June 27, 2019

Reproductive freedom: Let’s stop calling it “abortion”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:34 pm

I was mindlessly channel-surfing through a bunch of TV stations the other day when suddenly there was this rabid televangelist sternly haranguing me about the holy sanctity of life before birth and also the holy sanctity of life once we get too old to do anything else but just lie around in a coma. “Abortions and do-not-resuscitate directives are anathema,” he screamed at me. But all the rest of us between birth and the ICU are fair game? Apparently so.

Drop bombs on us, ambush us on school playgrounds, make our food radioactive, drown us with floods and tornadoes and sea-level rises, drive our veterans to mass suicide, frack our water supply, starve our children, deprive us of life-saving healthcare — hey, that’s okay. Just as long as nonviable fetuses and comatose elders are safe.

Why do so many Americans think like that today? That the teachings of Jesus strictly apply to the unborn and the undead — but not to the rest of us?

And while we still are on this unpleasant topic, let’s also talk about the word “abortion”. That is such an ugly and heartless word. Let’s give it another, kinder, gentler, more humane name. Let’s call it “Reproductive Freedom” instead.

For my grandmother’s generation, there was no reproductive freedom at all. No choices other than a diaphragm or a condom, both of which were hard to get. Or a coat hanger. Or being forced to raise a dozen unwanted children and then finally die in childbirth. Or die trying to avoid it. “Keep them barefoot and pregnant.” My grandmother herself ended up having a “nervous breakdown” after her husband died in a flash flood and she was left with three young children to raise all by herself.

And also there’s the sad case of my great-grandmother who had given birth to ten children by the age of 36. I have a photograph of her and eight of her kids (more to come, unfortunately). And she already looks like hell, frankly — a haunted and scary hell. Old beyond her years. No facelifts for her!

I myself had never planned to have children. After graduating from college, I went into the Peace Corps and then planned to attend graduate school after that. But with no easy access to birth control…. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

But that was then. Not now. Yet. Back to the future. Let’s take a closer look at all those present-day guys who are working so hard to eliminate reproductive freedom for women — men like the above-named televangelist. Those very same guys who fight so hard to protect their own freedoms? Freedom to use our beloved flag as an excuse to throw helpless babies into concentration camps? Freedom to demand open-carry of semi-automatic weapons? Freedom to get all pissed off if they might be deprived of their right to bomb Iran and start World War 3?

And yet these very same grumpy old men are absolutely the first ones to deny us women of our own right to freedom. “No reproductive freedom for you!” They want all us women to look like my great-grandmother — before we even reach age 40? So they can have the freedom to dump us and go hunt for a new trophy wife?

That sucks eggs.

PS:  I will be visiting Philadelphia from July 9 to July 16.  What the freak does one do in the City of Brotherly Love besides touring the Liberty Bell?  Did W.C. Fields get it right?  “On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”  And  I’ll also be attending the annual Netroots Nation convention there and staying in a fourth-floor walk-up in Chinatown.  That will be a hecka lot of stairs.  I hate stairs.

     I’m sincerely hoping that my favorite presidential candidates will all be speaking at the convention — just to make W.C. Fields jealous.  Tulsi Gabbard is my favorite candidate. She is totally pro-peace and would make a great soldier-president.  The prez we have now avoided the draft.  Tulsi served her country and is still serving in the national Guard.

     And speaking of presidents and changing the tropes that we call stuff by, I.C.E’s ghastly holding pens for babies and children at our southern border have gone far beyond just labeling them “concentration camps” — and even past calling them “Gulags”.  No, it’s gone beyond that.  We can now officially call it “Genocide”.  According to the UN Genocide Convention, “When one group forcibly transfers the children of one group to another group” and/or practices “institutionalized neglect,” that group is deliberately committing genocide.

     It’s time to stop all this horror.  Americans need to stop acting like Nazis — where only the unborn are safe.



June 24, 2019

NYC’s new 9-11 Museum: Where is all the melted stuff?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:00 pm

Here’s something I didn’t actually realize until I was actually inside of the National 9-11 museum in Lower Manhattan — that this impressive new museum is actually built on the actual site of this dreadful catastrophe. It’s an extremely well-designed museum that will overpower your heart with sad emotions and make even the most veriest skeptic start to tear up.

But despite all its profound emotion-generating capabilities, the museum itself fails to answer my most basic question. “Where is all the melted stuff?”

I saw battered stuff, broken stuff, blown up stuff, tragic stuff and awe-inspiringly heroic stuff — but nothing that was actually melted.

We Americans have been told again and again and again that the burning fuel from the jet planes caused a whole bunch of six-inch-thick steel girders to melt from the heat, thus causing both towers to collapse.

Inside the museum, they showed us lots of steel girders. They showed us lots of huge steel beams and lots of gigantic steel pillars. And I looked very closely at each and every one of them. No sign of melting at all. Where was the wax-candle effect that we’ve been told about constantly for the last 19 years? Coulda fooled me.

Maybe it was just me but the entire museum seemed to be designed and constructed to un-intentionally refute everything that we had been told for so long about all that melted steel. The museum’s exhibits themselves seemed to be working very hard to convince us that our leaders’ national narrative about what happened on September 11, 2001 was only a construct, a mythology solely designed to drag America into 19 gruesome years of Endless War (so far) — and thus fleece our pockets. “Mission accomplished”.

Surely I couldn’t be the only one who happened to notice the extreme lack of melted stuff at this museum? Apparently I am.

But with regard to our great sorrow for the victims of this terrible catastrophe that was generated by all the individual photos of the victims and by a Vietnam-memorial-style wall listing all of their names? That was so tragically real. We were all crying by the time we left the museum. It had been clearly designed to create those sad emotions. Deliberately mis-directing our anger away from reality and off into sadness? You be the judge.

But after having visited this museum, I now have no problem imagining the bottomless sorrow that millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza, Libya, etc. must be feeling as well. They too have suffered their own 9-11s, almost daily — thanks to us.

PS: How many and various false-flag “wars” have been shoved down our patriotic American throats over the years? Let me count the ways. “Remember the Maine.” And just who exactly really started that brutal war on Korea? Huge lies about the Gulf of Tonkin incident? Add that to the list.

Bin Laden in Afghanistan. WMDs in Iraq. Libya needed to be rescued for “Humanitarian Reasons” and now it too is a failed state. “Rebels” in Syria who are actually al Qaeda operatives who get paid by the Saudis and weaponized by NATO. Occupied Gaza sent firecrackers over the Zionist border — which we are told were practically ICBM missiles and so Gaza must be taught a lesson by raining thousands of tons of white phosphorus down on its hospitals and schools. Yemen’s on fire because of…I forget what. So Wall Street can sell more weapons to the Saudis? “Duh, yeah.”

And now there’s this new mysterious drone strike on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Wait, what? Which country routinely uses drones? Hint: It’s not Iran. But, hey. America got its dirty little war after the USS Maine lie. America got its dirty little war after the Tonkin lie. America got its dirty little war after the WMD lie. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But do the rest of us want a dirty little war on Iran too? Hopefully not.

Most of us here in the USA are finally starting to realize (I hope) that American troops and resources are already stretched too thin. Thousands of our troops are currently stationed next to Venezuela and inside Syria, Afghanistan and about 800 other places around the world, including our own southern border. Geez Louise. Exactly how many sons and daughter do we even have left to send off to “war” on Iran too?

Maybe it’s time that we ourselves start protecting both our own sons and daughters and everybody else’s sons and daughters from being victims of future 9-11s all over the world. Because Wall Street and War Street sure aren’t gonna do it for us. Let’s start by voting for pro-peace candidates like Tulsi Gabbard.


June 15, 2019

More thoughts on Ellis Island: Looking forward, not back…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:14 pm

After my recent visit to Ellis Island, I sometimes find myself actually starting to feel jealous of all those poor downtrodden immigrants coming to America — both in days gone by and right now. From yesterday’s Ellis Island to today’s southern border, these hopeful immigrants have all arrived here either by escaping from horrid 19th-century shtetls and 20th-century concentration camps in Europe, from that modern-day American-made nightmare in Honduras or from the squalid ICE-run concentration camps of Texas, Oklahoma or Mississippi.

Why? Why should I envy them? The poorest of the poor? The very meekest on earth?

Why? Because these poor, tattered and vulnerable immigrants living at the very bottom of humanity’s social scale all possess something precious that the rest of us either don’t have or have lost long ago: A reason, a purpose, a destination for their lives — and it’s not just to buy the latest iPhone or to make the next trip to Walmart or to spend hours online hating on anyone who doesn’t look exactly like them.

These immigrants have true grit — they are not just dogs in a manger, stuck in some rut where materialism is God, sucking up to their bosses, happily throwing the teaching of Jesus or even basic morality out the window if it causes even the slightest blister in their shoes — souls filled with xenophobia, parroting every racist or corporatist lie they hear on TV, becoming mere dollar-store imitations of real men and women with actual beating hearts.

Like their European, Afghan, Iraqi, Libyan, Syrian, Palestinian, Yemeni, African and American Indian counterparts before them, these modern-day immigrants from Honduras have been forced the hard way to know what is true and what’s not. To quote the indomitable Mma Ramotswe, “They have a point to their lives.” What is our point? We can only make Endless War for so long — before the entire world falls apart. Is that our point?

Americans blindly look backwards to the imaginary wonderland of the 1950s, back when so many of us had been disingeniously rubber-stamped into an assembly-line conformity dominated by the Cold War and Joe McCarthy constantly telling us to “keep your mouth shut.”

Immigrants from Honduras are on the move today, looking northward in search of the ideals of American “Democracy” and American “Freedom” that they have been constantly told about — while most Americans who are already supposed to be living the dream are now all looking backward toward a dream that never was. Looking back to the days when their financial security came at a very steep price — the price of Freedom and Democracy. “Keep your nose to the grindstone and your mouths shut.”

Americans have come to believe their own myths. Instead of the truth. This is never a good thing.

But now it’s time for us too, like the Hondurans and all the other immigrants to America before them, to throw everything that we can, especially “our lives our fortunes and our sacred honor,” into also seeking true democracy. True freedom. Can Hondurans find this heroic Declaration of Independence hidden away in some American concentration camp on our southern border? Maybe. Can we ourselves find it in Washington DC or at Walmart? Definitely not.

Americans can never ever experience a true democracy or live in true freedom — not in a country where we have concentration camps at our southern borders, where any kind of planned parenthood is not allowed, where we are constantly being mugged and frisked by the new income tax laws, where voter suppression is rampant, where we go into individual bankruptcy because we believe that TV commercials are more important than the Eye of a Needle and into national bankruptcy because our imperialistic military machine is stretched too thin because all our savings and future hopes and dreams are swallowed up by Death Eaters waging “Endless War” and where we all know for sure that the NSA is reading our mail.

Both our Honduran asylum-seekers of today and the ghosts of our Ellis Island survivors back in the day have one thing in common. They have nothing to lose — and yet they still have hope. I’m so jealous of that. But we Americans? We have already lost all that — and yet we don’t even know that it’s gone.

Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you’re at it, please buy my books.


June 12, 2019

Ellis Island: Why it’s even more relevant today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:16 pm

When I visited Ellis Island recently, there was a huge sign over the main exhibit hall telling me that their featured permanent exhibit was entitled “The Peopling of America”. Think about that for a minute. “The Peopling of America.” Who could possibly resist visiting an exhibit where the word “People” is used as a verb? Certainly not me.

Only a tiny first part of this gigantic exhibit even causally mentioned that perhaps there might have been a few indigenous people who happened to live here before the settlers from Europe showed up and murdered most of them. But then the extensive exhibit got down to brass tacks and began to tell us the story of how the real “Peopling” of America began — once those pesky Indians had been shoved out of the way.

Since Columbus arrived, according to this exhibit, the “Peopling of America” had been a good thing. Even all those poor tired unwashed non-English-speaking 19th-century immigrants yearning to breathe free who had landed on Ellis Island with their hearts in their throats had been a good thing — even though the settlers already here clearly didn’t think so.

But now, apparently, the “Peopling of America” is over. According to Washington DC, I.C.E. and the U.S. Border Patrol, America has now become all “Peopled” up. No more room at the inn. No vacancy. Sorry. Go away. Or die.

As far as I can tell, this is why the current Euro-centric “People” of America today seem to be so terribly afraid of our new immigrants — that maybe karma really indeed is a bitch. They’re afraid that what goes around comes around. That just as their ancestors had “Peopled” the American Indian to near extinction? They are now afraid that their own Euro-centric arses are gonna also get “Peopled” to near extinction too by this next wave of immigrants from Latin America — immigrants who are only following the trail of their stolen treasures back to the very thieves who stole them. And that would be us.

And now we are seeing a whole new set of Ellis-Island clones springing up all along America’s southern borders — but these new ones are far more crueler and meaner and low-spirited than the original Ellis Island ever was. Not just facilities for clearing new immigrants but actual concentration camps.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Americans do not need to behave like Nazis. It doesn’t have to be “us verses them”. All humans are valuable. Did not Jesus teach us that? These asylum-seekers at our southern border need to be viewed as resources, as gifts — not just another new wave of greedy settlers come to “People” over us too just like our murderous ancestors brutally “Peopled” over the American Indians back in the day.

Let’s finally change history, make amends, welcome these new immigrants, start a new trend — and do the courageous things now that our ancestors were too set on genocide to even consider.

PS: I gotta admit that the Ellis Island cafeteria did serve an excellent old-fashioned roast beef dinner — and it was cheap too. Plus the ferry ride over from lower Manhattan was totally fun.


June 6, 2019

Morgan Library & Hudson Yards: Two NYC landmarks built off the misery of others

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 9:40 pm

I clearly love everything about books — so imagine my delight when someone told me about the historic Morgan Library in midtown Manhattan. I was there in a flash. And it was awesomely beautiful too. Just imagine a vaulted sanctuary such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel — only also lined with tiers and tiers of bookcases stuffed with rare and beautiful leather-bound books containing all the wisdom of the ages. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” I was in hog heaven!

“But….” And, yes, there’s always gotta be a but….

At the very back of my consciousness, I kept hearing a niggling small voice that kept telling me, “You know, of course, that all this fabulous splendor was built upon the backs of the misery, starvation and death of thousands of 19th-century American workers who were impoverished and practically enslaved by J.P. Morgan, the Robber Baron himself, right?”

“Oh shut up Jiminy Cricket and just let me enjoy the moment.” But my conscience just wouldn’t shut up.

Another one of the many other fabulous things to do in New York City is to walk the High Line, an amazing park-in-the-sky lovingly created by local volunteers who have turned some old elevated train tracks into a tree-lined pathway from 14th Street up to 34th Street. I went there next. Trees are beautiful too, right?

“But….” And, yes, there’s always gotta be a but.

At the end of the High Line I also discovered the luxurious Hudson Yards office-complex-and-mall. Another thing of great beauty. And the “Stores at the Yard” were all selling beautiful high-end stuff like Chanel, Cartier, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Gucci, Coach and Dior. Who the freak can even afford to buy stuff like that? Certainly not me. I shop at free boxes, flea markets and the Goodwill. But somebody must be doing their shopping there. I couldn’t even imagine who.

And another thing about the Hudson Yards that just screamed out “Conspicuous Consumption” was the huge amounts of wasted space there. Atriums and terraces and vaulted corridors were everywhere, right there on prime-time mid-Manhattan real estate — real estate worth hundreds of dollars a foot. Real estate that could have housed hundreds if not thousands of tents for the myriad homeless families of New York.

Jiminy Cricket then went on to underscore his point. “Back in the 19th century, robber barons like Morgan and Rockefeller and Carnegie created their castles of dreams on the backs of starving and dying American workers like our great-grandfathers. And now it is clear that, here in the 21st century, there is a whole new set of robber barons who are creating all this insane wealth as well — only this time these castles of dreams like the Hudson Yards are being created over the dead bodies of murdered babies in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.”

Yep, my conscience is right. What good is awesome and extreme beauty if its very roots lie in the extreme swamps of inhuman heartlessness and greed? The one cancels out the other. How can anyone with any good conscience at all shop at the Hudson Yards, knowing that their extreme wealth mostly derives from manufacturing and selling deadly weapons of mass destruction — to be used to massacre babies in far-away places like Yemen and Gaza and Syria and Iraq? How can these people even sleep at night?

And how can we Americans continue to let them?

To quote Dwight D. Eisenhower, “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” Let’s do whatever we can to stop our leaders from continuing to trudge down their current sad, immoral and decadent path to a beautiful future for them — at the price of a living Hell for the rest of us.


Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you’re at it, please buy my books.


June 3, 2019

My (not so) excellent adventure with propaganda at the United Nations in NYC

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 10:04 pm

How many times have you been told straight-up lies to your face? Been told them so many times that you actually start to believe them? “Yes, Santa Claus will bring you lots of presents down the chimney, kid. Now shut up and put out those damn cookies and milk.”

I had that very same experience a few days ago — right in front of the United Nations building in New York. I saw a small group of people standing in front of the iconic UN building and waving a huge Syrian flag. “Those are my kind of people!” I thought. Having been to Syria and having kept up with all the lies we’ve been fed about their president being a bad guy, I was delighted to see protestors who were actually and finally bringing Truth to Power.

Boy was I wrong!

Those people were paid protestors, hired by Lord-Knows-Who to spread lies about Syria’s President Assad. “Assad is a baby-killer!” They screamed. Er, no. Americans are the ones who have been murdering babies-for-oil in Syria since 2011, and in the whole Middle East for decades as well.

“But Assad is a hero in Syria!” I told them. “They love him there — because Assad has kept Syria from becoming another Libya.” But the protestors just shoved an obviously-Photo-Shopped leaflet in my hand and that was that. How can I even begin to fight propaganda like that? I mean — seriously? PhotoShop? Me? I can barely figure out how to turn off and on my computer let alone turn out professional-quality stuff like that. This was CIA-quality stuff!

Sadly, I just shook my head and went back into the UN gift shop. What else could I do?

I know! I’ll go over to the Syrian ambassador’s office and try to cheer him up! Good idea — except the ambassador wasn’t home. But I did talk to one of his aides. “I’m so sorry that Syria has to go through all this,” I told him, “just because nobody here believes that this whole tragedy is simply a result of American corporations being greedy for yet more oil.” Yet again. Remember when they lied like a rug to us about Iraq?

And remember when Trump ordered the bombing of Damascus in retaliation to the Douma chemical attack, supposedly ordered by Assad? Well, it turns out that America’s “rebels” (aka al Qaeda) were the ones responsible, not Syria. “I apologize on behalf of my country,” I told the aide.

By this time I had tears in my eyes at the thought of all those dead Syrian babies — murdered by us, not them. And the aide almost had tears in his eyes too. But what could we do? For eight long bloody years now, Syria’s ambassador has gotten up in front of United Nations delegates regularly and begged them to stop America, ISIS, Turkey, the Zionists and the Saudis from destroying his country — looking like poor Haile Selassie back in 1936, futilely begging the League of Nations for help that would never come.

I guess that all I can do now is to just to keep on keeping on — keep on refusing to eat all the lies we are constantly being fed. A buffet of lies. A smorgasbord of lies. A bistro full of lies. A lie-filled comida. And to stop digesting all those other multi-lingual lies we are constantly being served up by our global corporate minders like they were milk and cookies. Sigh.

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