Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Gamers’ Introduction to Tek-Gnostics

This may be before your time, but when I was younger, I spent hours in front of my 486 PC playing classic side-scroller games like Duke-Nukem and Commander Keen. Never mind the productivity “killer apps” of the era, such as word processing and spreadsheets, those old DOS games were the software that sparked my interest in personal computing. Navigating each level, while dispatching enemies… usually by jumping on them… it is hard to believe that those “good ole days” of computing occurred in the last century… my how time flies when yer having fun.

It was back in the 90s when the first glimmerings of what would become Tek-Gnostics began incubating in the form of an art/science project called “The Center for Exploration of Inner Space.” This archaic mimeographed hard-copy zine marked the entry into a brave new world of the electronic alternative underground press. We explored the “inner” landscape of consciousness expansion, using the available tools of the era. These were the days of Smart Drugs, Sound-light Machines and Mondo 2000.

In those days, on-line activity took the form of bulletin board-driven networking on that granddaddy of virtual communities, the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link… more commonly referred to as The Well. Cyber-punk visions of a digital noosphere, whose landscape was visualized to a great extent by a scrappy young Sci Fi writer, William Gibson. These were the days… the formative days… where Sci Fi became prophecy and our modern era was envisioned, both technologically and philosophically.

Much has come to pass since those early days… miracle and wonder, as well as nightmare. Things haven’t gone down exactly as we had envisioned them, but such is the fractal nature of universe.

Tek-Gnostics continues to be a labor of love, born of those transformative times. Much has evolved since the “Inner Space” days and we continue to have fun with the medium.

In the spirit of those days of yesteryear, Tek-Gnostics Media has produced an old-school platformer game. This is definitely an indie… really a modest, home-made project. We titled this retro-action game: Path of the Tekgnostic. Now you can explore the “inner space” of Tek-Gnostics while you feed your “inner child” at the same time.

“Path of the Tekgnostic” is essentially an adjunct apprenticeship format for the aspiring hedonic engineer & tekgnostic shaman. The systems of Tek-Gnostics become available to pursue within an electronic side-scrolling game environment. The intrepid gamer can now explore a vast virtual world, including the tekgnostic monastery and surrounding grounds... in search of the secrets of Tek-Gnostics.

Pursuing the path of the tekgnostic within an electronic gaming environment is a perfect metaphor for the "Gnostic" world view. Wearing the "mask of the Avatar," you pursue the game within a game... the path of the tekgnostic... within an illusory world that only exists as data, pulsing within an electronic device...

Maya indeed.

Game within a Game

As in a traditional Role Playing Game, you assume the role of the tekgnostic Avatar... the seeker of wisdom... that has made his/her way to the gates of the tekgnostic monastery. As in a traditional platform game, you explore our fanciful world of wonders... and dangers... by jumping from platform to platform, advancing from level to level, navigating the many obstacles and pitfalls that make up the realm of the tekgnostic. Each level holds at it's successful completion one of the eight "inner secrets" that make up the core of the Tek-Gnostics teachings. Each level contains it's own unique series of puzzles, traps and dangers that the intrepid tekgnostic apprentice must overcome in order to proceed to the next level.

You are not alone in your journey, however. Seek out the master of the tekgnostic monastery... Sensei... for advice and assistance in your virtual quest for knowledge. Should Sensei decide to accept you as an apprentice, his advice will be invaluable.

As you advance within the game, new and powerful attributes become available to you... attributes that you will need... as each successive level is more difficult and dangerous than the last.

Currently, a demo of our platform software... "Path of the Tekgnostic - a gamers' introduction to Tek-Gnostics" is available for download. This small title will give the intrepid traveler a taste of the vast world that awaits…

Once you download and launch the program from our Website, you too can embark on the virtual path of the tekgnostic…

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Illuminati offshore

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary $21 trillion (that’s trillion with a T) of wealth offshore… as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together… according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

He shows that at least $21 trillion… perhaps up to $32 trillion… has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals (read: Illuminati). Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than $6tn in 2010, a sharp rise from $2.5tn five years earlier.

The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.

Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost $800bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen $320bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria $317bn.

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says.

The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry's calculations, $10.2tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world's population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.

"These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens.

"Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren't rich enough to avoid paying their taxes."

Assuming the $21tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper $196bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year.
Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: "Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!" Much of Green's retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality.
A spokeswoman for UK Uncut said: "People like Philip Green use public services – they need the streets to be cleaned, people need public transport to get to their shops – but they don't want to pay for it."

