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This is in the “you can’t make this shit up” category.
Do you have a VFW in your town? Let me guess: beyond the regulars, and old soldiers and sad stories of wars long gone, the place is peopled with another kind of story: the local hookers, the drug dealers and dealings, the small minded ex-military men with huge wimp-chips on their shoulders instead of shoulder boards; riff raff, occasional hipsters, and more gossip than you never asked for.
Soldiers, and ex-soldiers are quite a gossipy group, and are not afraid to eat their own if they can improve their inner illusion of attaining some kind of rank. We learned that when they killed and ate one of their own, Pat Tillman, early in the ongoing “Afghan conflict” .
Pat Tillmans little finger was literally worth more than all of the soldiers who killed him in “friendly fire”, and a soon to be released documentary “The Tillman Story” discusses that. Tillman gave up millions of dollars per year as a pro footbal star to join the military and fight for American ideals–what he got was set-up, and murdered at the hands of his own men.
Soldiers can be such transparent, petty little bitches sometimes, especially around alpha males, and twice as petty when they are just drunks hanging on for dear life and any semblance of an ‘identity’ they can scrap up after failed military careers. Never mind PTSD, many of these “hangers on” would be drunks with or without having “served.”
Well, here is a story that happened last night, at one of Minneapolis’ own, and recently sort of “hip,” VFW Posts. I was no sooner in the door before I had an earload from the bartender about the local post and its heirarchical power struggles and illusions of democracy “by committee,” and how the ability to bring “issues” before the committee was an asset because “only the committee can decide what to do when shit gets out of control.”
The issue this night was that the bartender, a large, 300 plus pounder–who was grasping at the ear of one of the senior committee members getting sloshed at the corner of the bar–had been having trouble with a drug dealer, and that the dealer was the son of the president of the “committee”. That drug dealer was dealing to members of that post, and that drug dealer was known by all to be a drug dealer–which is why he was there; an essential part of the nightlife in that establishment.
The president of the VFW committee’s son had been dealing drugs from behind the bar, and that made it hard for the big whiskey faced bartender, who is a firm advocate of committee’s.
“I had to wait for six months before I brought it up to the committee,” he said ” I don’t bring anything to the comittee unless I know I can win. Otherwise the committee wouldn’t believe me.”
I am not here to speculate on why it took six months to report a drug dealer who was dealing from behind the bar–especially considering that Minneapolis Police Department stops in frequently, and that night, squad car number 8516 showed up. That officer–a short( 5’7″), dark haired, Germanic looking pudgy fellow– routinely ‘drops in’ for popcorn and, well, whatever else is there. I can’t speculate if that officer is on the take in some way,but let’s just say that doing the right thing is what the U.S. is all about when it comes to drugs.
And I definitely won’t speculate that it is likely that he, in collusion with that bar, routinely set individuals up for a fall or a beat-down, in order to justify a police call. Collusion ( see cover-up above as regards Pat Tillman) takes many forms. To prove that, I will have to look into this cops previous reports–a later story.
Well, for now: time passes, the bartender fills my ear and pours some beer,and after weighing in (or more appropriately, being dragged into) as a-politically as possible–to the gossip of the day, the intelligent, interesting, goth-looking couple with piercings and black dyed hair, sitting next to me, strikes up a conversation as the bartender drifted back to his peer group.
We drifted away from the local gossip, and towards important topics–topics like Freud and angst, social reform, social justice, social phenomenon, and the oddity of a democratic nation adopting a shoot to kill policy.
We discussed “the plan” for the next millenium, and what the world might look like, and whether or not the guy on NPR who was questioning whether or not the rule of law was, or should have been followed when bin Laden was killed. And that man was casting doubt upon the possible fate of a nation that foregoes the rule of in favor of a policy of law. I tended to agree that a country that foregoes the rule of law not only looks bad on its face, but has lost any moral high ground to talk of human rights.
Others, from ABC news sources to Fox have also weighed in and a general consensus is that if America wants to claim any higher ground, it has to follow the laws it helped create–and laws that we routinely insist others follow at risk of being tried in “international war crimes trials.” But we don’t seem to believe those laws apply to us,and that is THE slippery slope of fascism. After all, I was sitting in the traditional bastion the traditional, the cult of military self-solace: the den of police-power psychological Onanism.
Some believe that Osama is the “face of evil”, while others believe he was, in his own twisted way, a man of ideals. And I am sure that the SEAL who actually shot him just thought he was a nice, unarmed, juicy target- a homicide that could be committed because that SEAL was acting in behalf of a nation that has foregone the rule of law.
I prefer to think of Osama as a lesson in lessons lost and unlearned; a repeat of a history lesson that fails to learn from itself over and over, generation after generation. The U.S., in adopting an asset neutralization, extra-judicial, shoot to kill policy was both an example of how badly today’s America doesn’t actually believe in, uphold, or even understand the rudimentary lessons of a democracy. Not least, and certainly most importantly, is the rule of law, and due process. Or the importance of the truth, which is why we instigated the lynching of Saddam Hussein after a show trial.
Imagine what he could have told us about his connections to the Carlysle Group, et. al.?Same with Osama: Our country killed him because he likely had information that could throw the whol “national narrative” into a new focus.
Imagine the stories Osama took to his grave about exactly what kind of America he had worked for? Certainly there is evidence that GW Bush on the eve of the Iraq invasion didn’t even think bin Laden himself was worth pursuing. That evidence is slim, but in Bush’s own words ( and I paraphrase) ‘ Osama isn’t even worth pursuing’. But you have to watch the whole movie to get that ( it’s online for free, here).
Maybe I just never got the “I/We need to kill” urge, or the gene that governs murderous or torturous impulses–that part right down the center of many Americans who claim to be the heart of being American–that “freedom [that]has a price.” Maybe I never was able to grasp murder as the binding that holds civilization together; I was hiding in the bushes when the new improved “bigger club good” Neanderthal genes were flowing through our gene pool; or maybe I’m just an idealist.
These days the price of freedom is clearly a direct tax, paid daily–paid by the weak, the fearful, the old and the disabled, or the truly peace-loving Americans; peace activists, non-conformists, and American originals–a tax to what amounts to a big military/industrial complex of bullies who are at the very core, too cowardly to fight alone, or walk the earth alone, or envision peace as a goal.
Bullies pick on the weak, not the strong. Police should uphold that rather than engage in all of this modern cyber-surveillance and electronic set-ups, much less “covert-ops” that break the law, and then hide that fact. They depend upon the consensus of pre-screened “committee’s” that may, or may not follow Robert’s Rule’s of Order; what is important to them is that they reach consensus, before or after the fact, whether they actually follow the law is unimportant: it depends on whether they vote to all close their eyes at the same time, falsify the story, hide the same evidence, or to tell the same lies.
The fear tax is paid every time we do not open our mouths to speak against injustice, or to speak for due process and the rule of law.
Not that our founding fathers always believed in true due process; they didn’t, especially when it comes to brown, black, or white minority people, and especially as applied to those whom they believe they can get away with violence upon; individuals who are within the reach of their intended homicides, and outside of the consensus. They abuse the marginalized, and the outsiders, much like chimpanzees [ and here].
The entirety of our civilisation has become one that does not believe in due process; one that scoffs at the law itself, and this is echoed every time we see the false consensus of the war-like minority intimidate others into their way of thinking.
Societies collapse all the time; societies alter their value systems in times of war, which “raise[s] questions regarding the psychological mass phenomena that make us vulnerable to think and to act against our education, habits, and beliefs” : but America has not declared a “war” since December 8th, 1941, the beginning of WW2!
Nations do scurrilous stuff all the time, even invading others without declaring war– but not necessarily to the United States of America, as brazenly, and illegally as is occuring today. We expect that sort of behavior from developing “third world nations,” but from the U.S.?
The very nature of being social, then, is apparently to embrace third world ideology, anti-social “social chimpanzee” type traits, homicidal ideation and a willingness to do violence; the telling of lies, and the intimidation or outright murder of those who believe in other ideals. Good ol’ USA: ruled by committee and Congress; US values, extrapolated to the third world so that Nike can sell socks, and Carlysle Group, et. al. can sell multi-million dollar warcraft. Oh, and so the dealer can sell dope–at least for a little while, at your local VFW. If that’s social, count me out.
Oh: and that VFW? I almost forgot that in all that “talk” up there.
Here is what happened next, when talk of ” the rule of law,” and the importance of a process of democratic procedure-rule by committee–is followed: the bartender lowers the music as the discussion between the goth-people and myself is taking place. We are talking all of the above, and then, about pirates–and everybody loves pirates, right? (Unless those pirates are Islamic, apparently, because for years, Osama bin Laden and other Mujahadin/mujahadeen/”towelheads,” as well as Saddam, and todays nation of Pakistan were/are/ “should be” on our payroll.)
Our government has a history of privateering: we can’t blame Dick Cheney, George Baker, and Bush for that, exclusively. ” Hell, Ben Franklin might even have invested in pirate ships” I say. Ben was a good, even liberal sort of Founding Father.
The bar drops to a dead quiet. The bartender gets that shifty eyed look. Heads turned.
The guy across the bar, from what I can tell is one of the ‘security’ personel, likely a relative of a “committee member“: he is a sneaky looking, sallow faced skinny man in his late twenties to early thirties; someone who likely has no identity outside of that bar; no talents; no skills, no wonderous desires beyond a desire to touch other men, violently. He says” I want you to back that up.”
Now, I remember rappers saying “back that up” to women with big butts in the 80’s; I remember that backing something up means, in academic terms, that I should substantiate my claim of Ben Franklin’s pirate ship; to an immature, drunken repressed homosexual in the VFW, it meant only one thing: lets step outside.
But I didn’t. Bravery is not the act of the coward, backed by a bar full of cronies, but the act of the wise, and knowlege of processes beyond one committee action. Like that pepper spray in my pocket–if I really, really needed it, was one option of last resort. I DO believe in self-defense.
But I didn’t need it: I relied upon a different idea of consensus: I asked him to substantiate the claim himself–to join me in an academic endeavour; I asked him to look it up on his smart phone. He said he didn’t have one: I believed him somehow.
Then I asked the smart Goth-like people next to me to look it up, to help me find the data about Ben Franklin, and his pirate ship. I turned to my left–and they were one step ahead of me! The female of the duo was scrolling through her smart-phone, looking at links that talk about Ben Franklin, and his pirate ship. ” It’s right here,” she says “in National Geographic.”
“Wow,” I say. “You guys are one step ahead of me–pretty smart. Thanks for helping out.” I think that saved me, and I thank them for that.
I said, across the bar, ” It’s in National Geographic. All good things can be found there: any kid knows that. Backing up a supposition is simple: the words “might have” are distinctly different than the word “did.” Case closed, or look it up yourself in National Geographic ( I am sure he went home later, as he always does, with his lonely Lucy Five-fingers, and a desire for a National Geographic).
Whereas some believe that men like Osama can be “rehabilitated” , I simply believe that we lost an incredible opportunity to question the man who has claimed the crime of bombing the WTC, and put him on trial. Rehabilitation is possible for most people once we address whatever social injustice it is that has plagued them. Maybe not for Osama, though, I think people with tons of cash, a system behind them that wants to do dirty deeds, and popular support for those deeds negates his potential as a reformed terrorist–oh–was I talking about the Bush-Obama merger? Er, I mean Osama likely can’t be reformed–now anyways…
Imagine how informed America would actually be with his exclusive, captive testimony alongside that ‘trove of material’ that was copted out of his coumpound! New rhetoric as the “face of Evil” sits before a committee, or a Congress, or a jury!! That the cause of justice was not served is an understatement: the cause of Carlysle, the military-industrial complex, et. al. was served.
The cause of anyone in the US ever seeing the process, the true players, and/or the procedures the business deals, and possibly, the set-ups that led to him being declared the worst man in the world are forever lost. By consensus, apparently, we don’t deserve as citizens to see every single detail of the “official story.” We should just shut up, and “trust the evidence of the authorities.”
And Obama, in a classic kowtow to the war president, and to the mind of the mindless swing voter–the people for whom soundbites were invented–states ” anyone who thinks Osama didn’t get what he deserved should have their head examined.”
So, we are “crazy” when we question the due process obligation that our constitution purports, and somehow, if we don’t just shut up and go along with it, we become the “bad guys.” We even get spied on, and set-up, and murdered: the prevailing policy of the CIA is to neutralize truth by any means possible, rather than to uphold our constitution. That logic is a little too close to that other homicidal logic of “the thin blue line” that acts above the law.
Maybe those who discuss due process are crazy. England certainly declared the founding fathers to be criminals. But you gotta listen when both NPR AND Fox network-the voice of the mentally challenged– questions the legality of the issue.
So how did it all turn out that at the VFW? I am sure it,s not over yet, as I had apparently stepped into a den of dope dealers, prostitutes, and the cops who uphold that ( at least there, and unwittingly became a witnes to some sort of illegal activity.
When I have more time I will add details, but let me give you the “bullet list” ( a weapon of choice for thinkers)
1) the thin guy goes outside, and looks in the back door, motioning for me to come outside–which is also a gesture we now know, that chimpanzees employ. Chimpanzees are notoriously violent.
2) I speak under my breath to the hyper cool Goth people, and thank them for their intellect, their kindness, and ask them to watch my back.
3) a big guy across the bar, who we’ll call “Sarge” ( because he likes to wear his tee-shirt with the Seargent emblem on it)gets up and asks me for a cigarette, which I offer–but his body language ( see above on the language of chimps) attempts to cordone me away from the front door, where I know there is a camera that is recording, and he says ” we’ll have to go out the back door.”
4) I once again ask the two friendlies if they can watch my back. The Goth-guy advises me to stay in the bar ( he was one step ahead of me too;)
5) The bartender disappears. The music is cut again. The lights go low. The cameras, which can be viewed from the end of the bar, in case “bad guys” do something …are…then…shut off!
6) the bartender re-appears, after the sallow faced guy comes back in. I leave through the back door.
7) the Gothic pirates watch me’ back out th’ door, as I lite me a smoke and mosy on.
I joined some friends next door, as they played bean bag toss, and talked to some new, and recently dear friends about differences between chimpanzees and bonobos, which is clearly more than a state of mind, but rather, possibly, brain chemistry.
Here is where it gets really good. You know what? Within five minutes, three squads have driven by the bar, and squad 8516 stops in front of the bar, goes into the bar next door where I was talking to some friends. Me, talking about the processes of democracy again, and getting set-up with a cop, a new investigation for a clock puncher–all over that bad bad idea I have about the rule of law, and the importance of discussing it. Judgement-by-committee is definitely , often, far outside of due process, or even outside of factual representations of reality.
Now, if that isn’t rule by committee, what is? Or, maybe the rule of law is too hot for certain types of hominids to talk about. But the rule today seems to be that what the public doesn’t see, they don’t need to see, and that is what is the official story. A fabrication by “committee,” enforced by the violence of the violent, and pre-emptive evidence creation, rather than collection.
If only I had waited around, and collected more data, or waited for my conversion to conformity to come; or that extra genetic component of violence directed at me to help me conform to manly ideals–I could have become their own personal, local, vilified abrogation of international human rights law that night: after all, they were, for a moment, in a majority. Or maybe not–we all know how those situations end.