Nothing is Everything

I woke up, reached into my treasure trove of moldy manuscripts and pulled out a doozy titled “Nothing is Everything” set in my hometown of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1977.

These stories have been compiled into one volume titled 1966.

The first in this autobiographical series is a black comedy titled East Village that involves Bugsy and Maarten traveling to New York City at the end of the summer in 1966 and landing in a crash pad in the East Village terrorized by a speed freak named Yukyuk.

The second, titled The Steam Tunnels, is a tragedy that takes place around the same time only set underneath Champaign-Urbana in a world that still exists today.

The third is The Stockholm Manifesto and involves my scheme to avoid the Vietnam War by relocating to Sweden for a few months.

And now we have the fourth, which takes place several years later.

After graduation from art school, Bugsy drifted around North America for a few years working odd jobs, while I went back to school and ended up with a masters in journalism. Right after I graduated, life in C-U, once a hotbed of counterculture activity, turned sour as the counterculture headshops and hangouts had already been displaced by chain stores.

My cynicism may have hit rock bottom around this time. The story about the girl-friend is 100 percent Bugsy though. I’d already written about my first real girl friend in The Stockholm Manifesto.  Many of these stories can be read for free on my Smashwords site.

Who’s Who in House of Cards?

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There’s a revolution going on as streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime have already proven the insanity of paying money to anyone to program what films you can watch on any given day (instead of just watching whatever you want to watch whenever you want to watch it).

Streaming on demand has already re-written the rules on the music industry and very soon the same will be said for film. The latest development is Netflix investing over $110 million to produce an HBO-quality series about life inside the Beltway, a project based off a successful British production with the same title, House of Cards. Maybe you’ve already watched all 13 episodes of the first season since they were all released on the same day earlier this month.

First, the good news: this show blows away Showtimes’ Homeland, but doesn’t quite make Sopranos status. Kevin Spacey plays a Machiavellian-type politician weaving ambitious schemes to engineer himself into the Presidency. If you had to pick one person Spacey’s character seems designed around, it would have to be Dick Cheney because Cheney was put in charge of selecting G.W.’s running mate and ended up selecting himself, very similar to the op Spacey’s character unleashes in the first season. Peter Russo is a virtual dead ringer for Elliot Spitzer as far as looks go, although Spitzer is a very rich Jew and Russo is portrayed as a very poor Catholic, so the resemblance pretty much ends with their mutual fondness for hookers. The billionaire Ramon Tusk seems loosely based on Warren Buffet, although Buffet made his fortune in insurance and Coca-Cola, while Tusk is portrayed as a world-wide investor in atomic power who speaks fluent Chinese and is an avid bird watcher.

I particularly like the way the show reveals a massively-funded charity as being in bed with the very corporate interests the charity pretends to be working against. Nothing is as it appears to be in politics and wolves usually appear dressed as sheep.

Unfortunately, the muckraking press described in this show no longer exists. Yes, the part about politicians using and manipulating journalists by planting trial balloons goes on all the time. But there really aren’t any journalists working for any major media outlets doing real gumshoe investigative work on government corruption anymore. Those jobs no longer exist. Gary Webb was probably the last, and you saw what happened to him.

You might think Doug Stamper is Scooter Libby, but Richard Armitage would be a much closer guess, although Mike Kelly doesn’t have the physical presence of Armitage, a star linebacker for the Naval Academy. Naval intelligence has had a strong presence in global affairs since the Kennedy assassination and their alumni keep turning up as members of the Octopus squad, a club Armitage and Cheney may both belong to. Scooter had to fall on his sword and lost his law practice to protect Armitage, who was the real source of the Valerie Plame leak.

I was interviewed in High Times this month, by the way, and Paul Krassner asked me what really caused the recent crackdown on dispensaries. I began by saying “They” (meaning the Octopus), but this got edited somehow to say “The Feds.” Actually, there’s a huge gulf between the thousands of honest public servants who perform their jobs within the government with dignity and the Octopus players at the very top of the power pyramid who engage in enormous profit-making in guns and drugs while hiding behind a cloak of National Security. House of Cards would be far better if they tracked into this complex world. The first time I heard the words “Dick Armitage” was 1989, and Bo Grits had just returned from the Golden Triangle where he interviewed opium warlord Kuhn Sa, who told Gritz that Armitage was his biggest customer. They had to hide Armitage away for a few years, but he came back with a vengeance to take over the strongman role at the State Department.

The show did jump the shark, however, by having the Cheney character murder the Spitzer character. That clearly was a job better left to Armitage.

Return of the Nature Boys: The Source Family

235px-Wandervogel_greif.svg“Things are worse than they may seem. Let’s try my little scheme. Yeah! Dream! Some other dream.” Father Yod, Fire in the Sky

Check out the official symbol of the Wandervogel (traveling bird) society born on November 4, 1901, in Berlin as a back-to-nature group that worshiped freedom and the spirit of adventure. Although later co-opted by the Boy Scouts and the Hitler Youth, this society was an influence on the hippie generation, at least in Los Angeles.

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Eden Abez (George Aberle) wrote a song called “Nature Boy” about an enchanted lad who wanders far and wide spreading magic vibes. The song became a #1 hit for Nat “King” Cole in 1948. The song was really written about a group Abez hung out with in Laurel Canyon, headquartered at a pioneering raw foods restaurant run by John and Vera Richter, German immigrants trying to keep the original Wandervogel spirit alive. The group also included Gypsy Boots (Robert Bootzin) who opened his own health food store and would evolve into a major writer and prophet for the tribe.

My cousins knew two brothers from Flint Lake, Indiana, who went off to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to go surfing and came back looking like Buddhist monks. They spent the next ten years traveling around the country playing conga drums. The Nature Boy/Wandervogel spirit had obviously infected them.

yoddddBut the most interesting figure to emerge from this scene is Father Yod (James Baker) a decorated Marine who served in WWII and  founded his own organic vegetarian restaurant on Sunset Strip, a place made famous in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. Father Yod also created an important commune called The Source.

Father Yod had a council of 13 beautiful goddesses, some of whom became his wives, and some of whom bore his children. They lived with their extended tribe in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Yod was driven around in a white Rolls Royce and treated like a king, although he left the details of running the kingdom to the goddess council.

Ya_ho_WaI love this shot of Yod’s Temple Dragons (his sons), all of whom were very well-trained by their dad in bow-and-arrow as well as martial arts. Although the group worshiped peace and love, obviously nobody fucked with this commune when the Savage Sons were around.

Like many charismatic leaders of the hippie movement, Yod has been treated badly by the media, which usually paints him as a Manson-like cult leader. Isn’t it weird how anyone who tries to wear a ceremonial hat is branded a fraud and “occult” cult-leader, but when the Pope puts on a similar hat, it’s called “religion” and treated with the utmost respect? How organized religion pulls off this scam is beyond me. It’s all magic, and it all runs on the same spiritual juices no matter who wears the big hat or what that hat looks like.

Music is a major part of spirituality and Yod built a recording studio in the mansion for his improvisational jam sessions. These recordings were sold for a few dollars out of his restaurant, although today the records are avidly sought by a handful of devoted collectors. Yod’s lyrics can be difficult to decipher, but he comes off like an impassioned cross between Captain Beefheart and Howling Wolf .

Keep your eyes open for the documentary The Source Family opening next month. It made a huge splash at its recent debut at SXSW.

Here’s a link to one of their songs on Youtube I really happen to like.

The best mob film you never saw

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Ten years before The Godfather forged a mythic image of the Sicilian Men of Honor society, an Italian film exposed that same secret society’s inner workings, styles and rituals with a bit more clarity than Francis Ford Coppola was able to muster. After all, Coppola was working primarily off the testimony of a low-level snitch, so even though much of his film rings true for Italian-Americans, he hit some false notes.

One thing about The Godfather: you never hear the words “men of honor” even once, although you will find them sprinkled throughout Alberto Lattuada’s little-known masterpiece. The film is available for free streaming on Amazon Prime right now and I strongly suggest you check it out asap. But please don’t look up the wiki info first as it will only spoil the plot. The less you know, the more you will enjoy this film.

I have to wonder if it was based on an actual event. “Anatomy of a Hit” would be a good subtitle. It’s a black comedy and will keep you laughing, but there’s a reality lurking underneath this comedy. The psychological underpinnings of the Sicilian brotherhood of death and how that society operates are actually quite realistically revealed.

First abuse case against Catholic Church inspired by cannabis

Mea Maxima Culpa is a devastating HBO documentary on sex abuse inside the Catholic Church and includes an amazing detail. Did you have any idea how this scandal involving the Church actually started?

It started with a group of deaf men (who’d been sexually abused by the same priest as kids), hanging out later in life, smoking pot, and while smoking, they decide to take on the mission of seeing that priest defrocked in order to protect any more children from what they’d suffered. But after the Church did nothing to respond to their allegations, and after the courts said the statute of limitations had expired on the crime, the men put “wanted” leaflets with the priest’s picture on cars in front of the Milwaukee Cathedral. This act is what eventually blows open the doors of silence on the rampant sex child abuse going on virtually untouched and unabated, probably for centuries, within the Catholic Church, even though the Church knew the extent of the problem to the point of estimating the financial cost of settling the global cases as over $1 billion. Those deaf guys from Milwaukee eventually won the first of those settlements and created a landslide that has already paid out more than double the original Vatican estimate.

Don’t you find it strange that the original reefer madness was actually launched by the Vatican in the Middle Ages, when they made possession of cannabis proof of witchcraft and punishable by burning at the stake? And now cannabis has struck a nearly mortal blow to the Vatican as these child abuse cases have devastated the credibility of an institution already struggling to hold onto its flocks in the industrialized world.

And now today we hear the first Pope in 600 years is going to resign immediately after surviving a huge scandal involving his butler leaking secret documents to the press, a disclosure supposedly intended to purge deep corruption inside the Vatican? Or did I miss something?

During my freelance career, I did one story for the New York Times, by the way. It was on the National Theater for the Deaf. I think even then they clued me in on the fact that pot was popular in the deaf community.

Knights of Malta shift focus back to Europe?

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The Knights of Malta turn 900 today and remain one of the most powerful societies on earth, composed of some of the world’s richest Catholics. In Europe, you must prove eight generations of royal blood to be a full-fledged member. A lot of news reports are coming out about the society’s anniversary today, but nary a one mentions their intelligence connections, much less their assistance in the transfer of Nazi war criminals into safe havens and jobs in the newly-minted CIA. A lot of the top dogs at the CIA were, in fact, Malta Knights, including the most suspicious one of all, William Casey.

When the Protestant Revolution came to Europe, the Knights kept their membership in the club even when changing their religion, so in the hundreds of years of wars that followed, their secret meetings would certainly have been a most excellent venue for potential spy-craft. This was certainly true during WWII, when the German Knights obviously collaborated with their counterparts in North America. These Knights are undoubtedly sworn to assist each other in times of crisis and I’m sure that’s what they do.

On the surface this is a completely noble, charitable order with a $800 million annual budget used mostly to run hospitals and health clinics in the third world. This week however, they announced the intention of re-focusing their attention back to Europe to aid the 30 million chronically unemployed in their own lands. Soup kitchens and shelters will be set-up in the most devastated regions, which seem to include Greece and Great Britain. Globalization is creating third-world-like poverty conditions inside the industrialized nations, a trend spreading across North America. Much of this chronic poverty represents seniors who have no nest egg and little hope of finding employment.

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Here is what the Knight’s eight-pointed Malta Cross looks like. It was exaggerated a bit and beloved by the Nazis. This has to be one of the most powerful sigils in world when you think about it because the Malta Knights are one of the most copied secret societies in history. Dozens of fake orders of so-called Malta Knights exist today. Adding to this confusion, the Vatican has decided to recognize two splinter societies over the centuries, one of which is located in England and known as the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

maltakIn European high society today, the Knights are renown for their flashy red uniforms. Make no mistake about it, these Knights are the Pope’s Temple Dragons and always have been. Who knows? They may have even played some small role in the elimination of their historic competitors, The Templars, who had grown far wealthier before their sudden demise.

The Franklin Cover-Up Continues

Since I’m in Lincoln, Nebraska, for a Heads versus Feds debate at the Union, I give John DeCamp a phone call, and within minutes he shows up at my hotel for an hour-long interview. John is recovering from his second back replacement and was obviously in a great deal of agony, but he fielded my questions while taking numerous cell phones calls regarding his ongoing Columbine case (more on that later).

Even though few people know who he is these days, in conspiracy circles, John’s a huge celebrity. In fact, he was the first politician to attempt to blow the whistle on a nationwide pedophile network that he uncovered while a Nebraska State Senator.

After getting his law degree, John worked directly under William Colby in Vietnam when they launched the Phoenix Project, the largest assassination operation in American history. It was originally designed as the humane alternative to carpet bombing that killed indiscriminately.

Towards the end of the war, DeCamp ran “Operation Babylift” when all the half-American orphans were loaded up on cargo planes and brought home to the USA. John also led the drive to decriminalize marijuana in Nebraska after seeing the Dutch model in action on the way back from Vietnam.

But then John wrote his landmark book titled The Franklin Cover-Up that detailed the use of a local credit union by the CIA. The bank was being run by a pedophile who was also a rising star in the Republican Party. Although the main perpetrator, Larry King, did end up in jail for two or three years, many kids who tried to testify against him lost their lives or ended up serving much longer sentences as convicted perjurers. King was just the backstop to prevent the case from tracking into the Republican power structure. DeCamp decided to follow that trail.

This all broke out in the late 1980’s. Of course the media branded DeCamp as a conspiracy nut, and continuously ridiculed him. He was threatened. His children were threatened. He lost his political career.

One thing John did back then is fly to Penn State University with two boys who said they’d been flown there by Larry King to service a bunch of people after a football game. The boys identified Jerry Sandusky as one of their abusers. When confronted with this information, Sandusky threatened a law suit and Penn State rallied behind him and defended Sandusky with all their power.

“The system protects itself,” is how Colby explained it to DeCamp. “Write a book, put in everything you know, then it won’t be necessary to kill you,” is the other advice Colby gave him, adding: “This is bigger than I thought.”  Shortly after giving that advice to his one-time aid, Colby turned up mysteriously drowned in a canoe accident while his half-eaten dinner was still on the table.

The calls John is getting today are all coming from the ongoing Columbine case. “They just sealed the records for another 25 years,” he complains. “If I can get those records opened, I can prove both boys were being abused by a prominent local law enforcement official.”

Initially, DeCamp tried to sue the pill company who produces Luvox, but he somehow got levered off the case and a former lawyer for that same pill company replaced him. Now he represents a boy who got injured in that shooting and put on Luvox and also lost his mind to the drug. So I ask John what he thinks about all these shootings, while telling him upfront I think the pill companies are spreading the lies that these are MK/Ultra-style Manchurian Candidate brainwashing operations, when, in fact, the kids are just going crazy from all the pills and video games.

“The truth usually turns out to be somewhere in the middle,'” he says.

The Conspirator: an overlooked film on Lincoln’s assassination

I just watched a film about the Lincoln assassination on Netflix. It’s a Robert Redford production that was released a couple of years ago, but it didn’t even hit my radar back then. But the film certainly strikes some timely chords today.

The Conspirator shows how Secretary of War Edwin Stanton completely controlled the investigation into Lincoln’s assassination, which concentrated only on finding minor characters on the fringe of the conspiracy, but did nothing to locate the actual figures in command of the situation. I’ve written earlier about the possible involvement of Albert Pike, a Confederate General, in Lincoln’s assassination. At some point, the possibility of a much larger conspiracy will have to be addressed. Pike, after all, was the most powerful Mason of his time. Lincoln was not a member of the Masons. But Edwin Stanton certainly was.

Today many people seem to think John Wilkes Booth acted alone because that’s the only way political assassinations in this country are spun—probably to protect the guilty—but, in fact, the plot also included an attack on Secretary of State William Seward. Some people think Seward was marked for death in order to engineer the line of succession, but at the time of the assassination, the Secretary of State was not even in that line, which, by the way, has been re-tooled several times over the years.

In the movie, the conspirators are tried by military tribunal and experience none of the rights of a civilian trial. The film adeptly shows how Stanton cared little for civil rights. His only concern was to get some people hanged and hanged quickly. After this sham trial, a law would be passed insuring the rights of every American citizen to due process and a fair trial—even in times of war. Unfortunately, those rights seem to have been rescinded by the Patriot Act.

Hopefully, someday our rights to a fair trial will be returned. I’m sure future generations will look upon the Patriot Act and everything that followed, including the current sham trial taking place in Guantanamo Bay, with horror. After railroading Mary Surratt onto the gallows, the government was unable to convict her son John in a civilian trial 16 months later after he was captured following an extensive manhunt. John had participated in a failed attempt to kidnap Lincoln with Booth and then fled the country after discovering the plan had switched to an assassination plot. If a civilian court could not find John Surratt guilty, it’s doubtful his mother would have ever been convicted in a legitimate trial.

There are many stories told that Booth escaped, though, and the others were just patsies, since some members of Booth’s famous family have always asserted Booth did not die in a fire in a barn outside Port Royal as the government asserts, but, instead, another’s charred body was substituted and Booth walked free. Booth’s dentist ID’d the teeth in those charred remains as being Booth’s and the corpse did have a broken ankle, which Booth may have suffered after jumping to the stage following the assassination, although his diary claimed that happened later, during the escape when his horse slipped and fell. The mysteries linger. But I believe it was Booth who died in the barn, and he was killed to prevent him from spilling the beans on who actually paid for the assassination. We just know it involved a New York element.