#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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th Point of Contact

Preface: The first time I entertained the idea of documenting my experiences in the Army, to my best recollection, was soon after browsing the Afghanistan War Logs released by Wikileaks. It wasn’t because I found them inaccurate, rather, it was their sterile efficiency, their almost complete lack of context that rubbed me the wrong way, like the reaction of a cat having its fur combed against the natural lay. It wasn’t like I had anything else of value going on. Just the week before a close relative had commented to me in private: “I don’t think I even know you any more?” Words that stung, not due to there inaccuracy, but for there cold truth. Truth was, and is, I don’t even know myself any longer.

Five years later, 2500 miles away, broke, alone, fatalistic, and angry, I have “picked up the pen” so to speak, in earnest, to document my all to vivid memories and drop bread crumbs along this slow path to likely self-destruction. I don’t expect anyone to read these musings, to give a shit or empathize. This is for me. This might be my final grasp at a useful life I once took for granted?

I begin on the battlefield, downrange, as it were, not to glorify war, but to introduce a sort-of literary speed trap. This is my testimony. These are secrets, most I’ve never told. This is the cost of victory in little battles, singular wins that lose the greater war.

PART I – INTO THE BREACH

Army! Travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people and kill them.”  FULL METAL JACKET

Nothing could ever prepare a man for the cacophony of sounds, the putrid, unforgettable stench, the orchestrated confusion and fear associated with infantry level combat. “Smells like victory”; a cute line from Hollywood, I assure you, is not a pleasant affect to anyone’s morning. That permeating odor, so all-consuming, overpowering, the digestive gases, piss, shit, blood and bile; no sane man who’s ever tasted that air could forget. Picture that warm sense that might wash over you while listening to an old, favorite song. Memories lifting from the deep recesses of your romantic past, seemingly out of nowhere, vanishing like a wisp of smoke. Now try to imagine a similar effect in reverse, blinding terror, soot blackened snow.

Welcome to the dark side of the Earth, as we knew it then, some 13 years ago. The cyclonic rotation of the planet slowly painted this moonless night in a witheringly opaque blackness: Perfect for our purposes. Perfect for an ambush. It added up to a sort of vacant, yet vacuous strangled paralysis which turns out, is ideal for the new, high-tech tools of war. We were laying in wait, the trap was set, hidden below an invisible melody, only the sounds of the forest singing its song. A “stand-to,” in Army nomenclature. We were a often violent and seldom patient uber predator, open in wait, not unlike the steel jaws of an old rusty trap, eager to snap shut with the ferocity of the God’s.

This mission was unique for us to that point in the deployment. Seldom did we utilize these sorts of tactics while I served in Afghanistan. Apparently we had acquired SIGINT -Signal Intelligence- combined with human intelligence, prompting command to pay closer attention to the Pakistan border as a causeway for Tali fighters moving to and from the tribal badlands of Pakistan? Really, I mean, no shit Sherlock? Nevertheless, this was an operation Grunts like us trained for, and dreamed of tackling in those days. We wanted to be something more than chum, bait. Let’s take the fight to them, whoever “them” were? 

Positioned just below the treeline, straddling a well worn trail the continued up into the lenticular clouds, bending away from the peaks far above, our hopes were high. All we could do is wait. No cigarettes, no movement, no sound until dawn breaks, or the enemy falls. Those hours, slipping far past dusk, yet not quite dawn, awakens our ancestral brain to those instinctual fears. In this space, on a planet facing directly away from the sun, the hairs on the neck will dance, a primitive warning from eons past. The tension now gripping us all, like an endless nightmare, only we are wide awake. Those organic warnings, recorded as rings on every man’s family tree, this ubiquitous and not quite irrational fear of the dark forest lingers. Left alone with only your thoughts, the haunting hour arrives like a tempest, on the edge of panic and exhilaration, the fear of the unknown grips you, as you hope for the known, trained for something else. This is when ghosts seem the least shy, the countless children, digging, playing, screaming in this perpetually radioactive, scorching sandbox. Are they angels coming out to play, or are they daemons waiting to settle old scores? If I only knew now what I didn’t back then, could I make the necessary difference?

Proned out, contemplating the silent life happening now on the other side, a shooting-star caught my physical attention. Was it a sign, some sort of starting bell? The rock, barreling out of the eastern sky, voyaging across the gaping horizon overhead, like a flash from heavens’ gate, a super-sonic meteor crashing into the western cosmos, within a suspended instant, time measured in micro-seconds. The present briefly felt more tangential to peace than it did to war.

Just at that moment, my right eye lit-up as a green silhouette. The optics illuminated a man, moving in silence, about fifty meters uphill from our fixed position. Carefully descending, the extreme heights of the Pakistani mountain border to his back, this lead scout moved cautiously, deliberately, and much quieter than I previously assumed possible. More appeared, twenty-two in all by my imprecise count. Armed men, Taliban most likely, not knowing, perhaps even imagining, the dogs of war waiting just steps ahead in that darkness, killers suspended in a well conditioned silence, ready to violently shut the door on life.

One by one they crept passed my position, in the blackness, the predator as prey. Just five-fucking-meters from a steep, rocky, mountain trail, I laid there watching as they descended past. Were we manning some sort of hell’s gate? If there really is a God, or Allah, or whatever the fuck, I recall thinking, these men, every last fucking one of them better be prepared to have a face-to-face with the twisted mother-fucker. A criss-crossing mesh of green lit our night. This was an ambush. That was the beginning of my own time in hell.

Novel Idea – A Biography in Pieces

Secretly, I’ve spent much of the last two years grinding out, bit by bit, a semi biographical book reflecting on my experiences with the Army and life after. I’d never even considered doing such as thing. Besides the occasional letter, some technical writing at work, and an on again, off again journal, I had no credibility or experience needed to write an actually readable text. The project become more daunting upon losing my early efforts, most applicable art and several notebooks containing memories and rough quotes from my time in the Army, when last February, my cabin went up in flames along with everything inside at the time. I returned from a hike to find the place little more than a pile of smoking rubble, a particularly apt metaphor for my life.

These past months I’ve slowly restarted the process, albeit from an even further deteriorated mind and spirit. I’m considering publishing the work, an unedited chapter at a time, on this page for review and commentary? Even though I find my work entirely unreadable, like the reaction one might have to hearing ones recorded voice for the first time, possibly a little sliver of vulnerability would help me in improving, or worst case, abandoning the project altogether?

I do not expect any response to this post. Writing it down, here, was my first baby step in that direction. So if I don’t chicken out before then, I hope to release the prologue online by tomorrow night. All I ask if for genuine feedback, good or bad, helpful or not. Any sharing of the work would be greatly appreciated as well.

Until the next falling sun. L