Tuesday, May 29, 2012


































































Dontcha really miss the old Soviet Union?


When the Berlin Wall came down back in 1989, we all breathed a big sigh of relief. At last the evil Soviet Union had finally been defeated and destroyed. But perhaps now, deep down inside, a lot of us are starting to wish that we could get it all back again -- back to the good old days when our enemies would stand still in just one place so that we could take potshots at the old USSR with impunity and not constantly be afraid of shooting our own selves in the foot!

Back in the day, Americans worked for YEARS and spent BILLIONS of dollars trying to bring down the old Soviet Union. And then it finally happened -- and the Soviet Union went bust. "But who can we have as an enemy now?" asked the Pentagon's top brass and Wall Street corporatistas and weapons manufacturers everywhere. "We still gotta have an enemy or else Americans will never be scared enough to pay for our bombs."

So the big cheeses on Wall Street and K Street and in the Pentagon all looked around and decided that Islam should be our next major foe.

But it coulda been anyone.

"Pentagon & Friends" could have declared war on just about anyone after the Soviet Union fell. Liberals, for instance. Or Mexicans. Or gays. Or unions. Or medical cannabis users. Or women. Or cancer patients. Or families. Oops, they've already done that. But "Pentagon Incorporated" picked Muslims as their first choice -- because a lot of them had access to oil.

But then Muslims actually had the audacity to start fighting back. And "Pentagon United," mistakenly thinking that War is the ultimate consumer and that one can never have enough enemies, started growing its enemies' list even longer as well -- just to be on the safe side. Now its list also contains the Occupy movement, "American Terrorists" (whatever they are) and the infamous 99% -- as well as the usual suspects: Women and gays and Mexicans and cancer patients and liberals and families and medical cannabis users and unions. http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/donna-smith/43448/fighting-the-real-enemy-cancer-in-america

And now K Street and Wall Street and the Pentagon have inadvertently created yet another big problem. Their ill-conceived plan to stage "Wars" on medical cannabis users and working people and cancer patients and women and (add a very long, long list here) has clearly backfired because now the "Pentagon Mafia" has added at least three to five billion more potential enemies to its list -- both elsewhere in the world and right here at home; enemies who are now starting to get their ducks in a row in order to ready, willing and able to fight back.


"Pentagon & Friends" is now in big trouble because instead of having just a small self-contained "enemy" virus like the USSR to contend with, it now has to deal with a huge free-floating viral epidemic of "enemies," an unstoppable deadly contagion that "Pentagon Unplugged" itself has created; one that has spread and spread and spread all over the world and here at home too.

I bet that the Pentagon and its allies are now probably starting to truly, sincerely wish that they could magically return to the good old days when all they had to fight was the old Soviet Union!

Further, instead of only having to fight a few Islamic fundamentalists in far-away places that nobody has even heard of, "Pentagon United" has now managed to piss off over one billion middle-of-the-road and even modern Muslims. That was a trick that was really hard to pull off -- but "PentagonCon" somehow managed to do even that.

And then, of course, there are the additional three billion women, millions of liberals, a whole wide world of gays, all of Latin America and probably two billion Chinese and approximately 853,566,225
Africans that they managed to piss off as well. And also some Greeks.

That really took some doing but "Pentagon Incorporated" has managed to do it.

And now, instead of just doing some old-skool hatin' on the Soviets who were all safely isolated in one spot east of the Danube and hemmed in by an Iron Curtain and a seemingly endless supply of vodka, the Pentagon, K Street, Wall Street, etc. now have to go around suspecting almost four-fifths of the world's population and peeking into EVERYBODY'S shorts.

Wasn't life a lot easier when no wars were being declared on most of the world's tighty-whities -- only on Khrushchev's? Weren't things far less confusing back in the day, when only the Kremlin was bad?

Dontcha really miss the old Soviet Union?

PS: Of course, nowadays Russia still does have all kinds to evil oligarchs for us to be hatin' on -- but now America also has all kinds of evil oligarchs to be hatin' on too.

Bring back the old USSR? Please!

PPS: I just finished reading the spring issue of "Critical Muslim," a nicely-bound periodical put out by some of the top modern Islamic thinkers in the world today. Wanna know what Muslims are really thinking? Check out the latest issue of CM at http://www.musliminstitute.org/critical-muslim. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Unlike so many American hack journalists these days, a lot of Muslim writers really are actually thinking.

PPPS: "The Pentagon Group" also appears to be missing the old Soviet Union so much that it is actually trying to recreate it right here in America. And just exactly where does the money for all this group's new militarized police forces, KGB-like surveillance operations, Stalinesque torture techniques, propaganda-mill news reports, Siberia-style prison gulags and Monsanto-run collective farms come from? From you and me? "Absolyutno
, da!"

And is this a good thing? "Nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet!"

****

Here are more photos from our recent fabulous trip to the Camp Tuolumne Work Weekend, up near Yosemite: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150814955761618.392238.519281617&type=1&l=02a5bd1d2c

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Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!

****
Am trying to go to Uganda in July to report on child soldiers and human trafficking. Wanna help me pay for my plane ticket? Donate to my PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=96QQEH6YNBA3N

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come!

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.


****

I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****

Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG

"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds." You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

Monday, May 21, 2012










































Roseanne Barr for President: Fast times at the Victoria Theater


Last week I attended a very interesting debate between Green Party presidential candidates Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr, held at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco's historic Mission District (watch the entire debate here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGo6wg9TuH8).

Both Stein and Barr clearly supported single-payer healthcare -- and this is a good thing for everyone over age 35 because, under America's current healthcare system which only seems to benefit insurance companies and Congressmen, older employees are less likely to be hired because potential employers know that they will probably have to pay for more healthcare benefits to us old guys because we are more likely to get sick.

However, there is a far more important reason for voting in a Green president this year other than just to assuage healthcare and unemployment fears. The Green Party is also offering us a much better overall cultural myth to live by than the same old tired and ineffective cultural myth being forced down our throats by DemoPublican hacks.

According to economist Howard Richards, cultural myths perform the highly-important function of designing and fueling our society -- and the most crucial myth currently holding our big blue marble together is this: Accumulating excessive amounts of individual profit is the best thing we can do, creating more profit than we can ever use is the most important thing in the world, and aiding the world's top dogs in their race to make exaggerated profits justifies every other human act -- no matter how profane or obscene.

But what if this current "huge profit at any cost" myth that both Republicans and Democrats seem so fond of isn't true after all -- or has become sadly outdated since it was first invented back in Adam Smith's time, way back in the eighteenth century, back when folks were just starting to come off the farm. What if it is finally time to update and modernize our most major myth?

And what if there are other myths out there right now that would serve us even much better? Consider, for instance, one alternative myth that comes highly recommended by Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Abraham, Rama and good old-fashioned common sense: That cooperation is the lodestone of human society -- not huge individual profit at the cost of everything else.

Richards maintains that early human beings only survived because they learned how to form a supportive community that worked together for the good of the whole -- not just so that a few people on top can make a killing. "For the good of the whole." Got that?

And now that everyone in the world seems to be placing huge individual profits for the top dogs above every other human value, we are rapidly slipping back into those very early days of the human race before communal activity was invented -- and our lack of community now, like our lack of community back then, is still endangering us. Profits won't raise or protect our young. Profits won't bring food to our tables. And profits won't keep our world safe.

Wars create more huge individual profits than any other activity that humans can perform -- even more profitable than owning a WalMart or stealing homes and jobs from the more gullible of us or fracking for oil. But wars also greatly lessen any chances that our human race will survive.

At the Green Party debate last week, Stein and Barr each talked about the programs that they would run if they were elected to the White House. And either one of these candidates would do an infinitely better job with regard to protecting and preserving the human race than did Bush I & II, Clinton, Romney, Reagan, Nixon and Obama did -- all combined.

Both Barr and Stein talked about the insanely urgent imperative for us all to work together to cut greenhouse gases down to zero -- using community-based solutions for these problems, solutions that would also offer us all meaningful jobs while we are in the process of saving the world.

Working together to save the human race? Now there's a myth I can live with. Plus it's so much tastier than the myth that profit for the few at the expense of the many is our eternal God.

Both candidates offered programs that will not only save our own lives but those of our children and grandchildren. And the idea that anyone with even half a brain in his or her head would chose Romney or Obama, slaves to an outmoded myth, over either of these two excellent candidates is just totally incomprehensible to me. Why chose bad over good? Why choose an 18th-century broken-down system over one that has been repeatedly proven effective over the last 250,000 years?
It's a complete mystery to me. Yet in 2012 you just know that we are gonna be stuck with either Romney or Obama (or yet another Bush). That just doesn't make sense.

Are Americans currently suffering from the Stockholm syndrome or what? Yeah I guess.

Also please note that the debate between Stein and Barr took place at the Victoria Theater, a rather appropriate location considering that we now live in a world that completely embraces and supports the for-individual-top-dog-profit-only myth, one that wasn't even working way back in Victorian times.

"Please, sir. I want some more..." young Oliver Twist asked of his betters way back then http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZrgxHvNNUc. And if this current myth of the Material God of Profit continues to reign supreme, then America in the future is going to make Dickensian England look like a walk in the park. And it will be you and me who will be bleating out, "Can I have more, sir?" to our betters, frequently and with fervor.

And what makes us think that our betters will ever let any of their ill-gotten wealth trickle down to the likes of us mere wretched drudges? Never gonna happen.

Under our current anything-for-profit mythology, America is definitely on a fast track back to Victorian times. "Fast times in Victorian England." And 99% of us won't be the ones that will be living Upstairs either. We'll all be huddling together precariously in the cold, damp Downstairs instead -- if we are lucky.

At the Victoria Theater last week, Stein and Barr both proved that they know something that both Democrats and Republicans clearly do not -- that it is love and community that makes the world go around, that protects us and our families and that will save our future. Not profits for the rich.

PS: I will be going off to the Netroots Nation http://www.netrootsnation.org/ convention on June 7-11 in Providence, Rhode Island -- featuring speakers like Krugman, Trunkpa, McKibben, Warren, Schneiderman, etc. So. Can anyone out there recommend a cheap hotel in downtown Providence where I can stay? Hopefully, near the convention center or at least on a bus route that runs past it on weekends?

PPS: I'll be going up to Berkeley's Tuolumne Camp near Yosemite over Memorial Day weekend, to stare at trees for a change instead of computers. But I will still be remembering our troops -- remembering how they are sadly being used and abused by America's wealthy top dogs. American soldiers should be heroically fighting to keep Americans safe, not profits of the unpatriotic neo-Victorian rich.

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Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!

****
Am trying to go to Uganda in July to report on child soldiers and human trafficking. Wanna help me pay for my plane ticket? Donate to my PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=96QQEH6YNBA3N

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come!

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.


****

I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****

Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG

"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds." You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

Tuesday, May 15, 2012













Plea for funds: Help me to get to Uganda?


In the last ten years, I've participated in five different Global Exchange Reality Tours http://www.globalexchange.org/tours, and each one of them has been both awesome and jaw-dropping. GX has taken me to Cuba, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and Belfast! And I've gotten to see places and meet people there that nobody, not even the locals, hardly ever get to see or know.

And I've also been able to come back home and write about what I have seen and to help tell other Americans that Iran, Cuba, Afghanistan. etc. are not filled with evil terrorists and boogeymen but rather with just ordinary people like you and me, trying to make a life for their families just like we do.

So when Global Exchange recently announced that it was sponsoring a new trip to Uganda on July 2, I was SO there! Signed up immediately. The trip will focus on efforts in Uganda to stop human trafficking and eliminate the use of child soldiers -- what's not to like about that!

But then it suddenly dawned on me that I'm also gonna need money and sponsors to get to Uganda. Yikes! So if anyone out there wants to help sponsor me, now is your chance and here is a link to my PayPal account: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=96QQEH6YNBA3N
Or just e-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll send you more information.

PS: Global Exchange has also just accomplished something else that is rather spectacular -- it just gave Bradley Manning its coveted human rights award, accepted in absentia by Daniel Ellsberg http://www.globalexchange.org/blogs/peopletopeople/2012/04/25/guess-who-is-accepting-bradley-mannings-human-rights-peoples-choice-award/. To my mind, that's even more prestigious than receiving the Nobel. Heck, just about anyone can win a Nobel!




































America: Losing its true moral compass


I'm currently reading a rather good book entitled "The Nurturing of Time Future," by Howard Richards http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nurturing-of-time-future-howard-richards/1109407001. Although the author's love affair with run-on paragraphs causes eye-stain at times, he does make several very important points -- including that whenever a country loses its true moral compass, it soon becomes vulnerable to having pseudo-morality imposed upon it from above.

And Richards isn't talking about God here.

Richards is talking about dictators -- dictators who are able to impose their own moralities on us because we no longer have any moral code of our own.

Take, for instance, the folks in Washington and on Wall Street who are currently leading our nation away from its traditional Judeo-Christian values -- while at the same time declaring themselves to be doing God's work. Really? "Screw Christ's message of tolerance, compassion and love for our neighbors," they constantly preach to us. And we let them. "Justice is dead. Greed is now God."

So much for greed being the Third Deadly Sin.

Take, for instance, what is currently happening to the Occupy Movement. After a few of us started to wake up and demand economic morality? We got punched in the face by corporatistas who want none of that. "Screw fairness," the One Percent chant -- and then the rest of America sides with the Big Guys and applauds from the sidelines as black-shirted cops beat our moral minority to a pulp.

Take, for instance, Palestinian non-violent protesters who dare to think that it is morally wrong to blatantly seize other people's land. Israeli corporatisitas then kill these protesters -- using weapons paid for by Americans. "Screw non-violence!" yell our leaders, happily rejoicing that they now get to kill unarmed humans beings instead of having to fight men with guns. And we let these dictator-wannabes get away with this because making obscene profits by any means necessary now matters more to us than morality. No surprise there.

Take, for instance, American women's demands for equality. "Keep them barefoot and pregnant!" scream our leaders. Where's the morality in that, you might ask. But most Americans don't even bother to ask, not even American women. Corporatistas on the prowl for cheap labor would love to see women treated like chattel. And we let them. Why not. There's profit involved.

Take, for instance, all the television commercials we see daily. In the course of only one half-hour of TV, we sit through perhaps 20 to 30 commercials. But that in itself is not immoral. What is immoral is the messages embedded in these commercials: "Keep buying!" Keep buying and buying and buying -- even as we cannibalize our own planet.

And those of us Americans who demand a fair tax rate for the rich, one that would only be in proportion to their obscene profits at our expense as we pick up their tab for infrastructure, worker training, healthcare, pensions, resource loss, weapons supply, etc.? Dare to object? Boy are we put in our place fast. Obscene profits should never get taxed -- no matter where they come from. Only Jesus and communists think like that. "Screw Jesus!" the Big Boys cry. And we let them.

And then of course, there is the morality of Endless War http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30875 that seems to be catching everybody's eye right now -- wars paid for by monies taken from America's veterans, little old ladies and our working class.

The Good Old Boys' Club has found a whole new way to "Support the Troops" -- by taking away their pension plans.

And with regard to small businesses that demand a slice of the pie because it's the moral thing to do? Too bad for them also. Corporate morality doesn't care about anything but itself.

And apparently American morality doesn't care much about anything but obscene profits for large corporations either -- and, under America's new moral code which lacks any compass at all except for one that points toward the Pentagon and Wall Street, our country is moving closer and closer to becoming a dictatorship.

It looks like Howard Richards is right.


*********
For Mothers Day, my daughter Ashley gave me a beautiful bouquet of organic greens. What a thoughtful daughter. Then we all trooped over to San Francisco and ate dinner at the Seven Hills restaurant. And Mena slept through it all.

How lucky I am to have such a nice family and to celebrate Mothers Day in such a wonderful way. Many less fortunate mothers than me don't have such a choice.

Several years ago, I had the honor to meet with the mother of one of the men who had died in the famous Belfast Maze prison hunger strike -- and 30 years after that tragedy, this mother was still grieving for her lost son who died fighting injustice.

And now the mothers of Palestinian hunger strikers are also torn up because their children have not eaten for up to 74 days in protest of injustice in Palestine.

We American mothers are so LUCKY that we can go to fine restaurants with our happy healthy children on Mothers Day and not have to suffer the tortures of injustice that have broken so many Belfast and Palestinian mothers' hearts.

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Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!

****
Am trying to go to Uganda in July on a Global Exchange fact-finding tour so I can report back on child soldiers and human trafficking there. Wanna help me pay for my plane ticket? Donate to my PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=96QQEH6YNBA3N

****
Please vote for me to win a scholarship to the 2012 Netroots Nation convention in Providence, Rhode Island in June. Please vote here: http://www.democracyforamerica.com/netroots_nation_scholarships/1444-jane-stillwater

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come!

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.


****

I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****

Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG

"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds." You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Fair Trade: It's not just for coffee any more

How many times have you walked into Starbucks, ordered a "Fair Trade" latte and felt all proud of yourself for supporting small coffee farmers in Central America? Virtuous, even? A lot of times, I would bet. But exactly how many times have you also walked into a computer store or a jewelry store or a grocery store or a sporting goods store and said, "Hey, I'm looking to purchase one of those Fair Trade diamond rings," or "I need to buy a Fair Trade MP-3 player." Almost never.

Heck, how many times have we even driven into our local Shell or Arco or Exxon station and ordered up ten gallons of Fair Trade gas? Definitely never. But guess what? Perhaps it's time that we did.

Fair Trade isn't just for coffee any more.

It's high time for consumers to follow the Fair Trade coffee example and also start forcing big-business international monopolies and cartels to instigate Fair Trade practices on a lot more than just coffee. It's also now time to offer Fair Trade options to all those dirt-poor miners and workers who now bring us tin, gold, tantalum, tungsten, diamonds, coal, gasoline and oil at an enormous personal cost to themselves, and who risk their very lives daily for peanuts -- so that global corporatistas can turn around and gouge out higher prices from you and me, and make outrageously obscenely high profits off of someone else's blood, sweat and tears.

Without our coffee in the morning, we'd merely have a bit more trouble waking up. But without highly-important minerals such as the tin, gold, tantalum, tungsten, diamonds and coal that make our individual worlds work, there would be no computers, no gold tooth fillings, no traditional wedding rings, no cell phones, no durable drill bits and nothing for joggers to listen to as they run through the park.

Without our coffee, sure, we'd be grumpy. But without our gasoline, we'd be faced with starvation -- or at least faced with having to live mostly by what we can grow in our victory gardens or whatever we could haul in on wagons. But, hey, that might not be such a bad thing after all. Improvising in order to avoid starvation seems to be, in the long run, a far better solution than dying from carbon-dioxide poisoning and its resultant fires and floods. But then that's just me.

Fair Trade oil? That would mean giving individual Iraqis, Iranians, Nigerians, Sudanese and even Californians and Texans a piece of the action -- just like they now do in Alaska. I've been to Iraq. I've seen dirt-poor villagers with no shoes on their feet standing upon oil-rich land worth billions to anyone but them.

Fair Trade!

In Africa, where so many of our strategic minerals come from, miners can't even imagine what Fair Trade might look like. They might even live a few years longer maybe, or have shoes on their feet or learn how to read. Who knows? How about giving them the same breaks that we now give to coffee farmers?

PS: In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan, many so-called "conflict minerals" are taken out of the ground and then sold in order to buy more guns for bad guys -- and so the SEC has been working on methods that will allow buyers to trace the origins of the metals they buy, thus making it harder for gun runners and human traffickers to make a profit from selling ill-gotten gains.

Nordic Sun http://www.nordicsw.com/ has recently developed a cute little hand-held mineral-assessing thingie that allows perspective buyers to trace their mineral purchases back to untainted sources. However, no one seems to be in any big hurry to buy this cute little app. Why mess with a sure-fire profit maximizer -- buying conflict minerals with no provenance -- even though such purchases lead to supporting devastating blood-wars and completely screwing over poor miners working their fingers to the bone?

All across the world, people who care about the future of our planet helped to organize a wonderful Fair Trade movement to protect coffee farmers. Good for them! And now it's time for us to get together and organize a Fair Trade movement for conflict-mineral miners as well -- and then also a Fair Trade movement to protect all the rest of us workers too, especially those of us here at home. "We have nothing to lose but our chains."

In these enlightened times, a society that creates only billionaires and match girls no longer works.

PPS: I recently went on a virtual tour of an oil magnate's house. Actually, I think it was only his secondary vacation home. Set on ten acres of valuable urban real estate, it had fifteen bedrooms, a kitchen with five (5) work stations, a spare baggage room for racks of last year's Chanel gowns, a Rolls Royce in the driveway, a huge swimming pool, a vineyard and even a freaking TOPIARY garden.

Now compare that super-deluxe massive mansion to the homes of those poor villagers I saw in Iraq or the homes of poor miners in the DRC or even the homes of all us poor California taxpayers who get nothing back from the oil giants who are currently making off with OUR black gold. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM1syI0UA3Y.

PPPS: I'm trying to leave for Uganda in July so I can witness all this stuff for myself and report back regarding the corporate exploitation of miners, human trafficking and the plight of child soldiers -- as well as to, hopefully, also report back on any and all progress being made toward establishing Fair Trade in Africa too.

Feel free to donate to my "Jane goes to Uganda" fund by clicking here:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=96QQEH6YNBA3N

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Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!

****
Am trying to go to Uganda in July to report on child soldiers and human trafficking. Wanna help me pay for my plane ticket? Donate to my PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=96QQEH6YNBA3N

****
Please vote for me to win a scholarship to the 2012 Netroots Nation convention in Providence, Rhode Island in June. Please vote here: http://www.democracyforamerica.com/netroots_nation_scholarships/1444-jane-stillwater

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come!

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.


****

I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****

Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG

"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds." You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


























































Cruel & unusual punishment: What if Pelican Bay & Leavenworth went organic?


Back in America's wild colonial days, the main form of punishment for criminals was either flogging evil-doers mercilessly or hanging them in public. In the 1680s, however, William Penn spearheaded a movement to "reform" criminals by placing them in "penitentiaries" instead of just beating them to a pulp or snuffing them out. And the resultant penitentiaries were supposed to be places where bad guys would have enough time on their hands to see the error of their evil ways and repent.

Boy, have we come a long way since then.

Prisons in America today seem to have other purposes in mind than mere reformation -- such as to warehouse dissidents and minorities, employ prison guards and AFT commandos, shower billions on War-on-Drugs profiteers and their drug kingpin counterparts, turn borderline-neurotic prisoners into true psychopaths, and provide cheap labor for the prison-industrial complex.

Is William Penn rolling over in his grave right now or what!

According to Information Clearinghouse, "Nationwide, the number [of imprisoned Americans is] staggering: Nearly 2.4 million people behind bars, even though over the last 20 years the crime rate has actually dropped by more than 40 percent http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31156.htm

Further, many of America's new high-tech and for-profit prisons seem designed solely to break prisoners' bodies first and then break their souls.

And if (not necessarily when) prisoners finally do get paroled out of America's brave new prison system, they're more often than not sent back into society so mentally broken down and/or physically debilitated that they can't hardly even walk down the street by themselves -- let alone become good citizens, repent their past follies or even hold down a job.

And according to FireDogLake, "Another growth industry in our Age of Incarceration is prison labor, putting inmates to work making everything from uniforms to furniture for a few cents an hour....
What began in the 1970s as an end run around the laws prohibiting convict leasing by private interests has now become an industrial sector in its own right, employing more people than any Fortune 500 corporation and operating in 37 states." http://my.firedoglake.com/tomengelhardt/2012/04/19/fraser-and-freeman-creating-a-prison-corporate-complex/

So. What's my point? Here it is: Americans really need to seriously sit down and re-think exactly what we want our prison system to accomplish -- rehabilitate crooks so that they can see the error of their ways and become productive members of society again? Or create thugs, psychopaths and terrorists unfit for human company? Or produce pathetic weaklings ground down by a slave-labor system that has made them old far before their time and who will be a burden on society for the rest of their lives?

Hey, here's an idea. How about following William Penn's lead and go back to designing prisons that will turn bad guys back into good guys again? So that when prisoners have paid their "debt to society," they will emerge from jail ready to be a productive member of said society and even give something back? What a novel concept that would be: A prison-factory that grinds out good citizens.

"But, Jane," you might say, "how can that possibly be achieved?" How about that we start with this concept: Using the healthy example of Alice Waters' famous "Edible Schoolyard" and your local organic farmers' market, let's have all our prisons go organic too! Just the act of feeding prisoners decent food for a change would be a huge first step toward rehabilitation.

Think "Edible Prisonyard".

And after that, we can even begin to work on the true cause of adult criminality: Child abuse. According to Jordan Riak, an authority on child-abuse prevention,
the best way to eliminate criminality is to be kind to children! Now there's another novel idea.

"The person who was respected and encouraged to explore in childhood is NOT in prison. ...The person whose physical and emotional needs were met in childhood is NOT in prison. So who IS in prison? You will find people who were never played with, read to or hugged when they were children but rather growled at, whipped and smacked.... Violent criminals are made. We ourselves create them at home." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--I0X3-tOwE

So perhaps we can rehabilitate our prisoners by actually being kind to them too. "It's never too late to have a happy childhood!" But if we do that, then almost everyone else will want to get hauled off to jail too -- giving us a better quality of prisoners that way as well.

And at the cost of approximately $60,000 per year to incarcerate each prisoner, think of all the money we would save if prisoners could simply be rehabilitated and released -- or if that amount of money had been spent on helping to nurture young children so that they wouldn't become criminals in the first place.

PS: Back in the early 1960s, before anyone else was even thinking about recycling, there was a man named Cecil Geraghty who developed a process of changing processed sewage into compost and fertilizer http://www.google.com/patents/US2861877?printsec=abstract#v=onepage&q&f=false. How resourceful was that!

Just think of all those millions of tons of "night soil" that are currently being flushed down the toilet regularly when they could be put to good use instead. Let's revive that process. Let's get all those nutrients back! Let's reclaim all the human waste that is currently being spewed out by our sewers.

And let's also reclaim all the waste of human life that is currently being spewed out by our prisons.

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Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!

****
Am planning on going to Uganda in July to report on child soldiers and human trafficking. Wanna help me pay for my plane ticket? Donate to my PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=96QQEH6YNBA3N

****
Please vote for me to win a scholarship to the 2012 Netroots Nation convention in Providence, Rhode Island in June. Please vote here: http://www.democracyforamerica.com/netroots_nation_scholarships/1444-jane-stillwater

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come!

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.


****

I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****

Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG

"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds." You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters