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The pilfering public pension pirates of Illinois: tax the rich to save the rest

11:44 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

This is the thanks they get? Our teachers and our librarians, civil engineers and school crossing guards, trash collectors and public safety protectors, public prosecutors and public defenders, snowplow drivers, accountants, file clerks, telephone operators, translators, healthcare workers, those who care for our sick and elderly and our forgotten.

Acme Arts Collective and its member artists are cooperating on this Thanksgiving day to publicize the attack on public employees carried out by both the Democrats who control the statehouse in Illinois and the Illinois Republicans who have conspired with the oligarchic predatory class to demonize Illinoisans who selflessly choose to serve the public as teachers, police, firefighters, public safety inspectors; your neighbors who’s energies have educated your children, saved the lives of your parents and grandparents and, yes, worked thanklessly to attend to the waste that is created daily by the vast mechanisms in modern America that shift wealth from the poorest to the most wealthy.

Our friends and neighbors who chose to give up the comforts that would have otherwise been accorded to them in our unfair two class system should they have decided to ‘make money in the private sector’ and cravenly given their energies to gamble and steal in the fashion of modern America’s felonious financial sector are now being attacked in a organized and systemic fashion by the multi-headed Cerberus that is the financial/political/media industrial complex. The protectors of the rich and un-civil at the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the unfair-taxation-matrons at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the ALEC lap-puppies at the Illinois Policy Institute have banded together with the politicians from both parties who bear responsibility for Illinois’ pension ‘crisis’ in a greed induced blitzkrieg to steal pension benefits from poor, old, sick, infirm and literally helpless Illinoisans who spent their lives working to make the civic space of Illinois function for the past 30 years.

That is correct, the richest industrialists, the most bought off press and our hopelessly sycophantic to business interests politicians and weasley wealth protecting “not-for-profits” who run Illinois have banded together for the single purpose of taking food out of the mouths of our neighbors and taking medicine away from our friends who are disabled, infirm and diseased for the simple to understand single purpose – because they are greedy.

Lets break it down -

The Industrialists:
These are Illinoisans who exploit the value added to our state by public employees every single day. Their employees were taught how to read, write and reason by your neighbor, a school teacher. They ship the plastic widgets that they sell to make themselves fabulously wealthy on roads that were built using public funds that created thousands of middle class private sector jobs, and are kept safe by public sector engineers, safety inspectors and police. But these unpatriotic parasitic wealthy Illinoisans refuse to pay their fair share of income taxes to support the intellectual and physical infrastructure in Illinois that they themselves have used to become wealthy and, instead, are conspiring to ensure that old ladies do not have life saving medications.

The Media:
The Editorial board of the bankrupt Chicago Tribune, who themselves amass outrageous pension benefits that ensure that they will each receive pensions of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year when they retire, have banded with private sector companies to make certain that the school teachers and librarians who read the Chicago Tribune will have to choose between medicine and food in their retirement. Acting as the water-carrier for wealthy individuals and corporations, the Chicago Tribune has led a greed inspired propaganda blitzkrieg against the poorest among us who gave their entire working careers to serve the public. The Chicago Tribune does not think that it is fair that the average retired state employee who receives a pension lives on $20,000, but thinks that giving a combined $42.5 million in bonuses to a group of its employees just last year amounts to being a ‘productive business enterprise’ …did I mention that the company is bankrupt?

The Politicians:

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Unclear on the concept cavalcade continues to corrupt citizens’ consciousness

4:16 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Ripped from the headlines, the news seems to suggest that rank and file democrats are following their standard bearer’s ‘style’ when it comes to solving some of the more pressing and complex problems that we face togehter as a nation. Its good to know that these followers have appreciated the efforts made by the Obama administration to “set the tone” as we sally forth together to solve these troubling and significant criminal and cultural problems.

Democratic leadership acts as anti-equal justice vigilante, taking personal initiative to smash the concept of equal protection under the law with of get-out-of-jail-for-free winks and nods to felonious bankers

President Obama, referring to the his administration’s broad based policy of agreeing to non-prosecution agreements drafted by private businesses who have been accused of criminality, reassured citizens angered by the administration’s apparent disregard for the law when he stated; “Well, first, on the issue of — on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehman’s and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless…You know, the financial sector is very creative, and they are always looking for ways to make money. That’s their job. And if there are loopholes and rules that can be bent and arbitrage to be had, they will take advantage of it.”

Democratic president acts as anti-international and anti-US constitutional law vigilante, pommeling treaties and settled US law with the truncheon of a non-investigation promise to American torturers

A short two months after winning the election in 2008, and just days before taking an oath that requires him to “protect and defend the constitution”, president Barack Obama, speaking on television on January 10, 2009, advised Americans of his unconventional plan for enforcing treaty obligated, legally codified and constitutionally mandated prohibitions against torturing human beings, stating; “Part of my job is to make sure that, for example, at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got spend their all their time looking over their shoulders…(I operate on) a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

Democratic president acts as anti-health vigilante, taking personal initiative to smash the public healthcare option with cudgel of disingenuousness and lies

Speaking to a gathering of actually important Democratic party supporters in September of 2010 who paid $30,000 each to sup with President Obama, the president took time to put critics of his signature insurance industry bail-out plan called the Affordable Care Act in their place, saying, “Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get — to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed — oh, well, the public option wasn’t there.”

Democratic president acts as anti-constitution vigilante, taking personal initiative to bug-splat American citizens with no judge’s order

In a new book regarding the 2010 presidential campaign, President Obama confirms one of the skills that he has consciously honed and perfected since he became president of the United States. Having overseen the conveyance of sky-death to hundreds of innocent humans as he personally ordered hundreds of drone executions, Obama reflected on his new-found passion, stating, “I’m really good at killing people.”

Democratic president acts as anti-privacy vigilante, taking personal initiative to bludgeon the notion of private communication for every member of the human race with complete and unrelenting surveillance

Speaking to a troubled populous after they were informed of the un-warranted and warrantless surveillance of all Americans, and most citizens of planet earth, for the entire time he has been president, Barack Obama sought to calm the concerns of Americans when he advised in July 2013 that, the “modest encroachments on privacy” were “worth us doing” in furtherance of protecting the homeland. Obama reminded Americans that, while not specified in the US Constitution, “There are some trade-offs involved,” when it comes to protecting the homeland.

Democratic leadership teams with Republican leadership as anti-sick person vigilantes, taking personal initiative to scheme to beat back relief payments to American patients with technical accounting brick-bat

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Sauschuck forsakes redemption

9:40 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

This week Americans in several cities and small towns decided to stop waiting for their putative “representatives” (whether in DC or their local statehouses) to, you know, “represent” their interests by legalizing cannabis for consumption by adults. We are all aware – and for some time now – that a majority of Americans seek the end of the violence inducing, life destroying, bigoted, wrong-headed and not in the least effective prohibition of cannabis in the US.

We also have seen push back by self-appointed cultural custodians and propagandized law enforcement who fear losing a raison d’etre for their discompassion, their smug self-righteousness, their bigotry, their orgies of taxpayer-dollar funded militarized storm-trooping police equipment procurement, their drug bust quotas, their tacit support of the dangerous and debilitating drugs tobacco and alcohol and their blithe shit-canning of arrested and convicted cannabis users as not-possibly-able-to-contribute-to-society. It is important to remember that such people are liars, who have supported societally harmful lies for nearly a century.

The comments by police chief of Portland Maine, Michael Sauschuck (an appointed by the mayor public service position in that city, which voted overwhelmingly to allow adults to consume cannabis for recreational purposes earlier this week) exemplify the predictable but tragic ‘sore loser’ mindset of these prohibitionists who are facing their own extinction. Sauschuck stipulated that his police force will not take into consideration the will of the electorate, you know, as in American Democracy, but will rather continue to arrest Portlanders who, following the local laws, choose to use cannabis recreationally.

Sauschuck personally wants to make sure that Portland residents who carefully follow the recently enacted law and possess 2.5 ounces of legal in Portland cannabis for personal consumption but who are arrested by his coppers will be fined between $350 and $1000 and given an arrest record. And, Sauschuk wants everyone to know that he ensures that, should his patrolmen decide to consider that the Portland residents who are arrested because they are in possession of legal in Portland cannabis may have thought of selling the substance, well then that criminal will be charged criminally and face possible jail time and a lifetime of being an ex-con. That is brave Sauschuck’s threat, and he wants you to know it. He assures that the only reason for his harsh application of laws that the electorate of the city he was hired by just days ago rejected out of hand, is because of his respect for the law, the state law that outlaws the use of cannabis. That is the only reason that Sauschuck will forever damage the unlucky college kid’s life. It is, after all, his duty.

There is an alternative, as in Michigan, where cannabis use by adults was legalized in 3 cities (Lansing, Ferndale and Jackson) and where local police have advised the people who they protect that they will honor the “will of the people” and cease arresting cannabis users (and instead use their resources to protect the citizens of their towns from actual crime).

Sauschuck, who was appointed as Portland Police Chief in 2012, was lauded by city councilman Vern Malloch, who said that the city council “couldn’t have made a better choice” upon Sauschuck’s appointment because he’s “fair, he’s compassionate, and he has the utmost respect of everyone inside the Police Department” and because he said he would not speak ill of his fellow police officers. All of which, I suppose, would make Sauschuck a fine work peer. But his job as the police chief is actually to be “fair,” “compassionate” and “have the utmost respect for” the citizens of Portland-not members of its police force.

Another of the confused as to who he is supposed to serve&protect copper Sauschuck’s credentials that propelled him to his position from which he commands that he will simply disregard the will of the people of the fair city of Portland, was his receipt of the Enrique Camarena Memorial Award from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. This award, according to the MDEA, is granted to a “unit or individual that through outstanding effort continued the battle for which Special Agent Camarena gave his life” – that being “trying to protect his fellow citizens from the too often violent and seedy world of narcotics”.

Now, I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on award winners and the ‘awards’ that they are given- but I have to stipulate that cannabis users are not violent, that is a simple fact. They don’t steal things to support their usage (as opposed to addiction) – and, by the way, cannabis is not addictive (well, less so than caffeine). Prohibition is the cause of violence, not cannabis. And, I just have to point out that the award giver’s description of the “violent and seedy world of narcotics” to describe cannabis users in the United States is fanciful at best if not sleazily bigoted on its face. I suspect that our dry doper presidents would likely have their Secret Service goons tackle and arrest a MDEA member if they had walked up to Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and called them violent and seedy…although if I had the chance I would probably choose “violent” as one of my personal descriptors for these narcissistic war criminal baby killing machines.

I rather think that, as with many well paid and high status promoters of cannabis prohibition in both politics and law enforcement, Sauschuck and other low level drug warriors really don’t give a shit that their entire structure of bullshit science, lies of omission, misrepresentation and conflation and hair-on-fire scare tactics have led to 80 years of prison sentences, ended careers, lost opportunities, broken families and unimaginable pain from disease suffered by Americans from Maine to Hawaii. They are concerned for only their careers and their personal wealth and status in the world of law enforcement tough-guy high school hippy hazers. Oh so dangerous…

But, it is really unfair (and fairly simple) to castigate this low-level city cop drug warrior for failing to recognize his personal role in the world-wide conspiracy of rich private prison contractors, drug manufacturers and tobacco and alcohol sellers, scheming political hacks (see the list from above of our dry doper presidents) and the whole peanut gallery of cultural custodians and finger wagging teachers and clerics – when we all know (including the small minded and wrong-headed Sauschuck himself) that local enforcers of the drug war are simply low level pawns. And, as it is, these local tin-pot dictators’ days are numbered.

The Barney Fifes and the real owners of the ‘drug war’ and its profits reaped both in trillions of black-market cash and electoral successes over the careers of drug warring pols still have the capacity to do great harm while cannabis is legalized in the US, and this is only more harm on top of the years of harm. When cannabis legalization comes to the USA it must include broad amnesty for the arrested and convicted, or we will not have truly “freed the green”.

All I could think of is running

7:27 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

About five real people were there when he was describing the thin blue air. A normally perfect day, the kind of day you may see that a kid could have drawn with crayons in that universal.kid.artwork way. Puffy lines as clouds, a ball with radiant lines our sun, the normal trees gigantic in kid perspective to the family home drawn from memory and with love.

They knew the sound they heard again, they were no longer alone. There is no need to speak its name. In fact, that’s really unspeakable anyway. And the 13 year old’s story continued;

“When the drone fired the first time, the whole ground shook and black smoke rose up. The air smelled poisonous. We ran, but several minutes later the drone fired again.”

The teen Zubair’s nine year old sister Nabila picks up the story;

“Everything was dark and I couldn’t see anything. I heard a scream. I think it was my grandmother, but I couldn’t see her. All I could think of is running.”

The young boy told the real people that even when his leg heals from the surgery that he received to remove the shrapnel, he would no longer go outside to play as his friends never do anymore – some also refusing to go to school when the drones fly;

“When the sky brightens and turns blue, the drones return and so does the fear…Education isn’t possible as long as the drones circle overhead.”

The children’s father also bore testimony to the mechanically amoral extrajudicial bug splatting crime that had been perpetrated. He told the five assembled real people in Urdu that on that day his mother, “aik lari main pro kay rakhna” (the string that holds the pearls together) had been murdered in a nonchalant exceptional.ly brutal fashion in front of his eyes. Rafiq ur Rehman said to the testimony takers;

“I would just like to ask the American public to treat us as equals. Make sure that your government gives us the same status of a human with basic rights as they do their own citizens. We do not kill our cattle the way the US is killing humans in Warziristan with drones. The indiscriminate killing has to end and justice must be delivered to those who have suffered at the hands of the unjust. I would say to President Obama if I had the opportunity to meet with him: ‘What happened to me and my family is wrong.”

The primary school teacher continued,

“As a teacher, my job is to educate. But how do I teach something like this? How do I explain what I do not myself understand? How can I in good faith reassure the children that the drone will not come back and kill them, too, if I do not understand why it killed my mother and injured my children.”

It was then that the person translating the Urdu testimony into English for the real people broke down in tears, unable to go on.

I applaud the five real people who decided to take this urgent and what should be pivotal testimony as this nation realizes its international crime spree cannot continue and it falls on its face submitting humbly and in abject apology for what we all have done. It shames me to think that only five democrats came to witness the savage wound that we have created in this family, as it is only one of the million gashes that we daily inflict on the body of this world that we are torturing. Bewildered seeing my criminal visage in the mirror and angry – but determined to do penance for my crimes by standing up for peace, I must tamp down my inclination to think that all I can do is run.

“When you stand up, you stand for all. When you sit down, they win. To the streets!”
g.singlaub

DARPA’s eternal bloodlust of the spotless brain

3:43 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

DARPA’s new project, deep brain stimulation

When my sick brother was fitted with deep brain stimulators to attempt to address some of the most debilitating symptoms of the progressive and cureless brain affliction called Parkinson’s disease there was no real alternative to the treatment that his doctors had prescribed. My brother was 40 at that time, he has since passed.

Many understand Parkinson’s disease as an old person’s disease, and for most of my life this was the case. Many are now aware that the illness can afflict younger people (the poster boy for early onset Parkinson’s is the well-known Michael J. Fox). When an older person gets the disease, they usually expire before the permanent progressive affliction exhibits its horrible and merciless deterioration on one who is stricken.

My brother had just exited a regimen of treatment that was promoted by profit seeking drug companies and perhaps well intentioned doctors whose desire to find new treatments for Parkinson’s disease led my brother to be experimented upon. This was, of course, for the combined purposes of easing the painful and ever present symptoms my brother was experiencing and to find a ‘holy grail’ for drug manufacturers; a drug that every patient with an incurable disease must take several times every day (the pharmaceutical companies really love those cash cows). By the way this drug, Mirapex, is currently being prescribed to help lady sleepers with “restless leg syndrome” – both a syndrome and a marketing campaign!

After years of complaints and pleadings to the doctors which flowed out of episodes of dangerous and wildly uncharacteristic behaviors on the part of our sick brother, we threatened legal action, and my brother was offered to be one of the first patients in the nation to undergo surgery to implant electrical stimulators directly into his brain to hopefully abate or countervail the unbearable and incapacitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

I have to honestly report that the technology did work. While the stimulator did, as we were advised prior to the installation surgery, further incapacitate my brother’s speaking ability (one of the many aspects of complete body rigidity – I mean like a wooden post, and not limited to arms and legs but both the mouth and throat muscles were also cemented in my brother due to Parkinson’s rigidity) the stimulator did ease his dyskinesia and immobility (although these symptoms may seem contradictory, such are the ravages of the nasty permanent sickness called Parkinson’s disease) allowing him to live a higher quality of life for the last years of his life, especially as the electrical stimulation machine allowed my brother to not have to be a slave to the psychological horrors of Mirapex.

On the day of his implant surgery, our family was at Northwestern Hospital where a brilliant neurosurgeon performed the multiple hours long procedure during which time my brother was kept in a semiconscious state, as is required when one is having holes drilled into one’s skull and the deus ex machina is being tested to detect the most effective placement of the stimulating electrodes. It was during the testing of the electronic brain stimulator that I witnessed something as strange and scary as it was revelatory and understandable.

The doctor positioned the electrodes deep within my brother’s brain, into the area that controls movement of his arms and legs, capacities that the disease took away from my brother, to unlock his limbs so he could walk more easily, swallow…all of the motions that we never think about too deeply that allow us to be humans in this human world. Then the doctor would turn the machine on to see how my brother responded to the electrical impulses, the intent was to make sure that the electrical stimulation was directed at the exact spot in my brother’s brain to ensure he received the positive effects that the treatment was intended to provide.

During the electrode placement trials, the doctor shifted the wires inside my brother’s head and revved up the stimulator unit – my brother, lying on an operating table, not having been told anything, not thinking of anything in particular, uncomfortably clad in a hospital gown, began to laugh – busted out laughing. The stimulator was turned off – the doctor jiggled the wires – the machine was reactivated…and my brother sobbed.

Revelatory and understandable, I’m not a doctor but have often used the words “synapses firing” (or not firing, as the case may be) relating to my pre-coffee state of mind in the morning. Strange and scary, I don’t read science fiction but am aware of DARPA.

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To hell with the heelots and then, to the hills

1:14 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

As this divided, infrastructurally decrepit, middle class obviated, finance industry indentured, environmentally forsaken, compassion suppressing, rich get richer, war is the only answer, private capital coddling country slides off the rails towards the only demise that its choices can afford it, inhabited as it is by government protectors of big business who scream about government overreach, pettifogging mouthpiece Nobel Peace Prize winners who describe their child victims as terrorists expecting that their ‘framing’ absolves them from war crime guilt, humanitarians who call for the cindering of civilians, government regulators who claim they have only the power to de-regulate industries, criminal enforcement entities who wink&grin with private business owners as they say they cannot prosecute crimes unless they are committed by poor people, American patriots whose vision of freedom is to be freed from contributing to the common good and freed to move tax payer bailout money to untaxable off-shore accounts, political party apologizers who gladly accept tens of thousands of deaths every year in America so they can assert that laws created by the insurance industry to protect it from being thrown on the ash heap of history are somehow helping our poor and sick to receive care, I look out my Midwestern window today to have revealed to my weary eyes, a clump of river birch trees accepting its fate of dying to the winter, its beautiful death-shroud of golden leaves quivering in the portent of a northerly breeze. I am inspired today to sing praise to the bull-shit callers, the question askers (and answer demanders), those who will not give in or up as the fresh face of modern US neo-fascism glares threateningly back, the whistle blowers, the debate goers, the seed sowers who call out the collateral victim mowers, the division growers and baby in the bathwater throwers – those who recognize these ‘heelots’ for what they are and know that standing firm is the only stance to take when “standing up”.

Robert Riskin wrote the screenplay for the classic American film “Meet John Doe”, based upon a story by Richard Connel and Robert Presnell. The Capra film was released in 1941, but really reflects the time period of America’s last depression. As many know, the story involves a scheme concocted by a jaded newspaper woman who has been fired when a new owner of her newspaper comes in to “clean house”. The reporter convinces ‘John Doe’, an innocent country boy, to pretend to threaten to commit suicide due to the economic misery and America’s political intransigence to remedy the suffering, which gives the recently fired reporter an exclusive story – saving her job. The scheme careens out of the control of the schemers when the concocted story ignites a massive popular movement among regular Americans who are seeking both relief from the crushing economic depression as well as answers from politicians and the captains of industry. In an interesting fictional parallel to an historic incident, America’s industrial magnates conspire to seize control of the movement and utilize the agitated populace to instigate a coup, taking over America and instituting a fascistic new government that is directed by rich business owners to protect private capital and subordinate America’s workers and neuter the nascent popular political movement.

I know readers will see in this story many parallels to our current times – with the obvious exception being the fact that, during the previous depression, Hollywood would allow such a piece of socialist agit-prop to hit the big screens across America (even with its softening sub-plots) – and I encourage readers who have not seen this film in a long time to seek it out and view it comparing its mise-en-scene with today’s messy scenes in the USA; but my intent of bringing up this wonderful film is to call attention to a scene where ‘the Colonel” (played beautifully by Walter Brennan) gives his soliloquy, expounding on freedom in (from) this modern world.

After agreeing to the scheme, the hoboing John Doe is fed a meal, given new cloths by his newspapermen handlers, and $50 “spending money”. All of which leads to the Colonel frustratedly expressing his philosophy to a room full of regular modern Americans, city folk to be sure – but regular folks, just like those country folks in the American hinterland: Read the rest of this entry →

Frankie’s exceptional exceptions to American Exceptionalism

12:57 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Pope Francis

A progressive pope and a regressive president?

In the brave new bizzarro world where the head of the two thousand year old capital serving, land owning, supporter of bloody imperialists and thieving enterprises on 6 of the seven continents known as the Catholic Church comes out as an unabashed adherent to the transmitted ‘teachings’ of the barefooted, long-haired, anti-institutional religion, anti-capital accumulation, anti-money lending institution, supporter of the poor and dispossessed, promoter of the union of brethren humans including our avowed ‘enemies’, exclaimer to a world of owners, “give up all that you own and follow me,” wandering philosopher and proto-hippie known as Jesus of Nazareth, we have the opportunity to reassess the claims of talk-tv screamers, political reamers, surgical strike schemers, imperial pipe-dreamers, military full-steamers, geo-political extremers and America-first home-teamers whose dreams to pillage and plunder abroad and pacify peasants at home have always been couched in language exactly like this; “I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.” (Barack Obama, Washington DC, 09.10.13)

So, using the exclamations of the nation’s current most vocal supporter of what is known as “American Exceptionalism” (by the way, this word “exceptionalism” always comes up on spell-check as ‘not in the dictionary’) let’s see what we can glean about what exactly “That essential truth …” is here in the good ‘ol USA;

Pope Francis on capitalism:
We must say: ‘We want a fair system; a system that allows everyone to move forward.’ We must say: ‘We do not want this globalized economic system that does so much harm.’ At the center has to be man and woman, as God wants – not money.

Barack Obama on capitalism:

Well, first on the issue of prosecutions on Wall Street, one of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehmans and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal, it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless.

Pope Francis on economic growth:

This is not just a problem of Sardinia; it is not just a problem of Italy or of some countries in Europe. It is the consequence of a global choice, an economic system which leads to this tragedy; an economic system which has at its center an idol called money. Grandparents are thrown away and young people are thrown away…And we must say no to this throwaway culture…A change of attitude… is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world. Development cannot be reduced to economic growth alone, often attained without a thought for the poor and the vulnerable.

Barack Obama on economic growth:

We can do more. So I’ll push new initiatives to help more manufacturers bring more jobs back to America… Let’s tell the world that America is open for business… Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening… We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest… I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most…

Pope Francis on immigration:

Will it be modern madness or reefer madness?

6:04 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

Half Ounce of Pot Gets Louisiana Man Twenty Years in Prison

Man sentenced to 3 years for cannabis plea

California dispensary owner sentenced to 22 years in federal prison

Marijuana dispensary operator Aaron Sandusky sentenced to 10 years

Hennepin County sheriff: Lax marijuana enforcement is bad

Homeless man with sign: Give Me Weed, a cop approaches

Is cannabis dangerous to American empire?

For the record, for what it’s worth, and while every (generally assumed to be well intentioned, but still demonstrably) ill-informed, under-informed or outright propagandized ‘stake holder’ is chiming in about how to legalize cannabis, or not legalize as the case may be, we here at mLaw think it is part of our civic duty to express our very real concern, founded as it is upon significant anecdotal experience and ceaseless empirical study, regarding what is, to our minds, perhaps the most frightening and destructive (frightening and destructive to average American families, institutions of higher learning and the halls of power in the US) aspect of a typical American cannabis user’s outlook and mindset that, should cannabis be legalized in the US, could weave its way into the fabric of the American psyche.

As the debate churns on in the US about how to move beyond the prohibition of cannabis it is mostly being carried out by;

• ashamed dry-dopers who are as concerned today about burnishing their “legacies” as they were years ago about ensuring that all of the “choom” is consumed by employing the technique of “total absorbsion”,

• interested private parties who have made scads of booty while cannabis has been illegal (from private prison builders to pharmaceutical manufacturers and liquor distillers),

• propagandized daddies and mommies who fear for their toddlers who someday may choose to put a buzz on and consequently find themselves at ‘rock bottom’ (after taking a frightening and uncontrolled death ride on the devil’s own highway) being elected president of the United States (see the horrific life stories of Ronald Reagan, Bill/and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for example), and,

• members of our respected federal, state and local law enforcement establishment (who worked together to arrest more than 800,000 Americans for drug possession in 2011 and 749,825 last year, with 87 percent being cannabis possessors, and during the same time period arrested just over 500,000 Americans for violent crimes – 4.2 percent of all arrests, compared to drug arrests which comprise 12.7 of all arrests in 2012) who just love throwing scary and dangerous college kids into jail, ruining their lives forever with a criminal record, because they look so good in their body armor and mirrored aviator sunglasses.

While any sentient being can see that the debate is hopelessly tilted toward ill-conceived and dangerous support for maintaining federal prohibition by these highly vested parties, we have to remember the deep and ever metastasizing psychological and philosophical toll exacted on our country’s body politic when our citizens choose to use cannabis. Because of this, the editors of mLaw want to go on record to state our belief that:

The use of cannabis by otherwise law abiding, thoughtful, intelligent, productive US citizens is in fact a threat to our current society in general and modern America in particular…

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Rahm divvies up the free market for pals

2:00 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

In another in the long list of privatization schemes gone (not surprisingly) awry, Chicago, a blue city in a blue state of Democratic party bred leaders that appears by all accounts to be the nation’s laboratory for free.market.cronyist.payback.projects, is running the numbers on its ‘bike share’ program called “DIVVY” (which is really a bike rental scheme) to realize that they just are not adding up.

Divvy bike sharing station

Divvy bike sharing station

The City of Chicago began its ‘public/private partnership’ bike share scheme earlier this year after seeking bids by companies interested in partnering with the city in 2012. While a local start-up, Bike Chicago, placed a bid for the city contract that offered to do the job for $26 million over a 5 year period, the company ALTA, a Portland OR based company that has contracted with several US cities including New York, Washington DC and Boston over the past two years in ‘public/private partnerships’ to provide bike share service, was able to secure the city contract for $65 million.

At the time ALTA received the contract from the City of Chicago, concerns arose that the bidding process for this partnership was tainted. It was discovered that Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s (who was preiously White House Chief of Staff in the Obama administration) appointed city Transportation Commissioner, Gabe Klein, formerly worked for ALTA. The allegation of improprity is currently being investigated by the City of Chicago’s Inspector General.

The program was rolled out in Chicago this past June and about 1400 out of a projected 4000 bikes are ready for rental on the city’s streets. But revenues are not rolling in as projected by the players in this ‘public/private partnership’. As per usual in such contracts, if the costs of running the program exceed the revenues generated by the share service, then Illinois taxpayers are required under the contract to make up the difference. ALTA runs the program at the low, low cost of $2.33 million per month, so far the system has generated about $160,250 per month, or about 7 percent of the fee ALTA is to be paid. Admittedly, the $28 million cost for the first year of the program, is roughly one third of the contract’s total obligation – but at the current rate of revenue, there is little chance that the service will ever be able to be self-sustaining.

As President Obama will tell while looking you straight in the eye, these amazing melding of public funding, public risk and private profits will “create jobs…attract private investment…(have) less red tape to gum up the works…(and, by the way private companies will ensure that projects will be completed) better and faster.” (President Obama, April 1, 2013 Miami, FL).

The Chicago bike rental scheme received $22 million in federal grant money and $5.5 million in Illinois taxpayer funds to kick-start: that is $27.5 million in taxpayer funds out of the $28 million first year costs to run the program. As my math figures, that means ALTA coughed up around $500,000 to secure this keen $65 million 5 year public/private contract.

Chicago city officials, including Mayor Emmanuel, happily report that the numbers from 2 months of bike-sharing in Chicago show that the partnership is performing “beyond their expectations.” At a return rate of 7% of the expected costs to run the program, many Chicagoans are asking themselves just exactly what the signatories to the public/private scheme would consider to be “not meeting expectations” and also are trying to figure out which public (you know, just public) projects will have to be cut back or terminated to find dollars to pay ALTA’s end of this ‘public/private’ boondoggle.
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DEA fakebook : parallel construction

1:33 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

Reuters has reported that the National Security Administration has been sharing information gleaned through its extensive secret systems of surveillance with the Drug Enforcement Administration for more than a decade.

The information sharing, which has resulted in convictions of criminals in drug cases, has brought the law enforcement practice known as “parallel construction” to the awareness of US citizens who have reacted with astonishment, given the popular conceptions that Americans have about due process as it is articulated in the US Constitution.

The NSA, which has been revealed in recent months to be utilizing sophisticated technologies to engage in massive near total surveillance of Americans and the rest of the world’s citizens relying upon secret interpretations of secret laws, has been assiduous in ensuring that its worldwide surveillance program not be revealed. As the NSA shared its surveillance “tips” with the DEA, it instructed the agents who received its “tips” to create out of thin air justifications for why and how the DEA initiates its investigations. Reuters came into possession of training materials about the program that instructs agents to never reveal that “tips” come from the NSA and further instructs agents to misrepresent to judges and defense attorneys that the information received from the NSA was actually the result of “normal investigative techniques.”

Members of law enforcement who spoke about the NSA/DEA cooperative spying program to Reuters defended the spying program, saying that “parallel construction” is a police technique that is utilized “every day.”

In traditional law enforcement investigations, law enforcement must show a judge evidence of wrong-doing to receive a court order to electronically track, search or wiretap a target of interest. In cases where the NSA brought tips to the DEA that resulted in arrests, training documents revealed by Reuters show that the federal agents were required to “recreate” the trail of the investigation to cover up the fact that the cases were predicated on legally questionable surveillance by the NSA of regular American citizens.

While apparently this practice is ‘all good’ with police, federal agents and federal prosecutors as it guarantees them perfect ‘targets’ for investigations that are certain to produce jailed ‘bad guys’, it’s seeming violation of this tried and true method of criminal enforcement;

“no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,”

has been criticized by civil libertarians, defense attorneys and legal scholars. The Reuters article quotes defense attorney Lawrence Lustberg, who succinctly articulates the constitutional and due process problems created by the DEA using the tactic “parallel construction”; when law enforcement is instructed to cover up the origin of or simply fabricate evidence that it uses to convict citizens of crimes, is “not only alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.”

Many Americans, who have become inured to dual track systems of justice in America (one for the wealthy and connected and one for regular citizens), dual track systems for due process (where we are accorded inalienable rights that have no value when a politician screams the word “terror”), dual track systems for education (publically supported private schools for the wealthy and broken-down ramshackle schools for the poor), dual track systems for government bailouts (private financial companies get bailed out with no strings attached to the tune of trillions while those who lost their homes get measly hundred dollar checks), may themselves find it necessary to think about their relationship to their cultural and political environment using the technique of “parallel construction”:

“One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, paralleled with, “one nation under surveillance, with suspicion and indefinite detention for all”.

Its all good.