Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Oct 21, 2017, 04:05 AM
Pages: 1 ... 4 5 [6] 7 8 ... 10
 on: Oct 18, 2017, 10:56 AM 
Started by Deva - Last post by Deva
Hi Wei,

Excellent application of EA! What you have written accurately reflects the core evolutionary intentions of Pluto in Libra in the 6th house conjunct the South Node relative to Evolutionary State. Yes, you make a great point that a core evolutionary intention is to communicate via "constructive criticism" which focuses on how to affect positive improvements. In this way, an overly critical and negative focus can be purged, and healthy personal and social relationship dynamics can manifest. The Soul can then truly be heard by others. In addition, remembering our instrinsic connection to Nature and the Natural Laws within it in the ways you have described is an essential pathway for healing to occur. This is emphasized in the Spiritual Evolutionary Condition. Great job!



 on: Oct 18, 2017, 08:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
10/18/2017 06:13 PM

Interview with Emmanuel Macron: 'We Need to Develop Political Heroism'

Interview Conducted by Klaus Brinkbäumer, Julia Amalia Heyer and Britta Sandberg in Paris

In a DER SPIEGEL interview, French President Emmanuel Macron talks about his first months in office, elaborates on his plans for Europe and discusses his developing relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. President, since entering office in May, you have made significant waves around the world. The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who you read during your university studies, once described Napoleon Bonaparte as "the Weltgeist ("world spirit") on horseback." Do you believe that a single person can, in fact, steer history?

Macron: No. Hegel viewed the "great men" as instruments of something far greater. It should be said that in referring to him in that way, he wasn't being particularly nice to Napoleon, because he of course knows that history can always outflank you, that it is always larger than the individual. Hegel believes that an individual can indeed embody the zeitgeist for a moment, but also that the individual isn't always clear they are doing so.

DER SPIEGEL: How must a president, a politician, behave to move things forward and to change history?

Macron: Personally, I don't think it's possible to do great things alone or through individual actions. On the contrary, I think it is only possible to know what to do in a specific moment once you have understood the zeitgeist, and it is only possible to move things forward if you have a sense of responsibility. And that is exactly the goal I have set for myself: to try to encourage France and the French people to change and develop further. But that can only be done as a collective, with one another. You have to bundle the strength of those who want to take that step. The same is true for Europe.

(The president's dog wanders in.)

Macron: Nemo, sit!

DER SPIEGEL: Nemo ... did you name him that?

Macron: Yes. He was abandoned as a puppy and spent a year in an animal shelter. I had decided that I wanted a dog from an animal shelter. Normally, presidents have purebred dogs, but he is a Labrador-griffon mix. Absolutely adorable. Quite a stroke of fortune, isn't it? From the animal shelter to the Élysée Palace. I quite like the idea, even if he has little idea where he has ended up.

DER SPIEGEL: You have lived for the last five months here in the Élysée, an almost mythical place. Do you feel that you have changed at all? Infallibility? Megalomania?

Macron: I try to follow certain rules. Nothing here should become habitual, because routine lends one a deceptive feeling of security. You begin not noticing certain things and lose your focus on what's important. Uncertainty and change keep you attentive. This place and, to a certain extent, my office, help me avoid developing habits. The function of president in France is one of significant symbolic value; it can't be compared with that of prime minister or cabinet member. Everything you do, everything you say - but also what you don't say - suddenly has meaning. That might sound quite formidable or even stressful, but I think it is a product of the history of this role.

DER SPIEGEL: What's it like to live here?

Macron: It is a place laden with history. The emperors spent time here, Napoleon I and Napoleon III. In the Fourth Republic, it was the palace of a president without powers. Only in the Fifth Republic did Charles de Gaulle move back in. It is a place where power has left its mark - over the course of centuries, ever since the revolution. You just sort of become part of it and continue the history. But, of course, there is a sense of gravitas.

DER SPIEGEL: That sounds a bit suffocating.

Macron: No, because you can leave this place when you want to. I go out and I say and do what I want - even if people may find that shocking. One could, of course, decide to be suffocated by all the pomp here. But if you decide to resist it, then you won't be suffocated.

DER SPIEGEL: It seems your predecessors weren't always particularly successful in that effort.

Macron: What is clear is that being president is the end of innocence for you as an individual. Nothing is innocent anymore when you are president. And that changes your life dramatically. Normally, everyone can afford the luxury of doing things that make no sense. They do things, no matter what it is, and nobody cares. But when you are president, everything is significant, at least for the others. Everything is important and could even have profound consequences. That is sometimes troubling, yes. But it isn't overwhelming.

DER SPIEGEL: Do you think that Angela Merkel feels the same way?

Macron: Germany is different from France. You are more Protestant, which results in a significant difference. Through the church, through Catholicism, French society was structured vertically, from top to bottom. I am convinced that it has remained so until today. That might sound shocking to some - and don't worry, I don't see myself as a king. But whether you like it or not, France's history is unique in Europe. Not to put too fine a point on it, France is a country of regicidal monarchists. It is a paradox: The French want to elect a king, but they would like to be able to overthrow him whenever they want. The office of president is not a normal office - that is something one should understand when one occupies it. You have to be prepared to be disparaged, insulted and mocked - that is in the French nature. And: As president, you cannot have a desire to be loved. Which is, of course, difficult because everybody wants to be loved. But in the end, that's not important. What is important is serving the country and moving it forward.

DER SPIEGEL: Often, things work quite a bit different in practice than in theory, even for those who have thought through every step.

Macron: That is true. You can anticipate and plan everything, but when you actually experience it, it's different. For me, my office isn't first and foremost a political or technical one. Rather, it is symbolic. I am a strong believer that modern political life must rediscover a sense for symbolism. We need to develop a kind of political heroism. I don't mean that I want to play the hero. But we need to be amenable once again to creating grand narratives. If you like, post-modernism was the worst thing that could have happened to our democracy. The idea that you have to deconstruct and destroy all grand narratives is not a good one. Since then, trust has evaporated in everything and everyone. I am sometimes surprised that it is the media that are the first ones to exhibit a lack of trust in grand narratives. They believe that destroying something is part of their journalistic purpose because something grand must inevitably contain an element of evil. Critique is necessary, but where does this hate for the so-called grand narrative come from?

DER SPIEGEL: Why is this narrative so important?

Macron: I think we need it badly! Why is a portion of our youth so fascinated by extremes, jihadism for example? Why do modern democracies refuse to allow their citizens to dream? Why can't there be such a thing as democratic heroism? Perhaps exactly that is our task: rediscovering something like that together for the 21st century.

DER SPIEGEL: You have been increasingly criticized in France due to your aloofness. You have been accused of arrogance and hubris.

Macron: Who is leveling those accusations? The press.

DER SPIEGEL: Not just the press.

Macron: Have you ever heard someone on the street say: "He is aloof?"


Macron: I am not aloof. When I travel through the country, when I visit a factory, my staff tells me after three hours that I am ruining the schedule. When I am with French people, I am not aloof because I belong to them. My view is that the French president belongs to the French people, because he emanates from them. What I do is this: I am putting an end to the cronyism between politics and the media. For a president, constantly speaking to journalists, constantly being surrounded by journalists, has nothing to do with closeness to the people. A president should keep the media at arm's length.

DER SPIEGEL: You recently held a celebrated speech at the Sorbonne about Europe in which you said you would like to "rebuild" Europe.

Macron: Regarding the speech, I am quite modest about it. There has always been extensive talk about Europe. My initiative contains some new elements, but I also revisited ideas that have been around for a while and been proposed by others.

DER SPIEGEL: Modesty has thus far not been one of you most noticeable qualities.

Macron: What's new is this: Since 2005, when the French and the Dutch voted "no" on a constitution for Europe, nobody has developed a real project for the EU. And certainly not France. If there were ideas, they came from Wolfgang Schäuble or Joschka Fischer, and these German ideas were downright quashed by France. I want to put an end to that. Perhaps I am following in the footsteps of Mitterrand, who really did want to shape Europe. My predecessors, by contrast, thought it was best to say nothing at all and to keep all their options open. That may sound like a tactical approach, but perhaps it was simply because they didn't have any ideas for Europe at all.

