Burners Building Crypto-Utopia in Puerto Rico

Brock Pierce is perhaps the most famous person in the world of cryptocurrency. He got married at Burning Man, and has much more time for Burners than civilians. He and his friends are living in a Monastery and building a permanent city in Puerto Rico called Sol: a Phoenix rising from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

See the whole interview with Brock and Tai Lopez here.

The New York Times picked up this story:

SAN JUAN, P.R. — They call what they are building Puertopia. But then someone told them, apparently in all seriousness, that it translates to “eternal boy playground” in Latin. So they are changing the name: They will call it Sol.

Dozens of entrepreneurs, made newly wealthy by blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are heading en masse to Puerto Rico this winter. They are selling their homes and cars in California and establishing residency on the Caribbean island in hopes of avoiding what they see as onerous state and federal taxes on their growing fortunes, some of which now reach into the billions of dollars.

And these men — because they are almost exclusively men — have a plan for what to do with the wealth: They want to build a crypto utopia, a new city where the money is virtual and the contracts are all public, to show the rest of the world what a crypto future could look like. Blockchain, a digital ledger that forms the basis of virtual currencies, has the potential to reinvent society — and the Puertopians want to prove it.

For more than a year, the entrepreneurs had been searching for the best location. After Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s infrastructure in September and the price of cryptocurrencies began to soar, they saw an opportunity and felt a sense of urgency.

So this crypto community flocked here to create its paradise. Now the investors are spending their days hunting for property where they could have their own airports and docks. They are taking over hotels and a museum in the capital’s historic section, called Old San Juan. They say they are close to getting the local government to allow them to have the first cryptocurrency bank.

Read the rest at the New York Times.

This sounds like a great use of Burner power.

Why devote a year’s worth of energy to building something that is destroyed in minutes? I mean, don’t get me wrong, that can be fun the first few times you do it. Is that all there is though, the pinnacle of Self-Expression is destruction? What about other values, Civic Responsibility, Communal Effort, Immediacy? We can take all the creative and artistic talent, brainpower, networks, and newly minted crypto capital of the Burner community and use that to do permanent good, helping others in need. Gifting things that make a lasting impact to many.

BMorg might tell you “but that’s what we do, Burners Without Borders”! Unfortunately the most recent financial data we have says that they spent less than $8000 on these projects in 2015 and 2016, years in which they took in more than $80 million.

At this point the chances of Decommodification, Inc and their ever-expanding year-round crew saving the world are pretty slim. They would have to become something they quite clearly are not. Look at Flysalen, 2 years to figure out a vision for that, hundreds of people plotting world domination in the hot tub at Esalen…still nothing.  Burners, on the other hand? We know how to get shit done. We can make the world a better place. Many of us already are, like SHELTERCOIN. Puerto Rico needs our help, there are many other disaster-devastated destinations. Why destroy stuff when you can rebuild homes and restore communities?

Or, we can just do the same hedonistic debauched thing every year in the same way, the only thing changing is ticket prices going up and lines getting longer while the quality of the crowd goes down. Eat, sleep, Burn, repeat, forever and ever and ever…

 

2016 Financial Analysis

It’s that time of year again.

Burning Man 2016 Annual Report

Burning Man 2016 IRS Form 990

Burners.Me Previous Financial Coverage: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Some highlights:

  • revenues up to almost $46.2 million, up from $36.9 million in 2015.
  • Revenue less Expenses= $9,242,666
  • Donations received over $8 million (including Fly Ranch mega-donors).
  • salaries up $2 million
  • Cash and receivables: $9.5 million
  • Total assets: $24.4 million
  • Ticketing $873,795

 

Screenshot 2018-01-18 16.35.21

Even though it is more than a year and a quarter since Burning Man 2016, they still aren’t able to share with us the actual data in their annual report. A lot of it they just took from 2015.

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I can’t make the fancy graphics like them, but I can look on their form and see what “Grants Provided” and “Donations Received” were for 2016, the year this report is supposed to be about.

Grants Provided 2016: $1,518,490
Donations Received 2016:  $8,074,456

Note that for the last couple of years at least, “grants” has included all the cost of the Man, base, and the various structures that now surround the Man base. Donations went up nearly $7 million, total revenue went up about $10 million, while grants went up less than a hundred grand.

The image above makes it look like 5% of the budget goes to Burners Without Borders, and Fly Ranch takes up about 10% of their year-round time and money. Neither of these figures matches the actual numbers.

We commented last year that it seemed a little pathetic that Burners Without Borders, an organization that once held so much promise, donated a mere $4000 across 8 projects. They’ve managed to cut those outrageous costs, donating now $3415, or less than 1/13,000th of Burning Man’s revenue.

Screenshot 2018-01-18 16.40.40

We’re making the world a better place, with $3,415. They spend way more on their European Leadership Conference. I mean, shouldn’t things like that be self-funding, if not actually raising funds?

The only founders still working full time are Marian Goodell (50 hours) and Larry Harvey (40 hours). Harley Dubois must knock off work early, or maybe she takes a longer lunch break – she only puts in 36 hours per week.

Screenshot 2018-01-18 17.46.39

The guy actually running Burning Man, Charlie Dolman, only gets paid slightly more than the many and varied PR and IT staff.

Kudos to the board members who give their time to Burning Man for free.

Legal costs remain astronomical, more than half a million dollars a year. And that’s after Board member Terry Gross gave a generous (for a lawyer) 20% discount on his firm’s fees – although he clawed some of that back with $20k+ in personal payments.

The Artumnal fundraiser appears to have made a loss. They paid $31,904 rent for the use of The Regency Ballroom for an evening.

Burner money paid for a lot of international junkets speaking engagements, including Marian Goodell sharing the stage with the Vatican…which kind of makes sense given the sort of thing we’ve seen from this Satan-praising Pope

Screenshot 2018-01-07 15.49.05

popes throne

 

popes audience hall snake

 

This guy is in charge of culture for the Vatican.

Paul Tighe (born 12 February 1958) is an Irish prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture since his appointment on 28 October 2017. He is the highest-ranking Irishman in the Roman Curia

[Source]

In her talk, Maid Marian says “cellphones don’t work” and “the Internet is left behind”. Isn’t it a cardinal sin to lie in front of a bishop?

They still seem to have no idea what they are going to do with FlySalen. It’s coming up on 2 years now since they bought it. Is there some secret stuff going on out there, which isn’t being shared with the Burner community? Radical Rituals of some sort?

pterodactyl model 1984 (Large)

The biggest individual contributions to Fly Ranch were: $1,750,000 , $1,500,000, $999,965, $500,000. Some big backers there – can we match the name with the money? Elon? Sergey? Guy from Cirque do Soleil? Geomagician Ping Fu got a board seat, so presumably she wrote a pretty big check. Which one of these high rolling Billionaire Burners stiffed them on the $35 wire transfer fee?

They received $171,000 in land and $489,915 in marketable securities – that “donate us your stock options program” looks to have been a lucrative move.

One name that stood out to me on the Donors list was Amanda Sackler. You may have read about her family in Esquire Secretive Family Making Billions From The Opioid Crisis , the New Yorker Family That Built an Empire of Pain or my favorite from Dr Mercola Meet The Sacklers – The Family That’s Killing Millions (Maybe More Than Stalin)

…more than 200,000 killed so far this century, but hey, at least we got a donation.

Congratulations to Marian and team for delivering an excellent financial result. Costs trimmed, sales up. A well oiled and greased machine. How much trickled out into grants, which of course mostly went to the same old same old (shout out to newcomer Plug-n-Play LLC?)

“In 2016, $78,250 was awarded to 17 global projects.”

Screenshot 2018-01-18 17.01.00

Screenshot 2018-01-18 16.37.51

 

 

Shadow History of Burners Part 7: Social Engineering on the Electronic Frontier

So far in this series we’ve gone through the Where, When, What, and Who. Now it’s time to wrap up with the Why and How. We broadcast this live at 1pm PST on Saturday, August 26 2017.

Download the Part 7 presentation as a powerpoint or PDF or PDF with notes.

Huge thanks to Jan Irvin of Gnostic Media for all of his work and help in getting this research out to the public. Draw your own conclusions, I have presented my case and supported it with citations and a large amount of evidence. If you have considered the evidence but drawn a different conclusion, I would be interested to hear it.

There are a lot of clips we didn’t get to play due to what appeared to be active hacking against the live show, which stopped when we called them out for it. The links to the clips are in the notes to each slide. If you enjoyed the show you might enjoy these clips too.

