Friday, January 17, 2020

Capitalism in America: How a Dismal Decimal is Robbing Americans Blind

Capitalism in America

January 16, 2020
 

by Jon Hellevig for The Saker Blog
There is no hiding anymore, the United States has become an oligarch owned banana republic with nukes, and with a monopoly currency which has allowed it to rig the markets for half a century. But now we are only a couple of hours from curtain – Midnight in America.
With the stock market at all-time highs, virtually no unemployment (or so they say), and brisk GDP growth (supposedly) in the last decade, economic analysts would declare that the US economy is in excellent shape. But, it isn’t. The stock market is a central bank inflated asset bubble, and what GDP growth there has been, is an illusion brought about by the very same financial bubble and by pumping the economy up with record federal borrowings to finance the deficits that America cannot afford. Rigged statistics showing artificially low inflation serve to hold together the Trumped-up American economic narrative. (About the rigged inflation statistics, see this report https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/the-inflation-measurement-scam/?fbclid=IwAR0qmpe4i0sp5Uce9UlyEDt0_NkIv-aiDTSgvzHh5EMfZn5WQboZz_mB-XU
And the low unemployment figure is nothing but a chimera based on misleading statistics.
In reality, the US economy is failing – and the country with it. At least two-thirds of the population has seen dramatic declines in living standards and half are back to levels of developing nations – without the development.
The big story covered up by all the happy macroeconomic figures repeated by rote by the US establishment – everybody from the president to cable television pundits and Trump fanboys – is the gradual impoverishment of the American worker. That’s an inconvenient truth increasingly difficult to hide as the American dream has turned into a nightmare for huge swathes of the population. As the figures we present below show, the rich are really getting richer, the middle class has been decimated, and half of Americans are poor and destitute of any financial wealth. The super-rich are gobbling up an ever-increasing slice of the American pie at the cost of all the rest who get nothing but table scraps on one side and leftover crumbs on the other, if anything. The resulting stratification of society has brought back a medieval servant economy, where the have-nots are doing odd jobs, cleaning houses, fetching groceries, running errands and deliveries for the feudal rich and the remaining shrinking middle class.
Thanks to the Fed (the American oligarch owned central bank) pushing easy money into the hands of the privileged elite, the super-rich Dismal Decimal – the top 0.1% – have by now amassed as much wealth as they had just before the Great Depression that started with the stock market crash in 1929. A lesson not learned. Back to square one. How will it end this time?
This article is based on an Awara Accounting https://www.awaragroup.com/ study titled “Widening Income and Wealth Gap and Stagnating Wages in America.” https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/widening-income-and-wealth-gap-and-stagnating-wages-in-america/ Links and source references to all the facts presented here can be found in said study.
BTW all the data in this report is derived from official US government sources and American experts analyzing them.
During the last decades, the financial rewards from the rigged markets first flew exclusively into the pockets of Top 10%, but later it was increasingly Top 1%, which pocketed most, perfectly illustrated by below charts.   MORE

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Tail is Wagging an Enormous Rottweiler as Iowa Approaches, February 3rd



by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster 


As the Iowa Caucuses approach, March 3rd, the 30 MSM ‘Presidential Hopefuls’ continue to drop, the number of candidates crowded onto stages to exchange sound-bites diminished.  And Americans are still left ignorant that there are 1,013 more candidates, for a total of 1,043! 

Think of this as a poll on the accumulating anger and frustrations Americans are, today, experiencing.

Does the MSM 30 know they have been thrust into the limelight for another Wag the Dog Moment orchestrated by the MSM, party bosses & “reporters”, and those who own the six corporations who own the MSM?  Maybe, and maybe not.  They do know that the Critical Factor for Winning is name identification.  This is what the failure to accurately report the facts makes possible to them.  It is the most important factor if you want to be elected President of the United States.  Because of the way the Mainstream Media decides for you who is a 'serious' candidate, you don’t even know the names of most candidates - and you know nothing about their qualifications for the job of President. With Debatetourney.com, we provide some useful tools for this purpose. 

Clearly, the general public remains ignorant.  At DebateTourney.com we know this from the expressions of shock as those contacting us read THE CANDIDATE LIST, which we have continued to update for the All Presidential Candidates’ 1:1 Debate Tourney. We have invited them all, 51 have responded to date.  But it is very possible the MSM 30 knew they were ‘the chosen ones’, anointed to vie for the privilege of being hired by the American people for public housing and other benefits next November. 

During the early election season, this became more obvious to the discerning onlooker.  Remember the tumult of rejection from the shrilling nasties when Howard Schultz of Starbucks declared?  Remember the outrage when Tom Steyer announced he would spend half his fortune to ensure Climate Change was taken seriously? 

Both men are billionaires.  But others who are wealthy and should have been noted, starting in 2016, are also running.  One of these is Roque de la Fuente, a billionaire from California.  Roque did not just declare in 2016; he pursued ballot status, spending millions of his own money.  In 2016, Roque came in 2nd or 3rd to Hillary Clinton in 28 states; in six states he won nomination through the Reform Party.  You can think of this as the ‘Anybody But Hillary’ Movement which delivered Donald Trump the White House. 

The question of pretending candidates don’t exist, or attacking them when they announce, provides its own answer.  Actions speak louder than words. 

Roque’s platform was clearer than is usual for a presidential candidate.  He is a candidate of color, Hispanic, with a long history of helping others with his own money.  Ask most Americans if they’ve ever even heard of Rocky.  The answer is a resounding NO.
Roque is now suing Donald Trump manipulating the Republican National Committee and its field teams to align only with the Trump field teams to pressure others registered as Republican from running against him. The MSM hasn’t told you there are 157 GOP candidates running, not Fox, not CNN, not NBC. The first line of the lawsuit reads, “1. Joseph Stalin once told his private secretary, “I regard it as completely unimportant who in the party will vote and how, but it is extremely important who will count the votes and how.”  Roque appears to be determined on election and is as willing as Tom Steyer to spend his own money to achieve his goal. 

But you have likely never heard of Rocky.  Why? While you’re asking, find those who offer a welcome to all comers at DebateTourney.com

Monday, January 6, 2020

Almost like a death in the family: Should I let my little red car die peacefully?

Jane Stillwater

4:39 PM (2 hours ago)
to Janewall-street-and-war-street@racket.con
Almost like a death in the family: Should I let my little red car die peacefully?

     "You gotta pass the smog test!" the department of motor vehicles screams at me.  So I obediently drive my sweet little red 1990 Toyota Tercel down to the local gas station -- and it passes the emissions test with flying colors.

     Good job, little car!

     But then the "check engine" light won't turn off.  Defective part.  "Sorry but they don't make that part any more," sez my mechanic.  So my car fails the smog test after all.  But am I really ready to let my little red car die?  Just like that?  After 30 long loyal years of faithful service?  What would Greta Thunberg do?

     Of course the right thing to do is to give up my little red car -- and help save the human race.  But then I look around me.  No one else is giving up any of their cars.

     And no one else is giving up their pollution-causing "wars" either.  War is the number-one polluter and cause of climate crisis on the planet today -- but I don't see anyone in Washington DC offering to give up their F-35s.  https://www.globalresearch.ca/battle-liberate-idlib-province-us-supported-terrorists/5699039

    Perhaps we should make it a mandatory requirement that all those thousands and thousands of gas-guzzling toxin-emitting made-in-America tanks, bomber jets, aircraft carriers, drones, Blackhawks, Tomahawks, space-force launchers, nuclear missiles, etc. be forced to take a smog test too!  http://www.currentinvective.com/issue.php

     And speaking of whether or not to die peacefully, we Americans are not being given that choice -- but Medicare-for-all would go a long way toward solving that problem, right? 

     And speaking of all those toxic, smog-emitting tanks, bomber jets, nuclear missiles and other gross weapons of death?  They have all been out there on the front lines both here and abroad, faithfully winning all sorts of "wars".  They have won various "wars" on Afghans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, Central Americans, Syrians, Americans, Palestinians and Yemenis -- just to name a few.  The only catch to all these victories is that the winners have only been the greedy and shameless war-profiteers who started them for fun and profit in the first place.  https://resistancenews.org/2020/01/04/nasrallahs-statement-about-qasem-soleimanis-murder/

     It's only average Americans like you and me who have lost all these wars.


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Monday, December 30, 2019

The External Costs of Human Activity Are Killing the Planet

The External Costs of Human Activity Are Killing the Planet

by Paul Craig Roberts
Humans are exterminating themselves by exterminating other life forms. As a person committed to free thought, I sometimes catch myself wondering if what is really needed is a form of Borg Star Trek mind control to stop us from destroying the planet for the sake of profits for the few.
External costs are neglected by economists, and the unintended consequences of laws and political decisions—indeed, any decision, even those that seem highly rational—can be surprising. I am convinced that the external costs of capitalist production exceed the profits and in instances exceed the value of the output. The most carefully considered law and the most carefully planned corporate undertaking can result in disastrous consequences. Essentially, when humans make decisions, they seldom have any idea of what they are doing.
The situation worsens when a financialized, jobs offshored economy multiplied by other economies doing the same thing finds that it is more profitable for public corporations to buy back their own stock, even indebting the corporations for the purpose of decapitalizing the corporations, than to invest in new plant, equipment, and labor. Buy-backs are the main use of corporate investment today in the US. In recent years, the entirety of corporate profits and borrowing has been used for stock buy-backs, which reward executives and shareholders. Central banks in Japan and the European Union now support equity prices by stock purchases. The Japanese central bank is the largest holder of Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). I am convinced that the Federal Reserve prevents crashes of the US stock market by purchasing S&P futures.
The loss of jobs destroys the ladders of upward mobility, thus increasing social and political instability, and the concentration of all wealth and income gains in corporate executives and shareholders skews the income distribution to that of the aristocracy and serfs in pre-modern times. The elevation of stock and bond prices from central banks injecting liquidity creates asset bubbles that are accidents waiting to happen.
As little attention as the external costs of production receives from economists, the external costs of human activity on the planet gets even less.
I was reminded of this when I received as a Christmas gift a copy of Joel Sartore’s magnificent photographs of Earth’s vanishing species. It is heartbreaking, and it makes one wonder why God gave dominion to humans who have no regard for the disastrous consequences of their actions. Consider the extinct and vanishing species of animals, insects, reptiles, birds. Why did we do this? For no other reason than a few rich people could be a bit richer. They didn’t need the money that erased animals, plants, forests, clean water, fish and marine life, birds, butterflies, bees and large numbers of insects.
Ever since Dick Cheney was US Vice President, effectively President, the Environmental Protection Agency has been an agent for mining, timber, and energy interests. Most other environmental and wildlife protections have also been set aside. National forests are being cut down, national monuments are being defaced, wolves are being slaughtered, and rare species are being poached and trophy hunted. It seems humans won’t be happy until every species is exterminated.
The private environmental organizations are now so dependent on corporate money and corporate trustees that they are largely ineffectual. They can’t effectively lobby against their corporate donors’ interests in Washington.
Consider the Pebble Mine. A Canadian mining company, Constantine Metal Resources, has, with US EPA approval, received a permit to begin a mining operation at the headquarters of Bristol Bay in Alaska, an American state. These waters are the place of salmon spawning and where Eagles and Grizzlies that exist on the salmon find their food. As the clothier, Orvis, makes clear in its ads, what is to be gained from the Pebble Mine is foreign company profits, 2,000 temporary jobs, and a measly 1,000 full-time jobs during operation. What is to be lost is a $1.5 billion fishing industry and the 14,000 associated jobs, 417 square miles of pristine habitat, 4 world-class fishing rivers, 60 lineal miles of prime salmon spawning habitat, and the destruction of pristine waters by 360,000 gallons of toxic effluent daily passing into the Chilkat River, bringing with it the destruction of salmon, eagle, and grizzly life along with that of 14,000 people.
This is the way capitalism makes decisions. Those who count for the life of the planet do not count. Those who count for profits are massive corporations who can lobby their will and their profits through the Congress and the regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect the environment and the life that depends on a protected environment.
When capitalism is seen in the real light of its operation and not in the romanticism that free market economics paints it, it is seen as a destructive force. The less regulated it is, the more destructive force it is. But can it be regulated? All efforts have failed. University of Chicago economist George Stigler said that all regulatory agencies become the captives of those they are supposed to regulate, and, thereby, the regulatory agencies become the agents of those they are supposed to control.
The Amazon rain forest is being destroyed by people who, in effect, are criminals destroying a world resource and only get in exchange one or two crops from the denuded land. The corrupt Brazilian government put into office by Washington to serve American interests is a party to the crime against life on earth. The same thing is happening in Indonesian forests thanks to Chinese timber corporations. Good-bye Sumatran Tiger. Good-bye native populations dependent on the forests.
In the Foreword to Santore’s Vanishing Animals Elizabeth Kolbert makes the point that humans today are the equivalent of the asteroid 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs, only we are wiping out everything, ourselves included.
When we wipe out an animal or an insect, a species’ genome is lost. In effect, we are wiping out libraries, making ourselves more ignorant.
It seems to me that the advocates of diversity could do much more good if they redirected their emphasis on replacing white people to saving the life of diversity on planet Earth. But this would require intelligence and empathy for all life, traits that are not abundant in the human population.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Privatization Is Resurrecting Feudalism

by Paul Craig Roberts
America is a country of scandals. The latest scandal is the Jewish multi-billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s use of prison labor call centers to spread the message of his presidential campaign. https://theintercept.com/2019/12/24/mike-bloomberg-2020-prison-labor/https://theintercept.com/2019/12/24/mike-bloomberg-2020-prison-labor/
It seems to me that Bloomberg’s attack on the American Constitution is the scandal, not his use of prison labor. Bloomberg wants to repeal the Second Amendment and disarm the American people right at the time that the country is falling apart spiritually, morally, economically, and politically.
In the not distant past, I reported on the widespread use by major US corporations and the Department of Defense of prison labor. Apple is one such company, and boots and clothing for the military are made by prison labor. Clearly, authorities have legitimized private prisons and the contracting out of cheap prison labor to private profit-making entities.
Bloomberg is worth $54 billion according to The Intercept, and Apple is worth much more according to the stock market. If Apple can use prison labor, why can’t Bloomberg?
The contractors who lease prison labor to Bloomberg, to Apple, to the Department of Defense, are the ones who make the money. They are paid the state minimum wage for the prison labor, and the prisioners are paid a few dollars a month.
In previous times, and perhaps still today in some locals, prison labor worked on public roads and were not paid. So, the argument goes, there is nothing new about using prisoners for work. This rationale overlooks that previously prisoners worked for the public that paid for their incarceration. Today they work for private firms to make profits for private firms.
What we are experiencing is the return of feudalism. Here’s how the private prison scheme works: The state captures people and incarcerates them in private prisons. The state uses taxpayers’ money to pay private companies to run the prisons. The private prison leases the labor of the prisoners to private companies who then sell it to corporations and government entities for the minimum wage.
This absolute exploitation of labor has a legal appearance. But it is not different from feudal lords enserfing freemen and appropriating their labor. About 96% of the incarcerated did not get a trial. They were forced to self-incriminate by agreeing to a “plea bargain” in order to avoid harsher punishment. The remaining 4%, if they got a trial, did not get a fair trial, because a fair trial interferes with maximum conviction rates, and the careers of police, prosecutors, and judges come before justice.
Today a prison sentence is best understood as enserfment, one more total than in the feudal era. At the beginning of the feudal period there was some reciprocity. Freemen tilling their soil had no protection against marauding raiders—Vikings, Saracens, Magyars—and entered the service of a lord who could provide the protection of a fortress and armored knights. Reciprocity ended with the raids, leaving former freemen enserfed and owing one-third of their labor to the lord. Today’s enserfed owe all of their labor to the private prison.
Privatization is a siren song of free market libertarians. It needs a closer look than libertarians have given it as in most cases privatizations benefit private interests at the expense of taxpayers. In the case of privatized prisons, taxpayers provide profits to private companies to operate the prisons. The companies make additional money by leasing the prisoners’ labor. Large companies benefit from the low cost of the labor. Perhaps this is a reason the US has not only the highest percentage of its population in prisons but also the highest absolute number of prisoners. America has more people in prisons than China, a country whose population if four times greater.
Privatization of the public sector is well underway. Consider the US military. Many functions formerly performed by the military itself are now contracted out to private companies. Army cooks and KP are gone. The supply function is also contracted out. I have read that even guards on military bases are provided by private companies. All of these examples are the use of public money to create private profits by outsourcing government functions. The privatizations of military services is one reason that the cost of the US military is so high.
In Florida about three years ago the Division of Motor Vehicles stopped sending out the license tag renewals. Instead, the state government contracted it out to a private company. I remember it well as my renewal came on a Friday and my tag expired on Monday. I inquired of DMV why the renewal came so tardy. The answer was that the politicians have outsourced the renewals to their big donor friends.
Also in Florida, it used to be the case that if you got a traffic ticket, you could go to court to dispute it or send in a check. Today you can still go to court—or to a private traffic school—but you cannot send in a check. You have to get a certified check from a bank or a money order. To avoid the time and trouble, you can pay by credit card, but that service has been privatized and there is a sizable fee for the convience of using a credit card. In other words, the politicians created another private company into which to funnel state funds that are then funneled to the state after the private company collects a credit card fee.
Privatizations of public corporations, spurred perhaps by the reporting burdens that Sarbanes-Oxley imposes on public companies, together with mergers, have reduced the number of private companies by more than half between 1997 and 2017. There are still enough companies for a diversified retirement stock portfolio. Nevertheless, the choices are narrowing. If this process continues, people seeking investments will bid P/E ratios higher rather than have an empty retirement portfolio.
Essentially, privatizations of public functions are a way to turn tax payments into profits for favored private interests. The claim that privatization reduces cost is false. By building in layers of private profits, privatization raises costs. In most cases, privatizations are ways of favoring those with inside access.
Privatizations, in addition to creating income streams for private interests, also create private wealth by transferring public assets into private hands at prices substantially below their value. This was certainly the case in the British and French privatizations of state companies and the British postal service. The privatizations forced on Greece by the EU created wealth for northern Europeans at the expense of the Greek population.
In a word, privatizations are a method of looting. As opportunities for honest profit-making decline, looting comes into its own. Expect more of it.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Restoring America's Failing Economy - An Action Plan

The past is gone.  That said, the solution to what we face as America's economy struggles against the predatory machinations of corruption on the part of both government and corporate interests can take us to a future which fulfills the promise which remains, America.





by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster 





In 1971, Reason Magazine ran a blurb quoting Milton Friedman on a charging tool he called Pay As You Earn.  The charging tool was being used at Yale and Duke University to make it possible for minorities, women and the disadvantaged entry into Ivy League colleges. 

The next year, Brock d’Avignon read an ad using a tiny reprint of this, run at ¼ size.  After four years of research on percentage of income financing methods, Brock called Dr. Friedman.  The conversation lasted about 45 minutes which has never, until now, been make public.  By the time the two had cordially said their goodbyes, Brock had changed the name of the income-contingent charging method used by Friedman to “Percentage As You Earn (PAYE), Finance & Finansurance”, the latter word describing financing risks.  Friedman, considering this, said, “I like it, it’s much more to the point.”  Brock injected, “Then that is what I’m going to use.”  Dr. Friedman exclaimed, “I love it – go for it!”

d’ Avignon spent the following decades researching the history of the charging method he discovered had a long history in America, from the earliest colonial times into the 21th Century. 

Brock d’Avignon, then 18-years old, and working on designing and manufacturing the first van transport vehicles for the handicapped, then known as ‘Shut-Ins.”  The company he started, with funding through Manufacturers Bank of Beverly Hills, was Orion Transport for 8 modified vans.  Brock had already designed a modified maxi-van, to be produced by RoyceMobile with wheelchair-lock inventions and straps; and air-conditioning modified to the back for full vehicle delivery by Dodge.  After Brock’s 51 attempts to find insurance, Frank Scortt, Brock’s mother’s insurance agent for State Farm, volunteered to help and finally obtained a policy from Quinlan Insurance.  This was the first arrangement for insurance coverage for van transport of blind, handicapped and elderly in America.  The year was 1973.

Because Brock was committed to do his two years of missionary work for the Mormon Church in Florida, he turned operations over to an older businessman he trusted.  This coincided with President Nixon’s state block grants to state agencies as “New Federalism”, including transit authorities which destroyed the then healthy private bus services in California; and 2 years later included transport for handicapped at a subsidized price.  In Orange County, 13 privately-owned bus lines were put out of business.

Brock was well aware of Nixon’s questionable activities, having witnessed the delivery by John Connolly of briefcases and satchels to Nixon, Ehrlichman, and Haldeman in the Southern California GOP Headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in late 1972.  The previous year, d’Avignon had received a check for $1,000 from C. H. Hoiles, owner of the Orange County Register for rebutting Hoiles’ contention young people were doing nothing for freedom.  Part of the money was spent on gas and fan belts for demonstrations, $800 went to OC-YAF for their chapters’ use.

Brock’s New Horizon, an 8-page youth newspaper supported by its advertising, was published monthly in June – August of 1971. 

Western Growers Association (WGA), their headquarters was also located on Wilshire Blvd., Brock met with them for an article in July of 1971, which was to be a series, on their conflict with Cesar Chavez. The WGA leadership revealed to him their plan to have Chavez incarcerated.  The first article did not cover this – but d’Avignon made a phone call to Chavez to save his tail and preserve secondary boycotts, an essential tool for those consumers and laborers otherwise without power.  (See Article)

As Brock’s research continued, he found himself blowing the dust off of 375-year old sailing ships manifests, carrying cargos to England from colonists to Merchant-Adventurers in England.  These colonists were known as Redemptioners of Debt, 1-million of them, who chose to borrow the funds needed to cross the Atlantic, buy tools, have a grubstake for themselves and their family, and make new lives in what we know today as America.  These entrepreneurs wiped out slavery and indentured servitude in New England and New France within a generation.  By the time of the Revolution it took only three years to pay off these loans at 7% of income.  The records documenting the impact of %PAYE were there.   He followed the use of the same formula for Privateers during the American Revolution, a war fought using this same charging tool which allowed those risking their funds and lives to make victory possible.  The number of people in 20 functions aboard ship, are analogous to highly motivating medical providers today with genuine economic incentives for wellness and long-lasting curative care.

Mountain Men carried out their trade thousands of miles away from those who made their needed funds available and these were repaid reliably.  Country doctors made health, epidemic prevention, and medical care affordable for all using this free market charging method.   

In the 20th Century, PAYE was used to encourage minorities, women, and the under-privileged to enter the Ivy League in 1970 with a combined cohort of 2600 students.  The first student to pay off his tuition postponement option loan from Yale was Bill Clinton, who understood exactly what %PAYE made possible.  

Brock took his research and the results to free market thinkers, economists, and activists across the country.  These included Jack Kemp; William E. Simon Senior, former Sec. of the U. S. Treasury; William H. Donaldson,


Chairman of the NY Stock Exchange; Arthur Laffer, Economist, Chair, of President Ronald Reagan’s Board of Advisers; Mel Miller 1980s Dean of the Oil Trading Ring, New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX); Laurence J. Peter, Hierarchiologist, author of The Peter Principle; Russell Means, Leader of the World Congress of Indigenous Peoples; Karl Hess, Barry Goldwater's former speech writer; Hans Sennholz, Austrian School Economist and the first PhD of Ludwig von Mises’ students in America; and Roy Childs, Libertarian writer and thinker and Andrea Rich, of Laissez-Faire Books in New York who told Brock to set up a meeting with John Fund, who was a libertarian on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.  (See Experts)


In 1986, John Fund was the only person who did not greet PAYE with astonishment and enthusiasm. d'Avignon's insights and work was never mentioned in his rehash of %PAYE's use only until 1970 plucked from an older WSJ article.  No WSJ article recognizing d’Avignon’s then 14 years of research and the reaction of his supporters, would ever appear – but this is easily explained because Fund was actually an agent in place for the NeoCons.   


%PAYE is a charging method which used, results in a sustainable, humane economy because it reduces volatility in the economy, and handles personal erratic income realities.  This flexibility allows lives to remain stable.  Foreclosures on homes end.  Repossession of vehicles ends. People struggling to survive and pay their bills, in economies run to ensure volatile ups and downs, which benefit only the elites, do not happen. 

To understand why %PAYE matters understand what it accomplished for us and what it can do again.  The right tool, used as intended, can change our world and our lives.  

The research by d’Avignon over the coming decades, and the growing support among advocates of freedom and social justice activists can be read at PAYEhome.org.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Million Terrible Thoughts

November 19, 2019

This is a story about me-a policeman.  Not a fireman or combat veteran.  Just a policeman that tried to do the right thing by his victims in sexual assault cases. Hopefully it can serve as a lesson to those who need to balance their work and their home lives.
At 18 years old I became a New York State Correction Officer at the infamous Sing-Sing Prison. I was assigned to provide care, custody, and control over extremely violent hardened criminals.  One of the men I guarded hung another man upside down and cut him in half with a chain saw. These were the type of criminals I came into contact with daily. I somehow managed to overcome my intense fear and do my job. I’m not sure how I did this-but I did for 2 ½ years.
At the age of 20 I joined the New York City Police Department which had been my long time goal.  I was assigned to patrol the most dangerous precinct in Harlem.  I was a good cop but by no means was I a hero like many of the men I worked with.  The precinct I worked in encompassed less than one square mile and there had been 26 policeman who died in the line of duty in that tiny precinct. The precinct was nicknamed “The Tomb of Gloom.”
After several years on patrol in that precinct I was transferred to Manhattan North Narcotics where I became an undercover police officer.  I was a “real” undercover officer.  My name was taken out of the department’s computer. I no longer received the department magazine.  If someone did a background check on me they would not find me on the employment rolls of the NYPD.  I was off the grid.  I found that I took to being an undercover very quickly.  I was a good actor.  I made hundreds of buys from several vials of crack to several kilos of cocaine and guns.  I was at the top of my game. I tried to take the perspective of a drug buyer and a criminal. It all came crashing down on my last buy for a large amount of heroin.  I was robbed at gunpoint and nearly killed. At that point I became anti-drug war.  I was promoted to the elite Manhattan North Narcotics Major Case Unit whose primary purpose was to pursue Dominican and Columbian drug gangs. My heart was not in the work.  I put in a transfer to the Manhattan Special Victims Squad in the Detective Division.
After 3 years as an undercover (and being promoted to Detective) I was finally transferred to the Manhattan Special Victims Squad where I was assigned to investigate all felony sex crimes, serial rape, sexual homicide, and child abuse.  As soon as I arrived there I knew I had found my passion. One in which I could help actual victims and arrest real bad guys. My time as an undercover actually helped me in this assignment.  I immediately found a good partner to work with and learn from and I read many old case files to ready myself for my upcoming investigations.  I found myself investigating sexual psychopaths and hardened criminals who although they were human many would call them “monsters.”  I spent all of my time searching for and arresting these criminals. I worked 500-600 hours of overtime per year. I was obsessed.  I spent much of my off duty time researching sexual predators at the New York Academy of Medicine.  I would print out papers and borrow books.  Aside from my actual home and my office it seemed that the NY Academy of Medicine became my home.  I was surrounded by medical doctors. Not a cop to be found.  I then branched out and did some research at the Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Library where I copied and read on my own time. I applied the knowledge I gained to my work.  There is no way to actually “get into the mind of a sexual predator” but there is a way to take their perspective and try to use it against them during an interview or even during a long investigation.  I tried to think like these predators.  It helped me investigate them and finally arrest them and it helped me immensely during interrogations.  I gained many confessions from those I arrested.  And I wouldn’t stand for a false confession.  Not only is it morally wrong but it also allows the real offender to go on hurting victims. I was able to put away many terrible men for a very long time. This satisfied me.
All of these hours of study I put in actually worked. If I was interviewing a child rapist I put myself in their shoes and tried to take their perspective.  I had to agree with the offender about some very terrible things.  The thing is-they talked to me and opened up.  One predator told me that a 4 year old girl had given him “those bedroom eyes.”  I told him I knew what he meant.  I said I had seen it myself.  Another rapist told me that “no” means “yes.”  I agreed with him.  And I actually complimented a sexual psychopath on his methods and his ability to evade the police. I found myself agreeing with the egregious actions of a horrible sadistic rapist.  Of course I was lying to them. But it allowed them to open up and give a full confession of the heinous crimes they had committed. And this meant it was less likely the victim would have to testify in a trial. I felt like I needed to take a shower after every interview. The terrible thoughts stayed in my  mind. I treated every one of my victims as if they were my mother or father, sister or brother, and son or daughter.  That gave me tremendous motivation to apprehend the actual offender instead of just anyone who might falsely confess.  I wanted my cases to be legally rock solid so I always reviewed the legal bulletins and the updated criminal law.
By spending so much of my time to perfect my trade I distanced myself from my family.  I was rarely home. I missed Christmas and most of the other holidays.  I missed my kids’ birthdays.  One day as I was pulling into my driveway I saw my son playing football with my neighbor. I felt sick to my stomach.  It had finally dawned on me. I had betrayed my family by spending all my time learning about, interviewing, and arresting sexual predators.  I had failed spectacularly as a family man and father.  I failed my wife and children.  I always thought that by not cheating on my wife I was such a great guy.  But I had a mistress.  It was the job.  Specifically hunting sexual predators.
When I retired from the NYPD I missed the work.  What I was left with was a mind full of all of those predator’s terrible thoughts.  It was not as if I was going to act on the thoughts.  It was just very disturbing. After I left the job is when everything I compartmentalized-the fear, the horrible things I had seen, acting like a criminal, the disgust at the types of crimes I investigated-started to hit me.  I had nightmares and every time I read a story or watched the news there was always something there to remind me of the things I had seen.  And those terrible thoughts were still there.  They still are.
I would advise anyone against going into the law enforcement field. You cannot be a libertarian cop.  But for those who do wish to investigate the heinous crimes I was assigned to I have a warning. Actually this warning applies to any profession.  Make certain that you keep your home life and your work life separate.  Spend time with your family. And don’t try to be perfect because no one is. And don’t do what I did.  Although I was very successful I allowed those terrible thoughts into my head.  It isn’t worth it.
I know because I live with a million terrible thoughts floating around my head.