Here Thar Be Monsters!

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30.12.13

Most Likely Kill You In The Morning

Few people stop to think just who conspiracy theories are really serving.  Those folks who do bother to think about conspiracy theories (CTs) at all generally come down on the side that whatever has been condemned as a CT is the thing the Powers That Cower (PTC) don't want you to believe.  In fact, most CTs are purposely planted forbidden fruit used to get most folks from looking at certain information, and those that do to be lost chasing their tails and doing the work of the PTC.

One great example is the "One World Currency" (OWC) theory.  This one has prophecy, religion, economics, and fear all rolled up in a tight little ball, and practically no one sees the obvious: we are being manipulated into hating the one thing that could save us.

Let's look at the elements first.  At the top of the list is 'currency'.  A currency is nothing more than some object, commodity or symbol-laden piece of paper to which everyone gives a value.  All a currency allows me to do is conduct business without barter.  In other words, I can make and sell shoes to the candlestick maker without having to take candles in exchange.  He can give me come currency that I can use to buy things I need, including some candles if necessary.  If the currency is accepted in foreign countries, then I have an international currency that expands my options to buy and sell things.

In this regard, the US dollar, gold and silver, and increasingly the renmimbi are global currencies.  Gold has been for thousands of years and is accepted by most people everywhere.  It's perfect as a currency: practically indestructible, doesn't corrode, weighs the same everywhere, and has a reasonably limited supply.  But it is heavy, and so paper currencies came into being, of which the US dollar is the all-time champion of magic paper.

Now you throw in some prophesy.  Let's see...how about the Revelation of St. John?  You tell everyone for a century or two that the "mark of the beast" means a one-world currency.  This immediately gets all the Bible thumpers on your side fighting the one-world currency.  None of them ever stop to think that gold has been a world currency for thousands of years. This gets so ingrained in the culture that even the not-so-religious start thinking one-world currency is bad.  It's not the only example, but it's a prime one.

Now, you're an international bankster.  You are completely useless to society.  You produce nothing and provide no real service that people really need.  All you do is find creative ways to insert yourself into the middle of every commercial transaction and take money for it.  Sweet gig if you can get it.

One of your biggest and oldest scams that has reaped millions in cash for doing nothing is foreign exchange, or 'forex'.  You've been at it for years.  You had all the Jews exchanging money for sacrifical animals at the Temple and taking a profit for no real product or service.  It was so bad that even Jesus lost his temper and started whipping the lot of you.

Now, does it serve your purposes to have a one-world currency, or as many different ones as possible?  If there's a single global currency (gold for instance), how would you collect your fees for exchanging money, when there is no need for exchange?  If this wasn't such a lucrative business, then why are there 75 exchange booths at the international gates of any airport?

To play the game, you first start spreading your 'custom' interpretation of the Bible prophesy to get everyone all on alert against one-world currencies.  Then you get central banks installed in as many countries as possible and start pulling gold out of circulation and replace it with magic paper.  You call gold "the yellow dog" and ridicule those who buy and/or horde it.  You beat down the price to make folks think it's pretty worthless as currency.

Finally, you start playing with the relative values of all the different currencies so that you are not only taking profits from exchanging currencies every time someone crosses a border, but you are using the differential exchange rates as a means of cashing in, as well.  Thus, you throw all your money into the euro and the relative price starts to climb.  When you hit your targe value, to turn it back into dollars (or whatever) and pocket the difference.

One-world currency is the last thing international bankers want, and they have played with our perceptions and beliefs for a century or more to ensure that you reject the one-world currency idea that would literally break their backs by ending one of their oldest and richest scams.

It's all a huge rip-off and the whole 'conspiracy theory' was manufactured to keep us sheep from looking at the truth.  After all, if the banksters could get us to actively fight against the one thing that coudl really harm them, then think of all the time and effort we would save them!

It's all kinda like the Dread Pirate Roberts scam in The Princess Bride:
Well, Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. So he took me to his cabin and told me his secret: "I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts," he said. "My name is Ryan. I inherited this ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from was not the real Dread Pirate Roberts, either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia." Then he explained the name was the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear. You see, no one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley. So we sailed ashore, took on an entirely new crew and he stayed aboard for awhile as first mate, all the time calling me Roberts. Once the crew believed, he left the ship and I have been Roberts ever since. Except, now that we're together, I shall retire and hand the name over to someone else. Is everything clear to you?

And that's how the game is played.

27.12.13

Zombie Tools Unite!

Well, here we are: one year post-Mayan-zombie Apocalypse.  If you look around critically, you could almost believe it really happened.  The past year has been one of vast, profound and subtle shifts in the direction of history.

Global power has been shifting, sometimes like a sloth and others like a leopard, toward the East.  Increasingly, Russia and China are dictating the ways and means of the world political and economic stage.  In recent weeks, China took the lead in our celestial backyard, as it landed a rover on the Moon.

Meanwhile, the US/UK/EU axis of evil continues to live up to its name, having been revealed (yet again over the past 45 years) to be spying on everyone on the planet, including itself.  For some reason, everyone was shocked, or feigning such for the cameras.  It was hardly a surprise, as anyone who has been awake and reading the reams of laws passed in the last few decades would know this system was at work.  Looks like we've all been Snowdened.

Anyone who thinks they have privacy after posting their life histories, scads of photos and hot chats all over the social media deserves it.  It's akin to taking out a billboard on Times Square and then being shocked that anyone recognizes you walking down the street.  Remember back in the old days when people used screen names?

The Brits added another mouth to its royal tax burden, and then began protesting the tax rates there.  Bit o' news, mates.  You're subjects owned lock, stock and barrel.  Fork it over or get rid of the ridiculous pretention of a royal family.  You're paying for the trappings of empire, without the empire.

Global warming continues to be the world's biggest non-issue.  Those who created extravagant business models based on social guilt keep trying to milk it, with movies, TeeVee and Olympic ceremonies pushing a dead issue, while temps haven't risen in 16 years, polar ice caps are growing and deadly winters are becoming the norm.  Liberal agendas always seem to blow up in their faces.  Ever notice that.

Speaking of which...Obamacare.  Nuff said.

Liberals are the biggest hypocrites to be found.  They blather on about "diversity" as long as they don't have to live with xenotypes.  They beat their breasts over "equality", as long as their chosen groups are more equal.  They jet around the globe and ride in limos and own massive mansions while droning endlessly on about the "environment".  Basically, a liberal is anyone who wants you to change your lifestyle so they don't have to.

Oh, and that whole Kuumbaya rubbish about humanity coming from Africa so we can all feel downtrodden because most African nations are so corrupt and full of thieves that they continuously destroy themselves?  Modern genetics has proven beyond a doubt that it is false.  Looks like most of us came from Australia.  G'day, mate! Kind of a weird poetic beauty to that idea.  The Aboriginals I know are way more cool than most of the Africans of my acquaintance.  Take Obama, for instance...

At least conservatives are blatantly open about the prejudices, greed and hatred of all that isn't incorporated.  I can respect honesty, even when both the message and messenger are equally despicable.

The whole damn civilization is fraying and frazzled, and covered stem to stern with bubblegum and bailing wire.  Can't say I'm sad to see it go.  It's kind of like gangrenous flesh - you've got to carve it out before the healing can begin.  It's just a horribly slow and painful process at the scale of a planet.

You'd think after 6,000 years of starting governments and then living to regret the idea very much, humanity would have learned.  It is apparent that we are a masochistic species hell-bent on operating in our own worst interests come what may.

At any rate, Aquarius continues to dawn.  The year of the yin wood green horse is coming up.  The numerical value of the coming year is 7, which a lot of folks call lucky.  Maybe we'll get lucky and squeeze the big boil on the rump of the world and start the recovery for real.

In the immortal words of Shakespeare, "Jail all the bankers!"  Or was that Sven Joergensohn?  I get the two confused.


25.12.13

Adalah Malam Belum Krismis

Adalah malam belum Krismis, when all through the rumah
Not a creature was keributan, not even a tikus.
The kaos kaki were hung in the dapur with care,
In hopes that Santa soon would be there.

The anak were nestled all snug in their tampat tidur,
While visions of ketoprak danced in their kepala.
And mamma in her jilbab, and I in my topi,
Had just settled our otak for a long monsoon tidur-tidur ayam.

When out in the jungle there arose such a bising,
I melompat dari tampat tidur to see what was the matter.
Away to the jendela I flew bercahaya,
Tore open the daun jendela and threw up the sash.

The sinar bulan on the breast of the new-fallen rain
Gave kilauan of mid-day to barang dibawa.
When, what di mata keheranan should appear,
But a miniature perahu, and eight kijang kecil.

With a pengemudi pendek, so lively and quick,
Aku tau dengan segara it must be St Nick.
Lebih cepat dari eagles his coursers datang,
And he peluit dan sorak, and called them by name!

"Berlari! Penari! Berjingkrak dan Betina!
Bintang! Asmara! naik Guntur dan Kilat!
Pendakian beranda, pendakain dinding!
Pendakian, pendakian, pendakian semua!"

As daun kering that before the wild monsoon terbang,
Ketika ketemu rintangan, mount to the sky.
So up to menatapi the coursers menerbangkan,
With perahu penuh oleh main-main, and St Nicholas too.

Tiba-tiba, in a twinkling, I heard on the menatapi
The berjingkrak-jingkrak of each little hoof.
As I tarikan kapalaku, and was turning around,
Down the corong dia dating serta lambungan.

He was dressed all in batik, from his head to his foot,
And his baju adalah abu-abut dan sulang.
A berkas of main-main dia memikul di punggung,
And he looked like a penjaja, just opening his pack.

His mata-how they twinkled! his lesung how merry!
His pipi were like bunga, his hidung like a ceri!
His mulut menggelikan was drawn up like a bow,
And jengotnya dagu was as white as the snow.

Tunggul pipa dia mengepalkan dengan gigi,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a rangkaian bunga.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a mangkuk sele!

He was gemuk and plump, a right ria old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A kedip mata and a angguk kapala,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing ketakutan.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And mengisi kaos kaki, then turned dengan sentakan.
And laying his finger di pinggang hidung,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

Dia lompatan dalam perahu, pada timnya peluit,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Selamat Hari Natal semua, dan pada semua malam baik!"

20.12.13

If Vice Be A Virtue

William Blake said quite rightly, “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

It is true that the most creative minds throughout history have often been quite "different".  Certainly, in our own age we have myriad examples of artists, musicians and performers who have lived lives of excess, yet left legacies of work that transcends time and place, even when the excess led to their untimely deaths.

Peter O'Toole did not only take the road of excess, he often took more than one lane.  He was well know on and off camera for his drinking and frolicking.  In fact, he was one of a class of British actors that included Richard Burton and Oliver Reed, who were as famous for their acting talents as their antics with bottle in one hand and script in the other.

Though no one can deny the gravitas of Burton, nor the aristocratic nature of Reed, there was a playfulness and Everyman appeal about O'Toole, perhaps his Irish soul.  His reputation, and his reported behavior, was not unlike the character he played in My Favorite Year, yet he could bring such depth and passion as Henry II, in The Lion in Winter.  Even in a production so horribly conceived and executed as Bob Guccioni's Caligula, O'Toole's Tiberius stands out as a singular rendition of the Roman emperor.

Only O'Toole could pull off both regal and mundane characters, and give emperors a human quality, while giving a thief a regal spirit in How to Steal a Million, nearly outshining Audrey Hepburn.  Whether he starred in massive epics like Lawrence of Arabia, or quiet tear-jerkers like Lucy, the camera gravitated to O'Toole.  His almost feminine features and blonde hair covered a soul that was pure child battling maturity.  Each of these facets he could isolate and bring to the fore to create three-dimensional characters that completely inhabited whatever space they were given.  He could fondle a meaningless set piece and it suddenly would be infused with some secret history that the audience could only guess at.

Though I regrettably never met O'Toole, I did get to see him in Pygmalion on Broadway in the 80s.  His Henry Higgins was positively whacked, which turned out to be influenced by heavy use of cocaine, but he turned even that into a character that was both haunting and disturbing...an entirely new read of the famous Shaw play that seems even more poignant as we enter the Age of Transhumanism.

Like most artists who create transcendent work, I don't think O'Toole ever set out to do it.  He was happy to make enough money to support his lavish lifestyle of self-indulgence.  In the process, though, he did what all great actors do: he hid most intimate self by placing parts of it on glorious display in his work.  We, the audience, though he had only created "characters", when in fact he was confessing to us.  In the process, we recognized that what was on the screen and stage was something truly unique, even if we didn't recognize the depth of it.

Since O'Toole's death, hardly untimely in the last week, some have argued that without his propensity for excess, the world might have received so much more.  I argue that without the vice, might we have received anything at all?  Can we separate Jimi Hendrix or Gerry Garcia from heroin, or Sir Arthur Conan Doye from 7% solution?    How about William Burroughs, Marilyn Monroe, or indeed, Richard Burton?  How much of their talent was released by, or stifled by excess?

If vice be a virtue for some, then who are we to say no?

For some, creativity comes from scarcity, but for others it comes through lavish excess.  I don't concern myself with what we might have gotten.  It is enough that we have a body of performances, such as O'Toole's, at all.  I'll take The Night of the Generals over Steven Spielburg's finest effort any day.  I don't care if the entire cast was sotted and mainlining, watching the chemistry between O'Toole, Sharif and Courtenay is magic.

Bartender!  Another round...

 

15.12.13

Got Yer Chang-e Hangin'

"Beijing, Iridium base here, the Jade Rabbit has landed!"

The Chinese are to be congratulated.  They have made the first soft landing on the Moon in nearly 40 years, and have now joined a very exclusive club of three nations to have done so (that we know of, at any rate).

At about 6:30 this morning Jakarta time, the Chang-e craft settled down in the Bay of Rainbows just northwest of the Sea of Rain.  If you're looking for it from down here, it's the right eye of the "man in the moon".  Interestingly, this is roughly the same area where in 1970, the Russians landed Luna 17 with Lunokhod (Moonwalker) 1, the first rover to successfully operate on another heavenly body.  The Chinese rover being named "Jade Rabbit" is also appropriate, since they have always seen a "rabbit in the moon", rather than the western "man".

This singular event may start a new age of exploration, led not by the US and USSR superpowers, but rather by new powers that have only emerged in the decades since the Great Space Race.  We can only hope that this new age will be one motivated by peaceful intentions and not military, though comments by certain leading Chinese in their space program belie an intent to seek the high ground of military advantage.

Like the exploration of the New World, led by the Italians and Portuguese, but colonized by the Spanish, French and English, the new age of space exploration may go into history books as being led by the US and USSR, but colonized by the Chinese, Indians and Iranians.  Much remains to be written on that account, though.

What the Chang-e may do in the near term is force the US hand in revealing much of their hidden space program, long speculated by researchers like Hoagland, Dolan and Farrell.  It will become increasingly difficult to hide things when disinterested third parties are poking around with HD cameras and rovers.  The Japanese could be controlled, but the Chinese, Indians, Iranians, and the new Russia less so.

For far too long, NASA has dominated the amount and content of information being disseminated from space exploration.  When unchallenged, this control gets out of hand, just like state secrets and surveillance.  Competition from up-and-coming space powers means that the monopoly is about to come to a crashing halt.

Will it mean that we the people will start getting more truth?  A bit, maybe.  More likely, secrets will be used in smoke-filled back rooms to bluff and cajole in trade and finance negotiations.  It does, however, create a lot more holes in the dike to plug, and leaks are more likely to occur when spread over a larger area of political landscape.

The sheer volume of information fed back to NASA by its probes ensures that there are many things we the people don't know.  NASA's unwillingness to share unadulterated information with the general public was unchallengeable when there were precious few alternative outlets.

Chang-e 3 and little Jade Rabbit have changed that, and more are likely to follow.  What happens when cultures whose creationism is seasoned by Hinduism and Buddhism, discover evidence of ancient high civilizations?  Will they be more likely to release that intel, because their religious and philosophical histories are not threatened by this knowledge, but are actually vindicated?

The US and USSR are, despite all outward appearances and marketing, fundamentally christian nations with certain beliefs and narratives flavoring their collective weltanschauungs.  China is fundamentally Taoist/Buddhist, which evolved out of the Indian Hindu traditions that plainly describe ancient high-tech civilizations.  Here we have a cultural underpinning of reincarnation and ancient advanced societies.  Does that forebode a greater likelihood of certain information coming out?  Time will tell, but their foundational beliefs would be less threatened then the Judeo-Christian narrative.

In any case, the Chang-e 3 and Jade Rabbit are game-changers.  Whatever is "up there" will now belong to a larger club, whose members are moving away from a strict Western, Judeo-Christian underpinning.  This subtle difference may not seem important in the greater scheme of things, but it predisposes the players to a much different view of the Universe and Man's place in it.  That bit of difference in philosophical predisposition makes for some interesting speculations on likely outcomes.

Meanwhile, in Rainbow Bay, just off the northwest corner of the Rain Sea, fresh tracks are being laid in a renewed Age of Space.  Where those tracks will lead is anyone's guess, but the foundation is laid for a very interesting future.

13.12.13

Tricks Of Light And Shadow

You've probably received an email at some time in your life showing a guy doing chalk drawings on the street that, from a certain perspective, look amazingly 3D.  His name is Kurt Wenner and he is currently exhibiting several of his works, along with some Indonesian artists, here at the Ciputra Artpreneur Center.

Preserved on canvas, these pieces lie flat on the floor or form a 90-degree angle with the wall.  When viewed through a wide-angle lens, ghostly three-dimensional images pop out of the canvas, appearing to rise out of the background or apear in front of it.  It's really quite amazing and something photos just don't quite capture.  Makes you wonder how Kurt views the world.

What the art works highlight is the weird world of perception.  How we view the world and what reality is comes down to a matter of perspective.

In the midst of all the excitement, an email pops in from my Canadian bud and long-time ex-pat.  It contained a quote that he found "out there":

“Given the fact that it has been proven that our moon is a very suspiciously perfectly placed artificial satellite that is composed of non-naturally occurring material without which we could not have life on this planet combined with the fact that our Earth is very suspiciously the only place within our solar system and very likely our galaxy that can support life there is absolutely no question in my mind that, at the very least, the entire surface of our planet and all of its life forms are in fact nothing more than elements of a very large and complex software system that is being used to run what I am completely convinced are military experiments by some non-humanoid entity.”

I shot back:

"This is just a take on the ancient concept that we create the Universe through our collective consciousness.  The Hindus and Buddhists place this idea at the center of their beliefs.  The idea of a holographic reality or software simulation is just modern terminology wrapping the same concepts."

Seems this week's theme is 'perception', since everywhere I turn there are hints about reality not being all that real and our minds creating Creation.  It's strange how Life keeps throwing theme weeks at us.  It's like Bogart week on the Million Dollar Movie or something.  Just more proof that we create our reality, or it's created for us on a regular basis.

Related to that, do people really have premonitions, or does the intensity with which they think something create the situation?  My father used to think of people he hadn't talked to in years and out of the blue they would call or contact him within 24 hours.  This was before the internet and you could track most people down fairly easy.  But you have to ask, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"


As Wenner's work shows, perception is all a matter of perspective.  One step in any direction and the world we see changes quite radically.  For those who see beyond the 'trick' of light and shadow, the paintings represent a profound look at reality.  Suppose we all exist on a canvas that appears three-dimensional and solid, until you shift to the side just a bit.

Perhaps if we all mentally stepped to the side and looked at the world from a slightly different perspective, we might see something completely unexpected and remarkable.  Of course, it begs the question what would we do if we found out the Universe was just a construct of imagination?

Happy Friday!

10.12.13

Culture's Not For Yogurt Anymore

Another looong day in the world of "high art".

It is not easy building a world-class art and performance center, especially on the 11th, 12th and 13th floors of a city as densely packed as Jakarta, but I'm determined to do it because, damn it, creating and promoting beauty and harmony is the only way to beat the bastards.

I've gone on at length in this column about art and how it is like garlic to vampires when it comes to the PowersThatNeedTheirToastButtered (PTNTTB).  Educating and elevating humanity is/will be the key to winning the Culture Wars.

Pick a random film from the 50s and another from this past year.  Doesn't matter the genre or plot, and listen to the words.  Runing them again and watch the pictures.  Notice anything?  The portrayal of humanity is ever coursening.  People talk course, act course, think course.  Dress has gone downhill.  Manners have all but vanished.  And this is how the PTNTTB expects us to act because animals are much easier to train when they are broken.

They don't want us to have high culture and art.  They don't want us to elevate our minds and spirits.  They just want unthinking animals that can push buttons and pull levers.

How do Warhol, Lichtenstein and Pollock compare to Rembrandt, Titian or Monet?  How do Pearl Jam, Tin Idiots and Sex Pistols compare with Chopin, Handel or Mendelssohn?  They are really trying to kill us spiritually by continually rubbing our souls in filth and denying us the ability to rise above baseness.  They want to save god-like status for themselves while the rest of us happily serve their every whim (see Star Trek TOS: Plato's Stepchildren).

Speaking of art and Star Trek, have you noticed that it's kind of like the Bible?  You can find an episode to illustrate just about any point you care to make.

Where was I?  Oh, right...

It stands to reason that if the PTNTTB are so desperate to reduce humanity to little more than lap dogs, then the best/only way to fight back is to create beauty and educate ourselves.  Right here in Indonesia, the PTNTTB are so paranoid and afraid of folks getting smart and out of hand that last year they cancelled all art and history classes in the public schools so they could stuff more religion down everyone's throats.  And next year, since the public schools are determined to turn out idiots, then by golly all the private schools need to get rid of their language and computer classes so everyone is equally squalid and subservient.

Sad but true.

It's a real good sign of fascism when society (such as it is) is geared specifically to create one-trick ponies who are just smart enough to punch buttons, but could never challenge the folks in the board rooms.

Only problem is that whatever the rest of the world is becoming, so are the breeding products of the slimy PTNTTB.  The...children for lack of a better term...of those useless blood-sucking would-be masters are just as slimy, dreary and vacuous as their "parents".  More so.  Look at Paris Hilton.

We're on our own.  We have to read, to listen to fine music, to ponder philosophy, to appreciate good art, and to control to the greatest extent possible the quality of information that enters our souls.

Not only are the PTNTTB in terminal decline and soon unable to rescue even themselves, we are certainly not on their list of priorities.

If you are one of the few with the self-awareness to not only determine whether you have a mind and soul, but able to define and develop them, then run...don't walk...to the nearest gutenberg.org terminal and start packing your head with real, uplifting information.

You owe it to the future of the human race.

6.12.13

Thowing Sabot At Windmills

Lately, folks around these parts (west Java) have been aggitating to raise the regional minimum wage (Indonesia doesn't have a national minimum - yet) to $500 per month.  Folks are complaining that they can't afford to live on the current wages, much like hte McWorkers in Detroit and elsewhere in the States.  Of course, without a little deep thought, and perhaps a degree in economics, those same folks don't realize that they are the ones creating the problem in the first place.

You see, when you increase the minimum wage, then employers have to increase the cost of their products, which ultimately gets passed on to the consumer, and the consumer is who?  Why the folks bemaning the higher wages.  It's an endless circle jerk in which the protesters ultimately are screwing themselves and thinking that things will get better with a little more money in the pocket.  A 20% wage increase=20% higher prices=back where you started.

A similar problem is automation.  Folks just love all those machines doing the hard work, not thinking that they are celebrating their own demise.  A labor-saving device is a human replacement, so while you have dreams of sitting on the beach while your personal robot does the job, the reality is that you are unemployed and can't afford to go to the beach, while your machine is doing fine work at little cost to the 'employer' - no sick leave, no hangovers, no bad hair days, no raises, no health care, etc.

A number of nations are in the midst of immigration 'reform', being sold as the humane thing to do for all those poor folks streaming across the borders.  What no one seems to realize is that those folks are taking all the jobs at half the price and they could care less about rights and benefits, as long as the money comes in. It all started in World War 2. With all the men off to war, the factories filled up with women. Aided by captialists whose only care was the bottom line, feminist organizations latched onto women in the workplace. Thus, the workforce doubled in one fell swoop. With the returning soldiers competing with career women, salaries dropped over time. Then lax immigration laws and enforcement tripled the workforce and salaries/bargaining power got cut again. Rising minimum wages meant that prices kept going up roughly equal to the rise in base pay, so even though everyone had more zeros in the bank, the buying power was the same. Then came robots and humans could be replaced altogether, so that there was no bargaining power left. Oh sure, it all sounded so reasonable. Everyone thought they were at the top of the feed pile. They were all for automation and immigration, because as managers they could show the bosses increased productivity, lower costs and higher profits. In the meantime, the water kept rising. First, the hourly workers, then the line managers, then middle managers. Now it's hitting upper managers, so that the only ones left standing will be the executives who are part of the Good Old Boy club. But that won't last either. Sooner than later, all the wealth will be in 10 hands while the rest of the world wonders what the hell happened. We'll all be standing around watching the wonderous machines scurry back and forth without complain or holiday or flex time. But, there's the rub. You see, without jobs, we won't have money. Without money, there'll be no one to buy all the products made by machines. Eventually, every warehouse in the world will be full, stores will be shut and the planet will grind to a halt because the unbridled greed of a handful of people brought the economic world to its knees. The next revolution won't be against governments, but corporations - the entities that really run the world. Like the Dutch workers of the Industrial Revolution, folks will start throwing the modern equivalent of sabot (wooden shoes) into the machinery and a new word for sabotage will be born. It's inevitable. The Big Question is where will the capitalists run to this time. Before, they ran from Venice to Amsterdam, then London, and finally to New York. Now, there is only one place for them to run, and that's into orbit, which may explain all the companies vying to become space jockeys. In any event, we are replaying history once again. We let the financial genie out of the bottle once again, after having stuffed them back into the bottle so many times throughout the past several thousand years. One day, we the people will have to learn that greed and the interests of human beings are incompatible. With the advent of 3D printing, the last of the real, productive jobs are about to get deep-sixed. Soon we'll all be McWorkers in Detroit. Even the gee-whizz stories about 3D printing don't mention that without income, you can't buy the printers or the materials needed to operate them, and if you had that kind of money, who would you sell the products to - seeing as how all the rest of us are broke too? Solution? All the women quit work and go back to being housewives. It's not a disgrace, its a huge shot into the heart of the vulture capitalists. Citizen patrols of borders is another step. When government fails to do the job that it was constituted to do, then it falls to the people to take back the reins and git 'er done. Third, apply all labor laws as they stand today to all labor-replacing machines: forced shut-downs for two weeks a year, benefit equivalents, tax equivalents, etc. If the machines cost the same as real live people, then there's no benefit to replacing people. Finally, simply refuse to buy anything produced by major multi-national corporations. Buy local produce and dairy. Buy products from cottage industries. Support mom-and-pop outfits. None of this will ever happen. People are too lazy and greedy themselves, and too spoiled by instant gratification, to actually take their self-interests to the next level. When you're playing the game, though, you should at least know where the boundaries are. Changing the world ain't easy, but the alternative is even more painful and with far greater hazards. If you have to suffer, it's much better to control as many of the variables as you can. It makes the pain you suffer much more bearable. Am I anti-woman? No, but I think women run households much better than men. The point is to voluntarily cut the workforce in half, thus increasing our bargaining power overnight. Am I anti-immigration? Not at all. I'm an expat. But giving away the store by falling for the heart-string tugging stories about poor folks serves no one's interests. You lose your job and the other guy is exploited. Am I anti-business? Hell no! Just anti-destructive captialism. Those organizations that are destructive of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness must be brought to heel, just as any individual would be. The key to utopia is education, and guess which part of life the vultures control the most?

4.12.13

The Rover of Destiny


History went through a major shift this last week.  No, none of the  various saviors showed up with angels in tow.  No, the ground didn't shake, unless you live in Texas next to fracking operations.  No, the skies didn't part and in fact comet ISON fizzled out.

There were, however, two major events that have changed global dynamics, though if you only watch main-line media (as in jacking heavy drugs), then the news was drowned out by B-movie stars dying and Obamacare hand-wringing.

The first Big Deal was China launching Chang-e 3.  In case you live under a rock, the Chang-e 3 is an orbiter/lander craft sent on its way to the Moon a couple of days ago.  By the time you read this, it should be entering a low orbit to begin a photo session with Diana (see Greek legend if that reference escapes you).  Later, around February, a rover will drop down to the surface and (likely) soft-land to do a little propecting for minerals and exotic isotopes that could fetch a pretty penny back here on terra firma.

Keep in mind that only the US and USSR has soft-landed on the Moon, and neither of them since the mid-70s.  In fact, you'd think the Moon had a "no trespassing' sign on it the way those two (former) nations have been avoiding it.  A landing will put China in a very exclusive club and the first new member in 40 years.

The other Big Deal is that the yuan passed up the euro on its way to becoming the new global currency.  I'm pretty happy about that, seeing as how I bought a truck-load of them years ago in anticipation of this moment.  What's really important though is that this is first natural (the euro is artificial) currency to challenge the US dollar.  It used to be the mark and franc were fairly desirable in their own right, but the euro tried to go head-to-head and died.  The yuan has risen up from the ranks to take the number 2 spot.

By the way, since you'll likely be doing business in yuan soon enough, the word 'yuan' simply means 'money'.  "Renmimbi" means 'the people's currency' and is the official name of the yuan.  Just so's ya know before you make a fool of yourself in front of your new Chinese bosses.

Back in the 70s, when Japan took a serious run at the title, folks in the US were singing "Take This Job And Shove It" while sporting "Made In America" bumper stickers.  Seems no one cares or has even noticed for that matter, now that China is buying up the world.  Guess those 'Merkans are too busy trying to log on to the Obamacare and food stamp websites.

Talk about a country getting its ass whipped.

That giant sloshimg sound (not Ross Perot's giant sucking sound) is global power and prestige cascading over the international date line on its way east.  Does America seriously think it can challenge China on behalf of Japan over some oil blocks in the South China Sea, when the 'enemy' owns about a third of the US national debt, property and equity?  That new sound you hear is me laughing hysterically thinking about the Chinese flipping the switch on all the electronic gear they built for the US military and shutting the whole thing down without a shot fired.

What will be really interesting is to see what China finds on the Moon.  That nothing has soft-landed there in four decades is a bit strange, considering it is the closest celestial pit stop and is supposedly packed with valuable rare-earth minerals and hydrogen-3 (used for fusion generators).  The Chinese certainly know it, since the Big Daddy of their space program has said as much in the last week.

More to the point, what will they find/not find with regards to the US Apollo program landing sites?  Will they discover the alien technology that the US has hidden for decades?  Will they find Kubrick's signature and Disney's brand?  Will they tell the rest of us, or just use it to keep the US in line?  And does this account for all the recent efforts to establish world parks, no-fly zones and other "keep away" signs around Apollo landing sites?

Stay tuned...this story is just beginning.  In the meantime, do you feel those historic shifts now?

26.11.13

600

It's been a while since we gave a shareholders' report.  After all, it is you, dear reader, that make Life on the
Far Side a going concern and keep it growing with your great ideas and donations to the cause.

We chose the event of the 600th published article as an appropriate time to catch everyone up and what's been going down.

First of all, the hit counter is spinning madly.  We get about 300 visitors a day, less on weekends and more when our scribblings are actually coherent, or cross-published, whichever comes first.  The audience is split almost in half, with about 52% from the US/Canada (but I repeat myself), and 48% from Asia, Russia and Brazil, with a healthy mix of Eurospace in there.  The top 2 countries continue to be the US and Indonesia, both of which indicate promising signs of intelligence out there.

