Why So Passive Aggressive, When It Comes to Real Change?

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

-Albert Einstein

I’ve always been somewhat vocal about my views on just about anything important to me.  The way I see it, if you believe something is important and you have something to say about it; you may as well get it out there; else you’re just committing intellectual suicide.

I don’t worry much anymore about what others think of me for being who I am; because being who I am is much more important than what they think of me.  In fact, if I had spent much of my efforts in recent years worrying what other people think, trying to be popular, it’s likely I wouldn’t have accomplished much of anything at all aside from being a selfish, intellectually lazy, ego-centric, attention-whore; which is generally what the really popular people are, though they’ll never admit it.

As you may imagine, this means I’m often not the most favored person; but the people who really do appreciate me for who I am, form a lasting mutual bond that is virtually impenetrable.  Because there still are some people out there who appreciate intellectual honesty and despise the kind of mundane conformity that has gripped so many in it’s clutches.

One thing I notice about most people I come across these days, is they don’t really have much, in the way of their own unique viewpoints.  If you happen to have a unique viewpoint, they really don’t want to hear it.  They’ll either pretend they are listening and have absolutely nothing to say about it, or they will flat out ignore you once they realize that you have a viewpoint that they don’t agree with.  It seems to me as if they’re so afraid to have a real discussion about something, where there might be differences of opinion and the possibility that their own views may become vulnerable; that they’d rather steer clear of it altogether.

That’s the way most of the places/groups one can go to, in order to socialize have become.  You’re expected to just sit down, play the game and not say anything too controversial or “out of the box.”  If you do, then many people will start to isolate you and ignore you. If that’s the way so-called communication is supposed to place, then who the hell needs it!

If the new definition of communication is to have watered down conversations in which everyone focuses on the same old same old talking points and nothing new is ventured into; then it isn’t really communication at all.  We may as well just go to our coffee houses, sip on caffeine and make beeping noises at one another.

It’s just frustrating to have so many people in this world, yet so few who really want to try new ways of seeing things and doing things.  Is it any wonder why the years keep on passing, the problems keep mounting and not much of anything seems to get done about it.

What I’d love to see, is for more of us to be willing to really engage one another in discussions of things that really have the potential to bring about grass-roots changes in the world.  If someone has an opinion that is different than yours, discuss it in great detail so you can at least understand it; don’t just slam the door on them.

When you slam the door to communication, because you don’t want to have an uncomfortable discussion; then you’re just missing another opportunity to create meaningful change.  We can’t really afford to do that anymore, can we?  Let’s stop this bullshitting and time wasting, so we can get down to business; because I for one am not going to just sit around twiddling my thumbs while the world comes crashing down from all sides.

Martin Armstrong: Staring Into the Abyss

Martin Armstrong’s history has shown his mastery at truly understanding the laws of economics. He has predicted many of the pivotal economic events over the past few decades and has developed a highly sophisticated PI-cycle forecasting system, capable of cutting through the bullshit; becoming more aware of what is really going on in the world of economics.

On July 31, 2010 Armstrong published a newsletter issue titled Staring Into the Abyss in which he detailed his latest predictions for our future.  I have transcribed this newsletter, from its type-written form, so it will be searchable and more useful to the community.

Staring into the Abyss

Original PDF Version

Dow Jones Industrials Monthly Chart

by Martin A. Armstrong

When all is said and done, no matter how we spin the story, we are in the final stages of the collapse of Western Society as we know it. By that I do not mean the sky will fall and people will be running through the streets naked fighting over 2 week old bread. That did not even happen with the fall of Rome, nor with Communism in China and Russia. It is possible that our political ruling class become so desperate that they take the tyranny path to extort every dime from the people hoping to hold on to fleeting moments of past glories. When it is all said and done, we will ask how was this citadel of the earthly powers of man fallen, and laying motionless and prostrate on the ground before all the great empires that have expired before it. The answer will be the same. Debt and fiscal mismanagement. Our greatest problem has been our arrogance and presumption that we have conquered history and the laws of practical economics do not apply.

When empires die, the clash between private and public assets swings into hyperactive mode. Those who see the Dow crumble and fall to 1400 because that is what happened in 1929, fail to ever understand that such an event took place because of deflation that was created by the fact that the dollar rose to extreme levels when everyone else was defaulting in 1931. This is why Roosevelt confiscated gold and devalued the dollar by raising gold from $20 to $35. Money was still something tangible. Today, we are looking at a massive sovereign debt default on a worldwide level.

Under a situation from the European view in 1931, the only thing to survive was tangible assets. That is not only gold, but shares in corporations with tangible value. velocity is always the key for as it declines due to people hoarding money you get deflation. When people are afraid the money will become worthless (paper or debased coinage) they spend it faster before it depreciates and that creates hyperinflation at the other extreme. It all depends on where the confidence resides – with government or within the private sector. We are headed into the later.

I have been working at full speed to get this book complete. I have passed the 300 page mark and I am deeply in debt to those assisting me from outside to get me the reference material I need to ensure this is more than just an opinion, but also authoritative.

Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations wrote in his final volume about Public Debt and what he asked was why people had ever considered lending money to government was safe or that their debt was somehow quality. I have been working on this issue in great detail. Smith stated that never had any government ever paid off its debt and that was in 1776. He was correct. I am assembling all the defaults that are a subject that no one seems to want to talk about.

Yet, there are stark and monumental conclusions that emerge from such a long list of defaults. Society does not end as the doomsday crowd portray. This seems to be just their desire or opinion. Many seem to wish disaster upon the world for they feel cheated and did not become rich with the crowd. But those sorts of claims are truly the exception. The fall of Rome ended in disaster as people fled cities and the population of Rome itself fell from 1 million to just 30,000. That was what the Romans called suburbium and why we still today call moving out of the city to the suburbs. The flight took place because of the collapse of the Rule of Law and unprecedented taxation that set in motion a migration that eventually lead to feudalism. Continue reading Martin Armstrong: Staring Into the Abyss

Saving Resources With Gray Water Recycling Systems

Gray water is the kind of water which comes out of your shower, sink or washer. It is one of the untapped resources in the conventional home design. Usually this water is wasted, by being sent into the sewage drain; however, this water can be reused for a variety of purposes in which non-potable water is useful.

Typically there are two uses for gray water: irrigating lawns/gardens and flushing toilets. Since most individuals are already doing these things; gray water can replace the need to treat water and sewage, creating a tremendous long-term environmental and economic benefit.

Gray water systems can be installed by individuals without specialized knowledge. The price of systems starts as low as $200 for a very basic system which reuses water from the washing machine for lawn/garden irrigation. Higher end systems filter and/or treat the water for reuse in toilets and other applications which require cleaner water.

How to Implement a Greywater System for Your Garden

Google Tech Talk
May 12, 2010

Presented by Laura Allen and Gregory Bullock.

Laura Allen and Gregory Bullock describe how Greywater can green an increasingly parched California, and what Googlers can do to help. Are there such things as waste, or just resources that are currently misplaced? Greywater (water that comes from sinks, showers, and washing machines) turns wasterwater and its nutrients into irrigation water, saving time, money, and fresh drinking water. Whats more plants love it, especially fruit trees, berries and vines. Last year California rewrote its greywater code, making simple greywater reuse legal and affordable. Learn the why and hows of greywater reuse, and how to transform your household plumbing into a greywater irrigation system.

Laura is a founding member of Greywater Action and has spent a decade exploring low-tech, urban sustainable water solutions. She has a BA in Environmental Science, a teaching credential and a masters in education from New College of CA. She is a co-editor of the anthology Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground. Laura leads classes and workshops on urban ecological sanitation technologies of rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse and composting toilets. Laura also works with the Greywater Alliance to help remove institutional barriers to sustainable water use.

Greg is the founder of Bang for your Green Buck, an environmental enterprise that designs sustainable, productive landscapes that grow food through greywater irrigation and rain harvesting. Having built a successful career as a management consultant principally focused on increasing talent, performance and organizational development within Fortune 500 companies, he decided to leverage these nurturing skills to focus on converting wasteful lawns into orchards and positively addressing the water crisis of California. Greg is a graduate of the first Greywater Installers Certification Course, and is also a sustainable landscaper. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Strategy and Marketing.

American Politicians Are Already Screwing People Who Rely on Socialized Benefits

Today I see news releases in which B. H. Obama is bragging about “fixing” medicare. Looks like little more than window dressing to me. Many doctors are dropping medicare patients because they don’t make any money and it’s just not worth the paperwork and effort to comply with the regulations. So much for “affordable health care for all.”

When the government socializes services and then makes big promises, there is a good chance they won’t deliver on those promises when hard times are here. These cuts and the subsequent bragging about “eliminating waste” are just another example of this.

Obama, like most politicians, is a highly paid professional shill. He lied his way into office and he used his lies to crack open the treasury and rob the future generations of their freedom and prosperity. How about we get these leftist hacks out of office and put people in who give a damn about our inalienable Constitutional rights.

You can’t create new “rights” like the “right to health care” which violate existing basic human rights like property rights; because in order for the government to hand out services for free, they must take something from someone else.

What you end up with, after all of this welfare, is crappy health care for everyone, more poverty and a much more difficult life for future generations.

Doctors’ Medicare payouts to be cut 21% June 1

CNN Money | May 17, 2010

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — For the fourth time this year, doctors face a potential huge cut in the fees that the government pays them to treat Medicare patients.

Physicians will be hit with a 21% cut in Medicare reimbursements as of June 1, unless lawmakers decide to patch over the issue — as they’ve done for years. Congress is now debating the matter, and to stop the cut lawmakers would have to vote to pass a new patch sometime in the next two weeks.

If the proposed cuts go through, physicians are worried their practices will be so strapped that they’ll have to drop some of the 43 million Americans who are covered under Medicare.

But, of course, on the other side of the issue is cost to the government at a time when the federal budget is tight.

Federal law currently requires that the payment rates for doctors who accept Medicare be adjusted annually based on a formula that’s tied to the health of the economy.

“The current formula is absolutely broken,” said James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association. “Congress is in a hole, and instead of climbing out they keep digging deeper.”

That formula was established in 1997, and the law says rates should be cut every year to keep Medicare in the black.

But Congress has blocked those cuts in seven of the last eight years, setting up nine temporary patches often referred to as the “doc fix” — three of which were in 2010 alone.

“It’s hard to imagine this 21% cut actually being allowed to go through,” said Patricia Neuman, a vice president at the nonpartisan analysis group Kaiser Family Foundation. “A cut of this magnitude would have a chilling effect on physicians.”

‘Annual agony’

Of course, delaying cuts merely kicks an existing problem down the road.

“This annual agony must end,” said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in a statement. “Postponing a permanent solution is false economy.”

One possible outcome of the congressional wrangling is a five-year delay in the 21% cut in Medicare fees. That option, the most-discussed so far, would cost about $80 billion.

That spending would be exempt from a “pay as you go” law enacted in February that requires lawmakers to find ways to offset certain spending increases or tax cuts.

Other options include delaying cuts by a fewer number of years, but at higher reimbursement rates, provided that the cost is capped at $80 billion.

But the AMA’s Rohack says he wants “a new formula that actually reflects the true cost of care.” Lawmakers counter that repealing the current setup would cost $210 billion over 10 years.

The massive cost of retooling Medicare is the reason such a measure wasn’t included in the new health care reform law.

“Like so many things, this is a fiscal issue — it all gets down to money,” Neuman said. “There’s a lot of interest in changing the formula, but it’s not so straightforward, especially from a budgetary point of view.”

The AMA is pushing for a total Medicare overhaul because the years of temporary patches have created uncertainty for physicians and consumers alike, Rohack said.

“There will be letters saying, ‘Dear Mrs. Jones, I’m closing my practice because I can’t afford it anymore,’ ” Rohack said. “I’m worried they won’t even be able to recommend other physicians because no one else in the community is accepting Medicare either.”

A permanent fix would remove physician uncertainty, restore consumer faith and ultimately save money, Rohack said, adding that a permanent fix in 2007 would have cost just $49 billion.

“If they’d fixed this permanently years ago, it would have been a tadpole-sized problem,” Rohack said. “Now, it’s become a bullfrog — and eventually it’ll be Jabba the Hutt.”

Within Temptation – Forgiven

Watched the clouds drifting away
Still the sun can’t warm my face
I know it was destined to go wrong
You were looking for the great escape
To chase your demons away

This song is one of the most beautiful that I have heard in quite a long time. The singer, Sharon den Adel, has sucha beautiful vocal range that blends quite masterfully with the instruments, it gives me chills whenever I hear it.
Continue reading Within Temptation – Forgiven

A World of Escapists

A recurring thought, in my stream of consciousness as of late, centers on the all encompassing desire, virtually every human being has; to engage in various forms of escapism. I’ve noticed this at various times in my life and kind of swept it under the rug; but this idea is becoming apparent once again.

Realizing this has got me somewhat depressed and I just have to get this written down; in writing this, I hope to figure out more about this phenomena and my relationship to it. I’d really like to know what we are trying to get away from, what we are hoping to find and if there are any lessons we can learn from these observations.

Maybe it’s a good thing that we are trying to escape, maybe not, maybe I’m totally off base and we, as humans, can’t do anything but escape. I’m not saying that I know anything for sure; I just want to explore something that is, in my mind at least, begging to be explored.

The sad thing about these kinds of thoughts, is the fact that it is very difficult to discuss these thoughts with anyone else. Most people don’t really give a damn what I have to say about anything like this; they either change the subject, ignore me or try to act like having a seemingly “negative” observation about something means that I’m not focusing on what I need to.

That may well be; but it doesn’t change the fact that I am extremely curious about this. I want to know why so little is said about it and why so many engage in this vacuous practice that basically consumes most of people’s lives.

Absurdities in Everyday Life

Why is it that people would rather spend the better part of their free time, frittering away, and/or watching a fictional, or highly controlled, reality via a television screen; when there is a huge glut of unaddressed dilemmas which threaten our long-term survival as individuals and quite possibly as a species.

Why is it, that in many social situations, individuals choose to smoke and drink, often (but not always) in order to escape their daily lives; even if it means that they may not remember the experience, or worse, may even harm their bodies in the process.

Why is it that, when we become activists, who want to see “change” in the world, we often focus our efforts on issues, which we stand little to no chance of having any effect on; while there are other issues which we can have a major impact on, right under our noses, that we simply ignore as if they don’t exist.

Prime examples of this, are the attention given to relatively small scale man made ecological disasters. These disasters get most of the press and activist attention, while most of the damage wrought by man takes place routinely and meticulously planned, in broad daylight, with the massive system of government subsidized, corporatized, monoculture agriculture.

All of this large scale farming is happening, while hundreds of millions of individuals are living atop perfectly productive land on their 1/4 – 1/3 acre lots; usually growing nothing but worthless grass on it.

Since we aren’t using the land that we are on, and we still must eat, we visit the restaurants and supermarkets and spend most of our monies on highly processed, additive laced, genetically modified, franken-food.

What Are We Running Away From

It is starting to become clear to me, that we tend to shy away from self examination and especially the examination of our own personal contribution to our personal survival. Society has given us so many tools to escape this responsibility, namely money; that in just a few decades, we have largely lost the skills which helped build great nations of free self sufficient individuals.

Not only has society given us tools to escape our responsibilities; but it has also given us plenty of red herrings; so that we are less likely to discover a method of curing the underlying cause. We become polarized into phony political, religious and economic paradigms; which only serve to divide us and pit us against each other.

Instead of cooperating amongst ourselves, forming real communities, creating genuine, robust, bottom up, solution-oriented, changes; we expect someone else to take on what is ultimately our own responsibility. We have a solemn responsibility, as individuals, to take decisive action in our daily lives.

What Can We Do?

The most important thing we can do, is to first identify what we really need, to survive and flourish as integrated individuals; while doing so, we need to also determine what we don’t need.

Once this is sorted out as best we can, we need to determine what we can do to get what we need, what impediments if any are stopping us from meeting those needs. Then we need to organize a plan, for how we are going to meet our needs on a continuous basis.

We have to regularly re-evaluate our lives, so that we are eliminating unneeded processes and focusing more energy on those which are necessary; else we will live lives which are not as meaningful as they could be.

Let’s Get Started

As most of us realize, deep down inside; we are facing some serious problems, on so many levels. Many of the problems are already effecting us, while there are many which will only affect us years down the road.

We can’t keep delaying the solutions until tomorrow. If something is not going to be done today; it is probably not going to happen tomorrow either. The desire to escape is addictive and infective. The more we engage in escapism, the more we are likely to do so in the future.

Conversely, the more we engage in decisive individual actions, the more we are likely to do so in the future; especially as we begin to see the effects of our efforts. Each day is like a sliding scale; we either make some progress towards our goals, or we move away from those goals.

We know for certain that if we choose to ignore our responsibilities, they will not simply go away. We can’t just pretend that they aren’t there and they go away; because they are real concrete problems; they will remain with us until we each address them as individuals.

Once enough of us address these problems as individuals, we will undoubtedly see more synergy in our communities. Once successfully kindled, this synergy will have a momentum all its own; which will help to continue the process.

All of this is up to us. If we aren’t willing to do it, then who will.