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Archive for April 2010

Help name Firedoglake’s Marijuana Legalization Campaign

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Here’s the latest Joe Blow Report contribution the Marijuana Legalization Campaign

The following is copied from the FireDogLake website:

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Late Nite FDL 4/20: “Name That Pot Campaign” Contest!

By: Jane Hamsher Tuesday April 20, 2010 8:02 pm

It’s been a few years since the last FDL Late Nite contest allowed our readers to display their skill at doggerel. Four to be exact.   

Long-time FDLers will remember that in 2006, the Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, shot Harry Whittington in the face and then refused to talk to the cops about it for a day.   In order to commemorate that notable event, we held the Dick Cheney poetry contest — or “Dickfest” as we called it.  Hundreds of entries were submitted, our readers voted, and the prize went to 88 for this poem:   

If epitaphs were polygraphs,
This, terse and edifying,
Would crown the veep in final sleep:
Here lies Big Time–still lying.   

Dickfest was immensely popular, inspiring art, a t-shirt line, and even imitators. Since that time, we haven’t felt that there has been a moment quite so poignantly appropriate to display the poetic prowess of our readers til now:  We need a great name for our marijuana campaign.   

Some suggested that we simply appropriate the “yes we cannabis” slogan that other campaigns have used, but after perusing a bunch of old High Times covers I became convinced that our readers, inspired by the subject matter, could easily surpass that. So here are the rules:   

  1. All entries must be submitted in the form below by 8pm ET tomorrow night.
  2. Slogan must be no longer than 5 words — should be able to fit on a bumper sticker or a t-shirt.
  3. Semi-final voting will begin tomorrow night at 8pm, when we’ll be here at Late Nite once again to let everyone know what the entries are. Voting will close at 8pm the following night.
  4. The top 10 vote getters will proceed to the finals on Thursday Night Late Night, and voting will continue through the weekend.
  5. We’ll announce the Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists at Late Nite a week from tonight.

Remember — the campaign is not aimed at babes in bikinis roller skating on the Venice boardwalk.  Well, not exclusively anyway.  When marijuana legislation goes on the ballot in November and beyond, many voters  are older and likely to be persuaded more by pragmatism than stoner puns. But, hell.  Who are we to limit anyone’s creativity.   

We’ll also use the winning slogan (or slogans, as the case may be) for the campaign, as well as on t-shirts, bumper stickers and whatever else we decide might be good for getting the message out.   

If you’re looking for inspiration, the Marijuana Policy Project has a series of informative short videos on YouTube, the Drug Policy Alliance has a page on myths & facts, Students for Sensible Drug Policy also has a fact sheet, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) has great messaging on how the “War on Drugs” has backfired.   

We also have some special guests who have been working on drug policy for years who will be joining us in the comments.  So please help me welcome them as we celebrate 4/20 in fine FDL fashion.  It’s great to be back hosting Late Nite once again, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of everyone’s personal 4/20 celebration in the comments.   

Submit your entries here — and remember, 5 words or less   

    


 
There’s a Times-Standard front-page article on the local celebration you can read here.   

Interesting commentary by the Arcata Police Chief, Tom Chapman:   

Reputation, and all that comes with it, is a big reason for the increased enforcement folks saw firsthand Tuesday.   

It’s not just this event, it’s everything the event brings with it. There’s an influx of people, and the town gets overrun,” Chapman said, adding that his department annually sees increases in petty theft, vandalism, illegal camping and public intoxication in the weeks leading up to April 20. “It’s a national draw. People travel to Arcata for 4/20, and that’s what we want to stop.    *******   

“The main thing we’re trying to accomplish is to make this an unattractive event.”   

That’s message is clear as crystal. Arcata City Government and local business don’t want “these kinds of people” coming to their community for no kind of frolic in the redwoods. The police obviously just don’t like these people and what they represent. When you consider the report of their activities that day, they were there to simply harass these people. Even the Police Chief had to acknowledge that what they were doing had limits. Specially when people bring their children into a war zone “in strollers”.   

“Reputation?” What’s he talking about? Whose reputation? His or Arcata’s?   

The War on Drugs has failed. Heavy-handed law enforcement with the objective to beat undesirable people into submission only breeds systemic failure. The tide has turned; people everywhere are fed-up with being ruled over and victimized by dictatorial, corrupt, stupid, arbitrary liars. More and more the police are forced to make a choice. Political and business leaders should take a lesson.   

–Joe   

[UPDATE :: Friday, April 23, 2010]   

There’s a considerable amount of chaffing among Americans the the “media,” in particular the news media is more partisan, too liberal, not news, but propaganda, etc. This Report has observed that the local news media hasn’t escaped this trap either. The biggest complaint we observe is the constant drumbeat of prejudice propaganda and not so subtle dictatorial, authoritarian commentary telling everyone how to think and what to believe.   

Kevin Hoover of the Arcata Eye, a weekly newspaper and Internet site recently took offense at my usage of the words: “people everywhere are fed-up with being ruled over and victimized by dictatorial, corrupt, stupid, arbitrary liars” he said I was applying to Arcata, CA. A critical read of his commentary will show a rather convoluted understanding of what the Report actually said. Notice my words, “people everywhere”? But then, Kevin Hoover went on in his comments to define those very words and identify the “local” problem when he demonstrated the very same attitude reported in the Time-Standard.  

So, when I read Glenn Greenwald’s, “Various Matters” post on Salon.com this morning it seemed appropriate to copy and repost here. There are some other good commentary, but this one seems appropriate locally.  To show the comparative similarity the words “Humboldt County” were added in parenthesis.  


  

(6) Every now and then there are little vignettes that capture what Washington really is:  an insular, incestuous, fundamentally corrupt royal court, populated — as all sickly imperial capitals are — by political and media courtesans and other hangers-on.  One such vignette was a recent New York Magazine profile of Liz Cheney and her circle of friends, adeptly excerpted by Susan Gardner, which is well worth reading.  Another was just provided by Mark Leibovich in his fawning New York Times Magazine profile of his good friend, the Supreme-stenographer-servant to the powerful, Mike Allen of Politico:   

On a recent Friday night, a couple hundred influentials gathered for a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party for Betsy Fischer, the executive producer of “Meet the Press.” Held at the Washington home of the lobbyist Jack Quinn, the party was a classic Suck-Up City affair in which everyone seemed to be congratulating one another on some recent story, book deal, show or haircut (and, by the way, your boss is doing a swell job, and maybe we could do an interview).   

McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, arrived after the former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie left. Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren had David Axelrod pinned into a corner near a tower of cupcakes. In the basement, a very white, bipartisan Soul Train was getting down to hip-hop. David Gregory, the “Meet the Press” host, and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham gave speeches about Fischer. Over by the jambalaya, Alan Greenspan picked up some Mardi Gras beads and placed them around the neck of his wife, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who bristled and quickly removed them. Allen was there too, of course, but he vanished after a while — sending an e-mail message later, thanking me for coming.   

 If you ever find yourself wondering why there’s so little adversarial journalism and accountability for crimes and corruption in Washington (Humboldt County), just read Gardner’s post and that above passage.  Beltway denizens play various assigned roles — this one reads from the Journalist script, that one poses as a legislator, this one’s a Democrat and that one’s a Republican, the one over there is a regulator, this one is a lobbyist, etc. — but they all feed from the same trough, and their sole allegiance is to their decadent, insular, endlessly nepotistic, and deservedly dying pseudo-aristocratic culture, and to one another.  Chris Hayes captured the point nicely this week in a spontaneous one-minute television outburst.  

Any lessons learned here?

Who is the real threat to peace?

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Anyone know why this?

 

President Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton including the majority in Congress support Israel and the Jews without question while Obama has done nothing but pay lip-service to the manufactured foreclosure crisis that is making millions homeless. Anyone know why? 

Do you know why American tax payer’s are subsidizing these people? There seems to be a real contradiction in this country. It seems we have all the money in the world for phony wars, the Jews, Pentagon, banks and big corporations, but no money for meaningful healthcare, Social Security or Medicare. 

Counterpunch has more on this well worth reading if you’re interested in what you buy with some of your tax dollars:
The Pentagon’s Escalating Share
Where Your Taxes Go  

By DAVE LINDORFF – April 13, 2010 


 

[Picture Source] Click the picture and tell me if you’d like to live in a place like that? 

–Joe

Corporate Elite’s Dirty War

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This reality really hit home Wednesday, April 14, 2010 on Democracy Now’s interview with Charles Bowden, a “reporter who has extensively covered the drug violence in Mexico. He is author of the new book Murder City: Ciudad Juárez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields.”

Why is any of this important to Humboldt County? For one thing, you cannot endure the consequences of the past 50 years’ social changes caused by marijuana and other drug trade without dealing with the harmful and lasting effects caused to this community. The local war on drugs as implemented on local towns and rural areas along with code enforcement essentially pits the government against the people.

If you want to see what happens when the exceptional elitist American’s defend their right to destroy this Earth and wage war on the people, look no further than Ciudad Juárez in Mexico. First, they force poor countries to accept and enforce the North American Free Trade Agreement where all the small land owners are forced off their land because the can’t compete, so Mexico can’t support itself. Then you have “slave factories all over the country, where nobody can live on the wages, two generations at least of feral kids on the street,” where a large portion of them want to become professional killers. Like water, people have to live, and so they take the course of least resistance. To deal with their impossible situation they take to drugs, since it is a major moneymaking industry. Those that can, come to the United States. Since it is always the victims fault, the United States takes its War on Drugs to the next higher level and reinforces the Mexican government to the tune of “a half-a-billion dollars a year.”

That’s this Report’s take on the good part of this catastrophe. “Nearly 23,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since a US-backed military crackdown on cartels began more than three years ago. The city of Ciudad Juárez, which borders El Paso, has by far been the most violent area, with more than 4,300 people killed in the past two years.” Bowden says:

“What’s happening is, this thing started in 2006 with the new president, as a statement of his personal power. You know, mano dura—“I’m a strong man.” He ripped the mask off Mexico. In other words, he was going to claim he’s the big guy. And the mask he ripped off revealed what’s really going on in Mexico: mass poverty and social disintegration. Now it’s turned into a war by the Mexican government against the Mexican people.”

With the continued looting of American the President Obama and his complicit Democrats and Republican representative allies are doing nothing to stop it, there is only a matter of a small amount of time before we begin to really feel the brunt of this epidemic. Bowden offers some simple, commonsense solutions everyone needs to consider.

Bowden’s conclusion is somewhat hopeful and well worth repeating here:

And I think the war on drugs is ending, because, frankly, it’s no longer the darkness at the edge of town. I do stories all over this country. I don’t care where you go, the drugs are everywhere. I don’t care where you go, people are being arrested. I did a story in western North Dakota, county of—you know, got more people in this room maybe than the county. They busted eighty meth labs in a year. What are you going to say, that these are, you know, the lesser breed or something? I mean, these are a bunch of people that look like potatoes that plow fields. That’s what our war on drugs has come to. We’re killing ourselves with our war. We’re not helping anyone.

 If that statement is not proven true here in Humboldt County, I don’t know what is.

[Picture source]

–Joe

Looting American Cities

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The following is a segment I watched on Democracy Now this morning. As a home and property owner in Eureka, this situation shook me out of some of my complacency regarding our local county and city representatives activities. The people in the city of Birmingham in Jefferson County Alabama were sued by the EPA for a faulty sewer system and were forced to build a new one at a cost of $250 million. In the end, after the looting, the local taxpayers were left owing 5 billion; that BILLION with a “B.”

And we think the government works for us? What most fail to realize is that these exceptional elitist, Democrats, Republicans, Independents – you name them – with their phony wars, unrestrained banking, Wall Street gluttony and successive bailouts to name only some of the corruption along with successive governments betrayals and complicit behavior and deregulating laws, have destroy this country.


 

“Looting Main Street”–Matt Taibbi on How the Nation’s Biggest Banks Are Ripping Off American Cities with Predatory Deals

Poker 

In a new article in Rolling Stone magazine, journalist Matt Taibbi takes an in-depth look at the experience of one small Alabama town and its disastrous dealings with Wall Street. Taibbi writes, “The destruction of Jefferson County reveals the basic battle plan of these modern barbarians, the way that banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have systematically set out to pillage towns and cities from Pittsburgh to Athens.” 

Read the rest of this debacle here. 

–Joe 

“Eureka” Slaughter NOT an Aberration Either

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This is the head line: Iraq slaughter not an aberration by Glenn Greenwald on the video just released yesterday of the “business as usual” murder of innocent people in Iraq by an American helicopter gun crew.

You can see the video in all its gory details here.

Compare that to:

“’The officer took his gun, put it at the base of Sequoia’s head, and fired a round into Sequoia’s head,’ he said, adding that the second shot ended the struggle and likely killed Sequoia instantly.” This is a quote from Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen reported in the Times-Standard March 21, 2010.

Business as usual.

What is most disturbing is the commentary of the helicopter gunship crew. And that was what was most disturbing in the account of the police use of deadly force on David Sequoia who just happened to be the innocent victim here too. The police identifying Sequoia in those moments as the aggressor was no “aberration” either. Those officers shot Sequoia like a mongrel dog just like those people in Iraq. The conversation during the encounter compares to the conversation by Chief Garr Nielsen in the calloused manner such deadly force is applied and justified.

The “slaughter,” however, is of more than just subhuman things. It is the complicity of the news media to cover up, to skew and bias the facts. This is a classic example by Thadeus Greenson in his March 21, 2010, newspaper report where he repeats the “official” account of what happened as if it is the god’s-gosple truth: Two officers fired weapons in fatal Eureka shooting; chief says there was no alternative to deadly force.

Two Eureka police officers fired their weapons in the exchange Thursday that left 25-year-old David Sequoia dead Thursday morning, Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said Saturday.

On the face of what Greenson wrote, i.e., “no alternative to deadly force” and “fired their weapons in the exchange” you’d logically think they had a gunfight with Seqouia, and NOT a summary execution.

This Report has spoken extensively on this issue. Here are the links in sequence:

1) Who Really Killed David Sequoia

2) Basic Freedom: No Right To Tough

3) Personal Safety In Eureka Is An Illusion

4) Stacking The Deck

Notice how, since the initial reporting, there’s been no followup? Based upon the local non-reaction – since the general consensus sentiment is that Sequoia was obviously a “scum-bag” and the police did the community a favor, who cares? Who cares whether or not the police officers are back on the streets? Who cares if the DA is looking into Kris Coon’s conduct in this matter? Who cares?

Well, the The Atlantic’s James Fallows offers the following. Ask yourself why this is not the same situation right here in Eureka, California?

I can’t pretend to know the full truth or circumstances of this. But at face value it is the most damaging documentation of abuse since the Abu Ghraib prison-torture photos. As you watch, imagine the reaction in the US if the people on the ground had been Americans and the people on the machine guns had been Iraqi, Russian, Chinese, or any other nationality. As with Abu Ghraib, and again assuming this is what it seems to be, the temptation will be to blame the operations-level people who were, in this case, chuckling as they mowed people down. That’s not where the real responsibility lies.

Now tell me if this is not the same moral justification for everyone’s reprehensible and morally indefensible conduct:

And, of course, imagining what Fallows asks us to imagine — that this was all being done to us, rather than by us — is exactly the exercise which is most steadfastly avoided. Besides, even if it were to be engaged, it would be dismissed as an exercise in “moral relativism.” When we do X, it is right; when others do X to us, it is wrong. That’s the benefit of being so Exceptional.

When the truth becomes the enemy, it’s time to ask yourself, “what makes you think this couldn’t be you?”

[Picture source]

–Joe

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