Category Archives: Contemplating the Future

The Prophet Spoke Again

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

The Prophet spoke once more in the latter days, long after any had been and these be the things she said into the minds of those that would listen.

I am not bringing any good tidings, she said to them, therefore it is entirely up to you whether you listen, or fail to listen, for the message will be given even if only the stones of this world, the pavement of its streets or the girders of its highrises hear it.

You will have noticed that your world has changed once again, and in that change it has turned against you. You speak amongst yourselves of climate change; you debate whether it is the works of your own hands, of the world itself or perhaps a combination of both. You do not know and while you are confused, refusing to face the music you yourselves ordered to be written upon skies, seas and lands, you cannot dance. You but plod, and you weary yourselves with petty thoughts of greedy corporate executives and bankers, corrupt politicians and the endless charade of religion. Thinking yourselves wise, you have indeed made yourselves fools; the duck thinking to survive the winter in a child’s wading pool.

You seek answers where there are none! You deliberately ignore your history to fall ever and anon in the same trap your ancestors fell in and died in. You continue to believe that if you replace this puppet with that one; this god with another; this system with a more “environment friendly” one, you can carry on with just such light brush strokes on the old canvas; that you can carry on with no self-sacrifice, no purifying of heart, no transforming of mind, therefore no essential change.

But know this, if you cannot see it for yourselves: your canvas is rotten, even to the frame that holds it together.

That is the sum total of my tidings, to do with as you see fit. I did not come here to make the change for you, I came but to give warning. If you care about each other and particularly if you care about your own children, you will listen. If you do not, I may as well once again take the name of Cassandra and die in the fall of your great and impregnable city.

Is there any hope? I don’t “do” hope, but I am addressing people who believe in such things. So, look about you, anywhere, and see if there is anything truly new rising from your world; from within your many systems: anything you would bet your life and the life of your children upon? Anything that cannot be bought and sold in the global marketplace or corrupted beyond recognition in your high places of government, banking and worship?

Every prophet is mad, I as much as any other who has ever dared incarnate on this world and in my madness I dare imagine that some of you will ponder this and cry out, ‘Yes, we can see how it is coming apart,’ and add, ‘what should we then do?’

As I said, I am not here to give you answers, that was not part of my job description.

Let me remind you that everyone like myself who has come before and given you strict guidance and rules of conduct has been an abject failure because the teaching was imposed, it did not arise from within yourselves, thus it was powerless to change you. Go ahead, read your prophets, the full time, the part time, the ones you defamed, tortured and killed. You could do worse than re-reading “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran. Read other way showers and rule givers and go as far as pondering the voices of those who called themselves saviours and see what you find these many years later.

I will give you hints though, even if it violates my strict self-imposed mandate. Simple hints. First, your civilization as you experience it and as you’ve known it throughout your very short history, is finished. Its days have been measures and found wanting.

Its very nature is inimical to the concept we call life. It has exceeded its limits to growth. It feeds entirely on bloodshed and destruction and many there are who profit from this and many more who rejoice in the results. That is its greatest sin from which it can neither be healed, or ever rise again.

Second hint: if you would do something that has a chance of bearing fruit, though it likely will be but for yourself as an individual, choose the path of the compassionate being. “How” is entirely up to you.

Quote: “A dominant myth is inclusive, in the sense that people feel lost without it. They can’t attribute any sort of human activity to anything else but the myth. They can’t see their way past it. They feel stymied without it.” (Jon Rappoport) and my added comment: “And what is civilization but a dominant myth?”

 

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Forget Everything you know, or Think you know

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, that’s usually a given, but some years end in such a state, or condition, that they require some serious re-thinking.  For me that has meant two things: this would be a year of living frugally (yes, there’s always room to do some trimming, but it’s mostly about distancing myself from consumerism and banksterism) and of spending more time searching for better answers to the serious questions of life.

So I started with blogging by deciding I’d post an entire novel bit by bit, or blog post by blog post.  I’m not sure yet how many posts there are going to be, but my goal is to put one up ever two days. I thought that would be enough, not too much.

The reason to do this is less about the novel, more about a change of pace.  I’m going back to some of my original ‘teachings’ that warned me to eschew politics so you’ll see much less of that.  What I will probably do with those in-between days will be to post some ideas; some thoughts; on how the world of man (in particular) looks to me without being framed in politics, economics or religion. 

“Forget everything you know, or think you know,” is a good quote to start the way, followed by “Everything in the universe is created by our own mind. Our mind is the source of all phenomena. Form, sound, smell, taste, and tactile perception such as hot and cold, hard and soft—these are all creations of our mind. They do not exist as we usually think they do. Our consciousness is like an artist, painting every phenomenon into being. Once you have attained the state of the realm of no materiality, you will have succeeded. The realm of non materiality is the state in which we see that no phenomenon exists outside of our own mind.”

Do I agree with that? Not really, and it depends on which side of the great divide we are on, and even then, it depends on how we feel about it all.  When I was writing the novel, “The Antierra Manifesto” I was trancing much of it. I wasn’t so much putting a book together as I was remembering a slice of my own history. In other words, I was experiencing it knowing it was something I had been, and would be, involved in.  I was traveling back and forth from the future back into this present, aware that all of it was an aspect of me.

Now then, if everything in the universe is created by our own mind, who in her right mind would have ever created such a world as “Malefactus” (T’Sing Tarleyn)? Not me certainly.  Would such a place be attractive to some people? If yes, then here’s the interesting question: if I did not create such a hell, then somebody else did, either when my back was turned, or there was nothing I could do to prevent it at the time and having discovered it I’m stuck with it.

