Wading Through Peanut Butter

In the interest of research, I watched Matt Lauer’s interview with war criminal George W. Bush online. When the former tool of Empire told Lauer, another tool of Empire, that a free press is indispensable to democracy, I recalled journalist Helen Thomas who was moved from her front-row seat at White House press conferences to the back because the Bush Administration didn’t like her confrontational questions. Digging around, I found that Thomas called out the Obama administration’s press handling: “…we have had some control but not this control. I mean I’m amazed, I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency…” She continued by adding that not even Nixon tried to control the press as much as Obama did.

So now, Trump’s helming control, not just relegating but banning from attendance those venues he considers fake and failed, taking measures further than Bush, than Obama.
Trump’s no stranger to acrimony. He can divorce a newspaper, Television network, the establishment media as easily as he has women who’ve reached an expiration date he’s determined, although it appears he can coax reconciliation by reading a teleprompter.

For example, David Axelrod on CNN commended Trump’s Tuesday night performance for Congress: “If I’m on the Trump team, I’m very happy with this speech…There will be an afterglow from this speech. He should get a bump in the polls…”

Van Jones, on CNN, was orgasmic. Effusive over Trump’s tribute to Navy SEAL William Owens (no mention of the 30 murdered civilians or the wretched politics of the raid), killed in Yemen within days of Trump’s inauguration. Owens’s widow, seated in the gallery, received a standing ovation. She wept. Jones said, “That thing you just saw him do. (exploit a war widow). If he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years… He became president of the United States.”

Does Jones know that Owens’s father refused to meet with Trump and has demanded an investigation of the mission that killed his son?

Meanwhile, I’ve been confused lately. So much so I feel reluctant to write. After all, how can I determine what’s real, what’s true, during this Surreality era despite an awareness that the muddle predates Trump? Predates not only Trump but also Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, etc.

I’m confused about what it means to be a Liberal or a Progressive, although at one time, I thought I knew. Someone advocating peace, a healthy planet, universal healthcare, inclusiveness, social programs, liberty and justice for all.

Recent past: Obama took the oath, secured the Nobel Peace Prize, droned whomever, checked off a name among his Kill List, expanded a strategy (not opposed to all wars, only dumb ones) of regime change. He talked. Talked pretty. Talked and cleared the table of universal healthcare, talked climate degradation but did nothing to reverse or arrest it, talked out one side of his mouth as his administration deported two million immigrants, two thirds of whom had committed minor infractions or had no criminal record, talked, even teared up a couple of times, when another black person was murdered by a cop.

Talk really isn’t cheap. It’s free. Free speech when uttered by the powerful. Unheard or costly when spoken by the marginalized.

Recently, I expressed my confusion to e-pal P. Told her that discerning accuracy is like wading through peanut butter and offered this as an early example of bullshit wrapped in silk:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Actions belie words.

Labels are dense with persuasion.

When a Democrat is in charge, Liberals and Progressives believe, or pretend, that the United States is a kinder address. Speaking of pretend, check this site, one for Hillary Clinton adherents. It’s an alternate world where Clinton is the 45th president—another confirmation that the Democratic Party is dead.

Back to that Bush interview: George W. was on the set to promote his book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to American Warriors. This is a collection of Bush’s paintings of wounded troops who served after 9/11. That the wars Bush lusted for and launched were based on lies is of no consequence to him now except as an outlet for his talent or lack thereof. No consequence either to Lauer who praised Bush for his support for Muslims after 9/11. Support before the shock and awe, support during more shock and awe. When Lauer asked Bush about Trump’s Muslim ban, Bush said he “understood right off the bat, Matt, that this is an ideological conflict, and people who murder the innocent are not religious people.”

Murdering the innocence. Raising money from his art hobby to benefit the injured troops. A breathtaking detachment from his decisions and their far-reaching aftermath, both at home and in the countries he devastated and more of the same propaganda inflicted with and since the crafting of the Declaration of Independence.

The Best Education Money Can Buy: Subsidizing Private Universities

Most of us know folks who owe everything they have in life to education. That explains, I suspect, why we nod in agreement whenever we hear somebody describe education as the ultimate antidote to inequality.

Education certainly can serve as a brake on our widening divides. But education, if structured the wrong way, can also reinforce inequality — and perpetuate privilege.

We saw this unfortunate dynamic at work most blatantly back in the days of legal school segregation. “Separate but equal” kept children of color distinctly unequal.

Legally segregated schools no longer scar our nation. But our educational systems are still, in many different ways, perpetuating privilege. And the most powerful perpetuating of all may be taking place at the tippy top of America’s educational order, on the campuses of our nation’s most prestigious elite universities.

We tend to view these elite schools — places like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton — as national treasures. One thing’s for sure: These private universities certainly sit atop treasures. They all boast endowments that run into the many billions of dollars.

In 2012, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and five other elite schools had endowments worth a combined $112 billion. For this enormous nest egg, elite private schools owe the American people a debt of gratitude. Without us, their endowments wouldn’t be anywhere near as large.

Elite universities, keep in mind, get the bulk of their contributions from wealthy alumni. These alumni — thanks to the generosity of the American taxpaying public — get to deduct charitable contributions off their taxes. This generous tax break gives the wealthy a mighty incentive to donate to dear old ivy. The more they give, the more they can deduct.

With this tax break in place, elite universities get to accumulate vast endowments, and the phenomenally rich get to pay taxes at bargain basement rates — and stay phenomenally rich.

But these same endowments are also creating fabulous wealth — for the money managers and hedge fund kingpins that universities hire to invest their endowment dollars. These money manipulators rake off enormous fees, often many millions of dollars a year.

What about us, the general public? What’s our return on investment for the hefty tax breaks we extend to wealthy people for their college contributions?

