Tuesday, March 20, 2018

“How the Deep State Robbed the Working Stiff”

“How the Deep State Robbed the Working Stiff”
by Bill Bonner

"Nothing much to report from Wall Street, Washington, or the ranch…So we continue our look back at what we have learned so far. Most of what we know, of course, is what everyone else knows, too:

Stocks are near record highs…with the Dow closing at nearly 25,000 last Friday…and the so-called FAANG stocks - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google - hitting levels not seen since the Nasdaq crash in 2000. Include Microsoft and Nvidia, and you get a combined market cap of $4 trillion…up 23% this year and 69% over the last 12 months.

Debt is at a record high, too (and scheduled to go much higher). Not only are the feds borrowing at an unprecedented rate, The Wall Street Journal tells us that consumers are, too: "Interest rates are on the rise, but that hasn’t curbed Americans’ appetite for consumer debt. If anything, consumers are borrowing more on credit cards or through auto loans than they have in years, and lenders seeking growth are happy to oblige them.

Interest rates are still about as low as they’ve ever been (the Fed Funds rate is at 1.42%)… and the ‘expansion’ is one of the longest on record, at 105 months (the average is only 58 months). And it’s the weakest ever.

Spotty growth: How these things came to be is a matter of debate. Some will say they represent the ‘inherent strength of the U.S. economy.’ But here is where we peel off from others. Here is where we think we know something they don’t. Is the economy remarkably resilient? Yes. Resourceful? Yes. Strong? No.

The growth rate - probably the best measure of ‘strength’, has been generally softening for the last 30-plus years. And what ‘growth’ there is…is spotty. Some areas are doing much better than others. As we saw last week, the big urban agglomerates, with many immigrants, tend to be dynamic and prosperous. Many other areas have been left behind, especially in former manufacturing regions of ‘flyover country’.

Some people, too, have done very well. The richest 10% has gotten almost all the wealth gains of the 21st century. That means 90% of the population has gotten nothing. The median man, for example, has lost real income (when adjusted for inflation), not just for the last 18 years, but for the last 40. 

Cheated by the elite: Adjusting for inflation is always a treacherous exercise…and usually rather squirrelly. But a man in 1978 only had to work about 1,000 hours to afford the standard model F-150 pickup truck. Today, he has to work 1,200 hours. That ain’t getting ahead. It’s falling behind. His major asset - his time - has become 20% less valuable. Meanwhile, stock owners have generally gotten much richer, with the real value of the Dow up about 10 times since the late 70s. In 1978, the common working man could have labored for about 200 hours and fully participated in American capitalism by buying the entire 30 Dow stocks. Today, he has to work 1,130 hours to buy the same capital assets.

The typical working stiff feels he has been cheated. But that’s another thing we think we understand and others don’t. He’s right. He’s been cheated. But not by the Mexicans…or the Chinese…or by bad trade deals. He’s been cheated by his own elite.

The greatest rip-off in history: Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Alan Greenspan, Barack Obama, Janet Yellen, Mitch McConnell… and many thousands of others, most of whom don’t even realize that they are enabling the greatest rip-off in history. These people are the insiders…the lobbyists…the Wall Street sharpies…the bureaucrats and cronies in government…the academia…the military/security complex…the medical industry…the mainstream media…and many others.

They make up a loose collection of elite who control the government and use it just as you’d expect - for their own benefit. No matter who is in the White House, no matter which party controls Congress, these people - with their own internal rivalries and internecine wrangling for favors - are the real deciders. We call this group the Deep State.

You see, another thing we’ve realized is that the government is not really there to serve the ‘people’. It is there to serve the people who control it. Who are they? Our elected representatives? The president? Hardly. They don’t even know what it is doing. The federal government is far too large…with far too many fingers in far too many pies for the elected representatives to keep track.

That’s why lobbyists write the important legislation…such as last year’s tax cut…or Obamacare…or the recent tariffs on steel and aluminium. The politicians don’t even read these complicated rules and regulations.

Why does this happen? As government grows larger…and time goes by…smart people - the great Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto called them the ‘foxes’ - figure out how to take charge. This is not at all surprising. It has happened to every government that ever existed. From ancient Rome, to the court of Louis XVI, to the Soviet Union, there is always a group of insiders who manage power for their own benefit.

