About John Oliver Mason

I am a freelance writer, having worked for newspapers, magazines and blogs for over twenty-five years, covering neighborhood and working people making their communities and their lives better. I believe in the power of the written word to bring about change, and I put that into practice. I believe that when we become aware of the effect our small actions in the community have in improving lives, we can truly make a difference. I am also one of the leading poets in the Philadelphia area, and I also write fiction. I also act, performing on the public access channel PhillyCAM.

If you didn’t need sleep, what would you do with all the extra time?

I would spend it reading books, there never seems to be enough time.

The Mason Moment, November 27, 2023

I speak about the possible expulsion of George Santos from the House, and of the rot within the Republican Party.


My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC

The Mason Missile, November 26, 2023

Greetings, Americans!

I hope you all voted this past election. I did my part in my division’s election board, setting up the machines and showing people how they work. In that election in Philadelphia, the two at-large City Council seats reserved for the minority party, the ones occupied for decades by Republicans, have been won by members of the Working Families Party, Kendra Brooks and Nicholas O’Rourke. (https://billypenn.com/2023/11/08/working-families-party-philadelphia-city-council-kendra-brooks-nicolas-orourke/)

Throughout the nation, the Republican Party, dominated by the MAGA element, has been a loser; in Pennsylvania, candidates for school boards, who were endorsed by the “Moms For Liberty” (the Astroturf “movement” trying to police schoolbooks for LGBTQ+ content and intelligent discussion about Race) have lost. (https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2023/11/parents-rights-moms-for-liberty-lost-big-in-elections-last-night/) In Ohio, an amendment to the state constitution passed enshrining women’s reproductive freedom. Also, Andy Bashir won reelection as Governor of the beet-red state of Kentucky. (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/democratic-governor-andy-beshear-wins-second-term-kentucky-rcna122072)

However, the news media persists in anticipating Donald Trump returning to the Presidency (NOOO!!!), defeating Joe Biden. Excuse me, but we haven’t had the election yet, it’s a year away, so why are they handicapping Biden now?

Of course the news media knows what’s going to happen if trump (God forbid!) brings his stench back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Recently, in a Veterans Day event in New Hampshire, trump orated, “We will put America first and today, especially in honor of our great veterans this Veterans Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs who live like vermin within the confined of our country.” (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-compares-political-opponents-vermin-root-alarming-historians/story?id=104847748) This is the kind of talk that Hitler, Mussolini, and other despots use against their opponents, to make them like they’re less than human; and as we know, vermin are exterminated. (https://www.cnn.com/2023/11/14/politics/trump-extreme-rhetoric-analysis/index.html)

According to an article in the Washington Post, one of trump’s schemes, upon election, is to invoke the Insurrection Act and aim the Justice Department against his enemies, along with using the military should anyone protest. One particular target include former officials in his administration, like former Chief of Staff General John Kelly, former Attorney-General William Barr, and former attorney Ty Cobb, people who have spoken out against him.  (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/11/05/trump-revenge-second-term/?=undefined) (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-plans-to-use-doj-to-persecute-his-political-enemies-including-his-own-former-officials-and-lawyers-report/ar-AA1jqm3A)

Of course, trump’s partisans will dismiss the outcry people make about his jackboot rhetoric, maybe even enjoy it—you know, “own the libs” and all that. But the Republican Party base is just fine with it; they want to use the government against their opponents, since they’ve given up on using the democratic process to attain power. And as for “snowflake,” these are the SAME people who are terrified about their kids having access to books that talk about racial issues, African-American History, or the existence of LGBTQ+ people, like that’s going to make them go away.

The Republican Party has, as a whole, and as I said before, giving up on winning elections fairly, so they’ve resorted to gerrymandering, “voter ID” laws, purging voter rolls, and laws restricting access to the voting system; but many of them are about to abandon the very façade of democracy (such as it is) in this country.

There has also been talk about Republican-controlled state and federal entities, like legislatures, attaining the power to continue these acts, along with raiding state agencies and impeaching elected officials even before they’re sworn in. All this includes school districts limiting or denying the right of kids to read about certain topics (as I mentioned), and in Florida, where Desantis re-formed the Florida State Guard, supposedly for emergencies like floods or riots, but as a personal militia answerable to HIM, like Hitler’s SA and SS.

Propagating this movement towards a “red Caesar” are a series of “scholars” out of Hillsdale “College” in Michigan (like Fox “News” is a news channel) who complained about the evil-ness of universities, the corruption of the American people, “anti-white racism,” “transgenderism,” and the “cosmopolitan class” inhabiting the military, the federal bureaucracy, the news media, and “state-sponsored corporations” (whatever they are).




Don’t just dismiss this as mere rhetoric form the stump, or the daydreams of ivory-tower inmates; as you remember in January 6, 2021 (let’s never forget), trump’s cult followers tried to stage a coup, rampaging all through the Capitol and threatening to kill Congress-members they hated, chanting “Hang Mike Pence”, believing they could get away with it, just like Hitler’s and Mussolini’s goons got away with their crimes.  Next year, they’ll be even worse; they know the American people are opposed to them, and they’ll redouble their repressive efforts. As Maya Angelou said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”

But believe this! We’re getting ready for 2024, and we’ll organize and educate ourselves on the issues and about these wannabe tyrants who would not only repress us but kill us. So let’s start now, Americans, democracy is a 24/7 job, and it’s OUR job.

Stay safe, Stay strong, and stay  together! Slava Ukraini! Am Yisrael Chai! America will be free! Bye!

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC

Parshat Toledot

Earlier in November we studied the Torah Portion Toledot , Genesis 25:19-28:9, the story of the rivalry between Esau and Jacob, Isaac’s sons, starting even in Rebecca’s womb, where she cried “If so, why do I exist?” God replies to Rebecca, ‟Two nations are in your womb, two separate people will issue from your body; one people shall be mightier than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.”

Esau and Jacob grow up to be entirely different young men; Esau is an outdoorsman, always out hunting in the fields, and favored by Isaac; Jacob is more of a stay-at-home, tending the home, and favored by Rebecca. (It’s a danger when parents favor one child over the other.) One day, Esau comes back from the hunt, and Jacob is cooking a red soup; Esau barks at Jacob, “Hey, gimme some of that red stuff, I’m starving!” Jacob replies, “Sure, but you’ll have to give up your birthright.” Esau says, “What good’s the birthright going to do me, I’m starving!” And so Jacob gives Esau a bowl of soup.

(I’ve always thought that Esau wasn’t too bright to do this-give up his right to take over the family business for a bowl of soup? What kind of judgement could he bring to the tribe’s administration, if he thinks like this? Plus, I suspect Esau would rule the tribe like a military autocrat, with his hunting and bullying of Jacob.

(A lot of great literature deals with this theme-the old king hasn’t long to live, so who is he going to have inherit the kingdom? Esau would have been a disaster.)

Isaac orders Esau to go out and hunt some game to cook, so that Isaac can eat it and receive Isaac’s blessing. Rebecca then orders Jacob to cook a lamb and put on animal skins to imitate Esau, so that he, Jacob, would receive the blessing to take over the family instead of Esau.

Jacob does this, and posing as Esau, presents the meal to his father, who is blind. Isaac knows it’s Jacob’s voice instead of Esau, but he goes along with the game anyway; I suspect Isaac, like Jacob, knows that Esau would make a terrible leader for the tribe, and this is his way to getting around that decision.

Here in the Torah, we see living breathing humans living difficult lives, making mistakes while doing God’s work. It’s further proof that God isn’t in the sky, but present here on Earth.



My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC

The John Mason Talk-Walk, November 24, 2023


I speak about the so-called “Christian Zionists,” and of a need for a public-sector OSHA law in Pennsylvania.

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC