Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mike's Story Part 5: Jobs


    When Mike first arrived in Brooklyn from Canada, he was still shell-shocked by the death of Fromthewilderness and by his failure to obtain asylum in Venezuela.  He was physically unhealthy and, as he had been for several months, obsessed with thoughts of suicide.
   Sensing that he needed a break from this endless cycle of horror but that he'd be unwilling to venture too far from familiar territory, one day I asked him about his childhood; specifically, what he'd wanted to be when he grew up. 
   "'Til I was twelve and found out how bad my eyes were," he said, "I wanted to be an airline pilot."  That was what Dad had been and what accounted for his war-hero stature.  "But I didn't have any depth perception."
   (Eyes were still a source of some anxiety; he needed treatment for a cataract, which he got and loved.  He couldn't comprehend why I wore glasses of lesser strength than the doctor prescribed [because I didn't want my eyes to get lazy] and he couldn't stand it if they had smudges on them. 
   "But what if you have to drive?" he exclaimed.
   "I don't have to drive; I take the subway."
   When he couldn't take it anymore, my glasses received a polish worthy of the Hubble telescope.) 
   "After that, I didn't know," he went on, "except that I didn't want to be a businessman.  Law?  Nah.
   'Then when I was seventeen, a captain came to my high school and talked about police science."
   "You mean fingerprints?  Things like that?" I asked guilelessly.
   "No.  You're being a girl.  About being a cop.  The badge and the gun.  The camaraderie.  The humor.  I knew that was what I wanted to be."
   Ah...  Friends at last; even a fraternity.
   His years at LAPD have been written about extensively but some events are not so well known.  He never killed anyone, he said, even when, on one occasion, doing so would have earned him a commendation.  (The perpetrator turned out to be more crazy or high on PCP than criminal.)  But he did once break a prisoner's skull when the guy, also high on PCP and being carried on a stretcher, bit Mike on the testicle.
   After leaving LAPD, he had a series of low-level positions: Selling guns (he loved guns but not the job;) putting together amplifiers; working a UPS route where he met a man who became his hypno-therapist.    
   "I don't like thinking about my past except for the years of FTW, LAPD.  The rest was just so much loneliness and poverty." 
   He also acted as a security guard at the Oscars, escorting Vanessa Redgrave the night she gave her controversial acceptance speech for Julia.
   When he recounted that episode, I mentioned that she was doing a one-woman show on Broadway, in Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking."  We bought tickets and Mike left a copy of Rubicon for her at the stage door with an inscription saying how they had met and how her speech that night had given him courage to write the book.
   Her assistant called the next day to say that Ms. Redgrave thanked him and would definitely like to meet. But we never heard further.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mike's Story Part 4; Friends


    Mike's father's job with the Air Force required the family to move so often that Mike changed schools virtually every year.  It's notoriously hard to make friends under those circumstances and it left him lonely and angry, especially after "Dad" started staying away from home for longer periods.  He took out his frustration on the family dog, kicking and abusing it.  When Dad returned, he immediately got the lay of the land, understanding he was the root cause of the problem.  But he also realized that for everyone's sake, the dog had to go.  I always felt that Mike's yearning for a "dawg" was partly to make amends to that childhood pet.  He needed to prove to himself that he could care for a dog since, as no one questions, he loved them so much.
   One day shortly after the family moved to Denver, a kid in Mike's class said, "Hey, Mike!  We're all down by the pool.  Love it if you could join us.  Bring some cookies!"
   Mike got excited - Could it be he would finally have some friends?
   "I said, 'Ma, quick - get some cookies!'" he remembered.
   "She drove me down there.  They just wanted free cookies.  They laughed at me..."
   As he relived this story, Mike looked like the miserable kid he had been that day.
   This is the background to the pride that shone from him in recent years when he would say with awe, "I have 5000 Facebook friends!"

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mike's Story Part 3: Dad


   "My dad had a great life," Mike said one day.  "War hero in two wars.  Fought in one; was a [I didn't catch the term] in the other.  Made money.  Died taking a shit, which he loved.  So do I," he added, with a defiant smile.  "But what did he do to make the world better?  Paid his taxes; took care of [his second wife.]  He just kept the system going."
   On another occasion: "My dad was so in control, even after he had a cerebral hemorrhage while taking a shit, he managed to get himself to his favorite chair."
   A major reason Mike worked so fiendishly to finish Crossing the Rubicon in 2004 was that he wanted to present it to his father before he died.  (The other reason was that he hoped to sway the 2004 election.)
   He succeeded with the first goal and got the satisfaction of watching his father's entrenched Republican views transform into an acceptance of Mike's.  And he got to bask in the pride his father felt about his achievement.
   "He did love me, though," he reflected.
   "When I was five, I had my first eye operation.  When I woke up, I had a patch on my eye.  And next to me on the pillow was a teddy bear with a patch on his eye.  I think the doctor put the patch on.
   'My father did do some things when I was very young.  We went to a Baltimore Orioles game.  He took the cub scouts to something.
   'That lasted 'til I was ten.  He abandoned me to my mother.  He was never there; he couldn't stand it.  He was always traveling.  I thought if I was just good enough, he might come and get me."  His father only showed up, he said, when Mike had won something and Dad could preen.
   One night at a party, Dad gave Mike, who was in his teens at the time, a drink.  Under the influence, Mike told an anecdote which ended, "And then Dad beat the shit out of me."
   His father was furious.
   "He gave me a drink, then got mad when I acted the way people act when they've had a drink."

   From the diary I kept during the period Mike stayed in my apartment:  

January 21, 2007  This morning, he awoke with a start from a nightmare that black-clad guys in jackboots were coming to get him.  This had followed two other dreams in which his father was beyond reach.
   In a fourth dream, Mike was going on a trip, leaving his wife, Lindsay, with their two daughters, ages five and nine, who were in the bath.  He had chosen that moment to leave so the children wouldn't make a fuss.
   In discussing the dream, he said that his father used to leave that way when he went away on business, without saying good-bye, and leaving defenseless ("naked") Mike in the hands of his mother. 

   Long time Ruppert aficionados may remember Lindsay Gerken as the plaintiff in a sexual harassment suit against Mike which she would eventually win.  However, she was never able to collect.  More on this (though it's not worth much time) later. 
   "He was a war hero; he worked hard, made a lot of money.  But he didn't do his duty by me."
   "Not only that," I added.  "He left you to do his duty."  (In many ways, some of them unhealthy, Mike took over his father's role in the household.)
   "Son of a bitch."  He looked towards the ceiling.  "Dad, you're fired.  That son of a bitch.  I used to have a shrine to him in my office in Ashland, with all his war medals.  It's time we execute my Dad."  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mike's Story - Part 2

By Jenna Orkin

   One morning a few weeks after he'd settled in to my apartment in Brooklyn, Mike said, "Honey?  I'm having a hard time this morning."
   He was supposed to call his therapist but the prospect was causing him such anxiety, he broke down in tears.  I comforted him until the storm abated - at which point he said, "Would you make me breakfast?"
   Is that what this was about?  An appeal for pity so I'd make him breakfast?  
   "Why?" I asked suspiciously.  I provided the first B of B&B since he was otherwise homeless, and the ingredients for the second since he was living on donations from his long-time followers.  But why in God's name should I have to make it?  Was he seeing how much he could get away with?     
   Mike's lifeline was honesty.  A legacy of AA, it was what had bought him his sobriety from which flowed his connection to other people, their affection and help, his sense of belonging, his credibility, his integrity.
   "I want to feel taken care of," he said, but it was not so much an explanation as an admission.  The question had brought him up short and he was retreating with the grace that marked his many apologies, both public and private.
   We sat down with our respective breakfasts, obtained by our respective selves.
   "How does it feel to be taken care of?" I continued, veteran analysand that I am.
   "Loved.  Indulged.  Worthy."
   Indulged.  Exactly.
   "Those feelings may come more readily to those of us whose birth was not met ambivalently by our parents," I commented.
   "My parents weren't ambivalent about me; they wanted me.  My father did, anyway.  My mother may have wanted me in order to please him."
   On another occasion, Mike had said that he believed his mother married his father in order to escape her own father.
   "They'd tried for a long time to have a child," he went on now.  "I was two months premature.  My mother spent the two months before that in bed.
   'I was pronounced dead at birth.  I cried on the way to the morgue."
   It was my turn to cry now.
   "Who are you crying for?" Mike asked.
   "Your mother...  I don't know."  I believe that in addition to losing a baby before Mike, she also lost one after him.
   "I met the doctor who delivered me when I was twenty-five.
   'He remembered it.  I had no pulse.  I was blue.  They tried to get my heart going.  Then he handed me over to the nurse and I cried." 
   As he put his dishes in the dishwasher he continued, "Some spiritual people have said I'm a take-over, a soul waiting for a body to enter."
   Perhaps it was this entry into the world, or at least his awareness of it, that accounted for his upset when we once happened upon a news article about terminally ill newborns.

