Monday, September 29, 2014

Nigeria: Rebels without a paycheck?
Author's note:  Who among our founding fathers way back in 1776 would ever have guessed that, just two hundred and thirty eight years later, America's main driving force, highest ideal, most efficient function and top-priority goal would be to sell weapons and hoard oil.

     I recently dared to ask a Nigerian-American friend of mine the same dreaded question that I had asked him the last time we had talked.  "How are things going over in Nigeria right now?"

     "Bad.  Really bad," he once again replied.  "I'm sure you don't even want to hear about it."  Yeah I do.

     "There have been lots of bombings over there lately.  And not just any kind of bombs either.  Definitely not the old-fashioned home-made pipe bombs and glorified Molotov cocktails that one would expect.  These are sophisticated, well-placed and expensive bombs being set off by so-called Muslim terrorist groups.  And hiring and training mercenaries like that doesn't come cheap.  Many of them may be misinformed fanatics but still -- they still need to be trained and equipped and fed.  A whole lot of money is involved.  Billions."

     "But from what I had learned from studying about Nigeria in college, its Muslim population, the Fulani, mostly used to herd cows," I replied.  Apparently that's no longer true. 

     "The Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in Nigeria today have amazingly well-equipped and well-trained troops -- and their main goal seems to be to de-civilize the country.  Farmers and herders who should only have been able to stage revolutions with blunderbusses at best, are now expert sappers and know the advanced operation mechanisms of RPGs by heart." 

     Now why do these techniques sound so familiar?  Well-trained troops?  Expensive equipment?  Causing chaos?  Attempting to destabilize countries?  Oh, right.  The "rebels" who seized the government in Libya, the "rebels" who tried to seize the government in Syria and the "rebels" who seized the government of Ukraine and parts of Iraq -- not to mention the "rebels" who had seized Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Honduras, Guatemala, Afghanistan and the Congo back in the day.

     These rebels are definitely getting paychecks!

     And we are definitely not talking about the idealistic, poorly-trained and ill-equipped rebels fighting for freedom and their lives against despots and madmen who have seized control over places like eastern Ukraine, Palestine, East Timor, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (or the American colonies in 1776 for that matter).  Those rebel chumps are only trying to protect their families, homes, lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness.  Those kinds of rebels don't matter.  The CIA doesn't equip or train those kinds of chumps.  They don't count.

     "And aside from the constant threat from terrorists," my friend continued, "we also have to deal with the highest level of corruption in the world.  For instance, one storefront lawyer with almost no clients was suddenly promoted to governor of a Nigerian state -- and suddenly he's spending $150 million on a private jet and socking away millions more in a private bank account offshore. 

     "And now if he wants any money, he just transfers it out to the state's coffers and into his own.  And it's all perfectly legal to do that."

     This sounds like what a U.S. Army officer once told me about Afghanistan.  "The corruption here is amazing, sure, but leaders do the same thing in America too -- the only difference being that in America, they pass laws to make the corruption legal first."  Citizens United comes to mind.  And a whole bunch of shady oil and weapons deals too.

     "And here's another bad thing," said my Nigerian-American friend.  "In the river-delta area of Nigeria, land that used to grow produce is now hopelessly and dangerously polluted by American oil concessions."

     "But what about the Ebola virus?" I asked next. 

     "That's a problem in Liberia, not in Nigeria.  Yet."  Nope, too late.  It's already arrived at the airport

     And then he told me about another situation -- one that I am sadly familiar with myself, having spent a lot of time in Africa and the Middle East.  "Here in America, I am leading a double life.  Part of me goes to Target to shop and eats at Olive Garden and feels perfectly happy and safe.  But the other part of me just constantly marvels at how my fellow Americans can be so completely unaware of all the pain and killing and hunger that exists in other parts of the world -- and that are the direct result of brutal and monstrous actions done in their name."

     I too feel the same way -- torn between utter gratitude that I have electricity and my children are safe, on the one hand, and on the other hand, knowing that all across the world, the CIA is arming mercenaries to kill and maim children in far away places with names like Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq and Nigeria; names that many Americans couldn't even find on a map.

     "The powerful people in Nigeria will do anything for money," said my friend sadly.  

     "And so will the powerful people of America too," I sadly replied.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Stalker: Obama's obsessive harassment of Syria & Ukraine

     CBS is premiering a new TV show called "Stalker" this October, and this program is fierce and scary as hell -- all about a bunch of creepy guys who go around stalking their prey mercilessly.

      But what is the exact definition of a stalker?  "A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention."  Further, "Any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking."

