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The 2017 Predilection Issue

It's finally here!  The Far Side's world-famous and highly accurate Predilection Issue 2017 Edition.  We recommend that readers print this page and check off the predictions as they happen, since we have a 99.99998% rate of getting things approximately pretty close to being in the neighborhood of the ballpark.  The amazing accuracy of our prognostications have been verified by multiple nefarious agencies associated with university frat houses during hazing rituals in chemistry lab basements under the second Blue Moon of each year.

With that said, let us tarry no more!  On to some truly nerve-wracking scrying!

1. Liz 2, being the last surviving monarch/dictator of the 20th century, will check out this year.  Charlie will abdicate, thus clearing the way for Willie 5 to have a seat at the head of the House of Lords.  This series of events will happen just in time for the British people to decide that a Royal Family is just too damn expensive and turn Buckingham Palace into the Blue Blood Bed & Breakfast featuring Beefeater's London Dry Gin.  The hotel will immediately win a prestigious international award for Best Alliteration for a Tourist Trap Name.

2. As part of the Neo-Populist Wave, country after country will legalize marijuana, led by Russia whose Peerless Leader will gain the new nickname Vlad the Inhaler.  As a result, the tourist industry will crater, wars will be averted and terrorism will become an historical footnote, as billions of people elect to stay home and chill on the couch watching reruns of Duck Dynasty while listening to Pink Floyd, rather than put forth the effort.  The US Food and Drug Administration will issue new guidelines for use of the word "Sinsemilla," with the top requirement being that the buds be "without seeds."

3. Chinese backpackers and Mandarin teachers will become the new social phenomenon, as the emergent Sino Middle Class adopts the Bohemian lifestyle.  Youth hostels across Europe and the US will be overrun with Chinese teenagers out to "discover themselves" before settling down into a life of over-achievement in science and manufacturing, burdened by mortgages and credit card debt.  "Bùxíng" will begin appearing on cafe signs and flop houses around the world, as business owners try to become back-packer friendly and entice the big-spending teens to drop a few renmimbi in their establishments.

4. Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the US, only to find that the Obama's booby-trapped the White House when he gets a cream pie in the face when entering the Oval Office for the first time.  In a drunken rage, the Clintons will crash the Inaugural Ball and take over the stage, and while Bill wails out an off-key rendition of I Did It My Way on the tenor saxophone, Hillary will stumble through her recitation of the "I coulda been a contender" speech from On The Waterfront.  Simultaneous earthquakes will be registered in Tahiti and Death Valley as Marlon Brando's ashes roll over in their respective graves.

5. California will secede from the US, but no one notices.  Its economy will immediately collapse as the burden of new regulations and taxes causes Hollywood to move to Reno, and the former State realizes that it had no other income or source of energy, since it had long-since regulated other industries into oblivion.  President Jerry Brown will move the seat of government to Portland, Oregon, as his country returns to a natural state and he realizes that brown bears are a bit difficult to tax and regulate without guns.

6. It will be revealed that China's entire space program has been hoaxed by Tian Zhuangzhuang, also known as China's Stanley Kubrick, in a studio in suburban Beijing.  The hoax was discovered when crew members were heard coughing and wheezing off-camera due to the oppressive air pollution in the city.  Subsequently, researchers discover the use of clear rubber Bungee cords to achieve the weightless effects in videos released by the government.  In a related story, the clear rubber Bungee cords become one of the hottest selling must-have items of the year and the profits are used to fund China's space program.

7. Donald Trump will be hailed as the New Obama, ushering in an era of equality for White People across the country.  Mass demonstrations demanding equal rights for the emerging white minority will become the norm in cities across the nation.  Joel Osteen will become the de facto spiritual leader of the movement after delivering a wildly popular speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., which will come to be called the "I Have A Cream" speech.  Skin whitening products, long popular in Asia, will suddenly become the rage and pack shelves in Walgreen's.  Social Justice Whities (SJWs) will burst onto social media platforms declaring that, in the name of tolerance, trigger words like "whipped cream" and "sour cream" will no longer be tolerated.  Entire universities will be converted to "safe spaces" as competing groups all demand their own areas to be themselves without prejudice.

8. Tobacco will come back into vogue as scientists declare "smoking leafy vegetables as healthy as eating them."  A chain of tobacco shops called Starpuffs will appear by the dozens in malls and strip centers around the world.  The phrase, "Double puff extra gold with single wrap natural," will become the new hip lingo of the post-Millennial generation.  Hand-rolleds using seaweed wrappers will become the rage in Japan, while black-wrapped cognac dips will sweep Russia and Poland.  Among the Wall Street crowd, the double-crown gold leaf will reign supreme.

9. The economy will be the top news story of the year, dominating every conversation everywhere.  The big story will be the demise of the US dollar in favor of the Russian rouble and Chinese renmimbi.  This will only last a short time, however, as a new crypto-currency called BeggarBux sweeps the globe.  BeggarBux will be based on a basket of celebrity names, so that every time "Kim Kardashian," "Jay Z," or "Hillary Duff" are mentioned, a million BeggarBux are added to the global economy.  This leads media outlets to throw in gratuitous mentions of useless celebrities simply as a means to expand the economy.  Entire articles will appear on the front page of the New York Times that are composed of nothing other than celebrity names, prompting some commentators to say, "Not much has changed."  By July, a special bonus million BeggarBux will be added for every mention of Ivanka Trump.

10. In the cyber-universe, China's WeChat will put the entire Silicon Valley royalty out of business.  It will use the Xinhua news service as the sole source of "real" news and the app will provide all the services currently offered by over 100 stand-alone apps cluttering up peoples' SmartPhones.  Around Christmas time next year, Jeff Bezos and Barack Obama will be discovered on Skid Row lamenting, "If we only hadn't banned alt media, we'd still have jobs today."  In a desperate attempt to remain relevant, Mark Zuckerberg will upload his entire existence into a WeChat drone, which will be promptly shot out of the sky by an annoyed farmer in Nebraska, who will be quoted in Xinhua as saying, "Danged drones is allus spookin' mah cattles."  The drone's last words will be noted as, "I just wanted to friend him."  In related news, Elon Musk will land a drone on Mars and immediately claim Utopia Planitia his private domain and his army of robots will start re-carving the Face on Mars into his own image and likeness.

And there you have it folks!  The headlines before they're headlines!  The news before it's news!  The trends before they're hashtags!

Don't forget to tune in all next year as we watch these predilections become reality.  Be sure to send a link to Life on the Far Side to all the folks you think need a swift kick in the pants, and get right over now and follow us @RadioFarSide on Twitter and at RadioFarSide on YouTube before it all gets folded into WeChat.  Oh yeah, and there's also Life on the Far Side on Farcebook, too!  You won't want to miss a single second of the fun and frolic to come!

Here's wishing you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year!  From all of us Deep in the Jungles of Borneo!


Peeking Behind The Curtain

Well, here we go with the top news stories of 2016.  Yesterday, we covered the various passings that have marked the year that was, from the great to the small.  Today, we want to focus on the more entertaining parts of pop culture, namely the headlines.

Our take on things is, of course, a bit different.  We focus on the stories that will likely have far-reaching impact on the future, and believe it not, we don't think the Trump presidency is one of them.  In fact, the entire election cycle of 2016, while being wildly entertaining and providing gobs of grist for the mill, will like a Hollywood blockbuster have little or no nutritional value for the brain.

Instead, we will focus on some stories that flew in under the radar, but which will likely come back to haunt us in major ways in the near-to-far future.

The first thing we focus on also happens to be one of the most recent: the assassination of Andrey Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey.  Likely related to that event was the downing of a Russian jet over the Black Sea with a Russian military choir on its way to Syria to entertain the troops for Christmas and New Year.

This event is a fire starter - a slow burn in the coal scuttle that will eventually leap into dramatic flame, much like the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo that touched off World War One.  To any aware observer, this event couldn't be more obvious.  It was meant, as so many other events over the past two decades, to goad Russia into war.  The provocations include the Ukraine mess, NATO camping out on Russian borders, "friendly fire" incidents in Syria, and the overt acts of war generally called the Economic Sanctions set in place because 98% of Crimean people voted to rejoin the Russian Federation and Russia accepted.

And all this against a country that just a few years ago was America's best buddy in Asia after the Wall Fall.  In fact, Russia was seen as the foil by which the West could keep China down on the farm.

Well, it didn't work out that way.  Instead, Russia and China teamed up to form the BRICSA group, who announced their intention to start an alternative financial clearing system that threatens the Dollar Hegemony and the SWIFT cabal.  Since that time, the Western media, mouthpieces for the Shadow Government, have been steadily driving Russia's image into the dirt - or at least trying.

Despite all the humiliations and public trashings the West has heaped on Russia, they have shown remarkable restraint, preferring instead to fight through media and public relations, figuring the "whipping boy" image garners sympathy and admiration from the rest of the world, which it certainly seems to have done.  However, their patience is not boundless.

Certainly, the murder of a top diplomat in a key nation, plus the jet downing, must be pressing on the Kremlin's last nerve.  We can assume that investigators will thoroughly document proof of Western involvement, and then take their case to the world in the hopes of stirring significant ill will towards the US, and most definitely put it on the table when negotiating with the Trump administration, which has promised to lighten up a bit.  In any event, a significant story to watch.

Another important story, and one that will have long-lasting effects on all our daily lives, is the so-called "fake news" phenomenon.  In addition to being used to tar and feather Russia (again), it is also part of a much larger effort to take full control of the internet, a process that was begun with Obama's signing over ICANN to the UN in October, plus rise and empowerment of WIPO, have touched off a rapidly growing effort to shut down free speech on the internet.

There is nothing more dangerous to human liberty than giving any government body the ability to control how and what its opposition can say.  This ability is especially powerful when "intellectual property" rights can be used to control people's ability to cite reference materials in their writings and speech.  This combination can literally shut down free inquiry, independent reporting and academic research all in one fell swoop.  The associated rise of "fact checkers" and "information arbiters" is a very dangerous game in which almost everyone loses.

Every discovery ever made in human history came from rearranging existing facts and applying novel interpretations to them.  If one can control the facts that are widely available and the interpretations that are deemed "acceptable," one effectively controls the mind of humanity and certainly shuts down any voyages of discovery in the general population, not to mention political opposition.

One to watch, and fight tooth and nail, going forward.

The next major story is one that is truly bubbling just under the surface, and there is a full-on effort to stifle it, as it could literally destroy the global ruling class.  The story is, of course, Pizzagate.

Wikipedia immediately labeled this story a "conspiracy theory" and says it has been debunked.  The now-discredited Snopes jumped all over it and declared it a non-item.  "News" outlets have all but shut the story up, except to rant on about a "lone gunman" who walked into Comet Ping Pong in an obvious attempt to discredit the story.  In other words, it's a very dangerous story to certain groups who desperately want it to go away.

The story broke during WikiLeaks' release of John Podesta's email during the presidential campaign.  There were numerous references to "pizza" and other code words that are known to be pedophile jargon.  The email mentioned several pizza restaurants around the US, specifically Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., and the references were connected to other mentions of "spirit cooking," a truly sick form of black magic

This story is a huge deal.  Dozens of researchers have spent decades documenting child-sex rings at the highest levels of power.  Though nearly snuffed out, the Jimmy Seville case almost blew the lid off of the story.  Before that, researchers have been tracing this practice since the 1950s, showing that Child Protection Services, kidnapping rings and other sources provided thousands of children each year to service high-level clients.

The practice has been tied to the Roman Church abuse of children dating back to the 1800s in Canada, the Bohemian Grove antics of the US power elite, black magic rituals, and the use of pedophilia as a means to ensure silence among the participants.  There are also long-standing rumors that Stanley Kubrick was murdered for the subtle and not-so-subtle revelations in his films The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut.  If proof of this practice were ever to see the light of day, it would cause a global and violent backlash against the ruling classes that would change the course of history.  Naturally, it must be squelched with every possible effort.

The Podesta email provided one of the biggest breaks ever in research of the practice.  It named places and people, gave code words, and have led to the discovery of all sorts of corroborating evidence, such as advertising, that clearly imply nefarious activities of a most grotesque nature.

Needless to say, the people who research this subject are tireless and stay on it for decades.  With this kind of information coming to the public, it has reinvigorated them in a way that Jimmy Seville's story did and shows the global nature of the problem.  This story will not go away anytime soon, and there are likely to be more revelations coming to light over the coming year and beyond.

Finally, the major story of the century will most likely be the weather, and this year the New Ice Age started to become apparent.  Over the year, oddly cold spells, strange snow events, heavy rains, record frosts, and other events signalled the coming Big Chill, though the constant brow-beating of Global Warming over the past three decades, combined with repeated scandals of data manipulation, have either got most people unable to see it, or simply burned out on the whole climate debate.

As the story goes, this past solar cycle has been unnervingly quiet.  The sunspot counts are way down and solar activity of all kinds have been waning for the past three years.  This has caused Earth's magnetic shield to weaken and destabilize, with the poles wandering closer to the equator on their way to converging sometime over Indonesia.

At the same time, the weaker shield has allowed much higher levels of cosmic radiation to penetrate Earth's atmosphere resulting in higher evaporation rates from the oceans.  This higher moisture content in the atmosphere meets with rapidly cooling temperatures due to reduced solar output, causing vast flooding and snow events worldwide, including the most recent heavy snows in North Africa, one of the hottest regions on Earth.

Careful reading of food quality and price reports shows a steady decrease in food quality combined with a steady increase in prices across the board for grainfruit and leafy vegetables.  Harvest outputs have been declining over the past three years due to flooded fields and frost damage.

This story will become increasingly visible over the coming couple of years as the Sun enters a periodic minimum causing global temperatures to drop rapidly and a whole host of problems to crop up as a result.  Though attempts are and will continue to be made to blame Global Warming and human activity.  Cooling is, however, a far worse problem that warming and has nothing to do with anything humans are doing.

The extent of this story depends entirely on the Sun.  A severe minimum combined with Earth's magnetic poles reversing would likely be catastrophic.  Because so much time and money has been wasted on the Global Warming fairy tale, we are ill-prepared for what's coming, with declining food supplies, large areas becoming uninhabitable and the possibility of ocean levels dropping precipitously resulting in toxic salinity levels for marine life.  No one really knows how severe the situation will be, but higher food prices and political instability are certainly the least of the problems to come.

Obviously, the stories the Corporate Media want us to focus on pale in comparison to our top picks here.  Oh sure, the election made good theater, Brexit was chat-worthy and WikiLeaks stole a lot of headlines, but all of them will fade in weeks or months, replaced with more entertaining "news."  The stories that will affect most of humanity going forward are the ones being assiduously kept under wraps.  We are not meant to bother ourselves with real issues, and that distracts from our ability to be controlled.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we release our world-famous Predilection Issue 2016, looking at the most likely headlines for 2017 - good, bad and indifferent.  That will be followed by a little break for us Far Siders as we welcome the New Year and get roaring drunk in the jungle of Borneo.

Sampai jumpa, Y'all!


Life In The Rear-View Mirror 2016

Editor Note - to the following we can now add George Michael and Carrie Fisher with a few days left in 2016.

Today we begin our three-part series wrapping up 2016, and culminating in our world-famous Predilection Issue for 2017, in which we follow the trends to their natural conclusions.  In this column, we track all the famous, or infamous, faces that disappeared during the year.  Part 2 covers the major news you missed because of the wall-to-wall election coverage.  Then Part 3 looks ahead to what's in store during our next trip around the Sun.  After that, we'll be on holiday deep in the jungles of Borneo for a well-earned respite with our four wives and trained monkeys, coming back on 2 January 2017, sunburned, refreshed and ready to roll!

2016 has got to be one of the weirdest years on record.  It had some of the highest highs and lowest lows of any we can recall, and we've been through some Doozies.  Taking a look back just 12 months or less reminds us of just how much news has passed our desk, most of which got lost in the churn and burn of election campaigns and natural disasters.

As a reminder of what we have survived - thus far - we've compiled a short list, with links to much longer ones, of some of the biggest events of the year.  The dear reader may be shocked at what has already been forgotten, or even missed altogether.

2016 was not kind to celebrities.  Even as Carrie Fisher lies ailing in hospital from a heart attack in a galaxy far, far away, much closer to home where those we lost.

In the world of music, some titans passed.  Leonard Cohen passed on and David Bowie checked out leaving us with a rather dark and foreboding album called Black Star.  Not to be outdone, the Prince whose name shall not be mentioned died in a rather mysterious elevator scene, as if leaving us with some post-mortem symbol to ponder.  We also lost Glen Frey (Eagles) and Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane), and Merle Haggard for the line-dancing crowd, among a constellation of other names big and small.  A note of interest, Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Ricci Martin, sons of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, both went down.  And we can't forget Leon Russell who walked the Tightrope of fame.  Finally, we can't forget Sir George Martin, known for some reason as the Fifth Beatle, which must really irk Peter Best.

In the world of writing, we lost Harper Lee, who some might remember as the author of To Kill a Mocking Bird.  There was Earl Hamner, who gave us The Waltons.  We can throw Morley Safer in here, since he was one of the last real journalists and long-time anchor of 60 Minutes.   Michael Cimino checked out, as well, best remembered for Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate, which is frequently listed as one of the worst films of all time.

In sports, some giants fell to time if not to rivals.  Mohammad Ali/Cassius Clay went down for the last time, as did Arnold Palmer and Joe Garagiola.

Star Wars deserves its own listing, since the franchise is seemingly resurrecting itself by killing off its original stars.  Harrison Ford died on-screen while Carrie Fisher ails in hospital, but Kenny Baker got bit.  You may remember him as the every-present mini-actor who was always on-screen, but never seen.  More famously, he was Fidget in Terry Gilliam's brilliant Time Bandits.

