The Darkest Moment: Just Before Dawn

Welcome to the July 11 edition of the Satya Center newsletter.

Warm greetings from your Editors, Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry.

Many of our friends, family, clients, customers and neighbors – primarily Americans -- have spoken to us recently about what they describe as a general feeling of malaise, pessimism, and futility they have been experiencing for the last year or two.

It has been perhaps a hundred years since the ruling classes in America have been so bold, so arrogant, and so dominant in every aspect of political, economic and cultural life.

A climate of fear and helplessness pervades the country. This unpleasant climate was triggered by 9/11 and has been tirelessly promoted by a self-serving political elite and a corporate media controlled by a handful of global corporations dedicated to the expansion of their wealth and privilege at any cost.

The long, brutal, authoritarian administration of George W. Bush has presided over an open-ended Imperial war of aggression in Iraq, an unprecedented transfer of wealth from middle class and poor Americans to a wealthy elite, the shredding of the Bill of Rights, and the polarization of the American people into a quasi-fascist right wing and fundamentalist faction, comprising about 30-35% of the population, and a larger, more moderate majority, that opposes the Iraq war, wants universal health care and good jobs at good wages, believes the government has a responsibility to all its citizens, not just large campaign contributors, and supports human rights, at home and abroad.

That would be enough in itself to put Americans in a bad mood. But George W. Bush has benefited from a historical anomaly that rests upon a quirk of American consciousness. Opposition to the immensely unpopular Iraq war has been almost completely ineffective. Labor unions are in retreat. Campuses are basically quiet; young people quietly accept the new social contract in which a vast class divide separates a tiny elite of wealth-holders from a larger group of increasingly insecure corporate job-holders and a beleaguered professional cadre from the vast majority of Americans, who find their wages shrinking, their prospects diminishing, their debt ballooning, and their ability to pay for housing, education, health care and retirement increasingly at grave risk.

The Democratic Party under the leadership of the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill and Hillary Clinton has become a second Republican party, dedicated to advancing the agenda of global corporations, international finance, and the super-wealthy, and Democrats have been completely unwilling to confront the neo-fascist Republicans and George W. Bush on any important issues.

The disconnect between America’s political, economic and intellectual elites and the vast majority of the American people is virtually complete. Elite opinion makers now validate political leaders who ignore the wishes of the vast majority of their constituents and pursue policies designed to enrich and empower the elites at the expense of the rest of us. The crisis of democracy is upon us, here in America, in the early 21st century.

Many commentators on the Internet speak of this crisis, but you will not read about it in any American newspaper or magazine (with a few honorable exceptions such as Harper’s), see discussion of this crisis on any American TV show, or view dramatizations of this crisis in your movie theatre – unless you go to see one of Michael Moore’s courageous films.

Conspiracy theories abound, and the general tenor of these theories is always the same. A vast, shadowy group of immensely powerful individuals has obtained virtually unlimited power and exercises it in every area of life, in America, and around the world, and it is basically futile to oppose them.

The subtext in these theoretical constructs, is for the average American to understand that it’s every man for himself; that there is no point in supporting any political parties, dissident groups, alternative media, unions, or any progressive political movements because resistance is futile.

The subconscious message is that it is far better to arm yourself to the teeth, prepare your family to survive the coming collapse of American civilization, and direct your suppressed rage at those targets sanctioned by the ruling classes, such as immigrants, African-Americans, Muslims, “liberals” and homosexuals.

These conspiracy theories have a long history in America. They are always promoted by right-wing political groups, and they serve the interests of the ruling class in a number of ways: by promoting the myth of the invincibility of the American ruling class, by promoting a general sense of futility among the populace, by promoting a war of all against all, and by dividing Americans along racial, gender and class lines to render opposition to the ruling class ineffective.

These same symptoms of cultural decline, including a general crisis of democracy and unprecedented concentrations of wealth are apparent around the world.

In Britain, Bush’s partner Tony Blair has presided over what amounts to a 21st century Gilded Age, an unprecedented degradation of English cultural life, a glorification of Anglo-American Empire, and an astounding transfer of wealth to the upper classes.

In China, hundreds of millions go hungry while politically well-connected entrepreneurial cadres cash in on real estate and stock market booms underpinned by industrialization for the benefit of international corporations relocating to low-wage countries.

In India, hundreds of millions of farmers are to be removed from their land in the countryside and placed in relocation camps and urban slums, where they have no prospects for advancement, so that global corporations can pursue industrial schemes and large-scale industrial agriculture which will greedily deplete the already scarce water resources. Stock markets and urban real estate markets are creating new classes of super-rich Indians, who increasingly live in a world completely separate from the vast majority of their fellow-citizens.

In France, the new President, Nicolas Sarkozy, won on a platform of harsh law and order police state programs, open racism and the dismantling of France’s generous social programs.

Across Europe, the EU bureaucracy has implemented a program of monetary austerity overseen by a secretive central bank that essentially strips European Union countries of their ability to conduct fiscal policy, and to preserve their generous universal social services. EU elites still seek to ratify an undemocratic and regressive European Union Constitution even though it was resoundingly defeated at the polls over the last few years across the continent.

Meanwhile, global warming proceeds apace. Yet no significant collective response has been organized on a global basis, thanks to the recalcitrance of the world’s biggest energy consumer, the United States. Despite escalating concerns about climate change, massive soil erosion, food shortages, water shortages, and environmental degradation around the world, global consumption of energy continues to increase rapidly. As global energy production fails to meet growing demand, governments around the world are gearing up for a dangerous new round of resource wars, both cold and hot, in which America, Russia, China, India, Iran and other major players compete to control ever more precious energy resources.

Government officials, news media, and rock stars all agree that individuals must make sacrifices to help out in the face of the growing global energy and environmental crisis.

There is no mention of the fact that only concerted collective action by governments at the local, state, federal and international levels can mobilize the resources and fashion the regulations and laws required to produce the vast systemic changes required to avert disaster. There is no mention of the fact that world peace must be the foundation for all efforts to avert the twin energy and environmental crises.

America currently spends about $1 trillion per year on its military operations. Imagine if America declared peace to be the foundation of its foreign policy.

Imagine that America took just 2/3 of its current military budget, some $666 billion per year, and earmarked it for subsidies for development of alternative energy, for development of educational programs for organic farming practices, for subsidies for small scale sustainable farms, for subsidies for homeowners and businesses and cities to implement energy saving technologies and policies, and for aid to bio-regions in need of environmental reconstruction, such as the restoration of wetlands in Louisiana and Florida.

Imagine if America imposed new regulations on international corporations requiring them to meet energy efficiency standards, international labor standards and strict environmental guidelines in all their operations, both foreign and domestic, or face stiff penalties, including and up to dissolution of their operations.

Imagine if America declared a new policy of income redistribution and Fair Play: the creation of a wealth tax designed to force the wealthiest 5% of Americans to pay their fair share of the collective cost of maintaining the global social, legal, governmental, military and political infrastructure paid for by American tax dollars, since the wealthiest are the ones who benefit the most from this grand cultural achievement.

According to a May 18 article in the Baltimore Sun, “The top 1 percent of Americans are now receiving the largest share of national income since the pre-Great Depression year 1928. The top 10 percent get 48.5 percent of total income, an obscene rate of inequality. According to Princeton University Prof. Peter Singer, the top 0.01 percent of taxpayers, or 14,000 Americans, earn an average of $12.7 million each, with total earnings of $184 billion. The rest of the 0.1 percent, 129,600 individuals, now have an average income of just over $2 million. And the top 0.5, or 575,900, have an average income of $623,000.”

“Prof. Singer calculates that if the folks in the top 10 percent gave away between 10 percent to 30 percent of their income, it would raise $404 billion, an amount that would eliminate half of global poverty. And they would not be left to scrimp on their sumptuous lifestyles.”

Imagine if frequent flyers, owners of multiple large homes, and consistent large-scale corporate and individual polluters had to pay hefty fees for the privilege of spoiling the commons?

Imagine if these taxes, which would come to a few hundred billion dollars per year, were earmarked for universal health care and merit scholarships to deserving youth. Insurance companies would be disbanded, and great economies would result since it is well known that management costs for Medicare are only a tiny fraction of the management costs for private health care plans in America.

Imagine if America simply dissolved the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and promoted the creation of regional consortiums of locally controlled financial institutions to provide investment credits for environmentally sound sustainable development.

Changes like that would truly rock the world!

But, you may say, such changes are politically impossible. Unthinkable! Just pipe dreams.

Well, that’s what experts, opinion leaders and officials around the world said in the mid 1980s when asked if fundamental restructuring of the Brezhnev era Soviet Union would ever be possible. Only a major war or total civilizational collapse could bring about change

And they were totally wrong. Is there any reason to believe that America today is like the Soviet Union in the time of Brezhnev? I think so, and I have detailed the similarities in an article entitled “Bush and Brezhnev: Separated at Birth?

