We Need A Social Revolution


Source: PeakProsperity.com
Charles Hugh Smith
August 18, 2017

In the conventional view, there are two kinds of revolutions: political and technological. Political revolutions may be peaceful or violent, and technological revolutions may transform civilizations gradually or rather abruptly—for example, revolutionary advances in the technology of warfare.

In this view, the engines of revolution are the state—government in all its layers and manifestations—and the corporate economy.

In a political revolution, a new political party or faction gains converts to its narrative, and this new force replaces the existing political order, either via peaceful means or violent revolution.

Technological revolutions arise from many sources but end up being managed by the state and private sector, which each influence and control the other in varying degrees.

Conventional history focuses on top-down political revolutions of the violent “regime change” variety: the American Revolution (1776), the French Revolution (1789), the Russian Revolution (1917), the Chinese Revolution (1949), and so on.

Technology has its own revolutionary hierarchy; the advances of the Industrial Revolutions I, II, III and now IV, have typically originated with inventors and proto-industrialists who relied on private capital and banking to fund large-scale buildouts of new industries: rail, steel manufacturing, shipbuilding, the Internet, etc.

The state may direct and fund technological revolutions as politically motivated projects, for example the Manhattan project to develop nuclear weapons and the Space race to the Moon in the 1960s.

These revolutions share a similar structure: a small cadre leads a large-scale project based on a strict hierarchy in which the revolution is pushed down the social pyramid by the few at the top to the many below.  Even when political and industrial advances are accepted voluntarily by the masses, the leadership and structure of the controlling mechanisms are hierarchical: political power, elected or not, is concentrated in the hands of a few at the top. Corporations are commercial autocracies; leadership is highly concentrated and orders are imposed on the bottom 99% of employees with military-like authority.

Social Revolutions Are Not Top-Down

But there is another class of revolution that does not share this hierarchical structure, nor does it manifest in the large-scale, top-down power-pyramids of the state and private corporations: social revolutions are bottoms-up affairs, lacking centralized leadership and hierarchical control mechanisms.

Social revolutions eventually influence the state and private sector, but they do not require the permission, funding or leadership of these hierarchies; as a rule, social revolutions drag the state and corporate sectors forward, kicking and screaming, as the social fabric and values of the populace change and the state and corporate sector cling to the status quo.

Examples of recent social revolutions include the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and the gay rights movement.  The leadership of the state resisted each revolution, and was essentially forced to adapt to the new social order as it became mainstream.

Once corporations figured out ways to profit from the transformed social order, they quickly introduced new products and fresh marketing: all-Caucasian advertising, for example, gave way to targeted ethnic advertising and mixed-race national advert campaigns.

When social revolutions are suppressed by the state, they may spark a political revolution as the socially oppressed come to see the overthrow of the autocratic political order as a necessary step towards liberation.

In other cases, social revolutions may have little immediate impact on the political stage. Faith-based social secular movements–for example, the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century– were not overtly political; their eventual political impact (temperance, woman’s rights and support for the abolition of slavery) may manifest decades later.

In summary: social revolutions may generate political waves, but they need not be overtly political to do so, nor do they rely on political, financial or technological hierarchies to transform society.

The Decline of Social Groups and the Erosion of the Social Order

Robert Putman’s 2000 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, documented the decline of social connections and what we might calling belonging in American society with reams of data. This erosion of social bonds is not limited to social groups such as bowling leagues; it is secular, spanning every social type of connection from family picnics to community and neighborhood groups.

If we extend Putnam’s findings to the core human bonds of family and friendships, we find the same fraying of social ties; people have fewer close friends, are more isolated and lonely, and family relationships are increasingly superficial or characterized by alienation.

The factors feeding this broad-based decline of connectedness and social capital are many: the nation’s economic mode of production has changed, requiring two incomes where one once sufficed, and globalization has increased both the demands on those with jobs and the number of adults who have fallen out of the work force.

This winner-takes-most economy has been accompanied by the rise of political divisiveness, a brand of politics that fosters us-versus-them disunity and the erosion of common ground in favor of demonized opponents and all-or-nothing loyalty to one party or cause.

The technological revolutions of broadcast television and radio homogenized the mainstream media even as they provided superficial substitutes for social engagement. The technologies of social media, mobile telephony and narrowcast echo-chambers of uniform opinion have created even more addictive forms of distraction that are not just shredding social connectedness—they’re destroying our ability to form and nurture social bonds, even within the family.

This dynamic was explored in a recent essay in The Atlantic, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Any careful observer of present-day family life would add that the addictive draw of mobile telephony has also damaged the parents’ generation and the family unit itself.

