Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A visual contrast of two speeches by two American presidential candidates.
John McCain has trouble filling all the seats in a small arena.
Barack Obama can fill small cities.
A lot of people, millions of Americans, are going to totally lose their shit if Obama doesn't win. Almost the entire mainstream media is telling them, "Obama will win, McCain will lose", it's a dangerous chant to screw into peoples' heads, anything could happen before election day. The tide for Obama could easily, quickly turn against him, a breaking scandal of jaw-dropping outrage might mean just enough lost Obama votes for McCain to stumble over the line.
If Obama wins, the American government is expecting trouble. And if McCain wins, events could easily turn very nasty indeed."But the news every night said Obama would win! Why didn't he win? Why? Why? Why? Why didn't he win?"
The Department of Homeland Security has helped outfit American police with billions of dollars worth of anti-riot gear, water cannons, military-style vehicles, instant checkpoints, supposedly non-lethal weaponry since 9/11. They won't need much encouragement to get into the streets and use it. Police forces in many larger American cities have been training for election day riots and 'unrest'.
People don't like to feel that something they passionately believe in has been stolen from them.
And you'd expect that the millions of people who are already paranoid about their electronic votes being flipped are going to be hard to calm down or pacify if they see it happening in front of their eyes on election day.
How many more Obama assassination plots will be uncovered in the next seven days?
Most of the European, and Russian media, report on the Obama assassination plots with a stunned disbelief, as though they imagine legions of Deliverance extras heading for the next Obama rally in a convoy of shotgun-wracked pickup trucks, yehawing and shouting through mouthfuls of nicotine-orange tombstone teeth, "Hyuck! I gonna go in bag me one of dem big ones, just like my grandpappy did! Hyuck!"
The American media, meanwhile, seem to accept it as a fact of everyday American life that there are plenty of white, heavily armed American males who are driven insane by the thought of "that one" in the White House. Kind of like, hey, what did you expect? If a black man runs for president, he has to learn to duck and weave. And run, when necessary.
Change is coming, Obama promises, change is coming.
The world waits, in hope, expecting the worst.
One week to go.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
2012 Alaska Nation leader Sarah Palin doesn't believe that people who blow up abortion clinics are terrorists, even by definition :
All bombs are terror. Whether they're strapped to the back of a suicide bomber bolting through a crowded weekend market, dropped from a hunter-killer flying robot onto schools, and schoolchildren, in Pakistan, hidden away on a city bus to 'tickle' (as the CIA call it) the enemy in false flag operations, or deposited on the door step of an abortion clinic, all bombs are terror. It's that simple.
When asked Thursday night by NBC television presenter Brian Williams whether an abortion clinic bomber was a terrorist, Palin heaved a sigh and, at first, circumvented the question.
"There's no question that Bill Ayers by his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our US Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist," Palin said, referring to a 1960s leftist who founded a radical violent gang dubbed the "Weathermen" -- and who years later supported Obama's first run for public office in the state of Illinois.
"Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to... I don't know if you're gonna use the word 'terrorist' there," the ardently pro-life running mate of John McCain said.
Which is why President Bush, and the other leaders of countries devoted to the 'War On Terror' now usually refer to the enemy as "extremists" instead of "terrorists." Not everyone can be labeled a "terrorist", but everyone who loudly resists the police state reality can be banded an "extremist". That way, you never run out of enemies, no matter how many Muslims you slaughter.
The Italian police have new toys. These are not practical police cars, more so mobile recruitment ads, a good way to spark up convos with car enthusiast youth, and a great ad for Lambos.
A Top Ten List Of The World's 'Coolest Police Cars'
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Wow. That's really gotta hurt.
In other news, if you're a political campaign volunteer, and you're planning to fake a story about how some crazed Obamaniac hauled you from your John McCain stickered car and carved a big B into your cheek, it's a good idea to get someone else to carve the B in your flesh and not do it yourself, using a mirror, so the B is backward.
Some interesting rumours flying around about what Barack Obama is actually up to in Hawaii, where he's supposed to be visiting his grandmother. Apparently there's a big meeting happening right now in Hawaii, involving military leaders from the US, and other countries, including Iran, where Obama is representing the United States, as incoming president.
Obama is being briefed and dealt with as though he's already won the election, which of course, he has, even if he doesn't get to the White House, in the end.
Stopping total economic collapse is on the Hawaii agenda, as well as trying to avoid the outbreaks of more war that are expected to follow such a collapse.
Interesting rumours indeed, but just rumours for now, of course. Until they turn out to be true.
This was originally posted on this blog on December 15, 2007. George Carlin died on June 28. He saw what was coming, and who was responsible :
"They don't give a fuck about you. The real owners of this country don't care about you. They don't care about you at all. At all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.
"And that's what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick being jammed up their arseholes everyday.
"Because the owners of this country know the truth. It's called The American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it."
Friday, October 24, 2008
What's the most expensive mistake you've ever made at work? Have you made a bad choice that resulted in your boss losing a bucket of cash? Don't feel bad. We have a world history new champion for monu-mega-mentally screwing up in the workplace.
Former US Treasury Secretary Alan Greenspan's screw ups have helped to wipe away trillions in American wealth, and plunged the world into super financial clusterfuckery. Now he admits, shock, he might have made a bit of a "mistake". Yet it was a "mistake" hailed by those who knew how to profit from it, and did, while the rest of ask, "So, what's this derivatives thing about again?" :
'Yes, I found a flaw,'' Greenspan said in response to grilling from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. ''That is precisely the reason I was shocked because I'd been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.''Never feel bad about fucking up, ever again. Why should you? Greenspan doesn't even feel the need to apologise to Americans, and the world, for his monumental, history-changing "mistake".
Greenspan said he was ''partially'' wrong in opposing regulation of derivatives and acknowledged that financial institutions didn't protect shareholders and investments as well as he expected.
Shit happens, eh?
Whoops, I missed the three year birthday for Your New Reality last month. There's been something like 1300 posts blurted on this blog during that time, including about a million words of opinion, commentary, bitter rants, and not-often-enough attempts at parody and humour.
The initial aim of this blog was to basically record the news events and societal changes that seemed important or particularly interesting at the time. It was an idea of digitally clipping and storing news stories without winding up with piles of old, yellowing newspaper filling boxes, stuffed under a bed.
Finding a few thousand steady, regular readers from a couple of dozen countries around the world, wasn't at the front of my mind when I started this, but it's been an excellent surprise.
I thought, back then, how cool it would be, once every few months, to go and have a read back of a month's worth of archived posts to see what news events I'd already forgotten about, or what small story back then had exploded into a huge event. But tonight's the first time I've actually gone back to the first month of blogging to fully re-read each post. Been to busy writing more blog posts instead. Which is sort of back to the boxes of old newspaper clippings that are never opened and rummaged.
It was a bit scary re-reading that first month. Lots of mistakes, and...a bit of hysteria, well, plenty of hysteria, but then Hurricane Katrina was a week long hysterical TV event, shocking and appalling, daily scenes of horror and deprivation tsunamiing out of the box. I'll do a round-up of some of those stories as part of this series of looking back at three years of Your New Reality (although this may turn out to be the only anniversary re-post, there's a lot going on these days and anything like a series of posts, even reposts, can tend to dwindle away here, never to be mentioned again).
Here's one weird thing I've noticed. I thought blogging would only make me more cynical. But recent posts seem to be far less cynical now. Maybe intense cynicism runs its course, or you just wear it out. Or, perhaps, does regularly, chunky blogging actually make you, dare I say it, optimistic?
Here's a piece from September, 2005. The cynicism squirts out like lemon juice in the eye :
FASHIONABLE SYDNEY SET OUTRAGED AT AL QAEDA TERROR THREAT SNUBI think I was watching and reading a lot of British satirist Chris Morris back then.
MELBOURNE JOINS 'MOST BOMBABLE' WORLD CITIES LIST
"SYDNEY IS, LIKE, SO OVER," SAYS AL QAEDA'S AL ASUQUF
By Darryl Mason
Sydneysiders are reeling this morning over news that Al Qaeda has announced Melbourne as a possible new target of their worldwide campaign to scare the piss out of people.
This is being seen as a major snub in social and political circles of the 2000 Olympic City, and leading Sydneysiders are calling on Al Qaeda to reconsider their choice of future targets.
The Al Qaeda announcement is also expected to make it even harder for Sydney poltiicians to redirect millions of taxpayer dollars from spending on education, child care and medicines for the elderly to buy CCTV cameras and other anti-terror related security measures.
"It's terrible news," said one Sydney security specialist who has been campaigning for the NSW government to spend $100 million on his line of robot dogs that sniff out bombs concealed in the buttholes of Islamomaniac poodles.
If Sydneysiders are disappointed by the Al Qaeda snub then Melbournians are absolutely gloating at the news that hit front pages and headlines around the world today.
Fashionistas down south claim the Al Qaeda announcement is yet another sign of just how 'cool' Melbourne had become.
"Obviously even Al Qaeda knows Melbourne is the city to be seen in if you have any taste at all," said socialite Rita Tayor. "Melbourne is so cool right now, everybody is flocking here, even bomb-happy, kill-crazy matyrs who hate our freedom."
An Al Qaeda spokesman has confirmed that Melbourne was chosen over Sydney because it is now seen internationally as the 'IT' Australian city of today.
"Sydney is, like, so over," said Al Qaeda media whiz Al Asuquf. "Well, not over, like bombed to hell over. Just over as a fashionable target for self-detonating suiciders."
"We do monitor what's hot and what's not in terms of the world's great cities," said Asuquf, "and Melbourne is definitely hot. We don't want to be seen as being out of touch with fashion trends, and so Melbourne was an obvious choice as the Australian city to honour with a September 11 anniversary threat of looming carnage and mayhem."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the new Al Qaeda threat confirmed the necessary validity of his plan to track terrorist suspects by satellite, install 'hate thought' detectors in peoples' brains and lock up four year old children fleeing war zones until they learn what Free Australia actually means.
"When you're dealing with terrorists who hate our freedom," said Howard, "it is vitally important to stand up to their threats by restricting the freedoms of Australians as much as possible, to show the terrorists that we will freely continue to fire bomb Muslims from the sky with our freedom jets until the whole world is free."
In the US, President George W Bush celebrated the September 11 anniversary by opening a string of new freedom-related enterprises. Bush oversaw the ribbon cutting ceremonies at the new Freedom Juice Company, the Freedom Jail for Jihadic Newborns, the Freedom Torture Centre and the plush new Freedom Execution Hall.
Bush has also endorsed a new line of products to help fight terror, including Freedom Shackles, the Freedom Infant Decapitator Bomb, Freedom Napalm and Freedom Testicle Electrocuters.
"We have always loved freedom, we continue to love freedom and we will never stop loving freedom," said Bush, who loves freedom, during ceremonies to officially announce that September 11 will now be known as ‘Freedom Day’.
"To celebrate Freedom Day every free citizen of free Western society will be required by threat of torture and detention to freely celebrate their freedom by being free and freely repeating 'I love freedom' one hundred times," said Bush.
"Being free requires the strict enforcement of free laws to enforce freedom," Bush said. "You cannot be free unless there are free laws to make sure you are being free correctly."
Both Bush and Howard have also denied rumoured plans to build a 100 foot tall wall completely encircling Iran, Iraq and Syria to create the 'Republic of Freedomistan'.
"I thoroughly, and freely, reject these scandalous lies," said Howard at the joint media conference. "But all options are still on the table."
Bush then searched under the table before asking Howard, "I can see the media but where's the joint?"
Another look back at past rantings, later. Maybe.
Yes, and you were a stone-cold paranoid nutbag in the 1990s if you believed 'black helicopters' were tracking people and vehicles across states. Soon, you won't even see the surveillance craft, as it soaks up data from your physical shape, gait and shadow, from miles above, and determines if you are engaged in suspicious behaviour.
When necessary, the unblinking 24 hour surveillance may also be able to take body heat readings, to determine, perhaps, if you're 'hot' enough with pandemic flu virus to be....de-registered.
What is tested in the (war) Zone, will be deployed in the Homeland :
Real-time streaming video of Iraqi and Afghan battle areas taken from thousands of feet in the air can follow actions of people on the ground as they dig, shake hands, exchange objects and kiss each other goodbye.
The video is sent from unmanned and manned aircraft to intelligence analysts at ground stations in the United States and abroad. They watch video in real time of people getting in and out of cars, loading trunks, dropping things or picking them up. They can even see vehicles accelerate, slow down, move together or make U-turns.
"The dynamics of an urban insurgency have resulted in a rapid increase in the number of activities visible in the video field of view," according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency."The U.S. military and intelligence communities have an ever increasing need to monitor live video feeds and search large volumes of archived video data for activities of interest due to the rapid growth in development and fielding of motion video systems," according to the DARPA paper, which was written in March but released last month.
"Now with new full-motion video intelligence techniques, we are looking at people and their behavior in public..."
The resolution capability of the video systems ranges from four inches to a foot...
The video itself is also shaped by the angle to the ground from which it is shot, although there are 3-D capabilities that allow viewers on the ground to manipulate videos of objects so they can see them from different vantage points.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The most read story on the UK Independent website today :
There's certainly nothing much more interesting happening in the world today, nothing big enough, or world changing enough, to compete with The Ten Best Egg Cups. Anyway, who doesn't love a boiled egg? Particularly with a platoon of buttered soldiers lined up for the compulsory dip n' soak.
So how thrilling could these egg cups be that this story hits Number One? This thrilling :
The above eggcup, which we're assured will allow you to "make a visual statement at the breakfast table", costs about $35.
Have you ever felt a burning desire to make a "visual statement at the breakfast table"? Toxic hangovers with a tumbling gut full of kebab and bourbon do not count.
More images of Clownists gathered at a 'convention' in Mexico here
By Darryl Mason
I'm not worried about communism, socialism, fascism, islamism, globalism or totaltechtarianism. I'm too busy being worried about these creepy Clownists gaining control of the levers of power. And they will do anything to get that power. Those big floppy shoes will not slow them down, and the manic smiles do not hide the darkness in their hearts.
Al Qaeda terrorists?
They have one, maybe two suicide bombers in a bus or truck at most.
These fuckers can pack ten of themselves into one Noddy car.
And already, thousands of them are gathering, for 'conventions'.
Extreme Clownists already have their schools, all over the world, where they indoctrinate new generations of Clownists, they have their false idol god blatantly displayed at restaurants throughout our countries and they are widely beloved, even worshipped, by hundreds of millions of children. We even let them take the floor to spread their anti-frown ideology at our kids' birthday parties, for fuck's sake. And we pay them to do it!
In our elderly years, our grand-children will shake their heads sadly as they ask us : "Why? Why? Why didn't you do something about the threat of Extreme Clownists when you had the chance?"
What will we tell them?
"Sarge, Reynolds Is Thinking About Cheerleader Porn Again"
It's called 'synthetic telepathy.' Ultra-advanced EEG, or something not yet invented, will read brain signals and interpret them into communication. Not a new idea, by any stretch, but a little closer to our reality than science fiction of the 1960s :
This story talks about a 'synthetic telepathy' struggling to interpret our words and phrases. The obvious solution would be a new visual language based around universally recognised shapes and symbols. Wouldn't it be easier to think a shape of a certain colour than a whole sentence?
Vocal cords were overrated anyway. A new Army grant aims to create email or voice mail and send it by thought alone. No need to type an e-mail, dial a phone or even speak a word.
Known as synthetic telepathy, the technology is based on reading electrical activity in the brain using an electroencephalograph, or EEG. Similar technology is being marketed as a way to control video games by thought.
The Army grant to researchers at University of California, Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland has two objectives. The first is to compose a message using, as D'Zmura puts it, "that little voice in your head."
The second part is to send that message to a particular individual or object (like a radio), also just with the power of thought. Once the message reaches the recipient, it could be read as text or as a voice mail.
The first development of a wireless communication system based around brain signals, instead of speech, sounds, type or hand signals is, naturally, for military purposes, but its potential uses are legion. iTelepath will revolutionise video games, the stock market, social networking, cinema, music, all forms of communication and discussion, and help further to deisolate the physically and mentally disabled.
Maybe we can build space freighters out of the 10 billion or so mobile phones we'll have discarded by the time this synthetic telepathy comes online.
And a warning, or a wish :
"...people would learn to think in a way the computer couldn't interpret."The story discusses synthetic telepathy as being based around equipment in a hood or a baseball cap that will read your brain signals. Ridiculous. The cheaper and more obvious way such a system would function would be through it being installed, that is, two little scanner chips on each side of your brain, say, implanted in the flesh behind your ears. But to link into the iBrain network, as with today's internet, you would risk letting into your consciousness, and your dreams, nefarious surveillance and, of course, fucking brain spam.
Imagine if you could be detained, and charged, for your dreams? We already live in societies where convictions for thought crimes (what you may have intended to do, but didn't actually do) are now a reality, and on the rise.
Are you responsible for what your brain gets up to when your alpha-stating?
We will either learn to hide our more immoral thoughts, especially the darkest ones we would never dare share with anyone, even on the brink of death, or we will learn to never think such things, for fear of prosecution.
Thank God Hitler was defeated in World War 2, otherwise we would probably be living in a world where long speeches by politicians are pumped into our homes through 'television' and big screens are erected in public squares to rally the masses through carefully staged media events and powerful, nationalistic imagery. The 'television' in our loungerooms would also be showing endless documentaries about Hitler's life, beliefs and the Nazi Party.
Imagine a world like that, and give thanks that the millions who died in World War 2 helped to stop Hitler's evil plan to control the minds and culture of people through 'television'.
There were also plans for 'Reality TV' shows, which would tell people how they should be living their lives. Hitler wanted the masses to spend their free time sitting in front of a hypnotic box, soaking up state propaganda and sports broadcasts, obeying what they are told to obey, believing what they are told to believe :
"We'll create a reality..."
Adolf Hitler was on the verge of creating an Orwellian-style cable TV system to broadcast Nazi propaganda around Germany.
Screens would have been set up in public places, including in laundries so housewives could tune in, according to a documentary based on papers and tapes found in his bunker.
Prototype programmes included Family Chronicles: An Evening With Hans And Gelli, an early reality TV show depicting the wholesome Aryan life of a young German couple for the rest of the population to model themselves on.
...the engineer Walter Bruch was asked to make 'people's television' a reality.
He tabled a document to Hitler called 'Plan to supply people's transmitter to German homes,' and the laying of a broadband cable between Berlin and Nuremberg was begun, it claimed.
Josef Hebbels, who masterminded the plan, told Rudolph Hess's sister Margaret, who was also working on the scheme: 'We'll be able to show whatever we want. We'll create a reality, which the people of Germany need and can copy. Your task is to teach German women to live this way'.
Why does that sound familiar?
It was repeated by the BushCo. 'White House senior advisor', otherwise known as Karl Rove, in 2002 :
"'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality...we'll act again, creating other new realities."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It's a damn shame we're not legally allowed to race them.
Japanese TV is so surreal.
The New York Times casually discusses ghosts and hauntings, in Northwest Conneticut, with barely a skeptic in sight. Excerpts :
Read The Full Story Here
''This is a ghost that seems to take great pleasure in mischief,'' said Ms. Baranski from the 1787 farmhouse that the family of her husband, Matthew Cowles, bought in Litchfield County about 50 years ago. ''We'll buy a new hammer, a pair of scissors, a flashlight, and it will literally just disappear, gone completely from where we'd set it down. Then, years later, it will manifest itself in the strangest places of the house.''
''This is by no means a malevolent force,'' Ms. Baranski said, ''but he has made his point that he opposes all things electronic: computers, refrigerators, lights and televisions,'' which she said all act up. And faxes? The machine just won't work. ''Forget faxes. My agents and managers want to come and have a séance just so they can send me a fax. It's as though he resists the very idea of modernity.''
For Ms. Dano and her husband, Frank Attardi, having a ghost is something they have both come to accept as ''absolutely true, and absolutely wonderful, and we, too, are not crazy,'' she said.
''We have a ghost and her name is Madeline,'' said Ms. Dano from her 1700's Colonial in Litchfield County. ''Her name is written here, on the wall of the borning room,'' which is a small room reserved in old houses where people were born or died. ''She died when she was about 14, and I truly believe it is her ghost that we and several others have encountered.''
''She has never let me see her, but I have heard her. And Frank, who used to be the ultimate skeptic of all time, has felt her. Once, I was in the keeping room,'' she said about the kitchen, ''and Frank said, 'Are you doing laundry? I keep getting this incredible smell of roses.' Then, he was in the barn and he was overpowered by this smell of roses again.
''Then my friend Jeanette was here and she saw a shadowy image of a girl about 14 wearing a blue dress, with a man in a long black suit, maybe her father or brother?''
Another time, ''Frank and I were in the keeping room having something to eat, and I was saying to him, 'You know, if we ever leave this house' and all of a sudden the door slammed, hard. There was no one there. There was no wind. It was Madeline telling us she doesn't want us to go.''
An incident with their plumber validated the couple's beliefs, Ms. Dano said. ''He came to us completely traumatized and said, 'I can't work here. This place is haunted.' Every time he'd turn his back, the toilet would flush; it would just go berserk. Madeline was trying to spook him, and you know what? It worked.''
James O'Shea, a Litchfield restaurateur, said his 1785 home is haunted by a gray-cloaked lady and he has a half-dozen witnesses to back him up.
''Northwest Connecticut is the spookiest place on earth,'' he said. ''There are more ghost sightings in Litchfield County than there are black bear and bobcat sightings combined.''
All across Connecticut, actually, there are inns, restaurants and museums full of ghost stories. There's the Red Brook Inn in Old Mystic, where guests have come screaming out of their rooms after seeing a transparent woman wrapped in a black shawl; the Pettibone Tavern in Simsbury, where employees swear about a ghost who pokes diners in the ribs, lights candles, moves drinking glasses, and turns lights on and off, and the Adrienne restaurant in New Milford, which the owners and employees said was occupied by the spirit of a young boy.
There are some cemeteries around the state, too, that paranormal researchers said are haunted. At the Christian Lane Cemetery in Berlin, Nancy Caswell, co-founder of the Southern New England Ghost Hunters Society, said she took a video of ghostly, mist-like ''ectoplasm'' encircling a tree and an audio recording of the voice of a young English boy asking, ''Are you the keeper?''
Can this really be, or are all of these people perhaps a tad twisted?
''Science can explain a lot, but not everything,'' said Stuart Heywood of Mystic, who was a biology professor for 26 years at the University of Connecticut. ''I can tell you as pure fact that dishes used to go flying out of the cabinets at my old house in Storrs. Not just falling out, but flying out, with force.''
As a Facebook friend of Homecoming Queen Annie Jennings points out, she's "beautiful on the outside, but more importantly on the inside."
Mandatory genetic screening, probably for insurance reasons, will one day mean that Down Syndrome children, like Annie Jennings, could become extinct. Why do we presume that these children are somehow 'backward' or less intelligent than most others? If they don't fit in well enough with our society, is it their fault or the fault of our society?
I once asked a Down Syndrome kid why he and his friends on the bus I used to catch always laughed so much. "Because it's fun." Then they all laughed.
When I first started riding that bus, it was filled with miserable looking people, usually pissed off about the craparse day they had at work. That soon changed after the Down Syndrome kids became regular riders. The rest of the passengers looked forward to the kids getting on, and every afternoon, within minutes of those kids boarding, everybody on the bus had a smile on their face. Those that weren't laughing along with them.
One afternoon, a Down Syndrome kid of only 10 or 11 got up in front of the whole bus, totally fearless and uninhibited, and announced that everyone was going to sing along with him to the 'Wheels On The Bus' song. And almost everyone did. It was utterly magical.
How did the rest of us 'normies' lose so much of that pure joy of simply being alive?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Beautiful story, about practical recycling. It took 20 years, but these two brothers have finally completed their race car built from old junk they found scattered around their property.
The two brothers, Zhao Xiushun and Zhao Baoguo, wanted desperately to pay tribute to their late father who died in an earthquake 32 years prior. After some pondering of what best could honor their father, they came up with the idea to build their own pseudo racecar out of pots, pans, bikes, steel doors and anything else they could muster. Inspiration, of course, came from their father who always told them, "It's no big deal to drive, but it's quite something to build a car."Full story is here.
The brothers claim they learned how to build the car solely from magazines and books, and it can hit 100mph. Excellent!
A 37 year old hedge fund manager who saw what was coming, bet against the mortgage market, made an 870% profit, cashes in, bails out and writes this amazing letter about his adventures :
I'm guessing when he "returns" it will as a cashed-up entrepreneur in the New Hemp Industry that will help revive economies, clothe the poor and feed (some) of the hungry.
Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye.
Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, "What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it." I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.
There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success. However, I do not want to sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award. The money was reward enough. Furthermore, the endless list those deserving thanks know who they are.
I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.
So this is it. With all due respect, I am dropping out. Please do not expect any type of reply to emails or voicemails within normal time frames or at all. Andy Springer and his company will be handling the dissolution of the fund. And don't worry about my employees, they were always employed by Mr. Springer's company and only one (who has been well-rewarded) will lose his job.
On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government. Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt. George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man's interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft's near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken.
Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy source. You won't see it included in BP's, "Feel good. We are working on sustainable solutions," television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM's similar commercials. But hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products. Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term. The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp. It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won. At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country? Ah, the female. The evil female plant -- marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other additive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous. It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources. Our policies have other countries literally laughing at our stupidity, most notably Canada, as well as several European nations (both Eastern and Western). You would not know this by paying attention to U.S. media sources though, as they tend not to elaborate on who is laughing at the United States this week. Please people, let's stop the rhetoric and start thinking about how we can truly become self-sufficient.
With that I say good-bye and good luck.
All the best,
Sunday, October 19, 2008
After September 11, 2001, America was supposed to rebuild. But instead, the worst period of fraud and corporate thievery the country has ever experienced was unleashed from the trading floors and office boardrooms on Wall Street onto the American people.
Future researchers into this period of history are no doubt going to turn up many more extemely suspicious, and nasty, little surprises than the ones hinted at in this New York Times investigation :
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is struggling to find enough agents and resources to investigate criminal wrongdoing tied to the country’s economic crisis, according to current and former bureau officials.
The bureau slashed its criminal investigative work force to expand its national security role after the Sept. 11 attacks, shifting more than 1,800 agents, or nearly one-third of all agents in criminal programs, to terrorism and intelligence duties. Current and former officials say the cutbacks have left the bureau seriously exposed in investigating areas like white-collar crime, which has taken on urgent importance in recent weeks because of the nation’s economic woes.
The FBI had many thousands of agents and specialists keeping an eye on Wall Street, until September 11, 2001. The FBI were forced to re-assign many of these extremely specialised agents to pursue so-called 'terrorist financing', leaving Wall Street to do what it wanted, and that's when the real mega-billion dollar frauds and the casual looting of the American Treasury truly began.
So depleted are the ranks of the F.B.I.’s white-collar investigators that executives in the private sector say they have had difficulty attracting the bureau’s attention in cases involving possible frauds of millions of dollars.
Perhaps that was the idea?
Since 2004, F.B.I. officials have warned that mortgage fraud posed a looming threat, and the bureau has repeatedly asked the Bush administration for more money to replenish the ranks of agents handling nonterrorism investigations, according to records and interviews. But each year, the requests have been denied, with no new agents approved for financial crimes, as policy makers focused on counterterrorism.
According to previously undisclosed internal F.B.I. data, the cutbacks have been particularly severe in staffing for investigations into white-collar crimes like mortgage fraud, with a loss of 625 agents, or 36 percent of its 2001 levels.
Where the worst, most nation-ruining fraud occurred, the resources to stop it had already been stripped away.
And those who had the insider information on just where the FBI was completely lacking in its ability to detect and prosecute white collar fraud were free to go nuts, and really crank up the mega-fraud on the American people.
Prosecution of frauds against financial institutions dropped 48 percent from 2000 to 2007, insurance fraud cases plummeted 75 percent, and securities fraud cases dropped 17 percent.
It could be a frenzy of fraud that costs Americans tens of trillions of dollars before it's all over.
In a lengthy, and somewhat convincing, endorsement of Barack Obama, the Washington Post editorial team sums up the United States today, and its place in the world. If you read this in a book of fiction even ten years ago, you'd never believe it could become reality :
Start with two ongoing wars, both far from being won; an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan; a resurgent Russia menacing its neighbors; a terrorist-supporting Iran racing toward nuclear status; a roiling Middle East; a rising China seeking its place in the world. Stir in the threat of nuclear or biological terrorism, the burdens of global poverty and disease, and accelerating climate change. Domestically, wages have stagnated while public education is failing a generation of urban, mostly minority children. Now add the possibility of the deepest economic trough since the Great Depression.
Getting high, seeing visions, and trying to make sense of them, has been a fundamental part of the human existence for thousands of years. Religion was probably the best way to explain those vivid, confusing experiences to non-users. Drugs have shaped the paths of our civilisations, and sparked some of the greatest inventions and innovations of our ages.
The proof and knowledge of humans' ancient history of drug use slowly becomes more clear:
The presumption is that the religious beliefs existed before humans experienced the mind-and-reality altering effects of hallucinogenic drugs. It is more likely the other way around, that it was the drugs that sparked the religious beliefs in fearful, superstitious people, still hiding from the night in caves, across those dozens of centuries before we settled into villages, then towns, then cities and left the hallucinogens for the forest people, and the explorers of consciousness.
It has long been suspected that humans have an ancient history of drug use, but there has been a lack of proof to support the theory.
Now, however, researchers have found equipment used to prepare hallucinogenic drugs for sniffing, and dated them back to prehistoric South American tribes.
They found ceramic bowls, as well as tubes for inhaling drug fumes or powders, which appear to have originated in South America between 100BC and 400BC and were then carried 400 miles to the islands.
While the use of such paraphernalia for inhaling drugs is well-known, the age of the bowls has thrown new light on how long humans have been taking drugs.
Scientists believe that the drug being used was cohoba, a hallucinogen made from the beans of a mimosa species. Drugs such as cannabis were not found in the Caribbean then.
Opiates can be obtained from species such as poppies, while fungi, which was widespread, may also have been used.
Archeologists have suggested that humans were extracting mind-expanding drugs from mescal beans and peyote cacti as far back as 5,000 years ago, but have not found direct evidence that this is true.
They consider that drugs were being used to induce spiritual or trance-like states by people who had religious beliefs.
Without drugs, particularly hallucinogens, there would be no God.
Excerpts from a revelatory interview with the good Doctor of Journalism from late 2004, one of the last interviews he did before he took his own life :
And these Hunter S Thomspon quotes from one of his last pieces of published writing, Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail, 2004 :
"The presidential election is pretty much going to be a life or death matter for the next generation."
"This Bush Cheney machine in the Whitehouse is the most dangerous situation I ever seen in the country. This country is in worse shape today than I have seen it in, and so fast down the same path… if Nixon was running against George Bush. I’d vote for Nixon. Yeah... I never thought I’d say that."
"The main thing to understand is that Bush is not some sort of likable cowboy, some aww shucks person who is a man of good will. Compassionate Conservative. NO, he’s a front man for a gigantic combine of religious zealots and oil billionaires, and voting against Bush will stop this whole encroaching glacier or iceberg… meanwhile the machine keeps going.
"People are just getting poorer- loosing more jobs, more health insurance, more pension funds. Bush has destroyed the economy in the country, but he has not destroyed the economy of Halliburton, the oil company that Dick Cheney was president of before he became the Vice President of the US."
"He has been a disaster for a president, for the country. He’s been a good boy for Halliburton and the oil industry, that’s what he does, that’s where he grew up. He grew up in the petroleum clubs of Houston, which is a huge power center of world evil. But he’s not good for the country… they come in and steal a trillion dollars from the national treasury in the name of war on the rest of the world."
"The lie is the really that Bush and Cheney don’t deserve to be fired and put in jail, they do. And why he would run for president is and be re- elected is almost beyond my ability to comprehend it."
"The first time I saw George Bush, he came into my hotel room in Houston, and passed out in the bathtub. How’s that for a story. He was drunk. He was not invited, he came into the room with some friend of his who was invited and he disappeared, and the next time I saw him he was passed out in the bathtub, he had vomited on his seersucker suit- that’s a good image. I’ve done worse things under a variety of substances, including drink. But to me that’s the most interesting thing he’s done as a human being..."
"....this country has gone from a prosperous nation at peace and now four years later we’re a broken nation at war, that’s a huge turnaround. It’s the effects of a failing economy- although the war making machine- Christ, that’s doing better than ever, corporate profits for companies that make airplanes, security devices, and machine guns. Their profits are up 200 percent over the year before."
"I think this country is heading into the Dark Ages. I believe George Bush will be seen as the Adolph Hitler of his time. And Dick Cheney will be seen as having committed war crimes worse than Hitler, and they will be put on trial and judged; they’re such religious freaks. What kind of maniac will declare war on the rest of the world? And turn the country into what nazi Germany was."
"Apathy is what got us George Bush. Too complicated, too crooked, politics is a vicious business when you’re running for president. The most powerful job on earth- maybe not for long, but right now, and people will kill, that’s what they do in politics. You eliminate people...."
"There is angst in the heart of Texas today, and panic in the bowels of the White House. Rove has a nasty little problem, and its name is George Bush. The president failed miserably from the instant he got onstage with John Kerry. He looked weak and dumb. Kerry beat him like a gong in Coral Gables, then again in St. Louis and Tempe -- and that is Rove's problem: His candidate is a weak-minded frat boy who cracks under pressure in front of 60 million voters."
"Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to grapple with the meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage. That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate who ever ran against George Bush -- Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain -- all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks. And all of them still whining about it.
That is why George W. Bush is President of the United States, and Al Gore is not. Bush simply wanted it more, and he was willing to demolish anything that got in his way, including the U.S. Supreme Court. It is not by accident that the Bush White House (read: Dick Cheney & Halliburton Inc.) controls all three branches of our federal government today."
"Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous 'trickle-down' theory of U.S. economic policy. If the Rich get Richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow 'trickle down' to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to preindustrial America, when only white male property owners could vote."
"(Bush stealing the 2000 election) was the most brutal seizure of power since Hitler burned the German Reichstag in 1933 and declared himself the new Boss of Germany. Karl Rove is no stranger to Nazi strategy, if only because it worked, for a while, and it was sure as hell fun for Hitler. But not for long. He ran out of oil, the whole world hated him, and he liked to gobble pure crystal biphetamine and stay awake for eight or nine days in a row with his maps & his bombers & his dope-addled general staff.
They all loved the whiff. It is the perfect drug for War -- as long as you are winning -- and Hitler thought he was King of the Hill forever. He had created a new master race, and every one of them worshipped him. The new Hitler youth loved to march and sing songs in unison and dance naked at night for the generals. They were fanatics.
That was sixty-six years ago, far back in ancient history, and things are not much different today. We still love War.
George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war. But so what? He is the President of the United States, and you're not. Love it or leave it."
"If Nixon were running for president today, he would be seen as a "liberal" candidate, and he would probably win. He was a crook and a bungler, but what the hell? Nixon was a barrel of laughs compared to this gang of thugs from the Halliburton petroleum organization who are running the White House today..."
"When young Bush was at Yale in the Sixties, he told the same joke over and over again for two years, according to some of his classmates. One of them still remembers it:
There was a young man named Green
Who invented a jack-off machine
On the twenty-third stroke
The damn thing broke
And churned his nuts into cream.
'It was horrible to hear him tell it,' said the classmate, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. He lifted his shirt and showed me a scar on his back put there by young George. 'He burned this into my flesh with a red-hot poker,' he said solemnly, 'and I have hated him ever since. That jackass was born cruel. He burned me in the back while I was blindfolded. This scar will be with me forever.'
There is nothing new or secret about that story. It ran on the front page of the Yale Daily News and caused a nasty scandal for a few weeks, but nobody was ever expelled for it. George did his first cover-up job. And he liked it."
"I watch three or four frantic network-news bulletins about Iraq every day, and it is all just fraudulent Pentagon propaganda, the absolute opposite of what it says: u.s. transfers sovereignty to Iraqi interim 'government.' Hot damn! Iraq is finally Free, and just in time for the election! It is a deliberate cowardly lie. We are no more giving power back to the Iraqi people than we are about to stop killing them."
"The question this year is not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government but if the American people want it that way. That is what this election is all about. We are down to nut-cutting time, and millions of people are angry. They want a Regime Change."
"(President Bush) is hated all over the world, including large parts of Texas, and he is taking us all down with him.
Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, in no particular order, and he is no fun at all.
Only losers play fair, and all winners have blood on their hands."
Hunter, we miss your words and vicious insight so very, very much. You wielded a typwriter like a gatling gun.
People still believe that the Iraq War did not inspire, or lead to, acts of deadly terrorism. Tony Blair said this was not so. So did President Bush. Former Australian prime minister, John Howard, repeatedly claimed the invasion of Iraq and the slaughter of civilians had no link to the catastrophic rise in terrorism, after 2003. Some people still believe this, one of the truly great lies of a war utterly debased by lies and deceit.
The people with access to the information, however, know for a fact that the 'Iraq War Did Not Increase Terrorism' propaganda was, and is, complete and utter bullshit :
A former head of MI5 today describes the response to the September 11 2001 attacks on the US as a "huge overreaction" and says the invasion of Iraq influenced young men in Britain who turned to terrorism.She challenges claims, notably made by Tony Blair, that the war in Iraq was not related to the radicalisation of Muslim youth in Britain.
Asked what impact the war had on the terrorist threat, she replies: "Well, I think all one can do is look at what those people who've been arrested or have left suicide videos say about their motivation. And most of them, as far as I'm aware, say that the war in Iraq played a significant part in persuading them that this is the right course of action to take."
"So I think you can't write the war in Iraq out of history. If what we're looking at is groups of disaffected young men born in this country who turn to terrorism, then I think to ignore the effect of the war in Iraq is misleading."
A rare thing indeed. An insightful explanation of why uncomfortable comedy works so well, and is so hugely popular, from Ricky Gervais, writer and star of The Office and Extras (plus two of the funniest live in concert vids you will ever see). The full story is here :
"A friend used to do this card trick where, for about 10 seconds, you thought he'd really messed up, before all was revealed to be part of the act. I grew to love that 10 seconds, of people feeling sorry for him, of feeling a bit smug. And I've always tried to do that. People thinking: this is terrible, this is awful, this is uncomfortable.
"Redemption is my favourite thing. As an atheist, I think forgiveness is the greatest virtue. You have to be a very harsh person to not accept someone genuinely saying sorry.
"In every good comedy or drama someone represents us. If they're redeemed, we feel we've been liberated, or saved. If it's done well, you're part of the journey. That's why everything begins or ends with empathy. If you've got that, you've got nearly anything. Everything else is the icing on the cake."
"...I don't think there's any real altruism. But you want to be in a society where everyone's all right, otherwise it's not OK for you...it's not a good place to be. Deep down, we'd like everyone to be happy, because then you're happy."
"Laughing is infectious. Crying makes you feel a bit sad. We're hard-wired. So if you get empathy on screen, it hits you on an emotional and subliminal and fundamental level.
"Someone can do a hundred of the best one-liners. You'd laugh. But they could throw in a false punchline and you'd still laugh because you've got the rhythm. You won't remember one of them, and you won't care. But with Laurel and Hardy, say, I like them because I want to hug them. I laugh because I fucking love them. I can't laugh at someone I don't like. If someone's hurt you it's not funny. It's not that you stop yourself laughing; it's just not funny."
"After The Office, there was a rush to play unsympathetic characters. But with a lot of them, there was no redemption and no worthwhile journey. You need representation, not just embarrassment. The Office would never have worked had Tim not existed. You need someone to roll your eyes with. You can't just have decapitated jokes."
"I like doing things that are Trojan horses. You start people watching with the knockabout stuff but then you take them to a different place. Otherwise it's empty. It's just white bread.
"Think of the people that aim low and still fail. There must be nothing worse than selling out and still being fucked."
"No, Actually, I'm Fighting Cancer"
Will there ever come a day when a visit to the doctor will end with the doctor recommending you go home and start chugging six packs?
Err, probably not. But some university researchers think they've found a way to use beer to battle cancer. A Nobel Prize loometh!
They're using genetic engineering to create beer that contains resveratrol...
So why would someone want to make beer with resveratrol in the first place? It's a naturally occurring compound that some studies have found to have anti-inflammatory, anticancer and cardiovascular benefits for mice and other animals. While it's still unclear if humans enjoy the same benefits, resveratrol is already sold as a health supplement, and some believe it could play a role in the "French paradox," the seemingly contradictory observation that the French suffer from relatively low rates of heart disease despite having a diet that's rich in saturated fats."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Hearing this sort of talk on a mainstream news channel, from someone other than Ron Paul, is way overdue. Would it have made a difference if CNN had reported such then obvious news a year ago? Two years ago? We'll never know.
We now have what we have, what has been dealt out to us. All of us. Which is perhaps the most bizarre thing about this financial terrorism. The other terrorists can take out a skyscraper, tear apart trains, blow apart thousands of Humvees in Iraq, but the financial terrorists lay waste to the futures of everyone, across the planet.
Ironically, like many terrorist organisations over the decades, the financial terrorists are also funded by taxpayers. But in this reality, this stunning new likely reality of a Greater Depression, the ones driven to suicide by the poisonously destructive ideology are not the terrorists, but the victims.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
On a mountain on Mars, a 'doorway' has been found. Natural feature, of course, "boring old wind erosion" or something.
It's not exactly the 'Red Planet' anymore, is it?
A planet of extremes, is home to the largest mountain in the solar system, the largest canyon in the solar system and intensely severe dust storms. It is also home to the only other likely option for humans to live within our Solar System.In the next two decades, if not sooner, humans will leave Earth for Mars, knowing they will never come home again. That they will live the rest of their days on another planet. In a bubble, obviously.
This becoming reality has to be many decades further into the future than this story claims, but it is a future vision that is both incredible to comprehend, as a new means of communication, and dangerous in the extreme to the very idea of privacy that we have cherished for most of our human existence :
Vocal cords were overrated anyway. A new Army grant aims to create email or voice mail and send it by thought alone. No need to type an e-mail, dial a phone or even speak a word.Known as synthetic telepathy, the technology is based on reading electrical activity in the brain using an electroencephalograph, or EEG. Similar technology is being marketed as a way to control video games by thought.
"I think that this will eventually become just another way of communicating," said Mike D'Zmura, from the University of California, Irvine and the lead scientist on the project.
The Army grant to researchers at University of California, Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland has two objectives. The first is to compose a message using, as D'Zmura puts it, "that little voice in your head."
The second part is to send that message to a particular individual or object (like a radio), also just with the power of thought. Once the message reaches the recipient, it could be read as text or as a voice mail.
To those who might be nervous about thought-based communication turning into a sci-fi comedy of errors, D'Zmura says not to worry. Mind-message composition would take specific conscious thoughts and training to develop them. The device would also have a on/off switch.
"When I was a kid I occasionally said things that were inappropriate, and I learned not to do that," said D'Zmura. "I think that people would learn to think in a way the computer couldn't interpret. Or they can just switch it off."
Learn to switch off your mind, so the computer doesn't register what you're thinking...
Hybrid cars, electric cars, hydrogen cars, and now an air-powered car.
That pod for the people looks like it might also effectively contain and concentrate methane emissions, from the people, another potential fuel source, when you want your pod to go faster than 40mph. Still no wings on any of these future alternative energy vehicles. That's why so many of them look so dorky.
In follow up to Monday's story, We Ain't Seen Dick, here's an excerpt from a story today explaining exactly where the Vice President of the United States is, and what he's been doing :
Will Cheney last until January? Or even late October?
Vice President Dick Cheney experienced an abnormal heartbeat Wednesday morning, went to the White House physician and scheduled a hospital visit to "restore his normal rhythm."
For the 67-year-old Cheney, who canceled a campaign event he was to attend later Wednesday in Illinois, it will be the second time in less than a year that he will have the cardiological procedure.
The vice president's office said that after experiencing a problem, Cheney saw the White House physician. It was discovered there that he was experiencing a recurrence of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart, said Megan Mitchell, a Cheney spokeswoman.
As a result, Cheney was scheduled to go to George Washington University Hospital in the afternoon for an outpatient procedure — an electrical shock — to restore his normal rhythm, Mitchell said. Cheney was remaining at the White House until time for the procedure, and participated in regular morning briefings with President Bush, among other duties.
Cheney told Bush of his condition. The president responded "like he would with any friend," said spokesman Tony Fratto, by wishing the vice president well and telling him to "go and make sure the doctors do what they need to do."
Neither Bush or Cheney appear to have left the White House, or the Washington area, in a couple of weeks. The suspicious might suspect they're under house arrest or something. But that of course would be quite mad.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Muhammad Yunus, explains what happened to the 'great' economies of the world, and how we got here, on the brink of something dark and terrible, for everyone (excerpts) :
The Full Interview Is Here
For a long time, the main priorities have been the maximization of profits and rapid growth -- but that focus has led to the current situation.
Capitalism, with all its market mechanisms, has to survive -- there is no question. What I excoriate is that today there is only one incentive for doing business, and that is the maximization of profits. But the incentive of doing social good must be included. There need to be many more companies whose primary aim is not that of earning the highest profits possible, but that of providing the greatest benefit possible for human kind.
