So I decide to watch this documentary Netflix Films put together called Trump An American Dream, which alleges to span over 50+ years and feature a wide sweeping collection of people who knew and have known Donald Trump the man forever, friend’s family coworkers employees, people on both sides of the political fence, and from all walks of life.
(Like most American men I can only watch it when my beautiful wife isn’t around. That’s just America circa 2018, and could certainly warrant a whole post unto itself.)
I admit it took me a few weeks to feel up to it. Even for us Independents, Trump is a disturbing presence in the American landscape. But I wasn’t feeling masochistic as it may seem to some, but just sincerely curious. Thought it would provide more context, more data and insight, in order to be able to formulate an honest objective opinion about the man. Didn’t know much about him except for the last few presidential campaign years. Deliberately most of the time he has just been one of those things I dont regularly encounter. Something that is ignored.
So i was hoping I’d learn some things about him that could help shed light on anything even remotely noble or admirable or at least not compromising or lacking or distasteful.
The film goes all the way back to the beginning. And you do learn a lot. You meet everybody in the Donald j Trump world since the 1950s. One just assumes they’re going to hear some incredibly inspiring rags to riches story about an incredible human being. I did at least. I actually watched it partly just for personal inspiration, as well as for information.
Clearly I was in for a big surprise.
WOW. The inspiration i was hoping for does not happen. Not ever. From the very beginning you are bombarded by stories about a shockingly unscrupulous mean spirited venomous duplicitous bully of a person who literally cannot tell the difference between the truth and a lie. By everyone who knew or worked with or for him From the get go. Like right out of college.
The man who actually wrote the book The Art of the Deal, and came up with the title as well, spent hundreds of hours with Trump in order to research it.
He said this about the experience: “It was difficult to be around him. He lied constantly. To everyone. About everything. Maybe he thought i wouldn’t notice. Maybe he honestly cannot distinguish the difference between a lie and the truth. I don’t know. But I thought he was a sociopath. His values? That’s simple. He is value free. Has absolutely no values. No fathomable idea of right or wrong. No human moral compass. It was disturbing and sad. I never worked for him again. Never will.”
What?!? There’s NO way this guy can be this bad, I’m thinking. I honestly believe him sometimes (presently) when he says the media treats him biased and unfairly. So I’m looking for proof of it in the film. But instead I see him in THE SEVENTIES as a young man savagely maliciously attacking intelligent sincere journalists for writing the truth, but just not a truth he likes. It’s shocking and unconscionable. Especially back then when the world still had a semblance of respectability.
And then he blackmails the companies to get the journalists fired or he will sue them. And he does this repeatedly. Using a repulsive disreputable lawyer named Cohn whose sole clients are the five mob families of New York and Donald Trump. It’s sick. But not the good sick. Like gross. Disgusting. He makes Bill Clinton seem honorable. Makes George W Bush seem quaint.
He was raised with a lot of money, but he displays absolutely none of the class that one might expect, no sense of decency or respect for others, and instead acts more like an ignorant, uneducated, barbarous Viking from the 9th century.
I’m still in disbelief. So I keep going. And we scour his history through the 70s then the 80s then the 90s and by this time you’ve heard hundreds of people talking about him and you just can’t catch a break. “One of the biggest liars I’ve ever known. Probably the worst.” “My first thought? Boy this kid is full of himself. Prone to exaggeration and hyperbole that’s so over the top you think he has to be joking, getting a laugh. If not then he’s the sleaziest conman you’re ever going to do business with.”
It goes on and on and on…. I just spent three hours with my mouth hanging open and my heart beating fast. Total shock. At one point, after his first wife cheating scandal (there will be many) in the early 90s he gets caught on tape impersonating a “PR guy” named John Miller doing an interview with People magazine about himself, but it’s HIM trying to disguise his voice! But he’s talking just like himself, constant digressions and complimentary asides, bombast and bluster about imaginary scenarios that never took place and full of crazy sounding flattery about HIMSELF. But pretending to be someone else. It’s insane.
The journalist of course is like WTF is wrong with this guy? Is he a psychotic? She kept the tape. It’s funny, but of course also super sad.
The problem with this poor guy is that not even the people at the bottom of the ladder who worked for him for years have anything good they can say about him: You can’t trust him. He takes all the credit. Egomaniacal. Mean. A soulless heartless showboat. Doesn’t appreciate others. No moral values. Doesn’t read. Has no respect. Isn’t polite. He’s a bully. Cheats in every aspect of his life and work. Has no sense of chivalry. Doesn’t pay employees or contractors if he can get away with it.
It’s an endless litany of the worst human characteristics imaginable…And after a few hours you realize this is no American dream story. It’s more like a Charles Manson documentary, or some other lunatic serial killer. The guy is totally nuts.
Okay. So yeah…. that happened. Wow. Mind blown. That’s the current POTUS. And people really did vote for him. We know some. The question is HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN?!?
I would LOVE to blame it purely on the corrupt DNC stealing the nomination from Bernie for Hilary. Trust me. That was criminal and shameless what they did. And it just goes to show how little respect they have for the American people. But that’s too simple.
The RNC also needs to take some responsibility. They allowed themselves to get bullied by a psychopath and they literally had some decent candidates. John Kasischke was awesome.
But most of all so too do all of us need to take responsibility for this never ending waking nightmare. For in the end it is we who permitted it to transpire by never putting our foot down to demand better. It’s time for a good old fashioned American Bastille Day. This just isn’t us. It’s time we stopped pretending it is.
– Posted by Ed Hale as The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Revered Disney Chief Officer Bob Iger made a simple statement this afternoon about his decision to cancel the new Roseanne series reboot on ABC based on her posting a rather racist comment on Twitter about former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarret (weird, right?), saying “It took us about 2 hours to discuss the details. No time at all. Obviously a lot of people are going to lose their jobs because of Roseanne’s behavior and that’s never a good thing. But no, there’s no debate when it comes to doing what is morally right, at least not for us.”
It’s bold to stay committed to respect, basic human decency and the pursuit of noble goals in a society gone mad. So kudos to Mr. Iger. Was it fair? Well, that’s a debate that will probably rage on for years to come. But as long as the United States is still a capitalist democracy, hell yes it’s fair. Roseanne worked for Disney. Disney works for their shareholders, and they clearly know what said shareholders expect from them. Racism is not one of those things. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who delights in racism except for fringe elements of society. And though yes even their rights to free speech are protected, it doesn’t mean we have to hire them or even associate with them. Thank God for free market capitalism and democracy. If your check says Disney or ABC (one of its many subsidiaries) on it, then they have a right to fire you just as much as they do to hire you. Govern yourself accordingly.
What occurred to me at first was a little bit of shock — Roseanne just recently returned to mainstream relevance after two decades of being largely ignored. I’m personally not a fan. But couldn’t help but be happy for her. But now this…? Always controversial, her comment today wasn’t a funny joke as much as just a dumb jab. Albeit a peculiar and random one (Valerie Jarret? Really?) with an overtly racist tone. But then again modern American comedy is filled with offensive and shocking vulgarity and racism. Its rampant. And literally unwatchable if you have more refined tastes. So what’s the difference here? The platform? Twitter versus Comedy Central?
Perhaps there is just a line in the sand, for the moment still at least, that most people know not to cross. You either have a respectful compassion for those who’ve been thru a lot of pain and suffering, or you don’t. Especially today, when every Starbucks in the country is closed for special race relations training. (The fact that THAT is still necessary in modern America shows just how much work the country still has to do… As does the specific event that prompted this nationwide store closing.)
And the NFL… jeez what a clusterfuck they are. Last I checked being patriotic was a choice in a democratic country. Not an obligation. Forcing patriotism isn’t democracy. It’s fascism. We’ve seen this movie before.
