Saturday, November 29, 2008

Peace on Earth, etc.

November 29, 2008 -- RE The front page of today's Herald Bulletin -- Which is the more shocking news story? One hundred fifty (200 at last count) being killed in more than three days of terrorist attacks in Mumbia, or one WalMart greeter being killed by 2000 rampaging shoppers in New York?

We have become accustomed to reading about Black Friday atrocities throughout the years, but I believe this is the first time a store employee has been reported killed in a shopping stampede. Terrorist attacks, especially overseas, have not been all that common, but who really cares, despite the fact that several of the victims were American?

Lest we blame the East Coast crowd of rabid day-after-Thanksgiving shoppers for all the mayhem at the malls this year, Inside the newspaper was the story of two men gunned down in a Palm Desert, California toy store on Black Friday. They shot each other to death, apparently arguing over a purchase.

Black Friday is supposed to represent to retailers, a day when their ledger books show an income, as opposed to Red Friday, which would indicate a monetary loss. I propose we change the name to Bloody Friday in commemoration of the WalMart greeter who died in New York and the two nuts in Palm Desert.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Piece of My Mind

Politics I

I doubt there is anyone happier than I am that the presidential elections are over and that our media will be free of new campaigns for at least a few months. No sooner were the votes counted though, than the conservatives began predicting doom and gloom for the republic because the electorate saw fit to put a raving liberal into office.

I am a baby boomer born into a family of Yankee democrats. In the mid 1960’s, although I wasn’t yet old enough to vote, I spent many a political campaign in Connecticut volunteering to stuff envelopes and making campaign signs for the local Democrat Party. This was more of a social activity for me than a political one. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college that my commitment to politics became guided by idealism.

Academically deficient in high school, I was accepted to only one of the half dozen institutions of higher education I applied to. That was Barrington College, a now defunct conservative evangelical Christian college in a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island.

Barrington didn’t allow drinking, dancing, gambling, smoking, cursing or going to the movies unless the film was being shown on campus. Chapel attendance was mandatory and 30 hours of religious courses were required for graduation.

The war in Vietnam didn’t affect me much in the beginning of that freshman year, 1966. After all, as long as I was attending college, my chances of getting sent off to war were minimal.

Then, in the summer of 1967, something happened to change all of that. My boyhood friend, Donny Walsh, who had enlisted in the Navy after high school graduation, was killed in Vietnam.

Donny was a corpsman assigned to a Marine unit. He was killed while treating a fallen comrade on the battlefield.

The war suddenly became very pertinent and personal. I could not understand why Donny had to go and die in a country I barely knew anything about.

When I returned to college in the fall, I was a budding antiwar activist. I began attending demonstrations in Providence. Soon I was spending more time marching against the war than I did attend classes at Barrington.

When Dr. King was assassinated, I spent four days and three nights sitting in at the Rhode Island State House demonstrating for passage of the Fair Housing Act. The more time I spent out of class the less important my education seemed.

I started volunteering at the Eugene McCarthy for President headquarters in Providence. Finally, I moved out of my dormitory into a room in the back of the campaign office. Later I moved into an apartment that some students from the Rhode Island School of Design rented nearby.

After several weeks, I learned of a paying position in New Jersey and I flew to Newark and became the McCarthy campaign’s field coordinator for the 5th Congressional District. I was given room and board with a democrat family in Manville and the use of a Lincoln Continental and American Express card that belonged to an attorney in Sommerville.

June 5th 1968 at 2 AM, my secretary, a sexy 20-year- old Italian girl named Ellen, and I were driving from an after primary party in Newark back to Sommerville. As we sped down Route 22, we were listening to the news.

Bobby Kennedy, who had won the New Jersey primary as well as the one in California, was scheduled to give a victory speech in a Los Angeles hotel. We heard his assassination on live radio.

I pulled the white Continental off to the shoulder of the highway and with tears in my eyes began pounding the steering wheel with my fists in anger and frustration.

“Why work to get a man elected president when some maniac can shatter a dream with a gun?” I screamed. Ellen was as stricken with hate and horror as I was.

My short foray into the world of professional politics ended as abruptly as Bobby’s life. I dropped Ellen off at her house, forgetting her earlier promise of a night of romance. I then drove to Manville and sat in the car listening to the news until long after the sun came up.

At about 8 AM, I called my mother, who had sent a scathing letter to Senator McCarthy a few months earlier, accusing him of bewitching her son and making him quit college to chase a quixotic dream of ending the war. I told her I was going back to college.

“I don’t think so Jeff,” she replied caustically. “A letter from the Selective Service came for you a few days ago. I think you are being drafted.”

I pondered my choices. Remaining vehemently antiwar, I could refuse to be drafted and go to prison. I could go to Canada. I could go home, open the letter and report to the Selective Service.

I opted for a fourth choice. I decided to go to the nearest recruiting office and enlist.

Since I had taken my Selective Service physical and a battery of other exams two years earlier and had been told I qualified for virtually every school in the Army, I decided to enlist for a military occupational specialty in the medical field.

There were five recruiting stations in a mall in Sommerville. The first one I visited was the Coast Guard. They had a six month waiting list. The waiting list at the Air Force recruiter was almost as long. Since the local Selective Service in Connecticut had already sent me a letter, these services were out of the question.

I bypassed the Navy recruiter as well as the Marines. I knew the Marines used Navy corpsmen and I didn’t want to end up like Donnie.

When I went into the Army recruiter’s office, I announced I wanted to become a medic and asked how soon I could sign up. After ascertaining that my physical and pre-enlistment tests had all been completed, I was told they could put me on a bus to basic training that evening.

It took me one day to go from being a professional politician in the McCarthy campaign to buck private in the United States Army.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why I Voted for Obama

Okay, I'll admit it. My vote in the 2008 presidential race was more of a vote against Bush and the war in Iraq than it was one for Obama. I would have cast my ballot for a guy named Beelzabub if it meant keeping a Republican out of the White House. Better to be led by the devil you know than by a proven liar and wolf in sheep's clothing.

I don't hate McCain as much as I distrust him to be different from the present president. I do despise what Bush has done to the Army I served in for 20 years and the country and world I have lived in for more than six decades.

A democratic republic gets the government it deserves. I did not vote for Bush either time he ran, but apparently he earned enough votes to get elected in 2000 and again in 2004. If those elections were not bought by voter fraud, we have no one to blame but the voters for the eight years of darkness we elected Obama to lead us out of.

Come January this country begins a new era, an era in which the names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice hopefully will inhabit black chapters in America's history books. Although I sincerely believe these people deserve to be tried for war crimes, I hope they at least fade away quietly into the purgatory of political and social oblivion.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Presidential Debate

So John McCain thinks it is more vital for him to attend the congressional bank bail out debate than to attend the first presidential debate. Is this the same McCain who, up until earlier this month, thought the American economy was in great shape?

Relying on McCain to fix the economy is like hiring my auto mechanic to give the space shuttle a tune-up.

Could it be that McCain is afraid to debate Obama, although the topic of the debate is something McCain is arguably more qualified to discuss -- the war in Iraq?

Many media types expect the first presidential debate to have a larger viewing audience than any other individual television program in history. Isn't McCain's appearance at the debate more important than any contribution he could make to our bank crisis?

I'd rather McCain sign up for a college course in economics than miss this debate with Obama. The country would be a lot better off if he did.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An Open Letter to Republican Apologists

Face facts Republican apologists, Sarah Palin is a liar. She took a walk across the Bridge to Nowhere before it was built. Unfortunately, for her, she couldn't walk on water.

