When You Wish Upon A Star

Wow!

Very grateful!

Humble . . . flattered!

As of today . . . all 5-star reviews!

No, I didn’t buy them!

The Man Who Loved Too Much – Book 1: Archipelago is available at fine book stores everywhere and of course online . . .

Apple (iBook) . . . bit.ly/1ycltFD
Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1tyIRiw
Amazon (Paperback) . . . amzn.to/1z8F8aD
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/ZDnQVO
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1w62HOX
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1r6qWYQ

Here are excerpts from the reviews (read them in their entirety on Amazon) . . .

“I really liked it! Very quirky and clever writing! The characters grab you right away, take hold and you can’t wait to see what happens next. The only problem is that the book ended and I have to wait until March to find out what happens next!”

“Young Billy Green is one of the unforgettable characters in literature, the kind that comes around, moves in, stays, and occupies a place in your life. Is it Billy Green, or is it John Rachel’s ability to tell a good story? It is both. The story is epic in its scope. . . A wonderful, unforgettable read.”

“I read this book in an afternoon and then pondered it for several days. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint, but there is an incredible level of intelligence in the development of the main character Billy. He seems naive in some ways, yet in other ways you see that he is anything but! It’s this rich complexity that keeps me still analyzing Billy long after I read the last page. I am anxiously awaiting the second book.”

“Billy Green stole my heart. From his earliest days his dear mother loved him with a love so deep you could put your arms around it.”

“I laughed uproariously, and then I cried. You will be begging for more. Voila! Your wish has been granted. This is the first part of a trilogy which follows Billy until he’s twenty-eight. Part Two is coming soon.” 

“This is written by someone who uses words so masterfully; who employs satire at its finest, can get downright dirty if life dictates it, and appears to have fun with it all.”

“John Rachel’s characters are awesome! I am an avid reader. Sometimes it takes awhile for a book to “lure” me in. Not with this novel though. I was “hooked” from the very beginning. I can’t wait for the next two installments to find out where it takes Billy.” 

“John Rachel delivers another masterpiece with the style and insight only John Rachel can deliver!”

“This is a wonderful coming-of-age story that will grab you and charm you. Just read the first few pages and it’ll pull you right in. If you like Salinger, you’ll love this. It’s that great theme of a kid who knows too much for his own good in world populated by so-called adults who control the machinery. GREAT STUFF! A real pleasure to read.”

“A friend of mine who knows that I read science fiction an adventure books, suggested I read this book. At first I wondered why. This is the life story of some kid named Billy growing up through Catholic school, getting his first blowjob, Life love parents, all the usual problems we all have. What was different though is the author . . . because the author is an exceptionally good writer that creates a witty, clever and imaginative world for Billy to grow up in. You will be charmed with Billy and his bold and sassy way of dealing with the bumps and grinds of life. And you will wonder why this book only cost $.99, because it is written as well as any bestseller out there.”

Posted in Creativity, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-Loathing

More news. And it’s bad.

We have the Senate report on torture.

What can we expect now?

Nothing.

What happened after the Wall Street banks blew up the economy?

Nothing.

What happened after Sandy Hook?

Nothing.

What happened after the NSA got caught spying on innocent citizens?

Nothing.

Just look around at what is happening at the same time as this report.

The House of Representatives, based on fabrications and unfathomably simple-minded propaganda, just passed HR 758. It declares Russia the source of evil in the world and deems it an enemy. It is effectively a declaration of war.

What did we learn from Vietnam?

Nothing.

What did we learn from the gross deceptions leading to Iraq?

Nothing.

America is now a domestic abuser, a man who beats his wife to a bloody pulp, then comes crying and pleading for understanding and forgiveness __ refer to the Senate report __ and finally tops it all off by beating his wife again to within a breath of delivering her lifeless corpse to the morgue.

When self-criticism __ which can be constructive __ becomes self-loathing, it becomes a pathological addiction, a sadomasochistic descent into the writhing depths of agony.

I’ve never understood self-loathing.

But I’ve never understood cockfighting either.

I just know it when I see it.

Tonight on your favorite TV station: Hand wringing. Despair. Teeth clenching. Nausea. Self-inflicted pain.

Lots and lots of pain.

Don’t miss it!

Posted in Deconstruction, Nihilism, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hillary’s Secret Campaign Strategy

We have learned from a deep source at Hillary Clinton presidential campaign headquarters, of a highly controversial, certainly mind-boggling, but sure-fire plan which will clinch the 2016 election for her. When it finally becomes public, this secret strategy will consign all the nay-saying skeptics about her viability as the first female president in American history, to eating vast quantities of humble pie.

Right now, of course, since no one knows of the plan, there’s a wide range of opinion and speculation in the media on her chances. Will she run? Will she make the same mistakes she made against Obama? Can she walk the fine line between appealing to the traditional Democratic base and raising the money she will need from Wall Street and corporate America? Is the country ready for a female president? Is the country ready for Hillary?

But her innovative new approach undercuts all of this.

The idea is as revolutionary as it is simple.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton will be running for president on both the Democratic and the Republican tickets.

Yes! I know it sounds unbelievable.

But it’s true.

She will make appearances at both conventions. A special secret poll of select campaign consultants and political scientists predicts she will easily garner delegate majorities at both events __ probably on the first round of balloting __ to secure the nominations.

My source further explains that to make this a viable strategy, the canny Ms. Clinton will have two different vice-presidential running mates, probably Kirsten Gillibrand for the Democratic ticket, and Megyn Kelly for the Republican.

Just think about that! All-female tickets running for president and vice-president via both major political parties.

Talk about a watershed moment in American history!

Stepping back and thinking about it, Hillary’s running as both Democratic and Republican candidates goes a long ways towards explaining some interesting recent developments.

While her sewing up the Democratic nomination has for quite some time been a foregone conclusion, Ms. Clinton has, to the surprise of many observers, been wooing and gaining the support of many wealthy conservatives as well. Her openly coming out as a bona fide member of their “team” as the Republican nominee just makes sense.

Let me add that beyond being a brilliant tactical maneuver just in terms of sewing up her future role as president, this unprecedented move is also a tremendous leap forward for democracy itself, which has come under a lot of attack in recent years.

Voters complain they’ve had a great deal of difficulty trying to figure out the differences between the policies and positions of candidates during the long campaign season. Despite the rigorous scrutiny and tortured analysis by experts across the entire political spectrum, quite often it’s hard to figure out what anyone stands for. This uncertainty has evidenced itself as voter apathy. Confused voters stay home on election day.

By running on both tickets, Ms. Clinton will eliminate the petty bickering and political posturing, and more importantly the contentious nitpicking by the media, which has only served to undermine candidate credibility among voters and erode their confidence in our electoral system.

Another enormous benefit of Ms. Clinton’s strategy is that with the election in the bag, she won’t have her time and energy squandered by all of the distractions and foolishness that goes into presidential election campaigning __ like interviews and televised debates.

Instead she can devote the entire time right up to taking the oath of office, honing items which will be the hallmarks of her presidency: bombing Iran and Syria; nuclear wars with both China and Russia; tripling of the size of America’s military contributions to Israel so that they can finally put the wily Palestinians in concentration camps where they belong; wiping North Korea off the map; building at least 1,000 more American military bases around the world to protect everyone on the planet from ISIS, Ebola, socialism, Putin and whatever other apocalyptic threats might come along; mounting a Special Ops invasion of Moscow __ ala the Osama bin Laden assassination __ to capture Edward Snowden; and burning down the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to flush out Julian Assange.

She should be able __ as they say __ to really hit the ground running in January 2017.

Posted in Democracy, Nihilism, Political Rant, Satire, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

U.S. Promoting An Agricultural Revolution!

While many criticize the American government’s support globally for Monsanto’s products __ e.g. their genetically modified Roundup Ready crops like soybeans and corn __ and the promotion of large-scale farming based on monoculture and extensive use of pesticides and other chemicals, concurrently there is another whole category of agricultural enterprise underway. It’s a U.S. sponsored initiative that has markedly boosted the economy of Afghanistan, and has not gotten near the attention it deserves.

This is the enormously profitable cultivation of poppies and the skyrocketing production of opium and heroin.

What a success story!

The American military presence in Afghanistan has been a phenomenal boon to poppy farming. Though under the Taliban, poppy production had been all but completely shut down, it has substantially increased for the third year in a row. The 2013 poppy crop jumped 36% from the previous year. Predictions for next year are more optimistic.

This means that Afghanistan by a huge margin is the global leader, providing up to 90% of the raw opium for the entire world’s heroin trade.

This is so brilliant!

Not only does this help out Afghanistan but it’s a unique win-win strategy for creating jobs and fostering economic growth right here at home:  Promote heroin production, then hire people to fight the War On Drugs.

And what a terrific shot in the arm for underemployed morticians and gravediggers, who get to take care of all of the victims of drug overdoses.

Is this ingenious or what?!

It seems to me that this sort of “closed loop” approach could be applied to other areas.

For example, to help our idle construction industry, we could bomb other countries into smoking piles of rubble, then using tax payer money, hire corporations with expertise in infrastructure construction and repair to rebuild everything we destroyed.

Oh . . . we’re already doing that.


Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Political Analysis, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Creativity: Writing Poetry

"Such torment and bitter angst is my lot!"

Folks, I am deeply saddened __  perhaps a bit shocked.

I received several thousand complaints about my previous two “creativity” blogs, all objecting that they were rather light on actual technique.

I’ve gotten the message loud and clear. This time I will be very specific about the process of creating a poem.

Before we get started, I confess I’m having difficulty recalling why I started writing poetry.

Frankly, I hate poetry. I find it tedious and incomprehensible.

Aah! Now I remember.

It was an ad I saw a few years ago.

That sure didn’t pan out.

But I did manage to crank out a few poems and at least got the hang of it. So here we go.

Writing a poem . . .

Rhythm is very important in poetry. So when I write poems I always wear headphones with either Eminem or Lil John blasting away at 125 db. That tunes me in to the naturally occurring “beats” of the English language.

I wait for a word or phrase to pop into my head.

Tabula rasa.

Cool.

Now I think of pop singers and movie stars.

Crystal Gayle . . . The Artist Formerly Known As Prince . . . Tom Cruise . . . Brooke Shields.

Excellent! A veritable goldmine.

I chop them up and throw them together, trying to sound deep and intellectual.

A gale reels topsy turvy / Unknown be the blind enigma / Who shield the arrogant prince / Art shan’t brook the prayers / Cruise lightly the tabula rasa / Crystal now keens the water goddess / Hear the rumbling tom tom / Why dost thou feed the feral beast?

Admittedly this makes no sense. So we’re on the right track.

Now we find rhyming words for the first, third, fifth and seventh lines.

nervy / rinse / pasta / condom

Next we create lines ending in these words.

Conscience writhes a hollow nervy / Invisible angels fear the rinse / Yet twirl the Hades voidal pasta / Time warps he who pricks the condom

Notice that I made up a word. This is an excellent technique for putting your readers on the defensive, playing on the fear that their vocabulary is embarrassingly wanting.

Recognizing that rhyming, perhaps once the delight of long dead poets, is now among the heady and hyper-cerebral denizens of modern literary excellence laughably passé __ more the tinker toys of vapid pop songsters __ it’s time to dig out our good old Thesaurus, either analog or digital will do just fine, and make some tasteful substitutions.

Conscience writhe a hollow pluck / Invisible angels fear the cleanse / Yet twirl the Hades voidal spaghetti / Time warps he who pricks the sheath

Insert these in the initial set of lines.

Okay. Almost done. Now we need a title.

Tabula Rasa #???

Always choose a prime number. Let’s see. ’11′ is such a cliche. ’13′ was ruined by horror flicks. Bob Dylan screwed up ’12′ and ’35′. They’re not prime numbers anyway.

How about? . . .

Tabula Rasa #23

Perfect! Okay, now formatting is of paramount importance. Modern poetry really shows its inherent rebellious character here. Total non-conformity! Left alignment is boorishly 17th and 18th Century, right alignment hackneyed 20th Century, and centering is for symmetry fetishists with terminal OCD.

Same goes for punctuation. Not that poets know how to punctuate in the first place. But the point is why waste such a terrific opportunity for abstruseness? Randomly scattering punctuation throughout the poem is the perfect method for adding a tasteful dose of sheer madness and syntactic chaos!

Alright! Let’s put it all together. Behold our new masterpiece . . .

Notice how I slipped a near-rhyme in at the end. That should stir up some controversy!

Okay. That was easy, eh?

If you feel the need to verify my credentials, just click here and look at the several poems I’ve had published over the past few years.

Scribo ergo sum.


Posted in Creativity, Deconstruction, Nihilism, Satire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Creativity: Creating Memorable Characters

With the incredible success of my new novel, The Man Who Loved Too Much – Book 1: Archipelago, released only two weeks ago but already peaking at #11,496 on Amazon’s Fiction/Coming of Age/Fantasy/Zombies /High School Cheerleader/Romance best-seller list, people often ask me:

“John, how do you come up with your characters?”

First, I drive my Mercedes to a local ramen restaurant, where not only do they have great meals, but I can get my kitchen knives sharpened.

I walk in and sit down. I say something in Japanese. They just roll their eyes.

An eighty-five-year-old lady is across from me, slumped over at her table. She might be breathing but I don’t see how, with her face immersed in the bowl of noodles.

I picture her as a twenty-year-old university student, dressed in either sexy lingerie from Fredericks of Hollywood, or a Lycra fetish costume purchased from an online store in the West Village. There’s a tennis ball strapped in her mouth.

Now . . . what is she feeling?

Suddenly, an off-duty Japanese police officer drives through the front of the restaurant on a Harley Davidson. There is broken glass and disposable chopsticks everywhere!

Inspiration!

And the plot thickens.

I thought the police officer had tattoos on his arms but they are just temporary removable sheer hosiery tattoos he picked up in Thailand, while on his police precinct’s annual sex tourism holiday.

He orders the lunch special, Salty Miso Beef Ramen with Deep-Fried Pork Dumplings on the side. Of course, all the rice you can eat is included . . . and it’s free!

Now I hear the sound of a helicopter hovering overhead. Understandably, my first instinct is that it must be Navy Seals either conducting exercises or mounting a raid. There are so many suspicious people everywhere you look these days. Especially here in Japan!

But no, it’s a medical rescue team. Four paramedics tethered to long nylon ropes drop down onto the street out front. They rush into the restaurant. The first medic through the door grabs the old lady’s hair. He violently yanks her head out of the bowl of ramen, then gagging, gives her mouth-to-mouth. But it’s too late. Her wind pipe is clogged with congealed noodles. She is dead.

While they drag her body out of the restaurant to hoist it into the helicopter, some young boys, probably elementary school age, are passing. Several of them are taunting a pathetic little guy, who unfortunately is cross-eyed and suffers acute lymphedema. His legs look like pontoons, very unusual for someone his age. The other boys are mocking him by chanting: “Dalai Lama! Dalai Lama!”

Hmm. I don’t get this. Dalai Lama? But I can use it! Sometimes you need something a little off the wall to keep a reader’s attention.

All this time I’ve been slurping away. The food here is truly amazing! My bowl is just about empty, when a huge stabbing pain shoots through my gut. I feel like someone has stuck a samurai sword in my belly button, twisting it like they’re wrapping pasta around a fork.

Food poisoning!

I don’t know why I keep coming here. Every time I eat here __ I mean every time! __ it’s the same thing. I get food poisoning and spend the next six hours . . . well, you know.

My only excuse for this habitual self-sabotage is that this place has been so good for my writing. This is where it all starts. The huge cast of misfits and miscreants that populate my stories are all denizens of the social tapestry of this little hole-in-the-wall soup shop.

I’ll tell you something else. No way am I giving away my secret.

You can try Googling “ramen shops Japan” if you like.

Ha! Good luck finding it.

______________________________________________________________

The Man Who Loved Too Much – Book 1: Archipelago

Apple (iBook) . . . bit.ly/1ycltFD
Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1tyIRiw
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/ZDnQVO
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1w62HOX
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1r6qWYQ

Posted in Books, Creativity, Food, Nihilism, Satire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creativity: The Writing Process

With my brand new book, The Man Who Loved Too Much, Book 1: Archipelago __ my sixth novel! __ arriving this month, people sometimes ask me:

“John, how do you get inspired to write?”

First, I turn on the fan. Then I suddenly realize I that forgot to take out the garbage. So I do that. Of course, now I see there’s all sorts of gunk in the bottom of the garbage container from the tomatoes that went bad and the mushrooms that turned to slime. So I have to clean up that mess.

Finally, I pour a cup of coffee and sit down to write. Oops! Forgot to check my FB account. Whoa!!  87 new notices.  People loved that video I posted of a kitten chasing a rhinoceros. Hmm. Bad news. It looks like over 30 people deleted me as a friend. Cold! What did I do? Could it have been the blog I wrote about Mitt Romney being a pedophile?

I’m exhausted.  Writing sure takes it out of me.

I decide I need a nap.  I’ll get 20 winks, wake up fresh, ready to really roll!

I try to sleep.  But they are slaughtering a yak next door, beating it to death with garden rakes.  You’d think they could come up with a more humane way to kill the thing.  Jeeez!

I take a sip of wine from a newly opened bottle to try to relax.  I decide to just finish the whole thing off.

The next few hours are a blank.  I wake up in the bathtub.  I’m hugging a bag of fertilizer. The doorbell is ringing.

I run to see who it is.  Ah!  The post man.  My new Fiction Writing software has arrived. Excellent!  This could be the shot in the arm my career needs.

I spend the rest of the day trying to install the program.  My Windows laptop keeps giving me error messages.

The library catalog file ‘clusterfck.dll’ is missing. Please reinstall operating system.

After five hours of this, I am famished!

I head down to the drive-thru window for Magic Rainbow Happy Luck.  It’s Chinese fast food.  But they refuse to serve me because I’m on a bicycle.  I go inside.  Everything is in Chinese.  I order something by pointing.  They bring me monkey entrails on a croissant. Not very appetizing.

This would be a total waste of time, except thinking ahead, I brought my computer. Munching away, being careful to keep the blood and grease from dripping into my keyboard, I begin . . .

Once upon a time, there was a large tree in the middle of an island. A boy of eleven years old leaned against it. A stranger approached him from behind. The boy turned. The man was wearing a ‘Mitt Romney for President’ button.

Alright!

Now we’re getting somewhere.

______________________________________________________________

The Man Who Loved Too Much – Book 1: Archipelago

Apple (iBook) . . . bit.ly/1ycltFD
Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1tyIRiw
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/ZDnQVO
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1w62HOX
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1r6qWYQ

Posted in Books, Creativity, Nihilism, Satire | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ten Commandments For The New American Century

First Commandment: THOU SHALT TAKE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS

No money in politics. Zero! First, people should stand up and declare unequivocally they will not vote for anyone who takes ANY money from corporations, lobbyists and PACs. Then, down the road, by having elections 100% financed out of public funds, we can build a democracy where our legislators might actually have some time to legislate. It is common knowledge, most federal office holders spend enormous amounts of time raising funds and worrying about winning the next election, instead of doing the job we voted them in office to do. Let’s end this right now!

Second Commandment: THOU SHALT HONOR CHOICE AT THE POLLS

It’s time to institute instant run-off voting. This will allow minor party candidates to run at all levels of government without the understandable fear that a voter is throwing away her or his vote. Our current system has, as Ralph Nader has been saying all along, turned into a choice between Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. Without real choice, meaning a range that covers the entire spectrum of political opinion, democracy becomes a sham, and purely an exercise in futility.

Third Commandment:  THOU SHALT RESPECT THE COMMONS

Right off, we need to re-establish a commons. So much of what constitutes the foundation for a functioning society has been privatized __ prisons, education, utilities, mail, roads, bridges. And it hasn’t worked out well, has it? The nation’s infrastructure is a shambles. There are some basic things we should all be able to have free and open access to, facilities and services which should not be at the mercy of the so-called free market: education, clean air and water, energy, health care, retirement security, the INTERNET, police, fire and ambulance services, nutrition and mental health counseling. This is not socialism.   It’s having a country that works.

Fourth Commandment: THOU SHALT PUT MONEY CREATION AND THE CONTROL OF THE NATION’S CURRENCY BACK INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

The control and issuance of currency must be returned to the federal government. The Federal Reserve is no more “federal” than Federal Express, and as a result America is now hostage to private banks and we rapidly becoming their serf-slaves. Either nationalize or abolish the Federal Reserve and return creation of our fiat currency to the people of America, regulated by a legitimate, functioning system of representative government.

Fifth Commandment: THOU SHALT LIVE BY RULE OF LAW

We have a two-tiered legal system, a gentle one for the privileged, a brutal one for the rest of us. The oligarchs do what they want unfettered by pesky laws. Sometimes the same laws are used to restrain and incarcerate the rest of us. Same thing on an international level. Two tiers. The U.S. bullies the world, ignoring treaty obligations and international law, treating other countries as vassal states. But it uses the same legal instruments as a bludgeon, holding every other nation’s feet to the fire with sanctions, UN resolutions, trade agreements __ whatever__ when it serves our interests, or more accurately, the interests of the corporations who are really setting the agenda. This gross hypocrisy is creating enemies everywhere. We are long overdue to again respect the law, apply it equally and fairly across the board, both at home and around the world.

Sixth Commandment: THOU SHALT REIN IN CAPITALISM

A nice breeze on a clear spring day __ good! . . . A level 5 hurricane that destroys vast swaths of dwellings and kills countless people __ bad! . . . Surfer and swimmer-friendly waves lapping up on a sandy beach __ good! . . . A tsunami crushing whole towns with a 100 foot wall of terrifying force __ bad! . . . Sunlight from hydrogen fusion nurturing our planet with gentle rays of light and warmth __ good! . . . An inferno of hydrogen fusion raining down on cities across the world as mammoth nuclear bombs, destroying the entire human race __ bad! We mostly tend to agree that capitalism provides a powerful engine to drive development and progress. But too much of it and societies are crushed, democracies destroyed, vast numbers of people are relegated to serf status. Other countries have strict regulation and state control to check the ravaging effects of unfettered capitalism. Now it’s America’s turn. Either we rein it in or we can kiss good-bye our once-great country as it descends into the dustbin of history.

Seventh Commandment: THOU SHALT MAKE CORPORATIONS SERVANTS OF THE GREATER GOOD

It will be tough but the whole bogus concept of corporate personhood must be expunged. Totally voided. It was put in place by devious methods and now must be rooted out. In general, it’s way past time to drastically restrict the charters of corporations, such that the interests of people are balanced with the pursuit of profit. This is the way it used to be in the early days of our nation. Back then, corporations were set up for specific and usually public-spirited projects, assigned a very narrowly defined charter and a fixed duration. When whatever was supposed to get done got done, the corporation was dissolved. Maybe we don’t have to return to such a limited implementation in our modern world, but we do have to require that corporations serve the common good. It is entirely legal to dictate that corporations act responsibly and take into account the needs of the community they serve, especially the communities where they reside. We have to elect individuals who are not in the pockets of the corporations and have them re-write the laws for doing the business of America. If the multinational behemoths don’t like it, let them set up in China, Vietnam or Bangladesh. That’s where they already have their factories anyway. Ultimately this will not harm the economy, it will create a society which is healthy and prosperous for everyone.

Eight Commandment: THOU SHALT PROMOTE PEACE AND BE LOVED AGAIN

America must be taken off of a war footing. The high-alert status both at home and around the world is nothing more than highly destructive fear-mongering. It is used to promote a belligerent self-sabotaging approach to international relations. It’s the product of a grossly delusional neocon imperialistic agenda which Americans don’t support __ “exceptionalist” chest-beating which fills the coffers of the defense contractors but bankrupts the rest of us both financially and spiritually. We’ve meddled and bombed enough. It has accomplished nothing and created more problems and more enemies than we had before we decided that military force was the only way to deal with disagreements and crises in the world. It has also subjected the American people to unprecedented and unconstitutional levels of surveillance and a gross abrogation of our rights as citizens. Time to try peace and cooperation instead of threats and bullying.

Ninth Commandment: THOU SHALT RESPECT MOTHER EARTH

Enough silly arguing and tiptoeing around climate change. It’s happening, it could destroy the human race. It will without a doubt reduce civilization to a shell of its former glory and sophistication. Let’s get to work. Global warming and resource depletion represent the greatest threats to mankind in recorded history. Responsible use of resources and creation of sustainable sources of energy are not only necessary, but could be the greatest unifying force ever! Brainstorming and planning will create a monumental paradigm shift and the subsequent implementation of our collective ingenuity will create jobs and bring together behind a common purpose, a world which is torn by divisiveness, fear, suspicion, anger. Though time is quickly running out, the challenge of a planet in crisis doesn’t have to end in total disaster. On the contrary, this could be a historic opportunity for a massive global initiative __ one of renewal and fellowship.

Tenth Commandment: THOU SHALT LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD

The rich and powerful have had a good run. The party is over. The wealthy should start paying back the country which gave birth to their monumental success. Inherited wealth does not give back to the community, the social and political environment that supported the accumulation of all that money. Tax it at 95% above $5 million. The heirs of the Koch brothers will just have to squeak by on their $5.2 billion. Capital gains? Capital gains is income. Tax it at the same rate as personal income. Speaking of which __ time to return to the progressive tax rates of the 60s and 70s. You know them. The ones which resulted in a thriving economy! Massive tax reform across the board is in order, closing of all loopholes, penalizing off-shoring of profits, and the complete elimination of corporate welfare. Do I hear screaming of ‘SOCIALISM!’ out there? Get a life! Yes, this is redistribution of wealth. It’s been going on for thousands of years. It’s what makes a functioning society possible.

I confess, I’m not up to speed on my Bible studies. But I remember hearing at some point, there were originally twenty commandments. I guess our good guy, Moses, lost a tablet or two on his way down from the mountain.

I take this as meaning there’s room on my list for even more. So let’s come up with some ideas for Commandments 11 – 20. All reasonable and constructive ideas are welcome.

I’ll bet there’s a little Moses in everyone just hankering to bust out.

Come on. Go for it!

Let’s make America great again.

Posted in Banking, Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bye-Bye Miss American Pie

I love pie charts!

They are so deliciously informative. A good pie chart makes statistics so digestible!

The short and sweet of it is this:

There are 400 incomprehensibly wealthy people in America who have more money and property than the 150,000,000 individuals in the bottom half of our population. The .000133% vs. 50%!

The now infamous 1% controls 43% of America’s vast riches. And their share is increasing daily.

By the way, I got the pie chart already baked and ready for consumption from an article that appears at the website for the Curry County Democrats based in Brookings, Oregon. You can read the whole article here, and I thank them for their tasty work.

Of course, unlike a lot of the social and political crimes against the average American by our corporate-government oligarchical junta, income inequality is no secret.

Elizabeth Warren has railed against it. Obama has thrown his expensive hat into the ring. Even the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, has expressed alarm, a plea for sanity which was more twerking than real love.

From the people themselves, Occupy Wall Street created the most viral meme in modern history __ the 1% vs. the 99% __ but we saw how that ended up. The 1% brought some big guns to the skeet shoot and the clay pigeons turned to dust.

There is hope. But it’s down the road. The house of cards, aka the American economy, will collapse and the people at the top will have the furthest to fall.

In the meantime, we can expect more of the same. Which means more to them and less to the rest of us, the slobbering masses who amble idly like anesthetized sheep outside their gated communities and opulent private estates.

I will say this. The well-fed titans of economic tyranny at the top get paid well to stick it to the rest of us. As this graphic shows (sorry it’s not a pie chart but more of a stale cracker), the income ratios between CEOs and their worker-slaves in America is ridiculously out of sync and beyond excessive!

When looking at the obsessive hoarding and soul-numbing, society-gutting greed of our privileged patrons of profligacy, we have to ask ourselves: What is the point?

Yes . . . what is the point?

To paraphrase that classic song by Don McLean . . .

I remember when the music died
That was the day that I cried

R. I. P. . . . the American Dream.

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Nihilism, Political Analysis, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Absentee Patriotism

It’s no secret that I am very critical of the policies of this administration, and the general direction America has been taking for the past three decades.

As a result, infrequently but uncomfortably too often, I get this remark from some rabid, myopic super-patriot who gets their understanding of our political system from the box that his hot glue gun came in . . .

“You don’t even live here. You have no right to criticize America.”

It’s one of those battle cries from desperately small minds which on the surface offers some common sense logic but with bare minimum scrutiny falls apart like stale Saltines.

Let’s imagine . . .

It’s 1938 and I am a Jew who has been living in Nazi Germany. I am getting increasingly uncomfortable with developments both locally in my village and nationally. So I leave and become an expatriate, a German citizen living in a foreign country.

While living outside the sphere of the Reich and its pervasive propaganda machine, I see that my discomfort was more than justified, that there are horrible things going on in my home country which threaten not only my fellow Jews, but threaten other individuals and the peace and stability of the whole European continent. I learn from other expatriates about the forced labor and concentration camps, and what appears to be a well-planned program being put in place for the extermination of millions of people. I learn of a massive build-up of military machinery which portends provocations of neighboring countries and promises massive military confrontation.

Are the people who question my now living overseas saying I would have had no right to warn people about the developments I had learned about? That I was disqualified by my foreign mailing address from speaking out against the policies of “my country”? That I would not have had the right to at least warn other Jews __ my fellow citizens __ and urge them to escape as soon as possible or face possible extermination?

I would argue that not only would I have the right to be critical of my country, I would have a moral obligation, a duty to do so, openly and aggressively.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”  -  Edmund Burke

Am I making a comparison between today’s U.S. and Nazi Germany?

Yes and no. Of course, anytime anyone wants to provoke a hysterical public outcry on any matter these days, they just yell ‘Nazi’ or ‘Hitler’ or ‘holocaust’ and the knee jerk response is right there for the having. That’s not what I’m doing here. The U.S. is slowly descending into a form of autocracy, a totalitarianism quite unlike Nazi Germany in many respects. But I believe it is potentially as thoroughly and ultimately menacing.

We can fret and argue about whether that’s correct but that’s not the point I’m making.

The simple point here is that, regardless of where I live or choose to travel, I share with every other American citizen the duty to keep a watchful eye on what my government is doing in my name, and to speak out when and where I see objectionable plans, policies, declarations, or provocative acts towards other countries. It is especially incumbent on me __ it is my responsibility as a citizen __ to share from out here what is not available from within U.S. borders, because of what is clearly massive censorship of the news there by the government and main stream media, which have become Siamese Twins joined at the pocketbook.

It is particularly my duty to warn others in America who are not as I am in a position to live elsewhere, of developments which portend the worst and pose threats to them.

We all see the signs. Often we don’t know what to make of them. The incessant puerile prattle of politicians and pundits creates a constant stream of obfuscation and confusion.

But it is the duty of every single American citizen to try to make sense of our increasingly precarious situation, and to share their insights with their fellow citizens. It is our duty to call out the official lies, the gross imbalance of power, the horrific inequality of wealth, the ongoing and systematic efforts by our government to promote and prosecute in our names policies and initiatives, foreign and domestic, which if the public had full knowledge of, it would steadfastly reject.

It takes a lot of courage these days to speak out against the government, especially the current administration, which has done a phenomenal job of PR and spin, and certainly makes no secret of its intent to squash dissent in America.

Yet, despite massive surveillance of citizens by the security agencies, the watch lists, the no-fly lists, the kill lists, the persecution of whistle blowers, the beatings and arrests which the most peaceful demonstrators now endure at the hands of the police, the suspension of habeas corpus, gross abuses of the FISA Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, there are still many courageous individuals and organizations which continue the daunting but necessary battle to expose the deeply entrenched and dangerous corruption which now poisons our system of government.

I make no claims to be on the same level as these exemplary patriots, speaking truth to power under the threat of persecution, an unconstitutional repression of free speech and basic human rights, the whole of which is more and more is beginning to exhibit parallels with some of the more oppressive regimes in history.

Right or wrong, I’m just an ordinary citizen merely doing my duty.

Just like you.

I watch. I listen. I speak out. I vote.

I do what little I can.

I wish it were more.

Posted in Democracy, Political Analysis, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment