Sunday, August 31, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
“The police today are more militarized than the military.” – Balko
This is the most disturbing book I’ve ever read. Other ground-breaking, hard-hitting exposés concerning financial white-collar crime and the near-collapse of the US economy, or judicial inequality resulting in mass incarceration of minorities always left me feeling that, as bad as it was, nothing bad would happen to me. I control my bank account; it’s small, and I don’t invest, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be effected directly by crimes committed by the Wall Street Investor-Class. I’m white, over sixty, retired and I obey the law, so chances are better than good, based on my “record”, that I won’t end up in prison on a parole violation for shoplifting or carrying a concealed weapon, with or without a permit.
But Balko’s book completely destroys any confidence I had in my sanctuary of ignorance and bliss. Metaphorically, his book does to my sense of personal safety, my entitlement to the right of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, what big city and small town SWAT teams all across the country do to the US Constitution on a daily basis: like a black leather boot, Balko’s book kicks the doors down like Fascist storm troopers in Poland, circa 1932 – threatening citizens, killing unarmed “suspects”, confiscating property without authority, beating innocent people, stealing money, burning homes and offices, falsely imprisoning people without evidence of a crime, “kidnapping” and holding men, women and children at gun point, destroying family pets, and generally making its own laws, and policing “Battlefield America” with a closed iron-fisted glove. Politicians are enablers. Community “watchdogs” are cowards. And the people are victimized. In fact, I feel like a “victim” just by reading the book, even though I know I’m not, that’s how sobering Balko’s journalism really is.
What his book makes clear is that “war” is the key to understanding the issue of militarization of police: war on poverty; war on pornography; war on terror; war on crime; and, especially, and most importantly, war on drugs. With each new declaration of “war”, every presidential administration since Nixon, up to and including Obama, has expanded the power, authority and scope of the police, while at the same time suppressing constitutional guarantees explicitly reserved for US citizens, the same promises the nation’s police were meant to protect and serve. The Department of Homeland Security, since George W. Bush, has sold, given away or transferred billions of dollars worth of military-grade weapons to local law enforcement agencies, and equipped SWAT teams in big cities as well as small, rural communities that are lucky to even have a post office let alone a police force, with powerful weapons and equipment designed to be used on the streets of Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran - not downtown Main Street, USA!
The book is impeccably well-researched, documented and entirely even-handed and fair. The fact that Balko paints the cops in a negative and unflattering light just underscores the sad, depressing conclusion I was left with when I finished reading the book: what other choice did he have?
Thursday, August 21, 2014
People who believe in God always ask atheists to prove there is no God. So here is empirical evidence and positive proof that God does not exist: The Human Mind is positive proof that there is no God. Belief in God and other delusional magical explanations for human existence and behavior is proof of error; the fatality of a defective mind; an artifact from an aberrant psychological miscarriage; the product of a flawed, error-prone, accident-prone, disease-ridden, death-destined, purely evolutionary phenomenon responsible for the blemished realities of the human mind. Evangelism and proselytizing is proof by their very admission that the reason for legislating and defending “religious freedom” is precisely because belief in God is psychologically indefensible: “religious freedom” is “affirmative action” for believers.
Religion’s insecurity is obvious by its obsession with injecting it’s narrative into every culture, like morphia, attempting to impose its will, to manipulate, dominate and rule fundamentally every form of human activity, retreating behind the shield of “liberté!” Disbelief is not an aberrant psychology; on the contrary, doubt and skepticism is the rule, “belief” is the exception. As an impersonator of truth, the bible and other religious dogmas of deception were forged to explain away the worst human traits and characteristics that distinguish human beings… hate, revenge, murder, war, oppression, slavery. Entire libraries are filled with religious “holy books” written to explain away these appearances, to make excuses for them and to attribute them to imaginary unseen forces of “evil”, or “Satan”, “the Devil” or “temptation”.
Belief in God has replaced personal responsibility with psychopathology.
Believing in God: that’s our empirical evidence, proof that there’s no God. It couldn’t be more clear.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Aug. 7, 2014
Today is primary election day here in Tennessee, which reminds me that the idea of “free elections” is a piece of raw red meat tossed to the public every couple of years to make us think we’re actually deciding something that matters. And if it does matter, it matters only to the voter; the results of the election don’t matter too much in the long or the short run.
Once every two years the public is told that this is democracy in action. Voting is the American Way and it’s the reason wars are fought. It’s why terrorists hate us, as George W. Bush once said. But, in fact, it’s all a myth; an illusion. And it’s worse than that: it’s self-delusion, like an alcoholic in denial, or a meth addict convinced he's seeing creatures looking at him, waving his hands and laughing from the bathroom mirror, tempting him to come inside.
“Voting” has become a litmus test for civic duty every two years. The rest of the time we're told to “Shut up and shop!” And now, to drive a nail in the ballot box of futility, belief in God as the father of democracy goes right along with voting as a test of one’s identity with Christian Zionism and the optimistic future-world promised by Evangelicalism.
Belief in God; belief in democracy: no thanks, I prefer atheism and anarchy.
Idea for a short story: The developer of a mobile-phone sex app that lets members have personalized sadomasochist fantasies, ends up dead, hanging upside down in a pool of blood dripping from his throat. A woman sits on the edge of the bed in a garage where the body was discovered. She's naked except for the black eye she's wearing and teeth marks on her legs. Other than that, the cops have no clues.