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What Does This Mean? – UPDATE

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Pure Harassment! Divine Justice? Or something MORE insidious?

Sometimes your instincts are SPOT-ON. Other times you’re just LUCKY. I’d like to think it is DIVINE JUSTICE. Whatever it is, when it all comes together, IT IS SWEET.

As noted below, I came across this posting on the Arcata Eye website: Big Al Arrested In Valley West and the following caption: “APD Lt. Ryan Peterson said officers stood by as a citizen arrested Edmunson for allegedly disturbing the peace and “using words likely to produce a violent reaction.” [Emphasis added]

Right away that caught my attention. What does it mean “words likely to produce”? What words? What do they mean by “violent reaction”? Words like “Hey good lookin’?” Or “F*** A.P.D.”?

Then there is the “officers stood by as a citizen arrested” … “allegedly disturbing the peace” with “words” they say he used. Come on! Anyone that thinks they’ve got a problem with someone or just plain don’t like their looks can get together with a couple of their friends or neighbors and tell a police officer some cock-n-bull story and the police will go along with a “citizen’s arrest”? Can that only happen in Arcata? I can tell you for a fact, that won’t happen in Eureka with the E.P.D. even when you have credible witnesses and a criminal threat.

What were the Arcata Police going to do? Beat the crap out of him if he resisted? I’d see the day that someone set me up to go along with a “citizen’s arrest.” We still have the right to defend ourselves in this country. I’d make the police do the arresting and then hold the “citizen” responsible for their actions. I’ve got an idea they, the Arcata Police, instigated the “citizen’s arrest” anyway.

Why is any of this important? I watched Democracy Now this morning and learned more about how the law was enforced on a traumatized public in New Orleans, Louisiana after the Katrina disaster. Where the policing authorities from local, state and federal came in prepared for war, building cages for jails or prisons and began arresting mostly innocent people, charging them with bogus, made-up crimes, putting them in prison without any access or rights to a lawyer, phone calls, food or medical attention. They pretentiously called it “doing Katrina time.” I wonder what Alfred Edmunson et al. calls it? Think that could happen here? Like they say, the stage is set.

I was going to use this Update to address some of the more obvious issues in Kevin Hoover’s post on “What Does This Mean” when I decided to write about the issue of marijuana related deaths Kym Kemp raised on her blog article, “More on the Laytonville shooting.” She said, “One person dead in the grows this year from pointing a gun at an officer–I can understand one person foolish enough to do this. But 5? That is harder to grasp.” As do I.

To highlight the issue Kym raised and the wider implications I suggested that she go today’s Democracy Now ( Democracy Now, ) program on what happened in New Orleans five years ago. This sets a good baseline for comparison today. Next, I suggested that she go to today’s Times-Standard front-page article, “Marijuana grow operation shooting leaves one dead, …” and look at the picture of the six Sheriff’s Deputies (also attached here). The caption in the newspaper says: “SWAT team members prepare to depart the Kneeland Airport to a large outdoor marijuana garden on Thursday. …” In the article it says, “…[A] heavily armed SWAT team, dressed in camouflage fatigues and full tactical gear …” Further along the article says, “…[N]early two dozen officers clad in camouflage, wearing bulletproof vests and toting automatic weapons, …” This comment was of interest, “Downy (Undersheriff Mike Downey) said at the time that the team would approach the site with an abundance of caution because it was not clear if any other armed individuals were in the pot grow.”

Next, suggested she read my article, in The Joe Blow Report 2, “What Does This Mean” and also the associated comment by Kevin Hoover of the Arcata Eye that he made about my observations.  A couple of things standout here, at least they do for me. One is, why do we need para-military police with automatic weapons in our society? Who are the people that justify such a threat? By the way, how many of those officers are military war veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan trained as “hunter-killers”?

Second, the policing authorities, the combined integration of all agencies, have put themselves on a war-footing against the general population. They hide behind and try to conceal what they are really doing by such things as their pseudo “war on terror,” “war on drugs” or their ultimate “war on class,” using such things as “public peace” or “offensive” or “provocative words” and hurt “feelings” that are so vague they are open to anyone’s interpretation and abuse. This situation is way beyond becoming a police state. You can already see the class warfare as defined and implemented by the attitude and class distinction as exemplified by Kevin Hoover’s opinionated reporting as defined by his comment, and the subsequent use and enforcement of discriminatory, and probably illegal laws. Its okay for one class of people to insult, abuse, incite and threaten, but just let their victims try to respond in the only way they know how to try to defend themselves and the full weight of the “law” and the police enforcement comes down on their heads.

And then there is the third standout, and that’s the general paranoia associated with an illegitimate war. How would you like to be a deer hunter that just wanders into close proximity with one of these “overly cautious” squads skulking around the woods? As we can see, it doesn’t take long to start building cages and parking people in them without any hope of getting out. It’s all about justifying an illegitimate right to exist.

–Joe

Kevin Hoover’s comment: Read the rest of this entry »

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What Does This Mean?

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Pure Harassment! Divine Justice?

I stumbled upon this headline today in a website I never frequent. Actually I was studying “Pingbacks and Trackbacks” when I came across the connection between Kym Kemp in her blog Readheaded Blackbelt to an article by her posted on the Arcata Eye website. I’ve had conversation with Mr. Hoover and I can understand why he’d post this article: Big Al Arrested In Valley West – August 25, 2010. I’ve had conversations with Kym too. Frankly, I’m a bit puzzled at the connection here.

What is a real puzzle is this statement by APD Lt. Ryan Peterson, where he is quoted:

“… [O]fficers stood by as a citizen arrested Edmunson for allegedly disturbing the peace and “using words likely to produce a violent reaction.”

“It was to the point where they felt threatened,” Peterson said. [Emphasis added]

“Felt threatened”? What does it take to “feel threatened”? Or “use words the LIKELY to produce a violent reaction”? Words like the sign the guy is holding? Look like a homeless bum that’s just pissed off the police or a or simply walk up and say “Hi, I’m Joe Blow. Who are you”? What’s it take to “prove” to police officers that someone made you “FEEL threatened? How the HELL do you solve any kind of a problem when you can’t talk to anyone for fear of making them “FEEL threatened” and running the risk of being thrown in jail? The fact is, you can’t.

Why would he call the business people, “Nazis”? You don’t suppose they were provoking and harassing him, do you? Considering the circumstances, the reason for the “citizen’s arrest” is because the police officers knew they couldn’t justify doing the arrest.

These kinds of arrests only empower this kind of reckless, personalized harassment. It never leads to anyone’s best interests or benefit. People, regardless of what you may think or believe about them, have to live. It is as simple as that.

Someone accuses you of doing something you may or may not be guilty of doing, and all of a sudden you are a tried and convicted criminal and will be lucky to not get shot in the process.

Another good example of why the general public can’t get any help from the law is explained in this article on Time:

The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves

By Adam Cohen

If you think the Constitution protects you, your family and your property, you’d better think again:

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant.
(See a TIME photo essay on Cannabis Culture.)

It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich. Read the rest of this entry »

Help name Firedoglake’s Marijuana Legalization Campaign

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[UDATE Below]   

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

The following is copied from the FireDogLake website:

user   

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?

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

Choice and the U.S. Constitution

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ronpaul190When you read this from Ron Paul ask yourself why would local businessmen and women in Humboldt County NOT want the marijuana laws repealed. Here’s a link to Ernie Branscomb’s blog for a good example. He also posted this tongue-in-cheek back Saturday, August 9, 2008: And you thought Marijuana was harmless…

End the War on Drugs – Ron Paul

We have recently heard many shocking stories of brutal killings and ruthless violence related to drug cartels warring with Mexican and US officials. It is approaching the fever pitch of a full blown crisis. Unfortunately, the administration is not likely to waste this opportunity to further expand government. Hopefully, we can take a deep breath and look at history for the optimal way to deal with this dangerous situation, which is not unprecedented.

Alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s brought similar violence, gangs, lawlessness, corruption and brutality. The reason for the violence was not that making and selling alcohol was inherently dangerous. The violence came about because of the creation of a brutal black market which also drove profits through the roof. These profits enabled criminals like Al Capone to become incredibly wealthy, and militantly defensive of that wealth. Al Capone saw the repeal of Prohibition as a great threat, and indeed smuggling operations and gangland violence fell apart after repeal. Today, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner is a relatively benign transaction, and beer trucks travel openly and peacefully along their distribution routes.

Similarly today, the best way to fight violent drug cartels would be to pull the rug out from under their profits by bringing these transactions out into the sunlight. People who, unwisely, buy drugs would hardly opt for the back alley criminal dealer as a source, if a coffeehouse-style dispensary was an option. Moreover, a law-abiding dispensary is likely to check ID’s and refuse sale to minors, as bars and ABC stores tend to do very diligently. Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!

If these reasons don’t convince the drug warriors, I would urge them to go back to the Constitution and consider where there is any authority to prohibit private personal choices like this. All of our freedoms – the freedom of religion and assembly, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unnecessary government searches and seizures – stem from the precept that you own yourself and are responsible for your own choices. Prohibition laws negate self-ownership and are an absolute affront to the principles of freedom. I disagree vehemently with the recreational use of drugs, but at the same time, if people are only free to make good decisions, they are not truly free. In any case, states should decide for themselves how to handle these issues and the federal government should respect their choices.

My great concern is that instead of dealing deliberatively with the actual problems, Congress will be pressed again to act quickly without much thought or debate. I can’t think of a single problem we haven’t made worse that way. The panic generated by the looming crisis in Mexico should not be redirected into curtailing more rights, especially our second amendment rights, as seems to be in the works. Certainly, more gun laws in response to this violence will only serve to disarm lawful citizens. This is something to watch out for and stand up against. We have escalated the drug war enough to see it only escalates the violence and profits associated with drugs. It is time to try freedom instead.

So what’s wrong with trying Ron Paul’s version of freedom?

Joe had to smile to himself when he read this:

Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!

Sounds like something Joe stood for the last 50 years. Maybe it’s time to throw off the “mandate.” Be responsible and demand accountability while you still can.

But then, no one would make any money off your slavery, would they?

–Joe

Compliments of Kenny’s Sideshow
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