Archive for the ‘US News’ Category

cbsnews.com
May 20, 2011

The International Monetary Fund is an organization with hazy sexual norms, leading to an unusually high number of intra-office romances and endemic sexual harassment and misconduct, according to a New York Times article Thursday based on documents and anecdotal reports.

The indictment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as the IMF’s chief Wednesday less than a week after being charged with the sexual assault of a chambermaid at a New York hotel, has put a renewed spotlight on the culture at the Washington, D.C.-based finance and development organization, where, the Times reports, “employees are regularly pressed together for weeks on end during overseas ‘missions'” fostering “a climate in which romances often flourish — and lines are sometimes crossed.”

Strauss-Kahn has faced charges of sexual misconduct in the past — both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2008 the IMF found that he had not broken any rules by sleeping with a female employee. A candidate to succeed Strauss-Kahn has run into resistance because of a sexual relationship with a subordinate.

The IMF itself seemed to condone such relationships, stating in its internal rules that “intimate personal relationships between supervisors and subordinates do not, in themselves, constitute harassment,” a rule at variance from typical corporate or organizational policy in the U.S.

One former IMF employee described the atmosphere as being “like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,'” although the article also points to cultural differences as a source of potential misunderstandings about appropriate conduct.

washingtonexaminer.com
Brian Hughes
May 9, 2011

With the death of Osama bin Laden firmly cementing President Obama’s commander-in-chief credentials, the White House is eager to parlay the triumph into leverage for widespread defense cuts that have been met with stiff resistance from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

At a minimum, the raid on bin Laden’s compound fortifies the president’s pledge to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July, and softens Republican backlash against scaling back an increasingly unpopular war.

Yet, those calling for a fundamental shift in how the United States funds the military — arguing that the current model reflects an outdated, massive boots-on-the-ground approach — say this can be a turning point for a push that has long been deemed political suicide.

“The reason Democrats had trouble in the past is they were perceived as weak on defense,” said Lawrence Korb, assistant defense secretary under President Ronald Reagan. “Getting rid of public enemy No. 1 dispels that. Obama can say we’re going to do this and has the credibility to back it up.”

On the heels of widespread cuts instituted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Obama is proposing $400 billion more in defense spending reductions over the next 12 years. Since the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, the Pentagon budget has skyrocketed from just over $300 billion annually to about $700 billion this year.

However, some predict that even a political victory of last week’s magnitude will carry little weight with Republicans, who see little advantage in reducing the military budget and defense projects in their home districts.

“While this gives him some credibility on defense issues, it’s hard to see how it’s going to make a major difference,” said University of Wisconsin political science professor Kenneth Mayer. “It’s not like Obama can walk into [House Speaker John] Boehner’s office and say, ‘We killed Osama bin Laden, you can trust me.’ That’s not how it works.”

And as Obama’s predecessors have learned, political capital tends to dissipate quickly.

After Sept. 11, President George W. Bush’s job approval soared to levels never before achieved in modern politics. Yet Bush had difficulty persuading a Republican-controlled Congress to pass many of his political priorities, including an overhaul of Social Security.

Others say that, if anything, bin Laden’s death will be used to resist short-term defense cuts.

“I’m not so sure the president will use this to push for those cuts,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a defense policy expert at the Brookings Institution. “I think he’s going to be a little hawkish and try to prevent people from rushing for the exits.”

Though many Republicans oppose Obama’s proposed cuts in defense spending, more of those on the right are embracing some form of defense cuts as a part of a broader plan to reduce the budget deficit.

“The president is on a high rise as he spikes the ball and pumps his fist,” said Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information. “He could get what he wants.”

Yet, Wheeler said the president’s proposal left much to be desired, noting that his proposed cuts are only about a third of what his own deficit commission recommended.

“If you propose nothing, it’s not hard to achieve,” he said, calling the Obama cuts “completely pathetic.”

Rolling Stone
Matt Taibbi
October 8, 2010

It’s amazing, given the attention the Tea Party allegedly is paying to government waste and government spending, that there hasn’t been more controversy about the now-seemingly-inevitable arrival of “QE2” – a second massive round of money-printing cooked up by the Fed to prop up both the government and certain sectors of the economy. A more overtly anticapitalist and oligarchical pattern of behavior than the Fed’s “Quantitative Easing” program could not possibly be imagined, but the country is strangely silent on the issue.

What is “QE”? The first round of “quantitative easing” was a program announced by Ben Bernanke last March in response to the financial crisis, ending in March of this year. In what will soon be known as “QE1”(i.e. once QE2 is announced), Bernanke printed over a trillion dollars out of thin air, then used that money to buy, among other things, mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and Treasury Bonds. In other words, the government was printing money to a) lend to itself and b) prop up the housing market, with Wall Street stepping in to take a big cut.

That was QE1. There has long been speculation that another trillion-plus money-printing program called QE2 is coming, but only recently have there been concrete hints from the Fed along those lines. Among other things, New York Fed Vice President Brian Sack just this week squeaked out a comment about how, “In terms of the benefits, balance-sheet expansion appears to push financial conditions in the right direction.” Translating into English, “balance-sheet expansion” means the Fed adding to its balance sheet, i.e. printing money to buy stuff – i.e. QE2.

Thanks to that and other hints, most everyone now expects the Fed to announce a new QE program in November. The big banks have now openly begun to predict this, with JP Morgan Chase among others raising its odds of the Fed buying mortgages in the next 6 months from 10% to 50%. Another effect we’re seeing is that mortgage originators are hiring again, in anticipation of being able to fork out QE-funded mortgages.

QE is difficult to understand and the average person could listen to a Fed official talk about it for two hours right to his face and not understand even the basic gist of his speech. The ostensible justification for QE is to use a kind of financial shock-and-awe approach to jump-starting the economy, but its effects for ordinary people are hard to calculate. Theoretically the entire country has some sort of stake in this program, as (among other things) U the Homeowner may see your home value stay stable or fall less than it would have thanks to this artificial stimulus. You also may be able to buy a house when you wouldn’t before, thanks to declining mortgage rates.

And jobs, I suppose, may theoretically be created by all this dollar meth being injected into the financial bloodstream – although the inflationary effect of printing trillions upon trillions of new dollars would probably wipe out the value of the money you make at that job. When it comes to calculating what QE actually does for you, or how much it harms you, that question is just very hard to answer.

But one thing we know for sure is that big banks and Wall Street speculators are real, immediate beneficiaries of the program, as they suddenly have trillions of printed dollars flowing through the financial system, with endless ways to profit on the new chips entering the casino.

And by an amazing coincidence, many of the biggest players in the financial services industry have a habit of buying up MBS or Treasuries just before these magical money-printing programs of the Fed send their respective values soaring. If you own a big fund, for instance, and you know that the Fed is about to buy a trillion dollars of mortgage-backed-securities through a new Quantitative Easing program, buying a buttload of MBS a few weeks early is a pretty easy way to make a risk-free fortune. One of the worst-kept secrets on Wall Street is that the big bankers and fund managers get signals about the Fed’s intentions about things like QE well before they are announced to the rest of us losers in the public.

A hilarious example of this cozy insiderism popped up just a few weeks ago, when PIMCO bond fund chief Bill Gross let it slip on a live CNBC interview that he was getting inside info from the Fed. The interview is with former Goldman analyst and (now) CNBC anchor Erin Burnett, as well as my slimeball former colleague from the Moscow Times and (now) CNBC bobblehead Steve Liesman, who slobber typically over the bond king in the segment.

Gross at one point says this:

“What is important going into November is the staff forecast for economic growth for the next 12-18 months. Our understanding is that the Fed is about to downgrade their forecast from 3% down to 2%. Which in turn would suggest that unemployment won’t be coming down… and so that would be the trigger to my way of thinking for Quantitative Easing in November.”

The admission is so untoward that the ex-Goldmanite Burnett immediately races to clean up the problem, saying to Liesman, who is also on the panel, “We don’t have that forecast yet, right, Steve?”

At which point the ever-helpful Liesman replies, “We won’t get that for 3 weeks, Erin. That’s when it comes out with the minutes of this meeting .”

Check out 5:20 of this video (courtesy of Zero Hedge):

There are so many different ways for Wall Street guys to make risk-gazillions off of QE, it’s not even funny. When I was researching the “Wall Street Bailout Hustle” story last year, for instance, I learned about one fund that loaded up on MBS before the first QE announcement, then saw their MBS skyrocket in value after QE – at which point the fund sold off a lot of its MBS holdings and bought Treasuries, effectively taking money from the Fed and lending it right back to the government at interest.

CNSnews.com
Dan Joseph
October 05, 2010

(CNSNews.com) – Almost 23 million American households have already had their federal taxes raised by an average of $3,900 this year, but they may not know it yet.

They could get a big surprise when they prepare their tax returns next year.

Among those subject to this already-in-place tax increase are some families making less than $50,000 per year, and virtually all married couples earning between $100,000 and $500,000 a year, according to data published by the Congressional Budget Office.

This insidious tax hike is contrary to President Barack Obama’s repeated promise not to increase taxes on any individual earning less than $200,000 a year or on any household earning less than $250,000.

This tax increase on almost 23 million people will happen if Congress does not quickly pass legislation that temporarily increases the amount of income exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax.

The temporary reprieve passed by Congress for each of the past nine years expired on Dec. 31, 2009, and so far, Congress has not extended the AMT “fix” for 2010.

According to the CBO, an estimated 4.5 million American households were subject to the AMT in 2009, and 27.2 million are now liable to pay the AMT for the 2010 tax year unless Congress acts before Dec. 31. Under current law, at least 22.7 million American households that did not have to pay the AMT last year will have to pay it on the income they have been earning since Jan. 1 of this year.

Repealing the AMT completely and permanently would add $626 billion to the federal debt over the next ten years, according to CBO.

The AMT was enacted in 1969 and was intended to impose taxes on high-income individuals who used deductions and loopholes to reduce or eliminate their liability under the regular income tax. Because the tax has not been adjusted for inflation since then, additional families at progressively lower income levels become subject to the tax each year.

The tax especially hits married couples with children and mortgages because of the deductions and credits they are allowed under federal income tax laws. “Because of the particular tax preferences and exemptions disallowed under the AMT, that tax structure is more likely to affect married couples, large families, and taxpayers in states with high state and local taxes,” says CBO.

Past Congresses and presidents have chosen to enact protective one-year “patches” that temporarily increase the income threshold subject to the AMT thus protecting between 10 and 30 million Americans from the tax. So far this year, Congress, which adjourned last week, has failed to take action on the matter. If Congress fails to renew the “patch” before Dec. 31, according to CBO, the 27 million Americans subjected to the AMT this year will see their tax bills rise by an average of $3,900.

Of the households that will be hit with the AMT this year under current law, according to CBO, 3 percent are households making less than $50,000 a year, 35 percent are household making between $50,000 and $100,000 per years; 47 percent are households making between $100,000 and $200,000 per year; and 14 percent are households making between $200,000 and $500,000 per year.

As the law now stands, virtually all married couples in America earning between $100,000 and $500,000 will be hit with the AMT this year–on income they started earning ten months ago. “If nothing is changed this year, one in six taxpayers will be affected by the AMT, paying on average an additional $3,900 in tax, and nearly every married taxpayer with income between $100,000 and $500,000 will owe some alternative tax.”

Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, says that failure to renew the AMT patch would disproportionately hit middle-class families.

“Of the 20 to 30 million taxpayers who might get hit with AMT due to Congress’ inaction, the majority of them would be middle class,” Sepp told CNSNews.com. “The vast majority would consist of solidly middle-class taxpayers.”

Moreover, the increased tax bill would come at the worst possible time, Sepp said. “Families, especially, are experiencing low tax liabilities because they have lower incomes,” he said. “The AMT, ironically, would work in an almost contrary manner, because there would be, for example, households where one of the bread winners lost their job or had to reduce their hours, (and) would be reporting less hours, but they still may be taking the same number of exemptions and deductions for all their kids, for various other household property or operations — business that they may have. They might still be claiming the same number and types of deductions and credits, but on an even lower income.”

Jim Billimoria, spokesman for the Republican minority on the House Ways and Means Committee, told CNSNews.com that failure to renew the patch would amount to a broken promise by President Obama, who made a pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class.

“Raising taxes on millions of families during a recession with an unemployment rate stuck near 10 percent not only breaks President Obama’s tax pledge but is the wrong formula for economic growth,” Billimora said in an e-mail.

When questioned about why Congress is having such difficulty extending the AMT patch, Sepp pointed to the failure by many in the public and the media to grasp the severity of the situation.

“Why a policy that has so many horrendous implications for the middle class is allowed to bumble along like this until the final months of the year is unclear,” he told CNSNews.com. “This is something that we’ve had to do a lot of educational work on. Not only with the public, but with the media, because this is sort of being lumped in with the 2001 and 2003 tax rate extensions–and those affect the year 2011 for returns filed in 2012. The AMT affects 2010 returns filed next year, so in that sense it’s far more urgent and in fact the IRS probably won’t be able to retool its operations quickly enough to allow for a smooth filing season for people with AMT issues.”

Bryan Ellis, tax policy director for Americans for Tax Reform, told CNSNews.com that there may be political motives behind the failure by the Democratic majority to enact a patch.

“If the Democrats wanted to get rid of the AMT and do so without having to worry about all of the tax increases or not worrying about PAYGO, and just get rid of it, that would get 400 votes in the House,” Ellis said. “It would get the votes of virtually every Republican and virtually every Democrat.”

But a Congress that simply voted to eliminate the AMT without making equivalent spending cuts would be adding to the $626 billion to the ten-year deficit that CBO estimates as the cost of such a move.

Tenth Amendment Center
Lesley Swann
August 18, 2010

constitution

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under that Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” – Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution

Recently I attended a gun show, where I handed out information material and answered questions on the Tenth Amendment Center.  Several people were concerned about the U.S. making a treaty that would gut the U.S. Constitution and potentially take away firearms from law abiding citizens here in the U.S.  They argued that the paragraph above from the Constitution places treaty law above the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Our Founders very clearly stated the conditions under which the U.S. Constitution could be amended, or changed, in Article 5.  It is quite illogical to conceive that our Founders would write such a brilliant document to be the foundation of our union, only to create a giant backdoor for foreign governments to come in and destroy the liberty we had worked so hard to achieve.   In fact, our Founders themselves said otherwise.

“The only constitutional exception to the power of making treaties is that it shall not change the Constitution…” – Alexander Hamilton

“I do not conceive that power is given to the President or the Senate to dismember the empire, or alienate any great, essential right.  I do not think the whole legislative authority to have this power.”  – James Madison

“I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of treaty-making power to be boundless.  If it is, then we have no Constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson

So, when I began re-reading this section of the Constitution I realized that they didn’t leave a backdoor, but in fact were expressly forbidding this type of maneuver in Article VI.  The answer to the riddle that confuses many people isn’t to be found in an indecipherable tome on constitutional law, but instead in simple English grammar and a little attention to detail.

In reading through the entire Constitution, you will notice that whenever the Constitution refers to itself the verbiage “this Constitution” is used.  The only exceptions to this are the President’s Oath of Office, where the phrase “the Constitution of the United States” is used, and here in the latter part of Article VI.  In every other place where you find the word Constitution written in the Constitution itself, it is preceded by the word “this” making it clear that the Constitution is referring to itself.  In the President’s Oath of Office the phrase “Constitution of the United States” makes it perfectly clear that the phrase is referring to this Constitution as well.

The Founders were very clear and precise with their use of language in the Constitution, so why do we have “the Constitution” in this case (“any Thing in THE Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding”), and “this Constitution” in all other cases where the word is written.  The simple answer is that in this case, they were not referring to the United States Constitution at all.

The humble preposition is the key to solving the intent of the Founders in this statement.  A prepositional phrase – such as of, to, or in – is a word that can modify and indicate relationships.  Prepositional phrases can also modify more than one object.  In this case, the prepositional phrase “of any State” refers to both the words“Constitution” and “Laws” that precede the phrase.  This means that the final phrase of this clause could rightly be read to mean “any Thing in the Constitution of any State or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” The Founders weren’t saying that treaties were to be supreme over the U.S. Constitution, but that they could and would take precedence over the state constitutions and laws.

It is clear with a little analysis of the details of the language and grammar used to construct this clause that our Founders were placing treaty law in its rightful place – beneath the supreme law of the land in the form of our U.S. Constitution, but above the laws and constitutions of the states.  There is no loophole that can allow international interests to trump the U.S. Constitution, but the treaty must be made in pursuance of our Constitution, just as all laws that Congress makes must be in pursuance of the Constitution.

While some well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) politicians may claim that they can legislate via treaty, this clearly was not the intent of our Founders.  Will this knowledge stop those who would seek to take our freedoms from shredding the Constitution by attempting to pass such treaties?  Probably not.  But we can rest firm in the knowledge that our Founders did not give the Federal government the power to usurp the Constitution by treaty, and that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, not treaty law.  More importantly, we can use this knowledge as intellectual firepower to stop the enemies of liberty and the Second Amendment from doing so.

Lesley Swann is the state coordinator for the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center and founder of the East Tennessee 10th Amendment Group. She is a native of Anderson County, Tennessee.

Activist Post
Nicholas West
August 17, 2010

“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exits” — J. Edgar Hoover

The weather forces of Earth are volatile indeed.   Even in the human era we have passed through cataclysmic times of both fire and ice, destruction and rebirth; recorded throughout the world in legends and religious texts. Are the current weather events part of that natural wave pattern of upheaval and stability, man-made global warming, a cyclical eruption of the sun, or are there clear manufactured patterns emerging?

The HAARP project has been shrouded in secrecy and speculation since its inception.  Despite recent high-profile attempts to access its inner workings, only more questions continue to emerge. Conclusions about its operational capacity are those that have caused a drift toward “conspiracy theory.”  Defense operations have quite a history of harebrained boondoggle schemes that never become operational. However, weather modification (and weaponization) has been consistently discussed and researched by the military and the Elite to a level that indicates there is something worth pursuing.  Let us look at a few things we know for certain:

HAARP is a military installation
Officials downplay the facility as pure “basic or exploratory research” — working with Alaska University, Fairbanks — possessing no military applications.  Yet, the United States Air Force, Navy and DARPA scientists populate the remote site in Gakona, Alaska.  It is also part of the Strategic Defense Initiative, which answers to the Department of Defense, and makes it a component of “Star Wars” inviting NASA into the mix.  At the very least, the communications and surveillance applications fit in perfectly with national security via sea and sky.

It is a weather modification apparatus
The scientists at HAARP do not deny the capacity for structural modification of the atmosphere, but they continue to insist that their academic studies are limited to a small swath around the facility. However, there is an indication of wider use:  the premier defense contractor, Raytheon, is now the owner of most of many relevant patentssurrounding the research being conducted there.  Of twelve patents that form the backbone, #4,686,605 says it all: “Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth’s Atmosphere, Ionosphere, and/or Magnetosphere.”

Weather weapons have been considered by the Elite as a Potential Tool for Control
Zbigniew Brzezenski is the world’s foremost geopolitical director.  His seminal books, The Grand Chessboard and Between Two Ages have so many quotable passages that it is overkill to list them all.  He is the supreme insider:  Born into Polish nobility; a former National Security Advisor; and co-founder of The Trilaterial Comission with David Rockefeller, he seems to revel in telling the world the future of Elite direction.  There is not a chance that he would have mentioned weather weapons in his books if they were not feasible.  A key passage from Between Two Ages (1970) states, “Technology of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm.”

With this in mind, let’s consider some recent events that might suggest HAARP has achieved its full operational potential as a weapon that can be accurately directed to a given target if geopolitical masterminds give the order.

  • Venezuela Drought — The worst drought in 50 years came in late 2009 after Elites labeled Hugo Chavez an authoritarian (despite repeated popular elections).  They indicated a desire to, “divert the country toward a democracy.”  That type of rhetoric often indicates a mission to destabilize a regime, and impose a true dictator subservient only to the whims of the Globalists.  Big Oil hates iconoclastic leaders who are not members of The Club.  The benefit of political instability can set the stage for a future coup, so we have to wonder if a weather weapon was tested to produce anger among the populace.  Chavez invoked El Niño at the time, but did indicate his awareness of U.S. weather weapons after the Haiti Earthquake.
  • Pakistan Floods — The suddenness of the weather could be a tipoff.  This is a disaster that experts are saying dwarfs the impact of the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia, and is the worst in Pakistan history.  And it came by surprise.  Unlike a Tsunami which can have a random earthquake as its source, weather has been charted enough to put meteorologists on TV who presumably make a living off of their accurate analysis. Yet, millions have been affected, and hundreds of villages erased by this anomalous event that dropped from the skies.  A recent article in the Daily Mail has scientists speculating that a blocked jet stream is causing a prolonged weather system over Pakistan . . . as well as Russia.  A stated ability of HAARP is to “perturb the ionosphere,” which can lead to the stalling, or supercharging of weather systems, as the jet stream is affected.  In fact, it appears that the jet stream has split in two, with one arm going north over Russia, and the other arm heading south into Pakistan; the region in the middle is feeling the effects.
  • Russia Heat Wave — The worst heatwave in the nation’s history is slowing its economic recovery and causing destabilizing anger in the populace. Major media coldly states that the Russians’ penchant for alcohol is to blame for the subsequent deaths. Meanwhile, talk of a climate weapon is increasing in volume.  Then there is Global Warming and carbon taxes:  Russia has been a holdout on the effects of man-made Global Warming and the attendant need to tax industry.  Premier Medvedev stated in late 2009, “We will not cut our development potential.”  He also made it clear that  he believed that Global Warming was, “some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.”  Yet, who can doubt the effects of man-made warming now?  Medvedev was quoted recently doing a complete about-face, “What’s happening with the planet’s climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, meaning all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate.”
  • Freak U.S. Storms — Washington D.C. has been getting pounded.  A recent storm came out of nowhere.   Could this be retaliation from Russia for a perceived (or real) attack on its main agricultural region? The storms produced the first hail in the state’s history and dumped 5 inches of rain per hour, amid 180,000 lightning strikes. Or, perhaps it was domestically inspired — the area’s freak storm claimed the life of community leader and activist, Carl Henn.  Either way, experts are noting in Russia and D.C. that a change in the jet stream has led to the significant events.  The D.C. events come on the heels of a strange storm in Montana, curiously not long after the governor turned down Federal stimulus money.

The recent death of Ted Stevens is a disturbing development.  Some sources indicate that he was ready to reveal that Obama had given the green light to use weather weapons.  And Stevens might have known; he was the Senator in 1988 that had to be “convinced” to allow his state to house the HAARP project.  At the time, Stevens was insisting to detractors that the HAARP array could end fossil fuel dependence.  Perhaps this is what he was led to believe, so he let the project sail through . . . until he later learned otherwise.  Also on board the plane was former NASA administrator, Sean O’Keefe, who was enlisted by Stevens to help research the truth.

Government acronyms are very often revealing for their propagandizing; in reality being a 180-degree turn away from what is implied.  HAARP invokes a sense of the peaceful strumming of angels in harmony with all creation. Yet, even if we conclude the most benign intentions, a familiar chestnut warns us that the road is paved straight to Hell.  The title of the definitive book on the subject states it best:  Angels Don’t Play This HAARP.  That is because the strum of mechanistic manipulation is discordant with Nature; it plays a devil’s tune, rasping its way across the strings of existence.

On Earth, it is played out as Full Spectrum Dominance where it needs souls to succeed.  This is the free will of humanity — you must choose your side.  History is a catalogue of Man’s attempts to imitate the Divine.  He has not yet succeeded, but he might just die while trying.