Sunday, February 18, 2018

X22 Report, “Warning, Huge Amount Of Chatter, Something Possible, Imminent: Q”

X22 Report, 
“Warning, Huge Amount Of Chatter, Something Possible, Imminent: Q”

Musical Interlude: Chuck Wild, "Liquid Mind: Ambience Minimus - Shadows of White"

Music by Chuck Wild, "Liquid Mind: Ambience Minimus - Shadows of White"
 Images courtesy of the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Goddard Space Flight Center,
 The Hubble Space Telescope, European Southern Observatory, ESA and NASA.

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Almost every object in the above photograph is a galaxy. The Coma Cluster of Galaxies pictured above is one of the densest clusters known - it contains thousands of galaxies. Each of these galaxies houses billions of stars - just as our own Milky Way Galaxy does. Although nearby when compared to most other clusters, light from the Coma Cluster still takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us.
 Click image for larger size.
In fact, the Coma Cluster is so big it takes light millions of years just to go from one side to the other! Most galaxies in Coma and other clusters are ellipticals, while most galaxies outside of clusters are spirals. The nature of Coma's X-ray emission is still being investigated.’

Chet Raymo, “Morning Stars”

“Morning Stars”
by Chet Raymo

“For some years this William Blake watercolor hung in my living room, blown up photographically to enormous size (that was back in my darkroom days). An illustration from The Book of Job: "When the morning stars sang together..." The original watercolor is small, not a lot larger than what you will get if you click on the image here...

Click image for larger size.

That's Job and his family at the bottom, enclosed by the thickest clouds, representing the flesh. Under the Lord's left arm is the Moon goddess Diana, the heart or feeling, delicately holding the passions in check. Under his right arm is the Sun god Apollo, the intellect, pushing back clouds of ignorance. Above the thinnest wisps of cloud, a choir of singing angels, representing the imagination. Here, then, is Blake's vision of fourfold human nature, as imagined in his mystic dreams, and which Job presumably encountered in the whirlwind. Binding all together is the Divine Imagination.

When I was young I took this image as a guiding icon, a promise to myself to keep flesh, intellect, heart and imagination in balance, and to always aspire to the stars. At some point, early in the fuss of marriage and family, the big photographic reproduction of Blake's watercolor got shifted to the attic, where presumably it still resides amid dust and cobwebs and the discarded detritus of a lifetime.

Has my understanding of the human self changed in the forty intervening years? I have more respect for the flesh now than then. I cannot think of the unceasing activity of the DNA in every cell of my body without esteeming those trillions of tiny whirlwinds. I am less confident than in my idealist youth that Apollo can hold back the clouds of unknowing and that Diana can keep human passions in check. But I still choose optimism. That at least has remained constant since this, one of Blake's most optimistic images, hung on my wall.

Blake roiled between optimism and pessimism, shaken by his visions (oh, the mystery of that unquiet mind), steadied by his art (he died with a pencil in his hand), and bouyed by his beloved wife Catherine (imagine being married to such a soul on fire?).”

"We Learn More..."

"We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and
not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself."
~ Lloyd Alexander

"Mary Oliver on the Magic of Punctuation and a Reading of Her Soul-Stretching Poem “Seven White Butterflies”

"Mary Oliver on the Magic of Punctuation and a Reading 
of Her Soul-Stretching Poem “Seven White Butterflies”
by Maria Popova

"It’s hard to be human and be unmoved by the grace with which Mary Oliver (b. September 10, 1935) captures the subtleties and mysteries of being alive, from her exquisite poems to her soul-stretching ideas about poetry itself. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, Oliver’s lyrical mastery renders her the Whitman of our day and her sublime attunement to the transcendent in nature place her alongside Thoreau.

In this recording from an event held by the Lannan Foundation in 2001, Oliver shares an entertaining thought about punctuation as a control mechanism and reads her intentionally punctuationless prose poem “Seven White Butterflies,” found in the altogether enchanting volume "West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems" (public library).

Mary Oliver speaks, and recites “Seven White Butterflies” here:

"One of our great assistances is, of course, punctuation. But it occurred to me that, perhaps, each of us writers has only perhaps a finite amount of it for our use, and we should use it judiciously - lest we hear a voice, suddenly, when we need, saying, “No more semicolons!” “You’re finished with your dashes!” - and, also, that passive-aggressive comma, with which we so carefully set off what is nice, so it won’t be missed - don’t we?

So I thought of, for fun - and I’ve done that a few times - I would write a poem that uses no punctuation (and this particular one has a question mark, which is quite apparent, at the end) and see what I could do simply with the line break and the cadence of the line and so forth. And it is a little breathless to read, and perhaps to listen to, but here goes: it’s called “Seven White Butterflies.”

"Seven white butterflies
delicate in a hurry look
how they bang the pages
of their wings as they fly
to the fields of mustard yellow
and orange and plain
gold all eternity
is in the moment this is what
Blake said Whitman said such
wisdom in the agitated
motions of the mind seven
dancers floating
even as worms toward
paradise see how they banter
and riot and rise
to the trees flutter
lob their white bodies into
the invisible wind weightless
lacy willing
to deliver themselves unto
the universe now each settles
down on a yellow thumb on a
grassy stem now
all seven are rapidly sipping
from the golden towers who
would have thought it could be so easy?"

That cost me one question mark."

Complement with a beautiful reading from Oliver’s "Dog Songs" and the beloved poet on the mystery of the human psyche."


 "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. 
There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. 
Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Greg Hunter, "Financial Markets Definitely Destabilizing – Charles Hugh Smith"

"Financial Markets Definitely Destabilizing – 
Charles Hugh Smith"
By Greg Hunter’s

"Financial writer and book author Charles Hugh Smith has been watching the extreme movements in financial markets closely. Is he nervous? Smith says, “Oh yeah, it’s definitely destabilizing. In other words, it’s becoming not just more volatile, the whole underlying structure of our economy is destabilizing. What I mean by that is it’s becoming more brittle or fragile. That is fundamentally why we are seeing these wild swings. People are swinging between keeping the money machine like it is for another nine years, and the other side of the coin says wait a minute, we have already had a weak expansion for nine years. It’s almost the longest expansion in U.S. history. A normal business cycle doesn’t run in one direction forever. If you don’t allow your economy to have a business cycle recession, then you are simply making it more fragile by encouraging really marginal and risky investments, and that’s where we are now.”

One very big problem is a dramatic loss in buying power of the U.S. dollar, but it’s not just the dollar. According to Smith, “All these currencies, there is nothing backing the currencies except the government’s force. That’s the yen, the euro, the dollar and the Chinese yuan. They are all going to have a catastrophic drop against real assets because they are all based on too much leverage, too much debt, too much money being pumped into the financial system that ends up in unproductive speculation. You can’t grow your debt at six times the rate of your economy. In other words, if you are creating $6, $8 or $10 of debt to eke out $1 of low productivity growth, you are dooming your currency, and all currencies are doing the same thing. All the currencies are going to take a big drop at some point relative to real stuff. Real stuff is commodities we need: water, grains, food, oil, natural gas and, of course, precious metals. Everybody knows they have been money for 5,000 years, and I personally feel there is a role for crypto currencies.”

"Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Charles Hugh Smith, author of the new book “Money and Work Unchained” and the founder of the popular site"
Something very strange here... Listen closely at 00:25, another voice is apparently speaking into Hunter’s earpiece saying “That's on the the internet, issues side (last 2 words unclear).” Hunter’s reaction shows he clearly hears it, he shrugs it off. At 01:13 the same voice says, “Wealthy, very European.” Who and what is this all about? - CP

Smith's latest article: "Our Approaching Winter Of Discontent", Feb.16, 2018

"Promise Me..."

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
- Christopher Robin to “Pooh”

The Daily "Near You?"

Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina. Thanks for stopping by!

"The Worst Threat We Face Is Right Here At Home”

"The Worst Threat We Face Is Right Here At Home”
by Chris Martenson

"Last week, volatility made a long-overdue return to the US and global equity markets. It began with a 2-day back-to-back violent drop. Day 3 saw a big rebound, swiftly followed by two more days of gut-wrentching losses. And then finally, last Friday, the day saw massive swings both high and low, ending with a huge upside run. During this period the S&P 500 lost more than 300 points. Since then, though, the market has been steadily rising.
Click image for larger size.
Is the danger past?  Are the markets safe once more?  And if so, did the markets recover organically? Or were they rescued by The Plunge Protection Team (PPT)?

