Heads of State to Lecture Congress

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress started me thinking. He wanted to tell them how we should negotiate (or not) with Iran. Wow! What a great idea! The United States is so insular in its understanding of world problems, not to mention how to handle our own.
So, when I’m elected to the Senate, I propose that we get advice from a different world leader every month. Here is a list to start off with:
1. Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras and Otto Fernando Pérez Molina of Guatemala could start things off as a group, telling us what’s wrong with our immigration policies and how we can fix them.
2. King Salmon of Saudi Arabia will speak on police reform. This will mean that all female members of Congress either wear a burka or, better, stay home that day. He will explain how soft we are on crime. Larceny drops to nothing when thieves have their hands chopped off. Stoning adulterers creates an incentive to stable family life. And flogging rape victims will teach women not to go anywhere on their own. If women can’t be found, they can’t be raped, except of course, by relatives. Oh, I know his name sounds like a fish, but Salmon is a version of Solomon.
3. For those who aren’t stirred by Saudi justice, François Hollande can come next and explain that having affairs while in office is fine, just arrive for the assignation on a Harley, not the back of a motor scooter. Our representatives will take notes and may even forgive him for being a socialist.
4. As the next election draws near, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria will be in great demand for his technique of manufacturing a crisis so that voting needs to be postponed until his popularity numbers are up. For that he could be named an honorary citizen.
5. Angela Merkel would speak on economics, pointing out where the government can save money. She’ll also comment on the importance of having an unlisted phone number.
6. Vladimir Putin concludes the first year of lectures. (I know this is only six but you must remember how rarely Congress meets) It may be hard to get him to keep his shirt on but it will be worth it to learn the purity of his intentions. He only wants to rebuild the Russian/Soviet Empire to protect all Russian speakers from persecution and contamination from homosexuals.

I think that this list would be a good beginning. Once this gets going, heads of state from all over the world will be lining up to have the chance to tell American law makers what they’re doing wrong. And, I, as your senator at large, will be there to listen and act upon their sage advice.



Minimum Wage, Prices Don’t Need to Go Up

I’m a writer and independent scholar, so I don’t think I’ve ever managed to average minimum wage.  However, I love my work and don’t need to pay for clothes or transportation.  On the other hand, there are a lot of people who work at jobs I could never manage to do, like fast food cooking or home health care or waiting tables.  These people often get less that $8.00 an hour.  Out of that they have to pay taxes and Social Security. 

Now, the argument is that if these people were paid $15.00 an hour, prices would have to go up.  That seemed to me to be a knee-jerk argument.  Management’s first impulse is to pass the cost along.  However, I propose another solution, which I shall submit when I’m elected to the Senate.

A modicum of research led me to the fact that the CEO of McDonald’s makes $9700.00 an hour — that’s not including the private jets or stock options.  Now, if he and the other CEOs took a pay cut of say, $3000.00 an hour, think of all the people who could get a raise!  Does anyone need to make more than $6700.00 an hour?  I could live quite nicely on that.

Here is a recent list of the disparity between CEOs and the work force.  Think about it the next time you shop.


And, if you don’t want to write my name on your ballot, at least get out and vote!


I Admit It, ISIS is Medieval, but…

            medieval siege   I am still reading through accounts of the Crusades for the next book, which will be a novel. The following quotes are from the Gesta Francorum, or Deeds of the Franks, written by a knight on the First Crusade:

“Others [of the Turks] whom we captured, were led before the city gates and there beheaded, to grieve the Turks who were in the city” (et capti alii ducti sunt ante portam ubis, ibique decollabantur, ut magis tristes fierent qui errant in urbe.)

“The knights and pilgrims of Christ went straight to the castle…. They captured all the peasants of the district and killed those who would not be christened…” (“Ad hoc castrum ilico Christi milites peregrine… Apprehenderunt igitur omnes illius loci colonos, et christianitatem recipere noluerunt, occiderunt.”)

               Lest you think that it was only the barbaric Christian army that behaved this way, here are quotes from Ibn Al-Qalanisi, a scholar and citizen of Damascus at about the same time. (Sorry, I don’t have the original Arabic).

“Shams al Maluk, having sacked the town…set off… carrying the prisoners and heads of the slain, the womenfolk and children.”

“The accursed prince, {Raymond of Tripoli]…was recognized and his head cut off and carried to Nur al-Din, who rewarded the bearer of it with a handsome gift.”

               This was 917 years ago.

Several people have branded the actions of ISIS (etc.) as “medieval”. For once I have to agree. Of course it is also ancient and, apparently, modern. However, it seems to me that those who are claiming to set up a traditional Islamic state are only looking at the most violent aspects of the past for their examples. Until only a few centuries ago, soldiers were paid in the booty they could capture. This included women and sometimes children. Now, anyone who believes that soldiers today don’t rape has been living under a rock. But taking young girls and selling them as slaves (“wives”? Right.) has not been condoned for a long time.

               Even more, these Islamist groups ignore the long truces, friendships, intermarriages and trade among Western Christians, Druze, Syrian Christians, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, and Jews. Even the constant war between Shi’ite and Sunni had moments of calm. One of my favorite stories is from al-Kamil fi’l-Ta’rikh. In 1109, the Batini, who are better known as Assassins, invaded the town of Shaizar in Syria. They almost succeeded in taking it because “the rulers there, the Banu Munquidh, had descended to attend the Christian festival [of Easter].” Twelve years after the first Crusade, Muslims and Christians were partying together.

               Recent events are terrifying examples of how history is misused and cherry picked to serve the desires of modern sociopaths. While I am very fond of Medieval Studies, I do not claim it was a perfect society. What I do hope is that, eventually, we will try emulating the good things about it and not repeating the worst.



Worse than the Food

This is a recent story from a friend whose mother is in a place in upstate NY. I suspect that there is another side to the story but too much of it sounds familiar. I was in the hospital longer than I needed to be because Medicare wouldn’t cover rehab unless I’d been hospitalized for three days.


“Re. her rehab it’s been a catastrophe: 1. the hospital tossed her out after 5 days (after major cancer and removal of leg from the hip down), because insurance didn’t want to cough up more. 2. she ends up in rehab well before she should have been beginning exercise… but because of Medicare strictures, they began forcing her to exercise, and sit on chairs, even with giant metal staples stuck in her which were pushed about. I had to get one of the surgeons to call the facility and ask them to stop but because of Medicare they had to “prove” she was “rehabbing”…. 3. we got her to the nursing home and I was excited because their website advertises a “therapy pool” and I felt that water therapy was probably the only way my mother could keep up her strength, and they agreed but, once we signed on, we were told she could not use the pool… because they had “no way” to get her into the water, insisting that wheelchair bound people needed special cranes to get her in. So she doesn’t have any options other than drugging herself up and waiting to vegetate.”


It’s not just Medicare that’s the problem, I feel, but that too many of these places are for profit and cut as many corners as possible. How can there be a pool at a nursing home without a crane? Our YMCA has two.  Isn’t it odd that both nursing homes and prisons are now run to make money?  Is there a connection?


When I’m elected, I will fight for fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain bread and sugar-free desserts. And an ombudsman assigned to every patient.


And, of course, soup spoons!

War has Rules?


This is a church in Syria burning because it is a church in Syria

I will get back to my domestic program of improving nutrition so that the geri-cide in care facilities slows, but as a candidate and historian, I suppose I have to take a look at the international situation, too.

               Quick moment while I steel myself.

               OK, we have drug cartels in Mexico and Central America that are like something out of the Magnificent Seven without Yul Brynner. They extort, kidnap, rape and murder and one group calls itself the Knights Templar, which I find very offensive.

               In Nigeria there is the twelve-year-old group called Boko Haram, which says it wants to set up an Islamic State but is essentially a reaction to remnants of colonialization and an incredible (except I believe it) inequity of income within the country. According to the BBC: The group’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”. They kidnap, rape, murder and bomb anything they don’t agree with.

               The civil war in the Ukraine is a bit confusing to me. A corrupt president was forced out of office and so Russia decided it would take back the Crimea and now they are supporting the cause of Russian speaking Ukrainians who want to be part of the old Soviet Union and oppose any contact with the European Union. Now, the Ukraine has large Russian-speaking areas because Stalin purged the native population and replaced them with Russians. It does sound a bit like Hitler wanting the Sudetenland. So far they just seem to be killing each other.

               The war in Syria is one of the most tragic and it has affected me because I spent three years studying the early Crusades while writing THE REAL HISTORY OF THE TEMPLARS and DEFENDING THE CITY OF GOD. Who should have intervened when is irrelevant now because a new group has, as one rebel said, “high jacked our revolution.” First they were named ISIS, then ISIL, now IS. Eventually they may just settle for I, which would suit their megalomania. They want to set up a new caliphate but I’m not sure they know what one is. In many ways they are a better-armed and more tech-savvy version of medieval warriors. They consider women and property to be spoils of war. They behead people and save the heads as trophies. They say they will set up a state governed by Shari’a law. There are four schools of Shari’a law, but I don’t think they know that, either. Like other groups, they play on a sense of alienation in their followers. They burn, murder, rape, and produce snuff movies.

               Finally, there is the recent resumption of the war between Israel and Palestinian Gaza. In this one, both sides seem incredibly stupid to me. Gaza has been closed off, impoverished, and its citizens humiliated to keep them from getting weapons to destroy Israel. This hasn’t worked; Hamas seems to have lots of rockets and some very good engineers. The Palestinians want the borders opened again and to be treated with respect. But no one will cave into people who are trying to bomb them out of existence. I thought we figured that out in the Blitz.   Netanyahu has played right into the hands of Hamas by responding with “civilized” destruction.   I might remind the reader that this current conflict began with the murder of children in Gaza and Israel.

               And these issues are just the tip of the iceberg (I haven’t started on climate change) What bothers me most is the continual repetition that “women and children are being killed”.   Of course they are. So are good and honest men and probably some nasty people, as well. That’s what war is. There are no noble armies. I wouldn’t feel very kindly toward someone who texted me that my house would be blown up at 3:00pm. War is the final breakdown of civilization. Sometimes one has to fight to avoid destruction. Probably most combatants see it that way. But pretending that one side or the other is more moral or thoughtful is ridiculous. You can go through history with a fine-tooth comb and not find a war in which children weren’t killed.

               Perhaps we should stop dealing with the problems of society only when things start blowing up and children start dying.   Oddly, that’s a solution that the human race has yet to try.



The Plot to get rid of the Old and Infirm

Well, I finally found an overlooked issue for my campaign. I have recently discovered, through personal experience, that there is a quiet conspiracy to rid this country, and maybe the world, of “useless” people.

Before I continue, I want to add that on other issues, I’m against poverty, war and injustice and will tailor my take on these to my audience.

On to important matters.

While a web search brought up cheery articles about organic food being served in long term care facilities and even a few places where the residents were actually asked what they wanted to eat, the vast majority of nursing homes, especially for-profit chains, still have a long way to go in serving healthy food.

Breaded meat, mashed potatoes, canned vegetables, and iceberg lettuce salads all seem to be standard fare. Fresh fruit rarely appears. Even when the meals are well prepared, they are still high in cholesterol, sugar and carbohydrates and low in vitamins and fiber. Alternate options include: soup (to be eaten with teaspoons) salad with cocktail shrimp (boring but not lethal) and macaroni and cheese. These are all offered to people with heart disease, diabetes and a host of other medical problems.

These meals are supposedly designed by nutritionists.   If so, I’d like to know where they studied. In a week of meals, I found almost nothing that a diabetic should eat. There was also little to interest the number of people who had lost their appetites through medication or depression. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there was no attempt to provide food for people who needed to lose weight.

The problems I discovered are not localized. I have heard reports from all over the country and would like to have more.

BECAUSE all the signs point to a systematic plot to assure that the group of people who are chronically ill and/or elderly, stay that way. Instead of healthy food, they are given medication for high blood pressure, diabetes and, most often, constipation. These are all conditions that can be helped with diet and exercise.

When I am elected Senator at Large, I intend to use my six years in office to find out who is behind this. How far does the conspiracy reach?

Let me know of your experiences. Solutions are also welcome. Here are links to two that I found.


http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_26927.cfmLots of life left

A new all-inclusive blog

Since the Powers that Be are keeping me from blogging about my renewed senate campaign, I have started a new one.  Take that, shadowy Conspiracy!

I have named it Cassandra for the Greek woman who: According to Aeschylus’s tragedy Agamemnon, Cassandra was loved by the god Apollo, who promised her the power of prophecy if she would comply with his desires. Cassandra accepted the proposal, received the gift, and then refused the god her favors. Apollo revenged himself by ordaining that her prophecies should never be believed.

I never had an off from Apollo but I do know how she felt.  So I am flinging out my observations, comments and prophecies with little hope but to at least leave a record that I tried.

I’m starting with my new run for the US Senate.  One term only; I just want the perks.  Feel free to write me in on the ballot in any state.

Thanks to all.  Sharan