Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Perfection of Cruelty



Hola mi gente...
The following is based on true events...

The Wrenching


Cruelty and fear shake hands together.
-- Honoré de Blazac




Upriver from NYC’s borough of Manhattan lies Rikers Island -- the largest penal colony in the world. A fortress of the lost, vault of the doomed, the island of the dead. It is in actuality a warehouse of human bodies, like so much meat. Rikers Island is also one of the largest mental health facilities in the world -- though its essential purpose has very little to do with norms of behavior. The only way to enter is through a short narrow bridge. I call it the Bridge of Lost Souls.


The woman’s facility, officially the Rose M. Singer Center, is known as Rosie’s or Lesbian Island by those who live or work there. Many of the women, just arrested, are coming off drugs or crying about their children. Those going through withdrawals vomit from time to time, others sit rocking back and forth, sweating, weeping, chewing their bottom lips or fingernails.


Move your gaze across the grass being mowed by a handful of women in uniforms and toward a compound of brick buildings, all of them in poor repair -- paint peeling, bricks needing repointing, sidewalks cracked. Walk past the women pushing laundry carts into Rose M. Singer proper where women in green state prison uniforms, either delusional or depressed, sit watching daytime television, rocking ceaselessly as a side effect of their medications, and continue forward, past women staring at you from behind bars, towards a section that awaits the most contradictory of populations.


There is a spotless nursery for women who have come to Rosie’s pregnant, or, less frequently (but not unheard of), those who have been impregnated by the too numerous sexual liaisons that occur between male guards and the women. The purpose of which, for the women, include the procurement of food, drugs, cosmetics, feminine hygiene products, and, lest there be any confusion about affection, a welcome contrast to the flesh of another. Finally, you come to where women have been bedded with their newborns (some having given birth while being shackled), where they have learned to nurse and feed and wipe and whisper their babies to sleep. 


The hallway is dark and gloomy but the floor is spotless, gleaming from the daily buffing it receives. It is here where I sit waiting during one unbearably hot and humid New York City summer day. Paying attention, I observe a ritual that takes place each time a woman comes to live in the prison nursery with her newborn, a ritual so utterly contrary to human nature, yet unremarkable in this place for its regularity and its bureaucratic numbness. 


They are taking away another baby from its mother. I don’t want to see this, I think to myself, my gut clenching. But I continue watching, just close enough to see a baby boy being held by his mother one last time. The mother, Shannelle, can’t be more than nineteen, and her face literally glows with maternal love, a facial expression too advanced for such a young face I think to myself. The maternity ward administrator, a kindly looking elderly woman, watches too, as does the child welfare worker who is there to take the child. How long, I wonder, will they allow her to hold her baby?


Now Shannelle collapses in grief around her baby, who, unknowing, pats at a yellow barrette in her hair. Shannelle had come to Rosie’s pregnant, after she and her sister had gone out one night to buy candy and two men had come up and asked them where so-and-so lived. The girls, streetwise and nobody’s fools, expected an incentive for their trouble, and after a brief negotiation, walked the men over to the house in question, a distance of a mere block, and when they knocked on the door, the police were inside, having just arrested the inhabitants for cooking and selling crack. The two girls got different public defenders, one a realist, the other a fool. Shannelle was assigned the fool, a recent law graduate from Harvard. Her sister agreed to a plea, avoided a trial, and got a year. Shannelle’s lawyer convinced her that she was innocent and that he would mount an impassioned defense on her behalf, if she allowed him to take her case to trial.


It was the first time a white, college-educated male had shown an interest in her, and so though she felt some trepidation, she agreed to his proposition. The jury took forty minutes to find her guilty and the judge reluctantly sentenced her according to the harsh edicts of the Rockefeller mandatory minimum drug laws, which meant Shannelle received three years to life.


Now the nursing administrator signals the child welfare worker that it was time for the removal. Shannelle crushes her son against herself, then looks up, eyes full. “I will just die,” she cries. “I can’t, I can’t” But her baby is gently taken from her and placed in the arms of the waiting child welfare worker.


Don’t look anymore, I tell myself. And I am reminded I am in the House of the Dead, the years killing the women here as surely and painfully as unchecked cancer... 


My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Awakening



Hola Everybody,
Well, it seems our goober HillBillies have fucked up a wet dream (again). That HillBilly is barely edging out Trump (and in some polls trailing), is a testament to her inability to lead. SMDH

Awakening from the Trance

The planetary crisis we’re facing is an awakening signal. If we don’t shift our consciousness... we can destroy ourselves.
 -- Barbara Marx Hubbard


I am a radical, but I understand that the only revolution that’s going to make a real difference is one that transforms us into human beings more capable of intelligent responses to the many crises we face.

Though we have confronted major problems throughout our shared history, the challenges we face today are unique in one important aspect -- they now affect the entire globe as a whole system. Never before has humanity been on the cusp of wiping out the earth’s biosphere and crippling its ecological foundations for countless generations to come. Never before have we been faced with the very real prospect of being the first species to make itself extinct. Never before has the entire human family been challenged to work together to build a sustainable and meaningful future. Never before have so many been called to make sweeping changes in so little time.

Today monarchs, dictators, or even elected governments no longer control the world. We live in a world controlled by multinational corporations. Most of us work for them, we eat and drink their tainted products, we are exposed to their pervasive assault on our senses via their advertising campaigns, and we live on a planet that provides the raw materials for their endless “production” and the storage for their endless garbage. Corporations have become more powerful than the governments that are supposed to regulate them, and in fact, pay for the process by which a government can afford to be elected.

Throughout the world McDonalds, Coca Cola, Nike, and corporate marketing are invading local cultures. The danger of this encroaching corporate presence lies in its basic motivation. Corporations are primarily responsible to their shareholders. Profitability has more value than the health or well-being of a population. Creating and satisfying short-term goals and profits are more important than environmental sustainability or social justice.

In this way, the gifts of the earth are all being patented and made into commercial products.

In the past oppressive regimes such as the British in India or Nazi Germany exploited a population and were eventually rejected by revolution or the intervention of outside forces. The power of corporations, however, are more insidious. It’s a power similar to the relationship between a drug pusher and an addict, a power that runs on the addictions of a population, without necessarily serving their deeper well-being. This is the collective trance of a consumer society and the global economy it creates. It works only because our collective feeling of lack. It thrives on the inner sense that something is missing, that there is something wrong with you and me and our lives. 

It’s quite simple, actually: you’re compelled to believe that you need to buy their product. Drink this soda, this machine or pill that will make you less fat, this car, this house, this grill; fly to this great place for a vacation and you will feel better. Look at all the happy people smiling in this photo here. They feel better. See?

The global economy as we know it would not work with a population that possessed an inner contentment. You would have a hard time selling endless plastic gizmos to people who feel connected to themselves, to their environment, and who feel whole, who are generous and grateful, and who know they have enough. This trance of lack recreates itself endlessly; it never reaches a level of contentment. You want more, and more, and more... and it does not bode well for our future. We live in this trance from birth to death.

It will take only a very small percentage of the world’s population to wake up for there to be a global awakening. This isn’t some pie in the sky optimism. There is evidence that one man’s stand against gang violence, for example, was directly responsible for the decrease of overall violent crime in New York City. The more people raise their consciousness and wake up, the more those people will be affected by a collective awakening. And the more they are open to that, the more it will facilitate their own awakening, and that of others. So it becomes a positive feedback loop. It is like a snowball gaining momentum as it rolls down a hill.

If you awaken from the trance, then one or two around you will resonate with your awakening. They in turn will affect one or two around them, and that’s how real change happens. It’s always been like that and it is the only thing that will save us.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

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