Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dancing with the Elephant in the Room

Dancing with the Elephant in the Room: It's being one of those days. One of those surrealistic days that compels one to just pause for a minute and take stock. Before I even rose from my nights sleep, I knew it was going to be one of those days. That sensation was confirmed in the most grotesque of ways when I got my first good look at the day, it's raining. Not a downpour or anything, just a drizzly mist that floats more than falls to the ground bringing Fukushima fallout and only God knows what else from the sky with it. The chemtrails were especially heavy yesterday; and now this, always connecting the dots. These days it's always something it seems, always some new heinous threat to peace, life and sanity. Maybe that's why my PTSD is walking point for me these days much to my dismay. It's a reflex action and it never quite goes away, not even with the meds the VA sends me; which I haven't been taking recently because I need to stay sharp, stay frosty ~ something in the ethers is telling me the endgame is nearly upon us. You can feel it too. I know you can.

It isn't just the ethers whispering that the winds of change are about to blow up into a raging storm, or am I the only one experiencing some very lucid & graphic dreams in the course of the last few months. Like so many other things lately, those kind of dreams have been frequent where once they were rare. Signs, omens and portents are nearly as obvious as the growing list of crimes against humanity and sadly, we ignore them both and continue on our little rat lives in a little rat race maze where we still, after all the evidence to the contrary, believe that we can win, and claim some kind of prize. The prize which dangles from a stick held out in front of us by our off-world overseers.

I've often heard it said that the clinical definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior again & again, while expecting different results each time. Just look at us! Here in America the political system is essentially unchanged since it's inception.

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Change Your Beliefs, Change Your World

Change Your Beliefs, Change Your World: Our beliefs are so powerful that they literally create our reality. Our perceptions translate into our experiences. When we become aware of what we believe at our most basic and primal levels, we can understand with much greater clarity why our life experience is the way it is. Beliefs are nothing more than agreements about reality and they can be changed. They are the thoughts that we hold in our imagination and perceive to be real: consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously. If we choose to create an empowered, loving, and expansive way of living, then our beliefs must match those frequencies. By refusing to acknowledge and integrate new information, we effectively hinder our growth and our chances for survival as a species. Therefore, it is vital that we take an honest look at our innermost beliefs about life and ourselves to determine if these really match up with our highest dreams and aspirations.

“Everyone has a bushel basketful of beliefs collected from many sources. Genetic inheritance, family proclivities, childhood experiences, social and cultural influences, and numerous impressions from other lifetimes are among some of the contributors to the invisible bundle of beliefs that define your experience in 3-D reality. Beliefs are the thoughts that you hold most often without question, about yourself and the world at large.

These unnoticed thought-forms are birthed in your imagination and stored in your subconscious memory bank, qualifying your experiences in both the inner and outer worlds. Your beliefs set you up for success or failure. If your worldview is optimistic, you will generally be self-motivated with a positive attitude and engage life with joy and enthusiasm; however, if your worldview tends to lean toward pessimism and negative interpretations of reality, then a sense of hopelessness and despair will overshadow your every encounter.”

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Jesus: be nice to others.

Man who was nailed to a plank for saying how nice it would be if everyone was nice to each other. Had his message misinterpreted by millions who now think it is their job to persecute certain groups of people (christians).

Jesus: be nice to others.

The 147 People Destroying the World

The 147 People Destroying the World:
Richard (R.J.) Eskow writes at Alternet:
Can 147 people perpetuate economic injustice – and make it even worse? Can they subvert the workings of democracy, both abroad and here in the United States? Can 147 people hijack the global economy, plunder the environment, build a world for themselves that serves the few and deprives the many?
There must be some explanation for last week’s economic madness. Take a look:
Cyprus: The European Union acted destructively – and self-destructively – when it tried to seize a portion of the insured savings accounts of the citizens of Cyprus. They were telling anyone with a savings account in the financially troubled nations of the Eurozone: Forget your guaranteed deposits. If we need your money in order to bail out the big banks – banks which have already gambled recklessly with it – we’ll take it.
That didn’t just create a political firestorm in Cyprus. It threatened the European Union’s banking system, and perhaps the Union itself. The fact that the tax on deposits has been partially retracted doesn’t change the basic question: What were they thinking?
The Grand Bargain: The President and Congressional Republicans reportedly moved closer to a deal that would cut Social Security and Medicare while raising taxes – mostly on the middle class – without doing more to create jobs. A “Grand Bargain” like that would run counter to both public opinion and informed economic judgement.
Who would impose more economy-killing austerity when there’s so much evidence of the harm it does? Why would the White House want to become the face of a deal to cut Social Security, killing its own party’s political prospects for a generation?
There’s more:
Him again: Washington reporters once again sought the opinion of Ex-Wyoming senator Alan Simpson, a vitriolic blowhard with no discernible knowledge of either economics or social insurance, and then wrote up his opinions on those topics in flattering pieces like this one.
Derivatives, the Sequel: Four short years after too-big-to-fail banks nearly destroyed the world economy, as the nation continues to suffer the after-effects of the crisis they created, a Congressional committee moved to undo the already-insufficient safeguards in the Dodd/Frank law.
Within days of a Senate Report which outlined the mendacity, extreme risk, and potentiality criminality surrounding JPMorgan Chase’s “London Whale” fiasco, the House Agriculture Committee approved new bills that would legalize trades like the “London Whale.”
Above the Law: The Attorney General of the United States remained silent as the controversy continued over his recent admission that banks like Dimon’s were too big to face prosecution. And yet there were no moves to change either Holder’s policy or the size of these institutions. Politico, the Washington insiders’ tip sheet, ran a piece entitled “Why Washington won’t break up the big banks.”
Dimon Unbound: The Senate report also provided evidence that JPMorgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, failed to manage his bank’s risk and concealed information about its losses from regulators. We learned last week that regulators lowered their rating of Dimon’s bank after chastising the bank’s leadership for management failures that included inadequate safeguards against money-laundering, poor risk management, and failure to separate the banks’ own investments from those of its customers.
Illegalities during Dimon’s tenure as CEO have cost his shareholders billions in settlements and fines. Poor risk management (and additional potential illegalities) cost it another $6.2 billion in Whale-related losses. And yet last week Dimon’s own Board “strongly endorsed” his dual role as CEO and Board Chair, an unusual concentration of power at what is (by some measurements) the world’s largest bank, and commended itself in aproxy filing for the “strength and independence” of its oversight, adding: “The Firm has had strong performance through the cycle since Mr. Dimon became Chairman and CEO.”
All this, in just seven days. Has the world gone insane? What is everybody thinking?
That’s where the number “147″ comes in.
Anthropologist Robin Dunbar tried to find out how many people the typical person “really knows.” He compared primate brains to social groups and published his findings in papers with titles like “Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates.”
Dunbar concluded that the optimum number for a network of human acquaintances was 147.5, a figure which was then rounded up to 150 and became known as “Dunbar’s Number.” He found groups of 150-200 in all sorts of places: Hutterite settlements. Roman army units. Academic sub-specialties. Dunbar concluded that “there is a cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships.”
Around 150 or 200 people form a human being’s social universe. They shape his or her world view, his or her world.
Read more here.

All Your Deposits Are Belong To Us

All Your Deposits Are Belong To Us:

Jesus is pissed
Jesus is pissed
This is my first post and it represents what I’ve been thinking about for a while–the absurdity of our situation as spiritual beings trapped in a materialist circumstance, largely denuded of our biological skills of individual survival. We all feel something coming–this much is undeniable. Perhaps we all prepare–through mental resignation, or physical prepping–for what we feel is unavoidable change. The mere mention of it beckons the moans and groans of clichĂ©-exhaustion at this point. For example, this has been put forward as a particular strategy for the government to attack the populace. But, few seldom argue against the fact that the SHTF scenarios are the destination of modern decadent, iPadded society. Some of us await the sudden SHTF as a cathartic release from this shallow, capitalist culture of accumulation; yet, others deny the suddenness and embrace a slow, steady decline into gradual bedlam, availing all that pay attention to the economic benefits of a society in decline. Regardless of your beliefs, your reliance on the materialistic basis for biological existence in this culture predisposes you to paying attention to the signs at hand: the foremost being what the fuck has just happened in Cyprus.
What the title of this post should have read is: “How to destroy a country–the case of Cyprus” but that seemed a bit dry for the reality that is unfolding before our eyes. Injustice unveils his vile, putrid form before our very eyes this month. Irrespective of the nature of the depositors in Cyprus (because some are grandmas and grandpas who have lost nearly all their lives’ savings at the indiscretion of a banking system) the message is all too clear for all to see–keep your money in a fractional reserve banking system to your inevitable doom. The system of mass trust is breaking down. Where money had previously functioned as the lubricant of formal social relations between contractor and contractee, the money (at the behest of the counterfeiter-in-chief [the central bank]) increases to the detriment of the social relations that depended upon its stability. The more money they print the less your money is worth. Money isn’t wealth; it’s a claim on wealth. Remember that, because that will explain what happens later.
This also means that the ‘social safety net’ is irrevocably being threatened, and this will have consequences. When the fruits of our labour are taken from us for the sake of propping up the fraudulent institution that ostensibly ‘safeguarded’ the fruit of our labour, then we find ourselves in a situation that turns upside-down the logic of our society. We can no longer trust the centre of trust in our society. We find ourselves amidst a social revolution.
What happens in Cyprus will not stay in Cyprus. That is mathematically certain; because the debt ‘crisis’ is being solved by more of the same problem that caused it–loans (so-called bailouts). This is exactly the same method that was used in the 2008 TARP bailout. But the rub this time is that the confiscation of depositors’ money (whether they be rich Russian oligarchs, or semi-affluent Cypriots who’ve saved over 100K Euros for their retirement) should be taken as a message to the rest of us who still have faith in the banking system–the symbolic representation of your labour is no longer safe here, because all your deposits are belong to us. I’m stating the obvious, right? Every sane person would be in the process of removing their money from financial institutions by this point, no? Mattresses should be getting thicker across the world now, shouldn’t they?
Anyone that has seen the true nature of the money changers (Even The Wizard of Oz contained the symbolism) knows that this was inevitable with fractional reserve banking and usury. The writing has been on the wall since we let the usurious class take over; but, is this the destiny of our species? Must we go through the heartbreak of internal confusion and betrayal to get beyond materialism as a species? Must we give up all we have to know who we really are? I find myself optimistic about this transition. Where many have found the root of evil as money, I find it the salvation, because it simply represents that which we always sought in each other–faith. When money is destroyed, we have only ourselves to rely upon to rebuild the broken trust.

The Great Escape

The Great Escape:
Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:
Hello, escapism. My name is Aaron and I’m sure we’ve met.
At some point, you wake up one morning, wipe the blood still oozing from your nose and realize you’re bad at being an adult. Not because you had bad parents or a terrible childhood or have unsupportive friends. Not because you first tasted blood at the age of 7 when a kid nearly twice your age spin-kicked your face into the dirt, or because you spent most of the next decade getting your ass kicked on a regular basis. You’re not bad at being an adult because you weren’t afforded all sorts of opportunities – because you were. You went to college, you had jobs, friends, lovers, even traveled a little.
Nope, you’re bad at being an adult because you’re defective.
Rather, I’m defective. I once wrote:
“…there’s a hole inside all of us. There’s an emptiness we can all feel that’s just out of reach. It’s something we can’t touch or taste, something that sits on the tips of our tongues and on the edge of our lips. Religious people might define it as a lack of spirituality or sickness of the soul. Folks who aren’t can find any number of disorders or emotional and mental states to try to explain it. But the truth is, it’s something a little more.
And we try to fill that hole, that emptiness, with things every day. Some people do it with money and material goods, some do it with booze or pills, others with work, or a quest for power and authority, and some shut down and spend their days in the dark watching hours of television. Whatever it is though, however we choose to try to fill that void it’s never enough. And it will never be enough, so long as we continue to ignore that the very fabric of the world we live in is threadbare.”
That’s some pretty complicated philosophizing for “I just don’t give a fuck about the things most people do, or what they believe people should give a fuck about.”
Humans tend to be drawn to routine and habit. I wake up, make coffee, shower, put on the same pants and shirt I’ve been wearing for three days because I have yet to do laundry, and race to make it out the door to catch the right train. Punch in, sit at my desk. Answer emails and phone calls. Listen to coworkers gossip. Leave for a little while to grab lunch. Sit back down, answer more emails and phone calls. Listen to coworkers gossip. Punch out. Catch the train heading home. Pet the cat. Feed the cat. Sit on the couch. Turn on the television. Scroll through my phone. Wait until I can fall asleep.
Hello, Monday thru Friday.
That’s probably not the normal routine for the subgenus of humans known as average middle class American citizens. There’s variations – a dog instead of a cat, a couple of kids and a partner in the mix. Maybe home ownership or a time-share in some balmy country where the locals look different but are unthreatening because they’re cleaning your sheets and mixing your drinks. Maybe on Tuesday’s you go bowling, or you’ve got a fantasy sports league to keep tabs on.
The ultimate structure however, remains the same.
Therein lies the flaw – I can’t get into that kind of routine and when I do, the gears slowly stop spinning. More than likely I came off the early adulthood assembly line with some serious defect. Instead of installing athleticism, someone installed chain smoking. Instead of fashion sense, a love for bad sci-fi. The slot for accepting hierarchical authoritarian structures remains empty, and the drive to raise progeny behind a white picket fence failed inspection.
Those defects don’t cause complete system failure in a westernized American human, however.
There are patches and fixes for many of these defects. That fantasy sports league I mentioned. Bad science fiction. Good science fiction. Blockbuster movies. Video games. Pornography. A never ending orgy of consumable things. Booze, booze and more booze, along with an endless supply of items you can stuff down your gullet, up your nose and into your veins to keep you going, producing and a productive adult within the confines of a glorious capitalist hegemony at the end of history.
Except, one has to ask oneself, do I really want any of that?
And that’s where apocalyptic fetishism creeps in. Zombies. Plagues. Vampires. Nuclear war. The rise of the machines. The fall of the empire. My parents finding my facebook profile. Any number of fantastic scenarios where the whole thing crumbles and there’s a massive playground where everyone’s equal again.
And perhaps that’s the largest defect – the conscious one. The one I installed in my brain which asks the type of questions I believe we all ask but slightly louder. Why have I been protesting two or more wars for more than ten years? Why is my good friend six figures in debt due to a debilitating medical condition? Why did both my parents lose their jobs? Where’s this magical fountain of jobs politicians point to when whining about welfare? What’s the point of spending more than third of one’s day on menial tasks whose value are measured by a person playing golf halfway across the country?
And when the apocalypse doesn’t come, when I can’t just kick the lego castle over and start building something else so no one ever has to ask questions like these again, I create my own mini-armageddon’s. I pick a fight with a stranger in a friend’s bar because his politics aren’t like mine. I pick a fight with an entire bar of brodudes because, well, they’re brodudes. I wake up in a car that’s been idling for two hours in front of my house and the only sound I can make out from the stranger peering through my window is 5-0. I roll out of bed, put my feet on the freezing cold floor and try to dodge the cat vomit I forgot to clean up on my way to the bathroom.
The world as it is rolls humans off an assembly line and makes promises that all their equipment will be continually upgraded, so long as they follow the rules and pay no mind to the machines left discarded and unused, broken or otherwise obsolete. In those cases, despite the equipment given, the best those folks can hope to do is kneel at a Randian altar and pray the market will bless them with another life, provided they’ve paid off their student loans.
Read the full post at Diatribe Media.

Just the good parts

Just the good parts:
"I want to be an actress, but I don't want to go on auditions."
"I want to play varsity sports, but I need to be sure I'm going to make the team."
"It's important to sell this great new service, but I'm not willing to deal with rejection."
You don't get to just do the good parts. Of course. In fact, you probably wouldn't have chosen this path if it was guaranteed to work every time.
The implication of this might surprise you, though: when the tough parts come along, the rejection and the slog and the unfair bad breaks, it makes sense to welcome them. Instead of cursing or fearing the down moments, understand that they mean you've chosen reality, not some unsustainable fantasy. It means that you're doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.
The very thing you're seeking only exists because of the whole. We can't deny the difficult parts, we have no choice but to embrace them.

How the News Media Betrayed Us on Iraq

How the News Media Betrayed Us on Iraq:
The tenth anniversary of the start of America’s illegal and
aggressive war against Iraq should not pass without recalling that
the mainstream news media eagerly participated in the Bush
administration’s dishonest campaign for public support. It is no
exaggeration to say that most news operations were little more than
extensions of the White House Office of Communications. Abandoning
even the pretense of an adversarial relationship with the
government, the media became shameful conduits for unsubstantiated
and outright false information about Saddam Hussein’s alleged
threat to the American people. Included among the falsehoods were
reports that Saddam had a hand in the 9/11 attacks, had trained
al-Qaeda fighters, and had attempted to obtain uranium ore and
aluminum tubes for nuclear bombs.
Put bluntly, the disastrous invasion of Iraq, which was sold on
the basis of lies told by President George W. Bush, Vice-President
Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld, national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and
others might not have happened without the enthusiastic help of
The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall
Street Journal
, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and
others. The blood of more than a hundred thousand — perhaps more
than a million — Iraqis and 4,500 Americans is on their hands
Today, like the Bush administration alumni attempting to duck
responsibility, the media blame “bad intelligence” for their
conduct. But that will not wash. The dissenting reports of Knight
Ridder’s Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay, along with a very few
others, show definitively that in 2002–03 solid intelligence
information undermining every propagandistic administration claim
was readily available to anyone willing to use traditional
reporting techniques. Strobel and Landay were mostly ignored. On
the rare occasions when The New York Times or The
Washington Post
reported on the doubts intelligence personnel
had about the Bush narrative, the stories were buried deep in the
paper. (See Bill Moyers’s special “Buying the War” and Greg
Mitchell’s book Wrong for So Long.)
The media did not merely pass along baseless assertions; the
television channels also attempted to shape public opinion with a
biased selection of guests. Prowar voices abounded, while informed
war skeptics were scarce. Even when an opponent of war was
featured, he or she had to share the time with a prowar advocate,
yet the prowar side was often featured unchallenged. As the war
became regarded as inevitable, the cable news channels shifted
almost exclusively to military analysis, as though the question was
no longer whether the nation ought to go to war, but rather
how it would be fought. Many of the retired generals who
were presented as objective experts had seats on the boards of
defense contractors and were getting Pentagon briefings.
What motivated those who covered the run-up to the Iraq invasion
this way? Several factors were surely at work. Groupthink and the
fear of going out on a limb must have played a large role. The
vaunted courage of journalists is more pose than fact. (This makes
the work of Strobel and Landay, Phil Donahue of MSNBC until he was
cancelled, and Bob Simon of CBS’s Sixty Minutes all the
more admirable.) “Pack journalism” is reinforced by a fear that
reports suggesting skepticism about a military action will be
interpreted as unpatriotic. The smear factories run by militarist
right-wing media watchdogs ensure this will be the case. Moreover,
being branded un-American for doubting a president’s case for war
may lead to viewer or reader boycotts, which in turn may lead to
pressure from advertisers. Thus, the corporate bottom line played a
Another factor is the simple truth that war makes better news
than peace. No one wins a Pulitzer Prize for being a peace
correspondent. We must not underestimate this as a motive for
favoring war.
Finally, we can’t overlook that many in the media were simply
motivated by nationalism and deference to the state with its
dazzling war technology.
This story of media malfeasance would be bad enough if it were
just history. Unfortunately, even as media figures now issue mea
culpas about their shameful Iraq “coverage,” they are engaged in
precisely the same shoddy business with respect to Iran and its
alleged but unproven nuclear-weapons program.
This article
originally appeared
at the Future of Freedom

Picture Sundays: Doberman Chariots

Picture Sundays: Doberman Chariots:
Doberman harness racing
“Ready for the race! Brutus of Quintre and his charge are ready for the sulky races, a regular feature of some of the South African sporting events.” Photos via The Doberman Insider.
Now that we are without a car, it’s time for us to figure out alternative forms of transportation. Our late dog was a Doberman and I remembered a book we used to have about the breed that showed some unusual events that used to be held in South Africa in the 1970s: harness racing with Dobermans and kid jockeys!
Remembering just how powerful and fast our Doberman was, I imagine these races were quite a thrill for the kids in those carts.
doberman race
Try this in the US and, no doubt, child protective services would shut down the fun in no time. For the adult version I imagine we’d need a team of Dobes to pull our cart. Practical transportation and the start of Los Angeles’ answer to the Iditerod!

This week "Through the Lens of an iPhone"

This week "Through the Lens of an iPhone":
If you would like to see more submissions, then head over to the Flickr group, or click on any of the photos you see, to see that iPhoneographers Flickr stream.

Want to get involved? Then head over to the Flickr group and join up, read the simple rules and start uploading, but remember, all photos must be taken and processed on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad (NO DSLR photos please).
The Churchyard
"Nighthawks" for dumplings, Bukchon, Seoul
saleswoman at the market Amsterdam
Hopeless Romantic

Teen has special appreciation for resurrections

Teen has special appreciation for resurrections: His pastor chose Taylor Carol's song for Easter Sunday service at InSpirit Center for Spiritual Living in Mission Viejo.
"You Raise Me Up."
Taylor, who just turned 18, has the voice for it.
He sounds a lot like Josh Groban, whose version of the...

Dom Mariani And The Majestic Kelp "Underwater Casino" 2003

Dom Mariani And The Majestic Kelp "Underwater Casino" 2003: "This is a great side-project from Dom, who you probably know from The Stems and Someloves. Its all surf-flavoured instrumentals with that distinctive Dom Mariani melodic garage crunch(!). This was recorded in 2003 and came out on Head Records. Not many have heard this record. It is definately a keeper. "Underwater Casino" - place your bets!" - Tiger TigerKiller surf guitar meets pop garage grooves on Dom Mariani & the Majestic Kelp's Underwater Casino. Mariani hit the forefront of the Australian music scene with his bands The Stems, DM3 & the Someloves. His long held passion for instrumental ... Full Descriptionsounds and his eclectic influences combine with spectacular result. Laid back yet full of attitude, Underwater Casino rides between 60s influenced surf, guitar-pop, blues and serene psychedelic sounds with a wave to spaghetti westerns. 2006.

Dom Mariani And The Majestic Kelp:
Dom Mariani - guitar, vocals / Stuart Loasby - bass / Robbie Scorer - drums / Killian Albrecht - guitar

01 Roulette 02 The Golden Ones 03 Tremeloe Sun 04 Lisa Marie 05 Tijuana Dreamin 06 Indian n'Ocean 07 Underwater Casino 08 Sergio Leone 09 Cherry Red 10 Let It Hang 11 One More Spin 12 Starline 13 Oriana

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Handcrafted Bicycles Made Of Bamboo

Handcrafted Bicycles Made Of Bamboo: [Click here to view the video in this article]

After three years of trial and error, research and tests, Ah Sun Chuah finally devised a plan to create his first bamboo bicycle that would bring together the beneficial aspects of the bamboo with the advantages of modern technology.

These naturally handcrafted Bamboobee bicycles have been put through an in-house special treatment during which a honey-infusion process is carried out on the bamboo. This prevents the bamboo from cracking and will help the bike last for longer.

It being made out of bamboo will also mean that the bicycle will feature a naturally dampening effect during a ride.

The Bamboobee bicycle will have a warranty period of 10 years.

For more information about the Bamboobee bicycle's features and benefits, you can watch the video below:

[via, images via Bamboobee]