Friday, December 30, 2016

Another Weird Year


Dana, stalking around in May

Have you ever seen the movie adaption of The Mothman Prophecies? It's an adaption in theory only, really. It's not set in the Sixties and the John Keel character has been split into two seemingly opposite poles, one played by British actor Alan Bates and another played by Richard Gere, of all people.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Why I'm Not a Mythicist, Part III: Out of Egypt




The primary argument of the Mythicists- whether you're talking about Jesus, Paul or any of the early Church Fathers- essentially boils down to this;  because there are elements in the biographies of these figures (particularly the Gospels) that bears similarity to myths associated with other well-known figures in pagan religion and/or Judaism the stories are, by necessity, also mythological.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Why I Am Not a Mythicist, Part II: The Martyred Magician

Jesus and his magic wand, raising Lazarus

For a guy who an increasing number of people believe never existed, Jesus sure has inspired a K2-sized mountain of books claiming to "solve the Jesus mystery." And all that stands atop a couple of thousand years of orthodox theology and Christological exegesis. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Why I Am Not a Mythicist, Part I



The Internet has fostered an entirely new and novel ecosystem of thought contagions. It seems that, freed of the interference of the gatekeeping power of the mainstream media, ideas that once seemed beyond the pale can bite down and take a big chunk out of the culture.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Spy vs Spy: Bizarro Cold War, or Russians Am Coming



In am out. Wet am dry. Up am down in Bizarro America.


Billionaires iz Democrats. Republicans iz Populists. Democrats am McCarthyites in Bizarro America. 

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Secret Sun on THC



It's been nearly a month since Greg Carlwood and I tore into it for three hours, covering all kinds of ground and any number of different topics. Happily, Greg was able to make some sense of it all and banged it all into a fairly-coherent 2 1/2 hour chat.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Arrival and Doctor Strange, or Breaking Saturn's Spell




2016.

Yes, sir. 

What can you say about 2016? 

I've noticed that after eight solid years of relentlessly attacking and ridiculing anyone who questioned the press-release version of reality that we get from our mainstream media, that people on the left side of the spectrum are starting to see conspiracies under every rock. 

There are, of course, but still. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mithras Rising: W, Hey Xe, and Cincinnatus




Trump hasn't even taken office yet and already the country feels vastly different. You can literally feel the presence of the new Praetorian Guardsmen, the alpha-male's alpha-males who are insinuating themselves into the corridors of power.

It feels like a different country because it is one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mithras Rising: Nova Caesarea




As I said before, I've been expecting something big to come out of New Jersey for several years now. And it makes sense that it's happening when and where it is for a number of reasons that I've been tracking for a long time now as well.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mithras Rising and the New Praetorians



Eight years ago we looked at the incoming Obama Administration, which seemed determined to touch as many potent symbolic bases as possible, touring temples and pyramids, making a number of 17 minute speeches and drawing explicit parallels to King Tut.

It seemed as if there were a program in place to charge this new President with as much symbolic and semiotic power as possible. Those were heady days.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Election 2016: You May Not Be Interested in Parapolitics...



So this is what it's like when the wheels start to come off, when the cancer consumes the host. 

I had a nightmare a long time ago, that there was a Presidential election and the candidates were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Well, that's not actually true. Not even in my most fevered, delirious states could I have imagined such a national tragedy.

And the tragedy is just warming up, out there in the driveway.

Of course, what may actually be happening is that the grown-ups may well have tired of all the freaks and sickos who are constantly fucking everything up and may well be in the process of taking the matches away from these political pyromaniacs. 

It may well turn out that whoever wins on Tuesday will be nothing but a figurehead, and will  be brought to heel by cooler heads behind the scenes.

We can only hope.

BUT, ACTUALLY...

The leaks we've been seeing have been blamed on a number of players-- the Russians, Trumpkins, UFO hackers-- but the smart money is on the Deep State. And the bookmakers would almost certainly bet the house that what we've seen is just the tip of the iceberg, the shot across the bow. 

And although the media-- and by media I mean the Democratic Party house organs and information agents who make up what passes for a national mainstream media in this country†-- have kept the lid on the powderkeg, I very much get the feeling that both candidates (yes, I said both) are rattled. Why?

Because I think someone else has taken control of the wheel and has let the ostensible top dogs know it. And let them know that none of their secrets are safe anymore.


A POX ON BOTH THEIR HOUSES

One thing I will say for this farce of an election is how it has exposed how corrupt and complicit the so-called two-party system is, how fatuous and empty the Republican platform is, how it endlessly screws the hardworking people who keep that dead horse propped up.

There's no question now that the establishment media is just a propaganda arm for the Democratic Party (sic), which itself is nothing else but the old Rockefeller Republican Party with a politically correct facelift. There's no question that the fixes are all in, that the power structure is one big happy club that despises those they rule over. 

We always suspected it. Now we know it.

Well, that's the conventional wisdom. But this is SecretSun '16, so I'd be remiss if I didn't mention all the high weirdness that's kicked up recently as well. So let's go...


When I was a kid there was a line about Richard Nixon, Hillary Clinton's spiritual antecedent. Everyone seemed to think that Nixon didn't do anything everyone else in Washington wasn't doing, he simply had the misfortune to get caught.


 It's amazing how common this opinion was, from adults down to teenagers, maybe even younger kids as well (getting caught being an ever-pressing concern for kids, of course). The question became why he was caught.

I've heard the media complain that Hillary is the victim of a "witchhunt". This seems to be the default explanation for why all this damaging information is coming to light. Funny, I don't recall them using that term during Watergate or Iran-Contra. 

But what if there's some truth to this? 

What if Hillary has been targeted? Is it because she's a "strong woman?" Is it because she actually is a witch, with a documented history in the occult?  Or it simply because she's a  longtime ethics offender? Or is it because of something else, something that the Deep State doesn't want nosey Washington hacks getting involved with? 

Remember this story?
Hillary Clinton Gives U.F.O.Buffs Hope She Will Open the X-Files

“Hillary has embraced this issue with an absolutely unprecedented level ofinterest in American politics,” said Joseph G. Buchman, who has spentdecades calling for government transparency about extraterrestrials.
 
Mrs. Clinton, a cautious candidate who often bemoans being the subjectof Republican conspiracy theories, has shown surprising ease plunging intothe discussion of the possibility of extraterrestrial beings.
She has said in recent interviews that as president she would releaseinformation about Area 51, the remote Air Force base in Nevada believed bysome to be a secret hub where the government stores classified informationabout aliens and U.F.O.s.
In a radio interview last month, she said, “I want to open the files as muchas we can.” Asked if she believed in U.F.O.s, Mrs. Clinton said: “I don’t know. Iwant to see what the information shows.” But she added, “There’s enoughstories out there that I don’t think everybody is just sitting in their kitchenmaking them up.”
Oh, I can just feel your eyes rolling. But bear with me here a moment. There's a very real and tangible issue here at work.

Watergate lawyer Douglas Caddy claims that E.Howard Hunt (the real-life model for the Cigarette-Smoking Man of The X-Files) told him that JFK was assassinated because he wanted to open the secret files on UFO technology.

Sounds crazy, right? Only there's a memo written by JFK ordering such a thing written less than two weeks before his death.

President Gerald Ford made a lot of noise about UFOs when he was Speaker of the House, and instigated actions that led to the formation of the Condon Committee (which of course turned out to be a whitewash). Ford remained active on the issue, in large part due to pressure from constituents.


But when he became President he fell silent on the issue. But it was during his Presidency that many of the documents that made UFOlogy such a focal point for conspiracy culture were prepared for declassification. 

It was also during his Presidency that the MK ULTRA program was revealed to the public. And wouldn't you just know it, Ford was the victim of two assassination attempts. 

One was by ol' Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, late of the Manson Family/Process Church axis, speaking of MK ULTRA (and more importantly, MK OFTEN). The other was by Sara Jane Moore, who was fixated on Patty Hearst and the "Symbionese Liberation Army", created by another MK OFTEN graduate, former Vacaville inmate Donald DeFreeze.

Gee, interesting "coincidences" there.

His successor, Jimmy Carter, was even more activist on the UFO issue, promising that,  "If  I ever become President I"ll make every piece of information this country has about UFOs sightings available to the public, and the scientists."

Carter expanded the powers of the FOIA program in 1978, freeing up reams of previously classified documents, proving the long involvement of the US Government in the UFO issue.

Not long after there was an Islamic Revolution in US client state Iran and the US Embassy was seized and its occupants held hostage for months. Carter ordered a rescue mission but it ended in disaster.*

That and the extended siege at the embassy crippled Carter's Presidency, and the later Iran-Contra scandal revealed that elements within the Reagan campaign worked with the hostage takers in an arms-for-ransom arrangement in order to prevent Carter's "October Surprise", the release of the Americans before the national elections.

That's three Presidents with interest in UFOs, three unfortunate outcomes, for those of you keeping score at home.

Ronald Reagan was another one, having had his own sightings. After his re-election he'd begin talking up the issue, claiming that alien threats would act as a uniting force in a world divided by politics and religion. Then he lost the Senate. Then Iran-Contra happened. 


Undeterred apparently, Reagan continued discussing the issue, even raising it at the United Nations.

George Bush the Elder, higher up the food chain than his predecessors, largely avoided the issue. His successor, Bill Clinton, stuck his hand into the hornet's nest and ordered an investigation into the Roswell event. When he was unhappy with the results he ordered another. He had one of his lieutenants search the archives for information on the UFO issue and on Area 51.

Then he was impeached.

At the same time, New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff attempted to open an investigation into the Roswell issue by subpoenaing the base's financial records. He contracted an aggressive form of cancer and died at the age of 51.**

Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, was in office during the largest expansion of the National Security State this country had seen since 1947 (shortly after Roswell, in case you wondering), effectively starving the UFO Conspiracy community of oxygen for good.

Bush's successor, Barack Obama, made some vague noises about looking into the issue while campaigning. But as he did with nearly everything else to do with national security, followed in his predecessor's footsteps. And then some.

Obama has enjoyed a largely scandal-free, two-term Presidency.

Hillary Clinton made it a point to announce her attention to look into UFOs -- and more importantly, Area 51-- and her campaign is being run by Washington power player's power player John Podesta, who has also expressed interest in UFOs.

And I believe you know the rest.

You see, you don't have to believe in ET or anything like that at all for all of this to work. 

What we're really looking at are the elected officials of the US Government and their allies sticking their noses into the business of the real government, black projects, black ops and the secret space program and all the rest of it. 


We're seeing the elected government going up against the actual government and getting its ass kicked.


MANY MILES AWAY

For added high weirdness, there's also the mysterious "pinging" the Canadian Navy has reported under the Arctic Ocean. From The Guardian
In a statement, Department of National Defence spokeswoman Ashley Lemire said: “The Canadian armed forces are aware of allegations of unusual sounds emanating from the seabed in the Fury and Hecla Strait in Nunavut. The air crew performed various multi-sensor searches in the area, including an acoustic search for 1.5 hours, without detecting any acoustic anomalies. 

This may be purely coincidental but there's also the fact that Secretary of State John Kerry is taking an official trip to the Antarctic after the election, along with the usual marching-order receiving trips to our Gulf State paymasters.

 Are the Old Ones stirring, at long last?

Note blood-soaked statue of child

Before you answer, don't forget the whole Spirit Cooking thing.

I won't go into "cheese pizza" and all the rest of it because it looks some of that is being walked back (believe it or not, walnut sauce is an actual recipe for pasta). That's not to say there is not a whole lot of pedo-fire behind the smoke (like Anthony Weiner's sexting and Bill Clinton's trips to Lolita Island) but there's a strong possibility there may be some water-muddying and misinfo-seeding going on in an attempt to discredit some of the more tangible revelations.

There's also the issue of the Seth Rich murder, who some have claimed was the sources for the now-forgotten "DNC eMails". His parents are opening an investigation into his murder, as are other interested parties. Interesting. Something seems to have changed their minds since Julian Assange raised the issue a few months ago.  

Yes, if Hillary wins, it's going to be Scandalpalooza 'round the clock. Count on it.

And then there's "Spirit Cooking."

Alex Jones and company are all over this, wringing a lot of mileage over what seems to be an invitation that was never RSVP'd. But it's one of those moments when the veil drops and we get a look inside the moral sickness of the ruling cabals.


Marina Abramovic is a hardcore occultist who presents her work as performance art. Her work reminds us of nothing less than the "art ritual murder" of David Bowie's Clinton-era comeback album, 1.Outside (note "Ramona A. Stone" with Baphomet goat). But a male artist could never get away with the hideous desecration of women and children evident in her work.

Abramovic's CV is filled with the tedious conceptual nonsense that the art world endlessly pimped in the wake of the CIA-spawned abstract expressionist movement. Just reading descriptions of her work is tiresome.

But along the way Abramovic discovered the occult, specifically some black magic strain that we haven't heard about, probably practiced by some rich psychotics in some castle in Europe somewhere. During a Reddit chat she let it be known she takes the occult aspect of her work seriously. 
Q: "What place do you see the occult having within contemporary art; can magick be made (not simply appropriated/ performed)?"  
A: "Everything depends on which context you are doing what you are doing. If you are doing the occult magic in the context of art or in a gallery, then it is the art. If you are doing it in different context, in spiritual circles or private house or on TV shows, it is not art. The intention, the context for what is made, and where it is made defines what art is or not."
Spirit Cooking seems to borrow from the Thelemic concept of the "cake of light", itself a borrowing of certain fringe Gnostic sects in the early Christian era. But there's plenty of good old-fashioned Satanism in evidence as well.


We saw the ostensible fingerprints of MK-OFTEN all over the work of filmmakers like Roman Polanski, William Friedkin and Kenneth Anger and we've seen the connections of MK-ULTRA legates to the Satanic Temple. Is MK OFTEN's successor program behind promoting the work of Abramovic?

What is perhaps less disturbing than the Spirit Cooking revelation is this despicable installation (it's too disgusting to post here), all-too reminiscent of the work of the Chicago Ripper Crew, the Satanic serial killers who abducted, tortured and cannibalized women in the late 1970s (and are linked to John Wayne Gacy, himself a player in Democratic Party circles before his arrest).

This "performance" not only degrades women and glorifies murder and cannibalism, it also desensitizes all these chi-chi people to partaking in ritual murder.  This is gratuitous provocation and an invitation to escalation for those inclined to investigate the thrills of ritual murder in a more private setting. 

Now again, this is just an invitation that Podesta didn't seem to respond to. But that doesn't matter.

The consensus -- where this stuff is kept a very safe distance away from our public culture-- is ripped open once again, like Reagan's astrologer, like the Bush family's involvement in the very weird rituals of Skull and Bones, the weird sacrifice rituals at Bohemian Grove (based on a 19th Century equivalent of Burning Man), Bill and Hillary's voodoo and seance activity and on and on it goes. 


We're looking at the new Franklin Scandal unfolding before our eyes, an umbrella outrage that will fuel others, real and/or imagined, and continue to metastasize for years to come. If Trump does indeed lose his embittered supporters have reams of frankly appalling evidence of crimes, misdemeanors and sins to stoke their resentments with.

Revolutions have started with far, far less.

UFOs and occultism all seem like trifles to so many people, especially apparently-skeptical Millennials. But the problem is that once you get past the lower levels of society and start climbing the ladder you soon find out that people don't think the way you do and have what you might regard as weird beliefs. Beliefs that shape how all of our lives are lived, unfortunately.

It's like my grandmother always used to tell me, "You may not be interested in parapolitics, but parapolitics are interested in you."º


POSTSCRIPT: The FBI announced tonight it will let its earlier decision not to pursue charges in the Clinton email scandal stand, despite having received the evidence only recently. I'm not at all surprised- as I told a friend earlier I believe the powers-that-be want a Clinton victory for a number of tactical reasons.

The email issue is not going away, I'd guess it's now  almost guaranteed the Congress will launch their own investigation into the matter, which will certainly aggravate the bitter partisan rancor we're going to be swamped with in the next four years. 


Donald Trump is outraged, 
actually claiming rightfully that there was no way a proper investigation could have done in the period of time since the emails were discovered. And of course there wasn't. I think this too is part of the calculus, to ratchet up division and resentment and render the country essentially ungovernable.

It's been my opinion all along that whoever wins Tuesday will come to wish they didn't.  

POST-POSTSCRIPT: Politico demonstrates the Establishment is still clearly in panic mode, by unleashing all sorts of hollow threats and invective on FBI Director James Comey on Hillary's behalf. Why? Here's why:

While Comey's Sunday letter may have lessened the political impact of his earlier disclosure about new evidence in the Clinton email case, the FBI chief did not say the investigation was being shut down. He ruled out prosecution only of Clinton and did not offer the same assurance about Abedin or any other officials whose conduct was examined in the first round of the FBI probe.
Yeah, I doubt there's much celebration on the Clinton campaign plane. 

POSTPOSTPOSTSCRIPT: Oh yes, I do believe Mr. Podesta pissed off the wrong people.





† The mainstream media, which any thinking person knows is nothing but an amen corner for the ruling elite, doesn't realize it's a dead man walking, in much the same way the Catholic hierarchy didn't when the abuse scandals began to break. It's in a lot more trouble than people realize, as it audiences and readerships are walking away in droves. 

 And we now have the smoking guns, the emails soliciting favorable rewrites and approvals from politicians, and there's certainly more to come. It may take a while for the reality to sink into that 30% of the populace who still takes the media at face value, but once push comes to shove- and it will- all but the most ardent "Comrade Napoleon is always right" types will wake up and smell the coffee. 

In much the same way that all the big accounts will realize that they've been throwing their money away advertising online.

* And of course, Canadian diplomats and CIA agents absconded some artwork created by UFO/Ancient Astronaut obsessive Jack Kirby for an unproduced Roger Zelzany adaption called Lord of Light and used it as cover to smuggle some of the hostages out of Teheran.

** Schiff died of what I call a nasty case of UFOlogy.

º She never actually said that. I just made it up.

Friday, October 21, 2016

AstroGnostic: You'll Be Godlike. Or Not.



Fueled by technology, powerful forces are smashing America-- and in fact, the world-- to hell all in the name of the new religious dogma of "disruption". Nothing is safe- your job, your home, your family, your community, your future.

Not even reality itself, it seems.


What's truly frightening is how delusional our new overlords seem to be, even when it comes to the things they should know about best.

"Uploading", popularized by Cyberpunk guru William Gibson in the 1980s but dating back to The Outer Limits and further back still, is a bedrock tenet of the new technofaith, even though we're nowhere near up to pulling it off.  And that's assuming that you could program consciousness in the first place, a prospect for which no evidence yet exists.


How far away are we from uploading? They're still working on mapping -- mapping, mind you-- the brains of houseflies. The amount of computing power- and raw energy- it would take to program a single human persona staggers the imagination (in much the same way a trip through the vast reaches of space between stars does, ironically).

But an extreme strand of materialism has infected the new robber barons with an overwhelming terror of death, which itself seems fueled by a new strain of myopic solipsism: 
“The merge has begun—and a merge is our best scenario. Any version without a merge will have conflict: we enslave the A.I. or it enslaves us. The full-on-crazy version of the merge is we get our brains uploaded into the cloud. I’d love that,”
What's at stake in all of this? Why nothing less than the fate of consciousness in the universe, bro: 
“We need to level up humans, because our descendants will either conquer the galaxy or extinguish consciousness in the universe forever."
Dude.

Where do you even begin with this kind of narcissistic solipsism? Where's it coming from? We've barely begun to poke our noses outside our solar system (and still have no way of actually testing our methodology) and yet these people have unilaterally decided that consciousness exists nowhere else? 

Well, I'll tell you where this is all coming from; it's coming from the closed island environment of TED Talks, exclusive Burning Man tents and Think Big Festivals, where the overpaid pashas of the Valley genuflect before newly-minted religious dogma like this:
According to the Sunday Times, Cox believes that any alien civilisation is destined to wipe itself out shortly after it evolves. 
“One solution to the Fermi paradox is that it is not possible to run a world that has the power to destroy itself and that needs global collaborative solutions to prevent that,” Cox said. 
The physicist explained that advances in science and technology would rapidly outstrip the development of institutions cable of keeping them under control, leading to the civilisation’s self-destruction: 
“It may be that the growth of science and engineering inevitably outstrips the development of political expertise, leading to disaster. We could be approaching that position.” 
Cox’s comments came ahead of the publication of his new book, Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos, written with his colleague Manchester University physicist Jeff Forshaw. 
The pair suggest that politicians should start thinking like scientists by grounding their views in evidence in order to tackle global challenges like climate change.
Climate change. Of course.

Can someone please inform Mr. Cox that astronomers barely understand our own solar system?* How do these people speak with such authority about planets trillions of miles away when they have yet to determine what's floating around outside the orbit of Pluto? 

This isn't science, this is dorm-room navel gazing, writ large.

What Cox is in fact doing here is sucking up to the archon class, and providing them with the existential justification for unilaterally breaking down our entire socioeconomic system and replacing it with an iron-fisted feudalism in which no middle class (long a thorn in the side of oligarchal rule-by-fiat) remains.

Because if we don't fight climate change there goes the entire universe, bro.


What is it Sam Kriss wrote again?

And something Luciferian persists in the techno-Gnostics of San Francisco. They have decided that our universe is the conscious creation of a higher power, and now they’re massing their armies to storm the gates of heaven and go to war with God. 
And like Goethe’s Mephistopheles, their doctrine is omnicidal. ‘All that exists deserves to perish.
And here's where we find ourselves back in Lucifer's Technologies territory, that in fact all that strange new technology some say we suddenly found one sultry summer morning in the New Mexico desert was in fact a Trojan Horse, lending us the bricks and mortar which to build ourselves an entirely new kind of prison for the human race.

Oh, come on, you say. That's just swivel-eyed tinfoil hat stuff. Low-grade conspiranoia foolishness, not worth even mocking.

Well, maybe so.

But one has to wonder, what would a world in which humanity were trapped- quarantined- on a prison planet in fact look like?

Maybe our spacecraft would be subject to constant monitoring and harassment. How's that sound? Maybe after 60 years of trying we'd be no closer to breaking Earth's orbit than we were when we started.

And maybe our most ambitious attempts to jailbreak Earth would be subject to devastating acts of sabotage:

Around 9am EST, the 604-ton rocket was being fueled with a concoction of liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene propellant when the upper region burst into flames. 
The entire craft was engulfed in what seemed like seconds, including Facebook’s $200 million communication satellite that was specifically designed to bring internet to Africa. 
And although Falcon 9’s creators are baffled by the turn of events, a new theory has emerged that could provide answers. Since the explosion, YouTube videos have been surfacing that highlight a mysterious anomaly passing over Falcon 9 as it sits on the launch pad before, during and after the explosion, Daily Express reported. 
YouTuber Graphics King posted footage yesterday and slowed down the video to reveal a black object flying over the rocket at the moment it met its fate.
Does this smackdown in fact explain Musk's leap into the murky waters of techno-Sethianism? Is it in fact an escape from a far more troubling reality? Why the desperate push for Mars? What is that based on?

Maybe we don't want to know.


Either way, one thing remains true; all the money, fame and power in the world only amplifies one's anxieties. More than sometimes actually.

Though it's certainly hard to muster much (well, any) sympathy for the new robber baron class, given their unending, broad-spectrum assault on the American way of life, we can acknowledge that they may in fact be working from a more comprehensive data set that we are and that their anxieties may in fact be well-placed.


PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL

It certainly seems that the new earthside, small "a"- archons seem to hold all the (micro)chips right now, don't they? But if History teaches us anything it's a strange inversion of the "darkest before the dawn" notion when it comes to imperial power.

Empires seem to reach their zeniths right before it all comes crashing down. Spain, Portugal, Holland, Austria, Turkey- these were all the seats of mighty imperial projects, not so long ago. The British Empire was the largest colonizing force in human history, just a century past. 

The same holds true for conglomerates as well as countries, for bankers as well as bloodlines

Similarly, the new archons of the Valley might want to take a good long look at the old archons of the Valley. Remember AOL? AOL were the undisputed overlords of the online world in the dialup days. Remember AOLTimeWarner? 

How about MySpace? How about Twitter? Remember Twitter?

Or how about Yahoo? Remember Yahoo? 
Good times.

Pay heed, Valley Boys: "Disruption" isn't just a two-way street, it's a demolition derby.

I'm not telling them they don't already know. I'd say that our new overlords are all too aware how shaky their perch is up there on Olympus 2.0. If it takes less and less time for computing power to double, likewise it seems that it takes less and less time these days for corporate titans to fall right back down that hill, like Sisyphus and his stone.  


  We can only hope they don't take the rest of the world down with them.

 



*And how does Cox write a "Guide to the Cosmos" if he's never stepped foot off Earth? I've never been to Denmark but you don't see me writing travelogues about it now, do you?

Monday, October 17, 2016

AstroGnostic: You'll Be Godlike, Part Two

And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

"Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley


As economic security and sovereignty fall away forever we now see a harsh new feudalism unfold in front of our eyes.  And our new overlords-- who delight in smashing apart our world no less than the Gothic tribes of the Fifth Century enjoyed sacking Rome-- are from Silicon Valley.
A new report released Friday finds that just five major technology companies control almost one-third of all corporate cash in the United States, amounting to some $504 billion. 
The report, released by international ratings agency Moody's Investor Service, revealed that Apple, Microsoft, Google parent company Alphabet, Cisco Systems and Oracle owned about 30 percent of the $1.7 trillion in cash and cash equivalents controlled by non-financial corporations in 2015.  
Apple, which has been the world's wealthiest company since 2009, possessed $215.7 billion in 2015, making it more prosperous that the entirety of eight of 10 industry sectors. 
All of the top 50 wealthiest corporations have at least $6.12 billion in cash.
"The top four cash-heavy U.S. industries remain technology, health care/pharmaceuticals, consumer products and energy," Richard Lane, a senior vice president at Moody's, said in a statement.
 
Spearheaded by device makers such as Apple and Microsoft, the tech sector is gobbling up more wealth each year.
This new world was announced to the reading public in no uncertain terms 50 years ago by Bill Clinton's favorite professor, so we can't say we weren't warned:
“The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. 
This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences... " - Tragedy and Hope: A History of The World in Our Time, Professor Carroll Quigley, Georgetown University
"Frequent private meetings and conferences." Davos, Bilderberg, the Open Society Foundation...ring any bells? You think they were just tasting wines and playing naked Twister all these years?

But is there a warning for the new archons somewhere in all of this?



CEOs, cabals, corporations, nations, empires; they all come and go. Do you remember when Japan was at the top of the techno-corporate heap? Remember Rising Sun?  Go read any of William Gibson's novels from the 80s and 90s and immerse yourself in a weltanschauung where Japan's future world dominance was taken for granted. 

My my, how things have changed.

You can be certain of one thing in these turbulent times: the companies ruling the roost today will be ruing tomorrow, just as IBM, Wang, and Bell Labs (the one-time "Holy Grail" of American high technology) themselves were. 


After all, disruption is a two-way street, bro. 

I guess when the axe falls on their necks they can comfort themselves with the knowledge it's all for the good of "creative destruction." And stuff.

Indeed, antitrust regulators in Europe are already taking aim at the top powerhouses of the Valley. Apple has just gotten socked over their tax shenanigans and there's surely more where that came from. Strap yourselves in for a rough ride, especially if you live in Europe.



"Disruption" aside, there is the trifling little detail that all these hotshots in Silicon Valley are actually doing fuck-all but rearranging the deck chairs around on the Techno-Titanic.

As we discussed in the Lucifer's Technologies series, real innovation is long dead. I mean, deader than Elvis. 


And don't quote little ol' me on that, quote all the papered experts in lofty university chairs, not to mention the bigwigs in Silicon Valley itself:
Max Levchin and Peter Thiel are not ones to mince words: “Innovation in this country is somewhere between dire straits and dead,” Levchin said at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference today. 
PayPal’s co-founders are collaborating on a book with Russian grand chestmaster Garry Kasparov called The Blueprint about what they see as a slow decline of innovation in the U.S. 
“If you look outside the computer and the internet, there has been 40 years of stagnation,” said Thiel, who pointed to one of his favorite examples: transportation. ”We are no longer moving faster,” Thiel noted. Transportation speeds, which accelerated across history, peaked with the debut of the Concord in 1976. One decade after 9/11, Thiel says, we are back to the travel speeds of the 1960s. 
This is hardly a new theme for the Facebook financier. When FORBES profiled Thiel last February, he blamed the world’s problems on what he calls “stalled technological innovation.” 
Which begs the question if we're so damn clever to send the rate of technological progress shooting skyward after World War II, what has changed since? 

Of course there is a natural rhythm to progress, a time of striving followed by a moment of breakthrough, often followed by a longer period of consolidation. Individuals experience this and cultures- collections of individuals, after all- are no different.

But the postwar breakthroughs were far too extreme to account for the stasis and stagnation we've been muddling through for the past 40 years. We had some excellent scientists and engineers in that postwar (or post-Roswell, if you prefer) period, and they had access to a lot of money, but the same still holds true today. More so, in fact. 

And there it is, that brick wall. Ouch.

Some argue that the real innovation has all been taken into the black; the secret space program and the rest of it. And there's surely some truth to that. But I seriously doubt there's as much gee-whiz lurking in the shadows as many might assume, which is why the Valley Boys are constantly moving the pieces around the board to create the illusion of change.

But at the end of the day the numbers don't lie.


Is this why we see this retreat into fantasies of omnipotence and immortality, of rewriting the code of Creation itself? As a buffer against the cold, hard reality that a Jetsons future will never arrive?
.........


That in fact a much harsher sci-fi future awaits us all?
THE YEAR IS 2030. Forget about the flying cars, robot maids, and moving sidewalks we were promised. They’re not happening. But that doesn’t mean the future is a total unknown.  
According to a startling Pentagon video obtained by The Intercept, the future of global cities will be an amalgam of the settings of “Escape from New York” and “Robocop” — with dashes of the “Warriors” and “Divergent” thrown in. It will be a world of Robert Kaplan-esque urban hellscapes — brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers. 
At least that’s the scenario outlined in “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” a five-minute video that has been used at the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations University. All that stands between the coming chaos and the good people of Lagos and Dhaka (or maybe even New York City) is the U.S. Army, according to the video, which The Intercept obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
Is this why the new archons are so eager-- desperate-- to escape to Mars or to an inflatable Villa Straylight?

The dotcom crash wasn't that long ago, but it seems that too many investors have forgotten its hard lessons. There was some wobbling at the foundations of the Unicorn Economy a few months back, some signs that the harsh tide of reality was going to wash away this beautiful city made of sand, but with the election approaching it seems that the Valley got a fresh infusion of capital, if only to avoid any undue disruption. 

But after the election? Things might very well change:

Another stock bubble is emerging within the capital markets, largely fueled by the Silicon Valley “unicorns” that have scored sky-high valuations in recent years. The company that started by offering air mattresses in San Francisco, Airbnb, has been valued as high as $30 billion. Even more shocking is the suggestion that the ridesharing service Uber could be valued as $66 billion. Contrast Uber’s valuation with that of BMW ($60.4 billion) and and GM ($49.6 billion), companies that own assets across the globe, own copious amounts of technology and at a fundamental level, actually manufacture real things. 
The continued growth of these companies has led several analysts to suggest that the markets could be subjected to a massive “short,” akin to what happened with the credit default swaps that helped destabilized global financial markets in 2008.   
What would that short look like? Take this grim report and multiply it by a hundred. Or a thousand:
Silicon Valley is in shock today as folks wake up to find Mode Media, once one of digital media’s highest-flying unicorns, is dead. 
The ad network, formerly known as Glam Media, abruptly shut down on Thursday after burning through $225 million in investor cash. 
The bad news fell particularly hard on Mode’s 300-person workforce. Not only are they out of a job, but Mode is offering them no severance pay and health coverage only through Sept. 30 — with no option for Cobra.  
For continued health care, the now-unemployed workers should apply for ObamaCare, the company said in an unsigned memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.
Obamacare? Well, that's another scary story you'll be hearing more about after the election.  

Think of these young, whipsmart Mode coders; one day they're the toast of the town, sneering at the bitter clingers of Flyover America from their lofty cubicles in the Sacred Valley and the next they're filling out Obamacare forms. 

That's gotta sting.

The cold, hard fact is that most of these companies are actually not profitable and are burning through capital raised on pretty promises of future world domination. Eventually the easy money is going to dry up and the VC hotshots are going to call in their markers.

It's starting to look as if that day might be coming soon.


There is also the reality that many of the major players in the Valley are in bed with the Deep State and allowing themselves to be used for ever-greater surveillance.

But the Deep State is not especially known for its brand loyalty, as the shades of yesterday's masters of the universe will dolefully inform you. Many of the huge companies who got fat and happy off defense dollars are distant memories now.

You can be certain that no small number of Valley unicorns will soon follow them into the dustbin of history.


So are these techno-God fantasies in fact a danger sign for all of us, a sure signal that even the rich and powerful fear the future, the future they in no small part created? A retreat into daydreams of deity, fed by one too many ayahuasca field trips and an army of backscratching TEDTalkers?

EXCUSE ME, BUT WHERE ARE THEY GOING?


The Valley's Godcoding talk may be just talk but the Silicon Space Race is anything but. When Obama took office I talked about how one of his roles would be to speed along the new space-based economy and that's one prediction that's come true.

But the question remains why?


I have a very hard time buying into all this Mars business, seeing as how we haven't even parked any of our shiny new toys on the Moon. Mars is really, really, really far and the Moon is just plain far. So what's the problem?

There's also the fact that Mars has no magnetosphere to speak of and that a trip there is basically a guaranteed one-way suicide mission.


So what's the big attraction about the Red Planet?

The Mars exploration missions are fascinating in their own way and have produced an even more fascinating body of conspiracy theorizing around them. There are also the so-called Mars anomalies, feeding a parallel community of cybersleuths.

But even if you think the Mars missions are faked there's no arguing that the money spent by the Valley Space-Racers is very real.  And of course Elon Musk tops that list.

Musk, with his eccentric indulgences, seems so far to be sidestepping the fate that befell former Silicon Valley pasha Joe Firmage, whose interest in UFOs either preceded or coincided with a steep fall from professional and personal grace, a fall that would have the late John Keel shaking his head knowingly over.

Maybe someone should have told him that those ancient Gnostic texts that Sam Kriss cited in The Atlantic also give us clues as to the exact nature of those enticing riddles in the sky.

Maybe somebody should tell the Space-Racers that those same ancient texts warn us that we're probably not going anywhere in those shiny new toys either...



TO BE CONTINUED

SECRET SUN READING LIST