The answer matters. If such intervention was rare we could almost justify it, if it took the form of simple, pre-arranged circuit breakers that shut the market down for a "cooling off" after they’ve moved too far, too fast. Indeed, these already exist, and are sufficient in our view. But if such market interventions are routine, persistent, and generally depended on by the major market participants, then they're highly destructive over the long term. 

Sadly, we live with the latter. Insiders get stinking rich by front-running the scheme (check). Normal adjustments are prevented (check), allowing dangerous bubbles of extreme overvaluation to form (check), while fostering malinvestment (check). Do this long enough and you end up with a deformed economy, an eroded social structure, and markets that no longer function as appropriate mechanisms for capital distribution and economic signaling. 

This is where we find ourselves today.

Modern-Day Soviet Crop Reports: In the former Soviet Union, the communist method of assuring economic progress was to set targets for production. Famous among them were the crop reports. In these, year after year, the various regional oblast (province) authorities would declare having met or exceeded the crop targets, despite rarely ever truly doing so.  These crop reports were so famously unreliable that the Kremlin leadership eventually took to obtaining their information from US satellite reconnaissance data rather than their own internal reporting from local Communist Party bosses.

Basing next year’s crop planting decisions on these reports often led to famines, and sometimes even mass starvation of entire regions.

Poor data = Bad decisions. 

The Soviet crop reports are now a famous example of an unreliable measure that led to disastrous consequences. Because of the false reporting, poor decisions were made. Eventually it became clear to even the Soviets that attempting to centrally micro-manage a major economy is an act of folly. Too much of this and too little of that were produced.  Cement, steel, and auto quotas harmed rather than helped for obvious reasons; poor information flows assured that production decisions were late or flawed or both. All this contributed dearly to the Soviet economy's collapse.

The lessons here are instructive and simple:
centralized management of complex systems doesn’t work, and
bad data leads to bad outcomes.

Today’s stock and bond markets are no different than the Soviet crop reports of old. They mainly represent what a small committee of central planners believe are the right numbers to achieve very broad macro-economic goals. 

Enormous damage has already been done by the interventions and distortions resulting from the pursuit of the delusional aims of todays central planners (with the world's central banking cartel being the most culpable). But it's poised to get a lot worse from here.

A Great Irony: The ironic parody of all the current US concern over the possibility of Russian meddling in US elections is that virtually nobody from either political party seems the slightest bit concerned that the US is actually recreating the very worst mistakes of the now-defunct Soviet empire. In point of fact, the Federal Reserve has done far more self-inflicted harm to long-term US interests than anything that Russia has been accused of, let alone been proven to have done. At this point, there’s no contest between the two. 

If the damage inflicted by the Federal Reserve had been done by a terrorist organization, it would for certain be public enemy #1. Consider that, under the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen Federal Reserve, the following has occurred:
Pension plans, both public and private have been ruined.  Millions of future retirees and taxpayers will not have trillions of dollars they would and should otherwise have to support them in their later years.
Income inequality is at the highest its been in over 100 years
Wealth inequality is also at historical extremes
Student debt is now nearly $1.5 trillion, up ~ $1 trillion since 2007
More than a trillion dollars of interest payments on savings accounts has been forfeited - denying funds to the next generation for use in business creation, household formation, and education.
Total debt in the US and globally is up massively since the 2008 Great Recession (itself a central banking accident), and now stands at more than $233 trillion worldwide.

These are among a few of the destructive results of the Federal Reserve’s decision to lower interest rates to 0% in order to reward the big banks, well connected private equity firms, and unrestrained government borrowing. Of course, when you print money (as the Fed does) you cannot create wealth; you only transfer it from one party to another. 

Put another way, the Federal Reserve and its foreign partners (the BoJ, ECB, etc.) have been picking winners and losers. Losers have been seniors dependent on a fixed income, Millennials and every generation following them, and savers, pensioners, and taxpayers. The winners have been the banks, the ultra-rich, entrenched political parties, rentiers, and baby boomers with sizable financial portfolios.

Here's just one example of the kind of devastation the Fed's deeply unfair actions have wrought: a simple Google search on "pension" brings up many alarming headlines. Put more bluntly: approximately 90% of US citizens have been financially and economically tossed under the bus simply so that the already-rich could get a little richer. If that’s not a form of terrorism, I don’t know what is.

This chart shows the future burden amassed under the last three Federal Reserve Chairmanships:
Click image for larger size.
None of that could have happened under responsible banking practices. Instead, such excess was enabled and encouraged by an activist Federal Reserve that loosened and loosened some more whenever reality began to exert itself. 

They did this to reward themselves and their colleagues and banking associates.  It has been a series of self-dealings and unchecked conflicts of interest.

My point here? None of this was done by accident. It has been deliberate and done with full intent to create exactly the conditions in which we find ourselves.

Sure, we could go ahead and obsess over the claim that somehow an insignificant $100k worth of Facebook ads purchased by Russia are somehow responsible for our current misery and overall state of domestic neglect. But we'd be focusing on entirely the wrong parties.

The worst threats we face are right here at home.

Conclusion: As bad as the damage done so far has been, the real pain has not yet begun. The entire command-and-control system of the US and other western economies and markets has resulted in several decades of increasingly poor decision making and mal-investment. 

When it comes to repaying the current global debt levels of ~310 % of GDP, we can confidently predict that such a debt load can never be repaid. They can only try to roll it over as long as they can - which can't go on much longer without real consequence. Mounting losses are certain at this point.

When it comes to underfunded promises and entitlement programs, such as pensions and social security (clocking in at nearly 800% of GDP!), there’s really only one all-important question that matter at this point: Who’s going to eat the losses?

In 'Part 2: It's Even Worse Than You Think,' we reveal the much further extent of the racket being run against the public by the world central banking cartel, and how it's efforts to continue this racket have sentenced us all to another massive financial/economic crisis - one that is both now inevitable, necessary, and overdue. By preventing that which should happen, the central banks have set the stage for an enormously dangerous and disruptive market crash.  The kind that forces markets to close for days and weeks on end. The kind that leads to major banking crises punctuated by 'holidays’ where depositors can not access their money.  The kind where disorder and social unrest becomes a real risk.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)."

"I Don't Pretend..."

 “I don't pretend we have all the answers. 
But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.”
- Arthur C. Clarke

X22 Report, “The Retail Apocalypse Picks Up Speed, This Will Not End Well”

X22 Report, “The Retail Apocalypse Picks Up Speed,
 This Will Not End Well”

"How It Really Was!"

“I’m Failing At Passwords”

“I’m Failing At Passwords”
by Peter Funt

"I have several online accounts that I use a few times year and not once have I gained access without first trying several passwords and then clicking “Forgot Password” to begin the damnable process of getting a new one.

More challenging for me than the password itself is the Security Question. What was the first street you lived on? Apparently when I set-up the account I typed “Mt. Airy Road,” but months later I entered “Mount Airy Road.” Sorry: Your answer does not match our records for this account.

Who was your favorite school teacher? Sheesh. Did I give them Mrs. Corwin because she wrote on my second grade report card that my work was “extremely average”? Or was it Mr. Brooks because he doubled as the tennis coach and made me captain when I didn’t really deserve it? Or was it Miss Fox, the fifth grade teacher on whom I had such a crush that I phoned her at home every night and spoke for over an hour?

What is your favorite breakfast cereal? Do they mean before age ten, when I would only eat Kellogg’s Sugar Corn Pops? Or later in life when someone convinced me that Special K is healthy? Are they talking about hotel breakfast buffets where Fruit Loops are free? Or do they mean at night, straight out of the box, in which case peanut-flavored Panda Puffs are an excellent choice?

After failing the Security Question I have to obtain a text message with a multi-digit Temporary Code, which is difficult because I’m only able to grasp four, maybe five, digits at a time. While typing them into the Reset Password Form on my computer the light-up screen on my phone goes dark and I can’t see the next batch of numbers. I tap my phone, and the text disappears.

Many of the sites I try to access tell me, “Your User ID and/or Password are incorrect.” Come on, which! I have five or six IDs and maybe two dozen passwords. Do you have any idea how many possible combinations that is? Well, I don’t either ’but it’s too many to try before being notified that “For your protection, your account has been locked.”

I tried using one simple password, even if it didn’t have the “Strength” that most sites recommend. Here’s the problem with that: If your password is, say, StephCurry, but you forgot that you entered Curry with a capital C, then it won’t work. And when you reset that password you’ll probably be told that it’s “Too similar to a recently used password.”

So, you make it StephCurry#. I’m warning you: forget that last part and you’ll wind up changing it to StephCurry@ and then StephCurry+ and pretty soon you’re back with a Security Question that you can’t answer.

I often stare at the screen counting the little dots in my “hidden” password, hoping for a clue. Ten dots suggests it might be StephCurry; 11 dots might mean StephCurry#.

Over the years I have watched several YouTube classes on how to set-up a Single Password for all accounts. Let’s just say I did worse with those tutorials than I did in Mrs. Corwin’s class.

Last month I got a new credit card through American Airlines. The last thing I need is another credit card, but this was one of those deals offering 40,000 free miles. When I tried to log in to pay my first bill I was notified that my User ID was incorrect. I entered my gmail address, which usually works, but not this time. In desperation I tried StephCurry and KevinDurant, but no luck. I managed, on the second try, to answer the Security Question, which had to do with a “favorite pet,” and was notified that I would be emailed a link with which I could “retrieve” my User ID. After several clicks CitiBank informed me: “Your User ID is Peter Funt.” Now, how could I have ever guessed that?”

"The Proper Function Of Man..."

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
- Jack London

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Musical Interlude: Neil H, “The Remembering”

Neil H,  “The Remembering”

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Seen one galaxy, seen 'em all? Not on your life: The Hubble Space Telescope has captured lots of fantastic pictures of spiral galaxies during its 20-plus years of operation, as you can see in our lineup of "Hubble's Greatest Hits." But I have a feeling that today's image of the galaxy NGC 4911 will be joining the hit parade. This jewel and the other gems in the setting are part of the Coma Cluster, a gathering of galaxies 320 million light-years away from Earth in the northern constellation Coma Berenices. You can make out the wispy tracks of NGC 4911's outer spiral arms, which are being pulled out by the gravitational tug of the neighboring galaxy just to the right (known as NGC 4911A). In today's image release, the Hubble Heritage team says that the material stripped away from the central spiral will be dispersed throughout the galaxy, fueling the creation of new stars.
Click image for larger size.
The cluster is home to nearly 1,000 galaxies in all - and the gravitational interactions involving all those galaxies spark starbirth galore. In NGC 4911, you can see the sparkles of newborn star clusters sprinkled amid iridescent pink clouds of hydrogen. And if you look closely at a higher-resolution view of the scene, you'll spot dozens of galaxies in the background where that story of creation is being repeated countless times.

This picture is the result of 28 hours' worth of exposures made over the course of three years, using Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys. Some of those exposures were made in 2006 and 2007, before the ACS broke down and the WFPC2 was replaced. Others were made in 2009, after the ACS was fixed and WFPC2 was replaced by Wide Field Camera 3. All those exposures were put together for the Hubble Heritage project. For more pictures from the new, improved Hubble, check out our slideshow of latest, greatest Hubble hits.

"We All Know..."

“We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars... everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being."
- Thornton Wilder
“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
- Robert Fulghum
“For Those Who Have Died”
"Eleh Ezkerah" ("These We Remember")

"Tis a fearful thing
To love
What death can touch.
To love, to hope, to dream,
And oh, to lose.
A thing for fools, this,
But a holy thing,
To love what death can touch.

For your life has lived in me;
You laugh once lifted me;
Your word was a gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

Tis a human thing, love,
A holy thing,
To love
What death can touch."

- Chaim Stern
Graphic: "Into The Silent Land", by Henry Pegram, 1905
“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of Infinity. Life is Eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in Eternity."
- Paulo Coelho
And we shall meet again...
Moody Blues, “The Day We Meet Again”