Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Therapists or The Rapists: Checking the Mind-fucker's Queen

Therapists or The Rapists: Checking the Mind-fucker's Queen This is an article that originated on an old Wintel 3.1 machine (which was gonna die come New Year's Eve, 2000).  In fact, I had to “edit” (using edit.com which called qbasic.exe) a .txt file to pull it over to a “new” Wintel '95 machine so as to format the file into the “new” HTML format for its presentation at that time.

The “article” was submitted to the Twin Cities Men's Center Newsletter (it, unfortunately, was never published).

Along the way I was reminded of an article on “e-CEOs” in Fortune magazine (May 24, 1999) which characterizes them as “evangelists [for their cause].”  We've not come that far from the religion of “religion” to the “religion of technology”.

The Rapists:
Checking the Mind-fucker's Queen

There's so much you don't know about me.
Cannot ever, no matter how hard I try to make it otherwise.
I have been places, done things impossible to recount . . .

if you're lonely and you're hurting, then you're human . . .

Chris Locke (a. k. a. RageBoy) in Dust My Broom

While in attendance at a male friend's birthday lunch, I often heard the word “denial” used in contexts similar to “you're sure you're not in denial,” as if, accepting the iatrogenic pathology, “everybody's doing it.”  Being no foreigner to the taunt, myself, I thought I would share a perspective on denial that I have been working through for more than twenty-five years, though it is only in the last four years that the pieces of the puzzle have come together with some clarity.  (There is something perverse about a university education when it fails to show one the authentically cumulative tradition of thought.  One has to discover the vital thinkers on their own and serendipitously; professors, if anything, pooh-pooh the very people one should be studying, and needless years are spent just randomly and with luck coming to understand one's heritage.)

A terminus a quo - an adolescent's amazement at the repression of sexual expression in society, fired by Paul Goodman's Growing Up? Absurd! (1960), and fueled since then by, amongst others, any of Wilhelm Reich's works written during the period 1927-1936, Gershon Legman's Love & Death:   A Study in Censorship (1963), any of Michel Foucault's works, but especially The History of Sexuality (1980) [read in the light of his earlier Madness and Civilization (1965)], and any of Ernest Becker's works, but especially the second edition of The Birth and Death of Meaning:   An Interdisciplinary Perspective On The Problem of [Human Being] (1971) and The Denial of Death (1974).  All of these works grappling with the question, as posed by Ernest Becker:  How do we move from childhood toward the practical self-deceit, the well-organized tyranny, of “normal” adult sexuality to accept the sublimation of the body-sexual character of our Oedipal project?  Or, in other words, how do I work through the real differences between a childish impossibility - I can have anything and everything I want - and an adult one - I can live forever?  Either way, leading naturally to the fundamental matters of sexuality and death. 1

I became, of course, acquainted with the most widely accepted answer to the question:  that sexual repression is the sine qua non of civilized life and that a whole raft of devices are used by one's “ego” to defend itself from the demands of the “id,” “superego,” and environment. 2  But this did not satisfy me leading as it did to the rather dismal and pessimistic view of human being as expressed in Freud's Civilization And Its Discontents.

In addition, my work in the history of the philosophy of science brought me to the following interesting quote from Karl Popper's Conjectures And Refutations:  The Growth Of Scientific Knowledge (revised edition, 1972, pp. 34-38):

I should perhaps briefly describe the atmosphere in which [I began my work] and the examples by which it was stimulated.  After the collapse of the Austrian Empire there had been a revolution in Austria:  the air was full of revolutionary slogans and ideas, and new and often wild theories.  Among the theories which interested me . . . were . . . Freud's [theory of] psycho-analysis, and Alfred Adler's so-called 'individual psychology'.

It was during the summer of 1919 that I began to feel more and more dissatisfied with these . . . theories . . .; and I began to feel dubious about their claims to scientific status. . . .
  [W]hat worried me was neither the problem of truth, at that stage at least, nor the problem of exactness or measurability.  It was rather that I felt that these . . . theories, though posing as sciences, had in fact more in common with primitive myths than with science; that they resembled astrology rather than astronomy. . . .

These theories appeared to be able to explain practically everything that happened within the fields to which they referred.  The study of any of them seemed to have the effect of an intellectual conversion or revelation, opening your eyes to a new truth hidden from those not yet initiated.  Once your eyes were thus opened you saw confirming instances everywhere:  the world was full of verifications of the theory.  Whatever happened always confirmed it.  Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth; who refused to see it . . . because of their repressions which were still 'un-analyzed' and crying aloud for treatment
[or, as would be stated today, because they were in denial]. . . .

The Freudian analysts emphasized that their theories were constantly verified by their 'clinical observations'. . . .

What, I asked myself, did [this] confirm?  No more than that a case could be interpreted in the light of the theory.  But this meant very little, I reflected, since every conceivable case could be interpreted in the light of Adler's theory, or equally of Freud's. . . .  I could not think of any human behaviour which could not be interpreted in terms of either theory.  It was precisely this fact - that they always fitted, that they were always confirmed - which in the eyes of their admirers constituted the strongest argument in favour of these theories.  It began to dawn on me that this apparent strength was in fact their weakness. . . .

The two psycho-analytic theories were . . . simply non-testable, irrefutable.  There was no conceivable human behaviour which could contradict them. . . .
  [This] . . . mean[s] that those ‘clinical observations’ which analysts naively believe confirm their theory cannot do this any more than the daily confirmations which astrologers find in their practice.  And as for Freud's epic of the Ego, the Super-ego, and the Id, no substantially stronger claim to scientific status can be made for it than for Homer's collected stories from Olympus. 4

The humanist critique of the psychological myth of paradise through self-knowledge recalls to us that we are all human beings - like children, discovering a strange world, not knowing where we came from or where we are going, we play games, we cry and laugh, we want to be “Big Daddy” Warbucks or Gina Rinehart, G. I. Jane or G. I. Joe, Dick Tracy or Brenda Starr, Kenneth or Gloria Copeland, Peter or Elizabeth Popoff.5  We have bad dreams now, we get sick when we eat certain foods, we have impossible fantasies of sexual fulfillment, we want everybody to listen to us with great respect.  And very soon we shall all be dead.  When a person comes into our experience claiming to hold the keys to the inner door of this astonishing journey, we must begin by recognizing them as another human being.  A human being is speaking, who was also a child and with whom other foods disagree and whose significant other is over-weight and who will also die one day.  We may then listen to what this person has to say.  But we shall take the attitude that it is just another human being that we are listening to.  Most of those working in the therapeutic or “helping” agencies (organizations designed to do away with doubts about how their particular view of the world works [and in our addictive society there is a vast network of psycho-therapists, counselors, and social workers with just this function]) cannot put up with this attitude very well.  Having identified with their particular causa sui project, they regard the attitude as an act of sacrilege in itself and as proof of the depravity of the one who maintains it.  Their goal is not communication but conversion.  They do not wish to understand but to conquer.  As Ernest Becker has pointed out, the reasons for this response are most human ones indeed.  But this does not mean that the psycho-therapeutic nomenclature should continue as an empirical measure within cultural conventions supporting the punishment of dissent, social control of deviants, or, at its most innocuous, fitting people uncritically into their standard hero-games.

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz raises four questions concerning the nature, scope, methods, and values of the psychotherapeutic enterprise; questions we would do well to ask our own therapists:

1)  Is the scope of psychotherapy the study and treatment of medical conditions, or the study and influencing of social performances?  In other words, are the objects of psychotherapeutic inquiry diseases or roles, happenings or actions?

2)  Is the aim of psychotherapy the study of human behavior, or the control of human (mis) behavior?  In other words, is the goal of psychotherapy the advancement of knowledge, or the regulation of (mis) conduct?

3)  Is the method of psychotherapy the exchange of communications, or the administration of diagnostic tests and curative treatments?  In other words, what does psycho-therapeutic practice actually consist of - listening and talking, or prescribing drugs, operating on the brain [in the case of psychiatry], and imprisoning persons labeled as 'mentally ill'?

4)  Finally, is the guiding value of psychotherapy individualism or collectivism?  In other words, does psychotherapy aspire to be the servant of the individual or of the state? 6

Szasz suggests that contemporary psychotherapy hedges on all of these questions.  And that indeed the mandate of the contemporary psychotherapist - that is, of the professionally loyal, “dynamic” or “progressive” psychotherapist - is precisely to obscure, and indeed deny, the ethical dilemmas of life, and to transform them into medicalized and technicalized problems susceptible to professional solutions.

Today while the entire U. S. society is crumbling around an archaic CIA-congressional-corporate-educational-FBI-financial-industrial-media-medical-military-NSA-police-political-prison-Secret-Service-terrorism-expert complex (or “hero-system”), unrelated to the needs and challenges of contemporary life, we see an apparent incapability and / or lack of imagination in our people to reconstruct the society around goals of peace and social justice.  More importantly, the margin that nature has been giving to our cultural fantasy is suddenly being narrowed down drastically with the consequences that for the first time in history we, if we are to survive, have to bring down to zero the large fictional element in our hero-systems.  Men of good will could begin with the therapeutic relationship, recalling Paul Feyerabend's description of the role of the “expert” in a free society:

[E]xperts are humans just as we are; . . . they have therefore the ability to produce bright ideas and the related ability to commit grievous mistakes. 7

One way or another, we're all baying at the moon.

Chris Locke (a. k. a. RageBoy) in Dust My Broom


1  There's a real bias being expressed here as all of these works are written by men.  One of my growth areas during the past four years is to have started reading the women's perspective on this issue; cf. e. g., Kate Millet, Sexual Politics (1970), Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will:  Men, Women and Rape (1975), Andrea Dworkin, Pornography:  Men Possessing Women (1981), Susan Griffin, Pornography and Silence:  Culture's Revenge Against Nature (1981), Adrienne Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," Signs 5(4), Margaret Jackson, "Sexual Liberation or Social Control?" and "Sex Research and the Construction of Sexuality:  A Tool of Male Supremacy" in Coveney, L., et al., The Sexuality Papers:  Male Sexuality And The Social Control Of Women (1984), Anne Wilson Schaef, Women's Reality:  An Emerging Female System in the White Male Society (3rd edition, 1992), Margaret Jackson, "“'Facts of Life' Or The Eroticization of Women's Oppression?  Sexology and the Social Construction of Heterosexuality”' in Pat Caplan, ed., The Cultural Construction of Sexuality (1987), Anne Wilson Schaef, When Society Becomes An Addict (1987).

Click here to return to article!

2  Sigmund Freud had originally proposed nine “defense mechanisms” - regression, repression, reaction formation, isolation, undoing, projection, introjection, turing against the self, and reversal - to which his daughter, Anna, added a tenth, sublimation.  I believe the most recent count is twenty-four, including:  acting out, avoidance, denial, aestheticism, altruistic surrender, clowning, compliance, counterphobia, whistling in the dark, not to mention any more (before all of human being is included as a defence mechanism).

Click here to return to article!

3  See Appendix 1 for a footnote from Popper which clarifies what the Freudians meant by 'clinical observations'.  Cf. Footnote 4.

Click here to return to article!

4  More recently, Paul Kline, in a review of research on Freudian hypotheses, found large numbers of studies that failed one or more of the simple criteria for satisfactory research design (Paul Kline, "Sexual Deviation:  Psychoanalytic Research and Theory," in Glenn D. Wilson, ed., Variant Sexuality:  Research And Theory [Baltimore:  John Hopkins University Press, 1987], pp. 150-175.  Compare also:  Hans J. Eysenck, Decline And Fall Of The Freudian Empire (Harmondsworth:  Pelican, 1985), Adolf Grunbaum, The Foundations Of Psychoanalysis:  A Philosophical Critique (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1984), Jeffrey M. Masson, The Assualt On Truth:  Freud's Suppression Of The Seduction Theory (New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984).

Click here to return to article!

4  More recently, Paul Kline, in a review of research on Freudian hypotheses, found large numbers of studies that failed one or more of the simple criteria for satisfactory research design (Paul Kline, "Sexual Deviation:  Psychoanalytic Research and Theory," in Glenn D. Wilson, ed., Variant Sexuality:  Research And Theory [Baltimore:  John Hopkins University Press, 1987], pp. 150-175.  Compare also:  Hans J. Eysenck, Decline And Fall Of The Freudian Empire (Harmondsworth:  Pelican, 1985), Adolf Grunbaum, The Foundations Of Psychoanalysis:  A Philosophical Critique (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1984), Jeffrey M. Masson, The Assualt On Truth:  Freud's Suppression Of The Seduction Theory (New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984).

Click here to return to article

5  See the 1992 American dramedy “Leap of Faith” starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger (amongst others).  A story about Jonas Nightengale. the fradulent faith healer, and Jane, his friend and manager (both loosely based on Peter and Elizabeth Popoff), who make a living traveling around America holding revival meetings and conducting 'miracles'.  Read more about the loosely based couple in James Randi's book The Faith Healers.

Click here to return to article!

6  Thomas S. Szasz, “Crime, Punishment, and Psychiatry,” in Abraham S. Blumberg, ed., Current Perspectives On Criminal Behavior:  Essays On Criminology, 2nd ed. (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1981), pp. 342-363.

Click here to return to article!

7  Paul Feyerabend, “Experts In A Free Society,” The Critic, Nov. - Dec., 1970, p.69.

Click here to return to article!

Appendix 1

Footnote 3 to Chapter 1 of Karl Popper's Conjectures And Refutations:

    'Clinical observations', like all other observations, are interpretations in the light of theories . . .; and for this reason alone they are apt to seem to support those theories in the light of which they were interpreted.  But real support can be obtained only from observations undertaken as tests (by 'attempted refutations'); and for this purpose criteria of refutation have to be laid down beforehand:  it must be agreed which observable situations, if actually observed, mean that the theory is refuted.  But what kind of clinical responses would refute to the satisfaction of the analyst not merely a particular analytic diagnosis but psycho-analysis itself?  And have such criteria ever been discussed or agreed upon by analysts?  Is there not, on the contrary, a whole family of analytic concepts, such as 'ambivalence' . . . which would make it difficult, if not impossible, to agree upon such criteria?  Moreover, how much headway has been made investigating the question of the extent to which the (conscious or unconscious) expectations and theories held by the analyst influence the 'clinical responses' of the patient?  (To say nothing about the conscious attempts to influence the patient by proposing interpretations to her, etc.)  Years ago I introduced the term 'Oedipus effect' to describe the influence of a theory or expectation or prediction upon the event which it predicts or describes:  it will be remembered that the causal chain leading to Oedipus' parricide was started by the oracle's prediction of this event.  This is a characteristic and recurrent theme of such  myths, but one which seems to have failed to attract the interest of the analysts, perhaps not accidentally.  (The problem of confirmatory dreams suggested by the analyst is discussed by Freud, for example in Gesammelte Schriften, III, 1925, where he says on p. 314:  'If anybody asserts that most of the dreams which can be utilized in an analysis . . . owe their origin to [the analyst's] suggestion, then no objection can be made from the point of view of analytic theory.  Yet there is nothing in this fact', he surprisingly adds, 'which would detract from the reliability of our results.') 

[Click here to return to the article]

Sunday, August 17, 2014

African Americans vs. "evil rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places" (aka rich Republicans and / or neo-conservatives [including their Democratic sychophants], and hangers-on) . . .

Well, I've read Orwell's 1984, was in the deep South during the race riots that began in Greensboro, NC, February 1, 1960, and in the late '70s (early '80s?), read and have an affinity with Paul Feyerabend 's general description of the “political process” (see below). 1

From these perspectives, the events unfolding in Ferguson, MO the past few days (since the “police” [four different police forces have been involved] shooting of an unarmed teenager there on August 9, 2014) underscore the questions asked in my last blog entry (July 9, 2014 “My response to John Whiteheads June 10, 2014 ‘guest column’” on Paul Craig Roberts' Institute for Political Economy WWW site) and further provide examples in line with analogies in the rest of the world as exclamation points.

Before we begin with a 9 minute 37 second news clip of the St. Louis County Police Department's “infantry battalion” response? on the evening of August 13 to the concerned citizens of Ferguson, MO “testifying for” their right to know and understand the background behind the killing of the unarmed teenager, I would like to point out that “testifying for” is the meaning of the word “protest.”  And that as we continue our journey on the way to peace, we place ourselves in a position of psychological disadvantage if we use the word “protest” because it has been tainted with a negative connotation by the military-industrial-CIA-corporate-educational-FBI-financial-media-medical-NSA-police-political-prison-Secret-Service-terrorism-expert complex (or “hero system”). 2

St. Louis County Police Open Fire on Peacefully Testifying Neighbors (news clip)

Before looking at the demographics (which are certain to have some impact) of the social problems presented by this situation, I mentioned Paul Feyerabend's general description of the “political process” above:

The way in which social problems, problems of energy distribution, ecology,
education, care for the old and so on are ‘solved’ in our societies can be roughly
described in the following way.  A problem arises.  Nothing is done about it.
People get concerned.  Politicians broadcast this concern.  Experts are called in.
They develop a plan or a variety of plans.  Power-groups with experts of their
own effect various modifications until a watered down version is accepted and
realized.  The role of experts in this process has gradually increased.  Intellectuals
have developed theories about the application of science to social problems.
‘To get ideas’ they ask other intellectuals, or politicians.  Only rarely does it
occur to them that it is not their business but the business of those immediately
concerned to decide the matter.  They simply take it for granted that their
ideas and those of their colleagues are the only important ones and that people
have to adapt to them.
” 3

As Mike Summer points out in his diary (read the comments to his diary also), the Normandy School District (a merger of two of the poorest, most heavily minority populations ‐ Normandy and Wellston ‐ around St. Louis) has a poverty rate of 92% (Wellston's poverty rate is 98% and 100% minority). 4

How much does a box of Swisher Sweets cost?  A 60 count box for $21.99 at Good Luck Wholesale ($44.00 - $50.00 retail).  What would be the selling price in the “black” market for one of those cigarillos?  $1.50?  $2.50?  There must have been a market! 5  Though as Hunter's diary suggests, why are we even dwelling on this question?

More interesting is the “politics” of the school district (stay with me through Mike's description):

“. . . [T]he state education board voted to merge the districts in 2010 (the first change to state school district boundaries in thirty-five years).  Plagued by white flight, crashing property values that destroyed tax revenues, and a loss of state funds as the better‐off residents of the area sent their children to private schools, the resulting district is short of everything.  Residents of the district voted again and again to raise their own property taxes, until their rates were actually the highest in the state, but a higher percentage of nothing was still nothing, and district revenues trended steadily down.

After the merger, the state board proceeded with the next step in their plan.  In 2012, they rated Normandy as a failed district, removed its accreditation, and placed it under direct state control.  The idea was to reform the district to the state board's design, only there was one problem:  the Missouri State Supreme Court ruled that students in a failed district had the right to go to other districts.  Hundreds of Normandy students signed up to do just that, heading for classrooms in surrounding districts, some of which were majority white.  At first, this generated tension.

News of the Supreme Court's upholding of the transfer law initially sparked anger
and fear among some white Francis Howell parents.

“I deserve to not have to worry about my children getting stabbed, or taking a
drug, or getting robbed,” one mother said during a school board meeting,
referring to the prospective arrival of Normandy students.

“We don't want this here in Francis Howell,” another parent said.

But for the most part that attitude didn't last.  Normandy students settled in at their new districts, and despite a financial drain ‐ Normandy had to cover the cost of transportation and pay tuition to the other districts for those students who transferred ‐ things seemed on an upswing in the district.

“...the remaining students and school community came together to celebrate
a spirit of new beginnings.  They held pep rallies and welcome‐back‐to‐school
gatherings.  Students at Normandy High School said they began tutoring each
other to improve the school's academic ranking...

“Indeed, walking the halls of Normandy High School at the beginning of the
school year, there was a sense of optimism despite the dire state of things.

Well, you know what they say about optimists.

Funding the transfer students was costing the district more than it cost to educate students within the district.  Part of that was transportation, but most of it was the simple fact that other districts spent far more on their students than the poverty‐stricken Normandy district.

The state board of education took over the district's finances, but rather than providing a new stream of revenue, they figured out a simple way to reduce costs:

“On Friday afternoon, the board met in a hastily called meeting to change
Normandy's accreditation status ‐‐ or at least how that accreditation is
described.  Normandy now has ‘accreditation as a state oversight district,’
the revised June minutes now read.

Get that?  The state board, which had taken away the accreditation, now argued that Normandy was accredited, magically, without having the district actually meet any of the standards they had set.  How did that happen?

“The Missouri State Board of Education, pursuant to its statutory authority
to waive its rules, including those regulating accreditation, has accredited
the Normandy Schools Collaborative and thus its schools, the state's motion
to the court says.  Because of that accreditation, the Plaintiffs are not entitled
to relief . . . .”

The school is now accredited because the board has the right to ignore the law the board claimed it was enforcing in the first place, and parents now have no right to transfer their kids to another district ... because the school is accredited.

Naturally, the case is headed back to court.  And if the accreditation by decree isn't enough for you, there's another bit of magic applied by the board.  That transfer law?  It only applies to school districts.  But see, Normandy Schools are no longer in a school district.  Normandy schools are now in a special collaborative and, according to the state board, “are not in any district in this state.”  So there you go.  You can't transfer from a district if you're not in a district, and if you happen to be in a district, it's magically accredited.  Problem solved.

So, who actually runs the school district that Michael Brown attended?  Well, the president of the board of education is Peter F. Herschend of Branson, Missouri.  Herschend isn't a former teacher, or a former principal, and doesn't have any training in the education field.  He's the owner of Herschend Family Entertainment, which runs Silver Dollar City in Branson (amongst other amusement parks) and owns the Harlem Globetrotters.  He's also one of the biggest contributors to the Republican Party in the state.

So, when you're wondering who runs Michael Brown's school district ‐ when you're wondering who's in control of an urban, minority district so poor that a student has to steal a bunch of cigarillos to survive ‐ it's a white Republican millionaire from out state.”

Finally, at the Federal level, it is interesting to note that the St Louis County Police Chief was amongst a host of other county police chiefs from around the country who have attended counter-terrorism training in Israel6

Lately the words of Amos to Israel from the Hebrew Original Witnessing (echoed by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Haggai to Judah) have been ringing clear:  “Woe to you who turn justice to vinegar and stomp righteousness into the mud.  Do you realize where you are?  . . .  People hate this kind of talk.  Raw truth is never popular.  But here it is, bluntly spoken:  Because you run roughshod over the poor and take the bread right out of their mouths, you're never going to move into the luxury homes you have built.  You're never going to drink wine from the expensive vineyards you've planted. . . .  Justice is a lost cause.  Evil is epidemic.  Decent people throw up their hands.  Protest and rebuke are useless, a waste of breath. . . .  Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square. . . .  Go out into the streets and lament loudly!  Fill the malls and shops with cries of doom!  Weep loudly, ‘Not me!  Not us!  Not now!’  Empty offices, stores, factories, workplaces.  Enlist everyone in the general lament. . . .  I can't stand your religious meetings.  I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.  I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals.  I'm sick of your fund‐raising schemes, your public relations and image making. . . .  Do you know what I want?  I want justice ‐ oceans of it.  I want fairness ‐ rivers of it.  That's what I want.  That's all I want.


To tell the truth - what a tangled web we weave!

1  The quoted reference in the subject of this blog post is to a verse in the Christian Belated Witnessing ‐ Ephesians 6:12.  As Paul Craig Roberts writes, “The only exceptional thing about the US is the extent of the evil that resides in Washington, D.C.”  In addition, see his “On the Brink of War and Economic Collapse”.  While outside “the Beltway,” consider what U. S. Marine General Smedley Butler said of his service in Central America, “I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General.  And during that period I spent most of my time being a high‐class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers.  In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

Click here to return to the blog.

2  Peace is war for the neo-conservatives (Project for the New American Century) and their puppet in the White House (Cf. for examples, Dr. Cornel West [Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary] on the “Niggerization of America” and “Going Off on Obama” and my more recent blog entry based on a reference on Paul Craig Robert's Institute for Political Economy blog to Thad Beversdorf's recent analysis, in addition to the "Nuclear Vault" in the National Security Archive at George Washington University, and David Keen's Useful Enemies:  When Waging Wars is More Important than Winning Them ‐ “PNAC Historical Documentation and even Democrats enamored with all things Russian . . . not admitting The Most Essential Lessons of History”; also see the items for the August 29th, December 18th, and May 4th “Updates” at the conclusion of this blog post.)

Click here to return to the blog.

3  Science in a Free Society [London, England:  NLB, 1978], pp. 117 ff.  For an even more realistic view (taking into account the importance of money in the media / political process) see Bill Moyer's interview with Marty Kaplan (Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California) “Big Money's Effect on Big Media”.

Click here to return to the blog.

4  See the 2010 Census Block Data graphic for St. Louis, MO.  Click here for further information on the methodology.  Cf. the recent New Yorker cover and Jessie Hagopian's blog on what can be called the “school-to-prison vs. school-to-grave” pipeline for African-American children.  And, remember “the Angola 3” (see also one or more of the three documentary films “In The Land of the Free”, “Hard Time”, and “Herman's House”).

Click here to return to the blog.

5 See the more recent strangling death of a black person (Eric Garner) by a white police officer here and also here for selling cigarettes!

Click here to return to the blog.

6 Again, in case you missed it from its reference in footnote 2, see for deep background, my more recent blog entry based on a reference on Paul Craig Robert's Institute for Political Economy blog to Thad Beversdorf's recent analysis, in addition to the "Nuclear Vault" in the National Security Archive at George Washington University, and David Keen's Usefull Enemies:  When Waging Wars is More Important than Winning Them ‐ “PNAC Historical Documentation and even Democrats enamored with all things Russian . . . not admitting The Most Essential Lessons of History”!

Click here to return to the blog.

7 For a beginning look at how the suborner “handled” the grand jury process see Questions No One Asked!

Click here to return to the blog.

8 For additional insightful background on The Trial, see Jacques Derrida's article “Before the Law” in his Acts of Literature; see also (if you can find it in English translation) his Force of Law:  The Mystical Foundation of Authority, 1990.

Click here to return to the blog.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My response to John Whiteheads June 10, 2014 "guest column" on Paul Craig Roberts' IPE WWW site . . .

Good Day!

I'm just cutting and pasting the text portion of the letter I sent to my politicos (senators, representative at both federal and state levels, governor ‐ the change from “one person, one vote” to “one dollar, one vote” has me agreeing more and more with Stéphane Hessel's “Time for Outrage” and tending more and more toward the French Invisible Committee's training manual “The Coming Insurrection” . . . ) as per Subject (John Whiteheads “guest column” and the IPE WWW site):

It was George Santayana who wrote in Volume 1 of his Reason and Common Sense ‐ “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness.  When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement:  and when experience is not retained . . . infancy is perpetual.  Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  And the focus for this letter stems from the remembrance that the people of Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany failed to ask questions, demand answers, and hold their government officials accountable and we certainly know how those situations turned out.

So, from a long history of considerations around these themes (see Endnotes), the following questions (of many more) requiring your answers come to the forefront:

1)  What's the rationale behind turning government agencies into military outposts?  As of six years ago (the most recent BJS census of Federal Law Enforcement Officers - you can probably update me with more recent statistics), “73 federal law enforcement agencies . . . employed approximately 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers who were authorized to make arrests and carry firearms in the United States.”  About 94,320 of those officers (78.6%) were under the command of either the Department of Homeland Security (DHS - 54,600 officers) or the Department of Justice (DOJ - 39,720 officers).  Those figures do not include numbers which could be counted in the CIA, TSA, or contract security guards (for example, the Federal Protective Service had approximately 15,000 supplemental troops).  There has been a notable buildup in recent years of SWAT teams within non-security-related federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Education Department.

2)  What's with all of the government agencies stockpiling hollow point bullets?  For example, why does the Department of Agriculture need .40 caliber semiautomatic sub-machine guns and 320,000 rounds of hollow point bullets?  For that matter, why do its agents need ballistic vests and body armor?  Why does the Postal Service need “assorted small arms ammunition”?  Why did the DHS purchase “1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition, along with 7,000 fully-automatic 5.56x45mm NATO ‘personal defense weapons’ plus a huge stash of 30-round high-capacity magazines”? That's in addition to the FBI's request for 100 million hollow-point rounds.  The Department of Education, IRS, the Social Security Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the National Weather Service, are also among the federal agencies which have taken to purchasing ammunition and weaponry in bulk.

3)  Why is the federal government distributing obscene amounts of military equipment, weapons and ammunition to police departments around the country?  And why is DHS acquiring more than 2,500 Mine-Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles, only to pass them around to local police departments across the country?  According to the New York Times (June 8, 2014):  “As President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s ‘long season of war,’ the former tools of combat ‐ M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more ‐ are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.  During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night‐vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.  The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units.”

4)  Why is the military partnering with local police to conduct training drills around the country?  And what exactly are they training for?  In Richland, South Carolina, for instance, U.S. Army Special Forces are participating in joint and secretive exercises and training with local deputies.  The public has been disallowed from obtaining any information about the purpose of the drills, other than that they might be loud and to not be alarmed.  The Army and DHS also carried out similar drills and maneuvers involving Black Hawk helicopters in Texas, Florida, and other locations throughout the U.S.  (Minneapolis, MN ‐ August ‐ September 2012 [Minneapolis Star and Tribune, August 30, 2012]), ostensibly in order to provide officers with realistic urban training.

5)  What is being done to protect the American populace from the threat of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, being used against them?  Policy analysts point to Department of Defense Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities” (issued on Dec. 29, 2010 ‐ updated September 21, 2012 ‐ and available on the Defense Technical Information Center WWW site for reading) as justification for the government's use of military force to put down civil unrest within the United States.

6)  Why is FEMA stockpiling massive quantities of emergency supplies?  On January 10, 2014, FEMA submitted a solicitation (HSFE70-14-I-0006 available on the FBO WWW site) enlisting the service of contractors who could “supply medical bio‐hazard disposal capabilities and 40 yard dumpsters to 1,000 tent hospitals across the United States; all required on 24 ‐ 48 hour notice.” This coincides with other medical requests seeking massive amounts of supplies, such as “31,000,000 flu vaccinations,” “100,000 each of winter shirts and pants and the same for summer” and other goods and services requests as well like tarps, manufactured housing units, and beverages.

7)  Why does the TSA need $21,000 worth of potassium chlorate (about 116 pounds), a chemical compound often used in explosives?  (Solicitation Number:  HSTS02-14-Q-NCP059 available on the FBO WWW site) (Contract awarded to the same corporation that provided multiple explosives to the suspects in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.)

8)  Why is the Pentagon continuing to purchase mass amounts of ammunition while at the same time preparing to destroy more than $1 billion worth of bullets and missiles that are still viable?

9)  Moreover, what is really being done to hold the Pentagon accountable for its doctored ledgers, fraud, waste and mismanagement, which has cost the taxpayer trillions of dollars?  According to Reuters, “The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments.” That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for.  That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output last year.

10)  Given the similarities between the government's Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools (Buchanan High School, Troy, MO.; Acadiana High School, Knoxville, TN; Germantown High School, Madison County, MS), in shopping malls (Southland Mall, Hayward, CA; Oak Court Mall, Memphis, TN), and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers, and bystanders into thinking it's a real crisis, how much of what is being passed off as real is, in fact, being staged by DHS for the “benefit” of training law enforcement, leaving us none the wiser?  These training exercises come complete with their own set of professionally trained Crisis Actors playing the parts of shooters, bystanders, and victims in order to help  schools and first responders create realistic drills, full-scale exercises, high-fidelity simulations, and interactive 3D films.

11)  Given that Americans are 110 times more likely to die of food borne illness than in a terrorist attack, why is the government spending trillions of dollars on “national security”?  How exactly is the $75 billion given to 15 intelligence agencies annually to keep us “safe” being spent?  And why is the DHS giving away millions of dollars worth of federal security grants to states that federal intelligence agencies ruled have “no specific foreign or domestic terrorism threat”?

12)  Why is the government amassing names and information on Americans considered to be threats to the nation, and what criteria is the government using for this database?  Keep in mind that this personal information is being acquired and kept without warrant or court order.  It's been suggested that in the event of nuclear war, the destruction of the US Government, and the declaration of martial law, this Main Core database, which as of six years ago contained some 8 million names of Americans (you can probably update me on the most recent statistics), would be used by military officials to locate and round up Americans seen as threats to national security, a program to be carried out by the Army and FEMA.

Taken individually, these questions are alarming enough.  However, when viewed collectively, they leave one wondering what exactly the U.S. government is preparing for and whether American citizens shouldn't be preparing, as well, for that eventuality when our so-called “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is no longer answerable to “we the people.”

As President Eisenhower, a retired five-star Army general, warned of the dangers of the military-industrial (and now, additionally, congressional-corporate-educational-FBI-financial-media-medical-police-political-prison-Secret-Service-terrorism-expert) complex (or “hero system”) in his 1961 farewell address:  “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.  We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.  We should take nothing for granted.  Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge . . . machinery of [war] . . . .”  And now as The Guardian (June12, 2014) reports, a war against its own people. 1


Three Strikes and You're Out:  Toward a Legal Philosophy and Spiritual Approach for the pro-Life (i e, anti-nuclear war) Movement - homily I delivered at Burlington Northern Railroad Company's corporate headquarters on Sunday, August 5, 1984, with the title “CONNECTIONS:  Past, Present, and Future” as kickoff for the Burlington-Northern Project – available here.

Ocean Beach Rag Comment to March 5, 2012 article “Thousands of College Students Converge on California Capitol ‐ Hundreds Occupy Inside” March 9, 2012 - available by request



Not having any responses to my letters in the almost three years since mailing, around mid-April, 2017, I began asking the one dozen questions from the letter - one a week, for twelve weeks - on both of my Senators' governmental contact WWW sites . . . ).

I was somewhat surprised at the response of Senator Al Franken to, judging from the date of the letter, what, perhaps, was by that time, the third question posed, suggesting that the question was an “opinion” and thanking me for expressing my “opinion.”

The staff member (who's task it was to write that letter) must have thought that either the original letter of twelve questions, or these questions, posed on a weekly basis, were my “opinion” rather than questions for which I was expecting answers (recall that the questions were raised in a "guest column" by John Whitehead which was referenced on Paul Craig Roberts' Institute for Political Economy WWW site [they originally appeared in John's 2013 book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State]).

Senator Klobuchar remains silent (though continues being busy with “rants and raves” regarding all things “Russian” [see the “example” link in the leading, explanatory paragraph of my blog entry of March 27, 2017]).

John begins his quest column with the following quote from Professor Henry A. Giroux (in his Truthout article “Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State,” February 10, 2014; Professor Giroux currently holds the Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department at McMaster University; he is also the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy; if you are interested in reading some of his other articles, then click here; his most recent books are America's Addiction to Terrorism and America At War With Itself; and his WWW site):

““Why should anyone trust a government that has condoned torture, spied on at least 35 world leaders, supports indefinite detention, places bugs in thousands of computers all over the world, kills innocent people with drone attacks, promotes the post office to log mail for law enforcement agencies and arbitrarily authorizes targeted assassinations?”

In this era of endless war, with its attendant deceptions, dishonesty, untruths, hateful speech, alternative facts, and reductive curating, being a politician of the ”democratic” stripe certainly doesn't seem to mean much judging from these actions!

1 It appears as though the war against the American people is beginning in earnest.  With preparations detailed in the Seton Hall University Law School “Battle Lab” study, the two way street between Chicago and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Homan Square in Chicago, and the most recent LAPD killing practice session in downtown Los Angeles.

Even more recently, in a planned massive military exercise in the Southwestern United States, “special ops”s are directed to swarm and operate undetected among civilians who have been deemed to be “hostile” ‐ March 26, 2015, Daily Mail article here . . . .

To return to the page from whence you came, click here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Work . . . Job . . . Occupation . . . Vocation . . .

For heaven's sake . . . .  What is it that pulls one out of bed at such an ungodly hour . . . to write?  Which of the nine muses (this time) or, perhaps, one of the candidates for the "tenth muse," or Mnemosyne, herself?  It certainly wouldn't be Zeus!

So, the tradition is to call upon one (or more?) of the muses . . . .

But how to pick THE thought for expression out of the "blooming buzzing confusion of the outer world"?

This one, it seems to me, stems from a "conversation" with a homeless woman while waiting for the bus yesterday here in Palm Springs, CA - "I have rights . . ." she kept saying while listing a litany of abuses from landlord and county . . . .

So, it must have been that in my sleep I was reflecting upon my experience back in Minnesota - just coming into actual retirement and being a live-in, caretaker for a 76 year old man (formerly a technical VP at 3M) with mild Altzheimer's.  Experiencing first hand his (and his wife's) battle with a series of "guardian / conservators" (the Dakota County  investigator had taken their client's fearful expression that he did not want his wife [current or ex-?] to be his guardian-conservator as the gospel truth - $200,000 in lawyer's fees later, his wife was finally named to be his guardian / conservator).  With one guardian-conservator they had run into a situation which involved Federal tax returns from individual submissions and the question arose as to whose assets they were, so that the guardian-conservator cut off all funds to the household (this was not the first time they had faced this situation, as an "emergency guardian-conservator" appointed by Dakota County for a ninety-day period, did absolutely nothing except once a month write his client a check for food and himself a check for $50.00 for writing the check for food; that is to say, none of the household bills were paid during that period and they faced having their electricity shut off just previous to Christmas [you can imagine what this would be like, living in Minnesota], not to mention their health insurance cancelled).  They had "rights" after all . . . .

And, grasping at straws for survival, one day upon reading the paper I saw an ad for newspaper route work and suggested that we try that avenue for temporary income.  This was 3:00 - 6:00 AM (12:00 [Midnight] - 7:00 AM for the Sunday paper), seven days a week work (at less than minimum wage [not counting the "tips"], it turned out), with a commitment on my part for one year (of service).

Was I an idiot?  Probably only in the sense of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" . . . .

Thus the title for this post!

Have a great day!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

On Obituaries . . .

Good Day!

After my next youngest brother had come home from the hospital ‐ post 8th heart stent visit (with a total of 9 stents inserted) ‐ he forwarded an obituary that he wrote (because the angina on this occasion was fairly serious).

Having as recently as yesterday said “goodbye” to a long time “loved one” (the subject of another blog - “It's been good knowing you, Sandy [name has been changed to protect the innocent]” ‐ she once gave me a ring inscribed “True Love Waits,” to which I, jokingly, added “Forever”), I was taken in this morning's sleep to that place of writing my own obituary . . . and had to make these hasty notes . . . with analysis at a later time . . . .

“‘Known by many, and loved by fewer’.  He is survived by siblings (etc.) . . . .

As a dove flying through the heavens, suddenly flies into the reflection of the world in a plate glass window, so, an event in 1989 left him “permanently disqualified” for life.  But given the stupid, human quest for survival, he attempted to continue in the game of life and was successful ‐ off and on ‐ depending upon whether or not the state's sanctions permitted him to work at his life's task(s).  He was a kind of “dead man, walking,” though different from your typical American Civil Religious Somnambulistic Schizophrenic.”

As an INXP, to those he was able to love, he loved with commitment:  caring deeply ‐ indeed, passionately ‐ sensitively, with strong capacity for devotion, sympathy, and adaptability.

His internet signature and tag lines summed him up in three ways:  "Appreciative Systems Synthesist," Dante's “Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi un tempo felice nella miseria” (“There is no greater sorrow than to recall a happy time in misery.”), and John 15:13.

Though in his recent babbling there were often references to Job 13:15!

He would wish you well as you are able to continue playing the game of life.1

Cremation memorial service, Lakewood Memorial Chapel; no flowers; memorials to Joseph's Chateau or a charity of your choice"

1 These additional notes upon “analysis”:

During a marriage counseling session back in the ‐ I'm going to say, early 70s ‐ the counselor asked me whether I thought that life was a game.  Being “wet behind / between the ears,” I just naturally answered, “No” (though I thought differently; I thought, ”We're in deep dodo, if it isn't.”)

Some ten years later, during divorce counseling at Lutheran Social Services in Minneapolis, I had taken the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory - for, at least, the third [of many] time[s] in my life) ‐ and here are the psychiatrist's (John H. Mowery's) conclusions (recently dug out of an email I shared [just before mid-summer, 2006] with another friend on the journey).

This is a valid MMPI.  Individual counseling is indicated.  A neurotic depressive disorder is suggested, severe in degree.  The basic personality appears to be obsessive-compulsive and prone to neurotic symptoms under strong degrees of stress.  Perhaps an eclectic counseling approach might be effective.  This would involve development of greater emotional insight, a better self-concept, better social skills, a higher level of emotional maturity, and a redefined philosophy of life.  If the depressive symptoms should deepen significantly, despite good counseling techniques, psychiatric referral should be considered.

Today, those conclusions certainly appear to be a canned response, and back at the time - having read (in alphabetical order) Becker, Berger, Brown, Eysenck, Feyerabend, Foucault, Freud, Fromm, Goffman, Grunbaum, Jung, Laing, Legman, Masson, Menninger, Popper, Rank, Reich, Sullivan, Szasz, and Wilson-Schaef (not to mention many more), here was my response to John:

How could you miss as regards my basic personality being obsessive-compulsive?  Don't I live in modern Western culture?  Wilhelm Reich saw that our whole culture was sick, and Erich Fromm coined that beautiful, liberating, yet, empirical scientific expression:  “the pathology of normalcy.” Otto Rank held that all our human problems arise from our ceaseless attempts to impose our fictions on the natural world, to over control it.  We deny our finitude with the same dedication as the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, but now whole masses are playing the game, and with a far richer armamentarium of techniques.  The skyscraper buildings, the clover-leaf freeways, the houses with their imposing facades and immaculate lawns ‐ what are these if not the modern equivalent of pyramids:  a face to the world that announces “I am not ephemeral, look what went into me, what represents me, what justifies me.”  The hushed hope is that someone who can do this will not die.

Life in contemporary society is like an open-air lunatic asylum with people cutting and spraying their grass (to deny untidiness, hence lack of order, hence lack of control, hence their death), beating trails to the bank with little books of figures that worry them around the clock (for the same reason), ogling bulges of flesh, bent over steering wheels and screeching around corners, meticulously polishing their cars, trimming their hedges (and of course spraying them), giving out parking tickets, saluting banners of colored cloth with their hand on their heart, killing peasants in third and fourth world countries, carefully counting the dead, missing, wounded, probable dead, planning production curves that will absolutely bring about the millennium in thirty-seven years (if quotas are met), filling shopping carts, emptying shopping carts, nailing up vines (and spraying them) ‐ and all this dedicated activity takes place within a din of noise that tries to defy eternity:  motorized lawn mowers, power saws, electric clipping shears, powered spray guns, huge industrial machines, jack hammers, automobiles and their tires, giant jets, electric shavers, motorized toothbrushes, dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers, vacuum cleaners.

This is truly obsessive-compulsiveness on the level of the visible and audible, so overpowering in its total effect that the human beings' natural animal spontaneity is almost wholly stifled.

In this kind of normal cultural neurosis, the material-technological character-lie is so ingrained that the human beings' urges toward mystery, awe, and beauty show up only minimally, if at all, or in forms that are so swallowed up in culturally-standardized perceptions that they are hardly recognizable.  We are closed off, tightly, against dimensions of reality and perceptions of the world that will threaten or upset our standardized reactions:  we will have it our way even if we have to strangle the segment of reality that we have equipped ourselves to cope with.

The significance of Reich's, Rank's, Fromm's and Ronald Laing's work is that everyone is crazy, because everyone sees the world within the culturally neurotic perceptual system (the only one who has a chance of getting out of it is the one who is mentally ill, who has a breakdown and so leaves the old perceptual system behind and emerges into a new, less automatic and constricting one [as Fromm mused “the real problem of mental life is not why some people become insane, but rather why most avoid insanity” The Sane Society, p. 34]) ‐ normalcy is illness.  How could it be otherwise?  Each person will twist the world in some way to try to accord it with their fantasies, wishes, fears; they will fail in some way to see obvious things in the world because these obvious things are a threat to them; they will knuckle under to some kind of authority, some source of sustaining and transcending power which gives them the mandate for their life and nourishes their equanimity.  Neurosis is a constriction of perception and action due to the need to maintain a positively valued self from within an inferior power position.  And so we can flatly and empirically say that everyone is neurotic, some more than others.

Over and out for now . . .

I'm considering adding a few more paragraphs or, perhaps, another footnote to this writing.  But, it will still be capped‐off with this reference to my November 5, 2014 blog entry (which mentions work by some of the author's referred to above).

Click here to return to article!