It is March 2020 and a pandemic is declared. We are all part of a global lockdown. That is huge; we have never before had a global and domestic travel lockdown. Confined to our own home-bubble except for highly regulated essential movement. The virus has been analysed and found to have come from bats. Initial blame for the virus is that bats may have infected some other mammal that somehow found its way into a seafood marketplace in Wuhan, Central China. Further analysis of the situation is emerging to suggest that the virus released in the Wuhan seafood market may well have been a human to human transmission and so focus is now on the nearby biosecurity laboratory that studies bat sourced viruses. It may very well have been human curiosity opening Pandora’s box* of infectious diseases that has caused this pandemic.
If you are looking for any cosmic link to Wuhan being fated to be the spark to launch this pandemic, there are two. In the 1858 Treaty of Tianjin, ending the second Opium war that Britain waged on China. Britain demanded access to Wuhan, right in the heart of China, for trading purposes. Wuhan is strategically located at the confluence of the Han and Yangtze rivers and provided access to all the products and industry in central China. The weakened Qing dynasty had no choice but to agree and Wuhan became known as the Chicago of China as a vital trading post where several Western trading countries had land concessions and consulates. What the West finally imported from Wuhan 160 years later is a lesson for all bullies to be careful what you demand.
The second connection to Wuhan is that in 1911 the republican revolution of China was launched there. This liberal revolution led to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, the last Imperial dynasty of China that had begun in 1644. That capitalist-based system was subsequently seen by Mao Zedong and his followers as a political virus and ridding the country of it resulted in a death toll in the tens of millions before it was isolated to the island of Taiwan. In the history of virus release, it seems Wuhan has history.
But how on earth did this current pandemic cause such a global lockdown after all the extraordinary development in medical science, healthcare and global communications that we have made since the outbreak of the Spanish flu in 1918.
The dawn of the age of Aquarius broke in the 1960’s in San Francisco, rose in New York’s production of Hair the Musical in 1967, was worshipped in Bethel N.Y.’s Woodstock and welcomed to the world by the Beatles in 1969 proclaiming ‘here comes the sun“. This counterculture was singing out for a global melting pot of coffee-coloured people. We wanted to travel; to experience other cultures; create fair trade to share the wealth of the first world with the third world. We were rebelling against greed and selfishness; against hate and prejudice. It all seemed so noble but it ended up with a McDonalds photo-bombing the Giza Pyramid. Where did it all go so wrong?
The era started promisingly bringing with it both jet travel and the internet to help make the global village vision a reality. But the word of warning to humankind is the power of the mathematical phenomenon called exponential growth. Start with you as one person infecting just two people who each infect two people, who each infect two more people and you now have eight people infected; three further steps takes it to 64. Three further steps takes it to over 500; a further three steps and you are over 4,000. And that is with each person only infecting two others. We see this phenomenon in the human population slowly growing from 1 billion 2000 years ago to 2 billion 200 years ago then escalating exponentially to 4 billion only 50 years ago to 8 billion any day now. The progression takes us to 16 billion in a matter of a couple of decades, if not controlled. The damage that such exponential growth does to our planetary body is the same as a virus does to our own body or an infected body does to an entire population.
Our civilisation moved from being a boutique world 50 years ago to being a hyper-store world today. Air travel has accelerated exponentially by 80% from 2004 to 2012. With the power of technology, flight data companies like FlightAware can tell us that on any average day last year there were around 10,000 aircraft in the sky at any one time. Jets consume 150,000 litres of jetful on a 10 hour flight. We have a floating plastic ‘island’ in the North Pacific that is over 1.6 million kilometres in area. We became a world focused on globalisation and perpetual population expansion, economic expansion and mass consumerism.
It was jet travel that spread the Covid-19 virus from Wuhan to almost every geographic cell on the planet; follow the pattern of this visualisation of a 24 hour pattern of global flight, with each yellow dots representing a flight, and you will essentially be watching the transmission of this virus. But it was the internet that spread the panic.
In my domestically locked-down state I decided to do a little virtual travelling to while away the hours. I went on a visit to San Diego Zoo which in the old world would have been a 12 hour flight to LA and a car hire to drive down the California Coast. Today I was there in virtually a minute. Searching through the live cam options I decided to have a look at the penguins. I had seen penguins here on the Otago Peninsula as they emerge from the ocean after a long days fishing watched them gather together apparently discussing the days fishing success before waddling up the sandbank to their nest to feed their spouse and young and settle down for a well-deserved sleep. The San Diego virtual experience was nothing like the real natural experience. In San Diego a kindly Zoo ranger sat on a rock beside a pond and threw out bits of food to the cluster of penguins surrounding her. All except one in the background, apparently quarantined behind a wall structure. After lunch they were allowed to waddle on the small rock surface or paddle around in the pond.
That pond may be safer than the ocean and it is much easier to be hand-fed by a kindly ranger than to swim all day in the ocean depths hunting food; but it is no life for a penguin. My lockdown, consisting of passively watching passive existence in a zoo on a computer, is no life for a human either. We cannot hide away waiting for the scientists to beat nature at its own game. The common cold is a coronavirus and we have no vaccine for that; likewise SARS from 2002, H1N1 from 2009 and MERS from 2012. All are a Coronavirus infection (as distinct from flu) and we have no vaccines for any of them.
I am reminded of the shark attack scene in the Danny Boyle Movie “The Beach”. After doing all they could to try to save the victim’s life, he was then isolated away in a tent so that the rest of the community could get on with their beach life; eventually, when his screaming became too much to listen to, he was put out of his agony in an act of mercy.
This pandemic is a serious threat, but any time of threat is also a time of opportunity, and in particular a time of political opportunity. Politically the WHO organisation decided that this virus needed to be branded in a way that did not assign blame on any of WHO’s sources of income. So this virus was market-positioned as the new improved SARS, now to be known as Covid-19. Neat, catchy and appealing to the target market. The right balance between alarm and hope. I like it.
In respect to the clear message of the spread of the Covid-19 virus through humans around the globe there have been two distinctly different responses by nations. In general terms these align with the political bias of the country, taking their lead from the different political structures of the two economic giants of the world, USA and China. China is a social democracy where the government, while allowing what they see as a necessary capitalist ‘virus’ to exist, keeps it firmly under control. The USA is a liberal democracy where corporate ‘donations’ to political candidates, all the way up to the $1.6 billion dollars that the two main candidates in the 2016 US election spent, give the corporate donors significant leverage over the decisions of government. China went into immediate and severe lockdown particularly at the epicentre. Business simply shut down. Health was more important than wealth. The USA stayed open for business, saying it was not serious, it was more important to keep trading than to take a day off. Until so many workers got sick and unproductive that the “Boss” ungraciously accepted the ‘sick leave’ disruption but warned he wants them back at work very quickly. The billionaires’ club need their businesses to keep running.
Modern China evolved from the austerity of hardline communism under Mao Zedong to the social democratic system of China’s Government today. You certainly cannot argue with the economic success of that system as we have seen China emerge over the last four decades from an impoverished nation to an economic powerhouse. The Western economic powerhouse of the USA has operated, since its foundation, under a liberal democracy.
Today the whole world is being tested on which system, social democracy or liberal democracy will emerge from the Covid-19 challenge in strongest health. Will the USA President retain his position as economic leader of the world? Or is there a new sheriff in town? We don’t like having our personal freedom restrained for social good but on the other hand, personal freedom is so often abused by individuals to the great cost of society. Not least the freedom to breed beyond the parents, or the planet’s, ability to support those children with the basics of a healthy life. In local politics we will wait and see whether, when we go to the ballot box, PM Jacinda will be seen as a Joan of Arc or a Florence Nightingale; Head Nurse of the National Sanitarium who’s job is now done and done well, or CEO of NZ Inc. whose job is yet to be done.
We have a perception that viruses are by definition malevolent. In fact many are simply benign and some are actually an essential part of life, performing vital functions. But all life forms live with the reality of viruses. In many cases they form a natural culling process; and being natural this is for the greater good. And it is not only nature that culls life forms. We humans, who were given reign of all the birds and beasts, will regularly cull wild animals when they are becoming so numerous as to cause ecological damage. We need only recall humans deliberate release in 1997 of the cruel rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) virus to cull the rabbit population in New Zealand.
The earth is a living organism and has strong immunity, but it still needs to take appropriate measures to maintain its good health. When humans become the problem for the health of the earth then it is nature which is called on to resolve the problem. While records were not accurately taken, analysed and shared globally a hundred years ago, our best estimates today are that the Spanish flu killed about 2% of the world population. Initial data from China suggested that was similar to the Covid-19 impact. Two percent does not sound a lot but that was approximately fifty million people worldwide. If this Covid-19 virus cannot be contained and has the same impact as the Spanish flu, that would equate to a culling of 150 million people off today’s global population of 7.5 billion. Pro rata, that would be 26 million from China; 6.6 million in the USA; 1.3 million in the UK and 100,000 in New Zealand. On the plus side 1.3 billion of the healthiest people in China would survive, over 320 million of the healthiest Americans and 4.9 million of the healthiest kiwis would also survive. The ‘median human’ on the planet would be slightly younger and notably healthier and, probably, more controlled with their consumerism. Natural selection is about the survival of the species, not the individual; it has always been thus. Modern healthcare should minimise the human impact, allowing for those who, given age and health, would have died with Coronavirus but not primarily of Coronavirus. The biggest impact will be the global economy across all age and socio demographic profiles as the world consumption of disposable goods and air transport shrinks to a level that Gaia can more readily cope with.
*The story of Pandora’s box begins after the victory of Zeus and the Olympians over the Titans in the war of the Gods, Zeus gave Prometheus and Epimetheus, even though they were Titans and Zeus was Olympian, the task of creating the first creatures to live on Earth. Prometheus asked Zeus if he could let man have fire. Zeus refused as fire was only for the gods. Prometheus ignored Zeus and gave man fire anyway. For this, Prometheus was punished by torture.
This torture of Prometheus wasn’t enough for Zeus who believed that humans should also be punished for accepting the gift of fire from Prometheus. To punish man, Zeus created a woman named Pandora. She was created to look like the goddess Aphrodite. She received the gifts of wisdom, beauty, kindness, peace, generosity, and health from the gods.
Zeus brought her to Earth to be Epimetheus’ wife. As a wedding present, Zeus gave Pandora a box but warned her never to open it. Pandora, who was created to be curious, couldn’t stay away from the box and the urge to open the box overcame her. Horrible things flew out of the box including greed, envy, hatred, pain, disease, hunger, poverty, war, and death. All of life’s miseries had been let out into the world. Pandora slammed the lid of the box back down. The last thing remaining inside of the box was hope. In spite of all the ills of life, mankind will always have hope.
So from today it is 2020, whatever that really means. Traditionally it would have meant 2020 AD, Anno Domini, in the year of the Lord. Two thousand and twenty years since the birth of Jesus the Christ. The AD/BC calendar only came into being in 525 AD; created by a monk, Dionysius Exiguus, so that everyone in Christendom could align their calendars and celebrate Easter on the same day. There was a schism between the Orthodox Christians of the East and the Roman Christians of the West and Pope John 1 felt the need to synchronise Easter globally. The Pope adopted Dionysius’ calendar for all nations under his control.
Historians have now concurred that Dionysius was out by a few years in his calculation. From the gospels we know that Jesus’ family fled to Egypt to avoid Herod’s slaughter of the innocents but historians know that Herod died in 4BC. The Gospel also said the family went to Bethlehem to register for the Census of Quirinius, Governor of Syria, but Quirinius was appointed to that post in 6AD. The inability to reliably use BC/AD to align with true historical events is why historians now refer to CE (Common Era) and BCE. My identification of a likely star of Bethlehem puts the birth at 6-7 bc.
But whatever year it happened, the birth of Yeshua, son of Myrium, by way of a visitation by non-earthly beings and consequential artificial conception, and adopted son of Yasaf, has probably been the most influential event of the Common Era.
And this is where things get really interesting from a cosmic viewpoint. You will recall I have written about the Great Year whereby the earth moves around each of the twelve houses of the Zodiac over a period of 25,920 years, giving us an average time in each house of 2160 years. Well according to this cosmic observation, based on the location of the sun at the March equinox of the year, we have been in the house of Pisces for the past 2,000+ years (Click photo to enlarge).
The name ‘Pisces’ means the fish. The symbol of Christianity is also a fish and had been adopted as such by the Greeks about two hundred years prior to Dionysius. Jesus first recruited fishermen as his disciples and told them they would become ‘fishers of men’. The miracle of the multiplication of the fishes and loaves features as a significant event in the Bible and the ‘153 fish miracle’ was the demonstration of the miraculous powers of the resurrected Jesus.
Pisces is ruled by the planet Neptune and is known as the water planet; the mission of Jesus was first announced with Jesus’ baptism in the waters of the Jordan River and to this day adoption into the Christian faith is done by baptism with water.
Pisces health is characterised by issues with the feet (fish were never meant to walk). It is a practice of the leaders of Christianity, beginning with Jesus himself, to ceremonially wash the feet of the common people.
Pisces is also characterised by the creative arts. Indeed the last few hundred years of the age presented the greatest surge of artistic creativity in humanity’s known history. In painting from the renaissance period of Da Vinci and Michaelangelo through the phases of impressionism of Monet and Van Gogh to the cubism of Braque and Picasso. The Renaissance also saw the invention of the printing press and the emergence of great writers of the era such as Shakespeare and Chaucer.
The previous age was Aries, dating from approximately 2100 bc. Aries is a fire sign ruled by the planet Mars which has the characteristics of male aggression, strong passions, relentless determination and a direct, uncomplicated approach in carrying out their ambition. While much of global history BC is unrecorded, the Age of Aries did seem to climax over the latter five centuries with almost constant battles amongst the main civilisations of Greece, Persia, Sparta, Egypt, Rome and China. Some of the most notable generals were Alexander the Great, with thirteen years of conquests of seventy cities between 336 and 323 BC; Qin Shi Huang 258-210 BC was the founder of the Qin dynasty and was the first emperor of a unified China; Julius Caesar lived from 100BC – 44BC and conquered most of Europe including Britain.
That is not to say the age of Pisces was without war; far, far from it. But war took on a totally different guise. While Aries was characterised by blunt, transparent ambition of military leaders, Pisces by contrast was a sheep in a wolf’s clothing or in Piscine terminology, a shark in a dolphin suit. It started with Emperor Constantine absorbing the established Christian Church under his control and using the Christian Church as Rome’s divinely-authorised cover for it’s political, military and economic control of Europe. This was followed by the Crusades against Islam, the Inquisitions against Protestants and the sending of Christian missionaries to conquer the souls of South Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Indians and Filipinos. Conquest in the Age of Pisces was done in the name of a patriarchal religion and its higher authority. It conquered by fear and it was, commercially, very successful. The Church of Rome which dates right back to the strategic takeover of Christianity by Emperor Constantine of Rome became the wealthiest institution on the planet.
The astrologers tell us we are now in the early stage of the age of Aquarius. If that is true, what would that mean, if anything, in our day to day life? While you would think Aquarius is a water sign, it is not. It is one of the air signs; preferring intellectual debate over emotion. Aquarius is symbolised as the water bearer, a humanitarian sign bringing water to the thirsty and quenching the parched earth. The emergence of the climate response by the millennial generation seems clearly a sign of the times.
Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus; the planet that governs innovation, technology and surprising events. Indeed I have to concede that our new religion is technology. Today our people increasingly consult Google, not the priest of a patriarchal religious corporation, to seek the answers to life’s mysteries. Our reverence towards Gaia, the earth, is growing. We ar developing renewed respect for paganism (from pagani, Latin for ‘person of the countryside’) in our quest for organic and free range food supplies. Increasingly we are using machines to do much more of the work from factories to hospitals while humans travel from one conference to the next to have intellectual conversations about the state of the world and humanity. I hope that the most obvious problems of overpopulation and disparity of wealth will be solved by technology; it is the smart decision. And we know that if we do not solve it then Gaia will do it for us.
I wrote the above at the same time that, unsuspected by me, a mystery new virus was already on its mission to do the job for us. Oddly our leaders spent time during the critical early weeks of the outbreak debating the name we would give it as though it was a commercial branding exercise. Diplomatically it could not be identified with any location or race. It’s brand name became Covid-19, complete with typography, design and colour scheme. As though by branding it we could gain control over it. Perhaps even market it for commercial or political profit. When will we ever learn?
We had failed to address the fundamental issues by ourselves; the gift of technology was being corrupted and abused. By March, due solely to an unseen virus that can defy our technology, the skies are almost clear of jet planes; the polluted air over congested cities has cleared to show the colour of the sky and heavens; the flood of waste into our oceans has slowed to a trickle; huge amounts of the oil extracted from the bowels of the earth sit stored and unburned. And we are, as a global civilisation, finally forced by nature into a state as close as close to unity as we have ever known in our 12,000 years of this era of our civilisation.
I am a thoroughbred Pisces; born in the age of Pisces, during the March equinox under the star sign of Pisces, on the night of the new moon and with the ruling planet of Neptune in retrograde. In 2020 I feel a bit like a fish out of water but I have no doubt that the Universe knows what it is doing. Aquarius, I think it is your time.
Is the average temperature on earth higher today than it was a century ago when industrialisation expanded throughout the globe to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population? It is actually not as easy as you might expect to find the answer amongst the plethora of press releases from the climate alarmists. From all the micro data that the climate alarmists are extracting, analysing and dispensing, why is it so hard to find a simple list of actual seasonal temperature recordings over the last one hundred year period in any given location? Instead we get charts of variations of temperature from the norm (although rationalising what ‘the norm’ is and when the norm supposedly happened seems to be just ignored). They provide charts of ‘moving averages over years’ with the years selected to ‘prove’ a trend entirely at the writer’s discretion. And while the internet is absolutely overwhelmed with alarmist headlines, basic, actual temperature data over 100 years, separated by season is very, very hard to find. But I eventually did find one. It was from Britain. Have a look at these actual seasonal temperatures over the last hundred years in the country that birthed and led the industrial revolution and tell me where you see any temperature trends that would alarm you.
So as a brief scan, in Central England in 1912, the year the Titanic sank and the coal miners went on strike, the average winter temperature was 5.36, spring 8.53, summer 17.55 and autumn 10.39.
At the start of the ‘Boomer’ generation in 1948, winter was 5.13, spring 8.75, summer 17.50 and autumn 11.15.
In swinging 1965, the year Gen. X was born, winter was 3.28, spring 8.43, summer 15.71 and autumn 10.40
In 1981 the year the ‘Millennials’ arrived on earth, winter was 4.33, spring 9.17, summer 15.06 and autumn 10.12
And at the dawn of the 21st century winter was 5.35, spring 9.49, summer 16.45 and autumn 11.57.
I could take three summers spread over this period of 2000, 1948 and 1912, draw a connecting line and claim that the climate has since cooled by 1 degree over the century. I would not do that of course, three points over a 90 year span does not make a valid data base. Yet the alarmists fill the media and internet with no more than micro data snippets to make their claims. So just look over the above 100 year chart as a total group or a random handful and just ask yourself, do these temperatures alarm me?
According to the best astrophysics information we have, our temperatures are, unsurprisingly, linked with the natural orbit of the earth around the sun, which is a changing environment and by no means a perfect circle as we might have assumed. Milutin Milankovic, a contemporary of other mathematics and physics geniuses Einstein, Minkowski and Tesla, demonstrated the way our solar system works.
In brief, Minkowski identified that there are three cycles contained in the way earth orbits the sun: elliptic, tilt and precession. The elliptical plane changes shape quite dramatically every 100,000 years. It moves from an orbit of being more round to being more elliptical. In its more elliptical phase earth spends a longer time further away from the sun. Unsurprisingly the cycles of glaciation of the planet also have a 100,000 year cycle, or at least have done so over the past 600,000 years that Milankovic was able to include in his calculations.
Milankovic’s calculations connecting solar radiation levels with glaciation, even in temperate climate zones, remain valid today having been constantly reviewed with all the computing support to which modern astrophysicists have access. According to NASA’s earth observatory, Earth’s orbit changes its eccentricity over the course of 100,000 years from nearly 0 to 0.07 and back again.
When the Earth’s orbit has a higher eccentricity, the planet’s surface receives 20 to 30 percent more solar radiation when it’s closest to the sun than when it is furthest. During a glacial period the planet cools as the earth spends less time closer to the sun and more time further away from it; so the air dries out and water levels fall as liquid is transformed to ice. Land bridges start to become available and islands appear where before they were part of the sea bed.If the cycle repeats the pattern of the the past 600,000 years then we are now at the peak of the warming cycle and will, over the next few thousand years begin the cooling slide back to glaciation when in 90,000 years time, ice sheets will again cover North Europe and North America,
The second change is in the tilt of earth. This moves between 22.1 degrees and 24.5 degrees over a period of 41,000 years and this tilt effects the severity of the seasons. Earth is currently in the middle of this range.
The third cycle is the precession of Earth caused by a slight wobble similar to that of a spinning top. Currently Earth’s axis has been pointed north towards Polaris, also known as the North Star. But Earth’s gradual precessional wobble means that in approximately 2,000 years the north star will be a dimmer star called Errai. As the Earth progresses through its a precession cycle, the orientation of the planet is altered. This wobble also effects the level of solar radiation striking different hemispheres of earth as it proceeds around the 360 degrees.
If we just look back 400,000 years we have scientific consensus from both sides of the climate debate on the temperature cycles as per the chart below. And all agree that the cycle started to cool down again about 6,000 years ago. What we don’t have consensus on is ‘where to from here?’ As below, the alarmists little arrows project, with no mathematical base that I can see, that the temperature heads rapidly due north towards a hell on earth scenario. They state that the cooling of the planet over the previous 6,000 years suddenly u-turned just 100 or so years ago when industrialisation, motorised transport, steam ships and smoke belching trains started to take hold around the globe.
They ignore, of course that even today, with a population passing 7.5 billion compared to 2.5 billion in 1950, human- generated C02 represents only 3% of total C02 which was confirmed in this EPA document (click to enlarge).
As a brief history of our climate in this current ‘inter glacial’ period, when the last glacial episode officially ended Canada was still under 2+ kilometres of ice and it was possible to walk across the Bering straight from Eastern Europe to North America. Aborigines could also island hop from South East Asia to Australia as could the Celts cross from Europe to Britain. Our planet had been in that ice age for the previous 100,000 years. Over the first 6,000 years of this inter-glacial phase the ice mountains melted and the oceans rose dramatically, submerging islands and causeways and possibly even a small continent if the legend of Atlantis has any basis in fact. The sea height has levelled out since then.
Basing projections on historical patterns, which are linked to the orbit of the earth around the sun, we are in fact right now coming towards the end of a cosmic Indian Summer and we will gradually move back towards a much cooler planet and in about 90,000 years we will again have Canada, Northern Asia and Europe all underneath kilometres of ice sheet.
The reason for the heightened anxiety of the alarmists is that today our scientists are micromanaging data and constantly tweeting bite size doomsday headlines that simply are not supported by the bigger picture trends. The climate works in tens of thousands of years, not in months. The last time humans went through this climate cycle they were blissfully unaware of the fact that there even was a cycle; it was a pleasant and warm time and they probably just enjoyed it; a few hundred generations later the climate was comparatively much colder, but they did not know it was colder because they had no records to analyse; it just was what it was. Too much micro analysis of climate data on a month by month basis is just creating hyper anxiety and panic.
But ‘getting it wrong’ is not the reason I speak up against the climate alarmists. It is because they have the right problem for the wrong reason and that makes them counter productive to solving our environmental challenges. It is because, even as they march on their Friday strikes and fly around the globe in their thousands to attend conferences and draft resolutions, they are just plucking temperature levels and deadlines out of the air about when we may reach the point of no return which target seems to be a shifting landscape. In 2008 the tipping point was predicted to be 1 August 2016; in 2016, following the Paris Agreement which set 2 degrees as the tipping point, IIASA (science institute) policy brief said we had until to Dec 31 2020 to keep warming under 2 degrees; as that date approaches the 2019 climate summit in September says we can still get under the 2 degree tipping point within 12 years so that takes us out to 2031. Prince Charles is a little more optimistic and thinks we have until 2050. And now there is another big pre Christmas conference in Madrid, delegates from 200 countries, they apparently need to tidy up some details from the 2015 Paris Christmas party, oops I mean conference, and maybe review the next tipping point date.
Fossil fuel over-use is not a problem of climate, it is a problem of health. Instead of talking about the ‘invisible demon’ C02 and the inevitable ‘Mad Max’ scenario, all because of the industrial sins of our forefathers, we need to be talking about investing in better technology to reduce lung-damaging air pollution in our cities. We need new technology to prevent pollution of our farming soils and our waterways that poison our food and water sources. When we get rid of the climate doomsday message and focus on health solutions then we might start making some progress. Right now the climate alarmists are only creating a climate of doom and hopelessness. And that carries the risk of being a self-fulfilling prophesy.
1) Vostok ice core: a continuous isotope temperature record over the last climatic cycle (160,00 years): Jouzel, J., C. Lorius, J.R. Petit, C. Genthon, N.I. Barkov, V.M. Kotlyakov, and V.M. Petrov. 1987.
2) Extending the Vostok ice-core record of palaeoclimate to the penultimate glacial period.: Jouzel, J., N.I. Barkov, J.M. Barnola, M. Bender, J. Chappellaz, C. Genthon, V.M. Kotlyakov, V. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, J.R. Petit, D. Raynaud, G. Raisbeck, C. Ritz, T. Sowers, M. Stievenard, F. Yiou, and P. Yiou. 1993.
3) Climatic interpretation of the recently extended Vostok ice records.: Jouzel, J., C. Waelbroeck, B. Malaize, M. Bender, J.R. Petit, M. Stievenard, N.I. Barkov, J.M. Barnola, T. King, V.M. Kotlyakov, V. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, D. Raynaud, C. Ritz, and T. Sowers. 1996.
4) Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica.: Petit, J.R., J. Jouzel, D. Raynaud, N.I. Barkov, J.-M. Barnola, I. Basile, M. Bender, J. Chappellaz, M. Davis, G. Delayque, M. Delmotte, V.M. Kotlyakov, M. Legrand, V.Y. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, L. Pepin, C. Ritz, E. Saltzman, and M. Stievenard. 1999.
The star of Bethlehem is the defining cosmic symbol of the birth of Christianity. The star that attracted the three Magi to travel for several months to bear witness to the birth of the Messiah. The one who would be king of the Jews. This of course made the three magi themselves also an essential part of the birth of Christianity and yet we never hear of them again in the books of the New Testament..
We read in the bible they visited the Court of King Herod on their journey and were instructed to report back to him when they had found this royal baby. We read that after the Magi witnessed the birth they returned to Persia by a different route to avoid Herod; and we read that Herod then issued orders for all Jewish males under the age of two to be slaughtered to ensure the death of this potential threat to his line.
We also read that Mary and Joseph were warned of the threat and departed urgently with their new born for Egypt; and that when Herod died two years later, the family returned to Judea. But after that we read very little about Yeshua (subsequently amended to Ioasus by Greek scholars and later Romanised/Anglicised to Jesus). The only reference during his first thirty years of his life was a time that the family went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. We read from the bible that Yeshua, at age twelve, astounded the Hebrew scholars with his knowledge of scripture; but then we know nothing again of Yeshua’s young adult life until he publicly began his ministry with his baptism at age thirty, quite a mature man by the standard of the day.
He was baptised by John, the son of his mother’s cousin although we also know nothing of their relationship prior to that point. We have no idea where he gained the knowledge that he impressed the scholars with, or where and how he spent the subsequent eighteen years preparing for his mission to gather “the lost sheep of Israel”. His mission appeared directed against the religious hierarchy of Judea who had ‘turned God’s house into a den of thieves’.
What was the wandering star that caused the Magi to set off around 6bc (minor errors in creating the modern Gregorian calendar have demonstrated that the birth of Jesus would not have been at the beginning of 1ad as we assume. King Herod the great, who is also central to the nativity story, is recorded to have died in 4bc.
Computers today enable us to actually back-trace the location of planets and even comets two thousand years ago. An obvious first point to check is whether the star of Bethlehem was Halley’s comet on its regular circuit. But that passed through earth’s sky in 12bc, at least 5 years before the birth. Apart from which, in ancient times, comets were considered forerunners of catastrophe, not the joyful birth of a saviour.
Of interest, the original Aramaic text of the Magi’s explanation is that they had seen Yeshua’ star “in heliacal rising.” This means a star that appears immediately prior to sunrise. The most significant planetary observation is the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn which make an exceptionally bright ‘star’. This alignment randomly appears in different constellations each time but when it occurs in the constellation of Pisces it is recognised as the Star of David.
It was Johannes Kepler, the father of modern astronomy, who had studied the writings of a medieval Jewish scholar, Rabbi Abarbonel, and discovered the significance to the Jewish people of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which together shine like a superstar, in the constellation of Pisces. This alignment was regarded as the ‘star of David’. Kepler also calculated that during 6-7 bc this alignment of Jupiter and Saturn made the rare appearance in Pisces and was in fact a triple conjunction, occurring three times in the period. This has been confirmed by modern computer-generated calculations as occurring in 6bc on May 22, October 8 and December 2 with the heliacal rising of Jupiter in the dawn sky. This is a very plausible source of the legend that a king to restore the line of David would be signalled by this ‘star of David’ appearing. With such a favourable birth star in Jewish beliefs, Yeshua was well worth a lifetime of training by the leaders of Persia to become a future leader of Judea and Israel.
So the Magi were literally looking for the Jewish baby boy born under the star of David. This would certainly spark the interest of Magi given such a rare conjunction and even more so spark the alarm of the current King of Judea, Herod. Triple conjunctions are rare, the next after 6bc was 786ad, and the next after that in 1583. A triple conjunction in Pisces, the Star of David, is even more rare. It should also be noted that this time was also when the vernal equinox was moving from the age of Aries into the age of Pisces, the fish. This is notable with the significance of the symbol of the fish in Christianity. The last 2,000 years with the vernal equinox in Pisces has certainly been the age of Christianity. The Spring equinox is now changing to the age of Aquarius.
So what then became of the three Magi? The Magi were the astronomer-priests from Persia, adherents of the religion founded by a Persian astrologer/ philosopher named Zarathustra. It seems peculiar that three foreigners who followed the religion of Zarathustra, an opposing religion to Judaism, would be summoned by the Jewish God, Yahweh to witness the birth of Yeshua for no other reason than to bring gifts and then depart. But yet the Bible speaks no more of them. There is a reference in an excerpt from a medieval saints calendar printed in Cologne which read, “Having undergone many trials and fatigues for the Gospel, the three wise men met at Sewa (Sebaste in Armenia) in A.D. 54 to celebrate the feast of Christmas. Thereupon, after the celebration of Mass, they died: St. Melchior on Jan. 1, aged 116; St. Balthasar on Jan. 6, aged 112; and St. Caspar on Jan. 11, aged 109.” The Roman Martyrology also lists these dates as the Magi’s respective feast days.
So did the Magi play a real part in the mission of Yeshua throughout his life? Did they continue a role in his education after his birth and the family’s return from Egypt? Did Yeshua live with them in Persia to prepare for his mission? And did they see his mission as purely spiritual to bring Zoroastrianism to Israel or as the cosmically anointed inheritor of the kingship of David to restore the sovereignty of Israel as a defence against Rome?
Rome was a serious enemy to Persian Empire and Judea was right on their western border; it was earlier ruled by Persia before Alexander the Great conquered them. So it was certainly in the Persians’ political interest to have an allied, independent Judea between them and Rome. Whatever you think of this theory, clearly the Roman governor of the time and his Jewish religious puppets took the possibility seriously.
It raises the question about just how much influence the Persian magi had on the politics of Judea and whether they were continually working towards the eventual 66AD great uprising of religious zealots in Galilee and Judea when the Romans were actually finally driven out of the region. If so it was a short-lived victory as Rome returned with a vengeance in 70AD and the Jews were driven from the land which was given to the Philistines.
Incidentally the next great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be in November/ December 2020. I can’t wait, but this one will be in Capricorn, not Pisces so don’t expect a descendant of David to appear in Israel.
That is earth on the left of the sun with Mars behind us. Top of picture the giants Saturn and Jupiter (father and son in Greek mythology) one behind the other in direct line with the sun, forming a superstar.
Here is a thought, when the first mother of our species was ‘created’, it was done so by the accumulation of trillions of atoms to form a ‘mass’ that is a human mammal with all the operational functions that we think of as making us distinctively human.
In order to understand how we humans came to be, first we have to understand exactly what ‘mass’ is and what is involved in the mechanics of forming it. I will start with our solar system, I could keep going out further but our own solar system is far enough to make a point. So we start with the biggest bit of mass in our solar system which is of course… you in the back row! yes you! daydreaming??? what is the biggest object of mass in the solar system? The sun? Yes of course it is the sun. Then we step down then to Jupiter the next biggest bit of mass, skip over a couple and make your way down to earth, and within earth we have rocks. And what is all this mass made up of? It is all molecules and they all work as a team to form a mass of something. And so it is with every lump of mass in the solar system, from rocks to planets to a sun, everything of mass has a molecular structure. For perspective, about 45 billion, billion molecules would make an object the size of a dice.
But what makes up molecules? Well that, of course, is our old friend the atom. The ancient Greek philosopher Democritus first theorised that all matter would continually be divisible until it gets down to a point where it could no longer be divisible and that point he called an atom. Atom literally means indivisible. It was the invention of the cathode ray tube in the 1890’s that enabled physicist, JJ Thomson, to ‘see’ the effect caused by an atom within the beam of light and in his experiments he identified the electron, the negatively charged cloud within the atom.
The cathode ray tube is what enabled the creation of television, which is the transfer of particles to enable us to see in one location what is happening in another location. It is interesting to note the 1926 prophesy of famous inventor Nikola Tesla:
“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles, and the instruments through which we shall be able to do all of this, will fit in our vest pockets”.
Here he accurately predicted the cellphone but also identified that the earth is simply a huge brain that can enable communication between all the particles that make it up. In fact this same description can be applied to the whole universe.
The fact that all atoms are cloaked with the negative energy charge that we call an electron is the reason we cannot walk through a brick wall. Like forces repel each other as any kid playing with a magnet knows. So it is when your negatively charged atoms try to walk through the negatively charged atoms that are the brick wall. And if the wall has trillions more atoms bonded together than your body, because different chemical elements contain different numbers of protons, neutrons and electrons, then you are flat on your arse with a lump on your head.
Our own Ernest Rutherford worked out that there was more to an atom than just this negatively charged electron. And so with experiments he identified a nucleus within the atom. It wasn’t easy to spot because atoms are not big things. I am reliably informed that about a million of them standing one behind the other would bridge the width of a needle. And if we then imagine the atom as the size of a basketball, the nucleus would be the size of a marble inside it (about 1:1000).
Following on from that he eventually found the proton, the little positive charge housed within the nucleus. He named it ‘proton’ after the Greek word ‘protos’ meaning ‘first’.
Rutherford then discovered that he could disintegrate the nuclei of nitrogen atoms by firing particles from a radioactive source which, in turn, resulted in the release of fast protons. This was the first ever artificially-induced nuclear reaction, a breakthrough that would lead ultimately to nuclear power and the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. But while smashing atoms into each other may change the structure of the atom, he did not end up with two half-atoms split down the middle as the common language would imply. An atom does not die, it always was and always will be.
In 1932 an English physicist, James Chadwick, identified the neutron, the neutral particle within the nucleus and finally we had the trinity of energy that makes up the one atom; the positive, the neutral and the negative, like the red, green and black wires in the cord that turns on our light.
Moving onwards to us humans, as well as other animals and living plants, and we discover that after our atoms sort themselves out into the appropriate molecular structures (seven billion billion billion molecules make up a 70kg human; so I am probably a tad over 7 billion billion billion). Of this, almost 2/3 is hydrogen, 1/4 is oxygen, and about 1/10 is carbon. These three molecular structures add up to 99% of the total human. The molecules then co-operate to create cells, over 30 trillion of them in fact (although again I might be a tad over that).
So how do all these atoms, molecules and cells actually cohabit within a body in a way that does not create chaotic collisions everywhere? Communication. It is what makes the world go round. Just as humans walking down the street by intuitive cooperation and unspoken signals of communication do not continually bump into each other, so too quantrillions of atoms have a communication system that allows them to co-operate harmoniously and creatively avoiding bumping into each other; and they create more communication systems within the molecules and cells that they create.
Once all the required cells have produced a mammal such as Eve, a few of them form into a pea sized gland called the pineal and happily nestle between the two hemispheres of her brain. In fact this is the first gland to be created in the human body after initial conception. You may recall an earlier blog where I wrote about the cultural and religious significance we have historically given to this tiny, pine-shaped gland. I concluded that this little gland may in fact be our human router connecting our PC (brain) to the universal internet. Do we have a built in universal wi-fi? If so is it this wi-fi that connects us with all other groups of atoms also connected (other humans and mammals) by their pineal router and enables us to co-operate, avoid bumping into each other and live in harmony (unless our ambition or hunger overrides such harmony)?
When you ask a physicist to describe an atom he or she will tell you:
- It is invisible to the eye. We can only perceive its existence by its effect on things we can see.
- It is three elements in one.
- It is eternal. It had no beginning and has no end.
- It is all-powerful. It creates the universe and everything in it.
- It exists everywhere. There is nowhere that the atom is not present.
I was raised in Christian schools my entire school life. I know by heart the Christian theologian’s description of God. It is as above, word for word.
Einstein was once asked what it was like to be the smartest man on earth. He replied, “I don’t know, go and ask Nikola Tesla.”
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) just never sustained the level of public acknowledgement that Einstein has, and that was probably all down to hairstyle. In the world of marketing, Einstein just looks like a crazy genius. He is memorable. So much so that I don’t need to put up his image here, it is one of the most recognisable profiles in the modern world. That is why Doc Brown in the “Back to the future” movie series was made up as an Einstein lookalike. And Einstein developed a pithy little E=MC Squared catch-cry. Hardly anyone knew what he meant, but it sounded good and it became a byline for genius.
On the other hand, Tesla just looks like any ordinary, slightly dapper, man on the street in the late 19th/ early 20th century. Whereas Einstein developed theories about space and time, about gravity in the universe, Tesla harnessed the dynamics of vibrations in the atmosphere. Following the scientific experiments of the Scot, James Maxwell, and the German physicist Heinrich Hertz during which invisible waves were generated by electromagnetic interactions, Tesla was the man who could grasp these experiments and transfer the technology to highly advanced practical use. But while Tesla did not get the academic recognition of Einstein, he also did not get the commercial success of Guglielmo Marconi. Marconi was credited with the invention of the radio receiver/ transmitter in Italy in 1895 at only age 21 and was granted the patent for wireless technology for which he was awarded a Nobel prize and from which he continued his wealthy family’s fortunes. However Marconi’s patent was subsequently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1943 (six months after Tesla’s death) when it was proven Tesla had invented a radio transmitter/ receiver prior to Marconi and presented it during a demonstration to the National Light Association two years earlier in 1893.
Tesla is also responsible for developing the laser beam and recognising the potential for this technology in developing particle beam weapons of such mass destruction that he believed their invention would end war through fear of mutual annihilation. In 1918 Tesla is reported to have directed a laser beam to the moon. His work on particle beam weapons can be traced all the way back to 1893 with his invention of a button lamp, which had all the components necessary to create a laser beam; and to his work with X Rays when, in 1896, Tesla was photographing X-rays over distances up to 40 feet. Tesla was also involved in experiments with shooting cathode rays at targets. The laser beam has had the most profound impact on our technology today, from precision medical equipment at the positive end to precision military equipment at the other end.
Tesla introduced the game-changing use of alternating current power supply into his inventions when the corporate world was still totally fixated on Edison’s direct current power supply. In 1930 he invented a motor with rotating magnetic fields, widely used in household appliances, power tools, disk drives, electric wristwatches industrial machines and compressors. Corporate and government interests were certainly not interested in an alternative to oil powered vehicles at that time.
Today, of course, the new technology of electric cars owes its development to Nikola Tesla. The Tesla motor company that has pioneered high performance electric cars, is named in his honour because they recognised that without Tesla’s vision and brilliance in creating the induction motor with alternating-current (AC) power transmission their car would not be possible. Tesla Inc also specialise in energy storage and solar panels.
Nikola Tesla died alone in his hotel room, in New York, in 1943, in debt. His limelight extinguished, his audience moved on. Despite his lack of academic fame and commercial fortune, Tesla is the man who had a vision of a future with intelligent cars, robotic human companions, the use of sensors and autonomous systems all came about because he understood, in a very practical way, the invisible vibrations in the universe. But, just as he recognised his ability to harness these vibrations to remotely control a boat on a lake or a beam of light into space, Tesla recognised that we humans are also being controlled by these same vibrations in the universe. “The human being is a self-propelled automaton entirely under the control of external influences. Wilful and predetermined though they appear, his actions are governed not from within, but from without. He is like a float tossed about by the waves of a turbulent sea.”
In 1942, a year before his death, Tesla said “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” The flow of waves of energy at different levels of frequency and vibration have been shown to effect all nature, including humans, in a very practical way. The joyful birdsong at dawn is a high frequency sound, around 5,000 herts. It is a sound that awakens and energises nature for the coming day. Experiments have shown that plants showed a 700 percent increase in efficiency of absorbing nutrients when exposed to high frequency classical music. This frequency actually helps the little pores on the plant’s leaves called stomata to open up. So lots of birds with high frequency bird song mean lots of plants.
Compare the dawn birdsong at 5000 hz with the frog croak at night of 250-500 hz. With music in 120-125 hertz range you begin to hear the kick drums and bass guitar. These lower frequencies produce an energy-draining effect and they are actually felt as well as heard. The lowest frequency sound waves are called infrasound. They’re produced by machines such as motors, household appliances, air conditioning systems. Again studies have shown that these low frequency waves can cause symptoms such as nausea, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, vibration of internal organs and a feeling of oppression.
Solfeggio frequencies were sound frequencies used in Gregorian chants to alter the state of mind of those chanting. These are the six Solfeggio frequencies:
UT – 396 Hz – Liberating Guilt and Fear
RE – 417 Hz – Undoing Situations and Facilitating Change
MI – 528 Hz – Transformation and Miracles (This is the exact frequency used by genetic biochemists to repair broken DNA – the genetic blueprint upon which life is based!)
FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships
SOL – 741 Hz – Awakening Intuition
LA – 852 Hz – Returning to Spiritual Order
A 7th note has been added to the modern music scale in the form of a “TI,” as in the “DO, RE, MI, FA, SO, LA, TI” vocal scale. The whole music scale provides a balance of energy, raising and lowering it. Awakening and resting in a natural cycle. Over-exposure to one end or the other will have a significant impact on the human mood, energy and stress levels. Whether it is the constant high energy vibrations exposure to electronica dance parties when nature is saying it is sleep time or the constant low energy throb of machines during the day when you should be awake and alert, both upset the balance of nature. Note the changes in your physical and emotional state when you are, for example, exposed to long periods of a high pitched dentist’s drill or the thud of a jack hammer on road works or even the drone of an aircraft engine over a long flight. Harmony with nature requires that all nature, including humans, is in cyclical sync with the universal waves of raising and lowering energy levels in a wave pattern.
Homo Sapiens might have evolved as the most intelligent species on the planet, but when it comes to our sense of atmospheric vibration, we have our limitations:
Audio: Humans can hear sound at frequencies from as low as 20hz up to about 23,000 Hz. However many animals can also hear ultrasonic frequencies. Dogs hear sounds up to 45,000 Hz and cats up to about 64,000 Hz. But beyond 23,000 hz, humans may as well be deaf. If an alien civilisation is trying to contact us above 23,000 hz, they are wasting their time. The sound is actually there, in the atmosphere, but either our eardrum cannot detect such high vibrations, or the signals from there to the brain are simply discarded for our own safety. Or perhaps because such sounds are cosmically on a ‘need to know basis’ and are considered above humans’ pay grade. If there is contact by clairvoyants with the deceased then it would probably occur because they can sense vibrations below 20hz. In the 1930’s another unacknowledged (or ‘discredited’) scientist claimed he was selectively and successfully destroying cancer tumours in humans using only sound frequencies. His name was Royal Rife and, following in the footsteps of Tesla, he built a microscope so powerful that he could watch cells move and discovered that all cells have their own unique vibration frequency. By using a generator set at that same frequency he claimed he was able to selectively destroy pathogen and malignant cells. The Rife machine is still used today as an alternative treatment for various illnesses however it has never been adopted by mainstream medical practitioners.
Visual: We know that light vibrations that are below 430 Thz or exceed 770Thz simply do not transfer to our consciousness. Cells in the visual cortex appear to discard the information. So if the light vibration is outside our range, we may well ‘see’ it, but we don’t know we saw it. To our mind it was invisible. The phenomenon of the process of the eye transferring data to the consciousness could explain anything from magicians’ illusions to actually seeing ghosts that may drift in and out of our conscious spectrum. We are aware, particularly from reports from sectors like police, ambulance, nursing homes, of the effect of a full moon on human behaviour. The full moon sends strong light vibrations at a time when a natural pattern is for humans to sleep. This clearly is emotionally disruptive to humans, especially so to those who are particularly light vibration sensitive as no doubt sensitivity to light vibrations may vary from person to person. Having a light bulb on in a prison cell 24 hours a day is a recognised form of human torture.
Colour is no more nor less than vibration as the pure light is broken into particles. Red is in the 430-480 Thz (terahertz) vibration range. Orange 480-510, yellow is 510-540, green 540-580. Colour is, in fact, technically an illusion. Like the vocal scale, dark colours tend to be sombre and emotionally draining while bright colours are more energetic and enthusiastic. The Chinese will decorate a restaurant in red to stimulate appetite, a woman may dress in red to do likewise, although a different type of appetite. A business suit is generally in dark grey, unless you are a cheap car salesman when it might be green or light blue. A funeral is black, a wedding is white.
Pressure: Many animals and birds ‘feel’ the vibration of earthquakes well before they happen. Reports from earthquake analysis regularly contain reports of mass animal and bird evacuation in the hours or even days before an earthquake actually erupts. Humans do not have that level of sensitivity, or at least are not conscious of it. But sometimes people do sense that there is something there that their eyes just cannot see; perhaps our pressure sensors can feel it (a sensation that makes the skin crawl or hairs stand up on back of our neck), but the light vibration is outside our range of being conscious of seeing it. That may even occur with the moon, for it may not only be the light vibration that disturbs our mind. The moon does not travel in a perfect circle around the earth, it travels in an elliptical pattern. Throughout its cycle it can be anything from 364 thousand kilometres away from us to 405 thousand kilometres. The circuit of the moon is held in place by electro magnetic force of attraction. Or gravity. This electro magnetic force, or pressure vibration, then varies by up to 11%, compressing and expanding energy waves during the lunar cycle, or month. The pressure cycle does not directly coincide with the light cycle. This month, April 2018, the moon is furthest away from Earth (405,000 kms) during the last quarter, a week before the full moon and is closest to earth (364,000 kms) in the first quarter, the week before the new moon. The pattern in three months time, July, is that the moon is closest during the new moon 364,000 kms and furthest during the full moon (405,000 kms). But we would have to expect that pressure vibrations, while totally invisible, have an equally powerful effect on our minds and emotions.
Consider the difference on our mood and emotions between a brisk shower and a soothing bath. Between a tickle with a feather and a deep tissue massage. Those pressure variations are similar to the difference between hearing a lead guitar and a bass. Between wearing a black dress and a red. Its all vibrations.
No doubt there are times when over exposure to a particular vibration can upset the equilibrium and require a circuit breaker to reset the system, but fundamentally we do need to trust the system, trust the cosmos. There is a time to have our senses on high alert, to have our stress level peaking, when time appears to slow down for us and we can respond effectively to threats or opportunities. And there are times that we need to go into emotional hibernation. But either must be a temporary state. Sometimes we just get stuck in one vibrational phase or another and need a circuit breaker, a reset by sound, sight or pressure. That’s what music, sunsets, hot tubs and massages are all here for.
And if there are no vibrations? Good question, I am glad you asked. In my recent blog on Time, I speculated that time may simply be the electrical pulse transfer process from sensation to the consciousness via the pineal gland. This process shuts off sound above 23,000 hz, light above 770 Thz and pressure at whatever level makes it too late for us to escape before an earthquake strikes. I could further speculate that this transfer process correlates to the length of the vibrations of the sound, light or pressure wave. Without the vibration, the wave flatlines. Perhaps then our consciousness no longer has a concept of time. Everything just ‘is’.
I guess we will all find out…… in time. Meantime, just ride those good vibrations.
I was watching Winston Peters announcing from the London meeting of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers that Britain was now keen to resurrect the glory of the British Empire by putting together a trade deal between we proud members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Pub quiz night: name the 52 members, outside Britain, of the Commonwealth of Nations. Did you get to 10? If so I think you are well above average. Did you get Lesotho, Tuvalu, St Kitts & Nevis, Belize, Malawi, or Swaziland? This Commonwealth has 19 African members, 7 Asian, 13 Caribbean & American, 3 European and 11 from the South Pacific.
The total GDP of these 53 nations is $US11 trillion which sounds impressive until you note that China on its own has $US12 trillion GDP and the USA has nearly $US20 trillion GDP. But if there is anything ‘common’ about them it is certainly not ‘wealth’. The top 4 countries in the group (UK, India, Canada and Australia) account for 75% of the total group’s GDP. The top 11 (where New Zealand is #11) account for 95% of the whole group’s GDP. So 42 countries out of 53 (79%) bring in only 5% of the total group’s GDP. The Commonwealth includes the three poorest countries on the planet. In the same pub quiz, name them! Answer = Kirobati, Nauru and Tuvulu. Bet you didn’t know any of them.
This Commonwealth alliance that today has little practical reason for being, has also bugger all chance of ever being a trading bloc especially when you consider that Commonwealth members Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia already belong to TPP bloc; India and South Africa already belong to BRICS; Cyprus and Malta are in the EU and the African nations have their own trading blocs.
We, the Commonwealth of Nations, are the largely-abandoned urchins of the British Empire who were left to fend for ourselves after Lady Britannia decided to go back to her Eurochums’ social circuit after their two little W.W.s were all forgiven and forgotten. Yes we do meet up for family games every few years, and play a bit of cricket together which is jolly good fun, but thats as far as it goes. If we ever go to visit mother England we will stand and wait in the foreigners’ queue while the Germans are welcomed through lovers’ lane.
But now there are spats in the Euro love nest, mainly about Angela the Hun letting riffraff in through the back door (not intended as a euphemism, but with Germans who knows?). But Britain is committed to leaving the European Union and so, whatever eventually happens with Brexit negotiations, Britain will be short of a few quid for a while and that is likely to make the rabble a bit restless and looking to bring back the guillotines. And like many an absentee parent finding themselves hung over, short of a few quid and debt collectors knocking, she remembers the forgotten family and reminds them that we are still family. So last week the Queen called a meeting of all the heads of their global families, perfectly timed right after the fun of the family games in Australia and immediately before her grand birthday party to which they had all been invited. She told them that she thought that we, as the family of the British Empire, might like to setup some sort of a trade thingy between us and, since she was getting a bit wobbly on her pins, perhaps we should put Charles in charge of it all. Did she really mean all 53 members of the Commonwealth? That would be an enormously daunting prospect for a trade deal, particularly given the disparity in populations, locations, cultures and economies. The EU only has 28 members and our Trans Pacific Partnership has twelve members. Is Charles the man with the experience and charisma to pull together the biggest trading bloc on earth? Especially given that 79% of the members account for just 5% of the wealth.
But perhaps I am being cynical? Maybe its not all about the size of your GDP. One thing Charles would bring to the leadership of any trade alliance would be a focus on ecological sustainability. You have to admit he was all over this ecological crisis way back when we could still swim in our rivers and drink tap water. And he has approached the challenges in a far more practical way than all the attention-seekers floating around in little boats with banners. Since buying Highgrove, a 15-acre estate, in 1980, the Prince has personally overseen its transformation from pasture land to what is now regarded as one of the most important gardens in the UK. His rejection of chemical pesticides and promotion of species once considered weeds attracted criticism in the 1980s long before the boom in organic gardening. His estate even includes an innovative sewage treatment system, using only reed beds to cleanse waste water from the house. The reed-bed waste system is an artificial wetland that converts sewage back to clean water, while allowing the solid matter to be returned to the soil in the form of manure. He has even built a biogas plant in Dorset to supply gas from food waste to 56,000 homes.
Is the Prince of Wales now girthed, girded and ready to lead the CommonWealth, re-named as the CommonHealth of Nations, in a global eco-war reminiscent of the Crusades? Fifty three disparate nations united under the banner of King Charles the greenheart, re-inventing trade within the commonwealth with a war cry of ‘sustainability before profit’. Is this the Royal intent?
I would love to think so, but I am quite sure the tragic reality is that Britain really does think they can resurrect the old bones of their 19th century trade Empire, or at least the ten biggest of us, and have us committed to all buying British solely to help balance their books after Brexit. In the words of Daryll Kerrigan, Australia’s only philosopher, “tell ’em they’re dreamin’.”
“I’m off to Cuba on Saturday” said my old mate Chinny; “I’ll send you back a poster of your hero Che Guevara, since you are too feeble to actually come with me, see Cuba for yourself and get your own poster.”
Harsh words from someone who is supposed to be a mate. Doesn’t he realise I have a golf game on Monday morning? I can’t just take off halfway around the world on a whim. I have responsibilities, I have commitments. Anyway Chinny wanted to know why I wanted a poster of a murdering terrorist. So that started the whole debate between us as to when a murdering terrorist might actually be an heroic freedom fighter removing corruption and greed from the world by whatever means it takes.
The Che Guevara legend came to the fore during the third movie of my favourite ever trilogy, The Godfather. Michael Corleone was in Cuba with all his mafia gangsters, plus a collection of senior USA government and legitimate corporate representatives celebrating the 1959 New Year, as New Year’s Eve party guests of Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban military dictator.
Cuba was full of magnificent art deco hotels and casinos, flashy American cars and all the glam of the USA 1950’s. At least it was glamorous for the gangsters, the big businessmen, corrupt politicians and the American tourists; the peasants lived in poverty. But that was the night that the socialist revolutionary Fidel Castro and his second in command, Che Guevara, took over the government of Cuba. Che Guevara was not a Cuban. His name was not Che. Nor was he just an uneducated, peasant soldier who worked his way up the ranks of Castro’s revolutionary army.
Ernesto Guevara was born into a wealthy Argentinian family (Che is the Hispanic term for an Argentinian) and was of mixed Irish/ Spanish blood; some would say that bloodline made him born to be a revolutionary. He was studying medicine at the University of Buenos Aires when he decided (twice) to take time off from his studies to travel on a motor cycle up through northern Argentina, Peru and Chile. It started as an adventure but the abject poverty, disease and corruption he witnessed turned this adventure into a lifetime mission. He went back to Buenos Aires and finished his medical degree and then set off again through Latin America determined to make the world a better place. He was drawn to socialist organisations and soon became involved in assisting President Arbenz of Guatemala to introduce social reforms into that country.
Unfortunately Arbenz was overthrown, with CIA assistance, and the young Guevara went north to Mexico. In 1955 he married Hilda Accosta, an influential economist who introduced him to Cuban revolutionaries visiting Mexico. It was at this time he met Fidel Castro and he had found his great mission in life. From Mexico Guevara sailed to Cuba. While initially he brought his medical skills to the revolution, such was his political intellect and his unwavering military pragmatism, he soon became Castro’s second in charge. One of the twentieth century’s greatest revolutionary partnerships was born.
After the success of the Cuban revolution, Che undertook several important government roles in Cuba including agrarian reforms and establishing a nationwide literacy programme. He trained the military forces that repelled the USA’s disastrous invasion at the Bay of Pigs which internationally embarrassed the Americans. He is also reputed to have treated the 2,000 political prisoners without compassion. The death penalty was mandatory.
Immediately after the revolution Che married fellow Cuban revolutionary Aleida March and they had four children together. He became a global statesman, an honoured guest in Russia, China and Africa. But over the next few years he came to be at irreconcilable odds with Castro over Cuba’s economic policies. As a statesman he had become disillusioned with the Russian socialist model favoured by Castro and far more inclined towards the Chinese model. History would have to say, in retrospect, Guevara was right in his assessment. Cuba’s population/GDP ratio today is almost identical to Greece which is not a great achievement for the Castro rule. Relatively speaking, NZ has under half the population with over twice the GDP. On any social or economic scale, it appears that Cuba is worse off now than it was before Castro took over. Before Castro, Cuba spent 4% of its GDP on education, the same % as USA and higher than anywhere in Europe. Before Castro, Cuba had more doctors per 1,000 population than Great Britain. Ideals are all very well, but if you cant create the wealth, you can’t deliver the social programmes. Castro did change Cuba from being a country with a disproportionate distribution of wealth, but unfortunately converted it to a country of almost universal poverty.
So, disillusioned with Castro’s economic policies, Che Guevara resigned his government posts in 1965. He dropped out of sight for a while but then turned up in the Belgian Congo, supporting the revolution there that eventually renamed that country Zaire. From there he made his way to Bolivia where he took an active role in fighting alongside local revolutionaries. On 8 October 1967 Che and his small band of guerillas, were captured and executed by the Bolivian forces, supported by the USA military. They were buried in secret graves that were not disclosed for 28 years.
1997, his remains were repatriated from Bolivia to Cuba where they are housed, along with the 29 revolutionaries who died with him, in a huge mausoleum at Santa Clara. Fifty years after his death he remains a folklore legend.
Nelson Mandella was a contemporary revolutionary of Guevara. Mandela was born to the Thembu royal family in South Africa. Like Guevara he was university educated. As a lawyer he became involved in anti-colonial politics joining the ANC in 1943, committed to the overthrow of apartheid. He was also a Marxist and a member of the South African Communist Party. In 1961, in association with the SACP he co-founded the militant group “Umkhonto we Sizwe” and led a sabotage campaign against the government. He was arrested and imprisoned, not an unfamiliar experience, but this time it was for 27 years. He was released in 1990 after years of international protest and sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid policies. Through surviving, Mandella became the poster boy for the victory over apartheid. The first democratic elections in 1994, when black South Africans were given the vote, saw Mandella become President of South Africa. Although a marxist by history, Mandella maintained the established liberal economy in South Africa. The collapse of USSR communism in 1991 and the economic changes in communist China clearly influenced his economic direction. He died peacefully of old age in 2013. Mandella may be said to have been a revolutionary, but in reality he was a protester whose greatest achievement was surviving 27 years in prison until the political landscape changed. The difference between protester and revolutionary is the difference in lives between Mandella and Guevara. One buried in prison for 27 years, the other buried in an unmarked grave for 28 years. Now both have grand memorials to deliver messages to the world.
Bin Laden may have been the closest we have seen of a modern day Che Guevara. Bin Laden, born into a wealthy Saudi family, travelled to Afghanistan to join the guerilla fighters to drive out the Russian invaders. A noble cause. A brave and intelligent fighter. A leader of men. But Bin Laden crossed the line. Bin Laden targeted non-combatant civilians in his war against the West. He may have claimed justification in his actions by citing the indiscriminate drone attacks of the USA on Arab targets, but if he wanted to be respected as is Guevara, he had to hold the high moral ground. He needed to discipline himself and his followers to restrict his fight to the soldiers and the spies; to those who invaded Afghanistan and involved themselves in the affairs of another sovereign nation. He had to let the West be exposed as the side that was indiscriminately murdering civilians, if that is what was happening. Through undertaking revenge of the innocents against other innocents, Bin laden has caused the creation of the new, oppressive global ‘security’ industry. Bin Laden has single handedly given governments in the West the legitimacy to spy on its citizens, to arrest and torture suspects and disrupt our travel movements.
Undoubtedly that was his intent. Creating fear amongst the enemy soldiers is the role of a guerilla freedom fighter. Creating terror amongst the non-combatants is criminal terrorism. Guevara may well have killed his political enemies without mercy, but it was war and they were active participants in that war. And Guevara died in battle, fighting to the end, taking his socialist war to wherever in the world he believed it was needed. Bin Laden died while in hiding in a hovel from the Americans. Now, 50 years after his death, Che Guevara’s legend as a freedom fighter lives strong. What Bin Laden’s personal legacy will be in 44 years remains to be seen. But so far there is no grand memorial built to his memory.
The book writers and screen writers, the poets and the songwriters may disagree whether Che Guevara was executed as a terrorist criminal or martyred as a fighter for justice and humanity. I won’t enter the debate here but if, thirty years after your death, your body is repatriated and honoured with such a massive mausoleum, then history respects you and honours you for doing something important and meaningful with your life. I would love to have gone to Cuba with Chinny on Saturday, specifically to Santa Clara. If only I didn’t have that golf game booked in.
Footnote: True to his word, this poster arrived in the mail from Chinny.
Footnote #2: 8/8/2018: I got an email from Chinny last night asking if a postcard he had also sent me had arrived. I responded in the negative and, being over four months ago, I wasn’t holding out any hope now. Then today this postcard appeared in my letter box. Unbelievable. After 20 weeks it was arriving in my box at exactly the same time Chinny suddenly remembered that he had sent it. Probably just a weird coincidence, nothing to do with Che himself sending me a message, naah.
What is time? is sounds a simple question but is one that has been intruding into my sleep time, so I posed it to Dan and Isamu over morning coffee. ‘What is time?’ I asked. ‘Its a noun’ said Dan. Then mumbled something off the cuff about organising things with it. End of conversation. Dan is a retired school teacher, but clearly off his game. The coffee had not yet arrived.
If Dan was on his game he would probably have said that, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, time is “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past present and future regarded as a whole.” He would then have presented a slide show with his laser-light pointer to demonstrate his definition, thus:
The Vacheron Constantin model 57260 pocket watch, named the “Tivoli”, was built by three watchmakers over eight years for one client and is a complex and sophisticated monitor of the procession of time.
The front of this watch is the side with the gold Roman numerals up top. There’s an astronomical calendar, which includes a display of the phases and age of the moon, a hand that tracks the movement through the Zodiac along with the equinoxes and solstices, a rotating sky chart, hands showing both hours and minutes for sidereal time for telling the difference between sidereal and solar time. Sidereal time tracks the earth in relation to the stars instead of in relation to the sun and differs from solar time by plus or minus a few minutes. You can also see what time the sun will rise and what time it will set in the watch owner’s home city as well as how long the day and night will each be on that day. There are three full calendar systems in this watch. The first is a Gregorian perpetual calendar that includes displays for the date with a retrograde hand, day of the week, month and year in the leap year cycle. There are also indicators for the number of the day of the week and number of the week in the year in accordance with the ISO 8601 standard calendar. The second calendar is a Hebrew perpetual calendar. This shows the Hebrew name of the day, Hebrew name of the month, Hebrew date, Hebrew secular calendar, Hebrew year, whether the year has 12 or 13 months, where in the 19-year lunar cycle that year is, and the date of Jewish holy day Yom Kippur, which moves around the calendar. It has a Double retrograde split-seconds chronograph and…. it also tells the time. The hours and minutes are shown with regulator-style hands, meaning the hours and minutes are on separate axes. The small gold hands show a second time zone.
This is how time is measured in a practical day-to-day way. But it does not explain the mind’s perception of time; of how, when Dan is supervising an examination room, time for him drags at a snail’s pace whereas time for the students, with so much to do, races like a mouse (a house mouse’s actual top speed is 13kmh while it ‘feels like’ 260kmh. another time-distorting example). This pocket-watch device is simply the measure of our observation of the motion of our planet in relation to the observable environment in which we exist, but is that all there is to time?
I needed more. If Dan had been a retired Physics teacher he might have said that, according to Minkowski, who was Einstein’s Professor, time is the 4th dimension of Space-Time, additional to the three spatial dimensions of length, breadth and depth. This formed a basis for Einstein’s theory of relativity. While the watch is a time-based micro management tool, Minkowski and Einstein were trying to understand macro time in a past, present and future sense. But what does this 4th dimension mean? The three dimensions of space are easy enough to understand because we can see them, but no-one seems to quite understand how time works as a 4th dimension.
We do know that we process information about our universe in a delayed sense according to the speed of light. The furthest star in the Southern Cross group is 364 light years away. So when looking at the Southern Cross tonight the furthest star is, to our eye, as it was when Oliver Cromwell ruled England and the closest star in that constellation is 88 light years away, showing us what that star was like when Franklin D Roosevelt was President of the USA. This is simply the nature of the universe, the further something is from us, the slower the delivery of awareness of that something. Therefore the further out from earth we look the further back in time we see.
So we have mechanical devices that monitor time as observed by the rotation of earth relative to the moon, sun and other stars; these devices are in fact no more than human inventions by which we try to control time, without which the organisation of our civilisation would fall apart. We also have a theoretical, invisible ‘fourth dimension’ formula that Minkowski and Einstein understand, but which is incomprehensible to the vast majority of humans. And we also know that light, or the speed of it, seems to have a real effect on ‘time’ in a cosmological environment. So is time the effect of the motion of our planet on our lives, a fourth dimension of nature or is it simply the product of the motion of light particles? Or does time perhaps really only exist in our minds?
This brings us to observe a tiny gland buried in our brain, right between our right and left hemisphere. It is illustrated here in green. We call it the pineal gland, because it looks like a pine cone, even though it is only the size of a pea. In fact the Sumerians referred to the pine cone shaped gland in clay tablets thousands of years old, which is extraordinary medical knowledge to have had so long ago. The ‘sacred’ nature of this gland was also known thousands of years before modern science now tells us that this gland produces melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone which modulates sleep patterns in both circadian and seasonal cycles. Melatonin is a structurally simple hormone that communicates information about environmental lighting to various parts of the body. Ultimately, melatonin has the ability to control biological rhythms. The light-transducing ability of the pineal gland has led some to call the pineal the ‘third eye’. The pineal gland is also capable of making a compound called Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT is a powerful psychedelic chemical released during extraordinary states such as time of birth and the time of death. DMT is also the chemical that induces our dreams of life in a timeless state.
The pine cone symbol has appeared in religious and spiritual images for thousands of years. Depictions of Hindu deities are interwoven with both literal and symbolic representations of serpents and pinecones. The Egyptian Staff of Osiris, dating back to approximately 1224 BC, depicts two intertwining serpents rising up to meet at a pine cone. A statue of the Mexican god “Chicomecoatl” (“Seven Snakes”) depicts the deity offering forth pinecones in one hand, and an evergreen tree in the other. Those who have visited the Vatican may recall the large pine cone sculpture that is displayed and which was built by the Romans, in pagan times, as a fountain alongside the temple of Isis. The pine cone symbolism is common throughout Greek and Roman art in reference to religion and it is hypothesised that the pine cone is the “fruit from the tree of life” referred to in Genesis. With all the references to serpents, it should be noted that, even today, the serpent remain the emblem of the medical profession.
So how did I get from a multi-million dollar customised pocket watch to a pea-sized pine cone? I was wondering that myself. Are we still talking about time? Yes we are, well about time and the absence of it. I am now wondering if time is the mechanism that our brain uses to process data. Our brain needs to organise events in a sequential list just to comprehend them and manage our lives.
Those yogis who achieve a very deep meditation state through the awakening of the ‘third eye’ put themselves into a state of timelessness, as do those under the influence of the psychedelic chemical DMT. Those who have returned from a near death experience, Anita Moorjani and Dr Mary Neale being two of the more famous living examples, also experience this timeless awareness. The pineal is the first gland to be created in the body, one month after conception, and is the last functioning part of the body at death with a great psychedelic shot of DMT to take us into the next dimension of body-less timelessness.
And in that timeless sense of time we are describing what the Greeks referred to as “Kairos” as distinct from “Kronos.” Kronos is a god associated with sequential time and is represented by the scythe-yielding, cloaked and hooded old man, Father Time, leading us all to the grave. His Roman name was Saturn and the sixth planet from the sun was named for him. From ‘Kronos’ comes the word ‘chronological’. Kairos refers to time being a “timeless moment’. In Greek mythology Kairos is a young heroic god, youngest son of Zeus and the spirit of opportunity. But it was said you needed to seize Kairos from the front as he approached because, once he has passed, not even Zeus can seize him. Often this moment of opportunity is represented in movies, when the hero is suddenly aware of the heroine for the first time, by voiceless sounds, slow motion action and surreal lighting. In the book of Ecclesiastes phrase “to every thing there is a time”, time is translated in the first Greek Bible as Kairos. In Wm Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the quote “There is a time in the affairs of men” also refers to Kairos.
Our universe is made of three dimensions, space, mass and time. Space is then split into three dimensions: the light reflecting space, that which we can see; light absorbing space (black holes); and the dimension of wormholes, a space version of the laundry shute in a multi-storey home). Mass is also split into three, height, length and width.The universe is the ultimate example of mathematical symmetry and so we can reasonably presume that time also has three dimensions which would then bring us to the great number 9 in universal majesty. We only know of lineal time, it has a beginning, middle and an end. Ancient Hindu texts speak of reincarnation and also of elevating to different ‘houses’ in the universe. So perhaps a second possible dimension would be a time loop when at the end of one sequence of time you loop back to the beginning, reborn where you started. Live through the same time zone again; of course things would be different if everyone is going back to the beginning of their life; different decisions change all circumstances. The same people but the deck is shuffled differently. Maybe when we experience deja vu, or when we dream or get a sense of some spiritual force, maybe that is just our us connecting briefly to ourselves in another dimension. And is a third dimension of time when we eventually break out of that loop and move through a time wormhole to another level of time. That would be a long way into the speculative theory zone for us in this lineal time dimension. But perhaps that next level is manifested in what we know as the visitors/ guardians/ aliens? When ‘man would eat from the tree of life and live forever’. (Genesis).
So, is that pea-sized, pine cone shaped pineal gland just our brain-computer’s wi-fi device connecting us to the universe and transferring us between three dimensions of time? And I confess I am not even sure what I mean by all of that or where such speculation came from. Did I just dream that up?
Goodness is that the time? Doesn’t it just fly by when you are immersed in writing? I must get off to bed; my melatonin levels are signalling that I need eight hours of timeless downtime from this game of life. I need to sleep…..to sleep perchance to dream. (credit: Hamlet, an avatar of Wm. Shakespeare).
I have predicted, of late, that we are watching the decline of the American Empire. I say ’empire’ but, like the British empire, America’s empire is not a legal entity in the sense of actually having an emperor like Julius Caesar, Suleiman the magnificent or Napoleon. But in the modern context I refer to empire in the sense of dominating global currencies. By that criteria, America ascended the imperial throne at the end of World War 2. England was poking its military nose around the world back in the 17th century and by the late 18th and 19th centuries their manufacturing technology and their formidable navy led to domination of global trade, through India, Africa, Hong Kong, the South Pacific and the Americas.
All was going well for the Brits during the 19th century but by the early 20th century America was starting to get the better of their balance of trade. The USA now had their own cotton gins. However Britain still remained the centre of world commerce and much of the global trade was conducted in British pounds and all major currencies were pegged to gold bars.
Then came World War 1. It was such an expensive war that many countries, Germany in particular, had to abandon the gold standard to pay military expenses; those currencies devalued rapidly. Three years into the war and even Britain needed to borrow money to keep going and the Yanks were there to help out. Britain was forced to abandon the gold standard and the British international merchants who traded in pounds found their bank accounts severely depleted. The greenback $US was now the leading reserve currency.
When World War 2 broke out the US stayed out of the conflict for a long time but nonetheless profited greatly from the war as the main merchant of weapons, ammunition and supplies to the allied forces. They required payment for most of it in gold and by the end of the war they held most of the gold on earth in Fort Knox.
The Americans only entered the war after they were personally attacked at Pearl Harbour by Japan which was an ally of Germany. Playing a major role in ending the war in Europe gave them the opportunity to claim top of the table seat on the global international stage. In 1944, delegates from forty four Allied countries met in Bretton Wood, New Hampshire, to come up with a system to manage foreign exchange that would not put any country at a disadvantage. It was decided that the world’s currencies couldn’t be linked to gold, but they could be linked to the U.S. dollar, which was linked to gold. The agreement was that the central banks would maintain fixed exchange rates between their currencies and the U.S. dollar. The United States would then guarantee to redeem U.S. dollars for gold on demand.
So now, instead of gold reserves, other countries accumulated reserves of U.S. dollars. Needing a place to store their dollars, countries began buying U.S. Treasury securities, which they considered to be a safe store of money. Now one country’s currency virtually replaced the international currency of gold. How would that work out? Well all went jolly well during the relatively peaceful decade of the 1950’s. America was Camelot. Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy were the three great emperors of America. I say peaceful, but WW2 had actually delivered two contenders for world domination, the USA and the USSR. The allies tried to buy a compromise, splitting both Germany and Korea into Russian/American zones of control. Russia tagged China to support the North Korean communists in their war against the south and USA and that war ground to an unresolved stalemate. And then came Vietnam. Russia had shown no interest in Vietnam until USA decided to throw bags full of money to support the French to suppress communism in North Vietnam. That is when Russia began to get interested and in 1954, the kitchen got too hot and the French pulled out. The start of a very expensive war that, in my opinion, started the collapse of the American empire. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy launched an ambitious and expensive “Great Society” social programme intended to end poverty and racial discrimination in America. Or effectively to try to prevent what was now becoming a very nervous cultural divide in America. Much of the proposed funding however went into an increasingly expensive war in Vietnam and the late 60’s exploded in violent cultural riots.
The collapse started, as the creation had started, with the greenback. The war had became so expensive, in addition to the “Great Society” domestic programme, that in 1971 Richard Nixon had to abandon the gold standard and flood the banks with paper money. This created the floating exchange rates that we have today. However despite large deficit spending, trillions of dollars in foreign debt and unlimited printing of US Dollars (the last incidence was the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8) the U.S. Treasury remains the world’s reserve currency because the world trusts that the US will always remain solvent. The US gross domestic product is way ahead of anyone else at $US18.5 trillion. That is bigger than the whole BRICS (China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa) trading bloc combined.
But everything balances tentatively on trust and confidence. The trust and confidence that the US is politically stable enough to maintain its economy. What could possibly shake that trust and confidence?
His name is Donald Trump. He did not cause a cultural divide in the USA, but he is the highest profile manifestation of it. There is a cultural chasm in America that the rest of the civilised world did not really understand. Not until the good old boys motivated themselves to get sufficient numbers to the polls to elect Donald Trump and he has shown us all very clearly what a problem it is for them. It appears that the Civil War never ended because although militarily defeated, and laws forced upon them, the hearts and minds of the South were never changed. The cultural difference is as entrenched as any tribal conflict in the middle east. It may have been suppressed by the force of law, but mainly it was suppressed through lack of leadership from the south to stand up and raise the Confederate flag once again. Donald Trump was seen as that man. He talked the Confederate talk. He promised brick walls against the Mexicans, the gates closed to Muslims.
The original English migrants in the early 17th century were the Puritans escaping religious persecution in their home county of East Anglia. They settled in Massachusetts and brought their distinctive East Anglia twang with them which was the basis of the general American accent, albeit modified by other European groups that migrated to America, especially New York.
But it was the Royalists (Cavaliers) who left south and southwest England in the mid seventeenth century to the safety of America when the civil war in England broke out. They left because they opposed the “Parliamentarians” wanting more power over governance. They brought a completely different culture of royalist aristocracy opposing ‘government by the people’ to America and with it they brought the distinctive South England drawl. They settled further south in Virginia and the Carolinas. They bought vast tracts of land and grew tobacco and cotton crops. They imported slaves on British slave boats and exported their cotton and tobacco to England. They established a social hierarchy where even the serfs were happy for their aristocracy to run the politics and businesses and for the slaves to be lower on the social structure than them. And that formed the basis of the southern lifestyle that the Confederates went to civil war to protect. Charlottesville August 2017 demonstrated that the surrender in 1865 was only a cease fire, not a capitulation. The month after Trump was sworn in the Charlottesville Council voted 3-2 to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee. In August a riot broke out as white supremacists marched opposing the removal. The confederates had declared war. General Robert E Lee had his army in support once more. The Liberals also turned up ready for the fight. A white supremacist drove a car into a crowd; a woman was killed and 19 people injured. Trump appeared unconcerned. White nationalists and neo-Nazis celebrated US President Donald Trump’s remarks about the protests when, after being pushed persistently to make a stance, he denounced violence “on all sides” rather than explicitly condemning white supremacism. After two days, following massive pressure from his own camp, Trump added “including KKK, neo Nazis and white supremacists.” No one believed him. Racism is alive and strong in the USA, has Trump as a sympathiser and is the basis of the great cultural divide.
Washington DC is making life very difficult for Trump. Even Trump would agree that being president with so many enemies is no fun. He knows who likes him, those good old boys down south and the mid western solid rural folk. Significantly, after Charlottesville, polls showed Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Dakota: North and South, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia are all in the 50-60% Trump approval rating in Sept 2017. Florida and Georgia are close at 48%. Suddenly the states don’t look quite so united.
Would Trump be the sort of guy that would see himself as general Robert E Lee reincarnated? Would he like a general’s uniform with medals and would he like to establish a royal, ruling Trump family dynasty? Yes I do think he might like all thatWould he relitigate the South’s old claims? Would they follow him? Especially the strategically vital and lucrative marginal state of Florida?
If he declared Florida as the capital of a new country his Mar a Lago home becoming the presidential palace then I think Florida would lap that up with Georgia following like a lamb. Finally has the Mid-West/ South got enough money to fight a war with the Yankees? Did you think they were just chicken farmers and moonshine bootleggers after the civil war?
Actually, very wrong. Texas is the second largest economy after California. Apart from the bigger than anywhere farms bringing in huge agricultural revenues and ten billion barrels of oil, they have NASA there and all the spinoff aero-tech businesses that brings. North Dakota is the next largest oil producer with a very respectable 5.7 billion barrels of oil. Mississippi is full of huge hi-tech, high wage factories including the $1,4 billion Russian owned Severstal steel mill producing steel for cars. the Yokohama tyre factory, Nissan factory at Jackson, GE Aviation at Hattiesburg, Hybrid Plastics, one of the top ten nanotechnology producers in the US. They have a Rolls Royce engine building plant, a navy shipbuilding plant and a plant building unmanned helicopters for the navy. Mississippi is a busy little state. Tennessee has GM and Nissan car plants, 142 solar power companies, manufacturing plants for Whirlpool and Electrolux, Eastern Chemical and Delta faucet companies. Tennessee has won economic “State of the Year” award in 2009, 2013 and 2014. And Florida does more than a bit of orange juice too. It has the fourth largest economy in the US behind California, Texas and New York. Florida produces over $100 billion worth of food; 70% of the country’s citrus and in the winter months supplying 80% of the country’s fresh fruit and veg. It’s aerospace and aviation businesses contribute over $140 billion. The Florida tourism industry employs a million people, 10% of the workforce, and earns $US54 billion pa. Allied to tourism is that Florida is also full of wealthy retirees and the flow on bio-tech research and Life Sciences industry is substantial. If the secret to eternal youth is going to be discovered, it will probably happen in Florida. Bundle up the smaller states rural economies with these and you have a combined GDP of $US 6-7 Trillion. It would be the third biggest GDP in the world. It would be bigger than Japan and Germany and bigger than the UK and Russia combined. It would not be an insignificant little country for Trump to preside over.
But this would not be a war with swords and cannons; the weapon of choice would be currency. The first battle would be to destabilise the US dollar, shake the trust and confidence of the world in retaining the $US as the global currency standard. It need not even involve printing confederate banknotes; imagine the effect on the value of, and confidence in, the $US if Trump went to Bitcoin or ZCash or one of the others and said “I want a $US trillion worth of your finest crypto currency my good man.” I am no currency trader but I understand basic supply and demand and so I know the effect of someone selling off a trillion of the USA’s most important asset. Adopting a crypto currency for the Confederate States of America, or Trumpland as he would refer to it in his tweets, might just create the critical mass to allow a crypto currency to takeover from the $US as the international currency standard.
When the American civil war broke out to preserve their “unique culture”, the Union only had this domestic war to concern itself with. If they had a problem with the Southern/Mid Western states today, that has to be balanced with its Homeland Security priorities and its military roles in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea. Trump could just walk away from all that. If the US Dollar gets undermined then: ‘New York, you have a problem’. The east coast wold be completely cut off from the west coast so maybe California will expand its borders to include Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington State and Hawaii and declare itself the independent country of OprahLand? Montana becomes an isolated state so may choose to just get right out and join Canada? Maybe the remaining 19 states of the USA: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, will just then rename itself New York the country or Washington or whatever? Who knows? It happened in the USSR.