1995: At the super maximum prison in Pelican Bay California, guards boiled an inmate named Vaughn Dortch alive.
Although it could be argued that this was merely an attempt to reduce the terrible overcrowding in California’s prisons, anyone with a name like Vaughn Dortch was probably white trailer trash and deserved to die.
By the way, you all may be pleased to learn that when California in 1980s began its massive prison expansion as part of the War on Drugs (about 80% of the prison population has been incarcerated for drug related violations), it embarked on the largest prison building program in the history of the world, larger that the Gulags and larger than World War II Germany.
Hooray for us. We’re number one. Thank God they did it in time though. Think of all the criminals that now would be walking our streets today if they had not.
The construction and operation of prisons was one of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing segments of governmental expenditures during the past two decades in California, and one of the major reasons for California’s fiscal crisis. Yet the Republicans in the State Legislature (and some of the Democrats) staunchly refuse to cut this massive public welfare and spending program as part of any proposal for reducing public debt through reduction of governmental expenditures. Why you ask? Public interest or public safety, perhaps? No, the Prison employee unions are some of the largest contributors of campaign funds to the Party. Republicans supporting, a public employee union? If it gets them elected, why not? On the Federal level the same approach to cutting wasteful military expenditure depends on which party receives the most campaign contributions from the defense industry.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:
I do not know if it was because I was reading the San Francisco Chronicle this morning with its news reportage values even lower than the, Bangkok Post or my residence in a foreign country has atrophied my appreciation of the subtleties of my native culture, but I could find no news, even of a humorous kind, worth repeating. This I found disconcerting since it was Sunday and having nothing better to do, I assiduously worked through even the enormous quantity of advertising inserts. By the way, who reads the advertising inserts except the bored and hopeless and they are not going to buy anything anyway?
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) AMERICA:
I guess I should begin with my departure from the condemned building in Bangkok that was my residence for the past two months. At 8:30 AM, Hayden, the maid and I were picked up by “Uncle Ute” and taken to the airport. Uncle Ute is the policeman boyfriend of SWAC’s brother Nong. We loaded 4 large red suitcases and 4 pieces of “carry-on” bags at least one of which contained enough food to satisfy any cravings or hunger pains we may experience during our trip.
We arrived at the airport and met up with SWAC and “Uncle Scott,” a casual friend of SWAC’s. SWAC also had two carry-ons and an enormous suitcase of a powered blue color.
We were also met by a man and a woman in uniform. The woman, introduced to us as SWAC’s cousin, appeared to work for Thai customs. The man was airport security. SWAC explained that they were going to assist us through the process. SWAC was in her glory, happily demonstrating her power and connections to the maid, uncles Scott and Ute and, of course, me.
We checked in and SWAC, Hayden and I were ushered into the private confines of the VIP priority passport control station where the passport control officer pointed out the SWAC’s passport had expired. It was an amazing transformation. SWAC, who up until then maintained a regal and imperious air as though she was the member of some royal familiar another, collapsed into the bewildered helplessness of the farmer’s daughter, that she actually is, visiting the big city for the first time.
It was agreed that I would continue on with Hayden and she would follow later after resolving her passport problem.
The flight was long and uneventful, except for Hayden’s discovery of a little boy of his same age as him in the seat in front of us. They bonded, much to the discomfort of everyone sitting around us as they yelled and giggled and climbed over and under the seats.
We arrived and with two luggage trolleys piled high with the over large suitcases. As a result, we were singled out for meticulous luggage inspection by the US Customs Service that took over an hour.
After two days together in San Francisco during which Hayden and I occupied ourselves in various activities that would only appeal to very young boys and very old men, SWAC arrived. She was transported from the Airport to where Hayden and I were staying in a large white pickup truck driven by “Uncle Joe,” in order to collect Hayden and luggage mountain. (Why would anyone buy a “white” pick-up truck?)
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Vince returned to his office a little after noon and stopped by the desk of Nina, his administrative assistant as secretaries are called now, and asked her to order a BLT sandwich and a Coke as he planned to eat lunch working at his desk. Nina informed him that she had received a message from Alaska, that the bush pilot they had retained to fly into the fishing camp where Charley Bowman was vacationing radioed that when he arrived there the other patrons of the camp reported that Charley had not returned from his hike to his favorite fishing spot and that a search had been organized to try to find out what had happened to him.
Vince stared as her while he tried to control the burning sensation he was beginning to feel in his empty stomach. “Well, let me know immediately if there is any news. Also I am going to be quite busy for the next hour or so and I do not want to be disturbed by anything, unless of course it is news about Charley. Also, let Ray know I want him in my office with the files from Sam’s at 2 PM.”
He stalked into his office threw himself into his chair and muttered “shit” then dialed David’s extension. He was determined not to bear the cost of Ike’s legal fees. He told David that he wanted the Executive Committee to approve his hiring of Ike to represent him and their agreement for the firm to bear the cost. David immediately objected, but Vince was not above threatening him with his immediate resignation if he did not agree. He then telephoned each member of the Executive Committee until he had enough votes and stopped, drafted a memorandum of the minutes of the telephone meeting of the EC and asked Nina to deliver it to the EC members he had called and wait until each one signed it.
He then put in a call to the managing partner of the Washington DC office. Sam’s death and the general economic distress of the firm had prompted several of the partners in the DC office to threaten to leave for another firm. He spent about a half hour outlining his plans for turning around the firms fortunes and asking the partners in the office to allow him some time to get this all done. As expected, the DC managing partner countered with an attempt to extort the firm for a greater share of firm revenue for the DC partners. Vince promised that he would discuss it with other members of the EC and get back to him. He had no intention of doing so, for now.
He then called his office manager, Quentin Cooper and scheduled an hour meeting with him at 2:30 that afternoon to review the firms financial status and other administrative issues.
It was now two PM and t his office door swung open without a knock or any other announcement and the ambiguously dressed but ever confident Ray walked in pulling a hand truck piled high with file boxes.
a. Privatize this:
“What we have today with the intelligence business is something far more systemic: senior officials leaving their national security and counterterrorism jobs for positions where they are basically doing the same jobs they once held at the CIA, the NSA, and other agencies–but for double or triple the salary and for profit. It’s a privatization of the highest order, in which our collective memory and experience in intelligence–our crown jewels of spying, so to speak–are owned by corporate America.”
Tim Shorrock, Spies For Hire.
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):
“Corporations would not exist if their investors had to assume the same economic risks as any other individual in a free society.”
c. Today’s Chart:
Annual Expenditure in Dollars
Basic Education for all $6 billion*
Cosmetics in the USA $8 billion
Water and sanitation for all $9 billion
Ice-cream in Europe $11 billion
Reproductive health for all women $12 billion
Perfumes in Europe and the USA $12 billion
Basic health and nutrition $13 billion
Pet Foods in Europe and the USA $ 35 billion
Business Entertainment in Japan $17 billion
Cigarettes in Europe $ 50 billion
Alcoholic drinks in Europe $ 105 billion
Narcotic drugs in the world $ 400 billion
Military spending in the world $ 780 billion
“Every bureaucracy seeks to increase the superiority of the professionally informed by keeping their knowledge and intuitions secret. Bureaucratic administration always tends to be an administration of ‘secret sessions’, in so far as it can, it hides its actions and knowledge from criticism…The concept of the “official secret” is the specific invention of bureaucracy.”
Max Webber, Economy and Society.