November 8, 2012
[FACT comments: It’s hard not to notice how insignificant humans are in the grand scheme…]
November 8, 2012
The Atlantic: September 3, 2012
November 6, 2012
Unfortunately for Gary, and for the rest of us humans, his vote was wasted. Not a single one of all the lofty ideals mentioned in Gary’s poem can be accomplished by voting no matter that they are all essential to our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
Presidential election day always makes me more deeply ashamed to be an American. Instead of being a beacon of freedom and human rights, we’re just a tired, old sham dismantling the Constitution, whose rights were the one and only thing that made the US a different, and better, country. No more. America is now a caricature of its founding ideals. [CONTINUES BELOW]
Dissident Voice: November 5, 2012
I voted today. …
I voted for peace and justice and sanity
In an insane world of violence and injustice.
I voted for clear streams, rivers, and seas;
Bright stars in a cedar-scented night-sky;
Whale-songs heard in unpolluted oceans.
Not for the lesser of two evils,
But for the greatest good for the greatest number—
For nothing less, I voted.
I voted for climate-change victims;
And for those torn apart by war;
Against the Empire, and for the planet;
For the hungry and forgotten,
For the terrified and abused–
Against the military-industrial-media complex
And for the dream of MLK–
I voted for Iraqi mothers and Afghani;
In Pakistan and around the world—
Because each of them is my mother, also,
Weeping like Rachel for her lost children.
For Kathy Kelly and Rachel Corrie,
For Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney,
Jill Stein, Helen Caldicott and Medea B.–
For standing against madness and lies,
Opportunism and exploitation—
For all of them, I voted.
For brothers in exile I voted;
For the martyred, the betrayed, the abandoned—
Ishmael, Aguinaldo, Sandino and Guevara;
Tashtunka Witco, Tecumseh, Bradley Manning—
For this council of leaders, I voted.
Against slavery and wage-slavery;
Sexploitation, television and bad food;
The corruption of Art; mis-education;
The torture of humans and animals;
Our prison-work-complex and sham democracy;
Citizens United; the Electoral College;
And every meme kicked down the road
By glutinous politicians and their corporate masters—
Against all of this, I voted.
To pass from these Dark Ages
To a Renaissance of Reason,
To a New Age of Enlightenment–
That truths may be reclaimed;
For the wisdom to discern;
That children may be honored
With cleanliness and virtue,
With books and venerable teachers;
That all may be protected
From the ravenous and greedy—
To see the planet whole;
To know our place upon it;
To nurture and restore it;
To abide in moderation,
With compassionate humility;
That the arts might consecrate us—
For the best that lies within us;
For the fortitude to harness;
For the healing grace that’s needed.
For the courage to continue–
Frankly, I was pretty amazed at the close finals between a Mormon born in Mexico and a could-be black, President Al Jolson. Do you really have nothing better to think about than this phony reality TV?
These meat puppets spent six billion dollars advertising themselves to convince you to vote for them. Think about the good a responsible govt could do for all citizens with that enormous sum. Instead, it was spent to elect just another millionaire to commit further atrocities in our name. That money could have gone to your kids’ education.
Drugs. And why? Is somebody going to break into your house and still your flatscreen? If so, you live in the w-r-o-n-g neighbourhood, homes. Millions of people, mostly poor and of colour are in prison. This means they can’t ever vote…if there’s ever anybody better to choose than these bozos.
This election day, 7,225,800 Americans are in prison or parole, mostly people of colour. This means they can’t ever vote—big loss, eh?–…if there’s ever anybody better to choose than these bozos.
Foreclosure. You bought shit you didn’t have the money to pay for. That’s supposed to be the big American dream, isn’t it? But it’s really like playing Monopoly—sometimes you lose. Take a lesson from Occupy: “You are not a loan. You are not alone.” That’s your house. If little Iceland, pop. 300K, can tell the big banks to take a hike, so can you. Don’t leave, not matter what their threats. In America, you can’t be jailed for debt…not yet.
Terrorism. Yeah, where, exactly? All the terrorism plots in the US have been instigated by our FBI. Watch out when you cross the street—it’s way more dangerous.
Frankly, if you think this election is important, I don’t have much sympathy. Meat Loaf…and Fox News do..
Universal health care, even for poor people, caring for the elderly, free education for all with no student loans. All these initiatives which are fundamental to any democratic society could be paid for tomorrow…by deleting the US military.
How, exactly, does the military make you safer in your home?
President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1909 African expedition with his son Kermit brought back to the Smithsonian 5,013 mammals, 4,453 birds, and 2,322 reptiles and amphibians, according to Theodore Roosevelt the Naturalist [!!!] by Paul R. Cutright (1956).
Presidents of today hunt humans with drones. Just like animals in Africa in 1909, there are far too many of them to matter.
Tell me again why this election was important???
It’s high time to call bullshit on this whole system because it’s only reality TV. If you buy into their system, tough luck on you, Bubba.
Break out of the puzzle palace. The USA has stopped being so special.
I don’t buy into a lot of the far-out conspiracy theory. But if you don’t think both these guys have been cloned by aliens, they’ll likely abduct you in your sleep.
Sweet dreams, America.
Freedom Against Censorship[ Thailand (FACT)
November 6, 2012
Meatheads: Barack Obameat & Meat Romney
Incredible Things: nd
Meat the Meatheads is a project by Jason Mecier for Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. It features two jerky collages of President Barack Obameat and Republican candidate Meat Romney. Each took 50 hours to produce and contains a variety of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky flavors, like Original, turkey, sweet & hot, and smokehouse. They all sound good to me! I don’t consider myself a particularly political person, but I do consider myself a particularly hungry all the time person, so this type of spin on the election is riiiiight up my alley. What can I say, I think with my stomach! In school I voted for the kid who said he’d make every day pizza day in the cafeteria if we elected him president of the 4th grade. Sure, it didn’t happen, but I still voted for him the next year when he promised the same thing. I never learn!
November 6, 2012
Gary Johnson is not the only Libertarian candidate against US wars of aggression.
In my view, he’s the only one who’s not a crackpot.
Chance of winning: ZERO. But do you really want to vote for a Bozo against worse Bozos?!?
They’re all Bozos on this bus.
The only question remains is, do you want to lose your integrity by being a Bozo, or vote your conscience.
Vote for YOURSELF!
Gore Vidal on the US presidency:
“At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation, and prejudice. Of course George Bush and Dick Cheney have committed acts that would merit impeachment. In a proper country, they would be tried as traitors. You don’t lie to a country, get it into a war, waste a trillion dollars, kill a lot of people all because of your vanity and lust for oil and admiration for your corporate partners. If that isn’t treason, I don’t know what is.”
Et tu, Barry…
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)
Top Obama Adviser: Awlaki’s 16-Year-Old Son Should Have Had a More Responsible Father If He Wanted Us Not to Kill Him-AntiWar
November 6, 2012
Robert Gibbs said if US citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki didn’t want to be killed he “should have a far more responsible father”
AntiWar: October 24, 2012
When Robert Gibbs, former White House Press Secretary and a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, was asked why the administration killed the 16-year old son of suspected al-Qaeda member and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki via a drone strike last year, he said it was the boy’s fault for having a father like Awlaki.
Anwar al-Awlaki was killed last year in a drone strike in Yemen ordered by the Obama administration. The killing made headlines particularly because Awlaki was an American citizen, but his constitutional rights to due process were thrown out the window in favor of simply assassinating him.
Awlaki’s 16-year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was also a US citizen and was killed in a separate drone strike in Yemen weeks after his father’s death. Abdulrahman had not been accused of being a member of al-Qaeda or of any act against the United States that could conceivably motivate a US strike.
When pressed by reporters and independent journalists, Gibbs responded to questions about the Obama administration’s killing of the American boy by dismissing his life as virtually worthless and blaming his father, Anwar, for his son’s death by presidential decree.
“I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children,” Gibbs said. “I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.”
Gibbs dodged any further questioning on the issue, but in his answer defended the killing of a 16-year old American boy “not by arguing that the kid was a threat,” writes The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf, “or that killing him was an accident, but by saying that his late father irresponsibly joined al Qaeda terrorists.”
“Killing an American citizen without due process on that logic ought to be grounds for impeachment,” Friedersdorf adds.
November 6, 2012
The New York Review of Books: October 22, 2012
It’s a social policy that, many experts agree, has failed miserably since it was introduced more than forty years ago, tearing apart families and communities across the United States, consuming tens of thousands of lives abroad, and squandering huge sums of money. Yet hardly any national politician is willing to challenge it, and it’s been completely ignored during the 2012 presidential campaign.
I’m speaking of the war on drugs. Since 1971, when Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one” and stated his intention of waging a “new, all-out offensive” against it, the government has spent an estimated trillion dollars on the war. Much of that money has gone to street-level drug arrests, undercover raids, intelligence taskforces, highway patrols, and—most costly of all—prison beds. Of the 2.3 million people in prison in the United States today, nearly half a million are there for drug offenses, many of them of the low-level, nonviolent variety. In 2010, 1.64 million people were arrested for drug violations—80 percent of them for possession.
In Latin America, the war on drugs has sown misery across a vast swath of territory stretching from the coca fields of Peru to Mexico’s border with the United States. Billions have been spent on crop eradication, commando units, military training, unmanned surveillance drones, and helicopters. The result has been endless bloodshed, widespread corruption, and political instability. In Mexico alone, an estimated 50,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in the nearly six years since Mexican President Felipe Calderón (encouraged by Washington) declared war on his nation’s drug cartels. One result of the crackdown has been to push traffickers into Central America, where they now terrorize Guatemalans and Hondurans. All the while, drugs continue to flow unabated into the United States. In 1981, a pure gram of cocaine cost $669 (adjusted for inflation); today, it goes for $177.
As for consumption, cocaine use has decreased considerably since its peak in the mid-1980s, and methamphetamine use has also subsided after a destructive surge in the 2000s. But the abuse of prescription drugs, especially of opioid painkillers, has grown to what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “epidemic” levels, and the number of accidental overdose deaths from such substances has soared. This spurt underscores that the real source of our drug problem lies not in Mexico or Colombia but inside our own borders, and that arresting and locking up users is a singularly ineffective way of addressing it.
On taking office four years ago, President Obama consciously retired the war-on-drugs rhetoric, and at every opportunity Gil Kerlikowske, his director of national drug control policy, describes drug abuse as a public-health problem. Nonetheless, the administration has largely continued the policy of its predecessors, devoting around 60 percent of the federal drug budget (now about $25 billion a year) to law enforcement, interdiction, and fighting drug cartels abroad and the remainder to treatment and prevention. In two areas, the administration has shown special zeal: prosecuting medical marijuana providers and extending the drug war to a host of new countries, including not only Honduras and Guatemala but also Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. The US is now trying to fight drug abuse in America by sending counternarcotics teams to Accra and Lagos.
Exposing the madness of the US drug war is the aim of The House I Live In, a new documentary written and directed by Eugene Jarecki. Like Jarecki’s previous film Why We Fight, a hard-hitting critique of the military-industrial complex, The House I Live In offers a sharp indictment of its subject, in part through frank interviews with several individuals who—once key props in the system—have turned decisively against it. One is Mark Bennett, a federal judge who describes his frustration at having sentenced hundreds of people to prison for fifteen years or more under the nation’s harsh mandatory-minimum laws. Another is a Kentucky prison guard who looks like he could have been Rod Steiger’s sidekick in “In the Heat of the Night” but who bemoans that his prison is largely filled with small-time drug offenders who have no business being there.
The House I Live In is especially effective at capturing the damage the drug war has inflicted on black America. Many of those given long prison sentences are African-American, male, and poor, and the film shows the wrenching effects their incarceration has had on their families and communities. In the film, David Simon, creator of The Wire, ably explains how the lack of economic opportunities in the inner city has pushed many young blacks into drug-dealing. Michelle Alexander, the legal scholar and author of the best-selling The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, describes how the war on drugs has replicated the effects of the Jim Crow laws in the South, subjecting black men to what amounts to discriminatory treatment in the criminal justice system.
Jarecki also makes clear how the drug war has given rise to interest groups vested in its continuation. These include police officers who rack up many hours of overtime, prison guards who can count on good salaries and benefits, and private prison operators who need to keep their beds filled. For the many Americans who, lulled by the lack of debate about drug war policy in Washington, have not been paying attention to it, such revelations will no doubt prove eye-opening.
The question is, how many of them will actually see the film? Few documentaries manage to gain a wide viewership, and The House I Live In has several shortcomings that, I fear, will limit its audience. At an hour and forty-eight minutes, it feels quite long. It features an extensive cast of characters who, flitting in and out of the film, are hard to keep straight. Though the film forcefully shows the noxious effects of the drug war, it barely takes note of the toxic effects of the drugs themselves. Drugs are seen exclusively as an issue that politicians exploit to show their toughness on crime. Even the crack epidemic is dismissed as a crisis that has been manufactured to justify a crackdown on African-Americans. But that epidemic was real and did incalculable damage to the black community.
Nor is the film helped by its forced effort to liken Washington’s drug policy to Nazi Germany. After an extended look at the disproportionate impact on black America, The House I Live In suddenly pivots to show that blacks have not in fact been its only victims. As a result of the recent surge in methamphetamine abuse, many whites have gotten caught up in the criminal justice system for low-level drug-related offenses. With the Jim Crow analysis inapplicable here, the film turns to Richard Miller, a historian who compares the drug war to, of all things, the Holocaust. Images of people being arrested on America’s streets are intercut with photos of Jews being forced into ghettoes and otherwise persecuted. By engaging in such outlandish hyperbole, The House I Live In seems intent on marginalizing itself.
But the film’s most serious shortcoming is its failure to consider the alternatives to current policy. Among Latin American governments, for example, widespread disillusionment with the drug war has fed growing support for drug legalization, an approach seriously raised at this year’s hemispheric summit meeting in Cartagena. President Obama has predictably demurred: wary of opening up a new avenue of attack for the Republican Party, the administration seems to feel the need to strike a tough law-and-order stance on drugs during this election year. Politics aside, the recent surge in prescription drug abuse shows the terrible human toll that can result when addictive substances are made more widely available.
A more effective—and politically feasible—approach would be to redirect government resources from imprisonment and interdiction to treatment and prevention. Rehab centers, methadone clinics, and after-school programs have been shown to be much sounder, and cost-effective, investments than border agents, narcotics squads, and long prison terms. In an era of shrinking budgets, such money-saving approaches may be the most persuasive. In states like California and New York, the surge in spending on correctional facilities, driven in part by the ever-growing population of non-violent drug offenders, has diverted funds from areas like higher education—a trade-off that seems increasingly indefensible.
Despite the absence of discussion of the issue in Washington, the political climate may be changing: polls show growing support for legalizing marijuana, and on election day Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state will offer ballot initiatives to legalize and regulate the possession of small amounts of pot. Even more striking, Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, in a speech in June, called the drug war “a failure.” Warehousing a prisoner for a year in his state costs $49,000, he said, compared to $24,000 for inpatient treatment. Noting that people who become addicted to drugs are “sick” and “need treatment,” Christie advocated making residential treatment mandatory for all first-time, non-violent drug offenders.
Actually, many courts dealing with drug offenses are already doing this. And making treatment mandatory for all drug offenders would be wasteful, since not all are addicts. But the governor’s recognition that many of those who abuse drugs need help, and that treatment is an effective way of providing it, represents a major step forward. As prisons and courts continue to devour government revenue, perhaps other politicians will take notice.