Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:27 am

WHAT DOES ANDREW COHEN KNOW ABOUT ENLIGHTENMENT?, by Charles Carreon

Quite a lot, if you take his magazine, What is Enlightenment?, at face value. The title of the magazine of course begs the question of whether there IS enlightenment, which is a skillful marketing device. As a teacher once pointed out to me, Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors in order to overcome the first question -- whether to eat ice cream at all? By rushing right past "Is there enlightenment?" and speeding ahead to tell us what it is, Cohen is just doing what most New Agers do, which is to take "the great spiritual traditions of mankind" as an implied backdrop for the strivings of modern day miracle men like himself.

If Descartes was being overly modest when he claimed he saw farther because he "stood on the shoulders of giants," Cohen suffers from no such restraint when placing himself in the pantheon of the world's spiritual heroes. And if you think about it, why should he?

The Ascended Masters, widely advertised, but never seen, could hardly hold a candle to Cohen's magnificence, blaring from a thousand newsstands. Jesus died unknown in Jerusalem, barely displacing a pebble in the world capital of Rome. Mohammed probably never got the sand out of his bed, no matter how many infidels he'd put to the sword, and new converts he took to wife. Buddha made a splash in his day, but nothing Cohen hasn't replicated already with his bright, incisive, up-to-date version of the wisdom of the ages.

Let's just look at it in terms of sheer numbers. You may not be a Christian or mark time on Nostradamus' calendar, but you've got to agree there's a hell of a lot of us crammed on this planet and enough weapons to make us all quiet for a long time. It is at times like these that a great leader arises, one capable of holding up the sky with muscles of brass, one who will comfort and shelter within his vast arms, the lonely, terrified multitudes. The mission is so vast.

Since the big question is resolved first -- there is enlightenment! -- we can move right on to the fun stuff, defusing the bomb of ordinary consciousness that seeks its own destruction in mindless, materialistic self-annihilation. Who of noble heart would not be drawn to this venture, who would not lengthen their footsteps, lift their chin, feeling strength returning to their heart as they close the distance between themselves and this great man? Who would not say, "Where do I join? How can I serve? What is this enlightenment of which you speak? Give it to me, that I may conquer evil, within and without, put my heel on the head of the snake of egotism, lift my sword in heroism to still the threatening sky."

So you see, it's like Funky Winker Bean said, "Should I deny myself a delicious hot pepperoni pizza? No!" It's all a matter of asking the right question.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:31 am

WHAT IS BUDDHISM?, by Charles and Tara Carreon

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Buddha Bugs Out

Buddha was born in Northern India in 563 B.C. His father was a small-time monarch of the Sakya clan, with big aspirations for his son to become a "universal monarch." An itinerant fortuneteller told the Buddha's father that while the government career path was a possibility for his son, he might also become a saint. Horrified by the latter notion, his father came up with the idea to marinate his son in every pleasure, and insulate him from every irritation, so that he would have no desire to escape worldly life; Buddha's father thus entombed the young prince in a pleasure warren. Legend has it that Buddha sneaked out in the palace limo and took a cruise around town, where he saw a decrepit senior citizen wheezing his last, a leper counting his missing fingers, a corpse with weeping mourners, and a monk who was the picture of serenity. Buddha apparently felt betrayed, like he'd been eating a yummy apple and discovered it was infested with disgusting worms. He considered his options -- and decided to go the monastic route. He cut off his long, beautiful hair that his mother loved so much, and left the palace like a thief in the night, hooking up with some rough trade at the outskirts of town that called themselves "yogis."

Buddha Rejects Spiritual Authority

In his quest for "enlightenment," Buddha studied the teachings of the the leading gurus, pandits and yogis then swarming the Indian jungles. While seeking enlightenment was a popular pastime, apparently Buddha found no successful practitioners, because he concluded none of the available teachers had found the goal. In this sense, Buddha might be considered the pickiest of spiritual shoppers, and indeed, an incredibly arrogant man. After all, this was India at the height of its spiritual development. The term "Rishi," had existed long before Buddha -- and monks, renunciates, fakirs, shiva and vaishnava babas were thick as flies in the holy centers, as they are today. Buddha jumped the fence, an impatient upstart who was probably secretly sneered at for being "the Prince," because of his royal upbringing.

Apparently running full-tilt for the psychological opposite of being a spoiled royal scion, Buddha became a severe ascetic . Stone carvings of the Buddha in his sixth year of renunciation show him in the advanced stages of anorexia nervosa, a diagnosis common in the children of overbearing, wealthy parents. Fortunately, he found the path to recovery. Buddha is said to have "renounced the ascetic path" after he realized the futility of starving the body to conquer the spirit.

Buddha Gets It

Of course, renouncing the ascetic path didn't mean he walked into town, had a drink at the tavern and checked out the chicks, like most Buddhists who are renouncing asceticism. Instead, he took "the Middle Way," and after having a good meal of rice pudding, sat down on a comfy cushion of grass under a ficus tree, and resolved to stay there until he achieved his goal. Frankly, this still sounds pretty austere to me, especially the part about staying there until he "achieved his goal." He hadn't done it in six years before then, and what was the magic of resolving to stay in one place? One might question how much he had really renounced asceticism, with this kind of resolve as his new point of departure, but fortunately, he attained enlightenment less than twenty four hours later, as he glimpsed the light of the morning star after a single night battling the demons of his own mind. If he hadn't succeeded that night, of course, he wouldn't be "Buddha" now, would he?

The demons of Buddha's own mind are personified as Mara in tradition. Mara assailed the budding Buddha first with hostile arrows of aggression that turned to flowers as they descended on the meditating sage. Frustrated, Mara loosed his beautiful daughters to work their charms upon Buddha, but again to no avail. Thus Buddha transcended hatred and desire. The Tibetans will also explain in detail how he transcended ignorance, pride and jealousy as well, resorting to tripartite and five-branched analyses, according to their various traditions. Suffice it to say, it was a big night for Buddha, and for all humanity when he sent Mara packing forever. Hallelujah!

Two thoughts occurred to Buddha after he attained enlightenment. "Wow, this is Great!" and "Nobody else will get it, or even believe it, so I won't tell anyone." We can understand both of these thoughts without being enlightened. Of course, getting enlightened has gotta be Great, otherwise it wouldn't be called getting enlightened. Next, India's swarming with sages who claim to offer paths to enlightenment -- there's gods everywhere decorating banyan trees and temples, but here, a mere six years after running away from his throne, this Sakya Prince is enlightened. You can imagine a lot of hash smoke being coughed out over that one! So naturally, he must have second thoughts about making his proclamation. According to legend, he was just going to keep mum about the whole thing and let his secret go to the grave with him, like some old pirate with a stash of treasure. According also to legend, the gods gave him a nudge, too, pointing out that they were interested in what he had to say, and actually there were a few bright people who might get it.

Buddha Converts The Doubters

The first people Buddha met were his old pals, some fellow-anorexics who were still nursing their brittle bones and grasping at straws in the twilight of their meditative ignorance. They dumped all over Buddha, who by now was eating regular meals and looking chubby by ascetic standards. But he ripped right into them with his incisive analysis of their folly, and pretty soon he had picked up several new converts. They cut their hair and started eating and following the Buddha. They all remained celibate, though, and agreed to remain unemployed, making their living begging. Buddha called this The Middle Path. Makes sense, right? Not a breeder, not contributing to the economy, but not an ascetic. Just a guy who's free to be.

Buddha's Disciples Fail to Take Notes

The Buddha's disciples apparently never begged any pencil and paper from anyone, even though writing was actively practiced at the time in scholarly circles, and many of the early monks were scholarly. You might almost think someone had told them not to write anything down, because it took 300 years for them to even take a crack at it. Sort of a confidentiality agreement. Well, you can imagine after 300 years, memories varied considerably, depending on what part of the jungle you had been camped out in for the intervening centuries. Naturally, the Buddhists fell to disputing and haven't stopped since.

As A Result, They Fight

The first big Buddhist dispute, and the main one today, is between the tight-assed people and the big-hearted people. The tight-assed people are called "Hinayanists" by the big-hearted people, who call themselves "Mahayanists." The Mahayanists are called "heretics" by the serious Hinayanists. Now that they are all here together in the USA, they try to paper over these disputes, but the enmity is mutual and long-running among true partisans of either disposition.

What They Fight About

What is all the row about, though? Just this -- the Official Tight Assed Buddhists (Hinayanists) think that the Buddha really meant it when he said that in order to attain Nirvana you need to extinguish desire, and they go around trying to stamp it out wherever they find it. They shave their heads, bind their breasts, sit long hours trying to not want to stand up and move around, because after all, that's wanting something, which is the whole problem. They sort of try to strangle themselves to escape the pain of living, which is after all caused by breathing. Occasionally they attain mental states of great satisfaction similar to sheathing your entire body in a condom so you won't get contaminated by desire or other disturbing experiences. A Hinayanist is sure that everything will be all right if he can just stop being anyone at all. This is an excellent religion for trust funders on a budget, because you won't spend much on entertainment, or fall in love and blow all your cash raising a family. Actually, this sounds a lot like the religion the Buddha really would have founded, given his proclivities. Which may explain why the Hinayanists are so damned mad at the Mahayanists for hijacking their tidy little religion.

The big-hearted Mahayanists are all over the map with their doctrines, by comparison. But they all agree that the sort of cat-washing-itself style of meditation practiced by Hinayanists leads only to the minor spiritual achievement of "Arhat-ship," which is a classic of damning with faint praise. The real heavy freight-carriers in the big-hearted tradition are called Bodhisattvas, "heroes of enlightenment," and far from stopping to consider their own immediate release from suffering, they throw themselves immediately into the business of placing other sentient beings in the bosom of enlightenment, like firemen clearing out a burning building.

In practice, this leaves the Mahayana much greater scope for imaginative expression, and opens the door to a less prissy ethical approach. A Jew would always have to wonder if he was safe hiding from nazis in a Hinayanist's basement, who might feel compelled to tell the truth to keep his karma clean, but would feel comfortable hiding in a Mahayana basement, knowing that a Mahayanist would relish the opportunity to tell a meritorious lie. On the other hand, a Mahayanist might also find an excellent reason to screw your wife, for everyone's benefit. It's like that.

The most-often cited sources of Hinayana Buddhism are The Dhammapada and the Sutta-Pitaka. The practices of these Buddhists are often marketed in the U.S. as "vipassana" or "mindfulness" meditation, supplemented with the practice of "mehta," the cultivation of positive feeling toward all beings. These practices emphasize, at least at the beginning stages, reducing the traffic of conceptual thought by resting the mind on simple sensory stimuli, such as the feeling of your ass sitting on your cushion, or your diaphragm rising and falling with each breath. They really work. These practices have innumberable adherents, and are often presented with less packaging than Mahayana schools. There are probably lots of big-hearted Buddhists practicing under cover of the Hinayana method, ignoring their purported dispute with the Mahayana. On the other hand, the heartlands of Hinayana Buddhism are repressive regimes like Burma, and Sri Lanka. Thai Buddhists are also allegedly Hinayanist, but their food seems very big-hearted.

The resounding sources of Mahayana Buddhism are the early Chinese Ch'an Buddhist texts like The Sutra of Hui Neng and the Diamond Sutra, and the Third Zen Patriarch's Sutra on Faith in the Mind. These sutras are easy to understand once you stop trying too hard. To explain them here would not be half as helpful as for you to read them yourself, but in brief the idea is just this: the nature of your mind is clear and without substance, like space, and all of the experiences you have arise and subside within that clear nature, having no origin and leaving no trace. You are ultimately free, and have no need of anything. Everyone is in this same condition.

Since the Mahayanists burst out of the Hinayana coccoon, they have turned into all manner of butterflies, from the garish million-winged Tibetan doctrines to the simple moth-like Zennists who haunt Sung Dynasty ink paintings and Japanese Sumi sketches. Mahayanists have made a practice of virtually anything, encouraging people to memorize 100,000 stanza poems like the Lotus Sutra, then boiling the whole sutra down into a single phrase, that can be endlessly repeated as a mantra. Tantrics from Tibet and China created covens of sexual magic, and were repressed, sometimes with "extreme prejudice," to use CIA-speak, by their fellow-Mahayanists of a more blue-nosed orientation. Japanese Zen teachers blended the philosphy of "sudden enlightenment" with elements of Shinto and the ancient code of bushido, the warrior way, to create the most fearsome soldiers ever known. Remember the "Kami-kaze?" That means "the wind of the gods," the old Shinto gods, made more fearsome by the serene acceptance of eventual death, made deadly by the certainty that only honor, now, is worthy of protection. If you haven't run your finger along the sharp edge of military Zen, you haven't seen the full sweep of Buddhism in action.

Stuck At Step One

So what did Buddha teach? What is the true Buddhist path? It depends on who you ask. The usual approach at this stage in the narrative is to start ticking off some numerical lists -- The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, the Twelve-fold Wheel of Interdependent Origination, the Five Skhandas, etcetera. If you get involved with the Tibetans, their lists start to proliferate like the United States Code, with subheadings, sub-subheadings and footnotes. We're not taking that route here, because we're gonna get stuck right at the First Noble Truth.

How do you deal with the ten thousand shouting doctrinal assertions? Our crazy idea is to emulate the Buddha -- to reject everything that everyone is selling and try to take a first look at the problem with our own eyes. Is there a problem?

Buddha said there was a problem, a huge, insurmountable problem. That is his First Noble Truth: Life Is Suffering. The next three Noble Truths assert that the Cause of Suffering is Desire, that Desire Can Be Stopped, and that The Eightfold Path Leads to Stopping Desire. This follows the ancient Vedic tradition of medical diagnosis -- "the patient has tonsilitis; the cause of tonsilitis is infection; the infection can be cured; and, the cure is the administration of streptomyicin."

Obviously, step one is to diagnose the disease correctly. So what do you think about Buddha's diagnosis? Before you accept his solution, I suggest you agree on the problem, eh? If you don't think life is suffering, you're on the wrong bus. Because this one's going to Nirvana, the end of the road, the last stop right after No Desire. Hardly anyone goes there. Still interested, or you wanna think it over?

Think of how much time people would save if they just thought about that. "Do I think all life is suffering?" Most people, being honest with themselves, would have to say, "Hell no, I love drinkin' and screwin' and eatin' good food and reading good books and watchin' Winona Ryder on TV, and I love Angelina Jolie and that Andy Kaufman was so funny -- whatever happened to him?" But once you become a Buddhist, you'll learn to lug around this heavy ball and chain of simulated misery with you everywhere. When people ask how you are, you'll smile like a weary Bodhisattva (or Arhat), point at your portable ball and chain, and shake your head in a mute sharing of knowledge. The wan smile that passes between you and your Buddhist brother will say it all, "Samsara," the painful cycle of life and death. But as soon as the other Buddhist walks away, you'll just deflate that ball and chain, pack it in the trunk and drive home not thinking about it again. You go back to being normal. Nobody can be that good all the time.

Until of course something awful actually does happen. Then it's flop back down on your meditation cushion, seeking shelter from the winds of your insane mind. You can see her flirting with that guy, god you hate him. Concentrate on your breath. In - out, in - out, in - out. Oh he is such a phony prick. Five minutes later, concentrate on your breath again. He has money. That's it, he's got money, and chicks always go for that. Being spiritual gets you nothing. Except of course inner peace. Concentrate on your breath. In - out, in - out.

And people complain about this all the time. They say, "Oh, I was so much happier before I started meditating. Now I just sit down and as soon as I try to control my mind, it goes crazy!" They view this as a problem, of course. They came to find inner peace and they got inner turmoil. Most teachers say, "stick with it, it will get better," and most of all they say, "actually, you are now simply becoming aware of how turbulent your mind always was." Frankly, I think this is bunk. Your mind will in fact become more turbulent when you start watching it, just like a three year old kid. The kid's mom will tell you, "Don't encourage him, or he'll never quiet down." When people meditate in the Buddhist fashion, it disturbs their natural way of being.

You know why? Because they were getting along just fine not watching their thoughts, or second-guessing their motivations. Things were actually going along okay. But they weren't satisfied with that, noooooo. They wanted to make their life incrementally better -- more peace, more happiness, less stress and fear. They wanted to improve the situation, but they didn't want to discover that the situation was fundamentally screwed up! I mean, my life has problems, but it's not so bad that I want to get rid of life itself. I just want fewer bad things to happen, and more pleasant things. A child wants more ice cream and TV. An adult male wants more money and sex. A budding young woman wants romance. People in jail want to be out -- they think they would be happy then -- but they get out and they're still unhappy, and they end up back in jail.

Most beginning Buddhists want to improve their view. They're a little subtler than the average guy, and they want to be freed from the turbulent flow of conflicting thoughts. They want to see their fellow beings with love and understanding, not poisoned by the flow of jealousy and hate. They credit themselves with being good people, with wanting good things, and they want to build on this foundation of goodness. They do not want to find out that their existing structure of thought is out of control, chaotic, and self-defeating.

Because of this, frankly, we are not on the same page with the Buddha. He was burned out on palace life, and burned out on spiritual life, too. And he knew we wouldn't understand his point of view. Remember, right at the beginning, after he realized Enlightenment, he almost didn't bother to teach. Why? Because we can't get on the same page with him.

Meditation will, perhaps, if practiced correctly, put us on the same page with Buddha. Because, while we are unhappy in part, but not wanting to discard the whole, he was fed up altogether, and relieved himself of his ignorance once and for all.

Buddha's First Noble Truth is usually translated as "Life is Suffering." But I really wonder. Because if that were the case, then suicide would be the solution, and universal annihilation of all life would be total success.

Let's go back and join our horny meditator, trying to watch his breath while chasing girls in his mind. What's this guy learning? He's learning that he can't escape his mind. This fact may make him very unhappy, but he will refuse to blame, or credit, Buddhism for his condition. Nope, he will blame his "inability to meditate." He will reject the conclusion that the data compels -- that his mind is suffering.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan teacher, explained what this poor guy is going through:

We expect the teachings to solve all our problems; we expect to be provided with magical means to deal with our depressions, our aggressions, our sexual hangups. But to our surprise we begin to realize that this is not going to happen. It is very disappointing to realize that we must work on ourselves and our suffering rather than depend upon a savior or the magical power of yogic techniques. It is rather disappointing to realize that we have to give up our expectations rather than build on the basis of our preconceptions.


But this is not bad news. Through disappointment we make progress:

Such a series of disappointments inspires us to give up ambition. We fall down and down and down, until we touch the ground, until we relate with the basic sanity of earth. We become the lowest of the low, the smallest of the small, a grain of sand, perfectly simple, no expectations. When we are grounded, there is no room for dreaming or frivolous impulse, so our practice at last becomes workable.


And what is this mysterious "practice" he refers to? What is this grounding you get? You accept the First Noble Truth -- which I would prefer to express as "My Mind is Suffering." If you speed right past this point, and just go on trying to implement "the magical power of yogic techniques," you will blame "Life" or "The World" or "Samsara" for your suffering. You will think that Buddhism is your ally in the war against the ordinary existence we all live. You will think that nature, the force of procreation, sexual impulse, simple hunger and intellectual curiosity, are the problem. You will view innocent children as the hapless playthings of a cruel, manipulative force called "Life." You will try to stamp out your own impulses, thinking that this is how you put an end to suffering. And this is totally wrong. It is not Buddhism.

Getting to Second Base

Ignorance -- did someone say ignorance? When you accept that First Noble Truth, you discover your first level of ignorance -- you did not realize that your mind is the source of suffering. Initially, this is a very painful discovery, and you want to run away from the experience. Many people attempt to flee Buddhism at this point, and doctrinaire Buddhists do little to help, telling them that they just need to "tame their mind" and the magic will take over. It can be a lot like a bad psychedelic trip, a "no exit" situation that keeps ratcheting up to a higher level of tension, or like the mind state of a person who suddenly realizes they've been locked into their room, and keeps trying the door, becoming more desperate every time they find it still locked.

You're not going anywhere. The door really will not open. It is not even a door. You just painted it on the wall so you could think you could leave. You used to dream that you sometimes left, and went outside. But that was a dream. You may weep, realizing that you were dreaming all that time. You may miss the dreams, the illusion. You may wish you could go back, curse the Buddha, and take another path. Back into town, wherever, anywhere but here.

Depending on luck and disposition, you can make things a lot worse at this point. You may grimly force yourself to "face reality," by which you mean exerting continual effort to oppose the impulse to escape, and taking all of the "blame" for the unpleasantness. You may overdo it, thinking that the doctrinaire approach means denying that life has any pleasure in it, or labeling the pleasure as sinful. By doing this, you quite miss the point of the First Noble Truth, which merely defines the problem. To solve it, you must move on.

Moving on, you start to relax. You sit down, and use some simple techniques to just stay there. You sort of mature into the situation, becoming a "lifer." This is it. You believe it. And strangely enough, the dreams resume. A breath of ventilation sneaks in. The room becomes less solid. Light shines in. People come visit. Sounds disturb you. Sights intrude. You laugh. Suddenly you realize "I'm no worse off than I was before. I'm in exactly the same situation. I'm still having dreams, but I'm noticing that they're dreams." You realize, "I was all worked up over nothing! Of course it's all my mind. Of course I suffer because of my mind. Of course I enjoy because of my mind. And also, I am here." You laugh. "I am here."

