Analysis

Childish Things

A challenge from award-winning authors/filmmakers, J. Neil Schulman and Brad Linaweaver

Words matter. Without clear definition there is no communication, only blather. Even blather has a definition.

As authors who respect language we have always resisted the idea that a word can mean anything the speaker or writer wants it to mean, as Humpty Dumpty does in Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there. The most misused word today is pedophilia.

Alice as drawn by her author

An accusation has been made that an Alabama politician had some kind of sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. All sorts of negative language can be used here without confusion. Instead, the talking heads in the media keep using the term “accused pedophile.”

The word used to mean “an ongoing sexual attraction to pre-pubertal children.” Human experience has long used biological puberty as the dividing line between childhood and adulthood. This is a case where creationists and evolutionists agree 100%. We see this preserved in religious traditions such as the bar mitzvah where a boy becomes a man at age 13, and the more recent bat mitzvah where a girl becomes a woman at age 12. We see it in classical literature where in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is considered in jeopardy of being an old maid at age 13.

Today “childhood” ends whenever a public official wants it to end. We see that when even a six-year-old can be tried for a felony as an adult and 14-year-olds are commonly transferred to be tried in adult criminal courts. See Wikipedia.

Apparently the parameters of pedophilia have changed. William Alan Ritch has been endeavoring for years to figure out the new meaning based solely on age difference. By that standard, the most notable example of age discrepancy is between God and Mary in the New Testament. We can use the Bible if everyone else does.

Here’s an idea. We would like to see the new definition of pedophilia in a law book, a medical journal, a dictionary or encyclopedia, a charter or other authoritative treaty. We need to know before we continue the hunt for pedophiles. Where is the definition of pedophilia? What the fuck is it?

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Sex Hunt


Back in the late 50′s / early 60′s, when I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was Sea Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridges (long before he picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue) as ex-Navy and now free-lance frogman Mike Nelson.

Now suppose that in every episode Mike Nelson, instead of SCUBA diving to retrieve lost bicycles or sunken nuclear missiles, had been hunting for sea witches: mermaids and other supernatural beings who by controlling waves and weather could capsize boats and murder sailors.

We only need to go back as far as 1692 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony town of Salem — only eight decades before delegates from Massachusetts signed the Declaration of Independence — to find the executions of women accused of using sexual wiles on innocent men, killing cattle and crops, and otherwise practicing evil sorcery.

Oh, but the idea of sea witch hunts as a TV premise in the 1960′s would have been more ridiculous than Gilligan’s Island, right?

Wrong.

The mentality that practices witch hunts is still with us today. Every day. On TV shows labeled as news and comedy, on the front page of the remaining daily newspapers, on the most advanced of communication media: the Internet.

It used to be that at least in Western post-Enlightenment cultures Radical Christian theocrats were the driving force behind witch hunts. Today the hunters — while as hostile to human sexuality as radical Islamic theocrats — represent themselves as secular modern protectors of women and children.

It would be easy for me to widen this article into writing about misguided hunts for all sorts of evildoers and evil-doing.

Yes, the Soviet Union embedded spies in Western governments and trade unions (including in Hollywood) but nonetheless non-Soviet-agent screen actors and screenwriters, some Communist fellow travelers, others just ordinary Hollywood liberals, were swept up onto hysteria-driven black lists.

As a libertarian I’ve been blacklisted from the other end of the political spectrum; my sympathies are never with those putting people on no-hire lists regardless of personal beliefs.

I could take us back to the 1980′s McMartin Pre-school trial, where accusations of day-care workers sodomizing pre-school children were brought to trial by the Los Angeles district attorney with testimony from toddlers also testifying about elephants being paraded across their romper room.

It would be easy for me to turn this article into accusations and counter-accusations about the political dirty-tricks used in the 2016 presidential election.

But if I’m going to take a blast from the past the most relevant is the 2006 Duke lacrosse case, a completely trumped-up multiple-rape prosecution based on a lying accuser, a case so egregious in its malicious prosecution the district attorney was disbarred.

Accused three

Rape, like murder and robbery, is a ubiquitous crime. My second novel, The Rainbow Cadenza, published in 1983 a few years before liberal-feminist Margaret Atwood’s ballyhoo’d paranoid anti-Christian / anti-male screed The Handmaid’s Tale — is a projection of a future rape culture, with all the implications explored.

Human beings can, and often do, lie, for all sorts of reasons. Revenge. Money. Fame.

Women are human beings, thus subject to the same motivations to lie as are men.

While some men are physically stronger than some women, many men are fat, deconditioned, and weakened by age. I know all about that: I’m a 64-year-old deconditioned male.

When in the late 1990′s I conducted an independent journalistic investigation of the Brown-Goldman murders that O.J. Simpson had been criminally tried and acquitted for — later resulting in my 1999 book The Frame of the Century? — the Los Angeles Times‘s editors informed me they could not join in my investigation of an alternate suspect because unless the police were investigating my suspect for a crime a newspaper could not do their own investigation.

Yet today Woody Allen accuser Mia Farrow’s son — Ronan Farrowm having joined in his mother’s never-tried accusations against Allen — is published in The New Yorker now having moved on to making criminal accusations against Harvey Weinstein, as of now not brought before a grand jury or brought to trial.

Weinstein’s accuser made no criminal complaint against Weinstein at the alleged time of the rape. There was no session with the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit. There was no forensic rape kit done to support the accusation. There is now only a years-belated accusation when it is popular in the media to hang the witch.

Harvey Weinstein has lost his much-honored production company over these media-carried but as yet uncharged accusations, published without proof in major media

Now Kevin Spacey has lost his Netflix series House of Cards and future Netflix production relationship because of decades-old gossip that he made homosexual advances toward a biologically post-pubescent man. Fourteen isn’t a man? Tell that to Blaize Teague, a 14-year-old being tried as an adult for murder in Oklahoma.

I am a political enemy of Harvey Weinstein, who supports nullifying the right to keep and bear arms. Nonetheless accusation by major media prior to trial is the method of witch hunters and blacklisters.

I have never worked with, met, or ever been in communication with Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, or people who might have put my work in front of their eyes.

Libertarians have argued that reputation is an idea that exists only as an idea in people’s heads, and is therefore not subject to action to prevent people from writing or talking about it.

But this is the same intellectual bullshit that is used against a novel, song, or movie once it no longer is confined to someone’s brain as an ineffable idea but exists as an observable and quantifiable artifact in the common world.

Once the accusation against someone exists in the real world it had real-world effects, and should be subject to the same limits as any other assault and battery. You’re free to swing your arm only until it hits someone else.

You’re free to spread accusations only insofar as you can prove them true, otherwise if it’s costing your victim her or his ability to work you’ve become the criminal.

Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey are victims of criminal libel until that moment that a jury finds them guilty of criminal conduct.

Anything less than that standard is granting to accusers the right to be believed without the proof a civilized Enlightened society demands.

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Condolences

My deepest sympathies go out to Donald. J. Trump.

Not to the President of the United States, who is a crat.

But Mr. Trump, who I liked for years as star of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice, made the worst decision of his life in deciding to give up show biz for politics and doing it in a spectacular reality-TV coup of starting out his political career as President.

Mr. Trump’s dire fate would have been halved if he’d managed to get the nomination of the Democratic Party instead of the Republican Party.

But it would have been impossible.

Mr. Trump knew the GOP primaries were honest races while the Democratic primaries were corrupt farces where superdelegates — as Bernie Sanders later learned — rigged the party nomination for their annointed candidate.

The Bush family dynasty to this day knows Jeb Bush would have assumed his rightful place as the party’s nominee if only the GOP had the foresight to have superdelegates just like those who gifted Hillary with the Democratic nomination.

So Donald J. Trump became the communist/nihilist left’s latest Evil Republican, in line of succession of Nixon, Reagan, Bush — evil because the Republican Party still wears the Uncle Sam suit for the troops, the flag, the cops, the Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance — everything the commies have been trying to destroy for over a century — in essence, trying to bring down America and Americanism.

By the 1930′s the Democratic Party had adopted all Norman Thomas’s Socialist Party planks.

By the 1950′s Democratic Party operatives were pushing the Soviet Union’s attempts for unilateral American disarmament.

Today the Democrats line up with opposing the foundations of this country — anything named after Columbus, honoring the Founders, sports teams named after Native American symbols — because to the hateful left America isn’t the country whose brand-new states were the worldwide first to prohibit slavery but in a despicable propaganda lie the foundation for White Supremacy.

And all the establishment Republican Party can do is try to conserve their privilege. They no longer have principles as actual conservatives to conserve.

The Democrats are scum.

The Republicans make the profession of whoring look good.

Into this political cesspool — more accurate than swamp — came a successful businessman trying to Make American Less Scummy.

Donald J. Trump
Donald J. Trump

Hollow Talking Heads lie about him every day.

They lie that the totality of Donald J. Trump’s business practices were fraudulent.

They lie that he had no success in business.

They lie — based on a hidden mike recording in which Trump told the truth about groupies, that “if you’re a celebrity they let you grope them” — and these propagandists won’t acknowledge that the word “let” means permission — and claim that Trump is a rapist.

Oh, and their lie that Trump is a hired stooge for the third-world strongman, Vladimir Putin?

Forbes Magazine reports Donald Trump’s wealth has decreased by 16% — $600 million — since he became president.

Yeah, Putin made Trump rich.

Lying scumbags.

So we get to Trump making a phone call to a recent widow of a fallen soldier, while she’s sitting in a limousine waiting for an Air Force jet to bring his body home. It’s not a phone call that Donald Trump even needs to make. It’s more traditional to write a letter. But Trump is a hands on guy who likes to bring on the personal.

What Mr. Trump doesn’t know — what his White House staff either fucked up on or because their loyalty is to party apparatchiks deliberately fucked their boss on — is that there’s an opposition party Congressional representative sitting in that limo listening in — and whatever Mr. Trump says in condolence is going to be spun against him in the Never Trump Media.

I’m an anarchist. Mr. Trump is the Head of State.

But even I have to feel sorry for the poor son of a bitch.

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Condemning Both Sides Now

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
–Joni Mitchell

The media firestorm condemning President Donald J. Trump is not because of what the President said last Saturday denouncing the political violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, but because Trump refused to condemn only one side’s violence.

Trump is a few years older than I am and I remember anti-Vietnam War protests infiltrated by communists carrying North Vietnamese flags. Communists also tried to take over Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights marches.

A protest against removing a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee doesn’t make all those protesters Nazis, KKK, or White Supremacists any more than communists turned anti-war protests or civil-rights marches into communist rallies

I’m a libertarian who is neither left nor right. Attempts to align libertarians with either the right or the left have repeatedly proved to be disastrous.

You go to the left and find politically-correct socialists. You go to the right and find pietistic social conservatives. You go as far as you can to the left and you find communist dictatorships. You go as far as you can to the right and you find fascist dictatorships.

Nazis don’t exist on any political spectrum. Adolf Hitler’s surreal movement might as well be the extraterrestrial Kanamit people-eaters from the classic Rod Serling-Damon Knight episode of The Twilight Zone, “To Serve Man.”

There are no neo-Nazis, just demented political cosplayers who think putting on Nazi wardrobe and performing Nazi salutes will bring them power. They might as well jump straight to worshipping H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu, which would at least have the virtue of being performance art.

The twentieth century saw rival totalitarian movements repeatedly at war. Nazis murdered many millions; Communists murdered many more millions.

In America (excluding Hollywood) it was generally understood that Nazis and Communists were equally diabolical; yet socialism and fascism managed to gain political footholds in domestic policies. Those footholds have gotten worse in the post 9/11 21st Century as an Espionage-Post-Industrial Complex that leverages all major education, communication, and entertainment media, and have turned them into engines of mass brainwashing.

Donald J. Trump is not a libertarian, nor is he an ideologue of any sort. He’s not an alien invader like Hitler; but neither does Trump exist on any conventional political spectrum. Donald Trump is not a great demented planner like Lenin, Mao, or Hitler; he’s a billionaire capitalist who learned how dysfunctional government is from direct experience and decided to make America less self-destructive. His slogan overreaches: Donald Trump wants to Make America Work Again.

But one thing Donald Trump is good at is recognizing how the Major Media is operated as a cabal that echos throughout thousands of channels only a narrow spectrum of permitted opinion, with socialism at its left boundary and fascism at its right boundary — variants only of totalitarian social control.

How the illusion of marketplace competition has constructed a propaganda engine worthy of any totalitarian regime — suppressing any actual media organs regularly voicing radical anti-control dissent — is beyond the scope of this article. (When it’s written it won’t be by me but by Brad Linaweaver.)

When across what is portrayed as a supposed political spectrum the President is universally criticized for being evenhanded in his condemnation of all evil thugs — as if an open-eyed American view of anti-individualist thugs is a crime — we have all the proof anyone needs that once again — like the Hitler-Stalin Pact 68 years ago — socialists collude with fascists in unified opposition to individual rights and liberties.

Stalin and Ribbentrop
Soviet Communist Dictator Stalin and Nazi German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop shaking hands after the signing of the pact on August 23, 1939

Let me be clear. I do not consider Robert E. Lee, general for a confederacy that maintained race-based plantation slavery, to be a hero. Robert E. Lee fought for villainy.

But if people who pay their taxes want Robert E. Lee’s statue in a tax-supported park, that’s no more a crime than favoring a statue of Union war-criminal Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

General Sherman Memorial, Washington DC
General Sherman Memorial, Washington DC

The thing about Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists is that neither is a movement that has political reality in 21st Century America.

Real totalitarians, by a magician’s trick divided into right and left, do have political reality; and they control the media owning the stage and targeting the mirrors.

Socialism is every bit as evil as fascism; the words themselves — “socialism” and “fascism” — may make a distinction without any real difference.

Those who denounce insufficient condemnation for dead evils — Nazis, KKK, White Supremacy — yet turn a blind eye to the living horrors of socialism as we see today in North Korea, Venezuela, and on American college campuses — are the enemies of liberty and I will not rest until they are so recognized.

Trump tweet

Alt-Control-DELETE

Ironic

Athwart

NOTE: Per my previous article I’m still behind on current utility bills. Contributions using the “Like It — Reward It” link on this page, that keep the lights on while my agent seeks a sale of one of my screenplays or books, is greatly appreciated. — Neil

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Moneyball Healthcare

Remember the book and movie Moneyball, about how Oakland Athletics manager Billy Beane used a microbudget (compared to far-better-funded major-league baseball teams) to bring his team to the playoffs in 2002?

The U.S. Senate is about to debate a House Republican bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.

Lobbyist TV spots I get here in Nevada are begging GOP Nevada Senator Dean Heller not to repeal Nevadans’ healthcare. The deception in these spots is the unstated communist-socialist-fascist assumption that without taxpayer funding paying for health insurance — and bureaucrats running it — there can’t be any healthcare.

Yet I grew up in the 50′s and 60′s — a time with far less robust medical treatments — when medical doctors made house calls and a hospital stay wasn’t that much more expensive than a hotel stay.

Sam Jaffe as Doctor Zorba on Ben Casey
Sam Jaffe as Dr. Zorba on “Ben Casey”

Healthcare — before government and private insurers bid up the prices with Medicare, Medicaid, and employer-paid-for health insurance — was already affordable to ordinary people.

Cuba — because of its communist economy — has to be one of the poorest countries on earth. Yet because Cuban doctors and hospitals have so little money they have done what indie filmmakers do as compared to the big movie studios: innovate cheaply. Havana’s Center of Molecular Immunology has developed an anti-lung-cancer vaccine called CimaVax that treats both current and genetically likely patients.

My point is emphatically not that a low-budget approach to finding cures produces superior results to an approach with much more money. The visual effects of a $180 million movie are going to be far superior to the visual effects of a movie made for $200,000.

My point is that for people of limited means low-budget healthcare solutions should not be driven out of the marketplace and denied them.

Have you heard of Medical Tourism? Countries like Thailand, India, and Singapore have state-of-the-art hospitals and medical personnel offering surgeries and treatments at half off or less than the equivalent care sold in the United States — and without the rationing and life-threatening delays in countries with socialized medicine.

So while Republican senators debate the replacement of Obamacare only discussing how socialized medicine can be funded without further bankrupting the United States, returning healthcare to price-suppressing market competition isn’t even on the agenda.

If a doctor in Cuba or Thailand can “moneyball” medical treatments in those poorer countries, why can’t they do it here?

Create Medical Enterprise Zones in the United States — free from taxes, regulations, and other market impediments — where foreign doctors can provide treatment to Americans at the same discounted prices they do in their own countries to “medical tourists.”

Let Cuban doctors treat Americans with their breakthrough cures right here in America.

Why should foreigners not come here with their excellent but cheap healthcare to Make America Great Again?

Liberating Healthcare

So Can Americans

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Triple Jeopardy


O.J. Simpson is back in the news. Tomorrow, July 20, 2017, O.J. goes before a Nevada parole board that may release him after serving nine years in prison. Never having had a firearm in his hands during the incident for which he was tried, Simpson was convicted of armed robbery — with corollary charges — of a former business associate who had in fact stolen from Simpson for resale O.J.’s personal memorabilia. O.J. Simpson was trying to recover that stolen property in the presence of armed security.

The Nevada conviction was for doing only things O.J. Simpson had every right to do.

But the actual reason behind this kangaroo trial was political. Nevada prosecutors and a judge colluded to imprison O.J. Simpson for the California double murders for which he was acquitted after a criminal jury trial in California Superior Court.

I consider the retrial of Simpson in a second California Superior Court — in which he was found civilly liable for those same murders — violates the spirit of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which reads, “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

Don’t tell me there’s no being “put in jeopardy of life or limb” when extrajudicial proceedings from a second civil trial can put you in prison in another state where you might get shanked.

That aside, the failed California prosecution’s “mountain of evidence” — despite O.J. Simpson’s criminal acquittal — has convinced the same media pundits who now invent news saying Vladimir Putin conspired to install Trump as his White House puppet — to this day report that Simpson is guilty of those murders.

Every one of these elitist talking heads who consider themselves smarter than the jury who considered testimony and evidence for eleven months — then acquitted O.J. Simpson in less than a day — never consider that the forensic evidence was a frame-up of Simpson by the actual murderers who lured O.J. Simpson to the bloody murder scene and manufactured other evidence tying Simpson to the crime.

Ridiculous?

Not according to forensic experts.

I wrote a book titled The Frame of the Century?. It’s still on sale at Amazon as a 1999-published trade paperback.

Some audio links to a radio show I appeared on promoting the book with trial witness Ron Shipp calling in — can be found on the publisher catalog page.

The Frame of the Century?

Beginning with his criminal trial then closely studying new evidence brought out in his civil trial, I became convinced that all that might have been proven in two trials was that at some time after the murders and before the police arrived, O.J. Simpson had driven to the murder scene of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and an unfortunate waiter, Ronald Goldman, and transferred a few drops of blood to his Bronco and from there to his Brentwood home.

My best theory is that O.J. Simpson was lured to the murder scene by his ex-wife, Nicole, phoning O.J. while being held at knife-point. It being a local call from landline to landline there would have been no billing records for detectives to find, and any redial would have been foiled by LAPD Officer Robert Riske using Nicole’s house phone to call in the homicide.

To me everyone was always asking the wrong question about O.J. Simpson’s claim that he was framed. His defense team accused a racist and corrupt LAPD officer of framing Simpson — never an implausible scenario if you’re familiar with LAPD history — but the question that had never been asked nor answered was whether the killer or killers — or an accomplice — could have diverted suspicion by planting evidence against Simpson.

It would have had to be an inside job by someone with forensic expertise. I identify in my book someone whom a Venn diagram places in both circles.

In my book I examined a number of Brown-Goldman murder scenarios, but the one which has become the most prophetic is where I suggested that even the DNA blood evidence against O.J. Simpson could have been manufactured in a laboratory, really needing only the knowledge that it was possible.

I wrote,

But there was one additional possibility I discovered. If you didn’t have enough of O.J.’s blood, Dr. Frankenstein could make more for you.

Dr. Frankenstein, as it turns out, could be anyone with a high school diploma and a job in a biochemistry lab. Any lab doing criminalistics would do. So would most university labs. It just required a device called a thermal cycler used for PCR testing of DNA, and common lab equipment such as a blood centrifuge.

Five thousand bucks worth of lab equipment that could be ordered on an 800 line, paid for by credit card, and delivered by mail, anonymously—and another couple of hundred dollars in chemicals. The techniques had been in use for a decade, and everybody who worked in the field knew it could be done.

Any policeman who’d ever spent any time talking to a lab technician, or had to be briefed on DNA procedures for a criminal case, would know about it, too.

He’d need a drop of O.J.’s blood, as a reference sample. Type the red blood cells for ABO and enzymes. Do PCR on the white blood cells to clone the DNA—as much as you need. Shipp wouldn’t even necessarily need a drop of O.J.’s blood as a reference sample. If he had a lab blood report giving O.J.’s ABO type, ESD, and PGM subtype—used in case O.J. needed a blood transfusion— then all he would need is a sample of O.J.’s DNA—and he could get that from a used Kleenex, or a fingernail clipping, or a follicle from O.J.’s hair.

Now you get a test tube of blood of the same ABO type. Centrifuge the blood to separate the red and white blood cells. Heat the red blood cells carefully to destroy the enzymes, while preserving the ABO typing, and pour in enzymes matching your reference sample. Then take the white blood cells and subject them to X-rays or short-length ultraviolet to destroy the DNA. Do PCR testing on the white blood cells to make sure none of the DNA is left. If it is, give them more radiation.

Then take the DNA you’ve cloned using PCR and mix well with the now DNA-free white blood cells, and mix it back with the red blood cells.

Voila. Instant O.J., suitable for use at the crime scene of your choice.

–J. Neil Schulman, The Frame of the Century,
Pages 93-94, Pulpless.Com, June, 1999

Nobody at the time I wrote this took it seriously. Crazy Neil.

Nobody, that is, until August, 2009, when Forensic Science International: Genetics — reported on in The New York Times described in detail precisely how DNA blood evidence could be created in a laboratory and planted at a crime scene.

According to The New York Times article,

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

I’m not even the first writer to get this idea of planted DNA produced. The November 18, 2009 (Season 11, Episode 9) of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, “Perverted,” had this as its plot line.

There was no eyewitness testimony to O.J. Simpson committing these murders. There was no security footage of the crime. The entire case — the mountain of evidence — was based on O.J. Simpson walking in the blood, supposedly dropping two gloves — one at the crime scene, one on his estate — and driving like a terrified rabbit from the murder scene back to his house.

The frame up was actually easy for someone who had access to O.J.’s bedroom with Aris black leather gloves and Bruno Magli shoes, and both house and Bronco keys casually left in the kitchen — both facts that were testified to in O.J.’s criminal trial.

In my book I proved that the person who fits the Venn Diagram committed perjury during his prosecution testimony against O.J. Simpson.

Being declared “not guilty” by a jury in modern America is just nowhere near enough to avoid a lengthy prison term and a reputation being ruined.

That O.J. Simpson, though acquitted by a criminal trial jury of the crime, committed the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman is something everybody knows.

And endless repetition by media pundits — convincing to prosecutors, jury, and judge in another state — was enough to take away his liberty on unrelated bogus charges for nine years.

That was triple jeopardy.

O.J. Freed Tweet

JNS and O.J.

OJ Tweets

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Con Air — Treating Commercial Airline Passengers As Criminals


Remember 1997′s movie Con Air, about a prisoner-transport flight?

A few years later after 9/11 all commercial airlines became prisoner transport flights.

Con Air Poster

I once was offered a free travel voucher for a future flight to give up my confirmed seat. I pocketed the voucher and took my existing ticket to another airline and was in the air within two hours.

That said, we have to stop acting as if an airline ticket is any sort of “contract.” It isn’t. There’s no such thing as a contract where one party has rights and the other party has none. What exists today in the commercial airline industry, pretending to be contracts, are weasel words written by lawyers that promise precisely nothing. Airline ticket boilerplate language is adapted from railroad ticket boilerplate which also promised absolutely nothing. These non-contracts are enforced by government at all levels, capriciously arresting any passenger who asserts his rights.

United Airlines doesn’t have a leg to stand on even by its own convoluted rules. See United Airlines’ Contract of Carriage Document. It turns out that the United flight wasn’t “oversold” as originally claimed and that United’s own procedures do not include mandatory disembarkation of already boarded passengers but only apply to ticketed passengers denied boarding on oversold flights — neither condition applying in the case of a seated passenger violently assaulted by rent-a-cops at the demand of United employees.

United employees and their goons, whether government cops or rent-a-cops, need to go to prison for aggravated assault on and false arrest of Dr. David Dao.

So let’s recognize how United and other commercial airlines treat paying passengers for what it is: corporate-statist horseshit meant to dominate the passenger who has zero legal rights.

The commercial airlines are not operating in a free market but are a restricted-trade cartel with the FAA, the TSA, and municipal airports enforcing the mercantilist rules. No free-market entity would be able to oversell the seats for a flight — competitors would immediately appear to sell tickets to the overflow and a market equilibrium would appear with flights departing under 100% capacity.

Airlines would have to compete for passengers not only with discounts but also more spacious seating, better food and beverage service, comfortable rest rooms, Internet access, electric power, and in-flight entertainment.

But airlines don’t have to compete for passengers because the competition is locked out. The FAA is in collusion with the commercial airlines to restrict competition:

FAA Grounds ‘Uber for Planes’

Back in the 1960′s when I started flying an economy seat on a Boeing 747 had more spacious seats, gave access to a passenger lounge, and served meals and snacks superior to First Class service today.

Screw the commercial airlines. Screw any government-guaranteed mercantilist cartel.

Here are a couple of outfits that want to do to the commercial airline cartel what Uber and Lyft did to the medallion taxicabs:

The Uber for Air Travel? Meet ImagineAir

‘Air Uber’ seeks to take off

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The Paranoid Thriller

This article is adapted from an Amazon reader’s review I wrote in June 2010 of Glenn Beck’s novel The Overton Window. A lot of people who are not Beck fans likely didn’t read it so I’ve decided to publish it as a stand-alone essay. — JNS

It’s probably no surprise to anyone who’s read my books, but I’m a long-time fan of what might best be called the Paranoid Thriller.

“Paranoid Thriller” isn’t a book publishing category. You won’t find such a classification in the Library of Congress, or in the shelving system of Barnes and Noble. Amazon.com has the most cross-referenced indexing system of any bookseller I can think of and even it doesn’t seem to have that as a sub-category of fiction.

Technically — because these stories are often set in the “near future” or “the day after tomorrow” or sometimes in an alternate history — the Paranoid Thriller is a sub-genre of science fiction. But usually, beyond the element of political speculation, there are none of the usual tropes of science fiction — extraterrestrials, space, time, or dimensional travel, artificial intelligence, biological engineering, new inventions, scientists as action heroes, virtual realities, and so forth.

I’m sure even this list shows how outdated I am when it comes to what’s being published as science-fiction these days, which within the publishing genre has abandoned all those cardinal literary virtues of clarity, kindness to the reader, and just good storytelling in favor of all those fractal fetishes that previously made much of “mainstream” fiction garbage unworthy of reading: dysfunctional characters, an overwhelming sense of helplessness and despair, and of course hatred of anything ever accomplished to better the entire human race by old dead European-extraction white men.

The Paranoid Thriller is an atavistic throwback to earlier forms of literature. There are suspense plots, adventure, a focus on characters driven to make decisions by intellect rather than addiction, and — God bless them! — often enough a happy ending after you’ve ploughed through the wreckage caused by the miserable wretches who actually make life decisions based on the gulf oil sludge that passes for literature in those committees who for the last few decades have been passing out once-worthy awards to writers who if they tried to tell a story around a campfire would soon find themselves alone, talking to the coyotes.

And with some poetic justice eaten by them.

The Scream by Edvard Munch
The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Paranoid Thriller is not actually based on any emotion, much less fear. The Paranoid Thriller is specifically a type of intellectual libertarian literature, the purpose of which is to sound a clarion call to wake up the sleepwalkers among us who have been hypnotized by government-run schools, socialist-dominated universities, misanthropic organs of popular culture, and cynical destroyers of all sense of public honor or decorum for fun, profit, and sick love of power.

The Paranoid Thriller is the literature of liberation — and often enough, the cinema of liberation as well.

The Paranoid Thriller is step-brother to the Dystopian novel, such as Yvgeny Zamyatin’s We, Ayn Rand’s Anthem, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and George Orwell’s Nineteen-eighty-four, and brother to the espionage novel — everything from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels to John Le Carre and Tom Clancy’s spy novels; and at least kissing cousin to alternate history thrillers like Brad Linaweaver’s 1988 Prometheus Award-winning novel, Moon of Ice, about a Cold War not between the United States and the Soviet Union but between a non-interventionist libertarian United States and a victorious Nazi Germany.

Some good examples of the Paranoid Thriller?

In books, let’s start with Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here, the story of an American president who rises to power by enforcing a Mussolini-type fascism in America, published three years after the movie Gabriel Over the White House enthusiastically endorsed such a presidency, well into the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who did it for real, and a year after Adolf Hitler became the Führer of Germany.

Three years before Jack Finney’s novel The Body Snatchers was serialized in Colliers, Robert A. Heinlein’s 1951 Doubleday hardcover novel, The Puppet Masters crossed genre between futuristic science-fiction and the Paranoid Thriller — in effect creating an entire new genre of Paranoid Science-Fiction Horror — in which unlike H.G. Wells’ invaders from Mars in The War of the Worlds who had the decency to exterminate you, the alien invaders instead jumped onto your back and controlled your brain making you their zombie.

But then again, Heinlein had already created the Ultimate Paranoid Thrillers in his 1941 short story “They” and 1942 novella “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” — over a-half-century before The Wachowski Brothers’ 1999 movie The Matrix — in which the entire world is a vast conspiracy to convince one man of its reality.

Jumping two decades forward I’ll use as my next example Ayn Rand’s 1957 epic Atlas Shrugged, in which the Soviet-refugee author warned how the United States — by following the path of a kindler, gentler socialism — could end up as the fetid garbage dump that had devolved from her once European-bound Mother Russia.

The Cold War gave us several classic Paranoid Thrillers about either attempts at — or successful — Soviet communist takeovers of the United States.

We had Richard Condon’s 1959 brilliantly ironic novel — adapted into a wonderful movie in 1962 — The Manchurian Candidate, about a Soviet agent who controls both her son — a brainwashed assassin — and her husband, an anti-Communist United States Senator loosely based on Joseph McCarthy who comes close to securing his party’s nomination for president.

Less well known were the pseudonymous Oliver Lange’s 1971 novel Vandenberg, about a Soviet takeover of the United States, or In the Heat of the Night author John Ball’s 1973 Soviet takeover novel, The First Team, in which a single undetected American nuclear submarine holds the hope for forcing the Soviets out of their occupation of America.

Likewise, fears of appeasement of the Soviet Union led to Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II’s 1962 novel, Seven Days in May, about a Pentagon General’s attempt to overthrow the President — which two years later Rod Serling adapted into a Burt Lancaster/ Kirk Douglas movie directed by John Frankenheimer, who two years earlier had directed Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate.

Television gave us the classic Patrick McGoohan 1967-1968 paranoid thriller TV series, The Prisoner, granddaddy to all the knock-offs of people kidnapped by mysterious forces and transported to gilded cages and danger-filled islands.

Movies gave us:

  • The Parallax View (1974)
  • Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977)
  • Rollover (1981)
  • Red Dawn (1984)
  • JFK (1991)
  • Absolute Power (1997)
  • Wag the Dog (1997)
  • Murder at 1600 (1997)
  • The Siege (1998)
  • Arlington Road (1999)
  • Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Yes, Josie and the Pussycats — though played as a comedy — eminently qualifies for the genre.

I could go on and on — Wired-magazine-founder Louis Rosetto, Jr.’s pre-Watergate-written Paranoid Thriller novel of President Nixon’s coup d’etats, Takeover — published in January 1974 just six months before Nixon was forced from office; John Ross’s 1996 post-Waco/post Oklahoma City bombing novel Unintended Consequences.

In that sub-genre of the Economic Paranoid Thriller we have financial writer Paul E. Erdman’s 1976 Paranoid Thriller The Crash of ’79 (Erdman had good reason to be paranoid — he’d served time in a Swiss prison for financial fraud); and Nixon-administration economic mavens Herbert Stein and his son Benjamin Stein’s 1977 novel of America suffering from hyperinflation, On the Brink.

My own 1979 novel, Alongside Night, just misses being in the Paranoid Thriller category only because hyperinflation and government conspiracy is only the launching point for a novel which is mostly an exploration of how the principles of the Declaration of Independence might be implemented by a “new guard” other than re-upping the Constitution of the United States after its failure to maintain a limited government — as is the endgame of Atlas Shrugged.

Let me start by saying everything the mainstream critics say about a novel in this genre is usually true. They’re talky. Critics use the words “preachy” and “didactic” a lot. There are long speeches — even by the villains, who like many destructive people are disappointed idealists. Events of the novel often seem to have been picked not because they advance the plot but because they’re popular topics in the news. Characters and the narrator often quote the Founding Fathers as if they’d written the Bible.

Screw these critics all to hell. These are what make a novel worth reading.

Why in the name of God would anyone waste a moment of their precious reading time on a novel that doesn’t have ideas, doesn’t have characters who are capable of making coherent speeches, doesn’t have an author who thinks he knows something worthwhile and has a passion to gift you with them?

What the mainstream literary critics use to condemn novels in this genre are the very virtues that makes them literature.

Think I’m sounding defensive here?

No, I’m on the offense, and have been ever since these same bogus standards were used by uncreative drones to make lame attacks on my novels, decades ago.

Here’s how I answered them in my article “There Are Two Sides to Every Review” published August 10, 1980 in the Los Angeles Times Book Review:

1. “The writing is heavy-handed.”

The author says things explicitly.

2. “The story is melodramatic.”

The book is strongly plotted.

3. “The plot is contrived.”

The plot is original and intricately logical.

4. “The novel is polemical.”

The novel has a discernible theme.

5. “The novel is preachy.”

The theme phrases a moral proposition.

6. “The book’s intent is didactic.”

The plot demonstrates practical consequences of the theme.

7. “The author manipulates characters.”

The characters do things that fit into the plot.

8. “The characters are two-dimensional.”

The characters are only shown doing things that fit into the plot.

9. “The book is Pollyannish.”

The author finds things in life that make it worth living.

10. “The story depends upon coincidence.”

Events in the story logically coincide.

11. “The book is a roman à clef.”

The characters are so realistically drawn, they can be confused with real people.

12. “The characters are unrealistic.”

The characters are shown being heroic, moral and intelligent, while the critic views his own character as cowardly, amoral and stupid.

13. “The author has no feeling for his subject.”

The author portrays things differently from what the critic thinks they are.

14. “The characters give speeches.”

The characters are capable of expressing a coherent viewpoint.

15. “This character is the author’s mouthpiece.”

This character makes more sense than the others.

16. “The book is utopian.”

The author thinks things can get better.

17. “The book is an exercise in paranoia.”

The author thinks things can get worse.

I find myself here — as both a novelist myself and a critic — having to be didactic, myself. I have to teach you the very standards that need to be used when criticizing a work of literature. I have to arm you with the very tools necessary to understand what it is that critics are trying to steer you away from — and why.

Critics who are not themselves practitioners of the art they are writing about are — with rare exceptions, caused by a dedication to reason and honesty above all else — the enemies of art. Without the ability to create it themselves, they are wannabes sitting on the sidelines envious, spiteful, and on a mission to destroy that which they, themselves, do not have the power to create.

The failed artists — the one who gave up — tend to be the most dangerous of all.

Adolf Hitler was a failed painter. His hatred of Jews likely started because a Jewish art teacher had the strength of character to point out his failings.

Saddam Hussein was a failed novelist. As dictator of Iraq he self-published his novels and his minions forced people to buy them.

The Roman Emperor Nero played the lyre while Rome burned.

And Bill Clinton was either a failed saxophonist or someone who didn’t have the perseverance to find out if he could spend his life supporting himself doing it.

The critics who were never artists and the critics who are failed artists don’t like art that clearly communicates. They thrive on murk and obscurity. They shrink from any sort of standards. They hide behind a doctrine they’ve invented called deconstructionism, which when you strip away the academic veneer of respectability means that a work of art has no objective meaning at all, but means only what an audience member imagines it means.

Sonny boy, I did not go through eight drafts of my first novel — and more recently fourteen cuts of my first movie — because I don’t think I am capable of refining what I’m trying to communicate to my audience down to the subatomic level. Screw Heisenberg and his uncertainty principle when it comes to the business I have chosen to be in.

If my art does not communicate precisely and absolutely what I intend it to mean, either I have failed as an artist or I have failed to find an audience worthy of me.

My father did not practice the violin for hours every day for over half a century because he was satisfied with being sloppy in front of an audience without an ear to tell the difference. He heard the difference — and on that day when his strength and agility and hearing had failed him and he could no longer perform to the lofty standards he had set for himself, on that day he began to die.

Ayn Rand told her readers that an author’s job is to present facts instead of predigested conclusions, and let the reader make up their own minds.

I’ve given you my standards for judging a work of literature.

Use them, or don’t use them, to make up your own mind.

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Armed and Deadly Mouse


Betty Shelby is a Tulsa, OK, police officer about to be tried on manslaughter charges for shooting a passive, unarmed man named Terence Crutcher.

Shelby is a middle-aged white female.

Crutcher was a middle-aged black male.

Of course every talking head on TV is talking about this case through the lens of race.

I don’t think this case about about race.

I think this is about size and gender.

Mouse

Betty Shelby couldn’t confront a man who towered over her and outweighed her without her service handgun. Despite the man she was attempting to bark orders at not attacking her but moving slowly away from her with his hands raised, she saw him as a lethal threat. So when they reached an angle when she could not see his hands for an instant — and in her fevered imagination thinking he was reaching into his car for a weapon — she shot and killed him.

There was no gun in his car for Terence Crutcher to be reaching for. Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher because she panicked.

Do I need to say it? Maybe this death would not have happened if grandmothers were not given guns and badges with the expectation that a small woman is equally as enabled to bark control orders at a large man as — oh, I don’t know — another large man.

I’m 6’2″, obese, and have mobility issues. If Officer Shelby ordered me to my knees my failure to obey might well cost me my life because I’m not capable of complying and she would have panicked.

I don’t know who should be sent to prison for this manslaughter of a slow-moving, non-threatening, and unarmed man — Terrified Little Grandma Shelby or the idiot who hired her as a cop under the moronic theory that giving a mouse a gun makes it qualified to subdue a bear.

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National Healthcare is the Health of the State


Ever since the Libertarian Party was formed in December 1971 there has been a hope by some that electing libertarians to high office could slow or reverse the march to greater government control over private affairs.

We just had a crystal-clear proof that it’s a fatally-flawed theory.

In 2016 the American electorate voted for a Republican president and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress pledged to repeal the Democratic-Party-passed Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

The Republican leadership in the House and Senate crafted a bill that was alleged to do that. It would have repealed the tax penalty for those who did not purchase health insurance. But that’s about the only “repeal” that would have been meaningful since nothing in the bill would have lowered healthcare insurance premiums or expanded healthcare options.

Even that bill failed to pass, leaving the current laws unchanged.

Re-peel BananaCare!

Debates endlessly rehash everything except the obvious: only a small caucus of Republican legislators had any desire to repeal the ACA and the GOP replacement bill was merely a reshuffling of how government-provided benefits were to be managed.

After two terms of railing against the Democratic Party’s health-care law the Republican Party turned out to be derailed even for its own.

There’s a lesson here for all political observers, but particularly libertarians: socialistic programs, once enacted into law, can’t be repealed. Politics, itself, foils it.

Republicans and Democrats — and Libertarians, if ever elected to political power — are constrained by the nature of politics: a game of Three-Card Monte by which a mark is cheated out of his money. A politician shows only the benefits available to the mark and conceals the costs to the mark.

The Republicans never had any intent to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. It was empty campaign rhetoric.

Donald Trump knew that.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan knew that.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi knew that.

Freedom Caucus ally Senator Rand Paul knew that.

The only people who didn’t know it were the marks — the poor working American.

If Republicans want to repeal the Individual Income Tax ACA Mandate they can do that as a stand-alone bill.

If Republicans want to make it legal to purchase health-insurance policies across state lines they can do that as a stand-alone bill.

If Republicans want to make it legal for medical doctors, nurses, physicians assistants, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and witch doctors to practice throughout the United States regardless of where they studied and previously practiced, they can do that as a stand-alone bill.

If Republicans want to allow Americans to buy drugs and supplements across state and national borders without federal interdiction or penalty, they can do that as a stand-alone bill.

If Republicans want to stop the War on Drugs, they can do that as a stand-alone bill.

But they won’t because just as much as Democrats, Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone’s medical choices or well-being. All they care about is maintaining their ability to fleece you and hand out the benefits to those from whom they want votes.

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