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Mike's Story, Part 27: Voices
by Jenna Orkin
One night, Mike woke up at four A.M.
"I was thinking about [two employees who he believed had smashed his computers, whether as part of a government plot or personal vendetta.] I'm not going to let them get to me. I'm not going to let them get to me."
"They're not here. You'll probably never see them again. If you do, it will be inconsequential. They're not doing anything to you right now; you are."
Another night he woke up hot, itching, a rash on his back.
"If it's a metaphor, it's of being uncomfortable in your own skin, itching to shed it."
Or, of course, it could have just been a reaction to his medication.
"Each morning, my mother and father wage war in me."
His father represented the active side of his personality, the one to which could be attributed his management of FTW at its height but which, taken to extremes, became manic; his mother he equated with passivity and, taken to extremes, depression. Knowing the depths of his ambivalence for his mother, one could understand why he so needed to be on the move, never staying still. He had to run from the lure of lethargy, for fear of drowning there.
Worst, he said, were the mornings when his father's voice hammered, "Got to; got to. You should have..."
"We can work around that voice or undercut it," I said. "I think the way to do that is to talk about something that's different but relevant."
That was the tack I'd been taking with him. To think you could change the subject completely would have been naive; he was obsessed. So you entered his world with him and tweaked it a little to alleviate the torment of the same thoughts pounding relentlessly. Just seeing the problem from another angle was respite enough and the only kind he could take in anyway.
"The reason you don't let go of that voice is that you think it's responsible for what you've accomplished. On the other hand, it's driving you nuts, in the lay sense of the word."
He waved aside my concern that he might think I was calling him "crazy;" he had gotten my drift.
"My shrink used to say to me," I continued, "'You're suffering instead of doing the work you're supposed to be doing.' By that she meant psychological work, being honest with oneself at a deeper level." I had also learned that punishing oneself psychologically, however torturous, could be a way of escaping an even worse memory or belief. But Mike wasn't ready to go there yet.
One evening, he wanted Thai food so we set out for Smith Street, Brooklyn's trendy restaurant neighborhood, and ate at the first Thai joint that came along.
He ordered Pongoon, which he pronounced excellent; almost as good as the one in Los Angeles. But in the middle of the meal, he had a panic attack.
The restaurant had brought up his pattern while at FTW: the lonely life, working long hours. The Thai place had been his treat to himself, very like the one we were in, only the one in LA had had a fish tank. Sometimes he brought dates there but usually he ate alone, came home, watched movies.
"The one thing I would like," I said when, in a more expansive mood, Mike expressed a desire to repay me for my hospitality, "would be if you could talk to Alex [the name I use for my son in writing] about what's coming."
"Not a problem," Mike replied. "But that's the sort of thing that has to come up naturally, organically."
Alex, who was in college, came over during the Christmas vacation, with tales of the Daily Show, the "moment of Zen" with Donald Rumsfeld listening to a question from a marine about why troops were scavenging in the garbage for body armor, then saying, "Could you repeat the question?"
When Alex left, I asked Mike, "You see what I mean about his being out of it?" Alex was a typical kid his age; "out of it" was Mike's and my shorthand for people who were oblivious to the direction the world is heading in.
"I wouldn't even try to address Peak Oil with him," Mike said. "He's one of those people going back to the bar on the Titanic."
While we prepared dinner, I started to cry. Mike looked at me, mystified.
"Back to the bar on the Titanic," I explained.
He was still clueless.
"Oh. Perhaps I should explain. We'll go prepare a place for him. He's smart. When things start to fall apart he'll say, 'Mom and Mike have a place in Portland," and he'll get on a plane and come. You think I haven't been thinking about that? He's your flesh and blood. I love him almost as much as you do."
Mike's Story, Part 26: Pills
by Jenna Orkin
From Mike 11-27-2006:
I left with [a lawyer], [the] employee file [of the female employee who was suing Mike for sexual harassment] with the information that it contained large amounts of exculpatory evidence. X has reported that she has filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Dept. of Labor but we do not have the information yet. [The lawyer]'s information is above and below.
We need to find out where that file is and respond quickly. I am clean on this. The web site has the full story which will be my testimony.
She is banking that my serious health issues will not allow me to respond and she'll get a default judgment. We can beat this case easily if we respond and [the lawyer] can help us locate the file. It will be harder without the file that was left with [the lawyer] but is still doable. That was one of the most important items I gave him before leaving. I hope it has not been misplaced.
From Mike 12-2-2006:
I'm concerned by some things you need to know about and feel that if I brief you a little bit it may make your job easier. Again, thank you so much. You have been a saint. Please stay very healthy. Speaking of which, do you know good doctor?
PROBLEMS RELATED TOTHE SALE OF THE WEB SITE
…Someone has had a real party at my expense in Ashland.
Right now I am fish in a barrel. Too weak to do anything about anything. But you needed to know about this before closing a deal with [the prospective buyer.] And [the prospective buyer] needs to understand that we are kind of helpless to actually transfer the site to him unless you can find a way to get/make Z to cooperate.
Also, in the agreement with [the prospective buyer] it should be stipulated that no disparaging comments about me should go up after the sale. Easy language should do it. I think [the prospective buyer] really wants to help but I think you can understand why I'm a little paranoid.
In the batch of letters you gave me there was one from a very kind attorney in Salem, OR. Would it be worthwhile to let him know of our troubles and ask if he can help?
Thanks Ray. Mike*********
From Mike to Ray 12-14-2006:
What does [the prospective buyer] mean by "non-compete". I hope that wouldn't prohibit me from writing for others at some point when I have something coherent to say.
Also want to ensure he wouldn't print anything disparaging about me. I'll leave the rest of the contract with you until I get more stable. All of these little problems getting fixed are leaving the one big one glaring in my face.
Keep being wonderful. Mike***********
"You scared me when you told Ray I was sleeping twenty hours a day," Mike said one day. "My mother did that right before my father divorced her."
"Was she on any medication besides booze?"
"She was probably on tranquillizers I didn't know about. For a while she took Miltown. That was nasty."
On another occasion, Mike said that his maternal grandmother had also been on tranquillizers until she was eighty.
"After my father divorced her, my mother just died. She didn't date, hardly went out. Just stayed home and slept and smoked," (as Mike had been doing for the previous week.) "She had lost the one thing that mattered to her," (as Mike had lost his company.)
"In some crazy way, she thought she was punishing my dad.
'I didn't talk to her for many years. Just called her once a year on Christmas. Some years I drove two hours to see her. Another two to see my dad. Then back home where I'd be alone. That's why I hate Christmas.
'Then in 1997 when she had her third heart attack, my uncle X called. I went to see her and took care of her for the next four years. That was when FTW was going strong. Every week I had to go see her because it was my duty. Mike Ruppert always does his duty," he said with bitter irony.
"Why was your dad the one thing that mattered to your mom?"
"I can only speculate. But I think it was because he rescued her from her own father."
"Can you think of some good things about your mother?"
He thought for a moment. "She always believed in me. Even when she was crazy, trying to light a cigarette with a mascara brush, she believed in me." Then he relayed the story, previously described in the post entitled "Friends," about the time his mother found some cookies, as requested by a potential "friend" who'd invited Mike to meet a gathering of teenagers at the pool. The invitation turned out to be a ruse and he, the butt of their cruel joke.
"When she was dying, they gave her a sedative, the one that would put her to sleep forever. She couldn't speak but she made the Elmo sign at me." With his fingers he made the sign of Elmo the dog.
"There was one time in high school. I can't remember what it was about but something happened and my father didn't believe me. I didn't do it. But that taught me to keep records of everything. In LAPD I documented everything that happened....
'That's the way X sounded after she spread the rumors that I smashed my own computers.
'I said I didn't do it.
'I don't believe you.'" He imitated the former ally who'd turned against him. "Exactly like my father."
Mike's Story, Part 25: Sinking
by Jenna Orkin
Having asked for some water, Mike inspected the glass dubiously, like a connoisseur of housekeeping; the fluted part at the base was murky.
"Jenna, we're going to have some work to do," he laughed.
"I scrubbed and scrubbed," I protested.
"Don't you use the dishwasher?"
"I don't know how."
This was within two or three days of his arrival; we were still at the guest/host stage, which was why he hadn't gotten his own water. As for the dishwasher, I hadn't grown up with or ever used one and had read that they wasted water, so even though the apartment provided one, albeit with some sort of lint erupting out of the bottom, I'd never bothered to figure out how it worked.
Months later, when we knew each other better, Mike admitted that this incident had convinced him I was simply stupid. My status as "queen of links," the research branch of the FTW news section, was, like FTW itself, history.
At the time, however, he responded to the alarming insight by taking action. When I returned from grocery shopping, he said, "Come here," and led me to the kitchen whose counter was now clear, the glasses sparkling as in a detergent commercial, having had their baptism in the dishwasher.
The next day, another milestone was passed on the road to achieving his domestic standards. Taking my sleeve like a kid, he tugged me towards the bathroom saying, "Look what I did!"
Half the contents of the shelves were gone; the tub fixtures gleaming.
"Now watch this!" He leaped from a floor panel next to the right wall to one on the left - like a frog among lily pads - avoiding the ones that creaked. He'd figured out a way to go to the bathroom during the night that wouldn't wake me.
From there he led me to the kitchen where he opened the door of the freezer which looked unfamiliar; half its contents were gone. Indeed, it had transformed into a showcase model of a typical middle-class couple's freezer.
His housekeeping ideal was order; mine, thrift. The latter quality had led to clutter which - to drop a loaded statement - reminded him of his mother. How much experience of women had he had besides her? As mentioned in an earlier post, his longest relationship seemed to have been his marriage of a year and a half.
"That's cheating," I complained about the newly organized freezer. He'd thrown away all the stuff I'd been saving because it's a mortal sin to waste food, but that I was secretly glad to be rid of.
However, the last remnants of a pint of Ciao Bella sorbet were also gone, and I didn't let that faux pas go unobserved.
The next day, he left an old tea bag floating in a cup next to a forkful of hard cheese on a plate.
"I didn't know if you were finished with them," he said, with a malicious glint in his eye.
I was a source of constant dismay, putting cereal in the freezer when the expiration date approached, and wearing two pairs of glasses - one for reading while the other pair, for the computer, perched on my head. When I didn’t need either, they both ended up on my head where they did funny things to my hair.
His perfectionism made me nervous which made me even clumsier. For the first time in my life, I left the detergent in the communal laundry room downstairs and spilled coffee on the computer desk.
"There was a cop, Jim Jocquette," Mike remembered one day in his unrelenting tortured review of the past. "When we were ten calls backed up he would say, ‘Chief, I love it when it’s like this.'
'He died in a traffic accident. 2000 people came to his funeral.
'When I was in LAPD, I wanted to have a hero’s death like that."
He was afraid that his life’s work, Rubicon and FTW, were over.
I pointed out that this is how people often feel after they retire or their children leave home.
What’s new on the blog? he asked. I had sent out a notice to the Peak Oilists in New York that he was in town. Had any of them responded? Did they want to get together?
“Everyone is forgetting me,” he said anxiously.
“Don’t be silly. They probably just skimmed the email. People don’t focus unless you call them or address them personally.”
He listed the former friends who’d fallen away for one reason or another: Fear of guilt by association; anger; believing the rumor that he smashed his own computers.
I called the only two NYC Peak Oilists whose numbers I had. (One later killed himself.) Both did indeed want to see Mike.
Mike also emailed Emanuel Sfarios who responded, solicitous about Mike’s health; Mike was moved.
“He’s one of those people I was always too busy for,” he said softly. “He was always calling when I was on my way to the airport or something like that.”
He had similar regrets about Marian Lewinsky, a BBC producer who called from England when she heard about the fate of FTW.
Sunday I went with him to his first Al-Anon meeting where he was called on to "share" and cried unabashedly. Several members offered their phone numbers afterwards and over the next week, he consulted them often.
He called a psychiatrist who'd been recommended by a trusted friend. She prescribed Ativan after elicitng a promise that he would go to Bellevue for an assessment on Saturday when her friend would be on duty.
It was imperative for Mike that any shrink he saw understand that his tale of CIA harassment as well as his findings of US government involvement in 9/11 were true and that they not use those "conspiracy theories" as a weapon against him. The Bellevue psychiatrist had heard Mike speak.
Each morning he took a long bath during which he read the Al-Anon book as others read a page of the Bible. Afterwards, the Ativan put him to sleep for another two hours which made him feel calmer.
But after a few days of this routine, the Ativan had slowed his movements so that there was a zombie-ish cast to his demeanor. He excoriated himself for needing yet another nap. "What have I accomplished? Got up, had breakfast, took a bath, lay down.
'I keep hearing voices telling me, 'You should do this; you've got to do that.'"
"Be careful about telling that to an intake shrink. That's one of the buzz phrases. Auditory or visual hallucinations."
The thought of being admitted to Bellevue was enough to drive him crazy.
"I'll end up in Bellevue, drooling, a basketcase."
"I know people who've been in Bellevue several times and are doing wonderfully. Bellevue doesn't want to keep you any more than you want to be there. You'll be out in a few weeks at the most."
"Rejected by Bellevue!"
It was time to move again, Mike felt, before he got on Barry's wife's nerves.
He was coming to Brooklyn where he'd be able to meet with Ray to sort out the trust, and be with me. I had become the next goal.
This was a dream come true: To have Mike on my turf and show him - Wild West guy in cowboy boots - the beautiful streets of nearby Brooklyn Heights.
But living with someone had always been something I'd been leary of; particularly when the someone was a person who thought nothing, for example, of calling at 7:30 AM. I am not a morning person. (Once he called at 4 AM New York time, claiming that he'd calculated the three hour time difference in the wrong direction. That was not the sort of mistake Mike made and he later chuckled it had been a self-serving error. Cui bono?)
Still, he needed me, which would cast me in the best possible light.
I did not keep notes for the first three weeks of his stay in my apartment, because he was fragile as well as self-conscious about that fragility and the subject could not be broached. But one day, when he was coming out of his traumatized state and mentioned the possibility of a history of FTW or maybe it was of a biography of him, he mused that at one time, he'd thought Carolyn Baker the most plausible candidate to write it as she had all the files of correspondence. However, in recent months, her attitude towards him had changed dramatically. (They later worked out their differences, of course.)
This opened up the opportunity to ask his permission to keep notes of the conversations we'd been having.
Mike recognized the impulse, for he'd also thought those conversations worthy of recording. So he agreed to the project but didn't want to think about it anymore. I understood that I was being given permission to make notes so long as I was discreet about it. I didn't sit with him earnestly jotting our words in real time, interview style, but wrote them up as soon afterwards as possible and without ever discussing the matter. However, the first three weeks were intense and I regret the loss of a record.
Before he finally left Brooklyn for Los Angeles fourteen months later, when he was copying his files from my computer onto a thumbdrive, he came across the notes and copied them as well (without asking permission but I understood his sense of entitlement about them.)
That thumbdrive or a version thereof may or may not still exist. But in the unlikely event that someone stumbles upon it, it's missing some crucial elements. There were certain statements he made which I never recorded, knowing I wouldn't forget them. Or I recorded them in a watered down form to preserve the syntax, but omitted key words, again, knowing I wouldn't forget them.
Of course, I thought it more likely that this account which you're now reading would be written while he was still alive. Had that been the case, the vast majority of it would be the same while details like the fictitous nature of the tape recording of his dangerous liaison with his female employee might have been left out.
December 18 2006 It will be three weeks ago tomorrow that he came. Barry Silverthorne drove him in a tiny, "compact" car covered in End of Suburbia insignia. When there was no place to park the old-fashioned way, they drove into a parking space head first and fit just fine.
Mike was exhausted, having been unable to sleep sitting upright. Barry, too, looked shell-shocked; Mike had not been a happy camper on the way down.
"I tried to get him to focus on landmarks, get his mind off himself," he explained in the kitchen while Mike was passed out in the living-room.
Then it was Barry's turn to take a nap for an hour before heading back to Ontario. ("I don't want to get there at two in the morning.")
Having so recently left what he had thought would be his permanent home of Venezuela, Mike owned no outer winter clothes, (he'd bought pants and shirts at the thrift shop Barry had taken him to) so we went shopping. Downtown Brooklyn offered a mall's worth of discount stores where we bought a winter coat for $20 and a fleece sweater which he exhilaratedly left behind when he ultimately moved back to sunny Los Angeles and which I'm wearing as I write this, not for sentimental reasons but because it's suitable for this stormy spring night as well as indestructible.
A sticking point in our living arrangement was my mother who, if she discovered the whole story, would consider it the embodiment of her worst nightmare: A penniless man holing up with me because the U.S. government had seized his bank account and threatened his life.
Thus Mike could not answer my phone. And when we went to my mother's for Christmas, we'd have to navigate carefully certain conversational shoals. Even if I warned everyone ahead of time that he'd been ill (the true and most effective tack) they could, in all innocence, still poke at sore points: "So Mike, where' you from? The west coast? Oh, where are you staying in New York? What do you do?"
Then there was the question of public notice of his whereabouts. Would creditors show up? (Lest there be any doubt, let it be said again that in the end, everyone got paid in full.)
For the moment, then, we decided he should lie low. Also, he had no one but me to talk to and nowhere constructive to go. So one afternoon when I came home from a meeting, he was playing backgammon on the computer with someone in Israel ("language: Hebrew") and was in despair.
The apartment was depressing, he said.
It was winter; the sky, a dull grey which underscored the grimness of the surrounding municipal buildings, particularly the jail.
"When we live together we're going to have standing lamps that reflect off the ceiling." We were already living together, but he insisted it was not living, but existing; he thought of it as Purgatory until we moved to a sustainable community.
I told him about light deprivation depression which I'd had for years until I read of it and learned that other people had it too.
Initially, coming home to him had been like having ET in the closet, known only to me and a handful of others. But that fantasy dissolved with the recognition that without a vibrant, full-fledged, openly acknowledged life, my secret friend would die.
Mike's Story, Part 23: Ah, Canada
by Jenna Orkin
End of Suburbia producer Barry Silverthorn’s recollection of Mike’s time at his house:
When Mike landed in Toronto he looked very thin - and relieved. All he wanted was some food that wasn't indigenous to South America, so we went to the nearest restaurant after leaving the airport.
We went shopping for clothes at a thrift store. Mike was impressed by how little they cost, and I got the impression that he had never shopped at a thrift store before. I had also bought him CDs by David Baerwald [a friend of Mike’s whom we’d later meet at his state-of-the-art music studio in Los Angeles]and Don Henley and they were waiting for him on his dresser.
I put him to work chopping wood. He said it helped him work out his anger over some of the people that he felt betrayed him.
We took a drive to the hobby farm where I grew up. They had horses there and we stood at the fence by the road and spent some time with them.
He had never read "The Long Emergency", so he spent a couple of days in front of the wood-burning fireplace reading. He said the fireplace was better than TV and more informative.
We had many conversations over that week. One day, in the garden, I was asking "What is my place in all this?" How much responsibility do we have in "saving the world", not as public figures, but as people living day-to-day life? Is it important? I mentioned the Slowest Camper story, which MIke has attributed to me, but I read somewhere else - was it Ran Prieur?
My wife made a stack of ribs, which he dug into. We took him out to hear musician Jamie Oakes play at a bar. I bought him a CD to take home. He wanted to sing, which I had never been aware of. He stood in the kitchen one night and sang Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road". We downloaded a karaoke track of Elton John's "Burn Down the Mission" for him to sing to. Appropriate. I still have it on my iTunes. At times he seemed so relaxed.
Mike wanted to watch season three of "Deadwood", one of his favorites, but it wasn't available in Canada yet. We watched Roland Joffé's "The Mission". When Robert De Niro threw off his bag at the top of The Falls we both cried. Although I didn't share the same burdens as Mike, I understand a bit of what he was carrying.
I remember him breaking down and sobbing at the bottom of the stairs one night. All my wife and I could do was hug him.
We tried to get paperwork to his lawyer in NY. It took a week by Fed-Ex. We tracked it all over the place. I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. No organization could be that incompetent, and I am certain it was flagged.
I have memories of him sitting against the wall in my basement, looking so beaten. After that Mike decided he should take the papers to NY in person. I thought it was a bit soon, but we loaded up the Smart car at 10:30pm and drove all night.
I still have the Venezuelan Bolivars that he left on the dresser.
Mike later said Barry had given him a staircase to demolish. He saw a holistic healer who knew his work. During the session, he visualized - if my memory is correct – a leopard with a bird perched on its back, both animals in harmony with nature. The image would later serve in the opening of his next book which was intended to be an autobiography.
But well-appointed though Barry's set-up was, (as I would later hear when, at my typically cramped New York apartment, Mike expressed homesickness for Toronto) his stay there could only be brief.
To Mike 11-22-2006
tomorrow i'll tell my mother et al re xmas. i'd been waiting til your whereabouts were public but even though that hasn't happened, thanksgiving is the best time to tell her since otherwise, she'll invite someone else.
11-23-2006 from Mike to Michael Kane, concerning another offer to buy the website. The prospective buyer had been asking about the rumors regarding Mike Ruppert, prompting Michael Kane to wonder what the prospective buyer had been told:
Not telling him much except that X is not our friend and what she did. He understands that I did not do any of that shit she alleged and has always known me to be honest like everyone else. He's done a lot of stuff with X but let's not get paranoid. [The prospective buyer] made a lot of money in his own right and is no idiot. He's made what sounds like a fair, even generous offer to buy FTW's assets and has agreed in principle to not alter or modify any of our positions on Peak Oil or 9-11; to guarantee lifetime access and use of my own material which I would license to him, etc.
He would guarantee to keep the site online in perpetuity.
There are two possibilities here and we cannot arbitrarily dismiss or endorse either one. One is that he's working with X on some hidden agenda. The other is that he really does want to preserve the site, maybe bring on some new writers and do some good. He seemed really taken aback by what I told him about what X did.
The fact that he called you indicates that what I had told him... surprised him and he wanted to know more. Would he have done that if he was part of some evil plan? I don't think so. That was a good sign. He's investigating like we taught people to do. Let him.
I would not be upset if you shared with him...
If he and X were in bad cahoots he wouldn't have needed or wanted to ask you. I didn't mention anything about events not related to X...
Y really upset me. As sick as I am he was coming on with, "Mike, we'll have you back writing and on the stage in six months to a year."
Man, that fried me. I am done with all that. Mike, if you could see me you'd know. It took a long time to get it through to him that that is all toxic and would kill me.
I have just entered a heavy healing regimen with a holisitic physician who loves Gary Null. My adrenal system is just fried and collapsed. Liver damage from some kind of toxicity. Still finding out more. I start acupuncture next week.
I think what we have to do is to express the concerns we want addressed to Ray and allow him to structure the deal so that we don't get burned. [The prospective buyer's] offer is much better than X's was. 20 k up front to pay some bills and take care of me, He picks up all the inventory, gets 2,000 Rubicons out of past-due storage in LA and sets up royalties and licensing for me for future income.
…I had a relationship with him before X did and [the prospective buyer] said he has always known that I am an honorable guy. I am not going to throw what may be a life-saving offer out just because [he] and X also do business. A lot of people know and do business with both of us.
Y wants to stay away from the offer because Y just wants more money and hopes for a resurrection that isn't going to happen. Y will be advised and consulted but he is not my partner and he is not a decision maker here.
RE LOOSE CHANGE (Very important) -- In a previous conversation with A, before I left Venezuela, she said that she had just met with the Loose Change folks and that they had REMOVED all no plane references from the newest edition. She said she liked the people and they impressed her as sincere.
So what do we do with that? Do we now throw A out too? Do we now accuse A of something?
We cannot be totally unbending here. Totally unbending is what nearly killed me and may still. I have to stop controlling everything and so do you. There's a way to draw a line, separate, and make it perfectly clear that we ain't responsible for what happens next. Our record is intact.
It will be up to Ray to structure enough protections so that:
1. The legacy is clear and secure; and
2. Neither I or anyone we love gets screwed with bad PR. That will be accomplished with a clear statement announcing the sale of the assets, change of editorial control and clear cut mission statement.
If the offer is good, we let Ray take care of us. I don’t have the energy to fight for months over this.
9-11 is waaaaaaay dead. Just hearing it now makes me physically ill. We cannot jump to a conclusion that [the prospective buyer] is the enemy. I am still pretty sick and need some money.
I don't think X ever had a hidden agenda with Loose Change like trying to spread disinfo. She's always been sloppy on those details. Her motive is to maximize profits by being as inclusive as possible. She never gave a crap or understood why the disinfo was so dangerous. She cares about market share, getting the largest number of people into the tent. We were the purist monks.
Again, it's up to Ray to protect us against a "straw man" sale. Neither X or [the prospective buyer] stand to gain much by trashing FTW or me or you. If we are out of the fight then we have to be out of the fight and trust that those we taught have an IQ of more than 50.
Gotta go. This took a lot out of me.
Mike to Ken Levine re the prospective buyer’s queries:
It's not what Kane told him. It's what X told him. Kane is right where he's always been, with me, with us. You're not reading correctly. I talked to Mike yesterday. Please slow down just a little bit.
…please just get the exact number of dollars it will cost to liberate the books. 900 was the last number you gave me. Please do not delay. I want to keep you included but will unhappily work around you if I have to.
