August 30, 2017

No body, never mind: 40 hours without sleep

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:28 am

We long-distance airplane travelers exist in a whole different world all of our own. Airplanes and airports become our new reality — a new city, a new state, a new nation that is only rooted within the parameters and perspectives of airplanes and airports.

There are completely different rules within this alternate-universe kingdom of air travel than there are for us in real life.

– Eat what is placed in front of you.

– Your flight attendant is boss.

– Make it from one terminal to the next as best you can.

– The passenger in the seat next to you becomes your sudden new family, your instant BFF.

And, most important of all, your body suddenly has more priority than your mind.

My mind races. I’ve gone 40 hours without sleep. I’m starting to feel like a victim of Hurricane Harvey. It all gets down to the basics. Ignore all that blather that your mind is telling you. Keep the body functioning at all costs.

Your family back home has betrayed you? Your country is ruled by greedy war-mongering egotists, bullies, bastards and fools? You hate your neighbor across the street because she hated you first? There is painful injustice in the world that you can’t seem to do anything about?

All that mental agitation pales when you travel by air — and the really important things stand out instead. Can you find room in the overhead bin for your rather large carry-on bag? Will you get enough legroom? Can you score an aisle seat?

After living in my alternative air-travel world for the past two days and after going for 40 hours without sleep (after all, who can sleep on an airplane?), I’ve started to move my priorities around like Legos — and preserving my body just became a whole lot more important to me than listening to whatever random thoughts that my brain can dig up.

PS: I finally arrived in Amman, Jordan, a city that appears to be very much like Los Angeles — sprawling, populous, with lots of freeways, one that really requires a car.

I’m going to sleep like a brick tonight and then tomorrow I’m going to go explore Annan’s wide wide world of public transportation (fingers crossed that it actually exists!)

Next stop after Amman? Hopefully Bethlehem — if the Israeli Defense Force doesn’t screw it all up.


August 24, 2017

Netroots Nation’s main message: Organize Organize Organize!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:01 pm

I’m one of the most disorganized people I know. So imagine my shock when I arrived at a recent Netroots Nation convention in Atlanta, Georgia, and found myself in an auditorium filled with over a thousand Progressives, all of whom just love to organize stuff — everything from national politics to sock drawers.

I almost fled in panic.

However, guilt and the idea that I might actually learn something forced me hang around. That — and the prospect of free hors d’oeuvres. “Let’s unify, focus and organize!” said the first speaker. “And stop trying to be Republican-lite. Make your argument and make it unapologetically. Include conservatives in your vision. Be honest about what you believe. We gotta emphasize the idea of creating a true Public Good for all. And we gotta organize!”

The next speaker talked about money — and how to organize it too of course. “Our banks are bullying us into using our own money to violate our moral values,” he said. “And three out of four Americans are currently not in a position to handle any emergency situation the costs more than $700.” Flat tire on the freeway? We’re screwed. “Economic uncertainty is the one experience that unites us Americans. We gotta organize around that.”

The mayor of Tallahassee spoke next. Andrew Gillum. He is running for governor of Florida. “If you are not sitting at the political table, then you are on the menu,” he said. I’d vote for him — but then I’d have to move to Florida. Too hot.

Stacey Abrams, a candidate for the governor of Georgia, spoke next. “We believe in the power of the government to do good. And we have to build on that power to do good — from the ground up!” Guess that means that we gotta organize? Yep. Abrams herself is responsible for registering something like 250,000 voters. How organized is that!

Then my very own Congressional representative Barbara Lee spoke next. I’m still kinda mad at her for voting to support sanctions against Russia. Who do they think they are in Congress? Gods? America has sanction plans for Iran, Russia, Venezuela and who the freak knows where all else. Will China, the EU, Latin America and Africa be next? Who the freak are we gonna have left to trade with? Ourselves? Plus how come everyone is so hot to sanction Russia but hates sanctioning those creepy Israeli neo-cons who are human-rights violators on a horrific level? Now BDS is a no-no? Why?

“We need to apply street heat,” said Rep. Lee. “We need to organize!” Big ovation. She is definitely preaching to the choir. “My grandmother was raped by a White man and the only reason they let my mother into a segregated hospital to have an emergency C-section was because she was half White. And that baby who almost died was me.”

And then my sweet little point-and-shoot camera got lost and/or stolen so you won’t be able to see my selfie with the next speaker — Elizabeth Warren. And, please, Elizabeth. Don’t tell me to organize! I can’t even get my own camera under control.

“We are not going back to the days when Democrats were too chicken to fight Wall Street. And it’s not just Trump that is causing this crisis. When he is gone, the crisis will still be there. Clean water, no wars, campaign reform, women’s rights. We need to lead the Democratic party back from the wilderness. We can care about the White working class and Black Lives Matter too. They both have something in common. Their rights are both being ripped away!”

And how do we stop this? “Organize! The system is rigged against us and has been for a long, long time. But there are more of us than there are of them. And it’s also time to say that Democrats are on the side of American values.” Not constantly siding with the immoral values of Wall Street and War Street.

Al Gore spoke next — and of course he told us that we gotta organize around climate change too. “Not only is this a moral issue,” he said, “but Mother Nature is our biggest ally.” Holy cow. Now I gotta organize Mother Nature as well?

Then word came down about the Charlottesville tragedy. And, boom, just like that — within five minutes, over a thousand (mostly White and middle-class) convention attendees had organized themselves, created improvised signs in protest against fascism and marched through the streets of Atlanta all the way to City Hall. I’m telling you. When it comes to organizing, these Netroots Nation attendees were awesome!

So what else did I learn from this convention? That each of us Americans has to make a very important choice in the coming days: Either we join these idealistic organizers and, like them, work for the good of all Americans — or we turn to the Dark Side of selfishness, greed, bigotry and hate and break our country into pieces. To paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, “There’s going to be a whole lot of grassroots organizing going on!” when these most excellent organizers return home. Will we be with them or against them?

PS: I was very disappointed that there were almost no panels or discussions regarding the subject of “war” at this convention — especially since over 60% of America’s budget is wasted on stuff like greedy contractors, supporting al Qaeda and slaughtering babies in the Middle East for fun and profit. Americans need to organize around stopping America’s many evil “wars” as well.

PPS: America claims to be a “Christian” nation and yet acts like it has never even heard of either the Golden Rule or the holy Philosopher King who told us about it 2000 years ago. But next week I actually have a chance to visit the birthplace of this great Philosopher King — Bethlehem! Will let you know how that goes.

“Dear Jesus,” I will tell him, “America’s leaders today have systematically organized my poor corporate-dominated country to go against every single thing that you stand for. Good God, will you please do something about that!”


August 22, 2017

Racial justice in Atlanta: Gone with the wind?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:38 am

While in Georgia at the Netroots Nation convention last week and while in search of the real Atlanta, I went on a tour of the Margaret Mitchell Museum. Mitchell was the author of “Gone With the Wind”.

“Margaret herself was not a bigot,” one of the docents there told me. “She was simply trying to tell a story from Scarlett O’Hara’s point of view — and even Scarlett’s views changed toward the end of the book as she finally discovered who her true friends really were. But what’s most important about this book is that it is a story of survival, being told back in the 1930s, at a time when most Americans were suffering from the Great Depression. And Scarlett’s famous line, ‘As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again,’ struck a chord with most of the world back then — especially in China and, surprisingly, even at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Nazis immediately outlawed the book.”

“Yeah but…” I replied. “Even today, over a hundred and fifty years after slavery was abolished, Black people are still having a really tough time surviving — so why don’t they too love this book?”

“Good point,” replied the docent.

And here’s another “Yeah, but…” to consider. What if the Confederate States of America had actually won the 1860 war? And taking that thought to its logical conclusion, what if, approximately 150 years later, human beings of African decent are still being hideously whipped and branded daily in the Confederacy and slave children are still being sold off like cattle? And the only jobs poor Whites can get now are as overseers, slave catchers, sharecroppers and whores? And the world war that America’s “Greatest Generation” fought against Hitler would have also been fought against the CSA too — because the Confederacy would have easily sided with the Nazis against our very own fathers and grandfathers who risked their own lives to save freedom.…–Becky-O-Malley-

And if the South had won the Civil War, then the bloody floggings, lynchings and rapes of slaves will have continued to this day and even become a highlight of the CSA evening news — and 80% of the population of the Confederacy would be legally forbidden to learn how to read.

And the Confederacy would also have built a Wall to keep its slaves in.

A logical extension of Scarlett’s antebellum world would be a dystopian nightmare — far worse than Nazi Germany. Most White Southerners today should be glad that Davis and Lee lost the Civil War! But the Deep South’s modern-day 1%, its plantation owners? If their ancestors had won the “War of Succession”? Today they would be as happy as pigs in mud.

PS: Oh crap. I just found out that Atlanta is the place to be if you wanna be a zombie extra on “Walking Dead” — which has always been the pinnacle aspiration for my acting career. “We are looking for extras who are skinny, have big eyes, long necks and good bone structure,” says the casting director. Hey, that’s me! Looks like I just missed my chance. Rats.

PPS: Actually, I finally did find the heart of the real Atlanta — at the Greyhound bus depot, when I took a day-trip up to Chattanooga to visit my dear friends Joe and Glenda Thompson. There were all kinds of different races and ethnicities at the depot, all mixed together there in peace, all just trying to get a bus home.

And I also got to receive a blessing from a former meth-head born-again Christian on my trip back to Atlanta on the MegaBus. “I hold love in my heart for all races,” she told me — even though she no longer held any front teeth in her mouth. Bless her heart. I was impressed.


August 17, 2017

Gore, Carter & MLK: Moral giants of the Deep South

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:56 pm

Just when I had begun to think that the American Deep South had finally lost its moral compass completely, was contributing nothing to our culture except racists and neo-Nazis, was making a mockery of sacred Christian values and had stuck us with such modern-day carpetbaggers and moral mosquitoes as Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton and Trump — then something monumental happened to change my mind. I took a trip to Atlanta, Georgia.

I’d gone there to attend the Netroots Nation’s annual convention, but also to have a little free time to look around and be a tourist.

First I visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. first took his courageous and world-shaking moral stand. “Make America moral again!” he told us. And we did. We stopped segregation. We stopped the slaughter in Vietnam. We stopped economic injustice. And we also tried to make the world a better place.

Next I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, thanks to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s most excellent #16 bus. Carter is another American moral giant with a strong vision for a better world. And guess what? He too is a product of the American Deep South.

And then there is Al Gore, a truly moral man who has almost single-handedly taken on the gigantic task of saving the entire human race from extinction — and not only from industrial pollution but from moral pollution as well. I just heard Gore speak in Atlanta at the Netroots Nation convention. “We must stop industries from using our skies as sewers,” he said. And what was the result of him giving us this extremely crucial warning? After he began telling us this inconvenient truth, America’s modern-day carpetbaggers stripped him of his presidency and forced some moral cretin upon us instead.

So now whenever I get down in the dumps about how the Deep South just keeps grinding out its multitudes of neo-carpetbaggers and moral lepers, I’m also going to remember that the Deep South also gave us such moral giants as Carter, Gore and MLK. And then I’m going to pray that the Deep South can finally continue to give us even more of these shining examples of moral courage as well — instead of just producing disgusting sewers of bigotry and hate.

Now is the time for all Americans to also become moral giants too — all of us. Now more than ever. Before morality disappears entirely from the country that we hold so dear.

But right now, morality no longer appears to be self-evident in America — and “The Charlottesville Horror” also seems to be playing in all too many theaters down South.

PS: Oh crap. Looks like “The Charlottesville Horror” is also coming to my home town Berkeley again — on August 27. Those neo-Nazi creeps really do need to get a life. Their mothers need to send them back to Bible school at the very least. Jesus taught tolerance, justice and love, not bigotry, violence and hatred.

PPS: President Trump sez that General Lee is in the same class as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. No, he’s not. Lee is clearly in the same class as Aaron Burr. So where are all the Aaron Burr statues these days?


August 4, 2017

Stockholm Syndrome: Why Deep State carpetbaggers love the American South

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:51 pm

In less than a week I’ll be flying down to Atlanta, to spend a few days on Peachtree Street and attend a Netroots Nation convention there. Looks like I’m actually gonna be marching through Georgia too — but not as a carpetbagger. “And so they sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea….”

It seems to me that if anyone in the world would be qualified to recognize a carpetbagger when they see one, you would think it would be someone from the American South. But no. Ever since Nixon developed his “Southern Strategy,” almost everyone south of the Mason-Dixon Line has been supporting Deep State carpetbaggers whenever they possibly can — and probably even hoping to become one of them too. It’s like Southerners were all suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome where victims begin to identify with their tormentors.

Or perhaps I am getting this all wrong?

Well, I’m about to find out.

If any of all y’all in any of the deep southern Red States want to stop by the convention and try to prove to me that Nixon wasn’t a carpetbagger, that Reagan wasn’t a carpetbagger, that both Bushes weren’t carpetbaggers, that Trump isn’t a carpetbagger — and that even Clinton and Obama weren’t carpetbagging their little hearts out for the Deep State as well, I’d be more than willing to listen to your side of the story.

Otherwise this is my side of the story and I’m sticking to it. Seems to me that the Deep State is joyfully singing the very same chorus from Atlanta to the sea that General Sherman did — as it and its local minions happily steal from the Southern salt of the earth in order to give to the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, Citbank, Monsanto, Raytheon, Halliburton and Lockheed.

According to journalist Robert Parry, however, there actually is a way that Trump can actually stop being just another sleazy Deep State carpetbagger and start becoming an actual good prez — believe it or not. “But how could such a thing possibly happen?” you might ask. By him actually telling us the freaking truth about stuff that goes on in the Beltway! Then Trump could actually become the freaking hero of the day and actually represent us little guys in DC like he said that he would — sort of like “Mr. Trump goes to Washington” instead of the current “Mr. Trump is terrified of the Deep State and is constantly licking their boots”. Is Trump already suffering from Stockholm Syndrome too? Looks like it.

“But do I think any of this will happen?” asks Parry (and the rest of us too!) “Not really. Far more likely, the Trump presidency will remain mired in its ‘reality-TV’ squabbles with the sort of coarse language that would normally be bleeped out of network TV; the Democrats will continue substituting the Russia-gate blame-game for any serious soul-searching; the Republicans will press on with more tax cuts for the rich; and the Great American Experiment with Democracy will continue to flounder into chaos.”

PS: Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Every single year, southern Red States simply hold out their hands and holler “Poor me!” until the compassionate, liberal and progressive Blue States in the north and the west pour billions of $$$ into said outstretched hands. And then these very same Red States turn around and show their undying gratitude by bad-mouthing and disrespecting the very liberals and progressives who feed them, clothe them, put food on their tables, give them jobs and educate their children.

That’s just wrong. And impolite too.

If the Blue States ever wised up enough to let the Red States slide, the American South would become a Third World country faster than Winchester rifles disappear at a Walmart two-for-one sale.

PPS: Various Deep State carpetbaggers over the years have also convinced a majority of voters in the mostly-Christian Red States that it is in their very best interests to spend our country’s patrimony on playing Herod in the Middle East by murdering multitudes of beautiful babies from Afghanistan to Yemen; on sending the South’s precious sons and daughters into harm’s way so that filthy-rich carpetbagging corporations can act like Pharisees; and on helping oil billionaires slink through the eye of a needle.

How the freak does all this murdering and maiming of The Innocents by the Deep State stack up to what Jesus has taught us? It doesn’t. Must be the Stockholm Syndrome at work here too.


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