We are rapidly approaching a quarter-million pages served, which is likely the morning shift on some sites, but for a one-man show coming from deep in the jungles of Borneo, we think it's pretty damn stunning and we intend to use it as an excuse to drink brandy and smoke cigars.

As for the donations to pay for all the high-tech equipment that brings the Far Side to you each and every...well, OK, once every 3 days on average, we haven't received squat since installing the new Bitcoin system.  You may recall that PayPal wanted a whole ream of personal data and copies of IDs and all that.  WE told them which part of Elon Musk's alpha-male anatomy would be suitable to filing all that personal data and promptly established a Bitcoin account (for all the freakin' good it's done).  It could very well be that the lack of donations is a function of the declining quality of work around here, but we prefer to blame it all on Bitcoin and PayPal.

Radio Far Side is doing considerably better on YouTube than Vimeo, while the Yuku channel is langishing in anonymity.  We're about to peak over 4,000 hits on YouTube in the past five months.  Yeah, yeah, we know...fardly viral that, but hey, how many does your channel get?  Neener neener.

The Wordpress mirror site has suddenly and inexplicably taken off.  We're not complaining, you see, we just want to know how we did it co we can repeat the process elsewhere.  The Twitter account might actually do best if we gave a damn about it, which we don't.  Same with Farcebook.  But we still put a little effort into keeping them up to date anyway.

Meantime, back at the ranch...er, jungle, we're preparing for our annual Far Side Thanksgiving report, which is one of the perennial favorites out there in reader-land.  We're also fixin' to start a Big New Job, which is taking a lot of time and focus away from our regular musings here, but hey, we're keeping up with the average post count.  One of these days, we may even go in an clear out the 173 unfinished articles, too.

Our Big Goal for the Coming Year (OBGCY) is to get more regular readers than Far Side staff.  For some damn reason, our payroll seems to be expanding far beyond what would seem reasonable and proprietary for an effort like this.

At the end of the day, we want to thank all the regulars out there and welcome the newbies.  We'll try not to scare your right off.  It's been a long strange trip (thanks Grateful Dead!) getting to 600.  We just can't imagine what things will look like around here when we get to 1,200.  Hopefully by then, someone will have figured out how to use Bitcoin.  :D

Keep the faith and keep coming back.  We'll keep trying to education and inform, not necessarily in that order.  Special thanks to the good folks who write in and scold us for trashing up the 'net.  We really appreciate your efforts and look forward to more tongue-lashings in the near future.

Once more unto the breech!

25.11.13

Rage Against The Machine

Just guessing from the hit counts, about half of the audience here doesn't keep up with Southeast Asian politics, but sometimes it's really worth the extra effort.  Take now, for instance.

To get you up to speed, Indonesia "discovered" that Australia was spying on it, recording the President's and First Lady's cell phone calls.  Now, like Germany's response to NSA revelations, I can't believe this is a Really Big Aha! moment.  Due to long-simmering territorial disputes between Jakarta and Canberry, I'm very sure both sides have been keeping tabs on each other for decades.

At any rate, Indonesia threw a hissy-snit over the revelation.  Makes for good theater, ya know.  Indo President Bambang (referred to indelicately in Oz press as BangBang), immediately demanded an apology and cease-and-desist.  When they weren't forthcoming, the Prez began ordering Ozzies expelled and firmly suggested that all Indo citizen in Oz return home - including scads of students, domestic help and tourists.

The fear of losing his maid apparently spurred Oz PM Abbott to mumble a couple of vaguely conciliatory words, which served to exacerbate the problem.

Prez Bambang then began recalling diplomatic staff and gearing up to expel Oz tourists and businesses here in Indonesia.

Abbott almost sat up at that point, fearing not only the loss of his domestic help, but the cancellation of his Bali vacation, as well.  He made noises that some interpreted as sounding like, "I'll draft up an apology and get back to you."

Well, that wasn't good enough, so Bambang stopped detaining refugee boats that lay over on their way to Oz.  This caused an immediate 4% jump in illegal immigration down south of here.

Well, Abbott nearly stopped eating at that point.

Which brings us up to events over this past weekend.  Looks like someone got up a rent-a-mob in Jakarta and they trotted down to the Oz consulate there and promptly burned...wait for it...an American flag.

Now this is either a gaff on the part of the rent-a-mob organizers, or a very profound statement about Oz's position as avatar to the Anglo-sphere in SEAsia.  Given that a great number of Indonesians can't deal in deep abstracts such as irony, sarcasm and metaphor, one assumes it was a gaff.  But, still...

There is little doubt that Oz acts as lap-dog to London and Washington, and as such, would be deeply involved in espionage here in SEAsia.  After all, they've got that great listening station at Canberra that was built with NASA money back at the dawn of the space age.  There's little doubt that Oz shares anything they happen to catch with those ears with the NSA - which is catching heat of late for, yup, spying on friends and family.

The Anglo-sphere continues to be shunned by the rest of the world, which has become emboldened by the weakening dollar and the ongoing disgrace known as Barrack Obama.  Ignorance, indifference and just plain arrogance on the part of London and Washington in their head-long race to global domination (or is it oblivion) is alienating the world.  Emerging powers in Asia, Africa and South America are no long content to wait for crumbs to fall from the Anglo-sphere table.  Their growing power and burgeoning middle-classes, plus the omnipresent decline of Western hegemony and financial might.

The Western powers are so corrupt and disconnected from the world that are both unwilling and incapable of seeing the current trends.  Instead of fostering more amenable ties to these emerging powers, they have chosen instead to take square aim at their own feet and blast away with heavy munitions.

As with Germany in WW2, and other examples, eventually the rest of the world tires of being shat on and begins pecking at every sign of weakness until all out war ensues.  If the Anglo-sphere continues to be hauty and dismissive, as Abbott has been, then Indonesia and other long-suffering nations of the world will consider flexing their new muscles to get things done.

It's not a very good time to be the neighborhood bully.

21.11.13

The End Is Nigh!

Among the scads of reasons for the collapse of the USSR, the lack of incentive for working stiffs like us was a major one.

You work your ass off all your life for a dingy little apartment in a drab and depressing concrete ant hill.  No matter how much you put into your job, you can't move up till someone at the top dies, and even if you got to move up, you still had to stand in line all day for toilet paper and a spud or two on holidays.  When you were too old to work, you were sent to the collective to twaddle around until you croaked and made room for the next stiff.

The only way to really get something out of life was to become an inner party member, but to do that, you had to be the childhood blood brother of an inner party member, which meant that one in a million or two was going to go that route.

American capitalism, it seems, is not far from the now collapsed socialist system.  The primary difference is that the inner party members carry titles such as CEO, CFO, COO, etc., rather than something more drab and functional.

Suppose you work your tail off and the best you can do is a bland, gray concrete box on the 14th floor of a bland, gray concrete box that looks like dozens of other bland, gray concrete boxes?  Suppose all your labor and effort means that you still can't afford to fill the pantry or your family's bellies, and you still have to stand in line to get your basic necessities?

Now suppose that welfare checks and food stamps offer you as good or even slightly better?  Where's the incentive to work?  If you can never get ahead, never improve your lot, and not working is pretty much the same lifestyle as working, then why roll out of bed in the morning?

Yup, better to just sit and stare at the TeeVee and sign the registry once a month down at the welfare/employment office, than to buy a work wardrobe, pay for transportation, maintain a bank account (all fees included) and pay rent on a drab, gray concrete box that looks exactly like the neighbor's who's getting his for free from Uncle Sugar.

Why have an idea that no one will act on?  Why put up with daily dressing-downs from the boss (whose drab, gray box is slightly larger than yours)?  Why go through the hassle of doing anything more than just breathing when it makes absolutely no difference at all?

 The USSA is riding the coat tails of the USSR.  Folks are giving up.  There's no point to the rat race if no one wins - except the inner party members to whom you are most certainly not related.

