Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Cure for Discouragement: a Good Meal

Image result for good mealBy Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at oftwominds.com 
Though we can't necessarily fix all the problems that led to our discouragement, we can offset our poor spirits by preparing a good meal.


Feeling discouraged is part of the human experience. Defeat, failure and disappointment are staples in my life because they go hand-in-hand with taking risks, and the result is an intimate knowledge of discouragement.

A great many things can trigger discouragement: chronic pain, inability to lose weight despite cranking up the fitness routine, a financial setback, loss of an account or job, a dismal launch of a business, a C grade when you needed a B, failure of a good-faith effort to improve a relationship, a poor decision made in haste--the list is endless.

Fortunately, so are the cures--a good meal. Though we can't necessarily fix all the problems that led to our discouragement, we can offset our poor spirits by preparing a good meal.

Here is another set of recent Hawaii-family meals--and desserts, of course....
But before we get to the photos, let's pause for a few words of wisdom about success and failure, which is so often the cause of discouragement:
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." (Winston Churchill)

"Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasures." (Rumi)

"Success: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." (Ralph Waldo Emerson, submitted by J.P. Bahner)



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Tamago is Japanese for egg.



lau-laus from Pete's Belly Bustazs, Hilo.



A pan of enchiladas being assembled for a party. Here's the recipe for Homemade Enchilada Sauce 



Local residents are allowed to pick a quart of ohelo berries each on federal lands.



The harvested ohelo berries from three of us.



The ohelo berries topping a cream-cheese pie filling--yum.



Same filling, with fresh blueberry topping. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Islamic Terror And The Great Deception

puzzle



By Bob Livingston and originally published at personalliberty.com
The unseen adepts who rule America also rule the world. They are masters at understanding human nature.
They have spent hundreds of years creating the public mindset which they manipulate in our generation with the most perfect precision. Words, phrases and thought patterns are a political science that triggers exact and predictable responses to political rhetoric.
They have many names — the elite, Illuminati, Zionists, Bilderbergers, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to name a few — but in the end they are one in the same. Their goals are one in the same. Their goals are not your goals, but they are masters at convincing you they are.
The masses are programmed into a mental straightjacket and few will ever escape. Not more than a few thousand people in the entire world think their own thoughts and are alert to the nature and spirit of political anarchy that reigns as Western civilization. We have come to believe that chaos is order, that war is peace.
Islamic terrorism is a perfect example of their handiwork. It is the greatest deception of this age and is being used to deprive you of your sons and daughters, your wealth, your liberty and, if you are a Christian, your faith.
Islamists and the threat of Islamic terrorism are being used as a sort of controlled opposition by the elite power brokers and have been for many years — beginning at least in the 1950s when Kermit Roosevelt instigated the Iranian coup to overthrow the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, on behalf of Big Oil. The U.S. and its allies have systematically and alternately armed and fought Islamists — often arming and fighting them at the same time, as now with the Islamic State — in order to keep the Middle East in turmoil and check any nation-state opposition to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Americans have been brainwashed by constant fearmongering from CFR-controlled propagandists, also known as the mainstream media, to believe there are terrorists under every rock who are driven by a desire to kill us all because of our way of life. This is part of their great disinformation campaign.
How is it that the politicos almost always succeed in bringing people captive? People are led captive when their beliefs and, thus, their allegiances are reversed. All of life’s concerns are then reversed, from tradition to morality to institutions at every level of life. This means that such captivity is a saturation of mass deception, to the point of ignoring self-interest and going along with voluntary destruction.
Republicans claim to have the corner on genuine conservatism, much as Democrats claim to have the corner on genuine liberalism. Both claims are untrue but are perceived as true, thanks to mass deception. Today’s conservatism and liberalism are but twin pincers of the same, dynamic, ever-changing, collectivist dialectic.
I want to limit my examination to the conservative side of the problem because today’s pseudoconservatives/neoconservatives are particularly adept at leading astray large numbers of middle-class Americans, especially Christians, patriots and other good folks. Also, if not for the consistent acquiescence of Republican “conservatives” to the collectivist agenda, America would have retained its limited, constitutional Republic, even in this “sophisticated” day and age.
Note that even in a federal government dominated by a Republican supposedly conservative majority, the federal leviathan always grows in power, coupled together with New World Order. After all, it was Bush I who began the perpetual war under which we now labor. It began in Iraq and Kuwait in January 1991 and has not ended.
In all that time the war strategy has not changed. America has remained on a war footing with planes flying and military men (and women) patrolling one Middle East or African country or another, regardless of whether the president’s name was followed by an “R” or a “D.” It continued under Bill Clinton (who bombed Christians in Bosnia with even more fervor than he bombed aspirin factories in Khartoum and who sent troops to die in Somalia), Bush II (who expanded the war to Iraq and Pakistan and drone-bombed Somalia) and Barack Obama (who has continued it in Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia and spread it to Yemen, Libya and Syria).
Obama has lately acquiesced to public pressure — such as it was — and submitted an Authorization for Use of Military Force agreement to Congress in order to battle Islamic State or IS or ISIS or IL — whatever its nom du jour.
This is a sham. Obama has been fighting a war with the Islamic State for months via a bombing campaign. Curiously, some of the “bombs” he’s dropped have been caches of weapons and supplies. And those upon whom he’s supposedly dropping bombs are many of the same groups who stood alongside Sen. John McCain at the war’s outset — and called “moderates” — and who have been armed and trained by U.S. agents.
The Islamic State is Obama’s creation… with an assist from the House of Saud, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other U.S. allies and vassal states. It was spawned with al-Qaida operatives (originally created by the Ronald Reagan CIA to fight Russia in Afghanistan) trained and equipped by U.S. agencies to first overthrow Moammar Gadhafi and then Bashar Assad.
Recall that Obama launched a “humanitarian” war on Gadhafi in which U.S. and NATO (hint: NATO is the U.S. and the U.S. is NATO) planes bombed Libyan military and innocents alike, paving the way for “rebels” to destroy the nation and bring down Gadhafi. This left the region in chaos — a nation that tolerated Christianity and was stable and prosperous — and gave the Islamic State its launching pad. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people have since died in Libya and Syria, thanks to Obama’s “humanitarian” war, including American arms dealer Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three others at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
But the Republican warmongers are saying Obama’s AUMF doesn’t go far enough, even though it gives Obama blank check “authorization” to fight the Islamic State wherever it is. In other words, if the Islamic State is in Paris or Brisbane, Australia, or New Orleans, Obama can drone strike or Tomahawk them into oblivion, if he so chooses. But because Obama’s AUMF seeks to limit the number of ground troops, the neocons aren’t happy.
No war, it seems, is big enough for the neocons and the New World Order. They want a promise of boots on the ground. Tens of thousands of U.S. men and women missing limbs and suffering from severe head trauma and PTSD is not enough for them, apparently. Twenty-four years of war with no end in sight and a Middle East that is even more unstable than when the war began is not enough for them, apparently.
The CFR-controlled media whores are ginning up a murderous fervor over the Islamic States’ beheading of Americans, the savage murder of the Jordanian pilot and now the death of a misguided young woman who fell into the hands of the Islamic State. But that same media essentially ignores the dozens of beheadings carried out each year in Saudi Arabia and other America-friendly Islamic nations, just as it ignores and/or covers Saudi Arabia’s and Israel’s ties to 9/11 — the impetus for the expanded military operation.
The media whores prominently feature former military generals and corporatist funded “analysts” on their shows, touting the need for war and the alleged danger to Americans from “Islamic extremists.” The ties those generals and analysts still hold to the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, the war materials manufacturers, the Saudis, the Turks and Israel are never revealed and never questioned. The talking heads constantly tell us that “sources tell them” that the “danger” is real and that the Islamic State and al-Qaida are at work in America recruiting. But they never tell us that these “sources” work for the same government agencies arming and equipping the patsies to carry out attacks and attempted attacks on American soil.
The masses — especially those on American right — lap it up and agitate for war to eliminate the dreaded “scourge” created by American foreign policy, armed by America and its allies and given impetus and recruiting propaganda by the American intervention, occupation and terror war (yes, drone bombing civilians in sovereign countries is a terror war). Even so-called Christians call for mass genocide on Islamists with calls to “nuke” the whole Middle East and “turn it into a sea of glass.”
But how is this “Christian?” What type of Christian agitates for the murder of innocents, particularly women and children — and fellow Christians in the region who would likewise perish in an indiscriminate bombing campaign? Why, the American conservative one, of course.
They gladly send their sons, their daughters, their husbands and their wives off to fight and be maimed or killed under some misguided sense of patriotism and honor. They hero worship an “American Sniper” who admitted to killing women and children and claimed to have murdered 30 New Orleans residents in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.
They can’t fathom that all wars in the past 100-plus years are bankster wars that benefit the globalists and advance the New World Order and that the wars “over there” are not to keep America free but to enslave it under new American policies like the Patriot Act, the NDAA, Homeland Security and NSA snooping and to steal more American wealth through higher taxes and money printing to fund the fighting.
Here is an awful but straightforward truth: America’s goal is to factionalize and destabilize the region for the benefit of the New World Order, American corporatists and the banksters and the benefit of Saudi Arabia and Israel. These countries, along with Turkey, essentially own American government through bribes, cronyism, weapons purchases, etc. The U.S. overthrew a legitimate government in Libya because Gadhafi was threatening to abandon the petro dollar, and then it ran guns through Benghazi to Islamists in order to overthrow or destabilize Syria in anticipation of a move on Iran. The whole purpose of the Islamic State is to destabilize Syria for Saudi Arabia’s and Israel’s benefit and to the detriment of Russia.
In other words, the so-called “war on terror” is not a war on terror at all. Americans have been propagandized into believing the country’s motives in the Middle East are about defeating terrorism and spreading democracy. But the motives are much more sinister.
And for that Americans are more than willing to sacrifice their sons, their daughters, their husbands, their wives and their souls.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Day the ATMs Run Out …

Receding Tide
Please remember this warning when you go to the ATM to get cash… and there is none! While we were thinking about what was really going on with today’s strange new money system, a startling thought occurred to us.
Our financial system could take a surprising and catastrophic twist that almost nobody imagines, let alone anticipates. Do you remember when a lethal tsunami hit the beaches of Southeast Asia, killing thousands of people and causing billions of dollars of damage?
Well, just before the 80-foot wall of water slammed into the coast an odd thing happened: The water disappeared. The tide went out farther than anyone had ever seen before. Local fishermen headed for high ground immediately. They knew what it meant. But the tourists went out onto the beach looking for shells!
 The same thing could happen to the money supply: Cash could evaporate suddenly and disastrously – just before we drown in it. 

Credit Money

Here’s how … and why:
If you look at M2 money supply – which measures coins and notes in circulation as well as bank deposits and money market accounts – America’s money stock amounted to $11.7 trillion as of last month. But there was just $1.3 trillion of physical currency in circulation – about only half of which is in the US. (Nobody knows for sure.)
What we use as money today is mostly credit. It exists as zeros and ones in electronic bank accounts. We never see it. Touch it. Feel it. Count it out. Or lose it behind seat cushions. Banks profit – handsomely – by creating this credit. And as long as banks have sufficient capital, they are happy to create as much credit as we are willing to pay for.
After all, it costs the banks almost nothing to create new credit. That’s why we have so much of it. A monetary system like this has never before existed. And this one has existed only during a time when credit was undergoing an epic expansion.
So our monetary system has never been thoroughly tested. How will it hold up in a deep or prolonged credit contraction? Can it survive an extended bear market in bonds or stocks? What would happen if consumer prices were out of control?

Currency in circulationCurrency in circulation: inflating at warp speed since 2008, via Saint Louis Federal Reserve Research – click to enlarge.

Less Than Zero

Our current money system began in 1971. It survived consumer price inflation of almost 14% a year in 1980. But Paul Volcker was already on the job, raising interest rates to bring inflation under control.
And it survived the “credit crunch” of 2008-09. Ben Bernanke dropped the price of credit to almost zero, by slashing short-term interest rates and buying trillions of dollars of government bonds. But the next crisis could be very different…
Short-term interest rates are already close to zero in the US (and less than zero in Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden). And according to a recent study by McKinsey, the world’s total debt (at least as officially recorded) now stands at $200 trillion – up $57 trillion since 2007. That’s 286% of global GDP… and far in excess of what the real economy can support.
At some point, a debt correction is inevitable. Debt expansions are always –always– followed by debt contractions. There is no other way. Debt cannot increase forever. And when it happens, ZIRP and QE will not be enough to reverse the process, because they are already running at open throttle. What then?
The value of debt drops sharply and fast. Creditors look to their borrowers… traders look at their counterparties… bankers look at each other…
… and suddenly, no one wants to part with a penny, for fear he may never see it again. Credit stops.
It’s not just that no one wants to lend, no one wants to borrow either – except for desperate people with no choice, usually those who have no hope of paying their debts. Just like we saw after the 2008 crisis, we can expect a quick response from the feds.
The Fed will announce unlimited new borrowing facilities. But it won’t matter….
House prices will be crashing. (Who will lend against the value of a house?) Stock prices will be crashing. (Who will be able to borrow against his stocks?) Art, collectibles and resources – all will be in free fall.

freefall2Never go into free-fall without the proper attire.
Image via redbullstratos.com

The NEXT Crisis

In the last crisis, every major bank and investment firm on Wall Street would have gone broke had the feds not intervened. Next time it may not be so easy to save them. The next crisis is likely to be across ALL asset classes. And with $57 trillion more in global debt than in 2007, it is likely to be much harder to stop.
Are you with us so far? Because here is where it gets interesting …
In a gold-backed monetary system prices fall. But the money is still there. Money becomes more valuable. It doesn’t disappear. It is more valuable because you can use it to buy more stuff. Naturally, people hold on to it. Of course, the velocity of money – the frequency at which each unit of currency is used to buy something – falls. And this makes it appear that the supply of money is falling too.
But imagine what happens to credit money. The money doesn’t just stop circulating. It vanishes. A bank that had an “asset” (in the form of a loan to a customer) of $100,000 in June may have zilch by July.
A corporation that splurged on share buybacks one week could find those shares cut in half two weeks later. A person with a $100,000 stock market portfolio one day, could find his portfolio has no value at all a few days later.
All of this is standard fare for a credit crisis. The new wrinkle – a devastating one – is that people now do what they always do, but they are forced to do it in a radically different way.
They stop spending. They hoard cash. But what cash do you hoard when most transactions are done on credit? Do you hoard a line of credit? Do you put your credit card in your vault?
No. People will hoard the kind of cash they understand… something they can put their hands on… something that is gaining value – rapidly. They’ll want dollar bills.
Also, following a well-known pattern, these paper dollars will quickly disappear. People drain cash machines.
They drain credit facilities. They ask for “cash back” when they use their credit cards. They want real money – old-fashioned money that they can put in their pockets and their home safes …

money_pile_550w
Vault-ready cash pile.
Photo via channelbiz.fr

Dollar Panic

Let us stop here and remind readers that we’re talking about a short time frame – days… maybe weeks… a couple of months at most. That’s all. It’s the period after the credit crisis has sucked the cash out of the system … and before the government’s inflation tsunami has hit.
As Ben Bernanke put it, “a determined central bank can always create positive consumer price inflation.” But it takes time! And during that interval, panic will set in. A dollar panic – with people desperate to put their hands on dollars… to pay for food… for fuel…and for everything else they need.
Credit may still be available. But it will be useless. No one will want it. ATMs and banks will run out of cash. Credit facilities will be drained of real cash. Banks will put up signs, first: “Cash withdrawals limited to $500.” And then: “No Cash Withdrawals.”
You will have a credit card with a $10,000 line of credit. You have $5,000 in your debit account. But all financial institutions are staggering. And in the news you will read that your bank has defaulted and been placed in receivership. What would you rather have? Your $10,000 line of credit or a stack of $50 bills?
You will go to buy gasoline. You will take out your credit card to pay. “Cash Only,” the sign will say. Because the machinery of the credit economy will be breaking down. The gas station… its suppliers … and its financiers do not want to get stuck with a “credit” from your bankrupt lender!
Whose lines of credit are still valuable? Whose bank is ready to fail? Who can pay his mortgage? Who will honor his credit card debt? In a crisis, those questions will be as common as “Who will win an Oscar?” is today.
But no one will know the answers. Quickly, they will stop guessing… and turn to cash. Our advice: Keep some on hand. You may need it.

oscars1
These could be relegated to – gasp! – secondary importance.
Photo credit: Tim Boyle

The above article is taken from the Diary of a Rogue Economist originally written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Welcome To World War Three

Image result for jihadistBy James Howard Kunstler and originally published at kunstler.com 

In case anyone didn’t get ISIL’s message from their latest video in which 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians have their heads sawn off, here it is: “We’re executioners, not warriors.” Those gouts of blood spilled on a Libyan beach amount to ISIL’s welcome mat to the mass execution of the Euro-American west. The dignity of a funeral is not even on the program.
What we’ve got now with apocalyptic Jihadism spreading clear across the region from Pakistan to Morocco, and Europe blandly ignoring it across the Mediterranean, is an epochal face-off that will change the world. It comes at an odd moment in history, namely as the massive oil wealth of the Middle East and North Africa enters decline. It was that oil wealth that provoked a population spike in a desolate corner of the planet the past century. Now there is a huge over-supply of young men there with nothing to do but act out their angry psychodrama over having no future. When a whole peoples’ prospects for a decent life on Earth dwindle to zero, is it any wonder that they become preoccupied with end-times visions of feasts and virgins awaiting in an after-life?
Partly what you’re seeing over there is an internal fight to control what’s left of the treasure. That battle has already had the strange consequence of disabling the oil production capacity in places like Iraq and Libya, where there is still a lot of oil, but not enough political stability to allow the complicated business of extraction and transport to take place. What’s more there has also been tremendous damage to the oil infrastructure in these places, some from deliberate sabotage, some from shelling and bombing, and a lot from sheer neglect and deferred maintenance. Oil refineries and transport terminals are very delicate machines that require constant loving care.
It’s self-evident now that ISIL would like to control as much of the remaining oil wealth as possible — though I doubt they have the competence to run it for long even if they appear to control the terrain. The Euro-American west always has the option of completing the destruction with bombs and missiles, but then they would also be destroying their own future oil supplies and hence their modern industrial economies.
The Big Prize, of course, is the grand fortress of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is surrounded by Islamic maniacs now, with Yemen recently fallen to the south, the ever-hostile Iranian Shi’a across the Persian Gulf, disintegrating Iraq and Syria to the north, and the festering human compost heap of Egypt and then Libya across the Red Sea. And, of course, along the saddle of the Levant there is Israel with all its enemies and problems. Arabia has a new King, 79, rumored to be weak in the head. The oil revenue is way down and the population still grows, and too many young men have nothing to do but marinate in Wahhabist fantasies. If Saudi Arabia falls apart, it’s game over for modern life as the West has known it (and much of Asia now, too).
The USA, meanwhile, has managed to embroil itself in a completely unnecessary and idiotic struggle over Ukraine, a place of no real strategic importance to us. And in doing so we’ve managed to alienate perhaps the one nation with the will and the motivation to oppose Jihadism, namely Russia, with its vast southern border facing the immensity of Islamic Central Asia.
Europe, meanwhile, is preoccupied playing games with itself over money. Today is supposedly crunch time for Greece. The so-called Troika — the European Central Bank, The European Union bureaucrats, and the International Monetary Fund — still expects Greece to continue to pretend to pay back its debt. That’s been the meaning of “austerity” until now. But Europe is a gigantic debt minefield that no one can really walk across. Other parts of it than Greece are just waiting to blow up, and will, and it’s unclear whether Europe is even paying attention to the blood-red welcome mat that was laid out in Libya last weekend. The true meaning of “austerity” will become clear when Europe finds itself forced to fight World War Three at the same time that its banking system implodes.