“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Time for a Million Man March on Washington

It is past time for the US construction industry to get off their collective ass and take a million man march to Washington and demand that no more money be shoveled over to the bankers and Wall Street. No more growing of government.

There are 2.15 million government workers and in two years alone, 1.8 million civilian US construction jobs have been lost.

For all of 2009, construction spending plummeted a record 12.4% to $939.1 billion from $1.07 trillion. That's the biggest, one-year decline since the Commerce Department started keeping records in 1964. Focus on that number $131 billion. Let me repeat $113 billion.

The US Government shoveled $183 billion into AIG alone and under the Obama Administration has put next to nothing into construction.

Schools, bridges, hospitals, highways, historic structures, research facilities and factories can all be built or refurbished and will all have a payoff in the future.

No industry can create jobs, wealth and prosperity better than construction, yet this administration has done next to nothing.

Lace up your Timberlands, Grab your hard hat. Get in your pickups and get to Washington. Let them know who is boss.



From Associated General Contractors of America:

Developer-financed categories recorded especially large declines, including lodging (down 46 per cent); retail, warehouse and farm (down 37 per cent); and office (down 35 per cent).
In contrast, publicly-funded construction increased by 1.0 per cent between December 2008 and 2009.

Construction Spending Drops to Lowest Level in Six Years
Feb 2, 2010 2:28 PM

Construction employment grew in only four out of 337 metropolitan areas in 2009 as spending on construction projects dropped by $100 billion in December to a 6-yr low of $903 billion, according to a recent analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) of federal figures released on February 1.

“The impact of the stimulus is clearly being overshadowed by the sweeping downturn in overall construction demand,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Without those public investments, however, a bad employment situation will only get worse during 2010.”

Simonson noted new Census Bureau figures released on February 1 show that private non-residential spending dropped 18% compared to December 2008. He added that only power construction increased from year-ago levels, by 14%. Developer-financed categories recorded especially large declines, including lodging (down 46%); retail, warehouse and farm (down 37%); and office (down 35%).

In contrast, publicly funded construction increased by 1% between December 2008 and 2009, Simonson notes. He adds that stimulus spending helped boost highway and street construction by 3.7%, making it the largest public category. Educational construction, however, dropped 4% during the year. Private residential construction dropped 11% for the year as multi-family construction tumbled, although spending on single-family housing has increased for seven months in a row.

Simonson says the declines in construction spending were leading to layoffs in almost every community in America. Leominster-Fitchburg, Mass., lost a larger percentage of its construction work force (38%) during 2009 than any other metropolitan area according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. The agency includes mining and logging with construction in most metro areas to prevent disclosure about industries with few employees. Other areas experiencing sharp declines in construction employment during the year include El Centro, Calif. (36%); and Santa Fe, N.M.; Pocatello, Idaho; and Kokomo, Ind. (all 29%). Meanwhile, the Houston, Texas, area lost the most construction jobs (25,500) between December 2008 and 2009.

Of the four metropolitan areas with an increase in construction employment during the past 12 months, only two areas had gains of more than 100 jobs: Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa. (1,500 jobs, 13% gain) and Tulsa, Okla. (700 jobs, 3% gain). Two metro areas had gains of 100 jobs each in construction: Springfield, Ohio, (8%) and Columbus, Ind. (5%).

Association officials caution that, without new investments in infrastructure projects, construction employment will only get worse. They noted that the fiscal year 2011 budget request released by President Obama outlines some important new infrastructure investments, including establishing a national infrastructure fund and boosting investments in high-speed rail and new air-traffic control facilities. Many of those new investments, however, were offset by cuts for new water infrastructure projects and levee projects, for example.

Source: Associated General Contractors of America


  1. Growing Beyond the Consent of the Governed

    The $3.8 trillion dollar federal budget that President Obama announced Monday is another bruising blow to American freedom. Government is growing beyond the consent of the governed.

    In 2008, government spent 38% of everything produced in the U.S. (gross domestic product) and last year the figure shot above 40%, perhaps as high as 43% though the numbers are still being crunched.

    When government spends so much, less is left for people to spend as they choose. Only once before in American history did government spending cross that 40% threshold — to wage World War II. Nothing today justifies a similar confiscation of nearly half of people's resources.

    Amazingly, though the 40% mark is being crossed, politicians continue to propose costly programs that you will have to pay for with the fruits of your labor. No matter who your employer is, you're actually toiling for the politicians. They're not public servants. They're making you a servant. How much more freedom are you willing to give up?

    I bet no member of Congress has ever asked you:

    "Would you rather buy something for your family or re-cover your sofa instead of funding National Public Radio? Would you rather make your own car payments instead of bailing out the auto industry or expanding aid to Africa?

  2. Comrade Rufus will soon be along to assure us that (as always) ACTUAL government expenditures will be far lower than projected, and all will end well with peace, freedom, and prosperity for all in the new Socialist State of Amerika.

  3. MLD,
    Maybe add muzzle, to assist her in addressing her eating disorder?

  4. Where do you see an eating disorder?

    I'm still laughing at the woman in New York that was fined for using a female impersonator as a passenger for carpooling. The officer was suspicious because the plastic woman was wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day.

    Some people have sensitivity to light. I wear sunglasses on a cloudy day. Wouldn't that be considered profiling?

  5. The idea was to find someone in construction gear that corresponded with the post. But your choices were nice.

  6. The numbers you cite may well be accurate, doug-o, but the headline ...

    That is not.

    The governed have consented to these historic expenditures financed by Federal debt. The trend was set in the 1980's and has continued as the status que, ever since.

    The specific designs of the Democrats, those now in positions of leadership, well known to the electorate prior to the last election.

    The governed not only consented, they did so overwhelmingly.

  7. With Benefits, Average Federal Worker Salaries Double Private Sector Wage

    The CATO study, released in September, puts the average federal civilian salary with benefits at $119,982 vs. $59,909 for the private sector. Federal government employees now earn fully double that of their private sector countrymen. In 2004, the average federal employee made two-thirds more than a person employed in the private sector according to CATO. The rate of disparity is growing rapidly. Total federal employee compensation grew 57% from 2004-2008 and just 30.8% in the private sector over the same period.

    Neither CATO or USA TODAY explored the non-financial compensation aspects of either group, such as job security, guaranteed wage increases, and pension security. Taking all three into account, federal government jobs would become even more valuable as the government doesn’t often shrink while private sector jobs ebb and flow on a more consistent basis.


  8. Bullshit, as usual, elRato:
    The Fools thot the won was a centrist.

    Now they know he's not, and Dems will pay dearly.

  9. He ran on everything he is not.


  10. "I about fell off my chair when I saw that the number of federal employees making more than $150,000 have more than doubled in the last 18 months," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican.

    "While the American people are hurting, the federal government is padding its pocket.

    This is totally inappropriate and unacceptable

    Read more

  11. What you are seeing, doug, is an expression of anti-incumbency.

    Expressed against the GOP, last time, and now raising against the Dems.

    But there is no alternative to greater Federal control proposed. The GOP does not have one, it just calls for a slightly different approach.

    This is what makes the foreign observers perceive an increased chance of a breakdown of the social structure of the US.

    Greater economic distress, due to the continuing deflation of real estate values, coupled with high unemployment, issues not being adequately addressed by the Federals of either party.

  12. The purpose of the Obama Administrations fiscal policy is REPARATIONS

    "Reparations for slavery is a proposal by some in the United States that some type of compensation should be provided to the descendants of enslaved peoplE"


    Why? so we can REDISTRIBUTE the wealth...

  13. Indeed, WIO,
    We DESERVE punishment.
    Rev Wright told BHO so.

  14. ...and all the stupid motherfuckers that saw nothing wrong with sending your kids to a hate mongering race-baiter week after week asked for it.
    In this case, 'Rat is right.

  15. BHO is single handedly bankrupting Las Vegas.

    Guess what, students:

    Gambling is verbotten for Islamics.

  16. ...or as StepOnAllofUs said:
    "You mean your CHRISTIAN faith!"

    ...although the all-loving Obamas have yet to find a "christian" replacement for Rev Wrighto.

  17. Oprah is the Queen of communication, in the United States, doug.

    It was her Church, too.

    It is "Mainstream".

    That's the point you continue to willfully miss. Wright, Obama and Oprah are not radicals, they well represent the American demographic, exemplified by their well documented success in our capitalist society,
    the "Invisible Hand" vote tallies with the political.

  18. bob-al will be pleased, he saw Vegas as a cesspool of pleasures, where one of his lost loves went.

    Think that will kill the "Debtor Express" bullet train from LA?

  19. The complete PDF of that Cartel link is well worth reading, if you are interested in understanding American security issues.

  20. The NATO general in charge of training the Afghan police has some tongue-in-cheek career advice for the country’s recruits.
    “It’s better to join the Taliban; they pay more money,”
    said Brig. Gen. Carmelo Burgio, from Italy’s paramilitary Carabinieri force. That sardonic view reflects a sobering reality. The attempts to build a credible Afghan police force are faltering badly even as officials acknowledge that the force will be a crucial piece of the effort to have Afghans manage their own security so American forces can begin leaving next year. Though they have revamped the program recently and put it under new leadership, Afghan, NATO and American officials involved in the training effort list a daunting array of challenges, as familiar as they are intractable.

    -- New York Times

  21. Where bin Laden's girls once strolled the beaches, in front of (Mr. ignorance is bliss) al-Doug his yacht laid in anchor, near offshore.

    al-Doug could have prevented 9-11, had he only connected the dots,
    instead of popping another Coors.

  22. "That's the point you continue to willfully miss.

    Wright, Obama and Oprah are not radicals, they well represent the American demographic, exemplified by their well documented success in our capitalist society,
    the "Invisible Hand" vote tallies with the political.
    ah, but them Ophra voters are no longer as motivated by the reality as they recently were for the
    Fantasy Savior Obama.

  23. What reality, doug, that there are no policy alternatives offered by the Federals?

  24. The DOW is off 175 because of additional losses in jobs. The Democrats are still talking about how they can get the health care bill passed.

  25. The Taliban have that "oil money" behind them.

  26. We need to put the "Construction" Workers, to work; and we need to quit sending so much money to the Middle East.

    We've gotta start building lots, and lots of small ethanol refineries in every Congressional district, and, eventually, every county (at least two in each.)

  27. I know you all don't realize this, but the Administration did something important, yesterday, that was very much disliked by a small, but very influential part of their constituency.

    They gave corn ethanol a "break," for a change. I know several of you think this is part of the "green" agenda, but you couldn't be further from the truth.

    He's also starting to talk about getting those Trade Deals done with Colombia, Panama, and S. Korea. They are starting to "edge" toward pragmatism. This shouldn't be ignored.

  28. "It is past time for the US construction industry to get off their collective ass and take a million man march to Washington and demand that..."

    ...they, too, be directly incorporated into the Federal dole as an industry? Cutting out the middle man in the form of banks once eager to creatively satisfy the bipartisan vision of the Home Ownership Society?

    Trying to find the conservative principal in it somewhere. And failing miserably.

    So I gather you are merely jesting.

  29. It remains "Steady as she goes", rufus.

    It took Nixon, to go to China.

    For better or worse.

    But I know that it pleased the Boners.

  30. Mobilizing that anti-incumbent sentiment, trish, not advancing any conservative agenda, is behind the call to put a million construction workers on the march.

  31. BTW, that $8 Billion "High Speed" Rail, deal?

    Five BillionDollars" of it goes to "Standard" Rail Infrastructure improvements. Building double rails to eliminate bottlenecks, etc.

    It requires about 90% Less diesel to move freight, coast-to-coast, by rail than by truck. We're going to do more of that.

  32. HOWEVER, it, Also, requires a lot less human labor once the infrastructure is built out.

    More "retraining" required.

  33. The thing is, we were supposed to have a monster Depression. To avoid same, in the wake of such an Enormous Fuck-up by the banks is almost impossible to comprehend.

    But, the Fed, and Admin actually did a few things "right," and with the WTO, and NAFTA to keep us from completely "screwing the pooch," again, it seems as if we're going to get off with a prolonged, undulating recession.

  34. Nonsense. Construction could be put on its feet by cutting back needless delays and red tape, accelerating depreciation, funding projects with tax exempt revenue bonds, privatising roads and bridges, establishing tax exempt enterprise zones for industry, privatizing airports,allow for tas exempt financing of historic buildings and many more if you're interested.

  35. NY AG bringing "charges" against Ken Lewis.

    I said at the start, that I couldn't see any way in the world that asshole shouldn't be prosecuted. Fucking Thain needs to go down, too.

    Thing is, Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner are in this deal up to their eyeballs, also.

  36. I don't want to sell "My" roads to some Saudi Arabian, or German.

    And, why do "make work" when you can do work that's "Needed?"

  37. tax exempt = subsidy - no?

    I thought one 'conservative' beef was the complexity of the tax code. Your proposals sound like quite the tax hairball...

  38. We don't need more Airports, right now. Air Travel is way down, and it's going to stay "way down" for a long time.

    We will, however, need more "Rail."

  39. We DO tax credits in the U.S. No use railing against those.

    But, we do need to identify "needed" projects, and concentrate on those.

  40. Getting a tax credit is the equivalent of someone stopping twisting your arm.

  41. Picking the "winners".

    Picking the "winners"?

    How should that be done?
    Because it certainly will be.

  42. Kids, just a couple of years, ago, the OECD nations used about 5 Million More Barrels of Oil/Day than we use, now.

    And, the result is? Oil Prices are UP, substantially.

    For the next several years every time we try to come out of recession gasoline is going to jump, and we're going to slide back. This will get worse, and worse until we, finally, diagnose the illness that's killing us.

    If you are "wealthy," you won't recognize the problem, but if you are in the bottom 1/3 of the population it will beat on you constantly

    You Cannot come out of recession if the bottom 1/3 Stays "In" Recession. It can't be done.

  43. It is important that all projects have a future cash flow to support the financing required. Historic adaptation of buildings are good examples.

  44. How do you "Pick the Winners," Rat?

    Pray for "Luck," Son. Pray for "Luck."

  45. I have agreed, rufus, with the concept of dispersed ethanol production, from non-foodstuff feed stocks, for a number of years now. It certainly makes sense from both national and economic security perspectives.

    It is more decentralized than the coal or tar sand liquidification process would be. That, in my mind, makes it the better option.

    If there are some consumer price increases required, that would be preferable to the continuing flow of capital from US to producers not in the Americas.

    Better we recycle those energy dollars here at home, than to send them to foreign sovereign accounts.

  46. You need payrolls;

    Don't look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.

    A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits.

    Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation's biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing -- in other words, a taxpayer bailout.

  47. It looks like the switch grass/corn cob ethanol plants would bring fuel in for about $2.25/gal wholesale if they were up and running, "right now."

    This is a bit higher than the "rack price" of gasoline, today; but, probably lower than the rack price will be next year.

    The template for the future, I believe is that Univ. Tn/Dupont, Danisco project over at Vonore, Tn. Their Demonstration Plant is up, and running, and the farmers are starting to plant more switchgrass.

    The thing is, this project required some gov. help in loan guarantees, etc. to encourage the farmers to "take a chance." It is a project that I believe can be replicated a couple of times in virtually every county in the U.S.

    Exxon is Not a fan.

  48. Uh, no Deuce. The "Federal Gummint" Owes Soc Sec. about $5 Trillion Dollars. The Soc Sec. Administration has The Notes to prove it.

    All the Government has to do is make good on its Notes.

  49. BTW, WE payed that money in. That's Our Money.

    We loaned it to the Government for a ridiculously low interest rate by way of "special" notes. About 2%.

  50. The talking heads on CNBC don't know what hit them. They're in a dither. They really believed that nonsense about a "V-Shaped" Recovery.

    Looks like Europe is the next to fall.

  51. Speaking of anti-incumbent sentiment, my mother pointed out that the (vomitous) Murtha - bringing home the bacon in some fashion or other, one Congressional district over, since 1916 - may have to defend his seat.

    What IS the world coming to?

  52. I'm still getting over my last bout of anti-incumbency, which was a doozy. Often out of step, I am.

  53. Allen, I've read three books by Weiss. While they were a little different from what I expected, anyone not moved by those narratives must necessarily have a heart of stone and the soul of an iceberg. Wanting to make some comments about the subject, I begin here--(this will dribble in over a few days, kinda busy)--

    from Life at Death by Kenneth Ring

    To make the connection between near-death experiences and the holographic theory, we must emphasize the properties of what Pribram calls the frequency domain--the primary reality composed of frequencies only. Of this realm Pribram said:

    The frequency domain deals with density of occurrences only; time and space are collapsed. Ordinary boundaries of space and time such as locations of any sort, a sense, everything is happening at once, synchronously. But one can read out what is happening into a variety of co-ordinates of which space and time are the most helpful in bring us into the ordinary human consciousness.

    From this statement it is only a short step to the implications of direct relevance to us. Pribram, who, from his own statements, appears not to have had any mystical experiences himself, nevertheless has observed:

    As a way of looking at consciousness, holographic theory is much closer to mystical and Eastern philosophy. It will take a while for people to become comfortable with an order of reality other than the world of appearances. But it seems to me that some of the mystical experiences people have described for millenia begin to make some scientific sense. They bespeak the possibility of tapping into that order of reality – (the holographic reality) – that is behind the world of appearances...Spiritual insights fit the descriptions of this domain. They're made perfectly plausible by the invention of the hologram.

    ….By now, the direction I am taking here will be evident, but let me spell it out directly. I assume that t he core experience is a type of mystical experience that ushers one into the holographic domain. In this state of consciousness, there is a new order of reality that one becomes sensitive to—a frequency domain—as time and space lose their conventional meaning. The act of dying, then, involves a gradual shift of consciousness from the ordinary world of appearances to a holographic reality of pure frequencies. In this new reality, however, consciousness still functions holographically (without a brain, I assume) to interpret these frequencies in object. Indeed, as Pribram himself has argued—and he is not alone in this—the universe itself seems to be organized holographically.

    Access to this holographic reality becomes experientially available when one's consciousness is freed from its dependence on the physical body. So long as one remains tied to the body and to its sensory modalities, holographic reality at best can only be an intellectual construct. When one comes close to death, one experiences it directly. That is why core experiencers (and mystics generally) speak about their visions with such certitude and conviction, while those who haven't experiences this realm for themselves are left being sceptical or even indifferent.

    ….Now, we must return to the specific phenomena of the core experience mentioned at the outset of this section. Let us begin with the sense of moving through a dark tunnel or dark void.

    There are of course many possible interpretations of this effect. They range from assumptions that it reflects decreased blood flow or impaired respiration to speculations that tunnel “perceptions” actually represent the flow of the “vital force” through the connecting cord. Between these purely physiological and unverifiable esoteric interpretations, however, is a psychological one that has recently been suggested to me.
    Since it tends to square with my states of consciousness interpretation, I will offer it here.

  54. According to Izak Bentov, another prominent holographic theorist and consciousness researcher, the tunnel effect:

    Is a psychological phnomenon whereby consciousness experiences “motion” from one “level” to the other. It is the process of adjustment of the consciousness from one plane of reality to another. It is usually felt as movement. This is so for people....for whom this is new. For people who are used to going into the astral or higher levels, this tunnel phenomenon does not happen anymore.

    Thus what Bentov appears to be saying is that the tunnel or darkness is an intermediate or transitional zone occurring between levels of consciousness. It is as though one's awareness is “shifting gears” from ordinary waking consciousness to a direct perception of the frequency domain. The gap in time while this shift is being effected is experienced as movement through (a dark) space. What is actually “moving”, however, is awareness itself—or mind without a body—and what it is moving “through” is the gateway to holographic, of four-dimensional, consciousness. This is why Bentov can imply that when this shift becomes habitual it occurs instantaneously. Tunnel effects, then, are merely the mind's experience of transitions through states of consciousness.

  55. By the way, I noticed Obumble actually said something that made some sense, rcently.

    One shouldn't take the money to Las Vegas and squander it.

  56. Tends to tick the wife off, among other unpleasantries.

  57. Is the glass half full, or empty, doug?

    Wall Street Journal -

    For the first time, government programs next year will account for more than half of all US health-care spending, federal actuaries predict, as the weak economy sends more people into Medicaid and slows growth of private insurance.

  58. MeLoDy is right. That is certainly what you want leading a parade of construction workers.

  59. Whit, if I can get summer like weather by the end of the month, I will put that on and lead them myself. We're getting hammered this weekend and poor South Jersey and the shore points are really getting hit this winter.

  60. It's suppose to start tomorrow around five and continue into Saturday evening.

    Two nights snowed in = Crazy Mel and lots of margaritas.

  61. ah, it's a winter wonderland! Too bad I'll miss it as I wing off early tomorrow to the land Deuce used to sell.

  62. Another argument in support of a psychological interpretation of the tunnel phenomenon is based on occasional reports on can find in the literature where people claim to be aware of “others” in the tunnel. To illustrate this, let me simply relate an anecdote recently told me by Raymond Moody. After one of Moody's talks, a woman approached him in order to recount he own near-death experience. Part of it involved her moving through the tunnel towad the brilliant golden light. What was unusual in her case, however, is that as she was moving through the tunnel, she saw a friend of hers coming back! As they drew nearer, somehow the friend conveyed the thought to her that he had “sent back”. Later according to what Moody was told, it developed that her friend had actually suffered a cardicac arrest at the approximate time of the woman's own experience. At this writing, Moody is attempting to verify the details of this case and to find out whether the friend himself had any awareness of the woman informant in the tunnel. In any event, if authenticated, t his is certainly a provocative and, to my knowledge, unique case.

    Finally, the tunnel effect is not restricted by an means to near-death circumstances. This phenonenon has been reported in out-of-body episodes not associated with death, where a transition in consciousness was subjectively taking place. Such occurrences are again consistent with a psychological interpretation of the kind that I am advancing and also reinforce the point made earlier that aspects of the core experience may occur whenever consciousness can be detached from the body.

    The next phenomenon that manifests itself is, of course, the brilliant golden light, which is sometimes seen at the end of the tunnel and at other times appears independent of a tunnel experience. Sometimes, As we have noted, people report that it envelopes them rather than being seen as though at a distance.

    What is this light? In my own view, it represents two distinct, but related, phenomena.

    One interpretation is that it represents the “light” associated with the state of consciousness one enters after death. At this level of consciousness—where we are no longer constrained by the sensory systems of the physical body—we are presumably sensitive to a higher range of frequencies, which appear to us as light of extraordinary brilliance and unearthly beauty. In many traditions, this is spoken of as the light of the “astral” world or plane, and it is said that, for most people,this is the realm to which one “goes” after death. Of course, there is no way of providing acceptable scientific evidence for such statements, but it is perhaps at least noteworthy that virtually every description that purports to convey
    a sense of “the next world” depicts “a world of light”. This is true not only for ancient esoteric traditions, but is also found in the accounts of accomplished individual mystics, both historical and contemporary. Not only that, but the extensive popular literature on “life after death” is replete with descriptions from a great diversity of sources which accord with this conception of an astral realm. None of this material, however voluminous, would be evidential in the courts of science, but it still seems reasonable to ask” Could they all be in error?

  63. In my own opinion, the idea of an astral reality—or call it whatever else you will—to which we may become sensitive at t he point of death is not an outlandish notion, even if it can never be established scientifically. In any event, my own provisional conclusion is that one interpretation of the light phenomenon reported by our respondents is that it represents a glimpse of this astral reality.

    I said before that, in my judgment, the perception of the brilliant golden light actually represents two separate but related phenomena. If “astral light”--as a range of frequencies to which we are sensitive in a fourth dimension, or holographic reality—is one aspect of the light effect, we still need to know what the other is.

    And at this point, we must enter boldly, if with considerable trepidation, into the heart of the interpretative mystery of near-death and other experiences. What we will find there, however, will not so much resolve the mystery as it will enlarge our sense of it.

    Moody spoke of a “being of light”, and though none of our respondents used this phrase some seemed
    to be aware of a “presence” (or “voice”) in association with the light. Often, but not always, this presence is identified with God. However this may be, I want to consider what the light rerpresents when it is conjoined with the sense of a presence or with an unrecognized voice.

    Here we must, I think, make a speculative leap. I submit that his presence/voice is actually—oneself!
    It is not merely a projection of one's personality, however, but one's total self, or what in some traditions is called the higher self. In this view, the individual personality functions in a seemingly autonomous way, as though it were a separate entity. In fact, however, it is invisibly tied to the larger self structure of which it is a part. An analogy would be that the individual personality is like a child who, when grown up, completely forgets his mother and then fails to recognize her when they later meet.

    What has this to do with the light? The answer is – or so I would say – that his higher self is so awesome, so overwhelming, so loving, and unconditionally accepting (like an all-forgiving mother) and so foreign to one's individualized consciousness that one perceives it as separate from oneself, as unmistakably other. It manifests itself as a brilliant golden light, but it is actually oneself, in a higher form, that one is seeing. It is as though the individual, being throughly identified with his own limited personality, asks: “What is that beautiful light over there?” never conceiving for a moment that anything so magnificent could possible be himself in his complete—and, we need to add here, divine—manifestation. The golden light is actually a reflection of one's own inherent divine nature and symbolizes the higher self. The light one sees, then, is one's own.

    The higher self furthermore has total knowledge of the individual personality, both past and future. That is why, when it is experienced as a voice, it seems to be an “all-knowing” one (to use the phrase of one respondent). That is why it can initiate a life review and, in addition, provide a preview of an individual's life events. At this level, information is stored holographically and is experienced holographically—simultaneously or nearly so. In fact, the life review is a holographic phenomenon par excellence; I have even heard a couple of individuals, who knew about holograms, characterize their life reviews in this way. In Pribram's words, in holographic consciousness, “everything is happening all at once, synchronously.

  64. Haunting memories of Black Saturday often rush back to Jason Lynn, sometimes triggered by the sound of wind in the trees, or the smell of dust in the air.


    One year on, Mr Lynn says things are slowly changing. He and his wife and children - who amazingly made it out alive when they fled the fire - are living back on their property.


    Jacob Hickey, the director of Inside the Firestorm, interviewed eight families who survived Black Saturday.

    1 Year On

  65. Bob's goin' to bed, till tomorrow. I got things to dream about.

    From this perspective, it is easy to understand why so many interpret this kind of experience a “a conversation with God”” or simply “being with God” and, in a sense, they are right. If one can accept the idea of a higher self, it is not difficult to assume that that self—as well as the individual himself—is actually an aspect of God, or the Creator, or any such ter

    m with which one feels comfortable. Sine most people are used to thinking dualistically of God as somehow “up there” while they remained “down here”, they can be expected to interpret their experience with their higher self as a direct encounter with God. The idea of “God” is, after all, more familiar to most people than is the notion of a higher self.

    This is perhaps not the appropriate context to get deeply into this issue, but readers familiar with various spiritual traditions will know that the point of many spiritual disciplines, such as meditation and prayer, is precisely to cultivate an awareness of one's higher self in order to align one's personality with it. It is believed that in this way one can live more fully in accordance with the total being of which one's personality is but an expression.....

    There is one further feature of the core experience that we must consider in connection with the higher-self interpretation I have advanced: the decisional crisis. If the higher self does indeed have total
    knowledge of the individual personality, both past and future, that knowledge must include the “programmed” time of death for the personality. Thus, when an individual is told that he is being “sent back” or the “his time has not yet come”, this presumably reflects the “life program” of that person's life. The “spirits” who sometimes give these injunctions also seem to have access to this information. It will be recalled, however, that the majority of individuals who report that a decision was made about their fate feel that they made it themselves—that they were given a choice. In such cases, we must either assume that the “life program” of an individual is modifiable after all—at least in certain states of consciousness—or that the higher self knows all along what choice the individual will himself make. At this level, we can only speculate whether the sense of choice individuals feel they have is real or illusory. For my part I would like to believe it is real, but it is difficult to see how we could ever know this.
    tomorrow: interacting thought structures in the other world, or, you hang out with those you like...

  66. By the time I get done, Allen is going to owe me big time. He'll have to read Black Elk Speaks, which will be my demand.

  67. When a British ad man sleeps: