HOME  |  SUMMARY  BONUS CONTENT  AUTHOR   |  CONTACT

PERPETUAL PRISONER MONEY MACHINE
(Author's Notes)

“The more corrupt the State, the more laws.”
- Tacitus, Renowned Senator and Historian of The Roman Empire

First, a little perspective…

For those of us who are still wearing rose-colored glasses, believing that we are living in a free country, try having a smoke in an open-air stadium, or driving to the 7-Eleven in the middle of the night for an ice cream without wearing a seatbelt. Or try sipping a beer with a friend on a public beach on a hot summer day, or living off the grid in solitude with your own self-sustaining solar power and running water sources… which is already illegal in parts of Florida. Many states have even outlawed rainwater harvesting. Things that wouldn’t warrant a second look in Europe get residents of the Land of the Free fines, administrative violations, sanctions, jail, or all of the above.

I’m not suggesting that everyone be able to do anything and everything they want to all the time, either… it’s just not practical. However, a balance must be struck between having unilateral freedom (anarchy), and living in a police-state… and the line was crossed decades ago. Time to push back. It’s obvious just from watching the news that there are no limits to what SOMEONE in this world may perceive to be offensive. But the answer is not to make every single thing under the sun illegal, including civility! Insisting that the world conform to any individual or group’s beliefs—for instance, religious beliefs—is the functioning antithesis of freedom. Bikinis and burkas can exist side by side, provided that each side doesn’t insist that the other conform or go to prison. There doesn’t have to be a LAW favoring one or the other. What we have now is an out-of-balance, moulting idiocracy… characterized by a stunning absence of common sense.

The death of common sense…

Forty years ago, a judge would have laughed if children sued their parents for spanking them, or denying them college funds. Now kids of all ages threaten their parents with calling Child Protective Services if they don’t get their way. In my neighborhood, kids that got caught playing on a construction site on a weekend were escorted home, where they would have to answer to their parents. Now they are locked up in juvenile prisons, where they get a real education in crime. Turn them into real criminals, fodder for the future. 

It’s blatantly obvious that making everything that is potentially offensive to someone a crime must result in more crimes being committed. We now have twenty million laws, forty million laws, sixty million laws—nobody knows for sure how many are on the books because there are so many they can’t be counted.

Additionally, throwing all common sense and decency out the window has contributed greatly to successfully overfilling the prisons. Shortly after I began to compile examples of our common sense erosion, I realized the futility of this endeavor. In the interest of brevity (and space limitations), I sought out only a few instances of overzealous law enforcement that were exemplary, since they were all rooted in a lack of common sense. Typical of the thousands more just like them, they illustrate the pervasiveness of the problem and the immense scope of this invisible, deadly enemy that is threatening our very existence. The instances just keep on coming, like the Energizer Bunny. And it’s not limited to the criminal justice system, either; it’s found its way into mainstream American life like a virus. From kindergarten to the corner store, from private businesses to governments large and small, black and white, local and international, our collective lack of willingness to exercise common sense seems to have no boundaries or limitations.
In citing just a few of thousands of examples of over-aggressiveness, lack of perspective and downright idiocy, Florida mother Marisa Alexander is at or near the top of the list. This young, black woman was sentenced to twenty years for aggravated assault, for firing a warning shot THROUGH HER OWN CEILING IN HER OWN HOME, to send a message to her abusive husband who was threatening her life… again. Unbelievable. There was no victim, nobody was hurt and no damage was done. She shouldn’t have even been charged. The defense was prohibited from putting multiple witnesses on the stand to testify to the confirmed abusiveness of the husband. How did that serve justice? Resultantly, the jury convicted her in twelve minutes, despite the fact that she had no previous arrests or convictions.

So, they took her away from her children and slapped her with the mandatory minimum of twenty years. Who are these people?
The Deerfield Beach police department recently completed a sting operation on a little-league football gambling ring. They used seventy-five men and spent over a year and a half to break this crime operation, putting four men who were coaching their kids’ football teams behind bars for betting on the games. Big stuff. All the while the Florida Lotteries run their multibillion-dollar betting operations week in and out. This is what taxpayers are paying for?

Apparently so, but there’s more. The dirty tricks department is still open, and the door’s getting wider by the day. Since police-enforced sobriety checkpoints have come under massive scrutiny and harsh criticism lately, law-enforcement mavens in Pennsylvania and Texas have diagrammed a new play to circumvent the Fourth Amendment. Uniformed off-duty police officers, who do not identify themselves as such, corral traffic into off-road parking lots with their lights flashing. They then ask for volunteers to submit to Breathalyzer tests, or to give blood, or to be swabbed for saliva, AS PART OF A NATIONAL HIGHWAY SAFETY ADMINISTRATION “STUDY.” The trick is that if they decline to be tested, it gives them reason to suspect that the person is driving impaired, at which time it’s their DUTY as police officers to mandate the test. It doesn’t get much dirtier than that, but give them time.

I used to joke about the prospect of government getting into our bedrooms, but it’s not a joke anymore. Melissa Davenport, a Georgia woman, is suing the city of Sandy Springs for a law banning the sale of vibrators and other sex toys unless a person has a prescription for them.

CNN reported the story of a two-year-old child who called 911 fifteen times over a two-day period. Authorities charged both her mother and her boyfriend with obstruction. They also reported that a school superintendent (in charge of education) suspended a six-year-old for sexual harassment, for kissing a girl in his class on the hand and cheek. She said it “fit the description of sexual harassment” in the school guidelines. When the child saw his mother, he asked her, “Mommy, what’s sex?”

This perverse mentality is part and parcel of a movement to criminalize childhood. Disgusting as it seems, the powers that be have chosen to expand the market for prisoners to include teens and even preteens. We’ve arrested twelve-year-old girls for cyberbullying. Incarcerated eighteen-year-old boys for having sex with their seventeen-year-old girlfriends, labeling them as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. An eighteen-year-old man is considered to be mature enough to get his arms and legs blown off in Iraq looking for phantom weapons, but we’ll arrest this same boy for being an underage beer drinker if he returns home before he’s 21. Then, we’ll send him to mandatory drug counseling alongside crack and heroin addicts as part of his rehabilitation from drinking a beer, make him write his own epitaph, and then scar his permanent record. Don’t be surprised; it’s a fact, and it is common practice.

Meanwhile, we listen to the incessant complaining of the SOTs, about how our youth is confused, detached and angry. None of them seem capable of perceiving that at least part of the reason for this is that THEY are criminalizing the things that THEY didwhen THEY were younger, things that THEY used to consider to be part of making mistakes and growing up. When it was THEM doing it.

It appears as if private prison industry lobbying efforts are paying off… to expand their market for warm, young bodies to occupy their bunks. The young ones require less healthcare, too, so they don’t have to waste as much money keeping prisoners alive. Get ’em into the system early, and they’ll be checking in and out of prison for life. More earnings per share.

I could write an entire book (which I might) chronicling ridiculous and absurd prosecutions and persecutions as they stack up against the backlog of the real crimes against humanity that aren’t even being looked at. Does anybody else think it’s time to turn things back around? Do we have any leaders left that haven’t sold their balls to the highest bidder? Or is it going to be just me and Bernie Sanders and Jesse Ventura fighting the good fight? If it is, then so be it.

The bottom line is that the only way to affect the outcome is to beat them at their own game… by influencing more votes than they do

The grim reality…

In truly free countries, you don’t have to prove yourself innocent. In their ceaseless efforts to take more liberties with our liberties, the SOTs have taken full advantage of John Q. Public’s susceptibility during the war-on-drugs hysteria in the 80s. Now it’s the war-on-terror. Civil asset forfeiture laws were crammed through the system to better enable law enforcement to decimate drug organizations, but they soon found it convenient to use these laws against everyone. Asset forfeiture is an extraordinarily powerful law enforcement tool that allows the government to take cash and property without pressing criminal charges and then requires the owners to prove their possessions were legally acquired. Not only does this constitute a violation of civil liberties and property rights, but it also fuels widespread abuse of power. But why? How did the American public become the enemy?

According to the Washington Post (September 6, 2014), “Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under civil forfeiture laws in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and surveillance gear.” Among other things. The Post’s analysis of over 43,000 reports from 2008 through the present yields a truly disturbing result; unexplored until now is the role of the federal government and the private police trainers in encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways since 9/11. Disappointingly, this has become a routine source of funding for law enforcement at every level. Astonishingly, law enforcement agencies are incentivized to confiscate goods since they get to keep seventy to one-hundred percent of the take. They have spared nothing, even entering people’s homes, confiscating everything from food, electronics, and vehicles to birth certificates and cash. You name it; social security, insurance and public assistance cards are also fair game. The answer once again boils down to the government’s obsession with making our money their money. It seems impossible this could happen in America, but it is what it is, and there’s no denying it. Google it, if you must, but you might want to take a Xanax first.

The contemporary government mind set…

Our government was originally set up by our Founding Fathers specifically to govern within strict parameters inherent in a system of checks and balances, not to rule. However, our contemporary “leaders” have devised and initiated a calculated, infinitely patient modus operandi to achieve their goals of staying in power and getting richer. People of intelligence are noticing that they are using opportunity and circumstance to gradually take everyone’s rights away, under the pretext of protecting individual rights. For our safety and protection. A perverse and self-serving scare tactic to be sure, but it’s true nonetheless. We’ve been relentlessly desensitized and reprogrammed by the media over the decades to accept the new culture of fear. And it’s been performed right before our eyes, as if we were in the front row of a David Copperfield production, with smoke, mirrors and misdirection. They know exactly what they’re doing… as Benjamin Franklin anticipated and pontificated on in 1775.

“Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The basis behind all this nonsense resides in the shared values of those in power and those who put them in power. The mindset of the lawmakers and the top tier elites that finance their elections is that we witless morons cannot be trusted to make even the most basic day-to-day decisions on our own. Therefore, their collective omniscience tempered by whatever their individual religious beliefs are at the time need to become LAW, and mandated on us by FORCE. This convenient position fulfills the dual purpose of keeping the Perpetual Prisoner Money Machine thriving, while concurrently stroking their delusionary feelings of self-importance, self-righteousness and entitlement as the ruling class.

It’s a phenomenon of contemporary politics that many of our leaders believe that THEY ARE THE GOVERNMENT, and not working as the public servants that they are. It’s symptomatic of a wholesale loss of perspective, a total detachment from the reality of their jobs and responsibilities. But that explains why they take such good care of themselves. Currently fifty percent of all Congressman and women are millionaires.

And although nepotism is technically verboten, the rules have been intentionally written to be perfectly ambiguous and non-specific. This enables candidates the luxury of being able to indirectly pay family members hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from their campaign funds. Even better, they have also made it legal for themselves to lend money to their own campaigns. Many of them pay themselves back with campaign contribution money, at eighteen percent. Nice work if you can get it. That’s why we can’t count on them taking the money out of politics; that’s why they’re in it in the first place. Getting elected or appointed is the equivalent of getting a free pass to be a millionaire. For Chrissake, $57 million was spent on the midterm senate election in Alaska in 2014, to gain the favor of only 200,000 voters. The ante for entering a candidate in the 2016 presidential race, a cool $500 million. It’s a high-stakes game, and these guys are playing for keeps.

The proof is in the pudding…

Never in history has their sinister and malicious intent become so perfectly crystal clear until Jason Villalba (R) filed House Bill 2918 in the Texas House of Representatives. This proposed legislation in the Texas Congress would criminalize citizens’ rights to record or photograph law enforcement. It’s an unmistakable example of how the ruling class is attempting to provide cover for its enforcers. To protect the Perpetual Prisoner Money Machine. The “protect and serve” slogan used to mean something; in its present bastardized form, it means to protect and serve themselves.

