Saturday, September 23, 2017

An Important Equinox Message from Words of Power

Judy Chicago -- Earth Birth (1983)
My sixty-fourth birthday fell on the New Moon. Another priceless boon from the Dark Goddess. But there's even more to it. When you turn thirty-two, Venus and Mars come into the same position in relation to each other as they were at the moment of your birth. Likewise thirty-two years later when you turn sixty-four, Mars and Venus line up in the same way again. Yes, Mars and Venus, Love and War, and so much more. "Heiro Gamos," that's what a young friend, a Dakini poetess who just turned thirty-two, calls this particular recurrence, "Heiro Gamos" i.e., an inner sacred union, a sacred sexual union between god and goddess within. But there's still more. Two days after this profound recurrence, the Equinox arrived, bringing Autumn to the Northern Gaia and Spring to the Southern Gaia. The great wheel turns, turn with it. Yes, on the Equinox we celebrate the planetary polarity, we revel in the moment of absolute balance between light and dark, and then here in the North, we lean forward into the darkness ...

Within this last month, three mega hurricanes in the Caribbean and two mega earthquakes in Mexico: 50 inches of rain in Houston, a storm the width of Florida, and now Puerto Rico without electricity for months, and 70,000 people needing to evacuate to escape a dam that might break, at least twenty children killed when their school collapsed in Mexico City ... Meanwhile, in Beltwayistan, a mentally ill Usurper still occupies the White House, installed in large part through an information warfare campaign directed by the richest man in the world (Vladimir Putin). So for almost a year now the "most dangerous organization in human history" has been in charge of all three branches of the federal government, savagely imposing sociopathy as a new philosophy of governance. Unfortunately, although there has been widespread resistance since November 2016, some among us are withdrawing, choosing denial, but dressing it up in extravagant costumes and camouflaging it in mystical-twistical mumbo-jumbo, feeling that they have evolved beyond the political dimension of this struggle.

So I need to tell you something.   

The Hero's Journey never ends. If you find yourself telling someone about what happens after the Hero's Journey, either you didn't really go or you turned back too early. No one ever returns from the Hero's Journey. It just goes ON. It is the path of Individuation itself. The Hero's Journey and the Circle of Life are not two different stories. If you describe the Hero's Journey and the Circle of Life as two different stories, maybe you are just wanting cover for being AWOL at a time of war. The Hero's Journey is not a masculine motif. Just ask Freya or the Morrigan or the Norn or Epona or Wonder Woman or Agent Carter. Someone who says it is does not really understand the structure of consciousness. The Circle of Life and the Hero's Journey are foundational elements of the container which holds our Psyche (both individual and collective). The black wave of Yin and the white wave of Yang surge toward into through each other within the circumference established by the Circle of Life. The crests of the two waves touch at the center to form a jagged horizontal line up and down the space of the Circle. That jagged horizontal line is the Hero's Journey. It's not a boundary, it's an intimacy. It is the Razor's Edge. No one ever returns from the Hero's Journey. It just goes ON. Likewise, the Circle of Life and the Hero's Journey are symbiotic, they sustain each other ceaselessly, they unfold simultaneously and could not exist without each other.
Odilon Redon - Druid Priestess (1893)

This truth is from the Ancient Future, from before the Vikings were Vikings or the Celts were Celts. It is a double-edged sword. I know. I have felt its Valerian steel for six decades. On one edge the word W-I-L-L is emblazoned, on the other edge the word S-U-R-R-E-N-D-E-R is emblazoned. 

My sixty-fourth birthday, this Heirogamos, with its New Moon and Equinox, in the wake of a total solar eclipse just a month ago, all of it, urges me on to share what I can.

Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality is available now from Amazon.com. It constitutes a significant contribution to the emerging planetary wisdom tradition.

I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans will be available in a limited edition exclusively from wordsofpower.earth later this Autumn. Each copy will be numbered and signed. Purchases will be processed via Paypal and credit card. Delivery will be made via U.S. postal service.

I, the Dragon is an autobiographical novel. It tells the tale of my life's adventure from survivor of profound child abuse to global intelligence and security expert to philosopher-poet and yoga teacher. It is also a history of the nation and the world from the early 1950s to this present moment.

Look for the announcement on Samhain 2017 (October 31st-November 1st).

-- Blessings, Richard Power, Author, Speaker, Yoga Teacher







Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Burning Man 2017: What the Sandstorm and the Blue Coyote Told Me


The Temple, Burning Man 2017
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned ...
-- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming (First Stanza)

I left Black Rock City on Thursday. I didn't want to go to the torching of the Man or the Temple or any of the great art installations this year. I just didn't want to engage in any burning. This wasn't an intellectual decision, it wasn't conceptual, it was somatic, it was something I felt in all five bodies.

There were nineteen wild fires raging in the state of California that week.


Those blazing torches in Charlottesville also factored in. It had been less than a month since the act of domestic terrorism that took the life of Heather Heyer. The self-proclaimed "leaders of the Alt-Right" triggered that atrocity with their torch-lit rally. The usurper too bears moral responsibility for heaping abomination on top of atrocity when he provided cover for his "Alt Right" allies. Bully pulpit indeed.

I just didn't want to go to the torching of the Man or the Temple or any of the great art this year.

I know the fire intimately. The mystical fire. The one that burns from the inside out. I know the path of spiritual immolation so well my "playa name" might as well be "Heraclitus," but I don't have a "playa name" and I don't want one. My name is my name. I have thrown all that is mine into that fire, even and especially my own heart. Over and over again. But there is another truth hidden behind the truth of the fire. Supernatural fire is of a different nature than natural fire. When your heart is burned alive, it rises from the black ash the next morning, beating and hungry. We are phoenixes.

On Saturday night, back in my urban cave, just as I finished writing this lead to my story, I received the news that someone had eluded the security team at the burning of the Man and run into the inferno. He died the next day. Self-immolation. Tragic of course. But also in a very real way, an act of senseless violence inflicted upon all those who gathered there in celebration of life.

Ironically, the planet isn't just burning, it is simultaneously drowning. Just as Burning Man was starting, Cat 5 Hurricane Harvey's 2-day rain in Houston is 3 times floodwater pumped from New Orleans after Katrina, and just as Burning Man was ending, Cat 5 Hurricane Irma, a storm "larger than Ohio," was building toward a run at Puerto Rico and Florida.

The Climate Crisis is upon us now, full bore.

Solipmission, Burning Man 2017
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
 shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
 -- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming (Second Stanza)

I go to Burning Man to walk in the wind and listen to the heart of the world.

For me, the wilderness had never served as the backdrop of the gathering, the gathering had always served as the backdrop of the wilderness.

What Burning Man became over the decades was in large part the result of where it was held after it was moved from Baker Beach. I do not say this to diminish the achievements of all of those who have dedicated so much of their life energy to the event. The karma and vision of the founders and their staff was an essential ingredient, so was the passion, creativity and service of a multitude of burners across the country and around the world. But it was the Black Rock Desert that made it what it became at its zenith. And I don't mean just any desert, I mean that one in particular, it is sacred, and powerful, and a portal opened up in that space for all of these years. This is an occult truth. Gaia made it so. Seriously. I know. I have circumambulated the cosmic egg at Uluru, and felt the coiling of the rainbow serpents. I have stood in the ruins at Tiahuancao, on the threshold of the great nothingness that lies beyond.

So yes, I go to Burning Man to walk in the wind and listen to the heart of the world.

The photos I take with my iPhone are not of empty space or sand storms or twilight on the mountains beyond, no, they're photos of humanity experiencing mystery of Burning Man, capturing as best I can what happens when the portal in which those humans are moving activates the portal otherwise dormant within them. At least, that is Burning Man at its best. That's what I look to capture and to chronicle. Burning Man at its worst is something I am not going to address in this post.

There is a current of information woven into the vibration of the planet's heart beat, an oracle.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was walking toward the Temple. It was maybe twenty feet away. Forty MPH winds had been whipping up sand storms for an hour or so already. A great squall arose. The sand blinded me. I could not even see my hands as I held them out in front of me. All sound seemed far away. I heard someone laughing. I heard someone screaming. The gust kept going. I had been in many sandstorms on the Playa, but nothing like this one. Ever. It went on for several minutes. Long enough for primal fear to arise. I turned inside to the heart of the world, and I asked, "What if this doesn't end?" THE VOICE answered from within the whirlwind, "Someday, it won't." After I stood there for a few more labored breaths, taking in the import of this message, the squall finally subsided.

Richard Power, Burning Man 2017
Inside the temple, there were, as always, many humans honoring their dead or working on some other personal loss, but in the center of the space, there was a hard-core mass of young burners, garbed like Fremen, listening to the singing of sacred crystal bowls. I looked around me, taking it all in, that hard-core mass of young Fremen and I were not their mourning the loss of a loved one or a body part or a romance, that hard-core mass and I were bearing witness to the end of our world, something more than prayer, something more than mourning, something more than hope. In silence. Whether acknowledged consciously or not by one or another of those present, that was nevertheless the reality of this moment. "Someday it won't."

The next night there was a big wild fire, it jumped the highway and burned on both sides, knocking out electricity in Gerlach. The police set up a road block and would not let me pass. They said there would be no change until at least sunrise on Thursday. So I drove back to Black Rock City. At 2:00 a.m. On the highway, halfway between Gerlach and the turn-off into the Playa, I saw something ahead of me on the road. I slowed down. It was motionless. I stopped once I got close enough to see what it was. A blue coyote was sitting in the middle of the road. He locked eyes with me. He spoke to me with his glance, in a psychic dialect of the tricksters: "WTF?!?! This world is whacked, brother. Totally whacked. All of it. Be careful. This is some serious shit. You aren't missing any of it. This is what is. Watch your back." After another breath, this one shared in silence, he slinked off the road and into the shadows. He glanced back twice. His eyes held such savage beauty. At 3:00 am in Black Rock City, celebrants crowded the avenues. But like my brother the Blue Coyote, I slinked into the shadows, and slept in my car. I left for before noon next day.

Returning early to San Francisco, I found it in the throes of a record-breaking heat wave.

"WTF?!?! This world is whacked, brother. Totally whacked. All of it. Be careful. This is some serious shit. You aren't missing any of it. This is what is. Watch your back."

Margareta Appalachia, Burning Man 2017
I had been conflicted about going to Burning Man 2017 all year. But I went anyway, I just decided I would leave early, before the burning ... So I was not surprised to feel that something was off with the Burn, at both the macro and micro levels. It was not subjective. The signs were all around me. Furthermore, beings I deeply respect shared their corroborating experiences with me as we all moved through it. Don't misunderstand me. I don't think there was anything the organizers could have done differently, this time. This had been coming toward us for awhile ...

Something very, very bad happened in November 2016. You need to understand how it has impacted all of us and every one of our institutions (and yes, Burning Man has become an institution). We are all operating under great duress. What happened in November 2016 and all that has happened since that day has disrupted the collective field and each of our individual fields, for real and in dire ways. It doesn't matter if you consider yourself apolitical or worse yet if you feel you have "evolved" beyond engagement in the political process. The usurper, the zombie cult, the death eater overlords, deeply disturbed men, yes, men, deeply disturbed white men (including the usurper's spy master in the Kremlin), it is all real. It is happening. And it must be resisted. It wasn't supposed to be this way. We were heading through a portal toward a higher octave in November 2016, but reality itself was high-jacked and here we are. This is impacting all of us individually and every institution, in real and dire ways. You may not want to hear this. You may react badly to what I am saying. You might hear it as political, and turn away. But this isn't simply a political truth, it is a mystical truth, an occult truth, a psychological truth, a shamanic truth.

We are not supposed to be where we are. This is not part of some divine plan. As we were stepping into that portal, we were dragged off on to this alternate timeline. We are better than this. Reality itself was high-jacked in November 2016. Patriots on the streets, in journalism, even in elected office, and especially in the shadow realm of the "Deep State" are struggling night and day to free the hostage reality from its abductors. As the Blue Coyote said, "This is some serious shit."

 So yes, something was off this year in Black Rock City. How could it not be?

Civilization relies on a delicate balance, so does Burning Man. These delicate balances have been disrupted. This is a time to re-evaluate all of it, time to take a long hard look, time to listen deeply to what the heart beat of the world is telling each of us individually, all of us collectively ...

And yes, I came to this realization before that human ran into the fire ...

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 
 -- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming (Third Stanza)         

There is a lot I haven't said in this post, but this is enough. For now, and for this medium ...

I encountered four great works of art at Burning Man 2017. All four speak directly from the profound depths of power, magic and vision. Each in a different way. They all call us ON to the awesome shift required of us in this time. Each in a different way. It is as if these four magnificent installations have reached back to us from our ancient future, to offer a hand up and into the only abiding sanctuary -- the truth and beauty within ourselves, raw, naked, indomitable.
  • The Temple: "The form of the Temple begins with life out of balance. Throughout the Sierra Nevada, species of pine trees are dying, compromised by a bark beetle which has proliferated due to human interruption of the cycle of forest fires, and climate change. The material of these trees, donated to our project, harvested and milled, becomes the basic building block of the Temple ...." (Steven Brummond, Marisha Farnsworth, Mark Sinclair, Oakland, CA)
  • Solipmission: Artists locked inside a black box on the playa, for the entire week of the event, tasked with creating a virtual Burning Man on the inside walls, using their own imaginations to interpret what visitors tell them, without ever be allowed outside or seeing anything with their own eyes. (Dadara, Netherlands) 
  • Margareta Appalachia: A female giantess, striding forward in the wilderness, wearing "an interpretation of classical Korean Hanbok robes" and carrying a ceremonial drum cradled in one arm, while raising her other, with ring and index fingers forming a peace (i.e., victory) symbol. (Mike Eros, Houston, TX) 
  • Tree of Ténéré: "An enormous lifelike tree, Ténéré offers shade to wanderers, adventure to climbers, and transcendent community to those gathered beneath its 15,000 LED leaves. Like its namesake – considered the most isolated tree on Earth until its destruction in 1973 – Ténéré serves as a place of refuge and ritual for desert wanderers. Standing more than three stories tall, it beckons to passersby with the promise of shade and adventure, conjuring spontaneous communities out of desert sand and sun. At night, LEDs hidden within each leaf begin to glow ..." (Alexander Green, Mark Slee, Zachary Smith, and Patrick Deegan, San Francisco, CA
Tree of Ténéré Burning Man 2017

#RESIST #OCCUPYMAITREYA #SAVAGEBEAUTY #TAVERNOFRUIN #STRANGERINASTRANGELAND #SHAMANICPOWER #NOTACARAVANOFDESPAIR #TANTRIKAKNOWS

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Five Survival Tips for Your Journey into the Wilderness of Revelation (Seven Beasts, Part Three)

 Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens - Nature Adorning the Three Graces (1630-1635)
In "Five Survival Tips for Your Journey into the Wilderness of Revelation" (embedded below), I offer perspective on some vital aspects of our life in this world, including the True Nature of Karma, Life as the Teacher, Healing: What It Is and What It Isn't and the Power of Legend,

In the course of the presentation, I draw on numerous sources to help articulate these truths: the bold brushstrokes of Frida Kahlo, the scientific notion of the Butterfly Effect, a profound insight from the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, a certain mysterious character from the films of the Wachowski siblings, the ever-present ghost of the great Jack Kerouac, a particularly odd teaching tale from the ancient Taoist sage Chuang Tzu, and perhaps most important, the Three Fates and the Three Graces, two powerful myths of the divine feminine at work in the field of this reality.

This digital artifact also features the spoken word of Dakini poetess Maya Luna.

"Five Survival Tips" is the third movement of "Seven Beasts: A Tale of the Mysterium." The first and second movements were originally shared in person with a circle of friends in July 2017. This third movement was recorded exclusively for online publication via the Words of Power You Tube channel.

Although "Five Survival Tips" flows from the same current of contemplation as the first two movements, it is a stand-alone experience, i.e., you don't need to watch them in sequential order.

[NOTE: If you receive Words of Power via email subscription, you will have to click on the hyperlink to view the You Tube post.]

 Five Survival Tips for Your Journey into the Wilderness of Revelation (Seven Beasts, Part III)



-- Richard Power

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Seven Beasts, A Tale of the Mysterium


On June 16, 2017 (Bloomsday), I announced two major new publications, Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality (available now) and I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans (coming in Fall 2017). To mark the occasion, I delivered a presentation entitled Seven Beasts: A Tale of the Mysterium.  This talk, a shamanic journey really, included the first public reading from I, The Dragon.  A digital artifact of the event is embedded in this post and also accessible via the Words of Power You Tube channel.

Here is some background on each of the new books.

Wyrds of Power

Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality includes my entire Primal Reality series (five books) in one deluxe edition. This work constitute a significant contribution to the emerging global wisdom tradition of the 21st Century. 

Several overarching themes frame this work:
  • Evolution of yoga and the yoga of evolution.
  • Tantric vision of birth, death and transformation, in which human incarnation is experienced as divine revelation, i.e., Yoga of Primal Reality, a.k.a. Cauldron Yoga.
  • Ascendancy of the feminine in psyche (human and divine). 
  • Gaian Poetics, a poetics of our intimate, creative relationship with the vast planetary intelligence within which we live, move and have our being.
  • A contemplation of the human condition in the early 21st century, and in particular the Singularity within the Singularity. 
  • A celebration of some simple truths that could help redeem us and heal our world, e.g. altruism and sustainability as spiritual (and existential) imperatives 
  • A call to the great shift required of us if our species is to evolve, i.e., the great shift to a green global civilization, the Ancient Future.
Interspersed between each movement of this sweeping exploration, I have inserted batches of "epiphanies." Existential. Somatic. Reality-based. Experiential. New language for perennial truths. Dispatches from the Ancient Future. An inventory of open secrets. A compass for the pathless path.
 

The books included in this deluxe one-volume edition (in reverse chronological order): 
  • "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future" (2015) 
  • "Planetary Emergency/Personal Emergence: Path of An Evolutionary" (2014) 
  • "User's Guide to Human Incarnation: Yoga of Primal Reality" (2013) 
  • "Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality In An Age of Global Peril" (2012) 
  • "Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity In Anticipation of Itself" (2010) 

I, The Dragon
 
I, The Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans is an autobiographical novel that spans six decades. It tells the story of a remarkable journey from profoundly abused child to global intelligence and security expert to yoga teacher and philosopher-poet.

In the course of the narrative, I offer an alternate history of the modern era, with insights into democracy, geopolitics, art, science, human rights and the Climate Crisis.

Excerpt from A Note to the Reader in I, The Dragon:

I could have written a book about my path of healing from the severe physical and sexual abuse I endured in childhood. I could have written a book about my professional life in intelligence and security and what it taught me about what goes on in the shadows of power (nation-state and corporate). I could have written a book about my lifelong journey into mysticism, yoga, shamanism and the occult, and articulated the powerful realizations I have stumbled into along the way. I could have written a book about my life as a writer and a poet, and offered a compelling narrative of the agonies and ecstasies of the artist’s life, and the grim, heroic struggle to keep the creative process alive and free in the depraved conditions of the modern age (industrial and post-industrial). But I have chosen instead to write one memoir woven out of all four of these narrative threads. Nothing less would deliver the truth. This is the book that demanded to be written. 

I, The Dragon will be available in Fall 2017. Related announcements coming in September.

So stayed tuned.

Meanwhile ...

This digital artifact includes the full audio recording, my PowerPoint presentation, some precious iPhone video and a few still photographs of the gathering itself. [NOTE: If you receive Words of Power via email subscription, you will have to click on the hyperlink to view the You Tube post.]

Seven Beasts, A Tale of the Mysterium (Part I and Part II)

This Bloomsday talk constituted Part I and Part II of Seven Beasts; Part III will be released via the Words of Power You Tube channel in August 2017 and cross-posted here.
 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice ...


Vanity Fair (August 2017)
Time Magazine (Jul 3, 2017 Vol 190 No 1)
 If there were ever a doubt that a traitor now occupies the Oval Office, Tuesday’s assault on the exercise of a free press, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, should dispel it.
This particular attack was prompted by a screw-up at CNN, a favorite punching-bag for President Donald J. Trump, but was quickly extended to the whole of the political press. It’s a timeworn strategy of authoritarian regimes. As Jill Lepore recounted in the June 5 issue of the New Yorker, Edmund Taylor, writing in 1940 of Nazi strategy in France, reported on “the propaganda campaign waged by Nazi agents to divide the French people, by leaving them uncertain about what to believe, or whether to believe anything at all.” -- Adele M. Stans, Very Dangerous Times: The Media Is Under Attack by an Authoritarian White House, American Prospect via AlterNet, 7/28/17

Admittedly, the saying "one picture is worth a thousand words" has become somewhat hackneyed. It originated, after all, in the advertising business of the early 1920s. Fred R. Barnard, the writer who first proffered it, falsely framed it as a Chinese proverb, thinking it would have more gravitas that way. But it did stick in the collective psyche. Because it has some truth in it.  Not an absolute truth, of course, only a relative truth; it all depends on the words and pictures presented. 

In this post, I offer you two pictures and two thousand six hundred something words. In the hope that it all speaks to you in some meaningful way. One of the images is a recent Time Magazine cover (7/3/17), it shows Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, under his visage the caption reads: "The Lie Detector." The other image is a recent Vanity Fair cover (August 2017), it shows tennis superstar Serena Williams, naked and pregnant. Its caption reads: "Serena Williams' Love Match." 

What do you see when you look at these images? 

On the cover of Time, I see a man with a long distinguished career at the highest levels of federal law enforcement and a U.S. Marine whose heroism earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart; a worthy champion who has been tasked with investigating the gravest scandal to ever cast its pall over the White House. And on the Vanity Fair cover, the great Annie Leibovitz has captured the naked power and beauty of the pregnant Serena Williams. It is a profound cultural statement, it speaks for itself, but for me it stands as a potent antidote to the racist, misogynist backlash this nation is currently enduring. It is the image of a powerful woman of color, bold and free, and in full possession of her reproductive rights, the Feminine ascending.

In these two images, there is evidence that there is something worth fighting for. We shall be "INDIVISIBLE, with liberty and justice for all ..."

So Be It

Amidst the fear and loathing unleashed in the presidential election of 2016, I lost a blood relative to the Alt Right and a beloved friend to the Alt Left. Tragic yes, but so be it. I find myself on the barricades of a strange and remarkable alliance, a united front that I could not have imagined before the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey. This informal united front did not coalesce around ideology, it coalesced around simple sanity and common human decency, and it has one goal -- to protect this Union, to save it from a free fall into chaos and subversion. David Frum (G.W. Bush's former speechwriter), Richard Painter (G.W. Bush's former chief ethics lawyer), conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin and even MSNBC's Morning Joe Scarborough are all on the right side of this barricade; unfortunately, Oliver Stone, Mark Crispin Miller and some other friends and allies on the left are on the wrong side. Tragic yes, but so be it. In an eerie and ironic twist, the New York Times (which disgraced itself with its coverage of the stolen election of 2000) and the Washington Post (which never seemed to recover from Bill Casey's brain tumor) are doing hard-hitting, heavyweight investigative reporting on the Putin-Trump affair, while some bastions of independent progressive journalism, for example, Robert Parry's Consortium News have missed the real story here and wandered off into the ideological weeds. Tragic yes, but so be it. 

 Sociopathy as A Philosophy of Governance

As I wrote in January, the capital city of this great nation has fallen to a legion of deeply disturbed men. (Yes, men, privileged white madmen.) This is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance, from allowing "hunters" to slaughter mama grizzlies and their cubs while still in hibernation, to undeservedly removing Iraq and Burma from the list of states still utilizing child soldiers, and moving to "dismantle the federal clean water rule, which protects waterways that provide drinking water for about a third of the US population." TrumpRyanMcConnellCare is nothing more than a weaponized tax cut targeting woman, people of color, the working poor, children, the unemployed, the chronically ill and the elderly. It is an act of domestic terrorism. Trump’s declaration that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is a crime against nature and a crime against humanity; it is an act of global terrorism, targeting Gaia Herself, and therefore all nations, all species, and all eco-systems. Unspeakable acts, incomprehensible cruelty.  Anti-woman, anti-nature, anti-science, anti-reason, anti-love, anti-life, and what does “live” spell backwards? Evil.

Worse than Watergate or Iran-Contra, Much Worse

The Putin-Trump affair is worse than either Watergate or Iran-Contra, much worse.  The Putin-Trump affair is more like 9/11, it is not a just a scandal, it is a direct attack on this country. 

On 9/11, the World Trade Center was destroyed, thousands of innocents were slaughtered and we were all plunged into an alternate reality. Much war ensued in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the election of 2016, our democratic institutions were high-jacked, we were again dragged through the looking glass, farther and deeper than before, and many more innocents may soon be dying, in countless ways, and whether or not war ensues overseas, civil war is dangerously close here at home. 

On 9/11, this nation was attacked by Middle Eastern terrorists seeking to force the U.S. to remove its military bases from Saudia Arabia. In the 2016 election, this nation was attacked by Russian agents following Putin's direct orders to hurt Clinton and help Trump. It could be confidently alleged that Bush-Cheney insecurity team were criminally negligent in the weeks and months before 9/11; they clearly, brazenly ignored dire and repeated warnings from both U.S. and allied intelligence. (This  is all documented in the Words of Power archives.) But arguably, the Trumpster Fire and the Zombie Cult may be guilty of even worse in the months before election day. 

Of course, in July 2017, Trump openly encouraged the Russian hacking during his campaign.  
That profoundly unsavory remark has been widely reported, but the misdeeds of Ryan and McConnnel in that same time frame are perhaps of even graver significance.

In June 2016, Speaker Ryan was secretly recorded telling fellow Zombie Cult congressmen that mention of Trump being on Putin's payroll was "off the record" and there were to be "no leaks."
In September 2016, high-level national security officials from the Obama administration met with congressional leadership on the crisis, but Senate Majority Leader McConnell stood in the way of any meaningful response, choosing politics over national security.
  • The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble. “The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault, Washington Post, 6/23/17
We have been lurching toward a second Civil War, this one with a Neo-Confederacy underwritten by right-wing oligarchs, ever since Nixon's successful Southern Strategy (1968 and 1972), which was followed soon after by the "Reagan Revolution" (1980 and 1984). With the election of the first African American President in 2008 and his re-election in 2012, the drift toward a Second Civil War gained momentum. (It all has as much to do with greed as it does with racism and misogyny. It all has as much to do with racism and misogyny as it does with greed.) 

In 2016 it took an even more dangerous and destructive turn as the Neo-Confederacy welcomed the Union's main geopolitical adversary as its ally, yes, the devil that is Zombie Cult and its Death Eater Overlords willingly made a deal with the devil, i.e., the Trumpster Fire knowing full-well that Putin was Trump's puppetmaster. We can only surmise that for them enabling espionage, sabotage and treason was somehow a less egregious wrong than allowing the nation's populace to follow up the first African American president with the first woman president, and that fracturing the Western Alliance, weakening NATO and isolating the U.S.A. in the world was somehow an acceptable price to pay for fulfilling Ryan's frat boy dreams of dismantling Medicaid and other Great Society programs. Yes, this is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance.

#RESIST

And so here we are ...  If this treachery and subterfuge is allowed to stand, our way of life will have come to an ignoble end ... Bear witness. Lean forward ...

Below, I have included excerpts from two very important pieces, along with links to the full texts. The first is from David Corn of Mother Jones, and the second from Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous of the Washington Post. We owe a debt of gratitude to these real deal journalists and their fellow fourth estate heroes. They are working in a dangerous space.

-- Richard Power 

The Trump-Russia scandal is the subject of multiple investigations that may or may not unearth new revelations, but this much is already certain: Donald Trump is guilty. We don’t need additional information about the Russian covert scheme to undermine the 2016 campaign, or about the curious interactions between Team Trump and Russia, or about Trump pressuring and then firing FBI Director James Comey, to reach the judgment that the president of the United States engaged in wrongdoing. From the start, Trump and his crew have claimed they had nothing to do with the hack-and-leak operation mounted by Russian intelligence to help Trump nab the presidency. They have dismissed the matter as fake news, and they have insisted there is no issue because there has been no proof that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia. In May, for instance, Trump proclaimed, “Believe me, there’s no collusion.” Nothing to see; move along. Explicit collusion may yet be proved by the FBI investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller or by other ongoing probes. But even if it is not, a harsh verdict can be pronounced: Trump actively and enthusiastically aided and abetted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plot against America. This is the scandal. It already exists—in plain sight. As soon as the news broke a year ago that the Russians had penetrated the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems, Trump launched a campaign of denial and distraction. For months, he refused to acknowledge the Kremlin’s role. He questioned expert and government findings that pinned the blame on Moscow. He refused to condemn Putin. Far from treating these acts of information warfare seriously, he attempted to politicize and delegitimize the evidence. Meanwhile, he and his supporters encouraged more Russian hacking. All told, Trump provided cover for a foreign government’s attempt to undermine American democracy. Through a propaganda campaign of his own, he helped Russia get away with it. -- David Corn, Trump Is Already Guilty of Aiding Putin’s Attack on America, Mother Jones, July-August 2017

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump. At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks. But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence. The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid ... Jeh Johnson, the homeland-security secretary, was responsible for finding out whether the government could quickly shore up the security of the nation’s archaic patchwork of voting systems. He floated the idea of designating state mechanisms “critical infrastructure,” a label that would have entitled states to receive priority in federal cybersecurity assistance, putting them on a par with U.S. defense contractors and financial networks. On Aug. 15, Johnson arranged a conference call with dozens of state officials, hoping to enlist their support. He ran into a wall of resistance. The reaction “ranged from neutral to negative,” Johnson said in congressional testimony Wednesday. Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, used the call to denounce Johnson’s proposal as an assault on state rights. “I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration,” Kemp said in a recent interview, adding that he remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 race. “I don’t necessarily believe that,” he said. Stung by the reaction, the White House turned to Congress for help, hoping that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective. In early September, Johnson, Comey and Monaco arrived on Capitol Hill in a caravan of black SUVs for a meeting with 12 key members of Congress, including the leadership of both parties. The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble. “The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault, Washington Post, 6/23/17






Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Thirteenth Chime of the Clock


Harriet Tubman, c. 1885
Photo:
H. Seymour Squyer, Source: National Portrait Gallery
If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there's shouting after you, keep going. Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
-- Harriet Tubman

"It's the language of the underworld, it's the language of racketeering, it's not the language of a President who is supposed to be enforcing the rule of law. It's staggering. I mean for all the bizarre things that have happened in these 110 or 111 days, this is really like the thirteenth chime of a clock that makes the whole thing come apart." -- Harvard University constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe on Lawrence O'Donnell's Last Word, MSNBC (5/11/17)

Harriet Tubman knew. "Don't ever stop. Keep going."

If the U.S.A. (and its Constitution) somehow survive this crisis, it will be because so many among us found their own inner Harriet Tubman before it was too late, so far it has been a resistance led by intelligence officers, law enforcement officials, journalists, federal judges and a multitude of citizens from all walks of life flooding into the streets and into their representatives' town halls.

"Don't ever stop. Keep going."

This last few days deserves to be documented, they may prove pivotal.

On Monday, Sally Yates finally got to testify. Yates was the Acting Attorney General when she was fired by you know who, after twenty-seven years of exemplary service in the U.S. DoJ, because she refused to enforce his unconstitutional travel ban (her view was confirmed by the rulings of three federal court justices, BTW). But on this day, Flynn was testifying to the Senate on you know who's disgraced National Insecurity Advisory, Michael Flynn.
Jules Joseph Lefebvre - The Truth (1870)
On Tuesday, you know who fired FBI Director James Comey.
  • Not since Watergate. How else can one start an article about President Donald Trump summarily firing FBI chief James Comey? On March 20, Comey appeared before the House intelligence committee and took the unusual step of publicly disclosing that his bureau had been investigating interactions between Trump associates and Russians since last July. This was a historic moment. First Comey said that Trump's allegation that President Barack Obama had wiretapped him in Trump Tower was complete bunk. Then he noted the bureau had been conducting a top-secret counterintelligence operation targeting people close to Trump. So the FBI chief was calling the president a liar and saying his associates were being probed. He was a threat to Trump and the White House. "FBI agents value their integrity more than anything and if nothing else, this is a challenge to the integrity of whatever investigation Trump is trying to stifle," says former FBI agent David Gomez ... -- David Corn, Trump Goes Full Watergate—and Threatens Russia Investigation, Mother Jones, 5/9/17
On Wednesday, by all appearances (courtesy of a TASS photographer), you know who enjoyed a bizarre, celebratory moment in the Oval Office, with two high-ranking Russian officials.
On Thursday, you know who who sat down for an in-depth interview with NBC's Lester Holt, and doubled down on the bizarre by sharing his inner dialogue on Comey, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, etc. Soon after, speaking through associates who in turn spoke to the New York Times, Comey almost instantly refuted you know who's "memory" of certain encounters.
  • Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, James B. Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief. The conversation that night in January, Mr. Comey now believes, was a harbinger of his downfall this week as head of the F.B.I., according to two people who have heard his account of the dinner. As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him. Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense. The White House says this account is not correct. And Mr. Trump, in an interview on Thursday with NBC, described a far different dinner conversation with Mr. Comey in which the director asked to have the meeting and the question of loyalty never came up. It was not clear whether he was talking about the same meal, but they are believed to have had only one dinner together. By Mr. Comey’s account, his answer to Mr. Trump’s initial question apparently did not satisfy the president, the associates said. Later in the dinner, Mr. Trump again said to Mr. Comey that he needed his loyalty. Mr. Comey again replied that he would give him “honesty” and did not pledge his loyalty, according to the account of the conversation. -- Michael S. Schmidt, In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred, New York Times, 5/11/17
On Friday, you know who's entanglements with a certain foreign power began to come into sharper focus. Journalists doing real journalism are the life-blood of democratic societies.

ABC News broke a damning story.
  • The lawyers who wrote a letter saying President Trump had no significant business ties to Russia work for a law firm that has extensive ties to Russia and received a “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award in 2016.Sheri Dillon and William Nelson, tax partners at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which has served as tax counsel to Trump and the Trump Organization since 2005, wrote a letter in March released by the White House on Friday stating that a review of the last 10 years of Trump’s tax returns “do not reflect” ties to Russia “with a few exceptions.” ... According to the firm’s website, its Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who are “well known in the Russian market, and have a deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players.” The firm boasts of being “particularly adept” at advising clients on “sanction matters." Following the release of the letter, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) noted the firm’s connection to Russia, calling it “unreal." -- Pete Madden and Matthew Mosk, Donald Trump's tax law firm has 'deep' ties to Russia, ABC News, 5/12/17
Zembla, the Dutch TV documentary program, released its Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians,  Zembla, on You Tube, it had originally aired last week in the Netherlands.
  • Donald Trump's business partners have included Russian oligarchs and convicted mobsters, which could make the president guilty of criminal racketeering charges. That's one of the eyebrow-raising takeaways from a 45-minute Dutch documentary that aired last week, titled The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians. The first installment of the investigative reporting series, produced by Zembla, does what no American TV network has yet dared to do—take a deep look at the organized crime links and corrupt international business strategies used by Trump and his partners in his properties. It starts with Trump's luxury tower in the lower Manhattan neighborhood of Soho, where his partner in building that highrise was Bayrock LLC, whose primary investor was a Russian mining oligarch and another major investor was a convicted Russian mobster named Felix Sater. "Why did 60 Minutes pass on the Bayrock story in 2016? Why did ABC News' Brian Ross pass on the Trump Soho [Tower] story in 2015? Why has no major network done any kind of documentary on what the Dutch just did?" asks James Henry, a corporate lawyer-turned-financial investigative reporter who writes for DCReport.org. Henry is one of several investigative reporters whose work on Trump's shady business empire is profiled in the film. The documentary shows how Trump not only helped hide the identity of his mobster business partner, prompting an ongoing lawsuit accusing Trump of criminal racketeering, but also how Trump used that internal company crisis to demand more money. It goes on to show how Russian oligarchs saw Trump's properties as a way to get their money out of Russia, and describes the international financial networks that are akin to a pyramid scheme for money laundering. It also notes how the law firm of Trump's political adviser, former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani, helped set up a money-laundering account in the Netherlands used by Bayrock. -- Steven Rosenfeld, Donald Trump's Financial Ties to Russian Oligarchs and Mobsters Detailed In Explosive New Documentary from the Netherlands, AlterNet, 5/12/17 
NOTE: Zembla's Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians You Tube video is embedded below.  

So what happens now? After these last few days? Is the Republican Party anything more than a Zombie Cult in thralldom to its Death-Eater Overlords? Is there any shred of conscience or empathy or true patriotism left?  Or is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance all they have to offer?

Consider Paul Krugman's sage ruminations on "Trumpistan."
  • Item: Trump demanded loyalty — not to his office, but to the person of the president — from James Comey. Item: Trump admitted on live TV that he fired Comey to stop the ongoing investigation into Russia’s connections with his campaign. Item: a woman was arrested for laughing at a Trump administration official. Item: Another Trump official has commended police for arresting a reporter who shouted questions at him. Item: Republicans in Congress show absolutely no inclination to do anything about any of this. So, has America already become an authoritarian regime where law enforcement serves the supreme leader, not the Constitution, where questioning or even ridiculing the regime’s officials has become a crime, and in which the legislature is just a rubber-stamping operation? We don’t know the answer yet; we’ll have to see how things unfold in the next few weeks. But future historians may well record that American democracy died in May 2017. -- Paul Krugman, Trumpistan, New York Times, 5/12/17
On Saturday, in the Washington Post, Laurence Tribe offered a compelling argument for impeachment.
  • Now the country is faced with a president whose conduct strongly suggests that he poses a danger to our system of government. Ample reasons existed to worry about this president, and to ponder the extraordinary remedy of impeachment, even before he fired FBI Director James B. Comey and shockingly admitted on national television that the action was provoked by the FBI’s intensifying investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia. Even without getting to the bottom of what Trump dismissed as “this Russia thing,” impeachable offenses could theoretically have been charged from the outset of this presidency. One important example is Trump’s brazen defiance of the foreign emoluments clause, which is designed to prevent foreign powers from pressuring U.S. officials to stray from undivided loyalty to the United States. Political reality made impeachment and removal on that and other grounds seem premature. No longer. To wait for the results of the multiple investigations underway is to risk tying our nation’s fate to the whims of an authoritarian leader. -- Laurence Tribe, "Trump Must Be impeached, Here’s Why," Washington Post, 5/13/17 
VIDEO: Zembla's Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians
VIDEO: Laurence Tribe - A series of high crimes and misdemeanors (Lawrence O'Donnel's The Last Word, MSNBC, 5/11/17

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ecocide = Genocide, Crimes Against Nature = Crimes Against Humanity

Arnold Böcklin - Nymph (1875)
From coast to coast and across continents, people marched for environmental justice on Saturday, sending a clear message to the climate-denying Trump administration: we'll fight your fossil fuel-soaked agenda every step of the way. Organizers said that an estimated 200,000 participated in the flagship Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., while tens of thousands more demonstrated at more than 350 solidarity events in cities across the United States as well as in Asia and Europe. "I can't begin to describe how long and lovely the #climatemarch is," 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben wrote on Twitter. "It goes on essentially forever." -- Deirdre Fulton, In Photos: Peoples Climate March Draws 'One Hell of A Lot of People', Common Dreams, 4/29/17

Yes, on the hundredth day of the Trumpster Fire that rages in the White House, two hundred thousand evolutionary heroes took to the streets of our fallen capitol for the People's Climate March.

Meanwhile, as the sands in the hour glass dwindle, our planetary emergency deepens ...

SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO, engaged in deep conversations about risks and threats with other security and intelligence professionals working in government and industry, I insisted that not only was Climate Change the number one national/global security issue (rivaled only by nuclear proliferation), I also insisted that Climate Change would warp and aggravate all the risks and threats from one end of the spectrum to the other, especially Terrorism. Duh. I would have preferred to be wrong. Sadly, over the decades, I have been right too often and about too much. 
  • Climate change-fueled natural disasters and resource shortages will strengthen recruiting efforts of terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, according to a new report commissioned by the German government. “As the climate is changing, so too are the conditions within which non-state armed groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS operate,” the report, issued by the think tank Adelphi, said in its executive summary. “Climate change contributes to creating a fragile environment in which these groups can thrive.” Terror groups, according to the report, are increasingly using natural resources — like water — as a “weapon of war.” In 2015, for instance, ISIS closed the gates of a dam to more easily attack enemies downtstream. ISIS has also used water to flood areas to force people to leave their homes, making an area more susceptible to territorial control. Climate-fueled resource scarcity, the report argues, will likely only contribute to the power of non-state armed groups that control a particular resource. The report also points to diminishing natural resources as fueling an environment ripe for terror recruitment. Africa’s Lake Chad, for instance, provides economic livelihood for nearly 80 percent of the population that lives in its basin. As the lake shrinks, economic opportunities for people in that area also decline, making the population susceptible to recruitment by Boko Haram. -- Natasha Geiling, Climate change will fuel terrorism, report warns, Think Progress, 4/20/17
Crimes against nature = crimes against humanity.

Those who spread climate change denialism are as guilty as radio journalist Georges Ruggiu imprisoned for his on-air role in the Rwandan genocide.

Those who thwart or roll back governmental climate action are as guilty for what is to come as Pol Pot was for the Killing Fields of Kampuchea.
  • In other words, think of the developments in those three African lands and Yemen as previews of what far larger parts of our world could look like in another quarter-century or so: a world in which hundreds of millions of people are at risk of annihilation from disease or starvation, or are on the march or at sea, crossing borders, heading for the shantytowns of major cities, looking for refugee camps or other places where survival appears even minimally possible. If the world’s response to the current famine catastrophe and the escalating fears of refugees in wealthy countries are any indication, people will die in vast numbers without hope of help. In other words, failing to halt the advance of climate change -- to the extent that halting it, at this point, remains within our power -- means complicity with mass human annihilation. We know, or at this point should know, that such scenarios are already on the horizon. We still retain the power, if not to stop them, then to radically ameliorate what they will look like, so our failure to do all we can means that we become complicit in what -- not to mince words -- is clearly going to be a process of climate genocide. How can those of us in countries responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions escape such a verdict? And if such a conclusion is indeed inescapable, then each of us must do whatever we can to reduce our individual, community, and institutional contributions to global warming. Even if we are already doing a lot -- as many of us are -- more is needed. Unfortunately, we Americans are living not only in a time of climate crisis, but in the era of President Trump, which means the federal government and its partners in the fossil fuel industry will be wielding their immense powers to obstruct all imaginable progress on limiting global warming. They will be the true perpetrators of climate genocide. As a result, the rest of us bear a moral responsibility not just to do what we can at the local level to slow the pace of climate change, but also to engage in political struggle to counteract or neutralize the acts of Trump and company. Only dramatic and concerted action on multiple fronts can prevent the human disasters now unfolding in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen from becoming the global norm. -- Michael T. Klare, Climate Change as Genocide: Inaction Equals Annihilation, TomDispatch via AlterNet, 4/29/17