Why does this matter? In 1971, President Nixon ended the convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold. Almost without realizing it, the Deep State got control of America’s dollar. By 1987, they had learned how to use their control to boost their wealth far beyond anything they had seen before. But now, they face a new test: Their fake-money system may soon explode. More to come…”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Musical Interlude: Ludovico Einaudi, “Oltremare”

Ludovico Einaudi, “Oltremare”

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Why do many galaxies appear as spirals? A striking example is M101, shown below, whose relatively close distance of about 27 million light years allows it to be studied in some detail. Recent evidence indicates that a close gravitational interaction with a neighboring galaxy created waves of high mass and condensed gas which continue to orbit the galaxy center. These waves compress existing gas and cause star formation. 
Click image for larger size.
One result is that M101, also called the Pinwheel Galaxy, has several extremely bright star-forming regions (called HII regions) spread across its spiral arms. M101 is so large that its immense gravity distorts smaller nearby galaxies.”

"Albanian Proverb"

"When you have given nothing, ask for nothing."
- Albanian Proverb

Chet Raymo, “Spooked”

by Chet Raymo

"The word everyone uses is "spooky." What they are talking about is entanglement, the spooky heart of quantum mechanics. You create a pair of subatomic particles, photons say, and send them on their separate ways. The particles seem to know what is happening to each other on their separate journeys. An activity performed on one particle can instantaneously change the properties of the other particle, no matter how far apart. And- this is the kicker- apparently instantaneously. Their fates are "entangled."

In the latest test of entanglement (reported in the August 14 issue of Nature), physicists entangled photon pairs using a source in Geneva, Switzerland, then passed them through fiber-optical cables of exactly equal length to receiving stations in the villages of Jussy and Satigny, which lie respectively east and west of Lake Geneva, 18 kilometers apart. "Here, the photons' entanglement was checked by an identical pair of interferometers. As they had travelled identical distances, the photons would have reached the interferometers simultaneously, as best as modern optics and electronics allows." 
Click image for larger size.
The effect does not seem to diminish with distance. Eighteen thousand kilometers? Eighteen million kilometers? Across the universe? Instantaneous action-at-a-distance? The new experiments in Switzerland suggest that "any signal passing between the entangled photons is, if not instantaneous, travelling at least ten thousand times faster than light." Is the universe itself entangled at the subatomic level from a big bang source? And what, pray, would it mean if this were so?

I'm being somewhat whimsical about an entangled universe, but clearly nature is trying to tell us something with the quantum entanglement experiments, but no one knows quite what. Einstein and Schrodinger, two of the founders of quantum mechanics, admitted to being baffled by entanglement, an effect that seems to violate our common notions of physical causality. Spooky? Oh, yes, spooky, indeed.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Glennallen, Alaska, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

“Think Independently; Act Decisively”

“Think Independently; Act Decisively”
by Jeff Thomas

“When I was twenty-four, I knew virtually nothing about business and less about banking. I had very limited self-esteem and assumed that, if someone was wearing a suit, he knew what he was doing and I shouldn’t question him.

At that time, I came into some money for the first time in my life and opened a CD at a prominent bank, to keep the money “safe.” That was in the early 1970s and bank rates were phenomenal. I had chosen the bank due to the fact that they were paying 11.5% - more than anyone else. One day, I decided that it would be prudent to visit the bank and meet the manager. When I went in, there were quite a few young pretty women walking around in designer outfits - something I’d never seen in a bank. One of them said I couldn’t see the manager right away, but she showed me to a leather sofa and offered to bring me a drink.

I’d never heard of a bank serving alcoholic beverages, but it made me feel a bit special to sit on the nice sofa and have a rum and Coke. By the time I’d finished my drink, I asked again when the manager would be seeing me and the young woman said, “Soon. Would you like another drink?”

At that moment, I suddenly began to feel a bit uncertain about the bank. I refused the drink but remained waiting. As I waited, I watched the other customers, who were being pampered by the staff and it occurred to me that my idea of a banker was somebody who was careful and frugal with my deposit, not lavish. After being in the bank for an hour, with no manager in sight, I called the young woman over and said, “I’d like to see the manager now.”

She said that it wasn’t possible at the moment, but that he would be available “soon.” I said, “In that case, I’ll take all my money out of the bank right now.” She tried to discourage me, but I said, a bit loudly, “Are you saying that withdrawals are not possible?” She looked a bit nervous and asked me to wait just a moment while she got the manager. She returned a few minutes later and said that he’d see me now.

I was brought into the manager’s office who smiled, shook my hand and asked if I had any questions regarding my account. I said, “No, I’ll be withdrawing all the money now.” He pointed out that that would be a mistake, as, in a few weeks, I’d be receiving my quarterly interest and it would be better to leave the money in the bank.

At that moment, I reminded myself that I knew nothing about banking and the manager seemed to know everything. Also, what he said made sense. Surely, I was over-reacting. But I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I thought for a moment, took a deep breath and said, “I want to withdraw it all now. I accept the loss of interest.”

He stated that what I was requesting was unusual and that, in any case, he was unsure if a clerk was available to provide me with the withdrawal at that moment. I said, “You can give me the money now, or I can leave here and go to the newspaper office and offer them a front-page headline that your bank is refusing to provide depositors with withdrawals. Which do you prefer?” He then lost the smile and told the young woman to bring in a statement of account. We agreed on the balance and I was paid out in cash.

Two weeks later, the bank closed its doors and an announcement was later made that it had gone into liquidation. The directors had left the country. The liquidators charged exorbitantly for their work and took a full five years to perform the liquidation. When they were done, the depositors received less than 5% on the dollar.

So… this may be only a moderately entertaining story, but I learned a major lesson from it. I was just a young no-account, who was entirely unqualified to judge those “in the know.” But my instincts told me that this was no way to run a bank.

Of course, the hook here was that, in a few weeks, I’d be getting that fat interest payment. If I could just be reasonable and wait until then, I’d be getting my hands on more money. Surely that was worth waiting for? No, it wasn’t. In fact it almost never is. When your gut tells you that a situation has turned sour, it doesn’t matter if it sounds like the best deal in town. The smart move is to get out - immediately. Don’t wait for the alleged payoff - accept your losses and run.

Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate that this lesson has stuck with me and, although I’ve missed out on the occasional good deal, I’ve avoided far more bad ones and, on balance, I came out way ahead.

Unfortunately, though, we’re trained to follow the accepted path. As an advisor, I frequently meet Americans who are counting on their 401k’s to provide for their retirement. My advice to them is that their 401k’s are invested in stocks, which are overdue to go south, so it’s better to get out now. They invariably say, “But if I do that, I’ll pay a 10% penalty.” My advice is to take the hit now to avoid a bigger hit later.

But many, many people cannot bring themselves to face a small loss in order to avoid a greater loss—they blindly follow the “bird-in-the-hand” concept. Similarly, these same people often say that they don’t need to create a better economic future for themselves, as their pension will cover their needs. I remind them that pensions are also primarily invested in the stock market and are likely to go south. Further, their immediate past president declared that the US government plans to require pension funds to be invested substantially in US treasuries, to “assure value.”

Unfortunately, treasuries may be hit even harder than the stock market in the coming crisis. However, when I offer these warnings, the response, more often than not, is, “I’m sure that they know what they’re doing,” or “I don’t waste time worrying about it - it will be okay,” or “They can’t let everybody go broke. They have to come up with a solution.” Unfortunately, these rejoinders are extremely flimsy at best and economically suicidal at worst. When a crisis is imminent, it’s every man for himself and he’d better learn to rely on his instincts and create an alternative plan, or he’ll be going down with the ship.

I was fortunate to have been faced with being cleaned out early in life and, of course, even more fortunate that I took a contrarian view and abandoned the sinking ship. (It was sheer luck that I visited the bank when I did and got out at the last minute.)

The significance of this is that, although your banker, broker and all the “experts” on TV news programs may advise you to accept the status quo without question, you unquestionably should, first, question everything and, second, listen to your gut.

Those who remain reliant upon banks, governments, pension plans, the market, etc. to save them during the coming crisis, will very likely become casualties. Those who take a contrarian approach will have no guarantees, but will have greater odds of survival, through diversification out of conventional investments and problem jurisdictions.”

Kahlil Gibran, "On Talking"

"On Talking"

"You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips,
and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space,
that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.
There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought
reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.
When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place,
let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the color is forgotten and the vessel is no more."
- Kahlil Gibran

"Cool! We're in Hawaii! Let's chat on our cell phones!"

"Facebook Is a Parasite... Even 'The New York Times' Is Admitting It"

"Facebook Is a Parasite... 
Even 'The New York Times' Is Admitting It"
by Paul Rosenberg

"The Times is only on the story to hurt Donald Trump of course, but they have nonetheless brought it up. And most of the commenters at The Times’ website saw through the ridiculous Blue/Red sideshow. They ignored it and got to the real issues. Here’s one snip: "Can we just say it? Facebook is evil. Its entire raison d’etre is the balkanization of communities and nations in pursuit of financial profit. It monetizes and sells the most intimate details of private human relationships."

Here’s another that gets to the core: "Power in 21st Century comes from influencing people’s choices without their knowledge. Age of mass customization has arrived with weaponizing these techniques."

What the Article Says: In brief, the article notes that Republican donors, through the efforts of someone with connections to the Obama campaigns, hired a company called Cambridge Analytica to produce psychological (“psychographic”) profiles of millions of Americans, in hopes of “using personality profiling to shift America’s culture.” To do this they obtained detailed Facebook data on 50 million people. And used it. From there the article descends into minutia. (How they got the Facebook data, whether a Russian person worked at Cambridge Analytica, and so on.)

What the Article Didn’t Say: What The Times left out was that the Hillary campaign did almost the same thing and with the enthusiastic support of Google. And make no mistake, this is the new model for all politicians, and they will not give it up. They’ll just be more careful in the future... that is, if The Times article is of lasting effect. (You can be sure that Facebook will be steering its billion-plus users away from the subject.)

The Parasite Model: Facebook, Google, and all the free services operate as parasites. So do the “discount with card” groceries, etc., etc. All of these operations are pushing you to give them your information, which they will use to manipulate you. And when they’re done manipulating you, they’ll sell your information to others, so they can do the same. Regardless of how creatively this is justified, it is plainly parasitic.

You Don’t Think the Spies Are in on This? I wrote a short book with Jonathan Logan explaining how and why the spy agencies are all over this. And as we noted in it, both Google and Facebook have the ability to deeply surveil and manipulate billions of people at once. Any spies who didn’t use this would be abject fools.

Where This Ends Up: Again to be very brief (see the book linked above for details), this ends up where the Chinese are already taking it: rewarding “good” citizens and punishing “bad” citizens. However covered up and prettied up, this is what serves rulers, and this is what they’ll do to servile people... however long they can."

X22 Report, “Trumps Policies Are Pushing The Fed To Break The System”

X22 Report, “Trumps Policies Are Pushing The Fed To Break The System”
Related followup report:
X22 Report, “March Madness, Hold On The Deep State Is About To Push Their Agenda”

"How It Really Is"

"If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It"

"If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It"
by James Howard Kunstler

"Various readers, fans, blog commenters, Facebook trolls, and auditors twanged on me all last week about my continuing interest in the RussiaRussiaRussia hysteria, though there is no particular consensus of complaint among them — except for a general “shut up, already” motif. For the record, I’m far more interested in the hysteria itself than the Russia-meddled-in the-election case, which I consider to be hardly any case at all beyond 13 Russian Facebook trolls.

The hysteria, on the other hand, ought to be a matter of grave concern, because it appears more and more to have been engineered by America’s own intel community, its handmaidens in the Dept of Justice, and the twilight’s last gleamings of the Obama White House, and now it has shoved this country in the direction of war at a time when civilian authority over the US military looks sketchy at best. This country faces manifold other problems that are certain to reduce the national standard of living and disrupt the operations of an excessively complex and dishonest economy, and the last thing America needs is a national war-dance over trumped-up grievances with Russia.

The RussiaRussiaRussia narrative has unspooled since Christmas and is blowing back badly through the FBI, now with the firing (for cause) of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe hours short of his official retirement (and inches from the golden ring of his pension). He was axed on the recommendation of his own colleagues in the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, and they may have been influenced by the as-yet-unreleased report of the FBI Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, due out shortly.

The record of misbehavior and “collusion” between the highest ranks of the FBI, the Democratic Party, the Clinton campaign, several top political law firms, and a shady cast of international blackmail peddlars is a six-lane Beltway-scale evidence trail compared to the muddy mule track of Trump “collusion” with Russia. It will be amazing if a big wad of criminal cases are not dealt out of it, even as The New York Times sticks its fingers in its ears and goes, “La-la-la-la-la….”

It now appears that Mr. McCabe’s statements post-firing tend to incriminate his former boss, FBI Director James Comey - who is about to embark, embarrassingly perhaps, on a tour for his self-exculpating book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership."

A great aura of sanctimony surrounds the FBI these days. Even the news pundits seem to have forgotten the long, twisted reign of J. Edgar Hoover (1924 – 1972), a dangerous rogue who excelled at political blackmail. And why, these days, would any sane American take pronouncements from the CIA and NSA at face value? What seems to have gone on in the RussiaRussiaRussia matter is that various parts of the executive branch in the last months under Mr. Obama gave each other tacit permission, wink-wink, to do anything necessary to stuff HRC into the White House and, failing that, to derail her opponent, the Golden Golem of Greatness.

The obvious lesson in all this huggermugger is that the ends don’t justify the means. I suspect there are basically two routes through this mess. One is that the misdeeds of FBI officers, Department of Justice lawyers, and Intel agency executives get adjudicated by normal means, namely, grand juries and courts. That would have the salutary effect of cleansing government agencies and shoring up what’s left of their credibility at a time when faith in institutions hangs in the balance.

The second route would be for the authorities to ignore any formal response to an evermore self-evident trail of crimes, and to allow all that political energy to be funneled into manufactured hysteria and eventually a phony provocation of war with Russia. Personally, I’d rather see the US government clean house than blow up the world over an engineered hallucination."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"One Wanders Through Life..."

"One wanders through life as if wandering through a field in the dark of night, 
wearing a blindfold and very heavy shoes, with a poisonous toad waiting patiently
beneath a clump of weeds, knowing full well that eventually you will step on him."
 ~ Lemony Snicket

"How Totalitarians Weaponize Loneliness"

"How Totalitarians Weaponize Loneliness"
by Jon Miltimore

"Thinkers as early as Aristotle observed that man is, by nature, a social creature. For this reason, there has been a surge of media attention on the “loneliness plague” which the Information Age has wrought.

Most media attention has focused on the health consequences of loneliness, which stand to overwhelm government health systems in the coming years. A popular article in The Guardian written by George Monbiot a few years ago explained all the ways loneliness is killing people-literally. “Ebola is unlikely ever to kill as many people as this disease strikes down. Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; loneliness, research suggests, is twice as deadly as obesity. Dementia, high blood pressure, alcoholism and accidents- all these, like depression, paranoia, anxiety and suicide, become more prevalent when connections are cut. We cannot cope alone.”

Far less attention has been paid to the social and political consequences of loneliness. (A notable exception, of course, is Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, whose 2001 book "Bowling Alone" focused on the decline of community and social capital in America.)  

But it would be a mistake to overlook the effects loneliness has on political systems. In her classic work "The Origins of Totalitarianism," the philosopher Hannah Arendt described loneliness as “the common ground for terror” and “the essence of totalitarian government.”

What Is Loneliness? Arendt differentiated loneliness from mere isolation or the absence of people. (Cicero, after all, noted that Cato “was never less alone than when alone.”) This distinction was first explored by the philosopher Epictetus, the Greek Stoic who was born a slave. Both he and Arendt suggest that solitude and loneliness are quite different; in fact, they are opposites.

Epictetus believed that being alone (monos) was actually a form of independence. The lonely man (eremos), however, is one surrounded by people with whom he cannot establish contact.