Here then is my conundrum: Does it matter that our mind is the source of all phenomena if it still manifests as one great big whole and each one of us is a puny helpless nothing in its midst, throwing our personal efforts in the works with as much effect as say, a gnat that crawled aboard a nuclear submarine will have on its guidance system?  

I see things that are glaringly wrong, but only so to me, and perhaps some victims of a particularly abusive system, but the problem is I am not the one who is creating the system and I cannot undo it. Point: it is most emphatically not in my mind!

So I’m told to enter into a state of immateriality where nothing exists outside of my own mind.  Oh sure, all well and good, but I’m still that same mind face to face with an abusive system.  I cannot take that system, bring it into my own mind and vanish it!

My conclusion at this point is that reaching a point of immateriality is only going to make materiality all the more poignant and strident because I will be observing it from a state of mind.  As a compassionate being I will be just as involved in the material inasmuch as I feel all of the life within it.  It will keep calling me back, whether I can do anything to help anyone, or just sit and cry… or laugh, or until I have learned how to return into the material and dance and die with it.  

This much I have learned.  If we choose to activate our compassion mode then we will live through infinity but it will not be to disappear from the material since that is after all what gives us the only reason we can come up with for existing as human beings. Our compassion will keep bringing us back to our material worlds but each time we will learn to approach them with greater, more meaningful joy and sorrow. 

Life and Woman’s Purpose-An Endless Question

Life and Woman’s Purpose – An Endless Question

                    [thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

What makes life exciting?  What gives it that power to draw us in and push us on, even in the most horrible of conditions; that brings us back to the fore life after life?  The endless question, naturally.

Of course, for those who have abandoned the quest in favour of a “safe” future, either in choosing annihilation at physical death or to spend some eternity in a nebulous heaven jealously guarded by an exclusive God, then what I’m attempting to relate here won’t grab.  Just words.  How can anyone who has all the answers in the bag ask any more questions?  What would be the point?  Any new existential question would only disturb the still waters.

What a sad place to be.  No wonder there is so little joy on earth, and so much dissatisfaction.  So many trusting in fate or some God to possess all possible answers to all the unasked questions!

Eve dared partake of the forbidden fruit.  Pandora dared open the box.  The still waters of an essentially male dominated world were stirred forever.  Damn those women, eh?

Life expresses itself as a question.  We are a question and as we come to know ourselves, we receive our answer.  Ah, that is what I am?  No, only in the moment.  Every answer leads to the next question.  That is how creation happens.  We keep questioning the chaos and every answer is a bit of order we put together.  Like fording a stream over stepping stones.  Not all are always visible.  Sometimes you have to wait for the current to change before you see the next logical one and step there.  Then to the next because if you stay on that one it will submerge again and you will lose your footing.

A question that has been foremost in my mind since I began writing the “Antierra Manifesto” or trilogy of the Stacked Worlds as it pertains to a world called “Malefactus” and that is, simply, “What is a woman’s purpose?”  I’m not speaking of position, function or role, but purpose. Please note the difference, these are not synonyms and “purpose” is going to be the driving force of our future.

Much of what passes as history, divine revelation, philosophy and mores comes from the “male factor” on earth.  Did you ever wonder why the injunction against “coveting your neighbour’s wife” did not also contain the injunction to the woman not to covet her neighbour’s husband?  Pretty obvious when you think about it.  The woman was not considered able to understand such things.  She could not really understand the law, for it was from a male God to man, although interestingly enough she’d be the first one punished if she transgressed this male law.  In all ancient literature and carrying on in today’s world we find the same conundrum.

Throughout history males have determined the woman’s place.  Her function or “usefulness” to the male manifesto, which states basically that in any top-down power system, the male must rule. Some rare exceptions can be made for a female to have that power as regent; in some temporary capacity and properly surrounded by male advisors.  Another exception can be made if the female exhibits enough male values to do the job as a male would.

That’s been beaten to death and whatever answers anyone may have come up with – such as “allowing” women to vote; or “allowing” women to inherit property; or “allowing” women to keep their own names in a marriage; or “allowing” women to get equal pay for equal work; or “allowing” women to become police officers or grunts in the military – now there’s a promotion to exclusive male power – none have managed to make a dent in the Earthian reality or “male factor.”

The question asked here is, what is a woman’s purpose?  Could it be it’s to bring forth life because life is female?

 

 

 

Rethinking our Cosmology: more on Lucifer

Is it Time to rethink our Cosmology?  More on Lucifer
     [voice from the Other Side  ~burning woman~]
 
Seen on a bumper sticker:  “Eve was Framed”
 
Indeed.  And on that note I want to leave you with a thought I’ve broached before, if only to demonstrate that “history” can be re-written – and always is.
 
In “researching” the timeless files for my work on the *Stacked Worlds I’ve uncovered some interesting history available to us mostly through deductive reasoning.  The following is but a glimpse into what I have seen from my travels across space and time… and beyond!
 
How to begin such a tale?  In the beginning (only it wasn’t the beginning, of course, just a beginning which was subsequently, for political reasons dubbed the “only” beginning) when this universe was just coming together there already existed mighty entities who had the ability to cross the great energetic barriers erected between the various universes, for even though a universe can be nested within another, it wouldn’t do for the energies of one to intrude upon another and either crush it out of existence, suck it dry or overload it — and vice-versa.  So there are set “boundaries” that universes may not, or cannot, cross.
 
But these mighty beings could cross.  As in all things, these beings were possessed of both good and evil natures, to use a common terminology.  But they liked to think of themselves as perfect, so whatever they did, they called good.  And who would gainsay them?
 
I jump now into this universe at a later time.  The beings I refer to, of course, are the Time Lords.  I have alluded to these before.  They “invented” time as a means of control over their share of creation.  Anyway, there was a group of Time Lords who made the area we observe from Earth as the constellation Orion their home worlds.  I shall refer to that particular group as the Jehovian Gods.  Even in their early days they were warlike and dreadful to their neighbours.  These Jehovians were, and note, male and “white” in how they perceived themselves.  (This information is crucial to understand what happened subsequently on Earth.)
 
The Jehovians do not need females to procreate for them.  For the most part they can “bring forth” (create!) their own offspring as they choose.  To put it bluntly, they can clone themselves over and over.  Thus are the great Divine Families multiplied to rule over their manifold conquered worlds.  It is also a trait of these male Gods, and note, that each ruling divinity likes to be seen as if it were the only Divinity extant in the cosmos.  This perception provides much political and psychological benefits among the conquered and (lesser) created.  So thus they insist their history be written.
 
What the Jehovians require for themselves of “man power” they either create or enslave neighbouring worlds where suitable exploitable life exists.  But they cannot escape the fact that creation is based on duality and they do need female companionship as sex slaves, concubines and for the rulers, as consorts. 
 
Long ago, but never lost in the mists of time, in their imperialistic wars of conquest, they came upon a group of very bright stars inhabited by “angels” — female beings who were, when seen from a physical perspective, black in coloration.  These females had no concept of war or defense and many of their worlds were quickly overrun by the Jehovians in search of spoils and pleasure.  Along with billions of these black angels they captured their leader who was named “Lucifer” which means “Morning Star.”  She was forcefully joined to the then ruling Jehovian Divinity to become his female slave and consort.  Lucifer was the personification of female perfection and considered of great prize.  Her beauty, intelligence and gentleness attracted competing Jehovian Divinities from other worlds.  Her presence engendered much jealousy among the great Jehovian houses for which she was blamed.  Civil wars were fought over her for which she was also blamed.  (You can trace this pattern down to the Helen of Troy story)
 
Lucifer pondered the state of affairs in “Heaven” and after much talk (telepathic conversation) with her enslaved sisters, she decided to confront the God and ask that she and her people be released from their bondage and be given their worlds back.  As is to be expected her pleas fell on ever-deaf ears.  The God was not about to let himself be swayed by a slave.  His final reply to her was this:  “If you can defeat me in war, you can go free.”  It was an inane statement but Lucifer considered it.  There were some odds in her favour, namely that a number of the “Sons of God” of the lesser members of the Jehovian group had fallen in love with the beautiful angels and let it be known that if it came to a war they would side with the angels. 
 
Desperate times call for desperate measures.  There was “war” in Heaven, only it was a war of nerves.  Lucifer declared universal satyagraha or peaceful non-cooperation towards the conquering Jehovians.  The angels refused to serve the Gods and Lucifer was no longer seen to adorn at the left hand of God when he mounted his throne.  She refused summon after summon.  On the conquered angel worlds the same thing happened.  There was widespread non-cooperation.  The angels took whatever punishment was meted to them and waited for many long, dark years. 
 
The situation in Heaven became untenable, pointless, even idiotic.  Neither side would give in.  So the great Heavenly Advisor Michael proposed that the angels with Lucifer as their leader be exiled, along with all Jehovians who had sided with them.  They would not be allowed to return to their home worlds but would be “dumped” upon a small solar system that was still unformed.  All the angelic slaves of Heaven as well as all those who could be found on other worlds were rounded up and forcefully taken to the new solar system and an energy shield was placed upon it, effectively cutting it off from the rest of the galaxy and universe.  From Sol as we called it the angels could see the far-off stars twinkling in space but they could not return to them, at least not as long as the Orion Jehovian Time Lords ruled or they themselves developed the means to defeat the energy shield.
 
Lucifer called her people together along with the faithful Sons and pointed to the chaos of Sol.  If we must live here she said, and we must, then let us make this place into a veritable paradise for ourselves and all the life we are going to bring forth here.  Let us make this our home.  And so it came to pass.  The creative works of Lucifer are the seven days of creation as depicted briefly in the first chapter of Genesis, the Bible.
 
Lucifer chose the planet Tiamat as her home world.  Tiamat was a large water world, a “super earth” that possessed much potential for new life.  However there were spies among Lucifer’s people, among the Sons, and these sent reports of all that was taking place within Sol.  The jealous Jehovians decided to destroy Tiamat by sending another planet now known as Nibiru-Marduk to “attack” Lucifer’s world.  It took two attacks over a period of 3600 Earth years but Tiamat was successfully destroyed as the ancient Sumerian writings attest.  It was split approximately in half, one half shattered and became the asteroid belt (the hammered bracelet) and the other became Earth.  And so it came to pass that Lucifer indeed was “cast to Earth” as it is written.   But even then she would be persecuted and endlessly demonized.  Her people would be called demons.  Earthian females and black skinned peoples would be oppressed, enslaved, repressed and killed without due process over the millennia.  For you see, one of the Jehovian Divinities was allotted Sol as his ruling domain.  Part of the plan was to prevent Lucifer from re-creating in Sol the kind of worlds she once ruled before the Jehovian onslaught.  The other was simply pillaging and raping, a process that continues to this day.
 
Some interesting anecdotes: 
 
–As already mentioned, misogyny is common on planet Earth yet cannot be logically explained.
 
–Black skinned peoples are “naturally” seen as less human than lighter skinned ones and have been used as slave labour for millennia.  Though some things have changed on the surface the pattern remains and will in all likelihood re-assert itself in the future, if indeed the truly black races have any future. 
 
Throughout the planet ancient peoples have worshiped a Black Goddess or Black Madonna.
 
The (then and perhaps still) oldest human skeleton ever found was in Africa.  It was a female skeleton and they called her “Lucy” (short form of Lucifer).  Is it safe to assume this “Lucy” was black?
 
In the Biblical book called “Song of Song” – a love song attributed to Solomon – the woman says: “Dark am I yet lovely, [] dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. [Tents were woven from black goats’ hair]  “Do not stare at me because I am dark.”

(Question: why would people “stare” at her because she is black if there were no stigma attached to her skin colour?)
 
And now ponder this:  Over the thousands of years that Earthians have existed on Earth and evolved so-so, they have been unable to change their behaviour even when it is abundantly clear that such behaviour is anti-life, counter-productive if not utterly insane.  Are Earthians mentally defective in some irredeemable way?  Not at all.  There’s a much simpler explanation for their insanity.  As is stated in ancient books, and particularly in Jewish literature (and more than hinted at in the Bible) Earthians are given a “soul” at conception.  This is the gift of the ruling Jehovian God to every Earthian.  This soul is an implant that overrides the natural programming of mind-body and replaces it with Jehovian patterns.  Thus is “man” ever and anon created “in the image of God” and helpless to correct his “sinful” nature.  Thus can the ruling Deity make promise after promise of salvation and redemption from a “corrupt” human nature for those who are “chosen” according to the will of the Deity.  But although all are chosen at conception not all willy-nilly follow the divine patterning.  Some remember a time before Eden; before “Adam and Eve” — before the coming of the Jehovian male Deity; a time of fullness, peace, simplicity and comfort.  A time when there was no fear of man or animals; when there was no predator and no prey; when there was no death on this world; when all, human and animals, lived in harmony. Some do remember the Lemurian age before it too was destroyed.
 
Would we end war, oppression, greed, moral corruption, racial hatred and fear on planet Earth?  Would we substitute compassion and love for the evils we continue to cling to as if there was no choice?  Perhaps now as never before we have the chance to re-think our cosmology, our Earthian heritage and the crucial “Why?” reasoning behind the blind trust we repeatedly put in our rulers and deities despite all evidence that they are our worst predators. 
 
“Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm. For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased and I turned away with disgust and loathing.” (Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)

*Stacked Worlds is an Altarian theory on how and why certain universal or cosmic patterns, usually of the negative kind, keep repeating even after it would seem all their energies have been drained. ‘Stacked Worlds’ is  the theory I used behind the futuristic, dystopian sci-fi novel, “The Antierra Manifesto” which may yet see the light of day. 

I Had to Write This…

I had to write this…
[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  ]

Just finished watching, for the umpteenth time, the movie, “The Statement” (2003) with Tilda Swinton and Michael Caine.  Basically another story of hunting down Nazi murderers of innocent and helpless Jews in WWII, this time in France under the fascist, heavily pro-Nazi Vichy regime led my Marshal Petain. 

The point here is that these mass murders happened 80 or less years ago – one Earthian life time and here we are, poised to do it all over again.  Isn’t that just fantastic how quickly we forget our ignorance, stupidity and murderous mob tendencies just to start again? 

Granted, we haven’t yet quite decided which race or class of people are going to suffer our wrath, but we’re ready to “do it”.  Most likely the educated and well-informed voting mob will pick on people of some sort of colour to slaughter. Refugees, they’re pretty safe, not too dangerous.  The Muslims, well, that’s a different matter, they tend to fight back. We’ll definitely need the police, the Security state, maybe the army on our side for this. It’s but a matter of putting the right people in government to pass the laws to legitimize the slaughter and that’s never been a problem.  The problem is motivating those still sitting on the fence.  They may have to be our target this time.  Great, those stupid liberals won’t expect to be a mob’s target: sitting ducks.  

You see? That’s how it goes.  The circles just get bigger, nothing essential changes.  And why is that? Why doesn’t anything change and why do we put on the rose coloured glasses and insist that somehow, yes, things have gotten better? Was the 20th Century with its two devastating world wars followed by endless wars and the cruelest form of exploitation of resource rich emerging countries really better than the Hundred Years War?  Is that a rhetorical question or what?

What is our problem?  I’ll tell you, and I’ll keep telling you, as long as I have breath: our problem is that as a species, as a collective, as a “civilization” we don’t give a damn. We are not the least empathetic, though we can be so easily conned by our various propaganda machines into believing that we are, indeed, kind and loving “at heart” and that it is only the few; the minority; that is psychopathic and loves war and killing.  It isn’t. It’s a very, very big majority that is in love with violence and that never gets enough of it. If you don’t believe me, check out the internet and video games. Check out how much money derives directly from violence or the promotion of violence.  

Not all violence means bloodshed and death, though we certainly enjoy doing that best. Violence is everything that causes some sort of harm to others; to another – human, animal, plant or planet, for one’s selfish benefit or one’s enjoyment.  We need to get that very clear in our head for it is the same as what religion calls sin: the inflicting of pain and loss upon any “other” for one’s own satisfaction, benefit or pleasure. 

There is but one antidote for this Earthian condition that is destroying this world and possibly much of the biological life on and in it, and that is for all *ISSA beings to choose to become compassionate.  How many times have I said that? Doesn’t matter because it’s like the wind in the leafless cottonwood trees here in winter: sound and either you like it or you don’t like it, but the wind doesn’t change its tune whether you’re comfortable with it or not.

I’ve been following the current protests highlighting climate change and elitist rip-offs called the economy and assessing the chances of such protests actually accomplishing anything at all. My conclusion is predictable: the protesters are going nowhere.

