Yes, Bill Maher, There Is A Planet B


Today, Earth Day 2017, thousands of people without a clue about what the scientific method is are “Marching for Science!” with picket signs reading, “THERE IS NO PLANET B.”

The Washington Post Health and Science: Why people are marching for science: ‘There is no Planet B’

It’s a clever pun on “Plan B” — a back-up plan.

Earthrise
Earthrise

These signs are being carried by people who are aware of an obvious truth and a less-obvious lie.

Here’s the obvious truth: Earth is a wonderful planet, home to the human race.

Here’s the less-obvious lie: Earth is both the cradle and the grave of the human race.

“There is no Planet B” is a phrase that could only be uttered by a “mundane” too flat-headed even to have taken seriously an episode of Star Trek, much less have read a science-fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, or Isaac Asimov.

It’s a political slogan engineered by plutocratic liars (who won’t even admit that Pluto is a planet) to promote the pseudo-science of man-made climate change to scam people who don’t understand that the ecology of Planet Earth is based on carbon dioxide being converted by chlorophyll-based plant life into oxygen breathed by animals, who then exhale carbon-dioxide that goes back to the plants.

And around and around and around she goes.

These scientific-illiterates call carbon dioxide “pollution” and spread the propaganda that carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas” — which would only be true if earth was a greenhouse without chlorophyll-based plant life like our neighboring planet, Venus.

Not a Greenhouse
Not A Greenhouse

On yesterday’s Real Time With Bill Maher the scientifically illiterate / imagination-challenged Bill Maher did a rant against those visionary businessmen who want to establish a human colony on Mars. “Fuck Mars!” the scientifically-illiterate / imagination-challenged Bill Maher said to wild applause from the scientifically-illiterate imagination-challenged mundanes in his studio audience.

Here’s a word for you, Bill Maher: terraforming. I won’t make you go to the brain-straining effort of looking it up in a dictionary. It means “earth shaping.” This is a word long-known to people who read books — you know, smart people. Terraforming means using science and engineering to take someplace dead and unfriendly to life and making it alive and friendly to life — literally making more Earths.

Here’s another word for you, Bill Maher: Panspermia. It’s the hypothesis that life didn’t originate on Earth but is widespread throughout the universe and came here from somewhere else.

Maybe even Mars.

But it doesn’t stop there. If Bill Maher has ever read a book written by anyone who can see farther than their own hood he’d have learned that scientists and engineers — people he’s never read nor apparently ever talked to — consider it not only possible but necessary to create space-based human habitats and industry to gather additional resources — including minerals and solar energy unfiltered by the earth’s atmosphere — to maintain the long-term ecological health of the Earth and preserve its life.

Wikipedia: “physicist Gerard K. O’Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space proposed the colonization of space for the 21st century, using materials extracted from the Moon and later from asteroids.”

O'Neill Colony
O’Neill Colony

You might start your education with Jerry Pournelle, PhD’s book A Step Farther Out.

A Step Farther Out

There’s not only a “Planet B” but an alphabet soup of planets, not just in this solar system but around stars just being looked at for the first time by telescopes scientists and engineers have launched to look from orbits above the earth’s atmosphere … and by probes that have taken closer looks at the other planets, moons, asteroids, and comets in our own solar system.

You live in Beverly Hills, Bill Maher. That’s a short drive to Caltech/NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. You might have the show you produce Vice take you on a visit.

Or you might just take a look at the lovely photo of Planet Earth that accompanies this article. It was taken by humans who flew a rocket to outer space.

Note: I have just purchased the domains PlanetBSociety — org, com, net, and info as a site to encourage human exploration, colonization, and industrialization outside the Earth’s atmosphere, including a near-future human homestake on Mars.

I’m looking to hand the creation of the Planet B Society and development and management of these domains to someone robustly committed to this goal, and in particular as a repudiation to those mundane custardheads demonstrating today for this planet, as wonderful as it is, to be the cemetery for the human species.

J Neil Schulman

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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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Rational Security

Two of my favorite authors – Robert A Heinlein and Ayn Rand – favored a limited government that would provide an effective national defense against foreign invaders and foreign spies. Rand died March 6, 1982; Heinlein on May 8, 1988 – both of them well before domestic terrorism by foreign nationals or immigrants was a major political issue.

Both Heinlein and Rand, however, were aware of domestic political violence, industrial sabotage, and foreign espionage by both foreigners and immigrants, going back before their own births — Rand February 2, 1905, Heinlein July 7, 1907.

Both Heinlein and Rand wrote futuristic novels portraying totalitarianism (including expansive government spying on its own citizens) within the United States. Both authors also portrayed in their fiction writing and discussed in their nonfiction writing the chaos caused by capricious government control over individual lives and private property.

In their tradition, I’ve done quite a bit of that, also, in my own fiction and nonfiction.

So has my libertarian friend author Brad Linaweaver, whose writings I try never to miss an opportunity to plug.

Brad, like myself, writes in the tradition of Heinlein and Rand – more so even than I do, since Brad also favors limited government while I am an anarchist. Nonetheless I am capable of making political observations and analysis from a non-anarchist viewpoint.

Three authors -- Heinlein, Rand, Linaweaver

We come to this day in which Brad and I find ourselves without the comfort and living wisdom of Robert A. Heinlein and Ayn Rand. We are now both in our sixties, old enough to be libertarian literary elders.

Oh, we’re not the only ones. L. Neil Smith still writes libertarian novels and opines on his own The Libertarian Enterprise. There are others of our “libertarian writers’ mafia” still living and writing, but none as politically focused as we are – and often, in our opinion, not as good at keeping their eyes on the ball.

We see a duly-elected president whose legitimacy has been severely compromised by the very national intelligence agencies tasked with protecting that legitimacy.

We see in the United States official government intelligence operatives tasked with detecting and disrupting foreign threats yet by ubiquitous domestic surveillance and selective leaks instead act to advance their own partisan policy objectives. This clandestine force has invented a completely false narrative — paralleling the John Birch Society’s paranoid charges against President Dwight D. Eisenhower — that President Trump is a Russian agent.

We see a foreign-based journalistic service, Wikileaks, that acts as the Fourth Estate intended by the American founders – informing the American people of what our government is up to behind our backs – while our domestic major media almost universally have replaced independent news coverage with partisan talking points and debate.

Our president, in his belief that the military needs to be well-outfitted to perform its job of national defense, nonetheless seems intent on outfitting the military to fight the last war, not the next ones.

We see the two major political parties debate existing and even new entitlements as if the government — already twenty trillion dollars in debt and with ten times that in unfunded mandates — has a way to pay for these transfers of earned wealth other than life-destroying taxes combined with increased reliance on Federal Reserve issued fiat money leading to life-destroying hyperinflation.

Oh, national defense? The excuse for that “limited” government?

It doesn’t work.

The American military is so bogged down in foreign quagmires there isn’t even enough money to pay for as basic a national defensive force as the United States Coast Guard.

The Transportation Security Administration — charged with stopping “another 9/11″ — commits daily sexual assault on airline passengers while attempting (often not even successfully) to disarm the very civilian passengers who time after time have been the only effective militia stopping terrorist attacks.

The government is so focused on keeping out foreign workers to “protect” American jobs that it fails to recognize that these same foreign workers – because of their local proximity — must be deputized as the front line of defense to detect the terrorists camouflaged among them.

Writing in the days immediately following the 9/11 attacks – before there was even a Department of Homeland Security joining a shadow government/deep state in being more afraid of the American people than actual foreign threats – I noted that the American people, well-armed and staged at points of weakness, had to be the primary defense against terrorist attacks planned in secrecy and launched without warning.

Instead we have a Security State that disables the people’s ability to defend and protect ourselves, and instead has become more of a threat to the people’s privacy and liberty than foreign and immigrant terrorists post-9/11 attacks.

That Security State is now a direct threat to whatever government Heinlein and Rand would have seen as necessary — especially the Executive.

I don’t know what to tell you to do to fix this problem since as an anarchist I have no faith in government to begin with.

I do know, however, that there are good people – I include in that President Trump and Brad Linaweaver – who think it conceivably can be fixed.

Short of a revolutionary libertarian underground such as the one I’ve portrayed in my novel and movie Alongside Night, I ask them:

How?

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The Fake Court


We’ve been hearing a lot in the news about applications for a “FISA court” warrant by someone in the executive branch — possibly by request of the 44th President, or the previous Attorney General, or by someone in the FBI, or elsewhere in the “intelligence” community — to conduct electronic surveillance in a building owned and occupied by the then Republican nominee for president, and currently the 45th President, Donald J. Trump.

But no application for such a warrant was ever made to a federal judge, appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.

So what is this so-called FISA court?

Let’s start with everything the Constitution of the United States has to say about the federal Judiciary and its jurisdiction:

Article III

Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Section 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;– between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

Amendment 4

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5

No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Amendment 6

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment 7

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment 8

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment 11

The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit, in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

Amendment 14

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ….

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Note the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution, which limit the jurisdiction of the federal government to only those powers specifically mentioned in the Constitution:

Amendment 9

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

US Courts

Now, here’s what Wikipedia tells us about FISA:

The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC, also called the FISA Court) is a U.S. federal court established and authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants against foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Such requests are made most often by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Congress created FISA and its court as a result of the recommendations by the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee.[1] Its powers have evolved to the point that it has been called “almost a parallel Supreme Court.”[2]

Since 2009, the court has been relocated to the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C.[3][4] For roughly thirty years of its history (prior to 2009), it was housed on the sixth floor of the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.[3][4]

In 2013, a top-secret order issued by the court, which was later leaked to the media from documents culled by Edward Snowden, required a subsidiary of Verizon to provide a daily, on-going feed of all call detail records – including those for domestic calls – to the NSA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/…/United_States_Foreign_Intelligen…

FISA court
Main article: United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and enabled it to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies (primarily the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency) against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the U.S. The court is located within the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C. The court is staffed by eleven judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve seven-year terms.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act#FISA_court

So, these 11 judges are not part of the federal judiciary. They are not appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. Their appointment by the Chief Justice of the United States may qualify them as clerks to the Chief Justice but the Chief Justice has no constitutional authority to appoint other judges, and such appointments made by the Chief Justice certainly do not meet the constitutional standard for considering or issuing warrants for anything — and certainly not in a secret kangaroo court.

We see now the “shadow” government has its own secret court and its own goons to carry out its secret orders.

The President of the United States is now learning that such powers have been targeting him and his administration in what appears like nothing other than an attempted coup d’etat by his political enemies, likely loyal to the previous president.

This is something that belongs not in our daily news but in a play by Shakespeare.

Edward Snowden went rogue to alert the American people to this danger.

President Donald Trump, who during his campaign declared Edward Snowden a traitor (he’s not; see the Constitution’s definition of treason quoted above) should reconsider his campaign statement and pardon Edward Snowden so that Snowden might return to the United States and advise President Trump as to what intelligence tools are being used by a hidden and unaccountable power structure to target whoever might attempt to bring them to justice.

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Troll


Good morning. It’s Monday morning, February 20, 2017, and this is J. Neil Schulman with commentary.

Today the Internet Movie Data Base — IMDb — deleted all its discussion boards. These were message boards for starting topics and posting replies on movies, television, and individuals who were credited in movies and television.

In 1999, seven years before I listed Lady Magdalene’s, my first movie, on IMDb, I started and replied to comments in the IMDb message boards. I found the discussions collegial and enjoyable.

IMDb.com is a division of Amazon.com, as is Withoutabox.com, a service for submitting independent films for festival play. IMDb encouraged indie filmmakers such as myself to make as much use of IMDb as possible to promote our films, including posting background info in the IMDb message boards.

So I did, and that’s when the message boards turned into a nightmare for me.

Withoutabox asked first-time directors to fill out a survey and encouraged us to share it to the IMDb message boards. One of the questions was obvious: what movie directors did we consider influences? I answered with my favorites: Kubrick, Hitchcock, Preminger.

The next thing I knew was a spate of messages: “Schulman thinks he’s the next Kubrick, Hitchcock, Preminger!”

Anything I replied after that was a Chinese finger trap: the harder I tried to pull away the tighter it held me.

From that day in 2006 through the shut down of the IMDb message boards today I was followed by what I soon learned were “trolls” — anonymous writers using multiple “sock puppet” accounts — who worked to destroy the lives and works of anyone working in the film or television business that they could.

Trolls Win

Did it require any actual reasons? I don’t know. I think it might be that it was the use of power for the sake of power. They did it because they could and it felt good to feel empowered, even if it was only the power to destroy. I don’t think any personal animus was even required.

I was a prime target. I was accused of making up the film-festival awards Lady Magdalene’s won. I was accused of writing the positive reviews my movie received, or having my friends write them. When I announced Kevin Sorbo would be starring in Alongside Night I was accused of lying about it.

IMDb has user ratings for movies that have started play, ratings from one to ten. The trolls used their multiple accounts so that overnight hundreds of “1″ ratings appeared for both my movies on days the movie had played nowhere for months, and from countries where the movie had never been seen. These ratings are quoted all over the Internet, including on Amazon’s own catalog pages.

Positive user reviews were called “fake” and downvoted while negative user reviews were lauded by dozens of accounts.

Complaints on “Help” boards just increased the trolling exponentially. Asking for help from IMDb staff did too, convincing me that some of the trolls worked inside IMDb, and that IMDb was encouraging trolls to increase the site’s traffic — likely as a statistic IMDb management could show the parent company, Amazon.

It didn’t stop at IMDb. The trolls went to Amazon when Lady Magdalene’s first appeared as a streaming video and a DVD, and dozens of killer one-star reviews appeared, many with the exact same paragraphs, word for word. The trolls found my books and started trashing them, too. I pulled Lady Magdalene’s off sale from Amazon for several years in an attempt to mitigate the damage to my overall reputation.

I was accused of writing my own Wikipedia article and that was stripped of almost all true bio info posted by my fan base, replaced by vicious falsehoods put there by my detractors.

I’ve written about most of this before. Why am I bringing it up again now? To gloat that the IMDb trolls have to find another swamp to infest?

No.

I’m here to point out that trolling has become mainstream. The issue is no longer destruction of indie filmmakers on a now-defunct entertainment media message board. It’s that IMDb was a Potemkin Village to train an army of mainstream pundits who are now using the same strategy and tactics to destroy political opponents.

Milo Yiannopoulos has made a meal out of outrageous behavior, trolling liberals on college campuses and in the media by pretending to dark positions only because doing so triggers them. It became unfunny when it resulted in rioting, vandalism, and arson.

Richard Spencer giving a Nazi salute to Donald Trump was similarly performance art designed to gain attention by feeding into the Never-Trump narrative that Trump was surrounding himself with bigots. Spencer is a low-grade tribalist whose nationalism is so wimpy no actual historical Nazi — or even neo-Nazi — would be as broad-minded and inclusive. He’s a poseur.

So we get from the little fish to the whale.

Donald J. Trump, president of the United States, is now reduced to being me, with his hand stuck in the Chinese finger trap.

TV comics — Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Maher, John Oliver, even the “nice guys” Jimmy Fallon and James Corden — have turned their shows into non-stop Trump Trolling. Saturday Night Live has become Trump Trolling Central.

The mainstream news media do to Trump exactly what the IMDb trolls did to me: find nothing good and spin everything bad, even when you’re saying something the trolls had previously stated as their own position.

Trump trolls the trolls back like I tried to do, only he has an immensely bigger fan base than I ever had. But Trump has counter-trolling skill sets I never had.

When Kellyanne Conway misspoke and made a reference to a non-existent Bowling Green Massacre, the news, commentary and comedy media obssessed on it for days.

I think Trump has a learning curve.

So in a Florida rally when President Trump referred to something horrific in Sweden that also never happened, these same media jumped on the red meat again. I don’t think this second time was accidental. I think it’s a calculated diversionary strategy to move the attention-deficit news cycle away from the false narrative — already refuted by Julian Assange — that Russia put Trump in power.

My friend, writer, filmmaker, publisher Brad Linaweaver, has been warning me for years of the destructive potential of the Internet. I always argued back that without the Internet I would be completely invisible since the major mainstream media — right, left, and even libertarian — tend to downplay me if not marginalize me completely.

But when I see how this destructive creature of the Internet has now spread to all other media — when I see a civil war between a crazy far left and a demented far right — I see Brad’s point.

I see the remaining sane libertarians who haven’t been body-snatched by puppet masters already, drowning in a polluted ocean between them.

Changing metaphors, as I must:

The IMDb troll is now the size of Godzilla, and God save Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, and us all.

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Author’s 20th Anniversary Of His “Vulcan Mindmeld With God” Gives Away Two Free Kindle Books

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of his 2/18/1997 “Vulcan Mindmeld with God” novelist/Twilight-Zone writer/filmmaker/actor/talk host J. Neil Schulman makes two of his Kindle books free for a few days.

Las Vegas, NV-AZ (OPENPRESS) Today, February 18, 2017, is the 20th anniversary of author J. Neil Schulman’s eight-hour, noon to eight pm “Vulcan Mindmeld with God” that ended his atheism without resort to religion, scripture, or faith.

To celebrate that two-decade anniversary Schulman is making the Kindle editions of the two books resulting from that experience — his comedy fantasy novel Escape from Heaven and his autobiographical The Heartmost Desire — free on Amazon for a few days, beginning Saturday February 18th.

Escape from Heaven
Escape from Heaven book cover

What would you do if God prayed to you for help?

“This is Duj Pepperman and you’re on 680 K-TALK.”

“Duj, this is God, calling from Heaven. I can’t believe I got through. I’m one of your biggest fans!”

With this first-ever call-in from God, an L.A. radio talk-show host is sent on a mission from God that takes him to Heaven – then back to earth – on a rollercoaster adventure that includes meetings with the most famous celebrities in Heaven and on earth. Along the way he learns the origins of our universe, the meaning of life, and how the War between God and Satan will turn out. A comic journey that is inspiring atheists, agnostics, Christians, and Jews, and is generating controversy even among Evangelical Christians!

The Heartmost Desire
The Heartmost Desire book cover

The Heartmost Desire is author/filmmaker J. Neil Schulman’s most personal book, containing his manifesto for why liberty is necessary for human self-realization and happiness, and his autobiographical description of the experiences that led him from atheism to God, but still relying on reason and rejecting religion, scripture, and faith.

Biography
J. Neil Schulman is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. His 1979 Prometheus-Hall-of-Fame novel Alongside Night — endorsed by Milton Friedman, Anthony Burgess, and Ron Paul — projected the economic meltdown. It’s now his second feature film, available on Amazon Prime along with his award-winning comic thriller, Lady Magdalene’s, starring Nichelle Nichols. His 1983 novel, The Rainbow Cadenza, won the Prometheus Award, was adapted into a Laserium show, and Robert A. Heinlein told the 1983 L-5 Society, “Every libertarian should read it!” Schulman scripted the CBS revived Twilight Zone episode, “Profile in Silver.” Full bio at http://www.pulpless.com/jneil/jnsbio.html

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Vamp Until Ready

Special thanks to my daughter, Soleil, for convincing me to write this, and to my friend Brad Linaweaver for pointing out I needed a new ending. (Sorry, Brad, I couldn’t figure out where to put in your “Don’t take any silver nickels” line) — JNS


Vamp Until Ready


A short story by J. Neil Schulman

“Whadda we got?”

It was difficult for the detective to be out during the day, but a combination of a classic Burberry trench coat, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, gloves, and 10,000 SPF sunblock made it at least possible, if not comfortable.

“Just what you’d expect in this neighborhood,” the uniform, a lycanthrope, said. “Human on human. Body parts all over the street. You taking over, Detective … ?”

“Vladimir,” said the detective, flashing his gold shield. “Yah. Secure the alley and start a canvas for witnesses.”

The wolfman snorted. “These cannibals never talk to us.”

Detective Drac Vladimir grinned, exposing his fangs. “They always talk to me, once they look me in the eyes.”

#

After filing the witness reports back at the precinct, Vladimir and his partner, Detective Bela Sipos, sat down at their usual cop bar, Blue Bloods.

A cute vamp sauntered up to their booth in the back. “The usual, Vira,” said Vladimir.

“Two Bloody Mary’s,” Vira wrote down, and headed to the bar, swaying her behind for attention.

123RF
Illustration by artant

“You ever going to ask her out?” Vladimir said to his partner.

“Too young for me,” Bela said. “Not even two hundred. We’d have nothing to talk about.”

“Anything about today seem strange to you?” Vladimir asked.

“We’re off the clock and you want to discuss the case?”

Drac cocked his head to the side.

“Okay. What did you see I missed?”

“It’s not what I saw, “Vladimir said. “It’s what I didn’t see. Human body parts all over the alley but not a drop of blood.”

Vira arrived with the drinks. Bela took an appreciative sip but waited until the vamp was out of earshot before he spoke. “You think it was one of us.”

“Maybe. I’ve asked the M.E. for an expedited report.”

“On a humacide?” Sipos shook his head. “Drac, this is Daytown. These creatures never grow old enough to learn not to eat each other.”

“Precisely,” Detective Vladimir said. “They’re babies. So if one of us is a pedo, I take a special interest.”

“Okay,” Bela said. “When have I ever not played second fiddle to you on a case? Speaking of that, you playing this weekend? I’m bringing a new string quartet by Mala Deutscher.”

“Absolutely,” Detective Dracula Vladimir said. “Amazing child prodigy. The vamp’s only forty and she’s already composed a violin concerto, an organ cantata, and a grand opera.”

Both detectives sipped their Bloody Mary’s in concert.

#

“Vladimir! Sipos! My office. Now!” Captain Stoker’s voice bellowed through the squad room.

“Pay me,” Drac said to his partner as they got up from facing desks.

“How do you always know the exact time?” Detective Sipos asked, tossing a gold coin in a perfect arc.

Vladimir swiped the coin mid-arc and dropped it into his vest pocket. “When you can answer that, boychick, you can be lead detective.”

The two detectives went into their captain’s office and sat down opposite the ornate mahogany desk. Constantin Dimitrescu’s “Peasant Dance” was playing softly out of the Captain’s desktop computer.

Captain Stoker used his desktop guillotine to cut the tip off a Havana cigar and struck a wooden match, waiting for the flare to die by half before lighting it.

He blew a perfect smoke ring which expanded over his detectives.

“Why is it always you two?” the Captain asked.

Sipos opened his mouth but before he could get out a word, Stoker shook his head.

“That was a rhetorical question,” Stoker said.

“Captain,” Vladimir started.

Stoker interrupted. “I have IA asking me why two of my detectives are walking on their turf.”

“I walk where the forensics lead,” Detective Vladimir said. “The M.E.’s report says the heart didn’t have a drop of blood left in it. We’ve got a pedo.”

“Or a zombie,” the Captain said.

Detective Vladimir shook his head. “Zombie wouldn’t drain the heart and leave the valves perfectly intact. Would’ve eaten the whole thing. No, Cap, it has to be one of us.”

Sipos added, “And someone who knows enough about police work to make it look human-on-human if you don’t care enough to look carefully – which Drac always does.”

Stoker puffed the Cohiba again. “If it’s someone on the job you bring it to me.”

“Yes, Captain,” Vladimir said. Detective Sipos nodded.

“If I get even a hint of what you two did on the Van Helsing case,” Captain Stoker warned somberly, “I’ll have your shields.”

#

The two Detectives genuflected before the altar at Saint Alastor Cathedral on Fifth Avenue, drank the blood and ate the wafer, then took seats in a rear pew with a clear view of the entire congregation, just as Black Mass began.

The Bishop read from the Book of Medici, the choir sang from Carmina Burana, and the Detectives focused almost all their attention on a figure cloaked in black, two rows ahead of them.

Detective Vladimir nodded to his partner, and Dracula and Bela slowly and softly began moving apart … when the Figure Cloaked in Black turned around and looked Detective Drac Vladimir directly in the eye. “Not here in this Unholy space,” she said.

It was Vira, the vamp cocktail waitress from Blue Bloods.

Vira metamorphosed into a bat and flew high into the belfry, smashing into a bell before crashing through a stained glass window into the freedom of the night, the bell ringing and ringing, underscoring her melodramatic escape.

“Call it in, I’m after her,” Drac said to Bela, just before metamorphosing into a bat, himself. Then Detective Vladimir tossed the gold coin he’d won from his partner back to him. “For the collection box.”

The End

February 15, 2017

Copyright © 2017 by The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

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