This distinction is a bit abstract. But Arendt offers an effective description of loneliness in a passage from "The Origins of Totalitarianism": “What makes loneliness so unbearable is the loss of one's own self which can be realized in solitude, but confirmed in its identity only by the trusting and trustworthy company of my equals. In this situation, man loses trust in himself as the partner of his thoughts and that elementary confidence in the world which is necessary to make experiences at all. Self and world, capacity for thought and experience are lost at the same time.”

What we see here is that, according to Arendt, loneliness is not the absence of people but an absence of self-identity, which is attained through companionship and community. But loneliness is preceded by social isolation, and it is in this first stage of isolation where the first seeds of terror and totalitarianism are sewn, Arendt said. 

“Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other… Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result. This isolation is, as it were, pre-totalitarian; its hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together…; isolated men are powerless by definition.”

Eventually, Arendt said, this isolation devolves into loneliness, a condition that goes beyond the political realm and corrodes the soul of man. “In isolation, man remains in contact with the world as the human artifice; only when the most elementary form of human creativity, which is the capacity to add something of one’s own to the common world, is destroyed, isolation becomes altogether unbearable… Isolation then becomes loneliness.

While isolation concerns only the political realm of life, loneliness concerns human life as a whole. Totalitarian government, like all tyrannies, certainly could not exist without destroying the public realm of life, that is, without destroying, by isolating men, their political capacities.”

A Warning Sign for America: Arendt’s comments are a bit alarming since the destruction of the public realm is precisely what America has experienced in the last 40 years. In "Bowling Alone", Putnam detailed the degree to which Americans have become disengaged from political and civic life. This includes declines in public meeting attendance, service on committees, and engagement with political parties. Participation in civic organizations ranging from the PTA, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, Freemasons, Kiwanis, and Knights of Columbus also plummeted.  

And what about churches, the backbone of American community and civic engagement? Putnam reported that young Americans are dropping religion like a bad habit - more than 500 percent faster than the historic rate.

The collapse of community perhaps explains the meteoric rise of “social” media. The problem, of course, is that social media seems to be doing more to divide people than unite them - or in Arendt’s words, isolate humans “against each other.” All of this invites an important question: If Americans do not find ways to restore its waning social capital in meaningful ways, are we laying the seeds for authoritarianism?”

X22 Report, “The Global Economic System Has Been Put On Notice, Prepare Yourself”

X22 Report, “The Global Economic System
 Has Been Put On Notice, Prepare Yourself”
Related followup report:
X22 Report, 
“Boom, Boom, Boom, Time To Bring Down The Deep State”

Musical Interlude: Chuck Wild, Liquid Mind, “My Silent Knowing”

Chuck Wild, Liquid Mind,  “My Silent Knowing”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The most distant object easily visible to the eye is M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy some two and a half million light-years away. But without a telescope, even this immense spiral galaxy - spanning over 200,000 light years - appears as a faint, nebulous cloud in the constellation Andromeda. In contrast, details of a bright yellow nucleus and dark winding dust lanes, are revealed in this digital telescopic image. Narrow band image data recording emission from hydrogen atoms, shows off the reddish star-forming regions dotting gorgeous blue spiral arms and young star clusters. 
 Click image for larger size.
While even casual skygazers are now inspired by the knowledge that there are many distant galaxies like M31, astronomers seriously debated this fundamental concept in the 20th century. Were these "spiral nebulae" simply outlying components of our own Milky Way Galaxy or were they instead "island universes" - distant systems of stars comparable to the Milky Way itself? This question was central to the famous Shapley-Curtis debate of 1920, which was later resolved by observations of M31 in favor of Andromeda, island universe.”

"Buying Time"

"Buying Time"
Author Unknown

"A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door. “Daddy, may I ask you a question?” “Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man. “Daddy, how much money do you make an hour? “That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily. “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy. “If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.” “Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I work long, hard hours everyday and don’t have time for such childish games.” The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door. “Are you asleep son?” he asked. “No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy. “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man. “Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled. “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied. “Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

- http://paulocoelhoblog.com/

We don't "buy" time, we can't "own" it. All we do is rent time, 
if you think about it. And nothing, nothing whatsoever is free, is it?