Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:17 am

Who’s Zenning Who?: Another View on Whether Susan Blackmore’s Sermon on the Way of Robotic Consciousness Was Worth Spending A Beautiful Morning Indoors With A Band of Aging Atheists One Day in Late April in Tucson, Arizona, 2014
by Charles Carreon

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April, 2014

Sunday With the Atheists

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Last weekend, Sunday morning, in search of fun atheists, Tara and I went to the Free Thought Arizona Sunday meetup at Tucson’s UniversityMedicalCenter. I guess there’s enough doubt about God’s existence in the place where most folks meet their final crisis of faith that they can get together there without getting somebody’s lease cancelled. You know this is Arizona, where we almost passed a law that would’ve in short order been used to let landlords kick unwed mothers out of their rental units on the grounds that they didn’t have to rent to people who obviously didn’t adhere to the same religious tenets as the landlord. So I felt kind of lucky to be able to gather under any anti-God banner at all, and awaited the appearance of the featured speaker with eager anticipation.

The un-service was kicked off by a chirpy, tall woman with a cap of silver hair attractively styled, with a confident manner of speaking that suggested no one ever interrupts her. She introduced us to the “Three Wise Men” of the day, who all had either smart noggins that they’d put to work to bring lucre into the FTA treasury, or were wealthy donors whose generosity was measured in five figures. Disappointment number one — when I was known as a Buddhist, I tried to be a generous Buddhist, and always figured if I wanted someone to like my religion, I shouldn’t charge them for it. So I found it somewhat disenchanting when my fellow Buddhists chased after wealthy donors and influential names, as if the Buddha would have interviewed for a position as Steven Seagal’s guru. I was hoping that un-religion would be un-funded, but alas, it appears to require an institution as well. And even though I don’t have a female body, I thought the choice of three wise men to be both anachronistically patriarchal and disturbingly allusive to Judaeo-Christian dogma. What, I wondered, do we gain by drawing analogies from the adversary’s lexicon?

My sense that I was at a boot camp for people who might be working to outgrow the bad habit of spending Sunday morning on their knees grew stronger as we were treated to a multi-fella acapella un-hymn for un-believers lead by celebrity atheist Steve Martin, courtesy of a slightly grainy YouTube video presented by a big, experienced atheist with a laptop. He and his wife then lead us in a singalong of the karaoke version of "This Land Is Your Land," from which Hollywood excised the activist content:

As I was walkin’ I saw a sign there
And that sign said “No tresspassin’”
But on the other side, it didn’t say nothin’
Now that side was made for you and me

In the squares of the city / In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office, I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me


I'd have enjoyed singing those lines, but didn't have the opportunity, so I sang the ones that were displayed on the screen, feeling a little more like a sap with every saccharine verse. Who, I began to ask myself, were these people who thought this was a good thing to do on Sunday morning? I mean, I had a good time, because Steve Martin is sweet and funny, and singing out loud never killed anybody, but our friend Ramzi seemed uncharmed. He'd come with us because he was game for a new kick, but it looked like the novelty had worn off instantly. Ramzi later explained to us that they lost him when the first wise man's commendable activity was revealed to be getting the FTA on the list of nonprofits that get a cut from the Fry's VIP Card program. An old-school, natural food aficionado, Ramzi is not a Fry's shopper, so for him it was like being teleported into a crowd of the terminally nikulturni. Next there would be a WalMart promotion. Deal Ramzi out.

A Willing Crowd Awaits

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Once they’d gotten the crowd’s blood moving with the singalong, they unleashed Susan Blackmore on us. Elfishly styled in pixie-type boots with snug pants and a form-fitting jacket that revealed a pleasing figure of the short Englishwoman type, Susan bounded about the stage with a lot of zip for a gal whose hot twenties are somewhat behind her. Like a lot of corporate trainers and salespeople, she had all the right moves. Her speech lined up with her posture and her facial expression. She tossed off a few self-deprecatory jokes. She looked at the audience and claimed us as her own. I felt no twinges of resistance in the audience. The pre-talk PR had clearly done its work, and Susan was drafting along in its wake, an expert with a topic and a room full of people who needed her knowledge to justify their atheist mindset and make it credible.

A One-Eyed Buddha

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When you need a ride somewhere you’re often not particular how you get there. And people who have gone straight from Christian or Jewish religion to unbelief, are poorly equipped to examine the legitimacy of Susan’s claims about “Zen Buddhism,” to which she first claimed to be devoted, then later said she was not. I’ll agree with her second position.

Susan’s thesis for the day was revealed incrementally, so my surprise grew as she moved from one misstatement about Buddhism to the next, using the “nonexistence” side of Buddha’s argument to argue that really smart people don’t believe in their own existence. This was like poking out one of the Buddha’s eyes and saying that he had no depth perception, and believed all life to be two-dimensional. The Buddha didn’t say people don’t exist.

One of the most popular Zen scriptures is the Diamond-Cutter Sutra, i.e., a Discourse on the Penetration of the Impenetrable. In Chapter Six, the Buddha explains that people who understand the Dharma “neither fall back to cherishing the idea of things as having intrinsic qualities, nor even of things as devoid of intrinsic qualities.” Buddha then explains to his friend Subhuti why real Buddhists don’t say that people and things either exist or don’t exist:

“Wherefore? Because if such people … grasped and held on to the notion of things as having intrinsic qualities they would be cherishing the idea of an ego entity, a personality, a being or a separated individuality. Likewise, if they grasped and held on to the notion of things as devoid of intrinsic qualities they would be cherishing the idea of an ego entity, a personality, a being or a separated individuality. So you should not be attached to things as being possessed of, or devoid of, intrinsic qualities.”


What does this really mean? That if you are looking for answers to “existence” and “nonexistence” from the Buddha, you are barking up the wrong lotus blossom. Buddha was not teaching physics, physiology, or even philosophy or psychology. He was not pronouncing on the “reality” of our humanity, our planet, our solar system, or our galaxy, if you could even define the term “reality” in a satisfactory fashion. Buddha was teaching his way of “ending human suffering.” His philosophy is an integrated package of knowledge that it is dangerous to mine for clever quotes that support views opposed to the Buddha’s true intentions.

I, Bundle

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Susan told us she had spent a lot of time asking herself the question “Who am I?” She seemed confident that she was one of a small group of people who had done this. She then took us on an odyssey of self-disassembly. Like Alan Watts enjoyed doing, Susan poked fun at the notion that there’s a “little person in your head,” a “homunculus,” as she put it, who experiences everything we see, feel, hear, smell and touch. She showed us powerpoint graphics of the brain marked up like a side of beef, all the choice cuts exhibited to show there’s no little person here, in the cerebral cortex, or the cerebellum, thalamus, hypothalamus, etcetera. This was really rather frivolous, for what person really expects to find a “self-center” anywhere in their physical corpus? That’s like expecting to find a sign posted on the sun, giving its galactic address. Not bloody likely.

Susan argued that Buddha taught that human consciousness is composed of a “bundle” of psychic factors. She never actually told us what that bundle is composed of though, whereas the Buddha was very clear that the personality bundle is comprised of five factors that act together to create the “experience of I.” Understanding how those factors in the personality bundle interact is actually a meditative process that allows a person to observe their own mind. Self-observation reduces automatic reactions within the personality bundle and frees one from unconscious action. Put simply, in Buddhism, understanding one’s personality to be composed of factors is not presented as an assault on the personality, but as part and parcel of the practice of seeing reality.

Susan blurred the concept of the personality bundle by pairing it with Buddha’s example of how a carriage is not intrinsically a “carriage,” since it is simply assembled from a frame, wheels, and axles. That is a good way to understand the component nature of a carriage, but unless Frankenstein was fully human, there is a great deal more to a human being than meat and bones and brains, and thus it is useless to analogize a human being to a carriage that is made solely of physical parts. The analogy cannot account for the most important aspect of a human being, because no carriage ever drove itself where it wanted to go, or refused to roll downhill by applying its own brakes, or ran down a child in the street because it was inattentive.

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As Einstein is said to have said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” When you analogize a human being to a machine, you make it too simple to draw conclusions, and those conclusions are likely to be dehumanizing and dangerous. Among her fun “thought experiments,” Susan asked us how many of us would consent to be teleported, and asked one volunteer where she’d like to go. The volunteer said “Cabo,” as in “Cabo San Lucas,” the tequila sinkhole at the bottom of Baja, but Susan heard “Kabul,” the heroin capital on the roof of the world. This affected the outcome of the thought experiment in unforeseen ways, but it shouldn’t have, because the whole point was to determine whether people who saw themselves as “egos” rather than “bundles” would refuse teleportation, regardless of the assurance that all of our physical elements would be reconstituted into a person indistinguishable (in either Mexico or Afghanistan) from the one who had been teleported from Tucson. Of course, if you were blown up on arrival in Kabul, or hit by a an exploding tequila shooter in Cabo, it might all come to the same thing, but Susan’s point was that people who robustly conceived of themselves as bundles would more readily accept the new form of transport. According to Douglas Adams, the resistance to teleportation runs much deeper, as he made absolutely clear with this blast of doggerel:

And what about matter transference beams? Any form of transport which involved tearing you apart atom by atom, flinging those atoms through the sub-ether, and then jamming them back together again just when they were getting their first taste of freedom for years had to be bad news.

Many people had thought exactly this before Arthur Dent and had even gone to the lengths of writing songs about it. Here is one that used regularly to be chanted by huge crowds outside the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Teleport Systems factory on Happi-Werld III:

Aldebaran’s great, okay,
Algol’s pretty neat,
Betelgeuse’s pretty girls
Will knock you off your feet.
They’ll do anything you like
Real fast and then real slow,
But if you have to take me apart to get me there
Then I don’t want to go.

Singing,
Take me apart, take me apart,
What a way to roam
And if you have to take me apart to get me there
I’d rather stay at home.

Sirius is paved with gold
So I’ve heard it said
By nuts who then go on to say
“See Tau before you’re dead.”
I’ll gladly take the high road
Or even take the low,
But if you have to take me apart to get me there
Then I, for one, won’t go.

Singing,
Take me apart, take me apart,
You must be off your head,
And if you try to take me apart to get me there
I’ll stay right here in bed.


Some Negative Implications of Seeing Humans As Machines

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Why does the notion that human beings are machines so fascinate people? On an industrial scale, equating people and machines is good business, because we only need people for the work they do. A backhoe digs a ditch, thus accomplishing what many ditch-diggers would otherwise do. Treating the ditch-diggers as inefficient, costly machines, I fire ten ditch-diggers and get a backhoe on the job. It’s better for my wallet, and since I cannot experience the mental suffering and hunger of the unemployed, I need not care that the ditch-diggers go hungry. This kind of logic rules our society, to the point where we are now supposed to feel encouraged if “the economy is improving,” even if we ourselves are living behind a dumpster. A rising tide will lift all boats, ya’ know?

All ditch-diggers understand the fallacy of the industrialist argument that they are irrelevant, because it ignores their subjective being, the primary thing that distinguishes us from machines. So you’d think we’d be more resistant when people try to analogize our minds to machines, because a mind is the one thing a machine does not have. I am constantly amazed that people would analogize a video recorder attached to a computer to an eye attached to a human brain. Fercrissakes, the video never swings around to take a second look at a hot body, nor does it flinch when focussed on a gruesome scene, or close its eyes to block off a painful scene. That’s the important thing, not the fact that the CMOS sensor functions somewhat like the human retina!

The real damage to our self-understanding occurs when, having analogized ourselves to machines, the analogy takes over, and we start to make mechanistic inferences about ourselves. So not only is this analogy not very useful, because we learn little about humans by analogizing them to machines, but it also tends to project itself back upon our self-image, causing us to define our motivations in mechanical terms. There is absolutely no evidence that any good comes of this type of self-image. If I may indulge myself, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

The AI crowd, of course, want to analogize our minds to computers. For people who are equally ignorant about how computers and their own minds work, this analogy will be appealing. Because “any sufficiently advanced technology will appear to be magic to those who do not understand it,” for those ignorant of cybernetic science, computers are essentially magic. I hear people saying all the time that their computer “knows” something, when in fact it is just a sophisticated alarm clock with a very complicated schedule. Most of the time, in fact, our computers are triggering Pavlovian responses with little beeps and chirps that “keep us on track,” which is to say, in time with the industrial Leviathan that winds all the clocks.

Meditation vs. Annihilation

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Susan backed up her discussion of the “Who am I?” question with the declaration that she was a Zen Buddhist, so I assumed that she had practiced the “Who am I?” meditation that is taught to both Buddhists and Hindus. But Susan appears to have misapplied the “Who am I?” practice, turning it from a path of self-discovery into one of self-negation.

Perhaps much of this confusion would have been avoided if someone had told Susan that if you are pursuing the “Who am I?” inquiry for spiritual purposes, then when you ask yourself “Who am I?” you are not supposed to articulate a verbal answer. The Tibetans call it a “pointing out instruction.” I would analogize it to being out hiking with a friend, who points at something way across the canyon, and says, “look right there.” You try and look where they’re pointing. When at last you are able to pick out what they’re telling you to look at, then you don’t need any further instructions. You actually see it, whereas before you didn’t, and you don’t need anyone’s help to know what it is. In the case of looking “inside,” you don’t actually see anything visual. Rather, you have the experience of knowing that you’re knowing. It’s very life-affirming, in a quiet way. Indeed, how anyone who’s ever done the practice would seriously get up and say, “I don’t exist” is quite beyond me. It would just be laughable, absurd, a joke.

The pre-eminent advocate of the “Who am I?” school of self-discovery was an Indian prep-school dropout who took up residence at Arunachala Hill, a place sacred to Shiva, about a century ago. Known today as Ramana Maharshi, he was fourteen when he got to thinking about how one of his uncles had died, and fell into a terrible fear that he was also about to die. He then lay on the floor and imagined he was dying, taking note of all the experiences he would not have anymore, eliminating everything that had died, until at last he remained with his own original being. His perception of the world distinct from himself disappeared. He entered into another way of being, no longer separate from “others,” whom he saw as the Self. In his dialogues with students, Maharshi deflected the projections of guruhood, insisting that he was not anyone’s guru, and recommending “self inquiry” for anyone who seeks inner peace. His questionings of spiritual seekers are demonstrations of Maharshi’s subtle skill at turning every question into another expression of the question “Who am I?” It was literally not possible to talk to the man without him trying to enlighten you as to your Identity.

Compare that with Susan Blackmore — quoting the Buddha on your nonexistence, polling neuroscientists for odds on whether you’re a robot, and insisting cheerily, when pressed on what the “no-self” theory of human Identity would do to our notions of human rights, that “Governments will give us rights!” Yeah, I guess that’s how we’d get ‘em, if we don’t exist. Because if we don’t exist, we can’t “take these truths to be self-evident.” And therefore, we couldn’t decree that “all men are created equal” and are equally entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Wonderful! (Not!)

We’re From the Government, We’re Here To Help

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The political implications of Susan Blackmore’s thesis are indeed dreadful, and it seems obvious that she has not contemplated them in any depth. To simply advert to the notion that “governments” will “grant rights” to people who don’t exist, whose Identity is illusory, and who have abdicated their right to exist, is hardly realistic. To give Susan her due, however, her fellow Englishman Edmund Burke promised much the same when he argued that since his ancestors had sworn fealty to the Kings of William and Orange, he could look to the monarch for protection. He would have argued the point against Thomas Paine’s opposition, on the deepest principle, that the only legitimate government is that which is by the consent of the governed.

The technocrats who control our lives and determine the fate of the planet will be delighted to hear of this scientific development — the discovery that human beings do not actually exist. Complaints from the governed will have no grounds on which to be heard. Tom Paine’s ghost will be put to rest. Statistics will no longer hide a human story. When human rights are violated it will be a misdemeanor, and the good of all can finally be determined on the basis of bloodless calculations.

Whence Cometh This One, and With What Aim?

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As an evangelist for the path of exploding our own existence, Susan excels at making something out of nothing. Plucking quotes and conclusions from popular spiritual and scientific authorities, assembling notions that suit her own fancy, and modeling confidence in her own conclusions, Susan’s mind is dangerous territory for those unfamiliar with her jargon and susceptible to her manner. As the capper for her presentation of scientific-style evidence, Susan displayed a reaction-time study that showed that when a person intends to move, they start moving before they can tell you that they’re about to move. From that, Susan blithely drew the conclusion that “free will is illusory.” The best thing about it was the confidence with which she enunciated this absurdity. For a second there, before I got all my physiological responses in order, I thought she’d actually made a point. She’s a pro, that Susan Blackmore.

You gotta wonder, and I do, what the heck is so important about nihilism that we gotta put this gal out on the road to push it? Well you know, it doesn’t exactly sell itself.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:20 am

The Whys and Wherefores of a PunkLawyer
by Charles Carreon
June 12, 2014

Trademarkable

Today the lawyer formerly known as Charles Carreon discourses on the meaning of his PunkLawyer moniker. Let’s begin with important matters. Is this a mere descriptive label, or is it trademarkable? It’s trademarkable, because it’s definitely not descriptive. We know what people want when they ask for a tax lawyer, a divorce lawyer, or a criminal lawyer, but no one would know what you were asking for if you asked for a punk lawyer. So I’m right where I like it – defining myself according to my own inclinations. We can assume that a definition for “punk lawyer” will appear in Black’s Law Dictionary circa 2035, so if you can’t wait that long, read on.

An Original Strain

It’s night time on the freeway in 1986, coming off the summit of Grapevine pass, starting the descent into the LA basin, watching two streams of lights, red and white, flowing past. I am letting no cars get between me and the red lights of a blue and white 1961 Ford Econoline window van, piloted by my wife, packed with three kids and all our worldly possessions aside from those stowed in the 1965 Dodge pickup that I am driving with a rocking chair tied on top. I am on my way to start the semester at UCLA Law School. We have enough money for a couple months, and my wife plans to get a job as a legal secretary, something she has never done before. However, she types 90 words a minute without a mistake, comes from top cheekbones, and is 29 years old.

My wife immediately turned her employment aspiration into a reality, and began pulling more than her share of the weight economically. My transformation into an LA wage earner was much slower. Before I could be worth a dime, I need to make a big change in my mental infrastructure and outer appearance. I began the process of developing from a hippie into a lawyer. I had an inkling early on that it might be easier if I first became a punk.

Mutation by the Magic of Law

When a person goes to law school and works hard at it, they change every day. They change more than other people are changing. They are thrown in with other intelligent people and told to figure it out, to talk it out, to slug it out with words and proof. Day by day they absorb words and magic lore, words and magic lore that create and dissolve the bonds of social relationships. Marriage, divorce, business relations, employment, crime, accidents, all are regulated by codes that overlap and interact, and are controlled by invocations of magic words in legal ceremonies.

We are learning magic words and lore not to be repositories of information, but to practice law, which is magic. To practice law means to do law. A judge does law by deciding cases and issuing orders. An advocate does law by arguing one side of the case. The other advocate does law by arguing the other side of the case. You need three years of special education and a license that they don’t give out very generously before you are allowed to do law. When you have the license, you are allowed to do magical acts.

Every practicing US lawyer practices magic in two ways — by creating legal relationships through legal ceremonies, or by petitioning the courts to alter legal relationships in a litigation ceremony. Most legal ceremonies create legal documents that provide evidence of what ceremony was performed. Marriage licenses, incorporation documents, jury summonses, subpoenas, all these documents are notices that the ceremonies have begun, or are being conducted, or have concluded. Magical acts can be undone, because they are merely conceptual. Magical acts need not conform to reality. The innocent can be adjudged guilty, and regularly are. The guilty can be acquitted, and regularly are. The irrationality of a judgment is in most cases, no basis upon which to attack it. The courts could order that a dead man be brought back to life, but only if it were persuaded that there was some likelihood of the order being obeyed.

Crystallization of the Punk Mindset

Understanding how the courts worked did not excite my interest to work in them. Courts are places filled with dread anticipation. Places where final outcomes are generated by the ream cannot be fun places. Arguments, hearings, decisions, orders, judgments, sentences, appeals. Not one of those words conjures a happy thought, like “iced gelato” or “cold lemonade.”

So my wife sent me off to law school every day, and she went off to work in the litigation offices of Century City. The first day I went, I was an Oregon hippie so fresh from the piney woods that my classmates secretly called me Johnny Appleseed. The day I left, I was an extremely confused, terrified person facing a qualifying exam, the California Bar, that had a less than 40% pass rate for first timers. Second timer pass rates dropped to 28%, I recall. Odds said, if you didn’t pass the first time, you might not pass until the third or fourth time, or never. I was about $60,000 in debt, so failing that bar exam was not an option. This is the type of pressure that crystallizes a punk out of a hippie. I never took punk for a license to hate anyone, but I did take it for permission to hate stupid bullshit standing in my way. And fear was the first thing standing in my way.

I needed to getaway from that crazy scene at the law school. Heads were baking in that library, arteries were pulsing close to the bursting point. A motorcycle is the remedy for all of that. With a motorcycle, there is no one next to you for long. You can always get to the head of the line. In LA, lane splitting is legal, so arrival by motorcycle was much swifter than anything I could pull off in a four-wheeled vehicle. In exchange for risking my life, I was allowed to leave my fellow Angelenos ensnared in the bowels of the permanent traffic jam that is LA. Riding downhill out of the scoops and dips of Sunset Boulevard, it was something like liberation rounding the last cure to where it opens onto Pacific Coast Highway. The cool wind blows up the canyon like a chimney, you can see the sky meet the sea, you can taste something truly delicious, evanescent yet settling in around you like the bright diffuse light that scours the beachfront boulevards.

Self-Indoctrination as Preparation for Practice

From pressure come insights. Preparing for the bar exam creates pressure, and it causes people to have insights, to make transformative jumps in how they think, analyze, and produce legal effects. When I rode my motorcycle down to the sea, I’d do the rote memorization work that is required to pass the bar exam. I didn’t know that I was indoctrinating myself in the Anglo-American concept of justice, but I was. I was learning to give the right answers to legal questions – with the magic words! For example: What is a contract? It’s “a binding legal obligation arising from mutual agreement to reasonably specific terms that manifests an intent to be presently bound to those terms.” Every word of this answer is significant, provides the code for cracking contract questions, and is the first bit of knowledge you need to get the highest possible grade on a law school essay exam.

The anvil on which the law is pounded out is the human mind. There may be a way of learning law without getting all pumped up, but I never discovered it. Since I had to inhale all of these meanings and concepts, I found it easier to do with a dose of loud punk rock to overcome the mental noise in my head that wanted to do things other than become legally educated. The aggression in the punk rock turned into aggression against my resistant self, and so I developed an inner punk who dominated my slacker self and educated me while hijacking my identity.

Seeking and Gaining Power in the Arbitrary Realm of Magic

The law punk that I became was at first like a comet, a formless cloud having speed and direction, crashing into experiences, absorbing impacts, gradually accumulating enough mass to start taking shape. I came hurtling out of law school, smoked the bar exam on the first try, and hit the big corporate-firms like a bullet hitting a pot of quantum glue. I came hurtling out the other side three years later, having made the world safe for the wealthy in a number of trivial ways, and feeling the urgent need to collide with some legal issues worth giving a shit about. I found it with three hardcore trial lawyers in Century City intent on suing the crap out of deep pocket defendants and making as many millions as they could lay their hands on. They were busier than warlords in Somalia, and ready to teach me the magical arts if I was ready to learn some actual wizardry.

If you don’t think I mean wizardry, and I’m just being metaphorical, read my lips. Lawyers do almost the only magic worthy of the name, and it requires secret words, magical gestures, and knowing how to influence the hidden forces that control the outcome of human events. Doctors are often called gods, but they heal by the rules of science, knowable to all. Lawyers change reality with the stroke of a pen, and the rules by which they play are known only to the Supreme Court.

Practicing law means making changes in the fabric of human relations. You take a deposition, and reveal the witness for a liar. The case has changed. The witness has been defanged and presents no further danger to the case. Every minute you work at practicing trial law, you are either subverting or countering your adversary’s plans, or you are advancing your own.

The dynamics of law practice cannot be varied to accommodate human sentiment. While we can be humane and decent when we practice law, we cannot be soft to be nice. When our client is relying on us, and is in the right, we have to press their advantage. Legal ceremonies like trials can impose unfair consequences like prison sentences and civil judgments for reasons that are essentially arbitrary. When legal ceremonies are conducted, results can be controlled only by a skilled magician.

A Punk Approach to Accomplishment

The punk music revolution began with a refusal to accept that playing music was beyond the ability of anyone who wanted to play music, and the desire to discover for yourself just what type of music to play. What did we get? We got everything, from impossibly bad to impossibly good, from truly meaningful to utterly ridiculous, from really tight and awesome to hilariously loose and delightful, from industrial nihilism to psychedelic power anthems. We got musicians who made themselves like natural forms arise in nature, organically, from interior desire, assuming unique shapes true to their inner impulse. Punks treated their instruments as vehicles for expression of present creative impulse, not as tools for reproducing past works. They considered their grasp of the instrument sufficient when they were able to express themselves and were understood by their audience. It might not be perfect. It might not be exactly right. But it was done, and on a day when otherwise nothing would have gotten done, it was meaningful.

So punk says it is more important to get the thing done than to do it just like everybody says you should do it. It’s more worth it to do something if you do it your way, even if other people may question whether your way is legit. Punk says you have to pick up the tools of the trade and make them your own.

A Punk Approach to Practicing Law

Our legal system was designed by some people who were pretty punk. They eventually got so punk they told the King to take his Redcoats back to England and ship his Teutonic mercenaries back to their feudal warlords. The Founding Punks ignored those who said they couldn’t beat the King’s well-organized armies, and used the available military hardware well enough to win independence from the crown. When they wrote a Constitution, the more punk among them demanded more magic words to protect them from the new government, and got a Bill of Rights that has been a document dear to punks ever since.

Thanks to all the big talk in that Bill of Rights, African people who were brought here as slaves were eventually able to demand freedom. Since the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, more freedoms have been hammered out on the backs of the children of the slaves, making them very important Americans, whose involuntary contributions to our country’s jurisprudence are still being denied. Although the Fourteenth Amendment has been corrupted to provide way too many rights for corporations and their goons, the principles of due process and equal protection are core punk legal principles that every punk lawyer must understand and be ready to apply to protect his clients from injustice.

The practice of law affects human lives. A punk approach to practicing law means remembering that law must serve the people, which it only does when lawyers keep in mind the larger purpose in their work, which is to make life liveable for ordinary people in society. It means keeping it simple, playing it straight, having an approach to the issues that regular people can understand, and doing your best to get the job done. A punk lawyer knows that his clients are looking to him for hope, and if he gives them hope, he has to try his best to deliver the goods. To achieve that goal, he will use every available tool.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:26 am

How to Be a Happy Family
by Charles Carreon
6/12/14

Intimations of Punk Reality

Hard Questions for Pinheads


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Some Ramones fans ask themselves the hard questions. Why do rodents explode when they hear The Ramones played at high volume? Is it true there’s no stopping a Cretin from hopping? Are we friends with the President, friends with the Pope? Are we making a fortune selling daddy’s dope? Are we A Happy Family?

Intimations of Punk

I never asked myself these questions until my late twenties, because in those days, I had never heard The Ramones. In 1983, I was twenty-seven, and the airwaves were filled with noxious sounds of bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire and The Village People. Lynyrd Skynyrd was making smart remarks about Southern Man not wantin’ Neil Young around, and I had been listening to the same old hippie tunes so long that I felt like I was married to the Grateful Dead. Years had passed and my boredom and unease had grown deeper. Perhaps, without knowing it, I simply longed to live on A Chinese Rock.

Something in my heart was questing for a harder, more raucous sound that would jar me out of my lost condition, but there was little I, personally, could do. I was living in a tiny town in Oregon, finishing up an English degree after years of hiding out in the woods. I had no time to explore new music. For young people, the college radio station was a pathetic desert dominated by jazz, folk and classical zombies that allowed one four-hour alternative rock show every week.

Through that four-hour window, I heard a new world, a way out of the tedious rhythm of tired contemporary music. One night, the college boys played the whole Talking Heads album, “Stop Making Sense.” I heard David Byrne singing Psycho Killer, stuttering over the f-word and warning us to RUN RUN AWAY, and I knew that my prayers for release from boredom had ended. I fortunately taped the whole album, and blissfully began to live in knew dissonant realms previously unknown to my musical senses.

Law & Disorder

Soon thereafter, I moved from Oregon to LA to go to UCLA law school. I rode a shitty beatup Vespa scooter to class that was so ugly the Westwood posers would jeer at me as I went by, like I was making their plastic paradise look crappy. On the music front, the world started opening up. I was on top of the world. I discovered KXLU radio from Loyola Marymount, and started listening to great DJs like Agent Eva, who once did an on-the -air strip-a-thon that left her widely fantasized as being down to a pair of crotchless panties, and raised $2,000 from a bunch of beach scum in a couple of hours. While washing the dishes after school, I could listen to Tex & The Horseheads, REM, X, offbeat characters like John Cale, Lou Reed, etcetera. But still I did not discover the Ramones.

My Discovery of The Ramones

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Finally, during Christmas season 1985, with the fateful year of 1984 behind us, I stopped to read a copy of Rolling Stone. (This is something I flirt with every now and then, though lately it is a complete waste of time.) Too Tough To Die had just come out, and it got a five star review in one of those roundups of great rock and roll they do in Rolling Stone on a yearly basis. What really struck me was how long they’d been together. About as long as I’d been married, which was in 1974. I thought anything good that started up at that time and was still going was probably worth checking into, so I went to Rhino Records in Westwood and bought the tape. I stuck it in my Walkman and discovered a power source. My energy had been flagging, because law school is a coercive system that breaks down your will and turns your brain into mush. The entire business of being turned into a mercenary for the system, an oiler for the gigantic smoking mechanism of modern civilization, had left me and most of my law school friends feeling disoriented, if not flat crazy.

The Ramones shattered my prison, burst my chains, and invited me to march down the streets of the metropolis with them, the lords of everything we had thought lost. My dignity restored, a new vision of liberty dawning in my mind, I seized the rude implements of modern life and plunged forward. Into the smog, into the traffic, into the core of the monster, my mind blazing, my stereo cranking, the world cleansed by radiocative sounds. The Ramones accelerated the rhythm of my being until I caught up with the adversary, then ratcheted me into hyperdrive and blasted me far beyond the distant horizon. The song, “I’m Not Afraid of Life” was a great anthem that every city dweller could appreciate.

I’m Not Afraid Of Life

I am not afraid of life
of the poor man’s struggle
of the killer’s knife
I am not afraid of life
of an insane rage
of the minimum wage
I am not afraid of life
I am not afraid of life
I am not afraid of life
But I see an old lady with a shopping bag
and I wonder is life a drag?
I am not afraid of pain
but it hurts so bad
I feel so mad
no one see the truth
there’s nothing to gain
a life goes down the drain
don’t want to die at an early age
I am not afraid of life
I am not afraid of life
But I see a street crazy shivering with cold
is it a crime to be old?
there’s the threat of the nuclear bomb
we know it’s wrong
we know it’s wrong
is there a chance for peace?
will the fighting ever cease?
mankind’s almost out of luck
a maniac could blow us up
I am not afraid of life
I am not afraid of life
but I get down on my knees and I pray
is there hope for the world today ?


Well certainly the madness that afflicts the world, as described in this beautiful song, has not diminished. The Ramones touched on all of the issues that were driving us crazy then, and are still driving us crazy today. Is it a crime to be old? Is life a drag? Is there hope for the world today? Will some maniac blow us up? Are we almost out of luck?

Some People Didn’t Get It

Too Tough To Die, I understand, was deemed to be the first Ramones album that was distinctly politically correct. The Ramones before then had been considered somewhat risky. I mean, how do you really explain “You’re A Loudmouth” in a way that is politically correct? It’s an extremely rude song. “You Don’t Come Close” is so catty. And “Beat on the Brat” is really not all that funny when you think about it. Especially not with a baseball bat, though they make it pretty clear who’s fucked up with the catchy hook — “With a brat like that, what can ya’ lose?” But somehow we have got to laugh, got to stay on top of all the craziness, a step ahead of the rat-race, or we’ll Go Mental! Still, that’s not a good argument for a politically correct culture prude with a hard-on for upstarts from the lower classes.

I Got It

For me, Too Tough To Die was like a blast of some dark substance that without warning catapulted me down an alleyway, riding in the original Durango 95 that Alex stole in Clockwork Orange, sliding through the darkness between tall buildings, drifting like mercury into the steel arteries of the metropolis, merging into the streaming miles of red tail-lights winding through the hills of LA. I could feel too tough to die, “in real good shape, I have no fear.” I was immediately hooked on the sardonic pose, the irony that works best with the flattest, most deadpan delivery.

I’ve often said you can’t be honest with those who aren’t honest with you. Somebody bullshits you, you have the right to respond honestly, by telling them they’re full of shit. But that generates immediate flak, so we often respond ironically, in a way that means more than either of you will admit. Our society is not honest with us. It puts on a Pepsi face while we are left to deal with flattening social realities — streets, subways, skyscrapers, buses, parking lots, traffic jams, parks as grimy ashtrays, no day care for moms, no medicine for old people, and plenty of guns for every opressor with the brutality to use them. So the Ramones gave us a way of speaking ironically to society. Beat on the Brat sort of says, “Here, try being a nasty brute, a cruel, self-justifying child abuser, and see how that feels.” We can try all kinds of social roles through Ramones songs. In “Time Bomb,” from Subterranean Jungle, the singer is gonna kill his mom and dad, and he won’t be sad about it, ’cause they treated him so bad. He’s a time bomb, baby. This is a sweet way of saying, hey, how likely is it that someone who’s life isn’t all fucked up already would be a time bomb, wanna kill his mom and dad? So you could see the left-wing sentiment in these old songs, but you had to listen to the song first, which I think a lot of politically correct people were not doing. To see how sweet Time Bomb really is, compare it with Danny Elfman’s “Only A Lad,” with its parody of bleeding heart criminal-coddling sentiment, and its nasty aside, “Hey there Johnny boy, I hope you fry!”

Driving Under the Influence of Ramones

I soon discovered that, under the influence of Ramones, I found life bearable, and myself capable of answering its demands. The high lasted beyond the listening. A Ramones enlightenment began coming on. Jammin’ down the freeway on my motorcycle, breathing vile exhaust, borne along in a river of gleaming metal, chrome and glass, I could feel the same power, seeing poetry in the grime, a miracle in full flower. What more could I ask of a rock and roll band? I learned when I got my second Ramones album at Tower Records, on sale, Pleasant Dreams. Oh wow, that was a trip! I could hardly believe it was the same band, though of course Joey’s voice was unmistakeable, but the Buddy Holly type lyrics and syrupy emotions knocked me for a loop. I had always loved tragic love ballads, like One Last Kiss, and was swept away by the lyrics and the tune to “7-11.” The crescendo, complete with crashing thunder and falling rain, was a heart-twister made sweeter by the innocence of Joey’s delivery, and the omnipresent ironic, self-mocking note.

I kissed and hugged her
and I said goodbye
last thing I knew
She wouldn’t make it alive
On-coming car went out of control
It crushed my baby
and it crushed my soul
now all I’ve got is sorrow and pain
standing out here in the rain
the crash, shattering glass
the sirens, and pain
is driving me insane oh-yeah


The Youth I Never Had

Listening to Pleasant Dreams was like having the high school life I never had. A lot of people have likened the Ramones harmonies to the Beach Boys, but I really hate doing that, because the Ramones always used that wa-ooh sound in a way that was ironic, whereas the Beach Boys really meant it, and laid it on double thick. But the Ramones came close to being sincere about the syrupy sound in Pleasant Dreams, and as far as I know, most everyone loves the album. Two songs I got into intensely were “This Business Is Killing Me” and “It’s Not My Place (In the Nine-to-five World),” for reasons you can easily understand. I was starting the terrifying transition from long years of hippie-hood and educational responsibility-avoidance into being a prisoner in the stainless-steel and glass towers of the legal profession. I found myself in the nine-to-five world during my summer at a big LA law firm, “Irell & Manella,” which I see made its way into the top ten of lawfirm political donors this year, according to the National Law Journal, that covers those things. Dizzying heights. Never seen such big lobster claws. As big as a catcher’s mitt. Well, I’m exaggerating a little. But too damn big to be moral, or ethical, or in good taste, or anything but tasting good to eat. One day I found myself working with some lawyers for ABC, but the fact is that We Want The Airwaves was not on the agenda, that day or any day. So most of the time, I just stayed Sitting In My Room, pretending to know what I was doing, listening to the Ramones.

During that summer at I&M, I rode my motorcycle around a lot. It was a Yamaha SR500, really cool one-cylinder kickstart machine that was a little difficult to start but never precisely left you either stranded or short of exercise. I could get quite a workout before the engine caught. But once it did, we were underway. When the summer was over, I had to start commuting to downtown LA to a job working for a judge. It was a school thing, but a full-time job, that I got law-school credit for. There, I learned about grungy. Man, this is right downtown on Spring Street, just down the hill from the LA Criminal Courts building, across the freeway from Chinatown and Olvera Street. You can actually get this thing called a Kosher Burrito, which is corned beef, canned Texas-style chili, fresh onions and cheese all wrapped up in a tortilla. Shamefully good, but will give you enough gas to teach you to eat different. In the evenings, I liked to take the surface streets back to West LA, where we lived in student housing. It’s a long ride, through Wilshire district, then Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, then south to the Palms district, where I was finally at home. It might have all been too much for me, but knowing clearly that it is not my place in the nine-to-five world kept me from getting too confused. The city, I began to realize, was something I had to use to survive, but it was not my creation, or my home, and I was going to escape.

The Bar Exam — Gang Initiation Ceremony for Lawyers

The next stage in my development as a Ramones fan occurred when I was studying for the California bar exam in the summer of 1986. Of course a bar exam is what is known as a “qualifying examination.” You don’t get a high or a low score, it’s strictly pass-fail. You pass, you’re a lawyer. You fail, you remain a law school graduate, a Juris Doctor, which sounds quite nice, but doesn’t give you the right to practice law and charge for the service. This is much stiffer than a college or grad school exam, that you assume you’ll pass. The statistics for the California bar, that draws thousands of candidates to “sit” for the examination, a three-day 18 hour gruel-a-thon held in numerous auditoriums filled with narrow convention hall chairs pulled up to flat folding tables. The exam is given three times a year, and the pass rate is always less than fifty percent. So it’s the sort of thing that makes grown men and women freeze up inside about. Studying seems like the last thing you’d want to do. You study all these years and then you have to fucking jump the intellectual Grand Canyon on your mental motorbike as a last (hahahaha) gang-initiation trip. I graduated from law school in June 1986, and did everything before I finally got down to studying. I bought a new motorcycle on credit, a Honda 500 Ascot with shaft drive in cherry condition. I prepared my study area and prepared all of my study materials with great care, even making special book-covers for the case outlines with humorous photographs. For example, the Family Law outline had pictures of famous horror couples, Frankenstein and his bride, Mr. & Mrs. Mummy, and the Property outline had a photo of sort of goofy samurai hacking down goofy peasants. You know, ways of humanizing your study materials so they scare you less. All that stuff to learn.

My study-buddy Robin Kaufer and I used to ride motorcycles together. She had one of the first Honda Rebel 250 cc “econo-choppers,” and I noticed it in the bike parking lot outside the school. We hung together through 2nd and 3rd year at UCLA, and I remember she took our friend John Hayes to the gay pride parade on Melrose one year, ridin’ him around on the Rebel. She was part of the Lawpoets scene, as was John and Tom Brill. Robin and I studied hard once we got going. We made flash cards and quizzed each other on legal rules. Then we’d fire up and kick it into high gear, doing four one-hour essay exams in one hour, giving us 15 minutes on each exam. This regimen was quite successful, and I sailed through the essay exams a couple of months later, but at the time I was anything but confident.

Every day, I woke up in our tiny bedroom at UCLA student housing, and the exam was one day closer than the day before. More real and more threatening, because everyday there was one less day until I would have to walk into that examination hall and sit down for three days to live or die as a lawyer. Until then, I was preparing. A friend told me that a good way to steel your nerves but not sap your energy was to have a large glass of milk with a heavy hit of Kahlua every morning. That the tryptophans, coffee and alcohol together were a stress reliever that didn’t cause energy loss. I found that this was absolutely correct. I was on the Kahlua breakfast diet, with a stiff chaser of Ramones. I particularly dug into Subterranean Jungle, an album in which the Ramones are depicted with a heavily-bombed subway car as the backdrop. The album is as rackety-smooth as a subway ride, and gets you there dependably. On “Highest Trail’s Above,” comic-book hero lyrics ride Johnny’s guitar like a dragon as he reveals beautiful chromatic shadings in high-speed chord shifts. On “Somebody Like Me,” Joey’s “oh well,” delivery made me feel so much better about being a hedonistic fool.

Somebody Like Me

Tired of naggin’
Nothin’s ever happen’en
That’s the attitude that isn’t fun!
A bottle of wine — a tube of glue
I don’t know what to do —

I am just a guy — who likes to rock and roll
I am just a guy — who likes to get drunk
I am just a guy — who likes to dress punk
Get my kicks and live up my life

Tired of complaints I am ready for fun
But I’ll make friends with anyone
Are you out there somebody like me
If you are, I hope that you can see

I am just a guy — who likes to rock and roll
I am just a guy — who likes to get drunk
I am just a guy — who likes to dress punk
Get my kicks and live up my life

Don’t go to school — don’t make me laugh
Can’t hardly spell — can’t do math
In the bar or out on the street
At the concert at the boutique
I am just a guy — who likes to rock and roll
I am just a guy — who likes to get drunk
I am just a guy — who likes to dress punk
Get my kicks and live up my life


Flashback to My Charmed Childhood

This song has such a street kid feeling, I always get a kick out of it. While I have no desire to drink cheap wine or sniff glue, it gives me a serious laugh, for what reason I don’t know. We’ve all hung out with people who are totally like this song. The Ramones connected with the poor kid aspect of my personality. When I was a kid I liked to hang around the bus station in my home town, Phoenix, playing pinball, reading books and comics, and meeting the people of the road. They were often young, shifty, but sometimes older and amused at such a young kid like me running around loose asking questions.

I met a lot of regular people in my parents’ restaurant, The Mexico Cafe, on old Route 66 running through the belly of the town. I talked with the waitresses a lot, who were sometimes pretty, and often very nice to the boss’s kid. The restaurant had a bar, and I met a lot of truckers, drunks, and gamblers. The jukebox had a lot of country-western, and it got played. The restaurant had a special feature that we learned, to my father’s chagrin, drew a special crowd — gays and lesbians seeking privacy in the little hidden booths that ran the length of the restaurant down the right side when you walked in. The waitresses had to walk through a narrow hall to serve the tables. The booths were dimly-lit and had total privacy unless you actually came up to the table and looked in. My dad cut the wall down, exposing the booths to view. One of the waitresses told me that an Arizona Highway Patrolman came in one evening, took one look at the renovation, exclaimed “On no! You ruined it!” and walked out. So I learned a thing or two in that restaurant, before and after the wall came down.

From the Mexicans in the kitchen, I learned how to cook, but I was impressed with how little the cook and waitresses earned, and how uneducated they were. I didn’t see that as bad, though. They seemed a lot less troubled and less powerful than people like my mom and dad, who ran the restaurant as a sideline to their office and political jobs. Since my parents had a busy social schedule, I spent a lot of time with people who worked for them, usually poor Mexican people. They weren’t intimidating, though their houses seemed terribly bare, particularly of books. My own home was dominated by my brother’s baby grand piano in the living room and my father’s cluttered desk in his burgeoning office, afloat in a sea of books and papers that had to be moved aside to make space for a visitor to sit down. It had a certain psychotic warmth to it, in that it was our psychotic mess, of course, but the simplicity of the working class lifestyle held some attraction.

When I ran away from home, which I did repeatedly in my early teens primarily to avoid answering for bad report cards, I went to missions. My fellow mission-mates, the bums, mostly seemed not to fit into society because they were too sensitive, too childlike, too self-indulgent, spendthrift, wild and foolish. There wasn’t as much self-pity in the underclass in those days, I have to say, because it was more accepted to be poor. Now it’s like you should just die, melt, and drain down the gutter. For me, it was a relief to be with people who didn’t challenge me. School, parents, authorities, were always in my face, telling me what to do. Poor people were also impressed with my smart-kid gab. So when I grew up, I became poor. St. Francis was into poverty, and being poor meant you were resourceful and satisfied with little.

Eventually I learned that being poor meant your wife and kids felt poor. And being poor, you could work low paying jobs with low-class people as your bosses. Poor people can make really bad bosses, who can take you back to third grade with their petty sadism. No smart person wants to be in that position.

Rock’N'Roll High School

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For an album with a saccharine title, this movie packs an incredible kick, but of course — it has the Ramones in it! Alan Arkush, working for sleazy producer Roger Corman, directed Mary Woronow in the role of Miss Togar, the new principal of Vince Lombardi High, facing her off against PJ Soles as Riff Randell, the Ramones’ Number One Fan, or as Miss Togar would have it, “a spoiled teenage heathen punk”. According to Arkush, the production was completed for $280,000, operating within Roger Corman’s stingy budget, by finessing all rules, including fire safety and noise laws, and any other rule not enforced by the Director’s Guild, Actor’s Guild, or Writer’s Guild. The guiding vision was Corman’s desire to blow up the school at the end using real explosions, but Corman’s big kaboom is put into the shade by the truly explosive Ramones concert footage.

The plot can’t lose any power by being revealed, because it is no plot, just a stretched rubber band of teenage eroticism, yearning, and rebellion pulled to the breaking point and then allowed to snap. Riff is single-mindedly devoted to Joey, whom she likens to “a poem” while sharing romantic confidences with her friend Kate Rambeau, the school genius. Kate pines after the top jock, Tom, played by Vince Van Patten, who isn’t attracted to her, and instead buys a “contract” for Riff’s affections from the school’s budding sleazebag, Eaglebauer, who hosts Lombardi High’s black market from a secret office in the smoke-filled Boy’s Room. The contract comes complete with a training makeout session in front of a roll-down screen of a romantic LA night in the full light of day in Topanga Canyon, an experience that leaves Tom feeling high and dry when confronted with a convertible, the city-lights backdrop, and a willing Kate as his “training partner.” But enough distraction, back to the film.

Riff has to attend the concert at all costs, so she takes her sleeping bag, chaise lounge, and thermos out to a location that Angelenos will recognize as the Mayan Theatre in downtown LA, where she camps out at the box office with her cardboard cutouts of the Ramones. Meanwhile, Kate backs Riff up with forged notes for missing school that serially announce the deaths of Riff’s mother, father, and finally, her goldfish. “They say these things happen in threes,” explains Kate. Out on the front lines, Riff learns a lesson about the tough side of rock and roll, when demonic groupy “Angel Dust” cuts into line in front of her, mocking Riff’s 72 hours of devotion and her wardrobe before telling Riff to “put it where the monkey puts the nut.” This retort stymies Riff into bemusement that is abruptly shattered by the military stamp of Johnny slamming out the opening chords of I Just Wanna Have Somethin’ To Do. This sonic detonation heralds the screen arrival of the boys in a vermillion-colored 1958 Cadillac convertible, bearing a license plate that reads “GABBA-GABBA-HEY.” Joey is sitting like a king on the trunk, his long legs planted in the back seat, eating a chicken leg that he gaily throws away with a careless toss. When the car stops, the Ramones clamber out like soldiers getting out of a truck. Arkush says the Ramones were not very comprehending of the concept of acting, and that’s their charm. They’re not acting. They’re being Ramones, a group of guys who were lovable particularly because of their simplicity. Arkush wisely also exploited the local rock scene to dredge up fanatical scenesters willing to pay to be in a Ramones movie, working up to a 22-hour marathon concert at the Roxy that rotated three casts of audience extras to rock out to the same songs repeatedly through take after take, until their patience was exhausted and another audience would replace them.

Despite the run-in with Angel Dust, Riff gets tickets for herself and all of her friends at school. Riff even gives a spare ticket to the proto-beatnik music teacher, Mr. McGreedy, who asks Riff when presented with the ticket, “What are Ramonees?” Miss Togar is less good humored about Riff’s prolonged absence from school, particularly because Riff’s final excuse involving the goldfish has been conclusively proven false, stimulating some Belushi-style sushi consumption by one of Miss Togar’s Hitler Youth hall monitors. Miss Togar then directs the hall monitors, eager to conduct a body search, to confiscate the girls’ tickets, leaving them a bit disheveled, and entirely bummed. Fortunately, Joey comes to sweetly console Riff in her room after she puts on a record and fires up a joint, a little vignette that even includes a shower scene displaying PJ’s really skinny back.

Another great scene, that gets innocently sexy, is when Riff takes over gym class to give a musical lecture about Rock and Roll High School, while the hall monitors spy on the class with evident pleasure. Meanwhile, over in the science lab, Miss Togar continues her mind control campaign, trying to explain to Mr. McGreedy and the gym teacher that rock and roll is truly dangerous. She begins with a poster-board presentation on how she has induced socially disruptive traits such as insomnia, musical indulgence, and a higher incidence of casual sex in white rats simply by experimentally exposing them to rock and roll. With respect to the clear and present danger of the Ramones concert in particular, Miss Togar explains that through testing with her Rock-o-Meter, a device for measuring “relative rock and roll intensity,” she has established that Ramones music exceeds all other rock music in intensity. After testing out the Rock-o-Meter, she directs her observers to don protective earmuffs, places a helpless rat in an aquarium, and cranks up the volume on Lobotomy. The hapless rodent spontaneously detonates.

On the testosterone beat, Eagleabauer keeps working his plan to achieve the seduction of Riff for the benefit of Tom, procuring the “Warlock,” a latter-day Cro-Magnon love nest on wheels, all bad taste and glitter, embodying the masculine myth that women melt when confronted with a display of excess. Plying Tom with hard liquor, Eaglebauer triumphantly conducts his final strategy session with Tom in the van, assuring him that now that Riff has no tickets, she will naturally come to him. Riff, however, is protected from such crude designs upon her affections by her pure love of the Ramones. When Tom calls Riff to ask for a date, with Eaglebauer coaching from a large prompt-sheet, Riff accepts, planning to slip him to Kate, who will easily take Tom over the Ramones. Then, fate takes a twist as Screamin’ Steve takes to the air to announce a Ramones concert giveaway, two tickets for the first person who can recognize the name of the tune, which is right on the tip of Riff’s tongue, causing automotive recklessness and other mayhem to occur as Riff overcomes all obstacles to be the first caller to shout “Questioningly!” The girls are going to the concert, but when they break the news to Tom, he’s a bit put out. When Tom decides to drown his sorrows, though, Eaglebauer won’t hear of it, exhorting Tom that love conquers all, and worse, if Tom doesn’t get what he paid for, he’d be entitled to a refund.

For me, who had never been to a Ramones concert, Rock and Roll High School was a lesson I had to study, preparing for that moment when I would actually attend a show. Arkush cameos as the doorman in this screen cap, admitting one large rodent (with earmuffs). Arkush’s cutting of that 22 hours of concert footage perfectly captured the pacing of a Ramones show, which in all my experiences, never varied at all. Every concert started abruptly, without introduction or chitchat. The kids came to hear music – let’s get to it. Every song followed after that with no breaks. When it was over, they’d do one, two, three encores. Then it was over, and you were listening to that big movie-western score by Kitaro, playing through the sound system, and you were back to reality, among the freaks, the leather and stud people, the edge people, of which you are one. Outside, it was usual in LA to find a deployment of fifty to a hundred police waiting for you in the paring lot at the conclusion of every Ramones concert, just to see if they could prod some adolescent into doing something stupid.

I Believe In Miracles became part of the Ramones repertoire long after Rock and Roll High School was produced, but for those of us who needed miracles back in the eighties and nineties, the film was proof that some miracles occur. A movie can be made about punk rock with humor. True love can conquer all. The school authorities can be defeated. Kate and Tom really are meant for each other, and are united in a blissful moment at the foot of the stairwell, as an honor guard of big-hipped cheerleaders high-step down the stairs as Do You Wanna Dance slips into gear, a three-bar wind-up before Joey pops the clutch with his voice and launches the melody, a happy, childish playground lyric of bright tones against the metallic blur of Johnny’s guitar.

Do you wanna dance and hold my hand?
Tell me baby I’m your lovin’ man,
Oh baby, do you wanna dance?


This could have been the joyful climax of the film, but Roger Corman had that one stipulation – that the school be blown up. So Riff enlists the Ramones in her campaign of destruction, locking herself and her fellow-rebels into the administration office, chainsawing the files, throwing school desks and the hall monitors out the upper windows, and engaging the police in a life or death confrontation that receives on the spot coverage from “Screamin’ Steve,” the radio host with the red suit in front of the police car, in case you couldn’t see him. Kate, who has spent a lot of time “splitting protons in the basement,” according to her mom, thus blossoms into a pyrotechnic expert, one-upping the police decisively by detonating the entire institution. Arkush says the explosion actually was five-times as big as intended, due to a miscalculation of the right amount of naphthalene to use for the job, due to changing atmospheric conditions. Bullshit. Those special effects guys know there’s more risk of not getting paid if your bomb is too small, and the shot is a dud, than if your bomb is a bit too big, and scares the actors. Of course if it is so big that it knocks down a helicopter, which decapitates Rod Steiger and a couple of little kids while filming a Twilight Zone episode, you probably get a lot of shit for that. You might end up on worker’s comp, sidelined with “stress.”

The Magic & Mystery of Punk Rock

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I became a lawyer as my only way out of poverty. My legal education was a gigantic process of running up debt to acquire mental capital, a huge gamble on the adequacy of my intelligence. I had invested three years of my life, and my wife’s life, in becoming a lawyer. It was getting to be time to show my hand, and I was terrified. The image of Evel Knievel leaping the Grand Canyon persistently came to mind.

Fortunately The Ramones were there to give me a boost across the scary gulf between being a law graduate and being a practicing lawyer. My anxiety was omnipresent, but again and again I cut through it by plugging into the sound, rocking out in my apartment, in my van with my boom box, on the beach with my headphones, conquering the LA misery, cutting it down with the scythe of purest metal, healing the hurt with heartfelt vocals. With the innocence of Ramones music strengthening me, I faced up to the reams of legal formulas, melding my mind with the rules, performing the ritual that must be performed to don the advocate’s robe. As the fateful three days of the California bar exam approached, Robin and I armored ourselves with magic. She bought two shirts that we each agreed to wear for all three days of the exam, with GABBA-GABBA-HEY! printed across the chest. I was so stoked when she pulled those out. Then, we tied three strips of black cotton cloth around our wrists, and agreed that we would cut one off at the end of each day of the exam. Since we were taking the exam in different cities, me in Pasadena, and she in Long Beach, these promises to ritualistically share the ordeal seemed especially important.

The songs I most listened to in those days were mostly drawn from Too Tough To Die, Pleasant Dreams, Leave Home, Rock N Roll High School, End of the Century, and Subterranean Jungle. Leave Home in particular we listened the hell out of, with Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment, Oh Oh I Love Her So, Pinhead, and California Sun being among the top picks. One day I heard She’s The One on the radio and just about died. It ruled number one in my heart as favorite Ramones song for about two years. You could charm me like a cobra just by playing that song. Robin loved Needles and Pins, and I was crazy about I Want You Around, especially remembering Riff Randall in the movie, looking all dreamy in red lingerie while Joey sang her the song right there in her bedroom. I loved the saccharine sweet melody of Danny Says, and kept trying to figure out what the hell was going on at 53rd & Third. My kids and Tara, my wife, loved Rock N Roll High School, and we would all go wild over the scene where Joey and the boys ride up the street in an orange Cadillac convertible, to the irresistible beat of I Just Wanna Have Somethin’ To Do. But of course even that is topped by the climactic scene where the nerd and geek fall in love as the entire cheerleader squad comes marching down the stairs backed by live Ramones playing Do You Wanna Dance? Yes, yes, that’s the answer. We want to DANCE!

My Iron Maiden

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The year 1987 was a difficult one for many people, no doubt, but for me it was particularly challenging. We moved out of student housing into a little house on the corner of Sixteenth and Bay Streets in Santa Monica, right across from the parking garage, which made it quite a noisy location due to the prevalence of car alarms going off every time of day and night. During the weekdays, I was trapped in what was then called the AT&T tower, working in the LA office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, an old Philadelphia firm. I spent every day with rich straight guys, and their sons and daughters, working to pay off my great big fat student loans. How I had gotten in there was a mystery to some.

The truth was, I was hired by the litigators, a crew of very cool lawyers, Vickie Bonnebaker, Steve Lowry, Gary Russo, Jim Wawro, and Gayle Crosby, some of whom are still working together. They were the core of the original LA litigation office, and they understood me, but in the larger firm, I did not fit in. One day my friend, senior associate Robert Maas, told me that he had been walking with two partners, Loyd Derby and Chuck Cale, when they walked past the place where my red Honda Ascot was parked, and Chuck said to Loyd, “Do you know, Loyd, that one of our associates rides a motorcycle to work?” That was Charles Carreon, Robert had volunteered. Once, when Mike Klowden, the LA managing partner, took all the new associates to lunch at the Athletic Club, I wore what I thought was a snazzy contrasting combo, a dark blazer with beige pants. I realized I had missed the mark when one of the new corporate guys did a sort of black act, like I was dressed like a jazz musician in flashy attire, to the quiet amusement of a couple of the corporate female attorneys.

Although I had no money in the stock market, the crash of October 19th, when the New York stock exchange lost over 22 percent of its value in one day, set downtown LA reeling. Later, when the Boesky prosecution made famous in Den of Thieves took off, the firm I worked for represented Boyd Jeffries, LA financial magnate and owner of Jeffries Banknote Company, who ratted out Ivan Boesky and his pet Michael Levine. I killed time in the library trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing. One day Loyd Derby gave me a complaint and told me to draft an answer. I had no idea what the hell a complaint was, and read the thing. It said that a Mexican couple had taken their baby to LA County Hospital because it was sick, and then they never got the baby back. The baby just disappeared, and County told them that the baby had died, but they’d lost the body, and yet there was no proof of that. Horror of horrors. I couldn’t believe we represented the County. I had not thought to receive this kind of work at ML&B. I had a bad dream that there was a pile of dead babies in my back yard. The next day Loyd came and told me to stop work on the project. It had been a mistake. We didn’t do that sort of thing for that client. I felt like a death sentence had been commuted.

I had passed the bar exam with relative ease, but with that de riguer achievement safely secured, I realized that I had been cast out of the heaven of academia for a long, long time to come. I found myself confused and anxious about the future of my life. Riding my motorcycle or the bus fifteen miles from Santa Monica to LA and back every day was a bit of a grind, especially wearing a business suit. The whole thing was really so crazy I was in a constant state of amazement and anxiety. What the hell was I doing here? There was a JESUS SAVES sign on top of the building right next door to our office building, and a televangelist held church every Sunday in the building. His trashy flock would park their rattletraps in the building lot, to be ridiculed by the young lawyers in our firm. It was pitiless company, a humorless grind, although it was also very collegial, whatever that means. I was a prisoner, a brain slave of the corporate hegemony, just another salaryman, and not a very clever one at that.

Halfway to Sanity

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Fortunately, in 1987, Halfway To Sanity came out, saving what was left of my own crippled self-image. This album was the first to feature Richie on drums, a harder metal edge in Johnny’s guitar, and Joey at the peak of his energy. The album was a thrill from the opening song, I Wanna Live, a driving anthem, of which a superb video is available on Lifestyles of the Ramones, featuring Joey unhesitatingly launching himself onto the packed crowd, his long, gawky legs flying free in space as a crowd of reverent arms received him. On top of that crowd of sweating, tattooed, razorback punks, he was safe as a baby in his mother’s arms. Love is a strange thing.

Sounds like Bop ‘til You Drop were the reason why we loved the Ramones:

“Stick ‘em up,
Give me your money.
You act like a big shot but
You’re really a dummy.
They want your blood,
They want every drop,
Bop ‘til you drop,
Bop ‘til you drop.


Now that Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee have departed this earth, we can fully understand exactly what they were talking about. They bopped until they dropped in the service of their fans. They certainly didn’t let up the pace on Halfway to Sanity, apparently hoping that with enough drive, they might make it all the way there. Still, there are a few weak links in the chain. The Garden of Serenity lacks a single original lyric, and frankly sounds like an ironic makeover of most of the metalhead bands who inhabited the twilight of hard rock as it caved in under a relentless assault from the Big Three: Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Bruce Springsteen. The Garden of Serenity has only two things to recommend it – the mad-horseback-ride-into-darkness beat and the pidgin-Latin chanting in the background. Thematically, this song is paired with I’m Not Jesus, an epic of self-flagellation that will make nearly any straight person wince and grimace simultaneously. Great stuff for getting rid of unwanted visitors, like pedophile priests and their apologists.

Weasel Face is a quick headbang against the brick wall of urban reality, here and gone quick, like modern life itself. Go Lil’ Camaro Go can’t compare with Surfin’ Bird from Rocket to Russia, but it gives you a chance to catch your breath before you regress to age fourteen during I Know Better Now, a superb rant-along that can exorcise a full day of urban frustration in a few minutes.

“When I was your age
I heard it all
Like livin’ under
Your martial law.
I’m not a criminal
I’m not on drugs,
Don’t wait up for me
I’m out havin’ fun.
I’ll admit it was for my own good
I’ll agree it was true,
But no-body
Can tell me
I know
I know better now.”


Once you’ve achieved that release, slide into A Real Cool Time, a hip shaker with a rhythm that invites full frontal display, and lyrics that teach you cool pickup lines:

“When I saw you at the Cat Club
You looked really kind of cool now
Well come along with me ’cause
We got a lot of things to do now…”


Keeping Richie in harness, The Ramones cranked out another couple of kickass albums – Animal Boy and Brain Drain – both of which made it clear that they had answered the metal threat presented by Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and their disciples. Joey started looking a bit more like a rock star, wearing leather pants like Jim Morrison, looking a bit less like a street urchin, a little more coiffed and styled at the photo shoots. But Joey’s smile stayed genuine, and the music got better and better, keeping up with the times, staying current with the issues that we were facing.

When I heard Bonzo Goes to Bitburg on Animal Boy, I was really happy, because it proved that the political edge we heard on “Too Tough To Die” was something that was there for good. This song recently got some bigscreen exposure when it served as the soundtrack for a montage of gonzo underage rocking in “School of Rock.” But the song is not at all cheery, and is actually a deep reflection on lying politicians and the excuses they make for the inexcusable. The song starts eerily with the puffing sound of a train pulling into a station as a rhythmic bell sounds out the departure for where, let me guess … then Johnny and DeeDee attack their instruments and that train takes off like a motherfucker headed straight for hell, and Joey jumps on at the last second, starting with an accusing shout straight at the Gipper:

You’ve got to pick up the pieces
C’mon, sort your trash
You better pull yourself back together
Maybe you’ve got too much cash
Better call, call the law
When you gonna turn yourself in? Yeah
You’re a politician
Don’t become one of Hitler’s children

Bonzo goes to Bitburg then goes out for a cup of tea
As I watched it on TV somehow it really bothered me
Drank in all the bars in town for an extended foreign policy
Pick up the pieces

My brain is hanging upside down
I need something to slow me down

Shouldn’t wish you happiness, wish her the very best
Fifty thousand dollar dress
Shaking hands with your highness
See through you like cellophane
You watch the world complain, but you do it anyway
Who am I, am I to say

Bonzo goes to Bitburg then goes out for a cup of tea
As I watched it on TV somehow it really bothered me
Drank in all the bars in town for an extended foreign policy
Pick up the pieces

My brain is hanging upside down
I need something to slow me down

If there’s one thing that makes me sick
It’s when someone tries to hide behind politics
I wish that time could go by fast
Somehow they manage to make it last

My brain is hanging upside down
I need something to slow me down
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:29 am

THE BODHISATTVA MARSHALL PLAN
by Charles Carreon
6/1/14

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PHASE 1, DEMOLITION: RE-ESTABLISH THE ORIGINAL GROUND

1.A. Eliminate Phony Democracy


There's a time-lag between when something happens, and when you acknowledge it. People become bald before they acknowledge it, for example. But people who don't like you will have no trouble waking you up to the smell of the coffee, and pointing out, with unflattering cartoons in my case, that you don't have a big, healthy mane like you once did. Which started me thinking about whether there's been an advancement in hair transplantation tech since back in the eighties, when this Eastern European paralegal I knew got a hair transplant. I saw it more as an attempted hair transplant, if the purpose of hair transplant is to actually disguise baldness. He had sparsely reforested the area north of his forehead in an exact grid pattern, like a tree-farm. It was the sort of thing that kept me wondering. Why the heck did he bother? It was transparently ineffective. Now you can't say that for the coverup job that Congress has done since representative democracy went missing. Probably the majority of the people don't even realize it has happened. Congress may have a low approval rating, but Senators and Congressional reps aren't actually being burned in effigy, as would be the case if the truth were known -- that representative democracy is dead because the honored members of the Senate and the House represent only moneyed corporate interests and whoever else their handlers put in front of them while murmuring "big donor" in their ear.

At some point you don't have to ask if there's a waste disposal plant nearby. The stench makes the issue moot. Something has died here, and trillions upon trillions of stench-producing bacteria are hard at work, farting up a storm, and that's just gonna stink. The stench of corruption that has been emanating from Washington for all of these years since oh, Good Lord, my entire lifetime, that takes you back to Truman, should have alerted us to something. But like I say, it's been a damn good coverup!

America lost its nuclear cherry nine years before I was born, and everybody was in shock about it while I grew into long pants. That was called the fifties -- prime nostalgia belt stuff -- and if you want to know what everyone's nostalgic about, I'll tell you. It's not bobby sox and convertibles, waitresses on rollerskates, and people saying "Gee whiz!" No, it's the comforting atmosphere of sheer terror that pervaded a society where everyone knew that this day could be your last, because Kennedy and Kruschev were giving each other the hairy eyeball while fingering their nuclear triggers, and everybody knew that the red menace was serious. Serious, like the French say, as a heart attack. It was kind of the Zen of being a counterweight in the balance of terror. We were all in it together. That's one thing you can say for a nuclear holocaust. People say they want to go with their loved ones simultaneously. Nukes are like an app for that.

So I think you can make the argument that democracy was dead before I was born. It has just been a kinder, gentler form of martial law ever since. And now, as we are surrounded, conditioned, and monitored by omnipresent instruments of social control, we realize that we are the frog in the cooking pot so often spoken of.

The strange thing about stench is that your nose goes numb. There's plenty of towns that stink, inhabited by people who are the olfactory equivalent of deaf to stink. Usually the airborne agent is sulfur dioxide, the rotten-egg smell that is one of the core nasty smells around a paper mill. And people who live in paper towns are notoriously touchy about anyone saying their town stinks, because after a while you don't smell it anymore. So it goes without saying that a Congressperson or a Senator, is the last person who would have the first idea about what corruption is. Those who labor on the Congressional Hill will no doubt say that their little burg "smells like money," like the people who live in Franklin, Virginia, a paper-mill town known statewide for its cheerful, stink-deaf locals.

It's pretty simple. If you want to get rich, you have to put up with a lot of stink at first, and no one in Washington will argue with that. But pretty soon you don't notice anymore, and none of your friends notice, and anyone who brings it up, like that Medea Benjamin, will just be shown the exit by men wearing flak jackets, armed with Tasers and powerful semi-automatic handguns, in case the troublemaker is non-compliant and has to be neutralized or terminated.

Bush II took it as proof that Saddam Hussein had a totalitarian system because the people gave him 100% of their votes. Tyrant-to-tyrant, of course, he knew what he was talking about! It takes a stronger brand of tyrant to run a country with only 48% of the popular vote and nine judges on your side.

Talk about playin' poker with an ace in the hole. Dynastic succession is what we have here in the USA. With a two-party system that puts bluebloods in both corners, the power structure can hardly lose. Some Democrats still wring their hands over how the Supreme Court took Gore seriously when he conceded. Lawyers all agree the opinion that no judge would sign is nonsense, lacking any sound legal rationale. Because it was all about sportsmanship, you see? Gore conceded, and that should have been that, but then he waffled. His blue blood kind of flared up, and he forgot that he'd conceded. He reached for lawyers, and that was unsportsmanlike, so the Supreme Court had to intervene. They say English military victories were "won on the playing fields of Eton." Likewise, Bush v. Gore was won in the locker rooms of Yale and Harvard.

Political pundits of course would not know about the death of democracy, either. They haven't put two and two together to make four. Instead political pundits put out the idea that Congress is "gridlocked" because the "extremist Republicans" have "pushed the Republicans to the extreme right." They fail to note that this "gridlock" has not stopped a single armed drone from unleashing its load of death, has not gotten the U.S. military out of Afghanistan, has not stopped the banks from recouping all of their losses, or the stock market from minting money for flash traders. It has produced an inane system of mandatory medical insurance for healthy people who don't want and can't afford medical insurance, especially since they are unemployed and under-employed.

Congress, while "gridlocked on domestic policy," is full speed ahead on things like the Trans Pacific Partnership, that, if adopted, would restrict the scope of U.S. law based upon agreements negotiated in secret by corporate leaders and government apparatchiks. Congress is never "gridlocked on Israel," or "gridlocked on the Pentagon budget," or "gridlocked on investigating torture abuses." Nope, they're bipartisan on all that flag-wavey shit. Congress is only "gridlocked" on things like overhauling consumer bankruptcy law to allow people who only have one home to keep it. That's such a tough issue to get your head around, especially when you've got your head filled with images of how you're going to spend the campaign money you got from the mortgage-insurance company that is making so much money off the housing disaster. Congress is gridlocked.

The gridlock that exists in Congress is not accidental. It is as planned as everything else that Congress is doing. Collaboration "across the aisle" has been lost, we are told. What nonsense! There is sufficient collaboration to keep all of the agenda items of importance to the wealthy pushed to the fore of governmental action. The things that aren't getting done are things that the wealthy do not want done in a hurry. So you won't get peace in Israel, and you will get more New Yorkers moving there to populate the settlements. You won't get a civilian youth corps out into America, fixing the infrastructure and learning construction skills, and you will get higher student loan debt and a shrinking job market. You won't get immigration reform and respect for the human rights of people in ICE custody, and you will get more money for enforcement officers and detention centers.

What do we have if we do not have representative democracy? It's something like democracy, in one sense only. The populace appears to have given its consent to what government does. But this consent is phony. The phoniness was particularly apparent when the Nine Judges selected Bush II to rule, but it appears equally phony when the Congress orders the citizenry to buy health insurance, or the President orders drones to kill people because he thinks it will make U.S. citizens "more secure." Sometimes he has to kill American citizens with drone strikes. Of course he could not investigate torture. He wasn't powerful enough. The President, you see, does not have the power to investigate the acts of other Presidents. That's because he doesn't represent you. He represents the office of the Presidency. And he doesn't want future Presidents investigating his Presidency. You, and the people who were tortured, have no representation.

Yes, I said you have no representation. If something extremely awful were done to you by the government, who would you turn to? You know the government does awful things to people, right? Black prisons run by the CIA may seem a distant fantasy, but being sent to prison for a long time for what seems like small potatoes is a common experience for citizens of the U.S.A. It's more common for us Americans than for people in any other "first world" country. You got no one to help you if you fall into the clutches of the prosecution, except for a public defender, and while I don't speak ill of public defenders as a class, having been a damn good one myself, on your average day, if you're charged with a federal crime, lawyer or no lawyer, you can kiss your ass goodbye for a lengthy stretch. Unless of course, you're wealthy, or committed a financial crime too complicated for a jury to understand, and can afford a lawyer to defend you at trial. That seems to be working very well these days, for those few, rare, unfortunate financial executives who somehow attract the attention of a prosecutor, usually because their misdeeds can provide cover for those of much bigger criminals.

Can you survive in this phony democracy? Sure you can. You can vote. They would let a zombie vote in this system.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:31 am

Bodhisattva Marshall Plan, Part 2
by Charles Carreon

6/15/14

1.B. Eliminate Phony People

They move among us, non-humans without feelings or emotions. Huge, omnipresent entities looming over us, controlling the systems we depend on for survival and identity. Their logos are more familiar to suburban children, and as beloved, as the family pet. For children in particular, immense corporations provide the stability and meanings that support life and condition growth.

Criticism of corporations is emotional and legalistic. It takes no great wit to kindle anti-corporate ire, so flagrant, and ubiquitous are corporate crimes and misdemeanors. And we are now all comfortable with the fact that the legal doctrine of corporate personhood exploded full blown one day like a disgusting boil erupting on the forehead of the Supreme Court, a pustulent mass revealing the uncleanness within. So no need to go into that.

Neither the Court nor Congress will ever move to explode the legal fiction that companies are people, a notion that is so wrongheaded a solution to the question of how to style the status of a non-human entity in litigation that you know that's not why they did it.

They did it so rich people could clone themselves. Because rich people have so much property that they benefit by hiding their ownership. Back in the 1900's, if all the factories, oil fields, railroad cars and company towns that old John D. Rockefeller owned had "Property of John D. Rockefeller," painted all over them, instead of "Standard Oil," human jealousy, provided with that type of fuel, would have exploded in outrage. As it was, with his power and wealth concealed in Standard Oil and its innumerable sub-corporations, the rage could only smolder, and it took government prosecutors to reveal how one man was imposing his vision of life on America. And in that vision, John D. Rockefeller was the smartest, best person to own everything. He would put it all to what the economists call the "highest, best use."

How could one man own everything in sight? Well, when it came to extracting, refining, transporting, wholesaling and retailing petroleum products, he did. He fixed prices, drove other oilmen out of business, and put the nation's productivity under his heel. But when the Department of Justice charged criminal violations of of the Sherman Antitrust Act, did it charge John D. Rockefeller? Was the man behind the scheme convicted for the crimes of monopolization and price "fixing," i.e., gouging the public? No, "Standard Oil" was. How nice, since if John D. had been convicted, he'd have found it most inconvenient to occupy a prison cell for even one afternoon. Whereas his corporate clone, Standard Oil, could easily join Marvin waiting for the collapse of the Milky Way Galaxy at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and endure the 500,000,000 year wait with greater equanimity. Poor Marvin, though mechanical, still has a brain, but Standard Oil, the clone of John D. Rockefeller, has none at all. Corporate law gives to those having property the power to create new legal persons, companies that stalk the earth, pursuing "their own" interests. By this power to create simulacra of human beings, imbued with rights but not susceptible to pain or punishment, the "tail" of money has truly come to wag the "dog" of human existence, and the right to commit profitable crimes with impunity is now the law of the land.

Ironically, once the people who created mega-corporations lose their place on this earth due to the inevitable process by which human bodies turn from walking, talking, living beings into rotting piles of ordure, their corporate creations live on by the power of the accumulated wealth that they "possess." These non-humans are essentially unguided, once launched into existence with no mind or sense, merely the mechanism for accomplishing whatever the greed algorithm describes as the pursuit of profit. Individual humans latch on to the lumbering beasts as best they can, seeking roles as oilers, mechanics, maintenance drones, while elites vie for positions in the brains of the beast.

When a beast seems likely to topple, like General Motors, or the entire banking sector, government leaders become more alarmed than they were when they learned that Kennedy was dead, that Nixon was a crook, or that Reagan was demented. All those things can be dealt with. But the collapse of a major corporate giant? The heavens will fall! Who will save us, if not the great gods of non-existent corporate Olympus? Hands are wrung, the government coffers are squeezed for the last drop of funding to pump precious billions into the corporate veins, because Daddy is on his deathbead! Those who save a corporate giant from death, as Bush II saved the banks and Obama claims to have saved GM, receive the true honor of the nation -- massive campaign contributions.

Day in, day out, the TV, radio, papers and Internet remind us -- all good comes from the abstract logos, all good people serve the corporati, and the greatest of all humans are the CEOs, the "job-creators," as their worshippers have named them. Leave aside that corporate profits always rise when jobs are cut, the corporati celebrate their faux creativity, talking from all sides of their mouths about how they have brought us cultural advances that make us truly modern, and render the discovery of fire inconsequential. But modernity is a trope that is constantly recycled in the mechanized world of continuous overproduction, and nothing is so modern as the latest retro style. Anyone who thinks that the corporati are providing us with anything new would have been impressed by the vastness of Mussolini's army, that marched 'round and 'round the city of Rome, and past the reviewing stand again and again, until at last Il Duce was satisfied that the world was duly impressed with his martial display.

The only cachet comes from bigness. To be small, individual, alone, is sad, pathetic, flirting with nonexistence. In our brief, firefly existence, we cling for constancy to the logos that have been there for us forever -- Coca Cola, GM, Chase, Starbucks, Safeway, WalMart. Corporations produce sweet drinks, soft foods, shiny cars, glowing screens with animated characters, and everything else in your whole life. Or so they say.

Actually, corporations do nothing. Coca Cola never handed you the change when you bought a coke. McDonalds never asked if you wanted to supersize that. Avis didn't try harder, and even though Hertz was #1, it didn't know it. Corporations are phony people. They don't exist. It's a mass hallucination. Like the Matrix. Find me a corporation, grab one by the balls, squeeze them 'til they burst. Never happen. Corporations have no balls. And yet, the corporate managers have our balls in a box, because we humans foolishly participate in this ridiculous charade, and agree that when people join their efforts together, and file some papers with their company name, henceforth that name becomes a person. Meanwhile, the people running the company become anonymous and act with impunity. That's a recipe for social self-destruction, as action without consequence becomes the norm, and anyone who commits a crime without corporate cover is an idiot.

People should get the credit for what people do. And people should get the blame. But who do you blame at "Monsanto" for its endless efforts to monopolize the business of plant genetics by bribing Congress for favorable legislation? (Monsanto used to be called "DuPont," until its handlers realized that telling people the name of the family that owns the corporation is just asking for undesired publicity.) The people who run "Monsanto" should be held to answer for what they do when they're pretending to be a corporation. But they aren't. "Monsanto" is responsible. But Monsanto doesn't exist, and its lawyers and executives bear no personal, moral responsibility for their unethical behavior. No moral constraints can be brought to bear, and if they are somehow discovered to be involved in corporate wrongdoing, they are simply fired, and the corporation continues on, as blameless as Mother Mary. Why would the Supreme Court punch a huge hole in the legal responsibility of business like that? Make it possible for people to do something bad, then just say "Harvey did it"?

The GM Cobalt scandal is a recent example of how this hole in the responsibility net claims lives until the thump of bodies hitting the concrete becomes a regular thing. If a small company selling used cars killed a dozen people by selling cars with deadly defects, the owner would go to jail tout suite. Not so at GM, though. In an institution that big, responsibility is always distributed so widely amongst the multitude of decisionmakers earning the big bucks to make the tough calls, that ultimately deadly defects turn out to be of mysterious origin, orphan events without ascertainable causes, bad shit emanating from some mysterious gremlins afflicting the organization, but not wearing nametags. In a corporation, when you go looking for bad apples, you find nothing but oranges. Right now, we're hearing that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, possibly the only regulatory agency with less teeth than the FDA, is imposing the "largest fine the agency can impose" for sentencing unsuspecting young drivers to a randomly-occurring death sentence. And how big is that fine? A whopping $35 Million dollars! Yeah, that'll teach old GM! That's .01 percent of the $35 Billion GM made in the first three months of 2014. Big deterrent, huh? Yeah, I tell you what -- GM, get out of the way. That deal is too sweet not to cut the rest of us in.

Hiding the people who do the killing for profit that corporations embrace in search of that "improved bottom line" is a very effective strategy. Not being able to find "the right guy to answer that question" is so well-established that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have a provision to deal with it. If you want to know what a company thinks about anything relevant to a lawsuit, you just notice their deposition as "Mr. Frito-lay," and tell them what questions you need answered, and Frito-lay has to produce someone to testify on that topic. That's the easy way to establish "corporate knowledge" in litigation. But just because there's something in the law called "corporate knowledge" doesn't mean there really is a corporation, knowing anything. There's people, in corporate buildings, wearing corporate outfits, knowing things. And in a world where those people hold power to totally screw up lives and destroy property doing stuff for Harvey, since Harvey is just a socially-agreed hallucination, real people need to be held responsible. Off with the mask, Harvey. Let's see some ID.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:35 am

The Bodhisattva Marshall Plan, Part 3
by Charles Carreon
6/23/14

1.C. Eliminate Self-Identification of Americans as "Consumers"

As the Twig Is Bent, So Grows the Tree


From childhood we are taught that we are "social beings." This of course means about as much to a kid as it would if a tuna said to its offspring, "We live in the sea." Our social environment is so all-encompassing that as children, we cannot perceive it as a discrete phenomenon. Children, who are on the front lines of the useless-crap consuming that has driven the U.S. economy since the fifties, can't imagine what life would be without the orgiastic overproduction of those highly desirable objects we call "toys."

Every ToysRUs is a temple where parents go to acquire ritual objects so their children can become adepts in the religion of childhood. Those children who acquire the right toys will become high priests of the backyard and the playroom. When parents club each other in an effort to get the right toy for their little prince or princess, they don't think they're acting insane. They are trying to secure for their children the status that they know the right toys will bring. After all, what heartless parent would send their child into the psychic mosh pits of kindergarten and grade school without the armor of owning the right toys?

The right toys are the ones that confirm that you have been watching the same TV shows as your friends. We'll know that TV is no longer an effective medium for programming children when ToysRUs closes down. I discovered how much my children were programmed by the damn boob tube when I threw away the TV in my third year of law school. We had our best Christmas ever that year, because none of the kids knew what they were supposed to get. They mostly opted to get new clothes, Josh got a skateboard, Maria got a phone, Ana got Hello Kitty stuff, and everybody was happy. None of them complained that their toys were Chinese knockoffs of the real thing, which had been a problem in the past. I still love the picture of them all that Christmas, holding their self-chosen toys, happy consumers all, but a little less programmed than their friends.

A Portrait of the Consumer

In our society, the primary common activity is "consumption." With so many of us laid off, it certainly isn't "production." The production mindset was useful during the Second World War, when we needed to bomb the living daylights out of Europe and the Pacific, but nowadays, it's not good for business to be too productive. I suspect someone in government decided that having a nation full of "producers" is not inherently good for business, because low unemployment puts upward pressure on wages, and high productivity puts downward pressure on prices. As a result, a nation full of producers would be a nation full of people demanding higher wages and lower prices, which is of course just the sort of nightmare to make the head of your local Chamber of Commerce wake up in a cold sweat next to his trophy wife. But of course we know that when that man wakes up in this world, he relaxes and goes back to sleep with a smile on his face. And when his trophy wife says, "What's the matter, honey?" he snuggles up against her and says, "Nothin', baby. They're all consumers."

Everyone seems to accept the definition of Americans as "consumers." What the heck? Is this a good social self-image? Visualize a consumer. I don't know what you see, but I see a big, fat, white baby in Pampers with a bottle of formula in its mouth, suckin' on that plastic nipple and gettin' fatter 'n fatter. Pretty soon it's gonna fill those Pampers full of shit, and then it'll cry until it gets changed. Then it'll start over again. As consumers grow, they acquire consumer skills, i.e., the ability to shop, open the mail, perform simple tasks in the service economy, get payday loans and invent numbers to put on credit card applications.

During the adult stage of a consumer's life, called the "prime of life," because most consumers spend it watching prime-time TV, the consumer reaches their peak level of utility. The consumer becomes maximally useful when their consumption hits its peak. In our debt-driven economy, they do this because they have "consumer optimism," i.e., the belief that things are going to get better. People who think things are going to get better will borrow money, knowing that someday they will have it to pay back. Thus, believing that one day they will get out of their dead-end job, they will borrow and try to start a family. A couple of consumers may become the father and mother of other consumers, thus employing doctors. Inevitably, they will have a divorce, and their children will get into trouble, thus employing lawyers. Tough as life is, thanks to their unrequited consumer optimism, the hardest working will give "employment" their best shot, and cook up a TV-dinner version of the American dream that will saddle them with high-interest debt for years, thus producing revenue for bankers.

For most consumers, the primary benefit to having a job is that they get to say they are "employed." This legendary condition is said to confer a sense of self-respect, but as many a formerly-employed consumer will tell you, employment is not all it's cracked up to be. At all events, employment rarely lasts for long these days, and losing it forever has turned into the final horizon for many people whose odometer has gone past 55.

The aging consumer, having served the economy to the best of their consuming ability, having been put outside the realm of employability due to their lack of cutting-edge skills and youthful charm, is statistically likely to fall prey to anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other expensive illnesses available cheap from WalMart. Thus, consumers must consume tranquilizers, insulin, heart medications, and painkillers. They pass from being youthful consumers of entertainment and trivial junk to being aging consumers of "health care," i.e., drugs and expensive procedures, thus providing revenue for the all-important "health care industry." Finally, the vital spirit will leave the consumer, and the corpse they leave behind will give employment to the death industry, which as we know, is thriving.

How different is the life of a consumer from that of a producer! What could a person produce? Anything, really. It's not that we don't have the impulse to produce, but we have been frustrated by a society that makes our creativity irrelevant. It's almost like a conspiracy to make people useless. Thought you could fix cars? Try to tune up a new car without a large manual and a computer. Thought you could program computers? People in India can do it better and faster. Thought you could sing? Who cares -- the airwaves are cluttered with voices. Want to spread a political idea? Go talk to yourself in the free speech zone.

In the Aggregate, Consumers Comprise an Economy, Not a Society

We've accepted our individual identity as consumers, so what are we in the aggregate? You're not going to like this, because consumers, in the aggregate, do not form a social grouping. A nation-sized group of consumers is simply referred to as "the economy." There are no reports on the creative achievements of consumers, unless of course eating contests, stock car races, and school shootings are considered consumer achievements. If you are puzzled by my inclusion of the last, just consider that each school shooter buys a great deal more ammunition than he uses, due to the tendency to stockpile more guns and bullets than can realistically be deployed in one's last stand against the evil society that has oppressed one since childhood. And every school shooting provides a powerful impulse for more police expenditures, more militarization of the schools, and more belief in the need for high-powered weapons in the hands of -- consumers! Obama's response to the crisis of juvenile time bombs going off all over the country is tailored for mass consumption -- give them more tranquilizers.

So a society of consumers is not a society at all. It's just an aggregation of people who are totally hypnotized by material appearances, who identify themselves exclusively with the space contained within their skin, and pursue their individual desires on an ad hoc basis from moment to moment, based on commercial prompts. They lurch from one BigMac Attack to the next, pitting their resources against the menu in an effort to acquire what rudiments of self-respect can be discovered in a Happy Meal. They do not know what it is to experience themselves as members of a group that they feel accepts and appreciates them. Mature consumers thus experience life as the freedom to purchase in an environment where everything truly desirable is beyond their reach, i.e., poverty.

Mature consumers are politically neuter, true "swing" voters who provide the ignorant weight that keeps our ship of state listing to the stupid side. They know nothing about their own interests, because they have never considered them outside the structure of consumerism.

True Self-Interest As the Basis for Social Alliances

To take our leave of consumerism, we must identify our own interests, and align with people of similar interests. Perhaps this seems obvious, but few people practice it. Indeed, those people most convinced that they have joined a group that will advance their interests are mere dupes. Political parties provide an excellent example of this phenomenon. Most Latino voters vote Democratic, and most pundits say the Latino vote sent Obama up to play God, giving him omniscience and putting hellfire in his hand. He gets to see where you were when you made your last phonecall, in case he needs to dispatch a drone to kill you, so the rest of us will be a little safer.

But does Obama show any gratitude to Mexicans for helping him get over? No, Mexicans are the new negroes. Does Obama invite any Mexicans to come and do a fiesta in the Rose Garden? No, he's not a Republican, so he can't advertise his love of enchiladas like Bush did. Does Michelle go to the Mexican border to see if she can make the Immigration and Customs policies a little more humane, and stop separating families like slavers once separated black American families? No, no, no. They don't give us Mexicans a fuckin' plate to admire our beans on.

During the 2008 election, my wife and I were so lonely that we went to the Nader convention in Denver. There we saw thousands of people who were all equally underwhelmed by Obama, enough to rally around the only man with the courage to call phony democracy by its true name. We had great speeches by Ralph and Jello Biafra, we had great music from Nellie McKay, we raised our spirits and raised some money for Ralph. What others called our futile gesture was not futile. To find a suitable quote for our group sentiment, I will quote the Spaniard who, through four years in litigation, forced Google to take his name out of the search engine -- "Resistance is victory!"

But back in 2008, Nader was not the man to support if you wanted to keep your liberal friends and relations happy. There was a project on to make people feel that Obama would be their president. Black Americans rallied to the man they thought was their man, and young people of all ethnicities came along, ready to believe that the man who talked like a high school basketball coach, who believed every player counted, was going to coach their team. Obama's social media meisters had the numbers, the email lists, the fast-response polling data that it takes to morph a message minute by minute, day after day, nudging public opinion into a pocket, until you almost have to win. "Exit polls revealed that Obama had won nearly 70 percent of the vote among Americans under age 25—the highest percentage since U.S. exit polling began in 1976."

Will We Find Our Allies on Facebook?

Obama appointed Chris Hughes, twenty-something Facebook co-founder, to run his Internet marketing campaign. Smart move. Hughes copped User ID Number 5 at Facebook as a people person who focused on user issues, and volunteered his way into the number one Internet job in Obama's campaign machine. By 2007, Obama's Facebook page had 250,000 likes to Hilary's 3,200. Today, BarackObama has over 44 million likes and Hillary2016 has under 400,000. Having helped his man capture the White House, Hughes capped his Facebook tenure by taking $700,000,000 out of the IPO, and bought the New Republic with some change he fished out of the sofa cushions.

Considering how quickly Hughes built a competitor-crushing political machine using social networks, makes you wonder just how much social networks can do to influence politics. I found the answer on the first page of NewRepublic.com. A recent experiment showed that Facebook postings increased voting in a recent election by .39%. When the numbers get into the thousands, those percentages start to decide elections. Attorney Jonathan Zittrain wrote the article, in which he identifies the potential for "digital gerrymandering" by social networking platforms that could send a "get out the vote" message exclusively to people who are voting their way.

Zittrain suggests that for Twitter, or Facebook, or any social network to engage in digital gerrymandering would be so far beyond the pale that ... well -- he doesn't say it won't happen. Let me tell you -- it will inevitably happen unless steps are taken to prevent it, because American consumers are Facebookers.

Facebook has turned out to be a wonderful place for unemployed consumers to while away their time without burning up gasoline driving around looking for a job that doesn't exist. It concentrates all the vulnerable people who are struggling with the collapse of the American economy that began in year 2000 and has never ended, who find themselves in need of some face-saving activity to soak up their excessive spare time. While being addicted even to something as innocuous as chocolate is a private sin indulged in secrecy, being a Facebook addict is openly confessed, as if it were not an admission that, as the alcoholics put it, "we have lost control over our lives."

But on Facebook, you say, we have found our true communities! Oh yes, enough to fill an Arab jail! More about foreign policy later, though. Let's focus on domestic consumers. Yes, you can find people of like mind on Facebook, but you will find it easiest to talk about consumption. The primary purpose of Facebook is to track consumer likes, compile the data, and sell it to advertisers. Zuckerberg didn't choose that word "like" carelessly. The one important thing a consumer does is to like things. Because first you like them, then you buy them. If you don't like them, your opinion's not going to help make a sale, so that explains the missing "dislike" button upon which so many Facebookers have commented.

If you seek to join political speech on Facebook, you will discover that most activist Facebook pages are dominated by whoever happened to be tech-savvy enough to start the page. These self-styled technorati use their power to ban, delete, and censor posts freely, so the Pizza Effect goes into operation, and Facebook speech turns into an exercise in groupthink. Sure you can organize the next meeting handily, and extend the geographic reach of your group for fundraising purposes, and all that other stuff that Chris Hughes is so good at, but you know who he's working for, and he's not an activist.

Since all good liberals know that Obama would never send a hellfire missile down a domestic chimney, we make it a practice to ignore all of the bad news coming from the NSA, the CIA, and the Pentagon. Nothing bad will happen due to our wholesale revelation of our lives on Facebook. Really? Of course you're not a child porn fan, so you don't need to worry that the FBI is trolling for people of that ilk. But they got a much longer list of bad deeds than "child porn" to investigate. Being an Arab, and friending websites that criticize U.S. Middle East policy would be a smart thing only if you are planning your own martyrdom. Would they be talking with real people or FBI agents? Maybe just some down-on-their luck Arab student who overstayed his visa and is working for the FBI hoping to avoid deportation by tending Internet honey pots.

Back in 2012, the FBI was pressuring Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech data giants to install a digital backdoor to allow their agents access to all their user data. In 2013, Snowden told us they had done it, and we got a snow flurry of doublespeak from Zuckerberg, Brin, and Obama that just knocked it right out of the consumer attention zone. We now can be pretty clear from what we've seen in Egypt, that all that digital, online networking helps oppressive regimes pinpoint dissidents with GPS-level accuracy.

Facebook is a store of personal data so tasty that it is drawing hackers to it like a bowl of fruit attracts gnats. Facebook is attacked by hackers continuously because the rewards of a single good hack can be substantial. Just having a friend with a weak password can expose Facebookers to malware attacks that do things like send out messages asking your friends to wire money because you got mugged in Istanbul. Many of those hackers work for the government, doing things the government isn't supposed to do, like Sabu, one of the Occupy founders who farmed out work to young hackers who hacked for the FBI without realizing how their anarchist efforts had been redirected. Facebook is really nasty territory in which to deposit your life secrets.

Not only is it unsafe, it's a bad deal. By opening a Facebook account, populating it with your life history, and linking to your friends, you turn your relationships into Facebook's property. Your relationships are the map of your motivations. Facebook doesn't care about you at all, but it really loves your motivations. As soon as it has them figured out, it will take away features you "like" and sell them back to you. Take for example the right to have your friends hear you. Used to be a post was a post, and all your friends would see it. But now, only one out of ten friends sees your post -- unless you pay. This is so unfriendly.

The nastiest blow, to a nation that once saw itself as capable of overcoming any obstacle, will be the death of the salesman. Sellers of products and services have never liked salesmen all that much. Google killed most of the world's advertising agencies and its largest media outlets for pre-Internet advertising -- the newspapers and magazines. Now Facebook is closing in on the marketers. Consumers will take the job over. In exchange for a makeup kit or some lingerie, a young person can now find gainful employment tweeting or Facebooking the proof of their satisfaction with the product. The practice is taking off, and is said to generate more sales than standard advertising. When Facebook and the other online "communities" are done, the last bastion of American employment -- salesmanship -- will collapse. Consumers will do all the selling, and Willie Loman will take his last bow. Poor bastard. He wanted to be productive.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:58 am

THE BODHISATTVA MARSHALL PLAN, PART 4

1.D. Eliminate Phony Law Enforcement
by Charles Carreon
8/24/14

Questioning Imprisonment

Our society is ostensibly dedicated to what is popularly referred to as "The Rule of Law." This is supposed to inspire us in some way, suggesting that we, as a society, are superior to societies that are not "governed by The Rule of Law." Since European-based colonization efforts dovetailed with racial genocide and the mass destruction of societies that were governed by rules other than "law," this argument has never been put to the test. As a young law student, I was fortunate to hear a talk by the Native American lawyer, Vine Deloria, Jr., author of Custer Died for Your Sins, discussing Native American approaches to what we call "law," i.e., the system of social ordering.

Deloria was an impressive speaker, a very big man, well over 6 feet, dressed in bib overalls, standing to the side of the lectern on the podium in front of a packed classroom, looking like a giant draped in washed denim. The main thing I remember him saying was that Native Americans didn't have jails. As he explained it, the tribe "didn't have any extra braves to put to watching other braves who had misbehaved." That observation fascinated me. Obviously, Native Americans had a system of social control that deterred anti-social conduct and encouraged pro-social conduct; however, it had nothing to do with the terrifying institution that Europeans created, called "imprisonment." This is not to say that Meso-American governments, Aztecas, Incas, and others did not use confinement as a form of punishment. I always assumed that they did; however, it was Deloria who made me aware that this practice was not universal.

Deloria's invocation of a society in which imprisonment was unknown has always stood as a sort of enigma to me. I have never been able to figure it out, and am not the type to accept modern-day explanations for the conduct of people whose traditions have been destroyed. I just don't know how they did it, and I think it's a pity that we can't find out. The "law" that kept unruly braves in line amongst the Shoshone, Crow, Creek, Lakota, and other tribes who were committed to the wandering lifestyle made possible by the abundance of escaped Spanish horses and their wild progeny, can never be understood. It is a terrible pity, because imprisonment is, in my view, the greatest blight on humanity afflicting us today.

I make this denunciation with a relatively clear knowledge of the incarceration system. As a federal contract public defender from 1995 until 2000, I visited many imprisonment facilities, local jails and penitentiaries. There is nothing quite like motorized steel doors clanging shut behind you. Being able to call a jailer and ask to leave seemed like the greatest luxury, especially when I did it after concluding a meeting with a client who didn't have that power. As I explained to many young men, that was the primary difference between us. I could leave, and they couldn't.

My social authority as an attorney allowed me to visit inmates almost any time I wanted, unlike their friends and relatives, who had to wait to see their incarcerated loved ones on visiting days for short periods of time, often separated by glass and speaking to them through telephones. I, on the other hand, could arrive at a moment's notice, ask to see my client, and be ushered into their presence. I finally gave up this line of work, in large part because I just couldn't stand saying goodbye to any more young men who were doing 10-year stints for delivering contraband substances. It was that, and the heartbreaking, completely useless cases involving the deportation of Mexican citizens who had already established families here in the United States that were being torn asunder with bureaucratic efficiency and complete coldness. Witnessing this trail of destruction really became too much for me, especially since my role was very limited, and often I could offer nothing more than competent representation and soothing words that felt hollow and impotent.

The Stamp of Slavery Remains

It was against this background that I formulated my conclusion that law enforcement in this country is phony. It is phony because it masquerades as the pursuit of "justice," when in fact it is the vehicle for enforcement of class inequality, White Master-Race status, and Nordic values, dubbed "Judaeo-Christian" for political, not religious, reasons. Since when do the two religions most antagonistic to each other become conflated into a single philosophy? You can take your choice -- Jesus of Nazareth's philosophy of mercy and kindness, or the genocidal practices of Jehovah -- the two don't mix and weren't meant to. The only important feature of "Jesus" as he is currently popularized, is that he is depicted as a Nordic European. The rest of what we call "Christianity," when it is applied to national policy, is a pure Old Testament power-trip.

Class inequality, and the supremacy of the White Master-Race, is enforced by the use of imprisonment, an institution directly derived from bondsmanship, that was once the fate of generations of European peasants. Bondsmanship came to be called "indentured servitude," often "for a term of years," among Whites. Because of race prejudice and the pious hallucinations of White people who defined Africans as soulless animals, colonial slavers treated them far more cruelly than White bondservants. Slavery achieved official approval from our nation in the Dredd Scott decision, where the Supreme Court held that a slave remained a slave when he crossed into a free state where slavery was illegal, because as an item of property, he could not cheat his owner of his value simply by fleeing the jurisdiction where his owner resided. The persistence in our society of the technologies, economies, and social hierarchies created by "law enforcement" are but the echo of the slave-holder State that was supposedly put to rest by Sherman's march to the sea. But the fires that burned Atlanta were never put out, and slavery's legacy of hate still smolders. Because of the enormity of the cruel, systematic brutalization of Africans by the people and governments of this nation, the national government and the several states stand unified in denial of the crime.

Your Life Is Illegal

Persecuted minorities always find that their social customs are illegal, their sacraments and intoxicants are "drugs," their ceremonies are "heathen." For Native Americans, speaking their native language was a crime. Excluded from the professions (ever see a Black airline pilot on a U.S. domestic flight?) and access to capital, minority people are forced to engage in illegal commerce, often fed by law enforcement that conspires with gangsters to predate on poor communities. Minority citizens are often exposed to prosecution, their activist political leaders can always be slandered as drug dealers, and the artists and creatives easily fall prey to Cointelpro-style setups that lead to their imprisonment.

Minorities find their work made illegal even when it is perfectly honest. The classic victims here are Mexican and Latin-American immigrants who come to the agricultural centers of the nation to find employment. They seek honest employment that, due to their transformation into "consumers," "American" people cannot do. "Consumers" are too sissified to handle work that involves gutting a steer in under a minute, or doing anything at all in blazing heat, like picking fruit and vegetables. Other immigrants, the Wops, Micks and Polacks of the past, venerate their ancestors for their pluck in crossing the seas, and claim noble ancestry by way of their passage through Ellis Island, blessed by Lady Liberty as members of those "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." These arrogant White braggarts deride Mexicans for demonstrating the same pluck. These hatemongers call Mexicans "illegals" as if they were unlawful down to the very bone, rather than being persons who simply do not have the right piece of paper to be on this side of an imaginary line. An imaginary line drawn by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that concluded the war but did not end Anglo hostility.

It goes without saying that when Mexicans and Black people and Asians sell painkillers and euphoriants, it is illegal, because they do it without the necessary licensing. When pharmaceutical companies flood our nation with toxic anti-depressants that are driving people crazy, and super-strength painkillers like Oxycontin, aka hillbilly heroin, now the true opiate for the masses, that is of course legal. In fact, even the "illegal drug trade" is legal when the government manages it.

"Whatever We Do Is Legal"

Which gets us to the rest of the story, which is that the Government's enterprise is lawful, whatever it does, whether it be good or evil, even horrifyingly, transparently evil, such as extreme rendition, torturing people, and the other CIA-Pentagon exploits supposedly confined to the Bush/Cheney/Gonzales/Yoo/Bybee era. It is always lawful, because the Government makes the laws, and since Gonzales took up his pen as the Torturer General, the enactment of laws that make anything legal that is defined as "lawful" has become the routine authoritarian practice in the supposedly democratic precincts of Washington, D.C.

The Government's business is always legal, and today it focuses on keeping many evil and destructive practices a part of our daily life. The Government continues to support extraction businesses around the world as they rape and predate on natural resources and generate ill-will with Native people and other nations. The U.S. Supreme Court's vacating of the verdict against Chevron obtained by Ecuador in its own courts is an extreme example. The Supreme Court's upholding of the Vulture Investor's rights to collect debt against Argentina at its full face value with crushing interest, debt that the market has savagely devalued, is another example.

Fortress America

The United States has completely given up the effort to appear as the world's benefactor, and is making itself known for the imposition of its will by means of extra-judicial force, most blatantly in the case of drone deployments in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, whose people suffer from leadership so craven and despicable that they allow their skies to be patrolled by a foreign nation, and tolerate the killing of innocents within their borders as the price of "global cooperation."

The United States has turned itself into Fortress America, but what the citizens of the nation have not realized is that this Fortress imprisons and surveils them. Within the borders of Fortress America, bundled into their virtual realities, the consumers of the United States are like a termite farm observed by marketers interested in exploiting their habits. The insectile analogy is not misplaced. The consumer role in modern society is obligatory, and closely reflects the insectile model, which is to say, the insectile mind. If you can imagine being judged by an insect, like a preying mantis, or being investigated by a dragonfly, you can imagine the cold mentality that prevails among modern technocrats, who see not people, but demographics, not starving families, but underperforming economies, not soft human bodies, but "terrorists" and "unavoidable collateral damage."

Foreign & Domestic Policies of Oppression Mirror Each Other In Their Contempt For Dark People

If I seem to have merged the enforcement of class injustice with the topic of foreign policy, that is because U.S. foreign policy towards dark people and people in southern nations closely parallels its domestic treatment of dark people even while they are its own citizens, whose ancestors hail from defeated nations like Africans, the Native American tribes, Arabs, Iraquis, and Mexicans. If you reflect upon it, you will perceive that virulent race hatred is only spewed against defeated minorities. There's no prejudice against Austrians, Canadians, Norwegians, and only mild prejudice against the Japanese, who took their WWII internment politely, and fought manfully enough that they were made the guinea pigs for a nucleo-fascist experiment on live human beings.

As for our beloved Americans of German ancestry, their German-American clubs and anti-war organizing in the lead-up to U.S. entry to WWII was never held against them. Sure we burned a number of cities, incinerating a few million Germans, but here in the USA, they weren't rounded up like the Japanese, and with Operation PaperClip, we made smart, weapons-grade Nazis honored Americans who helped us build ICBMs. That's what you call technological progress as a side-benefit of war!

Comparing Civil & Criminal Justice

Domestically, we can see how dark people from defeated nations get a lower brand of justice when they go to court. Poor people are most likely to go to court as criminal defendants or civil debtors. As I will explain, in both of these situations, they will receive a lesser quality of justice. If you want to see how utterly biased towards conviction the criminal justice system is, let's think about this. You have all heard that criminal cases must be proved "beyond a reasonable doubt." You may have heard that civil cases, lawsuits over physical injuries in car accidents and industrial accidents, for example, need to be proven to a "preponderance of the evidence." If you are ever asked to sit on a civil jury, they will explain to you that this is a "lower standard of proof" than "beyond a reasonable doubt." Theoretically, an injured person's right to receive damages when their house is blown up by an exploding oil refinery, needs to be proved only to "a probability," or "a likelihood," in order to obtain a verdict against the oil refinery.

In order to give this lesson a little color, let us use a metaphor. Let us compare trying cases to shooting baskets in a basketball game. Prosecutors, because they are required to prove the facts beyond a reasonable doubt, are shooting through a regular-sized basketball hoop. Civil trial lawyers, who can prevail merely by showing that their client "more likely than not" deserves to win, are shooting hoops through a larger basketball hoop, say, twice as big as an ordinary one. Given this setup, you would expect that the civil lawyers would be racking up much higher scores in their games. They would be scoring into the hundreds of points. Prosecutors, on the other hand, would play games in which scores were much lower. Why? Very simple. It's just easier to shoot a basketball through a larger hoop.

It might surprise you then that civil plaintiffs lose their cases more often than prosecutors. A little under 50% of plaintiffs win their cases, on average, while prosecutors, even the most inept of them, always average much better than a 50% victory rate. Truly aggressive prosecutors achieve victory rates above 90% as a regular matter. Federal prosecutors, because of the powerful bias of the federal court system toward procedures that aid in achieving convictions, secure convictions at a very high rate. The only criminal cases that are harder to win than civil cases are those that have been made particularly difficult for the prosecution by the U.S. Supreme Court's imposition of special procedural hurdles in prosecutions of banks, bankers and ENRON-style megafraudsters.

It is much more difficult for a civil trial lawyer to win an auto accident case than a criminal case because juries don't apply the correct standard. In fact, when they are judging people accused of crimes, juries accept less convincing proof than when they are deciding whether to make a negligent driver pay money to an injured person. A person who finds themself sitting in front of a jury hoping to recover damages because they lost a limb in an industrial accident, or have been put in a wheelchair by a reckless driver, will discover that their lawyer has a far more difficult case to prove than does the prosecutor prosecuting a drunk driver or wife abuser in the courtroom next door. Why? American juries have been so indoctrinated by fear of awarding damages to injured civil plaintiffs that they see them as greedy malingerers, seeking to obtain a windfall at the expense of a poor, unfortunate defendant. Thus, the average civil juror, handed the opportunity to do justice with their verdict, dispenses relatively little justice to their own kind. But when it's time to join the Prosecutor in his noble cause of hammering those who have offended the Judaeo-Christian moral code by dealing in contraband substances, they are only too happy to throw their match into the bonfire. It gives them a good feeling. They know they are doing the right thing.

The Fast Track To Valuable Rights: INCORPORATE!

I also mentioned that when they come to civil court, most poor folks will come in response to creditor lawsuits -- a credit card company or a car dealer will sue them for unpaid debts. Most times, they will be without attorneys, and unlike a criminal prosecution, it does not come with a free lawyer. Since these cases are seen by judges as "cut and dried," those pro se defendants who try to fight discover but modest judicial patience for their efforts. Judges promptly rule against the debtor after reciting a legalistic explanation for the record. Like the experience of the criminal defendant, this is a lower standard of justice than any represented corporation would get in a similar case.

Looking a little bit more closely at how the civil justice system protects corporate entities, we are all now familiar with the much-hated Citizens United decision in which the United States Supreme Court recognized the First Amendment rights of corporations, notwithstanding the fact that any corporation could choose, with the vote of their board of directors, to renounce good forever, expressly join forces with Satan, and ally themselves with the forces of evil as a matter of corporate charter. Indeed, after the Hobby-Lobby decision, that corporation could probably refuse to employ people who insisted on "keeping holy the sabbath," or some other such non-Satanic practice. Corporations are by nature entirely amoral, and therefore are creatures of the moment. If I could buy your corporation outright, I could fire everyone in it, overturn all of your policies, and turn it into a vehicle solely for my will. No entity so subject to arbitrary alteration as to its purpose, and so devoid of moral character can possibly be granted the rights of a citizen. Such an entity cannot be held responsible for anything, because it obviously has no conscience and no moral compass. It could not be instructed in ways of virtue if the project were attempted. It is a machine, and like any machine, it can only be as good as the people who drive it. And it can have no other voice than theirs. Giving such an entity "First Amendment rights" distinct from those of the men who drive it, is merely a legal fiction adopted to benefit the media corporations that design and dictate the consciousness of our nation.

White Media and The Invasion of Demonic Strangers

U.S. media cannot be called anything but "White" media. Its ownership is White. Its orientation is to promote White culture. It depicts other cultures and races as objects of hatred, jaundiced criticism and arrogant pity. What is quite amazing to me is that the Arab-American community, possessed of considerable wealth and influence prior to the 9/11 disaster, sat around for 20 years while the Israel-America/AIPAC lobby that dominates Hollywood churned out one hateful depiction of Middle Eastern people after another. This drumbeat of demonization set the stage for the Iraq war, and has locked us into the contemptible complicity with the "nation of Israel" that can most accurately be described as East New York, a place to ship angry young Jews from Brooklyn so they can play with guns in the settlements that the U.S. government supports as insurance that the conflict will last forever. The management of American opinion regarding the innumerable conflicts that have erupted in the Middle East since the Bush regime initiated its war of aggression on Islamic peoples under the title of "Global War on Terror" has boxed Americans into an untenable view of the world for which we will ultimately pay a very great price. I cannot tell you what that price will be. I can only tell you that when an entire people turns over its productive capacity to a murderous elite that takes it into its head to promulgate its Master Race mandate across the world, and brooks no opposition, that will lead to disaster.

A Most Corrupt Policeman

The United States has long flattered itself with the notion that it is "the world's policeman," and its leaders have most often mused over whether the United States can "afford to continue this role." This sort of arrogant self-depiction of our nation as the dispenser of order in a disorderly world is most reminiscent of the arrogant attitude of the British Raj before Gandhi set the English fox's tail on fire and sent it back to its dangerous little island. India, the English said, would shatter into a million bits if the English left. This was like cancer trying to sell itself to the body as a benefactor, since without it all the organs would fight with each other, rather than with a common foe. Today, from his command post at the center of Fortress America, "President Barack Obama," a puppet for international powers no different than the puppet presidents put into place in Greece and Italy, but managing his tenure with far greater success thanks to his perfidious alliance with the Wall Street/City of London Axis of Financial Evil that treats the world's economy like one big spreadsheet to be managed with the bottom line profits all going to the largest financial entities in the world, in a cycle that sucks wealth into an ever-smaller number of hands. This is the ultimate end of the White technocratic power structure in the United States. Of course, as it internationalizes in foreign affairs, America will increase its capacity to engage in doublespeak, preaching the language of freedom and justice, wearing the robes of Jefferson and Lincoln, while promulgating policies that seek to subject all individual human beings to the will of enormous faceless multinational entities.

Phony law enforcement on the international level is the establishment and maintenance of Fortress America, and the pursuit of policies that seek to divide and conquer enemies and purported friends alike. The Machiavellian attitudes of those who run the U.S. government have been exposed again and again on the international level, most recently by Edward Snowden's disclosures of widespread phonetapping even of the German head of state. As the United States educates the other world's players in power politics, it is sowing dragon's teeth.

The Consumers Are Suitably Cowed

At home, phony law enforcement has established an atmosphere of intimidation towards the citizenry that has reached an almost ideal level. No one in their right mind would think of organizing any kind of anti-governmental resistance that involved the destruction of property, occupying of buildings, or obstruction of public facilities. All of these things can be characterized as terrorism by aggressive prosecutors, and expose people who indulge in such behavior to severe penalties, including lengthy prison terms for apparently trivial conduct, or even no conduct at all, simply the agreement to perform criminal acts in the future. Because of the nationwide enforcement of anti-drug laws, virtually anyone can easily be arrested for possession of narcotics by the use of a little planted evidence or false testimony. Thus, a serious political threat can easily be neutralized by the use of crooked vice squad cops and their usual associates, scumball dealers.

Consumer Habits Are Monitored

Meanwhile, due to social media, people are ventilating their misdeeds and ill-considered behavior where all the world can see it, including the NSA. Arrest records and mugshot photos proliferate online, as do websites that destroy the self-respect of young women whose carelessly shared selfies get into the wrong hands and circulate on the Internet. So much can be known about everyone by anyone, and law enforcement is enjoying a feast of access to compromising data about everyone. The only time they don't seem to like it is when they themselves get caught.

The Fix Is In

The excesses of U.S. foreign military interventionism and the excesses of domestic law enforcement going paramilitary-style have produced a hybrid form of excess at the local level since the U.S. Government launched its program to move high-tech weaponry just returned from Iraq out to the hustings by giving things like 30 ton armored vehicles to small towns that barely have a fire engine. With this kind of trend appearing before us, it behooves us to try and get rid of phony law enforcement before law enforcement gets rid of all limits on its conduct. What has long been a White power structure is now turning into a one-faced monolithic entity that is going to crush everybody under one gigantic system of oppression. The advantages that Whites have enjoyed under the existing system will evaporate like spit on a griddle.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:18 pm

THE JOY OF NOTHING -- WHAT IT IS, WHY YOU NEED IT, AND HOW TO GET IT
by Charles Carreon
8/25/14

The Joy of Nothing is defined as the Nothing that gives Joy. Such a Nothing cannot be conceived as a mere absence of content that you could preserve by keeping things out, like never carrying cash, so you can honestly tell street people, "I have nothing." Rather, the Nothing which brings Joy is something you could actually give to a street person, with or without legal tender to leaven the gift.

You might wonder what benefit a street person could obtain from a gift of Nothing, since they already have less of everything than the rest of us. Abundant lack is their condition. Wouldn't more Nothing just aggravate their situation?

No, that's not the case. A solid hit of Nothing is exactly what a person needs when they're down on their luck and down on themselves. Most people, from street people to the Masters of the Universe who rule a world of their own conceiving from their Manhattan towers, are utterly bereft of Nothing. The wealthy wouldn't know where to find Nothing if they suddenly realized how much they could get from it. The wealthy are also so obsessed with getting something for nothing, that paying something to get Nothing wouldn't appeal to them, so they wouldn't even try to buy Nothing with their money.

In seeking to comprehend this Nothing that brings Joy, I am going to avoid metaphors. Metaphorical discussions about Nothing usually shade into solipsism or nihilism. Solipsism and nihilism are fanciful notions that arise from terms like "nothing" and "everything" without first defining them clearly. So the nihilist says something like "everything is nothing," and the solipsist replies, "then I am nothing," but with all of the operative terms undefined, it is truly their conversation that is nothing.

The "Joy" in the title isn't just marketing fluff -- it's the crux of my argument. This Nothing cannot be mere absence, and must be a source of Joy for you and me.

This may strike you as blatantly outrageous. Joy, you respond, is a product of experience, and experience is a product of events, and events are something, not Nothing!

Furthermore the notion of "Joy" is associated with something ephemeral, evanescent, an emotional will-o-the-wisp that it can be very dangerous to pursue. As a mature person, you have likely reconciled yourself to a life in which you experience tiny sparks of Joy in a jumbled universe where boredom, anxiety, fear, and even terror play a greater role than Joy. Perhaps it's easier to understand Joy, at least it seems that way among the common crowd, when we talk about the "Joy of cooking," or the "Joy of sex," or these other lusty sources of pleasure in our physical life. But when I try to reach beyond these few, hackneyed sources of "Joy," I find myself running out of steam. When I get serious about what Joy means to me, the best example I can come up with is the reunion with my loved ones after a trip away, or a reunion with close family members whom I rarely see.

Can we define "Joy"? If I were asked to define Joy, I would say that it is a state of mind that is simultaneously fulfilled and open, and lasts only as long as we do not fear its disappearance. That's why Saturday night is so much more Joyful than Sunday morning, when our precious weekend is already beginning to disappear. Or at least, it used to be that way back when people had jobs and enjoyed their weekends and dreaded their Mondays. But you get the point. Joy lasts as long as we aren't thinking about losing it, and fear and Joy do not appear to coexist. When our fears are relieved, Joy often follows, and when fear arrives, our Joy departs.

When we experience Joy, there is always an underlying sense of satisfaction, of having received something we wanted, like contact with a loved one, or possession of a treasured object, or of course, relief from fear or danger. If you can imagine a life free of fear or danger, a life in which you and those you love are safe and secure, you will almost certainly experience Joy arising just from the imagination. But you won't dare to indulge in that sentiment for long. I would suggest to you that, because fear is far more prevalent in our minds than we are inclined to talk about, Joy and abundance may be hidden right behind a wall of unacknowledged fear. And just suppose that wall of fear turned out to be unnecessary, based on false assumptions -- what would that wall turn into? Nothing. Joy could be that close. That might account for how we continue to believe in it, even when there is so little to be found.

The search for Joy is often a prelude to pain. In Joy, there are many potential seeds of feeling that emerge. The first emotion is often desire to sustain the Joy, followed by fear of losing it, which as we previously discussed, is the beginning of losing it. Thus, tragically, Joy is the birthplace of endless sorrow. The effort to capture Joy is a form of desire, and desire often enlists anger as its henchman, to procure by force the "object of desire" that we identify as the source of Joy. So Joy that comes with strings attached, that arrives on the winds of circumstance and retreats when we pursue it, is dangerous. It draws us in feverish pursuit of objects that can be captured only briefly, if at all. This pursuit leads not to Joy but simply to more pursuit.

To pursue desired objects, be they people, places, actual physical objects, or sensual experiences, is to be a slave to Joy. If we are slaves to Joy, we are never able to look it in the face, as an equal force, in relation to ourselves.

How can I speak of Joy, that arises in our own Self, as a force distinct from ourself? So let's look at that Self that chases Joy. When I do, and I'm not saying you should see what I see, but when I look for the Self that seeks Joy, I see an interior space that Joy illumines with invisible light. In this space, every other play of mental forces has its existence. Both external perceptions and inner thoughts and feelings have their being here. This space, this light, these images and shadows, are all entirely insubstantial. I cannot show them to you. I cannot pluck the flower I see in my mind and give it to you. It is made of this Nothing of which I speak. I cannot show you the true color of the turquoise waters of Havasu Falls and the red rock depths of the Canyon, yet I can recollect their color at will. I can see the color of the water, and the shape of the cliffs. I can hear the sounds of the Falls and the voices of the Canyon birds. I see and hear it all in Nothing.

So you see, I haven't dragooned you into the usual nihilist insult session where you get called nothing and sit there and take it. This Nothing of which I speak is your very Self, my Self. Having seen it, we will not henceforth ignore each other's existence. We will, rather, be more aware of the amazing, non-substantial medium in which we have our experiences, Joy and all the others.

So if all your experiences are all of the same Nothing-substance, does that mean Joy isn't special? I suspect the answer is yes, in one way, and no in another. Yes, in the sense that, if you objectify a Joyful experience, and start the pursuit of Joy that ends in the spiral of unrequitable desire, then Joy is the same as any other experience. But if Joy is understood as the attitude of fulfillment and openness, then it is a very special way of appreciating the space of our awareness. It is a place of balance and understanding. In Joy that does not decay, because there is no fear of losing the experience, the reality of our great, inner Nothingness is evident. And when we look at other people, their wonderful inner Nothingness is apparent to us as the source and impulse of everything about them that we can see, hear, touch, smell and feel.

Our experience of life is not static, you may have noticed -- experience flows. It flows from one present to the next, without any gap. In this flow, we can experience ourselves as a thing among things, blown along like a cluster of leaves swept up in the wind. If our attention shifts from our form to our experience-realm, with its Nothing-substance, and self-illuminating appearances, then we experience ourselves as space. The winds of time reorganize the shapes appearing here endlessly. We possess this space completely, and spontaneously experience fulfillment and openness. Joy has been waiting for us here all along.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:42 am

Hater’s Rights vs. Human Rights
by Charles Carreon
March 5, 2015

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Public Citizen’s Paul Levy Making the World Safe for Identity Thieves, by Tara Carreon

Hater’s Rights

Public Citizen Litigation Group, the brainchild of Ralph Nader, was hijacked by the free-hate-speech movement some years back when head litigator Paul Levy decided that the Internet just wasn’t vile enough — haters needed more rights! And you know, if you build a road, people will drive on it, and once PCLG opened the way, a whole business grew up around hate and the destruction of online reputations. A recent mea culpa posted by Sam Biddle, one of the leading lights of the free-hate-speech movement, argues and convinces himself that destroying reputations is not a personal thing — it’s just business.

A Hater Spills His Guts

This is actually Biddle’s version of a deep self-reflection piece, and it all started when the phone rang one day, and one of Biddle’s rapeutation victims was on the line, asking him out for a drink. Her name was Justine Sacco, and Biddle had joined in reposting her tweet to his blog on ValleyWag.com, where hundreds of haters joined the pile on, feeding a very large DIRA that blew up after Sacco tweeted an un-pc statement that she was White and therefore unlikely to get AIDS while visiting Africa. Of course, Justine Sacco was in fact an international PR woman, and has some insight into how to handle people, because she has Biddle apologizing to her, making excuses for the apology, and singing her praises in fifty shades of bullshit. Ever the realist, though, Biddle feels sorry for the poor little girl who thinks that someday someone’s actually going to find her LinkedIn profile on Google page one for her name.

We All Make Mistakes

Among other things that Sacco had to deal with when her DIRA was burning actively, and not merely smoldering like a digital Fukushima, was coordinated, malicious action to exploit her own identity by creating fake Twitter accounts in her name and tweeting insane things that would feed the DIRA. PCLG has been a leader in the fight to defend this practice, and attempted to keep the identity of Christopher Recouvreur secret from me after he registered “charles-carreon.com,” built a fake blog, and made fake posts in my name, that were in fact attributed to me. Biddle doesn’t address these types of abuses that afflicted his new friend Sacco, because after all, he doesn’t do those things — all he needed to do was post the text of the tweet and he knew it would take on a life of its own. And as the nasty comments piled up, he did nothing to breathe the cool breath of reason on the commenters — no — because he thought Sacco was an insensitive monster, just like everyone else.

So at the bottom of his big confessional, Biddle admits that he had it all wrong, and Sacco is a nice woman who meant no harm. Yep, she is not a monster, not an arrogant, insensitive [insert misogynistic epithet here]. She was tweeting a joke to her circle of friends and relatives, many living in South Africa, who would very well understand her tweet to be a satirical jab at Whites who think their skin color makes them immune to a deadly retrovirus. At no point does Biddle say, “Gee, that’s the sort of mistake that could lie at the heart of all of these rapeutations. Maybe we should stop dousing people with lighter fluid and igniting them after reading a few hastily-tapped phrases that seem to suggest they might have an inappropriate way of expressing themselves.” Nor has he ever used the ever-mutable nature of the Internet to post an addendum to the damaging re-tweet post that, to this day, continues the chorus of hatred deriding Sacco’s humanity, and sliming her with anti-woman epithets. Of course, he can’t go too far, because you know, those free-hate-speech people eat their own.

Losing Your Name Isn’t Easy to Do

Biddle got a little DIRA of his own, and folks tried to get him fired, and he got turned into the very first writer at Gawker to be given a sabbatical for all of November 2014, after which he returned to a less prominent role at Gawker. This happened all because he said something about #Gamergate that got so misinterpreted that … oh well, now he understands me better, because the most important question in this debate is “Who’s Ox is Gored?” Once your reputational ox has been gored, like Biddle, you’ll be slapped stupid, and start expressing topsy-turvy notions that suggest you’re suffering from some species of mental derangement:

“I was writing about the law (especially free speech and other constitutional law issues) long before Danger & Play. I am a radical proponent of free speech. When I heard that the court system was being used to silence a young man, I decided to speak out.

Rather than ignore me or let me speak my mind, Social Justice Bullies (a loose collection of toxic people such as Gawker writers and their supplicants) went on the attack. They harassed me, cyber stalked me, and otherwise spread their stench towards me.

I looked into #GamerGate more and saw some revolting faces. I saw people like Sam Biddle (who bullies nerds), Max Read (who enjoys talking about date-rape drugs) and other vile people.”

Poor Sam. He took it square in the face and he’s gone batshit crazy. It’s our fate here at Rapeutation to keep the light on for every DIRA victim, even, or perhaps especially, someone who has sinned like Sam Biddle, because he is still human, and has human rights. The destruction of your good name, as Biddle learned, is quite painful, and it brings the nauseous spectacle of the Internet into sharp relief:

“I watched a whirlpool of spleen and choler swelling till it had sucked in most of my energy and attention, along with that of many of my coworkers. Hundreds of people tweeted or emailed me or my editors; blogs and minor internet personalities sprang into action to challenge me. Their demands started with my firing and escalated from there.”

Oh yes, that is the sound of someone realizing, “Holy shit! My ox is gored!” Biddle may be a big tech blogger, but he is human and every DIRA victim knows this feeling of losing control over their name. When it’s over, they’re not really sure they like the sound of their own name anymore. I suppose back when DIRAs were news, the fact that people were having their names destroyed, one here and one there, now and then, didn’t seem so bad. But when you see that it results in unemployment, divorce, loss of friendships, depression, and suicide, then you gotta wonder, where’s the “public benefit” in twisting the law into a license for online hate speech?

The Right to Be Remembered As Who You Really Are

According to the European Union Court of Human Rights, human beings have the right to prevent Google from indexing their name. On the factsheet about implementation of the ruling, the Euro-regulators say that “Individuals have the right to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them where the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data processing [and] could not be justified merely by the economic interest of the search engine.”

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans, with the French leading the pack, have used Google’s webform to process requests for removal of their names from the index. Google had been taking names only out of its “local” websites, i.e., Google.de, Google.es, etc. In November 2014, the EU told Google to take the results off Google.com, so this human right has legs. Maybe long enough to reach our own, native shores? Oh, that seems so very unlikely with so much money to be made in the flaying of human flesh, and with the press calling it “the right to be forgotten.” As if to be “remembered” were to have your name and image mutilated for the benefit of Gawker and its “wags.” I don’t want to be forgotten. I’d just like the right to be remembered as myself.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:31 am

THE TRIUMPH OF THE ROLY POLYS: AN EXPERT ON THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE AWARDS ACCOLADES
by Charles Carreon
03/06/15

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People called them different things — sowbugs, pillbugs, roly polys, potato bugs. The little black, armored bugs that ball up and pretend to be dead when you touch them. They’re a pretty low form of life, but they’d make perfect Netizens, according to Sam Biddle, the fallen Gawker tech punditwho took a “sabbatical” last year before Christmas after his tweet urging a resurgence of online bullying fell on many thousands of irritated ears connected to fingers that went to work clicking his demise.

Biddle now engages in deeper thinking, and has been suspended from off-the cuff tweeting. In one of his tortured, post-DIRA posts, Biddle gave fellow-DIRA-victim Justine Sacco his highest praise. Justine, who was savaged online for tweeting that she doubted she’d catch AIDS while in Africa, because she was White, garnered an online apology from Biddle after she phoned him and they met for drinks. During their meeting, Justine essentially accepted Biddle’s tender of his guilt-rotted heart, further softened by the drubbing he’d received over his own misconstrued tweet.

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Biddle was then able to reveal the extent of his admiration for Justine. To put it simply, what really turned Biddle on about Justine was that she knew when to shut up. Right away. Curl up in a ball. Tuck your head in your bottom, don’t move and perhaps the threat will take you for dead and go away. It’s not a very inspiring position for a free speech advocate, but this is the law of the jungle. Obey or die.

Biddle, riddled with reputational death himself, mocked fate in a danse macabre. Bowing low before Justine, he swept the dirt, kissing the locket of her shoe. This is supreme wisdom — she remains silent. Together they will endure despite the kiss of death that never fails, and she will rise from the grave of her Internet burial. For in this life, it cannot be the case for Sam Biddle and Justine Sacco that savvy brains such as theirs will look out of desolated eyes, watching their careers expire. No, and denial is a river.
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