Thursday, April 28, 2005

To err is human -- but to ALWAYS err in Bush's favor? C'mon

I still can't believe that someone as unpopular as George Bush won all those presidential elections. "But Jane," someone told me recently, "If you want to PROVE there was election fraud, you are going to need a smoking gun. My hope is that someone will stumble upon some damning information or say something inadvertently as to how it was done. If only we had some sort of memo from the White House or from Diebold -- like the memos we have about Enron...."

Sorry, guys. I've got no smoking gun. Nor do I believe for a moment that our Dubya is going to stand up on Meet the Press, give us his most winning smile and say in his phony Texas accent, "Yep. I done it. I stole that there election...." It just ain't gonna happen.

If you really want to find out if election fraud took place, all you have to do is Brush up your Shakespeare. Circumstantial evidence alone will lead to Much Ado about Nothing -- and a Comedy of Errors too!

Suppose that Hamlet found King Lear hanging around Lady Macbeth every single time he went to Verona? "What's up with that?" he might ask.

Suppose 95% of all election errors -- from funky gerrymandering to lost voter registration forms to people denied absentee ballots to people not allowed to vote on election day due to lack of equipment to "faulty" exit polls to Rove's weird statement that bases come out to vote en mass at the last minute to illegal campaign contributions to long lines only in Democratic precincts to suppression of the African-American vote to destroyed provisional ballots to inept supervision to corrupt public officials to "trade secret" court rulings not in the public interest to tampered-with source codes to impossibly skewed results -- suppose that 95% of all election errors were in Bush's favor, what would you think?

I would be amazed at the odds of this happening. And I would immediately assume that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!" Or Florida. Or New Mexico. Or Ohio.

I asked a statistician about the odds of this happening. "Ten million to one," he replied. The Bush Brothers should go to Las Vegas!

"To err is human." To err that extensively is election fraud.

As Shakespeare might have said, "If you believe that Bush won the 2000 and 2004 elections, you are living in a Mid-Summmer's Night Dream." However, if we follow Richard III's example and send George off to the dungeon, then All's Well that Ends Well.

PS: I thought it was Shakespeare who said "To err is human, to forgive divine" but No-o-o. According to Google, this saying is from Alexander Pope. Sorry, Will.

PPS: Sure, this is a good argument that the 2004 election was stolen. Sure, we got all kinds of great proof that the last two presidential elections were tampered with, assaulted and stolen -- but no matter how MUCH proof we come up with, we will never be able to convince the Tighty Righties that a stolen election actually happened.

Once again, we are back to the realization that NOTHING -- no amount of evidence, NO smoking gun -- will change the way that Tighty Righties think about election theft. So we'd better just forget about them and do our own thing. Let's stop being spineless sheep people applauding the carjacking of America and start leading by example. For starters we could stop calling Bush "President," turn our backs on the K Street lobbies, pass over all the corrupt middlemen and pay our income taxes directly to local governments -- where WE can keep an eye on how our money is spent.

Then we could be REAL Minutemen and stand guard 24/7 on the borders of the White House -- where the REAL undocumented aliens are stealing our jobs.
Now Ann Coulter will be on MY case: How to become America's Next Top Traitor

My great-great-great-great-great (you get the idea) grandfather came to America seeking freedom from religious persecution. Boy how things have changed!

What is the Number One Top Thing you can do in America these days to get the FBI to show up at your door? Become a Muslim!

Here's a test for you. If you are a woman, try walking down any street in America with a scarf wrapped around your head. Or, if you are a man, try wearing a turban into the local pub. If looks could kill, you'd be dead. I just tried it. It works. Trust me.

According to Ann Coulter, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity...." Can't you just imagine Ann of Arc, leading the troops to battle in her mini-skirt? And I thought you said that only liberals killed babies, Ann. Changed your mind?

Muslims around the world have been bombed, shot at and killed almost daily by the CIA and the Pentagon since the overthrow of democratic Iran back in 1953. It is a great tribute to their religious beliefs that Muslims aren't more angry than they are. Imagine if America had suffered a 9-11 at least once a month for the past 50 years? What would OUR reaction be?

So. Assaulted in their own land by oil barons seeking empire, many Muslims hear the Bush/Coulter demands for religious freedom and hot-foot it off to America, seeking protection and shelter in the bosom of religious liberty. But what do they really find here? You tell me.

It's not easy being Muslim in America. It's about as easy as being a Puritan in England during the seventeenth century when religious persecution forced my ancestors to flee. (My mother was a member of the DAR and don't you forget it!)

If the Religious Right had been in charge here instead of the Indians back when the Pilgrims arrived on Plymouth Rock, there would have been NO First Thanksgiving. All Pilgrims would have been rounded up, strip-searched, sent to Guantanamo without a trial...and we all know what happened after that....

What is UP with all this religious intolerance in a country that was founded on the principle of religious freedom? First the Catholics were given a hard time. Then it was the Jews. Now it's the Muslims. Is that really the way that God wants us to be?

What if, instead of God speaking to George Bush, God started speaking to ME? I bet I know what He would say. "Jane, I like all the religions that honor Me. I like Christians. I like Buddhists. I like Muslims. I like Jews. But, frankly, I would prefer that you become a Muslim. If you become a Muslim, that will REALLY piss George Bush off. And I'm tried of hearing him take My name in vain." Thank you, God! That's why YOU are God. And George Bush isn't.

Following God's instructions, last Friday I became a Muslim. And I was glad I did it too. Muslims are People of the Book, believe in the Bible and -- when not being shot at and bombed and thrown into Abu Ghraib -- are generally really nice people. But now I'm all worried. Now that I became a Muslim, Coulter is gonna call me a traitor. And I'm going to have get body-searched at airports, get threatened at the strip-mall by rednecks and have to deal with the FBI.

America, what ever happened to religious freedom?

PS: I have one more question for God. "Lord, why do right-wing fundamentalists support Bush instead of You? It doesn't make sense to me. Bush has Shanghai-ed their religious freedom, made a mockery of the ten commandments, lied to them, used them like Kleenex, stole their jobs and put their sons' lives in danger for no good reason. God, what exactly do these fundamentalists GET out of supporting George Bush? Do they LIKE being dumped on? Are they masochists? Don't these guys ever read their Bibles? Isn't lying to God for fun and profit a bad thing?"

I'm still waiting for God to get back to me on this one. I hear, however, that he has already set a plague of locusts on Tom Delay.

And while I'm being slammed for being a traitor, I might as well go all the way. Coulter -- as well as everyone in the fundamentalist right wing -- is really gonna hate me for this one. I am in favor of birth control! And, even worse, I think that under certain circumstances even abortions are necessary. There. I've said it.

You wanna end abortion? It's simple. It's easy. Picketing "abortion mills" is not going to do it. And George Bush ain't gonna do it either. Sorry, guys. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO END ABORTIONS: Make sure there is a place in this world for every child that is conceived so that a woman getting pregnant won't be afraid to carry her child to term. Have the food, housing, education, health care, aunts, uncles and loving grandparents all lined up to help. Make sure there's a place for little Johnny at Harvard. It's that easy. I think God would agree with me.

PPS: I have other talents besides just being religious. I can see into the future. And a lot of good it has done me too. No one believes me. "Bush is leading this country down the road to rack and ruin," I say. Nobody believes me. "We still have a chance to save the human race if we cut back on consumption, ban commercials on TV, put a solar panel on every roof and start practicing what we preach -- love and kindness and that sort of thing." But NOBODY believes me on that one especially.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Jordan's Law: Please ask Congress to regulate sleazy programs that abuse children

I just got an urgent phone call from someone else who is trying to help rescue the thousands of children who are currently being held captive at various "Behavior Modification" child-endangering programs secretly located in the nooks and crannies of outback America. Over the phone, he sounded totally excited.

"Representative George Miller has finally introduced a bill in Congress to try to regulate these places," he told me. Tears filled my eyes. At last, I prayed, these horrible places will finally get busted!

Rep. Miller calls his bill the “End Institutional Abuse Against Children Act.” I just think of it as "Jordan's Law". This bill comes too late to help Jordan but hopefully it will help other children -- some of the thousands of children whose parents can now spend their $4,000 a month on other things besides paying to have someone else abuse their child.

Forget that! Pay ME $4,000 a month and I'll build your kid's self-esteem, bail him or her out of jail, feed him or her Girl Scout cookies, pat him or her on the head when he or she does good and have him or her speaking FRENCH. For $4,000 a month, I'll even get your kid into Harvard Law School!

Why is this bill too late for Jordan? After almost a YEAR of trying, I finally got to talk with Jordan the other day. He had been completely brainwashed. All he could do was repeat over and over in a dazed monotone, "My parents love me. I was wrong to hurt them." Is having a brainwashed clone with absolutely no thoughts of his own worth paying out $48,000 a year for? I DON'T THINK SO.

The fault for child abuse at these programs cannot lie solely with the programs. Some of the blame must go to the parents who send their kids there; parents who had acquired their children the same way that one might adopt a dog or a cat. "Oh, isn't it cute! I want one too!" And then after being an "owner" is no longer fun, these parents ship their kids off to "behavior modification" programs just like pets are sent off to the humane society when they become inconvenient. And raising a teen is REALLY inconvenient! But if you do it well, they will come visit you when you are in the rest home and that is worth the effort.

Information about Rep. Miller's bill can be viewed at Please write your own representive at and ask him or her to support this bill!

You can get more information than you ever even wanted to know about these sleazy places at

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Driving the lane: Why the pro-life team will never make it to the playoffs

Who do you think will win the next NBA championship? The Lakers? The Pistons? The Kings? The Phoenix Suns are looking good. Why? Because they have a lot of powerful players on their team who are not afraid to get out there and DRIVE THE LANE.

If you want to win the NBA championship, you gotta walk the walk, talk the talk and drive the lane.

If the "Culture of Life" lobby were a basketball team, they wouldn't even win a high school game. These guys are bench-sitters. You wanna really be Pro-Life? You gotta drive the lane.

Sure, it's easy for the so-called "pro-life" team to, as Dr. Carol Wolman put it, "battle fiercely to preserve the life of a woman who has been brain-dead for 15 years or clusters of human cells just fertilized -- yet turn their backs on the lives of millions around the globe who are starving and dying from curable diseases and support the killing of 100,000 Iraqis in two years for no good reason." No, this all-wimp team will never make the Pro-Life NBA.

To quote Alanna Hartzok, "For the so-called pro-life 'Christians' to stand up against the 'culture of death' that Washington politicians are espousing, they would be forced to take a stand against the entire globalization system of control, power and wealth concentration (Iraq war deaths, poverty, starvation). On the other hand, they can 'afford' to appear very concerned about life and death issues which have no political power implications." And that do not place them in any danger or stretch the envelope in any way. Protesting Terri Shaivo's death was a very bush-league thing to do and very, very easy.

Look at Rachel Corrie -- the young woman who was deliberately run over and killed while standing up to the biggest bulldozer you ever saw in your life as she tried to protest the irrational demolition of a health professional's home in Israel-Palestine. Corrie was Pro-Life. And she wasn't afraid to play in the big leagues.

Look at Marla Ruzicka -- the young woman who risked her life in Iraq while trying to find out exactly how many women and children George Bush had slaughtered there. Ruzicka drove the lane.

From the safety of your front room recliners, anyone can easily come out against abortion or protest Terri Shaivo. There is no risk involved. Kermit Washington is not going to punch you. Michael Jordan is not going to sail over your head. Jason Kidd will not outscore you. You won't even be out on the court. More likely, you will be safely off sipping a brew at some sports bar or just home watching TV.

You guys wanna REALLY be Pro-Life? Then play in the big leagues. Go on the road and play at the Baghdad superdome like Marla Ruzicka. Or, like Mother Theresa, find the nearest homeless person and star on your home team. And start demanding that the refs begin to call fouls on the riff-raff that have taken over our courts and who are destroying OUR game: Stop Bush, Wolfowitz, Sharon, Negroponte, bin Ladin, Rumsfeld, Frist and all the other death squad point-guards who are double-teaming the REAL culture of life. Let's take their multi-billion dollar contracts away and make it clear to them "If you want to be on the court, you gotta play by the rules."

If you want to play on a real Pro-Life all-star dream team -- one that will truly save lives -- then turn off the TV, get out of the locker room and start to play in the pro leagues. During the very first quarter, hit the boards bigtime. Start racking up points. Protest the brutal and unnecessary slaughter in Haiti, Sudan, Columbia, Afghanistan, Congo, Abu Ghraib -- and the environmental suicide that will destroy our children's lives. Then up your defensive game and block all those tax welfare bucks the Bush cartel is giving away to Halliburton and Bechtel's "profit from disaster" death machines.

During the second half, stop drought and starvation -- and bring our heroic troops home from Iraq where they are dying for lies, greed and profit; alone in a foreign land; picked off one by one.

By the end of the third quarter, eliminate war altogether. You'll be headed toward the Pro-Life hall of fame!

Get off the couch, all you "pro-lifers". Get out there. Drive the lane!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Benedict XVI: "I just can't wait to be pope!"

Good grief! Is a new pope supposed to SMIRK? As Pope Benedict XVI donned the robes of God's Representative on Earth the other day, you could practically see him dancing in the chorus line of the Lion King. "I just can't wait to be Pope!"

Just how LONG has this man been scheming for this moment? A lifetime? It showed. And just how many palace intrigues has he had to instigate or endure to get to this point?

A pope isn't supposed to SMIRK.

Ideally, the pope that I would like to see play the role of "Mufasa" would be a man of mercy and compassion and humility and love. A pope should be like a father to us all -- not some Machiavellian Lady Macbeth plotting to snag the Vatican so he can cleanse the world of imperfect beings such as ourselves and the rest of humanity. We have been stuck with "God's Rottweiller" because he played the game but, to me, being pope should call for more than just the ability to play "Scar" better than anyone else at the cattle call. God is more than just the plaything of an ambitious man.

So. What is the new pope smirking about? That he's now gonna be able to send us all to Hell?

The human race as we know it is dangling by one hand off the edge of the highest cliff in history since Adam bit into the apple and we already got one smirking chimp leading the Free World. We don't need another one!

If Benedict 16 is truly going to be a great pope, he needs to wipe that holier-than-thou grin off his face and forget about his obsessions with power struggles, being the next top corporate shill, defending sex offenders, peeking into our bedrooms, maintaining total control over our every thought and declaring war on freedom and "Relativism". Instead, he needs roll up his sleeves, gird his loins, bite the bullet and let mercy, compassion, wisdom, grace and faith in a benevolent God -- as well as faith that we adult human beings CAN make moral choices all by ourselves without having our mouths constantly washed out with soap -- become his new obsessions.

And here's one more suggestion. A great way to start this whole process off is to ASAP appoint at least six women cardinals. Us ladies have a LOCK on wisdom, mercy and compassion. Just St. Mary. And Jesus.

With divinely-inspired leadership from a real Christian, this world could be such a wonderful place. Let's hope this new pope gets his freak on -- and SOON -- because unless Benedict XVI starts acting more Christ-inspired and less like a feudal overlord in the very near future, I'm converting to Islam!

PS: Did I ever tell you about the time I was a young hippie girl, traveling through Europe in 1969 with my backpack and bell bottoms? That I took a train from Paris to Florence with a (really cute) Herald-Tribune boy named Trig and took LSD in front of the Duomo? Wow! Then we went inside and it became instantly clear to me -- that this church had been built not as a glorification of God but as a glorification of Man.

Wanna glorify God? Be kind to people. And go outside and look at the stars. All else is ego and entertainment. (I have an ego! I like to be entertained! But, since Florence, I have never ever confused entertainment with the worship of the essence of the universe that we presume to label "God".)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Beyond Barney: How PBS accidentally showed that Rove stole the Florida vote

I can't believe it! Frontline, the PBS news show, just explained to us on national television just exactly how Karl Rove managed to jimmy the election vote both in 2000 AND in 2004! And Frontline exposed Rove purely by accident too. They didn't MEAN to give away Rove's trade secret. But after they got done quoting our Karl, even Barney the Purple Dinosaur could have put two and two together and figured this one out.

According to political commentator John Machado, "On a recent Frontline segment featuring the grand accomplishments of Karl -- the architect -- Rove, the bottom line reason that Rove's vote goal was reached in November of 2004 was that 'his base came out' after the polls had indicated that Kerry was the winner by a comfortable margin. Does Rove's base, the holy rolling Right Wing, vote only after 5 PM?"

Rove's base came out AFTER the polls had already implicated that Kerry was the winner? Karl Rove actually said that? Wow!

"It seems," Machado continued, "that the holy rolling Right Wing 'came out' all of a sudden .. around 8 PM ... and in 2000, too, just when Karl needed a 50,000 vote bulge...and he got it in Broward County, of all places...50,000 magical votes showed up after...after 8 pm...after 8 pm....when all the polls...almost always correct polls...readily called Gore the winner in Florida... handily..." Double wow!

"The Frontline program presented Rove's image as one of hard work, dedication and cleverness," stated Machado. "All true. But, there is one more tool in the architect's bag.....and, it has been the difference maker. When all else fails, and your team has ended the game one foot short of the goal line......use your remote to change the score on the scoreboard."

Why is this information so important? Election security expert William Rouverol explained it to me the other day over lunch (turkey sandwiches on home-made bread with Greek olives and lemon meringue pie from Berkeley's famous Bread Workshop!): Rigged votes can only be changed late in the day because the riggers need to find out how much rigging they could get away with before they can make their move.

According to Rouverol, "Vendors need at least six hours, with NO rigging, to see how much rigging in the last six or seven hours is needed in order to win the election. Either too little or too much rigging leads to trouble; failing to win or exposing the fraud by making the manipulation too blatant." That probably also explains why Florida state troopers were sent out to limit access to the polls directly before and after closing time....

I'm so happy that Rove...spoke up the other day and explained this to us. "At the last minute, we energized our base." Yeah right. Traditionally, base voters usually vote early in the day. Just before closing time, people are usually kinda reluctant to go to the polls.

Can you imagine Rove actually calling up recalcitrant Republicans just before they were about to sit down to dinner and ordering them to RightMarch out the door to vote? "It's 7:55 pm! The polls close in five minutes! Dubya needs you! JESUS is telling you to vote!" Would the Republicans have actually left their fried chicken and key lime pie to go vote? They might have. Would Rove actually have been busy calling Republicans at 7:55? He might have. But it's far more likely that the election was rigged.

This statement of Rove's is extremely important. It implicates him in the election rigging scam -- and with Rove implicated, the finger is also pointed at George Bush.

Both Bush and Rove belong in jail.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Contender: What will the US do after its boxing career is over?

"Of course boxing is fine for now," I'll bet Sly Stallone's mom used to tell him, "but what are you going to do afterwards? You gotta have a real career to back you up." And as it goes with boxing, so does it go with war and empire.

Of course wars are like championship bouts in Vegas. They're glamorous and interesting and lucrative -- but a war, like a boxer's career, can't go on forever. Maybe you can last a few years in the ring but sooner or later the last round ends and, if you have foolishly squandered your prize money, you have nothing to fall back on. Look at Rome, the Mongols, Napoleon, Tojo's Japan, the Third Reich and the USSR. All their time and money went into waging war and they had no retirement plan! Too much emphasis on K.O.s and not enough on 401(k).

Of course Rumsfeld, Bush and the Pentagon knocked out Iraq in the first round but now -- with all these guys's money spent on high-living and with nothing saved -- they are becoming just another bunch of punch-drunk has-beens with no Plan B.

And what about America? What will happen to our country when the U.S. has lost its heavy-weight title -- which it soon will because the euro is about to K.O. the dollar bigtime -- and has no career skills at home to fall back on 'cause they've all been outsourced to empire?

America needs to follow Sly's mom's advice and prepare for the future. Firing those bogus fight promoters in the Pentagon and taking away Bush's "golden" gloves would be a good first step.

Monday, April 11, 2005

American Idol: It ain't George Bush!

Did you know that in the last round of voting on American Idol, THIRTY-SIX MILLION people called in? That's approximately one-third of all people who voted in the 2004 presidential election.

Obviously we need to dump Diebold voting machines on Election Day and teach voters how to text-message on T-Mobile instead.

Can you imagine if Bush and Kerry and Nader and Kucinich and Dean had campaigned for President on American Idol?

"Not sincere enough," Paula would have said about Bush. "We just can't believe what you are singing about." That would have nailed it and no one would have voted for George -- even with Jeff Gannon in the audience cheering him on.

"He's too stiff," Simon would have said. "He looks like he's on Prozac half the time. And, George, you gotta drop that fake cowboy twang. Everyone knows you're from Connecticut. And please stop violating the RICO Act." Did I hear right? Did Simon just say "please"?

"Not enough personality," Randy would have said. "And you can't hit the high notes, George, so just stop trying." And you can't overcome those lies about weapons of mass destruction either. The fans just aren't buying it. And your song selection is bad. "Every single one of your songs is either about the War on Terror or Giving Tax Breaks to the Rich or 9-11. We want to hear something more upbeat from you."

How about "Come back to Texas"?

"America has voted," declared Ryan Seacrest. "George, you are going home."

Friday, April 08, 2005

My own private Vanity Fair: Positive proof that Kerry won the 2004 election!

My friend the election security expert finally finished his article proving conclusively that John Kerry won the November 2004 presidential election.

"I would like to have Vanity Fair publish it," he told me. "I like their style."

"But what about Counterpunch? Or BuzzFlash? Or The Nation? Do you KNOW anybody at Vanity Fair?"

"No. But I read the editor's book and I really liked it. I want HIM to publish my article." As if it were that easy. But, hey, that's what networking is for.

Does anybody out there in Internet-land know the editor of Vanity Fair? Perhaps you might be saying to yourself, "I know him! His mother is on my wife's bowling team...." If so, please let me know and I'll pass the information on to my friend.

FYI, my friend has a dyn-o-mite query letter describing the article's features. Here is the description:

1. Numbers cited in the article are the State of Florida official major party registration figures and vote totals by county or date derived from them.

2. While critics were watching the 15 counties that had Touchscreen voting, 36 of the 52 counties that had optical scanning equipment were heavily rigged, shifting so many votes to Bush that the victory of Kerry in the Touchscreen counties was more than offset.

3. A new equation, called the "Rig-Test" equation, is presented. It analyzes the "Official" returns and yields a calculation that shows whether there has been rigging and if so how much.

4. Because the analysis is numerical rather than verbal and assertive, it shows the number of transferred votes which clearly show that Kerry won Florida's 27 electorial votes and the Presidency.

5. The article ends with a recommendation for new legislation needed to change the security for computer-driven election equipment from zero to 100 percent.

But of course I had to throw my two cents in as well and write a query letter for him. (Between the two of us, we got all the bases covered and should be invited to Kerry's inagural ball.) Here is MY query letter. (His is is more accurate but I like mine better):

"I am a professor emeritus in mechanical engineering at a major American university. I also taught applied mathematics at Oxford, invented a voting machine, am a nationally-recognized expert on election security and hold over 100 patents.

"In November of 2004, I developed a formula, based on voter registration and voting data, to predict normally-occurring deviation patterns between voter registration and "official" tallied votes.

"Based on this formula, the standard pattern of voter deviation is approximately 30. Any deviation beyond this indicates vote rigging. In Liberty County, Florida, in 2004, the deviation was 1062 -- in favor of George Bush.

"By applying my formula to all 2004 Florida election data, I have conclusively proved that John Kerry won the Florida presidential election by at least 312,000 votes. I have written an article to this effect and would like to submit it to Vanity Fair."

PPS: You don't need a mathematics professor to tell which way the wind blows. Even without access to the above-described formula, anyone who can subtract the number of Republicans who voted in a precinct from the number of Democrats who voted can do this election math all by themselves: If a certain amount of Dems switch and vote Republican, that is understandable. But it's hecka unlikely that a whole bunch of them would stampede and vote Repub. If they were that unhappy with the Democratic platform and thought George Bush was that sexy (eeee-uuu), wouldn't they have just changed their party registration in the first place?

So all you gotta do is look at the vast numbers of precincts and counties across America where there were massive vote changes from Dem to Repub (er, how come it's always the Dems who change votes? Isn't that statistically funky?) and voila! Election rigging is a BIG possibility.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Desperately seeking Jordan: Got any suggestions? Jerry Springer? Milk cartons?

Yet another grandfather (or sister or aunt or neighbor or boyfriend) has just contacted me. "I saw your posting on Fornits (or 8th Step or TheStraights or ISAC) and my grandson (or god-daughter or niece or son's friend) has been sent to one of those terrible behavior modification places and they won't let me get in touch with him (or her)."

I had NO idea that there were so many concerned relatives (friends, neighbors, aunties, coaches, homeboys) -- whole NETWORKS of concerned relatives (teachers, scout leaders, friends, neighbors, babysitters) -- out there searching for ways to contact young Billy or Suzie or Jennifer or Zachery or Thad (or Jordan) who is being held incommunicado at some isolated, unregulated "school" (or "program" or "boot camp" or "wilderness experience" or "therapy program for struggling teens".)

The grandfather (or aunt or sister or cousin or non-custodial parent or football team member or crossing guard or fairy god-mother) who called me today was heart-broken. He'd hired lawyers. He'd petitioned the courts. He'd contacted child protective services. He'd appealed to the parents of the incarcerated child, asking if he could take the child into his home instead of having them pay $4,000 a month to the "struggling parents industry". He'd gone on the net and posted on the boards. He'd talked with others in the same situation. He'd called the local librarian in the town next to the "program" in Montana. He'd done intensive research. He'd talked the county sheriff who regularly helped track runaways from the program. He'd called the place itself and begged them to let him see his grandson. He'd contacted school accreditation programs to see if the "school" was accredited -- or even registered. He'd written desperate letters to the editor. He'd called Senators and Congressmen. In other words, he'd done everything that I did.

Results? Nothing (or zero or nada or zip).

Once those behavior modification places get their hands on these kids' parents' $4,000 a month ($48,000 a year, $5,760,000 a program, $345,6000,000 for programs in Montana), they will lie, cheat, steal and KILL to keep them there! There is NO way you can get your grandson (neighbor boy, nephew, god-daughter, Sunday school pupil) out of there short of hiring a battalion of battle-hardened Iraq war veterans with tanks. If that.

If these places are as wonderful as their brochures claim that they are, then why all the secrecy? Why go though all this WARFARE just to shut up a few teenage boys (or girls)?

When he contacted me, the above-mentioned forlorn (or angry or desperate or saddened or thoroughly upset) grandfather BEGGED me to try to come up with a new idea (or law or authority or resource or venue). What more could I come up with? I'd already spent eight whole months trying to rescue Jordan with absolutely no luck.

"The one thing that these programs (or schools or dungeons or torture chambers) hate is publicity," said the grandfather. "Maybe if we just let enough people know that there is a problem and they put on enough pressure, the school will let me speak to my grandson -- just to shut me up." Sounds like a plan!

And how can one possibly reach the largest amount of people regarding this issue? Milk carton pictures? 60 Minutes? Skywriting? What? How about Jerry Springer! (or Oprah or Montel or Dr. Phil or Rickie or Maury or Sally or Ellen!)

Does anybody know how to get onto these shows? This is a story worth telling. And an interesting (important, urgent, crucial, life-changing, awesome, helpful, ENTERTAINING) one too.

Plus it would be a relief to shut down all these schools (programs, slave labor camps, kidnappers, perverts, sadists, Fagans, money-grubbers) so that I won't have to have broken-hearted grandfathers (non-custodial parents, neighbors, friends, pets, teachers, guardian angels) contacting me to ask me what to do when I don't know what to do either.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Being cruel to be kind: Pope John Paul II & the Children's Holocaust

When Pope John Paul II spoke out against the War on Iraq in 2003, I could have hugged him. Nowadays, everybody is against the War on Iraq but back then -- at a time when right-wing "Christians" were screaming for blood as loud as they possibly could -- coming out against that barbaric invasion meant taking a hugely heroic stance for pro-life. This was Christianity at its best; following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Although I would prefer not to speak ill of Pope John Paul II, I do in all fairness have to point out that this pope also has some pretty shady skeletons in his closet -- for having either caused or perpetuated the greatest catastrophe in living memory: The Children's Holocaust.

By coming out four-square AGAINST birth control, Pope John Paul II condemned millions of children to be born into conditions that he -- and everyone else on this planet -- knew for a fact could not possibly sustain them; conditions of poverty, starvation, abuse, disease, drought, war and exploitation (and I am not counting all the abortions that have resulted because, without birth control available, many women felt that they had no other choice but to abort fetuses that would have died of starvation or abuse if they HAD been brought to term).

By "going along" with the Church's edicts against birth control, Pope John Paul II did nothing to stop this holocaust -- similar to the way that Pope Pius XII "went along" with the powers-that-be during World War II. Perhaps in opposing the use of birth control, Pope John Paul II thought that he was expressing God's will or saving mankind from sinful lust or was being "cruel to be kind" -- but no matter what his reasons were, this pope helped to create and propagate the most extensively heartbreaking poverty that the world has ever seen.

One legacy of Pope John Paul II is his quest for world peace, but his other legacy can be found in the pathetic favilas of Latin America and the heart-breaking slums of Africa, India and Asia.

What could Pope John Paul II have done differently? He could have said, "The Church has no business poking its nose into the matter of birth control. The use of birth control is NOT a sin. And it is none of the Church's business."

This Pope tried to save lives in Iraq and I honor him so much for that. Let's hope that the next Pope will carry out this legacy of John Paul II -- and also be more open-minded when it comes to saving the lives of children.

And I can't just rag on Pope John Paul II without ragging on Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, etc. as well. Unsustainable population growth, no matter how religious its advocates claim to be, still direly threatens our planet. And God would NOT be happy about that.

PS: Did I ever tell you the story of how I became a Catholic? I come from a long line of Methodist ministers -- seven generations of them -- going back to Thomas Hooker and even probably all the way back to John Wesley himself. However. Every single Sunday of my life as a child, my mother forced me to sit through the world's most boring services at the Millbrae Community Methodist Church. If she thought that making me endure near-terminal boredom for 18 whole years would also turn me into a Methodist, she was wrong. As soon as I possibly could, I became a Catholic.

Catholics always had really cool things to do during their liturgies -- they had more whistles and bells. And then I discovered Byzantine Catholics; their entire liturgy was sung -- in English, Latin AND Greek. Plus they had incense too.

I love the Jewish and Muslim liturgies as well. And the African Methodist Episcopal services will knock your socks off. But the Tibetan Buddhists are the best. They have incense, bells, drums, chants and communion as part of the service -- and also give you free lunch!

Most of all, I love the brilliance and imagery and devotion that all religions have spent centuries perfecting in order to express their respect and honor and gratitude to the Creator of us all.

PPS: I also discovered the way to tie up and disable every airport in America: Have a snowstorm in Cleveland coincide with the daylight savings time change and the end of spring break! The George Bush International Airport hub in Houston was almost put totally out of commission! I know. I was there.

Last weekend we did everything humanly possible in New Orleans during 48 hours. Plantations, streetcars, jazz, muffulettas, beignets, gumbo, jambalaya, mint juleps, swamps, alligator wrestling, cemeteries, voodoo museums, fortune tellers in front of the cathedral, convents, Mardi Gras beads, mansions, The Projects, the blues, hoop skirts and protesting injustice to nurses!

Then, on the way home, we spent another 48 hours doing everything humanly possible regarding airplanes and airports: Shuttles, long lines, turbulence, homeland security body searches, bad pizza, in-flight movies, inter-terminal trams, sleeping in a chair, getting put up in hotels by airlines, lost tickets, flying 1000 miles out of our way to make a connection during spring break weekend and a snowstorm in Cleveland, key chains and T-shirts that read Salt Lake City, Houston and Portland, See's candy, standby lists, white courtesy telephones, luggage X-rays and getting bumped to First Class when nothing else was available (thank you, Continental Airlines!)

From "Amy goes to Alaska": "So. Amy," I said once we got home. "Which part of the trip did you like best?"

"The glaciers were retarded. I liked Bingo."

"What about the disco?" Amy had danced so hard at the disco she'd sprained her left knee and spent two days in a wheelchair. Not bad for a sixth grader.

"What I liked best about the trip to Alaska was the vanilla ice cream at the Vancouver airport."