Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In Defense of Matt Stroud

(Written after reading a comment at Collapsenet.com but before reading Wes Miller's brilliant response to the original Verge article.)
 
 
   Let’s start with the observation that apart from two smearing “Conspiracy Theorist” headlines in some of the less reliable media, The Verge is the only mainstream outlet thus far to have acknowledged Mike’s death.  The reasons for this are best summarized by the following passage from Nathaniel Blumberg's The Afternoon of March 30:
 
...the American news media have been deeply penetrated by our intelligence community.  Confirmation of everything I have been saying on that score came less than two weeks ago, and I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to pass it on.  It comes from no less a source than the New York Times.  I would like to say that it was the lead story on page one but, alas, as usual it was buried at the bottom of the fourteenth page of the second section on June 9.  That story, my good and patient friends, reports that the Central Intelligence Agency, in order to settle a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, reluctantly disclosed – those are the words of the good gray lady herself – that journalists have been used in a variety of roles and missions.  Among other duties, journalists provided cover or served as a funding mechanism, some provided nonattributable material for use by the CIA, some collaborated in or worked on CIA-produced materials or were used for the placement of CIA-prepared materials in the foreign media.  Some journalists had even served as couriers and as case officers who secretly supervised other agents.  And some – oh, it’s been a long time a-coming – provided assistance in suppressing what the CIA termed a media item, such as a news story.[1] [emphasis mine]
   So you may assume that the only way Mike’s story will get into the public arena is sideways, via a highly skeptical view. This is a major reason that my own memoir of his time at my apartment is so unsparing.
   While it’s true that most people read superficially in the sense of reading only the words on the page, for any who might probe more deeply, Stroud’s expose includes a link to Mike’s critical article, “Oh Lucy! – You Gotta Lotta ‘Splain’ To Do.” Anyone who checks that out will see that there’s more to this story than just a crazy guy with an oddly consistent world view which, unlikely as it might seem, happens to coincide with reality.
   Mike’s always been controversial but as we’re not talking about art, it doesn’t suffice to shrug off the argument by saying, “Ya love ’im or ya hate ’im.” On one extreme are followers who may believe, as he himself wrote in his suicide note, that he sacrificed himself for mother Earth, a sort of latter day Christ figure dying for our sins. This group sees his “flaws” as mere imperfections to be brushed away, allowing the humane spirit within to shine through.
   But our mistake may be in thinking of Mike’s impatience, intolerance etc. etc as “flaws” at all. It is impatient people, intolerant of the status quo, who get things done. Anyway, those who knew Mike well saw how essential the “flaws” were to him. They were the flip side to his accomplishments, motivating him in complex ways.
   On the other extreme are those who delight in his internal demons including the accusation, which he did not deny, that he appeared in his underwear in the doorway of a young female employee’s office. It was this sort of behavior of which he sought to purge himself by fleeing to Venezuela. That is not speculation; he told me.
   It was not the only reason for fleeing to Venezuela, of course. The “vandalism” of the FTW offices which The Verge refers to included the smashing of all seven of the company’s computers. Mike justifiably saw this as a warning: “Next time, it’ll be you.” He came to understand that he’d be allowed back in the US only on condition that he “get out of the game” meaning investigative journalism, an “agreement” he stuck by.
   Complicating the feud between Mike’s defenders and his detractors is that he gave the latter group so much rope to hang him with. In the last years of his life, he publicly aired the sort of views about extra-worldly affairs (aliens, the symbolism of the appearance of an eagle at a particular time) which can never be substantiated. He’s not alone in believing that a spirit or god communicated with him or others in these ways. But they’re the sort of beliefs that anyone staking his reputation on concrete evidence would be advised to keep to himself.
    One fact cited in the article which I’d like to clarify is the date of Peak Oil. Extrapolating from a graph in Crossing the Rubicon, the article implies that global peak took place in the 1960’s. The graph, however, was referring to the peak of discovery. There’s a significant gap between that and the peak of production which may have taken place c. 2008 or is taking place around now.
   This observation refers only to easy oil which is what the Peak Oil movement is concerned with. Fracking, shale and tar sands do indeed extend the life of oil supplies but at intolerable cost to the environment.
   Also, while it’s true that Mike was originally a mainstay of the 9/11 Truth movement, he later broke with them irrevocably for their promulgation of the “No Plane at the Pentagon” meme and other less reliable evidence such as witness testimony of explosions before the twin towers fell. First of all, any potential physical evidence of bombs was expeditiously dispatched to Fresh Kills, SI, or to China, India and South Korea for recycling. But even if you did find evidence of bombs, Mike pointed out, what would that prove about who had placed them? Mike stuck with incontrovertible evidence of US government involvement in the attacks such as the warnings from multiple foreign intelligence agencies which went unheeded, the wildly anomalous put options on United and American airlines which got “overlooked” although the government monitors the stock market in real time, and the at least five war games taking place the morning of the attacks which diverted planes away from the east coast.
   (There’s also a slight inaccuracy referring to my personal relationship with Mike which I mention only as a shield in case someone later accuses me of lying to the reporter.)
   Saints are not interesting. Stroud’s article will undoubtedly peak interest in Mike, thereby bolstering the case for the adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Thus, however circuitously, it will help promulgate the invaluable information and insights Mike provided into our current global crisis.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Mike's Story Part 70 - Spin-Off


