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Preview: Jane Stillwater's Web Log

Jane Stillwater's Web Log

Jane Stillwater is a freelance journalist, war correspondent, blogger, political Cassandra and author of "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," now available on Her latest motto is "Stop

Updated: 2018-03-19T20:25:24.093-07:00



Author's note:  If you haven't already noticed by now, I truly do dislike Israeli neo-colonialists and Saudi neo-colonialists.  Hell, I don't even like American neo-colonialists.   Why can't everybody just stay home where they belong!  And also how come everyone gets on my case for truthfully calling out Israelis and Saudis -- but if I were to lie through my teeth about Russia, Syria, Iran or North Korea, I'd get all kinds of applause? for Israel: Apparently the USS Liberty started a trend      According to Lt. General Richard Clark, U.S. ground troops are now "prepared to die for the Jewish [sic] state".     Too late, General Clark!  Lots of American soldiers have already died for Israel.     For instance, just ask Joe Meadors, a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty back in 1967.  After nine hours of surveillance on the hapless ship, Israeli fighter jets then continuously bombed and strafed the USS Liberty while Israeli torpedo boats opened fire on it.  This deadly bombardment lasted more than an hour, killing 34 American military personnel and ripping two rather large American flags into shreds.    And then there's Iraq.  4,424 American soldiers died there.  According to US Senator Ernest Hollings back in the day, "With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country?  The answer:  President Bush's policy to secure Israel."    And then there is Syria.  American soldiers have been keeping Israeli neo-colonialists' irons in the fire there since 2011.  We'll never know how many American soldiers have died there.  And we'll never be allowed to know either.     So, yeah.  American soldiers have already been dying for "the Jewish state" -- or at least for Israeli neo-colonialists' lust for power in the Middle East.     Civilian Americans have also died recently when a pedestrian bridge collapsed in Miami.  America seems to have no money left to repair its infrastructure -- but there's still lots of money left to get American soldiers killed in the Middle East.  Israeli neo-colonialists must be totally happy that this is still a thing, still a trend.     So.  What does all this "Dying for Israel" fad have to do with little old me?  Am I being anti-Semitic?  Nah, I'm just still pissed off that Israeli thugs threw me out of Palestine last September.  "We are trying to keep Israel safe," they said.  What?  Huh?  Safe from ME?  When I toured the Senate and House chambers on Capitol Hill the other day, I forgot to ask all those war-mongering lawmakers if they too were willing to "Die for Israel".  But apparently not.  Apparently it's okay for others to "Die for Israel" -- but not them.  They gotta stay alive and well so they can still get their dark-money campaign contributions from the Israelis and the Saudis (not from the Russians BTW). Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


See something, say something: "Those idiots in Washington are gonna get us all killed!"      "Hello, Homeland Security?  This is Jane Stillwater.  I'm in Washington DC right now and just overheard someone plotting to blow up the whole freaking world.  If you don't stop them right now, America could be end up as a NUCLEAR WASTELAND!" I screamed into the phone.     "Calm down, lady.  Just tell us what you heard."     "Some dude who identified himself with the obvious code name of 'Lt. General Richard Clark' was talking about plans for a false-flag operation that involved blowing up parts of Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Gaza -- murdering children, targeting civilians!  It was horrible!  You MUST do something to stop him!"      "Ma'am, we have no control over what happens outside of America.  Plus you could be just imagining all this."  Calling me crazy, is he?  Well, I'll show him!      "The dude actually said with his mouth that the intention of all these attacks was to vilify Russia and China, enough to get them all pissed off and into a shooting war.  But it's not NICE to piss off Mother Russia!  Then some other dude talked about being in cahoots with Ukraine neo-Nazi bad guys with a plan in place to blow up Russian-speaking Donbas!  You've got to stop these people before Russia finally loses patience with the idiots in Washington and drops nuclear bombs on us in return!  Please!"      I also tried to tell DHS how I overheard the king of Saudi Arabia plotting to send whole planeloads of gold bullion to buy off Congress (again) so that the Saudis could continue to massacre Yemeni babies at will -- without any tiresome meddling by stupid American busybodies still tied down with the lead weight of conscience.  And also how the evil Saudi neo-colonialists were in league with the evil Israeli neo-colonialists in their plot to steal everything in the Middle East that wasn't tied down and then become a super-power themselves -- with America in the role of the red-headed stepchild.,-Step-Right     But the Homeland Security guy hung up on me.       So much for "See something, say something."  Humph.PS:  Other than the fact that Washington DC is the home of a bunch of feral idiots who risk American lives daily in their insane quest for diabolical power, the District of Columbia itself is a wonderful place.  I got to tour the Senate, the House of Representatives, the International Spy Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court -- and also attended a hope-inspiring rally and march staged by Hasidic Jews in protest of Israeli corruption and war-mongering.     The National Portrait Gallery had an excellent and intimate exhibit of the writing of Sylvia Plath.  Fascinating and tragic at the same time.  And I almost got thrown out of the Gallery itself by some irate docent when I tried to cut in line to see the new portrait of Michelle Obama.  But I got my revenge.  I bought the postcard instead and took a selfie with it.     "150 people are standing in line to see Michelle's portrait right now," I said to one of the guards there.  "I wonder how many people will stand in line to see a portrait of Melania.[...]


Israel's war policy: "America did it!"     Remember back when you were growing up?  That time you did something that was a no-no and your mom caught you in the act?  And you blamed it on your older brother who was already in Big Trouble for something else anyway?  "He did it!" you cried.  And your mother actually believed you?     I just went to a conference in Washington DC (braving 60 mph winds BTW) and the speakers had some very interesting things to say.  "Israeli neo-cons want a war on Iran so badly they can taste it," one speaker told us.  "But if the Israelis can get the Americans to make the first move, then that's a good thing for them.  Why?  Because the world already hates America because of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, etc.  So if America attacks Iran, then the Isreali neo-cons' hands will be clean."        Good thinking there, neo-cons.  Mom will never know!     Then another speaker, a military guy, talked about what a war on Iran would actually be like.  Not a pretty picture.  "Imagine the war on Afghanistan and then multiply that.  It will be long and hard and horrendous and unwinnable [unless of course  America nukes the entire Middle East].  And yet Trump's generals appear to be planning to do just that -- and within the next six months too."     Boy, the world is REALLY gonna hate us for that one.PS:  And you think that America's foreign policy is whacked?  It's domestic policy isn't all that hot either.  I just got an e-mail from a friend of mine who is a doctor.  "Regarding your article on Freddie Gray?  The police didn't break his neck inside the paddy wagon.  They broke it right there on the street.  That's why he was screaming in pain and had to be dragged off the scene."  Interesting.  Our police departments appear to have become just one more type of urban gang.    And after reading about America's obsession with bringing "order" to the streets, I realized something else.  They probably didn't shoot Michael Brown to death in Ferguson for allegedly robbing a convenience store.  They shot him to death because he was walking in the middle of the street -- that's out of order for sure.  Do not try that at home.     Then another friend of mine e-mailed me, saying, "Chicago beats this Baltimore crap hands down.  We have the Homan Avenue police station on the west side where about 10,000 people have checked in and never checked out.  Take a trip there.  Do a FOIA search on them.     "When you go there, you hear voices screaming and your hair stands on end -- yet it's still not investigated by the FBI.  It's where they kill people off for body parts, all sorts of stuff.  The 'Chicago Reader' has done an article unchallenged.  I dare you to come to this creep house."     Who me?     "Google it.  Ask Rahm Emmanuel about it.  Disgusting.  Been there.  I get creeped out and sick every time I go there.  All the employees are mean and surly as if taken over by demons."     And so if Israeli neo-cons are ever called on the carpet by world opinion for all the atrocities they commit in Occupied Palestine, here too all they have to do is say, "America did it!"_____________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


My day-trip to Baltimore: "Out of Order"     My goal for today was to go visit the Freddie Gray memorial mural in Baltimore, Maryland.  Took the Greyhound from Washington DC, day-tripping, arrived on time.  So far so good.     Except that nobody here in Baltimore seemed to know where the Freddie Gray mural was.  So I went to the main library.  Librarians know everything.  "North Mount Street at Presbury."  Got it.  "Take the Metro to Upton."  Check.  Except that the subway was closed for renovations.  So I went next door to the legendary Lexington Market, founded in 1782.  Bought a crab cake.  Hey, it's Baltimore.  Gotta eat crab cakes.  It's the law.     And then I met "Edward" and things went uphill from there.  He stuffed me onto a yellow-line bus.  We got off at Pennsylvania Avenue.  I followed him around like a lost little duckling for the next half-mile.  We turned a corner.  There was the mural.  It was lovely.  I took a photo of it.  I forgot to bring flowers.     Edward walked me back through Freddie's old neighborhood, one of the most rundown in all of America.  "What was Freddie like?" I asked Edward.      "He was pretty much like everyone else around here, just trying to get by as best that he could in a place with no jobs, run-down schools and shabby housing," replied Edward.  I looked around.  Edward was right.  "People here are always trying to get your spot."  And apparently the po-po had been trying to get Freddie's spot too.      I just got done reading Matt Taibbi's excellent book, "I can't Breathe".  Taibbi talks about "community policing," a policy wherein anything that looks "out of order" on the streets must be gotten rid of.   And the cops, not the laws, get to decide what "out of order" looks like.  This is a national policy, not just in Baltimore.  Our whole country has a policing policy similar to what goes on in occupied Palestine -- or like what happened to Native Americans back when "the  only good Indian was a dead Indian".     And apparently Freddie Gray was "out of order" too.     When little kids get "out of order" they are sent to rec centers and play grounds.  When senior citizens get "out of order" they are sent to rest homes.  When politicians get "out of order" they are sent to Congress.  But when you are a young Black male and get even the tiniest bit "out of order" then they send you off to jail.  Or shoot you.     Please, America,  please think of some way that young Black men can have a safe place to go when society considers you "out of order," a safe place that doesn't involve jail time -- or a coffin.       After Black people have endured over 600 long hard years of slavery, humiliation and having every deck stacked against them, isn't it high time for White people to stop trying to make Black people feel "out of order" just for being alive. PS:  Thank you, Edward, for being my tour guide to north Baltimore.  You really did put the charm in "Charm City" and I'm grateful.PPS:  A good start at making America safe for young Black males (and for all the rest of us Americans too) would be to stop spending trillions of $$$$ on worthless weapons of mass destruction and start spending trillions of $$$$ on us Americans instead -- on all of us.______________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


Water water everywhere: Too much of it -- or too little?     I've been told that you can get instructions for making a freaking atomic bomb right off the internet.  All you need is uranium, a cyclotron or two and a stick of dynamite.  Just score some of that stuff and you're good to go.   Easy-peazy.  Hell, even North Korea could do it.      And ever since Hiroshima, some of the best minds of our generation have been dedicated to the proposition of blowing stuff up.  But is this really what the world needs right now?  Yet another way to make things go ka-boom?  I think not.  We've got way much bigger challenges facing us right now.     For instance, on one hand the world's ocean water levels are currently rising even faster than America's national debt.  And on the other hand, deserts are spreading all across the world even faster than school shootings are spreading across the U.S.  One part of the globe has too much water.  Another part has not even enough.     What to do?     Wouldn't it be nice if our top scientists would put away their childish things and start working on stuff that really matters?  Like how to desalinate all the oceans' extra water and transport it to the Gobi and the Kalahari and the Sahara and Death Valley?  Where it can really do some good.     I've been to some of these desert places.  All you gotta do is add water to the dust there and then stir.  Voila!  Instant dirt.  It's magic.  It's like making Kool-Aid.  Instant Eden.     Why aren't our scientists working on this?  Instead of dedicating their lives to making our planet uninhabitable and radioactive?PS:  And of course I'm going to somehow tie all of this stuff back to the Middle East as usual -- and why not?  I love visiting the Middle East.  The people there are friendly, hospitable and not really deserving of being bombed, napalmed and slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands.  Mass murder is never a good idea -- whether it's done by Hitler, Stalin or the Pentagon.     "But," you might say, "what about ISIS and Al Qaeda?"  Do your research.  Most of them are using missiles, deadly gases and even Toyota trucks that America gave them.  Humph.     And as for election tampering, parts of the Middle East really do have their hands in the American electoral cookie jar.  Here's an article that mentions in passing just how much influence Saudi Arabia and Israel have on American elections:;     Places in the Middle East such as Yemen, Iraq, Syria, etc. could easily be turned from killing fields to paradises -- if only all those evil vicious bastards in America didn't make so much money on weapons sales.  But then in in places like Parkland and Sandy Hook and Columbine,  I'm probably preaching to the choir. ______________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


A tale of two cities: Houston TX & San Juan, Puerto Rico           Even in your wildest dreams could you ever imagine that Americans would ever put up with allowing Houston, Texas, to go without electricity for almost a year after being hit by a hurricane?  "Inconceivable!"  And yet San Juan, Puerto Rico, another American city that was hit by a hurricane at the same time as Houston, STILL has very little electrical power -- and doesn't reasonably expect to get its electricity up and running before this summer either.  "Unheard of."     One American city had the necessary recovery funds pumped into it fast.  Lights went back on within days.  Another American city still sees its students studying by candlelight and living without refrigeration or air conditioning 24/7 -- even months and months after the event and also for many more months to come.      If such a horrendous third-world un-American thing such as going without power for almost a year had happened to Houston, then I bet all y'all anything that within hours Colonel Travis himself would be rolling over in his grave and Texans would have succeeded from the Union or/or marched on Washington with torches and pitchforks!    And here's something else of interest about this sad tale of two cities -- that somehow Puerto Ricans are now being blamed for all the destruction caused by the same act of nature that Texans are NOT being blamed for -- that somehow Hurricane Maria was somehow the fault of those spendthrift Puerto Ricans and thus they deserve to suffer for their sins and to get no relief.  Yet Houston is blameless.     Huh?     But then I talked with a friend of mine who had just returned from both San Juan and Houston -- and he reminded me that things were just not as simple as that.  "There are other factors," said my friend.  "In Puerto Rico, for instance, Hurricane Maria was so fierce that it almost flattened much of the island's infrastructure.  In Houston, on the other hand, the problem had more to do with flooding."     He then surprised me by saying that FEMA had actually been well-prepared ahead of time for the Puerto Rico hurricane and that, not like in New Orleans, FEMA had actually done a good job.  "FEMA arrived even before the hurricane hit, bringing tons of emergency food supplies which were then stored on ships docked in the port.  However, getting the supplies to the people who needed them was another story altogether.  The roads were a mess.  Electrical poles were down.  It was dangerous to drive trucks.  Distribution was a huge problem.  And another huge problem is that, although the US has pledged seven billion dollars to help Puerto Rico get back on its feet, more like 40 billion dollars is desperately needed.  There was unbelievable damage to the infrastructure."     With regard to corruption, my friend didn't know much about corruption in Houston -- but America has allowed corruption in Puerto Rico to go on for over a century, selectively applying the Rule of Law to help the powerful and well-off.        "One example of corruption in Puerto Rico," continued my friend, "is that the island's power company is making it almost impossible to install solar facilities because solar power would not benefit it.  And also power was restored to the wealthier part of San Juan while the rest of the island will be blacked out for many more months."     My own personal theory is that the only difference between corruption in Puerto Rico and corruption in Texas is that if someone wants to do something corrupt in Houston, he first makes i[...]


The American presidency: A short history of auctioning it off to the highest bidder     "And what am I bid for this White House?" the auctioneer cries.  Sometimes I think that Christie's or Sotheby's are running our government -- not the electoral process.        The weapons manufacturer in the front row holds up his paddle.   "I bid four million bucks to put this here Hollywood actor into the White House".  Sold!  And Ronald Reagan suddenly becomes presidential -- if only he can follow the script and declare a phony proxy war on Central America (and Reagan also imported MS 13 in the bargain as well).     Eight years later.  Same thing.  "And the White House goes to that guy in the third row dressed up like James Bond."  Then, boom, just like that George Bush Senior steps into the job (with a little help from his pal Willie Horton).  And suddenly the man who was in Dallas when Kennedy was shot is now calling the shots himself and we get that phony Gulf War as a result -- plus that bloody ten-year proxy war on Iran as well.  Two phony wars for the price of...ten.     Bill Clinton goes on the auction block next -- and we get that phony war on Yugoslavia.  And why not?  His handlers did place the highest bid.   Next comes that joke George W. Bush, "the man you would most likely want to have a beer with".  His handlers bought the White House for him -- and we taxpayers are still paying the price of that bid.  But it was well worth it to his handlers -- eleven trillion bucks profit from a few million dollars' bid.  Those phony wars on Afghanistan and Iraq were worth every cent.     "What am I bid for Obama?" the auctioneer asks next.  Some Deep State guy in the back row slowly raises his hand.  "Sold!"  Cheap price to pay for the trillions in profits from those phony proxy wars on Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Gaza.     And in 2016 we learned once again that the highest bidder always gets to purchase the White House -- as Donald Trump is shoved into the Lincoln bedroom.  So what new phony wars will we get the honor of paying for under his watch?  Nobody in America seems to be paying attention!  Not only has our democracy been auctioned off to the highest bidder but our way of life has been auctioned off to the war machine as well.  Let's let Trump have his military parade.  Why not?  We've paid for it -- trillions and trillions of dollars.  We might as well see what we've chosen to buy instead of buying stuff that will make us be happier, feel safer, live longer and have healthier kids.     Are you aware that Israeli and US warplanes and/or missiles have just bombed Syria AGAIN?  Trying to wave a red flag at Russia, trying to start a nuclear war, a weapons manufacturer's ultimate wet dream -- but not mine!  And all this freaking talk here at home about "Russia Russia Russia" is clearly geared to get us ready for World War Three.  And, fools that we be, we'll deserve it if (when) we get it. Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


Extra! Extra! Saudis ban war reporters from Yemen!     It used to be that American journalists had full real-time access to news from the battlefield or even went there themselves.  That just doesn't happen any more.  Mostly "war correspondents" these days just write what they are told to write -- and from a safe distance.     Back during World War II, heroic reporters like Ernie Pyle, Edward R. Murrow, Martha Gellhorn and William L. Shirer covered all the battles.  During the war on Vietnam we had Walter Cronkite reporting the nightly news.  Uncle Walter never steered us wrong.  Seymour Hersh, Daniel Ellsberg and Neil Sheehan kept our minds right.  And then war reporting rapidly went downhill from there.  You had to be "embedded" to get into Iraq.  I got embedded.  It was fun.  Except when a suicide bomber almost blew me up.   But now?  Syria did let me in.  I reported from Damascus.  But Libya?  No way.  All that American-made "Humanitarian Intervention" did not include a free press.  It still doesn't.  And I recently got thrown out of the West Bank by Israeli neo-colonialists.  And don't even try to get into Gaza.  "Closed Military Zone".  Yeah right.  And Ukraine is being run by fascist wannabes right now and you can imagine how they feel about reporters.      But I'm still game.  I still want to go report on wars.  I still want to report on what is happening in Yemen these days for instance.  Fat chance of that ever happening.  The Saudis have closed the airports, bus stops and cruise lines.  Even freighters and NGOs can't even get in.  Nobody gets to go into Yemen and watch thousands of Yemeni children starve to death -- thanks to America and the Saudis.     Hell, there's not even one war that I can think of right now that would actually let me report on it -- even if I won the lottery and could hire James Bond to escort me.  No one wants me in a "war" zone.  I might even tell the truth.  War reporting just isn't what if used to be.  Nobody wants us to know what is going on Over There any more.     Now we can only get our on-the-spot news from FaceBook.PS:  "Write or Die" is my new favorite motto.  PPS:  What are we gonna do now that Robert Perry is no longer around to tell us the truth?  His recent death was one of journalism's great losses.  So many of our reporters today are simply suck-ups and cowards.  Anybody who cares anything at all about truth in journalism will miss him.  I will miss him. Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


Flu vaccines: The biggest little con game in America this year     "I'm SOOOO afraid of getting the flu this year," said my friend Richard.  "People are dropping like flies!"     "But if you received your flu shot," I naively replied, "then you shouldn't have anything to worry about and should be protected from getting it, right?"  Wrong!  The drug companies have just reminded us that, because there are so many different types of flu strains out there, then getting a flu shot might not even protect us at all.     Huh?     So I began questioning my other friends.  "Did you too get a flu shot this year?"           "Yes, of course," most of them replied.        "And did you also come down with the flu too, even after getting a flu shot?" I asked next.  Shockingly, a whole bunch of them answered "yes" to that question as well.  What a con game by Big Pharma!  We're talking genius here!       Drug companies sold millions of flu shots this year.  But then millions of people subsequently came down with the flu.  "Oops, my bad," says Big Pharma.  "Must have gotten the wrong strain."  Again.     Then of course there's the drug industry's old-faithful fall-back con job too -- where they tell us with a perfectly straight face, "You would have gotten a much worse case of the flu if you hadn't gotten the shot."  Ur, what exactly could be worse than misery and death?       And while millions of us are all lying up in our beds wishing we were dead or else in the hospital actually dying, Big Pharma is happily laughing all the way to the bank.  I do gotta admit, however, that the "Biggest Little Con Game" lifetime-achievement award clearly must go to America's weapons manufacturers.  They have consistently screwed us out of billions and billions of $$$ every single year since the end of World War II.  What a racket.  "We will keep America safe," they constantly tell us, "by shooting up the rest of the world."  And how exactly is that keeping us safe -- when everyone in the rest of the world now hates us?     "Pay no  attention to that man behind the curtain," they reply.  "Just give us another couple of trillion $$$ and you'll be even safer than lower Manhattan was on 9-11."  And so we cough up yet another trillion $$$ -- and then even more people in even more countries learn very quickly to hate us too -- especially those millions of folks whose families have been murdered by American guns and bombs.     But I guess it could be worse.  Their families, like ours, could also be dying from flu shots.PPS:  Whenever the Rule of Law fails to protect the least of us, then our society eventually fails too.        "Cough, cough, sneeze -- and then Boom!"  We're not being protected.______________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


Gullah: A triumph of the human spirit     I visited the Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina the other day.  So much human misery was on display there that tears instantly came to my eyes.  Slavery was the American equivalent of Auschwitz and Gaza -- systematic torture, degradation and death based solely on impersonal factors that people were born with.       In the historic Old South, slaves were routinely beaten, starved, kidnapped and raped.  50,000 slaves tried to run away every year.  Thousands tried to fight back.  Can you blame them?  Despite their extreme exploitation and misery, however, millions of them submitted to their own enslavement.  Why?  PTSD.  Too shocked and psychically injured to do anything else.     According to museum records, there were three slaves to every White person in Charleston back in the day.  "So why didn't they rebel?" you might ask.  Ah, but they did.  There were over 250 slave rebellions during this dreadful time.  But the bottom line was that these enslaved and dehumanized men, women and children mostly suffered from an earlier, harsher version of Stockholm Syndrome.  Veterans returning from Iraq weren't the first Americans to suffer from PTSD.      Slaves in south Carolina were called "Gullah".  And after the horrors of slavery were finally over, the Gullah people's nightmare still continued in the form of lynch mobs and Jim Crow.     And yet.  Somehow still the Gullah culture has survived even despite the John Killhouns and the Dylan Roofs -- and even despite the high-end boutiques that have replaced Gullah businesses on King Street.     To the Gullah people of Charleston today, Black lives still matter -- even after having been haunted by a PTSD strong enough to reach its cold, ghostly fingers down to them over the span of hundreds of years.PS:  I'm currently reading two books that clearly illustrate the sad effects of slavery on African-Americans -- even today:  Matt Taibbi's "I Can't Breathe" and Jill Leovy's "Ghettoside"  They both come highly recommended by me.______________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


Climate deterioration: Snowdrifts in Charleston, SC     One huge fatal flaw in the human psyche is that all too many of us seem to be incapable of grasping the Big Picture.  In Charleston, South Carolina, however, the Big Picture is currently being shoved down our throats -- like it or not.  "We had seven inches of snowfall here the other day," a long-time resident just told me.  "Unheard of!"  What caused it?  Climate deterioration.  Weather pollution.      For crying out loud, how much more further proof do we need before we can actually start seeing the Big Picture here?  That Santa Claus has just moved his North Pole workshop down to sunny Carolina?  That the winter Olympics are now being held right here on Meeting Street?     Over a hundred years ago, Charleston built a gigantic seawall to keep the Atlantic Ocean out of the front yards of its charming antebellum mansions.  Well, in the next 20 years Charleston is going to have to quadruple the height of these "lowcountry" seawalls -- unless it wants to equip its visiting tourists with scuba equipment in order to view Rainbow Row.     Climate deterioration.  Weather pollution.  Big Picture.  Got it yet?  Apparently not.     You just gotta love Charleston.  It's clearly the most beautiful and charming city in America.  And I will miss it when it is gone -- just like I will miss New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Mumbai, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Sydney, Miami, Puerto Vallarta, Vancouver, Seattle, Boston and Buenos Aires.       Climate deterioration/weather pollution.  This is the most vital Big Picture that our limited human psyches are clearly missing right now (aside from the fact that "war" will kill our environment too).PS:  Who profits most from denying that climate deterioration is even a thing?  Surprisingly, it is American weapons manufacturers -- the largest source of weather pollution there is.      For instance, that phony "war" on Syria alone has already subtracted years and years from the life expectancy of the entire human race.  Not to mention all the things that go "Boom" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, the former Yugoslavia, etc.  Each of these senseless and barbaric attacks on vulnerable countries have been incredible bonanzas for American weapons manufacturers -- but could be extinction events for the rest of us.____________________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.[...]


Imperialism + Colonialism = Shitehole countries

     You don't have to be Einstein to figure out this equation (not that anyone in Washington is these days).

    After being ruthlessly battered, plundered, sacked, assaulted and robbed for hundreds of years by heartless and unbelievably brutal European and American slave traders, imperialists, colonialists and neo-colonialists, it's a wonder that any countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America can even function at all.
     Never forget that the main reason that so many poor immigrants from other countries leave their homes and their loved ones behind to come to Europe and America is that they are simply following the trail of their stolen stuff.


Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.


Brainwashing, Paul Haggis, Scientology, you & me     Here's a thing:  Professor Mazim Qumsiyeh just pointed out that America has vigorously supported the right of Iranians to protest their government but....  "When a reporter asked a US spokeswoman about the right to protest in Palestine against Israeli occupation, she was at a loss for words.  Land of hypocrisy indeed."     Well, sure, America is the land of hypocrisy -- but mostly it is the land of brainwashing.     For instance, I am currently reading Lawrence Wright's excellent book, "Going Clear".  It's about the various brainwashing techniques used in Scientology -- most of them are repetitious, dangerous and/or violent.  After over 30 years of faithful servitude, however, Paul Haggis finally decided to escape from this mess.  The result?  Suddenly a whole bunch of women showed up, suddenly accusing him of all kinds of sexual mayhem.  Bet every single one of those women is a brainwashed Scientologist.  Read Wright's book to find out why I should think that.     Shame on Scientology if/when they used such a worthy cause as "Me Too" in order to bring down a whistle-blower.  As a woman (and one who has been a victim of attempted rape myself), I totally resent this evil use of such a just and noble cause.     So what's my point?  Scientologists use brainwashing?  Well, duh, of course they do.  But who else uses it?  And why?  We Americans are constantly being brainwashed every waking hour of our lives.  Every single hour of the day and night there is a constant barrage of media telling us what to think and do.  "Go to war," they tell us. "Buy a car.  Take a drug.  Vote against your own best interests."      According to Wright, Scientology apparently has a whole worldwide network of basements and "bases" where Scientologists are manipulated, beaten, starved and/or brainwashed until they submit to its version of the Stockholm syndrome.  When one is actually trapped inside the bubble of Scientology, it becomes increasingly difficult to see any other worldview -- because no other version is allowed inside.    But that's just small potatoes compared to the whole worldwide network of basements and "bases" where America beats, starves, manipulates and/or brainwashes the minds of its Americans until they too submit to our very own version of the Stockholm syndrome.  And when one is actually trapped inside the bubble of American propaganda, it becomes increasingly difficult to see any other worldview -- because no other version is allowed inside.        And as for why we are constantly being barraged by all this propaganda?  What is the end-game of all this constant brainwashing?  Money and power.  But mostly money.  Our money -- becoming theirs.PS:  I just signed up to attend this year's BoucherCon event, being held in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Tampa area next September.  Such a deal!  Not only do I get to attend my favorite book convention but also St. Pete is famous for its historic Hotel Vinoy, 25% of Clearwater is owned by Scientology and Tampa is where Leonard Peltier is being held[...]


Madam Jane predicts -- disaster ahead!         "Let's face it," Madam Jane said to me as we strolled through thousands of white grave markers in the Golden Gate National Cemetery the other day.  "America just can't continue spending over 60% of its income on murdering people abroad.  It just can't.  No country can afford that kind of luxury item for long."     Hmm.  She might have a point.     "Just look at all these rows and rows and rows of dead people," she said.  "Lives wasted on trumped-up 'wars', sure, but mostly money wasted too.  It's like buying a new Cadillac in order to throw it in a trash compactor while your young children starve.  It's immoral.  It pisses me off."      That could be true too.  You don't just run out and buy a Caddie when there's no food on the table and the rent's coming due.     "And now America is trying to pick a fight with Russia, North Korea, Iran and probably China, while also carrying on 'wars' and proxy 'wars' in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Africa and Central and South America as well.  This is all going to end badly, mark my words.  You'd better start stocking up on toilet paper and soap."     Actually I worry more about running out of food and not staying warm -- but then that's just me.     "Just look at Israel," M.J. continued.  "it is a microcosm of the USA, sort of a mini-me.  it also spends most of its money on weapons too -- and 70 years later, it's still at 'war' with Palestinians who can only throw stones to fight back.  In the last month alone, nuclear-armed Israel has jailed over 400 children for throwing stones and having knives."     I also know that 700,000 Palestinians have spent time in Israeli jails.   Don't Israelis have better things to spend their money on?  Apparently not.     "And look at Saudi Arabia, yet another American mini-me.  It spends most of its money on supporting ISIS and al Qaeda and bombing defenseless Yemen, right?"     I suppose so.     "And 70 years from now, the Yemenis will still be fighting back to the last man -- and with stones too, if that's all they've got.  But by then the fabled Saudi oil wealth will have all run out.  The Saudis are just not planning ahead either.  Obviously they can't see into the future like I can."     Apparently not.     "And the same holds true for the American macrocosm.  We also have spent the last 70 years on murdering people in foreign lands instead of taking care of people at home.  And our time is almost up too."     "Sounds like you're talking about moral proximity, " I replied.  "I just read something about that -- where it's your moral duty to take care of those around you first.  We Americans are not doing that. "     "Damn straight," said Madam Jane.  And then she sighed.  "I truly wish that I could stave off the disaster that's coming our way.  But I can't."PS:  Speaking of disasters and/or keeping warm, I am leaving for Charleston, South Carolina in a few days.  Why?  Because, silly me, last summer I thought Charleston would be a nice place to go and be warm during the winter of 2018.  And then the "Bomb Cyclone" hit.  Yikes!  It was 25 degrees in Charleston this morning.     I don't need Madam Jane to tell me that my future ahead looks cold.____________________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.&n[...]


Getting ahead of the Ahed Tamini story....     Did a sixteen-year-old Palestinian girl named Ahed Tamimi actually dare to slap an Israeli soldier?  Yeah she did.  And not only once but a bunch of times too.  How and why?  Listen up.  Here's the true story.  You heard it here first.    Ahed and her BFF were just sitting around the house playing Candy Crush or whatever, when Ahed looked out her window and saw two Israeli soldiers enter the yard.  "Hey, you -- you with the body armor and the assault rifle and the stun gun," she said to the occupying invader.  "What the freak are you doing in my front yard!"        The occupying invader ignored Ahed.  Maybe he and his buddy had only just stepped inside the gate to take a piss?     Then Ahed lightly poked at the occupying invader's arm a few times, just to get his attention because he was rudely ignoring her.  "This land is mine," she said.  "God gave this land to me..."  Or words to that effect.  And that's when the occupying invader suddenly hauled off and hit her -- and then Ahed slapped him back.  Oops.   And then the BFF and the mom and the sister and the aunt all came out, held hands and made stink-eyes at the O.I. -- and the occupying invader backed away.  End of story?  Not.  The occupying invader came back late that night with even more buddies and more stun guns and assault rifles and, well, you know the drill.  Off to jail.     That's just what happens when you object to Israeli soldiers cluttering up your front yard like some weird armed-to-the-teeth lawn gnomes. ____________________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.   [...]


Holiday blues: How I survived Christmas's war on Me     When I was growing up, Christmas was always an ordeal.  My father was postmaster in our town and he always worked 15 hours a day during the pre-Christmas rush.  My mother always seemed to come down with pneumonia.  And my sister always got her physical work-out by beating me up.  I hated Christmas in Millbrae.  Christmas in Millbrae still haunts my dreams.     So this year I decided to take the bull by the horns and actually spend Christmas in the belly of the beast -- exorcising the ghosts of Millbrae Christmas Past once and for all.  So I took a room at the Inn (obviously not the one in Bethlehem) and then drove around.     I drove past my childhood home.  I drove past my old school.  I walked around the main street.  I got more and more depressed.  Back then I was an outcast, my high school's only Beatnik.  And here I am now, years later, still on the outside looking in -- like that old fairy tale about the little match girl.  Poor me!     But then I trudged back to the Inn and checked my e-mail.  SO many sad stories there.  The Walker fire in San Diego.  Saudi Arabia's cruel plan to starve 17 million Yemenis to death.  The arrest of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, Palestine's own Joan of Arc (along with an Israeli journalist's article demanding that she be tortured and raped while in prison).  The tyranny in Honduras, the typhoon in the Philippines, the idiocy in Washington DC.     And then I started to feel better.  And then I even started to feel lucky and blessed.  l even realized that Christmas wasn't making war so much on me after all -- although American "Christians" seem to be making "war" on everyone, both here and abroad.       And then a Christmas miracle happened.  My daughter Tanya showed up, took me out for the best Chinese food ever and spent the entire meal telling me what a wonderful mother I had been.  Doesn't get much better than that.  And her friend Anthony turned out to be one of the very few people in this whole world (besides me) who still knew how to dance the Four Corners!     Nobody knows what the New Year will bring -- but I am hoping with all of my heart that it will finally bring peace to the world, and that all our wealth and hopes will no longer be squandered on creating a cruel and worthless American empire that benefits none of us except the shamelessly wealthy and the heartlessly mean.  And also I am hoping for many more trips to that wonderful Chinese restaurant in Millbrae.PS:  About that so-called war on Christmas that the alt-right is always yelling about?  Bah humbug, just another example about how America's so-called "Christians" have got it so dangerously wrong.  Their idea of a "real" Christmas is when everyone  runs out and buys stuff that they can't afford -- in the name of Jesus.  Huh?  So much for fitting through the eye of a needle.  My eight-year-old HP Pavilion Slimline computer just bit the dust, and now I'm using the public library's Intel Core to check my e-mail.  Santa didn't bring me a new computer for Christmas.  Obviously.  Does that give me a good reason to declare War on Santa?__[...]


Silent night: 12 weeks after the Wine Country fire     I recently got a chance to spend a night at The Bergson, an upscale bed-and-breakfast in Calistoga, CA.  I jumped at the chance.     And while I was up there, my childhood friend Ron offered to take me on a tour of the ruins of the Wine Country fire.  I jumped at that chance too.  All those hundreds of sad, broken and incinerated ruins of homes that we saw made me just want to cry.     Here we are, just hours before Christmas, all snug in our beds -- and all those other families that lost their homes in that catastrophe, over 1,500 of them, have no room at the inn.     "At midnight on October 6, 2017, a small fire started in the mountains above Calistoga," my friend Ron told me.  "By 4:00 am, the fire was already burning down homes 30 miles away...."  Who would have thought that a fire could travel that fast.     "There were 80-mile-per-hour winds that night."  Who could have predicted stuff like that?     And now, over two months later, these firestorm victims will soon be facing their first post-nightmare Christmas.  "Some of these victims are still sleeping on the couches of relatives.  Some have moved out of the area to places where rents are cheaper.  Some live in RVs and shower at YMCAs.  Before the fire, there was a 5% housing vacancy rate in this area.  Now 5% of the housing stock here has been totally destroyed."     Seeing all those acres and acres and acres of ruins -- ruins of multi-million-dollar mansions and ruins of paycheck-to-paycheck trailer parks -- brought tears to my eyes.     If your home was destroyed in that horrible fire, please know this:  Although the American news cycle may have forgotten about you and moved on to the next front-page story, many of us Americans have not forgotten you.  And to all of you who are homeless?  We wish you a merry Christmas.  And also a good night.  And a roof over your heads on Christmas morning as well.PS:  Paying our taxes to the federal government is exactly like buying life insurance -- and auto insurance and fire insurance and insurance against theft.     And yet when a disaster strikes and it actually comes time to collect on our insurance policies (like after the Wine Country fire or the Walker fire or Katrina or Hugo or Maria), at a time when we most desperately need it?  That's when we suddenly discover that our tax money has all been embezzled -- brazenly stolen by corporate con-men, sleazy "war" contractors, ponzi-scheme banksters and all those white-collar criminals in the White House, congress and the supreme court that Wall Street and War Street lobbyists have forced down our throats.      Sucks to be us.PPS:  I myself be spending Christmas in my old home town, trying to exorcise the ghosts of Senator McCarthy that haunted 1950s Millbrae, and also an unhappy childhood spent living in a small house with two parents who refused to speak to each other.  But at least I had a roof over my head.____________________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.  [...]


Freud, Jung, dreams...and nuclear weapons     Let's take a look at the big picture first.       The Pentagon is currently in charge of approximately 9,600 nuclear warheads.  They also own approximately 9,347 lethally-armored drones.  And on the local level in America, SWAT teams here conduct approximately 50,000 raids a year -- cops driving around in wannabe tanks and dressing like Transformers.  Plus untold numbers of American militias and bad guys have weapon arsenals like you wouldn't believe.  And  if that isn't enough to give us nightmares, our very own President and Congressional representatives mostly consist of out-and-out warmongers working for Lockheed, Raytheon, that crook Netanyahu, Saudi baby-killers and the NRA -- and our very own CIA secretly slips billions of our tax dollars into the pockets of al Qaeda and ISIS.     And then of course there are the more mundane dangers that Americans face on a day-to-day basis -- bill collectors, jealous ex-husbands, car accidents, stressful performance anxiety, irate family members, kidnappers, pederasts, rapists, terrorist threats, school shootings and violence on television 24 hours a day.  And then there's also the ever-constant threat of dying from cancer, Altzheimers, obesity, iatrogenic medicine, high blood pressure, toxic chemicals, radioactive waste and/or lack of health insurance.       In America, is there no place left that is safe?     Yeah, there is.       There really is one place in America that is completely and totally safe.  We are completely and totally safe inside of our own dreams -- no matter what Freud and Jung have to say.     And not only are we completely safe inside of our own dreamtime -- but we are powerful too.      All the nuclear weapons and military might that those power-mad bastards and bullies in Washington have access to?  They are all totally worthless, impotent and useless to get inside of our dreams and hurt us.  "Nah-nanny-nanny-nah!"  You can't catch me, fool.  "This is MY dream."      All of those wannabe American bullies' huge stockpiles of weapons can (and will) overwhelm and control us in real life, but they don't have any control at all in our dream worlds.  We do.  They, for all their sick firepower and weaponry up the wazoo, are helpless to do anything at all in our dreams.  They've wasted all their damn money (and ours too) for nothing.  In our dreams, they are merely pathetic playground bullies who are still afraid of being dragged off to the principal's office and sent to detention.     And no matter how many dollars that wealthy men on Wall Street can stockpile in their bulletproof vaults, they still can't harm us in our dreams either.  They can evict us and leave us homeless in real life or steal our pensions or gleefully send our jobs off to China -- but they can never get to us in our dreams.[...]


"Anything Trump can do, Netanyahu can do better..."     Remember that old song, "Anything you can do, I can do better"?  Well, it's time to give it a more modern twist and bring it up to date.  Apologies to Irving Berlin.  Here's a more contemporary version:       Any "war" Trump can try to start, Netanyahu has already started one (or five) better.     Any lie Trump can tell, Netanyahu can prevaricate better.     Anything corrupt stuff Trump can do, Netanyahu can be corrupter.     Any bullying of journalists Trump can do, Netanyahu can bully the press better -- although you gotta admit that Trump is hecka better at Twitter.    Any neo-con undemocratic elitist fascist racist greedy thing Trump can do, Netanyahu can do way better (only don't use the F-word with Bibi or you'll be accused of being anti-Semitic).     Any influencing of U.S. elections Trump can do, Netanyahu can influence them better.     Any clandestine support for ISIS and al Qaeda that Trump can do, Netanyahu can do far better (and more clandestinely too!)     Any womanizing Trump can do, Netanyahu has already done it -- they both cheated on their first wives.  I seriously doubt, however, that their third wives ever let them out of the house alone any more.     Any religious hypocrisy Trump can do, Netanyahu can (and does) do better.  Not since Roman times has Judaism been used to such an elaborate extent as a flaming-hot excuse to commit grand larceny.  Trump's use of Christianity to line his own pockets pretty much fades in comparison.     Any moving of the Israeli capital to Jerusalem that Trump can do, Netanyahu has already done better (by moving the capital of America to Tel Aviv of course).     Any civil rights Trump can trample on, Netanyahu can trample on better.     Any oil pipeline spill on native land or other ecological disaster Trump can create, Netanyahu has already gone there.     Any Wall that Trump can build, Netanyahu already built one better (and one that's even more of a waste of American taxpayers' money).     So.  What's my moral here?  That if you like The Donald at all, then you are really gonna love The Bibi.     But if you hate Trump (and also Ronnie Popular, Tricky Dick and the Bush Brothers) for the mess he's created, then perhaps you should avoid Netanyahu altogether in order [...]


"13 Reasons Why": Suicide by propaganda     I'm so full of gloom and doom these days that nobody even invites me to parties any more and most of my out-going e-mails end up in the spam box.  Relatives avoid me during holidays and I don't even like to spend time with my own self.     Still and all, there really is a hecka lot of stuff to be sad and gloomy about these days.  I myself can easily think of at least 13 reasons why things are rapidly going to Hell in a hand-basket around here -- and yet even despite of all this, I am constantly being told again and again that all my clearly-obvious reasons for running screaming into the night are actually good things that are all making the world a better place.     Yes, Big Pharma keeps selling us dangerous snake-oil medications that do us more harm than good -- yet we're still afraid to stop taking them because Big Pharma will get all pissed off at us if we do.  And we're also afraid to complain about all our constant super-saturation by propaganda commercials on TV for medicine that we really don't need.  And 225,000 Americans die each year from iatrogenic diseases -- diseases caused by medical treatment.  "Relax!" Big Pharma tells us.  "These pills are good for you!"  Except for the deadly side effects of course.     And, yes, recent dramatic changes in our climate really are going to kill us -- despite what oil-baron propaganda keeps preaching to us night and day.  And "war" is the number-one cause of adverse climate change too.  All the various weapons that America sells to the Saudis, rains down on Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Gaza, etc. and uses to attack Americans in our very own cities will eventually come back and bite us in the butt in the form of floods and wildfires and droughts. So much fun!     And, yes, the CIA really did assassinate John Kennedy, blow up the Twin Towers and embroil us in endless and unnecessary "war" in the Middle East -- even though we are bombarded daily (still!) with propaganda telling us otherwise.     And, yes, 17 million people in Yemen really are being systematically starved to death by America and the House of Saud -- no matter what NYT propaganda tells us to the contrary.  Remember when Haile Selassie begged the League of Nations to save his country from genocide by fascists back in 1936?  And we all stood back and did nothing?  It's like that.     And, yes, the German people were brainwashed by Nazi propaganda -- and look where that got them.  Then look where it's getting us.     And, yes, America spends far more money on nuclear weapons than it does on repairing our infrastructure and educating our kids.  I think that the dollar-to-dollar ratio is approximately 20 to one.  Plus radiation and a decaying infrastructure will kill us.  Education won't.  But propagandists keep whispering into our ear, "Nuclear war is a good thing."         And, yes, during the 2016 presidential election we really did have[...]


"One person, one vote," an idea that is pretty much toast     At the Berkeley-Albany Bar Association luncheon recently, we had a choice between three different desserts -- cheese cake, chocolate mousse or both.  I voted for both.  We also had a presenter who spoke on the subject of voting access and gerrymandering in America.  The speaker made some very interesting points.     "The democratic concept of 'One person, one vote' has actually never been applied to American voters on the federal level.  Ever.  Perhaps it applies when we vote for members of the House of Representatives, but as for our vote for who will represent us in the Senate?  Not so much -- because voters in rural states such as Wyoming have far more voting power than voters in urban states such as California."  Or words to that effect.       So from the very beginning, our founding fathers made it impossible for "One person, one vote" to actually ever happen.  A New York voter, both then and now, only has 78% of the voting power of an Alabama voter due to Senate restrictions.  Interesting for sure.     "And Republicans are better at gerrymandering than Democrats.  In the 2012 elections, Dems got 51% of the vote but only got 39% of the representation."  Then he talked about something called "the efficiency gap" -- which involved higher math so he sort of lost me.  "In Wisconsin, the voter efficiency gap was 10 to 13 percent, guaranteeing Republican wins even in a Democratic state.  Our system today is profoundly under-representative."     However, we can't just blame it on the Repubs.  "If the Dems were the ones doing the gerrymandering, the Republicans' love of it would go the way of their hatred of the deficit."  Out the window in a New York minute.     "And what about Citizens United?" I asked myself.  "That ruling gives a small handful of rich people a hecka lot more votes than the rest of us poor schmucks."  Citizens United should be illegal for that reason alone.  And apparently the US Senate should be illegal too -- from the perspective of keeping America a democratic country.  But if you want America to be an oligarchy, then it's hardly worth rocking the boat about any of this stuff.     But even though the speaker didn't have time to discuss the effects of voter identification laws, the New Jim Crow laws or electronic vote-hacking, his message was still crystal clear.  The idea of one person and one vote in America?  That ship has pretty much sailed.     So what can we do to save the American ship of state from being run aground by vote-pirates?  Make sure we are the ones who count the votes?  Use only paper ballots?  Don't let dead people vote?  Make voting a legal requirement if you want to get a driver's license or whatever?  Reconfigure the US Senate to represent all of us?  Go after the oligarchs with torches and pitch forks?       There are all kinds of ways to make sure that Americans actually get "One person, one vote" -- and we can do this.  But the only real way to never ever allow "One person, one vote" to become an actual reality in America is to stay silent and do nothing.     Damn it.  I am an American.[...]


I had the flu once, back in 1973...      It had been a rather cold winter that year plus I had definitely burned the candle at both ends -- working late every night at the local folk-music coffee house, getting up early to take my daughter Ruby off to pre-school five days a week, spending weekdays over in San Francisco's Castro District as a docent at the Upper Market Street Gallery, hanging out with the Floating Lotus Magic Opera crew at the Woolsey Street House, playing on the Caffè Mediterraneum soccer team and spending time at the Albatross, the Midnight Sun, Brennan's and dancing to Commander Cody at Mandrake's whenever my parents could babysit.  Plus I had a Tibetan Buddhist boyfriend named Peter and also demonstrated against the corrupt Republican government in Washington during my spare time.     And it was always cold during the winter of 1973.  And I was always exhausted.  So I dragged myself and little Ruby down to Puerto Vallarta for two glorious weeks in the sun on the beach at Yelapa.     We got as far as San Diego before the flu struck.     Good grief, do I remember having that flu.  And I vowed never to get the flu ever again.  And I haven't.  And it wasn't because of having no damn flu shots either.     "Your mind wants to keep going going going like a robot," someone told me back then, "but your body needs rest.  So your mind and your body have a big struggle over this and your mind always loses -- because your body simply goes out on strike.  And that's exactly what a flu is.  It's your body going on strike until it finally gets to rack up more hours in bed than your mind thinks that it needs.  That's why, ultimately, there is no real prevention technique for the common cold.  Or for the flu either."     "But what about germs!" I replied.     "Flu germs are constantly with us, 24/7.  Constantly.  They are everywhere.  But they can only actually get to us when our body's defenses are down."     Oh.     So from that day to this, I have always made sure that my body has no real reason to go on strike.  And I never got the flu again.PS:  It also helps a lot that I also wash my hands.  Back in the day, when terrible diseases were rampant, the average American worker avoided baths, lived in unimaginable squalor, had no proper sewage or indoor toilets, survived on bread and potatoes alone and worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week.  No wonder diseases were rampant.     Thus it sort of pisses me off that Big Pharma is taking all the credit for stopping all their big long lists of hundreds of diseases -- when soap and water (and those brave labor unions that gave us the weekend) are often the real stars of the show.____________________________________Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.  [...]


Crazy Rich Saudis: Weird new happenings in The Kingdom     After a whole shite-load of oil was discovered under the desert sands of Arabia (and long after Lawrence of Arabia had turned in his camel), unimaginable mountains of moolah started pouring into the treasury of the royal House of Saud.     Back then, wealthy Saudi princes merely contented themselves with having huge harems, buying up Manhattan real estate, sending their sons to Oxford and buying Paris high couture burkas for their daughters.  However, after a while this playboy vida loca lifestyle seemed to get boring and these rich Saudi princes decided to try their hands at becoming a superpower instead.  "We've got the money.  Why not?"     But they went about it all wrong.       Instead of heeding the teachings of Mohammed [PBUH], they heeded the teachings of Lewis Carroll instead.  "Off with their heads!" they cried.  No no no!  That's not how you become a superpower.  Trust me. -saudi-prince-helicopter- crash/     America has already traveled down that slippery slope and look what happened to us -- broke, decaying internally, morally bankrupt and despised by the rest of the world.  "Off with their heads" can only be taken so far in life.  Doesn't anybody read DC Comics any more or go to Spiderman movies?  A true superpower uses its powers for good.    The Saudis first entered the superpower arena when they got all tied up in the 1990 Gulf so-called "war".  Massacring thousands of Iraqis for fun and profit?  Yummers!  So much more exciting than buying fleet-loads of Bugattis and Ferraris.  But what next?  Buying all those 9-11 "pilots" of course.  Then along came al Qaeda and ISIS, the princes' new toys after that.  Isn't it amazing what money can buy?  Their billions and trillions even purchased them an alliance with murderous Israeli neo-colonialists so that the Saudis too could bomb Gaza (and score all-access passes to Tel Aviv's nightclubs as well as testing their new weapons on people who couldn't fight back).     What a shame.  All that money -- now wasted on terror and death.     But wait, things have just gotten even worse in The Kingdom.  ISIS is now a hot mess and Yemenis are heroically pushing back against the Saudis' genocide-for-oil campaign.  And now Arabia's crazy-rich princes are actually fighting each other as well as fighting Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Armani, Prada and the Green Party.  Yikes!     In the past month alone, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been jailing Saudi princes, assassinating Saudi princes and generally shouting "Off with their heads!" to any and all princes who stand in his way.     It's not easy being a crazy rich Saudi these days.[...]


Madam Jane predicts -- nothing!     "I'm all confused about the future," I complained to Madam Jane this morning over a nice cup of herb tea.  "Do you see anything in your crystal ball that can guide me?  Should I travel off somewhere to report on the news?  Should I stay at home and chill out?  And what should I do over Christmas?"     "Sorry," replied Madam Jane.  "I've got nothing."  You've got nothing?  Zilch?  Nothing at all?  There's no future for me?  Wha?     I'd love to go down to Puerto Rico and help out.  I'd love to go off to the Philippines to see how that new anti-colonial president is doing.  A trip to Syria is always good.  America and Israel always keep saying that they are closing in on Assad.  Yeah, right.  Seems to me like just another lame excuse to pour more of our taxpayers' money down an already-very-clogged drain.  America's "war" on Syria is just as useless and cruel now as its "war" on Vietnam was useless and cruel back in the day.  America has no business in Syria.  But I have!     Maybe I could go off to Juarez.  Lots of hot news there about what those NAFTA criminals are up to this time around.  Maybe I could go to Flora-duh.  Or to Washington DC and watch Joe McCarthy's ghost deck the halls.  Or else try once again to sneak into poor sweet Yemen to report on the ugly Saudi/US-driven genocide there.  Or go to almost any place in Africa.  There is such a large number of places in America's worthless has-been outdated dying undemocratic brutal and stupid empire that could use a good op-ed reporter right now -- and I am the best!     "Sorry," replied Madam Jane.  "The stars are just not aligned in your favor."  And neither is my bank account either.  Maybe I should just hang around here in the San Francisco Bay Area this winter -- which seems to be the only sane place left in the world.     "Yes, I can see the Bay Area seceding from the rest of the planet," replied Madam Jane.  "Perhaps you might actually have a future here."   Sounds boring.  But I'll take it.  Think globally, act locally?  Better that than no future at all.  PS:  If I really wanted to write about some of the many lives that have been ruined by the decaying American empire, I would only have to walk down the mean streets of any American city to see thousands of human beings who have been broken by a cruel system that puts the twin evils of power and money above everything else -- and especially above the teachings of Christ, Buddha, Moses, Mohammad and just about everyone else I respect.PPS:  Maybe I'll just have a merry little Bay Area Christmas this year and take public transportation to the Dickens Fair, the KPFA Christmas crafts fair, the Union Square tree-lighting ceremony and, in the spirit of Jesus, to all the away-in-a-manger homeless encampments that are springing up like mushrooms around here.  And perhaps I'll even buy a tree.  And celebrate Hanukkah, Buddha's birthday, the Hindu Fe[...]


Zionist bullies: Congress is terrified of them -- and I am too!     Back in the day, a Zionist used to be someone who thought that creating a Jewish state in Palestine (or elsewhere) might be a really good idea.     Israeli and American Zionists today, however, are a whole different kettle of fish.  Hell, you can't even describe them as Jewish any more (sure, they still wear yarmulkes -- but only to show off).  The Jewish prophet Micah, world-renowned for his intense love of Justice, must be rolling over in his grave right now.  And as for Moses, the very first Jew to use a stone to Tweet "Thou shalt not kill or steal"?  After watching Dayan, Sharon, Netanyahu and all those treasonous dual-citizenship Zionists in Washington take the Lord's name in vain again and again (and again), our Moses must be seriously pissed off.       I myself have been bullied by modern-day Zionists and, trust me, it is definitely not a Jewish thing that they do.  Emphatically not a mitzvah.    For instance, in the past year alone, Zionists have libeled me extensively on the internet, slandered me in person, posted obscenities on my FB page, arranged for me to be denied entry into occupied Palestine, tried to get my landlord to evict me, manhandled me painfully, wrongfully accused me of practicing law without a license (I'm a notary public), accused me of being too old (!) and even falsely reported me for tax evasion -- simply because I went on FaceBook and protested injustices in Palestine.     But all the terrible bullying and stalking that I've listed above is just one small account of what has happened to only me alone, just one of over 300 million Americans, just a grandmother, a retiree -- basically a nobody with hardly no influence at all.  Even my own children don't listen to me!     And if Zionists take all this trouble to do all these terrible things to just little old me, then you can probably imagine what kind of hard-core gangsta leans they must be putting on people who actually do have any influence -- such as our members of Congress, our judges, our generals, our governors and even our presidents:     Actually, our entire American government at every single level seems to be terrified of Zionists -- and with very good reason.  Government representatives all know for sure that unless they chose Zionists' and Israeli neo-colonialists' best interests over choosing what is best for America, then they will never get re-elected.  But our government g[...]