DER SPIEGEL: You have proposed the establishment of new institutions and the simplification of procedures. But isn't Europe's problem more that everyone seems intent on pursuing their own interests?

Macron: What I am proposing is to start a new chapter in Europe. To begin this adventure anew, and differently, if you'd like. The institutions as such aren't particularly important to me - and I think most people feel the same. The problem is that debates over Europe have become disputes between experts and lawyers. Yet Europe was initially supposed to be primarily a political project! The EU never would have come about had it been up to experts or diplomats. It was created by people who had learned from the drama of our collective history. I am proposing a new beginning, not one in which it is first deliberated ad infinitum what instruments one needs, but one that follows from the goals we want to achieve. What do we want? What should our Europe look like? I want to renew the European dream and reawaken ambitions for it.

DER SPIEGEL: What does the Europe you dream of look like?

Macron: For me, Europe consists of three things: sovereignty, unity and democracy. If we keep our eyes on these goals and work toward them together then - and only then - can we fulfill our promise: the guarantee of lasting peace, prosperity and freedom. Let's put an end to this European civil war, the existence of which we don't want to admit, and stop constantly looking at whether we are better than our neighboring country at this or the other thing. We have to be open to new things, and that includes things that have been taboo until now: France still insists that the treaties cannot be changed. Germany doesn't want any financial transfers. We have to leave these old ways of thinking behind.

DER SPIEGEL: What does that mean concretely?

Macron: I think the goal should be that of creating a space that protects us and helps us survive in this world. The European community of values is unique: It combines democracy with the market economy, individual freedoms with social justice. How can we expect the U.S. or China to defend these values, this one-of-a-kind European balancing act that has developed over the course of decades? The challenges are manifold, issues such as migration or terrorism are important to us all. But the switch to renewable sources of energy must also be planned together. And last, but not least, there is digitalization and the societal change that goes along with it. We can only have success on all those fronts if we move forward together.

DER SPIEGEL: How do you intend to do so? How can you get the Eastern Europeans to get behind your project, and all those countries that are increasingly displaying nationalist tendencies and that don't want to have anything to do with Europe anymore?

Macron: I don't think what you say is true. I was in Bulgaria in August. The people there are excited about Europe. We can't start dividing people up into categories. In the past, France has often committed the error of not speaking to everybody because there was a belief that some countries could be neglected. I am convinced that there is a desire for Europe. And by the way, who is to be blamed if that isn't the case? The Europeans. We have allowed the development of a kind of collective defeatism and are allowing primarily those to speak who hate Europe and want to give up on it.

DER SPIEGEL: You are exaggerating.

Macron: I have often taken part in grotesque meetings as a sherpa. It was said there, for example, that summits exclusively for Eurozone members shouldn't be held because it could offend the British or the Poles. And what have we woken up to five years later? The British want to leave and the Poles are increasingly distancing themselves from Europe. That only shows that the more reticent one is with European ambitions, the less progress one makes.

DER SPIEGEL: How important is the trans-Atlantic relationship with the U.S. to you?

Macron: The trans-Atlantic relationship is strong and must remain so. The U.S. is an ally in the camp of freedom. On security and military questions, whether in Iraq and Syria or in Africa, we are closely tied to one another. But we have to establish a joint strategy on other issues, such as Iran and North Korea, but also on climate change. That's why I think it is important to speak at length with the American president and show him a path forward for possible cooperation. I feel an obligation to do so.

DER SPIEGEL: Does Trump make you afraid?

Macron: (Thinks for some time before answering.) Trump is here, he is the head of a global power. I speak with him and explain my views. We have an extremely cordial relationship. Sometimes, we have contradictory views but sometimes we agree. I won't stop working together with him.

DER SPIEGEL: You speak of a united Europe, but one gets the impression that you are fond of taking unilateral action - things like inviting Trump to Paris, offering to mediate between the Iraqi government and the Kurds following the independence referendum and holding an important speech on the future of Europe two days after the German elections.

Macron: Every country has its own diplomacy. Being part of Europe doesn't mean giving up one's independence or no longer being able to take the initiative. There are 27 of us - does that mean it is forbidden for some of us to be more ambitious than the others? No, otherwise stasis would be the result and we would be putting ourselves in handcuffs. For example, I often speak with (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan. I have established a certain relationship with him and talk about it with the German chancellor. When I speak with the Turkish president, I defend European positions. That is how we European partners must do things. You also will have taken note of the fact that I intentionally avoided holding my Sorbonne speech before the elections in Germany. I coordinated closely with the chancellor and spoke with her at the end of the campaign and even on the evening of the election. She even received a copy of my speech before I delivered it.

'Ambition Is Never Modest'
DER SPIEGEL: Did you change anything in your speech as a result?

Macron: I took into account some things and deliberately left open the technical implementation on some points. I don't trust certain political debates that often lead to big things failing because of the technical details. But we are essentially in agreement: The chancellor concurs with the goals and direction I outlined in my speech, and that is important to me. Of significance is our joint ambition to create something new for Europe. It was important to me to avoid triggering discussions in Germany that would have forced the chancellor to distance herself from my speech. We were able to prevent that thanks to close consultation and perfect coordination.

DER SPIEGEL: "France must make it possible for Europe to take a leading role in the free world," you said recently. That doesn't sound particularly modest, either.

Macron: Ambition is never modest. If modesty means to have middling success, then I can only say: I'm not interested. France has a special position: We are Continental Europe's nuclear power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. This special role, though, only makes sense if France fills it as a member state of the European Union. France cannot play this role alone, it must be seen as a part of Europe. I have always insisted on that. Our international role depends on a strong Europe and a strong Europe depends on France's ability to share leadership with others, including Germany. If France is economically weak and doesn't carry out reforms, it is no longer credible. Europe's position on the global stage is thus weakened. I would like to change all that. France needs a strong Germany and a strong chancellor. But Germany also needs a strong France.

DER SPIEGEL: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told us in an interview that he has learned a lot from Angela Merkel. Is the same true for you?

Macron: I speak often with Madame Merkel. We talk at least once or twice a week. We send messages to each other regularly and have a lot of joint meetings. I have great respect for her, even if we have a lot of differences.

DER SPIEGEL: What kind of differences?

Macron: We don't have the same history or the same background, yet there is still this complete desire to understand each other. I have extremely friendly feelings for your chancellor. I think she is very courageous, and that is one reason I have such great respect for her. But I also know that she has now survived French presidents for 12 years. I am constantly trying to imagine all the mistakes my predecessors made and to avoid repeating them.

DER SPIEGEL: Despite all the differences, is there something that unites the two of you?

Macron: Yes, of course. We are both people who proceed methodically, we love details. (The Europe adviser in the room nods vigorously.) At summits, we two are among the few heads of state and government who take notes. I have always been someone who wants to explore things down to the last detail so I can understand them. And she is the same, I value that about her. I love the discussions that we have with each other about such things.

DER SPIEGEL: You are more than 23 years younger than the German chancellor. Do you nevertheless see your relationship as one of equal partners?

Macron: Absolutely. I tell her, for example, that we can't stop here with Europe - we must continue to move forward. I think we complement each other. What I really value in her is that she has never tried to tap the brakes on my élan, my enthusiasm. She tells me: I'm not going to play the role of the person who has already experienced and seen everything.

DER SPIEGEL: It almost sounds like you are a bit in love.

Macron: We have developed an extremely close relationship. I never would have held the Europe speech at the Sorbonne had Angela Merkel and I not agreed on the salient points.

DER SPIEGEL: She is not, in other words, the political Sphynx she is for many Germans, who still have the feeling that they don't really know their chancellor?

Macron: No, and I would even say: Madame Merkel embodies Germany's 20th century fate. It is not up to me to pass judgment on her place in history, but I believe that she is the chancellor of Germany's reconciliation with Europe. She stands for a Germany for whom globalization has been a success and which accepts its role in foreign and defense policy. I thought the way she dealt with the refugees was courageous. I think she is the chancellor of reconciliation. And I hope that she can become the chancellor of the rebuilding of Europe, in close cooperation with the role that I will play in the process.

DER SPIEGEL: Are you concerned that Merkel's potential coalition government with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens could stand in the way of your European project? The rise of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany will also certainly make things more difficult.