     I personally know of two insanely obsessive examples of stalking at its worst.

     In one case, the unwanted and illegal harassment has gone on for years and involves relentless fear-producing acts of violence so intense that it is like being in a horror movie.  Home invasions in the middle of the night.  Masked attackers brandishing weapons.  Harassing phone calls.  False lies and accusations.  Family members followed and stalked.

    Imagine your worst nightmare and multiply it by a thousand -- and then imagine this horror going on for three years.  Imagine going to the authorities and begging for help but having no one believe you or even listen to you!

      And of course you immediately realize that I'm talking about President Obama's strange and evil obsession with stalking Syria.  And Obama continues to stalk Syria even now -- and with deadly intent.  And it appears that Syria is helpless against her attacker.

     Or not.  Not if everyone in America gets on the phone and calls the White House and says, "America sees you.  We know what you do.  Stop stalking Syria."

     And the second case of stalking?  Just as bad as the first -- with evil intent and malice aforehand.  Ukraine is also being stalked.  Home invasions.  Planes being shot down.  Fear-inducing jack-boot visits in the middle of the night.  Lots of blood.  Lots and lots and lots of blood.

     In CBS's online preview of "Stalker," Maggie Q states that stalkers are motivated by "rejection, jealousy and revenge".  Well, Syria and Ukraine have both rejected Obama's demands for a dance -- so that is probably the cause.

     But exactly why have Syria and Ukraine rejected Obama's offer?  Because they both saw what happened to Libya when Obama took her to the prom!  Obama tortured and raped her while John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Bolton held her down.

     And Obama learned his grisly stalking techniques from the masters.  First he watched Bush and Cheney stalk, torture and rape Afghanistan.  Then he watched Bush and Cheney stalk, torture and rape Iraq.

     "But, Jane," you might ask, "why are you being so hard on President Obama?"

     Why?  Why?  Because even if all this psychopathic stalking is actually being orchestrated by Wall Street and War Street or the military-industrial complex or the wingnuts and war-hawks in Congress or even the PNAC and Dick Cheney -- all of these stalking nightmares are still happening on Obama's watch.

PS:  If the CIA, the American military-industrial complex, the PNAC war hawks, the Pentagon and even the White House and Congress can get so deeply involved in stalking and tormenting and threatening and bullying other countries throughout the world -- and apparently get away with it too, then what's to keep these evil stalkers from saying to themselves, "Hmmm.  Let's stalk Americans next."  My blood runs cold at the thought.

     Where is Maggie Q when we need her!


     From journalist David Swanson:  "In violation of the Constitution, our Constitutional scholar president, in violation of the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, our Nobel Peace Laureate president, in compliance with the stated desire of ISIS that the United States help it grow by attacking it, President Barack 'don't-do-stupid-stuff' Obama has just attacked another country and no good can come of it. 

     "He's attacked the opponents of the Syrian regime he said needed to be attacked a year ago, and done so in defense of Iraqis who just held a demonstration opposing such U.S. action.  The world needs actual aid and serious support for the rule of law, diplomacy, and good government.  So-called 'military aid' doesn't aid anyone, and the U.S. public's willingness to stand for more of it being offered in our name has been greatly overestimated."


     From Judy Bello of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars:  "On Democracy Now, Vijay Prashad just pointed out that the US airstrikes on Syria are more symbolic than otherwise.  They are destroying a lot of infrastructure in Raqqa around Aleppo and Dier Ezzor.  But they aren't attacking ISIS' hardened positions and forward positions around Kobani on the Turkish Border.  There are also reports that ISIS has abandoned its bunkers in Raqqa and moved into residential areas so US bombing merely destroyed the buildings and bystanders."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Measure D: The American Beverage Assn has gone beast-mode on sweet little Berkeley

     Despite all of its vivid past history of enlightened protests in favor of Truth and Justice, my home town of Berkeley hasn't been very radical at all lately.  In fact, the city has pretty much turned into a Yuppie paradise and a developer's dream.  But, boy, Berkeley has still managed to somehow put its foot in the lion's mouth! 

    And all that we did to raise this huge nation-wide brouhaha was to simply propose a new November ballot measure wherein a small tax would be levied on sodas -- then suddenly all Hell has broken loose here.  Suddenly we woke up one morning to find that the American Beverage Association was staging a full frontal assault on our town.  

     The ABA has taped "Vote No on Measure D" posters on almost every one of our lamp posts, has hired friendly ladies to hand out "Vote No on Measure D" fliers at our flea market -- and has begun distributing large numbers of "Vote No on Measure D" T-shirts, fliers, billboards, push-polls and mailers that follow us everywhere we go. 

    The American Beverage Association has spent $300,000 on its campaign against Measure D so far -- and apparently has another $200,000 more yet to spend.  Its minions come and bang on our doors.  I dare not even answer the phone any more! 

     The American Beverage Association has gone total beast-mode on Berkeley.

     But none of these posters, fliers, telemarketers, canvassers and/or mailers have ever made any offers to pay the City of Berkeley back for all the money that the City spends annually to run its three excellent medical clinics geared to help Berkeley's obese children with the diabetes that they got from drinking sodas -- or on Berkeley's wonderful dental clinic that helps our residents recover from their soda-loving rotten teeth. 

     In fact, none of these harmful health hazards are even mentioned in the "No on D" posters, fliers, mailers, robo-calls and brochures.  In fact, after being the overwhelmed victim of all this avalanche of corporate information, you might actually start to think that soda is really actually great stuff, is not mostly composed of harmful chemicals, and has no negative effect at all on our health -- or on America's skyrocketing hospital costs either.

     In fact, what all of these fliers, billboards, mailers, robo-calls and posters actually do say only consists of some sort of weak psycho-babble such as "Measure D is not what it seems".  Yeah, well.  What exactly does it seem like?  It seems to me like my town is being invaded by the American Beverage Association.  That's what it seems like to me.

    And it also seems like the American Beverage Association does not have Berkeley residents' best interests at heart either.

     If the ABA had really wanted to defeat Measure D here in Berkeley, it should have just donated its half-million bucks to our city's medical clinics and said, "See!  We know our products cause a whole lot of damage -- and are willing to help to repair it.  We are the good guys!"

PS:  Berkeley needs to get its revenue from somewhere now that Proposition 13 has drained our state coffers and too much of our federal money is now happily winging its way overseas to help bomb countries that most of us can't even find on a map -- let alone even care about one way or the other.  So why not get some revenue from the taxation of sodas -- which, unlike Ukrainians, Syrians and Palestinians, are actually doing us some actual harm?

PPS:   Even though I am basically a hermit by nature, I had finally decided to throw a birthday party for my six-year-old granddaughter Mena -- and thought I would combine it with a worthy cause too:  Stopping diabetes in kids her age.  So I'm going to throw a party in support of "Yes on Measure D" as well as a BD party for Mena.  And all of you are invited to come too (as long as you don't expect me to supply sodas!)

     This party will be held on Sunday October 5, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, at Dreamland Park  And if you can't make it to the party but still want to donate to help keep Big Soda from taking over our town, just click here: 

    And here's a link to an informative article by Robert Reich in defense of Measure D too:

     And if it rains, just bring an umbrella and pretend that you are Mary Poppins!

PPPS:  If First Lady Michelle Obama is truly serious about fighting against obesity in American kids, then she truly needs to come to Berkeley and support Measure D.  We are currently dug in here on the front lines of the battle to prevent childhood obesity -- and if we don't get any desperately-needed reinforcements from you soon, then we will have to retreat.

     First Lady Obama, Measure D is now offering you the perfect chance to actually walk the walk.  Are you really in favor of ending childhood obesity?  Or are you more in favor of never going up against large corporations?

     In fact, First Lady Obama, consider this as your personal invitation to come to my "Yes on Measure D" party on October 5.  And you can take our "Soda Bucket Challenge" too!  And please bring Sasha, Malia and Bo with you as well.  Mena would love that.

PPPPS:  What do you think that the "Soda Bucket Challenge" should be?  To drink a half-pint of healthy carrot juice in less than a minute?  Or maybe even drink a pint of our own locally-bottled kombucha from the Cultured Pickle Shop! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

America, for sale cheap: $2 billion oughta do it

     With election time almost upon us, here's a rather sobering thought:  By spending as little as a mere two billion dollars, anyone with that amount of money can now afford to buy an entire American election -- Congress, the White House, governorships and all.

    "But Jane," you might ask, "why would anyone even want to do that?"  Why?  Just look at all the immense amount of loot you can score with just this tiny investment.  Access to national park land, bank deregulation, profits from weapons production, corporate monopoly status, pro-pollution laws, judges' rulings in your favor...need I go on?

     For instance, eleven trillion dollars has been recently spent on escalating and pursuing fake wars.  So if you "invest" in American elections and still only receive, say, just ten percent of those eleven trillion singles for your weapons-manufacturing services or whatever the heck else companies like Halliburton do, you still have just grown your measly two-billion-buck investment at least a thousand times over.  Forever War really pays off!

    Or if you are guys like Obama, Bush and Cheney -- and can't resist playing with war toys?  Then you get to buy your very own wars!  Lots and lots of wars.  You get to play with actual life-sized GI Joe dolls and call yourself "Commander in Chief".  You get to bomb Libya and Ukraine and Iraq and Syria.  What fun!  Two billion dollars can buy you a hecka lot of war toys -- eleven trillion dollars worth to be exact.

     "Who's your daddy, ISIS?"

    Or let's say that your net worth is approximately 100 billion dollars, like, say, the Koch brothers' worth is.  You spend less than three percent of that money on buying elections -- and voila!  You too get over a thousand percent return on every dollar you spend.  What kind of crazy-good investment is that!

    Or let's say you are a member of the notorious WalMart family, worth hundreds of billions of dollars.  You spend just a few paltry billion on election buyouts -- and suddenly us taxpayers are paying for all of your employees' healthcare.  And we're throwing food stamps into the bargain too.  Brilliant idea!

     Or what if you own a giant coal company, oil company, car company, power company or some other major polluter?  Common sense tells us voters that we need to cut down on polluting the atmosphere so as to avoid drastic climate change that even now threatens to kill off the whole human race.

     We could have been using solar power all this time for instance -- and also cleaned up our rivers and even eliminated the need for fossil fuel.  But no.  For a few (billion) dollars more at election time, you can potentially doom the entire human race.  America, are we having fun yet?    

   Or let's say for instance that you are AIPAC, that Israeli political action committee.  Spend just two billion dollars to buy every election in America -- up to and including the dog catcher?  What a deal!  And since Israel is already receiving three billion dollars every year from America, guaranteed, voted by Congress, you don't even have to risk using your own moolah.  You can use ours.  Fabulous investment.

     Plus you also get permission to bomb Gaza, take over the West Bank, design America's stupid "Bomb Syria" policy, have red-carpet access to the entire Middle East (as in red carpets of blood) and get away with committing all kinds of other violations of the Nuremberg precedents and Geneva war crime conventions too.

     According to Middle East expert Paul Larudee, "Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu infamously bragged that 'America is a thing you can move very easily'."  Apparently all you need is just two billion bucks.  Hell, Attila the Hun never even had that kind of power.  Or even Josef Stalin.  All he ever got out his American investments was the freaking Cold War. 

     But don't worry, Josef!  The Cold War is about to heat up again, thanks to AIPAC.  Hell, now AIPAC is even an unofficial member of NATO (and apparently its most influential member too).  And, as such, Israeli war hawks seem hell-bent on fomenting World War III.  Does the American public really want to go there?  I think not.

     Or you could invest your capital in running America's prison-industrial complex?  Just think of all the cheap labor you'll get!  For much less than two billion in folding money, you don't even have to ship your goods over from China any more.  Plus you get to have them stamped "Made in America" too.  Definitely a win-win for you.

    Or what if you are Monsanto or Big Pharma or Bank of America or CitiCorp or Goldman Sachs or General Electric?  For far less than two billion dollars, you can get rid of unions, create your own monopolies, write your own "regulations", appoint your own "regulators" and rake in the profits.  And if you are Big Media, our publicly-owned airwaves now belong to you.  Think Rupert Murdock.  Or net neutrality up in smoke.  Think AT&T.  Boo-yah!

     Yep, America is for sale for really cheap these days.  The total assets of the United States of America is currently 188 trillion dollars.  And just think.  For just a mere two billion simoleons, all that can be yours!  Buy a little false advertizing, do a bit of voter-suppression, get your hands on a few electronic voting machines, tell a few lies on Fox News and CNN and, boom shake the room, you can own all of that.  All $188,000,000,000,000.00 worth.  "Worth playing for?"  Yeah.

    My country these days has become like some aging cheap whore, selling herself on street corners to the first two-bit John who comes along and offers her a couple of dollars. 

     America these days isn't even a high-priced call girl any more.

Monday, September 08, 2014

A caterpillar's life-cycle: How the American war machine gets its $$$$

    Back when we took biology classes in high school, we all studied the life-cycle of the caterpillar, right?  Where it went from being a caterpillar to spinning a cocoon to becoming a butterfly to laying its eggs to hatching back into a caterpillar again, right?

    I'm thinking that this life-cycle is rather similar to the life-cycle of Wall Street & War Street's huge, scary war machine -- which started out being mostly financed by American taxpayers, right?  But then as the "world's greatest super-power" began to grow and grow, its insatiable appetite for more and more weaponization began to grow and grow too -- and it started to need a whole big bunch of more "lettuce" to pay for these weapons as well.

    And so even though the huge amount of taxes paid by our parents and grandparents had clearly been enough to keep the American armies of World War II afloat, the American military-industrial complex of the 21st century really couldn't just rely on just us lowly taxpayers to keep their huge new American "peace-keeping" forces supplied -- especially with so many of us now not even having any more income left to tax

     There was definitely no longer enough "lettuce" left in the United States to keep this big caterpillar fed, right?

    So how is Wall Street & War Street going to continue to feed its insatiable appetite?  By expanding its reach, right?  By conquering other countries and then getting these new vassals to finance their own destruction -- and to also finance the American weapons machine as well.  Whew!  Bad news for the conquered countries -- but good news for American taxpayers.  We don't get stuck with the bill at the end of the meal.  Maybe.

    And so Africa is forced to pay for its own colonization.  And the Middle East is forced to pay for its own colonization.  And Europe is forced to pay for its own colonization.  And so on and so forth.  You get the idea, right?

    So then the big fat happy American war machine caterpillar finally begins spinning its cocoon.  And soon that part of its life-cycle is accomplished, thanks to tanks and guns and NATO and the World Bank and the IMF.

    And then what happens next?  Out pops a big beautiful butterfly, right?  Well, not exactly.  The butterfly then dies in the cocoon?  Not that either.  What actually happens next is that the butterfly goes on to lay even more eggs -- but they are eggs of destruction, and soon the whole world will have been eaten up by its infinite number of baby vassals and baby wars, gobbling up everything in sight.

     Just look what happened to the American war machine's babies in Ukraine.  That whole country is now toast after it let the Iron Butterfly in.  And its baby, Israel?  Almost every "gardener" in the world hates Israel now -- because it has become yet another caterpillar pest, eating up everything in sight.

     And just look at those ISIS "rebels" in Syria that the American war machine has sponsored, supported, encouraged and trained.  John McCain even had his photo taken with some of these guys.

     According to Rick Sterling, writing in Counterpunch, "
The names of James Foley and Steven Sotloff can be added to those of about 200,000 Syrians who have died as a direct consequence of US policy of regime change by proxy war in Syria."     

And according to journalist Thierry Meyssan, "We know from the British news agency Reuters that, in January 2014, a secret session of Congress voted financing and arming the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, and Al-Nosra Front of the Islamic Emirate until September 30, 2014...[and] finally, in mid-February, a two-day seminar at the US National Security Council was attended by heads of allied secret services involved in Syria, definitely to prepare the EIS offensive in Iraq."
     But now America's war machine is currently bombing the crap out of ISIS, its own baby.  Eating it alive too.  What's with that?

    Nigeria thought it could cuddle up to this butterfly mother too.  Well, Nigeria's oil is now paying for America's endless wars.  And so is Iraq's oil.  And Syria's oil.  And Libya's.  Libyan "rebel" leaders thought they could kiss up to its mother as well -- and now they also have had their heads bitten off by good old Mom.

     And Saudi Arabia had better watch out.  It is next.  That's all I gotta say about that.

    I guess that the only difference between the life-cycle of the caterpillar and the life-cycle of the American war machine is that caterpillars turn into butterflies, go on to lay more eggs and so the cycle continues -- whereas the American war machine just eats its young. 

Calling it treason: When American leaders steal over 11 trillion dollars from US taxpayers

     "None dare call it treason," intoned various Joe McCarthy supporters back in the 1950s.  But I'm daring to call it treason now -- when the very people that Americans elect and trust set about to deliberately and purposely steal all our money so they can run a serial-killer torture chamber in our basement. 

      What red-blooded decent patriotic American has ever said, "Gee, I want to spend my tax money on Abu Ghraib and blowing up women and children and 'full spectrum dominance' rather than infrastructure and schools!"  But yet that is where our money is now going.  In my book, that is treason.

     People are starving on the mean streets of New York City and Houston and Miami so that others can afford to bomb women and children in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Ukraine.  Sounds like treason to me.

     We Americans have neglected our own country for far too long.  And if we ourselves don't stop the American military-industrial complex's war machine, then we too should be tried for treason and sent to jail for forsaking the precious values of freedom and equality that this country was founded upon. 

     Us.  Off to jail too -- along with the faceless serial-killer treasonous ogres in Washington who hide behind their benevolent Jason-like masks of Patriotism and War.