Monday, February 27, 2012

Hippie News & Stuff: Semiotics of Work

Hola, Hippies. Thanks Winstone, eh, Bugs, chomp chomp...A little semiotics today.

Take a look at this image,
which was circulating on Fbook the other day, and see if you can figure out what there there is about the overall tone and tenor of it that just gets right the fuck up ol' Dr. Woody's pro-labor, former workingman's aching fucking back--The same Dr. Woody who, though not yet "the Doc," after removing the tip of his thumb with a mis-struck blow from a waffle-headed, 24 oz framing hammer, has sucked the blood off, and reach reached BACK into his nail bag for the next sinker.

Ya, ya, everybody nods. Lazy workers, overpaid, and too many, sitting or standing around on some dumb-ass job that one man is doing. Lazy, probably UNION workers? Wasting YOUR tax dollars...What words do you use?

You may wanna believe it's just a "funny" poster. But if so, you probably also believe there's a difference between Coors and Bud...Shit like this is pro-business, pro-big money, small govt disinformation, spun to sour citizens against the just claims of municipal workers. Like in Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, and New Mexico where ALEC-sponsored representatives are trying to rescind workers' gains.

I dunno how many of y'all have ever done that kind of labor, but they're not one-man jobs. It takes a crew. They all do different jobs. One guy drives the loader, another guy operated the tamper, and mebbe a couple swing shovels or brooms. And there's the engineer in charge, and his assistant, and the supervisor comes around, too, and mebbe the safety guy.

But the captioning makes it seem like they're all a bunch of loafers, supernumeraries wasting gummint/taxpayers' money, while the ONE necessary guy does all the work.

See? Yeah, him: if you look REAL close, you'll see that there is a man in the hole, kinda precariously doing stuff. They call him "Jose" to make another spurious point about pigment. But if you look, "Jose" possesses a distinctly pale hue.

So, on to reality: Do any of you know how unstable dirt can be, if it's been disturbed and excavated? There's room for only one man in that hole, and you know that only if you've ever worked in unstable holes. That shit can fall in on ya and kill ya in a minute. I've been on crews where it happened. You cannot unbury somebody as fast as they can be covered up and suffocate.. So OSHA has safety rules governing how many men can be in a hole of a given size, safely. (Rules that, they say, the remaining GOPhux Clown candidates would eliminate, but I digress...)

So, lemme--Ol' worker Woody, the poor man's semiotician--toss ya heads up, when reading the world: the folks who CAN will fuck with you every time. They DON'T want you to SEE what's before your eyes. They want you to see what they want you to see, and they fix things so that's how it works out.

"WTF" is ALWAYS your friend, hippies...Paz, and back to Winstone, in Hippie Central

Monday, February 20, 2012

As The Cookie Crumbles: Zodiacal King Cake

Got a little bit of the lagniappe fo ya cher! on this Mardi Gras day. Down in the Carneval towns--New Orleans, Mobile, Rio, you know?--there'll have been a LOT of astrological imagery attendant on the festivities, through the parades and pageantry that wrap it all up tonight; so for today, Laissez le bon Temps rouler! Cher!!!

A fella was commenting on FBook the other day about the 'irony' of his father--whose birth sign was cancer--having succumbed to the disease "cancer," last July. The metaphor he used was "swallowed by the crab."

And I wondered, if it were plausible that one's birth sign would have some influence on the manner of one's demise. Given the perceived power ascribed to the relative positions of the constellations at any given time by the followers of astrology, it must CERTAINLY be plausible, at least, that what fates one copuld foresee befalling members of particular "signs? might be "hidden" in their signs.

I mean, for instance, my birth occurred in an astrologically liminal space, on the "cusp," it is said, between Ares and Taurus. If the avatar of the "sign" is viewed as the emblem of one's potential/possible demise, and I, like Oedipus' father, Laius who, to forestall a fate betold by the Oracle--that he would be slain by his son--, left the son who was destined to kill him to feed the wolves on the chilly, Agean mountain-top outside Corinth where the child was found and rescued by shepherds and later returned to slay his father and impregnate his mother; IF I, that is, desired to escape such dire toils of fate, I would then probably do best to strenuously avoid careers in bull-fighting, goat-roping, cattle rustling and dairy-farming, for instance, if I would escape my fate.

But, what, then, of other signs?

Are Aquarians, for example, prone to drowning? Or, are they struck by lightning in the shower? Michaelangelo's David has always struck me as the posture of a man peeing unself-consciously, in the shower.

As I mentioned, Ares could be trampled by rams, and Taurus gored by bulls...

Leo gets eaten by wild beasts, yeah that makes sense.

Would Geminis, get mugged--Cuz there were TWO of 'em!?

Could Scorpios be susceptible to bug bites, in general; do they die of anaphylactic shock from a sting?

Pisces: Just when you thought it was safe...

Capricorn stumps me, I admit...It's "goat-headed fish." Which seems to be a suggestion of another watery fate; but it contains echoes of immanent contradiction so foretells the perils of bi-polartity.

Are Libras-in their balancing act, more likely to fall to the arm of Justice? Grover Norquist's a Libra. Being crushed under the scales of justice just COULDN'T happen to a nicer fella.

Sagittarius--the mounted archer, a hunter!--falls before another, better hunter?

Food for thought, nest paw, hippies?

Oh yeah! How does a Virgo go? Au Go-Go? You thought I forgot...Remind me when I see ya at the beach...paz!

Hippie News & Stuff: Externalities

MBA's are examples of those "imaginary" degrees that "Binness community" insisted Universities start granting to confer (spurious) "legitimacy" on and provide specious credentials for the altogether "A--even ANTI--philosophical" thieveries of grubby, grasping commerce. I can give you the essentials of an MBA in FIVE Sentences And for only $1,000; a FRACTION of what they'd charge you at Wharton, or one of them). I don't wanna spoil the surprisae, but one of 'em is "Privatize profit and socialize cost."

In the silly 'science,' economics, they talk about how 'successful businesses' are those which can "externalize" costs to the greatest possible extent, to protect their "bottom lines" by transferring those costs to non-participants in the transactions they are conducting.

Externalized costs are those costs in the production processes which are borne by external agencies. Defined by one source, they are "
negative impacts associated with economic transactions which concern people outside of those transactions, meaning that neither the buyer nor the seller bears the brunt of the costs."

One well-known example of an externalized cost is factory pollution (e.g., along the River Road between St. Francisville and New Orleans) which can have a negative influence on the surrounding community," and which periodically gives rise to complaints of "environmental racism." The track alongside the Mississippi is home to innumerable, hyper-industrial structures which load and/or unload often deadly and or otherwise toxic materials from ships docked along the towering levees. South of Baton Rouge, it is a common-place to see enormous, ocean-going ships ploughing placidly along behind huge banks, rising thirty or forty feet above the surrounding plain, an unknown, but steady number of which are loaded with poisons of one sort or another. These often deeply economically depressed, gatherings of dilapidated assemblages of tumble-down and cobbled-together shot-gun houses and single-trailers are hard by, in many cases, the restored/preserved glories of the famed "ante-bellum" mansions, have been inhabited by poor blacks for generations.

One commodity/product which is the beneficiary of HUGE amounts of 'externalization' would be fossil fuels. The "external costs" generated by the exploitation of fossil fuel are NOT included in the "price" we pay when we acquire and expend them. We do not see, and usually do not even know except on occasions when there is a massive interruption--as happened in the BP/Gulf of Mexico oil eruption disaster-- that thoise costs are paid by us in existential bills, not necessarily in the cash we dispense: massive resource depletion, pollution, environmental degradation, and uncharted impacts on the public health.

The "price" that consumers pay for the fuels they use, especially in the USofA, seldom reflects any of the actual costs--beyond those required to acquire and process the resources. The industry has been incredibly adept at "externalizing" its costs, while maximizing its profits at the expense of the entire ecological and environmental systems--think 'tar sands'-- which the industry rapes for its convenience, but with OUR (at least tacit) blessings.

Triple the current cost of gas to curtail emissions disaster, climatologist urges. We cannot continue current insatiable consumption of petroleum if we want anything LIKE civiliztion to survive. Our patterns of consumption are literally killing our & most other species. It is ecocide.

HUNDRED DOLLAR per gallon gasoline prices would NOT cover all the social & environmental costs of driving cars powered by burning fossil fuels.

Oh, you wanna know the other four MBA-worthy sentences, hippies? Is the check in the mail? Ask me about it when you see me at the beach...

Friday, February 17, 2012

As the Cookie Crumbles: Next Stop, Gilead

If Chomsky and others are right, the mission of the media is to distract us from the machinations and operations of the hegemons, as they consolidate and extend their power, by providing endless distractions. Hegemony has been patriarchal for about the last 6500 years.

Issues implicating women's--though, indeed, all our--sexuality have been prominent lately through the widely publicized attacks being mounted by the Catholic bishops and (opportunistically, the GOPhux) on one of St. Barry's rare efforts to defend a principle. Strange times: First the Komen Cancer foundation scandal, with its determination to suspend grants to Planned Parenthood, followed now by the birth-control pill "controversy": You gotta say sex has been on our public minds A LOT lately, what with one thing and another.

At the risk of over-simplification, it's a great example of how patriarchy sustains itself, cuz as far as distractions go, this one is a doozy! And I don't mean that in ANY 'trivializing" way, at all. Just the opposite, in fact..

I--and all men living in the USofA today--was of course born into patriarchy. Learning to understand what that meant and means is akin to a fish learning what water is. Fish don't have a word for water.

I would try to illustrate it thusly: I think, (though I'm obviously generalizing) there comes a time in the life of most men when, if he's lucky and falls into the lusty, lunging, hungry embrace of a really, carnally voracious woman, he realizes that, in principle, NO one man has the stamina or the equipment to exhaust that one--and by extension, ANY-- woman. Well, at least, that thought has occurred to this man, on various, memorable occasions.

That was the bright light. In that realization, when considered further, I believe I discovered one of, if not exactly the only, the earliest, most subliminal "cause" of patriarchy. Patriarchy: I'd say it is the systemic imposition of rules, customs, and sanctions the essential purposes of which are to repress such aspects of women's sexuality as men KNOW--in this deep and to some it must be embarrassing way--they simply cannot satisfy--or forbid, or annul--all by themselves.

I think this knowledge--this existential certainty, really--of male INCAPACITY to perform what custom declares in innumerable ways is OUR machismo-destiny-cum-masculinity test, began to impose a kind of psychic burden on male members (ahem). They replied with the patriarchy," and all its "apps": the double standard, relegation to the status of property, denial of civil/political rights, etc. All are products of "civilization." Such evidence as may be adduced from pre-civilized cultures suggests that patriarchy is NOT the "natural" form; a rough form of egalitarianism is. But the patriarchal order was imposed when civilization introduced ideas such as 'fatherhood' and 'property' and their relationship, into the equation, about 6000-6500 years ago.

My first clue to this phenomenological interpretation of patriarchy came (one could say) when I started noticing that many women with whom I was having sex could have numerous--and I thought, in principle--innumerable orgasms while I (and I think if we were honest, most men) can manage about one ejaculation about every six hours, if pressed, hard, and juiced to the max on love. One hungry woman, suitably aroused, could wear out several men, no matter their prowess, in a matter of hours. This also has implications in matters of inheritance, since no man wants his property to go to the offspring of another, competitive male.

Another clue, when I learned of it (relatively recently, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit), is in the practice of what they call 'female circumcision,' but what is, in function, the excision of the clitoris, the primary stimulant to female orgasm. The result is to annul female clitoral stimulation and pleasure, for the purpose of depriving women of any reason to stray from their flock and master.

Biologically, of course the male is the experimental model, the one-off. Ceteris paribus (that is, in terms of science's big lie, all things being equal), men bring only one thing to the society of women: sperm. Otherwise, we're disposable. And from this insecurity, along with the physical strength we also possess, men create patriarchy, for almost no other reason than to give ourselves something to do, to--as Red Green says--make ourselves useful.

Me? No reproductive worries for me: I been to the Vet...

Back in the 80s, Meg Atwell another smart, sexy, Canadian woman, wrote a book called the Handmaid's Tale, an account of women trying to regain and retain their sexual integrity in the depths of a darkly, violently repressive theocratic revolution which overthrows the standing order and imposes Biblical law. The new order was called "Gilead." The desperate ravings of ex-Senator Frothy-Mix Santorum, who stands near the apex of these forces, called this book to mind. We can do some Lit Crit de-con stgructing when I see you at the beach, hippies.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As The Cookie Crumbles: Judas Priests

The hierarchy of the Roman church is up in arms about Obambster's efforts to curry favor with women voters in this election year by making a symbolic gesture meant to ensure that female employees of even institutions, such as the Church, which claim so-called "moral" exemptions for dispensation from the law may be eligible for insurance coverage of birth-control pills.

It's fookin' amazing how some folks interpret "freedom of religion" as license to impose their sado-masochistic fantasies about death and redemption through the "common law" on you even if you're not a 'believer,' ain't it? I hate shit like that.

But: The Church--through its National Council of Bishops (the "Princes of the Church")--claims it's long-standing doctrinal policy and its institutional "morality" prohibiting contraception means it MAY refuse BOTH to sanction it, AND to permit its insurers to cover such treatments. That is, the Church claims is constitutionally protected in imposing its "values" on people who have no more connection with it than accidental employees. If its specious edicts won't prevail, then its insurers will.

Now the tricky Constitutional waters that are hereby stirred are deep and murky. Mitch McConnell, NOT to my knowledge a host-snapper, already volunteered to support ANY organization to claim a "moral" exemption from ANY Federal mandate. Where does it stop? Can Pastafarians prevent their employees from attending Zoomba?

Still to me, and I hope to you, too, hippies, this leaves a SERIOUS question unasked; the mitred-and-croziered elephant in the nave, so to speak, with a boner out to the choir-loft. To wit:

What BUSINESS does a religious institution like the Roman Catholic Church, which DEMONSTRABLY cannot prevent, and has at LEAST turned a blind ecclesiastical eye on, members of its OWN clergy serially committing child-rape, abuse, and sodomy, even within the walls of its own churches and cathedrals, for HUNDREDS of years--what business does such an institution have making proclamations about the morality of ANYTHING and much less invoking its conventions in a CIVIC action to block contraception???

One might be tempted even to go further: What business, indeed, does that, or any such institution have claiming ANY "moral" authority whatsoever, on ANYTHING, ANY subject, ANY issue?

Why should ANYBODY pay the slightes BIT of attention to them, and silently accept their fucking abuse, UNTIL and unless they purge their temples of the clerical catamites, sanctuarial sodomizers, the priestly pederasts, and the serial child-rapists.

I do NOT know how folx who profess the confession can stand to be around ANY of the cassocked criminals. I'd even go further. Until they start paying taxes, and register their priests, and other clergy whose primary allegiance is to Rome as agents of a foreign power...Or the Vatican can resign from the UN.

Wadda you think, Hippiews? Tell me when I see you at the beach.

H N & S (2/13, 12): Little Known

If one spends much time afloat on the seas of dreck and rhetoric on the Inter-Tubez as I do, one encounters regularly the shrieks of outrage, fury, and betrayal when someone posting something somewhere or another finds that the proprietor where the post was hung unceremoniously deletes it.(--why, no, I do NOT really have a "life." Why do you ask?--)

The HOWLS of fury, disappointment and civic-minded disgust can reach FEVER pitches: "What about the First Amendment?" the affronted bellow!@ "It's a free country. I got a RIGHT to say my piece. It's in the Constitution!"

Sadly, no...You don't.

The Constitution offers no bar, no restraint upon the PRIVATE censorship of ideas, words or images by private interests on proprietary media.

And when it happens, the First Amendment offers no relief.

Folks appear sometimes to forget this; or never to have learned it.

The First Amendment only stipulates that the State may not exercise prior restraint upon speech in public (though there is Holmes' "Fire" exception, even to that). And it does also NOT say that a person caannot be prosecuted for speech, either.

But in any case, it doesn't apply at ALL to PRIVATE restrictions on speech. That's why ABC could fire Howard Cosell, and ESPN could run off Hank Williams JR, too; and MSNBC could run off Olbermann, etc, etc....

You're speech in a private forum is only as "protected" as the owner of the forum wants it to be.

As the brilliant and legendary journalist AJ Liebling said in the 50s: "the press is free to those who own one."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

As The Cookie Crumbles: Two Weevils

Hey hippies...Paz en el Barrio...Wanna try some MORE "positivity, a la Woody?"

Well, here ya go!

Confused about for whom to "vote" in this year's quadrennial power-grab and leadership sweepstakes, in which you had no say as to the selections which were forced upon you by the whims and caprices of the Oners?

Are you dismayed by the fact that, although you had almost ZERO to say about who is selected, you will have to LIVE with the ONERS' choice, no matter what kind of a chuckle-headed, fucking, incompetent, drooling moron he (or she) is for AT LEAST the next four years?

Are you tired of feeling like you HAVE to choose, between Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dumber, or else reject the core symbol of your democratic principles by not voting at all (and hearing all those ghostly corpses moaning that they died so you could vote --though they didn't, really.)???

Here's my solution: "OCCUPY THE BALLOT!"

By which I mean, when you go to vote, cast your ballot for ANYONE, for President, EXCEPT the nominees of the two dominant "Parties," the two, over-determined "wings" of the party Gore Vidal calls the "Party of Property," which are practically indistinguishable when considered fro the perspective of policy, anyway.

We need to mount a national campaign.! Vote NEITHER for brave, Sir/Prince Barry, the Failed, nor for the GOPhux' designated gollem.

Instead, on election day, proudly cast your ballot for the Silly Walks Party, or the Democratic Socialists, or the Peace & Freedom Party (I was an old PF Flyer, in the day) or the Greens, or ANYBODY else. Write-in, I dunno, Kucenich, or Budreaux the dog, if your State allows it.

And publicize your intention. ANNOUNCE it. Tell your friends and family; tell the Media. Tell 'em you're gonna vote "None of the Above."

Vote ANYBODY BUT! Sir/Prince Barry, the unctuous flunky, AND/OR whatsoever offering the GOPhux trot out for the charade, be it Rmoney, or Neut, the "Scoot," or Ron Paul, or whomsoever the sacrificial offering turns out to be...

Spread the word, spread the meme:

Your vote WILL "count" among the millions who use this expedient to declare: NEITHER ONE OF YOU FUCKING CLOWNS DESERVES TO LEAD THIS COUNTRY, AND I REJECT YOU, TOTALLY!!!

Next best thing to, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it ANYMORE!"

P.S.: I fully understand that some folks will feel compelled to select "the lesser of Two Evils," and vote for that person to try to prevent the ascension to leadership of the really bad fucktards (though they may be functionally indistinguishable from their opponents). So vote the LOTE (the molestor of two weevils). But at least have the decency to feel like shit about it.

We'll feel better when we get it to the beach, hippies...PAZ!

Monday, February 6, 2012

H N & S: "Quiz"

It's said with some justification that knowledge is power. These days, there are dozens upon dozens of sources from which one might "re-arm" onself with news and information, the raw materials of knowledge. But ammunition is only as good as it is reliable. So whom do you trust for your "informational" reloads?

I'm gonna read you a list -0-admittedly incomplete and partial-0- in which you will hear the names of 20 various N&I sources. After you hear the name, if you recognize it, rate it on a scale of 0 to 10, for TRUSTWORTHINESS: zero being LEAST Trustworthy, TEN being most trustworthy.
I'll begin:
1) Al Jazeera Network
3) The Guardian/Independent
4) Huffington Post/Truthdig
5) RT/Alex Jones
6) Democracy Now!
7) ABC News
8) Salon/Slate
9) Facebook
10) YouTube
11) AFP
12) The NY Times
13) Time Magazine
14) Newsweek
15) Wall Street Journal
16) Reuters
17) The National Enquirer
18) NBC News
19) Washington Post
20) BBC News
Now, total the score:

The Highest number you could recorded is 200, the lowest is zero.

Here's how to analyze your score:
0-50: Acceptably skeptical
51-100: Charmingly naive
101-150: Alarmingly naive
151-250: Dangerously credulous
The lesson I wanna draw for you is this:

In the CorpoRat State, CorpoRat Media ARE the State Media: All of them are designed to spin propaganda, one way or another.

Folks who "trust" media are the besotted drones and drooling dullards who flock to Fox to watch for the flash of Blonde Bimbette panty as the Gretchens cross and uncross their legs, who titillate and tantalize whilst they ratify the morons' prejudices and pander to their fears.

NONE of them--not Al Jazeera, not NPR, not the NYTimes, certainly not RT, a vehicle of the Russian state propaganda agency which also brings us --is free of over-riding propaganda interests in "spin."

What you should do, of course, is read them ALL--or as many as possible--and compare the accounts, then judge for yourself the relative accuracy of any one...


On an associated topic:

The Constitution offers no bar against the censorship of ideas, words or images by private interests on proprietary media.

Folks appear sometimes to forget this.

And when it happens, the First Amendment offers no relief.
The First Amendment only stipulates that the State may not exercise prior restraint upon speech in public (though there is the "Fire" exception, even to that)
Biot in any case, it doesn't apply at ALL to PRIVATE restrictions on speech.
That's why ABC could fire Howard Cosell, and ESPN could run off Hank Williams JR, too...
You're speech in a private forum is only as "protected" as the owner of the forum wants it to be.
As AJ Liebling said in the 50s, the press is free to those who own one.

As The Cookie Crumbles: If I Ran The Zoo...

Hola, Hippies! Paz en el Barrio!

Every oncet in a wahl, Ah'll git inta a sorta PEN-sive mood, if'n ya no wadda mane, an Ah'll let m'mahnd to wowwnder, 'n sumtahms sumpin'll pop up lahk 'iss-year:

If I were the president, and instead of cautiously ducking and covering and hiding from the furious, flashing panties on Fox, I wanted to demand the Nation confront the overwhelming necessity of taking SERIOUSLY the challenges of impending, likely catastrophic climate change--which arguably is the most potentially devastating evolutionary challenge of the last 100-200 THOUSAND years (outside even nuclear devastation, possibly)...

If, as I say, I were the president, and I were aware of this impending calamity, even in the periphery of my understandably fragmented attention span--this whole deal about being the "most powerful man in the world" stuff is HARDER than it looks, I'm sure...

If I were, like I said, the president, and I had a couple of little kids who hadn't managed to retain their evolutionary gill-slits against the rising waters and the tides of humanity which will flood from them, and I really wanted to do something to mitigate these horrendous, but all too imaginable, all to possible, consequences, do you know ONE thing I would do, without fail?

If I were president, and knowing what even I know about the power of the bully-pulpit, and in the full knowledge that EVERYTHING I said was gonna be reported somewhere, every day, the same day I said; not everywhere, but a lotta SOMEWHERE's...

If I were president--if I RAN THE ZOO-- I'll tell you what I'd do, and it's the simplest thing, too.

I'd begin, and end, every public utterance with an appeal--not necessarily heavy-handed or pedantic--for a real inclusion of the climate change in the national conversation. Sir Barry already showed us his pipes. Let's give him the Marvin Gaye chart were grooving on now as a camp[aign song. He could KILL it...

Seriously. Think about it. If he placed everything he said, from prayer breakfasts (WTF?! izzat about) to press conferences to presidential greetings to visiting dignitaries in the context of some suggestion of the gravity or the situation, it could turn the whole conversation around.

Yes, it would evoke torrents of mockery. But? So WHAT? He's not used to that YET? It would draw attention to the subject. There is NO SUCH THING A "BAD PUBLICITY." The climate crisis needs all the attention we can pay to it.

If he were ANYBODY but the good Sir Barry, the Pale, Ronald Reagan's foster son. He runs the zoo. Boo hoo.

Watch, when the beach is on the other side of the road, hippies...

Friday, February 3, 2012

As The Cookie Crumbles: Abusive

Earlier today I was led to recall and reread a piece I wrote on my "Well-Armed Lamb" blog back in 2007 (Oct. 31, precisely). The following is a slightly amended version of it.

At some campaign event (in 2007), Senator (and incipient Presidential candidate; now the head lobbyist for the MPAA) Chris Dodd, had candidly addressed the issue of marijuana decriminalization more candidly, and more honestly than is usual in these--and those-- increasingly censorious times. Dodd described how criminalizing marijuana use filled the prisons, clogged the judicial system, and severely sanctioned a behavior that is less toxic than at least one, and probably many "legal" drugs.

God knows Dodd's remarks were an island of sanity in a torrent of craziness where marijuana is concerned. But I am very skeptical that any sanity can or shall attend further discussions of decriminalization for a number of reasons. Mainly, because it supports a whole culture of socially repressive measures and has engendered an industry of massive power and proportions.

Too Many Jobs! Too Much Pork! Too Much POWER! Too much MONEY! Depends On TheWarOnDrugs (TWOD) to imagine that those who benefit, profit, and prosper because of it will voluntarily or willingly surrender their perqs.

Like its younger sibling, GWOT (the Global War On Terror), TheWarOnDrugs (TWOD) is an amazingly useful program. It is endlessly self-sustaining and self-enriching. It has bottomless political support. It has been instrumental in forging links between local police departments and the Pentagon. It invokes the mythology of invasion and border security, and gins up the proletarian paranoia to a fever pitch, such that some bloated crackkker in a border county in Arizona is running for Sherif on a platform of mining the border-fences...

Moreover, it is a staple in the repression of people of color: pot busts put a blot on your record in the "serious" universe. One way to keep 'undesirables' out of the work place is to disqualify 'em from the get-go, nest pas? It doesn't matter HOW you test, it's WHO you test. Pot convictions can disqualify a person from voting. Very useful for disenfranchising potentially disruptive voters.

The prison guards' union in California has prevented reform of the 'three-strikes' and 'mandatory sentencing' laws--the victims of which are overwhelmingly drug(and mainly pot)related charges--ferociously lobbying state lawmakers to defeat them because it would mean a loss of jobs if the reforms passed and fewer people were incarcerated, necessitating fewer guards to manage them.

California also has chosen to build prisons instead of universities. Which is suggestive of the the trajectory of anticipated social mobility and utility for the foreseeable future.

Thom Hartmann frequently repeats the statistic that there are nearly a MILLION home invasions every year by police, the MAJORITY of which are prompted by nothing more sinister than the report of a family-crop or a family quarrel.

Enforcement agencies, police forces, and municipalities prosper from the appropriation and resale of "drug-related" property.

The drug-testing industry has only really gotten off the ground in the last decade or so, but it already constitutes a huge, wealthy factor in TWOD, when every kid in America who wants to participate in sports must submit to tests in which the primary object is to discover marijuana and steroid use.

I admire Dodd for his candor, and abominate the others for their caution. But likely as not, TWOD will endure as long as the GWOT...


And my opinion hasn't changed. (A late addition: Recently, a litigator-turned-legal-scholar, Michelle Alexander, at (the) Ohio State, published a book on "The New Jim Crow." In it she captured the true dimensions of the problem I had barely hinted at: the use of the war on drugs as a tool of repression especially aimed at black men. A virtually fail-safe expedient to disempower and marginalize the whole black community by mass encarceration of the men, along with the social stigma which attended those punishments.

I heard Michelle Alexander one night recently sustain and repulse a fairly hostile interview, on UCTV, mebbe. It's a compelling argument...We can discuss it at the beach...