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The Cannabis Bowl -

1:16 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The Super Bowl is going to be between the two states with legal marijuana?

- will be held in New Jersey in two weeks.

Maybe both NJ Gov. Chris Christie and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer will be there.

Scarlett Johansson will be featured in ads for SodaStream, an illegal Israeli company, with its main plant on stolen Palestinian land outside of Israel itself.

And both teams playing will be from the only states yet whose citizens decided to defy Federal law more effectively than any Tea Party campaign has yet accomplished.

The game is already being called the Marijuana Bowl.  Surprised I didn’t think of it back in October, when predicting the Super Bowl would be the Broncos and Seahawks.

Too bad New Yorker editor David Remnick didn’t interview Obama on citizens deciding about cannabis themselves after Sunday’s conference finals.  Obama said:

we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

Obama might have been able to add what: _______ if he’d been interviewed after the Cannabis Bowl was stoked?  Here’s my contribution:

The president struck a lighter note when he said “good Super Bowl coming up with the Broncs and Squaks. Bill Clinton (he doesn’t inhale) and I will be munching on cookies, having a Bud, and rooting for both teams. 

This football game will bring more attention to the fight against destructive Federal and lower government policies than any event yet. It wasn’t planned. We’ll see soon where the MSM takes this.

Obama to Join Pussy Riot on Moscow Stage in Snub to Putin

11:09 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

If only.

Pussy Riot Painting

Obama joins Pussy Riot … never

However, the Obama administration is in a dilemma over what to do about the scheduled September Moscow meeting between the leaders of the United States and Russia:

The White House is deliberately leaving it vague as to whether President Barack Obama will attend talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin if the saga involving former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is unresolved.

Putin has invited Obama for face-to-face talks in Moscow ahead of a St. Petersburg summit in September with leaders of the G20 nations, and the White House announced on June 17 that Obama would both attend the summit and go to the Russian capital.

But that announcement was before Snowden fled to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23 to avoid facing U.S. espionage charges for revealing details about secret U.S. surveillance programs involving phone and Internet data.

Snowden, stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, has since applied for temporary asylum in Russia, putting Moscow further on the spot. The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Putin would not be the one making the decision.

Pressed on Wednesday on whether Obama will still go on the Moscow part of the trip, White House spokesman Jay Carney was vague.

“I have no further announcements on our travel to Russia. The president intends to go to Russia in September,” he said.

An Obama decision not to go to attend talks with Putin would register his displeasure with the Russian leader’s refusal thus far to expel Snowden back to the United States.

Although I’m among those who regard Edward Snowden as a whistleblower, there is irony in him relying on the same Vladimir who showed such a heavy hand in 2012′s conviction of two Pussy Riot members to severe prison terms, including “hard labor.”

While the two members of the punk rock collective, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, remain in hard labor penile penal colonies until March, 2014, the collective has just posted a new video. Highly critical of questionable ties between the Putin administration and some of Russia’s oil oligarchs, the video and its song have made the news:

The song itself has been posted and re-posted several places.  Here is the entire video, with its song, Like a Red Prison:

Here is link to a photo essay-diary posted by Pussy Riot, about the new song.

Here are the lyrics:

Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

The country has hardly mastered
Mechanized labor.
More and more often when I’m working hard —
I am rude — don’t know if it’s appropriate.

Local activists flow down the pipeline,
Filling it with life and calling for destruction!
Federal Penitentiary Service, Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, and Rosnano,
LUKoil, TNK, Rosneft, and Gazprom,

Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

Get registration,
Evildoers at the oil towers,
Oil on the tables,
Sechin with crocodiles,
Like in a red prison.

Bathe the worker in the Norwegian fjord,
Cut off your penis like the Depardieu character,
You have a president like IranвАЩs ayatollah,
And your church is like it is in the U.A.E.

So, let everything be like it is in Qatar,
Evildoers at the oil towers,
Pumping till its dry,
A physics university teaches theology,
Epaulettes and oil wells,
Navalny in jail,
Hugo Chavez lives,
Like in a red prison.

Evil fucking sexist, leave the hole alone!

Homophobic vermin, out from history!

Don’t fuck with her pussycat,
She spends oil on something else.
In the Mordovian days’ quiet,
She makes salads and sometimes eats them.

Art like this begs several questions, like:

1).  Do they need a better lead singer?

2).  Will they address the Snowden affair next?

3).  When will such a prominent American punk group or collective tackle nasty oil politics so ardently?

4).  How long will it be before American indy bands, or even some mainstream groups begin writing about Snowden, or – more importantly – what the post-Snowden information cascades are revealing about our totally disappeared privacy and 4th Amendment?

Read the rest of this entry →

As Edward Snowden Wings to Moscow (and Beyond?) American Hubris, Criminality and Arrogance Are Challenged on Several Fronts – Updated

1:28 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Update – 3:20 am fdl time:

Pepe Escobar on RT TV this morning:

On Saturday, an arrogant White House, perturbed that Hong Kong seemed to be taking its time in responding to an extradition request for Edward Snowden, was quoted by CBS News:

If Hong Kong doesn’t act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong’s commitment to the rule of law.

Before the government of Hong Kong had time to reply in writing to the American extradition request, the statement, believed to have been made by White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, was the butt of several tweets by national security writer and blogger, Marcy Wheeler:

The Administration that won’t prosecute James Clapper for lying to Congress is lecturing Hong Kong about the rule of law.

followed by:

The Admin that has not prosecuted a single major bankster is lecturing Hong Kong about the rule of law.


The Admin that didn’t prosecute any torturers is lecturing Hong Kong about rule of law.

and finally:

The Admin that did not prosecute anyone for illegally wiretapping Americans is lecturing Hong Kong about rule of law.

The Hong Kong government refused to be intimidated (emphasis added):

HKSAR Government issues statement on Edward Snowden
The HKSAR Government today (June 23) issued the following statement on Mr Edward Snowden:

Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.

The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

The HKSAR Government has already informed the US Government of Mr Snowden’s departure.

Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR Government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong.

Ends/Sunday, June 23, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:05

By refusing the demand from the Obama administration, Hong Kong gave Snowden a window to exit the appendage of the PRC. He’s headed to Moscow, but that may not be the end destination:

His departure was revealed on the website of the the Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post, which said that Russia was not thought to be his intended final destination.

It is thought that the eventual destination could end up being Iceland or Ecuador.

He is understood to have left on the Russian airline Aeroflot flight SU213.

The paper said it left Hong Kong around 11am local time (4am UK time) and was due to arrive in Moscow around 5.15pm local time (1pm UK time). It is believed to be currently in the air.

That is fairly soon, from the time of my writing.

Meanwhile, the questions being raised globally about our own commitment to the rule of law are playing out in many arenas every day.  My favorite one this past week was the speech given on the floor of the lower house of the Irish Parliament, the Dáil Éireann, by member Clare Daly, an unabashed Irish progressive.  Ms Daly is objecting to the slavish, lavish coverage Irish and Northern Irish media and institutions gave to Obama (and the Obamas) during his attendance at the G8 Conference:

Whether it is the government of Hong Kong, a back-bencher in the Dáil Éireann, an Ecuadorean government resentful of past travesties we have inflicted upon their sovereignty, a Russian government upset about brazen American espionage, or an entire world community disturbed about implications of what Snowden and others have recently revealed about how fully we break treaties and conventions with them by the way we surveil and target their citizens, corporations, leaders and institutions, we may be about to witness a tsunami rise up against our empire.

My Petition for Obama to Invite Medea Benjamin to the White House for a Beer

7:58 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I just submitted this petition to the White House niche, We the People:

We petition the Obama Administration to Invite Medea Benjamin to the White House for a beer.

On May 23, 2013, President Obama gave an important address at the National Defense University. Near the end, indefatigable peace activist, Medea Benjamin, pled with the President to consider important issues he had not addressed directly in his speech. The President stated, “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to.”

We the undersigned believe the same. We encourage President Obama to invite Ms. Benjamin to the White House for a beer or two, so that he may redeem his pledge.

It needs 150 signatures before it goes up on their front page.

For anyone unfamiliar with the subject, here are two excerpts from the May 24th edition of Democracy Now:

The relevant parts of Obama’s speech:

Medea Benjamin explaining her actions:

Here’s a link to the  petition.

Obama’s Israeli Statement on Syrian Chemical Weapon Use Makes Me Want to Puke

6:51 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I don’t watch much television and don’t trust any TV news outlet on the subjects of war, peace, economic justice or the environment.  But I turned the TV on early this morning, to watch how the media dealt with Obama’s visit to Israel.

I grazed NBC, CBS and ABC early news.  I was annoyed by FOX News coverage, which continues to portray Obama as not nearly loyal enough to Israel to qualify as an American president.  I turned to CNN, where live reports were coming in to the American News Desk from their senior reporter and former key employee of the Israel America Public Affairs Committee, Wolf Blitzer, who is traveling with the presidential entourage.

I watched, during the joint press conference held by Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem (not the seat of the Israeli government recognized by the government of the USA), as Obama was asked about reported use by the Syrian government, or by the rebels, of chemical weapons, within the past few days.  Obama addressed the reports:

With respect to chemical weapons, we intend to investigate thoroughly exactly what happened.

So I’ve instructed my teams to work closely with all other countries in the region and international organizations and institutions to find out precisely whether this red line was crossed.

The broader point is that once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer and I won’t make an announcement today about next steps because I think we have to gather the facts. But I do think that when you start seeing weapons that can cause potential devastation and mass causalities and you let that genie out of the bottle, then you are looking potentially at even more horrific scenes than we’ve already seen in Syria, and the international community has to act on that additional information.

I wanted to puke.  Especially as it was being despicably uttered on the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our huge war crime in Iraq – shoved down the throats of Americans by the post-9/11 GWOT cabal, so directly related to the Project for the New American Century and A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, and by a media and political establishment stock full of people who intensely believed our criminal Iraqi expedition would help Israel, no matter what it did to America, let alone Iraq.

Iraq is where we’ve been shown more horrific scenes than in Syria, time and time again, in spite of the firings, censorship and threats of retribution that have kept the media acquiescent, right up to the present.  Dahr Jamail, on Democracy Now this morning, described our use of what have to be regarded as “red-line”-crossing chemical weapons – depleted uranium and white phosphorus – in Iraq, particularly in the battles of Fallujah (emphasis added):

And going on to Fallujah, because I wrote about this a year ago, and then I returned to the city again this trip, we are seeing an absolute crisis of congenital malformations of newborn. There is one doctor, a pediatrician named Dr. Samira Alani, working on this crisis in the city. She’s the only person there registering cases. And she’s seeing horrific birth defects. I mean, these are extremely hard to look at. They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to, because of the amount of depleted uranium used by the U.S. military during both of their brutal attacks on the city of 2004, as well as other toxic munitions like white phosphorus, among other things.

And so, what this has generated is, from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the aftermath of—in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were—that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II. So, Dr. Samira Alani actually visited with doctors in Japan, comparing statistics, and found that the amount of congenital malformations in Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings.

These types of birth defects, she said—there are types of congenital malformations that she said they don’t even have medical terms for, that some of the things they’re seeing, they’ve never seen before. They’re not in any of the books or any of the scientific literature that they have access to. She said it’s common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, baby’s being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye—really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects.

And it is ongoing.

It is ongoing.  14 times greater malformation rate than experienced by the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

Israel’s illegal use of chemical weapons against its neighbors is longstanding. Its recent use of coerced sterilizations against its own citizens who don’t look white enough – Ethiopian Jews – has finally been brought to light.

And the same scoundrels who prepped us to go into an insane and criminal war against Iraq, are going to force us into what will end up being a nuclear war against Iran.  In the same press conference Wednesday where Obama threatened some warlike response against Syria, he refused to confront Netanyahu about Iran’s nuclear intentions.  Instead, he asked to be brought to the nearest donkey that needed servicing.

Here’s Obama on the Syrian chemical weapon report:

Here’s Dahr Jamail on our use of  illegal chemical weapons in Iraq:


Personal note:  The combination of the second anniversary of the Fukushima reactor explosions and subsequent meltdowns, the tenth anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie and the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our Iraq War depressed me so much, I found it hard to write about politics, public affairs or the environment for almost a week.  Maybe I’ll bounce back.

Is Obama’s Upcoming Israel Visit as Fictitious as That of The Rolling Stones?

1:25 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Rolling Stones - Jewish-Press Punked

I.  A whole lot of people hooked on Ziocaine got punked last week by a prank article published in The Jewish Press.  The article touted an upcoming concert in Israel by The Rolling Stones:

Despite a barrage of attacks from British, European and U.S. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups, the Rolling Stones will perform their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15.

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”

Needless to say, tickets to both concerts, Monday night in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and Tuesday night in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, have been sold out even as Jagger was speaking.

The hoax article went further into details of the fictitious concert series.

Unsurprisingly, some took the bait in spite of a disclaimer (“This has been a Purim prank…”).  My favorite:

Some of the web sites or publications falling for it were

Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.

and Abby Martin’s favorite fake news source, Allgemeiner, about whose punking Phan Nguyen wrote, “the reliably unreliable Algemeiner“:

Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side. All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s lead singer, according to the Jewish Press.

and my favorite, the amazing Pamela Geller, who was in ecstasy over this, in her original post that lauded the Stones’ courage:



It is so delicious to see very cool people standing against savagery, thuggery and injustice. I’d wish I could get to Jerusalem just to see this show.

When Geller’s punking was exposed by commenters to her post, she lied and turned on them. According to Phan Nguyen:

Thus—essentially saying, “I was testing you”—Geller pretended to be in on the joke. However, there are several reasons why this is implausible:

1. Geller acknowledged that it was a Purim joke. But by the time of she had posted her story on February 26, Purim was already over. It would be like making an April Fool’s joke on April 2.

2. Geller didn’t quote directly from the original Jewish Press article but instead based her post on Robert Miller’s Joshuapundit article. To this day, Miller appears unaware that the story is a hoax and his post stands uncorrected. There is no indication that Geller had seen the original article in The Jewish Press before she posted.

3. Despite claiming that she was proving a clever point, Geller later removed the posting from her website and also deleted her tweet referencing it. What’s the point of making a point and then deleting all references to the point?

II. So The Rolling Stones aren’t going to Israel in April, after all. How about Obama in March, especially if he doesn’t have an Israeli Government with whom to meet?

President Barack Obama’s historic first visit as US leader to Israel this month could be in jeopardy after Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to plead for extra time to cobble together a new coalition government.

The Israeli prime minister was granted a two-week extension by Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, after missing Saturday’s deadline to reach agreement with rival parties following January’s inconclusive general election.

He now has until March 16 to form a government – otherwise Mr Peres will ask another party leader to lead coalition talks.

White House officials have said Mr Obama will call off his visit if no government is in place by then.

The US president is scheduled to arrive on March 20 for a two-day trip that will also include the West Bank city of Ramallah.

If you find Israeli party politics bewildering, you are not alone. I suppose Netanyahu himself is bewildered by the maze he helped build, and in which he is now all but trapped:

Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu won 31 of the Knesset’s 120 seats – an eroded lead that forced him to cast a wide net for partners while juggling their disparate demands.

During the 28-day period, Netanyahu managed to forge a pact only with the party of former foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, whose six-member faction “The Movement” has given him 37 seats, way short of the minimum 61 needed to confirm a new coalition.

In a brief statement following his meeting with Peres on Saturday night, Netanyahu hinted that at least one potential coalition partner refused to sit alongside others.

Netanyahu has faced demands from the parties that placed second and fourth, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), to slash mass exemptions from military conscription and cut welfare stipends to ultra-Orthodox Jews.

In coalition talks on Friday with Bayit Yehudi, Netanyahu’s chief negotiator said the right-wing party was unwilling to sit alongside ultra-Orthodox parties but Bayit Yehudi officials denied this.

At Mondoweiss, Annie Robbins has provided an excellent, detailed analysis of Netanyahu’s pickle, which most likely adds up to no Israeli ruling coalition by the date set for Obama’s trip.  She observes that in spite of gains by moderate factions in the January election, the hardliners seem to hold the last trump.  Playing it – accepting the notion of outright annexation of Palestine without giving the non-Jewish Palestinians any citizenship rights – will isolate Israel internationally, certainly from Europe and most of Latin America.

Pressures on the disagreeing parties to come up with something so as to avoid a cancellation or rescheduling of Obama’s trip are probably there, but insignificant.  One shouldn’t forget that there is far more antipathy toward Obama in Israel than there is, even among white GOP conservatives and Tea Party fanatics, in the USA.

hat tips to Phan Nguyen and Annie Robbins

Sally Jewell at Interior?

4:31 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Sally Jewell

REI CEO Sally Jewell will be nominated for Secretary of the Interior.

The Obama administration has announced that they will nominate Recreational Equipment Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Sally Jewell, to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior:

Jewell is an outdoor enthusiast with a conservation background. But she has a mechanical engineering degree and worked for Mobil Oil, now Exxon Mobil, in Oklahoma and Colorado for three years after college. She also spent 19 years in the commercial banking industry before she became an executive for REI.

Among the banks Jewell worked for was Washington Mutual, where she was employed when the financial institution was growing rapidly from local savings bank to sub-prime lending giant, gobbling up eleven smaller banks along the way.

While at WaMu, Jewell became an REI board member, and progressed up to CEO.  I’ve read several favorable articles or member newsletters about her activities there.  I’ve been a member of the co-op since early 1966, when I joined to get some of their fine rock climbing rope and hardware.

At the time of her nomination, Jewell was still a board member of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, where my daughter Julia, an Americorps employee there, got to know her.

When I told Julia about the nomination, she was surprised: “Oh. My. God!”

Her impressions of Jewell are very positive.  She’s concerned that the nominee will get eaten alive in the cynical environment of the secretarial confirmation process.

Julia relates that Jewell has been very outspoken and public in her support of LBGT issues in Washington, and in the same-sex marriage initiative there.  She also had not heard any chatter in the Seattle area about Jewell being a possible nominee.  A lot of people had been talking up former Washington Governor, Christine Gregoire.

I thought Obama would probably nominate former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, or Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Alaska reactions so far were recorded by Anchorage Daily News reporter, Sean Cockerham, in an article filed early this afternoon:

Drilling advocates in Congress said they wanted to know more. Jewell will face intensive questioning during her confirmation hearings from Republicans who argue that Obama hasn’t done enough for drilling on federal lands. 

“I look forward to hearing about the qualifications Ms. Jewell has that make her a suitable candidate to run such an important agency, and how she plans to restore balance to the Interior Department,” said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The oil industry offered a cautious response to the nomination. 

“We look forward to learning how Sally Jewell’s business background and experience in the oil and natural gas industry will shape her approach to the game-changing prospects before us in energy development,” said Jack Gerard, the chief executive officer of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s main trade group.

Whatever Murkowski means by “balance” in the DOI, I suspect she wants even more corporate access to national treasures than Obama has already given, which is far too much:

Conservation advocates hope that Jewell will do more for their cause than her predecessor as interior secretary, Ken Salazar, who’s stepping down after four years in the job under Obama.

Bruce Babbitt, the interior secretary under President Bill Clinton, said this week that the Obama administration had leased far too much land for oil and gas development compared with what had been permanently protected.

“This lopsided public land administration in favor of the oil and gas industry cannot continue,” Babbitt said.

Mountain state conservative, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) reacted predictably. He’s chairman of the House Natural Resources’ Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee:

Read the rest of this entry →

MSNBC Host Trashed by Obama Supporters for Not Always Calling Him “President Barack Obama”

1:22 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

This is ridiculous, but maybe it is time to talk about it some more:

I’m a blogger, not a journalist, reporter or commentator for anything remotely resembling the mainstream media.  But I got journalism training, took journalism classes, was news director for one radio station and public affairs director for another.  Years and years and years ago.

There’s a rule called “first reference.”  In my blog articles, when I link to an article from the New York Times, the first time I mention that paper, it is the “New York Times.”  From then on, it is the “NYT,” which is accepted blog shorthand.  I even italicize New York Times and NYT.  When I remember.  But I don’t remember why I do that.  I think it is from a style book.

First reference:

When someone is first mentioned in a news story, their first and last name should be typed out. From then on, their last name can be used as a reference to that person. When the first and last name of a person is used as the initial reference to that person, this is called first reference.

The purpose of only using the persons last name through out the rest of the story, is to keep the article brief and straight to the point

The Associated Press and New York Times have style books.  The AP calls theirs a stylebook, the NYT‘s is a style guide.I still have my pre-WWW copy of the AP Stylebook.  There are a lot of other style books and manuals out there, and many mainstream publications or organizations have their own rules.

In the MSNBC segment, they mention that reporters or TV commentators sometimes go as far as first name on second reference (2nd reference means all references after the first one).  In Alaska, we’re probably more that way than any other state, because so many people know each other.

It wasn’t just Sarah.  It is Lisa and Don and Mark and so on.  Until he died, it was Ted, or St. Ted.

Interestingly, nobody – I mean nobody – calls our current governor “Sean.”  Most Alaskans don’t consider him one of us.  I like Don’s (Rep. Don Young’s) name for him best – “Captain Zero,” which describes what Parnell is – a cypher .

I decided back in late 2009 to not EVER describe our current president as “President Obama” unless it was absolutely required for sake of accuracy.  At the same time, I promised I’d honor him with his formal title if he did any of the following:

1).  Evacuate the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay

2).  Prosecute and imprison at least one of the many torturers or murderers we have employed there, and now shelter.

3).  Prosecute and imprison at least five major banksters for their crimes that cost us trillions.

Since then, I’ve gotten new gripes, but if he did any of the above three, I’d begin to address him by the ceremonial title he owns in name.  But I never call the guy “OilyBomber” or “Obomber,” or whatever.  Nor am I willing to call him “Barack.”

Besides, didn’t we have a revolution between 1775 and 1781 that was supposed to end the concept of royalty and high titles?

What do you think?

As Obama Prepares to Do Battle Against Washington and Colorado, Here’s the Pointy End of His Spear

12:22 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Need I say more?  No?

Well, I will anyway.

The New York Times reported Thursday that high level talks are going on within the Obama administration on how to deal with Washington and Colorado, both of whose voters helped bring Obama his second term, and both of which had more voters support legalizing recreational marijuana use than voted for the president.  Obama is the third president in a row to have used marijuana in his younger days.

The NYT article, which uses so many anonymous White House sources it reeks of “trial balloon,” notes:

One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.

Will those kids be well-heeled white ones, with parents willing to spend what it usually takes to get a diversion or some other tool used by the well off to keep a possession charge from ruining a young person’s career hopes?  Or will those kids be of color and not well off, as are most victims of the war on drugs when played out against random or targeted users.

The main constituents of continued prohibition are the prison industrial complex, the war on drugs industrial complex, the Mexican drug cartels and big pharma, with the alcohol industry supportive in some ways.  Apparently, the biggest supporter of a heavy crackdown in the administration isn’t the dimwitted DEA head, Michele Leonhart.  It is VP Biden:

[T]he politician who coined the term “drug czar” – Joe Biden – continues to guide the administration’s hard-line drug policy. “The vice president has a special interest in this issue,” Sabet says. “As long as he is vice president, we’re very far off from legalization being a reality.”

I’ve never written an essay here before on the question of marijuana legalization.  I’ve seldom commented on my own relationship with the drug.

I first tried it in early 1967, while serving in the US Army.  At times, when I was young, I used it a lot, probably too much.  When my kids were young, I would go for over a year sometimes without having any, only imbibing with my Washington state sculptor friends when visiting them there.  During that same time, I was working in privatized corrections in Alaska.  I saw then way too many examples of how drug enforcement is used racially in a negative way.

Obama’s administration is saddled with Gonzales v. Raich and a whole shitload of international treaties.  But if there ever was a time for a president to cut a Gordian knot, this issue seems to be the prime candidate.

Andrew Sullivan, proposing open debate rather than knot-cutting, concluded an essay on this today:

Let’s have this debate openly and honestly. Let the government prove that marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and should be treated as such. The very process will reveal the anachronism of the provision itself and the racial and cultural panic that created it. The very discussion will point to an inevitable, scientific conclusion that the current federal policy is based on nothing.

So do nothing, Mr president, with respect to these states and their legitimate decisions. Set the DEA’s priorities so that this trivial, medically useful, pleasure is not in any way a priority for law enforcement. Let the states figure this out, as they are on marriage equality.

Lead from behind. An entire generation is ahead of you.

In the spirit of  being pissed off at this administration’s weighing whether or not “to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with,”  I’m going to light one up, something I haven’t done in a while.

Will you join me?

At the UN Thursday, Ambassador Susan Rice Redeemed Herself with the Far Right

11:41 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Susan Rice @ UN 11:29:2012

In the preliminaries for Thursday’s U.N. General Assembly vote on granting Palestine the right to be called “Palestine” at several U.N. agencies, and to gain equal footing there with the Vatican, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice delivered a fairly short speech that I could have written for her.

If I had been asked to craft a 650-word U.N. speech for Rice that would meet every requirement of an AIPAC-approved document, it would have sounded remarkably like that delivered by the ambassador.  Had former U.N. ambassador John Bolton delivered the speech, there would have been more inflammatory adjectives, but 97% of the speech would have been the same.   Here’s what Rice said:

For decades, the United States has worked to help achieve a comprehensive end to the long and tragic Arab-Israeli conflict. We have always been clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two peoples, with a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel.

That remains our goal, and we therefore measure any proposed action against that clear yardstick: will it bring the parties closer to peace or push them further apart? Will it help Israelis and Palestinians return to negotiations or hinder their efforts to reach a mutually acceptable agreement? Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace. That is why the United States voted against it.

The backers of today’s resolution say they seek a functioning, independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel. So do we.

But we have long been clear that the only way to establish such a Palestinian state and resolve all permanent-status issues is through the crucial, if painful, work of direct negotiations between the parties. This is not just a bedrock commitment of the United States. Israel and the Palestinians have repeatedly affirmed their own obligations under existing agreements to resolve all issues through direct negotiations, which have been endorsed frequently by the international community. The United States agrees—strongly.

Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade. And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded.

The United States therefore calls upon both the parties to resume direct talks without preconditions on all the issues that divide them. And we pledge that the United States will be there to support the parties vigorously in such efforts.

The United States will continue to urge all parties to avoid any further provocative actions—in the region, in New York, or elsewhere.

We will continue to oppose firmly any and all unilateral actions in international bodies or treaties that circumvent or prejudge the very outcomes that can only be negotiated, including Palestinian statehood. And, we will continue to stand up to every effort that seeks to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security.

Progress toward a just and lasting two-state solution cannot be made by pressing a green voting button here in this hall. Nor does passing any resolution create a state where none indeed exists or change the reality on the ground.

For this reason, today’s vote should not be misconstrued by any as constituting eligibility for U.N. membership. It does not. This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state.

The United States believes the current resolution should not and cannot be read as establishing terms of reference. In many respects, the resolution prejudges the very issues it says are to be resolved through negotiation, particularly with respect to territory. At the same time, it virtually ignores other core questions such as security, which must be solved for any viable agreement to be achieved.

President Obama has been clear in stating what the United States believes is a realistic basis for successful negotiations, and we will continue to base our efforts on that approach.

The recent conflict in Gaza is just the latest reminder that the absence of peace risks the presence of war. We urge those who share our hopes for peace between a sovereign Palestine and a secure Israel to join us in supporting negotiations, not encouraging further distractions. There simply are no short cuts.

Long after the votes have been cast, long after the speeches have been forgotten, it is the Palestinians and the Israelis who must still talk to each other—and listen to each other—and find a way to live side by side in the land they share.

Rather than parse this boilerplate bullshit, I’ll concentrate on a few reactions to Rice’s statement from the far right.

The National Review:

[Ambassador Rice] is entirely correct. However, words are insufficient. The U.S. must send a message to the Palestinians and the U.N. that actions have consequences.

The American Spectator:

After the UN General Assembly voted to raise the Palestinian Authority’s status from an observer entity to a non-member observer state, Susan Rice delivered a particularly strong pro-Israel statement in opposition to the resolution.

Yes, Rice has voted against anti-Israel resolutions before but has done so with very little enthusiasm as was the case when she voted against a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements in February 2011. Despite her opposition to the resolution, she spent most of her speech calling Israeli settlements illegitimate.

So why has Rice changed her tune? Well, of course, to mollify opposition to her becoming the next Secretary of State should President Obama choose to appoint her. I’m not sure a single forceful pro-Israeli statement will be enough to overcome her statements on Benghazi but it could certainly help her with Senators who are sitting on the fence.

Had Rice not been under pressure about the Benghazi horse shit, she would have said exactly the same.

The National Review article linked to above speculates:

The vote will almost certainly lead the Palestinian Authority to seek membership in U.N. specialized agencies, as it did last year with UNESCO. It will be particularly hard for those specialized agencies that include the Vatican among their membership, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Telecommunication Union, to deny the Palestinians membership, because the Holy See is also a U.N. non-member state observer. The most significant impediment to Palestinian-membership efforts in other specialized agencies is the threat of losing U.S. funding, which means that the U.S. must maintain and enforce current law that prohibits funding international organizations that grant membership to the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority will also likely seek to either join the International Criminal Court (ICC) or ask the organization to revisit the ICC prosecutor’s conclusion earlier this year that he does not have the authority to initiate an investigation because the issue of Palestinian statehood is in question.

The U.S. should communicate to the ICC that its decisions on these matters will influence future U.S. cooperation with that organization. [emphasis added]

It might be easier for the U.S. to communicate with the ICC, if we were a member.  We are not, and Obama has made no indication that status will change.  His staff is probably spending more time trying to steer the Bradley Manning court case away from bringing out more on the soldier’s torture and who knew what when, than they are on dealing with the ICC.

But should Susan Rice be Obama’s Secretary of State nominee (I’m not at all convinced he’s going to nominate her), the GOP senators are going to have to eat the words she uttered today.  Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and Dick Durban will relish shoving it down their throats, and adding to their AIPAC-related PAC coffers, for their blind service to another country.

That country is not Palestine, though.