My intellectual effort has led to this: a full explanation of the final book of the Bible, John’s Revelation. I am not capable of a deeper expression of my compelling sorrow and hope.
The Biden Inauguration coincided with the end of the first year of the SARS/COVID pandemic. Lost in the chaos of January 6th was an observation on the Capitol Mall commemorating the landmark of 400,000 dead in that year.
My dreams over that year had been impacted by the trauma. I was confronted by vocal denialism in my community – one resident commanded, “Take that stupid mask off!” Unlike them, I watched news programs that shared video testimonials from health professionals. Trying to catch them up in my heart was bracing. On the other side of the political spectrum, I bore witness to the sorry state of a Democratic Party whose political success depended upon that pandemic to defeat a criminal president.
I eventually realized that I needed to externalize the tension. This manifested in the project pictured here: a wall sculpture title “The Ends of the American Experiment.” The initial inspiration was the paired ribbons, familiar from many memorial programs. The red-white-blue evokes patriotic pride; the rainbow evokes the power of diverse perspectives and responses. There are 400 of them – each representing 1000 dead of COVID/SARS in the first year, becoming 2500 dead (1 million total) at the end of the second year.
The ribbons were formed into chains with pop rivets. The surrounding frame was welded by my son Kevin, and evokes the threat of limiting beliefs (becoming prejudice in the worst case). Bronze chain, held taut by white and black cable ties, was used to build a mesh into which the ribbons were woven to form the field of the presentation. The ribbons are held in place by paracord. To the right on each side are sun and moon medallions, representing the masculine and feminine principles.
On the Oppression side (shown below), paracord was used to support beads that list the oppressive practices that suppressed the virtues of diversity, starting with ethnic minorities but broadening eventually to include the natural order.
The Privilege side, the beads describe the practices that allowed the social and financial elite to suppress the just aspirations of the voting public. These start with forced contract and voting suppression, broadening to suborning of the government to the benefit of the economic elite.
The field is almost overwhelmed, with only a few rows left unblocked. On the last few links of the framing chain, I have attached the names of those that I believe best exemplify the vision that inspired the Founders of the Republic. Politicians such as Washington and Lincoln. Religious figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Social activists such as Clara Barton and Rachel Carson. And from the arts, representatives such as Ailey and Winfrey.
I am not entirely satisfied with the geometry of the presentation – I haven’t been able to prevent the sagging of the paracord. I also need to finish of the lower edge of the field. But the major goal has been accomplished: focusing the psychic struggle that wracks our nation in this era. I hope that it is useful for others. Those of us seeking to serve love need precise insight to prevent a collapse of the moral order. I have tried to cut through the noise to reveal what is essential.
Wow. So if I brought a long rifle into your neighborhood and start aiming it at people on the street and you tried to disarm me, I can shoot you dead and call it self-defense? And if your friend hits me in the head with a skateboard and I kill him too, that is self-defense? And after I shoot you, if your neighbor draws a hand-gun on me, I can shoot him too and call it self-defense?
Who is the initiator here? Did anybody shoot at me before I began the killing?
Leave it to the police, who wear obvious and recognized insignia of authority. Otherwise, you’re just a loose cannon rolling around on the streets.
Do you know how Elon Musk made SpaceX fly? By leveraging design concepts developed under government funding. How about Jeff Bezos and his billions? All resting on the foundation of an illegitimate patent on “One Click Shopping,” granted and enforced by the US government.
The infrastructure of our economy was paid for by the middle class. We paid and continue to pay our taxes. Come down to Earth, grow up, and pay yours.
As Congress considers regulation of Big Tech, they fail to appreciate the competitive environment that drives the behavior of these companies. I step outside of the box and offer a suggestion.
This is in response to an article about Facebook on CNN.
What is missed here is the degree of paranoia in big tech. All of these companies understand how fragile their control is. All (Google, Facebook, Apple, etc.) are trying to acquire and monetize personal data. This means that they must aggressively pursue every opportunity before them, and attempt to capture attention by their users.
Consider, then, Facebook’s position: Apple and Google collect information through their mobile devices. Facebook has no such platform, which is why Zuckerberg is so aggressively promoting the “Metaverse” concept.
The only way to cool this kind of competition is with regulation. One way to do this is to separate data collection and analytics from the platforms. This is what eventually led to AT&T’s surrender of its monopoly: they established a universal billing system that allowed everyone to connect to everyone else, and then handed the development of the physical infrastructure over to others.
We should also understand, however, that it is not just the social media platforms that we should regulate. Credit rating agencies have similar practices as regards monetization of personal data.
I would recommend that Congress establish regulations regarding data exchange, interoperability, and privacy, then step out of the way and force the corporations to establish the necessary infrastructure. The right enforcement mechanism is to allow consumers to pursue class-action lawsuits when their data is misused.
Notice, however, that a universal data store provides opportunities for new services. You may not want outsiders to analyze your personal history, but that information can be invaluable to counselors that are trusted to act in our interest.
How many times a year do you stop to admire your garbage collector? It’s a thankless job, with little or no respect. But if they weren’t there to haul away out excess, how long would it before before the garbage crowded into the photos of our remodeled bathrooms and manicured lawns?
This is the functional equivalent of the GoPs political strategy, copied from the Slavic iron-men who inherited the rump of the Iron Curtain. Create a mess, then build disdainful messaging about those that dare to try to clean it up. The most egregious case was in Ukraine, were a crusading president was blackballed and eventually jailed for associating with those who had promised to turn state’s evidence in corruption cases.
This was the playbook in the Obama presidency, where many blue-collar workers turned to the Tea Party wing of the GoP when Obama didn’t jail Wall Street executives after the 2008 meltdown created by the Bush Administration. It was furthered by Trump’s “Birtherism” crusade. It is occurring now with the investigations of Donald Trump.
Look: the GoP grandees know that Trump was crazy corrupt. It’s just that if they lose the MAGA base, they will never be able to obtain a majority in any chamber of government in the country – gerrymandering or no gerrymandering. So that are sucking it up and refusing to deny Trump’s lies, waiting for the Biden administration to bring charges and usher POTUS 45 off to a federal lockup. They will then spin outrage and myths around the corrupt handling of the case, cementing their control on the MAGA base.
For this reason, I was happy to hear that the Southern District of New York is investigation Oleg Deripaska, the Russian aluminum magnate who promised to build a smelting plant in Kentucky. The only way to take down the stinking trash heap which is the Republican Party leadership is to take out Mitch McConnell. The Senate leader of the GoP caucus uses his control of party money to maintain iron control over his peers, which has turned the “Worlds Greatest Deliberative Body” into a legislative traffic jam. A sizeable portion of that money was funneled into the 2016 election cycle (up to $50 million, by some accounts) from Vladimir Putin’s inner circle through the National Rifle Association. If that can be traced and detailed, we might have enough to put McConnell career in a noose.
So after working through all the philosophical issue here at everdeepening.com and the theological issues at love-returns.org, I have gotten to a place where I am ready to meet people where they are regarding the Book of Revelation. The forum is a Zoom meeting on Wednesday night that is accessible through my “The Soul Comes First” Facebook page. To any of those that have followed my journey here, this is the start of a new stage. I’d be happy to see you there.
The Supreme Court is producing a large number of unsigned decisions on its “shadow docket” – largely on partisan lines. The Roberts court has chosen to focus public hearings on cases with a clear basis in law that produce unanimous decisions, while the conservatives decide controversial cases in forums that do not require them to produce a judicial opinion.
This is frustrating to those of us that believe the court should safeguard the rights of individual citizens, rather than represent the interests of moneyed elites. However, it also provides a clear rationale for restructuring the court.
The frequency of resort to the shadow docket is evidence that the SCOTUS is overburdened. It should be divided into two nine-justice panels: one court for decisions concerned with commerce and another concerned with personal liberty. The existing slate of justices can choose their bench, and new justices elevated with an 18-year term (with the initial terms staggered according to seniority). Cases that cross over the jurisdictional boundary will be heard in a special joint session.
West Virginia is a state unlike any other. Largely beholden to the coal, tobacco, and chemicals industries, when DuPont was discovered fouling public waters with PFAs (an “immortal” mutagen), the State environmental agency responded by increasing exposure limits. The current governor (Jim Justice) is a “chip off the old Trump” whose billion-dollar wealth is defrayed by $700 million in personally-guaranteed loans and hundreds of millions in estimated coal-field restoration costs.
For years, I have watched with frustration as pundits look at conservative politics and descry the major policy threads of ethno-nationalism, abortion, and trickle-down economics. These are all smoke screens. The animating issue of conservative politics is the proposition that the free market is the only valid forum for negotiating the distribution of power. Democracy is a mechanism that blunts the exercise of their profit motives, and global corporations, organizing through the world-wide-web, have run an organized campaign to undermine democratic processes.
In countries such as Russia and China, that was simplified because democracy was never firmly established. These states operate as kleptocracies, changing rules to allow those closest to the head of state to seize economic sectors as state-sanctioned monopolies. Facing the pressure of monopolistic competition, the response among Western corporations has been to finance movements that narrowly align governmental and corporation objectives.
So don’t fool yourself that Joe Manchin, the senior Democratic senator from West Virginia, really believes that the filibuster is a tool for ensuring bipartisan compromise. That is a smoke screen. Representing a state so deeply corrupted by corporate interests, he is almost certainly constrained by other considerations. Not least being protecting the wealth of men, such as Jim Justice, who (as did Donald Trump) seek office principally to exercise the powers of government to shield their wealth from taxation and contractual obligations.
The only effective response to global corporatism is the same one that eventually reined in inter-state corporatism: creating regulations that span the domain of their activism. This was accomplished through federal regulation in the first half of the twentieth century, but the corresponding global framework has been propagandized against since before Ronald Reagan (the old “UN Black Helicopters” and “One World Government” canards). It is time for liberal pundits to open their eyes and recognize that this problem cannot be solved one state at a time. The EU has led the way in building multi-national business frameworks, and protecting their market from exploitation by kleptocratic powers. The US should take a serious look at participating.
Asking for prayers and positive intentions from my network of friends. COVID has caught me in a financial vise. I went full-time as a hypnotherapist in 2019, investing heavily in marketing that did not generate revenues. I made a push in the retirement communities, and then COVID hit, sending my business development into a tail-spin.
I have been unable to get the IRS to accept my 2019 return, held up on technicalities. This means that I have been frozen out of COVID relief, as my 2018 income was nearly $130,000. Conversely, because my income actual was low in 2019, I am also unable to claim PPP relief.
I made it through the end of 2020 doing Census enumeration work. I have considered COVID contact tracing, but in Southern California that requires Spanish.
Fortunately, I continue to have beautiful dreams. Last night, I was homeless on the beach or in a forest, and shifted from fear into visualizations of all the gifts I have received in this life, projecting those that have shared them with me into the eternal realm of love. An ancient will called me forward to walk in the wilderness. I came upon a great tree that continued to stretch heavenward as I tried to see the limits of its branches, until finally they touched the sun.
This is a vision that I shared with some starting a decade ago, that the biosphere heals when we teach the simpler forms of life to be conscious of the loving embrace of the source of all life, and intelligent in focusing it for good.
Blessings to you all.