In light of these beginnings, read Mike's last Facebook post:

I pray to all things seen and unseen, known and unknown, for we are all One.

The prophecies are being fulfilled. The hour of birth is at hand. The waters break and rend. There is blood. There are screams of pain. There is death and much anxiety in the air. Things look very bad for our Mother and all of her children.

The Truth awaits just on the other side of the ever dissolving veil where all the screaming and the mess is going on. The Truth opens its arms wide to lovingly receive the newborn and to comfort it.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” The Truth exclaims.

I am your scout and this is my report.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

Jenna Orkin is the author of The Moron's Guide to Global Collapse

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mike's Story


Jenna Orkin

Mike left us an abundance of gifts, not least of which was his story.  As an investigative journalist, he loved a good story even more keenly than the next man.  And perhaps the one he loved most (as we all do, or would like to) was his own.

It was indeed a fascinating story, which goes some way to account for his thousands of friends and followers around the world, both "Facebook" and otherwise.  Whether uncovering dirty dealings between politics and Wall Street that even Matt Taibbi wouldn't touch or enduring the flip side, "I'm done in; I'm about to jump off the roof," the Mike Show was a production which a certain kind of reader - a thinking man's action junkey - yearned to be part of.

It is left to us now to piece together that story and it's an obligation which his friends and admirers are undertaking with a thoughtfulness that would make him proud.  Some of the insights on the net, particularly at Rigorous Intuition, are as illuminating as Mike's detractors during his lifetime were maddening.  (Beyond a few snarky headlines about the "conspiracy theorist's" suicide, the latter have been lying low this week, no doubt biding their time.)  By pooling recollection, we may come to understand better how he could be such a hero to one group of people while at the same time appearing to another as a lunatic.  This in turn may lead us to recognize how the whole concept of "hero" is a dangerous drug, not only for the "Leader" who becomes infused with his own importance and deaf to the insights of others but also for his followers, who sell their birthright of independence of thought.

In fact, no one was better acquainted with his "lunacy" than his inner circle.  We got the hard-to-deal-with side of his personality in our face as long as he stayed close.  I believe this is one reason he moved so often, living with no one person for much longer than a year, a trait he and I shared, by the way.  His marriage, to a woman almost two decades younger, lasted eighteen months; his sojourn in my apartment, fourteen.  My marriage lasted twelve years but shouldn't have.

He had long since outstayed his welcome in my one bedroom, but he was even more desperate to leave than I was to go about my business without worrying about his disapproval (as I would with anybody.)  Not, I hasten to add, that we often argued.  There were one or two blow-up fights but mostly, in spite of profound differences of taste - (he hated New York on principle; the machismo of the West, where he felt most at home, left me cold,) - we got along smoothly, frequently slipping into a George and Gracey domestic routine complete with New York accents.  Mike was a razor-sharp impersonator and I wish someone had taped his Russian, French and German personas. 

Re Mike's story, reading Wesley Miller's account of how Mike came by the gun with which he shot himself is one fascinating piece.  Another is Charlton Wilson Cht Ccht's description on Mike's Facebook page of Lakota traditions of giving one's body "for the children" as Mike said in his suicide note to his friend and landlord, Jack. "[I]n Native ways, we don't have money or animals or whatever to give. we have our flesh and our blood."  If Mike is going to be cremated as some recent reports said were his instructions, I don't get how the earth will benefit and will be watching for clarification.  Anyway, Mother Earth receives our body no matter when we die; in the modern society in which Mike lived, however deploringly, hastening the process doesn't help anybody.  But since he was not Lakota by birth or upbringing, though he revered Native American culture and became steeped in it once he moved out west, and since, as shown at Collapsenet.com, he'd been suicidal for years, a psychologist might opine that the Native American references were a cover for a longstanding suicidal drive.

Here's another piece of the Mike puzzle:

He was born DOA, "dead" on arrival.  The doctor who delivered him told him when they met 25 years later, that the medical team had done everything possible to revive him but to no avail.  Mike's mother had already had one stillbirth so a second was not much of a surprise. 

As Mike was being carried to the morgue, he cried.  The rest, as they say, is history...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mike's Suicidal Tendencies

By Jenna Orkin


In response to the internet sages who have concluded, in the face of all known evidence from the people who were most in...timately familiar with him as well as with the admittedly real dangers that had faced him over the course of his life as an investigative journalist, that Mike did not kill himself but was in fact murdered, his suicidal ideation goes back at least eight years. As a small example, below are excerpts from a few of his emails sent from Venezuela in 2006. In addition, he would call at any and all hours to be talked out of jumping from the roof or offing himself in some other way.


A foray into the seedier barrios of Caracas during a protest was one part journalistic adventure but one bigger part, courting danger. For a hero's death was devoutly to be wished. Failing that, he'd settle - as happened in the end - for death by any means available. On one occasion, he confessed to having tied his necktie around his neck as part of an effort to hang himself - and you can be sure I would not put forth such an implausible notion if it were not true - from the shower fixture. He said that he didn't go through with it because he wished to spare his roommate at the time, Carlos Ruiz, the trauma of finding him the next morning.


He finally left Venezuela in November, ending up, after a detour to Canada, at my apartment. But his reprieve from the alien environment that had not welcomed him the way he had dreamed brought only brief respite. For the next fourteen months, he contemplated suicide on an almost daily basis so that whenever I went to work or the grocery store, I made him promise not to kill himself before I came back. His word - his "honor" - mattered to him more than anything so we took it one day at a time, a notion that was familiar to him from AA.


More on this period in due course.


To Jenna Orkin, 9-24-2006
...Every day I long for death because I just don´t see how this current limbo is ever going to end. I just keep waking up and going through motions. I wrote a new article today and start another tomorrow. I do miss the US and especially my loved ones but I know I can´t ever go home. That would betray my moral decision and put my life at greater risk than I feel it is here.
I may wind up being the writer that no country wants. Then what?
Sigh. I´ve been doing the anger thing, especially at those close to me who betrayed me so deeply. That´s what´s really taken the heart out of me...


To colleagues at Fromthewilderness.com, 9-26-2006
...I am flat out of energy, spirit and hope now...
I am ready to die and the only thing I want to know is that I am totally clean with all the people who are FTW.
I saw a great documentary on Socrates last night. They made him drink hemlock because he kept throwing peoplés [sic] bullshit and sloppy thinking in their faces.
Sounds a little familiar. I am not trying to torment or worry any of those who love me and care for me. I am hanging by a thread here. best, Mike


To colleagues regarding plans for dissolution of Fromthewilderness.com and Mike's possible return to the US, 10-19-2006 :
...anythng I do now will be out of the public eye. Guidance yes, but I need to get offstage for a good long while. That is both a pressure and a drug I need to detox from...
With the push of a button [referring to the 'send' key] the world leaves my shoulders.


Recipients unrecorded, 10-19-2006 21:32
...The bridge is still calling. I say that not to threaten or pressure. I share it just to get it out of my head. I have had two close suicides and the breakup of an engagement in less than three years. Only now am I coming to grips with all of that and much more...


Mike's suicide note is available here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Brief Comment on the Death of Mike Ruppert by Self-inflicted Gunshot Wound:

By Jenna Orkin

We always knew it could come to this. 

To write about Mike requires the tranquility of recollection but at the moment, all is turmoil. 

Mike, you told us, "Evolve or perish."  Yet in Apocalypse Man you merged them, speaking of death as the ultimate evolution.  One day we'll all find out whether that is, in fact, the case but it's not the message you used to impart!

Among the emails that cascaded in last night is a wonderful link which is sorely needed at such a time: Hope and Courage.  Accompanying it, the following quote from Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List:


   

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Moron's Guide to Global Collapse by Jenna Orkin

Product Details
http://www.amazon.com/The-Morons-Guide-Global-Collapse/dp/1469965399/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331869410&sr=8-1  

"An introduction to the economic, political and environmental mess the world is currently in; with insights into how we got here as well as how we might get out. (Some solutions are more painful than others.) Informative and even revelatory, but anyone who actually LIKES this book should have his head examined."

Jenna Orkin deserves, and now has, an immortalized place in [From the Wilderness] history...



[She also] has a fierce and unyielding sense of humor... She wields it with precision to open our eyes to some of the funnier and some of the less palatable and deeper aspects of human life...


Michael C. Ruppert
Author: “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil” and “Confronting Collapse.” Founder, www.Fromthewilderness.com, www.CollapseNet.com.
On one of the articles in this book:

…excellent. [It] should also be a cautionary tale for Peak Oil organizations which risk becoming captive to the oil, financial and business-as-usual industries which they work to scrutinize...


Jim Baldauf, Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, ASPO-USA