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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Indy authors beware!

Since the boom of self-publishing by independent authors, fueled in great part by Amazon and Create Space, many questionable publishing services have sprouted. Some have been part of mainstream publishing houses, while others have been tiny home businesses, and quite a few have grown somewhere in between. Many of these schemes have died on the vine, while others take root in whatever soil they find. A few are actually legitimate services for independent authors.  

Most of these services charge too much money and deliver too little value. Watch out for the really bad ones. While some authors are happy with Hulu and Amazon, others are on the lookout for something better. Maybe you don't want to go with a brick-and-mortar publisher, or maybe they just haven't accepted your manuscripts. In any case, when you look for a way to self-publish, keep your eyes open. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

I get much of my information from the Writer Beware! blog. Here's a link to their latest news:

I recommend that you read that post and subscribe to that blog. 

Happy writing! 


Thursday, September 13, 2018

“Dragon Skin” Authors Engage Alan Morell, Creative Management Partners for Book to Film Option Rights

I just got this press release. The book shows how our troops were given inferior body armor: 

“Dragon Skin” Authors Joe Trippi, Patrick Hayes and Jules Radcliff Engage Alan Morell, Creative Management Partners for Book to Film Option Rights

“Dragon Skin”The Amazing True Story of a Congressional Hearing, a Charlatan, and a Game-Changing Body Armor                                              
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, Sept. 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- Announced today, “Dragon Skin” Authors Joe Trippi, Patrick Hayes, and Jules Radcliff have engaged as their Literary and Broadcast Agent, Alan Morell of Creative Management Partners LLC in Beverly Hills CA for their Book to Film Option rights.  Mr. Trippi, (former FOX and current CNN Analyst) is a character featured in the Hugh Jackman upcoming fall film SONY release, “Front Runner”, the true story of Gary Hart and his presidential bid. 

Said the Authors Joe Trippi, Patrick Hayes, and Jules Radcliff : “As first time Authors for our book to film, we went through a thorough investigative process for representation and unanimously selected Alan Morell of the Creative Management Partners in Beverly Hills to champion our true story narrative. We know there is a huge, international audience for this timely and shocking story, and more than a few reporters will be on pins and needles over fears their own roles will be revealed. The blogosphere is going to go wild.”
Said Agent Alan Morell, Creative Management Partners: “My clients, Joe Trippi, Patrick Hayes, and Jules Radcliff have captured perfectly in Dragon Skin, the incredible true Body Armor story, inside the Washington DC beltway, whose scandal reached the very top political international levels; with Dragon Skin, insider glossary terms language known to very few. It’s going to be a very exciting Book and Book to Film.” 

This book tells two extraordinary, improbable, and intertwined true stories. One revolves around the consequences of the media’s love affair with narratives. The other recounts what happened when military families engaged in an amazing act of self-help, doing for their loved ones in combat what the political class in Washington, D.C. refused to do. The subject is the saga of Dragon Skin body armor, still the source of misunderstandings and controversy, and for the first time anywhere this book reveals that its media-acclaimed inventor, Murray Neal, was a charlatan, a fact ignored by the media and hidden by the House Armed Services Committee in one of the most controversial and highly-publicized episodes of the Iraq War. 

It was a scandal that threatened the presidential ambitions of Hillary Clinton and of an obscure Chicago pol by the name of Barack Obama ... until the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) put an end to it. Was Dragon Skin body armor the best personal protection in the world? Generals and visiting VIPs in the Iraq war zone were wearing it, the Secret Service bought Dragon Skin, as did other elite federal agencies. And yet, it was being denied to regular troops. 

The media had gleefully flogged the story ever since Massachusetts senator John Kerry first lit the fuse on it in his challenge to the presidency of George Bush. The Army’s inexplicable resistance to making Dragon Skin available to the men and women doing the fighting and dying in the barbarity of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was an irresistible narrative, serving as a proxy for the political war at home on Bush, on the Iraq War, and on the Republican brand generally. When that narrative got around to blaming it on corruption, something utterly unexpected happened: The grass roots of the left joined with the grass roots of the right, unleashing a fury directed at politicians in both parties. Business-as-usual in Washington, D.C. was about to be upended.  
The only challenge the Chairman of the HASC faced was in coming up with a way to put an end to what was by then known as the Army v. Dragon Skin controversy without revealing political dynamite that would make everyone look like fools. His staff did their job, and both Dragon Skin and its media-acclaimed inventor, Murray Neal—who had become a modern hero and symbol of hope for military families besieging the Congress for answers to why their loved ones in combat did not have Dragon Skin—were thoroughly discredited. The billion-dollar body armor cartel supplying the Army under monopoly contracts breathed a sigh of relief, as did Hillary Clinton, one of the big recipients of the political money they splashed around in Washington, D.C. 
To this day the name Dragon Skin ignites controversy and misunderstandings. In recent focus groups with defense industry professionals both in and out of government, Dragon Skin was cited as an example of Pentagon resistance to anything new, especially if put forward by a small company unfamiliar with the Kabuki of military procurement. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

This book, after leading off with the HASC hearing that left military families fuming, picks up with the extraordinary story of how those families turned the tide and took Dragon Skin right to the welcoming arms of the U.S. Army. 

It was a rescue campaign designed, run, and managed by an unusual—and unusually well connected—team of insiders. The authors were three leading members of that team, and over the course of the effort it came to be supported by a never-before-seen network among the military families who are to be found all over the federal government, at all levels, who opened doors, shared insights, and prayed for the team’s success. The story tells of the involvement of such major figures as Barry Zorthian, described by Life Magazine as one of the most important figures of the Viet Nam era, and later, in his role with Radio Free Europe, one of the architects of the collapse of the Soviet Union. And of John Young, a pillar of the defense industry establishment, a man once in charge of major Pentagon programs and credited with developing some of the nation’s strongest weapons systems. All of them were motivated by their own roles as veterans, as members of military families themselves, or by a conviction affirmed early in the process that Dragon Skin was exactly as advertised: a supremely better armor technology that would save lives.  

The task as initially seen by the team was to balance a visceral dislike of Murray Neal among many government defense officials against intriguing reports from some of the same individuals that Dragon Skin might be welcomed under the right circumstances. The foreseeable challenges involved surviving the assaults of the body armor cartel while overcoming the animus still simmering within the HASC. The unforeseen challenge turned out to be Murray Neal himself. 

The media’s fawning and uncritical coverage of Murray Neal had not only turned him into an international celebrity but bestowed on him an unearned credibility and gravitas as a critic of the Army bureaucracy. The military families that first came to his rescue deferred to him even as he asked them for money, which they readily gave him. As the rescue campaign got underway, working with him proved to be like flying a 747 with a rattlesnake in the cockpit.    

The book follows the team of insiders as the Dragon Skin rescue effort—fueled by a sense of urgency in the race to save lives—first took shape in a meeting that included well-known political operatives from both sides of the aisle. As the strategy unfolded against great odds, first in South Africa, then in the UK, and finally in the U.S., Murray Neal’s role and unexpected interference with the strategy also surfaces. Beginning with his odd circumstances in Fresno where he was surrounded by ne’er-do-wells, the story follows a rescue effort that is ultimately wildly successful externally, even as Neal’s behavior internally ranges from botching a simple assignment to install armor in a FedEx jet, to his explosive and disruptive confrontation with a former member of SEAL Team Six. That former SEAL was personally assisting the management team as the SEAL Command prepared to become the official sponsor of Dragon Skin in an Army test that would mark the success of the entire rescue campaign. 

On the eve of that all-important test Murray Neal took off in the dead of night. The revelations that followed pulled back the curtain on what the HASC chairman had worked so hard to keep from the public’s eye. Murray Neal was a charlatan who had scammed the Army, the nation, and, unforgivably, those whose lives might have been saved by a better body armor. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Little Free Library Celebrates Milestone 75,000th Library

A deserving elementary school in Jenks, Oklahoma, received the Little Free Library book exchange through LFL’s Impact Library Program

Hudson, Wis., Aug. 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today Little Free Library® (LFL) placed its 75,000th book exchange at Jenks East Elementary in Jenks, Oklahoma, a diverse school where 32 languages are spoken. This milestone Library joins LFL’s worldwide network of book exchanges. Since the Little Free Library nonprofit was established just six years ago, it has grown into an award-winning global force for literacy and community-building, with registered book exchanges in 88 countries.

“With 75,000 Little Libraries around the world, we estimate that 54 million books will be shared this year alone and 900,000 neighbors will meet each other for the first time,” says Little Free Library founder and executive director Todd H. Bol. “But book access remains a critical challenge in so many communities around the country. We believe everyone has the right to read, and we want to help make that a reality.”

The 75,000th book exchange was granted to Jenks East Elementary via the nonprofit’s Impact Library Program, a donor-driven initiative that places Little Libraries in areas where they can improve book access and reading motivation. In addition to the book exchange, Jenks East Elementary will receive free books each month for a year.

At Jenks East Elementary, a community of more than 1,600 Pre-K to fourth graders, more than 67 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch and 25 percent are English-language learners. The student body includes resettled refugees from Myanmar as well as immigrants from Mexico, Syria, China, Puerto Rico, Korea, Russia and Iran.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to further develop their love of reading, and to share that passion and knowledge with their classmates,” said Ryan Glaze, Site Principal at East Elementary. “We feel so fortunate to be selected by Little Free Library for this occasion. At Jenks Public Schools, we want to create as many unique learning opportunities for our students as we possibly can, and having a Little Free Library on our campus is one more way for our kids to feel connected and for them to be inspired.”

The special launch ceremony of the Little Free Library at East Elementary included a ribbon-cutting, free books for students, remarks from Bol and story time with Sean Mahan, a former NFL player who attended Jenks East Elementary and graduated from Jenks High School.

“We are so pleased to share the world's 75,000th Little Free Library book exchange with Jenks East Elementary,” notes Bol. “Schools and educators play a vital role in nurturing a love of reading in our youth, and we're delighted to help ignite that love.”

Little Free Library has worked with hundreds of schools throughout its existence. LFL is now a partner to the National Education Association.


About Little Free Library®: Little Free Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Since the first Little Free Library was built by founder Todd H. Bol in Hudson, WI in 2009, the number of registered book exchanges has grown to 75,000 worldwide. Roughly 54 million books are shared annually through the book exchanges, which are individually managed by volunteer stewards in all 50 states and in 88 countries. In its short history, Little Free Library has received recognition from the National Book Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Book Industry Study Group, the Women’s National Book Association and others. To obtain a Little Free Library or make a donation to the organization, visit

About Jenks Public Schools: Founded in 1908, Jenks Public Schools, located in Jenks, Oklahoma, is a suburban district consisting of approximately 12,400 students and 1,600 employees. Embracing a tradition of excellence with a vision for tomorrow, Jenks Public Schools is committed to the shared responsibility of preparing all learners for productive, responsible citizenship in an ever-changing world.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Italian editoins of Conversations with Philip K. Dick

Il Terebinto Edizioni has published my book Conversations with Philip K. Dick in English and in Italian, with cover art by Dario Rivarossa, who also did the translation into Italian. I received two copies of each edition, so I am selling one of each -- one English and one Italian -- on eBay to raise funds for the repairs that my old house needs.

Please check out my eBay listings:

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Delilah, the Most Listened-To Woman

Delilah, the Most Listened-To Woman on American Radio, Announces Her Latest Book, One Heart At A Time

 “Delilah’s life story and advice are compelling. Her heart shines through in challenging trials and hard-won triumphs. No wonder she has so much love in her life.” —Robin Roberts

“Delilah speaks from the heart, writes from the heart, and touches the heart.  This is a book everyone needs to read.”— Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
“Delilah’s stories hum with the joy of serving others. Fans of her homespun style will enjoy her stories of care, concern, and love.” — Publishers Weekly
NEW YORK, July 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The most listened-to woman on American radio, Delilah, has a voice that 9 million listeners know and love. On air for 25 years, her shows are heartfelt, often hilarious, and warm. Listeners feel they know her; she is their co-pilot through challenges and triumphs five hours per night, seven nights a week. Now, she has written ONE HEART AT A TIME, an inspiring, uplifting, and motivating look at life, love, and faith to be published by RosettaBooks on October 16, 2018.
Called one of the “Most Influential Women in Radio” by Radio Ink, Delilah boldly and lovingly walks the talk—she has opened her heart to the country and her home to 10 adopted children, making her a mom to 13 children, with an effort underway to adopt a two-year-old baby boy to join the family. She is a syndicated radio host and the founder of an NGO called Point Hope, created in 2004 to be a voice for forgotten children and their families, helping them in the U.S., West Africa, and elsewhere.
Delilah speaks to us all. In today’s turbulent and uneasy world, there is more divisiveness, pain, and loneliness than ever before. Using stories from her extraordinary off-air life—full of trials, forgiveness, faith, and adventure (along with select well-executed pranks)—she encourages us to change this spiral by taking one person at a time into our understanding. She calls us to connect, one heart at a time, to lift others, and in the process, our communities and ourselves.
“In her easygoing style and characteristic, beloved voice, Delilah shares the real woman behind the microphone,” says Rosetta Books CEO Arthur Klebanoff. “She tells her deeply moving story as the series of miracles and prayers it is.”
Inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Delilah is the author of three previous books: Love Someone Today, Love Matters, and Arms Full of Love. One Heart At A Time will launch simultaneously in hardcover, e-book, and a Brilliance audiobook version read by Delilah, and is now available for pre-order. Visit for more information.

Friday, July 6, 2018

New Book Explores the Texas Connections to the JFK Assassination

I remember vividly the day JFK was shot. Many of us will never forget. Whatever really happened on November 22, 1963, the official story is a lie. 

I just got this press release about a new book that is worth reading: 

New Book Explores the Texas Connections to the JFK Assassination
Noted researcher and political cartoonist Richard Bartholomew’s new book, THE DEEP STATE IN THE HEART OF TEXAS, takes a fresh – and often-stunning – new look into the forces behind the most important murder in 20thcentury American history. Available in paperback and Kindle beginning July 4, 2018, this book delivers truth in a detailed yet engaging style. From the alleged murder weapon, to the Zapruder film, to a vehicle possibly used in the assassination being found in Austin, as well as essays covering political strategies for the present and future, THE DEEP STATE IN THE HEART OF TEXAS provides real history in all its gory detail, without a need for theorizing.
“While I have always insisted that the assassination resulted from a collaboration including the most powerful people in the country, I also believed full well that a Texas axis was instrumental in carrying out the plot and cover-up.,” writes researcher Ed Tatro, of THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY, in his forward. “Richard Bartholomew’s research is an excellent place to continue searching for the truth.”
While the 45th American President continues to abuse the term “deep state,” it retains its original meaning as coined by Peter Dale Scott, in reference to the private corporate and public interests that intertwine with one another in the road to power. Bartholomew’s book goes beyond simple media biases into the actual machinations of how deep state events are planned and produced.
A co-founder and director of the Center for Deep Political Research, Richard Bartholomew’s research has appeared in many publications, including The Fourth Decade. He has also presented at various conferences over the years, including the the 2018 JFK Historical Group Conference in Sterling, VA, and his critique of Joan Mellen at the 2016 JFK Assassination Conference in Dallas, TX.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Reading Is Fundamental and Homewood Suites by Hilton Partner to Support Children’s Literacy Efforts

Washington, DC, April 25, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit organization, is partnering with Homewood Suites by Hilton on the shared mission of promoting children’s literacy by providing families, teachers, parents, and community volunteers free and accessible educational materials around Lewis the Duck books.
With a longtime commitment to children’s literacy, Homewood Suites by Hilton created the Lewis the Duck books to help make kids feel more comfortable while someone they love is away. Reading Is Fundamental created supplemental learning materials aligned with the Lewis the Duck books along with a custom page on its Literacy Central website, featuring Lewis the Duck books with two titles available in Spanish and English. Each title is matched with complimentary literacy activities and educational reading resources to help create engaged readers.  The books also include an e-book version to encourage kids and parents to take reading on the go.  Parents, teachers, volunteers and literacy lovers can access the custom Homewood Suites collection on Literacy Central at
"As the Lewis the Duck book series continues to grow and evolve, we are excited to partner with Reading Is Fundamental and offer these valuable reading resources, which we hope will provide more children with the tools needed to improve literacy levels in our communities," said Adrian Kurre, global head, Homewood Suites by Hilton. The Lewis the Duck books were created to keep our guests connected to their families while traveling while also strengthening our commitment to childhood literacy, and we look forward to this new chapter with RIF.”
Homewood Suites by Hilton and Reading Is Fundamental will continue the partnership to encourage kids to read with promotion in Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels around the United States, Mexico and Canada. Literacy resources, including bookmarks and activity sheets, will be available to Homewood Suites by Hilton guests.
“Reading Is Fundamental is committed to creating a culture of literacy in communities nationwide.  Reading is the necessary foundation for all children that puts them on the pathway for success,” says Reading is Fundamental President and CEO, Alicia Levi. “We’ve joined forces with partner Homewood Suites to meet the reading needs of today’s children with relevant tools and resources needed to impact children and encourage reading.
Every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential, yet 25 million children in the United States cannot read proficiently.1 In addition, 34% of children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn how to read. 2 By the fourth grade, 65% of children are reading below grade level.3
Additionally, Homewood Suites by Hilton and RIF are partnering with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN on a special Children’s Book Week reading celebration on April 30. Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has a Family Resource Center where patients can come and read, parents can find out more about their child’s illness and families can spend some time outside their hospital room. Along with story time and special activities for patients, Homewood Suites by Hilton will donate a collection of Lewis the Duck books to the Family Resource Center as part of the brand’s commitment and contribution towards children’s literacy.
About Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to create impact, and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success. As the nation's largest non-profit organization for children's literacy, RIF has provided more than 415 million books, impacting the lives of 40 million kids in all 50 states.
About Homewood Suites by Hilton
Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hilton’s upscale, all-suite, extended-stay hotel brand with more than 450 locations in the United States, Mexico and Canada, is an award-winning leader. The first choice for guests seeking comfortable accommodations when traveling for an extended or quick overnight stay, Homewood Suites offers inviting, generous suites, featuring separate living and sleeping areas, and fully-equipped kitchens with full-size refrigerators. Additional value-driven essentials include: complimentary internet, a daily full hot breakfast, and complimentary evening social every Monday - Thursday. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi, and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Homewood Suites is focused on guest satisfaction and stands behind each stay with its 100% Suite Assurance® guarantee. For more information on the extended-stay advantage, visit or
1 Based on an analysis of NAEP test scores.
2 Council on Early Childhood (2014). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics 134(2): 404-409.
3 National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation’s Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading.

Christine Lonsdale
Reading Is Fundamental

Monday, April 2, 2018

Zodiac killer identified? Detective reveals evidence

Infamous murders committed over a period of 60 years are now solved, according to author and veteran detective John Cameron. He has found evidence that the Zodiac killing spree, the Black  Dahlia murder, other unsolved murders, and even murders that ended in convictions of other people, were committed by one man, a man who was convicted of five murders.

Here's the press release about Cameron's book and the deal he signed with Reel Time:

RLTR - ReelTime Signs John Cameron Author of "It's Me Edward Wayne Edwards" Launching Multimedia Publishing Division Corresponding With National Exposure of The Most Chilling Discoveries in Serial Killer History

ReelTime Media and Veteran Detective Author John Cameron Have Partnered to Shed Light on Discovery that the Zodiak Killer Killed JonBenet 

Seattle, WA , April 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  ReelTime (OTCPK:RLTR) has signed a publishing and monetization agreement with veteran detective John Cameron author of “It's Me Edward Wayne Edwards The Serial Killer You Never Heard Of” which profiles the life of  what may  be the most prolific serial killer of all time. As part of the agreement the parties will split the profits derived from the sale of the book and its derivatives and will mutually promote the discoveries contained within it as well as what has been learned since its publication.

Although Ed Edwards was convicted of only 5 murders the discoveries presented in the book have led many to believe that the spree could have exceeded 60 people spanning over 60 years including many of the most famous murders of all time. Murders such as those committed by the Zodiac Killer, the deaths of Elizabeth Short, known as the Black Dahlia, JonBenet Ramsay, as well as the murders of Teresa Halbach and Laci Peterson, whose convicted killers already sit in prison. 

The book and evidence presented in it has recently gained national exposure in In Touch , and according to People spawned a six-part series based on the book set to begin airing April 16. On The Paramount Network (formerly Spike) sparking perhaps the single most controversial discoveries in criminal history.  The first edition of "Its Me Edward Wayne Edwards The Serial Killer You Never Heard Of" can be purchased at from Amazon in hard cover or e-book as of today. 

Veteran Detective/Author John Cameron exclaimed: “I believe some of the most famous murders in the last 60 years were created by this one man. I never set out to learn what I have learned but once I started down the rabbit hole I could not stop and am amazed at what I discovered.  Being able to partner with ReelTime will make a tremendous difference as to how many people will be able to experience and understand this truly shocking series of revelations. It is great to have a competent team of very bright individuals at ReelTime working with me on this.” 

Barry Henthorn CEO stated: “Sometimes a mans fate is chosen and other times it is discovered. John Cameron simply could not ignore his instincts nor the mountain of evidence that corroborated his discoveries.  We are committed and compelled to share his work contained in the book as well as additional revelations and evidence that further expand on the spree of murders committed by Edward Wayne Edwards that continue to compile.” 

About ReelTime: ReelTime Rentals, Inc. DBA ReelTime VR, ReelTime Media Group is a publicly traded multimedia publishing company based in Seattle, WA (OTCPK:RLTR). ReelTime is in the business of helping individuals whom have been thrust into the public eye to monetize their exposure and control the portrayal of their story. ReelTime is also in the business of developing, producing, and distributing Virtual Reality Content and technologies under the brand ReelTime VR. We have end to end production, editing, and distribution capabilities for internal and external projects. ReelTime Currently produces three ongoing series for the Samsung Gear VR platform, VeeR TV, Oculus, and distributes them over numerous VR delivery portals. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

They've been lying to us all along, and cheaters prosper

"Cheaters never prosper." Oh, really? In my 63 years of life, I've watched in amazement and sometimes horror as the people who cut corners and copy the work of others rise to the top, gaining status, power and wealth. Even in low-wage professions, the worst workers often rise to management positions.

They told us when we were children that we could be successful if we followed the rules, were kind to others and worked hard. They lied to us.

I've watched i disbelief as the best employees in fast food, factory work and education got shunted to the side, while the brown-nosers got promoted without so much as breaking a sweat. Dad's uncle, for example, rose through the Navy ranks during WW2 to eventually become an admiral. He was in charge of supplies for the Pacific Fleet, based in Hawaii. However, since he didn't go to the Academy, the other admirals refused to play golf with Edgar Chapman. He was the lowest rank of admiral, and the only way to rise higher was by playing golf with other admirals. Doing a good job didn't profit him.

On top of that, it really does matter where you came from. If your parents didn't mix with the right people, your first job was pumping gas or feeding snakes at a pet shop or handing out donuts and coffee. Their first job was an internship with a desk, a badge and a business suit, as well as a salary that was more than what their work was worth.

Doing well in school can help with your career, but you will never get a job that enables you to pay off your student loans, unless you "known somebody". It also helps to have wealthy parents who are willing and able to pay your tuition, thus avoiding the student loan trap. Meanwhile, tuition has skyrocketed. At the junior college, I paid $50 a semester. At the four-year college, I paid $600 a term. What do you pay now? Your books cost more than what I paid for tuition in the 1970s.

Wages and salaries, on the other hand, have not risen much. You are stuck with low wages, unless you know somebody or your parents mixed with the right people. If you have one or both of those advantages, you don't have to do a good job. A third advantage is available to cheaters, and they do prosper. They suck up to their superiors, and they steal the work of others, and they rise to the top.

The rest of us are stuck going to work to earn the money to keep the car that gets us to work.

They lied to us. Yet I can't bring myself to cheat or to steal the work of others. It just isn't in me.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Water rights victory in Oregon

Where I live, I am  not allowed to have a rain barrel. If I were to save some of the rain that falls on my land, I would be subject to thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time. If I were to dig a well, that would also be a crime. The water that falls from the sky and pools up underground supposedly belongs to our local water utility, but it is being sold off to a huge foreign corporation. That issue has grown to  immense proportions in the midst of a five-year drought.

Local, state and federal authorities in the U.S. have engaged in a pattern of selling water rights for a tiny fraction of what they are worth. The buyer, Nestle, is a foreign corporation with outlets all over the world. They take water from anywhere they can get it, bottle it and sell it back to the public at high prices. Meanwhile, wells and springs are going dry, especially in drought-stricken areas. Moreover, Nestle takes millions of gallons of water above and beyond what their permits allow.

Boycotting Nestle as part of a grass roots effort has proven difficult and sometime impossible because Nestle owns such a wide variety of products, mostly processed foods. Pressure on government agencies has proven more effective in the fight to keep the water rights that properly belong to the public and should not be sold to anyone under any circumstances.

Here's a copy of the email that I received early this morning: 

While we were fighting Nestlé's in Michigan last year, we received some great news that we have yet to celebrate -- you helped secure a win against Nestlé in Oregon!
Nestlé’s had plans to pump fresh water out of Cascade Locks, Oregon to bottle and sell for massive profits -- but it fell through after a nine-year battle with local activists.


Bowing to the pressure of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, local residents, and thousands of SumOfUs members like you, Governor Kate Brown ordered state officials in October to stop an exchange of water rights that Nestlé needed to seal the deal.
It took major community power to stop Nestlé’s water grab, which would have had the brand drain some of Oregon’s cleanest water for only one cent per 40 gallons. Then, it would sell the same water back to the public for $2.63 per gallon -- a literal steal.
It didn’t matter that Oregon was facing a devastating five-year drought: Nestlé’s plan was about profit and nothing more -- never mind Native American treaty rights or local access to cheap, clean water. But community members and activists wouldn’t let Nestlé rob them without a fight. In May 2016, a massive voter outreach campaign passed a Hood River County measure to ban large water bottling operations like Nestlé’s plan.
Governor Brown’s notice is the result of years of local leadership and community activism. Which means this isn’t a victory just for Cascade Locks or Oregon -- it’s a win for all communities defending their local water rights in the face of corporate greed.
Together, we showed big corporations like Nestlé that even small communities like Cascade Locks won’t bow to corporate profiteering. Now, Nestlé has closed its offices in offices in Cascade Locks and will have to look elsewhere to practice their predatory business model. With your help, we’ll be ready to continue the fight wherever they end up next.
Thanks for all that you do,
Angus, Emma, Amelia and the team at SumOfUs
P.S. Want to help us keep up the fight for local water rights? You can rel="noopener">make a donation here to keep us strong and ready to leap into action. Thank you!

More information: