June 5, 2015

“Get the card!”

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:25 pm

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“Smoke,” by Hollywood actress Meili Cady, tells the story of a young lady who had some success in Hollywood as an actress and subsequentially got accused of smuggling seven tons of pot into the USA. This new book came to our attention right after we viewed “The Big High” 1968 episode of Dragnet and a colorized version of “Reefer Madness.” On Thursday May 28, we heard one of the Getty and Armstrong (which one is Costello, which one is Laurel?) duo did a segment which urged American military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to “get the card,” which is to say they should do the paper work that would give them access to medical marijuana rather than seek relief via consuming alcoholic drinks. We knew that it was time to do another column on a topic that permits us to use the old cliché: “we don’t have a dog in that fight.” Th

e World’s Laziest Journalist doss not care if Pot is classified as a capital offense or if it becomes a product available in (irony alert!) drug stores and/or is sold at the corner news stand (do they still exist?).

Doing fact checking to see why the boys at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory voted the rumors surrounding the reason why pot was original classified as a dangerous narcotic as an explanation of why pot was voted into the Conspiracy Theory Hall of Fame (located on the super-secret campus somewhere in the Sierra foothills, near Berkeley) was a myth of Sisyphus assignment.

Back when “Reefer Madness” was a sensationalistic new movie it helped (propaganda alert?) convince the public that one puff for pleasure could lead, inexorably, to a life as a demented dope fiend. The 1968“Big High” episode of Dragnet (it’s available for viewing on Youtube), seconded the motion.

Could it be that capitalists, allegedly from both the booze and paper industries, as a way of diminishing a threat of competition, somehow (bribe alert?) convinced politicians to overreact and blacklisted a product with medicinal effects that would be very therapeutic for G. I.’s with battle fatigue? If so, why then would altruistic minded Republican politicians continue their misguided efforts after the doctors presented them with documentation that strongly endorsed the controversial PTSD treatment?

We considered doing a column detailing how, today, the voters in the USA seem to be as much the victims of lies, distortion, and propaganda as were the citizens of Germany, in the Thirties. Ein Volk got all their news only from officially sanction sources of information such as the Volkisher Brobachter newspaper. Is Fox News following in that tradition?

Denny Hastert did something and made mistakes in withdrawing the hush money from his bank account. Republicans want to go on record as saying the persecution of Hastert is an example of government overreach and not worth the effort and concomitant media circus. When Bill Clinton got a blowjob from a consenting adult woman, it was a basis for a group with lynch mob mentality to urge that impeachment proceedings should begin immediately. What’s not to love about strong, opposing partisanship reactions to the two stories?

Last December, when some of the citizens staged some “Black Lives Matter” protests in Berkeley, a low-flying single engine airplane was pointed out to us and the assertion was made that it was intercepting and monitoring cell phone calls being made below them as a way to do crowd control. During this past week, Newsweek provided confirmation of those rumors. Do a Google News search for “Operation Stingray.”

We were also tipped to the assertion that a rich pair of brothers bankrolled an effort to discredit the “Black Lives Matter” political protests by paying thugs to commit vandalism and to incite violence. Then when it was time for the hooligans to collect the promised cash, they were stiffed. That allegedly precipitated new riots with a more pragmatic rationale. That topic was accessible via a Google News search, but perhaps all traces of that story have been scrubbed off the Internet by now.

If true, this hypothesis has some very disconcerting implications. If hoodlums were paid to add vandalism and violence to a legitimate free speech protest, then one must make one of two conclusions. If the American Homeland Security agency was fully informed and complicit with what was happening, then fascism and Gestapo tactics have become an ingredient in American life. If, on the other hand, the Homeland Security did not know ahead of time about the payments to aggravate the situation, then their reasons for surveillance of all American citizens is a farce. They were either complicit or derelict in their mission if some of the protesters were paid agent provocateurs. With that ominous binary choice, it becomes evident why management of the news might be an integral part of the charade.

These days all the news seems to have a conspiracy theory aspect to it. Have you heard the assertion that B. B. King might have been the victim of foul play?

The latest hacking scandal causes us to ask again: “Why didn’t the system that was hacked use the security program that makes the electronic voting machines immune from all attempts to get hacked?

The hot rumor making the rounds this week on the digital counter-culture websites is that the John Kerry broken leg story was not a bike accident but was a fib designed to draw attention away from an assassination attempt by Isis.

Does the slump in confidence in American Journalism imply a concomitant spike in credibility for various and sundry Conspiracy Theories?

Speaking of de facto censorship, is it true that the website RevolutionbooksNYC dot org is promoting the use of a graphic symbol illustrating the concept that citizens should fear the police assigned to protect and serve them? Will media owned by conservative millionaires permit the staff to give any publicity to that concept?

The World’s Laziest Journalist will skip this week’s transvestite story. (Is that story that most folks, even those in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area, find boring and thus want it banished from the airwaves, an example of managed news?) Are any American pundits asking if the failure of the TSA screenings indicates that the actual purpose of the hassle is to wean Americans on to fascism?

Since Saturday June 6 will be the 71st anniversary of D-Day, we need to ask a question: “If the soldiers who were killed in WWII were fighting for The Four Freedoms, does it show disrespect for their sacrifices if Sen. Lindsey Graham rolls his eyes when the concept of fighting for America’s liberties, is mentioned?”

[Note from the photo editor: Pot, pizza and psychedelic tie-die t-shirts can always be lumped together in the San Francisco Bay Area and hence legitimize this week’s photo illustration.]

Some analysts are baffled by the fact that Republicans, who were very enthusiastic about invading Iraq and Afghanistan, seem willing to renege on their promise to take care of wounded veterans by denying them access to medical marijuana to treat PTSD.

Since many pundits ignore the controversy over the use of pot treatment, any suggestion which attempts to explain why the Republicans continue to endorse the restrictions on the use of cannabis sativa rather than approve its use, we will (speculation alert!) offer our unique explanation.

The fable of the scorpion and the frog was used in two movies. It was told in Orson Welles’ “Mr. Arkadin,” and also in “The Crying Game.”

A scorpion wanted to cross a river. He asked a frog if he could hitch a ride. The frog vehemently objected saying: “When we get in the middle of the river, you will sting me and we will both drown.” The scorpion used his highly developed debating skill to convince the frog to ignore his objections to the proposal. The scorpion hopped on the frog’s back and they began to cross the river. When they got to the middle of the river, sure enough, the scorpion stung the frog. The perplexed frog asked the scorpion why he had broken his promise and thereby signed both of their death warrants. The scorpion’s response possibly explains the Republicans’ attitude and provides us with the column’s closing quote: “Because it’s in my nature!”

Now the disk jockey will play the Platters 1958 hit “Smoke gets in your eyes,” “Puff the magic dragon,” and Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson’s new song “It’s all going to pot.” We have to go see if the film rights to the “Smoke” book have been sold.   Have a “Go Warriors!” type of week.

October 25, 2011

Seeking solace: High Tea in Banff & the ghosts of PTSD

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 7:39 pm

After finally arriving in Banff National Park the other day, I treated myself to high tea at the famous historic high-tone Banff Springs Hotel. Now this is the right way to camp!

Joining me for high tea at the hotel was an up-and-coming young filmmaker named Holly Chadwick. Chadwick is currently in the process of editing her new movie, “Seeking Solace,” a film whose plot revolves around the sad stories of two post-war veterans who have returned home after fighting in two of America’s bloodiest corporatist wars. One vet had fought in Iraq recently and the other had fought in Vietnam years ago — but both of them struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Over scones, Devenshire cream, cucumber sandwiches and Earl Grey tea and looking out through a huge picture window next to our table at one of the most majestic scenes on the planet today, Chadwick and I discussed PTSD. And then, after high tea was over and it became obvious that there were no more petit-fours to be had, Chadwick then took me back to her artist-in-residence studio at the Banff Center to show me some of the clips from her new movie.

Most of the clips that I saw were about her characters’ nightmares — the horrible nightmares that war veterans so often suffer from after returning from battlefields.

Veterans apparently relive their wartime past experiences again and again in their dreams. And then, all too often, these same returning vets attempt to commit suicide — either consciously or subconsciously. According to the Army Times, 18 U.S. veterans actually attempt suicide per day. Others kill themselves less obviously by getting into automobile accidents or falling asleep while smoking or taking up extreme sports. “Suicide by Cop” also seems to be a current favorite with PTSD vets.

America is hemorrhaging all too many returning veterans’ lives. Chadwick’s movie deals with some of these problems.

“After making this film, have you developed any theories with regard to how to better recognize, treat and cure PTSD?” I asked Chadwick. Obviously she had given much thought to this subject and hoped that her film might supply some of the answers — or at least start getting more people to discuss and focus in on one of post-modern America’s most critical problems. By making this film, it is Chadwick’s intention to raise America’s awareness regarding this vast epidemic of misery.

“The basic plot of my film,” stated Chadwick, “revolves around what happens when the ghost of a Vietnam veteran comes back to haunt the protagonist, a female soldier who had witnessed carnage in Iraq. But Vietnam vet’s ghost is a helpful ghost.” Good. Vets need all the helpful ghosts that they can get — because sometimes constantly dosing PTSD sufferers with medication up to their eyeballs just isn’t enough.

I have read where serotonin-adjusting chemicals can sometimes help vets recover from PTSD — but can sometimes also drive them further over the edge as well.

“So what exactly do you think will help vets recover from PTSD?” I asked Chadwick. Besides ghosts, of course.

“One of the main things that appears to help them is peer support — someone who can honestly say, ‘Been there. Done that. And I got better’. Plus time helps. And a healthy, safe environment. Positive reinforcement. And also a sure sense that they also have a bright future as well as an unbearable past.” Then perhaps having meaningful jobs waiting for them when they return might really help. Fat chance of that!

And Chadwick and I both agreed that participating in any act of creativity may also help PTSD veterans to recover faster.

“There is research that shows that learning both math and music help with strengthening connections between different parts of the brain — and so studying math and music may also be beneficial in helping with PTSD,” said Chadwick.

How ironic is that!

In the past several decades, our government has been taken over in a bloodless coup by corporatists who are making their biggest profits from war. And taxpayers’ money that would have ordinarily gone to help returning vets to become artists and musicians and filmmakers and writers and such is now being siphoned off to pay for more and more wars — and these wars in turn create more PTSD.

Almost all of the money that should be going to help our vets to recover from PTSD is now being generously showered down upon the war industry — the very people who are currently busy CREATING more and more and more PTSD, far faster than anyone can cure it — a vicious cycle.

But hopefully Chadwick’s new film may help out.

PS: Here’s a link to Chadwick’s webpage if you would like to see some rough clips from the film and a prototype trailer as well:

PPS: Speaking of ghosts, Marilyn Monroe used to stay at the Banff Springs Hotel back in the day, when she was filming “River of No Return” with Robert Mitchum. And I think that I also might have seen Marilyn’s ghost flit by me as I ate my petit-fours and scones for High Tea. Perhaps she too suffered from PTSD — after they shot Kennedy?

PPPS: Now that Obama is allegedly shutting down all American military bases in Iraq, I am starting to get all nostalgic for my time spent over there — embedded in various forward operating bases, command outposts, transit airbases and dining facilities throughout Iraq.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally glad to see all these bases be abandoned (or at least to be turned over to Blackwater, which is apparently the new plan), and would even love to see America’s other hundreds of bases throughout the world close down too. But, Geez Louise, how I would love to go back and write an article saying farewell to Iraq — and to do it now, before everything that I remember there disappears forever. Me and Ernest Hemingway. My own personal Farewell to Arms.

And I bet that many soldiers who have served in Iraq in the past and are still serving there now will know what I’m talking about. One really does get nostalgic for the U.S. military experience in Iraq — such as experiencing close comradeship with others, the excellent skill-based knowledge of your compatriots, the fact that one actually has a job and gets actual benefits — and, of course, the D-FAC! But not the killing. That only brings on PTSD.


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