jazzoLOG: America The Vindictive    
 America The Vindictive49 comments
picture6 Aug 2007 @ 11:40, by Richard Carlson

In the scent of plum blossoms,
Ah! the sun appears---
the mountain path.

---Basho

When we have seen Reality, there is not a grain of dust which has not a sublime meaning.

---J. Vanderleeuw

It is like archers. If they start out competing, they'll never become marksmen. It is only long after practice, with no thought of winning or losing, that they can hit the target. Same with the study of the Way. If even a single thought of winning or losing appears, you will be chained by winning and losing.

---Ying-An

The painting is called The Indian Prisoner, created by William Gilbert Gaul, 1899.

In one of the first essays I ever attempted online, I mentioned how I happened to come in contact with the famous folk music collector, Alan Lomax. I said at one point he called me "puritanical" and how stung I was by the remark. [link] It still bothers me, but I've soothed myself somewhat with the balmy knowledge that he knew of my New England education---and I was aware of how he felt about New England. I've also tried---and been forced by reality---to ease up on the rigidity of my views of 30 years ago.

I'm glad that at the time I did not begin a range war with Alan, since Texas always was home to him. I doubt any Texans have been called puritanical (unless one happened to be born and educated in New England before relocating----hmmmm) but we do know something about justice in the Wild West. Whether or not the scores of Westerns I saw at the Saturday afternoon matinees gave me an accurate history, I've grown up thinking resentments are a particular weakness in the American fabric. I think we tend to be a people that transfers our problems rather than inventories them in order to change. We go to workshops that teach us to transform failures into opportunities for growth and expansion. We spin.

When I came to Southeast Ohio, I learned that until recently spanking students with big wooden paddles was legal and routine. At first I thought they were joking. No teacher ever laid a hand on me in New York, and I couldn't conceive of it. One time in Lincoln Junior High a science teacher made a kid stand in the corner on his head for a while, but that's the worst I saw. When I worked among people here, who didn't necessarily go beyond the local high school education, I was similarly amazed when they spoke of "beating" their kids, specifically the boys I guess. I didn't think it was my place to ask for details, but I thought maybe again this was a term for strict discipline but not actual physical pain. "Beating their butt" is common parlance around here among many parents.

I've been feeling that during my lifetime the American character has changed markedly and the rest of the world is noticing. Maybe we all were mistaken, having been mislead by World War II propaganda---as Clint Eastwood hints in his film Flags Of Our Fathers. We were the fun-loving Yanks liberating Europe with dollars and chewing gum. If we never were that actually---or even if we were---do others feel we now are vengeful opportunists, motivated essentially by getting more for me and mine? Do we care if injustice is done to others in our name? Do we listen intently to testimonies of people released from our "detention centers" about what was done to them for years---or don't we want to hear about it? Have we gone off the deep end and become cruel?

I've worried about this and tried to deal with it personally, convince myself the behaviors I endure everyday by others driving cars are just momentary. The aggression will fade away when the war on terror is won and we all return to normal. But maybe it's something more permanent, a trend not so easily reversed.

And so it was this morning I came upon an article in the Boston Review. Well, maybe Boston is the best place to review an oppressive morality! The title is simply Why Are There So Many Americans In Prison?, and was compiled by Glenn C. Loury who is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences in the department of economics at Brown University. A 2002 Carnegie Scholar, he brings very recent statistics to bear on how Americans are using punishment to solve problems.

Why Are So Many Americans in Prison?
Race and the transformation of criminal justice
Glenn C. Loury

The early 1990s were the age of drive-by shootings, drug deals gone bad, crack cocaine, and gangsta rap. Between 1960 and 1990, the annual number of murders in New Haven rose from six to 31, the number of rapes from four to 168, the number of robberies from 16 to 1,784—all this while the city’s population declined by 14 percent. Crime was concentrated in central cities: in 1990, two fifths of Pennsylvania’s violent crimes were committed in Philadelphia, home to one seventh of the state’s population. The subject of crime dominated American domestic-policy debates.

Most observers at the time expected things to get worse. Consulting demographic tables and extrapolating trends, scholars and pundits warned the public to prepare for an onslaught, and for a new kind of criminal—the anomic, vicious, irreligious, amoral juvenile “super-predator.” In 1996, one academic commentator predicted a “bloodbath” of juvenile homicides in 2005.

And so we prepared. Stoked by fear and political opportunism, but also by the need to address a very real social problem, we threw lots of people in jail, and when the old prisons were filled we built new ones.

But the onslaught never came. Crime rates peaked in 1992 and have dropped sharply since. Even as crime rates fell, however, imprisonment rates remained high and continued their upward march. The result, the current American prison system, is a leviathan unmatched in human history.

According to a 2005 report of the International Centre for Prison Studies in London, the United States—with five percent of the world’s population—houses 25 percent of the world’s inmates. Our incarceration rate (714 per 100,000 residents) is almost 40 percent greater than those of our nearest competitors (the Bahamas, Belarus, and Russia). Other industrial democracies, even those with significant crime problems of their own, are much less punitive: our incarceration rate is 6.2 times that of Canada, 7.8 times that of France, and 12.3 times that of Japan. We have a corrections sector that employs more Americans than the combined work forces of General Motors, Ford, and Wal-Mart, the three largest corporate employers in the country, and we are spending some $200 billion annually on law enforcement and corrections at all levels of government, a fourfold increase (in constant dollars) over the past quarter century.

Never before has a supposedly free country denied basic liberty to so many of its citizens. In December 2006, some 2.25 million persons were being held in the nearly 5,000 prisons and jails that are scattered across America’s urban and rural landscapes. One third of inmates in state prisons are violent criminals, convicted of homicide, rape, or robbery. But the other two thirds consist mainly of property and drug offenders. Inmates are disproportionately drawn from the most disadvantaged parts of society. On average, state inmates have fewer than 11 years of schooling. They are also vastly disproportionately black and brown.

How did it come to this? One argument is that the massive increase in incarceration reflects the success of a rational public policy: faced with a compelling social problem, we responded by imprisoning people and succeeded in lowering crime rates. This argument is not entirely misguided. Increased incarceration does appear to have reduced crime somewhat. But by how much? Estimates of the share of the 1990s reduction in violent crime that can be attributed to the prison boom range from five percent to 25 percent. Whatever the number, analysts of all political stripes now agree that we have long ago entered the zone of diminishing returns. The conservative scholar John DiIulio, who coined the term “super-predator” in the early 1990s, was by the end of that decade declaring in The Wall Street Journal that “Two Million Prisoners Are Enough.” But there was no political movement for getting America out of the mass-incarceration business. The throttle was stuck.

A more convincing argument is that imprisonment rates have continued to rise while crime rates have fallen because we have become progressively more punitive: not because crime has continued to explode (it hasn’t), not because we made a smart policy choice, but because we have made a collective decision to increase the rate of punishment.

One simple measure of punitiveness is the likelihood that a person who is arrested will be subsequently incarcerated. Between 1980 and 2001, there was no real change in the chances of being arrested in response to a complaint: the rate was just under 50 percent. But the likelihood that an arrest would result in imprisonment more than doubled, from 13 to 28 percent. And because the amount of time served and the rate of prison admission both increased, the incarceration rate for violent crime almost tripled, despite the decline in the level of violence. The incarceration rate for nonviolent and drug offenses increased at an even faster pace: between 1980 and 1997 the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent offenses tripled, and the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses increased by a factor of 11. Indeed, the criminal-justice researcher Alfred Blumstein has argued that none of the growth in incarceration between 1980 and 1996 can be attributed to more crime:

The growth was entirely attributable to a growth in punitiveness, about equally to growth in prison commitments per arrest (an indication of tougher prosecution or judicial sentencing) and to longer time served (an indication of longer sentences, elimination of parole or later parole release, or greater readiness to recommit parolees to prison for either technical violations or new crimes).
This growth in punitiveness was accompanied by a shift in thinking about the basic purpose of criminal justice. In the 1970s, the sociologist David Garland argues, the corrections system was commonly seen as a way to prepare offenders to rejoin society. Since then, the focus has shifted from rehabilitation to punishment and stayed there. Felons are no longer persons to be supported, but risks to be dealt with. And the way to deal with the risks is to keep them locked up. As of 2000, 33 states had abolished limited parole (up from 17 in 1980); 24 states had introduced three-strikes laws (up from zero); and 40 states had introduced truth-in-sentencing laws (up from three). The vast majority of these changes occurred in the 1990s, as crime rates fell.

This new system of punitive ideas is aided by a new relationship between the media, the politicians, and the public. A handful of cases—in which a predator does an awful thing to an innocent—get excessive media attention and engender public outrage. This attention typically bears no relation to the frequency of the particular type of crime, and yet laws—such as three-strikes laws that give mandatory life sentences to nonviolent drug offenders—and political careers are made on the basis of the public’s reaction to the media coverage of such crimes.

* * *

Despite a sharp national decline in crime, American criminal justice has become crueler and less caring than it has been at any other time in our modern history. Why?

The question has no simple answer, but the racial composition of prisons is a good place to start. The punitive turn in the nation’s social policy—intimately connected with public rhetoric about responsibility, dependency, social hygiene, and the reclamation of public order—can be fully grasped only when viewed against the backdrop of America’s often ugly and violent racial history: there is a reason why our inclination toward forgiveness and the extension of a second chance to those who have violated our behavioral strictures is so stunted, and why our mainstream political discourses are so bereft of self-examination and searching social criticism. This historical resonance between the stigma of race and the stigma of imprisonment serves to keep alive in our public culture the subordinating social meanings that have always been associated with blackness. Race helps to explain why the United States is exceptional among the democratic industrial societies in the severity and extent of its punitive policy and in the paucity of its social-welfare institutions.

Slavery ended a long time ago, but the institution of chattel slavery and the ideology of racial subordination that accompanied it have cast a long shadow. I speak here of the history of lynching throughout the country; the racially biased policing and judging in the South under Jim Crow and in the cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West to which blacks migrated after the First and Second World Wars; and the history of racial apartheid that ended only as a matter of law with the civil-rights movement. It should come as no surprise that in the post–civil rights era, race, far from being peripheral, has been central to the evolution of American social policy.

The political scientist Vesla Mae Weaver, in a recently completed dissertation, examines policy history, public opinion, and media processes in an attempt to understand the role of race in this historic transformation of criminal justice. She argues—persuasively, I think—that the punitive turn represented a political response to the success of the civil-rights movement. Weaver describes a process of “frontlash” in which opponents of the civil-rights revolution sought to regain the upper hand by shifting to a new issue. Rather than reacting directly to civil-rights developments, and thus continuing to fight a battle they had lost, those opponents—consider George Wallace’s campaigns for the presidency, which drew so much support in states like Michigan and Wisconsin—shifted attention to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime:

Once the clutch of Jim Crow had loosened, opponents of civil rights shifted the “locus of attack” by injecting crime onto the agenda. Through the process of frontlash, rivals of civil rights progress defined racial discord as criminal and argued that crime legislation would be a panacea to racial unrest. This strategy both imbued crime with race and depoliticized racial struggle, a formula which foreclosed earlier “root causes” alternatives. Fusing anxiety about crime to anxiety over racial change and riots, civil rights and racial disorder—initially defined as a problem of minority disenfranchisement—were defined as a crime problem, which helped shift debate from social reform to punishment.
Of course, this argument (for which Weaver adduces considerable circumstantial evidence) is speculative. But something interesting seems to have been going on in the late 1960s regarding the relationship between attitudes on race and social policy.

Before 1965, public attitudes on the welfare state and on race, as measured by the annually administered General Social Survey, varied year to year independently of one another: you could not predict much about a person’s attitudes on welfare politics by knowing their attitudes about race. After 1965, the attitudes moved in tandem, as welfare came to be seen as a race issue. Indeed, the year-to-year correlation between an index measuring liberalism of racial attitudes and attitudes toward the welfare state over the interval 1950–1965 was .03. These same two series had a correlation of .68 over the period 1966–1996. The association in the American mind of race with welfare, and of race with crime, has been achieved at a common historical moment. Crime-control institutions are part of a larger social-policy complex—they relate to and interact with the labor market, family-welfare efforts, and health and social-work activities. Indeed, Garland argues that the ideological approaches to welfare and crime control have marched rightward to a common beat: “The institutional and cultural changes that have occurred in the crime control field are analogous to those that have occurred in the welfare state more generally.” Just as the welfare state came to be seen as a race issue, so, too, crime came to be seen as a race issue, and policies have been shaped by this perception.

Consider the tortured racial history of the War on Drugs. Blacks were twice as likely as whites to be arrested for a drug offense in 1975 but four times as likely by 1989. Throughout the 1990s, drug-arrest rates remained at historically unprecedented levels. Yet according to the National Survey on Drug Abuse, drug use among adults fell from 20 percent in 1979 to 11 percent in 2000. A similar trend occurred among adolescents. In the age groups 12–17 and 18–25, use of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin all peaked in the late 1970s and began a steady decline thereafter. Thus, a decline in drug use across the board had begun a decade before the draconian anti-drug efforts of the 1990s were initiated.

Of course, most drug arrests are for trafficking, not possession, so usage rates and arrest rates needn’t be expected to be identical. Still, we do well to bear in mind that the social problem of illicit drug use is endemic to our whole society. Significantly, throughout the period 1979–2000, white high-school seniors reported using drugs at a significantly higher rate than black high-school seniors. High drug-usage rates in white, middle-class American communities in the early 1980s accounts for the urgency many citizens felt to mount a national attack on the problem. But how successful has the effort been, and at what cost?

Think of the cost this way: to save middle-class kids from the threat of a drug epidemic that might not have even existed by the time that drug incarceration began its rapid increase in the 1980s, we criminalized underclass kids. Arrests went up, but drug prices have fallen sharply over the past 20 years—suggesting that the ratcheting up of enforcement has not made drugs harder to get on the street. The strategy clearly wasn’t keeping drugs away from those who sought them. Not only are prices down, but the data show that drug-related visits to emergency rooms also rose steadily throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

An interesting case in point is New York City. Analyzing arrests by residential neighborhood and police precinct, the criminologist Jeffrey Fagan and his colleagues Valerie West and Jan Holland found that incarceration was highest in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, though these were often not the neighborhoods in which crime rates were the highest. Moreover, they discovered a perverse effect of incarceration on crime: higher incarceration in a given neighborhood in one year seemed to predict higher crime rates in that same neighborhood one year later. This growth and persistence of incarceration over time, the authors concluded, was due primarily to the drug enforcement practices of police and to sentencing laws that require imprisonment for repeat felons. Police scrutiny was more intensive and less forgiving in high-incarceration neighborhoods, and parolees returning to such neighborhoods were more closely monitored. Thus, discretionary and spatially discriminatory police behavior led to a high and increasing rate of repeat prison admissions in the designated neighborhoods, even as crime rates fell.

Fagan, West, and Holland explain the effects of spatially concentrated urban anti-drug-law enforcement in the contemporary American metropolis. Buyers may come from any neighborhood and any social stratum. But the sellers—at least the ones who can be readily found hawking their wares on street corners and in public vestibules—come predominantly from the poorest, most non-white parts of the city. The police, with arrest quotas to meet, know precisely where to find them. The researchers conclude:

Incarceration begets more incarceration, and incarceration also begets more crime, which in turn invites more aggressive enforcement, which then re-supplies incarceration . . . three mechanisms . . . contribute to and reinforce incarceration in neighborhoods: the declining economic fortunes of former inmates and the effects on neighborhoods where they tend to reside, resource and relationship strains on families of prisoners that weaken the family’s ability to supervise children, and voter disenfranchisement that weakens the political economy of neighborhoods.
The effects of imprisonment on life chances are profound. For incarcerated black men, hourly wages are ten percent lower after prison than before. For all incarcerated men, the number of weeks worked per year falls by at least a third after their release.

So consider the nearly 60 percent of black male high-school dropouts born in the late 1960s who are imprisoned before their 40th year. While locked up, these felons are stigmatized—they are regarded as fit subjects for shaming. Their links to family are disrupted; their opportunities for work are diminished; their voting rights may be permanently revoked. They suffer civic excommunication. Our zeal for social discipline consigns these men to a permanent nether caste. And yet, since these men—whatever their shortcomings—have emotional and sexual and family needs, including the need to be fathers and lovers and husbands, we are creating a situation where the children of this nether caste are likely to join a new generation of untouchables. This cycle will continue so long as incarceration is viewed as the primary path to social hygiene.

* * *

I have been exploring the issue of causes: of why we took the punitive turn that has resulted in mass incarceration. But even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear. To be sure, in the United States, as in any society, public order is maintained by the threat and use of force. We enjoy our good lives only because we are shielded by the forces of law and order, which keep the unruly at bay. Yet in this society, to a degree virtually unmatched in any other, those bearing the brunt of order enforcement belong in vastly disproportionate numbers to historically marginalized racial groups. Crime and punishment in America has a color.

In his fine study Punishment and Inequality in America (2006), the Princeton University sociologist Bruce Western powerfully describes the scope, nature, and consequences of contemporary imprisonment. He finds that the extent of racial disparity in imprisonment rates is greater than in any other major arena of American social life: at eight to one, the black–white ratio of incarceration rates dwarfs the two-to-one ratio of unemployment rates, the three-to-one ration of non-marital childbearing, the two-to-one ratio of infant-mortality rates and one-to-five ratio of net worth. While three out of 200 young whites were incarcerated in 2000, the rate for young blacks was one in nine. A black male resident of the state of California is more likely to go to a state prison than a state college.

The scandalous truth is that the police and penal apparatus are now the primary contact between adult black American men and the American state. Among black male high-school dropouts aged 20 to 40, a third were locked up on any given day in 2000, fewer than three percent belonged to a union, and less than one quarter were enrolled in any kind of social program. Coercion is the most salient meaning of government for these young men. Western estimates that nearly 60 percent of black male dropouts born between 1965 and 1969 were sent to prison on a felony conviction at least once before they reached the age of 35.

One cannot reckon the world-historic American prison build-up over the past 35 years without calculating the enormous costs imposed upon the persons imprisoned, their families, and their communities. (Of course, this has not stopped many social scientists from pronouncing on the net benefits of incarceration without doing so.) Deciding on the weight to give to a “thug’s” well-being—or to that of his wife or daughter or son—is a question of social morality, not social science. Nor can social science tell us how much additional cost borne by the offending class is justified in order to obtain a given increment of security or property or peace of mind for the rest of us. These are questions about the nature of the American state and its relationship to its people that transcend the categories of benefits and costs.

Yet the discourse surrounding punishment policy invariably discounts the humanity of the thieves, drug sellers, prostitutes, rapists, and, yes, those whom we put to death. It gives insufficient weight to the welfare, to the humanity, of those who are knitted together with offenders in webs of social and psychic affiliation. What is more, institutional arrangements for dealing with criminal offenders in the United States have evolved to serve expressive as well as instrumental ends. We have wanted to “send a message,” and we have done so with a vengeance. In the process, we have created facts. We have answered the question, who is to blame for the domestic maladies that beset us? We have constructed a national narrative. We have created scapegoats, indulged our need to feel virtuous, and assuaged our fears. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is them.

Incarceration keeps them away from us. Thus Garland: “The prison is used today as a kind of reservation, a quarantine zone in which purportedly dangerous individuals are segregated in the name of public safety.” The boundary between prison and community, Garland continues, is “heavily patrolled and carefully monitored to prevent risks leaking out from one to the other. Those offenders who are released ‘into the community’ are subject to much tighter control than previously, and frequently find themselves returned to custody for failure to comply with the conditions that continue to restrict their freedom. For many of these parolees and ex-convicts, the ‘community’ into which they are released is actually a closely monitored terrain, a supervised space, lacking much of the liberty that one associates with ‘normal life’.”

Deciding how citizens of varied social rank within a common polity ought to relate to one another is a more fundamental consideration than deciding which crime-control policy is most efficient. The question of relationship, of solidarity, of who belongs to the body politic and who deserves exclusion—these are philosophical concerns of the highest order. A decent society will on occasion resist the efficient course of action, for the simple reason that to follow it would be to act as though we were not the people we have determined ourselves to be: a people conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that we all are created equal. Assessing the propriety of creating a racially defined pariah class in the middle of our great cities at the start of the 21st century presents us with just such a case.

My recitation of the brutal facts about punishment in today’s America may sound to some like a primal scream at this monstrous social machine that is grinding poor black communities to dust. And I confess that these brutal facts do at times incline me to cry out in despair. But my argument is analytical, not existential. Its principal thesis is this: we law-abiding, middle-class Americans have made decisions about social policy and incarceration, and we benefit from those decisions, and that means from a system of suffering, rooted in state violence, meted out at our request. We had choices and we decided to be more punitive. Our society—the society we have made—creates criminogenic conditions in our sprawling urban ghettos, and then acts out rituals of punishment against them as some awful form of human sacrifice.

This situation raises a moral problem that we cannot avoid. We cannot pretend that there are more important problems in our society, or that this circumstance is the necessary solution to other, more pressing problems—unless we are also prepared to say that we have turned our backs on the ideal of equality for all citizens and abandoned the principles of justice. We ought to ask ourselves two questions: Just what manner of people are we Americans? And in light of this, what are our obligations to our fellow citizens—even those who break our laws?

* * *

To address these questions, we need to think about the evaluation of our prison system as a problem in the theory of distributive justice—not the purely procedural idea of ensuring equal treatment before the law and thereafter letting the chips fall where they may, but the rather more demanding ideal of substantive racial justice. The goal is to bring about through conventional social policy and far-reaching institutional reforms a situation in which the history of racial oppression is no longer so evident in the disparate life experiences of those who descend from slaves.

And I suggest we approach that problem from the perspective of John Rawls’s theory of justice: first, that we think about justice from an “original position” behind a “veil of ignorance” that obstructs from view our own situation, including our class, race, gender, and talents. We need to ask what rules we would pick if we seriously imagined that we could turn out to be anyone in the society. Second, following Rawls’s “difference principle,” we should permit inequalities only if they work to improve the circumstances of the least advantaged members of society. But here, the object of moral inquiry is not the distribution among individuals of wealth and income, but instead the distribution of a negative good, punishment, among individuals and, importantly, racial groups.

So put yourself in John Rawls’s original position and imagine that you could occupy any rank in the social hierarchy. Let me be more concrete: imagine that you could be born a black American male outcast shuffling between prison and the labor market on his way to an early death to the chorus of nigger or criminal or dummy. Suppose we had to stop thinking of us and them. What social rules would we pick if we actually thought that they could be us? I expect that we would still pick some set of punishment institutions to contain bad behavior and protect society. But wouldn’t we pick arrangements that respected the humanity of each individual and of those they are connected to through bonds of social and psychic affiliation? If any one of us had a real chance of being one of those faces looking up from the bottom of the well—of being the least among us¬—then how would we talk publicly about those who break our laws? What would we do with juveniles who go awry, who roam the streets with guns and sometimes commit acts of violence? What weight would we give to various elements in the deterrence-retribution-incapacitation-rehabilitation calculus, if we thought that calculus could end up being applied to our own children, or to us? How would we apportion blame and affix responsibility for the cultural and social pathologies evident in some quarters of our society if we envisioned that we ourselves might well have been born into the social margins where such pathology flourishes?

If we take these questions as seriously as we should, then we would, I expect, reject a pure ethic of personal responsibility as the basis for distributing punishment. Issues about responsibility are complex, and involve a kind of division of labor—what John Rawls called a “social division of responsibility” between “citizens as a collective body” and individuals: when we hold a person responsible for his or her conduct—by establishing laws, investing in their enforcement, and consigning some persons to prisons—we need also to think about whether we have done our share in ensuring that each person faces a decent set of opportunities for a good life. We need to ask whether we as a society have fulfilled our collective responsibility to ensure fair conditions for each person—for each life that might turn out to be our life.

We would, in short, recognize a kind of social responsibility, even for the wrongful acts freely chosen by individual persons. I am not arguing that people commit crimes because they have no choices, and that in this sense the “root causes” of crime are social; individuals always have choices. My point is that responsibility is a matter of ethics, not social science. Society at large is implicated in an individual person’s choices because we have acquiesced in—perhaps actively supported, through our taxes and votes, words and deeds—social arrangements that work to our benefit and his detriment, and which shape his consciousness and sense of identity in such a way that the choices he makes, which we may condemn, are nevertheless compelling to him—an entirely understandable response to circumstance. Closed and bounded social structures—like racially homogeneous urban ghettos—create contexts where “pathological” and “dysfunctional” cultural forms emerge; but these forms are neither intrinsic to the people caught in these structures nor independent of the behavior of people who stand outside them.

Thus, a central reality of our time is the fact that there has opened a wide racial gap in the acquisition of cognitive skills, the extent of law-abidingness, the stability of family relations, the attachment to the work force, and the like. This disparity in human development is, as a historical matter, rooted in political, economic, social, and cultural factors peculiar to this society and reflective of its unlovely racial history: it is a societal, not communal or personal, achievement. At the level of the individual case we must, of course, act as if this were not so. There could be no law, no civilization, without the imputation to particular persons of responsibility for their wrongful acts. But the sum of a million cases, each one rightly judged on its merits to be individually fair, may nevertheless constitute a great historic wrong. The state does not only deal with individual cases. It also makes policies in the aggregate, and the consequences of these policies are more or less knowable. And who can honestly say—who can look in the mirror and say with a straight face—that we now have laws and policies that we would endorse if we did not know our own situation and genuinely considered the possibility that we might be the least advantaged?

Even if the current racial disparity in punishment in our country gave evidence of no overt racial discrimination—and, perhaps needless to say, I view that as a wildly optimistic supposition—it would still be true that powerful forces are at work to perpetuate the consequences of a universally acknowledged wrongful past. This is in the first instance a matter of interpretation—of the narrative overlay that we impose upon the facts.

The tacit association in the American public’s imagination of “blackness” with “unworthiness” or “dangerousness” has obscured a fundamental ethical point about responsibility, both collective and individual, and promoted essentialist causal misattributions: when confronted by the facts of racially disparate achievement, racially disproportionate crime rates, and racially unequal school achievement, observers will have difficulty identifying with the plight of a group of people whom they (mistakenly) think are simply “reaping what they have sown.” Thus, the enormous racial disparity in the imposition of social exclusion, civic ex-communication, and lifelong disgrace has come to seem legitimate, even necessary: we fail to see how our failures as a collective body are implicated in this disparity. We shift all the responsibility onto their shoulders, only by irresponsibly—indeed, immorally—denying our own. And yet, this entire dynamic has its roots in past unjust acts that were perpetrated on the basis of race.

Given our history, producing a racially defined nether caste through the ostensibly neutral application of law should be profoundly offensive to our ethical sensibilities—to the principles we proudly assert as our own. Mass incarceration has now become a principal vehicle for the reproduction of racial hierarchy in our society. Our country’s policymakers need to do something about it. And all of us are ultimately responsible for making sure that they do.

Glenn C. Loury is the author of The Anatomy of Racial Inequality.
Originally published in the July/August 2007 issue of Boston Review.

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Copyright Boston Review, 1993–2007.
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49 comments

7 Aug 2007 @ 00:50 by vaxen : ☻
☻☻☻  


7 Aug 2007 @ 01:07 by a-d : See, JAzzo,
I personally believe it to be a serious misnomer to even talk about RACES! There are only FOUR RACES on Earth!.... the rest is just mixtures in different proportions of bio-matter which is itself has absolutely NO MEANING AT ALL! It is the Cultural, hence Creative IDENTITY = of each human that carries much more weight.YET even so; MOST WEIGHT IS CARRIED by a person's CONSCIOUSNESS/ Vibration/frequency, which is a 100% COSMIC THING!!! You have ALWAYS all the different vibrations/human consciousness frequencies represented in ALL Bio- Matter and ALL CULTURAL Identities!
This is why for instance "Fundamentalists" of one (World)Religion (Psychology) is as far as energy processes goes, almost carbon copies of another World Religion Fundamentalism! The differences from one fundamentalism to another is marginal and almost unfailingly only "skin deep"; about Tradition/al Events that demand Celebration/s-Rituals, particular to the Event; all "Socio History", whether real or fabricated (to build up some Identity to be proud of Ancestors!)
Based on my description of frequencies being the determining factor of "likeness" we can see "How and "why" Good People and Bad People , so to speak, are always found in ALL groups of people! LIKE -Mindedness is what will continue to to be the foundation of Community building ever more, for every passing day. At first glance such a community might not appear "made up of One" but indeed they are!... of ONE (given kind of )"Spirit" = consciousness = co-creativity (with Universe; hence also with each other. ) Origin of Country, religion, "race" etc are ( becoming ever more) MUTE POINTS! and THIS is what will be happening in ever wider scale!
{link:http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=6625296}

NO One "race" or Nation or anything of the tangible world, is made up of only one kind; for instance of only "Bad People" while another would be "Only Good Ones"!.... That is a misnomer! Granted, there are groups that have very strong/great nr of one kind within itself and less of the rest. But even from/among these groups the transformation will occur -one person at the time, waking up to REAL Life!

*****

Interestingly, I think I am not divulging too much of a confidence to disclose Astrid was born in the Swedish-speaking area of Finland.

---jazzo  



7 Aug 2007 @ 03:32 by vaxen : ☺
◘☻◘  


7 Aug 2007 @ 20:20 by quinty : Dark times

Norman Mailer once remarked that a president can set the national mood and tenor during his time in office through the sheer force of his character. And since President Bush has brought out much that is dark in the American character I have been thinking about some of these same issues. So let me approach this from another perspective and put in my two cents worth. (Though I see now it may be a nickel’s worth since it became rather long....)

Bush, of course, is Bush. A unique individual. But I don't think the negative aspect of American life he represents is all that unusual. That it has been there, developing, for decades. And may go deep into America's past. It also reflects human nature, which, of course, is the basis for all human behavior. Though abroad it may take on a local character in America it takes on an American character: which makes historical comparisons difficult. The past never quite catches up with the modern. And human nature remains the same while costumes change.

We are at war, a war which Americans deeply feel, even though much has been made about how this war doesn’t touch many of us personally. But it is in the air, even if we may not know anyone actually affected. Or fighting abroad. And since the “war on terrorism” began on 9/11 much fear and uncertainty has grown throughout America. Once again we have a powerful “enemy.” Though, true enough, this enemy exists greatly in our imaginations: as exemplified by those who believe “if we don’t fight them there we will have to fight them here.”

All this uncertainty is founded upon the reality that terrorists may actually attack us again, inflicting great pain and harm on the nation. That reality is certainly true enough. The American right, though, has made much hay out of it, exploiting it for their own purposes, both psychological and political. For there are many on the right who believe their own fantasies. It is a dark and cruel and “evil” world they perceive indeed. And since we, you and I, may not see the world their way they tell us we are blind.

Combine this with a deep nativism, a spirit of combativeness and competition, and a small sense of sharing a “commons” with our neighbors, and we can begin to understand how many Americans see violence as a solution to our problems.

“Closure” may be another word for vindictiveness. And there are certainly many Americans who do not see the law as a barrier to blind passion or revenge. That the law’s rules should ideally lead toward fair and just resolutions. After the death penalty was found unconstitutional there was no small number of Americans who wanted to reinstate it. And, following the public will, it has been. The Supreme Court relented.

How do politicians respond to rising crime rates? Often enough by simply stiffening the sentences. Which, as we should know, is a very weak response to these large social problems. One which only brushes them off but will make the politicians appear temporarily good. They can boast how tough on crime they are the next time they run. Unfortunately, those who see violence as a solution, may buy it.

There is a dark aspect to human nature. In each country and locale it takes on a local character. Here many of us believe in rugged individualism, the free market unfettered by government control, and in the myth that each one of us can make it on his own. But on the other hand there are many millions of Americans who do not truly believe in any of this. My guess is that we are about evenly split at this time. About half the country is sympathetic to the overall economic and social goals George Bush stands for. Republicans, as we can daily see, are firm believers in the “legacy” of Ronald Reagan, which is another fiction of their own devising. But that brand of “conservatism” has deep roots in America. And not even a George Bush, with all his embarrassing failures, can discredit it: for these “conservatives” will come back at critics by saying Bush is merely “incompetent.” That his overall ideals are basically sound but that they were poorly pursued. I think much of Rudolph Giuliani’s appeal is founded upon this hope.

We are famous throughout the world for our violence. And we have a certain “Wild West” image, both romantic and cruel. How can any one of us, with any sense of national pride, admit to a European that in the United States there are states (such as Pennsylvania) where a person may enter into a bar drunk brandishing a gun? Where that “right” is firmly protected? And that wife and child beaters in many states are not barred from buying guns? Or that background checks and waiting periods are seen as an infringement on basic rights? That this “right” to keep a gun is more important to many of us than public safety?

Then there’s the question of accepting and embracing the irrational. We are flooded with this today. From Christian fundamentalists who believe the Rapture is approaching to those on the right who believe we are engaged in a great war with the Muslim world, all two billion of them. That they hope to establish a caliphate from Islamabad to Cordoba to Detroit?

And no matter how rational the rational may be there is no convincing or changing the minds of those faith-driven individuals who believe we are in a holy war against “evil.” Who believe that their reality, because it is their reality, is the sole and only shining reality: all logic be damned. And that patriotically supporting the troops means they should remain in Iraq. Whereas any child could point out to such “patriots” that this form of support only means many more Americans will be killed.

And, of course, there is our legacy of racism. Nativism is common to human nature. The Holocaust was, after all, a great ethnic cleansing. One unprecedented in size and in its bureaucratic efficiency. The twentieth century began with the Armenian genocide and ended with genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica. Today one is taking place in Darfur and the Israelis are performing their own ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Tribalism, or a simple greedy need to steel another person’s land and property, seem to run deep in human nature. Sometimes it is called “manifest destiny” or “the white man’s burden.” For of course there’s always a justification. We did it to the Indians: as well as to the Japanese and Chinese and others. We still live with the legacy of African slavery. And those who are “others,” unlike us, if they are powerless, face the danger of some day becoming ostracized: set apart. Racists often hate large cities for their tolerance and urbanity. And the smell of poverty and the ghetto makes those who have it easy candidates for jail.

The problems behind poverty and racism may seem too great and large for us to deal with them. When a man knocks over a liquor store the police do not ask if he grew up in poverty and squalor. Sometimes the courts attempt to consider that. But the depths of the sociological roots of crime are so deep they are not often taken into account. It is a lot easier to throw such persons into jail. And when there is no national will to understand or change our world, our society, then prison sentences merely become longer, more jails are built, and most of us hope never to smell or see the squalor in the slum nearby. If you have ever traveled through America you will see much poverty next to much great wealth. Only John Edwards, among the Democrats, appears truly concerned with the issues of poverty. Maybe I’ll vote for him, though I still haven’t made up my mind.  



7 Aug 2007 @ 21:34 by vaxen : ♠♠♠
♠☻♂  


7 Aug 2007 @ 23:29 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Marie Antoinette?

Calm down Vax. The next time she and I have a party you'll be invited.....  



8 Aug 2007 @ 03:22 by vaxen : ♣♣♣
☺☻|Ö  


8 Aug 2007 @ 08:33 by vaxen : ►:)
◘X◘  


8 Aug 2007 @ 14:45 by vaxen : dz☺
☻☺☻  


9 Aug 2007 @ 08:11 by jazzolog : The Painter
I'll invite the preceding writer to check the title of the illustrating painting again. Gilbert Gaul's work generally depicted scenes of American military involvement during the period of the Civil War and Western "settlement." I do not know the details of his life and therefore can't say whether or not historical figures are shown. Born in New Jersey, he moved to Tennessee when he inherited property there. He appears to have become interested in Native Americans and paints them sympathetically, if not romantically. A short bio is here http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=G005 and these are more of his paintings http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/by_artist.php?id=569&msg=new .

I think probably there're 2 g's in "scumbaggian," Vax. :-)
"Skills for a global mission: Culture and Language Center’s goal is training airmen to work anywhere
"... The American military’s shortcomings in cultural expertise became apparent shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Henk said, and leaders of all the branches began looking at ways to solve the problem.
"Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley has frequently commented on the need for airmen to be better equipped with language and cultural skills, and he ordered Air University to explore how to incorporate those skills into professional military education.
"The Culture and Language Center at Air University stood up last April to undertake that task."
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awchome.htm  



9 Aug 2007 @ 23:21 by quinty : Well
when Marie Antoinette and Buffalo Bill Cody meet I'm sure the American taxpayer mother f....ers will gladly foot the bill. That being, I suppose, all of us: you and I included if you happen to be an American of European descent. Since Vax appears to be rather sweeping in his comments. Though by now the guilt must be cross ethnic and interracial since so many backgrounds and races have taken root here. The original landed deed holding natives being screwed by the immense melting pot which fell on their heads. (If you’ll forgive the mixed metaphors? Who made that literary rule anyway?)

But I have to be careful what I say for other reasons too. For if I don’t emphasize that the Native Americans were “hurled into the “stinkpits of death’s machinations” Vax will immediately remind us. And he will do so even if I have just emphatically finished saying they were hurled into those stinkpits. But then, Vax may add, what else can you expect from a “scullery rat?”

What irks me, frankly, is that I could call a tomato round and red and Vax will then squash the tomato in my face for not seeing it is round and red. Also, the sweeping character and violence of all these generalizations - are we ALL really mother f’ers? Each and everyone one of us personally responsible for the “hideous Americanscumbag nightmare?”

Gee, and I thought that being an unabashed basic Bush basher was bad enough? Attempting, however feebly, to understand my land which, somehow, seems attached to our overall human destiny, with its soaring technology. I at least have no real sense of national pride for being “#1.” We are not even #1 in too many important areas: in healthcare, for example, we only rank #27 among all the industrialized “advanced” nations of the world. What’s more, I have always thought I am somewhat immune to jingo pride. Perhaps that’s merely the arrogance of an American, believing one can see, even an American, through the overall bull c.... And hope for better.

There are cultures in the world which are superior to ours. To believe your own postage stamp sized tiny neck of the woods, as many people do (and all over the world) is the center of the universe is foolish. And that would be even true of “New York provincials” as Ken Larson once wittily called us.

To digress..... A new book was published recently by a “liberal” Harvard sociologist who claims ethnic “diversity” hampers our sense of local “community.” Perhaps the media covering this is being merely superficial once again but I can point out many other reasons why there may be a narrow sense of local community in many towns in America, but not in the abstract. That abstract being that proud generalization firmly behind every vigorously waved flag.

But please don’t blame the immigrants for whatever lagging active community life there may be out there. What’s more, the everyday cultural/community many of these immigrants left behind is often superior to ours. Not only did they have it but it was considerably richer. Even third and fourth generation Italians today are sometimes nostalgic for the “old country.” In the great cities of Europe people still walk around - look at what they have to look at! What they have to see and do! These are not cities which were meant for a confined citizenry merely sitting at home watching TV throughout the day because there is nothing else to do: unlike our American suburbs. Where people travel far to get to work or to even buy a bag of groceries. And if they do go out at night it’s often to walk their dog. No, if Americans have a flagging sense of community life don’t blame it on new immigrants arriving here. I see that the Associated Press, via Common Dreams, claims whites are now a minority in 1 out ever 10 US cities. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/08/09/3072/ And what if they are? Desiring to keep the world like the one you originally knew as you found it, when you were young, is understandable. But inflicting pain and hurting others to do so is quite selfish and reprehensible: and, unfortunately, all too common. We should all recognize change is inevitable.  



10 Aug 2007 @ 01:40 by vaxen : ☺
☻  


10 Aug 2007 @ 13:31 by jazzolog : The Title, Sir
I'm not sure from Vax' comment whether or not he found the title of this entry's painting. I almost always give illustration credit following 3 quotations. That usually renders the credit running across the 2nd page (where these comments are) right under the picture. That is the case here.

However, I am aware readers are pressed for time. More than once it has occurred to me at NCN comments sometimes do not reflect comprehension in the slightest. In fact, most of the flame wars in here, according to Mr. Funch, have happened because of verbal misunderstanding. Many people think of me as the NCN grammarian, and I'm proud of it. I once saw 3 million dollars wasted on an industrial assembly line because of a poorly worded memo.

So, I will write the painting title again, just so we're all on the--er---same page. It is called The Indian Prisoner. The guy with the feathers stands there like that because he hopes he is prepared for a little good old American interrogation.  



10 Aug 2007 @ 15:26 by vaxen : ↓
→  


10 Aug 2007 @ 18:12 by jazzolog : Whose Grammar Are You Calling Relative?
She's MY relative I'll thank you to remember. Grammar Ada loved me above all others, and died at aged 93. I'll not have her sullied thus!

Gee, we used to sing and dance at NCN all the time, remember Vax? Before that bevy of ladies departed en masse? O to mess around with Scotty on such a hot afternoon! A song? How about a sweet Appalachian ditty like My Precious Old Dad?  



10 Aug 2007 @ 18:38 by vaxen : ☻♠☻
☺☺▬☻☻  


10 Aug 2007 @ 19:03 by jazzolog : Into The Bathtub
Can we blame him? In this heat, what's a guy to do but climb into a tub full of gin?

Actually we're shivering up here with temps in the upper 80s. Gad man, I had to cover the tomatoes! Brrrrr, frosty!

Shouldn't we figure this out in Celsius for the rest of the known world? Damned Yanks! Total chauvanist pigs!

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-08/09/xinsrc_0720804100137531289834.jpg

Our guy before the press yesterday.  



10 Aug 2007 @ 20:29 by vaxen : §
§  


10 Aug 2007 @ 22:52 by quinty : Not all lawyers (re Vax’s comments)
are crooks.

I knew one once who worked in a top San Francisco law firm, on Montgomery Street, on turf Vax would love where the American imperium crosses paths with the American emporium. (Or something like that.)

This lovely lady (and she was ) was required by her colleagues in this prestigious law firm to cook the billing books by adding numerous imaginary hours. She became so disgusted with this and other similar practices that she finally left the profession entirely, becoming - Yes! - a librarian.

As a matter of fact there were other former lawyers, one from Harvard, in my library who left the profession to become librarians, seeking the serene and peaceful life.

Ha ha, I can hear Vax cynically laughing. They all belatedly discovered you can’t escape human nature. Not even within the hush of a large public library. But as “idealists” I honored them all, and became friends with the three I knew and worked with.

Oh, one more anecdote. The woman I described above eventually went to work at another downtown law firm as its head librarian. But on one condition. That she wouldn't have to have any personal contact with any of the lawyers at all.  



11 Aug 2007 @ 00:40 by vaxen : Le Boeuf...
is where I'd sometimes eat, down Montgomery Street way. There were lots of little bar cum restaurants where I'd also while the afternoons away meeting pretty young lawyers. The financial district. Your're right, quinty, loved the place. Was working for Aliotto, consulting, getting ghetto kids into job programs (cutting brush etc.,) they absolutely detested.

Started a program called 'Job Generation', for the Student League of San Francisco, where Daniel Koshland, president of Levi Strauss and Steven Zellerbach, Crown Zellerbach corporation, initiated me into the wiles of corporate culture.

Helped get wayward Brits back into the mainstream and spent a lot of time on Mount Tamalpais meditating. Those were the days for sure. Must be lots different now.

I don't hate lawyers at all. I've had some really sharp, nice, cookies---on many a hit team. I like to associate with people who can, at least, think...and I've met quite a few lawyers who've certainly helped save my butt on numerous occasions round the horn, so to speak.

I like librarians too. Strange you should mention that...was she a blond, by any chance? Once past the facade they are just human after all... ;)

Thanks for the anecdotal reminiscences quinty san. I do miss Montgomery street and the general surround. Close to Washington Square, China Town, and to some really good Phillipino Restaurants where, I presume, one can still order Pansit, Inihau Baboy, and Dinaguang and chase it all down with some beer from Manilla or Asahi from Japan.

Yeah, San Francisco is my favorite city in all this dusty old world...now ya got me wantin to pack up my bags and head out west! ;)  



11 Aug 2007 @ 01:49 by a-d : Heyy, Vax,
be sure to wear some Flowers in your Hair when you arrive there! ; ) I just HAD to! hehehe... *!*  


11 Aug 2007 @ 17:22 by quinty : She certainly was a blond,
short cropped with dark copper streaks: about five three or four, extremely slender. A grad from Golden Gate Law School.

A woman with a great deal of integrity who became genuinely disgusted by any mean and stupid behavior. Who had a conscience. Her name was Sara - could it be possible you may have known her? She left both the law and librarianship entirely and with a guy about ten years younger - whom she eventually married - started buying up houses, fixing them and selling them. Work she loved which provided her with independence. For she was a very independent type who felt confined within an office. And she restored these houses beautifully.

There's a former university administrator and full professor here in Providence who does carpentry. Ah to find the work you were meant for, and to be able to to do it and survive. Work which you love. Moloch as capitalism. Capitalism as Moloch. There have been many casualties and some question if nine to five isn't a form of imprisonment? With a boss you hate, it certainly can be.

I found Montgomery Street and the Financial District, not to mention Chinatown and North Beach nearby, fascinating. The way the light would sometimes fall on Montgomery, the shadows on the old beautiful buildings (before they were torn down for modern skyscrapers) and the mood it all created. And then there would be the fog as night fell creeping over Nob and Russian Hills. Always delightful.

Yes, I loved Filipino food too. There was this hole in the wall on Jackson, just off Kearney, where you could get the most delicious boiled beef for just a buck or two. And then there was the Woey Loey Goy where after the bars closed you could get Chinese style roast pork and rice and cabbage. Delicious. All the Grant Avenue beats, poets, whores, drunks, artists and hustlers hung out there. And what a delight Grant Avenue would be late at night when the street was empty but all the shops were still lit up. This was about thirty years ago before San Francisco became spoiled, full of itself, exhausted and worn from exploitation, overrun with homeless, squalid, expensive, rapacious, and in many ways cold. I still love the city, but it ain’t what it used to be. And ghosts can’t be made to materialize through doors.

Sorry Richard to freely reminisce on your site.  



12 Aug 2007 @ 13:10 by vaxen : ☻☻☻
☻  


12 Aug 2007 @ 15:13 by a-d : Some GREAT Reading here, Jazzo!
Thanks for your very well written 'Comment' "Welcome To 1929" -and the comments following it.
Here is an article, I think, all thinking people would have interest in knowing about: [ http://www.rense.com/general77/reviewing.htm ]  



12 Aug 2007 @ 17:02 by vaxen : ╘╘
╙☻  


12 Aug 2007 @ 17:41 by a-d : Vaxen,vaxen!....
... I do appreciate your kindness and willingness to be of assistance ALWAYS!... That is "Who" you are; a generous, loving human, who loves to share & help, but you seem to jump into hastened conclusions and you like to THINK for others a liiiittle too much for your own good! : )...

I REALLY DO THINK Jazzo'z comment "...1929" and the comments following, yours included, are VERY WORTHWHILE Comments! Don't try to correct me on that one! Please, please, Honey Darling! Take a deep breath and relax, eh? : ) Luvya!

And to us all: I really do think that America's greatness still lies ahead of us and is (still) to come!.... but NOT thanks to "White Man's Visit" here!... but for .... well.... U be the Judge!... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKVRW5L50TA&mode=related&search=

I have much more on the subject for anyone truly interested to know the (future) TRUTH /the Future and Its Truth!... : ) Peace!  



12 Aug 2007 @ 18:46 by vaxen : ♠►
►☻►  


13 Aug 2007 @ 16:59 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Speaking of America's greatness...

The UK's Guardian is reporting the US is number 42 in life expectancy. (This can be found in today's Common Dreams.) And a commentator remarks that Reporters Without Borders ranks the US 52 in world press freedom. (I see no reason not to believe this.)

Now, I know. I know. I'm a negative guy with a bad attitude. A mere unabashed Bush basher who "hates America." And surely must gloat over these figures, which, after all, come from "unAmerican" sources. Foreigners most likely. Maybe even the French?!!!

But if we could get our heads out of our a..es then maybe things could begin to change around here!  



13 Aug 2007 @ 18:32 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Yop

I began to worry and double checked Reporters Without Frontiers website and they rank the US number 53 (An insignificant error of one) on their Worldwide Press Freedom Index.

http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=639

Now what kind of organization is Reporters Without Frontiers? Are they the independent public spirited honest muck rakiing outfit they appear to be? Their list though is convincing. The Netherlands and Scandinavia being at the top. And the US has most certainly been bottom feeding in recent years with advanced corporitization of the news media: Paris Hilton on CNN and widespread rightwing boilerplate on the radio nationwide.  



13 Aug 2007 @ 20:04 by a-d : Here's another way
to put forth the "Vindictive"-Idea!... Corporatism being most heavily promoted by American Gov as the Hench-Man ( for those INTERNATIONAL Bankster Gangsters. Read: SELFISH PRICKS)with their GOD at the reigns
http://www.rense.com/general77/POWERS.HTM

Americas Greatness will be -and is indeed already- put forth and being spread by the Message broadcasted by Its Natives!...the Ones the "White Man" chose to slaughter to almost extinction to get SPACE ENOUGH to promote this Corporatism that is -ONCE AGAIN- literally choking ALL life into extinction -unless we join hands with America's Natives and DO something very drastic!!
See my latest post on my blog right now: " Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and check out the links I gave!

Now, does our AWARENESS of our consciousness/CREATIVITY have any greater significance at all to HOW we conduct our lives????
[ http://www.geocities.com/peaceoutreach/Welcome.html ]
[ http://www.hn.se/sommar/m_bild2.php?avdelning_1=185&avdelning_2=366& ] klick on the pics -to see them a little "sharper"

You guys be the judge! Let me know what you think of the two kinds of pics, aye?!

Yesterday I found these two little texts among my "Interesting Thoughts, Worth To Ponder"-collection. To me they both speak the TRUTH:

"From the Divine point of view, there is no Buddhism, no Christianity, no Islam, no Judaism; there is only Unity manifested in the multitude! "

In other words: we should stop people do atrocities in the "Name" of this religion or that!....

This is what I can't wait for people to start realizing ( the significance of ) this: "you need to break that mental block in your head which prevents you from treating authority figures in a disrespectful way. Once you've done that, the rest is cake. As soon as a majority are able to look a Priest or Mullah or Rabbi or Cop or President in the eye and tell them to fuck off and die, we'll put an end to the misery imposed on us by monotheism. All it takes is a little backbone and determination not to be ruled by fear any longer. In other words, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, AND YOUR POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD, instead of fooling yourself into thinking that we can all just get along, because we can't. Not when there are 1.5 billion people on this planet, in control of vast amounts of weapons of mass destruction, whose belief system is completely centered around lying, theft, rape, and genocide.
Either we disempower them now by getting politically active and by using aggressive in-your-face tactics which push them into the fringes of society, or they WILL disempower your right to choose, or your children's right to an unmolested brain, in the very near future. It's of the utmost importance that we act BEFORE Cognition altering technologies become a reality, because sticking our head in the sand and tolerating monotheistic ignorance for another generation may well be the last big mistake we ever make."  



14 Aug 2007 @ 01:34 by vaxen : White man?
Try multinational. Not all the people that 'put' this nation state together were 'White!' The so called 'natives,' cf., the Book of Hopi, were just as bad and, to top matters off, came up from South America to escape their 'warring states' period and destroyed the life out of the people that were here...so called WHITE WO/MEN!

This old world has spun the gamut more than one time around, you know. It isn't corporations and bankers, per se, that are the problem but rather corruption in high places!

I opt for open source intelligence, a shared world, the end to or at least control of corrupting elements that vie for so called profits.

Corrupt Congress and corrupt corporations 'spell' anethema for every body.

Stop blaming the 'white man!' There is NO SUCH THING! Want real corruption? Go to Africa! It was corrupt long before Cecil Rhodes got there...check out the history of the Yoruba and enough of mythic idolization of any one of mankinds' many tribes.

This site has plenty of real time info invested by real time people of all colors and persuasions. Opt for what is good in humanitys' heart and slowly that which is bad will change. Go here and study, study, study:

http://www.oss.net/  



15 Aug 2007 @ 16:51 by quinty : White Man beware

Hah! I remember this guy (white Jewish and a graduate of Columbia University) who happened to be lower on the overall food chain than me at the SF Public Library one day up and called me "White man."

I never became so furious in my life. (Me? After all the fights I fought?)

I suppose much of this sweeping blame could be called the modern version of the "white man's burden." But beware of anyone who prefaces his remarks by informing you he is free of "PC." This usually means something racist, sexist, homophobic, or just plain stupid and cruel is on the way. That such delicate advanced “liberal” considerations have had no effect on his his hard headed mind. No liberal PC cliches hindering him from seeing the ancient truths: that gays are fxxxots, blacks nxxxxxs, and Chinese chxxxs. (Fill in your own blank.)

Yeah, the ‘injun ain't no more better than the white man, that's for sure. Nor is the black or the yellow. We are all in the same miserable sump. If human nature had been woven by our Creator into a purely friendly, life affirming peace loving joyous and positive nature we wouldn't constantly be looking behind our backs. Or imagining spooks there. And we could stand together against the genuine spirits of the night.

The blame spreads far around. We are all smitten. Some of us individually - race, nationality, and ethnic origin aside - may be a little kinder and gentler. But the problem is human, not tribal. As Pogo said: “We have met the enemy and it is us."

Put that on the courthouse wall. And please keep the Ten Commandments in your own vault or church’s walls. That is if you happen to be a Christian fundamentalist out for blood?  



15 Aug 2007 @ 20:29 by vaxen : Yahu!
"If human nature had been woven by our Creator into a purely friendly, life affirming peace loving joyous and positive nature we wouldn't constantly be looking behind our backs. Or imagining spooks there. And we could stand together against the genuine spirits of the night." --- Quinty-mus Maximus

I'm awake in a dream! I love that except for the part about our creator. But I'll let that slide quinty san.

Pre Clear, Politically Correct, Personal Computer... Hubbard, Politicks and Billy Gates all in one sentence. I can't be all that bad, for a white man with a big schnozz. ;)

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/  



15 Aug 2007 @ 20:32 by jazzolog : About Paul
Sorry for not being around as much as I'd like. Immense family happenings. An entry to follow about it all. AND, last week-or-so before return-to-the-grindstone.

Don't let him fool you: Paul is the whitest Spaniard you ever saw. He even got us a clean tablecloth in Spanish Harlem! ;-)  



15 Aug 2007 @ 22:56 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Thanks gents...

And what are the "spirits of the night?" Disease, hunger, ignorance, natural disasters, pain, storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, early death, sighs (as a poet said) tears and others.....

None of which can match what we create for ourselves.  



16 Aug 2007 @ 04:07 by a-d : Is this

http://www.rense.com/general77/fful.htm Good News -or is it Bad News. Jazz -or Anybody?  



16 Aug 2007 @ 06:41 by vaxen : neti neti
"Expect big changes this autumn," he said in comments confirmed by a member of the Japanese royal family. "What you will be seeing is the unwinding of George Bush, senior's 50-year campaign to turn the U.S. into a fascist regime," the secret police agent says. "George Bush senior is now a broken man showing signs of senile dementia," he adds. "They [The illuminati] know their rule is ending but they do not want it to end in an ugly way," the security police source says.

and

Despite the positive developments, the biggest worry is all the public hints about a new "terrorist attack" on the U.S. to be used as an excuse to trigger martial law. However, such an attack at this time "would fool nobody," the sources said. Many U.S. citizens might be fooled but no other government in the world would believe it. "The secret government knows they cannot use their old tricks anymore."

and

At the same time, an anti-Rothschild alliance has been formed in Tokyo. They warn that the entire Bush regime was probably set up as a "bad cop" to scare people in the arms of the EU "good cop." They say there may be other surprises, possibly including a fake UFO invasion that Henry Kissinger* hinted at during the 1991 Bilderberg meeting. "We will have to look at least four or five steps ahead in order to keep on top of these people," the alliance says.

lots of fun...

The anti-Rothschild alliance, (with the discreet backing of the Chinese secret societies), will be contacting leaders of Russia, China, India, the Muslim countries, South America, Africa, etc. to create a global alliance that will demand a new way of running the planet.

so there ya go...

The world's financial system will also have to be replaced with a more transparent and equitable system that relies on more than simple human greed as the main incentive for transactions.

Once this is done, a three-year campaign against the five curses of humanity: war, poverty, environmental destruction, ignorance and disease could be carried out. This could be a test case for replacing the Hegelian system of pitting opposite forces against each other in war with a system for people to compete towards agreed upon peaceful goals.

must be the green dragons are finally getting...
well, you know...
but...

secret is secret and secret is not the way-
more wielding of hearts and souls for profit-
the usa has relied on japanese and chinese-
central banks to support the so called war-
in iraq and without it i'm sure they'll-
just print up some more funny-fiat...

money, money, money,
it's a rich mans' world.

the yakuza do have scalar weapons tech.
so witness the recent killer heat-
waves across the south...
not that they are behind it...
oh no.

wonder what komeito is up to?
they've a huge diet in-
the japanese parliament...

maybe its' all those chinese babies-
that they've been eating for lunch?

secrets that aren't secret are not secret...
and what is secret anymore?
everything is out on the table but...
threats and saber rattling can only bring us closer-
to the edge of total annihilation-oblivion...

sweet dreams of rockets red glare,
and bombs bursting in air,
and charred human flesh,
smells so good in the dump...
yum!

http://www.rense.com/general77/POWERS.HTM

Do ya know about Fritz?
He is in jail on trumped up charges.
Gee, I wonder why? And...
So; what else is new?

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda...

http://www.rense.com/1.imagesH/sarah_silverman_backside-1.jpg

Sara Silverman. The caption?

"Because it's funny when Jews do it."

In the scent of gas fumes,
Ah! the sun disappears---
American mountain path.

OSS RA  



17 Aug 2007 @ 07:57 by vaxen : Snap, krackle, pop...
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory’,” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t-- till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean-- neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-- that’s all.”

The Book:

http://www.losthorizons.com/Cracking_the_Code.htm

The CD:

http://www.losthorizons.com/comment/tax_connections.htm

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More Victories:

http://www.losthorizons.com/tax/MoreVictories.htm

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Upholding the Law:

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Order all three: What I need:

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17 Aug 2007 @ 22:00 by a-d : FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY when JEWS do it!....

http://www.rense.com/general77/because.htm
More Funny Stuff:
http://www.nineveh.com/whoarewe.htm
{link:http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/one-world-or-none.htm}
http://www.culturewars.com/2003/RevolutionaryJew.html
{link:http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/index.html}

{LINK:http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/zoroaster-judaism.html} /// read this IF you want to truly grasp why Iraq and Iran are such Popular places today!....

http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/zioncom.html to shead some more light into the 6000 year long/THICK darkness!
http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/lilienthal.html

{link:http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/religion.html} ; In order to understand the POLITICAL GAME of TODAY a little better -and I mean it!!


ONLY ONE "religion" promotes -no, DEMANDS- the group to SYSTEMATIC subjucation of all people who don't belong to the group of "CHOSEN Ones" through violence or -the option- : ANNIHILATING them entirely! Now, what kind of religion/PSYCHOLOGY is that?????... aaaahh... very healthy psyche in humans who truly love Life/"G-d" !....Mmmmmm..... Quite FUNNY!!!

FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY when the Jews do it!...will it continue to be funny the day the -EQUALIZING- repercussion will occur?????

You know, as well as I, what the remedy is: EXPOSE ALL the LIES & "Other" "CONCOCTIONS".

I wish I knew who stated this: "From the Divine point of view, there is no Buddhism, no Christianity, no Islam; there is only Unity manifested in the multitude! "
"you need to break that mental block in your head which prevents you from treating authority figures in a disrespectful way. Once you've done that, the rest is cake. As soon as a majority are able to look a Priest or Mullah or Rabbi or Cop or President in the eye and tell them to f**k off and die, we'll put an end to the misery imposed on us by monotheism. All it takes is a little backbone and determination not to be ruled by fear any longer. In other words, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, AND YOUR POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD, instead of fooling yourself into thinking that we can all just get along, because we can't. Not when there are 1.5 billion people on this planet, in control of vast amounts of weapons of mass destruction, whose belief system is completely centered around lying, theft, rape, and genocide.
Either we disempower them now by getting politically active and by using aggressive in-your-face tactics which push them into the fringes of society, or they WILL disempower your right to choose, or your children's right to an unmolested brain, in the very near future. It's of the utmost importance that we act BEFORE Cognition altering technologies become a reality, because sticking our head in the sand and tolerating monotheistic ignorance for another generation may well be the last big mistake we ever make."

 



17 Aug 2007 @ 22:26 by a-d : Got this from Adi today!....
... leave it to Adi!... : )
http://theshiftmovie.com/

...and this is at the other end of the spectrum... more like: "America The Vindictive" ; )
[ http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/08/17/opinion/edvarzi.php ]  



19 Aug 2007 @ 17:34 by vaxen : Yeah...
I see jazzo has moved on to more 'fertile' territory. Oh well. Marriage should be between two consenting adults not a certificate from the state claiming ownership of said couple. But, there ya go...people love slavery. Adios chiquita. Schoene Danke Por Le linkage.
Engage!
Be 'it' so...  



19 Aug 2007 @ 18:59 by jazzolog : Yes
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Other entries in
4 Jan 2009 @ 11:04: Pray For George Bush
5 Aug 2008 @ 19:24: A Shocking Indictment
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2 Feb 2008 @ 12:59: The Tough One: Population
20 Nov 2007 @ 02:23: Who Will Be US President In 2015?
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4 Feb 2007 @ 06:50: Government For Sale
13 Nov 2006 @ 10:58: Now What!
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