   The phone rang.  After going through the usual niceties, Mike said, "Listen to this:" 
   He donned an orotund Russian accent.
   "Dear George Bush and Dick Cheney:"
   The letter continued, a fantasy - grounded in reality, as good satire must be - of the message the Russians were sending the U.S. with their latest signing of a cease-fire agreement with Georgia even as they set forest fires to prevent the installation of concealed troops and weapons, and bombed bridges between their former satellite and Europe.  
   "I'm writing well, huh?"
   He was on a roll, getting into the character of a Russian potentate.
   "The book's going well too. I told Kenny I bet it's going to be number one on the New York Times bestseller list."
   "You set the bar high for yourself but sure, why not?"
   "CNN's reading me."
   "Yeah, I know. The powers that be are grateful for you these days. I don't think you have to worry about your survival."
   "I feel like Galileo. They couldn't kill him because he'd figured out how to navigate."
   "It's all about maps."
   "It's all about maps. Right."  Long time Mike aficionados will recognize that he spoke of FTW as providing a more accurate "map" than mainstream media with which to understand how global events had arrived at their current untenable position.
   "You know, someone like Buckminster Fuller said, 'The paradigm changes a long time before anyone realizes it.' That's what's happening now."
   "Another way of saying that is, we're the cartoon character who doesn't realize he's run off the cliff because he hasn't looked down yet."
*********
 
   The next call was to tell me about his new girlfriend.  They knew as soon as their eyes locked that their relationship was pre-destined, just as he and I had at one time been pre-destined.  Likewise he and his fiancĂ©e.  If you went by resumees only, (one way or another, we were all involved in protecting the environment,) then any of these scripts was indeed plausible.
   “I only wish you the same happiness,” he closed, to rub in the hurt he presumed I felt.  ("I’m happily coupled and you’re not.  Nya nya nya nya nya.  But I’ll magnanimously send you best wishes.")
   I was not unhappy.  I had wonderful friends and a fulfilling job.  My book was progressing; my son, thriving.  The only disagreeable aspect of my life at that moment was Mike's attempt to drive me towards yelling or slamming down the phone.  Then he could tell his cohort, “Jenna went all psycho on me,” and relay the conversation by way of illustration.  After some time passed, he’d generously refer to the incident as my "breakdown."
   I made sure not to give him that satisfaction.
   (Of course, if he himself ended up in another breakdown, he'd regret the whole episode.)
   I didn’t expect calls to chat and there weren’t any.  Except one… several years after he left.  He was not so inept as to make small talk, then switch to a desperate plea for money.  That call came the following week.
   I sent a couple hundred.  The calls to shoot the breeze ceased.
   (This is not to suggest his need for money wasn't genuine.  It was and I am one of those who believe he was justified in asking to be paid for his unique insights into deep politics.)
   By that time, he'd gone through his inheritance, spending $35,000 on legal fees fighting for his "good name" in the sexual harassment lawsuit.  If he'd just told the same truth in public that is contained in the body of the suit itself - "Yes, I engaged in some, uh, unprofessional [read:  farcical] conduct but she had "unclean hands" by telling me about porn sites," - he would have ended up with the same result but $35,000 richer.  Still, we all have those coulda-woulda-shouldas.
 
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mike Ruppert <stgeorge119@gmail.com> 
Date: Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 8:14 PM
Subject: FOR BLOG -- ECONOMIC WARNING
To: Jenna <Jennakilt@aol.com>
 
ECONOMIC WARNING 
Oct.9, 2009 -- For those of you who have listened for so long and for those who may be new. Do whatever you can to get out of dollar denominated assets and do it quickly. It is looking to me like the run on the dollar has begun in earnest. This is the one I have consistently predicted as far back as 2003-2004. I'm not going to write a long argument. Those who have been reading this blog don't need it. All the rest of you can just go back and read the terrific postings made here by Jenna Orkin over the last month. Those of you who have followed me and FTW for years will remember our only four previous warnings and you know how right those economic alerts proved to be. That's why I left a record of between two and three million words.  Do it now. We're all reading the same map. 
MCR   
 
   On Oct 10, 2009, at 10:47 PM, he continued: 
   It is not too late to buy physical gold. That is what will shield you the best right now. I'm laughing because I sold all my gold to fight the political persecution in Oregon and to live on while we made CoLLapse for eight months. (It wasn't just shot over two days. There were five shoots. And every aspect of my life was vetted with a microscope.)  If I had money I would be running to buy gold first thing Monday morning and I'd keep it up until the wheels came off or the new playing field that's coming had opened other options.   
   Now imagine this: The dollar gets dumped (in progress) as the world's reserve currency. Oil is no longer priced in dollars and trillions of dollars come home to... do what? Sure, it may cost a thosand a month for phone service. But suddenly John Q will be told that his salary has gone up 50%... at first. But what about all those bullshit mortages (including the fraudulent ones), all those trillions in derivatives? Well if John Q suddenly finds he has a million worthless dollars in his pocket he could well go back and laugh as he pays off the $350,000 mortgage. But the books get cleaned and sanitized and some of the air leaves the derivatives bubble. A controlled-burn. Yeah, the only ones that are going to get burned are the people -- the New White Trash.
MCR 

 

From an email concerning the making of CoLLapse:
Oct 11 2009  ...I had written about more than 100  suspicious military deaths. They asked for the files on all of them. They asked me to go through each death while Chris decided what he did or didn't want to use. That triggered my survivor's guilt and I almost crashed and burned behind it.  [I had to] pull all the Tailwind files, all the Tillman files, the Carone files, the Vreeland files, the CIA-drug files and all of many other files. I had to explain all of them and relive all of them, all over again.  
...It was utterly gureling at times. Once I was on set for 14 hours...
 
   As Mike settled into his life out west, he “went all spiritual” and knew I wasn’t interested in going along for that ride.  He involved himself with the sort of writers whom he would have avoided like kryptonite back in the FTW days.
   FTW was founded on the principle of hard evidence.  We may have believed that more was going on in a given situation than met the eye but if we had nothing to back up our hunches, we often kept silent.  (That assertion is not foolproof; spare yourselves the time and energy of digging up the numerous instances when Mike did go out on a limb.  Most of those relate to the timing of disaster; in his intensity, even desire, for a “fast crash” as opposed to a “slow burn” for human industrial civilization, - in order to preserve more of the natural world - his most frequent sin was to ratchet up the calendar.  He had been told of, and acknowledged, this foible but couldn’t stop himself.)
   There may or may not be a life after death or "spirits" communicating with us now.  But the essence of that field of inquiry is that no one can ever know, much less prove it.  It's the opposite of everything FTW stood for.  These are the reasons I don't spend time thinking about it; the endeavor is even more fruitless than arguing about whether there were explosives in the twin towers and WTC 7, an aspect of 9/11 Mike left alone since the Kennedy assassination had taught him that physical evidence, no matter how compelling, will always come down to, "He said, she said."  Only in this case, he and she are Ph.D.s.  The physical evidence from 9/11 has been dispatched to India, China, South Korea and Fresh Kills, Staten Island; the debate can never be resolved.  In the case of spiritual matters, there's no physical evidence to begin with; only phenomena we can't otherwise explain.
   Perhaps Mike told himself I wasn’t sufficiently evolved to see the light, if he even gave the matter that much thought.  I thought, “What are you smoking?” and eventually got the answer:  Apart from weed, he'd taken up peyote and assorted mushrooms, along with prescription medication.   
   The only regular contact we had towards the end was through the news dispatches I sent out every day to a list of interested readers, primarily at Collapsenet.  Often, Mike extracted one or two for his Facebook page.  
   He wrote an all-purpose blurb for my book, saying I could amend it as needed.  (I didn't.)  But he had a whole circle of new best friends (several generations' worth, in fact, between Los Angeles, Sebastopol and Colorado) so that I'd essentially become history, which boiled down to being my choice anyway.
   I was shocked at his suicide, of course, but didn't have the same sense of tragedy that newer friends felt.  I'd gone through that grief when he disappeared to Venezuela.  And I'm not sure the person I grieved for then existed outside my own wishful conjuring.
   But it's not quite time to wrap up this story.  By current estimates, (I haven't yet written the next section) two more parts are needed.


Friday, July 04, 2014

Mike's Story Part 69- Follow the Leader


The following email was sent by Mike to an accomplished Peak Oilist, cc'ing me.  The ellipses are placed to erase any trace of the recipient's identity.
 
Reread Matt Simmons's email again. McCain is "brain dead" on the issue [of Peak Oil] and Obama's camp is jumping into it. McCain ain't brain dead. He's the devil. And what do you want to bet Obama's answers are going to be half (or more) wrong? Who in the Peak Oil movement will even be prepared to comment, let alone offer something real? It doesn't have to be perfect, just honest and devoid of fantasy. (Fanatasies are good, but not around Peak Oil)...   You are young and stupid like I was once and you believe you're not only the best qualified but maybe the only one out there.  [In defense of the recipient of the email, it's highly unlikely that the person felt or expressed any such thing.]  You're right on both counts.  You have a brain and you have eyes. It's time you stepped a little closer to the big spotlight because you are ready-- and because you are needed there. I and Colin Campbell were probably the only two with any charisma.  X ain't got it;  he's an eggheaed.  [A sought-after one.  In certain scenarios, the media need eggheads.]  Y is not a writer or a speaker.  [I've never heard Y speak but Y is a marvelous writer.]  Z lacks the fullness of education and experience. No way would I ever put W on camera (God love him).  [Leaving aside the questionable criterion, it's debatable whether Mike himself was any cuter than W.  Colin Campbell, of course, is adorable(?)]  You have it all.  We can't let the business people at...  define our stance without incorporating honest viewpoints, devoid of self-interest. That will be the real battle. That's why I'm going to Sacramento... Matt will help us draft and so will many others.  Peak Oil needs a face and yours is ...articulate, trained and ready. What you walk out of here with will be your position paper. It will have your name on it. You can thank me and whoever contributes, but the world will need to see this as yours. It will be yours. Peak will be on the table before November and we need you to be on CNN and every place else, debating and teaching... There's nothing hanging on this except...-- MCR
 
He is back on his high horse, whether through his own chemistry or with outside help.  How long before he gets himself thrown off again? 
   Of course what angers me the most is that I’m not even on the radar screen.  Forget, “I want to write something with you,” and, “You’re eloquent.”  He's reverted to that Hollywood mentality which is at the core of our global problems in the first place:  the star system, the notion of hierarchy. 
I write the article below, later published in The Moron's Guide to Global Collapse and include Mike on the bcc list.
The Moses of a Post-Peak Oil World  
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell
 
   Peak Oil is here or close enough, thank you. Those of us who've been dreading this moment for years are now waiting for the other shoe to drop, ie: the shit to hit the fan. When that happens, who will be the leaders who will carry us kicking and screaming towards the sustainable way of life that we should have been leading all along?  Will he be a Clint Eastwood type, far-seeing (you can tell from his squint), a man of few words? Or will he be possessed of that elusive quality, charisma, an Obama-type to whom people naturally turn because of his easy, loose-limbed command of the facts combined with that facility that Joe Biden kicked himself around the block for noting, "articulateness?" Will he be tall? Will he be a woman?
   What is "leadership" anyway?  As Justice Potter might have said, you know it when you see it (or hear it.) As in the old E.F. Hutton commercial, when The Leader speaks, the rest of the room falls silent. Sometimes this is because he's making sense. Sometimes it's because he's wearing a suit. Sometimes it's because he's the loudest.  Whatever the reason, people accord him authority. He's the closest thing around to Daddy. While everyone else is scared clueless about what to do, The Leader seems sure of himself so they figure his confidence must be based on something.  Maybe he'll be an actor who played a leader in a movie. Knowing how to act the part, he will bark instructions.  "Finally we're getting somewhere," the others will think, regardless of where Somewhere is.
   A few years ago a band of New York City Peak Oil activists were discussing suitable crops to plant when they finally moved to their respective sustainable communities. Since New York City is in the Dark Ages when it comes to Peak Oil, these activists were, by default, leaders in the field.  But - and the activists were acutely aware of this - they were not farmers. They were novices, trying to scrape together what knowledge they could from the internet and the occasional bank-breaking weekend at an intensive Permaculture course.  So the conversation, while earnest and, by New York City standards, enlightened, fell short of providing useful information.
   Until a young woman called X spoke.  "Potatoes."
   Her voice lacked the high-pitched excitement (the charisma factor) of the others, leaders all. And they seemed not to hear her.  But then a man who was sitting next to her said, "Potatoes! We forgot about potatoes!"
   "Yeah, potatoes!" said another.
   And so, by subliminal suggestion, X's idea took over the conversation.  (A by-product of that evening is that I planted two potatoes on my windowsill in the hope of later writing an article called, "A Potato Grows in Brooklyn." One turned into a slimy mess; the other disappeared which must mean it morphed into soil. But that's another story.)
   However, X is not considered a leader either by the meet-up or by herself. She just happens, time and again, to have the information everyone's looking for.
   The others know this. Sometimes they ask her for advice and she provides it, as when an adolescent ventures out on his own, only to turn back to ask Mom for money. The Peak Oil Leaders boldly go forth proclaiming X's information, having incorporated it into their rhetoric and made it their own.
   "We must change the paradigm!" goes the cry of the few brave souls who have for a long time seen what's coming and tried to warn those bits of the world to which they had access.
   They're talking about infrastructure and the economy and other vital issues. But so far no one's addressed the assumptions on which we base our decisions, the notion that for the sake of simplicity and streamlined organization, there must be one person to whom we all look for instruction.
   So it seems that when the world goes belly-up and the meek, if they know how to farm, shall inherit the earth, one thing shall emerge unscathed: that citadel, the grand social pyramid with drones at the base, some knowledgable folk in the middle and on top, the One, True Sun to whom all others turn for enlightenment; He or She who in Ancient Greece was a god, in 20th century America was a movie star and in the 21st century will be a Peak Oil activist - the Leader.
   I played with the idea of including an addendum to Mike saying, “Don’t bother writing a long. mollifying explanation.  I cannot be schmoozed or fooled."
   I need not have worried.
   MCR wrote back:
   Oooh, you're so beautiful when you're angry.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Mike's Story Part 68 - A Presidential Energy Policy

Jenna Orkin
 
   Mike declined the political offer for sensible reasons boiling down to the likelihood that it would not be worth the risk.  He ended his email to the friend who'd made the offer with, "I have a wonderful dog that I'm not willing to abandon to friends or a kennel. I am doing work that I like and I think my novel may well turn out to be the most important contribution of what feels like a very long life."
 
June 14, 2008
I am sending this to the two most powerful and wonderful women I have known in my life.  I just wrote this as a note to go in the novel, which will be called "Ancestors". One of my (how fucking arrogant) characters will say it.  I promise. Please save this if you think it worthy. Otherwise, I don't give a shit because I am writing to two true and great blessings who will love me no matter what. What a lucky, blessed man I have become through all of this bullshit.  OK, NUFF OF THAT GIRLIE CRAP... Here's what I wrote that I think might actually be good:  "I cannot go too near the music again. If I do, then all I have labored to understand -- for forty years -- becomes irrelevant. I know that from the first time I had to play a song five times in a row, I left my body, I understood the universe. I knew it from the first time I found myself dancing beyond the limits of human endurance, covered in sweat; devoid of breath; on fire with an energy that drove me through my body and into infinity. I found the same thing, though sadly neutered, in the military cadences we chanted and ran to endlessly at the LAPD Academy. And I knew that it was impossible to put that Power into words; a Power that could be used for good or evil."But I had to try."It was the ultimate translation."Jenna knows, and [the other activist] remembers "Thunder Road".I have sent out a lot lately. That's because big things are in motion-- agressively. I hold onto only a remote branch of these events, but I think what I have sent is worth the reading. I deeply wish that some day, somehow, Jackson Browne, Don Henley and the great Ben Tench could see this.Yeah, I'm toasted, and... as Hemingway might say: "It was good... I don't know why I know these things but I do."------- MCR
 
"And I knew that it was impossible to put that Power into words; a Power that could be used for good or evil."
 
Corroboration of what I wrote in Part 65 - Furnace: "Both for better and for worse, this self-oriented interpretation of events was all part of that furnace of energy that burned so fiercely within him, propelling him into the heart of government wrongdoing to reveal the truth or, when that avenue was blocked, self-destruction." 
 
But putting aside the unctuous and patronizing "compliments" followed by the taunt which simultaneously negates them and blames us for eliciting them, (by being "girls,") what are we to make of this email?  Are the other activist and I his groupies?  Was this an ejaculation for our benefit?  The only redeeming feature is that I'm in good company; he genuinely respects the other activist...
 
June 16, 2008

Rags took me out for dinner tonight at one of our fabulous local restaurants. This one's run by Harrison Ford's son. It's great. I could sit at the edge of the sidewalk and tie Rags to the railing..You'd think HE was Harrison Ford, the way people stopped. Cheez!  I really miss my Dad. It's been three years.-- MCR********
 
6-16-2008

Try this:  The plan to partition Saudi Arabia has been in place for at least five years. That's when I described it. US air and naval assets are already positioned to secure the georgraphy, which is all in the east and concentrated. Special Forces are pre-deployed to assist Saudi factions behind the ruling family to secure just the oil fields. Like Iraq, the rest of the country be damned. That's been the plan for a long time.  Jenna, you're using Mike Kane's old email address. I don't know if he checks it anymore. I put his new one in the address bar. I also added  Matt. I stuck in Richard too.Mike

 
On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 7:32 AM, Jennakilt@aol.com wrote: "But think where this might lead: suppose we get tough with the Saudis and end up destabilizing the kingdom so that forces unfriendly to us take over. Then we will feel more or less forced to invade in order to maintain access to our national drug of choice. Where would it end? Does any of this help?" http://www.richardheinberg.com/oil-and-politics  http://www.alternet.org/story/85842/have_we_really_hit_peak_oil 
 
MCR To Energy Investment Banker Matt Simmons:
   The email opens with an explanation of the political opportunity which Mike had declined but which had started him thinking about a presidential policy concerning Peak Oil:
 
...and I see a huge void here. I've also cc'd Colin.I am moving towards helping to devise a position paper with one of the best and brightest, [he names an activist who may or may not want to be mentioned here] which would be [the activist's] (not as candidate, of course) to put out there. To my knowledge, no one else has really addressed this. Then it hit that me this is a huge question that would have to look at Treasury, DoE, DoT and Interior at minimum. I know DC well enough, but not the specific policies within the Exec Branch. You may already be doing this for someone. But there are huge questions of interface with state and local that are essential. Most important, however, are the guts of the federal government. Like the Hirsch report this should be apolitical.  Like the Hirsch report, it should be totally frank and honest. To your knowledge, has anything been done on this? Where should one start?  My first thoughts:  1. Complete declassification of the Cheney Task Force report;  2. Complete inventory/evaluation of US infrastructure;  3. Global transparency on reserves;  4. Then the big one: immediate steps to be taken within the USG to  address the real problem.  I'm contemplating going to Sacto for ASPO-USA at the end of summer, just to spy on everyone. You going?Anything you might suggest is more than welcome since we're facing a blank page here.  best, Mike-- MCR
 
Simmons died in 2010 of accidental drowning following a heart attack in his hot tub. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Mike's Story Part 67 - Political Opportunity or Dog Park?


February 3 2008
   He calls.  I wish him Happy Birthday which is no doubt the reason for the call.  On my own initiative, I wouldn’t have observed the occasion, even with an email.  I’ve done my bit for him when he needed it.  Any more would be sycophantic.
   “I’m single-handedly upholding the American economy,” he chuckles, referring to his buying spree for his new apartment, which included an HD TV for which his LAPD friend served as consultant.
   The statement for our joint account confirms this.  But he’s exhilarated to be home and is providing background information for a movie about the FBI’s harassment of two folk singers.  If the movie is made, he’ll get to play the "asshole FBI guy."  
   The only thing left is a “dawg.”  He’s been to three pounds but hasn’t found the right one.
 
Several days or weeks later
   He has found his true love, a mutt who is going to require multiple treatments to rid himself of mange.  But he’s idolatrous and goofy which are the two sine qua nons.  His name is Rags.  To me, he looks like the canine incarnation of Mike.
 
March 14 2008
   My dawg snores.-- MCR
 
March 16 2008
   don't sleep with him - JO
 
March 16 2008  From Mike:
   He sleeps in his new doggie bed on the floor, right next to my bed. Hewouldn't have it any other way.It must be love because I wouldn't either.Woof!
   I am a really good Daddy.Mioss you.Smooch.
 
   One of Mike's politically-connected friends is in New York and we get together for drinks with some of that person's circle.  
   “Has Mike called you?” Mike's friend asks.
   I hesitate before answering.
   “He’s calling every day?” the friend misconstrues my silence.
   He’s called twice:  The first time, as relayed above, on his birthday; the second, to straighten out the Paypal account which was set up in my name because it was linked to the bank account.
   “Are you going to go out to see him?”
   “He doesn’t want me in LA.”
   “Why not?”
   “He says I’d slow him down there.”
   “I’m in shock.  You saved his life.”
   “He’s unique at what he does." 
   The friend later emails that I've achieved "serenity" but that is a rosy interpretation.  I got the lay of the land a long time ago.  It wasn't even Mike who taught me cynicism though in our relationship, it certainly came in handy.
 
   April 15
   Mike calls.  He had dinner with the politically connected friend last night and gives me an update "on the QT."  The 60 Minutes Al Gore piece was a possible set-up to get him drafted at the Democratic Convention, Mike learned.  Some sort of disaster is anticipated before the election - but what sort?
   “Both Buffett and Soros have used the D word, ‘depression.’  It could be something with entitlements.”
   I go on Google alerts for Al Gore.  
 
   April 27  
   Two dreams:
 
   1: Mike is invited to hell to interview Satan. (It's unclear who invited him.)  I ask if I can come along, then have second thoughts (cold feet?)  If I change my mind while in Hell, will I be allowed to come upstairs again? 
   The answer is unclear. I decline the opportunity. Mike goes off. 
 
   2: Alex and I and about four other people are on a makeshift wooden boat in the ocean. A wave comes that is six storeys high. I take solace in the fact that we are in the curl of a less daunting part of the wave and try to calculate how long we'll have to hold our breath. The dream ends before we're overcome.
 
   June 7,  5 A.M.  
   The phone rings.  I wake up but don’t answer.  
   “Good.  I hope you’re out having a good time.  Moofie, it’s me.  [He mentions a political opportunity - an extremely long shot - that has been offered to him.]  I need to talk to you.”
  This isn’t an I’m-about-to-strangle-myself 5 A.M. call; it’s just an I’m-hyper-and-no-one-else-will-take-this-shit-but-you call.  
   Such are my thoughts until eight when I leave for work, still marvelling at his sense of entitlement and toying with the idea of going righteous on him.  But that would be too obvious; more to the point, it would cut off the information which only he can provide.  As usual, the writer in me prevails; I call him back at six that night.  
   “Hi, Moofie.  I was at the fortieth anniversary of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, so it was a public event.  [He repeats the information about the political opportunity which was offered to him and about which he feels conflicted.]
   ‘I have a good life, here; a dog I’m committed to.  You’d love Rags.
   ‘I don’t want to get back on airplanes again.  But we could get Peak Oil into the national conversation.”
   “That’s not the problem.  It’s the danger.  Correct me if I’m wrong but the "Powers That Be" be so powerful that you’ll only be allowed so much success.  If you really look as though you’re having an effect, they’ll make sure to put a stop to it.”
   “Those are the thoughts I’ve been having, too.  Anyway, [the friend] is going to have to come here and sell me.
   ‘How are you?”
   “Tired.”
   “Sorry if I woke you...”
   Sorry enough not to do it again? I think but don't say.  (He never did do it again.)
   “...but I had to talk to somebody.  
   ‘How’s Alex?”   
   “His usual HUA self.”  I know better than to give more than one sentence.  Unless there’s an entertaining story, Mike, like many people, has little patience for listening to details about the lives of others.  And for the record, at the moment that I was maligning him, Alex was in the process of doing first rate work at college and has since graduated from an excellent law school.  "HUA" referred only to his stand on Peak Oil, but he's become more open-minded about that as well.
   “Bobby’s lawyer was at the anniversary, Paul Schrader.  I talked to him for about twenty minutes.  I told him, ‘I didn’t realize then that the people who were after me were the same ones who were after Bobby.’  He was very moved by that.
   ‘I haven’t heard from Danni Tillman [Pat Tillman's mother] but she could still be on the book tour.
   ‘She said she thought that by thanking Stan, [Stan Goff, who had written the Pat Tillman series] she was acknowledging FTW.”  (Mike had been upset not to have been thanked for that series in some public forum which I've now forgotten.)
   “That’s what I thought.”
   “I was right to let her know what that series did to me...  I never realized how much of what I did was survivor guilt over Pat.”  Another war hero, like Mike's dad.  Then there’s the guilt of having survived his own birth, possibly, he felt, against his mother’s wishes.
   “Well, Rags is here, lying on his back with his tongue hanging out to the side.  You should see him at the doggie park.  Oh, he heard me say, ‘doggie park.’  Now I’m going to have to take him.  O.K.  I guess we’ll go.”