Saturday, December 30, 2017

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. 


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Thursday, December 28, 2017

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.

PPS:  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?


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Saturday, December 23, 2017

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.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

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.

    Just the thought of this fact makes me feel better -- but only a little bit.  Because one other fact still remains.  We as Americans shouldn't have to be hiding out in our dreams in order to feel safe. 

     What is wrong with this country!

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Friday, December 08, 2017

"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 lie Trump can tell, Netanyahu can prevaricate better.

     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 to keep your blood pressure down.

     "But if Netanyahu is so much better than Trump in so many ways," you might ask, "then perhaps America should just put Bibi in the White House instead?"  Oops, too late.  America already does have Netanyahu in the White House.  My bad.

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Friday, December 01, 2017

"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 a choice between a war-mongering fascist and a racist fascist, either one of which would be deadly to us.  Hard to decide which one was worse.  So the military-industrial complex decided for us -- and then came up with a whole bunch of propaganda to make us feel better about having their choices shoved down our throats.

     And, yes, America really did create and weaponize the Taliban, ISIS and al Qaeda.  Get over it.  The terrorist who blows you up tomorrow is being sponsored by the propagandist who created him today.

     And, yes, Israeli and Saudi neo-cons really do influence US elections -- and have been doing so for decades, much to our own detriment.  Russia influencing our elections?  Not so much.  Even though propaganda would have us believe the opposite.

     And, yes, RT America does tell us the truth.  And, no, CNN, Fox News and the New York Times do not.  But you gotta give American media snaps for being the best propagandists since Goebbels.

     And, yes, women in America are being treated like dirt.  And yet somehow propaganda tries really hard to make us ladies feel good about being treated like dirt.  And the same is true if you are an immigrant, a person of color or gay.  Everyone is (rightfully) getting on Harvey Weinstein's case these days but how come nobody is calling out all those woman-haters who virtuously claim that they are only being "pro-life" -- as our own life-blood ebbs away.

     And, yes, Monsanto is killing off all the bees -- and us too.  But a propaganda smiley-face makes us all feel better about that.

     And, yes, Syria's President Assad is actually a good guy.  And Russia's President Putin is too.  Who knew?  Besides the gigantic propaganda machine that lies to us daily, that is.

     And, yes, millions of Americans really are homeless -- and yet a small handful of Americans own all kinds of mansions, summer houses, penthouses, beach houses, ranches in Montana and whatever (and don't pay taxes on any of them either).  Propagandists tell us that this is the "American Way".  No it's not.

     Bottom line?  America is slowly but surely committing suicide -- suicide by corporate propaganda and lies.  No wonder I never get invited to parties.  Who the freak wants to hear that?

     But wanna know what else is really sad about all this?  After the entire human race is dead and buried, no one is going be left alive to make a Netflix "13 Reasons Why" series about us.


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