Villalba first stated that his bill “does not infringe on constitutional rights” or “limit liberty in any way,” which makes me wonder if he is an actual clinical imbecile. Or if he is Joseph Stalin reincarnated. Even more fantastic, he claimed that he had “absolutely no expectation that this [bill] would become controversial.” It reminds me of what my father said to me as a teenager, after I’d put my foot in my mouth once too often: “Until you opened your mouth, we just thought you were stupid. Now, we’re sure of it.”

Another fellow Republican loose cannon, Kevin Calvey, shares similar ideas about shredding the Constitution to suit his agenda. He introduced Oklahoma House Bill 2206 to the State Legislature, which would prohibit Oklahoma District Attorneys from prosecuting state officials, granting that power exclusively to the State Attorney General. This would exempt lawmakers from prosecution of nearly any crimes that are normally handled at the local level. The great desensitization has begun. They’re not even trying to be cagey about it, anymore.

It’s not as if these were lone rogue acts, either. In December 2012, the National Legal and Policy Center reported that lawmakers were organizing an effort to eliminate the OCE, the Office of Congressional Ethics, spearheaded in 2008 by Nancy Pelosi. The OCE’s job is to monitor the actions of lawmakers. It has found breaches of ethics in thirty-seven of the one-hundred cases it investigated… none of which have been prosecuted to date. It’s a pattern.

This megalomaniacal mindset took shape and form in our government on November 4, 1952, when with a single stroke of a pen, Harry S. Truman signed a top-secret memorandum that created the NSA. I used the word “born” purposely since the NSA’s existence was not the result of a law or statute establishing it. There was no news coverage, no press release, no congressional debate or discussion or even a vote. Outside of a few select people in government, nobody had ANY KNOWLEDGE OF IT. The document is still classified to this day. Should we really be surprised, then, about the rogue behavior of the organization that was created in the dark sixty years ago? One that has since that time amassed 33,000 employees and commands a $52.6 billion share of the annual budget? Just one of their mega-surveillance complexes (Fort Meade, MD) is on 5,000 acres of land and is TEN TIMES the size of the Pentagon. The Pentagon is 6.5 million square feet and has seventeen miles of corridor within its walls.
Also not a surprise but certainly not common knowledge, the SOTs have given the NSA a budget of $250 million a year to bribe U.S. and foreign companies to alter their commercial products to program them a secret back door into their programs, allowing them  undetectable access to survey whatever they want. In his interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Director of the NSA, General Alexander, carefully implied that if they did in fact overstep their bounds, it was unintentional and inadvertent. Well, golly-gee, General, and gee whiz, why didn’t you say that in the first place? No problem whatsoever. They sure picked the right man for that job, somebody with an IQ of over two hundred who is capable of talking to us with the innocence of Gomer Pyle. What I would like to know, however, is why the government’s ironclad position that “ignorance of the law does not constitute a defense against breaking that law,” doesn’t apply to the General like it does to the rest of us.


***


Aldous Huxley authored Brave New World in 1932, wherein he expressed his mistrust of twentieth-century politics and technology. He prognosticated even then that “by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms—elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest—will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans, will remain what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly-trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.” Well spoken, Aldous.

Almost every day now we’re witnessing big brother’s little brother—law enforcement— as it really is: more corrupt and arrogant than we’ve been led to believe. Slapping people around, using excessive force, and performing executions as a self-appointed judge and jury on the spot. Frontier justice… for them. We’ve seen massive, military responses from the police when their actions are so egregious that people RIOT. To the educated eye, they not only caused the riot in the first place, they made it ten times worse. I used the selected examples to illustrate that it’s not just the police that are out of control. They are just one arm of the humongous PPM. The legislative and judicial arms of government that have surreptitiously crafted the system over the last half-century are equally culpable for keeping the prisons full.

By the way, how do you think that these law enforcement types behave when they’re working BEHIND BARS? In the prisons, where they have carte blanche? Where there is no videotaping and they control all crime scenes before anyone else is allowed to even see or review it? It’s a thousand times worse than it is on the street. Maybe a million. Prisons are havens for miscreants with badges, incubators of inhumanity.

The Perpetual Prisoner Money Machine…

While we were busy Rip-Van-Winkling all the way through the decades, mowing our lawns, raising our families, watching little league baseball in sandlots and trying to survive the mundane elements of modern-day TV life, our leaders have been busy. Busy protecting themselves and expanding the top tier of wealthy and influential Americans who financed their campaigns. Until just recently, this class of entitled elites has emerged into the new millennium virtually unscathed by the Department of Justice, insulated from prosecution from its own rampant lawlessness. There is little doubt that this “protection” has contributed to the rich getting richer. The top one percent of wage earners’ incomes quadrupled since 1979, while the rest of us have remained stagnant. These privileged few in the top one percent now take home almost twenty-four percent of the nation’s total income. Our new governing body: the elite aristocracy.

CNN reported that twenty-six of the 288 largest American corporations paid little or no taxes in the years 2008-2012. Teddy Roosevelt stated clearly in his first inaugural address that he demanded rigorous oversight of big business.

“Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions, and it is therefore our right and duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions.”

Now, over a hundred years later, those “great” corporations own the government. The elites have been quietly paving the way for themselves and their rich friends to sell out America from under our noses. I was alarmed to learn that Smithfield (port products) was allowed to sell to the Chinese for $5 billion, and more shocked to discover that there have been another six-hundred-and-fifty deals of this magnitude approved since the year 2000. While waving flags in our faces, they’ve been rubber-stamping more and more sales of U.S. corporations to foreign business interests, sending American jobs and money out of our country. Can someone explain to me why this is not treason?

During the same period, they immunized themselves and their wealthy friends from their own epic crimes while seeing fit to tighten the screws on the rest of us poor bastards. The prison population skyrocketed a thousand percent. They tightened laws with such tremendous torque they couldn’t even build prisons fast enough to hold all the violators. And once they were breaming full, why was it necessary for the Supreme Court of the United States to have to ORDER the State of California to reduce its prison population due to overcrowding? Why wouldn’t men of conscience do this without having to be ordered? 

But hey, if you have the ability to stroke a $13.2 billion check to U.S. District Attorney Eric Holder, you don’t have to worry about going to prison. J.P. Morgan Chase did exactly that in 2013 to cover their illegal sale of questionable securities during the period leading up to the 2008-9 banking crisis. In an encore, they wrote another check for $2.9 billion in early 2014 to buy their way out of their flagrant complicity in the Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Not a single prosecution resulted, except for Bernie’s. Occasionally they would throw one of their own to the sharks, to give the masses an illusion of the reach of justice.             

The lavish lobbying of the government from the financial sector proved to be a very worthwhile investment. Since 1997, the industry’s generosity totaled $3.6 billion, more than enough to make them more than a few friends in high places. A virtual “get out of jail free” card.

The unequal application of justice is the most divisive issue facing this country today. It’s part and parcel of the exploding prison population, which is symptomatic of an out-of-control criminal justice system. The cure is proper government, by real public servants, real leaders who possess intelligence, selflessness, compassion, foresight and a sense of duty to America. Where are these men and women?

People used to trust our government—at least more than they do now—but they have been conditioned over time to believe otherwise. Today, men of courage and intelligence are starting to ask questions, since technological advances in communication are making it more and more difficult for government officials to blatantly lie. Remember, it’s the same talking heads that sacrificed 4,400 of our boys in Iraq, chasing WMDs that never existed, who are imploring us to trust them again. The same group who demonized marijuana and put a million of our men in prison.            They now want us to believe that they have our best interests in mind… that the economy is good, and crime is on the decline. We’re supposed to believe that the attack on Benghazi was an impromptu riot spurred by a video, and not a planned terrorist attack. We’re told that global warming doesn’t exist, that waterboarding is not torture, and if you like your insurance, you can keep it. The list just keeps on growing, faster than Pinocchio’s nose.

Ronald Reagan warned us in 1988, with his now famous quote: “Facts are stupid things.” Yeah, especially when they get in the way of a good story. Who was it who said “We did not, repeat, did NOT, trade weapons or anything else for hostages?” A short time after the indisputable facts were uncovered, he said, “A few months ago, I told the American people, I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.” Unbelievable that should come out of a president’s mouth.

I, like most halfway-educated citizens, don’t know what to believe in this era anymore, and it’s a huge problem. The media-driven lines between fact, fiction, opinion, propaganda and outright lies have become so blurred that unless you possess top-secret clearance with the Pentagon, you will not know the real truth, about anything, ever. It would be easier to personally verify Exxon’s global oil reserves over the weekend.

We seem to be short of cash when it comes to extending unemployment benefits for the millions of unemployed. We don’t have enough money to feed the hungry or house the homeless or to fix our aging roads, 65,000 structurally deficient dangerous bridges, or aging airports and seaports and other infrastructure, or to bail out our bankrupt cities like Detroit. Yet we miraculously have spent $419 million to keep 149 prisoners behind bars in Guantanamo Bay. That’s $2,812,000 per year, per man! We’ve also provided $55 million to commission Ken Starr to pose as Jackie Collins to write a trashy novel about President Clinton’s sex life. But we don’t provide proper care to our wounded veterans, we don’t properly reform and assist parolees who have paid for their crimes and made amends, and we can’t even house the million Americans who are homeless tonight. And forget about education. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently diverted $11.6 million of public school funding in Baltimore to boost the state’s pension fund, but approved building a new $30 million youth jail. Typical bass-ackwards government mentality. Maryland is spending $38,000 a year per inmate, but $16,000 a year per student. Most states are even worse.

But hey, let’s pump up federal and local law enforcement spending. Even small towns and municipalities seem to be equipped like the military while forty-nine million Americans won’t have access to enough food to live an active, healthy life. As comedian George Carlin once said on the subject, “One out of seven people in this country might go to bed hungry every night, but we can sure lock your asses up in prison!”

This incongruous and monumental lack of perspective leads us to the meat and potatoes of the problem: the will of the American people has been superseded by the will of those in power.  Public servants have been replaced by Czars. Abraham Lincoln must be rolling over in his grave, watching how his immortal words have been forgotten. “These dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” (Gettysburg Address, 1863.) Now it’s more like government of the people, by the government, for the government. But there is no government of the government. Herein lies the core of the problem.

Once again, plodding forward like the Budweiser Clydesdales and wishing this problem away isn’t going to cut it. Basic mathematics tells us that if the CJS continues its hyper-aggressive approach, a short ten years from now (circa 2025), sixty-five percent of our entire adult population could be either in prison, have been in prison, or still be in the prison system on probation or parole. There are already over seventy million Americans that have criminal records. The system has no conscience. Too many high-ranking elected officials are busy lining their pockets with cash while they masquerade as public servants. They are the men behind the curtain, men who abuse their power to write their own self-serving laws.

The SOTs are entirely responsible for the indefensible ghastliness of our contemporary criminal justice system. Nameless, faceless powerbrokers who are running the game. Men with a delusionary sense of self-importance, competence and grandeur. The founders and protectors of the Perpetual Prisoner Money Machine, and other institutions that suit their power and control agendas.

Since the beginning of time, some people in every civilization have abused their freedoms and rights. The solution to this human condition is not to create more laws and impose harsher penalties, which only serve to stifle everyone’s rights and freedoms. Plato understood the futility of this approach in 400 BC:

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”

            We don’t need to consult a panel of Mensas and Ivy League social scientists to assess the white elephant in the room. The simple fact is the prison system doesn’t work, has never worked, and will never work. It’s a flawed, dated concept that serves only to exacerbate every negative character trait and condition known to man. But it does fuel the Perpetual Prisoner Money Machine….

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Walt Kelley

 

AVAILABLE NOW AT

© 2015 Steve Caputi, All Rights Reserved.