You are browsing the archive for human rights.

by normanb

Obama & Netanyahu Threaten to Dirty-Bomb US Soldiers, Marines & Airmen in Afghanistan

3:44 am in Uncategorized by normanb

Obama & Netanyahu Threaten to Dirty-Bomb US Soldiers, Marines & Airmen in Afghanistan — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)


“All options are on the table,” said US Vice President Joe Biden three days ago.

President Obama made the same threat Monday, February 27: “I don’t bluff … all options are on the table.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the same threat the same day Obama did.

President Obama and puppet PM Netanyahu are threatening to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities with Israel’s Air Force. If these madmen carry out their threat, they will deploy the largest and potentially the most deadly dirty bomb in history against all American Military personnel in Afghanistan. NATO troops too. The biggest Friendly Fire incident ever! And that’s assuming that Obama and Netanyahu are not really as insane as they’re acting.

…Because “All options on the table” could also include bombing an operating nuclear facility with a nuclear bomb. That would incinerate parts of Iran and bordering countries. It would also poison us in this country – because the jet stream just keeps on coming. Or an “option” might be nuking something else in Iran. That would be irresponsible. And evil. And it would still poison our guys.

They’re actually talking about bombing nuclear facilities with “conventional” weapons, and scattering those charged particles into the wind, specifically, into the jet stream of upper air currents that always blows from West to East (due to the rotation of the Earth).

Here are the nuclear facilities. Here are the US bases. & Now, please note how today’s jet stream [for May 25, 2012] will deliver those radioactive particles [that the explosion sends into the atmosphere above Iran] directly to the air over US Military bases in Afghanistan. It does that every day.

Besides poisoning all US servicemen in Afghanistan, this diabolical scheme will poison civilians in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, East Turkestan, and probably elsewhere. If the US is willing to poison these people merely because they’re Muslims, then our genocidal impulse is reaching a feverish pitch. A Hate Crime in all our names.

And let’s remember just how preposterous this lie is: Obama, Netanyahu, and their propaganda mouthpieces claim that Iran’s nuclear program poses “an existential threat” to Israel. Of course there’s no proof that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons – which Israel already has. But even if Iran had them, they couldn’t bomb Israel with them, for the very same reason: The jet stream would carry those charged particles right back to Iran: They’d be dirty-bombing themselves!

Of course, dirty-bombing one’s own Military is by definition Treason: Waging war against one’s own people. If Obama [or Iran's Military leader] does choose that option, it will be a clear case of Treason. Then, Senators Al Franken, Sherrod Brown, and others who got elected as Liberals, will be forced to either oppose President Obama for this Treasonous act, or join him in his War Crime barbarism.

East Turkestan, by the way, is  an occupied nation in the Northwestern quadrant of China. It is the land of the Uygurs, and it’s known in US propaganda as “China’s Muslim West.” Territorial claims of occupied East Turkestan and occupied Tibet comprise more than half of what the colonial powers [through international law] call “China.”

Most Americans have never heard of the Uygurs. Most who have heard just found out about them when Presidents Bush, and then Obama, ordered several innocent Uygurs to be held in Guantanamo Bay Torture Facility for years, as a favor to China. Four were released to Bermuda in 2009. Two were “freed” last month to El Salvador, a Fascist country. Eleven are still said to be warehoused at the G.B. Torture Facility. There is no proof that they are still alive.

The bullying US forcing Bermuda to accept the Uygurs violated the island nation’s sovereignty, and its Constitution. Those just sent to El Salvador also will likely face harsh discrimination.

The reason President Obama is making this nuclear threat is to raise the price of Oil. Iran is one of the world’s leading Oil producers. Newspaper editorials in the 1970s predicted that the US would someday wage war against Iraq and Iran to steal their Oil. Fighting over Oil, or threatening to do so, causes upward pressure on its price. This tactic always works.

And by raising the price of Oil, Obama and Netanyahu help pay for Iran’s nuclear program, wholly financed by Oil. Raising the price of Oil also helps pay for Obama’s and Netanyahu’s own political futures.

Don’t believe Obama’s lies: There Are No WMDs! (Some people will do nearly anything for Oil money.)

by normanb

Spotted Propaganda (1): Thursday, March 29, 2012 (includes Michael-Cavlan-isssue-related UPDATE)

3:25 am in Uncategorized by normanb

[[[This was a misunderstanding on my part — Attaturk was being facetious. Comments which seemed directed at me apparently were not. I apologize for the misunderstanding.]]]

Spotted Propaganda (1): Thursday, March 29, 2012 (includes Michael-Cavlan-issue-related UPDATE) — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

In my first class on my first day of college, Professor Hollingsworth assigned us to figure out what the newspaper reporter’s point of view was in a story picked at random. It was a valuable lesson. At first, everyone resisted. We’d been taught that reporters are unbiased. But every story can be told in an infinite number of possible wordings, so the writer must decide, must choose how to word his story, from the first line on.

Thus, news reports don’t exactly just tell us what happened. Through their choice of words, they try to influence us into seeing things the way they want us to see them. Media try to manipulate us into supporting their particular political agendas.

I began writing this column in my head, taking notes on scrap paper to CBS’s overnight Up To The Minute report last night, because each story [of course!] had a dishonest political slant to the Right.

I came to yesterday morning planning to begin this Diary with reviews of those news reports and the coverage I’d heard on CBS overnight. Then, I started reading an FDL report on the “Home” page, the top left column’s first of the “Latest Blogs,” what might be called the “front page of Section B.” And what a shocking disappointment! I thought I was reading MSNBC or Current!

I was (it seems) reading someone who listens to them, without realizing that they’re playing us. Over here at MyFDL, people are less naïve. Diarists here have been calling policies on the far-Right “Fascist” for quite a while, even when they come from Democrats. Here we can tell the small-d democrats from the large-D “Democrats.”

Yesterday, and it’s probably still up, there was a promoted story on this site purporting that African Americans and Gays should allow themselves to be tricked into politically supporting a candidate on the far Right. But when I pointed out just two actual far-Right policies endorsed by the politician mentioned – whom the column props up as if he were an actual Liberal “small-d democrat” – I got a lashing from … (shall we say) status quo defenders.

It would be hypocritical for me to go pointing to the crookedness in the coverage shown on ABCNNBCBS, Fox, Current, MSNBC, and LinkTV (yes, even Link!) in recent days, while just letting Right-wing deception pass here at FDL without a word. I guess I won’t try commenting over there anymore if I can help it. Some may have flagged my comment, or worse.

But their apparent candidate has said things and taken actions against Gays and Blacks that could and should rightly be considered Hate Speech and Hate Crimes, if said and done by Republicans. Their man has taken advantage of the fact that he’s a “large-D Democrat,” using that leverage and his office and charisma to drag this country much further to the Right than a Republican President could; because Congressional Democrats would stand up to oppose some things that Republicans do, but they oppose nothing from this politician, no matter how Right-wing and repressive his policies get.

By now you realize of whom I speak. But I can’t tell you how distressing it is for me to see how many people are doing the sheep thing over there, which is after all here. That story running here at FDL claims that Blacks and Gays should unite to support a candidate who’s working against their own best interests.

I gave FDLers there two true examples of harmful far-Right policies from their apparent candidate. But instead of stating them in the way MSNBC and Current do, I stripped the trickery away, and laid out those policies in just the way they’ve already been laid bare here at MyFDL so many times.

Let me tell you, those people over there just do not want to hear from the Left! They don’t want to hear anything from the Left, whether it’s true or not! They’re ready to squash a voice from the Left like a bug! Just because I opposed their apparent candidate, and gave true reasons for that opposition, I was called a hater and a troll, and it was said that I shouldn’t be tolerated.

This outrageous abusive behavior may shed light on the banning of Michael Cavlan: If the same people over there who attacked my comment and attacked me personally just because I’m on the Left, well if they realized how radical Michael is, then they might well have gone after him too. I wonder if the records show that they did. They lied about me and wanted me banned, just because I’m a dissenter.

It’s sad. Bleepin’ sleepin’ sheep. Prominent. Here. Baaahh!! You know what, I’ll have to tell you about CBS’s oopses another time, and even LinkTV’s. This may be more important, what’s now happening in-house. So, I’m here to defend my comment, and to defend my right to make comments to the Left of President Obama without being called names that do not apply.

I’m here to ask that I not be banned, at least not until one day after I get my Social Security check, when I’ll hopefully be able to afford a flash drive to store my Intellectual Property from FDL. The last time I asked not to be banned until I have enough to buy a flash drive, some well-meaning commenter pointed out that flash drives with lots of space can be bought for as little as $8. I’m sure the commenter didn’t realize how irrelevant and cruel it is to say that to someone on Social Security.

I’m here to defend myself against the baseless accusations, and hopefully draw attention to something quite undemocratic that is going on around here – undemocratic, though many Democrats may prefer it. I’m here to defend myself against false charges; and to suggest that it’s not right to call someone names because they disagree with you. But regardless of that lack of ethics, when you call me names that do not apply, you are not telling the truth.

I’m here to defend myself against that proposed ban. So, I’ll defend what I said and what I think. I had hoped we were done with this. Whether you call it the Stockholm Syndrome, the Ostrich Syndrome, or whether you just think you’ve already got the solution in this charlatan pretending to be a Progressive; blocking out dissenting opinions only serves one so far.

I would like to hear from those who made the false accusations. I’d like to hear them comment on that behavior, in the light of this post. I would like for the Diarist to defend that apparent electoral position taken in the article, instead of relying on a posse of lying attackers. (I’m not saying you sicked them on me, Attaturk.) I think I just made legitimate points which I’ll further clarify below. I do, though, know that my conclusions can upset people who haven’t thought the issues through that far yet.

StonyPillow: President Obama’s Department of Justice proposed – and Bank Of America accepted – an agreement to pay off 200,000 Black and Hispanic homeowners whom Countrywide (since bought out by BOA) cheated out of their homes based solely on race… How much to pay? Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama proposed paying them $335 million dollars. That’s just $1,675 per house, for houses worth 100 times that much!

And Bank of America has already sold many of the houses at tremendous profit. And instead of having wealthy Bank of America (Joe Biden’s top contributor) pay the people whose homes were taken away through Racial Discrimination the proper amount they were due, instead of doing the moral thing and paying Black people exactly what those homes were worth, instead the Administration proposed helping Bank of America rip them off based on their race.

Why does the Barack Obama Administration commit such Hate Crimes against Black homeowners? Well, there’s the fact that Bank of America has supported Joe Biden his whole political life. Biden owes BOA, and so does Obama: BOA helped Obama buy the Presidency: In 2008, Bank Of America donated more than 3 times as much money to Barack Obama’s campaign as it did to any other candidate, except Mitt Romney. BOA has bought them off!

The attempted theft of houses from 200,000 minority homeowners, in my opinion, is a Hate Crime. These people were robbed specifically because of their ethnicity! The Judge didn’t let Obama and Holder and Bank Of America get away with that crime either, stealing all those Black homeowners’ houses!

The Judge threw it back in Obama’s face – rejected it on “transparency issues!” That means Bribery! I would never ever support a candidate who endorses stealing over $100,000 apiece from 200,000 people based merely on the color of their skin. That, StonyPillow, does not make me a “troll.” I think accepting such a candidate shows naïveté at best. For a Black person to accept such a candidate would be, I think, self-hating.

Ruth Calvo: President Obama’s position on Gays is well known: He says that Gays are unequal and don’t deserve equal rights. He is officially “evolving” toward believing that Gays deserve more rights. If Gays give him money and votes, his opinion may evolve further on exactly how many Human Rights they do deserve.

That’s my understanding of the President’s stated position on how to keep Gays down. Whatever his exact wording, saying words with that meaning is [in my opinion] disgusting Hate Speech. I will never ever support a candidate who endorses discrimination against Gays or other minority groups. Ruth, that does not make me a “hate[r].” I think accepting such a candidate shows naïveté at best. For a Gay person to accept such a candidate would be, I think, self-hating.

Ruth, it is particularly problematic for me that you call me a hater. I published my first anti-hate editorial (against the Death Penalty) in 1972. I don’t know how fervently you’ve campaigned against Hate, or how long. The Ku Klux Klan tried to hold a rally in our Florida city in 1990, and I went out, demonstrated, and confronted the Klansmen face to face. Did you?

I spent a lot of time, years actually, gently teaching colors-wearing Nazi “skinheads” simple lessons about rainbow consciousness: Everybody deserves rights. Do you know what colors-wearing means? Biker gangs and other gangs wear “colors,” something of a gang uniform, insignias and so on. This is especially prevalent among Racist gangs. Underground biker bars in Florida have signs saying “No Colors” because they don’t want rival gangs to fight there.

Amid racial tensions on Florida’s West Coast in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tampa’s artists’ ghetto Ybor City, where I lived in a performance gallery, was the hippest place in the state. Everybody there was afraid of “the skinheads.” But my partner Ray and I let the bands that they liked practice and sometimes play shows in our place. Most of the guys in the Nazi club were 16 and 17. The weren’t really political – I think somebody older from outside their group was telling them their politics.

These guys were not from Tampa, much less the artists’ colony Ybor City. They were from Hudson, Brooksville, Dade City, out in the sticks. They were country boys. They may have been poor or abused. They likely had very ignorant and hateful parents. They are not bad people. Somebody needed to talk to them, somebody from out in the sticks.

So they’d been taught by whomever supplied their politics that hippies and Blacks are wrong. And then they came down to Ybor City, and nobody would even let them in the door except the longhair [me] and my Cape Verdean partner, who looked Black to them. I developed a rapport with them. I developed a following among them. Most of them left their Racist club after meeting Ray and me. But it took a lot of time and effort. You lie when you call me a hater.

And finally, if you thought I was a hater and a troll because I mentioned details about what President Obama’s thugs do to the racial and social underclasses and dissidents in his puppet regimes, well, you should probably keep up with what he’s doing, since you’re willing to lie to defend him. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to a heroic woman in Yemen, for opposing the ODS – Obama’s Death Squads.

If we vote to go to the far Right, we will go to the far Right. And if we follow Obama to the far Right, the Government and thugs will crack down on Blacks and Gays.

[[[ADDITION: See Comments 7 & 12, below]]]

by normanb

URGENT: Demand President Obama Stop Murdering Bahrainis with Poison Gas, so People won’t Compare him to Hitler

3:34 am in Uncategorized by normanb

URGENT: Demand President Obama Stop Murdering Bahrainis with Poison Gas, so People won’t Compare him to Hitler — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

When you’re done reading, watch this:

Anger over the US/NATO burning of Qurans in Afghanistan sparked demonstrations sweeping across the Muslim world, as protests erupted against the US-Government-approved Hate Crime this weekend in Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, and elsewhere.

Instead of prosecuting the War Criminals, US President Barack Obama apologized for the desecration. By the way, Obama claims he can order Muslims Murdered anytime he wants, anywhere in the world, without evidence, and for no reason. He has authorized the Murder of Muslim children in Somalia and Yemen, calling them “pirates” and “masterminds.” He has authorized Assassinations and pogroms.

He has funded, trained and armed snipers who Murdered peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Yemen. He has authorized remote Murder through Coward Drones – operated by American cowards who usually miss their stated targets. US Military Murderers and Torturers of Muslims keep getting off with a pat on the back; while Tortured Muslims supposedly plead Guilty – as nobody with competent counsel actually would do, in an honest trial.

