Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

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.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:56 am

LEONARD COHEN, POISONED BY ZEN, by Charles Carreon

10/14/08

Sometimes an artist produces one work too many. The one that shows he is not only past his prime, but has actually gone to seed. With Ten New Songs, the listener witnesses a great talent going into eclipse.

This is not that grizzled troubadour of the bizarre, who filled acid-soaked brains with images like “then you killed the lights in a lonely lane, and an ape with angel glands, erased the final wisps of pain with the music of rubber bands.” It is not that one who immortalized Suzanne, and reminded us that Jesus was a sailor, etc. From the deck of Leonard’s ship, you could see Salvador Dali, feverishly painting a surreal other shore.

No such fervid imaginations illuminate Ten New Songs, but the title is still descriptive, for Cohen has certainly come up with a “new” way of singing without having a song in his heart. But soon he will be quiet forever, or so he keeps reminding us. Whence came this strange malaise? Cohen has spent the last five years, they say, in a Zen monastery. This would seem to be borne out by the bizarre tilt of his thoughts, such as “I don’t trust my inner feelings — inner feelings come and go.” This may be proper Buddhist dogma, but it isn’t the stuff of good music. This is a New Song indeed — one that ventures indifference as a musical theme. It is actually the worst CD I have ever heard.

I only listened to six and half of the Ten New Songs, but even this brief encounter had a depressing effect similar to a long chat with a suicidal friend. If it weren’t for the depressing effect, however, the CD would be useful for lowering blood pressure. The pacing of these compositions is elephantine. To call them sedate overstates their stimulating effect. Torpid would be more like it. In one tuneless tune, Cohen dwells obsessively on the image of “dark rivers.” I felt like I’d won a free vacation to buy time share in the underworld, and Cohen was the salesman. He was very convincing. I felt dead already.

Zen meditation seems to have lowered the temperature of Leonard’s mind. In one New Song he says he’s turned to ice within, and finds it “crowded and cold” inside himself. One is tempted to caution him to be wary of falling into the same fate as the senescent Ram Dass, who meditated himself into a stroke by visualizing himself as an old man with failing extremities and vision. His adventure of the imagination precipitated exactly what he contemplated, and he now is rolled about by his spiritual nabobs in a wheelchair he calls his “swan boat.” If the lethargic rhythms of the New Songs are any indication, Leonard may be drifting a little close to the big drain that goes straight down. The pulse of this music is so faint as to be nearly comatose, tending toward flatline.

From his present vantage point, Leonard Cohen sees no light, or if he does, he brings no report of it. He has one direction resolved, as well — deeper into the shadowland. He says he knows he’s forgiven, but doesn’t know exactly how. I was left wondering when he’d been found guilty, and if his sentence was perhaps too severe. Leonard seems to be seeking closure and resolution, coming to terms, preparing for the end. But from the results displayed in these New Songs, I suspect he would have been better off keeping his accounts open, getting and spending the rich treasury of the imagination. In this album he seems hypnotized by the anticipated darkness of death. Tragically, his song has preceded him to the grave.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:58 am

GUANTANAMO PROSECUTOR'S RESIGNATION AND TESTIMONY FOR THE DEFENSE IS AN ACT OF TRUE HEROISM, by Charles Carreon

10/24/08

I’ve been railing against the torturers for years, trying to add my small voice to the growing chorus of people who know that the true terrorists have been running Washington for eight years. Now a really meaningful voice is being heard — that of a military prosecutor, Lt. Col. Darren Vandeveld, who was encouraged by his priest to speak out after he confessed in an email:

“I am beginning to have grave misgivings about what I am doing, and what we are doing as a country.”


What was the problem? As a prosecutor, which I once was, we learn that it is our duty to disclose any evidence that might indicate that the defendant is innocent to the defense lawyer. Vandeveld disclosed that the trials at Guantanamo being conducted pursuant to Congress’ shamelessly-enacted “Military Commissions Act” were part of a “rigged system” in which “potentially exculpatory evidence” was never being provided to the defense lawyers.

“I have observed,” he wrote, “that a number of defense requests which I considered to be reasonable and in some cases indicated support for were nevertheless rejected by the Convening Authority, presumably on the advice of the Legal Adviser.”


When Vandeveld resigned his position because he couldn’t continue in good conscience, Chief Prosecutor Col. Lawrence Morris tried to force him to take a psychological exam. Way to slander a good guy, colonel! Vandeveld’s replacement, Lt. Col. Doug Stevenson, denies there’s any problem — “There is absolutely no exculpatory evidence in this case that has not been provided to the defense,” Stevenson told the judge. Doesn’t sound right to me. Why would a career Air Force prosecutor flush his career down the toilet to make claims that he can’t back up? And Vandeveld is offering to back them up, by testifying for the defense in the case he was previously prosecuting against Mohammed Jawad, a teenager accused of throwing a grenade that wounded two American soldiers and their interpreter in December 2002. What would he testify?

Vandeveld has told defense lawyers that his office knew Jawad may have been drugged before the grenade attack and that the Afghan Interior Ministry said two other men had confessed to the same crime, according to Michael Berrigan, deputy chief defense counsel for the Guantanamo tribunals.


That would seem rather exculpatory. So the judge, Army Col. Steve Henley, ordered the government to allow Vandeveld to testify, and his testimony was received on Friday, September 28, 2008. At first, he asked for immunity against prosecution, an indication of the kind of fear he has to deal with in this role that fate has thrust him into, but in the end he testified to those and other facts. Perhaps the course of justice will be a little straighter for a poor teenager who was thrust into a war all of a sudden when American soldiers showed up in his homeland. I can’t imagine any of us would’ve behaved differently if the war had been brought to our suburban subdivision, city street, or country road. That’s not terrorism. Some say it’s heroism. I’d stop short of that, because it just sounds like self-defense and defense of your country, which doesn’t elevate you to the heights of human achievement so much as it pulls you down to the common denominator of survival. Self-defense is not heroism, but it is also not a crime, not terrorism, and certainly not a justification to pervert the course of justice with kangaroo-court proceedings. But Lt. Col. Vandeveld has sacrificed his friends, his position, and a great deal more to help a poor boy who maybe didn’t throw a grenade at anybody, maybe was drugged up, maybe was just a victim of our worldwide terror sweep. He suffered disgrace to draw the line between decency and dishonor. Now there’s a hero.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:59 am

DIGITAL ALIBI SPRINGS PAIR HELD SINCE MAY ON DEATH-PENALTY CHARGES, by Charles Carreon

11/19/08

Image

One day you’re a free man, cashing your paycheck and going to see your girlfriend on the subway. The next day you’re judicial roadkill, hauled in front of a Federal judge on death-penalty charges of killing a man you had no idea existed — a witness in a Federal drug trial. The prosecutors say you did it. The judge says he has probable cause to believe you did. Your brother has been dragged into this thing with you. Lucky thing you have your get out of jail card right in your wallet — a digital witness with no motive to lie — your New York City Metrocard. God bless public transportation — and a little surveillance video at the check-cashing facility where you traded in your check for a few dead Presidents.

For Jason Jones and his brother Corey, all of the above came true in a nightmare that began in May of 2008, when a still-unnamed Federal witness was gunned down. Amazingly, the prosecutors who agreed to grant Jason bail balked at granting it to his brother Corey, claiming their “eyewitness” had him cold, and he still had no alibi. Judge Marrero gave the ixnay to that argument, quoting Heraclitus in his written opinion: “The river now flowing by is not the same river that passed by yesterday.”

Time enough tomorrow to worry about the dark side of this story — What incentives was this “eyewitness” given by prosecutors that caused him to identify the wrong men? Was the “eyewitness” the willing accomplice of the killers, or even the killer? Why did the prosecutors shield their unreliable witness by sticking with an obviously defective theory of the case? And most ominous of all — how long before criminals hire hackers to equip the real bad guys with false digital alibis, or corrupt the digital alibis of their chosen fall guys? In the world of crime and forgery, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anybody interested in a 24-hour digital tracking device that will establish your whereabouts in the unlikely event the law claims you were where you know you weren’t? It could run on your cellphone. Of course, you could turn it off, if you needed to. But then, would that look bad? Sure as hell would, if you needed an alibi. Oh well, no plan is foolproof.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:03 am

NEW YORK TIMES FINANCIAL COLUMNIST SHOWS DREADFUL LACK OF COMMON SENSE, by Charles Carreon

03/17/09

The Case for Paying Out Bonuses at A.I.G.
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Published: March 16, 2009

Do we really have to foot the bill for those bonuses at the American International Group?

It sure does sting. A staggering $165 million — for employees of a company that nearly took down the financial system. And heck, we, the taxpayers, own nearly 80 percent of A.I.G.

It doesn’t seem fair.

So here is a sobering thought: Maybe we have to swallow hard and pay up, partly for our own good. I can hear the howls already, so let me explain.

Everyone from President Obama down seems outraged by this. The president suggested on Monday that we just tear up those bonus contracts. He told the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, to use every legal means to recoup taxpayers’ money. Hard to argue there.

“This isn’t just a matter of dollars and cents,” he said. “It’s about our fundamental values.”

On that last issue, lawyers, Wall Street types and compensation consultants agree with the president. But from their point of view, the “fundamental value” in question here is the sanctity of contracts.

That may strike many people as a bit of convenient legalese, but maybe there is something to it. If you think this economy is a mess now, imagine what it would look like if the business community started to worry that the government would start abrogating contracts left and right.

As much as we might want to void those A.I.G. pay contracts, Pearl Meyer, a compensation consultant at Steven Hall & Partners, says it would put American business on a worse slippery slope than it already is. Business agreements of other companies that have taken taxpayer money might fall into question. Even companies that have not turned to Washington might seize the opportunity to break inconvenient contracts.

If government officials were to break the contracts, they would be “breaking a bond,” Ms. Meyer says. “They are raising a whole new question about the trust and commitment organizations have to their employees.” (The auto industry unions are facing a similar issue — but the big difference is that there is a negotiation; no one is unilaterally tearing up contracts.)

But what about the commitment to taxpayers? Here is the second, perhaps more sobering thought: A.I.G. built this bomb, and it may be the only outfit that really knows how to defuse it.

A.I.G. employees concocted complex derivatives that then wormed their way through the global financial system. If they leave — the buzz on Wall Street is that some have, and more are ready to — they might simply turn around and trade against A.I.G.’s book. Why not? They know how bad it is. They built it.

So as unpalatable as it seems, taxpayers need to keep some of these brainiacs in their seats, if only to prevent them from turning against the company. In the end, we may actually be better off if they can figure out how to unwind these tricky investments.

Not that any of this takes the bite out of paying these bonuses. For better or worse — in this case, worse — someone at A.I.G. decided this company needed to sign bonus agreements last year to keep people before the full extent of its problems became clear.

Now we can debate why A.I.G. felt it necessary to guarantee seven executives at least $3 million apiece when the economy was clearly on shaky ground. Perhaps we will find out these contracts were a bit of sleight of hand to enrich executives who knew this financial Titanic had hit the iceberg. But another possible explanation is that A.I.G. knew it needed to keep its people.

That is the explanation offered by Edward M. Liddy, who was installed as A.I.G.’s chief executive when the government effectively nationalized the company last fall. (He is being paid $1 a year.)

“We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff” the company “if employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” he said.

There’s some truth to what Mr. Liddy is saying. Would you want to work at A.I.G.? Sure, maybe for $3 million. But not if you could go somewhere else for even more — or even much less.

“The jobs are terrible,” said Robert M. Sedgwick, an executive compensation lawyer at Morrison Cohen who represents a number of employees of banks that have taken government money. “You have to read about yourself in the paper every day. These people are leaving as soon as they can.”

Let them leave, you say. Where would they go, given the troubles in the financial industry? But the fact is, the real moneymakers in finance always have a place to go. You can bet that someone would scoop up the talent from A.I.G. and, quite possibly, put it to work — against taxpayers’ interests.

“The word on the street is that A.I.G. employees are being heavily recruited,” Ms. Meyer says.

Of course, if taxpayers had not bailed out A.I.G., these contracts would not be worth anything. Andrew M. Cuomo, the attorney general of New York, made the point on Monday, when he subpoenaed A.I.G. for the names of the people who received the bonuses. If A.I.G. had spiraled into bankruptcy, its employees would have had to get in line with other unsecured creditors.

Mr. Cuomo wants to know who A.I.G.’s lucky employees are, and how they have been doing at their jobs. So here is a suggestion for him. Get the list, and give those big earners at A.I.G. a not-so-subtle nudge: Perhaps they will “volunteer” to give some of their bonuses back or watch their names hit the newspapers. But in the meantime, despite how offensive and painful it might be, let’s honor the contracts.


With his article The Case for Paying Out Bonuses at A.I.G. , New York Times financial columnist Andrew Sorkin elicited my ire. I actually wrote him an email, and you can do likewise at this link. Or you can just read my strident reply below, that quotes the salient points of his meritless arguments, and tell him you agree with Charles Carreon.

Image
New York Times Financial columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin apologist for AIG

1. “This isn’t just a matter of dollars and cents,” he said. “It’s about our fundamental values.” *** the “fundamental value” in question here is the sanctity of contracts. ***If government officials were to break the contracts, they would be “breaking a bond,” Ms. Meyer says.

Contracts are only sacred if they are entered into voluntarily with full understanding of their consequences. The anger of the public is not “buyer’s remorse;” rather, it is justified rebellion against having terms imposed upon them by an AIG management that obtained money under false pretenses and used it for purposes that, if fully known, neither Congress nor the voters would have agreed to. Therefore, these contracts are voidable because of a defect in their formation, i.e., fraud or a mistake as to material terms known exclusively to one party – AIG.

2. A.I.G. built this bomb, and it may be the only outfit that really knows how to defuse it.

“prevent them from turning against the company. In the end, we may actually be better off if they can figure out how to unwind these tricky investments.”

This contention is downright silly. Nothing is being “unwound.” AIG has just been paying off its “counterparties,” and in many cases, according to the New York Times, under circumstances where nothing was due under the “Credit Default Swap” insurance policies that AIG had issued. This is insurance malpractice, if you think about it – as if my insurance company gave me a check for the value of my wrecked vehicle because their statistics suggested I was likely to have a wreck someday. These people “turned against the company” long ago by digging the financial hole it is now in. They need to be turned out of their offices by any means less drastic that actual defenestration.

3. A.I.G. knew it needed to keep its people.

“We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff” the company “if employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury,” he said.

Excuse me, but funding the operation of AIG provided these bonus-grabbers with a subsidy for salaries that would simply have evaporated in insolvency. Being subsidized is not being subjected to “continued and arbitrary adjustment.” Your uncritical repetition of this bilge is bizarre. Since when did the New York Times turn “garbage in, garbage out” into a journalistic maxim?

4. [T]he real moneymakers in finance always have a place to go. You can bet that someone would scoop up the talent from A.I.G. and, quite possibly, put it to work — against taxpayers’ interests.

The “real moneymakers” seems like a strange definition for people who lost billions of other people’s money. Perhaps you could get a job as a meaning distorter for Fox News.

1. Perhaps they will “volunteer” to give some of their bonuses back or watch their names hit the newspapers. But in the meantime, despite how offensive and painful it might be, let’s honor the contracts.


Are you deranged? Your solicitousness toward these robber barons has utterly undermined your credibility as a commentator. You are a handsome man, as depicted on the New York Times website, and thus must come from a good family. If you will send me your email address, I will paypal you a dime, like Prof. Kingsfield in Paper Chase, so you can call your parents and tell them that there is grave doubt you will make a real financial reporter.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:05 am

OBAMA, OUR NEW "WAR PRESIDENT," VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTION BY FIGHTING THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF HABEAS CORPUS, by Charles Carreon

04/11/09

Obama made many promises, three of which I remember clearly — to restore civil rights stolen by Bushman, end the looting on Wall Street, and bring the troops home from Iraq. In a word, “change.” Looking at the results achieved in the last three months on all three fronts, it appears that Americans have been taken for chumps, because if what we’ve got is change, it’s surprisingly indistinguishable from the same old-same old, as our charismatic leader would put it. Today, I’m going to talk about how he’s chosen to continue as our “war president,” and why he should change course now, for the good of the nation.

The Evil of Arbitrary Arrest Under The Tyrannical Authority of “General Warrants” and “Bills of Attainder”

Until you have been subjected to it, you can hardly imagine the terrors inflicted by despots using brute force to arrest and imprison people without cause. I have represented people who were arrested and imprisoned on false charges, but even that does not compare to being arrested for no reason whatsoever. People arrested for no reason naturally fear that they may never be released. Certainly, those detained for no reason are much more likely to be tortured and killed in secret. After all, if you can be arrested for no reason, why would you need a reason to go farther, and commit torture, or simply eliminate the problem? Lots of people like to say it was taxes that caused the revolution, but I suspect unlawful detention was by far the more powerful driver of rebellion. The Declaration of Independence accused King George of a “long train of abuses” against the American colonists, among them:

Depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: Transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

King George’s royally-appointed judges would issue “Writs of Assistance,” which were “general warrants” that could be used to arrest anyone without cause and haul them to London for questioning and bogus “trials” without jury. Can you imagine the horror of being taken out of your home for no reason, and put on a sailing ship, seeing the shore of your native land disappearing beyond the horizon? This power, or even the threat of it, would often be used to extract testimony against friends, neighbors and relatives, who would then be arrested on charges of sedition, or other generalized offenses. Obviously, for any person not desirous of living in prison, unlawful detention in itself is mental torture, and many a bird will sing whatever song will spring them from the cage.

The danger of permitting detention without probable cause to believe the person committed a crime was thus dealt with by enacting the Fourth Amendment. On April 30, 2002, U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin dismissed a Grand Jury indictment that had been issued based on testimony from a person who had been detained under what she characterized as a general warrant issued “for investigative purposes.” The Judge’s opinion is beautiful, as are the citations she chooses from the U.S. Supreme Court case of Stanford v. Texas, that it is my patriotic pleasure to share with you:

“Vivid in the memory of the newly independent Americans,” for example, “were those general warrants known as writs of assistance under which officers of the Crown had so bedeviled the colonists.” Stanford v. Texas, 379 U.S. 476, 481 (1965). Those general warrants were viewed “as the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty, and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law book, because they placed the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.” Id. (quotation marks omitted). As a result, in December 1791, the Bill of Rights became “the supreme Law of the Land.” U.S. Const. art. VI cl. 2.

The Fourth Amendment states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. U.S. Const. amend. IV.

“These words are precise and clear. They reflect the determination of those who wrote the Bill of Rights that the people of this new Nation should forever ‘be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects’ from intrusion and seizure by officers acting under the unbridled authority of a general warrant.” Stanford, 379 U.S. at 481 (emphasis added).


General Warrants were issued by anti-sedition magistrates operating in the colonies as judicial agents of repression. The British Parliament, in an anti-terrorist mood similar to that of our post-911 Congress, also took a hand in fighting the enemies of the Crown. They used a special type of law to demonize political enemies, called “Bills of Attainder.” The word “attainder” derives from the word “attainted,” as in “ostracised” or “damned.” A Bill of Attainder was a law that named specific individuals and deprived those people of their civil rights — the right to trial on the charges of which they were accused. A Bill of Attainder telescoped the entire prosecution into a single decree.

Under English law, a criminal condemned for a serious crime … could be declared “attainted”, meaning that his civil rights were nullified: he could no longer own property or pass property to his family by will or testament. His property could consequently revert to the Crown…. Bills of attainder were sometimes criticized as a convenient way for the King to convict subjects of crimes and confiscate their property without the bother of a trial—and without the need for a conviction or indeed any evidence at all. Wikipedia.


To the preceding we might add that not only would an “attainted” person and his children be deprived of property, he could be deprived of his freedom, jailed in the Tower for nothing more than being the victim of a legislative decree that “Mr. X is a felonious criminal.” Along with “ex post facto” laws that criminalize past conduct, Bills of Attainder were made unlawful by Article I, Sec. 3, Clause 9 of the United States Constitution, which states: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto shall be passed.”

Because a Bill of Attainder is so clearly unlawful, Congress is careful not to name anyone directly as a target of its laws, but after the Bush coup, the Congress end-ran the Constitution in a three-step process. First, they created the category of “terrorist organizations” for which no clear definition existed, and told the Treasury make a list of “terrorist organizations.” Second, they made it unawful to “provide support” for a terrorist organization — which of course could be anything up to and including holding a bake sale for Chechnian orphans. Third, they created the category of “unlawful combatants,” and gave the Decider the absolute power to decide who was an “unlawful combatant,” a definition that had nothing to do with any objective evidence, and was justified simply on the bald assertion that the Decider was in fact the Decider.

By designating people as “terrorists” or “unlawful combatants,” using standards so broad that anyone could be made subject to the law, and depriving those people of civil rights, the U.S. Congress created a Bill of Attainder that was worse than the original — basically a blank check for the CIA to run anyone into its secret prisons, where, as we now know, they would be delivered into the hands of interrogators who had been told it was lawful to commit torture. I do believe I will indulge myself in a colloquialism — this is Scary Shit.

The “Great Writ” of Habeas Corpus

Ironically, like so much in our jurisprudence, the Great Writ of Habeas Corpus evolved from the exercise of monarchical power for elitist reasons. It happened like this. Mayhap a young nobleman making sport with his noble pals breaketh into a humble cottage, and there before God and nature and her horrified family, drunkenly debaucheth a comely lass, and in the ensuing affray, killeth her brother. A local magistrate clapeth the young lord into irons. The wayward noble’s father approacheth a courtier with silver in hand who then approacheth the King and explaineth the true state of affairs, and that a grievous wrong hath been committed upon a highborn titled male who hath indulged in high spirits and defended his noble person with his cavalry blade against felonious assaults by a commoner. The King findeth his Royal Person affronted by the detention of one to whom He is related by a close degree of consanguinity, and in consequence therof issueth a writ of Habeas Corpus directing the errant magistrate henceforth to “produce the body” of the imprisoned gallant, who is then delivered to a well-appointed judicial chamber and strictly questioned by a duly constituted court of handpicked, well-fed and bewigged legal lords, in consequence of which an acquittal ensueth and the chastened youth is released to the custody of his family with the exhortation to keep his spirits in check lest justice be not in future so merciful. The King’s peace was thus restored. From such ignoble beginnings came the writ of habeas corpus.

Clever lawyers gradually expanded it into a judicial remedy for unexplained detentions in general. They are still issued by the federal courts in an antiquated by effective form, as follows:

We command you that the body of Charles L. Craig, in your custody detained, as it is said, together with the day and cause of his caption and detention, you safely have before Honorable Martin T. Manton, United States Circuit Judge for the Second Judicial Circuit, within the circuit and district aforesaid, to do and receive all and singular those things which the said judge shall then and there consider of him in this behalf; and have you then and there this writ.


Today the writ of habeas corpus is the plea of last resort, and is probably used most by death row defenders to challenge the amazingly unjust proceedings that result in the horrific statistics that have caused several states to suspend executions — lying witnesses, sleeping defense lawyers, phony forensic evidence, prejudice against minority defendants, the whole digusting snowball of injustice that gets rolling in the wake of a gruesome murder, claiming more victims, and leaving the true perpetrators free to kill again. Indeed, the right of habeas corpus for common criminals has not been curtailed. To be deprived of your sacred right to obtain judicial relief from unjust arrest and imprisonment, as in the time of King George, you need to be an Enemy of the State.

Three Towers Fall — One Cherished Right Dies, And Hundreds of “Unlawful Combatants” Are Born

http://archive.org/details/Three_Towers ... Tower_Fall

Congress and the Executive Branch have been acting like King George on steroids ever since the Three Towers came down on September 11th. Two months after thousands were killed in a mass murder for which only a single lone madman (Moussauwi) was prosecuted, on November 13, 2001 Bush granted himself the power to arrest anyone suspected of connection to terrorists or terrorism as an “unlawful combatant,” to be held indefinitely without charges being filed against him or her, without a court hearing, and without access to a lawyer. Hundreds of people were declared unlawful combatants and held in abominable conditions in Guantanamo and in secret CIA prisons by the now-disgraced former President, who of course never saw them, or any evidence, or even knew their names. After the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of United States citizens to seek writs of habeas corpus even if they had been declared “unlawful combatants” in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004), Congress unlawfully overruled the Constitution by enacting Sec. 1005(e) of the Dept of Defense Appropriations Act of 2006, that provides:

“No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the Department of Defense at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.


In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), the Supreme Court rejected Congress’s attempts to strip the courts of jurisdiction over habeas corpus appeals. Congress then enacted the Military Commissions Act, that amended the language above to replace habeas corpus with rigged proceedings that have been tainted by the use of tortured confessions as evidence and repudiated by military prosecutors themselves as virtual kangaroo courts:

“No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.”


Three Branches of Government Collapse Into One “War President”

On January 17, 2007, Torturer General Alberto Gonzales, still allowed to spew noxious tyrannical propaganda in the halls of Congress in those days, told the Senate that the Constitution didn’t grant even American citizens the right of habeas corpus, calling it a “treasured gift” that the Decider could “decide” to suspend. Erwin Chemerinsky, a respected Constitutional law professor, took exception to Gonzales’ revisionist Constitutional history: “If there’s no habeas corpus, and if the government wants to pick you or me off the street and hold us indefinitely, how do we get our release?” Douglas Kmiec, a federal prosecutor under Reagan and Bush the First, agreed, stating that without habeas corpus: “one of the basic protections of human liberty against the powers of the state would be embarrassingly absent from our constitutional system.” Bruce Fein, another veteran of the Reagan-era Justice Department, said Gonzales was trying to “create the idea that during conflicts, the three branches of government collapse into one, and it is the president.” Yes, that means that in “wartime,” all we need is our dear old father-figure, calling the shots, imprisoning and torturing the bad guys, keeping us safe in our terrorized homeland, our beloved “War President.”

The Judges Finally Turn It Around

The judicial branch gave Bush enough rope to hang himself and everyone in the CIA, if someone had the courage to tie the other end to a stout tree limb. But eventually, they figured that we could maybe go ahead and restore civil rights. In Boumediene v. Bush June 12, 2008, the Supreme Court rejected that idea, holding that Guantanamo detainees have the right to seek a writ of habeas corpus in US Federal Court.

After the election, it seemed possible good news would come from the White House, and on January 21, 2009, Obama declared that the Guantanamo detainees “have the constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.” That, you might have thought, would be that. But not so fast.

Orwell Said It Would Be Like This

When District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina released 17 Chinese Uighurs in October 2008, who have been held at Guantanamo for no good reason for seven years, no one was surprised that the Bush Justice Department sought and obtained a stay of the ruling. What was surprising was when Obama’s Justice Department continued the same position. But of course, there was something difficult about that case, since no one knows where to send the Uighurs — China might just imprison them, and some people think they’re not good enough to stay in the US. But yesterday, April 10, 2009, the other shoe dropped, and there can now be now doubt that Obama has decided he too is a “War President” who can imprison anyone he likes without a warrant and without judicial recourse. Obama’s lawyers appealed District Judge John Bates’ decision to allow three men detained at Bargram Air Base in Kabul, Afghanistan to seek writs of habeas corpus. So people have the right of habeas corpus, except when they don’t.

Yes, Obama’s face points one way, and his feet walk the other way, in a posture he seems to adopt quite naturally. Power warps the psyche, and is almost impossible to renounce. Get ready for a new age of happy tyranny. It’s 1984 all over again.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:50 am

PORN SCHOOL, by Charles Carreon

04/19/09


 
You got kids? Or friends or relatives who have kids? You know, “kids” – those little people who haven’t grown up to be unemployed yet? When you’re a parent, you don’t have much choice about what to do with them during the daylight hours, when they’re not at home watching TV, playing video games, or posting to their mySpace page. You have to send them to school, so they can learn to follow the rules, how to fear authority, how to cower in the face of peer pressure, and how to experience increasing anxiety as testing day approaches and the time for procrastination diminishes. Without these skills, they will be naked before the world, and they may suffer disorientation when they see thieves rewarded with more money to steal, bullshit-artists turned into world leaders, and people who eat worms on television turned into reality stars.

And as a parent, you accept all this. You go to work yourself, if you can find it, and entrust your children to a claque of people called teachers who quack like ducks and reward the best quackers with high grades in quacking, and quack about how nice the quacking sounds when all the students quack in unison, and how cacophonous it is when they quack randomly and out of order. You accept all this, and you even pay taxes and school bonds so the teachers won’t go on strike and quack at you about how hard their jobs are and how mean kids are and how teachers just don’t get any respect.

But I tell you what you don’t do. You don’t expect your kid to come home and tell you that what they taught her in school today was how to strip. You particularly wouldn’t expect it if you lived in a Mormon community like Safford, Arizona, where the largest business is a Federal prison and the nearest strip bar is probably sixty miles away in Tucson across the street from the air base. But that’s what a couple of Safford parents discovered when their daughter came home from school one day a half-dozen years ago. She was just thirteen years old, a preppie kind of girl as she remembers it – a gentle little creature with tender feelings and a body just starting to turn to womanhood -- when she was called to the principal’s office and taught how to take it off.

There in school, where her parents couldn’t protect her, where those who were supposed to protect her had suddenly turned into sexual vampires indulging a sick impulse to leer and humiliate her, they made her take off her shoes, her skirt, her blouse, and then, they told to pull her bra away from her chest and move it side to side, and made her do the same with her panties. And oh, what were they looking for? Acid? Heroin? Crack? Crank? Switchblades? No, something far more dangerous. Something so dangerous, so likely to cause instantaneous derangement of the adolescent mind and senses that not a moment could be wasted. Yes. Ibuprophen.

Hey, don’t look at me like that! Ibuprophen is a powerful pain-reliever, just like Oxycontin and Vicodin, the drugs that turned Rush Limbaugh into the heartless monster that he is. Why do you think people take pain relievers, anyway? To numb themselves to the pain caused by injuring other people. It is hugely popular with bankers, politicians, bailout artists, and social vermin with inflamed consciences and headaches so big they just want to run away from their problems. So these Safford school administrators, they were combating an evil that might be too small for you to see, but they, being used to nipping trouble in the bud, were onto it early, protecting this young lady from herself, and protecting her schoolmates from her. Never mind that they found no ibuprophen – the word got around – there was no way to hide your Advil stash from these stern enforcers of adolescent virtue.

The good of the whole student body had to be considered. So when the young lady’s parents sued, the State of Arizona fought back – through trial, and appeal, and all the way up to the US Supreme Court – which is where it is now. That’s a lot of lawyer hours spent defending the right of school officials to get an intimate view of their students – a lot of taxpayer dollars – but once again, there are powerful factors at work that compel this type of government activity. I can hear Arizona's lawyer arguing right now: "It’s about the big picture, not just about one girl! This could open the floodgates of litigation, your Honor! It would incentivize parents to file lawsuits for money – filthy money – and expose the public treasury to being looted by every child who had to expose their genitals for the good of the school. And that would chill dedicated public servants in the performance of their duty to explore every nook and cranny when necessary to fight the scourge of Advil use now threatening the nation. Your values would have to be on upside down to not see where the real danger lies. After all, a young woman’s virginal assets aren’t tainted when viewed by people without prurient impulses, people who just want to find the Advil. But lawsuits – now there’s something dirty!"
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:53 am

ARE NUCLEAR MISSILES OUR EASTER ISLAND STATUES?, by Charles Carreon

04/20/09



Everybody has heard about Easter Island, the place in the South Pacific where the inhabitants, all of Polynesian ancestry, became so obsessed with carving enormous stone statues that they exhausted the resources of the island, cut down all the large trees from which oceangoing canoes could be made, and ended up marooned on the island, unable to fish in the deep sea, trade with other islands, or otherwise maintain the high standard of living they had once enjoyed.

In Collapse – How Societies Fail, author Jared Diamond dug into the story in detail. The island was divided into pie-shaped territories governed by about seven or eight tribes that coexisted in a competitive balance. They didn’t want to have bloody wars, but they had to keep their populations busy with work that would prevent them from hatching plots to overthrow the tribal leaders. Tribal chiefs and priests competed to make ever larger statues, and it consumed a huge amount of slave labor to create and erect each one. When they couldn’t make them any bigger, they competed by placing a little hat of rare red stone at the very top. It must have placed a great strain on the people of the island, because the system broke down suddenly and irreparably all at once while the demented project was still in full swing. Out of a total of 887 statues on the island, 397 were still in production in the main quarry at Rano Rarak, while only 288, just 32% of the total, had been erected, and 92 were abandoned in transport by the slaves who decided to give up the process of hauling them up and down the steep volcanic ravines to their sacred destinations. In the quarry, tools were cast aside as if perhaps there was a sudden revolt. Too late to save the island ecology, however. The leaders who had lead the people into an economic boondoggle were deposed, but the revolutionaries didn’t have enough resources left to work with to save the society.

Ironically, the Easter Islanders were the descendants of heroic seafaring tribes who traversed thousands of miles of open water in outrigger dugouts to reach the remote island. But the civilization they created so depleted the island’s resources that they couldn’t even find enough trees to build their traditional dugouts, and by the time westerners arrived to discover them, their numbers had dwindled to a couple of hundred, and they had descended into cannibalism, watched over and mocked by the stone abominations hewn by their short-sighted, overcompetitive ancestors.

I live in Tucson, Arizona, where the US Air Force housed 18 Titan Intercontinental Ballistic Nuclear Missiles for many years. And I was born in 1956, in the heat of the cold war, when the nation’s military superiority to Soviet Russia was a constant topic of discussion, and people who had bomb shelters really seemed to have an advantage over the rest of us, who didn’t even have basements. Everyone had seen the movies of houses and buildings being swept away by the shockwave, and we lived in real fear. Movies like Dr. Strangelove and Fail Safe were the big hits of the day. As Dr. Strangelove reminds us, during those years, there was at least one squadron of nuclear armed B52 bombers in the air every day, all day long, refueling in mid-air so that if need be, our nation would not be late to Armageddon.

If nuclear bombs were going to revolutionize warfare, the results have been underwhelming. Ever since the other guys got them, our nation has not gotten close to using them. Truman directed them dropped on the Japanese only because they could not retaliate in kind and the window of opportunity to ever use them without fear of igniting the apocalypse was closing. He knew that the Russians were going to get them soon, and he wanted to show that the US was not afraid to incinerate 200,000 people in one day. It was now or never. “Give ‘em hell Harry” sure as hell did. Interestingly, of all the nations clamoring to obtain nuclear weapons, the Japanese have never been among them.

The fact is nuclear bombs are not real “weapons.” A weapon is something you can use to destroy your enemy. If it destroys you simultaneously, it’s not a weapon, it’s a suicide device. Imagine calling up a gun company, like Glock, or Ruger, or Remington, and you say, to their product development people, “I have a great idea for a new weapon.” They’re like, “Okay, how does it work.” And you’re all, “It’s great. You pull the trigger, and it simultaneously kills your enemy and you.” They’re like, “That’s not a weapon, you idiot. Who would we sell it to? The police? They would have to hire a whole new police force every time there was a shootout.” But that’s what nuclear weapons are – mass suicide devices, and that’s why we’ve never used them but twice, on a defenseless nation of non-Caucasians.

No, the only purpose for having a nuclear arsenal is for the same reason the Easter Island chiefs built their big statues – because the other tribes had them. People wonder at the excess megatonnage that we have – enough to blow the crust off the earth I once heard, or to knock it off its rotational axis I heard another time – at any rate, far more than any usable amount. Indeed, a much more efficient way to deal with this would be to allow the Russians to actually place their bomb right in Washington D.C., and the US could place one in Moscow, and we’d have an equally effective balance of terror. That would of course be altogether too raw a way of imposing a balance of terror, though, as if Kruschev and Kennedy had just decided to sit down, snort lines of crank and toss off shooter of vodka, and play Russian roulette with a snub nose thirty eight.

So instead, we create these incredibly sophisticated machines. With solid fuel rockets that will nearly put the missile in orbit, with inertial guidance systems that are supposed to enable the things to fly fifteen thousand miles and hit a city, and all stuffed with the rarest of all metals, put together by the most intelligent engineers, and creating toxic waste all along the way. Then we stuff these gigantic pillars of military symbolism in holes in the ground and they sit there. And sit there. And sit there.

You know, they’ve been sitting there so long, the last thing you’d want to do would be to launch one. I mean, would you want to rely on a car built in the fifties or sixties? Would you buy a computer built in the eighties? I mean stuff gets old, and rockets, well they aren’t so f’n reliable in the first place. About every seventh time they launched a space shuttle, it blew up. And with the missiles, they never really tested them extensively. They couldn’t. “Hey Moscow, let us see if we can hit you with a target missile. Just a dud, y’know. Practice our aim.”

No, these suckers were just a big Easter Island scam from the get-go. We took all this time and resources, and built and built and built, and guess what, it had the same result. While our engineers were building missies, they weren’t teaching high school. While our welders and riveters were building missiles, they weren’t building bridges, schools, and hospitals. And the best part of all – the companies that made these things – they knew they would never be tested. It didn’t really matter if they blew up halfway to Moscow, or turned around and hit Pittsburg. The shitstorm on Judgment Day would be thick enough to cover any incompetence. Yeah, we feel sorry for the Easter Islanders. But next to doomsday, cannibalism sounds appetizing.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:54 am

CREATIVITY VERSUS COPYRIGHTS, by Charles Carreon

04/20/09



Creativity is the product of greed. That’s what Hollywood, the moviemakers and industry tell us every day. They tell us that if we don’t give them an endless stream of “royalties,” we’ll die in a wasteland devoid of creativity. The radio will go silent, the TV will go blank, cable channels will dry up, movie theatres will be nothing but places to buy overpriced candy and popcorn. Why? Because, these media pushers tell us, they won’t have any incentive to “create content.”

Well, let’s just think about that for a minute. Did creativity begin when the copyright office starting registering copyrights? Did musicians wait to write music until they could get studio contract? Did theater start when Cecil B. DeMille filmed Ben Hur? Gee, I don’t think so.

In fact, the first book to get a copyright was Don Quixote, and the reason it got a copyright was because Miguel de Cervantes, the author, gave a copy to the King of Spain, and the King of Spain liked it so much, he asked Cervantes if there was anything he wanted, because he was the King, and he would give it to him, and Cervantes, being pretty smart, asked if he could have the exclusive right to publish the book for what must have seemed like a long time – twenty years. And the King said, sure, I’ll do that, and he put it right in the introduction to the book, and he signed it, “I, the King.” “Yo, El Rey.”

Man, that’s classy, and legitimate. Twenty years, and after that – boom – into the public domain. Why? Maybe because he hoped that Cervantes would be motivated to write another book. Maybe because he thought that more people would read it if all the publishers of Spain were able to publish the book. So the story of the Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, thought to be one of the greatest books ever written, was written without the incentive of a copyright. The copyright was only awarded after the fact as a reward for work well done.

In fact, if we look at how creativity works, we see that this whole idea that it is stimulated by greed is just nonsense. Go to a kindergarten, and watch kids fingerpainting, or making collages, or learning how to play the recorder. What’s in it for them? Where’s the payoff? Somebody clue me in – who’s greasin’ these kids?

Hmmm. It’s a mystery – well maybe it’s not real creativity – poor quality of workmanship – fit only for the refrigerator door. Well, let’s leave the schoolhouse and go watch some grownups in Little Theatre working through some Shakespeare – a little Romeo and Juliet -- “What light from yonder window breaks?” Maybe some Julius Caesar -- “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” And my personal favorite, from Richard the Third, “and cry HAVOC! And let slip the dogs of war…” Hehe, I love that one – just stirs the blood, doesn’t it? And my point was that it was a good thing Shakespeare was able to copyright his works, eh? He wouldn’t have written them, otherwise. Oh, wait a minute – in Queen Elizabeth’s time there were no copyrights. Well, what a goddamn fool he was. Should have just kept it bottled up inside that old bald forehead of his. If he’d had a copyright, he wouldn’t have had to write so many damn plays. Could have just written one big hit and mined the hell out of it. Dumbass.

All of the great classical music, of course, would never have been written without copyrights, though, right? I mean, Mozart? Bach? Brahms? Beethoven? Surely those great musical geniuses were incentivized by the hope of receiving a huge stream of royalties? Or at least sales of sheet music. No? They wrote for patrons who played the music themselves and shared it with their friends? For churches that played it for free? Allowed it to just be copied and resold by strangers with no obligation to send the check to the early equivalent of BMI, or ASCAP?

Wait a minute – we gotta suppress this information! We’ve got to make people think that without copyrights, writers and musicians and visual artists and actors would never be creative at all -- they’d go directly to drugs and alcohol without stopping to produce any books, songs, pictures, plays or movies. They’ve got to make people think that you can’t make a movie if you can’t raise a 100 Million bucks to blow up a a few helicopters and blow a hot blonde and some stud with a pistol in his hand out the window of a skyscraper with a huge fireball about to engulf them, simulating some kind of pyrotechnic orgasm. They’ve got to convince musicians they’re nobody if they can’t make a video with a bunch of hired ass-shakers gyrating around them while they do cool shit like text people and feel themselves up and wander around their house showing off how many pairs of shoes they have. They’ve got to convince actors that they’ll never get an acting job unless they get a nose job or a boob job or give a producer a y-know job. They’ve got to convince you that all of this is entertainment and you wouldn’t want anything different.

And they’re so afraid that you’ll spend a little time with yourself, actually creating. That’s why they keep telling you – give us money, and leave the creating to us. But they’re not creating – there’s no money in that – and where are you going to find another Jim Morrison, another Elvis Presley, another Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, or Syd Barrett? Those guys are all dead – dumbass – we don’t have to pay them any more than we pay Mickey Mouse – we just keep selling their stuff over and over and over. And when they don’t want to die fast enough, we play ‘em for laughs, like Britney and Jacko, we ignore them like Prince. But there are some guys who know how to reinvent themselves – and they stay ahead of the game – like Puff Daddy, I mean P. Diddy, I mean Diddy, soon he’s gon’ be “Diddy Wah Diddy,” or Don’t Know Diddley – at any rate, there’s no need to kill a guy like that – he’s just proves the point we’re tryin’ to make – without a production company to put you up there, you’re nobody.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17884
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Belles Lettres

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest