Saturday, October 20, 2018

Money Money Money: Only rich people can afford to report on America's "wars"

     Thank goodness for FaceBook.  If it weren't for Mr. Zukerman's reluctant invention, we would never have any idea at all regarding what is actually going on in the world right now, even in "war" zones.  Thanks to FB, however, we have easy access to over a billion on-the-scene eye witnesses located in almost every nook and cranny on the globe. 

     Or at least we used to.

     But please be aware that things are run a hecka lot differently in the mainstream media.  There's never any local citizens on FB covering the news for the MSM in all those trumped-up war zones that Washington and Lockheed-Martin seem to love so much.  Only reporters hired by rich people can afford to report stuff on mainstream media news feeds from there.  And because only rich people can afford to hire MSM war correspondents, we only get rich people's accounts of what's going on in these so-called "wars".  Nobody else can afford it.

      Take me for example.  I would immediately run off to such hot-spots and/or hell-holes as Libya, Afghanistan, Honduras or Yemen and report nothing but the truth back to you -- but to do that, I would have to win the lottery first.

     And not just any lottery either.  It's got to be the mega-million-dollar PowerBall SuperLotto jackpot if I am ever gonna have even a tiny chance of reporting back to you from Benghazi or Gaza.  You simply can't get an accurate news-feed from Aleppo or Kabul for free these days.

     For instance, when I was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2007, I was totally stuck in the so-called Green Zone of Baghdad -- where absolutely nothing was going on and there weren't even any Iraqis to talk to.  "But I want to go out and report on the rest of Baghdad too," I complained to my official US Army minder there.

     "Of course you can go out into the Red Zone," my babysitter replied, "but you'll be dead within 15 minutes of crossing that bridge over the Tigris -- unless you can afford eight thousands dollars to hire a platoon of mercenaries and a tank."  Er, no.

     Being a "war" correspondent is simply too expensive for me.

     And another thing that I would just love to report on?  What the freak is going on with the Saudis?  Why have they suddenly dropped their alliance with America and ISIS and become BFFs with the Russians instead?  Could it possibly be that they are starting to think that America might be planning to do unto them what America has already done to Libya, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Indonesia and Afghanistan?  To most of the world's oil-bearing nations?  And is hoping to do to Iran, Russia and Venezuela too?  Is there a pattern here or what?

     And it's not too hard to imagine that, at this rate, Big Oil will eventually gain a monopoly on every single drop of oil currently left in the world.  But then what happens?  Do you honestly think that the price of gas in America will suddenly start to drop after that?  With a Big Oil monopoly firmly in place?  Yeah right. 

      And as for that Washington Post journalist who just got hacked to death by the Saudis?  Face it, guys.  It's been decades since America has ever given a shite about freedom of speech or even the lives of any journalists -- or even about Saudi terrorism in Yemen or at the World Trade Center either.  You can just bet that Money Money Money is somehow involved here too.  

PS:  There are also lots of places closer to home, right here in the belly of the Beast itself, that I can afford to go report on.  For instance, there's that never-ending "war on drugs" zone in El Paso/Juarez.  Or I could report on that war zone in Washington DC where Congress is fighting like crazy to steal our Social Security.  Or the war zone in Georgia where Black people, even after 400 years, are still fighting for their right to vote.  Or the war zone in South Dakota where Native Americans are fighting for the right to have drinkable water.  Or ditto that war zone in Flint.

     Or I could even report on that war zone right here in Berkeley where we are desperately fighting for affordable housing and the prevention of climate catastrophe -- and also fighting for our right to not have the corporate-owned White House, Congress and Supreme Court continuously stomp on our dreams.


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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Immigrants: Indians are finally taking back America?

     Well, what do you know?  The buffalo are gone from the Great Plains, 100 million Native Americans are dead, Lakota lands are now being stolen by oil companies, most A.I.M. leaders are either murdered or wrongfully in jail, and Chief Joseph will fight no more forever.  The Indian Wars are truly over.

     Or are they?

     There appears to be a new breed of Native American that has started the Indian Wars all over again -- reluctant warriors.

     Was it Sitting Bull who traveled to Washington DC, saw how many White men there were back there and said, "Holy cow!  These white-eyes are everywhere!  We're never going to get our lands back!"  And although Sitting Bull defended his Lakota family with all his heart and soul, it was no use.  There were just too many White men grabbing up his homeland.

     But now the tide appears to have turned -- as a whole new group of Native Americans are currently pouring into the USA in great numbers, thousands a day, coming up from the south to reclaim Native lands.

     "Who me?" say the immigrants.  "I'm only just looking for a job here.  Whatda ya got?"  Stoop labor?  Meat packing?  Trench diggers and roofers?  Nannies and maids?  "Count me in."

     Who knew that our red-skinned brothers from the south would come here to right a great wrong, to take back stolen lands?

     "Not me," say the immigrants.  And yet the thing speaks for itself.  So what's the story here?  Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?  Nope.  "What goes around comes around."

     But it really doesn't have to be like this -- all this "us versus them" bull dookie, yet another unnecessary repeat of America's infamous genocidal policy modeled after George Armstrong Custer and Hitler's rantings in Mein Kampf.

     There is a better way.

     We can all learn from each other.

          It has been scientifically proven that wherever cultures and races interact nicely, we can always see new talents, insights, solutions and ideas being born.  To quote one of America's greatest philosophers, "Please won't you be my neighbor...."

PS:  I'll be going to El Paso in early November to work on the Beto O'Rourke campaign (who in their right mind would even consider voting for sleazy Ted Cruz?)  And does anyone know the location of any I.C.E. slave-labor camps down there that I can picket while I'm in El Paso?  In the spirit of Crazy Horse?

      I know that there is a grossly-huge tent-city concentration camp for young Native American children at Tormillo but don't know how to get down there.  Would Uber give me a Lyft?  These camps are truly horrid -- but the good news is that all those useless white tents that were left over surplus from the "war" on Iraq can now be happily sold to us gullible taxpayers (again).

     I also plan to visit Juarez while I'm down there.  Any hot tips on the best taco places to visit in Juarez?  And does Juarez have a Yelp site these days?


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Saturday, October 06, 2018

Wasteland: How our Good Ole Boy network is taking America down

     Hey, you!  Yes, you.  The person in front of me right now -- sitting at your computer or punching buttons on your SmartPhone.  Are you happy with your life as it currently is?  "Sure." 

     But what will you think about it ten years from now?  After ten more grim and static years of endless "war," corrupt judges, climate catastrophe, job outsourcing, growing homelessness and allowing the Good Ole Boy network to run our country?

     What chance for a happy life will you have then?  Frankly?  It will suck to be you.

     The wealthy old farts who run America now?  They have no vision.  For them it is only and always just "grab and go".  How long, exactly, do you think that will last?  How long before they grab and run with your own life as well, mess with it, steal all the nutrients out of it, suck it dry -- until you will be lucky to score even some low-life job at the Walmart or be cannon fodder in some bug-infested jungle somewhere?  Or be pole-dancing at some exclusive hunting lodge in Texas?  Or eating cat food out of a jar?  Or....

     Are you getting my point here yet?  That America's good ole boy network, with its Super PACs and its lobbyists in the White House and Congress and its power over our judicial system?  These good ole boys simply do not know how to create.  They only know how to destroy.  And just exactly how long do you honestly think that America (and you) will survive with these misanthropes and cavemen at the helm, slashing and burning like the pirates they are?

     Seriously?  Would you really want to be alive ten years from now?  In a world where creativity is the enemy, where freedom is frowned upon and where dirty old men hold the future of our world in their small-minded, greedy, uncalloused and blood-stained hands?  Where America has become a non-productive wasteland?

    We outsiders, we millennials, we women and Blacks and immigrants and children and Native Americans and grandmothers?  We have been burned in the past.  We are being burned right now.  But are we truly going to stand by and get burned in the future as well?


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Friday, October 05, 2018

R-E-S-P-C-T: No one's gonna take the Supreme Court seriously any more

     Sadly, Aretha Franklin is dead.  And, sadly, the Supreme Court's reputation is gonna be dead too -- when Brett Kavanaugh becomes one of its justices.  There's only so many times that the Supremes can viciously "sock it to" American democracy and still even pretend to be a respected and venerable organization.

      To paraphrase the Queen of Soul herself, several Supreme Court justices have already become "no-good heart breakers, liars and cheats" after illegally handing over the White House to George W. Bush in 2000 and then handing America over to carpetbaggers after the "Citizens United" decision.  Not to mention the Clarence Thomas scandal.  Nah, let's go ahead and mention it!  Anita Hill was right.

     Allowing someone like visibly-unhinged Brett Kavanaugh to join the Supreme Court is only going be the straw that breaks the camel's back.  Here is a man who not only went ballistic in full public view but, in just one short paragraph of his speech before the Senate judicial committee, used the I-word nine different times.  As they say, the word T-E-A-M has no "I" in it -- and neither does the word R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  We're screwed.

     To quote the immortal Aretha again, "I get tired, keep on tryin' -- you're runnin' out of foolin' and I ain't lyin'."  Kavanagh lied to us under oath?  This perjurer is gonna make the perfect next link in that "Chain of Fools" already on the Supreme Court.

      America needs to "Think" about what, exactly, it expects from our highest court -- and then demand only "Do-right-all-night" judges.  Otherwise there "Ain't no way" that our Supreme Court will ever get any respect from decent Americans again -- and that's just sad.

PS:  I also got no respect for elected representatives who take big bucks from lobbyists, government heads of state who lie through their teeth (Bibi Netanyahu immediately comes to mind -- but who else?), FBI agents who lied about Leonard Peltier, propagandists who try to make us hate Syria/Russia/Yemen/immigrant children/Black people for fun and profit, any man who doesn't "make me feel like a natural woman" -- and all of those greedy bastards in Washington.  I've "Never loved a man" who put greed above morality.

     Isn't it time for us to stop tolerating all these lies and corruption, demand some core virtues from our leaders and take the "Freeway of Love" instead?

PPS:  The USA has just spent hundreds of billions of dollars on an airplane that doesn't even work?  Wow, just wow.  How many thousands of squandered dollars per US taxpayer is that?  Math is not my strong point -- but even I can figure out that it has been money totally wasted.  They shoulda spent some of that money on vetting future Supreme Court justices instead.

      And America's closest ally in the Arab world is currently in danger of becoming a failed state due to its own legendary corruption.  Ultimately, no human being anywhere has any R-E-S-P-E-C-T for corruption in government -- either at home or abroad.  "Every chain has got a weak link."  And with all its own moral corruption, America itself could possibly become the next failed state.


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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Let's take our European grand tour now -- while we still can

     Being friends with America is sometimes a lot of hard work.  For instance, Saddam Hussein used to be America's BFF and just look what happened to him.  America also "friended" all those Jihadi freaks and warlords in Afghanistan -- and Afghans are still paying the price.

     Kissinger befriended a dictator in Chile but torches and pitchforks eventually nailed Pinochet.  Johnson befriended a dictator in Vietnam and we all know what happened to Diem.  Reagan befriended Noriega in Panama -- and then turned on him too.  Obama befriended Al Qaeda "rebels" in Syria and Libya and also those gross neo-Nazis in Ukraine -- and now even though Trump also tweets in their favor, bin Ladin's next generation is still violently hated by Syrians, Libyans and Ukrainians.  Various American presidents have also befriended Haiti, Yemen, Honduras and Palestine -- and with friends like that, who needs enemies. 

     And now America is trying really hard to upgrade the European Union to its "close friend" status too.  If I was Europe right now, I'd run like hell!  And if I was the average American tourist right now, I'd be taking the traditional European grand tour ASAP.  Go see Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis and the Colosseum -- while  you still can.

     According to journalist Rostislav Ishchenko, America now has plans to thwart China's big move to establish a New Silk Road trade route from China to Europe.  But how, exactly, does America plan to hijack China's new trade route?  Apparently by eliminating Europe as an effective trade partner at the end of the Silk Road.

     America's recent attempts at "The chaosization of Europe" would just about do that, right?

     For instance, all of America's brutal unjust neo-colonial "wars" on the Middle East have sent millions of refugees out on various involuntary road trips.  "Crap!  America just bombed my home, murdered my wife and daughter and slaughtered my camel!" cry America's victims.  "What the freak should I do now!"  Go to Germany of course.  Or Sweden.  Or Britain.  Or Italy.  Anywhere but Baghdad or Benghazi.

     Then there was the recent destabilization of Eastern Europe after America armed almost anyone there who could shoot straight -- and also lots of folks who clearly could not.

     Next came Trump's policy of getting Europe to pay for NATO.  "Gotta buy guns!  Gotta buy guns!" shout the Europeans.  "No money left over to run to the dollar store!"

     And don't forget that America's whacked policies in the Middle East have created all kinds of terrorism in the EU as well.  Blowing up stuff in Belgium, France, Spain and England can be unsettling to say the least.  And economic terrorism sucks eggs too.  Just ask the Greeks.

     But why should all this geopolitical weirdness on the other side of the globe of concern to you and me too?  We live safely on the other side of the Atlantic, right?  But it's like I said.  If you wanna float down the Danube to waltz tunes, lie on a beach in sunny Spain or see Stonehenge by moonlight, you had better do it now -- before America gets any more friendly with Europe than it already is.

PS:  Why does China have so many more friends on FaceBook than America has?  Two reasons.  First, when China sends out a "Friend" request to other nations, it offers that recipient nation definite rewards and perks.  However, when America sends out a "Friend" request to other nations, it's usually in the form of a missile attack or brutal economic sanctions or the CIA tampering with local elections.

      Second, China also has a ten-year plan, a fifty-year plan and a hundred-year plan.  Americans are lucky if our military-industrial complex looks ahead for even a week or two. 

PPS:  America seems to be totally out of touch when it comes to "friending" its women as well.  It's not like we are living in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan -- and yet our president, judges and old-fart legislators treat us like we should either be locked up in purdah or act like glorified blow-up dolls. 

     Have you been watching "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix?  We will never know what made the difference between Dr. Ford's and Hannah Baker's (fictionalized but nevertheless highly plausible) responses after both had been badly bullied -- but fortunately Dr. Ford did not allow herself to become just one more suicide statistic too.


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Thursday, September 27, 2018

One word describes Brett Kavanaugh: "BULLY"

     He even tried to bully Senator Feinstein.  Guess he hasn't learned anything in all these 36-odd years after all.  And he also ruled in favor of torture.  Don't bullies start out by torturing frogs?  And Kavanaugh sniffed his way through his entire hearing.  Isn't that something cocaine users do?  And the American Bar Association hasn't exactly friended Kavanaugh either.

      Kavanaugh seems to be a prime example of the privileged-spoiled-rich-kid, of the type once made famous by Bob Dylan.  Yuck.

      Once a bully, always a bully apparently.  And once a misogynist always a misogynist too?  Only acting judicially instead of physically?  This is a person that we want to represent America's best and brightest?  And most just?  Really?

PS:  Remember Hannah from the TV show 13 Reasons Why?  She too was bullied -- and then committed suicide.  What if bullying had driven Dr. Ford to suicide as well?  Dr. Ford would have become just another statistic that we would never have heard about.  How sad -- tragic -- is that.


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Saturday, September 22, 2018

God Save Texas from Ted Cruz (by voting for Beto O'Rourke)

      I just finished watching an online television debate between Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz.  Both are running for a Senate seat in Texas.  During the debate, Ted went out of his way to scare Texans by hitting every single possible "dog whistle" note of fear, false patriotism, racism, sky-high taxes, socialism and the right to brandish automatic weapons that he possibly could.  Ted even lied outright -- but in a friendly down-home good-ole-boy sort of way that Texans, I'm afraid, just might eat right up.

     Beto O'Rourke, however, did not back down.  Like Davey Crockett at the Alamo, O'Rourke stood up for his pro-human principles and refused to say anything phony just to get elected. 

     During the debate, Ted tried mightily to defend tax cuts for the rich, defend Donald Trump and defend America's current miserable war-mongering quagmire status quo -- while also trying to associate Beto with wetbacks, cop-killers, George Soros and Hillary Clinton.  Oh crap.  Who won that debate?  Hard to say.  O'Rourke gave a really passionate wind-up speech but I'm still worried.  Who the freak wants to see Ted Cruz's hypocritical and insincere mug on TV for another six years?  Or possibly in the White House in 2020?  Please, Texas!  Wake up!  Vote for Beto.

     "Cruz voted for a massive giveaway to corporate interests.  He's not working for the people of Texas," said O'Rourke.

     "Socialized medicine is a mistake that would hurt Texas," said Cruz.  Ted even accused Beto of liking Bernie Sanders!  Heaven forbid.  "He's advocating socialism and for putting every illegal in America on MediCare!"  Huh?

     Beto then countered with the sorry fact that America is now twenty-one trillion dollars in debt on Cruz's watch -- whereas Beto, when he was on the El Paso city council, balanced El Paso's budget.  Touché. 

     How can America have the chutzpah to call itself a Superpower -- when it has practically self-sanctioned itself to death with massive debt burdens, let its infrastructure crumple and allowed its citizens to go hungry in order to fight endless, immoral and stupid "wars" to just to keep Halliburtin, Blackwater, Exxon and Lockheed happy?

      IMHO, Texans would get a lot more soul-satisfying jobs fixing the state's infrastructure and going solar than slaving away in the immoral "war" industry and bringing on climate catastrophe while making oil billionaires even richer.  Humph.

     In order to help Texans See the Light, I'm  actually going down to El Paso in November (with a side-trip to Juarez of course) -- to knock on doors during the week before the 2018 elections and get down on my knees and beg voters to vote for Beto because not only is Texas's future at stake here.  America's future is too.  To quote Lyle Lovett, I may not be from Texas but "Texas wants [me] anyway."  Time to dust off my cowboy boots.

     And you too can help also -- by donating to Beto's campaign fund.  Please!  Do it for me!  Don't make me have to see Ted Cruz on TV ever again!  Or the face of that war-mongering swamp-loving guy in the White House either.

PS:  If you want to know more about Texas, the second-biggest state in America, then please read Lawrence Wright's excellent book "God Save Texas" -- and, God, while you're busy saving Texas, please save Texas from Ted Cruz too.

PPS:  Bret Kavanaugh has been accused of attempting to rape a 15-year-old girl back when he was a teenager.  That's not the whole story as far as I'm concerned.  Kavanaugh performed an act of misogamy back then -- and he continues to perform acts of judicial misogamy to this day.  Do we women really want or need yet another misogamist on the Supreme Court?  

        And what about Ted Cruz?  How many misogynistic laws has he voted for?  Shite, the guy even came out in favor of hitting five-year-old girls!  The women of Texas are strong descendants of strong pioneer stock (and I am about to become one!)  It's time that we took a stronger stand against machismo drugstore cowboys like Cruz.  Vote for Beto O'Rourke.


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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Leonard Peltier vs. J. Edgar Hoover:  Still haunted by the ghost of COINTELPRO

     You should see my fabulous new "Free Leonard Peltier" T-shirt!  It's the best souvenir of Florida that I could possibly find.  Long story.

     Leonard's tragic saga first began back in 1924 -- when that un-American rat-fink J. Edgar Hoover became the first director of the FBI and began turning his new-found powers to the Dark Side.  Even now, even 46 years after J. Edgar's death, we are still discovering more and more info regarding all the dirty tricks Hoover played on America's working class, justice-seekers, intellectuals and people of color.  Trust me, this guy was bad news -- the proud father of the FBI's duplicitous, divisive, perfidious, sneaky, unjust and subversive reputation, one that the FBI still struggles with to this day.

     By the 1960s and '70s, Hoover and his infamous COINTELPRO goon squad consistently declared war on Blacks, immigrants, Native Americans, Vietnam protesters, gays, unions, rock 'n' roll and basically just about anyone who wasn't either a Stepford Wife or a body snatcher.  I was there.  It really was that bad.

     Several people, however, did stand up against J. Edgar and his minions back then -- even though it was both dangerous and hard.  Martin Luther King, JFK and Bobby Kennedy, to name a few.  And also Mumia abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier.

     Back in 1975, the FBI had illegally invaded the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, on Lakota land.  Back then, even though Hoover had finally died, his poisonous and hateful policies still lingered on.  Back in 1975, it was like playing cowboys and Indians on the rez -- only the Indians weren't allowed to fight back.  Those who did try to defend themselves and their families soon found themselves to be dead.  An estimated 300 Native Americans died that way.

     But then Leonard began to demand Native American treaty rights and support the A.I.M. protest at Wounded Knee in 1973 -- at the cost of making themselves visible to the FBI.  So when two gun-toting hot-shot FBI cowboy-wannabes (who should never have been on the reservation in the first place) turned up dead at Pine Ridge, the finger of blame pointed to Leonard.  A scapegoat was needed and a scapegoat was found.

     But don't take my word for it.  Get the full story of the FBI's brutality, lies and betrayals yourself, as meticulously documented by author Peter Matthiessen in his well-researched book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

     And 44 years later, Leonard Peltier is still stuck in jail for a crime he didn't commit -- and people are still wearing their "Free Leonard" T-shirts.

     Peltier is now 76 years old.  He is incarcerated in a high-security federal prison in Coleman, Florida, just outside of Tampa.

     At the book convention I attended in St. Petersburg/Tampa area recently, I asked author Tim Dorsey if he had named his infamous fictional character after the notorious Coleman prison.  "No," Dorsey said.  Oh.

     Leonard, fortunately, is now incarcerated in the elderly unit at Coleman and no longer has to worry (much) about getting beat up by gangs (again).  He teaches art to the convicts and also paints stirring portraits of "traditional" Pine Ridge Native Americans in his spare time.
     Leonard's health is failing.  He is not now a danger to himself or society -- and he never was.  Isn't it time that our government finally frees Leonard Peltier from the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover?  Peltier is one of the last of the heroes who stood up to Hoover's COINTELPRO gang of lame-asses, putting Leonard in the same class as MLK and JFK.  We should be giving Peltier a homecoming parade instead of keeping him locked up in some dungeon for the rest of his life for a crime that he didn't commit. 

PS:  Wanna buy your very own ultra-chic "Free Leonard" T-shirt just like mine?  You don't have to visit Tampa like I did.  You can just order it online.

PPS:  I forgot to mention about those four brave Freedom Riders who left Mankato MN on horseback 55 days ago, and have ridden their horses all the way to Florida to go see Leonard at Coleman prison.  On horseback!  They are almost there.  What a heroic trek!  Say hello to Leonard for me when you get there, okay?

PPPS:  Don't let the ghost of J. Edgar go on laughing at Leonard from inside his special-agent crypt in Hell.  Instead, write to President Trump (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 20500) and ask him to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier (who is much more deserving of clemency than Paul Manafort, BTW).  And Trump just might do it too -- considering what Trump himself currently thinks (and tweets) about the FBI!


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Friday, September 14, 2018

Hail from the thieves: I.C.E freezes our money in Florida

     Good grief!  For decades now, America has been the unwitting victim of various sleazy government contractors who shamelessly pick our pockets for all the valuables they can find there -- using the time-honored ruse of distracting our attention with fears of "war" while they move in for the snatch.  It's like the Artful Dodger or even Fagan himself has seized control of America's treasury.

     Since 9-11, these shady pickpockets have upped their game to the point where it's not even safe for Americans to carry a wallet on the subway any more.  Since 9-11, we have been so royally fleeced by these so-called "war" contractors that you would think there was nothing even left to steal.  But no.  Apparently there is still a bit more moolah left to lift.  Now these sleazy moochers have discovered an even newer and better way to slip their sneaky hands back into our pockets again.

     Now ICE has come up with yet another evil scheme to snatch our purses and run -- whatever little is left in them, that is.  "Stop!  Thief!"  When our current climate catastrophe hit the eastern seaboard recently, it was soon discovered that ICE's sticky fingers have stolen millions of dollars of our FEMA money and then used it to kidnap children instead of helping out disaster victims in North Carolina.  Has ICE become the new Fagan?  And has ICE, like Fagan, started running a new school for pickpockets too?  It certainly looks that way, right?

       We Americans appear to be the ultimate gullible marks, stuck on a crowded bus to nowhere while "war" profiteers and ICE profiteers easily dip into our pockets and steal our wallets -- and with absolutely no fear of ever getting caught.

    ICE contractors are now getting paid $750 per day per child for every single child that they can kidnap at the border.  Hell, the kiddies could be staying in a five-star hotel for that price!

      According to a recent article in The Guardian, what we are getting for our $750 a day is definitely not The Ritz.  "All day and night they listened to the wailing of hungry children.  Here, in a freezing immigration detention facility somewhere in the Rio Grande valley of south Texas, adults and children alike were fainting from dehydration and lack of food.  Sleep was almost impossible; the lights were left on, they had just a thin metallic sheet to protect against the cold and there was nothing to lie down on but the hard floor."  

     Would you pay $750 a night for this ICE version of Oliver Twist's orphanage?  Ask your captors for "more, sir"?  Give it a good review on Trip Advisor?  Uh, no.    

     While I was in St. Petersburg last week, I took part in an anti-ICE demonstration against the owner of The Birchwood Inn.  Its owner, Chuck Prather, claimed to be just a small businessman in a sweet Florida tourist town -- and yet apparently he is currently renting out five (5) different buildings in the St. Pete area to ICE.  Five of them.  In a tourist town?  Who the freak needs five (5) ICE buildings in St. Petersburg?  It makes you stop and wonder, doesn't it.  There goes our money.  Sticky fingers again.

     Also at the anti-ICE demonstration, I learned about even more Dickensian behavior taking place at the US-Mexico border where apparently some Border Patrol officers hunt down and murder asylum-seekers for sport.  The Ghost of Christmas Past is not gonna like that!

     All this rash of pickpocket theft by various government contractors since 9-11 has made me truly stop and wonder just how much money is left in America right now for the rest of us.  "What's in your wallet?"  Probably not much.

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