"all that nasty thing"

Rayzer Rayzer at riseup.net
Wed Feb 3 11:11:34 PST 2016

Speculating Barrett's not above Pruno, or Aqua Velva aftershave strained
through a slice of bread... It will definitely help him ... write
something worthwhile about Niall Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger.

"Through counter-intelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble-makers ... And neutralize them, neutralize them, neutralize them"

Ps. this is what he gets (pruno instead of pills) for not listening to
me that evening on anon IRC when I warned him about what would happen if
he kept using the "editorial 'we'" when pronouncing to the media about

coderman wrote:
> https://theintercept.com/2016/02/02/barrett-brown-the-rule-of-law-enforcement/
> The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison
> The Rule of Law Enforcement
> Barrett Brown
> Feb. 2 2016, 3:02 p.m.
> AFTER HAVING SPENT the prior six months in a fruitless cycle of
> retaliation and counter-retaliation and counter-counter-retaliation
> with the administration of the Federal Correctional Institution at
> Fort Worth, where I managed to do about half of my time in the hole
> before finally getting kicked out altogether, I was delighted to
> arrive here at FCI Three Rivers, a medium security prison subject to
> occasional outbreaks of gang warfare that also happens to be quite a
> lot of fun. And though one’s first few days at a new prison are always
> given over largely to errands and social obligations, I did manage to
> get in some much-needed reading time when someone lent me a copy of
> Five Families, a history of the American mafia by the veteran New York
> Times crime reporter Selwyn Raab. I’ve never had much interest in
> organized crime of the non-governmental sort, but ever since 2009 when
> I read through the bulk of Thomas Friedman’s past columns in the
> course of researching a book on the subject of incompetence, I’ve been
> fascinated by the extent to which a fellow can be a bit of a dummy,
> with questionable writing abilities and a penchant for making
> demonstrably erroneous attacks on others, and still find regular
> employment with the nation’s most prestigious newspaper (though in
> fairness to the Times, they did eventually get rid of William
> Kristol).
> I’m afraid I gave up on reading Five Families straight through after
> about the halfway mark, by which point it had become clear that Raab,
> contrary to all decency, was going to continue using the phrase
> “law-enforcement” thusly, with the unwarranted hyphen, something that
> would have been more tolerable did the term not necessarily appear
> every few pages due to the nature of the subject matter, often in the
> company of such other improprieties as “civil-rights,”
> “public-relations,” “stolen-car rings,” or “loan-shark,” and to such
> an extent that one could be forgiven for suspecting that Raab himself,
> for all his tough talk on crime, is in fact some sort of illicit
> hyphen smuggler.
> Luckily, this is the sort of book from which one can extract the most
> telling instances of Gray Lady-caliber foolishness just by skimming
> around. At some point Raab seems to decide that the writers of The
> Sopranos must be punished for humanizing the mafia in the course of
> writing a drama about human beings who are in the mafia. And so, more
> in sadness than in anger, but more in confusion than either, he set
> out to debunk the show’s fictional plotline by way of his own
> fictional journalistic expertise: “Genuine capos and wiseguys would
> never emulate Tony’s behavior. … No top-tier mobster would last long
> if he behaved like Tony Soprano, who defies basic Mafioso caution by
> exposing himself as a ripe target, to be easily mowed down by rivals.
> He drives without a bodyguard; sips espresso in daylight at a sidewalk
> café.” This comes just a few chapters after we’re told the following
> about a real-life top-tier mobster: “Shunning bodyguards and
> bullet-proof limousines, the sixty-six-year-old godfather met with his
> Mafia associates in restaurants and travelled about Manhattan in taxis
> like any ordinary businessman.”
> To his credit, Raab did manage to refrain from rendering this last bit
> as “ordinary-businessman,” which is just extraordinary, so we’ll give
> him another try: “Sex and psychiatry are prominent in The Sopranos’
> story line. Confiding in a psychiatrist, however, would be a
> radioactive mistake for a boss or capo, who can never display symptoms
> of weakness or mental instability.” Naturally Raab has already
> forgotten having written the following about mafia boss Frank
> Costello: “Striving for inner peace while hovering between criminal
> affiliates and respected society, Costello tried psychoanalysis.”
> Even had the author not been so sporting as to provide us with
> comically perfect counterexamples by which to disprove his various
> inane objections, one could have also pointed out that Tony Soprano’s
> decision to see a psychiatrist does in fact prove to be a “mistake”
> insomuch as that it directly leads to a rupture in his organization
> culminating in a botched assassination attempt in the very first
> season, so this objection wouldn’t have made any sense even had it
> gotten past that crucial
> directly-contradicted-by-your-own-fucking-book hurdle that seems to be
> giving Raab so much trouble. Now take a moment to reflect on the fact
> that this is the guy the New York Times assigned to report on one of
> the nation’s most complex and insidious criminal conspiracies — this
> plodding hyphen addict who cannot seem to follow a television show or
> even his own manuscript. One supposes that there is some alternate
> universe in which this might be considered a problem and where Ross
> Douthat manages a furniture store and everyone knows his place.
> barrettbrown-11
> BUT THERE’S MORE to prison life than just sitting around despising the
> New York Times. A week after arrival at Three Rivers, we new inmates
> were summoned to an “Admissions and Orientation” seminar in which the
> various department heads each speak for a few minutes about
> institutional policy. I’d attended one of these back at Fort Worth;
> usually the highlight is a short video clip of Bureau of Prisons
> Director Charles Samuels, who gives a little talk. No one knows what
> the talk is about, as whoever’s nephew was put in charge of producing
> the video has talked Samuels into pausing every couple of sentences to
> shift position and look into the other camera, just like the
> newscasters, something that the fellow can manage only with the most
> hilarious awkwardness, and so it proves impossible to follow what he’s
> actually saying — which is a shame, as it’s almost certainly something
> very non-formulaic and true.
> Today, however, the chief attraction was to be our warden, Norbal
> Vazquez, a longtime BOP functionary from Puerto Rico who is proverbial
> for his deranged monologues as well as for being regarded with great
> contempt by staff and inmates alike. Here are some actual quotes from
> his exquisitely demented half-hour orientation talk, during which he
> waddled back and forth, wagging his finger in admonishment when
> appropriate and sometimes when not:
>     On his own qualifications for the job: “I am here because I earned it!”
>     On the assistant wardens upon whom lesser wardens depend: “I do
> not need them!”
>     On his inspiring biography: “I was a case manager before, and I
> was an OUTSTANDING one!” [wags finger]
>     On the status of we benighted inmates, sitting in darkness: “You
> are all my children!”
>     On who controls the prison: “Probably in some of your minds, is
> inmates! But you are wrong!”
>     On, er, violators: “I have no mercy for violators!”
>     On medical care: “You have a bullet in your leg and you want the
> bureau to heal you! Ha! Ha ha!”
>     On the insufficiency of our meals: “Don’t come complain to me
> about your meals. Because there are children with nothing!”
>     On gang warfare: “If you show force, I am going to show force!”
>     On homemade alcohol: “If you are drinking all that nasty thing,
> shame on you! When your liver fails, I don’t care!”
>     On inmates who are placed in the SHU and transferred to violent
> maximum security prisons because they’ve been caught with harmless
> contraband like synthetic marijuana: “They cry like babies! I have no
> mercy!”
> The only disappointing thing about the presentation was that he didn’t
> end by exhibiting his medals and declaring himself President for Life;
> indeed, I almost cried when someone told me he was retiring a few
> weeks hence. And “all that nasty thing” is my new favorite
> hooch-related meme, edging out “PRISON MADE INTHOXICANT” from a few
> columns back.
> All in all, it was an informative speech in spite of itself, even
> aside from the fellow’s suspicious insistence on his own competence
> and self-reliance and entirely meritocratic ascension to the top spot.
> There was quite a bit of talk, for instance, about how the gangs
> aren’t in control of the prison, something that obviously wouldn’t
> need so much triumphant emphasis were such a state of affairs not at
> least a possibility.
> barrettbrown-21
> IN FACT, THE GANGS really don’t have control over the prison. But then
> neither does the administration, if by “control” we mean the ability
> to make uncontested decisions over what happens within a given space,
> in which case control is always a matter of degree. The federal and
> state governments of the United States, for instance, exercise some
> degree of overlapping control over their territory, but not to such an
> extent that the various law-enforcement agencies — er, law enforcement
> agencies — arrest any but a small minority of residents who violate
> the law. This is just as well, since the law requires that the tens of
> millions of Americans who use drugs or gamble or involve themselves in
> prostitution be imprisoned — and that’s not even counting federal law,
> which, as convincingly estimated by civil liberties attorney Harvey
> Silvergate in his book Three Felonies a Day, the average American
> unwittingly violates every day. And thus it is that the U.S. can
> continue to exist above the level of an unprecedented gulag state only
> to the extent that its laws are not actually enforced — an
> extraordinary and fundamental fact of American life that one might
> hope in vain to see rise to the level of an election issue, but which
> is at least worth keeping in mind when it comes to the debate over
> whether or not we should keep granting the state ever more powerful
> methods of surveillance until it becomes the All-Seeing God Against
> Whose Laws We All Have Sinned. (Personally I’d vote “no,” but then I’m
> a felon and can’t vote anyway.)
> As is the case with the country at large, the rules within each
> federal prison are such that a large portion of everyday activity
> actually violates those rules — and in both cases, 99 percent of the
> violations go unpunished, while anyone who proves inconvenient to the
> powers that be can be singled out for retaliation. Technically it’s
> against the rules to give anything to another inmate, for instance, or
> to sell or trade or lend for that matter, but of course this is done
> all day without a second thought, often in plain view of the guards,
> not a single one of whom would consider objecting. There are other
> rules that are almost universally disregarded but can be invoked at
> whim; there is also a catch-all violation, “Anything Unauthorized,” on
> hand as a last resort. But rabble-rousers can usually be dispensed
> with via more specific regulations such as those barring the signing
> of petitions or holding of demonstrations. (I myself was thrown in the
> hole for months due to my supposed leadership role in one such
> demonstration against an abusive guard who’d just threatened an
> elderly man.)
> Part of the justification behind those two regulations in particular
> is that there exists a means by which inmates can have their
> grievances addressed: the administrative remedy process. Naturally the
> BOP routinely conspires to prevent inmates from completing that
> process; the surreal lengths to which it’s gone to keep me from
> pursuing my own retaliation complaint, a process I’ve documented in
> this column over the course of the last nine months, are actually
> quite commonly deployed against inmates deemed to have a good chance
> of winning in court. Presumably this is why the Freedom of Information
> Act request that The Intercept filed with the BOP some months ago to
> obtain records of the administrative remedy process at FCI Fort Worth
> was denied with no explanation, even though the documents in question
> are specifically designated as being FOIA accessible. Any
> comprehensive examination of those records would reveal a systematic
> and highly effective effort by BOP officials to prevent inmates from
> bringing instances of major policy violations and even outright
> criminal activity by the bureau to the attention of the courts. The
> American people do not control their own prisons.
> The reality is that control is shared by way of a sort of makeshift
> federalism that varies in particulars from prison to prison but in
> which real power is always divided among the various gangs, the staff,
> and local and regional administrators in an arrangement that’s best
> described as a cross between the old Swiss canton system and China
> during the Warring States period, which I’ll be the first to
> acknowledge is not especially helpful. Suffice to say that it will
> take me the remainder of my sentence to provide a real sense of this
> remarkable state-within-a-state and its inimitable politics — the
> politics of the literally disenfranchised, who live their lives in the
> very guts of government without being able to rely on its protections,
> and so are forced to provide their own. Really, it’s a
> state-within-a-state-within-a-state.
> Complicating matters further is the great extent to which prisons can
> differ, with the most pronounced of these divisions being that between
> the state and federal systems. Broadly, we federals tend to look down
> upon our regional cousins as “not quite our sort, old boy,” although
> I’m probably the only one who puts it in exactly those terms. The
> state prisons tend to house the small-time dealers, whereas the feds
> are more often home to the guys who supplied them. The state is
> halfway filled with such actual criminals as thieves, rapists, and
> murderers, whereas the feds are made up largely of illegal immigrants
> and drug entrepreneurs — people who have neither hurt anyone nor
> deprived them of their property, but instead made the mistake of
> taking all of this “free market” talk seriously. The character of the
> federal prisons, then, will usually differ from those of the states.
> But then they’ll also differ among themselves, sometimes quite a bit,
> and not just along other readily obvious divisions such as those
> between minimum, low, medium, and maximum security designations,
> either. A few years ago the medium at Beaumont, Texas, to which I just
> narrowly avoided being sent myself, was considerably more violent than
> many of the maximums (also known as pens or, more technically, USPs).
> Back at the FCI Fort Worth, there was a marked degree of difference in
> how certain things were done even between the several 300-man units
> into which inmates were divided. And since the local administrators
> can disregard national policy more or less at will, as has been
> documented in this column repeatedly for two years, de facto policy
> will naturally vary from institution to institution as well. The
> result of all of this is that each prison is its own unique snowflake,
> fluttering about on gusts of cultural drift and BOP lawlessness.
> barrettbrown-31
> THE VITAL STATISTICS of my stomping grounds here at Three Rivers,
> then, are as follows. The prison is home to a bit more than 1,000
> inmates, of whom about 60 percent are Mexican nationals, another 20
> percent are U.S. Hispanics, 10 percent are black, 5 percent are Latin
> American, and 5 percent are white (the ofay percentage of 15 percent I
> cited last time appears to have been out of date). About half of the
> Mexicans “run with” (institutional slang for “are affiliated with”)
> the Paisas, a relatively amorphous prison gang that draws its ranks
> almost exclusively from Mexican nationals; a smaller percentage of
> U.S. Hispanics run with Tango Blast, a more organized gang with a much
> cooler name; while blacks and whites for purposes of prison riots and
> dining arrangements both act mostly as race-based units.
> As usual, there are all manner of qualifiers and exceptions plus a
> smattering of smaller groupings: The Muslims will usually constitute
> their own little umma, there are a couple of whites who run with
> Tango, and so on. The most amusing of these aberrations involved the
> fellow with whom I shared a cell before he transferred to a low a few
> weeks back. Aaron LeBaron was born into an ultra-fundamentalist Mormon
> cult led by his father, who had moved the wives and kids to Mexico
> after some members of his congregation started to question whether or
> not all of the voices he was hearing were actually from God. Aaron
> eventually inherited the family theocracy as well as the family hit
> list and the family international stolen car ring. In the end he was
> captured and sentenced to 45 years. Today Aaron is an agnostic and
> longtime Skeptic Magazine subscriber who was very excited to learn
> that I’d written for that magazine as well as for Skeptical Inquirer.
> (Come to think of it, he was the only person I’ve ever met who found
> either one the least bit impressive, and I’ve been working them into
> introductory conversations for years.) At any rate, having been raised
> in Mexico and speaking perfect Spanish, this gangly, bespectacled,
> white, Mormon-looking fellow had been accepted as one of the Paisas,
> with whom he sat every day to eat and watch television. Scientists
> cannot measure the extent to which I’m going to dominate every dinner
> party conversation for the rest of my life.
> For a medium, Three Rivers isn’t particularly violent. The last major
> gang war, between the Tangos and the Paisas, was nearly a year ago;
> afterward the compound went on lockdown for about two weeks, itself a
> fairly typical gang intelligence investigation/cool-down period. In
> the three months since I’ve arrived, I’ve only had to “take a knee”
> once (inmates here are supposed to put at least one knee to the ground
> when officers run by screaming “Get the fuck down!” or some variation
> thereof as they proceed to the location of a conflict). And we’ve only
> been locked down in the aftermath of a fight on one occasion, for just
> a few hours.
> This is just as well, as I’m thereby able to concentrate on the
> trickle of information coming in from the wicked world beyond the
> fence. Lately I’ve been getting garbled reports of hoverboards, as
> well as some sort of new fascist movement that could conceivably take
> control of the White House this year, though I find it difficult to
> believe that the boards actually float like the ones from the movie.
> Meanwhile, I’m halfway through the newish first volume of Niall
> Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger, which we shall examine in
> some detail next time. For now I will simply leave off with the
> following actual sentences from Ferguson’s introduction: “In this
> context, it is a strange irony of the Kissinger literature that so
> many of the critiques of Kissinger’s mode of operation have a subtle
> undertone of anti-Semitism. … This prompts the question: might the
> ferocity of the criticism that Kissinger has attracted perhaps have
> something to do with the fact that he, like the Rothschilds, is
> Jewish? This is not to imply that his critics are anti-Semites.” Well,
> the hyphens are all in their proper places, anyway.
> Quote of the Day
> “When the mob gains the day it ceases to be any longer the mob. It is
> then called the nation.”
> — Napoleon

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