Tag Archives: Brazil

The Rise and Fall of Zen Gardner

People who follow the so-called ‘alternative media’ know Zen Gardner and his popular eponymous website. From the site’s beginning, it  attracted a loyal readership and fan base. When I first happened upon Zen’s site back in 2012, I was immediately drawn to it. I was impressed with the elegant design and  the articles.

The articles were drawn from a broad range of writers, bloggers, vloggers, and free thinkers. Most of them took an unconventional perspective on the issues facing our planet and species and were edgy enough so that the site couldn’t be dismissed as New Age escapism.

I really liked the streamlined design, with a bare minimum of advertising and  click bait. Many of the writers whose articles I read stretched my mind and enlarged my view on world events. During the first couple of years I visited the site, I wasn’t even aware that there was a person named ‘Zen Gardner.’  He didn’t post his own articles at that time and I thought the name of the website was just a homage to Zen Buddhism.

However, by late 2014 and into  2015, a noticeable shift began to occur. First, the website  underwent a dramatic redesign. The streamlined design was jettisoned in favor of one with far more advertising; furthermore, the advertising was sponsored by that evil Israeli-run company, Taboola,  After reading through the list of articles on the home page, readers were confronted with a TMZ-esque smorgasbord of celebrity gossip stories. To see this advertising on Zen’s site was jarring, and I was shocked to see that few of his readers objected to it in the forum section.

The next major shift to occur was the appearance of Zen Gardner himself from ‘out of the shadows,’ so to speak. Suddenly, his articles were at the top of the homepage, and he began to write prolifically. Although many of his supposed fans in the forum were effusive in their praise of his writing ability, I never thought much of it. All of the articles were a rehash of the same theme: ‘the shift of the ages is occurring, we are ‘riding the waves’ of seismic change, hold on to your hat, stay centered, blah, blah, blah. ‘The content was uninspiring, derivative, and repetitive. The writing itself was of poor quality, though again few, if any, of the readers seemed to notice. Zen also started doing dozens of interviews, all of which were of course posted on the top menu bar. When I first heard his voice, I had an uncomfortable feeling. His voice just didn’t resonate with me; it was high-pitched- almost feminine- and didn’t sound like an enlightened man in his late 60s.

Next, the content of the aggregated articles changed markedly. The hard, edgy content of the previous years was replaced by hundreds of gloppy, syrupy, new-agey fluff pieces. Most of the newer articles  focused on how to meditate and what foods to eat. Linked videos of George Carlin and Bill Hicks appeared almost daily, apparently to attract hipsters.

The appearance of in-your-face advertising and  new age writing, coupled with  the  deliberate cultivation of the cult around ‘Zen Gardner’ set off alarm bells in my mind. I sensed something very wrong was happening and surmised that perhaps the site, and its founder, had been co-opted by Intelligence. Here and there, a few thought-provoking articles still appeared, but the new direction was clear.

When I read Zen’s revelations last month about his time spent in a pedophile cult, I was shocked and disturbed, as was everyone. I read his utterly unconvincing explanations for this episode of his life. I also followed the subsequent articles he wrote where he attempted to douse the flames and claim that those who were exposing him were merely on a witch hunt  and should examine their own skeletons instead of lambasting him. To see so many of his groupie fans defending and coddling him, including Jon Rappaoport, was disheartening and disgusting.

There is much food for thought here in this sad drama and some hard lessons to be learned for everyone who participates in the alternative media, whether as a producer or consumer. Was ‘Zen Gardner’ , aka Don Ferguson, a CIA plant who was set up from the beginning to fail, and bring his followers down with him?  I think it’s quite possible. In fact, until I see a more plausible explanation, that is the one I am going with.

It’s also a possibility that he began with good intentions but was turned to the dark side by the powers-that-be. As I have shown above, it’s quite easy to trace the arc of the site’s downward spiral and see when and how it lost its way.

For those of us who wade daily into the realm of truth-seeking, we need to be ever on -guard. Those who at first glance appear to be on our side often turn out to be gatekeepers, shills, double agents, spooks, and monsters. We must use our intuition at all times and bring people to task when they fail to live up to their rhetoric. We have seen so many big names come crashing down in the last few years: Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, Mark Dice, Jesse Ventura, Gerald Celente, Jeff Rense, Jeff C, and many, many more have been exposed. Zen Gardner has now joined this infamous club of shame. We should have seen it coming.

 

 

 

Five more disgusting facts about Fifa

The more I learn about FIFA and the world cup, the more sickened I feel about the whole charade. Almost every day I learn something new about this repulsive organization. For example,

1) FIFA is registered as a non-profit. Huh? A non-profit with a billion bucks in its bank account. Not bad.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/brazil-s-thrilling-opening-match-win-takes-backseat-to-politics–fifa-s-steadfast-corruption-235458789-soccer.html

2) World cup stadiums were built on Indian land.

http://www.zengardner.com/ghosts-world-cup/

 

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3) FIFA strong-armed the Brazilian government to lift its ban on alcohol sales in football stadiums to please its corporate sponsor Budweiser. Money trumps public health and public safety. Need we say this again? Governments don’t rule the world, corporations do.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18348012

4) The 2022 world cup will be held in Qatar, where it is not uncommon for the mercury to reach 125 degrees . Now, that’s some pleasant weather for a football match! But the weather is the least of the problems when talking about Qatar.  Workers building the infrastructure for the tournament are wantonly abused and are dying regularly, and most are kept in the country as virtual slaves. Already, 1,000 migrant workers have died. 

MAFIA-FIFA-SCOASA-LA-SUPRAFATA-ASA-CEVA-RAR-MAI-INTALNESTI3

5) Most of the stadiums built in Brazil for the world cup will be ‘white elephants’ after the tournament has ended. They will be used sparingly, if at all, in the future and will simply rot away.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/10/world-cup-protesters-fifa-demand-reform

And can someone please tell me why the world cup requires twelve cities in which to host the games? I mean, even the olympics, which I thought was the world’s largest international sporting event, only requires one city. Call me crazy, but I have an idea. Can’t we just do the whole thing in one city?  Most major cities in the USA, for example, have a major league stadium, plus a handful of smaller stadiums at local universities. With proper staggering of the game times, this could easily be done. The host cities in Brazil are so far apart that hours long plane trips are required to get from one to the other. This is absurd!

John Oliver tells it like it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJEt2KU33I

Protestors, not fans, greet the Brazilian national team in Rio

World Cup Count Down Photo GalleryThe people of Brazil are doing what the people of England (2012), South Africa (2010,) China (2008), Greece (2004), and Australia (2000) should have done when their countries held mega sports events.  Protest!  Good for the Brazilians!

The latest news coming from Brazil: protestors of world cup spending  have met the Brazilian national team not with adulation and worship, but with anger. The team couldn’t even make it from the airport to their training facility in Rio without encountering a rowdy group of protestors who plastered the bus with anti-world cup stickers. When the team left the hotel in Rio, they again had to run a gauntlet of protests.

_75113003_75112998I imagine that the government of Dilma Rousseff is praying that once the tournament actually begins, the Brazilian people will gather ’round the television with family and friends and concentrate their energies on rooting for the home squad instead of plotting mayhem and mischief. And indeed that may happen. Football is a religion in Brazil and the fact that these protests are occurring in what is maybe the most football-mad country in the world shows us how deep the discontent goes.

This is a very important story to follow. The protests in Brazil over the world cup and olympics, resulting from extravagant spending, corruption,  hubris and incompetence, will shine a bright spotlight on these wasteful and meaningless mega sporting events, which serve only to line the pockets of a few stars and advertisers while predictably distracting the population from the systemic problems facing their economies.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/protests-brazil-stars-arrive-world-cup-camp-211414433–sow.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2639318/PICTURED-Brazil-countdown-World-Cup-start.html

Following the chaos in Brazil. Countdown to the World Cup

The latest news coming out of Brazil isn’t good. Bus drivers are going on strike in Sao Paulo and civil police forces are going on strike in 17 states and ‘will not be investigating crimes.’ Just what Brazil needs a couple of weeks before the start of the World Cup.

This is like watching a bad car crash in slow motion. Can the PR get any worse for the Brazilian government? Will Rousseff survive the next election? How many spectators and tourists are having second thoughts and canceling their trip to Brazil?

I shed no tears for FIFA, that arrogant and mafia-like bully. If the world cup is a disaster, perhaps FIFA will learn some sorely needed humility. Nor do I care much about the multi-millionaire players and their gargantuan egos, blow-dried hair and endorsement contracts. It’s the Brazilian people we should be concerned about, those who will inevitably pick up the tab for this unnecessary and costly fiasco.

Links are below. Simon Jenkins, who writes for the Guardian, gives an excellent overview of the situation, and offers an interesting piece of  advice for Brazil.

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/playbooks-profits/index.ssf/2014/05/post_37.html#incart_river_default

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/apr/23/world-cup-olympics-rio-de-janeiro-brazil-sensation-disaster

More drama as Brazil prepares for the World Cup

The news coming out of Brazil regarding preparations for the world cup and the olympics isn’t good. As I discussed in a previous post. hosting the olympics and other mega sports events typically does not turn out well for the host city and country. In fact, the results are often crippling financial losses and a host of other issues.

The Brazilian police and military have moved into the favelas around Rio de Janeiro in yet another effort to ‘pacify’ them, this time to try to secure the city before the start of the world cup in June. I bet that’s a reassuring picture to send the world and especially the thousands of tourists and spectators who will soon be pouring into the city. Imagine if you have a hotel room booked near Copacabana in June, and you read that  the military is in bloody confrontations in Rio, using armored personnel carriers among other tools. Feeling safe?

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The PR nightmare that the Brazilian government is suffering, and which is sure to become much worse in the months ahead, is happening alongside huge logistical problems in the preparations for the cup and the olympics. The situation has become so critical that recently the IOC sent down a special task force to help get things moving. It is appearing less and less likely that the country will have everything built, manned, and functional in time.

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Reading these stories which are coming out almost weekly now fills me with dread and a sense of anguish for Brazilians. I have visited that lovely country twice and to watch this unfolding predictable drama and know which way it’s headed is sobering. The Brazilian people will absorb all of the costs and very little, if any, of the benefits of these spectacles. All of the sophisticated police state apparatus being constructed will stay in place after the olympics end. Any talk of the new surveillance systems being ‘temporary’ is pure rubbish.

When the final bill is tallied up in a couple more years, the government ministers will tell the people, with long, sorrowful faces, that “We made a mistake. But we must not dwell on past mistakes. Let us move forward. But in order to do so, we must pay back the loans to the banks and be responsible. So, we regret to inform you that taxes are being raised, pensions are being frozen and bank accounts are being raided.”

Remember, Brazil is no longer a small player on the world stage. She has an enormous economy (7th largest by GDP) and is a founding member of the BRICS organization. A serious crisis in Brazil will have global implications.

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-04-11/sports/chi-ioc-belatedly-coming-to-grips-with-rio-olympics-mess-20140411_1_rio-olympics-international-olympic-committee-summer-games

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/29/sport/brazil-rio-olympics/index.html?iref=allsearch

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/24/sport/football/brazil-world-cup-favela-slums/