Music

This page has several hours of YouTube videos of peaceful and serene music distributed over several playlists. Click on “continue reading” to show all playlists. Single click on a playlist to start playing. After that, double click on the playlist to make it full screen. Double click again to change it back. Several of the Continue reading »

Bitcoin or Two Bit Coin?

Bitcoin, the cryptographic “currency” is widely known and widely discussed. This ZeroHedge article The Complete Annotated Price History Of Bitcoin briefly discusses and presents a Goldman Sachs article explaining Bitcoin. We do not follow it and considering its ups and downs, view it as a good medium to destroy one’s real wealth with. For the interested, the link  is above.

Flashpoint: The War on Climate Change Heats Up

Today we read in Zero Hedge that the Pentagon Warns Increase In Terrorism Due To Global Warming. Since the United States is admittedly in a war against terrorism and they believe that climate change contributes to terrorism, then the US must be at war with climate change.

We know that one of the great factors causing fluctuations in weather are the Southern Pacific temperature anomalies known as El Niño and La Niña. The climate is really in trouble now with the US military set to engage it. We expect a carrier strike group will be sent to the Southern Pacific to track down and destroy these Latinos.

The Ukraine: What a Country’s Boundaries Really Mean

To understand how little a county’s boundaries mean, play this animated map of Europe and West Asia that shows the change in makeup of the area over the last thousand years. The Ukraine is a very late addition to the world map. (Click in the lower right corner to open as full screen.)

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Our friend Paul Merkley sent us a link to other map resources. What is now the Ukraine and Crimea was part of Islamic Civilizations 632-1350AD. This page has thumbnails of 54 individual maps. Left-click on any thumbnail to open a larger view. One can scroll through the map series one map at a time by left-clicking on the current expanded image. Most images can be expanded further by right-clicking on the current image. Select the “View Image” option from the menu that pops up. Use the browser back arrow to close this image and return to the thumbnail page.

Another series of 18 maps shows The Ottoman Empire which encompassed the territory of the present Ukraine and Crimea. The Ukraine in particular has come and (mostly) gone and reappeared while its boundaries constantly changed.

Now in case you are thinking that the 1400 year span of these maps is not sufficient to capture an early Ukraine, try this animated map over 5000 years.

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Protests of Russia’s current actions by countries like Canada are made from colossal ignorance on the part of  the populace, the media and the government. It’s also a cheap way to buy the Ukrainian vote in Canada.

The European Union Reacts to the Crisis in Ukraine

Summary

(PETER KLAUNZER/AFP/Getty Images)
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks to journalists in Switzerland on March 4 after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The European Union is unlikely to approve substantial sanctions against Russia because it would go against the economic interests of most of its members. There will be a period of cold relations between EU members and Russia, but eventually EU members will return to their previous strategies of seeking a pragmatic relationship with Moscow.

The crisis in Ukraine is having political repercussions for most members of the European Union. In the west, countries such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom are trying to strike a balance between criticizing Russia’s actions in Crimea and ensuring that their economic links with Moscow are unaffected. The crisis is reminding countries in Central and Eastern Europe such as Poland and Lithuania that their alliances with the European Union and NATO have clear limitations, since both organizations have few options to contain Russia. Finally, countries that recently sought closer ties with Moscow, including Hungary and the Czech Republic, are struggling to define their position in the conflict.

Ukraine and the ‘Little Cold War’

March 4, 2014 – 03:09

Stratfor

Editor’s Note: In place of George Friedman’s regular Geopolitical Weekly, this column is derived from two chapters of Friedman’s 2009 book, The Next 100 Years. We are running this abstract of the chapters that focused on Eastern Europe and Russia because the forecast — written in 2008 — is prescient in its anticipation of events unfolding today in Russia, Ukraine and Crimea.

By George Friedman

We must consider the future of Eurasia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since 1991, the region has fragmented and decayed. The successor state to the Soviet Union, Russia, is emerging from this period with renewed self-confidence. Yet Russia is also in an untenable geopolitical position. Unless Russia exerts itself to create a sphere of influence, the Russian Federation could itself fragment.

After Ukraine, the West Makes Its Move for the Russian Periphery

February 26, 2014

The West wants to parlay the success of supporting Ukraine’s anti-government protesters into a broader, region-wide campaign. In fact, the United States has already started to court other key countries in Russia’s periphery.

Circling the Wagons

We have have made a conscious decision to circle the wagons. We see a high probability of

  1. a stock market correction of 30-50% if not an outright crash;
  2. a recession that will rival or surpass the 2007 recession which some argue has never ended;
  3. a world war with the US and western nations on one side and Russia and China on the other side either individually but more likely together, and Canada will do whatever the US wants in this situation;
  4. social revolution in many of the states currently in crisis including France, Spain, Italy, Eastern European countries, Latin American countries and Southeast Asia countries; North Korea will attack South Korea even if a larger Pacific conflict doesn’t erupt;
  5. there will be widespread social discord in countries that don’t experience revolution and the US in particular will use unprecedented suppression of its population, possibly ending the republic;
  6. the Sunni/Shiite divide will come to the brink of nuclear war as Iran builds the bomb and Saudi Arabia repatriates the nuclear weapons that it has paid Pakistan to develop for it;
  7. a global financial crisis of a size never seen before including multiple currency collapses and sovereign defaults;
  8. central banks and governments will be largely powerless to stop an economic collapse because they’ve spent all their ammunition already;
  9. and watch the drought in California produce massive food price inflation if the rains don’t come this year.

Some of these conditions are already underway in countries like Argentina, France, Greece, Spain, Ukraine, Venezuela, and most of the Mideast. We expect a major global event from this list to occur this year and certainly by next year. Since we are globally connected as never before, one event will trigger a cascade through others.

The Dogs that Did Not Bark (So far): The Significance of Israel’s Invasion of Syria’s Airspace

Here is Part 6 of the series, Zero-Sum Historiography: The Palestinian Assault upon History. Reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of the series. This is an important series as Palestine and the myths and misunderstandings around it propagated by the mainstream media (MSM) and the Western intelligentsia (to use an oxymoron) are rampant.

Sometime on January 30, 2013, Israel invaded the sovereign airspace of Syria and destroyed a large target or targets. While Israeli officials are still slide-stepping confirmation of details and still only and hinting at responsibility, signals went out almost at once from highly-placed Israelis tending to confirm the official American account: that Israel had hit a convoy of trucks carrying SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles towards Lebanon. It seems also likely that Syria is right in claiming that a research facility in theDamascus suburb of Jamraya was struck at the same time.

Once More into the Breach: Prospects for Israel-Palestinian Peace

Here is a new essay by Paul Merkley, Once More into the Breach: Prospects for Israel-Palestinian Peace, reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

In July, 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an agreement between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Authority to “return to the peace table” The Secretary made the announcement from Amman, Jordan, following several hours “shuttling” among Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman. As in all previous episodes of this long-playing drama, the Americans insisted that the Government of Israel “demonstrate its good faith” by undertaking to release up to two hundred prisoners then serving lengthy sentences in Israel’s prisons. Most of those released had been charged with murder, and most of these murders had caught public attention at the time because of their gruesome character, the conspicuous helplessness of their Israeli victims and the brazen pride with which the perpetrators had publicly dedicated these gifts to Allah.

Finite Time Singularities

John Hussman cited the work of Didier Sornette in his weekly letters of April 2013, Increasingly Immediate Impulses to Buy the Dip, and November 2013, A Textbook Pre-Crash Bubble. Sornette derived a log-periodic mathmatical function that approximates well the behavior of bubbles in a wide range of asset classes. The notable feature of the equations is a finite time singularity at which point the bubble collapses. This critical tome point Hussman has pegged as January 17, 2014.

In his latest letter of February 17, 2014, Topping Patterns and the Proper Cause for Optimism, he reviews the bubble hypothesis noting that (our added emphasis):

the “critical point” or “finite time singularity” is not a crash date, but the inflection point from self-reinforcing speculation to fragile instability. Didier Sornette observed this more than a decade ago in Why Stock Markets Crash. Our best estimate of that inflection point remains about January 13. It’s also worth remembering that the “catalysts” associated with sharp market losses have often been fully recognized only after the fact, if at all. As Sornette emphasized, “The collapse is fundamentally due to the unstable position; the instantaneous cause of the crash is secondary.”

Further in his letter he analyses the shape or structure of key market replacements and crashes. We checked the S&P and its current high occurred Jan. 15 at 1850.84. The current reflex rally is approaching this number. It will be interesting to see if it continues to produce a new high or fails and begins a bear market correction.

The importance of this hypothesis – and Hussman is careful to point out that it is only a hypothesis – is that if he is correct, we have a reliable tool for timing bubbles.

Tales from the Downside

SHortly after reading John’s letter we picked this up off of Zero Hedge: “From Self-Reinforcing Speculation To Fragile Instability”. It presents a number of data that are all moving down. In the process the author cites examples from John’s letter.

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