Terraforming America…

If you thought this was something on the environment, well, sorry to disappoint. this is about a different sort of Terraforming. The word comes from the idea of one day transforming a marginally habitable planet into something akin to planet Earth. Instead, in this case I am talking about a covert Russian effort to transform the United States of America into something more resembling Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

This isn’t some conspiracy theory. It is back up by real news. I am simply following the Russian bread crumbs and some other crumbs to the obvious conclusion. It all hinges upon former Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort, now under indictment by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. And always bear in mind that for white collar and political criminals, the covert up is usually where their schemes reveal themselves. Manafort, it should be common knowledge by now, is very close to the Putin regime, having worked directly for their interests and against American policy and interests in Ukraine. Manafort is the lynch pin, he is the Putin surrogate undertaking an effort to align Russian interests with the US. How you ask? The answer is hardly far-fetched.

Russia is led by a strongman who wields tight control over the media. A number of Putin-critical dissenters and critics have been murdered. Trump has an army of media apologists and explainers, while actively attacking anyone who disagrees or dissents. In the streets of Russia, Putin paid thugs and hooligans assail protesters. The white supremacist, promise keepers, biker gangs and neo-Nazi have provided open support for Trump and have even committed murder, such as in Charlottesville. In Russia Trump uses the Orthodox Church for control of the population. Mike Pence is quoted as saying he is a Christian first before an American. He is part of an extremist minority hijacking Christianity to drive social policy inconsistent with the constitution and secular law but on a narrow interpretation of the Bible.  Finally, the economy and virtually all of the nation’s wealth is controlled by a minority of Oligarchs.  In the united States currently, 10% of the nation’s households control 75% of the wealth, and 1% controls 40%, as well as the political system-the very definition Oligarchy.

So you see, it isn’t a great leap to understand that the Russians intend to terraform the US to look more like Russia. Why? for one, because that immediately undermines us around the world as hypocrites to our own founding and ideals. No one has any humanitarian expectation of Russia. second, it moves the wealth and power in the US economy and in the government away from America as that gleaming city on a hill and makes it a nation for sale.

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Attention Writers

Last September we began a project to bring the Arts and Art’s issues to the air. Now in our 5th month, Playtime with Sid and Bill Featuring Kerri Kendall, is the best and most comprehensive Arts program on Commercial Radio in the United States. 2018 is the year of the writer on our program. If you missed last week’s show, check out the Facebook Live rebroadcast as we talk with Author and Loyola University educator Nadine Kenney Johnston about the art of writing memoirs. this week we are back like speaking with Jill Pollack from Story Studio Chicago, a local and online resource and workshop for writers. The show airs every Sunday at 1pm on 1590WCGO in Chicago, but streams world wide at 1590wcgo.com. Help us to strengthen the writing community across America, and shine a long missed light on the great Authors and writers…and bloggers…across the nation.

Also joining us on today’s program is the Artistic Director of Chicago’s Prop Theatre to talk about Rhinoceros fest, a juried show to highlight the best in up and coming and innovative playwrights and Theatre companies.

A beautiful comment.

On the radio program Kerri, Sid and I work very hard for every guest to leave feeling uplifted and empowered. On of those guests, Randy Richardson, President of the Chicago Writer’s Association-chicagowrites.org, left us a particularly nice note:

On Sunday afternoon, I made my second appearance on Playtime with Sid and Bill featuring Kerri Kendall, a weekly 2-hour radio show on WCGO 1590-AM. What I love about the program is that it has the feel of being on a carnival midway. There’s a nostalgic vibe that hits you the moment you walk into the studio and see the vintage console radio under the bright colors of the “1590 WCGO is Chicago”logo that adorns the wall. The host of the program, William C. Turck sets the tone, passing out juice boxes and tossing aside pages of his script as soon as he’s done with them. Meanwhile, his sidekick Kerri ChakraZulu snaps selfies with guests without ever missing a beat. Across from me is the second hour’s guest, Charles D. Moisant, a comics artist, who, because he doesn’t have a mic, talks with handwritten note cards. Adding to the carnival-like vibe, Charles passes out beef jerky and draws caricatures of the guests. And, yes, the drawing that accompanies this post is the caricature he drew of me in just a matter of minutes while we were live on the air.

When the guest that I had invited to join me on the program, author Nadine Kenney Johnstone, and I exited the studio an hour later, we both had big smiles on our faces. It was that feeling you have when you unbuckle after riding a roller-coaster. That’s a pretty special feeling that they’re creating on
Playtime with Sid and Bill featuring Kerri Kendall. They broadcast every Sunday from 1 to 3 pm. I highly recommend that you jump on and tune in before the line gets too long.

 

A Lovely Garden: A Poem.

 

Young boys turn to young girls

To whittle away the time.

Young men turn towards war.

Comes a day when but a few young men remain.

 

In the bars and parks they congregate,

And polish their pain to badges of honor

With stories so bold.

Comes a time when the stories all sound the same.

 

And then as old men,

Dog-eared stories put away,

They turn to God

And perhaps a very lovely garden

 

Frantic nation…

I use to be on Blood pressure medication, but it was doing weird things to me, particularly on the creative side. I would zone out and produce little if anything substantive. I couldn’t concentrate or focus, but I was calm and sedate, and nearly a shell floating through life. It also affected me physically, in a number of ways that were corrected, thanks to  a pharma-loving family physician, with, you guessed it, more drugs, that low and behold had more side affects, which were solved with…breathe! You get the picture.

So I got off the drugs, began to exercise more and began eating better. In the interim, I completed several paintings (Including one of my very best) wrote three books, a play that received critical acclaim, dozens of articles and now host a successful radio program. Help the homeless. All in the span of a couple of years.

And all would be peachy if I lived in a bubble, or in the northwoods, and not in a major metropolitan area. Moreover, sometimes I wish that I could simply ignore what is going on with our politics, the economy, the world. The curse of Plato’s parable of the Cave, in which society is deluded by the shadows upon the cave wall, and heap derision upon those who turn to face the sunlight as well as the shadow makers. Most people are comfortable with the cognitive illusion of the shadows and become hostile when forced from the illusion of security within the illusion.

Part of that is noting that our society has become increasingly frantic. The wife pointed out to me that since coming off the meds I am more agitated. That may very well be, and probably is true, but to a degree I have some cause. That was illustrated as I drove home from dropping her off at a friends earlier when this silver Suburu in front of me could not wait 20 seconds for the vehicle in front to make  a turn, and thus drove up onto the sidewalk. Let me say that again; drove ONTO the sidewalk.

It use to be maybe once a day or so, driving around the city and suburbs I would see something so egregiously obnoxious and dangerous. Now, simply running from here to the grocery store  a few miles away feels like running a gauntlet of survival, as people routinely blow through street lights and stop signs, weave at perilous speeds, cut others off without remorse or worse. And it isn’t just on the roads, it is in our politics. It has infected the instant profit economy, invades our shopping malls and poisons our religions. Now-nOW- NOW!!!

America has become a frantic nation of pushy, self-concerned, frightened and frantic people. Friends in retail and restaurants have noted the frantic up-tick to the culture. Customers curse, berate and assault clerks, cashiers and managers because a holiday line isn’t moving fast enough. Or they barge in the middle of other customers demanding immediate attention for THEIR needs. Less than a week before Christmas, with the USPS, UPS and FedEx all at or beyond peak loads, especially in the age of Amazon, this exchange between a store manager and a customer.

Customer: I want this shipped and I want it to arrive by Christmas Eve.

Manager: We can ship it, but I can’t guarantee this close to Christmas that it will arrive by Christmas Eve.

Customer: Can’t you overnight it?

Manager: UPS and Fed Ex is swamped this close to the holiday.

Customer: Well, can’t you make it a priority?

I so wanted to hear this beleaguered manager to shake this lady by the shoulders and snap, because the millions of packages everyone else hopes will arrive by Christmas aren’t nearly as important as yours!?!?? And, oh, by the way, lady, if you weren’t so pushy and frantic you might be happier, the people around you damn sure would be and I probably wouldn’t have to TAKE ALL THESE DAMNED MEDICATIONS!

Okay, part of that might have been me. Too frantic? Preachin’ to the choir, sister.

Now was that so hard?

To My Democrat Friends:
Please accept, with no obligations implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender- neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasions of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2018, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped to make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other countries nor the only “America” in the Western Hemisphere. Also this wish is made w/o regard to the race, religious faith, color, physical ability or sexual preference of our friends.

To my Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

See, we can ALL get along!

The flaw in the American system, and the reason that capitalism is failing 89% of the population is that America starts with money and adjusts minimum standards of acceptible living to accommodate finance, rather than finance adjusting to those minimum standards of acceptible living. In other words, at some point you have to understand that you can only tighten your belt so far before your legs fall off, then it is too late to try a better approach…