RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Tuesday, June 4

what I read in bed last night

I read some shit last night, though I wasn't naked for once. I was wearing camo cargo shorts and a Tim Barry t-shirt.

COCAINE INCORPORATED from the New York Times sometime last year
Strangely enough I had Mexican drug cartels on my google news feed years ago, so I've been following these fuckers since before it became a more mainstream story. And this profile is specifically of the Sinaloa Cartel and their leader, Chapo Guzman. The cartels themselves are all over the place, with scary sociopaths of an organization like the Zetas, and weird hippie cult-like groups like La Familia (my personal favorite drug cartel). Sinaloa is sort of the chosen cartel, meaning they've either bought their way into favor with the Mexican government or have been selected as the most desirable of the cartels to thrive over top the others. This is the cartel that was involved in the ATF's gun-running scheme (which oddly enough, has sort of been buried). This is also the cartel that very openly ran a drug distribution hub in Chicago, and had a higher-up who was arrested claim he was immune from prosecution because he had a working relationship with U.S. government agencies. Of note to all this is how Chicago's murder rate has been astronomical in recent years, although it is generally poor black men killing and dying, and not people directly tied to the Mexican drug cartels. The thing is, there is no direct tie to Mexican drug cartels top to bottom. It's not like McDonald's where when you are selling hamburgers you are very obviously an employee of McDonalds. The entire process is broken down to sub-contractors essentially, over and over, so that no intricate pyramid exists, which is necessary for any illicit activity. The less people involved, the less likely somebody fucks it up.
There are a lot of things about the Sinaloa Cartel and Chapo Guzman that are smoke that may or may not be indicative of fire. He's lived in a mountain region that everybody pretty much knows he has holed up at, and yet no one has stormed into get him. There have been so many hints of U.S. government involvement with the Sinaloa Cartel, not necessarily in some obvious conspiracy to import drugs, but tacitly implicated in certain aspects, like CIA men in Mexico purposely targeting Zetas members at the behest of Sinaloa. I don't think there's any large conspiracy going on here, because I don't really believe in conspiracies like that any more as it gives too much credit to conspirators to be intelligent about their dastardly plans. Humans in general, and American humans specifically, lack a strong sense of deep thinking and critical planning and are overruled by ego and desire, which would cause most conspiracies to fail. It's mostly just sketchy fuckers doing sketchy shit as fast as possible, to stack fat cash and then disappear before they die. So essentially the cartel system is how most larger endeavors operate. One of the faults of modern American crony capitalism is these corporations are attempting to legalize their extortions of resources and wealth, attempting to get in and stay in. That will bring them death, meaning this system won't exist in fifty years, at all. It can't. But I digress...
The thing that struck me most about this article is the fact Sinaloa is now making more than Pablo Escobar was making in his prime, because Pablo was making a fucking shit-ton of money. Escobar and the Cali and Medellin cartels permanently changed Colombia. So to realize Mexico is now being changed to an even larger extent, I don't know, it's crazy because I've known it's a failed state in that "let's pretend governments do good and protect people" false image of government we're supposed to believe, but that simple amount of money involved made me wonder just how failed it is. And with all the smoke around our current U.S. government and the Sinaloa cartel (not just the gun-running scheme, but you have THE major hub for distribution of drugs located in the same American city whose political machine created our current President), and I expect shit might be about a thousand times more fucked up than any of us realize. But again, the great thing about stuff like this is that no conspiracy can actually survive because humans are fickle and ruled by ego and desire, and it will all come unraveled. It's just a shame so much bullshit and pain has to be thrust into so many lives while it all plays out. Then again, that's sort of the nature of being human. We do this to ourselves, consistently throughout history, and it's as much a part of being man as opposing thumbs.

THE INFORMANT from Washingtonian Magazine
COMPLETE BMF SERIES from Creative Loafing Atlanta
Both of these are just gory street tales of street violence. The first one is about a series of murders that happened in D.C. a few years back. I remember following the story in the Washington Post as it happened, and being really struck by one of the victim's grandmothers - Patricia Jefferies - who was so young but full of proud opinions on how this was all such bullshit. A triggerman who became the informant of this story, Nate Simms, stuck an AK-47 out the sliding door of a minivan and just started squeezing shots out at a group of people. Can't tell you how fucked up that is, having shot both AR-15s and AK-47s. I could not imagine just shooting that off into clusters of people. Still though, a lot of murder in this article over some dumb shit.
Second story is about the Black Mafia Family from Atlanta, and also has plenty of murder over dumb shit, except with ridiculous wasting of money involved in this one, like buying $500 bottles of champagne for every member of Big Meech's crew on Monday night at the club. So fucking stupid. But if you liked The Wire and crap like that, I'm sure you'll enjoy these vicarious articles.
The thing is, why is there not longform journalism infiltrating financial scams with snitch sources to expose those dastardly acts? Why do we get fed this street-level criminal shit in such intricate detail, but not hedge fund scams or mortgage bubble bullshit? I've got the latest Rolling Stone on the peach crate by the toilet at home, and that Matt Taibbi guy is highly-touted as some sort of smart fucker about exposing that type of shit, but his article on the deficit is basically - and I'm not kidding here - condescending lolols at what everybody thinks is going on with the deficit, then not much more. So we get deep level recreation of a bunch of poor motherfuckers murdering each other in Any-inner-city, America, but when it comes to for real crimes that are fucking up everybody on earth, literally, we just get some wise ass mocking common opinions on what's going on, and then some pseudo-gonzo shitty-Hunter Thompson without drugs derivative commentary. But hey, I will say this - at least I'm in a position to live a comfortable enough life I can get fed the lies instead of existing in conditions where I get fed the bullets. But as the lies start stifling the hunger for real freedom by more people, the bullets will start feeding more of them. Watch and see.

NEW YORK IS KILLING ME from the New Yorker magazine
Finally, a long profile of Gil Scott-Heron as his CD came out last year, done in New Yorker fashion, meaning boring as fuck and for a class of people about five rungs higher on the socio-economic ladder than me. I think the basic premise of smoking crack in this article is not to go any deeper into that aspect of Scott-Heron's life other than to assume anybody reading it is like, "OMG! Crack!" I'm not like that so the article felt kinda short on saying something. But I'm not the biggest Gil Scott-Heron fan anyways. I mean, like anybody, I like that "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" bit, especially the part about liberation jumpsuits, as I've always wanted one. But Scott-Heron's music is that sort of light jazz, light revolution, light on the ears muzak that plays well in upwardly mobile restaurants that serve "soul food" like barbecue tofu. And I get the sense that Gil Scott-Heron feels that bullshit too, which is probably part of the reason he was so drawn to crack.
I would've liked to know more about the falling out between him and Brian Jackson, because basically if you have to listen to Gil Scott-Heron, you should only listen to albums he made with Brian Jackson. They are the only good ones, and even those you can filter out about half the songs. Of course, their's is just another standard one-dude-in-the-group-got-all-old-school-record-company-ish-and-ripped-the-other-guy-off, like almost every old school New York musician (google Paul Simon and Los Lobos for reference). Still though, this article was bland and vanilla, considering you had two old friends ripping each other off, and one of them on crack. These New Yorker motherfuckers don't know how to let a story tell itself a lot of times.

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