And you will start to realize the meaning of the Second Noble Truth: "The Cause of Suffering is Desire." Because you will notice that whims, inclinations, notions, little wisps of desire, get you going. You're just sitting there in your cell, looking through the transparent walls, watching the ghosts come and go, and then you'll think, "I should go and do this or that." And you'll run down that mental path, and then you'll notice that everything's become quite solid again. Your dreams are so solid when you believe in them. Then you'll wake up in your cell, suffering. You cannot fail to observe the connection.

The Wheel Stops

So now we've found the culprit -- desire. So we pull out our telescopic rifle and sight in on the little devil. Pow! One more gone. That much closer to Nirvana, right? You can try it, and these varmint-hunter Buddhists can be found everywhere. They're about as good humored as ranchers who want to kill off all the coyotes and mountain lions. They figure their virtues are like tender calves that need to be protected from predatory emotions. So they put out poisoned meat, leg traps, whatever it takes. Their minds become mine-fields, and their meditation is like a fortified location. Inside, they're safe from desire, but it lurks everywhere around them, an enemy that will never be subdued.

Do not take this approach to The Third and Fourth Noble Truths, which taken together say that "Desire Can Be Stopped By Applying the Noble Eightfold Path." Because the force of desire is so vast and powerful that the ocean waves and the winds that howl through the mountains are weak by comparison. The force of desire, you will observe as you sit in your cell, is coextensive with your breath and your mind. Some traditions of Hindu mysticism say you need to actually stop breathing to stop thinking. It's probably true, but the Buddha tried that, and he always found he had to start breathing again. We do not stop desire by jamming a stick in Mother Nature's spokes, for she will blithely break all sticks.

At this point, more subtlety is needed. Just as we penetrated the notion of "life is suffering" to unearth "my mind is suffering," we need to take a look at the meaning of "stopping desire." Let's look. If we try to stop desire, first there is the concept of desire as separate from ourselves, then there is the notion of needing to end it, then there is the effort to end it. Hence the analogy of the varmint hunter, who sights, aims and shoots. If we turn from this outward-oriented analysis, and look at where desire truly resides -- inside ourselves -- we realize that stopping desire is going to be the biggest journey of self-understanding that can be made. For to find the foundation of desire within ourselves is to journey inward, seeking to understand what has animated our first movements, from when a baby first reaches for a mother's breast, or young people seek out their first sexual encounter.

We then regard desire far more tenderly. No metaphor of surgery or war is suitable here. Analogies to removing tumors and overcoming enemies abound in Buddhism. I reject them as misleading and violent. To stop desire is so much more subtle than that. For that part of us that "desires" is no small part, not even an expendable Siamese twin that we could kill and yet keep our own heart beating. Desire is inseparable from us like salt is inseparable from blood.

So what is this Eightfold Path that will end desire? Literally, it is a list of eight things that everyone does. We all have views, but if you have Right View, you will see your way to the end of desire. We all have intentions, but if you adopt Right Intention, it leads to the end of desire. Similarly, we can have Right Speech, Right Discipline, Right Work, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Meditation. Obviously, the important term here is "Right," and that is subject to interpretation, so let's get the best one we can, from Trungpa Rinpoche:

In order to see what this is, we first must understand what Buddha meant by "right." He did not mean to say right as opposed to wrong at all. He said "right" meaning "what is," being right without a concept of what is right. "Right" translates the Sanskrit samyak, which means "complete." Completeness needs no relative help, no support through comparison; it is self-sufficient. In a bar one says, "I would like a straight drink." Not diluted with club soda or water; you just have it straight. That is samyak. No dilutions, no concoctions -- just a straight drink. Buddha realized that life could be potent and delicious, positive and creative, and he realized that you do not need any concoctions with which to mix it. Life is a straight drink -- hot pleasure, hot pain, straightforward, one hundred percent.


Does this seem like no help at all? Like you should just go have a drink? It doesn't sound like this Buddhist would mind if you did, so by all means, don't let me stop you. Just come back and sip it while you read the rest of this, because it's actually going to tie up very conveniently.

Okay, got your drink? Let's just go back to our cell and see how this works. You stop seeing "out there," and start seeing the whole experience as "my world - my mind." That's part one. You start to get some ventilation, because you perforate the claustrophobia of being stuck "in here" and trying to get "out there." It's all in here. Then you find you have a modicum of control over what's in here. You can't stop desire, but you see it come and go. Sometimes you manage to sidestep an incoming impulse, and you laugh as it goes blindly by. Sometimes you see a huge roller of desire coming in, and you paddle out to meet it, and surf it all the way in, arriving wet and exhilirated. Your relationship with desire develops through acceptance, and surprisingly, you find yourself observing impulses with an unforced detachment that becomes more natural the more it develops. As you become accustomed to watching and experiencing your impulses, you will realize their wholesome, developmental aspect, because they no longer dictate your reality. Your cell, far from claustrophobic, will become interesting, intricate, fascinating, a laboratory for study, experiment, and discovery.

You don't have to do anything else except develop this comfort level with your reality. Right View? Just see it straight, and drop the preconceptions as you note them arising. Right Work? Just get out of bed and go do it. Right Meditation? Your cell is waiting. Right Effort? Just keep it up, without any frills or expectations. It's like sawing a piece of wood -- you don't have to visualize it cut in half -- just stroke it with the saw until it falls off.

The experience of living can begin again. Most of us in adulthood feel as if our learning and development ended about the time we left high school or college. Since then, it's been one disillusioning discovery after another. Travelling the Noble Eightfold Path is something like becoming a child again, because once we learn that our style of perceiving the world determines our experience, we realize we are best off using our mind in its fresh, unobstructed condition, allowing knowledge to stream in through our senses, and trusting the way in which the world takes shape in our mind. We see the painful sense of restraint felt by the mind trying to escape itself gradually diminishing. The Buddha says that by following the Right Path, our pain ultimately comes to an end -- for most of us it will be enough just to get pointed in the right direction.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:33 am

WILLIAM GIBSON'S DYSTOPIAN EPIC: NEUROMANCER, by Charles Carreon

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The cyber-age began in 1984, when Canadian author William Gibson knocked out his first cyberpunk epic, Neuromancer, on a standard-issue typewriter. Some years later in an interview Gibson explained that he'd never been able to afford a computer until after he sold the book, and his first Apple frightened him so much with its floppy drive that sounded like "a toaster farting" that he took it back to the shop, thinking it was malfunctioning. The people there explained how the disk drive worked, and that it was noisy, and it totally blew his perception about computers. He figured he was lucky he hadn't realized there was a clunky Victrola mechanism hidden inside your average computer or he wouldn't have been free to imagine a smooth, crystal deck like the Ono-Sendai unit operated by our man, Case.

Case is precisely that punk born in the Sprawl, aka BAMA, the Boston Atlanta Metropolitan Axis who winds up hard on his luck in Night City, a dark place in Tokyo. A dark place illumined only by a tavern called Chatsubo, "The Chat," run by Ratz, a proprietor who will brook no homicide on his premises. Ratz lends emphasis to his edicts by crushing plastic ashtrays in his mechanical claw. His Brazilian bartender wields a high-tech repeating shotgun to underscore the gravity of the situation. And that's just when friends run into each other after a short absence, in Night City.

Case comes from tech royalty. "Case was twenty-four. At twenty-two, he'd been a cowboy, a rustler, one of the best in the Sprawl. He'd been trained by the best, by McCoy Pauley and Bobby Quine, legends in the biz. He'd operated on an almost permanent adrenalin high, a byproduct of youth and proficiency, jacked into a custom cyberspace deck that projected his disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix. A thief, he'd worked for other, wealthier thieves, employers who provided the exotic software required to penetrate the bright walls of corporate systems, opening windows into rich fields of data."

Sounds great, right? Into each life, some rain must fall. Case's hyper-adventure is over. Former friends have blocked his access to cyberspace by dosing him with a "wartime Russian micotoxin" that caused "minute, subtle, and utterly effective" damage to his nervous system. "For Case, who'd lived for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, it was the Fall."

Case is in Night City because he's blown his wad trying to buy a cure in Chiba, the black market of medical high tech in Tokyo. As Gibson describes it:

"Synonymous with implants, nerve-splicing, and microbionics, Chiba was a magnet for the Sprawl's techno-criminal subcultures. *** In Chiba, he'd watched his New Yen vanish in a two-month round of examinations." Case ends up living in the cheapest coffin down by the wharf, where arc lights shine perpetual glare. He can't jack into the Net, he's hustled himself down to the lowest level, and Night City has brought out the worst in him fast: "In the first month, he'd killed two men and a woman over sums that a year before would have seemed ludicrous."

Of course, things have to get worse before they get different. Case gets his cyber-access restored when an Artificial Intelligence decides it needs his talents to pull off a heist at the elite Tessier-Ashpool space station. Case's job is to pierce cybersecurity. Soon he meets his partner, the very hot Molly, a razorgirl who bought her claws with money saved from gigging as a "puppet," renting her body as a cybersexslave for paying corporate johns. Molly deals with real-world threats, like people with guns and muscles, often while Case snoops through a neural interface that lets him see and feel what Molly is experiencing.

The Artificial Intelligence, named "Wintermute" (cold and silent) first communicates with Case through a physical agent named Armitage, who is really just a roped-together construct of a man, mostly bio-engineered, built around the thorax and brain of a demolished soldier. Once Case's cyber-passport is restored, Wintermute visits Case in cyberspace, appearing as sundry characters from Night City. Armitage lays out the deal. Case is a cyberspace cowboy again, but it's got a time limit. The same surgeons who fixed him planted sacs of the same toxin in little sacks inside his veins, and they'll flood his system with deadening poison if he doesn't get his job done. So our boy has incentive.

Along the way to the Tessier-Ashpool space station, aka "Villa Straylight," Case and Molly stop off in Zion, a reggae space station, mon, where they hook up with Maelcum and his space-tug, a solid rig shaped like a tin can. Maelcum is handy wi' a shotgun, and not afraid to show it, also a peaceful bruddah who can be trusted.

In Straylight, some strange things are available to be seen. Case watches through Molly's eyes, as she works her way through the space station. We run across a little high-tech incest, between rich people and clones of their children. We view an impressive display of 3-D Psycho-holographic talent from the heiress 3Jane's boyfriend, Peter Riviera. Peter has some issues left over from growing up feral in the post-nuclear ruins of Bonn, however, so his projections are rather apocalyptic:

"A dark wave of rubble rose against a colorless sky, beyond its crest the bleached, half-melted skeletons of city towers. The rubble wave was textured like a net, rusting steel rods twisted gracefully as fine string, vast slabs of concrete still clinging there. The foreground might have once been a city square; there was a sort of stump, something that suggested a fountain. At its base, the children and the soldier were frozen.

***

Children. Feral, in rags. Teeth glittering like knives. Sores on their contorted faces. The soldier on his back, mouth and throat open to the sky. They were feeding."

These kinds of images are sprinkled through the novel. It's how Gibson gives us these meta-glimpses into the near-future. As always, the question is -- shall we fulfill or avoid these futures? Did we miss 1984, or twenty-two years later, did we miss the fact that it came without our noticing?

There's much in William Gibson's world that is dazzling, stimulating, and much that eats right into your core fears. For myself, I am always left with a feeling of wanting to read about all of it, but wanting to live only the fun parts.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:31 pm

"As God Is My Witness, I Am That Fool"
by Charles Carreon

July 19, 2013

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An ideal role model in a corrupt world.

Okay, admit it. Everybody wants to be bloodless and eternal, like a corporation. That’s why playing a vampire is the surest route to celebrity. But I have always liked immortals of a less rarefied type. The homey characteristics of the Addams Family enamoured me from childhood. The Munsters were even cooler in their TV show manifestation, with that crazy car and the blonde sister. Whoa! I fancied myself an Eddie Munster. There were similarities. I had a killer widow’s peak. I wore short pants for longer than I wanted to. My father always drove huge Cadillacs that looked like he’d checked them out of the government motorpool. Our house was a dilapidated dive that my brother once proclaimed, humorously, but with satirical style, “I figured out where we live! We live in a slum!” I was so proud.

Growing up as a schoolkid, I was ahead of everyone else, seven years old in the fifth grade for a little while, then put back to fourth grade, ’cause I was always in fights ’cause I was so little. I was always the runt, picked last for every sports team. I didn’t have to pick my friends, because only nice kids would be my friends, since I couldn’t throw or hit a ball, or do anything very well with my body. This pattern continued. I didn’t learn to swim until I was eleven, and didn’t learn to drive until after I was married. But I learned how to fight. Hell, we had a TV, so what excuse would I have for not knowing how to fight? Charge! Knock the other guy off his feet! They’re all smaller sittin’ on their ass.

The Addams Family movie became especially dear to the hearts of my children. It went well with the daily regimen of waking to the sound of “Rock and Roll High School” playing at 11 over the stereo. I never had a problem waking my kids, and they never minded getting up. And when we went to see The Addams Family at its Christmas release, it was a very fun trip to the movies.

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A moment of resolve with which I am in sympathy.

When Gomez, his homestead menaced by the machinations of his own lawyer, delivered his pro se soliliquy, I was thrilled: “Have no fear. Justice shall prevail. The courts will decide. They say a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. Well, with God as my witness, I am that fool!” Of course, it does not turn out at all well, and the family is evicted. Note, however, that Gomez was not a lawyer. Gomez’s mistake was not in representing himself, but in failing to observe that he was not a lawyer, and could not hope to compete on an equal footing in the courts.

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That’s another way of saying: “You don’t owe me anything!”

When Gomez returns to his strong suits — swordplay and magic — he’s back on top in no time. Most pro se litigants lose because they have no idea what the rules are. The rules are everywhere in the judicial system, and most pro se litigants don’t even know where to find them. Then, when they read them, they don’t understand them.

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These guys are only blindfolded, but same difference.

They are in a worse position than the blind men trying to determine the identity of the elephant. Three years in law school and you barely begin to scratch the surface of the law’s immensity. But if you have to go pro se, don’t despair. The most important case in the law of criminal procedure, Gideon v. Wainwright, was pro se. And what did it achieve? Eventually the principle articulated in Gideon gave nearly all criminal defendants the right to counsel. One pro se criminal defendant who was too stupid to give up did more to provide lawyers with jobs at public expense than all the lawyers had accomplished in hundreds of years. That man did not have a fool for a client.

But is it not undignified for a lawyer to represent himself? Yeah, let me consider that idea. Is it undignified for Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal to kick someone’s ass instead of calling the cops? Especially when, as in many action movies, the cops are all on the take and will sell your ass out for a nickel? And who was going to sue Matt Inman, Indiegogo, the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Fund for me? Find me the lawyer with the pair big enough to do that, and maybe I’d actually try to hire him or her. But from all the caterwauling I hear from the girlie-men lawyers, I think I’d have been wasting my time. So pardon my well-trained fists. I’ll kick ass on my own behalf anytime I find it useful.

Those who criticize me for not surrendering, and instead using my own pugilistic skills, are simply saying that a lawyer is merely a mercenary. He has no principles of his own to defend or assert. Without a client distinct from himself, he is a neuter drone. He is supposed to “stand down,” as Paul Levy wanted me to do after he got his panties all in a bunch because Register.com coughed up Recouvreur’s contact information in response to my standard “cough up the registrant’s name” letter. Believe me, Register.com has gotten them before from me, and their lawyers know the law.

If you reflect on it, this argument that pro se representation is a profanation of the courthouse is just typical brotherhood propaganda, intended to accustom the average person to the tyranny of the legal profession. As a member of the brotherhood, I don’t have to buy the propaganda.

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This little nipper nips off more than its share.

So the idea that I, being a lawyer, would not stoop to representing myself when I don’t have money to hire even a bad lawyer, is absurd. That’s like not reaching for a handy SKS assault rifle when someone stops by for a little home invasion. Get real. What kind of world do these rapeutationists live in?

Besides which, very few lawyers will litigate the way I litigate. I entirely agree with all these rapeutationist lawyers who said they would “never do this,” and “never do that” thing that Charles Carreon did. That is one hundred percent true, which is why I have won many cases that they would have lost for pure lack of trying, or just not having the guts to make the other lawyer lose. They would call their cowardice “professional behavior.” I tell you what. The rich don’t put up with that kind of crap. Their lawyers fight like partisans down to their last bullet. When they screw up, it’s not a small matter. Millions in fees can disappear, and an associate’s job right along with them, if something gets misfiled, or an argument is not made.

Maybe because I haven’t earned a salary since 1995, and don’t depend upon anyone’s good will but that of my clients, I have tried to give all my clients the type of service I know the wealthy receive. It keeps them coming back, but it means that I have to contest vigorously with other lawyers. I suspect that much of the outcry about my unfair tactics by the army of zombie lawyers spouting nonsense was conjured up to assure my adversaries of victory in the court of public opinion sufficient to overshadow the truth about myself and the legitimacy of my claims. Ultimately, the vast amount of grossly inaccurate information proliferated through the rapeutation procedure virtually moots the effectiveness of any strategy adopted to counter it. And chief among those misrepresentations was the statement that I am unethical.

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Rapeutationist Lawyer Before Receiving Payment

I know the types of lawyers who say my tactics are unethical. They’re the lawyers that sound like tigers before they get their fee. Oh, are they fierce! In the confines of their own offices, they describe how they will strike the foe.

“Ha!” they laugh at the arguments that the client fears the opposing side might make. ”Ridiculous! An easy case! Wouldn’t you say, Jim?”

The obsequious sidekick agrees. ”I think we can win this one.”

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Rapeutationist lawyer after receiving fee.

The retainer is signed, the check crosses the lawyer’s desk, and invisibly to the eyes of the client, a transformation takes place. As soon as they start talking to the adversary, they start softening up on the case, backpedaling, finding reasons not to do what they promised. Motions never get filed. Excuses get delivered instead. This is not my style. I am the same carnivorous beast before and after being fed. My adversaries complain because I hit them as soon as they walk into the ring, and then have a whole series of attacks planned as follow-up. There’s a principle at work here — every day must be a bad day for the enemy. But sustained effort is costly, so effective litigation is, by definition, expensive. This must be disclosed at the outset, but many lawyers soft-pedal the risk, luring their clients into the mire, where they will contribute their bones to the tarpit. When the client realizes how costly litigation is, they easily agree with the lawyer’s plans to do little, and hope for the best. This is the legal product commonly delivered in law offices around the country every day. By spreading the idea that aggressive representation in litigation is a bad thing, mediocre lawyers are simply making the world more comfortable for their lazy selves. So if you are looking to waste your money on legal fees and get excuses instead of results, you should definitely hire those lawyers who claim I am too aggressive.

Finally, I should address the argument that a pro se lawyer working on his own case, like I, in dealing with Paul Levy’s lawsuit against me on behalf of Christopher Recouvreur, is at a disadvantage. This may or may not be true, but I personally was at a dire disadvantage. Why? Because I hated working on the case. Paul Levy is an icky lawyer to deal with. He has mannerisms that are strange. The lama Chogyam Trungpa once described the feeling of dealing with a guy like Paul: ”You think that they are looking at your face, but actually they are watching you from behind your back.” You say something to Paul, and he comments on your statement with a long, lingering “Oh….” as if you just revealed your naked crotch and he’s going to tell the principal. I actually tried to get a friend in San Francisco to represent me in that case, and he was willing until I told him Paul Levy was on the other side. Then he apologized and said, “Ooh. I’d like to help you, but I actually get involved in cases that he’s in, and he’s weird. I mean he does weird things.” Yes, I agree with that, but that fight’s not over by a long shot. I filed my appeal. Lex est longa, vita brevis.

And since we’re talking about Paul Levy, if you would like to get in bed with a snake, then associate with him as co-counsel. After being your friend, and co-counsel, he will then tell people that your work product was “terrible.” I wrote my brief to the New York Court of Appeals in American Buddha exactly the way I wanted to. It was not at all traditional, because the entire NYCA briefing was a ridiculous exercise in result-oriented jurisprudence, instigated by the activist, pro-publisher panel, that wanted to give Penguin every opportunity to overturn Judge Edward Lynch’s decision without insulting Judge Lynch who had just recently been elevated to the Second Circuit himself, as Obama’s first judicial appointee. There was no logic in the question certified by the Second Circuit that asked the NYCA to determine the situs of a copyright, because the New York state courts never hear copyright cases, as all copyright cases are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. It is a rare occasion when an advocate feels so certain about the outcome of a particular piece of judicial gerrymandering that he will devote his brief to criticizing the legitimacy of the process itself, in an effort to provoke an attack of judicial conscience, but that is what I was up to.

Levy also claims that it’s wonderful that an attorney from his office argued the appeal before the NYCA. Really lucky. Because they lost.

What is most obscured by Levy’s diatribe against my litigation skills is that while on appeal at the NYCA, I was defending a win before Judge Lynch at the District Court level, and that after losing the appeal, I went on to win again in the District Court before Judge Ronnie Abrams. To hear Levy tell it, his disapproval is a black mark against an advocate that obscures even the lustre of victory. I assure you, my client does not concur.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:35 pm

The Pizza Effect, and Why Crowds Are Stupid
by Charles Carreon
July 23, 2013

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Ann Bransom, As Smart As Many, by Tara Carreon
[Ann Bransom] Crowd to feed? Say “Cheese!”


I was twelve when I realized I liked anchovies on my pizza. Shortly thereafter, I realized that hardly anyone else did. Since I would rarely buy myself a whole pizza, and there was no pizza-by-the-slice in the Phoenix, Arizona of my youth, I resigned myself to anchovy-less pizzas until I became more independent. Then I had kids, and they didn’t like anchovies, either.

I just can’t get around the Pizza Effect: The larger the number of people ordering pizza, the more likely you will get plain cheese. If you are among meat-eaters, you have good odds of getting pepperoni, or a half-pepperoni. But even splitting the pizza toppings down the middle will not get you anchovies in any group of more than two — anchovy-haters are just too prevalent.

The Pizza Effect is a particular application of the more general rule that accounts for the stupidity of crowds, the Law of Selective Aggregation: “Whenever things get massed together, some of their properties aggregate, and other properties do not.” For example, a pile of carbon atoms, exists as “carbon” only because the strong nuclear force binds the subatomic particles of the nucleus together and keeps the electrons within their shells. But in a ton of coal the strong nuclear force does not aggregate. Only the gravitic force of the coal atoms aggregates; wherefore, it weighs a ton.

A crowd of people aggregates the physical strength and the emotion of the crowd. That is why provoking a deadly stampede is very easy, and there is a rule against shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. Tug-of-war is a game built around aggregating physical strength. Add more people, and you can pull harder. Emotion also aggregates, perhaps because emotion is transmitted through simple words and gestures that work powerfully in mass communication, perhaps for deeper reasons. The power of aggregate emotion is easily recollected. You brush it off if one person in a movie audience says, “Sit down!” But if the whole row of people says it, you may feel humiliated and be unable to enjoy the movie. The massed emotional disapproval is more painful and intimidating.

By contrast, even though a good communicator may educate a crowd, he or she cannot aggregate the intelligence of its members to increase the speed with which we can solve a computational problem. For example, if we projected the following question on the screen at a moviehouse: “What is the square root of 67?” The quickest answer will come no faster than the most mathematically adept person in the crowd can provide it. Cognitive processes like computation and other intellectual skills like rational problem solving do not aggregate in a crowd.

In Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley takes it further, and effectively argues that in crowds, all negative human qualities aggregate, such that people packed in crowds suffer “herd-poisoning.” He discusses this subject in the context of analyzing the art of demagoguery. Huxley turns to Adolph Hitler for a case study, because Hitler knew “crowds and propaganda” “by firsthand experience.” To make the German populace “more masslike, more homogeneously subhuman, he assembled them by the thousands and the tens of thousands, in vast halls and arenas, where individuals would lose their personal identity, even their elementary humanity, and be merged with the crowd.” Because “a crowd is chaotic, has no purpose of its own and is capable of anything except intelligent action and realistic thinking,” people in a crowd suffer from “herd-poisoning,” an “intoxication” in which the “crowd-intoxicated individual escapes from responsibility, intelligence and morality into a kind of frantic, animal mindlessness.”

Whether it’s that bad or not, I don’t know. But at minimum, I know this — in a crowd, feeling what everyone else is feeling, you have the same intelligence as the whole crowd. You are likely much more stupid than usual. You are more likely to get a tattoo, make an inappropriate comment, inflict unwanted contact on someone of the opposite sex, or, in the really wrong crowd, discover yourself “hating” people you don’t even know, burning to punish them for wrongs that “everybody knows” they committed. That’s called a lynching, and it’s the apex of stupidity. Most people wouldn’t lynch anybody as a solo project, because then everyone would stop liking them for being a homicidal maniac. But crowds do lynch people –- time and again. Because, to a crowd, the worst ideas sound like the best ones.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:38 pm

Unemployed Lawyers Go Zombie, And Why
by Charles Carreon
July 24, 2013

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Will Blawg for Oatmeal, by Tara Carreon and Anonymous

Nastier than a bag o’ baby rattlesnakes, that’s what I’d call ‘em, the latest generation of legal vipers turned out upon the world. Young lawyers are a lot like baby rattlers, well-known to be much more likely to bite than an older snake, that realizes that even though every other living creature may well be an enemy, it doesn’t always pay to attack them.

These little asps came slithering out of the laws schools under a trifecta of bad omens: a spike in law school tuition, a dive in the lawyer job market, and the explosion of “blawgs” where unemployed lawyers can “blaw, blaw, blaw” about stuff they’ve never done, in hopes that someday, someone will give them a shot at a job.

Law school was no picnic in my day, and when we got out we were in debt up to our necks, but we got jobs. Being a family man, I felt considerable pressure when I walked out of school $70,000 in debt – and into a salary of $47,000/year. My wife and I both worked full time, she as a legal secretary, me as an associate lawyer, and it was always a challenge to raise a family of five in LA on our income, and pay down the debt. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have twice that much debt, no job, and an economy with few prospects of producing a job for me. Which is the position of many, many young lawyers.

Statistics? Almost 13% of new lawyers have no work. Barely half of new lawyers have gotten a full-time job that lasts at least a year and puts their bar license to use. Meanwhile, the median salary for new lawyers is $61,245, while average education debt for private law graduates (including those who will never pass the bar) has soared into the range of $125,000. If you ask yourself how those numbers are going to even out, the answer is, they never will. We have minted a generation of lawyers who are under water, personal-capital-wise. And as we know, that debt is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Nasty.

Nasty enough to drive some people right into zombiehood. Take Adam Steinbaugh, for example. He can’t find work, so he blogs about things he doesn’t understand. How could he understand them? A lawyer with no experience in the courthouse or the conference room is simply a helpless creature, often veering from one near-disaster to another, frightened of judges, frightened of other lawyers, unable to communicate with clients effectively, spreading an aura of discombobulation throughout the vicinity.

Of course, Adam doesn’t feel like a zombie, yet. He knows that some sense of decorum is required, that he needs to show restraint, but he doesn’t know where the boundaries are. Meanwhile, he makes heroes of people whose own careers are not exactly the envy of the profession, like Marc Randazza. Adam worked for a little while at a firm that represents truly bad lawyers, like the Prenda Law Group fellas, whose conduct seemed so clearly criminal to Judge Otis D. Wright III that he referred these bad lawyers to the U.S. Attorney for investigation in a sanctions order. Adam scrounges around for praise from Ken Popehat White, and what good does it do him?

Tell you what – the more closely he associates himself with the Rapeutation business, the longer it’s going to be before he is able to cleanse himself of the association and begin a life of normal, meaningful lawyering.

Because, you see, lawyering is not about blabbing about “legal issues” on the Internet. It’s about having clients, whose interests you serve using a wide array of skills that you develop a little at a time, thanks to the patience of the more experienced members of the profession. You learn virtues like loyalty, and how to subordinate your concerns to those of the client by working diligently and never selling out, even when it means you have to work long hours for no money. You learn how to control your temper, stay cool under pressure, planning your adversary’s defeat, and putting that plan into action, putting in months and years of detail work. You learn how to lose pretrial or at trial, and appeal. You learn how to win at trial, and then lose on appeal. You learn to respect your adversaries, almost all of them, even if only because they beat you. Before you’ve learned these things, anything you write is like a child writing about sex. Utterly ignorant.

But if you have nothing else to do as an unemployed lawyer, you might fall into it. You might think you’re keeping your skills sharp, reading recent legal developments, picking up on the scuttlebutt, but likely you’re not benefiting yourself or anyone else, because you don’t have a client to work for, and you just don’t really learn that much, theorizing in the void. It’s like target shooting without a target.

So then, since you’re a lawyer, you’re likely to pick a target. Someone who’s been identified as a vulnerable target by someone like Ken Popehat White, who spends a lot of time identifying targets for rapeutational attacks. He has some little mental quirk that spurs him to do that. Then he gets guys like Adam Steinbaugh to form a cheering section of useful foolish “lawyers” who can agree with him, zombie-style, thus emboldening lower-grade zombies, the console-humpers who will truly ignite the fires of a full scale DIRA. At that point, Adam may even think “Wow, this is getting out of hand!” But he won’t be able to do anything about it. Having participated in getting the DIRA going, he’s pretty much bound to stay true to its principles.

But all this blawging ain’t gonna pay the bills. And baggin’ on other lawyers isn’t going to attract a client or a future boss. So here’s a word of advice for unemployed young lawyers. Work for free, if you have to, but don’t just fiddle around and write about stuff you don’t understand. It’s low-grade zombie activity, and nobody is going to be impressed by your drivel. Give it up now, before someone screencaps it and publishes it where you can’t get rid of it, or it could become a real enduring problem for you.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:44 pm

A Topic of Discussion Small Enough For Little Minds
by Charles Carreon

July 26, 2013

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A Question of Perspective, by Tara Carreon
[Kenneth Popehat White] Elimination of this pest could rid humanity of so much suffering!
(Small Problems For Small Minds)


Recently I’ve been reflecting on why Rapeutationists rarely bend their vicious tongues to the task of criticizing truly evil people. For example, I’m sitting here reading Judge Katherine B. Forrest’s opinion enjoining President Obama from arresting and detaining Christopher Hedges, six other defendants, and the rest of us exposed to indefinite detention here in USA-land. Obama’s lawyers tried to defend the unconstitutional authority bestowed upon him by the kitten Congress in Section 1021(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2012 (the “NDAA”) in the usual way – by offering no evidence, putting on no defense other than executive dogma, and stonewalling Judge Forrest’s questions with bland responses like “we are not prepared to address that.” It’s a damn good read, and really important for anyone who thinks our President’s ongoing power grab is being grossly under-reported, because this is a classic example of misplaced journalistic priorities.

Judge Forrest’s opinion concluded that Christopher Hedges and the other journalists had a well-founded fear that they could be arrested and indefinitely detained for their work. Judge Forrest concluded that author Alexa O’Brien had deliberately not published certain writings because she feared they could result in her arrest and indefinite detention. (Opinion, page 23.) Now that’s a chilling effect on speech of a major sort!

Judge Forrest issued her opinion while my Rapeutation was in full swing – on August 12, 2012 – but none of my Rapeutationists mentioned a word of it. Purportedly, they’re all champions of the First Amendment, and the First Amendment is intended to protect people from the Government, and here the Government is actually silencing people with legal threats, and the Rapeutationists are silent.

Wouldn’t you think some of our lead Rapeutationists – ever on guard against attacks on the Precious First Amendment – would sound the alarm? A big defender of liberty like Ken Popehat White would certainly post about it! Public Citizen would be jostling for a seat at counsel table for Hedges! EFF would be hopping mad! But they weren’t – site specific searches for “hedges v. obama” on Popehat.com, citizen.org and EFF.org produce null results.

The Rapo-sites are focused on really dangerous people, like Charles Carreon, the lawyer who never quits, never shuts up, never sits down. They’re not distracted from the real target. They know the truth — one guy like Carreon is more dangerous than a thousand Obamas. Presidents come and go, but lawyers like Carreon will keep jacking up cartoonists for Mercedes money until they are finally put down with a silver bullet. Is it possible the attentions of the Rapeutationists are misplaced? Possible? Certain, I say!

For an explanation of this silence regarding the retirement of the Presidential power of indefinite internment for inadequately-described speech-crimes, we must turn to the works of Robert Northcote Parkinson.

Robert Northcote Parkinson is an author well-known to most business students of my vintage, the originator of “Parkinson’s Law,” that states, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Parkinson’s Law explains why the war on terror won’t be won, and why military contracts often are closed out without anything being delivered – the military, and its no-bid contractors, hate deadlines. But without a deadline, there is no demand. That’s why, if you don’t do it promptly, the police will say, “Get your ass on the ground, now.” Officer Gusstep doesn’t want to be waiting around all day while you find something comfy to stretch out on. So he emphasizes the time for completion of the task.

Parkinson’s Law is fun, but it doesn’t explain what I’m here to talk about. Rather, it’s another rule of Parkinson’s: “the time spent on a task is inversely proportional to its importance.” I summarize it as: “small minds can only solve small problems.”

As an example of the operation of the rule, Parkinson describes how a public authority would approve a proposed nuclear plant in five minutes, and take half an hour to discuss the design of a bicycle shed. His discussion of the matter goes like this:

chairman we come now to item nine. our treasurer, mr. mcphail, will report.

mr. mcphail the estimate for the atomic reactor is before you, sir, set forth in appendix h of the subcommittee’s report. you will see that the general design and layout has been approved by professor mcfission. the total cost will amount to $10,000,000. the contractors, messrs. mcnab and mchash, consider that the work should be complete by april, 1959. mr. mcfee, the consulting engineer, warns us that we should not count on completion before october, at the earliest. in this view he is supported by dr. mcheap, the well-known geophysicist, who refers to the probable need for piling at the lower end of the site. the plan of the main building is before you–see appendix ix–and the blueprint is laid on the table. i shall be glad to give any further information that members of this committee may require.

chairman thank you, mr. mcphail, for your very lucid explanation of the plan as proposed. i will now invite the members present to give us their views.

it is necessary to pause at this point and consider what views the members are likely to have. let us suppose that they number eleven, including the chairman but excluding the secretary. of these eleven members, four — including the chairman — do not know what a reactor is. of the remainder, three do not know what it is for. of those who know its purpose, only two have the least idea of what it should cost. one of these is mr. isaacson, the other is mr. brickworth. either is in a position to say something. we may suppose that mr. isaacson is the first to speak.

mr. isaacson well, mr. chairman. i could wish that i felt more confidence in our contractors and consultant. had we gone to professor levi in the first instance, and had the contract been given to messrs. david and goliath, i should have been happier about the whole scheme. mr. lyon-daniels would not have wasted our time with wild guesses about the possible delay in completion, and dr. moses bullrush would have told us definitely whether piling would be wanted or not.

chairman i am sure we all appreciate mr. isaacson’s anxiety to complete this work in the best possible way. i feel, however, that it is rather late in the day to call in new technical advisers. i admit that the main contract has still to be signed, but we have already spent very large sums. if we reject the advice for which we have paid, we shall have to pay as much again.

(other members murmur agreement.)

mr. isaacson i should like my observation to be minuted.

chairman certainly. perhaps mr. brickworth also has something to say on this matter?

now mr. brickworth is almost the only man there who knows what he is talking about. there is a great deal he could say. he distrusts that round figure of $10,000,000. why should it come out to exactly that? why need they demolish the old building to make room for the new approach? why is so large a sum set aside for “contingencies”? and who is mcheap, anyway? is he the man who was sued last year by the trickle and driedup oil corporation? but brickworth does not know where to begin. the other members could not read the blueprint if he referred to it. he would have to begin by explaining what a reactor is and no one there would admit that he did not already know. better to say nothing.

mr. brickworth i have no comment to make.

chairman does any other member wish to speak? very well. i may take it then that the plans and estimates are approved? thank you. may i now sign the main contract on your behalf? (murmur of agreement) thank you. we can now move on to item ten.

allowing a few seconds for rustling papers and unrolling diagrams, the time spent on item nine will have been just two minutes and a half. the meeting is going well. but some members feel uneasy about item nine. they wonder inwardly whether they have really been pulling their weight. it is too late to query that reactor scheme, but they would like to demonstrate, before the meeting ends, that they are alive to all that is going on.

chairman item ten. bicycle shed for the use of the clerical staff. an estimate has been received from messrs. bodger and woodworm, who undertake to complete the work for the sum of $2350. plans and specification are before you, gentlemen.

mr. softleigh surely, mr. chairman, this sum is excessive. i note that the roof is to be of aluminum. would not asbestos be cheaper?

mr. holdfast i agree with mr. softleigh about the cost, but the roof should, in my opinion, be of galvanized iron. i incline to think that the shed could be built for $2000, or even less.

mr. daring i would go further, mr. chairman. i question whether this shed is really necessary. we do too much for our staff as it is. they are never satisfied, that is the trouble. they will be wanting garages next.

mr. holdfast no, i can’t support mr. daring on this occasion. i think that the shed is needed. it is a question of material and cost…

the debate is fairly launched. a sum of $2350 is well within everybody’s comprehension. everyone can visualize a bicycle shed. discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some $300. members at length sit back with a feeling of achievement.

chairman item eleven. refreshments supplied at meetings of the joint welfare committee. monthly, $4.75.

mr. softleigh what type of refreshment is supplied on these occasions?

chairman coffee, i understand.

mr. holdfast and this means an annual charge of — let me see — $57?

chairman that is so.

mr. daring well, really, mr. chairman. i question whether this is justified. how long do these meetings last?


Everyone who has attended public meetings of public entities is familiar with proceedings like this. For really complex issues with huge budgets, the time on the agenda for discussion is miniscule, even when the room is bursting with citizens wanting to speak. My favorite superquick bad decision by civic authorities who were faced with a question too large for their capacities was an event I wrote about over ten years ago in The Ashland Free Press – The Great McCloud Water Caper of 2003. Back in that faraway time, when many Rapeutationists were still becoming familiar with the pleasures of playing with their own joysticks and did not realize they would someday grow up to be zombies, the City of Dunsmuir, finding itself in possession of over a billion acre-feet of water drawn from the peaks of Mt. Shasta and other glacier-decked snowfields, sold it all to Nestle corporation for about $40,000. Thanks to some damn good luck, Judge Kosel’s nullification of the deal under the California Environmental Quality Act, although reversed on appeal, was ultimately given effect, and the insanely bad deal was scuttled.

So there you have it – another mystery handily solved by Charles Carreon. I was targeted for Rapeutation because I am a person perceived by Rapeutationists as an eminently misunderstandable person whose story would not challenge the mental capacities of the zombie horde. To misunderstand Judge Forrest’s opinion, Rapeutationists would have to read it, and at one-hundred and twelve pages, without Ken Popehat White, or Paul Aryan Levy to supply an agreed-upon distorted meaning, that’s just a non-starter. Zombies can’t march in formation without leaders. The employed among them have to write so many words per day, and it is the number of those words, not their sense, that rings their little toy cash-registers. As for structurally unemployed folks like Chris Recouvreur – they’re not afraid that the government is coming for them – hell, they’re White Patriots! Indeed, to be fair to Ken White, a site-specific search for “NDAA” at Popehat.com (ndaa site:popehat.com) does give us a nice list of posts that reveal Ken for exactly what he is, in my opinion — another Republican talking-points shill who dishes out crap to liberals who hassle his pointy-headed peers. Say it ain’t so, Ken!

You might ask what happens where Rapeutationists actually try to talk about something important, like the NDAA. It ain’t pretty. Back in 2012, the NDAA was up for “re-authorization,” that as Judge Forrest explained, was actually not a re-authorization at all, but rather, a surreptitious expansion to include powers never before wielded by any President. Rapo Mike Masnick at TechDirt, exercising his modest supply of grey matter, posted about some proposed expansions in the law. Not realizing this topic might require work he wasn’t equipped for, i.e., actual thought, Rapo Anonymous Coward lead off with this comment: “people hate people too much.” Granted, Anonymous Coward is an expert on the topic of hate – having a huge bile-sack in place of a prostate, and his fingers up the arse of a small army of sock-puppets to back him up when the rapo-action gets hot. But nihilists like Anonymous Coward always hit a dead end, and his next post revealed his true zombie nature, like a worm flicking from between the wizened cracks of his pie-hole:

“if there were no people, than it’s obvious that people would not have a problem with people…. thus people are both the source of the problem and the solution…”


Oh yes, that’s quite insightful, but does it really take words to say it? Can’t you just point to your empty head and grin like an idiot?

Take-home lesson? If you want to focus on unimportant stuff, and miss the important stuff, read TechDirt, Popehat, and other Rapo-sites. They’ll keep your eye on the irrelevant, but totally misunderstandable topics that you enjoy. Leave the real thinking to people who can read and write, like Judge Forrest and Chris Hedges. Thanks to them, you can say whatever you want, and nothing more than your incurious mind will be detained.

But if you actually have a grain of curiosity, you might wonder – are Rapeutations of people of slight fame like Charles Carreon just one more circus show to keep the zombies from snapping out of their zombie trance? The Rapeutation of Charles Carreon obviously contributed substantially to the mass of digital flotsam that blocks out discussion of really important events like Judge Forrest’s opinion. Do you think it’s just possible that people like Ken White, who so fears to be lauded by “Constitutionalists” that he will issue bogus legal threats to prevent them from reposting his articles in red-state-type blogs, is also working on the general agenda to keep stupid people riled up about trivial shit? Ya’ think?

________________________________

Comment: Charles – July 30, 2013 10:05 pm

Apropos of this topic, I discovered a thread on popehat.com, “Why Is Someone Spamming Our Comments On Behalf of a New York Attorney?” that revealed Ken’s capacity for pettiness in granular detail, as our explorer of submicroscopic space navigated his way through an exchange with an attorney whose comments took White to task for maligning the ethics of an attorney who is renowned for his ethical character. When backed against the wall, White’s willingness to deploy utterly disingenuous, sophistic arguments becomes supersized, and he can fire off gems like this one: “Is it your position that spam advertising has no ethical dimension? Will the relevant New York rules back up that provision? … The purpose is not to punish [attorney] — who will experience reputational punishment simply as a result of having comment spam with his name cluttering the internet, whether or not this post is here — but to deter lawyers from using scummy marketing methods, from using scummy outside marketers, or from failing to supervise marketers thoroughly.” White is well aware that his postings associating the attorney with unethical marketing techniques will damage his reputation once they appear prominently on that most important of all Internet real estate – “The First Page of Google’s Search Results.” No less an authority on the subject than one of White’s vociferous supporters (believed to be Mike Masnick of Techdirt) summarizes the nub of the argument: “Leeching motherfuckers like [attorney] want to do what we have elected not to do — capitalize on our hard work … Yet [attorney], who contributes nothing, seek to suck money out of us. Rather than offer to pay Popehat’s bandwith fees (blogging has expenses other than time), he wants a freebie. He’s a head lice. Do you not get how disgustingly parasitic that is? If [attorney] would just come in to apologize, at least I would move along. As it is now, I am pissed off and thus likely to make my ow contribution. I am considering a blog post with [attorney]‘s name prominently noted. I guarantee that whatever I post, will end up on the first page of Google’s search results.” [sic]
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:47 pm

The Tale of William Popehat Hearst
by Charles Carreon
July 29, 2013

Image
The Yellow Pig: William Popehat Hearst, by Tara Carreon

In which an unctuous talespinner much given to fiction imagines the character of a good man as evil, bewitches his readers to think the same, and comes to a bad end.

Once upon a windy L.A. day
A swine-shaped lawyer made his way
Along Flower Street where
It intersects with Third;
His eyes alighted on a bird,
He said to himself,
“You remind me of Charles Carreon,
You carrion fowl,
Pecking at scraps of offal.
I shall tell my readers of this thing,
So terribly disgusting.”
He trundled on, thus ruminating
Pig-teeth gnashing,
Pig-brain hating,
And all his thoughts keep deviating
to images of Charles Carreon,
Acting clever, having fun,
Pointing at people
With his legal gun,
Demanding money
Maybe even getting some,
How dare that bastard,
He’s a Mexican-
Spanish-Jewish, an oily sort
That last name’s one with
which I’ve made sport,
With imputations quick as light,
By saying “It’s so!”
I made black of white.
Was he known as good?
How tedious. He’s found his place
With the rest of us.
My mudball made of
blackest hate
Has marred his visage
Shaped his fate.
My curse is sure,
It never fails,
I bind it down with coffin nails.”
So thinks the hoglike barrister
As he humps over Bunker Hill
To his favorite watering hole to swill
And spin the tale that will
Take the starch out of that
Charles Carreon.

He picks up his pen, then
He turns to see the waiter
Looking on –
“What say you, Man?
What’s here to dine upon?
And don’t tell me you have no Charles Carreon.”
Anon his smiling partner comes
And conversation turns as conversation
must with William Popehat Hearst,
A man who knows the worst
And longs to tell it
If only he could package it
And sell it.
He’s working on that now
If only wishing could make a pig a cow!
The conversation turns, as I was saying,
To Popehat Hearst’s excoriation
Of Charles Carreon’s cardinal sin
“It doesn’t matter”
Says Popehat Hearst
“To a rogue like Charles Carreon
What side you’re on or who’s to blame,
He’ll take any side,
It’s all the same
His coin is lead
He’ll shoot you dead
As soon as look at you,
A cool devil, I tell you.”

His listener is skeptical
Having heard Popehat wax hysterical,
In phrases oddly metrical.
“Oh, c’mon Hearst,
He’s not half-bad and
Certainly not the worst,
He has his fun, that’s sure,
And aren’t we all
In stock and trade
Of threats and judgments made?”

Popehat Hearst turns dyspeptic
When he hears this dialectic.
“What think you, man,
It’s only Carreon must burn?
Watch yourself, watch me,
My friend, lest someday it be
Your turn. Who offendeth me
Offends a mighty crowd.
I’ll brook no opposition to a just position.”

“What, threats now, Popehat Hearst?
I’m not surprised!
Mark my words
This Charles Carreon business
Has boiled the marrow
Behind your eyes.
You’ve imagined crimes
Where there were none
You’ve pilloried the fellow
For what you say he’s done,
And all that he did
Was seen through the dark,
Twisted lens of your
Warped intellect.
How unfortunate your words
Have the power to infect.”

At this Hearst took a draught of swill
Belched very loudly as was his will
And said, to his fellow,
“He makes me ill.
I don’t know what it is.
I’ve had my fill.
I kill and kill and kill and kill.
It’s as if I don’t have my own will.
That hate has infected every fiber of me.
And I didn’t think
this could happen to me!”

At this Popehat Hearst broke into tears,
Pulled a dagger from his boot
And plunged it in his chest
Crying, “Tell that bastard Carreon,
He made me do it.”


________________________________

Written on July 29, 2013, the occasion of for the first time reading the following:

“See, a legal threat like the one Charles Carreon sent — ‘shut up, delete your criticism of my client, give me $20,000, or I’ll file a federal lawsuit against you’ — is unquestionably a form of bullying. It’s a form that’s endorsed by our broken legal system. Charles Carreon doesn’t have to speak the subtext, any more than the local lout has to tell the corner bodega-owner that ‘protection money’ means ‘pay or we’ll trash your shop.’ The message is plain to anyone who is at all familiar with the system, whether by experience or by cultural messages.What Charles Carreon’s letter conveyed was this: ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re in the right. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the wrong. It doesn’t matter that my client makes money off of traffic generated from its troglodytic users scraping content, and looks the other way with a smirk. It just doesn’t matter. Right often doesn’t prevail in our legal system. When it does, it is often ruinously expensive and unpleasant to secure. And on the way I will humiliate you, delve into private irrelevancies, harass your business associates and family, disrupt your sleep, stomp on your peace of mind, and consume huge precious swaths of your life. And, because the system is so bad at redressing frivolous lawsuits, I’ll get away with it even if I lose — which I won’t for years. Yield — stand and deliver — or suffer.’ Our system privileges Charles Carreon to issue that threat, rather than jailing or flogging him for it. And so Carreon supports bullying like that. He’s got a license to do it. He knows that his licensed threats — coming, as they do, on the [slightly odd] letterhead of a lawyer — inspire far more fear and stress than the complaints of a mere citizen, and by God he plays it to the hilt. By contrast, Charles Carreon doesn’t like shows of force that you or I can muster. ‘I’m completely unfamiliar really with this style of responding to a legal threat,’ he sniffs. There’s a whiff of Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing in there — the sentiment ‘how was I to know that I was picking on someone stronger than I am? Is that fair?’ But what he means is ‘if the people I threaten don’t have to dig into their pockets to go hire a lawyer, and spend unpleasant hours with that lawyer, and lay awake at night worrying, and rely on a lawyer who is part of my privileged culture, but can stand up for themselves … how can I intimidate them so easily?’ Perhaps some rude Oatmeal followers did actually send true threats or abuse to Charles Carreon’s office — which I condemn. That’s morally wrong and not helpful to the cause of free speech; it’s harmful. But I fail to see why Charles Carreon sending that threat letter is more legitimate, admirable, or proper than ten thousand Oatmeal fans sending back the message that Charles Carreon is a petulant, amoral, censorious douchebag. It doesn’t take lawyers, it doesn’t take law school, it doesn’t take any special privilege conferred by the state — it only takes a robust right of free expression — sending it back by blogging it, tweeting it, posting it on Facebook, and posting it in comments on forums. Charles Carreon has power derived from an inadequate legal system and letters of marque from the State Bar; The Oatmeal has the power of goodwill and community respect earned by talent. There’s no reason to exalt Carreon’s power and condemn The Oatmeal’s.” — Kenneth Paul White, popehat.com
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:50 pm

The Spirit of Surrender
by Charles Carreon
July 31, 2013

Image

Mark, an insurance defense lawyer in Medford, Oregon, twitted me once with this line — “I tell people – Charles Carreon is the best thing that ever happened to the defense community in Southern Oregon.” By this he meant that since my arrival in Jackson County I had filed a number of cases that other lawyers in Southern Oregon would not touch, providing the “defense community” with work that had previously been lacking. I guess it was nice of me to believe in the value of injury and civil rights cases that all the local lawyers knew weren’t worth the effort to try in front of the notoriously cheap Southern Oregon juries. I did get the occasional settlement out of Mark, and he eventually kicked my ass in the trial of a medical malpractice case. It was a bad hip-replacement case in Southern Oregon that I tried before Judge Ray White – a fair and affable jurist – out of sheer tenacity. My expert was terrible – he was from California and hadn’t done a whole lot of testifying, although he had done some hip replacements. Testifying against a local Oregon sawbones, and a much better expert, he was not carrying the day, and about halfway through the third day of trial, Mark was incredulous. He couldn’t believe I hadn’t thrown in the towel. But I couldn’t see why I should. I would only lose faster that way. My client would think he’d been given away, and I’d lose his respect into the bargain. So I insisted on hearing the final aria of the corpulent soprano!

Surrender fans will tell you that if you know you’re going to lose, you shouldn’t waste the jury’s time. Heck with that! They’re doing more real brainwork than they’ve done in years. They want to deliver a verdict. Although you can settle a case during trial, if there’s isn’t a good deal on the table, why deprive the jury of the pleasure? Besides which, how do you know you’re going to lose? You don’t know anything for sure – juries surprise all the time.

Let’s see, any more reasons to surrender? The judge will think you’re reasonable. That cuts no ice. Judge White already knew who I was – I’d tried at least a half-dozen jury trials and scores of bench trials and hearings before him, so there was nothing about me for him to learn. I was the prosecutor who at first went over the heads of the juries, but learned to try a case. Pretty well, actually. Once, after Phil Arnold and I tried an indecent exposure case where I was representing the People and Phil was representing the defendant, Judge White said to the jury, before sending them to deliberate, something to the effect of, “I don’t often say this, but you’ve just seen a couple of really good lawyers at work. This case was extremely well-presented.” Man, that felt great, and I got the conviction.

Years later, Phil became a judge, and I tried a non-jury case for the plaintiff in front of him. My client was the very beautiful acupuncturist Jennifer Fletcher, a regular Ashland thief of hearts who was enmeshed in a real estate deal that had turned out rotten. Literally, like her house was rotten – you could punch through the walls with your fist, or kick a hole in it, and inside the walls was like old newspapers and crap. It was the worst “Oregon construction” you have ever imagined. But the case turned on documents, and in particular, a statement of Jennifer’s that we couldn’t weasel out of, and Phil ruled for the real estate agent. Now, I didn’t agree with the ruling. But I will tell you with one hundred percent certainty that I never thought “This is payback for kickin’ his ass in that indecent exposure case.” Nor did I think I might have an edge because I had contributed to Phil’s campaign and hosted a memorable event (he will smile if he reads this) at my office to support his candidacy. Because I knew Phil’s lawyerly character, and he knew mine. What Phil knew about me as an advocate, a judge, and a friend was that I had the type of character that allows a man to present a case to a jury, and receive the judgment. If you try cases repeatedly, you will develop a trial lawyer’s character, which means you will learn to do everything you can and then let go so the jury can finish the job. Because only they can give your client the verdict.

The time when the matter is in the jury’s hands is a time of almost unbelievable tension. This is the fruit of not having surrendered – massive uncertainty. I have, on one occasion, known with unshakeable certainty that I was going to win a case. On every other occasion, I had to wait to hear the verdict. And that wait is like no other. Talk about “out of your hands.” It’s so bad, that I made it a practice to bring a basketball and shoot hoops with my client and co-counsel if I was lucky enough to have one.

I remember once, Peter Carini and I shot hoops with the client in a drug case where our client could have been nailed on three deliveries and one possession. Nacho, the client, had an innocent dupe defense, and played it with mastery, being as he was a handsome Tae Kwon Do black-belt family man. The trial had gone well, with some humiliating reversals for the prosecution, but when you’re facing four felonies, there’s testimony from informants, and video of the client at the scene of the third delivery, how you gonna beat all that? So shooting hoops will keep you from going insane between the time when you say “the defense rests,” and the judge says, “I have received the verdict from the bailiff, and it reads ….” We spent several hours playing “h-o-r-s-e” before my cellphone rang, and we walked back to the courthouse.

Image

We knew the jury had something good for us, because they had the windows open upstairs in the jury room and they were leaning out the window smokin’ and laughin’ and you know you don’t feel that way when you’re convicting the hell out of somebody. We walked in and the jury looked well satisfied to find him not guilty on all deliveries, and guilty of possessing the ounce in the freezer. A few years later we would shake that charge on appeal. Mighty fine result you couldn’t have got from a surrender, which was all you could have gotten from most lawyers. Because, they’ll say, “You’re guilty! How you gonna beat four charges? THIS IS A GREAT DEAL!”

The average public defender consumes and serves his clients a daily diet of surrender. The guys in jail in Southern Oregon called their appointed lawyers “dumptrucks.” They just deliver their clients to the dump, like garbage. They can always tell their clients why they will lose if they go to trial. They doubt whatever their clients tell them; they fail to interview witnesses; they accept the spin the prosecutor puts on the facts. They do their job as it’s explained to them, and get their client to plead guilty to something that will take the case off the docket. They advocate surrender.

The spirits of lawyers who advocate for surrender become shrunken and unimpressive. They are filled with cautions and limitations. I find such people without charm or appeal. I know from the firsthand testimony of their clients that their clients do not like them, and hold them in contempt. Having witnessed that contempt, I would never want to be the subject of it. And having felt the gratitude of clients who felt well-represented even though their trial ended in an adverse result, I have come to appreciate that sense of reward for a contest well-fought, separate and apart from the nominal outcome.

Image

What do the advocates of surrender use to sell their product? Fear. Just fear. A lawyer learns how to sense and play upon individual fears. Since every person is a bundle of fears, you can play them all together to create a real sonata of anxiety, and drive people right into the chosen course of action. Some people have big fears about family, others about money, others about self-image and honor. You name it, their fears are evident, especially when you can tell them, “Everything is confidential, and I must know the truth.” When they lie, it tells you more about their fears than when they tell the truth. And of course, everyone fears most what they most adamantly claim they do not fear at all. That’s why so many people claim they don’t fear death.

Manipulating people with fear is pretty low, though. I don’t like to do it unless they are so lacking in wit that I cannot get the job done with reason and teamwork. I like to make my client a partner in the process of solving their problem. Two heads are better than one, and we each supply different parts of the equation. Together, we try and reach the solution that they want. If that’s impossible, I try and help them figure out how close we can get. Then we put the plan into action, and try and secure the best result. It’s actually pretty fun work, helping people get what they want, instead of scaring them into accepting what they don’t want.

In order to increase the amount of fear people feel, those who would manipulate them will always overstate the benefits of surrender. They will make it seem like something good will happen if you surrender. But when you look at the histories of those who have surrendered to the Rapeutationists, who have kissed the hem of Popehat’s shit-stained robe, you see that they gained only further derision and enhanced abuse for their pains.

Image

So when I scan the comments of those who marveled at my tenacity, and hooted in my direction as I “doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down,” calling me a fool for not surrendering, I enjoy the pride of having frustrated their expectations, and the satisfaction of knowing that, by their own admission, they would never have the guts to be me. Their advice is the advice that cowards and tyrants give, but I saw the Wizard of Oz, and I know what happens to the witch who screams “Surrender!”
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:52 pm

I Robbed Leonard Cohen
by Charles Carreon
August 3, 2013

Some people feel compelled to confess to crimes they did not commit. In my case, I will let you be the judge. Read my story.

If indeed I robbed Leonard Cohen, it was most treacherous of me. For without him, I would not have escaped the slough of despond where Jennifer Sharkey had abandoned me in the sixteenth year of my life. Desperate, stoned, lying on a couch in a house slated to be torn down, unused methamphetamine stashed behind the picture of Jesus until finally I gave it away to a redneck stupid enough to do it. Listening to KDKB and the third Led Zeppelin album ameliorated, but could not entirely deaden the pain of my abandonment by a maiden so fair-skinned, dark-haired, and cherry-lipped. It was like I’d broken the ornate clock at the center of the crystal mansion that was my mind, and there was nothing for it.

But by the power of Leonard Cohen and his redemptive anthem, “There Are No Letters In the Mailbox (and there are no grapes upon the vine),” I was able to lift myself from that couch, and boldly go forth into the world and commit new mischief. Now with all those admissions of adolescent misconduct behind me, I guess it pretty much doesn’t matter whether I robbed Leonard Cohen or anybody else, since I was a felon before I was an adult, along with Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. Of course, so was Leonard Cohen. So were we all, felonious, shameless boomers who ate the fruit of hedonism and fared well, let it be known. Now let those who will pay our social security behave themselves, and enjoy their medical marijuana and gay marriage, the fruit of our permissive era.

I kept up with Leonard, even as I sobered up and pursued a Buddhist lifestyle, and he kept up with me, going Buddhist, too. We were close throughout the years. Everytime I drove by Mt. Baldy on my way to the Pomona Courthouse, I would think of him, sitting up there in his Zen robes at Sasaki Roshi’s place. I often wished to go up there, or even buy a shitty little trailer up there, to meditate high above the smog. Pomona has so much smog, it kills more people than the gangsters. I thought it would be a kick to be way up there in the pure air, looking out over the Pacific, with all of LA engulfed in smog, crime, decadence, and debauchery. Pull in a lungful of psychic putrefaction and breathe out blissful emptiness like the Tibetans say you can do. Get rid of the EPA. We’ll clean up this world one lungful at a time.

I remember once I was over at Kelly Lynch’s apartment, with Zigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. Can’t remember why we were there. She wasn’t there, but we had the key. We were part of a privileged Buddhist entourage, and had entre to her apartment. It was in the chic Larchmont district, where yoga and yogurt were always just around the corner, and the shops had the old-timey preserved look that tells you we’re in the privileged zone. The answering machine message played, and it said, “You’ve reached Stranger Music, please leave a message….”

Over the years, because Tara and I ran the Yeshe Nyingpo Buddhist center in Santa Monica for about six years, I’m sure I must have met Kelly Lynch. But I’m not sure. She might weigh three hundred pounds or ninety five. I don’t know. But she’s talked about me and my wife Tara a lot. Like a lot of conventional US Buddhists, Kelly started talking about us after Tara published “Another View on Whether Tibetan Buddhism Is Working In the West,” an insider critique of what was then perceived as the most politically-correct Buddhist sect, eclipsing Zen in the number of show-biz adherents, one sure sign of its hipness. Tara’s essay has now been cited in several scholarly articles on Buddhism, and has so permeated the culture of Tibetan Buddhism, that lamas now give each other pointers on how to deflect student’s questions about Tara Carreon’s critiques.

Kelly, despite our lack of personal familiarity, directed the standard invective at us, standard for our particular, magical sect, that is. Kelly was only saying what everyone already believed – we had gone insane from the powerful tantric teachings, and Tara’s ideas were the ravings of a madwoman. Of course, I had no reason to think that Leonard had anything to do with Kelly’s Internet diatribes against us, and every reason to believe that he was just moldering away up on Mt. Baldy, dressed in black robes, with a bunch of other New Yorkers who just found Santa Monica too warm and beach attire too revealing.

This perception was confirmed when he released his “Ten New Songs” album, a flow of luminous sludge that showcased the anthracite depths of Leonard’s soul. In my Amazon review of the album, I commented that his voice was like that of a salesman selling timeshares in the afterlife, and noted that while the death of a poet is a sad thing, it is sadder still when his song precedes him to the grave.

All of the time that Leonard was sitting up on his zafu at Sasaki Roshi’s center on Mt. Baldy, purging his soul and producing these dreadful dirges, I am sure Kelly Lynch is thinking, “He doesn’t need these four million dollars I’m in charge of. He just needs that little minx that serves him tea and plays those insipid tunes on the synthesizer. He’s gonna die up there and never even ask about his money. I’m gonna be a Bodhisattva-thief and start using his money for wise purposes.” Of course, she wouldn’t talk to me about that. I’m a lawyer, and I don’t advise people in how to steal, unless the law specifically defines that theft as lawful, which of course means that it is only stealing in the colloquial sense.

Meanwhile there’s this fellow who pretends to be a lama named Kusum Lingpa, a really P.T. Barnum-style, Tibetan self-promoter, who took Hollywood by storm in the leadup to the millennium. He was building a big “stupa,” which is a large version of a “chorten.” These are little sacred houses for relics that are symbols of the Buddha’s mind, and they have that typical architectural style that immediately makes you think, “that’s Nepal.” Adorned with prayer flags and surrounded by phalanxes of prayer wheels and monks prostrating themselves full-length, a fully-operational stupa, according to no less an authority than Uma Thurman’s dad, is like a psychic power generator that would put Tesla’s greatest achievements to shame.

Kelly Lynch fell much under the influence of Kusum Lingpa, and believed that Leonard’s millions would do more good invested in a spiritual power grid of stupas that could save the entire planet. A far better use of the funds than serving as the stuffing for Leonard’s retirement zafu, which after all, need be no better than the egalitarian zafu of any other bald New Yorker with a need to experience inner voidness. So she dispensed them, carefully, no doubt, but when you’re trying to rewire the planet, the nest egg of a sixties star will go only so far.

But take away a star’s nest egg, and what do you get? In the case of Leonard Cohen, a second career, actually more resplendent than the first career. He is the elder statesman of bohemians everywhere. The video of his live concert in London is triumphant, an event that would never have occurred had not his zafu gone flat. If it had been within my power to engineer it, I would have done it. So did I rob him, or not?

_____________________________

Charles Carreon * August 2, 2013: Written on the occasion of seeing the following post on Popehat.com, with the intention to further obscure the record.

narad • apr 14, 2013: in a perhaps amusing sidelight, when i went looking for tara’s opinions on zen, i stumbled across a posting on leonardcohenforum.com. the back story is that kelley lynch, cohen’s former business manager, was found in 2005 to have stolen about $5 million from cohen over the years, and cohen got a $9.5 million judgment (which she never paid, of course; last year, she was sentenced to 18 months for continued harassment). so, apparently lynch had some history with… tara and charles! this seems to tie back to tara’s resentment over june campbell. as for zen, all one gets is charles’s “review” of cohen’s ten new songs. apparently, he doesn’t like either. (although, as a subitist of the huineng variety, i can’t say i think much myself of the japanese fixation on zazen.)
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