August 06, 2011

Not Suicidally Depressed Yet? Try This!

I absolutely believe that "we" (the Good, non-insane people; we know who we are, and the rest of you should suck eggs) can save each other. But before we can do that, we must all be equally depressed and despairing. Then we can truly relate to each other in the true manner of true, like, equals. We can snatch the razor blades, canisters of poison, and other instruments of deliverance from each other's hands at the same moment. Unexpectedly grateful for being spared the messy enveloping void of the Great Nothing (they never tell you the void is messy or that it smells, one of their nastier tricks -- and we know who "they" are: they're the ones sucking eggs), we will all fly multicolored kites in the blessed sunshine, as we enjoy every variety of guiltless, fabulous sex. C'mon, go with my hallucination. It's better than whatever you've got going. You know that's true.

But it's come to my attention that some of you still think "the system" can be reshaped, reformed, mashed, tugged, or nagged into Something Good, or at least Something Better. You. Are. Wrong. Also, the system doesn't even hear your nagging, but it annoys the shit out of me. It's my blog, so that matters. Don't like it? Find an egg.

It's the weekend, but you get no reprieve. The system is not merciful. Deal. Don't want to deal? Egg.

Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you're done... for the day. Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world's countries. ...

While it's well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it's increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.

Last year, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reported that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in 75 countries, up from 60 at the end of the Bush presidency. By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command [SOCOM] spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. "We do a lot of traveling -- a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq," he said recently. This global presence -- in about 60% of the world's nations and far larger than previously acknowledged -- provides striking new evidence of a rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all corners of the world.


SOCOM carries out the United States' most specialized and secret missions. These include assassinations, counterterrorist raids, long-range reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.

One of its key components is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, a clandestine sub-command whose primary mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists. Reporting to the president and acting under his authority, JSOC maintains a global hit list that includes American citizens. It has been operating an extra-legal "kill/capture" campaign that John Nagl, a past counterinsurgency adviser to four-star general and soon-to-be CIA Director David Petraeus, calls "an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine."

This assassination program has been carried out by commando units like the Navy SEALs and the Army's Delta Force as well as via drone strikes as part of covert wars in which the CIA is also involved in countries like Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. In addition, the command operates a network of secret prisons, perhaps as many as 20 black sites in Afghanistan alone, used for interrogating high-value targets


SOCOM represents something new in the military. Whereas the late scholar of militarism Chalmers Johnson used to refer to the CIA as "the president's private army," today JSOC performs that role, acting as the chief executive's private assassination squad, and its parent, SOCOM, functions as a new Pentagon power-elite, a secret military within the military possessing domestic power and global reach.

In 120 countries across the globe, troops from Special Operations Command carry out their secret war of high-profile assassinations, low-level targeted killings, capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-the-door night raids, joint operations with foreign forces, and training missions with indigenous partners as part of a shadowy conflict unknown to most Americans. Once "special" for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they are special for their power, access, influence, and aura.
You're gonna nag this into "reforming" itself? Sure you are, baby.

Another item:
Last week Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) joined a demonstration in Washington D.C. to protest the refusal of President Obama to use his executive powers to halt the deportations of the undocumented. Gutierrez’ arrest came only two days after Obama had addressed a conference of the National Council of La Raza. Conveniently forgetting the history of the civil right struggles that made his Presidency a possibility, Obama reminded those attending that he was bound to “uphold the laws on the books.”

With over 392,000 deportations in 2010, more than in any of the Bush years, many activists fear we are in the midst of a repeat of notorious episodes of the past such as the “Repatriation” campaign of the 1930s and the infamous Operation Wetback of 1954, both of which resulted in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Latinos.

But several things are different this time around. A crucial distinction is that we are in the era of mass incarceration. Not only are the undocumented being deported, many are going to prison for years before being delivered across the border. While the writings of Michelle Alexander and others have highlighted the widespread targeting of young African-American males by the criminal justice system, few have noted that in the last decade the complexion of new faces behind bars has been dramatically changing. Since the turn of the century, the number of blacks in prisons has declined slightly, while the ranks of Latinos incarcerated has increased by nearly 50%, reaching just over 300,000 in 2009.

A second distinguishing feature of the current state of affairs is the presence of the private prison corporations. For the likes of the industry’s leading powers, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group, detaining immigrants has been the life blood for reviving their financial fortunes.


While private prisons own or operate only 8% of general prison beds, they control 49% of the immigration detention market. CCA alone operates 14 facilities via contracts with ICE, providing 14,556 beds. They have laid the groundwork for more business through the creation of a vast lobbying and advocacy network. From 1999-2009 the corporation spent more than $18 million on lobbying, mostly focusing on harsher sentencing, prison privatization and immigration.

One significant result of their lobbying efforts was the passage of SB 1070 in Arizona, a law which nearly provides police with a license to profile Latinos for stops and searches. The roots of SB 1070 lie in the halls of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a far right grouping that specializes in supplying template legislation to elected state officials. CCA and other private prison firms are key participants in ALEC and played a major role in the development of the template that ended up as SB 1070.


Sadly, the Obama presidency has consistently provided encouragement for the likes of CCA and GEO to grow the market for detainees. While failing to pass immigration reform or the Dream Act, the current administration has kept the core of the previous administration’s immigration policy measures intact. These include the Operation Endgame, a 2003 measure that promised to purge the nation of all “illegals” by 2012 and the more vibrant Secure Communities (S-Comm). Under S-Comm the Federal government authorizes local authorities to share fingerprints with ICE of all those they arrest. Though supposedly intended to capture only people with serious criminal backgrounds, in reality S-Comm has led to the detention and deportation of thousands of people with no previous convictions.
I have a campaign slogan that I offer to Obama 2012 completely free of charge. Yes, I'm that generous. Here you go:
Reelect Obama! He's more evil and shittier than Bush -- because he's not crazy!
Yes, I'm that smart.

You're still not ready for the kite-flying. Or the sex.

Remember the significance of today's date:
Today is the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Though most Americans are unaware of the fact, increasing numbers of historians now recognize the United States did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945. Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force. Nor was this the judgment of "liberals," as is sometimes thought today. In fact, leading conservatives were far more outspoken in challenging the decision as unjustified and immoral than American liberals in the years following World War II.
Alperovitz notes the remarks of two of the first Muslim Socialist leaders of America:
Here is how General Dwight D. Eisenhower reports he reacted when he was told by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson that the atomic bomb would be used:
"During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."
In another public statement the man who later became President of the United States was blunt: "It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."

General Curtis LeMay, the tough cigar-smoking Army Air Force "hawk," was also dismayed. Shortly after the bombings he stated publicly: "The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all."
Obviously they were secret Commies.

Alperovitz is unaccountably gentle (I suppose he'd say he's being "balanced" and "reasonable") in his discussion, at least in this article, of the actual reasons for the use of the atomic bombs: "Impressing the Soviets during the early diplomatic sparring that ultimately became the Cold War also appears likely to have been a significant factor."

Given all the evidence of which I'm aware, I will state the necessary conclusion much more strongly. Every reason offered by the U.S. Government and its defenders for these acts of nauseating barbarity is a vicious lie. Dropping the bombs had absolutely nothing to do with shortening the war or saving American lives. No: the U.S. Government used the bombs -- and murdered huge numbers of innocent human beings -- to send a message to Soviet Russia.

I've discussed all this before, in a lengthy article from over six years ago. That piece provides many details if the subject interests you. You might want to consult it since you'll be hearing the vicious propaganda repeated still another time over the next few days.

Now, please put that razor down. Remember: the void is messy and smelly. Enjoy a wonderful meal with cherished friends. Read a good book. Listen to music you love.

Fuck these shitheads. Your life doesn't belong to them.

And I still say, I always say: Live ecstatically.