Macron: I don't think so and I told the chancellor that as well. There are three possible ways to react to right-wing extremist parties. The first is to act as though they don't exist and to no longer risk taking political initiatives that could get these parties against you. That has happened many times in France and we have seen that it doesn't work. The people that you are actually hoping to support no longer see themselves reflected in your party's speeches. And it allows the right wing to build its audience. The second reaction is to chase after these right-wing extremist parties in fascination.

DER SPIEGEL: And the third possibility?

Macron: To say, these people are my true enemies and to engage them in battle. Exactly that is the story of the second round of the presidential election in France. That is also what I told our German friends: Don't be shy with these people. Look at me, the Front National got many more votes than the AfD. Ms. Le Pen ended up with 34 percent of the vote, 34 percent! I defended Europe, an open society and all my values. And today, the Front National has been significantly weakened. In the debates, you don't hear anything from them anymore - because we engaged them in battle. Now is the time to be bold! The only answer to the AfD is courage and ambition.

DER SPIEGEL: In all seriousness, how do you intend to gain support for this project from an AfD voter who feels threatened by globalization and Europe?

Macron: The point is to show that Europe protects people. The rise of the AfD could also be an opportunity to force us to clarify things. Many European parties, including the conventional parties in France, no longer have the ability to keep people together. And in terms of the coalition government, I am convinced that the chancellor has the necessary will and ambition. I want to be very cautious with my statements about her coalition negotiations, but support for Europe is part of the DNA of both the Greens and the FDP. I was very pleased that the heads of both parties spoke out positively about the European project. I also took note of Wolfgang Schäuble's enthusiasm for rebuilding Europe. As such, I am hopeful.

DER SPIEGEL: The weekly magazine Le Point has described you as "France's last chance." Does that create pressure for you?

Macron: No, otherwise I would not have taken on this battle. If this enormous pressure didn't exist, I wouldn't have been elected. It would have been one of the usual candidates. But that also means that there is no time for a breather right now. I titled my book "Revolution." And that is exactly what it is. France is experiencing a time of transformation - in education, on the labor market and in the pensions system. We're talking about a cultural revolution.

DER SPIEGEL: Many French people view you as a representative of a world that is not theirs. You have referred to these people as "slackers" or have told them, as you did last week, that they should find a job instead of protesting and creating chaos. Why do you do that?

Macron: People have been accusing me of that ever since I got involved in politics. Some would just like to stick a pin through me like insect researchers do a dried butterfly and then say: Look, there's the banker who doesn't like people. If that were the case, I would not be here. I am not arrogant to the French - I am determined. During the election, I traveled all across the country. I like my country and the French. I love talking with them and convincing them. It is my job each day to fight for my compatriots. But also to not succumb to demagoguery and lies or agree to favors.

DER SPIEGEL: The French left views you as an unbending neoliberal who protects his own caste.

Macron: What does one have to do today to reconcile France? Distribute public money - that's what some expect, especially the radical left. They think that you help people by handing them money. But that is a fallacy because it is not me distributing the money, but rather future generations. So, it is my duty to say: Something has to change. I say that very directly, in clear words so that nobody can misunderstand me. And I believe in our new initiative for continuing education and vocational training. For French people who are socially disadvantaged, this means real recognition and support.

DER SPIEGEL: But it is precisely those French who also can't understand why you want to get rid of the wealth tax.

Macron: Why? Because the wealth tax doesn't do anything for them. It doesn't exist in Germany or elsewhere in Europe. So, we want to build up Europe and yet retain the wealth tax at the same time? And what is it that leads company founders to leave, which in turn results in the loss of those jobs? We aren't protecting the people who most need it when those who can contribute to the country's success emigrate. Contrary to what some claim, I am not doing this to help the rich. My predecessor taxed wealthy, successful people at a higher rate than ever before. And what happened? They left. And what came of it? Did unemployment drop? No.

DER SPIEGEL: You are aware of the power of symbols. And by eliminating the wealth tax, you took a symbolic step that has riled up the left against you.

Macron: I stand completely behind this decision. I am not from the political or banking elite. I am a child of the middle class far from Paris. And if someone had told me that success is bad or if they had placed hurdles in my path, I wouldn't be where I am today. I want it to be possible for young people in our country to be successful - whether they want to find that success in the family, as an artist or by founding a company. I refuse to give into the sad reflex of French envy because this envy paralyzes our country. We cannot create jobs without company owners, the state cannot create jobs by decree.

DER SPIEGEL: You visited Germany this week, where you opened the Frankfurt Book Fair together with Angela Merkel. What do you learn about your country when you read contemporary French authors like Michel Houllebecq, Virginie Despentes or Patrick Modiano?

Macron: Houllebecq is surely the novelist who best describes contemporary phobias and fears. He also succeeds perhaps like no other in portraying the postmodern character of our society. He addresses the possibilities of genetics at times, or Islamism, and infuses all of it with a certain amount of absurdity. I get a very strong sense of that in "Submission." The way he toys with the absurd makes him an author sui generis, one who stands out from the others. I call the fears that Houllebecq so magnificently describes "sad passions." Patrick Modiano, on the other hand, is a melancholic author who describes a certain Paris, with an obsession for World War II and the traces it has left behind in our society.

DER SPIEGEL: Who else do you read?

Macron: I am very interested in writers from the Francophone world. I like Kamel Daoud a lot, for example. In "The Meursault Investigation" and "Zabor," he shows a passion for the French language, a very special way of writing that belongs to those who live on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. It is language that connects us. It allows people there to cling to our history, our culture and sometimes also our values. Leila Slimani, a Moroccan who has lived in France for years, has also written impressive books about society in France today and about our contemporary societies in general. I thoroughly believe that reading and literature can help a society to better understand itself.

DER SPIEGEL: Your prime minister writes novels, as does your economics minister. When will your first novel be published?

Macron: I do write, but for now I am keeping it all in the desk drawer. I have always written. The only book that I have published was "Revolution," during the election campaign, a book that contains both personal and political chapters. I have never been happy with what I have written, including three novels that, from my point of view, are incomplete.

DER SPIEGEL: What was missing? What wasn't good enough?

Macron: In political life, dissatisfaction is remedied, or at least combated, through action. For as long as you are not totally satisfied, you remain active and keep going. In literary life, at some point you have to stop and allow others to read what you have written. I find that difficult. I am probably too proud. In any case, that is why I have never published anything. But I do plan to do so one day.

DER SPIEGEL: It was your grandmother, for the most part, who introduced you to literature and encouraged you to read.

Macron: That is true. The story of my grandmother is that of a French woman from the provinces who through her perseverance and thirst for knowledge worked her way up to become the head of a school. She belonged to a generation that didn't travel much. She took perhaps two trips, but no more. But she believed in Europe and she wanted Europe. And she read a lot - she knew mythology, literature and the classics very well. She passed that on to me, along with the conviction that you can earn your own position in society.

DER SPIEGEL: Can you still remember the first German book you read?

Macron: My father read Günter Grass. He introduced me to German literature. I believe the first book I read by a German author was from Grass.

DER SPIEGEL: Which one was it?

Macron: Wait a second. I don't want to say something that's inaccurate. I read Goethe in a bilingual edition and then a lot of philosophy later on. In terms of contemporary German literature, however, it was Grass and Patrick Süskind.

DER SPIEGEL: "Perfume"?

Macron: Yes. But also "The Double-Bass." By Grass, of course "The Tin Drum." After that, Thomas Mann accompanied me for a few years during my literature studies. I tried again and again to read the original German text, but I never really succeeded. German poetry also touches me, especially the Romantics.

DER SPIEGEL: What about music from German composers?

Macron: I come from a family in which music was important, especially German music -- from Bach to Beethoven. I played a lot of piano, mostly Bach. I really loved Glenn Gould's interpretations. The subject of the master class I was supposed to take, incidentally, was "The Well-Tempered Clavier." It is a universe within itself. The music has such a depth, such an intimacy - it is touching and timeless at the same time. What I like about Bach is that there are no bells and whistles. It's like looking at a painting by Georges de La Tour: Despite all its beauty, there is an extreme austerity. It forces a person to drop any sense of vanity. As terribly banal as it may sound, Mozart was the most brilliant. You can play the role of the biggest snob, but it always comes down to that. When Daniel Barenboim was in Paris a short time ago, we spoke about this very thing. Even he enjoys playing Mozart the most. Mozart is to music something like Rimbaud was to literature. They are people who created something that nobody before them had. Absolute geniuses. You can recognize their harmonies among thousands. There is something very powerful about German music. That's why I chose German music with a European meaning for the day of my election. Accompanied by the music of a deaf German ...

DER SPIEGEL: ... you're referring to Beethoven, of course, the Ninth Symphony ...

Macron: ... I crossed the inner courtyard of the Louvre to the sound of the European anthem.

DER SPIEGEL: What has life been like for you since then?

Macron: I travel a lot - around France, Europe and the world. In the exceptional event that there is no evening appointment or obligations dictated to me by protocol or a working dinner with colleagues, I go through files here.

DER SPIEGEL: Are there ever occasions when you find yourself sitting here in this lounge reading together with your wife?

Macron: Yes, so far, we have succeeded in maintaining a certain amount of togetherness. We have at least one night a week when we see each other. And I have never given up reading. I read each evening, at night and whenever possible during the day when I am traveling. I have always read.

DER SPIEGEL: You have said several times that the family of your wife Brigitte, her children and seven grandchildren, are your bedrock, your foundation. Is there room for them in the Élysée?

Macron: Oh yes, our children and grandchildren visit us regularly. The little ones are constantly running around outside in the garden. The first time they were intimidated by this place, but now they move around here totally normally. I think it is important that people really live in this place.

DER SPIEGEL: Have you changed many things since you moved in?

Macron: Everything. This office, for example, looked totally different. There was a giant, heavy rug and a lot more furniture. We made everything lighter and more modern and we provided more space to contemporary artists. I want to open up this palace. A concert will be held tonight. We have invited school classes from socially disadvantaged neighborhoods and Élysée Palace staff and their families. That's 200 people who normally wouldn't have access to this building. Living in a place like this also means sharing it with others.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. President, we thank you for this interview.

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 08:13 AM 
Started by Nerissa - Last post by Rad
Hi  Skywalker,

"Is it Kundalini energy which raises with the consciousness of the Soul to be unified and sustained at the crown at the beginning of spiritual 3?"




"Is Kundalini always active in Souls even in the earlier evolutionary stages, just in a more subliminal/minimal way and will generally only become conscious from around the end of individual 3 or beginning of spiritual 1?"


Generally, yes.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 08:10 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

It sure is. And this chart for the event totally reflects that as well as the very nature of the discovery itself: Sun exact to the N.Node in Leo in the 12th, the S.Node in Aquarius ruled by Uranus in Aries in the 8th which is part of the grand trine with that Sun, and Saturn. Let's remember that Uranus, Aquarius, and the 11th house correlate with astronomy as well as astrology. So we can see the symbols then for the new era of discovery in astronomy.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 07:40 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by dollydaydream
Hey Rad, thanks for posting this article.   What a beautiful example of the value of global collaboration.  Brilliant. DDD

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 05:42 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
In Must See Video, Nicolle Wallace Shows That There Is No Bottom To Trump’s Sociopathic Behavior

By Jason Easley

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace ran a video collection of all of Trump’s most sociopathic moments to demonstrate that when it comes to this president, there is no such thing as a bottom.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt-EA1jt3cs

Wallace said, “Is anything sacred? Covering a man for whom scandals and mistruths are served in Costco sized portions overwhelms the circuits.”

The compilation contained Trump’s attack on John McCain for getting captured, his mocking of a disabled reporter, the attack on a Gold Star family, the Access Hollywood tape, his speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree, Trump’s defense of racists and neo-Nazis after Charlottesville, and his attack on the First Amendment via the NFL player protests.

Wallace said after the video, “So, it turns out for this president, there’s always a lower rung from which to swing.

Nothing is sacred to Trump. It is important that people watch this video, to remind themselves that Trump’s behavior is not normal. It is not normal for a president. It is not normal for a human being.

Donald Trump can never be allowed to set the standard for what is normal.

Never accept Trump’s behavior, and never stop fighting for the decency and values that make this country great.


Trump Shows No Sympathy And Insults The Widow Of A Green Beret Killed In Niger Ambush

By Jason Easley

Trump finally got around to calling the pregnant widow of a Green Beret who was killed in an ISIS ambush in Niger, and instead of showing sympathy, he insulted the widow by saying that her dead husband knew what he got into when he signed up.

ABC10 reported:
U.S. President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow Tuesday that “he knew what he signed up for …but when it happens it hurts anyway,” when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens.

“Yes, he said it,” Wilson said. “It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it.”

Instead of showing respect for a pregnant widow’s loss of her husband, Trump blew off the idea that a child will grow up never knowing his or her father, with the equivalent of s**t happens. Now we can see why the White House doesn’t let Trump call the families of soldiers who sacrifice their lives for their country. Trump is incapable of empathy, sympathy, or the emotions of decent human being. He is an empty shell of a man who can’t offer comfort to the grieving because he feels nothing for other people.

Trump’s phone call was an insult to La David Johnson’s widow, who probably would feel better if he would never have called at all.


A Shiver Goes Through The White House As Rachel Maddow Takes Down Jared Kushner

By Jason Easley

Rachel Maddow showed why the Trump White House should be very afraid by connecting the dots on a meeting between Jared Kushner and a Putin ally during the presidential transition.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Mc-GGdYsSg

Maddow said, “Gorkov meeting with Kushner is not just a red flag. It is a blaring red siren and the fact that it’s not just contradictory explanations from the White House and the Russian side of this. There has been no plausible White House explanation for what Jared Kushner was doing in that meeting. Was it related to Kushner family business properties? Was it related to the Trump transition? Was it related to the Magnitsky Act? Was it related to sanctions? Was it related to ongoing undisclosed conversations that Flynn was having with Russians at the same time? We’ve had no explanation of that what so ever. Jared Kushner’s M.O. in terms of dealing with the Russia investigation is to appear to be completely transparent and cooperative. His security clearance application was a complete disaster in terms of disclosing his foreign contacts. His answers about whether or not anyone from the Trump campaign had been in contact with Russian officials is a complete disaster in terms of what we later learned about those contacts that he did not disclose, but this Gorkov meeting in particular. What was it about? The White House should have to say what it was about if Jared Kushner is going to continue to work at the White House.”

There have been numerous reports that Trump’s lawyers want Jared Kushner out of the White House. Trump is still getting updates from Kushner on the Russia investigation, and his son in law represents a giant legal liability for Trump.

Maddow nailed it.

If there is a Russia collusion red flag or smoking gun, it is likely to be attached to Kushner. The White House should be worried because the cable news host with the most audience growth has their number. Rachel Maddow is connecting the dots, and the result is that millions of people have a better understanding of the Russia scandal and Jared Kushner’s role in it.


John McCain Sticks A Thumb In Trump’s Eye By Supporting Bill To Strengthen Obamacare

By Jason Easley

Sen. John McCain dealt another blow to Trump by announcing that he will support the Senate bill to strengthen Obamacare.

McCain said in a statement, “I want to commend Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray for reaching a bipartisan agreement to help stabilize the individual health insurance marketplace. As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate, and the deal reached today marks a critical step towards that end. Over the past several months, the HELP Committee heard testimony from governors, insurance commissioners, and stakeholders about ways to provide short-term relief to the individual marketplace and streamline the 1332 waiver process to provide states with greater flexibility. While this deal certainly doesn’t solve all the problems caused by Obamacare, it shows that good faith, bipartisan negotiations can achieve consensus on lasting reform. It is my hope that this is a sign of increased bipartisanship moving forward. I look forward to voting in support of this bill.”

Sen. McCain has been very clear that he wants to see bipartisan compromise and legislation coming to the floor through regular order. The agreement to stabilize the insurance markets meets both of those criteria.

Trump threatened McCain during a local radio interview on Tuesday after McCain took apart Trump in a speech where he was awarded the Liberty Medal, and the Arizona Senator’s support for this legislation is certain to drive Trump nuts.

There should be more than enough Republicans in the Senate to get this legislation to the needed 60 votes of support. As McCain fights a battle against brain cancer, he is working on what matters most to him. John McCain loves the institution of the Senate, and he is putting his efforts into making the Senate stronger and bipartisan. If John McCain’s final act in public life is to stand up to Donald Trump, it will be one final service to his country that is fitting of a man who is already regarded by many as a hero.


A United Democratic Party Surges To A Massive Lead On 2018 Generic Congressional Ballot

By Jason Easley

A new CNN poll shows that Democrats are united and have opened up a 14 point lead over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot ahead of the midterm election.

CNN reported, “Amid that Republican divide, the poll also finds Democrats holding a lead in the generic congressional ballot — 51% to 37% overall, driven by a unified base of Democrats. Nearly all self-identified Democrats (98%) say they prefer the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, compared to 88% of Republicans who prefer the GOP candidate in their district. Among independents, Democrats have an edge of just four points, within the margin of sampling error for that group.”

The wounds of the 2016 election have finally healed, and the party is united in the singular cause of taking back Congress.

When Democrats took back the House in 2006, they held a generic ballot lead of between 6 and 16 points. When Republicans won control of the House in 2010, they had a generic congressional ballot lead of between 4 and 15 points.

Trump is oblivious to reality, but Republicans have good reason to be scared. The 14 point Democratic lead is right in the danger zone for previous flips of the House. Even with Democrats having to defend 25 Senate seats, Republicans are getting edgy about keeping control of the Senate. The political climate is that hostile toward the GOP. Between Trump launching attacks on his own party, and a Democratic electorate that is angry and hungry for a win, the landscape has turned ugly for incumbent House and Senate Republicans.

The results from one poll don’t mean that the midterm election is in the bag, but the unity among Democrats is a key step to victory. Democrats have recruited good candidates. They are raising money. Unity looks like it won’t be a problem, so the final piece of the puzzle is getting voters out to vote, and bringing home the win.

The problems may only be beginning for Trump and the Republican Party because when Democrats are united, they win.


‘Utterly despicable’: Morning Joe rips Trump’s ‘lack of humanity’ for thoughtless regard for slain troops

Travis Gettys
18 Oct 2017 at 07:11 ET                   

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said he reached something of a breaking point after President Donald Trump politicized the death of John Kelly’s son and offended the widow of another slain serviceman.

The “Morning Joe” host said he has nearly run out of emotions to react to the president’s “shocking, depressing and disappointing” behavior, and he can only conclude that Trump wants the public to constantly feel “shocked and outraged.”

“Donald Trump took a question about him not recognizing the sacrifice of four Americans and turned it into an entire news cycle of fact checking and fights and battles,” Scarborough said, “and in the process, did something — and I say this without emotion, utterly despicable regarding John Kelly’s dead son, and now it’s put John Kelly in a position where I don’t know how he continues without an explanation of how Donald Trump, the man he works for, uses his son’s death as a political, just as a political throwaway line. That’s what he did — there’s no mistaking it. He used the Kelly family’s horrific loss, just as a political throw away line on talk radio.”

He was even more disgusted by the president’s thoughtless treatment of the widow of Sgt. David Johnson, who was killed Oct. 4 with three other soldiers when their unit was ambushed by terrorists in Niger.

“You put this into a long list of strange, bizarre interactions that the president has on a daily basis,” Scarborough said. “I mean, we could find 10 or 11 or 12 yesterday of public record that just, again, shows a complete disconnect from the rest of humanity, a complete disconnect from compassion, a complete disconnect from basic human emotions we teach our children from the time they are 2 or 3 years old.”

The MSNBC host was also baffled by the president’s threats against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who criticized Trump in a speech this week despite battling brain cancer.

“He just will never get it, he’s never gotten it, and this has nothing to do with politics,” Scarborough said. “This has everything to do with his lack of humanity. You know what you do, when somebody is dying, when somebody is fighting for their lives the way he has, sometimes you just sit back you let it go by and you end up winning.”

Scarborough, who has known Trump for years, said the president cares only that he dominates political and cultural life.

“Mika (Brzezinski) and I were walking out of a restaurant a couple weeks ago,” he said. “We heard people at every table talking about Trump — none of it was positive, none of it was positive. Everybody was concerned, everybody was nervous. This was in a Republican area, by the way. We get out of the restaurant, and I turn to her and I said, ‘You know, he doesn’t care that everybody in there thinks he is destroying America. The only thing he cares about is that they’re talking about him.”

Click to watch: https://vid.me/zYgrp

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 05:30 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Xi Jinping heralds 'new era' of Chinese power at Communist party congress

At start of week-long meeting, president tells delegates in 3hr 23min speech to ‘strive with endless energy toward national rejuvenation’

Tom Phillips in Beijing
Wednesday 18 October 2017 05.54 BST

Xi Jinping has heralded the dawn of a “new era” of Chinese politics and power at the start of a historic Communist party congress celebrating the end of his first term in office.

Speaking in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, at the start of the week-long 19th party congress, Xi told delegates that thanks to decades of “tireless struggle” China stood “tall and firm in the East”.

Now, Xi said, it was time for his nation to transform itself into “a mighty force” that could lead the world on political, economic, military and environmental issues.

“This is a new historic juncture in China’s development,” China’s 64-year-old leader declared in his bold 3hr 23min address outlining the party’s priorities for the next five years.

“The Chinese nation … has stood up, grown rich, and become strong – and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation … It will be an era that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

Xi warned that achieving what he has dubbed the “China Dream” would be “no walk in the park”: “It will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there.”

“But our mission is a call to action … let us get behind the strong leadership of the party and engage in a tenacious struggle.”

Xi became the Communist party’s general secretary – and thus China’s leader – at the last party congress in 2012, and has since emerged as one of China’s most dominant rulers since Mao Zedong.

In the surprisingly long speech – titled “Secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era” – Xi struck an upbeat tone that contrasted with the grey skies and drizzle outside.

“The Chinese nation is a great nation; it has been through hardships and adversity but remains indomitable. The Chinese people are a great people; they are industrious and brave and they never pause in pursuit of progress,” he said.

“The Communist party of China is a great party; it has the fight and mettle to win.”

Xi warned that corruption remained the greatest threat to the party’s survival despite a five-year war on graft that he claimed had been “built into a crushing tide”. “We must remain as firm as a rock … and secure sweeping victory,” he said, warning that “pleasure-seeking, inaction and sloth” were no longer acceptable. “We must … rid ourselves of any virus that erodes the party’s health.”

Xi, who has sought to portray himself as a strong and stable international statesman since last year’s election of Donald Trump, also painted China as a responsible global power that was committed to tackling shared dangers such as climate change.

“No country alone can address the many challenges facing mankind. No country can afford to retreat into self-isolation,” he said.

Without directly mentioning Trump, he noted how China had “taken a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change”. He added: “Only by observing the laws of nature can mankind avoid costly blinders in its exploitation. Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us. This is a reality we have to face.”

Xi took a harder line on Hong Kong, which witnessed an unprecedented 79-day pro-democracy occupation and the birth of a nascent independence movement during his first term.

He vowed that Beijing would not allow the “one country, two systems” model, under which the former British colony has operated with relative autonomy from the mainland since handover, to be “bent or distorted”. Nor would independence activists be tolerated. “We will never allow anyone, any organisation, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China.”

Xi was similarly uncompromising on China’s overall political model, offering no hint that democratic reform was on the horizon or that the party was considering loosening its grip on power. “No one political system should be regarded as the only choice and we should not just mechanically copy the political systems of other countries,” said Xi, who has overseen one of the most severe political chills in recent Chinese history. “The political system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a great creation.”

Xi insisted China did “not pose a threat to any other country” but his speech chimed with the increasingly assertive - some say domineering - foreign policy that has emerged on his watch. He cited Beijing’s highly controversial island-building campaign as one of the key accomplishments of his first term. “Construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea has seen steady progress.”

Beijing did not seek global hegemony but “no-one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests”.

More than 2,200 delegates have poured into Beijing for the week-long gathering, bringing with them an effervescence of political tributes.
Need something explained?Let us know which of these questions we can answer for you.

What is Xi Jinping’s background?

“This is a joyous occasion,” Hu Xiaohan, the director of the Congress’ media centre, enthused at a reception on Monday night.

