Saturday, June 30, 2012






























Thoughts on Visiting Rome: That empire is toast!


Here I am in Rome, the Eternal City. And you can usually find a fabulous monument or church or historical ruin on almost every corner. Or a gelato shop.

First I scored a cheap-but-nice room at the Hollywood Hotel near the main railway station (using www.HostelWorld.com) and then settled in to see the sights. Rome is amazing. You should go there. Everyone here speaks English. Bring a map.

Of course the first thing I did while in Rome was visit the Coliseum and the Forum. And must I state the obvious here? After running a thousand-year-old eternal empire that stretched from Britain to Palestine and beyond, now nothing is left of that empire but a bunch of scenic rocks. Hint hint.

Or as President Eisenhower used to say, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

Enough said. A word to the wise is sufficient. A priori, the American Empire is doomed. 1000 years from now? Nothing but rocks. Let's just hope that they also are scenic rocks. What future tourist would ever consider paying 12 euros to see the ruins of strip malls?

Next I went off to the Vatican to try to give Pope Benedict some advice regarding his recent War on Nuns. "Don't go there."

Visisting the Vatican involves standing out in the hot sun for three hours while waiting to get in to see the Sistine Chapel. So much for paying extra to "Skip the Line".

There is a great Roman-built wall around the inner city here, built by Emperor Constantine to keep out the barbarian hoards lapping at Rome's door. So. From a vast military complex with over 400 military outposts scattered across the known world, the Roman Empire had finally been reduced to just as few miles of real estate.

Perhaps America might consider Rome's plight as well and spend its money (our money) defending America rather than trying to seize all of the known world too. We can now see in advance how that's gonna go.

Right now, thousands of foreign emigrants are trying to come to the United States -- but in a good way. They are only following the trail of booty that has been looted from their own countries by America's One Percent. They don't want to destroy us. They just want to join us.

But. Sooner or later, there are going to be true barbarians at our gates -- just like there were at the gates back in ancient Rome. And all our armies will be out there in Nowhereastan trying to steal oil for Exxon instead of here at home minding the battlements where they belong.

History will repeat itself. Just look at all these ruined walls.

Citizens of Rome see these ruins every single day -- and learn from them. No wonder Italians don't like to seek empires. They are constantly reminded of its futility. It's a wonder that Mussolini was able to scratch up any conscripts at all or even get to first base.

Then I went off to the catacombs of San Callisto. Amazing. 16 miles of underground tunnels built by early Christians in order to secretly bury their dead. Roman emperors hated Christians. Why? Because Christians were tired of centuries of war and wanted peace and love instead. And so they were persecuted for their craving for peace in a militaristic world -- much like peace-loving liberals are persecuted by the military-industrial hierarchy today. That's another analogy we could learn from.

But will we? Er, no.

PS: Am leaving for Uganda via Cairo today. Arrivederci Roma.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Around the world in 22 daze

Will be out of town for a while, starting June 27. Will be flying from San Francisco to Rome for three days, Cairo for four hours, Uganda for ten days, Doha for 16 hours, Singapore for 18 hours, Jakarta for three days and Tokyo for eight hours. Then back to SFO

That's a total of 55.5 hours in the air.

That's just nuts!

Sunday, June 17, 2012












































The Israeli neo-cons' Second Nakba: Death by a Thousand Cuts


It is now pretty much a matter of record that, after World War II, refugees from Europe landed in Palestine and started a massive terrorist blitzkrieg campaign, massacring thousands of Christians and Muslims in their wake. In a vast display of ethnic cleansing similar to what had previously happened in Europe, approximately 500 local towns were destroyed, 15,000 residents of Palestine were killed and 750,000 more were expelled. Local residents of this area (the ones who actually survived, that is) started referring to this premeditated slaughter as "al Nakba" -- The Catastrophe.

And a second "Nakba" is apparently now in the works.

According to University of Chicago political science professor John Mearsheimer, "Given the right circumstances – say a war involving Israel that is accompanied by serious Palestinian unrest – Israeli leaders might conclude that they can expel massive numbers of Palestinians from Greater Israel and depend on the lobby to protect them from international criticism and especially from sanctions. We should not underestimate Israel’s willingness to employ such a horrific strategy if the opportunity presents itself." http://www.silviacattori.net/article3322.html

What?

