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Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall!

By: patrick devlin Monday October 20, 2014 5:38 am

Over the past months the national media have stumbled upon the fact that the Great American Prohibition of cannabis has some pretty nasty consequences for regular ‘folks’, as the president likes to refer to us. Perhaps you have followed the stories of the knowing and on-going aggressive application of our nation’s antiquated and unjustly applied local, state and federal laws regarding cannabis.

The national press has reported on how the war on cannabis harms our sick citizens. There has been sympathetic reportage of the plight of families who have become medical refugees, forced to up-root their lives and other parents who have chosen to break the law so their suffering children can get the medical treatment they need in America.

There have been stories about patients who, because they work for institutions that receive federal funding, have to choose between being employed and using medicine. And the press commendably understands the nature of the disturbing threat of our Veteran’s Administration to refuse medical care to veterans who use cannabis to treat their battle injuries and symptoms of post-war-fighting-stress.

Also of note, a stream of reports of grossly overzealous actions against cannabis criminals that seem to be more acts of police force enrichment than acts of public safety enforcement.

In bizzaro America, as even the milquetoasty left media are finally reporting on the failure that is our disastrous war on drugs and how it has been based upon years of self-serving lies, amped up local coppers, go-getter prosecutors, an amalgam of frenzied state and federal agencies, rigor mortis judges and even private gun-wielding helicopter anti-cannabis posses are still hunting prey as our dry-doper politicos duck their heads and kick the cannabis can down the road until they are safely retired.

I know that the ‘we got to respect law enforcement’ crowd pulls out the ol’ “well, it’s still illegal, ain’t it?” dodge when the press reports on aggressive enforcement actions taken by politically motivated prosecutors and bigoted officers to justify prosecuting small time cannabis users – so I want to remind that police and prosecutors are never required to take the most aggressive action allowed under the law and are given tremendous leeway to make prosecutorial decisions. End-of-cannabis-prohibition arrests and ambiguities really don’t need to happen.

An example of this capacity to apply discretion is contained in the letter that the Department of Justice sent to all US Attorneys in 2009 advising that they should make “efficient and rational use of (the Department’s) limited investigative and prosecutorial resources” and should use their “plenary authority with regard to federal criminal matters” in situations involving cannabis, reminding US attorneys that they are “invested by statute and delegation from the Attorney General with the broadest discretion” in the exercise of their authority.

That makes sense to most Americans, but our cowardly federal politicians still hide behind deceptively deployed medical research and the intentionally stoked fears of propagandized voters to take no action on the federal legalization of recreational and medical cannabis.

We are put by self-interested politicians in a position of having to live in an America with a barrier that has been erected to support the failed war against cannabis – a barrier that separates us from one another.

We know, for example, that political inaction on cannabis legalization has created a permanently stigmatized class in our country – 600,000 cannabis arrestees or more added every year. 18 million of our fellow citizens over the course 30 years, the vast majority of whom are African and Latino Americans. This is only one way the war against cannabis harms all of us.

In our attempts to end this fixable travesty we are stymied by self-serving politicos who are fearful of angering constituencies, and who must, therefore, ‘evolve’ on the issue before taking the logical, compassionate and equality enhancing step of legalizing cannabis.

We all know of the unfair application of justice now.

We all know that the sick can be treated using cannabis today.

As long as this war against cannabis exists, as long as this barrier of political inaction is permitted to stand, it is not only the casualties of the war; patients, young African and Latino Americans, our students – our brethren, who are consigned to lives marked by unfairness and suffering, but it is all Americans, at least all Americans who care.

We are barricaded from stepping together hopefully into post-prohibition America.

Mr. Obama, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, if you seek liberalization, consider this barrier.

Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!

cross posted at mLaw

 

Over Easy: Monday Science

By: BoxTurtle Monday October 20, 2014 4:39 am

Good Morning!

Fukushima Update:

The Typhoons have significantly increased the radioactivity of the Fuku Groundwater. This was to be expected, as almost every place on the site contains hot water  and the rain would flush it out.

The current plan to open up reactor #1 for more cleanup work. The last time they did work in #1, the radiation increases were detected as far away as Berkley. This time, the plan is basically to coat everything in plastic before opening up the cover.

Japanese reporters are starting to revolt against the censorship. It’s unclear how the JG will respond. They COULD lock up the reporters for a long time under their new state secrets law, but they are already having to deal with protesting mothers and Doctors. I think their facade is falling apart.

The JG Minister of Industry has resigned. She was one of the most vocal and effective advocates of restarting Japans reactors during her short tenure. This will hurt the restart plans, no matter what the JG official position may be.

On the subject of the reactor restart, there is NO local support. Many are coming up with fairly creative ways to block restarting their local reactors and the protesting mothers are a powerful symbol. Nobody wants to be photographed busting through their lines.

Fusion Power takes a big step forward. This is the best, most detailed writeup of the story that’s been perking in the MSM most of the week. Some key points to remember: There is no working prototype, though they have tested all the components successfully individually. The “blanket” that is supposed to stop the neutrons and turn their energy into heat is not described anywhere I could find. I’m guessing it’s some form of Boron, but what the mean free path of a neutron would be is not mentioned.There will still be hot waste, but WAY less and WAY less dangerous. Tritium production will be minimal, but not zero.

There was a kickstarter campaign to produce a private router that would protect average users from spying. In a very short time, they produced about $600K with a fundraising goal of only $7,500. That kickstarter has been suspended with no reason given. But I think it shows how much interest there is in the concept. Congress can re-interpret the constitution to watch us, but they can’t re-interpret technology and eventually technology will force the USG to go back to getting warrants.

Sex has been around 385 Million years.

“mine” metals from plants? It’s NOT science fiction, there are plants that naturally absorb metals. We then harvest the plants, burn them, and extract the metals from the ash. This could be cheaper than current mining techniques and could also be used to clean up heavy metal pollution.

We may have found a signal from Dark matter.

Humboldt Squid are a subject of debate. Some thing they’re non-hostile, others think they’re amongst the most dangerous creatures in the ocean.  In support of the latter group, the squid try to attack a minisub. The Humboldt Squid is one of the VERY few squids with confirmed human kills.

Methane hydrate land mines?

Boxturtle (I like Mike Rowe’s new show “Somebody’s got to do it“)

 

 

Turkey: New Bill Deepens Net Repression Yet Again

By: GREYDOG Monday October 20, 2014 2:54 am

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Draconian Internet laws in Turkey are deepening yet once again with a new reform package that will bring new measures against freedom of speech in the country. Previously, the government had already tried to silence the masses through censorship measures, surveillance of Netizens, blocking access to Web sites, or even raids on online news portals’ headquarters. The most recent development concerning the laws against online free speech is the most recent bill that provides for up to five years’ imprisonment for tweeps (Twitter users) who criticize the government online.

The signatories of the infamous censorship law – or as the official name refers to it, “5651: Regulation on the Publications on the Internet” – have drafted a new bill and presented it on the parliament floor on the evening of October 14th. The new bill will allow all the possible suspects that have so far been declared “traitors, enemies, coup-plotters” to be put under full surveillance with just an order from a judge. The requirement of “tangible evidence” that has been required by the courts so far is no longer on the books, which allows the judges to give the order upon “reasonable doubt.” The new law also allows the property of the government-critical suspects to be confiscated, if the accusation is “criminal activity” or “organizing a gang.”

What is “criminal”?

What comprises criminal activity in Turkey has long been a problematic issue and the new bill is no different from any previous one. The main excuse in suppressing free speech in the country so far has been “national-security concerns.” Crimes against the state include plans to end the unity and integrity of the state, cooperation with enemies, propagating war against the state, actions against the basic national benefits, conscripting soldiers for a foreign nation, harming military premises and agreements in favor of foreign soldiers, and economical and financial contributions to enemies.

If one is only a little obsessive, any attempt to strengthen the regional governments and the Europeanization process, which requires that, can in fact be declared a crime against the state. And the witch hunt trials that have been going after hundreds of military officers over the years would definitely be a type of harm against the military.

Less urgent crimes that have been cited in the bill include violation of the constitution, crimes against the legislative body, armed uprising against the government, and assembling and organizing for these crimes. Even though armament had been previously mentioned as a crime in another law, this time the new bill seems to reflect more onto the protection of government against all types of possible criticism. And of course the government would be exempt from the crime of violating the constitution when citizens’ basic rights and liberties are being violated, even though those rights are guaranteed under the constitution.

Social media targeted

“Threat” as a crime is considered to be a much greater fault with the new law and will be punishable by a prison sentence. The new bill suggests that the citizens who criticize government harshly on social-media platforms are included within the scope of threat crimes. Under the current laws, threats bring about imprisonment only for crimes that result in two years and more of prison sentence. For that reason, the government has updated the prison sentence to two years minimum. The new bill also includes clauses that state that those who criticize the president, prime minister, ministers, or security forces openly or over social media will be considered guilty of “threats” and face possible arrest. The new bill also targets the prosecutor who conducted the graft probe of 17-25 December last year that revealed the greatest corruption scandal in Turkey’s history.

Not only the Internet but also the streets…

The new bill’s scope is not limited to digital public spaces but also makes opposition movements’ visibility on the streets problematic. The slogans that have been adopted by critical groups during street protests had already drawn many frowning faces so far; with the new bill they will be considered a crime. The new law also breaches the diplomatic immunity of politicians, allowing them to be put on trial as well in case of threats against public officers, soldiers, police, governors etc. The prison sentence will possibly go up to 5 years depending on the intensity of the “criminal activity.”

No right to defense

Moreover, the new bill also attacks the right to a fair hearing and the principle of defense. Lawyers will have harder time accessing their clients’ files in order to defend them fairly. The bill states that lawyers’ involvement in disclosing defendants’ files would breach the investigation and thus should be limited on a judge’s orders.

Reversal of improvement

The draft bill will be reversing the improvements that have been achieved in the last year with regards to legal procedure, and the few positive remarks in the European Union accession progress report are being met with counter-developments that will present a much graver situation in the coming period. Combined with the intentions to arm the police forces with greater authority to “shoot to kill” in times of protests and plans to multiply the number of water cannons five/tenfold as the Prime Minister has stated, the new bill is just another obstacle created against any kind of free speech, right to assembly, right to access information and many other rights and liberties. It seems and feels like the road to illiberal democracy – if it is democracy at all – is being traveled faster than expected.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Culture of the National Security State, an Interview with Deepa Kumar

By: Elliott Sunday October 19, 2014 5:24 pm

This is the last in a series of interviews Deepa Kumar gave the Real News Network, here she tells host Paul Jay “that a culture of fear and obedience has developed so we give consent to Cold War policies, to hot wars, to the complete militarization of society.”

Culture of the National Security State – Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself

On Deepa Kumar, an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, from The Real News Network:

Her work is driven by an active engagement with the key issues that characterize our era–neoliberalism and imperialism. Her first book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike (University of Illinois Press, 2007), is about the power of collective struggle in effectively challenging the priorities of neoliberalism.

If neoliberal globalization characterizes the economic logic of our age, the “war on terror” has come to define its political logic. Kumar began her research into the politics of empire shortly after the tumultuous events of 9/11.

Her second book titled Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire (Haymarket Books, 2012), looks at how the “Muslim enemy” has historically been mobilized to suit the goals of empire.

The interview opens:

AC Meetup: In Our Hearts & on the Ground: International Solidarity with the Democrats of Rojava

By: Anti-Capitalist Meetup Sunday October 19, 2014 3:03 pm

The most compelling socialist message is how we live our lives. In many places, such as the so-called “free” U.S., repression against socialists often effectively prevents us from coming out of the closet. We know each other by pseudonyms if at all. The credit to our cause for much of our efforts may be lost and actions misunderstood as advancement of one volunteer cause or another, mere do-goodism–not as revolutionary acts intended to promote change from the world neoliberal system that causes unjust conditions to begin with.

Hardly woe is me, however; in Syrian Kurdistan, our sisters and brothers die every day for the crime of living out loving egalitarian solidarity. In truth, woe is “we.” To Islamic State (IS) and its direct enablers in the governments of Turkey and oil-generating Middle East “friends of the U.S.”–making the U.S. in essence the biggest enabler of IS– stateless anarcho-socialism in Rojava is a cause worthy of rape and other torture followed by cruel death.

“We” can come to the aid of the deep democrats of Rojava or watch as our comrades are slaughtered. It is as simple as that.

“We” don’t often get second chances. But we have to be ready. Perhaps once in a great while, we can resurrect our bigger global dreams, move beyond despair to critique honestly “our” mistakes, and then do our best as species-beings. And honor the memory and example of selfless people like Tom Page.

ISIS Isn’t and Imperial Ambitions in the Middle East

By: Synoia Sunday October 19, 2014 2:59 pm

We believe the Salafi’s, the Muslim Fundamentalists wish to reestablish a Caliphate in the Middle East. This also is ISIS’ goal, the goal of the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, and others in the Middle East.

The majority of the world’s Salafis are from Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. 46.87% of Qataris and 44.8% of Emiratis are Salafis. 5.7% of Bahrainis are Salafis and 2.17% of Kuwaitis are Salafis.

Wahhabism (Arabic: وهابية‎, Wahhābiyyah) or Wahhabi mission (Arabic: ألدعوة ألوهابية‎, al-Da’wa al-Wahhābiyyah ) is a religious movement or sect or form of Islam variously described as “orthodox”, “ultraconservative”, “austere”, “fundamentalist”, “puritanical” (or “puritan”),] describes an Islamic “reform movement” to restore “pure monotheistic worship”, or an “extremist pseudo-Sunni movement”. Adherents often object to the term Wahhabi or Wahhabism as derogatory, and prefer to be called Salafi or muwahhid.

The Salafi movement is thus has Saudi Arabia’s funds available.

We suspect ISIS and the Salafis are as inseparable as the is Tea Party from conservative money, with the same dogmatic attitude, and willingness to roll over anyone who stands in their way.

So let’s introduce some geography into the discussion. Do look at the maps, as they are key to understand the geography, which, coupled with the Saudi Money, and Turkish standing army (500,000) strong, would drive a Caliphate’s strategy.

On the map, pay attention to Turkey in the North, Syria South of Turkey, Iraq and Part of Jordan South of Syria and then Saudi Arabia and the various Gulf States.

Now let’s compare this with a map of the 1913 Ottoman Empire, The last great Muslim empire. Apart for the obvious empty quarter in the middle of Arabia, once can see the 1913 Ottoman Empire’s boundaries a good match for the initial boarders of a new Caliphate.

What about Turkey?

Turkey, although a secular republic since the end of the Ottoman Enpire is undergoing somewhat of a change with an Authoritarian, Radical Muslim-leaning, President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Googling “Erdogan Muslim Leanings” produces a list of web sites, including:

And

Which would then support the supposition that Erdogan also supports ISIS’ goals.

Erdogan is also on record that Assad of Syria must go. If one is to establish a caliphate, then Syria is a clear candidate for a province of the Caliphate, between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. All that needed to establish a complete land corridor is one piece of Jordan’s desert and one piece of Iraq’s desert. The initial Caliphate could include Anbar province from Iraq, and the piece of Jordanian desert would then not be necessary — At least initially.

ISIS is the sacrificial sword of the Caliphate, and with great reluctance, Turkey and Saudi Arabia would have to act jointly to “bring order” to the region, and sacrifice the radicals (dangerous-to-the-Caliphate radicals) of ISIS.

How to prevent such an outcome? Let’s take a look at a “projected” Kurdistan:

Forming a Kurdistan would scotch some of the Imperial Ambitions. Coupled with a Syria independent of Turkey & Saudi Arabia, the Caliphate would have some very interesting obstacles.

Palmerston: Great Powers have interests, not alliances.

What are the US’ interests?

Sometimes you just gotta take a break from fear of ISIS & Ebola!

By: Jane Stillwater Sunday October 19, 2014 1:26 pm
   Geez Louise!  Here I am living in a wonderful town, on a safe street and with food in the refrigerator.  But all I ever do is worry about poor Syria being invaded by ISIS, America and the Saudis  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40005.htm.
    Here I am with the best medical care in the world located only six blocks from my home — and I worry about Ebola.  According to John Barry’s fascinating book about the 1919 flu epidemic, “The Great Influenza,” viruses have a nasty habit of evolving in order to be more contagious and thus have a longer shelf-life.  And remember the bird-flu scare and the swine flu scare?  And the fact that Congress has just slashed the CDC’s budget and left us defenseless — now that the very agency that stopped both of those possible epidemics in their tracks is currently operating at half-speed due to budget cuts?  Good grief.
     Here I am, snug as a bug in a rug, but my neighbor just told me that foam mattresses give off fumes that can ruin my life.  So there goes my foam mattress, out to the dumpster.  Rats.  It was really really comfortable too.
    And the Republican party has been telling me since Reagan’s time that I should be afraid — very afraid.  Of what?  You name it.  Undocumented Americans, commie spies, weapons of mass destruction, drug lords, terrorist invasions, I forget what all else.
     So now the only sane thing I can think of doing today is to spend the day hiding under my (mattress-less) bed.  “But, Jane, you can’t do that!  Remember that there might be a bedbug epidemic!”  Oops.  I forgot.

Maybe I should just move to someplace like Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Sierra Leone instead — someplace where it’s safe.