America today is little different from the London of the Industrial Revolution.  Work is hardy more than indentured servitude, slaving away 12 hours a day for nothing at the end of a lifetime of drudgery.  It will most certainly hit that point in the near future when all retirement accounts are swept clean to pay off the gambling debts of the inner party members.

True capitalism means that the harder you work, or the better your ideas, the higher you social status and quality of living.

My great uncle Pat was from a family of Welsh coal miners who relocated to Butte, Montana.  By luck and good looks, he got a job as a house servant instead of in the mines, where his brothers worked.  The brothers died of black lung...to a man.  Pat was able to save his two coins of pay per month by eating scraps from the master's table.  Eventually, he got out and was able to build a good life in California, where his family eventually became quite successful.

Chances of that happening at Wal-Mart are slim to none.  So why get up in the morning?  Welfare and food stamps are free, require no effort and the lifestyle is the same.

Besides, what an insult it must be to work in a store full of products you'll never be able to buy...


20.11.13

Reader Rites

Our post the other day (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression...) struck a chord with a number of readers, and the hit rate hit the ceiling.  I think I screwed up and said something profound, for which I sincerely apologize.  One regular reader and correspondent on the Far Side was moved to write an excellent note that got me to thinking (I know - stand back).  It was well worth sharing with the general audience and a little alliteration, I thought:
 
Bernard --
 
... Yet again, I am interrupting my comfortable daily routine to write out compliments for your latest blog post.
I need an automatic program that sends out emails saying, "Bernard -- Well done, again."
 
... But Ayn Rand instructed me to "reward the good for being good", so here is another email to you.
 
... The concepts of "suicide" and "insanity" in connection with America have been on my mind, also.
Not just connected to America, but all countries that are connected to America.
The farther away, the less the connection, the less the insanity.
You and I have escaped in the only way possible, to "the far side".
 
... Alas, here in Thailand, there is still some connection to the insanity machine of American media.
You understand that better than I do.
Here, I am seeing steady degeneration of the culture.
The Thais are exceeding good at imitating others, but they have no idea what or why:  a "cargo cult" on a national scale.
Examples:  women trying to act masculine, graffiti destruction of property, boom-boom cars and similar intentional annoyance of public peace, worship of Negros in advertising signs, movies, television, and massive adulation of homosexuals.
I call it inversion of values, all values.
There is not one that is right side up any more.
 
... I selected Thailand because this insanity was developing about 20 years behind the USA.
You probably chose Indonesia for a similar reason.
But no place I can see is immune.
 
... This is not going to end well, is it?
 
Cordially, A Faithful Reader
 
To which, in my customarily terse manner, I responded:
Dear Faithful Reader,
As always, I get excited when I see your name pop up in the email, since I know something juicy follows - and I don't refer to the kudos, though I deeply appreciate your time and effort to follow Rand's admonishment.
I think Thailand is somewhat more susceptible to the insipid cultural invasion from America because the Buddhist mentality is significantly more permissive than the Islamic.  If there is one saving grace here, it is that the muslims are fighting tooth and nail to resist the onslaught.  It is and ultimately will fail, but it may be a bit slower than the take-over of Thailand.
I do have a chance to put my money where my mouth is, though.  I recently accepted the position of General Manager of the Ciputra Arts Center here in Jakarta.  As such, I am in a position to filter the influence of degenerate Western culture in favor of more civilized fare from a by-gone era.  However, the ever increasing wealth and expansion of the middle class here means that millions are clamoring for the lifestyles that previously they could only lust after watching movies and TeeVee.  If I can do anything about it, I intend to foster a uniquely Indonesian solution.
It is a terrible shame.  Americans are so paranoid and xenophobic that they can only survive in areas where "home" has been cookie-cut for them.  Endlessly repeatable experiences like Holiday Inn and McDonald's are all the fragile American psyche can handle.  Until now, they have been able to demand and receive it because of their money, but that is rapidly changing.
I believe that the collapse of the US will be tragic for a great many people worldwide, but that Asia may have both an economic and physical buffer from the worst of it, which is the prime reason I moved here.  Furthermore, folks in these parts are still able to survive without modern amenities much more ably than Americans and Europeans.  Back home, I would be hard-pressed to find 10 people in a hundred that could build a decent shelter, whereas I think easily 75 out of a hundred here could...but that is quickly changing with the spoiled and overly-indulged generation coming up.  The rising epidemic of hyperactivity, spreading waistbands and hollow looks on young folks' faces around here tells me that soon, all will be lost.
The one thing I am counting on is the rapid and soon collapse of the Western hemisphere.  I am convinced that is all that will save humanity at this point.  Painful as it will be, the long term survival of the species demands it.  I see plenty of healthy saplings down in the forest floor that need only a good forest fire to release them to the sun's rays.
I don't look forward to the coming mess either way - West wins or West loses - but I honestly think the only viable solution is to encourage the suicide and be done with the family loony.  I think of it as a merciful act, both for the loony and for the rest of the family.
Sorry for the ramble, but you always encourage thought with your notes, for which I am deeply grateful.  Thanks for reading and continue to keep in touch.  While you're at it, check out the website http://ciputraartpreneur.com.  It's a very exciting project and one-of-a-kind in Indonesia at the moment.  If you make it this way at some point, of course I'll drag you to a show.
All the best!
B

19.11.13

Trimurti And Me

Remember being a kid and playing out in the back 40 building roads and dams and other major engineering projects?  If you had a long Saturday afternoon, these projects could get rather elaborate.  I once dammed off an entire stream and made a decent swimming hole with an island in the middle, complete with port for my toy sailboat.  It was a very LONG afternoon, you see.

If you watch kids doing this kind of thing, there is an inevitable point when they seem to reach a maximum point of development and then smash the whole thing to bits and start over.  The smashing up usually involves lots of explosion noises and probably conversations between imaginary world leaders as they plot the systematic destruction of the 'world'.

It seems humanity is like that.  We have plugged into our brains at some level the desire to destroy everything we've built up and start over.  Hell, even computers come with elaborate ctr+alt+del codes to reset the system and start over.  Every gaming system has a reset button.  Nations have thermonuclear devices.  Holy books have end-of-world scenarios and signs to look for that clue the faithful into the coming reset.

The reason I mention kids first is that the urge to destroy shows up very young, even before religious or social programming.  If you stack up a bunch of blocks in front of a baby, it will eventually knock them down and even make a game of it, laughing and giggling every time the 'world' crashes down.

It's hardwired into us, this desire to destroy.  It is the yang to our creative yin.  It is the evil that offsets the good.  In order to take part in the creative process, there seems to be a built-in reset button that drives us to destroy.

We humans are both Brahma and Shiva balanced on the lap of Vishnu waiting to totter off in one direction or the other.

It's like a Kubrick film, with phallic probes from a tanker aircraft seeking union with the receiving craft, and ending with an atomic explosion of a climax complete with Slim Pickens riding the Big One all the way in coital eruptions of "Yeehaw!"

We are a strange breed.  I am not familiar with any other creature on Earth that burns with the desire to destroy all it has created to begin the whole process again.  Beavers never tear down their dens.  Rabbits never cave in their warrens.  Birds may abandon a nest, but they don't rip it to shreds before doing so.  It seems to be a characteristic unique to human beings.

Perhaps in the millennia that humanity has been asking the question, "Why are we here?", the answer all along has been, "Learn how to create without destroying."  But with something so seemingly intractable from the human psyche, are we even capable of reaching that ultimate enlightenment?

But what do I know?  I believe that 'global warming' is a cover story for weather wars.

18.11.13

Denial Anger Bargaining Depression...

It's not easy watching a country commit suicide.  It's kind of like a car wreck: everyone slows down to look at the carnage before speeding off happy to still be breathing.

Usually, when folks kill themselves, they seek a little privacy and try to do things as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Occasionally though, you get the jumpers.  They get out on the ledge and wait for big crowds to gather and media to show up.  These big public shows are rarely serious, though.  What they are looking for is some attention - someone to save them.

The United States of America seems to be one of those exceptions.  Not only has it crawled out on a particularly precarious ledge, but it is absolutely defying anyone to help it.  Convinced of its own immortality and what David Byrne called "special-NESS",  Not only has it edged itself out in a very public space, it is tap-dancing on the ledge singing the Star-Spangled Banner and yelling to the gaping mobs below about how privileged it is.

It's a special kind of insanity, really.

There's an additional problem.  This gross display of self-delusion is compounded by the fact that the nation has crawled out on the ledge carrying a lot of weapons and seems hell-bent on taking out a few million folks before swan-diving to a spectacular end.

A lot of countries and individuals around the world are trying to distance themselves from the coming carnage.  The number of people giving up their citizenship or permanent resident status has reached record highsLegislation has been introduced in Russia to ban possession and trade in dollars.  A dozen countries have demanded their gold back from the Federal Researve (good luck - getting smack off a junkie is easier).  Many other countries are establishing trade agreements in their own currencies to by-pass the dollar.

All of this is going on fairly quietly so as not to agitate the loony on the ledge, but he's getting wise and starting to get that wild, haunted look in his eyes.  He's spying on everyone, friends included, out of sheer paranoia.  He's got weapons pointed in every which direction.  He's insisting that everyone sign his Trans-Pacific Pact or he'll by-God jump.  In fact, he's showing all the same signs the USSR did a while back before slipping and falling to its death in a rather spectacular way with a vodka-swilling Jew riding a tank into Red Square.

The world is pretty much resigned to the inevitable, and since the loony gets ever more belligerent with every passing moment, it seems a good idea to stand back and let the guy rush head-long to his demise, while making back-up plans for the inevitable time when the rest of us don't have to worry about his destructive behavior.

Americans, being for the most part provincial and self-centered, don't realize how their country squats on top of the world and, in spoiled child fashion, issues demands and decrees that are completely oblivious to the rest of the world or the harm that it does.

Having been so steeped in "exceptionalism", Americans are blind to the destructive tendency of their culture.  Raised on diets of pro-Cowboy/anti-Indian, the US continues the single-minded conquest of the world in the belief that there is no other way but the Anglo way, and the world must conform or die.

Civilization is something that is grown, not pounded.  It also recognizes that there are many paths to the same destination.  Americans, and America, must reform or face extinction.  No man is an island entire to himself.

The decline of the US is now well into the paranoia phase, in which it is lashing out to blame anyone and anything for its misfortunes.  In fact, the whole problem is as simple as a point of view, but one that is extremely hard to take, because it requires seeing the errors of the current situation.

Slowly but inexorably the American people are waking up and realizing what is and has been done in their name.  This is causing increasing dissatisfaction and distancing from government institutions.  Once the people have been lost, governments crumble  Like marital infidelity, it is extremely hard to regain trust, especially that which was built on complete faith in the goodness and morality of the system.

American paranoia says that the rest of the world is plotting against it, but out here on the Far Side, we know the end is near and it is prudent to prepare.

14.11.13

Space A-holes Must Die!

Let's stop calling them the PTB and elites.  After all, they are just low-life, greedy scum in 3-piece Armani suits.  I propose the term "A-holes," with a capital "A" to distinguish them from the run-of-the-mill, street variety of a-hole.

These A-holes have sabotaged yet another nation's space ambitions.  India's Mars probe, like so many before it, has been scuttled by the A-holes to prevent...what?  Well, that's the Big 64-dollar question, ain't it?

You see, ever since WW2 and the incredible technologies unleashed by German and Nazi research, these A-holes, who have squatted on humanity's collective head for centuries, have been pressing the space technology to establish their Empire of the Heavens.  These pernicious dogs actually fancy themselves as akin to the gods of ancient myth and they are determined to capture the sky realms for themselves and 'once again' take their place as gods of the Heavens.

What a load of crap, but the problem is the A-holes believe it, and they are willing to kill, maim and destroy anything to get what they want: a New World Order...only they won't be on the World they intend to Order.

Since the dawn of the Space Age, there seems to be a clear agenda that someone (the A-holes) wants to have complete and unltimate control over who gets there and what they can see and do.  An inordinate number of probes seem to fail that don't come from the A-hole military-industrial-financial complex.  The Russian Fobos-Grunt, the British Beagle and now the Indian Mars craft have failed, while the US rovers and orbiters don't seem to have any problem.

And no, I obviously don't buy a superior tech story, since US tech is all off the shelf in Mumbai, anymore.

We can add to the list all the Moon probes that seem to rile up the A-holes, especially when they get too near certain sensitive areas, like the manned landing sites.  One also gets the sense that there is a high-level (bunch of A-holes) sitting on top of any data that other countries manage to acquire.  Everything is just too well managed.

Heck, the BBC story on the Indian probe problems spends a lot of time quoting "unnamed sources" about what could be going on with the satellite.  Now just a doggone minute.  Why do people commenting on space probes need anonymity?  You mean folks can't speak openly about space exploration?  Unless, of course, it's an A-hole expert showing off his inside knowledge about what's really gone wrong with the machine.

Any more, it seems like good national policy to announce that you are sending a probe to Venus, and then announce your Mars intentions once you're safely inserted into a trans-martian orbit.  Declaring up front just looks like mechanical suicide, at this point.

As researchers such as Hoagland, Farrell and Dolan have pointed out, there is a distinct set of dots to connect that make a picture of a set of A-holes with an iron grasp on all things space.  There's also a strong case to be made by these and others that a secret space program exists that serves only the interests of the A-holes.

We can only conclude that the A-holes intend to (or have already) get off the planet, establish themselves as modern-day gods, and then start lobbing crap at us, like meteors and other fun stuff, for fun.  Oh, and while they're at it, they'll nuke us (Fukushima, Stuxnet), choke us (BP oil spill) and futz with our genes (GMOs) to see what they can do to return humanity to the Stone Age and back to slaves for the A-holes...not to mention the pure entertainment value of being gods and killing off a billion or so just for fun.  Kinda like the Sims.

So, are there really a bunch of A-holes who are trying to recreate the powers of the ancient gods and lord themselves over Mankind at our own expense?  I'd say the facts show yes.  I've just presented a tiny bit of the evidence - haven't mentioned the Norway seed bank, Project Blue Beam, crop circles, and the like.

What can we do?  First of all, acknowledge that they really are shitting on us.  Two, that they really are trying to make themselves gods.  And three, that they need their wings clipped in a Big Way.  If you want to see their wet dream, watch Star Trek into Darkness, only pretend that you are the natives about to be toasted by the volcano, rather than Kirk and McCoy.  That's how they see us and themselves.

What a bunch of A-holes.

13.11.13

A New Superhero - Renaissance Man

Compartmentalization equals death.

Once upon a time, education included the Trivium and Quadrivium.  A student was required to survey the sum total of human experience before being allowed to specialize in a degree.  This is what we call a liberal arts education - liberal being the operative word in that it set one free.

A recent article triggered some deep thinking on the state of the world and the mess that we call education today.

People have gotten so narrowly focused that they not only cannot think outside the box, they can't even define the limits of the box because they can't see that far.  A typical college graduate enters the work force so specialized that he or she is incapable of drawing on multiple points of view in problem-solving.  Inspiration for the really big breakthroughs requires the ability to call on multiple disciplines.  Creativity thrives on the ability to approach any problem from many different angles.

The concept of the "renaissance man" has long since died out.  People who can competently play a muscal instrument, recite poetry, pursue independent investigations into the sciences, be able to speak more than one language fluently, discuss history with some authority, travel extensively, and so on are vanishingly rare anymore.

One key to a well-rounded education is reading.  It seems that most people one encounters these days don't read at all, or if they do, it is only within the field of their career.  Those who still read the news seem to only draw from select sources whose socio-political outlook matches their own.  Few will consciously seek out viewpoints that diverge from their own just to consider the arguments presented.

In observing this state of things, I begin to believe that it is by design.  Having populations that are highly specialized keeps them ignorant of opposing ideas, and thus divided and unable to work together.  This division serves the purpose of preventing large numbers of people from diverse backgrounds from forming alliances that could effectively change political systems.  Without unity, there is no power, and so it serves the Powers That Squat to keep us all ignorant and unable to communicate effectively.

A college graduate that has spent most of his matriculation focused on accounting makes a good wage slave.  They don't question much and are incapable of solving problems in other areas, effectively pidgeon-holing the employee and preventing them from knowing too much about how the rest of the business functions.  If he were too broadly educated, the accountant would be an effective threat to the equally pidgeon-holed executives and their corner offices and juicy paychecks and bonus packages.

Think about black projects in government or corporate worlds.  The most effective way to keep a project a secret is to let as few people in on the Big Picture as possible.  Company A has only enough information to produce their widget, but how that widget fits into the overall scheme is a mystery.

The same is true with populations.  By having an educational system geared towards specialization, people are effectively cut off from seeing the Big Picture, and so never have enough information to challenge the status quo.  This keeps most people nicely compliant, and those who get out of hand never know enough of the Big Picture to ever be a real threat.  If anyone ever causes real damage to the system, it is by sheer dumb luck and even the 'perpetrator' is unaware of what he has done.

The cited article talks about how specialization has stifled creativity, and in that respect, it is absolutely right.  However, it stops short of hitting the problem on the head.  At some level of society, it serves an elites' purpose to stifle free though and keep people pidgeon-holed because it ensures their hegemony.

This brings us to one of the main themes here on the Far Side: the internet is a huge threat to the ruling classes.  That people have free and easy access to so much information endangers the carefully crafted system of specialization.  They must scramble to ensure that we the people never figure out that we don't need their educational system anymore.  If we did, not only would they be unable to maintain their system of putting every college graduate in indentured servitude with student loans, those same graduates would start to become a real threat to the system itself as the Big Picture began to reveal itself.

The stifling of creativity due to specialization is not an unintended consequence, it is the very point of it.  The so-called education system we have is a weapon used to keep us in our assigned stations in life.  Our most effective defense and best weapon is reading and learning everything we can get our hands on.

When we understand how history, art and science work together to form a Big Picture, we will suddenly find why the Trivium and Quadrivium of the ancient world were called a "liberal" education.  Knowledge is freedom - liberation and liberty.  To obtain it requires reading, and not fiction (though it has its place).  It requires reading history, scientific theses, literature, philosophy, religious texts, and law.  It requires us to express ourselves through the arts, and to appreciate how others have done the same.

Only when we can draw on the sum total of human knowledge and experience can we call ourselves free.  It is not an easy task, but it is necessary if we are to survive as a species.  Slavery comes in many subtle forms, and 'education' is one of the most insidious, for it makes us feel intelligent while binding our minds with chains even more effective than physical ones.

If we spent just half the time we devote to TeeVee reading non-fiction from a variety of disciplines, we would see the world change radically and quickly for the better.

10.11.13

Musings On Media

The piece on FarceBook and Twiddle seemed to have hit a nerve, with a number of folks weighing in on both sides, but the one that struck me the most was from long-time reader and contributor Robert, to whit:

Hello Bernard:
Often times reading your blog is like reading my own thoughts, and usually it's during those moments when I am feeling quite alone with them. Timely is your blog because lately my  cognitive dissonance has been about the recent IPO offering of Tweeter TWTR as being a product of a kind of mass hysteria. At an earlier time I felt this way with the release of the Facebook IPO FB. It reminded me of when I was a kid and we had the old crank wall phones. The problem for those phones was that they were on shared lines and people could listen in making it a source of gossip. Mable could spread the word that Sue was in a family way, and such. After watching a Zuckerberger video my suspicions were confirmed that gossip was the very reason Facebook was invented. Facebook legitimized gossip making it a kind of art form. But gossip isn't all, you can stop being a nobody and share your vanities with a million other vain folks.  And Mable has become the NSA gossip queen that gathers it all. But the sequel IPO, TWRT astounding me even more since it has no substance whatsoever. Now everyone can not only be a legitimate gossip monger and vainglorious asshole they can also be Internet imbedded objects of commerce too.

I suspect that the ghost of Edward Bernays visited Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberger and told them, "Hey, I can show you how to get $billions from nothing if you simply kiss my hand and the Wailing Wall. You now have two generations that grew up watching moving pictures on screens, so if you put moving pictures on their cell phones their psyches are already so conditioned you can name the price and they will pay it. And if you rewrite the software and add more memory every few months they will go out and buy the same thing over and over  thinking that its new and improved. You can get the Chinese communist to put their slaves to work manufacturing the Ipods and Iphones and Ipads for pennies on the dollar. Pretty soon you will have more money than General Electric, Halliburton and Exon put together, and the public will have their texting, tweeting, twittering, gossiping, and snitching with moving pictures.

Best wishes


Yep, a lot of folks were mystified by the who IPO hype, which even now I suspect a lot of folks are buring out on, simply because there's no substance to any of it.  Folks don't post insights or poetry or utilize the medium as a tool of exploration and enrichment.  

Rather it is a compendium of people's minutia and public jabs at others who may have offended.  Much of it is vicious and the balance is mindless drivel.

Robert's point about the old phone system was exactly right, and for those who don't have personal memories about those old phone systems, it went like this:

Back in the Stone Age, especially in rural areas where the Great Phone Expansion was just reaching out its nefarious tentacles, there were things called party lines.  Any number of homes were all wired to the same circuit, which was wired to a central switchboard with a real live person physically plugging one circuit into another to complete calls.

Each household on a circuit had its own ring tone.  Yours might be two longs and a short to let you know the call was for you, but you would hear all the ring tones for all the phones on the circuit, and consequently the infernal contraption made a lot of racket during peak hours.

To place a call, you lifted the earpiece and cranked a handle on the side.  This created a series of electical pulses that would ring a bell at the switchboard to get the operator's attention.  To call cross-country, your operator would physically plug the circuit into a central line, which would initiate a series of folks plugging copper wires into other copper wires until it reached the circuit you were calling.  This laborious process led to the ubiquitous idiom, "Hold the phone," as you waited for all the plugs to be set just right.

Each circuit had a name.  The one we had when I was a kid was JACKSON, followed by three or four numbers to cue the operator which ring tone to use to get your attention.

The consequence of all this was that each phone on a circuit could hear every other phone on the circuit.  In some cases, housewives would all just pick up the phone at a given time of day and jawbone with each other.  This had the additional result of making the operator (Mabel in Robert's note) the queen of gossip, since she could hear what everyone was saying to everyone else on multiple circuits.  Thus was born the NSA.

Back in the day, you were privy to anything said on your circuit.  If someone had momentous news (a death, birth, etc.), it was only a matter of minutes before word was all over the county.  On party lines, someone was always listening.  Heck, some folks would just sit there and listen for hours at a time, perched on a stool next to the phone box on the wall.

In a vastly more complex way, that person sitting on the stool listening to the party line for hours is what FarceBook and Twiddle are all about.  It's a form of voluntary surveillance where you willingly publish your most intimate details on the party line while others sit and watch for whatever reasons.  It's a kind of sanctioned voyeurism where people post the minutia of their lives for others' entertainment.  We've all become the Town Gossip and the Town Peeping Tom, and our obcession with it is worth US$1.6 billion and change, apparently.

It's sick really that a select few insiders should make so much money off of people's most base proclivities.  But seeing as how they are monetizing just about everything else - air, water, carbon-based lifeforms - I suppose it is only inevitable.  Not that you've probably noticed, but pornography usually leads the way into new communications technology, followed closely by gluttony, greed, envy, and the rest of the seven deadly sins.

And so a core group of greedsters sit back and make a kajillion dollars off of people's baser instincts, while at the same time compiling all the intimate details of ourselves that we freely share with the world into phychological profiles, which themselves can be sold to marketers and spy agencies, bringing in an additional kajillion dollars.  Every twit and status update makes someone incredibly rich.

As P. T. Barnum famously said, "Every crowd has a silver lining."