Sunday, February 21, 2016

A View From Space with Gary Bell the Spaceman, February 20, 2016

TOPICS:  The Occult RELEASING of Justice Antonin Scalia's Spirit and Position.  It was his time according to their religion.  That's if he is really dead.

Please share this.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Survival Lessons from the Native Americans

Prepper's Will - Survival Lessons from the Native People   For the Native people of our country, survival wasn’t something extraordinary as it is being portrayed today and it was just something they did every day. In our modern times, due to the abundance of TV shows, magazines and online information, survival has become a complex way of life. The survival lessons passed to me by a Cherokee elder in North Carolina will show you that survival shouldn’t be as complicated as some would like you to believe.
In order to be a survivor, many recommend buying this or that because you won’t be able to make do without those items. Many of the folks out there will try to learn a thing or two about preparedness or survival and they will be overwhelmed by the amount of information available online. Most of these learning journeys will fail and people will just give up because everything seems too complicated, it costs too much or they don’t have the guts for it. Survival is not only about buying the best rifle or about having the best bushcraft knife, it’s about having the right concepts and use them in your favor.
Most of the survival lessons I’ve learned from my Cherokee friend are simple enough for the average Joe and everyone could benefit from their teachings.

Survival Lessons from the Native Americans:

  1. It is all about common sense

The best survival tool that one can use is his own mind and great things can be achieved by exploiting this tool. Every year, all across the globe there are many people who die in survival situation because they didn’t use common sense. They found themselves in nasty situations and because they didn’t use their head, they ended up dead. My friend told me something that I will never forget: “people today don’t know how to live with the land and they are afraid, they panic and they stop to think”. This is mostly our fault because we stopped exploring and we are used to do everything with just one click. Instead of going camping teenagers today organize “gaming parties”. Instead of promoting basic survival lessons, we make fun of people trying to teach us how to become self-sufficient.
In order for people to survive in dangerous situation, the first thing we need to do is slow down and think. You can’t do this if you are used to just give up and turn off the computer or if you just Google the solution to your problems. In the wilderness, most situations can be dealt with logic and common sense and if you work with the environment and know your surroundings, you will succeed in overcoming any obstacle. If you know your surroundings you know where to forage for food, where to find water and how to put up a shelter. Even more, if you explore your surroundings, you will discover where the escape routes are located and which dangerous obstacles you will need to face.
  1. Adapt or perish

Adaptability is the key to survival and it doesn’t matter if you use this skill to survive at your daily job or to survive out in the wild. In life, you can’t control all the situations thrown at you, but you can adapt and overcome them. Adaptability requires a good learning process and this process never stops, you learn something new until you die. When I had a desk job and I was in charge of a small team, every once in a while we would get an intern over the summer and some of them had a hard time adjusting to their new jobs. I used to discuss with all of them and I often used to tell them that “no one knows everything, but everyone knows something” in order to comfort them and boost their confidence. My point here is that you need to keep your eyes and ears open and act like a sponge. Soak in all the information and keep your mouth shut. This is one of the survival lessons that can be applied every day, regardless of your environment. The same goes for the wilderness and listening and not speaking during a survival situation can keep you alive.
  1. Use all the resources at hand

Being resourceful is one of the survival lessons that we should all learn and using the materials we have available at hand is key to survival. Native hunters used to travel light when going out hunting into the woods. They used to carry only the things that they couldn’t do without. Everything else they made from what was available on the field and they were exploiting all the materials found in the woods. These survival lessons can be applied even in our modern world because we live in a throwaway society and we are used to waste precious materials. Many of the things we throw away have a second life waiting for them and they can still be used. Repurposing materials is an important stage in emergency preparedness and a vital step when it comes to survival. The list here can be long and many of the articles found on this website will teach you how to reuse common objects. In a wilderness situation knowing how to make cordage from plants, knowing which plants are edible and which are poisonous will provide you with knowledge that can save your life. The wilderness provides an incredible amount of resources if you know where to look for them.
  1. Out of sight out of mind

Native Americans knew how to hide in plain sight and blending with the environment was a skill passed from one generation to another. Most of their clothing had shades of brown, gray and green and it helped them move unnoticed in any environment. Camouflage is great and it helps you stay out of sight as long as you wear what needs to reflect the environment you are in. Many mammals can’t see colors, but humans can. If a survival situation requires you to stay under the radar, you will need to be able to blend in with your surroundings. There are a lot of survival lessons about camouflage online and you may find some of this information useful. For the Native Americans, mastering camouflage techniques was crucial because it meant they were able to provide food for their families or defend their lands from invaders.
Suggested reading: Bugging out without leaving a trace
  1. Respect as a way of life

I come from a big family with a mixed ethnic background and I’m proud to say that I’ve learned about the old ways from my grandparents. They taught me how to hunt and fish and how to forage for wild edibles, but most of all, they taught me about respect. Something that is becoming less common in today’s world. For the Native Americans people, life is a spiritual thing and respect is key to survival. They have respect for the others, respect for the animals and respect for the Earth. They believe that in this world everything is connected spiritually and one thing affects the other. To take a life to sustain a life meant to show respect for the lives you intend to take. It seems that in today’s modern society, taking a life, any life is as easy as pulling the trigger. We lost respect for others and we lost respect for ourselves and the effects of our actions can be seen in the decadence of our society. The first settlers and pioneers learned about respect from the Native Americans and they were able to pass it on. Respect helped them unite communities and helped them survive through harsh times.
Related reading: How to form a survival group
  1. The way of the fire

If you search online, you will find dozens of articles about primitive fire starting techniques. Starting a fire is one of the most discussed survival lessons and there are many trying to master this skill. When I discussed with my friend about starting a fire, he laughed and he told me that starting a fire should be practical. He said that many of his ancestors would have loved to use a lighter if they had one. The point here is that there is a time and place for the ability to start a fire using primitive techniques, but you should be practical in a survival situation. Rubbing two sticks should be your last resort and you should always rely on common sense and adaptability. If you have a lighter or a fire starter you should use it and experiment later with sticks and stones.
Suggested reading: Starting a fire against all odds
  1. Food and water from your surroundings

Obtaining food and water has been, and always will be a priority in a survival situation. If you find yourself in the wild, foraging for food will be an ongoing task. You need to grab things you can, keeping in mind about common sense and respecting the environment. You need to use all the available resource and the woods and fields can become an improvised grocery store if you know where to look for foods. You need to understand your environment before going hunting or foraging for wild edibles. The environment you find yourself in can sustain your life without difficulties, but it can take it away just as easy if you pick the wrong plant or if you go hunting without keeping an eye out for predators.
Water procuring in the wild has its challenges and once again, you need to know about your environment. One of the survival lessons you learn in the wild is that water shouldn’t be taken for granted. You need to find a good water source, you need to make canteens of available materials and carry it with you. You also have to make sure you stay out of intense heat during the day and move out only in the early morning or late afternoon. When being stranded in the wild, one should conserve energy and water. Nature can also give you a helping hand because there are plants that conserve water while other plants only grow near water. Native people knew how to find water because they knew how to look for specific plants and they were also able to track the actions of large animals that will eventually lead them to water. Collecting morning rainwater and morning dew coming off the leaves of plants are also survival lessons that we should learn from the Native Americans.
Suggested reading: Ready To Drink Natural Water Sources
  1. Navigate using the old ways

Today, without a GPS or a map, many of the people exploring the great outdoors will get lost and probably, never heard of again. While it is important to learn how to use a map and compass, these are considered modern techniques when compared to how Native people used to navigate their way through the wilderness. They were used to find their way by using the sun and the stars because they were always there. Every day the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, while on a clear night people can navigate by using the North Star. Native Americans used running waters in order to figure out their direction. On the east coast most of the major rivers flow towards the east, the direction of the Atlantic Ocean. On the west coast the rivers flow toward the west and Pacific Ocean. Water mainly runs downhill and it is at the mouth of these waterways where you will find human settlements. For Native Americans, the rivers were highways used for trade. Navigation survival lessons should be learned by anyone who plans to adventure into the wilderness.
The survival lessons left by the Native people that are listed in this article are just a few of the many teachings they left us. I just scratched the surface and my intention was to show you that everything described above can still be used today by the modern man. Native people had to face survival situations that very few can think of and we should think about these lost ways. We always have something to learn from those who managed to survive by only relying on the environment and I have a great respect for them.
Please share this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Religion and History Of The Middle East: The Way It Is and Why

Most investors know what an emerging market is. Some might even be able to offer a pretty good definition of what puts the “emerge” into emerging markets. But ask about the Middle East, and no one really knows what it is.
Out of sheer necessity, the name “Middle East” was invented at the start of the 20th century. The need for a name was anchored in a geographic puzzle: how to distinguish the region between the Near East and the Far East. Depending on whom you ask, credit for coining the term “Middle East” goes to either the American military or the British government. Either way, the area’s new identity was determined by outsiders.
The term Near East originally referred to the Ottoman Empire, while the Far East meant East Asia. When the Ottoman Empire disintegrated, it was vital to find a new term for the area that is today Turkey. The name “middle east” was popularized in 1902 by US Naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan in an article he authored that ran in the National Review. It has since entered the global lexicon as a term that everyone knows yet few can quite define.
Today, the region that stretches from the eastern Mediterranean to the Iran-Afghan border, and from Turkey south (to include the entire Arabian Peninsula) is what we know as the Middle East.
The region, however, is far more complex than lines on a map that reveal a discrete geography. It can also be defined based on ethnic and religious bloodlines.
In this Middle East, the Arab world stretches from Morocco to Iraq and excludes non-Arab Muslim countries like Turkey and Iran.
If we think in terms of the Muslim world, this Middle East might stretch from Morocco to Afghanistan, south into Africa, and north into Central Asia and southeastern Europe.
The Middle East is the Arab core of the Muslim world. But thinking about the Middle East as exclusively Arab doesn’t work. Doing so excludes Turkey and Iran, plus a very large Kurdish population spread across Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.
As well, viewing it as exclusively Muslim is deeply flawed. It would mean focusing on just a small part of the Muslim world. It also overlooks the Jews, Christians, Druze, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, Bahai, and other religious groups in the region.
The idea of the Middle East has become quite vague. In my view, it is tied together by this concept: The Middle East is where perhaps the world’s most complex war is raging, and Middle Eastern countries are those that are involved in this war, one way or another. The war may metastasize into neighboring regions, but this is its heart.
The first map above shows some of the Middle East’s topography. The northern region is mountainous, while the southern area is generally lowlands. The south is mainly populated by Arabs, save for Israel. The higher elevations of Turkey and Iran are non-Arab.
Typically, mountainous terrain is less populated than lowlands due to factors like ease of making a living. Not so in the Middle East… since much of the lowlands lack water and offer a rather inhospitable quality of life.
Overall, the population is concentrated in the mountains of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. Secondary concentrations are found on the eastern Mediterranean coast and the southwestern and southeastern Arabian Peninsula.
Religious divisions are particularly important, notably the division between Sunnis and Shiites. Also note the intermingling of Christians and Jews.
In our view, conflicts begin with geography, as communities strive for security within their geography. Some people achieve security in remote mountain valleys. Others, like the Israelis, are always insecure, caught on the lowlands without any natural barriers.
But an understanding of these many religious factions is not enough, as religious diversity is complicated by an array of ethnic subgroups.
The Kurds are largely Sunni Muslims. They are hostile to Arab Sunnis and Shiites.
The Druze are neither Muslim nor Christian, but can find themselves allied with either. The Druze who live in Israel are allied with Israel.
The complexity of ethnic groups is partly due to the nature of mountainous regions, but also to the policy of the Ottomans. The Ottomans dominated this region for centuries. But unlike Muslim and Christian conquerors, they didn't pursue religious uniformity through forced conversion as long as the populace pledged their allegiance to the Ottomans.
Thus, when the Ottomans retreated after World War I, they left behind a chaotic jumble of ethnic groups tied to various religions. Each group had the strength to survive but lacked enough strength to conquer the others. The consequence is inherent instability.
The previous two maps show why all attempted conquests have failed to some degree.
The lowlands are mainly desert and relatively underpopulated, which means that aggression was limited to low-level conflicts. On the lowlands, it is relatively easy for conquerors to come and go, and transform the population to reflect their values along the way.
The mountainous northern region has highly diversified cultures and religions, and the terrain renders it difficult to conquer completely. Aggressors may control the main roads and mountain passes, but going into every valley is impossible. Mountains give the advantage to the defender, and unless a region is strategically critical, the conquerors will opt to leave them alone.
The outcome is that mountain regions around the world—like the Caucasus, Balkans, or Appalachians—tend to protect unique cultures from annihilation. And proximity to people who differ from you results in conflict. These conflicts are ancient and repeat themselves.
Moments of peace in both the mountains and the lowlands only occurred when one of the mountain nations was militarily and economically victorious and spread its influence south into what is today the Arab world. The latest and most important from our point of view was the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire collapsed after World War I primarily due to a single weakness. While the European and Russian empires participated in the industrial revolution, the Ottomans did not. And World War I was an industrial war. The Ottomans could win battles, but their empire couldn’t survive the war.
The subsequent fragmentation of the empire laid the groundwork for the emergence of the modern Middle East.
After World War I, the victorious powers divided the spoils under the Sykes-Picot Agreement. But they did not simply divide the prize; the area was consolidated in a configuration that had never existed before. Compare the map of the Ottoman provinces with the map the Europeans imposed. There were far fewer entities.
The Europeans believed in the European-style nation-state as devoutly as if it were a religion. They divided the region into five states: Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Transjordan, and Lebanon.
It is important to understand how artificial these entities were. The French took the northwest portion and consolidated it into one large state, Syria. However, they had backed the Maronite Christians in a prior civil war and wanted them to have their own state. They did this by carving out the southwestern portion of Syria and lacking a name for it, named it after the major mountain there, Lebanon.
The British had supported an Arab insurgency against the Ottomans in the Arabian Peninsula. When the Sauds defeated their rivals, the Rashidis, shortly after World War I, there were two major tribal confederations in the peninsula. One was led by the ascendant Sauds, and the other led by the Hashemites. The Sauds sought to reconquer them to establish their dominion over as much of the peninsula as possible.
The British had a relationship with the Hashemite patriarch, Sharif Hussein, and they gave his elder son, Faisal I, the kingdom of Iraq. His younger son, Abdullah, was sent to Amman, a small town on the east bank of the Jordan River. Lacking a name for the region surrounding Amman, the British called it Transjordan and arbitrarily drew border lines in a desert few would live in. “Trans” was later dropped from the name, and it became simply Jordan.
The British also promised the Jews a state on the other side of the Jordan—while promising the Arabs there would be no Jewish state. They tried to solve the problem by creating a Jewish state where there hadn’t been a state for almost 2,000 years and giving Jordan authority over the Palestinian-majority West Bank.
The point is that there is nothing natural about any of the Middle Eastern borders. Some of the states were created on a more solid foundation than others, but they were all invented over the last century. In fact, Sunni, Shiite, Arab, Kurdish, Persian, and Turkic dynasties have been competing in the Middle East since the 10th century.
No surprise, then, that Syria and Iraq were ruled by dynastic, secular tyrants while Lebanon collapsed into civil war. Or that Syria and Iraq fell into chaos when one tyrant was removed by the Americans and the other was backed into a corner during the Arab Spring. Or that the most European of countries, Israel, easily adapted to life as a nation-state and created a modern military based on the European model in ways the Arabs have not been able to
Indeed, the forces that shaped the Arab-majority Middle East are all non-Arab. Israel, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are the major powers that frame the region. Saudi Arabia, the one Arab state that arose out of Western rule over the Middle East, is the weakest of the four.
The center of the frame—Iraq, Syria, and occasionally Lebanon—has collapsed.
Iraq exists in theory only, as the Shia-dominated government is merely one faction among several. The same is true for Syria, where Bashar al-Assad is simply a warlord battling other factions. And no one wants to assert power south of the mountains. The Turks now are far more cautious than their Ottoman predecessors.
The Iranians have significant influence in Iraq and Syria, but they lack the strength to impose their will or the appetite for a larger commitment. The Israelis see the Jordan River as the limit of their power and confine themselves to supporting the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan (as artificial a state as any) as their buffer. As for the Saudis, they also try to shape events, but given internal economic problems and vulnerability to the Islamic State, there is little that they can do.
But the center of the Middle East can’t hold. External powers created an arbitrary framework, one that is fragile at best. The American invasion in 2003 dissolved the glue that bound Iraq together. But a state that required a dictator like Saddam Hussein to hold it together would have failed with or without invasion, as we have seen in Syria.
Given economic conditions, the alternative to dictatorship is clan-based relations, which constantly fragment the Arab heart of the Middle East and can occasionally create an explosive situation.
The non-Arab countries that surround this region meddle in the situation but are not willing to mount a massive intervention. In some instances, distant powers like Britain, France, and the US have been more interested in the stabilization of the region than its neighbors were. Or to be more exact, the neighbors had more at stake than the distant powers, which could cut their losses and leave when the need arose.
In this context, the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East’s Arab heartland was unexceptional—as was the emergence of a new invented state. Nothing new here, as almost all the states in this region were invented. IS is reshaping a shapeless area, and no one from outside will directly engage them. But IS is also limited by geography, by economics, and by the inherent weakness of its territory. It doesn’t grow stronger, and its enemies don’t either.
The regional strategies boil down to the three non-Arab powers trying to avoid excessive involvement in the Arab region and Saudi Arabia trying to avoid being drawn into conflicts that are beyond its capability to manage. As for the current great global power, the United States, it at least recognizes that trying to craft nations and states out of this region is not going to work.
George Friedman
George Friedman
Please share this.