© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Today, a young boy saved a toy bear who had spent the evening fighting an angry raccoon. The bear had wrapped himself in a plastic blanket and hid himself in a woodpile but not before leaving clues around the backyard of the house to help his young friend find him. The boy and his aunt and uncle and father had been alerted to the plight of the bear, named Guy by a text message Guy had sent from the cellphone he took off the angry raccoon before the angry raccoon had fled into the night. Now that the boy and his bear are reunited, all is well. Aho.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Adopting traditions made popular abroad, the people of the Glorious Republic of Grigovia today express their gratitude. They're thankful for food and bicycles, health-care and archery, rainbows and chocolate cake; they celebrate by sharing food with needy neighbors; they visit one another to say their thank-yous; they contribute to food pantries and charities, and assemble care packages that they then send to refugees of imperialistic overreach living in Turkey, Palestine, Europe, and North Africa. But unlike in the West, where wage slaves must show up at their jobs on a day called Thanksgiving or lose them, in Grigovia only emergency service personnel are allowed to work. Huzzah, then, for the gracious Banoyend, and let thankfulness reign.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Some people have no official business to attend to on a regular basis and they choose to sleep in until noon and do little more with their lives than eat and shit and sleep. Other people have no official business to attend to on a regular basis and they choose to fill up their lives with activities such as yoga, writing, drawing, bicycling, and reading books on topics as apparently unrelated as medicine for mountaineering, the etymology of English, Andean fairy-tales, and the history of modern China. Is the one type of individual better off in the long run even though everything that is alive at some point dies? Can a person be happy in a state of lethargic ignorance or does joy come from living in enlightened and self-respecting effortless activity? These questions will likely persist through time, and at the end of the day they must be answered by the person himself without undue outside influence.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
For the fifteenth time since its self-liberation from the Union of Soviet Socialist States in 1988, the Glorious Republic of Grigovia balanced its national budget and imported exactly as much as it exported. “We consume no more than we make, our economy is modernizing rapidly, and our population is swelled with 20,000 refugees fleeing the crises in Syria,“ said Dr. Eleyina Uourendt, chief economist at the Grigovian Foreign Trade Council, a think-tank. “We are in a good spot, I think.” Researchers estimate that measures designed to dial back the nation's political and regulatory systems to levels conducive to the full exercise of Liberty have spilled over already into the economic sector, with a free market determining supply and demand in this Central Asian nation of some 4 million souls. “It is a lucrative and an efficient time to be doing business in Grigovia,” said Henri Rousseau-Riyennd, a French-Grigovian professor of macroeconomics at Pylta the Terrible University in Pyltagrad. “To us who call the Yiptlong home, the Global Recession is merely hypothetical.”
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Building on the success of his Second Pouch line of sew-on sweatshirt additions, local inventor and entrepreneur Eugene B. Hsu recently patented the X-Tra Pocket. Critics denounce X-Tra Pocket a just a rectangular piece of cloth with a zipper sewn into one end that consumers buy and then sew onto the pair of pants of their choosing, and that if these seamstresses are already sewing bits of other cloth onto their clothes they can just as fucking well include their own zipper for a tenth of the cost, of which Mr. Hsu was having none. “We use only the finest zippers made using the highest quality materials,” the man said while typing away furiously on a battered laptop. “Plus, our zipper is configured to provide the consumer with efficient and noiseless access to the contents of her new pocket, therefore cutting down on the number of bags she has to carry and making her life more simple.” As part of a demonstration, the inventor yelled at a girl sitting at a sewing machine nearby in a language other than English. The girl shed a single tear and then quickly affixed using green thread an orange-colored X-Tra Pocket (complete with aggressively-styled logo and a prominently-placed copyright symbol) to a pair of maroon corduroy pants. Not wanting to further upset the visibly irate Mr. Hsu further, all in attendance clapped politely.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Last Tuesday, I watched 12 Years A Slave, a film adaptation of the autobiography of Solomon Northrup directed by Steve McQueen. Never in my life have I been closer to the reality of slavery, to its horror and misery, to its psychopathy, to its cruelty and incessant malice, than while watching this movie; the two hours and fifteen minutes of the movie's length afforded me a glimpse into a period of American history that lasted more than two hundred and fifty years, a short and comfortable look at a wrong done to innocent humans, at insanity beyond reckoning, at the very worst mankind has to offer. Since last Tuesday I have had nightmares about being myself a slave, and I have caught myself at work looking over my shoulder to make sure someone wasn't sneaking up on me with a bull-whip so as to hurt and rend my flesh. The image the movie portrayed of a life lived in slavery reminded me of growing up in the same house as an alcoholic parent and living in a world populated by a sociopath who struck without warning, who took and punished rather than giving and rewarding, where one was never safe from rebuke or threat or injury and where one could never be good enough because one was seen as having no intrinsic worth. While I was a teenager living in Germany our Gymnasium made all its students walk down to the theater and watch the movie Schindler's List as soon as it released, and in my opinion America's schools would do well to show this movie to everyone in employ and attendance. The Constitution of the United States of America doesn't even ban slavery, it merely relegates it to a form of legal punishment known today as prison. My name is Platt, and I'm a slave from Georgia. Oh, brother, I weep with shame.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
The following events are true.
Thai Airways flight 794 from Bangkok banks away from the approach vector that planes coming from the west normally take when landing at LAX. It passes over Hollywood and around Downtown to approach the airport from the east. The stewardesses are tense, and the mood within the plane is hostile. The craft lands well, all gears touching smoothly, nary a flutter along its long axis. It is 9:15 in the evening. We taxi for an unusual amount of time as police cars escort us with lights blazing to a secluded section of asphalt.
For nearly an hour we sit. About half of the passengers are from south-east Asia. Elderly Indian women make frequent sorties to the restrooms, but any time a man threatens even to rise from his seat, the stewardesses – thin, elegant Thai women – scream at him to sit back down. People begin to ask questions, demanding to know what is going on, requesting an explanation for our unexpected and unexplained delay. I am near the rear of the aircraft. Since I have not used the restroom in more than seven hours, I am in considerable need of making water (I purposefully dehydrate myself during flights to cut down on disturbances to my neighbor, in this instance a strange older man whose English sounds non-native.) I find myself digging around in my right cargo pocket (where I always keep a pen and at least one permanent marker), but not knowing what is going on, I instead pull out and switch on the portable gaming device I keep there.
Finally we begin to deplane. I bow to the stewardesses on the way out, thanking them in their native tongue like a good boy who has learned his manners. Dozens of U.S. federal agents line the mobile staircase asking each man as he passes to see his passport. "Are you Russian?" one agent asks me as he scans my documents rapidly. I say no. A helicopter flares its rotors low over our heads. We pass through a phalanx of airport police, TSA agents, and people wearing FBI counter-terrorism jackets, to board buses that we hope will take us to the distant terminals.
I am in the back of the third and last bus to depart. My hair is poorly kept and bleached nearly blond from three weeks of oppressive Thai sunshine. My clothes, of which I only brought one pair, are ripped and stained with sweat. The tattoos on my arms and chest are clearly visible. My bag, a cheap Nike knockoff purchased in Chiang Mai, is also ripped. We are packed tightly in the bus with TSA agents sewn heavily among us. The men are hyper-aware, scanning faces with wide and greedy eyes, looking frantically from person to person as if trying to puzzle out who is looking at whom, changing location at times to get a better view of whomever they are trying to find. A man behind me asks when we will have the chance to use the bathrooms, as we were not allowed to on the plane, and as there are none on the bus. The TSA agents answer sporadically, sometimes not at all. Having no knowledge of what is going on, and knowing that speaking unsolicited to law enforcement is a bad, bad idea (because it is the job of law enforcement officers to punish citizens, not to help them), I stand quietly between a short man with bad breath and the window, and enter a semi-trance so as to pass the time and to control the pressing need to void my bowels.
After nearly another hour we are allowed to leave the bus for a terminal building. Agents shout angrily as they direct us toward a bank of metal detectors, through which we pass, jostling with other passengers who are eager to board their departing flights. More agents direct us through a maze of narrow hallways into an apparently long-abandoned waiting area. As one of the last to enter, I have no seat, but I find a space against a wall where I stand at parade rest (legs shoulder-width apart and arms clasped above the buttocks) with my torn bag at my feet. I reenter the semi-trance, eyes fixated on the far wall. I do my own time, as they say in prison, minding my own business as would a good boy who has learned his manners. FBI agents rush back and forth clutching clip-boards and generally stirring the mood into a confused lather. They are normal-looking, often unattractive people one would never be able to pick out of a crowd.
A tall man with a concave chest approaches me, sweating under his counter-terrorism wind-breaker. "Did you notice anyone acting strange on board? Was anyone visibly upset?" he asks me. "I can't say I did, sir," I respond. "Someone wrote a threat against the airline in one of the bathrooms," he says. "So I need to know if you saw anything suspicious." I tell him I was asleep most of the flight, and that I cannot say I saw anything. He nods and walks away. At that moment I it dawns on me that I have just become am the primary suspect. The realization churns my innards but the semi-trance holds, and I resume to wait patiently for whatever is going on to end. I ramp up my peripheral vision and enter Type '81, that state in which I see everything but appear to look at nothing.
A graceful, lithe female approaches from my right. I allow her to pass before I glance at her perfectly-shaped rear end. She talks with the concave-chested agent who had approached me initially and glances over as I am staring inappropriately through the fabric of her immaculately-tailored gray suit at her buttocks. "Would you come with me?" Concave Chest says. "We need to ask you some additional questions." I am led to a secluded area piled high with rows of discarded airport seating. The TSA agent, whose name I shall not here mention, introduces himself politely. He asks me about my life, about my travels in Thailand, about my primary source of income, about my activities on the flight, about any past military training, and about where and how often I went to the bathroom on the plane. I answer his questions; we chat amicably. After nearly twenty minutes, the lithe female with the perfect ass walks over, waiting until we have concluded our pleasantries.
"Where did you get those tattoos. Were you in the military?" she says in a condescending tone. I tell her that I wasn't, but I do not explain why I have an American eagle and a Shield of the Union inked boldly into my left forearm. (It is because I love my country, because I am a Son of the American Revolution, and because I consider myself a patriot.) "Why are you so calm, and why were you standing against the wall like that," she asks. I explain that my father was a Navy man who taught me how to stand correctly. I explain that I strive always to act like a gentleman. I also mention that, as an unofficial American ambassador to the Thai nation, I had been on my best behavior throughout the trip. "Oh, well, sweet tatts," she says before turning on a heel and storming off.
"Do you have any writing instruments on your person?" my TSA guardian asks. I remove the permanent marker and pens from my pocket. "Oh," he says upon seeing the marker. A wide and joyous smile threaten to fill his features. "You had better sit down and get comfortable – this is going to take a while." The bathrooms are right next to where I am sitting, but I decide against asking to use them. The agent asks if I have had any trauma in my life recently, and I tell him that my father died not long ago. "You must still be pretty upset about that," he says. I tell him No, but he does not seem convinced. Soon thereafter, Concave Chest and a uniformed airport policeman walk over and ask me to follow them.
I round the partition to a sea of staring faces. Every single person who was on the plane, flight crew included, is staring at me. Some stare with the after-affects of shock, but most look at me as I were wearing a necklace strung with severed baby's feet. Flanked by federal agents, I fix my gaze on a point at the far end of the long hallway and walk calmly and steadily toward it. A unmarked door opens, and I am led into a large room. Two burly and armed men sit along a far wall with their elbows on their knees looking at me with poorly-veiled blood-lust. "This way," someone says, leading me into a smaller, glass-walled room that sits within the larger room. Seven FBI counter-terrorism agents are waiting for me, including Lithe Female. I am directed to sit in a cheap folding chair at a cheap folding table.
“This is federal property," Concave Chest says, gesturing at the four walls. "This room is wired for recording, and we can search anything we want, here." "Fine by me," I say, shrugging. Since I have not yet passed through customs, I know that I am in international waters where I have few, if any, rights. I stay calm and control my breathing with the remnants of the semi-trance. My mind is utterly still and focused to a razor sharpness. Every passing second bears tremendous weight, and as the agents lean toward me with pens poised above notepads, I relax in the knowledge that I have done nothing wrong.
Concave Chest says his name and the name of another agent, a short, ugly man whose face looks like that of a Tolkien troll. I force myself not to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, since my mind is constantly comparing the agents in front of me to every beautiful, dashing agent in every spy movie I have ever seen. "Do you have a camera?" Concave Chest asks. I give him my camera, and as he is rifling through it, the Tolkien-Troll-looking man asks me which cities I visited in Thailand, with whom I associated, where I stayed, if I met any shady or unsavory characters, and if I participated in any sort of military training. I answer truthfully while forcing myself not to look over at the three agents who are emptying my torn Nike bag and carefully fingering its seams.
"You have a lot of pictures of graffiti and tagging in this camera," Concave Chest says. "Thailand is chock full of amazing street art," I say. "I never would have thought that there would be so much beautiful graffiti there." My zeal has little impact on their stony demeanors. "Have you ever done any tagging yourself?" he asks. I say that I have not. "Are you willing to answer that under polygraph?" I say that I am ready take a lie detector test at any time. "Well, the thing is,” he says, “we have your customs declaration here, and, while we're not handwriting experts (those guys will be here soon), we do see a fair bit of this sort of thing, and, again, we're going to have to run this past the handwriting guys, but the way you wrote the letters O and P on your customs form is very similar to the Os and the Ps used to write the note. Again, we're not experts, but when the Os and Ps are similar, it pretty much indicates a match."
"OK," I say, nodding and waiting for them to proceed. "Did he have any writing implements on him?" Concave Chest says. Before I can answer, my cordial TSA guardian pulls my marker from his pocket and places it on the table. Concave Chest's face lights up with excitement. "So," he says, "we have the pictures of graffiti in your camera, and we have your marker, and we have the handwriting match on your customs declaration. It would be best for you to just get this over with now. If you admit to anything later on, before a judge, things will go far worse for you. So, you should probably just get it over with now."
Variables flash through my mind and I think, 'Shit, if I mess this up, I am looking at three to five years in a maximum security federal prison. Just. Stay. Calm.' I nod and look around at the assembled agents leaning forward expectantly. Concave Chest repeats himself, again telling me that I should just get it over with now before I reach a judge. "Look," I say, pointing at the items on the table, the camera and the marker and the form. "I realize that all these things probably indicate to you that I am somehow involved with…" (here I pause, for the agents have all perked up and leaned forward and are straining their ears to hear exactly what I am about to say, thereby indicating just how important my next words are) "… that I am somehow involved in Whatever Happened On The Plane, but I refuse to confess to a crime I did not commit."
"That is your right, here in America," Concave Chest says, thus enveloping me in the awesome and comforting blanket of the Bill of Rights. "Will you repeat your preceding statements under polygraph?" "Absolutely. I've been on a plane for sixteen hours, and my internal clock is way off sync,” I say, “but if you need me to polygraph tomorrow morning, at eight a.m., I shall be there. I went to the bathroom once, just once, on the right-hand side of the plane forward of my seat." "So you didn't go to the bathroom on the left-hand side of the plane?" he says. "No, I did not. I did not even set foot on the left-hand side of the plane. I was in seat number ###C. Compare the fingerprints on that seat to the fingerprints in the bathroom. You will find none of my prints in the bathroom where whatever happened occurred. You will find my prints in the bathroom nearest to my seat, on the right-hand side of the plane, and in the vicinity of that seat, but nowhere else."
"Will you repeat these statements under polygraph?" he says. I again assert that I am ready to polygraph at any time. Again he tells me to, "Just get it over with now because it will be better for you in the long run." Again I tell him that I refuse to confess to a crime I did not commit. "As a matter of fact," I say, "take my permanent marker. Run a chemical analysis on the ink in my marker against the ink used to write the note. You will find they are not a match." I sit heavily into the chair and stare at the assembled feds while I force my breathing back to normal and the anger within me to abate.
"Well, we have your phone number, and we know where and for how long you'll be in Los Angeles, so, we'll be in touch," Concave Chest says, rising to his feet. "Do you have a criminal record?" he says, offhand. I shake my head and say No. His eyebrows rise incredulously. "Thank you all very much for your time," I say politely as I turn to follow an agent back out into the waiting area. I sit next to an elderly Japanese gentleman. He looks at me and says, "What is going on?" "They think I am a terrorist," I say, smiling. He laughs until he shakes in his seat.
I take a bottled water from a passing pushcart and, after a few minutes, walk with the rest of the passengers through a warren of forgotten passageways to the customs area. While I am waiting in line (and getting stared at constantly by hovering federal agents), my unpleasant neighbor during the flight keeps giving me strange looks from where he is standing a few lines down. But before I can make anything of his glances I am called to the customs desk, where a stone-faced agent dutifully stamps my passport. Having no checked luggage, I walk calmly through the baggage retrieval area toward the exit, but, halfway there, my former TSA guardian, he whose name I shall not mention, stops me short. "You don't have any checked baggage? You traveled alone, to Thailand, without checked baggage?" "I like to travel light," I say, "it cuts down on time and all but eliminates the likelihood of airline error." He attempts to engage me in conversation, but I have had enough; I keep my answers short and my eyes fixed on the ground. It is nearly one in the morning. He bids be farewell and I exit into the main arrivals hall without further delay. After urinating for what seems like an eternity, I call my lawyer to let him know what just transpired. Forced to remove cash from a highly-priced ATM (because both my prearranged ride and the cheap bus have stopped running), and sick of being shadowed by uniformed officers, I count my twenties, hail a taxi-cab, and speed off into the night, a free man.
p.s. If a law enforcement agent tells you to confess, claiming that it would be better for you to "Get it over with now rather than later," he or she is bluffing, he or she wants you to sacrifice your rights, he or she is your enemy and an enemy of Liberty, and he or she wants only to send you to prison. Please do not ever – EVER – forfeit your rights and protections. Thousands of good Americans have died to guarantee those rights. Educate yourself, and fight tyranny and oppression wherever they might raise their ugly heads.
p.p.s. I never received a call, and I have been neither questioned nor approached since.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
As happens often in this land of shifting mores, America is stretching long-held notions of marriage to the breaking point. More than half of all marriages in this country end in divorce, and homosexual couples from coast to coast are demanding the same rights as their heterosexual fellow countrymen. Among the many reasons we are in this mess is because marriage was long ago contaminated by religion. Now, instead of functioning as a secular affair designed to protect offspring and safeguard common assets, it is all too often clothed in the coarse, restrictive mantle of one organized belief system or another.
In general, Americans have little patience for old and outdated things; in the last sixty years ours has become more a nation of shoppers than one of fixers, or menders. If a car stops working the way it should, the average Ynki gets a new one. If her computer isn't fast enough, she trades it in. And if her husband turns out to be someone other than the person she thought she was marrying, she divorces him. Armed with a better understanding of what she is and is not looking for, her chances at finding a new spouse more to her liking on the open market are greater than they were before she wed.
Marriage should be a beneficial affair, one rife with Happiness, trust, and love mutually enjoyed. Often, though, people remain in broken or abusive marriages out of fear that willfully terminating them will cause their souls to be cast down for all eternity into mythical pits of mythical hellfire. If we could but free divorce from it negative moral and religious associations and celebrate it for the positive effect it can have, suffering Susan might yet escape the clutches of combative, callous Cal; through education and an different attitude, her soul could soar once more. When marriage is freed from the shackles of religious conviction, all involved win (except, of course, pastors and religious zealots who scream regularly for this author's blood). Please help end state-sanctioned inequality by signing this petition, today. Huzzah.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
The Glorious Republic of Grigovia recently joined a growing number of nations protesting America's ongoing policy of killing people using unmanned aerial systems, or drones. Concurrent with its formal application to United Nations membership, Grigovia signed the Pact of Peace amongst Prosperous Peoples (PoPaPP), which censures the government of the United States and calls for it to stop its drone strikes immediately. “Given the illegality of these attacks and a proven American willingness to bomb the citizens of nations with which it is not officially at war, we call for America to forget hatred, anger, and fear and return to the table of friendship,” said Piendoyast Tormund, deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the state of Grigovia. “It is illegal, inappropriate, and rude for a big kid to go around with a bucket of his own tears drowning the smaller kids who live down the street.”
Since assuming world hegemony after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the federal government of the United States of America has donned a mantle it once sacrificed so much to overthrow: that of petty, spiteful tyrant. “Fewer than 70 years ago, the U.S. fought to free the oppressed people of the world from the tyrants Hitler and Hirohito,” said Biel Nourdegast, professor of 20th Century history at Pylta the Terrible University, in Pyltagrad. “Now, however, it spirits people from the lands of their birth and tortures them in secret prisons around the world while also using its unmanned aerial systems to watch, track, and kill persons it merely suspects of wanting to do it or its people harm. Such behavior is estimable to tyrants only.” In 1776, a group of non-conformist Americans operating in the 13 original colonies cried foul of King George's ongoing torture and intimidation of his own subjects; they rebelled, using terrorist tactics to topple a corrupt and murderous hegemon. Now, though, in 2013, their ancestors torture and intimidate peaceful peoples the world over, fomenting anger and spreading hatred one drone strike at a time.
“On many levels, the American government's actions violate its founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution” said Ula Ouliffant, a political science student at Eastern Grigovia University, in Gar Nuuzsh. “When president Obama authorized the Hellfire missile strike that killed the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, he violated the XIV Constitutional amendment by depriving the boy of life without due process of law [i.e. without first fulfilling the young man's right to a trial by his peers]. Any sane person will agree that the president of a republic who destroys its founding document by violating its clearly worded text should be removed from office as quickly as is possible.” Grigovia has expelled the American diplomatic mission until such time as drone strikes stop. Despite ongoing international efforts, neither presidents G.W. Bush nor B.H. Obama will likely ever be tried in The Hague for their crimes against humanity.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
During the past year, the conglomerated media outlets that self-identify as National Public Radio (NPR) committed major errors. First, it participated in the blackout campaign waged against Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the main third party candidates contending against Mitt Romney and Barack Obama for the presidency. (Regardless of the media's efforts to stifle the free flow of information, Johnson received more than a million votes, Stein roughly three hundred thousand.) In the weeks leading up to the election, NPR consistently and repeatedly referred to the Republican (Romney) and Democratic (Obama) candidates as the only two persons running for our highest executive office; not only did NPR not cover the two separate third party presidential debates hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, it didn't even mention that they took place. (Such is the complicity of today's media in maintaining and perpetuating our anti-American and undemocratic two party system that the second round of third party debates aired only on Russia Today, after aljazeera.com one of the most courageous and professional news organizations operating today.)
The second major error committed by NPR is that it reports in detail on most bombings and violent attacks carried out by non-military (insurgent) forces but ignores the daily assassination undertaken against innocent Afghanis, Somalians, Yemeni, and Pakistanis by Americans operating unmanned aerial systems. (Innocent in that the persons killed were never convicted in a court of law.) By tacitly supporting the absurd notion that the American government has a right to conduct and could ever win its War On Terror (terror is a state of mind, and nothing else), NPR perpetuates the lies and misinformation our government needs to keep its citizens ignorant of its regular and enthusiastic violation of international law and the Geneva Convention.
NPR will occasionally speak to a specialist or elected official who has knowledge of the American federal government's drone program, but it rarely airs reports critical of it. Not long ago, National Public Radio was a force to be reckoned with, an upstanding and self-respecting organization that provided the People with information from myriad sources that they could use to make well-rounded decisions. Now, however, NPR has lost much of its journalistic integrity as well as most of the respect it once deserved. Woe be unto us – veritas delenda est.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
blog updated Mon, Wed, & Fri
Among other things I am barber, bicyclist, surfer, vagabond, writer, and yogi.