Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Russia Invades Ukraine

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Russia is now openly invading Ukraine with regular military forces.

You can track developments at LIVEUAMAP and The Interpreter.

Notably this comes just after the U.S. stock market reached what I've been warning means the 'peak of Western Civilization' at the 2000 mark on the S&P 500 index:

Over the past two days the S&P 500 index closed at 2000.02 and 2000.12, respectively.  This is eerily similar to when the DJIA closed two days in a row at 2999.75 on July 16th and 17th of 1990 just before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the associated Persian Gulf Crisis that year:

As in July 1990, investors and society-as-a-whole are at an apex of manic optimism just before a depressing collapse, except this time around the breakdown will be of Grand Supercycle scale.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kajieme Powell Shooting: Doesn't the St. Louis Police Department have Tasers?

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A video was released today of the shooting of 25-year-old African-American Kajieme Powell by St. Louis police officers which occurred yesterday a few miles from where Michael Brown was killed August 9th:

Last night I posted a blog with my take concerning the shooting of 'Big' Mike Brown, which strikes me as a case of suicide-by-cop by a young man uneasy about his upcoming college challenges.  I believe Officer Darren Wilson was justified in using lethal force when he was (most likely) charged by the 6' 4", 290-pound seemingly irrational youth.  Of course, the better response for Officer Wilson would have been to use a Taser, but I think he was caught off-guard and already had his gun drawn from a struggle that had occurred in the police vehicle.

While Officer Wilson's use of lethal force may have been warranted, what one sees in the video above seems plain wrong.  Kajieme Powell is clearly a mentally disturbed individual seeking to commit suicide-by-cop. He is brandishing what looks like a minimal knife while yelling, "Shoot me!" Why were these officers so willing to fulfill Kajieme's irrational pursuit of death?  

What might be important here is what the dispatcher communicated to the officers sent to the crime which, in this case, was the petty theft of two cans of soda.  


I have to presume information was relayed to alert the officers about the mental health background of Kajieme.  (Although that he was mentally disturbed should have been obvious enough by his seemingly suicidal actions.) Why not prepare to taser him rather than shoot him dead upon arriving at the scene? 
Doesn't the St. Louis police department have Tasers?

Seriously....what we witness in the video above is wrong.  Police officers are supposed to train for and enforce "public safety", not public endangerment.   

I guess I may be a little more sympathetic to the rage of Ferguson protesters now, although I think they are focused on the wrong incident.

Meanwhile, President Obama is playing golf in Martha's Vineyard...

BREAKING NEWS: Dorian Johnson recants - Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson will be cleared in the shooting of Michael Brown

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On my side of town, When the sun go down, You in trouble now.” -Big Mike Brown

Tonight, on the Facebook page for the radio station "The Viper" 100.7 FM in St. Louis, the above image was posted along with the following text:
***BREAKING NEWS***Remember, you saw it and heard it here first. We have heard (from a VERY connected national media source) that Ferguson officer Darren Wilson will be cleared in the shooting of Michael Brown. The key: Dorian Johnson has now admitted that Michael Brown attacked Officer Wilson and attempted to take his gun. OFFICER WILSON WILL NOT BE CHARGED! This is scary. When this news is made official, we all have reason to be concerned about the reaction.
To substantiate the claim, the poster notes:
For the record....WE broke the autopsy results ON SATURDAY NIGHT, RIGHT HERE. Every detail that WE reported, (6 shots, none in the back, marijuana etc) were all confirmed on Monday.Our info has been right on, and I have no reason to doubt this. Is it a guarantee? No. That would be silly.
Is this true?

If not yet, it likely soon will be.

Here is the eyewitness testimony of Dorian Johnson from the day of Michael Brown's shooting:

Did Darian tell the truth?  Unfortunately, the emerging evidence suggests otherwise.

First off, given the release of autopsy results, it's clear that Michael Brown was never shot in the back as the gunshot wounds are in the front of his body.

Furthermore, Officer Wilson reportedly suffered an “orbital blowout fracture to his eye socket” during his scuffle with Mike Brown in his police vehicle.  That requires the the shooting victim must have punched Officer Wilson when he was in the police vehicle.

Finally, other witnesses saw Michael Brown charge Officer Wilson as he discharged his weapon:

So how did Mike Brown's shooting really unfold?  The following explanation by a friend of Officer Wilson's wife is most likely the truth about what happened:

On Sunday, St. Louis Post-Dispatch crime reporter Christine Byers tweeted:  “Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in shooting Ferguson.”
Given what most likely really happened, why did Dorian Johnson make such an inflammatory false testimony about how his friend was killed?  I think the problem was that he was interviewed in the midst of a very racially charged situation where his peers were looking for him to answer in a way that would paint the police in a negative light.  After all, his dead friend couldn't be the bad guy, especially when everyone around him knows the police are.  Hence, he relented to the peer pressure and said what he thought those around him wanted to hear.

However, now that there's forensic evidence and other eyewitness testimonies going against Dorian's testimony, along with proof of his involvement with a strong-armed robbery just before the shooting, it would come as no surprise if Michael Brown's friend has recanted his earlier testimony to law enforcement authorities.  

The problem is, how can the now widely believed false narrative, embodied in the protesters' slogan,  "Hands up! Don't shoot!", be undone?

What's more, how can Officer Wilson be acquitted for justifiably shooting "Big Mike" after being attacked in his police vehicle and then bum rushed by the 6' 4", 290 pound youth?

The reality is that the "justice" Michael Brown's mother and much of the Ferguson, and even nationwide, black community are seeking, i.e., the arrest of Officer Wilson, would be an injustice.

If justice is to be served in the memory of Michael Brown, then people should consider what truly went wrong for him.

Michael had done right by his family in graduating from high school and getting into college

The day he died, he was two days from starting college.  Undoubtedly he was stressing out about the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood approaching him.  I think "Big Mike" was torn between the idea of hanging back with his friends 'in the hood' and making his way as a "real n****r" (from his lyrics) hip hop artist versus going to college and making something of himself as his family was expecting.  ("Proud graduate for Mom and Dad / proved everybody wrong / wishing hoping and praying I can bring my n****s along."

That this tug-of-war was going on in his mind is suggested by how, in the weeks prior to his shooting, Michael posted his rap music on the internet.  One lyric set seems particularly telling, "Til I die / rise and grind / gotta get mine / no nine to five / 'til I die".

With that philosophy in mind, Big Mike - who had pretty much been a good-natured soul up to that point in life - smoked some dope with his buddy Dorian, headed off to the local convenience store and committed a strong-armed robbery of, of all things, a package of cigars to smoke more pot with.  A few minutes later he ran into Officer Wilson and, once word filtered through about the recent local theft, a violent altercation took place where young Mike effectively committed suicide-by-cop in his torn state-of-mind.

So to truly honor the life and loss of Big Mike Brown, I think it's time for America's black community to step up to the plate and denounce the oppressive, thuggish, depraved hip-hop culture that drew this good young man away from making something respectable of himself and into a volley of gun shots fired by a white police officer more upset by what happened than anything these foolish protesters in Ferguson would like to know.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams, Creative Genius & Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression)

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“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.” - Edgar Allan Poe


Monday the world was rocked by news that Robin Williams, famous comedian and actor, had committed suicide by hanging himself at age 63:

Robin's often manic comedy routines reflected how he suffered from the underlying mental "illness" of bipolar disorder, what was once called manic-depression.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by regular and persistent large swings in mood and thinking between euphoric highs (mania or hypomania) and despairing lows (depression). The risk of suicide among those with the disorder is high at greater than 6% over 20 years.  It is estimated that three percent of the U.S. population will suffer from bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.

Since the death of Robin Williams will bring attention to bipolar disorder, I'd like to share my own research on the topic that some may find of interest.

First off, while manic-depression is classified as a mental "disorder", this is somewhat misleading in that the condition is consistently found with many of the most creative geniuses in history. 
Among famous comedians, on top of Robin Williams, some other entertainment personalities believed to have bipolar disorder are Russell Brand, Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle and John Cleese (and now deceased Jonathan Winters).
In a recent study of 523 comedians, the following was found:
The study supports the notion that comedians, like other creative people, are high on psychosis traits. The high scores of comedians in all psychotic traits do not mean that comedians (or actors) are psychotic or have mental problems. This is just a survey and not a clinical diagnosis 
However, the results might suggest that psychotic characteristics are the basis of stand-up comedy, or that people who pursue comedy as a career (remember, most of the subjects in this study were amateurs) have some characteristics of people suffering from schizophrenia or mania. What is perhaps surprising is the very high scores comedians achieved on these scales compared to other creative people. 
The authors interpret the results as showing a strong tendency toward being bipolar. On one hand, the comedians scored high on antisocial and depressive traits, but on the other hand, they scored high on the manic trait, which if true, does characterize people suffering from bipolar. 
Bipolar disorder is also quite prevalent among top musical artists. Some classical composers (more) thought to have been manic-depressive are Beethoven, Mozart, WagnerTchaikovsky, Handel, Rachmaninoff, Rossini, Brahms and Schumann.

As for modern famous musicians, the list is so extensive I've created a YouTube playlist, "THE MONSTER?: Bipolar Musicians", comprised of popular songs from bipolar artists:

For the manic-depressive artists used for my YouTube music video playlist, see HERE. It's obviously a who's who of the music industry.

What's remarkable, is that bipolar "disorder" is not only prevalent among leaders in music and comedy, it's commonly found with the greatest minds in history across a variety of fields, e.g., Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, Mahatma GandhiMartin Luther King,  Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Ted Turner, Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, etc., etc.

So is manic-depression really a mental "disorder"?  Indeed, it's increasingly being recognized that bipolar disorder is quite often a key to "creative genius".  From the U.K. Independent article, "You don't have to be bipolar to be a genius – but it helps", we read:
Scientists have for the first time found powerful evidence that genius may be linked with madness. 
Speculation that the two may be related dates back millennia, and can be found in the writings of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. Aristotle once claimed that "there is no great genius without a mixture of madness", but the scientific evidence for an association has been weak – until now. 
A study of more than 700,000 adults showed that those who scored top grades at school were four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder than those with average grades. 
The link was strongest among those who studied music or literature, the two disciplines in which genius and madness are most often linked in historical records.
In books like Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament and The Key to Genius: Manic-Depression and the Creative Life, authors examine the link between manic-depression and the greatest creative minds the world has known.


What's even more intriguing is that, if a psychiatric diagnosis were applied to man as a species, and American society in particularly, it would be the same as that for Robin Williams and other great creative geniuses: bipolar disorder.

In a 2011 PsychologyToday article, "We Need a Bipolar President: A Bipolar Solution To Our Bipolar Economy", we read the following:
In recent months, discussions about the boom and bust cycles of our economy going back to the Great Depression have been the focus of many news stories. During boom cycles, too many of us experience periods of inflated feelings of power or delusions of grandeur, characterized by excessive risk taking and out of control spending. During bust cycles, many of us experience periods of indecisiveness, black and white thinking, loss of energy and fatigue, even feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts. These reactions are classic symptoms of bipolar disorder.
I spent most of the 1990s in graduate school studying economics.  During that time, outside of my classwork, I devoted a great deal of time researching technical analysis of the stock market by famous Wall Street analysts.  While in class I was being taught about market "rationality", efficient markets and the random walk of stock prices, my own investigation into the behavior of financial markets found that the stock market and the economy swung between bull market booms and bear market busts.

This manic-depressive character of market economies was so historically obvious, I concluded that the "general equilibrium" economic theory I was learning in graduate school was just plain wrong and in an extensive master's thesis I proposed an opposing theory of economic behavior that I entitled, "Manic-Depressive Man" (please read the 2009 epilogue to understand my perspective).

The truth of the matter is that man as a species collectively thinks and behaves like a mad bipolar genius who swings between periods of extremely productive creative manias and prolonged phases of destructive despair, depression and war.  This "Global Bipolar Disorder" has spearheaded the rapid technological development, growth and change of recent history.  Indeed, the very essence of creative human life seems embodied in the spirit of the bipolar geniuses that have headlined our history.

So is this really a "disorder" as psychiatry has classified the mad moodiness of certain creative individuals who apparently characterize the temperament and mentality of our species as-a-whole?  Or is manic-depression the blessing and curse of the mind of the very Creator of this incredible and profound story in which we dwell?  Could it be the soul of God?
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