Lawyers and 9/11 Victims’ Families File Petition for Federal Grand Jury Investigation



Photo Credit: Malachy Beare

Seventeen years after 9/11, the topic of truth and justice still remains a contentious one among many Americans. I have been researching and studying evidence for over a year now and I am always learning new things. The evidence is overwhelming, compelling and maddening. In the beginning, I’d sometimes share my discoveries with others, but the condescending looks and disbelief I encountered were discouraging, so I stopped.

It bothered me, though. Why weren’t my family and friends as fascinated by this evidence as I was? Why was I meeting so much resistance? I was shocked at the number of people who brought up the ridiculous Popular Mechanics article debunking the 9/11 truth movement. Really folks? That’s the sum total of your investigative interest in the crime of the century? There are over 3,000 architects and engineers who have compiled scientific evidence into academic presentations for 9/11 justice and one Popular Mechanics article is the apparent Bible of the resistance. Most people I have spoken to have not looked at any evidence at all, yet insist that I must prove to them unequivocally, in 5 minutes or less, the whos, whats, and whys of this very complex chain of events.

In the end I had to stop pushing people to look at the evidence because I realized to accept that evidence was to accept something truly horrific about the constructs of our society, our safety, our world, our American truth. For a while, I accepted that people must come to the 9/11 evidence when they are ready and be responsible for their own education on these matters. Running around and beating people over the head with it only made me look crazy anyway. The truth movement certainly has its fair injection of nutcases, I’m well aware.

Yes, it takes time. More than most of you have, believe me – my examination has been exhaustive and I went down a lot of rabbit holes I shouldn’t have. By doing that, however, I also learned to spot the “fake” truthers. Those that put the craziest 9/11 theories out there, like stories about hologram planes, in order to inject hyperbole into the discourse and thereby discredit the credible evidence gatherers as part of the lunatic fray.

Having educated myself I continue to keep up with justice efforts and new evidence updates, which brings me to today’s unearthing of this grand jury petition by the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, filed back in July and completely blacked out by the media. One would think something as substantial as this would be widely covered.

I tried several search engines using “9/11 grand jury investigation” and came up with nothing from ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX, Washington Post or the New York Times. The most comprehensive official effort to redress the faulty claims of the 9/11 Commission and NIST has no national news coverage whatsoever. For those new to this, the 9/11 Commission report and the National Institute of Science & Technology reports were the Bush administration’s woefully handicapped investigations, initiated two years after 9/11 and riddled with errors and omissions. (By comparison, Pearl Harbor investigations began one day after the attack and the investigation into the assignation of JFK began one week later.)

From the petition executive summary:  “A primary focus of the Lawyers’ Committee is government accountability for the diligent investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the crimes related to 9/11 (whether those responsible are foreign or domestic individuals, corporations, or government entities).”

Also: “If any crime ever warranted a full special grand jury inquiry, the mass murder of thousands on our nation’s soil on 9/11 clearly does.” This petition is backed by “more than a dozen” family members (I could not find their names), 118 witnesses and over 100 NY Firefighters, listed in the Exhibits.

Some of the highlights from the exhibits are:

• Seismic evidence
• Witness and professional testimony from 100 NY firefighters
• Nano-thermite residue in samples from the debris
• Official explanation of the collapse violates scientific laws of motion
• Testimony from WTC worker William Rodriguez who experienced an explosion below him before the plane hit the building
• Near-symmetrical collapse of Tower 1, 2, and building 7

In reflecting upon the mere dozen or so family members who have signed on to this recent grand jury petition, one might consider that figure rather low. However, let us not forget the U.S. government has effectively gagged more than 5,500 people via the $7 billion Victim Compensation Fund, which prohibited beneficiaries from seeking legal redress. In other words, the U.S. government – before even forming the 9/11 Commission and investigating 9/11 – paid off families (those most likely to be interested in finding out exactly what happened) and legally prevented them from pressing for answers.

“It was…executing a government policy to shield from legal consequence two corporations that had failed to protect hundreds of their paying customers from being incinerated by suicidal maniacs. It was an unprecedented role for Kenneth Feinberg, the special master of the fund: He had to persuade thousands of angry, grief-stricken families to accept a sum that he himself would determine in exchange for waiving their right to sue United Airlines or American Airlines, the Port Authority, the architects of the World Trade Center, the United States government, the city of New York, or any other domestic entity.” – NY Magazine, “Holding Out” 9/27/2011

It’s unclear how quickly the NY district attorney will act upon this petition. The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 inquiry is happy to give this some time, but with the former law firm partner of Rudy Guiliani as the current U.S. attorney, skepticism would be wise.

Perhaps this grand jury push will bolster families who previously pushed Congress to unanimously support bill S.2040 – Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act back in 2016, which addresses a 1976 law that gives other countries broad immunity from American lawsuits. It amends the law to allow for nations to be sued in federal courts if they are found to have played any role in terrorist attacks that killed Americans on home soil. It also allows Americans to direct financial claims against those who funded the attacks. (See Congress passes bill letting 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia, in face of veto threat and Congress Votes to Override Obama Veto on 9/11 Victims Bill.)

The bill was vetoed by Obama, who said it would present a threat to national security. Of course, we never question national security when we pen arms deals with Saudi Arabia. In fact, back in 2010 the U.S. and Saudis agreed to what was at that time, largest arms sale in American history estimated at $60.5 billion dollars. Another curious fact is that right after S.2040 passed in 2016, President Trump made his first foreign presidential visit not to Canada or Mexico, but to the Saudis, who welcomed him with much fanfare and inked yet another arms deal which seems to contrast starkly with the message that we need to hold terrorists accountable for their actions, especially those on U.S. soil. (See U.S. Approves $1.4 Billion Military Sale to Saudi Arabia to get acquainted with the details.)

Are arms deals benefiting Lockheed Martin more important than justice for the citizens of the United States of America? In 2010, several mainstream outlets’ reaction to Obama’s deal was seen as positive. In the wake of passing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, The Hill, Bloomberg, and The Washington Post all had largely neutral or positive views of the arms deal, with The Hill basically saying that American defense manufacturers were hurting financially and could use this needed boost. No mainstream press outlet seemed to notice the hypocrisy of arming one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, especially on the heels of passing a bill that purportedly would be used to sue that regime.

It doesn’t make sense, the thought of holding Saudi Arabia accountable (widely touted by broadcast media at the time when discussing the bill) even though their involvement hasn’t legally been proven – and all the while arming these same folks. Perhaps it didn’t raise any eyebrows because the U.S. has been Saudi Arabia’s top arms supplier for decades, supplying more than half the nation’s combat aircrafts. Perhaps it was not part of the approved talking points of broadcast journalists. But in the scope of 9/11 truth it warrants scrutiny.

I hope I’ve given you enough morsels to chew on for a bit. If you take away nothing else, I hope you’ll consider this: we never question the money for war mongering and weaponry like we question 9/11 “conspiracy theorists”. There is too much to unpack in one blog post, but I’ll be updating this post later with some of my favorite 9/11 sources for truth-seekers. In the meantime, join me and 2677 others in support of the grand jury petition here: GRAND JURY PETITION SUPPORTERS.


There are loads of websites, authors and documentaries out discussing 9/11 but not all of them are credible. Here are my picks for what I believe to be excellent sources for further inquiry.


Academic Papers:

Beyond Misinformation: What Science Says about the Destruction of World Trade Center 1,2, and 7 (PDF File, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth)

118 Witnesses: The Firefighters’ Testimonies to Explosions in the Twin Towers

The Propaganda Preparation of 9/11: The Mysterious Death of John O’Neill, FBI Counter-Terror Chief in Charge of Osama bin Laden Investigation (PDF File)

The Collapse of WTC 7: A Re-Examination of the “Simple Analysis” Approach

AE911Truth: Technical Articles – All (downloadable)

Government-sponsored reports: basis for the official explanation for 9/11.

The 9/11 Commission Report (PDF file)

Declassified – 28 pages redacted from original Commission report

NIST Final Report on the Collapse of WTC 7 (PDF)



National Security Archives

James Perloff, 9/11 Simplified

Pilots for 9/11 Truth

9/11 Review: A Resource for Understanding the 9/11/01 Attack

Patriots Question 9/11



Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth : Anatomy of a Great Deception

AE911truth YouTube Channel: Experts Speak Out: A series of interviews parsed out into one playlist.


The Corbett Report: a few one-hour documentary-style shows on various aspects of 9/11

NSA Whistleblower Supports 9/11 Truth – William Binney and Richard Gage on Global Research TV

Who Was Really Behind the 9/11 Attacks?

9/11 War Games



Philip Marshall – The Big Bamboozle: 9/11 and the War on Terror

**Philip Marshall was a veteran airline pilot and government “special activities” contract pilot before publishing 3 books and penning a 4th before his untimely end. Marshall was found dead along with his two children and dog back in 2013, just before the release of his 4th book. The deaths were execution-style, yet ruled a murder-suicide by the police. Marshall’s hard drive with his manuscript went missing. There’s a 30 minute show that tells this story well: The Curious Case of Philip Marshall. The Big Bamboozle is detailed and sobering.

Christopher Lee Bollyn – Solving 9-11: The Deception That Changed the World

David Ray Griffin – Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory

John Perkins – New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Michael Ruppert – Crossing the Rubicon




(Those interested in digging deeper with me into defense funding will be interested in this additional sidebar:

The top five contractors for U.S. government are (in order) Lockheed Martin, The Boeing Co., General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co., and Northrop Grumman Corp. and in 2017 the grand total of taxpayer-funded contracts that were awarded to them was a whopping $337, 703, 070, 771 – source data linked below.

In future posts, I’ll be detailing government expenditures and contract payouts and sharing my analysis of the data I’ve been collecting. Linked below are two spreadsheets I’ve been tracking data on. Again, still a work in progress so please feel free to message me with ideas or if you spot any errors.)

Source Data: Top 100 Contractors

Top Five Companies Receiving Taxpayer Funded Contracts

Federal Procurement Data


The Nostalgia Tour I Won’t Be Attending

The Clintons

Hold on to your tin hats America, the Clintons are back. The dynamic duo that just won’t go away is going on tour – together! A 6-month speaking tour will launch soon, with the Clintons performing their usual shtick in 13 cities.

A description of the event says: “Attendees will have the opportunity to hear one-of-a-kind conversations with the two leaders as they tell their stories from some of the most impactful moments in modern history…” I can’t imagine these two getting up and telling folks across this country the hard truth about history.

It must have been an oversight that they didn’t call me for creative input. No matter. I’ve drawn up a list of anecdotes in a little hypothetical dialogue here. Topics I think the American people in all 13 cities would just love to hear about again and again.

Like, how about that time you tightened up those pesky mandatory sentencing laws for non-violent criminals? That was a hoot! And hey, I STILL crack up when I think about all the manufacturing jobs we sent to Mexico.

Ooh ooh! Please tell me we’re going to retell the financial fairy tales about the great dismantling of the Glass-Steagall Act (see the Riegle-Neal Act of 1994 and GLBA of 1999 for more).  I just get downright wistful when I look back on how well deregulating the banks worked out for the American people. And let’s see…they repaid us by bundling predatory mortgages into A+ rated financial instruments for the markets (A+ my ass but the sheeple don’t need to know that..), THEN pulled the ol’ one-two-magoo and short sold their own stock. Betting against themselves! That is rich, oh how we laughed.. those bankers are a wily bunch.

It was sheer genius how they stole everyone’s pensions and foreclosed on homes. And I’ll tell you, it’s because we respect these bankers’ game so much that the American taxpayer bailed them out. No one is complaining about the austerity and the wage stagnation – and if they are, bankers can’t hear them from the 35th floor anyway.

Now that we’re really talking – remind me, how many countries had regime leaders who toppled under your watch? Let’s see, Honduras, Columbia, Bosnia, Libya…we’re still working on Venezuela…I’m running out of fingers. But God damn those Che-lovers were stubborn. Venezuela is prime now though – Obama has been funding the minority opposition creating virtual havoc over there! They’re fired up! Gee, US hegemony is the greatest.

Another way to have fun whilst spreading the fertile seeds of democracy is by funding terrorists, right? Like Al Qaeda? Have any photos? Don’t be shy about putting up a little collage in the entry points at theaters. It will be a kicky conversation-starter.

Let’s not leave the African continent out. I’m sure the Sudanese people would love to discuss the bombing of the al-Shifa Pharmaceutical Factory, which completely obliterated medical stocks in this impoverished country. So what if they had to pay quadruple for outsourced drugs after that? Mr. C had faulty intelligence, it wasn’t his fault. Jeez, people are such complainers.

Ooh! You’ve got to tell attendees about Haiti. Tell the ticket-holders to your little 13-city circus: how did the Clinton Foundation manage to give $30 million in funds to contractor friends, and yet 70% of Haitians today still don’t have direct access to potable water!? That must be a hell of a yarn; hang on while I grab my tea.

I do have one question Billary – can I call you that? And you may not like this idea, but hear me out. Can you bill this as an apology tour? I think that’s the Christian thing to do. There’s a sub-story to all this historical “remembering when” that I think the both of you are uniquely qualified to share. The seeds of corporate fascism and today’s Trump presidency were sown on your watch. Neither of you strike me as the self-reflective type so I’ll explain:

Let’s hearken back to a time when Democrats were just sick of losing elections. It was a dark hour in liberal history.  Picture it: 1988. The Miracle of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis gets chided for being a “card carrying member of the ACLU” and was perceived as “soft” on defense. George Bush’s team was trying their best to get Dukakis’ mental health records out to the public and did a good job painting him as unstable. (Let’s face it: Kitty didn’t help.)

The Bush campaign struck political gold though, when an ad was run about Willie Horton, the first degree murderer from MA who committed another murder while out on a weekend furlough. Aye, twas the nail in Zorba’s coffin. It’s rather telling that in the era of the shoulder-pad, any whiff of sympathy for the plight of the oppressed the ACLU represented would read as a negative. The 80’s was a time of a glorified Wall Street, a time when women still expected to be sexually harassed in the workplace; a time of men being “tough” on defense and crime. Anything else was political suicide. God Bless the patriarchy, but I don’t miss the 80’s.

Vowing never to lose the Presidency of the United States again, Democrats became centrists, and led by the soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac, you crazy kids entered the 1993 presidential race. That shift to the middle seemed wise indeed at the time, and you, Mr. Bill, were as charming as Rhett Butler, a quality ol’ Bushy lacked. Sure, you took a hard line on crime, but you played the saxophone!

It was a glorious time. We Americans were transfixed by you Bill, and fair is fair: liberals co-signed your devilish ways like an abused spouse, making excuses for you any time you let us down. We even tolerated your cheatin’ on Hill’, mostly because she annoyed us, and didn’t let it get to us that you just might be a sexual predator.

The Clinton years gave America a deregulated SEC, FCC and ended consumer protections like Glass-Steagall, but most of us didn’t even know what those things were! How could the average American know that your irresponsible ways would sow the seeds for the 2008 financial crash, for the monopolization of the media which would eventually asphyxiate journalism, or for the over-policing that would fill American prisons to the brim with exploitable free labor for corporations? America’s love of identity politics and worship of symbol rather than substance is what greases the wheel of politics today.

But Bill, you got a little out of your depth with NAFTA. Voters may not be fiscally astute, but the de-industrialization of this country, that is etched on middle America’s memory. I know it must have been water under the bridge for America’s favorite power couple long ago, but I think it could have had a teensy hand in Hillary’s 2016 loss. Have you ever visited Camden, New Jersey? Pine Ridge, North Dakota? Anderson, Indiana? Probably not. Anyhoo, those Republican gerrymandering sons-of-bitches didn’t help either.

It turns out that pivoting to the middle sold out the working class people Democrats purportedly represented, but winning elections again was exciting, I’m not going to lie to you Billary. I was too young to vote but I instinctively disliked both Reagan and Bush. Even as a youngster, I had the makings of a solid future in giving the middle finger to authority. And though I knew absolutely nothing about policy, I was a big supporter of both of you. I even read a few of your books, and was especially inspired by you Hillary, back in the day.

The American people love a good show, and I was no different: I bet on my horse to WIN. I believed Hillary every time she went on the news and inferred conspiracy rather than take ownership. I knew those bad Republicans were just out to get you! Turns out that’s partially true but I was a blind devotee and like every other blowhard in America who seeks confirmation bias to validate my political ethos, I never questioned my loyalty. Looking back, it was an easier time: Google didn’t exist yet.

Do me a solid Hil’ and Bill: at least take some time, as I have, to reflect about this pivot to the center and take some ownership in front of American audiences rather than using this speaking gig to bolster your own demagogic images. Centrism has effectively pushed the entire Republican party to the right. Today’s establishment Democrats are entrenched in the middle, supported by the same corporate interests that polluted the once reasonable Republicans and ruined this country.

What happened? Liberals used to provide a much-needed balance to Capitalism, which inevitably grows like a cancer and devours everything in sight without some voice of reason. I know, I know, checks on power are soooo September 10th. What happened to the party of the working class? Equivocating and shifting to the center, saying certain measures of reform were impossible and thereby settling for the incremental, if anything at all. And all the while the Republican party never yielded an inch, and in fact has veered so far to the right that today’s Republican party bears no comparison to the Reagan years or anything before it. The fringe is running the asylum now, and they were birthed out of frustration to terrible mismanagement that has more to do with Democrats than Democrats would like to admit.

It’s easy to call today’s Republicans out: they do not conform to the PC. They are evangelical fighters who stick to their guns, pun intended. Yet Obama followed up after the Bush Jr. howdy-doody rodeo and continued to codify Bush’s damaging policies and policies in which our golden Clinton administration had previously firmly rooted itself. It was depressing. But few liberals called him out, perhaps out of relief to be rid of Bush, perhaps because of Obama’s chocolate charm. Yes, Obama possessed a gift for public speaking and charm that out-paced yours Billy boy, a terrific thing to watch.

Bush’s dismantling of the 4th Amendment with the Patriot Act got re-affirmed under Obama, with an additional burst of gusto from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, a section of which was so invasive it prompted a group of investigative journalists to sue the Obama administration to take the section out lest the executive branch should unleash it’s power upon the American citizenry.

In the wake of criminal banking practices that crashed our economy in 08′, Obama’s bank bailout came immediately after his inauguration of “hope and change”, quickly dashing any hopes of change I may have held for justice. These bastards took bonuses from the taxpayers and did NOT reinvest the bailouts into helping mortgage holders or building back the economy.

I could go on ad nauseum but the point is, since the 90’s, Democrats have continued to sell themselves as the moral voice of our great nation while enacting the very policies that have brought us to our knees. That is some Ivy League level BS right there and yet the sheeple acolytes remain as devoted to the Red/Blue-two-party charade as we ever were. Good Republicans and Democrats alike still fight like cats and dogs over their favorite politicians, defending the honor of this country’s diluted, remorseless and dare I say criminal executive branch.

The American people do love their Clintons, oh yes they do. I suspect you two already know that, which is why you’re running this timely tour. You can probably guess, I’m not exactly an enthusiast but I clearly remember being proud and excited to vote for Bill in my youth. He was my first, and you know how that goes… I guess I saw both of you through rose colored glasses. Not so much now, but let’s face it – having the wool pulled over my eyes all those years was making my face itch. As they say in manufacturing plants in Mexico, no bueno.

I beg of you Billary, try to think of us when you’re out there on the road. You’ve both had your dances on the dark side. Somehow I doubt you’ll heed my creative counsel and go your own way though; the show must go on.

So America, if you’re still reading… I know you’re all pumped up from the adderall and  another round of Yankee-Doodle-Yackee from the King and Queen of foreign donor relations with oppressive regimes sounds like just the panacea for your Trumpian malaise. But I warn you: this myopic view of our current situation has a steep price. I ask you, Liberal, to repent your ways now. The hour is at hand. And if changing your mind about Democrats and political parties is not your thing, I get it. I hope you enjoy it, I really do, but I’m going to sit out the celebrational side show with the surprise guest appearance by Oprah. I’m tired.

And hey – if you miss out on the Clinton’s speaking tour, fear not. A Broadway play is in the works about the happy couple. It’s true! It’s too early to tell if this is meant to be historical or hysterical but stay tuned, my friends. Stay tuned.

The Clinton years…aah. Those were the days.


Bill and Hillary Clinton set to begin 6-month speaking tour – USA TODAY


Rules Without Question

***12/2019 – I’m updating my 2017 post on being rebellious without fear. I re-read it recently and felt it needed more commentary to reflect what is going on today, especially as we approach the New Year. Namaste, and thank you for reading. All the best to you for a productive and healthy 2020. 

As society marches obediently into its Orwellian, authoritarian future, I find myself troubled by the rising herd mentality and the general lack of tolerance for rebelliousness.

What is rebelliousness? In its less evolved expression it is needlessly destructive, like burning and looting local businesses as a protest of corporate labor standards. It’s the rogue chaos agent, ski mask clad, infiltrating an otherwise peaceful protest. Rebels without a clue. Yet at its most constructive, rebelliousness is a vital part of the creative process; of  connecting to our passions; of learning and being alive. It is the courage to stand up for what one believes in, or speak truth to power. The whistleblower is a perfect example of constructive rebelliousness. 

Currently under-appreciated due to political correctness and social outrage culture, the rebel is having a time out. The rebel with integrity has no scapegoat, thus relegating those without the mettle to merge with the masses and disappear. 

So-called “correctness” is literally mutilating language. Reductionist politics have herded American voters into camps of “Right and “Left” absolutism and instead of employing our critical thinking skills, we’ve opted for group-think. Personally, I do not enjoy being trapped on this merry-go-round, but I see that many do, for having an “other” to blame is mighty handy when problems arise. 

News anchors speak to their viewers at a sixth-grade level, dumbing down everything, omitting inconvenient facts – sometimes outright lying to the audience. They stoke fears and provide a reliable, revolving cast of boogeymen.

Americans are engaged in infantile (and completely mutual) psychological projection with seemingly little self-awareness. What-aboutism, for lack of a more succinct term, is the rule of today. Why bother to pause and reflect on the issue at hand when you can just deflect and drown out your opponent? 

Google, Facebook and YouTube are de-platforming, shifting algorithms, and outright yanking content that it deems “suspicious”, a deliberately vague term that gives them ample power to stifle the flow of information.

McCarthyism is back in vogue, and if you dare to venture outside of the prescribed Left/Right lane of your chosen people you will be viciously cast out and dragged into the Twitter town square. Innuendo, baseless accusations, and outright censorship has been normalized. A quick look at one of the many “fact-checking” websites is all one needs to reaffirm their particular bias. Researching something for oneself is considered ludicrous and the domain of those wearing tinfoil hats. Discourse is dead, curiosity killed the cat, cancel my subscription, and DON’T date a Trump voter. Le sigh… 

Last month, Greyzone journalist Max Blumenthal had a swat team show up at his D.C. home to arrest him. Apparently, some food was thrown during a protest at the Venezuelan embassy in D.C. earlier this year…? I’m unclear as to whether Blumenthal himself was armed with produce or simply having a snack, however the U.S. government takes assault with a deadly banana very seriously and promptly arrests offenders… 6-9 months later. I’m sure it had nothing to do with his reporting on U.S. hegemonic shenanigans abroad – if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, fruit ought to be classified as a deadly weapon  

Yes, that is sarcasm, yet another nuance of conversation that is not fully appreciated in our humorless, perennially offended culture. The very irony of our looting, murderous government taking umbrage to fruit tossing as a punishable act is hilariously hypocritical. But that’s how the cookie crumbles I guess: when you report on CIA sabotage and such, you’re bound to make powerful enemies. Blumenthal’s arrest comes conveniently on the heels of his recently published book The Management of Savagery, an unflinching and fascinating investigative tome on American hegemony abroad. After two days of being locked up without a phone call or a lawyer, he was released. 

Charges have since been dropped but the unspoken threat to journalists is clear. The sun is setting on the internet Information Age and Julian Assange is the government poster boy for what happens when you expose corruption.

The government targeting an American journalist on a Saturday morning for a surprise arrest should have had all the news networks on fire. Mainstream press was indifferent or perhaps unaware, but either way it’s hard to keep calling the news news when reporting on 3am presidential tweets trumps unconstitutional treatment of one of their journalistic peers. 

The silence of MSM on many nuanced issues of national interest has been deafening.  The idea that “America” was founded on tax evasion and revolt against an over-reaching British hegemony seems at odds with what we’ve become. The press was a vital part of that revolt: producing pamphlets and disseminating information helped form the binding ethos of the American Revolution. Yet today, in the age of the internet, the public seems unable to muster much outrage over the grift at the Pentagon, another topic not getting anything more than fleeting mention on any news outlet I’ve seen.

This is mind-boggling to me! What company missing over $21 trillion would get 100% budget increases year over year? It’s logistically insane. And yet, that’s what the Pentagon does with our money. Rather than put a freeze on spending until they can make sense of the first damn audit they’ve undergone in 20 years, quickly and quietly rules were put in place that will make their future audits even less transparent. Where in the actual fuck can anyone get a job with zero accountability and unlimited cash flow? If you stole money from the bank or mismanaged the books at your office you’d be fired or in JAIL. Yet the Ferguson, MO police shot teenager Michael Brown – a child! – over a stolen $5 CIGAR. Right??

The rules apply to you and I but not to the people with any real authority or actual responsibility for stuff that matters. Our leaders are hanging out with pedophiles and sex offenders, grabbing the world by the pussy and living very well off our money and hard work. Meanwhile, they’ve thrown so many boomerangs and distraction bombs into the news, they’ve got us policing ourselves! We the Sheeple, strangling every opportunity for true debate because we’re too busy attacking each other over petty grievances, shaming counter-culture and ridiculing critical questions as conspiracy. 

Everyone is home watching Netflix, smartphones in hand, grumbling about tweets instead of  protesting in the streets. In fact, the very act of protesting and demonstrating is now looked down upon. Ask yourself, why is that? When did that happen? 

It’s time to get angry at root causes, not gender pronouns or tweets. I honestly believe the spectacle is by design, not by accident.

It’s not a bug: it’s a feature, these distractions. There is rumbling around the world about alternatives to the U.S. dollar as a world currency. If the U.S. loses it’s status as the global benchmark for currency we are in for another looting of taxpayer money on a very serious level. 

The financial “crash” of 2008 was just such a looting. The word “crash” is pure propaganda, considering a crash implies an accident and the financial institutions actually caused that crisis quite purposely by betting against their own shady derivatives and predatory mortgage instruments.

They double dipped: make money on the sale of repackaged “AAA rated” (ha) financial instruments to investors, then place market bets to undermine them because they’re actually at high risk for default. Grift on the way in, grift on the way out. Oh, and the bailouts? They reinvested that money overseas, ba-bye now.

Austerity for the American people, griftopia for the elite few. Free market my ass. 

Many news outlets made fun of the Occupy movement, or treated them as an annoyance. I have to admit, I didn’t fully understand the movement at the time because I hadn’t been educating myself: I blithely accepted whatever CNN told me, even when I was in my gut uncomfortable with the pat explanations. I looked no further, as many do, busy with the day to day of my life. 

My original post follows below. May you be inspired to rebel in 2020. I bid you peace. 


It strikes me oddly that society-at-large is respecting rules set by those who don’t follow them whatsoever. When you think about it, most people are pretty structured. And decent.

Still, I’ve got a problem with the hypocrisy of today and I don’t see any good reason to follow most of the rules I follow, so why do I? Fear of my government. Fear of prison. Fear of having everything I’ve ever owned or worked for taken away from me. Those are the big ones, anyway.

Most of my life, I’ve set my own rules. Sometimes this has frustrated the people in my life, but I’ve kept them entertained. It’s mostly frustrated me, really. One can’t be too principled, at last in my eyes, but my principles have often thwarted my efforts at achieving much of anything.

I write this today because in the midst of planetary tension and transition that I think we are all feeling, there is another type of tension occurring. Because for all our religious institutions and rules, many of us are in a spiritual crisis.

My values are not the values of my parents. I’m a child of the 70’s and grew up with lots of freedom; some might say too much. It didn’t matter. What wasn’t given to me I took without a second thought about who I hurt or what danger lie in my choices. I was fearless, I suppose. But it was the type of fearlessness that accompanies naivete and curiosity.

Today, as a parent myself, I often shudder when remembering particular moments in my life. Like the time I got stuck on a slender shelf no wider than my 9 year-old feet on the face of a mountain in the woods for hours. Or at 19, when I accidentally almost blew my own head off with a gun.

The very fact that I remain in my human vessel is suprising to me.  Some might even call me “lucky”, a word I despise because it fails to recognize my will, or give me any credit at all for the choices I have made. “Lucky” gives all the credit to an invisible God, who may or may not exist, never mind have any preference about particular outcomes.

Given the kind of person I was, the kind of people I had for parents were ill-equipped to deal with the particulars of bringing me up to deal with the sort of mind I had. I was brought up to follow the rules, strictly. To repress anger. To become something decent in this world – what was expected of me, not only by my parents but what they felt was expected of their child by the familial bonds of authority they adhered to all their lives without question.

I began questioning my given religion in the third grade, and these questions were always unwelcomed and shut down by both the church and my family. So, I found my own avenues of Earthly knowledge and hid much of who I was, and who I was becoming, from my family.

This is not an indictment of my parents. They were doing as they were told by their own parents. They were following rules they never criticized or questioned. Their path to happiness was not varied: it was clearly defined by those who raised them as the path of least conflict, least resistance, most obedient, and least individualized.

Part of this happened, I believe, as a result of their parents having lived through WWII. My grandfathers both served: my father’s father in the Greek Army, and my mother’s in the U.S. Navy. Things were very difficult for people in Greece in the 40’s and Dad’s parents desired for my father to come to the U.S. rather than be an Air Force pilot and risk life and limb. He obeyed and came here in 1969, and he and my mother obeyed years later when the Catholic church threatened Mom with excommunication if my parents baptized me as a Greek Orthodox as they’d been planning.

I think the one rule my parents ever broke was their marriage itself, which was frowned upon by both sides of my family. Alas, my mother was already pregnant with me, and cardinal rule no matter what your ethnic background in 1974 was to keep things respectable. Abandoning the pregnancy and the responsibility of duty to be a married, two-parent household would have meant an emotional hardship and ostracization from their communities that would have been deeply difficult to bear.

For as long as it has been around, shame as a tool has never stopped anyone from doing anything shameful. It simply goes dark, the disobedience. And I mean dark in the sense of secretive or even illegal actions, and also those which are psychologically rested within the subconscious. The subconscious is where the repressed turns deviant and acts as an Executive Director to the Ego, manifesting in all sorts of quirky behavior that people are blind to in themselves.

When we shame someone into following the rules, we attempt to control them through fear. It’s not a fair fight, in my opinion. But we also live in a world where the God-figure of every religion is a deity of preference and judgement, both very human characteristics, ironically. We humans accept all sorts of unfairness in our lives, without question.

I’ve broken all the rules, and eventually I learned that to be a true rebel sometimes you need to follow the rules – or at least enough of them to get near the marrow of the rules you really want to break. Breaking the right rules is much more effective than I could have ever dreamed. I live by my values, and those values were not handed down. They were closely examined and set by me, who, as co-creator with the Divine, am the ultimate master of my soul.

A life without examination is not worth living; feed your soul! Test your boundaries. Give your head a chance to expand and explode and then put it all back together again. It’s completely spiritual work and will bring you closer to the God of your choosing than you ever could have dreamed. Heck, you might even witness a miracle. I know I have. And believe me, I am not special.

Just don’t ever tell me, “just because” or “that’s the way it’s done” because I will overthrow any chains that bind me very quickly and unapologetically. I remain respectful to myself and those around me, of course.

In the workplace, I don’t refuse my boss’ request for me to do something a certain way, for example. But I do point out that there might be a better way and sometimes argue my point before doing exactly as I am told. If asked to do something which diverges from my core values, then I simply refuse. And yes, I have quit before when in toxic work situations. Explosively so, in one case, but that’s a story for another day.

We can apply this attitude to politics, our churches of choosing, our communities and our families. The effects ripple right out. People are more flexible than we imagine them to be, and often the outcomes we fear are not even close to what occurs when we honor our personal truths.

Now, I know it’s not simple to switch into this rule-breaking mindset. I’ve probably read a hundred spiritual texts to aid in the development of my particular mindset. One has to question their intentions unremittingly and be willing to call themselves out at the slightest whiff of bullshit. This takes a little practice because our egos are in the driver’s seat and the ego wants to win, always.

Spiritually I suppose I’ve got a Buddhist-Pagan vibe going on. I blend detachment with potential outcome to arrive at my decisions. I’m not Wiccan but part of the Wiccan rede seems a fitting summation for today’s thoughts: “Do what ye will and harm none.” It asks us to evaluate the morality of a decision, before taking any action.

Federal Prisons Continue Contracting with Private Industry // Clinton-Era Setencing Rules That Just Won’t Die

The Trump administration has quickly abandoned the Obama administration’s resolve to no longer contract with for-profit private prisons. Companies like The GEO Group and CoreCivic Inc. lead the industry and have contracts with the federal government, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Obama announced the move away from the private prison system last September. It came shortly after a Mother Jones undercover investigative report (June 2016) took Americans inside one of the country’s most dangerous, run by Corrections Corporation of America in Alabama.

With Trump green-lighting private prisons in the federal system once again, there seems to be little hope that for-profit prison’s history of cutting corners (CO pay, overcrowding, safety violations, keeping inmates after their sentences are up) will see desperately-needed reform.

Already a source of major profits for shareholders who make more money from higher occupancy rates, many major companies (Whole Foods, AT&T, Walmart) now utilize prison labor, somewhat under the radar from the public. Under scrutiny for paying wages as low as 16 cents/hr in some cases, the rules surrounding fair pay for inmate labor favor businesses rather than protect laborers – and I’m guessing (no data on this) it impacts American jobs and salaries.

There are laws that govern prison wages, such as the Percy Amendment, but these are outdated. Private companies contracting prison labor must meet minimum wage requirements or something close to it,  but there are tax breaks that companies get for using this labor. Laborers which are not declared as official “employees” and thus do not have to pay unemployment taxes, for example.

Additionally, up to 80% of prison pay is deducted from their checks for various fees that go back to the prison, like room & board. This seems like double dipping to me, at least in the case of private prisons since they are already given a guaranteed stipend from the state they’re in based on minimum contracted occupancy levels. Also if there is a room and board charge only for those who work, it is unfair and inconsistently applied.

I have firsthand observed how stressful it is for inmates to successfully assimilate back into society and meet financial obligations upon release. Finding a place to live, meeting the terms of parole and fines imposed by the courts are heavy responsibilities for someone with no income. Recidivism could be greatly reduced if the corporations leveraging prison labor were forced to acknowledge them as actual employees, making prisoners eligible for unemployment benefits upon release.

And that brings us to this past Friday, when a two-page memo was released by Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructing US attorneys to, among other things, “immediately” adhere to mandatory sentencing guidelines which have been proven ineffective.

He asserted in a statement to the public that he was looking to punish drug traffickers, but the Clinton-era crackdown on crime has long been proven a total disaster. Minimum mandatory sentencing laws disproportionately jailed people of color and non-violent drug users who pose no threat to public safety.

Former AG Eric Holder said the easing of mandatory minimums for non violent offenders has enabled the Justice Department to jail more high-level drug dealers.

Muddying the prison pot are Session’s investments, which might prove a serious conflict of interest. I’m trying to track down if he followed up on orders to divest once he took the AG office, but the jury is still out…here’s what I did find:

Sessions has considerable holdings in Vanguard, the largest purveyor of funds with investment in the private prison industry.

  • iVanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares – consists of both GEO Group and CoreCivic, Inc. stocks worth over $164,000,000. Sessions investment value is from $15,001 – $50,000.
  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares – same fund as above, but Sessions lists investment value between $1,001 – $15,000.
  • Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund Admiral Shares – consisits of stocks from The GEO Group and CoreCivic, Inc. valued at over $173,500,000. Sessions shows investments valued from $15,000 – $50,000.
  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index Admiral Shares – contains GEO Holdings Corporation stock valued at over $4,400,000. Sessions owns $1,001 – $15,000 of this fund.

Vice Motherboard reported in January (2017), Sessions failed to disclose the 600-acres of subsurface oil and mineral reserves located beneath a wildlife refuge in Alabama. I’m not super-wealthy, so I have no idea what it’s like to completely forget I have land worth more than I could dare to guess. But Sessions does not adhere to the same strict rule of law for himself as he is ready to impose on others.

I am not aware of any reports that he divested from his Vanguard funds listed above, and if he hasn’t it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s a story I’m watching with a weary eye.

The two-page Sessions memo is linked via NPR:

Spotlight on Sex Slaves Around the World

I understand you might have errands to run today so if you want to catch the key part of this almost two-hour Senate hearing, Ashton Kutcher’s opening remarks begin around the 27 minute mark and last for just over 15 minutes. It’s unpleasant to think about but 24 million people are trapped in the sex trade against their will and forced into slavery, and 27 million people are enslaved overall worldwide. That, to me, is unacceptable.

Kutcher’s THORN foundation has developed a technology called Spotlight that has already tracked down thousands of victims in the last few months. He’s only got 25% of the data in thus far so it stands to reason those numbers might be quite a bit higher. I watched this at 5am this morning and it really hit a nerve. I’ve been doing too much research into the depravity of humankind lately, but I’ve gotta say, abducting people and molesting them has got to be the lowest expression of the evil we can get up to.

I got to thinking about the Podesta emails, which I had downloaded from WikiLeaks and read just for kicks last month. I went so far down that rabbit hole I came back up and said, no way…this can’t be true. It’s utterly ridiculous. But then again, with the arrest of former Speaker of the House and friend-to-Podesta, the Dennis Hastert case serves as a reminder that there are dots to connect here. And the recent LA Child Trafficking sting in which 474 people were arrested basically screamed “this is not a fringe issue!!” into my heart, though mainstream cable media will not cover it.

Then I remembered when I used to do illegal things I had a motto: Hide In Plain Sight. Yup! Seriously, the next time you’re in Ibiza trying to pass your friend a pill or have an adult refreshment, don’t try to be sneaky about it. Just do your business and get on with your evening, OK? Acting all furtive and paranoid only calls the wrong kind of attention to you, and nobody wants to get pulled into a back room by security goons or a police officer. Just be cool. Nothing to see here.

And that’s how Americans are able to brush off a lot of intense news, because it gets reported so casually that even the people involved don’t lose their cool. With some of the more technically intense stories, like the logistics behind 9/11 for example – it is probably way beyond the scope of most American’s understanding of how structurally things work in our government, or to know chain-of-command and procedural protocols should we be under threat. Also, the U.S. being way behind other countries when it comes to science education crippled our ability to even know what questions to ask. Generally speaking, people accepted whatever story the press laid out, and if certain details didn’t get discussed we certainly didn’t miss them. Like the fact that three buildings collapsed, not two. I’m guilty – I didn’t even remember WTC building 7 until I dug into the story again 15 years later.

So you see, that “nothing to see here” approach works quite well in our churn and burn news cycle. But the reporting on the tragedy that occurred on 9/11 was probably the worst journalism ever…with a close second being the 2008 financial crisis that absolutely nobody saw coming. Aye. Well, I want to talk PizzaGate all day long until I figure out that there is either something to it or there isn’t. But I’m like a dog with a chewy toy: I’m not letting go.

Maybe writing this and talking about things without censorship is my way of calling out to the collective for a level-headed approach to emerge. Can we give life in the news to so-called conspiracies like PizzaGate in a way that doesn’t feel bombastic or hyperbolic? A single reporter – Ben Swann – discussed the landscape of the evidence available on a local affiliate news station in Atlanta and was immediately ridiculed and threatened. He’s actually missing now, and all his social media has gone dark. Scary!

I spent a long LONG time researching 9/11 and I will say this:  getting data dumps of declassified documents and learning physics only to get a collective eye roll from the people around me as though I’m out of my mind – it does sting a little. But evidence is compelling nonetheless. So if I look a little silly to you, that’s OK with me. I’m going to ignore your look of condescension because I’m not crazy.

Back to the video. Kutcher’s passion really shines and he’s very educated on this topic, especially in drawing a direct line from foster care to sex crimes and trafficking. He rightly points out that our current corporate culture of manufacturing abroad in poor conditions is contributing, which I thought was a really smart connection to make.

Years ago I used to think by not shopping at Walmart I was making a political statement. My daughter went in Walmart for the first time when she was 10,  only because I was desperate for a router. I realize my well-meaning protest is just a small whisper into the gaping abyss of human suffering that is inherent in EVERY thing we buy. I can not absolve myself; I am absolutely contributing to slavery no matter where I shop.

I think by holding America’s largest corporation’s feet to the fire, we could get the Walmarts and Apples of the world to lead the way for the rest. For American companies and American citizens to condone working conditions that are anything less than the conditions we demanded for ourselves at the turn of the 19th century is uncivilized. Why would we want to buy goods from manufacturers that are not following good business practices worldwide?

Maybe you’re the type of person who thinks that people in other countries should be treated and paid an inferior wage, because they had nothing before and so now at least they have jobs. If you are this type of person, contact me for a hug, seriously. By pressing for ethical business practices we not only show our humanity, but we might just get some of those jobs back here in the states and get those corporations to pay their taxes.

Leveraging poor people for profit and acting like it’s a favor is a ridiculous notion that feeds into American exceptionalism,  a description I loathe because it sounds so self-indulgent. We can have patriotic pride without making the leap to exceptionalism that basically says to the world “it’s all about me.”

People are jumping out of the windows to commit suicide and getting burned alive in fires so they can make less than a living wage simply because that is better than nothing. It’s standard operating procedure for a parent company to contract a third party vendor with little to zero oversight, absolving themselves of responsibility for the conditions in factories  and ultimately, these people’s deaths. And for half their pay, employees get to live in these shitholes, dormitory-style. Sometimes they don’t get paid at all. Migrant workers will often leave one country to go to a neighboring country to work and get totally used. President Trump’s  Dubai project is a nightmare, for example. Workers on that project can’t even get their passports back to go home because they’re being held from them by their employer.

These are the conditions that both women and men find themselves in across the planet and American “fast fashion” is a big part of this equation. It’s easy to kidnap young boys and girls working in these environments. Just like it’s easy to leverage foster kids in the system here in the states for unsavory ends, or look at the Catholic church’s record of abusing lots of troubled kids over their years.

Censoring these stories or not covering them because of political or corporate pressure is a failure to protect these lives and their inherent freedom to self-determine. The Podesta emails are pretty odd, and it could be a coincidence in some cases. But there was a few emails that appeared to be discussing something in code. The infamous Comet Ping Pong Pizza has a strange website and a sister store two doors down – also selling pizza, by the way – called Buck’s Camping and Fishing. They’ve scrubbed their website since a crazed lunatic (or Podesta political plant, haha) ran into the place with a gun one afternoon last month. I found an archived version of the old Comet Pizza website and their “Friends” section was still intact somewhat – check it out, it’s weird. I don’t get why any of those links are affiliated with a pizza place, but it’s possible I’m not hip enough.

I’m not saying there’s a Hillary Clinton photo in a compromising position: I AM saying there is something fishy here. It’s global. And Podesta’s associate has already been implicated. I’m not a fan of jumping to conclusions and I will ALWAYS question a received reality. There is so much more beneath the glib surface.

How can we do better? Stop buying so much crap at Walmart and use the money you save to travel. One thing I’ve learned working for low pay at a nonprofit these last 6 years was how to live on less. I mean, roughly $30,000 less than I made when I was 25 years old. I really wanted to change my career and nothing I did before lent itself to what I did at my last job so I chose to start over rather than do something I didn’t want to do. That’s a First-World problem for ya. It’s nice to have choices, but it’s also a burden to have so much abundance. Our task is to be responsible with that abundance.

Here are some ways I humbled myself to my new pay grade: I drove an embarrassingly shitty car for a few years while I saved money to buy my sassy, gently-used Acura last year.  I didn’t lease, I bought it outright. I don’t have cable. I buy new clothes seasonally, not weekly. If there’s an event or a festival I want to go to I apply to volunteer so I can donate some time and grab a free pass. Readers who know me will note that do enjoy travel a lot. But in my 4th decade I learned how to love the adventure of meeting new people in youth hostels or I will sleep on a friend’s floor or couch.  Five-star hotels are for pussies, and you know what happens to those under the current administration.

Below is a link about an initiative working it’s way through appropriations in Congress right now. If I can find some grassroots corporate activism happening “out there” I will add them later. To create new business practices will require some serious organization. We can’t just slap on our collective pussy hats and march, though that often helps too. In conjunction with demonstrations, I predict activists have got to take a page from the Koch Brother’s manual to be effective. Well, minus the short-sightedness. And the dishonesty. And pretty much everything they stand for. OK then… Stay tuned for updates on this topic.

Fight Slavery Now! website with information about the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.