26.8.10

Surviving the perfect storm, Britain is bankrupt




Mike Robinson

Britain is bankrupt. There's no getting around that fact. We have a national debt of over £900 billion and rising. We have a massive black hole in the public pension pot of £1.2 trillion. We have personal debt of £1.5 trillion.

That is a total shortfall, today, of £3.6 trillion.
£6 Trillion - £188,000 Each

If we add corporate debt onto this figure, then the nation, its people and its employers owe somewhere in the region of £6 trillion to bankers in one form or another, complete with its burden of interest. And we are told we can solve this debt problem by creating more debt.

2.7 million people are presently unemployed - a rise of about 1 million people since the government bailed out the banks. And as a result of the already announced government cuts of between 25% and 40%, a further 1.5 million - 3 million people are going to lose their jobs.

Even if every man and woman capable of work were working and paying tax - around 32 million taxpayers - each of us would be working like slaves to service an average of £188,000 in debt. How does it feel to have a second mortgage hanging round your neck?

To add a final nail to the coffin, much of this debt is denominated in one foreign currency or another, leaving us at the mercy of exchange rates. Welcome to the third world.

The cuts announced in Osborne's recent budget are designed, he would say, to deal with the government deficit. Even if that were true, they will do nothing for the national debt, for personal debt, nor for corporate debt.

In fact, based on Osborne's plans, we won't even be able to cover the interest on the national debt. By the end of Cameron's first Parliament, the interest replayments on

Government debt will be in the region of £70 billion per year, which is more than 10% of today's annual tax revenue. To put that in perspective, that's equivilent to approximately 70% of the entire NHS budget.

Let's make no bones about it, we are in a deep, deep hole. Once further Quantitative Easing (money printing) is brought into the equation (as it already has been in the USA), and the imminent European banking collapse, one has to wonder how we will ever get ourselves out of this mess? I think it is no exaggeration to say upfront that people are going to die as the effects of the strategy of austerity and debt upon debt begin to bite.

I could wax lyrical about the specifics of how this has happened. But what can I say that has not been said already? So instead, let's put it in these terms: we are in this mess because of the corrupt thinking of all but a few in this country and the world. The corruption has been led by our so-called qualified economists, politicians and bankers, and has been followed by the rest of us who have ignored the very basic economic schooling we received when we were children.
The God Of Money



Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to waken up and remember that economy has nothing to do with money. The Satanic thinking of economists which has turned money into a commodity, which, they claim, has a value which can be traded on markets, has brought us to a place where money is worshipped as an alternative to God. It's fair to say that the saying "the love of money is the root of all evil" really is a truism, is it not?
Basic Infrastructure & Production, Not Money

The reality is that the only thing that creates value is the work we do. But not any old work - productive work. We only create value when we create something physical that people need. This rule of thumb does not include the printing of money, of course. Taking that route destroys value.

In order to support productiion of real physical goods, we need real physical infrastructure. Electricty, gas, water supplies, and equally importantly, transport infrastructure are absolutely fundamental requirements to any kind of real economy. These things are the foundation of any economy.



The worshippers of the great god money have quite deliberately and intentionally destroyed our basic economic infrastructure, just as they have destroyed our productive capacity. They have sold our infrastructure off to private corporations who have used it as a cash cow; sending us massive bills to use it, while spending the minimum to keep it running, sort of.

The chronic state of our roads network, our rail network, billions of gallons of water lost each year to leaking pipes and end of life nuclear and conventional power stations, is no more than organised criminal asset stripping of the nation. Very soon now, these companies will announce that they don't have enough money to build the new infrastructure needed to continue their ponzi scheme. Where will they come to bail them out, do you think?

Less than 20% of Britain's working population is involved in actually producing something. The rest of us are economic protitutes, doing no more than circulating money around the "economy" by servicing each other.

Since we don't produce anything which can be sold, how can the economy grow? Where does all the extra money come from?



Most people are aware by now that it appears out of thin air, or rather, at the punch of a key on a computer keyboard. In fact, since 1997 when Tony Blair became Prime MInister, the Bank of England has allowed the amount of Sterling in circulation to rise by 400%. But the "economy" has only "grown" by 30% in that time. Is that growth?

Or is that fraud?

While we have all been servicing each other and feeling drunk on rising house prices and staggeringly obtuse mortgages, we have systematically destroyed any capability we might have had to pay the piper when he came a-calling. We continue to destroy that capability quite deliberately and systematically, don't we Mr Cameron? Just ask Sheffield Forgemasters.
What Is The Solution?

Today we face a bigger threat to our nation and way of life than we did when war was declared in 1939, and none of that threat comes from immigration! In fact, if we are to get out of this mess, we will need everyone living here to get their hands to the pumps. It is no exaggeration to say that we need to mobilise as a people in a way that hasn't been seen since 1939.

If we continue to allow the Banks to behave as they have been, and more importantly, if we allow them to pull the puppet strings attached to our politicians and businessmen, we have no hope. They are effectively trading while insolvent, which is illegal, as it should be.
Banking In Administration

When any business gets into financial difficulty, it is absolutely standard practice put it into "administration". This is a very powerful process for control, where a company is insolvent and facing serious threats from creditors. The Court may appoint a licensed insolvency practitioner as Administrator, which places a moratorium around the company and stops all legal actions. This gives the company time to restructure itself and make rational decisions about the rescue of the company.

Why did this not happen with the banks?

We are staring a second, more serious, "credit crunch" in the face, as the banks struggle to store up enough capital to cope with an imminent market "event." We should not be waiting for this event to happen - let's get control of the banking system right now by bringing in Glass Steagall style banking regulation (e.g. separating retail and investment banking), writing off all illegitimate debt (anything which does not meet the standards of the new banking regulations), and protecting those functions of the retail banks that we find useful, e.g. savings and pensions. This still leaves a fairly big mess to sort out, but at least we would not be putting massive profits in the hands of the criminals who got us into this mess in the process.
Replace The Bank Of England



It really is time to replace the Central Bank - owned by the taxpayer, but run independently from government by commercial bankers. The Chairman of the Court of Directors, Sir David Lees, received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the German Federal Republic in July 1996. What for? This is a German state decoration, and although they seem to give them out like they're sweets, it begs the question, where do the loyalties of Sir David Lees lie?

The Bank of England holds assets in a wholly owned nominee company, Bank of England Nominees Limited. According to Hansard, these assets are owned by heads of state, including the Queen, but also foreign royalty and foreign governments. The Bank considers these people to be their customers. And yet, we the taxpayer, owners of the Bank. have no right to know what assets are held and for whom. Where does the loyalty of the Bank lie? Is it with the British nation, or is it with its foreign private corporate customers?

The opacity of the Bank of England is such that it cannot be relied upon to operate in the interests of the nation. It is simply acting as a broker between the government and the City of London. Its role then to to maximise profit from the debt owed by the nation, for the benefit of the commercial banks. It should be shut down and replaced with a national bank, whose functions would include real regulation of the financial system and its participants, and mangement of our sovereign currency, issued as public credit through Act of Parliament. This national bank would serve no commerical interests outside those of the nation, and would be required to be completly transparent and accountable.

Even once the work of financial regulation and debt restructuring is done, we still have a long way to go to get out of the mess. The pension black hole is a particular problem, and the only way we will be able to sort it out is by producing our way out if it.
Massive Infrastructure Rebuilding

A productive economy cannot be built, however, without infrastructure. Inexpensive electricity, gas, water and transportation are all required before restarting our manufacturing in any meaningful way.

We should be organising a massive publicly funded building programme to refresh our power stations, reservoirs and water pipes, railways and roads using the latest technology possible. That means using nuclear power and maglev trains. It also means taking back ownership of what's left of our current infrastructure. As mentioned above, this programme would be run on a scale not seen since 1939. It would be used as the driver to kick start industry and the real productive economy. In parallel, our schools, technical colleges and universities would be retasked to focus on real high tech engineering, machine tool design, and so on.
How Would We Pay For It All?

It should be obvious that if we can find trillions of pounds to bail out bankers, we can find it for good purpose as well. All money issued is debt, and we shouldn't be getting excited about that fact. The question is, should this debt be to a bank which will charge interest, or to ourselves, the people of this nation? We're not, after all, going to charge ourselves interest, and where our new shiny national bank is lending money to private corporations to fund the above projects, it can do so at small, simple interest of say 1-2%. So there would be the opportunity for British companies (globalist empire builders need not apply) to tender for exciting high tech projects which will provide productive employment, training and, in the end, infrastructure to support a real growing economy.
The International Angle

The British people should have been ashamed, the day Gordon Brown attended the G20 as the "Global Chancellor Of The Exchequer" pushing his globalist debt upon debt bailout solution on the rest of the world. Isn't it time we packed our current Prime Minister off to the G20 to propose international agreements among soveraign nation states, based on the economic principles discussed here? I would strongly suggest such an initiative is the only hope for civilisation.

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23.8.10

Its time for all good people to come to the aid of the party

Lets get inspired to stop these ponerologious lunatics from their madness



Its been a time since I put some personal emotion onto this blog and not just published interesting articles or research lines ive been following, but its time for a vent.



I was going to post the excellent Connecting the dots monthly article from Signs of the Times, but the more I read the more it depressed and reflected my current life, All be it in smaller disasters, more localised problems, nothing in comparison but bells ringing to be sure.



I consider myself a nodal point of information, Ive been publishing this blog, Virtual World 360 for over three years, I woke up sharply in 2006 after an NDE and have not stopped researching and changing my life based on the facts that I believe to be true, after critical thinking and online independent research.



I launched an off grid self sufficiency project in March, Permaculture Senda Verde in my attempt to walk the walk and talk the talk, non violent non compliance with the system.
I believe the system is not changeable from the inside, Ive given 20 years of my life doing the best I could until the penny dropped, a nepotistic dog eat dog lie does not fit a meritocatic humane outlook on life. You cant win out there these days.



No matter what subject you research, agriculture, education, medication, public policy....we are doing it wrong, Ocams razer my arse, its time to wear a tin foil hat with pride and start finding out just whats going on.

Start investigating through independent internet media outlouts subjects that you have an interest in, once you find the first whopper you will be off on an terrible trail, but a trail that leads to self knowledge, self power and the ability to protect your family and loved ones from what, and I say this as a nodal point, is coming down very fast.

Its too late if ever it was possible to change it from the inside, from protest and demonstration, the NGOs are all bought off, the quangos rule the governments, the governments are all worse than arse lickers, not a man or woman of moral substance between any of them, in any country. all bought and paid for by the corporations.

I refuse to comply with corrupt, unjust, imorral and in humane laws that mean nothing to me, a Freeman, free born with the rights that source gave me. I suggest anyone with fire in their blood and a black vision of the future go research the Freeman on the land concept, you will find plenty of links on my side bar. But after hours on it you will find, if you stick the course that its nothing more than an attitude. I am a human being and I have a right to live happily on this planet without interference from people that are trying obviously to do me harm.

We got to get angry, but in a Gandhi way, non violent non compliance with the system is your natural source given right.

When the tide is turning it can still feel like everything is against you, but from the sheer furry of the complete shite that is going on globally I can only conclude its time to stand tall, dig deep, and look for the dawn. The darkest dark is always before the lightest light, it soon comes.

Check out SOTT monthly article, believe nothing, research everything and go with your gut not your head.


Connecting the Dots: Whistling Past The Graveyard

July 2010 saw extreme weather and the further apparent collapse of our planet's eco-system come front and center. Despite these dire warning signs, the psychopaths in power continue to do their best to obfuscate the facts and embroil as many normal human beings as possible in conflict, strife, suffering and death.


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20.8.10

Genetically Manipulated Crops: The GMO Catastrophe in the USA. A Lesson for the World











Recently the unelected potentates of the EU Commission in Brussels have sought to override what has repeatedly been shown to be the overwhelming opposition of the European Union population to the spread of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in EU agriculture. EU Commission President now has a Maltese accountant as health and enviromnent Commissioner to rubber stamp the adoption of GMO. The former EU Environment Commissioner from Greece was a ferocious GMO opponent. As well, the Chinese government has indicated it may approve a variety of GMO rice. Before things get too far along, they would do well to take a closer look at the world GMO test lab, the USA. There GMO crops are anything but beneficial. Just the opposite.



What is carefully kept out of the Monsanto and other agribusiness propaganda in promoting genetically manipulated crops as an alternative to conventional is the fact that in the entire world until the present, all GMO crops have been manipulated and patented for only two things—to be resistant or “tolerant” to the patented highly toxic herbicide glyphosate chemicals that Monsanto and the others force farmers to buy as condition for buying their patented GMO seeds. The second trait is GMO seeds that have been engineered genetically to resist specific insects. Contrary to public relations myths promoted by the agribusiness giants in their own self-interest, there exists not oné single GMO seed that provides a greater harvest yield than conventional, nor one that requires less toxic chemical herbicides. That is for the simple reason there is no profit to be made in such.





Giant super-weeds plague


As prominent GMO opponent and biologist, Dr Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute of Science in London has noted, companies such as Monsanto build into their seeds herbicide-tolerance (HT) due to glyphosate-insensitive form of the gene coding for the enzyme targeted by the herbicide. The enzyme is derived from soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Insect-resistance is due to one or more toxin genes derived from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The United States began large scale commercial planting of GMO plants, mainly soybeans and corn and cotton around 1997. By now, GM crops have taken over between 85 percent to 91 percent of the areas planted with the three major crops, soybean, corn and cotton in the US, on nearly 171 million acres.


The ecological time-bomb that came with the GMO according to Ho, is about to explode. Over several years of constant application of patented glyphosate herbicides such as Monsanto’s famous and highly Roundup, new herbicide-resistant “super-weeds” have evolved, nature’s response to man-made attempts to violate it. The super-weeds require significantly more not less herbicide to control.


ABC Television, a major US national network, made a recent documentary about the super-weeds under the rubric, “super weeds that can’t be killed.”[1]


They interviewed farmers and scientists across Arkansas who described fields overrun with giant pigweed plants that can withstand as much glyphosate as farmers are able to spray. They interviewed one farmer who spent almost €400000 in only three months in a failed attempt to kill the new super-weeds.




The new super-weeds are so robust that harvester combines are unable to harvest the fields and hand tools break trying to cut them down. At least 400000 hectares of soybean and cotton in Arkansas alone have become invested with this new mutant biological plague. Detailed data on other agricultural regions is not available but believed similar. The pro-GMO and pro-agribusiness US Department of Agriculture has been reported lying about the true state of US crop harvest partly to hide the grim reality and to prevent an explosive revolt against GMO in the world’s largest GMO market.



Superweed

One variety of super-weed, palmer pigweed can grow up to 2.4 meters high, withstands severe heat and prolonged droughts, and produces thousands of seeds with a root system that drains nutrients away from crops. If left unchecked, it takes over an entire field in a year. Some farmers have been forced to abandon their land. To date palmer pigweed infestation in GMO crop regions has been identified in addition to Arkansas, also in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Mexico, Mississippi and most recently, Alabama and Missouri.


Weed scientists at the University of Georgia estimate that just two palmer pigweed plants in every 6 meter length of cotton row can reduce yield by at least 23 percent. A single weed plant can produce 450 000 seeds. [2]


Roundup toxic danger being covered-up


Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the US and the world at large. Patented and sold by Monsanto since the 1970s under the trade name Roundup, it is a mandatory component of buying GMO seeds from Monsanto. Just go to your local garden store and ask for it and read the label carefully.




As I detail in my book, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, GMO crops and patented seeds were developed in the 1970’s with significant financial support from the pro-eugenics Rockefeller Foundation, by what were essentially chemical companies—Monsanto Chemicals, DuPont and Dow Chemicals. All three were involved in the scandal of the highly toxic Agent Orange used in Vietnam, as well as Dioxin in the 1970’s, and lied to cover up the true damage to its own employees as well as to civilian and military populations exposed.


Their patented GMO seeds were seen as a clever way to force increased purchase of their agricultural chemicals such as Roundup. Farmers must sign a legal contract with Monsanto in which it stipulates that only Monsanto Roundup pesticide may be used. Farmers are thus trapped both in buying new seeds from Monsanto each harvest and buying the toxic glyphosate.

France’s University of Caen, in a team led by molecular biologist, Gilles-Eric Seralini, did a study that showed Roundup contained one specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA. Seralini’s team demonstrated that POEA in Roundup was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than even the glyphosate itself. Monsanto refuses to release details of the contents of its Roundup other than glyphosate, calling it “proprietary.” [3]

The Seralini study found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns! The French team studied multiple concentrations of Roundup, from the typical agricultural or lawn dose down to concentrations 100,000 times more dilute than the products sold on shelves. The researchers saw cell damage at all concentrations.

Glyphosate and Roundup are advertised as “less toxic to us than table salt” in a pamphlet from the Biotechnology Institute promoting GMO crops as ‘Weed Warrior.’ Thirteen years of GMO crops in the USA has increased overall pesticide use by 318 million pounds, not decreased as promised by the Four Horsemen of the GMO Apocalypse. The extra disease burden on the nation from that alone is considerable.


Nonetheless after introduction of Monsanto GMO seeds commercially in the USA, use of glyphosate has risen more than 1500% between 1994 and 2005. In the USA some 100 million pounds of glyphosate are used on lawns and farms every year, and over the last 13 years, it has been applied to more than a billion acres. When questioned, Monsanto’s technical development manager, Rick Cole, reportedly said the problems were “manageable.” He advised farmers to alternate crops and use different makes of herbicides produced by Monsanto. Monsanto is encouraging farmers to mix glyphosate with its older herbicides such as 2,4-D, banned in Sweden, Denmark and Norway for links to cancer and reproductive and neurological damage. 2,4-D is a component of Agent Orange, produced by Monsanto for use in Vietnam in the 1960s.


US Farmers turn to organics


Farmers across the United States are reported to be going back to conventional non-GMO crops instead. According to a new report from the US Department of Agriculture, retail sales of organic food went up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997.[4] The market is so active that organic farms have struggled at times to produce sufficient supply to keep up with the rapid growth in consumer demand, leading to periodic shortages of organic products.


The new UK Conservative-Liberal coalition government is strongly backing lifting a de facto ban on GMO in that country. UK Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof. John Beddington, recently wrote an article in which he misleadingly claimed “The next decade will see the development of combinations of desirable traits and the introduction of new traits such as drought tolerance. By mid-century much more radical options involving highly polygenic traits may be feasible.” He went on to promise “cloned animals with engineered innate immunity to diseases” and more. I think we can pass that one up, thank you.


A recent study by Iowa State University and the US Department of Agriculture assessing the performance of farms during the three-year transition it takes to switch from conventional to certified organic production showed notable advantages of organic farming over GMO or even conventional non-GMO crops. In an experiment lasting four years—three years transition and first year organic—the study showed that although yields dropped initially, they equalized in the third year, and by the fourth year, the organic yields were ahead of the conventional for both soybean and corn.



As well, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) has recently been published, the result of three-year deliberation by 400 participating scientists and non-government representatives from 110 countries around the world. It came to the conclusion that small scale organic agriculture is the way ahead for coping with hunger, social inequities and environmental disasters. [5] As Dr Ho argues, a fundamental shift in farming practice is needed urgently, before the agricultural catastrophe spreads further across Germany and the EU to the rest of the world.[6]



Endnotes:

[1] Super weed can’t be killed, abc news, 6 October 2009. See also,Jeff Hampton, N.C. farmers battle herbicide-resistant weeds, The Virginian-Pilot, 19 July 2009, http://hamptonroads.com/2009/07/nc-farmers-battle-herbicideresistant-weeds



[2] Clea Caulcutt, ‘Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands, Clea Caulcutt, 19 April 2009, http://www.france24.com/en/20090418-superweed-explosion-threatens-monsanto-heartlands-genetically-modified-US-crops



[3] N. Benachour and G-E. Seralini, Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chem. Res. Toxicol., Article DOI: 10.1021/tx800218n

Publication Date (Web): December 23, 2008.



[4] Carolyn Dimitri and Lydia Oberholtzer, Marketing U.S. organic foods: recent trends from farms to consumers, USDA Economic Research Service, September 2009, http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB58/

[5] International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, IAASTD, 2008, http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=Press_Materials&ItemID=11

[6] Ho MW.UK Food Standards Agency study proves organic food is better. Science in Society 44, 32-33, 2009.



F. William Engdahl is the author of Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
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7.8.10

Tony Blair must be prosecuted



In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger writes about the "paramount war crime" defined by the Nuremberg judges in 1946 and its relevance to the case of Tony Blair, whose shared responsibility for the Iraq invasion resulted in the deaths of more than a million people. New developments in international and domestic political attitudes towards war crimes mean that Blair is now 'Britain's Kissinger'.



Tony Blair must be prosecuted, not indulged like his mentor Peter Mandelson. Both have produced self-serving memoirs for which they have been paid fortunes. Blair’s will appear next month and earn him £4.6 million. Now consider Britain’s Proceeds of Crime Act. Blair consired in and executed an unprovoked war of aggression against a defenceless country, which the Nuremberg judges in 1946 described as the “paramount war crime”. This has caused, according to scholarly studies, the deaths of more than a million people, a figure that exceeds the Fordham University estimate of deaths in the Rwandan genocide.

In addition, four million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes and a majority of children have descended into malnutrition and trauma. Cancer rates near the cities of Fallujah, Najaf and Basra (the latter “liberated” by the British) are now revealed as higher than those at Hiroshima. “UK forces used about 1.9 metric tons of depleted uranium ammunition in the Iraq war in 2003,” the Defence Secretary Liam Fox told parliament on 22 July. A range of toxic “anti-personnel” weapons, such as cluster bombs, was employed by British and American forces.



Such carnage was justified with lies that have been repeatedly exposed. On 29 January 2003, Blair told parliament, “We do know of links between al-Qaida and Iraq …”. Last month, the former head of the intelligence service, MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, told the Chilcot inquiry, “There is no credible intelligence to suggest that connection … [it was the invasion] that gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad”. Asked to what extent the invasion exacerbated the threat to Britain from terrorism, she replied, “Substantially”. The bombings in London on 7 July 2005 were a direct consequence of Blair’s actions.

Documents released by the High Court show that Blair allowed British citizens to be abducted and tortured. The then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, decided in January 2002 that Guantanamo was the “best way” to ensure UK nationals were “securely held”.



Instead of remorse, Blair has demonstrated a voracious and secretive greed. Since stepping down as prime minister in 2007, he has accumulated an estimated £20 million, much of it as a result of his ties with the Bush administration. The House f Commons Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets jobs taken by former ministers, was pressured not to make public Blair’s “consultancy” deals with the Kuwaiti royal family and the South Korean oil giant UI Energy Corporation. He gets £2 million a year “advising” the American investment bank J P Morgan and undisclosed sums from financial services companies. He makes millions from speeches, including reportedly £200,000 for one speech in China.

In his unpaid but expenses-rich role as the West’s “peace envoy” in the Middle East, Blair is, in effect, a voice of Israel, which awarded him a $1 million “peace prize”. In other words, his wealth has grown rapidly since he launched, with George W. Bush, the bloodbath in Iraq.

His collaborators are numerous. The Cabinet in March 2003 knew a great deal about the conspiracy to attack Iraq. Jack Straw, later appointed “justice secretary”, suppressed the relevant Cabinet minutes in defiance of an order by the Information Commissioner to release them. Most of those now running for the Labour Party leadership supported Blair’s epic crime, rising as one to salute his final appearance in the Commons. As foreign secretary, David Miliband, sought to cover Britain’s complicity in torture, and promoted Iran as the next “threat”.

Journalists who once fawned on Blair as “mystical” and amplified his vainglorious bids now pretend they were his critics all along. As for the media’s gulling of the public, only the Observer’s David Rose, to his great credit, has apologised. The Wikileaks’ exposes, released with a moral objective of truth with justice, have been bracing for a public force-fed on complicit, lobby journalism. Verbose celebrity historians like Niall Ferguson, who rejoiced in Blair’s rejuvenation of “enlightened” imperialism, remain silent on the “moral truancy”, as Pankaj Mishra wrote, “of [those] paid to intelligently interpret the contemporary world”.

Is it wishful thinking that Blair will be collared? Just as the Cameron government understands the “threat” of a law that makes Britain a risky stopover for Israeli war criminals, a similar risk awaits Blair in a number of countries and jurisdictions, at least of being apprehended and questioned. He is now Britain’s Kissinger, who has long planned his travel outside the United States with the care of a fugitive.

Two recent events add weight to this. On 15 June, the International Criminal Court made the landmark decision of adding aggression to its list of war crimes to be prosecuted. This is defined as a “crime committed by a political or military leader which by its character, gravity and scale constituted a manifest violation of the [United Nations] Charter”. International lawyers described this as a “giant leap”. Britain is a signatory to the Rome statute that created the court and is bound by its decisions.

On 21 July, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, standing at the Commons despatch box, declared the invasion of Iraq illegal. For all the later “clarification” that he was speaking personally, he had made “a statement that the international court would be interested in”, said Philippe Sands, professor of international law at University College London.

Tony Blair came from Britain’s upper middle classes who, having rejoiced in his unctuous ascendancy, might now reflect on the principles of right and wrong they require of their own children. The suffering of the children of Iraq will remain a spectre haunting Britain while Blair remains free to profit.



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1.8.10

Machine Elves 101, or why Terence Mckenna matters

By Daniel Moler

If anyone ever wanted to get to know me (i.e., what makes Daniel tick) the first thing I would have to tell them is, "Read Terence McKenna." In online forums and real life scenarios alike, I quote McKenna like Jules Winnfield quotes Ezekiel in Pulp Fiction. Passionate. With conviction. My armor and weapon when I'm ready to blast the meandering monotony of day-to-day living. However, most people ask, who is this guy? What exactly is the Terence McKenna circus? And, what makes him so important?

A few weeks ago my friend Michelle suggested I write a "Terence for Dummies" piece. So, since "For Dummies" is under copyright, here's my bent on the McKenna legacy.


The Background

Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 -- April 3, 2000) was born under the auspices of a conventional upbringing. His brother, Dennis, shared a penchant for the eccentricities of the fringe. Not unlike most psychopomp aficionados, McKenna's introduction to the realm of psychedelic phenomena came through Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. The seed planted by this classic experiential account never left the McKenna boys in their ever-growing studies in philosophy and the sciences. After attaining his B.S. in Ecology and Conservation at U.C. Berkeley, Terence moved to Japan, eventually travelling throughout Southeast Asia until his mother died of cancer in 1971. A year later, Terence, Dennis, and friends made a long-awaited trek into the lower Putumayo of the Amazon Basin in search of a shamanic plant preparation called oo-koo-hé. The death of their mother, and the trials that came with Western society, was evident in their escape into the wilds of the rainforest. "We are at last freed of our umbilical connection to civilization," wrote Terence in his journal the first day on the river. (1) Dennis makes this sentiment clear as well, in a letter to his brother a year before their expedition: ". . . I have considered that [this journey] may well give us, as living men, willful access to the doorway that the dead pass daily." (2) Though their trip was specific to the exploration of a particular ceremonial medicine, it was indeed part of a larger quest in the spirit of imagination and exploration, to investigate the capacities of psychedelic consciousness.

Settling on the outskirts of the Mission at La Chorrera, it was the events that transpired during this crusade that became the catalyst of McKenna's ideas.

The Experiment

It was here that Terence and his party became acquainted with Stropharia cubensis fungi (now known as Psilocybe cubensis). The psilocybin alkaloid in this particular mushroom is part of the tryptamine class, which bears a structural relationship to serotonin in the human brain. Particularly, the correlation of biochemical functions between tryptamines and serotonin is what inspired them. In their experiments, Terence and Dennis pursued through firsthand experience the "phenomenology of the tryptamine dimension." (3) The study involved Terence and Dennis as guinea pigs, testing out this hypothesis: "Hallucinogens, by effecting the neural matrix, can produce changes in consciousness in the temporal dimension." (4) The temporal phenomena experienced here is not just described as pertaining to the dimension of time, but that of the physical or material world as well.

In essence, you can change reality while tripping on ‘shrooms.

The bread crumbs leading the McKenna brothers to this perspective was in fact the shamanic method. The Amazonian medicine ayahuasca-brewed from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine mixed with shrub leaves containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-is used by indigenous ayahuasceros or curanderos (curers) as a sacrament and medicine to heal the sick. Called "The Vine of the Dead," ayahuasca is renowned for giving healers supernatural abilities such as the ability to speak with the dead, with animals, and with plants; telepathic communication; curing physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments of all kinds, including addiction; and finally divination. Terence wrote: "By entering the domain of plant intelligence, the shaman becomes, in a way, privileged to a higher dimensional perspective on experience." (5) These fantastical attributes inspired Terence and his brother to apply the Baconian practice of scientific investigation with shamanic faculty.

Undergoing a lengthy binge in psilocybin mushrooms, they put this hypothesis to the test.



The Result

Time stopped, became tangible. Encounters with a UFO. No sleep for eleven days without any physical strain. These are just some of the phenomenal developments manifested during the experiment at La Chorrera. To summarize their conclusions, Terence and Dennis postulated that "all phenomena are at root constellated by a waveform that is the hierarchical summation of its constituent parts, morphogenetic patterns related to those in DNA." (6) Basically, that time is an objective apparatus acting as a wave (instead of the linear line framework we get from historiography) and that all events and thought forms are the development of that wave's motion. The back and forth motion, or crest and trough, of this wave is represented by critical moments in history they call novelty: the discovery of fire, the birth of agriculture, the creation of the Mona Lisa, the invention of the steam engine, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and so on. "Time is a topological manifold over which events must flow subject to the constraints of the manifold [...] by examining time from this point of view we can see when in history great outbreaks of novelty occurred." (7) Within this waveform the brothers found a pattern of novelty, a cycle in which the time spans become shorter and shorter. When this pattern ends it becomes a singularity, a zero point. Using a computer program they wrote, the McKenna brothers traced this zero point to an approximate location on our calendar and found it correlating with the end of the Mayan Calendar on December 22, 2012.

Now, keep in mind this theory was presented in 1975, long before the 2012 hype. Before the 21st Century, the 2012 phenomenon was almost exclusively in the McKenna camp. Most all of the apocalyptic doomsayers saw 2000, Y2K, or maybe even Ronald Reagan's Presidential reign as the cusp of Armageddon. But, did the McKennas really see this as the end of the world?

The Revival

"So historical patterns are largely cyclical, but not entirely-there is ultimately a highest level of the pattern, which does not repeat, and that's the part that is responsible for the advance into true novelty." (8)

Terence McKenna spent a large part of his career after this experiment attending lectures and seminars. He had become an emerging figure of the counter-culture, psychedelic movement, filling a void that had long been empty since the quiet death of the hippie movement in the early 1970s. Through his story-telling prowess, he regularly testified his arduous transition from Platonic philosopher to psychonautic proselytizer. The common pattern found in the majority of his presentations is a deconstruction of the modern, consumerist tendencies that pervade Western society. These tendencies are represented as the "dominator" model: "hierarchical, paternalistic, materialistic, and male dominated." (9) What Terence saw as the zero point at the end of history would actually manifest as the dissemination of the dominator value system. This period would be characterized as the "passing out of one set of laws that are conditioning existence and into another radically different set of laws." (10)

This end point is a chaotic and trying time. Terence recognized this shift in the world around us and did not lack a compass for which he could direct this oncoming transformation. "The last best hope for dissolving the steep walls of cultural inflexibility that appear to be channeling us toward true ruin is a renewed shamanism," he wrote. (11) "In the view of our present cultural impasse, I conclude that the next evolutionary step must involve not only a repudiation of dominator culture but an Archaic Revival." (12)

The Archaic Revival is McKenna's notion of our saving grace. It is a social recovery of the value systems that have been lost since the late Neolithic Age and can be surmised by these three aspects:

· The tribalization of society, reminiscent of the Goddess-worshipping days before agriculture.
· A sense of planetary connectedness as a primary component of all cultural habits and policy.
· Instead of values being imposed from external agencies, they should be discovered in the inner realms through various forms of consciousness expansion.

What this Revival looks like in the McKenna framework is a symphony of imagery described as "energy unbounded by space or time," a "quantum jump," or a "revelation of the interspecies' mind" as an experiential "confrontation with the Jungian 'collective unconscious'." (13). Whatever the result, the role of the tryptamine is vital to this paradigm shift into the Archaic Revival. Simply put, psychedelics of the entheogenic (plant spirit medicine) class are ego-suppressors. This is the cardinal remedy for the dominator problem afflicting us, because "they dissolve boundaries whatever the boundaries are. And as a consequence of this they dissolve cultural programming." (14)

The Elves

"There are forces friendly to our struggle to birth ourselves as an intelligent species." (15) The elf component is the spice in the Terence McKenna flavor.

It is the supernatural entities encountered during his tryptamine experiences that compose the language of McKenna's Archaic pulpit. "In the phenomenon of Stropharia cubensis, we are confronted with an intelligent and seemingly alien life-form." (16) McKenna recounts time and time again the analogous experiences with these entities, what he calls "self-transforming machine elves" which one can make contact with in the psychedelic universe. "Right here and now, one quanta away, there is raging a universe of active intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely alien." (17) What this suggests is that the psilocybin experience opens the pathways to a sort of parallel dimension, where one can speak and interact with otherworldly beings. The intrigue of this lies in its repeatability of these alien forms and the nature of their interactions: "This spectacle of more than Oriental splendor is the characteristic, even unvarying, manner in which this experience presents itself." (18)

In fact, these elfin beings are a construct of a greater picture. Terence makes it clear the "speaking entity" of the tryptamine realm is an interior manifestation of the Logos, the ultimate source of all knowledge. The machine elves act as a sort of ambassadorship for the Logos, the collective unconscious, Oversoul, or Gaian Mind. It is from this place that Terence received the knowledge of his time wave theory: "Shamans and mystics and psychedelic travelers may be getting a very noisy, low-grade signal about a future event that is somehow built into the structure of space and time." (19)

Again, the shamanic model makes itself evident. In indigenous societies, the shaman receives all of his/her knowledge from the same type of beings through entheogenic plants; it is integral to the success of their curing methods. "The shaman is able to act as an intermediary between the society and the supernatural, or to put it in Jungian terms, he is an intermediary to the collective unconscious." (20)

The Gist

"A reinstitution of the shamanic role in modern society might prevent its total estrangement from the collective unconscious, which remains the fountainhead of all human cultures, archaic and modern." (21)

Terence McKenna evolved to a sort of psychedelic prophet. The Village Voice called him the "Copernicus of consciousness." The reason I feel he has something to offer society is because he recognizes that the current system is broken. It doesn't serve the community; rather the community serves the system. McKenna's approach was to turn the value system of modernism upside down. And although at first glance it may seem Terence was obsessed only with the naked embrace of the natural world, he was not without practicality. Indeed he felt technology was a problem-solving mechanism that would help get us out of this mess. "I think the electronic shaman-the person who pursues the exploration of these spaces-exists to return to tell the rest of us about it." (22)

Are his ideas totally out there? Absolutely they are! But, that is precisely the point. The McKenna recipe is about finding a new language in which to understand our world. Because our current model of operating is so damaging to our way of life that it might actually end our life, it will take an absolute and agonizing reappraisal of our situation. However, Terence will be the first to admit that he doesn't have the complete answer to this enigma: "You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding." (23)

In conclusion, Terence McKenna was a scientist turned gypsy spokesperson for the shamanic realms. His claim is that by ingesting certain plants we come into contact with an objective reality that has a message for us. That message is about returning to a way of living that is more conscious of the Earth as personality, rather than a resource to tap. It is Terence's contention that the plant spirits are trying to tell us this and that it is imperative to tune in to their frequency. "Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored. Shamanism has always known this, and shamanism has always, in its most authentic expressions, taught that the path required allies. These allies are the hallucinogenic plants and the mysterious teaching entities, luminous and transcendental, that reside in that nearby dimension of ecstatic beauty and understanding that we have denied until it is now nearly too late." (24)

But taking ourselves too seriously is not part of the McKenna formula. The great attractor to Terence McKenna as counter-culture icon was his insistence on having a good time. When asked in an interview by David Brown what the ultimate goal of human evolution was, Terence's judicious response was plainly: "Oh, a good party." (25)

Thanks to Reality Sandwich

Footnotes

1. True Hallucinations, p.23
2. True Hallucinations, p.5
3. The Invisible Landscape, p.98
4. The Invisible Landscape, p.74
5. Food of the Gods, p.8
6. The Invisible Landscape, p.111
7. Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness, p.11
8. The Archaic Revival, p.215
9. The Archaic Revival, p.149
10. True Hallucinations, p.199
11. Food of the Gods, p.98
12. Food of the Gods, p.92
13. The Invisible Landscape, p.176
14. The Archaic Revival, p.243
15. Food of the Gods, p.13
16. True Hallucinations, p.209
17. The Archaic Revival, p.38
18. The Invisible Landscape, p.114
19. Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness, p.156
20. The Invisible Landscape, p.12
21. The Invisible Landscape, p.27
22. The Archaic Revival, p.165
23. The Archaic Revival, p.88
24. Food of the Gods, p.274
25. The Archaic Revival, p.210

Bibliography

Abraham, Ralph, Terence McKenna, and Rupert Sheldrake. Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness. Park Street Press, 2001.

McKenna, Dennis and Terence McKenna. The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1993.

McKenna, Terence. The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1991.

McKenna, Terence. Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge. Bantam, 1993.

McKenna, Terence. True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1993.

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