Afghan policemen Murdered US officials. The US and its allies are retreating.

Bahrain is a far-Right repressive regime where Torture and Slavery are prevalent. A figurehead Oil King “rules” there, carrying out the dictates of the US President. Under President Obama, he has carried out pogroms against both the non-citizen Slave population and the Shiite Muslims, who make up 85% of the citizens.

You may remember that when Bahraini troops fired on peaceful protesters last February, as doctors and nurses tried to help the injured, they too were fired upon. This is part of President Obama’s M.O.: Remember Occupy Oakland? Obama’s goons shot a US Marine in the face with a Tear Gas canister, nearly killing him, then threw flash-bang grenades to prevent other demonstrators from helping their victim. For treating the injured Bahraini protesters, the doctors and nurses received lengthy sentences.

As the protests continue, and continue to grow, President Obama’s puppet thugs are Murdering Bahrainis with Poisonous Gas. And in Afghanistan itself, where the Hate Crime happened, US and Afghan troops opened fire with live ammunition, Murdering peaceful protesters with bullets. (Bizarrely, the New York Daily News propagandistically says the peaceful protesters “clashed” with the Military bullets.

The immediate problems began in January 2012, when the United States lost two Wars:

~On January 1, the US combat forces had to be out of Iraq, a consequence of the Surrender Agreement President George W. Bush signed with Iraq during his last weeks in office: The Surrender required that remaining soldiers be restricted to base unless requested by the Iraqis, and that they leave Iraq at the end of 2011. Obama did everything he could to talk or trick the Iraqis into letting the US just stay there, and not keep its word. No dice.

~Then on January 16, the Taliban declared victory in Afghanistan, the poorest, weakest, most backward country in the world. And they just won the longest War in our history over the United States – supposedly a strong nation – and they skunked us!

And going into the Afghanistan War under such cowardly circumstances marked the US as a coward nation: Every bully is a coward, no exceptions. Then the Coward Drones: US Military Cowards kill Pashtun children; respect; Tawakkul Karman won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous opposition to President Obama’s bullying repression and targeted Assassinations.

But the people Obama is now Torturing with Tear Gas and Murdering with Poison Gas in Bahrain had nothing to do with that War. They are angry over a Hate Crime in Afghanistan which Obama has now Conspired to Cover Up. He’s shirking his duty: He refuses to do anything about the Atrocity.

I lived through the loss of a War before: The Vietnam War. I know: TV news hasn’t announced that we lost these last two Wars yet. But they will, after they get us into the next two. Everyone will realize we lost, within a few years, just like with Vietnam: When the US retreated – fled Saigon – propaganda called it “Vietnamization” – letting the Vietnamese, or the Afghans or the Iraqis, handle their own defense.

And “Vietnamization” is exactly the word General David Petraeus used in Iraq on December 13, 2003, at his press conference announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein. He said it was time for “Vietnamization” in the Iraq War. That means we lost; and the Military knew we lost the Iraq War way back in 2003, but they just let the killing continue. Because it was making profits for Oil companies and Wall Street.

My friend Paki Wieland, of Witness Bahrain, was arrested by US forces in Bahrain twelve days ago, Tuesday February 14, on the first anniversary of the Uprising, to prevent her from witnessing what the thugs were about to do: They picked her and other Western activists up just before firing Tear Gas at a kettled crowd.

“What do you think they use Tear Gas for? Crowd control?” Paki asked at her press conference last Saturday, hours after returning home from detention in Bahrain. The audience seemed stumped, as I shook my head from side to side signifying “No!” “Norman knows…” she said: She explained that the US puppet regime in Bahrain Tortures Political Prisoners with Tear Gas.

She said all the prisoners in that jail were Tortured. And, like Paki, they’re all Political Prisoners. And Obama just appropriated another big shipment of Torture devices for the Bahrain Dictatorship.

And to make matters worse, the US Fifth Fleet is docked in Bahrain, so the US Military just sits there cowering on its ships while US-armed thugs commit these disgusting Atrocities. We should all be very ashamed of the US Military.

And – excuse me while researching Obama’s Atrocities makes me throw up, I’ll be right back – I’ve been writing about President Obama’s crimes against the Bahraini people for more than a year now, but I usually haven’t gotten into as much detail as I’m about to. (I’m a Torture victim too, so this is hard for me.) If you still belong to the Democratic Party, perhaps you should quit now, or at least take at least some responsibility for this:

Nearly three months ago, December 7, 2011, the World Organization Against Torture’s (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights’ (FIDH) joint project – the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders – unleashed a desperate demand and plea for emergency help ending the Obama Administration-sponsored Bahraini attacks and Assassinations against Human Rights activists.

“The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the death threats made by a former official from the State Security Services against Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati, President of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and FIDH Secretary General, and Mr. Yousef Al-Mahafdha, a member of BCHR.”

Why are they so desperate?! Why was I so desperate when I wrote about Paki in custody in Bahrain? Well, for one thing, there’s the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, co-founder of the BCHR. Until last February, he was Middle East and North Africa Protection Coordinator with Front Line Defenders (of the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders). He’s an International Adviser in the Business and Human Rights Resource Center led by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.

You can read more about him in the Wikipedia entry, but for now, know this: On President Obama’s watch, April 9, 2011, US-equipped masked Bahraini security police invaded al-Khawaja’s house in a warrantless search and Tortured him there in front of his daughter for 45 minutes, until he was unconscious, causing a gaping head wound. Of course his daughter was assaulted too when she tried to stop his Torture. She said her father’s blood left a wide trail as Obama’s goons dragged him down the stairs and out the door.

Locked up in Obama’s Bahrain, al-Khawaja’s Torture got worse. A lot worse. He was repeatedly gang raped by masked security police. To avoid another gang rape, he intentionally smashed his already wounded head, so he would be unconscious and hospitalized. His jaw bones were smashed. He’s had extensive surgery for his head wound, and he will need a lot more. His face is broken at least four places. He is sentence to Life.

Is that the kind of change that you can believe in?! Go Democrats!

Al-Khawaja’s two sons-in-law were Tortured and arrested in the raid too, and a third son-in-law, Muhammad al-Maskati, President of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, at the house at the time doing his job monitoring Human Rights violations, was himself Tortured on the spot. Since March 10, 2011, websites and messages have called for the Murders of the three Human Rights activists: Al-Khawaja, al-Maskati, and Nabeel Rajab.

I hope to have Human Rights activist Paki Wieland herself here at the computer soon to answer your questions about the situation LIVE. Possibly even today during this post, though I wrote the article during the night and haven’t contacted her about it. I will also upload the video of her aforementioned press conference soon.

There are some things you can do to help the situation in Bahrain:

1. Spread the news: We are the media now; get the word out about Bahrain; share this article;

2. Contact the the shows that look like they’re news and claim to be Progressive: Send Cenk Uygur, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Jennifer Granholm, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert a copy of this article: Ask them not to Cover Up this story;

3. Contact your Senators and Congresspersons about it;

4. Call the White House and demand that President Obama stop Murdering Bahrainis with Poisonous Gas, 202-456-1111;

5. Urge the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Netherlands, to fully empower Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón to indict US President Barack Obama and Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa (the Bahraini King) under Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court for Crimes Against Humanity: Their Atrocities in Bahrain against the Bahraini people, their Atrocities against more than one million Slaves held there, and their Atrocities against the foreign Peace Observers like Paki Wieland.

Here is the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.



by normanb

First Debate of the New Election Cycle, at the IGLO Dissidents’ Convention – Independents, Greens, Libertarians & Others

5:37 pm in Uncategorized by normanb

First Debate of the New Election Cycle, at the IGLO Dissidents’ Convention – Independents, Greens, Libertarians & Others — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

The very first Debate of the new election cycle is shaping up!

The unofficial IGLO dissidents’ “Convention” (or alternative Convention) will make waves in and near Massachusetts throughout mid-April, uniting Independents, Greens, Libertarians and Others who believe in: (1) Ending the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; (2) Ending Marijuana Prohibition; and (3) Human Rights for All [including restoration of habeas corpus and Geneva Conventions Rights, and restoration of all Rights compromised by 9-11 hysteria and the War on Drugs. In other words, we want to overturn "Fascist Reforms," including the Patriot Act, the Cancerous X-Rays and Pervert Patting at airports, etc.].

Some have wondered how can we have a Debate when the delegates are already in agreement. That is sort of the point: Most parties (and probably most people) in the United States agree with our three guiding principle listed above. Anyone who doesn’t believe in ending the Wars, curtailing Prohibition, and the full spectrum of Human Rights … well, anyone who doesn’t believe in at least that is an immoral scumbag and not worthy of my vote, nor yours.

Though the delegates largely agree on Peace, Pot, and Personal Freedom, I’m sure each has an individual vision of how we can go forward.

Cindy Sheehan will give the Keynote Speech. That is to say: She’ll be addressing a gathering of peace activists April 11 in Boston, and has agreed that we can consider that speech to be our Keynote Speech. She’s encouraged us to record that speech and to play all or part of it before the Debate.

We’ve received quotes to be read there and endorsements of our efforts from Civil Rights icons Prof. Cornel West and Robert Meeropol, son of the Rosenbergs.

The Debate will be at 7pm Thursday April 14, 2011, in the Chapel of First Churches of Northampton, 129 Main St., Northampton, Massachusetts.

Confirmed Debate participants:

~2010 Massachusetts Green Rainbow Party Gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein;
~2008 Libertarian Presidential candidate George Phillies;
~2010 New York Gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is Too Damn High Party;
~Legendary political prisoner John Sinclair of the anti-racist White Panther Party;
~Aron Kay, the “Yippie Pieman” of the Youth International Party;
~Political theater activist Vermin Supreme, “the Friendly Fascist,” who was on the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary ballot in 2008 and expects to be there again in 2012;
~Pirate Party (hopefully James O’Keefe, who wrote to us and assured us that the Pirate Party will take part);
~We also expect either active participation or a statement from Presidential candidate Denny Lane of the US Marijuana Party.
~Independent Terry Franklin and Anarchist Joe McCullough will also contribute to the discussion.

We may get regular Democrats and Republicans (as long as they’re against War and Prohibition, and favor Human Rights). If you’d like to attend and/or question the delegates, details for that are in the final paragraph of this posting.

First, Anarchist performance poet Joe McCullough of the Philadelphia-South Jersey area, a former political activist, will explain why he doesn’t vote, and why we should consider quitting. Then, each of the party people will give an opening statement. The last will be from Independent Terry Franklin, who’s been a candidate for the US House of Representatives and the Massachusetts State House.

We’ve got third parties galore. The names above include an Anarchist, two Communists, three Socialists, a Green, a Libertarian, an Independent, and two people who are registered Republicans. If only more Republicrats could be like them!

We hope C-SPAN will cover the event. If you’d like to see C-SPAN cover it, you could suggest it to them by emailing If they don’t cover it, we can get it out to the public through YouTube and Facebook.

I wish to thank Anthony Noel of the New Progressive Alliance (our own themalcontent here at FireDogLake) for putting me in touch with Cindy Sheehan and Cornel West. Jill Stein is in the Debate, and Paul Barrow who published the platform for United Progressives noted (during the NPA steering committee conference call a few days ago) that our points are in accord with his platform. So, NPA’s steering committee is close to consensus in endorsing the Debate, and our efforts to unite on the three agenda items (from the first paragraph).

The IGLO Debate is part of the IGLO dissidents’ Convention, an unofficial and loosely affiliated group of events. Below are the loosely related events in and around Massachusetts in the coming weeks that make up the 2011 IGLO Convention:

~April 8-10: National Conference for Media Reform in Boston (with Amy Goodman);
~April 9: The New Hampshire Libertarian Party Board Meeting: Significant because New Hampshire Libertarians lead the country in Civil Disobedience activism over marijuana;
~April 9, 16, 23: Massachusetts Green Rainbow Party Issues Summit Conference in Worcester;
~April 11: Anti-war activist and 2012 Presidential candidate Cindy Sheehan will unofficially kick off our IGLO Convention with a speech to peace activists in Boston, our IGLO Keynote Speech;
~April 14: Debate at First Churches of Northampton;
~April 16-17: Extravaganja on Amherst town common (apx. 5,000 to attend)’ the IGLO Convention Tent will be set up there both days, for speakers, networking, Conventioneering;
~April 16: Legendary Political Prisoner & poet John Sinclair speaks and performs at First Churches of Northampton (after years in prison he was freed through the efforts of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, Dick Gregory);
~April 20: Libertarians’ Civil Disobedience – Marijuana smoking at the New Hampshire State House (4/20/11 is “Four-twenty,” the Marijuana-smoking holiday, all over the world);
~April 23: The Equalites (reggae stars who opened for Bob Marley & the Wailers) perform at First Churches of Northampton to celebrate and emphasize the Right to sacramental use of Marijuana;
~May 1: Maine Green Independent Party Convention in Brunswick.

Next year, we will hold the 2012 IGLO Convention in 4/20 week of 2012, and we will hopefully nominate a consensus candidate at least two months before the Democrats or Republicans do.


Tickets for the Debate are $25 and available at the University of Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition office, at the Hempest and Feeding Tube Records in Northampton, at Mystery Train Records in Amherst, and through PayPal. To buy through PayPal, pay through the PayPal account attached to my email address, which is my first name, followed by underscore followed by bie at yahoo dotcom. (I haven’t used PayPal since the Assange affair, but they did relent and give him his account back.) When purchasing a ticket through PayPal, send an email to that address confirming your order and (if you wish) asking your question of the Debaters, or a of a specific delegate. Or you may specify that you want to ask a question, and you’ll get that opportunity there.

by normanb

Legendary Political Prisoner John Sinclair to Rock IGLO Anti-War-Anti-Drug-War Convention in Mass. in April

5:19 am in Uncategorized by normanb

Legendary Political Prisoner John Sinclair to Rock IGLO Anti-War-Anti-Drug-War Convention in Massachusetts in April — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

Poet, philosopher, music historian, 1960s radical, ex-political prisoner John Sinclair will honor the IGLO dissidents’ political Convention with speeches and performances at several events in Massachusetts in April, his only appearances in the Northeast. Many dissidents who care about freedom, Human Rights, and personal integrity intend to welcome the self-exiled hero John Sinclair as the true legend that he is.

In the late 1960s, Sinclair was sentenced to ten years in prison over two joints — “They gave him ten for two” John Lennon sang of him. Well, obviously, even in 1968, nobody thought two joints deserved ten years. He wasn’t sentenced for his Marijuana, but for his politics. You see, John Sinclair had founded the anti-racist White Panther Party, to endorse racial harmony and support the humanitarian work of the Black Panther Party.

So, John Sinclair was what some people might call “Revolutionary Communist.” Oh, not RC like Nikolai Lenin, as in ‘Let’s shoot the Czar.’ No, more RC like John Lennon, as in ‘Let’s abolish money and distribute goods reasonably.’ And who can say he’s wrong? The people most invested in maintaining the status quo, that’s who.

Sinclair managed the MC5 [band], and arranged a free rock concert at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, the one whereat the Daley Machine’s thugs (technically, ‘goons’) tortured protesting dissidents with clubs and teargas. And the Daley Machine is running our current Administration. I guess that’s why they’re already calling next year’s 2012 Democratic Convention in North Carolina, the “Teargas and Taser Torture Convention.”

Sinclair’s free concert was the last straw for the authorities. Charges were quickly trumped up and he was quickly put into cold storage in Michigan. Sentenced to ten years in prison. In a famous misunderstanding at Woodstock, Yippie Abbie Hoffman ran onto the stage during the Who’s performance to urge people to protest against Sinclair’s treatment. Repelling the apparent invader, the Who leader Pete Townsend grabbed Hoffman to throw him off the stage.

John Sinclair served more than two years in prison before the efforts of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, the Elephant’s Memory band, and many others, finally freed him. Lennon wrote the song below, and recorded an album with the above-listed crew, the cover of which looked like a newspaper, with photos and articles of political prisoners John Sinclair and Angela Davis. The album, Sometime in New York City, contains the songs Angela and John Sinclair.

It was the only non-hit album Lennon ever recorded. It didn’t get much distribution. The album contained a giant-sized postcard petition urging the US Government not to deport John Lennon (who had stopped performing live years earlier because of the constant death threats after he publicly noted that the Beatles’ popularity compared with that of Jesus). Though Sinclair still had more than seven years left on his sentence, two days after the Lennon-Ono-Wonder concert, the Judge ordered Sinclair’s release from prison.

In his song above, John Lennon riffs on one of John Sinclair’s poetic styles: Short rhyming couplets of a naïveté like Robert Herrick’s. It’s satisfying when Herrick does it, but when Sinclair or Lennon does it, you’ll want to jump up and move, stomp your feet! John Sinclair does some inspiring performances in the Beat Poetry genre, as a backing band floats haunting tones of jazz or blues or something, to enhance the poet’s words.

Sinclair is back in his home country, back from Amsterdam, heading for “Amherstdam,” as High Times magazine’s Steve Hager called our town, after it passed our state’s first Public Policy Question instructing our legislators to legalize Marijuana. They haven’t done it yet, even though more than 60 other Massachusetts municipalities have followed Amherst in passing the PPQs. But it is decriminalized, so thousands of people will be smoking Marijuana on the Amherst town common without fear of arrest or harassment on Saturday and Sunday April 16 and 17, 2011, when John Sinclair takes the stage to speak and to perform at the 20th annual Extravaganja Marijuana Legalization Rally.

Sinclair’s activism and treatment, and the fallout therefrom, inspired the softening of Marijuana law enforcement in this country. He directly inspired Ann Arbor’s $5 pot fine (it’s by now been raised to at least $25). That eventually led to our Massachusetts decriminalization: If you are ticketed for Marijuana in Massachusetts, you don’t have to give your real name, and you don’t have to pay the $100 fine! That’s our law. Sinclair also inspired Ann Arbor’s annual Hash Bash, which I was lucky enough to perform at a couple of times, booked by Steve Hager.

IGLO stands for Independents, Greens, Libertarians and Others. The IGLO Convention seeks to bring together people and parties who support three simple needs: (1) End the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; (2) Fight Marijuana Prohibition; and (3) Restore Civil Rights/Human Rights, including all parts of the Bill of Rights removed by the War on Drugs, including habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions.

Besides Extravaganja on the Amherst town common, John Sinclair will represent his Party in the very first Debate of the new election cycle, Thursday April 14, in Northampton, and he will perform with a band Saturday night April 16, 2011, at 9pm (the evening between the Extravaganja installments), at the Church of the Tree of Life, in the Chapel of First Churches of Northampton, 129 Main St., Northampton, Massachusetts.

The tickets go on sale today. The Chapel is tiny, and probably holds 90 people at the most. His only appearance in the Northeast. Intimate setting. Can’t call anything with John Sinclair in it a sellout, but the tickets may not last long.

by normanb

Meeropol on Political Prisoners, Torture Victims, Whistle-Blowers, Press Freedom, IGLO Alternative Political Convention

11:19 am in Uncategorized by normanb

Meeropol on Political Prisoners (John Sinclair, Bradley Manning), Torture Victims (Manning), Whistle-Blowers (Julian Assange, Thomas Paine), Press Freedom (Jane Hamsher, Paine), the IGLO Alternative Political Convention — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

Tireless Human Rights activist Robert Meeropol spoke to the Thomas Paine Society in Amherst, Massachusetts, on January 29, 2011. Meeropol and his brother were small children when their parents Julius and Ether Rosenberg were executed by the United States. Officially, young Robert Meeropol’s mother was executed for typing. The execution of the Rosenbergs (primarily for their political beliefs, because they were Jewish, and to fire up the American Right Wing) is internationally considered one of the most important Crimes Against Humanity of the 20th Century.

The world was in dire straits four weeks ago, four days after Egypt’s Jan. 25 Revolultion began. It was just weeks after the January 2011 Assassination mayhem, and scant weeks before President Obama would order the Federal investigation of those shootings closed down. The speaker for the Thomas Paine Society talked of the things listed in the above headline. He noted that Meeropol’s appearance made this the largest meeting the TPS ever had.

Paine was an important Founding Father, pamphleteer, and political philosopher. He is best known for his pamphlet Common Sense, but was quite prolific. He was an important whistle-blower in the new republic.

The T. Paine Society’s speakers and Robert Meeropol and I all expressed the same concerns. I had just self-published a pamphlet on Manning-Assange-Hamsher-Wikileaks, and disseminated it among college students at the University of Massachusetts. Meeropol read my pamphlet, and signed it large, like John Hancock. I’ll reproduce it below.

I told Mr. Meeropol that legendary political prisoner John Sinclair was coming to Amherst-Northampton this April to participate in the IGLO radical political Convention, and to speak and perform at our annual  Extravaganja pro-Marijuana rally on the Amherst town common. “I know John,” he assured me.

Meeropol said he may not be able to speak at the rally, which will be Saturday and Sunday April 16 and 17. He asked me to be in touch with him about it, and about him sending a statement or Skyping the rally or Convention, if he can’t be there.

IGLO stands for Independents, Greens, Libertarians, and Others. (Others includes Democrats, Republicans, unregistered, et cetera.) Most people and parties in our nation agree on three principles that the two corporate parties eschew: (1) Ending the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; (2) ending Prohibition; and (3) restoring Human Rights/Civil Rights.

Those missing Rights in need of restoration include many parts of the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, Geneva Conventions, Bill of Attainder, Ex Post Facto, Abolition of Slavery. The IGLO Convention will open April 14, 2011, in Northampton, Massachusetts, with a Keynote speech, and then, the very first Presidential Debate of the new election cycle. Candidates who agree on the three guiding principles above are invited. Three have already accepted.

My pamphlet’s statement signed by Robert Meeropol:

Urge President Obama to HALT the Torture of Wiki-Leaks Hero Bradley Manning!

White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111

The Tunisian people overthrew their Government a few days ago, after Wiki-Leaks revealed crimes of their leaders and ours. The Obama Administration has ordered US college students not to read Wiki-Leaks, but you can still read about the Torture of political prisoner Bradley Manning, the US Army Private accused of heroic information leaking that revealed crimes of our leaders and leaders of other countries.

Torture is a Crime Against Humanity. Torture is un-American and inhuman. Punishing someone based on suspicion is unconstitutional. Sunday (1/23/11), the US Military arrested Journalist Jane Hamsher and Manning’s friend David House, who together revealed Manning’s Torture to the world.

The Obama Administration has warned US college students that they face Government retaliation if they comment on Wiki-Leaks, but you can still comment on Torture. Urge President Obama: Halt ALL Torture and Assassinations of citizens. Urge the President to turn over all Torturers to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to be prosecuted for Crimes Against Humanity. Ask a non-student to read Wiki-Leaks for you. You’ll be shocked.

Norman Bie

Robert Meeropol

by normanb

Obama’s Brutal Barbaric Bombings of Civilians and his Assassination Squad Sparked Yemen Revolution

4:34 am in Uncategorized by normanb

Obama’s Brutal Barbaric Bombings of Civilians and his Assassination Squad Sparked Yemen Revolution — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

Egypt is bigger and stronger. It is easy to miss what’s happening in Yemen.

President Obama sent Coward Drones into Yemen. These unmanned aircraft are operated by cowards on US bases, sometimes within the United States. They primarily murder civilians and terrorize indigenous people in what is called “collateral damage,” collateral to the stated objective of killing those opposed to the US puppet dictator of Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and his agenda of delivering his nation’s Oil to China and the West.

In this report from January 22, 2011, Chinese President Hu thanked Saleh for his support of China’s stellar “Human Rights” record, especially concerning Tibet and Taiwan. The article cited doesn’t mention China’s genocidal repression of the Muslim Uygurs in East Turkestan (called “China’s Muslim West” by propaganda voices on US commercial networks who approve of the occupation of Turkestan).

President Obama has also sent a US intelligence assassination squad into Yemen, stressing his assertion that he is allowed to order assassinations against Muslims anywhere in the world, even if they are Americans, even if they are in Yemen. Anwar Al-Awlaki, whom President Obama’s hit men are assigned to kill, has close ties to US intelligence, and was invited to the Pentagon by Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department shortly after 9/11.

However US culpability in Egypt may be downplayed, President Obama’s aggression against the poor civilians of Yemen holds a large responsibility for the Yemen Revolution. How many massacres will the US puppet regimes carry out?

Yemenis in the US have been targeted for more than a decade since the DEA rescheduled the herbal drug Qat (Khat), chewed daily by most people in parts of Yemen. The drug is not harmful, and increases fertility in both men and women. As banning Marijuana in the 1930s was rationalized by saying Blacks, Mexicans, and Jazz musicians used it, so was Qat considered evil, as some Muslims show great respect for it: It sparked an artistic movement among Muslim fundamentalists who believe the Commandment prohibiting “graven images” forbids all realistic depictions of humans and animals, but takes no position on psychedelic design.

All of us Americans, and especially all Democrats, should contact President Obama and our Democratic representatives in the House and Senate to demand these simple actions on the Yemen situation:

  • Immediately end Coward Drone strikes in Yemen;
  • Immediately end US-sponsored assassinations in Yemen;
  • Turn those assassins over to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for prosecution for Crimes Against Humanity;
  • Tell the truth about US involvement in Yemen;
  • Stop corrupting the Yemeni Government.

These are Human Rights deserved by every human on the planet. Common decency requires that President Obama, the US, and the Democratic Party also afford these rights to the Yemeni people.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, US Vice Dictator Puppet Omar Suleiman told his state television audience that Western Journalists are spies causing the country’s chaos. His words incited attacks on journalists that continue. He called for Constitutional changes that nonetheless keep intact Egypt’s absolute dictatorial powers in a totalitarian President. Our President and Secretary of State seem to approve turning the reins of Government over to this man.

But the people of Egypt demand removal of the regime and nothing short. Offering the Egyptians a Suleiman Government [under absolute control of the Obama CIA's top kidnap-and-torture thug] is not honest or credible negotiating. Actual negotiating takes serious attention, not just propaganda. It takes hard work. It will be very hard to change the Egyptian Government, you see, Egypt has its own National Democratic Party to contend with.

by normanb

The Daily Machine: Introducing the Sticky Greens; They’re Good For You

11:21 am in Uncategorized by normanb

The Daily Machine: Introducing the Sticky Greens; They’re Good For You — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

Announcing a new Green Party Caucus identity group working to Legalize Marijuana & end discrimination against its users, to promote the economic and environmental benefits of Cannabis Hemp, and to convince the Green Party of the United States to fully embrace and promote these priciples.

Today I renounce my lifelong membership in the Democratic Party, recognizing that what has been my Party increasingly panders to corporate elitists and, in serving as shill to those donors, works against the principles I hold dear. How much money would I need in order to have enough to bribe the Party leaders to turn honest? And even that wouldn’t work, because I don’t want Party leadership that responds so disgracefully to money. What I want politically is peace, freedom, human rights, economic justice, environmental protection, and honesty & accountability in Government. With the move I make today I hope to further these goals.

Here we stand at the precipice: Albert Camus’ existential dilemma as described in The Myth of Sisyphus: The most important philosophical question is Should I commit suicide? because, if the answer is Yes, then the other questions are irrelevant. Ignorance on climate issues is such a valued commodity that the US has advanced in this important field to Number One in the world. In many African countries and island nations, 90% of the populace knows how we get Global Warming. In the US, more than 100,000,000 people doubt the science. That confusion helps fossil fuel and chemical companies profiteer off pollution and market extinctions that will include our own, if we don’t stop climate change. The current Administration ignores the climate emergency: After promising responsible conscientious environmental stewardship, it has instead allowed increased emissions of every Greenhouse Gas, and has had its Environmental Protection Agency officially lie about Coal and Nuclear Power, reclassifying them as “Clean Energy.” President Obama this week endorsed corporate-sponsored superstition over science: He declared that he intends to fight Global Warming without limiting any Greenhouse Gases. But the fact is: Greenhouse Gases cause Global Warming: By increasing emissions of every Greenhouse Gas, we Cause Global Warming, not Fight it.

Sunday I attended the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) Convention in Worcester. Because I was not a member of the Green Party, my name placard wasn’t colored green. GRP 2010 Gubernatorial nominee Jill Stein, co-chair of the state Party, asked me what she could do to change my placard to green. I do very much agree with Dr. Stein and Green Party concensus on issues. And during her campaign she spoke thoughtfully and forcefully about Legalization. Much more than other political candidates, she favors protecting my civil rights, as a medical user, as a religious user, and as a recreational user. In our informal group from Western Mass’s Pioneer Valley, I saw tireless hard-working dedicated activists in it for the long haul, committed to improving our country and our planet. I have long respected the work of a majority of individuals in the circle. These Are My People. I do belong.

100,000,000 US citizens have smoked Marijuana. The Democratic and Republican Parties do not want our votes. The Greens and Libertarians do want them, but no Party is doing what it takes to get them. Our campaign for Legalizing Marijuana carried 75% of the vote in Amherst, 65% statewide. Gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein only got 1.43% statewide. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties in Massachusetts are shedding members: Independents now outnumber both Parties in the state. 70% of people nationwide have said they don’t trust Democrats and 80% don’t trust Republicans. If only those two-thirds of Massachusetts citizens demanding Marijuana reform saw the Greens as allies, we’d control elections in this state. But people in the Marijuana/Cannabis/Hemp movement largely see the Greens as irrelevant, and are unaware of that plank in the Party’s official platform calling for Legalization of Medical Marijuana and protection of its patients.

Now, we the Green Party, stand at the precipice. Should we commit suicide? The Hemp movement is our natural constituency and its voters make up two-thirds of the state’s electorate. Most of us in the Hemp movement see the Greens as not caring about our rights or the rights of patients suffering and dying from lack of access to medicine. Greens are also seen as lacking important knowledge on the economic and environmental realities surrounding Cannabis Hemp, and in some cases are perceived as lacking working knowledge of Global Warming science needed to talk to certain voters. The Sticky Greens hope to correct these problems, by including on our homepage primers on the science, economics, and bigotry encountered by Hempsters.

At the Convention, our local Greens generated a list of concerns we can work on together locally that were cited in our circle. I made the first suggestion on the list, Legalilzing Marijuana. When emailed copies of the list of concerns arrived, I saw that Marijuana is included, at the end, separated from everything else, looking like an afterthought. This is the prescription for our Party’s extinction. The 20 items on the list above Marijuana all added together can get us 1.43% of the vote. Marijuana gets us 65% statewide and in Boston, 75% in Amherst, 82% nextdoor in Pelham, and 80% in nearby Wendell. I urge Pioneer Valley Greens, the entire Mass GRP, and Greens across the country to learn the language of Hemp activism immediately. And I urge the Green Party of the United States Accreditation Committee to quickly approve and accept our Caucus, as soon as we meet the requirements. We have a spectacular opportunity.

Shortly I’ll go downtown to re-register to vote, this time as a member of the Green-Rainbow Party. I’m posting these ideas to my Diary blog The Daily Machine, and to MaMaMoJo, which is my partner Rachel Neulander’s non-commercial Massachusetts Marijuana Movement Journal. Beginning today, MaMaMoJournal’s left column is the Sticky Greens homepage. It will include political, historical, and scientific information about Cannabis and its integral relation to energy, climate, food production, health, human rights, and honesty in politics and business. We’ll note its relationship to LGBTIQ issues and racism. Most importantly, we’ll show how science can stop and reverse Global Warming using existing technology, and do it in time if we start right away.

I’m also sending it to our local Greens circle, to Jill Stein and her campaign staff with whom I worked, and to the Accreditation Committee of the Green Party of the United States. The Sticky Greens will quickly become an official local Green-Rainbow Party group when three of us agree to form it. To get Accreditted as a Green Caucus, better able to affect national Party policy, we’ll need 100 members spread throughout 15 states. Reaching 100 members seems easier than reaching 15 states. We’ll try.

To join the Sticky Greens just email & display “join” in the Subject window, and you will receive an email newsletter. But joining the Sticky Greens Caucus identity group of the Green Party of the United States requires a little more: (1) Email & display “caucus” in the Subject window; (2) if you are not a member of the GPUS, register to vote as a Green Party member within 7 days; and (3) in your email to shamanslibrary, include all of the following info that’s applicable: Your email address, your phone number, your name, your mailing address, and your voting address. Let’s have a Party!

I have been a political activist fulltime without pay for decades, having consciously decided in 1978 to dedicate my life to the unending push for human rights, environmental integrity, economic equality, art, and culture. In the early 1990s I toured the country with the Cannabis Action Network at early Hemp Rallies on the early Hemp Tours. In that function I performed and spoke at rallies in 20 or more states, and at 30 or more colleges. Coming off tour, still in the early 1990s, I founded SPACE: The St. Petersburg [Florida] Alliance for Cannabis Emancipation. Two years and five Hemp Rallies later, we disbanded the group having achieved our objective: Educating the press and public on the issue: By our fifth Rally, both our local middle-of-the-road newspapers (the St. Petersburg Times & Tampa Tribune) published editorials favoring complete Legalization. That was in a Republican-majority city in conservative Florida. One of my fellow activists in the Massachusetts Hemp movement, John Leonard, did a study recently showing how Hemp voters can be influenced to vote for issues and Parties they knew little about.  We saw how it worked at our state convention, where Katelyn Golsby was the first speaker of the Party’s Campus Leaders. I had met Katelyn and her friend Eric Cameron at the local busstop and invited them to the Rock Opera I wrote and was soon to perform at the University of Massachusetts in an event sponsored by the Cannabis Reform Coalition there. Jill Stein spoke to begin the event, then took questions. Katelyn and Eric left carrying Jill Stein campaign signs. The Rock Opera was the most attended Jill Stein event of the entire autumn campaign. And as one student activist pointed out, we’d have had ten times as many attendees if we’d had two weeks to promote it.

Some other time I’ll discuss why the column is called “The Daily Machine.”

by normanb

Anatomy of a Campaign Function: Governor Hits UMass to Upstage My Rock Opera, but Jill Stein Shines

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by normanb

Six weeks ago we ten awaited our candidate for Governor in an Amherst living room. At a Northampton community hall meeting a month earlier, all persons present had donated up to their respective limits, so none of us had money to give to the campaign this time. I didn’t give either time. No money. I may look old with my long gray beard, but most others in the campaign are older yet. I’ve been a fan of Jill Stein since she spoke in Northampton on her 2002 Massachusetts Gubernatorial run. And now she’s the Green-Rainbow Party nominee again.

“How can we get Jill Stein to speak at UMass?” someone asked. “I wrote a Rock Opera;” I said, “I think I could get it presented at the University of Massachusetts, and she can speak at the event.” People were surprised. Those most familiar with my political activities stared suspiciously at me. “Does this have anything to do with Marijuana?” one asked. “Yes. I work with the UMass Cannabis Reform Coalition (CRC). They would sponsor it.”

“I don’t know if she’d want to associate herself with the Marijuana movement,” my suspicious friend said. “But it’s one of the Te–” “I know it’s one of the Ten Core Values [of the Greens], but I still don’t think she’d want to.” At the same time, someone asked a brilliant lawyer (an avowed Socialist elected to the Governor’s Council as a Democrat) about the sitch. He said “Well, she could, if she gets an official invitation from a campus student organization, like the Cannabis Reform Coalition…” I waited for him to say “…but…” but he just trailed off…

When Dr. Stein got to the meeting, she walked across the room to shake my hand and say “I want to associate myself with the Marijuana movement.” She’d begun associating with our movement in April when I invited her to speak at Extravaganja, Amherst’s annual Marijuana-legalization hemp rally, on 4/20 weekend. I asked “Do you want to speak at next week’s event in Boston?” referring to the upcoming [September 18] Boston Freedom Rally. “I’m going to speak at the Boston rally,” she said, both of us remembering that I’d introduced her to its organizers at 4/20. I told her about my Rock Opera idea. She said she’d do it, and that I should talk to her Campaign Manager about scheduling it. Both her Campaign Manager and Field Director are veterans of large Democratic campaigns, but this third-party run is a different animal altogether.

Two days later I floated the idea at the CRC meeting: “I wrote a Rock Opera. It’s called ‘Protest PG.’ I’d like to present it at UMass. Jill Stein said she’d speak at the event.” The words were out a scant second from my lips when the roomful of students erupted in a spontaneous roar of consensus assent. The club president immediately shouted “We’ll do it!” then quietly added “It’s already written, right?” Soon UMass rejected our proposed date for the event, and told us that the room we’d requested, the Cape Cod Lounge, could never be used for political events. They offered two alternative dates, in the Student Union Ballroom, only one of which was workable for Dr. Stein. So, two-and-a-half of weeks after the idea was hatched, we had our date, our auditorium, and not much time left to plan and promote it. Now, to be fair, we invited all four Gubernatorial candidates to open for my Rock Opera sponsored by the CRC. Casino-backed Democrat-turned-Independent State Treasurer Tim Cahill, casino-backed Republican Charlie Baker, and casino-backed conservative incumbent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick all politely declined to take part.

We issued press releases. I printed 700 fliers and personally posted or handed out 500 of them, getting help with the rest. The CRC also printed fliers and distributed them. I emailed hundreds of similar (yet individually personalized) letters to professors, arts professionals, environmental organizations, and student groups who might be interested. Everywhere I went I enthusiastically told everyone who’d listen about Jill Stein and the Rock Opera. I gave many of them fliers.

It seemed that God and/or the Goddess and/or the synchronicity of the Universe and satellite TV wanted me to pull this off: Suddenly, they’re showing Hair and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, neither of which is called a “Rock Opera ” in the encyclopedia, but they kind of are. Then came a special about the Kinks (including Rock Opera composer Ray Davies). Next the brilliant Zeb Buffman production of Webber’s Joseph. Finally, the special about the Who and its leader Pete Townsend, whose Rock Operas are important to me. I am still vibrating from the time I saw the Who live, decades ago. At the University, for a dress rehearsal before the event, I walked into a nearly empty cafeteria, and student radio played Cannonball Adderley’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. His brother Nat Adderley was the first Ybor City artist to write a Rock Opera. I may be the third one. Ybor City is the artists’ ghetto of Tampa, also its Latin quarter and entertainment district. God(dess)/Universe Does want this to work! I couldn’t help it, I began to dance, with glee and enthusiasm. Cannonball wasn’t even to his first lyric and I was already gliding across the floor. Within seconds the food workers were dancing too.

How I love Rock Operas! People who’ve seen only television and movies (but no live theatre) can’t even imagine the thrill and spectacle of actors, musicians, singers, and dancers, all treating me like I’m royalty, bringing the poet’s message directly to me, the audience member, filled with the composer’s music. We the audience transcend our superficial differences and become one. People leave awestruck, and remain so for days. By the end of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, my face was bright red with excitement. I was sweating and crying and laughing and smiling so hard that the corners of my mouth pushed my red cheeks up into my teary eyes. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

Then the day before the opera, Governor Patrick decided to come to UMass, and speak two-and-a-half hours before our event. And where did the University put him? In the Cape Cod Lounge. I guess he’s not all that political. Actually, he’d requested the Student Union Ballroom, but the CRC had already rented it for $200. As I reached campus I saw what looked like a gaggle of Mormons walking down the University sidewalk. Probably the Governor’s entourage, seven guys in black suits. I’m not stereotyping here: Mormons really do dress in black suits, and people dressed like that on campus usually are Mormons.

It seemed like the Governor was trying to upstage us. But his appearance actually drew attention to his opponent being at UMass the same day. So their photos shared the front page of both the student newspaper and the town paper. The student paper shows the survey at UMass wherein the morning of the twin events, Governor Patrick led Dr. Stein 43% to 16%, with Stein polling much higher at the University than she does in other parts of the state. Now that their appearances have sunken in and taken effect, she’s gained 5 points on him, and now it’s 40%-18% in the four-way race. A UMass employee who attended both events said ours had 30% more attendees. And there was a huge enthusiasm gap. As you can see by watching video of the Patrick event, the students look bored. The suits try to get applause going, but it doesn’t work and they give up.

But at our event, Jill Stein was interrupted for applause several times, and so was I. She spoke about single-payer healthcare, about Marijuana legalization, about industrial hemp, about banks and insurance and drug companies. She told us of how, when Exxon deforested a patch of Brazilian Amazon rainforest the size of Rhode Island, causing extinction of one tribe and permanent displacement of four others, that Exxon then hired “civil rights lawyer” Deval Patrick to get them off in court. (I hope to get video of Jill Stein and my Rock Opera uploaded to YouTube and FDL.)

With our audience, we bridged the generation gap, from elderly lefty ladies to the freshest freshmen. Friends came from afar to watch the show and meet the candidate. A friend of mine, a visual artist and bicycle athlete older than me, told me on the way in that he was going to vote for Governor Patrick. The candidate took questions from the audience after her 50-minute speech. One woman said she’d never heard of Stein before seeing the fliers, but now intended to vote for her. Neighbors I’d met on the bus showed up, and left carrying large Jill Stein signs for the neighborhood. When my artist friend left, he said he’d be voting for Jill.

My Rock Opera “Protest PG” laments the fact that people aren’t protesting the Pashtun Genocide. The Pashtuns are the people American warriors are killing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They call themselves the “Children of Israel.” Their national hero is Moses. Their national symbol is the Star of David. They are pleading with the US to end its Genocide against them. Most Americans don’t know who the Pashtuns are. The PG I’m protesting also stands for the Pariah Gases, Prison Guantanamo, Prohibition of Ganja, and Pinocchio Government. A reporter becomes an actor, then uses the actor’s characters to draw attention to the newsman’s reports.

The Rock Opera begins with a scene I’ve been performing for 26 years, the anonymous English-Scottish border region poem The Laily Worm and the Mackerel of the Sea. And I’ve performed two of the songs from the show and told one of the jokes at each of the last two years at Extravaganja, so Tommy Devine’s review notes that he’s heard some of the material before. Tommy Devine shot the photo of me above, in my work clothes. The student techmaster who was to set up the screen for the video part of the one-man multi-media performance didn’t set it up. So I had to do major revision at the last minute, cutting a scene, cutting out characters. With the video playing, I’d have had time and cover (behind the screen) to change costumes. Now, the monk, Osama bin Laden, and Uncle Sam could stay in, but Crazy Al and the newsman were suppressed, ironically.

The room burst into uproarious applause late in the show when I sang “The honored US Military is dressed in baby blood and khaki,” and again seconds later, when addressing the President, I sang “You’d not’ve got a goddam vote if you hadn’t lied, if you’d told us you wanted private armies and Pashtun Genocide.” Democracy Now! had revealed the fact that Blackwater/XE is Monsanto’s private army the day before. The Pashtun Genocide news bite hasn’t made the US media yet.

In most major media, Jill Stein has been ignored: She’s experiencing a “brown out” (named after the good press coverage Jerry Brown gets, nearly none). Here’s a UMass Daily Collegian editorial endorsing Stein. Independent Amherst/Granby State House candidate Dan Melick introduced Jill Stein. He’s a member of the CRC, a recent graduate from UMass, and a longtime cannabis activist. CRC organizer Terry Franklin introduced me. In the days approaching the performance, he advised me that students would relate better if “George Bush” were mentioned rather than my original lyric, “Oliver North.” He was right. He also told me that a former CRC officer had given me unbeliveably glowing praise during my absence from a meeting, and that she had called my work “life-changing.”

After the performance, one student tried to buy a CD from me, but I had only been joking about selling them. Another ran up to me and shook my hand, saying “Your Rock Opera was fantastic! Life-changing!” If you added the ages of the two women who used that term, I’d still have a few years on them. I knew the second one must have heard it from the first one, but she was sincere: Her face was red, she was sweating and laughing and crying and smiling so hard her red cheeks were pressed up into her teary eyes.

I called Jill’s Field Director to tell him about her rise in the UMass poll, and he shocked me by telling me that this Rock Opera was her most-attended campaign function. What?! Why didn’t I do ten times as much? Why didn’t ten people do ten times as much? One person with no money writes some poems, and that’s the biggest event? I don’t get it.

by normanb

What’s Important to Remember Sept. 11, Rastafari New Years Day, are the Words of Ras Tafari Himself

12:32 pm in Uncategorized by normanb

What’s Important to Remember Sept. 11, Rastafari New Years Day, are the Words of Ras Tafari Himself — by NormanB ("Deviations from the Norm")

Rastafari is one of the twenty most populous religious groups on Earth. It is the fastest growing one. Ganja is its best known Sacrament.

Ras means "Prince." His Imperial Majesty Ras Tarari Makonnen took the name Haile Selassie when he was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia. He was the descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and of the much more ancient Cepheus and Cassiopeia, and their daughter Andromeda and son-in-law Perseus, who as constellations now take up much of our Northern Hemisphere sky. Selassie was a High Bishop in the Ethiopian Coptic Church, and he is the Avatar of the Rastafarian movement. All of those roles he played in life tend to offend some people. Let us then allow Selassie’s words speak for themselves. Below is a segment of his speech to the United Nations in October 1963. A link to the entire text of the speech follows. Selassie was born in 1892. He was assassinated – martyred – in 1975. The final item is Bob Marley’s musical rendition of this quote from Haile Selassie, Ras Tafari:

On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson: That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.

Full text of Haile Selassie’s Oct. 1963 speech to the UN