Category Archives: natural health

Best wine in the world

My favorite wine in the world is the Moscato (Muscat) from Alois Lageder , a winemaker from the Alto Adige in Northern Italy, near the Austrian border. The unique terrain here, combining the cold mountain air from the Alps with warm Mediterranean sunshine, helps to produce outstanding wine grapes.  I have never smelled a wine that so bursts with tropical and citrus fruit as this wine. Papaya, banana, lemon, guava, and mango blend into an impossibly enticing bouquet. On the palate, it is silky smooth, with just the right amount of acid to balance the fruitiness. Lageder also produces Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gerwurtzraminer, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

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His family has been making wine since 1823 and they are devoted to biodynamic viticulture. I have been fortunate to be able to taste a dozen or so biodynamic wines, and there is definitely some ‘thing’ about these wines that distinguishes them from the pack. Gary Vaynerchuk once did  a great interview on www.winelibrarytv with a biodynamic pioneer, Nicolas Joly,  and I loved the way Joly  discussed biodynamics. He stated that one way you can tell a biodynamic wine is that you can chug it down like lemonade (not that you would want to), the purity is so refined. The entire interview is well worth watching.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Joly

Biodynamic farming, invented by the late mystic and educator Rudolph Steiner,  takes years, even decades,  to master. It is a blending of the spiritual with the scientific,  requiring a deep understanding of  nature and cosmic principles. It is a profound synthesis of the earthly with the heavenly, and the rewards for humans who practice the system are healthy, resilient and fertile soils which grow remarkably delicious fruits and vegetables to nourish us.

 

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There are many wines available which are delicious, well-made and reflect a terroir with style and elegance. Very few wines, in fact only a tiny percentage, do all that and make you feel different inside, as if you have just ingested something infused with true cosmic energy.  Lageder’s wines do that.

 

 

http://www.aloislageder.eu/en/vogelmaier_moscato_giallo

 

Stay human. Say ‘no’ to transhumanism

The world is inching ever closer to the final merging of man and machine. The goal of the transhumanist movement is to ‘improve’ humanity by merging us with computers, via chip implants,  nanotechnology,  genetic engineering, and robotics. Taking up where the eugenicists left off a half-century ago, this school of thought can trace its origins back to Julian Huxley, brother of Aldous and unapologetic elitist and eugenicist.

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Transhumanists speak glowingly about the forthcoming ‘singularity’ , a moment in the near future – 2045, according to the most prominent transhumanist cheerleader, Ray Kurzweil- when artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence. Humans will  be in danger of becoming extinct from irrelevance, but by ‘augmenting’ ourselves with nano-technology and genetic alterations, we can go into our brave new world as a ‘post-human’ species.

Twenty years ago, I would have laughed at such nonsense,  but given the speed at which technology is advancing and the equal speed with which humanity, and especially the current young generation, is eagerly adopting the new technologies, it is clear that this is no  laughing matter. The people promoting this are serious and their plan to forever alter  homo sapiens sapiens is gaining momentum , and more importantly, acceptance.

One of the most prominent public faces of this movement is Michio Kaku, the theoretical physicist who appears regularly on the History Channel, BBC, Discovery Channel , and the Science Channel. Kaku is the new front man and he’s a good choice. He speaks easily and fluently about complex scientific topics and has a laid-back,  approachable demeanor. Of course, I can’t help asking when I see celebrity figures like this with lots of advanced degree letters next to their name, ‘don’t these guys have a real job?’ If Kaku spent half as much time in his office working on theoretical physics as he does putting on make-up to go on television , he might actually accomplish something worthwhile for humanity. But I digress..

In a recent program aired on The Science Channel, Kaku first informed his audience that the singularity was inevitable, then he stated that the results of it could be catastrophic, and then finally ended the show by saying we should all just embrace it.

 

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He stated, ” Most experts (a cheap rhetorical trick) agree: the technological singularity is inevitable. If uncontrolled, the results could be catastrophic. They (the machines) may eliminate everything that stands in their path, including us.” But then suddenly, he changed his tone and said, “I’ve changed my mind. I think we should embrace the singularity. Fundamentally, I’m an optimist. The solution? Merge with them. When the singularity arrives, WE will be in control. By merging with machines, we will enter a new age of super human existence. We will be ‘ homo superior’.  Who’s with me?”  At this point in the show, the geeky crowd of young futurists in some Manhattan studio , many wearing Star Wars costumes, broke out in a roar of approval and hand clapping.

You can’t get much more blatant than that. All the rhetorical and manipulative techniques perfected by social engineers over the last century were put on display. ‘Do not resist. The future has already been determined. Resistance is futile. Join us…..or die.’

Many of my young students, who already spend most of their day staring at some screen and sleep the whole night with their smart phone under the pillow, will unquestioningly accept this techno-future and even embrace  it. Chip implants? No problem, which arm would you like?

Luckily for me, I found some thinkers when I was in my early 20s who wrote critically and thoughtfully on the subject of technology and human existence and provided a needed antidote to all the  drivel that I was subjected to in the corporate, mainstream and advertising world, as well as inoculating me against the incessant pro-technology propaganda.

Jerry Mander wrote a incisive book titled In the Absence of the Sacred: The failure of technology and the survival of the Indian Nations (1991) which really blew my mind. Here at last was a prominent intellectual writing about the other side of the story, i.e. the shadow side of technology. Daniel Quinn’s novel’s Ishmael  (1992) and The Story of B (1996)  explored some similar themes, albeit in a very different format. The late Neil Postman, media theorist and cultural critic, wrote wonderful books for the mass market about the intersection of humans, technology, culture and education, including: The Disappearance of Childhood, Amusing Ourselves to Death, How to Watch tv News, and Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology. 

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The future is rushing upon us quickly, and humanity is at a crossroads. If we are to survive, we will need to evolve, and quickly. But evolve how? By merging with machines and rushing headlong into a technological dystopia, into a world run my intelligent machines?  Is there another way? Shouldn’t we be exploring other possibilities? I believe so. Even a cursory study of human history shows that we don’t handle technology responsibly. We haven’t used nuclear energy responsibly. Nor do we know how to integrate new technologies into society while still maintaing traditions, culture, and respect for each other. Technology has far outraced humanity’s ability to understand it, let alone use it well.

If we want to talk about a future evolution of homo sapiens, how about Osho’s vision.? He spoke of the blending of the Zorba’s joy of life with the discipline and insight of the Buddha to create ‘Zorba the Buddha.’  It’s a beautiful vision and one worth exploring. Humanity has the capability to evolve using the tools we have right here and now: our brains, our hearts and our will. We should not toss away so easily our humanness to plunge into a future which would be even darker and more monstrous.

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Cell Phone Madness

Most people don’t want to talk about the negative aspects of cell phones. Now that the majority of people have a smart phone and have integrated this technology into every aspect of their life, they prefer to put any lingering qualms about them into a small compartment in the back of their brain and forget about it. In this respect, cell phones and smart phones are not any different from all the other technologies that have so radically altered human societies over the past century and a half. Whether it’s the automobile, telephone, radio, television, or computer, the shadow side of these technologies-including their environmental, biological , and social costs-   is shunted aside in the race to adopt the ‘new’ and embrace ‘progress.’

 

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Not since the advent of television has any new technology done more to destroy interpersonal communication and dumb down the populace as the cell phone. From couples no longer even bothering to talk to each other at restaurants, to parents ignoring their children at the dinner table while answering  emails , to friends interrupting each other to check a text, to lovers answering text messages  while having sex, the examples are legion.

Beyond the social and intellectual costs of our cell phone mad world, there are very real and increasing quantifiable health costs. Again, people choose not to look at this, thinking that the health effects  will be something they can deal with ‘in the future’, and that , besides, even if there are dangers, having a smart phone is too important to give up, whatever the costs.

 

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Travel  through any major city today and observe the skyline and what is the overwhelming dominant feature that one sees? Cell phone towers- thousands of them. Cell phone mania has swept the world and proliferation of these towers is seen in every city in South America, North America, Asia, and Europe. Increasingly, they are dotting the rural landscape as well. Formerly untouched and pristine mountaintops and hillsides are now sites for  huge cell phone towers, forever blighting the once beautiful vistas of the countryside in places like Ecuador, for example.

In the Southeast Asian city where I live, thousands of cell towers dot the skyline, with an average of at least one every other block. Completely unregulated, the cell companies erect them as fast as they can, renting cheap space on top of peoples’ homes, hotels, commercial businesses, churches and schools. The people who live and work in these buildings take the easy money from the cellular carriers and willfully ignore the potentially serious health consequences from living under one of these towers. Looking out from my bedroom window, I count four towers which are close enough for me to throw a stone at.

cell tower, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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A number of countries, mostly in Europe, recognizing the inherent dangers in wifi, have taken steps to ban wifi in schools and severely limit the installation of towers nearby. Here in Asia, governments have been slower to recognize the danger , and schools are rushing to install wifi. I once stood in the middle of a school courtyard and counted 3 towers on adjacent blocks.

Modern humans are now living in an ocean of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Cell phone radiation is one form of electromagnetic radiation. For anyone who wishes to learn how cell phones were first allowed into the consumer market, it is worth reading the story online. Basically, the manufacturers presented studies to the government authorities stating that, because there were no thermal (heating) effects from the microwaves , there could therefore be no adverse biological effects. The government accepted the flawed argument, gave the green light, and the cell phone explosion was upon us.

Typical view looking across the skyline, showing 3 towers, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

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Cell phone radiation can’t be seen, felt, touched, heard or sensed, and so most people assume that it’s harmless. However, there are indeed severe biological consequences. One of the many adverse effects of EMR is on the production of melatonin. Studies have shown that EMR from cell phones inhibits the production of melatonin from the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin regulates the sleep cycle and is also responsible for cellular rejuvenation and repair during the deep REM sleep between 1am and 4am.

Some other adverse effects include: increased chance of developing brain cancer, leakage of the blood-brain barrier, decreased sperm count in men, increased estrogen levels (and hence, hormonal balance disruption) , fatigue, depression, and headaches.

When I point the cell towers and ask my students, “What are those?” , they are never able to tell me. Nobody had ever pointed them out before, and they consider them part of the natural landscape now, just like chemtrails in the skies. Girls and young women, from 10 to 40 -years- old, now keep their charged and wifi- enabled smart phones wedged tightly into the front pocket of their bluejeans, snug against their reproductive organs. I inform them that if they someday want to have healthy babies, they might want to store their phone elsewhere. That usually gets their attention.

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Why aren’t people having babies? The Demographic Collapse

The demographic crisis currently unfolding around the world is not receiving the media scrutiny that it deserves. The most severe manifestations of this crisis can be seen in Southern and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and North America, but the phenomenon of plummeting birth rates can be observed in almost every area of the world.

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Perhaps the reason for this lack of media coverage is our longstanding concern with overpopulation which has been ongoing since the time of Malthus and has gotten increasing media attention every time earth’s population adds another billion.

A number of recent articles that I came across detailing Japan’s demographic catastrophe and the unfolding situation in Eastern Europe kindled my interest. As I delved into the demographic statistics of the countries afflicted most severely with these problems, I was shocked at what I read.

Let’s begin with Southern Europe. Italy’s total fertility rate (TFR) fell below the replacement level of 2.1 back in 1977, dipping below 1.2 in the mid 1990s.  From 1975 until 2012, Italy added a measly 4 million people to her total population. Beginning in 1993, the country began to experience a yearly net loss in population, with more people dying than being born. Except for 2004 and 2006, Italy has lost somewhere between 2,000 and 46,000 people per year.

 

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Serbia, the land of my ancestors, is experiencing an acute demographic crisis. Its TFR fell below 2 in 1991 and has been hovering around 1.4 for the last ten years.  Beginning in 1992, it began to lose population.  For the last ten years, it has averaged a net loss of 34,000 people per year. This is not an insignificant number for a country with a total population of only 7.1 million people.

The population of Greece, that ancient and beautiful land, stopped growing in the early 1980s. Its TFR dropped below the replacement level in 1983 and went quickly downhill from there. It has bottomed out (for now) around 1.4. Since 1996, half of the years have seen a net population decrease. With its recent economic troubles, Greece will not be in any position to help out its young, struggling families.

In Eastern Europe, the situation is even worse. Romania’s TFR slipped to 1.83 in 1990 and since then has hovered between 1.2 and 1.3. The country began to lose population in 1992. Since that year, Romania has lost over 795,000 people, with an average yearly loss of 36,000 people.

Bulgaria’s TFR fell to 1.96 in 1987. It got as low as 1.09 in 1997 before rebounding slightly and now has stabilized for the moment around 1.5 Bulgaria has had a net population loss every year since 1990 and now has 839,000 fewer people than it did then. Average annual population loss: 36,000.

Hungary last had a TFR of 2 or greater in 1979.  For the past seventeen years, its TFR has failed to rise above 1.3.  It started to lose population in 1981 and has had more deaths than births every year since then. Its total loss since then numbers over 868,000 people with an average annual loss of 26,000.

 

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The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have equally grim statistics. Since 1990, Latvia’s couples have been failing to reproduce themselves and its TFR dipped as low as 1.1 in 1997 and 1998. It has lost between 8,000 and 17,000 people per year since 1991, in a country of only 2 million. The figures for Estonia and Lithuania are comparable.

Russia’s demographic collapse ,which began after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991,  received some press coverage, but looking back at the horrifying statistics from those years still gives pause. Russia suffered a double whammy: Not only did its birth rate decline quickly, but its death rate skyrocketed at the same time, resulting in massive yearly net population losses. From 1992 until 2006, Russia was losing around 800,000 (!!) people per year. Since 2007, thanks to an improving economic outlook and reforms put in place by Vladimir Putin, the birth rate has started to slowly climb back up and the death rate has begun to slowly decrease. In 2012, its annual loss was only 2,500 people, and last year Russia actually had a population gain for the first time in over 20 years.

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Germany is another interesting country to examine. It has not had a TFR above 2 since 1971 and continues to have one of the lowest birth rates in the world, averaging between 1.2 and 1.4 for the last twenty years. It has had more deaths than births every year since 1972 and since 2002 has averaged 150,000 excess deaths per year. The only thing saving Germany from demographic collapse is massive immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe.

These statistics just scratch the surface of this problem. We could discuss the emigration patterns taking place around Europe and the world, which in some cases exacerbate and in other case alleviate the aforementioned issues.  We could talk about the underlying causes for couples choosing not to have large families, or any children at all. We might ask what will be the long term consequences for these nations which are losing people so quickly. We could take a look at Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and other places where there is an acute child shortage as well.

This phenomenon is real, it appears it is here to stay, and it is spreading. Save for Sub-Saharan Africa, couples- both married and unmarried- are failing to reproduce themselves and the long and short term consequences for humanity are going to be huge. Nation-states will collapse, national boundaries will be redrawn and the global balance of power will continue to shift.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

http://www.craigwilly.info/2013/05/11/from-nations-to-provinces-the-demographic-collapse-of-southern-and-eastern-europe/

Monsanto moves into Viet Nam; disaster looms for the country’s farmers

Monsanto, with the aggressive backing of the U.S. embassy and State Department,  has been busy lobbying  the Vietnamese government to introduce its GMO crops into the country.  Events are moving along at a good pace for Monsanto who, along with Syngenta and DuPont,  has  been pushing their ‘frankenseeds’ into developing countries for years.  Monsanto tested its first seeds here in 2011.

Eight years ago, the government in Viet Nam issued a blueprint regarding agriculture which envisioned having 30-50% of the country’s arable land planted with GMO crops by 2020. With such a momentous change on the horizon for  Viet Nam, its farmers, its land, its food and its people, you might think that there is a robust debate going on within the media, the government agencies responsible for coordinating food policy and in the general populace. You would be wrong. In fact, almost no one in Viet Nam is even familiar with the term ‘GMO’, let alone aware that there is a global debate raging over the harmful effects of these seeds on human health, the environment, animals, and plants. In my random sampling of locals here in Ho Chi Minh City, I did not encounter a single person who could tell me what a GMO is.

 

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This is dangerous, and potentially catastrophic for the country. Decisions about the introduction and widespread implementation of GMO crops are being made by a tiny handful of government officials, who have been engaged in many closed-door meetings with executives from Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont. Furthermore, with the current government wanting to maintain warm relations with the Obama regime, it behooves them to be friendly with some of Obama’s biggest supporters.

The government has done absolutely nothing to inform the population of what GMO seeds are and the science surrounding them. So, it is left up to the local media to bring some awareness to the issue. In that regard, a local paper, Thanhniennews has run some admirably hard-hitting pieces in the last few months, finally calling the government to task on this. The local English language paper, Viet Nam News has done a pathetic and criminally negligent job of covering this story, only running pieces that blithely quote government mouthpieces who work for the ministry of natural resources and the environment and the ministry of agriculture and rural development. We have people like Le Dinh Luong, professor of genetics at Hanoi University, who gleefully trumpets the benefits of GMOs and says that activists shouldn’t ‘make a fuss’ over the hazards of these scientific monstrosities.  Another scientific stooge, Professor Nguyen Lan Dung warned Viet Nam was ‘too cautious’ in planting GMOs on a wide scale. I guess he’s never heard of the cautionary principle.

 

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The fact that GMOs are being embraced so enthusiastically by the government and upper scientific establishment here is not too surprising given the overall direction that they hope to push agriculture in. Since I arrived here, I have been collecting articles on food and agriculture printed in the local media, and looked thru them while preparing to write this piece. In every one, the government talks only of improving agriculture with ‘modern technology’,  ‘hi-tech agriculture’, ‘bio-technology’ , and ‘applying advanced technology to agriculture products.’ More machines. More chemicals. More fertilizers. More technology. The direction is clear, and in this context, it is natural   that they would jump on the GMO bandwagon, even without the arm twisting of  Monsanto and the U.S. State Department.

Viet Nam sits at a crucial juncture.  GMO corn is set to be planted in seven provinces in the North, Central Highlands, and South. If these crops are allowed to be planted in the next couple of years, there really will be no turning back. Neighboring fields will quickly become contaminated. It is much more difficult to rip them out of the ground and try to go back to organic crops than it is to halt this whole process at the beginning. However, there is little chance of a grass-roots movement getting started in time, given how ignorant and uniformed the population is.

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The impoverished and uneducated farmers who have been subsistence farming for hundreds of generations will be easy targets, as company PR flaks, accompanied by agricultural officials from the government, will entice them with golden promises of higher yields, less work, less pests and crucially- more money.

Instead of working toward truly sustainable models , such as permaculture- based systems, which rely on building up the health of the soil, crop rotation, and the implementation of polyculture systems to make the land resilient to pests, the government is heading in the wrong direction:  to a high-tech , machinery dependent, high external input- based agriculture system geared toward the export market and not toward a reliable food supply for the Vietnamese people.

 

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Most of the population is not even aware that Monsanto was the biggest producer of Agent Orange, used to such devastating effect during the war in the 1960s. When they are made aware of that connection, most of them realize that they don’t really want a chemical weapons manufacturer to be responsible for providing their rice.

Apparently, a GMO labeling law was enacted some years ago, but like many laws here, it is not enforced in any way, and therefore useless. A ‘Non-GMO’ label has yet to make an appearance on a store shelf in Ha Noi or Ho Chi Minh City.

As global elitists such as Henry Kissinger have long said, “Food is a weapon.” And that weapon is set to be unleashed on Viet Nam.

 

 

The Fast Food Invasion of Viet Nam

The food landscape of Viet Nam, especially in the large cities, is changing rapidly. In fact, it is being altered almost overnight, thanks to the rapid and loosely regulated introduction of American-based fast food chains.

Three weeks ago, McDonald’s opened its first franchise here, on a busy street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. People queued up for blocks and waited hours to get in, anxious to finally try some of that American fast food which the rest of the world appears to be so crazy about.

Last year, Starbucks opened its first outlet in Viet Nam, sensing big opportunities here with a deeply ingrained coffee culture, a young, Western-oriented population, and a well-established coffee shop scene. Within a few months of the first outlet opening, three more had sprouted up in nearby neighborhoods and more are on the way.

 

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KFC and Pizza Hut  (Yum! brands) have been here since 1997. Burger King arrived in  2011. Dairy Queen just opened its first franchise in Ho Chi Minh City. Baskin Robbins jumped in during 2012.  Dominos Pizza opened its first franchise in 2010.

Even before these companies arrived, Viet Nam had seen an alarming rise in obesity, especially in children living in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam’s largest cities. A number of factors, including rising incomes, increasingly sedentary lifestyles caused by the rise in popularity of computer games, the increasing availability of sugar laden soft drinks and a rapid increase in meat consumption have contributed. With the onslaught of the Western fast food chains, this trend will vastly accelerate.  It’s quite common now to see obese young children in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, especially in the wealthier districts, such as District 1 and District 7. According to a study published last September, ,Viet Nam already has 300,000 children classified as obese under the age of 5.

And it’s not just obesity. The number of cases of diagnosed type 2 diabetes is also skyrocketing, as is heart disease and hypertension. Nationally, the percentage of people with diabetes has climbed from 1% to 6% and in Ho Chi Minh City, 10% of adults have the disease. Given the large problems Viet Nam already has with one of the highest rates of smoking in the world (4 billion packs consumed  in 2013) and an increasing thirst for beer, the public health situation is set to deteriorate rapidly.

While the government has made some pronouncements recently regarding increasing taxes on cigarettes and putting stronger warning labels on packs, its blithely indifferent attitude toward Western fast food is curious, to say the least. Locals sigh cynically and point out that McDonald’s entered Viet Nam thru a partnership with Good Day Hospitality, which is owned by Henry Nguyen, son-in-law of the prime minister.

A Reuters article dated February 3, 2014 (and not picked up by any of the Vietnamese press)  states: Governments could slow or even reverse the growing obesity epidemic if they introduced more regulation into the global market for fast foods such as burgers, chips, and fizzy drinks, researchers said yesterday.

The article continues, “Unless governments take steps to regulate their economies, the invisible hand of the market will continue to promote obesity worldwide with disastrous consequences  for future public health and economic productivity,” said Roberto De Vogli of the Uinversity of California, Davis, in the U.S., who led the study.

 

Why cities are bad for you (and all living creatures)

Ninety years ago, we witnessed  the emergence of the public relations industry. In 1970, the 747 jumbo jet was introduced to the world, and the global travel industry exploded. During the whole of the 20th century, but particularly in the past 50 years, we have seen a mass migration of people around the world from the countryside to the cities and the birth of the first ‘megacities.’

Lonely Planet Hong Kong and MacauThese three converging factors have created  within the public relations arm of the travel companies a distinct group of writers whose job is to tout the glories and magnificence of the world’s cities. Glance at the front cover of any of the major travel magazines or the home page of the major travel sites, and you will undoubtedly see at least one article espousing the glories of a city. Often, an article will have a title such as, “Best nightlife cities,” or “Which city has the best museums.” The articles are recycled often, with just a few new restaurants and dates added to make them appear new and fresh.

 

It’s propaganda in its purest form. It is mind manipulation to achieve a number of aims. First, convince people that cities are cool, fun, exciting, happening, and just downright awesome places to visit, thus fueling the ever-expanding travel and hotel industry. Second, convince people who still choose to live in the countryside that they are missing out and that big cities are the only worthwhile places to live, thus continuing and accelerating the trend of the past 100 or so years. Finally, convince people that city living is a normal and rational way to spend one’s time here on Earth.

small-beautiful_0In fact, the truth is just the opposite. Living in the city can only honestly be described as insane. It’s just that now we have gotten so used to and inured to our insanity that we don’t even notice it. While it may be true that cities have improved in the last couple of centuries,   with advances made in the fields of sewage treatment, garbage pick-up, rodent eradication, disease control and so on, the basic tenets of living in large agglomerations remain essentially the same. As Aldous Huxley pointed out in “Brave New World Revisited,” humans are mildly gregarious creatures. We evolved over hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions,  of years living in small tribes. Biologically speaking, we are more similar to elephants or lions than we are to ants or bees. To live in crowded cities, squeezed together with millions more of our kind, goes against our genetic, biological, mental, psychological and spiritual being.

Humans grow, evolve, and thrive best when they are immersed within a small, tightly-knit community, or tribe if you will. Cities, by their very nature, go radically against nature in this respect. A city promotes the alienation and loneliness of the individual. It cuts him off from a connection to the land and bio-region. In fact, it demands that he sever all links to nature and place. The most obvious and stark example of this is the sky. With its heavy concentration of lights, the city obliterates the night sky. The same night sky that gave our ancestors the basis  for the development of their mythologies, not to mention a deep sense of humility and awe at the cosmic creation. City dwellers today take no notice whatsoever the sky and cannot even identify Venus or the phases of the moon.

 

How did we get to this place? Cities go hand in hand with ‘civilization,’ which according to mainstream history and archaeological texts, began around 10,000 years ago in the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys in present day Iraq. For some as yet unknown reasons, people started to farm, whereas before they had been content to be hunters and gatherers. Farming eventually led to surpluses. Surpluses led to guarded enclosures. Trade blossomed and with it the advent of money and currency. Soon, we had cities, and division of labor, laws, courts, armies , wars and all the rest.

Endgame-V1Derrick Jensen is one of my favorite writers and I like his definition of a city: ‘People living more or less permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and other necessities of life.’ What he’s saying is that cities are structurally unsustainable. In order for the people within a city to survive, they have to buy (‘steal’) food and resources from other regions, often hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Stop the importation and the people will be starving and rioting in a matter of a few short days.

 

 

E.F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” was published in 1973 and was still quite popular when I was in college, especially among my hippy friends. In it, he talked extensively about cities and how the rise of big cities was contributing to the dehumanization of mankind. He postulated that any city that grew above the figure of 500,000 people had tipped over into an unnatural and unsustainable state and would be thenceforth be detrimental to the health of those living within it. Schumacher himself was a student of  Leopold Kohr, a giant of 20th century philosophical thought. Unfortunately, few have ever heard of him or his scholarly “The Breakdown of Nations,” one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read. In it, he stated:

51N1F0637SL._SS500_“…there seems to be only one cause behind all forms of social misery: bigness. Oversimplified as this may seem, we shall find the idea more easily acceptable if we consider that bigness, or oversize, is really much more than just a social problem. It appears to be the one and only problem permeating all creation. Whenever something is wrong, something is too big. And if the body of a people becomes diseased with the fever of aggression, brutality, collectivism or massive idiocy, it is not because it has fallen victim to bad leadership or mental derangement. It is because human beings, so charming as individuals or in small aggregations have been welded into overconcentrated social units.

Unfortunately, the trend of people flowing from the countryside into the city continues unabated. People are attracted  by the promise of jobs, housing, and security- not to mention friends, culture, excitement, and stimulation. For every young person or couple trying to make a go of it moving ‘back to the land’ , 10 people pass them going the opposite direction into the bright glare of the city. And our so-called leaders? What do they think about these profound socio-economic trends which are altering every aspect of human existence and even the human being himself?  At the turn of the 20th century , the vast majority of Americans were still farmers. Now, fully 80% of Americans live in cities. They appear to be quite satisfied with the state of things. Governments and leaders have always been interested, even obsessed, with tracking, following, and monitoring their subjects. Cities enable this type of tracking much more efficiently than trying to do the same in the countryside. Orwellian security cameras are now ubiquitous in major cities, with Londoners now the most surveilled people in the history of humankind.

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It has been shown in many studies that the onslaught on the human nervous system from the combined effects of dirty air, noise pollution, light pollution and stress has deleterious effects. In fact, we have moved so far away from our ancient ancestors, who walked upon and slept upon the ground, awoke and went to sleep with the rising and setting sun and had a deep and profound relationship with the stars, that we can barely be called human anymore. And even that is not enough. Now , they want to move us into the ‘transhumanist’ future. Stay tuned….

 

 

 

The Sunglasses Scam. Throw them away.

Sunglasses have been with us for more than a hundred years.  At first, they were used only by movie stars to avoid recognition. The first inexpensive and mass-produced sunglasses were marketed in 1929 and by 1937 had become a fad, according to Life Magazine.

Sunglasses are now worn for two reasons:  protection from the sun and as a fashion accessory.  Manufacturers of sunglasses have taken full advantage of a wonderful confluence of events. First, celebrities and movie stars made them wildly popular and ‘cool’, and an absolute   ‘must have’ item for everyone’s accessory kit. Later, the optometrist and ophthalmology  industries began to tell the populace that sunglasses were necessary whenever venturing outside. The bogeyman that they came up with was UV  or ultraviolet light. According to these health ‘experts’, any exposure to UV light when outside carried serious risk of short-term and long-term damage to the eyes.

Not only were we not supposed to ever “stare directly at the sun,”  or “look directly at a solar eclipse” but also not walk around on a normal sunny day without the trusty protection of our sunglasses.  Just exactly how humans had survived for the past 100,000 years without sunglasses was never adequately explained.

The fact that the entire population has fallen for this marketing campaign is breathtaking, and if Edward Bernays were alive, he would surely applaud with unmitigated approval. Now, there are of course certain times when the wearing of sunglasses is necessary and beneficial. If you are skiing down a mountain on a sunny day with the glare of the sun reflecting off the snow , then surely they come in handy. Pilots at times need them. Driving your car due west while looking at a setting sun requires the use of a good pair. But for just normal everyday outdoor activity, they are not necessary.

What is particularly funny to see is people who wish to wear them simply as a fashion statement, but insist to all those around them that they are only ‘protecting’ their eyes from ‘dangerous’ UV radiation.

Visit any of the innumerable social media and dating websites and see how many people, particularly women, have a profile photo in which they are wearing sunglasses. Often, the girls are wearing the outsized ones which cover half of their face. What are they hiding? Do they really expect to attract a mate when they are hiding their face? Do they believe they are being cool? We live in strange times indeed.

I own a pair of sunglasses, but they are gathering some serious dust in my closet. I rarely take them out. First, I have no wish to be cool or fashionable. Also, I am not into Hip Hop. Furthermore, I have no need to be in disguise. And most importantly, I have no need or desire to avoid those oh-so-nasty sun rays. In fact, I welcome them.  I love sunlight. One could even say I worship it. Sun worship has a long and glorious history among humankind and I feel a kinship with all the countless thousands of generations before me who paid homage to our great benefactor.

I make a point to flagrantly and obstinately violate each and every recommendation of the so-called experts on eye health. I never wear sunglasses. I stare at the sun. I look directly at solar eclipses. I give thanks for the  energy giving photons from the sun. In the morning, the first thing I do is to stare at the rising sun and let its energy penetrate my eyes and proceed  directly into my cerebral cortex. Sungazing has innumerable health benefits and those who engage in it will attest to this.

In addition, I want to see and experience reality directly. I don’t want a filtered view of what’s going on around me. Why would I want to walk around all day seeing the objects and people in my environment in a yellow or brown tint?  I want to see you as you are, as much as I am able. Likewise, if I am having a conversation with someone and they are wearing sunglasses, I will ask them politely to remove them. How can I talk to someone if  if I can’t see their  eyes, the windows to their  soul? If a person refuses to remove them, then I simply move along…

There’s a moment in ‘Sane Man’, Bill Hicks’s classic comedic tour de force,  when he calls out a customer in the night club who was wearing sunglasses. A guy wearing sunglasses….in a dark club…at night. “Ain’t this guy cool? Wearing sunglasses inside?” He rightly ridiculed the idiot. That was back in 1989. Look what we’ve become since then. Now, I see young hipsters wearing sunglasses indoors all the time. They think it’s cool. I guess we can think the hip hop culture for this. A word to the young: Toss your silly affectations in the trash, and come back to reality. Let’s all start looking at each other with fresh eyes again. And while we’re at it, let’s acknowledge the sun as our friend, and the source of all life on this planet.

 

Chemtrails- the annihilation of our sky

I remember seeing chemtrails for the first time back in the summer of 1998. My girlfriend and I were standing outside on a clear day in Asheville, N.C. and we looked up to see a most peculiar sight. A jet was flying high overhead and was spraying a dense line of chemicals behind it. At the time, we didn’t know what they were spraying, we just knew it didn’t look right. In fact, it looked ominous and evil. I had grown up watching the sky and knew quite well what a contrail was.  Contrails always dissipate within a matter of seconds. These trails we were seeing were not dissipating at all. They stayed in the sky for hours, eventually spreading out and merging with other trails laid down by other planes to finally turn to entire sky white

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That first encounter with chemtrails was 16 years ago and the program has massively expanded since then. The scientific name for what ‘they’ are doing to our skies is ‘stratospheric geoengineering’ or just ‘geoengineering’ for short.  Government white papers and declassified NASA and pentagon papers from as far back as 40 years ago talked about the application of weather warfare and weather modification. This information is now available for anyone to read who wants to get up to speed on chemtrails and what is being done to our planet. A good place to start is here: www.cuttringthroughthematrix.com/chemtrails.html

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Chemtrail spraying is now occurring in every U.S. state, often on a daily basis, and in most countries of the world. I recently saw chemtrails in the Caribbean and in Central and South America. I am now based in Asia and the skies here are covered with this toxic soup. Here is a recent photo shot from my bedroom window. No blue skies here.

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In 2008, I moved to Portland, Oregon.  I woke up one Saturday morning,  looked out my window at a clear beautiful day, and decided to go to my local park to sit on the grass and read. I felt elated. The weather was perfect and the sky was a deep blue. I began to relax and took out my book, but then I looked up to see a jet flying high overhead, laying down a huge chemtrail. My heart sank and I felt filled with a mix of emotions: sadness, resignation, dread, and rage. I knew what was coming next- more jets and more chemtrails. And sure enough, a few minutes later, another arrived. Then from the west, more came, each spewing their toxic cocktail of aluminum, barium and strontium. The tell-tale crisscross pattern became evident and within one hour, the blue sky was completely gone, hidden now under a hazy, milky blanket of chemicals.

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I looked around me in all directions to see if anyone else was paying attention to this, or might be worried. I saw a handful of families and couples sitting in the park, but nobody seemed to be paying the slightest mind to the sky. All the people walking down the sidewalks and going about their business were oblivious to what was going on. Nobody was looking up! My initial instinct was to jump up screaming and run to everyone I could find and say, “Look, look! Don’t you see what’s happening? They are spraying us like insects.” But I knew what would happen. At best, they would think I was having a breakdown, at worst a complete psychotic break.

That scenario has been repeated hundreds of times since that day in Portland years ago. I soon moved to Seattle where the spraying was even heavier. Again, nobody bothered looking up. Often I arrived at work and grabbed my coworkers to take them outside and point out the trails in the sky and ask them, “Doesn’t that seem just a bit odd to you?” But everyone just shrugged their shoulders and replied that planes ‘have always done that.’ Even when I tried to explain the difference between contrails and chemtrails , my explanations fell on deaf ears.

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Over the past six or seven years, I have tried to come to terms with and understand why something as massive as a global geoengineering program is ignored by 99% of the population. Here we are, being sprayed from above, just as we sprayed a cockroach with a can of ‘Raid’, and nobody even comments on it, let alone protests it. Absolutely astounding.

Have you ever seen a local television weather reporter talk about chemtrails? I used to observe the local weathermen in Seattle state confidently that, because of the predominant effect of a high pressure system,  skies ‘were going to be clear’ for the next few days. And then the planes started spraying in the morning and by the evening, when the weatherman came back on for the 6 o’clock news, apparently he hadn’t  bothered to go outside or even look out the window. If he had, he would have noticed the now chemtrail overcast skies. But he  went on talking nonsense, contributing to the overtly Orwellian mind-numbing that we see taking place every day.

 

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Advertisers are now inserting chemtrail imagery into their ads. You almost never see a person standing or lying in front of a clear blue sky background. No, the ‘new normal’, and  indeed even the new model of ‘beautiful sky’ is one with long streaks of chemtrails. Hollywood studios are busily inserting chemtrails, thru the clever use of CGI,  into old movies from the 70s and further back, trying to convince the sheeple that these ‘have always been around.’ When I go to work, I turn on the computer and the Windows 7 screensaver is a blue screen with long white streaks, which then congeal into a hazy, fuzzy white blob on the bottom right corner. Hmm….I wonder why Microsoft chose that specific design for their screensaver? Out of the all the thousands of design ideas that they could have chosen? It’s conditioning and programming, pure and simple. Kids today have grown up knowing nothing but chemtrail skies. Many have never seen a clean, clear blue sky.

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Recently, I perused the wikipedia page on cloud types. I had a strong suspicion that wikipedia had been infiltrated and taken over by this gang who, just as Orwell predicted in ‘1984’, are busy rewriting history. However, I was still stunned at what I saw. Almost the entire page is a disgusting propaganda piece, unapologetically showcasing all of our wonderful new chemtrail  ‘clouds’ with fancy scientific names like, ‘noctilucent’, ‘stratospheric nacreous’, ‘cirrus spissatus undulatus’, ‘cirrus uncinus’, ‘cirrus fibratus radiatus’, and ‘cirrostratus nebulosus.’ Do those names sound familiar to you? Me neither. They just made them up. Go back and look at an encyclopedia from 20, 30, or 40 years ago and see if you can find any of those names to describe clouds.

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There is a story I read once about the Taino Indians on the island of Hispaniola. According to this story, when Columbus’s ships appeared on the horizon, the people standing on the beach were unable to ‘see’ them. The idea of strange looking ships coming from the other side of the world across the ocean was so far outside of their paradigm, that they literally couldn’t see them. The only ones who did were the local shamans. It was they who had to patiently teach and coax their people to see the ships. Perhaps we have something similar going on with chemtrails. Even if we get the slumbering and inattentive masses to look up and pay attention to the sky overhead, that is only half the work. As I told my friend years ago, to truly understand and grasp chemtrails, you have to know something about jet aircraft, weather patterns, contrails, and normal commercial jet flight paths. After you get the chemistry and meteorology down, then you need to understand a bit about how the power elite operate and their capacity to undertake and implement such a program. And lastly, you have to understand how little ‘they’ , i.e. ‘the powers that be’, care about us. It’s the 1% vs. the 99%, and in this war, we are losing.

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The government of the USA, like all governments around the world, officially denies even the existence of chemtrails, even though anyone can walk outside and the see the planes ruining our skies. Why the conspiracy of silence? If it’s for our own good, then why aren’t they telling? If they are trying to stop global warming (one theory), then they should just come clean.

Since chemtrail spraying is happening all over the world, then that in itself seems to me to be prima facie evidence of a global conspiracy and indeed a global shadow government. It’s such a huge topic and so vast in its implications that it’s hard to wrap one’s head around it. But the first step is to stop being in denial and open our eyes to what is happening to our world. View the excellent documentaries, “What in the World are they spraying?” and “Why in the World are they Spraying?” Get in the habit of being a skywatcher and convince your family and friends to lift their eyes from their smartphones and pay attention again to our skies before it’s too late.

www.aircrap.org

www.geoengineeringwatch.org

http://augureye.blogspot.com/2013/03/archons-chemtrails.html

www.chemtrailcentral.com

www.cuttingthroughthematrix.com/chemtrails.html

www.zengardner.com/category/geoengineering

Our population conundrum. Falling birthrates and demographic decline

China has recently announced that it is ‘relaxing’ its long- standing one child policy. The government of Viet Nam has made a series of recent announcements urging families, especially those in the south of the country where the birthrate has been falling precipitously, to have more babies. A recent article noted that in Japan, couples are not only not having babies, but also not getting married. Furthermore, many young people there have said they are losing interest in sex, as work has now taken a higher priority in their lives.

The government of Singapore is looking with deep concern over the country’s plummeting birthrate and taken measures to make the country more ‘child and family friendly’ with a series of tax measures and decrees to nudge young couples to make more babies. The situation is similar in Malaysia. A few years ago in Russian, Vladimir Putin went on television and literally begged the Russian people to have bigger families, as the death rate continued to exceed the birth rate, a deeply worrisome trend for any government concerned with it’s country’s survival.

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These are just a few examples among many. Indeed, all over the world this phenomenon of falling birthrates is seen.  Social scientists have a term for the replacement rate of a population, or how many babies each woman must have to maintain the population. This figure is called the ‘Total Fertility Rate’ or TFR. Generally speaking, this number is 2.1. Each woman needs to have 2 children to replace her and her husband. And since not all women have children,  and some children die before reaching adulthood, the number rises to slightly above 2.

Japan and South Korea have a current TFR of 1.2. In Singapore, it is 1.89. In Western Europe, the figures are also startling: Portugal is 1.49, France is 1.99, England is 1.66.

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Italy is a disaster. In the first four months of 2013, 8,000 fewer children were born in Italy than in the same period of the previous year. Its TFR is 1.41, which ranks it 203rd in the world. Deaths are outstripping births. For 2012, Italy had 12,000 fewer births than in 2011 and 19,000 more deaths.  The only factor that is keeping Italy’s population from shrinking rapidly is immigration.

In my country, the USA, the situation is similar. Birth rates have been declining for many decades. The U.S fertility rate fell to a record low in   2012 with only 63 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. This was the fifth year in a row in which birth rates have declined. Births in the U.S. have been below replacement level since  2007. Our population would have started declining many years ago if it were not for immigration. The U.S. has for a long time accepted around 2 million legal immigrants per year, and an unknown number of illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico.

During my travels , I have often asked young women in their 20s about their future family plans . The answers I received were similar in South America and Asia. Most of the girls replied that they wanted one child. Some replied ‘none’ and some said ‘two’. When I inquired how many children their great grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers had , they often told me: 6, 4, and 2. The trend is clear and unmistakable.

Governments and social scientists who study these trends and in many cases try to modify or reverse them look at economic causes. And many young people themselves often point to the economy and their uncertain economic status as the reasons for delaying having families or forgoing children altogether. The skyrocketing cost of private and higher education and the out-of-reach dream of owning a house are mentioned frequently. And yet, there appears to be something deeper and more profound happening here, something which nobody – neither scientists, nor bureaucrats-  has a handle on. It may be nature herself, working her plan thru unwitting humans who feel, mistakenly, that they are making rational, well-thought-out decisions based upon reason and study.

The world I grew up in during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, when the term ‘overpopulation’ was talked about incessantly and Paul Ehrlich’s  books about the ‘Population Explosion’ sold in the millions, is now over. Yes, we have surpassed 7 billion people, but the rate of increase is slowing way down  and  it seems our problem is no longer an over-populated world, but a soon- to -be underpopulated one.