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What’s Wrong with America!

“In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing.” (Edward Burke)

 

In a nutshell, what’s wrong with America is apathy and armchair activists. I am referring to those who like to think they’re doing something significant by clicking on the occasional “like” button or “share” button on Facebook. Humanity is on the edge of a cliff overlooking the abyss of our extinction due to the destruction of our environment and most Americans sit by watching their sports, reality T.V., etc. Last Sunday’s massive People’s Climate March in New York City was inspiring but it barely rated a mention in most of the corporate media. There were over 2,000 such events around the world, many led by indigenous people fighting for their lives.  Chomsky in his office

Noam Chomsky, world renown scholar, activist, & linguist has stated very clearly that the two greatest and most imminent dangers facing humanity are Climate Change & the possibility of Nuclear War yet most of America go about their daily routines barely even thinking about these two issues that could literally wipe us off the face of the Earth. Why? Well the most glaring example of why people are so apathetic & indifferent is the corporate owned media. They are funded by many, if not most, of the very corporations responsible for the massive pollution of our planet and clearly don’t want people thinking about their role in our destruction. I have been urging people for at least the past 20 years to inform themselves by watching/listening to the alternative media but it seems my words have fallen on nothing but deaf ears.

 

This pitiful coverage by the major media reminded me of the global marches against the U.S. invasion of Iraq including massive protests in most of the major cities across the U.S. prior to our invasion and once again, almost no mention in “our” media. It’s not hard to predict because it’s the same old familiar pattern, the U.S. is now bombing the Hell out of another country and the media will lead with it and focus most of its attention on our latest war campaign 24/7. And you can be sure that FOX “News” will beat the war drums louder and more constantly than any other “news” organization. They will trot out their “experts” (retired, high ranking officers who are paid handsomely for their propaganda assistance with their ties to the military/industrial complex never revealed) and the sleeping giant, the American public will fall hook, line, & sinker for the indoctrination yet again.

 

How many Vietnam-like scenarios do we have to go through before the American people wake up? We just transition from one quagmire to another in a stream of murder, death, & destruction and the only segment of the public at large that gives a damn are the families who lose a loved one or have them come home with a limb missing or their minds & spirits so screwed-up that many commit suicide or go on homicidal rampages. I just read a brilliant article that inspired me to write this essay, the title of the article is “They” Live; “They” Rule, and here is the link should you be able to spare the time to read it http://truth-out.org/opinion//item/26231-they-live-they-rule?tmpl=component&print=1  after-the-apocalypse

 

Our endless wars and the destruction of our planet via climate change are intimately intertwined. Quite simply, our wars no matter what the propagandists say, are about stealing resources from other nations to keep the profits for the corporate cockroaches coming in. And this perpetual state of war fuels the passionate hatred of America by people from around the world who have had loved ones killed by our military, have been forced to flee their homes & their countries, have been humiliated, have watched their children starve to death because the U.S. military & the corporations that our military protects, wipe-out their local economies with legal protection under NAFTA, etc. etc. etc. This insane logic is similar to the madness of Alice in Wonderland and our embroilment in the affairs of the Middle East might just bring that Apocalypse that the Christian fascists in America pray for with a nuclear war scenario that is too terrifying to even contemplate. The U.S. military and the corporate cockroaches have been also waging a propaganda war against the American public for decades. They do everything within their power to block clean, renewable forms of energy because they have become addicted to their obscene levels of profit by keeping us hooked on fossil fuels. You may have noticed my sharp or harsh critical tone towards the American public in this piece and you’d be right because I am done being polite. This is not fear mongering, this is a wake-up call because we all must get off our asses and get involved or it truly is over for humanity! I am going to paste the first paragraph of this article because it spotlights the praises of four men of whom I have the highest respect. After this, I will be almost exclusively referring to portions of the introductory chapter of this fantastic book titled “They Rule: The 1% VS. Democracy,” by Paul Street:

cornel west

Described by Cornel West as “the most acute observer and insightful analyst of the ‘Obama Phenomena,'” Paul Street is the author of seven books, numerous project studies, and hundreds of articles published around the world. His publications include the prophetic, “lucid and penetrating” (Noam Chomsky) volume Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (2008), described by John Pilger in 2009 as “perhaps the only book that tells the truth about the 44th president of the United States.” Street’s Crashing the Tea Party (2010, co-authored with Truthout contributor Anthony DiMaggio) is “essential reading for anyone concerned about the changing nature of American politics” and helped solidify Street’s status as one of “America’s most important social and political critics” (Henry Giroux).

 

For those of you perhaps not familiar with the above mentioned scholars, here is a brief background; Cornel West is a professor of religious studies & has taught at some of America’s most prestigious universities. He is also the truest examples of what a Christian is, in my opinion. Noam Chomsky is quite simply the greatest intellectual alive. John Pilger is an Australian filmmaker who has been creating in depth & brilliant documentaries on war and other issues of great significance for decades. And Henry Giroux is among the top five critics of American public education again, in my opinion.

 

“Inspired in part by the Occupy movement or ‘moment’ of 2011, Street’s new volume harkens back to John Carpenter’s campy but classic film They Live (1987). Carpenter portrayed the United States as subject to invasion and control by alien invaders who wore corporate suits, distributed wealth and power upward, subverted democracy, managed minds and warmed the earth’s climate—all in the name of free enterprise and economic growth.”

 

“Alien invaders,” is an appropriate term for these inhuman people who are destroying our environment and threatening our very existence as a species. I refer to them as corporate cockroaches because growing up in several of the poorer areas of L.A., I have seen many of these vile creatures and feel the same towards those who rule de facto over us. I don’t believe it’s necessary to point out the parallels between John Carpenter’s film and today’s America? The term managed minds is obviously a reference to the state and corporate indoctrination that we are inundated with from the moment we are born until the day that we die. It is so pervasive and ubiquitous that we don’t even realize we are being brainwashed. Most people will tell you if you dare to question things, “That’s just the way it is,” usually in a condescending tone or as if you are naive child hopelessly idealistic to believe that it’s possible for us to do anything about the way things are.

Members-of-Occupy-Wall-St-007

“John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York, etc.) deserves special credit for partly envisioning the Occupy Movement as early as 1987. All the way back then, he penned and directed what the prolific left social critic and historian Mike Davis calls Carpenter’s “subversive tour de force” – They Live, a “depicti[on of ] the Age of Reagan as a catastrophic alien invasion.”

REAGAN

I have mentioned several times over the past couple of years in my comments on posts to my Facebook friends that when Reagan became the president of the United States is when I got real serious about paying attention to politics because he scared the Hell out of me. Some of you may recall that Reagan seemed to be daring the Russians to a duel as if in the Old West with his S.D.I. (Strategic Defense Initiative) or better known as Star Wars strategy. And as I delved deeper into what was going on at the time, I began to see how deeply Reagan was in the pocket of the corporate cockroaches most notably, G.E., a major player in the military/industrial complex & the company that brought “good things to light” like the atomic bombs we dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Reagan honed his “Great Communicator” skills by working as a spokesman for G.E. for over 20 years touring their plants around America and giving what he simply referred to as “The Speech” (the Commies are Coming! the Commies are Coming!) obviously FOX “News” picked up on the effectiveness of fear mongering from Reagan.

hiroshima

“They’re free enterprisers,” a leading human resister of the alien presence explains: “The Earth is just another developing planet – their Third World.” “We are like a natural resource to them,” a different resister elaborates. “Deplete the planet and move on to another. They want benign indifference. They want us drugged.”

 

Yes, this is from a Science Fiction movie but unless you are willfully ignorant, the parallels to our reality are clear. The overwhelming majority of the world’s expert scientists agree that Climate Change is a Clear and Present Danger yet because the fantastically rich like the Koch brothers for example, would lose billions if Climate Change were taken seriously by our government and the public, Climate denial is given equal time or credit to all the scientific proof that it is a fact. And as many, if not most of those who marched in the recent People’s Climate march in New York City and around the world know, the oil, gas, & coal industries will not stop in their madness until every last ounce of these resources is sucked out of the ground and let the consequences be damned. They know that no matter how much destruction they cause, we, the 99% will be forced to pay the costs of all their destruction both financially in terms of taxes and personally in the form of the diseases that result from this pollution. By the way, it’s important to note that much of what is now Science fact or our reality came from Science Fiction i.e. writers like H.G. Wells first conceived of atomic bombs and Jules Verne imagined many of our present “realities” as well (nuclear powered submarines, etc.).

 

“Resistance is futile and there is no alternative, so you might as well play ball with the invaders and enjoy the rewards. So the collaborationist story goes, encouraged by bribery and media messages selling personal consumption, keeping up with fashion, and narcissistic self-display as the meaning of “the good life.” As one turncoat explains to They Live’s resister heroes near the movie’s end, It’s business, that’s all it is. There ain’t no countries anymore. They’re running the whole show. They own everything, the whole goddamned planet. They can do whatever they want.”

 

As I mentioned above, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been dismissed as hopelessly naive over the years. And it’s usually been in a group setting with several others nodding knowingly to one another in amusement at my protests. This is not a pity party but rather a honest sharing of my personal experiences as I have attempted to inform myself and others over the course of the last 30 years or so. H.G. Wells summed it up nicely in a quote; “It’s becoming more and more of a race between education and catastrophe.” And he wrote that in 1920, and given the horrific reality of what Climate Change portends for the future of humanity, it’s clear how urgent is our need for action against the corporate cockroaches!

 

“Those who cannot be co-opted or numbed by dominant media and consumer gratifications and who dare to question and challenge alien and state-capitalist authority are designated as “terrorists” and “communists who want to bring down the government.” They are subjected to violent repression by a heavily armed high-tech police state, whose tools of surveillance and repression include airborne spy cameras that prefigure low-flying military police and border patrol drones currently being prepared for use inside the United States.”

edward snowden

Again, do I really need to point out the nightmarish parallels to today’s America? Our police departments around the country resembling our army more than police who’s mandate is to Serve and Protect the public? The revelations regarding the illegal spying on us via Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, & Julian Asange to name just a few of the whistleblowers that Obama has declared war on. Or the almost daily news stories of yet another person shot & killed by a fearful & trigger-happy policeman, and usually a person of color. The history of the last century has shown time and again that anyone who started to garner national attention by criticizing the government or big business was labeled a subversive, a communist, etc. and they were either locked-up for life or killed. Labor organizers were top on the list of “Enemies of the State,” because the corporate cockroaches profit the most by keeping their labor costs to a minimum and now that they’ve been legally allowed to close down factories in America and open them in Third World countries where not even minimum wage laws exist and they’re actually rewarded by receiving huge tax breaks, it’s a corporate cockroach’s idea of a wet dream!

 

“To make matters worse for the mostly working-class American human subjects, they struggle with strong internal divisions of race and ethnicity that are richly cultivated and enjoyed by the wealthy few in their Machiavellian quest to divide and conquer. “Maybe they love it,” They Live’s leading black protagonist muses, “seeing us hate each other, watching us kill each other off, feeding off our cold fucking hearts.”

 

Those who have known me for any length of time at all, know how much I detest FOX “News,” and because it’s such a farce to even refer to them as a news station, I always put the word news in quotation marks. I have dubbed them the fear and hate channel and “Divide & Conquer” is definitely their agenda. The Russians’ had/have a national newspaper which was/is called Pravda. This is the word for Truth in Russian but the critical difference between the Russian people and the American people is that they knew it was propaganda. I lament the fact that perhaps millions of Americans either aren’t aware or don’t care that FOX “News” is propaganda. The average number of viewers of FOX “News” is 3.4 million a month and FOX is only the most egregious of the corporate media spin mills. Common sense tells a person if they care to reflect on it for a few moments that the CEOs of the handful of media conglomerates in the U.S. are not going to allow critics, pundits, or scholars on their stations or in their media outlets who are adept at revealing the misinformation spread by those same media outlets. It would clearly hurt their “bottom-line” in terms of the profits they make and would undermine their mission to keep the public in the dark as to what they’re up to. In short, what our founding fathers envisioned was a “fourth estate” meant to serve as a sort of watchdog on the three branches of our government. Well, this watchdog is clearly now a lapdog for the corporate cockroaches and its unstated but de facto mission is to keep the public disinformed and distracted and that’s why much of the new media is now understood by the aware to be “infotainment.”

 

“The aliens are opposed by a revolutionary human cadre that has developed special sunglasses and contact lenses that decode the deadening messages of the alien-run corporate mass media and reveal the repulsive nonhuman identity of many of the privileged. When the glasses are donned, billboards, magazines, newspapers, and television programs are shown to express their real intended meaning, telling humans to “obey,” “consume,” “watch tv,” “sleep,” “conform,” “submit,” “buy,” “honor apathy,” “marry and reproduce,” and “work eight hours.” Bills of money are shown to say “this is your god,” while billboards are seen to proclaim “no thought,” “do not question authority,” and “no imagination.”

Take a few moments and let this sink in, these are indeed the “subliminal forms of thought control encoded in advertisements and other corporate mass media content.”

facebook

Reflect on the ever greater encroachment of advertising on Facebook and the devious ways that advertisers disguise their products and services on FB that pretend to be socially concerned about our welfare. And note also how many corporations have disguised themselves as environmentally friendly and concerned when in fact they are corporate polluters and profiteers only concerned about expanding their profits by suckering more gullible & naive consumers. Furthermore, it’s by now pretty much common knowledge that Facebook has greatly helped the government’s various spy agencies in surveilling us. The powers that be know that the growing popularity of the “social media” is a gold mine for them to exploit because we, myself included, share so much of our personal history on it and they can then find ever more markets by purposely designing ads that appeal to our revealed interests, fears, dreams, etc. We are like lambs laying our heads on the chopping block for these despicable aliens sowing the seeds of our destruction.

 

The Occupy Wall St. movement clearly worried the power elite and it’s no coincidence that almost overnight, within the space of a single week, the F.B.I. coordinated the brutal shut-down of several Occupy Movement encampments across America. Here is a paragraph from a great article on the subject:

 

“So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy

naomi wolf

This was from a story by Naomi Wolf, a journalist and a Rhodes Scholar who courageously fights the good fight in our names. By the way, she has also written a great book on the subject of fascism in America should you care to inform yourself on the subject. Consider this if you will, Why is it that the Tea Party’s members can congregate in public places for their rallies and carry guns but those in the Occupy Wall St. movement are not even allowed to carry a backpack? Tell me again about freedom of speech and the right to assembly in America. The Tea Party are useful idiots meant to distract the naive public and to sow the seeds of inter conflict amongst us while the corporate cockroaches go about their dirty business. And again, this is why the three main “issues” that predominate FOX “News” airwaves are God, Guns, & Gays. These are what are known as emotional, hot button topics that will most likely never be resolved but they keep the stupid amongst us focused on them and thereby distracted from the serious or deep issues hidden from public scrutiny i.e. the financial speculations of Wall St., the banksters crimes, the never ending series of wars and police actions, etc.

 

“Beneath the science-fiction and horror-film surface, of course, Carpenter was portraying the subordination of late twentieth-century America to its own unelected dictatorship of corporate and financial wealth – what would become known twenty-three years later as “the 1%.” “Who,” Davis wrote in the wake of Occupy’s emergence, can ever forget the brilliant early scenes [in They Live] of the huge third world shantytown reflected across the Hollywood Freeway by the sinister mirror glass of Bunker Hill’s corporate skyscrapers? Or Carpenter’s portrayal of billionaire bankers and evil mediacrats ruling over a pulverized American working class living in tents on a rubble- strewn hillside and begging for casual jobs?. . . From this negative equality of homelessness and despair, and thanks to the magic sunglasses, the proletariat finally achieves interracial unity, sees through the subliminal deceptions of capitalism, and gets angry. Very angry.”

homeless

If this isn’t a clear example of reality imitating art or more specifically, Hollywood, then I don’t know what is? Think of the movie “Wag the Dog,” with Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman. I have unfortunately been forced to work for temporary agencies several times in my life and Labor Ready is undoubtedly amongst the worst of them. You are told to sit down and shut your mouth and if you dare to protest, they put you on a sort of black list and you aren’t called for any jobs. And the majority of the “jobs” they send you on are degrading and back-breaking slave labor positions paying minimum wage. It dawned on me several years ago that across America, in “our” state employment offices (we pay the taxes for them to operate) probably at least 50% of the jobs posted require you to go through a temp agency to apply for the job. This is clearly a matter of public agencies working together with private agencies to exploit working class Americans. Every single temp agency I have applied to over the years asks how much you’re willing to accept as a pay rate and if you dare to ask for more than minimum wage they tell you that minimum wage is all this employer will pay. And I have as yet to hear of anyone protesting this gross injustice?

 

Think of the spread of homelessness in America and the continual vilification of the homeless by the mass media. Reflect on the ever more draconian laws making it illegal to be homeless, illegal to sleep in your car, illegal to exist or live. I too have stayed in a couple of homeless shelters but thankfully it was only for a week in L.A. and approximately six weeks in Boulder, Colorado. But I know first hand how degrading it feels to stay in such places and what tyrannical rules & regulations such places force on those with no other option but to go along with their policies.

supreme court

We are clearly ruled over by a political system that is brazenly bought and paid for by the likes of the Koch brothers. The U.S. Supreme Court is also owned by the corporate cockroaches and the final nail in the coffin was their Citizens United ruling which gave the corporate mafia the right to buy our election system lock, stock, & barrel.

 

“It [the Occupy Wall St. movement] brought the language of class and the inseparably linked problems of economic inequality and plutocracy (the latter term refers to government by and for the wealthy) to the front and center of the national political culture like no time since the 1930s.4 And that is no small part of why it was taken apart by coordinated state repression within and beyond New York City, where a brutal police-state eviction was ordered by Michael Bloomberg, a leading financial titan and media mogul who also happened to be the mayor of the world’s leading capitalist city – something John Carpenter would certainly have appreciated.”

 

Of course some will read this last passage and dismiss it as just more sloppy, conspiracy thinking but, is it? I remember feeling such a sense of hope with the springing-up of Occupy Wall St. movements around the country. I also felt a sense of being hypocritical because I didn’t go to the Occupy Movement in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I was recovering from a serious bicycle accident that almost killed me. I had four broken ribs, a broken collar-bone, etc. and I was afraid that the cops would swoop at any time on the encampment and started beating on people and I knew that I tend to get emotional and knew that my body couldn’t take the physical assault that might happen. Still, it was great knowing that many people, especially young people, were rallying against the gross injustices of the status quo and the fact that the Occupy Movements had hung in there for so long was uplifting as well. As the author pointed out in the above paragraph, how fitting that it was a wealthy financier and media CEO who called in the goon squads to silence the dissenters. So much for Free Speech yet again. If only the public could grasp the significance or how important media manipulation is in a so-called Democracy.

 

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759 US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 – 1790)

patriot act

I believe that tragically, many, if not most Americans aren’t even aware of just how many of our rights as expressed in our Bill of Rights have been stolen from us under the Patriot Act which was rushed through after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The corporate cockroaches had been wanting to erase these rights and more for decades and 9/11 was just the excuse they needed. We are transforming into a tyranny and not many seem to notice or to care, certainly not my Facebook friends who are more concerned with cute pics of cats, proclaiming that they’re Vegan & animal rights activists, etc.

steinbeck

“This volume is not, however, primarily about the Occupy Movement, possibly better described as “the Occupy Moment.” The primary focus here is on key questions posed by Occupy, questions that have also been raised by previous generations of labor, farmer, socialist, anarchist, and populist protestors and critics, including Carpenter (whose They Live heroes are heirs to the antiplutocratic rebels and revolutionaries portrayed in such past American novels as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Jack Conroy’s The Disinherited, John Steinbeck ‘s In Dubious Battle, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Jack London’s The Iron Heel, Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano, and John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up): Who owns and rules America beneath and beyond the claims and indeed the pretence of democratic popular governance?”

 

Several of the above mentioned authors speak to my heart because I’ve always been on the side of the downtrodden, the poor, the working class & all who are cast aside in this land we love to brag is the freest on Earth. What a farce! Many of those who call themselves Conservatives have no idea of what true Conservatism is about. They are actually plutocrats who believe they actually deserve the obscene amounts of wealth that they have mostly gained by inheritance and exploiting the laws written by their lobbyists which allow them to legally rob us blind. I grew up in a single parent home and have known hunger & the humiliation that goes along with it. And I have worked countless jobs so degrading that it’s hard to maintain a sense of self-worth or dignity. The pseudo “conservatives” have been very clear about their goal of abolishing every single part of the New Deal that was signed into law by FDR. Of course they hope that we don’t remember or never learned that the New Deal had to become law because America was circling the drain thanks to their grand theft which led to The Great Depression. The author’s last comment, “…the pretense of democratic popular governance,” is the key point here.

great depression

Why do we keep on pretending that our votes actually matter? In the obviously rigged presidential election of 2000 where the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time in U.S. history got involved (and illegally so), the truth was revealed. The proof that election officials have tampered with the electronic voting machines in areas where minorities live, the gerrymandering of districts, etc. etc. etc. And most glaringly, now that the Supreme Court has made it the law of the land that the corporate cockroaches can spend as much as they want in buying our elections, how in the Hell can anyone seriously believe that our votes actually matter? Oh, I know that there are a good many, well-intentioned “liberals, progressives, & democrats,” who cling to the myth but I no longer do. My hero, Noam Chomsky has said that he votes in local elections which affect his community and he’ll vote for a presidential candidate if his state happens to be a “swing state,” but otherwise, he won’t because he knows how rigged the system is. (my paraphrasing) In a nutshell, I believe we can be most effective against the financial tyrants & petty dictators by boycotting their products & companies. To do this, we need to inform ourselves and everyone else who will listen. And mass acts of civil disobedience is perhaps our greatest tool in this war for our survival and the protection of our dear Mother Earth!

paul street

“In tackling these and related questions, I have been struck at the signifi- cant extent to which the answers resonate with key themes in Carpenter’s film. To be sure, the real Earth-specific story of US ruling-class power is far more complicated and detailed than what can be conveyed in a short and often deliberately comic, cartoon-like sci-fi horror film like They Live. Disentangling that story has involved consulting a vast nonfiction literature and the reflections of numerous scholars and critics, including leading “power elite” analysts like George William Domhoff and Thomas R. Dye – none more deeply and recurrently insightful than Noam Chomsky (who will be quoted and cited more than a few times in the present volume). Still, having returned from that nonfiction journey and conducted my own empirical and primary source research, I am struck by the haunting relevance of They Live’s nightmarish vision – a nation ruled by amoral, sociopathic, hyper-mobile, highly organized, and socially (if not literally) alien capitalists who operate within and beyond national boundaries as they cultivate human divisions and exploit mass media and culture along with the high- tech repressive apparatus of the state to propagate mass consumerism, individualism, narcissism, and an ideology of endless growth and to demobilize, depress, delude, diminish, demoralize, degrade, and drug the citizenry and the democratic ideal. Along the way, “they” advance a savagely soulless and unequal political-economic order that warms the planet to a dangerous degree while dismantling the nation in service to endless selfish wealth accumulation – the common good be damned.”

 

I was just reminded after reading the second sentence in the above paragraph, “…in a short and often deliberately comic, cartoon-like sci-fi horror film,” of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. Many have noted over the last several years how sad it is that so many Americans are better informed about our foreign & domestic policies via this comedy show than they are through our so-called news channels. Pretty much sums it up wouldn’t you say? The Truth or the Facts aren’t allowed to be revealed through what are traditionally the proper forums but instead, have to be disguised as comedy. I guess that the corporate cockroaches feel that the public won’t take the uncomfortable truths seriously if they’re cloaked in humor? And this is what America has become in the eyes of the world where they know only too well what a dangerous & murderous joke America is. We had the sympathy of the world after 9/11 but how did our “leaders” make use of that opportunity to reach out to the other nations and unite to prevent future acts of such a horrific nature? The Bush cabal used the opportunity to undermine our freedoms at home as I mentioned re: The Patriot Act and they used it as an excuse to execute their master plan for expansion of the American Empire!

Jefferson-class-warfare

The seven Ds mentioned above should be ingrained in our individual and collective consciousness (Demobilize, Depress, Delude, Diminish, Demoralize, Degrade, & Drug) because if we were ever vigilant & aware of the fact that they are the techniques or tools the corporate cockroaches use against us in their Class War against us so as to keep us dumb & submissive, we’d be empowered. It’s time we grew up. There isn’t going to be any knight in shining armor riding in on a white horse to save us. We must save ourselves and by extension, save the planet. But this requires intellectual effort and not many seem capable or willing to exert themselves in this way.

 

“As the Occupy Movement was being dismantled by armed state forces for having committed the sin of rendering visible the nation’s real rulers and some of the hidden injuries of America’s class hierarchy, I was contacted by a television reporter from Iran. “How,” the reporter wanted to know, “can America credibly claim to advance democracy in the Middle East and across the world when it crushes freedom of expression and protest in its own city streets? ” “Why,” another reporter at the same network asked me, “do American people tolerate the control of their government and politics by a small and wealthy elite, what Occupy Wall Street calls ‘the 1 percent’? ”

inside job

How and Why indeed? These are the questions I wrestle with daily. And this is why I say in a somewhat simplistic manner that basically I believe it is because we have allowed ourselves to become too complacent or apathetic as we pursue “success” like hamsters in one of those spinning wheels in a cage. And this is precisely what the corporate cockroaches want i.e. as long as we’re consumed in our rat race delusion that we too can become filthy rich, they can get away with ever more crimes. Do you recall what Obama’s response was to all the demands for prosecution of the Wall St. crowd, bankers, hedge fund managers, etc. who were responsible for the World-wide economic meltdown of 2008? He said, “I’m not interested in looking backward.” What do you think a judge would say if you tried that excuse when in court and charged with a crime? No president in this corrupt world of American politics is willing to go after a previous president for their crimes whether financial or militarily like Bush’s cabinet which created the pretext for invading Iraq out of whole cloth. Why not? Because they would then leave themselves open to being prosecuted for their crimes when they were commander in chief. Obama’s major crime will be his illegal drone warfare campaign. He has targeted and killed many people around the world with no legal right, no proof, no judicial proceedings and most shockingly of all, he even had an American citizen assassinated overseas! These are just a few of the many reasons why it turns my stomach whenever I hear politicians or corporate cockroaches proclaim or boast of America’s reverence for Law & Order.

drone warfare

“This book is my belated answer to tackle these difficult and unpleasant questions. The contemporary United States, I find in the volume, is neither a dictatorship nor a democracy. It is something in between or perhaps different altogether: a corporate-managed state-capitalist pseudo-democracy that sells the narrow interests of the wealthy business and financial elite as the public interest, closes off critical and independent thought, and subjects culture, politics, policy, institutions, the environment, daily life, and individual minds to the often hidden and unseen authoritarian dictates of money and profit. It is a corporate and financial plutocracy whose managers generally prefer to rule through outwardly democratic and noncoercive means since leading American corporations and their servants have worked effectively at draining and disabling democracy’s radical and progressive potential by propagandizing, dulling, pacifying, deadening, overextending, overstressing, atomizing, and demobilizing the citizenry. At the same time, American state and capitalist elites remain ready, willing, and able to maintain their power with the help from ever more sinister and sophisticated methods and tools of repression, brutality, and coercive control.”

 

Those of you who may know me will probably understand or see why this article captivated me? These are the serious, in depth questions and matters that are so critical in these times of economic & ecological catastrophe. Some of you may also think me overly critical or harsh in my judgments of the American public? So be it! I have been patient for far too long in my life. And perhaps the fact that I’m about to turn 62 next month and have “lost” too many loved ones, especially the love of my life, Jeri, in the past year has made me more bitter? Possibly, but I don’t think so. The time for sensitivity and manners has passed and if we don’t get real fucking serious real soon, poor manners or hurting people’s feelings will be the least of our concerns. Maybe a reviewing of some classic Twilight Zone episodes would help to wake us up to the very real nightmare scenarios we could soon be facing?

 

Exactly what we are as a nation now is open to debate. Some say we are a plutocracy, an oligarchy, a tyranny, a fascist state, etc. All I know is that I’m scared and I don’t take anything for granted anymore. From a purely selfish point of view, I’m glad that I’m at the age I am because hopefully I won’t have to witness the worst that may be yet to come? Believe me, I wish I could turn a blind eye to all that is happening like the New Age Know Nothings or their counterparts in the Born-Again “Christian” believers but,

bertrand-russell-religion

“Religion is based primarily upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly as the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.” ― Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

 

I specifically chose this quote from Bertrand Russell because he is one of my intellectual hero’s (Noam Chomsky) intellectual heroes. Childish reliance on religion and an imaginary God will not resolve the very real crises facing us. We got ourselves into this mess and we must get ourselves out of it if it isn’t too late? This is not meant as a putdown of those who believe but it is meant as a deadly serious warning that we clearly no longer have the luxury of indecision and inaction. As some have put it rather starkly, “You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.”

 

You see my friends, they (the corporate cockroaches) have succeeded probably beyond their wildest dreams in terms of convincing the herd, the American public, that the interests of the rich are synonymous with the interests of the average citizen. It absolutely boggles my mind that people can’t seem to see through this sham? And I have long urged people to develop their critical & analytical thinking skills & have even shared resources for doing so but as usual, people are “too busy,” or too lazy and prefer to just sit back & whine about their bad luck. Contrary to what you may be thinking, I’m not an insensitive, cold-blooded critic of the people of America with little to no compassion or understanding as to why they’re so apathetic & overwhelmed by the world we live in. But again, the time for making excuses is over and we don’t have time to pussyfoot around anymore. The stakes are too high and humanity is quite literally at a crossroads. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists are witnessing almost daily how their models or predictions have proven to be inaccurate and the speed at which the physical environment which gives us life is deteriorating is accelerating. So, if my sermonizing or whatever you choose to label it offends you, Tough Shit! I don’t give a damn about your personal feelings of hurt or offense.

16-August-Amazon-indigeno-014

The never possible to satisfy lust for power & wealth of the corporate cockroaches will be the end of humanity. Some Native Americans and other indigenous people claim that WE can’t destroy Mother Earth and that she will survive while we won’t. Well, quite frankly, I don’t care if the Earth survives if humanity doesn’t. I care about people and about my loved ones. And I am selfish in that I want to enjoy what natural wonders we still have while I am still alive. The word “atomized” mentioned in the paragraph above is important to discuss because some people may not understand it?

chris-hedges-broad-quote-283x237

“HEDGES: You know, Hannah Arendt raises atomization as one of the key components of totalitarianism.

CHOMSKY: Exactly. And the Occupy actions broke that down for a large part of the population. People could recognize that we can get together and do things for ourselves, we can have a common kitchen, we can have a place for public discourse, we can form our ideas and do something. Now, that’s an important attack on the core of the means by which the public is controlled. So you’re not just an individual trying to maximize your consumption, but there are other concerns in life, and you can do something about them. If those attitudes and associations and bonds can be sustained and move in other directions, that’ll be important.

But going back to Occupy, it’s a tactic. Tactics have a kind of a half-life. You can’t keep doing them, and certainly you can’t keep occupying public places for very long. And was very successful, but it was not in itself a movement. The question is: what happens to the people who were involved in it? Do they go on and develop, do they move into communities, pick up community issues? Do they organize?

Take, say, this business of, say, worker-owned industry. Right here in Massachusetts, not far from here, there was something similar. One of the multinationals decided to close down a fairly profitable small plant, which was producing aerospace equipment. High-skilled workers and so on, but it wasn’t profitable enough, so they were going to close it down. The union wanted to buy it. Company refused–usual class reasons, I think. If the Occupy efforts had been available at the time, they could have provided the public support for it.  NAFTA

This happened when Obama virtually nationalized the auto industry. There were choices. One choice was what he took, of course, was to rescue it, return it to essentially the same owners–different faces, but the same class basis–and send them back to doing what they had been doing in the past–producing automobiles. There were other choices, and if something like the Occupy movement had been around and sufficient, it could have driven the government into other choices, like, for example, turning the auto plants over to the working class and have them produce what the country needs.

I mean, we don’t need more cars. We need mass public transportation. The United States is an absolute scandal in this regard. I just came back from Europe–so you can see it dramatically. You get on a European train, you can go where you want to go in no time. Well, the train from Boston to New York, it may be, I don’t know, 20 minutes faster than when I took it 60 years ago. You go along the Connecticut Turnpike and the trucks are going faster than the train. Recently Japan offered the United States a low-interest loan to build high-speed rail from Washington to New York. It was turned down, of course. But what they were offering was to build the kind of train that I took in Japan 50 years ago. And this was a scandal all over the country.

 

Well, you know, a reconstituted auto industry could have turned in that direction under worker and community control. I don’t think these things are out of sight. And, incidentally, they even have so-called conservative support, because they’re within a broader what’s called capitalist framework (it’s not really capitalist). And those are directions that should be pressed.

Right now, for example, the Steelworkers union is trying to establish some kind of relations with Mondragon, the huge worker-owned conglomerate in the Basque country in Spain, which is very successful, in fact, and includes industry, manufacturing, banks, hospitals, living quarters. It’s very broad. It’s not impossible that that can be brought here, and it’s potentially radical. It’s creating the basis for quite a different society.

And I think with things like, say, Occupy, the timing wasn’t quite right. But if the timing had been a little better (and this goes on all the time, so it’s always possible), it could have provided a kind of an impetus to move significant parts of the socioeconomic system in a different direction. And once those things begin to take off and people can see the advantages of them, it can become quite significant.

There are kind of islands like that around the country. So take Chattanooga, Tennessee. It happens to have a publicly organized internet system. It’s by far the best in the country. Rapid internet access for broad parts of the population. I suspect the roots of it probably go back to the TVA and the New Deal initiatives. Well, if that can spread throughout the country (why not? it’s very efficient, very cheap, works very well), it could undermine the telecommunications industry and its oligopoly, which would be a very good thing. There are lots of possibilities like this.” http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12018

ragged-dick-book-cover

Think about it, one of the key myths about our American history is that we’re a nation of “rugged individualists” who have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and this is precisely the image or the mythology that the corporate cockroaches want us to believe in as fervently as in their belief in God. You see, this gives them cover for their crimes which they hide and attempt to deceive us into believing that they got wealthy by their sheer perseverance and hard work. The reality is that they either inherited it or because of their complete lack of morality, integrity, conscience, & willingness to commit any crime no matter how big or small in the pursuit of their desire to be wealthy, is how they attained their riches. They start foaming at the mouth when the word “Socialism” is mentioned and proclaim the wonders of the “free market,” but they usually got wealthy because of trade protections provided by our government, public subsidies from us, the tax payers, etc. Nothing free about it in the least.

 

In short, our (the public) being atomized or divided only makes their job of stealing from us that much easier. And that’s why when we start to get together as in unions or like the Occupy Wall St. Movement, they get scared.

free market

“America is now a land of epidemic poverty and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a “market” extremism which, under Obama, has prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street. The victims are mostly young jobless, homeless, incarcerated African-Americans, betrayed by the first black president. The historic corollary of a perpetual war state, this is not fascism, not yet, but neither is it democracy in any recognisable form, regardless of the placebo politics that will consume the news until November. The presidential campaign, says the Washington Post, will “feature a clash of philosophies rooted in distinctly different views of the economy.” This is patently false. The circumscribed task of journalism on both sides of the Atlantic is to create the pretence of political choice where there is none.”

eisenhower

Going back to the beginning of this essay where I mentioned the sad fact that once again we are going to be suckered into yet another or perhaps it’d be more accurate to say, a return to the Iraq quagmire? I don’t have a crystal ball and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall. Like I’ve said, I have been paying attention for at least the last 30 years and I seemed to be blessed/cursed depending on your point of view, with a fairly good memory. I have seen the lies trotted out again & again to justify yet another massive draining of our federal treasury into the pockets of the military/industrial complex crime lords under the pretense of the always useful phrase “It’s a matter of National Security.”

gore vidal

The always controversial and seemingly arrogant Gore Vidal wrote an excellent little book titled “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace,” and in it, he provides a lengthy table listing all the wars, police actions, etc. the U.S. has been involved in since the end of WWII (pretty much my entire lifetime). The list was composed by some official organization that I forget the name of at present. But it represents to me clear evidence or proof that the warmongers or the military/industrial complex as President Eisenhower described them, are the de facto rulers of America! I bring this up because of the author’s mention of a “perpetual war state,” in the above paragraph. Here is a bit about the book by Gore Vidal;

 

“In Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hated, the prolific and self-confident Gore Vidal describes the United States as a plutocracy, run by and for the wealthy few, rather than a democracy, run for the good of all. The book’s title comes from the historian Charles A. Beard; Vidal uses it to highlight the war on terrorism and the war on drugs which, he claims, have given the government the authority to engage in military aggression and domestic oppression at alarming levels. His analysis of “September 11, 2001 (A Tuesday),” in which he accuses the United States government of restricting Americans’ civil liberties to more harmful effect than the terrorist attacks, was considered too controversial even by magazine editors who had eagerly carried Vidal’s work before. Unable to find an English-language publication willing to run the piece, Vidal published the essay in Italy, where his comparison of the United States with Nazi Germany became a best-seller.”

fascism-quotes-3

Gee? I wonder why it is that the powers that be are continually telling us that there simply isn’t enough money for such trivial matters as public welfare, health, or education? Could it be that they want to keep whatever money is still left in the federal treasury there until they have devised yet another clever lie or excuse (a war) to justify their taking the money? And lastly, yeah, “The circumscribed task of journalism on both sides of the Atlantic is to create the pretense of political choice where there is none.” In other words, as in America, as in Britain, the empire before us that never really gave up its visions of grandeur but now rides on our coattails and does our bidding.

sheldon wolin

“As veteran political scientist Sheldon Wolin argued in 2008, the United States may have “morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled.” Wolin’s chilling book Democracy Incorporated describes a mass-incarcerationist and hyper-militarized nation “where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive – and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best,” Wolin argued, “the nation has become a ‘managed democracy’ where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls” and where “unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies” (emphasis added). In Wolin’s view, America has the potential to become modern history’s third great totalitarian formation, succeeding the brown fascism of Hitler’s Germany and the red fascism of Stalin’s Russia.”

 

You’re most likely screaming in your own minds at least, Hell no! There’s no way in Hell that America does or ever could resemble that of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia! Yeah, I know, I’m just a communist sympathizer or some other such simplistic sloganeering bullshit because that makes it a lot easier for you to hide your head in the sand and dismiss me. But, you’re certainly not fooling me, yourself, yes and sadly, probably some of your less intelligent “friends.” When the shit comes down, I hope that your conscience, if you have one, tortures you for eternity!

 

Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn anymore whether my remarks offend you or not. I am offended by your moral bankruptcy and feeble attempt to hide behind the flag. The phrase above, “…where the public is shepherded, not sovereign,” is to me clearly a reference to another classic “A Nation of Sheep” but I don’t expect that you will recognize the title because you, like the majority of Americans have been way too busy with your iPhones, sports programs, “Reality” shows, etc. By the way, there’s another classic by the title of “It Can’t Happen Here.”

 

“Sinclair Lewis, the first American to receive the Nobel Prize For Literature, wrote this satirical political novel in 1935, a time when the United States and Western Europe had been in a depression for six years. In this novel, Sinclair Lewis asks the question – what if some ambitious politician would use the 1936 presidential election to make himself dictator by promising quick, easy solutions to the depression – just as Hitler had done in Germany in 1933. “

 

I know it’s much easier to live by the old adage “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” But to cling to this cop-out is to be part of the problem not part of the solution and if it’s true that at the end of our lives, our whole life flashes before us, this will be something that will haunt you for eternity because you knew that yes, you could’ve joined in the fight against the corporate cockroaches but chose to bury your head in the sand.

 

“Antidemocracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Antidemocracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging what I have earlier dubbed “civic demobilization,” conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy. The intense pace of work and the extended working day, combined with job insecurity, is a formula for political demobilization, for privatizing the citizenry. It works indirectly. Citizens are encouraged to distrust their government and politicians; to concentrate upon their own interests; to begrudge their taxes; and to exchange active involvement for symbolic gratifications of patriotism, collective self-righteousness, and military prowess. Above all, depoliticization is promoted through society’s being enveloped in an atmosphere of collective fear and of individual powerlessness: fear of terrorists, loss of jobs, the uncertainties of pension plans, soaring health costs, and rising educational expenses.” ― Sheldon S. Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

john carpenter

“Americans need to look through John Carpenter’s magical shades and pick from options that go deeper than recurrent once-every-1,460-days contests between two elite-sponsored state-capitalist politicians. “We must make our choice. We may have democracy in this country,” US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis noted more than six decades ago, “or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”10 that is the real choice for serious citizens beneath and beyond the much ballyhooed choice offered by two candidates selected for us in advance by the powers that be. It was the choice that Occupy Wall Street and its many hundreds of offshoots across the country tried to place before the American people in the late summer and fall of 2011.”  obama and mitt romney

 

So, our choices are “Democracy” or Plutocracy. And you can avoid making a choice but even doing so, is a choice and you have no excuses to hide behind if things don’t go the way you’d like them to go. And once again, you so-called democrats, liberals, & progressives can keep on playing & pretending that we really do have an impact in this facetious game we call fair elections or you can be honest and join the battle for a true democracy where the rich don’t own our political system in its entirety.

zinn

“Acting on that choice in a seriously democratic fashion, however, is not a simple or easy matter. It involves difficult and detailed movement-building work each and every day, not just once very four years. As the great radical American historian Howard Zinn explained in an essay on the “election madness” he saw “engulfing the entire society, including the left” with special intensity in early 2008, The election frenzy seizes the country every four years because we have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us. . . . Would I support one [presidential] candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes – the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth. . . . But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.”

 

For those of you who, if you’ve made it this far, may be feeling a bit shell-shocked due to the harshness of my words, you can find some comfort in the words of Howard Zinn, the gentle cheerleader in the fight against the corporate cockroaches or Noam Chomsky, the wise & understanding master. Perhaps it’s the school of hard knocks that has made me so? Nonetheless, I don’t feel bad about my scolding of those too lazy to get out of their armchairs and bother to write a paragraph or two in support of someone like me who has sweated so profusely for over three decades in the service of humanity. Yes, you can call Bullshit on me but that’s easy, now back it up with hopefully a semi-intelligent rebuttal along with facts, citations, etc. if you are up to the task?

 

“By the time I completed this book (started in the summer of 2012, months before the election that returned Barack Obama to the White House), the latest and current “election frenzy” had begun to recede like a bad hangover. It always does. As the dull crush of persistent plutocratic rule beneath and beyond quadrennial election spectacles sinks back into popular consciousness, the time is ripe again for serious and sustained popular mobilization, dedicated to a serious, at least partly Occupy-informed version of radically democratic politics. It is my hope that this book will aid that project by sharpening the subversive egalitarian vision one can garner from donning a good pair of They Live’s demystifying sunglasses. And that it will suggest at least some of what might be done to save democracy and a livable future after we see through the powerful myths and propaganda that do much to sustain the contemporary de facto dictatorship of the rich.” “They influence our decisions without our knowing it. They numb our senses without us feeling it. They control our lives without us realizing it. THEY LIVE.” —from the John Carpenter page/website

 

The purpose or intent of this essay was to highlight what I consider to be what’s wrong with America. Hopefully I have successfully proven my point? I did a brief search of Chomsky’s views re: Facebook and other “social media” because I recall something he said about FB awhile back. This is my fairly accurate reporting of his remarks on the subject from a couple of very short You Tube video clips;

 

“It (Facebook, e-mail, Twitter) has a sort of cheapening effect. It has a superficiality because it reduces discourse to if you can’t say something in 200 characters or less, it doesn’t exist. So, any complicated thought is gone.” He went on to say in another video clip regarding e-mail that most of his e-mail is comprised of short, one sentence queries from prep school students asking him what they should say regarding an assignment they have been given. He responds by suggesting that they read a particular book or article & they reply by asking where they can find it on the Internet. Chomsky then suggests that they walk across the street to the library at their university & their response is that they don’t have the “time.”

illiterate america

This dovetails nicely with my perspective that my “Facebook friends,” are too intellectually lazy to be bothered to read my essays. Moreover, they are Willfully Ignorant because it is so much easier to avoid straining their brains by reading my essays and articles & books by authors that I recommend. Don’t feel too bad because you are in the majority. Yes, the overwhelming majority of Americans claim they don’t have the time to read or think because they work so long & hard but just about everybody I’ve ever personally known seems to have the time to watch anywhere from four to eight hours of television per day when it comes to their sit-coms, “reality” shows, sports games, etc. ???

 

I recently sent out a couple of dozen of e-mails basically pleading with what I thought was my “inner circle” of Facebook friends asking them to bookmark my blog site and leave a comment whenever they happened to read one of my essays. I got two responses. And surprisingly, it wasn’t the two guys who have proclaimed how much they appreciate my comments & posts on FB. This just highlights what I’ve argued in this yes, lengthy essay of mine. Talk is cheap. It saddens me but I shouldn’t be surprised. I am just disappointed that once again I was deceived. Several “friends” on FB have left comments over the course of the past couple of years saying in a nutshell that I was their mentor and had taught them so much. I know now that their compliments were just shallow, empty words.

 

This could be perhaps viewed as my “Swan Song” to my “Facebook friends.” Like the ancient Greek god, Janus, they are two-faced and aren’t there when a person needs a true friend. I am no longer going to waste another precious second of my time or energy commenting or sharing on Facebook. As I said at the beginning of this essay, they are armchair activists deceiving themselves into believing they actually give a damn and are doing something.

I have conservatively spent approximately 40 hours per week for the last 30 years or better reading, writing, researching, copying videos, audios, etc. related to the struggle for truth and fairness. I am going to leave the link from my website to my Facebook page open in the remote possibility that one of my over 1,400 “friends” may take the time to read an essay. As for the rest of you, I no longer consider you worthy of my friendship!

God-damned serious! Rob DeLoss, Astoria, Oregon, Sept. 25, 2014

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