, a note on blindness.  I've been telling folks for a couple of years now that I have begun 'seeing' sounds.  If you remember the movie "Daredevil" with Ben Affleck, then picture the effect they used when we would hit something with his stick and there'd be echoes off of objects.  It's a lot like that, only my resolution is not that good, but enough to see obstacles.  One problem.  it works best when things are dead quiet, and even better if dark too.  I'm lucky in that I still have about 20% of my original vision, but it seems that my brain is making adjustments for the lost capability.  I drive my wife crazy by practicing this new skill at night by clapping my hands sharply and looking at the light show, then opening my eyes and seeing how accurate the echoes were.  At 6' to 8', I'm off by about 6".

At any rate, seems there's a group of researchers who have confirmed this effect, and there's even a test to see if you have the ability.  Needless to say, I passed the test.  Look for the video link at the bottom of the article.  Since this effect does exist, it stands to reason that sighted people can develop it, as well, with a conscious effort.  It is trainable, as I can attest.  Could be a very handy skill for night navigation, and even in the day for 'seeing' things that are hidden or not obvious with the eyes.

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We're going to go way out on a limb and call the US election next week.  The winner will be...

Omittma Baromneyak

Now you may think we're being cute mixing the names of both major-party candidates, so that whoever wins, we're right.  Well, of course, that's part of it, but we have a deeper meaning.

We suspect that BOTH candidates WILL win.  In other words, a co-presidency...at least for a time.  We predict a series of 'natural' (nature provides the greatest plausible deniability) disasters will cause the elections to be postponed, and to quell the outcry, both men will be given equal status as 'leaders of the (ahem) free world' until such time as things can be re-arranged.  Say 2020 or so.

This would seem to be the ideal solution, since presumably the extreme views of both men would be cancelled out and the consensus view would hold sway.  It would allow the 'ring masters' to placate the greatest number of people with one fell swoop. The 100% of idiots who keep telling pollsters they want either of the two leading idiots would all be happy.  Those of us who are aware of what day it is, on the other hand, would know that the end has finally come and that nothing can stop the train at the other end of the tunnel now.

How would this work, you ask.  Well, it's quite simple actually.  Many corporations have a president and a CEO who are not the same people.  You could divide up the foreign and domestic duties between the two and they would have to concur on military matters, which does look like it would lead to a lot of soul searching in the White House in that respect.

One could take over the West Wing and the other takes the East.  The Oval Office would become the Parabolic Offices.  They could share the nice, new underground bunker underneath.  There might be some conflict over the dinner guests, with George Strait duking it out with Beyonce, but the Chief of Staffs could hash that little problem right out.

Heck, we could even start to refer to them as the Harlequin Twins and Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder could go out on a Legends Tour (like the Rolling Bones) and promote racial harmony because of the amazing developments in DC.  Next thing you know, dogs and cats would be living together!

Could it happen?  Why not?  They (the pit bosses) tried the direct route in 2000, and that led to an open wound that some people still can't get over, including Sweet Al.  If both won and became co-presidents, it would make everyone happy, especially if 'yin' got the foreign stuff, and 'yang' got the domestic end.

Balance and harmony would break out everywhere!

It is an elegant solution in its simplicity, and one which we are certain the pit bosses have considered if not implemented.  Are there signs that they have implemented this 'final' solution?

Let's see...there's Hurricane Sandy.  Now mind you, this 'hurricane' has 75mph sustained winds.  For those of you who have never experienced a hurricane, winds like that are FUN!  I've sat out in 75mph winds and watched the rain fall sideways.  We're not talking end of the world-type stuff here.  If you blow on the palm of your hand as hard as you can, that's about 75mph wind.

Oh sure, there may be downed power lines and uprooted trees, but it sure doesn't justify evacuation notices stating 'if you do not survive' and estimates of $3 billion in damages with the East Coast becoming a vast swamp.  Sorry, doesn't work like that.  The storm is moving at 13mph, which means it will blow over in about 3 hours and the skies will clear and all will be as it was, minus a coupld of trees in Central Park.  Be sure and check out the eye.  It's really cool.

The amount of fear and hype being generated over the least little things these days is rather astounding.  During hurricanes, they always point to Katrita, but fail to mention that New Orleans is 9-feet lower than the sea, or that Houston never even got rainfall from the other storm.  But millions of people panicked and clogged hiways for hundreds of miles and emptied stores.

So maybe fear and panic are tools, since 'they' seem to have this pathological desire to keep people in a state of stampede for the stupidest things.  There can be no other explanation than the resulting chaos provides endless entertainment to 'them'.  We here on the Far Side refuse to entertain someone without being paid...well.

Could 'they' be creating a hurricane right now to initiate problem-reaction-solution (Hegelian Dialectic)?  Sure.  A hurricane is driven by heat.  Using microwaves to heat the ocean, one can stir up an otherwise minor storm.  Then, to steer it, you simply heat of corridor of the atmosphere with radio waves that would draw the hurricane in much like a magnet would draw iron fillings.  All of this can be done using advanced radar-generating spacecraft, or ground stations in combination with orbiting reflectors to focus and intensify the waves.

In fact, we suspect that we saw a test of the system earlier this year, in which a template - in this case the storm track of Katrina - was uploaded to the system and a new storm (Isaac) was made to follow the predetermined path.

Can it control earthquakes?  Well, doggone it if Fukushima didn't serve a lot of goals and policies of the Western empire and hit the exact weakest point to create the most amount of damage over the longest possible term.

We're just sayin'...

If we add up all the behaviors of the various governmental groups over the past 20 or 30 years, it would certainly appear that something BIG is about to happen that may or may not be out of the control of whatever group is responsible for all this.  You've got the Far Sight Institute and HalfPastHuman going off about rocks in space.  You've got the 2012ers jumping up and down about the Mayans and Egyptians.  You've got the Neo-Mammonic televangelists stirring up end-time fears.

And then you've got folks like us here at Life on the Far Side.  We get these weird 'spidey-sense' things, kind of like butterflies in your stomach, but based on anticipation rather than anxiety.  It's a lot like that feeling you had as a kid on Christmas Eve when you laid in bed waiting for the next morning.

So time for 20 Questions:
Is something BIG about to happen? Yes.
Is it man-made or natural? Probably both.
Will humanity survive? Of course
Will things be better after it? Let's hope so.
When will it happen? Soon.
Is all this storm/EQ stuff part of it? No, this is dress rehearsal.
What is the best/worst place to be when it happens? No place/any place.
What are my chances? About the same as doing 100mph on a city freeway, and just as preventable.
Will people panic?  Of course.

People always panic when things change.  As a race, we become accustomed to and crave routine.  We can't stand it when there's a major upheaval in our lives.  We'd even point out that most of the problems in a disaster is people panicking instead of rationally and coolly evaluating the situation and taking appropriate action.

Could all of this come to pass?  Why not?  The government media (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fix, PBS) have gone out of their way to cast this election as 'too close to call', making 2000 a dress-rehearsal.  Co-presidents would make the most number of people happy, at least in the short-term.  Hell, Romney is right handed and Obama left.  They could even hold hands while co-signing Emergency Executive Orders!  What a sight that would be!  Black/white, left/right ruling together.

So, anyway, might want to steel yourself for the fun that's coming soon to a planet near you.  We should see a big push in the near future to slice the world into three parts: North/South America and Greenland, Europ/Iceland/Africa, and China/Oceania/Australia.  This would allow the Secret World Government in Antarctica to rule the world with minimal effort, with all the dirty work taking place in the immediate aftermath of whatever is coming.

Should we panic?  Hell no.  You can rest assured, based on history, that 'they' are doing the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time for the exact wrong reasons.  Since 'they' go through life with severely myopic vision, 'they' never see the train coming.  'They' always react to perception rather than reality.  Just keep your wits about you and take reasonable precautions, like all clear-thinking people do all the time.

It's not the fall that hurts, it's the sudden stop at the end.  Take all necessary action to control where you land, and like that crazy Austian guy (but we repeat ourselves), enjoy the fall.
TEOTWAWKI isn't always a bad thing.

25.10.12

Over One Billion Served

If there's one thing that has remained consistent in human history, it's slavery.  Nearly every civilization ever conceived by humans has involved involuntary servitude, whether by conquest or debt.  Even most of the gods we have conceived require absolute obedience and submission.

Things haven't changed much, despite an effort over the last couple of hundred years to become more enlightened.  Those who think their nation is so enlightened as to have eradicated slavery need only ask how long it's been since the last military draft.

In fact, submission to government is one of the most pervasive and insidious forms of slavery today.  An legal code of behavior that is enforced by the use of deadly force and incarceration is an institutional form of slavery, whether you adhere to it voluntarily or not.

Even more insidious is the bondage of debt, and considering nearly all world currencies are a form of monetized debt, slavery would seem to be more rampant than ever.  By this measure, nearly every human on Earth is a slave.  Even those who issue the currencies are slaves to their own greed and avarice and desire to dominate others.

Slavery, despite our self-deceptions, exists today in many overt forms.  The human trade for domestic servants runs unabated throughout much of the world.  Young women in Indonesia are frequently sold out to wealthy Arabs, Chinese and other groups.

If you need another example, ask anyone at the BBC about the sex slave trade taking place backstage of your favorite sit-com or drama.  The Euro elite have been trading lives for sexual gratification for centuries with no sign of abating, and that is hardly an isolated example.

Slavery expresses itself in certain 'lifestyle' choices, such as Master/slave or Dom/sub, which is a large and growing form of power play in the West, where women have been granted carte blanche to run rampant over men as retaliation for the perceived ills of past generations.  In this case, powerless and ineffectual men (usually) seek out meek and even more powerless women (usually) in order to have someone to lord it over.

There are even institutionalized forms of covert slavery.  The intern system, which most college graduates will have to endure, involves a powerless student working long, arduous hours for little or no money in order to prove their worth to the employment masters.  For their part, the students submit both for the letter grade and hours, and in the hopes of securing a wage slave position in the future.

No matter who you are or where you live, you are a slave of one sort or another.  In most cases, we are products of slave indoctrination from the cradle.  We are taught to submit to churches/mosques/temples run by self-appointed elites who feel they have every right to slide a hand into your pocket in exchange for some future glory of serving a vengeful god for all eternity.

For those less inclined to that form of slavery, there is a government over us who also feels empowered to slide a hand into our pocket and rob us of our labor and productivity in exchange for...well, for nothing, really.  The governments set up systems of controls on humans and then charge them for the priviledge.  None of it is really useful to anyone but the life-long bureaucrats who leech off society in general.

Ultimately, it makes one take pause and wonder if humans weren't indeed created to be a slave race.  There is a growing body of scholarship pointing to the possibility that humans were genetically modified from some base animal in order to serve a master race.  Could it be that embedded in our genetic codes there is an unavoidable impulse to enslave ourselves to those we perceive as able to supply our needs in exchange for our undying subservience?

In an era when science is finding 'gay' genes, and 'fat' genes, and even 'crime' genes, has anyone noticed that there doesn't seem to be any effort whatsoever to find a 'slave' gene?  Perhaps no one is looking because no one wants to find it.  The basic impulse of humans to bond themselves is a handy device for those aware of it and wiling to exploit it for their own gain.

Slavery is embedded at such profound levels of our psyches that we hardly even notice it.  Our love songs and poetry celebrate the complete submission of one person to another.  Our literature, such as Pygmalion, Frankenstein, golems, and zombies, is suffused with the creation of slaves.

Even now, the elite are working feverishly to create a new class of slaves that we commonly call 'robots'.  Slaves have this annoying habit of requiring food and care, and at some point, they always awaken en mass and throw off their old shackles to look for new.

But if the masters could create a slave of steel and cable that would work tirelessly 'round the clock, without pay, holidays or benefits.  If they could build for themselves an army of unquestioning 'doers' that obeyed every whim.  If they could finally free themselves from their own slavery of having to care, no matter how little, for the fact that the slave is in some part human.  What a grand life they would have.

Short of eradicating religion, government and elitism of every kind, there seems to be no way out of the slave mentality.  We are steeped in this culture of servitude from birth and from all angles.  We spend our lives slaving away at 'jobs' in the hopes of gaining enough wealth and position to be able to control slaves, rather than be one.  We create 'lifestyles' that allow us to feel some amount of control in our lives, no matter how illusory it is.  We even domesticate animals in order to have something around us that obeys our wishes.

We submit our work for approval.  We submit payment for services.  We demand good service for our money.  We build service economies.  Indeed, it would seem that to rid the world of slavery would imply tearing down all that has come before and starting from scratch, and even then could we conceive of a world in which one group did not submit to another, whether by force or positive action?

It would seem that those who scream the loudest for the end of slavery in all forms are the most clueless.  They have not stopped to consider that our entire Universe is built on the premise that someone must serve another.  Slavery is, in fact, endemic in human affairs.  It is our own feelings of powerlessness that lead us to strive for a position in which we can force others to submit their power to us.

If we are serious about ending slavery, then the concept must be opened up to include slavery in all its forms.  We must further ask the question that never seems to be expressed: are we in fact a slave race?  Is slavery so deeply ingrained in our constitutions that we cannot perceive a world without it?  Indeed, could humanity honestly survive without the submission of one group to another?  Are we capable of not only conceiving, but building such a world?

Or are we doomed for our brief turn on the stage of history to seek out an exploit the labor of others because we know no other way?

Perhaps the only way to proceed is to control the expression of slavery in an open and honest forum, rather than try to extract the very heart or humanity.  The first step is to admit that we are all slaves of one stripe or another.  Then we can move forward with effectual efforts to slow the pace of exploitation.

Until then, get back to work, slave!


23.10.12

Rodeo Daze In Jakarta

OK, so it's not REALLY a rodeo, but for a Texas boy, it sure looks like one.

You see, Friday is Iddul Adha, or if you prefer the original Arabic, Eid al-Adha.  That's the Feast of Sacrifice for those who aren't Muslim.  It celebrates one of the most contentious events in history, since it is the basis of all the problems in the Middle East today.

According to Jews, "Abraham" was told by Yahweh to go sacrifice his son, Issac.  According to Islam, "Ibrahim" was told to go sacrifice his son, Ishmael.  If you're not up on your Old Testament, old Abe wanted a son, but at well over 100 years old, his wife wasn't up to the job, so he did the deed with a handy maidservant.  The offspring was Ishmael, who went on to father the semitic races.  Later, Yahweh told old Abe that He was fixing things so Abe could have another son with his wife.  Sure enough, she plumped right up and eventually had Isaac, who went on to father the Hebrews.

At some point, Yahweh (thinking this would be great fun apparently) told Abe to sacrifice his son, and here's where the fun really starts.  Abe took either Ishmael or Isaac up a mountain and prepared to let one of them have it.  Reports are that Abe's wife was so distressed by this that she died on the way.  Just as Abe was about to do in Ishmael/Isaac, Yahweh stopped the show and provided a lamb instead.

This incident set up one of the hottest family feuds in history, and even though the Hebrews have all but vanished off the face of the Earth, the Jews (actually Russians from the Caucasus mountains), along with their Christian dupes, have carried on the tradition of killing and hating.  Needless to say, this makes the Jews the most anti-semitic people around.  How's that for screwball?

So anyway, back to the rodeo.

Celebrating Idul Adha involves sacrificing goats, or if you're particularly rich, cows, to atone for one's sins.  In order to pull this off, this past week has seen truckloads of goats and cows being brough into the city.  Make-shift bamboo pans have sprung up around every mosque in town, with the attendant sounds and smells of livestock assaulting one's senses every 200 meters.

On Friday, the festival begins at sunrise.  Families pool their resources to buy one of the animals for sacrifice.  Afterwards, the meat is divvied up, with the poor folk getting a share of the bounty.  The scene is replicated at mosques all over the country, and even on vessels at sea, though I have no reports of this occuring on airplanes as yet.

A few years ago, a particularly corrupt politician (but I repeat myself) was showing off his pocket change and bought a cow for sacrifice at the main mosque in city center.  After the sacrifice, it was discovered that the animal's liver was riddled with worms.  Keep in mind that the liver in this culture is the seat of the soul and emotions, much as the heart is in Western cultures.  This was taken as a sign that the politician's sins were quite extensive and there was a minor scandal over the following weeks.

Much like Houston, the week has been full of trucks, push carts and any other rolling vessel delivering hundreds of animals across the city.  And like Houston, the got-rocks folks will show off their wads of cash by buying the most expensive and showiest animals.  Unlike Houston, they will be slaughtered on the street, rather than the butcher shop, and none of them will be ridden, as far as I know.  But the overall effect is very similar.

It's enough to make one homesick.  Similar events a world apart for very different reasons and histories, but still one of those interesting little quirks of Life on the Far Side.

22.10.12

Darkness At The Break Of Noon


Well, we’re pretty excited here on the Far Side.  We get a world premier bit of news because we’re connected, baby.

To set this up, we have to admit that we are a closet Trekkie.  Have been since childhood watching the original series in first run.  Of course, we’ve kept up with all the later stuff, like the movies and follow-on series, though we weren’t crazy about Voyager and Deep Six Nine.  But, we had the dutiful premier party for the premier of The Next Generation back in our college days.

Over the years, we tried to get on crew for the various movies.  I was one of those things, you know.  The two times we might have gotten in, we were locked into other productions.  Though it was tempting to walk off, that would have crushed our career, and some things just aren’t worth it.

At any rate, we were blow away by the new movie series.  The cast was perfect and the back-story was a kick.  Whoda thunk “Bones” didn’t refer to McCoy being a doctor?  At any rate, we’ve been hungry for the sequel, waiting now for four long years for some more trekking into…well, darkness.

So anyway, we were sitting around cleaning up the computer and doing other meaningless stuff the other day when Skype went off.  It was “Tubs” Roy, our old buddy from the film daze.  Couldn’t believe it!  We haven’t talked to Tubs in a decade.  Last time we saw him, we were hacking our way through the jungles of Puerto Rico shooting the Flintstones.  It was hard to believe he was still alive, after all, he was probably personally responsible for supporting a number of Peruvian family plantations.  But, if the Stones can be planning a new tour, why not…right?

“Dude!  You’re still alive?” we asked incredulously.

“Love you too, man.  What’s up with you?”
“I’m living in Indonesia now.  Just working on my writing and living large,” we boasted.
“Indonesia?  What the hell are you doing there?  Didn’t you get enough tropical diseases on Flintstones?” he prodded.  He’ll never let us live down the emergency-level dysentery we nearly died from.
“Ain’t that bad, dude.  They got world class women here.  Even married one.”
“You got married again?” he choked.  “Didn’t get enough punishment from the last three?”
“Call me an optimist.  Fourth time’s a charm, right?  So, what the hell did you look me up for?”
“Dude, we just wrapped pick-ups for Star Trek,” he teased.
“WHAT?!  You got on crew for Trek?  You bastard,” we said with genuine, heartfelt sincerity.
“Yeah.  It was pretty righteous.  I like doing FX gigs.  Lots of green screen.  Can spend more time in A/C,” he opined.  He was making us work for it.  He knew what we wanted.  He knew it was the whole reason he called.
He knew what millions of fans are chewing the scenery to find out.  And he wasn’t going to just come out and tell us.  We had to work for it.

“So?!  What’s the dirt?  You know I’m going to ask and I know it’s the only reason you would call me after a decade,” we said bluntly.

“Oh come on, dude.  You know I love you.  That’s why I hauled your butt to the toilet for three days when you were dying,” he said.  He had a point, but so did we.

“True, but come on.  I know you’re dying to spill it.  I’m probably the 3,639th person you’ve called to give the gory details, right?” we prompted.

“Naw, dude.  Just you and my mother is all.  I know you can keep a secret, cause they’ll emasculate me and steal my first-born if it gets around that I leaked,” he whispered.  We figured he wasn’t exaggerating too much.
“You know I won’t spill, dude.  I wouldn’t do that to you,” we lied.  We are not above lying when it comes to juicy material.
“OK, chief…you sitting down?”
“Yeah yeah…just start dishing, dude,” we growled.
“OK, the Vulcans find the perfect planet to resettle, but it happens to be dead center of the Neutral Zone.  Well, this kinda pisses off the Romulans and the Klingons and it sets off a major cool battle scene.  Dude, this battle scene will blow you away.  I saw about 10 seconds of it and it blew me away,” he teased.
“Go on, don’t stop now,” we prompted.
“OK, well, the Romulans pull out this super weapon that no one knew about  and it blows the Enterprise clear to the edge of the galaxy.  At this point, Cumberbatch, who’s playing Gary Mitchell…you remember that character, right?” he asked.
“Of course!  Third episode of the first season,” we said.  “He gets zapped and turns into a god with unlimited powers.”
“Yup.  So anyway, he’s really pissed and takes over the Enterprise to start kicking butt on the Romulans, ‘cause they blew up Vulcan and damn near wiped out the crew with the super bomb.”

“So it’s like a vengeance thing with Gary going ape with god-powers while everyone is doing the war dance around a planet in the neutral zone that the Vulcans want to use as a new homeworld?” we recounted.
“That’s about right, dude,” Tubs said flatly.

But wait…we had one big question.

“So what about Khan?” we asked.  “Everyone keeps saying Khan shows up in this flick.”
Tubs sighed, “Yeah, I keep getting that question, but dude, he ain’t in it.  This guy Gary is the big heavy.”
“So is the planet the same one that was in Star Trek V: The Final Failure?” we inquired.
“I don’t think so.  Never thought about that.  Hell, maybe it is,” Tubs said distractedly.
“So are there any good FX, you know, like battles and stuff?”

“Who knows, dude.  Anymore it’s all green screen.  Boring as hell, ‘cause all we do is sit on our ass for eight hours and occasionally get to throw some junk for explosions,” Tubs lamented.  “After they went to green screen, working on movies wasn’t fun anymore.  Lighting’s a cinch.  Ain’t no sets.  You know that scene with Spock that J.J. showed on Conan?”

“Yeah, three frames of Spock inside a volcano,” we laughed.
“Yeah, well all we saw was Zac banging around in a silver suit.  The only fun was flagging lights to look like fire and stuff,” Tubs said.

“Do you think it’s going to be good?” we asked hopefully.
“Oh dude, it’s non-stop action and some serious babage.  J.J.’s not shy about throwing flesh around, even in Star Trek.  This ain’t your daddy’s Enterprise, you know,” he mused.  “If I still had my right thumb, I’d give it two thumbs up.”  Tubs lost his thumb in a rigging accident on Superman IV.

“Cool, well we’re ready!” we enthused.

“Yeah, cool.  Ok, I gotta run.  Still have to call about 20 other people and fill ‘em in.” he said.

“Aren’t you supposed to be under some kind of gag order or something?” we asked.
“Of course!  So we never talked.  Later dude.”  The screen went blank.

So, we’re not telling anyone about this, just remember that.  You didn’t read it here.  And isn’t it cool that we didn’t get this information while talking on a video link to the other side of the world, just like in Star Trek?

We are such a nerd sometimes.  

19.10.12

Agents Gone Wild!

I'm going to go way out on a limb here and call the US election three weeks early.  Here goes...no matter who wins, we all lose.  I'm willing to bet good money that I'm right, too.

Doesn't really matter though.  The US government is in deep trouble and it's starting to show openly.  The most recent 'tell' is a poor, dumb patsy named Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis.  In case you don't recognize the name, he's the guy who was arrested for trying to blow up the Federal Reserve with a fake bomb that the FBI gave him.

Why is this a 'tell'?  Because when governments become so useless as to be ignored and reviled by pretty much everyone, they start attacking themselves to make us believe that someone still takes them seriously.

The image we should have firmly in mind here is the hilarious scene in "Liar Liar" where Jim Carrey beats himself up.  In fact, the US government has become such a joke that it must set up delusional college kids as would-be bombers in order to get people to rally 'round the flag.

Only...it didn't work.  No one cared.  In fact, secretly, most people were wishing the poor sap had succeeded.  The plot was so...ahem...transparent that even the most die-hard fascists could see right through it.

Quazi (Moto?) is a doe-eyed student from Bangladesh who was given a visa by the government, then 'recruited' by undercover government agents, who worked hard to convince this guy that he was very important to "al-Qaeda".  He was then brainwashed into thinking a bunch of putty and wires in a box, that were furnished by government agents, were a powerful bomb, and that he...Quazi...would be a great hero to the cause when he blew up the Federal Reserve.  Never mind there are 12 Reserve banks across the country and blowing up one of them hardly puts a crimp in the system.

So here we have homeland 'security' creating terror plots to justify its bloated bureaucracy.  We have the CIA importing drugs so the DEA can bust them to justify its swollen budget.  We have the BATF giving guns to Mexican criminals so it can justify its useless ranks.  We have the US State department riling up Muslim countries to justify the obscene military expenditures and military interventionism.  We have the NSA cyber-attacking itself to justify the massive Big Brother surveillance apparatus.

About the only government agency that isn't creating its own problems is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is busily lying its pants off to cover up a real problem and keep the current batch of chosen criminals in office.

In the end, what the world is saddled with is a multi-trillion dollar pink elephant that has so little to do it must brainwash 21-year-old Bangladeshi students into thinking they can actually have an effect on the global problem with a fake bomb plot against the Federal Reserve.

Oh, let's not forget that this helps legitimize the Federal Reserve by making it seem important enough to actually bomb.  Frankly, its such a useless institution that bombing it would be a waste of good explosives.  I mean, this story sounds like a rejected plot from "24", or something.

It's getting to the point where the US government is so desperate for someone to take it seriously that it will actually have to inflict damage on itself to get anyone's attention.  By inflicting damage, I mean more than just the usual Keystone Kops routine that passes for governance in Washington D.C. these days.

The scary part is that this is the point where governments get really dangerous.  More than usual, that is.  When governments find themselves becoming irrelevant, they set about manufacturing reasons to take them seriously.  And the more irrelevant they become, the more spectacular the events they manufacture.

It's a lot like the behavior of your average 2-year-old.  As a child ages, the people around them pay less and less special attention to them.  At some point, the child lashes out in a series of tantrums in order to get adults to refocus.  The tantrums tend to escalate over time until they reach the threshold of adult tolerance.  And this is the point at which we find the US government.

Having run rough-shod over the world for the past 70 years, it now finds itself out of date and unimportant to contemporary global concerns.  Like any institution, the large it grows, the more calcified it becomes, and thus the less willing and able it is to change.  No longer lean and lithe, the US government has become its own worst enemy.  It can no longer adapt because any little change upsets the myriad fiefdoms that now dominate the internal structure.

In a land were jobs are just a little tight right now, who wants to lose their cushy pay check, three-weeks' paid vacation, life/health/vision/dental insurance, and a much-better-than-average pension after 20 years of warming a chair?  In a situaltion like this, government agencies will do, and are doing anything to keep the circus rolling, no matter how ludicrous or destructive it is to the rest of the world.

Why do you think so many politicians are multi-generational blood suckers, including the Romneys, the Pauls, the Bushes, the Roosevelts, heck even the Adamses way back at the beginning.

You know, if I were Quazi's defense attorney (assuming he isn't whisked off to Guantanamo without trial), I would argue that my client was de facto deputized as a government agent, acting on behalf of the US government on a government-sanctioned operation.  In fact, my client was specifically recruited and supplied by government agents, so to indict my client is to indict the US government.  Thus, under Title 18 USC, militia code, my client is innocent on the grounds that he was assisting a government investigation into the activities of terrorists among the ranks of the FBI.  I would even call the various heads of the appropriate agencies to testify.

It won't happen, of course.  The guy will plead innocent on the grounds of entrapment and the jury will find him guilty and he'll rot in prison without a real hearing on the matter.

And hey!  All those useless eaters with badges can say they're doing their jobs to keep America "safe".

Such a deal!
===============================
This is a prime example of the idiots defending America...

16.10.12

Stories In Stone

One thing that my dad, the historian, used to go on and on about, and that I actually found interesting, was the connection between architecture and the socio-economic environment which produced it.  That line of inquiry has led to a life-long fascination with 'reading' buildings.

One example dad used to bring up often as an obvious lesson was two buildings in downtown Houston called the Esperson buildings.  They stand back-to-back on a single block and were named after the rather wealthy family that built them.  One was named Niels and the other Mellie.

The Niels building was erected in the height of the Roaring 20s.  It features beautiful stone lobbies, an observation dome on the top and scads of intricate masonry showcasing the flamboyance and wealth of the period between the 1920 depression and the Great Depression.

The Mellie building went up in the midst of the 1930s, as the global economy languished in economic hell.  The building is a plain affair with no frills: a cracker box stood on end with the bare essentials for functionality.

Another fun example dad used to roll out were the twin evolutions of the porch and the garage of the typical family home.

The porch used to be on the front of the house facing the street.  Folks would sit out in the evenings and wave at the neighbors.  People were sociable and curious about the doings of others.  But as cities grew and became more crowded and anonymous, porches migrated to the back of the house and became respites from the rest of the world.  People didn't want to socialize and were even less interested in strangers knowing their business.

At the same time, the garage went from being an out building at the back of the property, usually a storage shed or even tractor barn, to an integral part of the main house.  In fact, the porch and garage swapped places.  The garage even overcame the front door as the main portal of the house, as the importance of the automobile became more vital to daily life.  In many newer houses, the garage is the dominant feature of the public side of the structure.

Another fascinating little detail that most people never think about is something called a pendentive.  A pendentive is a wedge-shaped construct that allows you to put a dome on top of a square building.  Now that may now seem like a big deal, but think about it.  It you put a circle on top of a square so that it doesn't exceed the sides of the square, the circle will only touch four small areas in the center of each side.  On a building, the center of a wall is the weakest part of the structure.  On top of that, you are left with big gaps at each corner, which does little to keep the rain out.

The engineering problem was to plug the gaps while transferring the weight of the dome to the corners of the box, which are far stronger and more stable.  It doesn't seem like a big deal, but without such an innovation, there would be no US capitol, or St. Paul's cathedral, or the Hagia Sophia, where the pendentive was invented.

Once you start getting into this sort of thing, it's a short hop to learning to 'read' buildings.  Many large structures, especially ancient ones, are literally stories in stone.  As you study them, suddenly a whole world opens up in front of you that was hidden in plain sight.

Some of the most interesting buildings to read are the old Gothic and Romanesque cathedrals of Europe.  If buildings can be read, then these are veritable novels in brick and mortar. 

One of the first lessons is the shape.  Of course, most of them are cruciform, so that from above, they make the shape of a cross.  Easy enough.  But the long interiors are a metaphor for the spiritual life of an individual.  One begins at the door and proceeds through an enormous and long corridor, surrounded with images of people whose lives we are encouraged to emulate. 

The end of the journey is the elaborate and etherial nave.  The area is usually domed with strategically placed windows and magnificent artworks that create a sort of heaven on Earth.  The trip from the door to the altar is our spiritual life.  We are aided and encouraged by spiritual leaders along the way and ultimately arrive at the destination, a realm of gold and linen and pure light.

The return trip is just as metaphorical.  We leave the heavenly realm and travel down the long corridor of the vagina to emerge at the end through the vulva.  If you look closely at the entrance to these edifaces, you may notice that the central door is surrounded with stone labia topped by a stylized clitoris.  Doesn't get more graphic than that, does it?  Take a close look at the photo here.

Keep looking.  Notice the legs in the birthing position?  The transcept becomes the arms, and the nave is the head.  Yup, the whole building is a stylized human body, complete with ribs, bones and organs.  Pop into the the cathedral you come across and see how many analogues you can find to the human body.

Now, look again at the front of the cathedral.  Notice anything?  Look at the doors.  See the two small doors flanking the larger central one?  Here's where the fun takes a decidedly strange and mind-blowing turn into the occult world.

That motif of three doors appears on sacred architecture in every part of the world, across thousands of years, and on every continent (though we're still waiting for discoveries in Antarctica).  The three doors crosses cultural, temporal and religious boundaries.  They appear on buildings at opposite ends of the Earth at times when supposedly there was no contact between the inhabitants of those places.  What's more, they first appear in connection with pyramid-building societies, such as Egypt, the Maya, the Hindus and Buddhists, and in China, Indonesia and Europe.

Graham Hancock has written an excellent thought piece on the topic that bears close reading.  Furthermore, once this motif is planted in your consciousness, you will start to find it everywhere you go.  It shows up in both subtle and overt ways all over the place.  It'll start to freak you out after a while.

And this is only one architectural feature with similar global analogues.  There are weird things going on with columns, roof designs and towers.  There's a whole tale behind cornerstones and building footprints and occuli. 

In fact, once you start reading architecture, you suddenly find yourself staring for hours at structures you hardly noticed before, engrossed in the story that the builders set in stone for the ages, waiting for us to decode it.  You may even find that your own home has a tale to tell that until now had gone straight over your head.

Investing a few hours of study in this field will pay off with all kinds of amazing discoveries in places you would never expect.  Remember that scene in "Interview with a Vampire," where Brad Pitt awakens to his new life and suddenly even the statues seem to come alive, where before things seemed very plain and ordinary?  it's a lot like that.

Enjoy your new hobby!

15.10.12

The Devil's Destiny - A Story Part 1

It was a monstrous construct.  On satellite images, the massive white line cut through the jungles of Borneo like a giant white scar, complete with cross-members that could be stitches.  Roughly two miles long, it was grossly out of place, sitting where it did, parallel to the equator in the wilds of Southeast Asia.

If you clicked on the 3-D button, the scene would swivel to the side showing an enormous ramp running west to east and terminating in a precarious drop of nearly one mile.  Around this ramp were the numbers 12, 3, 6, and 9 located at the cardinal compass points.  The satellite images were updated hourly, and being on the equator, this complex made a perfect sun dial, leading millions of people to use the images as backgrounds for their comm devices and notebooks.  It became a sensation as a giant sidereal clock.

Conspiracy theories abounded.  The net was abuzz with speculation and wild rumors.  What could this thing be?  Why would the Company go to such great expense to build this massive complex in such a remote location and move all of its global operations there?  And given that this project was the centerpiece of the flamboyant and incomprehensibly rich golden child Elton Mons, the underlying purpose could have been anything.  Indeed, some of the wild rumors and speculations seemed to fit all of the known facts.  The most favored theory at the moment was that Mons was attempting to take control of global weather for profit.  With Mons' background, it was certainly probable.

Elton Mons was a 40-something inventive genius.  At 20, he had devised a secure commerce system for the net called ObzOBM that had cornered the market and made him fabulously wealthy.  His next project was to create a high-speed train system that connected all of the major islands of the South Pacific with the mainland in a never-ending loop.  It used next generation mag-lev technology and never broke down or ran late.  It virtually killed air traffic in the region, since you could go from Jakarta to Bangkok in half the time and a fraction of the hassle of flying.

By the time anyone noticed this most recent project, it was nearly half complete.  People watching it develop noted that the numbers were actually buildings, and that a maze of roads ran between all the structures and the giant ramp.  The whole complex comprised a square that was three miles on a side.  The part that really got everyone's attantion, though, were the massive doors leading into a blister of earth at the western-most end of the ramp.

One afternoon in mid-July, the net caught fire.  A giant black triangular object had appeared at the base of the ramp.  Mons' satellite imaging site received over a billion hits within hours of the object's appearance.  Speculation was rampant.  Theories abounded.

Over the next year, the object would move up and down the ramp at various times of the day - and night.  Certain websites were making a fortune with photo enhancements and outrageous pronouncements about the object.  The neterati concensus was that the object was an Aurora-class craft designed for hypersonic flight around the world, taking people from London to Beijing in under an hour.

The nay-sayers pointed to the fact that the object had yet to leave the ramp in all that time, and certain physicists had analyzed the size, shape and dynamics of the object and concluded that it could not fly at all.

Still, radio talk shows devoted hundreds of hours to deconstructing the Object, the Project and Elton Mons himself.  They tore apart the Company's financial statements looking for clues, but the most suspicious thing they could find was that the Project was attached to three private entities for which no public information was available, except that they were registered in Brunei and operating under a special relationship with the Indonesian government.

One day, without warning of any kind, a website appeared for the Project.  It had a photo of the Ramp taken from the extreme eastern end looking back towards the Object in the far distance.  Under the photo was an announcement:
Elton Mons, founder and chairman of Hyper Dynamics, Inc., will hold a special press conference on March 2nd, at 2 p.m., at the media center located at the south entrance of the Borneo complex.  Attendance is by invitation only, but the event will be netcast live on this website.  The topics will include the public unveiling of the Company's latest project.

Hits on the website passed one billion in two hours.  The talkies, as the radio programs were known, scheduled every available 'expert', regardless of how shady their qualifications were.  Bloggers went berserk with prognostications and predictions.  Groups of neo-hippies camped out around the Project perimeters to chant and channel Gorlon, the supposed alien leader from e-Microscopium prime who had been consulting on the Project with Mons.  Everywhere, people planned 'Announcement' parties and bought subscriptions to various cablecasts that promised the cream of the crop in commentary.

Inside Building 6, Mons sank into his bio-chair and selected George Harrison's last album for his relaxation session.  On the wall, the screens were tracking hit counts and various net traffic across the planet.  He smiled as his eyes closed half-way. 

A portion of the wall behind the chair vanished and a beautiful Indonesian woman entered carrying a terminal.  She was five and a half feet tall, with long straight blue-black hair and impenetrable black eyes.
 Her oval face was emotionless as she glided smoothly up to the chair.

"Nila," Mons said without looking at her, "move Biji back inside the hangar at midnight and prepare for full operational mode.  We're gonna skip shakedown and go straight to plan alpha."

"Sir?" a shadow of surprise ran across Nila's face.

"Run Biji just before I go out in front of the press.  Then on my cue, send the Package right behind it.  I've got 'em eating out of my hand now.  I want to keep the fever pitch going.  Go ahead and make your preparations," Mons ordered, as a half smile eased across his lips.

"Yes, sir," Nila responded.  "Should I alert the rest of the team?"

"Absolutely!  But remind them, no communications with anyone until after the conference.  There'll be plenty of time for goodbyes before we go."

"Yes, sir," Nila said, as she bowed ever so slightly.  She slid back through the hole in the wall, which then vanished again, replaced by a bookshelf.

Mons pushed deeper into the chair and let the other half of the smile loose just as Harrison's "When We Was Fab" came up.

"Look out world," he thought, "here it comes."

14.10.12

You're Gonna Have To Serve Somebody



In order to sit atop the food chain, you must become a predator.  There are no two ways about it.  It doesn't matter the industry or discipline, if you want to reach the highest echelons of power and fame, then the price is nothing less than all you have.

And there is no greater price than integrity.  Once you have sold that, then you have nothing left to call you own.  If you have talent (can make the bosses rich), but are unwilling to sell your integrity, then you will be allowed 'success', meaning that you can feed your family and maybe buy a house and/or a car, but that is the limit of your rise.

One of the reasons I went into media was that I could work in any industry.  I could go anywhere, do anything and experience all that the world had to offer, because I had a skill that was necessary to every market...the ability to craft high-quality communications.  As a consequence, I have delved deep into the petroleum industry, the medical industry, the financial industry, the religion industry, and the entertainment industry.

I have put my hands deep inside a human body.  I have climbed to the bottom of oil tankers and played with ROVs.  I have sat in board rooms on Manhattan's lower east side with views of Hudson Bay.  I have worked side-by-side with household names.  In every case, the price is the same.

It always starts the same way.  You are given tastes of the top.  There are limo rides from JFK to the Meridien at the base of the Twin Towers.  There are private jets.  There are dinners for ten where the wine bill alone is $5,000, and there's more silverware at each place-setting than the average family owns altogether.

And then there's the parties.  Hot and cold running bimbos.  Horizonless pools overlooking LA.  Snack trays and punch bowls full of prescription and non-prescription drugs.  Orgy scenes that make anything in the film Caligula seem overly modest and sedate.  And should you require a brief respite, there's the Montana mountain home with a 12-person jacuzzi, maids and butlers, and beds pre-heated by the 'skin pillow' of your choice.

This sets the hook.  You get addicted to the lifestyle, not to mention anything else.  You don't move in the same world that 'normal' people do.  You don't stand in lines or fight for scraps.  You make the scraps.

But at some point, the Moment of Truth comes.  You are presented with the keys to the next level.  You have seen what is waiting.  You are ready to throw integrity to the wind to put your name on that mountain house or have the pilot's number on your speed dial.  You are hungry to make Maxim' in Paris your personal breakfast stop, where the Eggs Benedict is your Egg McMuffin at $53 a pop.

So as you stare at the bottom line and all the legalese blurs behind your daydream of fame and wealth, and you take pen in hand and start to initial the bottom corner of each page, somewhere in the back of your mind, a small, almost vanishing voice says, "But at what price this?"

At some level, you are aware of the photos and videos of the orgies and nights in the jacuzzi.  Somewhere there are photos of you playing strip pool with hookers and straws up your nose.  You know, even without verbalizing it, that the road back from this point will mean wading through your sins.  This time, though, it will involve all the wrong people seeing and judging those sins, even though everyone standing in judgement of you secretly wishes they had been there too.  And maybe that's why it gets so surreal.

What few people ever realize, though, are the connections between the severe emotional tragedies in your life and the contract sitting in front of you.  Whether the tragedies were created, or simply taken advantage of, they are used to control you.  They are milked for every drop of emotional anguish that can be inflicted on you.  At some point, most people will surrender thinking they have nothing else to lose.  They will develop personas that hide the vulnerable True Self from further harm and take over the public face of the individual.

The potent combination of desire and fear combine on the bottom line of that 50-page contract sitting in front of you.  You think to yourself, "If I sign this, not only will I have the good life, but the power to slay my personal dragons."

Ah, and the revenge.  Yes, the revenge lies at the bottom of everything.  With power and money, you can get back at all those who hurt you, who made you feel inadequate, ineffective and unconsequential.

With these powerful motivations, you hurriedly march through the contract to the last page, and there, shining like a beacon in the darkness, is a single line with your name neatly typed under it.  Just one more quick scribble and your bank account will swell, your power will increase, you will have it all at your fingertips.

Within seconds of signing, you realize you've lost it all.  You feel the profound loss of having traded your soul for paper.  Suddenly, all the people who were just fawning all over you begin to act as if you aren't there.  They have what they came for: your pound of flesh.  You know instinctively that the way back is far more treacherous than anything you braved to get here.

The vision of fame that you had moments before turns to sharks ripping the flesh off your bones.  You are now fodder for the masses and any sense of privacy and individuality have fled the scene.  You are left with only two choices: wield the sword you picked up, or fall on it.  In either case, someone must die for your choice.

It dawns on you that the reason people who have it all never look happy is because of what they lost to gain what they have.  For what does it profit a man that he should gain the world but lose his soul?  Everyone wants it until they have it.

Show me anyone who is rich and famous, and I will show you an empty vessel.
================================

12.10.12

Outsourcing Your Security

When someone says "smart home monitoring" to me, I immediately think of a very intelligent person watching out for their own stuff with a big gun.  But, I suppose other people have other ideas.  For instance, watch this video that I picked up off of Joseph Farrell's website:



Disturbing, I know.  Gave me the willies.  And Joseph does a good job of analyzing the implications of such a technology, but I want to look at the audio/visual programming and psychological underpinning of this video.

The first thing that struck me was the red background.  Red, of course, has cultural connotations of 'danger' and 'fear'.  They could just have as easily chosen blue, which would have implied comfort and relaxation.  So you are immediately hit with a fear trigger from the first frame.  Granted, you may not have been conscious of this reaction, but that's the whole point.  Propaganda works best when it slides underneath our filters and conscious reactions.

The next thing that hit me was the music.  It sounds like the old 'Peanuts' theme music.  It's bright and bouncy and just slightly industrial implying that everyone in the video is busy and productive.  Obviously, the service being sold is for people who are too busy to look after their own affairs   In fact, they are so busy they don't have time to worry about their kids.  They need their house to do it for them.

The next image that hits you is the generic house.  It's a colonial cottage style that is obviously middle class suburban America.  Nowhere else on Earth looks like that.  So we know the target audience here: busy white middle class American breeders who are so busy trying to keep their heads above water financially that they need their house to do all the work for them.  How do we know they are white?  Look closely at all the human figures and ask yourself what race they are.  Plenty of clues.

And that brings us to the next weird thing about this video.  There are no people, only shadows.  There's no individuation or identity, just silhouettes going through the motions of life.  In other words, the people who would use this system have no individuality.  They are just demographic cogs in a larger machine, unwilling or unable to stand out from the masses.  The people in this video have no substance.  Even the narrator's voice is a kind of bland all-American accent with a 30-something timbre to it.

The first image that really creeped me out was the one that goes with the line, "...is supported by two networks simultaneously."  The house is shown with rays coming out of the top of it, one set white, the other black.  What are they telling us here?  That one network is good and in the open, while the other is covert?  Why don't the rays go in the same direction, implying both being controlled by the same party?  This tells me that one of the networks is being monitored by someone else, and not necessarily for good purposes.

The next line really irritates me: "...giving you absolute peace of mind when it comes to keeping your home protected."  What?  No lingering doubts whatsoever?  There is no possible way to bypass this system?  There are no variables that can cause failure, such as blackouts, sunspots, cutting cables, etc.?  Just look up the word 'absolute' in the dictionary.

And why just my home?  Look at the video.  The only things in there that are distiguishable and have any character and detail at all are the home and the technology.  The people and stuff in the home are just consequential, and all of it is subservient to the bells and whistles in a box.  And who are these 'trained security personnel'?  TSA?

Then there's that strange shot of the family running out the door with all their gear on their backs while a shadowy character with something on his head that looks like a ski mask and holding a pair of bolt cutters is kneeling next to a utility box of some kind.  Since no action is taken to stop this character, we can only assume that it is a government 'authority' or 'trained security personnel'.

And while all of this is going on, we see the 'central monitoring center' with a couple of guys standing around a monitor looking as if they are watching your daughter in the shower.  Hmmm...maybe it IS TSA, then.  Or Catholic priests.

At any rate, there is never any sign that the 'central monitoring center' takes any action, such as call the police or send a patrol around.  They just monitor the situation.  Great.  A lot of help that is.  I could have done the same things with my Smith & Wesson .357 double action revolver.

Now we are told that we can monitor our home in real time from our computer, smartphone or the touch-pad.  To me, that says that anyone can hack into my home because anything sending out that much information on that many channels is far too easy to cut into.  The nerdy kid across the street could be having the time of his life turning your home on and off while you're away.

I feel so secure now.

Now let's look at all the emotional hot buttons this video is pushing in order to make you feel afraid.

First, of course, is the classic 'children' ruse.  Threaten the children and people will do almost anything to protect them.  It's the old circle-the-wagons effect.  This has been used with great effect in the last 50 years or so, with things like Amber alerts and little Adam Walsh (remember him?).  This is a really easy button to push.

Next, they threaten your home.  Well, naturally that'll get your hackles up and make you want to do anything to protect your stuff.  After you've spent yourself into a hole to buy the house and fill it with gee-gaws, you certainly are afraid to lose it all, especially since you won't finish paying for it all until you are 90 or so.

The video then goes on to create a whole new fear for you: carbon monoxide.  Now, how many people do you know sit around wringing their hands over carbon monoxide levels in their houses?  I can't think of one in 51 years of experience.  But gosh, your home could be full of the stuff.  And if one odorless, invisible gas is filling your home, how many others?  And does the system monitor those, as well?  That one line could turn anyone into a full-fledged worry-wart.

But not to worry.  All these wires, networks, touch-pads, smartphones, computer terminals, 'trained security personnel', and 'monitoring centers' are there to give you 'peace of mind', 'security' and 'safety'.

Frankly, everything about it scares the shit out of me.

The video is so well done that you even think that all this will save you money, too!  That's right, paying thousands of dollars to amass all the crap you need to make this system work for you will save you a few pennies a month on your electric bill.  WOW!  What a deal!  No word if it will stop the leaky faucet or the running toilet, though.  That would save me some extra pennies on the water bill, too.  And how about gas leaks?  Didn't mention gas leaks, did they?

Another joke?  When the kid comes home, the home sends an alert to the woman's (not the man's) phone to say, "The front door was opened at 4:01 PM."  We are supposed to assume that the woman automatically knows this is her kid?  Or maybe the kid is wearing a ID chip that the rest of the text message gives the kid's identity heart rate, adrenaline levels, and urine output for the day.

There are so many things wrong with this video, none being the quality of the production or the propaganda being transmitted.  It is a high-quality piece and carefully crafted to scare you into submission.  And every bit of it was done with full awareness of what they are trying to achieve and the messages being sent.  How do I know that?

Well, a committee was formed by the client.  They determined what they wanted to say and how they wanted to say it.  They put the package out to bid and found a production company that 'got it' and presented a proposal that said as much.  All of this was vetted by executive managment at key milestones along the way, and the final product was approved by marketing, sales, executives, and legal.  Every image, word and idea was thoroughly parsed to say exactly what the company wanted you to see, hear and feel.

So everything I've just explored, plus what Joseph Farrell stated, were all clearly and deliberately intended by both the client (the company) and the production house that created it.

Now doesn't that make you feel more secure?

11.10.12

Gonna Go 'Round In Circles

Cue Billy Preston.

In our last exciting episode, we talked about the silly little game that the Western oligarchs are playing that is dragging the whole world down the toilet.  In summary, we discovered that because they don't want to stop being king of the hill, even for just a moment, they are flapping their arms deperately trying to keep from riding the inevitable economic cycles.

In other words, we can sum up all the Bilerburgers, Masons, Club of Romes, Trilateral Commissions, ad nauseum, in one simple concept...Wile E. Coyote.

Wile E., in his relentless pursuit of the Roadrunner (wealth) has yet again run off a cliff and is momentarily suspended in mid-air flapping and panicking as he tries desperately to defy gravity.  It's really all that simple.  Doesn't make the pain any less here at the Real Life level, but it helps to put things in perspective a bit.

To visualize the situation, let's call on a guy names Evel Knievel.  Younger or foreign folks may not rememver this guy, but us old codgers certainly do.  People politely called him a daredevil or motorcycle stuntman.  I think of him as just crazy, as he devised ever more spectacular ways to splatter his guts all over the place on national TeeVee back in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Evel's whole gig was to run his motorcycle as fast as he could at a ramp and try to suspend himself as long and far as he could, hoping to land on the opposite ramp in a controlled sort of way.  In short, he became a hero of spectacular failure.  He holds the world record for most number of bones broken in a lifetime...433.  The human body only has 200 and some total bones.

Economic cycles, like pretty much all other cycles, are not circles, though they can appear to be from certain perspectives.  But if you get off to the side and look at them in 2-D, they look like waves.  There's an ascending part, a crest, a descending part, and a trough.  Pretty much the entire Universe works like this at one level or another.

What Evel Knievel did was to try to launch himself from one crest, bypass the intervening trough, and land on the next crest and survive the experience.  He failed more than he succeeded, but it was always fun to watch.  Kinda like tuning in NASCAR to watch the amazing wrecks rather than the endless loops at high speed.

Anyway, the Masters of War (thanks Bob) are little more than a bunch of Evel Knievels who have decided that they are far too rich and far too powerful to have to go through economic cycles.  So they've decided they're going to use all the magic incantations, illusions, rituals, and just sheer military force to brute their way from one economic crest to the next without having to first make a run through the trough.

Fine idea, but the reality is a bit more mundane because gravity simply sucks.  No two ways about it.

Though business cycles are infinitely complex, they can be visualized quite simply.  Think of two mating snakes entwined with each other, or another way would be the DNA double helix.  One side of the equation amasses debt, while the other side amasses wealth.  At some point, the equilibrium is disturbed (recessions, droughts, etc.) and the two sides swap places.  Then the whole things starts over.

Now, our group of oligarchs think they have amassed so much knowledge and power and other cool stuff like that, they think they can just suspend themselves in mid-air until the next crest comes and they land gracefully, still Masters of War.

The problem is that nothing, and I do mean NOTHING in Nature works like that.  There must always be a season of growth and a season of renewal.  There's simply no other way things can or do work.  All the ramps, calculations, incantations, and pure effort of will cannot stop something that is as entrenched in the fabric of the Universe as a cycle is.

Where we are now as a planet is that we have a new tooth trying to come in, but the old baby tooth refuses to fall out.  Consequently, the new one is growing right out on top of the old one, and the old will either have to fall out, or we gotta pull it.  Nothing will stop the new one.

If we go to our Wile E. Coyote metaphor, we have just run off a cliff and are suspended momentarily by momentum, until we look down and realize there ain't nothing under us.

If we were Evel Knievel, then we are at Caesar's Palace fountain, having just launched off the end of the ramp.  As we look ahead, we notice that our rear wheel just ain't gonna clear that last little tippy-top part of the fountain and nothing we can do will stop the inevitable broken bones that are about to materialize in our future.

OK, so what does knowing the current situation do for us?  I mean, after all these visualization exercises, what can we do with this knowledge?

First off, knowing the inevitable outcome allows us to prepare for what's coming.  We know economic winter is here, though we've enjoyed a bit of Indian Summer, but it's time to stock up and stack the cord wood in readiness for the cold blast about to hit us.

Second, knowing where we are and how we got here gives us important clues as to how to get out again.  Since cycles are predictable, though not exactly the same each time.  Nevertheless, we can predict with some certainly where we will land.  When you get lost, the first thing most people will do is retrace their steps to get back to the point where they got off the trail.  Unwinding this mess is both a natural part of the cycle, and the answer to solving the huge mess these greedly little worms created.

Third, it takes the mystery out of our perception of who these weasely little idiots are running the world and shows us conclusively that they are nothing more than slimy idiots who thought they were Time Lords.  Picture the bankers at Gringott's in the Harry Potter series.

Finally, we know not to let anyone do this again.  We should etch this lesson in stone monuments as immutable as the Great Pyramid - don't let the slimy bastards try to defy gravity again, at least while we are all passengers.

We need to use this lesson to keep the greasy nards in check and never let them get hold of the stunt bikes again...ever!  Now we have the playbook, identities and locations of all these maggot brains.  Now we can lock them in Arkam Asylum and pump them full of their own pharmaceuticals and never let the bastards roam freely again.  We must turn all their glorious Track and Trace toys on them and keep them under surveillance for the rest of Time.

Perhaps a well-thought out eugenics program will keep them from breeding until their bloodlines simply die off.  An appropriate punishment for what they have done to humanity and our planet.

It's time.  Time to sit back and laugh at Wile E. as he sails ever so gracelessly to the bottom.  Time to stop hoping the Evel will make it across and prepare to be entertained by the inevitable crash and burn.

Mostly, it's time to prepare for winter.  It's going to be a rough one, since it's been delayed for so long.  A lot of people are going to be hurt, and that too is a cycle.

Most of all, we need to take a page from good project management and start keeping a planetary set of Lessons Learned.  At least that way we can stop making the same mistakes and start making a whole new set of them.

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but we are partly responsible for allowing the vile, repulsive gnomes to run the world in the first place.  And which of us hasn't been distracted by all the little flashy lights in boxes?

Suck it up, boys and girls, the first big blast of winter is coming.  But always remember, there's a back side to every storm.

And while we huddle around the fire waiting for the storm to pass, be sure and start your list of Lessons Learned so our kids don't fall for the same BS.

10.10.12

Will They Never Learn

I just had an epiphany.  I finally see what's going on at the macro level of economics and geopolitics.  I have a bead on why the Western oligarchs are so panicked.  And the answer is really stupid and childish.  It also explains why China is pissed at the US, why Japan was rubbed out, and why things are about to change really fast, really soon.

To put it in a nutshell...

Back in 1998, the Eastern hemisphere was struck with something we in the West called the Asian Contagion.  If you remember, the Asian economies were hit with a major recession, led by Japan (China was still developing back then).

It was bad.  The folks I've met who lived through it witnessed the bottom fall out and things get really nasty in these parts.  Riots in the streets, houses being looted at will, banks closing and/or being mob-robbed.  The red-hot Yen and Nikkei tumbled down a black hole from which they still haven't recovered.

All across Asia, the socio-economic fabric was coming unraveled at an alarming rate.  Naturally, Japan and the lesser economies looked to the West for help, but the dominant Anglo-American empire sat on it's wallet and instead, used the situation to solidify it's position over the region.

Let's pause for a moment here.  If you look at the calendar, you'll notice that 1998 was 60 years or so after the end of WWII.  Now we turn to a decent economics textbook (if we can find one) and look up Kondratiev and Dewey.  These two men, one Russian and the other American, both came to the conclusion at roughly the same time and independently that there was a long-wave cycle in all economies of roughly 60 years in which the business cycle turned south and there was nothing to be done about it but ride it out.

Dewey noted that governments could take certain actions to lessen the pain, but the crash and burn was inevitable...like sunrise or waves on the beach.  Kondratiev said the same thing, though he didn't focus as much on state actors.  Regardless, he was put in front of a firing squad since he couldn't find a way for the almighty State to stop it.

Now, back to Asia.  In the 60 years since WWII, Japan had become a major economic powerhouse.  It dominated Asia and dictated the ins and outs of how things were going to be around here.  They didn't make a lot of friends (not that they ever have).

So when things started to fly apart, China tucked in, Korea started maneuvering, and the other Asian economies went through violent convulsions.  Here in Indonesia, Soeharto was dethroned after 30 years of iron-fisted rein.  Similar events took place all over the region.

Tokyo called on the Anglo-American empire to come to the rescue, but the Western oligarchs were too busy positioning themselves to come out on top of the fray.

Slowly, things started to come back, like electric service after a major outage.  When all was said and done, Asian nations had unwound most of their debt and a massive shift in wealth had occured, as is often the case after deep recessions, or to be intellectually honest, depressions.  If you think of it in terms of a vineyard, winter had come and the vinters had trimmed back the vines in anticipation of spring.

Except Japan...

Japan had listened to the Western oligarchs and taken steps to try and stop the wholesale destruction of its economy.  They didn't want to lose their privileged spot atop the Eastern hemisphere.  They reduced interest rates to less than zero and kept the yen on life-support with the gold-carry trade.  Japan survived, but at a cost.

By dong this, Japan accrued more debt, rather than trim off the dead vines.  It was the proverbial heart-attack victim who continued to eat pork, smoke cigars and sit on the couch.

Meanwhile, China and the lesser economies had cleared out their debt and were building from a freshly leveled foundation.  When the inevitable long-wave spring came along, they sprouted forth with renewed vigor, creating red-hot economies from the ashes of the foregoing two years.  By 2000, China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia were in position to launch forward.

And they did.  In the past decade or so, China has come to dominate global manufacturing and became an outsourcer to smaller regional economies.  The whole region experienced double-digit growth and exploding middle classes.

Except Japan.  It limped along, following the Anglo-American playbook with, at best, anemic results.  It watched as its once-vaunted engine sputtered along, refusing to get a tune-up because they didn't want to lose their status at the top of the pile.

Finally, Japan's electorate decided they needed to take action, since the leadership wasn't going to.  They threw out the political party which had run things since WWII.  They cleaned up the financial system and overhauled the banks.  But the biggest move was to tell the Anglo-American empire to go stuff its playbook.

Japan started taking action to uncouple itself from the Western train ride.  They stopped hanging on every word out of the Western oligarchies and even (gasp) told the US to close down its military bases, especially Okinawa.

Conveniently, Fukushima happened and put an end to that little uprising.  It got the Japanese focused on other matters and put it in the position of having to take hat in hand and go back to Uncle.

Meanwhile, China powered ahead, bringing the rest of Asia with it.

In the West, the same thing nearly happened at the same time.  In 1998, the milk started to sour a bit and Wall and Fleet Streets went into high gear.  They also found that nothing was going to stop the long-wave shift, but they weren't satisfied with following the laws of Nature.  They had enjoyed the greatest economic tidal wave in all of recorded history, and it had put the Western oligarchs at the top of the global heap.  They so coveted this position that they were determined to keep it at any cost.

Thus, the oligarchs took a page from the Pearl Harbor playbook and created a distraction.  It was big enough and shocking enough that it would be sufficient reason to create a war long enough to power through the long-wave negative cycle.  Everyone knows war is good for business.  It blows off assets and is cause to crank up the factories and dig a little deeper in taxpayer pockets.  But they hadn't figured on a couple of things.

Ramping up production when all of your factories are overseas does nothing to keep the home fires burning, and part of the natural long-wave cycle is the repudiation of debt and the transfer of wealth.  They are as inevitable as death following birth.

Because of the huge amount of wealth that had accrued to the West during the preceding 60 years, they have been able to float the boat for a short while, but they are quickly coming up against one of those glorious Natural boundaries that remind us that we don't know everything yet.

The vinter has tried to deny winter and keep the vines growing through the freeze.  As a consequence, the new growth is being choked out by the old, and instead of getting a bumper crop of grapes, there's nothing.

To use another metaphor, grandpa is on life support.  We can go visit him in the hospital, and all those bells and whistles and tubes and electrodes are keeping his heart beating and his lungs filling, but conversations are decidedly one-sided.

Shift happens.

Russia had its upheaval in 1991.  China/Asia followed in 1998.  They have had explosive growth.  The West has refused to relinquish its grip on the world's throat, and so America languishes and Europe looks a lot like Asia 15 years ago.

Only one Western economy has trimmed the vines and is now powering ahead with renewed vigor...Iceland.

In fact, we've seen this same thing happen again and again throughout history, which I suppose is the definition of a cycle, yes?  Because a handful of families refuse to let go of grandpa, we have to watch and suffer as the poor guy falls apart before our eyes.  Those who accept and live within the inevitable cycles flourish, while those whose hubris and greed lead them to defy Nature slowly wither and rot.

It's like Chauncey in Jerzy Kosinski's brilliant and profound novel, "Being There".  It doesn't take intelligence to see the repetition of the seasons and to infer that all life must follow those cycles.  Those who recognize it and live within the boundaries of the rules will rise to the top, and those who defy it and seek to supplant Nature will be destroyed.

The banksters know this and have done everything they can to kick and scream till the cycle goes away.  But everything is not enough to stop the waves from hitting the shore.

Years ago, a good ole boy in Texas running for governor named Clayton Williams made a rather profound, if inflammatory statement, "Rape is like the weather.  If it's inevitable, just sit back and enjoy it."

Ya know...he had a point.

4.10.12

Garbage In, Product Out



Captain Picard turns to a recessed panel on the wall.  “Tea, Earl Gray, hot,” he commands.  Within seconds, a steaming cup of hot tea appears on the tray, which he takes to his desk to ponder the daily reports.

In my last column (Revolution No. 10), I mentioned that the revolution is already here, and indeed it is.  It may be difficult to see just yet, but it is growing rapidly and within a decade or two will completely transform every aspect of our lives in ways we can only just begin to imagine.

Let’s play one of our fun little thought experiments so you can see the revolution in action.
You live in Future City, a planned community of 10,000 people or so, though you’d hardly know it.  The houses are designed to blend completely into the surrounding trees and natural setting.  This provides maximum privacy, as well as a quiet and aesthetic place to live.

You don’t often run into your neighbors during the week, unless one of them happens to be gong to the rec center at the same time.  Today, you meet up with Dan who lives two doors down.  He’s taking his rec cart down to the center, as well.

“Hey Dan!  Mind if I tag along?  I’m heading to the rec myself,” you say as you catch up to him.
“Please do!  How’s the wife and kids?” he asks with genuine interest.

“All doing great!  Angie just composed a new synth-phony for her recital on Wednesday.  Hope you and Susan can come down and join us,” you reply.

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Dan says.
“You don’t have much rec there, Dan.  Just needed a break?”

“I’m on the way to pick up the new steam engine I’ve been working on,” he beams.  “Finally got the prototyping stage.  I’ve managed to increase efficiency 3.7% while reducing the overall weight by 2 kilos!  I’m hoping this will get me over the 160kpm mark.”

“Good God, man!  I can already drive your cars for a month without refilling the water tank!  When will you rest?” you ask, half-jokingly.
“Can’t.  Got an order from a guy in China for 10 cars if I can get them up to 315 kilometers per liter of distilled,” he says, looking slightly distracted by deep thoughts.  "He wants me to print by the 10th."

You both arrive at the rec center.  There are bins labeled “plastic,” “glass,” “rubber,” and so on.  You both dutifully toss your rubbish into the appropriate hole.

One of the key selling points of Future City was that it had an additive manufacturing center at the heart of the community.  The machine keeps track of how much raw material you throw into the rec center, and then off-sets that against your ‘printing’ costs.

You follow your neighbor around to the claims counter.  The bubbly teenaged girl behind the counter recognizes Dan and disappears into the store room.  In minutes, she re-appears with the engine.
“Here you are Mr. Faber.  The printing cost was 100 Future bucks, which we deducted from your account.  Thanks and have a great day,” she says enthusiastically.

Back at the house, as you walk in, your spouse reminds you of the leaking drain under the bathroom sink.  “Blast,” you think, “Forgot about that.”

You jump on the computer and pull up the house’s owner manual.  You select “master bath,” “sink,” and “drain pipe with trap”.  A photo pops up on the screen and you verify that’s the one your want, then click the “print” button.  You put a note on the desktop to pick up the pipe when you take the compost down to the rec center later in the evening.

Hopefully, Dan will be out testing his new prototype then.
Additive manufacturing or 3-D printing is set to change the world completely.  If suddenly all manufacturing is done in your neighborhood, then it fundamentally changes the basis of all economic activity, and the implications are enormous.

If, like Star Trek, you can simply click a button and ‘print’ any device, piece of clothing, mode of transportation, piece of furniture, spare part, toy, or possibly even food, then overnight there is no need for large factories, mass shipping, department stores, warehouses, dealerships, and dozens of other jobs and businesses would vanish.

Instantly, the economy would shift to one of ideas with every human being potentially being an inventor.  If I design something you like, you can pay me and I click ‘print’ to your local 3-D printer.  Within hours, or even minutes, I could deliver my product to you anywhere in the world without using an ounce of fuel.
How close are we to this kind of world?

The printers have been around for a couple of decades now, but in the last few years the technology has improved tremendously and the price tag has shrunk at the same time.  If the key technology of turning post-consumer waste into raw materials for new products comes along, then the sky’s the limit.
The more you ponder such a world, the more profound the changes you perceive.  Micro communities built around industrial-sized 3-D printers.  Micro economies with successful groups issuing their own currencies, producing their own renewable energy, and marketing products globally with no more effort than sending an email.

For every product, there would be thousands, if not millions, of potential manufacturers.  The pressure to innovate would be incredible.  The ability of governments to regulate or corporations to monopolize would vaporize instantly.  Almost every human on Earth would become a producer of something, whether it was art, or music, or clothing, or brooms.
But, you ask, suppose the 3-D printer broke down?

Try this out…you buy a new printer.  You plug it in, turn it on and immediately, it creates an exact copy of itself, which you put away.  If the printer breaks, you plug in the new one, which immediately creates and exact copy of itself, while you turn the old one into scrap and feed it back into the machine for raw materials.
Anything would be potential raw materials – grass clippings, scrap wood, left-overs from dinner, old clothes – just chuck it all into the hopper and crank out new stuff.

Hook the whole thing up to solar, wind or other renewable power source, and you have a near-perfect system that is pollution-free and virtually without cost to operate, while at the same time creating useful products that are infinitely customizable and can be pumped out in as great or as few numbers as desired at any location on Earth.

Truly stunning possibilities, when you think about it.  And we are very close to having thiscapability right now.

As Henry Ford famously said about his Model T cars, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.”

Now, mass production is precariously close to being able to customize any product for any individual without additional cost or effort or re-tooling.  Just modify the blue print in CAD and ‘print’.
No more need for nation-states, regulatory bodies, central banks, or transnational corporations.  Just thousands of autonomous regions competing with design, innovation and aesthetics in a truly global marketplace.

This kind of revolution has no precedent in all of human history.  There would be nothing like it to compare to or learn from.  We would be on virgin territory having to grope our way into this brave new world.
Since this kind of change would be uncharacteristic of anything before it, perhaps we should do something uncharacteristic and prepare before it gets here.

This all sounds wildly impossible, I know, but then so did smartphones when I was a kid.