November 26, 2017

“One person, one vote,” an idea that is pretty much toast

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:30 pm

At the Berkeley-Albany Bar Association luncheon recently, we had a choice between three different desserts — cheese cake, chocolate mousse or both. I voted for both. We also had a presenter who spoke on the subject of voting access and gerrymandering in America. The speaker made some very interesting points.

“The democratic concept of ‘One person, one vote’ has actually never been applied to American voters on the federal level. Ever. Perhaps it applies when we vote for members of the House of Representatives, but as for our vote for who will represent us in the Senate? Not so much — because voters in rural states such as Wyoming have far more voting power than voters in urban states such as California.” Or words to that effect.

So from the very beginning, our founding fathers made it impossible for “One person, one vote” to actually ever happen. A New York voter, both then and now, only has 78% of the voting power of an Alabama voter due to Senate restrictions. Interesting for sure.

“And Republicans are better at gerrymandering than Democrats. In the 2012 elections, Dems got 51% of the vote but only got 39% of the representation.” Then he talked about something called “the efficiency gap” — which involved higher math so he sort of lost me. “In Wisconsin, the voter efficiency gap was 10 to 13 percent, guaranteeing Republican wins even in a Democratic state. Our system today is profoundly under-representative.”

However, we can’t just blame it on the Repubs. “If the Dems were the ones doing the gerrymandering, the Republicans’ love of it would go the way of their hatred of the deficit.” Out the window in a New York minute.

“And what about Citizens United?” I asked myself. “That ruling gives a small handful of rich people a hecka lot more votes than the rest of us poor schmucks.” Citizens United should be illegal for that reason alone. And apparently the US Senate should be illegal too — from the perspective of keeping America a democratic country. But if you want America to be an oligarchy, then it’s hardly worth rocking the boat about any of this stuff.

But even though the speaker didn’t have time to discuss the effects of voter identification laws, the New Jim Crow laws or electronic vote-hacking, his message was still crystal clear. The idea of one person and one vote in America? That ship has pretty much sailed.

So what can we do to save the American ship of state from being run aground by vote-pirates? Make sure we are the ones who count the votes? Use only paper ballots? Don’t let dead people vote? Make voting a legal requirement if you want to get a driver’s license or whatever? Reconfigure the US Senate to represent all of us? Go after the oligarchs with torches and pitch forks?

There are all kinds of ways to make sure that Americans actually get “One person, one vote” — and we can do this. But the only real way to never ever allow “One person, one vote” to become an actual reality in America is to stay silent and do nothing.

Damn it. I am an American. I vote. And I want my vote to count. I want a choice of three desserts in my ballot box — not just one slice of dry toast.



November 15, 2017

I had the flu once, back in 1973…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 5:07 pm

It had been a rather cold winter that year plus I had definitely burned the candle at both ends — working late every night at the local folk-music coffee house, getting up early to take my daughter Ruby off to pre-school five days a week, spending weekdays over in San Francisco’s Castro District as a docent at the Upper Market Street Gallery, hanging out with the Floating Lotus Magic Opera crew at the Woolsey Street House, playing on the Caffè Mediterraneum soccer team and spending time at the Albatross, the Midnight Sun, Brennan’s and dancing to Commander Cody at Mandrake’s whenever my parents could babysit. Plus I had a Tibetan Buddhist boyfriend named Peter and also demonstrated against the corrupt Republican government in Washington during my spare time.

And it was always cold during the winter of 1973. And I was always exhausted. So I dragged myself and little Ruby down to Puerto Vallarta for two glorious weeks in the sun on the beach at Yelapa.

We got as far as San Diego before the flu struck.

Good grief, do I remember having that flu. And I vowed never to get the flu ever again. And I haven’t. And it wasn’t because of having no damn flu shots either.

“Your mind wants to keep going going going like a robot,” someone told me back then, “but your body needs rest. So your mind and your body have a big struggle over this and your mind always loses — because your body simply goes out on strike. And that’s exactly what a flu is. It’s your body going on strike until it finally gets to rack up more hours in bed than your mind thinks that it needs. That’s why, ultimately, there is no real prevention technique for the common cold. Or for the flu either.”

“But what about germs!” I replied.

“Flu germs are constantly with us, 24/7. Constantly. They are everywhere. But they can only actually get to us when our body’s defenses are down.”


So from that day to this, I have always made sure that my body has no real reason to go on strike. And I never got the flu again.

PS: It also helps a lot that I also wash my hands. Back in the day, when terrible diseases were rampant, the average American worker avoided baths, lived in unimaginable squalor, had no proper sewage or indoor toilets, survived on bread and potatoes alone and worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week. No wonder diseases were rampant.

Thus it sort of pisses me off that Big Pharma is taking all the credit for stopping all their big long lists of hundreds of diseases — when soap and water (and those brave labor unions that gave us the weekend) are the real stars of the show.


November 12, 2017

Crazy Rich Saudis: Weird new happenings in The Kingdom

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 5:15 pm

After a whole shite-load of oil was discovered under the desert sands of Arabia (and long after Lawrence of Arabia had turned in his camel), unimaginable mountains of moolah started pouring into the treasury of the royal House of Saud.

Back then, wealthy Saudi princes merely contented themselves with having huge harems, buying up Manhattan real estate, sending their sons to Oxford and buying Paris high couture burkas for their daughters. However, after a while this playboy vida loca lifestyle seemed to get boring and these rich Saudi princes decided to try their hands at becoming a superpower instead. “We’ve got the money. Why not?”

But they went about it all wrong.

Instead of heeding the teachings of Mohammed [PBUH], they heeded the teachings of Lewis Carroll instead. “Off with their heads!” they cried. No no no! That’s not how you become a superpower. Trust me. -saudi-prince-helicopter- crash/

America has already traveled down that slippery slope and look what happened to us — broke, decaying internally, morally bankrupt and despised by the rest of the world. “Off with their heads” can only be taken so far in life. Doesn’t anybody read DC Comics any more or go to Spiderman movies? A true superpower uses its powers for good.

The Saudis first entered the superpower arena when they got all tied up in the 1990 Gulf so-called “war”. Massacring thousands of Iraqis for fun and profit? Yummers! So much more exciting than buying fleet-loads of Bugattis and Ferraris. But what next? Buying all those 9-11 “pilots” of course. Then along came al Qaeda and ISIS, the princes’ new toys after that. Isn’t it amazing what money can buy? Their billions and trillions even purchased them an alliance with murderous Israeli neo-colonialists so that the Saudis too could bomb Gaza (and score all-access passes to Tel Aviv’s nightclubs as well as testing their new weapons on people who couldn’t fight back).

What a shame. All that money — now wasted on terror and death.

But wait, things have just gotten even worse in The Kingdom. ISIS is now a hot mess and Yemenis are heroically pushing back against the Saudis’ genocide-for-oil campaign. And now Arabia’s crazy-rich princes are actually fighting each other as well as fighting Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Armani, Prada and the Green Party. Yikes!

In the past month alone, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been jailing Saudi princes, assassinating Saudi princes and generally shouting “Off with their heads!” to any and all princes who stand in his way.

It’s not easy being a crazy rich Saudi these days. However, being a world superpower without a conscience isn’t easy either. Just ask America.


November 9, 2017

Madam Jane predicts — nothing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:36 am

“I’m all confused about the future,” I complained to Madam Jane this morning over a nice cup of herb tea. “Do you see anything in your crystal ball that can guide me? Should I travel off somewhere to report on the news? Should I stay at home and chill out? And what should I do over Christmas?”

“Sorry,” replied Madam Jane. “I’ve got nothing.” You’ve got nothing? Zilch? Nothing at all? There’s no future for me? Wha?

I’d love to go down to Puerto Rico and help out. I’d love to go off to the Philippines to see how that new anti-colonial president is doing. A trip to Syria is always good. America and Israel always keep saying that they are closing in on Assad. Yeah, right. Seems to me like just another lame excuse to pour more of our taxpayers’ money down an already-very-clogged drain. America’s “war” on Syria is just as useless and cruel now as its “war” on Vietnam was useless and cruel back in the day. America has no business in Syria. But I have!

Maybe I could go off to Juarez. Lots of hot news there about what those NAFTA criminals are up to this time around. Maybe I could go to Flora-duh. Or to Washington DC and watch Joe McCarthy’s ghost deck the halls. Or else try once again to sneak into poor sweet Yemen to report on the ugly Saudi/US-driven genocide there. Or go to almost any place in Africa. There is such a large number of places in America’s worthless has-been outdated dying undemocratic brutal and stupid empire that could use a good op-ed reporter right now — and I am the best!

“Sorry,” replied Madam Jane. “The stars are just not aligned in your favor.” And neither is my bank account either. Maybe I should just hang around here in the San Francisco Bay Area this winter — which seems to be the only sane place left in the world.

“Yes, I can see the Bay Area seceding from the rest of the planet,” replied Madam Jane. “Perhaps you might actually have a future here.” Sounds boring. But I’ll take it. Think globally, act locally? Better that than no future at all.

PS: If I really wanted to write about some of the many lives that have been ruined by the decaying American empire, I would only have to walk down the mean streets of any American city to see thousands of human beings who have been broken by a cruel system that puts the twin evils of power and money above everything else — and especially above the teachings of Christ, Buddha, Moses, Mohammad and just about everyone else I respect.

PPS: Maybe I’ll just have a merry little Bay Area Christmas this year and take public transportation to the Dickens Fair, the KPFA Christmas crafts fair, the Union Square tree-lighting ceremony and, in the spirit of Jesus, to all the away-in-a-manger homeless encampments that are springing up like mushrooms around here. And perhaps I’ll even buy a tree. And celebrate Hanukkah, Buddha’s birthday, the Hindu Festival of Lights, Mohammad’s birthday and any other religious celebration that I can think of.

You can never have too many celebrations of hope — especially when Madam Jane is currently staring off into the void and muttering, “No future. No future at all. I see nothing.”


November 2, 2017

Zionist bullies: Congress is terrified of them — and I am too!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:02 pm

Back in the day, a Zionist used to be someone who thought that creating a Jewish state in Palestine (or elsewhere) might be a really good idea.

Israeli and American Zionists today, however, are a whole different kettle of fish. Hell, you can’t even describe them as Jewish any more (sure, they still wear yarmulkes — but only to show off). The Jewish prophet Micah, world-renowned for his intense love of Justice, must be rolling over in his grave right now. And as for Moses, the very first Jew to use a stone to Tweet “Thou shalt not kill or steal”? After watching Dayan, Sharon, Netanyahu and all those treasonous dual-citizenship Zionists in Washington take the Lord’s name in vain again and again (and again), our Moses must be seriously pissed off.

I myself have been bullied by modern-day Zionists and, trust me, it is definitely not a Jewish thing that they do. Emphatically not a mitzvah.

For instance, in the past year alone, Zionists have libeled me extensively on the internet, slandered me in person, posted obscenities on my FB page, arranged for me to be denied entry into occupied Palestine, tried to get my landlord to evict me, manhandled me painfully, wrongfully accused me of practicing law without a license (I’m a notary public), accused me of being too old (!) and even falsely reported me for tax evasion — simply because I went on FaceBook and protested injustices in Palestine.

But all the terrible bullying and stalking that I’ve listed above is just one small account of what has happened to only me alone, just one of over 300 million Americans, just a grandmother, a retiree — basically a nobody with hardly no influence at all. Even my own children don’t listen to me!

And if Zionists take all this trouble to do all these terrible things to just little old me, then you can probably imagine what kind of hard-core gangsta leans they must be putting on people who actually do have any influence — such as our members of Congress, our judges, our generals, our governors and even our presidents:

Actually, our entire American government at every single level seems to be terrified of Zionists — and with very good reason. Government representatives all know for sure that unless they chose Zionists’ and Israeli neo-colonialists’ best interests over choosing what is best for America, then they will never get re-elected. But our government guys aren’t the only ones who are terrified of Zionists.

College professors are terrified of saying anything against Zionists, scared out of their wits that they might become the next Denis Rancourt or Norman Finkelstein — both fired for speaking out against the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine.

Victims of Hurricane Harvey are scared out of their wits that if they don’t sign an agreement to make Israeli Zionists their new BFFs, then they won’t get any government aid.

The American media is scared out of its wits to print anything even remotely truthful about how much influence Zionists have had in orchestrating the ghoulish slaughter of folks in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Iran, etc. Instead, our ultra-bullied media only talks about Russia’s imaginary influence here — with no mention at all of Israeli Zionists’ death-grip on America’s political balls. That’s just crazy. I’ve never had to worry about any Russians threatening Congress, sinking the USS Liberty, trying to get me evicted or chasing me down the street.

And all the rest of us Americans are scared out of our wits too, especially when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance — scared that we will be accused of being anti-Semitic if we support American interests over the interests of Zionists. “Never take a knee against Israel,” we have all learned the hard way.

So far, American taxpayers have spent approximately eleven trillion dollars trying to support the hot mess that Zionists have created in the Middle East — so far. Now that’s scary!

We Americans get all up-in-arms when our children are bullied at school, right? And yet when Zionists bully our senators and judges and presidents, Americans don’t even seem to notice — let alone care.

PS: How come Mueller didn’t indict Netanyahu too? Or that guy who owns all those casinos in Vegas and Macao? Or any one of those PNAC traitors in DC who drooled over the mere thought of having a “new Peal Harbor” and practically danced the Hora on 9-11? Or just about anyone in AIPAC. Or both Bush conspirators or the Clintons or Obama or Trump. C’mon, Mueller. Dig a little deeper here. Make the prophet Micah proud.

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