For Disney’s part, I don’t necessarily believe anyone is questioning or infringing on Roseanne’s First Amendment Rights. They’re just exercising their own by deliberately choosing to not hire or work with her anymore. There’s too much at stake in today’s world. And they know it.
I’d even go further and say I don’t wholeheartedly believe Roseanne or people like her shouldn’t be allowed to make stupid racist comments if they want to. What comedian hasn’t? They push that envelope hard and blur the lines as a daily practice for their art, and are either rewarded ignored or punished for it. They’re artists. It’s their right in a free country.
So we let her rage on. She just can’t necessarily expect to be beloved followed respected or even befriended for it. That’s gonna hurt sometimes. It’ll be lonely. And in the process others will get hurt too. That sucks. But it’s her call ultimately.
– Posted by The Ambassador in the form of Ed Hale using BlogPress on an iPhone
Leslie Ann Bohane I promise you I try to be objective. And i sincerely understand how difficult it is. It seems almost inherent in our instinctive nature to want to choose sides when everyone around us appears to be. But I can assure you it is not impossible to let go of that impulse. Our intuition almost always guides us towards a widened back and detached, though compassionate, objectivity. True objectivity, from the Observe Mode of consciousness. It is possible. As well as being a great place to live in whenever possible.
And as most know, I’ve never been pro dem or pro repub, nor anti dem or repub. I dislike the slimy politicking favoritism scheming and backroom dealings of both groups that comprise that duopoly that controls our Government equally. I want them both to slink away, or at the very least a few new VIABLE parties to be allowed to rise up and compete against those two giant corruption machines, so the American people can believe in true democracy once more. It is time.
A quick scan of my online presence clearly shows I have posted plenty of positive things about DJT in the last year or two when it felt appropriate, much to the chagrin of my family and friends who don’t agree with my views on this matter.
Just as I was sometimes hard on certain policies or actions taken by president Obama. I didn’t like his more-globalist leanings, nor his close ties with central bankers, and i honestly felt that, though admirable, he may have been pushing America toward the political correctness of the future too quickly for comfort for many middle Americans. That worried me.
Of course in retrospect we can observe now that my concerns were justified. As is usually the case, the country reacted with a very quick bounceback to the opposite extreme due to the displeasure and discomfort experienced by those same middle Americans I had been worried about.
Progress takes time to evolve. It cannot be forced upon a people. It takes readiness and revelation. And clearly not everyone was ready. So I feel you.
So here we are. Back in a strangely familiar yet frightening post World War II 1946 America-first styled nationalism, building fences and walls, deporting anyone not white or American seeming, slapping tariffs and starting trade wars as if it were the 1890s, unilaterally issuing sanctions aka economic terrorism on anyone who won’t play ball with us, challenging and picking fights with other super-powers, beating our chest and bragging about the “deadly Power of our nuclear arsenal” (in TWEETS no less?!?! Is this kindergarten?!?), forcing patriotism on our citizens instead of inviting it and demonizing the free media.
It’s not a pretty picture. So forgive me if I do not readily hail the thief at the moment as eagerly as you seem want to do.
But i digressed. I do still try to stay objective Leslie. I’m just starting to realize that objectively it’s very challenging to find any redeeming qualities in this man-child who occupies the office so respectably and admirably held by his predecessor. BUT I’m looking. And open to hearing them if you have any you’d like to offer up or share. You can’t claim I don’t have an open mind about this.
Last Screening: On a lighter note, BLACK PANTHER is surprisingly good (the comics turned movies genre is not usually my cup of tea). But Panther is very well done, unique and creative, visually stunning, definitely not boring, thoroughly interesting entertaining and engaging. It features an incredible cast who give it 110%, doesn’t sacrifice plot and story for long boring CGI fight scenes or high speed chases, and in a few subtle ways it is quite a prescient metaphor for deeper issues and questions about the world we live in today. See it when you can.
(Thanks to Naila Meyers for the recommendation)
– Posted by The Ambassador as Ed Hale using BlogPress on an iPhone
CBS News revealed today that under Trump’s watch, the U.S. national debt tops $21 trillion for first time ever. Click here to read.
Twenty-one TRILLION dollars. That’s $21,000,000,000,000. A lot of zeros. The largest national debt in the history of human civilization.
To be fair, this has very little to do with Donald Trump. That’s just CBS playing politics as usual for clickbait. Trump hasn’t been POTUS long enough. Though some might argue that the historic tax break legislation that he and the republican led congress just passed helped contribute to this staggering imbalance (and will add even more to it down the road). But many will also jump out of their SUVs to blame Obama for it. And still others will point to the fact that the George W. Bush administration and their endless “wars on terror” are what really ramped up this new trend in American over-spending. All would be right.
Not that anyone likes thinking about this topic, but what I tend to contemplate a lot regarding the mind boggling National Debt figure above and its ramifications is that statistically we know that once a country’s debt reaches 60% of its GDP, that country historically plunges into a deep depression or even falls apart into panic and chaos, unless it institutes extremely painful “austerity” measures (think cutting back on spending for the most basic of people’s everyday necessities…). Which often leads to bloody revolts and revolutions.
(People generally don’t like starving. And more apt, humanity has reached a new era where many believe that they have a right to being taken care of by very big governments and they have deliberately voted in governments who do just that. (Think Socialism or Communism). And some might even point to modern day America as well. What are commonly referred to as “Entitlements” or “social welfare spending” has reached an epic sixty-some percent of the annual budget in the U.S. It didn’t always used to be this way. It doubles how much is spent on defense, for reference. (Although the U.S. still also manages to spend more on defense (think weapons of war and Intelligence) annually than all other nations on earth combined.)
Even when a country enforces strict austerity measures on its people for years at a time in order to try to pay down its debt, it still often presents numerous challenges to ever escape the clutches of the growing interest payments, it’s currency turns near worthless and it finds itself unable to end the death cycle.
Ironically that’s usually when the US steps in and takes the country over thru the World Bank and IMF and other backdoor means etc… And as funny and tragic as that is, it’s not possible in this instance because it’s the US that we’re talking about here. So who’s going to step in and take over? That’s the real question.
[This might be as good a place as any to note for followers of New World Order Conspiracy theories that there is a view by some that the national debt of the United States is entirely meaningless in the bigger picture, because the world itself is ruled and has been ruled by one very small but far reaching group of people or organizations, dominated by the Vatican (still just the Roman Empire disguised as a “religion”) (the wealthiest country/company in the world), the U.K. (the so-called “royal family” being the second wealthiest country/company in the world, with the largest real estate holdings on earth), France, and the United States. The United States is allegedly the military arm of this invisible, omniscient and omnipotent global power, whereas much of the decision making still comes from the U.K. and the Vatican, as it has for over a thousand years, and to a lesser degree France. In the case of the Vatican/Roman Empire, it’s been more than two-thousand years. So… no debt, low debt, high debt, it just doesn’t matter when you run the military machine for most of the entire globe.]
When it comes to the United States’ national debt, we know the U.S. has been protected from this normally predictable economic outcome outlined above through various nefarious schemes and actions they’ve taken since WW II like dropping two nuclear bombs on Japan in order to intimidate and scare the crap out of potential competing super powers, creating the U.N. as a thinly veiled disguise for its goal of global dominance through more legitimate seeming means, building up the largest military and nuclear stockpile the world has ever seen, dismantling democracies and installing dictatorships all over the world, installing and maintaining 8,000 military bases in over 80 countries, propping up the Saudi dictatorship to control the country of Arabia indefinitely in order to control the global oil supply and force the world to use the US dollar as it’s mandated reserve currency, etc. (The list is much longer, I know. The small sample above can be viewed as a general overview of some of the more standout or major egregious activities that led to the establishment of the modern American empire.)