Leaders of G20 countries have repeatedly pledged to close down tax havens since the financial crisis of 2008, when the secrecy shrouding parts of the banking system was widely seen as exacerbating instability. But many countries still refuse to make details of individuals' financial worth available to the tax authorities in their home countries as a matter of course. Tax Justice Network would like to see this kind of exchange of information become standard practice, to prevent rich individuals playing off one jurisdiction against another.

"The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy," said Henry.

Originally written by Heather Stewart, business editor of the

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just a little nervous from the fall...

A pistol shot at 12 o'clock… The bells of heaven ring
“Tell me what you done it for?” …No I won't tell you a thing
Yesterday I begged you… before I hit the ground
all I leave behind me is only what I found

If you can abide it… let the hurdy-gurdy play
Stranger ones have come by here… before they flew away
I will not condemn you… nor yet would I deny
I would ask the same of you… but failing will not die

~ ~ ~

Take up your china doll…
it's only fractured…
and just a little nervous from the fall…

- Robert Hunter

Send vibrations of Love & Healing to the folks of Aurora, Colorado

the above are Lyrics to "China Doll" performed by the Grateful Dead

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Timbuktu... sacred site, threatened by secular ignorance.

Poised upon the southern edge of the Sahara desert, the ancient oasis and settlement Timbuktu was once a crossroads of the African continent and the Muslim world. Once the heart of trans-Saharan commerce and trade, spirituality and mysticism, knowledge and learning, Timbuktu is now being desecrated. Ironically, since the upheaval of the Arab Spring, the “city of 32 Sufi Saints” has been reduced to collateral damage in a brutal Islamist sect’s push for power in northern Mali.

For the last twenty three years, Mali has struggled with maintaining a stable democracy. Last year, triggered by the rebellion against Moammar Gaddafi in neighboring Libya, ethnic Tuareg fighters streamed into the country with an arsenal of weaponry declaring their own republic in the region that includes the ancient city. This uprising is a serious threat to Mali and the entire Maghreb region. Ansar Dine, a radical Islamist sect with alliances al-Qaeda, has established itself in the rebel-held territory. They have consequently imposed sharia law and begun to wreak sectarian havoc.

As a result, Timbuktu is at the mercy of political and sectarian chaos, witnessing the destruction of many of the city’s ancient monuments and religious sites.

This senseless destruction of the archeologically priceless center of Sufi mysticism is equally horrific as the Taliban’s 2001 attacks on the towering Buddha statues of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Four of Timbuktu’s landmarks are included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. Never the less, the leadership of Ansar Dine, has overseen the destruction of at least six above-ground mausoleums of religious figures regarded as saints and, on July 2nd, 2012, the door of one of the city’s most sacred, the Sidi Yahya mosque.

Local mythology indicates that the doors of the Sidi Yahya mosque… bludgeoned open on the 2nd… will open only on the world’s last day. So far, the arrival of Ansar Dine in northern Mali, and its destructive wake in Timbuktu, has sadly validated the eschatological prophecy. Extremists are destroying an African democracy, even as men with pickaxes hack away at Earth’s irreplaceable global heritage.

Timbuktu, a center of Sufi mysticism and a symbol of spiritual tolerance is somehow a threat to Ansar Dine’s radical conservatism. “The only tribunal we recognize is the divine court of Shariah,” said Ansar Dine spokesman Oumar Ould Hamaha.

“The destruction is a divine order,” he said. “It’s our Prophet who said that each time that someone builds something on top of a grave, it needs to be pulled back to the ground. We need to do this so that future generations don’t get confused, and start venerating the saints as if they are God.”

When asked this week whether the destruction of these cultural artifacts will continue, a spokesman for the sect told the New York Times: “Of course... What doesn’t correspond to Islam, we are going to correct.”

On July 5th, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution that threatened sanctions on rebel fighters in northern Mali and decried the vandalism of cultural sites. But as worthy as this resolution is, it’s unlikely to end the destruction; the prospect of international intervention of any kind remains unlikely. In the meantime, the desecration of Timbuktu continues…

This crime against humanity is merely the latest example of horrific atrocity imposed upon Humanity’s artifacts of spiritualism, learning and cultural tolerance. Just as in the destruction of the library of Alexandria… the Spanish Inquisition… the “burning of the books” by the Nazis… these acts of violence share a dark heritage. Once again, the forces of darkness and ignorance attack the bearers of knowledge and light.

Remember this: A room in darkness can be illuminated by a spark of light… but a room in the light, cannot be extinguished by a spark of darkness.

“One way or another… this darkness has got to give.”

-Robert Hunter

Information gleaned from articles in the Washington Post.