LAND Commentary

Will California’s next top cop support legal pot?

October 13, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Practically everyone expects Attorney General Kamala Harris to win re-election handily in November. The Democrat won 53 percent of the vote in a crowded June primary. A rising star expected to ascend someday to the governorship, or perhaps a U.S. Senate seat, Harris has won the endorsement of major newspapers. She’s such an attractive candidate that... President Obama had to apologize last year for calling her 'by far the best-looking attorney general' in the country. And yet Harris faces two unusual obstacles in the November runoff. One is Ron Gold, a never-elected Republican attorney from Los Angeles, running for office on a shoestring. The other hurdle is the fact that Gold supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use, while Harris has been opposed. " (10/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p8ggbvf  

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Obama is president. Peace protests, RIP

September 25, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Where are the peaceniks? Why aren’t they marching on Market Street to protest President Obama’s use of military force in Syria and Iraq? The Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder if the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit air strikes. 'People are war-weary and have already been very disappointed in President Obama for some time,' Peaceworkers Executive Director David Hartsough said. That’s right; they’re disappointed. After GOP President George W. Bush sent U.S. troops into Iraq with congressional authorization in 2002, activists took to the streets, but after a Democrat ordered air strikes over Syria without explicit authorization, they’ve been subdued. ... I understand. Partisans on both sides of the aisle like to think that if they were in charge, the world would be a safer place." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/magfnw4  

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Artez Hurston’s Ferguson

September 4, 2014
posted by

The Intercept
by Ryan Devereaux  

"Artez Hurston is curled up on a concrete bench in a Missouri jail cell, fast asleep. He snoozes peacefully, despite the fact that just a few hours ago he was staring down the barrel of a gun. His slumber wouldn’t be that noteworthy except that our cramped cell, with its bright lights and white bricks, is filled with about a dozen wired young men still buzzing over their recent arrests in a nationally televised display of explosive civil unrest. At least two of them are bleeding. One man is missing a shirt. Another’s is stained white with the residue of tear gas." (09/04/14)

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/04/rdevro-hed-tk/  

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Who cares if your congressman doesn’t read your letter?

September 4, 2014
posted by

Jim Babka Downsize DC
by Jim Babka  

"Does Congress read your letters? Not much and not well. It shows in the stupid canned responses they send. I write my letters for other reasons, and you should too ..." (09/04/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr6cw9x  

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Honoring Julian Heicklen: Jury Rights Day, September 5, 2014

September 4, 2014
posted by

Garry Reed Libertarian News Examiner
by Garry Reed  

"Everyone who believes in true justice and not just the imposition of whatever various governments have decided they want 'The Law' to be should know when Jury Rights Day is and what it's all about. Jury Rights Day is celebrated every year on September 5. Jury rights is about jury nullification, the right of every citizen who serves on a jury to decide not only the guilt or innocence of the accused but whether the law itself is legitimate, just, and being applied correctly." (09/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mkapqkf  

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The most wanted man in the world

August 14, 2014
posted by

Wired
by Scott Dadich  

"The message arrives on my 'clean machine,' a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. 'Change in plans,' my contact says. 'Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.' ES is Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world. For almost nine months, I have been trying to set up an interview with him --traveling to Berlin, Rio de Janeiro twice, and New York multiple times to talk with the handful of his confidants who can arrange a meeting. Among other things, I want to answer a burning question: What drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents, revelations that have laid bare the vast scope of the government's domestic surveillance programs?" (08/14)

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/edward-snowden/  

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The end of reefer madness?

August 5, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Katrina vanden Heuvel  

"Dropping 'a bomb on our country’s disastrous war on marijuana with unprecedented force,' The New York Times launched last month High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization, a seven-parter that puts the paper squarely—I believe—on the right side of history on this issue. (Happily, with the exception of its title, 'High Time' is refreshingly free of bad puns and Cheetos jokes.) Citing 'vast social costs,' 'racist results' and 'overwhelming evidence that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems,' the Times editorial board advocated a repeal of the nation’s cannabis prohibition. Last November, of course, The Nation went all-in on marijuana-law reform with our 'Dope and Change' issue ..." (08/04/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/180874/end-reefer-madness  

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A new phase in the marijuana legalization debate

July 29, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"On Sunday, the New York Times editorialized for the first time in favor of a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, and did so in dramatic fashion, with a statement on the front page of the Sunday Review section and two more pieces going into greater detail. It wasn't particularly surprising, given the generally liberal bent of the Times editorial page and the fact that support for legalization has moved firmly into the mainstream. But it's still important, because the Times remains the most influential news outlet in the country, and they have an unrivaled ability to set the agenda for the rest of the media. There is a shift going on in this debate, and it isn't just that mainstream politicians and newspapers can now support legalization." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m22xm6k  

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Jose Antonio Vargas: Reporter without a visa at the border

July 18, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"The star of a CNN film, Documented, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas went to Texas to bring attention to the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally since October. On Tuesday, authorities detained Vargas at McAllen-Miller International Airport because his Philippine passport lacks a U.S. visa. Within hours, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him. Upon release, Vargas issued a statement in which he noted that he had come to the border to shine a light on the children and the fear they must endure in the course of simple acts, like boarding a plane. The problem here is: Vargas is living proof that U.S. immigration enforcement is toothless." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbpmtuw  

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Stop the CISPA zombie

July 17, 2014
posted by

Jim Babka Downsize DC
by Jim Babka  

"The Zombie is back. YOU helped defeat a fake cybersecurity bill last year. It was called CISPA. It's undead. Now it's called CISA. I sent a letter demanding Congress to defeat it using DownsizeDC.org's Hands Off the Internet campaign. Please do the same. You may borrow from or copy this letter..." (07/16/14)

https://secure.downsizedc.org/blog/stop-the-cispa-zombie  

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Time to revive the peace movement

July 17, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Matt Reichel  

"It has been 10 years of dormancy for the peace movement: a full decade since the thriving demonstrations of the early Bush years gave way to liberal demands that the focus shift to defeating the president at the ballot box. This fixation remained through the two ensuing presidential elections, which have demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, the futility of this approach to altering American foreign policy." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/omyyn3x  

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Waiting for dark

July 17, 2014
posted by

Wired
by Andy Greenberg  

"Amir Taaki and Cody Wilson are cruising north through Texas on Interstate 35 in the 4:30 am predawn darkness. One of the headlights on the aging BMW Wilson’s driving is burned out, and he’s wearing sunglasses. 'They’re prescription,' he says drily. It’s May Day, every anarchist’s favorite holiday, and the two 26-year-olds have marked the occasion by releasing a piece of software that represents their best attempt so far to undermine every government in the world. A call from a lawyer friend has reminded them that creative US prosecutors might hit them with conspiracy or other charges. So they’ve decided to skip town." (07/11/14)

http://www.wired.com/2014/07/inside-dark-wallet/  

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What the Supreme Court doesn’t see

July 11, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Lauren Rankin  

"This Saturday was like most Saturdays for me. While others were heading for a run, for brunch, or even were still asleep, I was on a sidewalk, wearing a neon-yellow vest, waiting for patients at an abortion clinic. I took a piece of bright orange chalk and carefully marked the eight-foot radius around the building’s entrances. My clinic has a buffer zone. On Thursday, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone. In a blow to patients in Massachusetts and perhaps nationwide, the Court ruled that the state’s 35-foot buffer zone at abortion clinics violates the First Amendment rights of anti-choice protesters. ... If only the Supreme Court could see what I see every weekend." (07/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4skp69  

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“Complete control”: Notorious surveillance contractor tech uncovered

June 26, 2014
posted by

Reason
by Zenon Evans  

"Hacking Team, a company which has been described as an 'enemy of the Internet,' provides law enforcement and intelligence agencies with legal 'offensive technology' to infiltrate and remotely control people's phones and other digital devices. The extent of this company's capabilities remain murky, but two groups of Internet security experts say they have just exposed some of their surveillance firepower and the fact that Hacking Team has more servers spitting out malware based in the U.S. than any other country." (06/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr6y7ba  

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Nine stages of activism

June 23, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Andy Singer  

Cartoon. (06/21/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/06/nine-stages-of-activism/  

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The “progressive” (aka, liberal) antiwar movement: RIP?

June 16, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by John V. Walsh  

"Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) will not do the job of challenging Hillary. From Norman Solomon to Medea Benjamin they are notorious by now for putting Party over principle. Other progressives operating outside the Dem Party, and few in number, are well defended, claiming that elections are for naught. But history argues against this." (06/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jw57pec  

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Blocking social media: The new model for controlling “public unrest”

June 12, 2014
posted by

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by John Engle  

"Governments almost always like to expand their powers over speech, particularly when that speech is damaging to the governments’ credibility. The freedom of speech is a critical right in all free societies precisely because it is the ultimate means ordinary citizens have to challenge the powers that be, to express dissent, and to organize with like-minded people dissatisfied with the way government is running. The internet has been the most powerful and valuable tool in the expansion of individuals’ power over their governments. The state quakes at the raw people-power that services like Twitter provides." (06/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phsr6ud  

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Bowe Bergdahl & the honorable history of war deserters

June 6, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Richard Kreitner  

"'Myths abound about deserters....' So begins an essay in the April 16, 1973, issue of The Nation. Those who propagate such myths, the essay argued, 'rely on World War II clichés and stereotypes of the bad guy slinking away from his buddies under fire.' Amid a debate about whether to offer amnesty to those who had dodged the Vietnam draft and, more controversially, to those who abandoned the military once in its ranks, the Nixon administration and its allies launched what the Nation article called 'a carefully orchestrated media campaign' to disparage the patriotism and integrity (and, not always implicitly, the manhood) of the latter." (06/05/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ngzu45z  

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The worst idea since Prohibition

June 4, 2014
posted by

Fox News Forum
by Jenny Beth Martin  

"When then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama sat down for a 2001 interview with WBEZ radio in Chicago, he spoke of the Constitution as 'a charter of negative liberties; says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you,' as if protecting Americans from their government was somehow problematic. Today, we’re seeing the Democratic Party President Obama leads take action to amend the Constitution so that the government can do something to you: restrict free speech. Senate Democrats are seeking to re-write the First Amendment to the Constitution to restrict speech in politics via Senate Joint Resolution 19 (S.J. Res. 19)." (06/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mphfwu5  

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Since when does free speech require students to stay quiet?

June 3, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Sam Warren  

"Since former University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau declined to receive an honorary degree from my very own Haverford College, commentators have decried the intolerance of the protesters who criticized his invitation to commencement. Student speech obstructed Birgeneau’s right to free speech, they say -- as if its legitimate exercise requires the conferral of an honorary degree and a perch on a podium. Haverford President Daniel Weiss echoed such sentiments, if more diplomatically, in a May 20 editorial for The Philadelphia Inquirer: 'When an individual is invited to speak at an institution that holds freedom of expression as a core value, and then for whatever reason does not attend, the cause of free speech has inevitably suffered.' That 'for whatever reason' bothers me." (06/02/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o73tppy  

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The FCC’s Net Neutrality proposal explained

May 22, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Leticia Miranda  

"On May 15, the Federal Communications Commission voted to move forward with their proposed rules for net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. The proposal, which will now be open for public comment for four months, would dramatically change the Internet. The new rules would allow Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon or AT&T to charge websites like Facebook and Twitter for faster service. This has a whole range of consequences for you, the avid Internet user. We’ve put together this explainer to help you understand what the proposal means and how you can tell the FCC what you think about the proposed rules." (05/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oupbrlo  

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Trigger-happy trigger warnings

May 21, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Academia is hell. In the latest higher education fad, students now want 'trigger warnings,' according to the New York Times. It appears that some students are so fragile that they want university staff to protect them from big bad ideas. Students around the country say they want 'explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.' An Oberlin College draft -- now 'under revision' -- for trigger warnings suggested faculty 'be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism and other issues of privilege and oppression.'" (05/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qdezvtv  

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Occupy activist Cecily McMillan sentenced

May 20, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dave Lindorff  

"Occupy activist Cecily McMillan, convicted on May 5 of second-degree felony assault of a New York cop whom she and witnesses claimed had grabbed her breast from behind, bruising it, stood her ground before her sentence was rendered, refusing the judge’s insistence that she should 'take responsibility for her conduct.' Risking the possibility that Judge Ronald Zwiebel might sentence her to the maximum seven years for the charge she was convicted of, McMillan would only apologize for what she termed 'the accident' of involuntarily throwing back her elbow when grabbed by behind from someone she could not even see." (05/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nnd7ohn  

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How tolerant should we be of intolerance?

May 19, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Cathy Gere  

"Earlier this year, the Arizona State Legislature passed a bill that would have allowed business owners, as long as they were asserting their religious beliefs, to deny service to lesbian and gay customers. Under pressure from the Chamber of Commerce, the state’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed the legislation, but it was a close call. As far as its supporters were concerned, the bill was a victory for the civil rights of people of faith; for its opponents, it was just as clearly an assault on the rights of non-heterosexual minorities. This impasse highlights one of the most ticklish questions of liberal philosophy: How tolerant should tolerance be of intolerance?" [editor's note: At last, an intelligent look at the issue, worth a read for both the "thick" and the "thin" among us? - SAT] (05/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwvhde3  

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Today’s college motto: Shut up already

May 19, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"First the censorious left went after Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born critic of Islam's treatment of women, after Brandeis University had invited her to receive an honorary degree. Bowing to political correctness, Brandeis rescinded the invitation. ... On Tuesday, former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau became the latest public figure to wave the white flag. Haverford College had invited him to speak at commencement and receive an honorary degree. A group of students and professors protested on the grounds that Birgeneau had allowed UC police to use 'force' to break up a disruptive Occupy demonstration in 2011. ... Who needs censorship when protest alone can silence speakers who in any way deviate from the left's radical agenda?" (05/15/14)

https://tinyurl.com/lgdjtam  

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