2.17.2017 Doc of the Day

Numero Uno“Our sages of blessed memory have said that we must not enjoy any pleasure in this world without reciting a blessing.  If we eat any food, or drink any beverage, we must recite a blessing over them before and after.  If we breathe the scent of goodly grass, the fragrance of spices, the aroma of good fruits, we pronounce a blessing over the pleasure.  The same applies to the pleasures of sight: when we see the sun in the Great Cycle of the Zodiac in the month of Nissan, or the trees first bursting into blossom in the spring, or any fine, sturdy, and beautiful trees, we pronounce a blessing.  And the same applies to the pleasures of the ear.  Through you, dear sirs, one of the blessings concerned with hearing has come my way.

It happened when the Swedish Chargé d’Affaires came and brought me the news that the Swedish Academy had bestowed the Nobel Prize upon me.  Then I recited in full the blessing that is enjoined upon one that hears good tidings for himself or others: «Blessed be He, that is good and doeth good.»  ‘Good,’ in that the good God put it into the hearts of the sages of the illustrious Academy to bestow that great and esteemed Prize upon an author who writes in the sacred tongue; «that doeth good », in that He favoured me by causing them to choose me.  And now that I have come so far, I will recite one blessing more, as enjoined upon him who beholds a monarch: «Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Who hast given of Thy glory to a king of flesh and blood.  Over you, too, distinguished sages of the Academy, I say the prescribed blessing: «Blessed be He, that has given of His wisdom to flesh and blood.»

It is said in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 23a): «In Jerusalem, the men of discrimination did not sit down to dine in company until they knew who their companions were to be»; so I will now tell you who am I, whom you have agreed to have at your table.

As a result of the historic catastrophe in which Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and Israel was exiled from its land, I was born in one of the cities of the Exile. But always I regarded myself as one who was born in Jerusalem. In a dream, in a vision of the night, I saw myself standing with my brother-Levites in the Holy Temple, singing with them the songs of David, King of Israel, melodies such as no ear has heard since the day our city was destroyed and its people went into exile. I suspect that the angels in charge of the Shrine of Music, fearful lest I sing in wakefulness what I had sung in dream, made me forget by day what I had sung at night; for if my brethren, the sons of my people, were to hear, they would be unable to bear their grief over the happiness they have lost. To console me for having prevented me from singing with my mouth, they enable me to compose songs in writing.

(Out of respect for the time, the rest of my words will be read in translation only.)

I belong to the Tribe of Levi; my forebears and I are of the minstrels that were in the Temple, and there is a tradition in my father’s family that we are of the lineage of the Prophet Samuel, whose name I bear.

I was five years old when I wrote my first song. It was out of longing for my father that I wrote it. It happened that my father, of blessed memory, went away on business. I was overcome with longing for him and I made a song. After that I made many songs, but nothing has remained of them all. My father’s house, where I left a roomful of writings, was burned down in the First World War and all I had left there was burned with it. The young artisans, tailors, and shoemakers, who used to sing my songs at their work, were killed in the First World War and of those who were not killed in the war, some were buried alive with their sisters in the pits they dug for themselves by order of the enemy, and most were burned in the crematories of Auschwitz with their sisters, who had adorned our town with their beauty and sung my songs with their sweet voices.

The fate of the singers who, like my songs, went up in flame was also the fate of the books which I later wrote. All of them went up in flame to Heaven in a fire which broke out one night at my home in Bad Homburg as I lay ill in a hospital. Among the books that were burned was a large novel of some seven hundred pages, the first part of which the publisher had announced he was about to bring out. Together with this novel, called Eternal Life, was burned everything I had written since the day I had gone into exile from the Land of Israel, including a book I had written with Martin Buber as well as four thousand Hebrew books, most of which had come down to me from my forebears and some of which I had bought with money set aside for my daily bread.

I said, «since the day I had gone from the Land of Israel», but I have not yet related that I had dwelt in the Land of Israel. Of this I will now speak.

At the age of nineteen and a half, I went to the Land of Israel to till its soil and live by the labour of my hands. As I did not find work, I sought my livelihood elsewhere. I was appointed Secretary of the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) Society and Secretary of the Palestine Council – which was a kind of parliament-in-the-making and I was also the first Secretary of the voluntary Jewish Magistrate’s Court. Through these offices it was my privilege to get to know almost every Jewish person, and those whom I did not come to know through these offices I came to know through love and a desire to know my brethren, the members of my people. It is almost certain that in those years there was not a man, woman, or infant in the Land of Israel whom I did not know.

After all my possessions had been burned, God gave me the wisdom to return to Jerusalem. I returned to Jerusalem, and it is by virtue of Jerusalem that I have written all that God has put into my heart and into my pen. I have also written a book about the Giving of the Torah, and a book on the Days of Awe, and a book on the books of Israel that have been written since the day the Torah was given to Israel.

Since my return to the Land of Israel, I have left it twice: once in connection with the printing of my books by the late Zalman Schocken, and once I travelled to Sweden and Norway. Their great poets had implanted love and admiration for their countries in my heart, and I decided to go and see them. Now I have come a third time, to receive your blessing, sages of the Academy.

During the time I have dwelt in Jerusalem, I have written long stories and short ones. Some have been printed; most I still have in manuscript.

I have already told how my first songs came out of longing for my father. The beginnings of my studies also came to me from my father, as well as from the Rabbinical Judge of our town. But they were preceded by three tutors under whom I studied, one after the other, from the time I was three and a half till I turned eight and a half.

Who were my mentors in poetry and literature? That is a matter of opinion. Some see in my books the influences of authors whose names, in my ignorance, I have not even heard, while others see the influences of poets whose names I have heard but whose writings I have not read. And what is my opinion ? From whom did I receive nurture? Not every man remembers the name of the cow which supplied him with each drop of milk he has drunk. But in order not to leave you totally in the dark, I will try to clarify from whom I received whatever I have received.

First and foremost, there are the Sacred Scriptures, from which I learned how to combine letters. Then there are the Mishna and the Talmud and the Midrashim and Rashi’s commentary on the Torah. After these come the Poskim – the later explicators of Talmudic Law – and our sacred poets and the medieval sages, led by our Master Rabbi Moses, son of Maimon, known as Maimonides, of blessed memory.

When I first began to combine letters other than Hebrew, I read every book in German that came my way, and from these I certainly received according to the nature of my soul. As time is short, I shall rot compile a bibliography or mention any names. Why, then, did I list the Jewish books? Because it is they that gave me my foundations. And my heart tells me that they are responsible for my being honoured with the Nobel Prize.

There is another kind of influence, which I have received from every man, every woman, every child I have encountered along my way, both Jews and non-Jews. People’s talk and the stories they tell have been engraved on my heart, and some of them have flown into my pen. It has been the same way with the spectacles of nature. The Dead Sea, which I used to see every morning at sunrise from the roof of my house, the Arnon Brook in which I used to bathe, the nights I used to spend with devout and pious men beside the Wailing Wall – nights which gave me eyes to see the land of the Holy One, Blessed be He-the Wall which He gave us, and the city in which He established His name.

Lest I slight any creature, I must also mention the domestic animals, the beasts and birds from whom I have learned. Job said long ago (135:11): «Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, And maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?» Some of what I have learned from them I have written in my books, but I fear that I have not learned as much as I should have, for when I hear a dog bark, or a bird twitter, or a cock crow, I do not know whether they are thanking me for all I have told of them, or calling me to account.

Before I conclude my remarks, I will say one more thing.  If I have praised myself too much, it is for your sake that I have done so, in order to reassure you for having cast your eyes on me.  For myself, I am very small indeed in my own eyes.  Never in all my life have I forgotten the Psalm (131:1) in which David said: «Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.»  If I am proud of anything, it is that I have been granted the privilege of living in the land which God promised our forefathers to give us, as it is written (Ezekiel 37: 25): «And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children forever.»

Before concluding, I would say a brief prayer: He who giveth wisdom unto the wise and salvation unto kings, may He increase your wisdom beyond measure and exalt your sovereign.  In his days and in ours may Judah be redeemed and Israel dwell in safety.  May a redeemer come to Zion, may the earth be filled with knowledge and eternal joy for all who dwell therein, and may they enjoy much peace.  May all this be God’s will.  Amen.” Shmuel Agnon, Nobel Banquet Speech; 1966

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Numero Dos“There has been an abundance of material to draw upon in researching and writing this dissertation.  Indeed, when a friend recently asked me how long I had been working on it,
I almost jokingly replied, “Thirteen years — since the Party was founded.” ‘ Looking back over that period in an effort to capture its meaning, to collapse time around certain significant events and personalities requires an admitted arbitrariness on my part.  Many
people have given or lost their lives, reputations, and financial security because of their involvement with the Party.  I cannot possibly include all of them, so I have chosen a few in an effort to present, in C.  Wright Mills’ description, “biography as history.”