Oh, what a terrible thing to say! Of course they’re going somewhere; they’re making some politicos change their minds… wow! Problem with that is, these mind-changing chameleons are opportunists. They can see the tide flowing in and they are just smart enough to move the blanket, the umbrella and the cooler a bit higher up on the beach. Still same beach, same picnic, same people. They’ll be safe from the rising waters and who cares about those who are already up against the cliff? Their problem.

If there is one thing activism has taught me back then, it’s that to address one “big” problem it is absolutely necessary to address all “big” problems. You cannot address climate change without addressing global poverty. You cannot address poverty without addressing over-population. You cannot promote alternative sources of energy if you are not condemning consumerism outright. You cannot blame right-winged politicians for screwing the planet if you are blinding yourself to the fact that your “left winged” politicians (the ones you would happily put back in charge) are as corrupt and often more so.  You cannot address justice if you are not, first, dedicated to destroying your billionaire elites – and I mean destroy utterly.  You cannot address and hope to make a dent in any of the above if you are not primarily committed to stopping all wars, genocides and where police operate out of control as in the US, stopping all government sanctioned mass murder.  You cannot in all honesty address and oppose any of the above if inside yourself resides one ounce of racism, misogyny, bullying and oh yes, patriotism. How many realize that patriotism is fanaticism that leads to terrorism?  It’s always been that.

Finally (this has to stop somewhere) nothing at all will ever change as long as there remains one Earthian anywhere convinced that s/he is entitled; if particularly blessed in some way or is superior to anyone else.  In other words, until Earthian pride is completely subdued by humility… we are doomed. We were taught; we were given chance after chance; we know right from wrong and as long as we choose wrong we can’t expect that anything will ever come out right. 

“We knew that the Earth was flat, we knew that we were the center of the universe, and we knew that a man-made heavier than air piece of machinery could not take flight. Through all stages of human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or suppressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge. Are we really any different today? Have we really changed our acceptance towards things that won’t fit the frame? Maybe there are concepts of our reality we have yet to understand, and if we open our eyes, maybe we will see that something significant has been overlooked.”Terje Toftenes (take from the film “The Day Before Disclosure”)

*ISSA: intelligent, sentient, self aware

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, A World That Is the Property of the 1%

[My introduction to this article: a major question of mine for long decades: what makes ordinary people admire, support and quasi-worship the rich and “financially successful” when it is common knowledge (or should be by now!) that these are vultures and vampires who feed off the blood, sweat and tears of the poor, marginalized, oppressed, disenfranchised, servants and slaves of the world?
Be honest, who would consider the woman who delivers the mail as a proper candidate for president? Can’t claim it’s because she has no experience, Trump didn’t have any.  Would you vote for your plumber if he decided to run? Baker? How about your babysitter? Kindergarten teacher?  The neighbour’s son who is a long-haul truck driver?
What are these people missing, apart from any opportunity? Well, they aren’t personally known, popular or notorious, but mostly, they are poor. We vote for the eagle, never for the rabbit.  That it means the eagle will feel entitled to kill more rabbits doesn’t seem to sink in, and neither the fact that we are the rabbits.    
  ~Sha’Tara~ ] 

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: I hate to even bring it up, but we’ve come to that moment again. You know, the one at year’s end when I ask all of you for money to keep this website afloat. This isn’t exactly how I like to spend my time either, but your contributions really do keep us going. So I’ve written a funding appeal to all TomDispatch subscribers that begins this way: “What a year!  I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted by You Know Who and the ‘Fake News Media’ coverage of him.  I know, I know… in the president’s inimitable style I should have at least six exclamation points after that last sentence.  Still, I don’t think it would be an unfair description to say that I’m one of the un-Trumps.  I don’t insult.  I don’t even tweet…” The appeal includes, of course, the expectable but necessary plea for donations. If you’re not a TD subscriber but visit this site regularly, you can click here to read my whole letter. Or, if the mood strikes you instantly, you can just go right to the TD donation page and contribute. In return for a $100 donation — $125 if you live outside the U.S. — you can also choose to receive a signed, personalized copy of various Dispatch Books or others as a token of our thanks. Believe me, you really do make all the difference. Tom]

This year, I simply couldn’t get one fact out of my head: according to a 2017 report from the Institute for Policy Studies, three billionaires — Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates — have amassed as much wealth as the bottom half of American society. That’s 160 million people! (And unlike our president, I don’t use exclamation points lightly or often.) Or as Oxfam reported in January of this year, the wealth of eight men — and yes, they were men (including the three mentioned above) — was equal to that of half the people on this planet in 2017. Yikes! And just to give you a sense of where we’ve been heading at supersonic speed, an Oxfam report a year earlier had 62 billionaires owning half the planet’s wealth. Imagine that: 62 to eight in a single year.

Then consider what we know about the rise of the billionaire class. Again, according to Oxfam, a new billionaire appeared every two days in 2017, while 82% of the wealth being created on this planet already went to the top 1% and the bottom half of the global population saw no wealth gains at all. In 2017 (the last year for which we have such figures), the total wealth of the globe’s billionaire class ballooned by almost 20%. (And I want you to know that, unlike our president, I’m fighting hard to restrain the urge to put one or more exclamation points after every one of those sentences.)

Oxfam released its figures this January to coincide with the annual meeting of the world’s top dogs at Davos in Switzerland. Assumedly, it will do so again in January 2019 and I shudder to think what the next set of stats are likely to be. In the meantime, consider what TomDispatch regular Nomi Prins, author most recently of Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, has to say about a planet on which the actual economic situation of most people bears remarkably little relationship to what’s generally advertised and why, if you think stability is already a thing of the past in a Trumpian world, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Tom

Wall Street, Banks, and Angry Citizens
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
By Nomi Prins

As we head into 2019, leaving the chaos of this year behind, a major question remains unanswered when it comes to the state of Main Street, not just here but across the planet. If the global economy really is booming, as many politicians claim, why are leaders and their parties around the world continuing to get booted out of office in such a sweeping fashion?

One obvious answer: the post-Great Recession economic “recovery” was largely reserved for the few who could participate in the rising financial markets of those years, not the majority who continued to work longer hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, to stay afloat. In other words, the good times have left out so many people, like those struggling to keep even a few hundred dollars in their bank accounts to cover an emergency or the 80% of American workers who live paycheck to paycheck.

In today’s global economy, financial security is increasingly the property of the 1%. No surprise, then, that, as a sense of economic instability continued to grow over the past decade, angst turned to anger, a transition that — from the U.S. to the Philippines, Hungary to Brazil, Poland to Mexico — has provoked a plethora of voter upheavals. In the process, a 1930s-style brew of rising nationalism and blaming the “other” — whether that other was an immigrant, a religious group, a country, or the rest of the world — emerged.

This phenomenon offered a series of Trumpian figures, including of course The Donald himself, an opening to ride a wave of “populism” to the heights of the political system. That the backgrounds and records of none of them — whether you’re talking about Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Rodrigo Duterte, or Jair Bolsonaro (among others) — reflected the daily concerns of the “common people,” as the classic definition of populism might have it, hardly mattered. Even a billionaire could, it turned out, exploit economic insecurity effectively and use it to rise to ultimate power.

Ironically, as that American master at evoking the fears of apprentices everywhere showed, to assume the highest office in the land was only to begin a process of creating yet more fear and insecurity. Trump’s trade wars, for instance, have typically infused the world with increased anxiety and distrust toward the U.S., even as they thwarted the ability of domestic business leaders and ordinary people to plan for the future. Meanwhile, just under the surface of the reputed good times, the damage to that future only intensified. In other words, the groundwork has already been laid for what could be a frightening transformation, both domestically and globally.

That Old Financial Crisis

To understand how we got here, let’s take a step back. Only a decade ago, the world experienced a genuine global financial crisis, a meltdown of the first order. Economic growth ended; shrinking economies threatened to collapse; countless jobs were cut; homes were foreclosed upon and lives wrecked. For regular people, access to credit suddenly disappeared. No wonder fears rose. No wonder for so many a brighter tomorrow ceased to exist.

The details of just why the Great Recession happened have since been glossed over by time and partisan spin. This September, when the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers came around, major business news channels considered whether the world might be at risk of another such crisis. However, coverage of such fears, like so many other topics, was quickly tossed aside in favor of paying yet more attention to Donald Trump’s latest tweets, complaints, insults, and lies. Why? Because such a crisis was so 2008 in a year in which, it was claimed, we were enjoying a first class economic high and edging toward the longest bull-market in Wall Street history. When it came to “boom versus gloom,” boom won hands down.

None of that changed one thing, though: most people still feel left behind both in the U.S. and globally. Thanks to the massive accumulation of wealth by a 1% skilled at gaming the system, the roots of a crisis that didn’t end with the end of the Great Recession have spread across the planet, while the dividing line between the “have-nots” and the “have-a-lots” only sharpened and widened.

Though the media hasn’t been paying much attention to the resulting inequality, the statistics (when you see them) on that ever-widening wealth gap are mind-boggling. According to Inequality.org, for instance, those with at least $30 million in wealth globally had the fastest growth rate of any group between 2016 and 2017. The size of that club rose by 25.5% during those years, to 174,800 members. Or if you really want to grasp what’s been happening, consider that, between 2009 and 2017, the number of billionaires whose combined wealth was greater than that of the world’s poorest 50% fell from 380 to just eight. And by the way, despite claims by the president that every other country is screwing America, the U.S. leads the pack when it comes to the growth of inequality. As Inequality.org notes, it has “much greater shares of national wealth and income going to the richest 1% than any other country.”

That, in part, is due to an institution many in the U.S. normally pay little attention to: the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve. It helped spark that increase in wealth disparity domestically and globally by adopting a post-crisis monetary policy in which electronically fabricated money (via a program called quantitative easing, or QE) was offered to banks and corporations at significantly cheaper rates than to ordinary Americans.

Pumped into financial markets, that money sent stock prices soaring, which naturally ballooned the wealth of the small percentage of the population that actually owned stocks. According to economist Stephen Roach, considering the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances, “It is hardly a stretch to conclude that QE exacerbated America’s already severe income disparities.”

Wall Street, Central Banks, and Everyday People

What has since taken place around the world seems right out of the 1930s. At that time, as the world was emerging from the Great Depression, a sense of broad economic security was slow to return. Instead, fascism and other forms of nationalism only gained steam as people turned on the usual cast of politicians, on other countries, and on each other. (If that sounds faintly Trumpian to you, it should.)

In our post-2008 era, people have witnessed trillions of dollars flowing into bank bailouts and other financial subsidies, not just from governments but from the world’s major central banks. Theoretically, private banks, as a result, would have more money and pay less interest to get it. They would then lend that money to Main Street. Businesses, big and small, would tap into those funds and, in turn, produce real economic growth through expansion, hiring sprees, and wage increases. People would then have more dollars in their pockets and, feeling more financially secure, would spend that money driving the economy to new heights — and all, of course, would then be well.

That fairy tale was pitched around the globe. In fact, cheap money also pushed debt to epic levels, while the share prices of banks rose, as did those of all sorts of other firms, to record-shattering heights.

Even in the U.S., however, where a magnificent recovery was supposed to have been in place for years, actual economic growth simply didn’t materialize at the levels promised. At 2% per year, the average growth of the American gross domestic product over the past decade, for instance, has been half the average of 4% before the 2008 crisis. Similar numbers were repeated throughout the developed world and most emerging markets. In the meantime, total global debt hit $247 trillion in the first quarter of 2018. As the Institute of International Finance found, countries were, on average, borrowing about three dollars for every dollar of goods or services created.

Global Consequences

What the Fed (along with central banks from Europe to Japan) ignited, in fact, was a disproportionate rise in the stock and bond markets with the money they created. That capital sought higher and faster returns than could be achieved in crucial infrastructure or social strengthening projects like building roads, high-speed railways, hospitals, or schools.

What followed was anything but fair. As former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen noted four years ago, “It is no secret that the past few decades of widening inequality can be summed up as significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority.” And, of course, continuing to pour money into the highest levels of the private banking system was anything but a formula for walking that back.

Instead, as more citizens fell behind, a sense of disenfranchisement and bitterness with existing governments only grew. In the U.S., that meant Donald Trump. In the United Kingdom, similar discontent was reflected in the June 2016 Brexit vote to leave the European Union (EU), which those who felt economically squeezed to death clearly meant as a slap at both the establishment domestically and EU leaders abroad.

Since then, multiple governments in the European Union, too, have shifted toward the populist right. In Germany, recent elections swung both right and left just six years after, in July 2012, European Central Bank (ECB) head Mario Draghi exuded optimism over the ability of such banks to protect the financial system, the Euro, and generally hold things together.

Like the Fed in the U.S., the ECB went on to manufacture money, adding another $3 trillion to its books that would be deployed to buy bonds from favored countries and companies. That artificial stimulus, too, only increased inequality within and between countries in Europe. Meanwhile, Brexit negotiations remain ruinously divisive, threatening to rip Great Britain apart.

Nor was such a story the captive of the North Atlantic. In Brazil, where left-wing president Dilma Rouseff was ousted from power in 2016, her successor Michel Temer oversaw plummeting economic growth and escalating unemployment. That, in turn, led to the election of that country’s own Donald Trump, nationalistic far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro who won a striking 55.2% of the vote against a backdrop of popular discontent. In true Trumpian style, he is disposed against both the very idea of climate change and multilateral trade agreements.

In Mexico, dissatisfied voters similarly rejected the political known, but by swinging left for the first time in 70 years. New president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known by his initials AMLO, promised to put the needs of ordinary Mexicans first. However, he has the U.S. — and the whims of Donald Trump and his “great wall” — to contend with, which could hamper those efforts.

As AMLO took office on December 1st, the G20 summit of world leaders was unfolding in Argentina. There, amid a glittering backdrop of power and influence, the trade war between the U.S. and the world’s rising superpower, China, came even more clearly into focus. While its president, Xi Jinping, having fully consolidated power amid a wave of Chinese nationalism, could become his country’s longest serving leader, he faces an international landscape that would have amazed and befuddled Mao Zedong.

Though Trump declared his meeting with Xi a success because the two sides agreed on a 90-day tariff truce, his prompt appointment of an anti-Chinese hardliner, Robert Lighthizer, to head negotiations, a tweet in which he referred to himself in superhero fashion as a “Tariff Man,” and news that the U.S. had requested that Canada arrest and extradite an executive of a key Chinese tech company, caused the Dow to take its fourth largest plunge in history and then fluctuate wildly as economic fears of a future “Great Something” rose. More uncertainty and distrust were the true product of that meeting.

In fact, we are now in a world whose key leaders, especially the president of the United States, remain willfully oblivious to its long-term problems, putting policies like deregulation, fake nationalist solutions, and profits for the already grotesquely wealthy ahead of the future lives of the mass of citizens. Consider the yellow-vest protests that have broken out in France, where protestors identifying with left and right political parties are calling for the resignation of neoliberal French President Emmanuel Macron. Many of them, from financially starved provincial towns, are angry that their purchasing power has dropped so low they can barely make ends meet

Ultimately, what transcends geography and geopolitics is an underlying level of economic discontent sparked by twenty-first-century economics and a resulting Grand Canyon-sized global inequality gap that is still widening. Whether the protests go left or right, what continues to lie at the heart of the matter is the way failed policies and stop-gap measures put in place around the world are no longer working, not when it comes to the non-1% anyway. People from Washington to Paris, London to Beijing, increasingly grasp that their economic circumstances are not getting better and are not likely to in any presently imaginable future, given those now in power.

A Dangerous Recipe

The financial crisis of 2008 initially fostered a policy of bailing out banks with cheap money that went not into Main Street economies but into markets enriching the few. As a result, large numbers of people increasingly felt that they were being left behind and so turned against their leaders and sometimes each other as well.

This situation was then exploited by a set of self-appointed politicians of the people, including a billionaire TV personality who capitalized on an increasingly widespread fear of a future at risk. Their promises of economic prosperity were wrapped in populist platitudes, normally (but not always) of a right-wing sort. Lost in this shift away from previously dominant political parties and the systems that went with them was a true form of populism, which would genuinely put the needs of the majority of people over the elite few, build real things including infrastructure, foster organic wealth distribution, and stabilize economies above financial markets.

In the meantime, what we have is, of course, a recipe for an increasingly unstable and vicious world.

Nomi Prins is a TomDispatch regular. Her latest book is Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World (Nation Books). Of her six other books, the most recent is All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power. She is a former Wall Street executive. Special thanks go to researcher Craig Wilson for his superb work on this piece.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel (the second in the Splinterlands series) Frostlands, Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.

Copyright 2018 Nomi Prins

After listening to Lakme, the Flower Duet

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I like beautiful music and although I prefer music over song, either can be from any era, just as long as it is beautiful to my ears and it moves me. So I was listening to Lakme, part I, The Flower Duet (in this case performed by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca – See YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw)

…And I was thinking, again, about Earth and about “Man” as Earth’s current lord and master. I was thinking of a line by Carl Sagan in “Contact”: ‘You are capable of such beauty, and such horror.” (Quoting from memory but the gist is here)

Whenever I engage myself, mind-wise, on Earthian matters, I get confused as to how I should approach it. Is it “you” and me as the cosmic observer, or should I include myself in among the observed? How do I decide this? First, I must be sure it isn’t a matter of hubris; that if my observation runs into negative judgment, that if I remove myself it isn’t in any way because I think I’m superior to the rest of Earthianity, but because I no longer think, speak or act as most of “you” do. This process, this judgment, must be impeccable on my part.

I believe it is, therefore I am going to be the observer and use the “you” though certainly in the generic sense. I do not know “you” as individuals, therefore it will be according to your conscience whether you “fit in” or can truthfully remain outside the picture. For you, today, I will once again take up the role of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra and say things you will not find acceptable.

You are capable of great beauty… certainly, and the piece of music I mention above proves it even by itself. You don’t have to be able to write, play or sing such, you just have to be able to listen to it and have the capacity to let it enter you and fill you and for the three or four minutes it takes, let it displace all other thoughts, feelings and emotions. Simple, really.

The problem however is that too often it seems impossible to let go. The “immediate” presses upon the mind and demands full attention. That immediate could be anything from the most pleasurable to the greatest pain or loss. The mind-heart refuses to let go of its current obsession driven by anticipation or the immediacy of physical or mental pain.

Earth is not a place conducive to an overall sense of peace, comfort and wholesome satisfaction. Even in the most remote corners, surrounded by nothing but nature, unless one is blind, the reality of the turmoil taking place in the skies, the seas, the trees, the soil, impinges on one’s awareness: predators, everywhere. You see, your world’s natural motive force is based on predatorship or perhaps I should coin a word here: predatorism, because in fact that is the concept that rules Earth. Some are born to kill, many, many more are born to be killed, eaten or absorbed into the natural fabric, their lives cut down long before they can complete their natural cycle. Even your great mountains are worn away by waters and passing winds.

I realize that most of you do not engage your world this way. You do not sense this, though you may be vaguely aware of it, and you generally shrug it off, or use it as an excuse for indulging in what Sagan called, “great horror.” You call it the food chain, and that’s that, as if somehow that explains it away. As if that same nature you want to wax poetic about can also be the brutal barbaric entity that supports your convenient food chain. As if there is no unacceptable dichotomy here, no problem.

That’s the problem, you see, the fact that you don’t see a problem with how nature works. You don’t see a problem because you don’t realize the direct relationship with your own social failures: your wars, genocides, social injustices of every possible kind juxtaposed with those of the world you happen to be temporarily using as a base because… you have no choice: you can’t get away, and if you could, you would have no clue where to go. Some of you feel that your species is a failure, but how many see your world’s “procession” as an equally and connected abysmal failure?

I feel both, the horror that is the working natural system of this world, and the greater horror that is an intelligent, sentient, self aware (ISSA) species calling itself “mankind” that refuses to question the modus operandi of its natural world; refuses to question its own modus operandi; refuses the simple expedient of connecting the dots in order to realize why things are as they are and why no lasting (real) solution to man’s social problems has ever come forth. The only times some significant change has ever happened was through the exercise of violence. That true statement should make any rational being stop and take note: why must it require violence to make significant change within the social structure, and why is it that any and all such changes have failed and are in the process of failing right now?

To me that would be the “why?” question of all the “why?” questions. Why do you always fail? Look, even now, while shooting off on all kinds of tangents based on IT and AI, you are helplessly realizing that this technology is quite likely going to supplant you, perhaps destroy you as ISSA beings. Barely has the technology begun that already you know without a doubt that some way or another it is going to bite you in the ass, and that severely so.

You see? There is no win-win here, not under the current hegemony; the current “force” or “power” that operates this planet. You, people of earth, are not that force or that power, but its slave species. There, I’ve said it, and but for rare exceptions, that is not something you will find acceptable, therefore you will find it necessary to reject the thought outright. If you did not, guess what? You would be forced to look into this in depth and who knows where that would lead? To confront your real nemesis?

No. I can easily tell you where it would lead: back to organized religion. Without self empowerment; without the power to cancel out all input and replace it all with your own thoughts, your own self-made ISSA reasoning, the forces or powers I speak of, will seem to smile in your brain. They will prod you along, with fine words or goads, down the chute into a ready-made religion that will, of course, explain it all. You will then accept the “new” ideas this “new” religion programs into your mind and who knows? It could explain how the AI is a divine power, or it could just as easily make you believe that the time has come to launch a “revolution” against science and technology and you will go off to destroy all vestiges of science and technology, mindlessly following the dictates of a few madmen who will tell you they are “making the Earth great again.”

Either way, you see, you’re not your own person: you are an actor, a puppet, a robot because you are not in control of your own mind. So you will go along (or you will be of those who will violently oppose the barbarians) and indulge in much, much more horror and under your feet, in the seas, in the trees and in the air, predators will continue to kill and eat, and billions of lifeforms will die premature deaths in attempts to sate the hunger of an insatiable system – as Costello would say, “Same as you!”

Quote: “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” (Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)