What are Governor Palin's lies? Her first was saying she opposed that pork barrel project when she actually supported it from the beginning. Her second lie was claiming she saved the American taxpayers money by nixing the bridge.

The truth is Palin not only supported building this bridge, she had nothing to do with its cancelation. And as to saving American taxpayers money, Alaska didn't get the White Elephant Bridge but still received $223 million from the taxpayers.

This isn't Al Gore claiming, in a slip of the tongue, to having invented the Internet.

This isn't Joe Biden plagerizing during his collegiate years.

Sarah Palin is a full grown woman, a purported Christian, a public official, who has told lies to make herself look fiscally tough.

A Republican president has fed this country eight years of lies and has nearly destroyed it in the process. We need to elect a vice president who doesn't base her qualifications on a lie.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beware of Medical Terrorists

More Harm Than Good: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Common Treatments and Procedures More Harm Than Good: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Common Treatments and Procedures by Alan, M.d. Zelicoff

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Four years ago, I began writing a blog (http://wordworks2001.blogspot.... to warn people about the dangers of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. When I read this book, I didn't have to go any further than page two for validation of my blog's premise. Here is an excerpt:

"...Before the 1960s, there was little a doctor could do about coronary artery disease. Patients with angina -- chest pain from coronary blockages -- were simply put to bedrest for several weeks and given aspirin.

"It must have seemed like medicine had taken a quantum leap ahead when the cardiac bypass technique was perfected in the later part of the decade...

"...The initial successes were splashed across newspaper headlines...

"...The truth was that bypass surgery wasn't the cure-all that the medical establishment made it out to be. Simply put the procedure didn't always work well, and it sometimes resulted in a more rapid demise than if nothing had been done at all!

"...Billions of dollars were spent for a procedure that benefited only a fraction of patients who received it, while arguably harming a great number of others.

"...It would take years for the data to show that people ended up with unchanged or shorter life spans from bypass surgery."

The subtitle of this valuable book is What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Common Treatments and Procedures. That is why I began advoctating that patients take control of their health care and insist that they coordinate and compose their medical treatment plan with their physician. In other words - Take Charge of Your Own Body!

Over the years I have begged and pleaded with people to always ALWAYS get a second opinion from a noninvasive cardiologist before being coerced into allowing a cardio-thoracic surgeon crack your chest open and perform a CABG.

The cardiologist who saved me from the surgeon's knife in 2004 started me on a medication regimen that continues to be effective and serves me well today. His name was Howard Wayne and he called cardiologists who were quick to cut "medical terrorists."

Personally, I call doctors who coerce patients and their family members into a traumatic and unneeded surgical procedure CRIMINALS, and I believe they are guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vinyl Cafe

Last night I listened to an extraordinary radio program on WFYI, Indianapolis's NPR station. The Vinyl Cafe is a show that originates on CBC in Toronto. The host's name is Stuart McClain.

It would be an injustice to call Stuart the Canadian Garison Keiler. Both men are outstanding communicators but where A Prairie Home Companion is 80% entertainment and 20% human interest, The Vinyl Cafe is 80% human interest and 20% entertainment.

At any rate, I urge you to find the show on your nearest NPR station. It's on WFYI Saturday evenings at 8 PM.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Book Review

The Way of the World The Way of the World by Ron Suskind

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you read this Pulitzer Prize winning journalist's most recent book, be prepared to experience a myriad of uncomfortable feelings -- grief, shame, anger, fear, embarassment, sadness, helplessness. The Way of the World ultimately is a story of greed and incompetence in and around the White House and betrayal and cowardice by the people who work for the man who lives there.

This is a story full of revealed lies and subterfuge. It is a story of how the freedoms Americans cherish were wiped out, not by a foreign enemy but by fear mongering at the highest level of government and through executive orders.. It is about a Congress that abrogated their responsibilities because they trusted a commander-in-chief who this book proves was not to be trusted.

Warning: If you rtead this book, it may be difficult for you to believe your government again. That may be the saddest thing about it. What a legacy for George W. Bush!

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Presidential Elections

Let me preface this short commentary by announcing Ron Paul was the candidate I would vote for in November if the GOP had the wisdom and courage to nominate him. He is the only Republican I would vote for.

In 1992, I worked tirelessly and voted for Ross Perot. In 1996, I wrote in Bill Bennet for president. In 2000, I voted a straight Libertarian ballot. The 2004 election was crucial and I didn't want to squander my vote so I held my nose and voted for John Kerry.

The last Republican Party endorsed candidate I voted for in a presidential election was Ronald Reagan. Before the gipper, Richard Nixon got my vote. I voted for both in two elections.

I never could bring myself to vote for George Bush the Senior. He and his family profited from the savings and loan debacle. He was a bigger crook than Tricky Dick. George the Junior didn't get my vote in 2000 or 2004, not because he is a crook but when he was Governor of Texas he showed himself to be a complete nincompoop. In 2004, a combination of his total ineptness and extreme lack of veracity that turned me off.

This year, for the second time in my life, I intend to vote for a Democrat. I cannot stand the idea of anything ressembling four more years of Junior. Since John McCain has been the president's lackey, senate-vote-wise, for the past eight years, why would I expect him to change?

And our country desperately needs change. Bush's stupid war in Iraq has demoralized and nearly decimated our army, an army I proudly served in from 1968 to 1988.

I protested the Iraq War before Bush even began it, by marching in an anti-war parade in San Antonio in early 2003. After he started his war and my former comrades started coming home in body bags, I continued to protest it through letters to editors, members of Congress and the president himself.

If we had stayed the course in Afghanistan, kept our eye on the prize, instead of going to war with Iraq, the number of terrorists would have greatly decreased. Instead, Bush created a cause celeb for every freedom hater on the globe and turned a country into one big training ground for terrorists. One result of the Iraq War is now we have more anti-American terrorists in the world than we had before 9/11.

It's bad enough that Bush started an unprovoked war with his dubious pre-emptive strike against Iraq, he lied, more than once, about his justification. The Iraq War is the single biggest disaster ever perpetrated by a United States president.

Now I don't know if Barak Obama will make a good president, but its a good bet he will be a damned sight better than the yahoo who has held the office for the past seven years and eight plus months. That's why he is getting my vote.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An Open Letter to Clinton Supports

Dear Clinton Voters Who Now Support John McCain:

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." That adage came to mind when I saw a Hillary Clinton supporter announce in a political ad that she is now going to vote for John McCain.

Although I am not a member of any organized party (I am a libertarian-leaning independent), I can't help but feel sorry for the Democrats. Because this and a few other backers of Senator Clinton didn't get their way, they petulantly abandoned their party's choice even though he mirrors most of Clinton's ideals.

McCain is the very antithesis of Clinton and Obama. Yet this woman, who can't stand not getting her way, abandons her party to stump for him.

This woman had no interest in the country. She obviously supported Clinton because she was a woman. No doubt she would vote for any woman on any ticket, be her name Ann Coulter or Minnie Mouse.

This phoney democrat would rather give George Bush four more years in power by supporting his Republican surrogate than to cast her ballot for real change and voting for Obama.

The Republicans have effectively turned our democracy into a totalitarian state by skillfully playing on the fears of its citizens. Bottom line for this woman in the political ad is this: Lady, to elect John McCain guarantees four more years of bad government.

Clinton Supporters -- better you sit this election day out then take America further into the abyss. Please spend November 4 in bed pouting rather than going to the polls and casting a vote for John McCain.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Book Review

Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. Wolin

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Despite the fact the theory set forth by the author describes what I have believed for some time has happened to my country, the journey he takes the reader on to defend his premise is very disconcerting indeed. From the beginning of the book, he compares The Triumph of Will, a pro-Nazi propaganda film of the 1930s with the May 1, 2003 performance by President Bush on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln beneath the backdrop of a huge banner reading "Mission Accomplished."

The author is careful not to actually compare Bush to Hitler, but he does introduce the concept of "Inverted Totalitarianism." His theory is the Bush regime's politics and style of governing mirrors the totalitarianism of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. Wolin goes on to aver this new style of totalitarianism could very well be an "epitaph for democracy in America."

The book points out that "Fascism is the product of democracy gone wrong, that had working constitutional systems which they gave up voluntarily." Wolin says recent studies have argued that "democracy has contributed importantly to the rise of Nazis and Fascists, and even served as a preparation." The same citizenry which democracy had created, proceeded to vote into power and then support movements openly pledged to destroy democracy and constitutionalism.

Bush's response to 9/11, in a very real way, caused thye perversion of America's democracy. "...Elements of invereted totalitarianism could not crystallize in the absence of a stimulus that would rouse the apathetic just enough to gain their support and obedience," says Wolin, "The threat of terrorism supplied that demand."

The Bush Administration used a document called The National Security Strategy of the United States (NSS), issued in 2002, to declare the president's intention to "reshape the current world and define the new one -- 'In the new world we have entered, 'it declared grandly, 'the only path to safety is the path of action.'" Wolin says at that instant, a new world [order?] had been born and the old world had been superceded.

This new doctrine was "an attempt to reshape the existing political system by enlarging the powers of the executive branch of government, including the military and policy functions, while reducing the legal protections of citizens."

Wolin explains how Bush used the elements of fear and power to "promote an awesome concentration of state power and authority" by representing that outcome as the product of popular consent. He made the only other alternative out to be chaos. Terrorism became Bush's boogeyman and scapegoat all rolled into one.

Wolin states "[Iraq] was fated to be selected as a testing ground..." In the NSS, "unilaterally, the United States declares it is justified in reconstructing the infrastructure of other societies." First, we subjected Iraq to awesome destruction, then after we destroyed the nation we went to work to try to reconstruct it into the an Islamic democracy.

What Wolin doesn't mention and may be the biggest wrong in the entire Iraq debacle: It was the American CIA that originally put Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party in power in Iraq, in the late 1940s. I guess you could say we built it, we broke it, now we are going to try to fix it.

Other evidences of the inverted totalitarian nature of what our republic has become is the belief that preemptive wars are alright, America can violate treaties and ignore international law. Wolin calls this the Superpower mentality.

The author accurately points out the Iraq War had its origins not in Southeast Asia but in Florida "where power without legitimacy was first envisioned. That was when power brokers found out that, if sufficiently determined, they could overcome the inhibitions of democratic constitutionalism." Perhaps if Al Gore had won the election of 2000, America might still be a democracy.

Democracy, Inc. is a serious and important work that can only contribute to our understanding of how and why the Republican Party has hijacked our country. The author holds out little hope that we can convert our country back into a democracy from the inverted totalitarian state it has become. I'll be damned if I vote for a Republican this year!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Book Review

In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration by David Iglesias

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's quite bad enough that the Bush Administration turned out to be the most inept in the history of the republic, but when you add his corruption into the mix, you get a toxic recipe that not only adversely affects the evil-doers in the executive branch, but also poisons the democratic process and those who try to make that process work honestly and ethically.

In Justice is about a bad president gone worst, how he and his immoral political operatives and appointees ruined the honor and reputation of the Department of Justice and ruthlessly killed the careers of several honest US Attorneys. It also reveals how certain Republican members of Congress let dirty politics replace any patriotism they may have had.

David Iglesias's story clearly demonstrates the old adage, "Honesty is the best policy." If Bush had demanded at least a modicum of ethical standards of not only himself, but of the men and women who worked for him, this book would never have been written and the president would not have had the distinction of being the most unpopular president in America's history.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Book Review

Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising Ten (or Less) Successful Children Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising Ten Successful Children by Rose Rock

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rose Rock is comedian Chris Rock's mama. She raised seven children and this book tells you how she did it. It may be the most important child-rearing manual since Dr. Benjamin Spock published his seminal work.

Moma Rock's Rules ius chock full of practical advice that will make any mother's job much easier. If a parent took half the tidbits called "Mama's Mojo" that are spread throughout the book and put them to use, he or she would find raising his or her child a piece of cake.

In 10 informative chapters Mama Rock does what a whole season of Super Nanny tries to do. Each chapter includes a summary of rules and strategies at the end. I like the way the book is laid out almost as much as I do the incredible information contained in it.

If you are serious about parenting and want to raise some great kids, buy this book. At $22.95, it is a great investment in your child's future.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book Review

The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens by E. Fuller Torrey

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the mid 1960s, America began emptying and closing its mental hospitals, all in the name of civil rights. California was the first state to do so and by the mid 1980s, the other 49 states had followed suit.

The author calls this "one of the great social disasters in recent American history." It has created at least 175,000 homeless mentally ill men and women in this country, many of whom become victims of violence -- muggings, rapes, murders. Many of these same mentally ill are responsible for an increased number of violent crimes against their own family members and other hapless citizens.

Let's look at some statistics from California:

* California has 38,000 sverely mentally ill homeless living on its streets on any given day -- mostly in LA and San Francisco.

* About 9,000 severely mentally ill individuals who are in dire need of treatment are incarcerated in California's county jails. That's about 11% of the total jail population.

* Worse, about 32,000 severely mentally ill inhabit California's state prisons. That's about 20% of the total of state prisoners.

* Between 1970 and 2004, severely mentally ill individuals who were not receiving treatment were responsible for 4700 California homocides. Each year they commit some 120 more murders.

Each state has its own mental illness statistics that when added to California's paint a grim picture indeed. Our concern for the civil rights of the mentally ill have caused tens and thousands of innocent American citizens to lose one of their most precious rights -- The right to life!

Torrey uses statistics, court records, news reports and other sources to hammer home the seriousness of this problem. If cold statistics are n ot enough, the book also contains poignant interviews the author had with the mentally ill, their families and their victims. One only needs to read this troublesome book to realize the system isn't working and needs to be replaced before it creates even more victims.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Lest We Forget

A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story by David Thibodeau

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have the distinction of having been at Mount Carmel in 1993 during the seige, covering the trial of the Branch Davidian 11 in San Antonio in 1994 and being in Jonestown, Guyana after the massacre there in 1978. I doubt anyone else can truthfully make that claim.

Like David Thibodeau in his Waco book, I also wrote about my experiences in Jonestown LINK. I found David's work to be much more compelling than mine. I did meet him once, maybe twice, as well as two elderly ladies who survived the seige. I found David and Catherine Matteson, who I interviewed at length, to be honest spiritual souls who were totally committed to their beliefs.

David's book is a compassionate and passionate account of what I have always believed is the most blatant example of religious persecution of an American religious group since the Mormons were driven from New York to Utah. Thank you David Thibodeau. Because of your work, the past will not be forgotten.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Y'all are CRAZY!!!

State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind by Bryant Welch

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
The author makes the case that the US electorate (at least the ones who were scared into voting Republican in the last presidentail election)are collective victims of a mass psychosis that was purposely caused by the right wing.

He makes his case well. I am proud I am one of the sane voters who didn't vote for Bush and I certainly hope everyone who did will take the time to read this book and hopefully have their pyschosis cured.

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Bad Medicine

Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America by Ezekiel Emanuel

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Anyone who disbelieves the American healthcare delivery and payment systems are terminally ill has never been sick themselves. American medical technology is arguably the best in the world, unfortunately the systems that bring it to the consumers are flawed.

The author uses government and industry statistics and facts to prove it. If facts and figures were not enough to get his point across, he presents heartbreaking personal anecdotes of patients throughout the country who have been victims of the American medical mess.

In Chapter 1, the author points out:

* American healthcare costs more per citizen than it does in any other country in the world. Switzerland comes in second, spending 50% less per capita than the USA.

* The infant mortality rate in the USA is two times that of Japan, Sweden and Norway.

* The USA has a lower life expectancy rate than Japan, France Canada or Germany.

* Annually, the USA has a higher percentage of people die from diabetes than any other developed nation in the world.


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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Read This Book!!!

Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe Right'>">Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe by Arianna'>">Arianna Huffington


My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ms. Huffington has written a veritable compendium of right wing sins committed over the years of the Bush Administration that have literally ruined our country militarily, economically, diplomatically and culturally. I did not truly appreciate the breadth of the evilness nor the depth of the ineptitude of the right in general and the Republican party in particular until I read this book.

Not only does this self-confessed former Republican cogently describe the damage far right wing politicos have caused our country, she also exposes how the hapless news media conscioulsy and unconsciously contributed. Reading this book will also make it apparent that Republican presidential candidate, John McCain is nothing more than an old fashioned politics-as-usual demagogue who not only flip flops on issues but, a la Bush and his ilk, are not above lying and saying what it thinks the voters want to hear to get elected.

Please, please PLEASE read this book before you vote in November.

View'>">View all my reviews.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Can You Say 'Sudatanland?'

Russia knew exactly what it was doing a week ago yesterday when, in reaction to the Republic of Georgia's military incursion into the Atonomous State of Ossentia, it sent troops into two separatist regions of Georgia. It's a safe bet the military minds of the Kremlin reviewed their history of World War II and assessed the ability and willingness of the rest of the nations of the world to react before sending its 'peacekeeping' troops and their tanks, artillery and MIGs into South Ossetia and then Georgia itself.

Now Condi Rice is trying to convince the president of Georgia to sign a peace deal that allows Russian troops (peacekeepers?) to remain in the separatist states and parts of Georgia for six months. This agreement could have been authored by Putin himself. And Rice claims she's an expert on Russia? It seems to me that Bush and Rice, although they don't realize it, are dancing to Putin's song.

Wait a minute. Ther's more! Since Poland has decided to allow the USA to install a missle defense system on the former Soviet satellite's territory, another dangerous aspect has been added to the region's troubles. Was it really that important we get these missiles into Poland at a time when the region is broiling over? Is Iran really poised to nuke Israel or Europe? Make no mistake, this senseless and unnecessary agreement approved by Poland yesterday did absolutely nothing to foster peace between Russia, its pro-western former satellites and the USA.

In fact, Russia says the Poland/US defense pact will not go unpunished but it doesn't say who will be punished. You can bet a truck load of Polish sausage it won't be the USA. But the big question is what will or can the USA do to protect Poland?

Like the Russia/Georgia War, this military geopolitical clash between Putin and Bush is far from over and Russia is in the catbird seat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Non-Interventionalists 1 - Butchers 0

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I heard the health reporter on Channel 6 News announce last night that a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says angioplasty is not as efficacious as medication in treating chest pain. Well, quite frankly, that's been known by the patients of the late Howard Wayne for many years.

In 2004, a well-known and respected invasive cardiologist in Indianapolis tried to coerce me into receiving a quintuple coronary artery bypass graft to treat my angina. The whole story is reported in this blog so I won't go over it again. If you are interested, just read this blog from the beginning.

What I do want to discuss is the naivity of the Channel 6 health reporter. She thinks this will decrease the number of angioplasties performed by cardiologists as they opt to use medication in their treatment rather than the invasive procedures they now use. WRONG!

That might be true if the motivation of the physician was to treat the patient in the best way possible. Unfortunately, many of these invsive cardiologists are not motivated by treating you right, they are motivated by money. Angioplasty and bypasses make doctors and hospital piles and piles of money. Writing prescriptions does not.

Bottom line, remember what I've been preaching all these years -- if your doctor wants to cut, get a second opinion from a noninterventionalist cardiologist!
Living Longer with Heart Disease: The Noninvasive Approach that Will Save Your Life Living'>">Living Longer with Heart Disease: The Noninvasive Approach that Will Save Your Life by Howard'>">Howard H. Wayne


My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another great book by a great cardiologist who exposes medical terrorists for what they are. This was Howard Wayne's first book. Published ten years ago, it was very controversial when it first came out. Wayne was criticized by colleagues who disagreed with him. It is great to see that after a decade, an article in the Journal of American Medicine proves Wayne was right all along.

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How to Protect Your Heart from Your Doctor How to Protect Your Heart from Your Doctor by Howard H. Wayne

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dr. Wayne literally saved my life after I turned to him for a second opinion. My cardiologist told me that despite a strong heart, since my coronary arteries were clogged, I needed a quintuple bypass to cure my angina and prevent an imminent heart attack, stroke or death. I opted for Dr. Wayne's treatment and remain alive and kicking more than three years later.

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Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery? A Second Opinion Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery? A Second Opinion by Howard H. Wayne

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Always get a second opinion when cardio-thoracic surgeons want to cut. To say Howard Wayne was a pioneer in the treatment of heart disease and angina is an understatement. To say he was courageous and doggedly persistent in his beliefs will be obvious when you read this book.

This book will save your life if you let it.

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Broken Promises - Delayed Peace

Russia now says it is going to remain in the disputed autonomous regions of Georgia it occupied last week. The other day it sang a different song.

"To the victor go the spoils," is an old adage of war and Russia is apparently believing there are no other countries with the wherewithall to challenge this thought, decided to change its mind.

In fact, Russia continues to occupy Georgian cities and territories two days after it signed a peace agreement to pull back to positions it occupied before August 8. Again, who will enforce this agreement?

The US government is sending humanitarian aid, responding quicker to this crisis than it did to the plight of the American victims of Hurricane Katrina. Don't be surprised if the Republic of Georgia doesn't receive more aid from the USA than did the residents of the Gulf Coast.

Bush obviously has received a double injection of testosterone since the Russian/Georgian War began. White House saber rattling is getting louder by the day.

Condi Rice is globetrotting and adding to the outraged rhetoric for all the good it is doing. As Vladamir Putin said, "Blah, blah, blah, blah."

And remember, dear reader, the Republic of Georgia precipitated all this on August 6 by sending its forces into South Ossetia. It looks like America will be paying for Georgia's mistake.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It is far easier to talk peace than to make peace. Each side in the Russian/Georgian war is accusing the other of violating the cease fire it both agreed to.

The United Nations has been extremely silent. It is like a eunoch in a roomful of nymphomaniacs. No matter how badly he wants to do something, he is ill-equipped to do so.

The president of the United States is akin to a Daddy Warbucks eunoch. He condemns, threatens and throws money at the problem but his mantra is so old, no matter how many billions he offers to rebuild, he also is unable to get an erection.

The European Union diplomats, led by the French, have done little more than build up their frequent-flyer miles. And we know these airline perks don't go as far as they used to.

Russia and Georgia continue to throw accusations at each other and civilians and soldiers alike on both sides continue to be slaughtered. Where and when will it end?

Book Reviews

Culture Warrior Culture Warrior by Bill O'Reilly

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
A well written book. I was pleansantly surprised.

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Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism by Sean Hannity

My review

rating: 1 of 5 stars
I couldn't finish this sorry book. Hannity is a naive literary lightweight with a jingoist agenda. He comes to faulty conclusions. I don't think he and 99 other chimps could write a decent book if they were locked in a roomful of typewriters for a thousand years.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stupid Wars

Stupid Wars: A Citizen's Guide to Botched Putsches, Failed Coups, Inane Invasions, and Ridiculous Revolutions Stupid Wars: A Citizen's Guide to Botched Putsches, Failed Coups, Inane Invasions, and Ridiculous Revolutions by Ed Strosser

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I finished reading this book last night. It covers stupid wars from the Fall of the Roman Empire in AD 377 thru the attempted Soviet Coup against Gorbachev in 1991.

No doubt, a second edition will include the Republic of Georgia's 2008 incursion against South Ossetia. I'll bet President Scharivezi of Georgia wishes he could turn the clock back a week before he foolishly sent his troops into the Autonomous Region of South Ossetia.

Of course, the little, but incredibly brutal and destructive war isn't over yet, despite Russian president Mededev's pronouncement that his country's objectives have been met. These include:

* Protecting Russian citizens in South Ossetia and Russian "peacekeepers that were sent there.

* Destroying Georgia's military capacity to attack and occupy South Ossetia.

* Remove Georgian troops from the two autonomous regions in question.

* Punish Georgia for its agrression against and occupation of Southh Ossetia.

I fear it isn't all over yet. Oh, Mededev has promised to end hostilities and pull his troops out of Georgia but that hasn't happened yet and Russia aircraft and artillery continue their missions in Georgian territory.

With the west's response limited to diplomacy and vague threats against Russia and NATO and the USA's willingness and ability to enforce demands extremely limited, one must wonder what motivation does Russia really have to end hostilities?

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Monday, August 11, 2008


The USA? With an American president who thinks the Russian prime minister is his buddy, an American military already stretched beyound capacity in its multi-front war on terrorism and a European Union relying on France to broker peace, the answer is, "No one."

Russia is claiming its troops in Ossetia are peacekeepers. The Russian government is making the case to the world that it is in South Ossetia in the role of peacekeepers defending an autonomous state filled with citizens who hold Russian passports who were attacked by the Republic of Georgia two days before Russia sent those peacekeepers in.

Anyone who doesn't see a comparison betwee Russia and Nazi Germany of the 1930s is holding a white cane or using a guide dog. With Russia's apparent quick success against the former Soviet state of Georgia, with its American trained and equipped Army, other former Soviet satellites and their neighbors must be waiting for more shoes to drop.

The world has only Georgia to blame because it started the whole ball rolling last Wednesday when it sent troops into South Ossetia in the first place, giving Russia all the excuse it needed to put Georgia in its place. If Georgia fails to obtain military support from NATO (and time is rapidly running out) which it was close to becoming a member of, Russia will take that as a sign that other former states who continue to receive aid from or are sympathetic toward the USA, can expect the same treatment it is now handing Georgia.

In a very real way, the globe is closer to a world war than it has been in 65 years.


My day begins before the sun is up as songbirds outside my window announce the coming of another dawn. It ends long after that orb completes its westward journey, hours after the last cardinal has gone to roost for the night.

While he sleeps, I darken my room and wait for another sound, the first, faint mournful whistle of a freight train as it approaches a highway about a mile from where I lay. The sound of its huge diesel engines grows as the train nears and rumbles by, sounding its whistle once again until it becomes a vibration on the rails, leaving me in silence until the next freight rolls by.

This nightly procession repeats itself two, sometimes three, times before my nightly meditations are replaced by dreams. I don't know if its the trains or dreams or my angry bladder than wakens me around 3 AM, but I rise, relieve myself and go back to bed again to meditate while I wait for the final dreams of the night, the ones that come before the sun is up as songbirds outside my window announce the coming of yet another dawn.

Must Read!!

The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union by Mark Mackinnon

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Anyone who doubts the significance petroleum plays in the most recent conflict between the Republic of Georgia and Russia need look no further than the subtitle of this book -- Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union. The pipeline in question is the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC)and it would not have been built without the financial and military support and backing of the USA.

When it came on line on May 25, 2005, the BTC pipeline was the longest and most expensive ever constructed. It was built at a cost of $3.6 billion. Is it any wonder that the USA supports Georgia in its most recent clash with Russia?

If you want to learn the real reason Bush backs Georgia, begin with this well-documented book. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand the significance petroleum plays in world politics.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Book Review

Great American Hypocrites: Shattering the Big Myths of Republican Politics Great American Hypocrites: Shattering the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you are an American voter, this m ay be the most important book you read this year. You must read it before you go to the polls in November. Not only that, you must get your friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances and complete strangers you meet in the mall or supermarket to read it too.

View all my reviews.

Georgia on My Mind

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post on my Nigeria Safety & Security Update blog in which I said every future conflict will be over petroleum. A few days ago, Georgia (the former Soviet state, not the one in the southern USA) sent troops into South Ossetia, a separist region it surrounds.

Virtually all of the residents of South Ossetia hold Russian passports, ergo, they are Russian citizens and it is perfectly natural for that country to defend its citizens from Georgian aggression. Georgia is also an ally of the USA, a fact that prompted President George Bush to come to its defense, at least rhetorically.

Guess what Georgia has in common with Afghanistan and Iraq? No, they are not all part of titles of songs sung by Ray Charles. That's right, all three countries are major players in the petroleum business. Afghanistan and Georgia have significant gas and crude oil pipelines that run through their countries and Iraq is a major source for petroleum and natural gas.

This burgeoning conflict may be the most serious threat to world peace since Bush invaded Iraq and manipulated the American people with lies to justify that war. I'll be the Darfurians wish they had oil under their sands.

I do not believe Bush caused Georgia to invade South Ossetia. He's stupid, but he's not that stupid. I don't think he will provide troops or weapons to Georgia either. Oh, he will bluster and threaten to do that but the fact that our military is spread thinner than the ice Bush frequently finds himself standing on is a great deterent to American military involvement in Georgia.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Book Review

The New Blue Media: How Michael Moore,, Jon Stewart and Company Are Transforming Progressive Politics The New Blue Media: How Michael Moore,, Jon Stewart and Company Are Transforming Progressive Politics by Theodore Hamm

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you are fans of Michael Moore, Al Franken, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, The Daily Kos and or The Onion or if you despise Bill O'Reilly, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Maureen Dowd, or Rush Limbough, you will love this book. I did.

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Book Review

The Kingmakers: The Mainstream Media and the Road to the White House The Kingmakers: The Mainstream Media and the Road to the White House by Mike Gravel

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
When America's news media fails to do its job, it becomes an enemy at least as lethal as the terrorists our country purports to be at war with. By allowing Bush and his cabal to control them, journalists allowed them to wage an illegal war in Iraq with impunity. In a very real way, the news media's malfeasance, neglect, sloth and incompetence caused hundreds and thousands of deaths.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

It's a good bet President Bush wishes he still owned the Texas Rangers. It hasn't been George's best week.

First, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Ron Suskind, revealed the Bush Administration ordered the CIA to lie in a letter designed to give Bush a reason to attack Iraq.

Then, in what was touted by the president and his men to be a trial of one of the most dangerous terrorists being held at Gitmo, Bin Laden's driver has the most serious charge against him thrown out and is sentenced to a few months more than the time he has already served!

Coincidentally, I started reading Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myth of Republican Politics (Crown Publishers) by Glenn Greenwald today. Guess what president is colorfully caracatured on the book's cover?

By the way, the Texas Rangers are 11 games out of first place in the American League's West Division. But at least they are in second place!

Life Goes On...

or so I'm told. It's been a rather rough year. I won't rehash my medical conditions, they've already been mentioned in my last post.

I won't expand on or reveal any more compulsions, obsessions, addictions or other bad habits I've been fighting of late either. Suffice it to say, at this point, I think I've fought them to a draw.

I appreciate the 10 comments that were made about my last post of July 24. I never realized there were so many people out there who thought so well of me.

My days have been taken up with reading for the past several weeks. In the morning, I go to my nearby local public library to return the books I read the day before and check out new ones. Then I go back to my small apartment and spend the rest of the day, late into the night, reading.

I listen to NPR religiously. Sometimes I write letters to the editor of the local newspaper in the little town where I now live. I post the books I read on my wordworks2001 page at, sometimes with a short review. I don't own a TV.

In September, I plan to begin publishing the revision to my book on my Ghosts of November blog I hope to complete the project before the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre -- November 18.

Most of my days are spent in introspective solitude. I go days without discourse or conversations with other human beings. Exceptions occur occasionally when I go to the supermarket or laudrymat. In fact, the last time I used my voice was a week ago tomorrow when I visited the local laundry. I have no telephone.

This may seem like I difficult lifestyle, especially to those who know how gregarious I am and how much I enjoy talking. I love conversation! But I've also grown to appreciate aloneness as well.

My life has become a meditation. Silence has become a gift I truly treasure.

I invite you to participate in or at least observe my simple life by reading my posts on this blog and checking out the revision of my book on the Ghosts of November blog.



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Goodbye All

As far as lifetimes go, mine was a pretty interesting one. Although I am referring to it in the past tense, it's not quite over yet, just the best part.

My past is catching up with me. Parkinson's Disease has become a powerful and relentless adversary. It attacks me in different ways every day. I am tired of battling it.

The angina and coronary artery disease are, for the most part, under control, despite the fact I am smoking again -- my way of flirting with the final human act -- the one I almost welcome.

Gambling is once again a major activity. I practice it almost daily. It relieves the pain of, or at least takes my mind off of my physical ills for a little while.

I have successfully severed relations with those who once loved me -- daughters, ex-wives, other family members. I've lost contact with friends and acquaintances, some of whom wish they never were.

I have moved out of Indianapolis to a place I will not reveal. I am quite certain this will be my final independent residence. I am determined not to make any friends here. I have not even met my neighbors yet.

My positive contributions to the world may not outweigh my many mistakes and faults. But, for the most part, I have lived a life without malice and do regret my errors.

I have produced three daughters. The younger two have not communicated with me in several years. I tried to be the best parent I could be during their formative years. I hope they have been better parents still to my six grandchildren.

I had three wives. All of them were better to me than I was to them. The first marriage lasted two dozen years. You can count the length of the second two on the fingers of one hand.

Well, I guess I'll wrap this up before it begins to ressemble a pity party. That's not what it is intended to be. I've had a helluva life and wouldn't trade places with any of you.

I suspect this will be my last contact with you. I certainly am not asking you to reply and I will not respond to any replies. I do not intend to be a burden on anyone, so when I no longer can adequately care for myself, well, I'll take care of that matter when the time comes.

Goodbye all. Enjoy whatever time you have left. I certainly will endeavor to do the same.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Vision #4 Continued

It is still possible for individuals and families to react. What can you do to survive the impending crisis? Here is an outline of a five-point plan:

1. RETURN TO THE LAND. Build homesteads that are from 7 to 10 acres in size. Take extension courses in animal husbandry and other farming subjects. Read as much as you can about how agriculture was done in the last century. Plant orchards, build greenhouses and start gardening. Learn how to preserve your crops. Raise livestock that are easy and economical -- chickens, pigs, rabbits.

2. DEVELOP AND RELY ON ALTERNATIVE POWER SOURCES. Use solar and wind power for your electricity needs. Become totally energy independent.

3. USE ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION. It is not enough to buy a hybrid or alternative fuel source vehicle. Bicycles will become your most common form of transport. a horse and wagon will be used for chores around the homestead and for traveling longer distances than a bicycle is practical for or to carry objects that you can't on a bike.

4. RELEARN THE OLD WAYS. Learn to make soap and candles like your great-grandmother did. Preserve fruits, vegetables and meats. Learn herbal medicine and start collecting herbs that will become part of your medicine cabinet. Relearn your psychic gifts that you have always had but have forgotten about. Take courses in emergency medicine, especially minor surgical techniques. Obtain medical instruments and supplies so you can practice what you have learned.

5. PREPARE TO DEFEND YOURSELF. Obtain and learn how to use firearms. Stockpile ammunition. Learn personal self-defense techniques. Join your local sheriff or police reserves. Set up points of defense and drill all the members of your family on what to do should you need to react to an attack on your homestead.

If your homestead is near a major population center, you will have to respond to attempts by people who will be unprepared for the impending crisis and who will come to take what you have. This planning is not for a possible future event, it is to prepare for a crisis that will be upon us all too soon.

Vision #4 Continued

High fuel prices and increasing shortages will inevitably lead to increased lawlessness when formerly law abiding people are unable to heat their homes or drive their cars. Just as drive-aways at gas stations have already increased, hijackings of tank trucks will begin to occur. A gasoline black market will emerge which will result in an increase in other crimes against people and property. Local and state law enforcement authorities will be taxed to their limits and they will stop responding to "victimless crimes." Drug abuse will skyrocket and a vicious spiral of increased crime will ensue.

Public hospital, many of which are already unable to adequately meet demands, will find it impossible to keep up with increased patient loads. Private hospitals will soon follow. There will be a shortage of many drugs and other critical medical supplies. Doctors and nurses, taxed to their physical limits, will start making tragic medical errors. It will be a common perception that "Hospitals are where you go to die."

Rioting will lead to looting of grocery stores and there regional food shortages will become nationwide. Jobless men and women will find work with private "security" companies which will eventually become militias in a futile attempt to maintain order. These quasi-military organizations will soon become more and more acceptable and powerful. A vigilante justice system will handle more crimes than the local and state courts. State and federal military law enforcement will more and more begin turning a blind eye to the militias because they will provide a semblance of law and order. However, citizens outraged at the ensuing loss of constitutional freedoms will rebel and civil unrest that started as rioting will transform into virtual civil war.

As I wrote in my last post, this scenario cannot be prevented. It is too late for that and frankly, since it was the federal government's own policies and actions that contributed to the environment that leads to this outcome, I doubt any of the powers-that-be know how to avert it even if they wanted to.

The next post will discuss what people can do to avoid the worst of the impending crisis.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Vision #4 - Surviving the Impending Global Energy Crisis

Those who have been reading my blog for a while have read two visions I had in December. They were among my early posts and they involved events that have occurred since the visions. On Sunday, 26 May, I had a very vivid vision in four parts. I have been reluctant to post it, but my spirit guide has adamantly indicated I need to do so. I have called this Vision #4. The other two visions in this blog are #1 and #2. Vision #3 was of a personal nature. Starting with Vision #4, I will number all visions and post those I feel are pertinent to the public.

Vision #4 appeared to me as a newsreel, similar to the news that movie theaters would put on the screen before the feature, half century ago. It was narrated by my main spirit guide, The conductor.

Vision #4

Within four years, there will be a drastic worldwide shortage of oil. Oil companies are unable to meet demands. All major economic sectors of the global economy will break down. Shortages in food, potable water, heating fuel and medicine have caused civil unrest. All 50 governors in the USA will declare martial law. The unemployment rate in all industrialized countries will rival current third world rates.

This scenario is inevitable. It cannot be averted or postponed, no matter what measure are now taken. Part 2 of the vision will be posted soon. It outlines things individuals can do to survive.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vatican Chief Astronomer on Aliens

Jose Gabriel Funes—the Vatican’s chief astronomer, director of the Vatican Observatory, and science advisor to the Pope—stated that space aliens could exist.

Funes made his comments in the Vatican newspaper (L'Osservatore Romano) article “The Extraterresrial is My Brother,” which was published on Tuesday, May 13, 2008.

Talking about the largeness of the universe and how life on other planets could exist, Funes stated, “In my opinion this possibility exists. Astronomers believe the universe is made up of 100 billion galaxies, each of which consists of 100 billion stars. ... Life forms could exist in theory even without oxygen or hydrogen."

Funes says that believing in alien life forms does not contradict the Catholic faith in God.

He added, "How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere. Just as we consider earthly creatures as 'a brother,' and 'sister,' why should we not talk about an 'extraterrestrial brother'? It would still be part of creation."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When Continents Collide

The massive earthquake in the Sechuan Province of China Monday was caused by a continuing collision between India and Asia. Fifty million years ago, when India was a giant continental-sized island, it crashed into southern Asia. India continues to slide north at the rate of two inches a year. The stresses generated by this movement push up the Himalaya Mountains and create multiple earthquakes between Afghanistan and China annually.

Monday's earthquake was rated a massive 7.9 on the Richter Scale. Aftershocks as great as an extremely destructive 6.0 followed immediately and smaller aftershocks have been continuing since Monday.

With 15,000 or more people killed and upwards to 18,000 still missing, the Sechuan earthquake is the biggest to hit China since 1976 when nearly a quarter of a million people perished. Fearing potentiallt devastating floods should earthquake-damaged dams burst, more than 2000 Chinese soldiers have been sent tot he region to make repairs to the largest structure, Zipingpa Dam. There are more than 391 smaller dams in the region that also have been damaged.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why Sedona?

Some people have asked what it is that draws me to Sedona. The simple answer is, I don't really know. A few months ago, I had a vision that indicated I am to travel to Sedona. At the time, I wasn't even aware of the significance of this small town in northern Arizona.

I have since learned that Sedona has one of the largest populations per capita of psychically gifted people. Not only is the scenery of the area unique and most conducive to fostering psychic and spiritual activities, Sedona is the home to not less than 15 energy vortexes.

I hope to be living in Sedona within the next few month, certainly by the end of October. Come back to this blog for more information on the progress I am making in getting there and to learn what happens after we arrive and get settled in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weather Warning

With nearly 100 people killed in U.S tornadoes in the first four months and two weeks of 2008, this year has become the deadliest from tornadoes that were among the largest ever recorded. No one is sure how many deaths in Mynamar from Cyclone Nargis last week. This morning there is a report of 900 school children buried in an earthquake in China.

Can there be any doubt that we are entering another period of unusually violent weather and natural disasters around the world? What does this mean in the grand scheme of things? If you will visit some of the links on this blog, you will find a great deal of information and current data on all sorts of natural phenomenon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

affirmations May 12 thru 18

May 12 - I am determined to overcome threats to my personal development.

May 13 - I am potential, determined to develop the talents and opportunities I have been given.

May 14 - I use my courage and strength to take new risks and complete difficult tasks

May 16 - I have learned that balance is the key to joy, inner serenity and fulfilling relationships with self and others.

May 17 - I am ready to take on new challenges to my creative growth and test the skills I have already developed.

May 18 - I know the joy of giving and of receiving; my love is a source of healing for myself and others.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Lucky Man

Michael J. Fox and I have a couple of things in common. We both have Parkinson's disease and we both are, as in the title of his book, Lucky Men. How can I consider myself lucky when I have such a dreaded disease? Because it is not as dreaded as some other diseases.

Before I was diagnosed with P.D., in 1996, I was certain I was suffering from Amytrophic Laterasl Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease, a much more serious and rapidly fatal neuromuscular disease. I even avoided going to my primary care physician for fear of the death sentence I was sure he would inform me of.

But my symptoms kept getting worse and soon I was having difficulty ambulating, getting out of my car and rising from my bed, causing my significant-other to insist I make a doctor's appointment.

While seated in Dr. Cervante's waiting room, I tried to imagine how I would react to the inevitable news I had ALS. Soon, my name was called and I walked back into my doctor's inner sanctum. He was standing at the end of the hall. As I approached him, Dr. Cervante asked, "How long have you had Parkinson's disease, Jeff?"

"Is that all it is, Parkinson's?" I managed to say with a wide smile on my face and relief in my voice.

"Is that all?" he replied, "Isn't that enough?"

"More than enough for a man who was certain until a few minutes ago he had Lou Gehrig's disease," I answered.

That day changed my life. Not only will I never jump to conclusions about my health again, I will gladly accept whatever disease or condition I am inflicted with because I was given it for a reason.

I will always look on the up side and force all negative thoughts from my mind. No challenge is ever laid on us that we cannot handle and that wasn't meant for us to learn from. I may not move as fast as I used to and I may be slow in getting out of bed and out of my car, but, I am a lucky man.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Explain This

I was walking down a wide trail in Eagle Creek Park yesterday. I had been birding for about three hours at the time and wasn't moving very fast. The usual hikers, runners and bicyclists were enjoying the warm spring day along with me.

There was very little ground cover and the leaves were still small on the trees, allowing for excellent visibility. I was approaching a point where the trail I was on intersected with another equally large one. I looked to the right down the trail that crossed and saw a rather tall Caucasian hiker wearing a gray t-shirt, blue shorts and tennis shoes walking toward where the two trails intersected. His hair was light brown.

The man continued walking when he went behind a tree that was rather big in circumference. He never came out the other side. At the pace he was walking, he should have only been blocked from view behind that tree for a couple of seconds at the most. I kept watching for him to come out from behind the tree, either in the direction he had been walking or the opposite.

Then I thought the man had stopped behind the tree, perhaps to rest or relieve himself. I continued to wait for him to appear from behind the tree. After a couple of minutes, curiosity got the better of me and I went to the tree. There was no one behind it.

The man was not an illusion. When I saw him, he appeared to be a normal living human being. He was not translucent nor did he resemble, in any way, something I would call a ghost. Yet, he had disappeared as surely as if illusionist/magician David Copperfield had conjured him out of the picture.

I offer this small event to the reader and ask you, what do you think I saw? How did this man, walking so normal down a wooded trail in a city park come to disappear behind a tree?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Pileated Woodpecker

I went birding in my favorite park yesterday, Eagle Creek Park in far west Indianapolis. Before the day was over, I enjoyed an almost mystical meeting, up close and personal, with a pileated woodpecker, one of the largest woodpeckers in the USA.

I was sitting on a trail observing the trees around me and listening to the birds. Suddenly, out of no where, this majestic black and white bird with a bright red crest landed on a rotten stump less than six feet from where I sat.

I know he saw me because he looked directly at me. But this beautiful bird simply continued searching for insects in the stump. He stayed with me about five minutes, shifting to three other stumps within a radius of about 10 feet. He almost seemed tame.

Some interesting facts about the pileated woodpecker:

  • The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.
  • A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate floaters during the winter.
  • The feeding excavations of a Pileated Woodpecker are so extensive that they often attract other birds. Other woodpeckers, as well as House Wrens, may come and feed there.
  • The Pileated Woodpecker prefers large trees for nesting. In young forests, it will use any large trees remaining from before the forest was cut. Because these trees are larger than the rest of the forest, they present a lightning hazard to the nesting birds.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Positive Affirmations

I was first introduced to the concept of Positive Affirmations when I was a sergeant stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in the mid 1980's. A couple dozen of us were preparing for the Combat Medic Mini Marathon that was to be held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

I was accustomed to running two to four miles at a time but was no where near ready to the more than 13 miles of running required in a mini marathon. After a few weeks of training, I was able to break the six mile mark but there seemed to be a wall that was stopping me from running any further.

Frustrated, I even had thoughts of dropping out of the group going to the mini marathon and when I expressed these negative thoughts to the sergeant major of our unit, the man in charge of our training and the leader of our group, he chided me for even thinking of being a quitter. He told me he had a secret that will allow me to finish the mini marathon.

"Jeff, when you reach the point in the run you feel you can't go any further, I want you to start reciting, over and over again, either out loud or silently, 'I look great, I feel great, I act great, I am great,'" the sergeant major told me.

This was the first time I ever heard of positive affirmations but the sergeant major had never steered me wrong in the past so I decided to give it a try. The very next training run, repeating the sergeant major's simple mantra in my brain, over and over again, I managed to surpass the six mile mark and make it to the seven mile point as well. Within a week, my affirmation was taking me eight miles, then nine, until finally, a month after beginning to recite my positive affirmation, I was completing the 13 mile training run.

Positive affirmation is a powerful psychological tool that allows us to push ourselves beyond what we previously believed was our limit of endurance. I recently began a program of daily positive affirmations as part of my spiritual preparations for relocating to Sedona, Arizona. These simple exercises have brought clarity to my mind and enhanced my sense of purpose.

I would like the reader to consider using a daily positive affirmation in your life. I will even make it easy for you by listing the affirmations I used last week. All you have to do is wake up in the morning, go to a quiet place, and spend your first waking ten minutes of the day repeating a positive affirmation. I also try to set aside ten minutes in mid morning, after lunch, in mid afternoon and after supper to say the positive affirmation of the day. I think you will be surprised at the difference positive affirmations will make in your life.

Daily Positive Affirmations
May 4 to May 10, 2008

Sunday, May 4 - I use my courage and strength to take new risks and complete difficult tasks.

Monday, May 5 - I am openness, willing to show myself to others, ready to receive their confidences.

Tuesday, May 6 - I gather the strength to open my eyes and see the sources of my mental confusion.

Wednesday, May 7 - I am potential, committed to developing the talents and opportunities I have been given.

Thursday, May 8 - I am stability and movement, able to keep my balance in the midst of change and competing desires.

Friday, May 9 - I am new emotional energy, I open myself to experience its depths, I give voice to my longings and desires.

Saturday, May 10 - I am a fruitful gardener, ready for harvest, created by hard work, discipline and organization.

If the concept of a daily affirmation is new to you or if this is something you already knew about but were not in the habit of practicing, I would be interested in your thoughts about daily positive affirmations. Why not give it a try and then send a comment about your experience?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Love & Wisdom

Man knows love exists, but doesn't know what love is. The word is used every day in so many ways: love of country, brotherly love, a husband loving his wife, a love of sports or a love of material things, a love of life. Yes, love is a word which is often used but seldom understood.

As misunderstood as the concept of love is, more and more people in the world are beginning to realize we should all be striving for that highest form of love -- Divine love. This is a love derived from God and directed toward God and all living creatures, unconditionally. God is the very essence of love, without Him, there can be no love.

Love cannot exist without wisdom. Love and wisdom make up the very core of what God is. God loves everyone from love in Himself and leads everyone to wisdom from Himself. The love God gives us is ours to give everyone else, but first, we must love ourselves as we love God.

From divine love and wisdom flows the good and the truth. Everything that proceeds from love is called good and everything that proceeds from wisdom is called truth. May all of our eyes be open to the goodness and truth in the universe.

Love and Light,


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Energy & Heartbeats

Energy. It goes on forever and can be measured. Millions of electromagnetically charged photons are produced each time the heart beats. That is not only human hearts, but animal hearts as well.

What happens to these photons emitted by the electrical action of the heart? Since they are tiny particles of light, they travel away from the body at 186,000 miles per second, the speed of light. So the photons produced by each and every heartbeat on earth travels infinitely through the universe. These photons are real. There are instruments physicists and other scientists use to measure them.

Another interesting fact: Each person's or animal's heartbeat is unique, like a fingerprint. Since they could conceivably be used to identify the source heart, doesn't it make sense that souls may be able to use the photons emitted by heartbeats to seek and find each other? Think about it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Afterlife Experiments

This book by Dr. Gary E. Schawartz, PhD, (2002, Pocket Books) announces scientific evidence of life after death. The author making the claim is a professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry and surgery at the University of Arizona and director of its Human Energy Systems laboratory.

What Schwartz and his partner, Linda G. Russek, Phd, did, was to take five of the top mediums in the United States and subject them to rigorous experiments, each subsequent experiment more restrictive than the last. The scientific findings announced following the two years spent conducting the research stated the five mediums being studied produced accurate and replicable after-death communications.

The performance of the mediums in each experiment was far better than could be expected for random responses and responses provided by the controls. The restrictions placed on the mediums were increasingly stringent as well. In the first experiment, the sitter was seated behind the medium, but the medium could hear "yes" and "no" responses. In the experiment with the most restrictions, the sitter was at a remote location and neither the sitters nor the mediums could hear each others' actual voices. The five mediums still succeeded.

Even an agnostic scientist like Schwartz, after reading this book and studying the data from the experiements, will be forced to admit that at least with these five mediums, there was definite communications with the dead. Many profound questions are born if the hypothesis that some people can talk to the dead is validated. The very question of when life begins and when it ends has to be addressed.

Religious scholars have opined that the soul lives forever but this is the first time the premise has ever been validated by men of science. Then why hasn't the rest of their community hailed their findings and attempted to replicate them with their own experiments? Consciousness survives after death. That sentence should have been placed in banner headlines in newspapers across the world, yet, for the most part, it was ignored.

I challenge you to read The Afterlife Experiments and then try to defend the scoffing of the skeptics. I bought the book at Half-Price Books for less than eight bucks. Not a bad investment for information that can change the world as we know it.

Jeff Brailey