This dissertation analyzes certain features of the Party and incidents that are significant in its development.  Some central events in the growth of the Party, from adoption of an ideology and platform to implementation of community programs, are first described.  This is followed by a presentation of the federal government’s response to the Party.  Much of the information presented herein concentrates on incidents in Oakland, California, and government efforts to discredit or harm me.  The assassination of Fred Hampton, an important leader in Chicago, is also described in considerable detail, as are the killings of Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins in Los Angeles.  Supporting evidence for a great deal of this dissertation has come from two federal civil rights
lawsuits filed by the Party: one initiated in 1976 in Washington, D.C., and still pending against the FBI and other federal agency officials, and another which ended after a nine- month trial in Chicago, Illinois.’*

It is logical that Oakland, California, should be the focus of hostile government actions against the Party because it is the place where the Party was founded, and it is the center of its organizational strength. In discussing Party leaders, including myself, and events in which they were involved, there has been a persistent temptation to write personally and emotionally. Individuals, with all their strengths and weaknesses, make significant differences in the outcome of political struggles; however, their roles are too often romanticized, clouding an understanding of the political forces propelling them into struggle. I have tried to maintain an objectivity consistent with scholarly standards by placing the roles of the involved personalities in proper political perspective.  To aid in this effort, I will be referred to throughout this study in the third person.  This dissertation is then, by necessity, illustrative, not exhaustive; a history in brief, not a biography of the Black Panther Party [BPP].

What is perhaps most significant about [this study] is that it suggests how much we still do not know.  How many people’s lives were ruined in countless ways by a government intent on destroying them as representatives of an “enemy” political organization? What “tactics” or “dirty tricks” were employed, with what results? Perhaps we shall never know the answers to these questions, but this inquiry about the BPP and the federal government will hopefully help us in our search for “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.'” …

From the point of its founding, democratic government in the United States of America has faced the challenging need to overcome certain obstacles inherent in both its organization and general structure before many of its basic assumptions could be actualized.  Learned and astute observers of the founding and development of American democracy noted the threatening nature of a number of these obstacles during the early days of the new republic.  The study proposed here finds its importance and justification in the concept that several of the original problems of American democracy have endured with increasing ominous consequences for the full realization of democratic government in the United States.  In particular, two of the most crucial problems which have hindered the development of truly democratic government in America are treated here:

1.  class and racial cleavages, which have historically been the source of division and bitter antagonism between sectors of American society, and

2.  the inherent and longstanding distrust held by the American ruling class of any institutionalized democracy involving the mass population.  The continuing existence of these two problems — compounded, of course, by companion evils — has from one time to another enlarged and set in motion a debilitating dialectic which has kept full democracy at bay, and the very fabric of American society in rather constant peril.  What is hoped for here is an examination of specific responses and events related to the aforementioned major problems that is capable of shedding an enlightening beacon of light on the nature and progression of maladies related to these problems and what is thereby portended for American society in terms of present results and future possibilities.  There is, in other words, the intent to forge an analysis capable of informing and instructing those who are devoted to and must continue to grapple with these outstanding problems, problems in need of being resolved if ever democratic government in America is to achieve any degree of substance consistent with its theoretical suppositions and ideals.  The first problem in American democracy set forth here was offered the summary justification by the Founding Fathers that it was a “limited” representative or republican form of democracy that was best suited and most desirable for the new country’s governance.’*

This intent, “limited” though it is, was mocked by the peculiar contradiction that the populace to be served by the new government included sizeable sectors which were not to be regarded as beneficiaries of even the most “limited” promise of democracy.   African Americans, Native Americans, and, to a lesser extent, women were never presumed to be within the pale of either hopes or guarantees related to the practice of democracy.  This marked exclusion in the idealism of America’s founders might well be regarded as the original wellspring of dissent in America, for what is all too apparent is the fact that democracy is a dynamic and infectious idea.  It is an idea which inspires the hope of universal inclusion.  Thus, it may subsequently have been predicted that the arbitrary, capricious, and sinister exclusion of large sectors of the American population from the hopes inspired by the rhetoric of a fledgling democracy would give rise to the most determined forms of human struggle imaginable, including those which resort to force of arms, and resolve to face death before capitulation.  The deliberately designed and nurtured class and racial cleavages of American society, present from its beginning, have fostered such extreme antagonisms during every period in the development of American society.

This study draws upon a course of events taking place during the latter half of the twentieth century, which exemplifies the ultimate form of struggle born of this contrived contradiction, a contradiction which is as old as the life of the American republic itself.  The contradiction which provides much of the source material for this study would doubtless have never existed nor reached such dastardly and volatile proportions if it were not for the societalwide ingestion of a class — and racially-biased social philosophy, which stemmed from the original premise of American social organization, a deeply ingrained belief that society [is] by nature divided into superior and inferior classes and races of people.  This vision of the “natural order” of society, rationalized by those who have a vested interest in its maintenance, has kept Americans of different classes and races either directly engaged in social warfare, or forever poised in a position of battle.

There has been, in other words, from the very beginning of the American republic as we know it, a systematically cultivated polarization, which has predisposed the population to varying but continuous levels of warfare.  This sinister and carefully maintained die of social antagonism has been recast with the changing mold of each different epoch of American society.

Always, the rulers of an order, consistent with their own interests and solely of their own design, have employed what to them seemed to be the most optimal and efficient means of maintaining unquestioned social and economic advantage.  Clear-cut superiority in things social and economic — by whatever means — has been a scruples-free premise of American ruling class authority from the society’s inception to the present.  The initial socioeconomic advantage, begotten by chattel slavery, was enforced by undaunted violence and the constant threat of more violence.  In other times, there has been political repression, peonage (debt slavery), wage slavery, chicanery, and the like, but always accompanied by the actual or threatened force of violence.

The import of the combined forces of industrialization and urbanization [has] been [a] principal contributor in the twentieth century to the need of the American ruling class to develop newer, less obvious, and more effective means of retaining its control of and domination over the mass of Americans. Direct and unconcealed brute force and violence — although clearly persisting in many quarters of society — are today less acceptable to an increasingly sophisticated public, a public significantly remote from the methods of social and economic control common to early America.  This is not a statement, however, that there is such increased civility that Americans can no longer tolerate social control of the country’s under classes by force of violence; rather, it is an observation that Americans today appear to be more inclined to issue endorsement to agents and agencies of control which carry out the task, while permitting the benefactors of such control to retain a semidignified, clean-hands image of themselves.  This attitude is very largely responsible for the rise of the phenomenon to which systematic attention is given in the study undertaken here: the rise in the 1960s of control tactics heavily reliant upon infiltration, deliberate misinformation, selective harassment, and the use of the legal system to quell broad based dissent and its leadership.

Such tactics are, of course, closely identified with the presidency and administration of Richard M. Nixon, although many of these tactics were used prior to the Nixon years.  However, it was under the leadership of Nixon that Americans in their majority — when they were confronted by widespread protest over both domestic and foreign policies — issued to the government and its agencies what appeared to be blanket approval of the squelching of dissent by means legal or illegal.  This led inexorably to a vast and pernicious campaign of no-holds-barred conspiracies and extralegal acts designed by law enforcement agencies to “neutralize”, contain, and/or destroy organizations and individuals thought to be “enemies” of the American government (or the status quo), merely because they dared to disagree openly with the existing order and its policies.  Such campaigns were tragically successful in too many cases for too many years before Americans began to realize the true extent of the victimization.  It is a fundamental assertion of this study that the majority society, in its fear-provoked zeal to maintain and assure its inequitable position in American society, flirted with and came dangerously close to total abandonment of the particular freedom upon which all others are ultimately dependent, the right to disagree.

Moreover, it is an ancillary claim of this study that the danger has not yet passed, for few if any of society’s major problems have been solved, and a large number of Americans seem yet inclined to believe that special treatment and different rules can be applied to Americans who dare to disagree without consequence for those who are in agreement with the powers and policies that be.  This [belief] is to be specifically denied, and the claim to be made is that repression of selected sectors of mass society is extremely difficult to carry out, if not impossible, without a resulting loss of cherished freedoms for the entire society.  This premise constitutes a seminal focal point and objective of the analysis to be undertaken. …

When the CIA was formed in 1947, the statute creating it, the National Security Act, provided that the agency shall have no police, subpoena, law enforcement powers, or internal security functions."''*^ The Huston Plan, as already noted, proposed ignoring this injunction.  Though the Huston Plan was allegedly never formally adopted, it now appears that the CIA did place operatives in the street, kept extensive files on United States citizens, infiltrated political organizations, and pulled COINTELPRO types of stunts.  Most infamous, of course, is the CIA's admission that it provided "technical assistance" in 1971 to its former employee, E. Howard Hunt, when he led the White House "plumbers" in a burglary of the office of the psychiatrist who once treated Daniel EUsberg, the man who disclosed the Pentagon papers.'"*^ 

In 1975, the Rockerfeller Commission investigated abuses by the CIA and concluded that the agency exceeded its authority.  The Senate Select Committee reported in 1976 that the CIA had a program of domestic spying, which primarily consisted of mail-covers — i.e., opening and copying the mail of targeted political persons — and intelligence gathering on dissidents.  Neither official investigation discussed in any way what the New York Times disclosed in 1978: The CIA "recruited American Blacks in the late 1960's and early 1970's to spy on members of the Black Panther Party, both in the United States and in Africa."'^" Spying was not, however, solely for the purpose of gathering information about the Party: 

One longtime CIA operative with direct knowledge of the spying said, however, that there was an additional goal in the case of the Black Panthers living abroad: to "neutralize" them; "to try and get them in trouble with local authorities wherever they could. 

The kinds of activities engaged in by the FBI to neutralize the Party, as has been shown, 
span the gamut of illegal dirty tricks, not stopping even at murder. Direct evidence of 
CIA dirty tricks used against the Panthers is, however, sparse. Neither the presidential 
commission nor the Senate committee revealed any information about tactics directed at 
the Panthers. Perhaps this was a cover-up in complicity with the committees, or maybe 
the CIA just acted as a law unto itself, unaccountable to Congress or the president in disclosing or explaining its actions. When the New York Times asked for an explanation of this hiatus in the government investigations, it was told by one former CIA official that the reason the committees didn't learn about these anti-Panther activities was because 

They didn't ask.  We treated the Senate inquiry as an adversary proceeding.  Had they asked, we would have dug out the answers. 

Undoubtedly, the CIA possessed much incriminating information to dig out. When the BPP filed its federal civil rights lawsuit against, inter alia, the CIA in 1976, agency officials submitted affidavits to the court suggesting the extent of its recorded activities 
with respect to the Party: 

Apart from cases where it is not possible to perform a record search . . .   progress has seen made in identifying .. . several thousand documents 
relating ... to the Black Panther Party. 

Another CIA official testified that "... certain portions [of the Party's discovery request] 
can be addressed at the present time.  This is being done.  However, a significant 
proportion of documents recovered to date bear classification markings indicating that 
their contents include information which must be protected in the interests of national security.  
Perhaps because the CIA equates national security with protection of its own image, the documents sought will never be revealed. 

"A [Rockefeller] Commission investigator acknowledged [that] the report [i.e., Rockefeller Commission report] did not [also] mention that between 150 and 200 CIA domestic files on Black dissidents had been destroyed before the Commission's inquiry. "'^^ Of those documents the CIA has admitted exist, only a couple of hundred pages, at most, have been produced in the past four years in response to the Party's formal litigation discovery efforts. Many of these pages are replete with extensive white-outs or black-outs — i.e., deletion of so-called classified material — and are, therefore, uninformative. Nonetheless, those few pages produced reveal that within the United States, the CIA infiltrated the Party with informants and attended meetings and public functions in order to identify Party members by taking their photographs and compiling information on them. Overseas activities of the CIA focused on Panthers in Africa and included one operative who became the owner of a small hotel where Party supporters and associates lodged. The hotel's annual deficit was even made up by the CIA.

The likelihood that the truth about CIA efforts to neutralize the Party will never be fully known is great. Aside from the admitted destruction by the CIA of files concerning the BPP and failure to respond to civil discovery efforts, one man who had first-hand 
knowledge of the operation noted, "If they i.e., CIA had gotten exposed, then it would have been the CIA versus the Black Panthers and all Black Americans — they've had a lot of Americans against them. The agency would have been exposed, open to attack."

Huey Newton, War Against the Panthers: a Study of Repression in America; Phd  Dissertation, Preface, Introduction, “CIA”

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Numero Tres

“As we might find to be true more often than we’d think at first, a popular song’s lyrics capsulize some of the central issues of today’s essay.  Jorma Kaukonen, of Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane fame, sang these “Prohibition Blues” lines, except for one or two instructive alterations that show up for purposes of this investigation.

I’ll tell you brother, and I won’t lie

What’s the matter with this land:

Toke at will and vote it dry,

And hide it if we can.

The rich they party, and they all get high,

And they call it society.

But if they catch you with a joint, good morning penitentiary!

We live with the split personality that these lyrics from Blue Country Heart illustrate.  This affects us spiritually.  It colours our ethics and whatever sense of integrity that people have.  It means that, psychologically, we are both as often as not living against our better selves, and unable to avoid states of deeply experienced, almost insufferable, anxiety and stress and panic—not for nothing is ours ‘the age of terror.’

In no other realm than in relation on the one hand to contraband and on the other hand to so-called ‘medications’ do these tendencies more profoundly express themselves in the contemporary arena.  We live with these contradictions and little hypocrisies about ‘substances’ almost every second that we breathe.

Reports and analyses from sources as diverse as Interpol and the United Nations, on the official side, and private think tanks like the Soros Justice Initiative and the Drug Policy Alliance, on the Non-Governmental Organisation side, detail and document such complicated skeins.  Often enough, scholars who have served to advance agendas of ‘fighting narcotics’ or ‘developing treatments’ have opened their hearts and their files to reveal the venality and profiteering at the root of such duplicitous policing battles and pseudo-scientific ‘healthy-living’ campaigns.

These and many other decidedly suboptimal effects—combining repression and malfeasance—of what lying thugs call ‘The War on Drugs’ or that self-serving ‘authorities’ label diagnostic and therapeutic intervention are not the heart of our problems, however.  This core conflict appears as a three-part dynamic that rules the present moment, an overarching ubiquity that confronts us with a choice either to accept it and live in misery or to face and deal with it and transform the world.

Despite their intricacies, these interlocking and interdependent components are fairly easy to state.  First*, a ruination of civic virtue or political comity occurs; second, individual alienation and ennui become widespread enough to appear essentially indomitable; third, and finally, elite representatives intervene to dispense ‘cures’ for our blues*.  Though an expansion of this analysis follows, in which multiple subtexts and sidebars proliferate, its rudimentary statement is straightforward enough.

The first part of this pattern consists of the corruption, and ultimately the destruction, of every single thing of a civic nature that we say that we value.  That which might be honorable in service of governance all too often ends up tarnished and fraudulent; police, soldiers, politicians, administrators, doctors, lawyers, every field and profession that stands for social management or improvement devolves into frequent bribery and double-dealing and brutality.

The Drug Enforcement Administration worries about Central Intelligence Agency enforcers.  The Mexican State police and the Chicago/Atlanta/Any-City-or County-USA cops all include key components that are ‘on-the-take.’ The only exceptions are jurisdictions that have followed a decriminalizing path, and for the most part even these venues insist on a ‘medical model’ for dealing with most social friction.

The entire ‘Defense’ establishment also contains huge blights, so that from Vietnam to Colombia to Afghanistan, black markets in drugs have become central to ‘freedom’s’ foreign policy.  As analysts like Robert Parry make obvious, Iran-Contra’s cocaine, assault-rifles, and money-laundering troika is a tiny tip of a massive iceberg of coldly calculated murder and contraband.  Bless Rand Paul’s Libertarian heart, full of fantasies about markets and freedom, he nonetheless sees these difficulties as if he were scanning them through clear glass.  Rotten, violent gendarmes will always remain so long as drug-war protocols prevail.

Moreover, every element of individual rights, whether it concerns privacy or trust or some other aspect of appreciating personal responsibility and human development, dissipates and eventually disappears, so that the snitch and the victim proffer the supreme expressions of our social relations.   Elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities dole out strong drugs as if they were vitamins or candy.  They explicitly insinuate that ‘good sons and daughters and good friends’ tell on parents or acquaintances who do not follow regimens that either prescribe or proscribe certain chemicals.

When the students become dependent on, or decide that they hate, their own force-fed substances, and a marketplace develops in selling the pills and potions, police swoop in with paid informants and arrest the now ‘criminal’ youngsters, whom they offer leniency in return for participation in this noisome “money-making machine.” Inner city and suburban and rural academies and communities, obscure institutes and elite universities, all have their well-established underground distribution networks, the chief principles of which pay protection money to narcotics and other enforcement agencies.

Tens-of-thousands of times each year in the U.S. alone, citizens lose their money or their property to seizures in these arenas that involve no charges.  Because someone has cash or goods that in one way or another elicit official attention, such a hapless person faces arrest and loses coin or cars or whatever the raiding authorities believe is easiest to resell at auction or divvy up among themselves; only those who suffer this fate and who also have the resources and courage to engage in lengthy, complex, and expensive legal actions can sometimes retrieve what was rightfully theirs.

Furthermore, quite commonly, additional erstwhile honest transactions in our lives—in our schools, in our factories, in our service organizations—also suffer from the taint of these corrupting strokes of proscribed ‘drugs’ and prescribed ‘medicines.’ Principals get grants to hire substance-abuse-counselors and psychologists and heavily-armed police, so long as they practice ‘zero-tolerance.’ Illegal suppliers and licensed doctors both make sure that construction sites and assembly lines can hire employees with the necessary stamina and aplomb to carry out draconian drudgery for fifty hours each week or more.  Churches and YMCA’s and ‘social welfare’organizations of every stripe garner more funds and greater approbation if they too make themselves a part of this pipeline of delivering ‘medicines’ and prohibiting herbs and emoluments that have been part of human culture for thousands of years but which have now ‘scientifically’ transmogrified into poison and criminality.

Most nauseatingly, perhaps, bankers and other finance-professionals take in plus-or-minus a trillion dollars each year, up to five percent of the entire world economy, as currency and other fungible assets that result from drug dealings or controlled substances of one sort or another.  And this does not even take into account the not-quite-as-massive but still vast income that results from licit psychotropic substances that governments promote as fervently as they pretend to want to interdict the coke and crack and pot and speed and ice and ecstasy and skag and so on and so forth that their agents duplicitously and hypocritically and opportunistically conspire to finance and market.

The second element of this woven quilt of deceit and pretense reveals itself as a passive, and in the end utterly resigned, psychosocial demeanor, a universal shrug at the possibility of decency and kindness.  In one sort of coping mechanism, people focus on their diagnoses rather than on the organic and social causes of the symptoms that they experience.  As just one example, in any given year, ‘patients’ fill plus-or-minus two hundred million anti-depressant prescriptions in the United States; tens of millions of these are for children and young adults, who as ‘minors’ have no option but to swallow additional hundreds of millions of doses of methamphetamine derivatives, to ‘treat’ their deficient capacity to attend their lives.

Supplementing the copious literature about such a pass, I have personally witnessed such situations—as a parent, as a tutor, as a teacher; as a random observer or acquaintance or friend—so many times that I couldn’t possibly count them all.  With only a few instances that go against the common grain, the way that the subjects of these uncontrolled ‘experiments in social control’ have responded is to become knowledgeable about the fakery that passes as science in their cases, so that to me or juvenile judges or probation officers or school counselors or whoever else is at hand and interested, the participants are capable of mouthing the official verbiage—occasionally ‘science,’ but more likely pablum—that underlies their labels and their ‘treatments.’

In a seemingly divergent fashion, that in fact links unmistakably with this initial psychic pattern, folks also manage this social swamp by blaming the ‘behaviors’ and choices—more often than not on the part of young people or ‘addictive personalities,’ otherwise on the part of ‘gangsters’—of their children or compatriots or shadowy underworld figures for the way that society increasingly seems to fall to pieces in a morass of violence and chaos.  Once again, in no fewer than thirty cases—as in being able to list the parties and places—I have seen such incrimination and casting of aspersions on human beings who had no more power over these situations than did those who were pointing accusing fingers.

Multiple accounts, in growing numbers, evidence this demonization of the individuals—again overwhelmingly young and more often than not ‘of color’—who are undeniably the victims of a ‘prohibitionary’ scheme that has nothing more than a fantastical connection to human good or social benefit.  This so clearly typifies the current context, and is therefore so common, that it as often as not escapes notice or comment.  Except on the part of critical ‘outsiders,’ thoroughgoing critique of these eventualities is very rare indeed.

Perhaps the most insidious effect of this pattern is also an aspect of the precipitous decline in civic rectitude that readers viewed just above.  This dark schema, an ugly mosaic, appears when—despite an almost infinite variety and volume of incriminating facts—citizens feel chary about accusing and holding accountable either their erstwhile ‘employees’—in other words, politicians, administrators, and police—or the rich gangsters whose operations behind the scenes are what manages this system’s daily routines.

People probably have complex reasons for not insisting on confrontation-with-the-powerful in these matters.  They likely hate the thought that their patriotism has so little of probity to support it.  They almost certainly hate to feel like such chumps.  They definitely detest how little they know and understand and how small that arrogant experts make them feel if they seek to intervene.  Perhaps most obviously, this recalcitrance about speaking out starts with fears for their personal safety: jail, injury, or death has certainly been a clear outcome for others who have been unable to contain their outrage and anguish.

In case anyone fails to note, this missive will state quite directly one idea that inherently flows from this assessment.  These first two prongs of this examination of our present life and times mean that neither personal power nor happiness will be possible for almost all common folk.

Our sons and daughters will go to jail or die.  They will lapse into terminal sadness and intractable alienation.  They will assault and kill themselves and others in a manner that has never before been a part of human history.

In the United States, prisons will oversee plus or minus three people of every hundred, **almost all of these incarcerated prisoners behind bars or otherwise in the thrall of a ‘prison-industrial-complex’ due to a ’War-on-Drugs’ or something similar that is, most charitably, criminally insane, all of which destroys most hope of citizenship or mutuality.  Every relation of diverse cultures or nationalities will have about it a threat of hatred or dehumanisation; organised criminal networks will characterise both government and commerce.  The potential for democracy or human solidarity in such a pass will approach zero.

Victimisation and misery will prevail everywhere.  Since the two things that these rubrics destroy—personal power and happiness—are the two things that every sentient body on Earth wants more than anything else, we might imagine prioritising analysis that pays attention to these matters.

In any event, if we do not elect to act on our own behalf, those who rule the roost fully intend to ‘come to our rescue’ in regard to the sadness and castration that the dynamic itself brings to pass.  This third component of the current scheme of things, then, the pharmaceutical-industrial-complex’s fascination with, fetishization of, and—increasingly—forceful prescription of—various ‘medicines’ for various ‘disorders,’ will further the ruin and horror in our lives at the precise moment that it also makes this ruin and horror seem okay, seem not-all-that-bad, seem not too depressing.

The profits from this aspect of the enterprise, like the take from illicit markets, will be huge.  While proclaiming their dutiful concern for other humans, the practitioners of these schemes, literally and figuratively, will ‘make a killing.’

From before Thomas Huxley to beyond the Rockefeller Institute, behind-the-curtain ‘authorities’ have created knowledge and networks that serve up ever more of these substances and analyses.  Professional agents insist on Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals that, at the very least in relation to mental health, have little more rigour in their imprimatur than did any Grand Inquisitor’s accusations of witchery or heresy or demonic possession.

The predictable results are apparent in all aspects of contemporary culture.  Zombies and vampires and terrorists and sociopaths—in all sorts of ways inseparable from erstwhile ‘fiendish’ habits—dominate everywhere one looks.  Both their ‘opponents’ from the laughably false ‘criminal justice’ sector, and their ‘saviours’ from the traitors to Hippocrates who fill our scrips, with a pretense of righteousness and actual hypocrisy of the most venal sort, pay their way with our taxes and cloak themselves duplicitously in ‘best-practices’ that supposedly emanate from incontrovertible data, knowledge that much more often than not is at best merely self-interested doublethink. Hope, which our canons tell us ‘springs eternal in the human breast,’ for many people takes a permanent powder.

Perhaps we want to live this way.  If not, we might elect to consider the research and thinking that this essay embodies and presents.  It certainly does not hold out any single simple prescription for fixing things.  Nevertheless, it does proffer argumentation and facts that could start many conversations, a necessary step in the old directive: “Physician, heal thyself!”

Jorma Kaukonen sends us forth from this initial sally into today’s topic.

Pro-hie-bition has killed more folks

Than Sherman ever seen.

If they can’t get whisky,

They’ll take to dope, cocaine and morphine.

This whole country it sure ain’t dry,

And dry will never be seen.

Pro-hie-bition is just a scheme, a fine money-making machine.

” “Capitalism on Drugs: the Political Economy of Contraband From Heroin to Ritalin,” by Jim Hickey; Overture