We need to hear from Ray. Please include Ray in all messages.
take care and thanks,
Mike' Story, Part 22: Adios Venezuela
by Jenna Orkin
From Mike 11-1-2006 11:18:
...X has indicated that there is a trust settlement offer. Ray had begun the process of confirming this. Soon he´ll be able to start executing on my behalf. I´m already personally trashed, my company is destroyed, so I don´t give a rat´s ass what people will say. I am ¨radioactive¨ as they say, but I am not dead. [Responding to the rumor that he'd smashed the FTW computers and taken the insurance money before fleeing the country and sending the fake email to subscribers.] I can still move and that makes me dangerous.
MESSAGE FOR [WEBMASTER]
You have labored well without pay. Although you have not said that you were going to quit, you certainly would be justified and have every right to do so. However, if you were to quit without leaving me and Ray Kohlman all necessary codes for upload to the web site, that would absolutely constitute theft/misappropriation of company property. There are about a zillion instances of case law supporting that. I know you would never intentionally do something like that being the ¨straight up¨ kind of guy that you are.
When a corporation goes out of business its assets are normally liquidated to satisfy debts. When in bankruptcy the court does it. Before bankruptcy the stockholders do it. The codes to the web site are probably FTW´s single most important asset at the moment.
I am the sole stockholder of FTW. In other words those codes and protocols are my property.
So I am instructing you to provide a copy of all web access codes and complete instructions for upload to Ray Kohlman and to me. Once these have been checked and verified for functionality you can quit any time you want. I should think that Wednesday is a sufficiently generous window for what should amount to less than 30 minutes of your time to get us this information.
Now everyone think for a minute. I am proposing a solution in my article that may not solve everything but will do the most to get money in the shortest period of time and leaving everyone (except me) walking away clean, with no strings and without having to look over their shoulders for me or Ray.
We will not post the article I sent to Carolyn yet. It will be edited. But that article does represent a serious way to get everybody at least some payment and end this all as quickly and cleanly as possible with the best possible outcome for the greatest number of people. Any other negative actions merely risk lengthy legal entanglements for EVERYBODY.
As I said, I got nothing to lose and after I get my health back I´ll have a lot of time on my hands.
From Mike 11-1-2006 2:58 pm
One step forward, two back.
Walked and travelled for 30 min in heat. Waited, only to find out that the free clinic did not have the equipment for the tests. The travelled 30 min back and almost crashed.
Have located private lab close to apt. Here will go tomorrow and make appointment for tests. They´ll cost about $200 I´m told but don´t know yet. Money thin but cannot wait. The only other free lab was almost an hour away and no guarantee that they have right equipment.
Also found out I need Yellow Fever and Hep A&B vaccines to leave country. Can´t get those until doc sees what current prob is, of course.
Thanks to all,
11-1-2006 From Mike in response to an irate email from a loyal FTW reader who hadn't received his order:
If Ray can take this from the money earmarked for my health care and relocation and refund it directly I would appreciate it. I will sleep better. I am very ill but this is something I feel needs to be done. I have no control over what happens in Ashland and haven't for months now. I am just trying to stay alive but I don't want my conscience eaten alive over this. I have tried so hard to never cheat anyone. What happened in Ashland has broken my heart. Ray, there should be enough from the donations for me to take care of just this one order and it would let me sleep better. Jenna, Ken, please help me make this one thing right.
On 11/6/06 9:36 AM, Ray Kohlman wrote that he had submitted papers for a "show cause" hearing, stating that although Mike owed rent, he had a history of paying.
Sorry, I am waaaay lost here. How can I put in papers for a show cause hearing in Ashland from here in Caracas?? Who´s going to do that??? I am just trying to stay alive and get med tests done.
That would have to be ken and he´s not going to go to Ashland I don´t think. Certainly not just for that.
X is the only one there and I don´t know if she would/can do this.
If there was a show cause hearing who would appear??????????????
For some reason, I have no emails between November 9 and 18, when Mike popped up again in Toronto. Given the choice between me in New York and Barry Silverthorn's place which offered a horse down the road, the horse won. Ray and I met Mike at the airportwhen he changed flights, to make sure he didn't disappear.
I'd never met Ray so he described himself over the cellphone: Younger, thinner and handsomer than Mike... and wearing a baseball cap. Let's just say that the first two adjectives were objectively false.
Mike looked slim and happy to be "home" but at that moment, all he wanted was water. We were in an area without any nearby so, explaining he had kidney problems, he ended up with a spare bottle from a sympathetic security guard.
The kidney problems also came in handy for bypassing some of the lines at the airport.
Months later, in a conversation about the National Reconnaissance Office, where a war game was conducted the morning of 9/11 involving a plane flying into a building (in direct contradiction of Condoleezza Rice's testimony to the 9/11 Commission that the administration had never dreamed of such a scenario,) I learned that the papers concerning that building that Mike had taken to Venezuela to show the Chavez administration had all been ditched before he headed back across the US border. He didn't tell me what they contained, thank God.
Mike's Story, Part 21: Death Throes of FTW
To Mike and Ray 11-1-2006:
seconded re need for holding pattern. remember ray's in pittsburgh and not on email so if we don't hear from him for a couple days, don't think anything sinister.
anything else i say will be obsolete by sundown.
To Mike 11-1-2006 [in response to his expression of abject failure:]
what would you say to a person who announces, at twenty, 'i'm going to be a billionaire by the time i'm forty.' at fifty, they've made a mere couple million dollars and let's hope, done something worthy meanwhile. is this person a failure or was the goal too narrowly defined?
From Mike 11:47 A.M probably 11-1-2006:
We have to all just stop and see how the dust settles.
I pray that I hear from Ray who may have both the common sense and the special knowledge to find a solution.
It is not wise to arrange things in the middle of a tornado and a tornado is clearly in progress.
...We all have to just chill until we hear from Ray.****
From Mike: 11-1-2006 2:03 PM
Have been dealing with medical issues this AM and yesterday. Hope to have my story complete and sent by tonight. This[an account of Mike's illnesses and attempts at treatment]is by FTW subscriber and my roomie Carlos Ruiz. If you need to ask editorial question of him you can contact him directly. he also has your email. He pretty much hit the nail. My story will take a broader, more global look and relate that to our subscribers in a way that will prove useful in that context.
These two stories, when combined should open the door to some serious cash inflow. My recommendation is that some of it, maybe $1,000 or more --based upon availability-- be put aside for me in the Bof A account and that all of the rest be used to pay bills, ship product, etc.
11-3-2006 9:55 A.M. from Mike:
Hey, why doesn´t everyone chill. I am not scapegoating Ashland and am not fanning these flames at all. I haven´t touched that subject for a while, my recent conversations with X were polite and cordial. I never mentioned aliens or accused X or anyone there of being on CIA payroll. Ken will confirm all of this. X should also confirm that our recent contacts have been cordial and respectful.
I am too sick to have time for this so... please chill just a bit. At present you are the only one acting hostile and accusatory here. You seem to be impersonating me.
To me it is clear that without Mike Kane, FTW is no longer sustainable in any form. [Not having gotten to these emails yet, I was off by six days in yesterday's post. Sorry. JO] I think Ken is in complete agreement as we spoke about this yesterday. As brilliant and dedicated as you have been, Carolyn, you just can´t carry it all on your own. No one human being could. The heart of what made if FTW is gone. The heart of what we sell to subscribers is gone. That is no offense at all to you Carolyn, a great and brilliant writer. But it was me, Jamey, Stan and Mike who made FTW great and known over the years. We were the investigators and field reporters. All of us are now gone or neutralized in one way or another. Mike Kane is the last tree shaker, investigator to go. It was the tree shaking and investigating that made FTW.
I don´t see how we CANNOT tell subscribers that Mike Kane has resigned. We can´t sell subscriptions based upon the presence of phantom writers that we know aren´t going to be there. Mike has a very large following in his own right. They deserve to know.
Whatever is said as our final word it will be said by me. I gave FTW birth. I held it together at the price of my health. Respect for almost nine years dictates that I be the one to pull the plug. No one should say anything publicly until I do. (See below)
My immediate recommendation is that we take down all parts of the store except the donation page. Ray, please take note of this.
I am weak, still very sick, and must go back to doctor´s soon. Am working on a very large piece which will be FTW´s last. It will NOT be accusatory. It WILL be an essay on Post Peak sustainability based upon my lessons here. It WILL be a tribute to Mike Kane and it will explain why we are shutting down. It WILL be a very large fundraiser which is our only hope now to achieve many things. It will NOT blame Ashland staff. It WILL provide options that might raise enough money to satisfy our creditors, pay staff, establish good faith on fraud allegations which should concern ALL of us and is the ONLY way I can see to get all back salaries paid, keep a permanent web presence and get my library and files shipped to Carolyn for posterity. I don´t expect I will ever get to see them again anyway.
It WILL recognize that we all must accept defeat now. I totally understand and support Mike Kane´s decision and why he made it. He has family. I do not.
Carolyn and all of you will have it before Monday unless I am hospitalized.
...I am NOT accusing anyone of anything. I am ill and with olive branch in hand. What all of us need now is a little teamwork. I know how hard this is on you too. You loved FTW almost as much as I do. But we must accept that this patient is dead and withdraw life support. It was my only child and it is my decision. It is my legal right.
The way we pull the plug will determine a great deal. Can we call a truce until that is accomplished.
I will try to get back online later today if physically able. My US cell phone will be shut off in a couple of days at most.
X, please expedite banking papers and my trust documents to Ken ASAP. If you want to pay bills and to receive what may be sufficient money to zero the books, it will come from and through him and Ray Kohlman who will be in charge of receiving donations. Since the office is staffed only one day a week and the store should go down, this is the only option that makes sense. We are really stuck until Ken gets those papers. This is the ONLY way we´re going to get everyone paid.
I know it´s a big request but there may be some donation offers in the phone messages and emails that no one has been able to check.
ray says checks can be sent to
ray kohlman [address]
we're assuming they can go into the bank of america account whose number i gave to ray. ray thought there might be a different number in ny from oregon but i told him... the only thing they said about its being an oregon account was that that meant it would take a few days longer to get to you.
From Mike 11-3-2006 10:01 A.M.
X has access to and can drain the Bof A acount in a heartbeat. Ray and I must control how the money gets handed out, not just dump it in X´s lap! We talked about that. A few hundred is fine because I can get that. But thousands and tens of thousands will disappear. They will never go for my health care or relocation. Ray should endorse the checks into his account if possible. What we need is instructions on how checks should be made out. Please hurry.
I am real sick today and very little is going right.
11-4-2006 12:25 to ray, faiz, me, cc andreas von buelow Last night it became clear that I need for you three to look at the situation and make a decision as to how to get me out of here ASAP. I´ll follow whatever you figure out, just please keep me advised. The where´s and how´s I´ll leave up to you four. Ray is best qualified to evaluate logistics and legal needs. Faiz has an eye on medical issues and Jenna is the rope that is keeping me tethered at the moment. I just sent out our last article which I know will raise money.
Med updates. Diet change has pretty much cleared up urine. But nights are very difficult. Blood sugar (guessing) drop during night caused me to wake up severely depressed. Am improving accessibility to carrots, crackers, etc for use by bedside. Heavy, heavy day sweats in tropical heat, more than normal. Weakness continues. Had paresthesis of lips and fingers on awakening this AM after very troubled night. Frequent, almost non stop urination at night is adding to already troubled sleep.
...I have the med documents copied and ready to fax... Don´t have enough spare money yet for glucometer.
Small cash deposits of $500 or under can be made to BofA and I can access directly. Large ones run the risk of being appropriated by X. Am certainly OK for time being.
I know that FTWs last article will bring in money.
Thanks to all and especially to... Jenna. Thanks for your labors on my behalf. Jenna now knows about possible third country. That knowledge should be kept close in this circle only. Ray can share what´s needed with AVB. Ray, could you please explain why Faiz needs to avoid contact with Y or having any contact with Z who will funnel it back to Y. It´ll make more sense coming from you.
11-4-4:12 pm to me, cc A
A, will get back to you as soon as a plan firms up. I am very sick. Do not post this yet because I must make changes to show you getting library and files. you might have to make a quick dash to Ashland but not yet.
This is real serious. I am through at FTW and FTW is through. It really is about saving my life now, which a lot of people seem to think is worthwhile. That´s reassuring.
jenna, you did fabulous with this[briefing A on the unraveling of FTW.]I don’t know why you think you´re not good at it.
MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR -- The last time i saw you A we were in the Black Sheep English Pub in Ashland. We went off for a sidebar about how fast things were deteriorating. We were right.
Someday we´ll catch up and I hope get to meet again. And yes, in spite of all my troubles here I did get a convincing message through to the right people about no planes and building collapse. At least I got that done. That is not for publication.
From Mike 11-5-2006 re steps to be taken medically and offer of funds to do so:
WILL GET THERMOMETER TODAY
fUNDS CAN BE DEPOSITED INTO BANK ACCOUNT FOR WHICH JENNA HAS INFO. WILL TAKE 3-4 DAYS TO POST. IT´S SUNDAY BUT WILL TRY TO PRICE ONE TODAY IF ENERGY PERMITS. IF NOT, TOMORROW
[Re recommended tests:]
GOT IT. NEED FIRST TO IDENTIFY AND LOCATE A CLINIC, THEN PRICE TESTS, THE GET SUFFICIENT FUNDS. WILL REACH OUT FOR HELP ON THIS TODAY.
From Mike to A: 11-5-2006 10:34 A.M.
A, I want you to have the books. That´s a huge library. No risk there. Could you get my clothes. There´s nothing I can do to get the research files to Ray in NY. I am too sick, too broke and too far away. nobody has time or money.
But the library is my gift to you. I know you´ll take care of it.*********
[A did not end up with the library. Mike speculated that A might indeed have felt it too hot to handle.]
Mike's Story, Part 20: SNAFU
To Mike 10-20-2006:
...be careful of email trails. a few days ago a sequence got forwarded to X in one email of which u said he was 'full of excuses...'
[And, since Mike was no longer sure whom he could trust among the FTW staff]...remember that it's possible to set up a blog in the name of mike ruppert2 any time for free.
Email to Mike 10-22-2006:
after the conference call, it occurred to me that even if [the webmaster] were fired, xxx could replace him with, say, her best friend's niece and you'd have the same problem of sabotage again. so the underlying issue is control of the webmaster...
your [political] arguments speak for themselves. where you live is your fucking business. ftw's credibility is based on the innate truth of ftw's work.
i understand that it would be hard to explain coming back after the burning bridge article. but so what? you've learned things. there were factors you hadn't known about. these are complexities that readers would understand. your enemies would jump for joy in their netherworld; that is what they do for a living. but allowing that to guide one's behavior is truly 'letting the terrorists win...'
i'd like to talk to your unconscious for a moment. i'm concerned that your unconscious could think, 'if i come home after having written the burning bridge article, my fans will be disappointed. but maybe that would turn into sympathy if i came home because i was sick and couldn't get healthcare otherwise. even X would relent and give me money for a ticket.' then you might allow some sickness to get the better of you...
please be on guard against this. you're vigilant against exterior enemies. but they have a mole in you whom you have to watch out for too.
From Mike to numerous recipients 10-25-2006:
My US cell phone was shut off today, I guess the hopeful message from X yesterday did not impact what was really a fait accompli.
These are tough questions. I can only offer my two cents and suggest my priorities.
1. I would like to get a new power executed to Ray ASAP. Ken, you shouldn´t be troubled. How do i do that without going to US embassy.
2. Ray, in Ashland is a box with all of the Ruppert Family trust documents and records. That´s worth $300,000 to me-us. >From that I can pay you, Ken, and eventually the creditors. My stepmother may already be dead. I don´t know. But if we don´t have that box and the original trust docs we have nothing. This needs to get accomplished fairly quickly.
3. We still have assets. Ken has the mailing list and the archives are worth a lot. I will keep the copyrights to DVDs.
Beyond this I am helpless to advise and can only rely on you two.
Going to the doctor now.
FTW was now insolvent, with 200-250 orders unfilled and no credit left with Fedex or UPS. Staff were working for no pay, some with thousands of dollars owed. If the website was taken down, the newspaper article would no doubt be scrapped.
From Mike 10-25-2006:
How do you evaluate archives etc. I should retain copyrights for DVDs in case of future miracles. There are lots of intangible assets and valuation but I don´t think the mailing list should be put up as equity due to privacy concerns. That´s the biggest asset of all though. X in the Ashland office knows exactly where the box with the Trust docs is and can put her hands on it almost instantly. What we don't know for sure where the ORIGINAL trust docs are. Y sent something to the Portland firm. Don´t know what or if it has come back. You already have the name and contact info. The key is that my stepmother may have died a months ago. As soon as she dies, it´s split 50/50 and there´s nothing her family can do about it. She´s past 90 and nuttier than a fruitcake. Her family wouldn´t dare put her on the stand now with her Alzheimer´s. The trust was always a 50/50 split between me and her heirs... Medical report to come soon.
10/27/06: Ray Kohlman wrote that as of the previous day 1445 east coast time, the Ashland police had no interest in Mike, except as a victim of B&E. [breaking and entering.] They had no idea when or where rumors of "person of interest" began.
From Mike 10-27-2006:
God, thank you Ray!!!!!!!!!
Now where did all this bs originate.
Meanwhile, Michael Kane, for personal reasons, announced his resignation as Energy Editor.
I think we have to let FTW die. Mike*****
On the phone he added mournfully, "I'd only been keeping it alive for him, because he loved it so much."
To Mike 10-29-2006:
I can't help thinking that at some level you do what you do for copy...
Mike to me and Ray 10-30-2006:
Ray, I´ve cc´d Jenna becasue she´s my only real sigificant other, aside from you. Stop laughing.
(Jenna, you may share with Mike Kane if you wish)
Details you need to know.
I am very sick. In my heart of hearts I just want to come home and stay out of public sight but would have no place to sleep if I did. There may be some breaks in Vz soon, but there have been a lot of maybes lately.
As for FTW, it´s so fucked up I can´t describe it. X cannot sign checks because there´s a new bank account that Y walked out on. She´s sent paperwork to Z in LA and is waiting for its return so she can even write a check. She cannot ship product until she has those. She cannot ship you the Trust docs because she apparently can´t access any money. Catch 2222.
X´s cell phone number is XXX XXX XXXX. She takes calls, is no nonsense and straightforward. She´ll talk to you. You can cut through to simple solutions quickly.
I don´t know what the balances are in Ashland. And I just cannot figure out why the subscriber stories are still free. It is not that people don´t want to buy, it is that they can´t. I understand there have been glitches in converting to the new system (which was needed), but I have heard about four times now over more than a month that the store would be fixed and subscriber stories no longer free any day.
I really don´t know where Y´s head is at these days and he´s just not going to take charge. As soon as I get the new PofA from you I´ll find a way to have it notarized properly, but please understand I am also almost out of money down here. Jenna´s made a deposit of $400 for me. I´ll sell my watch and last few little gold pieces if necessary but there is nothing more important for me right now than getting a new PofA into your hands.
If you just get me the Pof A, I´ll get it back to you. But it´s got to be fast. Make sure I have a street/delivery address. I have no idea how to solve the unable to write checks problem in Ashland. Y can solve that quickly if and when he sends X the paperwork that will allow her to write checks on the new Ashland bank.
Ray, the Ruppert family trust is my ONLY hope right now. When you want and are able I will hook you with the LA attorney, a Yale grad and glacially slow W, who I retained after Dad died. Big mistake. I can give you all the background. Technically we´re supposed to wait until ¨[Mike's stepmother]¨dies but the trust can be dissolved earlier. Dad left an amendment saying that it was to be dissolved immediately after his death. They´re contesting it and saying I ain´t entitled to nothing, even the half he brought into it. The original deal as 50-50 split after [Mike's stepmother's] death. "XY" is my mother nickname. Her full name is YZ. If alive, she is 90, has Alzheimer´s and is nuttier than a fruitcake. But no one has even verified she´s alive in more than a year. Dad died in May of 05.
FOR THE RECORD -- If I do not live to see the money my father left me, I want you to use it to pay off all debts, pay all the writers, Carolyn, Stan, Mike Kane and all staff. Pay Ken and, of course, yourself (very well). I have no family. With Y solo on the Pof A all I can imagine is that it will just sit in a bank or go to my stepmother´s... niece who is an Alabama Democrat for Bush.
Whatever´s left (might be a chunk) please split between Jenna Orkin and Mike Kane.
This is not much of a will but when you have an executed PofA it will be all you´ll need.
Please hurry Ray. Please. Please.
I have no intention of doing anything irreversible as soon as it´s done. That´s not the point. But I just might be able to sleep one night without worrying about it being lost due to the fact that no one went after it and saved the documents. My share is probably over $300,000 right now. Even a negotiated half or a quarter of that could save my life.
Mike to an ally 10-30-2006:
...my friend, I must trust that you can completely adhere to what I have asked here. My life is in danger and on the line. I need to come home. It is also possible that people who are not FTW´s friends are planning on taking the web site down soon. We are developing a plan.
Please do nothing. You will hear more from me, Mike, and Jenna soon enough...
You´re going to have to read between the lines, but we know each other well enough that I know you can do that.
1. The bad guys... fucked up. They let Mike Kane get his story up describing my health problems which are not getting any better. The Cuban doc has prescribed nothing. The response is overwhelming and now we see that there can be ample financial aid to accomplish two things A), get me back to the States, NYC for medical treatment and B) save the FTW web site. BUT NOTHING CAN GO THROUGH THE FTW WEB SITE. WE´LL NEVER SEE IT.
2. X has outed himself as one of the sources of the unfounded rumors. We already know that Y was hostile before I left the country and helped spread them... [One of the offers for the website] would have destroyed FTW and castrated me. At minimum X should be asked to take a polygraph exam by Ashland PD, but that´s much further down the road. We should squeeze X, but never directly. jusy keep working around him.
3. Y is coming back around and we must leave the door open for her. [She] was mind fucked and she´s worth every effort to save.
4. We have no guarantee that we will see any money donated through the web site. Yesterday, X said she couldn´t even write checks until Y sent her back papers for the new bank. But still she sees every penny coming in through the store and none of us have any idea how much money is coming in or where it is going. (She can move it electronically) That includes Y. Why is the subscriber-only section still free?????????????????????? Where is a freaking sales report? how much money is coming in? Ray could really help here with timely phone calls to Y and X that mentions nothing of these plans.
5. Y´s loyalty is questionable. What can I say about his competence? At present I don´t think I can write ANYTHING for the web site because of the fraud issue. I am on record as opposing any fraudulent behavior and there´s a clear record showing that I had nothing to do with these decisions. However, Y was on the original PofA and now he is the ONLY person with Power. Ray, maybe we can use that. So if the web site goes down and the store closes, etc, the fraud charges kind of roll in his direction, don´t they? The point is that they can´t close the business yet. They´re liable and I´m not.
I (and Mike Kane) are leaning towards a guerilla web transmission of an emergency message from me, Mike and Jenna that will call for rescue monies to be sent to a brand new account in NY that completely bypasses FTW. Between Mike and me, we can reach maybe 20,000 people in 24 hours and that will propagate to maybe a million within a week. This will only acknowledge the war that we already know has been underway for some time. But then, if in retaliation, X shuts the web site and walks out it only confirms their agenda in the first place, proves we were right and lets me, Mike and the good guys off the hook on fraud. It would increase sympathy and donations.
X has got to understand all this but I am not the guy to persuade her. We need to do everything possible to get her completely back in the fold before the message goes out, but we can still do it without her if we have to '' leaving the door open.” X is a rescue mission, not an enemy.
The question is how to structure this and do it quickly. Ray, if this works I can sign the new PofA in NY. It is to New York that I must come first.
GETTING ME HOME
I have no doubt that we´ll raise a lot of money. maybe over $100,000 that must not go anywhere near Y's hands. That can cover medical care and hopefully some place to stay in NY while Ray and I put the next phase together. I had already compiled a list of heavyweights and miks kane´s story has shown me how to reach out to them.
Once we have money, which might be as soon as 3-4 days after the notice goes out and we have a place for me to stay, we should plan on flying me back via American Airlines. Here´s why.
1. We´re going to have to plead for a one-way ticket on medical emergency grounds. For years I was an AA frequent flyer, member of the Admirals club and a VIP. They know me. I know they can make exceptions based on those grounds for a one-way ticket purchased with a credit or debit card. That will eliminate a lot of computer generated DHS problems but probably not all.
2. Before buying the ticket Ray should call DHS and find out if I am on a no-fly list as a dissident author. By then our guerilla web plea will be making world news.
3. When we have the ticket, the flight and the date, I make a cell phone call to Ray or Mike in NY as I board the plane and am sure I´m onboard. We make sure that all of our friends and lots of Indy media know what the flight number is. Then, if I don´t emerge at JFK the noise can start and Ray will know where to start looking for my habeased corpus.
Ray, I think you´ll be able to fill in blanks from here. This just might work and get us FTW back in better shape than ever, with friends in VZ, and having eliminated what I am sure have been some long time, behind the scenes very nasty problems..
But most important is my health. I am very weak and seemingly getting weaker. I have to go rest for a while before i can come back to the web.
Ok, I´ll pray for a quick response from Ray.
Mike's Story, Part 19: Suspicion
by Jenna Orkin
Several colleagues in Ashland had become increasingly annoyed by the latest developments at FTW. They felt that writing the Burning Bridge article was in itself an act of burning the bridge home; if Mike came back, particularly so soon, FTW's credibility would be trashed.
Now that he'd relinquished his role as CEO, Mike could best serve the website, they maintained, by acting as its Latin American correspondent.
Among their complaints was the appearance of alleged "compelling evidence" that Mike himself had been the one to wield the sledgehammer on the seven FTW computers, the act of burglary which had precipitated his flight to Venezuela.
Mike was accused - not by law enforcement, nor by any government agency but by some of his own colleagues - of staging the burglary himself, then high-tailing it several thousand miles south, taking the insurance money with him the day before he was to have a lie detector test with the Ashland Police Department.
From Mike to numerous recipients 10-20-2006:
On my life and on my soul, I swear that I did not smash my own computers.
On my life and on my soul I swear that not a penny of the insurance money ever entered my pocket. I left with $2,100 and my gold. [Carolyn] and Mike Kane saw it in the silver box from which I took my Great Grandfather´s pocket watch for Mike. The cash came from one subscriber who saw what was coming and told me to use it personally, for anything I needed. I told you that.
Would I have been stupid enough to commit such an elaborate fraud for just $2,000? The only insurance check I ever saw for $7,000 went straight into the company account to pay bills.
On my life and on my soul there was no appointment for any polygraph test in Ashland. That´s absurd. I was asked if I was willing to take one within a week after the burglary. I said sure. For three weeks I never heard another word. I would not have left with that appointment hanging knowing that it would instantly condemn me for failing to appear. I had/have nothing to fear from a legitimate polygraph test. Why do we learn of this now? Where is the record of the appointment? Who found it?
As it is I have been tried, convicted and sentenced without having been given the right to examine or challenge the evidence against me. That is a fundamental human right. George Bush signs a bill and everyone starts acting like a fascist. This so-called evidence surfaces four months after the burglary and three months after I leave the states. Does anyone think that I would be stupid enough to leave such evidence if it existed?
Mohammed Atta´s passport has just been found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Case closed. Ruppert is guilty. No trial needed thankyou.
Where did this evidence come from? Who found it? What is it? Who told you about it? Answers to these questions are my fundamental rights as a human being.
If the evidence was strong enough to convince [he named three colleagues,] then I now know that this entire thing was very well orchestrated and executed.
If I hear nothing from anyone within ten days then you guys can assume that -- not knowing who I can trust -- I have gone to a new level of operation. Suicide is out now. [XX] you make me want to come back more than ever to clear my name. Someone does not want me to come back and they are obviously very afraid that I might. Who? Why? Who benefits?
Ray, we need to talk ASAP please.
At this point, the ante was upped: Apparently, further evidence had been unearthed to show that Mike himself had written the "phantom" or fraudulent email to subscribers.
From Mike to numerous recipients: 10-20-2006
I am innocent on all counts. I have been shown none of the so-called evidence or afforded an opportunity to comment on it. At least in a US court I might receive a little more justice than I am receiving here and now.
>From Mike, undated: Who in the hell believes that I could have possibly sent that email message? Has everyone lost their minds?*******
From Mike, undated: I again request that this ¨evidence¨ be shown to me, or at least described. What is it? Where was it found? Who found it?
The new allegation that I sent the bogus email is beyond ludicrous. Everyone who works with me knows that I absolutely lack the technical know-how to do that. I have never directly posted to our list even once, from the FTW offices. That´s why I paid IT people $900 a week.
This is like Kafka, you talk of evidence and then produce none. Then you ask me to defend myself against something unspecified and undescribed. How can I prove evidence to be false if I am not even told what it is? When is my day in the FTW court? How can I disprove something that isn´t on the table.
If it is evdience I can´t possibly tamper with it from here. Wrap it up, take it to Ashland PD and then tell me what it is.
I repeat, I am innocent of all of these charges. I have admitted to my mistakes but that´s all there were. On every one of these allegations I am completely and utterly innocent. You have become sadly like Joe McCarthy with his list of known Communists. When do we get to see this list?
Mike's Story, Part 18: Decision
Looking back, one purpose the Venezuela interlude served in Mike’s life was that of expiation. Any potential friendship is threatened with the most guileless of questions, “What brings you here?” He couldn’t answer truthfully, that he was seeking political asylum (which on the phone, we referred to as “the ‘a’ word.”) When the reporter from the US newspaper interviewed him for seven hours, Mike acknowledged only that he was requesting permanent residency. Thus he was forced into solitary confinement with its attendant pastime, contemplating the sins that had brought him to this point.
Mike to numerous recipients 9-26-2006
I have had much time to think about those horrible events and what I feel so utterly ashamed over is the fact that I was so terribly attracted to a very sick woman whose intent I clearly saw and understood was to destroy both me and FTW. I never crossed any lines through my actions, but I certainly did in my head and this is my great shame and embarrassment to which I now freely admit.
But, as a wise man once said, “They don’t put you in jail for thinking crazy. They put you in jail for acting crazy”.
Me to Mike, probably 9-27-2006:
if you feel like shit promise you'll email first before even thinking in terms of 'my public life may be over.' [a phrase he'd used in his email.] this is why god invented the internet.
Mike to me 9-27-2006
It is clear to me that the memo[the fake email] originated from within the FTW offices. we have at minimum a leak there and at worst a traitor. I´m just sick of betrayals.
To be honest I was talking about life, life. not public life. [I had realized that but wanted to steer Mike’s thinking away from it.] That´s how depressing things are. I am beginning to suspect that I may be too hot a political potato for Hc right now and they´re just hoping I´ll tire and go away. That would be a humiliation. The Bolivarian revolution embodies every belief I have acquired for all my years of study.
God bless [a woman who was helping him in Venezuela,] I truly believe she´s doing everything she can and she is one of those wonderful women, like you, Carolyn, Fitts and McKinney who have saved my life.
One day he called, his breathing labored, and said, "I've got to get out of here. I've got to write a notice for the blog and the website asking for emergency donations for Mike Ruppert to leave Venezuela, and to solicit offers from other countries."
Offers flooded in from England, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Thailand, Hawaii, Australia, the Philippines... all variations on that of “quarquin” who wrote... "hi Mike you can come here to Spain i have place for you You are welcome.”
Along with them, health advice, mostly from holistic practitioners or patients. Many readers took pains to write at length and in detail, as per the notice's request for information on health systems in the countries where they were offering their hospitality.
One person wrote about a cottage on their property where Mike could hole up; another, about her extended family who lived down the road.
A writer from Hawaii described a tent city whose inhabitants were fugitives from justice living simply off the land, undisturbed by the authorities.
Mike held out hopes for Germany. The culture wasn’t so alien; it was his family heritage. (And although he was a California boy, his deteriorating health in the Venezuelan heat had perhaps induced a longing for cloud-cover.) Andreas von Buelow, the former German cabinet minister who had written a blurb for Crossing the Rubicon, had once taken him to a concert of Janacek and Dvorak which had made Mike cry.
"That's not German culture; it's Czech," I thought obnoxiously but had the sense not to say.
He wrote to von Buelow whose delayed response, due to travel, was polite but understandably cautious.
A correspondent from Costa Rica peaked Mike's interest with a description of the colony of intellectuals there working on alternative energy. But an article in a local paper described the boredom of the ex-patriots, who found a life of playing golf unfulfilling, despite the idyllic surroundings.
"I'd be a pet," Mike said, "and I don't want to be a pet."
"No. You want to be among peers."
However, another lesson Mike had learned in Venezuela was that dabbling in a foreign culture may be fine for a holiday but in the end, one wants to be surrounded by familiar people who speak one's own language.
Most people know this intuitively but Mike had been banking on a warmer welcome in Venezuela which would have compensated for all the differences. Failing that, he'd rather nurse his unhappiness at home.
I don't remember how the possibility arose of his coming to stay with me. Much as I valued the connection to him as well as the conversations, having him live with me was another matter. I'd been divorced for ten years, relishing every moment of freedom. Being in his inner circle was all I wanted; the adage, "Familiarity breeds contempt" seemed all too apt. And he was the last person from whom I wished to earn that contempt.
But I was a known quantity, which mattered to him. He knew I wouldn't treat him as a guru and ply him with questions.
Another known quantity was Barry Silverthorn, the producer of End of Suburbia, who lived in Toronto.
Although Mike was (and remained for the rest of his life) too much of a gentleman to say so, at a level beyond his control, he must have felt disappointed, even betrayed by Venezuela.
Me to Mike 10-30(?)-2006:
beneath your admiration for chavez and the bolivarian revolution, your unconscious could be having this conversation with venezuela: "don't you understand i'm your friend? i could help you; i've been fighting drugs in the u.s. all my life and gotten persecuted for it. now i escape here and the first night i venture out on my own, you drug me."
i don't know why you need to tempt fate. maybe you want something awful to happen so you won't have to fear it anymore. maybe it's your way of punishing yourself for something 'even worse' (according to your child-self) that you don't remember and don't want to, hence all the running.
you are not lot's wife or eurydice. you can come home again if you want to, at least while the planes or even the trains are still running. you need to accept the entirety of yourself and live in equilibrium so you're not buffeted from one extreme to the other. don't wait for your body to wrestle you to the ground. acknowledge its needs the way you did when you went to macdonald's today, by walking slowly.
talk to u tomorrow
Mike to me 10-30-2006
God, you know me so well.
I really want to come home and just rest but it seems so impossible. No money. Homeland Security. No place to live if I got there, not even a bed. Here, Carlos and xxxx are banking on getting me going with lectures and writing. I can´t tell them these feelings.
Meanwhile, a plan was taking shape.
> On the issue of how I re-enter, I strongly suggest that we all defer to Ray Kohlman. I cannot walk accross the border lugging a huge suitcase, an overflowing backpack and a laptop case without getting searched. I know those rules. My passport will get swiped and the net result would the same as if I had landedat LAX on an American Airlines flight only I would be at theborder and close to nobody, with no chance of help anywhere around. Wewill do what Ray saysand nothing else on that point. I have to insist on that. On legalmatters we MUST listen to Ray. The bridge is still calling. I say that not to threaten or pressure. I shareit 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 andmuch more. I am relieved that you guys are takingthe intiative. That makes me feel as if someone actually saw all of the emergency flaresI have been sending up.Mike
But a powerful faction didn't want Mike to return.
Mike's Story, Part 17: Fallout
by Jenna Orkin
Back at FTW, another fire erupted: Readers were placing product orders which could never, under the current administration, be fulfilled. When Mike learned of the situation, he emailed those in charge that it could constitute fraud; they were to return whatever money had come in and freeze the sales portion of the site immediately. (If I remember correctly, the same problem later arose with respect to subscription renewals.)
A trusted friend and colleague offered to buy the site. Mike thought this might prove to be a way out of what was devolving into an unworkable arrangement:
First of all let me say that it has become apparent to me that the chief obstacle to a way out of the current predicament, is me. I apologize to all for my outburst yesterday and B.´s depiction of me as an angry Panda was pretty appropriate although the bear looks better than I do. As a result of Carolyn Baker´s message to me yesterday, a couple of things have become clear. Once I accepted these facts a way out began to appear. I emphasize that I think there´s a way to get everyone paid, close up FTW and do so without leaving a mountain of debt and resentment. We might actually make some money.
TWO REALIZATIONS THAT MADE IT ALL CLEAR
1. After nearly 30 years of fighting these intense fights I no longer have then energy, or the will, to continue to do what I have done. I have never doubted my judgment until yesterday. After 30 years I am burned out. Very soon, I will announce my permanent retirement from political and economic journalism. That opens all the necessary doors to the successful and equitable dissolution of FTW.
2. [A friend/colleague] has sent some profound messages to me lately. I thank her for both her personal counsel and business smarts. But it is clear that she sees the same very real assets that I do. These assets have serious value and they can be sold in a proper way to pay off all of FTW´s debts (including credit cards) and get all employees all back-owed monies. As always I will wait at the end of the line.
The basic plan is to turn as much over to [the friend/colleague] as possible, as she wants to structure it.
1. EMAIL SUBSCRIBER LIST '' This list CAN be sold to a consortium headed by [the friend/colleague] because all of our subscribers love her any way.That would never be viewed as a sale to a list company of the government. [The friend/colleague] would keep it as secure as I have. The way to do this is to make a public announcement of FTW´s closure and liquidation with an announcement of that sale and by giving subscribers 30 days to request that their information be removed from that list. Very few will ask for it. That alone is worth at least $50,000 but I will leave valuations to [the friend/colleague] since she does that better than anybody.
2. The FTW ARCHIVES are also worth a lot of money. All of those could be purchased and I would relinquish copyright ownership of them to a group headed by [the friend/colleague] to satisfy debts.
