Archive for » June, 2011 «

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History & Social Consciousness…

Someone I am proud to call a friend, Hans Post, is fond of using the famous quote by George Santayana: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Hans should know.

Corporatist choices (click to enlarge)...

In World War II, he was in the German Wehrmacht SS of the famed Skorzeny Kommando. (They were an independent command and radically different from the other murderous legions of SS.) more…

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Prison Dreamin’…

The official release date from my 25-yr federal prison sentence will be Friday, July the 8th, 2011. As the Chinese curse goes, “It’s been an interesting journey.”

The Final Free Election (click to enlarge)...

Disclosure: In the summer of ’66 (at 24), after serving in the 101st Airborne, the Civil Rights movement in the Old South, a brutish year on a Tennessee rock-quarry chain-gang, and in Local #212 of the UAW, I became a revolutionary socialist. I remain so. more…

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Criminals, Police & Other Felons…

I got a real chuckle over watching the “news” on General Electric’s NBC the other day. They announced the apprehension of Whitey Bulger (81), one the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted after 16 years of being on the lam. I’ll have to admit, I was surprised.

James "Whitey" Bulger 1953...

Having known several of Whitey Bulger’s associates in prison and following the news of the time, I was quite aware of his history as an informant/protégé of the FBI and other police agencies, and how they created him as a mob boss.

NBC, ever more following in the tabloid/profit-driven steps of News Corp (Rupert Murdoch), was true to form in leaving out all of the more salient facts of Whitey’s and the FBI’s history.

Whitey’s central partner in the FBI was Special Agent John Connolly (now 70). John grew up in the same South Boston neighborhood and knew Whitey. Connolly would later be convicted himself for his role with Whitey’s mob and sent to federal prison for 10 years. more…

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Heroes, Dogs, Screws & Blues…

A prison publication started at the same time as I started my own sentence (and personal newsletter, the Communiqué) back in 1990, is the Prison Legal News by Paul Wright.

The PLN is a remarkable 56-pg monthly compendium of prison and legal news. More remarkably, for its first 13 years it was written and edited by Paul from inside the Washington State prison system. more…

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Plea Bargains & Pissin’ in the Wind…

Of all those charged in federal court, 96% plead guilty and opt for some form of plea-bargain. Many also “cooperate” in one form or another and snitch out others to get extra consideration for themselves. The actor, Tim Allen, is one of those examples.

Award winning snitch…

Timothy Allen Dick (his actual name) was facing natural life in prison in Michigan back in 1978 under the then prevailing law for getting busted with a kilo of cocaine. He was fortunate (he claimed) in that he knew 21 other people involved with him that he could snitch out to save his own sorry ass.

The sorrier fact is, only 4% of those convicted in federal court have gone to trial. more…

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Beauty & The Beast…

A good friend of mine took me aside at a benefit that I spoke at last Friday concerning Marie Mason and Eric McDavid doing draconian sentences in federal prison.  He asked me, soto voce, if I really wanted to get a ride home with another friend who had offered.

All ships come to Justice…

“Why not?” I asked.

“You don’t know what happened?” he said.

I realized that he was talking about a drug bust this other friend had recently sustained. He was obviously concerned with my potential legal exposure given my continuing elderly offender home detention status. A reasonable concern.

I chuckled about it and blew the matter off. I took the ride.

Nevertheless, it’s a good topic to address and was in part the subject of my dissertation for a doctorate in psych. more…

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40th Anniversary of The Drug War…

Friday is the 40th anniversary of the Drug War.  “America’s public enemy No. 1 in the US is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive…”  Thus declared the chief conspirator of one of America’s criminal administrations, Dick Nixon, on June 17th, 1971.

1895 advertisement…

Since that time, over 40 million drug arrests have been made.  Over 50% of the close to 3 million souls in the American prison system are incarcerated on drug charges. more…

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Spock Opts for Palestine…

On June 1st, 2011, I posted a story on Israel-Palestine. Unrelated, on June 6th, HAARETZ.com published an open letter by Leonard Nimoy supporting the call for an independent Palestine.

To boldly go where no man has gone before…

Nimoy played the character Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek TV series. In part he characterized the conflict in terms of one of the Star Trek episodes, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefied.”

It was a story of the last two survivors of two ancient races “prepared to battle to the death to defend the memory of their people who died from the atrocities committed by the other.” more…

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In The Garden of Beasts…

Author Erik Larson has just done us a huge favor. He’s written and published a book, In The Garden of Beasts, about the American ambassador to Nazi Germany, 1933-38, William E. Dodd, who’s tenure paralleled Hitler’s rise to power.

Ambassador Dodd Family, 1933...

In some very basic respects, we have an excellent analogy between that history, some 75 years ago, and today. Perhaps we can learn some lessons… more…

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The FBI & J. Edgar Hoover—A Study in Sociopathology…

Elmer Pratt was born and raised, 1947, in Morgan City, Louisiana.  Despite my service in the 101st Airborne and Civil Rights activism in the Old South (1959-65), I can only imagine the pervasive environment that young Elmer must have experienced.

Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt

Elmer graduated from high school as a star quarterback.  He then did two combat tours and 55 combat jumps with long-range recon (LURPs) in the 82nd Airborne, Vietnam, 1965-68. more…