The Bush-Cheney plan to promote war with Iran is faltering. Just as the Soviets met their Waterloo under Brezhnev in Afghanistan, in a war featuring jidhadists trained by Pakistani secret service cadres, the neo-conservative global war on terror is floundering in the deep, murky waters of Afghanistan and Iraq, as the world’s mightiest military machine appears to be stalemated by a motley group of Sunni Islamic jihadists with roots in the mujahideen movement brought to birth by Pakistani Secret Service operatives in the late Nineteen Eighties.

Pakistan is replacing Iran as the focus for global concern about terrorism. This is ironic since there has been an almost total news blackout in America of the role Pakistan played in supporting Islamic terrorism over the years – at Washington’s request.

America’s elite opinion-makers are belatedly waking up to the fact that Bush’s Pakistani partner, the military dictator Pervez Musharraf, is one of the primary supporters of the Taliban and of al-Qaeda. Indeed, Musharraf is a product of the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, which armed and trained the mujahideen, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, at the request of and with funding provided by the CIA, during the Afghani-Russian war. Now that Musharraf is being forced to confront his old allies, armed struggle has broken out between the Islamists and their old mentor Musharraf. That struggle has the potential to foment a destabilizing and dangerous civil war in a nuclear armed country with a vast military culture wedded to Islamic jihad and packed with Islamic fundamentalists sympathetic to al-Qaeda, who would like to transform Pakistan into the world’s first nuclear Jihadist.

In fact, your editor Curtis Lang appeared on Pacifica radio two days after 9/11 warning that the goal of al-Qaeda was clearly to draw the United States into unwinnable wars in the Middle East which would lead to a destabilizing civil war in Pakistan, where al-Qaeda and their allies have their greatest strength, because the ultimate goal of Islamic terrorists has always been to obtain control of Pakistan’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. We now approach the endgame of the chess match begun the day the Twin Towers fell.

Radical change is in the air worldwide, and the well-formulated plans of the neo-conservative masters of the New American Empire are foundering on uncontrollable factors beyond their calculations. Blowback from previous covert wars, instigated by Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr., threatens to derail George Bush Jr.’s global war on terrorism and bring about a final humiliating defeat, perhaps producing the world’s first true rogue terrorist nuclear power.

Aside from such grand political theorizing, are there any insights into grand historical cycles and mass psychology available to us from spiritual studies that might shed light on the current global dilemma and on America’s strangely passive acceptance of its transformation from beacon of hope, equal opportunity and democracy into Imperial overseer and promoter of torture, authoritarianism and inequality?

In fact there are!

This month, we are proud to introduce our readers to the inspired, insightful astrologer Bill Herbst, a longtime contributing editor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, America’s premier magazine for astrological professionals, and a veteran observer of the outer planet cycles that shape and channel the transformational cultural and social energies overlighting the evolution of entire civilizations on planet Earth.

We welcome Bill to Satya Center, and recommend his new article entitled “Where We Are; Where We're Headed -- The Road to 2012.

“On June 25th, Saturn made its final pass opposite Neptune, and that is very meaningful,” Herbst contends. “Our collective disillusionment, social malaise, and the longstanding sense of being lost in confusion while sinking in quicksand are peaking right now after almost four years of Saturn-Neptune's scandalous revelations, endless deception, and fantasies polarized to realities.”

“From July on, all that weirdness slowly fades away, although it won't be gone for good until the beginning of 2008. Meanwhile, rising up in sporadic but increasing waves to replace it will be the electric, shocking Saturn-Uranus-Pluto energy of the Cardinal Climax. In fits and starts, people will start to awaken from their slumber, realize how fed up they are, and begin to actively challenge the status quo.”

It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that numerous outer planet aspects over the next decade indicate a resurgence of people power in America and throughout the world.

Astrologer Michael Wolfstar at foresees a period of increasing repression leading to a dynamic and volcanic upheaval that will re-arrange existing power structures and fulfill the promise of the Cultural Revolution begun in the Nineteen Sixties, and relates this next revolution to the Pluto in Capricorn cycle.

“When considering the U.S. Scorpio Rising horoscope, Pluto's 248-year cycle is especially significant for Americans, since it's the nation's ruling planet,” says Wolfstar. “The U.S. was born when Pluto was in Capricorn, and its entire history has so far unfolded within one Pluto cycle.”

“Pluto's passage through Capricorn covers from 2009 to 2024, with a brief foray in early 2008 amidst the presidential primaries. During this interval, we can expect geopolitical power to become increasingly concentrated in the hands of the super-rich, which in turn will express itself through governments, corporations, and military organizations,” Wolfstar continues.

“Many governments may become oppressive under Pluto's influence, and consequently, one can expect powerful, secretive factions to rebel,” Wolfstar foresees. “Naturally, that includes terrorist groups, but ordinary citizens as well. This pattern was what caused the thirteen colonies to begin revolting in 1764 shortly after Pluto last entered Capricorn. At the time, Uranus was in Aries, which created a compelling urge for freedom and independence.”

“That historical lesson is especially relevant today, since Uranus will soon enter Aries and then square Pluto beginning in 2012,” Wolfstar concludes. “The Uranus-Pluto square will likely be the defining celestial signature for the Pluto in Capricorn era, bringing the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in 1965-66 (and the concurrent social, political, and military revolutions) into its next dynamic phase. Everything that was spawned in 1965-66 will take quantum leaps forward, including civil rights, paradigm-busting technologies, and the management of global ecosystems.”

And are there any signs that the revolutionary energies foreseen by astrologers are manifesting in the world around us? This week’s newsletter brings us several stories from around the web that can be seen as indicating the first hints of the positive, revolutionary changes coming in the next decades. Scroll down for excerpts and links to the originals.

The UK Guardian says that the middle and upper middle classes in England are rebelling against the Gilded Era Imperialism-lite practiced by Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

Russian dissident economist Boris Kagarlitsky posts a lengthy first-hand report of “The Blockade of Heiligendamm”, the amazing story of the most successful anti-globalization protest of all time. Progressive forces from all over Europe gathered in Heiligendamm, Germany this spring to protest the G-8 Summit and demand an end to elite-driven policies of globalization that are destroying the environment, gutting democracy and increasing inequalities of wealth and opportunity worldwide.

Tens of thousands of individuals of all ages gathered spontaneously and in a triumph of self-organization and grass-roots democracy they conducted a successful, peaceful multi-day blockade of the city where the Summit was held, transforming public opinion in Germany and across Europe. Successfully out-maneuvering and outsmarting massive police and military forces arrayed against them, capturing headlines and media time, shaping public discourse and staging a vast array of educational workshops on the dangers of globalization, the anti-globalization forces in Germany proved to the world that left-wing reformers have the strength of will, the diplomatic skills, the discipline, and the institutional support to advance a well-developed, thoughtful, and appealing political agenda in the face of massive state repression.

The left-wing reformers demonstrated that their commitment is to the peaceful exercise of people power, and that the vast majority of anti-globalization forces are not prey to adventuristic anarchistic impulses.

This is a story you didn’t see in the American media, anywhere!

In America, Hillary Clinton is touring the country delivering soundbites about bringing the troops home. And this is the woman who refuses to admit she made a mistake in authorizing Bush’s Iraq war, the woman who says that all options, even nuclear war, should be considered to force Iran to do America’s bidding.

The first stirrings of fundamental change are in the air in America, in Europe, in Britain, in the heart of the globalization beast, in the heart of global Empire – and around the world.

On July 7, the 24 hour global concert LiveEarth beamed live concerts by over 100 musical acts from multiple locations including New York, Hamburg, London, Sydney, Rio and Tokyo to over two billion people, including 10 million Internet viewers who saw the event on the Microsoft Network’s live Webcast. This was the largest global concert event in world history.

Live Earth was the beginning of a multi-year campaign by the Alliance for Climate Protection (ACP) to raise awareness about climate change and to lobby individuals, corporations and governments to take action to stabilize the environment. Former Vice President Al Gore is the most visible spokesman for the ACP and its campaign.

The mainstream news media in Britain and the United States portrayed the event as a boring, predictable rock concert with too many pampered self-indulgent rock stars using too many scarce global resources to deliver overly long tendentious environmental messages that undercut the power of their music.

Interesting that many of these news outlets say that global warming is only a theory and then get very upset because Al Gore has a big house, Madonna invests in oil and gas companies, and rock stars involved in campaigns to raise environmental awareness use a lot of jet fuel during their concert tours.

Celebrity political activism is a hollow construct at best, and should be no more than a very peripheral political exercise, designed to build community and provide a patina of cool to the pursuit of green political solutions, the purchase of green products or the espousal of green positions.

And there is something inherently contradictory about the spectacle of millionaire environmental advocates lecturing the masses about the need for reducing consumption, curtailing unnecessary travel, reducing the size of your house and car, and generally living lighter on the earth.

Nevertheless, Live Earth proved that there are a couple of billion people ready for a global party to celebrate the coalescing world majority that supports dramatic changes in business as usual and dramatic action to create a new post-carbon, energy-efficient, sustainable global culture. That’s good news.

“Admittedly, empires will not give up without a fight, and not just because of the elites in power,” explains astrologer Bill Herbst in this month’s issue of “The Mountain Astrologer”. “We are all part of empire – plugged into the electrical grid, driving automobiles, and resistant to giving up our habitual conveniences. Hybrid vehicles and renewable biofuels are now hot topics, but such ‘solutions’ do nothing to solve the problems of resource depletion and industrial toxins, since cars themselves are the problem. Rebuilding our railroads and waterways for efficient mass transit is barely discussed, however. In this and other arenas – especially politics, economics and the mass media – the myths of modern empire stubbornly hold us in their thrall. Great debates lie ahead concerning the uses of science and technology in transportation, the military, medicine and agriculture.”

“The youthful movements that were birthed (or rebirthed) during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s – ecology, feminism, social equality, peace, reduced consumption, and sustainability – are about to move from the fringes to the center,” Herbst continues. “. . .Now those movements are ready to grow again into fuller, more mature manifestation, called forth by sudden breakdowns in empire. Political, economic and cultural landscapes are about to change dramatically. The year 2007 marks the transition into this reawakening of alternative possibilities. . .By the U.S. presidential election of November 2008, discontent with the status quo will have struck a resonant chord. . .As the t-square of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto activates from late 2009-2011, any of various triggers could provoke breakdowns in social stability. History tells us that empires become most dangerous as they decline, resorting to ever more extreme measures in desperate attempts to maintain control. We are in the fading period of the American Empire, and the years ahead may be daunting. Critical mass is reached in June 2012, when Uranus and Pluto make the first partile square. The rest of the decade should be turbulent indeed.”

“Stay alive, [and] keep breathing,” Herbst advises those who currently feel stymied, exhausted, fearful and frustrated, “and know that real change is just around the corner.”

May you receive the grace and guidance you need to replenish your personal energy storehouse at this time of global transformation, and may each and every one of you be Divinely guided to connect with those like-minded souls with whom you share an affinity for peace, truth and justice, in order to fulfill your Higher Purpose and in order to create ever more meaningful and powerful social groupings working for positive change in the world.


Top Satya Center Stories of the Week

In  “The Right of Return, British peace activist, visionary astrologer and author Palden Jenkins explains why time is short for Palestinians and Israelis to co-operate in creating a just peace in the Middle East.

“The question of the Palestinian Right of Return is big and crucial,” Palden declares. “But the discussion is predicated on factors and notions which do not really help the debate or a solution. This issue needs to be looked at, to some extent separately, in two different ways: the first concerns deep emotional-historical issues and principles, which are being discussed, and the second concerns planning, sustainability and real-life viability issues, which largely are obscured.”

Read Palden’s article to explore the deep issues that the mainstream news media routinely ignores.

In “The Unbearable Brightness of Being”, British biologist Rupert Sheldrake reviews a new book by American philosopher Daniel Dennett that equates mysticism with fundamentalist religious fanaticism and makes a case for rational atheism.

“Many people have experienced a sense of the presence of God, or overwhelming love, or a feeling of unity with nature, or visions, or transformative near-death experiences,” says Sheldrake. “. . .But Dennett rules all such evidence out of court. . .He assumes that religious experiences are generated inside the brain, and that they are illusory. How can Dennett be so sure? In the end, it all comes down to his own beliefs.”

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho’s British Institute of Science in Society brings us a challenging article on “The Fight Over the BP-Berkeley Energy BioScience Institute”.

The University of California at Berkeley is structuring an unprecedented deal with British oil giant British Petroleum to fund an Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) for biofuels and ‘synthetic biology' research to the tune of $500 million over the next ten years.

The biofuels boom is already having devastating effects on the world's poorest countries and on planet as a whole by accelerating deforestation and climate change. The $500 million takeover of Berkeley by BP threatens to bring catastrophic climate change that much closer, while eroding the intellectual objectivity of American universities, which are in danger of becoming mere research and development arms of global corporations.

A coalition of Berkeley students and faculty oppose this sweetheart deal with BP. Read all about their fight to keep Berkeley a bastion of academic freedom and free speech.

In “Any Kind of Sovereign”, poet Jed Myers explores the illusion of the separate self as mental illness in this humorous new metaphysical poem.


Top Spiritual Stories From Around the Web

[Ed. Note: These are excerpts from long articles Jane and I feel are exceptional messages of love and light, wit

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