#WellsFargo vs. John Q. Public

The biggest blight on the Obama administration has to be its reticence to prosecute crimes within the financial industry, as well as those committed under the auspices of National Security, specifically both Wall Street and the CIA. The failure to act in both realms will undoubtedly lead to future crimes and further weaken the foundation of our legal system. Society will grow accustomed to ideas like “too big to fail” and “bad things happen in war,” thereby codifying injurious precedents, emboldening future criminal behavior by those in power while concurrently amplifying the meeting out of justice upon the poor, less fortunate and powerless across society.

For example, the current investigation into nefarious practices at Wells Fargo Bank, obviously criminal in nature, revealing heavy consequences -though not criminal consequences?- to low-level employees, while execs, shareholders and Wall Street reap significant financial rewards. In a sane and healthy legal environment, the executives and upper management who promoted, permitted and were financially rewarded for these fraudulent practices would not only face forfeiture of profits, additionally, they would face prosecution. The current environment in banking is absurd and will eventually lead to cataclysmic failure, once again leading to great suffering by a public too uninformed to demand appropriate change, resetting the mad cycle once again, until some point, like a financial “event horizon,” after which the entire system imploded.

But what really infuriates me is the lacking sense of incredibility by the mainstream media in reporting these crimes. Sure, programs like PBS Frontline and newspapers like the New York Times continue to do impeccable work exposing the corruption, nevertheless, John Q Public generally requires a more loquacious accounting. Nightly news programs for instance, should produce condensed versions of the stories including, most importantly, how the malfeasance and/or criminal behavior will, or has, affected their lives. It’s not that most American’s are lacking the intelligence to consume an hour of Frontline, rather, in most cases, American’s most affected don’t have the time with all the external pressures modern life continues to exert.

When it comes to corruption in government, from the Executive Branch interpreting law to increase its power, the Deep State covertly making a mockery of our 4th Amendment rights or the CIA extra-judiciously operating “Black Site” prisons within which they can operate far from Constitutional Law, using so-called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, otherwise known as medieval torture, not dissimilar to a petty criminal who evades prosecution, these powerful agencies and the employees within, will reengaged in these despicable practices without fear of reprisal upon the next emergency, value or not. The cost to the general public goes unnoticed for a time. Eventually though, the bill comes due in the form of “blowback,” to which the public cannot ascribe cause and effect. Examples include the death of American Diplomats in Benghazi Libya, to suicide bombings killing hundreds of Marines in Beirut, to the mass shooting at Ft. Hood, to the Boston Bombings, to even the 9/11 attacks themselves, all the result of “blowback” [payback] for United States foreign policy that in many cases included torture, rendition, or occupying sovereign lands, not to mention support validating Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people. These policies, some deemed legal, many not, whether you agree or not, are carried out in the name of all American’s.

My point being: How much and for how long will the greater American public continue to accept the indemnified behavior and actions by Wall Street bankers and public servants operating within the National Security State before we/they have had enough? Will it take a “Great Depression,” a wider war requiring the reconstituting of the Military Draft, or some other epic event to awaken the masses to the wanton criminality that caused it?

There has always been 2 Americas. It’s been a long time, however, since the gulf in the divide has been so wide, or so deep. How far will it stretch before finally fracturing and snapping back together?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POST #JUSTICE #SOCIETY

Before I dig into the outrageous matter that is our never-ending 15 year state of war, I’d like to ask a simple question…Is there no limit to the lawlessness permeating the elite stratus of post 20th Century America?  From Wall Street to Washington DC, it’s become a simple rule of fact that the rich and powerful among us ascribe to a separate book of laws; invisible, classified or secret laws that shield those with wealth and status from criminal indictment and prosecution, and if the law is brought to bear at all, civil judgments are rendered as tax deductable fines, without admission of guilt. Look no further than the Hillary Clinton private server investigation. With regular folk, they’d make you prove your innocense rather than the other way around. Don’t believe me? Look into the Bill Binny case and the NSA. All they found was a single page on his personal computer that was classified AFTER he left the agency and was charged because they thought he was leaking to the press. Binny, although a dutiful long term employee and Veteran never got the due dillegence Clinton received. Or when Trump is looking at a major lawsuit in Florida, the case is not picked up after an illegal contribution to the AG’s campaign comittee. No problem on either front I guess? Over the course of 15 years, admitted war crimes such as torture and massive financial crimes that continue today, are somehow blanketed in indemnity by those in power without even the slightest sense of caution for precedent and the future it portends. If no punishment results from blatant criminality, the chances of repeated behavior is compulsory. There was a time in this country when there was at least the illusion of justice. Today what we see is a nation that punishes the poor and indigent to the extreme while simultaneously kissing the ring of those “too big to fail -jail-.” How long can this charade go on before the peasants recall their ante? How long can the mystical illusion of freedom and equality keep hold of the masses? In my opinion, the levee will breach the moment those who considered themselves part of the middle class, deserved of the “American Dream,” discover that they too have been swallowed by the invisible power. The dam will break the day white privilege no longer has the strength to compete with those who own the state. That time when those who looked upon the ghetto’s and inner city populations realize that they’ve been manipulated into their own newer, modern, yet similar ghetto, stripped of the rights we all take for granted. We’re accustomed to the plight of minorities in the justice system. A system that treats you better if you are guilty and wealthy than it does if you’re poor and innocent. Bit by bit, Democracy in the United States is being neutered by the influence of dark money in massive quantities.

You may think I am some kind of nut-job after reading this? That I’m making a mountain out of a molehill? I just ask you to think about what I’m saying. Think about the 2008 financial crisis and the complete lack of accountability involved. Something like 14 trillion dollars all told and not even a single Wall Street banker was indicted, let alone go to jail. How is this the case unless they have become bigger than the law? And if that is the case, indeed, we have no rule of law. This isn’t conspiracy, secret squirrel stuff. It’s the facts only.

We have a prison without any due process on an island country that doesn’t recognize our claim to the land. In this prison we’ve “tortured some folks,” not to mention the many secret prisons we ran around the globe where torture was a regular tool used despite many, many laws and treaties that make these actions criminal. Period. In addition, we invaded a sovereign nation on the grounds of preemptive war. A move that’s been rightly deemed criminal throughout history by us and others until we decided to do so. I could go on, but my point is this: In the face of these facts, not one person has been held accountable, either criminally or otherwise, set aside some low ranking enlisted soldiers who were “just following orders.”

We are in a post justice world. How long will us “regular folk” accept these conditions? There will be a time, an event horizon if you will. Two simple ideas are slowing tearing us apart. 1) The rich can plunder and steal with impunity as long as they don’t steal from other rich people. 2) When our government bombs or “tortures some folks,” it is done in each and every citizens name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonprofit Corporation: Oxymoron?

If I could be granted one simple wish before leaving this world, it would be that I had somehow captured on paper the genesis of this sadness and grief I endlessly suffer. I so want to leave an expression of my frustration and guilt that one day, a long-lost friend or loved relative might read and somehow “get it,” somehow comprehend the level of internal, immutable struggle. Leaving this world behind vacant of that record, ironically, or paradoxically, as it were, bends my will ever so slightly to live, if only in hopes of discovering those words.

That conversation aside, the present nature of things, politically speaking, have sunken to depths I’d otherwise assumed impossible. Can it really be true that our, some might say, “great society” has been lost to a celebrity worshiping, dumbed down, get rich quick ethos so prevalent that a buffoon the likes of Donald Trump could actually be elected the President of the United States? Could it be that I surrendered my future to fight for an America that can name more Kardashian’s than Supreme Court justices? -a recent poll finds that 81% of Trump supporters and 65% of Clinton supporters could not name even 1 current SCOTUS judge- As a white male growing up in America, the concept of “white privilege,” in retrospect at least, was supremely evident. Yet, could I have actually brought myself to enlist in 2001 to fight for a country that is, in fact, so prejudice to nominate a man like Donald Trump as the GOP contender for POTUS? Why would anyone in their right mind volunteer to fight on behalf of a nation -at least halfway around the world- so divided at home, for the idea of another’s freedom elsewhere? 

I actually like Donald Trump. What I do not care for, what I find depressing and pernicious, is the simple fact that I fought for a country, suffered, experienced others suffering, put friends in body bags even, that considers Trump suited for the job Commander-in-Chief. Can there be anything worse on a spiritual level than to discover your sacrifices were not only unnecessary, but harmful? That this man speaks to an electorate so many have given so much to protect, is disheartening and jarring. My guilt is such that no amount of time will ever heal the burden. The realization that not only did my service harm fellow human being’s so irrevocably, but that it produced a sense of righteousness within those perpetrating the ongoing tragedy, squeezes me so tightly within, that finding air to breathe becomes ever more difficult. Not only did I temporarily prop up the madness, I lost my future to its pervasive continuance.

As a person, I don’t like Hillary Clinton. As a politician I find her deplorably acceptable in a moment of terrible strain. Unlike Trump in his role as a politician exposing the worst in our society, Hillary represents the worst of our political system at large. “Stronger Together?” Not unlike her campaign in general, her meaningless slogan represents her largest flaw, which from my perspective is: Does she want to be president because that’s what’s next, so to speak, because if I were asked, I couldn’t tell you why she wants to be the next POTUS? So Donald Trump isn’t? This truth is overlooked largely by the media, yet I believe it heavily represents her seeming inability to brush The Donald aside, as I suspect many other Democratic candidates would quite easily. Comparing herself to Trump when pressured to explain her own actions comes across as mealy-mouthed and cynical. 

There is a difference between Veteran’s of WWII and the Vietnam War. Much of that static seems to me related to the feelings of guilt and shame I, and many other War on Terror vets live with. Not only did we encounter the loss, stress, confusion and pain of war, but many of us discover the fight was fought on some big lies and manipulation. WWII Vets could/can at least find solace in the fact that their sacrifices were made for the greater good. That they suffered in truth, sacrificed in the name of justice. Sure, PTSD was common throughout the community of WWII Vets, however, the process of healing was amplified through the lens of righteousness. A simplistic opinion, maybe, but not necessarily incorrect.

I’d like to add more to this essay later, for now I must sign off and try to recollect my thoughts. But if I don’t make it back, it’s important for me to express one final thought: I don’t blame anyone for my condition, despite the possibility my words could be interpreted as so. My decision to jump into this war was made voluntarily and within the context of my historical knowledge of the world. I did it to myself….and maybe that’s what hurts the most? I wish I could take it back. I want to heal so badly. The reality is that I’m so lost, so broken and bent, that I will not. Good night- 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presidential Town Hall?

Have you watched any of the documentaries exposing the media’s neglect in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq? What seems to be clear is that much of the mainstream media has difficulty in telling the American people what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear. Anyone questioning the government was labeled “terrorist sympathizer” and quickly escorted off stage right. See, for example, Phil Donohue, who had MSNBC’s highest rated program, yet was promptly cancelled as he dared to entertain opposing opinions, suggesting the Iraq War would be a colloseul mistake. There’s no prize for being correct anymore when it comes to American foreign policy. More importantly, there is no punishment for being wrong, for even outright lying to your customers even.

I say all this in light of the so-called town hall held tonight on NBC featuring Trump and Clinton. To be most succinct: if the United States had an official State News such as that of the former Soviet Union, how little difference would there be between it and what we present as journalism today? Would an event like this be MC’d by a morning celebrity talk show host rather than an expert in the field of Veteran’s affairs and national security? Would the State run program limit the event to no more than 50 minutes total, despite the enormity of the issues being discussed?

It’s unnecessary for me to dig any deeper into an analysis of this production I witnessed tonight. The content speaks for itself. That is to say; the content was as shallow as it was Jingoistic. If we learned anything new after this hour I’ll never get back it’s this: the media treats us as if we’re stupid. The candidates treat us like we are stupid. How much further can we travel along this dodgy path before perception does indeed become reality and we are all lost?

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II – IN HIDING section a

This is the second part of a rough draft of work describing my time serving in the US Army and the life that has followed. For PART I Click Here THANK YOU!

PART II – IN HIDING

How are you supposed to react when a person you’ve known all your life says to you, in all seriousness, “we don’t even seem to know you any more?” My reaction to this honest statement of fact was to deflect, to isolate, to just run. It was just the thing I might not have done before, in a previous life, in a space prior to this mask I now wear. The words hit hard. The words hit home. The mask was ripped off like an infected scab. The illusion of my happy life had not only been unveiled, turns out, it was never there at all. It’s not being caught in a lie, rather, it’s that they all knew the mask was a lie all along. How am I supposed to face them? How do I tell them the mask is all that remains?

The clock strikes midnight as I sit here, alone, as far away from home as I’ll ever be. Light streams in through the bare glass of the four windows, east, north, west and south, on this still summer night. At this latitude the sun is like an unbalanced friend. The winter falls hard and the summer slight. I wont be able to see the stars again for what seems like months. Will I ever? Thoughts like this are safe in a place already so distant. This shell of a structure I like to call home, a space looking out in the four known directions, I often consider the trap.

There are men I used to know that seem comfortable with it all? Are they just more at ease with the mask, or was it there all along? I wish I could walk that line between the future and the past. To live in the moment, they say it’s all that there really is. This assessment of reality, in my opinion, feels completely untrue. Like faith in a God that is cool with what comes, I shudder at the thought of such acceptable evil. What I see is the past. What I feel is the future. These are the foundations of my life in atrophy. Picture an ocean as it meets the shore; look for the present, a space between the sand and the sea. Dig deeper, let the past wash away. I came home long ago, yet never was able to touch the shore.

This loss will not be calculated into the next fools war. They’ll consider the caskets and consider the gold, but what about the suffering of those with wounds down deep? It adds up to nothing in the vaults of an immoral economy, an ignorant population marches on, slaves and truants, to the master’s of war. It’s “hooray” for the flag and hell for the children, a pattern that has persisted over millennia. Our projection of evil isn’t new or even clever. Rome would conquer new lands under the guise of relieving oppression, or, even more familiar to our modern history: as a preemption to future, imminent war. Although the truth was quite evident and clear. The Roman Empire never couched their expansion as conquerors, guided by greed and tempted by glory. The PR of the ancient world is no more fresh today. “We’re Rome, we’re only here to help.”

I ask myself, did the Legionnaires of Ceaser and Crassus’ Rome suffer from guilt and shame? I find it difficult to believe this happened in any great numbers. From history it seems clear, a striking difference from that world to this is that Roman propaganda was employed upon the masses, with the troops given the truth. Conquest today is packaged the same for all, public and plebs. This hypocrisy jumped out of the shadows as we once again marched into battle. This fight was not about liberty. This new war had little to do with freedom, for the West or the Middle East. If it was a lie, it was still for; fighting on a lie.Those in the ranks who realized this first, fought both integrity and lead. Fighting on a deliberate lie, killing in the face of dishonesty, these men, us men, have gradually succumbed to this hell, our masks melting away, the conscience proceeds.

The rest of America seems to have largely moved on to new, fresh projections of fear? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WWJD

On Christmas Eve, age 11, my mom stopped me in the stairwell and said, “you know Santa isn’t real, right?” There’s so much insight to be analyzed within that proclamation, no doubt, especially since I stopped believing in Chris Kringle somewhere closer to age 5, alas, I mention it for other reasons more specific to faith and spirituality. My answer was a quick “yea yea,” the sort of answer a kid might give to questions of sex, or girlfriends and the like, when broached by otherwise well meaning parents. The question I never got around to asking her though seemed logical, possibly rude, was: “you know Jesus, the son of God at least, isn’t real either?” In my 10 year old mind, the idea of Jesus walking on water, Noah building an Archy-Archy, or Moses coming down with the Ten Commandments, were all as equally ridiculous. So yea, it’s obvious I don’t believe in religion. That doesn’t mean I can’t imagine a God, or “higher power,” if you’d like, out there in a different dimension, or in some way we haven’t yet discovered or understand. It would be simple minded to simply write the unknown off just because I {we} are as of yet ignorant. I find it highly unlikely that a possible greater power or entity gives two shits about us though.

Anyway, I said all that to say this: In general, I find many Christians to be cut from the most hypocritical of cloths. Being Christian, or Jewish, or Catholic, practicing those faiths should reveal a people heavy on empathy and forgiveness and light on violence and greed, right? Why is it then that so many of these heavily professed believers so antithetical in actual behavior to the good works and beliefs of the Jesus in their Bible? Quick to go to war, put folks to death, hoard wealth in massive quantities, favor stiff prison sentences, anti gay, anti just about anything that smells, looks, walks or talks different than their immediate clan?

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty that walk the walk, so to speak. Yet, without question, the overwhelming majority either confuse ideology with action, or, practice their faith in complete hypocrisy. Normally I wouldn’t give the phenomenon much thought, considering it a waste of time and oxygen. The experiences I recently faced cause me, force me, to reckon with these peoples sanctimonious bullshit.

When I lost my place to fire, I stumbled upon a program through the VA offering temporary housing and some minor case management. Long story very short: The program was highly religious, to the point that I was suspicious for not being willing to play along, pretending to be open minded…to that at least. It was clear after only a few months that the facility and the staff had many secrets. There was, and is, some shady shit going on that continues, affecting men and women that in many cases have nowhere else to turn. Because of this pickle, the program ultimately has control over them, leading to sick situations where folks are too afraid to speak out. I got the fuck out of there as quickly as possible. And if you think I am exaggerating, think again. Just as an example, the Vet case manager is literally not trusted by a single client! Not one. Years ago I worked in a similar job. During my 3 years I can think of only 3 or 4 clients who would feel negatively. You cannot please everyone, no. But to have people so dirty, so corrupt, in positions of authority is just reprehensible. How many people, let alone Veteran’s, have been worse off because of the place?

My point being; these people are so proud of their faiths. Praying circles every morning, guest pastor’s, the works, and in my entire life I’ve never known a more corrupt, to the bone corrupt, organization or program. Period. Christianity is but a convenient shield to hide the truth behind. And many know it, but wont say it. Their image is pure, an obvious sign of trouble for anyone with experienced in such matters.

Okay, I feel a little better getting that off my chest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fact-Check #Intercourse

Have we reached the peak of Mt. Stupidity, the apex of 360 degree ignorance? The Donald’s repeated assertion that President Obama -with Secretary Clinton proving her gangsta bona fides riding at his side- was “the founder of ISIS.” Dumb enough, sure, ridiculous even..pathetic. Where I get out of the clown car is when media organizations preface their commentary with this or that “fact” websites rating of either “Pinocchio,” or my favorite, “pants on fire.” How exactly does one fact check such a statement? No really, I’m serious, how? Do they check in with the Council on Foreign Relations, Alex Jones, Zbigniew Brzezinski? And yes, that’s spelled correctly. I fact checked it with the US Embassy in Poland.

Donald Trump is not the problem, nor Hillary Clinton. The media is not to blame for this Kabuki Theater on Democracy. It’s not the RNC or the DNC, the DEA or the FSB we should blame for our epic failures as global citizens, kin to our fellow man. You know who I think is to blame? Ronald Reagan. Just joking. The blame should be cast upon many parents of this country going back 40 to 50 years. Accepting this growing new culture of brains saturated in nonstop television, video games and social media, American families in general have willingly participated in an ever growing culture of blissful ignorance. And the slide continues to steepen with each generation, each financial crisis, each necessary second or third job necessary to support that very family in our post-modern consumer culture.

The statement “when I was a kid,” can be overused, nevertheless, the striking differences I see between norms of my childhood in the 70s and 80s with that off today must be a sign of something cultural and menacing. It’s no secret that kids back then were much more active, spending full days out of the home, sometimes far from home, playing sports, riding bikes and skateboards, doing all sorts of things. It’s not everything sure, but those experiences surely had a positive nature, learning, making mistakes, just learning about things we might otherwise never encounter at home? Somewhere in the 90s things swung the other way, rapidly, almost unnoticed. Parents are to blame, though the reasons, mostly out of their control, are, I believe, complicated?

Like a self licking ice cream cone, the echo of danger, whether actual or not, parents became fearful, the number of kids out of the house and off the property decreased, making the wild seem more dangerous, on and on. Reality TV crime docs made America seem like the wild, cable TV and video games offered more reasons to stay home, more danger, more internet and games, on and on. So now, a mom letting her 9 year old son take the subway, or 8 y.o. daughter the public bus, is met with indignation and hate. Practically child abuse. It’s actually pathological and rhetorically insane. The natural byproduct of this nannying is, by in large, young adults completely unprepared for the world outside of the familiar box that is their home for 18 years. This ignorance doesn’t cease with personal relationships or not knowing how to ride the bus, but rather, the ability to accept points of view beyond those you’re accustomed to.

I know we’ve never been completely free of ignorance in the United States. But really, in 2016, can you imagine there being enough bright, intelligent, other than nonsensical patriots around to fight a revolution, compose a Constitution, and set-up a government from scratch? I know it’s more complicated. I realize this analysis has flaws and is lacking in research. But am I wrong in saying that a man like Donald Trump couldn’t have gotten anywhere near the Presidency prior to television shows the likes of Keeping up with the Kardashian’s and Duck Dynasty reaching millions of steady viewers every week? Could you imagine what Lincoln, the first POTUS to represent the GOP, would think of a Donald Trump the standard bearer of his party?

Yes, politics in America has been nasty, even downright dirty, dating all the way back to the days of Hamilton, Adams and Jefferson. They used propaganda, the media, even sexual dalliances to get the upper hand and get elected. Not to mention the fact that at that time, the enslavement of fellow men and woman was condoned by the plurality of American’s, in and out of politics. Has there ever been a candidate so woefully small and petty, so blissfully ignorant and misogynistic to be on the final ballot, Nationwide, for President of the United States? No! And if the culture bears any witness to the future, he wont be the last.

Because why? Because ignorance has truly become bliss in America. Nobody likes a know it all, yet today, here, far too many voters for my comfort, like a knows a lot less. Politicians these days are so clueless, so dishonest, with a public that rides along in rapt silence, that fact checking them has become an actual industry.

This fact check intercourse seems stable, for now. In my opinion though, fact checking is as fleeting and possibly degrading to our National dialogue as sites like 538.com -outlets that assemble polls and other data to predict elections- are to normal voters. This is a separate conversation altogether, but is anything less useful than polls and poll aggregators to regular voters? I mean a candidate will either win or lose, right? Does it matter any more that the polls say 60-40 in one race, 90-10 in another? Especially when 99% chances have gone down -Clinton in Michigan primary, 99% of winning according to 538- Polls, like the DOW Jones and 14 day weather forecasts in nightly news casts, are little more than airtime filler. Not there for one to make a good decision, yet possibly, dubious information that could spur a regrettable one?

Now I need to boot up my pirated season six of Game of Thrones. Ha!