Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:09 am

THE FALL AND RISE OF LEONARD COHEN, by Charles Carreon

2/11/10

Rejoice! The troubadour par excellence of the late twentieth century has risen from the crypt in which he had untimely entombed himself, and put to flight the rumors anticipating his final demise. In the performance captured in the Live in London DVD, Leonard Cohen is effusively grateful to his audience, and the audience reciprocates with unrestrained enthusiasm. During his brief opening words to the audience, he observes that he hasn't been in London in fourteen years, and that on that occasion, he was "Sixty years old -- just a kid with a crazy dream." The audience responds with hearty, affectionate laughter. After the intermission, he cracks another joke about his age, and thanks the audience for "keeping my songs alive."

He begins most of his songs with a brief recitation of the most memorable lyrics in his soft, rasping voice. Then he swings into the tune with familiar ease, as each member of his ensemble takes up their part with passionate discipline, warmth, and sincerity. Almost all of the songs are drawn from his familiar, well-loved repertoire, starting with "Dance Me To The End of Love," continuing through such stalwarts as "Bird On A Wire," "Tower of Song," and "Suzanne."

If there are weak points in the concert, it is when he sings a couple of songs -- "Boogie Street" and "My Secret Life," authored by his "collaborator," Sharon Robinson. Although they go down well, the lyrics are distinctly less complex. The feel-good moment of the concert is supposed to be Leonard's performance of a new political song, "Democracy," and while the song is heartening, its literalism contrasts awkwardly with the lyricism of Leonard's other works. Put simply, Leonard Cohen isn't Bruce Cockburn.

The closeout of the concert is an exquisitely long affair with one song about endings segueing into the next. "Take This Waltz" is the nominal last song. Then they return for "So Long Marianne," swing into "First We Take Manhattan," and wind down again with "Sisters of Mercy." After this second ending, Leonard reads the lyrics to a new song, "If It Be Thy Will," in which he alludes to the "obstacles" that brought him to the brink of despair and led him to surrender his fate, leaving it to the Almighty whether he should ever sing again. After his two backup singers render the song in a touching duet, he rolls into "Closing Time," "I Tried to Leave You," and "Whither Thou Goest." By the time Leonard says his last goodbyes, the audience has been filled to overflowing, and it feels as if the Universe has been enriched by an exchange of great affection and warmth.

I am sure that many people, like myself, had concluded that Leonard's dismal mumblings on "Ten New Songs" spelled the end of his creative time on this Earth. Fortunately, he was gifted with the "obstacles" to which he alluded, and the travail roused him from the tomb. As some of us know, the obstacles included having $5 Million stolen from him by his longtime assistant Kelly Lynch, a Buddhist of the Vajra Vampyre sect. No doubt this was a terrible experience for him, but the results have been good for all of us. Leonard has lost a modest fortune, but regained his immense creative power. In this performance, he stands before his audience in humble gratitude for helping him to reclaim this gift.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:10 am

CARREON SEES FREE CONTENT LOWERING REVENUE OF SEX.COM: VIDEO
by Charles Carreon
3/18/2010

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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:14 am

UNDERCAPITALIZED AUGUSTA RESOURCES CAN MINE COPPER?, by Charles Carreon

2/21/10

I live in Tucson, Arizona, where Augusta Resources is getting all the permitting done to put in an open pit copper mine. Allowing a company to dig an open pit copper mine in our vicinity is like a marriage that will require total commitment on the part of both partners.

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At the very least, you are going to be left with one big hole in your countryside, and huge mountains of “tailings,” which is waste washed out of the ore. In the case of Augusta, they’re planning on dumping their tailings on Federal Forest land.

And then there’s the humongous amount of water that is required to wash the ore. Then there’s the smelters, that consume enormous amounts of energy and generate sulfur dioxide that turns into sulfuric acid and rains down on the land. Check out these tailing ponds, basically acid lakes — colorful but toxic!

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Before entering into such a relationship, Arizonans should take a good, hard look at the suitor that is so zealous to take control of our assets.

Many people assume that the proposed Rosemont copper mine is being pursued by a well-established mining company with experience in the field of mineral extraction and a huge capital base that will enable it to accomplish what it promises. This is not the case.

Augusta Resources has never mined an ounce of minerals in any country. It is a Canadian paper creation powered by paperwork that is not highly regarded by the investment community. Let’s look at the financial numbers that are publicly available. In a July 21, 2009 press release, Augusta stated that it “strongly believes the project can sustain debt financing of 65%–70% of the total project capital cost, which amounts to approximately $625 million.” It “has no revenues from operations and does not expect to generate any revenues from operations in the foreseeable future,” and “the funds for the planned activities in 2009 and 2010 are expected to be raised from additional debt and equity financings.” It is currently living entirely on borrowed money. As of September 2009, it had only $14 Million in cash on hand and total liabilities of $40 Million, and recently raised $32.5 Million in an offering of common stock to fund its operations.

Meanwhile, Augusta has taken advantage of Arizona’s pro-mining water law to start drilling wells just south of Tucson that will very likely deprive thousands of residents and the City of Tucson of water for basic living purposes. Augusta will be able to pump 6,000 acre-feet of water a year, that’s 2 Billion gallons a year — worth about $5 Billion dollars when sold a gallon at a time to thirsty Arizonans. Augusta’s wells will deprive us of that water and provide nothing like a fair return on its value. Supposedly, Augusta will “recharge” the wells with CAP water, but what guarantee is there that it will ever perform this promise?

With 70% debt financing, if Augusta can’t meet its obligations, there is a great risk it will simply melt away, leaving Tucson poorer in copper, water, and quality of life. If Augusta is serious about pursuing this project, it should be required to post a performance bond for the entire cost of remediating all of the environmental damage, water use, and transportation expense that it will bring to the area. But where could they borrow that kind of money?

View Augusta’s Website, where the financials are available under the Investor tab.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:16 am

TOMMY, CAN YOU HEAR ME?, by Charles Carreon

06/01/10

“Tommy,” the first rock opera, created by Peter Townshend and The Who, received suitable deification in the 1975 Ken Russell production of the movie, starring Ann Margret as Tommy’s tortured mum, Oliver Reed as his materialistic stepdad, and Roger Daltrey, The Who’s redoubtable frontman, in the starring role. Filmed with astounding precision and what looks like digital clarity decades before the technology emerged, Russell’s epic transformed a popular record album to a milestone in cultural history.

Thirty-five years later, what is it that makes this movie relevant to the modern audience? Everything. In “Tommy,” Russell sank an exploratory drill into the zeitgeist of the late twentieth century, pulled out a core sample, and analyzed it with gas chromatography to reveal the psychological fault lines that shaped the psyche of the sixties generation. Presented in a delicious visual presentation that unites primary colors, outlandish sets, and over-the-top performances to bring out every nuance of the non-stop soundtrack, Tommy quite possibly reveals more than Townshend and The Who could ever have anticipated.

Giving himself a free hand with the sparse narrative, Russell moves in broad strokes from climax to climax. It’s war time. Hitler’s bombing England. Tommy’s conceived in a wartime romance, his Dad flies off in an RAF bomber to snuff Germans, and never comes back. Mummy gets the news while toiling away in a munitions factory, stuffing bombs with ball bearings that look suspiciously like pinballs. Then one day she gets a note, and faints dead away, spilling, you guessed it, lots of pinballs on the floor in a sort of orgy of random chrome movement. Mummy finds a new bloke to set up house with in a postwar boomtown, and everything is just tea and crumpets until one night Dad shows up with a big nasty scar on his face, not at all thrilled to see the new bloke, and the feeling being mutual, murder ensues, unfortunately witnessed by the child of tender years, who is thereupon advised, in no uncertain terms, at high volume, by now apparently evil stepdad and traitorous mum, that “You didn’t hear it, You didn’t see it, You won’t say nothin’ to no one ever in your life.” And just like that, the obliging little child turns deaf, dumb and blind, the most compliant fellow you ever could have asked for. Not surprisingly, this casts a bit of a pall over family life, but not enough to actually keep his parents from going out on the town, and Tommy is subjected to a couple of nasty babysitters who take advantage of his disability by manhandling and molesting him. Subjected to religion, therapy, and acid, like the entire sixties generation, Tommy emerges as insensible as ever, until at last he finds a crack in his isolation, and in streams the light of pinball!

Of course, pinball machines are an old technology, perhaps less resonant for a generation that has never pulled back the spring and fired steel balls into the maze of chutes, pads, and bonus-point holes, watching the numbers flipping over with a chunk-chunk-chunk sound, slapping the flipper buttons wildly, trying to keep that ball in play as long as possible, but Russell brings it to life pretty well. Tommy is an overnight sensation, and becomes the king of pinball who, as the lyrics of the song say, wins because “he ain’t got no distractions, can’t hear no buzzers and bells, always gets a replay, plays by sense of smell…” He gets rich, his parents hitch a ride on his fame, and one good thing leads to another one afternoon when his mum, tired of the deaf, dumb and blind routine, tosses him through a mirror and he pops out the other side hearing, talking and feeling. Tommy becomes the guru of his own religion, leading a worldwide network of disciples who adopt his doctrine of sense-deprivation and each take their places at their pinball machines, blocking off all sensory input with their handy sensory deprivation toolkit: “Put in your earplugs, put on your eyeshades, you know where to put the cork!” This turn of events would be a little less ironic if Tommy actually had been deaf, dumb and blind, not merely a trauma victim with amnesia and sensory denial. But Tommy’s mother and stepdad know a good thing when they see it. Delighted to discover that the kid they turned into a freak has managed to escape his psychological prison and become a very fine cash cow, they happily transform themselves into the chiefest of disciples, minding the needs of the faithful and reaping the earthly rewards. But the faithful are fickle, the sensory deprivation craze wears thin, there’s a riot, and mom and stepdad are killed by rampaging disciples eager to move on to the next craze. Tommy, finally freed from the need to conceal his father’s murder, declares his freedom from everything, climbs a symbolic mountain, the same mountain his real dad had been seen climbing at the very beginning of the movie, and emerges into the light of a brand new day, the first real day of his life since the darkness descended.

So it’s kind of like Hamlet with a pseudo-happy ending, isn’t it? If Hamlet had been steeped in the psychology of conflict-avoidance, sponsored a hokey religion so his traitorous mother and murderous stepdad could make a shitload of money, then let them be taken down by a mob of alienated devotees, so he could at last get on with his life. There’s something smug and adolescent about the story, of course. Little Tommy punishing his parents, sucking it up inside himself, hustling the public with their own lust for the miraculous, finally turning the whole game upside down and reclaiming his independence from everyone and everything. Which is why it is quintessentially the autobiography of the sixties generation, and also a map of failure.

Allow me to make my thesis painfully obvious. The killing that the sixties generation witnessed, and was told to be silent about, was the Vietnam war. Tommy’s blindness and deafness was the “my generation’s” refusal to absorb the social message to conform, to go to war and go to work like past generations. Tommy’s muteness was their refusal to communicate with a corrupt society, their retreat into back-to-the-landism, their flight into Eastern spirituality, their turning on, tuning in, and dropping out under the guidance of Tim Leary. None of which quite turned out as promised, and for a reason that the opera makes apparent – Tommy never confronts or exposes his mother and stepdad for their crimes. When they are killed by the rampaging mob of disgruntled devotees, it’s a bit too convenient, a deus ex machina, a liberating fantasy that parallels the apocalyptic hopefulness of the post-sixties era, when the imminent collapse of the existing social order was fondly anticipated as the precursor of the “Aquarian Age,” and of course, never came to pass.

There is more to Tommy than the history lesson, though. It’s also a movie for visionaries willing to peer into the maelstrom of existence, letting the blind eyes of an alienated child be their portal into a hallucinatory inner reality:

“Soaring and flying images spin
He is your leader
He is your guide
On the amazing journey
together you'll ride…”


Russell deftly places the audience inside Tommy’s mind, and the view is frankly terrifying. What I wish I could do, and can’t, is show you this movie in a large theater, to reproduce the experience properly. If you get the chance to see it in a big cinema, don’t let it get away. And if you are watching it at home, try to remember, as you watch the faces of traitorous mom and murderous stepdad filling the screen, screaming “You didn’t hear it! You didn’t see it!” that Russell wants their faces to be twenty feet high, totally overwhelming your identity, your tiny little self. He wants to shrink you down to nothing, to compress you, like the big bang in reverse, into a tiny, isolated sphere.

Speaking of spheres, they dominate the film. The primary Platonic form, the sphere is a pure abstraction that Russell uses first to capture the mind of the viewer, and then to hold it at the centre of attention. For a good part of the movie, it begins to seem as if Russell’s whole goal is to subject the audience to one insane experience after another. Russell’s familiarity with psychedelics is more than obvious during this part of the movie, and if he were less skilled in laying it on thick, viewers would reject his heavy-handed treatment. Instead, we feel the jolting cruelty personally when his cousin tortures him with cigarette burns and near-drowning, we squirm as he’s molested by his uncle, and we are rapt in horror as Tina Turner, The Acid Queen, in one of the most unhinged performances of all time, “tears his soul apart.”

Each traumatic event generates another traumatized Tommy and another sphere of contained trauma. Each sphere is color coded – torture is yellow, molestation is blue, madness is red. The spheres symbolize Tommy’s capacity to contain and control each ration of abuse that he is handed, but for a time, it seems as if Tommy is simply going to generate a whole family of traumatized selves to inhabit his hollowed-out personality. The way out is signaled during the Acid Queen sequence, when he sees his true father, holding a pure white sphere, and is himself transformed into his father, and into a crucified Christ-figure.

Tommy’s mother’s efforts to heal him lead us to more external spherical revelations. At the Church of Marilyn, High Priest Eric Clapton leads the rites of devotion to the silvered globes of Marilyn’s breasts and butt, as blind pilgrims gain admission two-by-two, piously kiss the mirror that reflects her exposed underwear, then consume her body and blood -- sleeping pills and Johnny Walker.

Salvation comes in a sphere, the pinball. And this is when you have to stop and acknowledge the hubristic genius of the opera. Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus, the other serious guys, would not be caught dead wringing wisdom analogies out of a pinball. We are therefore being reminded to laugh at ourselves, at Kahlil Gibran, Madame Blavatsky, the Ascended Masters and, even though he wasn’t yet a glimmer in a publisher’s eye, Deepak Chopra. They are all at the pinball level. We are at the pinball level. So now we can resume our banal spiritual contemplations.

Like a pinball, an individual human is subject to cause and effect, being bounced around in a little game, slamming around racking up points, trying to delay the inevitable moment when, despite frantically working the flippers and slamming the table with our hips, the ball goes down the hole and it is “Game Over.” For Tommy, the pinball game is the only external object he can allow himself to perceive. Since he is not physically blind or deaf, but rather is blocking out a world that has erected an insuperable barrier to communication, pinball is all he allows himself to see. Pinball is a simulated world, a safe place where he can stop time and seemingly defeat death by always getting a replay.

The scene where Tommy conquers Elton John, the Pinball Wizard, is the cinematic high point of Sir Elton’s career. Russell plants the pianist atop a huge pair of plastic boots that raise him several feet off the ground, and supplies him with a keyboard-equipped pinball machine to pound with furious futility until he goes down to inevitable defeat, grimacing with frustration. Toppled from the throne of his massive footwear, his erstwhile fans carry him out of the hall on his back, only the soles of his enormous boots visible above the crowd.

Fortune follows fame, and soon Tommy’s mother and stepfather are wallowing in success. But the sweet taste of the good life turns bitter for Tommy’s mother, because Tommy remains deaf, dumb and blind, sealed within himself, staring enigmatically into the mirror. And finally, what none of the healers, therapists, and quacks could do, she does. In an exasperated fit, she throws Tommy through the circular mirror in her boudouir. He crashes through, falls into the swimming pool, and in a baptismal rebirth scene, finally opens his eyes, sees the world around him, staggers into a forest, gesticulates rudely at soldiers engaged in military maneuvers among the trees, is flipped over the shoulder of a camouflage-clad soldier, bursts onto the beach, sprints past parked cars filled with people staring stupidly through sunglasses, cartwheels across the sand, and runs over the waves, into the sky, under the sea, across lava lakes, in a visionary explosion set to the thumping song, “I’m Free.”

Tommy not only thinks he’s free, he thinks he’s a man with a mission, and becomes a pinball-guru. The silvery sphere then becomes the symbol of royalty and dominion. The “Tommy cross” is the letter “T” surmounted with a silver ball. For a brief time, everything is lovely, but when an adoring young fan is injured in the midst of the crowd, and Tommy never even learns of her fate, it’s a hint that obstacles lie ahead. Some rougher spheres suddenly appear everywhere, because the training camp is heaped with huge piles of silver balls with handles on them, which seems to be both a broad joke about male virility and a reminder that all of this Messiah-hood is a big ball and chain.

In counterculture circles, the name “Gottlieb” rings bells wherever it appears, being the surname of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the Mengele-like physician who led the CIA’s MK ULTRA program, reputedly an acronym for “Making Killers, Utilizing Lethal Tradecraft Requiring Assassination,” and played fast and loose with the minds of experimental subjects, much like the Acid Queen. So it hardly seems an accident that all of the pinball machines in Russell’s production are “Gottlieb” machines. Why not some manufactured by Bally, Williams or Stern, also big names in the realm of the silver ball? And the Gottlieb games that get particular notice are very British, very royal – “Kings and Queens” is the game Tommy plays when he beats the Pinball Wizard, and “Royal Guard” is destroyed when his disciples riot. Ominously, after she is killed, a pinball machine serves as the funeral slab for Tommy’s mother’s body, and while the maker’s name is not visible on the machine, the stripped frame displays a series of ones and zeroes, suggesting that ultimately, his mother was nothing but a machine, a wire mommy, a simulacrum, finally exposed for the empty display that it always was. The Tommy Church’s prescription of pinball therapy as the cure for every human ailment is thus simply a campy symbol for cultic mind control methods of whatever stripe.

By being the guru of his Church, Tommy is able to keep his mother and stepfather under control. He becomes morally superior and financially omnipotent, so they can’t impinge on his freedom. One problem remains, however – nobody really needs his religion. This becomes quite clear when rebellion breaks out among Tommy’s followers, and they kill his parents and desert him. He lost his followers as quickly as he gained them. And there’s little time for mourning his mother’s death, either. Tommy’s mother has done little to make herself sympathetic throughout the movie. She has never been a mother in the sense of devoting herself to her child’s happiness. At its apex, her self-torment amounts to nothing more than reveling in maudlin sentiment while writhing drunkenly in her snow-white bedroom, cavorting with a champagne bottle as the television successively spews bubbles, canned beans, and offal over her fish-net bedecked body, culminating in sinuous humping on a shit-smeared, man-sized tubular pillow. So the farewell to Mom is a brief affair that releases Tommy from bondage to the person who forced him to keep a crippling secret, ruining his life in order to conceal her own guilt.

Tommy at last realizes he’s not a spiritual guide, he’s one more human being, who needs to learn from other people, from all humanity. At last, he sings triumphantly, “Right behind you, I see the millions." Ascending to the mountaintop, he reaches the peak and triumphantly greets the rising sun, a huge, warm, reddish sphere that enhaloes his entire body in a victorious stance, legs apart, arms spread in exultation. This is only the second time the full circle of the sun has appeared in this movie filled with shiny spheres and moons. The first time was in the first scene, where Tommy’s dad, in mountaineering garb, reached the peak of the same mountain at sunset, and then began his descent, as we know, into death. Tommy returns to the mountain and the sun reunites him with his father and his vital inheritance as a living human.

With this closing scene, Russell has literally fitted the entire opera between the two celestial spheres, the sun and moon, raising every human’s battle to break out of the lies that conceal reality to an epic level. Transcendence, Russell seems to be saying, isn’t achieved by playing human games like pinball, in which you progress through a linear pattern to higher and higher numbers, and judge your success by popular acclaim. Rather, it is an adventure that you do not begin until you throw over the oppressors that prevent you from speaking the truth. Russell concludes a work that takes over your senses at high speed and high volume with a message that, although born from the turmoil of the sixties, will resonate meaningfully for generations to come.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:19 am

THE RAM DASS BRAIN HEMORRHAGE INCIDENT -- AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE, by Charles Carreon

06/19/10

Science has likely been advanced more through the ages by giving thoughtful attention to chance occurrences than by conducting planned experiments. Physicians have learned a great deal about physiology by treating the victims of accident and illness. In this comment I argue that the opportunity presented by the occurrence of Ram Dass’s stroke was wasted, present some of the reasons why this occurred, and venture some obvious inferences to be drawn by comparing his pre-stroke doctrine and his post-stroke experience.

The Involuntary Contribution of Phineas Gage to Knowledge of Brain Physiology

Every year another class of high school students learns one of the marvelous stories of psychology – the case of Phineas Gage, who on September 13, 1848, survived a dynamite accident in which a steel rod three feet, eight inches long with a 1¼ inch diameter was blasted through his left cheekbone and out the top of his head, leaving a gaping hole that amazingly, healed up. The rod’s trajectory was described by his physician, Dr. Harlow, as follows: The rod “entered through the anterior left lobe of the cerebrum, and made its exit in the medial line, at the junction of the coronal and sagittal sutures, lacerating the longitudinal sinus, fracturing the parietal and frontal bones extensively, breaking up considerable portions of the brain.” Dr. Harlow described the post-injury Gage as “fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible.”

Phineas Gage had suffered a crude, accidental, frontal lobe lobotomy that altered his personality for the worse. His case history fed interest in how the structure of the brain related to an individual’s personality, a topic now so widely studied that it seems strange that a tragedy was required to provoke inquiry into the subject. Yet so it was.

Ram Dass’s Philosophy of The Spiritual Self

Not long after he and Timothy Leary were fired from the Harvard University psychology faculty, Richard Alpert, Ph.D., traveled to India and, as he told the story in his popular spiritual how-to book, “Be Here Now,” met a charming, raffish, trickster guru named Neem Karoli Baba. After NKB passed Alpert’s toughest test – downing three tabs of Owlsley’s 305 microgram tablets of LSD, the famed “White Lightning,” without raising an eyebrow, Alpert was a convert. He ditched his trousers, donned a robe, swapped mantras and prayer beads for psychological jargon and hallucinogens, took on the name Ram Dass, and returned to the States where according to “Be Here Now,” he floated about on an ocean of love.

Ram Dass’s persona went through quite a few iterations, and he produced a string of books comprised mostly of edited extemporaneous lectures that he gave everywhere. His spiritual philosophy was, however, consistent over the years. Simply put, he taught that we each have a Divine Self separate and apart from the physical body. Perhaps, in his Buddhist moments, he might call it a Non-Self. But the important thing was that this awareness is not based on the operation of the physical brain or body.

Ram Dass’s Endorsement of The Spiritual Technology of Soul-Transference

Ram Dass was also a sincere promoter of spiritual technology based on the philosophy of the deathless, non-physical Divine Self. Through spiritual practices like reciting mantras, controlling the breath, and developing awareness of the subtle energy field that pervades and surrounds the physical body, he taught that spiritual practicioners could retain consciousness even while dying, and would be able to smoothly transition into deathless, non-physical awareness.

The Tibetan Buddhist version of this practice is called “Phowa,” the Yoga of Consciousness Transference, and it comes in three flavors. The highest level of Phowa is accomplished by those who realize the deathless, non-physical awareness during life, and when those people die, they shuck off the body like a dried husk.

Nothing happens. The second tier of candidates prepare for death by becoming skilled in unifying their awareness with a single-syllable Tibetan letter composed of diaphanous light about the fineness of a single hair, called the “seed syllable,” that resides in a tiny lotus of light in the center of their chest. During meditation, they practice raising the seed syllable, which is visualized as kind of springy with vital force, up to the crown of the head repeatedly, in what is essentially a fire drill for death. When death is imminent, they go all the way, using a special mantra that sounds like a hiccup to eject the seed syllable out the crown of the head and into the heart of the Buddha of Limitless Light, Amitabha, and obtain complete release from further transmigration. Legend has it that many Tibetan lamas and even ordinary people have made this process work. Of course, verifiable proof that the method works would be impossible to obtain, but at worst, it seems like a decent, dignified way to spend one’s final hours.

The third method of Phowa is for ordinary people who didn’t spend much time meditating, and this is to have holy people read from special inspirational holy guidebooks to the person who is dying, and even to their corpse after they are dead. These books provide a map of the “Bardo” state between death and the next rebirth, and since the Tibetans believe that the dead stick around near their body after it dies, reading to the corpse is an efficacious way of helping the disembodied person to make good choices in the Bardo, like “avoid the smoky red light – it leads to HELL!” Ram Dass was very familiar with this type of psychic guidebook. In fact, he and Timothy Leary took one of the Tibetan holy books on the subject, popularly titled “The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” and recast it as a manual for psychedelic voyagers interested in sparking and transcending the vaunted “ego death” that Ram Dass had identified as the psychedelic discovery that led him to study Eastern mysticism.

Over the years, Ram Dass had moved towards less dramatic forms of spiritual technology, becoming a proponent of a gentle brew of eclectic practices that he would dispense like, dare we say it, a soothing, vegetarian soup for the soul. Ram Dass was not dogmatic, but he was devoted, and in his own heart, a thoroughgoing convert to his own ideas. No doubt he was hoping that he had done enough spiritual practice and learned enough of the nature of the deathless awareness that he might have a shot at a top-tier, “nothing’s happening, I’m already there” type of Phowa. At least, he figured, he’d be able to take shelter in his heart chakra, unite his awareness with that of his guru, who would lead him to liberation, or at least, a better rebirth.

Ram Dass’s Rude Awakening and Modest Recovery

In February 1997, Ram Dass, the best-known American-born promoter of Eastern wisdom, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that he barely survived. Afterwards, he lost a lot of functioning – he could barely form words, or perform ordinary life activities. But much worse than that, he was a spiritually shaken man. Why? Because he thought God should have protected him from popping a vein? No. His philosophy was not so crude. He didn’t expect fate to exempt him from physical illness. He expected his own knowledge of spiritual technology to provide him with an escape vehicle, a psychic lifeboat, and instead, he got nothin’, bupkus, zilch, a flinkin’ nihilistic nowhere. He could remember his mental state while he was dying, and it was devoid of sacred, inspirational content. He was just looking at the pipes on the hospital ceiling as the paramedics rolled him down the hall on the gurney. A lifetime of spiritual expectation crashed, and death, the great equalizer, had paid an early visit to reduce him to the level of every other living being, so that next time, he would die without delusions of imminent salvation.

Since Ram Dass’s brain hemorrhage, he has become a regular smoker of medical marijuana. He says it relieves pain, frees him from “spasticity,” and “gives me the soul perspective – it makes the stroke livable.” He says he doesn’t smoke around other spiritual teachers, though, “because it isn’t spiritually correct.” Asked whether Deepak Chopra was correct that “deep meditation” was a preferable way to attain “shifts in awareness,” Ram Dass conceded he was correct, then waved a baggie of bud and said, “But pot works faster.” He’s back on the speaking circuit, circulating widely, apparently enjoying himself and making people feel better about life. It’s almost as if the brain hemorrhage never happened.

The Lost Opportunity

There is a huge, booming market these days in studying the relationship between the physical body and the meditative mind. A Google search for “physiology of meditation” produces over 700,000 hits. The Dalai Lama has been the headliner at a number of symposia that purport to bring together neuroscientists, yogis, therapists, and philosophers to share their knowledge, presumably to make progress toward a unified theory of consciousness. However, there is a paucity of meaningful experimental work. The “TM” group has pushed the “measurable benefits” of their trademarked “20 minutes twice a day” mantra meditation, but this is sales material, not scientific work. The brain waves of meditators have been traced on EEGs, biofeedback studies have been conducted, and recently a small Harvard study claimed that meditators actually have thicker brain tissue in some brain regions. But we still know very little about the physiology of spirituality.

So when an unfortunate accident comes along that might give us some insight into the issue, you’d think we might take it. You’d think someone might look at Ram Dass’s condition post-hemorrhage, and want to de-brief him on his conclusions. Question number one would be, “Do you still believe that there is a non-physical, deathless awareness existing independent of your physical body?” If Ram Dass answered, “Yes,” the next question would be, “Why were you unable to contact that awareness when you were dying?”

We should ask Ram Dass these questions because he was a practicioner of spiritual technology that relies on a philosophical postulate that is impossible to confirm – the deathless core of our personal existence. The fact that, after a lifetime of teaching meditation, he now relies upon cannabis to attain “the soul perspective” should give us some pause. What’s the point of a lifetime of meditating, if we end up lighting up a joint? He claims to be “a mixed message,” and in the realm of ultimate reality, that’s not a plus. He recently said, “Silence is the royal road to God. Silence prepares you for death.” But he’s now reported to be doing more preaching and talking than ever. Shouldn’t he be preparing for death more assiduously? However, there’s a good side to his continuing willingness to talk. That means that before he goes silent altogether, someone could ask him, “What happened that shook you up so much, and why does it not seem to matter anymore?”

Why Nobody Asks These Questions

Nobody asks Ram Dass these questions because they don’t want to hear the answers. If indeed, a man who was expecting to find himself all dressed up in spirit and ready to head for liberation or the next incarnation, instead found nothing, then a central justification for adopting his philosophy has been destroyed. For the last thirty or forty years, the media has fed us a steady diet of near-death experiences recounted by people who wandered through death’s door to discover tunnels of light, guardian spirits, dead relatives and angels, and came back to live a better life. And here we have the story of a guy who, by all rights, should’ve gotten a better reception in the last waiting room before final departure, and discovered absolutely nothing. Clearly, this is an answer that no one wants because you can’t use it to sell religious instruction, inspirational books, yoga mats, or meditation cushions.

A Few Inferences About Spiritual Technology To Be Drawn Despite Ram Dass’s Failure To Make Full Disclosure

I’d like to conclude by posing two questions.

First, is awareness inextricably bound up with the activity of the physical body and brain, such that we not only appear to be inert when we die -- we really are?

Second, if awareness and physical life are inextricably connected, is spiritual technology of any value at all?

Let’s face it – the spiritual lobbyists cannot answer “yes” to the first question, because their entire product is based on cultivating and coping with the fear of death. But as people who answer questions based on evidence, this is a question for which all the reliable evidence compels a “yes” answer. We may not like it, we may be prejudiced against believing it, but if we were asked to disprove it or be killed this very instant, we would admit that we have no proof. All of the proofs that have ever been offered wouldn’t convince any objective, impartial judge, as they all amount to appeals to the impulse to believe. And believing without evidence is the alternative to reasoned decisionmaking.

But my answer to the second question might surprise you. I think that spiritual technology has lots of value, but not as the insurance policy peddled by fear-mongers in religious robes. Spiritual technology, rightly understood, is a branch of life science and physiology, a collection of folk techniques for better living. There is a subtle energy body suffusing the human body. There are acupuncture lines and chakras that can be charged with energy. Harmonizing breath, calming sounds, and transporting music, are all real vehicles for strengthening the human organism and expanding its capacity for happy living.

Quite likely, there is no way to bridge the gap between one living body and another, even though it was tantalizingly depicted in James Cameron’s recent animation epic, “Avatar.” For all the self-promoting ballyhoo of Tibetan lamas who claim to have enjoyed multiple reincarnations as a “lineage of enlightened consciousness,” there’s no proof of the claims, and plenty of evidence that the entire tulku trip was a clever innovation by the clergy to put themselves on an equal footing with the hereditary feudal lords, and indeed to manipulate feudal families by inducing them to vie with each other for the privilege of having their sons chosen as the “reincarnations” of dead, wealthy lamas.

The realm of “life after death,” or the space between one life and another, for those who fancy the notion that reincarnation or transmigration actually occur, has forever been the playground of deceivers, shysters, table-tappers, mediums, and spiritualists, and the daily operational base for priests and preachers. Harnessing spiritual technology, which can be used to deepen our experience of life, to the obsessive and useless project of defeating death, is just one more way in which religion and spiritualism wastes our time and resources.

Ironically, those who forget about death altogether and focus on living life to the fullest today, using every vehicle at their disposal, may find themselves in very exalted spiritual company.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:20 am

SMIDS: Social Media-Induced Delusional Syndrome, by Charles Carreon

7/25/12

A new mental disease for the Internet age is proposed for inclusion in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders: Social Media-Induced Delusional Syndrome (“SMIDS”). While tentative in its observations, this proposal has a legitimate basis in anecdotal evidence, and discusses the risks of attempting treatment of SMIDS-sufferers.

The primary subjective characteristic of SMIDS is the sensation of power gained from being part of a large, anonymous group of social media participants. By “anonymous,” we do not mean that a person who declares their identity cannot be suffering from SMIDS; rather, we mean that due to the large number of people joined in a Social Media Mob (“SMob”), each individual experiences the safety of relative anonymity. By “the safety of relative anonymity,” we mean the sense of security derived from the knowledge that there are so many participants in a SMob that it’s highly unlikely any one of them will suffer negative consequences due to their conduct.

The primary objective characteristic is the tendency to focus on an object of hatred (the “ObHat”), which intensifies as the number of SMob-participants grows, manifesting in antisocial cyber-behavior. Like members of a street mob who ordinarily manifest no criminal characteristics, yet become capable of flinging bricks and mortar and engaging in random violence when gathered in large numbers, members of a SMob may engage in behavior atypical of their usual behavior patterns. Such behaviors may range from online postings of sadistic wishes that the ObHat should suffer misfortune such as career failure and painful death, sending hate mails bearing similar ill-wishes to the ObHat, sending physical packets of disgusting materials such as offal to the Obhat, and directing Denial of Service Attacks towards websites associated with the ObHat.

The delusory character of the sense of power experienced by the SMIDS-sufferer can be easily discerned, and has tautalogical roots. In point of fact, the ObHat is unlikely to suffer anything like the severe sentences pronounced upon her by the Smob, unless of course the ObHat falls victim to Social Media-Induced Self Hate (“SMISH”). The massed expression of ill wishes by a SMob is thus similar to the effects of primitive curses among the aborigines — dangerous if taken at face value, survivable otherwise. Hence, the expression of ill wishes by SMIDS-sufferers are referred to as Cybercurses.

Common battle cries flying from the spittle-flecked lips of SMIDS-sufferers are “we are the Internet,” and “Google never forgets.” Such cri de couer reveal the roots of the delusion. The roots of the power delusion lie in the SMIDS-sufferer’s fear that in fact, he is powerless. The roots of the corollary delusion that the SMob can destroy the object of hatred by the objective force of massed Cybercurses are an attempt to curb the anxious feeling that participating in Social Media is in fact meaningless.

For ObHats victimized by SMIDS-deluded SMobs, the experience can be painful and shocking; however, unless the ObHat decays into SMISH, their suffering is transient and non-pathological. The same cannot be said for all those who suffer from SMIDS. Although at first, joining in SMob behavior may trigger only transient episodes of acute SMIDS, unnoticed by anyone besides the ObHat and the SMob, like other forms of Social Media dysfunctions, an addictive cycle often forms that leads to chronic SMIDS, with pathological characteristics that beg for treatment.

At present, the occurrence of Social Media induced dysfunctions is in its infancy, and the only known treatment modalities appear to be removal of the initiating stimulus, i.e., turning off the Internet. However, for persons who have come to believe that they “are the Internet,” turning off the Internet would be the equivalent of suicide, and thus unthinkable. Were any outsider to attempt to forcibly remove them from the Internet, the chronic SMIDS-sufferer would likely react with violent rejection and excuse-making behavior. Excuse-making would generally take the form of self-righteous expressions that the SMob merely wants to make a better world, and that the ObHat du jour is a genuine danger to the welfare of all.

For those in the helping professions dealing with SMIDS, and for human resources professionals who encounter SMIDS in the workplace, the first avenue of approach should be indirect. The serious danger, of course, is that anyone who confronts a SMIDS-sufferer with their conduct may find themselves turned into an ObHat, with all of the risky consequences associated therewith. A manager confronting a SMIDS-sufferer about lost productivity in their employment might wake up to find themselves the focus of a plethora of SMob attacks: fake Twitter accounts proclaiming that the ObHat must now disclose that they are transsexual, bogus Facebook pages embracing extremist ideologies, and an email box with new messages proclaiming things like: “Welcome to the Jihad, and Peace be upon you brother. Thank you for signing up for our Peshawar-based online training program in anti-drone warfare.”

Copyright 2012, Charles Carreon.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:23 am

SMIDS: Social Media-Induced Delusional Syndrome, by Charles Carreon

7/25/12

Image

A new mental disease for the Internet age is proposed for inclusion in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders: Social Media-Induced Self-Hate (“SMISH”). This proposal stems from the writer’s inquiry into a closely-related disorder, dubbed SMIDS for Social Media-Induced Delusional Disorder, and explores the likelihood that both SMISH and SMIDS may simultaneously afflict one individual, with one disorder or the other gaining the upper hand due primarily to the nature of the sufferer’s interactions with Social Media.

The primary subjective characteristics of SMISH are a sense of insecurity and compulsive reinforcement-seeking behavior through Social Media. Secondary characteristics are a fear of judgment by Social Media Peers (“SMPeers”) and compulsive propitiatory behavior intended to head off judgment and establish trust-links that will protect the SMISH-sufferer from becoming an Object of Hatred among their SMPeers. A tertiary characteristic is total involvement with the Social Media world and a corollary loss of interest in relationships with Real World Peers aside from interactions within the Social Media world. At that point, SMISH has ensnared the sufferer in a cycle of addictive behavior from which they will likely exit only after a period of serious self-assessment, or an intervention by concerned friends and relations.

The objective indications of SMISH usually manifest sequentially and in conjunction with the emergence of the subjective characteristics outlined above. Victims generally progress from incipient SMISH, characterized by an inclination to overvalue SMPeers and devalue Non-Social Media relationships, to acute SMISH, characterized by increasingly compulsive abuse of Social Media, to the third level of true addictive behavior, characterized by frenzied posting and craven toadying to SMPeer authority-figures. The disease often takes hold in an acute form over the course of a few evenings, and progress to a chronic condition over a period of weeks.

SMISH does not require any particular type of host subject to become established, and the notion that only certain types are predisposed should be rejected at the outset. Narcissistic personalities might seem less inclined to SMISH than insecure types; however, the desire to gain mass approval of SMPeers appears to reveal hidden faults in even robust personalities, that, like gullies that turn to ravines overnight in a torrential flood, become deep fissures, exposing the raw heart of a painfully-suffering ego.

SMISH can produce consequences that seem merely pathetic, as when one sees a young girl posting compliments in praise of aggressive male personalities in hopes of receiving a word of approval. For youthful sufferers of this stripe, moderate treatment modalities, including redirection of the individual toward non-Social Media relationships and relationship counseling, may be entirely adequate. However, SMISH can evolve in two other identified directions: a suicidal state, or SMIDS.

Suicide due to SMISH is an established phenomenon for which a brief online search will provide sufficient anecdotes to eliminate doubt as to whether SMISH can be fatal. What is essential is that caregivers realize that once suicidal ideation has taken hold of a SMISH-sufferer, the condition cannot be dismissed as merely an Internet neurosis. Treatment for SMISH-induced suicidal ideation must be as radical as the condition, with the understanding that the stakes are life and death. The sufferer’s use of Social Media must be terminated immediately, all communication with or about SMPeers must cease, and an intensive program of self-approval must be put in place. Physical exercise, outdoor recreation, and non-reflective outward-oriented activities should supplant the previous introverted, obsessive attachment to Social Media. Such an aggressive course of therapy may well produce dramatic results in a short period of time if the disease is caught before it progresses too far.

The evolution of SMISH into SMIDS is far more insidious, however, because SMIDS-sufferers outwardly direct their pain towards the Objects of Hatred who are their chosen online prey. Like road-rage on the streets and highways, SMIDS creates hazards for other individuals of which society must be mindful. Since a separate discussion of SMIDS has already been published, we will not repeat that analysis here, and rather discuss briefly why SMISH has the potential to co-exist with or turn into SMIDS.

Simply put, SMISH is at bottom fueled by the fear of judgment by SMPeers. Among the community of SMPeers, dominant, aggressive personalities skilled in ad hominem argument and the use of pointed invective rule the roost. SMISH-sufferers are often passive personalities who lack verbal combat skills. Although initially attracted to Social Media because many of their Real World Peers are interacting online, as they learn to deploy propitiatory tactics such as shilling and toadying for their more aggressive SMPeers, they are seduced by the online environment and become addicted to its self-abasing rituals. Nevertheless, over time, they find themselves both immersed in self-hate at having sold their integrity for an impermanent sense of personal safety, and walking on eggshells, experiencing profound anxiety about the possibility of becoming an object of online derision, or most fearfully, an actual Object of Hatred (“ObHat”).

Many SMISH-sufferers adapt to their passive role online, and master the craven postures of appeasement seen on so many blogs and bulletin boards, where covens of SMISH-sufferers gather around dominant SMPeers in fulsome displays of unwholesome adulation. Many SMISH-sufferers alternate between SMISH and SMIDS on an occasional basis, joining occasionally with Social Media Mobs to hurl Cybercurses at various ObHats, thereby demonstrating their loyalty to dominant SMPeers, and ensuring themselves against becoming an ObHat themselves. Although not being entirely committed to the aggressive conduct, they nevertheless engage in it convincingly, much like an ordinary citizen who finds herself caught in a momentary mob hysteria, then later thinks better of it. Finally, some SMISH-sufferers “ripen” into the pure aggressive neurosis of SMIDS, as they discover that the only way to feel “safe” in a toxic Social Media environment is with a verbal rock in their hand, ready to give as good as they get. They have contacted their inner brownshirt, and civil society has gained a new enemy. For further discussion of SMIDS, see the related article.

Copyright 2012, Charles Carreon.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:30 am

A BRIEF MUSING ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GOOGLE-CENTRIC INTERNET, by Charles Carreon

4/26/13

It is now of course difficult to remember the Internet before Google, but actually, it existed. And it’s worth remembering what it looked like, not just for the sake of nostalgia, but rather, so we can adequately reflect on how the Internet is evolving as a Google-centric organism.

Actually, it’s worth remembering what computers were like before we hooked them up to the Internet. Our work computers were like little forges, in which we hammered out our productions, mostly documents, and printers were vital to their utility. So our work computers were essentially fancy typewriters that made revisions and formatting an easier process. We’d print out our documents and turn off the computer, and that was that. You wouldn’t spend hours fooling around with your machine unless you were truly a nerd, or a scientist, or a software engineer, because for most of us, computers didn’t really do anything interesting.

Then the Internet came along, and there was someplace to go. A screen became a point of departure. Totally different from a fancy typewriter. You used to hear writers talk a lot about “writer’s block.” I don’t hear too much about that anymore. It might have been a symptom of the typewriter itself, with that damned blank page sitting there waiting to be filled. Nowadays writers fear they’re about to be swamped in the flood of just plain old chatter that engulfs us. And printers aren’t all that vital, since most reading happens right off the screen.

So what the Internet did was to drastically increase the amount of time we spend absorbing information. If you can imagine being a shepherd, sitting on a hill all day watching your sheep, not communicating with anyone about anything, and then compare that with how we live our days – well, there’s no comparison. Your average person, forced to be that shepherd, might very well spend all their time looking for a cliff to jump off of. Information has become psychological food that we feel we need in order to be ourselves. And the Internet is an info-teat that few of us can tear ourselves away from for any serious length of time.

Question: To what extent did Google make the Internet into a huge info-teat? I would argue to a great extent, because Google institutionalized the idea that the fruits of the Internet should be free, and trained us to use to suck on it shamelessly all day and all night. We have more than halfway evolved into Homo Informaticus, the inhabitants of a Google-centric Internet, into which Facebook is not going to make an appreciable dent.

A Google-centric Internet is, above all, searchable. The original Internet was not. Shocking, eh? You think I’m pulling your leg. No, really, it wasn’t! Even though it was tiny by comparison with its current enormity, it was huge, overwhelming, unmanageable, hard to navigate. And guess what? Domain names were really important. Yes, domain names were crucial, because without them, how would you ever find your way back to some page that you’d visited? Unless you’d bookmarked the link, you were screwed.

Pre-Google-centrism, we searched to find information, not sites. Today, you find sites by plugging a chunk of text you remember into Google, and wham, you’re back at that site. And you don’t really worry too much about this website or that one, because no site has a corner on good content. Which leads us to the next characteristic of the Google-centric Internet – the erosion of brand-name power in the media field.

Once the New York Times stood at the head of the field in the newspaper world, and a column on the op-ed page made you a leader of society. Today a place on the editorial page makes you who? David Brooks? Paul Krugman? Maureen Dowd? Whoop-de-do.

This might lead you to think that the media playing field has been leveled. Be not deceived. In a Google-centric universe, nothing is level. Every surface slopes towards the hole at the center. It’s shaped like a rectangle. You type words into it, and the next thing you see is a list of links, with the sponsored ones at the top. The order in which those links appear reveals the true pecking order of our society. Those whose links appear at the top can find their pockets filled with lucre, and thus Google selects the worthy from among us.

In the ages of monarchy, supplicants came from all over the realm to plead their causes at court, and one had to find a skilled courtier to gain the King’s ear. In a Google-centric universe, we have SEO specialists. Fortunes rise and fall with search engine rankings. De-listing, downgrading, banning -- these are the causes of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Google has taken upon itself the burden of separating the informational grain from the husks, and it grinds that grain into the gruel that flows from the info-teat. If you are looking for something, and Google has not found it, you are not likely to find it either. And if Google found it unworthy of being classed as legitimate information, it’s going to be on the thirteenth page of results or maybe nowhere.

So in the end, you see, Google is the editor of a vast script that the rest of us are writing. Text has become more important than ever before in the life of commerce and culture. And it is being produced in greater abundance than at any time in history. The production of text is now the great competitive enterprise, and the rewards are ever more capriciously dispensed. While Google purportedly labors to stay ahead of the scammers who would flood your search-results with irrelevant responses and vapid content, there is no one but Google to judge the quality of its efforts. Indeed, we have no way of knowing what we’re missing. The cries of those whose worthy offerings are spurned by the all-knowing search-algorithms cannot, by definition, be heard.

Ironically, in our fact-driven age, we inhabit a universe built on faith. Faith in the omniscience of the all-knowing Google. Once the Roman Catholic Church had a monopoly on truth, and the Pope was seriously believed to be infallible. It is perhaps a sign of the times that Benedict gave up the job. The mantle of infallibility has clearly passed to Google.
Copyright 2013, Charles Carreon.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:31 am

TO FIGHT INTERNET FRAUD UNLEASH THE TRIAL LAWYERS, by Charles Carreon

5/01/13

A Modest Proposal For A Private Right of Action Under the Federal Trade Commission Act

The Problem: Too Many Crooks, Hardly Any Cops


The Net is overwhelmed with fraud. Authorities are frustrated. Identity theft is commonplace. Banks absorb fraud losses as a cost of doing business. Bank robbers are fools -- the only smart way to steal is over the Internet. I have a solution: Give the trial lawyers an incentive to sue Net-fraudsters, and let’s see how quickly the problem is reduced from its current epidemic level. How do you unleash the trial lawyers? You create a “private right of action” under the Federal Trade Commission Act, giving lawyers for defrauded consumers the same rights as a U.S. Attorney working in the Consumer Fraud Division of the Department of Justice.

Not A Political Issue

This is not a political issue, although Internet fraudsters who already have hired lobbyists will be quick to turn it into one. Both social conservatives and consumer protection advocates who understand my proposal will find it appealing. If you like small government, or take a DIY approach to computer security, this should appeal to you. If you think government should provide protection to citizens, then you surely must agree that if government lawyers don’t have the resources to protect all of us from fraud, we should at least be given the right to help ourselves. And while they’re at it, Congress could explicitly give the FTC all the authority it needs to sue, immobilize and extract stolen wealth from Internet fraudsters.

Lawyers for fraudsters, of whom there are many due to the profitability of Internet fraud, will say that creating a federal right of action against Internet fraud is unnecessary, because there are consumer protection laws in virtually every state that provide a private right of action. However, this is misleading, because those state laws do not provide access to the federal courts, and your average Internet fraudster is usually pilfering your data and financial accounts from the safety of some state other than the one where you live. The federal subpoena power is nationwide, and the evidence of fraud is spread all over fifty states, so we really need federal jurisdiction to do the job presented by a national epidemic.

The FTC: Slow On the Draw and Seriously Outgunned

The FTC itself has only come into its consumer protection enforcement power slowly, by a series of legislative changes and judicial interpretations that established the FTC’s power to sue for orders seeking restitution for consumer injuries. It was not until the 1960’s that the Commission began using its rulemaking authority under Section 6(g) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 46(g), to define specific acts and practices that injure consumers, acts for which the FTC’s lawyers could seek damages awards in federal courts. In truth, the FTC consumer protection program has always been years behind and underfunded, given the scale of Internet fraudsters’ attacks on American pocketbooks. While the FTC certainly has an active consumer enforcement docket, it is a teacupful of remedy against an ocean of Internet fraud.

California Leads The Way

So what would a federal private right of action for consumers provide? Congress can look at the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), that provides strong consumer remedies in California. It should also take aim at the specific practices that are being used by Internet fraudsters to perpetrate their schemes for picking our pockets: the use of malware, spyware, and browser-hijacking software that turns your computer into a cash register for net-thieves. The time has come for law on the wild west of the Internet, and there is a serious shortage of badge-wearing federal lawyers. We need to deputize the trial bar to clean up the Internet and make it safe, for honest, law-abiding Net-folk.

© 2013, Charles Carreon
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:34 am

SHITSTORM BY THE SEA -- THE SEAN PARKER DIRA, by Charles Carreon

7/10/13

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The DIRA kicked off by Sean Parker’s wedding was like wood shavings soaked in diesel — easy to ignite and sure to burn hot: “Napster/FB billionaire destroys pristine redwoods to indulge Tolkien fantasy wedding wish of gold-digger wife.” Tweet that to a few thousand people, get a dozen retweets and a couple of faves. It’s a sign of truly bad times that people will stoop to this kind of activity not even for money, but just for clicks. Parker is right that he got served up as “link-bait,” although very few people other than Sean Parker and the rest of the digerati success-stories make any substantial coin from all of this traffic flying around dishing dirt. Which adds to the perfection of Parker and his wife as perfect rapeutation targets. He can’t complain — he created this monster!

Parker could do no right in his situation. He paid a million in fines for environmental violations he did not commit, and tossed another $1.5 Million at environmental causes, but none of it could buy him out of the kill-zone set up by the social media DIRA squad that put him in the crosshairs.

The only thing Parker could have done was ignore everyone and turn his mind to other matters, like Charles Carreon. Take that iPad and that expensive phone, and throw them into the recycling (tossing them off the Big Sur cliffs would obviously be a very evil thing to do and initiate a DIRA such as might crash the Net itself). He’s rich. He could ignore them. Lots of people told him to do that.

But no! Sean didn’t earn billions so he could hide away like any other person who’s been pelted with shame. He wants to have fun, wants his wife to have fun, wants to use the Internet like everyone else without seeing his name being drawn and quartered, becoming the butt of derisive jokes by people who don’t make as much in a year as he makes in ten minutes. He doesn’t want the pity from the politically correct, or the sympathy from his diminishing stock of friends.

Sean didn’t want to have to explain himself. But he did it anyway, out of a desperate desire to shout at the whirlwind. But the whirlwind heareth him not.

Sean thinks he got DIRA’d due to the petty avarice of bloggers-for-profit who want to ride the traffic-whale of his hateable celebrity (already set up to be knocked down by the unflattering depiction of him in “The Social Network”). Now seriously, how much do bloggers make? Not much, but like most hopeful online click-mongers, they will do anything to pump up their pathetic hope of someday having actual earnings beyond beer money. But no one needed to be paid to make it worthwhile to burn Sean Parker. The story of him and his elf-bride indulging in geeky, sybaritic pomp was an irresistible meme to those anonymous millions who thump the tubs in the echo chambers of social media.

But at least now we’ve seen what happens when a TechCrunch insider is hit by a DIRA. No one can protect them from it, but once it happens, they get all the digital ink they need to talk back to their rapeutationists. I mean, this is Sean Parker, who created Napster, that turned hundreds of thousands of copyrighted songs into everybody’s free music store through the magic of file-sharing. Who plowed those winnings into Facebook, from which he graduated as a cool billionaire. Who gave those pizza-and-soda-smeared zombies the landscape across which they now gaily rampage like bacchantes drunk on digital wine. They burned him! They destroyed his $4.5 Million fantasy wedding experience and made him cry out loud for mercy, because whatever you call it, that’s what his June 2013 posting on TechCrunch was. It was the cry of pain of a wounded human animal who has been gouged by the cruel speech of hundreds of thousands of people that he would much prefer liked him.

The DIRA zombies who lusted for Parker’s brains were fed a pro-environmental schtick that painted Parker as a plunderer of redwoods and destroyer of trout streams whose lavish fantasy-themed wedding in Big Sur was a symbol of everything wrong with cyberbillionaires. This easily-communicated meme slathered in hate-speech, passed through the information network like E.Coli in a batch of hamburger. The zombies who ate it don’t know they’re sick, though, so they’ll keep consuming the same shit, and calling it delicious.

It may be that the handheld mobile device is the most dangerous vector for transmission of the DIRA zombie virus. The physical evidence is overwhelming. Every day we see young people whose vulnerable brains have been entirely taken over, walking through the mall with that rigid step, slow and directionless, as they receive directions from their handheld, positioned exactly fourteen inches away from their eyes, their fingers stroking the glassy surface with a hypnotized stare. Their breath is shallow, as if their thoughts were being edited by an outer force, which they are. They don’t emerge from their trances no matter how long I watch them.

While talking back to zombies is futile, in Sean Parker’s case, because TechCrunch, a key DIRA-node, gave him a podium, he was able to solicit some sympathy and reasoned responses from people who realized that pissing off a billionaire might not be the best thing for their future careers. That sort of thought can snap even a zombie out of its trance. And I bet reading the occasional sympathetic comment improved Parker’s mood. But the zombie-to-human ratio is still skewed against Parker, and the echo chamber of hatred drones on, with brutal efficiency.

In response to Parker’s apologia pro se, the shit-slinging shifted tone, as exemplified by the title of an article at ValleyWag.com: “Sean Parker: Still an Asshole 10,000 Words Later.” This article, by Sean Biddle, fails to fulfill the promise of the headline. Biddle’s article doesn’t convict Parker as an asshole, unless stating your position in terms favorable to yourself makes you an asshole, because Biddle merely argues that Parker has spun the facts in his favor. All the invective is in the title. Why did Biddle inject the word “asshole” into his a headline, the use of which, in the wrong bar, could get your teeth knocked out in a Texas minute? Because putting “asshole” in your title punches it right up there in the Google rankings, silly! Or to use the language of the day, “It’s click-bait, dumbass!” Biddle wouldn’t have his job pushing digital ink if he didn’t know how to do that.

Parker’s proof that a billion and membership in the digerati won’t save you from a DIRA that has all the required elements for igniting that neuronal bonfire in the brains thousands of social network zombies, who will start spewing digital spitwads when the implanted suggestion is triggered. Frankenstein destroyed by his monster.

Copyright 2013, Charles Carreon.
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