“You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can’t remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence. But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remember now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.”
“You may have heard of the Seven Sisters in the sky, but have you heard about the Seven Strong Men on the ground? Located just west of the Ural Mountains, the unusual Manpupuner rock formations are one of the Seven Wonders of Russia. How these ancient 40-meter high pillars formed is yet unknown.
The persistent photographer of this featured image battled rough terrain and uncooperative weather to capture these rugged stone towers in winter at night, being finally successful in February of last year. Utilizing the camera's time delay feature, the photographer holds a flashlight in the foreground near one of the snow-covered pillars. High above, millions of stars shine down, while the band of our Milky Way Galaxy crosses diagonally down from the upper left.”
"From emotional turmoil, hatred, and addiction the miracle of recovery begins in this Spadecaller Video entitled "Ex Obscurum" (From Darkness). Featuring original poetry narrated by the author and visual artist, Matthew Schwartz. Composer Samuel Barber's powerful musical score, adopted for the movie Platoon, (Adagio for Strings) sets the background for this spiritual exodus "From Darkness."
“One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, generosity, empathy, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked the grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Depression and What It Takes to Recover the Light of Being”
by Maria Popova
“Sometimes one has simply to endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it, attentive to what it exposes or demands,” the poet May Sarton wrote as she contemplated the cure for despair amid a dark season of the spirit. But what does it take to perch that precarious if in the direction of the light? When we are in that dark and hollow place, that place of leaden loneliness and isolation, when “the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain,” as William Styron wrote in his classic account of the malady – an indiscriminate malady that savaged Keats and savaged Nietzsche and savaged Hansberry – what does it take to live through the horror and the hollowness to the other side, to look back and gasp disbelievingly, with the poet Jane Kenyon: “What hurt me so terribly… until this moment?”
During a recent dark season of the spirit, a dear friend buoyed me with the most wonderful, hope-giving, rehumanizing story: Some years earlier, when a colleague of hers – another physicist – was going through such a season of his own, she gave him an amaryllis bulb in a small pot; the effect it had on him was unexpected and profound, as the effect of uncalculated kindnesses always is – profound and far-reaching, the way a pebble of kindness ripples out widening circles of radiance. As the light slowly returned to his life, he decided to teach a class on the physics of animation. And so it is that one of his students, Emily Johnstone, came to make ‘Bloom’ – a touching animated short film, drawing from the small personal gesture a universal metaphor for how we survive our densest private darknesses, consonant with Neil Gaiman’s insistence that “sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place… to make us warm in the coldest season.”
"A year ago, macro strategist David Hunter predicted a massive melt-up in financial assets, to be followed by an equally tremendous market crash. Well, he’s certainly been right so far on the melt-up prediction. All major stock indices are trading at record highs. And valuations have never been more stretched. Market Cap to GDP (the famed “Buffet Indicator”) has never been higher. Nor has the market’s price-to-sales ratio. As analyst Sven Henrich puts it “everything has gone vertical“.
So, having correctly called the current melt-up, will Hunter’s prediction of a 65-80% crash in prices this year also come true? Time will tell. But as extreme as that kind of drop may seem, history is on David’s side. Whenever excessive debt has enabled market multiples to distort to unsustainably excessive heights - which is what’s happening now on an unprecedented level - a painful correction to clear out the bad debt and malinvestment has always occurred."
"Well, wasn’t that a great fireworks display on Wednesday? It’s going to be pretty hard to lecture the world about democracy and peaceful elections after this. You can bet it got Congress’ attention. It’s one thing if angry crowds storm a Target in Minneapolis or break things in Portland, but it’s another thing when they overrun their work building. Would this have happened during a time of widely shared prosperity and social stability? It seems the social fabric is unraveling before our eyes.
Maybe it’s at least partly explained by a form of tyranny. There is much talk of tyranny in the political realm, but little is said about the tyrannies in the economic realm, a primary one being the tyranny of high costs: High costs crush the economy from within and enslave those attempting to start enterprises or keep their businesses afloat.
Traditionally, costs are broken down into fixed costs such as rent and fees which don't change regardless of whether business is good or bad, and operating costs such as payrolls, fuel, etc. which rise and fall with revenues. To some degree, this division no longer matters, because the entire cost structure of our economy is tyrannically high. If rent, insurance, taxes and general overhead don't eat you alive, then labor overhead (healthcare insurance, etc.) and other operating costs will.
The Plight of the “Precariats”: The major players in the U.S. economy used four tricks to offset the ever-higher costs: Globalization, financialization, reducing quality/quantity and turning the workforce into neo feudal gig economy precariats. That’s a class of people living without predictability or security. Their lives are precarious.
By offshoring high-wage manufacturing to nations with lax environmental standards and enforcement, Corporate America scored a two-fer: drastically lower costs of production in both labor and environmental controls.
The feudal lords of our financial system, the Federal Reserve, cemented capital's complete dominance over labor by dropping interest rates to zero and flooding Corporate America with trillions of dollars of essentially free money. The 20-year decline in interest rates allowed Corporate America to refinance debt at absurdly low rates, and borrow trillions more at absurdly low rates to buy back stocks, enriching the managers and top 5% who own the vast majority of equities.
The Fed's free trillions also enabled Corporate America to leverage and arbitrage resources, staff and capital around the world at a nearly frictionless cost of capital. (Meanwhile, the precariat labor force was still being charged 18% and higher for credit. Nice spread if you can get it. Thanks, Fed, for distorting the cost of credit and risk to benefit the few at the expense of the many.)
Just Look at Those Cereal Boxes: As for drastically reduced quality and quantity, all you have to do is open your eyes and look. Cold cereal boxes are now so tall and narrow to maintain the illusion of identical quantity that they cannot even stand upright on their own any more. As for the contents, barely half the box contains a product; the rest is air.
The list of products that fail by design or cost-cutting is essentially endless, as is the list of products whose ingredients have been cheapened and the list of manufactured goods stripped of quality so when the cheapest component (often a sensor or chip in today's digital-obsessed consumerist paradise) fails, the entire device must be tossed in the landfill because repair is now either impossible or too costly.
This ceaseless reduction of quality and quantity has reached the end of the line: the cold cereal boxes are already falling over, the can of tuna has already shrunk to a few ounces, the paint is already peeling off the new appliance, the sensor has already failed in the new dryer. There's nothing left to cheapen or reduce. The game of fooling an oblivious or resigned consumer is over. The price will now have to rise with actual costs.
As for the stripmining of labors' security, there's still room to run here as permanent workforces become a thing of the past and everyone becomes a precariat. The problem here is precariats can no longer afford to consume or borrow more money at 18% interest and so what do we do now to support expanding consumption and debt?
The Gravy Train: We have the federal government borrow trillions and distribute the dough to the precariats, under-employed and unemployed, essentially forever. This will appear to be without consequence until it's too late to save the financial system and economy from imploding as the dollar loses another 95% of its already-diminished purchasing power.
So why don't we look at the sources of the high costs that are eroding the economy? Because every high-cost structure is someone's gravy train: some politically sacrosanct and untouchable special interest or class of insiders depends on ever-higher costs to fund their ever-higher wages, benefits, profits, etc., and they will not be denied their gravy train.
Since healthcare, higher education, local government, etc. is unaffordable, let's print money and give it away as the "solution" to unaffordability. This faux "solution" merely transfers the rising risk of collapse to the entire economy. The costs of healthcare alone are instructive for they mirror the entire economy, which is now staggering under the crushing weight of higher administrative costs in every level. This is how healthcare has gone from 5% of the economy to 20% of the economy. As I have noted here many times, sickcare will bankrupt the nation all by itself. And that’s not to mention any of the other factors that can bankrupt us.
All the tricks to hide our unaffordable cost structure have reached marginal returns. Reality is about to intrude. The tyranny of ever-higher costs is about to crush the economy, and saying it isn't so doesn't make it so. And you’re probably going to see lots more angry crowds throughout America."
"The COVID Tracking Project" Every day, our volunteers compile the latest numbers on tests, cases, hospitalizations, and patient outcomes from every US state and territory. - https://covidtracking.com/ ○
"It’s always good to remember that life isn’t easy. I don’t mean to say that life is always hard in the sense of it always being painful. Clearly there are times when we’re happy, when things are going well, when we feel that our life is headed in the right direction and that even greater fulfillment is just ahead of us, etc.
What I mean is that even when we have times in our life that are good, that doesn’t last. In fact, often the things we’re so excited and happy about later turn out to be things that also cause us suffering.
For example, you start a brand new relationship and you’re in love and it’s exciting and fulfilling. And then you find yourself butting heads with your partner, and you hurt each others’ feelings. Maybe you even split up. Does that sound familiar?
For example, the new job that you’re thrilled about turns out to contain stresses you hadn’t imagined. Has that ever happened?
For example, the house you’re so pleased to have bought inevitably ends up requiring maintenance. Or perhaps the house value plummets. Or perhaps your circumstances change and you find it a struggle to meet the mortgage. Maybe you’ve been lucky, or maybe you’ve been there.
Happiness has a way of evaporating. Unhappiness has a way of sneaking up on us and sucker-punching us in the gut.
On a deep level, none of really understand happiness and unhappiness. If we truly understood the dynamics of these things, we’d be happy all the time and would never be miserable. We’d be enlightened. But pre-enlightenment, we’re all stumbling in the dark, and sometimes colliding painfully with life as we do so.
This being human is not easy. We’re doing a difficult thing in living a human life.
It’s good to accept all this, because life is so much harder when we think it should be easy. When we think life should be straightforward, and that we think we have it all sorted out, then unhappiness becomes a sign that we’ve “failed.” And that makes being in pain even more painful.
We haven’t failed when we’re unhappy; we’re just being human. We’re simply experiencing the tender truth of what it is to live a human life.
So when you’re unhappy, don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t fight it. Accept that this is how things are right now. Often when you do that, you’ll very quickly - sometimes instantly - start to feel better. By accepting our suffering, we start to move through it. And as you look around you, realize that everyone else is doing this difficult thing of being human too. They’re all struggling. We’re all struggling. We all want happiness and find happiness elusive. We all want to avoid suffering and yet keep stumbling into it, over and over.
Many of the things that bother you about other people are their attempts to deal with this difficult existential situation, in which we desire happiness, and don’t experience as much of it as we want, and desire to be free from suffering, and yet keep becoming trapped in it. Their moods, their clinging, their anger - all of these are the results of human beings struggling to find happiness, and having trouble doing so.
If we can recognize that this human life is not easy - if we can empathize with that very basic existential fact - then perhaps we can be just a little kinder to ourselves and others. And that would help make this human life just a little easier to navigate."
“Two stars within our own Milky Way galaxy anchor the foreground of this cosmic snapshot. Beyond them lie the galaxies of the Hydra Cluster. In fact, while the spiky foreground stars are hundreds of light-years distant, the Hydra Cluster galaxies are over 100 million light-years away.
Three large galaxies near the cluster center, two yellow ellipticals (NGC 3311, NGC 3309) and one prominent blue spiral (NGC 3312), are the dominant galaxies, each about 150,000 light-years in diameter. An intriguing overlapping galaxy pair cataloged as NGC 3314 is just above and left of NGC 3312. Also known as Abell 1060, the Hydra galaxy cluster is one of three large galaxy clusters within 200 million light-years of the Milky Way. In the nearby universe, galaxies are gravitationally bound into clusters which themselves are loosely bound into superclusters that in turn are seen to align over even larger scales. At a distance of 100 million light-years this picture would be about 1.3 million light-years across.”
“Several years ago, I attended a seminar on the foundations of ethical systems. The participants quoted Plato, Jesus, Heidegger, and a host of other authorities; they trotted out every philosophical and theological reason why we can or should be good. Of course, prominent among the arguments was that old canard: Without the promise of eternal salvation or the threat of damnation, we would all be scoundrels.
No one mentioned that we are first of all biological creatures with an evolutionary history, and that altruism, aggression, fidelity, promiscuity, nurturing and violence might be part of our animal natures.
I looked around the auditorium and saw folks of every religious and philosophical persuasion, and of many cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and I thought, "Gee, I'd trust any one of these folks not to take my wallet in a dark alley." Sure, humans are capable of great evil, but most of us are pretty good most of the time, and I suspect that it has more to do with where we have been as a biological species than with where we hope to be going in some airy-fairy afterlife.
We are animals who have evolved the capacity to cherish our fellow humans and to resist for the common good our innate tendencies to aggression and selfishness, not because we have been plucked out of our animal selves by some sky hook from above, but because we have been nudged into reflective consciousness by evolution. When it comes to living in a civilized way on a crowded planet, I choose to put my faith in the long leash of the genes rather than fear of hellfire or the chance to walk on streets of gold.”
"No one but me by the fire, my hands burning red in the palms while the night wind carries everything away outside. All this petty worry while the great cloak of the sky grows dark and intense round every living thing.
What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence. What we strive for in perfection is not what turns us into the lit angel we desire, what disturbs and then nourishes has everything we need.
What we hate in ourselves is what we cannot know in ourselves but what is true to the pattern does not need to be explained. Inside everyone is a great shout of joy waiting to be born. Even with the summer so far off I feel it grown in me now and ready to arrive in the world.
All those years listening to those who had nothing to say. All those years forgetting how everything has its own voice to make itself heard. All those years forgetting how easily you can belong to everything simply by listening.
And the slow difficulty of remembering how everything is born from an opposite and miraculous otherness. Silence and winter has led me to that otherness.
So let this winter of listening be enough for the new life I must call my own."
WEST RIVER, MARYLAND – "The media is having a field day – showing, over and over again, the cockeyed videos. A crowd of yahoos gets hotted up. They make a break for the Capitol… bust through the windows and doors…
And there they are. One man sits at Nancy Pelosi’s desk and puts his feet up. Another – with horns on his head… and tattoos on his naked torso – stands on the dais of the Senate. And all over, they wander… aimlessly… pointlessly strewing papers and asking themselves… “What the Hell are we doing here?”
Myth Versus Reality: An “insurrection!” screamed the papers. An “invasion” said the commentators. A “revolution,” said the analysts. “Pearl Harbor,” opined Senator Chuck Schumer, surely losing his mind. “Domestic terrorists,” insisted Joe Biden. “A coup d’état,” said some other clown. And onto the news channel came Michelle Obama, who let out that it was a “desecration” of the Capitol. Yes… there… she had managed to find the right nail and give it a whack. For the only significant damage was there – to the myth…
According to the propaganda, the U.S. Capitol is the beating heart of American democracy. It’s where the peoples’ representatives get together to solemnly debate – with the golden oratory of Cicero and the unerring courage of Augustus – the important issues facing the American people. They carefully weigh the pros and cons, the costs and the benefits, and put aside their own self-interests and bugaboos so as to come to decisions that benefit us all.
Of course, the story is fake. Congress is a collection of 535 self-serving hacks. With rare exception, they pass laws involving trillions of dollars (not their own money), written by lobbyists and cronies, without even reading them. Few have any historical perspective. And no principles cling to them that would withstand a morning shower. And then, in their latest tomfoolery, they disappear “mothers,” “grandmothers,” “aunts,” and “uncles” from federal documents – as if they didn’t exist.
Selfie Time: But Ms. Obama is right. The Temple had been defiled. The holiest of holies… the St. Peter’s Basilica for America’s right-thinking True Believers… Mecca for its Democrats and Republicans… a revered shrine for summer visitors… its sacred walls were breached by a mob of left-behinds (we have it on good authority that there were few hedge fund managers or professors of social policy studies in this unruly horde)…
And there they were, taking photos of each other so the feds can arrest them for criminal trespass, vandalism, treason, drug possession, and whatever other charges they might stick onto them. What a jolly time for everyone!
Tourist Revolutionaries: And like almost everything else that passes for news or public affairs – no matter what your politics or perspective – it was a joke. A scam. The “revolution” was televised, but like reality TV or professional wraslin’, it was fake. These were no “terrorists”… no revolutionaries… no insurrectionists…They were just a hopeless, low-IQ mob… clueless… aimless… and thoughtless…
Real terrorists would have come with bombs, gasoline… and a plan. They would have killed a few members of Congress and taken the rest hostage… or simply burned down the Capitol Building.
Real revolutionaries would have a real revolutionary leading them… towards a real revolution. Donald Trump is no Vladimir Lenin. No Che Guevara. No Fidel Castro. No Maximilien Robespierre. He is no revolutionary at all. Had he broken into the Capitol, he wouldn’t know what to do either… which he proved in the White House. For four years, he led a fake MAGA program… neither draining the Swamp nor staunching the flow of wealth from the masses to the elite. Now, he’s the perfect person to lead a fake “coup.”
Real Revolutionaries: Real insurrectionists don’t just stroll about the temple… admiring its lavish works of art and leaving papers on the floor. They destroy it. Like Oliver Cromwell… using the Irish Catholic churches as stables for his horses and latrines for his men. Like Solomon’s Temple, razed to the ground by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Like Sitting Bull at the Little Big Horn, leaving no one left alive. And they don’t stop with the holy shrine.
In 1793, the city of Lyon, France, defied the revolutionaries. But it was soon conquered by them. Every house belonging to a “rich” person was to be torn down. And a real revolutionary rabble doesn’t content itself with acting like ill-bred tourists. It murders… rapes… hangs… burns… tortures… and loots.
Women are stripped and ravaged – in the streets. Men are gunned down, without trial… often just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Groups – Blacks, Jews, the rich, Catholics, gypsies, collaborators, counter-revolutionaries (almost any group you want) – are targeted for execution. At the Massacre of Badajoz, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, for example, the revolutionaries held a solemn mass… and then murdered 4,000 local people who were still loyal to the government.
The mob in Washington on Wednesday held no mass. It didn’t intentionally murder anyone. It didn’t even massacre the Capitol Police… or cut off the head of its commander (as the French revolutionaries did at the Bastille) and put it on a pike. Nor did the barbarians violate a single fetching Democrat in the Capitol Building… or even so much as set fire to a trash can.
Real Insurrection: Finally, a real insurrection doesn’t happen when the stock market is at an all-time high… food is still abundant on the shelves… gasoline flows freely from the self-service pumps… you can get a mortgage at 2.5% interest… and the feds’ are still handing out money, which is still thought to have real value…
No, Dear Reader, we have a long way to go. The real revolution is still ahead. We are now only at the slippery, sloppy edge of our empire’s destruction, in other words. There’s a lot more to come. Stay tuned…"
"Is there a game on? Consider: What you’re seeing may not be what you think you’re seeing. If an “orderly transition to the next administration” meant what you think it means, Nancy Pelosi would not be shrieking for an insta-super-quickie impeachment. By the way, what would that look like as a procedural matter? Think: Chinese fire drill.
The New York Times’s panties are on fire, declaring a national emergency. Headline this morning: "Democrats Demand Trump’s Removal.' Funny… they didn’t feel this exercised when Antifa attacked congressmen and senators on the streets of Washington last summer, leaving the president’s acceptance speech at the White House. Twitter and Facebook are busy throwing overboard anybody who dares to challenge the narrative they’ve helped to craft. Something’s up now and it’s making them even more hysterical than usual.
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called for Vice President Mike Pence to immediately initiate the removal of President Donald Trump, declaring him a seditious threat to the country who can’t be trusted to finish even the last two weeks of his term." - Politico
Consider also: you and I are in that fabled fog of war, and that fog is going to hang around in the days ahead. You may see strange shapes moving around in that fog, and that’s about it. Eventually, the fog will lift and the battlefield will not look the same as it did a week ago. So, it’s hard to see right now, but I hear a lot and I’ll just report what I hear for what it’s worth. I can’t prove any of this is true right now. A lot of it may seem crazy, fantastical. What with the pitch of news media mind-f***ery we’ve been living under, there have probably never been stranger days in our America.
The game is a deadly one because there is so much at stake: careers, reputations, fortunes, lives, the climax of four years of seditious Gotcha. The “Resistance” threw everything it could at the Golden Golem of Greatness. It discommoded him in his duties, and wasted the nation’s precious time in a gathering crisis of civilization, but nothing stuck to him: RussiaGate, impeachment, not even Covid-19. The November 3rd election was the final play. Ever find, in a game of chess, that you’ve unwittingly blundered into checkmate?
Who, exactly, invaded the Capitol building on Wednesday when that mass of Trump supporters swarmed up the hallowed hill? Some Antifas and BLMs were on the scene for sure, probably in the vanguard, probably the one’s smashing the windows to break in. But somebody else went in there, too, and rounded up a whole bunch of congressional laptops, including several in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, foolishly left behind when members were evacuated in a panic.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Italian job. A story circulating on the web from one Maria Zack, founder of a fair election monitoring org called Nations in Action, says that the election ballot fraud operation was run out of Italy through a set of that country’s communication satellites by a CIA team working with former Italian government officials, and one of Italy’s defense contractors. The story claims that former president Barack Obama was directly involved and that the operation was financed with dollars skimmed from the billions of dollars transferred to Iran under the terms of Mr. Obama’s No Nukes deal. Affidavits and depositions are filed. The UK’s MI6 may be involved, as they were in the RussiaGate shenanigans. Is this just another mind-f**k? Maybe. I guess we’ll have to stand by and find out. You can do that, can’t you? In the fog of the moment?
Did congress knowingly certify a fraudulent election? That will be a tantalizing question in the days ahead. Another rumor in the fog says that Director of National Intelligence Ratcliffe delivered a report on foreign interference in the election to members of congress following the conclusion early Thursday morning of their electoral college business. Was that the match that set Resistance panties on fire? Mr. Ratcliffe has been missing-in-action for more than a week. His report was originally scheduled for delivery to the president November 18. It was postponed and everybody forgot about it, especially the news media.
Let’s also just step back for a moment and ask: why did so many flag-waving MAGAs turn out Wednesday on the Mall in Washington DC? Answer: because they have been served one shit sandwich after another for four years by the Democratic Party and their captive news media, and the latest one featured vote tabulations getting erased in real time at ten-plus thousand vote increments right before their eyes on the flatscreen in the wee hours of November 4. And after that, and other balloting monkeyshines, the response from their government was a mere yawn. Total institutional failure. The ballot fraud that so many witnessed was never aired or adjudicated in a proper legal forum, and they were good and goddam pissed about it.
Mr. Trump is rumored to be at an air force base in Texas, having vamoosed the White House as being unsafe for him. Is he cornered by his antagonists or does he have a planned operation underway? Who knows (not me)? He certainly had enough time to plan it, and the king-post in the whole deal may have been that he had to exhaust all the ritual avenues in disputing the election fraud before he could launch a counter-coup. If his adversaries intend to run the 25th Amendment on him, he will have to act quickly.
The president didn’t appear panicked in the speech released on Thursday, in which he promised that orderly transition to the next administration, certainly not panicked in the inflamed manner of Nancy Pelosi. In the mythology of my people, the Golem was a giant fashioned out of clay by a rabbi seeking desperately to protect his village from a pogrom. I didn’t dub Mr. Trump the Golden Golem of Greatness for nothing. For the moment all is fog and noise."
"The COVID Tracking Project" Every day, our volunteers compile the latest numbers on tests, cases, hospitalizations, and patient outcomes from every US state and territory. - https://covidtracking.com/ ○