Okay fine. So the United States has largely gotten away with just about anything one could imagine over the last 75 years, including running up a mind-blowing national debt that surpasses its annual GDP and yet it just keeps on plugging away. [The United States recorded a government debt equivalent to 105.40% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2017. Government Debt to GDP in the United States averaged 61.70 percent from 1940 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 118.90 percent in 1946 and a record low of 31.70 percent in 1981.] For context let’s take note that in the G20 (the largest 20 economies in the world) the United States is NOT the winner in the highest debt to GDP race. That award goes to Italy presently, who’ve managed to rack up an impressive 130% debt to GDP ratio. Japan comes in second place, with approximately 110%. But the United States IS in third place. For the world’s largest economy and one of only two real viable super powers left in the world, that should be a frightening statistic.
But instead, it seems to be no big deal. No one seems to think it’s a problem. Not even normally fiscally conservative Conservatives seem to care anymore. The US dollar is actually getting stronger and forcing other countries’ currencies and debt into dangerous territory. And US Treasury bonds are still considered the safest, most secure and sought after assets in the world.
It may sound crazy. But it’s real. And to some it might beg the question if any of our former ideas regarding global economics even matter today as long as a country like the United States can maintain global dominance through fear of its military might. Classic empire stuff.
But will there ever be a reckoning? Like what will or could cause it? Let’s say the US just keeps jacking that debt up to 25 trillion. Or 28 trillion? Is there a figure that would ever be frowned upon by other nations around the world? Or does the threat of both it’s economic and military might protect the United States from any of the normal rules that other countries must follow?
Would anyone even care or pay attention if the United States jacked its national debt up to 150% as long as it maintained such a stronghold on the world militarily? Especially now after they’ve nearly taken over so much of the Middle East? That campaign was a huge win for the Neocon Hawks and their quest for “a new American 21st century”. Sad (for sure). But except for Iran (a country the U.S. has tried to dominate unsuccessfully for over 70 years), a largely successful military campaign of mammoth imperialist aims.
Some sources claim that during the Obama administration the United States was involved in more simultaneous wars than at any other time in its history. All in the Middle East. That’s a sobering statistic. Although if one reflects back on World War II, it seems hard to believe. But at the very least the United States during the Obama administration was involved in active military campaigns (or covert drone bombings) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria. Both the Bush and Obama years saw the United States involved in a multitude of battles and wars all over the Middle East to assure its global dominance would continue in the 21st century.
So what could possibly knock or take the U.S. out? They’re HUGE. Monstrous. Gigantic. You can hear their people mindlessly chanting “USA USA!” People used to compare the United States to the Roman Empire back in the day. Even though that comparison seems quaint by today’s standards. Rome was an ant colony compared to what the United States is now. Total global reach wrapped up and down and all around planet earth and into outer space as well. Does it last forever? Can it?
Historically we know that we’ve never seen it last forever… Every empire crumbles. Or has crumbled. But the only feasible outcome for the US in regards to how they have things set up now is terrifying. Due to their military and nuclear arsenal. One gets the impression that those in power in the US are not going to just get up and go away quietly. If they’re ever forced to go out they’re probably going to want to do so with a very loud and deadly bang.
Is there any other way for the world to regain even a little bit of control or even just liberation from US dominance without the US just going full on ballistic and invading or bombing? Is there any option for a safe NON military way for them to just back down? Even a little? This is what keeps me up at night.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A brief exploration of the state of affairs of the rest of the world in regards to America’s stupefying national debt and their need to maintain military dominance because of it.
What about the more serious question for Americans? As to what would or could happen to the people of the United States if ever there was a reckoning? If every country in the world got together and collectively decided to stop permitting the US to continue to rack up its unsustainable debt and using bullying tactics to perpetuate it, and the US was forced to get its economic house in order, would any other countries come to their aid? Or would they gleefully take a step back and watch the people of the United States stagger and struggle to survive, believing the tragic but necessary event was deserved and a long time coming?
[Long time readers will remember that when the horrific events of 9/11 transpired (regardless of who you think was responsible, at the time it was viewed as an “attack” on the American people) that yours truly was at a large International language school in Costa Rica. There were about 100 of us there for the semester as students at the time from a variety of different countries, most of them European.
I will never forget the callous nearly gleeful response that some of the other students at the school expressed that morning as we Americans (there were only 2 of us) stood there stunned and horrified watching those planes crash into the World Trade Towers on live TV. I will always remember the sound of people around me mumbling things like “serves them right”, “this was bound to happen” and “what did they expect?” As if they were happy that it was happening. I mention this for context and in light of the possible reactions the world might have if another catastrophe should affect the US, this time being more economic. People tend to cheer for the underdog and feel envious of those who always seem to win. And since World War II the United States has been winning bigtime.
And although old red white and blue collected most of the world’s empathy and support directly following the attacks of 9/11, they spent it all very quickly due to what many labeled unnecessary unjustified and villainous invasions of many middle eastern countries.]
To the above question though, some would respond that China has already been coming to the aid of the US economically and has been for decades. Along with Japan they hold the largest amount (measured in US dollars) of U.S. bonds, T-Bills and debt than any other non-U.S. entities. It’s a convenient way to help prop up the heavily imbalanced American economy, and in return help their own economy as well, since the United States is China’s largest trading partner i.e. the American people spend more money buying things from China than any other nation on earth.
So both super-powers, though ideologically differing in their view on how to run a large government body and control it’s people, have had a relatively stable win-win economic relationship for decades now. And despite the political bluster for the cameras, both rely heavily on the other. And they know it.
That’s a fact that provides me with both comfort and fear. Since the Cold War ended and Russia seemingly retreated back into its oligarchic trenches for the time being, China has lurched forward to become the only primary competitor with the U.S. for world domination both economically and militarily in today’s world. But they at present seem to need the US and it’s consumer base as much as the US needs them. And that’s probably a good thing. Can this delicate balancing act last forever? We don’t know. And that’s the problem.
And yes as always there is obviously much more to the story. We’ll get to it all in time.
– Posted by The Ambassador, as Ed Hale, from the Transcendence Embassy — New York, NY using BlogPress on an iPhone
A new survey released today seems to imply that a majority of Americans are completely unaware of the criminal activities uncovered thus far by the Robert Mueller investigation of their 2016 presidential election. See the full story here.
Regardless of which side of the partisan fence one might reside in (even if one identifies as being firmly in the middle), these recent poll results regarding the Mueller investigation are compelling. One might conclude preliminarily that the “reality star” effect of the Trump presidency may be more powerful than anything fundamentally true, real or factual.
And that could be a trend we would surely not prefer when it comes to our government or governmental employees like Mr. Trump.
This would seemingly, and hopefully, apply despite how much one approves or disapproves of the president, his policies or his performance over the last year and a half. Pomp, bluster, controversy and noise should never outweigh a people’s ability to see and measure reality. In a perfect world at least. Though that’s certainly never seemed to sway us in the past in regards to political figures.
The question is, have we crossed over a new threshold this time? Has our national obsession with celebrity (over substance?) eclipsed our more adult senses of reason and rational judgment? And to be clear (and fair) one recognizes that Trump is not America’s first experimental “celebrity as president” or “president turned celebrity”. Think Obama or Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or even JFK.
But with that said, is there something inherently unique or different about the cult of The Donald in terms of the office of American president? A blindness to something glaringly irrational and unreasonable that only a few can see? Or is it business as usual? That’s not a question that’s easy to answer if one stretches beyond the scope of partisan leanings or bias.
To the point at hand, is the Mueller investigation and its discoveries over the past year any more shocking or heinous than what the country experienced or learned during the 1990s with Ken Starr and Bill Clinton? Or in the 1980s with Reagan and the Iran Contra scandal? And perhaps even more to the point of the revelations raised by this recent polling data, has America become completely immune to widespread corruption revelations in government in favor of its obsession with celebrity and hype?
Depending on how bigger picture or little picture one views the question from, that remains a difficult question to answer conclusively. It truly seems to be dependent on how one chooses to look at it or what one chooses to focus on. And that’s only if one can manage the discipline to maintain any semblance of nonpartisanship. Not an easy task in present day America to be sure. (Perhaps it never has been..?)
– Posted by Ed Hale as the Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Hey John. Yep, me too. I heard yanny at first as well. But I never doubted that fact. I knew I heard what i heard and honestly didn’t give it a second thought until a few hours later when I heard laurel (just as clearly) played a few times on TV. I assume (perhaps naievly? Not totally sure on that…) that most musicians felt the same way about not doubting what they believe they heard. So at first I just dismissed the whole debate as typical internet clickbait crap, as one does with 99% of the stuff that we see or hear about post-internet age.
But then I heard the exact same thing being discussed at (of all places) the daily congressional press briefing. Weird. And Paul Ryan not only addresses the thing, but gets seriously hot and bothered about how insane it is that everyone is NOT hearing laurel. What?!?! What link did HE click on? Laurel? That doesn’t even make sense I thought.
So from the get go I started to suspect that there was some trickery at play. Sociologically this simple slight of hand, despite how innocently it may or may not have begun, could end up becoming an ingenious experiment in human behavior, revealing how vulnerable most still are to the myriad phenomena associated with the internet’s ability to generate or spread “fake news”. We are after all still reeling and drenched in much of the drama associated with this new phenomenon at present, with every other word coming out of the White House having something to do with “fake news”. It’s still very much “a thing”. (Judicial investigations into “Russian meddling” in the presidential elections of the United States..? Seriously? Yes… Seriously. It sounds nuts. But it’s very real. Though in reality very few people actually talk about it unless they’re heavily leaning in one direction or the other politically. And honestly I’m not 100% sure that’s necessarily a “good thing”…)
Then I saw aforementioned Paul Ryan on TV claiming “it’s clearly laurel…let’s get that out of the way. How does anyone not hear that?” he says. What?!? In a congressional press conference?!? He’s talking about THAT? This is crazy. Okay… so now we know something is off. Paul Ryan may be a partisan politician and sure that has certain immediate implications in terms of one’s perspicacity…. and no he’s not a musician that we know of. BUT, one, the guy is clearly not mentally challenged (at least no more than anyone else in D.C….), and two, no one has any reason to believe that he has hearing problems. So what was up? And why the hell did he care so much either way?
It took me a while to figure it out… Honestly I didn’t pay much attention to it until I heard the second news network a few hours later claiming to be playing the same audio clip and literally heard an entirely different word than the previous network. It just made no sense. As clearly as I heard Yanny on the first network and on my phone and laptop etc. I then heard laurel. Trippy. And most likely also tricky. So I too became fascinated by the apparent discrepancy in how clearly each group of people were claiming to hear the words they claimed to, despite all allegedly listening to “the same thing”.
Though I never doubted that i was hearing the word I thought I heard. In all three instances. It all just depended on WHICH instance I heard it… The problem was that I also didn’t doubt those who were claiming to be hearing Laurel instead of Yanny or Yanny instead of laurel. Sure, most people are simple. I get it. They kill each other in mass shootings almost daily now and spend entire days watching complete strangers get married on their televisions and computers and phones even. (And crazier still, they watch these strangers’ weddings because they’re told they’re “royal” and they believe there is such a thing. It’s totally insane. Noted.) But still, that doesn’t make everyone hearing challenged or liars or THAT biologically different from each other suddenly. if people were claiming to hear the word Laurel or Yanny, my first reaction was to believe them, and not just assume that they were wrong or mistaken or just stubborn.
Frankly none of that actually occurred to me. Until I started seeing the mass hysteria popping up all over the internet regarding “who’s right and who’s wrong?” When it turned into a legitimate debate… Similar to the White and Gold versus Black and Blue Dress debate from a few years back. (More on that later….) To me the most logical answer was most likely “Everyone is right. People are hearing both words at different times and just not recognizing that this is a prank.” That started becoming more and more obvious as the day wore on. You could very clearly hear both words repeatedly depending on which website or TV or radio network you scanned. Both words were being played at different times depending on when and where one clicked. Everyone was right. And nobody was wrong.
But the meme had already spread from coast to coast and everyone had already jumped into their respective boxes, hunkered down and were ready to defend their position to the death. Many even jumped from one box to another and then back again in the span of one day, constantly doubting themselves and claiming to be “baffled” by their own ears. It was Democrat versus Republican, atheists versus deists, Israel versus Iran…. hysteria played out in real time all over big and small media regarding something completely irrelevant and inconsequential. Or so it seemed at first.
Eventually smaller minded “media outlets” started jumping on the story, attempting to explain it “scientifically”…. And this is when one could claim that the experiment started to become genuinely disturbing. Or at least surreal. And perhaps even important.
Then the pseudoscientific psychobabble started… Millions of people started reading — and sharing — these alleged articles purported to be authored by revered scientists. And many started to sincerely believe all these crazy pseudo-scientific explanations, instead of just trusting their own ears or their own better judgment. It was astonishingly easy to compel people to doubt themselves and their own senses, and at the same time doubt the sensory abilities or sincerity of those around them. Even within the same families people were fighting over this thing. Not kidding. Mass hypnotic insanity. In a matter of just a day or two. If you’re in the future, look it up. It’s mind boggling I know. But true.
As the debate waged on, bigger and bigger media began to step in, purporting to deliver sharper smarter more technologically advanced scientific explanations of “the phenomenon”. Even the New York Times jumped the shark with this one. More than once. Not kidding. <a target=”_blank” href=”https://mobile.nytimes.
Tons of hubbub about “our ears hear different words depending on the soundcard in the device we’re using” or “based on frequencies the human ear is accustomed to hearing or based on the age of the listener, people can hear words differently or even hear words that aren’t even there…”. Much of it sounded silly if you’ve spent the majority of your life working with sound and music. But maybe it really did fool non-musicians…. (?) It’s hard to tell. It seemed to. Because it became a “thing” so quickly. It easily carved out it’s fifteen seconds and then some. But were people really being fooled? Or were they just eager to be fooled? Or perhaps just eager to choose a side about something, anything, and vehemently fight over it? It was hard to tell.
The mainstream may never take the time to research and establish that a few lines of code could create a simple program that had two completely different sounding words play randomly to different groups of people and once you accepted one of them into your browser’s memory, that word got locked in. It didn’t matter how many times you listened to it. There was no way you were going to hear “the other word that “other people” claimed to be hearing”…. because your browser was set. As too was everyone else’s. Along with all the browsers being used by all the various television and radio networks that ran the story.
One thing became clear though, through all the techno-chat. The origin story about the actual piece of audio that everyone was fighting over kept changing every few hours and every new day. New data. Different data. Changed data. The story never really took hold and found a basis in reality. Still hasn’t. And surely that’s half the fun of it.
In the end all anyone had to do was clear the cookies from their browser in order to hear the other word. A simple fix. But that train had already left the station. Answers to that particular mystery were no longer important as the public’s attention quickly abandoned the debate and shifted to yet another mass shooting in an American public school, sadly, and then on to a wedding of some random member of a so-called “royal family” in England (which yes is an equally mysterious and disturbing social phenomenon to be sure).
Looking back, it seems a really simple and some might say a pretty lame trick in the bigger picture. Two or three lines of code and a disciplined commitment to shutting up for a few days about it? But nonetheless it turned out to be a deceptively simple but elegant illustration of how easy it is to split a population in two using this new “fake news” phenom that the internet has suddenly enabled. (Yes, that DOES beg the question as to why NOW? What happened to suddenly shift the entire species into being so easily duped by totally bogus crap? Was there a trigger moment in mass consciousness that we can look back on? Fascinating to ponder…) And it did have people literally doubting their OWN EARS and their own reason, judgment and sanity at times. No doubt about it. That’s as incredible as it is disturbing. Perhaps an historical landmark moment when we look back in future years on the event in terms of the bigger picture ramifications of it.