Are the land-grabbing neo-cons and faux-Jewish corporatists who now run Israel actually contemplating the instigation of an actual Second Nakba? Holy yikes! Are they seriously actually thinking about starting a second wide-ranging slaughter and ethnic cleansing on the scale of the first Nakba? Perhaps under the cover of a war on Iran? Good grief.

Both strategically and morally, that whole idea sucks eggs.

But then I got an e-mail from a Palestinian friend of mine who lives on the West Bank and he said that his village had just been brutally invaded by a needlessly-large number of highly-armed Israeli neo-con occupation forces.

"During the invasion last night," wrote my friend, "one of the soldiers stole 1000 Nis (200€) from a moneybox of the youngest brother of my neighbor Mosab. Mosab's brother had been saving this money for months, little by little from his work as a vegetable farmer and salesman. A laptop was also stolen from the house.

"Throughout the operation the soldiers fired sound grenades, a type of riot control weapon that produces a flash and a loud bang. The sound is sufficient to make the most weathered and well-prepared person flinch in fear and when this weapon is used inside a village at night, it will not only serve to keep people awake but also to bring about memories of past atrocities that the village of Ni’lin has had to live through.

"Many villagers came out of their houses to protest the brutality of the Israeli army and were met with tear gas and more sound bombs. The tear gas was fired straight at civilian houses which caused dozens children to suffer from tear gas inhalation. Live ammunition was also used by the Israeli soldiers as a scare tactic." http://www.nilin-village.org/2012/06/16/two-arrested-in-nilin-during-the-last-night-invasion-15-06-2012/

And, right at this very moment, this type of malicious military activity is going on constantly all over the West Bank. Constantly. Night and day. Occupation armies and armed settlers constantly swoop down upon Palestinian citizens night and day. No one is safe. And there are all-too-many instances where the occupation armies shoot Palestinian children, shop-keepers and farmers, steal Palestinian goods, defecate in Palestinian homes and piss in their water supplies. To say the least.

Sure, maybe some day another full-scale blitzkrieg-style Nakba invasion of armed soldiers, settlers and thugs may suddenly descend en mass upon occupied Palestine and expel every single Christian and Muslim Palestinian in "Greater Israel" to the other side of the Jordan River, into Lebanon and Syria, or over into Egypt. And this would be dramatic as hell and make the front pages of all the newspapers. Sure.

But in the meantime, another "Second Nakba" has actually already begun: The Nakba by a Thousand Cuts.

According to Mearsheimer, "There are now about 480,000 settlers in the Occupied Territories and a huge infrastructure of connector and bypass roads... Between 1993 and 2000, Israel confiscated 40,000 acres of Palestinian land, constructed 250 miles of connector and bypass roads, doubled the number of settlers, and built 30 new settlements.... [And since then,] the Israeli prime minister has not only refused to stop building the 2500 housing units that were under construction in the West Bank, but just to make it clear to Obama who was boss, in late June 2009, he authorized the building of 300 new homes in the West Bank. Netanyahu refused to even countenance any limits on settlement building in East Jerusalem, which is supposed to be the capital of a Palestinian state."

I could write more about this death by a thousand cuts but what good would it do. The Second Nakba has already begun. And nobody seems to care -- except for its victims. History is repeating itself here. This is so much like Germany in 1933 when corporatists started establishing prisons-for-profit and nobody cared what happened to the Jews. And it's also like South Africa in 1962 when corporatists took control of establishing Bantustans and nobody cared what happened to the Blacks.

And will this also be like America in a few more years, after corporatists have also seized absolute power here -- and nobody will care what happens to us either?

PS: Here's another example of a forced population displacement that nobody cared about, one that was overseen by Britain and the United States (not by Nazis), involved 13 million Europeans and cost approximately 500,000 to 2,000,000 lives, including the lives of 7,000 children under the age of five:

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Between 1945 and 1950, Europe witnessed the largest episode of forced migration, and perhaps the single greatest movement of population, in human history. Between 12 million and 14 million German-speaking civilians—the overwhelming majority of whom were women, old people, and children under 16—were forcibly ejected from their places of birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and what are today the western districts of Poland.

"As The New York Times noted in December 1945, the number of people the Allies proposed to transfer in just a few months was about the same as the total number of all the immigrants admitted to the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. They were deposited among the ruins of Allied-occupied Germany to fend for themselves as best they could. The number who died as a result of starvation, disease, beatings, or outright execution is unknown, but conservative estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people lost their lives in the course of the operation." http://chronicle.com/article/The-European-Atrocity-You/132123/?sid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

Are we having fun yet?

PPS: I was recently thinking about all the wars that America has been in over time, and then started listing them. Let's see. There's been America's various wars on the Middle East, that Korean "police action", World War I, World War II, the American Civil War, Vietnam, the Central American Wars, the Cold War and also various covert wars where other countries did the fighting but Washington supplied the cash -- such as the violent and tragic fall of democratic governments in the Congo and Iran.

But when we consider the Big Picture, did any of these wars ever even make even the slightest difference -- other than to make innumerable American citizens poorer and/or deader?

Even World War II, which was supposed to keep us safe from corporatism? But did it? Now that a kinder, gentler form of corporatism currently runs the world? Or what about World War I, which was supposed to keep us safe for democracy? Under Citizens United, is our democracy now all that safe? Or take Vietnam, which was supposed to keep us safe from China -- the landlord who now holds our mortgage?

Did any of these wars make any difference at all? Other than to kill approximately one billion people and waste trillions of dollars and destroy untold resources -- which we now desperately need? Not really. And nobody had fun during any of them either.

PPPS: I'm arriving in Rome, Italy, on June 28, 2012 -- and apparently will be homeless for three days while there (everything reasonable is already booked). So does anyone know if it's legal to sleep in the St. Peter's basilica piazza? Or does the Vatican have a no-sitting law too? http://berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2012-06-15/article/39862?headline=Berkeley-s-Anti-Sitting-Initiative-br-is-Nothing-But-a-Ruse--By-Becky-O-Malley

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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.


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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!

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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.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012






























































REVENGE: Why I'm gonna vote for Obama in November

This November, it goes without saying that most American oligarchs will gleefully vote for Mitt Romney -- or whoever else the Republicans finally choose -- because it's clearly in their best self-interest to vote for a candidate who offers them every perk that they want. I understand that.

But what I completely don't understand is why anyone who makes less than $5,000,000 a year would even consider voting for anyone besides progressive candidates such as the Green Party's Jill Stein. If you're not filthy rich and aren't receiving Welfare for the Wealthy, then voting for progressives is clearly in YOUR own best self-interest too.

And then there's Barack Obama to consider. Given his dismally neo-con-ish track record these past four years, why in the world would any American working-class hero ever consider voting for Obama again either? He has proven time and again to be a friend of the rich, an admirer of banksters, a happy supporter of oil barons, the corporatistas' BFF, and a buddy-buddy-pal to war profiteers.

According to journalist Mark Karlin, Obama has recently come up with even more and better ways to help out oligarchs -- not us. "Under President Obama and the Republicans, apparently we are about to surrender portions of our legal system that protect our health, environment, financial system and working conditions to a corporate-driven international tribunal.
" http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13547.

A vote for Obama is definitely not a vote for the Salt of the Earth like you and me and definitely not in our own self-interest. So why would I ever vote for him? Here's why: REVENGE.

After repeatedly selling out the very people who elected him to office in a landslide in 2008, dontcha think it's finally about time for Obama to finally feel the pain of our wrath? Yeah! And what could possibly be more painful than to torture Obama by getting him re-elected and forcing him to spend another four miserable years listening to racists, birthers, wannabe assassins, thugs and haters spewing out vitriolic, horrid and slimy things about him and his family again and again and again -- like they have already done for the last four years.

But, ironically, it is these very same racists, birthers and haters who used to practically cream their jeans with happiness back when George W. Bush came out with all the very same "Bail out the Rich and kill everything that moves in the Middle East" policies that Obama now embraces. Go figure. You would think that these people would simply adore Obama just like they did GWB (and now Bush's twin brother Romney).

I'm still surprised that they don't.

PS: At the 2012 Netroots Nation convention last week, Van Jones gave a very stirring speech in favor of voting for Obama (for reasons other than revenge). And here is the gist of his speech, hopefully quoted correctly by me. But is Jones right? Should we actually go ahead and vote for Obama? Who knows. But I personally like my REVENGE reason better.

Here's pretty much what Jones said:

"With regard to Wisconsin, you have to do a lot more than outspend us eight-to-one in order to beat us down. We are not giving up!

Our grandparents knew what it was like to march for change for real. They faced fire hoses and billy clubs. And now some of us want to give up after a really bad Tweet?

In Wisconsin, the local forces stood up -- but they fought alone. Where was the national Democratic party? We did our minimum and the others did their maximum -- and they won. Democrats, women, civil rights movement? They didn't step up.

And now we have a quandary. We know we're supposed to be all fired up. But we're not. We like this President -- but we don't love him. We went from having a crush to feeling crushed. And we're upset. Caught between a Barack and a hard place!

But if we try to teach Obama a lesson, let me just say a few things. If the Tea Party is allowed to score a trifecta and they govern America, they might use power a little bit differently than we do. They might use their power to decimate us! These people truly want to decapitate us -- to eliminate the EPA for instance, which has probably saved more American lives than the Department of Defense.

When we had power, we went all bipartisan. But if they win, they won't act that way. Do you actually think that if they win in November that they are going to be all bipartisan too? All the crazy stuff they say that they will do? They will do it!

It will be the worst.

Imagine a beach with a lifeguard, not the best lifeguard in the world -- but not the worst. Then imagine a tsunami coming. Then imagine someone saying, "The more people who drown, that is a good thing -- because then they will fire the lifeguard and I could get the lifeguard's job."

I respect Tea Party members. They are Americans. But I want to beat them in November! It's time for us to stand up for what we believe in. It's like when my kid plays soccer. I want my kid to win. But I don't want my kid to win by biting the other kid and or to cheat and lie.

So we are in a quandary. We've been dealt a tough hand. But we have to be as strong as the opposition. So. What to do? Re-elect the president -- and then hold him accountable too.

But before you can get a president to do what you want, you have to have a president who can be moved -- and then you've got to do the moving. And Obama can be moved. But if the Tea Party gets a president elected, you can bet that their president will not and cannot be moved. So we have two fights here -- first, to stop the Tea Party in November. But also to stop the budget committee in December as well, when the Bush tax cuts and the Pell grants expire. And we can do it. Occupy Wall Street was able to stop the SuperCommittee. Remember that.

We are dealing with ham-and-egg justice here -- where the rich only have to give up a few eggs but the rest of us have to contribute the ham for breakfast. And in the process we, like the pig that contributes the ham, have to be killed.

In 2000, we had no idea that Bush would bankrupt the nation or crumple our international esteem. But in 2012, we now know. They have a wrecking-ball agenda. And we know this now. Education, clean air, unions. They have a brutal willingness to destroy all we have fought for. "I want to drown America's government in a bathtub." Who even thinks like that?

Kids coming home from wars are killing themselves -- one a day. They've been nation-building in other countries. Now do it here at home!

You need to take yourselves very seriously now. We've got to take a time-out from our pity party. The stakes are too high -- and you have the power. Our grandparents fought worse things than this and they won. Somebody has got to stand up now. Fight back. The fight to take back America has to start somewhere. Why not here.

PPS: Was it Plato who first got all excited about Beauty being the most important thing in the world? Beauty. That's right.

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever," Keats tells us.

"Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world," says Ralph Waldo Emerson.

But no matter who you personally plan to vote for in 2012, please remember this: There is no beauty in greed, no beauty in poverty and no beauty in war.


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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? Then donate through WePay at https://www.wepay.com/donations/plea-for-funds-help-me-to-get-to-uganda Thanks.

****

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

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"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

Friday, June 08, 2012
















































By the Rivers of Babylon: More Netroots Nation reports


"And there we wept...when we remembered Zion."

Today at the second day of Netroots Nation convention in Providence, Rhode Island, there were all kinds of panels to attend and films and presentations to watch -- and they all seemed to have the same common theme: That Americans need to start working together instead of going for each others' jugulars with red-white-and-blue tooth and claw.

During the American Transit Workers union's presentation of a documentary on the Memphis sanitation workers' strike that included video footage from the Lorraine Motel, with tears in my eyes,
I remembered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's heroic bravery and wisdom. http://newsreel.org/video/AT-THE-RIVER-I-STAND

"We are facing a two-headed creature here," King said. "He is a labor-union hater with one mouth and a civil-rights hater with the other." The ATW also gave out free ice cream at the showing as well. Dove bars. Dulce de leche. And chocolate chip cookies. No kale chips? Huh? What is this world coming to.

Then someone in the audience at a panel discussion on undocumented Americans stated that, "Sure, people of color have it hard these days -- but we ALL have it hard. And we all need to unite in common cause to make sure that all of our voices are heard as we face the greatest challenges of our life; as the One Percent tries to drown out the American Dream for the rest of us -- all the while trying to make us believe that they are on our side and are truly our friends."

Uh, no, they are not. Make no mistake here. The One percent are NOT our friends. Never have been. Never will be.

"And the wicked carried us away...captivity."

According to Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren who also spoke today, the One Percent's philosophy, in one sentence, is "I've got mine -- but you are on your own." Why would we want to give the rich and powerful even more power and more money? "We don't run this country for corporations. We run it for people."

And then another free lunch was offered to us conventioneers. I'm so there!

"On 9-11," said one firefighters' union rep at an afternoon panel presentation, "it wasn't the bankers running up those stairs. It was government workers there saving lives."

In my own personal opinion, stuff like Wall Street deregulation and the Koch brothers and ALEC and Citizens Untied are the worst things that have ever happened to America's freedom. These oligarchs' highly-planned and highly-coordinated attacks on our laws, freedoms and way of life have been far more disastrous, far more scary and far more EFFECTIVE than 9-11 ever was.

There are also many massive and coordinated attacks on unions these days. And on women. And on people of color. And response to these attacks has been for us to viciously begin fighting each other for crumbs falling off these rich men's tables. How American is that!

So. How do we now unite together instead of fighting each other? "Let's organize around universal similarities," one panelist said. We all love our families (at least most of us do) and we all have to eat. We all have emotions. We all need to breathe clean air and send our kids to school. "So mix all that up and come out with some common denominators that we can all rally behind." We all love a good free lunch. Would that do for a start?

Americans of all colors and shapes and sizes have so much more in common with each other than we do with those few oligarchs who are currently spending billions of dollars on trying to turn us against one another. Come on guys. Get a clue! Kumbayah here!
Everyone -- every one of us -- wants the American Dream. So let's work together to get it back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_i3ERPsLzY

"Let the words of our mouth and the meditations in our hearts... WE'VE GOT TO SING TOGETHER!" Or the wicked will continue to "carry us away...captivity". For sure.

So let's "Sing a song of Freedom!" instead.

PS: This evening the AFT is offering a presentation of the movie, "American Teacher," and then I'll be taking the bus back to my sweet little room at the Warwick Motel 6 where I can listen to the people in the neighboring room fight and make up all night long.

And tomorrow Paul Krugman, Sherrod Brown and Van Jones will be speaking. Then on Sunday Netroots Nation will have a day of service and join the mayor of Providence in trudging around some kind of swamp, cleaning up garbage. And will they feed us? Yes they will!

*********************************************************
*********************************************************

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? Then donate through WePay at https://www.wepay.com/donations/plea-for-funds-help-me-to-get-to-uganda Thanks.

****

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

Thursday, June 07, 2012













Report from Netroots Nation: What would a new economic system look like?


I finally arrived in Providence, Rhode Island, late last night -- after being forced to switch planes in Chicago after spilling my salmon salad to the point where the entire cabin smelled like dead fish. Ah, the power of change.

The first workshop that I attended this morning had to do with trying to design a new economic system that works for all of us, not just for fat cats and oligarchs at the top.

"An economy based solely on growth doesn't works," stated one panel member. "What's another word for out-of-control growth? 'Cancer'. In Bhutan, the economy is based on happiness instead." We should try that, seeing that America currently rates only number 44 on a world-wide happiness scale.

What I hate most about America's economy now is that it is based on our love affair with obscene-profits-at-any-cost. That's no way to run a country -- or a world! My suggestion? Let's duplicate nationally on a legal precedence set in California a few years ago, citing that medical marijuana clinics are forbidden to make any profits. And as a result, all the clinics' profits are plowed back into the business.

This new business paradigm is immeasurably better than our current Vulture Capitalism system, where American businesses and companies are not nourished at all -- but only stripped of their infrastructure, assets and ability to either compete with the rest of the world or to serve their customers.

If you visualize America itself as an industry, for many years now it has been stripped of both its capital and its infrastructure. Just compare the economic semi-ruin that America is now with the thriving industrial giant that it used to be. Vulture Capitalism has sucked the life out of our country. Vulture Capitalism sucks eggs.

At the Harborside medical cannabis clinic in Oakland, all profits are returned back into the business -- creating more jobs, more services and more equity for itself and its customers. In comparison, when has America's war industry, stock market casino, oil barons or banking cartel ever given anything back?

Next on the menu at Netroots Nation was the showing of a documentary film on rape in the military. Currently, there is a really good chance that if a woman joins the military, she will be raped. And that no one will ever do anything about it. Thousands of female soldiers are being raped every year by their own freaking co-workers. And the good-ole-boys' network now in place on most military bases simply laughs it all off. That's just sad.

Perhaps the Republicans' current War on Women is based on the original War on Women in the Military model? It appears that it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMEacbeSNRw&feature=player_embedded

Tonight at Netroots Nation, we are going to hear Eric Schneiderman, Bill McKibben and Tammy Baldwin speak. Then I'm gonna take the # 8 bus to a place far, far away, to my little Motel 6 room out in Warwick, where I will dream of a better America and better days than we have now -- a better world where the War on the working class and women will be replaced by a War on cruelty, inefficiency and greed.

PS: You can actually watch Netroots Nation too, being streamed live here: http://www.netrootsnation.org/nn12/streaming/

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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? Then donate through WePay at https://www.wepay.com/donations/plea-for-funds-help-me-to-get-to-uganda Thanks.

****

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

Friday, June 01, 2012






















































Torture in Palestine, Syria & Cleveland: Making it happen!


I recently attended a video presentation in Oakland given by a member of the Jenin Freedom Theatre (http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/)
, and while the speaker was describing various theater projects now being staged in Palestine, he also happened to mention several relatively unique types of psychological torture currently being implemented by Israeli corporatists and their enforcers in the occupied West Bank.

For instance, imagine that you are a Palestinian farmer and happily out plowing your land -- when a bunch of rather nasty armed settlers come rampaging over the hill, beat you to a pulp and start building their own stuff on your property, right next to that old olive tree that has been shading your family since almost Christ's birth. And then imagine that some harsh-looking Israeli soldiers in full battle-gear also arrive on the scene in their Humvees and, rather than arresting all those evil "settler" perps who are busting your chops, they arrest YOU instead. Okay, so it's not fair or just or anything -- but that's life on the West Bank. Live with it.

Then they drag you off to jail, don't charge you with anything and hold you in indefinite detention for committing the extreme crime of plowing your own land. Not exactly democratic or even nice -- but you are used to it. Hey, that's life on the West Bank.

But then the Israeli corporatistas' land-stealing goons start in to torture you too. Well, okay. That's par for the course. Tens of thousands of Palestinian farmers are being jailed and tortured regularly for the crimes of owning land and/or being Muslims or being Christians or being Jews -- instead of just money-grubbing land-grabbers like Israel's higher-up corporate mafia dudes. But, hey. That's life on the West Bank. Torture is torture. Who needs all those fingernails. You've got ten. You can spare some.

But then Netanyahu's corporatist goon-squad starts to carry this torture stuff a little bit too far. First they show you photos of the corpses of your dead children -- which totally freaks you out like even physical pain never possibly could. Those are your dearly-loved babies lying there dead! Your heart breaks.

And then someone else comes into your cell dressed like a doctor and informs you that you now have inoperable cancer, with only a few weeks left to live. You're stuck in this hell-hole and now you are gonna die here as well? Good grief!

But then, when they finally release you months or years later (still without having been charged), you now discover that you never actually really had any cancer -- and that your family is still very much alive.

But it's really hard for you to just shrug this off too, saying, "Hey, that's just life on the West Bank." Because it is not, not just "Life on the West Bank". It is mind-gaming sadistic torture of the worst kind. And it's not done in the name of Judaism either -- because what kind of screwed-up religion would ever do something as truly ghastly as that! It is done in the name of power and money and sadism only.

And that's going too far.

And then it won't be hard at all for you to imagine that these corporatista goons are no longer human. But isn't that the real purpose of good theater -- like the Jenin Freedom Theatre? To stir our imaginations? And to motivate us to do better.

PS: American and NATO powers-that-be seem to have been going a bit too far recently as well. Lately, they have been paying squads of al Qaeda goons to gun down children in Houla so that the U.N. could blame these atrocities on Assad and then take over Syria http://joequinn.net/2012/05/30/natos-civil-war-machine-rolls-into-syria/#more-359

"The more photos of dead children the better!" NATO corporatistas apparently instructed their al Qaeda goons while happily in pursuit the Project for the New American Century's wet-dream of capturing the entire Middle East -- country by country. Soon only Iran, Lebanon and possibly Egypt plus a few stragglers in Bahrain and Yemen will be left standing until they too knuckle under -- and then everything over there will belong to the PNAC!

Not us.

And all this slaughter of innocents is now being happily paid for by blood-money that came from depriving American children of much of the important stuff that they also need to live.

And is anybody in America starting to get pissed off yet?

Or are we just going to wait until it is too late and it will be residents of Kansas City or Cleveland also being herded into prison cells, with our land stolen, suffering infinite detention and being shown photos of OUR dead family's corpses...

PPS: I'm currently reading David Hey's latest book, "Travels in Consciousness," http://www.amazon.com/Travels-Consciousness-David-Hey/dp/161204607X, wherein he cites several classic academic studies at Stanford and Yale which indicate that when people are told by higher authorities to torture other people, they willingly do it. In fact, they really get into it. Moral? That many people appear to be suckers for being told what to do -- no matter what it is.

PPPS: Saeed Amireh, my cyber-friend on the West Bank, just sent me a video of his attempt to go see Madonna's big peace concert in Tel Aviv. With actual tickets in hand issued by Madonna herself, Saeed and his brother were stopped at the Wall, stopped at the checkpoints, stopped by the IDF, totally denied access. No concert for them! http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/stopped-by-apartheid-on-the-way-to-madonnas-peace-concert.html

Also, some of Saeed's friends have recently been trying to turn that huge illegal ugly cement prison Wall standing between themselves and their farmland into a rock-climbing center. Why not? It's there to stay anyway. Might as well make it recreational. Add some pylons? Why not. And maybe "The Amazing Race" might even choose it as a location for next year's contestants to repel from. How cool would THAT be. And getting shot at by Israeli corporatistas' faux-Jewish thugs would certainly add just that special bit of an extra zing to the show, dontcha think?

A thousand years from now, that illegal dictatorial Wall may still be standing -- long after Israeli and American corporatistas have all killed off everyone else in the region -- even themselves. And it will be a very Ozymandias moment. "Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.

*****
Here are more Facebook photos of my recent trip to San Francisco's Chinatown, in a futile search for shrimp dumplings: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150820126021618.392743.519281617&type=1&l=980af6d80a
. The photos above also show Mena at The Looking Glass and Chester's in Berkeley

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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? Then donate through WePay at https://www.wepay.com/donations/plea-for-funds-help-me-to-get-to-uganda Thanks.

****

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