University PR staffers have a ready answer. Elite private universities, they assure us, are serving the public interest. Those billion-dollar endowments, these flacks note, fund scholarships that enable students from families of modest means to get the finest educations available anywhere in the world.

Elite universities, the claim goes, are broadening opportunity.

But not by much, a new landmark study makes clear. The academics behind this new research — economists from Stanford, Berkeley, and Brown — examined data for over 30 million students who attended college in the United States between 1999 and 2013. They found that students from lower-income families make up a shockingly paltry proportion of the enrollments at elite private universities.

In fact, 38 elite institutions have more students from families making over $650,000 a year — our top 1 percent — than from the under-$65,000 ranks of the low- and middle-income families who make up America’s entire bottom 60 percent.

We do have colleges in the United States, the researchers also found, that do a good job reaching large numbers of lower-income students and helping them succeed. The vast majority of these colleges happen to be public institutions — places like the City University of New York.

These public schools aren’t sitting on billion-dollar endowments subsidized by tax breaks for mega millionaires. These colleges depend on our tax dollars for their support. What do you think? Maybe they should get more of those tax dollars — and mega millionaires less.

The FDR Myth

Back in the seventh grade, in the fifties, we studied geography. As we looked at the United States we saw here iron ore, there oil, here a vast corn belt, there a vast valley growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Manufacturing cities turned out cars by the thousand. Broadway and Hollywood were going gangbusters. Gorgeous beaches, pristine mountains, crystalline rivers and lakes. Everything was here in abundance. With the proper organization it was paradise. Alas, it didn’t work out that way. It didn’t work out that way because the system we had needed waste to continue. In truth, it’s most important product was garbage. It was a vast churning trash compactor that needed to make always more trash. And it wasted everything.

Americans who are wondering what went wrong might consider a book by John T. Flynn called The Roosevelt Myth written in 1948. The revelation of who Roosevelt actually was and what he did is eye-poping. One such revelation is the tale of the origin of the military-industrial complex. For this did not exist before Roosevelt.

In 1938 Roosevelt had been in office for six years during which his primary concern was the Depression. The New Deal, which actually consisted of three waves of programs, had failed. By 1938 “manufacturing output fell by 37% from the 1937 peak and was back to 1934 levels.” The Depression was growing deeper again after all the New Deal programs. The unemployment rate had climbed back up to 19% and was rising. 11 million Americans were unemployed. Roosevelt was out of tricks to save capitalism and he was eying an unprecedented third term in 1940. The natives were restless. Flynn reveals this conversation, attributed to Cordell Hull, then Secretary of State:

In January, 1938, I talked with one of the President’s most in-intimate advisers. I asked him if the President knew we were in a Depression. He said that of course he did. I asked what the President proposed to do. He answered: “Resume spending.” I then suggested he would find difficulty in getting objects on which the federal government could spend. He said he knew that. What, then, I asked, will the President spend on? He laughed and replied in a single word: “Battleships.” I asked why. He said: “You know we are going to have a war.” And when I asked whom we were going to fight he said “Japan” and when I asked where and what about, he said “in South America.” “Well,” I said, “you are moving logically there. If your only hope is spending and the only thing you have to spend on is national defense, then you have got to have an enemy to defend against and a war in prospect. (The Roosevelt Myth p 174)

The American people were deeply anti-war for they were still dubious of America’s entrance into WWI. But Roosevelt had figured out that the only way to get out of the Depression was to spend money on something worthless. People could be put to work building battleships but they had to spend their wages on cars if the normal economy was ever to revive. With the ability to tax, the government could force the population to pay for bombs, then throw the bombs away. If we were to keep building bombs we had to have some plausible place to throw them. The public might see the inanity of building bombs and just throwing them into the ocean. We started supplying arms to European combatants in the war everyone knew was coming. By 1941 Lend-Lease opened up a way to dump the war matériel on our allies, who would blow it all up. We would pretend to lend it to them so it wouldn’t seem like we were just throwing things away. Unemployment plummeted, and by 1944, when we were in the war and could trash our products ourselves, it was down to 1.2%.

The military-industrial complex was, so to speak, an iron lung for the economy, a rather apt metaphor given Roosevelt’s polio. A capitalist economy is, as it is often called, a rat race. The rat runs because the wheel spins, and the wheel spins because the rat runs. A rat race. Once the wheel stops the rat stops and there is nothing to make the wheel or rat start again. The military industrial complex gooses the wheel, forcing it to turn, which in turn forces the rat to run.

Perhaps the hope was that once the wheel started this extra oomph might be eliminated. Alas, the economy has been dependent upon the military-industrial complex ever since. It is now around $600 billion. With an economy of roughly $18 trillion it is about 3.3% plus the secret expenses. When you add on military sales to other countries and paramilitaries, and the costs of war not included in the budget, you can tack on another $100 billion. Right now there is no way to keep the economy going without making and dumping ever more war stuff, and supporting a large military. Doing this is what we call war. One of the reasons Obama droned people was to keep the drone manufacturers busy.

For whatever other reasons the US needed war, it needed war to trash product and so keep the economy turning. Roosevelt was preparing to trick a deeply anti-war population into war in order to get out of the Depression and give himself a chance at a third term. In doing so he revealed one of the essential contradictions of Capitalism, it is a rat race in which you need to destroy some of the product or the rat would become sated and stop. Planned obsolescence and war production are two parts of the solution to the same problem– how to produce garbage by getting rid of stuff in sufficient quantity.

Naturally, to have a military-industrial complex one needed an enemy and eventually, a war. All our wars since have been manufactured. None were necessary. In truth the United States has no interests outside its borders if it is a democratic market-based country . Militarily, oceans guarantee our safety. The cold war was trumped up. Do we seriously think the Soviet Union, after having lost 23 million people, with its cities pulverized and its industry in shambles, actually had military designs on western Europe? The Warsaw pact cost the Soviet Union. Similarly with Korea. We were dumping large amounts of weapons in South Korea prior to that war, freezing a division everyone assumed was temporary.

The United States elites did have an interest in maintaining capitalism, but not because they thought it a good system for any reason other than that they were living like pigs in slop, whatever they told themselves. They themselves were quite ready to engorge themselves on the benefits of war. I’m sure they even imagined themselves doing good. The military-industrial complex is a sort of socialism for war profiteers. The Marshall Plan preserved the power of the ruling elites in Europe and helped them suppress indigenous uprisings such as that in Greece. Although it pretended to shore up Europe against a potential Soviet attack it actually shored up European elites against indigenous revolution, which was largely avoided.

American hegemony allowed American elites to profit from the Empire, but cold war’s primary purpose was as an excuse for the churning of the military industrial complex. Much of the profit of the empire came from colonizing the people of the United States itself. To do so required a constant stream of propaganda that justified the military budget that has left the history of the last century as a doily of lies. The military-industrial complex is, in the end, a potlatch, as is much of the rest of the economy now.

This particular problem with capitalism is often called “over production.” But that designation is misleading when we realize that the economy can be overproducing when many of the citizens live in poverty. The problem is the rat race. Once the wheel stops it is hard to get it started again. Making things and throwing them away is the only solution, but it does not lead back to anything like a healthy economy, for the potlatch must continue and grow larger and ever larger, something like the dosage of an addictive drug. As Roosevelt said, the only thing he could build is battleships. Every capitalist has an incentive to build garbage and sell it as gold. It takes the military-industrial complex to do it on an imperial scale that will keep the rat race turning. But every breath in the iron lung makes more and more war junk. It is, plainly and simply, a death machine.

It is tempting to think socialism is a solution to the rat race problem. It isn’t. It isn’t because it too will suffer from “over production”. Industrial production, which produces many copies of the same commodity, has the power to expand production with what it is already doing. Just do more of it. Unlike a craftsman, a machine doesn’t have to learn its craft. Workers owning the factories, assuming they are successful, can turn out cars to meet any demand just as easily as fat cats can. And if their work is good, it will provide a stimulus for increasing that demand. If they saturate their market the rat race will stop and they will be out of a job. This contradiction of capitalism is really a contradiction of industrial civilization, capitalist, communist, socialist or whatever. Chinese, Indians, and everyone else wish they all could be Californians now. Industrial civilization is everywhere and in every system. America loses its power as the rest of the world embraces the American dream. But the good life, industrial civilization, is a death trip.

Crap is piling up and we have just about exhausted the materials for making crap. Pollution, especially of CO2, will soon force the rat race to stop no matter what we do. If not, exhaustion of raw materials will do the trick. If not, a crisis in food supply, disease spawned by crowding and travel, or sheer madness. If industrial civilization ends like this we will not be able to transit to anything else, for most of our infrastructure will be irrelevant crap. If we are to survive we must change our ways at a far far deeper level than a change of economic system. We must stop producing immense piles of garbage. Could we do it? Why not? Nobody actually likes the rat race cum death-machine.

Review: Mohsin Hamid’s “Exit West”

The arrival of Mohsin Hamid’s fourth novel, Exit West, could not be timelier. It smacks in the face of Western hypocrisy and our much- heralded moral values. How ironic that as we sink into right-wing xenophobia and double speak, spouted by our nativist leaders, non-Westerners still believe that we offer hope and the safety they cannot find at home. They struggle to reach our shores, often willing to risk their lives in the process. And we in the West, do we still welcome them? Do we even practice the Judeo-Christian values that permitted us to become the towers of stability that have enriched our lives—in some cases—for centuries?

The answers to these questions are hinted at in Hamid’s title, which will not surprise you by the story’s ending. But to get there, Hamid must guide us down a labyrinth few American writers are willing to take. The last American novelist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature was Toni Morrison, in 1993, a long time ago. Few of our novelists tackle ethical issues any longer; few are willing to grapple with issues of life and death. That’s why so many of my reviews of fiction in CounterPunch have been the works of non-Western withers, who are clearly still confronting issues of totalitarianism, race and gender inequality, hypocrisy, and basic survival. While we’ve permitted ourselves to go soft, we can be thankful for the writers in the rest of the world who continue to write in the tradition of our greatest literary works. No surprise, then, that Mohsin Hamid belongs in that pattern. Fortunately, he’s still a young man with much of his career in front of him.

Hamid is due our praise, also, for not continuing to write the same novel, following the formula of so many American writers. He takes risks.  All four of his novels—Moth Smoke (2000), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013), and now Exit West (2017)—are different from one another. hamidwestThe first three works move from the gritty world of drugs, through a sobering account of terrorism, then through a comic but poignant look at economic malfeasance. And now, in Exit West, to a disturbing picture of refugees trapped in hostile environments, in a story that is more parable than realistic while bumping up against the dystopian. These four novels (there’s also a collection of his essays) demonstrate incredible versatility while, always, demanding that we question our blindness.

At the beginning of Exit West, two characters (Saeed and Nadia) are slowly falling in love. Both are students and both have jobs. Saeed lives with his parents, but Nadia has made the unorthodox move of living alone as a single woman. Their city and their country (probably Syria) is falling apart. The opening sentence reads as follows: “In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her.” That silence is important and will accompany them throughout much of their subsequent relationship. Then, shortly thereafter, headless bodies will begin appearing at the sides of streets, a curfew will be imposed, the rich begin fleeing the country, the phones and the Internet are turned off, stores become empty, and whole neighborhoods fall to the “militants.” The speed of these events is overwhelming.

Soon there is no water, no electricity. Explosions in the distance become closer. Most people can’t risk getting to their jobs. With no operative phone system or electricity, communication becomes all but impossible. After his mother is killed by a stray bullet, Saeed asks Nadia to move in with him and his father. There are executions in the city, and grotesque incidents become the new normal. One day, Saeed’s father observes, “teenagers, young men, and they were not playing [football] with a ball but with the severed head of a goat, and he thought, barbarians, but then it dawned upon him that this was the head not of a goat but of a human being….” He wants to believe that his eyes have tricked him but soon realizes they have not.