“Great changes have occurred in China and we are so proud of it,” said Xue Rong, a delegate who had travelled to the capital from Henan province. “Xi Jinping is a great man. He is down-to-earth, too. He carries the people in his heart.”

Zhao Yongqing, the propaganda chief of the north-western region of Ningxia, told the Guardian he had been inspired by Xi’s opening pitch to the congress. “I feel a big responsibility. As a delegate, I must study and understand Xi’s speech thoroughly, and publicise and implement it well when I return home.”

The event, which Xi will use to pack the Communist party’s upper ranks with allies, marks the official end of what is expected to be the first of his two five-year terms in power.

For some though it has come to represent the advent of a new political era that could extend well beyond the originally anticipated end of Xi’s second term, in 2022.

Chen Daoyin, a Shanghai-based political scientist, said he believed the congress heralded the start of China’s third great political epoch since Mao Zedong’s communists seized power in 1949.

The first epoch was Mao himself, a revolutionary standard-bearer who helped the country find its feet; then came Deng Xiaoping, the reformer who masterminded China’s economic opening and helped it grow rich. “Now it’s Xi Jinping’s turn to usher in … the Xi Jinping era,” said Chen.

He predicted Xi would be remembered as the leader who made China a strong and powerful nation: “Being strong first of all means being a global power: being a world leader and therefore leading the world. It also means that the Communist party must be strong, and that it must maintain one-party rule.”

Elizabeth Economy, the director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said she also considered Xi a transformative figure who saw himself in the same tradition as Mao and Deng.

“I don’t think there’s a lack of confidence in Xi Jinping,” said Economy, who is writing a book on the Communist party leader called The Third Revolution.

“I think he believes that in order to reclaim China’s historic greatness, its centrality in the world, that China needs a strong leader – and he is the person for the job.”

Economy compared Xi’s bold political vision to a pyramid: “Xi Jinping sits on top of the Communist party, the Communist party sits on top of China, and China sits on top of the world.”

Additional reporting Wang Zhen

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 05:25 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
‘The situation is desperate’: murdered Maltese journalist’s final written words

It seems that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s enemies finally decided that her courageous journalism needed to be silenced

Luke Harding, David Pegg and Juliette Garside
18 October 2017 18.59 BST

In her last blogpost, published the day she died, Daphne Caruana Galizia signed off with a sentence that seems particularly chilling now.

“There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.”

Caruana Galizia, 53, felt she had good reason to feel pessimistic about Malta, and her enemies had good reason to fear her. Someone, it seems, was worried enough to want her silenced.

In that last post, which appeared just before a bomb blew up the car she was driving, Caruana Galizia had taken aim, and not for the first time, at Maltese politicians. But they were far from the only people in the firing line.

She believed, in essence, that malign and criminal interests had captured Malta and turned it into an island mafia state; she reported on a political system rife with corruption, businesses seemingly used to launder money or pay bribes, and a criminal justice system that seemed incapable, or unwilling, to take on the controlling minds behind it all.

Proof of her fears included the 15 mafia-style assassinations and car bombings that have taken place on the island in the last 10 years – and, ultimately, perhaps, her own murder too.

Though there will be many on Malta who will not trust the police to properly investigate her death, including her son, Matthew, detectives will be urged to look at what she has written in recent months, and what she had been looking at just before her death – to see what clues, if any, they provide.

Had this fiercely independent journalist finally got too close to something – or was she proving too much of an irritant to someone?

Caruana Galizia was certainly used to stirring up trouble.

Those about whom she has written in the past year range from government ministers to the newly elected leader of the opposition; the characters in her stories included a convicted drug smuggler and a local millionaire who complained after she alleged that he had built a private zoo without planning permission.

Her style was fearless, witty and sardonic. Her posts – there were lots of them – made uncomfortable reading for those in power. She became the island’s most celebrated reporter and teller of plain truths.

Probably her greatest achievement over the past year was to spark, more or less singlehandedly, an extraordinary political scandal that has embroiled the island’s prime minister, his closest political allies, and the ruling family of Azerbaijan.

It led to Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, calling a general election in June.

The tale is complex; it involves a whistleblower from inside a secretive private bank, alleged kickbacks to senior politicians and a plethora of offshore companies that caused chaos for Muscat, the leader of the ruling Labour party.

There is nothing to suggest any of this is linked to her murder – but the episode highlights the courageous way she tackled those in authority, and her doggedness in the face of legal threats.

Caruana Galizia’s investigation was built on documents uncovered in the Panama Papers, published in April last year. Among the many names of government officials were two Maltese politicians: Keith Schembri, chief of staff to Muscat, and Konrad Mizzi, the country’s energy minister.

Both had set up similar structures, involving Panamanian companies owned by New Zealand trusts.
A woman reads a letter to investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during a silent candlelight vigil to protest against her murder, in St Julian’s, Malta.

The allegation: the trusts were used to receive kickbacks from rich Russians who bought Maltese passports. The publication led to street protests and caused disquiet in Brussels.

Mizzi and Schembri denied any wrongdoing. Mizzi said the accounts had been set up to receive income from a property in London, while Schembri implied that the offshore entities were related to his business activities before entering politics. Both men kept their jobs.

Earlier this year Caruana Galizia followed up the story with new detail. She alleged the Panama Papers scheme was also connected to Azerbaijan, the oil-rich dictatorship ruled as a personal fiefdom by the Aliyev family.

The same month that Mizzi and Schembri began setting up the offshore structures, they visited Azerbaijan, along with the prime minister and his spokesman.

The purpose of the visit was to agree a deal on fuel supplies. Unusually, civil servants, diplomats and journalists were not invited.

Although the reports prompted a national protest against corruption, the second in Malta that year, Muscat’s Labour government narrowly defeated a vote of no confidence presented by the opposition Nationalist party.

Over the coming months, while the initial scandal continued to make headlines, Caruana Galizia’s investigation continued.

Her focus was a mysterious third company, Egrant. In April 2017, just over a year after the Panama Papers were first published, Caruana Galizia reported that Egrant’s owner was one Michelle Muscat – the wife of Malta’s prime minister.

Furthermore, she alleged that a $1m (£760m) payment received by the company originated from Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of Azerbaijan’s president.

Muscat’s spokesman has described this as “an outright lie”.

Caruana Galizia’s report was sourced to a Russian whistleblower from inside a private bank in Malta called Pilatus.

The woman, later named as Maria Efimova, told Caruana Galizia that documents referring to the company were held in a safe, which had recently been removed from her boss’s office and moved into the staff kitchen, where there was no CCTV.

After Efimova complained that she had not been paid, Pilatus filed a complaint against her for “fraud and misappropriation”. Police seized her passport and charged her.

Efimova later fled the country after complaining to the prime minister that Russian private detectives had approached her father.

On the eve of the election, the story took a further twist. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian revealed that a Maltese intelligence agency, the Financial Investigation and Analysis Unit (FIAU), had in May 2016 concluded there was “reasonable suspicion of money laundering” involving Schembri, and it recommended police investigate further.

Schembri did not deny the transactions had taken place, but said the money was simply the repayment of a loan he made to a friend. The case is being investigated by a magistrate.

A second report by the FIAU into the Pilatus Bank alleged it had shown a “glaring, possibly deliberate disregard” for money-laundering controls. Pilatus said it fully adheres to all laws and regulations.

The gaming industry was another prime source of concern for Caruana Galizia. Over last decade, Malta has become a global hub for the online betting and gaming industries. The business employs more than 8,000 people on the island and its contribution to the economy is huge.

Recent estimates suggest the sector is worth €1.2bn, 12% of the island’s GDP.

Yet despite the island’s claim to be a “world class jurisdiction” for online gaming, there have been persistent reports of Italian mafia infiltration – in June, regulators suspended one operation over such fears.

In a post from May this year, Caruana Galizia noted: “I don’t know why we should be surprised that organised crime has insinuated its tentacles into the highest echelons of government in Malta, using democracy for the purpose while undermining it thoroughly. If it happened in Italy and eastern Europe, it can happen here, where the institutions of state are so much weaker.”


Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

Daphne Caruana Galizia, a blogger whose investigations focused on corruption, was described as a ‘one-woman WikiLeaks’


Juliette Garside
Monday 16 October 2017 18.33 BST

The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the vehicle into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.

Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

Malta’s president, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgment and to show solidarity,” she said.

After a fraught general election this summer, commentators had been fearing a return to the political violence that scarred Malta during the 1980s.

In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”, saying he had asked police to reach out to other countries’ security services for help identifying the perpetrators.

“Everyone knows Ms Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat at a hastily convened press conference, “both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way”.

Muscat announced later in parliament that FBI officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for outside help from the US government.

The Nationalist party leader, Adrian Delia – himself the subject of negative stories by Caruana Galizia – claimed the killing was linked to her reporting. “A political murder took place today,” Delia said in a statement. “What happened today is not an ordinary killing. It is a consequence of the total collapse of the rule of law which has been going on for the past four years.”

According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.

The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35pm on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3pm. Officers said her body had not yet been identified. According to sources, one of her sons heard the blast from their home and rushed out to the scene.

Caruana Galizia, who claimed to have no political affiliations, set her sights on a wide range of targets, from banks facilitating money laundering to links between Malta’s online gaming industry and the Mafia.
What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak

Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5m documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The data was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with media partners around the world, including the Guardian, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington.

Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, is a journalist and programmer who works for the ICIJ.

Her family have filed a court application demanding a change of inquiring magistrate. Investigations into the case are being led by Consuelo Scerri Herrera, the magistrate who was on duty at the time. But Herrera had come under criticism by Galizia in her blog. The family’s petition states that they “have no trust” in Scerri Herrera and “do not believe that she can conduct a magisterial inquiry through the seriousness and impartiality that is needed in the search for truth”.

Earlier this year, during Malta’s presidency of the European Union, her revelations caused major concern in Brussels.

MEPs openly called for Muscat’s departure amid a growing scandal involving his wife, a Panamanian shell company and alleged payments from the president of Azerbaijan’s daughter.

Muscat, who has been premier since 2013, went to the polls a year early after his wife was implicated in the scandal. He has always denied any wrongdoing and promised to quit if any evidence emerges of his family having secret offshore bank accounts used to stash kickbacks – as Caruana Galizia had alleged.

Responding to news of the attack, the German MEP Sven Giegold, a leading figure in the parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry, said he was “shocked and saddened”.

“It is too early to know the cause of the explosion but we expect to see a thorough investigation,” said Giegold. “Such incidents bring to mind Putin’s Russia, not the European Union. There can be absolutely no tolerance for violence against the press and violations of the freedom of expression in the European Union.”

Opposition politicians claim rule of law has been under threat since Muscat returned Malta’s Labour party to power in 2013 following a long period in opposition. Four police commissioners have resigned under his leadership. The fifth, Lawrence Cutajar, took up his post in August 2016.

There have been several car bomb killings in Malta during recent years. While the perpetrators have not been identified, the violence is thought to have been linked to disputes between criminal gangs. None are thought to have been politically motivated.

Caruana Galizia was 53 and leaves a husband and three sons.

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 05:21 AM 
Started by Nerissa - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Rad,

Is it Kundalini energy which raises with the consciousness of the Soul to be unified and sustained at the crown at the beginning of spiritual 3?

Is Kundalini always active in Souls even in the earlier evolutionary stages, just in a more subliminal/minimal way and will generally only become conscious from around the end of individual 3 or beginning of spiritual 1?

Thank you

All the best

 on: Oct 18, 2017, 05:20 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded

OCT. 18, 2017
NY Times
ALBANY — Last March, five women gathered in a home near here to enter a secret sisterhood they were told was created to empower women.

To gain admission, they were required to give their recruiter — or “master,” as she was called — naked photographs or other compromising material and were warned that such “collateral” might be publicly released if the group’s existence were disclosed.

The women, in their 30s and 40s, belonged to a self-help organization called Nxivm, which is based in Albany and has chapters across the country, Canada and Mexico.

Sarah Edmondson, one of the participants, said she had been told she would get a small tattoo as part of the initiation. But she was not prepared for what came next.

Each woman was told to undress and lie on a massage table, while three others restrained her legs and shoulders. According to one of them, their “master,” a top Nxivm official named Lauren Salzman, instructed them to say: “Master, please brand me, it would be an honor.”
Continue reading the main story

A female doctor proceeded to use a cauterizing device to sear a two-inch-square symbol below each woman’s hip, a procedure that took 20 to 30 minutes. For hours, muffled screams and the smell of burning tissue filled the room.

“I wept the whole time,” Ms. Edmondson recalled. “I disassociated out of my body.”

Since the late 1990s, an estimated 16,000 people have enrolled in courses offered by Nxivm (pronounced Nex-e-um), which it says are designed to bring about greater self-fulfillment by eliminating psychological and emotional barriers. Most participants take some workshops, like the group’s “Executive Success Programs,” and resume their lives. But other people have become drawn more deeply into Nxivm, giving up careers, friends and families to become followers of its leader, Keith Raniere, who is known within the group as “Vanguard.”

Both Nxivm and Mr. Raniere, 57, have long attracted controversy. Former members have depicted him as a man who manipulated his adherents, had sex with them and urged women to follow near-starvation diets to achieve the type of physique he found appealing.

Now, as talk about the secret sisterhood and branding has circulated within Nxivm, scores of members are leaving. Interviews with a dozen of them portray a group spinning more deeply into disturbing practices. Many members said they feared that confessions about indiscretions would be used to blackmail them.

Mark Vicente, a filmmaker and former top Nxivm official, said that after hearing about the secret society, he confronted Mr. Raniere.

“I said, ‘Whatever you are doing, you are heading for a blowup,’” Mr. Vicente said.

Several former members have asked state authorities to investigate the group’s practices, but officials have declined to pursue action.

In July, Ms. Edmondson filed a complaint with the New York State Department of Health against Danielle Roberts, a licensed osteopath and follower of Mr. Raniere, who performed the branding, according to Ms. Edmondson and another woman. In a letter, the agency said it would not look into Dr. Roberts because she was not acting as Ms. Edmondson’s doctor when the branding is said to have happened.

Separately, a state police investigator told Ms. Edmondson and two other women that officials would not pursue their criminal complaint against Nxivm because their actions had been consensual, a text message shows.

State medical regulators also declined to act on a complaint filed against another Nxivm-affilated physician, Brandon Porter. Dr. Porter, as part of an “experiment,” showed women graphically violent film clips while a brain-wave machine and video camera recorded their reactions, according to two women who took part.

The women said they were not warned that some of the clips were violent, including footage of four women being murdered and dismembered.

“Please look into this ASAP,” a former Nxivm member, Jennifer Kobelt, stated in her complaint. “This man needs to be stopped.”

In September, regulators told Ms. Kobelt they concluded that the allegations against Dr. Porter did not meet the agency’s definition of “medical misconduct,” their letter shows.

Mr. Raniere and other top Nxivm officials, including Lauren Salzman, did not respond to repeated emails, letters or text messages seeking comment. Dr. Roberts and Dr. Porter also did not respond to inquiries.

Former members said that, inside Nxivm, they are being portrayed as defectors who want to destroy the group.

It is not clear how many women were branded or which Nxivm officials were aware of the practice.

A copy of a text message Mr. Raniere sent to a female follower indicates that he knew women were being branded and that the symbol’s design incorporated his initials.

“Not initially intended as my initials but they rearranged it slightly for tribute,” Mr. Raniere wrote, (“if it were abraham lincolns or bill gates initials no one would care.)”
From the Message

Below is an excerpt of a text message Mr. Raniere sent to a female follower, which suggested that he knew women were being branded and that the symbol’s design incorporated his initials.

“... Not intended initially as my initials but they rearranged it slightly for tribute (if it were abraham lincolns or bill gates initials no one would care). The primary meaning and design of the brand symbol has nothing to do with my initials ...”
Joining the Sisterhood

Ms. Edmondson, who lives in Vancouver and helped start Nxivm’s chapter there, was thrilled when Lauren Salzman arrived in January to teach workshops.

The women, both in their early 40s, were close and Ms. Edmondson regarded Ms. Salzman as a confidante and mentor.

“Lauren was someone I really looked up to as a rock star within the company,” said Ms. Edmondson, an actress who joined Nxivm about a decade ago.

During her visit, Ms. Salzman said she had something “really amazing” she wanted to share. “It is kind of strange and top secret and in order for me to tell you about it you need to give me something as collateral to make sure you don’t speak about it,” Ms. Edmondson recalled her saying.

The proposition seemed like a test of trust. After Ms. Edmondson wrote a letter detailing past indiscretions, Ms. Salzman told her about the secret sorority.

She said it had been formed as a force for good, one that could grow into a network that could influence events like elections. To become effective, members had to overcome weaknesses that Mr. Raniere taught were common to women — an overemotional nature, a failure to keep promises and an embrace of the role of victim, according to Ms. Edmondson and other members.

Submission and obedience would be used as tools to achieve those goals, several women said. The sisterhood would comprise circles, each led by a “master” who would recruit six “slaves,” according to two women. In time, they would recruit slaves of their own.

“She made it sound like a bad-ass bitch boot camp,” Ms. Edmondson said.

Ms. Edmondson and others said that during training, the women were required to send their master texts that read “Morning M” and “Night M.” During drills, a master texted her slaves “?” and they had 60 seconds to reply “Ready M.”

Trainees who failed had to pay penalties, including fasting, or could face physical punishments, two women said.

In March, Ms. Edmondson arrived for an initiation ceremony at Ms. Salzman’s home in Clifton Park, N.Y., a town about 20 miles north of Albany where Mr. Raniere and some followers live. After undressing, she was led to a candlelit ceremony, where she removed a blindfold and saw Ms. Salzman’s other slaves for the first time. The women were then driven to a nearby house, where the branding took place.

In the spring, the sorority grew as women joined different circles. Slaves added compromising collateral every month to Dropbox accounts, and a Google Document was used to list a timetable for recruiting new slaves, several women said.

Around the same time, an actress, Catherine Oxenberg, said she learned her daughter had been initiated into the sorority.

“I felt sick to my stomach,” said Ms. Oxenberg, who starred in the 1980s television series “Dynasty.”

Ms. Oxenberg had become increasingly concerned about her 26-year-old daughter, India, who looked emaciated from dieting. She told her mother that she had not had a menstrual period for a year and that her hair was falling out.

Ms. Oxenberg said she invited her daughter home in late May to try to get her away from the group.

When Ms. Oxenberg confronted her about the sorority, her daughter defended its practices.

“She said it was a character-building experience,” Ms. Oxenberg said.

By the time the secret group was taking shape, Mark Vicente, the filmmaker, had been a faithful follower of Mr. Raniere for more than a decade.

Mr. Vicente said he had been contacted by Ms. Salzman’s mother, Nancy, a co-founder of Nxivm who is known as “Prefect,” after the 2004 release of a documentary he co-directed that explored spirituality and physics.

Soon, Mr. Vicente was taking courses that he said helped him expose his fears and learn strategies that made him feel more resolute.

He also made a documentary called “Encender el Corazón,” or “Ignite the Heart,” which lionized Mr. Raniere’s work in Mexico.

“Keith Raniere is an activist, scientist, philosopher and, above all, humanitarian,” Mr. Vicente says in the film.

Mr. Raniere has used those words to describe himself. On his website, he said he spoke in full sentences by age 1, mastered high school mathematics by 12 and taught himself to play “concert level” piano. At 16, he entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Before Nxivm, he helped run a company called Consumers’ Buyline Inc., which offered discounts to members on groceries and other products.

In the mid-1990s, several state attorneys general investigated it as a suspected pyramid scheme; Mr. Raniere and his associates agreed to shut it down.

Through Nxivm, Mr. Raniere transformed himself into a New Age teacher with long hair and a guru-like manner of speaking.

“Humans can be noble,” he says on his website. “The question is: will we put forth what is necessary?”

By many accounts, Mr. Raniere sleeps during the day and goes out at night to play volleyball or take female followers for long walks. Several women described him as warm, funny and eager to talk about subjects that interested them.

Others saw a different side. Nxivm sued several former members, accusing them of stealing its trade secrets, among other things.

Mr. Vicente said he was aware of the negative publicity, including a 2012 series by The Albany Times-Union that described alleged abuses inside Nxivm.

Mr. Vicente’s views began to change this year after his wife was ostracized when she left Nxivm and he heard rumors about the secret sorority.

Mr. Vicente said he got evasive answers when he asked Mr. Raniere about the group. Mr. Raniere acknowledged giving “five women permission to do something,” but did not elaborate, other than to say he would investigate, Mr. Vicente said.

Mr. Vicente said he suspected Mr. Raniere was lying to him and might have done so before. Suddenly, self-awareness techniques he had learned felt like tools that had been used to control him.

“No one goes in looking to have their personality stripped away,” he said. “You just don’t realize what is happening.”
Followers Start to Flee

In May, Sarah Edmondson began to recoil from her embrace of the secret society.

Her husband, Anthony Ames, who was also a Nxivm member, learned about her branding and the couple both wanted out.

Before quitting, Mr. Ames went to Nxivm’s offices in Albany to collect money he said the group owed him.

He had his cellphone in his pocket and turned on its recorder.

On the recording, Mr. Ames tells another member that Ms. Edmondson was branded and that other women told him about handing over collateral. “This is criminal,” Mr. Ames says.

The voice of a woman — who Mr. Ames said is Lauren Salzman — is heard trying to calm him. “I don’t think you are open to having a conversation,” she said.

“You are absolutely right, I’m not open to having a conversation,” he replied. “My wife got branded.”

A few days later, many of Mr. Raniere’s followers learned of the secret society from a website run by a Buffalo-area businessman, Frank R. Parlato Jr. Mr. Parlato had been locked in a long legal battle with two sisters, Sara and Clare Bronfman, who are members of Nxivm and the daughters of Edgar Bronfman, the deceased chairman of Seagram Company.

In 2011, the Bronfman sisters sued Mr. Parlato, whom they had hired as a consultant, alleging he had defrauded them of $1 million.

Four years later, in 2015, the Justice Department indicted him on charges of fraud and other crimes arising from alleged activities, including defrauding the Bronfmans. Mr. Parlato has denied the claims and the case is pending.

Mr. Parlato started a website, The Frank Report, which he uses to lambaste prosecutors, Mr. Raniere and the Bronfmans. In early June, Mr. Parlato published the first in a torrent of salacious posts under the headline, “Branded Slaves and Master Raniere.”

A Nxivm follower, Soukaina Mehdaoui, said she reached out to Mr. Raniere after reading the post. Ms. Mehdaoui, 25, was a newcomer to Nxivm, but the two had grown close.

She said Mr. Raniere told her the secret sorority began after three women offered damaging collateral to seal lifetime vows of obedience to him.

While Ms. Mehdaoui had joined the sorority, the women in her circle were not branded. She was appalled.

“There are things I didn’t know that I didn’t sign up for, and I’m not even hearing about it from you,” she texted Mr. Raniere.

Mr. Raniere texted back about his initials and the brand.

By then, panic was spreading inside Nxivm. Slaves were ordered to delete encrypted messages between them and erase Google documents, two women said. To those considering breaking away, it was not clear whom they could trust and who were Nxivm loyalists.

Late one night, Ms. Mehdaoui met secretly with another Nxivm member. They took out their cellphones to show they were not recording the conversation.

Both decided to leave Nxivm, despite concerns that the group would retaliate by releasing their “collateral” or suing them.

Ms. Mehdaoui said that when she went to say goodbye to Mr. Raniere, he urged her to stay.

“Do you think, I’m bad, I don’t agree with abuses,” she recalled him saying. He said the group “gives women tools to be powerful, to regain their power for the sake of building love.”

Nxivm recently filed criminal complaints with the Vancouver police against Ms. Edmondson and two other women accusing them of mischief and other crimes in connection with the firm’s now-closed center there, according to Ms. Edmondson. The women have denied the allegations. A spokesman for the Vancouver police declined to comment.

Ms. Edmondson and other former followers of Mr. Raniere said they were focusing on recovering.

“There is no playbook for leaving a cult,” she said.

Pages: 1 ... 4 5 [6] 7 8 ... 10