SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday November 02, 2019 - 10:59:00 AM

Bad Ad Slogans

Honda Is Family

Love: It's What Makes a Subaru a Subaru

I'm Lovin' It (McDonalds)

Open Happiness (Coca-Cola)

Betcha Can't Eat Just One (Lay's Potato Chips)

Reach Out and Touch Someone (AT&T and Harvey Weinstein)

What's in Your Wallet? (Capital One and the guy threatening you with a pistol)

The Heartbeat of America (Chevrolet. What's that knocking sound?)

It Works Every Time (Colt 45 Malt Liquour. Time for another 45-caliber round?)

Hand Built by Robots (Fiat Strada. Despite the slogan, it's not self-driving)

Is It In You? (Gatorade. BYW: Where's the nearest WC?)

We Bring Good Things to Life (General Electric, maker of missiles, atomic bombs, and nuclear reactors)

The Choice of a New Generation (Pepsi says so)

Obey your Thirst (Sprite doesn't give you a choice)

It Is. Are You? (The Independent. They was?)

Fly the Friendly Skies (United Airlines, home of the Boeing 737)

Be All that You Can Be (US Army, where you can be a vet with PTSD)

Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should (Sounds like ITG Brands wants you to chew your smokes)

Femination: My Country 'Tis of She 

The October/November edition of Common Ground magazine is celebrating the annual appearance of its "Women Issue." As befits a magazine devoted to the spiritual and healing aspects of communication, the issue features an interview with Marianne Williamson, who is hailed as "the first (out of the closet) yogi to run for US president." 

The issue also spotlights a timely declaration, The Womanifesto: A Declaration of Human Rights, that reads, in part: 

"I declare my freedom from being commodified: enslaved, forced into military service for the benefit of war profiteers, criminalized for poverty, criminalized for addiction or mental condition, sexually or medically exploited, or unfairly compensated for my work." 

There is also an eight-page spread celebrating 18 femme-fortifying quotes from some of the world's notable women. Here's a short sample: 

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues" — Maya Angelou. 

"If you're going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers" — Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" — Katharine Hepburn. 

Bernie Versus Bezos: A Tax on Billionaires 

Bernie Sanders wants you to count to ten. Why? Because every ten seconds, he explains, Jeff "The Lord of Amazon" Bezos, makes as much money as an average Amazon employee earns in a year. 

Here's a related factoid: According to an August 2019 study by the Economic Policy Institute: "CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978 [while] typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time." 

Bernie's got a memorable tagline to go with his petition calling for a wealth tax on the top 0.1 percent of Americans—"Billionaires Should Not Exist." The tax would net $4 trillion over then next ten years. Like Elizabeth Warren's proposed wealth tax (2 cents for every dollar over $50 million), Bern's plan would also spare many mere millionaires. Anyone squeaking by on less than $32 million wouldn't see their taxes rise. 

If the Sanders plan were in force, here's how much moolah America's Molochs of Mammon would be repatriating to the US Treasury in 2020: Jeff Bezos ($14.8 billion), Charles Koch ($3.2 billion), Sheldon Adelson ($2.6 billion), Rupert Murdoch ($1.28 billion). 

Oh, for the days before Ronald Reagan went on his tax-axing, budget-busting binge, slashing the tax level for the wealthiest Americans from 70 percent, to 50 percent, and finally to 28 percent. 

Personally, I long for the days when the tax-rate for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans was 90 percent! That, of course, was during the presidency of a notorious socialist extremist named Dwight David Eisenhower. I like the Ike Hike so much, I even sent Bernie a design for a campaign button/T-shirt. It read: "I Like the Ike Hike: 90% for the 1%." 

Trump's Golf Score: An A-Hole-in-One  

Brave New Films (BNF) is properly outraged by the discovery that military and government officials (including the vice president) have gone out of their way to book rooms at Trump-owned properties—all on the taxpayer's dime. According to Politico, House committees are investigating claims that political operatives — including at least one foreign government — “tried to ingratiate themselves to President Donald Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them." 

And then there's Trump himself. Each time The Donald tees off at one of his fancy golf retreats, it costs taxpayers millions. According to BNF, the money wasted on Trump’s 30-plus #LiningHisPockets golf trips, could have provided housing for1,771 families for a year or covered a year’s salary for 2,050 public school teachers. BNF was so ticked off by Trump's tacky-trippy tactics that they did what they do best: They made this movie. 


How the Internet of Things Could Make Your Skin Crawl 

While the controversy over the potential roll-out of the "5G Revolution" continues to simmer, a recent article by John P. Thomas in Health Impact News may bring the debate to a boil. 

The public has been schooled to believe that powerful, wireless electromagnetic waves washing over our neighborhoods from cell antennas installed on posts, pillars, bus-stops and church steeples will accelerate the arrival of The Internet of Things. And cajoled into accepting that the risk of migraines and tumors is a small price to pay to enable "smart homes" to track our habits while we attain that blissful state known as "interconnectivity." Imagine a world in which your SmartFridge will tell you when you need to buy carrots. Your SmartPorch will have a DoorCam to record all the comings and goings of your neighbors. And your newborns will be equipped with SmartDiapers containing embedded microchips that can send an electronic message when its time for a change. 

This may sound dystopian but there are even darker fears surrounding this powerful new tech. In addition to advancing the goals of Surveillance Capitalism, these invisible rays can also be used to suppress dissent. 

In his long investigative piece, Thomas explains "How 5G and Smart Meter Technology Could Be Used as Weapons." 

The lead sentence spells it out: "Promoted as beneficial technology for electric consumers and marketed to satisfy the public’s never-ending demand for faster internet communication, the combination of the new 5G microwave technology and smart meters might just become an all-in-one weapons and surveillance system." 

Existing cellular and Wi-Fi networks currently use electromagnetic radiation at microwave frequencies up to 6 gigahertz (GHz). The proposed new 5 G applications will involve much higher frequencies—with ranges from 6 GHz to 100 GHz and beyond—utilizing sub-millimeter and millimeter waves. 

The Pentagon now has a "5G weapon"—euphemistically called an Active Denial System—that works by directing 96GHz-range microwave beams at human targets. The invisible beams heat the moisture in the outer layers of skin to an unbearable 129 degrees Fahrenheit causing an instant, painful baking effect at up to 550 yards. The ADS is also known as the "Pain Ray," "Heat-Ray Gun," and "The Agony Beam Weapon." 

Check out the Pentagon's promotional video showing how its microwave muzzles can be used to protect armed soldiers from "falling prey to an unruly mob." You can tell the targeted individuals are an "unruly mob" because they are marching, chanting, and brandishing signs that read: "World Peace," "Peace Not War," and "Go Home." 


So here's the Orwellian end-game (an outcome that would be a perfect set-up for a mid-summer Hollywood screen-screamer): If climate chaos and economic collapse trigger massive social unrest, the installation of thousands of 5G cell transmitters in every urban and suburban nook-and-cranny could make crowd control as simple as flipping a switch. 

The Opioid Holocaust 

Surrounded by a flurry of media hoopla, Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman was packed off to prison by a judge who determined she deserved jail time. Huffman's crime was spending $15,000 of her own money to help her teenage daughter sneak into a top-flight college. 

Now let's consider a different crime by another American family. 

Instead of spending a small portion of the family's fortune to help a child cheat her way onto campus, this other family made billions of dollars by slowly killing hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans in a dollars-for-deaths deal that involved lying for profit. 

While Hollywood celebrities face jail for spending their own cash to promote their kids, there has been no justice for the head of one of America's true crime families—Raymond R. Sackler, the Opioid Oligarch behind the deadly marketing of the addictive pain-killer, Oxy-Contin. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 700,000 Americans died as a result of opioid overdoses between1999-2017. 

As far back as 2007, the government accused Sackler's Purdue Pharma of lying to doctors about the dangers of Oxy-Contin and bribing doctors to over-prescribed the drug. Sackler and a lot of doctors grew rich as the body count grew. 


(Cartoon: The Mercury-News

In September, the Sackler family was caught using a Swiss bank account to transfer $1 billion in unreported wire-transfers. With around $13 billion in assets, the Sacklers are ranked among the country's 20 richest families. 

On March 18, 2018, Donald Trump issued a threat: "Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer . . . , we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable." Trump vowed to "get tough on the drug dealers who kill thousands of people [and added] . . . that toughness includes the death penalty." 

So who is hounded by the media, who is held accountable for breaking the law, who winds up spending time behind bars? Felicity Huffman, an actress who never caused a single death. 

A Dem Dilemma: How Do You Take Down a Tick? 

The group calling themselves "When Democrats Turn Out," has demonstrated that, when it comes to handing out insults, some Dems can be just as nasty as Big Gopster Don Trump. 

In a recent fund-raising email, WDTO called Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), "a tenacious little tick . . . doing everything he can to cozy up to the White House and suck the blood out of hard-working Americans. He’s burrowed himself deep in America’s skin and is draining it of energy by defending a criminal president and his corruption." 

According to WDTO, Jaime Harrison, Graham’s Democratic opponent, needs campaign donations. He also could use a catchy moniker to make him a worthy opponent of Lindsey the Tick. 

According to Prof. Google, a tick's natural predators include frogs, lizards, Guinea fowl, chickens, wild turkeys, and possums. So the options aren't great. Jaime the Tick-smackin' Lizard? Harrison the Tick-lickin' Turkey? Jaime "Wild Possum" Harrison? 

Rock On, a Half-Century Gone 


Just got word that Blue Moon Posters and Collectibles is releasing a 50-year anniversary assortment of 14 classic rock concert poster art by Berkeley artist Thomas Morris. Many of these 13x19-inch posters were featured in Paul Grushkin's best-selling The Art of Rock

The posters, hand-lettered and offset-printed on archival paper by the artist, were created to publicize concerts from the Bay Area and around the state—San Francisco, Oakland, Pleasant Hill, Modesto, Stockton, Moraga and San Jose. (One of Morris' posters went on to star in TV's Mod Squad, where it appeared permanently displayed on Peggy Lipton's wall.) 

At first, I thought these were new printings but I was surprised to learn they are all original prints from the days of Morris' Berkeley-based JellyRoll Press. After JellyRoll was toasted by a fire, Morris moved his base of operations to Sharpshooters Studio in downtown Berkeley. You can review Morris' complete archive of classic rock art at For more info and a display of posters currently available from Morris' long-guarded collection, check out