Saeed and Nadia are supposedly the lucky ones. Although not married, they flee the country together, leaving Saeed’s father behind and prompting a shattering observation on the narrator’s part: “When we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.” Think about that line for a minute and its implications for the world today. First they arrive in Mykonos, followed by London, almost magically you could say by entering dark “doors” and then springing out into those new locations. The motif of their dark passage, developed through the doors, suggests horrors of migration too bleak to describe. Shortly, those doorways lead to dark underground passages that become a web of interlinked routes spread throughout the world, as political and social unrest extends from the Middle East into the West.

The novel describes rings of refugee shanties and strongholds, typically surrounding areas of stability—at least initially. But then the unrest spreads to the destinations the refugees have sought for starting their lives over again, in countries supposedly representing stability. It isn’t too long after Nadia and Saeed are living in a group refugee house in London that that city also becomes unstable, not so different from the city they fled. Gangs of Europeans attack the refugees in what is described as a “nativist backlash.” Then, whole areas of London lack electricity and basic amenities, just like the city they grew up in and left. “After the riots the talk on television was of a major operation, one city at a time, starting in London, to reclaim Britain for Britain, and it was reported that the army was being deployed, and the police as well….” Migrants are killed in huge numbers; drones observe their every move. In the midst of all this chaos, Saeed and Nadia slowly move apart from one another, suggesting that the trauma of migration will destroy the strongest relationships.

“All over the world people were slipping away from where they had been, from once fertile plains cracking with dryness, from seaside villages gasping beneath tidal surges, from overcrowded cities and murderous battlefields, and slipping away from other people, too, people they had in some cases loved….” Large cities in the West find themselves surrounded by rings of smaller cities, full of newcomers/refugees. Yet, positive results eventually begin to evolve from these changes, especially people realigning themselves with different peoples, but the trauma of the transformation is anything but seamless.

To say more would not be appropriate, but Mohsin Hamid in Exit West (as in his earlier novels) does not give in to despair, to nihilism. He is, in fact, a writer celebrating the possibility of hope. That’s what makes his latest novel so profound.

Mohsin Hamid: Exit West
Riverhead, 231 pp., $26

Maitreya: The Coming One for all Humanity

Bombarded with one negative news story after another, many people feel a pervasive pessimism close at hand. Fear and mistrust, uncertainty, are some of the results. Debilitating conditions, which sap the joy out of life, and strengthen materialistic demands of escape: alcohol, drugs and endless consumerism, which in turn feeds climate change and ecological destruction.

Largely unreported by mainstream media, an extraordinary, albeit controversial story has been spread far and wide over the last 40 years, by Benjamin Crème: A remarkable man, he died on 24th October 2016, aged 94. He would probably have described himself as an artist, a painter, and although he continued to make artwork well into his 80’s, he will undoubtedly be remembered as the man who prophesised the coming of Maitreya the World Teacher.

Crème said his task was to “create the climate of hope and expectation into which Maitreya may emerge.” He did this by travelling the world, giving public talks and media interviews, writing books and editing Share International magazine. Millions of people heard his message, were inspired by the information, touched by his humility, humour and common sense. Many, of course, dismiss the story; those most offended are usually fundamentalist Christians, who have a particular view of Christ and a body of theological doctrine to defend.

In my experience Benjamin Crème’s information is completely true; his sources genuine, their counsel wise. It is a message of hope, which, if legitimate, constitutes the single most important event of our time, is deserving of our attention, and for the curious, open-minded investigation.

The choice is ours

From the early talks in 1974 Benjamin Crème repeatedly spoke of a world divided along two distinct lines, with two groups battling for the minds of men; seeking to determine how we live, what type of civilisation we inhabit, what values colour our societies. With each passing year the divisions have become more clearly defined, the advocates and alternative ways more visible, the choices before us plainly revealed.

Whilst subtleties exist, broad generalisations can be made and serve to define the nature of the choice: There are the reactionary, nationalistic forces, that seek to maintain the status quo and see the answers to today’s problems in the ways of the past. And standing in a different place, despite ‘the polls’ and outward signs, is a much more significant, if less politically powerful group – the majority of humanity. Social justice and freedoms of all kinds are championed; cooperation, tolerance and understanding promoted.

Maitreya will galvanise and inspire those calling for change; he will voice the concerns of the many, the marginalised and exploited, those living in destitution and stifling poverty, suffering abuse and crippling hardship. In message number 11, made on 5th January 1978 (one of 140 messages given between September 1977 and June 1982), he outlined some of his concerns:

Throughout the world there are men, women and little children who have not even the essentials to stay alive; they crowd the cities of many of the poorest countries in the world. This crime fills me with shame. My brothers, how can you watch these people die before your eyes and call yourselves men? My plan is to save these, my little ones, from certain starvation and needless death.

He has not come to establish a new religion, nor is he interested in attracting followers; he is a teacher in the broadest sense ­– for all people. His core message is that humanity is one, and says that the answers to our problems are really very simple; “share and save the world,” he advocates. “Take your brother’s need as the measure for your actions and solve the problems of the world.”

The Son of Man

Throughout the ages a teacher has come forward at certain specific times; “whenever there is a withering of the law and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides, then I manifest myself. For the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of such as do evil, for the firm establishing of the Law, I come to birth age after age,” Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita (Book IV, sutra 7 and 8). Now is such a time.

All religious groups await their particular Teacher; Christians expect Christ – usually seen as Jesus Christ; Hindus look for Krishna; Buddhists await Maitreya Buddha, Muslims, the appearance of the Imam Mahadi – some believe He is already here; and Jews, the Messiah. Students of the Esotericism, as Benjamin Crème was, understand these various titles to be different names for one individual – the Lord Maitreya, the World Teacher and Head of our Spiritual Hierarchy. He prefers to be known simply as The Teacher.

The existence of the spiritual hierarchy was first made known by Helena Blavatsky, author of Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, published in 1875, and co-founder, with Colonel Henry S. Olcott of The Theosophical Society. She spoke of the existence of a group of perfected men, who, together with their disciples, form the spiritual hierarchy. This large group, Crème states, are the “elder brothers of humanity, [those] who have gone ahead of us in evolution.” They are, “the custodians of the evolutionary plan of planet Earth”, and have been so since the very dawn of time. The Hierarchy constitutes the “inner government as it were, of the planet.” They live in remote regions of the world, mountains, deserts and forests, far from the chaos, noise and pollution.

Following on from Helena Blavatsky’s groundbreaking work, from 1920 to 1941 another Russian woman, Helena Roerich, worked with certain senior members of the hierarchy and facilitated the writing of the Agni Yoga Teachings. Then came an extensive, highly detailed body of work transcribed by Alice A. Bailey, a British woman, from strong Christian roots. Bailey served as the amanuensis for one of the Adepts known simply as The Tibetan, from 1919 to 1949.

Details of the structure of the spiritual hierarchy are laid out in the first book penned by Bailey – Initiation Human and Solar, and in The Reappearance of The Christ as well as The Externalisation of The Hierarchy, we find information about the emergence of Maitreya. The works produced by these extraordinary women form individual parts of a series of inter connected, sequential teachings. Benjamin Crème’s writings and talks follow on, in planned order. The ideas espoused should not be understood as challenging existing religious notions or philosophical theories of existence, but rather as underpinning them.

The spiritual hierarchy is known by various names: the Great White Brotherhood, The Society of Illumined Minds, the Masters of Wisdom and Lords of Compassion, of which there are three. Maitreya is one of these Great Ones as they are known and, for the last 2,150 years (approximately) has held the office of World Teacher.

He embodies the Christ Consciousness, or Christ Principle – the energy of Love. Maitreya is, Alice Bailey relates, “that Great Being Whom the Christian calls the Christ; He is known also in the Orient as the Bodhisattva and as the Lord Maitreya.” He is the great “Lord of Love and of Compassion” as the Buddha was the Lord of Wisdom.” He is the Christ for this planet, a fact that many Christians will no doubt struggle to accept. He is the Master of all the Masters, and to Him “is committed the guidance of the spiritual destinies of men [mankind]. He is the World Teacher for this coming cycle; He is the Coming One”.

Humanity is One

According to the Ageless Wisdom, all the great teachers throughout the ages have come forth from the same centre – the spiritual hierarchy. Like teachers before him, Maitreya explains that mankind is divine: “I have come to teach the art of Self-realization, which is neither an ideology nor a religion, but benefits people of all religions and those who have none.” You are the Self he says, a divine being; “Suffering is caused by identification with anything and everything which is not the Self. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” You will see that you are identified either with matter (the body), or with thought (the mind) or with power (spirit). But you are none of these.”

On 19th July 1977 Maitreya descended from His Himalayan mountain retreat and came into the everyday world, Crème relates. In the years since, He has been gradually emerging stage by stage; a planned process that will lead to “the Day of Declaration”, when Maitreya will present Himself to the world via the media. This momentous event is thought to be very near; in a message given on 31 March 2016 Maitreya Himself said, “the time is close indeed when all men will recognize My face and respond, it is the truth…Soon humanity as a whole will awaken to My presence and will accept with all willingness the transformation of this, our world.”

The groundwork for His open work has been laid: His priorities and the seeds of His teachings have been given out, accurate forecasts of world events made, a plethora of miraculous signs, from patterns of light and images of deities that weep, to healing wells and moving ‘stars’ in the skies have been seen. He has appeared to individuals and groups – notably in Kenya in 1988 where he appeared ‘out of the blue’ during a service conducted by the healer Mary Akatsa in a shantytown in Nairobi. Over 6000 people witnessed the event, many were convinced they had seen the Christ and called out His name; Photographs were taken by the editor of the Kenyan Times.

Maitreya comes to advise and to teach: Benjamin Crème says that in the first place “we will find that he will lay the emphasis on the oneness of humanity, on the fact of the human soul, and on the need for sharing and right relationships. He will teach, again, the Law of Cause and Effect and its relation to the Law of Rebirth, showing the need for harmlessness in all relationships.” He will guide and inspire humanity, and, together with a relatively large group of His closest disciples – the Masters of the Wisdom, He will show the way out of the myriad crises facing humanity, encouraging a new imagination to tackle the systemic problems and the interconnected environmental catastrophes.

But we must be open-minded, ready for change and prepared to listen; we are the ones who will make the needed changes, not Maitreya or the Masters; changes desperately needed if we are to eradicate poverty, bring about social justice, save the planet and create peace. How, Maitreya asks, “can you be content with the modes within which you now live: when millions starve and die in squalor; when the rich parade their wealth before the poor; when each man is his neighbor’s enemy; when no man trusts his brother? For how long must you live thus, my friends? For how long can you support this degradation?”

How Much Does It Cost to Tell a Lie That Big?

It was quite expected but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the US backed propaganda organization, the White Helmets, has effectively received an Oscar for the short documentary film about them.  Which, of course, indicates that it is not just acceptable to twist facts and call a group of people with documented criminal activities “heroes”, but it is acceptable to award them with cultural, artistic and humanistic recognition.  And it is all for the sake of waging a colonial war against a country that does not quite follow the imperial ways.

How much does it cost to tell a lie that big?  What is the human price of making people complicit in a project of death and suffering?  What consequences do we pay in erasing facts and twisting history when we regard ourselves as cultural beings? But all these questions are perhaps trivial compared to the 500,000 deaths, displacements of half of the population, and all the destruction inflicted by the imperial assault against Syria so far.

This is a huge operation involving many layers of the establishment and the society at large.  How can so many people claim to be blind to the facts and accept the lies and deceptions?

The western governments lie about the power dynamics on the ground in Syria while supporting proxy terrorists.  The media parrot the official narratives and promote fabrications of facts and analyses. Artists contribute by making up stories to help people visualize the lies as a part of a manufactured “reality”. All these efforts are supported by the financial interests that profit from the war efforts and the subsequent neoliberal colonization of Syria.  And we must note that Syria is only an example among such nations as Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nicaragua, Ukraine and many others.

And I hate to criticize those people who are finally raising their voices against the US government after being silent for 8 years under President Obama — after all I didn’t know how “effective” President Obama was going to be in serving the corporate powers either.  I thought it was great that we had a black president for the first time too. But, thousands of drone assassinations and that includes the innocent civilians, huge banking bailout, jailing whistleblowers, seven wars, and global surveillance?  How could we close our eyes?

But OK, that was that.

But now, I must express my objection if suggesting we resist the whole system as it is keeps attracting such responses as “Trump supporter”, “Putin lover” or “Assad apologist” by those who wish to forward their political party agendas, agendas that stiflingly  operate within the imperial framework.  What sort of excuse do they have in supporting a corporate party state guided by spy agencies, Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex?  What authority do they have in determining an appropriate governance for the Syrian people? The question becomes very urgent when what they support for the Syrian people are Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups and their violent theocracies, when the majority of Syrians support President Assad’s secular governance.

How could anyone be so suggestible as to be an apologist for the criminal empire?  And they claim to resist Trump and do away with discrimination of the immigrants, racism, gender discrimination and so on.  How? By relying on the establishment of corporatism, colonialism and militarism?  The corporate parties have been funding the massive war machine with 1000 military bases, 17 spy agencies, and over half of our taxes in order to colonize other nations to give profits to exploitative corporations that squeeze our lives back home. And attacks against immigrants, racism and gender discrimination are all tools, as well as results, of such exploitations BY THEM. So how?

It’s so obvious.  We see the same people, who deplore how the immigrants are treated in the US, actively supporting the colonial war against Syria, violent US foreign policies against Latin American nations, demonization of Russia and so on.  How could they not see the dots being connected?

People come to the States because the plunder of the imperial conquests are gathered in the US.  Those conquests have destroyed their communities, economies and cultures.  If any people deserve to enjoy the prosperity of the empire, the first priority should be given to the immigrants.  Let’s welcome them and let them take over the nation as it is as much theirs as it is ours.  If that is not happening, the US must stop interfering with other countries.

I am sick of hearing the establishment trying to convince us that things are so complicated and hard to understand in order to blind us, silence us, exclude us, exploit us and subjugate us.  I mean, where do we even begin the conversation?  The premises are lies. Facts are lies.  History is a lie.  The conclusions, the policies, motives and results are all lies.

I think we just have to come up with a functional system that works for all of us, and politely, in a civil matter, with proper due process, ask those war criminals, war profiteers and corrupt politicians to go stay in prisons.  The only legitimate reason for armed forces to exist is to help support such a democratic process for the people.

Lester B. Pearson Enabled Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

It’s no wonder Canadians are confused about their country’s place in the world when a leading advocate of the Palestinian cause praises the official most responsible for dispossessing Palestinians.

In an article about a recent poll showing Canadians have a negative attitude towards Israel, reject the notion criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic and believe the media is biased in Israel’s favour, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East leader Tom Woodley threw in a sop to official mythology. He wrote, “Lester B. Pearson won a Nobel peace prize for his role in mediating the Suez Crisis in 1956, and for many decades afterwards, many perceived Canada as an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East, trusted by both Israel and the Palestinians.” In fact, Pearson enabled the Zionist movement’s 1947/48 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. (During the Suez Crisis Pearson’s main concern was disagreement between the US and UK over the British-French-Israeli invasion, not Egyptian sovereignty or the plight of that country’s people, let alone Palestinians.)

Under growing Zionist military pressure after World War II, Britain prepared to hand its mandate over Palestine to the newly created UN. In response, the US-dominated international body formed the First Committee on Palestine, which was charged with developing the terms of reference for a committee that would find a solution for the British mandate. Canada’s Undersecretary of External Affairs, who made his sympathy for Zionism clear in a March 1945 speech, chaired the First Committee that established the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) in May 1947. At the First Committee Pearson rejected Arab calls for an immediate end to the British mandate and the establishment of an independent democratic country. He also backed Washington’s push to admit a Jewish Agency representative to First Committee discussions (ultimately both a Jewish Agency and Palestinian representative were admitted). Pearson tried to define UNSCOP largely to facilitate Zionist aspirations.

The Arab Higher Committee wanted the issue of European Jewish refugees excluded from UNSCOP but the Canadian diplomat worked to give the body a mandate “to investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine.” A US State Department memo noted that Pearson “proved to be an outstanding chairman for [the First] Committee.” The Canadian Arab Friendship League, on the other hand, complained that the First Committee plan for UNSCOP was “practically irresponsible and an invitation to … acts of terror on the part of Zionism.” The League continued, Arabs would “never refrain from demanding for … Palestine the same freedom presently enjoyed by other Arab states”, newly independent from colonial rule.

Opposed to the idea that representatives from Canada, Guatemala, Yugoslavia and other countries should decide their future, Palestinians boycotted UNSCOP. Despite the objection of Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Undersecretary Pearson committed Canada to sending a delegate on the UNSCOP mission to Palestine. In justifying his position to External Affairs Minister Louis St. Laurent, Pearson claimed “to have withdrawn our candidate at this moment might have been misinterpreted and have had an adverse effect on the discussion.” In fact, Pearson was significantly more willing to follow Washington’s lead than the Prime Minister.

Canada’s lead representative on UNSCOP, Ivan C. Rand, pushed for the largest possible Zionist state and is considered the lead author of the majority report in support of partitioning Palestine into ethnically segregated states.

At the end of their mission the UNSCOP majority and minority reports were sent to the special UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question. Not happy with Pearson’s role in the First Committee, the Prime Minister would not allow the future Nobel laureate to chair the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question despite Washington’s request. Mackenzie King wrote that Pearson “lent himself perhaps too wholly to the desires of others,” a coded reference to the US State Department. Still, he played a major role in the Ad Hoc Committee. At this forum Pearson rejected the Arab countries push to have the International Court of Justice decide whether the UN was allowed to partition Palestine. (Under US pressure, the Ad Hoc Committee voted 21 to 20 — with 16 abstentions — against allowing the International Court to adjudicate the matter).

The Ad Hoc Committee was split into two subcommittees with one focusing on the partition plan and the other on a bi-national state. At the Ad Hoc Committee’s Special Committee 1, Pearson worked feverishly to broker a partition agreement acceptable to Washington and Moscow. Preoccupied with the great powers, the indigenous inhabitants’ concerns did not trouble the ambitious undersecretary. He dismissed solutions that didn’t involve partition, which effectively meant supporting a Jewish state on Palestinian land. Responding to a bi-national plan proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee’s Special Committee 2, he claimed: “The unitary state proposal meant nothing — a recommendation ‘out of the blue and into the blue.’” Pearson said: “a [Jewish] ‘national home’ was a sine qua non [essential condition] of any settlement.” He later explained: “I have never waivered in my view that a solution to the problem was impossible without the recognition of a Jewish state in Palestine. To me this was always the core of the matter.”

Pearson played a central role in Special Committee 1’s partition plan. Both the New York Times and Manchester Guardian ran articles about his role in the final stage of negotiations. Dubbed the “Canadian plan” the final Special Committee 1 agreement between the US and USSR on how to implement partition was “a result of the tireless efforts of Lester B. Pearson,” according to a front-page New York Times article. Some Zionist groups called him “Lord Balfour” of Canada and “rabbi Pearson”. In 1960 Pearson received Israel’s Medallion of Valour and after stepping down as prime minister in 1968, he received the Theodore Herzl award from the Zionist Organization of America for his “commitment to Jewish freedom and Israel.”

By supporting partition he opposed the indigenous population’s moral and political claims to sovereignty over their territory. Down from 90% at the start of the British mandate, by the end of 1947 Arabs still made up two-thirds of Palestine’s population. Despite making up only a third of the population, under the UN partition plan Jews received most of the territory. Pearson pushed a plan that gave the Zionist state 55% of Palestine despite the Jewish population owning less than seven percent of the land. According to Israeli historian Illan Pappe, “within the borders of their UN proposed state, they [Jews] owned only eleven percent of the land, and were the minority in every district. In the Negev [desert]…they constituted one percent of the total population.”

Undersecretary Pearson was not supported by the Prime Minister, who wanted to align Canada more closely with London’s position. While King was concerned about Britain, other government officials sympathized with the Palestinians. Justice Minister J.L. Isley said he was “gravely concerned” the push for partition did not meet the Arabs “very strong moral and political claims”. The only Middle East expert at External Affairs, Elizabeth MacCallum, claimed Ottawa supported partition “because we didn’t give two hoots for democracy.” MacCallum’s opinion wasn’t popular with Pearson who organized late-night meetings allegedly to make it difficult for her to participate. Despite failing to convince her boss at External Affairs MacCallum displayed sharp foresight. At the time of the partition vote, notes The Rise and Fall of a Middle Power, “MacCallum scribbled a note and passed it to Mike (Pearson) saying the Middle East was now in for ‘forty years’ of war, due to the lack of consultation with the Arab countries.” She was prescient, even if she did underestimate the duration of the conflict.

Far from being an “honest broker”, a representative from the Canadian Arab Friendship League explained:

Our Canadian government at one time also favoured the creation of a federated State of Palestine which had at least some resemblance to a democratic solution. … Mr. Lester B. Pearson and Mr. Justice Ivan C. Rand changed that official position of our government. Instead of the democratic solution, these gentlemen did their utmost to impose upon the Arabs the infamous partition scheme. The Arab world, I am sure, will remember them.

A huge boost to the Zionist movements’ desire for an ethnically-based state, the UN partition of British Mandate Palestine contributed to the displacement of at least 700,000 Palestinians. Scholar Walid Khalidi complained that UN (partition) Resolution 181 was “a hasty act of granting half of Palestine to an ideological movement that declared openly already in the 1930s its wish to de-Arabise Palestine.”

What spurred Pearson’s support for Israel? Jewish lobbying played only a small part. The son of a Methodist minister, Pearson’s Zionism was partly rooted in Christian teachings. His memoirs refer to Israel as “the land of my Sunday School lessons” where he learned that “the Jews belonged in Palestine.” One book on Pearson notes “there was a lot said at Sunday school about the historic home of the Jews but nothing about the Arab inhabitants.” At one point Canada’s eminent statesman said he knew more about the geography of the holy land than of Ontario and in a 1955 speech Pearson called Israel (alongside Greece and Rome) the source of Western values.

More practically, Israel’s creation lessened the pressure on a widely anti-Semitic Ottawa to accept post-World War II Jewish refugees. At the end of the war the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was supposed to help resettle a couple hundred thousand displaced European Jews. When he was ambassador in Washington Pearson represented Canada at a number of UNRRA meetings where he faithfully defended the government’s position against Jewish immigration. After a meeting to discuss European refugees was moved from Ottawa to Bermuda, None is Too Many notes, “[Ambassador to Washington] Pearson exultingly wired [Undersecretary Norman] Robertson that the pressure was off and that, ‘in the circumstances,’ Ottawa was no longer ‘a possibility’ [to host the meeting]. And, he added, of even greater importance, Canada would not even be asked to take part in the conference.” Pearson believed sending Jewish refugees to Palestine was the only sensible solution to their plight.

But the refugee issue was less of a concern than US-British relations. In 1947 Pearson was concerned with Anglo-American disunity over Palestine, more than the Palestinian crisis itself. “I wasn’t thinking of trouble in terms of a war in Palestine,” he explained. “I was thinking of trouble in terms of a grave difference of opinion between London and Washington. That always gives a Canadian nightmares, of course.” Pearson worried that disagreement between Washington and London over Palestine could adversely affect the US-British alliance and the emerging North Atlantic alliance.

Above all else, the ambitious diplomat wanted to align himself and Canada with Washington, the world’s emerging hegemon. “Pearson usually coordinated his moves with the Americans,” explains Personal Policy Making: Canada’s role in the adoption of the Palestine Partition Resolution. To determine their position on the UN Ad Hoc Committee, for instance, Canada’s delegation “found it especially important to know the American’s position.” A member of the Canadian delegation explained: “[we] will have nothing to say until after the United States has spoken.”

Of central importance to Canadian support for partition was the belief that a Middle Eastern Jewish state would serve Western interests. An internal report circulated at External Affairs during the UN negotiations explained: “The plan of partition gives to the western powers the opportunity to establish an independent, progressive Jewish state in the Eastern Mediterranean with close economic and cultural ties with the West generally and in particular with the United States.” In a 1952 memo to cabinet Pearson repeated this thinking. “With the whole Arab world in a state of internal unrest [after the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy in Egypt] and in the grip of mounting anti-western hysteria, Israel is beginning to emerge as the only stable element in the whole Middle East area.” He went on to explain how “Israel may assume an important role in Western defence as the southern pivot of current plans for the defence” of the eastern Mediterranean. Pearson supported Israel as a possible western ally in the heart of the (oil-producing) Middle East.

Pearson does not represent an evenhanded, let alone justice-oriented, policy towards Palestinians. Instead, he should be placed atop a long list of Canadian officials who’ve aided and abetted their dispossession.

The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation

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The basic formula for every breaking Trump/Russia story is essentially as follows:

1. The New York Times or Washington Post releases an article that at first blush appears extremely damning.

2. Anti-Trump pundits and Democrats react reflexively to the news, express shrieking outrage, and proclaim that this finally proves untoward collusion between Trump and Russia — a smoking gun, at last.

3. Aggrieved former Clinton apparatchiks *connect the dots* in a manner eerily reminiscent of right-wing Glenn Beck-esque prognostication circa 2009.

4. Self-proclaimed legal experts rashly opine as to whether the new revelation entails some kind of criminally actionable offense. (Recall the now-laughable certitude that felled National Security Advisor Mike Flynn violated the 200+ year old Logan Act.) This latest version is the certitude that Jeff Sessions committed perjury, when that at the very least is highly questionable. (Probably best to at least read the relevant statute first.)

5. The notion of Russian “collusion” being key to toppling Trump becomes further implanted in the minds of the most energized Democratic activists, as evidenced this time around by a troupe of protesters who showed up to the Department of Justice headquarters brandishing trademarked “Resist” placards, chanting “Lock Him Up,” and (as usual) hyperventilating about Putin. As I’ve written before, Trump/Putin theories are increasingly the top concern that plugged-in “Resistance” types bring up at the highly-charged town hall meetings that have received so much attention of late.

6. Pointing out these glaring flaws in the latest anti-Russia frenzy is immediately construed by cynics as “defending Trump” or “defending Sessions” when it most assuredly is not. At least in my own case, it’s a defense of not getting enraptured by irrational hysterics to further short-term political aims.

7. People who’d spent the past 12 hours frothing at the mouth gradually come to realize that their initial furor was probably overblown, and that a more sober look at the actual facts at hand reveal that the anti-Trump chorus probably got ahead of itself…again.

8. Democrats who sought to capitalize on the uproar end up looking extremely foolish.

9. It becomes “normalized” (that new favorite buzzword!) to cast any meetings or contacts with Russian officials as inherently sinister. Rather than just a basic function of a Senator’s ordinary duties, meeting with “The Russians” is increasingly viewed as evidence of nefarious intent, and perhaps participation in a grand global conspiracy.

10. Political ineptitude and clumsiness (as was very probably the case with Flynn) gets interpreted as something more calculated than it really is. Sessions could’ve avoided this ridiculous controversy by saying something to the effect of: “I did not meet with any Russian officials in my informal capacity as Trump campaign surrogate, but I did speak with Russian officials over the course of my ordinary Senatorial duties.” The problem is, such an admission would’ve probably blown up into a big political snafu; Democrats would’ve seized on it as evidence of Russian collusion. So Sessions tried to lawyer himself out of trouble with an ambiguous comment during sworn testimony. This allowed him to sneak through the confirmation process, but created an even bigger political storm later.

11. A Trump official’s least egregious quality ends up being portrayed as his most egregious quality. There were any number of reasons to be highly worried about the presence of Mike Flynn in the Trump administration, from his bellicose posture toward Iran, to his outlandish views on the alleged threat posed by Islam. Conversing with the Russian ambassador about reducing tensions would very clearly not have been on the “reasons to be worried about Flynn” list. Likewise, Jeff Sessions is a troubling figure for a whole host of reasons, ranging from his hawkishly retrograde attitude about Drug Prohibition to his dicey history on racial matters. That he spoke to the Russian Ambassador in September 2016 would not be on the “reasons to be worried about Sessions” list.

12. The overall political climate gets further degraded and warped without any commensurate upside.

13. Repeat.

Reprinted with author's permission from Medium.com/TYT Network.