By Staff on 11 August 2011 for Space.com -
Image above: Elenin image produced by solar observation Earth orbit satellite. From original article.
A NASA spacecraft aimed at the sun shifted its unblinking gaze to an approaching comet last week to snap a new photo of the icy object as it flew by.
The image shows the comet Elenin as it passed within 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers) of one of NASA's twin Stereo sun-watching spacecraft during a series of deep space photo sessions that began on Aug. 1. NASA rolled the Stereo-B satellite to give its instruments a view of the comet flyby, officials said.
From Stereo's observations, the fuzzy comet Elenin can be seen streaking across a small portion of the sky. The comet was seen by Stereo's HI-2 telescope between Aug. 1 to 5, and by the higher resolution HI-1 telescope between Aug. 6 to 12, NASA officials said. Stereo mission scientists planned to take photos for one-hour every day through Aug. 12. [See the Stereo probe's new comet Elenin photo]
"From August 15 onward, the comet enters the HI-1 telescope's nominal field of view, at which time we should enjoy continuous viewing of the comet," NASA researchers explained in an update posted to the Stereo mission website.
Comet Elenin is expected to become brighter over the next few days, and could be detectable using Stereo's coronagraph instrument between Aug. 20 and Sept. 1, NASA officials said. Mission managers are then expecting the comet to become visible to another sun-watching spacecraft – NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) – for six days, beginning on Sept. 23.
Comet Elenin was discovered in December by Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin, who spotted the icy wanderer using the International Scientific Optical Network's robotic observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico.
Viewed from Earth, comet Elenin presently appears as a faint smudge of light in deep sky exposures. By late August the comet could be visible to the naked eye as a dim "fuzzy star" with a tail. [Best Close Encounters with Comets]
Comet Elenin will fly through the inner solar system in October 2011 and be 22 million miles (35 million kilometers) away at its closest approach to our planet, NASA scientists have said. The comet is not expected to be particularly dazzling, but the flyby may be a good chance to study a relatively young comet from the outer solar system.
Some doomsday theorists have pinned the Nibiru rogue planet hypothesis on the small comet.
Conspiracy theorists say a planet, known as Nibiru, will swing in from the outskirts of our solar system and collide with Earth and wipe out humanity in 2012. Since no rogue planet has been found in the outer solar system, some people have argued that comet Elenin will be the true culprit in the Nibiru-Earth collision.
NASA has dismissed the notion that comet Elenin is anything other than a dim, wimpy comet. It poses no threat to Earth, making its closest pass at a distance roughly 100 times farther than the distance from Earth to the moon.
NASA's identical twin Stereo spacecraft were launched in October 2006. They are offset from one another, one flying ahead of the Earth and the other behind. The name "Stereo" is short for Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory.
Elenin as doomsday planet Nibiru
SUBHEAD:Believers in mysterious planet Nibiru await Earth's end on 25 September 2011.
By Natalie Wolchover on 7 July 2011 for Space.com - (
Renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan once described a "baloney detection kit" — a set of tools that skeptical thinkers use to investigate any new concept. A few of the key tools include a healthy distrust of information that isn't independently verified, critically assessing an idea rather than becoming irrationally attached to it simply because it's intriguing, and a preference for simple explanations over wildly speculative ones.
The waxing obsession with the planet Nibiru , which conspiracy theorists say is a planet swinging in from the outskirts of our solar system that is going to crash into Earth and wipe out humanity in 2012 — or, in some opinions, 2011 — shows that an astonishing number of people "are watching YouTube videos and visiting slick websites with nothing in their skeptical toolkit," in the words of David Morrison, a planetary astronomer at NASA Ames Research Center and senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
Morrison estimates that there are 2 million websites discussing the impending Nibiru-Earth collision. He receives, on average, five email inquiries about Nibiru every day.
[Editor's note: See YouTube video below as an example of Elenin conspiracy theory on internet.]
Video above: 2012 The TRUTH You're NOT being TOLD The clock runs out Sep 25th 2011. From (http://youtu.be/scZAOQNopok).
By John Laumer on 14 August 2011 for TreeHugger -
Image above: In Inner Mongolia there are two “black dragons” from the Lasengmiao Power Plant covering the nearby villages in soot. From (http://www.eutimes.net/2009/12/the-pollution-in-china-exposed-photo-gallery).
There's an old saw about how post-colonial governments are prone to following the worst examples set by their former colonial masters. China having surpassed the USA at it's abandoned game of filthy manufacturing, 1950's style, the pendulum returns.
Republicans have taken a cue from their Chinese masters, publicly stating their desire for a return to the days of choking factory smoke and burning rivers (suffering bad air and water in return for any kind of paycheck easily appeals to a broke and hungry middle class). To reach their goal, Republican presidential candidates want USEPA to "die. " The recent Ames Iowa poll of Republican presidential candidates indicates nothing but - setting the Pendulum up for a big swing to the right with all candidates of both US political parties. (Obama may well take his cues and triangulate to the right.)
Here it comes.
For a glimpse into the future of American manufacturing without EPA around to set and enforce environmental standards, we have only to look at what's happening in China. Reuters covers yet another example of what happens when desire for economic growth reins supreme and government only looks out for corporations.
Twelve thousand pollution protesters faced down police over a polluting petrochemical plant. In response to growing unrest, the local government had promised that the plant would be moved, heaven knows where, because in China there really is no 'away.' The government's word was not enough to quell the outrage, according to Reuters.
Protesters including children marched holding banners that declared: "I love Dalian and reject poison," "return me my home and garden, get out PX, protect Dalian," and "Return my future generations' beautiful home," according to eyewitness accounts.Promises are never enough when people fundamentally don't trust government and industry. In the cited case, people, knowing that the Chinese Environmental Agency is a fire-less dragon and that local municipal leaders do pretty much whatever they want to (which generally amounts to whatever the factory owners want) the only remaining choice was civil disobedience. Industry should not logically favor such a situation, to the extent it can disrupt productivity; but in China, apparently, this outcome was not seen as likely.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, just now entered the race for US President, will surely increase prospects for EPA's mortal budget blow.
What to do about it?
Make sure you are registered to vote; and, if you don't drive, get busy now with obtaining a state issued picture ID.
Vote in your State primaries. Think strategically about who you vote for. Otherwise, you can be damned sure that we will end up just like our Chinese overlords - maybe worse. This is very serious, given that Obama clearly is not willing to fight for environmental values.
Replying in advance to comments of Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand fan boys, and paid astroturfers...
Yes...I'm drawing a parallel between the right wing political viewpoint on environmental management in the US and that of the Communist Party in China. (A similar government-industry allegiance existed in the now-collapsed USSR, where, extremely hazardous conditions resulted: spanning Cherynobyl to the private sector.) Not saying we are any where close to those extremes yet but the US appears headed in that direction, at least in political expression.
By James Kunstler on 15 August 2011 for Kubstler.com -
Image above: Hayseeds Daisey Mae and Abner Yokum from the movie "Lil Abner" (1959). From (http://anotherfilmblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/lil-abner-melvin-frank-1959/).
Looking every inch the Assistant Manager of a J.C. Penny, Rick Perry of Texas stepped on-board the touring evangelical freak show that the Republican pre-primary parade has turned into. I like to think of him as George W. Bush without all the encumbering intellect. I give it three months before media snoops catch him in bed with Michele Bachmann. The two of them will claim it was all right because Jesus was there as chaperone and anyway, "...alls we did was watch the Vikings-Cowboy game...."
Make no mistake (to borrow a favorite war cry from the presidential cheat sheet), both of these heartland bozos are dumb enough to lead America straight into the graveyard of failed states. Imagine a summit between Rick Perry and whoever succeeds Hu Jintao - the incredulous side-glances of the Chinese leader and his interpreter when Mr. Perry presents the official gift from our nation: a miniature Bible made by the inmates at Stringfellow State Prison and "prayed over by qualified preachers twenty-four hours a day!" Or how about Michele Bachmann and Vlad Putin. I'd sooner watch a gerbil in a terrarium with a King Cobra.
They are running out of tricks for pretending that debts can revolve forever, and as this occurs the fear rises that the whole lovely thing will bust apart in mob violence, revolution, and maybe even armed conflict between people who don't hold their forks the same way. England is not even in the Euro currency club but five decades of rather feckless immigration policy have resolved into something that looks an awful lot like race war. God knows what the French are thinking, with their own massive immigrant slum population ringing Paris.
Now Raechel and Stephanie Schultz want steady, legitimate work, yet the federal government has refused to issue numbers to the women, saying they need more proof the pair were born in the U.S. The predicament prompted the women, who have lived for years on society's fringes, to sue.
"I'm proud to be American but they don't want me," 23-year-old Stephanie Schultz told The Associated Press in an interview at their lawyer's office in southeastern Kentucky.
The earliest years for the Schultz sisters were nomadic. The family traveled through 42 states, never staying too long in one place. Their father found occasional work in construction or at restaurants and the children picked up cans to make a few bucks. They stayed in motels or camped and the sisters' grandparents sent money to help.
"They didn't have no life plan," 29-year-old Raechel Schultz said of her parents, now in their 50s. "It was just all like free hippie style, do what you can to get by. Gypsies."
Raechel was born at a home in Madison County, Ky., near where the family lives now; Stephanie was delivered in the back of a Dodge van in southern Alabama. The births were recorded in a family Bible but were otherwise undocumented.
Their mercurial parents settled into a hardscrabble existence about 14 years ago along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, where the family car broke down. The girls were home schooled by their college-educated parents.
The sisters still live with their parents in a weather-worn mobile home in the tiny enclave of Lily. The trailer is perched close to a strip of blacktop winding through the hilly backcountry.
It wasn't until five years ago that they tried to register with the Social Security system. They waited until Stephanie turned 18 because their parents feared truancy charges, Raechel said.
"The first couple years of our life, Dad didn't get our Social Security numbers, and he said once you don't do that right off the bat, they won't let you do it," Raechel said. "So they just went on with it."
Everyone else in the family has a Social Security number, including an older sister now living in New Orleans who got her Social Security card as a teenager on her second try. She had a birth certificate and a baptismal record.
When the sisters first went to get their Social Security number, "we thought it would be easy," Stephanie said.
This isn't the first time the sisters have gone to court over personal documents. In 2009, the women sued to get birth certificates, took a DNA test to prove they were born to their parents and a judge's order won them the records.
"The Court has no reason to not believe the testimony and finds no reason to suggest the plaintiffs are seeking this relief for an illegal or immoral purpose," Circuit Judge John Knox Mills wrote in his 2010 order.
Despite their lack of Social Security numbers, the sisters have found ways to supplement their family's meager income. Stephanie makes jewelry and paints old furniture to sell at a flea market. Raechel held down work at a couple of area restaurants by posing as her mother. She was at one eatery for seven years, rising to associate manager, but eventually quit out of fear her supervisors would discover her secret.
According to their lawsuit, the Social Security Administration indicated it denied the women's request for numbers because they "have not given us documents we need to show U.S. citizenship." The agency has declined to comment on the suit.
The sisters' attorney, Douglas Benge, said he was told by a Social Security official that the agency doesn't accept birth certificates issued so many years after birth.
"Our complaint with the government is, what else do these girls have to show?" he said.
On its website, the Social Security Administration lists documents that may be used to prove identity, age and citizenship. The accepted records include a birth certificate, driver's license, state-issued identification card or U.S. passport, and it's not entirely clear why they have been denied.
Robert Bruce, who retired as a district manager after 31 years with the Social Security Administration, said recently that the age of the women combined with the lack of official documentation raises a suspicion of fraud.
The sisters see their dilemma as a government overreaction since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Their maternal grandfather said they just want a chance to work.
"My view is, we're so caught up in administrative procedure, nobody has any common sense," said Norman Turchan, who lives in Indianapolis. "There's a common sense way out of this situation."
When word of their plight appeared on the Internet and in newspapers, their attorney received emails from some questioning the sisters' motivation, saying the Schultzes just wanted government assistance. But both women said they want to work, and that their family has never taken welfare.
"I don't want to bum off the state," said Raechel, who would like to sell real estate.
Stephanie dreams of running a no-kill animal shelter and dabbling in interior design.
"If you have a Social Security number, you can do anything you want," Raechel said..
Rollercoaster financial markets and the worst riots Britain has seen in decades have made it quite a week for a time of year that is usually so dead the newspapers are filled with "silly season" tales of amusing pet antics.
Everyone is pointing fingers -- at blundering politicians, hooded thugs, disaffected youths, bumbling police and greedy bankers -- but could the cause for all the madness really be the star at the center of our solar system?
There isn't a lot of evidence pointing to little green men involving themselves in Earthly affairs, but the sun has been throwing bursts of highly charged particles into space in a phenomenon known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.
Three large CMEs prompted U.S. government scientists to warn of solar storms that can cause power blackouts and the aurora borealis, or northern lights, caused by disturbances in the Earth's atmosphere, have been spotted as far south as England and Colorado, NASA said.
"Earth's magnetic field is still reverberating from a CME strike on August 5th that sparked one of the strongest geomagnetic storms in years", website SpaceWeather said.
Some academics have claimed that such geomagnetic storms can affect humans, altering moods and leading people into negative behavior through effects on their biochemistry.
Some studies have found evidence that hospital admissions for depression rise during geomagnetic storms and that incidents of suicide increase.
A 2003 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that such storms could affect the stock market, as traders were more likely to make pessimistic choices.
"Unusually high levels of geomagnetic activity have a negative, statistically and economically significant effect on the following week's stock returns for all US stock market indices," the authors found in their report.
It could of course be mere coincidence that this has been a rollercoaster week on the markets, and that Britain was rocked by a wave of ferocious rioting and looting.
But market watchers may take comfort from the fact that the space weather forecast for Friday has gone quiet again.
They shouldn't be too complacent though. The solar cycle is on an upswing due to peak in 2013 and there are likely to be more geomagnetic storms heading Earth's way in the months to come.See also: Ea O Ka Aina: Massive solar flares affect Earth 8/6/11 .
"I know in my heart that at some point, serving in public office is where I need to be. While the timing may be uncertain, my commitment is not. The 2nd Congressional District in the United States Congress is a path many have encouraged me to explore and one which I am seriously considering. I live in the District, have established networks on all islands and understand the unique challenges faced by rural communities."Hooser is currently serving in the Abercrombie administration as Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control. He is expected to post his announcement on Facebook today and to the general public on Sunday. Hooser, who started his political career as a councilmember on Kaua`i, rose to Senate Majority Leader before giving up his seat to unsuccessfully enter the lieutenant governor's race last year. As to the reasons he has decided to test the waters and re-enter elective politics, Hooser wrote: I can no longer merely watch from the sidelines as the “politics as usual” in Washington threatens the very fabric of our lives and the security of our democracy slips further and further every day. As the financial debacle unfolds now in Washington and through-out the world, it is clear that Social Security, Medicare, education and the environment will soon be thrown beneath the bus under the guise of “fiscal responsibility”.Yes, we need to get our nation’s fiscal house in order, but that effort must be a balanced approach and include an end to the Bush tax cuts for the top 5%, a dramatic reduction in corporate entitlements, and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hooser's decision may rest on the support, especially financial, he receives. In the email he said: I am committed to re-entering the political process and helping to lead our community forward. But to do so, I must have your help and your financial support. Whether it’s $25, $50, $100 or more – To begin anew down the path toward elective office, I must have your help today. Our campaign must raise $12,500 this month for existing obligations and an additional $25,000 to fund other expenses necessary to maintain an ongoing strong and credible campaign presence. Contributions can be sent to Friends of Gary Hooser, P.O. Box 4094, Honolulu HI 96812. My final decision and future path depends in large part on your response to this letter. If you want me to run for public office and serve you again in that capacity, I need to know. The field for the congressional seat thus far is thin with the only two announced candidates for the Democratic nomination being Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard and Esther Kiaaina, former aide to ex-Congressman Ed Case and Senator Dan Akaka, although former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann's name has been mentioned as has former Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona on the Republican side. Hirono has announced she will run for the senate seat being vacated by the retiring Akaka That would make Hooser the only progressive in the race so far for what is characterized by some as the most progressive district in the country. Hawai`i was recently named the most Democratic state in the country in a Gallup poll. Hooser ran for the 2nd congressional district seat- which includes rural O`ahu and the neighbor islands- once before, losing to Hirono in a special election to replace Ed Case who resigned his seat to run against Akaka in 2006. .
In Running for Congress By Gary Hooser on 13 August 2011 in Gary Hooser's Blog - (http://garyhooser.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/on-running-for-congress-a-possible-path/)
I can no longer merely watch from the sidelines as the “politics as usual” in Washington threatens the very fabric of our lives and the security of our democracy slips further and further every day.
As the financial debacle unfolds now in Washington and through-out the world, it is clear that Social Security, Medicare, education and the environment will soon be thrown beneath the bus under the guise of “fiscal responsibility”. Yes, we need to get our nation’s fiscal house in order, but that effort must be a balanced approach and include an end to the Bush tax cuts for the top 5%, a dramatic reduction in corporate entitlements, and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is hope, of course. With leadership that honors the people and an unflagging commitment based on core values and old-fashioned hard work, we can create the positive future our children deserve.
If you know me, you know that I will speak truth to power and fight hard for the values we share. You also know that I understand the importance of being effective and that I know how to get things done.
My role today as the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control is meaningful, challenging and we have made great strides forward on many levels. The Governor’s New Day in Hawaii agenda is a good one that I wholeheartedly support. At the end of the day however, I know in my heart that at some point, serving in public office is where I need to be. While the timing may be uncertain, my commitment is not.
The 2nd Congressional District in the United States Congress is a path many have encouraged me to explore and one which I am seriously considering. I live in the District, have established networks on all islands and understand the unique challenges faced by rural communities.
The first absentee votes in the 2012 primary election will be cast just 12 short months from now.
I am committed to re-entering the political process and helping to lead our community forward.But to do so, I must have your help and your financial support.Whether it’s $25, $50, $100 or more – To begin anew down the path toward elective office, I must have your help today.Our campaign must raise $12,500 this month for existing obligations and an additional $25,000 to fund other expenses necessary to maintain an ongoing strong and credible campaign presence.
My final decision and future path depends in large part on your response to this letter.If you want me to run for public office and serve you again in that capacity, I need to know.
Mahalo again for all of your past help and support.In order for me to plan effectively for the future, contributions received prior to August 30 are especially important.I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Contributions to: Friends of Gary Hooser, P.O. Box 4094, Honolulu HI 96812
http://www.garyhooser.com Website is “in transition” but please visit and watch “The Hooser Story” and other video that will give you a better idea of who I am and what values I hold dear.
By John Michael Greer on 10 August 2011 for the Archdruid Report - (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2011/08/salvaging-health.html)
Image above: Medicine as practiced in ancient Egypt. From (http://dodd.cmcvellore.ac.in/hom/01%20-%20Medicine%20in%20Ancient%20Egypt.html).
The old chestnut about living in interesting times may not actually be a Chinese curse, as today’s urban folklore claims, but it certainly comes to mind when glancing back over the smoldering wreckage of the past week. In the wake of a political crisis here in America that left both sides looking more than ever like cranky six-year-olds, a long-overdue downgrade of America’s unpayable debt, and yet another round of fiscal crisis in the Eurozone, stock and commodity markets around the globe roared into a power dive from which, as I write this, they show no sign of recovering any time soon.
In England, meanwhile, one of those incidents Americans learned to dread in the long hot summers of the Sixties—a traffic stop in a poor minority neighborhood, a black man shot dead by police under dubious circumstances—has triggered four nights of looting and rioting, as mobs in London and elsewhere organized via text messages and social media, brushed aside an ineffectual police presence, plundered shops and torched police stations, and ripped gaping holes in their nation’s already shredding social fabric.
It seems that “Tottenham” is how the English pronounce “Watts,” except that the fire this time is being spread rather more efficiently with the aid of Blackberries and flashmobs. Government officials denounced the riots as “mindless thuggery,” but it’s considerably more than that. As one looter cited in the media said, “this is my banker’s bonus”—the response of the bottom of the social pyramid, that is, to a culture of nearly limitless corruption further up.
It bears remembering that the risings earlier this year in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere began with exactly this sort of inchoate explosion of rage against governments that responded to economic crisis by tightening the screws on the poor; it was only when the riots showed the weakness of the existing order that more organized and ambitious movements took shape amid the chaos.
It’s thus not outside the bounds of possibility, if the British government keeps on managing the situation as hamhandedly as it’s done so far, that the much-ballyhooed Arab Spring may be followed by an English Summer—and just possibly thereafter by a European Autumn. One way or another, this is what history looks like as it’s happening.
Those of my readers who have been following along for a year or two, and have made at least a decent fraction of the preparations I’ve suggested, are probably as well prepared for the unfolding mess as anyone is likely to be. Those who have just joined the conversation, or were putting aside preparations for some later date—well, once the rubble stops bouncing and the smoke clears, you’ll have the chance to assess what possibilities are still open and what you have the resources to accomplish. In the meantime,
I want to continue the sequence of posts already under way, and discuss another of the things that’s going to have to be salvaged as the current system grinds awkwardly to a halt. The theme of this week’s discussion, I’m sorry to say, is another issue split down the middle by the nearly Gnostic dualisms that bedevil contemporary American society. Just as Democrats and Republicans denounce each other in incandescent fury, and fundamentalist atheists compete with fundamentalist Christians in some sort of Olympics of ideological intolerance, the issues surrounding health care in America these days have morphed unhelpfully into a bitter opposition between the partisans of mainstream medicine and the proponents of alternative healing.
The radicals on both sides dismiss the other side as a bunch of murderous quacks, while even those with more moderate views tend to regard the other end of the spectrum through a haze of suspicion tinged with bad experiences and limited knowledge. I stay out of such debates as often as I can, but this one hasn’t given me that choice. Ironically, that’s because I’ve experienced both sides of the issue. On the one hand, I’m alive today because of modern medicine. At the age of seven, I came down with a serious case of scarlet fever.
That’s a disease that used to kill children quite regularly, and in a premodern setting, it almost certainly would have killed me. As it was, I spent two weeks flat on my back, and pulled through mostly because of horse doctor’s doses of penicillin, administered first with syringes that to my seven-year-old eyes looked better suited for young elephants, and thereafter in oral form, made palatable with an imitation banana flavoring I can still call instantly to mind. Then there’s the other side of the balance.
My wife has lifelong birth defects in her legs and feet, because her mother’s obstetrician prescribed a drug that was contraindicated for pregnant women because it causes abnormalities in fetal limb development.
My only child died at birth because my wife’s obstetrician did exactly the same thing, this time with a drug that was well known to cause fatal lung abnormalities. Several years later we found out by way of a media exposé that the latter doctor had done the same thing to quite a few other women, leaving a string of dead babies in his wake. The response of the medical board, once the media exposure forced them to do something, was quite standard; they administered a mild reprimand. If this reminds you of the Vatican’s handling of pedophile priests, well, let’s just say the comparison has occurred to me as well. Deaths directly caused by American health care are appallingly common.
A widely cited 2000 study by public health specialist Dr. Barbara Starwood presented evidence that bad medical care kills more Americans every year than anything but heart disease and cancer, with adverse drug effects and nosocomial (hospital- and clinic-spread) infections the most common culprits.
A more comprehensive study prepared outside the medical mainstream, but based entirely on data from peer-reviewed medical journals, argued that the actual rate was much higher—higher, in fact, than any other single cause. That’s part of what makes the controversies over American health care so challenging; mainstream medical care saves a lot of lives in America, but because of the pressures of the profit motive, and the extent to which institutional barriers protect incompetent practitioners and dangerous and ineffective remedies, it also costs a lot of lives as well. Even so, if I could find a competent, affordable general practitioner to give me annual checkups and help me deal with the ordinary health issues middle-aged men tend to encounter, I’d be happy to do so.
The catch here is that little word "affordable." Along with those birth defects, my wife has celiac disease, a couple of food allergies, and a family history with some chronic health problems in it; for that matter, my family history is by no means squeaky clean; we’re both self-employed, and so health insurance would cost us substantially more than our mortgage. That’s money we simply don’t have.
Like a large and growing fraction of Americans, therefore, we’ve turned to alternative medicine for our health care. The more dogmatic end of the mainstream medical industry tends to dismiss all alternative healing methods as ineffective by definition. That’s self-serving nonsense; the core alternative healing modalities, after all, are precisely the methods of health care that were known and practiced in the late 19th century, before today’s chemical and surgical medicine came on the scene, and they embody decades or centuries of careful study of health and illness. There are things that alternative health methods can’t treat as effectively as the current mainstream, of course, but the reverse is also true. Still, behind the rhetoric of the medical industry lies a fact worth noting: alternative medical methods are almost all much less intensive than today’s chemical and surgical medicine.
The best way to grasp the difference is to compare it to other differences between life in the late 19th century and life today—say, the difference between walking and driving a car. Like alternative medicine, walking is much slower, it requires more personal effort, and there are destinations that, realistically speaking, are out of its reach; on the other hand, it has fewer negative side effects, costs a lot less, and dramatically cuts your risk of ending up buttered across the grill of a semi because somebody else made a mistake. Those differences mean that you can’t use alternative medicine the way you use the mainstream kind. If I neglect a winter cold, for example, I tend to end up with bacterial bronchitis.
A physician nowadays can treat that with a simple prescription of antibiotics, and unless the bacterium happens to be resistant—an issue I’ll be discussing in more detail in a bit—that’s all there is to it. If you’re using herbs, on the other hand, handling bacterial bronchitis is a more complex matter. There are very effective herbal treatments, and if you know them, you know exactly what you’re getting and what the effects will be.
On the other hand, you can’t simply pop a pill and go on with your day; you have to combine the herbal infusions with rest and steam inhalation, and pay attention to your symptoms so you can treat for fever or other complications if they arise. You very quickly learn, also, that if you don’t want the bronchitis at all, you can’t simply ignore the first signs of an oncoming cold; you have to notice it and treat it.
Here’s another example. I practice t’ai chi, and one of the reasons is that it’s been documented via controlled studies to be effective preventive medicine for many of the chronic health problems Americans tend to get as they get old. You can treat those same problems with drugs, to be sure, if you’re willing to risk the side effects, but again, you can’t just pop a t’ai chi pill and plop yourself back down on the sofa. You’ve got to put in at least fifteen minutes of practice a day, every day, to get any serious health benefits out of it. (I do more like forty-five minutes a day, but then I’m not just practicing it for health.) It takes time and effort, and if you’ve spent a lifetime damaging your health and turn to t’ai chi when you’re already seriously ill, it’s unlikely to do the trick.
All these points are relevant to the core project of this blog, in turn, because there’s another difference between alternative health care and the medical mainstream. All the core alternative modalities were all developed before the age of cheap abundant fossil fuel energy, and require very little in the way of energy and raw material inputs.
Conventional chemical and surgical medicine is another thing entirely. It’s wholly a creation of the age of petroleum; without modern transport and communications networks, gargantuan supply chains for everything from bandages through exotic pharmaceuticals to spare parts for lab equipment, a robust electrical supply, and many other products derived from or powered by cheap fossil fuels, the modern American medical system would grind to a halt. In the age of peak oil, that level of dependency is not a survival trait, and it’s made worse by two other trends.
The first, mentioned earlier in this post, is the accelerating spread of antibiotic resistance in microbes. The penicillin that saved my life in 1969 almost certainly wouldn’t cure a case of scarlet fever today; decades of antibiotic overuse created a textbook case of evolution in action, putting ferocious selection pressure on microbes in the direction of resistance. The resulting chemical arms race is one that the microbes are winning, as efforts by the pharmaceutical industry to find new antibiotics faster than microbes can adapt to them fall further and further behind.
Epidemiologists are seriously discussing the possibility that within a few decades, mortality rates from bacterial diseases may return to19th-century levels, when they were the leading cause of death. The second trend is economic. The United States has built an extraordinarily costly and elaborate health care system, far and away the most expensive in the world, on the twin pillars of government subsidies and employer-paid health benefits.
As we lurch further into what Paul Kennedy called "imperial overstretch"—the terminal phase of hegemony, when the costs of empire outweigh the benefits but the hegemonic power can’t or won’t draw back from its foreign entanglements—the government subsidies are going away, while health benefits on the job are being gutted by rising unemployment rates and the frantic efforts of the nation’s rentier class to maintain its standards of living at the expense of the middle classes and the poor. Requiring people who can’t afford health insurance at today’s exorbitant rates to pay for it anyway under penalty of law—the centerpiece of Obama’s health care "reform"—was a desperation move in this latter struggle, and one that risks a prodigious political backlash.
If Obama’s legislation takes effect as written in 2014, and millions of struggling American families find themselves facing a Hobson’s choice between paying a couple of thousand a month or more for health insurance they can’t afford, or paying heavy fines they can’t afford either, it’s probably a safe bet that the US will elect a Tea Party president in 2016 and repeal that—along with much else.
Whether that happens or not, it’s clear at this point that the United States can no longer afford the extraordinarily costly health care system it’s got, and the question at this point is simply what will replace it. In the best of all possible worlds, the existing medical system would come to terms with the bleak limits closing in around it, and begin building a framework that could provide basic health care at a reasonable price to the poor and working classes. It actually wouldn’t be that difficult, but it would require the medical industry to remove at least some of the barriers that restrict medical practice to a small number of very highly paid professionals, and to accept significant declines in quarterly profits, doctors’ salaries, and the like.
Maybe that could happen, but so far there doesn’t seem to be any sign of a movement in that direction. Instead, health care costs continue to rise as the economy stalls, moving us deeper into a situation where elaborate and expensive health care is available to a steadily narrowing circle of the well-to-do, while everyone outside the circle has to make do with what they can afford—which, more and more often, amounts to the 19th-century medicine provided by alternative health care. Thus I’m not especially worried about the survival of alternative healing.
Despite the fulminations of authority figures and the occasional FDA witch hunt, the alternative healing scene is alive and well, and its reliance on medicines and techniques that were viable before the age of cheap abundant fossil fuels means that it will be well equipped to deal with conditions after cheap energy of any kind is a thing of the past.
No, what concerns me is the legacy of today’s mainstream medicine—the medicine that saved my life at age seven, and continues, despite its difficulties and dysfunctions, to heal cases that the best doctors in the world a century and a quarter ago had to give up as hopeless. Even if a movement of the sort I’ve suggested above were to take place, a great deal of that would be lost or, at best, filed away for better times. The most advanced medical procedures at present require inputs that a deindustrial society simply isn’t going to be able to provide.
Still, there’s quite a bit that could be saved, if those who have access to the techniques in question were to grasp the necessity of saving them.
As it stands, the only people who can salvage those things are the physicians who are legally authorized to use them; the rest of us can at best get a working grasp of sanitation and sterile procedure, the sort of wilderness-centered first aid training that assumes that a paramedic won’t be there in ten minutes, and the sort of home nursing skills that the Red Cross used to teach in the 1950s and 1960s—you can still find the Red Cross Home Nursing Manual in the used book market, and it’s well worth getting a copy and studying it. Other than that, it’s up to the physicians and the various institutions they staff and advise. If they step up to the plate, the deindustrial future will have the raw materials from which to evolve ways of healing that combine the best of mainstream and alternative methods. If they don’t, well, maybe enough written material will survive to enable the healers of the future to laboriously rediscover and reinvent some of today’s medical knowledge a few centuries down the road.
While the decision is being made, those of us who don’t have a voice in it have our own decisions to make: if we have the money and are willing to accept one set of risks, to make use of today’s chemical and surgical medicine while it’s still around; if we have the interest and are willing to accept another set of risks, to make use of one or more methods of alternative medicine; or if neither option seems workable or desirable, to come to terms with a reality that all of us are eventually going to have to accept anyway, which is that life and health are fragile transitory things, and that despite drugs and surgeries on the one hand, or herbs and healing practices on the other, the guy with the scythe is going to settle the matter sooner or later with the one answer every human being gets at last.
Ea O Ka Aina: Salvaging Science 8/5/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Salvaging Energy 7/6/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Post Collapse Health Care 4/29/11 .
By Arius Hopman on 12 August 2011 in Island Breath -
Image above: Couple crossing stream in Kalalau Valley, Kauai. Photo by Arius Hopman. From (http://www.hopmanart.com/artwork_detail.php?products_id=512&3945cdb427505cd5b5d449c2).
The USA is now in a frustration bubble and are approaching a frustration threshold. There are many converging trends that point to this conclusion. Let’s take a look.
1). The Information Age:
Daily we are inundated by emails, phone calls, twitters, letters, TV, radio, videos,movies, books etc. That flow of information includes sports casts, a mountain of advertising, web browsing, international news and gossip. We are carrying around an ever-increasing burden of concepts of the world. We get so much of it that we can no longer turn off the mind chatter even after we turn off the information source. Our minds have hijacked our attention. We need to come to our senses. That is where our attention is designed to be. Information is increasing, as are the sources of delivery. We have reached the information law of diminishing returns: frustration… or we can choose meditation, yoga and a long hike.
2). Peak of Everything:
|Disasters are increasing because we are speeding up, there are more of us, and we are up against the limits of our planet. We are approaching, or have already past, the peal of oil, the peak of food, the peak of available fresh water, the peak of soil fertility, the peak of forests and lumber, the peak of minerals, the peak of exploitation of nature, and maybe even the peak of civilization, good will and tolerance. The peak of population cannot be too far behind. Take just one of these; Forests: forests make the world seem larger and more pleasant. We genetically like trees. As we cut down the forests, frustration rises. I believe the Middle East is such a “hot bed” for this reason. The “peak” means that we have been bullish in our consumption of the world and are now pampered and are taking it for granted. But now we must begin to contract. After the peak all the scum rises to the surface, as we saw after the stock market crash. Frustration. But we can also disconnect from that entire unsustainable lifestyle and reinvent ourselves.
3. Race to the Bottom:
One side effect of “free market” competition is that if one party gains an unfair advantage due to an unethical practice, their competitors are tempted to follow suit to stay in business. All false advertising falls in that category; so does built in obsolescence, packaging that is more pricey than the contents, artificially ripened/ irradiated fruit, food that is pretty but tasteless and un-nutritious. The race to the bottom is prevalent in politics, mining/drilling practices and even personal ethics. Knowing that we are being cheated is frustrating. Understanding the race to the bottom gives us the choice not to participate.
4). Addictive Progress:
Thousands of years ago already, we set about to “improve” on nature…and look at the mess we have made! All inventions are supposed to be improvements on our genetic hunter-gatherer lifestyle (note that that was also the last time we were sustainable). Every “improvement” gave humans a skewed advantage, and our population grew. Over half of all the destruction humans have caused to nature has happened just in the last hundred years…coinciding with the rise in oil consumption. The first half of the destruction took 10,000 years. When you project that graph into the future, you hit a wall: we simply can’t keep destroying. It is estimated that we are loosing 100 species to extinction every day. They simply vanish without making headlines. We are now at this paradox: progress is destroying the world. We are sawing off the branch we are sitting on. Paradox: Two guys are standing in a completely devastated, smoldering landscape. One says to the other: “Well, looks like we are the last surviving species. That makes us the most successful… right?” We are up against the frustration that the great promise of “civilization” is turning to garbage all around us. “The way to hell is paved with good intentions”. Seeing the error, we can correct our ways.
5). Falling Empire:
The recent economic collapse and the rapid vascillation of the financial markets are just one of the many indicators of the falling business-technology empire. The Week Magazine recently reported that the total exposure of junk derivatives (ie. gambling with other people’s money, part of the race to the bottom) world-wide is now an incomprehensible $600 trillion! Greed must be recognized as a pathology and treated clinically, like alcohol. The uncertainty of the falling empire add to our uncertainty and our frustration. Our infrastructure has been built by oil. What happens to it after oil? The other thirty million species on earth have found a thriving lifestyle without oil.
You can make up your own list of uncertainties. We all have many. If we dwell on them, they add to frustration. A Chinese saying considers confusion a high state because all the options are open. We can use our frustration as energy to find a new, more sustainable way.
7). The Ego: The false self aka. façade self is the elephant in the living room that nobody wants to talk about. It is a juvenile, make-believe phase that we must outgrow if we are to survive and if the world is to survive. One slip of the ego and we could blow ourselves up. The ego is behind all other five points mentioned above and they all feed the ego’s frustration bubble in a vicious cycle: the more we try to “improve” the more mess we make and the more frustrated we get…so we try to “improve” some more. This is the story of western civilization and now also of the whole world. The ego itself is unsustainable and begets “improvements that are unsustainable. The ego indulges it’s prejudices. Fundamentalism and hate propaganda ala Rush L. are megaphones of frustration. Stress is now the number one medical complaint in the USA. Turn off the hate mongers. Count your blessings to live in Kauai.
The pollution nowadays is extreme and often invisible/undetectable. Were talking about environmental poisons of which there are thousands now; radiation pollution including nuclear, x-rays, radio waves, TV waves, microwaves; garbage of all varieties; genetic pollution; industrial wastes, seen and unseen; exhausts and greenhouse gases; psychological pollution and propaganda etc. etc. We don't know how all these varieties of pollution are affecting us, but they definitely contributes to our malaise and frustration worldwide.
9). Circumstantial Torture:The main characteristic of arriving at the frustration threshold is that the fragile ego/superego is frustrated to the point of dysfunction. The ego is a very recent cultural phenomenon and is therefore not robust. It is basically our waking state, the status quo, the comfortable known. The Toltecs call it the “tonal” [the known, the ordinary, the individual concept of reality].
The frustration threshold is when we “lose it”, and get so severely displaced from our homeostasis [comfort zone] that we become deranged. For many this states may already be occurring and is often accompanied by panic.
Most people identify with their “conscious” daytime story and their object relations. Meditators strive for peace of mind, a state where the life story and the story of self [which are the same] are absent. Peace of mind is innocence [in-nocere]; the mind becomes a pure receiving-responding antenna. The importance of recognizing the frustration threshold is that it mimics the process of military torture, which works by systematically undermining a person’s comfort zone, self image and world image/concept/story. The more a person becomes displaced and disoriented from their comfort zone the more their confidence and composure are broken. That raises their frustration/tension level to the point that they finally snap. Recent world circumstances have colluded to re-create on an almost global scale the steps leading to torture and breakdown of sanity and security: economic security, identity security, belief security, political security, climate and shelter security, as well as food and physical security. As the structure of “civilization begins to collapse, people don’t even know where to escape to… And most attempts at escape are in the wrong direction: emotional indulgence and indulgence in food, drink and entertainment.
The Way Out:
Famous author/philosopher Oscar Wilde once said: “The way out is within!” So true that is. We are getting one wake-up call after the other. Wilde also stated: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” Hopefully we get the message before it is too late.
One thing is for certain; we are headed for lots of change. We can either confront it with resistance, emotional indulgence and temper tantrums (unsustainable), or we can face it as adults with measured composure, curiosity and emotional sobriety (sustainable and mature). Each individual reaches their own frustration threshold where the spoiled, indulgent child battles with the mature voice of reason.
• Arius Hopman is an artist and a practitioner of permaculture who lives on Kauai, Hawaii.
SUBHEAD: Sanity entails subversion; otherwise, life is only a slog to the graveyard; mouth, full of ashes; heart, a receptacle for dust.
By Phil Rocksroh on 12 August 2011 for Information Clearing House - (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28820.htm)
Image above: London riot police in Lewisham on 8/8/11. From (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2011_London_riot_police_in_Lewisham.jpg).
As the poor of Britain rise in a fury of inchoate rage and stock exchanges worldwide experience manic upswings and panicked swoons, the financial elite (and their political operatives) are arrayed in a defensive posture, even as they continue their global-wide, full-spectrum offensive vis-à-vie The Shock Doctrine.
Concurrently, corporate mass media types fret over the reversal of fortune and trumpet the triumphs of the self-serving agendas of Wall Street and corporate swindlers…even as they term a feller, in ill-gotten possession of a flat screen television, fleeing through the streets of North London, a mindless thug. According to the through-the-looking-glass cosmology of mass media elitists, when a poor person commits a crime of opportunity, his actions are a threat to all we hold dear and sacred, but, when the hyper-wealthy of the entrenched looter class abscond with billions, those criminals are referred to as our financial leaders.
Regardless of the propaganda of "free market" fantasists, the great unspeakable in regard to capitalism is its wealth, by and large, is generated for a ruthless, privileged few by the creation of bubbles, and, when those bubbles burst, the resultant economic catastrophe inflicts a vastly disproportionate amount of harm upon those -- the laboring and middle classes -- who generate grossly inequitable amounts of capital for the elitist of the fraudster class...by having the life force drained from them by the vampiric set-up of the gamed system. Woody Guthrie summed up the situation in these two (unfortunately) ageless stanzas:
Yes, as through this world I've wandered I've seen lots of funny men; Some will rob you with a sixgun, And some with a fountain pen. And as through your life you travel, Yes, as through your life you roam, You won't never see an outlaw Drive a family from their home. --Woody Guthrie, excerpt from Pretty Boy Floyd.Although, at present, U.S. bank vaults contain little tangible loot for a Pretty Boy Floyd-type outlaw to boost. How would it be possible for an old school bank robber such as Floyd to make-off with a haul of funneling electrons? Here's the lowdown:
The Wall Street fraudsters of the swindler class want to refill their coffers and line their pockets (that is, offshore accounts) with Social Security and Medicare funds. That's the nature of the unfolding scam, folks. Oligarchic rule has always been a system defined by legalized looting that leaves a wasteland of want, deprivation, and unfocused rage in its wake. Consequently, in the U.K. (and beyond):
When poor people's hopes dry up, cities become a tinderbox of dead dreams, and we should not be stricken with shock and consternation when these degraded places are set aflame, nor should we be surprised when the bribed, debt-beholden and commercial media propaganda-bamboozled middle class (who helped create the wasteland with their arid complicity) cry out (predictably) for police state tactics to quell the fiery insurrection. There have been incidents in which a fire has smoldered for years in an abandoned, sealed-off mineshaft, and then the fire, traveling through the tunnels of the mine, and up the roots of dead, dried trees have caused a dying forest to bloom into flames.
The rage that sparks a riot can proceed in a similar manner -- and the insular, sealed-off nature of a nation's elite and the willful ignorance of its middle class will only make the explosion of pent-up rage more powerful when it reaches the surface. We exist in a culture that, day after day, inundates its have-nots with consumerist propaganda, and then, when the social order breaks down, its wealthy and bourgeoisie alike express outrage when the poor steal consumer goods -- as opposed to going out and looting an education and a good job.
Under Disaster Capitalism, the underclass have had economic violence inflicted upon them since birth, yet the corporate state mass media doesn't seem to notice the situation, until young men burn down the night. Then media elitists wax indignant, carrying on as if these desperate acts are devoid of cultural context. A mindset has been instilled in these young men and boys that they are nothing sans the accoutrements of consumerism. Yet when they loot an i-Phone, as opposed to creating economy-shredding derivative scams, we're prompted by the corporate media to become indignant. When the slow motion, elitist-manipulated mob action known as our faux democratic/consumerist culture deprives people of their basic human rights and personal dignity -- then, in turn, we should not be shocked when a mob of the underclass fails to bestow those virtues upon others.
The commercial mass media's narrative of narrowed context (emotional, anecdotal and unreflective in nature) serves as a form of corporate state propaganda, promulgated to ensure the general population continues to rage against the symptoms rather than the disease of neoliberalism. The false framing of opposing opinions -- of those who state the deprivations of neoliberalism factor into the causes of uprisings, insurrections and riots as being apologists for violence and destruction is as preposterous as claiming one is an apologist for dry rot when he points out structural damage to a house due to a leaking roof.
Because of the elements of inverted totalitarianism, inherent within the structure of corporate state capitalism, and internalized within the general population by constant, commercial media re-enforcement, one should not be surprised when a sizable portion of the general populace is inclined to support police state tactics to quell social unrest among the disadvantaged of the population. Keep in mind: When watching the BBC or the corporate media, one is receiving a limited narrative (tacitly) approved by the global power elite, created by informal arrangements among a careerist cartel comprised of business, governmental and media personality types who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, even if, in doing so, they serve as operatives of a burgeoning police state.
Accordingly, you can't debate fascist thinking with reason nor empathetic imagination e.g., the self-righteous (and self-serving) pronouncements of mass media representatives nor the attendant outrage of the denizens of the corporate state in their audience -- their umbrage engineered by the emotionally laden images with which they have been relentlessly pummeled and plied -- because their responses will be borne of (conveniently) lazy generalizations, given impetus by fear-based animus. Through it all, veiled by disorienting media distractions and political legerdemain, we find ourselves buffeted and bound by the predicament of paradigm lost…that constitutes the onset of the unraveling of the present order.
"The kings of the world are growing old, and they shall have no inheritors. Their sons died while they were boys, and their neurasthenic daughters abandoned the sick crown to the mob." -- Rainer Maria Rilke, excerpt from The Kings of the World"Yet, while there is proliferate evidence that, even as people worldwide are rising up against inequity and exploitation, the economic elite have little inclination to do so much as glimpse the plight of those from whose life blood their immense riches have been wrung, nor hear the admonition of the downtrodden…that they are weary of life on their knees and are awakening to the reality that the con of freedom of choice under corporate state oligarchy is, in fact, a life shackled to the consumerism-addicted/debt-indenturement that comprises the structure of the neoliberal, global company store.
"The rotten masks that divide one man From another, one man from himself They crumble For one enormous moment and we glimpse The unity that we lost, the desolation ...Of being man, and all its glories Sharing bread and sun and death The forgotten astonishment of being alive" -- Octavio Paz, excerpt from "Sunstone"Accordingly, the most profound act of selfless devotion (commonly called love) in relationship to a society gripped by a sociopathic mode of being is creative resistance. Submission is madness. Sanity entails subversion. The heart insists on it; otherwise, life is only a slog to the graveyard; mouth, full of ashes; heart, a receptacle for dust. • Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit Phil's website http://philrockstroh.com :
SUBHEAD: The impoverishment of humankind is being accompanied by an increasingly fewer number of much richer elite.
By David DeGraw on 10 August 2011 for Amped Status -
[Amped Status note: The following report includes adapted excerpts from David DeGraw’s book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” Release Date: 9.28.11] [Island Breath note: This post is merely the "Introduction" to the article linked above; which itself is an excerpt from DeGraw's book. For overview see Abstract :: Welcome to World War III ]
Image above: Fires rage in retail center. Scene from London riots in Tottenham, 8/7/11. From (http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/08/stunning-pictures-of-senseless-london.html).
Despite increasing personal financial hardship, most Americans remain unaware of the economic world war currently unfolding. An all-pervasive corporate and government propaganda campaign has effectively obscured this blatant reality. After extensive analysis, it is evident that World War III is a war between the richest one-tenth of one percent of the global population and 99.9 percent of humanity. Or, as I have called it, The Economic Elite Vs. The People. This war has been a one-sided attack thus far. However, as we have seen throughout the world in recent months, the people are beginning to fight back. The following report is a statistical analysis of the systemic economic attacks against the American people.
The American public has sustained intensive economic attacks across broad segments of the population. While the attacks have been increasingly severe in scale over the past four years, they have been implemented with technocratic precision. They have been incrementally applied thus far, successfully keeping the population passive and avoiding any large-scale civilian unrest, while effectively reducing living standards for the majority of the population. As you will see in this report, the 55 million Americans that have been hit the hardest have thus far acquiesced due to temporary financial assistance, such as food stamps and extended unemployment benefits.
The global Economic Elite have been much more strategic in handling the American public, as they are potentially the greatest threat to their continued consolidation of wealth, resources and power. National populations that are not as powerful, and on the periphery of the Economic Elite’s global empire, have been dealt with in much harsher fashion. In many smaller and less powerful countries the dramatic rise in food prices and costs of living have led to all-out revolt — Tunisia, Algeria, Albania and Egypt were among the first to rebel. While the contagion of rebellion has rapidly spread throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, it is also spreading in a decentralized manner throughout most of the world, now threatening popular rebellion throughout Europe.
Like the US population, the geographically clustered European nations represent a potentially powerful countervailing force to the Economic Elite’s continued domination.
Within the United States, the technocratic suppression of the population has been extensive. Increasingly severe economic and governmental policies have systematically eroded civilian wealth, power and rights. Intensive propaganda has effectively distracted, confused, isolated, marginalized and divided the US population. Despite the success of these efforts thus far, given the severe, prolonged, unsustainable and escalating level of economic suffering, outbreaks of civil unrest are inevitable. The US population, if a critical mass is reached, represents the greatest threat to the Economic Elite. In this regard, the American people are their primary adversary.
In writing this report, I will clearly demonstrate the severity and scale of the deliberate systemic economic attacks against the US population, in hope that we can urgently build a critical mass of aware and engaged citizens.
V :: How Much Wealth Do The Economic Elite Have? VI :: Who Rules America? Revealing The Economic Top 0.1% VII :: Tax Breaks For The Rich, Budget Cuts For The Rest Of UsPart Three :: The Perfect Storm Overhead (Inequality = Debt = Austerity = Civil Unrest = Inflation + Deflation = Stagflation)
SUBHEAD: DARPA lost contact with a second hypersonic test plane (20x speed of sound) over Pacific.
By Carlos Munoz on 11 August 2011 for AOL News -
Image above: Rendering of HTS-2 in flight. From (http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2011/2011/08/09_HYPERSONIC_AIRCRAFT_READY_FOR_LAUNCH.aspx).
DARPA, the Pentagon's advanced weapons division, lost contact with a test version of a new weapon designed to hit any target around the world in less than an hour. The Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2 test vehicle took off on top off an Air Force Minotaur IV rocket this morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The rocket and its payload traveled successfully into the earth's upper atmosphere, where the Falcon separated from the Minotaur, DARPA said.
Once separated, the Falcon should have glided through the atmosphere at nearly 13,000 miles per hour, while separate air, land and sea-based assets collected flight and performance data from the vehicle's on-board systems. But shortly after the Falcon began the glide phase of the test flight, DARPA officials say they lost contact with the vehicle.
During the first HVT-2 test flight, DARPA lost contact with the vehicle nine minutes into the flight and it crashed into the Pacific. This time around, contact was maintained for "more than nine minutes" but the link was lost shortly thereafter, and the vehicle again crashed somewhere in the Pacific, according to a DARPA statement. "We know how to insert the aircraft into atmospheric hypersonic flight. We do not yet know how to achieve the desired control during the aerodynamic phase of flight. It's vexing; I'm confident there is a solution. We have to find it," HVT-2 Program Manager Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz said.
DARPA has stood up an independent Engineering Review Board that will look into why the Falcon lost contact during the flight. Today's test flight was the final live demonstration scheduled for the Falcon vehicle, according to DARPA. "As today's flight indicates, high-Mach flight in the atmosphere is virtually uncharted territory," Schultz added. The speeds and distances the Falcon is built to travel are critical to getting a conventional prompt global strike into the field, according to Pentagon officials.
Long championed by former Vice Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hoss Cartwright, the prompt global strike weapon is designed to hit targets anywhere in the world within an hour. Cartwright championed the technology, arguing it would provide the United States more flexibility in responding to global crises, allowing the U.S. to rely on weapons that could be delivered to a remote area quickly without relying on nuclear weapons. For some time it was touted as a weapon to use against high value targets such as the late Osama bin Laden. That use appears to fallen out of favor, largely because of the difficulties of getting excellent actionable intelligence with such a short timeframe.
Video above: Depiction of planned flight profile for the second of two planned flight tests of DARPA's HTV-2.
Ea O Ka Aina: DARPA & Super-Cavitation on Kauai 3/24/09
Psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says the rich really are different, and not in a good way: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.
In fact, he says, the philosophical battle over economics, taxes, debt ceilings and defaults that are now roiling the stock market is partly rooted in an upper class "ideology of self-interest."
“We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” he said. “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.”
In an academic version of a Depression-era Frank Capra movie, Keltner and co-authors of an article called “Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm,” published this week in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, argue that “upper-class rank perceptions trigger a focus away from the context toward the self….”
In other words, rich people are more likely to think about themselves. “They think that economic success and political outcomes, and personal outcomes, have to do with individual behavior, a good work ethic,” said Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Because the rich gloss over the ways family connections, money and education helped, they come to denigrate the role of government and vigorously oppose taxes to fund it.
“I will quote from the Tea Party hero Ayn Rand: ‘It is the morality of altruism that men have to reject,’” he said. Whether or not Keltner is right, there certainly is a “let them cake” vibe in the air. Last week The New York Times reported on booming sales of luxury goods, with stores keeping waiting lists for $9,000 coats and the former chairman of Saks saying, “If a designer shoe goes up from $800 to $860, who notices?”
According to Gallup, Americans earning more than $90,000 per year continued to increase their consumer spending in July while middle- and lower-income Americans remained stalled, even as the upper classes argue that they can’t pay any more taxes. Meanwhile, the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us continues to grow wider, with over 80 percent of the nation’s financial wealth controlled by about 20 percent of the people.
Unlike the rich, lower class people have to depend on others for survival, Keltner argued. So they learn “prosocial behaviors.” They read people better, empathize more with others, and they give more to those in need.
That’s the moral of Capra movies like “You Can’t Take It With You,” in which a plutocrat comes to learn the value of community and family. But Keltner, author of the book “Born To Be Good: The Science of A Meaningful Life,” doesn’t rely on sentiment to make his case.
He points to his own research and that of others. For example, lower class subjects are better at deciphering the emotions of people in photographs than are rich people.
In video recordings of conversations, rich people are more likely to appear distracted, checking cell phones, doodling, avoiding eye contact, while low-income people make eye contact and nod their heads more frequently signaling engagement.
In one test, for example, Keltner and other colleagues had 115 people play the “dictator game,” a standard trial of economic behavior. “Dictators” were paired with an unseen partner, given ten “points” that represented money, and told they could share as many or as few of the points with the partner as they desired. Lower-class participants gave more even after controlling for gender, age or ethnicity.
Keltner has also studied vagus nerve activation. The vagus nerve helps the brain record and respond to emotional inputs. When subjects are exposed to pictures of starving children, for example, their vagus nerve typically becomes more active as measured by electrodes on their chests and a sensor band around their waists. In recent tests, yet to be published, Keltner has found that those from lower-class backgrounds have more intense activation.
Other studies from other researchers have not produced the clear-cut results Keltner uses to advance his argument. In surveys of charitable giving, some show that low-income people give more, but other studies show the opposite.
“The research regarding income and helping behaviors has always been little bit mixed,” explained Meredith McGinley, a professor of psychology at Pittsburgh’s Chatham University.
Then there is the problem of Tea Partiers’ own class position. While they are funded by the wealthy, many do not identify themselves as wealthy (though there is dispute on the real demographics). Still, a strong allegiance to the American Dream can lead even regular folks to overestimate their own self-reliance in the same way as rich people.
As behavioral economist Mark Wilhelm of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis pointed out, most people could quickly tell you how much they paid in taxes last year but few could put a dollar amount on how they benefited from government by, say, driving on interstate highways, taking drugs gleaned from federally funded medical research, or using inventions created by people educated in public schools.
There is one interesting piece of evidence showing that many rich people may not be selfish as much as willfully clueless, and therefore unable to make the cognitive link between need and resources. Last year, research at Duke and Harvard universities showed that regardless of political affiliation or income, Americans tended to think wealth distribution ought to be more equal.
The problem? Rich people wrongly believed it already was..