Today's capitalism has degenerated into a casino. The financial markets are propelled by greed. Speculation has reached catastrophic proportions. These are all things that have to end.
In the US, the financial system has completely split off from the real economy. Castles were built in the sky, and suddenly people realized that these castles don't exist at all. That was the point at which the financial system collapsed.
Monday, October 13, 2008
So where's Vice President Dick Cheney? Any truth to rumours passing through some military circles that Dick is ill? In a critical way?
His last public appearance, according to the VP's website, was October 3. Here's how he looked :
His last words :
...we've kept our focus on the future, we've kept the right priorities, and we've made wise choices. History will be the judge -- and history, I believe, will say, job well done.What sort of (late) October Surprise would the Washington DC funeral of the vice president be?
Here's hoping Dick is still okay. He still has a lot of questions to answer, for many years after BushCo. ends. War crime trials are not short.
It knows you will be leaving the house, eventually. It flies in and circles, high above your house, for ten hours, its missiles poised to fire on you within 60 seconds of its cameras making a positive identification.
Unlike other missiles, this one can wait around...
A revolutionary missile that can stalk a target until the perfect moment to strike is being developed by the Ministry of Defence for use against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The so-called lurker bomb will also be able to shadow British troops for up to ten hours or 100 miles, ready to take out enemy targets with surgical precision at a minute’s notice.
Fire Shadow’s ability to ‘stooge’ above the troops means it can be guided to a target within seconds. And its deadly precision requires only a small warhead of 50lb, compared with the RAF’s smallest bomb of 500lb.
Fire Shadow can be guided to its target by troops on the ground with lasers, by operators in aircraft or helicopters, or by the Army’s new Watchkeeper surveillance drone.
The concept of a lurker bomb is the cornerstone of the MoD’s Indirect-Fire Precision Attack project. Fire Shadow is one of six projects that include an artillery shell that can electronically ‘sense’ its target, a new anti-aircraft missile for the Royal Navy, and advanced guidance for the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS).
It will also make one hell of a convincing blackmail-extortion weapon.
You get a phone call, you're told to deposit $5 million into an account, the missile is flying, you can't escape it, it knows exactly where you are, you have six hours to come up with the cash or the missile takes you, and whoever happens to be around you, out.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Architect and photographer Wally Pacholka has been shooting images of the galaxy above us, around us, for 30 years, from stunning locations across the United States.
More on the above image, taken from inside a cave in Utah, and not from a moon orbiting Saturn, here
You can visit Wally's exhibition of magnificent prints here
We wipe the starfield, mostly, from our skies with city lights, and with that stunning vista banished, we lose the sense of wonder about the universe that has awed upright apes, and no doubt many other animals on this planet, night after night for millions of years. Our first grunted questions to each other surely must have been, with lots of pointing to the twinkling star and flashing planet filled crow black sky above, "So what's that all about?"
When we lose that awe of the night skies, it's little surprise then we have such trouble wrapping our minds around the Dreamtime stories, and the mythical ancient tales of other original people, for whom the sky came alive every night.
The night skies of the Northern Territory are not quite as vivid as the above and below starfields, but on a clear, moonless summer's night, it comes close. I once watched a 30 minute long meteor shower in the skies above a cabin in the lower Sierras. I had a camera, but I decided to leave it inside. I never regretted it. If there was a camera in my hands, I wouldn't have laid flat out on the deck and let myself fall into that deep black sky, filled with darting, fleeting, mostly glorious streaks of light, impossible to follow the path of them. Photos would never have captured the peaking awe of that night as perfectly as the movie camera in the memory did.
Another Wally Pacholka print :
This is the quote that inspired the title of this blog. As the United States under George W. Bush begs China and Russia and Asian investors for emergency financial aid, at the end of the worst week for world stock market losses in living memory, more than $5 trillion so far, it seems like the right time to revisit that quote :
"'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality...we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''- Senior advisor (that would be Karl Rove) to President Bush, Summer, 2002.
Incredible. Think Progress reveals that during an eight minute long speech by President Bush, which was supposed to restore confidence to the stock market, you know, make it go up a bit, or at least stop plummeting, the market itself dropped by an extraordinary 107 points.
By comparison, the Dow Jones lost about 1000 points on 9/11, but that took a few hours, and the complete destruction of most of the World Trade Centre complex. And an attack on the Pentagon.
What a legacy.
China stepping in to soak up debt, and buy lots of crap they don't need from other countries, was one of the "miracle cures" for the global financial meltdown. Forget it, it's not going to happen :
China will flood the world with fresh money, but only when the best of American business, property and infrastructure is going cheap. At least, cheaper than it is right now. You don't have to be a Chinese economist to know that the United States is soon going to have one hell of a bargain sale.
As the financial crisis has spiralled, some have treated the relative silence of Beijing as a tantalising sign: China has vast foreign reserves, a huge sovereign wealth fund and has previously demonstrated its willingness to invest heavily in Wall Street. Many have been holding their breath for a dramatic move by Beijing to step in and calm nerves where Washington has failed.
But Andy Rothman, CLSA’s chief China economist, told clients in a note yesterday: “There is simply no way that the Chinese Communist Party can restore confidence in American and European credit markets and there is no step that Beijing policy-makers can take to solve the liquidity problem in western banking systems.”
For China to save the world with consumption would take a more extreme shift of behaviour than seems possible. And China’s famous exports, said Mr Rothman, will not be the driver many expect. Despite its well-established image as an unstoppable engine of export growth, China’s economy is predominantly driven by domestic consumption and investment: last year, exports accounted for only 16 per cent of nominal GDP growth.
Chinese households are steadily spending more, said Mr Rothman, but are doing so from a low base and will take many years to reach the levels seen in the United States. The only circumstances under which Chinese consumers could provide a short-term fix for slumping global consumption is if households were suddenly persuaded to borrow recklessly – what Mr Rothman described as a foolish leap into Western lending practices.
“Short of resorting to American-style ‘no documentation’ and ‘no downpayment’ lending, it is difficult to see how Beijing could turn its citizens into the world’s consumer of last resort. China, and the world, are much better off if Beijing continues on its cautious path towards promoting private consumption, rather than jump late on to the ‘liar loan’ bandwagon,” he said.
One main focus of the “China can save the world” optimism has been the high levels – around 16 per cent - of disposable income that Chinese households currently save. If that rate were lowered only slightly, some argue, the overall effect on consumption would be dramatic.
But others believe that the high savings rate in China represents a decision by households to effectively tax themselves in the absence of a viable social safety net. The money is saved against future costs of education, health care and retirement – moves by Beijing for the state to fully fund these things will take years, and it could be many more before the average Chinese sufficiently trusts whatever system is put in place to reduce savings levels.