AMERICAN GULAG

IMG_2694 photo by eric chaffee

While we were sleeping, the US Constitution has been bulldozed into the landfill. We are sending people to prison without due process, at an alarming rate, and suddenly we seem to have awakened in a police state. Think I’m kidding? This article explains how federal prosecutors rarely need to go to trail with their cases, are able to selectively enforce the law on their own whim, and if you don’t make a deal to become one of their clients you may go away for an even longer time. States may permit certain activities, but the feds don’t care, as the article shockingly explains.

Now, I’m a sober person, and value stability in the community, preferring reality “straight up.” But when a state passes laws saying medical marijuana can be grown and sold, with carefully enforced restrictions, and then the feds come in and send law-abiding businessmen to prison, it’s time to take stock. This is outta control. We’ve lost our liberty and our social order.

I know whereof I speak, as I’ve been doing prison ministry, weekly, for many years, as a volunteer . It has given me an insider’s perspective on this system. Prisons are big money, especially when there are so many people locked up. Yes, many of us feel safer when social deviants are confined; and politicians love to keep large blocks of voters employed as guards and vendors. The cost of these institutions has become stunning. It dwarfs the cost of education. (If you think education is expensive, consider the cost of ¬†ignorance!)

I go to jail every Saturday (except when in Yucatan) ¬†to conduct a nondenominational Bible study, which is really more of a stealth ethics course. We sit in a circle and read a chapter of scripture; and then I ask questions in a Socratic fashion, and listen. I’m there to see Christ (the ideal person) in these guys whom society has failed. They’ve taught me much. I’ve read a book recently which touches on methods that have helped me in this effort, over the years ‚Äď COFFEE SHOP CONVERSATIONS: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk. Being present for others who are suffering is an art. The last thing these guys want is to talk with a religious salesman.

Beholding the beauty of a fellow being who is struggling, is precious; yet it’s not always easy. And pat answers won’t help. But sometimes right questions can. This book helps those who are open-minded enough to see a value there, and extend a hand in comfort. Yet it’s better to prevent people from coming to prison. How do we do that if our laws have been ignored by those (in the legal system!) who seem to prefer an industrial approach to incarceration? This is that military-industrial-political complex that President Eisenhower warned about. (He removed the word political from his famous retirement speech, as he didn’t want to offend his friends in Congress. Too bad. It was apt; he should have left it in.)¬†

 

 

NEW ICE AGE ABOUT TO BEGIN

800px-Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_Naval_scientists_explore_glacier.

Climate change is real, and deadly serious. Geological history tells us that we have surpassed a tipping point, of parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. This is causing the Greenland ice shelf to melt, as it has in the past. Soon, the Atlantic conveyor, which is the “outbound cycle” driving the cold, heavy meltwater south beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean all the way past South Africa, will shut down suddenly. Without meltwater, there is no more convection to move the water of the Gulf of Mexico north ‚Äď no more Gulf Stream. A new ice age will begin, not unlike the last one which flash-froze Siberian elephants. These critters are still being found, with tropical vegetation in their gut.

The evidence of this melting event is upon us, and documented with breath-taking photography, by a daring cameraman (who is a former climate change skeptic), and crew, from National Geographic. Watch the movie trailer at youtube.¬†(Early notices at¬†RottenTomatoes¬†gives the film 96%.)¬†Then find yourself some new digs in a warm location, which isn’t too near a low, coastal ¬†setting. Sell your beach frontage before it’s underwater! Remember Hurricanes Katrina, and Sandy! (In case you were wondering, Merida centro is about 40 kilometers/25 miles from the coast; and the airport elevation is about 12 meters/39 feet.) Maybe some day Merida will be a Venice of the New World? Not likely in this century; but across the Gulf in, say, Miami, maybe so.

+ For those who want to understand the science and history of this cycle, I highly recommend an easy book by a great storyteller who happens also to be a science journalist with a PhD from MIT ‚Äď SCATTER, ADAPT and REMEMBER: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.

 

 

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU!

Today, July 4th, it’s time to begin to take back our liberty from government bullies, elected officials, and corporate seducers who are seizing it from us under the guise of security. This slippery slope of claims justifying government spying on the citizenry will eventually result in dehumanizing the populace, as argued powerfully by philosopher Michael Lynch in this NYTimes article.¬† ¬∂ A protest action is called for on this holiday famous for celebration of liberty. Funds might be contributed to such respected public defenders as the Electronic Frontier Foundation¬†or the American Civil Liberties Union¬†(which is suing the US Government over these 4th amendment abuses of our privacy). The best way to celebrate liberty is by defending it!

This quote by President John F. Kennedy, below, may contain a chilling insight, considering how Occupy Wall Street was prevented from holding banksters accountable, and how the US Air Force has hired contractors as¬†“sock puppets” to insert false comments into social media:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. ~JFK

AMENDMENT IV, United States Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.