There’s more…. As there almost always is. Which I began to discover and contemplate toward the end of the evening. If it was indeed a prank, see above. If it was not a prank and indeed ONE WORD was used and one word alone is what is floating around on every link out there, then it speaks volumes about not just a very real Cultural Relativism (reality being subjective based on indoctrination and beliefs…), but also perhaps even a Biological Relativism (measurable qualitative and quantitative differences within a species creating perceived reality…) that could be responsible for many of the most heated and hated debates and disagreements in human history.
There’s a lot there. I know. But I’m tired. Will explore it more tomorrow. Until then.
– Posted by Ed Hale as The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Just finished WILD WILD COUNTRY (documentary on Netflix). Suggested by more than a few trusted friends. Wow. I didn’t know anything about that event or those people. Had never heard of any of it. So i was just KAPOW like eyes wide open mind blown from the first minute onward. It’s a thoroughly intense and engaging exploration of humanity at its best and worst.
A lot of mixed emotions. First impressed and inspired. In awe of that raw rugged endless near blind ambition that springs from human idealism when the spark of enlightenment is first lit. Then shock. Anger. Disappointment. Then tears.
Such an amalgamated human stew, just every aspect of humanity thrown into this cauldron all at once… And widened back, with the advantage of having not been there, having no bias, and much time having passed now, it’s easy to feel empathy and compassion for everyone involved.
That was clearly a very different time. We hadn’t connected yet technologically — which gave us all the ability to find our rightful tribes and tribal mates, more than any other single event in the Age of Personal Expression was an event (Tribalism through technology) that led to one of the greatest quantum leaps in our evolution as a species. Back then, a mere thirty-five years ago, people were still very fragmented and cut off due to geography, a burden that many of us no longer have to endure.
I choose to believe that human consciousness has evolved a lot since then, that if the same grand idealistic communal experiment came together in today’s world that it would attract less fear aggression and prejudice from average Americans on the outside; and that hopefully better decisions would be made on the inside as well.
We have plenty of communes in the world now. In the U.S. as well. I’ve been to many. Supported a few. They’re normally very peaceful quiet trouble-free zones. Think Camp Hill, Steiner Schools and Anthroposophy, just to name one. Small but international. So one doesn’t conclude that self sustaining communes filled with out of the box thinking people practicing alternative or unorthodox lifestyles necessitates direct altercations with the outside world. It’s not that simple or binary.
Clearly there were many extenuating circumstances involved in the struggle between the radical Rajneeshpuram community and the small rural folk from the town of Antelope. On the one hand I choose to believe that America has outgrown a lot of that nationalistic “strictly Christian” bias that so ties it to its Wild West roots; and on the other hand I cannot help but remember and acknowledge that just 24 hours ago I heard an acting president of the United States, Donald Trump, speaking to a packed arena full of hooting hollering NRA members passionately promoting deliberately putting guns in the hands of tens of thousands of more people all over the nation in the name of self defense and protection — an action that will very clearly lead to a return to our Wild West ways once again. As if we didn’t learn the first time what it was like to have public shoot outs be a daily occurrence in our lives.
Although i agree with the basic logic behind the idea— it makes sense. If we outlaw guns, the only people who will have guns will be outlaws. I get it. We see it transpire in Europe all the time. But it does not portend to be a pretty picture if we choose this path. In fact I see it quickly turning into a bloody nightmare and national clusterfuck of epic proportions.
Perhaps that’s where we need to go one last time as a country to settle our contentious gun rights debate. One or two years of just over the top massive bloody shootouts transpiring all over the nation every day and night of the week until so many die that we finally come to the table ready to work through this problem and create a system that includes the kind of sensible compromise that both sides need. If that means hundreds or thousands die in some kind of self created reality horror show that the rest of the world watches in shock…. One can only pray we are able to transcend that potential reality.
I personally still walk away from the viewing of that whole Rajneeshpuram debacle believing in the basic ideals of the enlightenment and consciousness raising movement, regardless of how differently each little tribe decides to create or manifest it for themselves. It may seem naive…. But I still remain impressed and inspired by the thought of it. And ready to pick up and start creating and building if the opportunity ever presents itself in my universe.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Today we learned that the GIBSON Guitar Company has filed for bankruptcy. Like Bourbon or baseball, hamburgers or Ford Mustangs, Gibson is one of those living breathing American landmark institutions whose products are so beloved by people from all over the world that it would last forever. They’re adored and worshiped, bought, sold and traded above ground and underground and coveted like gold, classic paintings or vintage cars. The older they get the more valuable they become.
As a longtime Gibson sponsored artist and avid fan, I admit that this news still seems more than anything else just surreal at the moment, but not necessarily a complete surprise. It’s a cold wake up call for sure. Gibson guitars are expensive. Hell, all musical instruments are expensive when you can’t pay the rent, which is the unfortunate situation that most professional musicians and music artists have found themselves in over the last 15 years — especially the ones who have refused to give up or turn it into a hobby or attempt to start a new career.
Yesterday I posted an important piece about some proposed legislation that has the potential to significantly help increase the royalty rates that music artists are paid in this struggling new world of music streaming. The drastic reduction in artist compensation from all potential revenue streams happened so quickly and drastically that most people are still trying to just catch up and learn about it…. It’s hard to take all the data in and fathom just how bad it’s gotten for the musicians and songwriters that each of us chooses to love and follow.
At the heart of it is the simple fact that as a global society we forgot to acknowledge or even notice that music, the commodity, somehow somewhere down the line became FREE. Which yes is crazy. It’s impossible to type that sentence or read it and not do a double take. Especially when you start to ponder how true it is. Despite how fun and easy it’s been for all of us as consumers to have access to free music over the last decade or two, it’s had a devastating effect on the music industry and the artists who create that music.
From 2000 to 2015 music-sales revenue dropped by double digits every year. That’s insane. Do people really not value music THAT much? Or is it more just due to none of us stopping to notice? To the latter, I’d say “Hell, I noticed… How could you not?” So is it more a problem of us just not knowing what to do about it? Not knowing how to fix what we started perceiving was a broken system? Music became free….. We KNEW it was illogical and crazy. Didn’t make sense. Nothing of value is free.
But who was in charge? Surely they’re doing something about it. But alas, no one was doing anything about it and we’re going on 18 years of declining revenue…. The recent news earlier this year that I Heart Radio had also filed for bankruptcy was yet another sign post of the crumbling music industry.
We’ve seen this movie before. Book stores, music stores, office supply stores, hardware stores, non-chain coffee shops, newspapers and magazines, clothing lines, movie theatre chains, all four “big network” television companies and pretty much every retail and department store brand… all gone or in the process of going. Or at least transitioning. At best. One can hope.
The music business is just another industry breaking down fast from the disruption that takes place when technology advances and enters an industry too quickly or in some cases completely takes it over. Call it the digitization of the music business. Music became digital. And for many that meant free.
But in reality it’s just one of thousands of used up old unwanted relics lining the side of the highway to the digitization of our entire society. It starts at the top, at the corporate level, and then slowly works its way down to the workers. In this case, that means the songwriters, producers, musicians, recording artists and everyone else who makes a living from making music. And then from the bottom up it continues to crumble.
So it’s not that shocking to hear that Gibson is going bankrupt. Truth is, if musicians can no longer afford to buy music instruments, who’s going to buy them? Pawn shops and eBay have been chock full of guitars and every other kind of musical instrument for decades now. It’s one of the most coveted secrets in the biz — we never buy new. We always buy vintage. They’re better (or so we tell ourselves…) and they’re way more affordabe. And we know we can turn right around and sell that same guitar for the same price in a few weeks or months or years whenever times get hard.
As working musicians we’ve been using our guitars and basses and drums as an alternate form of cash for the last 15 years…. Selling them when we need to eat. Buying them back when we catch a lucky break. But unfortunately that doesn’t help Gibson. Nor does it help the last of the dying music stores that attempt to stay alive for one more year in the ghost town strip malls of America’s larger cities.
But before you light a candle and stream “The Day the Music Died”, there is actually some GOOD news in all this. And it’s just starting to happen. We’re calling it the New Renaissance of the Music Business or Music Consumer, depending on who you ask. And it’s seeming to take flight fast. It turns out that most people LIKE paying a subscription for their media content. Netflix is proving it. (Granted, Netflix charges too little to actually make a profit. They exist based solely on their ability to accrue more debt. Sad but true. Just like HULU and pretty much everyone else in the streaming media business. But it’s a start.) Combined with the advent of portable stand alone speakers like Amazon’s Alexa or Echo (JBL makes awesome ones. Apple’s Homepod is also said to sound AMAZING…), consumers are flooding into subscription based music streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify.
That’s the “good” news. The bad news is that none of these services are profitable yet…. because they’re charging way too little per month in order to acquire new customers. It’s the classic amazon model. Cut prices to below profit in order to lure new customers in and slowly raise the prices later down the road. It works. We’ve seen it work. But of course that means they still can’t afford to pay a living wage to the people who create the products they sell, music artists. At least not yet. BUT… it’s definitely a step in the right direction. And that’s a positive.
One gets the feeling that somehow Gibson will survive. The same way that Ford and GM have managed to… It might get hairy ugly. But they’ll make it. We all will if we remember to #respectmusic
We’ve heard a lot of opinions and ideas regarding Facebook over the last few weeks. Most of it noise, regurgitated incessantly by media or media wannabes seeking attention or in vain attempts to cash in on the back of somebody else’s problem. We’ve become accustomed to this in Western societies. We accept it as an annoying side effect of free markets and the noble goal of protecting free speech.
At this point, as always, one feels compelled to remind friends and readers that some of us are staunch Independents who do not feel any allegiance or affiliation with any political party one way or the other, especially when stating ideas like the following: normally we Indies consider it lesser-minded hyperbole when we hear so-called Conservatives complain about the over-arching Liberalism of the academic community and their “zealous over-regulatory socialist agenda”.
We also often chuckle to ourselves when we hear the so-called Left making equally short sighted comments about the ruthless heartlessness of so-called Conservatives. We understand that passion and emotion are valuable human assets, but can sometimes cloud reason and logic and muddy what could otherwise be intelligent discourse.
One can find truth in anything if they go looking hard enough, and on occasion, these seemingly ridiculous inflammatory claims and accusations by both extremes in our political melting pot will appear to stem from some fundamental underlying truths… at least in part. The opinion piece published today in Marketwatch by a Mr. Perez-Breva, allegedly an MIT professor, is a perfect example. If not a joke or a deliberate hack to confuse and unsettle democracies or capitalist and democratic ideals, it may just be the dumbest, most ignorant and ill-informed collection of ideas ever penned about the subjects of social media and Big Tech. There is so much wrong here that it seems redundant and superfluous to even bother pointing any of it out specifically, let alone debating it.
But it does seem important enough to read or at least gloss over and share, if for no other reason than to see what we’re up against when well-meaning beneficiaries of capitalism with too much time on their hands begin to take for granted the benefits they derive from the hard work and capital investment of others.
It almost appears as if the author has come to believe that he and others inherently deserve to enjoy the fruits of other people’s inventions, discoveries and companies for free just because they breathe, and if they aren’t allowed to do so or can’t call the shots then they’ll resort to shouting “You fascists are trying to make slaves of us!” Which is exactly what Mr. Perez-Breva does in the attached article, going so far as comparing Facebook to a modern day pharaoh forcing billions of people to “work for free like slaves to build their pyrimids”. It may sound far fetched and small minded and thus nothing more than a humorous, innocuous sound byte. But the underlying ignorance and arrogance in these kind of casually extremist claims are dangerous, if not at the very least insulting.
Besides the innumerable obvious problems this kind of thinking potentiates in a free society built on free market capitalist ideals, perhaps the most disturbing and over-looked aspect of this train of thought is that real slavery still exists in our world. It is dark depressing deadly and terrifying. And it is INVOLUNTARY, unlike opening a free Facebook or Twitter account or searching for something online using tools like Google. Any comparison to the real thing is insensitive and irresponsible, despite how cute or cheeky the author may believe he or she is being.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
50 years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated and we still don’t know who did it, nor how or why it was done. Though the U.S. government continues to promote and push their prevailing myth that it was committed by James Earl Ray, even though the evidence has never supported that theory.
Dr. Kings’s family also believed Ray was innocent and sued the U.S. government for more than 30 years to get the charges against Ray dropped and reopen the case to discover who really killed King.
Since it was most likely people in various government agencies responsible for the murder of King, the U.S. government never allowed the case to be reopened.
Learn more below…. #MLKtruth
Watch video to learn more
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Photograph of Ed Hale and friends on The Avatar Master’s Course circa 1995
I’ve written of this experience before. On occasions when I’m asked about it. Or when someone is generally at that point where they feel as though they’re at that breakthrough moment and just dying for that something that will give them the tools to really do it.
On New Years Eve of 1994 I started day one of the 9 day Avatar Course. It had been a long time coming. I had already spent years deep diving into everything else throughout human history that claimed to be truly effective at managing consciousness, i.e. to deliberately affect our feelings thoughts ideas beliefs and the events and experiences of our lives, and not found anything that truly delivered on the promise. If anyone in 10,000 years of human history had claimed to discover something that worked and wrote about it, I dove in, jumped in, joined up and explored and tested it to its absolute outermost limits; and looking back now, did so in a pretty logical, predictable order. Religions of all ilks, became born again, which inevitably lead to converting to Judaism (if you go deep enough), fell in love with Lord Krishna and became a devotee, studied and practiced Buddhism, A Course in Miracles, The Vedas, self help books and courses aplenty, Yogananda, Chopra, Ram Dass, Wayne Dyer all became favorites if not radically transformative, hallucinogens, Tony Robbins is still a mentor and favorite, NLP, the secret teachings of the Rosicrucians, the Knights Templar, EST and Landmark Forum, philosophy, Anthroposophy and Theosophy, went deeper still…. fasting, prayer, chanting, meditation, rebirthing, psychics, body scanners, reiki, past life regression, astrology and Akashic Records readings, discovered the beauty of the Goddess through practicing witchcraft Wicca and Magic, psychiatrists and meds, psychotropics, psychoanalysis and therapy…. the list is endless. As are the promises.
Eventually a series of what could only be called serendipitous events led me to the Avatar Course. It was expensive, IMO, because I was young and without wealth as of yet. But coming up with the money needed came miraculously out of nowhere. And it was then that I took the intuitive knowing that it was meant to be seriously.
The Avatar Course was the most challenging thing I had ever done up until that point in my young life. There’s no win or lose. No participation certificate. You either get it and experience enlightenment or you don’t. You’re free to come back for free as many times as you need to. Or even ask for a refund.
For me it took 4 long arduous 12 hour days and a lot of struggling and resisting to get it. My Master remained relaxed, confident and firm. She just kept lovingly reminding me to let go and feel everything and stop trying so hard. And then in one soft quiet moment towards the end of the day, i got it. I BECAME the TREE. I WAS THE TREE. Wow! It’s real! Everything I had read about it in the Vedas and Buddhism was true. Enlightenment was real.
I don’t mind sheepishly admitting that I ran as fast as I could all the way back to the house and flung the front door open to find my Master to tell her of my win. There she sat at her kitchen table, just quietly, softly grinning. In reality I didn’t need to tell her anything. She had already felt it the moment the breakthrough took place. I looked at her, my eyes beaming. She smiled back at me and we became ONE, solidly in a moment of infinity, and she just let out a soft gentle “hhhhmmm…. YOU feel good!”
It was true. I did. I couldn’t believe it. I scanned my entire mind and body and truly “felt better than I’ve ever felt before”. And then I burst into huge fits of laughter. And then tears. “My God it’s real… I wasn’t really sure it was really real! I was losing hope…. But it’s actually real!” I looked up and stuttered to my Master in between laughs and tears. Tears of joy streamed down my face, and then more laughter, back and forth.
No matter what I put my attention on, I BECAME it. Became one with it. It was magic. But REAL magic. It was Siddhartha under the Bodhi tree.
It’s such a common turn of phrase and thus so easy to say I thanked God. But in reality it was more like I just closed my eyes and FELT God, became one with Godness and vibrated thankfulness and appreciation to and with this divine force that was emanating through me.
I wanted more. Wanted to go deeper. And three months later, in March, I took the Master’s Course. I couldn’t believe what I saw on the first day. A little less than a hundred people of all ages and ethnicities from every country in the world were there to do the same thing. Go deeper.
Which is where this photograph above comes from. Little me and a brand new group of friends who more than anything else in life were interested in consciousness and enlightenment —mind blown — the photo taken exactly 23 years ago from today. From what I remember we were about 4 or 5 days in and thus feeling really high and soft and puddled from what we were learning. Pure love, pure oneness. It is one of my dearest fondest memories. And always worth a Share.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Anonymous claims you’re addicted to your iPhone and social media
It’s an interesting point the amusing Anonymous YouTube channel makes in their newest addition their radical collection of conspiracy theories. Perhaps it’s even fun to ponder if you have nothing better to do (?) or perhaps people are just really bored. But I’m calling BS. Fully aware that I can’t speak for others, but I’ll do just about anything to avoid my phone, email or social media personally, unless there’s an extremely valid reason for it. Rather than being addicted to these things, if anything I avoid them probably more than I? should, much to the chagrin of friends and family; and I honestly just do not believe that most normal everyday people are “addicted” to these things either.
And the idea that this social media / phone addiction is in fact a secret conspiracy by an invisible elite to control the unwashed masses into even yet further submission…. Seriously?!?!
Not discounting the rare cases of a very few possible people out there who really might feel “addicted” to their phone or social media — hell, anything can happen… — if anything, westerners seem in reality more addicted to hyperbolic extremist ideas, jumping on them en mass like locusts, such as the above idea, or that everyone has ADHD or is allergic to gluten. Remember those?
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
Over the next few days or weeks, or as long as it seems necessary or relevant I will use the above headline in regards to what we are witnessing transpire in Iran at the moment, hopefully in order to simply and concisely help elucidate a better understanding of the who what when where why and how that’s led our brothers and sisters of the great ancient nation of Persia, now Iran, to this current state of affairs, and where it might be headed.
For it very difficult for anyone in the so called “West” to gain even a modicum of any real knowledge about the true facts, figures, statistics, history and context related to Iran, for the simple reason that over the last few hundred years Western Powers such as the United States, Great Britain, Israel and to a lesser degree France have done nothing but dispel dis and misinformation about the country and it’s history — in order to cover up their heinous mistreatment and opportunistic bullying of the Iranian state and it’s people.
Talk about fake news. American media coverage of Iran is, as it always has been, almost entirely false and deliberately misleading propaganda or just innocently and ignorantly wrong. I was just as shocked to learn that 15 years ago as anyone else would be.
Eventually that shock turned to shame as I learned of the details of the American government’s dealings with Iran, and then to awe as I continued to go deeper into the study of the great country’s 6,000 year old history.
This fascination eventually led me to participate in a fast paced, hair raising, jaw dropping, eye popping two week diplomatic mission trip to all four corners of Iran at a time when Americans were only being allowed in the country for these kinds of events, and only once in a blue moon. As it is today still, it has been nearly impossible for Americans to get into Iran legally for decades. The reasons are obvious. Pre-approved cultural exchange trips, media tours or diplomatic missions are the only possible means of entry. And they are few and far between, depending on who the president is of both Iran and the United States.
At this time Iran refuses to have any official diplomatic relations with the United States, the American Embassy there is a beat up old empty shell of a building, graffiti’d with random anti-American imperialism slogans. So any diplomatic communications between the two countries either go through mutual allies in Switzerland or Pakistan, or through civilian diplomatic efforts such as the one I participated in in 2009.
For today, or at least in this moment — and indeed what compelled me to take the time to write this post this while nursing one hell of a 2×4 whack to the back of the head champagne hangover from last night’s festivities, the most important points to get across are the following:
– Iran spent many millennia controlled by one monarchy or another going all the way back to 4,000 BCE. Some people supported this. Some endured it. Some hated it. Like many other countries all over planet earth in the 20th century the citizens of Iran became a democracy in the early 1950s.
– This Democratic Iran only lasted for 3 years, as Great Britain and the United States were not happpy with the idea of the Iranian people being responsible for the price of their own oil, so they orchestrated a coup of Iran, ousted its democratically elected president, and reinstated another king (or Shah as the word is translated into Farsi) so they could go back to controlling Iran as they always had.
– Together with France they formed a new Western controlled oil company to handle the drilling, refining and embezzling of Iran’s oil. That company was to eventually be shortened to being called British Petroleum, or BP.
– There is more to the story. Much more. And it’s a fascinating story. But this is enough context to understand the causes of Iranian Revolution of the late 70s. Or what the United States calls “the Iranian hostage crisis”. That is cultural relativism at its finest. Bear in mind that historically in the late 70s the Iranian people had a full on people’s revolution, ousted the Americans from their country, demanded autonomy of self determinism and self governance and also demanded that the Shah be returned to Iran to stand trial for treasonous acts against the Constitution and the people.
– Unfortunately what ended up transpiring from this powerful revolutionary moment is that the Ayatollah Khomenei returned from exile as a hero, promising democracy but instead declared himself “supreme leader” and turned the country into a Theocracy, a semi-democratic nation state controlled by the laws and dictates of the religion of Islam. Not exactly what the people were expecting.
– In the 1980s the United States and Great Britain decided to once again attempt to take over Iran, this time by installing a CIA trained dictator by the name of Saddam Hussein, in the neighboring country of Iraq, armed him with billions of dollars and weapons of mass destruction and ordered him to invade Iran and promised him that if he were victorious they would all split the booty later.
– Alas Iraq was not victorious. Like the American colonialists before them against the imperialist powers of Great Britain, the Iranian people fought hard to defend their country and heritage. So the Ronald Reagan administration decided that the best strategy would be to start secretly backing both sides of the so called Iran Iraq War so they could control both countries regardless of who won after all the bloodshed and lost lives. Reagan got caught. This is what is known as The Iran Contra Affair. Eventually both countries called a truce, realizing that the real enemy was the United States.
– For the last 37 years the people of Iran have lived as comfortably as they can under Theocratic rule. They are a remarkably resilient and optimistic people. Extremely intelligent. And more educated than almost any country I‘ve ever visited.
– There are MANY competing factions in the country of Iran. Some like the idea of being aligned with and governed by the tenets of Islam, similar to how many in the United States believe that “America is and Always should be a christian nation”.
– Others would like to see a return of the Shah’s son to power, remembering the good old days when Iran was a freer, more Western styled country.
– Still Others would like to see a full on Green Revolution, as witnessed in other middle eastern countries circa 2011 to 2012 and see Iran once again become a true democracy.
– Now add a few dozen other variants of the above and more, and like Syria, one begins to understand why it is literally impossible for anyone other than the Iranian people themselves to steer their country in the direction it will eventually go.
– This is why it is an extremely misguided strategic action to publicly or privately pledge support or allegiance to any of the many battling factions currently warring in the streets and boardrooms of the country at this time. It may seem like a good idea to go all ra ra sis boom ba for “the people”… and indeed any intelligent compassionate person certainly would love to see Iran finally become a democracy once again (especially if Great Britain and The United States stay the hell out of their business this time), until one realizes that no one as of yet has any idea WHO the people may choose as their elected leader or what kind of government they may choose to be governed by.
– THIS is by far the most important point that needs to be understood at this time. For now we trust that eventually the people will come around to the discovery that though not perfect democracy isn’t such a bad place to end up. But this is their revelation to have. Just as this is their revolution.
[Yes, there is much more to the story. Israel-Palestine, long standing alliances with Russia and China, the bitter fued between Iran and Saudi controlled Arabia, the Sunni-Shiite battle for control over Islam, et al. But we’ll get to all of that and more at a later date.
Right now let us hope that all sides in this historic real time drama err on the side of caution and compassion and non-violence as much as is humanly possible so that something akin to a truly peaceful progress is made for the sake of us all.]
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone
I recently watched a brief speech given by Elon Musk on a social media platform where he was speaking about climate change in regards to carbon emissions and our need for sustained energy. But healthy sustained energy. Everyone knows by now that big oil and coal are the enemies of a healthy planetary environment. At least that’s the meme subscribed to by the majority of the human population. Solar power, hydro, nuclear and wind are the most popular solutions being offered. Musk has the most to profit if solar becomes the energy provider du jour. But I personally wouldn’t permit my mind to believe that this plays too much of a role in his business ventures nor in the ideals he proposes. He’s made his money.
In his speech he speaks of all the doom and gloom we can look forward to if we stay on our present course of burning fossil fuels and producing such high levels of carbon emissions. How at least 5% of the world’s coastal cities will soon be swallowed up and wiped away by the oceans.
There’s a moment where it becomes quite moving…. As moving as a speech by Musk can be at least. What will we say when our children and grandchildren ask us “if we knew what we were doing? We will have to tell them that yes we knew what we were doing…”
I’ll share something here that I’ve hinted at before, touched on… It’s taken a while to really get it under my skin in a way where I could speak cogently about it.
As most people know, I spent the better part of the first 40 years of my life on the outer OUTER fringes of society… Never watched TV or played sports or went camping or any of the other things that most Americans spend their time doing. All my free time was spent deeply immersed in a world of music, art, learning and spirituality. Consciousness exploration. Searching for God and truth. Learning studying praying meditating traveling marching protesting & activisting mainly. I was hopeful. Idealistic. Rise and shine.
A few years ago when I hit this age and income bracket that compels some of us to become active investors it was a real wake up call to me. Still is almost on a daily basis… Many of these men and women are my friends now. Powerhouse names in the investing community, but names that most everyday people have never heard of.
And the truth of it is that you just wouldn’t believe how utterly entirely uninterested and uncaring the majority of the people in this particular world are in these matters that people like me spent their entire lives battling. The causes and issues we march and fight and petition and protest for. Big oil is to be prized. We’re talking 7% dividends on some of these bad boys! Drill baby drill! They think the whole global warming issue is a foolish hoax.
Big Pharma may be the people’s enemy. But it’s the investor’s best friend. We need to get government out of our way and raise those drug prices even higher to get that share price moving. Monsanto may be public enemy #1… But forget all that silly talk about them being “bad or evil”; they’re just ONE of the many in that sector and frankly they’re a damn good profit making machine who also pay a great dividend. They’re not going anywhere.
See… “progress” is a relative term. What one group sees as progress, i.e. generating bigger profits and creating more wealth, another group may see as absolutely devastating. To the public good or to the environment for example. And in turn, what this group may consider “progress”, i.e. more regulations, labor laws, higher wage obligations, another group may see as absolutely devastating. To the financial bottom line in this case.
Of course I’m used to this now. This strange dichotomy between these different groups of people…. both of whom I sincerely like and respect. But the much larger group in influence — in terms of access control resources friends in the mainstream political and media influence — is this investor class; and they literally have absolutely no clue about any of the things that this other activist group fight for on a daily basis. It’s mind boggling how clueless they are about the harm or dangers inflicted on the earth or its people by major industries.
In order to save you a lot of time and energy of your own, I will reveal some of the revelations I had while exploring this world and explain the reason why we haven’t and won’t make any progress in these “big arenas” of our lives until it’s way too late –something I myself wondered for years as an idealistic activist.
It is actually very simple to understand if you do what I did and jump full bodied into the business/trading/investing world to soak it all in and learn. THAT little world, though small, literally controls the entire world. It’s the “great wheel” that moves every other little wheel of every industry and aspect of human life on earth. (And in space).
From currencies to commodities (stop now and look up wherever you are…everything you are seeing is a commodity), from every business and industry to every government and political leader or civil servant…they are all controlled and governed by, hell it would be better put to say they are all literally created and put in place BY, this small group — the investor/business class….
People still think that “they’re in the way of our progress as enlightened citizens and activists…..” What they don’t realize is that THEY are literally the car we’re all driving in. They’re not just driving the car. As some might interject. They create the car, decide on whether the car should continue to exist or not, decide on what color it should be –capitalist or communist…the entire system we live and breathe in is created and sustained by this small group.
Headed up and controlled from the top down by Central Banks at the very top, investment banks and the wealthiest individuals who own and control them just below that, and on down….the “people” are way way way down at the bottom of this pyramidic structure. I’m sure you’ve seen this pictorial before.
Money….because of the (perhaps sad and) simple fact that we human beings have created it as THE MOST ESSENTIAL IMPORTANT & NECESSARY OBJECT TO HUMAN SURVIVAL… is the prime mechanism that drives this industry, and this industry in turn controls all that money, which translates to them literally controlling every action and reaction we’ve ever heard of or read about, every invention or intervention, every government and politician, every monarch product service law rule political party idea you name it…the gate of whether “it” is allowed to exist or not AND how “it” is perceived lies squarely in the center of this tiny little world. Controlled by such a small percentage of the human population.
It’s actually quite fascinating. Objectively. If you can find a way to leave your emotions at the door for a while. Really gets the cerebral blood flowing and the heart pounding. Because we are speaking about nothing less than how an entire race of people, an entire species of beings, is governed. What they think, how they think, what they do and how they do it. All of it.
Because “long term survival of others” is not an idea that pops up on anybody’s radar in this group, the ideas and actions that are motivated by that idea are completely ignored. Ignored is the wrong word. They’d have to be thought of or heard to be ignored. And they’re not even thought of, so they’re not even considered. Because it’s simply not a motivating idea in that world.
Short term and even long term profit IS. But survival of “all of us as a group” is not. In case you reach that point in your contemplation of “well what do they plan on doing once 5% of the earth is swallowed up by the ocean?” The answer is they know THEY won’t be THERE being swallowed up by the ocean is what they’re planning. It’s really that simple.
“But what about their children and grandchildren?” you ask… “Don’t they care about them?” Yes, of course they do. But they will be completely shielded and protected from any of the tragic fallout from present day actions just as these people are today. Because they too will have the same money and hence access resources power control and connections that their parents and grandparents have today.
I too am bothered by leaving you here…in such a sullen place… surely there’s more to it, more that can be done… Yes I believe that too. In fact I believe that the more of us from this “other group” who deliberately jump into the world of investing and business the better. Our “strange ideas” of health wealth liberty happiness and prosperity for all will slowly rub off and catch on. For there is great joy–and benefit– in groups. In being part of a group. And in helping others. We just need to keep sharing and vibrating that.
As always, more later.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone