I like thinking about politics and I like marijuana,
Originally published on August 13th in honor of Fidel Castro’s birthday, now reposted in honor of his death, here are some charts as eye openers for you throughout the day. Don’t believe the propaganda.
The Judge is Wise. Watch this video.
Via Ed Brayton, Judge Jim Gray, a conservative California judge with lots of experience fighting drugs, says the present policy benefits drug lords and terrorists among others. After laying out his case, Jones concludes the most patriotic thing he can do is work to repeal drug laws:
I like how the judge has to lay out his hardass bonafides before launching into his anti-prohibition arguments. “I’m not a dirty hippie, dammit!” Nixon to China and all that. Hey man, whatever it takes!
Then there is the social justice argument that he leaves largely unsaid. I caught some of this interview with Michelle Alexander last week, laying out the racial angle of the War on Drugs, and it’s pretty appalling.
The war on drugs waged in these ghetto communities has managed to brand as felons millions of people of color for relatively minor, nonviolent drug offenses. And once branded a felon, they’re ushered into a permanent second-class status, not unlike the one we supposedly left behind. Those labeled felons may be denied the right to vote, are automatically excluded from juries, and my be legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, public benefits, much like their grandparents or great grandparents may have been discriminated against during the Jim Crow era.[…]
The war on drugs, contrary to popular belief, was not declared in response to rising drug crime. Actually, the war on drugs, the current drug war, was declared in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan at a time when drug crime was actually on the decline. A few years later, crack cocaine hit the streets in poor communities of color across America, and the Reagan administration hired staff to publicize crack babies, crack mothers, crack dealers in inner-city communities, in an effort to build public support and more funding, and ensure more funding, for the new war that had been declared. But the drug war had relatively little to do with drug crime, even from the outset.
The drug war was launched in response to racial politics, not drug crime. The drug war was part of the Republican Party’s grand strategy, often referred to as the Southern strategy, an effort to appear—appeal to poor and working-class white voters who were threatened by, felt vulnerable, threatened by the gains of the civil rights movement, particularly desegregation, busing and affirmative action. And the Republican Party found that it could get Democrats—white, you know, working-class poor Democrats—to defect from the Democratic New Deal coalition and join the Republican Party through racially coded political appeals on issues of crime and welfare.
Lovely. Part II of the interview is here.
Senator Kennedy called health care reform “the cause of my life.” We’ve seen comments from across the country saying the Senate should pass the strong reform bill that came out of Kennedy’s health committee — which includes the public health insurance option — and name it “The Kennedy Bill” in his honor.
PETITION: “Ted Kennedy was a courageous champion for health care reform his entire life. In his honor, name the reform bill that passed Kennedy’s health committee ‘The Kennedy Bill’ — then pass it, and nothing less, through the Senate.”
In less than an hour, over 1,000 people have already signed! All signatures will be hand-delivered to the offices of Harry Reid and other key senators in Washington DC next Monday, August 31 — just as the Senate is returning from August recess.
Senators will soon choose between Kennedy’s bill and another being written by conservative Democrats and Republicans, which likely will not include a public option. Let’s honor Kennedy’s memory by naming his own bill after him — and telling his Senate colleagues it would be a disgrace to vote against it or to water it down.
Then, please forward this email to others.
Kagro makes the excellent point not to let the hypocrites slap Kennedy’s name on just any old health reform bill, but instead make sure it’s tied specifically to the public option.
Today, Muntadher al-Zaidi was sentenced to 3 years in jail for throwing two shoes at George W. Bush. Muntadher al-Zaidi is my hero. This from CNN
“I could only see Bush and feel the blood of the innocents flow under his feet, as he was smiling that smile — as if he had come to bid farewell to Iraq and with the last support and more than 1 million martyrs,” al-Zaidi said. “At that moment, I felt this is the man who killed our nation … the main murderer and the main person responsible for killing our nation.”
Speaking in his first public appearance since his arrest two months ago, al-Zaidi told the court he “got emotional and threw the shoe at him” and “the second one was involuntary.”
“I had no intention to kill the commander of the occupying forces … even if I had a weapon … I was expressing my inner feelings and those of all the Iraqi people from east to west and north to south and the feelings of hatred they hold for him,” he said.
Al-Zaidi told the judge that he had intended to humiliate Bush in the past. As Bush listed the gains made in Iraq during the mid-December news conference, al-Zaidi said he was thinking about the millions of civilians who had been killed, widowed or displaced. He talked about the sanctity of mosques being violated, the rape of women and daily humiliations.
“I don’t know what accomplishments he was talking about. The accomplishments I could see were the more than 1 million martyrs and a sea of blood,” al-Zaidi said. “There are more than 5 million Iraqi orphans because of the occupation. … More than a million widows and more than 3 million displaced because of the occupation.”
If you truly hate hypocrisy, how could you resist throwing your shoe at GW Bush?
We haven’t kicked around the torture question on this website yet. Not whether we oppose it (I presume we all do), but whether or not we need to see some upcoming prosecutions, truth commissions, all of the above, none of the above. The US presidency has a pretty shameful history of absolving the previous administration’s criminal actions (see Watergate, Iran-Contra, et al.), so I am not particularly hopeful about prosecutions. As for the 9/11 style truth commissions… if everyone already has immunity and prosecutions are off the table, who exactly in the intelligence community is going to come forth and sully their reputation? The best we can hope for is probably a few declassified memos and a newfound condemnation of torture practices.
To me, the speculation on whether or not Bush will preemptively pardon those responsible for the torture regime is a joke. The power players would never allow the new administration to make that kind of trouble. (Indeed, the apologists love to claim that big name Democratic congressmen were always in the know). So why would he acknowledge the criminality of his people’s behavior with a pardon? Honestly, I would love to see those pardons, because it would not only be an effective admission of guilt, but would also signify a real fear that “change is gonna come”.
All of this is a somewhat long way of highlighting this op-ed article from today’s Washington Post by a US interrogator in Iraq who was opposed to the use of torture techniques.
I know the counter-argument well — that we need the rough stuff for the truly hard cases, such as battle-hardened core leaders of al-Qaeda, not just run-of-the-mill Iraqi insurgents. But that’s not always true: We turned several hard cases, including some foreign fighters, by using our new techniques. A few of them never abandoned the jihadist cause but still gave up critical information. One actually told me, “I thought you would torture me, and when you didn’t, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That’s why I decided to cooperate.”
Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there’s the pragmatic side: Torture and abuse cost American lives.
I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.
This dude has evidently written a book about his experiences and the “false choice between torture and terror”. Sadly, he still feels the need to write under a false name for fear of reprisals. This truth stuff is serious business.
Franken pulled me in to Air America. I know ‘some people’ found his show kinda corny but I loved it. For that reason and because I think he’ll do some good in Congress, I’m really hoping he comes out on top. Anyone else looking for some decent analysis on his prospects, check out this research. Synopsis: history says he has a great chance to make up the ~200 vote deficit, but just barely.
* * * Uila Update * * *
A 200 vote difference is statistical insanity. Though I suspect the insanity is only just beginning…
The recount in the Minnesota Senate race hasn’t even begun yet, but already the GOP is working to delegitimize it in advance, by smearing the man who will run it as a partisan Democrat.[…] the GOP gambit […] appears to be to cast public doubt on the integrity of the recount process, thereby bolstering Coleman’s claim that’s he’s the rightful winner and that a recount is unnecessary — just the strategy pursued by George Bush’s campaign in Florida in 2000.
Indeed, Coleman’s shrinking lead in the first count has already prompted him to try to question the ongoing vote counting. A lawyer for the campaign yesterday told The Politico: “We’re not going to sit idly by, while mysterious, statistically dubious changes in vote totals take place after official government offices close.”
The GOP Florida governor is extending early voting hours due to the large numbers they are seeing at the polls. Imagine that, giving folks ample time to cast their votes. Apparently some GOP insiders think this ruins McCain’s chances in Florida. So they were banking on voter suppression?
Here’s a nice little break from the hypocrisy…