October 25, 2009 archive

An Introduction (Enquiring Minds Wanted To Know)

Yes, there were some people who, over at John Cole’s blog, balloon-juice, who after the little row I caused, decided to ask, “just who is this Michael Gass guy, anyway”?

So, I thought I would do this introduction essay, not just for them, but, for all the new people here at docudharma.

Who am I?

The Privatization of Death

Raw Story has an article on how Arizona, looking to close a gap on state debt, is looking to privatize prisons, and, prisons that house death row inmates.

The State of Arizona, seeking to close a $2 billion budget gap, is planning to open bidding on all but one of its prison facilities.

Included in the offerings to private firms is an opportunity to manage the captivity of those condemned to die: a move that, for the first time ever, would put a U.S. state’s death row in corporate hands, according to The New York Times.

This is an extremely bad idea, and, here’s why…

Honduras: A Sign That The Coup Has Won

I know, I know.  I’m hypersensitive, I’ve lost my sense of humor, I’m out of touch with common reality. I’m making mountains out of mole hills.  And I sound angry.

All of that about me might be so, but today’s Washington Post article about Honduras seems to me to be a sign that the coup has won, as far as the Trad Media are concerned, and that deserves at least brief mention here.  Put another way, I don’t think you’re going to read more about Honduras in the Trad Media until the end of November when the presidential election is held there.

Join me in Tegucigalpa.

On Being A Government DJ, Or, “Torture? You Call That Torture?”

It’s become more or less common knowledge that US forces have been using music as an operational tool for some time now, and I’ve begun seeing lists of the songs that are being used either to inflict pain, to demoralize, or to just generally disorient various people in various sorts of situations.

There are others, wiser than I, who will opine as to the questions of efficacy and the moral issues surrounding these kinds of operations; I will opine, instead, as to the quality of the songs used.

Frankly, had anyone asked, I could have put the torturers onto much better musical choices, just by selecting from my own “My Music” folder–which left me thinking: “hey, it’s the weekend…why not do exactly that?”

Got any psychological warfare mission planned for the weekend? Expecting to have to direct amplified sound at an angry mob in a defensive maneuver Saturday night? Planning a Halloween haunted house that goes a bit…fuurther?

Come along with me then, soldier, and I’ll provide you a playlist that should do the trick in almost any foreseeable emergency.

Victory to the postal workers

Original article, by by Jane Loftus, Communications Workers Union president, via Socialist Worker (UK):

The workers for Royal Mail in England are on strike. Good for them, we should support them with our solidarity. Read President Loftus’ article and consider how the situation the CWU workers are facing compares with what’s happening in the States. If you agree that it sounds somewhat similar, it may be time to start considering worker action here in the US.

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