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An Unconscionable and/or Unconscious America?

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Early this morning in the wee hours, I had what you might call a pre-waking dream. It came at that moment when you are still asleep but just ready to awaken, where mere moments, or even seconds sometimes seem like hours. In this dream-state, I began thinking of my youth back in the early 60's, a period in time when I knew America was a great country, but better still, a good country and a sensible country. Some of our politicians were still bad of course(crooks are always with us like bad weather) but many others weren't and people in general were good or certainly seemed to be. It was a time when we left our car doors unlocked and even our house doors and it was no big deal. It was long before the war on drugs began and all the other ridiculous laws since that have filled our prisons beyond capacity. We didn't have 4 million people(the population of a small state or major city) incarcerated back then. We weren't locking up seventeen year old kids for having oral sex with sixteen year old kids. Hell, we didn't even know what oral sex was back then! Eighteen year olds who were having sex with their sixteen year old girlfriends were not considered criminals. They were considered normal teenagers with wild hormones. Today we're taking normal kids and turning them into criminals. Why?

There were no three strikes laws back then either. You didn't get life imprisonment for committing three felonies, which today could include getting busted three times for drug possession, or as in Texas a while back, two drug possessions and one petty theft. Now mind you I don't like crime or what drugs have done to our society. But the three strikes law, which should have been aimed exclusively at the most violent and dangerous criminals, the ones who should be locked up indefinitely, is being aimed at non violent offenders as well who were not and probably never would be a major threat to society. The crime rates, particularly the violent crime rates have gone up rather than down as a result. Criminals who know one more strike puts them away forever become far more disparate and will more readily commit a violent crime to stay out of prison. They have nothing to lose. Also even if you aren't convicted under the three strikes laws, but simply convicted, once your record has been ruined, even for something trivial, you can't find decent work, get a bank loan or a federally funded educational grant, forcing you essentially to commit more crimes until the 3 strikes law will finally take affect. Hell, you can't even get food stamps if you have a drug record! Now what do we think this will do to the crime rate? Bring it down? Of course not! It was never meant to!

Steal billions in pensions and securities and you have no problems. Lie to congress to war, no trouble there! Commit corporate fraud, no big deal. Today's "justice" system is profit driven.

Contractors who give campaign finance to politicians oil the wheels of justice. The politicians in turn create ridiculous laws that give longer sentences and lock more people up to provide more of our tax dollars to these same contractors, who stem in everything from security, construction, laundry, food service, gun manufacturing, communications, pharmaceuticals, electronics, uniforms, camera surveillance, barbed wire etc, etc. In other words, a Halliburton's dream come true! The crime rates continue to go up and in some states convicted felons are used as slave labor. Politicians have in some instances even suggested bringing back debtors prison. They know a good thing when they see it, especially when more than half the population have accumulated considerable debt. The chant is always, more and tougher laws, more prisons and longer sentencing. Meanwhile inner city programs are cut, social spending in general goes down and incarceration takes priority to rehabilitation.

It's the same with war. It's very profitable to the few who either buy our political leaders or are our political leaders. National defense, like law enforcement is profit driven. Of course war has always been profitable to the few. I see it as being even more relevant since the birth of the military industrial complex, the very institution Eisenhower warned us to be "forever vigilant" about, after creating it himself back in those good old days. We can see it more evidently when we look at today's politicians. Right after 9/11, Rudy Guliani for example, decided to go into the security business, knowing full well the war on terror would last forever(especially if he's elected) and he would get richer forever as a result. Of course the defense contractors knew it all along. So did the private security agencies like Blackwater who now force our own enlisted to play second fiddle to them. They loved 9/11 and don't think for a moment they didn't!

Human life is trivial when it comes to corporate profit. No small wonder we were lied into a war in Iraq where a million people have died thus far and our leadership can't wait to start yet another war that could lead us to even more death and destruction. Let's not forget the bottomless pit in our national debt either! Let's also not forget that another 9/11, or even a natural disaster like Katrina, would be great for Bush and company who, thanks to the former republican majority, along with the loyalist republicrats gave him the power to declare marshal law at the drop of a dime. Corporatism is very profitable. Just ask the CEO's who supported Mussolini and Hitler's rise to power in more "innocent" times. Also ask the current political leaders in both parties if they have oodles in defense contract, energy or communications stock, then scratch your head in wonderment as to why we are still at war and preparing to start yet another one!

As the dream state continued(dream state for whom I wondered) I drifted into thinking about democracy, particularly the Bill of Rights. We are being spied upon by our government without judicial oversight, a government who also tortures people when it suits them while it harps about giving other nations democracy. We blow them into the stone age and rob them of their resources all in the name of peace. We use the argument that we have to stop these tyrants(whom for the most part we ourselves created) and make them democratic to in turn make the world safer, knowing full well that even the Weimar Republic was a form of democracy that turned very, very bad in an instant and that we ourselves seem to be reflecting it in its final throes! They tell us they need to remove our rights to keep us safe, they have to spy upon us and lock us up for wearing peace tee-shirts or else the terrorists will come and destroy us.

The sad part is many people actually buy it. In fact in America we buy everything. Our livelihood depends upon it, or so we're told over and over again by the companies who outsource our jobs, freeze or lower our wages, cut benefits and workers rights, ignore ecological disasters, own the networks and the defense contracts.

When we see these outrages, then speak out against them by utilizing our first amendment rights, we are called as aiding the enemy, subversives, reds, communists, or violent tree hugging, drug riddled hippies. If we're not in lockstep with Bush, we are essentially traitors, at least according to quasi journalists like Coulter, O'Reilly and Limbaugh.

Meanwhile the Department of homeland Security makes animal rights groups like PETA, its number one priority and the greatest domestic terror threat, yet doesn't even list home grown neo-fascist organizations, who in fact committed the Oklahoma City bombing and have been stifled since then by the FBI on at least 60 other occasions! But alas this was just a bad dream wasn't it? I'm still sleeping right? I must be because stuff like this could never consciously or conscionably happen in the United States of America. Right?

 

I'm a concerned, middle aged blogger and member of the ACLU. I hail from the Bay Area. I Lobbied congress with the ACLU over the more unconstitutional elements of the USA Patriot Act. Marched in peace protests, lost a former school chum in the world (more...)
 
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I have the same dream every night!... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Nov 11, 2007 at 9:28:22 PM
I literally was dreaming about this. That's ho... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Nov 12, 2007 at 10:44:42 AM
I too am in that degree of wrinkles. When I remenb... by Andris on Thursday, Nov 15, 2007 at 2:25:51 AM
Well to a degree you're right. Things weren... by Michael Shaw on Thursday, Nov 15, 2007 at 11:35:32 AM