The End of Privacy


I was disappointed to read President Obama’s solution to the controversy raging over the new American security state. What our president, legislators, and judiciary have done in answer to the controversy created by Edward Snowden’s release of NSA documents is create a merely palliative solution to the grave problems of NSA mass data collection and wholesale spying on the American People. So fearful have we become that our elected officials need only sound the call of terrorism to bring us into line and render us submissive to the final destruction of our freedom to conduct our lives privately.

Future historians will certainly record that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were successful beyond Osama bin Laden’s wildest dreams. Americans willingly, even enthusiastically discarded their fundamental Fourth Amendment constitutional rights for the illusion of security. Here’s what the Fourth Amendment says:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This was the old America. We don’t do that any more.

In the new America, lip service is paid to this amendment while the reality is that secret courts with secret warrants enforce secret laws against American citizens who are not even allowed to know they are the object of secret scrutiny. All digital communications—phone and internet—are collected and held just in case someone somewhere does something the authorities don’t like.

I won’t outline the so-called solutions the president announced at his press conference last week. You can easily find them online. The upshot of his “fix” of NSA is this: we are asked to take his word and that of NSA officials that now they will now be good boys and girls and only spy on foreigners, and not spy on us unless we absolutely deserve it.

It is sad to write this on Martin Luther King day. President Obama, an historic president who could have done so much to advance freedom and justice for people all over the world, instead gave in to the secret powers that cannot abide an informed public. These are the covert partners of global banking, agriculture, and pharmaceutical corporations; the helpers of defense contractors bent on selling more weapons; the shepherds of corporations who would control everyone’s drinking water, sell farmers the seeds to plant and sue if they don’t buy more, and destroy every species unlucky enough to be in the path of their greed. And they will sell you the once-free internet, and dole it out to you a kilobyte at time while they read everything you say and watch everyone you talk to, just to make sure you don’t use it to destroy their profits.

Now that we can look at the outside world through the bars of Fortress America’s secret security state, how is the view? Do you feel safer?

Playing the Field: it’s all in the name


A friend recently told me that he was unable to find the new collector’s edition of my book, Playing the Field, in Amazon’s search engine. Sure enough, when I tried it myself it was damned hard to locate. I contacted Amazon and they are trying to resolve the technical issues involved, but in the meantime, if you are considering giving Playing the Field as a gift this holiday season, there are three easy ways you can buy it.

One, (the easiest!) go to my online bookstore here.

Two, when you do your Amazon search for “Mamie Van Doren, Playing the Field,” click the “Paperback” tab, and that should get you to the new edition.

Three, when you search for my name, put the prefix “Ms” in front of it. (The registration process places a gender prefix in front of the author’s name. Go figure.)

Best wishes to all of you for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Bountiful Kwanza, and Happy New Year.
Peace & Love. Mxo

Palm Springs International Film Festival 2014


I’ll be attending this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala on Saturday, January 4. I’ll be sitting with my dear friends Jamie Kabler and Helene Galen, along with Senator Barbara Boxer and other dignitaries. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be attending this year.

As you know, I have a long running love affair with Palm Springs. My career really started there after being discovered by Howard Hughes in the Miss Palm Springs beauty contest. After I signed with Universal Studios and became Mamie Van Doren, I was queen of the Palm Springs Rodeo, and I dedicated the tall palm trees that still line Palm Canyon Boulevard as you enter Palm Springs. Though I never made a movie in Palm Springs, I rubbed shoulders with everyone from Frank Sinatra to William Powell. My parents lived in the high desert near Palm Springs, and my mother and I often went there to shop and just take in the ambience of the desert oasis.


Of course, I’ll be staying at my home away from home in Palm Springs, the lovely Andreas Hotel. It’s all a great way to kick off a brand new year!


John Muir: the power of memory


A short piece in the L.A. Times on Monday the 11th got past me until today.

A giant sequoia tree is dying in Martinez, California. It was planted in 1883 by John Muir, the father of the environmental conservation movement in the United States. Muir started the Sierra Club and wrote extensively about his explorations of nature, especially in Yosemite. He inspired Theodore Roosevelt to create the National Park system. For much of his life, Muir lived in the old growth forests of the Sierra Nevada, trekking through the shadows of the huge redwoods, a bit of an eccentric visionary.

