Sunday, November 29, 2015

Macho & alone in the wilderness?  Not!

     "It's not those freezing temperatures that make your feet feel painfully cold," said my doctor.  "It's your heart.  If you want your feet to feel warm again, first you've got to heat up your upper body's core temperature."  Good to know.

     Then I decided to go camping -- as if my feet weren't already cold enough.   I wanted to commune with nature, be all macho and man up.  Can someone like me, who is totally used to urban comforts and has perpetually cold feet, actually pass a huge human endurance test like this?  Survive in the wilderness for three whole days in freezing weather?  I was about to find out.  

      "Bet you won't last more than an hour," said my daughter.  But I would prove her wrong!  It's all in the preparation, you know.

        First stop?  REI and Sports Basement for a sub-zero sleeping bag, foot-warmers and warm socks.  Then off to borrow a tent and a tarp and a lantern and some foam.  Next stop?  Went down to the homeless encampment and asked a homeless man how homeless people survive camping out in the freezing cold weather night after night.

     "Basically?  We don't.  People actually die out here in the streets."  That shut my mouth.

     Someone else also gave me more pointers on how to keep warm.  "Eat foods with high fat content.  Gain weight.  Eat ginger.  Sleep on cardboard."  So I packed up plenty of eggnog and See's candy.  Pumpkin pie.  Time to test my worth against raw nature.  Be a survivor.  "Naked and Alone".

     But then things started to go wrong.  The car I rented was just so freaking huge that it scared me to drive it.  I asked my son Joe along so he could drive but he could only get away for a day.  Our GPS got us hopelessly lost in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The temperature started to drop perilously.  And we ended up coming home after only an hour in the woods. 

     How do homeless people in America do it?  Camping out there in the freezing cold night after night without the benefit of rental cars, tents, sleeping bags and REI?  Simple answer.  "They don't." 

PS:  I'm leaving for Paris and Beirut next week.  Going there will be a hecka lot easier than camping!  No tents or cardboard will be involved.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Yemen: How to get away with murder

     There's a very popular TV show on ABC right now and it's called "How to Get Away with Murder".  The plot revolves around a law professor who teaches her students how to be effective defense attorneys.  "If you want to get your client off the hook, even for felony charges such as murder," she instructs her class, "then you always need to establish reasonable doubt first." 

     "And how do you do that?" asks a student.

     "You find somebody else to blame," the professor replies.  Brilliant!  And this same principle also applies to creating effective "war" propaganda too.     

     Has America's vicious and bloody empire finally started to unravel at the seams because the rest of the world is finally begining to realize that said empire is a cruel evil inhuman mess based on savagery, state terror and greed?  No problem.  Just blame someone else for all this viciously spilled blood.  Blame Russia.  Blame Muslims.  Blame immigrants.  Blame unions.  Blame women.

     Are hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children being slaughtered in the Middle East with American weapons right now, in the cruelest way possible, set on fire with napalm, blown up by drones?  Blame terrorists.  Blame dictators.  Blame yo' mama!

     Forget about how American, Turkish, Saudi and Israeli neo-colonialists recruit, fund and train ISIS.  Forget that Israeli neo-colonialists are running a brutal gulag in Palestine.  Don't blame the real killers.  Follow that TV professor's advice.  Blame the victims.  Blame sunspots.  Blame termites.  Blame camels.  Does it even matter who gets blamed -- as long as it sways the jury?  I think not.

     So what if the rulers of Saudi Arabia are happily trying to butcher every man, woman and child in Yemen in order to steal their oil -- and that America is supplying the weapons to fry Yemenis alive in their own juices?  "It's not us," the Saudi princes all cry.  "It's the rebels.  It's the terrorists.  It's the Shias.  It's the goats!  Don't believe those dying Yemenis.  Believe us!"
     And so now the jury comes back in with its verdict.  "The House of Saud, the American weapons industry, the Israeli neo-colonialists, the Turkish dictator-wannabes and their buddies ISIS and al Qaeda are all not guilty!"   And once again these inhuman butchers get away with murder by blaming someone else.  That law professor was right!

PS: I hereby proclaim next Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, to heretofore be the official "SET ASIDE A PLATE FOR THE HOMELESS" Day.  Fill a plate with food (including pumpkin pie!) and take it down to the local homeless encampment.  We have so much.  They have so little. 

     And if you live in Europe or the Middle East or Africa or Latin America or North America or Asia, then set aside a plate for "war" refugees too.  And then thank Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, Obama, Wall Street and War Street for creating them.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A civil defense: Poor people need attorneys too

     "The poor will always be with us," said Jesus.  No they won't.  They'll be off in some ghetto or slum, out of sight, out of mind.  Or else they'll just be in jail.  But we can always take a tour and go visit them -- like animals in a zoo.

     In America today, money buys power.  And freedom.  And visibility.  No one wants to see poor people.  Everyone just wishes they would just go away.  No one even wants to watch sit-coms about poor people on TV any more.  Gone are the days of Sanford & Son and the Beverly Hillbillies. 

     And when I pass the bodies of poor people asleep in the doorways of my affluent home town, it is so embarrassing and sad for me to have to explain to my granddaughters that, yes, people who are that poor actually do exist in America these days -- lots of them.

     So what to do about it?  Here's a suggestion.  "Stop making more poor people."  Nah, that will never happen.  Just witness the popularity in Washington of the new TTP, also known as  NAFTA on steroids, which will instantly create millions of more poor people here in the USA.

     Want another suggestion?  "Lawyer up."  Now there's an idea whose time has come.

     If every poor person in America had their own personal Harvard Law School graduate on retainer, things would instantly change up a whole lot.  "Wanna evict me and make me homeless?  Here's my attorney's card.  Talk to him."  Or her.

     Wanna throw non-violent protesters in jail?  Wanna unjustly accuse some poor innocent schmuck of murder?  Want to beat up on people just because they are poor?  Take away their jobs?  Deport them illegally?  Steal their money through some sleazy bankster con game on their pensions?  Then give them the same attorney privileges that Wall Street banksters and Beltway war criminals enjoy.  Let's level the playing field here.  

     When poor people use marijuana or cocaine, they are locked up as felons and given no legal redress.  When rich people use marijuana or cocaine, however, some fancy suit-wearing fast-talking mouthpiece always gets them off.

     So let's spend taxpayers' money on attorneys for the poor -- instead of spending it on building and maintaining even more expensive and ineffective jails.  Think of all the money we'll save -- and we'll even be creating jobs for young lawyers, all those new Harvard Law School graduates desperate to pay off their student debts before they too become one of the poor. 

     This way, the poor may always be with us -- but at least they'll be represented in court.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Yemen, Syria, Palestine & Paris: Gun sales are US!

     "We're Number One!" Americans are always boastfully bragging and, yes, this is true.  Of course we're not Number One with regard to any kind of stuff that actually matters such as education, healthcare, infrastructure or jobs -- but America clearly is the Number One manufacturer of weapons in the world today.  "Booyah for us!"

     And, bless its heart, America certainly knows how to create demand for its grim, awful and inhumane products. 

     Remember Albert Einstein's famous definition of insanity?  "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...."  And yet the American military-industrial complex keeps using extreme violence over and over again, even when it constantly fails and fails and fails to keep us safe.  But if the American military machine's goal was to achieve world peace, then Einstein would have been right in this case.  The constant use of violence in order to prevent violence is completely insane. 

     However, if the American military-industrial complex's real goal is to sell weapons, then the use of more and more violence is totally on point.

    When Yemen, Palestine and Syria started burning and Ukraine, Libya and a whole lot of African countries also followed suit (not to mention Afghanistan and Iraq), even more guns were sold.  "Booyah!"

    And now, with Paris burning, the weapons industry is going to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gear up to advertise its products on an even grander scale.  Am I right or what?  Just you wait.  Don't say you haven't been warned. 

     "But how can anyone possibly advertise war?" you might ask.  Hey, it's easy.  Almost every segment of every nightly news program we have watched for the past five decades has been just one infomercial after another for America's Number One product.  "Syria is a problem, we've got to bomb it, problem solved, no more unsightly stains to remove," they constantly tell us on TV every night.  

     "Eastern Ukraine, Palestine and Yemen all need to be obliterated -- and possibly Russia!" our nightly TV commercials for war currently inform us.  "Blowing up countries is really trending right now.  It's the Call of Duty!  Those bad guys deserve it.  And please bring a date."  And lucky for us that the American military-industrial complex produces just the very products needed to do the job.

     These constant "war" infomercials are deliberately designed to prey on their target audience's desire for status and the need to feel macho -- as well as on our greed, prejudices and fears.  Courageous people think for themselves and never get fooled by false advertising.  Fearful people just get suckered in by War Street's public relations guys and head straight for the weapons boutiques.  "I'll take one of those."    

     And now we have Paris -- offering the best commercial opportunity for escalating the use of violence ev-ah!  "We're going to mobilize and arm every single inch of French soil!  And then we're going to blow up Syria -- and Palestine and Iran too.  Russia will be attacked.  And China.  Weapons R Us!"  Booyah. 

    According to one of my current inside sources, "The time-tested Mossad and CIA method has been to infiltrate likely groups such as disaffected French Muslims, and then have their agents encourage these groups to commit attacks ‘for their cause’ – whatever that might be – only of course it’s not their cause that benefits." Nope.  All benefits go to war profiteers.

    Selling weaponry is hard work. You can't eat weapons or even drive them around or brush your teeth with them -- so you always gotta create a demand for them. And even though you are now the Number One manufacturer of weapons in the world, you still gotta keep creating demand. 

PS:  But exactly what is going to happen after the entire Middle East has been carpet-bombed, Africa has become totally dysfunctional, Latin America is a smoldering ruin and all of Europe is in the same mess as Paris?  Who the freak will the American military-industrial complex suggest that we bomb after that?  Who the freak will even be left?

     You and me of course.

     And when all these "wars" for profit finally do get to American shores, then we too had better start thinking about where we can flee to, now that we also have become "war" refugees.  Mexico?  Canada?  Mars?

PPS:  Malcolm X was right.  Chickens do have a tendency to come home to roost.  And so, after having blown up the rest of the whole freaking world, it's only fair that the military-industrial complex should be allowed to sell their weapons to use against us here at home too.  We are the ones who originally got the "war" ball rolling.  So what if it rolls over us too?  If America is to stay Number One in weapons production, then sacrifices have to be made.  Get over it.

PPPS:  What ever happened to "Moral Mondays," I keep asking myself.  I really miss morality now that it's gone.

     "Morality doesn't sell weapons, silly."   

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Deadly game show: Playing "Family Feud" with Syrian lives

      Who doesn't like a good game show?  Me!  I don't like them at all.  "Deal or No Deal" leaves me cold.  Vanna White offers no appeal.  Steve Harvey?  Forget it.  And if I really wanted to watch any kind of "Family Feud," I'd simply reenact my own childhood -- or else watch our very own American mainstream media outlets fighting to out-do each other to see who can tell us the biggest lies about Syria.

     And in a recent revival of that old 1950s TV game show "Truth or Consequences," we now also have a whole bunch of American mainstream media outlets as contestants there as well -- and while none of these MSM outlets are telling the truth, none of them seem to be suffering any consequences either.

      America's MSM constantly lies on air or in print these days but no one here seems to be rushing to hand them the consequence of sending them to jail or revoking their FCC licenses either -- or even forcing them to add an addendum to their reports stating that "The program you have just watched (or article you have just read) is totally fictional and has absolutely no actual basis in fact."

      For instance, the New York Times recently screamed at us, "As the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, commits horrendous videotaped executions, it might seem to pose the greatest threat to Syrian civilians.  In fact, that ignoble distinction belongs to the barrel bombs being dropped by the military of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad.  The Islamic State has distracted us from this deadly reality."

     Barrel bombs are a greater threat to Syria than ISIS?  "Wrong answer!" 

     And are Assad's armed forces even the ones that are dropping these bombs?  No.  "Wrong again."  The correct answer here is that ISIS is the one firing these bombs at civilians, and they are composed of old water heaters filled with kerosene and shrapnel and then fired by guns called Hell cannons.  Yuck.

     Next, "Democracy Now" becomes our contestant, trying hard to win "Truth or Consequences" for the MSM side.  We all know what a liberal Amy Goodman is, not like the folks on Fox News who are almost expected to lie -- thinking that they are playing "Truth or Dare" instead.  But surely we can trust Democracy Now for the truth?  Let us see.

     "The group Physicians for Human Rights says there have been more than 300 attacks on health facilities, with the Syrian regime responsible 90 percent of the time," says Amy Goodman. 

     "Wrong again." 

     According to my on-the-ground source in Aleppo, the correct answer is obviously that ISIS has been committing these attacks.  "Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, or let's say, since the beginning of the organized armed gangs like the FSA, An-Nusra Front, ISIS and Da'esh, they have been competing with each other to see who can demolish more hospitals and schools than the other.  Literally hundreds of hospitals had been destroyed in Syria by suicide bombers driving huge vans full with explosives into them, and they recorded their 'achievements' and published their videos on YouTube with pride."

      And all this horror has been blamed on the Assad government by the American media. 

     "No one talked about the doctors, nurses, and patients who had been buried alive under the wreckage of these hospitals," my friend continues.  "Maybe a couple of times Ban Ki Mon was worried or condemned such acts, but that's it, nothing more than a few words from the UN, words that everyone forgets the next day, and goes back to blaming the 'Assad regime' of killing its people."

     Moving on.  Enough of "Truth or Consequences".  Let's change channels.  Back to "Family Feud," where our American MSM contestants are still struggling to out-do each other by telling the biggest lies. 

     CNN steps up to the plate.  "Russian airstrike hits Syrian hospital, aid group says." And then The Guardian in Britain backs up that lie.  "At least four hospitals have been bombed by fighter jets in north-western Syria since Russia's intervention in the war began in late September, doctors and international observers claim."

     But now it turns out that five out of the six hospitals that the MSM claimed that Russia had bombed don't even exist!  And the sixth one is still intact.  

     And what about all those accusations regarding the use of sarin gas by the Syrian government?  Truth?  Or just another media "Family Feud"?

      "Assad did it!" screamed the New York Times, like some deluded little boy crying wolf -- again.  

     But then Seymour Hersh, a trusted journalist who has been spot-on since reporting America's many MSM lies about Vietnam back in the 1960s, has just told us that, "A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria.  A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition [aka ISIS] to the first gas attack on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo."   Yikes.  We've been lied to again. 

     But of course the biggest lie of all is that the American military machine, Congress and Obama all hate ISIS.  "Boy do we really hate ISIS!" they all cry out loud.  Balderdash.  ISIS simply would not exist without American, Turkish, Israeli and Saudi help.  Period.  End of discussion.

     So it's pretty obvious here that all sectors of the American mainstream media are winning their "Family Feud" of lies.   But it is the American taxpayers who are clearly losing this particular "Family Feud".  Again.  And even more important than the trillions of dollars being lost by Americans due to these lies, millions of Syrians have also lost the American MSM's "Family Feud" as well.  Millions of Syrians have lost their homes, their infrastructure and/or their very lives in this stupid game of "No Truth and No Consequences" that the American MSM media plays so well.

PS:  I just got my Notary Public certificate renewed, so if anyone in the American MSM wants to come to Berkeley (or pay my airfare to go to them) in order to swear a Jurat that they are telling the truth, I will take their sworn statements for free -- just so there will be a record of their perjury should they all, hopefully, go to trial.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Dying (and publishing) made easy -- or hard

       I'm currently working on getting another book published -- yes, I have actually written a novel.  And having a book published is like opening a huge can of worms.  I've been flat-out rejected by at least twenty publishers so far.  Their loss.  This is a very important book, you fools!

     So I have decided to self-publish my book.  I did it before with my non-fiction books -- and that proved to be a huge bunch of work but with very few tangible results (not to mention the huge lack of sales).

    And then there's that huge editing process.  In almost every book ever written (probably even the Bible), the first thing most authors acknowledge is their editor (even before acknowledging their hubby, wife and/or cat) .  Where the freak can I too find such a fabulous editor?  And, even more important, one who will do it for free?

    And then there's the huge problem of figuring out which literary classification my new novel should be filed under.  Literary fiction?  Historical fiction?  Science fiction?  Fiction for young adults?  I don't have a clue.  "Is the book about teenagers?" asked my local librarian.  Not exactly.  "Then it shouldn't be classified as a YA."  But there are at least three teenage heroes involved.  Does that count?  Probably not.

     So then, would it be considered science fiction?  "Is any space travel, extraterrestrial aliens or predicting the future involved?"  I certainly got that one covered.  Hell, the title alone says it all.  "Pictures of a Future World."  But does anyone actually read sci-fi these days?  And for that matter, does anyone even read novels any more?  I myself read only murder-mysteries.  Well, there certainly is a lot of killing in my new book.

    A few years ago I went to a famous writing conference and actually paid to have some hot-shot sci-fi author take a look at my book.  The result?  Two years later he published his own book, using my basic plot and even one of my character's names.  And so from that experience I have obviously learned that my book will definitely fit into the sci-fi niche.

      And there certainly are a lot of graphic death scenes in my novel as well -- and I have an excerpt from my new book to prove it, wherein the moment of death itself is discussed.  Here it is, for those of you who are curious to know what the actual human death experience really involves:

          Later that evening, Wan Tai and the Shaman discussed what it actually means to die.  "What does it feel like?  How does it happen?  What are the mechanics of death?" Wan Tai asked.

          "During the course of a normal human death, dying is like going to sleep.  You fight it or you drop off into it, but in either case, you don't really know where life or wakefulness ends and where death or sleep begins.  When you wake up the next morning, can you really remember the exact moment you actually fell asleep?  No.  And it is the same way with death." 

    "But during a violent death," Wan Tai said, "the whole human process of dying is thrown completely off balance.  That is why a violent death is so repulsive and cruel."  The Shaman agreed.

     "After a man or woman is violently and mortally injured, the dying person knows exactly when his or her moment of death occurs -- because an instant before that process begins, there is one split second of pure, stark terror in the dying person's brain when he or she actually realizes what is happening."

     "And it is this split second of terror that I object to because the dying person is literally robbed of his or her peaceful transition," said Wan Tai.  "It is that sense of leaving this life behind while in an extreme state of terror which I find so hard to accept.  And this is why I am so outraged by killing, murder and war."

     So, thanks to my new novel, you now know what it is like to die.  And soon you will also have the benefit of knowing what it will be like to buy my new book.  Hopefully.  And, hopefully, your own death will be an easy one too.