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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 11,978

Journal Archives

Former Drug Cop: "I cried for a year once I found out what I'd been involved in"

A former Texas narcotics officer recently sat down with HuffPost Live to explain why he turned against the drug war.


“A couple of times I raided a home and there were two kids in the home, scared, we terrorized the family, and it’s for a bag of pot,” Barry Cooper said Tuesday. “Searching the house, I noticed the kids had straight ‘A’ report cards, the parent’s checkbook was balanced, and I realized that something was amiss, something was really bad.”

“I put it together years later, after I started smoking pot,” he confessed. “You know, a lot of people report that the use of that medication helps a person self-reflect. And, wow, the veil came off and then I started doing the real research for myself instead of believing the propaganda. And I cried for a year after I found out the truth and what I had been involved in.”

After abandoning his law enforcement career, Cooper produced the documentary Never Get Busted, which explained how to hide marijuana from police. The release of the film led to a highly accusatory Fox News interview, which has since been prominently featured on Never Get Busted‘s website.

Oregon's Governor signs bill to legalize & regulate marijuana dispensaries

Oregon's Governor Kitzhaber is a smart, relatively progressive Democrat, who was an emergency
room physician prior to getting into politics. Good on him for signing this.

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Kitzhaber signs medical marijuana dispensaries bill
By Jonathan J. Cooper * Associated Press * Aug 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM PDT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber on Wednesday signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries, setting the stage for the state to regulate and inspect businesses that have operated for years in a legal gray area.

Oregon was one of the first states to allow the legal use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, and the state has issued marijuana cards to 56,000 people. The law requires patients to grow the drug themselves or designate someone to grow it for them. Dozens of dispensaries have popped up around the state, but they're not explicitly authorized. In some areas, authorities have moved to shut them down. Elsewhere, police have left them alone.

The bill gives the Oregon Health Authority new power to run background checks, conduct on-site safety inspections and perform financial audits. The agency will begin drafting regulations for approval early next year.

"It's vital now that the people who are involved in the medical marijuana program implement this bill very responsibly to ensure that patients have safe access and that they are good neighbors in their communities," said Geoff Sugerman, a lobbyist who helped write the bill.


Civil Disobedience as Law Enforcement: Holding Gov't Accountable re: Its Own Claims to Legitimacy

Civil Disobedience as Law Enforcement
by Jeremy Brecher * Wednesday, August 14, 2013 * Waging Nonviolence/Common Dreams

Two years ago I was among more than a thousand people who committed civil disobedience at the White House to oppose the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. Since then many more have been arrested around the country, often blocking the actual pathway along which the Keystone XL is being constructed. Nearly 70,000 people have vowed to risk arrest if the State Department recommends that the president approve the pipeline.

All along I believed that these actions were justified, even though they meant breaking the law. After all, leading NASA climate change specialist Jim Hansen says that the Alberta tar sands, which the pipeline will carry, “must be left in the ground” because “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over” for a viable planet.

"Those who perpetrate climate change, and those who allow them to do so, should not be able to claim that the law is on their side."

Since being arrested at the White House, my perspective on the nature of such actions has changed. After learning about a fundamental principle of American law known as the public trust doctrine, I have come to believe that the U.S. government and other governments around the world are violating their own most fundamental responsibilities to their own people when they allow fossil fuel producers and users to devastate the earth’s atmosphere with greenhouse gases.

Governments will no doubt continue to treat protesters who block pipelines, coal mines and power plants as criminals. But such governments come into court with dirty hands, stained by their dereliction of the duty to protect the common inheritance of their own people.

MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/14-6

Yemenis Call US Drone Strikes an "Overreaction" to Al Qaida Threat

Playing Whack-A-Mole droning suspected "terrorists" isn't so much fun, if you are
the "suspect" or if you happen to live next door to one.

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Yemenis Call US Drone Strikes an Overreaction to Al Qaida Threat
10 August 2013 07:05 * By Adam Baron * McClatchy Newspapers | Report

SANAA, Yemen — The United States’ launching of eight drone strikes in Yemen in the span of 13 days has ignited widespread outrage in the country. The anger over the strikes, which came as an al Qaida-related threat shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates in Yemen and 15 other countries, has overwhelmed attention to the threat itself, which many here view skeptically anyway.

“In the end, I think the American reaction has been far more than has been reasonable,” said Abdulghani al Iryani, a Sanaa-based political analyst. “It comes off almost as a show of strength. But, ultimately, it may end up backfiring, as al Qaida is getting more attention now than they would have even if they carried out an attack.


The surge of strikes, the most concentrated series of drone hits since 2002, has come in four provinces, Abyan in the south, Shabwa and Hadramawt in Yemen’s southeast and Mareb in the country’s center. That alone underscores the difficulty of combating al Qaida’s Yemen affiliate, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Earlier this year, the central government was able to push one of al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s main affiliates, Ansar al Shariah, from strongholds it had seized during the push by dissidents to topple the government of then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. But the bulk of the fighters were able to escape to other parts of the country, including areas with comparatively little history of an al Qaida presence, such as Hadramawt, which has emerged as a focus of recent U.S. strikes. A number of the strikes appear to have been aimed at senior al Qaida figures in this country, but it isn’t clear how many of the targets have been killed.


The U.S. Empire Provokes Terrorism

The U.S. Empire Provokes Terrorism
By Sheldon Richman * OpEdNews * 8/10/2013 at 16:51:26

Perhaps we'll never know if intercepted chatter between al-Qaeda leaders -- which prompted the U.S. government to close dozens of diplomatic missions in the Muslim world and to issue a worldwide travel alert -- was serious or not. But mischief shouldn't be ruled out. Without cost or risk, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's successor, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen), can have a big laugh as they send American officials running around as though their hair were on fire. Why should they attempt to pull off some spectacular but risky action when they can disrupt things -- closing embassies is no small deal -- so easily? As a bonus, President Obama's claim about al-Qaeda's degradation is revealed as an empty boast. (Yemeni officials claim they foiled a plot. But who knows?)

The United States has been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for a dozen years, but not because the former rulers are a direct threat to the American people. Rather, the Bush and Obama administrations insisted, if the Taliban was not defeated, Afghanistan would again become a sanctuary for al-Qaeda. Now we see (if we hadn't already) that this was a mere rationalization for the projection of American power. Al-Qaeda doesn't need Afghanistan. Bin Laden wasn't found there. Al-Zawahiri presumably isn't there. And the latest alleged unspecified threat comes from Yemen, 2,000 miles from Kabul. Doesn't that expose the 12 years of American-inflicted death and destruction, not to mention the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars, as a monumental waste of life and treasure?


Does (the 9/11/01 attack on the WTC) mean the U.S. government must maintain a global empire in order to eradicate the sources of anti-American terrorism? Absolutely not -- quite the contrary. It is the global empire that provoked the al-Qaeda attacks in the first place. Contrary to the popular notion that the organization struck U.S. "interests" out of the blue while our country minded its own business, the U.S. government for decades has supported violent regimes in the Middle East and North Africa: from Saudi Arabia's corrupt and brutal monarchy, to the Egyptian military dictatorship, to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, to Israel's unconscionable occupation of Palestine.

American administrations, Republican and Democrat, have directly inflicted death and suffering on people in the Muslim world -- through the 1990s economic sanctions on Iraq, for example. (Today's sanctions on Iran now impose hardship on another group of Muslims.) Every time an al-Qaeda official or operative has the chance, he points out that his hatred of America stems not from its "freedoms" but from this bloody record. Unrelenting U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia, in which noncombatants are killed, don't win friends. They recruit enemies bent on revenge.


WTF is wrong with this country?

In the USA:
Two-Year-Old Taken from Parents Because They Smoked Pot is Murdered in Foster Care
It is time for Child Protective Services to recognize that foster care is potentially more damaging to a child than a parent's marijuana use.

Meanwhile, in Switzerland:
In Switzerland, Marijuana Use Helps Keep Prisons Calm and Safe
The Swiss prison guards agree that marijuana use among inmates is a good thing.

I mean, WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with us? This is so fucking nuts. We should just give all this
land back to the Native Americans and concede that we have totally botched our chance at ever
becoming any kind of "City on a Hill" that the world would want to emulate because we are so
cool, so democratic, so humane, so compassionate, so just.

Obama gets "personal" as rift with Russia over Snowden grows

Obama gets "personal" as rift with Russia over Snowden grows
By Danny Schechter * OpEdNews * 8/8/2013

New York, New York -- When heads of state personally intervene in matters of espionage, and demand that alleged spies be released or extradited, it is unusual -- and highly inappropriate.

It seems clear that President Obama violated that "old rule" by immersing himself so publicly, personally, and blatantly with White House pressure on Vladimir Putin to send the American whistleblower Edward Snowden back to the US, in the spirit of a Monopoly game: to "go directly to jail without passing go."

With the Announcement that the President will not meet with Putin during his forthcoming visit to the G20 meeting in Russia, because he is "disappointed with the Russian Leader," we seem to have taken a walk back down memory lane to the cold war days of tit-for-tat actions and reactions that elevate tensions. In the old days, it was usually Moscow that could be counted on for harsh responses; now it seems to be Washington that has a bad case of acid reflux whenever Putin's name comes up.

It also seems clear that he has taken Putin's decision to grant temporary asylum to Snowden personally, after using all diplomatic channels, family pressure and even a bizarre promise from the Attorney General not to torture Snowden.

Noted Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:

"If you look at the substance of his actions, it is clear the President is losing his famed poise, at least as far as Snowden and the surveillance state revelations are concerned...one sign that Obama is off balance is his unforced errors in dealing with Russia. The absurd assumption from the get-go seemed to be that Putin would cooperate and hand over Snowden once the Russian leader was prodded a bit. Given the status of US-Russian relations, that was borderline delusional."


Death Before NSA Dishonor: Encrypted Services Stage Suicide Revolt

Death Before NSA Dishonor: Encrypted Services Stage Suicide Revolt
Popular sites Lavabit and Silent Circle would rather close down than betray customer privacy in face of government requests they deem 'unconstitutional'
Friday, August 9, 2013 * Common Dreams * by Jon Queally, staff writer

The encrypted email service provider Silent Circle has followed its competitor Lavabit who on Thursday announced it would shutter its services rather than be compelled by the US government to hand over the private data and emails from its customers, one of whom is believed to be NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Supporters of internet freedom and privacy protections were shocked at the news, but also expressing gratitude for what they see as a service provider choosing the protections of it own customers over the threat of lost profits or requests by the government that they deemed inappropriate and unconstitutional.

As Reuters reports:

he has decided to "suspend operations" but was barred from discussing the events over the past six weeks that led to his decision.

That matches the period since Snowden went public as the source of media reports detailing secret electronic spying operations by the U.S. National Security Agency.

"Given the impressive powers of the government to obtain emails and records from service providers, both with and without legal authority, it is encouraging to see service providers take steps to limit their ability to access user data," said the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl in a web posting.




Brandon Toy: US Wars, Dehumanization, and Me

This is an awesome read, a glimpse inside the head of whistleblower Brandon Toy
...so bookmark as needed, as it is a longish article.

US Wars, Dehumanization, and Me
Thursday, August 8, 2013 * Common Dreams * Brandon Toy

An Iraq veteran and five-year employee at private defense contracting corporation General Dynamics publicly resigned from the private defense contractor in late July in protest of the company's arming of US-led wars, declaring: "I have always believed that if every foot soldier threw down his rifle war would end. I hereby throw mine down."

Brandon Toy sent his resignation letter in an email to his immediate supervisors, coworkers, and the corporate chain of command, as well as to Common Dreams, who published the statement. The letter has since gone viral, racketing tens of thousands of views on social media sites. In his own words, Toy shares the story of his personal transformation, first as a veteran and then as an employee of a private defense contractor.

The Dehumanization of War

I arrived in Baghdad believing that Iraqis were simple people in need of having civilization thrust upon them, and that we were the enlightened civil ones who would show them the right way to live. To me, they were less than human.

One pivotal night three years ago, I bragged to my wife and cousins about a family I had terrified by pointing my rifle at them to get them to stop in traffic. I laughed about the way the father and mother had frantically waved their arms at me, begging not to be shot.

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