Happy Thanksgiving, America 2.0

As we celebrate another Thanksgiving, between the turkey and the stuffing and the cranberries and the pie, it is an appropriate time for reflection.

Thanks to countless films and television shows, Americans have come to understand that Thanksgiving means having to tolerate your extended family members for a few hours. For some it represents a lone annual occasion for parents and children, or siblings, to be in the same physical location.

If one judges by our cultural depictions of the holiday, there are no families left in this country who don’t roll their eyes, sigh in exasperation or argue loudly over the expansive holiday spreads. In the age of Trump, the squabbles are certain to be more fierce and unavoidable than ever before.

From what I understand of the rest of the world, where such a formal holiday rarely is celebrated, such familial dysfunction is not nearly as common. Respect for elders, for instance, is still strong in many cultures. In America, of course, the elderly are treated like trash, to be carted away to the curb when they are no longer useful. Nursing homes are universally understood to be the most sordid places in our horrific medical industrial complex. And they are incredibly expensive. And yet, the vast majority of people, if they live long enough, end their days in one, or in gentler named assisted living facilities or hospice. One wonders how old people were cared for, in the days before such institutions, and before Alzheimers became common.

At the other end of the age spectrum, I know too many young adults whose parents have discarded them like refuse, refusing to assist them financially or even give them shelter. In America 2.0, the bottom half of workers make less than $27,000 and have less than 1% of the collective wealth. My mother used to be fond of warning me, “It’s a cold world out there.” If she were alive today, she would have to come up with a much stronger adjective to describe the callousness and lack of empathy that permeates our crumbling society.

It’s fitting that America’s biggest tyrant, Abraham Lincoln, first proposed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, after a pivotal victory by the Union army during the war he waged so relentlessly. His official proclamation, like all of Lincoln’s writings, distorted a horrendous reality into often beautiful poetry.

While waxing over the wonderful bounties we all take for granted, Lincoln provided the following bit of political delusion: “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict….”

As I document in my new book Crimes and Cover Ups in American Politics: 1776-1963, Lincoln was a noted nonbeliever in God. This, however, never stopped him from invoking the name of an Almighty he denied when it suited his political purposes. Thus, he expressed gratitude for “the gracious gifts of the Most High God….” and went on to “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife…and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes….”

Dissecting these words of Lincoln is almost as mind-boggling as determining how he could boast, in what the court historians assure us was the greatest speech in the history of this country, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” when he was trying to prevent the seceded Southern states from doing that. What do we make of his reference to “peace has been preserved with all nations” in this proclamation? At that point, all of our leaders were still adhering to the advice given by George Washington in his Farewell Address, and to John Quincy Adams’ declaration that “America does no go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” America would be an ironclad “isolationist” nation until the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Analyzing this proclamation further, Lincoln’s note that “order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed” was especially laughable, in light of the untold thousands of political prisoners he locked up in the north, the hundreds of newspapers he shut down, and his unconstitutional suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. “Harmony” certainly didn’t prevail in those makeshift prisons; one of those imprisoned was Frank Key Howard, grandson of Francis Scott Key. In an incalculable irony, Howard was incarcerated in Fort McHenry, the very spot where his grandfather was inspired by the glorious flying flag to write The Star-Spangled Banner. 

Lincoln’s concern for all those widows and orphans didn’t compel him to order bloodthirsty Union generals like Sherman and Sheridan to cease their unprecedented “scorched earth” campaign. It’s impossible to determine how many of those widows were raped by soldiers, who also plundered their remaining valuables, burned their crops and salted the earth behind them. As far as Lincoln imploring the “Almighty Hand” for anything, this flies in the face of his own, well-documented atheistic beliefs. His cold exploitation of a faithful, religious populace with these persistent, flowery references to an Almighty being he didn’t believe in himself goes beyond even what we see in the modern world of practical politics.

So perhaps it’s appropriate that the proclamation that gave birth to our annual Thanksgiving holiday was filled with the same kind of insincerity and cosmetic hypocrisy that all too often characterize the family gatherings it spawned. It is a special indictment of the modern American experience that so many seem to agonize over interacting with close blood relatives once every year.

It isn’t that Thanksgiving is markedly different in America 2.0. Certainly, there were family disagreements, and uncomfortable holiday gatherings in America 1.0. But I don’t think the dysfunction was as shockingly obvious, or public in nature. A facade of civility prevailed, even where genuine affection didn’t. A combination of cultural indoctrination into the curious concept that family reunions constitute a hardship, and the clash between oblivious Baby Boomers, grown up latchkey kids, and millenials reared in the age of social media, have changed the traditional nuclear family forever.

Siblings that haven’t spoken in decades. Parents alienated from adult children. Young adults encouraged by peer pressure, and the culture, to move as far from home as possible. In other words, to live as far from their parents as possible. Maybe I’m impossibly old-fashioned, but I think this is a very sad development.

So enjoy the gluttony. Watch the football games. Embrace in lukewarm hugs. And offer up thanks for the blessings we all enjoy. Once a year is better than never remembering.

Being a Modern Heretic

It’s not easy going against the grain in any time period, in any society. In our present crumbling America, it may be more difficult than ever.

When you oppose both authoritarian political correctness, and the all-encompassing greed that has produced an unprecedented disparity of wealth, as I do, your prospects in all ways will be severely limited. Family and friends roll their eyes, at best, and at worst shun you. Prospective employers are not impressed.

It’s hard to enjoy anything when you’re a heretic. I should have been more thrilled than I was, as an old-time Washington Senators fan, to see the Nationals win the World Series. While I watched more baseball than I have in many years, and was happy over the victory, it was impossible to ignore the diminished level of play. This is probably even more the case with professional basketball and football. Since I can’t watch such a bad product in silence, I am not a popular guest at parties.

How does anyone watch commercials these days without becoming apoplectic? Much of the time, you can’t even tell what product is being promoted. And they are dumbed down dramatically, like the morning talk shows, which revolve exclusively around fluffy celebrity worship and cooking recipes.

I recently made my annual pilgrimage to the cinema. I normally average one picture at the movies each year. That’s more than enough. Going to see Joker with my son was an enjoyable overall experience. Joaquin Phoenix gives a stunning performance. But I couldn’t  help but notice that those harassing a good-looking woman on the subway were white businessmen in suits. Seriously. They were actually throwing french fries at her. Does anyone do that to attractive females? At any rate, this upholds the tradition from all superhero films; neither Batman, Spiderman, or any other superhero will ever encounter a Blood or a Crip, or a Hispanic gang, in the mean streets of Gotham City or New York. In Hollywood, it’s white skin heads or Russian gangsters who commit street crime in our urban areas.

Why doesn’t some political candidate run on a platform that features a promise to rid us of those annoying automated menus, which every business and government agency feature now? Or on a promise to ban traffic light cameras? Or to abolish all toll roads? Does any citizen like these things? Wouldn’t that be a winning platform?

Going back to Hollywood, I’m the only person I know of who has criticized the absurd whispering dialogue in every film now. Combined, of course, with the blaring effects from every non-dialogue sound. What kind of filmmakers want to make the crucial conversations between characters difficult to hear? Maybe I ought to jump on this bandwagon, and start advocating for my books to be printed in a smeared or blurry style, so that readers can “enjoy” them in the same manner.

Why don’t people RSVP appropriately any more? This has been going on for twenty years at least. Whenever we’d sent out invitations to our children’s birthday parties, we were amazed at how few people paid attention to the request to RSVP. Then again, how many people don’t answer emails or phone messages? On Facebook, I have noticed that those I sent them to have “seen” my messages there, and yet not replied. When I asked them if they could at least extend me the courtesy of a reply, they simply ignored that as well.

We are living in a collapsing civilization, that is filled with impolite people who don’t seem to have learned, or remembered, the very basics of civil interaction. How many people  have you held a door open for in public, who simply brush by you without an acknowledgement? Shouldn’t saying “thank you” be automatic in certain situations? But then again, we’re dealing with an increasing number of people walking around in public with their heads buried in their smart phones, like zombies, who seem to have forgotten the “look both ways” before you cross the road thing, which they all were presumably taught as preschoolers.

Carrying that a bit further, what do we make of people who you pass by on the street, or in the workplace, who stare silently back when you extend a simple greeting? How do you not respond when someone says, “How’s it going?” Maybe it’s just me, but an alarming number of people seem to fall into this category. The great Ambrose Bierce probably defined “politeness” accurately when he called it “the most acceptable hypocrisy.” Still, without simple manners, sincere or not, it’s impossible to have a civil society.

I’ve commented before on how physically unattractive Americans are becoming. A frightening increase in the average weight of males and females of all ages, along with the popularity of tattoos, and an uber-casual style of dress, has built a populace that is now largely as unpleasant to look at as they are to work or socialize with. Social justice warriors, feminism, overt favoritism, unclear rules, expectations and standards of conduct, which can unpredictably result in onerous punishments, have created a toxic stew which everyone has no choice but to consume.

What makes this all the more tragic, and hopefully rescues it from the “get off of my lawn” old-timer mindset, is that we have the wealth, and the technology, to create a world far better than the one Baby Boomers like me grew up in. Life expectancy should be through the roof. Instead it’s actually declining now in America. We should probably have a ten hour work week, at most, by this point, given artificial intelligence, scientific advances, and increased productivity. Instead, most Americans have to work longer, for less pay, than ever before, just to join the 70 plus percent existing from paycheck to paycheck. Maybe if they’d release the papers of Nikola Tesla, we’d have things like teleportation, or universal free energy. Or those cool flying cars from The Jetsons I fantasized about as a kid.

Not only should our infrastructure have been upgraded significantly over the past 60 years, we should have heated highways by now. The technology is there- ask the One Percenters who have it under their own driveways. Free Wi-Fi should be available for the masses. So should rapid mass transit. That would all be possible, with a different set of priorities. Instead, our horrific leaders continue to pad their own pockets, ignite one senseless war or occupation after another, and recite platitudes about “education” and “a strong defense.”

Politicians can seemingly keep the sheeple voting for them simply by buttering them up, by telling them they’re the “greatest” people, who live in the “best” country. I think the fact that American voters return 96 percent or so of our wretched incumbents to office in every election alone requires a much different adjective than “great.” The fault lines along Donald Trump’s personality have assured that this mindless partisanship, based exclusively on issues that don’t dramatically impact anyone’s life, will continue to dominate our electoral process. This also guarantees that the people in this country will never get any viable kind of “representation” from our political leaders.

I could go on. Why do I wind up sitting at a red light so often during a simple commute? Has anyone analyzed how traffic lights are seemingly coordinated to not be synchronized, to increase traffic rather than to make it flow better? The madness of policing for profit, asset forfeiture, the wild disparity in sentencing in our injustice system- the list of my complaints about modern America is endless, as anyone who knows me can tell you.

Donald Trump’s recent bragging about what was probably a fake assassination of a fake terrorist, mirrored an identical non-incident during Obama’s administration. Right down to the staged photo from the White House. What’s crucial here is that Trump, like Obama, Hillary Clinton, and seemingly all of our leaders, now openly endorse the assassination of others. This is a sea change of enormous proportions, and tells us all we need to know about our present collective morality.

I know there are others out there, who don’t like what’s happening, who notice all these things. But there is an understandable reluctance to speak out, a reasonable fear, that modern heretics will wind up thrown in the water to see if they float, or burned at the stake.

Maybe there won’t be a literal witch hunt this time. After all, there aren’t very many of us.

The Trumpenstein Project

It is now more apparent than ever that Donald J. Trump was the creation of someone or something very powerful. He was wound up and escorted directly from his Reality TV world, onto the national political stage.

As I’ve noted many times, Trump’s radical, often revolutionary campaign rhetoric appealed to millions of disgruntled citizens like me. I found it difficult to believe that this lifelong One Percenter- of whom I held a not terribly detailed but decidedly negative impression- could possibly be saying such things.

For those with short memories, Trump not only referred to “globalists,” in Alex Jones-style conspiracy-friendly terms, he noted over and over again that the system was rigged, and “you can’t fix it by trusting those who rigged it.” His slogans “America First” and “Drain the Swamp” energized most of those in my world.

Trump hinted at conspiracies and cover ups that other politicians simply never have. He inferred Ted Cruz’s father may have been involved in the JFK assassination. He noted that “some people believe” Vince Foster was murdered. As Roger Stone told me back in 2015, “he knows about all the conspiracies- you would love him.”

He called out the “phony” unemployment statistics, which were changed in the 1990s to dishonestly count only those presently filing for benefits. This was in addition, of course, to disparaging “fake news” and blasting mainstream journalists for their lies and distorted coverage. All of this was music to my ears.

Several times, Trump lamented the “senseless wars” that had cost “trillions of dollars,” which would have permitted us to “rebuild this country several times.” He was the first politician to accurately assess our pathetic infrastructure and label it as the embarrassment it is. He criticized political leaders of both parties over the horrendous trade deals like NAFTA, which outsourced our industry and left us unable to make electronics, clothing or anything else of substance.

And most of all he lit into our disastrous immigration policy. As he said many times, “you either have a country or you don’t,” and made countless specific promises in this area. He claimed that he would end Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program on the first day in office, would sign an Executive Order ending birth-right citizenship, end the deadly H-1B Visa foreign worker program, and take a step back and “look at all immigration,” including legal immigration. He was the first candidate I’d ever heard who talked freely about deporting illegal immigrants.

Trump seemed utterly “awake” on the vaccine question, and how they are obviously linked to the alarming rise in autism rates. He promised a commission to study the issue, and just after his inauguration, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., of all people, held a press conference to announce that he would be chairing it.

Trump’s selection of neocon fundamentalist Mike Pence raised more than a few eyebrows, but his stunning inaugural address kindled a great deal of hope that perhaps he actually did intend to keep all those promises. I was moved by that address, and considered it the best since John F. Kennedy’s.

We all know what happened next. Pence wasn’t an anomaly; Trump appointed one odious Deep State veteran after another to all key positions in his cabinet. The only even semi-outsiders were Steve Bannon, who was quickly marginalized and later unceremoniously dumped, and General Mike Flynn, who was demonized after a cup of coffee as Trump’s National Security Adviser. Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador typified his selections; a John McCain-style warmonger par excellence, who had been a vocal #Never Trumper during the presidential campaign.

I have often wondered, in fact, how many of those who have surrounded Trump in the White House, and still surround him (the tremendous turnover rate hasn’t featured any diversity of thought- one Swamp Creature simply supplants another), actually voted for him. Has that ever been asked about any previous president?

Needless to say, Trump didn’t end DACA on his first day in office. He didn’t end birth-right citizenship. He didn’t stop the H-1B Visa program, and now we have more Visa workers than ever. Despite all his radical rhetoric, Trump has been actually deporting fewer illegals than Barack Obama.

Those of us who fell for the rhetoric and the slogans should really have known better. The evidence was there; his public endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president in 2008, the photos of him laughing and socializing with the Clintons. The creepy video of him schmoozing with Rudy Giuliani in drag. Giuliani, of course, would go on to become an influential adviser to President Trump. And Trump would quiet the post-election cries of “Lock her up” regarding Hillary Clinton by telling his loyal followers that “we don’t need that now,” and called her “good people.”

So was Trump packaged and sold, like a marketplace version of Frankenstein, to appeal to the percolating dissent in the heartland, and the people who were once called “the silent majority?” That “silent majority” isn’t the majority now, thanks to millions of immigrants and a steady cultural drift to the left. But they maintain an influence in the “flyover states,” and tipped the electoral college balance in the 2016 election.

Trump represents a symbol of all that America once was, when it was ruled exclusively by white males. White males who didn’t back down, or apologize, and spoke their mind. The fact that Trump actually has backed down, repeatedly, on budget deals, on immigration, on withdrawing troops, and other issues, doesn’t seem to damage his brand in the eyes of those who still support him. He talks and tweets a strong game. He makes fun of individual reporters in press conferences. He loves fast food. In their eyes, he’s one of them.

The Trump Project consisted of a renegade candidate, with radical ideas and brash talk, but also a cartoonish ego and often shocking inability to articulate. While those in the heartland ate up the juvenile name-calling and impolite style, a huge portion of Americans were appalled, and unleashed a vitriol not seen since the halcyon days of World War II, when Adolph Hitler took on a satanic veneer that no bogeyman had previously, or has since.

This week, Hillary Clinton, the embodiment of a “left” that found “McCarthyism” repugnant and lampooned any fervent anti-communist, attacked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Clinton, in the best tradition of the right-wingers she presumably hated, called Gabbard a “Russian asset,” and included Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in the same category.

Many good people, who once loved my work, have jumped on this surrealistic bandwagon. They’ve drank the anti-Trump Kool-Aid to such an extent that they’re willing to form alliances with our intelligence agencies, Trump’s former aide John Bolton, or anyone else anywhere who opposes him. And they dutifully dub anyone who criticizes the Clintons, or Joe Biden’s son, or supports Trump’s talk about withdrawing troops as “Russian Bots.”

The Trump Project has succeeded in killing any hope of an independent political movement, outside of the phony left-right paradigm. All political discourse now is filtered through the prism of Trump’s outlandish personality, and how one reacts to it. And most Americans have responded predictably to the programming, and fall in faithfully into either the “love” or “hate” category.

We have gone from a president that the most absurd “conspiracy theorists” believe may have been created in a lab- Barack “no real personal history” Obama, to a character right out of WWE central casting, manufactured to get the maximum amount of cheers and hisses. A perfect leader for our burgeoning Idiocracy.

Lincoln once talked about a house divided being unable to stand. Our house is hopelessly divided, and barely standing. It won’t take much of a wind to blow it down. We really need a Frank Capra to devise a happy ending to this story.

The Impeachment Waltz

Let me confess; I would have supported the impeachment of almost every president since Lyndon B. Johnson.

Just in more recent years, both Reagan and George H.W. Bush could have been impeached over the October Surprise and Iran/Contra scandals. Bill Clinton could have impeached for many high crimes and misdemeanors, but the mass murder at Waco certainly stands out as an impeachable offense. Dubya could have been impeached for the “weapons of mass destruction” lie and the government stand down on September 11, 2001. Barack Obama assassinated an American citizen with a drone, bragged about it, and then killed his sixteen year old son a month later. I don’t recall any impeachment efforts over that. 

This whole “get Trump” campaign reminds me of the state-sponsored, media supported efforts to oust Richard Nixon from the White House. When I was researching Hidden History, it became abundantly clear that, compared to the crimes of almost every other modern president, Nixon’s actions associated with Watergate were child’s play. As an unsophisticated teenager, with a budding far left Democratic political conscience, I bought into the rhetoric that Nixon was an incomparably evil politician that we had to “get rid of.” In the same way, Americans are now being counseled, by that same putrid, state-controlled press, that Donald Trump is even worse than Nixon, and we simply “must” remove him from office.

Donald Trump has proven to be little more than a buffoon. In my view, he was hired to play a part, and has played it well. His halting, ungrammatical method of communicating grates on the nerves of any educated person. His childish bragging and impossible ego are so cartoonish they defy belief. His gutter-level arguments with mindless celebrities would be beneath the office of a low level bureaucrat, let alone the president of the United States. But none of those are impeachable offenses. And yet this behavior is what has triggered perhaps a majority of Americans to demand his impeachment.

As I’ve said in Trump’s defense, you have to do something in order to do something wrong. The sad fact is Donald Trump has done little more than talk, tweet, boast, and break promises during his three years in office. While his rhetoric can still sometimes sound great- witness his recent comments before the United Nations extolling nationalism over globalism- his act grew old a few years ago. When Trump has acted, he has tended to follow the same neocon-style policies that a President Jeb Bush would have. Despite all his heated rhetoric about immigration, which I believe is the primary cause of the intense hatred so many feel towards him, Trump has actually deported fewer illegals than Barack Obama.

I didn’t think that Trump’s enemies could possibly come up with something more ridiculous than the Russian “collusion” fairy tale, but they have managed to do so. They are genuinely trying to impeach him for ambiguous inferences in a phone call to the Ukrainian president. Earlier this year, three Democratic Senators sent a letter to a Ukrainian prosecutor, in which they unambiguously threatened to withhold aid to the country unless their political objectives were met. And Joe Biden, around whose son and his seeming corruption all this revolves, boasted on videotape about getting the Ukrainian prosecutor fired a few years back. It seems the height of audacity, and hypocrisy, to become apoplectic about Trump allegedly doing what these Democratic Party politicians are documented to have done themselves.

In 1998, Republicans succeeded in voting articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. The mainstream media at the time, in stark contrast to their overt cheerleading for this impeachment, were visibly devastated. To my amazement, the major networks refused to televise the impeachment trial in the Senate. Consider that; an event of such historic significance it has only happened once before in American history, and our state-controlled media considered it unworthy of being televised. You can bet everything you own that if Donald Trump is impeached, every millisecond of the process will be broadcast, over every network in the world.

What does is say about Americans, that they can ignore the kind of career corruption of both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the crimes of so many other recent politicians, and yet be willing to unceremoniously dump Donald Trump for what is, in comparison, simply very loud bluster? I have read the comments of many people I normally respect, who have called in the past for a military overthrow of Trump. They simply want him gone, and they don’t care how it’s done.

Whoever hired Trump for this role, and is writing this script, they have done an extraordinary job of dividing the country. Presumably, that was the primary goal of this production. And the dividing line is no longer Mason-Dixon, it’s Donald Trump. All political discussion now is channeled through Trump’s personality, and how individuals respond to it. We’ve devolved back to a point where we’re arguing around a digital checkerboard, over whether you’re “fer” him or “agin” him.

I never expected the election of Trump. I thought, like almost everyone else, that the “fix” was in for Hillary Clinton, the Queen of Corruption. So because of that unanticipated curve ball, I really have no idea what to expect next. Could Donald Trump be impeached, over an unclear “threat” to withhold foreign aid unless Ukrainian authorities investigated the corruption of Joe Biden’s son? If so, that says a lot about the state of present-day America, what I call America 2.0. Think of it; the “bad guy” here is the one seemingly demanding an investigation into corruption, not the person or persons guilty of corruption.

And then there is the much ballyhooed “whistle blower” who is, in reality, a CIA spook. To accurately be defined as a whistle blower, this person would have to be exposing CIA corruption. Instead, the CIA appears to be assisting the drive to impeachment in a partisan way. And the same state-controlled media and “liberal” politicians who are silent about the abominable treatment accorded genuinely heroic whistle blowers like Bradley/Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange, have suddenly found a “whistle blower” they can love.

After the resignation of Richard Nixon, Americans were counseled, by the same state-controlled media that led the efforts to oust him from office, that the entire affair proved “the system works.” By the “system,” they mean the disastrous two party duopoly that restricts debate like no other “free” country in the world.

There are no “good guys” to root for here. Trump is the victim, but he is, as always, totally unsympathetic. He still has what has always been his best quality; his high-profile enemies are all more despicable than he could ever hope to be. And the “bad guys” will undoubtedly win, no matter what happens, as they always do.

Perhaps this is all just a message, comprehensible only at a subconscious level, that anyone sincerely wishing to reform things, to “drain the swamp,” to “put America first,” will be summarily rejected by the “system” that we are told works so well.

The Wild and Wacky Conspiracy World

I don’t think it’s immodest of me to suggest that, in the alternative news/conspiracy world, I have achieved at least some kind of celebrity. However, like entertainment celebrities, and the high schoolers who jockey for position within the ironclad social hierarchy system, I’ll well aware of where I stand in that regard.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few of the conspiracy celebrities, talk with many more by phone or Skype, and communicate via email or Facebook messenger with countless numbers of them. Like people in society at large, they run the gamut from friendly and down to earth, to marginally sane, to possessing a bloated sense of their own importance.

I’ve reached out to many of these people, as potential guests for my new weekly radio program “I Protest.” https://tfrlive.com/iprotest/  I’ve already had some tremendous guests, like John Barbour, Gerald Celente, Cindy Sheehan, former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm, Jerome Corsi, actor Nick Mancuso, and Lana Wood, sister of Natalie Wood and an actress in her own right. All are  huge names whose fame extends far beyond the conspiracy world, but they are genuine, and have no qualms about communicating with the likes of me.

Several others I admire for various reasons, but who are considerably lower than the above names on any celebrity barometer, ignore me. I’ve emailed David Paulides, author of a series of intriguing Missing 411 books, several times. He has bragged about answering every email sent to him in more than one interview I’ve listened to, but he never responds to mine. Luke Rudkowski, the founder of We Are Change, is someone I think is doing great work. He has never replied to any Facebook messages or emails I’ve sent him.

Rob Dew, producer of Infowars, interviewed me on Infowars Nightly News four years ago, and raved about Hidden History. He even wrote a blurb for the paperback edition of the book. He stopped answering my emails a long time ago, and won’t even retweet links to my interviews. Speaking of the paperback edition, the guy who wrote the Foreword to that, Roger Stone, stopped answering my emails not longer after Dew did. He kept saying he’d have me on his War Room segment of Alex Jones’s show, but never even gave me a prospective date.

Respectable “liberals” have really ignored by book Survival of the Richest. Barbara Ehrenreich, not exactly a household name, wrote a great book called Nickel and Dimed, which I quoted from extensively in my text, and was a natural for me to reach out to in promoting Survival. She has never once replied to my Facebook messages, or to posts about the book I’ve tagged her in. A much bigger name that is easily recognizable, Naomi Wolf, interviewed me, asked me to write an op-ed for her Daily Clout web site, wrote a blurb for the book, and will be writing a new Foreword to the paperback edition of Survival. Ironically, Naomi actually compared Survival with Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed in her blurb.

David Talbot founded Salon.com, which published the entire Introduction to Survival on its web site. I had communicated with him a few times about the JFK assassination, an interest we share. He gave me his sister Margaret Talbot’s email address- she seemed even more likely than David to be drawn to Survival. I emailed her three of four times, without the courtesy of a reply. David stopped answering my emails and Facebook messages as well. That doesn’t stop him from frequently ranting about the disparity of wealth on social media. He just won’t mention the most recent, and most detailed book ever written on the subject.

Speaking of Twitter, conspiracy celebrities often mimic their more well known brethren in the entertainment world, as they will usually only “follow” those they consider their “equals” or “betters” on the scale of success. It’s very high school-like behavior, and if it weren’t so sad it would be funny. Of course, getting someone with that kind of arrogance and conceit to retweet something, unless you are “above” them on the pecking order (in which case, of course, you wouldn’t stoop to asking them), is a difficult task. Try getting them to click “like” on a Facebook post, unless they consider you their “superior” in the conspiracy world.

Sometimes it isn’t even a question of a twisted social hierarchy. Jim Fetzer is perhaps the most difficult personality in the conspiracy world. I defended him over and over again, when he quickly wore out his welcome on JFK forum after JFK forum. He interviewed me years ago on his “The Real Deal” show, before it became much bigger. We talked about the Natalee Holloway case, and he sandbagged me during the interview, becoming suddenly antagonistic and debating me from a Wikipedia page. He has never once even acknowledged Hidden History or any of my other books.

Back in 2015, I was asked to be interviewed by Daniel Liszt, aka “Dark Journalist,” who was an early fan of Hidden History. It was a typical discussion for me, and afterward Daniel told me he thought it went really well. A month went by, then two, then six, and the interview never went up anywhere online. I grew tired of the excuses, and simply asked to be sent a copy so that at least my family and I could view it. Daniel stopped responding to my emails, and eventually deleted me as a Facebook friend. He gave no explanation, and my frustration increased as I noticed that his popularity was growing, with his videos now regularly drawing lots of views. As I explained to him, I don’t feel comfortable with video of me out there, which can be manipulated and twisted to suit an agenda. The JFK assassination and similar topics just seems to naturally draw difficult personalities.

Daniel Liszt epitomizes what we see all too often in the alternative media universe. He failed to understand my uneasiness over having a long video of myself out there, without even seeing or hearing it. He didn’t have the common decency to reply to my emails, or at least provide a rationale. High profile “journalists” can pretend to be “above” the likes of writers like me, and therefore routinely ignore my emails, but this was a political brethren who requested an interview from me.

Individuals unknown outside of the JFK assassination research community have somehow found my phone number and called me. Their messages are sometimes barely comprehensible; like so many “researchers,” they have their own confusing agendas. Others email me and ramble on about something that clearly means a great deal to them, but cannot be readily understood by anyone else, including me. They have emailed me manuscripts, which I try to read. Unlike some in the conspiracy world, I do answer these people, and have even talked to a few of them on the phone.

Cynthia McKinney, one of the most courageous congressional representatives this country has ever had, is much easier to contact than many self-absorbed “researchers” in the conspiracy world. Sean Stone, Oliver Stone’s son, is down to earth and will talk to everyone. So is Susan Olsen, who starred as Cindy on The Brady Bunch and is very vocal about her political beliefs. While researching my book on show business, I have had pleasant conversations with actors who appeared on television shows like Family Affair, Father Knows Best and The Waltons. I’ve spoken to members of wildly successful rock bands, and singing idol Bobby Rydell. Graham Parker, a severely underrated singer/composer, and one of my personal favorites, spoke to me for quite a while on Skype and always answers my emails. Even someone as big as Ron Paul was far more receptive to me than your average conspiracy world “star.”

Actress Lana Wood, sister of Natalie Wood, was much easier for me to contact than many conspiracy world celebrities. She gave me her phone number, and it was beyond surrealistic to spend a few late nights texting back and forth with her. Actress Sally Kirkland is also very approachable and answers emails and Facebook messages.

But Joseph McBride, who worked with Orson Welles, and has written a lot of books, including a privately published one about the JFK assassination, will not answer my emails or Facebook messages. He has had a prestigious career, but is “famous” to the public at large in only a very minimal way. He did respond to me once early on, when I suggested we trade autographed copies of our books. He kind of surprised me when he said he already had Hidden History, although he has never given his impressions of it to me or anywhere online.

I recognize that many of those inhabiting this world I spend so much time in do act as if they are as unbalanced as the establishment likes to suggest they are. One of the You Tube comments from an interview I did with Sarah Westall, alleged that I was a powerful Freemason. The astute commentator ferreted this information out, due to the fact I was wearing a “plad” shirt and a soccer ball was visible on the bookshelf behind me. Miles Mathis, another difficult online “star” in the alternative media world, once claimed both I and the late Dave McGowan were some kind of “spooks,” about whom nothing could be found online. He even claimed there were no photos of us. I urge anyone interested to google my name. You will find several pictures, and lots of information. Mathis doesn’t answer emails asking him to appear on my show, either.

Mathis, like other online commentators, feels I’m not “going far enough.” That I’m a “limited hangout” type of guy. This particularly comes into play whenever I’ve said positive things about Alex Jones or Ron Paul. If I don’t talk enough about Zionist control of the media, I’m covering up for “the Jews.”

There are lots of great people in the alternative world who do answer my emails and sometimes phone calls. Some of them have become good cyber friends. I treasure my friendship with John Barbour, and Billy Ray Valentine (host of “The Infinite Fringe,” whistle blower Heidi Weber, talk show hosts S.T. Patrick, Ella Felder, Sean from SGT Report, Dustin Nemos, Chuck Ochelli, Meria Heller, Richard Syrett, Jeff Rense, and Sarah Westall.

Now, I’m certain that if I were ever able to gain access to a truly mainstream media outlet, I would be blasted for other predictable reasons. I would be deemed a “wacko,” a “racist,” a “communist,” a “socialist,” an “anti-semite,” “paranoid,” and laughed off as a “conspiracy theorist.” But I don’t think I have to worry about that; our establishment press keeps restricting debate even further. There is no room on their television stations or their seldom-read newspapers and magazines for voices with my perspective.

The JFK assassination forums, the 9/11 forums, and popular sites like Godlike Productions and Lunatic Outpost are filled with combative, bombastic personalities. They each feel they have the one, true answer to everything. Everyone who doesn’t agree with them is a “disinfo agent,” much as mainstream media “journalists” label anyone who doesn’t buy their state-fueled propaganda to be a “wacko” or a “conspiracy theorist.” But they are also filled with brilliant insight from anonymous posters, which keeps me coming back.

While I love exposing historical lies and official corruption, sometimes I wonder how much easier it would be to write about mundane, noncontroversial topics. Cats. Food. Nonthreatening trivia. Professional advice giver.

But I’ve made my choice. One accepts what comes with sending forth those unwanted “tiny ripples of hope.”

Of Epsteins, Lolitas and Hoaxes

The alleged suicide of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, the owner of “Lolita Island,” a place swarming with underage girls and rich and powerful visitors, triggered even many complacent voices into sounding like “conspiracy theorists.” When the likes of The New York Times and trusty veteran Sen. Chuck Schumer are questioning an official narrative, you know that something is up. Attorney General William Barr is demanding answers. And Donald Trump, in typical fashion, retweeted a mention of the Clinton Body Count, and how Epstein may have been the latest addition to it.

Celebrities reacted predictably. Alec Baldwin, Ron Perlman, former WWE star Dave Bautista and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough were among those laughably fingering “Russia,” presumably with straight faces. Will & Grace star Debra Messing was only one of many to directly blame Trump, and tweeted, “He finally killed someone on Fifth Avenue,” referencing the President’s memorable 2016 assertion about being able to get away with anything without losing support. Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted, “I mean, Trump had him killed. Mon dieu, you fucking idiots.”

Now we are told, by no less than The New York Times, that two guards slept through their scheduled half hour checks on Epstein, and then falsified the records. Early reports indicated that Epstein was on suicide watch at the time, in light of what was initially reported as a physical assault he’d recently suffered at the hands of another in prison, but was later magically transformed into an unsuccessful suicide attempt. When nearly all expressed disbelief that a prisoner under suicide watch could….commit suicide, the narrative was quickly changed to Epstein having been taken off suicide watch.

Epstein was originally placed in a cell with a roommate, reported to have been a particularly violent ex-police officer. At some point, according to CNN, “that person was removed for reasons unknown.” The same unnamed source told CNN that “It’s protocol for inmates coming off suicide watch not to be placed alone in a cell.”  A federal official told the nation’s most hilarious source of news that “no foul play was suspected.” An autopsy was performed August 11, but results have not yet been released. Michael Baden, a Fox News contributor known to JFK assassination researchers as a reliable establishment tool whose work with the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald acted alone, observed the proceedings.

Epstein was charged with sexual trafficking of underage girls in 2007, and received a “sweetheart deal” courtesy of future Trump Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and future Trump nemesis Robert Mueller. He was arrested again in early July of this year, charged by New York prosecutors (among them the daughter of Trump nemesis James Comey) with operating a traffic ring of underage girls. Eyebrows were further raised when his trial date was postponed until next year, in a decidedly unusual move.

The arrest and belated attention to the allegations against Epstein, discussed and written about for years by “conspiracy theorists,” stunned me, and others of my ilk. When asked about it in interviews, I confessed to being absolutely baffled. Those at Epstein’s level, charged with these kinds of heinous crimes, are not normally prosecuted for anything, and on the rare occasions they are, it doesn’t garner much media coverage (as was the case in 2007).

The renewed attention to Epstein came about largely as a result of a series of articles in The Miami Herald, written by Julie K. Brown. Brown’s reaction to Epstein’s death echoed what most were saying. “I was pretty stunned. Disbelief. It’s still a little shocking that something like that could have happened given his high-profile status in the Bureau of Prisons,” she said, during an interview with CNN. “There’s so many avenues that have yet to be investigated … other co-conspirators involved in this — but also on how this whole thing happened back in 2008 and why it happened, and whether there’s any corruption there to look at.” I think everyone outside the halls of the mainstream media understands that this case is dripping with corruption.

According to Joseph Recarey, the lead detective on Epstein’s case, he was in effect operating a “sexual pyramid scheme.” Brown discovered about 80 women who claim they were molested or otherwise sexually abused by Epstein, and most assume the total number is much higher. “He told me he wanted them as young as I could find them,’’ Courtney Wild, who recruited 70 or 80 girls for Epstein, told Brown. “He wanted as many girls as I could get him. It was never enough.’’

In a different twist on the usual eugenicist philosophy one invariably finds in the minds of our leaders, Epstein supposedly was plotting to “seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch,” according to The New York Times. One of Epstein’s tactics during his original prosecution, devised with his powerful legal team led by Alan Dershowitz and former Clinton nemesis Kenneth Starr, was to “dig up dirt” on his female accusers as well as the police and prosecutors working his case. As happens routinely in these cases, there was collateral damage. One alleged young victim became addicted to drugs and served three years in prison. Another woman who’d claimed to be molested by Epstein was found dead of an alleged heroin overdose.

Epstein, by contrast, served just thirteen months in a private wing of a Palm Beach county jail, and was permitted under work release to go to a “comfortable office” for 12 hours a day, six days a week. It was not unlike the sentences doled out to chronic traffic offenders. The FBI had assembled a 53 page indictment that could have resulted in a life sentence for Epstein. Also under this incredible deal, if Epstein had named “any potential co-conspirators,” they would have faced no consequences. And the deal was kept secret from his alleged victims, preventing them from challenging it in court.

Epstein’s personal background is murky and full of suspicious gaps. We are led to believe he somehow went from math teacher to billionaire. Our rigged system just doesn’t work that way. One of his close associates was said to be Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of British publishing magnate and politician Robert Maxwell. Like Epstein himself, Maxwell was suspected of being a Mossad agent. Maxwell died in suitably  unnatural style; his naked body found floating in the ocean, with the official cause of death coming from a heart attack and accidental drowning.

However he made his money, and whatever shadowy benefactors aided him, Epstein wound up with Manhattan’s largest single house. He spent much of his time flying around the world in his fleet of private planes, often to the 100 acre secluded island in St. Thomas, where so many notable names visited, and where it is alleged he kept a harem of “Lolitas.” His wealth was questioned by many, including Michael Stroll, who sued Epstein over a failed business deal, and told New York Magazine in 2007, “I never saw him work. Anybody I know that is that wealthy works 26 hours a day. This guy plays 26 hours a day.”

Epstein assembled an impressive list of celebrity friends. First and foremost was Bill Clinton, who is said to have visited “Lolita Island” some 26 times. Actors like Bill Murray and Kevin Spacey, attorney Dershowitz, and Oprah Winfrey are others said to have visited the island. Donald Trump certainly was associated with Epstein in some way,  and once called him a “terrific guy” who “enjoys his social life,” specifically noting his predilection for young girls.

Donald Trump was intriguing, as always, with his comments. Not only did he retweet an inference connecting Clinton to Epstein’s death, he said, “The question you have to ask is, ‘Did Bill Clinton go to the island?’ If you find that out, you’re going to know a lot.” There have been claims that Trump didn’t want to visit the island when he found out there were underage girls there, but he has also been accused himself of raping an underage girl. Others claim Trump once had Epstein thrown out of his Mar-a-Lago estate. Clinton, of course, claims never to have visited the island.

In March, the ninety six year old judge overseeing a key lawsuit against Epstein died. Now, at that age, sudden death is hardly unexpected. The question should be; what was a judge that old doing overseeing an important case? Are there 96 year old judges anywhere, overseeing any case?

While almost no one outside those at the very top of the corridors of power believe Jeffrey Epstein actually killed himself, an increasing number of people don’t think he died at all. Is it really that preposterous to imagine him being whisked off the stage, as perhaps other high-ranking One Percenters are? After all, we are led to believe that 96 year old Henry Kissinger, as obese as ever, is able to move, speak, and function perfectly well. Are there any other obese 96 year old people alive anywhere? Is it irresponsible to suggest that Kissinger and his kind are the beneficiaries of secret medical and life extension technology?

Those who have researched widely-reported incidents like the Gabby Giffords shooting, the “Batman” Aurora shooting, Sandy Hook, the Boston Bombing, Parkland, and many others, understand the gargantuan holes in each official narrative, which lead naturally to sometimes wild theories. As Mark Lane wrote regarding the Warren Report, the failure of authorities to properly investigate inexorably “provides fertile ground for speculation.”

In this case, as in all the other highly publicized incidents, the surveillance cameras that are everywhere in our Orwellian world are said not to have functioned properly. Does anybody outside the world of “conspiracy theorists” even question these things? Before these cameras became installed virtually everywhere, crucial evidence usually was “accidentally destroyed,” or somehow lost, in the most obvious Deep State events. Or classified for “national security” reasons. After all, the government is still withholding documents associated with World War One.

So was the Epstein suicide not a murder, but a hoax? Is he sitting on a beach somewhere, happily sipping a cocktail, laughing with his elite brethren at the unshakable gullibility of the American people?

No Easy Way Out of This

The recent decision, last week, by a typically corrupt judge, to dismiss the first lawsuit filed by slandered Kentucky teen Nicholas Sandman, hammered home again just how absolutely corrupt America 2.0 has become. The idea that any judge could look at the nature of the biased, inflammatory, and inaccurate coverage of the teen’s actions and character by the Washington Post, and then basically give it a stamp of approval, should stun any of the few remaining civil libertarians out there.

The Post, like all the mainstream media, totally distorted and mischaracterized the encounter between a group of Catholic school kids on a field trip, and a Native American “elder.” They cast the white teens in the clear role of “bad guys,” with Nicholas Sandman, in particular, portrayed as an aggressive, disrespectful and entitled example of “white privilege.” And they, again like everyone in our state-controlled press, totally ignored the real instigators of the incident; a group of loud, profane, and wildly racist Black Hebrews.

I keep in contact with Sandman’s attorney Todd McMurtry, and he told me in an email a few days ago that, while disappointed, he remains hopeful that they will prevail in lawsuits against other huge mainstream outlets, and perhaps some of the hateful celebrities who smeared the young teenager on social media and on television. I said at the time, and continue to believe, that these lawsuits hold the potential to be a real Lexington and Concord moment, in terms of fighting the systemic tyranny that has all but destroyed this country.

At nearly the same moment, another corrupt judge (are there any other kind?) ruled that the Democratic National Committee basically had a perfect right to rig their primaries in 2016. I don’t expect the one who got screwed by the DNC in that process, Bernie Sanders, to complain. He has never uttered a peep of protest about the outright theft of the party nomination from him, in order to benefit the Queen of Corruption, Hillary Clinton. Sanders is so deluded he now publicly chants the “Russia! Russia! Russia!” line. Sorry, Bernie, it wasn’t “Russia” who robbed you.

I’ve nearly finished my book on show business, tentatively titled On Borrowed Fame. My next project, it’s becoming clear, must be an expose of our monstrous injustice system. The disparities in sentencing alone mimic the disparity of wealth that I wrote about in Survival of the Richest. Throw in unbridled, unlawful cops who have shown no hesitancy in planting evidence to frame the innocent, ambitious, unprincipled prosecutors, and unknowledgeable, often stupid jurors, and you have our brutal, ugly adversarial system of “justice” in all its glory.

The courts have ruled that ignorance of the law is no defense. For a common citizen, that is. If you’re a police officer, whose job it would seem is to be an expert on the laws they enforce, it is perfectly okay to be ignorant about them. The same courts have ruled that our draconian asset forfeiture laws are not only legal, but parties totally unconnected to the suspected (not proven) violations of law can have their property confiscated, too. And remember, if you somehow run into an honest judge, or an empathetic jury, and are exonerated, you could still fight for years to get it back. Utah passed a law in 2017 that required property be returned to those who were found not guilty of the charges that resulted in the forfeiture. But Utah is just one state. A man in Minnesota, for example, was acquitted of burglary charges, but still had to forfeit his car.

No politician, in either party, is talking about the maddening inconsistency of our courts, or the unconstitutional overreaching of power by judges at all levels. How many talk about the onerous asset forfeiture laws, which have become an essential part of our disastrous policing for profit system? It was refreshing to see Tulsi Gabbard confront the putrid Kamala Harris for her own authoritarian record as California’s Attorney General during last night’s Democratic Party debates. For her efforts, Gabbard is being depicted by many sheeple today as a tool of Russia.

From my own personal experiences over the past year, in trying to find justice over the most unfair job termination imaginable, I understand now more than ever that our courts are not the answer. We cannot seek a redress of our grievances there. And eighty percent or so of Americans have quite a lengthy list of grievances. This list make Thomas Jefferson’s “long train of abuses and usurpations” look like child’s play in comparison. The tyranny present-day Americans face, every day, from government and big business, would cause our Founders to call for the most enthusiastic Boston Tea Party the world has ever seen.

So if the courts aren’t the answer, what is? The electoral process? Every election, American voters return some 96% of the worst criminals in this country, to office. Very few of them have “represented” their constituents even occasionally during their lucrative careers of “public service.” I recounted the yeoman efforts of the late Collier brothers in Hidden History. Their work on voting fraud, detailed in their book Votescam, proved beyond any doubt that our votes aren’t being counted.  And if they are, that would actually be worse; it would mean that our fellow citizens, with a vote just as significant as any of ours, actually believe that the Nancy Pelosis, the Mitch McConnells, the Chucky Schumers, etc. are worthy of reelection.

Clearly, then, the ballot box isn’t the answer, either. When you are returning your awful “representatives” back to office at an average rate higher than the Politburo at the height of the Soviet Union, you aren’t going to change anything. Whether it was Emma Goldman or Mark Twain, the sentiment is appropriate; if voting made any difference, it would be illegal. We aren’t going to vote ourselves out of this.

A second actual revolution is also bound to fail. The most powerful military force in the history of the world would be the enemy, not some naive and proper British redcoats. Don’t for a minute think the military would side with the people. Individual members, certainly. But the ones controlling the bombs, the missiles, and the tanks would all be die hard members of the Deep State.  Police forces would be aligned against the people, too. The kind of mindless thugs who brutalize the public, and seem to intimidate their more reasonable peers as much as they do the citizens who pay their salaries, are not likely to sign up for anything opposing tyranny.

But the biggest obstacle here is the apathy of the public. Most people have been frightened into conformity. The campaigns to even get people to not buy gasoline on a particular day have all been failures. The average American is so docile, so submissive to his corrupt and incompetent leaders, that he is unwilling to even make what is essentially an anonymous, risk-free attempt at protest. One cannot envision these folks ever donning yellow jackets, or effectively standing up to even the most egregious abuses of power.

All we can do, ultimately, is set the best example possible in our daily lives. To “send forth tiny ripples of hope,” in the words of Robert F. Kennedy. To awaken one slumbering American at a time, to the giant elephants and naked emperors roaming all over this crumbling country.

 

 

Celebrating Fifty Years of a Giant Hoax

Fifty years ago, our government and its state-run media tell us, Americans sent men to the moon. Neil Armstrong said “One small step,” and all that, and the photographs of the event were startlingly clear. Well, except for all the shadow anomalies, and lack of stars in the sky, that is.

As a twelve year old, and a huge astronomy junkie, I followed the Apollo program nearly as closely as I memorized Major League Baseball batting averages. I knew all the astronauts’ names, and even had a favorite; Jim Lovell, who would head the ill-fated Apollo 13, denying him the honor of walking on the moon.

At the time, I remember being a bit disappointed. I guess I expected the kind of world-wide attention that was depicted in a film I liked as a child; 1964’s The First Men in the Moon. The reaction on Earth just seemed kind of subdued to me in contrast, considering it was the most monumental achievement in human history.

I first started questioning the moon landings in the late 1980s, when I heard about a self-published book from 1974, We Never Went to the Moon, written by Bill Kaysing. I ordered it through the mail; obviously, it was not going to be in any bookstore or library, and that was the method I used to obtain much of my controversial reading material in those pre-internet days.

Kaysing made some great points. I was particularly intrigued by his tale of a disgruntled NASA employee who testified before Congress, and then was found dead, along with his family, in their car which had been conveniently left on some railroad tracks. That seemed pretty standard conspiratorial fare to me, and reminded me of so many similar unnatural deaths I’d read about during my research into the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

In 2001, the documentary Did We Land on the Moon aired on the Fox Network. It was a remarkable program for a major television network. Included were interviews with the widow and son of Virgil “Gus” Grissom, dean of the Apollo program who was actually scheduled to be the first man to walk on the moon. Grissom became a vocal critic of the Apollo program before dying in a launch pad fire with two other astronauts.

I was amazed to hear Grissom’s loved ones basically accuse NASA of murdering him. It was even more astounding to hear such claims aired on network television. Grissom had even hung a lemon over the NASA emblem on the lunar training module, and notably was recorded as telling NASA officials, “You expect me to go to the moon and you can’t even maintain telephonic communications over three miles.” Privately, Grissom had been increasingly dubious of the Apollo program.

Still, I remained somewhat on the fence regarding the legitimacy of the moon landings. Perhaps it was my childish affinity for space travel that kept me half wanting to believe, despite all the good questions that had been raised. Then I read the late Dave McGowan’s “Wagging the Moondoggie” series. Wagging the Moondoggie  All doubts disappeared in my mind. We never went there. Period.

McGowan analyzed the absurdity of providing men on the most difficult and challenging flight in history with what amounted to a amateurish-looking, very unstable craft, lined with only a few inches of aluminum foil. Yes, you read that right; our astronauts were protected from the deadly risks of outer space by something we all use to wrap up hamburgers and hot dogs. The craft also seemed far too small for such a momentous trip.

Leaving aside the incredibly cramped quarters for the human occupants, where did all the batteries fit? Just imagine what kind of battery power was needed here; the craft had to be provided with oxygen, and once it landed on the surface of the moon, it had to furnish both heating and air-conditioning. We are told by science that the temperature varies wildly on the moon; when the astronauts stepped into the shade, they instantly encountered temperatures colder than any found on Earth, and when they stepped back into the sunlight, the temps would have been hotter than the middle of the Sahara Desert. That must have been quite a cooling-heating system in those spacesuits.

The size of the batteries required to provide all the power the astronauts needed must have been quite large. And heavy, of course. Not to mention the batteries needed for the magical temperature control they enjoyed. If you’ve seen the craft they are alleged to have flown in, you will find it hard to believe that huge batteries fit in their somehow. And on the last few trips, NASA added in the dune buggy vehicle we saw the astronauts cavorting around in on the moon’s surface.

How could they have fit this vehicle into that tiny craft? When NASA has even addressed questions like this, the answers don’t leave one feeling confident. In this case, they have claimed that the vehicle was folded up, ala Jetsons-style, and unfolded on the lunar surface. A reasonable person might ask; if we had this amazing technology in the early ’70s, what happened to it? To my knowledge, there has never been a folding car available to the public.

NASA has admitted, in recent years, that the original tapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing were erased inadvertently. You read that correctly; the documentation for the greatest achievement in the history of mankind was accidentally erased. Recently, it has been acknowledged that a sample of moon rocks collected during the Apollo 14 mission actually came from….Earth. That didn’t stop the true believers, however, who merely said it was “very unusual” that the chemical composition was common to Earth.

Speaking of those moon rocks, how did they account for the added payload on the trip home? Since they’d never been to the moon, they had no idea of just how heavy these rocks might be. NASA supposedly factored in every pound of weight, and designed everything to fit tightly, making every inch of space count. So how does a wild card like this fit in?

There are a multitude of other reasons to doubt this story. Richard Nixon supposedly telephoned the astronauts and spoke to them live on the lunar surface. What? Exactly what kind of magical phone line would have been used for that? We lose cell phone coverage today in certain spots on Earth. We’re talking 1969 here. If such fantastic technology existed then, it has been lost to history.

Speaking of fantastic technology, the power of computers in 1969 was akin to what you’d see today in a handheld calculator. And yet, NASA officials have admitted we aren’t technologically ready to go back to the moon today, with infinitely superior computer capability. An astronaut recently admitted, “We don’t have the technology to go to the moon anymore,” because NASA allegedly “destroyed” the technology. What? Does that make any sense whatsoever? Is it the least bit believable?

And how about that shot from the lunar surface of Apollo 17 taking off? What amazing technology- even getting the camera to pan upwards along with the craft. So what happened to this wonderful video camera? Was it a one-shot deal? Why didn’t they continue to  use it? As many have noted, at this juncture, we ought to have a live view of the moon available to Earthlings 24/7.

Then there are the views of Earth from the lunar surface. Well, there aren’t very many of them.  And the Earth seems smaller than it should be; considering it is much larger than the moon, why does it appear to be about the same size the moon does here on Earth? As a child enamored of astronomy, and later as a critical thinking adult, I expected more. I expected breath-taking views of planets and constellations in those Apollo pictures, with no atmosphere to filter them out. We should have witnessed a sight never seen in any planetarium or on the clearest night on Earth. Instead, we saw zero stars or any other astral bodies, just a few glimpses of Earth.

As Dave McGowan asked, at what point do Americans, and Earthlings in general, start to question this? Here we are on the 50th anniversary. If we haven’t returned by the 100th anniversary, will the majority of people start to wonder why? Progress and technology don’t work this way. Imagine if the Wright Brothers flew a plane a half dozen times, then no one else did for fifty years. Considering the trajectory we were on in the 1960s, we should have traveled to Mars, Venus and beyond by now. We should have bases on the moon, complete with lunar McDonalds and other vestiges of predictable corporate exploitation.

Is it unpatriotic to question this? Am I a “kook” for doubting this amazing alleged accomplishment? Is it unfair to ask how Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins appeared over a week later on their return to Earth clean shaven? How did they factor in shaving in that situation? And in their initial press conference, they certainly appeared nervous and very un-heroic like, considering they were being lauded as the greatest explorers the world had ever seen.

Neil Armstrong, especially, maintained a very private existence after the moon landing. He granted few interviews, and seemed noticeably uncomfortable when asked about his fantastic experience. That just doesn’t ring true to me. As they age, people normally grow even prouder and if anything attempt to justify the things they’ve done in their lives. If what we’re told is true, Armstrong had no reason to justify anything, and should have been as proud as anyone could ever be.

Knowing what we know of our government’s tendency to lie and cover up, is it really a reach to think that NASA would lie about something this momentous? Regardless, no “investigative” reporter is going to look into the matter, because our state-run journalists don’t investigate anything. They will instead join in the chorus of derision directed at naysayers like me. They are only skeptical of skeptics.

This is not only the greatest hoax, but the most essential cover up in America’s history. After all, would we really expect our reflexively corrupt leaders to admit they engineered such a gigantic fake, and have continued to lie about it for half a century? Look at the evidence, and judge for yourself.

 

 

 

Customer Service in America 2.0

I am beginning to understand, a little more each day, the quaint term “grumpy old man.” But I honestly believe I’m not like my parents, or grandparents, in naively believing that “the good old days” were simply better, and that all this “newfangled” stuff has ruined what was a perfect world.

I am online constantly; I spend more time there and interact with more people in a cyber sense than I do in a tangible physical sense. When I do have to confront the real world outside of cyberspace, I almost always end up disappointed and frustrated. Some of us have coined the term America 2.0 for a good reason.

Just in the past few months, I have had to deal with situations that shouldn’t happen in a sane rational country. And I have experienced the corrupt marketplace I called out in great detail in my book Survival of the Richest. There is no free enterprise in this country now, if there ever really was. It is crony capitalism, and it’s horrific.

When a home appliance breaks, in my area I have basically a few companies to choose from. Home Depot. Lowe’s. Best Buy. I have had nightmare experiences with all of them. Because I, like the vast majority of Americans, cannot install my own new appliance, or cart away the old one, I have to rely on their team of outsourced installers. And they all outsource their installations. I can’t remember the last time I had a successful, problem-free installation from any company.

Last year, Lowe’s outsourced delivery team installed a new washing machine that had no power. Think about that; somehow, a new product rolled off the assembly line in whatever foreign factory it was built in, and the quality control was such that no one caught the essential fact that the machine wouldn’t turn on. After a relatively minor bit of aggravation, we got a working washing machine installed. I think they knocked $200 off my credit card bill.

In May of this year, we went back to Lowe’s because our dishwasher broke. To say this has been a nightmare is a severe understatement. The installers managed to damage my kitchen counter top, forgot to put a metal flap on the bottom, and left a huge mess behind them. They claimed we had to have some of the wooden floor shaved in order for the unit to fit properly (they left it jutting out into the kitchen). After several more phone calls, someone from the installation team came out and shaved enough wood for the unit to slide in, albeit not very well.

After this second installation, we noticed that the door of the dishwasher wasn’t opening properly- it would stick and you had to force it down. So we had to have them come again, after the warranty team checked it out (we also paid for the extended warranty), and determined that the door issue was because the bottom flap, when it was finally installed, was sitting too high, and the door was catching when you opened it. So they removed the bottom flap to make the door work.

At this time, we had also discovered some water under the kitchen sink, and the appliance guy ran the dishwasher and saw that the slow leak was coming from there. He guessed that the initial crack team of installers that had damaged my counter top had leaned on the pipe or something to cause this.

Since the first point of contact is supposed to be the store where you purchased the product, I tried phoning the Fairfax, Virginia store numerous times, but a manager was never available. When I called Lowe’s customer service, they tried phoning the store and couldn’t get a manager, either. Incredibly, I have visited the store in person twice, and neither time was a manager available to talk with me. This is, of course, incomprehensible to me, but it seems to be standard operating procedure for this company.

Then, last Friday, the dishwasher stopped working completely. Now this might have been due to the fact we had a new refrigerator installed the day before. I say this because there was also a crack team of installers sent by Best Buy, where we purchased it from, and the dishwasher was at least working prior to that. However, I haven’t told Lowe’s about this, as I’m certain they would instantly attribute it to Best Buy’s outsourced installers’ incompetence, instead of their own outsourced installers’ incompetence.

I have called Lowe’s laughable customer service more times than I can remember. Even for the severely lowered standards in America 2.0, their “customer service” is practically nonexistent. No one you talk to is understanding or empathetic, or cognizant of how poorly their company is functioning at all levels. I know from past experience that Home Depot is just as bad. And Best Buy once took three separate delivery dates to actually deliver my new television.

Yesterday, I went to start my 2017 Subaru Forester, and it just cranked without the engine kicking in.  So I attempted to have it towed by Subaru’s road side assistance program this morning. It was a marathon battle, but I finally was able to break through their automated menu from hell to talk with a real person. It is also very difficult to ever get the Farrish Subaru service team to answer their phone. At least whatever is wrong should be covered by the warranty.

But why is a highly rated car like this experiencing such problems with low mileage, only a few years after it was built? I would expect this kind of thing with American cars, but Japanese technology is supposed to be better. I guess I could ask the same question about our refrigerator; I think it lasted about ten years. Maybe I’m wrong to expect something better than that. Maybe I should learn to lower my expectations, and bring them in line with the realities of America 2.0.

Corporate America has become as unresponsive and as bureaucratic as any government agency. The annoying automated menus alone- which every business uses- are enough to frustrate anyone. Or at least anyone who lived in America 1.0, when human receptionists used to answer the phones. No politician- left or right- mentions how impersonal and uncaring all businesses are now. And it is an issue all can relate to, because these companies are screwing everyone, with their pathetic customer service and inferior products.

Of course I factor in the extremely low-paid nature of those who work in customer service at all companies. I try to be understanding in light of that. But they are usually the only point of contact for consumers. They are unfortunately the face, or more aptly voice, of their respective companies. The public doesn’t have the ear of the clueless CEO who is ultimately responsible for the systemic dysfunction, and for which he or she is paid millions in undeserved compensation.

Last week, I was in Panera- an incredibly overpriced place that has a strange appeal to every female in my life- and witnessed a bizarre scene. An irate customer was complaining, in a raised voice, that he had been waiting over half an hour for his soup and piece of bread. I think he had a legitimate complaint. But the manager was unresponsive, causing him to understandably become even more upset. Instead of giving the guy a free cookie or pastry to pacify him, or even just apologizing, this ridiculous manager called the police. And no one in the crowded restaurant batted an eye.

All of this, while part of my own personal experiences, is entirely normal for America 2.0. All oldsters like me can do is grumble quietly and fondly recall America 1.0, which was corrupt to the core, but at least a competent country.

 

 

In Defense of Naomi Wolf

I’m someone who still considers himself a populist, a classical liberal who should be able to find a home on the far left of the political spectrum. As my writing and public comments have made all too clear, what passes for the “left” these days is anathema to me. Their “inclusiveness” doesn’t include civil libertarians or genuine reformers.

Naomi Wolf is one of those rare, truly liberal voices left in America, with any kind of public platform. She’s also one of the few prominent people from the “left” who praised and promoted my book Survival of the Richest, which should logically have been of great interest to real liberals everywhere.

In May of this year, Naomi Wolf was interviewed by Matthew Sweet on BBC Radio, to promote her latest book, Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love.  During the course of the interview, host Sweet abruptly confronted her about the meaning of the nineteenth century legal term “death recorded,” a term she quite reasonably believed meant that a particular prisoner had been executed. Inexplicably, apparently it actually meant the opposite.

In what I consider to be a shameful display of unprofessionalism, Sweet sandbagged Wolf with his own research into the term. I certainly would expect anyone interviewing me to confront me about any mistakes or alleged mistakes beforehand, instead of springing it on me during a live broadcast. Sweet was able to pull up articles and Old Bailey prison records, so clearly he had done some real work on the subject.

What would cause a radio host to delve deeply into a term like this remains an intriguing question. When writing about sentences and executions of those charged with sexual offenses in previous centuries, few logical people would assume that “death recorded” somehow referred to those whose lives were spared. I know I would have made the same mistake Naomi Wolf did. Was Matthew Sweet so educated on this subject that he was privy to something that both Wolf and her editors at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt weren’t? If this was really a point of common knowledge, how did her publisher overlook it?

Sweet had the details at hand when he sprung this on Wolf, declaring that the term referred to “a category that was created in 1823 that allowed judges to abstain from pronouncing a sentence of death on any capital convict whom they considered to be a fit subject for pardon. I don’t think any of the executions you’ve identified here actually happened.”

To her credit, Naomi Wolf handled this about as graciously as anyone could have. I doubt very seriously that I could have showed such class in that kind of situation. Refraining from criticizing Sweet for his heavy-handed bit of “gotcha” journalism, she tweeted out that she would be reviewing “all of the sodomy convictions on Twitter in real time so people can see for themselves what the sentences were and what became of each of these people.”

Wolf’s publisher adeptly attempted to shift the blame squarely on her with the following statement: “While HMH employs professional editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders for each book project, we rely ultimately on authors for the integrity of their research and fact-checking. Despite this unfortunate error we believe the overall thesis of the book Outrages still holds. We are discussing corrections with the author.” I think that an author with Naomi Wolf’s pedigree, with New York Times bestsellers and countless mainstream media appearances on her resume, deserved a bit more respect, and a much stronger defense, than that.

The American edition of Outrages has yet to be released, as it was pulled by the publisher in order to make necessary corrections. In a recent appearance at New York’s Strand bookstore, Wolf explained, “I had read death recorded as meaning death recorded The death penalty was the law of the land until 1861, [but] I misunderstood the phrase. Sweet pointed out an 1823 act that allowed judges to report a death without actually sentencing the person to death.”

Then Wolf, for the first time publicly, politely gave her rebuttal to Sweet. “There’s questions about his definitions. Some people disagree. Some things he said in the interview I don’t agree with. The bottom line is that he did me a favor by identifying a misreading that I corrected.” Wolf noted that “There’s been a lot of coverage on these two inaccuracies, and there have been inaccuracies in the coverage as well.” She specifically cited oft-reported quotes about her “long awkward silence” after Sweet showed her a newspaper clipping, which he obviously had prior to the interview, to buttress his argument.

“The internet interpreted that as my humiliation, my shocked horror,” Wolf stated. “In fact, I was pausing because his newspaper clipping had anomalies where the ages of the youths and the trial dates were different. I was pausing because I was trying to understand what those anomalies were.” She is also utilizing the research of three noted scholars on historical sentencing for sodomy offenses, which may well contradict Sweet’s claim that Wolf’s description of “several dozen executions” for sodomy was incorrect.

“I don’t feel humiliated but I’m grateful for the correction. I feel great responsibility and humility about this history.” Naomi Wolf declared. “The history of the freedom to love is everybody’s fight…. I do feel a great sense of responsibility for getting it right. We’re in a time of spin and fake news, endless lies from people who are not supposed to be lying to us, like press secretaries and politicians. Journalism is losing its ability to correct itself, as I saw with so many stories not correct about this. It’s my job.”

Arguing for gay rights is hardly an issue I’ve spent much time researching or writing about. But this story is about disrespecting an author who granted an interview in good faith. Of course, criticism is fine and should be welcomed by every writer. But this was about a completely understandable misinterpretation of a hardly common historical term, and how a journalist attempted to discredit a best-selling author’s book in the middle of a live interview. Certainly Matthew Sweet is a lot better known than he was before talking with Naomi Wolf.

A caveat here; Naomi Wolf has published my work on  her Daily Clout web site. She wrote a nice blurb for Survival of the Richest, and told me she didn’t understand why it hadn’t made the front page of the New York Times Book Review. So, yes, I am prejudiced. Having spoken with Naomi, she’s just as nice as I thought she was. I admire her work, and her courage in going against the prevailing authoritarian mindset of the politically correct present-day American left.

I know Naomi Wolf will bounce back- she really already has. I just wanted to express my support for her, for whatever that’s worth.