This Is The Thing

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I've enjoyed getting lost; I've enjoyed discovering whatever came of the journey. I've experienced losing what I thought I'd found – again and again. Getting lost while not knowing what I was looking for, with only the comfort of what I am, has been a privilege. Reveling in heartbreaks and letdowns, the flawed perfection theory and my wacko bona fides have always been an undeserved comfort to me. Never really suffering, never banged up abroad, awash in tears and proud of it I stumbled along in some mysterious grace. Is it the height of arrogance to know death can not humiliate me? Understanding life as a struggle for humility and knowledge as something that doesn't belong to me is not heroic. The banal beauty of it all can almost be painful it's so good.

That entropic mystery, the illusion of time is nothing as the Buddhists say. I am aware of my strange predetermined, WEIRD background that predetermines nothing in a deterministic universe. I sense the magic of consciousness I'm somehow conscious of that seems to give me agency. I intuitively feel nothing would simulate me. I know I could get bored with my self-illusion – someday. I experience the pure sense of joy that comes more often than not as an undeserved gift. Mystery, it is all a mystery. Do we all live utterly selfish lives in one way or another where we make a few people happy and disappoint the rest whose opinions and sensibilities matter only as threads in the fabric of illusion? Within the noise, if we can not find stillness, silence, and solitude, we will never truly exist. We must not merely find these qualities; we must be them. Only then can we begin to understand genuinely ecstatic connections.

Feeling connected and in love with a few marvelous people, thankfulness flows like a river of life. That's the thing.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Hong Kong, My Friend

So you tried peaceful protest in 2014, and now it's time to take the gloves off?

"The history of sea power is largely, though by no means solely, a narrative of contests between nations, of mutual rivalries, of violence frequently culminating in war. The profound influence of sea commerce upon the wealth and strength of countries was clearly seen long before the true principles which governed its growth and prosperity were detected."

"The study of history lies at the foundation of all sound military conclusions and practice." – Alfred Thayer Mahan

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"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." 

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

We have the theory of asymmetric information in economics and the balance of power theory in geopolitics. (Believe me, they are relevant to what I’m saying below.) Emotional reactions to events are never theoretical, but it's essential to understand major Theories if we are going to change things we want to change or maintain things we want to maintain.

It's almost impossible to gauge the many influences that ignite our actions, but we have to try.

We are awash in information that updates every second. It's easy to spark outrage. It's harder and harder to establish well-founded perspectives on fast-paced events.

What's happening in Hong Kong now is hard for me to write about because it's not as straight forward or as narrowly focused as many people might think. Also, I've lived and worked in Hong Kong for many years, and I like the place. I've seen it change, a lot, since I first visited with my parents in 1967. I have waxed nostalgic over many good times and circumstances that I've known here over the years.

After the failure of the "Umbrella Movement," it was inevitable that something would eventually set off more mass action as Hong Kong struggles with its identity during Beijing's ongoing takeover of the Special Administrative Region.

I won't attempt to go into detail or address the structural and political issues involved; there is no shortage of intelligent and informed opinion on the subject. I can only share my impressions as an attempt to break through my own confusion on the matter.

I have spoken to quite a few people about why they are participating in the protests. It seems to me that young people are worried about losing their unique sense of identity. They are concerned about the future. They are concerned about Hong Kong's special status, basic law, human rights, housing, the economy; all the things most people are concerned with around the world.

Take a look at what young people are doing in Russia now. They appear to have similar concerns about their elections.

My intuition tells me that there are interests on both sides of the border that may be operating in bad faith. I haven't found any specific evidence of this so far so I won't go into it. When I talk to people or read articles, it's clear that, especially among young people, trust in the police and the Hong Kong government is diminishing. It's also clear that young people I've talked with don't trust the Communist Party of China.

Young Hong Kong people have grown up in a unique environment with a culture influenced by British Crown Rule from 1847 to 1997. Things are different here. Over the decades of my activities in Hong Kong, I've always found it to be a friendly, open place where a person can do business and live life. It's not a perfect place, no place is, but it can be an excellent place to live and work; it has been for me.

Hong Kong is a complex, international community, open to the world. Its legal system is easy to navigate. Real estate is king. It's gone through many cycles of economic development and reinvented itself many times over its relatively short history. When mainland China opened up, Hong Kong was an essential element of China's strategy for economic growth. Today, so many things have changed. The Pearl River Delta region is a true mega-city. The pace and breadth of development in the region are impressive. I first visited China in 1980, and I can tell you that China is like a timelapse movie. In the late nineties, I'd look out the window of my old apartment in Shanghai watching highway construction; the highway was going up so fast that it seemed that if you took a train to Hangzhou for the weekend, it would be completed when you got back. Hong Kong is a perpetual construction site. The place where I live in Hong Kong is growing so fast that I sometimes wonder what will come of it all. Make debt through development to make money, I guess. Read, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, and I think you'll understand where the CCP got their Belt and Road idea. When people are indebted to you, you have "leverage." Hong Kong is continually reclaiming land so they can build on it and increase revenue. Amidst all of this glorious development, the world-class shopping malls, five-star hotels, and private housing estates, most people live modest lives in small concrete apartments.

Most Hong Kong people seem relatively content, no matter how hard life is. Hong Kong has always felt like a safe city to me, a place where you can stagger home blind drunk and not get mugged. It's a place where you can enjoy relationships with people from around the world. It has beautiful places to hike, some attractive beaches, good local food, and lots of shopping areas. Hong Kong's location is also ideal for doing business in Asia.

It's clear to me that Hong Kong people desire to maintain their unique Hong Kong identity. People don't want to become "mainland Chinese." They like their educational system; they enjoy their open connection to the world. They will tolerate the inequality, crowded conditions, the lack of space, and so on if they can just be allowed to maintain their unique culture.

Unfortunately, culture is an emergent thing, always changing, never fixed. Most people will know that Chinese history is long, complicated, and profound. China is becoming a superpower again, and there has never been more at stake. If things go well, the world may benefit from China's new status; if not, we could see another world war. There exists a naturally pressurized context that includes forces way beyond its borders. I've read quite a bit over the years about China, and I still feel way out of my depth when I think about current events in light of the geopolitical ramifications of the ongoing "great game" as dominant players game theory their power plays in the Asia region.

Below are some of my concerns.

In places where demonstrations aren't regularly taking place, Hong Kong is doing its best to maintain business as usual. Is business as usual, a good thing?

I find the motivations of the protestors to be a bit naive. I can't see how their current tactics will meet with a positive result. I understand, however, that they feel that there is nothing else they can do, they feel as if they have found only dead ends down every path. In my opinion, this is evidence of a lack of imagination and sophistication in their leadership. Perhaps there isn't any leadership.

The protests seem like emotional reactions to events and a perceived loss of identity, not strategically designed to engage in a practical course of action that might achieve positive engagement from the CCP.

They are compelled to struggle, but, unfortunately, they most likely won't achieve success. And yet, as Chris Hedges says, "I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists." I'm not saying China is a fascist State. One could say, "We fight for our freedom and identity not because we will win, but because we value our freedom and identity." They are worried that they are losing something precious that they will never get back once lost; this is a compelling reason to "revolt."

The global socio-economic system is unsustainable, any local, conventional action intended to reform the system while maintaining the status quo is doomed to fail. As it collapses, only terrible things can happen to our environment, our ecosystem, our habitat, culture, and health. It's time to recognize that what's happening in Hong Kong, the United States, the U.K., Russia, Central America, Venezuela, Brazil, India, and many other places in the world stems from the same baked in causes. We need a global, coordinated effort to address structural issues and redesign our economic system, emphasizing sustainability, health, and justice for all. Of course, global efforts start locally.

Can we do that? Probably not but its a betrayal of everything good about Homo Sapiens if we don't try.

Climate change is already changing everything anyway, and we can't stop that no matter what we do so we might as well prepare for it for the consequences and allocate the resources needed to continue the journey towards civilization. I don't think we are genuinely civilized yet.

We are living in a period where understanding the big-picture takes on enormous importance. We have to understand the forest and the trees.

We must avoid global conflict and work together across nations to solve problems. A global conflict would be the end of our species. We don't seem to be concerned with biodiversity or the sixth extinction, but shouldn't the lives of our grandchildren matter enough to transcend our differences for peace and long-term prosperity and health?

Hong Kong must find a way to work successfully with the CCP. Gunboats are not coming to Hong Kong's rescue. If people feel the government isn't prepared to help at all, and therefore limit their tactics, it's going to be a long hard road until they finally arrive at an unknowable destination.

There are things worth fighting for, and there are aspects of culture worth preserving, but things are always changing and how you flow with the changes makes all the difference.

I'm hoping people take a break from breaking things on the street and form community comities where they can work on ways to achieve a better Hong Kong by analyzing history, geopolitics, economics, society, culture, technology, science, etc. Young people need a coherent strategy that has a chance of success. I hope they endeavor to come up with proposals that are so good they can't be ignored. Focus on values that are profound and indispensable. The more informed the efforts are, the more likely we are to create long-term solutions.

Also, I hope they focus on the real, structural problems, identify roadblocks, understand their blind spots and the blind spots of their opposition, comprehend the limitations of all sides, and work to help each other overcome all challenges. I'm afraid that if young people aren't patient enough to collaborate, they will ultimately lose the fight.

When Hell breaks loose, it will be too late for anything but panic and suffering. Until then, we must be positive and keep searching for answers.

I know people here believe that the government isn't listening. That's frustrating, indeed. Sometimes when people aren't listening, it's best to find new questions, broaden the conversation, establish common ground, and let parties know that you are in it for the long run and you will do what it takes to find solutions.

More unrest may have horrible unintended consequences. There is a massive power imbalance, and we should recognize this. None of this is to say that people here shouldn't continue to struggle for what they believe is essential.

I feel that China doesn't want things to break down. It benefits no one if Hong Kong stumbles into chaos. Don't give up trying new things. It's not helpful to believe that one's tried everything and nothing will work except unrest.

Here's an excellent resource for peaceful civil disobedience strategies.

About The Wildfire Project

Our world is shifting rapidly. All the systems that shape our lives are in crisis or collapse. Wildfire supports social movements to navigate this time, and adapt and grow through it, by stepping into collective agency in the face of physical, political, and spiritual violence.

Wildfire does more than just activist facilitation. We support organizational transformation as we all navigate the unstable terrain of change. Our Partnerships take grassroots movement groups through creativeexperientiallong-term processes that help them shift their own group cultures through cycles of practice. This includes moving through generative conflict; connection to land, our bodies, ritual and song; grounding the work in study, history, and political education; navigating power, rank, and leadership; building concrete strategy and organizing skills; finding balance between purpose & belonging; assisting interpersonal transformation, and building cultures of curiosity learning.

Our programs prepare these groups, and individuals within them, to lead grassroots social movements toward their own potential – to help us all become become big, bold, visionary, and strategic enough to build the world we all deserve.

In addition to our core Partner Programming (see Partner Groups below for more), we also coordinate fellowships and convenings, offer coaching, and facilitate coalitions, single workshops & retreats, pop-ed curriculum development, and meetings for groups on a shorter-term basis.


Civil disobedience can work, but it's a marathon, not a sprint, it takes time and requires sacrifices. A sense of urgency is essential, at this point incremental change may not save us but we have to understand that to achieve success we can't merely go on with our comfortable lives expecting a better status quo than the one that's lead to all the problems in the first place. Also, we can't rely on "creative destruction." Sometimes, when we break things, they remain broken.

Of course, if you are content, maybe nothing can move you. Many people are lazy and fearful of change. Some people have it so good that they will do anything to defend their position. Be careful while backing these people into a corner.

Most importantly, if you are going to break the system, you have to have something better to replace it. We need vision and concrete ways to implement our ideas. We have to design and engineer a new way of living in this world, and we have to convince influential players that change is for their benefit as well.

I'm not optimistic. We are relatively spoiled people, unaccustomed to discomfort. Most of us would settle for some more money and a few more material possessions. If the lights went out for a month, many of us wouldn't survive. Most of us have no idea what keeps the lights on anyway. We could care less about our environment as long as we can go shopping and watch Netflix after work. We are more concerned with who will win the football match than we are about whether our companions feel loved.

I have noticed while doing business here, that when people are focused on making money, everything else in their lives is secondary. They are myopic, only concerned with power, prestige, security, and the things money can buy. We fly off to beautiful places only to trash them for a selfie and to say that we've been there. We rush here and there and lose ourselves in noise.

It's time to reevaluate everything and get serious about working together to make things better for everyone. Of course, if you think things are great and can only get better than you probably think people like me are insane. Well, sit back, enjoy the show, and come what may...

One more thing, when you step out into the streets to fight, you have to understand that you might get hurt. It has to be worth it to you. How long can you handle the pain before you give in? How many sacrifices are you prepared to make and for what exactly. What are you building? What do you want? Why do you want it? How are you going to get it? How are you going to maintain it? The answers to these questions must be crystal clear. Don't think that they are simple questions, the more you know, the more complex these questions become.

Regardless of how you feel about these questions, you'll need to train to be tough. Things are not going to get more comfortable under our current socio-economic way of doing things. New challenges are coming faster than ever. These days, if we want to increase our agency, our ability to make good choices that have a positive impact on life and our future, we have to learn new things continually. We even have to learn to defend ourselves from progress. It's true; certain kinds of rapid growth aren't always good for us. Our world has never been more complex than it is today. All the great things we've developed in our history could disappear in a moment if we aren't careful.

My heart goes out to the young people here; I tear up after I talk with them. They seem so innocent to me. I'm getting old.

One has to be reasonably sophisticated to make good things happen these days. Sure, we can appeal to our basest emotions and move the masses, but what will that achieve? Power? Power for whom? Today, more than ever, we need to know how things work and the consequences of our actions. And, above all, we need each other.

Good luck, my friend, all the best, Hong Kong.


I always wonder about the human rights record of the U.S.A. Never the less, some organizations are keenly interested in what happens in Hong Kong.

Ask Your Representatives to Co-Sponsor Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019

Below is a view from a Beijing media organization as penned by Tom Fowdy, a British political and international relations analyst and a graduate of Durham and Oxford universities.

Just what do people in Hong Kong want?

Given this, whilst news outlets are portraying events in the territory as a noble and chauvinistic struggle between good and evil, the reality is that this is a much more all-embracing social conflict whereby a sense of local exceptionalism is unable to come to terms with the pragmatic implications of its own existence.

However, uprooting the territory and inducing political chaos is not going to change the status quo. Instead, it will only serve to increase the sentiment in Beijing that Hong Kong as it stands is a liability to the stability of the country and region.

I often wonder what freedom is in various contexts. I wonder what democracy means to most people. I wonder what free will is and all sorts of things. I watch cycles of unrest happen over and over again, everywhere. I live through economic bubbles and crashes. I watch wars, police actions and social turmoil on T.V. I know the ice is melting in the Arctic and on Greenland and I know that’s not a good thing. I wonder if consumerism makes anyone happy. I’ve come to believe that the way things are organized is far from optimal. I’m constantly improving the discipline required to operate my bull shit detector kit. My epistemic humility grows by the day. I question the value of hope. I am more focused on what can be done and on whether people can find ways of doing things together. I know that human life is about community, sharing and interdependence. Perhaps the values that underpin that will make a comeback in the Anthropocene when bread and circuses had never been more exciting, entertaining and in some cases enlightening.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

"Final Evasion" will not be the final scandal unless we do some real work, now.

Horrific scandals of corruption and greed emerge into public scrutiny almost monthly. The amount of information about these crimes is voluminous and factual and yet, people yawn, go fishing and wait for the next horrific scandal as if it were an episode of House of Cards. I can only surmise that we are all so utterly programmed to conform to this system that we can hardly think about the ramifications of our pathological culture of greed to our own families.

These tragic crimes are in your face, and we only seem to care when it's someone close to us that gets destroyed. What's worse is that we don't do a damn thing to reform the root causes of our affliction. It's as if an advertising agency convinced all of us that cancer and war are great things for society because a few big businesses become wildly profitable, and a few people grow super rich. Wait a minute, not "as if," this is our society; this is what we tolerate year after year.

Please read the article below. Are we not shocked? What does that say about us?

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For 30 years, prosecutors and victims tried to hold Jeffrey Epstein to account. At every turn, he slipped away.

By Marc Fisher, Jonathan O'Connell

At the beginning, middle and end of his career, Jeffrey Epstein faced a reckoning with his misdeeds. At every stage, he managed to avoid the efforts of prosecutors and victims to confront him with his financial chicanery and sexual abuses. On Saturday, he apparently chose to end his life rather than face what he had done. 

“That money would have been my real retirement,” said Veriena Braune, a 91-year-old retired teacher in Granbury, Tex., who invested all of her savings — $112,000 — in bonds that a young Epstein sold for his partner, Steven Hoffenberg. She lost every penny of the money

“Somebody should know: that Epstein did a number on a little teacher in Texas,” Braune said. 

Hoffenberg, who headed up the investment scheme and spent 18 years in prison because of it, said in an interview with The Washington Post this week that Epstein was “the architect of the scam.” Federal prosecutors agreed. Yet Epstein was never charged. His name, initially included in prosecutors’ descriptions of the scheme, quickly vanished from the record. 

“I thought Jeffrey was the best hustler on two feet,” Hoffenberg said. “Talent, charisma, genius, criminal mastermind. We had a thing that could make a lot of money. We called it Ponzi.” 

Hoffenberg pleaded guilty in 1995 to mail fraud, obstruction of justice and tax evasion in two scams — one designed to misuse the assets of two Illinois insurance companies and the other fleecing more than $460-million from about 200,000 investors who bought notes and bonds from Hoffenberg’s Towers Financial Corp. 

“Last year, I got a call at home from no less than Steven Hoffenberg,” said Marvin Gerber, another victim of the scam and a tour operator on Long Island who lost about $250,000 that he’d invested in promissory notes that Epstein and Hoffenberg were selling. “He said he sat in jail for years trying to figure out how he was going to get the money to give back to the people who lost it. He said he was going to try to get it from the guy who absconded with the money – Epstein. But of course, I got nothing. From the very start, I was screwed.” 

Last year, two of the victims in the scam filed suit against Epstein seeking the return of their original investments. Two months later, they dropped their suit. 

'Genius' with 'no moral compass' 

Epstein’s career in finance started at Bear Stearns, the investment banking firm that hired him away from his job teaching math at the tony Dalton School. (It may have helped that he came to Bear Stearns after having tutored the son of the firm’s chairman.) He quickly rose to become a limited partner but left the company suddenly in 1981. Epstein later testified in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation that some people at the firm thought his departure had to do with “an illicit affair with a secretary,” but Epstein said he had been questioned by his bosses about an improper loan he’d made to a friend to buy stock. 

He spent the next few years on his own, trying to build a money management practice known as J. Epstein & Co. In 1987, he met Hoffenberg. 

In the late ’80s, Hoffenberg was, by his own account, a schemer. “I was always under investigation,” he said. From afar, he seemed successful – he briefly owned the New York Post, and he rented a floor in Trump Tower (“Donald’s crowd was my crowd,” Hoffenberg said). But much of Hoffenberg’s career involved schemes to separate investors from their money. He figured Epstein had the smarts to help him do that on a much bigger scale. 

Hoffenberg said he was introduced to Epstein by Douglas Leese, a British arms dealer. “The guy’s a genius,” Hoffenberg said Leese told him. “He’s great at selling securities. And he has no moral compass.” Leese did not respond to messages seeking comment. 

Between about 1987 and 1993, Epstein worked for Hoffenberg, who paid him $25,000 a month and gave him a $2-million loan in 1988 that Epstein would never have to pay back, according to court documents. 

Hoffenberg’s firm, Towers Financial, started out as a collection agency, buying bills that were owed to other firms and collecting as much of the unpaid debts as it could. In 1986, after adding business units in finance and leasing, Towers reported nearly 1,200 employees and nationwide sales of $95-million. 

Hoffenberg — like Epstein a Brooklyn native who never finished college — was on his way to acquiring many of the trappings of New York’s financial elite, including chauffeured luxury cars, speedboats and a 72-foot yacht. 

But in 1987, Towers began constructing one of the largest frauds in history. The scheme began when Towers acquired the parent of two insurance companies, Associated Life Insurance and United Fire. Then, Towers launched a takeover attempt against Pan Am, the once-proud but then-struggling airline. 

To boost its chances, Towers told the SEC that it had an expert on its team: Epstein. Towers called him “a financial advisor who has been familiar with Pan Am for approximately six years” and was now advising Towers. 

What neither regulators nor Pan Am knew was that, as Hoffenberg admitted later in court, Towers had begun devising a classic Ponzi scheme, named for a swindler who defrauded investors by moving money back and forth to create the false impression that profit was being made. 

After acquiring the insurance companies, Towers began siphoning funds from them to make its bid for Pan Am look viable. Hoffenberg and Epstein also began pulling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for themselves, court documents show. Hoffenberg issued more than 50 checks from the insurance companies to pay his stepdaughter’s tuition, expenses on his private plane and monthly $25,000 checks to Epstein. 

“I advanced money to Epstein perpetually because I thought this thing could work,” Hoffenberg said. “He could sell anything. People loved him.” 

When the airline takeover failed, the insurance companies faltered. Then, in 1988, Towers took another $1.8-million from the insurers and used it to attempt another airline takeover, of Emery Air Freight. Towers filed fake financial information to accountants and investors to cover its tracks, according to court records. 

That takeover also failed, leaving the insurance companies insolvent. The looting of the two insurers left 4,000 Illinois customers out $9-million that had been set aside to cover their medical bills. Another 2,200 Ohio customers lost about $1.8-million. 

The IL Dept. of Insurance placed the companies in receivership. The state and the SEC sued Towers. 

But Hoffenberg and Epstein weren’t done. According to prosecutors, they expanded the fraud dramatically. Beginning in 1988, Towers began selling more than $270-million worth of promissory notes, offering returns of 12 to 16 percent and marketing them largely to people of modest means, among them widows, retirees and people with disabilities. 

Hoffenberg and his company used several million dollars from those investors to show Illinois regulators that they were putting sufficient capital into the insurance companies to guarantee that those insurers could cover claims. But that money actually wasn’t available to pay claims because it had been used in the efforts to take over the airlines. 

“I call it a turnover,” Hoffenberg said this week. “You raise a dollar here, you pay a dollar there. Epstein was brilliant at this.” 

Sometimes, the machinations went very wrong. The money Towers used to try to buy control of Emery Air Freight was lost when Emery’s stock price plummeted. 

By 1993, prosecutors in Illinois and New York who had spent years investigating Hoffenberg’s companies were ready to spell out their findings. 

In front of a grand jury in Chicago, federal prosecutor Edward Kohler walked Hoffenberg, who had just agreed to cooperate with the government, through the design of the scam. In the narrative Kohler laid out, Epstein was the technical wizard who kept the money moving around to support Hoffenberg’s various schemes. 

Over and over, Kohler asked Hoffenberg whether Epstein had designed Towers’ scams. Hoffenberg affirmed the prosecutor’s story at every turn. 

“Jeffrey Epstein was the person in charge of the transactions,” Hoffenberg said. 

“Epstein was trying to manipulate the price of the stock?” Kohler asked. 

“Yes,” Hoffenberg replied. 

“You didn’t object to that, sir?” 

“No,” Hoffenberg said. 

That was in November 1993. Three months later, Epstein’s name disappeared from the case. 

Beginnings of mysterious wealth 

In court hearings, FBI reports and affidavits throughout 1994 and 1995, prosecutors and FBI agents referred to Hoffenberg’s “co-conspirators,” “confederates” and “others.” 

A review of court files finds no further reference to Epstein as the case moved toward a conclusion that convicted Hoffenberg and sent him to prison for 18 years. 

Kohler, still a prosecutor in the US attorney’s office in Chicago, declined to comment on why Epstein was removed from the case. 

“All I can tell you is it was 25 years ago,” Kohler said this week. “I really haven’t thought about it since then.” 

Other prosecutors who worked on the cases said that Hoffenberg was always their primary target and that Epstein was removed from the government’s narrative because he cooperated with prosecutors. 

“Epstein was not the focus of what we were doing,” said Barry Gross, who represented the Illinois Department of Insurance in the case against Hoffenberg. “We were trying to take over these insurance companies and eliminate the Hoffenberg management to protect the policyholders. Epstein was someone Hoffenberg favored, and he transferred substantial insurance company funds to Epstein. If you’re looking at Epstein’s mysterious accumulation of wealth, it sounds right that this is the place to start. But Epstein was never our focus.” 

Hoffenberg also cooperated with the government, beginning in March 1993. But his deal collapsed in early 1994, when, according to testimony by prosecutor Daniel Nardello, Hoffenberg violated the agreement by starting three new collection agencies and lying about it to prosecutors — effectively continuing the scheme that got him in trouble in the first place. Through a spokesman, Nardello declined to comment. 

One month after the government presented its version of the case with Epstein as a major player, Hoffenberg admitted to prosecutors that “he had lied to the government in an effort to find a way to support his family,” Nardello wrote in an affidavit. Nardello moved to terminate the government’s deal with Hoffenberg. 

Amy Millard, a federal prosecutor in New York who handled the case during sentencing, said Hoffenberg’s repeated lying made it difficult to rely on anything he said. She pushed to revoke his bail and move forward with the charges. 

“I did not think he was a credible witness,” she said. Hoffenberg was hospitalized with depression in 1970; a psychiatric exam when he was sentenced in 1996 concluded that although he was narcissistic, he was “well oriented” and not “disturbed or impaired.” 

Why Hoffenberg did not give prosecutors details of Epstein’s role in the scheme as part of his bid for a reduced sentence remains something of a mystery. 

Gary H. Baise, a Washington lawyer who represented Hoffenberg during his incarceration, said the judge in the case, Robert W. Sweet, told him years later that the purpose of the long sentence was to get Hoffenberg to give up co-conspirators. Sweet died this year. 

“Judge Sweet did not like the idea that he had sentenced Steven to 18 years, but he said, ‘By golly, I was trying to break him,’ ” Baise said. “He couldn’t figure out why Steve didn’t blow the whistle on Epstein or others.” 

Baise said he also couldn’t figure it out. Clearly, any friendship between the two men had ended. After Hoffenberg was released from prison in 2013, Baise and his wife met Hoffenberg in New York, where the newly freed man unexpectedly offered to take them to Epstein’s townhouse. Baise said a young woman greeted them at the door, took their names and disappeared inside. When she returned, Baise said, she slammed the door in their faces. 

Four other Towers executives were convicted of roles in the fraud, generally serving little or no jail time. 

Hoffenberg said he had decided he could not rat out a partner. He said variously that he was under threat from Epstein to remain silent and that prosecutors faced similar pressure to drop Epstein from their case. Hoffenberg offered no evidence for his allegation, which Nardello, the prosecutor at the time, called “desperate and ludicrous. . . . Hoffenberg’s insinuations reflect only on his apparent ability to project his corrupt view of the world onto others.” 

Hoffenberg said Epstein’s role in the scam eats at him. “He got away with it because I didn’t cooperate,” Hoffenberg said. “How could you remove the architect of the crime from the story of the crime? I screwed myself, but I also got in bed with the wrong set of criminals. The whole thing blew up, but he wasn’t touched.” 

Victims' Last Hope 

Frail and in ill-health, Hoffenberg says his last goal in life is to reimburse investors who lost money in the Towers scam. He intends to do that with Epstein’s money. “Every dollar Epstein has raised since leaving me has been tainted because everything came from the money he stole in Towers,” Hoffenberg said. 

In 2016, Hoffenberg and some of his victims joined forces to file suit against Epstein, seeking restitution. But when a judge expressed skepticism that Hoffenberg could legally be part of a class action with his own victims, Hoffenberg withdrew the suit. 

Some of the victims say they believe Hoffenberg is truly remorseful. Others aren’t buying it. 

“The concept of Hoffenberg being penitent is pure theater,” said Gross, the lawyer who represented Illinois in the insurance case. 

“I’m not looking to clear my name,” said Hoffenberg, who was interviewed in his room at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut, where he was awaiting surgery. “I’m 74, I’m in a hospital bed, what do I have to gain? I owe people half a billion dollars. The only way they get paid is with the money that Epstein took, which originally comes from the Towers scam.” 

But although Hoffenberg claims to know where Epstein stashed his money overseas, he has not contacted law enforcement and doesn’t plan to. “They know my number,” he said. 

Epstein’s death by hanging in his cell in a New York jail appears to be a macabre final escape in a long series of evasions by a fabulously wealthy financier and convicted sex offender who used his private jet and Palm Beach parties to lure presidents and plutocrats into his orbit. 

Equal parts charismatic and devious, he was a Wall Street washout with a knack for numbers and, according to those who worked with him, a mind set on deceit. From his beginnings as a college dropout who scored a job as a math teacher at a Manhattan prep school to his career as a millionaire adviser to some of the nation’s top corporate executives and politicians, Epstein acted as if the rules of life did not apply to him. 

A decade ago, he avoided a long prison sentence even after police and prosecutors amassed an enormous array of evidence showing that he regularly abused girls at his Palm Beach mansion and on a Caribbean island that he’d bought. In that case, as at several pivotal points throughout his life, Epstein avoided the law by deploying some of the nation’s most famous lawyers and leaning on friendships with powerful figures in politics, business and academia. 

Epstein’s ability to slip away even when those around him are held to account reaches back to well before he’d accumulated any fortune. Epstein, who died at 66, reported to federal authorities recently that he was worth $559 million, but some of his associates contend he had much more than that hidden overseas; others wonder whether he had anything close to that sum. Whatever the truth, he worked to build the impression that he was wealthy and influential, helping him connect with powerful people who for many years defended his character when rumors emerged that he was abusing women and girls. 

The story of Epstein’s first great escape is a tale of financial wizardry and brazen criminality, in which hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their retirement money, their life’s savings, on an investment intended to enrich only its creators. 


If you want this destruction to end and believe that people and society must be better, more morally and ethically grounded, then read the following book and give your train of thought a healthy upgrade.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Understand The Contradictions

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I know "white" men in Hong Kong who are racist (although they pretend not to know it) and misogynistic (although they would deny it). They would feel much better in a "white" country, although, ironically, they livein an Asian country. They believe that the only thing a woman is good for is cheating on their wives. Some of these men don't work; their wives support them. There is a contradiction there, no?

U.S. candidates for President talk about saving capitalism by paying people a universal, basic income while ignoring structural issues that produced inequality, underemployment, and poverty. They can't see the contradictions within their non-solutions.

Below is an excerpt from Niall Ferguson's book, "The War Of The World – History's Age of Hatred."

This list is from a Nazi handbook for young couples produced in 1933.

1. Remember that you are German.

2. If of sound stock, do not remain unwed.

3. Keep your body pure.

4. Keep spirit and soul pure.

5. As a German, choose someone of German or Nordic blood for your partner.

6. When choosing your spouse, look into their lineage.

7. Health is a precondition of external beauty.

8. Marry only out of love.

9. Seek not a playmate but a partner in marriage.

10. Wish for as many children as possible

The Nazis knew that they would be needing cannon fodder and they also needed an enemy they could focus on and rob. They found that in their highly integrated Jewish community. You know what followed.

What do you suppose “pure” meant to the authors of the handbook? Search your spirit and soul and leave your answer in the comment section below.

Ferguson's book is far from perfect, but it's a fascinating read and worth your time, in my opinion. The shocking thing about reading a history book like this now is how many aspects of the cultures it describes are echoed in today's extremist rhetoric.

If you don’t read the book, please read this review of the book by Nicholas Humphrey: Killer Instinct: a Review of Niall Ferguson's "World of War: History's Century of Hatred".

And from Nazis handbooks on marriage, I'd like to jump ahead to our present-day Alt-Right. Please watch the video below about why some women are spokespeople for the Alt-Right.

Today we'll be discussing the women of the alt right, specifically focusing on their rhetoric and recruiting strategies. We'll shine a spotlight on prominent women in the movement, including Lana Lokteff, Ayla Stewart, Faith Goldy and Lauren Southern (although I guess Lauren officially quit as I was editing this vid...lets hope it sticks.)

Did you understand the contradictions she describes in the video? I hope you did. Either these women are simply opportunists entertaining a niche market, or they are very conflicted. At the very least their logic is tragically flawed.

The next video talks about the flawed logic of our leaders who are dead set on ignoring structural issues in favor of tired tropes of the past. They are ineffectual, and nothing but mass action will discourage them from the delusion that they are fit to lead. As you watch, please be mindful of the contradictions the commentators are pointing out.

Ben Burgis debunks the argument that education alone is the best anti-poverty program.

Education may not be a panacea, but it would greatly help society if voters educated themselves.

Be always mindful of contradictions.



Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

If You Can't Criticize Your Government You Aren't Free

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I had to post this segment of The Jimmy Dore show because its main point is absolutely on the mark. Representatives are supposed to criticize the government. If you live in a government without representatives who are critical of the government, you are living in a dictatorship.

A few quick takeaways off the tops of my head:

  1. Rand Paul is a hypocrite who takes Ayn Rand too seriously

  2. People in the USA don't now history

  3. Americans are very easily manipulated

  4. The vast majority of people in the USA are immigrants (define immigrants)

  5. California was part of Mexico before it was taken by the United States

  6. The United States hasn't done working people any favors for decades

  7. They mentioned a lot of excellent books that every American should read

I could go on with the list; the segment is full of insight from beginning to end. I have to add that it's disappointing that so many people in the United States are militantly, and stubbornly willfully-ignorant. People in the United States are infected by an ideology that they don't understand. The problem is how to develop an intellectually curious and active society again.

#TheJimmyDoreShow is a hilarious and irreverent take on news, politics and culture featuring Jimmy Dore, a professional stand up comedian, author and podcaster. With over 5 million downloads on iTunes, the show is also broadcast on KPFK stations throughout the country.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Why Will There Be A World War In The 21st Century?

This is an important presentation that everyone should watch. We need to understand these things if we are going to avoid catastrophe. The world you know was created by the science of WAR. The geniuses you worship are only marketing guys. Do you want more control over your life and future? Understand what this man is saying.

George Friedman, founder of Geopolitical Futures explains how war is closer to our lives than we think. Is our sense of security false? Are we really the craftsmen of our futures?

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Beau Provides a Fresh Voice of Compassionate Reason

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I have to share this. I feel what he’s saying in the depths of my mind and spirit, in my body and soul. If America is ever great, it’s the young people today that will make it so. They will create a new story that will develop into a truly great country that will help our human family achieve greatness. Finally.

Right on brother Beau. America does have the potential to be great and it's the wisdom of our youth that will launch that process. Thanks to people like you. All honest intellectuals are teachers.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

InterReflections – A Film by Peter Joseph

If you can afford it, please support this film. It will be a big step up from his other films and should have much greater impact.

2019 video update by Peter Joseph regarding the long-delayed InterReflections film trilogy project. www.interreflectionsmovie.com

We are looking forward to seeing this film.


Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

It’s Time To Change The Rhyme


A SAID POEM

for Ronald and Beatrice Gross

"I have seen the future, and it doesn't work," said Robert Fulford.

"If there weren't any Poland, there wouldn't be any Poles," said Alfred Jarry.

"We aren't making the film they contracted for," said Robert Flaherty.

"History never repeats itself, but it rhymes," said Mark Twain.

In 1845 an interesting thematic precursor using the descriptive phrase "mystic rhyme" was printed in the publication "The Christian Remembrancer":

"The vision recurs; the eastern sun has a second rise; history repeats her tale unconsciously, and goes off into a mystic rhyme; ages are prototypes of other ages, and the winding course of time brings us round to the same spot again."

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I was going to quiz you, but I decided to get straight to the point. Below are two inaugural speeches; the first from Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the latter from Adolf Hitler. Both of these speeches profoundly inspired their respective constituencies. The rhetoric echoes a dire sense of emergency.

Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administers the constitutional oath of office to Franklin Delano Roosevelt as it occurred on March 4, 1933. President Roosevelt's inaugural address follows.

President Hoover, Mr. Chief Justice, my friends: This is a day of national consecration, and I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our nation impels.

This is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

So first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear. . .is fear itself. . . nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days. In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels: taxes have risen, our ability to pay has fallen, government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income, the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade, the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side, farmers find no markets for their produce, the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.

Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failures and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True, they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money.

Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored conditions. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers.

They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.

The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money, it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow-men.

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be values only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit, and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing.

Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.

Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This nation asks for action, and action now.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously.

It can be accompanied in part by direct recruiting by the government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our national resources.

Hand in hand with this, we must frankly recognize the over-balance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land.

The task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities.

It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss, through foreclosure, of our small homes and our farms.

It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, State, and local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced.

It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical and unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities which have a definitely public character.

There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act, and act quickly.

Finally, in our progress toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order: there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people's money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.

These are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress in special session detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the several States.

Through this program of action we address ourselves to putting our own national house in order and making income balance outgo.

Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are, to point in time and necessity, secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy.

I favor as a practical policy the putting of first things first. I shall spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment, but the emergency at home cannot wait on that accomplishment.

The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not narrowly nationalistic.

It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in and parts of the United States. . . a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer.

It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that the recovery will endure.

In the field of world policy I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor. . .the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others. . .the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.

If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize, as we have never realized before, our interdependence on each other: that we cannot merely take, but we must give as well, that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective.

We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline because it makes possibly a leadership which aims at a larger good.

This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will hind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.

With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people, dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.

Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors.

Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form.

That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has produced. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations.

It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.

I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require.

But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me.

I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis. . .broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

For the trust reposed in me I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of national unity, with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values, with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike.

We aim at the assurance of a rounded and permanent national life.

We do not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action.

They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I will take it.

In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us! May He guide me in the days to come!

BERLIN, REICHSTAG

SPEECH OF MARCH 23, 1933

IN NOVEMBER, 1918, Marxist organizations seized the executive power by means of a revolution. The monarchs were dethroned, the authorities of the Reich and of the States removed from office, and thereby a breach of the Constitution was committed. The success of the revolution in a material sense protected the guilty parties from the hands of the law. They sought to justify it morally by asserting that Germany or its Government bore the guilt for the outbreak of the War.

This assertion was deliberately and actually untrue. In consequence, however, these untrue accusations in the interest of our former enemies led to the severest oppression of the entire German nation and to the breach of the assurances given to us in Wilson's fourteen points, and so for Germany, that is to say the working classes of the German people, to a time of infinite misfortune....

The splitting up of the nation into groups with irreconcilable views, systematically brought about by the false doctrines of Marxism, means the destruction of the basis of a possible communal life.... It is only the creation of a real national community, rising above the interests and differences of rank and class, that can permanently remove the source of nourishment of these aberrations of the human mind. The establishment of such a solidarity of views in the German body corporate is all the more important, for it is only thereby that the possibility is provided of maintaining friendly relations with foreign Powers without regard to the tendencies or general principles by which they are dominated, for the elimination of communism in Germany is a purely domestic German affair.

Simultaneously with this political purification of our public life, the Government of the Reich will undertake a thorough moral purging of the body corporate of the nation. The entire educational system, the theater, the cinema, literature, the Press, and the wireless - all these will be used as means to this end and valued accordingly. They must all serve for the maintenance of the eternal values present in the essential character of our people. Art will always remain the expression and the reflection of the longings and the realities of an era. The neutral international attitude of aloofness is rapidly disappearing. Heroism is coming forward passionately and will in future shape and lead political destiny. It is the task of art to be the expression of this determining spirit of the age. Blood and race will once more become the source of artistic intuition....

Our legal institutions must serve above all for the maintenance of this national community. The irremovableness of the judges must ensure a sense of responsibility and the exercise of discretion in their judgments in the interests of society. Not the individual but the nation as a whole alone can be the center of legislative solicitude. High treason and treachery to the nation will be ruthlessly eradicated in the future. The foundations of the existence of justice cannot be other than the foundations of the existence of the nation.

The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, is creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life.

The advantages of a personal and political nature that might arise from compromising with atheistic organizations would not outweigh the consequences which would become apparent in the destruction of general moral basic values. The national Government regards the two Christian confessions as the weightiest factors for the maintenance of our nationality. It will respect the agreements concluded between it and the federal States. Their rights are not to be infringed. But the Government hopes and expects that the work on the national and moral regeneration of our nation which it has made its task will, on the other hand, be treated with the same respect....

Great are the tasks of the national Government in the sphere of economic life.

Here all action must be governed by one law: the people does not live for business, and business does not exist for capital; but capital serves business, and business serves the people. In principle, the Government will not protect the economic interests of the German people by the circuitous method of an economic bureaucracy to be organized by the State, but by the utmost furtherance of private initiative and by the recognition of the rights of property....

The Government will systematically avoid currency experiments. We are faced above all by two economic tasks of the first magnitude. The salvation of the German farmer must be achieved at all costs....

Furthermore, it is perfectly clear to the national Government that the final removal of the distress both in agricultural business and in that of the towns depends on the absorption of the army of the unemployed in the process of production. This constitutes the second of the great economic tasks. It can only be solved by a general appeasement, in applying sound natural economic principles and all measures necessary, even if, at the time, they cannot reckon with any degree of popularity. The providing of work and the compulsory labor service are, in this connection, only individual measures within the scope of the entire action proposed....

We are aware that the geographic position of Germany, with her lack of raw materials, does not fully permit of economic self-sufficiency for the Reich. It cannot be too often emphasized that nothing is further from the thoughts of the Government of the Reich than hostility to exporting. We are fully aware that we have need of the connection with the outside world, and that the marketing of German commodities in the world provides a livelihood for many millions of our fellow-countrymen.

We also know what are the conditions necessary for a sound exchange of services between the nations of the world. For Germany has been compelled for years to perform services without receiving an equivalent, with the result that the task of maintaining Germany as an active partner in the exchange of commodities is not so much one of commercial as of financial policy. So long as we are not accorded a reasonable settlement of our foreign debts corresponding to our economic capacity, we are unfortunately compelled to maintain our foreign-exchange control. The Government of the Reich is, for that reason, also compelled to maintain the restrictions on the efflux of capital across the frontiers of Germany....

The protection of the frontiers of the Reich and thereby of the lives of our people and the existence of our business is now in the hands of the Reichswehr, which, in accordance with the terms imposed upon us by the Treaty of Versailles, is to be regarded as the only really disarmed army in the world. In spite of its enforced smallness and entirely insufficient armament, the German people may regard their Reichswehr with proud satisfaction. This little instrument of our national self-defence has come into being under the most difficult conditions. The spirit imbuing it is that of our best military traditions. The German nation has thus fulfilled with painful conscientiousness the obligations imposed upon it by the Peace Treaty, indeed, even the replacement of ships for our fleet then sanctioned has, I may perhaps be allowed to say, unfortunately, only been carried out to a small extent.

For years Germany has been waiting in vain for the fulfillment of the promise of disarmament made to her by the others. It is the sincere desire of the national Government to be able to refrain from increasing our army and our weapons, insofar as the rest of the world is now also ready to fulfill its obligations in the matter of radical disarmament. For Germany desires nothing except an equal right to live and equal freedom.

In any case the national Government will educate the German people in this spirit of a desire for freedom. The national honor, the honor of our army and the ideal of freedom must once more become sacred to the German people!

The German nation wishes to live in peace with the rest of the world. But it is for this very reason that the Government of the Reich will employ every means to obtain the final removal of the division of the nations of the world into two categories. The keeping open of this wound leads to distrust on the one side and hatred on the other, and thus to a general feeling of insecurity. The national Government is ready to extend a hand in sincere understanding to every nation that is ready finally to make an end of the tragic past. The international economic distress can only disappear when the basis has been provided by stable political relations and when the nations have regained confidence in each other.

For the overcoming of the economic catastrophe three things are necessary:

Absolutely authoritative leadership in internal affairs, in order to create confidence in the stability of conditions.

The securing of peace by the great nations for a long time to come, with a view to restoring the confidence of the nations in each other.

The final victory of the principles of common sense in the organization and conduct of business, and also a general release from reparations and impossible liabilities for debts and interest.

We are unfortunately faced by the fact that the Geneva Conference, in spite of lengthy negotiations, has so far reached no practical result. The decision regarding the securing of a real measure of disarmament has been constantly delayed by the raising of questions of technical detail and by the introduction of problems that have nothing to do with disarmament. This procedure is useless.

The illegal state of one-sided disarmament and the resulting national insecurity of Germany cannot continue any longer.

We recognize it as a sign of the feeling of responsibility and of the good will of the British Government that they have endeavored, by means of their disarmament proposal, to cause the Conference finally to arrive at speedy decisions. The Government of the Reich will support every endeavor aimed at really carrying out general disarmament and securing the fulfillment of Germany's long-overdue claim for disarmament. For fourteen years we have been disarmed, and for fourteen months we have been waiting for the results of the Disarmament Conference. Even more far-reaching is the plan of the head of the Italian Government, which makes a broad-minded and far-seeing attempt to secure a peaceful and consistent development of the whole of European policy. We attach the greatest weight to this plan, and we are ready to co-operate with absolute sincerity on the basis it provides, in order to unite the four Great Powers, England, France, Italy, and Germany, in friendly co-operation in attacking with courage and determination the problems upon the solution of which the fate of Europe depends.

It is for this reason that we are particularly grateful for the appreciative heartiness with which the national renaissance of Germany has been greeted in Italy....

In the same way, the Government of the Reich, which regards Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attaches the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See, and is endeavoring to develop them. We feel sympathy for our brother nation in Austria in its trouble and distress. In all their doings the Government of the Reich is conscious of the connection between the destiny of all German races. Their attitude toward the other foreign Powers may be gathered from what has already been said. But even in cases where our mutual relations are encumbered with difficulties, we shall endeavor to arrive at a settlement. But in any case the basis for an understanding can never be the distinction between victor and vanquished.

We are convinced that such a settlement is possible in our relations with France, if the Governments will attack the problems affecting them on both sides in a really broadminded way. The Government of the Reich is ready to cultivate with the Soviet Union friendly relations profitable to both parties. It is above all the Government of the National Revolution which feels itself in a position to adopt such a positive policy with regard to Soviet Russia. The fight against communism in Germany is our internal affair in which we will never permit interference from outside....

We have particularly at heart the fate of the Germans living beyond the frontiers of Germany who are allied with us in speech, culture, and customs and have to make a hard fight to retain these values. The national Government is resolved to use all the means at its disposal to support the rights internationally guaranteed to the German minorities.

We welcome the plan for a World Economic Conference and approve of its meeting at an early date. The Government of the Reich is ready to take part in this Conference, in order to arrive at positive results at last. . . .

“More than 14 years have passed since that ill-fated day when, blinded by promises at home and abroad, the German volk [people] lost sight of the most valuable assets of our past and of our Reich, its honour and its freedom – and thus lost everything. Since those days of treachery, the Almighty has withheld His blessing from our Volk. Dissension and hatred have made their way into our midst. In the most profound distress, millions of the best German men and women from all walks of life watch as the unity of the nation vanishes and dissolves in a muddle of political and egotistical opinions, economic interests and differences…

HITLER’S FIRST ADDRESS AS CHANCELLOR (1933)

Adolf Hitler made his first address as chancellor in February 1933. In this extract, Hitler condemns the previous government and outlines the focus of his new regime:

The misery of our volk is appalling! The starving millions of unemployed proletarians in industry are being followed by the impoverishment of the entire Mittelstand [middle-class] and artisan professions. When this disintegration ultimately reaches the German peasants, we will be confronted by a catastrophe of unfathomable dimensions. For not only will the Reich disintegrate, but with it a 2000-year-old inheritance, the most valuable assets of human culture and civilisation.

The warning signs of this approaching disintegration are all about us. In a single gigantic offensive of willpower and violence, the communist method of madness is attempting to poison and disrupt the volk, which is shaken and uprooted to its innermost core…

Peasants, workers, and bourgeoisie must all join together to provide the building blocks for the new Reich. The government will therefore regard it as its first and foremost duty to re-establish Volksgemeinschaft – the unity of spirit and will of our volk. It will preserve and defend the foundations upon which the power of our nation rests. It will extend its strong, protecting hand over Christianity as the basis of our entire morality, and the family as the germ cell of the body of our volk and State. It will reawaken in our volk, beyond the borders of rank and class, its sense of national and political unity, and its resultant duties. It will establish reverence for our great past and pride in our old traditions as the basis for the education of our German youth. It will declare a merciless war against spiritual, political and cultural nihilism. Germany must not and will not drown in anarchistic communism…

Resolved and true to our oath, we will — in view of the present Reichstag’s inability to support this work — ask the German volk itself to take on this task we call our own. Reich President von Hindenburg has called upon us and given us the order to use our own unity to restore to the nation the chance for recovery. Thus we now appeal to the German volk to take part in signing this deed of reconciliation.

The government wants to work – and it will work. It was not this government which led the German nation into ruin for 14 years. This government wants to lead the nation to the top once more. It is determined to pay the debt of 14 years in four years. But it cannot make the work of reconstruction dependent upon the approval of those who are to blame for the collapse.

The Marxist parties and their fellow travellers have had 14 years to prove their prowess. The result is a heap of ruins. Now, German volk, give us four years, and then pass judgment upon us!

True to the order of the Field Marshal, we shall begin. May Almighty God look mercifully upon our work, lead our will on the right path, bless our wisdom, and reward us with the confidence of our volk. We are not fighting for ourselves, but for Germany!”

Today, our leaders still echo a sense of defeat, of emergency, but what are our leader's real concerns? That question is so important, and yet we seldom ask it. While our leaders deftly work to inspire fear and mobilize their base, real emergencies face our civilization – crises that most of us have been trained to ignore in favor of our desire to consume.

Although today we have access to more information than ever, we may find it hard to determine the difference between propaganda and information intended to inspire and inform.

Put aside your emotional habits, and think carefully, learn from history, read primary sources, prepare yourself for what's to come. Everything in our world is changing fast, and the remedies of the past will not help us in the twenty-first century.

We are currently facing our species' extinction – this is a fact. It's time to learn why this is so and to demand that everyone take action to prevent our destruction. The global conflagrations of the past two centuries are nothing compared to what is coming. If you are distracted, if you can't focus, if you don't have the strength to educate yourself, if you are not fit, if your mind is not healthy, you will only know horror and panic in the days to come.

I am not a doomsayer, I am a truth-teller, and I blush when I say it because it sounds so arrogant.

When you imagine yourself to be noble and righteous because you are just getting on with it, try to remember that future generations will be the most impacted by how you are getting on with it. If you turn away from reality now, you are not doing younger people any favors by paying rent and tuition. We must all speak truth to power now. Our voices must rise in concert – all of our voices across the world.

We must put aside our differences and come together as a species and determine the right way forward. We don't have a minute to waste. Organize within your community and talk about what we are facing. Don't let yourself be mesmerized by selfish leaders who are only in their position for money, power, and fame.

Do what you can to educate and enlighten those who are less interested in understanding how the world works. The full knowledge of humanity is at your fingertips – learn, discuss, and share.

In many ways, today looks like 1933. We are at a crossroads; only this time, civilization truly is at stake.

Get your inspiration from sincere teachers like Chris Hedges and Peter Josephs.

Journalist, author and war correspondent Chris Hedges spoke at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY on November 10, 2017 on fascism and empire in the age of Trump.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Train Your Mind | Compassion or Hate – Decide

We highly recommend this article. Our near future will require great strength, intelligence and wisdom. Civilization as we have known it is coming to an end. Business as usual won’t help us. We must learn how to liberate ourselves. Learning from various wisdom traditions can help us cope with what’s to come.

“Buddhism Is What Science Should Be Doing”

Robert Thurman discuss the Buddha’s scientific worldview and argues that it is less dogmatic than modern science.

By Matthew Abrahams with Robert A. F. Thurman

JUN 21, 2019

That involves a couple of presuppositions. One is that mindfulness is Buddhism—or even that meditation is Buddhism—which is highly sold but not the case. The three educations, or trisikkha, is usually translated as trainings. But shiksha is the word used in India’s department of education today. Calling it training allows Western people to avoid the idea that Buddhism has a knowledge that is equal to and/or superior to the knowledge of materialist science.

Saying that mindfulness is all you need to thrive in your corporation or in your household is completely overselling it, and there should be a backlash against it. Also, it’s not all of Buddhism by any means. It’s one branch of eight branches, the seventh part of the eightfold path. And mindfulness by itself is not at all how you get free of suffering. Real mindfulness will actually make you more aware of how much you are suffering and will make you resolve to try to do more about it. But it won’t be by just sitting and being more mindful.

Some people will say, “I’m spiritual, and science has nothing to say about my spirituality. Why would I want my spirituality to be dragged down?” But that ignores the fact that science is the religion of the modern world. The idea that Buddhism can get dragged down falls into the scientific materialistic trap by assuming that our religious beliefs make us feel good but are unrealistic and not scientifically corroborable. And that, again, is conflating Buddhism with blind faith, which it isn’t. Buddha was 100 percent against blind faith. He said if you believe in something that your reason and common sense say couldn’t be true, that belief will cripple you mentally.

No, I’m being a little more aggressive. I’m saying that Buddhism is what science should be doing—Buddha’s wisdom teaching is what scientists should practice. They can do their material science, too, but the modern idea that secular means totally materialistic is a very rare case in history. The Buddha was seeking knowledge of reality, but for him, the mind was part of that secular reality. So by practicing Buddhist science, they would be taking a different kind of responsibility about the quality of their own minds and experience, and they would truly drop the dogma of materialism.

I am insisting that Buddhism be taken seriously as a knowledge system. The arrogance of Western materialist scientists, that they understand the world and know how to fix it, is ridiculous because they are destroying it, not fixing it. They need higher knowledge—not just some faith or god. And the Buddha’s teaching has a way of helping them. Scientists who meet the Dalai Lama often come away saying, “Boy, I had some new insights talking with him. He’s so smart.” But they don’t ask any questions about Buddhist science or what Buddhist knowledge is. They don’t think that he knowssomething, they just think he’s peaceful and nice and that, in his presence, they have great ideas. That is our Western arrogance. It’s really terrible.

When I say that everyone should be a Buddhist scientist, I don’t mean they have to be a Buddhist or change their group affiliation, just that they need to be more enlightened. [His Holiness the 14th] Dalai Lama often says he doesn’t want people leaving their grandmother’s religions because they studied some Buddhism. He wants people to keep granny happy and stay in that religion, and if they learn by meditating, studying, or being more ethical, then they’re elevating their own cultural setting, which is great.

Imagine going to [New York City] Mayor Bill De Blasio and asking for a big building in the park for anybody who wants to shave their head, put on an orange robe, and renounce their name and property to live there, be fed freely, and be respected and asked questions. What would he say?

That is what the Buddha did, and it is revolutionary. He created a non-caste caste in the middle of the rigid Indian system and got the kings and the warriors to cater to it. In my [1998] book Inner Revolution, I argue that it is a total social revolution to say that the individual has a higher destiny than just fitting into their role in society—and the idea that the individual can achieve freedom from suffering and achieve higher awareness of the nature of reality.

Sometimes when I speak to a big audience of four, five hundred people, I will ask, “How many of you think that we will avoid major war, avoid this climate catastrophe that looms over us, and make the radical changes necessary to govern wisely?” Very few people will raise their hands. People are resigned; they are all brainwashed into thinking that they have no power. They think that nobody good will ever come and that all governments are equally bad. People voted for [President Donald] Trump because they hate all of them, and they thought, “Here’s some guy who hates them all too.” Meanwhile, he’s the worst of them.

Compassion in the teeth of that cynicism is radical. But there is a tendency among some Buddhists to act like, you can’t be too compassionate because you’ll get wasted. Well, that’s not the Buddhist attitude. Compassion and nonviolence is a powerful thing, it’s not a weakness. The Harvard sociologist Gene Sharp wrote many books on nonviolence and how, for example, under the Nazis, nonviolent protests saved trainloads of people. Determined nonviolent protests by masses of people are really very effective. Even the worst, nastiest people will not endlessly kill people who are opposing them unarmed. They might kill a few hoping to take it down, but they don’t kill them all.

The Dalai Lama has been fighting back against the genocidal invasion of his country, nonviolently, and seeking dialogue with the government. Many people have said, and they continue to say, “That’s unrealistic, it’ll never work, and it’s a lost cause.” But my question to them is, how is violence doing? How is militarism doing? Has anyone really won anything? Is it ever going to be stable? I don’t think so. So my point is, radical compassion is the one thing that could possibly save the world at this time.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

With Focused Attention Comes Love

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." – Audrey Hepburn

"In order to control myself, I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature." – Bruce Lee

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In 2019, more than any time in human history, one's primary concern must be: What can I do to become wiser, every day? Wisdom discovers the flow of truth from authentic experiences. Wisdom allows one’s experience in the world to come into focus with acceptance, obliterating one's conflict with reality. With understanding, one encounters her emotions with equanimity, and her attitude towards the world becomes more compassionate.

"You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip, and it can crash. Become like water my friend." – Bruce Lee

This kind of focus allows one to think clearly, rationally and logically, to slow down and examine one's circumstances more closely with childlike curiosity, flexibility, and resilience.

Clear, precise, and gentle awareness opens the heart and mind to the miracle of conscious existence. From this posture, possibility expands and opportunities to create flows forth. Creativity is an elixir; it's the healthiest stimulus we have.

The system we live in today uses the science of division and contradiction to control us. Our socioeconomic system programs us to think and behave in ways that will support the system. Our education does the same, and as we socialize, we are being programmed to join or form groups that conflict with each other. This conflict also supports the system. So we must learn what this system is, we must become wise to it if we are going to learn what freedom means; if we are going to learn how to improve our society. We must redesign our system of conflict and remake it as a system based on wisdom.

Wise people, are compassionate intellectuals who are always learning and teaching – they are committed to curiosity and to helping others; they are individuals without egoism; they hold their knowledge lightly with a sense of epistemic humility. Wise people also notice where their thoughts, expertise, and emotional reactions originate. For them, the world is symbiotic and interconnected. Community and relationships are integral, valuable, and even potentially dangerous, which is why they focus on health. Healthy societies are peaceful and secure; they minimize conflict with other cultures through positive interactions. Is it time that we transcended war in favor of compassionate, positive relationships designed to improve the health and welfare of life on earth. This must be done no matter how impossible it seems to us today. How else can our children have a prosperous future? Would you give your grandchild a world without elephants, without fresh air, good food and kind people?

"Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires." — René Girard

To consistently become wiser one must be concerned with physical, emotional, and intellectual health, and practice deliberately and systematically to improve in these areas.

I listened to a podcast recently that made me wonder why I quit meditating twenty years ago. As I thought about it, an epic, personal story began to emerge, one that I hope to share someday.

How the brains of master meditators change

The scientist joins The Ezra Klein Show to discuss what he learned from bringing the Dalai Lama to his lab.

Richie Davidson has spent a lifetime studying meditation. He's studied it as a practitioner, sitting daily, going on retreats, and learning under masters. And he's pioneered the study of it as a scientist, working with the Dalai Lama to bring master meditators into his lab at the University of Wisconsin and quantifying the way thousands of hours of meditation changed their brains.

The word "meditation," Davidson is quick to note, is akin to the word "sports": It describes a huge range of pursuits. And what he's found is that different types of meditation do very different things to your brain, just as different sports trigger different changes in your body.

There are wisdom traditions in every culture across time. Wise people can be straightforward, sophisticated, or conventional.

Sadhguru may look like a textbook, Indian wise man, and regardless of his unique talents, he has worked hard to develop his wisdom. I am always skeptical of people with power, but there are influential, thoughtful people in the world who can be trusted. What do you think of his insights in this video?

Here is another perspective on wisdom.

Morality In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence: Why Do We Need Wisdom To Lead In The Future?

We live in a society that encourages us to think about how to have a great career but leaves us inarticulate about how to cultivate the inner life. The road to success is definitively paved through competition and so fiercely that it becomes all-consuming for many of us. It is commonly accepted today that information is the key source of all being; yet, information alone doesn’t laver one with knowledge as knowledge alone doesn’t lead to righteous action. In the age of artificial information, we need to consider beyond data to drive purposeful progression and authentic illuminations.

We need wisdom and compassion to develop a sustainable and just human civilization. At present, we are still far from achieving such a society. We have made material, scientific and technological progress at a fast rate over the past one hundred and seventy years, however, very few of us understand its cost to public health and the health of vital ecosystems. What's more important is that we are far from understanding how to deploy our scientific and technical knowledge with wisdom and compassion. And this, we must learn.

Let's all chose the path of enlightenment. Allow me to paraphrase a Navaho prayer:

All day long, in wisdom may you walk

With wisdom on your right

And wisdom on your left

Wisdom ahead of you

And wisdom behind you

With many wise friends, teachers, and students

May wisdom sustain and motivate you

And may wisdom be your gift to share

Through your actions in this life

And may your wisdom linger for many generations to come

And, as always, I hope you will read, "The New Human Rights Movement," by Peter Josephs. You will find wisdom there also.

1 Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

With All The Nonsense Out There, Wouldn't It Be Prudent To Slow Down A Bit?

5G is coming at us fast. The last one hundred and seventy years went by us like a bullet. The level of complexity in human society has skyrocketed. It's hard to keep up with the amount of information coming at us every day, and it's even harder to separate the nonsense from practical and beneficial information. It seems that even the most biased and false narratives always contain a grain of truth, making it even harder to evaluate its value.

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What's worse is that communicators from conspiracy theorists to scientists, to government officials and media pundits, are getting extremely good at the art & science of bull shit.

Nonetheless, I'm fascinated by conspiracy cranks. They can be as mesmerizing as an evangelical preacher or a new age profit's garbled and confused musings.

Today I watched another episode of The Corbett Report on YouTube. If you aren't familiar with James Corbett, he's a prolific proponent of alternative narratives and conspiracy theories.

Media Bias|Fact Check summarizes his work this way:

CONSPIRACY-PSEUDOSCIENCE

Sources in the Conspiracy-Pseudoscience category may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence. These sources may be untrustworthy for credible/verifiable information; therefore, fact-checking and further investigation is recommended on a per article basis when obtaining information from these sources. See all Conspiracy-Pseudoscience sources.

Factual Reporting: LOW

Notes: The Corbett Reports is a right-wing biased conspiracy site. Some featured topics are the New World Order, 9-11 conspiracies and of course false flag operations. There are many more. (D. Van Zandt 2/4/2017)

Never the less, sometimes people like James Corbett publish something that inspires one to do more investigation of a subject, and that's not a bad thing.

Case in point, his rundown of the dangers of 5G networks and the so-called, Internet of Things. Have a look.

I loved his characterization of 5G being a global panopticon


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Many of his concerns are interesting, while some, like his veering off into his typically biased views on technocratic initiatives and movements may be a bit off the mark. It's not my desire here to breakdown and criticizes his video. I only want to suggest that the unintended consequences of 5G could be daunting and we might want to slow down a bit before connecting everything in the world to a data producing network with their massive databases run by supercomputers that are controlled by organizations|corporations that don’t necessarily have ordinary people's best interests at heart. If we could first solve the socioeconomic structural issues that make our civilization vulnerable to so many existential risks, all of this technocratic stuff would probably be a good thing.

The world is getting more complex, and people can't digest it. The rate of change is fast. It's impossible to keep up. Soon we may find ourselves without any sovereignty or agency what so ever.

I wish we could slow down somehow so ordinary people could take back more control. Democracy is in decline; inequality is exacerbating concerns about freedom and justice; ecosystems are deteriorating; and then there is climate change. Oh, and, how do you think you’d fare if the grid went down and you didn’t have all of your gadgets? Could you last a month?

Where shall we invest our resources? In what ways does The Internet of Things benefit us when our civilization is falling apart?

Falling apart, Steven, now you sound like a conspiracy nut.

Advanced technological civilization developed fast, and it could, even more quickly, deteriorate.

Is The Corbett Report fake news?

Below are some links to, perhaps, some better information about 5G. It's essential to understand it because it's coming fast.

5G Is Coming

The imminent roll-out of 5G technology has again sparked media coverage of the possible risks of EMF exposure, but the scientific consensus remains that the technology is safe.

Steven Novella / May 15, 2019

Are Smart Meters a Health Risk?

Don't worry. There is no plausible health risk from the miniscule EMF from smart meters.

Steven Novella on February 27, 2019

What is 5G?

The definitive guide to next-generation wireless technology

It is a capital improvement project the size of the entire planet, replacing one wireless architecture created this century with another one that aims to lower energy consumption and maintenance costs. It's also a huge gamble on the future of transmission technology, doubling down on consumers' willingness to upgrade.

Scott Fulton III

By Scott Fulton III | February 1, 2019 -- 17:01 GMT (01:01 GMT+08:00) | Topic: How 5G Will Transform Business

What Is 5G?

AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers are starting to launch 5G networks this year. But what exactly is 5G, and how fast is it compared with 4G? Here are the facts we know so far.

By Sascha Segan April 16, 2019 10:23AM EST

Where Each Wireless Carrier Stands in the 5G Race

5G technology could change the world, but carriers have to build networks that support it first.

Adam Levy (TMFnCaffeine) Sep 21, 2018 at 8:18AM

5G Radiation Dangers – 11 Reasons To Be Concerned

Posted by Lloyd Burrell on May 12, 2017

5G Mobile Wireless Technology

The new 5G mobile communications system will enable many new mobile capabilities to be realized - offering high speed, enormous capacity, IoT capability, low latency and much more it provides the bearer for many new applications.

Why Controlling 5G Could Mean Controlling the World

The United States believes that whoever controls fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G, will have a global advantage for decades to come. The fear is that China is almost there. NYT Daily Podcast

And last but not least, please read this essay by Chris Hedges. When a few corporations and governments have all of our data, who will watch the watchers?

The Thought Police Are Coming

Chris Hedges Columnist

We have watched over the last decade as freedom of the press and legal protection for those who expose government abuses and lies have been obliterated by wholesale government surveillance and the criminalizing of the leaking and, with Julian’s persecution, publication of these secrets. The press has been largely emasculated in the United States. The repeated use of the Espionage Act, especially under the Obama administration, to charge and sentence whistleblowers has shut down our ability to shine a light into the inner workings of power and empire. Governmental officials with a conscience, knowing all of their communications are monitored, captured and stored by intelligence agencies, are too frightened to reach out to reporters. The last line of defense lies with those with the skills that allow them to burrow into the records of the security and surveillance state and with the courage to make them public, such as Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond, now serving a 10-year prison term in the United States for hacking into the Texas-based private security firm Strategic Forecasting Inc., or Stratfor. The price of resistance is high not only for them, but for those such as Julian willing to publish this information. As Sarah Harrison has pointed out: “This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it.”


Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Our Data Is Precious So Why Are We Squandering It? Privacy, What Privacy?

Please read this article. We need to think about this more than ever. Do you really want a few people and global corporations to own you?

The New Wilderness

We’re at the point where we need a similar shift in perspective in our privacy law. The infrastructure of mass surveillance is too complex, and the tech oligopoly too powerful, to make it meaningful to talk about individual consent. Even experts don’t have a full picture of the surveillance economy, in part because its beneficiaries are so secretive, and in part because the whole system is in flux. Telling people that they own their data, and should decide what to do with it, is just another way of disempowering them.

Our discourse around privacy needs to expand to address foundational questions about the role of automation: To what extent is living in a surveillance-saturated world compatible with pluralism and democracy? What are the consequences of raising a generation of children whose every action feeds into a corporate database? What does it mean to be manipulated from an early age by machine learning algorithms that adaptively learn to shape our behavior?

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Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

We Must Manage Global Resources For Life Support And For Quality of Life

Below are three videos I saw recently on YouTube that I'd like to recommend. We must all consider the messages within them. They tell our story and can point us in a better direction. Regardless of what that might be, we can't stay on the path we're on now.

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We can't go on with business as usual and continue to survive. Somehow we must find ways to make people understand this. If you want to live a thoughtful, well-examined life and thrive, you must risk losing one community to create a better one.

Many people don't want to think; they are perfectly comfortable with their beliefs. Thoughtless people are followers who need leadership. We must supersede our current guidance and replace it with something completely different.

When I hear experts across multiple domains speak about climate change as an urgent emergency requiring radical action, I think about the TZM framework.

First, please watch Part One of a series produced by Breakthrough Productions in Australia titled, "Home Front." Absorb what these experts, many from Australia's defense and security sector, have to say about climate change.

Whether you know it or not, you are living through the most challenging crisis humanity has ever faced.

Video description:

Part I of HOME FRONT, Facing Australia's Climate Emergency. The film documents the existential threat of climate change from a uniquely Australian economic and national security perspective.

The film is a powerful and eye-opening analysis that presents some of Australia's former security, defense and political leaders who all warn us that climate change is 'a catalyst for conflict' and a 'threat multiplier' as it fuels instability in the world's most vulnerable regions.

Now listen to what Dr. Ira Leifer has to say about our chances of survival in the coming years. Dr. Leifer says there is strong evidence that we are headed for a global average temperature of 4C or higher. Global carbon emissions are rising in a straight line. Our carbon emissions are driving rapid climate change and global warming; the effects of which will last for centuries. Nothing short of a coordinated, global effort can save civilization. We can't do that within our current socioeconomic paradigm. "The data doesn't lie, and there are no excuses in physics." We are talking about a revolution.

Here's a quote from Dr. Leifer in a truthout.org article published last year.

"The jet stream, which controls seasonal storms in the mid-latitudes, is a result of these three cells, and would disappear in a single weather cell planet, dramatically altering rain patterns and almost certainly heralding an ecosystem catastrophe," Leifer explained. "The plants that underlie the food chain would be replaced by others that the local animals (insects to apex predators) could not utilize — in short, an abrupt acceleration of the current Great Anthropocene Extinction event."

Video description:

Stuart Scott engages with Dr. Ira Leifer, atmospheric scientist, and researcher, in this fascinating discussion of the desperate portends of our inability as a society to deal with the knowledge that we have destabilized the climate system. The bad news, according to Dr. Leifer, is that only a few thousand humans may survive at the poles. The 'good news' is that some of life is likely to survive (including cockroaches) since the Earth has proven so resilient over the eons of time since life evolved.

So you see, you are, in fact, either a part of the solution or a walking breathing part of the disaster. There is no middle ground. We don't have time to waste.

Of course, if you think absolutely nothing can be done, then you can join the global hospice movement and focus instead on living life in the moment. For that message let's turn to Guy McPherson. To me, his message is very positive and makes perfect sense. It's even uplifting and inspiring. After all, truth and honesty are refreshing in our current world.

www.onlyloveremains.org

Download:

EXISTENTIAL CLIMATE-RELATED SECURITY RISK

A scenario approach

Understanding climate-driven security risks relies on climate impact projections, but much knowledge produced for policymakers is too conservative. Because the risks are now existential, a new approach to climate and security risk assessment is required using scenario analysis.

Comment

Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

We Can't Greenwash Our Way Into A Bright Future

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Two articles today say a lot about our current predicament. I know the fence sitters, the deniers, the Ayn Rand cultists, the neoliberal financialization experts, consultants for the uber-wealthy, economic growth cultists, golfers, addicts, Kardashians, office clerks, salarymen and women, executives, salespeople, shopkeepers, and zombie consumers are all doing there best to avoid facing the facts, the truth. Their cognitive dissonance might have to be surgically removed, that's how stubborn they are. I'll say it again; they can't conceive of the forest for the Ikea furniture.

They are happy, happy I say, paying for wars when the global players order a reset; when banks run out of reasons to print money for investment banks to fuel the game. The people might call a war a "reset" if they were more aware of how the world works. Instead, they feel it's peacemaking. Or, that it's necessary to spread freedom, democracy, liberalism, Judeo Christian, or Western values. During and after "the reset," ordinary people sing hymns and patriotic songs while remembering their fallen heroes. Chris Hedges' book title aptly illustrates their catharsis, "War Is The Force That Gives Us Meaning."

They have been adequately brainwashed into believing that their leaders have their best interests at heart and are not merely in it for the money and power. Think, Dick Cheney, even if you think the movie was inaccurate or unfair. The system trains us to compete with each other and fight among ourselves. We are confused and retreat to the comfort of our tribe where we retrench and harden our hearts.

Ordinary people get all fired up when they hear weasel words and terms they don't understand but have been taught to fear. Ordinary people are easy to point and shoot. Tell them socialism is a bad word, and they will use grotesque invective when referring to a socialist. "Those beep, beep, mother beeping, socialists – kill them all!"

It's sad, but we are that easy to manipulate, and we don't even know it. We think we are making this stuff up as we go along. We have the illusion of a creative process when, in reality, we are programmed Zombies going about some other person's business.

I'm writing this in Hong Kong now, where thousands of people are in the streets fighting for their minimal but precious rights. All they want is for their leaders to keep their promises. I am sad to say that they don't stand a chance. If mainland people don't join their struggle, their struggle is lost. Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, that limelight seeking vandal, gives speeches to the players about how America is letting China down and nothing but regime change in Beijing can sort the world out.

Special forces consisting of economic hitmen continue to destroy Venezuela's economy, creating yet another refugee crisis. The player's story is that the blame for Venezuela's woes can be laid squarely at the feet of Maduro, he alone brought it upon the people. Of course, the people had already voted to keep Maduro in a free and fair election, only to have Koch Industries, and their CIA minions, fund an opposition party that has no legs and no legitimacy. And the faithful believe it without question — the millionaires who are paid by billionaires on cable TV spout the propaganda like deep fake puppets.

John Perkins describes the methods he used to bribe and threaten the heads of state of countries on four continents in order to create a global empire and he reveals how the leaders who did not “play the game" were assassinated or overthrown.

So what's in the news accept absurd irony and more honest attempts to point decent people in a new direction, a direction that will save their children's lives and give them the better life that they feel is their duty to provide.

First, let's look at an article in that radical rag known as The National Geographic. It sites studies that say that the best way for city dwellers to combat the existential threat of climate change is to consume less. It made me chuckle because people like myself have been saying this for thirty years. Can brainwashed consumer addicts get off that train? Remember what the 46th president of the great United States said was the answer to the last economic crisis; that great fleecing of the people? "Just go shopping." – George W. Bush

Now National Geographic is telling us that the only thing we need to do to come out smelling like a rose garden is to take a green shower by shopping less. I shake my head slowly, staring at the floor, my shoulders slumped before turning on YouTube to find inspiration from Jordon Peterson.

Next, we have some more honest and prescient advice published on Jacobin, titled, "Stop Polluting Our Green New Deal."

In it, they list their "The Ten Pillars of the Green New Deal for Europe."

1. Faced with the emergency of the climate and ecological crises, winning slowly is the same as losing. The Green New Deal, then, must meet the scale of the challenge with sufficient investment in an economic transformation that respects our planetary boundaries, not only decarbonizing our economies but also reversing biodiversity loss.

2. The burden of our transition cannot fall on the shoulders of working families, so the Green New Deal must be grounded in Keynesianism: the money must be raised by public banks issuing green bonds.

3. The green transition cannot be a top-down process. Instead, the Green New Deal must be infused with democracy, empowering citizens and communities to make the decisions that shape their futures.

4. Europe — like the United States — is mired in a mix of unemployment, underemployment, and precarious employment that fails to generate prosperity for working families. The Green New Deal must be a program of job creation, providing a decent job to all those who seek one.

5. But it must also move beyond a job guarantee and raise the standard of living for all. For example, the Green New Deal must construct millions of sustainable homes and smart energy grids, addressing the crises of housing insecurity and fuel poverty.

6. The standard of living generated by the Green New Deal cannot be clawed back by the interests of capital. So the Green New Deal must create structures that entrench equality within and between countries — regardless of race, sexuality, gender, age, or ability — by taking the interests of finance head on and challenging its pursuit of short-term gain for the few over long-term prosperity for the many.

7. The Green New Deal is an opportunity to reimagine our future. It must harness our collective knowledge and invest in technological advancements that will liberate us from labor — not increase shareholder value.

8. Measuring progress through GDP growth is at the root of our crises of inequality and environmental devastation. So the Green New Deal must abandon the dogma of GDP growth and focus on what matters: health, happiness, and the environment.

9. Because we cannot solve the environmental crisis on our own, the Green New Deal must redress the colonial legacy of aggressive pollution and resource extraction across the Global South. It must support others in their green transition and ensure that the supply chains that drive the green transformation are committed to principles of social and environmental justice.

10. Finally, the Green New Deal must graduate our environmental politics from negotiation to action. After nearly thirty years of failed negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Green New Deal is an opportunity for a decisive shift towards credible, specific measures targeted at every area of our societies.

That's all for today except to say, fence sitters, I want you to try to persuade me that The Zeitgeist Movement is not a great way to frame humanities struggle during the first quarter of the 21st Century. Come on, don't be afraid, my team argues to discover, not to injure.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

TZM Discovery Train Volume One: Hayek, Infinity, CRISPER, Messy Business and Ideas

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We need international agreements in place before precise technological or scientific solutions can be implemented because the changes they introduce can have a profound effect across borders. Today, there is no doubt that we live in a global community of people who have more in common than not. Pollution in China affects the health of people in America. Everything we do influences everything.

Can you imagine if Latvians, for example, couldn't benefit from a given technology because they were just so different from Poles? A Latvian, don't you know, couldn't use a smartphone if her life depended on it. When I was younger and hanging out in Tokyo, Japanese people believed that most, if not all Japanese people were allergic to cheese. When I went to a grocery store in Tokyo at that time, I couldn't find any cheese. I could buy Osembe, Natto, Soy Sauce, lots of Japanese ingredients but not many imported products. If one goes to Tokyo now, one might find an Italian restaurant and a pizza parlor in every neighborhood serving lots of dishes with cheese in it. In the early 1980s, many Japanese people believed they couldn't consume some foreign products because, in every conceivable way, they were inherently different from Westerners. That belief has changed now, and stores in Japan are full of imported consumer goods.

Our beliefs change all the time, just as the stories we tell ourselves are always changing. The fashions of the moment easily sway people's emotions, ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

Have you ever thought of the concept of Infinity? I was listening to a BBC Discovery podcast episode this morning about it. It was fascinating and, as usual, got me thinking. When most of us think carefully about something, we will discover connections between what we are focused on and peripheral ideas that may not seem relevant at the time.

After listening to the episode on Infinity, I listened to another Discovery podcast, “Editing the Genome, Part Two.” I'm sure you've heard about CRISPER. The main takeaway from that episode was that when one edits genes, for whatever useful purpose, one must think of the whole, planetary organism and all of the members of global civilization before one implements it. Genes don't recognize nation states. What one country does to eradicate mosquitos or diseases in pigs will most likely affect all other countries; therefore, international regulations must be in place to protect the web of life and human populations from unintended consequences.

Some scientific endeavors are publicly supported, and benefit the public even if money isn't made on the effort. Wait, is that even possible? Why should one do something if one can't make a profit on it? Let me count the ways. Never mind that the list is too long for this puny essay. The fact is, we could do a lot of things in concert with one another, in a global community that recognized differences and also understood that life on Earth is interdependent and also profoundly affected by human beliefs and actions. Japanese people could still eat miso soup every morning while Americans could have their bacon and eggs. Your identity doesn't disappear just because you recognize that you are part and parcel of something more significant and more complex.

Is the Universe flat or curved towards infinity? Is the Universe we can see only a flash of time, energy, and mass in the Multiverse? What are all the numbers between zero and one? Why does it even matter to ask that question and if you do and have a new theory about those questions, can you be killed for your efforts? What does calculus have to do with Infinity? Listen to the podcast to find out.

Don't take anything for granted, if you don't know about something, find out about it. Even a cursory understanding of a subject will help you a lot in formulating your ideas.

These musings, for some reason, made me think of a conversation I saw between George Will and Charles Lane. They both work for the Washington Post.

Here is a description of the video.

[In a conversation with Post columnist Charles Lane, George F. Will, author of the new book "The Conservative Sensibility," defines the plight of the modern conservative. In a political environment hostile to prudent ideas, Will recommends turning away from rampant progressivism and looking to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.]

The Founding Fathers – there you have it, those gentlemen, way back when, had all the answers. Never mind that they had never heard of a nuclear bomb and thought that the best labor saving device a man could own was a slave.

George Will is a big fan of Friedrich August Hayek. During the talk, Mr. Will mentions Hayek a lot. He also enjoyed saying that politics and conservatism are messy and that that makes them fun. George seems a bit anti-technocratic, which, in specific contexts, is understandable. Market economies are messy and unpredictable, he says, and the best way to progress is to let the markets do what they do and figure things out as you go along. Information in a market economy is tricky and often opaque; markets are unpredictable, but they always create value over time. It's as if we lived in a world with infinite resources and never-ending opportunities to invent more things to bring to market and consume.

Hayek is certainly the go-to economist for conservatives.

Hayek was interested in how prices influence almost everything; business cycle theory; and he was a prominent defender of Capitalism. He's a significant economist so if you're even remotely interested in the subject you need to be familiar with his work. His intellectual rival in the field was John Maynard Keynes. Understanding the difference between the two economists will take you a long way towards understanding the world in which we live. If you read only one book from these two essential economists, I'd recommend, Hayek's, "The Road to Serfdom," and Keynes', “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money.” These two knew a lot about how money works in society.

So why talk about CRISPER, the concept of Infinity, a conservative like George Will and two economists who did their best work in the 1920s and 1930s? It's because once you understand how all of these things dovetail into a socioeconomic system and are exploited and co-opted by the market system, you can begin to understand how our challenges today are structural. And, you may even become interested in how complex social systems work.

Use your imagination. Why does money have anything to do with how we manage global resources, public health, and the integrity and sustainability of habitats and ecology? Don't you think we can find better ways of creating value and increasing health and well being?

Ideas are just stories. We need better ideas if our civilization is going to have a future. Once you have educated yourself, you will see everything in different ways and be able to imagine different ways of organizing things that are more in line with what we know and understand in 2019.

It's essential to understand how ideologues think and where they got their ideas. When we do, we can begin to be creative and think of even better ways of doing things; founded in scientific rigor and expert understanding of how human designed and engineered complex systems can work for the greater good of life on Earth.

I'll end with a quote Peter Josephs included in an introduction to his book, "The New Human Rights Movement."

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong, which will be imposed upon them ." – Frederick Douglass

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

News From My TZM Filter Bubble Volume One

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Every morning I get up before the sun rises and check my news feeds. I have broad interests, but primarily I'm simply a witness, like you are, of a train wreck in slow motion. I can't remember where I heard this, but it's stuck in my head: "Climate Change is a nuclear war in slow motion." Think of the chemical experiment we're running and its potential consequences to our civilization and our ecosystem. We are cleverly, collectively "splitting the atom" in a ballet of death by a thousand micro-cuts. When we turn on the lights, we are all "pushing the button" every single day.

I'm not saying any of us as an individual is to blame, we're not, but we are all sleepwalking into disaster. We also seem to think that it's someone else's job to fix everything that ails us. Think about it, if you get sick you go to a doctor and get a prescription; if the economy or government services aren't to your liking you vote for someone and assume they'll fight for you and solve the problem; oh and, scientists and engineers have the fix. All you need is the right school, a good teacher, a good education, or a good idea, and everything will fall neatly into place.

Well, I'm here to tell you that if you are paying attention, you should know by now that the significant things ailing society are not getting any better. And I know, I repeat myself. One must focus one's attention on details to understand the meaning of the picture.

We can't consume our way into a healthier world. Think about how fasting is suddenly the most significant trend in healthy living. Health experts are now talking about healthspan rather than lifespan as a way of gauging one's quality of life. It would be much better if we focused on the quality and utility of consumer goods rather than the quantity of production and consumption. Blind consumerism is not making our ecosystem more robust; it doesn't make us happier. Selling more, buying more, and making more money doesn't make us better people.

If we continue with our current socioeconomic paradigm, the systems that support our civilization will breakdown. When that occurs, it will happen fast, and there will be hell to pay. We are woefully unprepared.

So what's in the news?

I watched professor Richard Wolff talk about the different kinds of socialism from a historical and contemporary point of view. One might as well educate oneself on the subject; education is rarely fatal. We must go further, of course, more towards a system described by The Zeitgeist Movement. We have to operate spaceship Earth in an efficient way for the benefit of life on Earth. We must employ 21st Century solutions. We have to build the ultimate sharing economy.

FROM, theecologist.org

Billions of pounds of British taxpayers' money is supporting fossil fuel energy schemes around the world, undermining the U.K.'s commitment to tackle climate breakdown, M.P.s said.

U.K. Export Finance (UKEF), which provides loans, insurance, and guarantees for firms operating overseas, gave £2.5 billion to fossil fuel projects between 2013/14 and 2017/18.

The Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) called on the government to end support for new fossil fuel energy projects by 2021.

We have to stop our governments from subsidizing wasteful, and destructive industries. We must determine what is wasteful and harmful through disciplined scientific inquiry and processes, and expert interpretation of data from a holistic perspective.

FROM, blogs.scientificamerican.com

We Need To Get Serious about "Critical Materials"

The U.S. is 100 percent import-reliant on 14 minerals and metals that are essential for defense technologies, consumer goods and clean energy technology, and 50 percent or more reliant for another 30, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. These numbers go beyond the recent headlines on rare earths to illustrate fundamental building blocks of the energy transition: lithium, cobalt, and nickel for batteries, and materials for solar power and wind turbines. In many of these areas, China has become the dominant world player. The issue is not geological resource constraints, but on whether the domestic focus on mining production, processing, and manufacturing should be prioritized.

This article underlines the necessity to produce for good rather than for war or ruthless financial competition. It also makes clear that the price factors arising from our current economic system don't take into account externalities or harmful effects to communities around the world. The U.S. gets its rare earths from China, not because they are rare but because the U.S. doesn't want to pay the actual cost of producing them.

A GREAT QUOTE

"Nothing captures the biological argument better than the famous New Age slogan: 'Happiness begins within.' Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin." – Yuval Noah Harari

FROM THE BBC

More than 320 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally in 2015, over 40 percent of which was single-use. Recycling helps to tackle the problem, but as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Anita Rani explain in BBC One's War on Plastic, the plastic you put in a recycling bin doesn't always get recycled.

Why do we throw away so much plastic? Why are things designed to fall apart after two years? Why is almost everything we consume destined for a landfill? It's because our current model is based on consumerism and earning profits and not about any other form of utility.

There was a lot in the news today about the opioid crisis. Companies may have to go bankrupt due to court cases, but that won't stop the demand for drugs. Supplies of legal and illegal drugs come from all over the world, and supplies will continue to flow as long as people feel the need to numb themselves with drugs. We need to fight the real causes of drug addictions and create a society that allows people to live fulfilling happy and healthy lives.

Please read “The Zeitgeist Movement Explained” and “The New Human Rights Movement” and let's talk about them. They are not the only books one could learn from that are focused on radical alternatives to the system we have today, but they are an excellent foundation to start with and are well referenced.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

What is the difference between rigorous scientific processes and ideology?

"I believe in intuitions and inspirations...I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am."

― Albert Einstein


"The Seven Social Sins are:

Wealth without work.

Pleasure without conscience.

Knowledge without character.

Commerce without morality.

Science without humanity.

Worship without sacrifice.

Politics without principle.

From a sermon given by Frederick Lewis Donaldson in Westminster Abbey, London, on March 20, 1925."

― Frederick Lewis Donaldson

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The cycles of modern, global civilization occur over and over again. Nations, cultures, groups, bosses, employees make the same mistakes again and again.

There is a simple reason for this: Science and ideology affect people in fundamentally different ways. The process of doing science and the act of thinking something you want to believe are very different ways of viewing the world.

If one is sincere about one's pursuit of truth and knowledge, it's essential to understand that one can't turn away from severe problems or uncomfortable situations. Cruel circumstances can arise at any time; one often fails and encounters dead ends. Those of us who find it painful to fail will find that they are much more inclined to embrace ideology over experiencing the process of doing science or philosophy.

Let's look at a definition of ideology.

ideology

n. A set of doctrines or beliefs that are shared by the members of a social group or that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

n. The science of ideas or of mind; a name applied by the later disciples of the French philosopher Condillac to the history and evolution of human ideas, considered as so many successive forms or modes of certain original or transformed sensations; that system of mental philosophy which derives knowledge exclusively from sensation.

n. The science of ideas.

There is a lot to ponder within that definition. "The science of ideas" sounds good. What's not to like about ideas? Well, perhaps bad ideas are less likable than good ones. A synonym for "sensation" is "feeling." The bedrock of ideology today is more emotional than it used to be and less reliant on facts, data, reason, or science. Money and tribalism motivate people to be true believers rather than critical thinkers.

So how would one know if one were a true believer vs. a rational, scientific, critical thinker? Well, as a first step, let's take a look at the meaning of science.

Here's a definition of science from a dictionary.

science

n. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

n. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.

That's a simple definition. Let's expand on that a bit.

"The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis."

From: answers.com

"Sciences: Rigorous, systematic approach, designed to eliminate bias and other subjective influences in the search, identification, and measurement or validation of facts and cause-effect relationships, and from which scientific laws may be deduced."

From: businessdictionary.com

I think you can see that science is more rigorous than pure ideological belief.

Let's go a bit further and discuss the scientific method in general. Below is an excellent, brief article on that. Please take a moment and read it unless you already think you understand the subject well.

What Is Science? By Alina Bradford, Live Science Contributor | August 4, 2017

So this is all very basic. You probably knew all of this already. Why did I bring it up? Because these days I am having too many conversations with people who don't want to know about problems in our world and don't want to be part of the solution to those problems. When one turns away from Climate Change, for example, and says that there is nothing they can do about it, they instantly become the problem. Apathy is not the answer.

When one thinks that our current socioeconomic model is the best there is, they instantly become the core of the problem. Our system needs a lot of structural improvement, or we will keep making the same mistakes over and over again. (I'll defend these propositions in posts to come.)

Through science and other means of inquiry, we can identify problems and create solutions to those problems. If you think that doing nothing is permissible, you are wrong.

When a country decides to go to war, people should never blindly follow. Ideologically inspired blind obedience happens again and again throughout history, and most of the time, nothing good comes of war. It would be better if more people worked to understand what was happening in a broader, more in-depth way and fought, instead, to prevent conflict and make peace.

We must learn about nuclear energy, economics, sociology, culture, and other vital subjects in a profound way. Then we can be a part of the solution instead of the core of the problem.

All of this is to say; we must educate ourselves and each other. If someone is too frightened or uncomfortable to face the terrible truth of a situation, we must keep teaching. If some people can't listen, move on to those who can and hope that, eventually, the sheer number of enlightened people will gain sway over the willfully ignorant masses.

And there are those who are utterly unteachable. People like that prefer to imagine themselves in a safe space where no one can challenge their beliefs. Some people, who are full of faith, feel terrorized when their faith is argued with or criticized. They are more helpless than most and are usually more reliant on ideology and groupthink. Their reasoning is motivated mostly by emotions. It's sad to say, but sometimes one has to let those people go and focus on communities more open to reality.

If I have any hope, I hope that you will be optimistic in your ability to learn and to teach. In a scientific, rational, logical, and sincere way, of course. It takes a little courage, and you may never be the most popular person in your village, but I think you will find your efforts well worth your time, energy and yes, even emotion. Rewards will come through the efforts you make and the positive stresses you encounter on your journey, making you stronger, more resilient, and creative.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Science & Technology Alone Won't Save Us From Ourselves

When Homo Sapiens discover something and put it to good use, it changes everything, it molds culture and spurs evolution; it changes landscapes and ecosystems. Six to seven million years ago, our human, apelike ancestors were making and using tools. There is good evidence that one million years ago our human ancestors had domesticated fire. Experts speculate that between one and six million years ago, humans started cooking meat. They learned that fire could be a tool. Their use of fire changed everything. A carpet of tools was discovered in Africa, revealing one million years of tool making by our ancient ancestors. Human ancestors repeatedly invented stone tools.

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Competition for resources and population drive human expansion over millions of years. Early Homo Sapiens migrated around the globe to find areas of abundance where they could thrive. Throughout their journey, they made discoveries, and their cultures evolved. Just think of how fast we changed as new tools allowed new cultures to grow and thrive. And remember, Homo Sapiens have only been around for two hundred thousand years or so.

Take a look at this timeline of historic inventions.

5000 BC, we invented the wheel, and it changed everything. 17,000 BC, the ancient Egyptians created various kinds of twisted rope, and that changed everything. Archeologists have found flutes that are 50,000 years old. Can you imagine how music changed everything? Archaeological evidence indicates that humans arrived on New Guinea at least 60,000 years ago, probably by sea from Southeast Asia during an ice age period when the sea was lower and distances between islands shorter. Boats changed everything. Early humans were using paint and creating art four hundred thousand years ago. By 250,000 years ago, wooden spears were made with fire-hardened points. From 280,000 years ago, humans began to make sophisticated stone blades, which were used as spear points. By 50,000 years ago, there was a revolution in human culture, leading to more complex hunting techniques. We could mention clothing, housing, and knives, all of which would have changed everything.

We had people like Isaac Newton come along and change everything. More recently, we could talk about The Age of Reason when we finally broke away from centuries-old dogma, tradition, and religiosity. Immanuel Kant, defined enlightenment this way:

"Enlightenment is the liberation of man from his self-caused state of minority. Minority is the incapacity of using one's understanding without the direction of another. This state of minority is self-caused when its source lies not in a lack of understanding but in a lack of determination to use it without the assistance of another."

Then came the industrial revolution and new inventions: the spinning jenny; the steam engine; the power loom; the cotton gin; the telegraph; the sewing machine; fossil fuels; the steam engine; the locomotive; liquid fossil fuels; the internal combustion engine; the telephone; the phonograph; the airplane.

With these inventions, colonialism and imperialism took off, and a hoard of European migrants spread out across the globe. Economies grew faster and bigger, more businesses and business models where born. New tools of war allowed participants to kill more people, including civilians at a shocking rate, and with horrific outcomes. Since 1901 the world has been at war somewhere on the planet.

Today, the tools we take for granted, the smart-phones in our pockets are a black box to most of us. We don't know how they are made, the principles that underlie them, or how they work. We take it all our conveniences for granted.

Our science, engineering, and technology continue to advance at a rapid pace. No one could argue that we are not making progress in those areas. However, we are not growing any wiser. If you are a student of history and take a close and honest look at the past 200 years, you'll see the patterns. The similarities between 1901 and 2001 are striking. What did we do differently after the 2007 economic crisis? We keep making the same mistakes.

Our problems are structural. Our culture barely shifts. In fits and starts, we continue to make progress only to see our efforts undone again and again. Scarcity haunts our minds; we feel the only way we can get enough is through a brutal competition where one wins while the other loses.

Peter Josephs chose a very apt quote for the front page of his book, The Zeitgeist Movement Explained.

"The tremendous and still accelerating development of science and technology has not been accompanied by an equal development in social, economic, and political patterns...We are now...only beginning to explore the potentialities which it offers for developments in our culture outside technology, particularly in the social, political and economic fields. It is safe to predict that...such social inventions as modern-type Capitalism, Fascism, and Communism will be regarded as primitive experiments directed toward the adjustment of modern society to modern technology." - Dr. Ralph Linton

Even if we produce cold fusion reactors, deploy carbon sequestration technology, find solutions to the aerosol masking effect, restore rain forests – it won't matter what we do, we will still disrupt the carrying capacity of the Earth. Our current global economic system is unsustainable, and we can't count on science to save us. We must first redesign our socioeconomic system and our political system.

All nations need to come together and collaborate in a transparent, open source way. We need truly united nations working together in trust and good faith.

Do you think that will happen? If not, then what's next? Please share your thoughts.

*Imagine if you could time travel, what kind of world would you want to find 300 years from now?

Is time travel possible?

The Inquiry

Ever wanted to meet your historical heroes or explore the inventions of the future? We look at what science tells us about the possibility of travelling in time.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Do The Math, We Are Already in World War III

If you can't do the math, find someone who can explain it to you. We all need to understand what's in the article below.

If we don't change course, we will soon find ourselves in a world of pain and suffering. The article below is not akin to yelling fire in a crowded movie theater, it's merely the predicament we find ourselves in at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

As the anniversary of D-day passes this year we find ourselves in a new World War and this time, if we don't all come together and win it, we will all, collectively, as a species, lose it.

What will it mean to lose the war against climate change? We don't know for sure, but we can reckon with a high level of certainty that civilization as we know it will disappear and never return. There are stacks of data that indicate that life on earth is at stake.

If civilization breaks down, how will we secure the nuclear power plants scattered around the world? Try to imagine what the fallout will do to the intricate web of life we have known.

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If you can't do the math, learn how to do the math or find someone you trust who can do the math, and have that person explain it to you. Climate change is something you absolutely must understand.

JUNE 5, 2019

Our Globally Warming Civilization

by MANUEL GARCÍA, JR.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.