Politics was not kind to anyone.  Hillary Clinton can be said to have metaphorically died, but a number of major figures passed on this year.  Shimon Peres and Janet Reno, both butchers in their own right, show up on the list.  Fidel Castro and King Bhumibol of Thailand both checked out after more than a combined 120 years of ruling their countries.  We can include Elie Wiesel even though he wasn't a politician, but he did plenty to politicize the Holocaust.  And why not include Jim Delligatti, since there is no real telling how many people his Big Macs have killed.  Finally, we include the murder of Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court justice of note.

2016 saw the demise of a whole slew of A-, B- and C-list actors.  The most notable among them were Alan Rickman, famous for his voicing of Marvin the Robot in the film Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and for lesser-known roles in Die Hard and the Harry Potter series.  We also lost Larry Drake (Darkman) and George Kennedy (Airport series).  Patty Duke and her twin sister died at the same time on the same day, interestingly enough.  How can we forget Alan Young, the horse-bit Wilbur on Mr. Ed?  We also lost The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Robert Vaughn, and Florence Henderson, most remembered as the Virgin Mother (so who was the daddy?) of The Partridge Family.  Of course, the ever-glamorous Zsa Zsa Gabor passed on - famous famous and living on a farm.

And always in competition with Star Wars, the Star Trek universe lost Anton Yelchin, who will now forever be known as Chekov II, since he won't have a chance to get un-typecast.  And exactly why did Bones raid his Enterprise locker for booze at the beginning of Star Trek Beyond?

We note the passing of Bernard Fox, who along with Terry-Thomas and David Niven, formed the Holy Trinity of typecast British comedic stuffiness for generations of American audiences.

Finally, we wipe a tear for the passing of Gene Wilder.  If ever there was an iconic comedic actor, he was it.  With his bushy red hair and unique delivery that always implied much deeper context and irony, Gene owned his own niche in American comedy.  Husband of Gilda Radner, partner of Richard Pryor, and mainstay of Mel Brooks films, he delivered characters that will never be surpassed.  Even Johnny Depp and Tim Burton could not outdo Gene's Willy Wonka, and his sidekick role in Blazing Saddles stole the film, surrounded by masterful and memorable performances.  And who can ever forget his turn as Frederick Frankenstein (that's Fawnken-STEEN!) in the brilliant spoof Young Frankenstein?  An entire era of comedy died with him.

Yes, it was a tough year to be famous.  Father Cronus was busy collecting his souls, some marked by headlines, others quietly passing in obscurity.  Hell, half the cast of Barney Miller died (Abe Vigoda and Ron Glass), though most folks would have no idea what that means.  Fear not, Barney and Wojo are still going.

Michael Douglas put us on warning about Kirk Douglas, though followers of the Mandela Effect thought he passed on years ago.

Fortunately, depending on your personal point of view of course, we are still here and will continue assaulting the internet for years to come, God willing and the creek don't rise.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2.  Sampai jumpa, y'all!


The Three-Legged Coup

Here in the waning hours of 2016, as the Trump Era dawns in the US and a nationalistic wave sweeps the world, one can begin to see an outline of the new globalist agenda.  It should be clear to most thoughtful people at this point that Trump does not represent an end to globalism, only the rise of a rival faction with a rather different set of goals and objectives.  I would define the two major factions as the "Build Up" and "Tear Down" models.

At the dawn of the 20th century, the globalists installed three different versions of Socialism as a means of testing which model would be most palatable to the masses.  The Russian version, under Stalin, was the heavy-handed form of top-down, highly regulated uber-State.  In Germany, it was the techno-State under Hitler.  In the US, it was the nanny-State under Roosevelt.  This system was basically the Tri-Lateral concept in practice - set up three global regions under rival interpretations of the same basic principles (State over all) - with the goal to see which one functioned the best.

It should be made clear that all three models were (are) under the control of the same "Hidden Hand," and represented the three primary factions among the ruling Snakes.

World War One was set off to destroy the dominant model, which had ruled the world for nearly two millennia: Monarchy.  This included the very powerful Roman Church, which was the foundation and central authority of the European genetic ruling classes.  The war effectively impoverished the ruling houses, placing them in deep debt to the Banking (Templar) class, which sought to overthrow the blood dynasties by empowering the serf classes using something known as Democracy.  The royals still standing after the war were reduced to little more than figureheads and tourist curiosities.

In the years between the Great Wars, the Tri-Lateral world was installed and bitter rivalries were set up to ensure an ultimate clash between them as a means of testing which of the three models were the most durable and powerful.  In other words, the Banker class needed a means to determine which of their Socialist systems would be both the most economically viable, and the one which the most number of people would buy into.

World War Two was the result of the Big Test.  The three forms of Socialism took root, built up and ultimately went head-to-head with each other in an all-out war of domination.  Think of the war as a kind of Olympics for the Hidden Hand, testing their strengths and weaknesses; it was a kind of Grand Triathlon at the highest levels of global elites.

Ultimately, the Nanny-State of the Rothschild-Rockefeller faction won out and has dominated globalism for the past 60 years.  This faction was eventually led by the Bush family and was cemented in place by the Petro-Dollar, but the other two factions did not go away.

The National Socialists (German version) rose again briefly in the US under Kennedy, which ultimately was backed by a re-emerging Roman Church that had backed National Socialism during World War Two.  The result was, of course, the rather dramatic events in Dallas in November of 1963.

Meanwhile, the Marxist Socialists were ultimately defeated at the end of the 1980s, with the fall of Ruassia and the resulting dismantling of that member of the Tri-Lateral system.  It immediately pivoted to China, where it re-emerged in a slightly modified version that sought - not to bring everyone down to an equal level - but build every up to an equal level.  It is a subtle, but profound shift in strategy.

The result of China's growth was to empower the "bottom-up" model and the creation of an economic powerhouse that has terrified the other two factions.  The US, starting with Nixon-Kissinger, had sought to transplant its model in China and take over the second of the Tri-Lateral regions.  The plan backfired dramatically.

During this time, the Bush Dynasty, which had become the de facto leaders of the dominant faction in the US, had gotten increasingly greedy and had over-reached, making it vulnerable in much the same way that an army that outpaces its supply line becomes vulnerable.  Its goal of creating a sexless, painfully equal mass of humanity violated all of humans really want.  No amount of re-education and social engineering could get rid of basic human nature.

The Bush Dynasty, given its greed and impatience, shifted its power base to its China division and saw itself as the financial center, dominating the world's productive output.  In so doing, it opened a vast soft spot by selling its debt off and literally handing the other two factions the leverage they needed to unseat the uppity region.

Moreover, the Bush Dynasty's uncontrolled push to level the playing field by tearing the masses down to equalize them violated basic human instincts.  It caused a major backlash from the proles, who had grown less satisfied and more vocal in their opposition.  The combination of popular uprising and economic over-reach were the death blows to the Nanny-Socialists.

In what most of the world saw as a stunning upset, the National Socialists defeated the Nanny Socialists in an eye-popping victory in the US elections.  The Bush Dynasty was castigated and disgraced in a highly public "revolution" of sorts.  The "top-down" model of Socialism had gone off the rails and had jeopardized the entire Tri-Lateral dominance of the Bankers.  The astounding success of China had shown the world that the "bottom-up" model was more effective in placating the masses, a lesson that had been lost on the Bush Dynasty, but which had powered the economic rise of the US after World War Two.

Donald Trump is the emergent leader of the now-reestabished National Socialist faction.  One look at his cabinet appointments shows this quite clearly, and his policies of immigration control and focus on production as a means of building a thriving middle class are hallmarks of this faction's modus operandi.

The masses, of course, love this model.  It offers the perception of a rising economic lifestyle and openings for those with ambition to advance their socio-economic positions.  In other words, instead of bringing everyone down to a level of equality, it seeks to build everyone up - to a point.

It is still Socialism and it is still controlled by the Snakes, but it represents two opposing views on how to achieve global dominance.  The Nanny-Staters don't want to empower the masses, as they see this as a threat to their social and economic dominance.  However, their system cannot achieve the overall goals of the cabal, because it is far too paranoid and unbalanced.

The Snakes must continually move to higher ground to avoid being slaughtered by the masses.  They have done this throughout history, changing their centers of operation from one place to another, being run out of town every time their machinations are exposed.  There are only two places left for them to protect their purses: Antarctica and Space.  Both of these locations have been dominating the news for anyone who has been watching.

In order to move their operations off-planet and protect their strategic positions, the Snakes need the combined global manufacturing capacity.  They need the creativity and industry of the masses to build the infrastructure needed to get them off Earth and set up in a more protected location.  This cannot be achieved by, to put it bluntly, pissing everyone off and causing them to throw down their tools and walk off the job.

Instead, the Snakes need the masses to buy in, and the carrot always works better than the stick.  Trump is offering a lot of carrots.  He realizes that the masses won't produce at the level needed without a system of rewards in place to encourage productivity.  Obviously, the masses are much more industrious if they feel economically secure and prosperous.

This is not the end - yet.  Like all humans, the Snakes like to sit in the top chair at the head of the table.  The Nannies have spent decades re-educating the masses and still have a large power base.  They can't afford to let the Nationalists show the masses how fun life can be with a little money in their pockets.  That would shut down the resistance and get every busy making widgets.  They will regroup and come back fighting.  After all, the factions may keep changing places at the table, but ultimately they don't feel the pain that the rest of us do.  For them, it's just a matter of who gets to set the agenda at their secret meetings every year.  We are the ones who suffer and die while they hash out their differences.

While the Nationalists offer a grittier and more rewarding form of Socialism, from a certain point of view, it still comes with shackles.  No matter which faction dominates the dinner table, the rest of us are still serving the dinner, rather than sharing in it.

I doubt seriously if Trump is cognizant of all or most of this.  He is a charismatic figurehead that is being used as the marketing front man for the re-emerging Nationalist faction.  It seems to be working, since the economy is already starting to thrust forward in the US, and the Nationalist faction has already begun moving their bases back home.  Furthermore, the masses seem placated.

Oh sure, there is some very vocal - and violent - opposition from the segment of the masses who have been brainwashed since birth to passionately desire the Nannies.  In the end, though, many will come around as bank accounts swell, and the few who don't will be increasingly marginalized.

If this assessment is correct, then we will see three things going forward: 1) an economic boom the likes of which have never been witnessed before, 2) increasing low-level stories about Antarctica, with more high-level visits, and 3) a massive push into space.

There has been a coup d'etat, but not in the sense most of us think.  It is not about national governments.  Those are simply the executive arms of the true rulers - the Snakes.  The real coup was at the elite dinner table, where place cards have been shuffled and certain factions moved far from the salt dish.

Enjoy the ride, and make a little money, but remember there are still shackles on your hands and feet.


A Far Side Christmas 2016

We've got ourselves in full-on holiday cooking mode here on the Far Side.  I've just completed a 3-kilo/8-lb. batch of my world-famous Spaghetti Bolognese a la Funghi, made entirely from home-grown vegetables or fresh from the pasar.

I'm also whipping up a massive pot of my equally world-famous mashed potatoes, complete with gobs of green onions, butter, sour cream, egg, rosemary, and a dash of salt and pepper for good measure.  I didn't churn the butter or sour the cream, but pretty much everything else is from the garden.

I'd be doing some baking, as well, but only the most modern, upper middle class homes have ovens, and mine ain't one of them.  Most Indonesian homes only have 2-burner propane stoves, and what passes for an oven is a big box that you place on top of it and control the temperature by turning the flame up and down.  I just don't have the patience for that.

Even though it's the end of December, and we are careening head-long into 2017, it is hot as hell today, with the sun blazing and the barest whisper of a breeze.  Hard to get into the Christmas spirit, especially when the FPI is running around destroying mall decorations and gift displays in the name of some f**ked up interpretation of religious texts.

Three idiots trying to plant holiday bombs in Tanggerang yesterday blew themselves up while running from police, so it's not all bad.  At least us normal and reasonable people get some entertainment value out of the deal.

Mother-in-law is coming in from Tegal Saturday, to stay for a week.  This typically means she stays for 2-3 days, and then wants to leave the Big City and go back to the kampung.  Of course, once back in Tegal, she immediately calls and says she's afraid of all the ghosts in her house and wants to come back to Jakarta.  This goes on for about a week or so.

All part of Life on the Far Side.

It was one year ago today we were sitting in Houston, my first trip home in eight years, and my wife's first trip ever.  She's spent the past year pushing me to move us to Texas, since like any reasonable person, she realized what a great place it is.  I told her as soon as the Yankees get the hell out, we'll be on the first plane home.

This year has just blazed by.  On January 1, it seems like a long haul to Christmas, but at Christmas, it seems like just 10 minutes ago we were thinking how far away it was.  You'd think it would take more than a year to go nearly a billion kilometers.  Hell, at that speed we could be at Pluto in three years, instead of the 15 it took the New Horizons probe.

And so the Christmas of Fear 2016 gets into full swing.  So much for Silent Nights and seasonal joy.  The world has taken a sharp detour into the booby hatch.  From a certain perspective, and one that we here on the Far Side subscribe to, it's all great fun and priceless theater.  Enjoy the show and remember, there ain't no refunds.

All sales final.


Fatwa On Joy

It's that time of year again when supposedly "Muslim" trouble-makers run around the country destroying private property and claiming Indonesia is an Islamic country.  By that I mean that certain groups claiming to be "defenders of the faith" decide that Christmas decorations and costumes are offensive and take it upon themselves to harm others in the name of God.

Not that it is all that unusual.  Private holiday displays are attacked even in the US.  A bunch of Texas busybodies tried to ban a poster featuring Charlie Brown's Christmas images.  A court had to rule that it was OK as long as it was clear that the poster was produced by a private individual and not a public organization.

In the case of Indonesia. the Ministry of Religion (MUI) issued a fatwa (religious edict) banning private companies from requiring their employees to wear Santa hats and other festive items.  This led the police chiefs in several regions to issue circulars claiming the fatwa was law.  Based on that, the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), a quasi-official bunch of busybodies, marched into malls in Surabaya (large East Java city) under police escort to confiscate and destroy private property.

This, in turn, led to the National Police Chief ordering the regional police to stand down, while at the same time sending a representative to the MUI to ensure that fatwas are not issued as law, but only guidance for Islamic followers.

The FPI is notable for destroying bars and entertainment businesses during Ramadhan and extorting money and food from Christian churches to stop them from interfering with services, especially during Christmas time.  They are, in effect, a radical enforcement group for Shariah law, which has no legal standing in Indonesia.  The nation's constitution recognizes five religions as having equal protection under the law.

Anyone with any sense knows that Santa hats are about as religious as Charlie Brown cartoons.  As I wrote yesterday, most of the icons and traditions of Christmas are actually based on very ancient Roman and German festivals.  Most holiday displays, especially in malls and other business establishments, are little more than enticements to spend money and are as far removed from Christian dogma as one can get.

At the root of all this is the belief that dominant groups of people have the right not to be offended, or in the case of political correctness, that overly sensitive and highly vocal minorities have the same right.  The fact is that if the world tried to ameliorate every possible offense, the world would simply cease to function.

Numbnuts, such as the FPI and the ass that drove a truck into a crowd of holiday shoppers in Berlin obviously don't read their own book.  It states quite clearly:
“There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned.” (Holy Quran: 2/ 256)
In other words, mind your own business and leave everyone else alone. There are plenty of Christians, atheists and what-nots who could take this to heart, as well.

The frequent reader here knows that I have no truck with organized religion.  I find the history of violence, dogmatic mind control and division to be offensive to a Waking Life of Reason.

By the same token, I find religious holiday displays fascinating and a great opportunity to enjoy and learn from a variety of cultures and histories, from Dia de los Muertos to the ogah-ogoh during Nyepi to the anamatronic Christmas tableaus in the windows of Sakowitz in my youth.

In the end, it is the rich diversity of cultures and traditions that make life worth living.  The ability of one to one's own holidays is predicated on allowing others the same courtesy, and in so doing seize the opportunity to find the kernels of truth that lie at the heart of all traditions.  One doesn't have to be Christian to enjoy a cute salesgirl wearing foam-rubber antlers, or the bizarre Hindu art of an ogoh-ogoh, or the intricate display of an ofrenda, just as one doesn't have to be Muslim to enjoy the flowing calligraphy of Quranic verses or the geometric pleasures of mosaic panels.

In an ideal world, people are not only allowed but encouraged to put up their holiday displays.  But more to the point, the rest of us should be open to the pure enjoyment of the festivities and use the opportunity to expand our knowledge and experience of the world's cultural wealth.  The mindless destruction of others' traditions achieves nothing but hatred and belies the weakness of one's own culture and beliefs.

Live and let live is a simple yet profound philosophy.  In granting others the room to enjoy their lives, we receive in turn the room to enjoy our own.  Denying any one group's right to enjoy their culture forces all of us into a life of prolonged paranoid defensiveness and removes the possibility that any of us can experience joy.

Is that any way to live?


Yule Love Saturnalia

Welcome to the Golden Age, or at least the celebration of it, called Saturnalia.  According to Roman myth, and the much older traditions on which it was based, Saturn ruled over a period when humans lived in eternal bliss, food literally dripped off the trees and things were generally pretty darned good.

From the viewpoint of the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun reaches its lowest point in the southern sky and on 21 December.  At this point, winter begins and the Sun appears to "die" for three days, as it ceases to move in any direction north or south relative to the horizon.

On 25 December, the Sun is "reborn," as it begins its months-long trip northward again, culminating in the Summer Solstice on 21 July.  As the Sun "dies," the original King of the Gods - Saturn - once again takes control of the Heavens and for a brief time, the Golden Age returns.

Saturnalia was marked by the suspension of social norms.  Wild parties ensued, with people exchanging gifts, slaves being treated like house guests, and lavish feasts that sought to recreate the Golden Age of plenty.  People disguised as Cronus/Saturn, with great white beards, would tote sacks of gifts around, tossing goodies to random children as a good luck token, since any one of the children could be the young New Year in disguise.  Special lamps were lit all night to provide the light that the dying Sun could not.

As the Roman empires spread into northern Europe, aspects of the Germanic winter festival, called Yuletide, were added to Saturnalia.  Evergreen trees symbolizing Eternal Life were cut down and set up in public areas, decorated with candles and glittery glass objects to catch and reflect the light.  Groups of people would wander around singing traditional Yule songs.  Special Yule logs coated with cobalt, copper and other minerals were tossed on bonfires to add multi-colored flames to the festivities.  Feasts eventually centered around roasted boar, a favorite of the Germanic people.

The festivities ended on 25 December, with the birth of the Sun.  The 12 days of feasting and partying gave way to the somber reality of winter, as they retreated indoors for the next three months, until the resurrection of life in the spring.

Saturnalia would then give way to the Feast of Janus, the two-faced god of thresholds, who stood on the dividing line between inner and outer, past and future.  Old man Cronus would surrender to the infant Sun, now slowly rising again in the sky.  Darkness and death would eventually become light and life once again.

The festival was so wildly popular that the emperor Constantine could not stop it in favor of his new christian religion.  Instead, the birth of the Sun became the birth of the Son.  The plethora of Roman and Germanic gods were replaced with a single deity and a Christian veneer was cast over the proceedings.

Vestiges remained and proved hard to squelch.  Old man Cronus became Santa Claus, Yule songs were replaced with Christmas carols and the evergreen trees - symbols of Eternal Life - took on more symbolic roles.  The festival proved so popular and enduring that two thousand years later it has become a global event marked with gift-giving and sparkly decorations, and even here in the tropics and in the Southern Hemisphere, the imagery of snow cannot be extricated from the celebration.

The next time someone tells you that Christmas is a sober holiday celebrating the birth of the Son, you can say with certainty that it is actually synonymous with wild parties and extravagant feasts, and that the New Year celebration is the one that is supposed to be a sullen and somber reflection on the passing of time, things lost and things to come.

In the meantime, I'll have another mug of eggnog, hold the egg, and would you mind carving off another chunk of roast boar for me?


Vengeance Is Mine

The Second Coming of Reagan
When this column is published on Monday morning here on the Far Side, it will still be Sunday night for a major portion of the readership here, but it will be in all cases less than 24 hours from one of the most significant moments in modern political history - and certainly in modern histrionics.

By Tuesday morning, all things being equal, Donald J. Trump will be confirmed as the 45th president of the United States, and all hell will break loose.

Whether you support or revile Trump matters little.  The fact is that very few people have any real idea who he is and where he stands on a wide variety of issues.  With most politicians, one has a history of their voting record in office, a body of speeches and actions, and a relatively coherent history to go on.  With Trump, the world has none of that.

All we really have with Trump is his record of making money at a number of business ventures and a lot of campaign rhetoric that, given the long history of politics, means little when compared to what politicians actually do and achieve in public life.

Being a political atheist, I come down on the side of caution, which I believe is a rational and reasonable position when dealing with anyone in public life.  In my lifetime, I have never seen a politician ever live up to their promises.  What I have seen a lot of is people projecting their hopes and dreams onto certain charismatic individuals, based on little more than what religion offers: faith.  In fact, the most common outcome of elections is deep and bitter disappointment.

One need look no further than the vainglorious "hope" and empty "change" that Barack Obama offered.  In 2008, he was hailed as nothing short of the Second Coming - a modern political savior who would end racial discrimination and finally equal the playing field.  Instead, the country ended up in 2016 with deeper and more entrenched divides, and even a great number of US black people wondering what the hell happened to the Great Black Hope.

Politics is like an abusive spouse.  We keep thinking this time she's changed, this time she'll be different, only to find ourselves beat and battered for another term.  Despite centuries of history, we never seem to see the light that nothing changes and all our hopes and dreams end up in the same place - the hospital with friends and family clucking their tongues and wagging their heads saying, "When are you going to learn?"

I, for one, embrace candidates that I think will bring the most chaos and disappointment, since my hope is that he or she will finally be the straw that breaks the camel's back and we can collectively get over this love/hate relationship with politics and put an end to the deadliest, most abusive addiction humanity has ever suffered: government.  Alas!  That day still seems as far off as it did decades, even centuries, ago.

One thing is certain: Donald Trump is the most bombastic rhetorician the US has had since Theodore Roosevelt.  So far, the only major effect his election has had has been to push the dollar to new market highs, which ironically makes US exports unattractive, while making imported goods seem cheap and attractive - more of less the exact opposite of what he has said he wants.

To grant him the benefit of the doubt, several large companies have cancelled plans to move their factories out of the country, and others have announced intentions to move their factories back to the US.  This means saving or adding jobs that pay decent wages and support the middle class, which is the life-blood of any thriving economy.  A hearty clap on the back goes to Trump for that quick bit of PR.  Well done.

The problem remains, though, that a significant section of the US has been irreversibly brainwashed into servitude in exchange for scraps from the government table and "safe zones" for crying "nobody loves me, everybody hates me."  These children in adult bodies are beyond hope, and they are obviously a significant segment of the society.  They will never shut up because they know of no other way to behave than to demand conformity, which they mistakenly call diversity.

The biggest change I see coming is not in the System, but in the System's focus.  Trump will likely shift the focus of the protection racket called government from "Finance" to "Production."  This is not entirely bad, as Production is the basis of Capitalism.  For far too long, the focus has been on protecting the Financial sector, which produces nothing and functions largely as a parasite on the arse of society.  To the extent that Trump is successful in this effort, it will greatly enhance the pocket-money situation in the US middle class.

What I don't foresee is a true "swamp draining."  For those unfamiliar with this particularly American political catch-phrase, it is often used by politicians who promise to "go to (insert name of political body) and clean up the corruption."  I have seen a lot of "swamp drainers" come and go, and the primary result is that the System chews them up and spits them out, with some like Ron Paul being marginalized to the point of invisibility until they give up and go away.

In order for Trump to achieve the things that got him elected, he will need the Congress on his side.  Republican control of both houses of Congress notwithstanding, he must compromise with dozens of factions within the party to achieve even a fraction of what he claims to want.  Most importantly, he needs the Federal Reserve on his side, since it controls the economy and is a private corporation with only nominal oversight by Congress.

On top of those two major hurdles, Trump will need to pack the judiciary with like-minded judges, which will be near impossible, since (again) the Congress will need to approve the appointments and will want their own agendas met in exchange.

In the end, Trump is virtually powerless to achieve real change.  The System always wins.  It is designed that way.  Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, about the only real change that he will, and has already achieved is to marginalize the Bush and Clinton crime families, but even there, short of prosecuting and jailing (even executing for treason) those folks, he has only sidelined them for a time.  Case in point is the current recounts, Electoral College drama and future efforts sure to follow.  For his part, Trump has already displayed a lack of stomach for that fight, as it would most likely consume his entire tenure in office - or at least the first term - though it would certainly be the greatest service he could perform for the nation, and the world at large.

In any event, I place very low expectations on the coming Trump years.  This will mean that I am either pleasantly surprised, spot on or minimally disappointed.  I would give anything in four years to eat my words, but I find no reason to run out and buy seasoning packets to make them more palatable.

Though I spent half of the Reagan Revolution living outside the US, I did see an economic benefit from those years.  The trade-off, though, was a culture so brilliantly captured by Oliver Stone's film Wall Street.  It seems Reagan forgot to corral the Financial sector before turning loose the Production folks.  If Trump goes this route, we are in for more of the same-old, Part 2.


A Word From The FSGHQ

The average human being is allotted 3,900 weeks for a lifetime.  As of this glorious Friday, I have exhausted 2,860 of mine, and I have no complaints.

Looking at the numbers, though, does put me in the mindset that I have a number of things I wish to accomplish in the remaining 1,040 weeks that I (hopefully) have remaining.  Thus, I would like to impose on a bit of the dear Reader's time to pitch some ideas and how you can be a part of them.

The Reader may have noticed that I've put up a Patreon banner at the top of the right-hand column.  I am launching an effort to raise some crowd-funding to get some of my real-world efforts off the ground.  If you will bear with me for a couple of minutes, I'd like to tell you what I have going and encourage you to join in.

First of all, I should make the point that I am not asking for financial support to maintain this blog.  This is my labor of love, so to speak, that allows me to exercise my mind a bit (in English) and to keep myself in the habit of writing and developing ideas, which are an essential part of any writer's toolbox.  As such, Life on the Far Side and Radio Far Side are "on the house," since they are as much for my own benefit and anyone else's.

Where I need help is with several large-scale arts and entertainment projects that I am developing to expand our shared cultures and, with a bit of luck and hard work, expand minds.  I must note that, to my way of thinking, any art that does not involve education is not art at all.

To begin with, I am trying to arrange a seminar called, "Secret Indonesia," in which several experts discuss the rather amazing, but relatively unknown (even to Indonesians) history of the archipelago.  Three speakers - Peter Levenda, Danny Hillman and Graham Hancock - have already expressed a desire to participate, and we plan to produce at least two documentaries while they are here to document their research and provide the information to a global audience.  The seminar would be webcast, as well as with a live audience, so we are looking for funds to provide transportation, accommodations, a venue, and the various technology to pull this off.  Patreon subscribers would be offered exclusive material, such as interviews and behind-the-scene looks at the event.

The next project is Cabaret Indonique.  We are seeking funding to produce and tour an all-original cabaret-style show that includes music, dance, comedy and magic all by Indonesian performers and artists.  Not only is there a profound lack of quality live entertainment combining all these elements in Indonesia, we also believe that international audiences will truly enjoy the talents and abilities of local performers that rarely get the chance to tour outside the country.  We have assembled some of the best up-and-coming stars in Indonesian entertainment, and combined them with high-quality logistical and technical support to create a show of unsurpassed and highly unique entertainment.  Again, Patreon subscribers would be provided with exclusive content and access, including a series of "making of" videos and interviews with the key talents involved.

Finally, we are in the process of launching Far Side TV (FSTV), which will be delivered through outlets like YouTube, as well as a dedicated server here.  This project is deeply involved with the previous two, as well, as the same people and tools will be utilized to create and deliver the video content for Secret Indonesia and Cabaret Indonique, as well as a wide variety of exclusive content just for Patreon subscribers.  For this project, we are looking to buy an HD camera drone and a basic wireless audio rig (microphones, field mixer) to help us capture the images and sound for all of these projects.

Obviously, we have some hefty expenses to get these projects (and much more) launched.  We are actively seeking investors and commercial sponsors, as well.  We need to pay for the various tools and infrastructure that go into producing these types of things, and we have to pay for rentals and services that we cannot otherwise get donated.

As a Patreon subscriber, you not only get access to exclusive content and the knowledge that your money is having a real-world effect on people, but we will also offer special gifts (autographed books and other items, etc.) from time to time only to folks who support our efforts as a kind of profit sharing.

Patreon allows for lump-sum donations, or monthly subscriptions that start at US$1/month, and is widely recognized as a means to support the arts for those who appreciate making the world a better place through culture.

For those who may be interested in outright investment, we have full proposals, including financial statements and other documentation.  You can contact us via the email link under the header on this page, or through any of our links on Google, LinkedIn, etc.

In the seven years we've been at this, we have avoided commercializing Life on the Far Side and Radio Far Side.  They are our labor of love.  However, to expand beyond these relatively minor efforts, we are asking for your support.  We invite you to join us in having a real and tangible effect on the world through the promotion of arts and culture.

And thank you, dear Reader, ever so kindly for allowing us a few minutes of your time on this wonderful Friday.  We look forward, as always, to bringing you some unique and enjoyable content.

Thank you for your continuing support, from all of us here at the Far Side Global Headquarters (FSGHQ).


The Phantom Medievalist

Roy, one of our most loyal and demanding readers, gave us a homework assignment, and he chose a whopper.  It also happens to be one of the most interesting historical puzzles out there in Conspiracy Theory Land, though a lot of people are unfamiliar with it.

The assignment was to write about the Phantom Time Hypothesis.  To get a nice, concise summary of the Hypothesis, we naturally turned to Wikipedantics:
"The phantom time hypothesis is a historical conspiracy theory asserted by Heribert Illig (born 1947).
"First published in 1991, the hypothesis proposes a conspiracy by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, Pope Sylvester II, and possibly the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII, to fabricate the Anno Domini dating system retrospectively, so that it placed them at the special year of AD 1000, and to rewrite history.[1] Illig believed that this was achieved through the alteration, misrepresentation, and forgery of documentary and physical evidence.[2] According to this scenario, the entire Carolingian period, including the figure of Charlemagne, would be a fabrication, with a "phantom time" of close to three centuries (AD 614 to 911) added to the Early Middle Ages."
For additional information, Roy cited an article at Forbes called, "Astronomy, Charlemagne and the Mystery of Phantom Time," that got him all fired up.   As we know from contemporary experience, the elites and their PPMPRR are not above fabricating entire chunks of history to suit their needs, and thus this topic has some relevance to our contemporary situation.

Certainly, we know St. Jerome took vast liberties with early Christian documents and translations in order to fabricate the Latin Vulgate Bible under intense theological pressure from Pope Damasus I and political pressure from Emperor Constantine.

Damasus wanted only those texts that created an "appropriate" narrative, while Constantine wanted to be sure none of the texts would undermine the authority of the throne, and possibly enhance it (see Romans 13:1 among many others).  One can almost picture poor Jerome scribbling away with these two wildly powerful men peering over his shoulders, and the imminent threat of excommunication and/or death looming with every character he wrote.

Once the Latin Vulgate Bible was approved and adopted by the Council of Nicaea in A.D.325, it became canon and a massive campaign began to destroy all competing texts.  In fact, some of those destroyed texts were thought lost until the 20th century, and the discoveries at Qumran and Nag Hammadi.  At this point, we have already established that the early Church and Holy Roman Emperors were not above modifying history to suit their needs.

Anyway, having established that the ancients played fast and loose with timelines and texts, more often out of ignorance and expediency, than purely malicious intent, we are prepared to examine the Phantom Time Hypothesis.  It too involves the wholesale fabrication and deliberate misuse of ancient documents in order to achieve a religio-political goal: proving that Jesus was born in the Year of Our Lord (Annon Domini) 1, and that Sylvester II and Otto III were destined by God to reign at the Second Coming.

Folks in the years in which this fabrication occurred wanted to believe, based on a millennialist Biblical interpretation by Pope Sylvester II, that the Year of Our Lord 1000, was when Jesus would return in glory to claim the Earth for all time.  If this is starting to sound like a Harold Camping story, you wouldn't be far off.

Sylvester, being a fair astronomer and mathematician himself, had calculated a certain celestial event that matched his interpretation of the story of the Christmas Star.  He also believed that the Second Coming would occur in A.D 1000.  The story goes that he wanted to be pope during that glorious event, and so had his court astronomers work out a calendar adjustment that would fit his narrative.

The only problem was that the world was still about 300 years away from A.D. 1000, and Sylvester believed he could help Jesus along by speeding up time a bit.

According to Illig's hypothesis, Sylvester made the years A.D.614 - 911 (!) disappear, so that his reign as pope would start in A.D. 999, just in time for the Second Coming.  Illig proposed that Sylvester and his court fabricated 300 years of history in order to fill in the "gap" and create a narrative that led to the Second Coming, in which Christian emperors like Charlemagne and the Carolingians had created a vast empire for Jesus to rule when he got here.

Otto III bought into the scheme, since the new narrative put him in the direct lineage of Charlemagne, thus lending considerable authority to his rule.  This confluence of religious and secular interests made for a potent brew of conspiracy.

This hypothesis is dismissed out of hand by most "mainstream" historians, of course.  They find it rather incredible that someone could manufacture 300 years of history, complete with relics like Charlemagne's throne in Aachen and not leave a trace of the subterfuge.

It should be noted that many of those same historians think the entire narrative of the life of Jesus is fabricated in whole or in part, even though millennia of European history is founded on that story.  Few dispute the experience of St. Jerome, and most agree that references to Jesus by Josephus were probably forged by Jerome to offer some "historical" proof that Jesus existed.

In any event, Illig makes a compelling case.  It is worth nothing at this point that he was deeply inspired by the writings of Immanuel Velikovsky, who for those unfamiliar with Worlds In Collision (a mind-bending read), is the modern origin of historical revisionism and catastrophism.  In a sense, Illig has tried to shove two thousand years of history into Velikovsky's narrative in much the same way that Sylvester supposedly did, thus reverse engineering Sylverster's narrative to now match Velikovsky's.

What makes Illig's hypothesis difficult to dismiss altogether is that history is, um, historically very malleable.  It is frequently arranged and rearranged to suit the socio-political currents at any given time (c.f. Russian hackers and the Clinton narrative).  This problem is exacerbated by the fact that many ancient texts have been lost forever, and most of what we know about them today comes from citations in other works, which were less than rigorous in the Middle Ages.

Add to the situation the fact that we call the period the Dark Ages precisely because there are not a lot of reliable historical artifacts and documentation.  For a number of reasons, the Early Middle Ages in Europe were a period of little academic or social development, and scholarship was reduced primarily to copying older texts, rather than generating new ones.  The Dark Ages are thus ripe for a little revision, and the lack of accurate history may also be due to Sylvester's mucking about.

The article that Roy (remember him?) cited makes the case that astronomical records from around the world align rather nicely both before and after the reign of Sylvester.  Various eclipses and comets recorded by Islamic and Chinese observers can be used to synchronize historical timelines.  When this is done, there doesn't appear to be a 300-year "gap" in European history.  We should remember, though, that Sylvester II was an astronomer/astrologer and a mathematician.  If he wanted to fabricate an historical narrative, he would be very aware of these things.

It is at this point that we bump our heads on some overhanging issues.  The strange lingering of Romanesque architecture (another article entirely) and the paucity of date-able artifacts are certainly big issues, but a bigger one is reliance on written records of the period that have been shown repeatedly to be unreliable, especially in the Middle Ages.  The fact that social, cultural and political pressure can be brought to bear on historical records is a major issue even at this very moment.

Another major issue, and one that opens the biggest door for Illig to drive his truck through, is the fact that the European calendar has been jiggered so many times.  The most recent was the revision by Pope Gregory XIII, who threw out Julius Caesar's ancient calendar in favor of our current Gregorian calendar, and in so doing, literally vanished 10 days in October 1582, which were the accumulated errors in the Julian dates, according to seasonal and celestial events like equinoxes and solstices.

It is possible, given the 500 years between Sylvester II and Gregory XIII, that any left-over errors in timelines could be quietly adjusted to repair the narrative.  Many smart folks have pointed out that Gregory should have disappeared 13 days, but for some reason, chose only 10 - an error that was only corrected in modern times with additional jiggering.

That one pope could make 10 days disappear by edict argues in favor of the more difficult, though not impossible labor of creating 300 years.  Given that the vast majority of people at that time could not read, did not have clocks, and only knew the date if they asked the priests in their villages (calendars were occult tools for astrology), one can see that it would be fairly simple to control information.

There are a number of suspicious events and documents that seem to corroborate Illig.  For instance, St. Malachy's Prophesy of the Popes fits nicely into a fabricated history, with only the need to elect popes who loosely fit the narrative in order to keep the illusion going.

There is little physical evidence for Charlemagne and the Carolingians that can be proven beyond doubt to be actual artifacts.  Their authenticity is based primarily on lore and legend.

I could go on, but suffice it to say, there is enough doubt that folks with open minds can ponder the possibility that a major swath of Western history may be a complete lie.

To just put a cherry on top, it should be noted that we have no conclusive proof that a philosopher named Socrates ever lived, or that his well-established biography is anything but a complete fabrication.  There is no grave, no remains and no original manuscripts of his work.  Most of what we know about him is through quotes by his students, primarily Plato, who also gave us the narrative for Atlantis.  Even today, virtually all of what we know about the man and his ideas is through secondary and tertiary sources, which in historical research is discounted rather severely.

One more example, just to drive the point home, is the True Cross.  Many Catholic churches have a small relic in their altar stones that is nothing more than two tiny splinters of wood in the shape of a cross and sealed in a reliquary.  The story goes that St. Helena (mother of Emperor Constantine) had a mystic vision (some say a dream) in which she was told the location of Jesus' cross.  She made the journey to Jerusalem, "found" the location, dug a hole and...LO!...found some wood.  This occurred in the mid-300s, and to this day people fervently believe that these tiny pieces of wood are parts of the True Cross, based on a rather shaky narrative, at best.

All of this gets even stranger when you start to study the theories of some of the Electric Universe researchers, like Wal Thornhill and David Talbott, who have done extensive work verifying Velikovsky's theories.

In the end, as with most mysteries, the open-minded thinker is left with a heaping plate of food for thought.  Astronomical data seems rather convincing, but it is only one line of inquiry in a vast sea of ideas and possibilities.  It is fun to ponder the Phantom Time Hypothesis, even if our first instinct is to dismiss it out of hand.  I have often found that entertaining wild ideas sensitizes me to new evidence, pro or con, when I come across it.  If nothing else, the links, books and videos given here should provide hours of provocative research for the inquisitive soul.


Sisyphus And The PPMPRR

O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!
- The Tempest, Act V, Scene I

When it comes to quotes for all occasions, Shakespeare has the Bible beat.  The man could turn a phrase better than any other wordsmith I've come across, and like the character Miranda who speaks the lines above, I often boggle at the world's stage and all the men and women upon 't.

About a month or so ago, I wrote that people with common sense and the ability to reason should seize the moment to steer the narrative.  I suggested terms like "Corporate Media," "Snakes," etc., as a means to grab hold of the public discourse before the American political hacks (in the old sense and new) could regain control.

Alas, it is too late.  This whole "fake news" narrative is a prime example of the Corporate Media trying to wrest control of the Information Stream away from the Free Press, who so deftly ran circles around the Professional Liars during the election.

Amazingly, the Corporate Media actually chose Brian Williams to be one of their attack dogs.  Let's take a moment to remember who this bozo is.  This guy was the national news anchor for one of the propaganda outlets - I purposely forgot which one - who was disgraced for dozens of false reports, especially the whopper about being shot down by an RPG over some Middle East country (details aren't important, since the story was fake).

It seems, though, that this fabricated narrative of Russian hackers upsetting the US elections is being shot down.  Almost as much as the term "fake news" gets thrown around in the Corporate Media, are the retractions of stories that are wholly created for public consumption.  It seems the Battle of the Narrative is not won yet.

In all of this hollering about Fake News, though, is "die Sache hat einen Haken" that no one is willing to talk about.

Have you heard anyone, whether the Free Press or the Corporate Media, lately addressing the veracity of the information in the thousands of email that were released by WikiLeaks before Election Day?

Think about that for a minute...

Neither Clinton nor Podesta nor Wasserman-Schultz et cetera ad nauseam has denied the SUBSTANCE of the vast piles of email, only that the OUTLETS are not part of that very chic and exclusive club known as the Professional Propaganda Mouthpieces and Press Release Regurgitators (a.k.a. PPMPRR).  In other words, this is all a massive ad hominem attack that is trying to discredit the independent reporters and journalists, but they haven't spent a single minute addressing the underlying information that was reported.

Thus, Fake News is yet another fallacy of creating a Straw Man to attack, rather than denying and defending against the actual issues that were raised.

For their part, the Free Press has bought into the whole mess by not only adopting the "Fake News" term, but defending themselves against a false attack, instead of continuing to report on and hammer away at the real issues.

The Corporate Media are highly adept at these things.  They get their targets engaged in a thrilling round of "are too am not" until everyone forgets what the real issue was, and thus the original perpetrators get off scot-free.

Come to think of it, the Corporate Media have set up several Straw Men, with the Fake News narrative, the alleged Russian Hackers, and now, it seems they are trying to sneak the Chinese into it, as well.

It is a classic smoke and mirrors attack.  Get everyone arguing about something that doesn't exist and is completely irrelevant so they forget to argue about the real issues.  It also sets up the Free Press to spend all their time proving a negative, which also cannot be done.  Sisyphus would be proud.

This whole thing highlights the inexperience of the Free Press.  The PPMPRR has successfully - so far - hi-jackced the public discourse and redirected the death blow that is literally within the grip of the Free Press.  It is time for the New Media to learn quickly and fight back by retaking control of the public discourse, otherwise this rare moment in history will be lost.  Don't use the approved terms and phrases issued by the Corporate Media, and stop attacking the Straw Men they set up.

Instead, return to the Clinton and Podesta email that not only contain major issues that need to be investigated, but that have already brought down some major political figures.  This is REAL information that NO ONE has denied.

Stop getting bogged down in false narratives, or Sisyphus' boulder will roll right over you.


The Boomers Fizzle

In pondering the world as it is and the direction of things, it occurred to me that Trump's election represents the ultimate failure of the Baby Boomers, since it is unlikely that the political pendulum will swing back as far to the Liberal agenda before that generation fades away.

For those unfamiliar with who and what the Baby Boomers are, they are a large demographic bubble from roughly 1946 to 1964, where there was a marked increase in birth rates following World War 2.  While the Baby Boom occurred worldwide, the term Baby Boomer refers specifically to the generation in the US.  Not only was the generation marked by numbers, but due to post-war economic boom in the US, these people grew up with an unprecedented level of wealth and affluence, and as a group, rejected much of the cultural heritage they had received.

The Baby Boomers were responsible for the explosion of the music industry, relaxation of sexual mores and a general sense of wanting to force the world to accept their sensibilities.  They eventually developed a pervasive sense of entitlement that has informed most of American cultural development in the past 50 years.

To put it clearly and succinctly, the Boomers are a bunch of spoiled brats that never had a consistent rudder in the ocean of Time.  To top things off, their grandchildren are the current Millennials who have recently shown themselves to be devoid of the ability to accept reality with any grace and dignity.

The Boomers were largely responsible for New York and California becoming the cultural centers of the US, if culture it can be called.  The decades' long dominance of liberalism in the media  and arts have largely been centered around those two states, and in the recent national election, they represent almost the last remaining strong-holds of the Boomer Agenda.

As the generation withers and dies, it is watching its life-long efforts fade with it.  Beginning with Trump and filtering down to dog catchers, the Conservative Wave nearly drowned the country and left the vast majority of state and national political bodies in the hands of the so-called Conservative party - the Republicans.  It is rather sad to see such a huge demographic group live long enough to see their legacy completely rejected and the beginning of the dismantling of the Boomer Agenda with the likely appointment of conservative justices to the Supreme Court, which will last well into the next decade if not longer.

The Boomer Agenda started will enough.  The basic idea was to just leave people alone and let them pursue happiness in whatever form they choose, so long as that pursuit did not damage others - in other words fairly libertarian.  Over the decades, though, it became more and more militant, with Liberal ideals literally being shoved down people's throats, with things such as gay marriage and gender-neutral bathrooms.  Rather than leaving such things up to the States, where those decisions rightly belonged, the Liberals forced the entire country to accept their sensibilities under the guise of being "diverse" and "inclusive, obviously forgetting that diversity and inclusiveness meant accepting people who didn't want those things on an equal footing.

This is a hallmark of the Boomer generation.  It wasn't enough that they believed certain things, they had to ram it into every conversation and public forum, so convinced were they that their agenda was correct.  In other words, they were the classic spoiled children that could never be placated.  Every step in their direction brought even louder coercion to take two more steps, usually at the point of a gun and/or risk of imprisonment - e.g. using governmental powers.

Now that senility, old age and death have narrowed their ranks a good bit, the backlash has begun.  The Generation Xers, Boomer kids, are in power now, and like all children, are rebelling against their parents.  Behind them are the Millennials, who like all grandchildren, tend to swing back to the grandparents' ideals - due in large part to the artificial bilateral spectrum.  The Millennials, however, are suffering from the policies of their grandparents.  They are unable to form coherent arguments, are crippled by uncontrolled emotions and have an unshakable belief that they are entitled to get their way.

There is plenty of blame to go around, from social manipulation through the legal system, to absentee parenting on the part of both Boomers and GenXers.  This fouled up situation is echoed by and strengthened by China's Lost Generation, which is another entire article that presents a very similar problem caused by Maoist social manipulation.  In both cases, a lack of formal, traditional education coupled with social laxity and a break with long-held tradition has resulted in barely controlled chaos that will echo for years to come.

Now aging and increasingly demanding once again, the Boomers are reaping what they sowed.  They are finding themselves isolated and disposed of, as their celebrated youth wanes away.  The short-sightedness of the Me Generation is haunting their old age.  Their lack of real vision and use of coersion to get their way has now suddenly reversed as their children move to undo everything their parents did.  Sound familiar, Boomers?

Unfortunately, their grandchildren, the Millennials, will come into power in about a decade or so, and a completely rudderless generation, products of their grandparents' meddling and uneducated attempts to "reform" culture and society, will once again resurface.  The only hope is if GenXers are able to repair the education system in time to instill some sense into their grandchildren, who will inherit the mess the Millennials are sure to make.

The Great Cycle comes around full of echoes of days gone by.  Hope for a return to sanity seems slim, at best, because the Boomers have done such a fine job of destroying all connections to the past in their headlong rush to create a Utopian future that will never come.

The Boomers are also the first generation to dismiss responsibility en masse for their actions.  This one decision is now the Bogeyman they face in their waning years.  Having cast away their past, they are now cast away by the future.  There is a certain justice in this.


Clenched Fist Holds No Water

For nigh on 30 years now, I've been hearing about "the end of cash" and the New Age of Digital Economics.  Folks have been wildly speculating on crypto-currencies for about as long.  All of this, however, assumes that most of the world wants to leave cash behind or even has the ability to access crypto-currencies.  The whole concept is doomed to fail from the outset.

It has been a staple of conspiracy theories that the banksters want to end all cash transactions for a long time.  There is no doubt that those folks would love to install a 3-cubed system (trace, track, tax) to control every single transaction on Earth.  At the same time, there are vast numbers of people and businesses who only deal in cash for one reason or another, usually because they are dealing in illegal trade or because they simply want to avoid the headaches of collecting and accounting for taxes.

Anyone who has owned a business knows that the tax compliance regulations are a bitch in any country.  Having to account and audit their books on at least an annual basis is not only a lot of work, but represents a fair expense itself to hire accountants and tax specialists, not to mention all the freaking paperwork that needs to be filed and stored for years.

For these reasons and more, certain parts of the economy operate almost exclusively in cash, particularly services and illegal trade.  Since services are not tangible assets, like inventory, and illegal trade doesn't want records of their transactions, cash is king in these areas.  However, large cash transactions are cumbersom at best, and storing large amounts of cash is particularly problematic.  Also, how does one convert large amounts of cash into the above-ground economy without raising too much suspicion?

At this point, the economy bifurcates, with "white" and "black" markets emerging.  Entire industries spring up that allow conversion of "black cash" into "white cash," so that it can be spent on traceable assets, like cars, houses and infrastructure to further build businesses.  The conversion services, generally called "money laundering," is a much bigger economic segment than most people realize.

Industries, such as food & beverage, hospitality and entertainment, are particular favorites for both receiving and 'laundering" large amounts of cash.  At some level, they all rely on self-reporting of transactions.  Server tips, room registrations and ticket sales all have some aspect of self-reported transactions involved.

Here in Jakarta, there are thousands of road-side food vendors who don't accept or use credit/debit cards, and they pay cash for their supplies directly to producers, none of whom are under any particular pressure to report any of their transactions, and without constant monitoring, government has no means to book the sales.  Since the transactions are cash from beginning to end, it would cost far more to monitor than is justified by the potential tax revenues.

This highlights the two primary reasons for moving to non-cash economies: 1) banksters want all money to pass through their institutions, so they can generate revenues from fees and loans, and 2) governments want to tax every single exchange to maximize their cut of the action.  In other words, it's pure greed on the part of the "leeches" who produce nothing but want everything.

What the "leeches" fail to comprehend is that economics are organic transactions conducted by organic beings.  Being inorganic, governments and banks must live off of the true economy of real people interacting.  Without the ability to track, trace and tax every transaction, they are wholly unable to function, as they cannot generate money of their own without crashing the organic economy.

The ultimate problem lies in that people and economics are organic.  Once the inorganic systems squeeze too hard, the organic world simply moves away from painful stimulae.  We commonly call this moving away "black markets," "barter" and similar names.  People begin to trade in other currencies or simply trade goods and services that they consider to be of equal value.

In the alternative currency markets, things like gold and silver, which are universally accepted and virtually untraceable if so desired, become the "money" of choice.  However, history tells us that sea shells, nails, salt and similar materials have been used, based on relative rarity in an economy.

In a barter system, the cobbler and the candlestick maker decide that a pair of shoes is worth X number of candles, and they happily exchange their products for each other's wares.  Barter is one of the oldest forms of trade known to us organics, followed closely by cash, which allows the cobbler to sell shoes without having to take immediate trade in other goods, and enables him to store excess output as "savings" for later purchases.

In the end, should state/bankster-issued cash cease to exist, a large (and growing) number of the organic economic actors would simply move to some alternative that everyone found mutually agreeable, whether is be barter or some new form of tangible asset that serves all the functions of "money."

Crypto-currencies are only fun while one has access to digital networks and electronic "wallets," but try buying necessities with Bitcoin in the jungle just a couple of hours from where I sit.  Ain't gonna happen.

Basically, the "end of cash" only implies the beginning of some other means of economic system, whether it is metals and minerals, shells, leaves, nails, or some other tangible asset that can be stored, is easily transported and traded for other items.

Here in Asia, we have several perfect examples.  Indonesia made it illegal to trade in anything but rupiah, and foreign investment dried up practically overnight.  India banned the two most common bank notes and the monied class immediately began moving their wealth out of the country.  South Korea is in the middle of a vast corruption scandal involving several wealthy families and the central government, causing folks to move their savings out of the country.  On the other hand, Vietnam has reduced taxes, made asset ownership and visas easier for foreigners.  Guess where all that moving wealth is going.

Money, or more accurately organic economic activity, will always move from restrictions to freedom.  It is the way of organic systems.  This is why things like TPP and TTIP are so desperately pushed by the government/bankster inorganics.  They want universal regulation that prevents people from doing what people naturally do with their money.  The theory is if there are no Vietnams, then there is nowhere for the organics to run.  Ultimately, though, the organics will simply shed the inorganics in what we commonly call "revolutions" and set up a new and more agreeable system to trade in.

You have to wonder at the idiocy of the inorganics.  They have spent centuries trying to plug the organic holes and prevent economies from leaking out, only to find there are twice as many smaller holes.  They never learn.  As soon as they make the inorganic system too painful to use, the organics simply walk away and find other ways to do things.

As the brilliant Thomas Merton observed, "The more you squeeze, the less you have."

Will the inorganics ever learn?