New rules put clamp on chatty Fed officials

[Sorry folks, I wasn’t able to link to this article for some reason. I’ll work on that.]

“The Federal Reserve, in a push to control the often wayward communications of its top officials, issued detailed rules on Tuesday dictating what they can and cannot do.”

“The move is part of a broader effort at making the Fed appear less detached from public concerns following criticism during the financial crisis that policymakers were too kind to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.”

This is complete double-speak. This move isn’t to make the Fed “appear less detached from public concerns.” It is to make the Fed MORE detached from public concerns! This is not about transparency, which is what we need the most right now. It is about obfuscation, pure and simple. Let them speak! Let us decide!

This is bad. That was so ineptly done, that it boggles the imagination. I’m going to have finish this tomorrow.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/13/us-usa-fed-communications-idUSTRE76B5JX20110713

Musings on Mother Earth and Kindness

I had an interesting interaction yesterday, and it really impacted me at a radical and fundamental level.  As I took a smoke break at the office (yes, I still smoke), I looked over toward the front of the building and spied someone lying in the grass.  The person appeared to be sleeping.  I assumed it was one of the tenants of the building catching a nap, or maybe one of their clients, biding time before an appointment.  An hour or so later, I saw the person was still there, and started watching.  After a few minutes, the person stood, and I could see it was a young male, I would estimate in his early twenties.  He was dressed only in his underwear.  The young man stretched and walked over to a nearby vinyl fence separating the business parking lot from the neighboring property.  He then grabbed the top of the fence, and banged his head on it a few times, pulled the top of the fence to-and-fro, banged his head a couple more times.  He then stood with his belly against the fence, and urinated on it.

My observations quickly led to a reassessment of the napper, and I can’t say it was positive.  His affect appeared agitated, perhaps drug-induced.  He returned to his spot in the grass (right behind my car), and sat down.  At this point, I decided to observe him more closely.  I returned inside the building and went to the front, where I could observe him through a window.  After a very short time, the young man picked up his few belongings — some clothes and a plastic bag containing some apparently light items — and began walking back along the side of the building, toward the side door from where I had originally observed him.  I followed from inside the building.

The young man walked along the east side of the building.  My office is located on the northeastern corner, so I went there and watched as he walked around that corner, and behind the building.  (My building is fenced on three sides.)  I continued following, as he traversed to the west side, where he put his clothes on, shorts and a t-shirt.  He then returned to the east side of the building, where he laid down directly underneath my office window.  My desk and chair are directly in front of this window.  The window has blinds, which were turned downward but not shut.  He lay down on his stomach and cradled his head in his arms.

I was concerned at this time.  I strongly considered calling police to have him removed from the site, as he clearly did not belong there.  I weighed the action in my head as I watched him lie beneath my window.  He could tell he was being watched, as he sat up a couple times and looked around, each time laying back down.  And I contemplated.  I wondered if perhaps he was homeless — a very distinct possibility in these times.  Nonetheless, it was nearing the end of the workday, and I was not desirous of him continuing to be right outside my window as I left my office.  Should I call police?  Should I ignore him?

And then, as I watched his feet dawdle, in their flip-flops, a thought occurred to me.  What if that was my son?  What if one of my sons were to find himself in that very place, with someone like me secretly staring from behind blinds?  I wondered what had brought him there, and whether he was hungry.  Tears welled up into my eyes, and I instantly knew my course of action.  I had an apple in the refrigerator from a lunch I had not quite finished a week or so past.  I had a water bottle I had earlier emptied that day.  I went to the kitchen and retrieved the apple, and filled the bottle with tap water, and I went outside.

I exited from a door near where he was laying, and he instantly stood up.  He positioned himself in the middle of the side lawn as I approached.  And I asked him, “Are you hungry?”  He looked at me for a second and said, “What?”  I repeated, “Are you hungry?” and added, “Do you want this apple?”  His breath went out of him, and it was clear he had been holding it.  He smiled, and took the apple from me.  I then handed him the water.

The young man seemed to feel a need to explain himself, and began a fragmented story about police and the “psych ward.”  But that wasn’t why I was there any longer.  I looked at him and said, “That is all I have.  This apple and water.”  He looked at me and said, “Wow.  I didn’t expect that,” and his eyes watered up.  I nodded to him and turned to go back inside.  He called to me, “Thank you,” and I told him he was welcome.  I never saw him again after that.

Speaking only to what I experienced, because I cannot presume to speak for him, I had turned my fear into compassion, my protectiveness into caring, my anxiety to kindness, and that apple and water did far more for me yesterday than it would have if I had ingested them.

I came home that night, and watched the waxing moon, nearly full, floating among stars and flirting with the clouds, at peace, and feeling whole.

Namaste

Stone Lodge

HAVE YOU EVER STUCK YOUR FINGER DOWN YOUR THROAT?

Have you ever felt so incredibly ill, that you finally just stick your finger down your throat? Our global economy is beyond that point.

Today, ADP (a private business and payroll services firm) released a highly anticipated National Employment Report. It was highly anticipated because the markets expected to see signs of substantial job growth for the month of June. The markets did not get what they had hoped for. Job growth for the month of June came in at a net level of 18,000 nationally. That is 57,000 private sector jobs, offset by the loss of 39,000 government jobs nationally.

To understand what that really means, you need to know a couple more facts. First, new job entrants average between 125,000 and 150,000 monthly. Those are kids and others (like moms returning to the job market from taking care of the kiddos) who are able and willing to work, and want jobs. So that 125,000 (say) people are competing for 18,000 new jobs. It doesn’t quite stretch. But here is the second thing you need to know: That job-creation number has nothing to do with private sector job losses. In June, 449,000 people lost their jobs. They don’t say much about that number in the MSM (Mainstream Media). But I will, and I will include that number because it gives us a better picture as to where we really are. Which is, there were 556,000 more people looking for work in June 2011 who can’t find work than there was in May 2011.

I saw one “analyst” for Reuters who suggested this might be a “whiff of recession.” That “analyst” was interviewing a “currency strategist” for his article. Ludicrous. But what really piqued my interest was the statement issued by House Majority Leader John Boehner, after release of the report. I found that statement through a piece written by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon, who wrote:

It’s incredibly difficult to work out what is the most depressing part of today’s truly gruesome jobs report. The shrinking number of people in the labor force? The rise in U-6, broad underemployment, to 16.2%? The sharp spike in the newly unemployed? The downward revisions to April and May? The downtick in total hours worked? Maybe it’s the way that people leaving government jobs, for whatever reason, are finding it impossible to find new jobs in the private sector.

For me, it’s none of these things — it’s not, in fact, anything inside the report at all. Instead, it’s the reaction to the report from John Boehner:

“The American people are still asking the question: where are the jobs? Today’s report is more evidence that the misguided ‘stimulus’ spending binge, excessive regulations, and an overwhelming national debt continue to hold back private-sector job creation in our country. Legislation that raises taxes on small business job creators, fails to cut spending by a larger amount than a debt limit hike, or fails to restrain future spending will only make things worse – and won’t pass the House. Republicans are focused on jobs, and are ready to stop Washington from spending money it doesn’t have and make serious changes to the way we spend taxpayer dollars. We hope our Democratic counterparts will join us and seize this opportunity to do something big for our economy and our future, and help get Americans back to work.”

(For the rest of Salmon’s piece and the commentary, click this link: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/07/08/does-john-boehner-know-what-paychecks-are-made-of/)

Boehner isn’t ignorant, he is owned. As is every other legislative representative in Washington and in the states, the POTUS, and the federal judiciary. Their power and their position depends upon balancing between two competing constituencies: the neo-liberal capitalist elites (read “Keynsians”), and the dependent segment of the population that depends on government largesse. Managing the latter is fairly simple, or has been historically. It is getting more difficult. The former constituency is not managed, but rather does the managing. It is those elites from whom Boehner and Obama get their marching orders.

The elites have manipulated the government to their benefit since they were re-set by the First Great Depression. The regulations, the judicial holdings, the legislation, all are constructed so as to create an economy in which the “wealth” of the nation flows one way; into the pockets of those elites. Sure, there is a kickback in the form of entitlements to keep the dependents from raising a ruckus, but that is just a cost of doing business.

The middle class — the productive segment of the population — is where the real “wealth” comes from. The problem we face now stems from the fact that the elites have over-exploited that source of “wealth.” The reason “wealth” is highlighted here is because it is distinct from “production.” See, ideally, no economy should “spend” more than is produced — ever. But when you conceptualize real production as the abstraction “wealth,” then you can justify using various economic tricks and subterfuges to “create” wealth that is divorced from a true underpinning in production and real assets.

Thus, they could take 100 risky mortgages and package them into a securitized debt instrument. (Risky mortgages are more “profitable” because they carry a higher interest rate, and the risk of default gets thrown out.) But they’re not stupid, so the new instrument is insured against default (a credit default swap). JP Morgan thus pays AIG a premium, and AIG, based upon its reputation alone (and no adequate reserves) promises to reimburse the insured party if the asset goes south (which they did in ’08). Now they have an insured instrument that Moody’s will rate AAA, and it can be resold (and resold) at a premium to any number of other market players.

Because this scheme is so profitable, it becomes desirable to enable large numbers of the populace to borrow easily, and so the elites worked to ensure easy credit policies and lax regulation at the point of attack, through their control of government. That easy money (actually debt) created a huge (and unsupported) demand for housing, and we all know what happens when demand outstrips supply: prices rise. Thus, the real collateral (housing) was inflated across the board, which served only to further fuel this machine.

The problem now is that this scheme was never sustainable, and in its collapse, we find vast quantities of illusory “wealth” floating around in the system, and no one wants to be under roof when it collapses. The Fed’s (which is really the club for the really really wealthy elites) response is to create additional liquidity in the markets. (There is an entire discussion here on how that liquidity has been re-directed into commodities; another day.) TARP I and II, and QE I and II, were all about ensuring that there was coverage for the losses that AIG, et al, could never actually insure. Those funds went straight into the capital accounts of the banks and hedge funds that had been betting on these bogus instruments.

And who pays for that coverage? We do. It is our “money,” fresh off the presses. Or rather, our “national debt.” And none of the “wealth” thus created went to build an automobile, television, road or tractor.

So now we have a colossal debt, busted consumers, and no jobs. And the propaganda in the MSM and the gaming in Washington that supports the system will continue until the merry-go-round stops, because they really have no other options, unless JP Morgan wants to give back all of the wealth it helped create. Yah, right.  Boehner is just doing what he’s told.

We won’t have to stick our finger down our collective throat. Better run to the bathroom right now. This is all coming down. Or back up, however you want to look at it.

Earth doomsday prophecies distract from slow-motion apocalypse

Earth doomsday prophecies distract from slow-motion apocalypse.

This is a cautious assessment of recent news related to an astral body, C/2010 X1 (Elenin), and its implications for our beautiful world.  Elenin will, on August 3, 2011, cross the Earth’s orbit and enter the space between our Sun and our Mother.  It will then orbit sharply around the Sun and again pass fairly close to our Mother, just ahead of our orbit.  (This is factual, and known to NASA and most all who inquire.  What that means for our world is controversial, and disputed.)  I will shortly be posting more about Elenin, but I’m still in the ramp-up phase of collecting and assessing the data for myself.  Love each and every wisp of life, for it is its own gift, to be treasured in its fleeting.  Namaste.

Here is the article that tipped me off to our mysterious visitor. http://blog.imva.info/world-affairs/bad-news-nasa

Here is the data from Jet Propulsion Laboratories, which you can review for yourself. It includes an incredible application that permits you to scroll through the orbital history and projections for Elenin, just as was shown in the YouTube video on Dr. Sircus’ blog. http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=elenin;orb=1;cov=0;log=0;cad=0#orb

July 6, 2011 now. The 4th of July weekend intervened, not to mention certain other factors, such as my J.O.B. Anyway, I wanted to let you all know that I have concluded that the information regarding Elenin is … inconclusive. Which is a shame, really, because I don’t think it would be that difficult for NASA and the USG to squash the rumors — if that is all they are — by the release of real data relating to the body’s mass and make-up. But in all my meanderings, I found nothing, NOTHING. Not from NASA, JPL, NOAA, nor any public or private university.

Perhaps I tend towards gullibility, but if NASA and JPL put out data on Elenin’s mass, in particular, and that data was supported by a handful of university astronomy departments, then I would be ready to hang up my shootin’ irons and believe this little cantina might be okay. But without that, and given the fairly incredible conjunctions of time, distance and alignment with catastrophic seismic events, I think I’ll keep those irons belted to my waist.

That said, if Elenin really is an “Earth Life Extinction” event, what are we going to do about it? The only thing to do is to be everything in the coming weeks that we have endeavored to be. Enrich ourselves, enrich those around us. Love, be kind, be smart and level-headed, and drink in every moment between now and (whenever) that we can, to the fullest. Dance, play with the children, and sing out loud. Talk to animals, to plants, to yourself, and to our late Aunt Bea. Eat something you’ve never eaten before. Heal a rift you’ve worried about for years. Be.

 

UPDATE:  Today is October 5, 2011.  I’m still here.  Hopefully, so are you.  I see my last post in this blog was August 9, which is a long time ago, but it doesn’t feel very long.  Life has a way of doing that sometime.  So anyway, Elenin lined up directly between the Earth and the Sun on September 27th.  I had that date plugged into my calendar, but I went about my life and still went to work that day.  Why not, right?  I am patting myself on the back for not simply buying into this remarkable set of correlations I wrote about.  I learned a long time ago that even some pretty amazing correlations can be just coincidence, and so it appears here.  Which is a good thing, because this past week has been an incredible experience.  I am participating, today, in the first public action of Occupy Boise, in conjunction with and support of the protests occurring as Occupy Wall Street, along with similar protests around the nation and internationally, as well.  Yay!  All the writing I’ve done on this blog has been screaming into a vacuum.  I have no readers save my closest family and a couple friends.  But now I have a voice, and it is joined by those untold numerous souls who were out there experiencing the same sangfroid as I all this time.  Who the fuck knew???

 

Elenin, it is a good damned thing you didn’t crack our planet, or spin us off into outer space, or cause the oceans to slosh over all the continents, because I would have missed this day, and I would have been really pissed about that.  And so would have the other 99%.  Time to go.

UN Commission on Drug Policy Report

Okay, here goes my first post. After quite some time of thinking about what I should post first, I decided that there were certain criteria I wanted to meet. The first one is that I wanted my first post to be positive, a post that spoke of hope, a post that spoke with reason, a post that promised the possibility of change. The second criterion was that the post should be informative. I want this blog to expand people’s imagination, their conceptual boundaries, and to challenge their assumptions and personal surds. The third criterion was that the post should speak to our world right now. Despite a wealth of historical concepts available to me (which I will assuredly get to over time), I wanted this first post to be fresh.

After considering those criteria, I felt I could do no better than to post the link to the recently released report of the UN Commission on Drug Policy. I could say much more, but I will let the document speak for itself, at least initially. Enjoy.

http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/Report

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