3. The copyrights to all FTW DVD´s also have great value. They go into the package.
4. All of my FTW computer research files, 9 years worth, would go to [the friend/colleague]. There are more than 800 (est.) separate files here divided between Research and FTW business. The FTW business file are not accounting files but rather files on all persons, corporations, media outlets and entities with which FTW has had interaction or correspondence. these range from Alex Jones, to ASPO, to the Pentagon, to AIG, to hundreds of major and minor figures throughout our little universe, both good and bad. These also include the files on all previous employees, writers, researchers and lecturers we have encountered.
There are more than 400 research files loosely divided between pre 9/11 and post 9/11. There are more than 150 files on people alone. I am, after all, German.
All of these files are a great intelligence and analytical research base and I know that [the friend/colleague] would use them to their fullest extent possible. Carolyn has copies and she can attest to what´s in them.
5. Carolyn Baker and Mike Kane would be free to write for the new entity that would preserve a substantial portion of FTW´s legacy and make it useful to all of those who want and need t keep it alive. [The friend/colleague] might not be able to pay them as well as FTW did, but I know she will honor and treasure them as I have. Maybe even Stan Goff could get in later. We will all miss Jamey.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
I had already begun to have a new Power of Attorney drafted giving NY attorney, international lawyer and longtime close friend Ray Kohlman, full authority. It is apparent that Ken´s many other obligations will keep him from participating in this in a meaningful way but that does not spell the end of the world. This should actually relieve Joe. The rest of this message might want to make him at least ensure a smoother transition.
Under this plan I would be out of all future decision making over these assets. I have no idea what our current debt status is because I´ve seen no financial statements and received no reports in three months. However, I would estimate that our total debt (including all back salaries, wages, Ken´s royalties, Joe´s fees and credit cards), could not posibly exceed $70,000. The lease is a separate issue but I think it can be negotiated and settled.
Clearly, and I pray that [the friend/colleague] will agree, we have a lot more value in assets than debts. Now the question is how to keep the office running long enough to pull it all together. MARION, what would really help me, [the friend/colleague], and Ray Kohlman enormously is an itemized statement of debts including credit cards that I used to finance FTW over the years. If I am going to walk away losing most of my equity then I need to walk away debt free.
I am specifically authorizing MARION to give the friend/colleague anything she asks for, hopefully understanding that [the friend/colleague] is someone who can help.
I want to stress that should it become necessary for me to temporarily return to the states to execute all of this I will do so, regardless of the risk, but only after I have formally announced my retirement from public life. I cannot and will not leave all of you hanging in the lurch. I only wish that I had known how far things had gone south long ago. It was not until yesterday that someone finally told me that Marion was not even getting paid. We cannot undo the lack of information sharing until now, nor should we take time to condemn it. We must deal with things as they are today.
From my limited knowledge of the financial situation my understanding is that $5,000 would see us through the immediate crisis. With one single essay I can raise more than twice that amount easily provided that it goes up on the web site and the blog.
What I need to know from [the friend/colleague] ASAP (before I write it) is whether she sees merit in these ideas and has any suggestions, directions or other requests. [The friend/colleague] can structure this transition with ease because that is exactly what she does. I would also need to know from Ray Kohlman whether he sees any impediments.
All I need is a basic yes from both [the friend/colleague] and Ray and we´re on the way. Had I fully known and understood the true situation sooner it wouldn´t have gotten this far. But I want to emphasize that this is far from over and no one´s going to get financially screwed if I can help it. I founded and ran the company for almost nine years, taking it to peak earnings of just under $600,000 a year, and overcoming a multitude of obstacles other businesses never face. I have learned a thing or two and I am here now to use that experience.
But, personally as a journalist and earth shaker, I am burned out beyond belief. The smashing of our computers took something out of me that will never come back. Things are looking up here in Venezuela with the government but it is starting to look like they want to create a Mike Ruppert here doing the same thing he has done for 30 years already, with the same energy, and even more dangerous risks. I think I need to give myself a choice here and I am. I have done enough for one lifetime.
So, I ask everyone to please accept my amends. I accept responsibility for leaving FTW the way I did, even though, on a hundred levels, it was absolutely necessary to leave when I did. Please accept my apologies for any personal insults made in retaliation. One of my favorite books contains a passage about self-will and the observation that sometimes we can become producers of confusion, rather than harmony. Mea culpa.
FTW is me, was me. As I went into the confusion, soul-searching and change that marks all spiritual and personal evolutions it was obvious that FTW would have to mirror that confusion.
The remainder of my amends will be amends of action rather than words. Please bear with me on a couple of things. I have a progressively worsening cataract in my left eye that is impairing my vision and I have another unknown medical condition that I don´t want to discuss via email. There is no free health care here for people who don´t have official status and that may take as long as year for me. As you all know, I am almost out of money but we all will make it. I´m quite sure of that now that I have some clarity.
Please do whatever is necessary to protect my personal library, my research files, whatever remains of my photographs and the Ruppert Family Trust.
I will await your feedback and suggestions from anyone in the top addressee line.
Email to Mike 10-18-2006:
ok your nobility is scaring me a little. also the fucking unknown medical condition you don't want to discuss in email. before i make an asshole of myself commenting on what the vz gvt might want, i need more info. but it looks as though you're considering returning to the u.s. permanently, with the proviso you not write anymore???
... we need to talk, in a RELAXED way. what do those calls cost? is that the problem? or that you don't want to be trackable? i am so fucking clueless. i don't need answers to the logistical stuff but your email, well thought out as it is, has an 'in sound mind' quality that makes me think you might be in danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water. [From personal experience years before, I'd concluded that suicidal ideation could result from the wish to extinguish one part of oneself that was causing distress. But not knowing how to do that, one contemplated doing away with the whole.]
got to go see a [young] woman in a wheelchair and oxygen mask who's one month away from getting evicted. [This was a patient with a crippling case of chemical sensitivity who'd been in a film by Alison Johnson in which I also spoke, regarding the enviro-disaster of 9/11.] talk to u, email or otherwise, soon.
Email from Mike: 10-18-2006
Medical problem is cloudy urine coupled with chronic fatigue.
I´m not sure I want to return to the US permanently. What contacts do we have in New Zealand?
Will try to call u later.
The Venezuelan thing is just for me to be Mike Ruppert. To lecture, give speeches, write, become public for the revolution. That´s both dangerous and exhausting when battling inherent Vz suspicious natures and the language barrier. I would be a sitting duck here for covert ops.
Email to Mike: 10-18-2006
...the [young] woman i just got back from seeing has been diagnosed with, among other things, 'hydrocarbon poisoning.'
your email disposing of ftw's assets must have taken a lot out of you. it had the ring of those post-burglary 'i'm throwing in the towel' articles...
Email from Mike to friends: 10-19-2006
Apparently, the FTW stalwarts are refusing to let me retire and pull the plug. I am in control of nothing it seems. If you want to know what´s happening with me and FTW, wait five minutes.
Mike's Story, Part 16: Honeypot
by Jenna Orkin
Meanwhile up north, FTW was wandering in the wilderness.
Mike's account of the unraveling of the company may be found in By the Light of a Burning Bridge. A key figure is an unnamed "female employee." In the article, he presents a scenario in which he played along with her sexual provocations in order to make her "show her hand." We won't stoop to any glib jokes about what else he might have wanted her to show. He claimed to have been secretly taping her all the while. Later, he would say that the tape was destroyed in the burglary.
When he got to New York and talked about the case, he told me that there had, in fact, been no tape. I don't know if he also revealed this to other people. If the case was still on his mind, he might have, because he needed, as we all do, to be free, natural and honest with the people close to him.
The "missing tape" meme, he believed, would help him win the lawsuit for sexual harassment which the female employee brought against him. Why this case meant so much is a matter for conjecture which is an otiose waste of time. For the case was marred from the get-go by her own "unclean hands" as legal lingo has it. She was no pure, young thing who was traumatized by Mike's antics, however "inappropriate" for an office setting. If this was not, technically, an example of entrapment - since Mike was so easily drawn in - it certainly was entrapment in some more ideal forum in a more just world.
She did show him porn sites, as he was quick to tell me in his phone-call afterwards. He responded with the enthusiasm of the protagonist in The Devil and Daniel Webster. He did appear in the doorway of her office in his underwear. When he showed me and his lawyer, Ray Kohlman, his stance - in profile - and added, "No erection," we decided it would be best to leave out that detail, if possible.
All this was more recklessness, to the point of self-destructiveness, on his part, given the context of a boss/employee relationship. But the female employee, whether honeypot or not, gave him good reason to believe she wouldn't mind.
In my experience, Mike respected lack of interest on the part of a woman. (Of course, I wasn't twenty-five.) Once or twice when I was at the computer and he was getting undressed for a shower, he appeared in the doorway naked, with his fists clenched at his sides like a wrestler striking a tough pose. This was during a period when he was recovering from his depression. Probably he'd been looking at himself in the mirror and thinking, "Not bad!" His naked posturing wasn't an invitation; psychologically at least, it revealed nothing beyond the wish to be admired.
I believe that after Mike got his inheritance from his father, approximately $200,000, and paid the FTW staff and everyone else whom he or FTW owed, (as well as sending $1000 to an activist in need, remarking, "It felt so good to do that,") he spent $35,000 fighting the sexual harassment lawsuit. It was a matter of honor which is odd, because the sort of behavior he'd been accused of was the sort he continued to engage in without guilt, since it was not uncommon for men of his generation and upbringing. Though there's no question that he went too far in his response to the female employee's overtures, it's absurd to think his honor is affected by this case; it's a farce.
This account will probably offend some people who are of the, "Don't speak ill of the dead, and particularly, of Mike," school of thought. While it's true that historians bear a special burden because history is written by the winners, or at least, the survivors, in Mike's case, it's especially important to tell the whole truth, to the extent that one knows it.
First of all, if we don't do it, the enemy will. To relay this story in context, as is the intent here, can serve as an inoculation against the sort of outlandish accusations which have been leveled against Mike in the past.
This is a flesh and blood, warts-and-all portrait written in the belief that in the end, Mike and his transcendent work and critically important ideas will prevail.
He lost the lawsuit and everyone finally forgot about it.
Comment by Wesley T. Miller:
I concur completely with Jenna's take on the entire sexual harassment incident. She nailed it as well as anyone could.
Mike lied to me about the tape, he kept up that story to me. It didn't matter for the appeal, as it wasn't an issue.
We would have won a Pyrrhic victory had we gone all the way - the Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries arbitrarily increased the amount of damages by $50,000, and that part of the judgment would have been knocked down in final appeal beyond any doubt. But that was step two of the process. Step one died because the Oregon State Supreme Court refused to let in evidence of bias that was manifested after the administrative judgment was made (they refused to grant "extraordinary relief"), and there was no possible way to overturn the original judgment by the Administrative Law Judge at that point, only to reduce the damages. As Mike was not personally liable for any of those damages, only the former FTW corporation, he let the appeal go at that point, and we moved on to form CollapseNet.com in the months that followed.
Mike's Story, Part 15:This Isn't Working
by Jenna Orkin
b4 we get to mike's story, I want to tell you something weird. I just finished bill bonner's book, 'dice have no memory.' before putting it on the shelf, I glanced at the back cover. there's a rave from someone at motley fool followed by a longer quote from the financial times. then comes the last quote:
"For better or for worse, my entire education in economics comes via bill bonner." jenna o. world news desk, collapsenet.com; world trade center environmental organization.
I vaguely remember years ago when dailyreckoning.com sent out a request for quotes. but since then (or around the same time; could even have been before) I"VE BEEN BLACKLISTED. I complimented bonner's son when he wrote something about his grandmother. he must have googled me because I haven't been able to sign up for their daily newsletter since then.
As so often happens with people who live dramatically as Mike did, his initial enthusiasm for the Cuban-style medical system of Venezuela quickly gave way to a realization of its limitations:
Email from Mike, undated:
Major difficulties with doctors today. No urologist available until january.
we´ll talk tonight. It feels like all is closing in.
Mike's email from 10-30-2006:
Aside from other symptoms I have paresthesia or tingling which is not good. [A friend in the US] hit some nails for me.
We´re closing in on a diagnosis of adult onset diabetes but there are some other complications that [his friend in the US] called a cascading effect. I went back to the Cuban clinic at 10 AM. Just got home before 3 PM after nothing but waiting and travelling. Was sent to another clinic some distance and told to make an appointment with a urologist. After waiting till 2 I was told no urologist until January.
I´ll go back to the Cuban doctor tomorrow and ask for help on blood sugar and pressure. The language difficulties are very tough as i don´t speak enough Spanish yet to be able to answer med history or symptom questions or to understand most directions. X, my friend here in Vz has been going with me but today i cut off going back to urologist or pursuing that because it´s just eating up too many lives and I sure feel like I´ve done enough of that lately.
The diabetic symptoms (blood sugar crashes, low bp), are known causals of major mood swings and they were appearing even b4 I left Ashland.
I will be a non-smoker by the end of the week. Tapering off at direction of Cuban doc. Eliminating all refined sugar and most fruit. Going heavy veg. Anybody who knows me will understand that I must be sick to be doing that. Still very weak.
One of the new contacts here has really opened some doors. People at ministries of culture and education are talking about translating and publishing Rubicon through the Vz gov´t . The gov´t would give me 10%. New Society would be free to sue Chavez if they wanted. But this is Vz and things move slow.
The package from Ken arrived today and i might be able to meet the Minsiter of Culture as soon as this weekend.
As for FTW, I just wish they could get the subscriber section fixed again. I realize how difficult it is for all.
Am working on my Gauntlet story. Just passed 3,000 words but can´t push too hard. This one has to be right.
Email from Mike undated: I am very sick. We don´t yet know the full causes. My blood pressure suddenly drops very low along with my blood sugar. My urine is extremely cloudy and smelly with calcium. Kidney stones have formed. My urinary tract is calcified and the prostate is enlarged and calcified. I have nearly collapsed several times and am very weak. Onset of adult diabetes is likely but there are other things we can´t explain. Poisoning has not been ruled out.
[I sent Mike some google links concerning these symptoms and possible diagnoses.]
Email from Mike 10-30-2006:
I have all of these symptoms. I did not know the information about the seizures but that meshes perfectly. Have had four since January.
The Cuban doctor is not first rate, except in attitude. It´s going to make people think she´s prescribing meds. etc. when she is not. That´s going to make people think she has given me dietary instructions when she has not. I am not getting any care at all right now. She´s a Gen Practitioner at an overcrowded clinic full of poor people. I am not getting first-rate care. I got basic tests and first aid, that´s it. [His friend in the US] has been a better doctor thus far. The Cuban doc hasn´t even mentioned diabetes when we all have seen that it´s obvious even if it doesn´t explain everything.
I am very weak.
Mike's Story, Part 14: Spinning Out of Control
by Jenna Orkin
After leaving the US in rage, sealing the deal by writing his Burning Bridge article, Mike was forced to face the possibility that he'd made a mistake. Owning up to mistakes was not new to him. AA had taught him that to do so was honorable so he apologized more frequently and fully than most people, whether for an editorial inaccuracy or an explosion of temper.
But Venezuela was different. He couldn't just slink back home with his tail between his legs, as anyone else might who was doing so out of public view. He needed a "valid" reason that his followers would accept. (Actually, it was none of their business and being aware of that, they would have accepted anything. It was his enemies who needed to be neutralized. The prospect of their gleeful taunts in cyberspace was unacceptable.)
One of his enormous gifts which should not be underestimated, much less belittled, was for PR. Presidential candidate Ross Perot knew what he was doing when he hired Mike to manage his press campaign in LA. Mike had an innate sense of how to spin a story; not lie, but simply present it as vividly as possible so the audience would be captivated. This was the charisma factor and it's a large part of how he got as far as he did. It wasn't just what he was saying (others may have borne the same message) but how he was saying it: Cutting to the heart of the issue; encompassing the length of world history and the breadth of world geography to reveal the contours of the big picture. This is a vital ability if the average person is to understand your message. A little P.T. Barnum helps the medicine go down.
So when he complained of illness in Venezuela, I sensed this was to be the platform of his Mike-Ruppert-Returns campaign. But it wouldn't be simple. For Mike was like one of those people who don't allow themselves a vacation unless they're truly incapacitated. Somehow they get into real accidents or have genuine breakdowns which allow them some respite. (A friend of a friend said in wonderment, when she received a diagnosis of cancer, "I did this so I wouldn't have to move to Baltimore.")
Thus, as usual, Mike was playing with fire - his health - driving himself to death’s door so he could leave Venezuela honorably.
Email to Mike undated: ...your foremost moral decision is to survive. aristotle said the prerequisite to the good life is just life period ... the excellent is the enemy of the good... on airplanes they tell mothers to put the oxygen mask over your own mouth before you put one over your baby's. if your best (or even equal) shot at survival were the u.s., (i wish) and if someone made fun of you for it, fuck em. HAPPINESS PROMOTES LONG LIFE.
Email to Mike undated: there's a bi-polar aspect to recent events, from chavez' potential new best friend to writer-in-self-imposed-strait-jacket-living-out-his-retirement-in-obscurity, a living-on-the-edge, 'the world loves me; it loves me not' aspect that's got to be wearing on the nerves. do you pace yourself? maybe that's what you're starting to do but i'm skeptical. it sounds more like balancing being on top of the world with being in the pits.... must it be the gold ring or nothing?
But there was still another complication: Evidence from his test results that he was being poisoned.
[Note that the typos in the following emails are partly a result of his growing cataract.)
10-25-2006 Thanks to a referral from an well respected activist who served with Allende I got to a Cuban clinic today. What an amazing difference from US medicine. I was treated like a... human being. All tests done in one day but more are needed. I will be filming a testimonial for Cuban film makers tomorrow... gladly. My friend Carlos and xxxx traded off babysitting for me all day. The kindness of the Cubans was just amazing. ¨You´re a human being? You´re sick?... Let us help. Preliminary results: Kindney stones in both kidneys. Not ready to pass yet.Heavy calcification of an enlarged prostate gland.Low blood pressure and hypoglycemia. (That´s right). I almost collapsed walking back from the clinic to the doc´s office. Heavy blood toxicity from known and unknown sources. There´s a lot of toxic backup from the calcification that may have affected a lot of things throughout my body.Elavated cholesterol and triglicerides. I will be referred to a urologist tomorrow for discussion about how to treat the stones. (Please God, I have already had third degree burns and peritonitis. Can I miss passing kidney stones?) We still have to do a chest X Ray. All treatment and prescriptions will be free of charge and an appointment for the worsening cataract. This is medcicine as it should have always been. I start a massive cleansing and detox program with prescriptions and natural remedies. No cost. I may be almost extinct in the US but I guess I am about to be famous in Cuba. Go figure. The doc said, you have not been well for a while. We can see this. Am saving all the paerwork for the day whenI write a story about it. Hopefully on FTW...
10-27-2006 I am writing these detailed updates because I want an historical record, just in case.
Today didn´t go that well. Carlos took me to Bolivarian Univeristy for a chest x-ray. On the supercrowded morning subway my camera was stolen out of my backpack. I´ll live.
After a not too long walk, maybe 3/4 mile to the clinic I nearly collapsed again. Walked thru the doors sweating like a stuck pig and it wasn´t that hot. The docs gave me 2 liters of dextrose IV for very low blood pressure (90/65) and put me on oxygen. They wouldn´t let me move for two hours. That threw everything else off. The chest X'-Ray showed some damage from smoking (I have had little else to do here) and I have agreed to taper off and quit. the Cuban doc says not to go cold turkey.
Carlos Ruiz, my roomi and great angel is photographing my visits to clinics and some of the great Cuban medicos.
There´s also something else wrong with my blood and they want more tests on Monday. There´s some kind of chemical thing they cannot identify. Only Ray Kohlman will remember the infamous ¨chemical toxicity of unknown etiology¨ from the Al Carone case. Too soon to tell. -- Search for that phrase onthe web site if interested. [A well-informed friend] has confirmed my burundanga experience and given me some much needed grounding there.
I have a writing assignment for a prestigious local magazine.
I will spend the weekend working on that, several things for FTW and resting.
Mike's autobiography states: "I was poisoned twice. Once with a native drug called burundanga, the root drug of scopolamine and also – according to an intelligence source – with a form of methyl mercury, which was causing all of my glandular and lymph systems to shut down."
Mike's Story part 13: Amateur Shrink Gone Wild
If cities had the equivalent of national pastimes, New York's would be psychotherapy. While no match for Woody Allen, I've put in my share of time in therapists' offices and been grateful for what one or two of them had to offer; (the others ranged from indifferent to dishonest to insane themselves.) A well-known side-effect of such therapy is an eagerness to put one's newly acquired knowledge to use with, or on, friends, acquaintances and anyone else who asks.
Mike was fertile ground for this amateur "shrinkage," as a friend who's an actual Clinical Psychologist pronounces it, with an ironic French accent. He was both beset by problems and unfamiliar with the M.O. of psychotherapy which meant he did not consider the observations offered to be cliches. In addition, his loneliness rendered him more open to any lifeline that presented itself.
With this in mind, I responded lightly to his burundanga confession:
"2 hail Maries. if you don't know the words, you're surrounded by people who do, albeit in Spanish."
And when he wrote about watching with more than passing interest the TV program in which Socrates was forced to drink hemlock because he threw people's bullshit in their faces:
would you stop the fuck please thinking about fucking hemlock for fux sake? the reason you got into that mess is that you're leading a life of extremes; like a kid who was overly disciplined, reaches adolescence and goes fukkin berserk. you've been leading an overly disciplined daily life, beyond the monastic. at least monks have other monks to commune with. i'm told even the silent ones are acutely aware of' each other and communicate with looks - like characters in a silent movie, i suppose. [Actually, silent monks find other ways to communicate; it is they who invented the tactile manual sign language which the reknowned Annie Sullivan used to teach blind and deaf Helen Keller to communicate.]
your berserk adolescence was the night with the floozies or whatever they're called these days. (putana?)...
it must seem as though whatever pleasure you seek, you get punished for. there's also a whole self-punishment element to this...
Indeed. If he couldn't go out via a hero's death, next best was la nostalgie de la boue, yearning for the "mud," the urge to debase oneself. And what better way to do that than via women?
I pointed out the link between the two women at the bar who presumably drugged him (a South American doctor says that in order to avoid exposure themselves, women can transmit the drug by wearing patches or adding it to their nail polish) and Lindsay, the ex-employee who had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Mike, which she would later win.
I remembered when Lindsay had first been hired. Mike was excited about this graduate with a Masters' Degree and a 3.9+ average who spent her weekends rock-climbing. She had it all! Within weeks, the twenty-five-year-old was given her own byline and was included in meetings among the most trusted staff members - those dedicated scribes who sometimes stayed at the office after hours.
It was during one such evening that Mike and Lindsay kicked back, sharing personal stories which led to Lindsay's showing Mike a porn site. Mike thought it terrific.
When he relayed this drama on the phone as it unfolded (in large part to show me his enthusiasms lay elsewhere, lest I get any false ideas,) the phrase, "sexual harassment lawsuit" wafted through my mind. But he was in no mood to listen to such scolding so I held my peace. (Mike's and Lindsay's clashing versions of these events, incidentally, have been a matter of public record for a number of years.)
When I brought up Lindsay in the email to Venezuela, he responded:
I understood what you meant when you wondered about my stated attraction for Lindsay. [I had not wondered anything; my memory of his phone-calls from that period remained intact.] It was purely physical, but I think it was also a product of having loved women who abused me [he mentioned two.] I wasn not attracted to her intellectually [Yes he was, but no guy, at least, is going to condemn him for taking this tack] and certainly not emotionally. It was like Dracula´s victims were usually drawn to him. I was a moth fighting a light intent on destroying it (and others) and resisting my own attraction at the same time.
Mike's Story, Part 12: Blogreaders Weigh In
News of Mike's flight to Venezuela had become public in August, with Carolyn Baker's description of the days leading up to his departure. That, along with Michael Kane's account of the same period, makes interesting reading in light of Mike's final exit on April 13 of this year.
Since the blog had been assuming a greater role as FTW contracted, finally freezing into an archive site, a deluge of comments rushed in.
Some bore the telltale marks of disinformation. Just as when the computers were smashed, the blog was besieged with messages that attempted to deflect the conversation away from FTW and towards the purported harassment of another "activist" whom FTW followers don't even mention by name, when Mike left the country, "news" flooded in about a journalist from a Neo-Nazi website who'd supposedly also, coincidentally at the same time, had to go into hiding.
I allowed some of this spam through: first, because the blog at that time aspired to be a forum for a broad spectrum of opinions: second, because I'd posted a prominent disclaimer in anticipation of such an onslaught, to the effect that publication of comments should not be construed as endorsement etc; finally, to show we weren't afraid of them. These days, I'd be more Draconian. But in any case, the chaff was outweighed by expressions of genuine dismay:
All I can say is Wow! I am sorry it had to happen the way it happen, but I am very happy for you to be moving on and having the intestinal fortitude to do what needed to be done... Give em Hell... but find some peace. Howlin_Dog.
...I have to admit, that I am bummed... FreeAcre
A salute from a follower with the eye-catching handle, "Allbetsroff."
My husband and I have been following you and FTW for many years........... In our 2 hour commute home from work we would always read a printout from FTW and discuss the various issues presented.I think it's safe to say we love you... Mary Brown
c....... I couldn't help but cry when I read your latest messages... I had this odd feeling... not even knowing all that FTW had been through, somehow I just knew [Oregon] was temporary. I guess it's all temporary. Anyway now I'm just bawling!... Mrs. P
My only regret is... that I wasn't in your large suitcase. casecore
To alleviate his growing despondency, I forwarded the messages to Mike who was heartened, writing, "It´s kind of like the final scene in Miracle on 34th when the mail bags come in." His isolation and Herculean efforts were finally bearing the fruit of appreciation.
He responded via the blog:
...I wish I could tell you all more about what my life is like here at the moment but I just can´t for reasons that maybe someday I´ll be able to ´splain to you. These are terrible times for the planet and I fear they are going to get worse. Right now I am in something of an unavoidable limbo that seems to have no end. But it will, I´m sure. I mean, who the Hell am I to say, I´m 55 and have been through enough. I don´t need no more freaking evolutions. As always, my arms are too short to box with God."
The word '' 'splain" was an allusion to Ricky Rodriguez in the I Love Lucy show, the pre-eminent sitcom of the 1950's. Mike had used the term at least once before, in his article, "Lucy, You Gotta Lotta 'Splainin' To Do," essential reading for anyone interested in the red flags known to the US government in the months leading up to September 11, concerning an attack on the World Trade Center.
The outpouring of support allowed him to admit a desire he'd been suppressing, perhaps in the belief that it would jinx his chances of achieving asylum status: He wanted to come home.
Mike's Story, Part 11: Apprentice Devils
The reason Mike felt impelled to confess the burundanga episode had to do with an event that had taken place back home.
FTW subscribers used to get news updates on a daily basis, if memory serves. One afternoon we opened the email to find a long account, supposedly from Mike, describing his life in Caracas as one of debauchery - drinking, whoring and blowing money which had been raised from those same subscribers after the computers were smashed and FTW's fate hung in the balance. (This chronology, too, is drawn from memory and may be inaccurate in some details. But it is widely known that subscribers or, in later years, Facebook friends, donated funds when Mike or the site was in trouble. Given the nature of the work, these financial difficulties were inevitable rather than the result of any incompetence. See thisemailwritten by Mike though it's stored ona site that is hostile to him, concerning the FBI's seizure of his bank account.)
The bizarre email, which appeared to have been sent from the usual FTW address, was skillfully written in Mike's style. However, veteran subscribers recognized it as a hoax. Newcomers were more inclined to find it alarming, as the sender intended. Beyond that, no one knew what to make of it. FTW and the blog were besieged with inquiries, all variations on the theme of, "WTF?"
Mike knew that the credit card expenses he'd run up the night of his burundanga exposure, as well as the ATM withdrawals, would eventually have made their way to FTW headquarters. He also knew he'd offended some employees, even physically pushing one of them. He surmised that someone was getting back at him by playing a humiliating joke, showing him who was actually in charge.
His coming-clean email (the real one) written in AA tradition to his closest circle was in effort to keep FTW from falling apart. He'd left it in the hands of capable people but you can't hand over a company after a two week transition, no matter how thorough, and expect it to continue running as it did when you were overseeing it. The staff you've left it to don't have the same investment. They're doing a job; the company is not their baby.
Mike had to tell the whole story in order to prove that while his foray into the underworld of burundanga was not his finest moment, it was also far from the sleaze that the fake email was smearing him with. His explanation was offered as a figurative bowed head, in order to hold onto those few friends he still trusted and bring the ones he'd angered back into the fold.
(After FTW closed up shop for good as an active site - though the archives remain online - other high jinx took place which undoubtedly originated with weightier enemies than the bogus email: For a while, clicking on certain links led not to FTW articles but to WING-TV,
This was the website of Victor Thorn, akaScott Makufka. One of Mike's nemeses during the heyday of FTW, Thorn is the author of such masterworks as JFK & UFO, Hillary (And Bill:) The Sex Volume and The Holocaust Hoax Exposed.
Mike's suspicion that Victor Thorn had been tasked by the government with being a thorn in Mike's side may have proven justified. As soon as FTW closed for good, so did WING-TV. Their last show airedin November, 2006.)
Mike's Story, Part 10: Burundanga
Mike had burned his bridges in haste; now he was repenting in sorrow. With the exception of phone-calls to FTW colleagues, he was reduced to approximately one conversation a week in English. To save money and avoid explaining his status as asylum-seeker to inquiring strangers, he cooked his meals on an electric burner in his hotel room. At night, the car horns honked incessantly.
Not only that, but he'd learned that Chavez had made statements implying he wasn't sure that an actual plane had hit the Pentagon.
Mike had tried to warn the government against adopting this widely-touted but easily refuted conspiracy theory (as opposed to conspiracy fact.) Over 130 eye-witnesses had confirmed that what they saw was a plane rather than a missile. To focus on a debatable theory is to draw the attention away from actual smoking guns.
He'd had it; he was throwing in the towel. One night, with a "Fuck it," attitude he went out for a drink.
And then things started going sideways.
The following excerpt is from a confidential email Mike wrote on 9-26-2006 to a few colleagues:
“ I could not sit alone in the room one more night with Spanish TV.
I went to a night club and had a few drinks. I was soon approached by two women. What happened after that is both a blur and a mystery. There’s no doubt I got intoxicated but I suspect that something was put in my drink. At about 6 AM the next morning I came to in my hotel room. All of my pocket cash was gone and there were a number of credit card receipts strewn around. I have no idea how much was run on the credit cards that night.
Remember that current tensions between Venezuela and the US are very high. I am obviously a “gringo” in a city where fleecing gringos is something of a pastime. Because of the intense pain and other symptoms I believe that something was put in my drink. Maybe a “roofie”. They are here too I’m told.
I don’t know if I got laid or not. For all that I certainly hope so.
There are those in Ashland who know (as do all of the pre-Ashland FTW staff) that I spent 21 years in AA and resumed normal drinking in March of 2004. The uninformed backyard gossip, the ignorant, and those who achieve superiority by taking other people’s inventory, will quickly assert that I am just an alcoholic who went out, went into a blackout and is now trying to make excuses.
But Ken, Carolyn, Mike, Stan and Jamey have all seen me drink moderately, without cravings or any aberrant behavior for more than two years. There are people who leave AA and do resume normal alcoholic consumption.
However, it is largely because of what I learned in AA that I am writing this 10th Step. I have never stopped practicing AA’s steps or the deep spiritual program I acquired through 21 years of intense work.”
We later learned that Mike's symptoms were consistent with the ingestion of burundanga, "an extract of the brugmansia plant containing high levels of the psychoactive chemical scopolamine." While not impairing some cognitive functions, (Mike retained a dim memory of going to the ATM and withdrawing money, then doing it again until his account was depleted,) the drug does seem to remove "free will," whatever that philosophical enigma might be.
The lapse was to have what the British call "knock on" or ripple effects.
Mike's Story, Part 9: Limbo
Despite his growing recognition of what he'd lost by burning his bridges, Mike's spirits must have risen when a reporter from an influential US newspaper flew down with the idea of doing a feature on him. But emotionally, the conversation itself seems to have been a precursor of the movie, Collapse:
" [S]even hours with the [newspaper] reporter yesterday. I´m writing a seperate [sic] email which you´ll get. It was in detail and he was serious. [Mike had been burned by mainstream features before, as a colleague was reminding him] but it went back through all the most painful parts of my life. At the end it was like someone had stuck a vacuum cleaner in my ear and all the tastes and smells got tasted and smelled all over again.
Not only that, but he'd gleaned that some of his colleagues weren't handling the press the way he would have liked.
"Could people please stop saying, 'Mike can be a real asshole but...?'" he pleaded. "Because otherwise, that'll be the lead of the story."
On the political asylum front, too, his needs were meeting with obstacles followed by false hopes and setbacks. And then there was the barren solitude of his living arrangement. Advised to keep a low profile while his case was pending, (hard to do when, with his Germanic coloring, he stood out in a Venezuelan crowd) he remained virtually confined to his hotel room.
9-24-2006 ...Life is very unhappy. Three days ago two drug dealers staying at the same hotel I am were gunned down on the street a block away. I´m in an upscale neighborhood where stuff like this never happens.Funny thing is, I pìcked them out for drug dealers the moment I laid eyes on them three days before that. I don´t have time to elaborate but I am getting indications that [an American pundit] may be actually trying to prevent me from getting asylum. That´s not for publication.
In a phonecall, he named two other men (activists I'd met and had never taken seriously) who, he said, should be investigated if anything dire happened to him in Venezuela.
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.
He signed off with a forlorn, perfunctory, “Love you.”
An email of 9-4-2006 reinforces this sense of alienation on both the cosmic and comic levels:
"This seemingly endless limbo vis a vis the gov´t is a real drag and the tiny beds in my little fleabag suck big time."
La Hojilla, a popular TV show that was Chavez' favorite, invited Mike on but when the appointed day arrived, the show was postponed.
The next day on which he was scheduled to appear, he was pre-empted by a baseball star. Or so he was told. Two friends who watched the show said the baseball star didn't appear either.
Finally, he reached the conclusion he'd never get in to see anyone who could arrange for asylum. "I'm a bargaining chip," he sighed. At the end of the day, Mike was a gringo from a CIA family whom Chavez would have had a hard time justifying to his people, regardless of Mike's street cred.
Mike's Story, Part 8: Orinoco
As mentioned above, before Mike left the US, he disbursed his worldly affects among his loved ones, his FTW (Fromthewilderness) colleagues who were the closest thing he had to family, with the stipulation they be returned to him should he ever come home again; and that for the most part, they were.
The exception was me. My gift, which Mike never asked me to return, was, to all appearances, a small envelope of the size to hold a key, with the imprinted legend, "Thank you - It has been a pleasure serving you;" then, in Mike's scrawl, "For Jenna. Two diamonds." I smiled uncertainly when the gift arrived in the mail, thinking it was an obscure joke. But with this envelope was another one from Carolyn marked, "Please read first."
Carolyn explained that the two diamonds enclosed, which, having no idea of their worth, she'd insured for $1000, were from Mike's father's wedding ring.
It was a while before it occurred to me to look at the diamonds but I knew what they meant: Not real love; he didn't know me well enough for that. But when he fled the US, he needed to feel he was leaving behind someone to whom he was truly close. I fit that role at that moment. The gift was an expression of what might have been.
Like everything else he'd ever known, I had receded into his past while he set about to remake himself as a hero of the Bolivarian Revolution.
If anyone could pull that off, it would be Mike. But one day, I sensed, his past would catch up with him.
Email to Mike:
"what you leave behind will not sink in 'til you've established new roots. a joke will occur to you which no one around you will appreciate. or you'll see a favorite American movie dubbed into Spanish and you will be overcome. by the waters of the Orinoco, you will sit down and weep as you remember us.
'but you are home. it is we who are homesick."
That moment by the waters of the Orinoco came sooner than I had anticipated. During the radio program with Eva Golinger who acted as both interviewer and translator for the show's two hour duration, Mike finally broke down in tears when a call-in came from his Portland buddy, reknowned blues singer and bass player, Lisa Mann.
Email from Mike: 9 - 10 - 2006
I couldn´t functionfor hours after that interview... I had a serious crush on [Lisa]for a while and she is very, very special. She didn´t even know that [[his fiancée] and I didn´t get married or why.
Months later, at my apartment in New York, we were talking about the Venezuela episode.
"Why didn't somebody stop me?" Mike asked, in wonder.
First of all, because almost nobody knew. But of those who did, there was at least one effort to take Mike through what such a move might mean, step by step.
"Carolyn tried to slow you down but you brushed her off," I said. "You weren't in the mood to listen to anybody."
"Yeah," he agreed. "I knew that as soon as I asked the question."
Mike's Story, Part 7: South of the Border
"Are you sitting down?"
Mike's Story, Part 6: Jackboots
I didn't let Mike smoke in the apartment when I was home so he would go downstairs in front of the building and talk to the doorman or tenants walking their dogs. But when it was too cold for that (he was a California kid after all,) he simply slipped into the stairwell.
"That's one of the weird things about the psyche. We repeat old behavior because it's comfortable and fulfills predictions; we're not taken by surprise. It may suck but it's a case of, 'The devil you know is better than the one you don't. Also, we may want to get it right this time.'"
I'm sure this was one reason Mike never stayed in one place very long: After leaving his home of Los Angeles, he moved to Ashland followed by Venezuela, Brooklyn, Los Angeles again, Sebastopol, Colorado, (where he must have been thrilled to return,) Calistoga.
Mike's Story, Part 5: Jobs
"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.
Mike's Story Part 4; Friends
By Jenna Orkin
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!"
Mike's Story Part 3: Dad
By Jenna Orkin
"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."
Mike's Story - Part 2
by Jenna Orkin
April 20, 2014
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 analyst that I am.
"Loved. Indulged. Worthy."
"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.
Mike's last fb 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.
(JO adds: Lakota for, "We are all related" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitakuye_Oyasin)
by Jenna Orkin
April 18, 2014
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, http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=38031&start=30 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...