Saturday, November 27, 2010

Movie star Mark Ruffalo is being harassed for his antiwar and progressive acts

Where's that change? I'm not seeing any with President Obama, just a continuation of the Bush II agenda, which means that of the super-rich. In May of this year, Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Last Big Thing, Shutter Island, etc.) and about 1,800 other prominent American liberals (including linguist and intellectual Noam Chomsky) singed a petition that was published as a full-page ad in a very visible New York magazine accusing the new president of war crimes.
In some respects this is worse than Bush. First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of ‘terrorism,’ merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly.
They're not only factually correct in their assertion, they have a constitutionally protected right to express it without recourse. The new president--like his predecessor--doesn't appear to believe this. Odd for a constitutional scholar.

Ruffalo is generally known as an "indie" actor, but his star has been in ascendancy over the last decade, and along with that, he's been vocal in recent years about his concerns that America is rapidly moving away from its most cherished ideals, away from democracy. With endless capitulations to the corporate sector by both major political parties, endless and pointless wars, very open political corruption, and a host of misdeeds that don't need to be recalled here since we don't have all day to recount simply the ones committed under the Bush II administration, (the one that the new president's resembles more all of the time), it's definitely time to speak your peace.

Indeed, Ruffalo has been doing just that: There was the aforementioned petition, but he's been on the path of several causes, and they're valid ones. His most recent has gotten him on a terror watch list via the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security, part of the DHS, a decidedly corrupt institution for a war on a pronoun, so you know it's a joke on the public, and one they approved of initially.

With the ending of the "terror alert" color-coded system that everyone began ignoring after it was abused for openly political reasons, they have good reason to be concerned when a likable guy like Ruffalo starts going around accusing the president and corporations of corruption, of criminal behavior. People are already all ears, and after the BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, it's even money that they're pissed-off. Into this latter fray enters Mr. Ruffalo who has been inviting members of the public to screenings of GasLand, a documentary that covers incredibly dangerous oil-drilling practices such as "fracking" that contaminate drinking water in the areas it's done in, one of them being Pennsylvania.

This was enough for the PDHS to place Ruffalo--a movie star actor--on a terror watch list. Ruffalo thinks "[it's] pretty fuckin' funny," and to some extent it is, but it also isn't. He was brushing-up against Big Oil, maybe even firms like Halliburton. What I want to know is who made the decision here. Were his other progressive activities taken into account? Was the White House a part of any of these decisions? What recourse would an average citizen have had in this case?

Hold-outs: He's not what you think he is. Actions speak louder than words.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

14 down, 36 to go in the push towards legalization of marijuana

But what does this all mean? What does it mean when we're rapidly heading towards a surveillance state, let alone a police state? Will we be able to smoke pot in a police state? Consider that. What does this mean? I have no idea, it just boggles the mind, but you have to realize that many states of existence and social trends can live alongside one another simultaneously. Some things can be true and false all at once.

Is this all Huxley' warning, the phantom of "soma," and a populace that could find itself under some serious illusions of personal freedom while simultaneously narcotizing themselves, and not merely by television and the Internet (the unimaginative misuse of the latter)? I don't know, but it sure looks like it. There are many illusions and conceits in the counterculture and the outlying one these days, too many myths, too little reality.

California nearly passed Proposition 19 this election cycle, which would have all but decriminalized marijuana with a mere fine for up to the personal possession of one ounce of marijuana, similar to Ontario's experiment with decriminalization beginning about (or "aboot") a decade ago thanks to the ruling of an Ontario Superior Court of Justice (like our own higher Federal District circuits). But the fun didn't last long in Ontario and later rulings have pushed back the right to personal possession of marijuana. Tell 'em that in Toronto's Kensington Market, or even parts of Los Angeles and Oakland and the neighborhoods around the University of Toronto.

Local custom often trumps the law, which in the case of marijuana, is fine since it's not someone being lynched. That's what the drug laws are for.

As a criminology professor in college told me, "We never learn in America, because we don't want to." The truth has been plain for ages: Prohibition just empowers cartels and gangs, it doesn't make society a better place to live, and in fact is one of the sources of social disintegration. But it serves narrow interests, some who are in-collusion with drug lords. Without prohibition, there would be almost no potential for bribery and similar forms of corruption, especially with a decentralized model granting private citizens the right to grow set amounts for personal use, never mind medical marijuana dispensaries.

Meanwhile, the executive branch is enjoying the ability to conduct unrestrained surveillance of everyone under the rubic of the war on terror and the war on drugs. The states are moving one way, while the federal government is moving another. There could be no greater example of counter-trends of the democratic versus anti-democratic other than the newfound freedom and ease of communication created by the Internet, but the legalization movement is surely another one when juxtaposed with the ever-widening surveillance state. This isn't simply a states' rights battle, though there is certainly a fear of opening that door. It underscores that there are natural tendencies towards the democratic and anti-democratic in all nation states.

What if we do witness the virtual legalization of marijuana for personal use in the United States? Will it be a blow against anti-democratic trends? That would be a major affirmative. American drug laws were first formulated as race laws and the statistics of who gets sentenced to the most time are implicitly clear: Minorities suffer the most for the same amounts as their Caucasian counterparts, and class is also an issue, the ability to pay adequately for one's own defense at trial. So, yes indeed, this will be a step forward for civil rights across the board for Americans if we can end prohibition of marijuana since it will lead to and end in the case of the other substances to interdiction and the punishment model.

"But who's going to sell it?" is the usual question. In the case of marijuana, it should be nobody. Again, it's a hardy and easily grown plant. Yes, there will still be a market for the "best," there always will be, but any good law decriminalizing the plant will have to include the right of private citizens to grow their own. The other substances? The government should be dispensing them for tracking and statistical purposes, just like Canada does with "The Beer Store," albeit I have no answers as to manufacture, though my preference would be by the government. The money made from these sales could just as easily go to addiction treatment programs.

Would we want corporations to manufacture heroin as a commodity? I don't think so, and believe that that would be the true road to Huxley's Brave New World. Corporations are only capable of being held-accountable through the power of government because nothing else is powerful enough to. Before we knew it, we could all truly be addicts were they to have complete control over the process. But a part of me wonders: Where is this all headed? Will legalizing marijuana make a big difference? I believe that it can, and likely will, offer a "third-path" model, but Americans are going to have a big fight on their hands with--no surprise here--corporations, and the people who service, defend, and have an abiding interest in them.

Will we be smoking pot in a police state? Stay tuned...

Monday, November 08, 2010

An important update on the upcoming DC Madam account...

Late last week, just a few days ago in fact, I had a major breakthrough in my research and analysis in this case, and one that could change everything. I'm not going to spill the beans--you're going to have to be patient on this one--but it has to do with the context of Jeane's suicide. No, there has been no concrete information forthcoming that the DC Madam was murdered, and your weird desire that it was so says more about you than it does about this case or this historical moment we're inhabiting together.

One giveaway, the only one anyone's getting before the publication of the account: I've written about it before, and it has to do with her being suicidal. There is actually someone specific who may be to blame for Palfrey's untimely death, and it has to do with official negligence.

My hope? That I'm right about this recent observation of the primary material, that others look into it further, and that, ultimately, it reopens the case in the form of a congressional investigation, an internal one. That's it. That's all you're getting.