Friday, February 29, 2008

a lovely day for revolution

Years after left commentators (like myself) began pointing out that we had a million people in prison--no, two million--no, more than any other country in history--no, two-point-two million--it's come out that one in a hundred persons is actually behind bars in this massive prison state:

http://rawstory.com//printstory.php?story=9483

What's left to say? If punishment stopped drug use, it would have ended in the Seventies, and if capitalism were the ultimate system, it would not be constantly associated with crime. I maintain that a capitalist society deserves crime--especially a cruel capitalist nutcase society like this one, in which people must rob banks to pay for their young children's cancer treatments. Well, no one can argue now that we aren't getting what we deserve! One in a hundred--incredible! Nearly three million completely chained and enslaved!

This is not enough for the police-state mentality, which also wants to criminalize dissent. Dig this:

"DEVICE WILL HELP SAN JOSE CONTROL LOUD CROWDS

By Sean Webby

San Jose Mercury News (2/25/08)



Think louder than a jet engine. Think the front row of a Metallica concert. Think of the piercing scream of a smoke alarm - inches from your ear.

Now, imagine a bad guy, holed up with hostages, refusing to budge, surrounded by sharp-shooters and anxious neighbors. [notice how the discussion is immediately drawn to scary criminals rather than to the demonstrators this will be used on--tm]
Instead of bullets, San Jose police can blast him with the latest in high-tech cop gadgetry: a dish-shaped, sonic weapon.
This ear-splitting, mind-blowing device is growing in popularity around the globe, used by soldiers flushing terrorists out of caves in Afghanistan to cruise ships scaring off pirates in the sea off Somalia.
So why did San Jose plunk down $27,000 in state grant money for its own Long Range Acoustic Device?
Police say it will be used mostly as a high-grade sound system to clearly amplify a police officer's order at great distances. But it can also be used as another of the department's "less-lethal" weapons, along with Tasers and 40mm projectile guns.

....[more at san jose mercury news]
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Of course, LRAD is not just a loudspeaker, but a focused sound device that can torture an individual in a crowd or make her think the voice of God or demons or whatever is speaking only to her.

Our mental conditioning towards fascist collaboration is at an advanced stage. I had to attend a training class for security and safety on my job—I drive a municipal bus—and in stead of teaching us how to deal with the inevitable strong earthquake for this region, or how to manage after strong storms, we were shown pictures of bombs and told to sweep the bus after every trip. We were told about the appearance of weaponized anthrax, and warned to call if someone left their backpack on the bus.

I was furious at this blatant fearmongering and risked my job speaking out against it at the meeting. The response was interesting; it was as if I could not be heard. I was ignored studiously, as if I were the voice of Satan. “Anthrax?” I jeered, “there’s no anthrax.” And indeed the only weaponized anthrax available, Ft. Detrick’s special de-staticized powder, was unlikely to re-appear considering that Lt. Col Philip Zack is out of the country. But we were to pretend that the stuff could appear at any time, and we’re expected to help create a a hysteria, the next time someone spills their flour or Coffee-Mate or whatever.

If there were any truth to the post-9/11 fearmongering, one might expect some furious defense from the instructor of the class when I raised objections. But there is of course no reason to do all the ridiculous things we do in the name of security, because the threat is far less significant than the threat of car accidents, smoking-related disease and deaths, alcohol-related injury and deaths, and deaths from poor nutrition. Compare the numbers of deaths in the US over the past ten years, add in death and injury from crime, and the ratio is staggering. Terrorism is not a statistically significant problem in the US. The only reason to undertake all of these ridiculous measures is to keep the population fearful and under control. And it’s worked beautifully. I refused to let some poor shmo put his gasoline-powered scooter on the bus, because of course the potential gas spill could injure dozens. He was too dim to understand, and felt persecuted, but there was nothing I could do; as I drove away, another Einstein commented that it was a good thing I had not allowed the man on, because ‘he could be a terrorist and might have wanted to blow us up.’ I don’t blame people with mental disabilities for their condition; it’s shocking to think on, but nonetheless true, that half the population, by definition, has an IQ in the double digits. I blame vicious demagogues for taking advantage of them. And as the neocon demagogues know, there is a strong intimidation factor to a blatantly false idea, when it is repeated as gospel by the masses of weak-minded, politically uneducated people.

Don't let it stand. Say something.

2 comments:

chardman said...

For a split second I misread a line of yours to read "Capitalism preserves crime". It didn't, but it makes sense either way to my caffeine-addled brain.
I've long thought that the rise of both the prison industrial complex and sophisticated spying techniques, not to mention some of the sinister 'non-lethal' crowd control technology is meant to address the rise of what Marx called the Revolutionary Underclass. The rich can get richer while the rest of us get to live in some kind of new world banana republic. I remember working for some hellish manufacturing sweatshop that kept purging employees and got some NAFTA funding to retrain some of our ex-coworkers. They were almost all compelled by their caseworkers to train in the corrections industry and were told that that was going to be the big growth industry of the Nineties.
Ironically, much domestic manufacturing is now done in prison.

theresa mitchell said...

thanks for reading the blog, chardman. I really enjoy commentary that adds to the discussion.