Sunday, June 23, 2013

"We invented thievery."

This is along the Thai-Cambodian border, 1979-1981.

The character Abdul Nerie of the World Food Programme in Land of the Tuk-Tuk says to the American officials who have visited to see firsthand the plight of Cambodian refugees and to make recommendations on the financial need of thousands of refugees fleeing Cambodia:

"I'm from the Third World.  We invented thievery.  Nobody is going to take advantage of me!"

He says this in response to the question, "Are you sure you are getting what you pay for?"

Friday, December 16, 2011




The United States is now entering probably one of its most pivotal moments in history in domestic and foreign policies.  Right now it appears that the Congress of the United States is deliberately and most assuredly embarking upon another war as shown by television and other media reports quoting many government officials who have said, "nothing is off the table" regarding Iran.  The many Congressional Resolutions and laws regarding Iran are clearly heading towards war.  The national political leaders have spent trillions of dollars on two optional wars and now a third optional war is in the offing and impending.  The Congress of the United States authorized spending almost one billion dollars for a fortress embassy in Baghdad, Iraq and yet the U.S. still does not have diplomatic relations with Iran.

History is vital and important. Our great country in 1953 helped overthrow a democratically government in Iran and established a dictatorship for oil, protecting the assets of an Anglo-American oil company which were going to be nationalized.  Lo and behold the Iranian people revolted against the dictatorship resulting in the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis.  Since that moment until now the situation has worsened between the two countries with the Unites States refusing to recognize the Iran government with an embassy.  Now, two nights ago the NBC news anchor reader put it out there without quoting anyone, stating, "Iran is an enemy of the United States."  Was he giving the news or editorializing?    Is it his job to tell us who are the enemies of the United States?  Instead, as a reporter he might have questioned the wisdom and the conduct of his own government.  Lo and behold modern television news in our democracy is often no more than a cheerleader for our reckless government in embarking on two optional wars with a third in the wings.

Lessons from Iran, 77-78

Why Thoreau Is Still Relevant

The Iraq War and Crony Democracy

Reducing a Great Empire to a Small One 

  A Modern Example of National Madness 

The "best and the brightest" brought us the Vietnam War or as the Vietnamese call it, the American War and now with impunity a new crop of the "best and brightest" has brought more wars with enormous amounts (trillions of dollars) of public money expended and blood (millions of people maimed and killed).  The Best and the Brightest is the title of David Halberstam's book in which he states that the "best and brightest" managing U.S. foreign policy during the Vietnam War era were "stupid."  Quite an accusation considering these people had so called impeccable educations.

Who really "vets" and investigates another generation of the "best and the brightest"?  The press is often a cheerleader instead of being an independent questioner and prober of facts.  Consolidation of television and radio stations inhibits a strong and free press by subordinating it to profit and instead of truth.  If you notice the news on all three networks is almost identical.  In a strong and vibrant democracy they would not be identical and there would not be only 18 minutes or so of national news on the networks which are really an easy way to make enormous profits -on public airwaves.

The first chapter of  Land of the Tuk-Tuk is entitled Isfahan which describes and details what occurred in Iran from the vantage point of one American during the presence of almost fifty thousand Americans .  The remainder of the novel is set in Thailand.  Most of the Americans in Iran at that time were directly or indirectly supporting contracts for military hardware and their service contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The part of the novel set in Thailand deals with corruption and bribery of multimillion dollar contracts in the international relief effort for refugees, logging concessions within a village community and an awkward love story, for the character is so focused on one thing he bungles his relationship. The protagonist's girlfriend has a brother who is a monk trying to save the forest for villagers from the contractor who supplies food and transportation for refugees. The forest area will be turned into a golf course and hotel development. The American protagonist does not save the day, but the day is saved from an unexpected source that has been there all along.

The article "Lessons from Iran 77-78"  recounts my experiences in Iran was originally published by History News Network and later re-published by Open Salon and Counterpunch

 Lessons from Iran 77-78 deleted from "Open Salon"

Americans in Iran is an earlier account that has been renamed Isfahan and is the first chapter of Land of the Tuk-Tuk.  The article Lessons from Iran is a description of that time which has not been adequately covered by American journalists and reporters.
Land of the Tuk-Tuk and Stellar Energies To America, a collection of stories, are linked by two brothers.  A Final Quietus is a novella of the brother killed in Vietnam, which the Vietnamese call the American War. 

 Land of the Tuk-Tuk Review