Category Archives: Earth

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #60

(Another late “Antierra Manifesto” blog post… better late than never ‘they’ say!)

She continues with the same angry, disillusioned tone:  “Why you want to hear stupid story?  They call you Desert Beast for green eyes.  You come from desert, yes?  This they say.  But you no beast, just bigger woman, longer arm, legs, stronger.  You die too, like us, like all woman.  No different.  Same.  All same, always same.  I know.  It the way of it.”

[end blog post #59]
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[begin blog post #60]

I realize in that moment I’ve just had my very first conversation with a true T’Sing Tarleynan woman.  That is the mindset I have to work with.  A distant tale of some possible alien intervention on this world by a race of tall “green” people with scales (Reptilians?  Armour? Reflective pressure suits?) who appear to have been females.  A battle for control of Malefactus that resulted in the female alien race being defeated and destroyed to the last, the invaders in the “black sky boat” who looked like men made of metal taking control and instituting a new law that decreed females would be the slaves of males. 

Current facts certainly seem to bear the truth of the story.  Were the black sky boat metallic men a global phenomenon, or local?  Is all of this world under the same total domination by males?  I need to speak to the few black female slaves about their remembered experiences, if I can get them to talk.  Maybe it’s different where they come from?  Could they possibly be remnants, descendants, of those aboard the black spaceship, of slaves of the black metallic men?  Could these black “metallic men” have been a type of Melkiar Cyborg adapted from thousands of years lost in space? 

What about this world beyond the great water as they call their ocean?  What I learned of Malefactus before I incarnated here said it was a world ruled by misogyny.  Fear and hatred of the female was the modus operandi.  As a stack world, the effects have to be global.  So, for the time being, barring miraculous intervention or change I must continue to assume there could be no place on this world where a woman could conceivably escape to and find sanctuary. 

I cannot trust my Altarian research.  There were too many gaps in it, too many errors.  Whoever filed those reports must have had a rather shallow experience of this world.  I suspect the reports were written from observation orbit, not from personal interaction with the people of the planet.  How could I have been such an idiot?  Why did I not locate the source material used for this information?  How was it taken across the dimensional barrier?  Who was the recorder and courier?  How long ago?  The records were old and had no tracer and no date.

Then I begin to silently chuckle to myself.  I was no idiot then but I certainly am the idiot now! I knew then, as Al’Tara, where the research came from, and why it was so shallow and why I accepted it at face value without question!

I remember a time when I reveled in being a “conspiracy theorist.”  I made a point of considering every major event the result of a specific conspiracy.  I would immediately create a plausible scenario in my mind that explained the conspiracy.  Believe all things, believe in nothing, that was my motto.  Did Earthians actually land on the moon way back then in C-20 when they had no working space flight technology worth speaking of; their world poised on the edge of war based in radioactive nuclear fission technology?  Having just survived two world wars in one century only twenty years apart?  My answer was always, “No.”  It was a put up job.  A conspiracy to hide something else.  A hoax like their “The War of The Worlds”* radio program that created such mindless panic.

*(The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air.  Directed by Orson Welles, this was the radio program that created mass panic.)

But of course the answer was always “Yes” also.  You can always have both, according to Altarian Logic.  If you have one, you have the other.  Dangerous walkway that is, if you are betting your life on it.  I did, many times.  Why?  Because even if you can only see one side of a thing it is preferable to admit the logic that it must have two sides rather than stubbornly believe only in one side, claiming the other does not exist.

Take the information I found on Malefactus, from Altarian logic.  Who brought that information to Altaria and put it in the holorecs?  That’s simple: I did.  The day I received information about stack worlds and my mind began to “see” these realities is the day I began to enter the data in Altaria’s mem-banks so the computers would begin their algorithmic searches to extract useful ‘information’ for future research by whomever would be interested in the stack world theory.  That, of course, would likely be none other than I.  You see, if I were to bet my life on the reality of the stack world scenario (and believe me, nobody agreed with my conclusions then, few enough even later when it became obvious there had to be “something” in it) I needed something to begin my quest. 

I needed to look into the future far enough that I could create some plausible information from what I saw, index that information in a safe place, my home world of Altaria, so I could in the past that remained my future, access that information as if it came from someone else and use that “fabrication” to create my personal future living reality on Malefactus.  Hence I realize now, the inexplicable “gaps” in the reports and the research.  I could not place there what I could not know unless I had already lived on Malefactus, and that would not happen until I had studied the information available and formed a plan for that particular information-gathering life in the future. 

It was a catch-22 situation yet basically a simple and logical approach to the problem.  I was proceeding as with a conspiracy theory – from projections I mirrored back at myself to test their reliability.  Since both sides are true, and as in the Möbius strip, they are but one side, I could never be wrong.  I just had to accept I would have to trust my life on incomplete data, something that I was very familiar with having lived many lives on Old Earth.  Everything done there was based either on incomplete and unverifiable data, or data ever condemned to shortly become useless. 

Yet despite the gargantuan problems the race created for itself, it propagated like a veritable disease all over the planet.  Yes, you can live, you can function, you can learn with incomplete data.  It gets you started.  That’s all that’s needed for life to move forward: a volitional push.  It needs to be inseminated.  Wildly.  Seeds thrown to the winds of change and chance.  Without plan or forethought?  I still don’t know how to answer that question but the two naked lovers lying on their sweaty bed are answer enough.

[end blog post #60]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #56

I’m a philosopher by experience but also because I am a natural-born Altarian.  We are doers, of course, but not exactly fools who rush in where angels fear to tread.  Before we act we seek to know.  Of course it is not always possible to know, since knowledge emanates from a blend of experience and information.  So we act on what what we’ve studied and already know from experience and attempt to move forward. Thus we are more than what we do; we do not necessarily act according to what we are – that is, what we have become.  We do not allow nature or programming to box us in so easily.  As the doctor pointed out, we have a devious mind developed for one purpose: to thread its way unerringly through the labyrinth of life. That labyrinth takes us, of necessity, through the darkest paths of hell — through the experience of evil.
[end blog post #55
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begin blog post #56]

Chronicler Michele Dellman notes a shift in the monologue here.

The following is purportedly from An’Tierra’s own actually hand-written notes found in the same medical facility attached to the gladiator compound in the Great Keep of the city of Hyrete in the kingdom of Elbre.  They were uncovered buried under a corner stone, sealed in a cheelth envelope she probably had her blacksmith friend manufacture for her. These are An’Tierra’s own words as she wrote them.  We must assume that the reason for this shift would be because the “recorder” was not available and she was convalescing at the time.

‘Sometimes when we find our forward movement lost in some impenetrable fog, we must retrace some steps, look back and take stock of our understanding.

And in this search for the source of evil, I must now look back.  I will probe ever deeper into my memories and find me, or a partial me, who has already done this kind of evil and I will study myself there.  I will dig out that buried part of my past that I may understand Malefactus and from this knowledge, trace the evil to its source.  The bait that will attract this source to me is my own heart; that part of it that once belonged to evil and for which evil has, and probably always will have, an affinity – or until I discover the source of this sickness and destroy it.

There could be no better time than now to do this.  Already so deeply compromised, with little room remaining in my heart to go but up, I must firmly and conclusively go down those remaining steps into my ultimate darkness and embrace my own spiritual death.  In that death, I, An’Tierra, will personally atone for all the deaths I have seen – and been the cause of – on this world and before that.  The difficult process of redemption can thus begin – with me.  That was always the plan, to lose myself in this process out here on one of Earth’s stack worlds which could be referred to as a part of the ISSA conscience of Earth.

Why conscience?  Because it should be evident by now that the real purpose of any set of stack worlds is to provide a place where incarnates of ISSA consciousness of any such world can find a temporary home after dis-incarnation – after their physical death.  The spirits, or ‘souls’ of people needed a place of rest during their ‘lost’ times between incarnations.  So their makers; their gods, created astral copies of their world which I, long ago while still living on Earth, dubbed stack worlds.  These worlds have been variously described as the Abode of the Dead; Heaven; Valhalla; Nirvana; Olympus; Great Beyond; Limbo; Purgatory; Sheol; Tartarus; Hades; Place of Torment; Hell and a host of other names found in all Earthian languages – all of them.  They feature heavily in all of man’s religious beliefs and mythology.  Nor are the concepts and beliefs tied to them restricted to Old Earth.  Wherever humanity is found, this belief is also found.  The reason for this is simple.

Over the aeons of human evolution and climb to self-awareness, it became evident that “life” was more than one short passage on some world, having a series of perhaps interesting but ultimately meaningless experiences after which came permanent obliteration of all that one had ever been, ever known, ever accomplished.  Teachers, often called lords or saints; avatars or saviours, appeared here and there over the years and taught continuity of life, personal responsibility and accountability to the whole through worship of some divine source or ‘All Thing’ called God and a turning away from doing evil.  Such evil was generally described as that which causes harm to others and would earn one eternal punishment in some sort of torment or annihilation.

It was taught that spirits or souls of the dead went to certain “worlds” where they were permanently rewarded for their good deeds in heaven;  or where they were prepared for a return to their “home” world – in this case Earth – through further spiritual evolution by suffering,  either in ‘purgatory’ or on some other astral world. Or, they were permanently banished to suffer eternally in hell for having lived evil lives without repenting of such. These were the basic, simplistic teachings given Earthians by their Teachers.

Some described these outer or astral worlds graphically, the best known images of such worlds being the joys of heaven and the tortures of hell.  Generic terms that served well enough in their time but have now lost their meaning entirely.  In the spiritual emptiness of Earth, from the 19th Century (C-19) to C-22, dissatisfied individuals began to earnestly search for the real abodes of the dead.  By the end of C-22 no one believed in death as termination.  It was then known that de-incarnation meant re-incarnation somewhere else.  It was also known by then that the ancient gods, or the God – basically male and autocratic – was no longer in charge of events in the cosmos.  A great shift had taken place which all ISSA beings sensed even if they did not comprehend its nature and wanted to deny it having taken place.

By the end of C-22 Earthians were dying by the millions.  Localized armed conflicts of a violence and viciousness never seen before flared and burned in every large country, and these broke up into small fiefs, kingdoms or independent city-states.  Unknown diseases, mostly caused by decomposing human bodies, ravaged large areas leaving few alive.  Waves of genocides were launched by groups against groups until no one remained to fight or one overcame the other and totally decimated them.  Revolutions took their toll.  So-called Earth changes, Earthquakes and tsunamis devastated low lands and mountain cities.  Food growing lands were poisoned by the rampaging waters filled with deadly chemicals, residues from destroyed petro-chemical refining and storage plants and the ever-present pestilence caused by decomposing bodies of humans and animals.

By the onset of the 22nd century (C-22), Earth had begun to enter her Great Death that would proceed inexorably to the middle of C-24, bringing the peak human population from 8.6 billions at the end of C-21 to possibly less than one billion.  (The exact lower figure is unavailable as the die-back was still in effect when I was in contact with information from Earth) This massive die-back began to have a sobering effect upon the technological and market-place madness that had rendered Earth all but un-inhabitable for most land and sea life.  But one thing remained to plague Earthian humanity: its inability to consider equality of genders.  Through the die-back, women and children’s position in society fell drastically once more. Men regained most of their patriarchal power positions and absolute authority.  Female and child slavery surfaced openly everywhere.  Sexual bondage became the only way a woman had for seeking protection for herself and her children if she had any.

During those terrible times a small group of WindWalkers incarnated on Earth to study the situation.  As one of those  (we were only five individuals) and an “expert” on Earthian mores, besides being now a full-fledged Altarian master of logic, I led this group.  Our purpose was not meant to render physical help as such an effort would have required a massive input of support and services from the Galactic human family which was at that time weakened by, and fully involved in, fighting the Melkiar invasion and in any case was still cut-off from interaction with Earth and her stack worlds.

We concentrated our efforts in determining what was wrong with the thinking patterns of Earthians, that they could not see the damage they were doing to themselves and their world by oppressing the female aspect.

At the beginning of our investigations we had blamed their misogynist tendencies squarely unto their greater religions, all of whom claimed a divine right to make laws based on worship of a single Male Deity that basically, in whatever form worshipped, feared and hated the female.  But these fabrications were no longer in contention for power.  What remained was purely secular.  Political power was ascendant, followed distantly by money.  A kind of Neo-Late-Dark-Age mindset ruled the planet.

The five of us, three males and two females disguised as males of necessity, used various approaches to do our research among two basic groups:  the rich owners from whom we hoped to learn of their needs to oppress their females and young, and among the most exploited groups, in the compounds where women were kept ostensibly for their protection, along with their children.  Among these “protected” groups, young nubile females – and not a few young pretty boys also – were chosen to sate the sexual and sadistic appetites of rich and powerful males.  Many young women were simply auctioned off as house slaves or into the sex trade: to pimps and owners of proliferating brothels and entertainment houses.

As we casually walked among these people and interacted with them, using simple logic methods for questioning, we analyzed their ways and motives.  In doing so it became obvious to us that they were not free of mind to do what they were doing.  “Something” was driving them.

That “something” I concluded was an energy that emanated from one of Earth’s astral worlds.  I remembered having had that idea long ago in another life on Earth.  I had dubbed my “imaginary” world “Malefactus” – first as a joke and a play on words, then as a means of focusing on its reality – at least for me.  A starting point.  I advised my WindWalker group that I would de-incarnate from Earth, re-incarnate on the training astro-world Beta-9 for my license upgrade, some more basic training, and join the fight against the Melkiars as skipper of Jump Scout ships.  Whatever I could learn on Earth I had already transferred via mind-jump through my Galactic Altarian contacts to be stored in Altarian archives dedicated to me as Al’Tara – copies to be filed on the galactic wandering library mind Aíoná.

Following this – I had a clear awareness that I would die in that war – I would return to Altaria for rest, refocusing and research on Malefactus.  My plan was simple.  Once I had enough information regarding that possible astral world, I would re-incarnate on it and proceed to do whatever could be done to effect change there – at what I hoped would be the source of Earth’s misogynist sickness.

As already mentioned I fought and died near the end of the Melkiar invasions.  I spent some years on Altaria, found some of the information on Malefactus I had hoped to locate, and re-incarnated (manifested physically) on ‘Stack World minus four’ (SW-4) of the lower set of the six dark worlds where I am now living, or to put it in a more accurate sense, existing and surviving day to day, always under the shadow of imminent death, as are all of the women in this compound.’

This concludes the Michele Dellman article.

[end blog post #56]

The House at the Crossroads of the World

[a short story by    ~burning woman~    as told by Sha’Tara]

As I sat by the River one day and pondered the state of the world I had a thought: I will build myself a home at the crossroads of the world. So I did.

My home had a good roof but it had no walls, just posts holding it up. I planted ivy, honeysuckle, clematis and sweetpeas by each post and they grew swiftly and beautifully. I was very pleased.

First a family of refugees passed by and they came in to rest, drink of the cool, clean water and eat from the garden I had planted. Sated and after a good sleep their children ran out and played in the fields. Their laughter filled the air and more birds sang.

A couple of starving, ragged men came by and asked if they could stay for a while. I smiled and said, ‘Look, no walls, anyone is welcome here.’ They were gays who had been persecuted and escaped with only their lives and the clothes on their backs. Soon they were playing with the children and entertaining them with tales and magic tricks.

A group of migrant workers heading north came by and also partook of this unexpected hospitality. They were earth people and soon they had my garden cleaned and explained about plant symbiosis. I could grow much more food if I did it right. I learned much from them in that too short a time.

Some young girls came running, crying, and stopped at the house. I invited them in and they shyly came, sat down and explained they had escaped from a van filled with sex slaves bound for the black market. They got washed in the creek, ate and slept together in a corner of the house.

The honeysuckle was in full bloom and its sweet smell filled the house. In the dark we sat in the house and sang, each her or his own songs and everyone listened in awe. It was so good to find each other here and not worry about any difference.

It was too good, actually. They had watched the comings and goings to and from the house and in that country the government and its propaganda press declared that it was a terrorist training center. So they sent the drones.

We are all dead now. I am dead too but since I am mind and not matter I am made of memories. This story is a memory, and it is real.

There is no longer a house at the crossroads of the world though there are walls everywhere and for that reason the world is dying.

 

Exceptionalism is not just an American sickness, it’s a collective madness rising as a world destroying tsunami. More and more groups vying with others to make their voices and concerns heard and the louder they get, the more chaos ensues. Hyperbole? Observation says no. It is a fact of “tidal waves” of people sensing the serious unease of the times and honestly having no idea on how to deal with it except by regurgitating old concepts, the favorite remaining war and it doesn’t matter much against whom, or what just as long as there is fighting going on.

Earth has a major problem and it’s called mankind, the pseudo-intellectual species that chose, as a collective, to re-make Earth and its environment into its own image. It’s that simple and that devastating because the only way it could have worked is in the exact opposite direction: man should have known, when a much younger species, to adapt itself to its world. Its intellectual hubris drove it to chose exploitation and oppression over cooperation. The big “Wrong Way: Do Not Enter” sign was torn down and used to make crosses and scaffolds for those who insisted on teaching a better way.

Man chose wrong. A long time ago. The choice, once made, could never be countered because the creature’s body over time kept adapting to non-natural ways of engaging nature, i.e., life. The choice was irrevocable and would begin a string of horrible consequences a few are just beginning to recognize and admit to. The final consequence: the destruction of the planet insofar as the life-sustaining aspects of it goes.

As an environmentalist, as an activist, as an elder, as an observer and as a self empowered individual without any agenda, not even of personal survival because I don’t need that kind of pretend comfort, I’m going to state this as clearly as I can.

I know there is no survival, that all are born to die and that the only thing that matters, if anything does, is what one does in between that beginning and that end. To that I can add with certainty that “man” will continue to run from the stick and after the carrot: there is no longer any choice; there never was any choice once the wrong turn was chosen. Those who thought they could return to nature and choose a different path have been all but eliminated as genocidal fuel for civilization.

As a species man is done for. There is no possibility of turning back the tide of exploitation and oppression because that is the very thing that fuels his civilization. That is what must be understood and admitted to: that oppression, in particular, is the fuel that feeds civilization. Therefore, as should have been obvious since inception, this civilization (as were all preceding civilizations) is an unsustainable concept.

Therefore it should be obvious that any proposed solution based on tried and failed concepts are the re-running of old black and white movies: when you walk out of the theater, nothing has changed: your world did not change into a black and white Pleasantville.

As an intelligent and quite able to reason species, man should have never gotten upon this road but the temptation was just too great to resist. Man adapted itself to pillaging, raping, destroying and killing, all the while thinking it was building ever-after empires.

Man built his cities, his monuments to pride, exploitation, control and the resultant smog (literally, morally and spiritually) spreads over the planet like the fumes that poured out of Mount Doom… but there are no mighty men, no dwarves, no elves, no Hobbits, no wizards and no Ents to extinguish this volcano.

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(Vancouver, May 12, 2019 – from 2000 feet – photo by Sha’Tara)

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein

Earth is a Forced Labour and Death Camp

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

It may well be that prior to the advent of capitalism and prior to the establishment of the patriarchy that formed a global civilization, planet earth was as good a place as any on which to exist. Note that I am not saying “live on” or “survive on” but exist. To live means to have a purpose. To survive means to cling to life in the hope that it will give or provide purpose on the long run.

Only problem with that was, there was no long run and purpose seldom manifested in any meaningful sense. Those who gave themselves purpose without serving the Matrix, that is, the patriarchy and it’s exploitative, brutal methods soon found themselves hounded, hunted down, and when captured, “crucified” for attempting to bring about a change of methods to life on earth, that is, to man’s type of life, if it can be called that.

Based on my observation, I have come to the inevitable conclusion that man’s earth as defined by his capitalistic patriarchy is in essence nothing more nor less than a forced labour and death camp.

Do I really need to elaborate on that observation and conclusion or is this enough of a reminder that all of the greatest manifestations of social evil extant in this civilization can be laid at the feet of its “camp kommandants” who give themselves the titles of CEO’s, presidents, kings, queens, judges, professors emeritus, generals, policemen,emirs, investment bankers, popes, priests and preachers… any one who by some sort of decree holds the power of life and death over a subservient multitude.

Any member of the untitled multitude who decides to treat the elites in the same manner as it treats the multitude is immediately declared enemy of the people and put on a most wanted list to be eliminated. The rulers of the forced labour and death camp can kill any number of ‘the masses’ with impunity but the same does not apply in reverse.

The masses, trapped in this web of deceit and death learned long ago that to challenge and perhaps even dethrone the elitist apparatus was a very painful and bloody process that in the end only replaced one set of “kommandants” with another and surprise, surprise, that new set arose from the very forces that set out to upset and destroy the status quo. In other words, there is no way out of the camp except by dying.

And even then, that is not the end of it…

The Last Battle – by Chris Hedges

Due to WordPress’ ongoing snafu condition, I was unable to access the following in the usual way so I cannot use the “Reblog” button. Instead I’ve copied the article and pasted it here, in its entirety, with proper credits and links, I hope.  And how would I title this article if I had written it? How about the very first line from Canada’s national anthem?

“Oh Canada, our home and native land…”  …and while you are reading I’ll go and throw up.

DEEP GREEN: ‘Recovery of the Sacred’, The Last Battle – By Chris Hedges

by The Smoking Man

Source – truthdig.com

“…The Cree have been under relentless assault since the arrival of the European colonialists in the 1500s. Now the 500 inhabitants of the Cree reserve, where many live in small, boxy prefabricated houses, are victims of a new iteration of colonial exploitation, one centered on the extraction of oil from the vast Alberta tar sands. This atrocity presages the destruction of the ecosystem on which they depend for life. If the Cree do not stop the exploiters this time, they, along with the exploiters, will die”

The Last Battle – By Chris Hedges

THE BEAVER LAKE CREE NATION, Treaty No. 6 Area, Canada. I am driving down a rutted dirt road with Eric Lameman, a member of the Cree nation.

“Over there,” he says, pointing out where he was born in a tent 61 years ago.

We stop the car and look toward a wooded grove.

“That’s the mass grave,” he says softly, indicating a clearing where dozens of Cree who died in a smallpox epidemic over a century ago are buried.

The Cree have been under relentless assault since the arrival of the European colonialists in the 1500s. Now the 500 inhabitants of the Cree reserve, where many live in small, boxy prefabricated houses, are victims of a new iteration of colonial exploitation, one centered on the extraction of oil from the vast Alberta tar sands. This atrocity presages the destruction of the ecosystem on which they depend for life. If the Cree do not stop the exploiters this time, they, along with the exploiters, will die.

The reserve is surrounded by the tar sands, one of the largest concentrations of crude oil in the world. The sands produce 98% of Canada’s oil and are the United States’ largest source of imported oil. This oil, among the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth, is a leading cause of atmospheric pollution, releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide. The production and consumption of one barrel of tar sands crude oil release 17% more carbon dioxide than production and consumption of a standard barrel of oil.

Tar sands oil is a thick, mucky, clay-like substance that is infused with a hydrocarbon called bitumen. The oil around Beaver Lake is extracted by a process known as steam-assisted gravity drainage, which occurs under the earth and is similar to fracking. Farther north, extraction is done by strip-mining the remote boreal forest of Alberta, 2 million acres of which have already been destroyed. The destruction of vast forests, sold to timber companies, and the scraping away of the topsoil have left behind poisoned wastelands. This industrial operation, perhaps the largest such project in the world, is rapidly accelerating the release of the carbon emissions that will, if left unchecked, soon render the planet uninhabitable for humans. The oil is transported thousands of miles to refineries as far away as Houston through pipelines and in tractor-trailer trucks or railroad cars. More than a hundred climate scientists have called for a moratorium on the extraction of tar sands oil. Former NASA scientist James Hansen has warned that if the tar sands oil is fully exploited, it will be “game over for the planet.” He has also called for the CEOs of fossil fuel companies to be tried for high crimes against humanity.

It is hard, until you come here, to grasp the scale of the tar sands exploitation. Surrounding Beaver Lake are well over 35,000 oil and natural gas wells and thousands of miles of pipelines, access roads and seismic lines. (The region also contains the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, which has appropriated huge tracts of traditional territory from the native inhabitants to test weapons.) Giant processing plants, along with gargantuan extraction machines, including bucket wheelers that are over half a mile long and draglines that are several stories high, ravage hundreds of thousands of acres. These stygian centers of death belch sulfurous fumes, nonstop, and send fiery flares into the murky sky. The air has a metallic taste. Outside the processing centers, there are vast toxic lakes known as tailings ponds, filled with billions of gallons of water and chemicals related to the oil extraction, including mercury and other heavy metals, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, arsenic and strychnine. The sludge from the tailings ponds is leaching into the Athabasca River, which flows into the Mackenzie, the largest river system in Canada. Nothing here, by the end, will support life. The migrating birds that alight at the tailings ponds die in huge numbers. So many birds have been killed that the Canadian government has ordered extraction companies to use noise cannons at some of the sites to scare away arriving flocks. Around these hellish lakes, there is a steady boom-boom-boom from the explosive devices.

The water in much of northern Alberta is no longer safe for human consumption. Drinking water has to be trucked in for the Beaver Lake reserve.

Streams of buses ferry workers, almost all of them men, up and down the roads, night and day. Tens of thousands from across Canada have come to work in the tar sands operations. Many live in Fort McMurray, about 180 miles from Beaver Lake, and work punishing 12-hour shifts for three weeks at a time before having a week off.

The Cree, the Dene and other tribes that live amid the environmental carnage and whose ancestral lands have been appropriated by the government to extract the tar sands oil suffer astronomical rates of respiratory and other illnesses. Cancer rates are 30% higher than in the rest of Alberta, according to the Alberta Cancer Board, which was disbanded soon after releasing this information in 2008.

When he was a child, Eric Lameman was taken from his parents by the government, a common practice a few decades ago, and sent to an Indian boarding school where beatings were routine, speaking Cree or any of the other indigenous languages was forbidden and native religious and cultural practices were outlawed. He says the forced severance from his family and his community, along with the banning of his traditions, was psychologically devastating. He remembers his father and other Cree elders on the reserve performing religious rituals in secret. He would sneak to the woods to watch them as, risking arrest, they clung to their beliefs and spiritual practices.

Lameman defied the efforts to wipe out his identity and his culture, which he nurtured in spite of the attempts to eradicate them. And he says it is only his Cree roots that keep him whole and make it possible for him to endure. He suffered extreme poverty. He also had periods of addiction and even episodes of violence. It is hard to avoid personal disintegration when the dominant culture seeks to eradicate your being. Canada’s indigenous people represent 4 percent of the population, but they make up more than a quarter of the inmates in the nation’s federal prisons. Lameman’s wife left him and their young children. She died from alcoholism on the streets of Calgary. He worked as a heavy machine operator in the tar sands. He quit when he realized the land he was despoiling would never recover and he began to get sick. He survives now on welfare.

We are back in his small house, seated in the tiny kitchen. His daughter Crystal Lameman, an internationally known indigenous rights activist, heats juniper in an iron skillet until fumes of the pungent herb drift upward. We cup our hands and pull the smoke into our nostrils. The Cree and others say “smudging” cleanses negative energy, helps bring clarity and vision, and centers those exposed to the scent. We sit quietly.

The more the Cree recover their traditions to defy the capitalist mantra of hoarding, profit, exploitation, self-promotion and commodification of human beings and the earth, the more their life has an intrinsic value rather than a monetary value. This recovery is the antidote to despair. It grounds the Cree spiritually. It permits transcendence. It at once estranges them from reality and brings them closer to it. Resistance is not only about challenging the extraction companies in court, as the Cree have done in trying to block the tar sands industry and the pipelines from their traditional land; it is about holding fast to another orientation to reality, one that we all must adopt if we are to survive as a species. It is about the recovery of the sacred. The white exploiters seek not only to steal the land and natural resources and commit genocide against indigenous communities but to wipe out this competing ethic.

“I need my people,” Eric Lameman says. “I need the ones that know our history, our language, our spiritual practices and our culture. I rely on them to pass it on to me so I can pass it on.”

The exploiters have sought to corrupt the Cree and bastardize their traditions. Extraction companies have paid off some tribal leaders to support pipelines or surrender tribal territory to oil development. The companies use the quislings to mount propaganda campaigns in favor of extraction, to divide and weaken indigenous communities and to attempt to discredit leaders such as Crystal. The federal government last year staged a Cree religious ceremony, complete with honor songs and drums, to bless the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and Canada’s $4.5 billion purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, developments that mean death for the Cree people.

“This is what they call reconciliation,” Eric says bitterly.

“It’s cultural appropriation,” Crystal says. “ ‘Reconciliation’ is a bullshit word. Reconciling with whom? Reconciling what? Reconciling us with the current colonial systems of exploitation? Until they dismantle the structures of exploitation there can be no reconciliation.”
The man camps of tens of thousands of tar sands workers fuel the prostitution industry. Indigenous girls and women, living in squalor and poverty, are lured by the seemingly easy and fast money. Their sexual degradation soon leads to addictions to blunt the pain. This too is a legacy of colonialism. Canada began as a military and commercial outpost of Britain. The Hudson’s Bay Company did not permit European women to immigrate to Canada. Brothels, populated by prostituted indigenous girls and women, were established alongside the military forts and trading posts. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police issued a report in 2015 that found that indigenous, or First Nations, women, who constitute 4.3% of Canada’s female population, are four times more likely to go missing or be murdered than other Canadian women. They are 16% of female murder victims and are the objects of 11% of missing person’s cases involving women.

“I was on a panel in Vancouver,” Crystal Lameman says. “I used the word ‘prostitution.’ A trans person got up and told me to use the term ‘sex work,’ saying it was a choice. Impoverished and vulnerable indigenous girls and women do not choose to be prostitutes. They are forced into that world. Girls are conditioned for this from familial disintegration and sexual abuse. … Sexual abuse, a common experience for girls in residential schools and the foster care system, is another one of the legacies of colonialism.”
The infusion of workers with disposable incomes has also seen an explosion in drugs in northern Alberta such as crack cocaine and crystal meth, and with the drugs has come a rash of suicides among the native population. Suicide and non-suicidal intentional self-injuries are the leading causes of death for First Nations people under the age of 44 in Canada. Young indigenous males are 10 times more likely to kill themselves than other Canadians. Young indigenous females are 21 times more likely to commit suicide. Beaver Lake has not been spared, losing seven people to suicide in a 12-month period in 2014 and 2015. All of them were under the age of 44, and all were drug addicts or alcoholics.

“There are two roads into Fort McMurray,” Crystal says. “There’s Highway 63 and Highway 881, which runs through here. This is one of the stops for the drugs. The traffickers say, ‘Well, there’s a little town, we’ll stop there and drop drugs there too. A lot of the drug runners are from small towns, from these communities. It is a quick way to make money.”

“Our community used to be safe,” she says. “We left the doors unlocked, even when we slept. We would leave our vehicles running. Nobody worried.”

“It’s dangerous now,” she goes on, speaking of the rash of robberies by addicts. She adds, “You can’t get into altercations. It’s the drugs. They affect people’s mental health. People live in fear.”

The resurrection of the old ceremonial practices such as the annual sun dance, along with the traditional medicine camp, harvesting camps and sweat lodges, is about another way of being, one that honors the interconnectedness of all living beings, including the earth on which we depend for life.

“We are seeing the effects,” Crystal says. “Our cultural practices and language embody a belief system that is the opposite of capitalism and globalization, the lust for money and material wealth.”

“I used to think globally,” she says. “I was in D.C. on the front lines. I was in the climate march in New York. I was everywhere. I traveled internationally. I was at every rally. But I wasn’t here, at home, doing the real work. It’s easier being out there, instead of being in our community. Yes, there is this big black cloud, but there is also another, beautiful side. The women in the community are bringing the ceremonies back. The more we return to the land, the closer we are to achieving holistic wellness. My community is not in despair. We are doing our diligence to be well again. I think about my dad. My dad was one of those people he’s talking about [when he says] ‘I had friends that I can’t trust now because they’re not well because of the drugs.’ My dad was one of those in despair. But he has come back to us and to himself.”

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

https://www.truthdig.com/author/chris_hedges/

Converting Information into Knowledge

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

Converting Information into (useful) Knowledge

I’ve been rather “quiet” on the blog lately, not because I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to share but mainly because I’ve been absorbing information from a wide range of bloggers about a wide array of current topics. We talk about “informed opinion” and it is a “brute” fact that without information one cannot have informed opinions. The thing to be aware of is that information is neutral so the source of it is quite irrelevant. What matters is what happens when the information hits home: when the mind identifies it, translates it, sorts it, accepts, rejects. On a 100% scale, gathering information shouldn’t take more than a 10% slice of awareness. The 90% slice is converting it into knowledge.

I’ll make a simple comparison. A swimming pool does not equate swimming. I you can’t swim it won’t do you any good. You will stand at the edge, stare in it, then turn away, or you can jump in and drown. You need to learn how to swim to enjoy the pool. Once you’ve got that you can go to something more challenging, like a lake, a river, the ocean, and learn how to swim all over again. Sure, you’ll have the basics on how to stay afloat for a while, but what about current? Undercurrents? Waves? Underwater snags or those submerged reeds that grab the feet and tighten on the legs as you try to pull away? As a life-long canoeist, kayaker, river and sea lover I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn how to interact with various types of water bodies, of “information” to stay afloat in, to learn from and of course to enjoy. Desire, determination and drive to overcome the initial reticence of the land creature to interact with water. Then, training, training, training, with risk and daring.

That’s my analogy and I think it is fitting because children in this modern day are not taught how to go from wishing to accomplishing. As information is forced upon young minds, wishes, dreams and desires are awakened and stirred but that’s just sitting on the edge of the pool stirring the water with one’s feet. That’s not swimming. Modern education is failing abjectly because it is inculcating, stuffing information but without simultaneous observation and experience nothing of value is learned.  In fact such inculcation is easily surpassed by even low level AI application. Once upon a time learning that 2+2=4 was a big deal. Now the same kid can find out the square root of pi while at the same time being told irrational numbers cannot be squared. Does the kid understand the implication? No but more “searches” will give other “answers” and the little brain will feel like it really knows “something” about “something” when in fact a half hour down the road it will have forgotten. After all, why bother with memorizing when it’s all at one’s fingertips?

Before anyone objects furiously that “there are some really smart kids out there” let me remind the reader that I speak of the majority, not the exceptions and also remind s/he that exceptions prove the rule – a truism. If there was no rule, there could be no exceptions so when someone brings up an exception they are proving the rule. I need to repeat that as with information most people have never bothered to understand that correlation. 

So we have access to more information than ever before, at least that we can know based on our short span of questionable history.  I could list so many examples of beliefs (information) that once formed the basis of education. Flat earth. It is a waste of time and money to educate girls because women can’t learn “stuff.” Two of my favourites. Currently we are just as stuck in beliefs used, not to improve conditions on the planet but to bolster/counter old beliefs or feed some collective hubris. Darwinian evolution theory – raised eyebrow? I can do better: moon landings as false flags. Stop reading now? 9/11 and the burning of Notre Dame – inside jobs – am I certifiable yet?

How to we know if we can neither observe nor experience “it”? How can we be so sure? How did we come to accept that the earth was some sort of sphere? When it was no longer a matter of belief but overwhelming evidence (even though we may still be quite wrong about that “certainty” and future generations in for a bigger surprise without going back to the flat earth belief). To learn something we need to work through it from many different angles, to observe and experience it differently. I think, for example, that experience has demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that women are at least as intelligent as men and all they needed was a chance to demonstrate their intelligence and dexterity side by side with men. Yet there are still large pockets of resistance to this (which bothers me a lot), as there are still sincere flat earthers (which doesn’t bother me in the least).

The problem with belief is, it is not founded on knowledge – it relies on supportive belief and rejects evidence. That leads to the perpetuation of the vilest types of abuse on this world such as misogyny, racism, zealotry, bigotry, the economic and sexual exploitation of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.  These are results of information not converted to knowledge.

Now the tough part: how do we convert our information into knowledge if we cannot observe first hand, or experience, the information? Is there a back door that can be used to let us escape the trap of being informed without being educated?

Though still not entirely satisfactory to me, I did devise a mental tool whereby I could determine the ‘value’ of certain information and the danger of other. I don’t know if my ‘tool’ has a name so I have to describe how it works instead.

I’ll take one of my favourite conspiracy theories: moon landings as false flags. (If you find yourself reacting strongly to such an accusation it’s time to look inside and ask, ‘why am I reacting negatively to such a statement? What’s in it for me? Am I afraid to realize I was taken in by the System so many years ago and spent my life believing a monstrous lie? Am I a patriot who feels obligated to defend “my country right or wrong”? Why is believing in the moon landings so important to me particularly?”) Already, that is the beginning of converting information into knowledge. But that’s not nearly enough. Let’s take the story all the way down – and yes, even if there is an American flag on the moon, and there are booted human footprints in its regolith.

Assume for a moment that I am a reasonably intelligent human being, not only well informed on what matters, but able to analyze that information and make use of it. Continuing with the “space program” (check this link for example about the reality of costs in space exploration and its purpose:  https://www.forbes.com/2009/07/16/apollo-moon-landing-anniversary-opinions-contributors-cost-money.html#2e1736181d04

Although it has been scientifically proven that getting live human beings to the moon – and back (that’s the big one) alive was impossible in 1969, as much as it is impossible today, with insurmountable problems of Van Allen belts radiation + solar radiation; weight of lander and impossibility of blasting free of even low lunar gravity based on available power, to little stupid details like camera and light angles, non-matching shadows and yes, numbers on rocks (staged!), that is not the issue for someone converting information into knowledge. Here’s what should matter: did these extremely expensive maneuvers “make America great again”?  Is the world in general in better shape socially, economically and environmentally today than it was in 1969? Yes, the “Evil Empire” (Soviet Union) imploded in 1991 but can we credit the moon landings for that? Even if we could, was that the end of the Cold War or did it just morph into another series of imperial endless wars mostly driven by America’s desperate need to control all major resources of the planet in order to maintain its military/corporate global empire?

I make this point, and I only need one, to demonstrate how the moon landings, real or false, were nothing more than a massive propaganda effort to bolster the military industrial complex and turn the US and subsequently the entire world into a controlled “security state” a la George Orwell’s “1984.”

Honestly, the whole world got worse. Credit (blame) whom you will for that but I “blame” the sheeple for believing without evidence; for accepting without reasoning, testing, experiencing.

“The world of spirits is unpredictable Mrs. Santiago. Are you a believer, Mrs Santiago?”
“Si, si, I believe, I believe. I pay more… I believe!” (paraphrase from the movie “Ghost”)