Cui Bono: To Whose Benefit?

Longtime readers know I often begin an inquiry with the time-tested question: cui bono, to whose benefit? Who has benefited from the erosion of the social fabric and social capital, from the politics of divisiveness and the mass addiction to the technologies of superficial connectedness?

While we can take note of soaring corporate profits, and draw a causal connection between these profits and the modern-day “always connected to work” lifestyle of high-productivity corporate employees, it’s difficult to argue that corporations have benefited directly from the loss of social capital that characterizes American life.

Rather, it seems that the corporation’s relentless pursuit of narrowly defined self-interest, i.e. maximizing profits by whatever means are available, has laid waste to boundaries between work and home life as collateral damage.

In a similar fashion, purveyors of smartphones and the software and content that render them so addictive don’t necessarily benefit directly from the destruction of intimate, authentic social bonds, but they certainly have prospered from the feeding of the smartphone addiction. Once again, the loss of authentic social connectedness is collateral damage.

While it seems quite clear that political groups have fueled divisiveness to their own benefit, does the state (government in all its forms) benefit from the fraying of the social order? It’s difficult to discern a direct benefit to the state, though it might be argued that a fractured populace is easier to control.

But the erosion of the social order has gone beyond fracture into disintegration, and it’s hard to see how class wars and social disunity benefit the state, which ultimately relies on some measure of social unity for its authority, which flows from the consent of the governed.

It’s Time To Take Our Future Back

In Part 2: Rescuing Our Future, we focus on the self-evident truth that governments and corporations cannot restore social connectedness and balance to our lives.  Only a social revolution that is self-organizing from the bottom-up can do that.

And we detail out the specific steps each of us can and should take to develop the values and skills required to form and maintain authentic social wealth—the wealth of friendship, of social gatherings, of belonging.

It takes courage and independence to swim against the toxic tides of our economy and society. The good news is that true wealth is within reach of everyone. The steps we each need take are clear; it’s just a matter of having the will to invest the time and effort.

Do you have it?

Read More At: PeakProsperity.com

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Goldman Sachs, President Of The United States

TruthFact

Source: NoMoreFakeNews.com | JonRappoport.wordpress.com
By: Jon Rappoport
August 21, 2017

In this article, I’m not going to trace and list all the Obama and Trump appointees who have ties to Goldman Sachs. The sources are easily available. The Hillary Clinton connections are clear as well.

The point is, Goldman and its allies can exert enormous influence on the direction of the trillion-dollar casino called the stock market.

And the stock market is the universally perceived indicator of the health or illness of the US economy.

The economy is Trump’s trump card. If the stock market plummets and stays down, his credibility as president takes a hit of far more serious proportions than anything we’ve seen so far.

Keep in mind, as well, that giant pension funds all over the US and giant insurance companies (and other entities) invest in the stock market—and these organizations’ stability, as endangered as it is right now, would fracture in far more serious ways, if the stock market collapsed.

Super-banks like Goldman Sachs therefore hold the political fate of a president, any president, in their hands.

“Play ball with us. Otherwise, we can take down the market.”

What does Goldman Sachs want, aside from a free hand to wheel and deal inside and outside the law re investing and trading?

Goldman wants:

The basic survival of Globalist “free trade” (no tariffs)—the cornerstone of mega-corporate control of the world economy.

Through US military threats and interventions and attacks, the prosperity of the military industrial complex.

The continued prosperity of the pharmaceutical cartel—despite its avaricious market practices and outpouring of destructive medical drugs.

These are a few of Goldman’s top priorities.

But of course, Goldman has a Plan B, if they decide Trump’s presidency is too shaky. And now that several corporate CEOs and financiers have left Trump’s corporate council over the recent Charlottesville violence and Trump’s response to it, causing the president to disband that council, Goldman is obviously mulling Plan B.

What would that be?

Another 2008 financial debacle and yet another round of massive federal bailouts?

Or a war? Wars float all financial boats that count in the eyes of elites.

Perhaps the now-departed Steve Bannon, who used to work for Goldman, would have a few interesting points to make on these issues.

During the presidential campaign, Trump issued a number of statements attacking Goldman Sachs and claiming he was immune from their influence. That was false. Trump obviously knew the score, as did Obama, as did Hillary Clinton.

Now he is hoping Goldman will hold the stock market together for him.

At the outset of his presidency, I wrote that I supported Trump on two major counts. He was mercilessly attacking major media news, and he had stopped Hillary Clinton in her tracks. I said everything else was up for grabs.

A lot of that grabbing is being done by Goldman Sachs.

Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com
_______________________________________________________________

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE NEFARIUM AUGUST 17 2017 – Dr. Farrell On Geopolitics, Europe, Germany, Washington, Russia, Economic War, & More

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
August 17, 2017

Germany backs China’s and Russia’s “double freeze” plan:
http://theduran.com/korea-crisis-germ…

JP Morgan Launches New High Frequency Trading Algorithm


Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
August 9, 2017

The disconnect between genuine human market activity and that created by machines proceeds apace, for JP Morgan has just launched a new algorithmic high frequency trading algorithm, as this article from Zero Hedge, spotted and shared by Mr. B.H., states:

JPM Develops A.I. Robot To Execute High Speed Trades, Put Humans Out Of Work

The motivation, as usual, is the “bottom line,” and maximizing profits while minimizing costly (human) labor overhead:

In the latest victory for robot kind over humans, LOXM’s job will be to execute client orders with maximum speed at the best price, “using lessons it has learnt from billions of past trades — both real and simulated — to tackle problems such as how best to offload big equity stakes without moving market prices.”

In other words, one giant “big data” aggregator, using historical precedent to guide future decisions, which coming in a time when “this time it’s certainly different” for the broader stock market, could be a big mistake.

“Such customisation was previously implemented by humans, but now the AI machine is able to do it on a much larger and more efficient scale,” said David Fellah, of JPMorgan’s European Equity Quant Research team. Mr Ciment said that, so far, the European trials showed that the pricing achieved by LOXM was “significantly better” than its benchmark.

The development guarantees another round of downsizing among bank front offices as increasingly inefficient human traders are removes from the equation… and payroll. As the FT notes, investment banks have been increasingly using AI, automation and robotics to help cut costs and eliminate time-consuming routine work. “For example, UBS’s recent deployment of AI to deal with client post-trade allocation requests, which saves as much as 45 minutes of human labour per task. UBS has also brought in AI to help clients trade volatility.” (Italicized emphasis added)

It’s precisely that italicized phrase (which I have emphasized) that caught my attention in this article, as the reader might well imagine, for “tackling problems such as how best to offload big equity stakes without moving market prices” has been, I submit, one of the major problems with high frequency trading algorithms, as exemplified by the various “flash crashes” that occur from time to time, beginning with the infamous May 2010 flash crash. The problem, of course, has been that these algorithms can, and have, “run amok”, and caused market value of certain equities or commodities either to dramatically rise, or fall, within mere seconds, forcing shut downs of markets and price “resets,” as I have blogged here before. The problem, as I saw it then, and still see it, is that these “resets” are costly, and will inevitably involve humans and human activity, and that, of course, adds to overhead costs.

But now, supposedly, JP Morgan has waved a magic wand of code, and one can now “offload big equity stakes without moving market prices.” Let that one sink in for a moment… “big equity stakes” can be “offloaded” without any effect on market prices!?!?  Since when?!? The sentence, I submit, is a stunning admission of just how artificial, and unreal, these markets have become under trading algorithms. If prices are not affected by “offloading big equity stakes,” then one of the key mechanisms by which humans determine their investment decisions – the price of an equity itself within market movement – no longer is reflective of anything humanly real. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to invest my paltry $100 in a share of Twisted Trading Algorithm Partners, Inc.  when the price itself is being determined in part by an algorithm that will allow JP Morgan to dump, or buy, vast blocks of Twisted Trading (NASQUACK symbol, TT) without “moving market prices.” Yes, that means I’d personally really rather have human traders on a floor waving papers and shouting hysterically at each other to conclude trades. And yes, I’ll take a physical copy of that 1 share of Twisted Trading’s stock, thank you very much.

Thank goodness sanity reigns somewhere, for Zero Hedge captures my own concerns with the vast expansion of “dark pools” and high frequency trading algorithms:

PM also said it had no risk management issues with the technology. “The machine is restricted in its trading behaviour, as it learns under, and operates within, our general electronic trading risk framework, which is overseen by internal control groups and validated by regulators,” Mr Fellah said.

Of course, with such rapid propagation of technology among both stock investing and trade processing, it is only a matter of time before a “black hat” hack takes place, and sends trading – and markets – haywire. Which, incidentally, may be among the reasons for the concerted push: after all what better way to avoid blame for what is coming than to blame it on, who else, Russian hackers.(Italicized emphasis added)

There you have the problem clearly stated. And I cannot improve on it.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
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About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Arizona Legalizes Gold & Silver As Currency


Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
August 1, 2017

Yesterday, you’ll recall, I blogged about my high octane speculation, or perhaps one might even call it a high octane suspicion, that the human trafficking scandals that have erupted in almost every country of the west and which have spilled over into other countries, might be a large component of what I have been calling a hidden system of finance. And as China, Russia, and other nations of the BRICSA bloc have been buying up bullion, and negotiated bi-lateral currency and trading agreements, something else has been happening, quietly, and far from the attentions of the lamestream presstitutes of the corporate controlled globaloney media. And no, I’m not talking about the efforts of Germany or other countries to repatriate, and get an accurate audit, of their gold reserves on deposit in foreign central banks.

I’m talking about the quiet “revolt of the states” taking place in the USSA.

The Empire of the United States is in a bit of an economic quandry, for it doesn’t make much that other people want to buy any more. Agriculture remains one of the USSA’s primary non-military exports, but much of that food supply is now tainted with GMO products, and the growing revolt against them around the world might conceivably dent that in the future. Other than this, America doesn’t export much that other people want to buy. If one has a few billion dollars of pocket change laying around, then one might want to buy an aircraft carrier, but increasingly, with new and much less expensive Russian missile technologies about to come into operational use, these big behemoths might end up being nothing but “missile magnets,” as a US Navy friend of mine put it to me once during a recent conversation. Tanks? Well, Germany has an equivalent one, so why feed your hard earned defense dollars to the American beast when you can feed it to the smaller German beast? And for that matter, Russia has a better tank than either the USSA or Germany. They probably aren’t selling, but at least you can try.

What about energy? Natural gas and such? Well, the USSA’s sanctions game with Russia has as its unstated and hidden goal the sale of energy to Europe, a nice way to keep those pesky Frenchmen and Germans under the American thumb. The problem there is, it’s more expensive than getting it from Russia, and the Germans are, understandably, not too happy about that. Even Frau Merkel woke up from her multicultural slumber long enough to tell her lackey, Mr. Junker, to express some profound displeasure. Go back to sleep now, Angela. All is well, Europe continues to crumble.

Aircraft? Well, sure, for a few tens of millions, one might want to buy an F-35. Trouble is, its performance is far below what was touted making it an expensive waste. How about a very expensive Aegis class missile frigate? The problem there is, obsolescent Russian Sukhoi fighters appear to be able to turn them off, completely. What about a nice Patriot anti-missile system? The problem there is, the new class of Russian ICBMs can defeat it, since they can change flight paths even in the descent stage, as can their 24 MIRVed warheads. But fortunately, the never-to-be-trusted-always-Byzantinely-scheming-Russians aren’t selling that on the open market. (“Park it in my back yard, guys. Thanks!”)

As all this is happening, I recently blogged about the Pentagram study that acknowledged that, yes, since 9/11, everyone in the world has pretty much had it with the USSA’s unipolarism. Their solution? Double down: more arms, more militarization of the American economy, and, of course, more surveillance of Americans.

Perhaps the Pentagram’s study was motivated by the growing revolt of American states against the cultural and political swamp of psychopathy that Washington, District of Cesspool, has become. It’s a story we’ve covered here before: more and more state legislatures are passing resolutions recognizing bullion as legal Constitutional tender. Texas took an even bigger, bolder step, by creating a state bullion depository, a move which was followed by discussions of similar measures in Utah.

Now, Arizona joins, according to this article shared by Mr. B.H. (copy and paste into your browser):

Victory: Arizona Officially Rejects Rothschild, Legalizes Gold & Silver as Currency

http://www.alternativenewsnetwork.net/victory-arizona-officially-rejects-rothschild-legalizes-gold-silver-currency/embed/#?secret=3sPD2Ti6z7

The backing of the USSA’s Federal Reserve notes is, of course, nothing but American military power. And if that military power is increasingly looking like a “risky” investment to foreign nations, then the dollar’s days as a reserve currency are numbered. And some American states are seeing this, and acting. Hence, the Pentagram’s recent study might be casting a nervous glance, not on foreign violence, or even random domestic violence, but at the growing movement of quiet revolt in the states themselves.

… it makes one think, just for a moment, that it was a shame General Beauregard didn’t march into Washington, as some of his subordinate commanders urged him to do after the First Battle of Bull Run, but in any case, with all the new and abhorrent human trafficking going on, one wonders if, in fact, the South really did win…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

HUD Secretary Dr. Carson Finds A Mere Half A Trillion In Errors…


Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
July 17, 2017

When then-President-elect Trump appointed former neurosurgeon and presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson to be Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I had to turn to my friend and colleague Catherine Austin Fitts, and exchange the “knowing wink.” Seriously, folks, we weren’t even in the same room when the announcement came. We were, in fact, hundreds of miles away, but nonetheless, I strongly suspect we both turned in that “metaphorical higher-dimensional imaged-space” that we all create when such things happen, and winked at each other. Indeed, later, during a phone call as we were discussing the various cabinet appointments that were rolling out, we both had to speculate on just how long it would take Dr. Carson to find major financial problems. I forget who said what, but one of use gave it about “six months.”

Well, it’s been about six months, and here we are, with the following story shared by Ms. S.H.:

BREAKING: Ben Carson Finds $516.4 BILLION Of Mismanaged Funds… Media SILENT

And here’s the actual PDF put out by HUD:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC HUD’s Fiscal Years 2016 and 2015 (Restated) Consolidated Financial Statements Audit (Reissued)

Much of the latter is, of course, the usual government boiler-plate. So I direct your attention to page 3 of the PDF file, where we read this:

What We Audited and Why

In accordance with the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended, we are required to annually audit the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. Department of Housing and

Urban Development (HUD). HUD reissued its fiscal year s 2016 and 2015 (restated) consolidated financial statements due to pervasive material errors that we identified. Our objective was to express an opinion on the fairness of HUD’s consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) applicable to the Federal Government. This report presents our reissued independent auditor’s report on HUD’s fiscal year s 2016 and 2015 (restated) consolidated financial statements, including an update to our report on HUD’s internal controls.

What We Found

The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively. There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express an opinion.These unresolved audit matters relate to (1) the Office of General Counsel’s refusal to sign the management representation letter , (2) HUD’s improper use of cumulative and first-in, first-out budgetary accounting methods of disbursing community planning and development program funds, (3) the $4.2 billion in nonpooled loan assets from Ginnie Mae’s stand-alone financial statements that we could not audit due to inadequate support, (4) the improper accounting for certain HUD assets and liabilities, and (5) material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts. This audit report contains 11 material weaknesses, 7 significant deficiencies, and 5 instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.

(Emphases added).

Now, let’s translate that from Governmentese to English:

1) “…pervasive material errors we identified,” = “we identified pervasive material errors” = We couldn’t make much sense of the way HUD keeps its books, but…
2) …nonetheless we found “amounts of errors” totaling $516,400,000,000 = in spite of the deplorable state of HUD’s books, we were able to identify half a trillion dollars of errors.

Now, you’re probably wondering, given the title of the first article, whether or not this money is actually missing, or if these were simply “accounting errors.” (Let the magnitude of those two possibilities to sink in for a moment!) Johnny and Susie can’t read, write, add or subtract any more, so it probably should not come as a surprise that HUD can’t add or subtract either. But, tempted as I am to indulge my penchant for rants on Amairikuhn edgykayshun, I will resist, because in the very next sentence we read:

3) “There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express and opinion” = “we did the best audit that we could, but in spite of the fact that we were able to identify half a trillion dollars of errors, we we’re able to get any further because there’s ‘something funny’ about the books.”

And let you think I’m reading too much into that statement, we are then told that

4) “We ran into ‘improper accounting’ of ‘certain HUD assets  and liabilities,'” = “we don’t even know what HUD owns or is liable for”…

…and yes, folks, I’d call that an “accounting problem. It’s beginning to look an awful lot like we’re not just looking at poor addition and subtraction skills from Johnny and Susie Hudd, but an actual missing half a trillion dollars.

But wait. There’s more:

“Why,” you might be asking yourself, “don’t they even know what they own or are liable for?”

And the answer is:

5) There were “material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts,” which is a nice Clinton-Obama-Bush-esque way of saying “we don’t know what we own or are liable for because we’re keeping two sets of books!”

Ponder that statement for a moment: they acknowledge the existence of something called a “subledger”. Now, obviously, I’ve never served at any high level of the Federal Cesspool, nor would I want to. So perhaps “subledger” is a professional term of art for Federal Accounting.

But to my hack-from-South-Dakota ears, it sounds like “two sets of books”. And hey, if we can have subledgers, then why not sub-subledgers, and so on, and several sets of books, all the way from the local to the state to the regional to the federal level. Would that confusion allow the looting of the agency? You bet. And why would one loot any federal agency?

To keep their covert operations, drug running, and secret research going.

And that’s a fancy way of saying that, while there is a problem in HUD, the problem doesn’t originate there.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
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About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.