Muir brought this sequoia back from one of his journeys as a seedling and planted it on his homestead in Martinez, now the John Muir National Historic Site. The 70-foot tall redwood is today dying from an airborne fungal infection, but a fascinating non-profit in Copemish, Michigan aptly named Archangel has successfully cloned the tree and will send a new, genetically identical seedling back to the Muir site for planting.

Archangel’s mission is to propagate the world’s most important old growth trees before they are gone and to reforest the earth with their offspring. According to the co-founder of Archangel, David Milarch, there will be many more clones available soon for planting around the country.

Now, all this may seem a bit quaint in a world of ongoing economic crisis, senseless war, and global environmental destruction, but I see it as one of the more hopeful signs in my lifetime. First the National Park Service—a governmental agency for God’s sake—revealed itself to be smart and sensitive in preserving the memory of John Muir and his environmental activism. And, more importantly, Archangel’s mission might be one of the most revolutionary movements in our sordid history of stewardship to the Earth’s environment.

I encourage you to visit Archangel’s website and read up on them. Re-planting forests is a radical act of environmental activism that, if successful, could at least begin to mitigate the damage our corporate greedheads have done to the planet. And, as a happy consequence, it may shed light into all our hearts through the efforts of one lonely man whose footsteps among the giant sequoias have left a monument to their preservation.

November Beach–a new video

I have sorely neglected this blog and its readers over the last few weeks because of other commitments. This little video will hopefully make up for being remiss. It is a collection of still photos taken at the beach by Thomas over the past months in day, night, and twilight. The lovely music is by my Facebook friend Jerry Steelfox, a fabulously talented musician and composer. You can find Jerry’s ReverbNation page here and his Facebook page here. Enjoy, leave your comments, and have a wonderful week ahead!
Love and kisses,

The only true antidote


A dear long time FB friend of mine lost his German Shepherd last night. His dear companion succumbed to a lingering disease. My friend is now deeply in grief and wondering how to get through the next day alone. Though you do not know his name, I ask you to send loving kindness and thoughts of compassion to all who grieve over the loss of a loved one. Grief is a universal emotion and we will all deal with it eventually because it marks a permanent loss of love. For a while it may seem that we cannot love again, or that to love again is a betrayal, but every sunset is followed by a sunrise. The truth is, you cannot protect yourself from love, because love is the only true antidote powerful enough to overcome sorrow.

Coup d’etat


Who can make sense of the government shut down; the debt ceiling crisis on the horizon; the NSA sucking up data on all of us at an alarming rate; and elected representatives left, right, and center pointing fingers about who is wrong. It is a merry-go-round made of nightmares. As someone wrote on my FB page, the government has told us clearly who matters in this world: the military continues to be funded, oil exploration continues on National Park lands closed to the public, and Congress and Senate continue to get their paychecks. But citizens? Fuck you.

History will show that the post 9-11 Bush-Cheney years were when America as we once knew it was completely destroyed. Wars were fought under false pretenses with only conquest of oil reserves as their purpose. Torture was legalized. The rights of citizens were tossed aside in favor of the rights of corporations. The Constitution was subverted to eliminate freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, right of privacy, and freedom from illegal search and seizure. Habeous corpus was discarded so that anyone accused of anything could be imprisoned indefinitely.

History will also show that Osama bin Laden succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was in the spy agency when 9-11 occurred, said on Democracy Now today that after 9-11 America underwent a constitutional coup d’etat. He could not be more right. All bin Laden had to do was mount one attack and America willingly destroyed itself.

It requires great effort not to be pessimistic about the way our country looks today, but, in fact, there may be no way out of America’s dilemma. The country has descended into a kind of fascist corporate state in which the rights of citizens, the environment, and the very spirit of our nobel experiment in freedom is crushed under the weight of totalitarian greed and a mindless obsession with security. It is a truism that all things change. Our sad transformation is a clear sign we are moving out of the mainstream and into the twilight of great civilizations.