Let’s Rap With Cap About Conspiracy!

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First off, I should say this post has spoilers for the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing. Second, this post contains a number of “real life” conspiracy theories that were addressed in the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing.

The new Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an entertaining movie, which is the most important thing in the end. Its just a movie. A superhero movie. But I’m kinda partial to superhero flicks. Turns out, this has easily become a favorite.

In addition to it being a great film though, I saw a whole lot of what many people believe to be real-life conspiracies being played out on the screen. I don’t necessarily buy into all of the good old conspiracy theory stuff, but I don’t dismiss out of hand either. At the very least, I think it is important to stay informed and be able to see the issues from multiple angles. And its plain to see that there is a whole lot of bullshit going on in the world now.

Anyway, seeing these conspiracies play out on the screen was kind of like a slap in the face the first time I saw the movie. When I saw it again, I decided I’d write about it.

The main plot has Hydra infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. and that is a good place to start. In Marvel Comics, Hydra begins as an arm (or hydra-head) of the Nazi party during WWII. Hydra begins to take on a life of its own over time, but it has its roots with the Nazi. In the movie, Hydra infiltrates S.H.I.E.L.D. through coercion and deception in order to take over the US government. Okay, so that is Marvel’s history. In our real world, it could be said that something similar has been going down.

Its well established that during his rise to power, Hitler got a huge bulk of his funding from many American corporations and banks. It is a historical fact that some of these corporations were involved with eugenics research, gave money, support, provided raw materials and weaponry to the Nazi party and Hitler. A side note, but it also well established that George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush (former President George W. Bush Sr.’s grandpappy and father, dis-respectively) helped Hitler rise to power. Another side note, it is also known that Prescott Bush helped plan a government coup in 1933 meant to topple President Franklin D. Rossevelt, because Bush believed that fascist policy would get America through the Great Depression.

Fast forward a little bit. In the movie, after the end of WWII, a number of Nazi scientists were brought over to America where they were allowed to continue their research. Well, in the really-real world this also happened. Hundreds of Nazi scientists were brought over to work with the American military under Operation Paperclip. Many of those (former? current?) Nazis rose to positions of power in our own government, probably most the famous being Wernher von Braun, who went on to become a director of NASA. I’ll leave it to you to imagine how deep their influence went.

Alrighty, back to the movie where S.H.I.E.L.D. is run by a world council which decides the fate of nations. Well, that looked a lot to me like the much anticipated New World Order back here in our world. Or maybe the Bilderberg Group? Actually, the whole Captain America movie seemed to be a story about how the New World Order might rise to power.

I’m kind of skipping around, but back to the movie and how it begins. Cap and a bunch of agents are sent to free hostages and recover stolen data from a hijacked warship. As the film progresses they discover that the kidnappings were part of a government sanctioned operation. Back in our world these are known as False Flag operations, and there are many people who believe our government uses these False Flag operations to manipulate the People into giving away their freedom. This is, to my mind, where you have to tread very lightly and keep a healthy dose of skepticism.

I personally am not one of those people who buy into “9/11 was an inside job” hook line and sinker, but there are many people who do, and it is easy to understand why. There are so many unanswered questions and things that were covered up. Whatever you think about the tragedy, its plain to see that our world is completely different since that infamous date. Unending wars against an undefined enemy, post-traumatic national fear (there is a terrorist under your bed!), the self-proclaimed “Patriot” Act, economic collapse (in spite of what we’ve been told, we can’t afford all of this war. Can’t afford it financially or morally), Citizens United, government surveillance… and on… and on.

That paragraph above reminds me of Arnim Zola‘s point about how we have traded in our freedom for security, comfort and convenience. Sounds about right to me.

Speaking of Zola and government surveillance, didn’t Arnim Zola’s monitoring of American citizens in the film sound very similar to what Edward Snowden revealed about our own government?

And didn’t those new S.H.I.E.L.D / Hydra helicarriers sound an awful lot like government drones? Granted, they were fancy drones, but their function was the same. That is, anonymous death. Killing people from the sky.

I thought this might be a long post, but this has gotten L.O.N.G.

Another observation about the Winter Soldier himself. Didn’t his conditioning sound a lot like CIA sponsored MKUltra? Oh yeah, George Bush Sr. was a CIA Director. Haha, go figure.

One last thing… We should all remember what Italian fascist Mussolini said: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Sound familiar, ehh? I guess Mussolini would know. With government bailouts, the Fed, Corporate Personhood, Citizens United, and many of our new policies written down by lawyers on little scraps of paper stink of fascism. Its plain to see that corporate interest and big finance trump the People pretty much every time. Can you say “Hail HYDRA”?

Anyway, it is great to be a skeptic. And I am skeptical about conspiracy :) Very much so. But its also good to remember, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you!”

Geek Out!

Wildwood

ww_shamanWWT-III have a very strong interest in oracles and omens and I think if we can keep our eyes open, we’ll realize they are everywhere. I know, in this modern world that isn’t very well received, but I don’t care. If I come across a certain animal, bird, tree or rock… well, sometimes those encounters have very deep significance for me, even if I can’t explain why at the time. The synchronicities of everyday life, knowledge gained, an action, a conversation or casual comments… these everyday things can really fire my imagination at the very least. This is a pretty amazing place!

It is hard to put into words, but I feel a deeply spiritual connection between myself and pretty much everything else I share this world with. And even beyond this world. Even though I love science very very much, I instinctively feel like we share connections with each other and the rest of nature that science cannot easily measure. I’m probably starting to sound pretty woo-woo, and I usually try to avoid that at all costs, but I guess I also feel like I’ve got to explain so I can also understand…

pageofarrowswrenI have a very strong interest in and am amazed by divination. I think, if you’re open to it, divinatory systems can give glimpses into our shared physical, mental and spiritual connections. Ancient books like the I Ching are, quite simply, beautiful to me. The history behind the Sibyl and other prophets fascinate me. But on a personal level, what I relate to the most would be the Tarot. As an artist, my eyeballs devour this world, and then I express my thoughts and feelings about it visually through symbols. I find the artwork and symbolism on some tarot decks to be extremely powerful and moving. Its goal is to represent visually the different aspects and experiences we all go through, symbolically, on separate individual cards. Even if you’re not all that open to these symbols as a divinatory system, I think all of us can learn by examining them. Maybe it’ll help at first to think of the pictures as a very complex Rorschach test. Check it out, see what ya see.

KingBowsI don’t have many decks by any means, but if I see one I like, I will pick it up. My personal favorite deck is my Wildwood Tarot. There is something about its primal and animal characters that speak directly to me. With beings like the Green Man, the Ancestor, or the Son of Life running through the deck, how could it not?

As if this post wasn’t already long enough, I have a little side-tangent I’d like to explore.

I don’t know why, but it seems like most of my life I have been drawn to stone-age and bronze-age mythology and magic(k). Not that I practice it really, I don’t think of myself as a pagan or Wiccan, but maybe I lean that way a little bit. I suppose maybe the biggest reason I am drawn to the Wildwood is because it portrays that primitive and primal mythology instead of a medieval court (like many other tarot deck do).

WTT-7SI’ve explored a lot of different religious beliefs. I am very drawn to Hinduism especially, but what I relate to most are the ideas of ancient (i.e. pagan simple country folk) Europe. Nature is magic to me, and spirits move through it. Animals are my friends and trees and rivers whisper secrets. I’ve felt this way for a very long time. The wind cries Mary. I like the city and technology quite a lot too and, even though in a lot of ways it is now, I don’t think it needs to be incongruent with the natural world. Its all a part of Nature I guess. When I was younger running around under starry-skies and tree canopies I used to think to myself that modern man simply cannot relate to ancient customs and thought. Even though I felt a longing for them in my heart, I also felt like an outsider to those customs. I thought the animal in us had died. I think I was right, to some degree. We have changed. But I have come to see more and more that we are all still a part of Nature, and she has evolved with us, and (hopefully) we with Her. These ancient symbols and beliefs still have relevance, and returning to respecting Nature, trying to understand Her language and symbols (and also our own symbols at the same time) are perhaps some of the only things that makes any sense to me anymore. Not that we need to go live in caves, but we need to realize we are a part (not apart) of Nature too and respect that.

thewildwoodtarot.com

I should mention that the Wildwood Tarot was created by John Matthews, Mark Ryan, and illustrated by Will Worthington. Great job fellas!

WWT-IV

sunoflife

 

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5 The Ancestor

 

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Chasing Ice

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esq-chasing-ice-120512-xlgI just watched a movie that I think everyone should see. A documentary called Chasing Ice. The film follows photographer James Balog and his team as they travel to and through the Arctic in order to capture on time-lapsed photography the effects of global warming and the glacial retreat. I heard a really good podcast interview with Balog a year or two ago (can’t remember which podcast though, dag-nabbit) and meant to see the film, but since it wasn’t out quite yet I guess I kind of forgot about it. This last week I saw it was on Netflix and I had to watch. I’m glad I did.

This may seem a little off-topic, but I don’t think so and its something I have felt for a long time… In my life I have come across two different mentalities and approaches to Nature pretty regularly that make no sense to me.

ChasingIce_filmstill2_by_James_Balog-Extreme_Ice_SurveySMThe first is an attitude that each of us are all too familiar with. That is, Nature is just a resource to be used, put up for sale, and exploited by man. The idea that Nature was created just to benefit our own materialistic greed actually does damage to me physically, psychically and spiritually. This approach, which has seeped into pretty much every aspect of our personal and civilized life, damages all of us. But not only us, it also damages every plant and animal we share this world with (wasn’t the world created for them too?). The idea that we can pollute the skies, fill the ocean with oil and plastic, tear and stab at the mountainside for coal, gas, and minerals, not to mention torture animals for their milk and meat… Hell, its obvious there are still some people who see other people that way too. As a resource to be exploited. Well, that attitude seems so ignorant I can’t even believe it. Its inevitable that there are consequences. Boggles the brain.

chasing iceThe other side of the coin is just as disturbing though. I’ve met many many people who sincerely believe that the world would be better off without human beings. Like we are not a part of this world, that we are somehow apart. But we belong here. I don’t mean that we have more rights than anything else to the air, land, and water, but just as much right to it at the very least.  Its a gift to each and every species that share this world. Sure, I also find it disgusting that we’ve exploited Nature too. This is a huge mistake. Whatever your beliefs, atheist, religious, nudist, we were created by Nature or God or Whatever to live here. We belong here. My feeling is we’re not a mistake. Even if you think it all happened by dumb luck and chance, I’m sure you’re still able to see how incredible it is that you can think that thought. And your ability to think that thought is one of Nature’s gifts to you. Whatever you believe, its plain to see we are Nature’s children and rely on Her for our existence, however our existence came to be.

I love Nature. You could even say that I am in love with Her. Whether its a cloud, a tree, a stream, a bird flying over my house, a mountain, another person’s face, or something that other person has created, I see Nature everywhere and She is beautiful (yeah, gotta capitalize Her beautiful name. Can’t be helped). If I don’t spend at least an hour or two every day with Her just walking up the canyon under some trees, I feel like I am going to go crazy.

chasing-ice-melting-glaciers-6I look at the human species as a whole almost in the same way I look at an individual person. That statement probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense without some long-ass explanation, and this post is already long enough. But yeah, sometimes I see our species in the same way that I see an individual. Humanity wakes up for the first time in this strange world and looks around, learns to walk, learns to talk, tries to find its place and meaning, discovers things along the way, gets a little older, and we will eventually die. I know, as an individual, I certainly have made many mistakes in my life. Collectively, we’ve also made many mistakes along the way too. But Nature still gives us Her gifts, and I do believe we can learn from our mistakes and change.

Anyway, a bit of a tangent. You may ask what all these words have to do with the documentary. Well, I guess a good documentary makes you think.

Sometimes I think I need to be more of an activist, but I know that is not my role or calling. My job is to create, to make and share these sometimes strange pictures and ideas that fill my head. But maybe there can be a blending? Anyway, I truly appreciate that there are people like James Balog trying to open peoples eyes to the damage we’ve been causing this world. His film has helped me love Nature even more.

www.chasingice.com

ted.com

upworthy.com

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Comet ISON

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When I was a younger man I was lucky enough to spend huge chunks of my time wandering under the starry skies of Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and California. I loved being in somewhat remote areas, able to look up and see infinity looking back down at me. I made good friends with the Milky Way, the moon, Orion, and other constellations. I’ve often thought that my biggest regret living in a city full-time and being a somewhat responsible adult is I’ve lost my connection to the stars. I mean I can go outside and still see Orion, and he is a good buddy, but I sure can’t see infinity in the sky here in downtown SLC. I miss it…

Don’t get me wrong. All-in-all, I like living where I do. I can go out my front door and in five or ten minutes I’ll be walking next to a stream and up a canyon. That’s pretty sweet! I’ll see some beautiful animal running up the trail ahead of me, and constellations in the canopy of tree branches, so life feels pretty good. I love nature, and being able to walk around in it is great, so I’m not complaining. But I do miss the stars.

I can also tell you that I miss the Comet Hale-Bopp. Haha! Funny to say so long after the fact, but it was so great to be able to see that comet caught up in the spring sky of 1997. In the ancient world, from what I understand, comets were often seen as very ill omens. Maybe because there is some racial memory of a comet cataclysm, or maybe it was just seeing them streak across the (seemingly) eternal night sky was too much change to handle. For me anyway, Hale-Bopp just brought wonder. Any celestial event is a good celestial event in my book, I guess.

Well, there is another comet passing by the sun this week that has potential to become another celestial event that we may be able to see back here on earth. Comet ISON will reach it’s closest point to the sun in its orbit on Thanksgiving, November 28th. There is a good chance that as it does, its tail will blossom and flare and become observable here on earth. I certainly hope so! I’d love to see another omen shouting its way through my night sky, saying to me “Happy Tofurkey-Day!”.

science.nasa.gov

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The Lion Man

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I love primitive artwork. As a matter of fact, I’m kind of obsessed with it. Of course, it is a connection with the past, and while looking at it I can almost travel back in time and be reminded how it felt to live in the animal past.

I read a couple of articles this week about how new carbon-dating has shown Germany’s “Lion Man” to be among the oldest known pieces of figurative art. I am used to hearing about the ancient “Venus” fertility sculptures, which are also beautiful and very old, and was told they were the oldest known carvings. But I guess there were human / lion hybrid being carved at the same time as the oldest Venus.

I am fascinated by the anthropomorphic hybrid. Always have been. These imaginative representations have appeared in the most ancient artwork of every civilization. The Lion Man reminds me that these hybrid images and sculptures have inspired human beings for tens-of-thousands of years. Long before any known civilization. I don’t know why that fascinates and inspires me so much, but it really does!

news.sudanvisiondaily.com | Lion Man
online.wsj.com | Powerful Images from a Primitive Age

They Live!

There is another Presidential debate tonight…

I’ve mentioned the movie here before, but watching news coverage of this election season brings to mind the movie They Live.

So tonight, as we reflect upon the leadership of this fine country, its important we all remember:

No Independent Thought
Money Is Your God
Submit and Conform
Stay Asleep and Watch TV
Buy and Consume
OBEY

“East Meets West” in Ghost Town Cisco

It must have been as far back as the summer of 1996. Not all that often, but occasionally that summer I’d travel down to the ghost town Cisco to do some weekend work in the surrounding area and earn a little extra cash. It was kind of nice to get away from time to time. Cisco is a small rusted out and dilapidated town located in the desert about 50 miles east of Green River, abandoned years and years before I ever arrived. The work I was doing wasn’t hard at all, but it could be kind of spooky because there was absolutely no one else around. There was a little trailer set up among the abandoned buildings that I was able to spend a night or two in as I got my work done, but not much else going on except maybe a bird flying overhead, or maybe a tumbleweed rolling along. The truth is, I didn’t mind much at all. I kind of like and find peace in solitude, and the landscape and sky down there are inspiring. Still, it is easy for my mind and imagination to wander, and I can really spook myself sometimes.

Earlier that year, some artists had come down and taken over one of the abandoned buildings. They built sculptures, painted and hung photos, and turned the place into a remote art installation and sort of gallery, and then left town to find their next project. I was always aware of their building, because one of the sculptures was made of strung up twine or wire and, when the wind would blow, the piece would whistle and create these very weird and eerie sounds. And the wind blew down there a lot, pretty much all the time.

Of course, I was interested in that building. I had to check it out. Crossing the field behind the building I came across a rattle snake, which was maybe an omen of some kind, but I just moved around it no big deal and made my way to the door. I remember the sky was sunset red, which isn’t all that important, but it seems somehow significant now and really stands out in my mind. As soon as I entered the building, I saw rattlesnakes again, crawling in all of the corners. They seemed to have a place to go though, and quickly disappeared into the floor or retreated around corners. I’d already come into the building by then and didn’t feel especially threatened, although the floor did feel kinda “soft”, and I imagined myself falling through it into a rattlesnake den or something. Since I was already in the main room, I looked around. There was a smashed TV, old abandoned toys and dolls, some broken furniture, weird old cowboy boots mounted on shovels or something, and hung along one of the walls was a row of photos. It was a row of portraits, but they showed the back of peoples heads. I checked it all out but didn’t stick around in there too long, because it was a creepy scene, and I did like the sculpture out front a little more. That noisy one. Then I went back to the trailer, read for a while, fell asleep, and haven’t thought about Cisco much since. Except maybe I have…

The only reason I bring it up now is because I dreamed I was there again last night. I dreamed I was in that room with all of those snakes, the broken furniture, looking at photos of the back of peoples heads, a sun-burnt sky glaring through the shattered windows, with these bizarre and spooky sounds blaring in my head. The actual real-life experience was nowhere near as freaky as my dream. It wasn’t pleasant, but I guess that experience meant something, since it woke me up in a panic in the middle of the night some 16 years later.

When I got up this morning, I did a quick search to see if I could find any more information on the art installation. I guess Time Magazine did a write-up on it the next year, and I have posted that below: