Tuesday, August 23, 2016


The Playwright

He wonders this morning as he often does if August Strindberg went for a walk in present day America would it inspire him to write a play. Just a day ago he wrote, “How can you trust your enemies when you don’t know yourself?” Often these thoughts were around him but as often than not he thought about Strindberg taking on a role in a world created by Beckett, wandering a wasteland. Maybe it was a wasteland.

In one version Strindberg had the body of a workman and carried a large toolbox with both hands over a mountain. As he walked he recounted the last days of his life in chronological order. “Two weeks before my death, I took it upon myself to arrange every photograph of myself by throwing them off a cliff into a raging sea. Let the beasts of the sea rest them on a shore somewhere and that is how a biographer will find me.”

In another he is paralyzed in a hovel in India. His eyes look about until they meet mine. This being a dream he looks into the camera. He speaks to me with his thoughts. The voice the dream creates is harsh and old. He flashes a set of teeth that is loosening as the dream goes on. I find myself shaking as he speaks. “In the Ganges you will find the words needed for escaping what brought you here. Wipe your hand over the surface like the froth of a warm drink and it will enable you to see through to the bottom. On the bottom is a set of sketches that when arranged describe every dark dream of infancy. If you can break this autobiographical transformation then any room you decide to sleep in thereafter will not close in, but burn.”

He goes for a walk and finds the weather is stormy but accepting. Strindberg would have said of course your death is accepting. He turns from the end of my street and into a wooden area he knows well. I think of the opening shot of Alexander Dovzhenko’s Earth as he looks out at a familiar landscape that has suddenly changed. Moving through the tall grass he sees a giant orchard ahead. He can smell the apples ahead of me. He begins to smile as he approaches them so close that he can almost touch them. His hands become arthritic and he is unable to pick one. He bends down and tries to take a bite but is unable. He looks down and there are thousands at his feet. All around him the tall grass is sprouting apples. He sees Strindberg himself wipe an apple on his sleeve and take a bite as he begins to bleed from his side.

Chris Mansel

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Sunday, July 24, 2016


Turlock CA


July 24, 2016


Does art mimic life or does life mimic art? The recent manipulations of the Democratic and Republican political machines are a reminder that every election campaign is a chess match. Bishops, knights and pawns fall according to the dictates of the players behind the scenes.

Jack Random gives us a glimpse behind the curtains in his latest novel, Pawns to Players: A Match for the White House. It is a contest that mirrors the current presidential campaign in a multitude of ways. Pitting a former Secretary of State against an outspoken billionaire with no political experience, it follows the dirty deals, the spying, the lying and manipulation that are central to every campaign. Behind it all sits two elite masters at a chessboard.

Would you like a glimpse of how it really works? Would you like to know who really wins, who really loses, what’s really at stake and how the players go about their work? Read Jack Random’s Pawns to Players before election time.

328 PAGES; ISBN-10:

Using a complex system of shadows and operators, Solana Rothschild and William Bates translate a chess match to real-world events to determine who will become the next president: Secretary of State Shelby Duran or flamboyant New York billionaire Daniel J. Wynn.

Available at Amazon.com.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016


[Editor's Note: Too often in America we forget the origin and meaning of May Day. Today, as the dream of real change fades with the demise of the Sanders campaign, we would do well to remember International Labor Day.]

MAY DAY 2016

No Gods, No Masters

By Joseph Cachia

“There is really only one 'non-negotiable' demand. And that is; 'power to the working class'.

Each year, as we join millions across the world to celebrate the victories of workers, our own Freedom Day remains still fresh in our minds.

On May Day, we remember that the workers' flag is not red simply by accident or for artistic reasons. As the traditional Labour song goes, “Our life's blood has dyed its every fold”. Not all those who wave the red flag or claim to speak for the working class actually do so while entertaining that feeling.

Of course, the workers have made some gains in this century of struggle.

We live in a globally integrated capitalist society in its highest stage of imperialism, fueling perpetual militarism and warfare. Consequently, we should be aware of the hijacking of our Socialist persuasions by the opportunistic deviation of the 'pseudo-left' factions, whose tendencies do not even deserve the term 'centrist', as these are simply unattested 'anti-Socialist' parties or groups. The 'pseudo-left' denotes political parties, organisations and theoretical blocs which utilise populist slogans and democratic phrases to promote the socioeconomic interests of privileged and affluent strata of the middle class. In other words, the "left" lap dogs of the capitalists. Not unlike the Greek Syriza Party, our Maltese ex-Malta Labour Party has been hijacked and all Socialist principles jettisoned. It is understood to have been converted into a 'pseudo-left' entity under the presumed caption 'Progressive & Liberal Movement'. How would our dear ex-PM Dom Mintoff be turning in his grave!

And is it really the trade unions who shape the future of work? Both the trade unions and the Labour Party have failed the workers miserably! Instead of giving concrete support and calling upon workers to take action, they did absolutely nothing. Our trade unions have become mouthpieces of partisan politics besides the morality crisis reigning in our Maltese politics.

However, the greatest setback for our workers arrived when Malta was tricked into joining the European Union. The European Union does not represent the unity of the European peoples, but rather the dictatorship of the most powerful economic and financial interests over Europe. In reality, the EU is the main instrument for inciting social divisions, fostering national antagonisms and developing authoritarian forms of rule. Since the financial crash of 2008, Brussels has imposed brutal austerity measures, besides enforcing privatisation decrees on Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and other countries, including Malta. It has condemned millions to unemployment and poverty; destroyed education, health and old-age benefits; and left the young generation without a prospect for their future. We must reject all that EU hypocritical fancy talk which finally is translated in to “I dictate”.

The achievement of our rights as citizens and our rights as workers should indeed be celebrated together. Our history has made them inseparable, as well as our destiny. Together we are stronger!

But today, the working class in its millions is not yet in a revolutionary situation. In fact today, it is the capitalists who are on the offensive and the working class that is in the position of the strategic defensive. In striving for our goals we must dispel the idea that change can come from government alone, while our people wait passively for delivery.

“Arise, ye prisoners of starvation.” May Day is the day of the working class, the class that has borne untold sufferings and has nothing, just nothing to lose but its chains.

“When the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century brought a rapid increase in wealth, the demand of workers for a fair share of the wealth they were creating was conceded only after riots and strikes.”

John Boyd

April 2016
Email: mailto:jmcachia@maltanet.netjmcachia@maltanet.net


Saturday, April 23, 2016


Y. A. N. A. (You Are Not Alone!)

By Joseph Cachia

“You do not have to be convicted or even charged of a crime to be able to demonstrate that you've violated a personal conduct policy, which reflect s poorly not only on yourself, but on all of your teammates.”

Roger Goodell (Commissioner National Football League)

Relax, you smooth criminals !
You Are Not Alone !
(with apologies to Yana and Michael Jackson)

Dedicated to all 'Panama Papers' fraudsters.

It’s not £30,000 in Cameron’s offshore account; it’s at least £2 million!
British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to fend off criticism of an offshore trust maintained in the Bahamas, which was inherited from his father, Ian Cameron, in 2010.

However, according to senior British Conservative Party sources, Cameron had at least £2 million in offshore accounts. The money was paid to Cameron, according to the sources, as part of a deal by JR Central, a subsidiary of Japan Railways, to secure a lucrative contract to lay new rails for HS2, the new high-speed British rail system.
In order to ensure that JR Central received the contract for laying the rails for HS2, the firm spread the largesse of its bribes across the British political spectrum in 2015. In addition to Cameron’s £2 million; £1 million to Sir Jeremy Heywood, Britain’s Cabinet Secretary and senior civil servant; £1 million to Nick Clegg, the former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and Cameron’s deputy prime minister in the ill-fated Tory-Lib Dem coalition that survived until 2015; and £1 million to Ed Miliband, the former leader of the Labour Party.

In addition to the individual pay-offs, it was also reported that JR Central arranged what were described as “bungs” (English slang for “bribes”) to the major political parties. The Conservative Party received £25 million, Labour £10 million, and the Liberal Democrats £10 million. The entire £50 million bribery package was paid through Nomura Bank in Tokyo. (Intrepid Report)

Cameron is facing calls for his resignation as a result of the £30,000 offshore trust in the Bahamas. The real scandal however is that Cameron has siphoned into offshore accounts more than £2 million.
It's no surprise that partners in crime are never lacking – those good friends who get in trouble together or get each other in trouble and laugh about it!

Dear fraudsters, you and your loyal confidants may be able to stick together for some time but definitely not for all the time. Your dominion rests solely on the concealment of your dark dealings and once exposed will bring down the pillars of your empire.

In spite of knowing that corruption hurts everyone and has dire global consequences, trapping millions in to poverty and misery and breeding social, economic and political unrest, back here in Malta giving suspect corrupt politicians a 'standing ovation' beats all reason to understand local politics. Was this a testimonial of the grass-root level of the tentacles of public corruption?

In this regard, the role of honest journalism (if any remains) shoulders the responsibility of keeping the unknowing public informed and continually conscious of the behaviour of its leaders, as otherwise the apathy in the election of their leaders would spell the death knoll of any democracy. Excellent investigative journalism is never out of age! Journalism is just a gun. It's only got one bullet in it, but if you aim right, that's all you need. Aim it right, and you can blow off a pillar of crime. Aim it wrong, and you'll just make a big noise once, and nothing else will happen.
Consequently, because corrupt politicians undermine the public’s confidence in their government, every citizen is victimized by a dishonest member of parliament.

It is true that actually only the crime and the criminal present us the picture of evil, however it's more often the hypocrite that is rotten to the core.

The hardest hitting apprehension is however the realisation that crime and political corruption are always related and relevant. Corruption produces mistrust and mistrust unfortunately translates into apathy, instead of into revolution.

“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals with the blessing of more and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”

April 2016
Email: mailto:jmcachia@maltanet.netjmcachia@maltanet.net
Tel: 99866151


Monday, April 18, 2016



By Jake Berry

[The] opening pages of The Killing Spirit read and sound like an amalgam of Dashiell Hammett and Bob Dylan. The clipped sentences flow like measures of music singing off the page. After the first paragraph the reader feels thrown into a cold rushing stream – the stream of a man’s life and heritage, of history, myth and inevitability.

Dark times will produce a dark narrative and its singer. Jack Random is perfectly suited for those times. Though this does not mean the writing lacks tenderness. In the character of Jerico Whitehorse he has distilled the ages to bring the process full circle. Evan as Jerico is a dreamer of profound insight and reader of those dreams, Random is the teller of the tale, the reader of the auguries now so abundant in the air around us. Ishmael leads us to Ahab and his cursed destiny to destroy the beast that maimed him. Jerico follows the depths of collective memory to meet Tohocua who would be damned in his attempt to repel the European invasions. Tohocua’s hatred is certainly more justified but he is equally fated, even by the elements, to disappear.

The question before us and before Jerico is how to live with this knowledge. Does the key lie at the terminus of the great river and the mysteries of New Orleans – a city that has died and been reborn many times? Only Jack Random can tell us, and he will, in a voice that carries the gift of all great writers – it awakens us to the full presence of what it means to be human.


A Comment on Jack Random’s WASICHU: THE KILLING SPIRIT
By Chris Mansel

The writing of Jack Random is at once effortless, mysterious and utterly powerful. When I was eighteen I spent some time in New Mexico and I can tell you the solitude and eerie silence is captured in Random’s writing as well as the feeling I get when I visit the end of the Trail of Tears in Waterloo, Alabama. The feeling of ancient wisdom and modern warnings.

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Monday, April 11, 2016



[Editor's Note: A passionate voice and guest writer from Malta.]

“Whatever one thinks of the justifiability of drone attacks, it's one of the least 'brave' or courageous modes of warfare ever invented. It's one thing to call it just, but to pretend it's 'brave' is Orwellian in the extreme.”

Glenn Greenwald

The Italian government has quietly began allowing armed American drones to fly out from its soil at the Sigonella station (a NATO and U.S. naval air base) near Catania in Sicily, Italy for military operations against (allegedly) the Islamic State in Libya and across North Africa. This is a breakthrough for Washington, as after more than a year of negotiations, Italy backed down and surrendered. Although the American media, through a political message, is trying to minimise this abuse by calling it 'defensive', it is not difficult to note the falsity and hypocrisy of such pretensions, as U.S. officials are constantly pushing for drones destined for offensive operations, while reports say that the Pentagon is attempting to persuade the Italians to allow the drones to be used for offensive operations, too. The 'Al-Arabiya', Middle East newspaper, reported that neither Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's office nor U.S. defence officials responded to requests for comment.

So, while European officials have remained reticent to intervene more fully in this highly factionalised and destabilized country, Italy has become a base for armed U.S. drone operations in Libya. And this time without any United Nations sanctions!

So now we have arrived at the Age of Drone Wars, the latest technological warfare, as the weapon of choice of most advanced countries – and right on our doorstep.

Although we are more than concerned and worried about our Italian neighbours, we don't want to meddle in their internal affairs. If Italian Prime Minister Renzi is in any way risking or endangering the safety of his people, through any possible retaliatory terrorist actions on his country, is surely the affair of Italians and none of our business. This rests solely on the concern, judgment and reaction of his own countrymen. Hopefully, we wouldn't have to cancel any plans we might have had for a pleasant night out in Rome!

However, as our country lies in direct line between these warring countries (Italy and Libya) any implications and repercussions through this situation may eventually concern and immerse Malta in serious trouble. We do not feel confident in asking anything of Renzi, though it would not be amiss to know if any considerations in any part of the negotiations had been given, before taking this dangerous step, of any possible or probable spin-off to be borne and suffered by other neighbouring countries.

But notwithstanding all considerations, we feel it incumbent to indulge in striving hard to know what OUR government perceives and acknowledges of this situation. We could not wait to get any internal official information, which after all should have even been divulged to the public before our knowledge from foreign sources. Are there any possible implications for Malta? And if so, how grave could these be?

And so, while we are stupidly bickering on whose swimming pool is the largest, we have, most probably, agents of death flying over our heads while we are peacefully (?) slumbering our lives away! If our population is dormant, could we, at least, dutifully be informed of such more serious and worrying matters?

Unfortunately and very often, this stunning silence by our government on matters of grave national concern is divorcing our civil community from its elected administrators.

In this specific case, we feel that it is our duty to ask responsible authorities to enlighten us of our situation and of any eventualities. The Minister of Home Affairs and National Security and the Minister for Foreign Affairs are explicitly obliged to furnish the public with all relevant available information and not shoulder further additional responsibility for the needless secrecy of any data and any defensive and protection measures.

The most pertinent questions would include, among others, the following:

Was our government involved, in any, way, in the decision taken by the Italian government, considering the friendliness and goodwill existing between our two countries?

Is our air space being violated through the trajectories of these drones? Or was previous permission requested and granted?

Does our government know how many of these drones are going through our airspace? And if so, is our government cognizant of this fact?

Is Italy offering any insurance cover in the case of any mishaps?

How conversant and observant is our government of the legislation governing 'airspace in an age of drones'?

Why do I get the feeling that there's about to be a sharp increase in reported attacks on special forces engaged in anti-ISIS missions?

Brussels attack hits all of Europe, EU leaders say, in which case, blunders committed b y any one member puts all in danger of reprisals. As Albert Einstein had predicted “ It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Most probably, the majority of the Maltese population hardly knows what's going on and much less the reason and technicalities of these ongoings. Still, we have a right to know what our government knows! Telling us that 'there is nothing to worry about', surely is not enough to put our minds at rest!

“Our technological powers increase, but the side effects and potential hazards also escalate.”

Alvin Toffler

P.O. Box 1 / Cospicua


Thursday, March 24, 2016



The first thing that comes to mind upon listening to Mystery Songs is the profound underlying presence of spirits in the house of poetry. There be ghosts here and shadows rising from the earth, inhabiting the air and swimming in the water, haunting the blood and the bloodline of all sentient beings. There is sentiment and memories and depth of feeling beyond the reach of mere mortals.

So many of these spirits are women with the strength to endure and thrive and rise like blooming flowers. We feel the decay, the heartfelt mourning, the long decline before the rising. Let your ghosts shine through. Let the water be your blood. The land, the Jimson Hollow, is who you are. You cannot escape. You can only drink and find the poet within your soul. After a while you begin to glimpse the truth, the longing and the love.

Master poet Jake Berry has been working his chops, polishing his licks and it shows on this new solo work. I love the down home feel and naked emotion of this work. I believe it is a work of love, a tribute to the female seed of his soul, to the loves of his life, no doubt his mother, his grandmother and the woman who stands by his side through the ages, his loving wife.

Mystery Songs can never be solved but they give me hope that we can survive and thrive and grow despite the darkest days and the most haunting nights.

Thank you, once again, Mr. Berry, for yet another masterwork.

Jack Random

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