Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Too bad that Pixar didn't also have us meet "Trust"

    For Fathers Day, I wanted to take my son to see "Inside Out," a new animated movie by Pixar, but he ended up seeing "The Wolfpack" instead -- a film about a whole different style of fathering altogether.  

     But I still wanna go see "Inside Out".  Its main plot revolves around meeting some of the various emotions that live inside of our brains, such as "Anger" and "Sadness".

     But according to a book I'm currently reading by anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, one of our most important human emotions is trust.  I wish that Pixar had introduced us to "Trust" as well.

    "If a small baby doesn't feel that it can trust, specifically that it can trust having some modicum of control over its own situation, then it might even die," to paraphrase Bateson.  Along with the ability to learn to walk and talk and develop teeth, apparently babies also need to learn to develop trust too -- and if they don't, life can become unbearable for them.  And we adults also need to learn to meet "Trust" as well.

     But how in the world do we actually go about meeting this actual "Trust" person ourselves?  We do it by putting ourselves into trusting situations and then taking careful notes on who passes our trust tests -- and who fails.

     For instance, would you ever trust a mother who, like that bizarre mom in "Game of Thrones," stood by and watched her own daughter getting burned at the stake -- only protesting when it was obviously Too Late?

     And would you ever trust a government that continually sells out "We the people" to Wall Street and War Street at every chance that it gets?  When it comes to trusting our government's current warriors and cavaliers in DC, I would much sooner trust Lebron James and Seth Curry.

     If you were an African-American, who would you trust?  Would you trust your local trigger-happy police?  Would you trust the haters who demand that the Confederate flag, clearly used by them as a symbol of racism, be flown over your state capitol?  According at a recent civil rights report published in China, "Cops killing African-Americans is practically a norm in the US".  And then also add no jobs, sub-par schools and extensive social ostracization to that toxic mix.  Trust results from all this?  Highly unlikely.

     Will Americans ever again be able trust our mainstream media to tell the truth after WikiLeaks just exposed that Saudi Arabia has been slipping them payola for years now in order to get the MSM to leave the House of Saud's name out of the news, including but not limited to its major role in such events as 9-11, the war on Iraq and creating ISIS -- as well as the celebration of its 100th beheading this year?

     Would you ever be able to trust Congress and Obama again after they worked so hard to shove that horrendous TTP trade agreement down our throats like some porn movie featurette -- just to make corporate billionaires get even richer than they are right now?

     How can we possibly trust Monsanto after it has blatantly chosen profits from GMO-bred Frankenstein plants and animals over us -- like we were some orphan step-child they are forced to put up with?

      And how can we even think about ever trusting Israel, our government's major ally in the Middle East, when all that the neo-colonialists who run Israel with an iron hand want to do is to stir up trouble in the region so that we taxpayers can come to their rescue?  I was in Sweida, in Syria, last year and, trust me, the Syrians trust President Assad a lot more than they trust ISIS's BFF Israel.

    And what about our very own Supreme Court?  Anton Scalia?  We are supposed to actually trust this man?  Hardly.  Not after he gleefully sold out American voters in favor of huge corporations with regard to Citizens United.  Seth and Lebron have much better judgment than Scalia does.  Heck, even Curry's two-year-old daughter would have better judgment than that.

    Trusting that climate change isn't really real, are we?  Good luck with that one.  With American war hawks all practically wetting their pants at a chance to attack Russia through Ukraine, and with Turkey, the Saudis, Israel and the US neo-colonialists just dying to do to Syria and Yemen what they did to Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq, then there is only one thing we can truly trust in here -- that "war" is gonna release so much carbon dioxide that it's gonna cause climate change on steroids.  And that we're soon gonna meet a whole new kind of "I can't breathe."

    And can we even trust the Rule of Law here in America?  Or the FBI or the IRS or even the freaking building codes after that balcony in a relatively new building here in Berkeley just fell down? 

     Modern American government has no transparency these days.  No one knows where our money goes.  The CIA is a black hole and so is the Pentagon, NSA, NATO, Congress, etc.  And who even knows what the White House is up to, let alone the Federal Reserve.  Countries that have no transparency are clearly on the road to dictatorship -- and who the freak can trust dictators?  Talk about your lack of control!

     The moral here?  That Americans also need to develop trust in their government if we are ever going to grow up and "meet Trust" in ourselves.  And our government needs to start acting a hecka lot more trustworthy too.

PS:  And speaking of books (Don't you just love to read!), I'd like to recommend one.   Along with all the usual murder mysteries that I love such as "Last of the Independents" and "As the Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust," my summer reading also includes a book called "Chief Complaint:  A Country Doctor's Tales of Life in Galilee". 

      "Chief Complaint" is a wonderful compilation of what small-town life was like in Palestine both before and after Israeli neo-colonialists killed off thousands of Palestinians, forced a million of them off their land, seized their property and lost their trust.  It's a delightful read, a true anthropology of what village life was and is like for Palestinians in Galilee -- with all its warts and merits included.

Photo is of me and Ghost back in 1963, back when I still had a little bit of trust left 
(as much trust as a Beatnik could have that is -- after Hiroshima, HUAC and the beginnings of Vietnam where my neighbor's son was an "adviser" even back then)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Berkeley balcony collapse update: 

     I just was over at Library Gardens and talked with a homeless person who heard the screams.  So sad.  But the saddest thing of all is the first word that was screamed out by the first young man who fell.   "Fuck!" 

    That's probably the first thing any of us would have said if we had suddenly felt a balcony collapsing beneath us four stories up.

     I also find it interesting that BlackRock, the same company that owns Library Gardens, is also trying to screw over our veterans. 

Leonard & Mumia: If only they'd had iPhones back then!

    "Why can't we all just get along?" asked Rodney King back in 1991, after he had been savagely beaten by four Los Angeles cops.  That's a really good question, Rodney.  But an even better question might be, "Why wasn't Rodney King thrown in jail forever with no hope of parole -- like what happened to Mumia Abu-Jamal?"

     Quick question, quick answer -- someone had a videotape recorder up and running on the day that King was being beaten so badly.   No one had a videotape recorder up and running back in Mumia's day.

    So now let's go forward in our time machine, from 1991 to the present.  Now everyone has a video camera on their iPhone, and not just some clunky old video camera that is impossible to haul around in your back pocket or purse.  And now a whole big bunch of police malfeasance is being caught on tape -- daily.  Everyone who witnesses police brutality can now post it on YouTube.  Police all across the nation now have nowhere to hide.

     But now let's go backwards in our time machine again -- and this time let's take our iPhones with us.  What would we see?  What else could we videotape and upload on YouTube from back in the day? 

     Would we catch the FBI unlawfully attacking innocent Native Americans in their home and then forcing witnesses to give false testimony against Leonard Peltier, J. Edgar Hoover style?

     Would we see Mumia Abu-Jamal being framed for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer even though evidence points to Kenneth Freeman having done the shooting and that Freeman was later found naked, handcuffed, beaten and dead?  What do you want to bet that we would?
     Or what if bystanders had all gleefully pulled out their iPhones and taped the real killer in the murder of Caroline Olsen?  Then Geronimo Pratt, who had been falsely charged by COINTELPRO, wouldn't have had to spend 27 years of his life in jail before his conviction was overturned.

     And what if....  "Don't go there, Jane!"  Sorry, guys, I just gotta go there.  What if everyone had iPhones on the Grassy Knoll back in 1963 and also took videos of what Abraham Zapruder's home camera has shown us -- only in more detail?  Would Lee Harvey Oswald still be the lone patsy?  I bet not.  My best bet would be that heads in the CIA would have rolled.

     But, alas for Wall Street and War Street and Fox News (but lucky for us), there are now over 700 million iPhones loose on the world -- and, all over the world, they are telling us what is really happening instead of what corporate propaganda sorely wishes that we would believe.  

      Police in America can no longer get away with carte blanche brutality.

      We now know that Flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine by the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev.

     ISIS and Al Qaeda are now in possession of over 2,300 American Humvees -- especially after American satellites just happened to fail to notice that thousands of ISIS and Al Qaeda fighters were crossing open deserts in Toyota trucks after having been thrown out of Syria by President Assad, who is currently hated by Turkey, the Saudis, Israel and the US for taking his courageous stand against ISIS and Al Qaeda, War Street's new BFFs.  Plus a lot of this American-backed craziness in the Middle East has actually been captured by teams of ISIS bad guys on their iPhones and uploaded to FaceBook -- which is completely and totally weird!

      You don't believe that American, Saudi, Turkish and Israeli neo-colonialists are backing, financing and supporting ISIS?  Here are just a handful of the many, many links that prove my case -- and I'm sure you will find some iPhone snapshots in this mix as well.

     Damn those traitorous American bastards to hell who are funding and supplying ISIS with weapons!  ISIS just attacked a school in Aleppo.  Ambulances were heard carrying suffering children away to hospitals for over four hours.  And we can now watch this carnage close up -- taken on the iPhones of the families and doctors of these children.  Why aren't Americans stopping this!

     And as for Monsanto, Scalia, Obama, Congress and the Koch brothers, we also know what you did last summer -- thanks to Apple and Steve Jobs. 

    But why stop here now that we've got our time machine out?  Let's take this analogy even further.  Holy sheep dookie!  Just imagine! 

     What if....  What if there had been iPhones back in the days of Jesus, Moses and Mohammed?  And we could all actually listen in on what these three amazing men actually said?  Then all of those phony Christians, Jews and Muslims in Washington, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia today would be immediately exposed for what they really are:  Just sleazy neo-colonialist hypocrites in disguise.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Only the strong survive: How Big Pharma & war cull the herd

     Even as an old man, my father was as strong as an ox and built a log cabin from scratch with his bare hands when he was 70 years old.  But then he suffered a heart attack.  And his doctor put him on all kinds of medications, at least ten pills a day.  And a year later he had shrunk from standing over six feet tall to being only 5' 7" -- and from weighing 200 pounds to weighing only 125.  And a month after that he was dead.  Geez Louise!  What the freak was in those pills anyway?  Couldn't he have just eaten more bananas instead?

     And, yes, I really am aware that modern medicine does save a whole bunch of lives.  And, yes, I do watch Gray's Anatomy and know that modern medicine can and does perform miracles.  But still.  106,00 Americans a year die from "adverse drug reactions".  Side effects, side effects, side effects -- just like the ads on TV say. 

     And I used to really resent Big Pharma for that -- especially when my own father was one of those statistics.

     And I also used to really hate the idea that American children are being overdosed on vaccines too.  Our kids will be given 71 different batches of vaccinations before they reach age 17 -- and 26 of these vaccines will be given to babies under one and a half years of age.  But it's not the vaccines themselves that I used to resent.  Hell, bring them on -- in the hundreds if that's what it takes to save little kids' lives.

    It is the fillers, additives and preservatives such as mercury, formaldehyde, MSG, detergents, aluminum and yellow dye #6 that make up approximately 99.99% of each shot that I used to hate.  I used to really hate that Big Pharma would shoot all that junk into the bloodstreams of our very own little darlings -- just to save a buck on extending their drugs' shelf-life.  

     Apparently there are now a few drug-company start-ups working on creating DNA-based vaccines that no longer need fillers.  Others are working on vaccine-based "tattoos" that don't need fillers either.  Hurray for them.

     But I still used to shudder with dread for my three-month-old granddaughter at the thought of her callously being used as fodder for Big Pharma profiteering.  Because of baby Sofia, I used to study up and read everything I could lay my hands on with regard to the pros and cons of vaccines.  With a tiny and vulnerable small baby in my family, I used to worry night and day about the fillers, additives and preservatives in her vaccines.

     But not any more.

     Now I've finally learned to relax and love Big Pharma.  I've finally become philosophical on the subject.  I've finally learned to just reflect on the Spartans of ancient Greece and how they put their weaker babies and old folks out to die in the snow -- for the good of the tribe.  Or was it Sarah Palin who did that?

     And then I remembered that the presence of lions in Africa are actually good for the gazelle population there -- because they cull the herd.  On the plains of the Serengeti, only the strong survive.

     And then I learned to cogitate upon the African slaves who survived the dread Middle Passage -- only the strongest made it through that ordeal too, right?  So that only the most healthy slaves arrived in the New World?  Or I'd think about the small-pox-laden blankets that European immigrants used to give Native Americans so that the weaker ones would die off and stop hogging up all the good land.

     And now, like some heroic latter-day Spartan or Indian-killer or human trafficker, Big Pharma is also culling our modern American herd of weaker babies and seniors -- making sure that only the strong survive.  How philosophical of them is that!

     A recent study has shown that America is ranked way down at Number 34 in the list of countries with regard to infant mortality rates -- and is also the highest in the world regarding vaccines given to babies in their first year.  So what does that tell us?  That we should all immediately move to Singapore as soon as we get preggers?

     No, this tells us that we Americans should stop bitching all the time about how Big Government (under pressure from the Big Pharma lobby of course) is taking away our very right to chose whether or not to have our babies inundated with huge doses of preservatives and fillers before they are even out of diapers, and about how over-selling drugs to our elders has become such a profitable racket -- and instead just be grateful that now only our strongest babies and most viable old people survive, and that Big Pharma is culling our herd.  

     I mean really.  Who the freak wants a weak baby or an old person who can no longer produce and will retire or be hospitalized before reaching age 90?  "Man up, babies.  Old guys, stop being wimps."

PS:  I just went to see Rebecca Solnit give a talk here in Berkeley.  "The greatest danger to human beings right now is climate change," she said.  No, the greatest danger to human beings right now is what causes climate change -- the use of fossil fuels, especially by the military.

     According to Project Censored, "The U.S. military is the biggest polluter on the planet."  So not only is Big Pharma trying to cull the American herd, but War Street is apparently trying to cull this herd too.  With all of its various wars and proxy wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Palestine, Haiti, Honduras, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Russia, China, Africa, South America and goodness-knows-where all else?  The American military is now endangering the lives of babies and elders here at home as well as killing them outright on the other side of the world.

          Just sayin'.  Rebecca Solnit got me to thinking about how War Street is also culling the herd.  Perhaps she will get you to thinking too.  Nah, not gonna happen.  Thinking is obviously too un-American.