Slide 3 – Social Engineering and Peer Pressure

Slide 6

TC003 Julian Assange on Silicon Valley’s wilful blindness

Slide 10 Pirate Utopias

Lift The Veil: MKULTRA, ElsaGate, Finders Cult particularly 5:27-9:30

 

Hey Kids I am AI 2.0 28s-3:02

Slide 21 Weaponized AI Propaganda

From Adam Curtis Hypernormalization

Slide 23

Full Robert Duncan presentation:

Slide 24 Effects Based Operations

Slide 28 Surveillance Capitalism

Slide 31 2:34-4:52 Google and the Creepy Line

Full Corbett Report episode on Sentient World Simulation – note, “Sentient”

Slide 32 Neural Lace connecting to your digital self

Slide 33 HAL’s a pussycat

 

Slide 35: Mossad Operatives LARPing as YouTube truthers

Slide 76 Stanford Links

 

Slide 78 Chaos Field Experiments

Slide 86 Burning Man and Google

complete Fred Turner lecture (Stanford CASBS)

 

 

 

“Dear White People, Standing Rock Is Not Burning Man”

screenshot-2016-11-30-23-03-20

It seems that the idea of “using The Ten Principles of Burning Man to make the world a better place” is not yet embraced by everyone else in the world.

screenshot-2016-12-01-01-35-18There has been a barrage of press this week about complaints that Burners are trying to turn the Dakota Pipeline protest at Standing Rock into Burning Man.

Some of the headlines:

The Independent (UK): Standing Rock: North Dakota access pipeline demonstrators say white people are ‘treating protest like Burning Man’

SF Chronicle: Standing Rock Activists Asking White People Not To Treat The Protest Like Burning Man

Daily Caller: White Hippes Descend on Standing Rock Protest, Treat It Like Burning Man

Papermag: White People Are Reportedly Treating the #NODAPL Protests Like Burning Man

Washington Times: Complaints Grow Over Whites Turning Dakota Access protest into hippie festival

Yes, the demonstrators have a new thing to protest about: Burners. The colonial subjects do not want to have a transformational experience from the colonists, they are quite happy with the culture that they already have – an ancient one sacred to them, principles that their people have risked their lives for centuries to defend.

GQ says:

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Opponents of the nearly-completed Dakota Access Pipeline have been confronted with some harrowing stuff during their ongoing occupation of Standing Rock Indian Reservation: pepper spraystrip searchesrubber bulletswater cannons, and now, as the calendar rolls over into December, plunging temperatures and the prospect of snow. It’s a volatile, dangerous situation, and the continued integrity of the demonstration will depend heavily on the exercise of restraint, sound judgment, and common sense. Unfortunately, your college roommate who was way too into Dave Matthews Band is apparently out there doing his best to fuck everything up. From the Independent:

People demonstrating at North Dakota’s Access Pipeline protest have expressed frustration at white demonstrators who are reportedly turning up to “colonise” the camp.

Concerns have been raised by protestors on social media, who claim that people are arriving at the Standing Rock demonstration for the “cultural experience” and treating it like Burning Man festival.

Yes, apparently some Johnny-come-lately Caucasian protesters have been comparing the protests to Burning Man, using donations to buy fluoride-free water, and—the cardinal sin of white people everywhere—playing their guitars around campfires. My fellow white people: do not do this shit! Standing Rock is not the place for you to embark on a meaningful spiritual journey to find yourself. 

If they are so inclined, it’s great for people to show their support for the tribe’s efforts to protect its water supply and preserve their traditional tribal burial grounds. But while it sounds there are plenty of non-tribal protestors in attendance who are doing things correctly, others need to learn some dang manners. 

Nobody wants to hear your songs with your guitar or drum around the fire” is an evergreen reminder, to be honest, but it especially applies to anyone who treats Standing Rock like it’s a friend of a friend’s housewarming party that they can crash.

[Source]

This is particularly amusing because BMorg have been boasting about how they have teams on the scene, including [former] Social Alchemist/House Bard Bear Kittay. If “playing guitars around campfires” was a middle name, it would be his…

 

As a rule we don’t share personal Facebook posts here, but in this case Bear was happy for his take on Standing Rock to be published on Medium, who bring us Bear Kittay From The Bismarck Airport Leaving Standing Rock (on a private plane, perhaps?):

Photo by Bear Kittay. Note their Principle “No Children in Potentially Dangerous Situations”, something the Org really needs to consider

.

“Real, immediate dialogue. That is what we need. How can we create an environment where an indigenous person, gypsetter, and rust belter will be imbued with a sense of peership?

My experience of the microcosm of a cauldron that Standing Rock, in my brief visit there, has left me with much to ponder and digest. So many layers simultaneously coexisting.

Deep ancestral distrust, how can we begin to address the underlying fears and victimization?

On my journey to North Dakota I read “Quiet Thunder: The Wisdom of Crazy Horse” (thanks Michael Costuros) and was astounded to revisit, in chilling detail, the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the United States upon the Lakota Nation.

For all the focus we put on the inequities of the wider world, it struck me so deeply to look here into the history of our own land, and demystify the historical injustices, that were not from some far off historic time. For indeed, there is a through line that, very immediately connects the vile, systemic campaign against the Native Americans to the current moment of Standing Rock today.

I have tried to balance and remain agnostic from the many conspiracy theories that are in sprinkled around the Internet and spoken as if they are high truth. I believe this world is complex and that oversimplification can lead to the worst in human behavior.

So, can someone please give me an explanation as to why all of the major media companies are refusing to cover standing rock in earnest? It has all the telltale signs of conspiratorial activity, with huge corporate interests conspiring to suppress public outrage through misinformation and, even, fake news. If any of you that are reading this are deeply connected in the mainstream media, please use your influence to send field reporters.

Thank you to Seth BuntingElana Meta Jaroff and the many others who are on the front lines of this conflict vigilantly documenting and broadcasting the scene. Your work is making real impact, your courage is real.

This isn’t going to be one of those Facebook posts where I prescribe eloquent solutions or pruned emotional reflections — I’m sleep deprived, exasperated and very much in process.

If you’re reading this, I implore you to create conversation with those who may challenge you, trigger you, who you may easily judge, and subconsciously look down upon… get off of the Internet and receive the incredible gift of human connection outside of our affinity bubbles.

This is what the world needs. This is what our hearts need. This is but one facet in the many layers of Standing Rock as a metaphor for the front lines of our nation and indeed our world, in transition.

In love, and to the ongoing ceremony and prayer in our Greater Circle. Aho

And PS — it’s COLD AS HELL out there. Please consider the comfort of your warm home when making a donation to support the Water Protectors: http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/

[Source]

I wondered if this “camp ocetisakowin” had anything to do with the Dakota Pipeline, or if it was some plug-n-play that BMorg had set up so they could fly execs in via their new airline. At first glance it looked like an anagram of “white ocean“…Turns out it’s the traditional name of the Sioux People and one of the largest camps up there. Among other things they’re seeking:

The sacred fire must be kept burning until it is guaranteed the water is protected for future generations.  One of our greatest needs for the winter will be wood.  It warms our lodges, cooks our food, heats the stones for our sweats. 

Tipis, winter liners, and poles

Yurts or other winter worthy structures

[Source]

Ask for yurts and help to keep the sacred fire burning and don’t be surprised if Burners show up! Perhaps they should’ve asked for ShiftPods…they could blast the pipeline away with that stadium-grade Funktion1 system.

Actually, the Daily Mail features “Burning Man-style” aerial photos…I see multiple Shift Pods. Where’s the DJ booth?

screenshot-2016-11-30-16-55-40

daily-mail-standing-rock-3 daily-mail-standing-rock-2 daily-mail-standing-rock-1

[Source]

To be fair to Bear, the Standing Rock protestors were complaining about people treating it like Burning Man before he showed up:

Burbank Airport is a popular hub for General Aviation

Burbank Airport in Los Angeles is a popular hub for General Aviation, but an unusual departure location for an SF resident on a commercial flight

Tracing this story to its roots, it seems like the complaints about Burners started two weeks earlier, on November 14.

GQ quotes The Independent who plagiarize quote without attribution Counter Current News who quote Alicia Smith on Facebook.

Standing Rock has reportedly been overrun with white demonstrators trying to soak up the ‘cultural experience’

Demonstrators at North Dakota’s Pipeline protest have spoken out about the amount of white people who have turned up to “colonise” the camp.

The concerns have been raised by protestors in a series of tweets and Facebook posts. According to them, people have turned up to the Standing Rock demonstration to soak up the “cultural experience”, and are treating the camp like it is “Burning Man” festival or “The Rainbow Gathering”.

“They are coming in, taking food, clothing… and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” said protestor Alicia Smith on Facebook. “I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to festivals. Waiting with big smiles expectantly for us to give them a necklace or an ‘indian’ name while our camp leader was speaking.”

screenshot-2016-11-30-17-03-19

screenshot-2016-11-30-17-02-19

If you read our post Making Sense of the Non-Census (or did the Creepy Census) you will have encountered the term “2 Spirit”. I wondered what that was, now I know: someone who travels to sacred Indian land to scream at the Elders.

Burners Without Borders has been involved since at least October 28.

screenshot-2016-11-30-22-59-55

There seems to be a battle going on of “which nerds should be the ones to collect donations to [*cough*] pass on to the protestors”. BWB director Chris Breedlove asked “where does this money go?” on Bear’s Facebook post asking for donations to ThriveAction.org , which redirects to thrivemarket.com, which says that the distribution really gets done by UpToUs.Net – which is a “coming soon” 1-page web site four months after raising $41,104 of their $75,000 goal for a “caravan to the DNC” . They have partnered with All It Takes, created by Divergent actress Shailene Woodley and her mom to send poor kids to training camps. It’s about 100% of their annual budget. Where does the money go? It’s complicated…

While I share Breedlove’s concerns and his intentions sound noble, it turns out Burners Without Borders are promoting their own preferred charity, in partnership with Patricia Arquette.
screenshot-2016-11-30-17-17-31

Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing Burners Without Borders is supposed to be doing? The Burning Man Project has $7.5 million cash (at least, it did at the end of 2015). Why can’t they spare $80k for this project, if it’s so worthy? Why can’t they redistribute $1 from each of our tickets for this? Why are they promoting Patricia Arquette, who a couple of months ago was hating on Burning Man?

screenshot-2016-11-30-21-46-35

Why does Burning Man with many millions have to wait for Patricia Arquette to raise tens of thousands before they can help the Sioux tribe in North Dakota? The tribe’s potty requirements presumably tick the Ten Principle boxes of “Immediacy”, “Civic Responsibility”, and (dare I say it) “Radical Self Expression”…meanwhile the existing portapotties are freezing up.

Perhaps They want to ameliorate the concerns Hollywood quasi-celebrities have about Burning Man’s environmental values by partnering with them on a composting toilets project. Whether such projects get funded enough and completed in time is not as important as the “optics”. Someone semi-famous who went to Burning Man once is making something happen, somewhere, somehow, coming soon. Woo-hoo! We’re saving the world with Larry’s Ten Principles, and OPM!

So far this “fund by Becca Dakini” has raised $30k of their $85k goal. I guess if there’s one thing Burning Man is good at, it’s managing dumps in remote locations…

porta-potty-blowdown

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In this case it’s not just Burners Without Borders and Burning Man raising money for toilets. It’s also people (and networks) from Do Lab, Symbiosis, Lucidity, their brand consultants, and “others” from the “global festival community”. Colonize turns out to be an apt word, since their “focus is on village building”:

.
Protector’s Alliance is a unified platform and partnership effort of aligned organizations, skilled workers, producers and individuals from the global festival community. We are working to support front line environmental crisis and social justice conflicts. We gather accurate information about the needs of an action, manage a database and resource bank of our community’s assets, deploy and distribute resources effectively with a focus on “village building”. We support on the front lines with effective aid, skills, labor, infrastructure and tools, through an agile approach to fulfilling the emergent needs of actions. We are committed to working as allies, building pathways for inter-cultural cooperation, with cultural sensitivity training and education for our partners and affiliates to ensure appropriateness of our conduct towards nurturing respectful relationships and empowering peoples of place. Individuals and Organizations that are part of this alliance include the communities and networks of Burners Without Borders, Burning Man, Do LaB Inc, UPLIFT, Lucidity Festivals, Keyframe-Entertainment, ReInhabiting the Village, Take Root Productions and others
.
Deploy and distribute resources effectively? Who’s counting that? Are they planning to build their villages on tribal land? And who are these unnamed “others” collecting all the databases? What happens to the data? Is it shared with the “Burning Nerds” or “Burning Man Earth” teams?
.
Composting toilets might not be “fulfilling the emergent needs of actions” if the protest gets shut down next week like the Governor has ordered:

.

On Tuesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department indicated that it would block delivery of food, medicine and other supplies to protesters who defy orders to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp. Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday ordered mandatory evacuation of the camp because of a predicted strong winter storm. 

 

The first blow to the camp’s security was an announcement last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would shut an area to the public that includes the main camp. The corps said its decision was based on growing violence between police and protesters and the onset of cold weather.  

 [Source]
 .
Burner General Wesley Clark‘s son is leading 2000 unarmed Veterans up there to make a human shield. Frozen or not, shit’s about to get real. The Veterans group have raised nearly a million bucks on their GoFundMe. Like the Haiti earthquake, Standing Rock seems like a goldmine for all the helpers. How much of the money leaves the hands of the white folks non-indigenous groups and flows into the hands of the tribes is an open question. I didn’t notice any Indians amongst all these various fundraising entities.
.
A search for “Standing Rock” on GoFundMe turns up thousands of fundraisers.
screenshot-2016-11-30-21-09-31
All of these are still open, which begs the question “which will close first, the protests or the fundraisers?” Back in the day, people used to pay their own costs to protest for things they believe in.
20-13-drewtoonz-burning-man-standing-rock-andrew-miller
Another BWB-backed group called Red Lightning are setting up a real Burner-style camp there. You can send donations directly to them:
red-lightning-camp-layout
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Reality Sandwich, a site founded by Daniel Pinchbeck, today published a lengthy feature by Tamra Lucid “From Burning Man to Standing Rock”

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But now, 300 indigenous nations are there in Cannonball, North Dakota, protecting the water. Among them the Yaqui, Bianca’s tribe.

But Bianca has another tribe, too — she’s a Burner. Burners have been getting a bad reputation at Standing Rock because of some who treat it like just another festival. Burners who freeload, you know, tourists, or colonists. People who play guitar at campfire when they shouldn’t. People who explain when they should be listening. But they aren’t the only Burners at Standing Rock.

…I witnessed festival families showing up at Standing Rock.  Fortunately, many burners came in service to the indigenous, while unfortunately others came to “have an experience” to showcase on social media.  The later is what became most evident and publicized and provides our community with an opportunity to grow and become culturally aware of how we show up in the world.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for those of us who have not grown up with tribal people to interact, and to garner a more real understanding of what it means to interact with tribal people. Go and sit quietly in the different councils (preferably giving the primary seats to the Natives), go and engage with the gathered nations by asking one simple question, “How can I be in service to you today?”  

 

If you’re unsure of how to do this or nervous you will step on toes, connect with https://www.protectorsalliance.org

[Source]

In fact there are more than 500 tribes there from around the world. My people are there too, although our way of protest is a little different from kumbaya, kombucha, and fluoride-free water…here’s Kereama Te Ua from my hometown of Wellington at Standing Rock doing a haka, the Maori war dance..

You may have seen this sort of thing before in sporting events with the New Zealand national team, or in the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman. I can guarantee that you haven’t seen a haka like this, though. This is the real deal, he’s not messing around. It’s significant that he doesn’t rise from his knee. If he does, it’s to fight. These people are not to be trifled with, they ate the brains of their enemies on the battlefield to take their power.
 .
It remains to be seen whether these more traditional forms of protest will be more effective than thousands of GoFundMes for unemployed/trust-fund Burners looking for a transformational experience and promising that “100% of the money” goes to the Indians. We wish everyone involved a peaceful and successful protest. It’s a global village now. Mess with the tribes and you mess with all the tribes.
 .


[Update 5/12/16 7:27am]

Chris Breedlove from Burners Without Borders has commented on this story on our Facebook page. Predictably, instead of addressing any of the issues we raised, he tried to spin it and place the blame here.
BMorg can do no wrong! It is only Burners.Me that does wrong. BMorg good! Burners.Me bad!
screenshot-2016-12-05-07-26-50

BURNILEAKS: Asking for Gifting, 2015 Edition

Last Christmas, in a story All We Want for Chri$tma$ is Your Money, we covered BMOrg’s poor timing in putting their hand out asking Burners to cough up more to fund their global gabfest. It’s a busy and expensive time of year, and in my opinion (and, it seems, many other irate Burners) a less than ideal time for BMOrg to be saying “it costs a lot of money for us to do Burning Man, we know tickets are expensive and you bring all the food and booze and entertainment, and fund all the art except for 2.8% of our revenues…but we need donations too”.

Their recently published Annual Report shows that they take in about $32 million and spend about $30 million, leaving an additional $2 million cash in the coffers. Of the remaining $2 million, they spend about $900k on art and other civic projects.

But don’t worry about how they spend their money. That’s theirs now. This is about your money. See, BMOrg needs it more than you do.

Since we got to Christmas without any post asking for money on their web site, I thought maybe they’d learned their lesson. Well, it seems they did – sort of. They learned that asking too publicly could lead to bad publicity. This year the canvassing campaign has been done on the quiet, with nary a mention in the Jackedrabbit or the BJ. Instead, they used direct snail mail and e-mails to a select group of potential donors (I wasn’t on the list, strange since I have given them many thousands over the years). And then they threw a Halcyon post about gifting out to satisfy the baying hounds on social media, that seemed to shut the Burners up before.

See, Christmas is about GIFTING, and Giving is how Gifting becomes Transformative. Give your money to someone else, so they can give it to someone else (after they extract X% for administrative costs). Send Halcyon $5 if you agree.

Burners who would like to support BMOrg’s cash scooping effort can donate to the Burning Man Project here. Or, do some real good and help homeless veterans freezing in this winter cold snap by donating to Operation Dignity in Oakland. They’re doing outreach every night and served 146,000 meals last year.

 


Thanks to Anonymous Burner for sending this in. Who else got one?

 

From: “Marian Goodell” <donations@burningman.org>
Subject: A culture of giving
Date: December 17, 2015
To: BURNERS.ME SOURCE
https://donate.burningman.org/

“This is Burning Man: A classroom for creativity and collaboration. A kaleidoscope of experiences and emotions. The pulse of a community of doers and seekers. At times playful, introspective and challenging – always engaging.”

Dear BURNERS.ME SOURCE,

What does Burning Man mean to you? Every Burner has a wildly unique response to that question and I always enjoy hearing your stories. Amidst the radical self-expression of our experiences, we still share a common world where creativity is the universal bond, openness is the expectation, and giving is abundant. This, the power of our engagement with BurningMan, is what we are striving to achieve in our home communities and around the world.

Because of you, Burning Man initiatives and endeavors are thriving. Here is a sampling of what we accomplished in the past year as a result of your support. Together, we:

  • Set the stage for awe-inspiring, surprising, revelatory, insightful on-playa art installations by funding 121 projects, totaling $1.2 million – up 66% from 106 projects in 2014.
  • Engaged more than 75,000 people in Burning Man off-playa supported actions as far away as Derry/Londonderry, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the Philippines, as well as close to home in cities throughout the U.S.
  • Issued grants to 18 global art projects, ensuring they were successful, accessible to the public, and civic in scope, while prompting the viewer to act for positive social benefit. David Best’s temple in Derry/Londonderry, for example, brought together a community divided by historic enmity. Participants engaged in joint creative action that offered a pathway to share common grief and move toward a more positive future.
  • Organized two Global Leadership Summits in San Francisco and Amsterdam, and supported regional leadership gatherings in the southeastern United States and Taiwan. Over 600 people from 35 countries participated in workshops, peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and experiential activities to learn about creating community.

There is so much more we can do together. Our still-new nonprofit is poised to take the next step, creating year-round programs that reach well beyond the playa. Your donations go a long way toward stabilizing and strengthening existing programs, many of which rely solely on private philanthropic support.

We invite you to join us in this conversation about giving. And, we invite you to participate—by learning more about the Burning Man project, by volunteering, and by giving a donation in support of these inspiring off-playa programs.

What’s next? Establishing a Residency and Fellowship program to recognize and assist early-stage career leaders taking innovative approaches to building community. Energizing Burners Without Borders to make an even more impactful difference to communities in crisis. Expanding activities bringing youth and artists together, underscoring the value of the arts to learning advancement in STE(a)M curricula – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

Please show your support for our new direction by making a personally meaningful gift before year-end online at www.donate.burningman.org/2015. No gift is too large or too small. Every act of giving counts and we are all grateful for your participation.

Warm regards,

Marian Goodell
Chief Engagement Officer

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burnersxxx:

The artwork featured, Dream, is by Jeff Schomberg and Laura Kimpton. It was installed in Arlington, TX this year.

This letter says that they funded 106 on Playa art projects in 2014 – but their annual report says 80 in the arts section. What happened to these mysterious other 26 projects? It can’t be the Regionals, because in 2014 instead of C.O.R.E. burning art projects their members did volunteer shifts working in the souk, handing out timeshare real estate brochures and so on.

An earlier slide from Crimson Rose’s presentation to the 2015 Global Leadership Conference said they funded 60 on-playa projects in 2014 (not 106), and 78 in 2015 (not 121). But hey, who’s counting?

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Crimson Rose, World Cities Culture Summit Amsterdam 2014 [Image: burningman.org]

Crimson Rose, World Cities Culture Summit Amsterdam 2014 [Image: burningman.org]

It’s interesting that the projects mentioned in this letter were also talked about in the annual report – which, although it was published just in time for this 2015 Christmas fundraising drive, refers to the 2014 year. What was done by the Burning Man Project in 2015 remains a bit of a mystery. OK, they had a big meeting at their headquarters, that most of the people had to pay to attend; and another one in Amsterdam. Sweet! Who doesn’t love Amsterdam?

In 2014 they conducted 35 talks/panel discussions, how many did they do in 2015? We know of a few. Where are the links to these 18 global art projects? In 2014 Flaming Lotus Girls did Soma on the Embarcadero and there were another 3 in San Francisco; where are the 2015 projects located?

Did David Best’s Londonderry Temple get funding in 2015 and 2014? The Arts section of the 2014 annual report talked about participating in the ceremonial burning of this Temple. Were there two? Did the 8 projects in the Philippines that Burners Without Borders backed for $4000 in 2014, continue into 2015? How much support did we give the Philippines this year? I guess we’ll know next year.

 


 

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Burners Without Borders achieved a lot, from their inception after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 until their absorption into the Burning Man Project in 2015. With 17 active chapters, it has participated in 123 grassroots initiatives in 11 countries over 10 years – and given grants to 114 of those. Each project got an average of $1,074. You can read about 8 of the recent ones (6 in the US) here. These winners got grants between $100-$1000. Are there more? The BWB web site lists 21 projects that participated in the 2015 initiative aiming to get 128 projects from 128 regions over 128 days, but it doesn’t appear that any funding went to those.

I think Burners Without Borders has done a lot of good, and if Burning Man can be a catalyst for people around the world to volunteer their time for arts-oriented civic programs, then I can see how Burning Man’s Ten Principles would be working to make the world a better place.

But is that really what’s happening here?

It’s not clear how the Burning Man Project actually helps these projects – it looks more like they are just trying to take credit for them, like they did with [free|space]. People have to do the projects themselves and raise all the money themselves, the reward is to be featured on Burning Man’s web site. Not even a $100 grant for these guys.

Perhaps this is how the Burning Man Project spreads its true values around the world. Not the Tin Principles, but “you do all the work and raise all the money, we take the glory”.

emphasis ours:

Goal:  To create awareness within the Regional Network of the Burners Without Borders civic engagement mission. This mission is to globally promote activities that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches and grassroots initiatives that make a positive community impact. The BWB 128 Initiative serves as the foundation for creating a culture of ongoing engagement of BWB projects at the Regional Network level.

Project Overview:
Every Region would be asked/challenged to do a single BWB project within a 128 day time frame from the GLC (April  10 -12, 2015). It is emphasized these project are not per Regional Contact, but by Region. All projects should be done within the Region.

Scope of Projects:
We encourage projects that can be completed within a few hours. You may initiate your own project, or explore within your broader home community, identifying existing volunteer opportunities where your Burner family can collaborate and bring something special to that volunteer role for a day. Whatever you choose, make sure the projects are at the level of complexity you feel most comfortable with.

Examples include:

  • Starter – Food or clothing collection at an event, food bank crew shift,
  • Medium – Costume neighborhood clean-up,
  • Advanced – A day on a Habitat build, wall painting project at a shelter,
  • More Advanced – Chiditarod (costumed bar crawl food & cash fundraiser). A More Advanced project may not be finished in the expected timeframe. However, the start on a viable plan works just as well.

Please note these are examples and not what the project expectation is at each level.
If a Region has an ongoing project or is the process of starting a previously planned project, the intent would not be to start a new project. They may submit those projects to showcase their Region’s BWB efforts.

Project Budget:
No specific budget amount is associated with the projects. The expectation and encouragement is to have the projects be of little or no expense to the Region. Any expenses incurred is paid from within the Region. 

Need Resources to help organize and plan your project?
Check out our ‘Kick-Starting your own Civic Project‘ document.  If you have more questions- ask!

Showcasing your Project:

All 128 Initiative projects will be recognized and shared for a Job Well Done!
Recognition includes:

  • Documentation on the BWB website.
  • Inclusion in the BWB display at ‘Everywhere’ in BRC, for those that submit their project form and visual documentation prior to August 15.
  • Highlighted on the Burning Blog write-up.
  • A summary document of the projects will be produced for circulation. This document will be based on the content submitted for the BWB National website.

[Source: Burners Without Borders]