Tuesday, May 12, 2015

America Indivisible

When I was a child, we pledged allegiance to "one nation, indivisible" in school every day. Or pretended to do so, if we happened to be of a church that pledged allegiance only to the highest and did not pledge allegiance to anything made by man. Man, who somehow contrived to misunderstand the simple commandment, "Thou Shall Not Kill".

And then the word "indivisible" was replaced by the words "under God". "One nation, under God ..."

The Goddists had outnumbered the Buddhists and Taoists and Atheists and Apathiests. Being split among themselves, the Goddists then pulled the nation in all directions. What was once indivisible became divided, multiply fractured.

There was money in damning the Democrats, and the Republican party flourished until it itself fractured. As seen in the Indiana imbroglio noted below, corporate interests now support gay rights. Those who derive an income from spouting social conservatism have so far failed to do this. The corporatists and the 'tea party' conservatives have split. Money is marching elsewhere.

What is indivisible in America is the peoples' will to govern.

"With freedom and justice for all."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Indiana: Would-be Shunners Are Instantly Shunned

Last month, Indiana passed a law allowing gays to be shunned by local businesses. Businesses didn't have to serve people they thought were gay. Before anyone could report actually having been shunned, Indiana found itself losing money, shunned by major corporations who didn't want their gay employees victimized.

Their shiny new 'shunning' law stood tall for a week. Then it was amended to indicate that it did not condone any type of discrimination. Since the law does still allow religious norms to trump minor laws in other areas, what remains of it would seem to empower the "First Church of Cannabis", which has applied for a state charter. The sacramental value of cannabis is not to be taken lightly. It has a history which must be honored.

The state is in damage control mode.

The governor, in dabbling with the dark side, has dashed his hopes for a run at the Presidency. 


There had been warnings:

 03/25 3:56 PM  Christian Group Is Ready To Boycott Indiana If Governor Signs ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill:
"Wednesday, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — or “DoC” denomination, which claims around 659,000 members in North America and has been headquartered in Indianapolis for almost 100 years — sent a letter to Pence asking him to reconsider. The group threatened to relocate its general conference, which is scheduled to bring around 6,000 people to Indianapolis in 2017, if the state-level RFRA is approved. "

3/26 3:30 PM  CNBC  The business case against Indiana's religious faith:
"The Indiana Chamber of Commerce was narrow in its opposition to the religious freedom law in a statement earlier this week..."
"...But other voices from the business community went further. Columbus, Indiana-based Cummins, the world's largest diesel engine maker—which has been among the nation's most outspoken business voices against LGBT discrimination statutes—publicly opposed the new law in strong terms, fearing a weakened hand for corporations based in Indiana when trying to lure top talent to the state."
 
Yet, the deed is done.

03/26/2015 2:28 PM  Indiana's Governor Signs 'Religious Freedom' Bill:
"Indiana business owners who object to same-sex couples will now have a legal right to deny them services after Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law."
 03/26  06:57 PM  Gov. Mike Pence signs 'religious freedom' bill in private:
 "His action followed two days of intense pressure from opponents — including technology company executives and convention organizers — who fear the measure could allow discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians." 
This didn't work out as well as expected...

The Midwest houses many sects who have a tradition of shunning. When my mother became a divorcee, she was shunned by our childhood church. Women in the church wouldn't talk to her any more. The tighter the sect, the heavier the shun. The notion is embedded in the culture.

It was a thoughtless law. Some fences work both ways. Some kids would grow up, move on and never come home again. The law was provincial, and provincially naive. 


  The shunning of the shunners immediately begins:

03/26  2:49 PM   Salesforce Cancels Programs in Indiana in Protest of Anti-Gay Bill
03/26  4:13 PM   Set phasers to shun: George Takei encourages boycotting Indiana over ‘religious freedom’ bill
03/26  4:30 PM   Keith Olbermann ESPN calls on sports leagues to abandon ‘medieval’ Indiana over anti-gay law

03/27  2:42 PM  Apple CEO Tim Cook Warns Arkansas Not To Pass Anti-Gay Bill Like Indiana
03/27  4:10 PM  Corporations And Celebrities Agree: Anti-Gay Indiana Can Get Bent
03/27  6:12 PM  Hackers have allegedly taken down Indiana's official website in response to Pence's Bigotry Law


  Indiana notices:

A day later...

03/27 11:36 PM  Indiana officials look to stem religious objections fallout
03/27      SAN FRANCISCO: Mayor Ed Lee Bans Work Travel To Indiana For City Staffers
03/27      Celebrities protest new Indiana law

03/28  10:12 AM EDT  Indiana Officials Scramble To Contain Fallout From New Anti-Gay Bill
03/28  12:09 PM  Charles Barkley Wants NCAA To Pull Final Four From Indiana Over Anti-Gay Bill
03/28    2:12 PM   Angie's List Cites Anti-Gay Law In Halting Indiana Expansion


  The governor attempts a half-way solution:

03/28       INDIANA: Gov. Mike Pence Promises New Bill To "Clarify Intent" Of Anti-LGBT License To Discriminate Law:
"He adamantly insisted that RFRA will not open the door to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. But he did acknowledge that Indiana’s image — and potentially its economic health — has been hurt badly by the controversy."
(03/30) 11:43 ET  Indiana GOP leader admits ‘No Gays Allowed’ sign would be legal in most of the state

03/29  8:57 AM  Angie's List Cancels $40 Million 1000 Jobs Indiana Expansion Over Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Law
03/29 11:01 AM  Mike Pence Dodges Questions On Anti-Gay Discrimination In Indiana
03/29  3:56 PM   Indiana governor: New law 'not about discrimination'


  His solution doesn't solve much:

03/29  9:43 PM  Whoops: Indiana’s anti-gay ‘Religious Freedom’ act opens the door for the First Church of Cannabis
03/30 12:36 AM  Indiana University president: 'Reconsider this unnecessary legislation'

03/30 2:34 AM  When Mike Pence tells you SB101 isn't anti-gay, he's lying.  (See the names of the homophobic activists standing behind him at the signing ceremony.
03/30  7:03 AM  (watch) Ind. Guv Won't Say Whether New Law Allows LGBT Discrimination

03/30   9:19 AM As backlash against Indiana's license-to-discriminate law grows, damage control is failing
03/30 11:11 AM  Conn. Gov. Will Sign Executive Order On Travel In Protest Of Indiana Law


  Chicago's mayor invites businesses that are worried about discrimination to bring their jobs to open-hearted Chicago:

03/30 11:46 AM  Emanuel Trying To Raid Indiana Firms Over Religious Freedom Law:
(Chicago mayor) "Emanuel sent letters to a dozen Indiana based companies criticizing the law and urging them to move their headquarters to Illinois and Chicago in particular, according to Crain's Chicago Business."
03/30  1:47 PM  Here Are 17 Major Companies Protesting States' New Anti-Gay Laws
03/30  2:48 PM  NCAA: 'If we have to move events' from Indiana, 'we'll do it'

03/30  2:53 PM  Dems hammer Pence for posing with anti-LGBT activists while signing ‘religious freedom’ bill 
03/30  3:28 PM  Indianapolis mayor (R) wants legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation:
 “Forty years of history as one of the most hospitable places in America should not be placed in jeopardy because of this act,” said Mayor Ballard. 

  More businesses scream and holler:

03/30  3:59 PM Indiana's Anti-Gay Law Prompts Thousands Of Businesses To Stand Up For Diversity
03/30  5:47 PM Breaking in Indy: Nine CEOs call on Pence, legislature to modify 'religious freedom' law
03/30  7:17 PM  Subaru announces disgust with Indiana law
03/30  7:42 PM  Boycott these 5 common products made in Indiana
03/30  7:59 PM  GOP Mayor Of Indianapolis Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT Community
03/30  9:12 PM  Breaking in Indiana: Right Center (right) Indy Star Editorial: 'Fix this law Now'.


  The conservative Indianapolis Star says  "FIX // THIS // NOW":

03/31       Here’s the front page of today’s Indianapolis Star.  Also, here.

03/31  1:59 AM  Indiana GOP Leaders Shocked Their 'Religious Freedom' Law Is Seen As Anti-Gay

03/31  8:59 AM  Leaders Of Indiana Companies 'Deeply Concerned' Over LGBT Discrimination Law
03/31 10:08 AM   'Parks And Rec' Actor Nick Offerman Cancels Indiana Show Over Anti-Gay Law
03/31 10:27 AM   Gap, Levi's Join Other Big Companies Protesting Anti-Gay Laws


  GOP presidential hopefuls rise to the defense of homophobia:

03/31 10:59 AM   GOP Presidential Hopefuls Rise To Defend Indiana Law That Many See As Anti-Gay
03/31 12:11 PM  Everyone Is Laughing At That Poor Dumb Idiot, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
03/31 12:57 PM  The True Intent Of Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill, According To The People Who Helped Write It (includes the signing picture)

03/31  1:34 PM  Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Either Confused Or Misleading Everyone About His Controversial Law

03/31  2:10 PM  Marriott CEO Calls Indiana’s RFRA “Madness” and “Idiocy”
03/31  2:37 PM  USC Athletic Director To Boycott NCAA Meeting: I Have A Gay Son
03/31  3:36 PM  NASCAR: Indiana law fosters intolerance, exclusion
03/31 4:14 PM  The 2015 Final Four Schools Respond To Indiana Anti-Gay Law


  The governor admits a fumble:

03/31  6:07 PM  Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Says He 'Could Have Handled' Religious Freedom Law Better
03/31       REVEALED: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's Ugly History Of Anti-LGBT Advocacy
 
03/31  756 PM   Breaking: UConn Coaches Won't Travel to Indianapolis for Final 4 Due to Religious Freedom Bill


  Indiana pizzeria innocently assumes gays might possibly order a pizza for a wedding reception:

04/01       Indiana Pizzeria Vows To Never Deliver A Pizza To A Gay Wedding

04/01 10:36 AM  Yelp Users Troll Indiana Pizzeria That Refuses To Cater Gay Weddings


  The shunners are shunned more and more:

04/01  9:45 AM  Jeb Bush Seems to Shift Tone (into reverse) in His Praise of Indiana Law
04/01 10:23AM  David Letterman: 'This Is Not The Indiana I Remember As A Kid' (VIDEO)
04/01  2:00 PM  Mayors, coffee shop owners, and crackers speak out against Indiana hate law
04/01  2:45 PM  Indianapolis Bakery That Refused To Make Cake For Gay Couple Has Gone Out Of Business


  Arkansas governor sees it coming, deflects it:

04/01       In Reversal, Arkansas Governor Says He Won't Sign Pro-Discrimination Bill
04/01       LIVE VIDEO: Arkansas Governor Holds Press Conference On Anti-Gay RFRA Bill
04/01  3:59 PM  Walmart Praises Arkansas Governor For Refusing To Sign Anti-Gay Law
04/01  4:42 PM  Arkansas Governor's Son 'Proud' To Have Urged Dad To Veto Anti-Gay Bill


  An annual church convention cancelled:

04/01  4:55 PM  Disciples Of Christ Cancels 2017 Convention In Protest Of Religious Freedom Law

04/01  5:41 PM  (Illinois) Sen. Kirk Bashes Indiana Law As 'Bigotry' And 'Un-American'
04/01  5:43 PM  Indiana's website appears to not be functioning at this time.

04/01  9:37 PM  Former Indiana Governor (D) says 'enough' to RFRA
04/01        Tech Giants Denounce RFRA Bills


  Religion laws fall into retreat:

04/02  9:51 AM  Jeb Bush Flip Flops On Indiana Anti-Gay Law: 'We Shouldn’t Discriminate'
04/02        Climbdown on the ‘gay discrimination’ laws: Arkansas and Indiana both prepare new versions in bid to end furor over religious protection measures

04/02  6:42 PM   Indiana Law Went Too Far For Most Americans To Support


  The law is fixed:

From the signing on March 26 to the 'fixing' on April 2nd took seven days. The internet expedites justice.
04/02  7:32 PM  Arkansas, Indiana enact fixes to measures seen as targeting gays
04/02         INDIANA: GOP Lawmakers Add LGBT Non-Discrimination Language To RFRA


04/02          Indianapolis in crisis mode after tourism hit by religious bill
04/03          Bills enacting Indiana-style religious freedom law (in Nevada) dropped
04/04          Indiana Residents Rue Damage to State’s Welcoming Reputation


  The humor of the situation is not lost to everyone:

04/06 10:55 AM   Zach Braff And Donald Faison Will Make Pizzas For Your Gay Wedding In Indiana
04/06  1:48 PM  Why The Christian Right May Never Recover From Indiana

04/07         Indiana: Church of Marijuana founded to Exploit Religious Freedom Act
04/13         Indiana Hires PR Firm To Rebuild Image After 'Religious Freedom' Fiasco


Will Indiana now win contests for "Most Welcoming State" ?

There is potential:

01/15/2014   Indiana Minister Boots Gay; 80% of Congregation Also Goes Away 

Not every congregation shuns gays. Some congregations shun their minister.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Citizen Activist

"Civic Engagement" is the term that a civil rights activist friend uses to describe the class struggle.

He believes it is every citizen's responsibility to engage with government, both for their own interests and the broader common good.  He attends town hall meetings and asks difficult questions. He observes court cases. He attends hearings on proposed new laws and obsolete old ones.

Anybody can be an activist, Most people already are. Honking your horn at the car in front of you that is starting to swerve from left to right is activism. Helping a blind man in the street find the sidewalk is activism. Making change that enables new choices for future generations is a very satisfying kind of activism.

Moments come when it can happen. You will know when.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Does Your Help-Staff Have Sick Leave?"

"Apres Ski!"

  -  "Hi, I'd like to reserve a table for four. We'll be arriving at around 7:45 this evening?"

 "Name?"

  -  "Rodgers. Oh, and by the way - I need to ask -  Does Your Help-Staff Have Sick Leave?"

 "Uh... no..."

 -  "Ok then. I'll have to cancel. Thanks anyway."


There's no sense having some poor lady with stomach flu and vomiting every half hour prepare your food.  (Long bunch of stories here - scariness warning.)

So be sure to ask. It's your health. You own it. Many, many restaurants require toxic workers to stay on the job by not allowing sick days. A hazard. You should support the restaurants that keep you healthy.

"Does Your Help-Staff Have Sick Leave?"

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Would Full Employment End Terrorism?

I once shared, fifty years ago, a small two-bedroom apartment in New York City with nine other guys. We were revolutionary socialists. I was the one who was employed. They picketed.

They worked occasionally to get cash and they also contributed to the rent. But I was the one who guaranteed that their home would still be there when they got out of jail if they ever got seriously busted. I picketed when I could.

This scenario is not too unusual. Pick it up and set it down in Paris. Let the unemployed youthful revolutionary socialists be unemployed youthful revolutionary Islamists.

What happens in such a group in slack times, when there is less need for casual labor and when the last employed member of the group loses his job?

They are no longer rooted in stability.

To live, they must accept money from people who wish they were even more radical. They must turn their hobby into a profession.

In Paris today there is grief over the vicious, violent actions of such people. Full-time professional destroyers of a world that has no room for them.

As more and more cash is withdrawn from the world by those already rich, this desert of opportunity leaves them no choice.

Suppose the profits of a business were to be legally limited to ten percent of its income? Any amount over that goes to the government. What would happen?

Businesses themselves would be forced to reinvest excess profits. This would create jobs.

There is a strange belief among economists that giving all possible profits from a business to its stockholders will lead to economic growth from their own further re-investment.  However, it has recently been observed that many stockholders just leave their dividends in the bank these days waiting for really bad times to come, when a dollar will buy so much more. A structure that requires businesses themselves, rather than stockholders, to reinvest their excess profits guarantees that the excess profit reinvestment will actually occur.

How would businesses use the income that they don't want to give to the government? It could just go into the salaries of top management. Or it could be used to grow the company.

A companies can hire more salesmen. Hire research and development people to create new products. Upgrade production lines to run more inexpensively. Pay better salaries and hire more skillful people. Buy back stock, which raises the value of the stock that is still in stockholders' hands.

Build the business.

All of this will tend to increase a company's income. Increased income will increase the size of the ten percent profit. Stock prices will rise accordingly.

Would this create jobs? Yah, sure, it would, Sparky. You can set that dynamite down, now.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Peace on Earth

An arms limitation treaty has just gone into force that forbids arms sales to countries that use arms against civilians to commit human rights abuses.
"Under the terms of the treaty, each state must assess if there is an overriding risk that a proposed arms export to another country will be used for or contribute to serious human rights abuses or organized crime; if so the deal cannot be authorized by the seller.
The treaty has widespread support; only three countries—North Korea, Syria, and Iran—voted against it at the United Nations. As of Wednesday, 130 countries had signed it, and 60 had ratified. The U.S. signed the Arms Trade Treaty in September 2013, but the Senate has not yet ratified it.
Human rights groups heralded the treaty going into force."
And now... to work on Good Will Toward Men. Starting in the Senate.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Strangler Cop Walks

This month we learned that Officer Daniel Panteleo of the New York City Police Department has not been indicted by a grand jury for strangling cigarette-seller Eric Garner. They just couldn't decide. Garner couldn't breathe, and Panteleo wouldn't let him.

Panteleo joins former officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department in being allowed to have killed. They head a long list of similarly un-indicted police killers.

Given the national outcry in both cases, police violence is now a national concern. The demonstrations are massive. Police killings of unarmed young black men keep happening - a 12-year old in Cleveland with a toy gun. A young man in a Walmart carrying a bb gun to the cash register.

The President wants every policeman to wear a body cam. "Community policing" is being further developed as a kind of policing that communities can support because it doesn't kill people unnecessarily.

It seems safe to say that local police no longer belong quite so much to the power structure. They are owned also by those who set their standards, and today it is more and more the community they serve that is saying how they should behave.

The governors of New York and Missouri can still appoint special prosecutors. The federal government can sue these killers for denying the victims their rights - the right to live, in both cases. The right not to be punished by the arresting officer, but by a judge using due legal process. A right we all think we have. We think.

The demonstrations are massive.

The war against violence has come home.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The New War On Violence

Has the war on terrorism just evolved into a war on violence?

Violence is cammable. Cams can capture it. YouTube it, and it's on the mainstream media.

Whether one is terrorized by the neighborhood beat cop or by the gang headquartered in the house across the street, terror is terror and violence from either - even a verbal threat of violence - is cammable. Bullying from either is cammable.

Very simply, cams rule. Where cams rule, violence is caught and fades.

I just got the cheapest phone on the market. It was free, part of a pay-as-you-go package. 1000 minutes for $25, phone is free. Even this little phone has a 1.3 megapixel cam that can capture video. Cameras now go where even the cheapest phones can go. Anyone can record police abuse for the cost of a $25.00 cellphone card. Cameras own the street.

America has discovered that it has a massive police abuse problem. Young black men in particular are being seen by police as threatening, causing fear in an officer which requires them to be killed. In the officer's mind, at least. Many of these deaths have gone unreported. The war on violence is in the discovery process regarding police violence. What has been can happen no more.

Already, the public is setting standards for what we, the people, have a right to expect from our police. A community owns its own police. Nationalizing the police with FBI info feeds and used military hardware didn't work. We still own them.


Nationally, the torture report has hit the stands. The CIA is on trial before the world. Bush claims innocence. Cheney and Rove both have come staunchly to the defense of torture. They're both saying that Bush was fully informed. Do I detect a certain fracture on the right?

Jeb Bush may, in the end, decide not to run for President. To run, he would need to disavow his brother. As the torture story unfolds, he may get tired of being asked again and again whether he supports rectal feeding. Inmates were having the food they rejected macerated and shoved up their butts. Not a real medical procedure. Jeb's brother approved of it. Does Jeb approve of his brother?


The CIA lied to Congress. The CIA lied to the President. The CIA lied when they said that torture was producing useful information, and they kept going, punping a dry well, uncaring of the agony they were producing. 

Who sees a problem with this? They are a rogue branch of government, breaking international treaties and US laws, funded by Congress but lying to their funders. Who sees a problem?

Suppose the EPA did this?

The 2016 election cycle has begun. If being Republican means you have to defend torture - and the rogue nature of the CIA - then not so much money may get put on candidates who try to defend this history. Because surely, they would lose the vote.

And if Bush, et al, are to be put on trial, that would depress Republican turnout as well. Their path to the courtroom may take the next two years, their trial left for the next administration to administer. Between now and the election, the Republican Party will be the 'party of Bush'.

This is an instance where the acts of a few bad apples - Bush, Cheney, & Rove - taint the many, in this case, the Republican Party. Whether the Republican Party disavows its bad apples or not may extend the split between Bush and Cheney-Rove into the party itself.

Cheney and Rove are even now testifying before the world in their own defense. They are on trial.
Evidence has only begun to be revealed.

So two levels of government - the federal and the local - have now been caught being illegally abusive. Both, violent to the point of homicide. In violation of the law. How to deprive them of the ability to be violent, to compensate the victims, and to prevent further violence will be continuing questions before the electorate. How best to fight the war on overboard government violence?

Not questions Republicans will want to answer.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Hidden Player

The information revolution is an unseen player in revealing and in resolving social conflict. Its power doubles every two years.

It is a reconciling force, discovering opposites and throwing light on them.

Those who depend on secrecy to commit violence risk exposure. The KKK crowd has just seen the publication of the names, addresses and credit card numbers of members who threatened 'lethal force' against the Ferguson demonstrators. They were not aware of it themselves, but their identities were visible. Who would join now? If you can't hide under a sheet, it just won't be the same old KKK.

The KKK may have just now been eliminated as a future player.

The principle that information, even about the power elite, is increasingly accessible may limit for the CIA/NSA/military crowd those excursions from illegality we introduce into the world. In South America, for example, the CIA training of professional torturers for the Pinochet regime is increasingly in the news. The more the spook services are known, the less they can do.

A brighter sun is rising than the world has ever seen.

Monday, November 24, 2014

No Charges In Ferguson

No charges will be filed against officer Darren Wilson for the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

The prosecutor who delivered the news made a big thing of saying that that Darren Wilson had heard twice over the radio about the shoplifting that Brown had indulged in ten minutes before Wilson shot him. But the story given to the world when those radio calls were made public was that this was not possible. It could not have happened. This difference in stories may need a closer look.

Microscopes are lowering all over America as people parse his message.

The prosecutor said that, as promised, all the evidence would be made public.

Ferguson Tango

In Ferguson, Missouri, where last August a wayward police officer named Darren Wilson baited and killed a black unarmed teenager named Michael Brown, this evening a grand jury will announce the results of their months-long investigation. Will Darren Wilson be indicted?

The crowds are building. The FBI has sent a hundred agents to Ferguson to monitor the policemen and advise them when they are denying someone their constitutional rights. Perhaps to arrest them. The ACLU has sent a hundred lawyers, ready to file suit against the police at the drop of a hat.

The police appear ready to break the law:
   10 Ways Police in Ferguson May Be About to Break the Law

They may already in fact have thrown down the gauntlet:
   St. Louis County Police Violate Court Order By Arresting Journalist Standing on Sidewalk

The governor has come to town. He declared a state of emergency a week ago. He has activated the National Guard to provide security at command posts.

Ferguson protestors are in the running for Time Magazine's Person Of The Year. 

The Missouri KKK threatened to use "lethal force" on the protestors. Anonymous then dug up the addresses of the KKK honchos, published a few of them, stole the KKK's twitter account, and made it pretty clear that anyone who uses "lethal force" will not do so invisibly. Pulled the hoods right off their heads.

Then the FBI nabbed a couple of black guys who had bought explosives, apparently to make pipe bombs. Violence from the other side.

Today a lady waving a gun around in a car and shouting that she was ready for whatever might happen in Ferguson accidentally pulled the trigger and killed herself.


The Brown family has called for 4.5 minutes of silence after the grand jury's announcement to honor their son, in memory of the 4.5 hours his body lay in the hot sun after Wilson declined the request of a nurse to call an ambulance as Michael Brown still had vital signs.

The Grand Jury's decision has been slow to come. In this last week they may have found a need to re-write their decision a couple of times as new material surfaced about the veracity of the perpetrator.

On November 20th,

BREAKING VIDEO: Police Lied. Mike Brown was killed 148 feet away from Darren Wilson's SUV

For 104 days, the police have lied and said Mike Brown was killed 35 feet away from Darren Wilson's SUV. It was actually 148 feet.
 

If the grand jury has received sworn testimony that the distance was 35 feet, it may have difficulty reconciling that testimony with the photographs. Will the persons who lied be charged with perjury?

Secondly, after the police told the press that Wilson's face had been damaged in a tussle with his victim and talk of "orbital damage to the eye socket" filled the news, it appears from recently released videos taken at the police station that the damage if any, was very minor.

His eye was not even blackened.

Then there was a video from 2013 that shows Wilson calling on a fellow to deliver a warrant for the removal of old cars from his yard and turning that simple civil process into an arrest scenario because he didn't like being cammed. He arrested the fellow for recording his warrant delivery.The character of the man is impugnable:
"Despite being shown at the other end of Arman’s garden path, Wilson wrote in his report that he told Arman “to remove the camera from my face”. He claimed to have asked Arman to place his hands behind his back, which is not visible or audible from the recording. “I was forced to grab his wrists one at a time and secure them into handcuffs” Wilson wrote."
Darren Wilson lies. 148 feet is not 35 feet. A healthy eye is not a damaged eye. The camera was not in his face. Given all the testimony that has been presented to the grand jury, they may have noticed Wilson's romance with truth already.

In fifteen minutes, the decision will be known. The party will begin.

Cams Solve What Cams Found

The massive presence of cellphone and dashboard video cams has uncovered violent abuse by police that is now being solved by...

... body cams, both police and civilian body cams. Even more video cams.

Cams solve what cams uncovered. Evil withers in the light.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cam it, dammit!

Is there money to be made selling body cams? While bringing peace on Earth?

In the US earlier this year, it became officially legal for people to use their phone cameras to film videos of policemen making arrests. When cops use excessive force, that video becomes evidence that often helps their victims obtain justice ($). A strata of rotten behavior is being more and more exposed, each instance becoming a very public record that will taint the brutal for life.

 Police forces are countering - and restraining their officers themselves - by wearing body cams.

Cams first appeared as a solution to police malpractice in police cars, where they record interactions with drivers who have been stopped. Now there are small body cams that police can clip onto their lapel. They are reported to massively reduce complaints of police violence and reports of police abuse. These cameras reduce the cost of defending officers in court; they reduce the amount paid out in judgements.

Police body cams normalize dialogue between police and civilians. Everybody is polite.

Suppose...

     ... suppose the Middle East were filled with body cams? Anyone could record acts of oppression, then have a friend upload the video. Everyone would know that their acts, especially when abusive or violent, might become part of a permanent historical record.

Would people become more polite?

The cheapest body cam appears to be selling for $38 on Amazon. One wonders what they would sell for in the back rooms of a Middle Eastern marketplace?  There may be a chance for entrepreneurialism here.  Network marketing.

Suppose many, many body cams were air-dropped into ISIS strongholds?  Suppose Palestinians suddenly started wearing body cams? Or Israeli soldiers?

The market for these things is immense, I tell you!  Much, much money to be made.

Bringing peace to Earth.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

When Surveillance Is Perfect

When surveillance is perfect and complete, then crime will be impossible.

Except for those who have made their peace with the Surveillance State.

What a product!  What a market!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blue-on-Black Crime: Ferguson

Every police department in America needs to have a contest to decide which officers among them are most likely to cost their town big money. Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are today being sought in lawsuits over police misconduct. Officers who tend to abuse their power are a liability that needs to be identified. They need to be retrained or removed.

At the same time, people of color are the most vulnerable victims of such abuse. They often living in poor neighborhoods where people are looked down on. White officers can see people in poor neighborhoods differently than black officers see them. An abusive attitude focused on minorities can, among whites, become habitual. It can become part of a shared culture.

When a mostly-white police department provides order in a mostly-black community, there is potential for major abuse. Blue-on-black crime.

So it was and so it happened, in Ferguson, MO.


On Saturday, August 9th, 2014, a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, shot six bullets into unarmed teen Michael Brown, who had been walking down the middle of the street near his home. He first wounded Brown, then killed him with a shot to the head. Forty days later, Officer Wilson still has not filed a police incident report. Perhaps it would indict him. A grand jury has spent four hours talking to him to see if they should do just that.

Whether or not the grand jury takes Wilson to task for killing Michael Brown depends on what evidence the prosecutor brings before them. If the prosecutor omits salient material, then the federal government will have proof that Michael Brown's civil rights were violated. It may proceed against those who violated them. One can hope.

Multiple witnesses saw Brown's death:

In a video deposition before the court that is the world, Michael Brown's friend
   Dorian Johnson, who was walking with him, describes the shooting.

   “They didn’t even check to see if he was breathing.”---So says a witness interviewed by the NY Times

   Timeline for a Body: 4 Hours in the Middle of a Ferguson Street

   Witness: Michael Brown was 'walking dead guy,' not rushing Ferguson officer

   Video Of Michael Brown Shooting Scene: 'He Had His F**KING HANDS IN THE AIR!'

There was a recording of the gunshots...
    Video messaging service verifies timing of CNN audio recording


On that Saturday evening, there were simple vigils at the scene of the killing.

The police dispersed the mourners.

The community erupted in anger:

The next day, a Sunday, brought vigils and demonstrations:
   Community Angered After Police Fatally Shot Unarmed Missouri Teen 
   Michael Brown Shooting By Police Sparks Vigil, Protest, Looting And Calls For Federal Probe


On Monday the 11th, it was announced that the shooting was now being investigated by the FBI:
    Outrage Over Teenager’s Death Erupts on Social Media

Monday evening, police used massive force to disperse a crowd.
   Ferguson: behind police lines helmet-cam video of tactical team teargassing protesters

The police were now violently suppressing an anti-brutality protest.


By Wednesday the 13th, reporters were being arrested:
    Ferguson PD Embraces Equality by Arresting Reporters of All Races
    Huffington Post Reporter Arrested In Ferguson
    HuffPost Reporter: I Was Arrested By Guys Who 'Like Playing Dress Up'
    In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest
    "Egregious assault on freedom of the press" in Ferguson, Mo.
"According to the Los Angeles Times' Matt Pearce, when Ferguson Police Chief Tim Jackson learned of the arrests he responded, "Oh God," and later instructed his officers to release the two men."
          Well-managed, they were.

     Later, on August 26,  Ferguson cops claim they have no records of arrests of journalists


"Hands Up - Don't Shoot" became the chant. Holding one's hands up in surrender became a statement:
   PHOTO: Howard University Students Respond To Death Of Ferguson Teen

On the evening of Wednesday the 13th,
   Ferguson Police Descend on Protesters with Arrests, Tear Gas, and Martial Law
"Police in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday arrested reporters and activists, launched tear gas at protesters, and used armored tanks and helicopters to force media out as residents continued to demand answers about the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was shot to death by an officer last weekend. "
"Photos and videos from Wednesday night show chaotic scenes as protesters run from police firing rubber bullets through thick clouds of smoke from tear gas canisters. Police also fired tear gas directly at an Al Jazeera camera crew, who had set up equipment to film the protests; after they ran to escape the fumes, officers broke down their cameras" 
In Ferguson, the police implemented heavy military gear inherited from the Pentagon in an attempt to control the demonstrators:
   Ferguson's Police Got Free Military Gear Straight From The Pentagon
   Ferguson: Militarized police use force against protesters, arrest journalists
   Ferguson Police's Show of Force Highlights Militarization of America's Cops (ABC News)

Not that they knew how or when to use it...
   US veterans:  Ferguson Police Department’s response is a clusterfuck:
      “We went through some pretty bad areas of Afghanistan, but we didn’t wear that much gear,”

   Rep. John Lewis asks Obama to declare martial law in Ferguson
   Attorney General Holder: Situation in Ferguson 'cannot continue'



On Thursday the 14th, the Missouri Highway Patrol took over the policing...
   Cpt. Johnson WALKED in the Ferguson march tonight. "We're all in this together"
   Missouri Police Captain Meets With Protesters In Ferguson
 
The protest became national. On Thursday evening,
   Protestors snarl Times Square   (lots of pix)
   Thousands in Times Square snarl traffic, chanting, "hands up, don't shoot!"
   Anonymous calls for nationwide solidarity protests
   Rand Paul: Demilitarize Police

  The New York Times - and the demonstrators - complained that the name of the killer policeman had not yet been  released. The Police Department was protecting a killer.
   WATCH:  Ferguson Protests In Three Minutes


On Friday morning, August 15th, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, in one fell swoop of a press conference, made two announcements. He first released the name of the officer, Darren Wilson, who had killed Michael Brown.

He then implicated Brown, without naming him, in a petty theft of some cigars from a convenience store that had happened earlier in the day that he died. After making these two announcements, Chief Jackson departed without taking questions. He left behind documentation specifically naming Brown as a suspect in the cigar theft.

Demonizing the victim, he was...
    The demonization of a dead, unarmed teenager is well underway ...
    Michael Brown Family 'Beyond Outraged' at 'Devious' Police Conduct

Jackson released a security videotape of the cigar theft. He claimed that there had been many requests for the tape. It turns out that he was lying. There had been no requests.


"A credible-looking new report on a site called TheBlot by independent journalist Matthew Keys claims that the Ferguson PD cannot produce any record of a member of the media requesting the surveillance tape of the robbery."
Police Chief Jackson later disavowed any connection between the theft and Brown's killing, saying that Wilson did not know at the time of the killing that Brown was a suspect. Whether Jackson blushed or not is unreported.

A further attempt at demonizing the deceased victim was made by Fox News, who falsely reported that Wilson's face had been damaged:
CNN host Rips Fox for ‘sowing doubt’ with baseless report on officer’s fractured eye socket (video)


On Saturday, August 16th, a week after the killing of Michael Brown,
   US Rethinks Giving Surplus Military Gear To Police
 
On Sunday, August 17th,
   AG Holder Ordering Federal Autopsy Be Performed at Request of Michael Brown's Family

They found several shots to the body, and two to the head. He had been wounded, then killed. There was no gunpowder evidence that he had been close to his killer.

   Police Threaten To Shoot, Mace Reporters In Ferguson
"In the most chilling incident on Sunday, police threatened to shoot Mustafa Hussein, a reporter who was filming for local Argus Radio."
John Oliver sums up the whole story with grace, humor and more than a bit of anger:
   An uproarious, moving John Oliver is perfect on Ferguson


On Monday, August 18th,
   Missouri governor lifts Ferguson curfew as National Guard called in

   Not a good sign for media access tonight in Ferguson. . . Getty Images photographer just arrested
   Redskins show solidarity with Ferguson protests:''Hands up, don't shoot'' protest makes way to NFL
"The "Hands up, don't shoot" protest has made its way to the NFL.

The Washington Redskins secondary emerged from the stadium tunnel during pregame introductions Monday night with hands raised and palms forward.

It was a show of solidarity with the people in Ferguson, Missouri, who are protesting the shooting of teenager Michael Brown."

On August 23rd,
   Obama Orders Review Of Police Use Of Military Hardware

   Ferguson fallout: A call for police 'body cams'


On August 24th
    Ferguson Reporter Breaks Down Over Police Abuse: Listen!

On August 27th
   WATCH: The Jon Stewart Ferguson Segment You've Been Waiting For

On August 28th
    Missouri police sued for $40 million over actions in Ferguson protests

On August 29th
   Officers from St. Ann, Glendale no longer employed after actions during Ferguson protests

On August 31st
   Ferguson police are using body cameras
   National March on Ferguson - photos of protestors, lists of demands

On September 3rd
   Missouri governor lifts state of emergency in Ferguson

On September 6th
   Funny Or Die Satirizes Ferguson's Militarized Police In Disturbingly Realistic 'Cops' Parody

... and right on cue, the totally tone-deaf...
   St Louis police offer to fingerprint all the children in Ferguson

Two new witnesses appeared:
    Workers who were witnesses provide new perspective on Michael Brown shooting


September 8th,
   Ferguson Sets Broad Change for City Courts
     The NYT charts dramatically how the Ferguson city government runs on fines and judgements levied on the black community. The city is now announcing reforms intended to correct that injustice. 

September 9th,
   The willingness of the prosecutor to seriously pursue a case against a police officer has come into question:
      Why Civil Rights Groups Are Calling For The Ferguson Prosecutor To Step Down

   Ferguson reforms met with rancor at city meeting
"You've lost your authority to govern this community," said St. Louis activist John Chasnoff. "You're going to have to step aside peacefully if this community is going to heal."
   Ferguson council faces calls for reform at first meeting since teen's shooting
"Wild applause rang out from the crowd as people addressing the council called on Knowles to step down, and complained of ineffective city leadership, police harassment and racial profiling, among other grievances. Several also said that the police chief must be fired. Many warned that civil unrest would continue, and could expand if Wilson was not arrested."
   Cops Start Using Body Cameras [VIDEO]


September 10th,
   More protests in Ferguson over shooting
   - slide show, attempt to shut down Interstate 70

September 11th,
   What More Will It Take to Arrest Darren Wilson?

September 15th,
    Is the Man Tasked with Prosecuting Darren Wilson Actually Raising Money for Him?
    Ferguson protesters call anew to remove prosecutor

September 21st,
   This 11-Year-Old Perfectly Sums Up The Problems In Ferguson
     - an utter genius. With a future.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs1L8HTY_7o

September 24th,
    Justice Department Investigates Ferguson Police
"There was no public comment period but tables were set up for people to share their concerns privately with DOJ officials. And investigators got an earful.

Brandon Smith, 28, told investigators he moved away from Ferguson four years ago because he was constantly harassed. He said he was once cited for "manner of walking in roadway" and jailed on $1,000 bond for the misdemeanor. He said he posted bond and never got the money back."
Will the city of Ferguson be required to return all the money that has been improperly taken from its residents?

   DC Police to Start Wearing Body Cameras
   
September 25th,
   Ferguson police chief apologizes to Michael Brown's parents



Perspective...

Missouri was a slave state. St. Louis was a slave market. Racism is nothing new in Missouri:
   'Show Me' Missouri racism

Ferguson police have a police record:
   Report: Ferguson Police Beat Up Wrong Suspect Then Charged Him For Getting Blood On Uniforms In 2009
   The Day Ferguson Cops Were Caught in a Bloody Lie
   Ferguson Cop Accused Of Hog-Tying And Choking 12-Year-Old
   At least 5 Ferguson officers apart from Brown shooter have been named in lawsuits
   Cop Who Shot Michael Brown Began Career At Racist, Disbanded PD


Police body cams cost as little as $36 on Amazon.

Dashboard cams on police cars, body cams on police officers appear to be the coming solution for police abuse. The fruits of the information age are undoing the machine age's iron fist.


A solution for poverty is still in the works.
- - -

This story will continue. I may append updates now and then, to keep the history of it all together.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The CIA Confesses To Spying On Congress, Obama Admits Torture Happened

Two dramatic confessions this last month. Story lines are developing ever more rapidly.

First, the CIA has admitted that it spied on members of Congress:

07/31/14   "CIA, On Careful Reflection, Remembers It Hacked Senate Computers After All"

08/06/14   "CIA Admits to Spying on Senate but No Prosecutions to Follow"

   Congress is supposed to oversee the intelligence agencies, but they overlook instead. As the story of CIA torture prisons grew over the years, the specific details of the suffering we imposed made it hard for our representatives to continue their elective blindness. So they set up shop over at CIA headquarters with a computer kindly loaned to them by the CIA that they could use to examine the CIA records. Which, of course, was bugged. And they noticed.
 
US lawmakers say CIA censored torture report to avoid embarrassment.
"Several people who have read the full report, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss still-classified material, say it shows that the CIA interrogation program was far more brutal than previously understood, and that CIA officials repeatedly misled Congress and the Justice Department about what was being done to al-Qaida detainees. The report asserts that no unique, life-saving intelligence was gleaned for the harsh techniques."

   Then the President admitted, "We tortured," referring to actions taken before he came into office.

08/02/14  Obama steps up to call Bush-era CIA Torture “Torture,” Despite Legal Implications
 
08/25/14  Obama: 'We Tortured Some Folks'

   He broke with his long-held position of letting the past be the past so that we can all move forward together into the bright new world of the future. America's past now stands in front of us, between us and that bright new world. Casting a shadow.

 The Geneva Convention:  No Exceptional Circumstances Whatsoever... May Be Invoked as a Justification of Torture

The past must be reconciled. If our future is to be firm and sure, torture must not be allowed ever again to occur.

What action Congress will take to make its creations manageable, what action the President will take to make our country's actions honorable before the world - this is up to them and up to us.

Body Cams For Everyone In Ten Years

Wearing a body cam tends to ensures good behavior on the part of others. Why should their use be limited to the police?

Body cams are digital technology. Their cost will probably decline about as fast as the price of other computer technology, which drops in half about every two years.

In 2014, outfitting a policeman with a body cam costs about $1000. ($400 for the cam, $600 for the monitoring system.)

In 2016, two years later, the cost will be halved to $500. Four years later, in 2020, $125. In 2024, the cost to outfit a person will be $31.25.

Every school kid can wear a cam. Bullying will be ended. But so will spontaneity, unless special places can be set aside where people can be as they are and not need to play to all the cameras.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Crowd-Source Police Body Cams For Your Own Police Department?

Crowd-source body cams for your own police?

Suppose a community equips every police officer with a body cam? This will record their every move and also every move of someone they are talking to. Police are tamer, so are citizens. People can trust police when they know that the police know that the whole world is - or soon could be - watching.

A movement that provides free body-cams to police will cut down on crime. How can they resist it?

Suppose it goes global?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

"Just Gotta Be Me..."

The people who spy on the NSA have set heads twirling this July 4th with the news that the NSA is now "'targeting" anyone who is interested in maintaining their privacy.

Revealed: 'Collect It All' NSA Targets Those Seeking Web Privacy
"Merely visiting privacy-related websites is enough for a user's IP address to be logged into an NSA database,' says new report."
The counter-spies decoded the NSA's 'filter' apps that lets them identify people to be targeted, and they found that the rules are pretty general.

NSA targets the privacy-conscious
"The NSA tracks all connections to a server that hosts part of an anonymous email service at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It also records details about visits to a popular internet journal for Linux operating system users called "the Linux Journal - the Original Magazine of the Linux Community", and calls it an "extremist forum".
NSA even targets those too poor for computers. In some impoverished places, old desktops are stripped of their hard drives and set up for visitors to boot using a USB flash drive. For $5, this gives a person his own computer. 

"Another tool specifically named in the NSA’s code is Tails, a Linux-based operating system specially designed for privacy and security which filters all of its Internet traffic through Tor and can be run from a CD-ROM or USB stick."
Is the NSA going to track every privacy-loving poor person on the earth? If your government is less than democratic, would you not use Tails?


The findings also contradict NSA longstanding claims that its surveillance targets only those suspected of engaging in activity that threatens national security.

“They say ‘We’re not doing indiscriminate searches,’ but this is indiscriminate,” Opsahl notes. “It’s saying that anyone who is looking for those various [services] are suspicious persons.”
While the NSA states that they do not target U.S. citizens in the USA,
"In this example, under the NSA’s procedures, a U.S. citizen sending an email about Putin’s frequent, shirtless poses to another U.S. citizen could have their communications intercepted and analyzed by NSA under a variety of conditions:"
... which include the condition that when the NSA can't tell whether you are connecting to the internet from inside the US or not because your privacy program won't let them, then you are targetable.

 Cover your gonads, and the NSA will think that you're hiding something. Your very wish for privacy justifies their interest.

You don't even have to be actually interested in retaining your privacy. Just in the idea of retaining it - that's enough to make you a potential terrorist, in the NSA's view.

Boing-boing has a very good article about it, titled

   "If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance"


How can a person avoid being targeted? To avoid being targeted you need to never visit a long list of sites. The NSA has the list. You don't. The list is always changing.

If you want to find out about not being targeted, you will need to visit sites that describe being targeted. Doing this will cause the NSA to target you. So to avoid being targeted, you need to be sure never to visit any of the sites that they won't tell you about and that you dare not try to find out about.

Good luck.

Eventually, anyone intelligent will be on their target list. Early arrivals get extra points.


So what does being targeted mean?

"Targeting" means that they think you are a potential terrorist. They will retain your records permanently.

Of course, the NSA is getting leakier and leakier. It doesn't take any special program to learn about the holes in their cheese:
"I do not believe that this came from the Snowden documents. I also don't believe the TAO catalog came from the Snowden documents. I think there's a second leaker out there."
Swiss.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Genius

"Greenhouse is a browser plugin created by Nicholas Rubin, a 16-year-old programmer. It seeks out the names of elected US officials on any web-page you load in your browser and adds a pop-up link to their names listing the major donors to their campaigns."    Full story...

This discovery thanks to boingboing.net, a wonderful site wanting to be bookmarked.

The Triple-Pot Latte

There's nothing quite like the vigor and vim that comes from a large cup of strong coffee loaded with sugar. The caffeine lights the fire, and the sugar feeds the flames. What previously was urgent is suddenly imperative, what was impossible is delightfully doable.

How, one wonders, might this be improved?

The other day I ordered a latte at a local espresso stand before going on into a theater to see "The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD". They had no interesting syrups to sweeten it with. No peppermint, no hazelnut, no chocolate or vanilla. Only agave syrup. I tried it. No flavor to speak of. Its flavor was subtle, as they say.

The next other day, I was browsing online the cannabis edibles I could enjoy if I were simply to move to Colorado and what did I see?  Agave syrup.

What was inconceivable became delightfully doable.  A medium latte contains two shots of espresso. Add three shots of cannabis agave, and what do you get?  How will you know?

It's time now for this blog's yearly April 20th look at how the holy weed of the ancient San Franciscans has been doing lately, a review delayed slightly this year for ahem personal  reasons.

For those in a hurry, Huffington Post hits the highlights with their yearly review.

 11/09/2012 - Counties in Washington State drop marijuana possession cases in response to vote.

 4/05/2013 - Seattle police return marijuana taken from street dealers

 4/20/2013 - Prohibition now costs the government $20 billion a year.
Imagine the improvements if that much money were spent on education.

 May 17th - The Organization of American States said that countries should consider decriminalizing drug use.

 May 24th - Marijuana cannabinoids slow brain degradation and aging, reverse dementia

 May 25th - 47 percent of Americans say pot should be legal to grow.

 Jul 21st - A new federally funded study proves that marijuana is safe and effective as a medicine.
Not what they planned to prove, but what can they do?
"The goal of the study was to disprove the many other studies that show cannabis to be safe and effective in treating symptoms, side-effects and diseases. Guess what? The CMCR came to the same conclusion as those other studies: marijuana is medically useful and effective. Oops. That’s rather inconvenient, isn’t it?"
Aug 7th - CNN's Sanjay Gupta says Americans terribly and systematically misled about marijuana. He stated that the DEA has no scientific basis for the claim that marijuana has no medical value.

Aug 12th - A Dr. Sanjay Gupta Special: WEED shows how kids sick with epilepsy are helped by cannabidiol.

Aug 12th - AG  Eric Holder presents new Justice Department drug sentencing reforms.

Aug 18th - A report from Hempfest in Seattle:
"I haven't been to it in a few years, but I had to go do THIS one... the first one where marijuana is legal!"

Aug 19th - 82% of Americans believe that the US is losing the war on drugs.

Aug 20th - White House won't say if federal position on medical marijuana will be swayed by the Sanjay Gupta video.

 Aug 21st - State officials say DOJ has given 'tacit approval' for legal marijuana

 Aug 26th - The Senate Judiciary Committee invites AG Holder to discuss clash between fed and state marijuana laws.

 Aug 29th - DOJ will let the Washington and Colorado marijuana laws go into effect.

 Aug 30 - Is the war on drugs coming to an end?
"The Justice Department's announcement that it would not block Colorado and Washington from implementing state laws legalizing marijuana marked a sea change."

 Aug 30 - Police groups furious about AG Eric Holder's mrijuana policy 

 Sep 05 - Republican John McCain says "Maybe we should legalize. We're certainly moving that way as far as marijuana is concerned. I respect the will of the people."

 Sep 12 - Even Neo-con Grover Norquist and the tea party favor equal government tax treatment for legal marijuana businesses.
"Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, the group that pressed congressional Republicans to sign a strict anti-tax pledge, stood alongside Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a tea party favorite, at a Thursday press conference to advocate for the change."
At issue is a section of the federal tax code that prohibits businesses considered drug traffickers from taking basic tax deductions for business expenses.
 Sep 20th - NBC News reports that cannabidiol (CBD) turns off the cancer gene involved in metastasis findings.


 Sep 26 - Colorado marijuana industry gets $1 million from an investor group

 Oct 17 - California is poised to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

 Oct 31 - One in four Americans would buy pot if it were legal. This is not a trivial market.

 Nov 05 - Portland, Maine, legalizes recreational marijuana. Adults may possess up to 2.5 ounces legally.

 Nov 09 - The NAACP supports marijuana rights:  "the NAACP's Board of Directors passed a resolution last month in support of H.R. 1523 -- the Respect States Marijuana Laws Act."


 Nov 21 - Feds and the local police raid pot shops as they prep for January openings.
"Just weeks before shops are to start selling marijuana for recreational use in Colorado, federal and local law enforcement raided stores across the Metro area Thursday morning."

 Dec 29, 2013 - Colorado prepares for legal recreational sales.

 Jan 1st, 2014  - The nation's first legal recreational pot market opened in Colorado today.

 January 3rd - Bill to legalize pot introduced in Vermont.

 Jan  6th - Ad agencies prepare for the legal marijuana market. "Their goal is to make it not only acceptable, but hip..."   Uh...

 Jan 15th - The New Hampshire House just became the first state body to ok recreational use.

 Jan 19th - President Obama says that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol.

 Jan 27th - Bush holdover DEA chief slams Obama for saying marijuana less dangerous than alcohol.

 Feb 28th - Alaskans will be able to vote for recreational marijuana on their summer ballot

 March 9th - In California, the Democratic party platform backs legalization.

 March 10th - Colorado collects $2 million in recreational pot taxes in January alone.

 March 14th - Stephen Colbert  "The market has spoken and the market is toking."

 March 24th - A state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to legalize recreational use in New Jersey

 April 1st - DC mayor signed a bill decriminalizing up to an ounce of marijuana.

 April 4th - Attorney General Eric Holder said that he would be glad to work with Congress to reschedule marijuana.  It isn't addictive, toxic, or lacking in medicinal uses, and it looks kind of funny up there at the top of the dangerous drug list.

 April 7th - Michelle Leonhart, Bush-holdover DEA chief, thinks marijuana legalization will kill puppies. After all, you only have to look at the dogs that have already died from the illegal usage.

 April 14th - Maryland has decriminalised marijuana. Under 10 grams is a civil offense, now.

 April 15th - Tourists flock to Colorado, where crime is down and marijuana is up.


 April 16th - Can smoking marijuana "change your brain?"   Bad science says "yes!"



 April 16th - The ZaZZZ cannabis-edibles vending machine from American Green will be installed in the Herbal Elements dispensary in Vail, Colorado. Very soon.


 April 24th - John Paul Stevens, retired Supreme Court Justice, thinks marijuana should be legalized.

 May 5th - The chief of the DEA, a Bush hold-over, refuses to support drug sentencing reforms, although her boss the Attorney General is all for them.

 May 5th - The federal government just ordered a thousand pounds of marijuana. They need to do research, so the DEA upped their yearly allotment from 21 kg to 650 kg.

 May 6th - Nobel Prize - winning economists say we should end the war on drugs.

 May 6th - An army base was broken into and covered in pot seeds. "A group of anti-war Italians opposed to a US Army base in their midst broke into said Army base last week, where they planted about 200,000 marijuana seeds, reports Stars and Stripes."

 May 8th - Oklahoma initiatives for the November ballot would make marijuana a legal, exportable cash crop.

  May 14th - Kentucky sues the DEA to free its impounded hemp seeds. They were intended for agricultural research.  The win could be big if the judge bases it on the following:
"The public interest is not served by allowing unaccountable federal agencies to exercise arbitrary and capricious powers, not rationally related to carrying out any legitimate governmental purpose."  says the Kentucky Department of Agriculture lawsuit.
 May 21st - Colorado will spend $10 million researching marijuana's medical benefits

June 3rd -  Denver Post's Marijuana Reviews are Smokin'  -  "I found my legs tethered to the ground with my head meandering in the sky.”

June 3rd - Obama signs farm bill which legalizes hemp growing.

 June 4th - NYT columnist Maureen Dowd over-ate pot candy in a lonely Colorado hotel room and lived to write about it.

June 4th - California weed industry worth $31 billion a year. "... more than the combined value of California’s ten largest agricultural commodities."

June 8th -  Denver crime falls over 10 percent in wake of pot legalization

June 8th - Mexican President open to legalization.

 June 11th - New report blasts DEA for spending 40 years obstructing marijuana science.

June 13th - Jamaica to decriminalize personal marijuana possession - less than 2 ounces in a public space is legal. In a private space...?

 June 19th - The Senate could follow the House in blocking DEA enforcement against medical marijuana use. A bill has been proposed. The House passed their version of it with surprising alacrity.

 June 19th - The Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize marijuana.  Up to an ounce, oh my... ...  . . . (I use www. realtor.com for all my re-location daydreams...)

 June 20th -  And finally, the pope, after cancelling his appointments for the next month, has declared recreational drugs bad. Doesn't lead to the desired results, he says. Patience, o holy one. Sometimes it takes a party or two to realize the jubilee that is going on inside you.

 Says this ancient former San Franciscan candlemaker.