I saw on some facebook page a bit of a self indulgent reminiscence by one of my generation recalling the good old days when we had face-to-face friends not face-book friends; when we built go carts to race downhill against our mates rather than played X Box games against avatars. When someone else took photos of us if the occasion was significant and we kept those photo prints in a private album. There is nothing new in the older generation despairing for the younger generation; that has been going on since at least the time of Socrates, but the difference today is not so much attitudinal as it is technological. Today’s technology has had an influence on the behaviour of youth that Socrates could never imagine in his wildest philosophies.
The facebook post put the timing of this quantum shift in normality at the mid 1980’s. Those of us born before that time had real lives, but the post 80’s generation are now living a fake online life and they seem to be really struggling, emotionally, to adapt their natural human psyche to this self-created virtual world.
Computers in primitive form had been around well before the 1980’s but they were just big, cumbersome calculating machines. I tried, unsuccessfully, to learn to speak to one of these great machines when I did accounting at university in the early 1970’s. The computer then needed its own room, actually it was the size of a small room itself. It spake strange tongues of Portran and Fortran. It told me, numerically speaking, that it was in control of me, not the other way around. If what I put in did not compute, it spat it back out. Start again human. IBM was the driving force of the computer world and seemed focused on keeping it within the corporate and political world, well above the lives of ordinary folk.
But it was in the late 1970’s that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started a business to bring these giant computing machines down to size and into our homes. They wanted computers to be fun for all. They named the company Apple. In his biography Steve Jobs said that it was just a serendipitous choice; that he was on a fruitarian diet at the time and had just returned from an apple farm and thought the fresh, fun name suited his company’s vibe. If so, the coincidence is uncanny. The apple has an established historical connection with a quantum leap in mankind’s knowledge of universal law when Isaac Newton said he had his ‘eureka’ moment about gravity when he watched an apple fall from a tree.
The apple also has a prehistorical connection with man’s quest for knowledge and even immortality.
In Norse mythology the goddess Idun was the keeper of the apples of the tree of knowledge and life and is known as the goddess of eternal youth.
In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, ruled the Garden of the Hesperides (nymphs) where there was an orchard in which trees bearing golden apples had the power to heal and renew.
The Hebrew mythology, which is the one most well known in the Judaeo-Christian world, is that Lucifer (the enlightened one) gave Eve, the mother of all mankind, an apple from the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden. Yahweh was most displeased because mortal man was not ready for such knowledge and so was banished from the lush farmlands of Eden; sent back to the wild to forage like the beasts lest man also eats the apple from the tree of eternal life.
And yet still mankind flourished. According to Genesis 6, the sons of God mated with the daughters of man to create ‘great men’. However the next chapter of genesis describes a cataclysmic forty day flood over all the earth that might well have resulted in our species becoming extinct. Geological and climatic research has now shown us that the biblical and mythical global flood that killed most of humankind, at least in the northern hemisphere, did actually happen 13,000 years ago and the cause was a massive meteor strike on earth, just like the one that had caused the dinosaurs’ extinction 66 million years earlier.
At the time, planet earth was emerging from an ice age; but still the whole of Canada and countries across northern Europe were under an ice cap that would have been about three kilometres thick. And this is where the biggest chunks of the comet hit. This great flood has been discussed in detail in an earlier blog and the scientific evidence does support that this great flood did really happen.
Archeological evidence of civilisation pre deluge is, understandably, a bit thin on the ground. Such a cataclysmic event would not leave much behind. But we do have writings from the middle east region; the authors of the Book of Genesis, the authors of Gilgamesh and those writings of a prophet called Zarathustra. The first two write of an ark in which the selected humans, plants and animals floated above the flood and survived to restart civilisation again. Zarathustra wrote of a prediction that a giant serpent would fly through the sky and that, in readiness for this event, underground, multi level caverns called Vara were built with sophisticated entranceways between the levels and artificial lighting. Indications of a technologically advanced civilisation pre-deluge; this was no hunter gatherer group of tribes. Such multi-level caverns have recently been excavated in Cabbadicia, southern Turkey. Only the highest quality human, plant and animal species were housed there and they were control- bred to maintain the population levels. When the long winter was over, they were sent out in boats to repopulate the world and to utilise, in secret, the technological knowledge that had been preserved.
But the knowledge that these great men, survivors of the great deluge, possessed must have been quite advanced. The meteor would have done a few circuits around the solar system before zooming in for the kill; so if we, or the gods, had prepared for it then then we must have had sophisticated astronomical knowledge. And as all myths record that there was indeed a plan to save the best of humanity, animal life and plants, so there must have been that astronomical knowledge to allow those plans to be made and executed. Soon human civilisation re-established itself to the level that we now have archeological evidence of sophisticated buildings and civilisations dating back 10,000 years in Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey. We know of sophisticated cities such as Babel in Mesopotamia. Babel meant a place where many people gather to talk together. A place of debate and learning. Its modern meaning is voices talking over the top of each other in excited discussion. And it was here, in Babel, that the idea of building a tower with which they would endeavour to reach the heavens was conceived.
Was the tower of Babel a bricks and mortar tower as we assume? Or was it actually a rocket ship, which is also a tower, designed to reach the heavens. Interestingly the discovery of 5,000 year old clay tablets in southern Iraq, ancient Mesopotamia, showed an astronomical map of our solar system that included the outer planets of Uranus and Neptune which were not discovered by the post-flood modern man until the 18th and 19th centuries, after the invention of the telescope. It also shows the two largest dwarf planets of Pluto and Eris. Prior to the re-invention of the telescope only the planets visible to the naked eye were known to ancient sky watchers. As we know, Yahweh ‘confused’ the Babel, scattered the men who conceived it across the lands and the project to reach the heavens apparently never got off the ground.
But after the deluge we redeveloped our knowledge of agriculture, pottery, metallurgy, astronomy and technology. Mankind survived and flourished; the scattered regrouped, their babel no longer confused. And now the two Steve’s have brought the Apple computer into our homes. Well they did not immediately arrive into our homes; in the 1970’s and 80’s they were still a geeky, impractical and expensive machine that most homes could happily live without. But while Wozniak was the brains behind the machine itself he would never have taken it beyond the techno geek market and as such would not have survived commercially. His Apple would have withered on the branch. Jobs was most certainly the man (the Lucifer, the enlightened one) responsible for giving the Apple of knowledge to mankind. And in a very strategic move, he first took it into the classroom, actually donating the original Apple 1 to some schools just to whet the appetite. He was less interested in wasting the fruits of the Apple on the elders of humankind, he wanted to give it to the children. In 1978 he won a contract to supply 500 Apple II computers to schools in Minnesota. In 1983 he sold a computer package (including floppy disc) to over 9,000 schools in California at a cost per package then for what you would now get a decent I-Mac. The Macintosh (an actual variety of apple) was launched in 1984 and the flood gates started to open.
One generation after the Apple from the tree of knowledge was fed to our children, we could no longer imagine education without computers. We could not imagine homes without computers, or people without smartphones.
My little grand daughter was just two years old when her innate demand for language, knowledge and technology led us to the conclusion that we had no option but to give her her own personal connection into the universal consciousness. Her very own Apple i-pad. She took to it like a duck to water. Her knowledge, understanding and communication skills have taken quantum leaps; she swipes through the icons as though she invented them.
So once again an apple from the tree of knowledge is the means by which knowledge and imagination is being spread throughout humanity. It is the means by which we have built our rocket propelled towers with which to explore the heavens. In history Babel was the place where many voices come to speak together. Could the modern day Babels be the headquarters of Google, Apple, NASA and Spacex? Or is 21st century Babel located in the cloud and refers to the inanity of Twitter? The fake lives of Instagram? The pretend friends of Facebook? Interestingly while the Bible’s Genesis tells us that is was man’s corruption and evil that cause the great flood, the pre-dated original Sumerian clay texts said it was the noise and unending chatter of humans that caused the Gods to bring the great flood.
The changes in our lifestyle are, in reality, just as dramatic as noted in the Facebook post that began this blog. The irony being that he used Facebook to express his concerns; he did not call around to voice his concerns to me in person over a cup of coffee.
If Steve Jobs was the 21st century Lucifer then let us hope that humanity is ready for such knowledge this time around. Embracing the computer technology pioneered by Jobs in order to elevate humanity to new levels is Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX who has now announced that the final goal of “Neuralink”, his brain-machine interface development, is to allow humans to achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence. Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-computer interfaces in the most complex human organ to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries and ultimately fuse humankind with artificial intelligence.
The reaction of God, having discovered that Adam had eaten the apple from the tree of knowledge, was to expel man from Eden to forage like the beasts in the wild lest they then seek to eat from the tree of life and live forever. Then mankind’s language was confused lest they build their tower to reach the heavens.
Interfacing human consciousness with artificial intelligence as a means of living forever and exploring distant galaxies in the heavens does not seem so remote a concept anymore.
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.
Putin and Trump, obviously.
Add to them the Queen of England (just be grateful it’s not the Duke), heads of state of France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel. South Africa used to but no longer, and now we can add North Korea to the list.
But is it really Kim Jung Un’s finger on the North Korean button? Because if you thought super yachts are a rich boys game, nukes are in a whole other league. North Korea, with a population of 25 million people, only earns about $US4 billion from exports, mainly coal and woollen suits and spends more than that on basic essentials like oil and Cristal champagne for the top table. That puts them in the economic league of the Congo or Jamaica. That does not make for a guy who can afford to sit at the biggest swinging dicks table and build nukes in addition to a massive and very well armed conventional army, navy and airforce. North Korea has an active military force of just under a million men, with over 5 million in reserve. The USA bill for it’s nuclear programme averages $US20 billion pa.; its total military budget, with 1.3 million active servicemen and women, is $US600 billion pa. They support this with exports over $1.5 trillion. That is well above Kim Jung’s pay grade.
So if you accept the current tension with Kim Jung Un’s nuke tests is, in effect, a “Go home Yank” protest, then who, apart from this ‘poor as a church mouse’ North Korean, would want to be behind that message? Well the Arabs come to mind quickly. George Dubbya and Tony Blair were convinced that Iraq had WOMD, but when they went there, the cupboard was bare. Is it possible Saddam had simply relocated his weapons development programme to North Korea? That programme would have stopped after Saddam was toppled of course but could the programme have been put back on the market in 2015 when Iran was very reluctantly forced to stop their nuclear weapons programme in order to relieve the international economic sanctions that were crippling their country’s economy. Is it possible they just also went to North Korea and picked up Saddam’s tab?
But let’s also start right back with the dividing up of Korea (as with Germany) after WW2. Russia got North Korea and USA got South Korea. Russia later did a deal with China letting them be responsible for introducing communism to their neighbour. USA occupied the South and just five years after WW2 ended, the Korean War started when Kim il Sung, Jung Un’s granddad, after he got the green light from Mao Tse Tung, and armed with Russian tanks, invaded South Korea. That ended in a stalemate that continues today. Russia and China clearly want USA out of there.
Remember the Americans only entered WW2 when the Japanese, allied with Germany, bombed Pearl Harbour. So why was a resort island thousands of miles offshore such a deal breaker for the USA and what were the Yanks doing owning an island in the South Pacific in the first place? Interesting story, I am glad you asked. Back in the 19th century a number Americans were over in Hawaii organising the sugar business. A chap named Sanford Dole, born in Hawaii of American parents, worked his way up in the Hawaiian legal infrastructure eventually sitting on the Supreme Court. Then he got ambitious and overthrew the Queen of Hawaii and declared Hawaii a Republic. Then in 1898, the USA were discreetly assisting Cuban rebels to get rid of the Spanish when the USS Maine mysteriously sunk in the Havana harbour. That sinking swung the debate in Washington and Uncle Sam then declared war on Spain. Most of the Spanish Pacific fleet was over in the Phillipines which Spain also occupied, so the Yanks had a word to Dole and used Hawaii as the USA naval base from where they sailed into Manilla harbour to take on the Spanish. Short story shorter, the war was all over by Christmas and as a result the Yanks found themselves in charge of the Phillipines and Guam as well as Hawaii after giving Sanford the Governorship job.
Obviously they valued this little collection of Mid-Pacific naval fortresses and after WW2 thought South Korea would add nicely to the USA’s military influence in this Asian region. That is also why they went into Vietnam, because Russia was backing North Vietnam. But just as the USA didn’t like Spain sitting in Cuba on their doorstep with their navy and soldiers, nor do Russia or China like the Yanks sitting on their doorstep with their planes and ships and troops and rockets and guns. Just as Spain had to suck it up at the end of the nineteenth century, and Khruschev had to suck it up over Cuba in ’62, so might America have to suck it up now.
So back to Kim Jung’s little nuke games. There are any number of nations who would not be sorry to see the USA out of the Asian/Pacific region. Observe that Iran and Russia are allies in supporting Syria against its rebels; observe that Turkey, once a strong US ally is now buying missiles from Russia. They could each be playing a role in either arming North Korea or in playing some support role. Consider the persistent rumours that Russia played some interference role in swinging the unimaginable election of Trump into a reality. Trump went into the election very much with a siege mentality: vowing to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Trade Deal; to block immigration, to build the Mexican wall. Just the sort of man who might just pull up the American drawbridge and pull out of the Asia/Pacific with enough pressure. Putin would read Trump like a book.
Trump is just a TV reality-showpony, so when the hard men of the real world say: “fingers on buzzers please gentlemen, this is not a drill” Trump has nothing in his hand but his dick. He can’t drop a nuke on North Korea. The radiation fallout would decimate populations of USA allies South Korea and Japan, including US personnel based there, to say nothing of their biggest trading partner, China which is just itching for a legitimate opportunity to drive America out of the region.
A conventional invasion of North Korea is possible; a sudden strike to try to neutralise the ten thousand conventional rockets pointing at Seoul before blasting the city of Pyongyang to rubble the way they did in Baghdad. But Trump would need to be assured that North Korea would get no advance warning and that he would achieve total victory within minutes. Because Jung Un has nukes buried deep in bunkers, that could be mobilised in minutes. One nuke on the US Base in Guam, as he has already threatened, then the South Koreans and Japanese will get really nervous about the US military bases in their countries and join the “Go Home Yank” call. Germany, Turkey and anywhere else with US military bases will also get nervy. And Jung Un does also apparently have a nuke that he could send anywhere along their west coast from Seattle to San Francisco or LA which will have the USA calling “come home Yank”.
His generals (still remembering the humiliation of Vietnam) will be carefully explaining that scenario to him in simple language so, before he faces the humiliation of his forces in Guam being nuked and there being nothing he can do about it (with the whole world against him), can’t you just see Trump making that speech:
“I did not get elected President of this great country to send our brave boys to fight and die because of someone else’s stoopidity. America has done more for peace in Asia than any other nation has ever done for peace anywhere on the planet, anytime in history. For more than seventy years we have been there in Korea trying to stop them killing each other.
But, you know, sometimes you have no option. China could have stopped North Korea in a minute; just shut off their oil supply and the problem is over. But oh no they did not want to upset Kim Jung Un. So we said ok, if you won’t do it the easy way then ok I will blow North Korea off the face of the earth; but oh no, no one wants that either. Oh no Mr trump, you cannot use the nuclear weapons that Kim Jung Un is threatening to use. So now they just want America to send in its fine young men to fight their war for them, in a way that gives Kim Jung Un a chance to win with his army of five million. Fighting on the ground with no doubt very high casualties to our forces. But you know what? I am going to walk away from that table because there is nothing in that deal for Americans. Only death to our soldiers, grief to their loved ones. So if they do not to listen to their American friends, and we have been very, very good friends to them. We have tried to bring them all together in peace by building their economy for them and giving them opportunities; yes we built their industries for them, out of friendship;
But now it is now time for America to do what is best for Americans. We don’t need other people to make our Levis. We invented Levis. We don’t need them to make our cars! We taught them how to make cars! We make the best cars in the whole world! ! We don’t need their technology. We are the most technologically advanced nation on the planet and we will build the most technologically advanced missile defence systems so that no one will ever, ever threaten the USA again. I warn everyone now, if anyone points a missile in the direction of the US, we will obliterate them. No warnings, no questions. And we will control our borders with a technological wall far stronger than any brick wall. When I talked about building a wall, some people assumed I meant a conventional wall. Those people underestimated me and that is a big mistake. A very big mistake. I promised you I would make America great again and I am keeping my promise. Because I always keep my promises.”
Meantime back in the Kremlin, “Well comrades, with help from Mr Trump, we are making Russia great again. He has cancelled the trade agreement with all the Asian-Pacific countries as predicted and that has seriously weakened his support; Britain has weakened the EU and the emerging economic powerhouse of the world is our BRICS consortium with over 3 billion people. Soon we will bring in more members as our friends. Trump has had to withdraw his troops and missiles and ships from across our border in Korea because he kept making stupid statements he could not carry out and already South Korea has been talking with our friends in China. Japan has lost all confidence in America and we will talk to them soon about BRICS and maybe sort out the Kuril Islands at the same time. Europe doesn’t return his calls anymore and Angela will start to put on pressure to remove their military bases because they will attract more and more terrorists. We will see to that. All the easier to expand our borders in Europe”.
History shows us the future. Global superpowers are as cyclical as the climate. America’s summer is over. Trump heralds the Autumn (which the Americans ironically call the Fall). The Russian bear is emerging from its hibernation.
And in Beijing and Tehran they will be saying: “Bye bye Yankee, you have a nice day ok?”
It just takes all the fun out of being a conspiracy theorist when the conspirators don’t even put up a decent pretence anymore. Yes I am talking about Romain Poite’s penalty reversal in the final minutes of the third test of All Blacks against the Lions; the penalty that would have given the game and series to the All Blacks. To get one thing out of the way, I really don’t give a toss about the result of a Lions game. It is the entire Northern Hemisphere of rugby minus, arguably, a couple of French players, up against New Zealand. Effectively it is a multi-national Barbarians game and it is hard to get tribally passionate about it. I am far more passionate about the Highlanders / Crusaders quarter final next week. Then its all about the Bledisloe Cup series against Aussie. How we love to beat Aussie. After that the Southern Hemisphere Rugby championship which will probably be us against the respected old foe, the Saffas. Those are games worth getting your blood pressure up over. But someone obviously seems to think it was politically, or commercially, important that the Lions, the cream of 190,000 player pool, at least came out on par with the All Blacks and so back to the open admission of administrator match-fixing.
Ok so full-time is almost up on the clock, the scores are all tied up (although most of All Blacks points from tries and all of the Lions points from penalties awarded, but that’s another story). All Blacks kick deep into Lions territory and the ball is fumbled by the receiver and then caught by a Lions player, Ken Owens, in an offside position. No argument about that, from anyone. Owens realising he has stuffed up drops the ball which is scooped up by Leinert-Brown as he heads off for the try line and the winning try. So the rule is that the referee must allow play to continue to see if the infringement leads to an All Black advantage (ie a try). Before he finally awards the penalty or scrum depending on his ruling of what happened.
So, with illegal decision #1, referee Romain Poite immediately blows up the game just as Leinart-Brown beats the immediate defender, with three All Blacks in hot support. Romaine instantly chooses the lesser of two dangers and prevents the try by awarding a penalty to the All Blacks. Then looking at the proximity to the goal posts he realises that the penalty is almost a certainty to be converted to three points and a win to the All Blacks. So he has to buy some time for instructions from head office. He calls for a TMO ruling on the incident even though he has already, illegally, stopped the movement that would probably have resulted in a try. This was to check for possible obstruction by an All Black and confirmation of the offside position. But the real issue was Poite’s decision not to allow play to continue when he clearly saw the real threat of a last minute try to the All Blacks playing out before his eyes. As obvious on the big screen, confirmed by the TMO, there was no All Black interference and that Lions player is definitely offside, penalty to the All Blacks stands. TMO, George Ayoub confirmed the penalty decision, certainly no challenge by sideline referee on the spot, Jaco Peyper, and clearly agreed into his mike by man in the middle Romain Poite. Then in the few seconds it took for Romain to go back to the two captains to announce the result of deliberations as confirming the penalty, Poite acknowledges contact in his earpiece from the far side touchline referee, Jerome Garces with a “Oui Jerome” and a few seconds later Poite utters the magic words that dispel all pretence of a fair decision. “We ‘ave a deal, we ‘ave a deal about the offside from 16; it was ‘accidental off side’ no penalty, play for a scrum.’ So, denied the required ‘advantage option’ that looked likely to lead to a try, then checking with the TMO on his decision (knowing the ‘denied advantage’ simply could not be reinstated) and then having the TMO confirmation of the penalty suddenly reversed to a scrum on yjr opinion solely of the far side touch judge, with no further consultation with the TMO, has to be the most bizarre sequence of decisions in rugby history.
Poite admitted on open mike that a deal had been made behind the scenes and privately passed to him into his earpiece during the few seconds after the penalty decision had been confirmed between him and the TMO, but before he returned to the players to confirm the decision. A deal with whom? Steve Hansen said after the game he accepted the final decision and would not answer media questions about it. And so now it became an “accidental offside” under law 11.6 (which still had to allow the ABs to play on for the probable try) and so the whole series fell flat. The pretence of a fair rugby series without administrator interference had evaporated. That was the ‘pants-down’ moment for the conspirators.
But only the media and the fans are complaining, and that won’t last long. By the time the first Bledisloe Cup game kicks off the incident will only live on in the minds of pub-quizmasters with a rugby theme; no one else will still care about it. Those from coach to water boy know only too well that their lucrative lifestyle is dependent on keeping the sponsors, including Fox Sports and Sky Sports all happy. Predictable outcomes and absence of controversy do not make for maximum viewer ratings and sponsors pay for viewers. A million happy kiwis just do not have the purchasing power of tens of millions of viewers in the northern hemisphere. Steve Hanson knows that, Kieran Read knows that, blind Freddy knows that. Apart from that there was an army of Lions supporters breaking all airport traffic records and adding very significantly to the New Zealand economy and of course we all want them to have enjoyed their tour and ‘y’all come back again real soon’.
But referee bias isn’t just a reality of the professional era, back in the good old amateur days we always accepted that the All Blacks would not win a test series in South Africa because their referees cheated; equally of course the South Africans could never win in New Zealand. Local referees were just tacitly accepted as a home team advantage. And local referees had to turn up at their local pub after the series, who could blame them?
The only real problem I have with this Lions referee match fixing incident from a fan’s viewpoint is that the Lions team was selected at the outset based on a 90:10 proportion defence to offence game plan. Selecting players whose natural skills are for negating free-flowing rugby and selecting a very, very good goal kicker to take advantage of the frustration they cause. Fifteen tries over ten games, including one semi-professional Barbarians team, and five provincial teams is a pretty dismal effort for the cream of the British Isles and Ireland. Don’t get me wrong I like a solid defence play as much as the next man and a totally free running score of twelve tries to nine would bore me senseless. A great game of rugby works around the 50:50 balance of offence and defence plus or minus 10%. But that of course leaves the outcome of the game largely up to players and that may not necessarily suit the investment goals of the sponsors. A game based 90% on defence and played in the dark alleys of rucks and mauls gives so many more opportunities for the outcome to be controlled by the referee and whoever whispers unheard into his earpiece in the few seconds before he makes his call.
If Poite ever gets another international game after that outcome then the administration is openly giving us, the fans, the middle finger. What I would give to see the eye exchange between Kieran Read and Sam Warburton when they shook hands at the end of the game. I suspect the eyes would have been in agreement saying, ‘ What a bad decision for both of us but, if we want the sponsors’ big bucks, then a deal is a deal.’ But somehow it feels like an ominous moment for the credibility and thus the survival of the sport at this global level. The sport is infinitely more exciting than it was when I played; infinitely more accessible; live-streaming video around the globe rather than listening on a crackly radio. And yet, somehow I no longer have the passion I once had for the thrill of the 13:0 win over the Springboks at Carisbrook in 1965 in an era who we only played once every five years, home and away, so we only saw them here once a decade. By comparison the 57:0 win over South Africa in 2017 at North Harbour was actually just a bit sad. We now play them twice a year every year as well as playing South African teams in the Super Rugby series several times a year every year. It is now light entertainment, a lucrative business; it was once a major ‘pride of the nation’ tradition.
So that raises again other little niggly results over recent history. The first cold case to be re examined is the incredible victory of the Japanese team over South Africa in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The puppet masters of World Rugby see the RWC only as a knockout tournament between eight teams. Another dozen teams are patronisingly included in the tournament to help fund it and to provide a bit of a training run for the final 8 who play for the Cup. But they are included in order to expand the sport globally and thus the global market share of Rugby.
And one of the lightest training runs scheduled for 2015 was for the Springboks’ opening game. The chance to run up a cricket score against a team of lightweight Japanese players, padded out with a few ‘second stringers’ from the South Pacific nations who were never in the running for their home-country teams. The team associated with the delicate and fragile image of a blossom was about to be trampled under the thundering hooves of a horde of rampant Springboks. The referee would never been given any instructions from the puppet master; why would he bother? So the referee just refereed what he saw and it was honest refereeing, just as it would be for any ‘friendly match’. The players played and it was honest playing.
But the Japanese did the unthinkable, the unimaginable; they turned down a kick at goal to get a well deserved draw and they played for the try against the bigger team with a desperation to defend their line. And the Blossoms got it! they scored the try against all odds. They won. And at last a game delivered pure, unadulterated joy. The joy was not only amongst the Japanese supporters, the joy was from the entire rugby world, excluding South Africa. Unless he now wins the trophy, the risk for poor Heyneke Meyer is not just sacking, it may well be imprisonment for high treason. However…………… in a back story, WR had, in its strategy for global expansion, made the very bold decision to award the 2019 RWC to Japan. Seemed a good idea until the cold hard truth dawned that none of the big Japanese corporates were prepared to pick up the tab. Sponsorship deals gathered dust. The public and therefore commercial interest in rugby was very niche. The numbers did not stack up. Huge embarrassment and financial losses awaited WR in 2019. What could they do to generate national Japanese interest in our sport? “I know”, said someone (possibly). South Africa still owes us one from ’95, as I recall.”
It was the grand return of South Videos and analyses of South Africa’s semi final against France strongly suggest that South Africa should not have even got through to the final. It should have been another All Black/ France final. A number of collapsed mauls with the French on attack went unpunished then a try by Benazzi in the last-minute of the game was denied by referee Derek Bevan who then whistled full-time. The suspicions of bias were not appeased when, at the after match function, Bevan was, to the embarrassment of IRB officials, awarded a gold watch by South African Rugby Union president Louis Luyt for his outstanding refereeing.
Bevan hoped the presentation would not be misconstrued, but he accepted the gold watch. Sportingly, Benazzi later said that while he was certain he had crossed the line and scored, the outcome was important for Mandela and the new era for South Africa. I think the world generally concurred. This was a fairytale ending for a nation being welcomed back to the global community and let us not deny it, brought the South African Rand back into World Rugby coffers. Then of course history records that two days before teh final a vomiting and diarrhoea “bug” swept through two thirds of the All Black camp and South Africa won with an extra time penalty; but we can’t blame that on a referee. Probably the South Africans got one back on us for all the times the Southlanders had fed them dodgy oysters the night before their game.
As it turned out Japanese national interest in rugby soared when the brave blossoms beat the goliath of South Africa, 2019 RWC sponsors returned to the negotiating table and South Africa still got through to the playoffs, so it was ‘alls well that ends well’.
But in the same 2015 RWC pool games where Japan performed so admirably, host nation England failed miserably. Australia won a critical final pool game against England that denied England qualification into the playoffs. A total humiliation for England. So if my theory of WR influence in key matches has any validity, how did England, the powerhouse nation of WR, suffer such a humiliation? Who will ever know? However humour me as I speculate on a totally hypothetical post-match telephone conversation between Bernard Lapasset Chairman of World Rugby and Bill Beaumont Chairman of England Rugby, discussing the performance of french referee Romain Poite:
Bernard, it’s Bill
Monsieur Bill, ‘ow are you?
Pretty pissed off actually Bernard. Bloody convicts got a win; we’re out of the tournament. Heads being lined up for the chopping block as we speak. I could be one of them.
Well we ‘ave a guillotine zat we ‘ave not used for a while, but is still in fine working order I understand. Perhaps?
No time for jokes Bernard. I though we had a deal sorted.
A deal monsieur Bill, je ne comprende?
Over a damned decent cognac at the club, Bernard. About the importance of England getting past Australia and into the quarter finals at least; and the fact that one of your mob was refereeing.
I remember well zees pleasant evening monsieur Bill; ze cognac was indeed quite superb; and I fully agreed with you zat zis was very importante for England to win. Such a pity zen zat zey played, ow do you say…..? like a puck of wunkers.
For pete’s sake Bernard, this was serious; this was big money in the Rugby Union’s coffers. We had an understanding; you were supposed to fix this game. You double crossed us.
Fix? Fix a game monsieur Bill? In ze Rugby World Cup? Surely you are not serious?
Come on Bernard, the Japanese Rugby Union were struggling to get the necessary sponsorship and suddenly a bunch of cobbled together Blossoms beat the bloody Saffas and the Samoans. Now the Blossoms are national heroes with sponsors back home queuing up! Are you saying didn’t have a hand in that?
Ah such brave little Blossoms. Zey played so well did zey not?
And with a noticeable penalty advantage. As I counted it Samoa was out-penalised 17 to 4.
Ah yes ze discipline of Blossoms is so excellent; of ze Samoans, perhaps not so good.
And South Africa? Your little Blossoms didn’t get a bit of a helping hand there?
Ah, zis was just a bad day for ze Afrikaans, but zey recovered, no? still zey qualified. All is ‘appy now?
I don’t give a stuff if the Saffas are happy Bernard, I certainly am far from it.
I am sorry you feel zis way monsieur Bill; I feel zis is a very exciting and successful tournament; and in its own way, England’s loss ‘as added much to ze enjoyment of many fans all around ze world.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Bernard, but over that cognac or three we talked about history; specifically we talked about the quarter finals in Cardiff in 2007; and about a bloody accommodating English ref. Young Barnes, a man of the silk no less, put his whole career and credibility on the line to get your useless frogs into the semis. Everyone knew we put the fix in for France on that one; and now your man couldn’t make a few calls the right way to get us through the pool? He could easily have denied the Aussies’ second try for a forward pass; we get penalised 9 to 5 against us and then, insult to injury, young Farrell gets yellow-carded with ten to go for a marginally mis-timed tackle when that thug Hooper stayed on the paddock after a vicious, pre-meditated, no-arms shoulder charge. Australia winning that game is a bloody travesty of justice, Bernard.
‘istory monsieur Bill? 2007 at Cardiff is not ‘istory to ze French. For France ‘istory is two hundred years ago, last June 18 to be précis, at Waterloo. And a travesty of justice is not from a referee’s whistle. A travesty of justice is five treacherous armies of Europe colluding wiz zat poxy duc de Wellington to defeat ze brave general Bonaparte and zen ‘aving tens of thousands of drunken English barbarian soldiers swarm into Paris, on July 7th to be précis. Zis is ‘istory and zis is travesty of justice to ze people of France, monsieur and today we celebrated the 200 year anniversary of that terrible travesty.
You’re having a laugh, Bernard. Waterloo? This is the twenty bloody first century.
Of course monsieur Bill, as you say I was just ‘aving laugh. I am laughing but truly I am sorry zat England is out of ze tournament. ‘owever I enjoyed dinner and a few drinks with some old rugby friends a few nights ago and one said zat when you called today I should simply say to you: ‘four more years.’ An amusing man is little George Gregan, no?
You’re a bastard Bernard.
Perhaps, monsieur Bill, in France we can never be certain. But now I must end zis little chat. I ‘ave to arrange an enquiry about English coaching staff perhaps trying to influence a referee at ‘alf time? We cannot tolerate any ‘int of impropriety, I am sure you agree. Au revoir monsieur Bill.
Footnote: The reference to Cardiff 2007 was of course the French winning against the All Blacks in the quarter final game of the RWC 2007. The backstory was that the semi final was to be held in Paris and they all needed France to be in that game. However that had a furious AB coach threatening to go public with video clips and stats to demonstrate the lengths the English referee went to to eventually allow the French to claw back and marginally pass the AB’s commanding half time lead. Coach Henry was, after all, facing the firing squad as such failures were not tolerated by NZ Rugby. However Henry was calmed down, did not publish any embarrassing statistics, was re-appointed AB as coach and in the 2011 RWC NZ had a very fortuitous one point win over France in the final. Deal done.
Footnote 2: Over a month after the Lions series, Coach Hanson is asked by media what happened; Hanson confirmed an official ‘please explain’ has been sent to WR, but the WR have declined to explain. Today we are still no closer to an explanation, but Jerome Garces was honoured with the privilege of refereeing the 2019 World Cup Final and Romaine Poite was his assistant referee in that final. An unexpected decision was that a rookie New Zealand referee, Ben O’Keefe, was awarded the other assistant referee position. A deal is a deal.
Being a Pisces it would have been remiss of me not to acknowledge that today is a solar eclipse in Pisces. And not just any solar eclipse but actually the grand finale act of two years of solar eclipses and the likes of this solar eclipse in Pisces will not be seen again for a very long time. And a long time in cosmic terms is very long time. I watched a great series on the Pyramid Code on Netflix (yep finally got internet flowing from a trickle to a river) and from this great series realised that a great year in earth terms is actually 25-26,000 years; that is the time it takes us to wobble the 360 degree circuit of the twelve constellations, moving at a snail’s pace one degree each 72 years. So approximately one degree every single human lifetime. 360 x 72 = 25,920 to go from the winter solstice sun being in, say Aquarius, moving all the way around the circuit until it is in Aquarius again (according to my memory of the 70’s, even though cool cats claim that if you remember the 70’s you weren’t there, and the musical “Hair” (yep saw it in Melbourne in ’71) then this is actually the dawn of the age of Aquarius. If my maths is correct we will spend just over 2,000 years in Aquarius so we are still just starting on that trip, man.
Any-old-how, back to the pyramids and just how old they are. Carbon dating and the records of the local pharaoh has us dating the construction of the pyramids as 4,500-5000 years ago. But carbon dating cannot date stone! It can only date organic matter. So that is the archeological equivalent of painting your house 10 years ago and having a carbon-dating analyst declare your house is 10 years old. No doubt there was a bit of repair work done during the time of the pharaohs as the limestone coating crumbled away, leaving a carbon footprint 4-5,000 years old and no doubt the pharaohs did build replicas of the Giza pyramids for their own grand tombs and these are genuinely 4-5,000 years old. But let us focus on the originals, the three pyramids of Giza. The big question is that we know the Egyptians of 4-5,000 years ago simply did not have the technology to build them. Anyone who has studied the pyramids or even visited them concurs with that. There is a flat surfaced circular stone at the site that simply cannot have been carved by primitive tools. The location over a magnetic lay line, the mathematical and cosmic precision of the dimensions and location on the planet’s surface, the alignment with the stars, none of this is coincidental nor within the non-computerised capabilities of the Egyptians of 3,000 bc. At this point everyone just shakes their heads and thinks of something else.
Back again to the “great year” of 25,920 years. That is real and mathematically undeniable. From this there is the theory that just as in our 12 hour day we humans have energy cycles going high to low, creative cycles, mood cycles, and just as our planet has seasonal cycles, all perfectly natural, so too does the planet and the human species have great “age” cycles. We move from light, or enlightened, ages to the dark ages in cycles. It is the natural way of things.
Some speculate that humans have destroyed the planet and undermined the morality of our species so irreversibly that we face an imminent “Mad Max” scenario. But what if, in reality, our species has already had its Mad Max age; here is the chart that those naked onstage performers in the Hair Musical were working off. In the 25,000 year great cycle, the last Golden or enlightened age ended about 18,000 years ago. According to this chart of the great year cycle, our civilisation then gradually deteriorated into silver and bronze phases until it slumped into the darkness of the iron phase. Enter Mad Max when hordes of barbarians roamed Europe with armour plated bodies riding chariots, tanks and eventually aircraft to inhumanely slaughter people at a whim. As an example, in 2013 the oldest known megalithic temple was discovered at the enormous site of Gobekli Tepe in Southern Turkey. The oldest parts of this great temple are accurately dated back to 12,000 years ago. But what is most interesting is that the newer parts of the complex are markedly less impressive than the oldest parts of the complex. What started as brilliant engineering and architecture became progressively much less impressive as the centuries rolled on in complete contrast to what we would expect. The standard of civilisation was in a noticeable decline. But now we are now just emerging from that dark place and it is all upwards and brighter as we enter the next golden, enlightened age of Aquarius. I can sense the mocking coming through the screen already but look at the extraordinary progress in technology in the 40 years since the 1970’s relative to the 4000 years before. We really have to stop thinking of civilisation in terms relative to our own personal lifespan. We cannot be so small-minded as to think that anything beyond our written and witnessed history books simply never existed. Or that history existed only in the most primitive forms until it evolved to the ultimate glory which is us (well, I mean me, not us).
And the pyramids are staring at us, stone-faced, as monuments that long before us was an age of inhabitants, presumably human, with technology that we are only now starting to catch up with. It is only in the last 50 years that we have developed (or remembered?) the computer technology that may now enable us to contemplate a technological achievement like the great Pyramid of Giza.
So back again to the question of just how old the Giza pyramids and Sphinx are. The Sphinx is an astrological alignment facing due east for the Spring equinox, which is no accident. It is in lion body form, which also was not just a whim of the architect and the sun at spring equinox was last in the constellation of Leo in the 9,000 bc era. At the moment of sunrise then, if you turned 90 degrees to face due south you would have seen the three stars of Orion’s belt appear in the exact same alignment as the three pyramids of Giza. This again is not coincidence; the Egyptians were very astrologically astute. This is far more scientific than the age of some organic matter on the current surface of the pyramid. This would put the construction of the Giza pyramids back in the silver age and, coincidently, about the time the planet had to start recovering from the great comet strike and global deluge as detailed in an earlier blog,
But if we could build a great pyramid, why would we? Well, perhaps as a far superior energy source than fossil fuels for a start. You see the latest studies of the Giza pyramids have concluded that they were in fact super power plants producing an ecologically friendly ‘implosive’ power source rather than the fossil-fuelled ‘explosive’ power source. They were all built in hard granite and, as we all know, granite makes the highest quality batteries. Then they were sheathed in a low conductive limestone to contain the energy within.
The largest of the great pyramids was actually gleaming white in its original state. The other two smaller pyramids were red and black granite respectively; very AC/DC. There was a water table beneath the pyramids, they were built on a magnetic lay line and they had the direct energy source of the sun. In effect, all the elements of a power generator that could supply the nearby city.
Let there be light. And there was light.
Recovered memory of ancient technology will save our planet and bring us into the next golden age. It is written in the stars. This is the dawning of enlightenment.
we are here to worship you and seek wisdom. After forty plus years of flirting with the supreme deity of Zeus, aka planet Jupiter, yesterday NASA put a spacecraft, Juno, into orbit around the planet for the ultimate research project which will, hopefully, unlock the secrets of the origins of our solar system and our own creation. Powerful stuff when you get a computerised audience with the supreme deity of humanity’s ancient cultures.
Since the 70’s we have sent nine space missions up that way; it is the best part of 600 million kilometres away, or in more manageable terms, from Dunedin to Oamaru and back again once a day, every day for 7,000 years and when you say it like that it doesn’t seem so bad.
In 1995 Galileo actually entered Jupiter’s orbit and stayed there until 2003 and observed Jupiter. Juno’s mission is to get to the very core of Jupiter and get answers to some fundamental questions about the creation of our solar system, and of us. Juno will orbit in a path that passes over Jupiter’s poles and will measure microwave emissions, the gravity field and the magnetic field, which apparently is how the scientists will gain the vital clues into the formation of our solar system.
Don’t ask me to explain how all that works, I was bewildered just watching a real estate agent hovering a camera drone over the house next door. But if you ever wondered why Zeus (Greek)/ Thor (Norse) / Taranis (Celtic)/ Jupiter (Roman) was associated with the lightning, hammer and shield wielding warrior deity, considered the chief of the planet-gods in their mythologies, you might be interested to know that Jupiter is in fact a protector of earth. The massive energy of magnetic field and gravity of the gaseous giant has either deflected comets back out of our solar system or taken one for the team when its gravitational pull has dragged asteroids and comets to their death and preventing them turning their attention to earth. Such impacts are noted regularly and there is calculation that Jupiter’s size and gravitational pull drag in up to six asteroids/ comets per year. But some of the comets and asteroid strikes that our astronomers have actually observed have been real monsters.
Back in the eighteenth century there was a comet that appeared in our skies known as Lexell’s Comet, named after the astronomer Anders Johan Lexell who first calculated its orbit. He showed that the comet had made a close approach to earth of just 2.2 million kilometers. That was the closest a comet has ever been witnessed to approach the Earth and, in astronomical terms, it was a very near miss. Lexell worked out that with the speed the comet orbited around the Sun, we would see it again in 12 years, possibly a lot closer to earth and, if in an attack formation, would actually smash earth. In 1782, however, the comet was nowhere in sight.
The French mathematician Pierre Simon-Laplace then calculated that the comet had experienced a set of encounters with the giant planet Jupiter. After the 1770 sighting from earth, the second encounter with Jupiter modified the comet’s orbit, ejecting it from the Solar System altogether and removing it as a potential hazard.
A very serious comet in more recent times was named Shoemaker-Levy 9. The comet had orbited the Sun for billions of years but, in the 1960s or 1970s, it changed orbit and made a close pass at Jupiter and the giant planet captured it and it orbited Jupiter on a highly elongated path. On July 7, 1992, it passed so close to Jupiter that the planet’s mighty tides (hammer/ magic belt?) tore the comet apart. When it was re-discovered a year or so the comet had a squashed look due to having been smashed into fragments.
By observing the orbit of the comet, the astronomers calculated that it would collide with Jupiter in July of 1994. Having broken up the comet into bite-size chunks, the first piece of the comet that was pulled onto the planet’s surface was about 2 kilometres in diameter and hit with the equivalent of over a million one-megaton nuclear bombs exploding at the same time. It was probably Zeus’ version of having a really good curry, I imagine. That, however, was not the largest chunk which was fragment G. As illustrated, it made quite a bang.
More recently again in 2009 an asteroid impact, from a rock some 500 metres long, created a created a surface dent the size of the Pacific Ocean. Jupiter is just like our great big personal bodyguard. And the latest asteroid strike to be captured on camera was in fact on St Patrick’s day this year.
So if Jupiter is the mighty protector deity of earth then that explains why, as a planet, it was so respected and revered by ancient cultures as the warrior hero-god. In Norse Mythology, Thor (Jupiter) rode through the skies during a thunderstorm to kill the giants, the enemies of the gods (planets), and to kill the mighty serpent that flies through the skies with the lightning from his hammer and his magical ‘belt’ that doubles his strength.
In Greek mythology, Zeus, the presiding deity of the universe, ruler of the skies and the earth, was the god-master of all natural phenomena in the heavens. The personification of the laws of nature; the ruler of the state; and finally, the father of gods and men. At his command, mighty thunders would flash and lightnings would roll; he represented the grand laws of unchanging and harmonious order, by which both the natural and the spiritual world were governed.
Just how the ancients had any knowledge from which to create such myths about Jupiter performing such god-like protection roles is a matter of speculation, but the reality is, they did. But whatever the ancients thought, this is the moment when we finally have the technology to approach this chief planet deity that can unlock the secrets of the solar system and finally ask ‘what’s it all about, Alfie?’