Friday, July 14, 2017

Clear & Present: SaudiGate, IsraelGate, Nixon & Reagan

     I've got some good news and some bad news. 

     The good news is that, for at least the next few months, several million Americans will live a little bit longer because they will still have affordable healthcare.  Even though it's not single-payer healthcare (which could save millions more American lives and cost billions of dollars less), it's still better than Trump-Ryan-McConnell-Don't-Care by a long shot.  But then this isn't really news at all, right?  Just the same old story of our corporate-sponsored government vs. what Jesus would have done.  Boring.  Nothing to see here, folks.  Let's move on.

     The bad news is that I just got into a big fight with a friend of mine over RussiaGate.

     "The Trumps should be arrested," my friend shouted at me, "for using Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election!"

     "But what about the Clintons and their use of the Saudis and Israelis to influence the 2016 election?" I replied.

     "But that's completely different." 

      Is it now?  In exactly what way?  Israelis have used the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to rule our elections with an iron hand for the past four decades, and the Saudis have used the Clinton Foundation to influence our elections by donating all kinds of $$$$ to it.  But nobody appears to be whining their little hearts out about that kind of stuff.

      "Yeah, but..." countered my friend.  "Both AIPAC and the Clinton Foundation are run by Americans, not foreign nationals."  And that makes it okay?  Americans who are unregistered agents of foreign countries are supposed to declare themselves according to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Section 22 et seq.  Or perhaps these Americans are just committing treason?   

     Is my friend really actually trying to tell me that, "Treason is okay -- just as long as it doesn't involve Russia...." 

     Then I replied, "But AIPAC and Israel have tried to influence the outcome of almost every single American federal election in the past 50 years -- and in the past few decades, almost no politician has been sent to Washington without AIPAC's stamp of approval.  Just ask former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney about that one."  Not to mention Israel's grim influence in attempting to sink the USS Liberty 50 years ago today.

      "But what about Barbara Lee?" answered my friend.  Geez Louise.  Bad example.  Rep. Lee is what we call a PEP -- Progressive Except for Palestine.  In America, PEPs are elected all the time.  Even Al Franken and Bernie Sanders are PEPs.  But you never ever hear of any PER (Progressive Except for Russia) getting elected.  In fact, according to spell-check, that isn't even a word.

     Nobody on The Hill dares to cross Israel or the Saudis -- for fear of not getting re-elected.  And yet almost everybody on The Hill feels free to bad-mouth Russia.  I rest my case.

PS:  No, wait.  I don't rest my case either.  Have you ever gotten yourself into a debate and then gone home and told yourself, "Good grief, I shoulda said this..."  Well.  Perhaps what I should have also said to my friend is, "Donald Jr. talked with some Russian attorney?  HELL, REAGAN KEPT AMERICANS HOSTAGE IN TEHRAN for months in order to get elected -- and later even illegally sold weapons to Iran during the Iran-Contra scandal when our ally Iraq was at 'war' with Iran.  But nobody complained about that.  You never heard of ReaganGate.  Of course you didn't."

     Not to mention that Nixon totally screwed the Paris peace talks with Vietnam in order to get elected, causing the grim and unnecessary deaths of hundreds of American soldiers.  Where's the anger about that?  Plus the Bushes, the Clintons, Obama, etc. all regularly chatted it up with Saudi princes and Israeli neo-colonialists in order to get elected too.  Hypocrites.  All of them." syria-a-civil-war-supported- by-washington-and-its-allies- us-wants-to-partition-and- reconfigure-the-middle-east/ 5598841

     And, duh, I also should have told my friend about how I myself have lived through the grim and useless 1950s First Cold War, deliberately started by the Dulles brothers -- and that it was a miserable, scary, McCarthyism-laden time that I wouldn't wish on a dog.  And that Putin is no Stalin.  And that Trump, Netanyahu, Prince What's-his-Name and Mitch McConnell are not John and Bobby Kennedy either.

Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books! 

     Plus here's a sneak preview of my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus," hopefully coming out by the end of 2017:

Friday, July 07, 2017

America supplies the Taliban's weapons? What!

     For the last 16 (sixteen) long miserable years, America has been at war with the Taliban in Afghanistan, right?  And so I'm starting to feel rather foolish because, after all these 16 (sixteen) long miserable years, I'm only now just  beginning to ask myself, "Who the freak is financing the Taliban?  And who is supplying all their weapons?"  

     And don't try to tell me that the Talibs are still using those rusty old guns and RPGs that the Soviets left lying around in the 1980s or the ones that the Americans used to arm bin Laden and al Qaeda back in the 1990s.  That is so yesterday.  Let's move on.

     Even an American fourth-grader could eventually have figured this out -- that the Taliban have just got to be using sophisticated and up-to-date weaponry.  Why?  Because they are still in the mix -- even after 16 (sixteen) long miserable years of battling America, Canada, Europe, NATO, the UN, whatever.  The most weaponized countries in the world have skin in this game -- and yet they are still losing this "war".

     For instance, just look at Palestine.  Palestinians use rocks and stones and the occasional bottle-rocket in order to defend themselves from their brutal occupiers who use the most advanced arsenal there is.  Plus the IDF now claims that Palestinians have also escalated their weapons arsenal to knives but those are probably just throw-downs.  Perhaps the Palestinians use knives.  Perhaps not.  But see how far stone-age weaponry has gotten them -- they basically live in concentration camps.  Their rocks (and even knives) are a joke. 

     And don't even get me started on the Yemenis -- who appear to be fighting off the entire Saudi air force, army and killer drones only by the grace of slingshots and the willingness to become corpses rather than submit to tyranny.  "Give me liberty or give me death!" they cry from behind their pea-shooters and BB guns.

     So.  I wrote to a friend of mine who works for the Afghan government and asked her, "Who finances the Taliban and supplies them with weapons?  Surely they aren't manufacturing RPGs inside their caves?"  Here is her answer.

     "Yes, you are correct to ask this.  The continued persistence of the Taliban is really important, a question that has been sitting out there in plain sight that American media and scholars tend not to ask.  This is not just a question of financing; but also the fact that Americans have probably killed more Taliban insurgents since 2001 than the total number of Taliban in 2001.

     "Funding seems to come from two sources.  First, the opium trade.  Last I checked, Helmand Province had gone from negligible production before 2001 to producing 70% of the world's opium by 2010.

     "The second major source of funding is charitable organizations in the Gulf, channeled through Pakistan and contributed to by Pakistan.  Not sure of the proportion of this funding compared to the narcotics trade.  Yep.  Our 'allies' in the Gulf seem to be major supporters of the Taliban."

     What?  The Taliban buys arms with money from opium sales?  And who, exactly, buys up most of their opium?  Americans do, yeah duh.  But let's move on.  Again.  

     The Gulf States supply the Taliban's weapons?  And where exactly do the Saudis and them even get any weapons to supply the Taliban with?  Hell, even I know the answer to that one.  From America!

     What the freak do you think that the Saudis are going to do with all the 130 billion dollars worth of weapons that America just contracted to sell them?  Give them out as party favors at weddings?  Yeah right.

PS:  This constant river of weapons sales to both sides of the Afghan conflict is really working out well for US weapons manufacturers, ya think?  They sell to the Taliban and they also sell to the Marines.  What could be a better way to turn a profit?  This is almost exactly the same deal that the weapons manufacturers had going for themselves during the Iran-Iraq "war".  They sold weapons to the Pentagon who sold or gave them to their buddy Saddam Hussein -- and then American entrepreneurs turned around and sold weapons to Iran too.  Remember Ollie North and the Iran-Contra scandal?  "It's just business."

      These weapons manufacturers really need to be put in check before even more US Marines get murdered.

PPS:  America's current fairy-tale-generating propaganda machine has just gotten even the freaking NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC involved in its evil schemes to swamp us with even more blatant advertisements for "war".  WMD consumerism?  Exactly how many more deadly weapons do we need? 

     How many deadly weapons does it take to destroy the entire Earth?  To slaughter all seven billion of us humans?  Apparently we still don't have enough WMDs.  Apparently we gotta keep making (and using) even more and more!  And as the flood of propaganda lies about Syria continue to drown us, even the freaking National Geographic has jumped into the lucrative business of lying.  Yikes!

Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books! 

     Plus here's a sneak preview of my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus," hopefully coming out by the end of 2017:

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Carpetbagger:  What I resent most about Donald Trump

    Could it be Trump's weird bad-hair-day approach to grooming that I resent most?  No, not really.  He's actually been getting his hair to behave itself lately.

     Is it that The Donald is an even worse president than George W. Bush?  Nah, it's not that -- even though Trump seems to be trying really hard to be the absolute worst American president ev-ah.  But at least DJT actually did get legally elected (sort of, if you ignore our country's new Jim Crow voting laws, that electoral college nonsense, blatant electronic vote tampering and Citizens United).  Bush definitely did not get elected.  GWB bought the 2000 election straight up.

     Is it because Trump (like Johnson, Bush, Clinton, Bush 2, Reagan and Obama) lied us into yet another phony act of "war"?  Nope, that seems to be what American presidents do these days -- make sure that weapons contractors (not us) get all the taxpayers' money.  It's part of the job description as far as I can tell.

     Is it because Trump lies through his teeth about almost everything else?  No, almost all politicians lie through their teeth -- with the possible exception of PEP Senator Al Franken (please read his new book "Giant of the Senate").  I've come to expect constant waterfalls of lies from DC and try to work around them.

     Is it because Trump kisses the arse of the evil Deep State?  Nope, almost everyone in Washington does that (see below regarding HRC).  Why just single out Trump?

     Is it because Trump promised us that he would end the freaking illegal and criminal "war" on Syria?  That he even pinky-swore that he would stop the Pentagon and CIA's traitorous funneling of blood money to ISIS and al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq -- but yet under Trump's watch there are still blatant American ratlines to these disgusting terrorist groups who only Syria's President Assad and the Russians are actually fighting against?  No.  Trump lied and I fell for it.  That one's on me.

     Is it because Trump generates hate between Americans everywhere he goes, blaming immigrants and Blacks and Muslims for all the troubles that the Deep State has systematically caused?  Uh-uh.  Wall Street and War Street have been screwing Americans for decades, centuries even.  If Americans are still falling for this shite, it's not Trump's fault.  This one's on the Americans who elected him.  To get at the real truth, all Americans have to do is just occasionally read my blog!

     Is it because Trump has shamelessly disrespected the skilled and vital immigrant labor force that is currently re-building America in the 21st century and doing it under almost slave-labor conditions -- in the same manner that African slaves built America in the 18th century, and that 19th-century America was built by cheap labor supplied by Chinese coolies, immigrants from impoverished European serf classes and America's own exploited and wage-enslaved white factory workers and miners?  Well, that too -- but this isn't the main Trump yucky grossness that I resent.

    No, what I really resent about Trump is that he's always asking his grassroots base for money -- sending out several lie-filled emails a day, trying to nickel-and-dime America's poor sweet misguided grandmas and grandpas to death.  Trump always makes it sound like a national emergency if Junior doesn't cough up his lunch money for Trump.

     That's what irritates me most. 

     Isn't it enough that Trump is stripping his grassroots base of their medical care, their jobs, their emergency back-up food supplies, their chance at a good education, their soldier-boy sons (who will now come back in a box after fighting his senseless "wars" for him), their chances of having a real home and all their hopes of becoming part of the middle-class American Dream?  Now Trump's going after their life-savings too?

     Because so many of Trump's supporters come from the Red-State South, one would think that his supporters in those states -- with their intense love of dwelling on the past -- would be able to immediately spot a Northern carpetbagger when they see one.  But apparently not.

     And speaking of Northerners, here's the next episode of my recent adventure in New York City, wherein Hillary Clinton tells all.  But what I don't understand is why Red-State voters recognize Clinton as the carpetbagger that she is at heart -- but don't seem to catch on that Donald Trump is one too.  Huh?

 New York City, Day Three, Part Two:   Here's one of my favorite things to do in NYC -- go eat rice pudding at B&H Dairy on Second Avenue.  Met a friend there and we talked.  The 14th Street cross-town bus took forever to get there.  I could have walked faster.  At B&H, I told my friend about all the latest soap opera back in Berkeley and she caught me up on Lower East Side news.

     "There's a lot of construction going on here in Manhattan right now," she said, "and also all over the world.  There's a lot of money-laundering out there apparently and building construction is the best way to do it.  Even in Ramallah, buildings are going up like crazy."  Even in Berkeley.  10,000 units of housing.  They build it and then sell it off to the Saudis or else to the Chinese."  I just gotta write a blog post about that!

     My friend looked great by the way.  What's her secret?

     "There was a big explosion next to the B&H last year and B&H was shut down as a result.  The whole neighborhood rallied, even started a Go-Fund-Me site and saved B&H!"  So there I was, still eating B&H rice pudding thanks to my friend and the neighborhoodThe owners needed the money to rewire their gas lines before they could reopen.

     Then I dealt with the subway and transferred two times without getting lost.  Boo-yah!  Aster Place to 14th Street to 34th Street and Eighth Avenue. 

     Next?  A panel discussion at the Book Expo on how to sell one's book to Hollywood.  I asked them, "How do I sell my book to Studio Ghibli in Japan?"  Nobody on the panel even knew who Studio Ghibli was.  Humph. 

      Now I'm waiting in line with the rest of the media to get into see Hillary Rodham Clinton.  There are about 50 of us.  We've already been sniffed by bomb-sniffing dogs.  Now it's just wait and see.  There are hundreds of people here who actually came (and actually paid good money) to see Killery explain all those dead babies who were murdered on her watch.  Gross.  But I'm not going to say anything -- at least not until I get home to blog my heart out.  Trump may be hitting America over the head with a hammer -- but Hillary and her Deep State friends would have us die slowly by a thousand (budget) cuts. 

     Someone just handed me a glass of white wine.  I wonder if they will serve food.  I wonder if there are any press people here that I know.  Probably not.  I wonder if the Secret Service is here too.  And then the crowd starts moving and I'm inside the auditorium, in the front but off to the side.  No food. 

     Tomorrow Senator Al Franken is going to speak.  Should I get up early enough to go to the children's authors' breakfast too?  Nah.  No free food that I can eat. 

     Carolyn Reedy of Simon and Schuster was the introducer.  "She's a major best-selling author.  She's published all five of her books with us -- and a new one is coming soon.  Cheryl Strayed, an author in her own right, will interview her.  Remember that 65,000,000 people voted for Hillary Clinton and if only a small percentage of those buy her book…." 

     HRC came out.  She got an actual standing ovation -- except for from me.  "Do you know how much we love you?"  Not me.  Not after the slaughter in Libya and Syria.  She talked about the re-publications of "It Takes a Village". 

     "I never know what they are attacking me for," regarding the Republicans.  Her other new book is "a personal deep experience and catharsis".  It's a book of sayings and quotations.  "People shared their own stories with me.  Moments when people grab your hand and tell you their stories.  That was incredibly meaningful to me."  Did Kaddafi grab your hand and tell you his story before you murdered him?  "The courage to get back up when you've been knocked down.  It was incredibly painful."  The book doesn't have a title yet. 

     "Writing it was cathartic.  Resilience is a great gift."  Tell that to the Syrians, why don't you?  "Whatever gives you that faith to keep going.  The extraordinary capacity to keep going."  Like the dead people in Libya, Ukraine, Syria, etc. all have? 

      "One person told me how he was struck down by the landing gear of the plane on 9-11."  And lived to tell about it?  And why exactly was the landing gear down?  "There are challenges every step of the way.  A lot are rooted in family and friends but a lot is my own determination and resilience.  One foot in front of another.  For the part that is larger than myself.  I work in the little farmhouse we have."  You mean the 5,600-square-foot 2.5 million-dollar cottage with the swimming pool and guest house on acres of land just outside of Brooklyn? 

     She's going a lot farther in her new book than she had.  "This is my truth, no matter what others say.  How I saw it, felt and thought.  You cannot make up what happened!  This is how I experienced it.  Pulling the curtain back on running for president.  You will find out." She also said something about America's need to come to grips with the future.  I definitely agree with her on that one. 

     The hardest part for HRC was understanding what she didn't do well or what would have worked better.  "The more you understand what happened, the more we understand what we need to know.  Russia.  Russia's interference.  I am worried about my country.  The way this White House is behaving is deeply troubling.  The lies.  What happened that was totally unprecedented."  The foreign country that actually interfered in our elections?  What about Israel and Saudi Arabia?  Or the lies she told about Libya?  Gag me with a spoon.  If she hadn't lied and murdered her way through the world as Secretary of State, then perhaps people would have voted for her instead of Bernie or The Donald or Jill Stein.  But then that's just me. 

     "I'm fine as a person after this election but I'm worried as an American.  Being an American was important when I was growing up.  It was an open time.  The world was out there waiting for us."  She then names Kennedy, Eisenhower.  "That's how we were raised.  And I always loved reading.  Nancy Drew, a girl who thought for herself."  Literature as inspiration and also distraction.  She likes murder mysteries too so she can't be all bad. 

     Hope?  Is she hopeful?  Yes, but hope needs to be linked to strategy, kindness.  She was deeply troubled by the white racist in Portland -- breaking through the veneer of civilization.  A level of behavior should be expected of everyone.  To unleash a level of vitriol is dangerous -- and yet that's exactly what she did with regard to Russia, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, etc. 

      "As Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady, I've traveled and it doesn't take much to rip off the level of civilization.  I've seen it in Bosnia and Rwanda.  Find your role.  Get involved.  People of reason -- there's been a deliberate assault on Truth and Reason." God I wish she'd shut up. 

     Advice to the first woman president?  "Read my book!  Plus our system is the most difficult in the world.  We don't have a parliamentary system where peers, colleagues and constituents know you first.  Here you have to raise a lot of money and run a gauntlet.  It's the hardest job in the world -- at least it used to be."  Plus women also have the double standard.  I've experienced it." 

     She is now reading "Jersey Brothers" which has authentic dialogue.  And she loves independent booksellers.  Of course she does.  She's talking to an audience full of them.  Then she made some snarky remarks about Trump and then asked "How can we be kinder?"  Stop bombing countries all over the world?  "We are now very divided in America, harder to cross over between each side, the Big Sort.  Take it out of politics and put it in the realm of citizenship.  Fund more opportunities for conversations like this one." 

     Then she stated that she was going to do everything she could to support The Resistance, from the ground level up.  School boards, county commissions, etc.  "I'm going to be active.  That's who I am.  That's my DNA."  Standing ovation, Queen Elizabeth wave. 

     Then I had a nice walk home to The Jane hotel, ate take-away dinner at the corner deli, showered, popped into bed, watched TV and read some more of Colin Cotterill's new book.

Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books! 

     Plus here's a sneak preview of my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus," hopefully coming out by the end of 2017: