Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:51 pm

A LIST OF LIBERTIES WE'VE LOST, by Charles Carreon

04/05/08

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I ran across an Amazon discussion group thread entitled “What really happened on 9/11?”

One of the first responses was this one:

“We became a fearfull nation that has since lost many of its core liberties.” (sic)


A skeptic replied:

Please provide a list of “hard core” liberties that we've “lost”. Thanks.


I was then moved to create a list with references to the Bill of Rights, a source of some pretty “hard core liberties,” and an indicator of who has been doing the winning while the American people took care of the losing:

First Amendment Losses: Power to the Media Poodles!

While it was a big First Amendment loss when the big cities began confining anti-administration protesters to “free speech zones” where marchers could curb their enthusiasm, our greatest First Amendment loss was when we discovered that the media, that enjoys freedom to print almost anything, was content to regurgitate the paranoid rantings of neocons who urged us to revenge ourselves on the poor people of Iraq for harms committed by persons still unknown, but certainly not Iraqi. As the media fed war fever, we found an end to our post-Enron depression, and discovered as every generation seems to, that there’s something about a man in uniform. And once again, for the ten-thousandth time, Johnny and this time Jane as well, marched off to make the world safe for democracy. Four-thousand families have lost their children forever, and many times that number of soldiers have returned to their homes and home towns having lost their rights to see with two eyes, to run with two good legs, to speak through an unscarred face, and to think with a mind free of painful thoughts of regret and terror. These are some hard core rights to lose.

Second Amendment Gains: Power to Munitions-Makers!

Sticking with the Bill of Rights as a border for our discussion, I’ll concede the Second Amendment, because gun owners are about as happy as pigs in their own waste these days, notwithstanding the bumper crop of school shootings, and nowadays every politician wants to be in favor of gun-toting. We suspect that allowing Dick Cheney to get away scot-free with a negligent, likely drunken shooting of Dick Whittington, the Texas Funeral Commissioner, tends to encourage lawless behavior of that sort. The tendency of police officers in New York to release a hail of bullets in the direction of any suspect deemed to be so dark that they are always in the process of reaching for a gun, and the increasing number of gun-related crimes by Iraq veterans all suggest that in our new, openly armed society, owning a Kalashnikov, AK-47 or Uzi may in fact be good sense.

Fourth Amendment Losses: Power to the Snoops & Spies!

Let’s check in on the Fourth Amendment, that guarantees our right to privacy. It used to guarantee some pretty hard core rights, but it took a big hit when the managers of our cell phone and Internet providers decided that committing crimes in the name of national security was a safe bet, and opened our emails to view and our phone conversations to eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. Bush’s push to grant telcoms immunity leaves no question that crimes were committed by the government and the telcoms, since there’s no need to seek immunity for something that isn't at risk of being prosecuted. The Fourth Amendment has about been nullified in many cases by the FBI’s routine abuse of National Security Letters to compile dossiers on loyal Americans, a widespread invasion of privacy without precedent or justification.

We have also lost our Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to unlawful arrest and secret detention. Thanks to the PATRIOT Act, in all its unread and dangerous bulk, people actually are kidnapped by government black ops squads, and they’re not all Middle Easterners and people of color. A good example of how even white people can have their lives turned inside out by the terrorism-finders is the little-reported case of Brandon Mayfield, the Portland, Oregon attorney who got a settlement of $2 Million after the FBI whisked him into secret confinement and tried to finger him as a conspirator in the March 11 Madrid train bombing. (Mayfield had never been to Madrid). Mayfield's sin? He married a Muslim, and then became one. Another American Muslim, Jose Padilla, who was confined for years at Guantanamo on the grounds he planned to explode a “dirty bomb” inside the nation, was designated an enemy combatant by the president, who imprisoned him, subjected him to sensory deprivation and solitary confinement for years, then ran him through a federal court trial in Florida where he was convicted of a thought-crime of training and thinking jihadically. The Statements Padilla made while being illegally deprived of an attorney and subjected to years of deprivation and coercion were used against him at trial, while the disappearance of the government’s dirty bomb story was the untold story of the trial. I would definitely say that when our federal courts are being used to functionally ignore the rights of the “enemy combatants,” dealing with every appeal so slowly that any real judicial oversight over the lives of hundreds of people currently imprisoned for an indefinite term, we have definitely lost some “hardcore rights.”

While it is true that Japanese Americans suffered a more expansive race-based insult from our nation when they were interned in rural camps for the duration of World War Two, the current degrading of human rights is intended to subject us all to lowered standards, from sea to shining sea. We Americans are all, in a way, “Good Germans” tolerating the totalitarian warm-up of a junta that has taken over the White House and has not yet given up the dream of absolute power over its citizens. We all hope it won't happen to us, but the official policy, and one that has been used against many unfortunates, is that with the right set of lies on a sworn affidavit, any human being can be put into a forgotten place even less subject to humane oversight than Guantanamo.

Fifth Amendment Losses: Power to the Torturers!

We have lost many rights under the Fifth Amendment, such as the right to an attorney if you are charged with terrorism, and the right not to be compelled to provide testimony against yourself. We are all imperiled by laws immunizing interrogators from criminal liability for torture or whatever dumbed-down term you want to impose on it. This officially pursued and officially denied pro-torture policy might make some people wonder why Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, and their pet intellectual monster, John Yoo, would want the right to torture, seek immunity for war crimes, and set out to destroy the Geneva Convention? This is a “sovereign power” that even FDR didn’t ask for, that Churchill didn’t want, that Stalin of course took and without apologies, but then, our president is not supposed to emulate a totalitarian murderer.

The neocon argument that this has been “a war against a new type of enemy” is utter nonsense, a militaristic misrepresentation of the highest order. Bush needs to torture in this day and age because without torture, he would have no evidence that there is any type of terrorist threat to justify his gigantic power grab. Sure, the dramatic Collapse of the Three WTC Towers (1, 2 and 7) got people riled up for a while, but when no one besides a single lone madman ever is tried for the crime, and apparently the bin Laden family has brokered an immunity deal for Osama, then ultimately the Bush junta would like to seal its claim that “Al Qaeda” destroyed three buildings in New York in one day with some convictions. So the nation’s brave interrogators confine people like Osama’s chauffeurs and butlers, interrogating them, torturing them, and extracting false evidence. Just as in the cases of the witches who confessed to the Jesuit Inquisitors hundreds of years ago, it is all false evidence, but necessary. Just as the Holy Inquisition fed itself, confiscating properties and lives for profit, and using false confessions extracted under torment as counterfeit evidence to procure false judgments of guilt against the innocent. So yes, when that sort of thing happens, and we pay for it with endless tax dollars, I’d say we’ve lost some rights.

Fourteenth Amendment Losses: Power to The Unhuman

The Fourteenth Amendment, that guarantees all “persons” the right to receive “due process of law” before being deprived of life, liberty or property, has been snuffed out for many unfortunate people. But flesh and blood people are barely persons to government officials and elected representatives, because flesh and blood people hardly contribute at all to political campaigns, and have no tasty consulting contracts and perks to hand out. Government officials today know that caring about people marks you as a fool, while having a soft spot for corporations will open doors to power. The Fourteenth Amendment gives a powerful, virtually eternal, and financially enormous identity to un-human corporations, that are encouraged to devour our environment in exchange for a trickle of jobs, and for whom all manner of excuses are made when they corrupt our government, export our jobs, steal our money, and use offshore shells to avoid paying taxes. By making the Fourteenth Amendment useful primarily to these unhumans, we have trampled on our very identity as citizens while making obeisance to the corporate masters.

Fifteenth Amendment Losses: Power to the Vote-Riggers!

Black people and other minorities have lost the right to vote, granted to them under the Fifteenth Amendment, and the Voting Rights Act, as laws interfering with voting have been adopted under the guise of “national security” and high-tech ID schemes. We have lost the power to control our nation through the ballot box, as two presidential elections have been decided under a shadow of controversy that causes many people to claim that Jeb Bush, Katharine Harris, and the Supreme Court chose Bush to rule the first time, and the second time, it was Harry Blackwell, the Secretary of State of Ohio, who cast the deciding vote. Schemes to make the vote more secure have only resulted in wasting lots of money on paperless systems that many states are choosing not to use after having blown all the federal money on the equivalent of electronic game machines that can be hacked, flipped, and anything but reliably tracked.

That the current administration fears voters more than terrorists is clear from their domestic agenda. While many have heard that Alberto Gonzales was run out of office for lying too many times about why he fired eight United States Attorneys in a political purge, few have understood why he fired them. He fired them because he wanted to install Federal prosecutors who would help the Republicans to steal the next election in their jurisdiction. How would they do that? By prosecuting Democratic candidates to defame them in the eyes of the voters, by using phony “voting fraud” prosecutions to keep easily intimidated voters from even trying to vote, and by never prosecuting Republican operatives for actual vote rigging, campaign finance violations, and the usual dirty tricks fomented by Karl Rove and his dirty-tricksters.

The Imperial Presidency: Power to the Powerful!

Since the president was twice elected without true popular support, he knows he owes his powerful position to his powerful friends. Thus, he ignores the voters and does what he is told, which is, right now, to veto anything Dick Cheney tells him to, and simply to bar the door against any impulse to alter the course of the ship of state, currently on course to spill many, many billions of dollars of stolen taxpayer loot on all the right sort of people. The president, comfortable with being out of the country pretty much full-time, now wanders the world flinging self-congratulatory rhetoric into the faces of world leaders who know he is a failed, pathetic ignoramus whose feeble-mindedness makes intelligent people want to retch. Congress cannot even find the “off switch” that would bring our rogue president to heel. He veils his ignoring act with the claim, often voiced by his dark alter ego, Dick Cheney, that when public opinion turns against one, that is a time to stick with principle. Change the spelling of the word to “P-R-I-N-C-I-P-A-L” and I would have to agree with that characterization. Most would agree having a president answerable, or at least heedful, of the people’s voice, is a fairly hard core right. But we know that the president is answerable only to Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and his mom, none of whom have the least concern for the health of our nation.

Our representatives, their ethics mined out by ceaseless lobbying efforts and floods of corporate money, fearful of the verbal scourges of right wing pundits, devoted themselves for years almost exclusively to displays of patriotism, gave a foolish “Commander in Chief” the power to launch a pre-emptive war based on concocted evidence to justify attacking an oil rich nation that had not engaged us in any hostilities. Then they sat silent while the Decider abrogated the Geneva Conventions with pro-torture policies supported by spurious legal justifications, and accelerated the delivery of torture subjects to foreign nations for “interrogation.” They voted billions upon billions of dollars to continue the war even after the 2004 elections should have given them a mandate to end it.

Governmental Secrecy: Power to Those Who Need to Know!

The saddest part of the destruction of our hard core rights is that we don’t even have the full tally of our losses. The truth is said to be the first casualty in war, and it certainly was with the war on terror. Secrecy protects corruption, and corruption has been the plan at every stage since the Bush opportunists began exploiting the nation’s trauma and the world’s sympathy in the way of 9/11. We have become utterly used to the classification of documents for reasons having no justification in national security, and do not expect administration officials to respond honestly to questions or produce documents to Congress. Government contracting, hidden under veils of wartime secrecy, conceal nothing but oceans of graft. In Iraq, Billions of dollars have simply gone missing, literally, carted away with forklifts in the Baghdad airport, where the US plan for controlling the Iraqis has all been implemented through bribery and threats.

The New Financial Order: Power to the Super-Rich!

In talking about Iraq, lots of people these days talk about “blood and treasure.” Cut the Bogart language and let’s be real. We have no treasure. We have lost control of our Treasury, with rampant looting by government contractors being the signature crime of opportunity of a two-term administration that has bathed in corruption. Now, as the Federal Reserve Bank takes over control of our economy, deciding in one big stroke after the next just how high we're going to charge up the credit cards, all financially minded people are watching in awe as our financial edifice is stripped, as the dollar plunges in value, and the price of oil flees in the opposite direction, as interest rates spiral toward zero for the rich and up and out of sight for the poor, whose payday loans make any payday in this economy a faraway day indeed. So if you’re a pragmatic person, and you consider it a “hardcore right” to be able to eat dinner in your own kitchen, and not under a bridge, or in a car in the parking lot of a WalMart, then yeah, we lost a lot of those, too.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:34 pm

HELP WRITE JOHN YOO'S PINK SLIP OR RENAME BOALT HALL "TORTURE U", by Charles Carreon

04/11/08:

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I finally got something I've been waiting for a long time — an email from somebody trying to get John Yoo fired from his post as a professor at Boalt Hall, the highly prestigious Berkeley School of Law, operated with California State Funds. That's him in the picture above, the baby face declaiming that being put in the stocks is not torture. By his definition, it certainly wouldn't be, as long as they took you out of them before you died. But let's give credit where credit is due. According to John Yoo, even if something is torture, it's still okay! Check out this chilling little extract from his recently-revealed spine-chilling Torture Memo:

“Self-defense is a common-law defense to federal criminal offenses, and nothing in the text, structure or history of [the Federal Torture Statute] precludes its application to a charge of torture ... If hurting him is the only means to prevent the death or injury of others put at risk by his actions, such torture should be permissible ...”


Click here to read all of The Torture Memos at the Altruistic World Online Library

Well, thanks to Steve Fox of Democracy In Action for getting this needed ball rolling. It didn't take long to hammer out a quick hate note, and here's a copy of it.

As a proud graduate of UCLA Law School, and a supporting alumni of my old UC school, I have been shocked at the fact that the faculty of Boalt School of Law is sheltering a war criminal, John Yoo. Even if Mr. Yoo were not the architect of a doctrine that sought to legalize the violation of human rights and immunize war criminals from prosecution, he would still be a terrible legal scholar. His writing, if emulated by young lawyers, will likely get them in hot water with judges wherever they go. Mr. Yoo ignores contrary precedent, trades in fallacious reasoning, and clips together holdings in a way that no judge would tolerate. He was only able to sell this stuff as work product because his bosses were looking for an intellect so lacking in self-respect that it would stoop to any level to provide support for a legal position that is insupportable.

I could go on, but why? No doubt you have many other emails like this one to read before you sign Mr. Yoo's pink slip. Best get on with it.

Charles Carreon
UCLA Law, Class of 1986
Member California Bar
Alumnus, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Litigation Section (LA)
Former Jackson County, Oregon Deputy District Attorney
Currently, CEO Online Media Law, PLLC
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:09 am

BERKELEY DEAN SEES NO ETHICAL PROBLEM IN YOO'S PRO-TORTURE TEACHINGS, by Charles Carreon

04/14/08:

I posted yesterday about the campaign to fire John Yoo from Boalt Hall, the UC Berkeley Law School that has given sanctuary to this international criminal. After receiving 7,000 emails, finally Christopher Edley, Dean of the Law School wrote a response defending his decision not to fire Yoo, claiming that it was a matter of “academic freedom,” and that, applying the school tenure policy, Yoo hadn't been shown to have committed any “professional misconduct” as a government lawyer that was “material” to his work as a law school professor. This, my legal and lay friends, is pure poppycock! Here's my response, and below it, the Dean's apologia pro tortura.

Dear Dean Edley:

I have read your response to the public outcry against the continued employment of John Yoo, and find it wholly unconvincing. You define the scope of Mr. Yoo's activity all too understandingly.

If Mr. Yoo had written torture memos for the Gotti Family enforcers, teaching them how to inflict pain greater than kneecapping that inflicted no visible injuries, in order to extort payment for unlawful debts, would that be “clear professional misconduct?”

Suppose Mr. Yoo had written a manual for drug couriers, teaching them how to specifically carry just under the amounts of drugs that trigger mandatory minimums in the sentencing rules, would that be “clear professional misconduct?”

You did not cite even one Rule of Professional Conduct in your analysis. California Rule of Professional Conduct has Rule 3-200, entitled “Prohibited Objectives of Employment,” that reads like this:

Rule 3-200. Prohibited Objectives of Employment

A member shall not seek, accept, or continue employment if the member knows or should know that the objective of such employment is:

(A) To bring an action, conduct a defense, assert a position in litigation, or take an appeal, without probable cause and for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring any person; or

(B) To present a claim or defense in litigation that is not warranted under existing law, unless it can be supported by a good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of such existing law.


The objective of Mr. Yoo’s employment was to aid terrorism hunters and prosecutors to extort evidence from people using torture, without any finding of probable cause that they had committed any crime at all. Since Mr. Yoo’s torture victims need only to be possessed of information that might save lives, they need not be criminals to suffer administration of pain to enhance their memory. Mr. Yoo’s analyses abrogate the need for probable cause when the Decider decides to lower the boom on terrorists. Mr. Yoo’s analyses also abrogates the concept that confessions are only admissible when “knowingly and voluntarily given,” as I was taught to apply in Criminal Procedure in law school, and again when I was a public prosecutor in Oregon, and again as a Federal Public Defender in the District of Oregon. If Mr. Yoo had tried to argue against these positions in open court, he would have been called an idiot, and derided by criminal practitioners of any experience. Instead, Mr. Yoo made these pronouncements in secret, to government bosses blinded by the lure of gaining the power that gangsters and thugs use to overpower their enemies, defiling these sacred legal traditions for the very purpose of creating an arguable legal shield for the vilest of human conduct – the deliberate infliction of pain to extort statements from the unwilling.

It cannot be necessary for me to push doggedly through every line of Rule 3-200 for you to see the fallacy of your argument. You know Mr. Yoo violated his professional ethics by becoming a mouthpiece for legal “doctrines” so far out of the mainstream that they could only be called delusional. You don’t try to deny that Mr. Yoo committed ethical misconduct, because you would be justly derided if you did.

So instead you resort to pettifoggery, the insertion of a restrictive clause in this sentence: “Was there clear professional misconduct - that is, some breach of the professional ethics applicable to a government attorney - material to Professor Yoo's academic position?” You are tacitly arguing what is wrong as a matter of ethics law – that Mr. Yoo’s professional misconduct as a government lawyer is not “material” to Professor Yoo’s “academic position.” Any unethical act by an attorney bears on every aspect of their performance of professional duties. An attorney who breaches his professional duties is never exonerated, not by time, a change of job, or any other cosmetic alteration.

You can protect Mr. Yoo and his government salary for as long as you want. But one thing you won’t do is convince me that you have submitted his conduct to any type of serious scrutiny. Your excuses are as lacking in rigor as Yoo’s analyses, and you don’t even have the threat of terrorism to justify your sophistic dodges.

You have illuminated no point of academic freedom in your misnamed apologia for a torturer, and instead have made it clear that, for one reason or another, this miserable excuse for a lawyer is being coddled by the University of California. As a former UCLA alumnus, I will register my protest long and loud. And I am not alone. Protect your pet torturer if you will. Justice will find him at last.


The Dean's excuse-making is copied below:

The Torture Memos and Academic Freedom

Christopher Edley, Jr.

The Honorable William H. Orrick, Jr. Distinguished Chair and Dean

UC Berkeley Law School

While serving in the Department of Justice, Professor John Yoo wrote memoranda that officials used as the legal basis for policies concerning detention and interrogation techniques in our efforts to combat terrorism. Both the subject and his reasoning are controversial, leading the New York Times (editorial, April 4), the National Lawyers' Guild, and hundreds of individuals from around the world to criticize or at least question Professor Yoo's continuing employment at U.C. Berkeley Law School. As dean, but speaking only for myself, I offer the following explanation, although with no expectation that it will be completely satisfying to anyone.

Professor Yoo began teaching at Berkeley Law in 1993, received tenure in 1999, and then took a leave of absence to work in the Bush Administration. He returned in 2004, and remains a very successful teacher and prolific (though often controversial) scholar. Because this is a public university, he enjoys not only security of employment and academic freedom, but also First Amendment and Due Process rights.

It seems we do need regular reminders: These protections, while not absolute, are nearly so because they are essential to the excellence of American universities and the progress of ideas. Indeed, in Berkeley's classrooms and courtyards our community argues about the legal and moral issues with the intensity and discipline these crucial issues deserve. Those who prefer to avoid these arguments - be they left or right or lazy - will not find Berkeley or any other truly great law school a wholly congenial place to study. For that we make no apology.

Did what Professor Yoo wrote while not at the University somehow place him beyond the pale of academic freedom today? Had this been merely some professor vigorously expounding controversial and even extreme views, we would be in a familiar drama with the usual stakes. Had that professor been on leave marching with Nazis in Skokie or advising communists during the McCarthy era, reasonable people would probably find that an easier case still. Here, additional things are obviously in play. Gravely so.

My sense is that the vast majority of legal academics with a view of the matter disagree with substantial portions of Professor Yoo's analyses, including a great many of his colleagues at Berkeley. If, however, this strong consensus were enough to fire or sanction someone, then academic freedom would be meaningless.

There are important questions about the content of the Yoo memoranda, about tortured definitions of “torture”, about how he and his colleagues conceived their role as lawyers, and about whether and when the Commander in Chief is subject to domestic statutes and international law. We press our students to grapple with these matters, and in the legal literature Professor Yoo and his critics do battle. One can oppose and even condemn an idea, but I don't believe that in a university we can fearfully refuse to look at it. That would not be the best way to educate, nor a promising way to seek deeper understanding in a world of continual, strange revolutions.

There is more, however. Having worked in the White House under two presidents, I am exceptionally sensitive to the complex, ineffable boundary between policymaking and law-declaring. I know that Professor Yoo continues to believe his legal reasoning was sound, but I do not know whether he believes that the Department of Defense and CIA made political or moral mistakes in the way they exercised the discretion his memoranda purported to find available to them within the law. As critical as I am of his analyses, no argument about what he did or didn't facilitate, or about his special obligations as an attorney, makes his conduct morally equivalent to that of his nominal clients, Secretary Rumsfeld, et al., or comparable to the conduct of interrogators distant in time, rank and place. Yes, it does matter that Yoo was an adviser, but President Bush and his national security appointees were the deciders.

What troubles me substantively with the analyses in the memoranda is that they reduce the Rule of Law to the Reign of Politics. I believe there is much more to the separation of powers than the promise of ultimate remedies like the ballot box and impeachment, even in the case of a Commander in Chief during war. And I believe that the revolution in sensibilities after 9/11 demands greater, not reduced, vigilance for constitutional rights and safeguards. What of the argument made by so many critics that Professor Yoo was so wrong on these sensitive issues that it amounted to an ethical breach. It is true, I believe, that government lawyers have a larger, higher client than their political supervisors; there are circumstances when a fair reading of the law must - perhaps as an ethical matter? - provide a bulwark to political and bureaucratic discretion. And it shouldn't require a private plaintiff and a Supreme Court ruling to make it so. Few professions require an oath at entry, but law does. Oaths must mean something.

Assuming one believes as I do that Professor Yoo offered bad ideas and even worse advice during his government service, that judgment alone would not warrant dismissal or even a potentially chilling inquiry. As a legal matter, the test here is the relevant excerpt from the “General University Policy Regarding Academic Appointees”, adopted for the 10-campus University of California by both the system-wide Academic Senate and the Board of Regents:

Types of unacceptable conduct: … Commission of a criminal act which has led to conviction in a court of law and which clearly demonstrates unfitness to continue as a member of the faculty. [Academic Personnel Manual sec. 015]

This very restrictive standard is binding on me as dean, but I will put aside that shield and state my independent and personal view of the matter. I believe the crucial questions in view of our university mission are these: Was there clear professional misconduct - that is, some breach of the professional ethics applicable to a government attorney - material to Professor Yoo's academic position? Did the writing of the memoranda, and his related conduct, violate a criminal or comparable statute?

Absent very substantial evidence on these questions, no university worthy of distinction should even contemplate dismissing a faculty member. That standard has not been met.

April 10, 2008
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:13 am

GENERALS PARROT BUSH WAR PROPAGANDA FOR MONEY AND INFLUENCE, by Charles Carreon

04/20/08:

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On the front page of today's Sunday New York Times, there's a stunner article backed by 8,000 pages of documents extracted from the government by court order, that reveals the inner workings of a pro-war propaganda network that has blatantly targeted the American people as the victims of a disinformation campaign. The article indicts the usual suspects — the White House, the Dept of Defense, the media networks, and, somewhat of a shocker, those icons of martial legitimacy, the retired generals who claim to analyze military issues.

The article reveals that, as the centerpiece of what insiders including Rumsfeld called a “psyops war”, retired generals have been parroting the Bush line from their gilded perches as talking heads, helping sell the war initially, concealing the post-mission-accomplished spiral into chaos, and most recently, selling the wisdom of the “surge” to an American people bled sick from the costs of forcing our generosity on an armed people acting in defense of their homeland.

I'm fairly inured to the shock of betrayal, but this one seriously made me queasy. I went to military school in Virginia, and must admit that I assume the good faith of a military man, most times, speaking about the conduct of the war. On the other hand, you all know I'm a big hater, and finding someone to really hate these days isn't always easy. You keep coming up with the same people, and you can only hate them so much. But the generals are fresh meat. These dirtbags in uniform were incentivized with a lavish three-part perk-package of free travel, classified information, and “access,” i.e., influence over Dept of Defense contracting decisions, which the generals resold to their bosses, the military contractors, i.e., Dick Cheney's cadre of big eaters.

In the wake of this revelation, that was compelled by the NYT lawsuit and otherwise would've remained just a secret propaganda project, the media are certainly not apologizing. Fox news refuses to discuss the matter, and the rest have offered nothing but empty palaver. NPR is right in there with the other purported dupes who are shocked, shocked to discover that the generals would deviate from perpendicular truth in the performance of their sacred duties as impartial guides to the martial destiny of the nation. The truth is of course that it did not bother the propaganda grinders in TV newsrooms that the generals were reciting Bush-provided talking points because that is what everyone does.

The talking-head generals should be tried for treason. They have helped criminals who explicitly laugh at the Constitution as they plot to subvert the truth, as the NYT reports Rumsfeld did when one of the generals declared that they were simply doing “psyops,” psychological warfare, on the American public, prompting the retort from Rumsfeld, “You mean you don't believe in the Constitution?” Rumsfeld should go the penitentiary over that line. Rumsfeld, infected with arrogance, used an iron fist approach with his military minions, overruling even mild objections with a terse “get in line,” and adjourning quickly to provide the pet generals with treasured access to Rumsfeld's private souvenir vault. The details of the plan are copiously provided in the article, here at the American Buddha Online Library.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:42 am

DON'T BE NEGATIVE -- TO WIN, JUST RUN AGAINST BUSH!, by Charles Carreon

04/29/08:

Loyal Bushies, This Is Not For You

The ideas stated in this article are strictly for people dedicated to eradicating the stain of Bushism from our national life. All you anti-terrorism fans, all you believers in the the Big Lie, tell yourself whatever you want, Bush's pants have been on fire so long, it's like he's being burned in effigy. The Democratic victory strategy set forth below is distilled from the pure essence of popular hatred for the demonstrably feeble-minded “war President.” Yes, it's true. Turn your eyes away in horror. I am yet another rabid, Bush-hating American, fueled with enough anger to burn out whole city blocks of lobbyists, along with all the bad legislation, corrupt policymaking, and obscene profits they've been racking up for the last eight years. Ignore my rantings, or you could end up the same way.

With This Election, We Save The Nation, The Planet, and Ourselves

Okay, Democrats, now that we're alone, let's pop that frigging champagne and get to work. We've absolutely got to win this election, or you can kiss polar bears, a livable planet, world peace, civil rights, and whatever's left of the social safety net goodbye. We've got to elect a Democrat and then follow through by riding his/her ass like Paul Revere rode his horse on the night the British landed — as if all our freedoms and hopes depended on it!

First We Define The Candidates Strategically

First, let's first define our candidates strategically, so we can think about the game. Obama's the youthful, multicultural, anti-Bush candidate, Hillary's the white anti-Bush candidate, and McCain is Bush III. Waiting in the wings, well-rested and supported by a wife with a will like a power press, is John Edwards, who is well able to mend fences, bond with the people, and be the booster rocket that will put either one of these candidates in the White House.

Second, We Back A Candidate Who Will Reverse Bush-Policies

If all of our candidates were on Our Team, then victory would be assured! In some dream-reality, Howard Dean would sit them all down together and help them iron out their differences. Howard isn't the man for that job, so let's have an alternative strategy, and let's not let the Doom-o-crats, the ostensibly earnest media liberals wailing that Democrats are “destroying themselves,” as if Obama were unraveling before our eyes, Hillary was morphing into the Wicked Witch, and hordes of flying monkeys were arriving to turn registered Democrats into McCain Republicans in all the swing states. Somehow I think Karl Rove is somewhere behind a curtain, pulling a lot of strings to keep this doomsaying spin aloft, turning a debate that needs to be focused on issues into a mere celebrity deathmatch.

The fallacy behind all of this personality campaigning is that one person really is dramatically better, in their very fiber, than another. This is an absolute fallacy, because it is the conditions that politicians are subject to, far more than their innate qualities, that shapes their acts of leadership. Jack Kennedy may have been a philanderer and a fan of methamphetamine, but he faced down the Russians. Harry Truman probably wasn't born wanting to incinerate two Japanese cities in the only two uses of thermonuclear weapons in human history, but he did it. Churchill might not have found a stage large enough for his ambition, but for Hitler's decision to bomb London night after night with rockets, buzz bombs, and Luftwaffe bombers. And if some very clever people hadn't brought down the three towers on September 11, 2001, the “Decider” would never have become a “war president,” and the Iraqis of Baghdad would have no bombs going off in their neighborhoods, and the economy would be in much better shape.

The Obama team has fallen hook, line and sinker for the idea that their guy is just the peachy President we need. Hillary fans are more likely to propose her as an issues-oriented politician, but the press puts the focus on her personality. Realism tells us that how each one would behave as President will depend on whether they staff their Cabinet and White House with cronies or change-agents, whether they can bring the economy back on line, whether Congress will roll back the Bush-era corruption or continue to marinate in corporate funds that dissolve their spines and cause them to creep like slugs toward whatever slime pool lobbyists are funding today. Rather than being focused on who we'll send to the White House, we need to know how to stay in touch with them once they're in there. What will it take for them to receive our calls? The answer is — whoever we send to the White House will remember us if we make it very clear to them why we're sending them there. The Decider knew why he was sent to the White House — he was sent there by his cronies to open the national treasure to plunder, and he has done it quite effectively. Similarly, we need to know, by the candidates' commitments, that they know why we're sending them to the White House — to put an end to Bush Policies and point the nation in a wholesome, honest direction. Guess what, that message is positive, and will even sell in church. Being against a bad man is not “negative.” It's called “wearing the white hat.” I want a candidate with a white hat, a real one, and I don't care about their hairdo or their skin color.

Our alternative to a strategy of “Put a Fabulous Person Up As Our Candidate” would be — put a candidate in office who is willing to put an end to Bush Policies in all the important areas. A candidate who will get us out of Iraq swiftly, tend to the ailing economy, end the attack on the environment, stop the corporate giveaways and tax breaks, and set the nation on the path to a sustainable, prosperous, peaceful future. A candidate who will bravely reject a foreign policy born of fear-mongering, productive of nothing but international contempt, security boondoggles, foreign wars, and the construction of walls in the slums of Baghdad, and the desert of Sonora. When our candidate's goals are clear, there are enough votes among the economically disenfranchised, among rejected minorities, among deprived groups like single mothers lacking daycare, healthcare, and decent food, to put that candidate over the top, regardless of her color or his sex. Our candidate will be flexible, will be adaptive, will be humble and will be dedicated.

Third, We Have A Plan To Win With Either Nominee

If the numbers are right, Obama partisans aren't converting any Hillary followers, and the reverse is equally true. Some Hillary voters say they'll vote for McCain if Obama wins. Some Obama voters may stay home if Hillary wins. These candidates are free to act however they want right now, but we, the Democratic party faithful who have waited for this chance to deliver a knockout punch to Bush policies, cannot accept a division of our voting power. Whoever comes out of the national convention can be the Candidate, as long as they look forward to a win in the general, and have a plan for how to include all the power players to the Rejection of Bush Policies Administration. Remember, this is not negative! It is the one plan that has majority support!

A majority of voters, asked to vote on each of the following issues, yes or no, would definitely answer no to all of them:

1. Should the next President continue to fund the War in Iraq to the tune of $40,000,000 (forty million dollars) per day?

2. Should the next President continue the policy of allowing the CIA to torture people in secret prisons?

3. Should the next President continue the policy of providing less funding to States for health care and children's health insurance?

4. Should the next President continue to appoint political cronies incapable of performing their jobs to head agencies like FEMA, the FDA, the the Dept of Education?

These and many other questions can be answered virtually in unison by Hillary and Barack. In fact, they should try it. People who want to move them in this direction should start asking these questions in the following format: “If you are elected President, do you pledge to end the military occupation of Iraq as quickly as is consistent with the protection of American troops?” Or, “If you are elected President, do you pledge to close all secret CIA prisons and Guantanamo, and give the people locked away there a free and open trial?” These questions are, of course, far too difficult for an unmotivated Hillary or Barack to say “yes” to. They would much prefer to finesse it, and play personalities. That way they think they'll have wiggle room once they get to the White House, and they'll just do things “their way.” But both Hillary and Barack are mistaken about this strategy. We can all see through it, except the true believers on either side, and we know that they're avoiding the hard questions because they believe the Doom-o-crats are right, and you just can't commit openly to rolling back the Bush Administration takeover of our government. Just can't do it. Like pod-people, Bushites will clone themselves, light torches, head to the polls, and burn unpatriotic Presidential candidates at the stake. Bullshit. That's fear mongering coming straight out of Karl Rove's Big Lie Emporium, and don't you believe it, sports fans. The only winning ticket is the one that says, “Screw Bush!”

Fourth, We Let The Voters Elect the Nominee Who Will Reverse Bush Policies

The standard strategy that the Doom-o-crats are laying out for themselves would be to lose the general election after lots of furious politicking. Eliminating internecine warfare seems like a good idea, but by trying to get Hillary to withdraw from the race, they make Obama look weak. Additionally, he's being encouraged to act peevish, which doesn't look good. Minority superdelegates are under pressure to make the politically correct choice, but we don't really know what that is. People who couldn't win the election for themselves, like Edwards, are sought for endorsements by either sides of the personality war. No wonder he's keeping mum. I'm sure he would love it if someone would ask him how the battle against Bush policies is going, and whether he has any plans to forward his initiatives with the new Democratic administration (whoever leads it). Keeping to Karl Rove's secret plan, the Doom-o-cratic convention, run machine-style, will produce the Chosen One that the charmless Dean machine will try and force everyone to support, using the argument that the candidate is at least better than McCain. (Note how much stronger it would be if the argument were, “Like both of the Democratic Presidential contestants, the nominee has pledged to roll back all corrupt Bush policies within a hundred days of their election.”)

Fifth, We Follow Through On Our Victory By Making The Next President The People's President

Rather than trying to force an early peace between Obama and Clinton, the Party leadership needs to commit to letting the popular result carry the convention, and accept the possibility that either of them may get the nomination, and commit to giving either nominee all the resources they need — to do what? Reverse Bush Policies! Yes, You've got it now. Just keep saying that. “I want the candidate elected who will Reverse Bush Policies!” You just do that, and I promise you, you'll get that candidate. Once you get the candidate, you'll have to work to elect them, and with Doom-o-crats everywhere crying despair, it will be work to get our anti-Bush candidate elected. We will do it, though, and when we do, the hard part really begins. However many times they took the pledge to Reverse Bush Policies, once they become President, they will want to forget. We must not let them forget. We must remind them every day why we put them in office, and demand that they make progress toward the goals they set for themselves when they reached for the nation's top executive office. Like I said, it's circumstances that make the politician. We can create the circumstances that will make the next President the People's President, and he or she will love us for it, because strong demands from the people empower populist politicians. And we could really use a genuine populist President. So let's stand up a President, arm them with our righteous rage, and march 'em off to Washington to make things right. And send the Doom-o-crats back to Oz, where they came from.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:44 am

THE McCANDIDATE'S ACHILLES HEEL -- JOHN HAGEE, ANTI-CATHOLIC TELEVANGELIST, by Charles Carreon

05/05/08



Are you anxious Democrat? Sure we got over the superscary Guiliani candidacy, you say, but how will Obama or Hillary ever perforate the McCandidate? The “straight talker” seems to be well on his way to becoming all things to all kinds of people. He's taken to posing with black people in Louisiana to try and launder his image amongst the downtrodden of our nation. FEAR NOT! McCandidate has a notable Achilles heel. Achilles, as you'll recall, was dipped in the river Lethe (the one that separates the living from the dead in Greek myth), which made him invincible. Kind of like an early form of body armor. The only problem was, when his mother dipped him in the river, she held him by one of his heels, which therefore was not submerged, leaving a chink in his armor, i.e., an Achilles heel. Okay, history lesson over, here's the CATHOLIC-HATING PREACHER that the McCANDIDATE LOVES. His name's JOHN HAGEE, that's JOHN HAGEE, JOHN HAGEE, JOHN HAGEE! Got it? Good. Make sure all your friends, relatives, and water cooler mates know his name, too. Once JOHN HAGEE becomes a household word, the concept of Reverend Wright being a problem for Barack will be old news.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:50 am

MOTHER'S DAY -- A NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST, by Charles Carreon

05/11/08

Moms Are Hot

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I just read that a recently conducted study measured the “attractiveness” of the voice of a sampling of undergraduate women during four times during their reproductive cycle, and found that their voices were most attractive during ovulation. Yes, when they were at risk of becoming Mothers. Oedipus was, of course, onto something. As was Sigmund Freud and Jim Morrison. Moms are hot!

You're probably all squirming in your chairs already, which just goes to show that the whole issue of Mother is filled with cross-currents of biological craziness and emotional dynamite. Which is as it should be, since the difference between having a mother and not having one is the difference between existing and not existing.

Moms Are Cosmic

Mother is the portal between nonexistence and life. Mother is the home where life can develop inside a tiny replica of the ocean, nourished by the food mother eats and the air she breathes, growing through all the evolutionary ages of our species' development, until a new human being is ready to breathe the air of Planet Earth. And then there's Birth.

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Driving back from Starbucks through the winding streets of our working class subdivision this morning, I saw a bumpersticker on a van that said “Born OK the First Time!” What a straightforward refutation of the doctrine of Original Sin! St. Ignatius Loyola would be dumbfounded at the utter audacity of such a declaration, and the Inquisition wouldn't even bother to torture someone so obviously born of the Evil One. The man-made religions have been in the business of condemning motherhood and slandering women for millennia, since that whole Garden of Eden myth got ported over from the Middle Eastern herders, through the Romans to Europe, and by the slaveholders and colonizers to the New World, where it spread like an infection of bad architecture all over the continent, causing cross-topped steeples to speckle the land.

Moms Are Slandered

If, after all, a Christian birth is just birth into a state of inherited guilt, that needs to be washed off with a “Baptism,” then motherhood is actually a net negative. I've studied Eastern religions, from Tao to Vedanta to Buddhism, and I don't agree with the way Buddhism is usually taught, because it defines birth as a spiritual blunder, a screwup caused by failing to recognize our own own “Divine” identity. It might be an acceptable metaphor for some people, but to me, it seems like one more slander of Mom.

Small wonder, then, when we look at Mother's Day, we see a celebration of the conventional mother role, in which she serves 364 days a year to be honored like a beloved cow in its stall for the one remaining day. On that day, a good Mom will serve one more purpose, assuaging everyone's guilt over having failed to consider Mom's needs for much of the previous year, kindly forgiving all of her children and trying to enjoy a meal she did not cook. I am not saying that Mothers Day produces no genuine expressions of love – that's ridiculous – I'm just saying that there is a great deal more that we could do to help mothers.

Moms Get Little Help

Mothers, nature has ordained, will care for their offspring. But as is typical of nature, it often infects us with impulses that we cannot fulfill. The inability to fulfill our impulses is frustrating, causes unhappiness and pain. So mothers who cannot care for their children as well as they wish usually suffer even more than their deprived children. It takes so little to become a mother. Oftentimes just the voice that says “I'm ovulating” in some mysterious fashion, is all it takes to provoke a man to make his contribution. And today, many men provide little or nothing more.

As a result, statistically, being a mother in this country means being poor, and saddled with the responsibility to care for your children. Not to mention, continuing to be “sexy,” which means spending more on clothes, makeup and body care than men. Heck, some women might think it prudent to set aside for a pair of new tits and some nips and tucks to rejuvenant their economic viability whenever the biological time bomb of sag and “cellulite” kicks in. And a young mother with nothing more than a high school education, in a society where she can collect tips for dancing without clothes in a local bar, may be inclined to think about that kind of career move.

We Need To Change The Agenda for Mothers

What sordid tales I bring to you! Hallmark Cards will never hire me to spin a ditty, for fear my greetings might rhyme with titty! Well, Lord have pity, I'll just have to post to my blog, because the truth ails me children, that it does. The low-down cotton-pickin' truth is Mothers don't get spit for being Mothers in this society. Here's a non-Hallmark list of questions to focus your attention on the problem:

Do Mothers get free pre-natal care? No.
Do Mothers get free medical care at birth? No.
Do Mothers get free child-care when they go to school or work? No.
Do Mothers get enough in food stamps to feed all their children? No.
Do Mothers get housing subsidies to house all their children? No.

A National Day of Protest

While I understand that our nations leads the world in hypocrisy, I think we're ready to take some steps in the opposite direction. I suggest that until we change the answers to those five questions to “YES,” we should make Mother's Day a national day of protest. No greeting cards, no dinners out, just armies of mothers, out in the streets, demanding their rights. Hallmark and The Olive Garden would have their lobbyists working on it in a heartbeat.

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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:52 am

SCIENCE, THE SCAPEGOAT OF RELIGION AND COMMERCE, by Charles Carreon

05/11/08:

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Since I listen to NPR, I often hear a gentle, liberal voice posing a question from The Templeton Foundation, established by Sir John Templeton, retired millionaire fund manager. Templeton, pictured above, bailed out of the market after a solid career that netted him a final $900 Million payday, and at the age of 95, he's playing philanthropist from his Bahamas-based Templeton Institute, in the operation of which he is assisted by his born-again Christian son, Jack. So Templeton's question, sounding warm and inviting when presented in the voice of an NPR liberal, was something like: “Has science made religion obsolete?”

Well, I said to myself, that's a stupid question for Templeton to ask! Surely he, a man made of cash, should know that it has always been money, not science, that has made religion irrelevant to men. People have been turning arrogantly away from threats of hell when presented with wads of cash ever since the stuff was invented. It is money that turns bankers into con men, boys into killers, and politicians into hypocrites who profess virtue on Sunday, and lie the rest of the week, as well.

Science, making religion obsolete? How could science replace religion? They aren't even used for the same thing. Science is used to satisfy the hunger for truth, the desire to dispel ignorance and illuminate reality, as the Roman natural philosopher Lucretius expressed it so well. Religion is used to blockade the search for truth, to confirm conventional beliefs with the testimony of saints. Religion is used to fill gaps that knowledge never could, and never will.

For example, religions have answered the question, “What happens to us after death?” Science will never tackle this question, since there is no evidence on which to even fashion a hypothesis, much less any way to test your hypothesis if you manage to originate one. And certainly, despite Christ's having reportedly demonstrated his ability to “resurrect” his body after death, the experiment has never been replicated.

Money, on the other hand, serves the primary purpose of religion very well, which is to relieve anxiety about the future. A clergyman who has sexually molested children may fear hell, but he fears a sentence of ten years a great deal more. With enough money, he may cheat judgment by hiring a good lawyer, or fleeing out of the jurisdiction, perhaps back to the sovereign nation of the Vatican, from whence sexual molesters are not extradited. Once safely in Rome, even a monster who has sodomized the little lambs he was sent to protect can obtain absolution. Some prayers, some donations, some crocodile tears, and the matter is accomplished. God is so much easier to bribe than man, but then again, his agents are very understanding about the foibles of men.

Money buys security in this life. Religion buys security in the next. To illustrate how they are put to the identical use, imagine two young nobles, enjoying their wine while the serfs labor outside in the fields. One brother is a secular noble who, under the King's authority, rules with edicts and soldiers over a population of serfs he was free to terrorize, tax and conscript as suited his will. The other brother is a bishop, who rules the same domain with spiritual authority drawn from the Pope and the threat of excommunication, a curse in this life and the next. Lifting a glass of good vin rouge, and looking out the window at the serfs tilling the soil below, the nobleman says to his brother the bishop, “A toast to the two us, my brother, for I rule these people from the cradle to the grave, and you rule them for all eternity.”

Money has always known its place in the scheme of things. You will rarely find a banker having a serious disagreement with a clergyman, and usually they get along as well as the noble brothers in my little vignette. At the worst of times, you find money-changers right in the temple, something that Jesus found offensive, but the bankers found that temples draw the right kind of crowd for financial action, and still build their money-fortresses to resemble Greek and Roman temples.

Money and religion are great reinforcers of hierarchy. Although the Pope may not be saintly, still he commands absolutely reverence, and those without a feel for science may agree that the Pope's official declarations are infallible, despite the obvious errors enunciated with great authority by past and present Popes. The existence of witches, the flatness of the earth, and the virgin birth have all received Papal approval due to hierarchical authority, and not by any means that common sense would call reliable. Similarly, if a man is rich enough and has lots of rich people backing him, he will not be contradicted when he lies, or reprimanded for his poor manners when he is boorish, like the incumbent president, whose lies and churlish remarks are legion, and never has to bear a cross word from anyone.

Science, on the other hand, gives no regard to hierarchy. Let the Pope, the President, or Deepak Chopra say it – it will not be true in the book of science unless it can be proven true by repeatable experiment. Science is an intellectual process that makes it possible to see objects billions of light years away, objects that religion did not prophecy the existence of, and for which money had no need. Science is the beak with which we break the eggshell of ignorance, and that shell is composed illusions solidified by the accretion of centuries of ignorance supported by religion. What will keep us from cracking that illusion is money.

Oh, but you say, without money there is no research. Without research no discovery, without discovery no science. But you are simply wrong. Archimedes made his physics discoveries with the most rudimentary laboratory. Pythagoras measured the distance to the sun with a stick, a shadow, and a map. Newton found inspiration when his lunch hit him on the head. Einstein unraveled the mystery of nuclear energy while daydreaming.

Frankly, the flood of money is leading to the death of Science, and the birth of Expert Witnessing as its replacement. Example: the cause and effect relationship between countless industrial chemicals and cancer is still “not proven,” because the chemical companies will not fund the research, nor will government, enslaved to industry, that is, money. Global warming is similarly the plaything of experts, as if the atmosphere were not a closed container and smoke something that is certain to accumulate and obstruct the passage of light, leading to the retention of heat. Expert Witnesses, acting at the behest of shortsighted industrial money, will delay pronouncing “Science's verdict” on innumerable facts found inconvenient by the state.

Money and religion are not interested in truth, but in convenience. Whenever you ask yourself why the religious and the worldly so often find their interests aligned, remember my little tableaux of the nobleman and the bishop – the cooperation between them will always be tight. The world revealed to the eyes of science may square with some religious notions, but as the Southerners say, even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes. Attempts to make science religious or religion scientific, are blatantly absurd, for their goals do not support each other. Religion will always preserve vested interests in false beliefs, for the good of the devout, who would otherwise be confused. Likewise, money is always ready to bribe those who cannot be bamboozled with sanctimonious words. The world revealed by money is a phantasmagoria of deceptions that can turn a child into Jon Benet, a Nazi into a man of God, an ordinary woman into Pamela Anderson. The illusionists in this world are the priests and the bankers, who distort our existence to suit the needs of the powerful. Science ends the illusions, regardless of whose position is damaged. That is why it is so unpopular with the powerful, and remains the favorite scapegoat of religion, working hand in glove with money, to keep us all in the dark.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:52 am

SOMETHIN'S ROTTEN IN TEXAS, by Charles Carreon

05/23/08
I was sitting in an airport bar in Phoenix when I saw them walking across the flatscreen, strong female torsos seen from behind, sheathed in ... in suits I thought, but that wasn't quite right, and then the picture resolved, and I realized they were the polygamous brides of the Texas FLDS sect, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. The women had come, I perceived, to claim their children, snatched from their homes in one of the mass roundups that seem to be practiced with alarming and increasing frequency in this, the Seventh year of the Reign of His Royal Excellency, St. George the Decider.

I applaud the cause of these women, who won an appeal to a three-judge panel from the trial judge's ruling, who had concluded that the forced sequestration of hundreds of children based upon an anonymous, uncorroborated tip, had failed to satisfy the requirements of law. I applaud these women because they did not sit idle as the demonic, man-devouring entity called the State of Texas claimed the fruit of their bodies. Greater hubris and hypocrisy could hardly be imagined than that exhibited by the State of Texas, that clocks in more executions than any other state out of fifty, and has overseen and funded the conduct and coverup of a massive case of omnivorous child abuse pervading the entire juvenile corrections system. That scandal unfolded last year, revealing a gut-turning system of sadistic manipulation in which children's sentences were extended for refusing the sexual favors routinely demanded by corrections officials and their friends. That scandal has not been cleaned up, which is to say the perpetrators have not been locked up, and are biding their time until they can commence to predate upon tender flesh yet again.

Now the State of Texas foists this outrage upon us. Children rounded up, ripped from their birth mothers, put into custody and stranger's homes, and for what? For being the children of incest? Shame, shame, shame on Texas! Did George Bush need a distraction from the national debacle that badly? What could justify this suddenly-conceived, armed takeover of a civil society, however deviant the sexual mores of their patriarch overlords, that had been allowed to thrive in undisturbed isolation for several years? Is this a way for the State Corruption Society to recharge itself with tainted youth, that it can farm out to pedophiles and sadists? I may be crazy, but I'm not daft. There's something rotten in the heart of Texas, and G*d help us if we don't stop it dead in its tracks.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:55 am

PEOPLE ECONOMICS, by Charles Carreon

09/01/08

“When the people's hearts are won by friendship, they undertake hardship willingly, and even lose the fear of death, so great is the power of joy over men.” The Book of Changes, Chapter 58, “Joy.”


Keep Your Eye On the Invisible Hand

Adam Smith was one of the first economists, and those who feel that the government should stay out of labor relations, or at least refrain from supporting the goals of workers and restrict itself to benefiting industry, often claim to quote Adam Smith. They say Smith’s “invisible hand of commerce” will guide the operations of the economy, setting prices for labor, food, and commodities, making wage and price controls such as those Nixon imposed, completely unnecessary and totally objectionable.

Smith's invisible hand makes no distinction between licit and illicit trade, and for years kept the retail price of a quarter-ounce of marijuana at parity with an ounce of gold, and provided johns with twenty-dollar prostitutes and prostitutes with twenty-dollar bags of heroin. All things work together for good in this best of all possible worlds, as Voltaire's Dr. Pangloss would say. Your average person’s knowledge of Adam Smith usually stops at this level, but Smith’s massive work, An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes of The Wealth of Nations, does not exhort us to have faith in an invisible hand that will adjust our economic fortunes into the black, but rather advises us to watch the movement of labor, goods, and money to learn how people adjust prices and engage in trade.

People Create Wealth

People, not an invisible force, drive production and trade. Smith’s metaphor was meant to turn attention to the rather amazing characteristics of the marketplace, much as modern scientists have pointed out the marvelous operations that the planet and living beings perform without conscious thought. It is true that Smith was sanguine about the coexistence of poverty and wealth in a single society, and saw no inherent evil in an economic order that he could describe thus:

“Among civilized and thriving nations … a great number of people do not labour at all [but] consume the produce of ten times, frequently of a hundred times more labour than the greater part of those who work; yet the produce of the whole labour of the society is so great, that all are often abundantly supplied, and a workman, even of the lowest and poorest order, if he is frugal and industrious, may enjoy a greater share of the necessaries and conveniences of life than it is possible for any savage to acquire.”


One would certainly agree that today many consume hundreds or thousands of times what one other person can produce – a fast-food worker working all day in Los Angeles would be unable to even pay for a day’s worth of parking that an executive would simply put on an expense account. It is also true that Ray Kroc, the popularizer of the McDonald’s fast-food system, got his big idea when he was but a traveling salesman selling milkshake mixers in Southern California, so he may very well count as a “frugal and industrious” workman who rose to “enjoy a greater share of the necessaries and conveniences of life.” But Smith’s positive attitude toward disparity of wealth is not the point of his book, and he is well aware that government policies affect the occupations and prosperity of nations and their citizens:

“The policy of some nations has given extraordinary encouragement to the industry of the country; that of others to the industry of towns. Scarce any nation has dealt equally and impartially with every sort of industry. Since the downfall of the Roman empire, the policy of Europe has been more favourable to arts, manufactures, and commerce, the industry of towns; than to agriculture, the industry of the country.”


A good example of differing policies toward similar industries might be the US government practice of licensing industrially-produced narcotics manufactured by pharmaceutical giants, while simultaneously fighting a “war on drugs” by spraying toxic materials on coca crops in Colombia and Bolivia, while simultaneously pumping new life into the opium economies of Afghanistan and Pakistan, resulting in a fresh flow of powerful Asian heroin into our nation.

The new president of Bolivia wants to legitimize coca growing and use of the native plant, that has no more harmful effects on the native population than tea has on the English. He says it can be used to make soap, toothpaste, herbal remedies, and many other useful substances. Dr. Andrew Weil, the new age doctor whose paunchy good health is now advertised from a thousand Sunday magazines, once suggested we substitute coca chewing gum for coffee. Of course, in the US, we’d have people buying a thousand packs of gum, soaking them in a bathtub, washing the result with gasoline to extract the cocaine, and blowing up their house and kids trying to get a buzz. As Adam Smith might say, some people are just savages.

Everything Has Its Price

Having dispensed with the idea that Smith’s Invisible Hand is predestined to provide benefit for humanity, or that it will do the work of wholesome laws made by ethical politicians with the approval of informed citizens, we can move on to what Smith was really saying. Smith’s thesis is that the cost of goods is established by the cost of the labor required to produce them. Nothing has an intrinsic value. Everything is priced according to how much it costs to get a skilled person to produce it.

Gold and Oregon green bud remained at parity for a long time because it cost a similar amount of money in labor to employ poor blacks at starvation wages in South Africa to produce, smelt and ship bars of gold as it did to employ hippies (not very hard workers, but willing to risk getting arrested and to be paid in product) to grow a finicky psychoactive weed in a secret location someplace near Williams, Oregon, and smuggle it to San Francisco. Take note, however, that gold lasts forever unless you lose it down a rathole, and cannabis must be consumed to extract its value, and will become worthless after a couple of years. So you might argue that cannabis is far more costly, since your ounce of gold will last a lifetime, but your bag of pot will be empty next week.

Raiders of Others' Labor

Now that more Indian and Chinese people are getting into the middle class, they are buying more gold for marriage ceremonies, there is greater demand for gold, apartheid is over in South Africa, and people are getting paid a wee bit more to extract gold from the earth, and of course, people who think the dollar is going to sink in value want to buy “hard money.” The notion that gold has a fixed value is, however, utterly mythical. During the “Age of Gold,” Spain and Portugal stole so much gold from the Incas and Aztecs that they flooded the European economy with the damned shiny stuff, reducing its value to one-third, much to the chagrin of other European nations, who found their existing stock of gold ever shrinking in value as the conquerors of the New World became the dominant players in the precious metals market. Spanish gold was cheap, please take note, because they didn’t pay for it – they stole it – so it didn’t reflect the cost of feeding, clothing, and managing the dead Incas and Aztecs whose wealth was thus acquired.

Stealing from other nations is what one anthropology professor of mine called “a raiding economy,” such as was traditional among the Apache Indians of Arizona and Sonora. Once they got horses from the Spanish, who had introduced the whole concept of mounted cavalry to the New World, they started raiding other, richer tribes, and their mounted warriors were skilled at scooping up a goat, a child, or a bag of corn with equal facility while marauding through a little village full of squash-growers. Labor costs are affected by many factors, and different “nations” require people with different skills. A farmer would have fared badly in an Apache tribe, but would be appreciated by the Hopis, who moved way up on high mesas to avoid raiders, and there skillfully collected water in cisterns to feed small irrigated plots of beans, corn and squash using unique methods of dry-farming. Interestingly, the Apaches have adapted to the ways of the white invaders better than most tribes, as their facility on horseback and indisposition to surrender gave them a leg up in the larger economy, and many tribes adopted ranching, farming and logging when they were forced to give up raiding.

Of Brickmakers & Woodcutters

The productivity of a community is enhanced, Smith explained, as people become more skilled in particular productive activities. This is called the “specialization of labor” to exploit “the relative advantage” of different workers. Exploiting “relative advantage” can be illustrated by the story of two couples with different skills. The first couple was Jane and Wanda, two lesbian brickmakers. The second couple was Jeff and Sally, two heterosexual woodcutters. Since they enjoyed each other’s company, the two couples at first decided to work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on brickmaking, and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays cutting wood. After about a month they took a tally of the bricks and the cords of wood produced, and discovered that they had produced both less bricks and less firewood than when the two couples worked separately. Why? Jeff and Sally were unskilled at making bricks, so they made errors, and Jane and Wanda had to spend time training them, and even then the hetero couple didn’t produce as many usable bricks. The same result occurred when the lesbians tried to cut wood. They weren’t as good at it as Jeff and Sally, and due to their inexperience, produced less wood at greater cost in time. Facing the possibility of not having enough bricks to build the house or enough wood to get through the winter, the two couples focused on what each was best at, and in the end there were not only enough bricks and firewood for their personal use, they had some left over to sell. Eventually, Jane and Wanda adopted some war orphans that they turned into a tribe of little brickmakers, and Jeff and Sally gave birth to several children who were handy with the saw, loved the smell of the woods, and branched off into reforestation. A few generations later, the two couples were barely remembered, but their wise choices left a legacy of brick homes and leafy avenues in a town where sexual inequality was a forgotten memory.

Modern Underemployment

In the story of the brickmakers and woodcutters, everything is happy, because workers specialize by choice to their greater communal benefit. Of course, this is not how it works in the real world, where people no longer follow the traditional occupations of their parents, and acquire few specialized skills besides what are gleaned from channel surfing, playing video games, driving dad’s car, and purchasing fast food. Most young people are losing specialized abilities like cooking, sewing, and gardening, that help them keep expenses down. The value of acquiring a standard credential like a high school diploma has become vague to many young people. College degrees are very costly to procure, and employers increasingly doubt that college graduates have the skills needed. Top hourly wages in our techno-driven economy go to people with certifications issued by private computer companies like Cisco, Microsoft, and Novell, not to college graduates. The old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is now impolite to ask, since it is likely to throw the child into a quandary that, parents fear, will cause anxiety. Besides which, how could a child be qualified to decide that he wants to be a Linux networking specialist until after he hacks his way into the school network to change his girlfriend’s biology grade? Experiences guide choices, and in this world, choosing what type of labor to specialize in often defaults to “whatever someone will pay me to do.” Which explains why the price of marijuana keeps dropping.

A Bull Market For Soldiers

The disconnect between young people and gainful employment explains why the sudden desire to go open a can o’ whupass on them Arabs took root so quickly in the apocalyptic soil of the unemployed, working-class young people in this country. There was a genuine crisis on hand, fueled by the public murder of over four thousand people in downtown New York. There was a charismatic president leading the nation, there was a fire in the desert, a Holy Grail to chase, and a lot of people wanted in. Money was easy to get in Iraq. In fact, huge stashes of bundled hundred-dollar bills were left completely unguarded, and uncounted billions have gone missing. War is good business, especially when the Vice President is still getting a $300,000 annual payment from Halliburton, the prime no-bid contractor on the project to level Iraq under the guise of nation-building. The invisible hand is working overtime these days.

Two billion dollars have been spent developing and deploying technology to block increasingly sophisticated cell-phone-detonated bombs in Iraq. People often say “think what that would have done if spent on schools.” But they don’t say it when the nation is “at war.” Typically, too much is being claimed for the use of this term, “war.” Certainly the nation isn't at war like it was in World War II, when it entered a two-front war against two industrial giants that had defeated all of Continental Europe and the South Pacific. Certainly it isn't a war like Vietnam in 1968, when the American death toll topped 40,000, everybody was buckling down in school to avoid being drafted, and ultimately the draft became a negative lotto game where the unlucky ones got picked out of a hat, and student or no, it was time to go. The nation is “at war” because the president said it was. “Being at war forever” has officially become our policy, and like all other policies, it is an economic policy.

Since we are at war, money goes first to guns, then to butter for the soldiers, then to pay for the creation of a gigantic, unwieldy security apparatus to strangle the airline industry, then to pork-barrel projects necessary to grease all of the palms that wrote the campaign checks and bought the dinners and paid for the trips that a Congressperson just can’t live without. If the sleaze of politics seems far from you, be assured it is not. The wages that never go up, the jobs that cannot be found, the housing that isn’t available, the opportunities that don’t appear, have all been swallowed up by a national economic policy that is far more monstrous than one would think from watching TV. Some folks don’t believe in conspiracies. Okay, we’ll chalk it up to the work of the invisible hand.

Money vs. Goods

No one is going to advocate the end of money if they are sane, because money is the most amazing thing in the universe – it is the equals sign between anything and anything. Using “money,” we can put a value on anything from apple pie to a course in Zen, and the price will always be based on how much it costs to produce the product. It may be more charming to pay for Zen in apple pies, but most Zen masters want cash, because using money, they can buy whatever they want. The flexibility of money makes it useful, but it doesn’t give it any intrinsic qualities of value. A lot of the time we think we want money, and forget that ultimately, we want what money buys. We usually don’t think about this until we go out looking for a midnight snack, and unable to find a grocery store open, return home with gratitude to find a single ice cream bar stuffed in the freezer.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of exchanges are going to be facilitated by money, including, ironically, the establishment of social policy to expand productivity beyond the monetary realm. There is a cost for everything, including an economic policy to increase real wealth among the citizens. The calculation of wealth goes beyond tallying dollars, because one may be wealthy without having a dollar, like an eccentric hermit living happily in a distant location, tending a garden and feeding the birds. Wealth, distinct from money, is an abundance of what we want and need. If our community priorities are straight, we will strive to become rich in essential goods like clean air, fresh water, arable land, inspiring housing and livable towns. We will give people an incentive to increase the wealth of knowledge and skills they carry within them, so we can have excellent teachers in our schools, skilled medical care for those in ill health, and media resources that foster communication in an environment of free thought. These things usually cost money, because people create them, but they can be created and exchanged without money, and can enrich us concretely and directly, giving us more of what makes life worth living.

Money-Free Exchange

Leaving money out of the equation, we still have our skills and creations to exchange, but we lack a “medium of exchange.” A medium of exchange is used to reduce what economists call “transaction costs.” Transaction costs are evident in all activities. Take sending someone a letter. It involves the following transaction costs: time spent writing the letter and addressing the envelope, plus the expense of a piece of paper, a stamp, the time it took to buy the stamp, the time you’ll spend mailing it, and a few days waiting time for your recipient to receive it. The telephone reduces the human transaction cost of having to write the letter, which blocks innumerable communications from taking place. Email reduces the transaction costs greatly, but only at the cost of knowing how to use email and getting access to a machine with Internet. Transaction costs prevent communications and productive exchanges from taking place.

Markets are intended to overcome transaction costs by having everyone bring their product to the same place, so a purchaser can visit many merchants at once. Nowadays, markets have migrated online. Everyone is getting in on the action. Myspace is a marketplace for attention. Craigslist is a marketplace for sex, according to the cops. eBay is a marketplace for people who are willing to take risks to get a bargain, and for many legitimate sellers, as well as for scammers looking to turn over questionable goods.

When we remember that money is but a mechanism for equating one person’s labor to another, we may intuit something clever – we don’t need US Treasury Notes to keep track of people’s labor. We can record their relative work outputs in a spreadsheet or other database, or even on a piece of paper. Strictly speaking, that is all the banks are doing anyway, and people who move large amounts of money around are well aware of this. Computers allow us to create and manage databases quite easily. Your paycheck is only good if your boss’s account has enough money in it, which is to say, it appears to have enough money in it when the bank teller looks on her screen. What is handy about the designation of your labor as money is that anyone else will take it in exchange for their goods and services. What is not handy is that you can’t get enough of it to do everything that you want to do.

People will trade for what they could not pay for with cash. Why? Between rent, gas, food, insurance, child support and a DUI diversion, there’s no money available. Statistically, an over-forty male who is strapped financially runs a high risk of gambling away the last of his money on video poker or whatever lottery system his jurisdiction uses to snooker him out of his hard-earned cash. Instead of pecking at a screen like a pigeon, a guy in this situation might wisely choose instead to spend his time sawing boards and pounding nails – building stuff for a friend in exchange for some goods or skills. Skills and goods exchanges allow a community to grow more wealthy by consuming its own local products and employing its own people. Local skills and goods trading improves individual living standards, gives young people a chance to apprentice in a non-wage environment, and allows community members to preserve cash resources by reducing reliance on money.

Money developed based upon exchanges of concrete trade items or particular services, and was used to facilitate exchanges, not to monopolize the means of exchange. Where economic squeezes by national governments and international bankers impose embargoes and sanctions, barter can keep national economies alive. For example, Venezuela ships oil to Cuba, that sends back medicines, doctors and teachers. Thus Venezuela supplies Cuba’s energy needs, and Cuba helps Venezuela care for the education and health of its people, and they both get the satisfaction of telling Uncle Sam to pound sand.

Historically, people in love have exploited their relative advantages by dividing labor along classic sex-role lines, and family life has been the great factory of non-monetary wealth-generation. People used to routinely help each other build a house, then spend a lifetime washing clothes, making and raising babies, cooking food, growing gardens, fixing cars, chopping weeds, all that stuff. Some relationships are very elevated transactions that produce works of art that humanity will enjoy forever, like the music of Chopin and the writings of George Sand, or the sculptures of Camille Claudel and Rodin. For this and many other reasons besides producing soldiers for the fatherland, society has for a long time made it a legitimate social and governmental goal to make it easier for young people to get married, have children, live productive lives, and contribute to the life of the community. Skills and goods exchanges can be great resources for young people who have the energy and motivation to help themselves by working for others, because they benefit three ways – connecting with creative people, learning skills, and getting something valuable from their labor.

Skills and goods exchanges between individuals don’t happen on our local level mainly because there’s little thought given to non-monetary exchanges, and no place is dedicated to making them happen. There is no forum that is specifically focused on facilitating skills and goods exchanges within our community, and thus money is virtually the only avenue for trade in goods and services. Particularly at a time when the capital for business development is so difficult to obtain, our communities would demonstrate vision by establishing a local skills and goods exchange database, available online and in a walk-in office open to the public.

Only Labor Can Save Us

The national infrastructure is collapsing. Schools are underfunded, while teachers are being laid off. Bridges are falling down, and there's no money to fix them. Hospitals can't serve the sick, and doctors can't get paid. This is because money has taken over our minds, and we no longer understand how to cooperate without it. Can you imagine if a mother wouldn't move from her chair to feed her child because the child had no money to pay her? Of course not. Money is not the issue in that relationship. Similarly, money does not have to be the issue in all kinds of relationships. We see this when natural disasters strike – neighbors stop what they're doing, and help each other move out of harm's way – not because they're paid, but because it's the right thing to do. People get “free” labor in this way, and no one ever sends a bill. In fact, they spend the rest of their lives remembering that it was something they never regret having done – working for free. Indeed, only sick-minded people try to turn a profit when a hurricane or a forest fire is consuming their community.

Well, guess what? The whole planet's on fire, and it's time to put humanity's shoulder to the wheel. If money is available, it can be used to build a community, because it commands the power of human labor. But idealism, and wise cooperation, can also mobilize human labor, drawing on deep resources that cannot be tapped by spending money.

Welcome To People City

A community, let's call it “People City” for ease of discussion, could adopt policies that would vitalize its citizens by valuing their labor in a system not driven by money. How could People City do this? People City could first explicitly declare that its primary asset is its people, and that the care, cultivation and development of their welfare, wealth, and well-being are the primary concern of its leaders. People City could establish a skills and goods exchange, using City offices and technological resources to increase non-monetary economic activity. People City could establish grants and subsidies to supplement the efforts of gleaners, food banks, and homeless shelter-providers, who are distributing actual wealth to those in need. People City could reach out to older people who have extra time to contribute, and young people who have no contact with community elders, providing space where they can share skills, stories, books, and the history of their community. People City could adopt a purchasing and hiring policy that requires giving first consideration to local goods and service providers in all City purchasing decisions.

People City could analyze its patterns of consumption and production, and its leaders could make the information publicly available, so that local businesses would know how to orient their productive efforts to stimulate the local market. People City could begin to educate the students in its schools to understand the economic structure that sustains them. People City could elevate civic leaders who address the needs of citizens, and dismantle voting systems driven by media pressure and special-interest influence. People City could demand that banking, real-estate, and industry actually provide services that do more than percolate money upward to themselves, and accomplish the purpose that money is meant to accomplish – motivating people to labor for our overall social benefit.
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